Monthly Archives: February 2013

Senator James Risch Won’t Stop Obama From Killing Americans and Children

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Some will say that writing letters to senators and congressmen is a waste of time. As far as stopping state violence goes, I can’t say I have any evidence to the contrary. And yet, for some reason, I keep doing it. A big reason is that it doesn’t take a whole lot of effort; the time and cost of writing an email are relatively low (especially when using a service like DownsizeDC.org). Another reason is that I want them to know that I am aware of what they’re doing (and not doing). Their iniquities are not a secret. Thirdly, I suppose if enough people do it they might start to change their behavior. I don’t really depend on this as a primary method for change, but I don’t want to leave any stone unturned. And unlike voting, which many will argue is an aggressive act or endorsement of the regime, letter writing has no such stigma.

Within the past few days, I have written a bit about the drone war and how upsetting it is to me. If you have the time, I would highly encourage skimming through some of the sections of the Living Under Drones paper, which states the following:

  • Those who order the drone strikes often don’t know who they are killing. The government reports very few civilian casualties partially because they count any male of military age as a “combatant” unless proven otherwise.
  • The US government uses a “double-striking” tactic, where they will bomb one spot and bomb that same spot again later. This has led to the deaths of rescue workers trying to save people who were bombed in the first attack.
  • The number of high-level targets killed as a percentage of total casualties is extremely low—estimated at just 2%.
  • Many families have pulled their children out of school, fearing for their safety. As well, Pakistanis are afraid to attend funerals because they have been targeted by drone strikes in the past. Able to hear the drones overhead, they live in a constant state of fear. Read the rest of this entry
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Cops Using Pictures of Pregnant Women and Children as Target Practice

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Law Enforcement Targets INCAccording to this Reason blog post, a Minnesota based company sells full-color targets of pregnant women, young children, and the elderly as training devices to police departments and the federal government. This is supposed to desensitize police officers so that they will shoot at all types of people without having to think about it. Indeed, this series of targets is called “No More Hesitation.” Perhaps even more alarming is one officer being quoted as saying he does target practice on enlarged pictures of his own children so as not to “be caught off guard with such a drastically new experience while on duty.”

What in the world is going on?

Living Under Drones

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This is a piece about a subject that is very near and dear to my heart. It seems so obviously repugnant to any sense of decency or morality and yet it seems to be a subject seldom talked of. The President of the United States is mass murdering civilians at will. Of course, this in itself is nothing new. What is new, to my knowledge, is that presidents have not previously had the ability to create murder lists and the ability to carry them out with remote control planes of death.

Even more amazing is that this is not limited to foreigners, the lives of whom most Americans couldn’t really care less about. The President has murdered multiple Americans without trial. Now the government is trying to push the use of drones over American soil. I don’t think one need be a conspiracy theorist to be concerned for their freedom and safety in light of this issue.

Finally, what is most baffling to me is why those in the media and elsewhere who seem to very much dislike the president are relatively silent about this, as far as I can tell. If you were running for president against this man, how could you possibly have a better trump card? “You murder children!” would seem to win just about any argument in such a context. And yet, I don’t recall Mitt Romney ever bringing such an issue up (probably because he wanted the same power himself).

Anyway, I hope you enjoy the video and continue the fight against evil, in whatever form it may take.

Breaking Up with the State

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I read through this piece and thought it was pretty effective; I got emotionally involved at the thought of an innocent man being killed in standing up for his beliefs. Much to my chagrin, however, I found out that I misunderstood the story and Ray is actually a hypothetical character. At least to me, the story is plausible enough, but I think it would have been better if served with an actual example of someone refusing to pay property taxes and facing the violence of the State regardless (such as this here). Even if one believes that lawlessness will reign if people refuse to pay their taxes, how does he or she answer the question, “Should you be forced to fund something you find morally reprehensible?” I also like the rhetoric at the end, stating that very intimate relationships in people’s lives, such as their spouse or their faith, can be changed at their own will; however, such a thing as one’s relationship to the State supposedly is more permanent. Are we willing to accept this?

YOU SHOULD BE ABLE TO “DEAR JOHN” THE STATE
by Jim Babka
for The Zero Aggression Project

Thomas Jefferson said that it was immoral to compel a man to furnish the funds for that which he abhors. The State does exactly this on countless issues. Can we ever grow beyond this?

The history of religious liberty teaches crucial lessons.

