Libertarian Commentary on The News by Nathan A. Barton - Price of Liberty
No human being has the right -- under any circumstances -- to initiate force against another human being, nor to threaten or delegate its initiation. The Zero Aggression Principle
Libertarian Commentary on The News
By Nathan A. Barton © 2008

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update 1/21/08
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Libertarian Commentary on the News, 24 - 29 August, 2008

Rally Week II is this week – the Sugar Pine Ranch hosts the Four Corners Rally!

It occurs to me that the solution to the problems with dumps like Beijing and Athens with all their government-funded (that is, theft-funded) venues and poor bottom lines is to have the Olympics at a better location. Furthermore, far too many of the events have little or no drawing power. Yeah, we have baseball now, and a lot of guys drool over the synchronized swimming – but it is still too Stalinist for me! (Imagine what a Third Reich synchronized swimming team would have been like.) Therefore, I propose that Sturgis be made the permanent home of the Summer Olympics.

It would require that we add some NASCAR venues to Sturgis, but that would work well between Sturgis and Whitewood. And frankly, hill-climbs and motocross events are a LOT more exciting to watch than swimming laps. Doing dressage with hogs, and watching the Iron Pigs go head-to-head with Hell’s Angels doing mounted synchronized swimming would be great!

Before we go to the news, I want to point out that a LOT that both the mainstream media and even the web-press publish is really “non-news” a lot of the time. Some is “human interest stuff” but some is just garbage – and I'm not talking about outright lies and slants. Sometimes, events that are reported, and the way they are reported (as “breaking news” or “special updates”) are blown entirely out of proportion and don't deserve to be talked about – at least not for their news value. I start out with three examples:

Non-news #1:
TN: Hermitage restroom named top of the heap
“Nashville’s five-star Hermitage Hotel has been named the finest restroom in America by voters in the 7th annual ‘America’s Best Restroom’ contest.” (08/27/08)

Even with the conventions, the mainstream media obviously is deep in the traditional “dog days” of August, when idiotic “news stories” like this waste newsprint. (I know, I’m probably wasting electrons, too, just to make this point). At least it is “good” news. It is also an indication that we Americans are too preoccupied with comfort and nonessentials.

Non-news #2
Obama accepts Dem nomination, vows to “renew America’s promise”
Agence France-Presse
“Barack Obama savaged John McCain and ‘broken’ Republican politics, vowing to restore America’s promise in a tumultuous climax to the Democratic convention before an 84,000 strong crowd. ‘America, we are better than these last eight years,’ Obama said late Thursday, as he set course for November’s presidential elections as the first African-American with a real shot at the White House.” (08/29/08)

I got “special alerts” from the Washington Post and the Denver Post (which are, I think, unaffiliated except for the fact that they are both Mainstream Media) as if this were some important piece of news. Now, “Obama Rejects Dem Nomination” would have been news – but this (after Hillary caved days before) is less than news, it is silly to even bother to report.

Let me point out, however, that this DOES mark a milestone in the decline from the now-defunct Federal Republic through the Principate form of government to the Dominate form which is next to follow. This new Massa Obama is the first to have his coronation and give his coronation speech BEFORE the election, assuming that he has the election sewn up by divine right. Standing before 84,000 worshippers, he has had his triumph without doing a thing for it – even the early Roman emperors didn’t get a triumph without at least serving a while. Also, I again point out – this man is no “African American” except to the extent that he has adopted the culture and been adopted into the culture: he is ½ Anglo (white), 3/8 Arab, and 1/8 African – NOT African-American. And 100% phony. No wonder so many people welcomed Sarah Palin, after this and Biden.

Non-news #3:
Study: College students turn 21 with binge drinking
Arizona Republic
“College students celebrate their 21st birthdays with an average of 12 drinks for men and nine for women, finds the most in-depth picture yet of the consequences of extreme partying. The University of Texas-Austin research found 78 percent of students cited ill effects, including hangovers (54 percent). Of 44 percent who had blackouts, 22 percent found out later that they had sex; 22 percent got in a fight or argument. And 39 percent didn’t know how they got home. Although this study focused on just one campus, researchers say this new level of extreme drinking goes way beyond ‘bingeing’ — four or five drinks in one sitting. It’s a phenomenon likely being repeated at schools across the country, researchers say.” [Editor’s note: They paid someone to do this study? Folks, if this isn’t the most DUH post here in a long time, I dunno what is! - SAT] (08/28/08)

Steve is right – this is non-news on the scale of “Dog bites man.” Last week we had the story about the college presidents seeking to end the age 21 prohibition (although only to replace it with the old age 18 ban, which at least makes more logical sense): that was news, this is not. What does disturb me about this is the respondents; apparently they are so seeped in their crude and coarse behavior that they are willing to admit fighting, drunken sex, and lost memories. These are things that shamed the vast majority of previous generations, but seems to bother far fewer of Gen X/Gen Y members – but now are taken for granted, like public nudity and sex, language that once made sailors blush, and an inability to understand what “promise” and “commitment” mean.

Now, on to the news: the major story last week was not really reported too much, although it was released on Friday.
For ONCE, John McCain, his campaign staff, and perhaps the GOP have made a critical and timely action work in their favor. The public unveiling of Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as the Vice Presidential candidate for the GOP just completely changed the complexion of the 2008 Presidential campaign, dealt the Libertarian Party a major blow, almost certainly derailed the Constitutionalists completely, and MAY have sealed the election AGAINST the Democratic Party. Particularly interesting was the way McCain timed this to completely push Obama's coronation speech out of the news cycle. With one action, McCain has countered Biden's selection, reinforced the Demo rejection of Hillary Clinton, won over huge numbers of Conservatives that would have gone Libertarian or Constitutionalist, energizing others who will still have to hold their nose to vote for him, slapped NOW and the abortion industry in the face, answered many of the concerns about McCain's own age and experience while pointing up Obama's and Biden's lack of experience, AND possibly set the stage for either the 2012 or 2016 elections (or both).

Hockey mom (her own words) Sarah Palin is a republican insurgent that is even this week fighting the GOP machine which has corrupted and tortured Alaska for decades, and is a true dark horse – and as close to a minarchist as we can expect to see in the GOP today short of Ron Paul. This woman will draw a LOT of libertarians (minarchist libertarians, at least) to vote for the GOP; she might even draw a lot of conservative Democrats, as well as the Republican conservatives that her nomination is intended to entice back to the fold. Assuming she does as well at speaking and responding that she did the first two days, she will be a shining star – for good OR bad – in the GOP nationally, possibly for decades. She has already won over James Dobson, within the first 24 hours; I expect many more to follow, even such disillusioned libertarian GOP wing folks as Chuck Muth. When was the last time a major GOP candidate was a union member, for example? AND a journalism graduate (even if she apparently has repented of that evil profession)? And a mother of five? Including one being deployed to the Sandbox and another one still in arms? And one that smacked the noses and is fighting to the finish with a bunch of crooked GOP politicians?

HOWEVER, we must keep in mind that this woman is highly unlikely to reform either the GOP or the Federal government to something that we can, as libertarians, even for minarchist libertarians, find acceptable. Indeed, her legacy may be a very negative one, not at all unsimilar to Ronald Reagan's – delaying the all-but-inevitable final collapse of the last remnants of the old Republic, making it easier to slip into a greater and greater state of servitude to the omnipotent state. Yes, we can take the position that if she does indeed moderate McCain's pragmatic liberalism, and even goes on to lead a conservative (not neoconservative) administration of her own, it will buy time. But time for what? New technologies to be subverted to the service of the state? Time for Islam to engulf Western Europe completely and begin to swallow both India and Eastern Europe? Time for more and more liberty to be stolen away, one degree at a time like the frogs getting boiled? One person, ONE PERSON, one human person, cannot reverse any of the trends that have torn down this “glorious experiment” of liberty, and she is almost certainly not the one to do it. Don't let jubilant GOP types and fellow-travelers tell you so. More than ever, we must prepare to fight for, die for, yes, and even kill for, this God-given liberty which is the birthright of EVERY human being under the sun.

In other news:

Afghan front:
Afghanistan: Karzai fires two commanders after deadly strike
United Press International
“Two Afghan army commanders were fired after a U.S.-led coalition airstrike killed 89 civilians, many of them children. Commanders Jalandar Shah and Abdul Jabbar were fired by Afghan President Hamid Karzai, CNN reported Monday. Karzai blamed Friday’s casualties in the Shindand District of Herat on a failure of coordination between coalition forces and the Afghan army.” (08/25/08)

Interesting that the UN isn't condemning the Afghan army for this – just the Coalition forces (see separate story).

