Libertarian Commentary on the News, #14-15B: Holy Week and government

By Nathan Barton

Good morning!  To many people, this is “Holy Week.”  The 13th was “Palm Sunday,” and at sunset on Monday the 14th begins the Feast of Unleavened Bread, or Passover.  I lose track of all the different names assigned the days of the week, except “Good Friday” and of course, Easter Sunday at the beginning of next week.

The Feast of Unleavened Bread is one of those holy days (holidays) that commemorates liberty: the beginning of the Exodus from Egypt of the children of Israel, their liberation from Egyptian slavery and the beginning of about 280 years of freedom.  God’s gift to them, a gift that they attempted to reject several times and finally did in the time of Samuel the Judge (and Prophet) when they finally rejected God (His words, not mine) and demanded a human king, “like all the nations around us.”  That should sound familiar to us, as the people of the Fifty States have done the same.

Which is why we have messes (and messages) like the mess in Nevada.

Over the weekend, the escalating confrontation at Bunkerville, Nevada, between the Bundy family and several hundred supporters and 200+ BLM, NPS, FBI, and other federal agents, vehicles and aircraft, supposedly ended with the Feds backing down and withdrawing.  There is reason to think that the withdrawal was tactical (NOT “strategic” as so many people wrote, who do not understand the definitions of the words), and that the crisis is not yet over.

Across the border in Utah, there is another crisis coming to a head, between the Iron County government (ironic name, that) and several Federal agencies over wild horses:  2,000 of them in range capable of supporting only about 200 long-term, and eating ranchers out of house and home, as well as being a general nuisance.  This is NOT an unusual problem in the West:  ”rats with antlers” (deer) are a nuisance AND a danger in many regions: few natural predators are present except humans and their predation is overly restricted. So hundreds of us hit deer on the highways, byways, and even our own driveways at times, as they eat crops and despoil flowers and much else: even in cities of 50,000 population or more.  Ditto for prairie dogs.  In some areas (Rocky Mountain National Park, for instance), elk are a similar danger and problem: their population outstripping the habitat available and destroying it. Similar problems exist with elk, deer, and “wild” bison populations in and around Yellowstone.  The FedGov’s agencies are destroying the environment.

Anyway, in Iron County, the local government has threatened to, and started, rounding up the feral horses and transport them or do something to get the population down to a sustainable level, and the FedGov (which has in essence decided that its only course of action is to bully and threaten and use violence) says that it will retaliate.  Because of Bunkerville, the possibility of violence has been increased in Utah.  And other places.

In South Dakota, various Lakota nations and organizations have begun creating camps to protest against and prevent the construction of the Keystone XL across lands that were once part of their reservations:  ironically against not just the pipeline and its supposed environmental nightmares, but against the man-camps.

In many other places, such as the northern San Juan Mountains of Southwestern Colorado, and portions of the huge Navajo Nation homeland (reservation) of NW New Mexico and NE Arizona, new federal rule making and creation of “management plans” are being opposed by both sides: the environist “preservationists” on one side, and the multi-use proponents (and users: snowmobiling, fourwheeling, hunting, grazing) on the other.  Again, if we had the government we are supposed to have, these things would not even be issues: the land would be privately owned and while not perfectly-managed, certainly better than the government is able (or willing) to do.

The Washington Times tells us that the Nevada ranch standoff could leave dirt on Harry Reid’s reputation .  Mama Liberty asks, reasonably, ” How do you wet a river?”   No fooling.  Was discussing this with some friends after worship yesterday.  Nevada politics is like Pigpen, the Peanuts character.

Both Mama Liberty and I appreciated Karen Kwiatkowski’s commentary, “Early Lessons of Bunkerville
As with the British Army in 1775, the state’s institutions sow the seeds
of their own destruction. Inflation, crushing debt, and rats leaving the
sinking ship will conspire towards ultimate collapse.  As Bunkerville
publicly demonstrated, we the people can peaceably help this process
along.  The state will call it reform, transformation, or even
rehabilitation, even as politicians begin to scramble to “lead” the
leaders of this liberty and justice movement.   The state will shrink,
in influence at first, as we have seen, then in physical presence,
cohesiveness, and consumption.  We will call it victory, and tell our
children instructive fables of evil statist monsters.  God bless the
Bundys and their friends, and all of us.  It has started!

Over at TMM someone said:  I’m curious how many wealthy ranchers are going to come to the rescue of some IIIper that had his door kicked in, dogs shot, and guns confiscated?

Mama Liberty replied:

We might be surprised. :) But I hope we never need to find out.  As for
“rich,” I don’t know why it matters by itself, but I suspect that
Bundy’s bottom line is very complicated with taxes, regulations and
probably a shit load of debt as well. I suspect he’s more “land poor”
than rich – and I’m also sure that the governments, both fed and state,
will leave no stone unturned to strip him of both money and land – even
if they don’t arrange for his death before doing so. All of the other
“rich” ranchers had already been driven out, one way or another.

But I’m really encouraged that at least this phase of the “war” turned
out well. It could so easily have turned into a holocaust… one
momentary slip of trigger discipline, one overeager drone operator
seeing the rifles on the bridge as an attack on the feds… a hundred
other things that MIGHT have happened – didn’t. The rag tag, leaderless
and completely self governing people who gathered there managed to
maintain non-aggression, regardless of their personal background,
opinions, attitudes and so forth.

Even the “jack booted thugs” managed to mostly behave themselves and not
start shooting at people…  they had the brains to understand that it
could not end well for them. They knew right away they didn’t have the
overwhelming advantage they always need and try to create. What “works”
in Boston, doesn’t accomplish much in Nevada…  hope some of them
learned that lesson.

THAT is the victory here, and I hope it continues.

As do I, milady, as do I.

On to one last item of news, again tied to the season in strange ways:

Three people have been killed in a pair of shootings at a Jewish Community Center in Overland Park, Kansas, by a elderly man who admits he is anti-Semitic and appears to be just filled with hate.  Bizarrely two of the people he killed were christians and not Jews, but apparently he didn’t ask for a membership card first  But the real story here is that NO one was ARMED and able to defend against this madman.  The idiot, excuse me, the Fuehrer’s comments were (as is so often the case) stupid: the three people were not “killed at their prayers” but rather putting on a play and other things.  But I suspect that he is angling to keep the ban (in too many places) on people being armed in church and synagogue meeting houses.  I find THAT rather odd, that a Jewish congregation would decide putting a play on was appropriate during the High Holy Days, when people are supposed to be remembering and celebrating their rescue from slavery in Egypt.  What a world we live in.

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April: Liberty Month?