For example, a man named Tyndale was burned at the stake for distributing an English language Bible. His goal to let the plough-boy read the scriptures threatened the establishment’s monopoly control of information.

Another lesson is that most colonies had established church denominations, paid for with tax dollars. Even “dissenters,” were required to fund The State Church. This colonial practice continued even AFTER we defeated the British.

Without those taxes the other side imagined anarchy and chaos.”Why, if there’s no established church,” they asked,”how shall we ensure the development of moral character?” They claimed the decision to end state support for churches was anti-religion and would lead to their demise. The superabundance of houses of worship in virtually every city and village in our country today illustrates that the opposite happened. The absence of the tax made these churches more entrepreneurial and responsive to change. But the absence of a tax for the state denomination was a very real fear at the time, even to guys like Patrick Henry.

Does conscience only matter when it comes to religion, or should freedom of conscience extend to all peaceful life choices? Is there some part of Jefferson’s vision that we’ve yet to fulfill?

Are we as barbarous as our ancestors?

Meet Ray. We’ll call Ray a conscientious objector, because he acts out of conscience. People confine this term to those who object to military service. But why do those persons object? It’s a question of conscience. Therefore, a conscientious objector is, quite literally, someone who obeys their conscience rather than State edicts.

Today’s conscientious objector is yesterday’s dissenter.

A conscientious objector is someone who wants the right to divorce a service provider or institution. He is disgusted by what is done in his name under the rubric of democracy, appalled at what is done with the money extracted from him in taxes. He wants to terminate his support.

You may think Ray is noble until I tell you to what he objected: State schooling, otherwise known as “public schools.”

Ray loathed The State schooling service. Ray’s specific objections aren’t relevant. The subject we must keep in sight is…

Ray’s conscience.

The only humane way to address the conscience of another is persuasion. Feel free to talk someone out of their position. Ray would’ve welcomed such a conversation. He could’ve given you his side of the story.

Ray’s objection was deeply rooted, so he did something extraordinary. On the basis that state schools violated his beliefs, he stopped paying property taxes. Ray even wrote a Dear John letter to the school board.

A Dear John letter terminates a relationship. It’s a divorce, a secession, a break-up. Ray explained his desire to split from this scheme and live in peace.

Remember, from the previous installment that The State is a bully. Ray began receiving ominous letters about his bill. He responded with more Dear John letters sharing his concerns. But it didn’t matter. Eventually, he was, at great personal expense, hauled into court.

At this point, Ray made a very American claim. He quoted Jefferson that it was immoral to compel a man to furnish the funds for that which he abhors.

But the judge came down hard because The State is a cartel. The judge accused Ray of instigating trouble. It was Ray’s fault, he claimed, that courts were now involved. He claimed “shock” at Ray’s “unrepentant callousness.” He piled additional fines on top of Ray’s bloated tax bill.

Ray was in turmoil. He was trying to do the right thing — to obey his conscience.

A principle is a principle. So Ray didn’t turn over his money. I think you know what happened next, for (as we covered in the previous installment)  The State is abusive. Armed men and women showed up to repossess Ray’s house.

Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness? Watch them unravel…

Pursuit of happiness means the ability to pursue your dreams, including home ownership. Armed men and women came to steal that.

Ray told them he wouldn’t budge. They threatened to take his liberty, to arrest him.

Ray pulled out a 20 gauge shotgun. It was more symbolic than deterring — hardly enough to win a confrontation. He waited. When the armed men and women kicked down his door, they saw Ray with the shotgun, and they killed him. They stole his life — all so that their bosses could teach boys to read, or failing that, at least how to put on a condom.

Ray was a “captive customer.”  The cartel (the monopoly we described in the previous installment) said so. Ray never harmed anyone. Yet the judge blamed him, and he was murdered.

Keep in mind. You too, almost certainly, object to something The State does in your name. You resent having to pay for it.

Should YOU — should any of us — be coerced, by bribe or by threats, backed by actual violence to fund a service we loathe, particularly if that service violates your conscience?

Should Ray have been treated like Tyndale?

Should each of us, Ray included, be relieved of the Bullying, the Abuse, and the captive nature of the Cartel — left to live by our own conscience?

Is The State more important than your religious beliefs? …more binding than your marriage? You can divorce both — give either a Dear John letter, if you please. But you cannot break up with The State.

