Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Apoyo Internacional a Francisco Endara desde Gujarat India

I am a consultant with the Government in the State of Gujarat, India and I condemn the persecution against Mr Francisco Endara D, whom I have known for the last 4 years and can vouch for his integrity. An intellectual, he would never indulge in petty acts of vandalism, and I find it quite shocking that these very charges have been made against him. My hope is that his name is cleared soon and he be allowed to carry on his activities for freedom and democracy of the people.

Renu Pokharna, Consultant, Government of Gujarat, India.



Traducción al Español


Soy consultora del Gobierno en el Estado de Gujarat, India y condeno la persecución contra el Sr. Francisco Endara D., a quien he conocido durante los últimos 4 años y puedo dar fe de su integridad. Un intelectual, quien nunca caería en actos de vandalismo pequeños, y me parece muy sorprendente los cargos que se han hecho contra él. Mi esperanza es que su nombre sea limpiado pronto y se le permita llevar a cabo sus actividades por la libertad y la democracia del pueblo.


Renu Pokharna, Consultant, Government of Gujarat, India.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Pura maldad y ensañamiento

Martin Pallares
Es la maldad y el ensañamiento, no la justicia lo que guía a quienes están dedicados en cuerpo y alma a condenar de la forma más dura a quienes estuvieron vinculados con el 30-S.
No hay proporcionalidad ni lógica, solo saña y venganza. Para el grupo de jóvenes que participaron en el ingreso violento a las instalaciones de Ecuador TV se pide entre 8 y 12 años acusándolos de haber saboteado un servicio que nunca se interrumpió. Para sacramentar esta pretensión estuvo presente en la audiencia el mismísimo fiscal Galo Chiriboga, como si el monto de los daños y el rango de los acusados justificaran tan magna presencia.
A los jóvenes que participaron en una iniciativa parecida en Riobamba se les quiere dar hasta 3 años de cárcel cuando lo único que destrozaron fue un buzón de sugerencias y una lámpara.
Al coronel César Carrión la Contraloría le quiere hacer pagar USD 113 700 por los daños que se produjeron ese día, bajo el argumento que debía haber asegurado el hospital para siniestros como aquel. Y con el mayor Fidel Araujo quieren insistir en la ridícula acusación hecha por Correa de que con un chaleco antibalas lideraba el golpe.
Pero quizá la historia que mejor ilustra esta desproporción es la de Francisco Endara. Se le quiere condenar a 12 años de cárcel por el supuesto delito de no haber evitado que se ingrese a la fuerza a las instalaciones de Ecuador TV. Como en los videos Endara aparece sin hacer nada, entonces no encontraron nada mejor que acusarlo de no haber hecho nada.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010


In case things get a little tough during the next few months we Texans have a plan...
Maybe you don''t know it, but Texas is the only state with a legal right to secede from the Union . (Reference the Texas-American Annexation Treaty of 1848.)
We Texans love all y''all Americans, but we''ll probably have to take action since Barack Obama won the election and is now the President of the U.S.A.
We''ll miss ya''ll though.

