Friday, April 30, 2010

Red-state fascism makes its way to Arizona

I had a long debate with my conservative father this evening over the Arizona "show us your papers" bill. He spouted the typical right-wing argument that we have to pay taxes to support illegal "aliens."

Fine, I said, so get rid of the welfare benefits. (Do you have to turn the country into a police state to do that?) He stopped, confused and not sure how to respond. Then, surely enough, he continued ranting about why he supported the bill: illegal immigrants clog the emergency rooms, etc.

Ok, I said. Get rid of the welfare benefits then. That's the problem right? More grumbling.

I went on to ask him if he wanted to live in a country like Russia, where you have to cough up your papers everywhere you go. If you're that hardcore about it, I said, why not have the government simply tattoo a number on your wrist at birth? Now that made him mad (though he had no real response). I told him the immigrants will just get fake documents anyway and that the measure would only inconvenience law abiding citizens. No response whatsoever. Just more grumbling about welfare, which I already endorsed ending.

Conservatives have always hated civil liberties. Liberals don't care much about them either, except that they were going to lose voters in this case.

It's too bad nobody--and I mean *nobody* understands just how precious liberty is. It makes me wish I could have all of them spend a year under a totalitarian dictatorship. Then tell me you don't mind giving up your liberty to ward off the scary terrists/immigrants/eskimos.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

The GOP War Fetish

A Foreign Policy of Freedom: Peace, Commerce, and Honest Friendship


I'm watching the UK election debates and wow, Gordon Brown recycles all of the exact same ridiculous, nonsensical talking points as Obama.

UPDATE: If the poll numbers are any indication, I'm not the only one who didn't find Brown very impressive.

Watch The Scanners

Twice in one day? Say it ain't so, Supermarket Joe!

I went first to Walmart Supercenter, land of low grocery prices, in search of the usual few items, but with an additional special order given me by Sweet Tooth, the mastermind behind the secret candy diet, only this time the orders were to get a pie, any pie, at all costs. My orders were not to return without a pie, so, naturally, at what I knew was great danger to myself, I went looking for the other things on my mental list first. Only when the shopping cart was approaching my wallet's ceiling did I bother with pie. By all the luck of my Irish ancestors, there sitting on a forlorn bargain shelf at the end of the dairy section, amongst the stale loafs of bread and crumbly packages of cookies, was one pie, and although it was missing most of the edge of the crust on one side, it was otherwise intact.

Being a captive of the Island of Misfit Pastries, it was marked down in price, to only $2.40. The price, however, was on the bottom of the box, so you had to turn the pie over to see it. I made a mental note to watch the low-wage scanner when he/she rang up the bill.

At checkout I watched, anxiously waiting for Pumpkin Pie to cross the finish line, when the price of $4.00 appeared on the screen just as Pie was stuffed into a plastic bag. After I pointed out this grievous error, the amount of $4.00 was subtracted and the correct figure substituted. It was a happy "I got a bargain because of my vigilance" moment, but I wondered how many others were cheated out of enjoying discount pie, never bothering to check their receipts.

Then I was off for 99¢ Only, the store that happily brings you stuff that is almost past its expiration date (though you shouldn't worry too much about those) on orders again from Sweet Tooth, this time for bargain Easter candy. I settled on chocolate-covered marshmallow Peeps, for only 4 for 99.9¢. Imagine my concern, then, when the clerk at checkout rang up $2.00 worth of Peeps and I noticed the number 8 after Peep on the big ring 'em up screen? Had I, in a moment of Peep passion, grabbed eight of the cute little chicks instead of four? No, only four (I can count, you know; I learned to do it in the backyard taking orders for mud pies), so I asked the checkout lady what was going on. She had an expression as though she'd been caught in a criminal act, which was quite possible, but dutifully removed four Peeps from my total.

All in all it was a satisfy shopping excursion. But the lesson is, don't steal unless you can do it on a really large scale, like supermarket chains do. Oh, and if you're a grocery shopper, WATCH THOSE SCANNERS!

Follow The Crowd? Obey Authority? What Were They Thinking

Understanding exactly why people obey authority cannot be achieved without a proper understanding of conformity. Conformity has been described as the chameleon affect or the tendency to mimic other people. This can be created by a need to fit in to what we would describe as a social norm, and is influenced by social pressure. It has been proven time and time again that the influence of social pressure can be powerful enough to make individuals conform to a social norm that is clearly wrong.-Why People Obey Authority

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Andrew Napolitano: All Taxation Is Theft

Also questions whether we even need an army or navy. This guy is a freaking hero!

World Government: Interview with Adrian Salbuchi

...12 trigger events that the globalists will use to force world government on the human race:

1. Global Financial Collapse
2. Deepening Economic Crises
3. Growing Social Upheavals
4. Artificial Pandemics
5. Artificial Environmental Crises: Climate & Geophysical
6. Terrorist Mega-Attack
7. War in Middle-East
8. Nuclear Accident
9. Assassination of Key World Figure
10. Beat up Rogue States
11. Stage Religious Event
12. Staged Alien Event

A view from Argentina

This Is Your Vinyl Warning!