Afghan front:
Afghanistan: UN places US air strike toll at 90
Al Arabiya [United Arab Emirates]
“The United Nations said on Tuesday it had found convincing evidence that 90 Afghan civilians, most of them children, were killed in air strikes by U.S.-led coalition forces in western Afghanistan last week. … The U.S. military has launched an investigation into the incident, after saying it was unaware of any civilians killed in what it said was a single air strike in the Shindand district of western Afghanistan on Friday. … UNAMA sent its human rights team to the Shindand area to investigate, meeting local officials, elders and villagers.” (08/26/08)

Who are we going to believe? As in Mesopotamia – indeed, more so – the distinction between combatant and civilian is very slippery and changeable. At least one soldier has pointed out that the local politicians define “dead noncombatant” as “anyone killed in a fight or raid that is not in recognizable uniform” – not that most mujahedeen have uniforms. And which definition of children? The UN defines children as anyone under the apparent age of 18 (and remember most Afghans don’t have birth certificates); of course, the American hoploclasts consider anyone under the age of 21 to be a child – unless they can get away with claiming anyone under age 26 as being “youth” which is (of course) synonymous with “child.”

Culture wars:
UK: Naked painter’s nude start
Ananova [UK]
“A Lincolnshire naturist has launched Britain’s first naked painting and decorating service. Nick Male, 37, says business is booming and he is fully booked up well into the autumn. ‘I work more now than when I left my clothes on and I’ve had to turn people down,’ he told Metro. The tradesman, who advertises on naturist websites and eBay, made the fresh start this year after finishing a six-year relationship. ‘The service is a serious one. I don’t do titillation and I soon get rid of the people looking for that — they go very quiet when I ask their address,’ he said. Far from hindering matters, having a naked decorator oils the creative wheels, he claims, making customers feel less inhibited.” (08/26/08)

Another example of the coarsening of society: I’m not sure if this is even news, except to point out the idiocy of too many people.

Mama's Note: Everything I understand about the British will have to go on the ash heap, I guess. I can't imagine the stuffy, proper English tolerating, let alone employing someone who comes to their home naked.

East Asian front:
North Korea threatens to renew nuke program
Christian Science Monitor
“North Korea threatened Tuesday to renew its nuclear weapons program. Pyongyang says that the United States has reneged on its promise to remove North Korea from the state sponsors of terrorism list, while Washington responded that it wants independent verification of the country’s nuclear disarmament. North Korea also announced this week that it ’suspended disabling’ its nuclear facilities on Aug. 14. The announcement escalates tensions and threatens to throw the six-party disarmament talks with North Korea and its neighbors into disarray.” (08/27/08)

Right on schedule, here comes the next “begging/bullying” attempt by Pyongyang to extort money from the West. Like the street-corner beggar who threatens your windshield with his bogus windowwash fluid and oily rag, Kim figures the West will pay him off some more, as he continues to kill off his own people and amass his fortune for a life of luxury in tolerant France or Spain.

East Asian front:
UK: Tibet protester returns home
BBC News [UK]
“A British woman held in a Chinese jail for three days without charge after a Free Tibet demonstration has said she is ‘elated’ to be back in the UK. Amanda McKeown, 41, of Bristol, was arrested while filming protesters near the Beijing Olympics site on Thursday. … Two Americans and a German were also detained by the Chinese authorities following the protest, during which a Tibetan flag was unfurled.” (08/26/08)

The only difference between this woman and the ABC people arrested at the Brown Palace (see story in “Politics 2008”) is that the ABC people got out on bail and she didn’t.

Economic news:
FDIC: More bank failures may be on the way
Los Angeles Times
“Federal regulators Tuesday boosted to $8.9 billion the estimated cost of IndyMac Bank’s failure and prepared the public for more collapses, reporting that the number of troubled U.S. banks shot up 30% in just three months. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. said that on June 30 there were 117 institutions on its ‘problem list,’ up from 90 on March 31 and the highest level in five years. The disclosures were part of a bleak portrait of the banking industry painted by the agency, which said earnings at commercial banks and savings and loans plunged 87% to $5 billion in the second quarter as institutions scrambled to cover bad mortgages and other loans.” (08/27/08)

We’ve seen more and more of this happening. Given the (unconstitutional) monetary system in the nation, a bank has to be incredibly mismanaged OR be under incredibly stupid regulation to go bankrupt. I am sure that the problem in 2008 is that the regulations are the fault: regulations that force loans that are so incredibly risky that a sane banker with any pretense to self-interest would refuse them Put another way, the con-men have taken over – both in the banks and in the government (where we can argue that the con-men have ALWAYS been in charge) and are destroying yet another industry. Perhaps we have two types of con artists here: a sane variety that “farms” and a greedy sort that “mines” the sheep: one tries to keep them healthy enough to fleece over and over but the other wants a quick and single fleece and meat and doesn’t are about the future – unless this is nothing but a step in their drive towards ultimate power.

Economic news:
US markets kick off week with broad-based decline
All Headline News
“U.S. markets began the week lower as all three major indices opened down on Monday. Selling was broad-based throughout the session as declining stocks outpaced advancers by more than three to one. … Although every sector finished lower, the financials, down 3.1 percent, sold off far more than the other industries. In addition to the weakness in AIG, investors were spooked by the failure of Columbian Bank & Trust Company, a regional bank that was taken over by regulators over the weekend. The bank is small but still showed investors that more failures are still possible.” (08/25/08)

As other stories in this section point out, this was expected and it is the financial sector that is blamed for it – people do not want to see the negative impact of government in this.

Economic news:
UK: Economy “as bad as the Seventies”
Independent [UK]
“Pressure is mounting on Gordon Brown to find help for hard-pressed families as the new Deputy Governor of the Bank of England warned that the financial situation was at least as bad as that of the 1970s. As the Prime Minister returns to his desk today to work on an economic plan that will form the centrepiece of his attempt at an autumn political fightback, Charles Bean said that the slowdown may ‘drag on for some considerable time’ and that social problems could be caused by the squeeze on household incomes. Mr. Bean, speaking at a central bankers’ conference in Wyoming, said that the financial crisis was a ‘transitory period.’ But he warned that every time the markets appeared to be recovering, ‘another grenade” exploded.’” (08/26/08)

The High Chancellor (Mr. Brown) is sounding more and more like Bush to Reagan: a poor successor.

Mama's Note: What no politician is willing to even contemplate is the fact that there is absolutely no way to "plan" or control the economy to promote prosperity and stability. It's simply never going to happen, no matter what they try. Government isn't the answer... it IS the problem.

Economic news:
Georges Bank drilling weighed
Boston Globe
“Canadian government officials and some fishermen are considering the once unthinkable: drilling for oil and gas on the fabled Georges Bank fishing ground their nation shares with the United States. Surging energy prices, advances in drilling technology, and the decline of fishing have combined to reignite interest in looking for oil on the vast elevated stretch of sea floor that sits roughly 100 miles off Cape Cod and runs northeasterly toward Nova Scotia. Nova Scotia’s energy minister, Richard Hurlburt, said in an interview that it is possible that fishing and oil drilling ‘can coexist’ on Georges.” (08/25/08)

It is really too bad that the Georges Bank fishermen aren’t allowed to own their valuable piece of (underwater) real estate. Like their shorebound brethren, they could collect royalties that would offset (and perhaps even be used to repair) the decline in fishing. Of course, it is the “commons” treatment of the Georges Bank that in large part has caused the decline of the fishing there – they don’t really own their property and cannot prevent trespass and destruction, while it encourages everyone to take everything possible out as quickly as possible.

US: Bond prices soar as stocks fall
CNN Money
“Bond prices rallied on Monday morning as the stock market opened lower on renewed fears over the financial sector and the health of the economy. The benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury bond rose 23/32 to 101 24/32, yielding 3.79% for investors, down from 3.87% late Friday. Bond prices and yields move in opposite directions.” [Editor’s note: In other words, speculators are confident that the US security state will remain capable of shaking the citizens down for years to come - TLK] (08/25/08)

Depending on who you talk to, either the propaganda by the left (supposedly in support of Obama-Biden) is winning out over the general soundness, OR the truth is finally getting through the veil of lies spread by the present Administration. Tom is right (if a bit melodramatic). Despite rumors (or people trying to START rumors) of repudiation of the National Debt, people (or at least those who drive the market) trust government more than they do business under the thumb of government to be stable. In the long run, it is a very misplaced trust.

Government-run, tax-funded schools:
Australian school may backflip on cartwheel ban
“An Australian school which recently banned its students from doing cartwheels, somersaults and other gymnastics during recess is reviewing the decision after parents and students got all bent out of shape. The school, in the coastal town of Townsville in Queensland state, told students they could not perform any acrobatics such as handstands outside class because they were a safety hazard.” (08/27/08)

Overreaction results in an opposite overreaction.

