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"Think of yourself as a pioneer as you achieve freedom; you are. Synthesizing a new way of life is what any pioneer does. (Rarely does anyone truly settle new land; European migrants to America, for example, developed new lifestyles in an already-inhabited land.) As a pioneer, you must learn new approaches and skills — sometimes you must invent them. If you prefer the routine, self-liberation is not for you." [The quote comes from part two, which has its link below. Part one appeared in last week's issue. The series concludes with part three.]
"What is it about America that inspires such hope? The framers of the Constitution challenged generations far into the future. With the phrase 'life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,' they set the bar well beyond a political or economic system. The great purpose of the American nation, Needleman suggests, was to form a sheltering environment that would allow men and women to pursue the inner search: America the womb, the incubator of great human understanding. "
"F.A. Harper was a prime example of how defenders of liberty can proceed in a principled way. As he put it in Liberty Defined, 'If the end is embodied in the means, no libertarian can employ other than purely voluntary means to further the cause of liberty. This means education, persuasion, demonstration. In that way, others may be led to reform their conduct on behalf of liberty'."
"For the first time in many a moon, we witnessed a genuine knock-down drag-out brawl between presidential contenders: a real mix-up in which Rep. Paul, the only antiwar candidate in the GOP pack, succeeded in framing the debate around his challenge to neocon orthodoxy on the all-important issue of foreign policy."
"Forty-one states enacted 171 immigration bills between January and June, and over 1,000 were proposed. As of mid-March, 104 cities and counties had considered or adopted ordinances concerning undocumented workers. But the number of bills seeking to address demographic change is less interesting than where they are coming from. And where they are coming from seems to have little to do with where the vast majority of immigrants are going."
"Congress provides a substantial tax break for employer-controlled health insurance. That sounds nice, but it means that workers who want to control their coverage themselves face a tax penalty. That penalty often forces such workers to pay twice as much for less coverage. That benign-sounding 'tax break' effectively requires Americans to let someone else control a large chunk of their incomes and their health care decisions. We may call that 'private' spending. But notice the hallmarks: government denies individuals control over their economic decisions, and encourages them to act as if they were spending someone else's money — in this case, their employer's."
"In August, $40 billion in credit had been pumped into the financial system over two days - more than anything the Fed has done since 9/11. But can the economy stay on keel?"
"Gasp! Aaaiiieee!!! *SOB!* Say it ain’t so, Montressor! Not that! Anything but that! For those of you who cannot believe your eyes, let me repeat and emphasize what A.M. of New Albany, Indiana, decided in all her sorrow 'was the most obscene thing I’ve watched on TV in a long time.' A television character not only... LET A CHILD USE A HANDGUN... (ogodogodogodogodogodogod nnnnnnnooooooooooo......!!!!!!!!!!!!!) ...this character... ...hold on!... ...this character... ...ON TELEVISION, mind you... ....this character... ...PROVIDED... ...A... ....LESSON... ...IN... ............ (*gulp* Please. It’s not my fault. Don’t shoot the messenger. I’m merely reporting what A.M. of New Albany, Indiana, said was done on TV...)............ ...MARKSMANSHIP!!!!!!!!!!..."
"Ancient China had no lack of philosophical arguments for individual liberty. Western critics of "congenitally authoritarian China" to the contrary notwithstanding, the earliest arguments in favor of small government (limited government, or minarchism) and no government (anarchism), were advanced by Chinese, not Western political philosophers. The ancient Chinese philosophers Laozi, Zhuangzi, Bao Jingyan, and Sima Qian were the first explicit champions of libertarianism and anarchism in recorded history."
"I am often asked how a stateless society could conceivably work, and if there are any examples of such a society existing at any time. In response, I ask: 'Do you use violence to achieve your goals? How many times a year do you use the state court system? Did your wife marry you voluntarily, or did you kidnap her and lock her in your basement? Did you get your current job by going for an interview and winning the position voluntarily, or did you kidnap your employer’s children and hold them hostage?' I have never met anyone who regularly uses violence to achieve his ends (I’m not saying that such people don’t exist, but they tend not to move in debating circles). I have also never met anyone who regularly uses the state court system – though I have met many people who hate the courts for their injustice and inefficiency."
"Where did public education come from, and why do we have it? Do you know? Did they teach you that in school? Nope, not once in the twelve years they held you hostage did they share with you the history of your prison. Hell, they don't even teach that to teachers."