Here is what can happen:
1. Barack Hussein Obama, after becoming the President of the United States , begins to try and create a socialist country, then Texas announces that it is going to secede from the Union.
2. George W. Bush becomes the President of the Republic of Texas . You might not think that he talks too pretty, but we haven''t had another terrorist attack and the 20 economy was fine until the effects of the Democrats lowering the qualifications for home loans came to roost.
So what does Texas have to do to survive as a Republic?
1. NASA is just south of Houston , Texas . We will control the space industry.
2. We refine over 85% of the gasoline in the United States .
3. Defense Industry--we have over 65% of it. The term "Don''t mess with Texas ," will take on a whole new meaning.
4. Oil - we can supply all the oil that the Republic of Texas will need for the next 300 years. What will the other states do? Gee, we don''t know. Why not ask Obama?
5. Natural Gas - again, we have all we need and it''s too bad about those Northern States. John K erry and Al Gore will just have to figure out a way to keep them warm...
20 6. Computer Industry - we lead the nation in producing computer chips and communications equipment - small companies like Texas Instruments, Dell Computer, EDS, Raytheon, National Semiconductor, Motorola, Intel, AMD, Atmel, Applied Materials, Ball Misconduct, Dallas Semiconductor, Nortel, Alcatel, etc. The list goes on and on.
7. Medical Care - We have the research centers for cancer research, the best burn centers and the top trauma units in the world, as well as other large health centers. The Houston Medical Center alone employs over 65,000 people.
8. We have enough colleges to keep educating and making smarter citizens: University of Texas , Texas A&M, Texas Tech, Texas Christian, Rice, SMU, University of Dallas , University of Houston , Baylor, UNT ( University of North Texas ), Texas Women''s University, etc. Ivy grows better in the South anyway.
9. We have an intelligent and energetic work force and it isn''t restricted by a bunch of unions. Here in Texas , we are a Right to Work State and, therefore, it''s every man and woman for themselves. We just go out and get the job done. And if we don''t like the way one company operates, we get a job 20 somewhere else.
10. We have essential control of the paper, plastics, and insurance industries, etc.
11. In case of a foreign invasion, we have the Texas National Guard, the Texas Air National Guard, and several military bases. We don''t have an Army, but since everybody down here has at least six rifles and a pile of ammo, we can raise an Army in 24 hours if we need one. If the situation really gets bad, we can always call the Department of Public Safety and ask them to send over the Texas Rangers.
12. We are totally self-sufficient in beef, poultry, hogs, and several types of grain, fruit and vegetables, and let''s not forget seafood from the Gulf. Also, everybody down here knows how to cook ''em so that they taste good. We don''t need any food.
13. Three of the ten largest cities in the United States , and twenty-three of the 100 largest cities in the United States are located in Texas . And Texas also has more land than California, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii , Massachusetts, Maryland, Rhode Island, and Vermont combined.
14. Trade: Three of the ten largest ports in the United States are located in Texas.
15. We also manufacture cars down here, but we don''t need to. You see, nothing rusts in Texas so our vehicles stay beautiful and run well for decades.
This just names a few of the items that will keep the Republic of Texas in good shape. There isn''t a thing out there that we need and don''t have.
Now to the rest of you folks in the United States under President Obama: Since you won'' t have the refineries to get gas for your cars, only President Obama will be able to drive around in his big 9 mpg SUV. The rest of the United States will have to walk or ride bikes.
You won''t have any TV as the Space Center in Houston will cut off satellite communications.
You won'' t have any natural gas to heat your homes, but since Mr. Obama has predicted global warming, you won''t need the gas as long as you survive the 2000 years it will take to get enough heat out of Global Warming.
In other words, the rest of ya''ll in the USA are screwed!

Signed, The People of Texas
P.S. This is not a threatening letter - just a note to give you something to think about!

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Belgium on the edge of splitting up? Let’s hope so. Freedom thrives with decentralisation.

Attributed to all non-Dutch speaking readers, whether they are intellectualy capable to learn it or not


- 10 million people

- 2 communities (apart from a tiny German minority in the east of 90.000 people): Dutch-speaking Flanders in the north (6 million people) and French-speaking Wallonia in the south (3 million people)

- a capital, Brussels (1 million people), geographically located in the north, but where most people speak French, 10% speaks Dutch and an international presence of both rich diplomats and poor immigrants remains.

The country might split into its 3 cultural worlds:

- Dutch-speaking “Northern-European” Flanders

- International Brussels (as a city state like Luxemburg, where EU institutions can remain)

- and French-speaking Wallonia, culturally oriented on France

If this happens, poorer Wallonia will not be able to afford its expensive welfare system any longer but could in the long term grow richer when pursuing free market reforms and applying the tax haven - strategy that nearby Luxembourg, the world richest country per capita, applied.

If this happens, Brussels will have to cut down on its own expensive and waistful government costs, but might be profiting from it to grow even more as an international diplomatic hub.

If this happens, Flanders will save a lot of money that is now being paid to sustain the Belgian system, and might be able to grow even more as "the logistic port to Western Europe", by using the money to improve infrastructure and to reduce the incredibly high tax burden of 45,6% that lies on citizens and companies.

However my estimate is that the chance of splitting up at the moment is only small. This due to the following factors:

1. A split up would completely end the political power of the Francophone Socialist Party (PS), as this is the main political force in Francophone Belgium, obtaining its votes mainly from unemployed people and state employees, both benefiting from the money sent by Flanders through the welfare state system.

