Friday, July 07, 2006

Darn You Claire Wolfe!

Darn you to heck! Here I thought I'd get through the week without someone writing something that pushed one of my buttons and my favourite recluse goes and does it. Claire went and posted on her blog about one of my peeves and a prime reason I wish Al Gore was...well, somewhere other than here. Not that I'm blaming her, mind you. I'm not. What Claire pointed out is good news. Rational news. News that points up the fact that some people operate in the realm of common sense and reality,
(that wouldn't be you, Mr. Ex-Vice President, Loser, Nutbag. Or you losers at NASA).

Ya see, as Claire pointed out in her blog entry Jeff Bezos and his buddies at Blue Origin are utilising a Space Ship design that has already been tested and was dumped by the government drones at NASA. These folks are planning on building a Space Port and building reusable space craft and they are dead on serious about it, to the point that they've already filed all the necessary paperwork (pdf)! This is great news! As someone who remembers watching the first moon landing and then had to stand by and watch the politicians destroy our dreams of living in space, killing our astronauts and wasting decades on foolishness, this fills my heart with joy. Private enterprise is finally doing what should have been done so many years ago, by the white elephant NASA and doing it with a design that was killed by Al Gore just so he could piss away money on a project that was doomed to failure from the get go.

Blue Origin is going to be using the Delta Clipper design that worked pretty well in the development phase. It flew a number of times and had one accident and then NASA cancelled the project in favour of the Al Gore supported boondoggle that is still going on today, albeit in a slightly different form and with more "strategic" interests in mind. The Delta Clipper (DC-X) flew 8 times before experiencing a catastrophic accident, it landed too hard and cracked the hull. The DC-XA which replaced the DC-X flew 4 times before experiencing a catastrophic fire after a landing strut failed, (investigations determined that the ground crew failed to connect a hose.) and that was the end of the program. NASA started work on their pipe dream machine after that and abandoned the Delta Clipper, a machine that showed more promise than anything else NASA had on the boards. (Movies of the DC flying are available here and for those who wish to see the crash, here. )

The esteemed Mr. Bezos is showing uncommon good sense in using the Delta Clipper design. Most of the work's already done and it flies. There are also enough people already out there who have worked the DC into plans, so that he already has access to a framework which could propel him, his colleagues and his customers to Luna and beyond. Mr. Bezos may well be the Delos D. Harriman of our time and succeed in setting us free in a way that no-one else has done since the first people defied their states and crossed the Atlantic.

If this venture succeeds Liberty loving people may well be lining up not just for sub-orbital flights, but for Lunar colonisation in a few decades. I would certainly hock everything I owned to get a one way ticket to settle the Moon.

Thanks to Mr. Bezos and Blue Origin, the one decent thing to come out of the NASA Space Program in the 90's may well get a chance to fly and if there is any justice Blue Origin will never issue a ticket for any member of the Gore and Clinton clans. Their ilk would just pollute space.

(PS: Thanks tons to Claire for pointing this one out. I missed my email from on this one! And my BP needed a jolt anyway!)

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Thursday, July 06, 2006

So, What Did We Do For The 4th?

Well, between rainstorms, blogging during said rainstorms, seeing the LP self destruct and grilling we engaged in the time honoured tradition of setting off colourful explosives once it got dark enough, (here's a shout out to the Governor of Indiana! "You're a holiday ruining SOB and I hope you and your DST supporting fan base contract terminal piles and your heads explode!").

I thought I'd hop in and share some of the festivities with those of you who live in locales where the Nanny State SOB's have "outlawed" fireworks. They were "illegal" here, too until this past year...of course that never stopped us here at the Homestead. We shot them off, despite the whining of folks like Tom Price of Fishers, Indiana. He get's my Douche of the Day Award for being a fun and Freedom hating idiot. He probably voted for our Republicrat asshat of a Governor. Way to go Tom! PS: I hope you get piles, too!

What nice explosion! And my youngest seemed to enjoy it, too.

Fireworks make for Happy Kids...I can help but wonder what kind of ogre would be against happy kids? (Apologies to any ogres out there who might be insulted by the comparison).

Pretty, eh? The words of a six year old sum it quite nicely. I love the way it lit up the walnut tree from behind.

It's really nice that the idiots at the State House decided to make what all of us were doing anyway "legal", huh? Not that their silly little law ever made a lick of difference to most of us. Of course now I don't feel like quite the same Freedom Outlaw that as I used to when they were "illegal" and that's a shame. Wait till next year, tho! I have some bigger fireworks planned....(what you saw were 4 shots out of perhaps a couple hundred, big and small). Maybe we'll set some off for Tom Paine's Birthday or Patrick Henry Day, too!