"[C]elebrating instability doesn't mean that one should do anything one likes because nothing is really enduring. Rather, it means to respect whatever that is not in one's control, grasp or understanding, and allowing it to takes its own course. "
"His open-source framework earned him the Google-O'Reilly Best Hacker award in 2005 and is now being backed by the likes of IBM and Sun and a small army of Web hosting and consulting companies. He says the platform is being downloaded about 10,000 times a week from the main Rails repository, only one of many sources. Its rise hasn't been without hiccups. ... But the buzz around the platform continues to grow."
"[H]ow does such a poly-centric, even anarchic system, composed of editors acting independently and for their own reasons, result in such an utterly useful resource? The answer goes back to the Hayekian inspiration for the project. Because editors receive both psychological satisfaction and material usefulness from their contributions, the project has grown to include safeguards that help guarantee that the development of the project will move in a positive direction – towards broad, accurate articles that depend on reliable, verifiable sources. One could very aptly describe the Wikipedia system for directing the development of the project as being a common law system of sorts. ... Since Wikipedia is open to correction by anyone, it only stands to reason that the articles attracting more potential editors will be of a higher quality. Rather than a failure of Wikipedia, this is a great demonstration of its efficient allocation of resources."
"A sharp drop in foreign holdings of US Treasury bonds over the last five weeks has raised concerns that China is quietly withdrawing its funds from the United States, leaving the dollar increasingly vulnerable. Data released by the New York Federal Reserve shows that foreign central banks have cut their stash of US Treasuries by $48bn since late July, with falls of $32bn in the last two weeks alone."
"Asus is preparing to launch its new Linux-based Eee PC laptop later this month and plans to release another new model in April 2008. The Eee PC, which has a 7" display and a 900MHz Celeron M processor, is designed for budget-minded mobile consumers. The second-generation Eee PC will use Intel's Merom processor and offer longer battery life."
"It is, by any measure, a remarkable achievement, one of the greatest political feats ever. Despite Bush's standing as one of the most despised presidents in American history, despite a Congress in control of the opposition party, despite a solid majority opposed to his policies and his war, despite an Administration riddled with scandal and crime, despite the glaring rot in the nation's infrastructure and the callous abandonment of one of the nation's major cities to natural disaster and crony greed -- despite all of this, and much more that would have brought down or mortally wounded any government in a democratic country, the Bush Administration is now in a far stronger position than it was a year ago. How can this be? The answer is simple: the United States is no longer a democratic country, or even a degraded semblance of one."
"The public image of a gigantic 'big brother' surveillance brain is a misconception. In reality the information on any individual will exist in hundreds, even thousands of separate databases, most of them owned by the private sector. But these will be searchable in microseconds by a centralised agency with the authority to do so - and a quantum computer. These are, of course, no less than the enabling technologies for the global police state, though no one is admitting as much. ... Each tool of control will be introduced from the best of motives - to keep us safe and healthy, to reduce crime, to improve workplace efficiency, to raise productivity, to protect the environment, to cater to our personal needs and tastes. ... The real wielders of power will be those who run the quantum computers. These spiders at the heart of the informational web will have the dirt on everyone, the president included." [Recognize This Perfect Day anyone?]
"The trouble begins when experts begin to take their expertise so seriously that they forfeit their own road sense and their readers'. When they are so neutered by their reasoning that they cannot act – or worse yet, cannot desist from acting. And the trouble grows into disaster when their credulous followers, junkies of every news and TV show, rush behind them like rats behind the Hamelin piper – into every frippery and fad, every financial folly and military madness."
"The U.N. says this year's opium output, which represents 93 percent of the illicit world supply, 'exceeds global demand by a large margin,' indicating a stockpile of thousands of tons. Despite their concerns that opium profits are helping to fund terrorism, U.S. and U.N. drug warriors seem intent on raising the value of that stockpile by curtailing production."
"But the CIA officers working on the Sabri case kept collecting information. ... The officers brought this material to the attention of the newly formed Iraqi Operations Group within the CIA. But those in charge of the IOG were on a mission to prove that Saddam did have WMD.... The officers continued to insist on the significance of Sabri's information, but one of Tenet's deputies told them, 'You haven't figured this out yet. This isn't about intelligence. It's about regime change.' ... They learned later that a new report had been written. 'It was written by someone in the agency, but unclear who or where, it was so tightly controlled. They knew what would please the White House. They knew what the king wanted,' one of the officers told me."