By Nathan Barton

Yes, I know the month is half-over, but I’ve been mulling this over a while.  Humans are weird (as if you didn’t know that) and we get all hyper over dates and anniversaries and seasons and feasts and the like.  Virtually every government on the planet, from those idiots on the bank of the East River in NYC to the local weed and pest control district, delight in declaring the “month of this” and the “week of that” and more days than their are days in the year.  That is just the way we are:  dates and anniversaries and commemorations are important to us.  They can remind us of good and bad things and encourage us to do things – to prepare for trouble and to deal with disaster and victory and defeat.

We are where we are today, good AND bad, because of past events and how people responded to them.  We can (and should) learn from history: just as important, we should be encouraged from history while we are fighting for liberty today.

Over the next couple of weeks, we are entering the “Liberty Days” or “Patriot’s Days” period.  There are many things to remember, including these:

13 April: 1743 Thomas Jefferson is born.

19 April: 1775 Battles of Lexington and Concord begin American War of Independence.

1861  Baltimore riots against Union troops passing through city to invade the Confederate State of Virginia.

1892  Charles Duryea makes the first automobile drive in the US (liberty! in transportation).

1943  Beginning of the (unsuccessful) Warsaw Uprising by Polish Jews against the Third Reich.  Like the folks in Baltimore, at least they tried.

1985  FBI/ATF raid on the Farm and The Covenant, Sword, and Arm of the Lord (CSA) in Arkansas (little-known and mostly non-violent prequel to the Waco Massacre).

1993  End of the Branch Davidian Siege with FBI et al. assault on the Waco compound and deaths of many in compound.  (And of course, the 1995 bombing of the federal office building in Oklahoma City, supposedly in retribution for Waco).

20 April: 1655  Oliver Cromwell dissolved the insanely corrupt “Rump Parliament” in England, thus ending the mockery of “republican” government and cleaning house for future reforms.  Oh that the next king of England would study and emulate Cromwell more than his namesakes.

1657  The Jews of New Amsterdam (New York) win religious freedom.  In the long run, it couldn’t compete with Jerusalem but was whole lot better for Jews than Berlin or Moscow or Old Amsterdam – or even Hollywood.

1914  The Ludlow Massacre of Colorado: 19 men, women and children die when troops and private detectives end the miners’ strike.  Like the Baltimore riots and the Warsaw Ghetto, this isn’t a good thing to remember, but a lesson to be learned:  government and crony capitalists are not lovers of liberty OR life.

1961  The US-supported attempt to overthrow the Castro Communist regime fails at the Bay of Pigs, leading to 53 years of Communism and evil in Cuba. Again, not something to celebrate, but important to remember that Camelot was not really all that great.

And ironically, this was Adolf Hitler’s birthday in 1889.  Even evil people can be cute babies.  And some of the most evil people of history were likable, loved by the masses, and were great at kissing babies, hugging cats and dogs, and making women swoon and men stand tall.

21 April: 753 BC  The traditional date of the founding of Rome.  We want to remember that Rome was not always an evil empire, but was in fact one of the better ancient republics, and solved many problems and sustained considerably more liberty for much longer than most all other ancient societies – or for that matter, this one.

1836  Texas wins its independence by defeating Mexican Army at San Jacinto, just a few short weeks after the bloody fracases at the Alamo and Goliad: sometimes it IS darkest before the dawn.  (And a reminder both that sometimes an afternoon siesta is a bad thing, and that the best route to victory, especially against long odds, is to know and exploit the weaknesses of your enemy.)

1989  The Tiananmen Square protest in Beijing, China.  Again, not something good to remember, but important to recall that even after 40 years of bloody suppression, a desire for liberty still existed even in that most ancient and bureaucratic/tyrannical of cultures.  As it does even today.  It has been twenty-five years, but even in China liberty is possible in the future.

Obviously, not all of these events were GOOD (successful) outcomes for liberty, but enough to make us aware of what people have done and suffered for their freedom and those of others.  Each of these could justify a column; please let me know your thoughts.

With events now in Nevada, in Syria, in Ukraine, and elsewhere, we need to ask what new events related to liberty and the fight against tyranny can we expect to add to the calender in April, Anno Domini 2014 and Anno Libertatus  238?

Mama’s Note: Seems to me that the most important lesson to be learned from history is that no non-voluntary government or ruling class has any legitimate authority to control (own) the people or their property. And this is true no matter how benevolent they claim to be, how “good” their intentions are, or how well it seems to function in the beginning. When some people are given power over other people, against their will, tyranny, slavery, death is the inevitable result.

Each individual owns his/her life and is individually responsible for that life and their actions. They can rationally delegate some of that, but retain the responsibility unless, like infants and the senile, they are incapable of such responsibility. Rational self owners can form all sorts of voluntary associations and cooperatives, but they retain responsibility for their individual actions and choices. If people cannot opt out, under pain of capture or death, they remain slaves no matter what the system is called.

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Libertarian Commentary on the News, #14-15A: You gotta be kidding me!

By Nathan Barton

An extra commentary this week: good morning on a weekend.  Sunday is here.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued its fiscal year (FY) 2014 to 2018 Strategic Plan today, which provides a blueprint for advancing EPA’s mission to protect public health and the environment across the country.  For “advancing… mission” read “expanding… power and control.”  The EPA is perhaps the most feral of all federal agencies (except maybe the IRS): running wild not just over states and local and tribal governments and private businesses, but over other federal agencies!  Its “Five-Year-Plan” is more of the same: more moralizing, more demonizing, more political science, more lies, more control, more power.

Heartland Institute has released a very comprehensive report prepared by 27 scientists from 12 countries that really is not needed except for political purposes, that draws on hundreds of studies (and literally thousands of years of research) to show that CO2 is NOT a pollutant but a beneficial and necessary part of the planet and its atmosphere.  This is not news to most of us, but seems to have been abandoned by the Tranzis and the environists who seek to control us more and more each day.

The Fuehrer tells us that Kathleen Sebelius has “earned” the right to retire, and you may be surprised to find that I agree.  She has the right to retire in a nice comfortable west-facing cell in Leavenworth Federal Correctional Facility in Kansas, where she is relatively centrally located so that we can see that she is getting the appropriate retirement for her misdeeds, and where it will be easy to find her and put her up against a brick wall (Leavenworth has many) when the time comes.

Sebelius’s retirement, just a week after she said she was “sticking around” comes as a surprise, and many suspect that she was ordered to resign (the Fuehrer and his toadies are no longer politely “asking” anything: it is all Fuehrerbefehl now).  She clearly is an embarrassment to the powers that be because of the spectacular and growing failure of ObummerCare’s health insurance scam.  And perhaps there are more scandals just days away from popping out.  We must not forgot that she is the scion of a political dynasty in Kansas and her “retirement” might not even be for that long: look at Hillary, who is the founder of a political dynasty (well, she hopes to be).