It's the end of digital! Old school music listening is back, baby!

Vinyl: The Last Track

h/t A Delicious Decade of Music

I remember back when Neil Young said the digital recording of music didn't produce "real" sound, or something to that effect.

Some Neil Young thoughts:

Neil Young has slammed Apple's iPods for dumbing music quality down to "Fisher-Price toy" levels...Singling out Apple specifically, the singer complained about the quality of music files on iTunes and iPods and how they have brought down standards generally.-Singer brands iPods 'Fisher-Price toys'

Wonder how Young feels about the ongoing debate over the impact of the MP3 format on sound quality? He's pretty clear on it...

Young said that MP3 was convenient - but that it's like a vision of paradise that's only inches deep and slams you in the face when you try to walk into it. "I'm a music guy, a sound guy - I went through hell in the 80's," he said. "Now we're coming close, climbing up the quality wall. I make all my music analog, when a new format comes along I will dump all my music to it." Would he advise other musicians to do the same? He said that wasn't realistic. "I'm too rich and elitist, most people can't afford the machines [for analog recording] and the people to take care of them."-Neil Young on Music Piracy, MP3 Hell and Finding Freaks on the Web

Conservatarianism: Why The Libertarian Movement Is A Failure

How hollow your opposition to the state is. Who will I piss off this time? I don't care. I realize that some of you are simply well-meaning people who don't realize what you've gotten into, that you may not be explicitly conservative, but you may have gobbled up conservative propaganda because it has appealed to liberty. Out of your blindness and your desire to be part of a broad liberatory movement, some of you have associated yourself with some of the most extreme authoritarians out there without realizing it. Hopefully you will become disillusioned with this stuff like I did, and take up the mantle of the real libertarian movement - which resides on THE LEFT.-Brainpolice

Hitler Parodies Will Last For A Thousand Years!

I recently posted about this, but couldn't resist this video. Can't we finally just put the nail in the coffin of intellectual "property"

via The Radical Libertarian

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Market Anarchists Debate "Democratic" Socialists

This is the first video of 27. Since I'm not posting the next 26 videos, you can get to them by simply clicking on the video below.

We The Living: Trailer to the new DVD version of the 1942 film based on Ayn Rand's novel

"It was made illegally, suppressed by a hostile government, cheered and honored, then banned at the height of its success and forgotten for decades. But, today, the film version of Ayn Rand's WE THE LIVING is back on the screen. The story behind the making of WE THE LIVING, in Italy, in 1942, is almost as interesting as the movie itself...."

Enviro-Tips from the Green Team!

via The Commentator

Arrested over Arizona's Real I.D. Paper's Please SB1070 bill

And you still don't think fascism is rising in America?

via information liberation

All Legislation Is A Crime

"Thus substantially all the legislation of the world has had its origin in the desires of one class — of persons to plunder and enslave others, and hold them as property." -Lysander Spooner

His treatise is revolutionary. I can see it banned in any totalitarian country. No ruler or government would want the people to think of such things.


But if natural law is so universal and easily understood, why do we not universally follow it? Why has legislation taken its place? Because once people began to voluntarily associate with each other to produce for themselves, others ganged together to plunder and rule over the them. As they increased their power, they systematized their actions, calling themselves government, and their actions, law. Thus, all legislation comes from one class desiring to plunder and enslave another, regarding them as property.-Lysander Spooner: All Legislation Is A Crime

Going John Galt

Rand was eerily prescient when she penned the crown jewel of her literary career, the 1,100-page tome she appropriately titled, Atlas Shrugged. The novel was twice as long as it needed to be, filled with long philosophical soliloquies about the evils of socialism; but it was so prophetic concerning America's future that today, in the age of Obama, Pelosi and Reid, its annual sales far outpace those of 1957, the year it became a New York Times best seller.

Are Americans Going John Galt?

Not Collapsing Fast Enough?

When Andrew Joseph Stack, a software consultant with a history of tax troubles and marital problems, crashed his Piper Cherokee into the Austin, Texas, office of the Internal Revenue Service in February, the crime was widely seen as a referendum on the national psyche. Stack, who killed himself and one other person while injuring 13, was said to represent a strain of legitimate grievances in America.

In his syndicated column, Richard Parker credited Stack with summing up the American “continuum of disappointment, anxiety, fear and yes, anger” related to economic pressure and income inequality. “On the day of Stack’s violence,” Parker wrote, “everyone I interview who has read his suicide note has the same reaction: No, he should not have tried to kill anyone to make his point and so he deserved to die. And yes, the guy did have a point.” Writing on AlterNet, Rich Benjamin called Stack “an acute symptom of this nation’s neglected wounds,” concluding, “We dismiss his screed, suicide and crime as ‘lunatic’ at our own risk.”