"Government is the reason medical insurance is expensive. It’s been so distorted by the politicians that it isn’t really insurance at all, but just another wealth-transfer program."
"What do they offer by way of opposition? Why, next to nothing. To oppose the plans for expanding war -- plans which have been blindingly obvious for years -- they would have to be able to think and plan ahead about an issue of momentous significance. This, of course, is against their intellectual scruples and moral convictions, such as they are."
"What the Ron Paul so-called 'Revolution' has done so far is create a common platform for the numerous members of the GOP with an Old Right mindset and thus supplied them with a candidate of 'their' own. What this means is simply that the suppressed Old Right faction in the GOP somehow has begun to feel the wind changing, and therefore we should expect an internal party war in a not too distant future. At least, this is what political logic tells us."
"It might surprise you … to discover that money and the economy are primarily First Amendment concerns. Most people may not realize it, but money, first and foremost, operates within a society as a vital medium of communication. "
"One would think only a crazy couple would declare war on environmentalists by presenting them on film as snobs, hypocrites and enemies of the poor. Luckily for those of us who think one-sided debates are boring, Phelim McAleer and Ann McElhinney are just crazy enough to question the environmentalists’ opposition to mining projects in poor countries in a documentary—'Mine Your Own Business'—that is gaining attention."
"Economic theory does not operate in a vacuum. Institutions, such as the property rights structure, determine how the theory manifests itself. Similarly, the law of gravity isn't repealed when a parachutist floats gently down to earth. The parachute simply affects how the law of gravity manifests itself."
"Psychiatric studies have suggested that people with schizophrenia could be more creative or imaginative than the general population, which raises the possibility that schizophrenia genes helped carriers to solve survival problems or attract a mate."
"When a government guarantees profits to those large corporations with powerful lobbies, the market loses its natural regulating mechanism. Instead of weeding out the most inefficient companies, the state subverts the consumer and keeps these companies propped up with corporate welfare. This is particularly true with respect to the agricultural industry."
"You can tell the feds are bailing out mortgage lenders by the way no one wants to call it a bailout. President George Bush made that clear last week when he announced his plan to rescue broke borrowers. 'A federal bailout of lenders would only encourage a recurrence of the problem,' Bush explained. So this is not a bailout, you see, because it is for the borrowers, not the lenders. And if you believe that, then you'll also believe that the Federal Reserve has been shoving money at the banks by the billions in recent weeks in order to help borrowers, too."
"It should come as no surprise that health insurance premiums have risen 87% since 2000. Doctors and insurance companies can get away with charging high prices because their customers don't bear the costs directly. This isn't some inevitable result of market forces, but of government programs and tax preferences for employer-controlled insurance. By rewarding employer-controlled coverage — and penalizing plans that stay with you from job to job — the government strips people of their health insurance when they need it most."
"If a corporation will face significantly lower taxes in another location, it will move there. It will also grow and become more profitable, so that it pays a larger total amount in taxes at a lower rate than it had been paying at a higher rate. If the U.S. wants to discourage corporations from leaving the country, it should make its corporate tax structure more appealing by abolishing corporate income taxes entirely."
"This great-president model has resulted in a bipartisan foreign policy of endless enemies and immoral wars. It also means the gradual destruction of liberty of the American people by the president, who inevitably employs the constant cry of national security and the threat of future wars. " [The URL below goes to part one, which has a link to part two.] ]
"When the facts are considered--Muslim disunity and the absence of modern technology, navies, and strategic reach--the Bush/Cheney/neoconservative/Zionist propaganda that 'we must fight them over there before they come over here' is such a transparent hoax that it is astounding that so many Americans have fallen for it. To the extent that there is any Muslim threat, it is one created by the US and Israel. "
"McConnell wants to have it both ways: Terrorists are so sophisticated that the government needs broad surveillance powers to thwart them, yet they are too stupid to realize someone might be listening to their phone calls or reading their email. Evidently the possibility occurred to them only after they read about it in the newspaper."
"Americans were much freer decades ago, before the governmental Leviathan became as gargantuan as it is now. Why didn’t Muslim terrorists attack us then, if they hate our freedom so much? Whey did they wait until 2001? The obvious answer, which is discussed in the U.S. government’s own 9/11 Commission Report, is that in their minds the terrorists were retaliating for U.S. government interventions in 'their' region, the Middle East. It had nothing to do with the freedoms of American citizens but with the desire of the American government to use its military muscle to dominate the entire world, especially the Middle East."