When I was a child, I actually admired Hank Aaron just a little bit.  But now, it is clear that he is just one more feet-shuffling, mumbling field hand on the Tranzi plantation, calling anyone who doesn’t bow down and worship the Fuehrer a racist.  Just like Reid, just like Biden, just like the Clintons, just like Powell (a much bigger disappointment to me than Aaron, I admit).  Lie and exaggerate and trash people are the way to power and wealth for them.  It wasn’t that way when Aaron was a young man, of course: he gained fame and wealth through sheer guts and skill.  Imagine if his career was today.  Assuming he’d even made it out of high school (I think fewer black males graduate today than did back in the bad old days of segregation, and that is not counting those who are killed or lamed in gang violence), he might have gotten a college baseball gig based not on skill but on affirmative action, and never been challenged enough to hone his skills to the level he achieved by going out into the pro baseball world at age 19 or 20.  Of course, it might be tacky to point out that the desegregation of MLB which began near the start of his career in 1954 was done withOUT a massive series of laws and court decisions and under what was (supposedly) a Republican, conservative Administration (Ike).

Congress in action: Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) says he’s tired of extreme Democratic rhetoric because it is slowing down the political process.  If he is right, I have to look at this extreme rhetoric differently.  We need to drag the “political process” to a halt because for 80 years, all it has led to is LESS liberty and MORE government and MORE tyranny.

And speaking of that, a video from Bunkerville shows the BLM types heavily armed, with K-9 dogs, specially marked vehicles (to identify them from the air?), and moving in fire teams. But they DID seem to be a whole lot more self-controlled than the men and women whom they were confronting.  On the whole, the protesters (many of whom were NOT armed) were a foul-mouthed bunch who represent their cause poorly.  People, this is the way to LOSE.  These people may be the enemy, but they don’t have to be:  the idea is to make THEM lose their temper and lash out, not for the people pushing for liberty to do so.  Not ALL cops are thugs, even though they all act like thugs at least some of the time (I’m sure that there are exceptions); but they CAN and SHOULD be won over.  Be sure to read my separate article on the Bunkerville Follies.

Mama’s Note: This is a fair statement of the real story behind the Nevada standoff. I agree that the protesters should and could have behaved better while stating their case, but we need to remember that everyone has a right to express themselves, and it isn’t only the “nice” people who have a right to defend themselves and their neighbors. We have to even accept the fact that free speech and action of any kind belong to everyone, not just those who practice non-aggression. Let each person choose for themselves, and bear the consequences of their actions.

My greatest fear is that this will be another flash point, that someone – whether a true protester or some agent provocateur – will start the shooting and people will die. It could still happen, of course. I suspect the BLM is just going to wait until everyone goes home and the media spotlight moves on. Mr. Bundy or his whole family might then suffer some sort of “accident,” and that would be that. I hope I’m wrong.

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Bunkerville Follies

By Nathan Barton

Things continue to heat up in Clark County, Nevada, as more and more federal agents and Sagebrush Rebellion type folks show up and confront each other in and around Bunkerville, just off I-15 northeast of Las Vegas.  The hype continues about a “second” American revolution, a new Ruby Ridge, or even another Waco (are they all waiting for 19 April before they start shooting?), there are claims of tazing and bumper bumping and K-9 attacks, and video of screaming matches.

It has the potential to be both a civil war and a war between the states, as more and more Utahns move to help, and Utah County commissioners warn and respond to threats.  Supposedly the rancher and allies are supported by the state government in Carson City and by one of the state’s senators, and more information comes out that the other senator (some guy named Reid) is actually the reason (or one of the reasons) that a 21-year-old fuss has escalated. Reid is apparently both an investor and backer of a big solar farm project in the area, which is supposedly incompatible with the rancher’s “feral” cattle. Some say HE is behind this.  I say civil war because apparently both the Clark County Sheriff and at least one of the Commissioners (Tom Collins) are supporting the Feds.  Collins is at least partly responsible for the potential war between the states, with his remarks about Utahns (1) being a bunch of “inbred b***ds” and (2) telling them that any Utahns coming to support the rancher (Bundy) “better have funeral plans.”

Collins is (no surprise) a Democrat and apparently liberal/Tranzi, big buddies with the Reid clan and other associates, a “Pelosi-style” hoploclast (against guns for everyone but themselves), a heavy drinker, brawler, product of a dysfunctional family, and a union man (though he had a hard time holding a job until he got into appointed and elected political office), and a scofflaw of the first degree, on various (usually dropped) charges over the years.  Reminds me of several of the Unionist (Black Republican) thugs (and a few CSA types) in 1860-1862.

Several people have pointed out that the Bundy family have not exactly been model citizens, and have not obeyed the law, as they have failed to pay grazing fees to the BLM since 1993 (21 years) which now (with interest) amounts to millions of dollars owed to the FedGov.  Others point to the various claims that the Bundy cattle have wandered into and eaten people’s gardens, caused a traffic accident by wandering onto a highway, and apparently eaten turtles out of house and home, as evidence of the Bundy evil in resisting government.  This argument appears to be bogus.  Nevada is an “open-range state” (sometimes called a “fence-out state”) in which the law clearly states that livestock owners are NOT liable for damage caused by their animals to someone else’s property UNLESS there is a legal fence maintained by that other person that will keep livestock out.  If you leave a gate open (itself a misdemeanor in Nevada) and a cow comes in and eats your flowers, the owner of the cow does not have to pay you a DIME.  If the highway is on open range (the right of way is not fenced) and you hit a cow or horse or even a chicken, YOU (the driver) are liable to the rancher or farmer for the dead or injured animal.  He is not responsible for any damage to your car, your body, or your sanity.  That is the way MOST western states are, and if easterners and such don’t like it, they don’t have to come out here (and I wish they wouldn’t!).  Even people like Glenn Beck’s crew, now located in Texas, do NOT understand the basic facts of Western life:  it takes more than 4 acres to support a cow (or cow-calf pair), a “big farm” is not 40 acres, and a rancher is NOT a farmer, even if he has crops.   And if you don’t like cowpies on your driveway, build a fence and install a gate AND KEEP IT CLOSED!