A split up would end the money streams from Flanders to Wallonia, and thus the necessary sources to fund the Walloon welfare state governed by the PS. It would responsabilise Walloon unemployed people, and would force them to start up their own companies and create their own wealth. Although this might be a painful process, it is the only way to heal Wallonia, suffering from a far lower GDP than Flanders.

Due to huge corruption scandals, the PS temporarily lost many of its votes, but it is still in charge in the regional governments and no Francophone party will dare to challenge the core of its power, and that is the welfare system that is hindering the south in its development and is keeping several hundreds of thousand people totally dependent of welfare, derived from wealth that was created in Flanders but is controlled by the PS.

2. Some Flemish are reluctant to secede, as they fear they would lose Brussels, now the capital of the 2 communities. To my esteem this fear is not justified, as the reality is that Brussels needs Flemish investments (public and private) more than the other way around. An independent Brussels would not change the situation as it is now: many Flemish (and Walloon) people would still work in Brussels, but the very high cost of keeping the country together through expensive unnecessary institutions would disappear.

People don't like change, but certain factors are pushing for this nevertheless:

1. The cultural differences between the 2 communities have grown over the years. When it comes to culture, the 2 communities are just as different as the US and Mexico. Brussels is a nice mix of the two, combined with a growing international aspect.

2. Financially the federal level, providing for most of the welfare (pensions, social security), is getting into problems. This due to:

- huge government expenses in the past (Belgian public debt is still 87% of GDP, coming from 130%, and the likely increase of international interest rates might make this even higher)

- the under-funding of the federal level to provide for the federal welfare expenses (whereas the regional entities are over-funded though not having the same burden to pay for welfare)

- most importantly: the very expensive compromises that were made to keep it all together. A study by the European Central Bank (Public Sector Efficiency, an international comparison, 2003), discussed in Belgium, considers that the Belgian state waists 34% of its means, this being worse than the European average (21%) and Luxembourg (0% according to the study). The reason for this is not just the welfare state, but the fact that many institutions were created to pacify the 2 communities (e.g. 2 different parliaments for the French-speaking community in Belgium, one in Brussels, one in Namur, and plenty of institutions in Brussels, in order to protect the Flemish minority in that city).

Apart from accidental political events too dificult to explain for outsiders, and not as important either, these explained socio-economic drivers are really behind the Belgian crisis. Going back almost to the founding of Belgium, set up in 1830 as a mere Francophone state, discriminating the Flemish majority for at least 100 years, these drivers have contributed to a push for more autonomy that might end up in a split-up.

With regards to the EU - project, it is clear that an eventual split-up of Belgium would be a blow for those that want to make of the EU a regulatory superstate, based on the French model, while promoting a semi-racist artificial European nationalism, hostile towards our American and Asian friends.

The decade of globalisation that pushed governments into being more responsible, is without any doubt an extra trigger for all this, and might come to play a role in the future secession of Scotland, Catalonia, Northern Italy or Western Germany. As economists Spolaore and Alesina have explained in their essay "The size of Nations": in the age of globalisation, rich countries will be small countries. Who knows that lesson might apply for countries like France, the US, Russia, India or China one day.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Allons enfants de la Patrie, le jour de gloire est arrivé! If...

Nicolas Sarkozy has been elected with 53% of the votes last weekend as President of the French Republic. Although there are still elections coming up on 10 and 17 june in which he has to gain a parlementary majority, with the risk of becoming a lame duck when he loses, it appears clear what Nicolas must do to get France back on track:

1. Restore Law and Order

Even if one is a staunch anarcho-capitalist and one disapproves of the state doing anything, one should still be in favour of someone bringing law and order. It is clear that the current situation in France is not sustainable, as last year a list was published by French police of 751 "zones urbaines sensibles" (ZUS, or sensitive urban areas) which are no longer under the control of the authorities.

2 Reduce taxes

With 45,8 % of wealth being taken by the French State, this level is unacceptably high from the standpoint of human rights, of which property rights clearly are one of the most fundamental.

