Wed - March 10, 2010

John McCain does treason. Again.

People kept telling me that John McCain wasn't really guilty of treason for campaign finance reform.

After all the important bits were eventually overturned by the Supreme Court.

I told them that he violated his Senate oath of office. I mean, it's right there, "support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic" and "will bear true faith and allegiance to the same."

But I am not going to talk about John McCain's previous act of treason. Nope, I'm going to talk about the new one. The Atlantic calls it A Detention Bill You Ought to Read More Carefully.

According to the summary, the bill sets out a comprehensive policy for the detention, interrogation and trial of suspected enemy belligerents who are believed to have engaged in hostilities against the United States by requiring these individuals to be held in military custody, interrogated for their intelligence value and not provided with a Miranda warning.

This time John McCain is out to destroy the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

It's treason, plain and simple. And not the first time.

Posted Wed - March 10, 2010 at 11:33 AM  

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Wed - November 4, 2009

Anti-counterfit agreement turns your ISP into copyright cops

Could this really be another attempt to overwrite U.S. law by treaty? It sure looks like it. Emphasis added.

Negotiations on the highly controversial Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement start in a few hours in Seoul, South Korea. This week’s closed negotiations will focus on “enforcement in the digital environment.” Negotiators will be discussing the Internet provisions drafted by the US government. No text has been officially released but as Professor Michael Geist and IDG are reporting, leaks have surfaced. The leaks confirm everything that we feared about the secret ACTA negotiations. The Internet provisions have nothing to do with addressing counterfeit products, but are all about imposing a set of copyright industry demands on the global Internet, including obligations on ISPs to adopt Three Strikes Internet disconnection policies, and a global expansion of DMCA-style TPM laws.

And of course, it would be managed outside U.S. jurisdiction.

The internet is the last, best hope for freedom. If we can just keep the politicos and bureaucrats away from it.

Posted Wed - November 4, 2009 at 12:32 PM  

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Wed - July 22, 2009

Paranoid parts of my brain

One of my favorite libertarian bloggers, Becky C. over at Just A Girl in short shorts talking about whatever, has called it quits. Now her reasons are her own, I'm not going into details. You can read about it there.

But here is where my paranoia gets going. A negative commenter accused her of stealing the image of a model/actress for her own profile page. The resemblance is pretty strong. I also have to say that I've seen plenty of celebrity pictures used in groups and on blogs, and that Becky never actually claimed the picture was of her.

And just like the commenter intended, it's only one small step to the next question. If the picture isn't of her, what else on the site might be fictional?

Gods, I hate asking the question. But it seems to me that Becky's reaction is out of character.

I'll admit I like my privacy and I have gone out of my way to keep people from linking NeoWayland to my legal identity. I've also never made any secret that I've gone to great lengths to keep my legal identity off the web. And I do spend a fair time wandering the internet with names you'd never recognize. Politically and religiously, I AM the NeoWayland. I avoid conflict or provocation with my other aliases these days, pretty much since I took the title of NeoWayland in fact.

I'm moderately good at sniffing things out through the internet. Considering some of the people I've had to deal with, that is not exactly surprising.

So do I scratch my curiosity bump? Or do I assume that Becky C. has told the truth, mostly? As far as I know, she hasn't hurt anyone, certainly not me or mine. I've no reason to look any closer.

I am a big believer in live and let live.

But oh my oh my, how tempting it can be.

Posted Wed - July 22, 2009 at 08:00 AM  

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Sat - February 14, 2009

Sixty-five trillion

I know this one is from the World Net Daily. I know their reputation.

But guess what?

The numbers are mostly right.

If you used standard accounting practices, the Federal government owes sixty-five trillion dollars.


It gets worse.

Assuming 300 million people, that means that the Federal government has obligated you personally to about two hundred thousand dollars. You personally and each and every other citizen.

That's in addition to any obligations you yourself have made.

Do you have an extra $200,000 lying around?

I wouldn't keep it in cash if I were you.

Let's really put it in perspective.

That 800 billion dollar bailout plan? That means that you personally owe another $2700 dollars.