The issue regarding grazing fees on “public land” is much thornier.  The entire idea of grazing leases, grazing rights, land fees, and the whole array of laws for BLM, USFS, and even NPS lands is the result of 150 years of insane actions and stupid decisions by Congress and Executive agencies (such as BLM and its predecessor US Land Office).  These include the 1862 Homestead Act which allowed a person (or family) to claim only 160 acres – plenty for a farm in Ohio or Alabama but insanely small for even a pre-mechanized farm, much less a ranch, in the Western States.  And to claim that land, you had to build and live in a house for a certain period of time to “prove up” the claim.  So ranchers (some of which actually bought land from local tribes) filed claims and built houses (or at least line cabins) on the most valuable 160 acres (on creeks or around a pond or spring) and grazed on the public range.  Over the years, additional family and hired hands could establish and prove up other claims, gradually liberating the land (generally stolen from tribes by the FedGov) to private use.  This was fine, but the “conservation movement” (part of the Progressive Movement of Teddy Roosevelt and others) ultimately ended homesteading, as the “commons” (government land) must be preserved and conserved “for future generations” (always the NEXT generation).

More government greed made the decision that the land must also generate revenue to pay for all the various “government services” provided to the users: those ranch owners (mostly families) that had by then raised cattle and horses and sheep on the land for multiple generations.  Thus the government meddled with the economy, by imposing additional costs (and requirements) on the ranchers: within a few decades, those fees and requirements have driven thousands of ranchers off the land, while the private lands (the homesteads and later grazing claims, as well as proved up mining claims) have been the major areas of expansion of urban areas.  So high land prices and resulting high state/local property taxes are added to the federal burden.  The Bundys are one family that has decided to take a stand.  A foul-mouthed, irritable, and obnoxious stand, perhaps, but STILL a stand for their liberty and that of their family and neighbors and county and state.  Is it any wonder they are hated?

Again, keeping watch.

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Minimum Wage Morality Madness

By Bradley Harrington

The economic benefits which the whole society, including the poor, does receive from capitalism come about strictly as secondary consequences, not as primary goals. The primary goal which makes the system work is the personal, private, individual profit motive. When that motive is declared to be immoral, the whole system becomes immoral, and the motor of the system stops dead.” – Ayn Rand, Letter to Leonard Read, 1946 -

For those who believe that principles play no role in politics or human affairs – for the “pragmatists” who see no consequences to ignoring ideas and who believe that the way to challenge the tyrannical arguments of the collectivists is to merely prove their schemes of enslavement to be economically invalid and unworkable – reality has, like a well-scripted morality play, once again given such “defenders” of free enterprise the slap in the face they so righteously deserve.

This time, that slap takes the form of locally-generated arguments for and against an increase in the minimum wage: “A Cheyenne lawmaker says businesses are morally obligated to ensure residents have the ability to support themselves. But others say a wage increase is the wrong approach and would only cost jobs.” (“Is minimum wage hike right move for city?”, WTE, April 6.)

Observe, right at the outset, the general thrust of each of these arguments: The “pro” side couches its position in terms of an ethical principle – while the “con” side chooses to evade that level completely, asserting instead that such an increase would simply “cost jobs” (which is true enough, but completely irrelevant in this context).

Specifically, the “local lawmaker” in this mix is state Rep. James Byrd, D-Cheyenne, who unabashedly declares that “It is a moral imperative that we adjust the base wage so people can live,” and who therefore advocates lifting the Wyoming minimum wage to $9.00 per hour.

And more: In a subtle twist on the funding of (so-called) “social” government programs, Mr. Byrd actually promotes such a lift on the basis of saving the taxpayers money: “Government should not be in the business of making up, or having to make up, the differential where the business entities refuse to,” he said.

Really, Mr. Byrd? Then why have you been a proponent of such government interference for your entire political career? No, it seems Mr. Byrd now believes government should be in the business of coercing local companies to adhere to his standards of whatever he deems to be “proper” wage policy instead – hardly what I’d consider an improvement.

In both cases isn’t it obvious that the collectivist view of local businesses is nothing more than that they are a “social resource” to be conscripted and manipulated by government whenever it feels like it, for ends it deems as suitable?

And the correct approach to take against such contentions? To assert that individuals, as well as the businesses they create, exist for their own sake and happiness, that their rightfully-produced wealth is not a “social resource,” and that they produce jobs in order to increase production and profits, not to benefit “society.”

You’d think the need for such an approach would be evident to anybody, but never underestimate the abilities of the so-called “defenders” of capitalism to snatch defeat out of the jaws of victory. Here’s what we get instead:

“Our focus is more on access and education,” said Dale Steenbergen, local Chamber of Commerce president and CEO and an opponent of increasing the minimum wage. “It is positive for everyone to have a well-trained workforce. We all have to take responsibility, but it also falls on the individual to find those positions.”

Observe the implications of such an argument: When the collectivists bray that businesses are “morally obligated” to assume responsibility for the lives of their employees, Mr. Steenbergen – to the extent that he even addresses the moral argument at all – concedes the point, thereby handing the collectivists the victory they could never have won on their own merits.

This, ladies and gentlemen, is what happens when one enters the battlefield of ideas armed with little more than “practical,” non-principled peashooters. It is the very foundations, the philosophical underpinnings of a free society that are now under attack, and it is only on that level that this battle can effectively be fought. This is what can only be termed as intellectual suicide.

And people actually wonder why the alleged “defenders” of individualism, capitalism and property rights have been suffering setbacks for decades, and why they continue to lose election after election? When they have all of ethics, ideas, philosophy, history and economics on their side? Wonder no longer – for “impractical,” idea-oriented reality always gains its revenge.

Bradley Harrington is a computer technician and a writer who lives in Cheyenne, Wyoming; he can be reached at brad@bradandbarbie.com.

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Libertarian commentary on the news, #14-14E: Soviet-style FedGov control

By Nathan Barton

Good morning, and welcome to the end of the week.  Fun and games in DC, while lack of self-defense results in more and more injuries under very odd circumstances, and polls that show our modern political problems are NOT just a 21st Century phenomenon, but go back decades (as if we didn’t know that already).

On to news commentary:

The FedGov and the state governments seem to have learned a “valuable” lesson from the Soviet Union of the 1940s-1980s: the use of “mental illness” and related problems as an excuse to control and imprison people – even before they become “dissidents.” While there are several ways the FedGov is using this, perhaps the most hideous is the “epidemic” of ADD and ADHD in American school children. It seems to be, indeed, a effort to eradicate masculinity; and what is worse, it seems to be succeeding.  The Centers for Disease Control first attempted to tally ADHD cases in 1997 and found that about 3 percent of American schoolchildren had received the diagnosis, a number that seemed roughly in line with past estimates. But after that year, the number of diagnosed cases began to increase by at least 3 percent every year. Then, between 2003 and 2007, cases increased at a rate of 5.5 percent each year. In 2013, the CDC released data revealing that 11 percent of American schoolchildren had been diagnosed with ADHD, which amounts to 6.4 million children between the ages of four and seventeen—a 16 percent increase since 2007 and a 42 percent increase since 2003. Boys are more than twice as likely to be diagnosed as girls—15.1 percent to 6.7 percent. By high school, even more boys are diagnosed—nearly one in five.  It appears that it is a disease to be a boy, to be masculine, and thus tendencies to be that way MUST be rooted out and banished by use of drugs and other punishment.  This fits right in with “he’s making gun motions” and finger guns and eating Poptarts to look like guns and being charged with sexual harassment for pulling a girl’s pigtails or (shocking) kissing her.  Or telling a teacher she looks pretty (now, a boy telling a male teacher he looks pretty is apparently okay).  So, do we add “war on male childhood” to “war on some drugs” and “war on those who don’t believe in evolution” and “war on those who don’t believe in global warming” and all the others?