Human progress lies in continuing to move in the direction of conscience instead of coercion. We learned the lesson of Tyndale. Can we learn from Ray?

Don’t Tax the Internet!

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There are a lot of things I love about shopping on the Internet: I can find stuff I want more easily, I don’t have to go anywhere, it’s often much cheaper, and I don’t have to pay sales tax (as long as the seller is across state lines). Simon Black brought to my attention the fact that the government is trying to change this reality. His analysis is spot on and I don’t think anything need be added to it.

This new law will ensure you pay more for online purchases…

by SIMON BLACK on FEBRUARY 19, 2013

Marketplace Fairness Act of 2013
Reporting from Santiago, Chile

In another brilliant move aimed at destroying the few table scraps of economic freedom which remain in the Land of the Free, a bipartisan group of esteemed lawmakers in the United States Congress has introduced the Marketplace Fairness Act of 2013.

Remember the golden rule of legislation:the more noble the name of the law sounds, the more disastrous its results. This one is no exception.

Generally speaking in the United States, retailers must collect state and local sales tax at the point of sale. When you walk into a Main Street shop in Anytown, California, you’ll pay the sticker price PLUS hefty city and state sales taxes that can easily be 10% or more.

But if you purchase goods through the mail from a company in, say, Nevada or Oregon, either through the mail or online, no sales tax is charged. This goes back to a 20+ year old US Supreme Court decision which exempted out of state companies from collecting sales tax.

Well, according to the intellectual luminaries in Congress, local retailers are at a disadvantage, effectively having to charge 10%+ more for their products than an out-of-state retailer.

And by God, they’re going to do something about it. After all, it’s just not ‘fair’ that mom and pop retailers on main street have to charge sales tax, while mom and pop retailers on the Internet do not.

The Marketplace Fairness Act of 2013 aims to level the playing field by requiring online retailers to collect some sort of sales tax from their customers. Needless to say, if the bill is passed, it will be the customer who ends up paying the price.

The thinking on this is completely absurd.

One of the primary reasons people shop online is because online retailers have reduced overhead costs, and these cost savings are passed along to consumers in the form of lower prices.

So if the idea is to ensure that brick and mortar retailers don’t suffer any competitive price disadvantage, why not just regulate prices altogether? Or even better, why not just abolish sales taxes altogether?

That’s because this bill has absolutely nothing to do with fairness, and everything to do with the government taking more of your money. This bill constitutes STEP 1 on the road to a national sales tax, which, given the state of national and state balance sheets, is a financial inevitability.

It’s the most insidious form of deceit– creating new taxes masquerading as ‘fairness’. It’s a total fraud, brought to you by the same people who tell us that there is no inflation, and that we must sexually assault airline passengers in order to protect ourselves from men in caves.

Have you hit your breaking point yet?

What a Bible Says About Abraham Lincoln

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When I graduated from high school my church gave me the “College Devotional Bible,” which is a TNIV translation with  devotionals spread throughout, including short thoughts written by people in college. The added content doesn’t really seem to have anything that has to do with college specifically; I think it could be renamed and no one would be the wiser.

Anyway, they have a devotional regarding Jeremiah 24, where those in exile from Judah and in Babylon were compared to two baskets of figs. One basket is good and one is bad. Likewise, some of the exiles were good, some were bad. And so the devotional says that “We are not to conclude that those who suffer do so simply because God is unhappy with them. Here we see God accomplish with one act of judgment at least two purposes: Some are drawn to him by prayer, while others receive their just due.”

Interestingly enough, the writers compare this to the story of Abraham Lincoln and the American War Between the States. First of all, they seem to have an elementary school understanding of the situation, as detailed by their first paragraph:

Despite his popularity in American history, Abraham Lincoln did not win the presidency by a national landslide. When he was first elected in 1860, his name did not even appear on the ballots of nine Southern state. Despite this lack of political support, the electoral votes he secured in the North were enough to give him the presidency.

I suppose one may be confused, given what he or she is told in public school, when confronted with the fact that Lincoln wasn’t an American icon in his day. What? Not everyone loved him? And yet it’s presented here as if Lincoln’s presidency is some underdog story, rather than an absolutely broken electoral system where nearly half the country gets a president they don’t want.

Even as he took office, the Civil War loomed as an inevitable reality, and the Southern states were planning their secession. As was predicted, a bitter war erupted, a conflict that took the lives of almost one million people.