“The United States is not the Soviet Union,” writes Yale School of Management fellow Bruce Judson in his 2009 book It Could Happen Here: America on the Brink. “Our economy is not as terrible. Our government is not as despised. But nobody thought the U.S.S.R. could collapse. Could everyone be wrong again?”

Is America's Problem That Things Aren't Collapsing Fast Enough?

Monday, April 26, 2010

Radical Women, Embracing Tradition

Kavita Ramdas directs the Global Fund for Women, the largest foundation in the world supporting women's human rights across all borders.

Stimulus Plan

Congress Announces Plan To Hide Nation's Porn From Future Generations

The Future of Night Vision

Adapting technology found in flat screen television sets, scientists have created a thin film that converts infrared light into visible light. The technology could give cell phones, eyeglasses and car windshields cheap, lightweight night vision.

Night Vision Coming Soon To Cell Phones, Eyeglasses

A libertarian case for cap and trade?

Walter Block seems to be making a case for something similar to cap and trade here:

That's right; Mr. Libertarian himself agrees with me that there has to be some way to deal with "the commons" (ie, the areas of the environment that cannot be "owned"). Who does he think he is? Fucking communist!!11!!

IMO, this is a good answer from a minarchist perspective. Most libertarians *coughGeorgeReismancough* take the position that corporations have an inherent "right" to pollute and destroy other people's private property.

Good minarchist answer, but how do you apply it in ancapistan?

Ron Paul: Obama the Corporatist

Hate In The Hate Free Zone

It's a "hate free" zone, you see, but that is hate according to the "liberal" dictionary, and it's not hate if the target of your venom is a not a knee-jerk worshiper of Big Daddy Government. You can even hope your hated non-liberal chokes, and still consider yourself happily hate-free. Thanks fake liberals, for showing us the way to have our hate and eat it too! Let's all become "liberals" and enjoy guilt-free animosity! It's a wonderful world where an agenda is only an opinion, and every inane thought verbally expressed is unadulterated truth ("liberalism" equals "truth"). Now, maybe what the woman holding the "hate free" sign really means is that being a "liberal" gives you complete freedom to hate whoever you want, while at the same time accusing everyone who dissents from your statist agenda (excuse me, I mean truth-loving liberal opinions) of spreading hatred. Not being a "liberal", however, I don't have any idea what the truth is (perhaps Ginx can enlighten us).

Leftists Wave Vile, Violent Signs At Sarah Palin in Oregon… Media Silent

May 20 is Draw Mohammed Day!

See here. It's a wonderful idea. Draw your most offensive portraits of that insufferable jackass Muhammad, guys and gals. I'm certainly planning on it!

On May 20, I'm planning on making a post that will have my own submission(s) as well as links to the blog entries of any of our readers who want to participate! If SE's not down with the idea (understandable, considering he has some level of taste and restraint, which are both completely lacking with yours truly), I'll do it on my old blog and link it from here.

Man I love mocking other people's stupid beliefs.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Tea Party Rap

Can those Tea Partiers rap or what? The crowd doesn't look too interested, though.

Untitled from elizabeth glover on Vimeo.

The Long News

How many of today's headlines will matter in 100 years? 1000? Kirk Citron's "Long News" project collects stories that not only matter today, but will resonate for decades -- even centuries -- to come.

The Long Now Foundation

Constantin Film Is Now On My Enemies List

This video contains content from Constantin Film, who has blocked it on copyright grounds. That's what I read after going back and attempting to play a fondly remembered video, in a post I titled Hitler Reacts to Balloon Boy Hoax.

That was the first of the "Hitler Parodies" that I saw, and now it is gone. There is at least one other "balloon boy" parody still up (no pun intended), but it isn't as good.

Over a number of years these Hitler parodies on various subjects have popped up on YouTube, always using the same bunker scene from the German film Downfall.

The clips in question always show the bunker scene from the movie, overlaid with new subtitles -- Hitler getting mad at Twitter being down, Hitler being upset about the plot of "Avatar," Hitler reacting to Kanye West running out on stage with Taylor Swift, Hitler planning to upgrade from Windows XP to Windows 7 -- you get the drift.

Hitler parody videos latest copyright fight

The original movie itself is very good, with probably as accurate a portrayal of what actually happened during Hitler's last days as we're going to see in a fictional film. But the company behind the film is now going after the short (only a few minutes) parodies and having them taken off YouTube. This is occurring not with DMCA , but with YouTube's own system called Content ID, a filter that allows copyright holders "direct access to videos on the site thanks to audio and video fingerprinting".

This, of course, allows copyright owners to go as far as they want. If they so choose, they can flip the switch on everything they don't like -- even if the clips otherwise constitute fair use -- and watch the videos disappear. The EFF has publicly hammered YouTube to tighten its ContentID requirements, but the company seems content to let copyright owners themselves determine what's OK and what's not.

