Monthly Archives: April 2013

Mike Crapo Engages in Newspeak

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Mike Crapo, post-DUI arrest

Mike Crapo, post-DUI arrest

Mike Crapo is a Republican Senator from Idaho. I sent him an email telling him to not support the Orwellian-named “Marketplace Fairness Act.” Here is the form letter sent back, along with my commentary.

Dear Tate:
 
Thank you for contacting me regarding the Marketplace Fairness Act.  I appreciate hearing from you and welcome the opportunity to respond.
The Marketplace Fairness Act, S. 743, was introduced by Senator Mike Enzi (R-Wyoming) on April 16, 2013.  In 2009, 18.6 percent of all retail and wholesale transactions were conducted over the Internet.  S. 743 would give individual states, rather than the federal government, the discretion to collect sales and use taxes on all purchases, regardless of whether they are made over the Internet or at a local retail store.  On April 22, 2013, the Senate voted 74-20 to proceed to debate and consideration of the bill.  As a strong proponent of states’ rights, I voted in favor of proceeding to consideration of S. 743.
Crapo doesn’t seem to understand the concept of states’ rights. “States’ rights” is used to denote states retaining powers not delegated to the federal government under the US Constitution, not the federal government making it so that state governments can further rob people. What he’s doing is using the popular buzzword (or phrase) of “states’ rights” to endorse something that is anti-freedom.

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Another Dispatch from the War on Drugs

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From Tom Woods’ blog:

I mentioned this while hosting the Peter Schiff Show yesterday. John Horner, a 46-year-old fast food restaurant worker, lost an eye in an accident in 2000. He wound up not using all of his pain medication. Years later, he made friends with a man who appeared to be in pain himself. This man offered to buy Horner’s pills. The man was a police informant, of course.

The nonviolent Horner, whose several children must now be raised without a father, is now serving a 25-year prison sentence, thanks to Florida’s minimum-sentencing law.

There are a few things I want to say about this.

First is that I seem to come across terrible stories such as these way more often than anyone should (the ideal number of times would be zero). It seems that things such as this, which, unlike natural disasters or accidents, are 100% preventable. Yet I know not how many media outlets cover such events as these. Obviously, if people don’t know about it then they can’t really demand for it to stop.

Secondly, I would like to point out that real, tangible individuals are suffering from this. Real lives are being affected and their story deserves to be told. When the pain comes at the expense of people we don’t know and live far away, it’s easy to abstract away from the fact that this is happening to an actual person and his family. Remember that.

Third, if you support the drug war, seriously consider whether you have responsibility for this. You may say, “Well, I only want hard drugs to be illegal, not someone who simply sells unused pain meds. And I would never put anyone in jail for 25 years just for using drugs!”

What I want such a person to realize is that the State will gladly take whatever you give it and then some. Once you open the door for a faceless institution to be able to tell people what substances they can possess and put in their bodies under penalty of law, this is the outcome that will eventually come to pass. Once it’s realized that the current laws of the State will not keep people from possessing and using drugs, the proposed action is to double down: create stiffer penalties, have more surveillance, more searches and seizures, more drug dogs, more enforcement. Once it’s found that this won’t prevent the problem either, what’s next?

Roderick T. Long – Invisible Hands and Incantations: The Mystification of State Power

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Roderick T. Long

Roderick T. Long

In this essay, Rod Long covers several topics masterfully, including:

  • The spontaneous order mechanisms of the State
  • How, contrary to popular opinion, big corporations and big government largely reinforce and support one another
  • How the status quo in America doesn’t even closely resemble a free market
  • Uses the Star Wars prequels as an analogy for the relationship between corporations and government
  • Why the default is for government to grow
  • The incentives for the mainstream media to be biased (I find this especially interesting. MSM is unquestionably biased but why?)
  • How the blatant contradictions between political reality and people’s perceptions of it can exist
  • Strategies of Resistance

I certainly trust that you will find it as worth reading as I did. It is so insightful and honestly tries to uncover why things as they are instead of simply saying, “It’s just public school indoctrination,” or something like that.

Please read Invisible Hands and Incantations: The Mystification of State Power

Star Trek and the “Prime Directive”

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I never really got into Star Trek until recent weeks through the magic of Netflix Instant. I’ve mostly observed “The Next Generation” (TNG) since I consider it to be my generation, but I suppose that when it was on TV that I didn’t have the patience for it.

Commander Riker

Commander Riker

I think there are many strong points to the series. I like how distinct most of the characters are and that the crew of TNG aren’t just re-incarnations of those from the original series. However, in some ways they seem to be too perfect. Only William Riker, the second-in-command, seems to desire promotion in rank, and even then he makes it seem noble and not based in selfish ambition. There is no bickering among a crew that spends pretty much every waking moment around each other. They don’t really criticize each other and totally trust one another. They appear to lack human flaws.

There are also some things I simply haven’t yet figured out:
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What Happens When You Federalize Police

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Though I’m no John Bircher saying, “Support Your Local Police!” there are probably some advantages of having police be local rather than federal. Gene Healy discusses one of those advantages (less accountable people will be more likely to spend your money on things like tanks) here. Even the city Fargo in my fine home territory of North Dakota is not immune to the madness:

Homeland Security Grants Subsidize Dystopia

“Do I think al Qaeda is going to target Pumpkin Fest? No, but are there fringe groups that want to make a statement? Yes.”

That’s the police chief of Keene, N.H. (pop. 23,000), justifying his decision to buy a BearCat armored personnel carrier with a federal Department of Homeland Security grant. After all, you never know what could happen at Pumpkin Fest.
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