High tech:
Solar plane doubles world record
Daily Tech
“As the Olympics close, a dizzying couple weeks of record breaking have come to an end. In total 43 world records were smashed. In this spirit aerospace startup QinitiQ announced an important record of its own in the field of alternative energy. In Phelpsian fashion, QinetiQ’s Zephyr Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) obliterated the previous world record for continuous solar flight, though some technical disputes may hold off its place in the records books for a short time. According to QinetiQ, the Zephyr flew for 83 hours and 37 minutes, more than twice the longest flight time of Northrop Grumman’s Global Hawk, holder of the current record.” (08/25/08)

Neat trick. Maybe this technology will restore airline service at some time in the future, since the price of fuel (and their own stupidity, I must add) have seemingly started the industry on a downward spiral.

Home front:
Peace activists participate in 500 mile walk
Leaf Chronicle
“Witness Against War is a 500-mile walk from Chicago to Saint Paul to challenge and nonviolently resist our nation’s wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The campaign seeks to hold both major political parties - Democrat and Republican - accountable and responsible for continuing and ending the Iraq war. Joshua Brollier joined the walk in Chicago on July 12 and has participated in awareness events and community forums along the route to St. Paul. The walkers will convene there on August 29 to march in step with the Veterans for Peace at the Republican National Convention protests.” (08/27/08)

I suspect that the protests in Minneapolis will fizzle just as the ones in Denver did, if not quite as badly.

Home front:
MS: ICE thugs claim largest mass worker abduction ever
“U.S. immigration agents have arrested 595 people at a Mississippi factory in what was the largest workplace enforcement raid in the United States to date, an immigration official said on Tuesday. Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokeswoman Barbara Gonzalez said federal agents arrested the workers in a raid at the Howard Industries Inc. factory in Laurel, Miss, on Monday …. Gonzalez said 475 detainees were transferred to an ICE detention facility in Jena, Louisiana, while nine unaccompanied minors — eight males and one female — were placed in the custody of the office of refugee resettlement. A further 106 people were released based on ‘humanitarian concerns,’ Gonzalez said.” (08/26/08)

Of course, this is a bogus claim as to size, since multiple-site raids have gotten more: however, just as much other evidence shows, this is an indicator that the ICE and their hierarchy (in both Congress and the Administration) are getting more desperate to show results. And indeed, the situation is getting worse for both illegal immigrants and for the economy, as businesses try any means to find workers.

Local Tyranny:
DE: HOA tells residents to show up or pay up
Cape Gazette
“In an effort to get homeowners to attend an annual meeting, a Long Neck condominium association has threatened to fine homeowners $100 if they don’t attend or at least return a proxy. Bayshore Condominium Association President Tom Durkin said in order to conduct business, at least half of the 147 condominium association members must attend the annual board meeting, Saturday, Aug. 23. The July 29 letter states, ‘Please be aware that the board passed an official resolution. If you are unable to attend the meeting and do not return your proxy/ballot, you will be assessed a fine of $100.’” (08/22/08)

And just how do they intend to collect the fines – go to the local county and get a guy with a gun to deliver a court order to pay? It is things like this that turn voluntary associations into governments, and something that SHOULD be good into something that is evil.

Mesopotamian front:
Iraq [sic]: Suicide blast kills 25 at celebration
Washington Post
“A suicide bomber killed at least 25 people celebrating the return of an Iraqi detainee from U.S. custody, Iraqi officials said Sunday night. … The men were celebrating the release of a son of Adnan Hanoush, head of the Awakening Movement in the city, witnesses said. They said the son, Sami Hanoush, was freed from Camp Bucca, a U.S.-run detention facility, three days ago. … the dead included both Sami and Adnan Hanoush and four of Sami’s brothers.” (08/25/08)

They are killing their own, or so we are expected to believe. No surprise, I guess, since they have such a mandate from God. But increasingly, Islam (or at least the radical version) fits right in with Kali-worship, Aztec religion, and the worship of Moloch (a version of Ba'al who was worshipped by placing babies on the redhot arms of the bronze idol), as an antihuman religion of pure evil.

Mesopotamian front:
Iraq [sic]: 25 Iraqis, one US soldier killed in fighting
Agence France-Presse
“A suicide bomber thwarted a security check at a police recruiting centre in Iraq on Tuesday and blew himself up, killing at least 25 young people, the local police chief said. The attack in Jalwala 150 kilometres (90 miles) north of Baghdad came after a car bomb in executed dictator’s Saddam Hussein’s home town of Tikrit wounded 13 people including four police officers. … Also on Tuesday, the US military said an American soldier has died from wounds sustained when his foot patrol came under small arms fire in northern Baghdad.” (08/26/08)

“Nits make lice.” That was the evil Colonel “Rev.” Chivington’s justification for killing Cheyenne and Arapaho children at Sand Creek in 1864, and apparently the “insurgents” in Mesopotamia agree with his philosophy: kill those who may be enlisting and save money and time by not waiting until they are trained.

Mesopotamian front:
Iraq: [sic] Maliki demands firm US withdrawal date
Los Angeles Times
“Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki said Monday that an agreement on the future of U.S. forces in Iraq must include a firm withdrawal date and that Iraq wants them out of the country by the end of 2011. It was the first time Maliki explicitly demanded a fixed deadline for the departure of all U.S. troops from Iraq. His words appeared to rule out the presence of any U.S. Military advisors, special forces and air support after the withdrawal date. … U.S. and Iraqi negotiators have been haggling for months over the security agreement, which must be approved by Iraq’s parliament by the end of the year. That is when the United Nations mandate governing the presence of U.S. Forces here expires. If an agreement is not reached, U.S. Forces would, in effect, be left with no legal standing to be in Iraq.” (08/26/08)

“About one day after you have a REAL government,” would be one answer by a soldier.

Mama's Note: OK, what would you call a "real government?" And why should it matter to the US?

Nazgul (murdering, rights-stealing category):
Mexico: Supreme Court upholds abortion law
Christian Science Monitor
“In a strong reaffirmation of one of the hemisphere’s most lenient abortion laws, Mexico’s Supreme Court on Thursday upheld legal abortion in the nation’s capital. ‘To affirm that there is an absolute constitutional protection of life in gestation would lead to the violation of the fundamental rights of women,’ said Justice Sergio Valls. The controversial case has been watched closely by the rest of the country, and both critics and supporters of the Supreme Court decision say they believe it will push other states to liberalize their own abortion laws.” (08/29/08)

In other words, like Ari Armstrong (“Freedom “ [sic] misused in the title as Ari's definition of freedom is for some group arbitrarily defined as human, apparently), these judges are godlike - ruling on what is and is not human, and deciding that some humans are more equal than others... Sound familiar? Only women capable of reproduction have “fundamental rights” and the rest of us have only rights that must bow to that of the reproductively-capable woman, but apparently ONLY if she chooses NOT to reproduce. Nevermind that it was that woman's on choice, 99.9% of the time, to engage in the activity that caused the other human to come into existence, never mind that that innocent human had no say on coming into existence and is not, even in cases of incest or rape, responsible for “invading” the woman's body – kill 'em, kill 'em, kill 'em. Let God sort it out.

Nazgul (rapist category):
TX: Federal judge charged with sex crimes
USA Today
“A federal judge has been indicted on sex abuse charges, the Justice Department says. Samuel Kent, a U.S. District Court Judge in Texas, faces one count of attempted aggravated sexual abuse and two counts of abusive sexual contact. The indictment claims Kent, 59, ‘did knowingly engage in sexual contact with another person without that other person’s permission.’ That person, who is not identified in the filing, is described as a court employee.” (08/29/08)

Apparently, the permanent, appointed, lifetime power that a federal district judge have over every person that appears in his court isn't enough, he has to demonstrate his “virility” by raping his employees, as well. (Assuming that the charges ARE indeed true, of course.)

CA: Judge upholds nude sunbathing
Los Angeles Times
“Visitors to a stretch of San Onofre State Beach will still need extra sunblock for those hard-to-reach places, thanks to a legal victory Wednesday for nudists who frequent the spot. Orange County Superior Court Judge Sheila Fell ruled that state parks officials can cite sunbathers and swimmers in the buff only if a member of the public complains.” (08/28/08)

Exactly what gives someone the right to go to an area clearly designated and very well known as a nude bathing area, and then turn around and file a complaint about it? Stripping off on a family beach is one thing, this is entirely different.