If you're wondering what I blogged about in between rainstorms drop over to my food related blog, Soup To Nuts and you can get a free recipe, too! I also added a review at The Root Beer Blog. Nothing at The Soda Pop Blog, but I promise something new any day now.

(PS: Tom Knapp's working on replacing the now gutted LP. Way to go, Kn@ppster! The Reformista are already whining and crying about it. How ironic!).

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Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Posing A Question

Man, that's a loaded title, huh? Sorry, I was feeling cryptic today but, after viewing an email concerning a site called Dropping Knowledge it seemed a suitable title. This site is interesting, in a Leftish sort of way. What they seem to be about is opening dialogues between people in order to facilitate understanding. There are quite a few questions posed on their site, many from Europe and other socialist countries and obviously tilted in a fashion that I, an Individualist tend to find...distasteful and indicative of folks embracing nannystatism.
Here's a few samples:
How does culture change neighborhoods? How much is a human life worth? Why do we consider some lives to be worth more than others ? If we produce enough food to feed everyone in the world, why don't we? Is religion more of a source, or more of a solution, to world conflicts?
See what I mean? These folks are planning on holding a gathering in Berlin in September where:
...112 scientists, social entrepreneurs, philosophers, writers, artists and activists from around the world will come together in Berlin, Germany, as guests of dropping knowledge.
Any group that has the likes of Sean Penn listed as someone who has knowledge to impart is suspect. Where's Sunni Maravillosa, Claire Wolfe, Jim Bovard or anyone concerned with freedom? Oddly enough, the founding support organisation for this venture is the Allianz Group, a financial services provider. Go figure, huh? A collectivist project such as this being founded and funded by an investment firm. What a strange world we live in....maybe the CEO just wanted to meet Sean?

All this aside, there is an opportunity for folks to either attempt to steer some questions in a way that could lead to a general discussion by the glitterati on Liberty, Individualism, anarchy, Libertarianism, anti-Statism or whatever pro-freedom thing you might wish. My thought on this is that this venture is likely to no more than a collectivist feel good experiment which culminates in an expensive cocktail party and kaffe klatsche in Berlin. The chances of opening true dialogues where freedom and anti-nannystatism is concerned is slim....but, perhaps worth the chance to put forth a question or two. Yeah, it's akin to putting that gold record in Voyager, on the off chance that someone, somewhere and somewhen that might just get it and have a moment of understanding.

Most of the questions posed will likely not be from the Sunni's, Kn@ppsters, Kirsten's or Spanglers in the world...and that's a damned shame. So...maybe we should all take a minute and toss a note into the void and see if someone answers.

PS: My answers to the above questions:
Cultures don't change neighbourhoods. People do.
A basic human is worth $4.50. Slightly more if I have to figure in the cost of inhuming them.
Why don't we feed everyone? Because governments keep getting in our way and stealing the foods and monies. And you want the thieves to solve the problem?
Religion doesn't matter. What people, individually and collectively do in its name is the issue.

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Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Happy New Year! (Or, Just A Reminder...)

July 4th, (or the 2nd for purists) should be our New Year here in America. Basing our New Year upon the death of someone who may not even have existed, rather than the Solar Calendar makes little sense. If we were to base out observance of the New Year on our emergence as a, presumably free country via the signing of the Declaration of Independence, (unarguably the greatest document signed in the history of man) this would make much more sense. We could even keep 2 calendars, like the Jews do. Today would be 4 July, 230 (AL or PL) dated from the signing of the Declaration or 2006 from the estimated death of Yeshua Ben Yusef. Now, this is obviously nothing new to those of us who have read the works of L. Neil Smith, but it is something worth considering and something we should adopt as a guerrilla action, if for no other reason.

Also, worth considering is the writing below. I decided to post it in order to remind you what the true "reason for the season" is, (and if this hacks some of you, tuff!). Two of my family members (past, not present) were signatories to this our most sacred document. They put everything on the line when they put their quills to paper, something virtually no-one would do today. Here's the true reason to celebrate and contemplate. Thank you, Mr. Jefferson.

The Declaration of Independence of the Thirteen Colonies In CONGRESS, July 4, 1776 The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America, When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation. We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. --That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. —Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world. He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good. He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them. He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only. He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures. He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people. He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within. He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands. He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers. He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries. He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance. He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the consent of our legislatures. He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power. He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation: For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us: For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States: For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world: For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent: For depriving us, in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury: For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences: For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies: For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments: For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever. He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us. He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people. He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty and perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation. He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands. He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions. In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people. Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends. We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by the Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

For those who might be of a more technical bent we also have the podcasts, from Monticello.Org.
The Declaration of Independence (as adopted by Congress).
Jefferson's "rough draft" of the Declaration.