Now this won't show up in your tax bill. But the FedGovs will play accounting games, you will end up paying much more than that. Just not directly.

Do you trust them to make it right?

Posted Sat - February 14, 2009 at 03:05 PM  

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Tue - January 27, 2009

You mean it started before Bush?

Paul Moreno has an fascinating thought.

The judge most responsible for the Gitmo situation was Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., prominent in the pantheon of civil libertarians. Shortly after the Spanish-American War, President Theodore Roosevelt was concerned that the Supreme Court might insist that all constitutional guarantees extended to our newly-acquired empire—in popular parlance, that “the Constitution follows the flag.” With a Court seat open in 1902, TR sought and obtained a pledge from Holmes that he would not apply this standard. Holmes then lied to the press about his secret meeting with the President. He dutifully voted with the majority in the so-called Insular Cases, which held, for example that the right to a jury trial did not extend to Filipinos or Hawaiians.

Thus we carved out special exceptions where the guarantees that the Constitution imposes on the federal government do not apply.

File this under "things that make you go hmmmmm."

Posted Tue - January 27, 2009 at 03:37 PM  

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14 year old impersonates cop

Guess what the snoop bots turned up for weirdness?

A bit that should be embarrassing to the Chicago police.

I'm not sure what is worse.

The fact that they didn't catch him right away.

Or the fact that they may be covering up what he actually did while riding on patrol.

Here's the killer question.

Do you know who your cops are?

Posted at 03:30 PM  

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Fri - December 26, 2008

Police and pain guns

So the question is why is a gadget geek (and reluctant gun advocate) like me concerned over this clipping?

The Department of Justice is working on two new weapons descended from the Air Force's "pain beam" Active Denial System—and wants to put them in the hands of your local boys in blue.

One is a backpack-sized portable ADS that uses microwaves to roast your skin, creating what the Pentagon gingerly calls a "repel response"—in other words, OWOWITBURNSOWOWTURNITOFF. They say it causes no permanent damage, but there haven been cases of second-degree burns.

Part of it is because the Taser is still being marketed as a "non-lethal" gun alternative even after there have been multiple deaths, especially with the police models.

Part of it is because the current SWAT mania sweeping the nation's police forces was largely made possible by the Department of Defense and the Department of Justice making "surplus" military gear available at deep, deep discounts, but only if you were a "legitimate" police force.

Part of it is because many of the state and Federal gun laws are specifically written to keep "military weapons" out of the hands of civilians.

Part of it is because the various local police forces are increasingly unanswerable to anyone, especially local citizens.

Prepare to be caught in the crossfire. And prepare to thank the police for the "privilege."

Posted Fri - December 26, 2008 at 01:01 PM  

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Sun - December 21, 2008

Mileage tax

I've heard buzz for years, but as far as I know, North Carolina is the first. Emphasis added.

With gas-tax revenues plummeting, the state of North Carolina is looking seriously at taxing motorists for how far they drive.

If the “road-use tax” is implemented, it would at first be simple – with the state checking your odometer annually and taxing you based on how many miles you have driven. But transportation experts say new GPS technology could allow the state to charge people different rates based on when and where they drive, in an attempt to manage congestion.

Talk of a Vehicle Miles Traveled tax has long been discussed as a necessity in a decade or so, because cars are becoming more fuel efficient, and states and the federal government are losing gas-tax revenue.

Boy, it's not often that three paragraphs of one article illustrate so much of what is wrong with government today.

Notice the motivation in the first paragraph. The main reason anyone is thinking about this tax is because government isn't getting as big a cut as the StateGovs think they should. Yet did they reduce the gas tax when gas prices where at record levels?

Then we have the state monitoring your mileage. The sole reason for this is so the state can pick your pocket. You can be sure that criminal penalties will follow if you don't allow the inspection. Yet another "you're guilty until proven innocent" tactic like the one pioneered by the Federal income tax.

But the StateGov goons aren't content to leave it there. No, they have to use the tax to change your behavior in another attempt at social engineering.

Then the StateGov extortionists define it as a necessity because the state spends more money than it takes in.

Government is not your friend.