Our British cousins:
UK: More than 1,000 children jailed for breaching Asbos
Independent [UK]
“An increasing number of children are being criminalised by the justice system, it was claimed yesterday, as new figures showed that more than 1,000 youngsters have been jailed for an average of six months each for breaching anti-social behaviour orders. Penal reformers and children’s groups warned last night that the heavy-handed use of Asbos against youngsters risked turning them into criminals in adult life. And new figures showed that 986 children aged 10 to 17 were jailed for breaking Asbos between 2000, when they were launched, and the end of 2006. Another 300 to 400 youngsters are thought to have joined the total in 2007 and 2008.” (08/25/08)

It seems to me that if they are the subject of ASBOs and are violating the ASBOs, they are already criminals. Jail time might make them more proficient criminals, more hardened lawbreakers, but they are not going to switch from the side of the angels to the dark side now – they did that a while ago. Also, a 10 or 11 year old might be a child, a 15 or 17 year old is NOT.

Mama's Note: There is a lot of innocent behavior targeted by these ASBOs... but you can bet that putting them all together in an institutional setting will make sure that those who ARE criminals become the teachers of the rest, and all will continue down the spiral staircase to hell.

Persian front:
Report: Iran has 4,000 nuclear centrifuges
Gulf News [UAE]
“Iran has 4,000 working nuclear centrifuges, an official said in remarks published on Friday. Deputy Foreign Minister Alireza Shaikh Attar also told the official Islamic Republic News Agency that 3,000 more centrifuges are being installed.” (08/29/08)

Even 4,000, much less 7,000 centrifuges seems a wee bit too many for a “peaceful” nuclear program, though they are the ones bankrupting themselves and as long as they don't threaten anyone with it, that should be their business. However, the way they are announcing and boasting of this, it is clear this is nothing but another way for Iran to provoke the West into some kind of action – even if only more talking and warnings.

Politics 2008:
CO: Democrats kick off convention madness
ABC News
“A presidential ticket now in hand, exuberant Democrats flooded downtown Denver today for the official start of their 2008 nominating convention, hoping to heal rifts from a bruising primary season and begin their fight to the November election with renewed focus. Security is tight, media lines into the Pepsi Center wax and wane, and a few protesters have already been arrested, all for a convention that is predicted to have a cast of characters that number close to 100,000.” (08/25/08)

Madness indeed! Already, a Wyoming citizen has been arrested for carrying his rifles – in locked rifle cases – into his room at the same hotel that Her Ladyship Nancy Pelosi, Baron of San Francisco, is staying at. And he had two handguns in his car! Never mind he was going on a hunting trip… Of course, he really did deserve an award for the stupidity of going through Denver instead of Fort Morgan and Limon to go to Texas to go hunting… this week, especially.

Politics 2008:
Clinton urges party unity, McCain’s defeat
“Vowing ‘no way, no how, no McCain,’ Hillary Rodham Clinton urged divided Democrats last night to come together to elect her primary opponent, Illinois Sen. Barack Obama. ‘It’s time to take back the country we love,’ Clinton told the roaring Democratic convention audience at Denver’s Pepsi Center, which greeted her like rock star and frequently drowned out her speech with long applause. … Responding to the relentless divide and conquer strategy this week of the presumptive Republican opponent, Arizona Sen. John McCain, that has highlighted her primary-season criticism of Obama, Clinton turned the tables by emphasizing McCain’s ties to the unpopular President George W. Bush. ‘We don’t need four more years of the last eight years,’ she said.” (08/27/08)

So she caved – too bad. Of course, what we have almost certainly heard is the first speech of the Clinton 2012 election campaign. The reasoning is like this: if Obama tanks and lets McCain win (and after the two VP selections, a lot of people are thinking he has just done that: lost the general election) OR falls flat on his face (does a Jimmy Carter), she has another shot in 2012.

Politics 2008:
AK: Stevens wins primary; Young in tight race
Los Angeles Times
“A widening corruption scandal threw a new shadow over Alaska’s powerful Republican political establishment Tuesday, with veteran congressman Don Young fighting to hold onto the seat he has held for 35 years. With more than half of the primary votes counted, Young was running neck-and-neck with Republican Lt. Gov. Sean Parnell, who has been endorsed by Gov. Sarah Palin. But Sen. Ted Stevens, facing a federal indictment over improperly reported income, was winning easily against six Republican challengers, pulling 63% of the vote.” (08/27/08)

Given the surprising news later in the week, this is very interesting. Palin is clearly an insurgent, and her own political base in Alaska is anti-GOP establishment. It is, in a way, too bad for Alaska that McCain didn’t announce his selection of Palin until AFTER the Tuesday elections, for it might have made a difference. My own opinion is that Stevens belongs in prison or exile.

Politics 2008:
Code Pink activists face tough odds for public attention
Yahoo! News
“Kelly Jacobs will be wearing dresses made from a ‘peace flag’ every day at the Democratic National Convention. As a delegate and a CodePink activist, she’ll don bright pink earrings, shoes and backpacks — and hundreds of peace and pink-colored buttons. … These are hard times for peace activists. Despite CodePink’s flashy costumes and willingness to disrupt campaign events and congressional hearings — sometimes facing arrest for it — the women are finding it more difficult to maintain public attention on the Iraq war. Americans are now focused more on the gasoline prices they’re paying, declining values of their homes and other economic issues. The ups and downs in a highly contested presidential election also have edged Iraq off the front page and evening newscasts most days.” (08/26/08)

Not that evidence that somehow, once again, we seem to be muddling through to something approaching “victory” has anything to do with it. As other stories point out, Denver was very disappointing for the “antiwar” activists and possibly fatal for their cause, at least in the Democratic Party. Perhaps they could get more done if they team up with LaRouche?

Politics 2008:
CO: Denver reopens roads due to lack of protester attendance
“The city of Denver reopened some of the closed roads in downtown Denver on Monday because of lack of participation and low attendance in a protest parade. … The roads were originally supposed to reopen at 3 p.m. on Monday after being closed at 11 a.m., but the city reopened them by noon instead. A few hundred protesters did show up for a protest during the lunch hour on Monday. They walked from Civic Center Park to the U.S. Courthouse at 19th and Stout on Monday much to the bewilderment of lunch goers on the 16th Street Mall. Chanting ‘No Justice, No Peace!’ the group caused a few minor traffic delays, but no major issues were seen.” (08/26/08)

The stupidity of closing Denver streets for the protest parade was compounded by complete collapse of the protest movement. I suspect that they might have turned off more than a few denizens of downtown Denver, especially given the way Denver workers, residents, and drivers have been abused by the DNCC already. Denver and Boulder are big-time liberal, Democratic strongholds, and I hope that this had turned a good many people against the party out of anger, if nothing else.

Politics 2008:
Denver protests pale shadow of ‘68
“Propping up a large banner beneath the steps of the Colorado State Capitol dome, 25-year-old Weston Wilson was clearly underwhelmed with the antiwar protest taking shape around him. ‘I’m a little bummed out,’ the Denver English major and seasonal landscaper said Sunday morning, estimating his fellow anti-Iraq war marchers at no more than 700. Wilson was well aware of the hype that preceded this day: one group, calling itself Re-create 68, was hoping for a turnout of 10,000 to 20,000 and was advocating for a re-creation of the infamous 1968 Chicago Democratic convention when protesters battled police for more than a week.” (08/26/08)

A total and complete bust, indeed. Clearly, people just don’t care. I am sure that we will hear claims that the police-state atmosphere created by Denver was the cause –that people were scared off by fears of arrest and violence. But Americans, and people worldwide, have shown time and again that if you really DO care about an issue, that such threats will be either ignored or embraced. Clearly, the vast majority of “antiwar” activists and supporters are not even summer soldiers – they are gutless hypocrites.

Mama's Note: I don't buy that for a moment. Maybe a lot of those who might have joined these protests figured out what I did a long time ago... parading around with signs is usually stupid and useless. I am as much against this "war" as anyone I know, but I have other ways to fight it.

Politics 2008:
Kennedy to convention: “Dream lives on”
Baltimore Sun
“His wave familiar, his voice firm, Sen. Edward M. Kennedy told a cheering Democratic National Convention last night that this is ‘a season of hope’ for a stronger future in America under the presidency of Barack Obama. And he added: ‘I pledge to you that I will be there next January on the floor of the United States Senate.’ That had special meaning, given the bleak prognosis Kennedy faces with a malignant brain tumor. … For his emotion-charged appearance at the launch of the convention here, Kennedy braved the fatigue and weakened immune system caused by his treatment for brain cancer to celebrate Obama’s nomination and to witness a moving tribute that Democrats had prepared for the 46-year Massachusetts senator. It included a speech by Caroline Kennedy, the daughter of the assassinated President John F. Kennedy, Ted Kennedy’s older brother.” (08/26/08)

Of course, what is a “dream” for Teddy Kennedy is a nightmare to freedom-loving people, especially Americans.

