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Saturday, December 31, 2005

blogroll addition

I am please to announce the addition of the wonderful James Bovard to my blogroll. Bovard is a terrific libertarian journalist/author who does great research on the depredations of the State on a regular basis. Bovard doesn't rely on leaks from insiders so he has no need to cozy up to the thugs and hooligans who run Leviathan. He takes publicly available information and assembles a mass of puzzle pieces to reveal the true picture of what's going on.

Check him out!

the heroic t. j. rodgers

Great piece by T. J. Rodgers, CEO of Cypress Semiconductor, in the December 29th issue of San Jose Mercury News, "British, US Spying Draws Us Closer to Orwell's Big Brother":
What's the worst thing that Al-Qaida can do to America? We have probably already seen it. Of course, the government can talk about bigger things, like the use of weapons of mass destruction, to justify its use of totalitarian tactics.

I would much rather live as a free man under the highly improbable threat of another significant Al-Qaida attack than I would as a serf, spied on by an oppressive government that can jail me secretly, without charges. If the Patriot Act defines the term "patriot," then I am certainly not one.
When I first heard the news of the illegal spying on U. S. Citizens, I actually felt a bit hopeful. I thought, maybe, just maybe, Bush has finally pushed things too far and the tide will start to turn against him. I hope Rodgers is the first of many prominent pro-freedom private citizens to stand up and denounce what the Bush administration is doing.

I predict that the Rodgers piece will be almost uniformally ignored by the right wing/pro-war weblogs. Rodgers is staunchly pro-freedom/pro-capitalism so he can't be denounced as a moonbat by the screeching harpies and sycophants on the right.

As I write this, the only major blog to link to Rodgers' piece is Hit and Run. I urge all right-wingers to finally "get it" as well. No hard feelings here, fellas. All will be forgiven if you just give up your war-mongering ways and start to support peace and freedom.

Friday, December 30, 2005

predictions for 2006

I hereby make a number of predictions for the coming year, most of which will probably turn out to be completely wrong. I promise not to edit this post to "adjust" my predictions - where I turn out to be wrong, I'll be laughing right along with you. So here goes!

1) Spot gold will close above $750 an ounce on at least one day, although it might not close out the year quite that high.

2) The housing market will suffer a major setback, with California and Florida median home prices tumbling more than 30% from now til the end of 2006.

3) General Motors will file for bankruptcy.

4) Dick Cheney will no longer be the U.S. vice president at the end of the year.

5) The U.S. will still have a sizeable presence in Iraq. (I sure hope I'm wrong about this).

6) The Bush administration will launch another "pre-emptive" military offensive against another nation. (I sure hope I'm wrong about this one too).

7) Samuel Alito will be confirmed as a Supreme, but it will have no effect on U.S. abortion policy.

8) Tom Cruise will continue to be the "most irritating" actor on the planet (and I'm being overly generous by using the word "actor").

Well there you are, I've stuck my neck out and now there's no turning back! I may add a few more if I have time but that's all for now.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

most overvalued housing markets

From this CNNMoney article. They base these numbers on what housing "should" cost according to a number of parameters. I have a problem accepting these values in an absolute sense, but I think they are very worthy for comparisons across regions of the country and against historical averages.
NEW YORK ( - Sixty-five of the nation's 299 biggest real estate markets are severely overpriced and subject to possible price corrections.

That's according to the latest (third quarter) Housing Market Analysis conducted by National City Corp, a financial holding company, in conjunction with Global Insight, a financial information provider.

The report named Naples, Florida as the most overvalued of all housing markets in the United States. A single-family, median-priced home there sells for $329,970, 84 percent more than what it should cost -- $180,956 -- according to the analysis.