Posted Sun - December 21, 2008 at 02:15 PM  

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Sat - December 13, 2008

Guess what the total is

The tab is much higher than you've been told.

Casey Research has analyzed the costs of the government bailouts of the housing crisis, the credit crisis and others and has concluded that the total is $8.5 trillion - more than the cost of all U.S. Wars, the Louisiana Purchase, the New Deal, the Marshall Plan and the NASA Space Program combined.

"When we consider the costs of these programs, even when adjusted for today's dollars, we see that our most expensive government efforts of the past were relative bargains and that we are wasting a terrible sum of money with the current bailout," said Olivier Garret, CEO of Casey Research.

The really scary thing is how fast this happened.

Think about it. Less than six months.

Posted Sat - December 13, 2008 at 01:11 PM  

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Thu - November 29, 2007

Edwards says "You don't get that choice" when it comes to refusing health care

Since the at least the Declaration of Independence, the individual freedom to choose has been absolutely central to what makes the United States. This one sentence makes it pretty clear. Emphasis added.

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.

Of course, the DOI is not the law of the land, the Constitution is. But guess what? Those same ideas are right there spread throughout the main text and the Bill of Rights. In fact, the entire Bill of Rights doesn't grant rights, it limits government powers. The Preamble says it best. Once again, emphasis added.

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

It's we the people. Not "we the Congress." Or "we the elected elite." But obviously John Edwards, former personal injury lawyer and the Senator from the American Association for Justice FORMERLY KNOWN AS the Association of Trial Lawyers of America, doesn't know that.

Or maybe he is hoping that YOU don't know.

Here's his Federal power grab over your life and health.

"I'm mandating healthcare for every man woman and child in America and that's the only way to have real universal health care."

"Every time you go into contact with the healthcare or the government you will be signed up."

Never mind that either Congress or the President have the power to mandate. The Senator isn't about to let a little thing like the Constitution stop him.

I can see it now, if you didn't get your flu shots, the police will be dispatched to arrest you.

Think I am joking?

Earlier in the article, Edwards criticized Senator Clinton's proposal because "she has no way to enforce the mandate."


As in using the coercive power of government.

Think VERY carefully about the frightening implications.

No more refusing treatment on religious grounds.

No more getting a second opinion.

No more ability to choose your own doctor.

And if you are misdiagnosed and given the wrong treatment and medication, ah well. It won't be the doctor's fault. It won't be the government's fault. It will be your fault for complaining.

This is a candidate from a major political party attacking your liberty. Why aren't the other candidates from his party hanging him out to dry?

Why aren't the candidates from the other major party denouncing him from the rooftops?

Posted Thu - November 29, 2007 at 06:09 AM  

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Wed - November 28, 2007

Turning Tom Swift into Captain Planet

Via Ain't It Cool News comes this Variety article.

It sounded great until this bit at the end.

The visual approach could be a live action-CGI combo or motion-capture, Hecht said, and the initial concept is to posit that Swift Industries is now a leading "green technology" company, giving the 20th century series a modern twist.

Green technology?

Somehow I don't think they will be selling spinach in the film.

Or Army fatigues.

Or Hunter green spray paint.


And will the story have them receiving government grants for that "green technology?" That seems to be where most of the money is today in the real world.

It's a real shame too. Tom Swift was one of the very few free market heros in children's books. Yes he was an inventor, but the Swift family had their own company and laboratory. Their profits funded the research, their adventures, and the more than occasional philanthropy.

This could be good, but that stress on "green technology" worries me. I suspect it will be a piece of propaganda about as far removed from effective environmentalism as Al Gore's carbon credit scam.

Posted Wed - November 28, 2007 at 01:41 PM  

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Fri - April 13, 2007

"German minister wants access to private computers"

I'm glad this hasn't happened in the U.S. yet.

Although they are trying.

German Interior Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble has confirmed plans to seek a change to the constitution to allow the state secret access to the computers of private individuals, in an interview published Thursday.

"Under certain conditions it must be possible for the Federal Criminal Police Office to search computers in secret," Schaeuble told the Handelsblatt newspaper.