Politics 2008:
Canada: Major parties ready for election this fall
Dundas Star News
“Although anticipation of a fall election has been heating up for the past week, local candidates hoping to unseat incumbent Conservative MP David Sweet have effectively been campaigning for more than a year. Canada’s top four parties appear poised for a snap election call in Ancaster, Dundas, Flamborough and Westdale. Locally, the Liberals, Conservatives, New Democrats and Green Party all have candidates in waiting, if Prime Minister Stephen Harper calls a federal election, as expected, early next week.” (08/29/08)

Imagine, once more (as happened 40 years ago, as I recall), both the United States and Canada have full federal elections in the same year.

Politics 2008:
Denver: Activists fly the ‘freedom cage’
Christian Science Monitor
“They’re outside city offices, in parks, on the capitol steps and near the US Mint. But the one place most protesters here are avoiding is the official demonstration zone, a fenced-in parking lot near the Democratic National Convention that activists here mockingly call “the freedom cage.’ The 47,000-square-foot zone is hemmed by rows of metal barricades and concrete barriers and watched over by uniformed Secret Service agents. Views of the Pepsi Center convention site, some 700 feet away, are blocked by a giant tent housing news media. On Monday afternoon, a couple hours after the convention kicked off, the zone was an asphalt desert. …. Even so, most protesters are taking their message elsewhere, many to a constellation of 13 parks within a mile of the Pepsi Center. One of the most active groups is Recreate 68, an alliance of anticorporate and antiwar protesters that has demonstration permits every day of the convention. But rallies and parades have also being staged by groups pitching everything from immigrant rights, women’s equality, and Ralph Nader to lower fuel costs, legal marijuana, and a united Jerusalem. Police have so far been underwhelmed. A parade permitted for 25,000 Sunday drew just 1,000, according to the city. A march on Monday was so small that police reopened closed streets. As of Tuesday night, the city had reported 135 convention-related arrests. Most occurred Monday night, when police say a crowd of 300 disrupting traffic near Civic Center Park refused requests to disperse and then rushed a police line. Suspects were charged with disobeying orders, obstructing a public street, and interference, violations of city ordinances.” (08/27/08)

The protests have turned out to be a hollow joke. Apparently, despite their claims, people just do not care.

Mama's Note: Maybe, though I doubt it. And maybe they've decided that there isn't any real point to it, if there ever was. No amount of protest is going to change the system, and I hope a lot of people are starting to wake up to the fact that it doesn't matter a bit who is "elected." There isn't even a "lesser of two evils" this time. One of these monsters WILL become the next president, and the "war" WILL continue, regardless. What's to protest... and to whom?

Our right to defend ourselves:
NYC: Stabbing victim’s cries for help ignored
Associated Press
“Investigators say neighbors waited more than a half hour to call police after hearing a woman’s screams for help as she was being stabbed to death at a New York City apartment. … Witnesses say neighbors ignored the woman’s screams for more than 30 minutes before someone called the police.” (08/25/08)

Surprising that this made the news – since it is not at all uncommon in NYC and many other places, where people “mind their own business” or are afraid to respond in a Christian manner to such desperate needs.

Mama's Note: And, not to mention the fact that there was little or no possibility for this woman to be armed and able to defend herself. I wonder about the "witnesses" who made the comments... why didn't THEY call for help sooner?

Our right to defend ourselves:
TX: Resident shoots intruder
Austin American-Statesman
“Sheriff’s deputies in Bastrop are investigating a fatal shooting that happened Tuesday when a man fatally shot another man he says was trying to break into his residence on John Croft Road near the city of Bastrop. A dispatcher said that Dillian Wilhelm shot James Nauer, of Bastrop, around 1:30 a.m. Tuesday when Nauer reportedly entered his house with a club. Nauer was critically injured and taken to the University Medical Center at Brackenridge where he was pronounced dead, according to the sheriff’s office. ” (08/27/08)

Yes, being threatened with a club, in your own house, at night, is reasonable justification to use deadly force.

Mama's Note: Don't any of these news outlets have editors anymore? Do you suppose it would have been possible for this writer to use the word "Bastrop" a few more times? And a "fatal shooting" is usually what happens when a man gets "fatally shot." ARGGG

Our right to defend ourselves:
GA: Law banning guns at “public gatherings” has racist past
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
“Next month is the 140th anniversary of the Camilla Massacre, when a group largely made up of blacks heading to a Southwest Georgia Republican political rally were shot up by white locals after being warned not to bring guns to town. Gun-rights advocates say the September 1868 massacre, in which at least nine freedmen were killed and up to 25-30 were wounded, led the General Assembly to ban citizens from carrying firearms at political rallies and other ‘public gatherings.’ The aim, they say, was to keep guns away from blacks. ‘It was entirely about race,’ said Ed Stone, president of GeorgiaCarry.Org.” (08/22/08)

This is a commentary masquerading as a news story, even though I am sympathetic to and their attempts to eliminate the law. Keeping in mind that this was in the depths of Reconstruction (1868) and the GOP carpetbaggers and their freedmen stooges were in power in Georgia’s legislature at the time, and that the freedmen, though armed, got the short end of the stick in the Camilla battle, I believe that the ban was actually an attempt to protect their power base, which WAS the blacks at the time. The fact that the law has had the effect of weakening opposition and of being used to further segregation just shows the overall evil of such gun laws; it became a tool of racism even though it probably didn’t start out that way.

Our right to defend ourselves:
NV: Law may allow homeowners to shoot intruders
Fox 5 News
“There’s a popular phrase that says ‘A man’s home is his castle.’ One Valley lawmaker is trying to get a new law passed that goes even further to protect homes and homeowners’ rights. It’s called the Castle Doctrine, and it’s been passed in more than a dozen states, but not without some controversy. The law would allow homeowners to use deadly force on a home intruder, with no regard to whether he or she’s retreating. ‘I keep a gun in my house. It’s close at hand. My children are gone, so it’s ready … Not cocked, but it’s ready,’ said assemblyman Harry Mortenson, D-Nev.” (08/25/08)

As usual, even Fox can’t get the story straight when it comes to self-defense rights. It is NOT self-defense when the intruder is retreating, it is self-defense even if the homeowner does not retreat. The idea that one must retreat, EVEN IN YOUR OWN HOME, from an invader or attacker, is an evil and pernicious doctrine that needs to be outlawed. (Although I may be reading more into Mortenson’s words than I should, it seems to me he is still of the “save the chilluns” faction that will try to ban loaded weapons from homes with children – a bad idea even if he supports the rest of the Castle Doctrine.”

Our right to defend ourselves:
TX: Tattoo parlor owner shoots intruder
“The owner of a tattoo parlor shot and killed an intruder at the business on near north side early Tuesday. Police said the incident began as a disturbance at Perfection Tattoo in the 3500 block of Blanco Road at 2:30 a.m. The business owner told police the man drove up to the building and broke a window and then threw a Molotov cocktail through the window, police said. The owner then opened fire on the man outside the business, killing him, police said. Police don’t plan on filing charges against the owner, police said.” (08/25/08)

It is a strange business here, but I suspect some kind of revenge was being attempted. Fortunately the owner was present and armed to defend himself and his business.

Our right to defend ourselves:
NY: Assailants pick wrong guy
“Two assailants picked on the wrong guy when they confronted a man exiting his car in his driveway in West Hempstead on Monday night, police said. The 35-year-old homeowner, who owns a check-cashing business in the city, was armed — carrying his licensed Glock 9-mm pistol. When one of the assailants fired at the man, he fired back. No one was hit by the gunfire on Oakford Street before the pair fled.” (08/26/08)

Although shots WERE fired, this is another example of how guns are used to prevent or stop crime WITHOUT anyone being killed or injured – a fact that the hoploclasts try to ignore.

Mama's Note: It always makes me grit my teeth when I read the "license" bit. Someone who was prevented from getting that insane "license" would NO DOUBT be in jail now if he'd had a gun anyway, or would probably have been killed if he'd not had a gun to defend himself with.