A similar technique of controlling the masses (or rather, those who try to do go) is found in Alabama, where a new law intended to protect  brick-and-mortar food service places (restaurants, cafes, imbisses, kiosks, etc. against the evils of mobile food vendors and push-cart types is keeping Good Samaritans from providing food to the needy and homeless.  The fixed food places decided that the only way that they could “compete” with the mobile places is to cheat and have government be bullies.  And now a lot more people suffer.  Supposedly this is an unintended consequence, but I wonder (as do several of the people commenting on it).

I’ve been watching as the rhetoric ramped up on both sides on the latest standoff in extreme southeastern Nevada. A cattleman is challenging what he describes as an overbearing federal government… and the government, claiming that they have been patient for twenty years with his trespassing and lawbreaking, has responded by sending out a small army to deal with him. Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy is watching his cattle being rounded up and sold (all supposed to be paid for by him from prison, apparently).  Some onlookers are worried that they may be watching another Ruby Ridge, and actually encouraging hundreds of “militia” to show up to face off with the BLM and other agencies. Senator Dean Heller (R-NV) and Governor Brian Sandoval (R-NV) have both been very critical of what they say has been an overreaching federal government.  The Clark County Sheriff seems to be siding with the feds.  Name calling and worse, including insanely stupid “First Amendment Zone” actions, seem to be riling everyone still more, and the claims of a “new American revolution” are bouncing around.  I’m watching and listening.

In the government-run, tax-funded “public schools” the threats keep ramping up, as 22 (or more) people were injured in a Chinese-style  mass stabbing rampage in Murraysville, Pennsylvania (near Pittsburgh) yesterday.  The same day, another man went wild with a knife in gun-safe Toronto, Ontario. I’ve been told that already, at least one prominent Tranzi black leader has called for a ban on knives, but couldn’t find this reported.  Certainly we can expect even MORE panic over the occasional forgotten pocket knife or multi-tool, even though this “blank-faced” boy was using kitchen knives.  The fact that not even the school “police resource officer” was armed once again shows the horrors of gun-free zones: there appear to have been several heroes during the horror, but none armed and able to do anything more than the disarmed soldiers at Fort Hood did a few days ago.

These folks weren’t the only ones disarmed, apparently: protesters at a speech by Mrs. Clinton in Las Vegas at a metal recycling conference had only a shoe to throw at the would-be tyrant.  The woman was arrested and charged; clearly not a Muslim.  I want to know why the recycling industry is wasting money paying Clinton to speak.  Of course, she usually demonstrates a lot of brass, so maybe they are hoping…

Investors Business Daily has released an interesting poll that shows that single women are much more liberal than married women.  Meanwhile the WaPo tells us that a new study reports that US policy has slanted in the direction of liberalism for the last 70 years, with only 10 percent of the major government policy shifts being “conservative.”  Is it safe to say in the last CENTURY that nearly 100 percent of major government policy decisions have been opposed to personal freedom and liberty?  (I can’t think of any that are really on the side of liberty, even things like the Heller decision or all the “civil rights” legislation. Maybe readers can?)

In DC, the long-raucous dispute over the IRS targeting of Republican and “conservative” political groups took a new turn, with Congressman Elijah Cummings (who last summer sought release of documents to “prove” that there was no IRS conspiracy) being accused of conspiring with the IRS against specific groups, while Holder (“Don’t go there, buddy.”) was also involved: yet the GOP thinks that Holder is willing to prosecute the former IRS chief?

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Libertarian commentary on the news, #14-14D: more evil things we aren’t supposed to do

By Nathan Barton

Good morning, everyone.

Remember when all these municipal and other local governments were constantly pushing carpooling?  You can still see signs encouraging it.  But the larger American cities are being pressured by taxi companies (and unions) and other “concerned parties” to discourage or even outlaw carpooling, now that it is ridesharing with connections on internet to help.  Farfetched?  Never underestimate the power of unions and companies that enjoy a monopoly or near monopoly: that is exactly WHY we have licensing and franchises for things like taxis, hairdressing, and barbering.

Well, it seems Americans spend more on taxes than food, clothing and housing COMBINED.  Which, according to the Tranzis, is the way it should be.  And is incredibly stupid.  Of course, there are those trying to fix this situation:  new FDA and other FedGov rules are driving the price of food up quickly (together with some new pig virus and harsh winter weather), and I just read an article a few days ago whinging about how horrible it is that clothing only costs Americans 2-3% of their income and that this is evil on multiple levels, so we MUST start paying more.

China wants the FedGov to know that we (the USA) should think very carefully before we start messing with them.  It has come to this, that our “enemies” are more worried about the stupid things “our” government (the FedGov) will do than we are.

Russia is agitating in Ukraine, seemingly doing their best to cause unrest throughout the nation, or so it is claimed: you can also interpret that as ethnic Russians doing this all on their own, without any prompting (but probably not any dissuasion either) from Moscow. Understandably, the FedGov and NATO are not happy with the way Russia is handling things… but Russia just doesn’t care. And why should they?  They are completely unafraid that we will do anything worse than deprive them of Pepsi.

78% of the Fifty States have been cooler than normal since October 1st. Despite this, NOAA currently has (on their website, weather.gov) a piece of propaganda about how the spring thaw started on 21 March (gee, what an odd date) in the Arctic and that the ice coverage is at its lowest since 1979 FOR THIS DATE.  Is it any wonder that more and more of us believe government less and less.

One of the Fuehrer’s minions, good old SecState John Kerry knows just how to win friends and influence people – so he’s blaming Israel for the failure of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, thus satisfying our “Arab friends.”  This is the, what, the fifty-fifth failure of those talks in sixty-seven years?  Compared to all of maybe ten “successes” and then a couple of years where everyone was too busy fighting to talk?  Which brings up the next point about the Fuehrer and his underlings.

