Archive for September, 2008

Usurpation

Posted in Getting It Straight on September 28, 2008 by Darkman

David Crockett, Charity, and Congress:

“‘It is not the amount, Colonel, that I complain of; it is the principle. In the first place, the Government ought to have in the Treasury no more than enough for its legitimate purposes. But that has nothing to do with the question. The power of collecting and disbursing money at pleasure is the most dangerous power that can be entrusted to man, particularly under our system of collecting revenue by a tariff, which reaches every man in the country, no matter how poor he may be, and the poorer he is the more he pays in proportion to his means. What is worse, it presses upon him without his knowledge where the weight centers, for there is not a man in the United States who can ever guess how much he pays to the Government. So you see, that while you are contributing to relieve one, you are drawing it from thousands who are even worse off than he. If you had the right to give anything, the amount was simply a matter of discretion with you, and you had as much right to give $20,000,000 as $20,000. If you have the right: to give to one, you have the right to give to all; and, as the Constitution neither defines charity nor stipulates the amount, you are at liberty to give to any and everything which you may believe, or profess to believe, is a charity, and to any amount you may think proper. You will very easily perceive, what a wide door this would open for fraud and corruption and favoritism, on the one hand, and for robbing the people on the other. No, Colonel, Congress has no right to give charity. Individual members may give as much of their own money as they please, but they have no right to touch a dollar of the public money for that purpose. If twice as many houses had been burned in this county as in Georgetown, neither you nor any other member of Congress would have thought of appropriating a dollar for our relief. There are about two hundred and forty members of Congress. If they had shown their sympathy for the sufferers by contributing each one week’s pay, it would have made over $13,000. There are plenty of wealthy men in and around Washington who could have given $20,000 without depriving themselves of even a luxury of life. The Congressmen chose to keep their own money, which, if reports be true, some of them spend not very creditably; and the people about Washington, no doubt, applauded you for relieving them from the necessity of giving by giving what was not yours to give. The people have delegated to Congress, by the Constitution, the power to do certain things. To do these, it is authorized to collect and pay moneys, and for nothing else. Everything beyond this is usurpation, and a violation of the Constitution.’

–from The Life Of Colonel David Crockett, by Edward S. Ellis

An account that I have read before but happened to stumble across once again today, and perhaps even more timely now and worth another read.

Unfortunately, those to whom it really applies and those who most need to understand it are beyond redemption; if confronted with such a person as Horatio Bunce they would simply spew their usual meaningless, mealy-mouthed, condescending rhetoric and go on their way, continuing their usurpation of the people, their violations of the Constitution and their destruction of this country.

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Nothing to see here, just move along…

Posted in Election 2008 on September 27, 2008 by Darkman

So…

McCain and Obama are put on the ballot in Texas even though they both missed the filing deadline, because not including them would confuse and alienate voters.

And…

Barr is removed from the ballot in Louisiana because he missed the filing deadline, and including him would confuse and alienate voters.

Okay.  Just wanted to clear that up.

Banned Books Week

Posted in Information Control on September 27, 2008 by Darkman

Today is the beginning of Banned Books Week for 2008.

Banned Books Week is the only national celebration of the freedom to read. It was launched in 1982 in response to a sudden surge in the number of challenges to books in schools, bookstores and libraries. More than a thousand books have been challenged since 1982. The challenges have occurred in every state and in hundreds of communities. People challenge books that they say are too sexual or too violent. They object to profanity and slang, and protest against offensive portrayals of racial or religious groups–or positive portrayals of homosexuals. Their targets range from books that explore the latest problems to classic and beloved works of American literature.

Now let’s face one quick fact: just because someone tried to ban a book doesn’t mean that book is automatically great literature.  I’m sure there are some real stinkers on the list.  I’ll never know for sure because I’m not going to go out of my way to read a book just because some idiot somewhere tried to have it banned.

Most of “reasons” given for banning these books show that people aren’t actually reading them; they are merely regurgitating the vomit they previously swallowed from the last generation of book-banners.  Some of these reasons seem to me to be transparent excuses; they said they wanted the book banned for one reason, but they really wanted it banned because of a different reason:  the book challenged the accepted reality of someone who was afraid someone else might read it and understand the truth.  This is the ultimate motive behind all book-banning and other kinds of information control:  that we must not be allowed to challenge the consensus reality.

For example, if one reads The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and thereby comes to realize, as Huck did, that Jim is just as worthy of his humanity as anyone, regardless of his skin color, what could this lead to?  Why, it could lead to one believing that no one is inherently any better than anyone else, regardless of their wealth, birth, politicial position or occupation.  No one.  Not law enforcement.  Not members of congress.  Not a priest or a pope or anyone else who has been artificially elevated above the rabble for so-called “religious” reasons.  No one.

What thoughts might an impressionable mind come to ponder upon reading Of Mice and Men?  That a killer like Lennie Small may not always be culpable?  That outright murder such as that of Lennie by George may actually be an act of mercy?  That things are not always what they seem to the average mob?

