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"In his first novel, Lewis has crafted what other accomplished novelists have failed to, for me anyway: a realistic near-future story involving a major Libertarian Party elected official. Not surprisingly, the novel is set in Montana; the pro-freedom governor finds himself in Helena not by improbable turns of events nor by dint of his fully rational, excruciatingly detailed speeches, but by slowly working his way there and being poised to take advantage of opportunities that arise."
"While discussing the bill of rights with a neo-con recently it occurred to me that a lot of people are not familiar with what a radical set of ideas is held in the Bill of Rights. I set out to rephrase some of the BoR [in] more casual language (with some admitted editorializing on my own part) to illustrate this point. If it amuses you, read some of these to your conservative friends and watch them blanch."
"In a few outraged moments, local immigrant rights activist Tony Lu designed t-shirts bearing the text, 'i do not consent to being searched.' The minimalist protest-wear can be purchased here, in various styles and sizes."
"The requirement that law enforcement demonstrate probable cause before a judge preserves the Founders' system of checks and balances that protects against one branch gathering too much power. The Founders recognized that one of the chief dangers to liberty was the concentration of power in a few hands, which is why they carefully divided power among the three branches."
"Confirming Dr. Lee's revulsion against this covert but official use of physicians -- including psychologists and psychiatrists -- to 'break' prisoners is a documented indictment in the July 7 New England Journal of Medicine, one of this nation's most influential medical journals. This time, however, this journal's impact is less than usual because the exposé, 'Doctors and Interrogators at Guantánamo Bay,' has had little coverage elsewhere."
"[W]hile we were off raising families and having fun living the American dream -- with our heads planted firmly in the sand -- our occupiers have been busy maneuvering the chess pieces around the board with great cunning and skill. Take a look around folks, we've been surrounded -- it's a checkmate! "
"Law should protect person and property against invasive force. This principle applies in all times and in all places. But that does not mean that there must be a single law giver and enforcer. To maximize the chance that good law will prevail over bad, over the long haul, and prevent power grabs from the top, we need a multiplicity of legal forms."
"Once again, it must be said that the State is far and away the most massive violator of rights that has ever been seen, so it is as insane and immoral as appointing foxes to guard a henhouse to suggest that it have any role whatever in reducing such violations by others. To 'set a thief to catch a thief' is not a serious design principle for an important aspect of human society."
"Every state is a religion. Generally we call this worship of state civic religion, with its flags, anthems, pledges of allegiance, rituals, and holidays. (Notice the etymological origin from holy day.) States often allow freedom of religion, but by propaganda, forced schooling/brainwashing, and threats to dissenters, it instills the civic religion into the core of every approved religion. You no longer have to believe that the state or king is God, only the instrument of God to be obeyed and the legitimate maker of laws of right and wrong."
"Action is required, but it is important to understand that only action on an individual level is capable of transforming hearts, and only when hearts are transformed can society be reformed. Change is atomic. Transformation ordered from on high can only go so far, as the Communist leadership in country after country has discovered to their displeasure."
"I cannot shake the feeling that the chances for a freer country, for a society that feels comfortable relying more on the powers of the individual than the powers of a collective of some sort, are better now than they have been for a long time. It may be a blessing in disguise when the culture war actually breaks out."
"Homeschooling has been increasing in popularity for the last decade. But for many families it's been a way of life for a much longer period of time. 'It's a lifestyle. We don't fit our life around school, we fit learning around life,' said Sarah Parks, who was homeschooled."
"[O]n July 15, a panel of federal appellate court judges upheld Bush's sovereign right to dispose of 'enemy combatants' any way he pleases.... [N]either the Geneva Conventions nor American military and domestic law apply.... Bush is now free to subject anyone he likes to the 'military tribunal' system he has concocted.... One of the kowtowing jurists on the appeals panel was none other than John G. Roberts. Four days after he affirmed Bush's autocratic powers, Roberts was duly awarded with a nomination to the Supreme Court. Now he will be sitting in final judgment on this case - and any other challenges to Bush's peremptory commands."
"The ADS fires a 95-gigahertz microwave beam, which is supposed to heat skin and to cause pain but no physical damage (New Scientist, 27 October 2001, p 26). Little information about its effects has been released, but details of tests in 2003 and 2004 were revealed after Edward Hammond, director of the US Sunshine Project - an organisation campaigning against the use of biological and non-lethal weapons - requested them under the Freedom of Information Act." This "crowd-control" system is straight out of RebelFire 1.0: Out of the Gray Zone.