Schaeuble's attempts to gain greater powers for police and other state authorities, including storing the fingerprints of all Germans, have run into opposition within the ruling broad-based coalition.

The interior minister noted a recent federal court ruling that there was no legal basis for secret scanning of computers online.

I'd say that is worth watching.

Posted Fri - April 13, 2007 at 05:53 AM  

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Fri - March 2, 2007

Things that don't go boom in Boston

Remind me never to carry packages if I go to Boston.

It's a traffic counter.

This after the viral advertising scare.

Hat tip Bruce Schneier.

Posted Fri - March 2, 2007 at 05:27 AM  

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Sat - February 17, 2007

Scandalous socialist

I had only heard the occasional bit about this man.

But any understanding of the real efforts that job entails should begin with a look at the long and murky career of Maurice Strong, the man who may have had the most to do with what the U.N. has become today, and still sparks controversy even after he claims to have cut his ties to the world organization.

From Oil for Food to the latest scandals involving U.N. funding in North Korea, Maurice Strong appears as a shadowy and often critically important figure.

Strong, now 77, is best known as the godfather of the environmental movement, who served from 1973-1975 as the founding director of the U.N. Environment Program (UNEP) in Nairobi. UNEP is now a globe-girdling organization with a yearly budget of $136 million, which claims to act as the world’s environmental conscience. Strong consolidated his eco-credentials as the organizer of the U.N.’s 1992 environmental summit in Rio de Janeiro, which in turn paved the way for the controversial 1997 Kyoto Treaty on controlling greenhouse gas emissions.

Some preliminary checking shows that Maurice Strong was in the right places at the wrong times. He just made my Watch List.

Incidentally, he is a bigger socialist than the article states. Which wouldn't be so bad, except it is every one else's money that he wants to redistribute.

Posted Sat - February 17, 2007 at 02:56 PM  

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Sun - November 5, 2006

Conservative control

I spend a great deal of time going through both conservative and modern liberal political writing. It tends to be annoying, and the tactics are the same even as the targets differ.

For example, I'm working my way through Jackson's Conservative Comebacks to Liberal Lies: Issue by Issue Responses to the Most Common Claims of the Left from A to Z, not quite as biased as some, but incredibly annoying none the less.

Take this bit from page 97. Emphasis added.

While some on the left may be well intentioned, those who advocate more restrictive gun laws are really talking about measures that would make it more difficult for average law abiding citizens to protect themselves and their property. Since more than 90 million Americans own a gun, those on the left know gun control is a loser if put to a vote of the people through the constitutionally prescribed legislative process.

After all, the right to bear arms is in the Constitution and Americans don't like to mess with one of their founding documents.

The Second Amendment of the Bill of Rights stipulates every citizen of the United States is endowed by God with the inalienable right to protect their own liberty and property. Here's what is says.

"A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed."

If Congress renounces this God-given, inalienable right, what other constitutional freedoms can the state arbitrarily take away from it's citizens? The Bill of Rights was was written to limit governmental authority. If those on the left feel the Second Amendment is evil, they should try to amend the Constitution in the legally prescribed manner. Put it to a vote of the people.

So very close, and yet so very, very far.

If it weren't for the emphasized parts, there isn't a libertarian around who would not agree with those paragraphs.

Notice that the choice of language deliberately confuses the Declaration of Independence with the United States Constitution. That is a little parlor trick I've talked about before. The DOI does not supersede the Constitution, and the Constitution deliberately does not talk about "God-given rights." Except for the First Amendment and the date, the Constitution does not mention religion or any god.

Plainly put, I do not believe that government actions should be or even can be sanctioned by a religion.

It's only freedom of religion when matters of faith are a personal choice.

People have rights because they are people, not because someone said their god gave those rights. Whenever religion and government mix, it always comes down to which "god" gets to call the shots.

More to the point, which priesthood and which followers get to make the rules.

The American experiment is a rejection of that.

I don't know how many different ways I can say it.