Our right to defend ourselves:
TX: Teachers tote sidearms to school
Arizona Republic
“Along with normal first-day jitters and excitement, students in this tiny district started school Monday wondering which teachers might be toting firearms. ‘It was kind of awkward, knowing that some teachers were carrying guns,’ said Adam Lira, 17, a senior. ‘I don’t feel like they should be, cause we already have locked doors and cameras. But I didn’t feel threatened by it.’ Several parents said they had no idea that school employees were allowed to carry concealed guns on campus until recent publicity about the school board’s policy, approved quietly last fall. They said they were upset that the rural community [Harrold, TX] near the Oklahoma line had not been able to give input. While some parents said they felt their children were safer, others opposed the policy, which might be a first nationally.” (08/26/08)

It is parents like these that also don’t understand why they need to get their kids out of government-run, tax-funded schools, of course; and students like this that grow up to be hoplophobes and hoploclasts. Hopefully, many MANY more schools – especially –private schools – will follow this example. Locked doors? Please, all it does is keep the soft targets inside and soft. As for cameras, they can record, but they can’t defend. Assuming the invader isn’t killed or doesn’t kill themselves, the cameras will help get them convicted, so that they can live on the taxpayers’ dime for decades after their victims are in the ground. An armed teacher, on the other hand, is more of an example AND nurturer than an unarmed person is.

Our right to defend ourselves:
WA: Seattle holds off on gun restrictions
Seattle Times
“As summer began, Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels said he was taking steps to prohibit guns on all city-owned property after three people were injured in a shooting at Seattle Center’s Northwest Folklife festival. But as the Center’s summer festival season concludes with Bumbershoot this weekend, no prohibition has taken effect. … In the state Legislature, representatives and senators have asked state Attorney General Rob McKenna to issue an informal legal opinion on whether state law pre-empts Nickels’ executive order. … Also, the Second Amendment Foundation and the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, both based in Bellevue, have notified Nickels they intend to mount a legal challenge to the executive order.” (08/24/08)

A typical example of liberal hoploclasts – he thought HE had the power to take away people’s rights and that HIS action would stop criminals from disobeying a decree (“executive order”) when they routinely violate dozens of other laws, like laws against shooting people who aren’t attacking you.

Our right to defend ourselves:
OK: Man shot after arguing with woman
“Officers said a man and woman were fighting at Northeast 28th Street and Santa Fe Avenue when another man pulled up in a truck. The woman got into the truck, police said, but the man she was fighting with broke the back window and tried to pull her through it. That’s when the truck’s driver shot the man twice.” (08/24/08)

A good Samaritan who was, like the original, prepared to defend the person that he helped.

Russian front:
Russia: Lawmakers vote to recognize South Ossetia, Abkhazia
“Both houses of Russia’s parliament unanimously called on President Dmitry Medvedev to recognize the independence of two breakaway Georgian regions … Boris Gryzlov, speaker of the State Duma, the lower house, told reporters in Moscow today that he expects Medvedev to respond to parliament’s appeals regarding South Ossetia and Abkhazia ‘in a very short time,’ the Interfax news service reported. Medvedev, who will make the final decision on whether to recognize the territories, has said Russia supports the regions’ decisions on their future status, though he has stopped short of formally recognizing them. U.S. President George W. Bush has insisted the regions remain part of Georgia.” (08/25/08)

Surprise, not. Some wonder why they didn’t do this years ago, in fact. IF this were nothing but a prelude to independence for the two regions, I would be happy. The only thing I fear is that (1) this might be the first step in transferring the two to the Russian Federation, and (2) the United States is going to be stupid and claim that they must be a part of Georgia.

Halliburton sued for human trafficking
Raw Story
“Twelve men recruited in Nepal died after forced transfer to Iraq, lawfirm says. Thirteen Nepali men were recruited and held against their will for thirteen months in a human trafficking scheme engineered and perpetrated by Halliburton and its Jordanian contractor, according to a lawsuit filed yesterday in California federal court. The Nepali men, each between the ages of 18 and 27, were allegedly hired as kitchen staff by the then-Halliburton subsidiary KBR and its Jordanian subcontractor, Daoud & Partners. Once they arrived in Jordan, however, their passports were seized and they were dispatched to Iraq.” (08/28/08)

IF this is proved to be true, this is NOT a matter for civil suit: the employees of Halliburton and its subsidiary and/or contractor, wherever based, are slavers and deserve to be punished as slavers. Of course, since the Saudis and dozens of other groups of Muslims, including many governments, are equally guilty of slaving, and have been involved in it for decades (their ancestors, physical or spiritual, for centuries) it is kind of hypocritical to be going after just the American companies and people, right? If these people were engaged in the slave trade (“human trafficking” is a PC-term for this evil), and their victims died as a result, then the death penalty should certainly be considered.

South Asian front:
Pakistan: Coalition in major split
BBC News [UK]
“Former Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif says his PML-N party is pulling out of the country’s multi-party governing coalition. … The move throws Pakistan into further turmoil at a time of economic gloom and growing threats from militants.” (08/25/08)

The question that comes now is whether the Pakistani Army CAN hold Pakistan together or not – is this just the military letting the politicians play their little games while they ignore the playing, or has the Army lost its grip?

South Asian front:
India: Kashmir separatist leaders arrested
BBC News [UK]
“Indian police have arrested the two most prominent separatist leaders in Indian-administered Kashmir ahead of a protest rally in defiance of a curfew. Syed Ali Shah Geelani and Mirwaiz Omar Farooq were arrested at their homes on Sunday night, hours before the rally was due to begin in Srinagar. An indefinite curfew was imposed on Sunday morning to prevent protesters reaching the city. Separatist rallies drew hundreds of thousands of people in recent weeks.” (08/25/08)

Like South Ossetia and other places, is it not time for India to let Kashmir just become independent? Obviously, India fears that other states in its empire will want to do the same, but that doesn’t provide any justification for this continued occupation.

South Asian front:
Thailand: Protesters, police scuffle over court order
Associated Press
“Thai police retreated from the prime minister’s office compound Friday, seeking to defuse tensions with thousands of protesters who have occupied the site for nearly four days. Earlier, police officers muscled onto the grounds to deliver a court eviction order to the members of the People’s Alliance for Democracy, who are seeking the ouster of Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej. Several minor injuries were reported throughout the day as brief skirmishes erupted around the perimeter of the compound and in nearby streets.” (08/29/08)

Troops will most likely be next.

Stupid cop tricks:
Denver: Reporter arrested taking pictures at meeting
ABC News
“Police in Denver arrested an ABC News producer today as he and a camera crew were attempting to take pictures on a public sidewalk of Democratic Senators and VIP donors leaving a private meeting at the Brown Palace Hotel. Police on the scene refused to tell ABC lawyers the charges against the producer, Asa Eslocker, who works with the ABC News investigative unit. A cigar-smoking Denver police sergeant, accompanied by a team of five other officers, first put his hands on Eslocker’s neck, then twisted the producers arm behind him to put on handcuffs. A police official later told lawyers for ABC News that Eslocker is being charged with trespass, interference, and failure to follow a lawful order. He also said the arrest followed a signed complaint from the Brown Palace Hotel.” (08/27/08)

Having viewed the video several times, I fail to see why Denver is not being deluged by ACLU and ABC lawyers suing everyone in Denver city government and the DNC for this insane abuse of power. I know the Brown Palace and cannot believe that ANYone – cops especially – would believe that the sidewalk is anything but public property. But even if it were not, that does not justify chokeholds used by the thugs who did this. Fortunately, not ALL Denver cops are like these, but these make the other 10% look bad.

Stupid cop tricks:
MA: Harvard scrutinizing its police on race
Boston Globe
“Harvard University will launch an examination of the campus Police Department following long-running complaints that officers have unfairly treated black students and professors and, in an incident this month, a black high school student working at Harvard. President Drew Gilpin Faust announced yesterday that she has appointed an independent, six-member committee to review the diversity training, community outreach, and recruitment efforts of Harvard police, the first review of its kind in more than a decade. In recent weeks, black student and faculty leaders have been pressing the university to address what they view as racial profiling by the predominantly white campus police force, which Harvard oversees. Ralph Martin, former Suffolk district attorney and managing partner of the Boston office of the Bingham McCutchen law firm, will lead the committee, which will start work next week.” (08/27/08)

No different than the rest of Mass, it seems. And to think that New England has had the gall to accuse the South of racism for centuries.

Stupid cop tricks:
UK: War On Terror board game seized by police
Cambridge News [UK]
“A War On Terror board game designed in Cambridge has been seized by police who claim the balaclava in the set could be used in a criminal act. The satirical board game was confiscated along with knives, chisels and bolt cutters, from climate protesters during a series of raids near Kingsnorth power station, in Kent, last week. The game’s creators, Andrew Sheerin and Andy Tompkins, web designers from Cambridge, have expressed total shock at the inclusion of their toy among ‘criminal’ items. Andrew, 32, said: ‘I saw pictures of the board game in papers and was absolutely baffled. Surely no member of the public is going to believe that a board game could be used as a weapon?’” (08/25/08)

What a perfect example of the stupidity of the peelers in today’s United Kingdom. Why not go ahead and ban pantyhose, too, since you can use those to disguise yourself for robberies and terror attacks?