Well, thanks YouTube and Constantin. In honor of your disregard of basic fairness, I present Hitler Rants About the Hitler Parodies:

Rachel Maddow Has No Agenda?

“Sometimes I get defined as an ‘activist’ because I say what my opinion is. I’m not trying to push an agenda of any stripe.”-Rachel Maddow

Keynesian Economics Is Wrong

Austrian Theory of the Trade Cycle and Other Essays

Ron Paul On Running For President, Keynesian Economics, Israel

The Revolution: A Manifesto

I Commend You, Sincerely

"Many men know how to flatter, few men know how to praise."-Greek proverb

I don't throw out compliments indiscriminately. Do you? Some people seem to think it's a great idea, either to get ahead themselves (ladder-climbing at work by kissing boss ass-oh, it smells so bad!) or to offer encouragement to some poor loser who doesn't deserve it, just to make them feel good about themselves.

But there is so much of that kind of insincerity out there (go to any store or call any customer service number and you'll be awash in the phony happy-talk that the wage slaves have been programed to ejaculate on cue) already. The latest thing at my job, presented by our manager at a recent meeting, was that we should say "It's my pleasure" to the customers. Well, it's not my pleasure at all, it's my damn job and I hate it, but my only other choice is to die on the street, so I keep going into work.

I don't know about you, but to me, having someone say anything nice to me is meaningless unless they really mean it. I'm also not interested in trying to advance myself by spewing compliments to people I can't stand. Selfish gain is not my goal, though it is probably yours, you sick, obsequious game-player.

I'm impressed only by the sincere compliment. To be commended by someone who truly sees real merit in you or something you've done, well, that's the kind of commendation you can take to the bank.

John Cleese, Terry Jones, Terry Gilliam: Christianity

Monty Python's Life Of Brian - The Immaculate Edition

Latest Jack Chick Tract

The World of Jack T. Chick

Two From RT: Celente Interviewed and U.S. Reputation Slides as Iraq and Afghanistan Wars Continue

Saturday, April 24, 2010

World War III Coming in 2010?

Body of War - The True Story of an Anti-War Hero

Abortion Counter

I'm pro-life but I'm not "pro-life", if you know what I mean. I can see the abortion issue from all sides, but ultimately having the right over your body trumps anything else.

Here is a site that offers you an abortion counter for your website or blog: Abortion Counter.

Does the number of abortions bother you? I personally don't think the numbers matter much. If it's murder, it's murder. If it's the eviction of an intruder, for whatever reason, any number is justified, just as the number of burglars shot and killed by homeowners doesn't matter.

Vacations Are A Human Right

This report reviews international vacation and holiday laws and finds that the United States is the only advanced economy that does not guarantee its workers any paid vacation or holidays. As a result, one in four U.S. workers do not receive any paid vacation or paid holidays. The lack of paid vacation and paid holidays in the United States is particularly acute for lower-wage and part-time workers, and for employees of small businesses. This report also includes a comparative appendix with information on paid leave and holiday laws in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom

The Right to Vacation: An International Perspective

h/t The Commentator

So, I disagree with The Commentator. Not necessarily with his concerns in a statist context. We certainly don't need more government imposed "rights". But we anarchists exist outside the left/right paradigm, and no one who only thinks in traditional terms really has a grasp of what we are or how we see things.

Let's put it this way: wage slavery is a crime against humanity and it's time to think outside the corporate box called a cubicle. It is also time to recognize that ALL employees are being exploited, and that liberty is not only liberation from the chains of the State (though that's a good place to start), but from all denial of human dignity, including the hierarchy of the statist-capitalist workplace.

In the USA, most workers are very lucky if they are given two weeks of paid vacation a year (and that's ten working days, not actually fourteen days of paid time off), while in most of Europe, average workers get up to five or six weeks of vacation. Believe me, I know I and most of my co-workers would be better and happier workers if allowed a human level of leisure time.

Of course, we would also be better at our jobs if we had a real stake in our livelihood, instead of being nothing but another "cost of doing business" in the books of our capitalist business bosses.


Those cartoons are not far of the mark. To your employer, your time is not your own. They own your time (they paid for it, remember). You're nothing but a commodity called labor.

Sarah Palin In Rand Paul Ad

Sarah Palin appears in a new ad for Rand Paul's Kentucky U.S. Senate campaign.

The Cowboy On The Corporation

If corporations are 'people', as SCOTUS has said they are, then, by law, a corporation committing murder should be executed! A corporation like Dow or Union Carbide perpetrating mass murder should be tried and when found guilty put to death! Because corporations are now 'people', the same criminal penalties must apply to them as well as to the rest of us. To do otherwise violates the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, specifically, the 'equal protection' clause.

The Existentialist Cowboy: The Death Penalty for Murderous 'Corporate Persons'

Corporate personhood is an insidious and undeniable threat to our democracy. We've allowed corporations to get their powerful tendrils so deep into every facet of our society that we can no longer do anything without corporate approval. So until we abolish corporate personhood, we are slaves and corporations are our masters.