National City arrives at its estimates of what the typical house in these markets should cost by examining the town's population densities, local interest rates, and income levels. It also factors in historical premiums and discounts for each area.
Here's the top 25 most overvalued, showing the percentage over what the median valued house "should" cost:
Naples, FL +84%
Merced, CA +77%
Salinas, CA +75%
Port St. Lucie, FL +72%
Stockton, CA +72%
Madera, CA +70%
Santa Barbara, CA +70%
Modesto, CA +67%
Napa, CA +65%
Riverside, CA +65%
Medford, OR +64%
Sacramento, CA +61%
Atlantic City, NJ +59%
Chico, CA +59%
Fresno, CA +58%
West Palm Beach, FL +57%
Redding, CA +56%
Santa Rosa, CA +56%
Bend, OR +56%
Sarasota, FL +56%
Miami, FL +55%
Oxnard, CA +55%
Vero Beach, FL +54%
Los Angeles, CA +54%
Fort Lauderdale, FL +53%
Read the rest to see the full list.

year end charity giving

It's the last week of December, the week that I normally splurge on last minute charity giving so that I can have a bigger tax deduction, uh, I mean help needy people.

I generally give to two types of charity. First, charities that give a hand up, not a hand out, to the poorest of the poor in the Third World. Second, freedom-oriented charities in the U.S. This year, I made an exception and also contributed to Mercy Corps right after hurricane Katrina.

So far, in the first category, I've given to Fistula Foundation, Smile Train, and Lifewater. What I like about each is that they give a special, one time type of aid that will not lead to dependency. Fistula Foundation runs a hospital in Ethiopia that performs surgery on women who have suffered fistulas during childbirth. A fistula is basically a tearing that leaves a hole between the rectum and vagina wide open. It's a gruesome, life devastating injury for a poor woman in the Third World and the surgery needed is simple and effective. The surgery literally puts women back on their feet.

Smile Train are two more "back on their feet" charity. The former funds surgeries to repair cleft palates in children and the latter funds new water wells for villages.

In the second category, so far I've only given money to provides a vital service with daily commentary and news aggregation on the most important issue facing freedom lovers: war.

I'm pretty depressed about the state of freedom in America today and I wish there were other libertarian charities in the U.S. that I could support. I've given to many others in the past, but none seem worthy this year. I truly believe that war is the most important issue confronting us and I wish there was more I could do about it.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

housing market gets a lump of coal for christmas

The big financial news today of course was the unexpectedly bleak report on the housing market - check out this AP article by Martin Crutsinger.
WASHINGTON — Sales of new homes plunged in November by the largest amount in nearly 12 years, the most dramatic evidence yet that the booming housing market is starting to cool off.

The Commerce Department reported Friday that sales of new single-family homes fell 11.3 percent last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.245 million units.

Analysts had been expecting a drop of 8.7 percent, given that sales in October had jumped unexpectedly to an all-time high. But many said the size of the decline was a clear indication that the five-year boom in housing has peaked.

In addition to the big plunge in sales, the median price of a new home dropped 4.1 percent from the October level to $225,200. That was up only 0.3 percent from November 2004, representing a marked slowdown from what been double-digit price gains.
I own my own home, and I'm glad I do; IMO, it just doesn't pay to rent, at least in the area of Chicago I am in. But I'm damn glad I'm not a condo flipper in this environment.

Friday, December 23, 2005

bush: fedgov is incompetent, so it should be given more power

James Bovards's latest starts off:
In his radio address last week, Bush justified warrantless wiretaps by invoking the case of two 9/11 hijackers whom the feds failed to trace before the attacks. Bush declared, "Two of the terrorist hijackers who flew a jet into the Pentagon, Nawaf al-Hazmi and Khalid al-Mihdhar, communicated while they were in the United States to other members of al Qaeda who were overseas. But we didn't know they were here, until it was too late."

Bush neglected to mention that the two culprits were renting rooms in the house of an FBI informant prior to the hijacking.