Stupid government trick:
Japan: Country ordered to pay damages for sailor’s suicide
Yahoo! News
“The Japanese government will have to pay damages to the parents of a sailor who hanged himself after being repeatedly insulted by his superior, in the first such court ruling involving a civil servant, media said. The Fukuoka High Court in southern Japan ordered 3.5 million yen ($32,000) be paid to the parents of the petty officer third class, a court spokesman said, declining to give further details. Kyodo news agency said the court recognized that the sailor’s suicide had been caused by depression, a result of stress accumulated from insults such as: ‘You are not qualified as a petty officer third class’ and ‘Are you dumb?’ The sailor had been 21 when he committed suicide aboard a destroyer in 1999, it said. A lower court had ruled in the government’s favor, saying the remarks from the sailor’s superior had fallen within the scope of training, Kyodo added.” (08/25/08)

A far cry from the pre-1946 Imperial Japanese Navy, indeed. Then, an officer or even a senior petty officer could KILL a sailor, with virtual impunity.

Mama's Note: And they killed themselves with sad regularity to "save face." Neither way makes any sense, of course, but this is pretty stupid.

Stupid government tricks:
UK: “Home carers” need more government money
BBC News [UK]
“The government must give more money to help Britain’s six million unpaid carers, MPs have said. The Commons work and pensions committee said people who looked after friends and relatives saved the taxpayer £87bn. It recommended income replacement for those unable to work because of their commitments, and compensation for costs incurred during ‘intensive’ caring. The Carer’s Allowance is currently £50.55 a week. Ministers said they were working to give carers more ‘balance.’” (08/28/08)

Having been in that situation, I am sympathetic to the needs of the carers. However, it is NOT government's place to do this!

Mama's Note: Just imagine if everyone kept what they earned... then they wouldn't NEED anything from government either.

Stupid people tricks:
Bosnia: Smuggler pigeon locked up
Ananova [UK]
“A pigeon’s behind bars after being caught smuggling drugs into a high security jail in Bosnia. The bird is a pet of one of the inmates and it’s thought tiny bags containing heroin had been tied to its legs. Wardens at Zenica prison grew suspicious when they noticed four prisoners becoming ;visibly intoxicated’ shortly after the pigeon was spotted landing on a window-ledge. The bird’s owner and three other inmates later tested positive for the drug. … The bird has been taken into custody while an investigation is carried out. ‘We do not know what to do with the pigeon,’ Pojavnik added. ‘But for the time being it will remain behind bars.’” (08/22/08)

Imaginative! Once more showing that if various authorities can’t keep drugs out of prisons, how do they think it is possible to keep recpharms (recreational pharmaceuticals) off the streets?

Stupid people tricks:
CO: Men not true threat to Obama
Arizona Republic
“A group of suspected drug users arrested in Denver last weekend with methamphetamine, guns and bulletproof vests made racist threats against Barack Obama but posed no true danger to the presidential candidate as he accepts the Democratic nomination here this week, federal authorities said Tuesday. The three men — all said to be high on methamphetamine when arrested — are the subject of an assassination investigation, but so far, authorities say, it appears they had no capacity to carry out any attack on Obama. … The three have been charged with drug and weapons offenses but not with threatening to assassinate Obama or with other national-security-related crimes.” (08/27/08)

I suspect that they decided to be famous, knowing that they are likely to be up the river for a long time.. And with the quality of meth these days, they were being just plain stupid, to boot.

Stupid people tricks:
KY: Pol’s bad joke lands him in jail
Lexington Herald Leader
“Politicians are known for lame jokes. But when Otis ‘Bullman’ Hensley tried a generations-old Appalachian jest on a woman and two girls at the grocery store, the family thought it was downright criminal. Hensley, who earned notoriety for oddball antics as a longshot gubernatorial candidate, spent three days in jail in this eastern Kentucky coal town last week after being arrested over the wisecrack. … He could have faced as many as 10 years in prison, but a charge of attempted unlawful transaction with a minor was dismissed on Monday. The ordeal began last week when Hensley’s wife sent him to a local grocery store to buy ground beef. While there, Hensley encountered a woman with her two nieces, ages 11 and 13. ‘I offered to trade her a fattening hog for those girls,’ Hensley said. ‘I meant it as a joke. I’ve said it a million times. Most people get a kick out of it.’ The woman didn’t laugh. Instead, the family obtained a warrant for Hensley’s arrest from the local prosecutor, claiming the comment was intended to entice the children into illegal sexual activity.” [Editor’s note: If this were not a practicing politician, I’d feel even more outraged at his treatment - SAT] (08/25/08)

What an incredibly stupid woman. Not that the DA has any great shakes when it comes to brains to realize what is and is not something to waste tax dollars on. Actually, the old “Appalachian jest” is more of a compliment to a sweet or pretty girl child than a joke. This aunt should move someplace where she is willing to live with the customs of the country. And make a public apology for her criminal act – in fact, the DA could be charged for his own stupid act in paying attention to this woman.

Tech news:
GPS devices helping prosecutors win convictions
Fox News
“Like millions of motorists, Eric Hanson used a GPs unit in his Chevrolet TrailBlazer to find his way around. He probably didn’t expect that prosecutors would eventually use it too — to help convict him of killing four family members. Prosecutors in suburban Chicago analyzed data from the Garmin GPs device to pinpoint where Hanson had been on the morning after his parents were fatally shot and his sister and brother-in-law bludgeoned to death in 2005. He was convicted of the killings earlier this year and sentenced to death. Hanson’s trial was among recent criminal cases around the country in which authorities used GPs navigation devices to help establish a defendant’s whereabouts. Experts say such evidence will almost certainly become more common in court as GPs systems become more affordable and show up in more vehicles.” (08/28/08)

This sort of use of a GPs is fine for me – provided that there was a real search warrant obtained and used to get the data. The problem is, Garmin and others are just giving the cops (or other government agencies) whatever they ask for, and PI's are hacking into systems to use them on paternity suits, divorce cases, child custody fights, and for bill collection purposes. Where is the line drawn?

Mama's Note: I have a problem with it being used for anything by anyone except the person trying to use it! Only a truly anonymous system would preserve privacy. Once it is open to police access, there simply is no line possible.

New rays of hope for solar power’s future
Christian Science Monitor
“From five miles away, the Nevada Solar One power plant seems a mirage, a silver lake amid waves of 110 degree F. desert heat. Driving nearer, the rippling image morphs into a sea of mirrors angled to the sun. As the first commercial ‘concentrating solar power’ or CSP plant built in 17 years, Nevada Solar One marks the reemergence and updating of a decades-old technology that could play a large new role in US power production, many observers say. ‘Concentrating solar is pretty hot right now,’ says Mark Mehos, program manager for CSP at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, Co. ‘Costs look pretty good compared to natural gas [power]. Public policy, climate concern, and new technology are driving it, too.’” (08/22/08)

Like many other alternative energy efforts, this is driven by several factors, some good and some bad. Good is the desire to replace more polluting forms of energy, and to encourage local, state, and national energy independence. Bad is the dependence on bogus government incentives and even more bogus climate change dogma. Like many solar projects, this does not recognize that the energy density of earthbased solar system makes true economy of scale impossible – hence the government subsidies. Still, it can be PART of the mix together with hydro, nuclear, tidal, wind, and geothermal.

The African Collapse:
Zimbabwe: Fuming Mugabe rattled by hecklers
BBC News [UK]
“Loud jeers and howls accompanied President Robert Mugabe address to Zimbabwe’s newly convened parliament, leaving ruling party members fuming. Such uncouth behaviour from the opposition, one Zanu-PF insider said, was uncalled for. But after gaining control of parliament, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) clearly wanted to make its mark.” (08/26/08)

Frankly, Mugabe and his fellow political thugs should be grateful it was just jeers and howls, and not heavy, thrown objects or even small pieces of metal being tossed their way. Ultimately, I don’t see Mugabe and his ilk going away without at least some violence.

Mama's Note: Indeed... his neck needs to be several inches longer.

The African Collapse:
Pirates help fund Somali warlords
Christian Science Monitor
“Somalia’s modern-day pirates are using their lucrative trade to fund fighters on both sides of the country’s escalating conflict, according to a maritime expert in Kenya. Four ships were seized by gunmen in 48 hours last week from the Gulf of Aden or along Somalia’s southern coastline, making it the busiest ever period for the pirates who make the region one of the world’s most dangerous for shipping. Where once they might have used cutlasses and muskets, today’s buccaneers use AK-47s and launch their attacks from speedboats. The hijackings coincided with a violent week on the mainland. Islamists seized a key port and fighting raged in the capital Mogadishu, where two Western journalists were kidnapped.” (08/27/08)

If these “pirates” are operating under the authority and for the profit of these warlords, then they are “privateers” and not pirates at all. Not that such a distinction should make any difference in the way they are dealt with. But it points out the fact that once more, governments who should be banding together to wipe out this scourge, instead encourage it by trying to create governments in Somalia.