3 Privatise “National Champions”

In order to cover the massive reduction in taxes, one might need some money, and the most obvious way to get money is to sell your property. So, Nicolas, go ahead and start selling your “national champions”: the monopolistic electric utility EDF (87 percent government-owned) and natural gas utility Gaz de France (34 percent government-owned) are the first obvious candidates, but I’m sure you’ll be able to find more.

4 Cut the Government

How to get even more money for your massive tax decreases? Cut the government! Where to cut? Everywhere and anywhere, except maybe in providing the vital services the State still should offer: police and justice. Honourable mentioning: cut the CAP. Now. Fully.

5 Deregulate the Economy

Not only in the field of labour law, but in virtually every field that the government has its ugly foot between the door. The French bureaucrats have done it back in 1985 for the banking sector. Let’s do it again, because the banking deregulation was of great success, as you can read here.

6 Privatise Education

“In France, everybody can go to university, without paying anything.” Well, don’t forget then that Higher education is divided into Business and Engineer Schools at the one hand and Universities at the other. You can guess which are the free ones and which are the best ones… In other words: if you want a quality degree (HEC, Science Po), you have to pay for the degree and for the taxes that keep old, bureaucratic, low quality universities in place. If you want to start working right away, you have to pay taxes for those universities as well. So, Nicolas, do as Tony Blair: raise fees for students at universities, but then don’t forget to lower taxes drastically of course, so they can have a cheap loan. This makes professors more responsible, and students more motivated.

And what about the poor? The authoritative OECD study on education (called “PISA”) debunked some common myths about education. "Socialized economies do not guarantee an equitable distribution of education. In countries such as Germany, France and Belgium, the parents' socio-economic background has a much greater impact on the student's performance than in capitalist America”, as the WSJ comments on PISA 2003.

Nicolas, this shows the “democratisation of education” has failed. It might have made things worse, when one thinks of the middle class French family that cannot let their children go to a GOOD university, because they have to pay taxes for the worthless bad universities.

7 Abolish all tariffs

Less tariffs means more competition on your market. This drives prices down, and that is good for customers. Just imagine we would forbid or hamper Samsung, Microsoft and Nike to enter our markets? It would make Nokia, Siemens and Adidas more expensive and less qualitative. Well, let’s welcome Chinese cars, Brasilian corn and skilled third world people (through green cards).

8 Integrate Foreigners and poor people by eliminating the welfare state

Integrate foreigners and poor people in the economy by scrapping all incentives that keep them into unemployment: lower taxes, abolish regulation, reduce social housing (privatise those GDR flats) , reduce child allowances, … If you think they will all fall into despair, well, keep a minimum social safety net. Reality will prove they won’t need it. They want to work, but the system prevents them to.

9 Keep your hands off Trichet!

Nicolas, don’t touch Jean-Claude and his euro. We don’t trust Jean-Claude of governing our money with his “one size fits none” - interest rate, but we certainly don’t trust you. Anyway, Nicolas, the Germans were maybe so foolish to let their currency be replaced by a euro and ECB that resembles the Bundesbank, they will definitely not let you touch the euro. I know you want to print euros, but that’s not how it works. Anyway, if you would propose that governments accept private money for payments to the government, we would all be on your side.

10 Make institutional change happen, but decentralise, not centralise

Nicolas, France has great people, food and culture, but its State is only something that humanity should be ashamed of. However, let’s not start complaining about the past but rather look to a confident future. A future where France will be split up, in order to be replaced by a web of privatised gated communities, a future where the European Union becomes not a superstate with super bureaucrats, but a treaty negotiating platform where free trade treaties are being negotiated among governments, companies and individuals. You can start with all that, allowing gated communities, decentralising the French state and its health care systems, making Corsica, Bretagne, Pays Basque and Flandre independent and stopping the European superstate.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Breaking the money habit

I got into a discussion about public radio with someone and he said even though he listened to and enjoyed public radio he would never give money to any station unless they refused government funding, and that he had told his public radio station that. I work at KCRW, a public radio station in Los Angeles, (and occasionally for NPR, like today). KCRW gets over half of it's funding from listeners but let me tell you what we do when we get calls from listeners like this.

We ignore them.

Sorry, but even if you cross your heart, and swear on your mother’s grave, your promise that you'll pledge some money isn't going to convince us not to take the government money. And it shouldn't. KCRW and other public radio may be non-profits, but they're also businesses.