"The ultimate American accountable for this brutal lawlessness is George W. Bush. It is inconceivable he can claim ignorance because, for example, the indignation of his buddy Premier Berlusconi could not have been kept from him. (He meets the prime minister from time to time.) "
"The very fact that it was not until Rove stumbled over the teeniest of speed-bumps in the federal criminal code that he even faced the possibility of real public censure just shows the ragged poverty of American culture when it comes to considering questions of honor, decency and justice."
"It is fine for presidents to have aggressive political consultants, but those advisors shouldn't be given government policy positions that require security clearances. The 'Rove affair' is a confirmation of the mischief that arises when those two roles are merged."
"Famous as Bush's principal advisor, Rove has apparently been fingered as the administration official who committed the felony of leaking the identity of an undercover CIA agent in retaliation for her husband exposing the neoconservative lie that Iraq had purchased nuclear material from Niger. For Bush, the Rove problem brings back the issue of how we got ourselves at war in the first place."
"The first lesson in economic theory is that we live in a world of scarcity. Scarcity is a situation whereby human wants exceed the means to satisfy those wants. Human wants are assumed to be limitless, or at least they don't frequently reveal their bounds. People always want more of something...."
"Wouldn't it be great if you could conduct a full text search of books the same way you search the web? You'd sit down at your computer, type in some search terms, and get a list of every book at your local library that contains those terms -- complete with brief excerpts that show the terms in context. It sounds like science fiction, but Google is now working to make it a reality."
"That is, Hayek proposes that individual firms issue pieces of paper that are not backed up by any production or consumption good. In a sense, Hayek wants to privatize central banking. As the reader can imagine, this proposal strikes almost everyone--even modern Austrians--as absurd; we will deal with some of the major objections below. But partly because of this near unanimous rejection, and partly because the analysis in any case is instructive, I will attempt in this article to give Hayek's case the best possible defense."
"The money is worse than ineffective. It is harmful because it politicizes societies, enriches politicians and parasitic organizations, and discourages productive activity. Political decision-making, which is strengthened by aid, is not good for people."
"Serfdom has stealthily survived throughout the ages into the 'modern' era, even here in The United States, the supposed 'home of the free.' Starting with what some (unfortunately not many) would consider the obvious, the Income Tax has turned every wage earner in America into a modern day serf. "
"[Y]ou need to produce something to distribute it; a federal guarantee has no value if all it can do is print and not produce. Only profit-based industry incorporating externalities can correct the poverty situation and environmental problems. Socialist systems would fail even if they were genuinely concerned and honest."
"Our thinking becomes institutionalized; mutual-exclusion generates the conflict that leads to mutual-destruction, all to the gain of state systems whose well-being, as Randolph Bourne reminded us, is found in manipulating people into playing this game. ... War, then, is the necessary vehicle by which the state mobilizes itself for the infusion of the human energy upon which it depends. Like a vampire, the state nourishes itself on the blood of others."
"Many Japanese, as Rogers said in his first interview with Scott Horton, see war as something that has nothing to do with them. They believe that politicians start wars to benefit themselves, not their people. Once we understand this, Rogers says, it is easy to see why the Japanese are dumbfounded by America's war enthusiasm."
"Each time there is a war, elected officials raise your taxes, and most of the additional money confiscated from you goes to the corporations who provide the planes, bombs, and tanks that kill innocents abroad and destroy their property and infrastructures. The latter, of course, are rebuilt later with more of your tax money. Taxes raised during war generally are not lowered afterward. Remember that the practice of withholding income tax from your paycheck was instituted as a temporary measure during WWII."
"If the G8 governments and the Live 8 participants really want to help Africa, they should acknowledge that it is the policies of leaders like Mugabe who are doing the real damage to the continent. Timid condemnations padded by promises of more foreign 'aid' are not the answer."
"The Scots-Irish have provided many of America's political leaders, including at least a dozen presidents from Chester Arthur to Woodrow Wilson. But Webb singles out Andrew Jackson as the pre-eminent Scots-Irish leader. 'Andrew Jackson was an original, an unusual and fearless leader who dominated the American political process more fully than any president before or since,' he writes."
"The analysis he provides below reflects the type of clarity and insight that we expect from him. This interviewer hopes that his line, 'the fact remains that an educated person in our day has to be in large measure an autodidact,' will be considered by young people across the nation before they invest hundreds of thousands of dollars on degrees...."
