The Gold King Mine Spill and EPA – Warning and Doom

By Nathan Barton

(This article is being written, and published (in slightly different versions) for both Laissez Faire Today and The Price of Liberty by a “friend.”)  It is a follow-up to several earlier commentary items, and as I pointed out, we are directly and indirectly involved in the matter, here in Southwestern Colorado.)

It has been about ten days now, since the EPA had a contractor, “cleaning up” the abandoned Gold King Mine in the La Plata Mountains near Silverton, Colorado, break through a cofferdam and release what turned out to be three million gallons of highly polluted water, both acidic and containing a witch’s brew of metals: arsenic, cadmium, mercury, lead, aluminum, iron, and possibly others. The contaminated, sediment-laden water, looking like orange juice, rushed down Cement Creek and into the Animas River which flows through Silverton and Durango, and on into New Mexico to join the San Juan River and ultimately into the Colorado Continue reading

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Baker’s Dozen (TM) Signs you might be a terrorist

By Nathan Barton

You might be a “terrorist” if:

  1. Excessive complaints about the travel screening process.
  2. Excessive throat clearing.
  3. Exaggerated or repeated grooming gestures.
  4. Exaggerated yawning.
  5. Gazing down at the floor.
  6. Having a rigid posture.
  7. Wide open, staring eyes “wild-eyed.”
  8. Wearing improper attire for location or activity.
  9. Whistling as you approach the travel screening station.
  10. Face pale (from recent shaving of a beard).
  11. Rubbing or wringing of hands.
  12. Arriving late for a flight or other travel.
  13. Exhibiting arrogance or a cold penetrating stare. Continue reading
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Libertarian Commentary on the News, 14 August 2015, #15-32f: Cops and guns

By Nathan Barton

I find that the constant drumbeat about how dangerous it is to be a cop, especially in states with high gun ownership, and high levels of “domestic violence” is getting really tedious. A lot of news items about violence, cops, and guns came across the news desk this week.

Thank a cop for his willingness to face danger on the job? Please, give me a break. The WaPo, far from a libertarian or even conservative journal, points out in a “wonkblog” article that data indicates that cops (sheriff’s officers and police officers) don’t even rank in the top ten deadly occupations in the Fifty States; indeed, they rank FIFTEENTH in fatalities (in 2013), just ahead of construction and commercial painters and just behind grounds maintenance workers; neither recognized as exactly “dangerous” jobs. The civilian profession with the most job-related fatalities per year? Logging workers, followed by fishing and aircrews. Even trash haulers and recycling workers face a greater risk of being killed on the job than cops do. Yes, Virginia, cops ARE civilians. Legally and should be morally. And yeah, I know that a cop faces a risk of being wounded or killed on every traffic stop they make, but a logger faces that on every tree they cut, and the average logger probably cuts down a lot more trees than a cop makes stops. But this ties in with two other news items this week. Continue reading

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Libertarian Commentary on the News, 13 AUG 2015, #15-32E: Lies and more lies?

By Nathan Barton

Okay, so da man says nobody lies about who they are when they vote. Or so CNS News reports. Obvious experience in South Dakota to the contrary, (nobody has time to do anything other than send someone away when they claim that they are someone else). Happens all the time in certain precincts, but there is no “official record.” However, with “motor voter” and virtually eliminating residency requirements, the problem is with people voting in multiple locations and states, under different (or similar) names. And never mind that I know for a personal fact that Colorado required proof of ID for voting clear back to at LEAST 1974 (the first year I could vote) and that South Dakota has required it since at least 1992 (the first year I could vote in SD). No, the squatter is against it and it is evil and must be stopped. It cheapens and further degrades and despoils the corpse of the republic. But it proves how worthless government is. He (and most Democrats and a lot of Republicans) see it as the way to stay in power. Continue reading

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Libertarian Commentary on the News, 12 August 2015, #15-32D: Hypocrites and Guns

by Nathan Barton

Today’s theme seems to be hypocrisy, especially as dealing with guns and self-defense. Hollywood, Congress, the presidential candidates: all great examples of hypocrites. And we can’t forget organized religion either.