At KCRW we don't get a very high percent of our income from the government, but it's certainly more than you and your libertarian friends are going to give us, so until the government cuts us off we'll keep taking it. That's the capitalist way. It just doesn't make good business sense not to take any money the government is going to give them. In fact it makes more sense to have a lobbyist or two in Washington working on getting them money. This is true for most businesses, I think. A lobbyist working in DC can be the cheapest way to get or save money. And if a business is smart they'll want to get money in the cheapest way possible.

This was my first response. But the more I think about it, the more I think it would work. But you’d have to get a whole hell of a lot of people together.

KCRW and most of the bigger stations depend more on their listeners than the government.* Smaller, (usually rural) stations get most of their funding from the government. If all the
members were to cut their funding until they stopped taking government money then, yeah, KCRW and other large stations would be in trouble. Since the larger stations produce the shows the smaller stations buy, the smaller ones would be in trouble too.

This conversation was framed around public radio, but I think it relates to regular businesses too.

Which is easier, convincing the government to stop funding things we don’t want them to fund, or convincing businesses it’s better for them not to take government money?

Any ideas?

*As a side note, this discussion peaked my interest and I have to admit I don't know a lot of the specifics about where we get our money at KCRW. I know we get over half from memberships and (I think, it's been a while), about 1.2 million (half of the memberships) goes to NPR to pay for their programs. I know we sell underwriting spots on the air and also on our website and podcasts, (in fact, it's one of my jobs to make sure they get up there), but I don't know the percentages. I plan on asking about that next week.

X-Posted in libertyartculture.blogspot.com

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

The American Statist Tradition

For anyone kind enough to critique, I have posted a recently worked paper of mine on my blog. It is a paper on American political development. I trace the American statist tradition right out of the Constitutional Convention of 1787 onward. Along the way I examine conceptions of federalism and nationalism and war and justice. I also relate Woodrow Wilson’s similar discovery of the emerging tradition. It might be interesting to some of you, I hope.

I hope that you all enjoy your school breaks for Christmas, or work breaks as they may be. It's too bad we don't have the opportunity for a reunion...


Saturday, September 30, 2006

my end of the bargain

The recent story of HP's internal spying is interesting, to say the least. To briefly sum up what seems to have occurred, the press at some point disclosed information to the public on HP's corporate strategy that, presumably, only members of the board of directors (as well as the CEO and other top officers) should have known. This leaking upset the Chairman of the Board, Patrica Dunn, so she used an outside investigative compnay to find out from where the leaks where coming. The tactics used by this investigative effort were highly suspect and included bugging internal e-mail and listening into personal phone calls.

If you're like me and you also take the above set of assertions as true, you question the corporate culture of HP but would question why in the world the federal government needed to convene a hearing on this seemingly internal matter.

It turns out that the basic federal concern is over HP's use of pretexting, whereby "one person masquerades as another to obtain private information such as phone records." The major concern is whether HP used social security numbers to pretext. I keep coming across that there is a real possibility that this probably would have violated a federal statute, although I have yet to find any article that specifically cites the criminal/civil law.

In any event, I don't think it is at all clear that the feds need to be involved in this type of situation. The federal law is likely based on interstate commerce concerns, but one wonders whether state fraud laws would have done the job as well. Whatever your beliefs on the merits of the feds' involvement, check out some of the quotes from this past week's congressional hearing, including:

"Is all of this really the HP way?...I'm not even talking about the legality issues so much as kind of the sleaze factor here. And I'm just wondering if none of this really came through to you over the period." Rep. Jan Schakowsky, an Illinois Democrat, to former HP Chairman Patricia Dunn

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Corn Syrup and Electoral Votes

On the chance that people are still checking this blog out occasionally and hoping someone's posted something new I thought I'd post something new.

This is a re-post of something I just posted in another IHS blog, for the the folks at the Liberty, Art, and Culture seminar this past summer. It's my own crazy theory and I'd be interested to see what some of you economist think about it. The state of farming in the U.S. is something I plan on doing a lot of further research on.

I've just spent the last week camping, (post on the national parks system possibly coming eventually), with a group of friends of mine from England. At some point they asked me why so much of our food has corn syrup listed as the first ingredient.

Here's my theory:

Presidential electoral math.