We the People vs Corporate Personhood

Friday, April 23, 2010

Ayn Rand On God and Religion

Ayn Rand Box Set

Ayn Rand and the World She Made

Mohammed should be insulted

Good for the creators of South Park. Islam is a vile religion and disparaging it (NSFW) is a public service.


Christopher Hitchens v Dinesh D'Souza. The God Debate: Is Religion the Problem?

Christopher Hitchens and Dinesh D'Souza debate at the University of Notre Dame on April 7, 2010.

“Sort Of Like Terrorism”

Kathleen "Lying Pro-State Troll" Parker was on CBS Face The Nation this week, spewing hatred for the Tea Party movement and calling Internet Journalism terrorism (well, "sort of").

So statist shill (earns her living supporting the Regime) and mainstream media whore Parker doesn't like that that nasty newfangled anti-state medium the Internet escapes the pro-state filtering that dying dead-tree "journalism" (her columns are syndicated by the Washington Post) imposes on the "news".

Pro-state liar and Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer seems to agree, and decries the "anonymity" of the Internet and that it has no "editor".

“Some of this really nasty rhetoric that shows up on the Internet….the only vehicle to deliver news that has no editor….And that is the added factor to the volatility of this stuff and where it goes.”

Oh, yes, Bob, yes, preach that pro-state troll gospel! Kathleen Parker responds:

“It’s, sort of, like terrorism. You know, we don’t know where to aim our bombs, so we can’t go after a country because there are – you know, there’s no one place to focus on it. And it’s the same thing with – with the Internet. You can’t really – you don’t know who to go after.”

Oh, did I mention that she calls herself a "conservative". Doncha just love the lapdog media? At least, like the dinosaurs before them, they are becoming extinct.

h/t Old-Thinker News

Conservatism in Exile

They're all the same. Republicans, Democrats, Tweedledum, Tweedledee...

Reclaiming the American Right: The Lost Legacy of the Conservative Movement (Background: Essential Texts for the Conservative Mind)

Thursday, April 22, 2010


I have had a bad toothache all day. Toothache pain is so severe (or can be) that it can make a person go mad (explains some Internet psychos, perhaps). I'll have a post on teeth in the near future, but if these teeth of ours are the best an all-powerful, all-wise Creator can do, there is no all-powerful, all-wise Creator (not a good one, anyway).

My girlfriend had an episode of toothache (ended up being an extraction) not that long ago, and I hated knowing she was in such agony. She cried to me about how terrible it was, and there was nothing I could do. Dentists want money, and I was broke at the time. We finally did get it taken care of, but even an extra day of such suffering was more than she should have had to bear. Toothache pain is out of all proportion to the problem it points to, and rules out any notions of "intelligent design", at least in my book.

So if I'm out of it, and continue to take the lazy way out and post more and more YouTube videos until this blog is just one big video, don't blame me, blame the tooth (or can't you handle the tooth?).

Golden State Bankruptcy?

California has been killed by government. The Golden State is golden no longer. It's a basket case and facing yet another fiscal crisis. That, of course, is the nature of the beast. The State destroys life and all that is good.


Today Is George Carlin Day

This has been posted here before, but in celebration of Earth Day...

And on "Earth Hour" (which was last month) a protester is threatened for doubting the Regime's orthodoxy. Or maybe he's just mentally ill and can be sent to a psychiatric hospital, just like they used to do to political dissidents in the old Soviet Union. As the woman near the end of the video put it: He may as well have a sign that says "I'm Crazy" out there. Craziness, of course, can be cured, it just requires more government.

Peter Schiff: How an Economy Grows and Why It Crashes

How an Economy Grows and Why It Crashes

Time for me to piss everyone off

Are libertarians capable of having a discussion on environmentalism with one iota of maturity? In my experience, the answer is “no.” But in light of Earth Day, this post will be an attempt to do so. Don’t bother crossing your fingers for my success.

The traditional libertarian response to challenges on environmental issues has been:

1) Insist that the government is responsible for all pollution. If such a claim is true (and it isn’t), why bother railing against environmentalists? Doing so is a concession that libertarianism has no real mechanism for protecting the environment.

2) Explain that the problem is a lack of property rights and point out the tragedy of the commons. Why, then, do libertarians insist on treating the ecosystem and atmosphere as a gigantic “commons” free for everyone to pollute and exploit, regardless of all the problems (and private property damage) that occur as a result?

3) Deny there is any such thing as environmental problems. Dismiss all of it as mere junk science. Now stop worrying and sell off those national parks! This is apparently the most most popular. But suppose, for the sake of argument, it isn't junk science? No answer. Que chirping crickets.