These two known Al-Qaeda operatives were at a summit of terrorist plotters in Malaysia in 2000. The CIA knew that the two already possessed visas permitting them to travel to the United States. Yet the CIA failed to place their names on the "terrorist watch list," which would have alerted other federal agencies to the danger and blocked them from entering the United States. Sen. Richard Shelby observed in late 2002 that the CIA’s negligence "allowed at least two such terrorists the opportunity to live, move, and prepare for the attacks without hindrance from the very federal officials whose job it is to find them."
One of the problems with having Republicans in power is that they feel obligated to extol the virtues of the State, even though conservative thought teaches otherwise. The Democrats have a different problem. When out of power, they have to personalize the State's failures so that the institution they love doesn't suffer a credibility problem. Thus, all failures are BushCheney's fault, not the fault of the FedGov, which would work just swimmingly if Democrats had control of all the branches.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

great news

I just found out that David D. Friedman, author of one of my favorite books, The Machinery of Freedom, has started a weblog. Onto the blogroll with you, Professor Friedman!

Friday, December 16, 2005

251 fascists

These fascists from the U.S. House of Representatives voted to make permanent 16 provisions of the "USA PATRIOT Act":
Barrett (SC)
Barton (TX)
Bishop (GA)
Bradley (NH)
Brady (TX)
Brown (SC)
Brown-Waite, Ginny
Burton (IN)
Camp (MI)
Campbell (CA)
Cole (OK)
Davis (AL)
Davis (FL)
Davis (KY)
Davis (TN)
Davis, Jo Ann
Davis, Tom
Deal (GA)
Diaz-Balart, L.
English (PA)
Franks (AZ)
Garrett (NJ)
Green (WI)
Hastings (WA)
Inglis (SC)
Johnson (CT)
Johnson, Sam
Kennedy (MN)
King (IA)
King (NY)
Kuhl (NY)
Lewis (CA)
Lewis (KY)
Lungren, Daniel E.
McCaul (TX)
Miller (FL)
Miller (MI)
Miller (NC)
Miller, Gary
Moore (KS)
Moran (KS)
Pryce (OH)
Rogers (AL)
Rogers (KY)
Rogers (MI)
Ryan (WI)
Ryun (KS)
Schwartz (PA)
Schwarz (MI)
Scott (GA)
Smith (NJ)
Smith (TX)
Taylor (MS)
Walden (OR)
Weldon (FL)
Weldon (PA)
Wilson (NM)
Wilson (SC)
Young (FL)

Thursday, December 15, 2005

happy bill of rights day

Here's a nice piece by Anthony Gregory from last year:
In an America with a full respect for the Bill of Rights, there would be no Federal Communications Commission regulating the airwaves and forbidding certain speech, no Federal Election Commission limiting how much Americans can donate to political candidates or what they can say in independent political ads, no Food and Drug Administration harassment of pharmaceutical and wine producers regarding their commercial speech, no federal laws that have anything to do with religion whatsoever, and no federally established "free-speech zones."

There would be no laws disarming Americans, prohibiting airlines from allowing pilots or passengers to carry guns on planes, or limiting how much ammo or what kind of firearms people can buy and own.

There would be no Patriot Act, no secret searches, no spying on telecommunications without a warrant.

There would be no civil asset forfeiture, no horrendous eminent domain abuses, no kangaroo courts, star chambers and phony hearings for the accused.

There would be no torture in America’s "terrorist" dungeons.

There would be no federal laws against starting a business without a license, buying and selling drugs, competing with the government to provide its "services" at a better cost and higher quality, or seceding from the central state.