In every bit of honest writing in the world there is a base theme. Try to understand men, if you understand each other you will be kind to each other. Knowing a man well never leads to hate and nearly always leads to love. There are shorter means, many of them. There is writing promoting social change, writing punishing injustice, writing in celebration of heroism, but always that base theme. Try to understand each other.

–John Steinbeck

To understand.  No matter what you read, read to understand.

And often actively avoids it

Posted in Quotes on September 25, 2008 by Darkman

Man is the only creature on earth to be blessed with reason, but he has been magnanimous enough seldom to utilize this advantage.

–James Branch Cabell

Oy!

Posted in Election 2008 on September 23, 2008 by Darkman

Ron Paul has endorsed Chuck Baldwin of the Constitution Party.

You don’t know me, and there are no reasons why my thoughts on this should count for anything to anyone but myself.  But…but let me say that I am a Christian.  In fact, I am a member  of a sect (I’ll use that word for lack of anything better) that is considered “fundamental” even by other Christians.  Even so, the Constitution Party makes me uneasy, to say the least.

There are so many things going on in regard to this endorsement that it’s hard to get a real grip on the big picture. But here are a few things.

1.  Maybe it’s just Paul doing this out of spite to aggravate Bob Barr.

2.  The comments at Campaign for Liberty are very discouraging.  A great many commenters there are acting like the very sheep they supposedly are not; as soon as word of this endorsement came out they dutifully drank the Kool-Aid and asked for more, swearing to follow Ron Paul without apparently doing much in the way of research on their own.

3.  Many other commenters were immediately hostile because Baldwin is a Christian.  Let me tell you something.  It’s getting very tiresome to constantly see such theophobia coming from people who call themselves libertarians.  I’m sure if Baldwin were Wiccan there would be no such problem, but let someone call himself a Christian and things get ugly real fast.

4.  Baldwin doesn’t have the slightest chance of making even a tiny dent in the coming election.  However, let’s pretend the Constitution Party did become a majority in Congress.  If there’s one thing we know about people in government, it is that when they get a little power, they want more, and they become proficient at passing the very laws that grant themselves more power.  Does anyone really want Christian ideals to become legally mandatory?  Silly question, I know there are such people (just check out the CP), but I am not one of them.  My sins are no one’s business but mine and God’s.  Knowing how well the government enjoys the slippery slope phenomenon, how long would it be before “Christian” ideals became protestant ideals, and from there to Baptist ideals, or Pentecostal ideals, etc.?

5.  There are many things to like about the Constitution Party in general, and Baldwin in particular.  There are also many things not to like.  My own perceptions of the CP were colored by my first exposure to them, which was via a local candidate for a local office, who is no doubt firmly committed in the philosophical sense but should be committed in the institutional sense.

I voted for Ron Paul in the primary, and I would have voted for him if he had somehow made it onto the ticket for the general election.  But I don’t believe I can go this way.

In any case, Baldwin would have to be a write-in, because he won’t be on the ballot in this state.

Protected

Posted in Getting It Straight on September 23, 2008 by Darkman

Text of Draft Proposal for Bailout Plan:

In exercising the authorities granted in this Act, the Secretary shall take into consideration means for–

(1) providing stability or preventing disruption to the financial markets or banking system; and

(2) protecting the taxpayer.

[…]

Sec. 8. Review.

Decisions by the Secretary pursuant to the authority of this Act are non-reviewable and committed to agency discretion, and may not be reviewed by any court of law or any administrative agency.

Do you feel protected yet?

And now, a word from the Loony Party

Posted in Getting It Straight, Police State on September 21, 2008 by Darkman

Via nostate.com, from the BBC: Terry Gilliam renounces U.S. citizenship.

The 65-year-old native of Minnesota who emigrated to England in the 1960s and helped form the legendary comedy group Monty Python, held dual citizenship for three decades. (He married a British citizen and has three children.) This past year, though, he renounced his U.S. citizenship. He sees the current political scene in America – and its extension into the world – to be scarily similar to the Orwellian nightmare of his cult film.

And Britain is less Orwellian?

The report’s co-writer Dr David Murakami-Wood told BBC News that, compared to other industrialised Western states, the UK was “the most surveilled country”.

“We have more CCTV cameras and we have looser laws on privacy and data protection,” he said.

“We really do have a society which is premised both on state secrecy and the state not giving up its supposed right to keep information under control while, at the same time, wanting to know as much as it can about us.”

The report coincides with the publication by the human rights group Privacy International of figures that suggest Britain is the worst Western democracy at protecting individual privacy.

The two worst countries in the 36-nation survey are Malaysia and China, and Britain is one of the bottom five with “endemic surveillance”.

In other news, Gilliam plans to change his name to Wombat Icky Ptang Mangrove and run for Minister Without Clue.