It’s been very, very funny watching the Fuehrer and his minions squirm as even the mainstream media begins noticing the hypocrisy in their double-talk. CBS noted the hypocrisy and that the administration was getting “roughed up” for it. CNN calls the administration’s stance on gender equality in pay a case of “do as I say not as I do.” Shucks, most of us just call it hypocrisy.  And point out that it has been going on for at least five years with the Fuehrer, not to go back to earlier regimes.

More double-talk: The Fuehrer’s shill, Jay Carney says that Republicans can ‘Take politics out of it’ by passing the Democrats’ bill.  Well, he is right.  Abject surrender always simplifies things.  “Our enemies,” thunders the dictator, “are the ones causing this war.  They could end the fighting and the killing immediately by just surrendering.”  How simple life can be!

There are a lot of different stories out today about Holder’s remarks on “gun bracelets” as people respond differently.  One says: Holder: DOJ Considering Forcing Gun Owners to Wear Electronic Bracelets while another says: Holder: We want to explore gun tracking bracelets. I’ve looked at these and several other stories, and I think that the writers are reading in a whole lot more into Holder than they should be:.  We HAVE to be very careful with anything this man does, but he is a criminal and a tyrant and liar, but NOT a fool.  This is nothing new: he and others have been advocating “smart-guns” for a long time, and a couple of states actually had bills introduced to require that.  (As stupid as the microstamping of bullets.)    Holder’s comments here may be intended to do just what it has done, rile up a lot of people (and distract from other things).  His demeanor in front of another congressional committee is obviously that of an arrogant thug who believes he can intimidate anyone he wants to, and fool everyone at least some of the time.  But this bracelet idea is nothing new and should not distract us from other things he (and the other minions of the Fuehrer) are doing.

As Mama Liberty points out, even if this sort of stupidity becomes law, IT WILL NOT WORK: not to stop murders and homicides, AND not to stop Americans from being able to defend ourselves against abusive bureaucrats, politicians, and other criminals.  She figures they couldn’t enforce it in the district of criminals, much less Wyoming or other western states.

On to some other news:
Veterans make up only 3% of Congressional staff–in offices that responded, which makes me feel proud of veterans; at least those who refuse to stomach joining the ranks of the minions of Congress, even if they are too often clientèle of Congress.

Americans on Medicaid exceed the population of the UK, which makes sense when you consider that the population of the Fifty States is five times that of the UK, and both the aging of the population AND the way the governments have been pushing people to join Medicaid.  The advertising in the past several years is pure propaganda, and serves to increase the power and number of workers (and thus, power and money) administering the program.  It is one of many things that have bankrupted the US, yet it is never enough for the Tranzis.

DeMint warns people that ‘Big Business is no friend of conservatism’ nor of any kind of Libertarianism, minarchist or anarchist.  This SHOULD NOT come as news to anyone, but sadly, there are millions of people who confuse free markets and capitalism with Big Business and capitalist-dominated economies (and polities).  Big Business has FAR more in common with Big Government than with either small business or private consumers and producers.  This has been the case since the days of British and Dutch mercantilism, and has really changed very little in the last 400 years.

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Libertarian commentary on the news, #14-14C: Free speech bans, secession

By Nathan Barton

Midweek good morning!

The Quebec Liberal party sailed to an astonishing victory, getting a majority provincial government by the defeat Parti Quebecois, the party on track for its worse election since 1970, six years before they first took power in Quebec.  This will no doubt be viewed by most as a defeat for secession, running contrary to elections and expectations in Europe, but I suspect that the far-left economic and social policies of the PQ are more to blame.  To be blunt, an independent Quebec would see massive flight of Anglophiles and would soon resemble Haiti or French Guiana more than the rest of Canada, at least in the eyes of many people tired of the French-only policies and growing socialism.

Mozilla firing of their two-week-old CEO because he donated to the campaign for California Prop 8 has resulted in significant blowback, with many of the “Mozillans” (94%) being unhappy.  So unhappy, apparently, that Firefox has turned off its feedback system (as of Monday).  This reverse-boycott probably won’t result in Mozilla rehiring the man who DARED to exercise his free speech rights, because donating $1000 six years ago to support “traditional” marriage is a hate-crime in the eyes of people who promote Astro-turf “grassroots” opposition and boycotts.

Mama’s Note: My ONLY problem with his donation is the fact that it was done to promote a political goal, to further enable the state to limit the liberty and free choice of some people. Whether or not their choices are good or bad (and no person has any right to decide that for another) is immaterial to the fact that some people wish to control their private lives. Nobody has any legitimate authority to do that.

American service members are joining Australian Forces in growing numbers, according to The Last Resistance.  I find this quite baffling, for Americans (no matter how frustrated and angry and hurt by the continuing decay of US military forces and their abuse by Congress and White House) to switch allegiance, and swear an oath to the Queen.  Certainly isn’t like Brit or Aussie or Kiwi governments really have much better records about liberty and freedom than DC does.

Mama’s Note: Now that IS strange. I hadn’t heard about this before. What are they thinking?

Of course, the track record of the regime in DC grows more stained all the time. Miriam Carey, the woman gunned down in front of the US Capitol by police, was shot five times, including one shot to the back of the head.  It was, indeed, an execution, by cops protecting the “leaders of the Free World” from a distraught woman, killed with her infant child in the car with her.  Of course, the Capitol Police had no response to the autopsy.  NO one has adequately explained why deadly force should have been used.  No one.

The Nazgul have turned down an appeal from the New Mexico photographer convicted of refusing to take pictures for a homosexual couple.  Thus, one more nail is driven into the coffin of the First Amendment: there is no free speech for photographers, cake bakers, or anyone else who does not affirm the wonders of “homosexual marriage.”  Including me. I guess the photographer should be “grateful” that the Albuquerque or other NM police didn’t decide to just kill them to avoid the court case, as they have done to so many other people.  Sure, they are trying to train their police cadets better: but what about the tens of thousands of uniformed thugs who won’t be in the academy?

Mama’s Note: Just what makes you think that anyone is actually even interested in “training” the cadets better? Better in what? Lying, covering up and protecting their masters better? Yep, I’ll buy that one.

As for business owners and the homosexual mess, my guess is that there will be far fewer photographers, wedding cake bakers, etc. as time goes on. Add this trampling of the right of association to all of the other injustice, taxes, stupid regulations and outright violence at the drop of a hat… why would anyone stay in business? Why would anyone start a new one? They’ll have to bake their own damned cakes and take selfies for photos, I guess.

Sometimes I just HAVE to report good news. With the enactment of Senate Bill 38, Alabama law now expressly recognizes home instruction by someone other than a state-certified private tutor as an option for complying with the compulsory school attendance requirements.  Government should have NO say on how parents decide to teach their children, but the current reality is that children and families can be destroyed by ‘public schools” and Alabama was a strong enemy of homeschooling.  This changes a lot.