There would be no federal programs not authorized by the Constitution: no Departments of Energy or Education, no Medicare or Social Security, no Federal Reserve or Selective Service, no farm subsidies or corporate welfare.
It's so depressing.

cato: eugene mccarthy was right about campaign finance

The late Eugene McCarthy was not only strongly antiwar, but he also correctly viewed campaign finance laws as a scam that protected establishment politicians at the expense of small-time challengers. His 1968 campaign would not have gotten off the ground under today's campaign finance laws. He scared the shit out of the establishment, and Congress subsequently passed legislation in 1970 (vetoed) and 1971 (signed) which drastically restricted private contributions to candidates. The Cato Institute has a good commentary today entitled A Free Speech Kind of Thing about this very issue, written by John Samples. Here's an excerpt:
In our time the men who supported McCarthy's 1968 effort would be liable for the crime of contributing too much money to a political campaign. Not surprisingly we have many fewer upstart campaigns like McCarthy's and 98 percent of incumbents win their bids to be re-elected to Congress.

McCarthy himself believed that campaign finance restrictions complicated the lives of candidates and their supporters, increased the influence of special interests, and ultimately made lawbreakers out of people seeking to exercise their right to political association. Most of such laws, he said, violated the Constitution while upholding the privileged status of the major parties. His opposition to campaign finance law was, he explained near the end of his life, a "free speech kind of thing."

Indeed it was. Contrarian and principled. A Gene McCarthy kind of thing.
Read the rest.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

death in miami

If there's one lesson I learned from the incidents at Ruby Ridge and Waco, it's that Federal law enforcement can shoot a boy in the back, blast away at a mother holding her baby and knock down a building with children in it and suffer almost no repercussions. That's why I agree with Jim Bovard's grim assessment of the recent shooting in Miami:
Some editorials called for an independent investigation of the shooting. This is a triumph of hope over experience, given how such investigations over the past 15 years almost always whitewashed federal action. Perhaps some truth will seep out as a result of jurisdictional conflicts between the Federal Air Marshal Service and the FBI or Miami police. Even in that case, if the media continue acting like South Park's Officer Barbrady—"Nothing to see here, folks, just move along"—the odds of any such revelation go from slim to none.
Our only hope in situations like these is citizen-journalists, armed with the latest in digital technology and access to the web. Alas, I doubt any video or other evidence will come forward in the case, but it would be nice if the mainstream media did a little poking around. That is, after all, their job.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

mr. squarepants goes to china

Everyone's favorite poriferan will be speaking Chinese come January 28. Yes indeed, SpongeBob SquarePants will be broadcast on CCTV's children's network reaching 300 million Chinese homes, as reported here:
The show will air on weekdays, for a total of two and a half hours per week. The television launch will be accompanied by a consumer products rollout in the first quarter of next year featuring storybooks, activity books and pictorials. “Bringing quality kids’ entertainment to Chinese kids is a priority for MTV Networks China and we’re confident that SpongeBob SquarePants will be embraced in China as he is in other parts of the world,” said Li Yi Fei, the chief representative of Viacom China and MD of MTV Networks China said. “Kids in China are going to love him and older viewers will love his humor and funny approach to life.”
I see this as the turning point - China's day has finally arrived!

beyond tookie

Now that Stanley Williams has shuffled off this mortal coil, perhaps we can concentrate on someone on death row who is truly deserving of help, Cory Mayes:
Cops mistakenly break down the door of a sleeping man, late at night, as part of drug raid. Turns out, the man wasn't named in the warrant, and wasn't a suspect. The man, frigthened [sic] for himself and his 18-month old daughter, fires at an intruder who jumps into his bedroom after the door's been kicked in. Turns out that the man, who is black, has killed the white son of the town's police chief. He's later convicted and sentenced to death by a white jury. The man has no criminal record, and police rather tellingly changed their story about drugs (rather, traces of drugs) in his possession at the time of the raid.
That's from a summary of the case by Radley Balko, who has done a stellar job of following this case (here's the latest). The story has been picked up by the CBS News Blog, so hopefully this story will get some national attention.

I think this is the true promise of the blogosphere. A citizen journalist, Radley Balko, has done his own investigative work and this case could get the attention it really needs.

celebrate christmas, or else!