The coming African collapse:
Zimbabwe: Opposition wins vote for speaker of Parliament
International Herald Tribune [France]
“The main opposition party won the vote for speaker of Parliament on Monday, dealing a blow to President Robert Mugabe in a post-election power struggle. The clerk of Parliament, Austin Zvoma, said Lovemore Moyo of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change had received 110 votes, giving him one of the most powerful positions in Zimbabwean politics at a time of growing doubt over power-sharing talks. Negotiations between Mugabe’s governing ZANU-PF and Morgan Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change are deadlocked over what the opposition says is Mugabe’s refusal to give up power after 28 years in office.” (08/25/08)

I guess I am surprised that Mugabe was not able to keep the legislators in line; it is unlikely that this will make any real difference, as long as Mugabe still claims to (and in effect does) hold the presidency. At the same time, lovers of liberty should not hold too much hope for the MDC (Tavangirai) to improve conditions THAT much in Zimbabwe: it is still a government that subscribes to socialism and the false belief that human government can solve things in the longrun.

Theft by government:
NJ: Minister tells land thieves “no” on move order
Asbury Park Press
“When the Rev. Kevin Brown learned Aug. 15 from Superior Court Judge Lawrence M. Lawson that he must move on and that his property, owned intermittently by him and by his church, would be acquired by eminent domain, city officials agreed to give Brown some time. Although it came as no surprise to Brown — who has been fighting in one courtroom or another the city’s efforts to prevent him from establishing a church, mission, soup kitchen and other uses out of 162 Broadway — City Attorney James J. Aaron gave him 10 days to vacate. Those 10 days were up Monday, but Brown stayed put. … The city plans to be back in court this week to evict Gopal and Kavita Panday, the owners of Rainbow Liquors, and one of the only other remaining holdouts for the zone that the city hopes will one day become the Broadway Arts Center, a two-block arts and entertainment zone anchored by a newly restored Paramount Theater.” (08/26/08)

Perhaps since there are church-state issues involved as well as ordinary theft, there is some chance of another judge overruling this. But judges know who pays their salaries and gives them protection from the people they have defrauded and betrayed in the past, sadly. Don’t expect the town to have to stop the stealing of the land.

Theft by government:
IN: Drug money fuels DTF spending spree
Muncie Star Press
“The Muncie-Delaware County Drug Task Force and former Police Chief Joe Winkle went on a spending spree last year with forfeited drug money, including expenses for a personal trainer and a 50-inch plasma television for the city hall gym. Even bigger expenses questioned in a State Board of Account audit of 2007 city spending include payments of $31,199 for two high-end sport-utility vehicles for DTF officers, and paying off the remaining $17,873 loan balance on accused drug dealer Adrian Kirtz’s confiscated 2003 GMC Denali that sits in storage.” [Editor’s note: Why is anyone surprised that government thieves act like private sector thieves? They steal money. They buy things they like with it. That’s how thievery works! - TLK] (08/26/08)

Incredible, isn’t it? Theft – outright theft – and then personal aggrandizement with the proceeds. And apparently no one in the county cares. I predict that the day will come when both eminent domain and forfeiture will become both RICO type charges AND subject to the death penalty for aggravated cases.

Theft by government:
Lone accountant takes on IRS … and wins
Fox News
“It took seven years, but Charles Ulrich did something many people dream about, but few succeed at: He beat the IRS in a tax dispute. Not only that, but tax experts say potentially millions of other taxpayers could benefit from his victory. The accountant from Baxter, Minn., challenged the method the IRS has used for more than 20 years to tax shares and cash distributed by mutual life insurance firms to their policyholders when they reorganize as public companies. A federal court recently agreed with his interpretation. ‘There’s a tremendous amount of money at stake,’ said Robert Willens, a New York City-based tax analyst at Robert Willens LLC. ‘Tens of thousands of people could be in line for a refund.’” [Editor’s note: This “win” is only a diversion from the much larger issues in this arena of “taxable income” - SAT] (08/25/08)

It may be only a diversion but doesn’t mean it can’t be helpful to many folks, and a reason for celebration.

War on some drugs:
MA: Soros funding effort to decriminalize pot
Fox News
“A measure that would decriminalize minor marijuana-possession cases is on the ballot in Massachusetts largely because of one man: billionaire financier and liberal activist George Soros. Of the $429,000 collected last year by the group advancing the measure, $400,000 came from Soros. … The Committee for Sensible Marijuana Policy needed about $315,000 of that just to collect the more than 100,000 signatures that secured a spot on the ballot. … If the measure is approved in November, Massachusetts would become the 13th state to lift or ease criminal penalties on marijuana possession. The proposal would make having an ounce or less of the drug a civil offense punishable by a $100 fine.” (08/27/08)

I am starting to think that Soros’ participation in ANYTHING is the kiss of death for the success of the attempt. However, I also wonder if this might not be intentional: such a fuss is made about the billionaire’s participation that no one notices that all the things fail.

War on some drugs:
TN: Alleged dope at daycare leads to suspension
“Allegations of dope at a Loudon County daycare have a pair of East Tennesseans facing drug charges, including the owner/director of the child care facility. Tennessee’s Department of Human services temporarily shut down Discovery Depot Learning Center between Lenoir City and Greenback late last week. Monday, the Loudon County Sheriff’s Department charged the daycare’s director and a man described by deputies as the director’s boyfriend with drug possession.” (08/26/08)

Sounds like a pair of stupid people and an even more stupid overreaction by the cops.

War on some drugs:
CA: Brown issues medical marijuana “guidelines”
Los Angeles Times
“For the first time in the dozen years of turmoil since state voters legalized medical marijuana, California’s top law enforcement official stepped into the fray Monday with new guidelines designed in part to quell the ongoing friction between the state and federal authorities. Atty. Gen. Jerry Brown issued an 11-page directive intended to help legitimate patients avoid arrest while giving police the tools to distinguish legal medical marijuana operations from illegal cultivators and criminal middlemen. … The guidelines affirm the legality of many of the state’s medical marijuana dispensaries, but only those operated as collectives or cooperatives and not in business for profit. … Bruce Mirken of the Marijuana Policy project questioned the nonprofit distinction, saying, ‘The last I heard, Walgreens isn’t a charity.’” [Editor’s note: Exactly. Let’s see if Brown is willing to apply the same distinction to pharmacies - TLK] (08/26/08)

Moonbeam strikes again. How long did it take this jerk to do this? The distinction between “for-profit” and “non-profit” is exactly what you would expect from this man, who is more of a totalitarian than many avowed Communists.

War on some drugs:
Bulgaria: Priest’s “gift from God” under surveillance
Ananova [UK]
“A Bulgarian priest is to go under police surveillance — because of a field of cannabis he claims is a gift from God. Father Cyril Papudov has been arrested seven times but police have never caught him actually cultivating the crop. He claims the cannabis seeded by itself and is part of God’s gift of nature and nothing to do with him. One police source in Petrich told local media: ‘There has been a great deal of suspicion over the years about what is going on with these plants. He is a man of the cloth and so a lot of people don’t want to think badly of him but frankly if someone has a huge crop of cannabis in their back garden it’s highly unlikely they are just sitting there admiring its horticultural properties.’ Now police are planning a 24-hour surveillance operation.” (08/27/08)

Isn't there some kind of violation of church and state here? And if a Catholic priest can claim (and be supported by the church) that wine is a “gift from God” even when it requires man's actions to turn it from grapes into alcohol, why not cannabis?

World wars:
Karadzic to plead at Hague court
BBC News [UK]
“Former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic is due to appear at the UN war crimes tribunal in The Hague to respond to charges of war crimes. He will be asked to enter pleas to 11 counts, including genocide, allegedly committed during the 1990s Bosnian war. If he refuses to enter any pleas, a not-guilty plea will be entered on his behalf, according to court rules. … The indictment, which is being amended, includes genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.” (08/29/08)

It seems to me that this man should be tried by a jury of Serbs, and NOT by some bogus UN tribunal.

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Nathan Barton is writing this from a wonderful place in the West, which might be in the Black Hills of South Dakota or Wyoming, or might be in one of the Four Corners States. Exactly where it is, the breezes blow with the scent of liberty, and the sound of the pines or the pinions is the sound of freedom. For thousands of years, people have fought and died for the liberty that Americans in the great spaces of the West enjoy, and he writes these commentaries in the hopes that continued generations will be able to do so, until the end of Time.

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