The thing that made the United States absolutely unique is that from the very start, the intent was to recognize personal faith while restricting organized faith's role in government. It's "WE THE PEOPLE," no higher authority recognized, required, or even mentioned. For the first time in history, a government derived it's powers from the will of the people and not a Supreme Being. That was a radical and unheard of step. It took decades to extend that to real religious freedom, and we are not there yet.

So even though I agree with much of what the author has to say about gun control (victim disarmament) and the left, his continued reliance on non-existant Divine sanction in the United States Constitution is enough to put him on my Watch List.

It's also a classic example of how good intentions can be perverted.

Posted Sun - November 5, 2006 at 04:58 PM  

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Wed - August 9, 2006

AOL privacy fallout

Michael Barbaro and Tom Zeller examine the aftermath.

But the detailed records of searches conducted by Ms. Arnold and 657,000 other Americans, copies of which continue to circulate online, underscore how much people unintentionally reveal about themselves when they use search engines — and how risky it can be for companies like AOL, Google and Yahoo to compile such data.

Those risks have long pitted privacy advocates against online marketers and other Internet companies seeking to profit from the Internet’s unique ability to track the comings and goings of users, allowing for more focused and therefore more lucrative advertising.

But the unintended consequences of all that data being compiled, stored and cross-linked are what Marc Rotenberg, the executive director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, a privacy rights group in Washington, called “a ticking privacy time bomb.”

Mr. Rotenberg pointed to Google’s own joust earlier this year with the Justice Department over a subpoena for some of its search data. The company successfully fended off the agency’s demand in court, but several other search companies, including AOL, complied. The Justice Department sought the information to help it defend a challenge to a law that is meant to shield children from sexually explicit material.

This raises all sorts of questions. I can see keeping the information on hand for a limited time. I can even see releasing information about a specific person or group of people to the government if there is a warrant. But I don't want anyone outside the search engines to be able to track the data.
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Posted Wed - August 9, 2006 at 07:58 AM  

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Wed - April 5, 2006

Pinaka update

It seems that that this is rapidly becoming a case of "he said, he said."

The controversy surrounds comments made during two recent speeches in which Pianka discussed the need for population control and the impending disease pandemic that might well just take care of it. Some heard the comments as simply a warning. To others, however, it sounded like Pianka was advocating the use of deadly viruses to kill off millions of people.

Pianka, who calls the latter interpretation nonsense, says the whole thing has blown out of proportion. Many, however, seem to be taking his critics seriously. Pianka said he is scheduled to meet with FBI officials today.

"Someone has reported me as a terrorist," he said. "They think I'm forming a cadre of people to release the airborne Ebola virus into the air. That I'm the leader and my students are the followers."

There's no denying that Pianka, even at first glace, seems a little eccentric.

His office, which he has inhabited for 38 years, is cluttered with books, stacks of paper, bones and even a few beers. There's a photo of him dressed like British naturalist Charles Darwin. Scattered pictures of lizards and a copy of his semi-autobiography, "The Lizard Man Speaks," reveal his area of expertise — lizards and evolutionary ecology. On his desk, he keeps a stuffed likeness of the Ebola virus that was sent to him by students who enjoyed his speeches.

He is particularly troubled by the recent explosion in the human population. He says we now take up about 50 percent of all livable space on Earth and that people should have no more than two children. Humans, and the way they've multiplied, are "no better than bacteria," he says.

Dr. Pinaka is not denying the remarks, just their interpretation. Without context, it's hard to say who is right. But it is certainly worth watching.

Posted Wed - April 5, 2006 at 04:33 PM  

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Mon - April 3, 2006

University of Texas professor advocates genocide?

I keep a private watch list, people I like to keep an eye on and track, just in case.

Up to now, it's been a very private thing.

Here is the first public entry. Eric R. Pianka, who evidently has been very naughty.

If true, he's damn right the general public is not ready for his theories. However, I have to be honest here. The man making these claims is a Creationist and may have an agenda. Either way this situation bears close watching.

I'll will consider this genocidal solution for a microsecond when the professor volunteers to be exterminated first. Then I will dismiss it with prejudice.

Here is his web address.

Posted Mon - April 3, 2006 at 05:35 AM  

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