"Members of the White Rose told the truth about the Nazi death camps and other horrors at a time when the major media would not. Had the media paid attention earlier, had they been pressured to tell the truth to a wide audience, the arc of history might have been different. "
"Python was much liked by rock groups, and it wasn't just the Beatles. Led Zeppelin was one of the investors in Holy Grail. There was something about us that musicians particularly liked; maybe it was because we seemed a little dangerous, we weren't particularly establishment. They thought we were friends, and of course we were."
"Leon Czolgosz claimed to be an anarchist. He said he didn’t believe in governments, rulers, voting, religion or marriage. Historians are quick to point out that only a week before the assassination, an anarchist periodical, Free Society, had published a warning against Czolgosz, denouncing him as a spy, a police agent, and a dangerous crank."
"People who identify with the free market libertarian movement should remember that long before the super-statism of the twentieth century, the State was still a system of plunder enriching politically-connected plutocratic interests at the expense of the productive class."
"The Iraq War has been lost. The British are acknowledging this fact by pulling out their troops from Basra, Iraq's second largest city, handing over the city to the control of Shia militias. For all intents and purposes, the 'Coalition of the Willing' is now dead. America is now going it alone. ... Wounded animals are dangerous animals, and President Bush and his gang of Neocon wackoes, badly wounded by defeat in Iraq, are not anxious to slither off the political stage as losers. Hence the plans in the works to go double or nothing with an all-out aerial assault on Iran."
"The truth of the matter is that the Department of Defense, which couldn’t defend its own headquarters, is misnamed. Rather than guarding our borders, patrolling our coasts, and protecting our citizens, the DOD is focused on – because of our interventionist foreign policy – invading the next country and fighting the next foreign war."
"Baer also thinks that various neocons in and out of the White House believe that the Revolutionary Guard is the only institution keeping the mullahs in power, and that if it is seriously weakened the regime will fall of its own weight. That is undoubtedly fantasy, but anyone who doubts the capacity of neocons and the president to convince themselves of what they prefer to believe may also be living in a fantasy world. After all, these people still seem to believe that the Iraq war is, if not a roaring success just yet, right on the verge of being one."
"It's happening again. The push for war with Iran is on. On the news, on the talk shows, in the newspapers, the American sheeple are being bombarded with allegations about unfathomable evil perpetrated by the Mad Mullahs. The Bush administration is apparently on the verge of designating Iran's Revolutionary Guards as a Terrorist Organization — Terrorist! That means they're bad! "
"He proposed the Atomic Theory in 1803 which stated that (1) all matter was composed of small indivisible particles termed atoms, (2) atoms of a given element possess unique characteristics and weight, and (3) three types of atoms exist: simple (elements), compound (simple molecules), and complex (complex molecules). "
"Though she lacked the emotional depth that artists such as Bessie Smith and Ida Cox brought to the classic blues form, Wilson helped introduce the blues to white audiences, both in the U. S. and Europe. The exposure she and other blues-flavored cabaret performers like her gave the music in non-black markets enabled the genre to assume a stronger posture in pre-World War II pop music."
"The Landlord (1970) ... became Ashby's first film as a director. From there he delivered a series of well-acted, intelligent human scaled dramas that included [Harold and Maude,] The Last Detail (1973), Shampoo (1975), Bound for Glory (1976), Coming Home (1978) and Being There (1979)."
"He is noted for his vocal abilities and for his live performances. As a songwriter, he composed many international hits, including "Killer Queen", "Bohemian Rhapsody", "Somebody to Love", "We Are the Champions" and "Crazy Little Thing Called Love". "
"Tonio met his father's gaze, son as steady as father. 'I don't believe you,' he said. Their gazes locked in a contest of wills. Then Gael looked out the window, to where a lone cottonwood swayed in the garden. Turning back, he informed his son, 'You may not believe me. But you know from experience that you cannot believe your sister -- whose self-admitted bad behavior provides the only witness to this alleged correspondence.' 'No. She's telling the truth. And you're not'."
"Fantasy writers are much concerned with the speculation 'What if?' So, let's play. What if there were a writer who exhibited all the inventiveness of genre fantasy but played out the action with a cast of nuanced, gritty, convincing characters in a prose style that was as lean, distilled and rhythmical as poetry? What if there were a writer who could invite all those readers who duck at the mention of dragons into a fantasy world that was as compelling and familiar as any in realistic fiction? Speculate no more. That writer is Ursula K. Le Guin."