3) Tell everyone to go out and sue the polluters. Yeah, because it’s so easy to trace the stuff (even if it’s acid rain caused by someone in some other country) and everyone has the time and money to go up against an army of well-funded corporate lawyers. As Aaron Russo--the almost-presidential nominee for the LP in 2004--put it:

I think the Libertarian Party has never had a good policy on the environment. I've never heard a good one, and I've been looking for one for months, and I'm open to find new ideas on how we can handle the environment. On this issue, to tell the truth, there is a bit of confusion in my mind, but the stock answer that I've been hearing on the environment is not good in my view. Sue your neighbor, and sue this one and sue that one, those aren't good answers for me.

I agree with Russo. You can call me a statist or commie if you want. I’ve never heard a libertarian answer to this question that wasn’t some variant of the four listed above.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Abolish the military for Earth Day

It's America's biggest polluter, though it may have to play catch-up to Marxist regimes.

Science, Psychedelics, and the FDA

In the past few weeks, two articles have come under my admittedly narrow radar about small clinical trials of psychedelic drugs. Now, it's only in the past decade that the FDA has finally begun to loosen the restrictions that are in place on these substances, and it's been a very slow and tentative process. Although a ton of restrictions are still in place, the little insight that has been gained in this time is very promising.

This article from the New York Times is about a study that was conducted in John Hopkins medical school about the possible effects of psilocybin on people suffering from chronic depression. While the study was very small, the results indicated that the drug could be useful for helping people get through depression, and many subjects listed the experience among the most positive of their lives.

Another article, this one from Scientific American, focuses on a study of MDMA, AKA street ecstasy, conducted by the non-profit Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies. This study was conducted on veterans suffering from PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), and many subjects who had experienced no appreciable benefit from other methods of psychotherapy saw their symptoms disappear after a few trials with MDMA. The article also references the aforementioned psilocybin study, and goes into a very fair discussion of the FDA's loosening its heavy restrictions on these studies.

Really, I don't see why the FDA's been so sluggish in this arena. While I'm glad that they've finally loosened the restrictions to some extent, there still a long way to go, both time-wise and money-wise, before they will allow studies of the same scale as are given to other more "conventional" drugs. It would be so interesting to see what would come of larger scale studies. Also, veering away from the purely scientific, more studies on these "dangerous" narcotics, drugs which are placed in Schedule 1 in the United States (grouped together with heroin and the like) would go a long way in convincing the public that these drugs are not as dangerous as the politicians would like you to believe. It would be a fantastic little seed to plant in the mind of your average person, which could perhaps lead many to realize that the War on Drugs in general is just complete nonsense.

Unfortunately, this fantasy world of mine is currently just that - a fantasy. But I guess in the meantime, I can at least be thankful for the baby-steps we're making in that direction.

The Tea Parties In a Nutshell

"Expand the military. Put more war profiteers on the public dole. Install more secret prisons and torture dungeons. Demolish habeas corpus. Bomb brown people--nuke them if necessary. Send Arab Americans to internment camps, just like the Japanese.

"Wiretap people's phones without warrants. Empower the national security state. Strip-search people at airports. Force citizens to carry national ID cards. Pass the Patriot Act. Demolish the Bill of Rights. Strengthen the executive branch to the point of dictatorship. Bail out corporate crooks. Let the President go to war whenever he feels like it. Give law enforcement officers more money and power.

"Use a brutal police state to round up illegal immigrants. Build a Berlin Wall across the border and shoot anyone who tries to get through. Use the state to ban abortions and flag burning. Regulate marriage and persecute gays. Wage a harsher war on drugs. Have the state execute more people through use of the death penalty. Install a theocracy.

"Oh yeah, and reduce the size of government! It's too big!"


Monday, April 19, 2010

Japanese Amazing Show

via Rook's Rant

We The People Refuse!

...the founders and ratifiers gave us something unique in history – a first, really. They created a system where the average people – you and I – held final authority. We the people are sovereign. We the people hold final authority. We the people are in charge. And, they the government work for us!

The Tenth Amendment codifies in law this principle of popular sovereignty – that “We the People” of the several states created the federal government to be our agent for certain, enumerated purposes – and nothing more. But unfortunately, that’s not how things have been working, and very little that the government does is actually authorized by the constitution.

We Refuse!

Tell your state legislators and governor's that you refuse to recognize the Unconstitutional national health care law. Tell them that you will not be forced by the federal government to buy a good or service from a company. You are not a slave to the government or to any other American. Tell them that you will not be strong-armed by the Federal Government and that your State must nullify the forced national health care mandate.-Sign the petition:

Federal Health Care Nullification Act

An Act to render null and void certain unconstitutional laws enacted by the Congress of the United States, taking control over the health insurance industry and mandating that individuals purchase health insurance under threat of penalty.

Who Killed the Constitution?: The Federal Government vs. American Liberty from World War I to Barack Obama

Big Mac vs Mystery Meat

A study by USA Today found that the U.S. government's school lunch program, via the USDA, handed schools millions of pounds of beef and chicken that wouldn't even clear the standards of fast food restaurants like Jack in the Box and KFC.