First, of course, I had to explain how the electoral vote system works, with each state getting a group of electoral votes bases on the number of Representatives plus two for each of their senators and whatever candidate wins most of the votes within the state wins all of the state's electoral votes and therefore they only focus on the swing states. (Then I went off on a tangent about how California is a tenth of the population of the US but only gets attention when the candidates want money, this is worthy of it's own post, but I'll hold off until later).

The problem with this is that because of the two senator electoral votes it's the less populated states that matter more. Additionally it's those less populated states that are easier to put into swing from one election to another.

And it just so happens that many of those less populated swing states are ones where farming is one of the major industries, Ohio, Iowa, Minnesota, Pennsylvania.

Add farming's historical importance in American history and the theory that's it's better to have too much food than too little and you come up with a situation in which farmers are given so much attention, subsidies and assistance that we end up with more corn than we know what to do with. This drives down the price of corn, making it easily accessible for food manufacturers to throw it in to nearly everything we eat without raising the cost of the food they're making.

This is all of course, all too straight forward to be completely true, but I'm sticking with it for now, despite the fact that I don't have any immediate data accessible to back it up. Eventually I'm planning on doing a bunch of research into the American farming industry, but in the meantime I'd love to hear the IHS collective's views on this theory.

**As a side note I'll just point out that New Mexico and Vermont(?) don't award all their electoral votes to just one candidate. I wish California would follow their lead although I disagree with the way they do decide who gets how many votes. I'll probably post something about this as we get closer to the election and I get more and more frustrated by politicking.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Advanced Studies in Freedom seminar

I'm going to the Advanced Studies in Freedom seminar, July 8-14 at Bryn Mawr College. Hopefully I can see some of you again! Please let me know if you'll join the seminar: evert[at]evertgruyaert.be

The week before the seminar I'll be in NY and Washington. Anyone there?

Belgian greets

Sunday, May 28, 2006

my blog


Long time no blog. I hope everyone is doing well. I am currently living the Chicago NW suburbs. She went to Wisconsin to do a marathon today with a friend (how she finished in this heat, I don't know), so I spent a few hours creating a blog: http://ataxingissue.blogspot.com. I have no idea what's going to come of it, but I at least wanted you to be among the first to know about it.

I unfortunately will not be able to participate in any seminars this summer. I am working for Americans for Limited Government, which is an organization devoted to bringing limited government issues straight to the ballot. This summer we are working on, among other things, ballot initiatives related to eminent domain and TELs.

Otherwise, all is well for me. I am excited go to DC twice this summer, once for an Institute for Justice seminar and once for a Federalist Society leadership conference. Hope it's all good for you. If anyone is thinking of law school, feel free to e-mail me, middlebm@hotmail.com.



Thursday, May 11, 2006

Summer Seminars


Where is everyone? WTF?

I'm going to Art and Culture at Chapman. Anyone else? What's your status?

I'll be driving from Texas. I'm camping and hiking along the way at some of the national parks. Anyone who is going to be in California is more than welcome to join me for some outdoor time in June.


Monday, April 17, 2006

Dream I had last night

Last night I had a dream I'm calling the 'libertarian dream'.

Various thing happened that I can't quite remember (something involving a mime... what does that mean?), but where it becomes clear is when I went to go pick up my backpack from somewhere in a park where I'd left it earlier in the dream. The problem was that the place I left it was apparently a historical protected place. It was alright to hang out there, (as many people were doing), but if you left anything there it would be marked by the police. Marked by yellow dye flung all over it.

Apparently that was a warning. If you did it again you'd get a $300 dollar ticket. I complained about dye staining my backpack, but the people around didn't understand what I was so upset about. I was lucky they didn't give me a ticket, besides the dye was supposed to wash out eventually. "But it's not fair!" I complained. "There's no signs saying you can't leave your stuff here for a little while. If the government is going to out-law that, they need to tell you. Besides why is that a law anyway? Don't the police have better things to do? This is just a government scam to make money."

But the people continued to not see my point. "You left it in the shade", the people said. "Don't you know that you're not allowed to leave things in the shade? Doesn't matter if there's a sign or not."