If we live in a fantasy land where war-making isn’t a conscious decision made by those in control of governments, then I suppose that war was inevitable. But that is not reality (indeed, it seems to deny the idea that individuals have a free will, without which Christianity would make little sense). Lincoln made the conscious decision to prevent the seceding states from peacefully leaving the Union. These deaths would not have happened but for his actions.

Before the war was over, Lincoln had won his presidential reelection. With his second term secured, military victory seemed inevitable, and slavery was finally abolished. As he gave his second inaugural address, Lincoln acknowledged that God providentially uses one terrible event and applies it to each person individually according to their need. To some, it is bitter punishment. To others, it is the means he uses to draw people back to himself.

It is interesting to note that in the book of Jeremiah, God uses the Babylonians to punish the people of Judah for their wickedness. However, it also goes on to state that the Babylonians were punished in turn for their aggression against the people of Judah. It wasn’t as if the Babylonians were on some righteous mission from God; he simply used what they were  inclined to do anyway to punish Judah. In the same turn, it shouldn’t be that we automatically assume the Union was acting justly.

It was during that speech that Lincoln called people back to the God who directs the paths of history: “Fondly do we hope – fervently do we pray – that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet, if God will that it continue…so still it must be said the judgments of the Lord, are true and righteous altogether.”

I’m not sure what to make of this. Lincoln could have chosen to end the war at the time he gave this speech. The Confederate States weren’t trying to take over the Union, the Union was trying to take over the Confederates. Stated otherwise, as the aggressor, Lincoln could have ended it. But since his goal was to break the South into submission, the war went on. It almost seems blasphemous that he would attribute his acts to God.

Lincoln’s response to war was to turn to God, seeing it as the loving rebuke of a just and sovereign God rather than simply as a punishment without purpose. One month later he became the first president to be assassinated. His words are a lens through which to understand his death. God’s promise remains: “They will be my people, and I will be their God.” 

The first sentence of this paragraph is absolutely ridiculous. But, as alluded to above, I wasn’t taught in school how Lincoln jailed those who would criticize his war, suspend habeas corpus, and institute an income tax (which alone would seem to make the argument that he was fighting against slavery lose its legitimacy). Perhaps without the knowledge of his tyranny and having the inculcated idea that this war was just (an idea that should be defeated through simple logic), maybe one could come to their conclusion. But it’s still hard to stomach.

Needless to say, I am very disappointed with this devotional (though I can’t put myself above my own criticism here; I know that I read through all of these devotionals before and didn’t give this one much thought. It was during my pre-Enlightenment). It somewhat reflects my partial disillusionment with the American church at large in that the members of it mostly seem unaware or uninterested in the murderous actions of their government abroad and domestically. Often, when I bring this point up, I am pointed towards Romans 13 (which Gerard Casey writes masterfully about here) and told that we are to obey the State. And yet, we see that it is often the same church people who are ardently opposed to abortion and believe that the government’s funding and approval of it as illegitimate. Political speech seems acceptable on this subject and on few others. Why the double-speak?

Senator Marv Hagedorn the Bootlicker

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In the same way one might write to the neighbor who lives above them to request that they would kindly turn their TV down and put their kids to bed at a reasonable hour and cease doing other annoying things, I wrote to those people who have this fallacious idea that they represent me. As evidence to how silly this idea is, I haven’t even heard of these people that I’m contacting, much less actively decided that they can make ANY decisions in my name. The particular crime that I want them to not commit in this instance was that of implementing some type of government health exchange. Reprinted below is the response I received from Marv Hegedorn, who is such a sycophant to the federal government that I had to consult a thesaurus to find a less offensive term of what he is. What I found most interesting about it wasn’t the cowardice, the non sequiturs, or the grammatical errors. It was the, most likely unintentional, admonition that representative government is a joke. Idahoans, according to him, would have no control of a federal exchange, which is correct. But don’t Idahoans, along with all other Americans, control the federal government? Obviously not! So, instead of doing what we are (falsely) told is the purpose of the State (to protect persons and property), Hagedorn kowtows to the feds, quite willing to be their tool. I hope this post shows up whenever somebody puts this pansy’s name into a search engine. 
Thanks for taking the time to drop me a note, I do appreciate hearing from my neighbors about what they think about our options on the Healthcare Exchange.
 