It is all about them. Egotism? Apparently it runs in the Schumer family: not just Senator Charles, but Actress Amy as well. She is taking the shootings in a Louisiana theatre as personal, as if the drifter personally decided HER movie (supposedly somewhat autobiographical and all about her disfunctional lifestyle) was the place to go and kill people. And she proclaims loudly that it is all about the money – the gun culture and the mass killings, that is, NOT her movie, as reported in the Guardian. Her cousin the big-shot, of course, wants to see everyone BUT the cops, military, and his own bodyguards, disarmed. Continue reading

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Libertarian Commentary on the News, 11 August 2015, #15-32C: Slavery, tyranny, and repentance

By Nathan Barton

Again and again, I see apologists for Islam, which seem to be based on the false concept “the enemy of my enemy is my friend.” Since the FedGov is the enemy of liberty, and since supposedly Muslim “extremists” or Islamists (sometimes called “Islamo-fascists”) are enemies to “the Great Satan,” then we must see them as our friends, and good people. Or if we view Zionists and the State of Israel as an enemy, then surely Hamas and Hezbollah and Al Fatah and all their allies, such as the Muslim Brotherhood and the Persians, that are enemies of Israel, must again, be our friends and good and wonderful (or at least tolerable, live-and-let-live) people. Sadly, it is NOT the truth. There are no doubt “good” and “moral” and “peaceful” Muslims, but they are considered heretics by the mullahs and imams and the vast majority of the Muslims in the streets of Cairo, Medina, Mecca, Baghdad, Tripoli, Tunis, Islamabad, and all the other large cities of the Ummah – and those are the “liberal, enlightened, progressive” Muslims, not the rural fanatics. So an article like “Denials of Islamic Slavery” in the blog Secular African is lengthy reading but well worth it. Apologists for, and friends of, Islamic (a modern equal to Jack Mormons in the 1800s), frequently claim that Islam has always been an opponent of slavery and has always sought better treatment and ultimate liberation of slaves.

The facts of history, discussed in the blog, show exactly the opposite. Slavery is part and parcel of Islam in a way that only the most blind haters could see either in America or the Confederate States. (Indeed, legal slavery did not actually end in the Ottoman Empire, the dominant Islamic state of its day) until about 1908, although it was illegal to enslave white people (Europeans) beginning in 1841 or so.) The writer traces the lies and the facts from pre-Muslim Arabs (including Mohammed, peanut-butter-und-honig) to modern times. Slavery exists today in much of the Ummah, not just the Caliphate and Boko Haram. While it may officially be outlawed, the law is ignored on a scale not found even in the corrupt thugocracies of the Balkans.

Yes, there are still people who hold slaves even right here in the Fifty States, and not always for sexual purposes, but it is relatively rare and constantly being fought both by individuals and the “authorities.” Not so in most of the Ummah, the Muslim world. The article also points out the role that Muslim slavers had, even in the trans-Atlantic slave trade, back in the day. If people want to condemn the CSA and its symbols over slavery, let us not forget to also condemn, even more strongly, the symbols and institutions of Islam. And remember, that claiming that Islam is against slavery is NOT the same as repenting for past sins OF slavery.

Repentance means to turn away from the evil actions that you did, and if possible, to atone for them in some way. According to Freedom Outpost, this seems to be exactly what Dr. Jay Lehr is trying to do. He is one of the few surviving founders of the US Environmental Protection Agency, in 1970. He admits that his work led directly to the fanatical environist takeover of the agency in 1981, and its evolution into one of the most tyrannical and useless of FedGov agencies today. His proposal, to “Replace the EPA” is extremely radical from a statist point of view, and quite in line with minarchist views. He proposes something that I first broached in the 1994 governor’s race in South Dakota: replacing the federal agency with a coordinating body organized by and controlled by the fifty state environmental agencies. While a far sight better than what we have (or had, even), it is of course only a step (and a pretty small one) in the right direction. But his concepts are definitely worth studying, and Heartland Institute is pushing and supporting them.