That is the title of this piece today by Lew Rockwell, where he takes on the evangelical notion that we must take a stand against the "War on Christmas". He makes a number of excellent points, and reveals some of the absurdities of the evangelical crowd, including their double standard regarding iconoclasm:
The evidence that kicked off this hysteria was the annual urban myth that the Post Office is not going to issue its Madonna and Child stamp, which turns out to be right here. Actually, the whole thing is rather odd, given the history of iconoclasm integral to this religious tradition. Why are icons effectively banned year-round in their churches and homes, but somehow mandatory for stamps at Christmas time?
...and their mortal fear of anything that might "commercialize Christmas":
Then the warriors started targeting companies like Target and Macy’s for failing to say "Christmas" in its advertising slogans. Never mind that Macy’s offers 301 products on sale that are promoted as Christmas items including a sterling silver cross ornament for $60, and an ornament with Jesus and Mary for $43 (now $29!). A look at Target shows the same thing (39,185 matches for Christmas).

Rather than waging boycotts, they might do well to demonstrate to these companies their commitment to Christmas by buying their openly religious items for sale. But wait! That would be "commercializing Christmas," which this crowd also considers to be a grave evil. In fact, to the extent that companies have started using more broadly ecumenical promotion strategies, perhaps it might have something to do with the endless haranguing against commercializing that goes on in pulpits every year...

Monday, December 12, 2005

tookie, the death penalty and the drug laws

It appears that Tookie is out of options and that his mortal existence will cease at one minute past midnite. It gets me wondering about all these Hollywood types that are speaking out for him. I'm wondering what might happen if they took all their energy that they have been expending on trying to save his life, and instead spent it on trying to end this ridiculous drug war that has been waged on our country for too many decades now. What if they spoke out about all the unnecessary deaths that could have been prevented if there was no obscene profit incentive to cause gangs like the Crips and the Bloods to wage urban warfare, damn any bystanders that get caught in the crossfire? What if Hollywood stopped making the same old tired movies that portray the heroic cop courageously doing battle with the drug trade, or the equally perverse movies that depict the gang-banging culture as "cool"? In other words, what if Hollywood actors actually had brains and were capable of rational thought?

Don't misunderstand me, I don't want to see the state of California kill Mr. Tookie. I am far too distrusting of government, ANY government, to grant it the power to legally kill citizens. I just wish that all those Tinseltowners would speak out where it might actually do some good.


I finished watching the last of the Firefly DVD's last night with the girlfriend. I can't imagine why this show got cancelled, it was excellent.

I've never watched a Joss Whedon TV show and have never been tempted to until now. If Buffy or Angel is anywhere near as good, I'll have to watch them as well.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

just a goddamned piece of paper

Via Avedon Carol, comes this story from Capitol Hill Blue:
“Mr. President,” one aide in the meeting said. “There is a valid case that the provisions in this law undermine the Constitution.”

“Stop throwing the Constitution in my face,” Bush screamed back. “It’s just a goddamned piece of paper!”
I don't know if Bush really said it because it seems too perfect but it really doesn't matter whether he said it or not. It's his actions as president, in full view of the public, that matter, not his statements in private. We don't need to sneak into the inner sanctum to know that Bush treats the Constitution like toilet paper.

Saturday, December 10, 2005


The girlfriend and I went to see The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe last night. We both liked it and it was a faithful (to the best of my recollection) adaption of the book by C. S. Lewis.

I have a couple of nits with the film that prevent me from giving it my most enthusiastic thumbs up, though. First is the rapidness of events after all the children finally get into Narnia. Everything happens so quickly, it's hard to swallow some of the things that happen. The eldest, Peter, becomes an expert military commander in no time at all and the two girls develop an emotional attachment to Aslan, the lion, that seems inexplicable given that it seems they've only known him for a day or so. I can't remember what they've cut out from the book, but if they had only done something to make it clear that more time had passed between the entrance of the children to the final battle, some of the actions of the characters would make more sense.