We have before us 2 options, have some sort of State Exchange or a Federally run Exchange.  Some will debate that we have a third choice, but that’s not what our choices are.  
 
I have never been a fan of Obamacare, I would much prefer free market solutions, so we sued over it’s constitutionality in 2010.  All 26 states that stood along side of us lost that argument and now we are stuck between a rock and a hard place. Our choices are clear on S1042, we either vote “No” which clears the way for the Federal Exchange in Idaho with zero oversight by Idahoans, or a “Yes” vote that will allow us some input on implementation and allowance of local Idaho businesses to have access to sell on the Exchange.
 
It also allows us to ride herd on the feds forcing them to at least answer our mail with questions and concerns we have about regulations and direction of the federal requirements.  We would not have this option should we support the Federal exchange option instead.
 
I am open to debate and discussion, however, everything that I have studied thus far, makes me lean to supporting a “non-profit type” exchange with State oversight, while not expending ANY State General Fund Tax Dollars.  I do not want to see a new agency built or General Funds used in the creation of operation of the State Exchange.  I have found data that shows it can be done without State Dollars and can be self sustaining at a cost lower than any Federal Exchange can be… and that will mean a less expensive solution for those Idahoan’s that will be using it. 
 
The past behavior of the Federal government in overspending and printing their own funds to make ends meet has not and will not change until we elect a responsible Congress and President.  Those who believe the Feds won’t print more money to create their exchange if given a chance is disregarding the history and behavior of this current federal government.  I have not and will not underestimate their ability to put us farther in debt for things like this.  I will not support giving free access to our state to create another bloated organization to operate something that’s not likely to meet Idahoan’s needs.
 
To this date, I am leaning in support of a State Exchange for the reasons I’ve stated above.
 
Cheers,

Marv

Senator Marv Hagedorn

Idaho State Senate

208-867-5643

Why Do People Want to Believe in the Police?

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Jarvis DeBerry recently wrote about a New Orleans police officer who has had many complaints about him yet irrevocably remains employed. DeBerry documents a condemning case against Officer Jayson Germann, citing accusations of excessive force, theft, false reports, verbal intimidation, and unprofessionalism. I found this claim by his attorney to be pretty amazing:

Germann’s attorney, Raymond Burkart III, said, “It’s not uncommon for people to make false allegations against police officers. It’s a way to retaliate and besmirch the officer.” 

I find this to be quite hard to believe, to say the least. Think about the relationship here: you have on one side the private “civilian” whose only legal recourse is to complain to the police department’s internal affairs, likely to consist of people who know and could be friends with the officer about whom he or she is complaining, or the officer, who has an incredible amount of discretion to use violence. Who exactly has more legal routes for “retaliation” here? Of course, that’s his attorney and they are paid to make bad arguments.

I do appreciate DeBerry’s concluding comment:

Complaints made against officers are typically hard to prove, so police defenders generally insist that we only pay attention to complaints that were substantiated. But as police monitor Susan Hutson counters, “If a suspect is arrested for something and has a long arrest history, regardless of whether he’s been convicted, it would be touted by the police.” Exactly. A series of complaints against a civilian is offered as prima facie evidence of guilt. A series of complaints against an officer is described as irrelevant, and most of us shrug and move on.

We want to believe that the system’s still reliable even when we see an abundance of evidence to the contrary.

It is insightful regarding the benefit of the doubt given to police at the expense of everyone else; I’m not sure why that is the general attitude of people who are not police. I suspect it has to do with the unending onslaught of TV shows about police who are never wrong about the innocence of suspects and are never shown making mistakes that result in the violation of rights or the ending of lives. I am sure he uses “we” in the last sentence rhetorically rather than literally. Acknowledging the abundance of evidence to the contrary, I think, is an admonishment of the uninitiated to get their heads out of the sand and see that real life doesn’t resemble TV in this instance.

But perhaps a fuller explanation of why people want to believe in the American criminal justice system is necessary. Though I think most people really don’t care about the corruption until it affects them directly (I feel as though I can guarantee there wouldn’t be a drug war if people knew what it cost them individually), maybe people don’t want to face the discomfort of knowing that the legal system is unnecessarily unjust. Maybe there is a rational irrationality in that there is little point in getting upset about such things if one doesn’t believe she can change it. Ignorance is preferable.

But I don’t know the exact reason(s) why people want to believe in the police. Maybe you can tell me.