Of course, the reasons for getting children OUT of “public” (government-run, tax-funded) schools grow almost daily.  The latest is a 13-year-old New Jersey boy accused by a classmate of “making gun motions” when twirling a traditional pencil in his hands: to be subjected to a strip search, blood and urine testing, and four hours of interrogation before being suspended from school.  The justification of the school superintendent for the abuse would sound right coming from a Nazi or Communist apparatchik: Tranzi to the core.

A bill that passed the Vermont House without controversy is now in doubt after gun-rights advocates exposed provisions allowing police to take guns during domestic disputes. People have a hard time waking up to the reality: even in the HOME of “Vermont Carry” there are many, MANY politicians and people who want everyone disarmed and are willing to go to great lengths to disarm a few here and a few there.  Good for the Vermont activists.

Mama’s Note: This is the next serious and very dangerous battleground. Just as with the soviets, the US government is working hard to use the hysteria about “mental illness” to include absolutely anyone and everyone they wish to disarm. And beyond disarming us, of course. They want control, total control, total compliance. Anyone at all, including politicians who have freedom leanings, will be marginalized and targeted with the mental illness label as much as possible. What remains to be seen is how widely this nonsense is accepted. There is hope…

On the other hand, thanks to Steve, I’ve heard good news from Tennessee where open carry (without permit) may again be recognized as the right of every citizen.  As a border state, Tennessee is often very schizophrenic about liberty, but has been gradually swinging more towards freedom in the last few years, bucking the national trend.  Good for the Volunteer State workers.

That sort of situation is needed, if evil incidents like the white man being beaten beyond recognition by a Detroit mob after getting out to help a child who had run out into the street and he had struck.  As the article points out, the beating is racist; except that the FedGov and Nazgul don’t recognize black on white violence as racist.  Far better to have a weapon with which to defend yourself than this.

Of course that gang of thugs may have learned (or not learned) from the example of one of the most powerful men of their race and the way he behaves in formal public hearings.  The man should have been called to account long ago, but instead, puts on public displays of temper and sly digs.

The Spanish Parliament has rejected Catalonia’s request to conduct a referendum on secession.  They claim that since this affects “all of Spain” that all of Spain should vote on it, except that it is prohibited by the constitution.  Like many observers, I believe this will just lead to more of a desire on the part of the Catlans to leave Spain.  Especially since Spain’s central government refuses to allow much internal autonomy, except in lip service.  I also expect Spain to emulate Italy and declare those in  favor of secession to be terrorists and criminals.

Which brings us full circle to the ever more obvious death of the First Amendment here in the Fifty States.  When you are punished by government, or by private entities with the support of government, for having politically incorrect opinions on what is sin, what is defined as marriage, what team names are used, and all the other things that are now, not illegal, but “unforgivable,” there is no real free speech left.  Every person must look over their shoulder for the ubiquitous spy or informer or block warden when they say anything that someone might take offense at.  It will take a long time to heal that wound to our society, if indeed it can be healed at all.

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Libertarian commentary on the news, #14-14B: sliding downhill

By Nathan Barton

Good morning.  After a few days break, I am running and finding that a speeding  train has nothing on events right now.  Things are sliding downhill rapidly, across the world.  It is time to be prepared, and time is running out.

Looking at all Pell Grant and federal loan money that went to undergraduates at U.S. colleges, the median congressional district received more than $167 million in aid in the 2011-2012 year…Figures! My, oh, my, but does that not explain a lot?  These people in Congress know what side their bread is buttered on: their colleges and universities are bigger welfare recipients than the sum of every individual on welfare in their entire district (not more than the bureaucrats who leech off the system).  Forbes points out correctly that until this evil connection is ended, the vicious cycle of higher education decay AND massive inflation will NOT end.

The Washington Times sounds more like the WaPo in this story: The greatest danger to turning around an economy like Greece’s is the political threat: with so many unemployed and underemployed citizens, frustration is taken out on politicians…  Exactly how is that a danger?  Politicians and their clients and supporters and puppetmasters ARE the greatest cause of economic collapse and troubles, so why should it be more dangerous to take after them for being the cause? Greece’s economy is a shambles, and nothing is being done to make it better: every political action just makes it worse.  When will the REAL cause, the politicians, be removed from the equation?  And when will Americans realize the same thing?

Under the most realistic assumptions, the U.S. fiscal imbalance is about seven times the total national debt held by the public.  As Cato Institute correctly points out, the government debt is an iceberg (or even a whole covey or pod of icebergs) with the huge hidden bulk being the true threat.  As with so much else, we have been lied to and fooled (even if willingly fooled) for decades. We are NOT that far off from the disaster that is Greece, and no one really is paying any attention.

Mama’s Note: Well, not “no one.” I’m reading more and more from and about people who ARE paying attention, and doing what they can to insulate themselves and their families from the consequences coming down the rails.

Reason Magazine points out that by making e-cigarettes more expensive, additional taxes would discourage smokers from switching from tobacco cigarettes and undermine any economic incentive for smokers to quit…  Which means that these governments which are quickly jumping on the tax e-cig bandwagon really show that they do not CARE a bit about the health of customers, but simply the revenue generated.  IF there really are drops in smoking rates (and who do we have to hear this from and believe, except government) then they are running scared: billions of dollars of taxes are being lost.  E-cigs might offset a tiny bit of this.

Mama’s Note: Revenue is important, of course, but the bottom line is always control. The lust to control others is always at the base of every action and thought, even if it results in less revenue.

North Korea has been flexing its little muscles for the last few weeks, but now Japan is ready to step in. The island nation has announced that they will shoot down any North Korean missiles that could possibly threaten Japan or her allies from here on out.  Of course, even though he hates the military, the Fuehrer is swift to send them into harm’s way if there is any political advantage to it, so two US warships have been ordered to the Sea of Japan to help “protect” the Republic of Korea and Japan from this latest temper tantrum of the Kim dynasty.

Is it actually healthier to be fat than being skinny?  Yes, according to another (YET another) study.  Who are we to believe?  People are NOT all alike.  We do NOT respond the same way to what we eat, what we drink or what we breath.  Yes, we all need oxygen, and there is a certain general range of what we can eat and touch and drink… But people ARE DIFFERENT.  We are impacted by our heritage, our environment, and our heredity.  But governments do indeed wish we all had but one neck to chop off…

Mama’s Note: And health is not tied to diet alone in any case. Environment, personality, stress level, genetics, lots of other things are seriously involved.

Mickey Rooney died at age 93.  While “iconic” (hey, everyone says so), this man who was an actor since the age of 15 months or so, is an example of what is wrong with and HAS been wrong with Hollywood and American “mainstream” culture for his entire life.