The other thing that bothered me is that Aslan is depicted as not much more than a talking lion. In later books, it's revealed that he actually created Narnia himself and has God-like powers, but that makes the whole final battle in this film seem rather senseless. How can the White Witch make a stand at all against such a being?

Monday, December 05, 2005

get rid of the police (taser time edition)

I can't imagine what is going through the mind of a police officer as he tasers someone who is trying to call her lawyer. Radley Balko reports on just such an incident:
Cops pull over a Noblesville, Indiana woman for allegedly running a red light. She's on her way to get some flu medication, so they confront her in the parking lot of a Village Pantry.

They give her a series of roadside sobriety tests, which she passes. They then ask her to take several breath tests, which prove inconclusive. At this point, the cop tells her she must either submit to a blood test on the spot, or go to jail. She says she'd like to call her lawyer first. Cops tell her she isn't allowed, and order her to put down her cell phone phone. She says again she wants to call her lawyer, and continues to try. At this point, the cop -- who had just gotten his taser and had yet to use it -- says "Okay, taser time!" The two cops then hold the woman down, and taser her several times.
Watching the video was painful and I felt angrier than I have in a long time. Where's the outrage? Do the residents of Hamilton County really think this was anything other than assault and battery by an agent of the State?

I realize that this is small potatoes compare to the evil being done by Dubya and his cronies in Iraq, but it seems like it's a difference in degree, not in kind. The mentality that allows this cop to shock a woman for refusing to take a blood test is what gives birth to the mindset that rationalizes bombing innocent people in another country because Dubya doesn't like the former ally/dictator who runs it.

shedding light on watery dark

That's the title of this story by Julie Rehmeyer which appeared about a week ago in the Monterey Herald. This is a very cool idea and I wish the MBARI loads of success.
The Internet is spreading to the unlikeliest of places -- the bottom of Monterey Bay.

The Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute will start laying a cable early next year to provide power and Internet connections 3,000 feet below sea level. The cable, the first of its kind in North America, will be used to power robots that will monitor the deep sea. Researchers hope MARS will make the deep sea far more accessible, allowing insights into everything from submarine landslides to mysterious deep-sea creatures, as well as providing a testing ground for deep-sea instruments that will someday be used on even larger projects.
Like space travel, these researchers realize the advantages of unmanned missions:
Because scientists simply can't afford to stay at sea all the time, they miss many events they'd like to see. This is one reason why MARS is so valuable.

"If you have to plan on luck to be there at the right time, it's going to take you forever to understand the ocean," said Marcia McNutt, principal investigator of MARS and director of MBARI.
Contrast that to the efforts of one Graham Hawkes, who is desperately attempting to build a manned craft that will take him all the way to the bottom, as discussed in this article from the Nov. 28 Mercury News.
...Hawkes-designed submersibles have been used in National Geographic specials and in films, including James Cameron's latest 3-D IMAX film, ``Aliens of the Deep.'' In the James Bond film, ``For Your Eyes Only,'' he played the character Mantis Man, piloting one of his submersibles. In his spare time, he's run a shipwreck recovery business and, in a 1991 search of the Bermuda Triangle, caused more than a minor stir when 10 miles off Fort Lauderdale he thought he found underwater remnants of Flight 19, the squadron of Navy Avenger aircraft that mysteriously disappeared in 1945. The find was inconclusive.

By designing cheaper, faster underwater craft, Hawkes is trying to prove that getting to the bottom of the sea could be just as feasible as getting to space, or at least the space station. It remains a tough sell.
As it should; why send people down there (or onto the space station) when unmanned craft are much cheaper and stay a heck of a lot longer?