Why Is Crappy Fast Food Safer Than School Lunches?

A Prop For Failing Agribusiness

"Each year the USDA purchases more than $1 billion in cheap commodities as part of the federal contribution to the school lunch program. Regretfully, the USDA is driven by two factors: get the food for the lowest price and prop up prices for commodities that are in oversupply or are unattractive to business purchases. Not quality. In 2009 alone, the USDA purchased more than $151 million of commodity pork to prop up failing industrial pork producers."-David Murphy (Johnny Can You Spell Salmonella? U.S. School Lunch vs. Jack in the Box)

Making a lunch for your child to take with them to school is a better idea (they shouldn't be in school in the first place, but that's another story).

Why Anti-Atheist Arguments Are Illogical

I followed a link that led me here. Based on the title ("Why Atheism is Illogical"), I thought whoever wrote it must really have something good as an argument. Imagine my disappointment upon discovering it was just a very short version of Pascal's Discredited Wager.

But Pascal was writing in Christian, and specifically Catholic, terms. Our amateur apologist broadens the wager to include all theists, ignoring the fact that Christianity threatens Hindus with hell as much as it does atheists.

In Christianity, they [atheists] would be sent to hell. In Hinduism, they would be reincarnated into a lower status.

However, if a theist is correct in their beliefs, they are rewarded for their faith and go to heaven/reincarnate in a better status/etc.

So, finding Christianity abhorrent, let's say I go with Hinduism. I end up in the Christian hell if I converted to the wrong religion. Same with Islam. If I convert to Christianity and the Muslim faith is the correct one, I risk going to the Islamic hell. We can continue to add various religions and sects of various religions until we have possibly thousands to choose from. This is where the wager actually favors the atheist position (Pascal's Wager is not an argument for God's existence as much as it is an argument for the desirability of belief).

In the original wager, there is only one God, the God of the Catholic Church. The assumption is that those outside the Church will suffer eternal torment after death. The further assumption is that the believer loses nothing if he/she is wrong. All three assumptions are faulty.

The true God may be one of the many thousands that people have believed in throughout humanity's history, not just the God of one Church, however much it proclaims its universalism. Furthermore, the real God, if there is one, may offer universal salvation and immortality in paradise to everyone, including atheists. It could be that this real God loves atheists even more than believers, perhaps to the point of sending arrogant fundamentalists of all faiths to hell, and rewarding atheists for their commitment to reason. And the assumption that believers lose nothing if they are wrong is also false. Time, money, innocent earthly pleasures that they deny themselves believing that they are "sin", etc. are just the tip of the iceberg.

Since the wager is not about God's existence, but about the value of belief itself, it becomes apparent that with hundreds of religious options to choose from, the chance of you choosing the right one and being rewarded with life after death is small. Coupled with the costs of following a particular religion (praying five times a day, taking a costly trip to Mecca, giving up all alcoholic beverages) and the prior probability of theism, atheism is then the better choice.

I found the following at Advocatus Atheist:

As expected, we’ve all heard the Christian schema of why we ought to believe. In their attempts to convinces us, they often fall back on fallacious arguments, often saying something along the lines that evolution is false therefore the Bible is true, or because the Bible is true evolution is false. Other times we have heard the claim because the Bible is true, and God created it all, evolution is true, and therefore proof of God’s existence. Or how about, you can’t be moral without religion; ever heard that one? Or if you don’t believe in Jesus and ask him for forgiveness you’ll go to hell. God is all loving (never mind the contradiction). Or the rapture is definitely coming. Or that God hears your prayers. Or that you go to paradise in heaven after you die. Or because you can’t prove human consciousness then that’s evidence for God. Or because the universe exists something must have created it, therefore proof that God must exist. All of these claims are unfounded, therefore when Christians wish to support their devotional beliefs they turn to the slippery slopes of fallacy packed professions and mind-boggling truth claims, hoping you won’t notice their sufficient lack of evidence whatsoever.

99.9% of Christian Apologetics Rely on Fallacies

And for some real life examples of bad arguments, I present

Here's a great one (under the title Atheist Accuses Christians Of Not Having Evidence Of Jesus Christ’s Divinity):

The evidence for His divinity can be found in the Bible. How come all of the books in Bible fail to contradict one another once when they were written over a span of several thousand years by many different authors? How come they all manage to predict the coming of the Messiah.

You’ll obviously try to explain this all away by saying it isn’t scientific but either way I just don’t think you want to know the truth.

I rest my case!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

“We Were Told to Just Shoot People, and the Officers Would Take Care of Us”

On Monday, April 5, posted video footage from Iraq, taken from a US military Apache helicopter in July 2007 as soldiers aboard it killed 12 people and wounded two children. The dead included two employees of the Reuters news agency: photographer Namir Noor-Eldeen and driver Saeed Chmagh.

The US military confirmed the authenticity of the video.