The coordinating body concept is one that can be applied to virtually EVERY federal bureaucracy, as a useful step in decentralizing and devolving government to a lower and lower level, while reducing its power: a gradual but potentially significant restoring of liberty. At the same time, I’m not holding my breath: the EPA is too useful a tool for tyranny for Congress, much less the White House, to give it up. And it is probably too late. And too many state agencies (CalEPA, Ohio EPA, Colorado DPHE, etc.) are themselves as corrupt and power-hungry tools of their respective state powers-that-be to give up or truly restore, much less just reform, “environmental protection” in this nation.

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Libertarian Commentary on the News, 11 August 2015, #15-32B: the Liberty Movement

By Nathan Barton

Is there any hope for the “liberty movement” in the Fifty States today? There may be hope for liberty, in the long run, with the slow, gradual decline in our society and especially the slow meltdown of government at all levels, providing that we avoid the trap of warlordism and the rise of a man (or woman) on a white horse. But the “liberty movement” isn’t helping much in this direction. And indeed may be harming our potential for regaining liberty without a major, Hari Selden-type, collapse. Consider a couple of examples. Continue reading

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Libertarian Commentary on the News, 09 August 2015, #15-32A: Pollution

By Nathan Barton

Today, just three articles to comment on, pointing out pollution, perversion, and lack of both individual responsibility AND that of organizations and groups, and its huge negative impact on liberty (and quality of life, to use a modern “dirty” phrase).

Government stupidity hit close to home again for me this last week, in multiple ways. The worst, as far as physical effects, happened Wednesday on a tributary of the Animas River, north of a place called Silverton. (The Animas is a tributary of the San Juan River, which flows into the Colorado River.) This has made national news, but started with reports in the Durango Herald the local daily (and as liberal a rag as a small-city daily can be). EPA was “cleaning up” an abandoned mine that was a major contamination site (been abandoned since 1930 or so), up north of Silverton, and made a stupid decision, breaking open a coffer dam that released several million gallons of bright-orange sediment laden water into Cement Creek. It then poured into the Animas River, which flows through Durango and into New Mexico and the San Juan.  Continue reading

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Libertarian Commentary on the News, 08 August 2015, #15-31D: Government Messes and Other Evils

By Nathan Barton

Got a double helping of commentary today, but on just a few stories.  What a MESS government makes of things: but they aren’t the only evil we have to deal with.

Another week, another VA scandal. This one from South Dakota, although Russia Today and a good many other people cannot seem to recognize the difference between South and North Dakota. (Of course, one idiot thinks that the only “Hot Springs” is in Virginia. Goofs.) This time, during a renovation project, a bunch of records got inadvertently thrown into a dumpster, and then were recovered. Apparently with no loss of the data, but the risk was there. The VA has demonstrated its incompetence so often, that people assume the worst at all times, and are upset that the VA didn’t immediately hold a press conference in DC to announce that a couple of thousand records were accidentally thrown away for a while. Folks, the chances are that ALL the data in those records was completely compromised months ago in one of the many HUGE releases, and so this is just a duplicate. When we have to submit to government, we get this sort of mess, don’t we? Continue reading

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Libertarian Commentary on the News, 06 August 2015, #15-31C: Stolen Liberty, Stolen Life

By Nathan Barton

What with the various issues here at home, I’ve not commented much on the daily news about the killings (also daily) in the “Land of Peace and Submission” that is the Muslim Ummah: specially the Mesopotamian lands, Canaan, Syria, Turkey, North Africa and much of eastern and central Africa. Never fear, the killing and fighting continues.

Nigeria’s Defense Ministry has appointed a new general to head multinational Boko Haram fight, says the Altoona Mirror. Boko Haram’s Islamic uprising has killed 20,000 people and driven nearly 2 million from their homes. Supposedly, the African states will have a better and deeper collaboration with each other in the fight against Islamic extremism. I see that as their military just better coordinating their own abuse and killing of the people. Self-defense and responsibility for their own security is not, of course, on the table: the thugs must continue to fight over the people on whom all these groups prey. Continue reading

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