Happy New Year All!
And a Happy Independence Day, as well!

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Monday, July 03, 2006

What Part Of "The Right" Don't They Get?

"....or the right of the people peaceably to assemble,"
What part of "Right To Peaceably Assemble" do the Forest Nazi's and police not understand? Here we have a large group of people who epitomise peaceable assembly and get forced to respond to violence with violence (altho not to any degree what their assailants were and would be capable of). Fortunately, the "authorities" chose well and retreated. I've seen, met and known a few of the Rainbow Family and while their lifestyle isn't the one for me I find nothing wrong with them. Despite a penchant for voluntary collectivism these free spirits are leading the lives they wish, imposing nothing upon their fellow man. A very libertarian attitude.

Some years ago these folks came through the city where I lived at the time, because it was close to their intended campground. They were everywhere, dressed in their hippy clothes, barefooted and besandled. Smiling and happy with a kind word for everyone that passed. They panhandled and scrounged around town and made their way out to the wilderness where they camped, danced, sang, made love, smoked some pot and enjoyed each others company. They harmed no-one and left the place they camped no worse than a season of campers. A few weeks after they were gone you wouldn't have known they'd been there, except for the few hangers on around town.

Once again we see that people who are doing nothing "illegal" on land that belongs to "the people", (if it belongs to anyone, which I and most libertarians would dispute) are being hassled because they are different. I have to wonder where the ACLU is in all this? As with so many issues involving rights they are, as usual absent. Of course I don't expect anyone from the ACLU to step up and do the right thing. After all these people have no money. They're "vagrants" by all "official" standards, nomads to those of us not encumbered by police state preconceptions.

These folks are camping in a "national forest". That's a place "managed" by people who routinely burn down large swaths of the American West while "managing" these natural treasures. By establishing "response teams" to "deal with the group" the Forest Service has come out and proven that they are persecuting these people for nothing more than camping on "public land". Of course the government has gone out of their way to accomodate "these people". Shoot, they've even brought in a judge and set up a special court to prosecute people to whom they've issued citations. How thoughtful, eh? Just another wonderful day in the Bush Administrations New America.

The Colorado LP has made a mention of it and so has CommonDreams, a socialist organisation. Not much of a peep from those who profess to be concerned about the "rights of people", tho. Hippies aren't the right type of people apparently. Go figure. The Rainbow Family folks will certainly have my support in the future. Anyone with the stones to stand up and give a hearty FU to the government deserves our support and respect and facing down armed Forest Service goons with sticks, fists and rocks to rescue their comrades? Kudos to the hippies! Wonder if they can gather in Indiana sometime?

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Sunday, July 02, 2006

Strange Days

"Look, Up In The Sky! It's A Bird! It's A Plane!"....Well, you know the rest, don'tcha? A superhero flies by and saves the day. Too bad there aren't really superheroes, huh? Then again...maybe there are...while perusing my local cage liner online, my eye was captured by a rather odd picture with the by-line: Mr. Silent- Indy's masked crimefighter. It seems that I might be missing something, here. The nearby Metropolis of Indianapolis has a crimefighting Superhero? In fact, as further research turns up the fact that the Circle City has a few Superheroes. There's Doktor DiscorD, Ronan Stalker, Kid Christ, Captain Whiskey, The Green Discharge and the Apostolic, and here I thought the Circle City's pre-eminent Hero was Capt. Corruption! (Of course the good Captain has been absent of late, so go figure that someone has stepped up to fill his mighty boots!).

I like this concept. Individuals assuming a role that fulfills them and allows them to do....something. Perhaps this is a fitting outlet for Heinlein's Crazy Years. Perhaps, it's a symbol. And, maybe it's just some folks having some crazy fun. "When the going gets weird...." They get on MySpace...

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Burning Out Or Evolving?

So, a few nights ago I went to a "meetup*" for the local Libertarians, all of whom I am familiar with. My favourite candidate was there, along with some other folks from the county and state. The gathering fit around a corner table, not exactly a stellar turnout, but par for the course.

During the course of the evening we talked about a number of things. Local politricks politics, happenings in the state and across the country, the decline of the country and the usual stuff that gets talked about. One of the things that we managed to discuss was the decline in numbers of the activist base where the LP is concerned. Some people would contend that the LP's numbers are fairly static where the number of people who cast votes for LP candidates is concerned. They may be right. But, the activist base, those who carry the flag and rally the troops is unquestionably in decline and that should be worrisome to the political party bosses.

These folks have become convinced of the futility of continuing along the political path, have moved in a new direction, sans politics or just plain burned out or become fed up. Any attempt to number all of reasons for this would require an encyclopedia, so let's cover a couple and see where we get with it.