The footage clearly shows an unprovoked slaughter, and is shocking to watch whilst listening to the casual conversation of the soldiers in the background.

As disturbing as the video is, this type of behavior by US soldiers in Iraq is not uncommon.

Truthout has spoken with several soldiers who shared equally horrific stories of the slaughtering of innocent Iraqis by US occupation forces.

Iraq War Vet: "We Were Told to Just Shoot People, and the Officers Would Take Care of Us"

h/t LRC Blog

The Sunday Jesus: What's Missing?

Guess you can only trust the source of that Old Time Religion, the King James Bible. Damn modern "Bibles" and their Humanist "translators"!

Jesus Arm Wrestling Satan

Well, Jesus did say he would be with us always, even to the end of the world (Matthew 28:20). I didn't know that included the end of the dog, though. Wait a minute, dog is God spelled backwards! Makes sense now:

Dr. Thomas Szasz: Against Psychiatry

Psychiatry: The Science of Lies

Why Utilitarianism Fails, Even in Af-Pak

Reading news stories about America’s war in Afghanistan-Pakistan often reminds me of my college ethics class. Specifically, I’m reminded of the whole utilitarianism-deontology debate and the thought experiments different utilitarian thinkers give to support their case—for example:

A magistrate or judge is faced with a very real threat from a large and uncontrollable mob of rioters demanding a culprit for a crime. Unless the criminal is produced, promptly tried, and executed, they will take their own bloody revenge on a much smaller and quite vulnerable section of the community (a kind of frenzied pogrom). The judge knows that the real culprit is unknown and that the authorities do not even have a good clue as to who he may be. But he also knows that there is within easy reach a disreputable, thoroughly disliked, and useless man, who, though innocent, could easily be framed so that the mob would be quite convinced that he was guilty and would be pacified if he were promptly executed (150).

After laying out such hypothetical situations, the utilitarian, in this case Kai Nielsen, hopes that we’ve reached the same conclusion that he has. In the above case, Nielsen hopes we’ve concluded that the judge should execute the innocent man. And, of course, if we agree with him on this point, then it follows that we too are utilitarians, believing that the right course of action is that which results in the greatest good for the greatest number of people.

Those leading the current American effort in Af-Pak contend that they face a situation that’s not all that different than the judge’s. They point out that there are no clear-cut battle lines in Af-Pak, as insurgents dwell among civilians and refuse to wear military uniforms. Consequently, when US forces, using the means of conventional warfare, try to kill insurgents, they often end up killing innocent civilians. (According to a recent report by Peter Bergen and Katherine Tiedemann of the New America Foundation, since 2004 nearly one-third of those killed by US drone strikes have been civilians.) So, like the hypothetical judge, the US military claims that, in order to do the right thing it must take innocent life.

Now there are many problems with utilitarianism. For one thing, it presumes that people know more than they actually do. For instance, while US officials claim [.pdf] that we must stay the course in Af-Pak in order to keep Americans safe, it’s clear that our current actions can (and often do) backfire. Even General McChrystal recognizes [.pdf]:

From a conventional standpoint, the killing of two insurgents in a group of ten leaves eight remaining: 10-2=8. From the insurgent standpoint, those two killed were likely related to many others who will want vengeance. If civilian casualties occurred, that number will be much higher. Therefore, the death of two creates more willing recruits: 10 minus 2 equals 20 (or more) rather than 8. This is part of the reason why eight years of individually successful kinetic actions have resulted in more violence.

Thus it’s not only possible but in fact likely that US bombings in Af-Pak are immoral, not just on deontological, but also on utilitarian grounds.

But more than just this, utilitarianism violates many of our most deeply held moral beliefs. For instance, we believe that some actions are wrong even if they produce good results. In other words, sometimes the ends clearly do not justify the means. To give just one example, Sterling Harwood imagines “a case of secretly killing a healthy man just in for a routine checkup in order to maximize satisfaction by using his various organs in a number of life-saving operations” (183). The ends here are obviously good, but I don’t think any of us would argue that they justify the means.

Similarly, I would argue that, regardless of the consequences, it’s always wrong to kill innocent people. Deep down, I imagine that most Americans agree. Although most of us tell pollsters that we support the military’s effort to kill insurgents, even when “collateral damage” results, I imagine that few of us would feel the same way if we were merely shown the faces of the people who comprise this “collateral damage” or if provided with even minimal biographical data of these people. I imagine that an even smaller number would support these killings if asked to personally carry them out.

Utilitarianism also violates the principle of universality. In other words, few, if any, of us would feel these American attacks were justified if we were the ones living in the targeted Afghan and Pakistani towns and villages. Even if we believed the attacks were accomplishing a greater good, we wouldn’t feel they were justified if our own neighborhoods were the ones being struck. And since we wouldn’t want this done to ourselves, we have no right supporting, with our votes or other means, the US government as it does it to others.
Related Posts with Thumbnails