"In every sense that matters, there is quite a bit of magic to a simple campfire. On the deepest level of elemental truth, the basic act of forcing dead, cold matter to give forth light and heat is the very heart of what magic is and will forever be. Life from death, action from the void. Between human beings there is magic in the campfire as well. The flickering light scaring away the shadows can act as a portal for wisdom. Can allow truths to be told that would sound false in the light of the sun." [Thus begins part nine, which has its link below. The piece concludes in part ten.]
"We start out the show with an authentic recording of the Uncle Warren's Attic show from Jan. 17, 1961, as President Dwight D. Eisenhower presents his farewell speech to the nation. It's a historic address, and it provides a lot of room for thought about what's happened in the past 46 years or so."
"LC: I have to ask you — where did the title come from? NG: My buddy and I were just looking around his room and he had a poster on his wall of this traveling singing group. And they were performing at the Perry Bible Fellowship. They were called the Hyssongs. He actually framed it and gave it to me as an apartment warming present a few months ago." [Perry Bible Fellowship online]
"Bloomington, IN police say they have absolutely no information about a missing college student. Alan Fisher investigates the possible rape." video w/audio
"Less than one week after announcing his intention to resign from office, embattled Sen. Larry Craig (R-Idaho) changed course today, telling reporters in Washington, 'I will not blow this job.' Over the past few days, there had been whispers in Republican circles that Sen. Craig had, in the words of one of the Idaho senator’s associates, 'pulled out too early'."
Flash animated cartoon video w/audio
"In other words, we are all in the process of realizing who we really are: boundless, limitless beings of love. They honor saints and sages of all religions. Hindus, Buddhists, Muslims, Christians, Jews and even atheists like me are completely welcome and not treated as unenlightened, as far as I could tell. I never sensed it. Responsible, free people are too busy with their own concerns to waste time and energy on blame and judgment, or even to concern themselves with other people’s actions unless they want help or are infringing on someone else or are in need of love."
"The early nineteenth-century French liberal Benjamin Constant identified a distinction that seems lost on Stengel and many others. Constant pointed out that that there is an ancient notion of liberty and a modern notion of liberty. In the ancient world liberty meant participation in the polity, but once a collective decision was made, the individual was obliged to go along. But the modern notion makes such participation but a tiny fraction of what comprises liberty. The major part consists in the autonomy of the individual...."
"Szasz helps people recognize how many issues portrayed solely as questions of mental health are actually questions of liberty. He has helped open the eyes of generations of Americans to the fact that merely wearing a white coat doesn’t make a person trustworthy enough to shackle other people. "
"Some economists argue that it is a method of rational resource allocation, for it is the most efficient supplier who can offer the highest bribe to get a government contract, and it is a good thing that he gets it. To say this is to forget that bribing is not an open auction but a clandestine transaction that, in addition, has such non-price aspects as confidence and relationships. Moreover, even in open auction the less efficient might be able to offer a higher bribe than the more efficient if he could furnish cheaper, shoddier work thanks to protection offered by the bribe-taker—an option not open to the high-quality high-cost competitor."
"If a picture is worth a 1,000 words, so may be a kiss - or certainly to a woman anyway, researchers say. … They use kissing as a way of assessing the recipient as a potential partner, and later to maintain intimacy and to check the status of a relationship. But men placed less importance on it, using it to increase the likelihood of sex, Evolutionary Psychology reported." [More in this piece. and a spoof]
"In the 'golden era' of MTV, during the 1980s, her group had some hugely popular video hits. I like 'Back on the Chain Gang' but my favorite by her and that band has to be 'Brass in Pocket'."
"Yikes! What to do, what to do, what to do whattodowhattodo? 'The BLS's solution was as simple as it was shocking: Exclude the cost of housing as a component in the CPI, and substitute a so-called "Owner Equivalent Rent" component based on what a homeowner might "rent" his house for.' Hahaha! The government resorts to lying! 'Wow! Why didn't we think of this before?' they are heard to ask among themselves."
"[S]cientists have started to explore the possibility of storing information in the chemical structure of single molecules. A team of European researchers reported a new approach to single-molecule storage that may bring these devices closer to stepping out of the lab."
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