Billy Graham: The Fuehrer and Holder ‘have turned their backs on God’ except that Graham would not call the squatter in 1600 Pennsy the Fuehrer because Graham has refused to call a spade a spade his entire career.  Perhaps if Graham had been more willing to preach the Gospel and call people to a true and complete repentance (together with tens of thousands of so-called evangelists), the situation for the Manchurian officeholder might never have developed.

QUOTE OF THE WEEK? Who said this?  “Many Euro-Atlantic countries have moved away from their roots, including Christian values. Policies are being pursued that place on the same level a multi-child family and a same-sex partnership, a faith in God and a belief in Satan. This is the path to degradation.”  I’ll mention it in a few days.  You WILL be shocked.

Well, well, as it turns out, the “Rev.” Al Sharpton, with long greasy hair and looking fat and scummy, was an FBI informant, back in the 1980s, turning in his mobster pals, or so The Smoking Gun claims.  What fun!  He is so trustworthy, isn’t he?  I suppose he may have apologized and repented, and asked forgiveness, but… since he is still above ground, you have to wonder.

A Colorado judge singlehandedly gutted the state’s open meeting law by tossing out a citizen’s lawsuit against the Arvada city council, ruling that the citizen who brought it didn’t have legal standing to complain.  The citizens of Colorado are nothing more than peons: subjects who have no recourse to court if their betters and masters don’t follow their own law.

 

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Libertarian commentary on the news, #14-14A: massas or farmers?

By Nathan Barton

Good morning in an April spring.  As fields start to green up and leaves start to bud, many folks’ thoughts turn to farming and gardening.  Apparently, those who claim to rule over us, seem to be treating us “ordinary folks” more like livestock than just slaves, and as their attention is to the seasons, it appears to be about harvesting us, not just harvesting our labor.

Point to consider: the way the “City Fathers” of Albuquerque, New Mexico seem to issue their cops an unlimited hunting license for humans: twenty-three killed, at least fourteen seriously wounded, in the last three years.  Two dead, one seriously wounded in the last two weeks.  Protesters condemned as lawless and violent people who need to be done away with. This is NOT liberty, this is NOT American freedom: this is a police state: farming its people for power and profit.

It may be a surprise to many U.S. taxpayers (but not to readers of The Price of Liberty and other websites), but a whole bunch of Federal agencies — some whose responsibilities seem to have little to do with combating crime — carry active law enforcement operations. Here’s a partial list worth looking at: .Watchdog And be prepared when you see these agencies’ vehicles roar by like they “owned the road.”  According to them, they DO.  And you are just a servant or a crop to be harvested.

Mama’s Note: Or unnoticed roadkill if you get in the way.

As time goes on, more and more people find that the police are less and less trustworthy.  Sometimes, this is recognized and “corrected” long after the fact. Case in point:

Ronald Jones, a Dallas man caught between a malicious police officer and his destination one December night in 2009, went to jail for more than a year after Dallas cop Matthew Antkowiak fabricated a story that seemed to support an aggravated assault charge. Now Jones is free and $1.1 million richer. Again, farming people for the cops’ benefit.

South Dakotans, even our legislators, are showing more distrust of cops and local government, and are willing to extend that distrust to other states, especially Iowa.  Thanks to a law going into effect quickly, those with South Dakota license plates will be somewhat immune to red-light camera tickets issued in other states, and the stupid cameras are illegal in South Dakota.  There are still ways that other states can get us, especially if we travel in their state frequently, but at least South Dakota state and local governments will not be accessories to their police-state tactics, to their farming South Dakotans for their own profit.

Stupidity seems to concentrate in some states more than in others.  I am constantly comparing South Dakota and Colorado.  South Dakota is FAR from perfect, but Colorado just slides downhill more and more rapidly.  The General Assembly has gone one more step: a ban on “water-wasting plumbing” will almost certainly become a burden to ALL Coloradoans this year.

A report out from the Government Accountability Office this week reveals that the Federal government’s number of “information security incidents” wherein Americans’ sensitive personal information was breached has more than doubled in recent years.  This is, I think, a mixture of intent (with malice) and incompetence.  Of course, FedGov incompetence is nothing new.

Mama’s Note: I am convinced that none of this invasion of privacy is new either… it’s been going on for a very long time. They’re just getting caught at it more often now.

Americans, or I should say, the FedGov, have a well-earned reputation for incredible ineptitude for covert operations.  It appears we have a new example: a three year attempt by the FedGov to create an ersatz “Twitter” movement to spark revolution in Cuba, which spent a lot of taxpayer money and apparently failed with a tiny whisper.

Mama’s Note: “Failed?” Depends on what the original goal was, of course. It was a success funneling taxpayer dollars into the pockets of those involved. I’m sure they didn’t object to that, no matter what the actual goal of the program.

USA Today says that American consumers are less likely to shop and bank on-line thanks to NSA. You and I blame NSA. The FedGov (especially but not just DP Tranzis) blame Snowden and the tea party for ratting out the NSA. Attitude IS important.

On to other news, around the world:

Oddly enough, the media seems to have quieted down regarding Ukraine and the Crimea.  I don’t know if this is a good thing or not.  Conditions are NOT settled.  Among other things, NATO allies pledged to beef up eastern defenses out of “fear” of Russia.  American allies better take Kerry’s proclamation (of “US commitment to their security” as “unwavering”) with a grain of salt about a meter on a side.  What triggered Russian actions in the past two months was CONTINUED FedGov and NATO meddling in Ukraine.  The situation has calmed down, but it appears that a lot of effort is continuing to rile people up. Things happen behind the scenes, and then.. wham, bam, look at what is happening!

Secession continues to be in the news in several places as votes in Catalonia and Scotland loom ahead:

The Italian government is running scared: they have decided that the recent “unofficial” referendum, 83% in support of restoring the independent Republic of Venice, has created a terrorist threat to the “nation.” As a result, they are cracking down. For 130+ years, Venice (and the rest of the north) has been farmed for the benefit of Rome and the south.  People are sick of it.

Alaska has had an independence movement for decades, but now it seems that at least a few Alaskans are interested not in independence but in returning to Mother Russia.  I think this is unlikely to go anywhere: there are too few Alaskans with any real ties to Russia to be able to put up with the much different culture and concept of liberty.  Unless, the choice becomes “either or.”

Mama’s Note: The “independence” of Scotland is a sad, sick joke. Scotland has been socialist for a long time now, even worse than England, and that’s not apt to change any time soon. They may, however, find that their socialist leanings can’t be financed when they don’t have anywhere near as many other people to rob. So, in the end, they’ll either change their philosophy or go crawling back to the UK. I don’t hold out much hope for them either way.

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