The reasons for becoming politically active differ widely for everyone involved. Some came to the political because they fled one of the other parties and they were politically active there. Others saw, or see it as a chance to make a change in the political landscape. And there are myriad other reasons for the attraction and adherence to the political arm of libertarianism, some folks just like to argue. I came to it to try and make a change in the landscape, despite a realisation that it was ,in all likelihood a futile action. As I have said to folks before I became active so that if, (more likely when) the shooting starts I didn't have to look at my kids and say that I did nothing to try and stop it. Another once prominent libertarian whom I respect a immensely, (and who has left the politics after being abused by it) came to it for essentially the same reason, to try and avoid the horror of the almost inevitable shooting war. (Despite what some would contend the ZAP doesn't preclude armed revolution as a last resort).

The reasons for leaving activism behind differ just as greatly. Teaching pigs to sing, or to fly can be supremely frustrating and that's what we've continuously run into over the course of many years. People, in general aren't desirous of freedom. The thought of having no masters, no politicians (even Libertarian politicians) to tell them what to do and to regulate their lives frightens them senseless and causes them to attack those offering a way out of servitude. Even "libertarians" have fallen prey to this fear and, even now seek to "reform" the political wing of Libertarianism. In doing this they will, as others have done, drive away more activists. This has served to drive many hard working liberty lovers into seclusion and will likely continue to do so for many years to come.

Some have just decided that politics is too dirty, soul sucking and useless to continue and have gone into promoting Liberty and Individualism in an attempt to teach some people the necessity of being free. Some might argue that this is essentially the same avenue, but they'd be dead wrong. Instead of teaching people to trust politicians they have decided to teach people to trust themselves and each other, promoting a true free market of individuals and ideas. No-one trusts a politician, even a Libertarian and attaching the title "politician" lumps "us" right up there with them in the eyes of John and Jane Q. Public. I admire these folks, (and you know who you are...) because they have chosen a path that may lead everyone to a freer place. Rather than repudiate something they have taken the decision to adopt something more fulfilling and with much greater potential than the political.

The burnout factor is high amongst those who actually do something to promote the cause of Libertarianism. Often it may be that one person has to shoulder the burden for many who are...well, slackers for want of a better word. People in positions of power who often say things like "We want people who DO things" when what they mean is that they wish other people to do things and leave them to their own affairs. Many who have arranged events for the LP have run into these people quite often. You give them the ideas for events, fundraisers and the like and the next thing you know, you're on your own to plan and execute an event as a one person show. This tends to get people burned out and I have seen it happen amongst activists. It leads to disgust and abandonment issues and, inevitably drives people away who could be the catalyst for better things. When one person bears the weight for many things, (like that most admired LP friend of mine) and encounters nothing but incompetence, fraud and the hidden, and not so hidden desires for power it becomes a certainty that they will burn out and leave.

I don't have any solutions to "make" someone stay, because that's not possible, nor wise. You can't change the way things are in the political wing, sooner or later people tire of it and take the decision to move forward with their lives and separate from that venue. You can change the Party, as some are doing in order to keep some people around or attract others from outside the founding and evolved paradigm, but in so doing others will be driven away. Some are even attempting to do this in order to deliberately drive away those whom they would label "purists" or "anarchists". I offer no solutions because there are none. It's the nature of our individualist principles and Libertarian lifestyle. We don't "herd" well, nor should we...being the opposite of cattle.

The Libertarian political wing is bleeding traditional activists and there is little that can be done about it at the present time. Frankly, I'm not even sure that anything needs to be done. People grow, evolve, move towards and away from things every day. That's called life and it's an integral part of it. Perhaps what we are seeing is the beginning of something new, or the renewal of something old....a move away from the realm of the political and towards individual and individualist activism, a repudiation of the leader/follower paradigm. Maybe the politicians are giving a party that no-one wants to attend. And maybe, just maybe...this is the lull before the storm.

While the concept of the tavern based rebellion is old, tried and true we may be seeing the new, electronic equivalent of it. The blogosphere seems uniquely suited as a starting point for whatever may come next. Somewhere, out here in the aether is the next Green Dragon Tavern, all we need is a bartender and some committed patrons. Frankly, I can't wait to see what unfolds next.

(*: I can't stand the "meetup", it's one of those words or phrases that just gets under my skin (like "for free"'s Free. Not for free.) Call it a get together, a meeting, a potluck, whatever, just don't call it a meetup. It's way the hell too L.A. for me. )

Update: Since I began this I received news that the Reformista have had a moment of repudiation, as the move to get rid of the ZAP has been defeated. Congratulations, the LP still has one core principle.

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