Thursday, December 01, 2005

someday at christmas

It's easy to get depressed if we dwell on all the needless killing and suffering that goes on in this troubled world. Likewise, it's easy to bring our spirits back up if we focus on the positive. Towards that goal, I am posting the full lyrics to one of my absolutely favorite "modern" Christmas songs of all time, "Someday at Christmas", peformed by Stevie Wonder (and later by others) and written by Ronald N. Miller and Bryan Wells.
Someday at Christmas men won't be boys
Playing with bombs like kids play with toys
One warm December our hearts will see
A world where men are free

Someday at Christmas there'll be no wars
When we have learned what Christmas is for
When we have found what life's really worth
There'll be peace on earth

Someday all our dreams will come to be
Someday in a world where men are free
Maybe not in time for you and me
But someday at Christmastime

Someday at Christmas we'll see a Man
No hungry children, no empty hand
One happy morning people will share
Our world where people care

Someday at Christmas there'll be no tears
All men are equal and no men have fears
One shinning moment my heart ran away
From our world today

Someday all our dreams will come to be
Someday in a world where men are free
Maybe not in time for you and me
But someday at Christmastime

Someday at Christmas man will not fail
Take hope because your love will prevail
Someday a new world that we can start
With hope in every heart

Someday all our dreams will come to be
Someday in a world where men are free
Maybe not in time for you and me
But someday at Christmastime
Someday at Christmastime

more torture logic

Over at Hit and Run, Matt Welch says it well:
...there is this strange assumption that the terrorists and/or insurgents have an unfair advantage, one which we need to erase by adopting their tactics, however unsavory. If that's the case, why aren't we teaching our 12-year-old girls to strap nail bombs to their bodies before riding the bus? Terrorists, who by definition are people who couldn't win a fair fight, use unfair tactics out of desperation, and also to horrify the sensibilities of citizens living under the terrorists' enemy's government. Their actions are almost always incompatible with spreading the cause of freedom. A military which sinks to their level risks alienating the very people they're supposed to liberate.
Welch is responding to the absurd notion that the mightiest military in the world (ours, if you were wondering) is not fighting on a level playing field and has both hands tied behind its back if it can't torture everyone who looks at it cross-eyed.

It's crucial to see this as the logical outcome of neocon thinking. Ever since its inception, it has embraced the totalitarian State, asserting that it was necessary to preserve freedom and that only after winning, could we return to the luxury of liberty and that anyone who opposes even the worst depradations of the current administration is, bizarrely, anti-freedom.

great t-shirt

I just placed my monthly order with Westfield Comics and noticed this awesome t-shirt:

I'd be in deathly fear of getting beaten up if I wore this to work, though. Too many hardcore Bush supporters here, unfortunately.

putin and the neo-comintern

There was an excellent and illuminating article by Pat Buchanan on yesterday, which I just got around to reading. He shows how the Trotskyite spirit of meddling and fomenting revolution in foreign countries has mutated into the current neocon movement for "global democracy", hosted in such organizations as the National Endowment for Democracy and Freedom House. Excerpts:
But Trotskyism did not die with Leon Trotsky. It mutated and is today the taproot of that neoconservatism that calls for permanent revolution to advance not global communism, but global democracy. Today, this ideology is embedded in the Party of Reagan and the Bush administration, and neoconservatives are using tax dollars to create and operate their own Neo-Comintern....

Flush with tax dollars and tax-deductible contributions, NED, Freedom House and their collaborator foundations and think tanks now routinely interfere in the internal affairs of foreign nations. Under the rubric of promoting democracy, creating free markets, etc., they seek to dethrone recalcitrant rulers and advance to power those who share their ideology and will advance their interests and agenda.

Democracy is our goal, the neocons claim. But viewing their target lists in the Middle East, Near East, Central Asia and Latin America, it is perhaps more exact to say the Neo-Comintern seeks destabilization of any and all regimes that fail to meet its criteria for membership in their world democratic revolution.
If only Pat would keep his mouth shut about "fair trade", and would stop endorsing politicians, he would be a true hero for the causes of peace and freedom.