"Soon the phrase 'rich man's war, poor man's fight' became a popular expression of the disdain many ordinary Americans had for U.S. entry into the war. The Wilson administration, frantic to shut down criticism, quickly passed the Sedition Act to make it illegal for people to denounce the war."
"The sound I do want to hear is the sound of a Nation Waking Up. I will rejoice to hear the sounds of the collective Mea Culpa and the beating of breasts. I want to hear the deafening clicks as the steady stream of news-o-tainment is turned off, propaganda that is turning us into zombies who are numb to the truth."
"In this age of global terrorism it seems that the denizens of America's Empire are now striking back in kind. The only moral and practical recourse for America is to cut loose of the military bases, political interference, and outright occupation and warfare that the US has engaged in throughout the post Cold War era and that began in earnest with the 1992 deployment in Somalia."
"Miller's essays insisted on the right of black Americans to protest against the injustices that had multiplied with the rise of the white supremacy movement in the South, as the Du Bois 'radicals' did, but he also advocated racial solidarity, thrift, and institution-building as emphasized by the followers of Washington."
"He created many different series characters for the pulps, including the ingenious Lester Leith - a parody of Dorothy Sayers's Lord Peter Wimsey; and Ken Corning, a crusading lawyer who was the archetype of his most successful creation: the fictional lawyer and crime-solver Perry Mason, about whom he wrote more than fifty novels."
"When she was 17, Natalie appeared in a film which would further solidify her as a star and send her into adulthood as an actress who still had a bright future ahead of her. The film was 1955's REBEL WITHOUT A CAUSE with stars James Dean, Sal Mineo, and Dennis Hopper. She played Judy, a rebellious high school student...."
"Spider-Man 2 is about choices, making decisions and the resulting responsibility for those decisions. Since it is based on a comic book, this film is not a 'dramatic classic.' However, with the action, the romantic entertainment and the endorsement of heroism it qualifies as a great film in my estimation."
"The Traveler takes place in a post-9/11 future (maybe 15 minutes from now) where there is 'the appearance of freedom with the reality of control.' Every person's actions are tracked by the Vast Machine, a web of computerized information systems accessed constantly by government, large corporations, and even 'benign' nonprofits like the Evergreen Foundation, a front for forces interested only in world domination."
"Along with Mallcity 14 and The Black Arrow, [RebelFire 1.0] provides important foresight and ideas for we who wish to hold off that ugly, brave new world that's breathing down our necks. Adults and teens alike will find good ideas, humor, and hope in RebelFire 1.0. The individualistic nature of the 'rebellion' is especially compelling for me, as I think that's ultimately the key to creating a more free society."
"Why NOT cover the campaign trail in a gorilla suit? There just isn't a good answer to that question. ..." I didn't get a pointer to this until this week (so it is found this week), which is after the week in which it was shown, but it probably won't age well until the 2005 Left Out issue, so it is in this week's issue.
"According to a Pennsylvania study released last week, nearly 12,000 people contracted infections during hospital stays last year. What do you think?" And much more from the Onion.
Flash animated cartoon
"In the past certain people were called witchdoctors; today the foolish call them intellectuals. I call them Hoodoo Men."
"The difficulty is that the sciences can apprehend only the repeatable. If I could summon Elvis at will, again and again in an instrumented laboratory, physicists would eventually have to concede that something was happening, whatever it might be. While scientists defend their paradigms as fiercely as Marxists or Moslems, they can, after sufficient demonstration, be swayed by evidence. But without repeatability, they see no evidence."
"Rand's take on the landing was particularly instructive because of her novelist's understanding of art, which, at its best, is a selective recreation of reality in light of the artist's values. Thus Michelangelo's David and Beethoven's 9th portray humans as heroes. We go to art for emotional fuel and for the vision of the world as it can be and should be. In Apollo 11 she saw such a vision made manifest."
"I don't put out too many book reviews, because to be blunt, I'm too damn busy to read any more. This is the first book I have cracked and read to completion in two years. I'm talking about 'The Black Arrow' by Vin Suprynowicz." I know the publication date is a couple of days before this issue start date, but I found it this week. I will check this blog more regularly in the future.
"This is the logic of the fever swamp: If a handful of people believe they saw something indicating a conspiracy, they are hailed as witnesses bearing proof. If thousands unquestionably did see something that invalidates the conspiracy theory, they are ignored."
"Later in the book, Rowling pegs the true nature of tyrants, offering tidbits that freedom activists would do well to remember."
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