I take my backpack and walk across the park and continue to fume until I come to a woman sitting on a bench with a group of young children at her feet. She's explaining some astronomy concept to them and I'm admiring how clear she's being and how all the children are so enthralled with what she's telling them. Then a man sits down next to her and interrupts. "So", he says, "How do you explain 'blah' [some slightly complicated science concept I can't remember] to them?" "Well", the woman says, "first, I tell them about 'blahdee-blah' [some slightly less complicated, related science concept], and then when they understand that I can explain 'blah' to them and they'll understand.

The man immediately whips out a ticket book and the woman and I realize with shock that he's a plainclothes policeman. "Explaining one thing to build up to another constitutes a lesson plan", he says "and having a lesson plan means you must have a government issued certificate saying that you're allowed to teach these children. I'm going to have to write you up for this".

Well, on top of the yellow dye all over my backpack and the bad day I was apparently having earlier in the dream, (something about that mime. I don't know...), this was just too much for me. I took a running tackle at the guy and started kicking his ass while shouting, "Let them learn! Let them learn!" until he was just a bloody piece of plastic. (Yes, plastic. I don't understand either. Dreams are weird.)

If I hadn't woken up then I probably would have ended up getting arrested and sent to Siberia.

Anyway. I was pretty amused when I woke up and thought you guys would get a kick out of it too.

Maybe I should call it the 'libertarian nightmare'.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

On Missing the Obvious

Over this last weekend a bunch of important talking heads descended upon the quaint and conservative college campus here in Claremont, California. I say the quaint and conservative campus because it's the only one here at the 5-C's, which includes Pomona, Pitzer, Scripps, Harvery Mudd, and Claremont Mckenna, this last being the college I refer to.

The fact that Claremont Mckenna College (CMC) is (perceived to be) conservative is a little surprising for two reasons: 1) Most colleges aren't and 2) Everyone knows that most colleges aren't.

Now before you chalk my rhetoric up to clever hyperbole, if indeed it can even be considered clever, reflect seriously on the two points above for just a minute. I need to site no statistics, books, or specialists; nor do I have to appeal to personal experience, either yours or mine; and I really don't have to argue the point with anyone: College curricula, world-view, and life-style is predominantly liberal, period.

And now back to the talking heads. Half Blues and half Reds, which rather nicely sums up many things, these specialists came to share their thougts concerning the future of America's parties, that is, the future of the Democratic and the Republican party. This means, of course, that the conference was a polite way to envision what political party would usher in the dark age of the apocalypse in the waning years to come?

Well, I think that I already answered that question.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Yay for Ayn

Justice does exist in the world, whether people choose to practice it or not. The men of ability are being avenged. The avenger is reality. Its weapon is slow, silent, invisible, and men perceive it only by its consequences - by the gutted ruins and the moans of agony it leaves in its wake. The name of the weapon is: inflation.

-- Ayn Rand, "Egalitarianism And Inflation," Philosophy: Who Needs It

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Washington Was The Best Team In The Tourny

Washington caught a strong gust of ill-tasting fate against UConn, this last which also benefitted from some poor calls and unexplainable good luck, or otherwise a strong current of fate, but of a decidedly sweeter constitution. But that sweet taste has turned sour for UConn, for whom the Fates have woven a rough thread as well. Unfortunately, even as we may enjoy watching the big dog fall, we will not be able to watch Roy spin his own works of magic any longer, nor will we be able to appreciate such a defensive and well-oiled machine as was Team Washington. Washington made everybody look bad, forcing turnovers left, right, and up and down the court. We first saw this when they opened against the Mid-Major Utah State University, a team that has consistently performed well, but never well enough. A tough contender, USU can't quite surmount its image as, well, a tough contender that no one plays around with, and yet no one expects to lose to. USU averaged around 12 turnovers a game during the regular season in the Western Athletic Conference. By the end of the game against Washington they had something like 24. Most people chalked it up to Mid-Major jitters; some even said USU was unworthy of receiving a bid. But what has not been mentioned is the fact that Washington made every team it played look nervous, even the mighty Huskies. Turnovers abounded, team played flourished, stardom shined... and the bigger talking heads were infatuated with Florida's team play, UCLA's defense, UConn's stars, and George Mason's sure-to-come-to-an-end Cinderella run. We'll, one may say that the bigger talking heads were right to pass up on talk about Washington. They're out after all. But the heads were wrong about UConn, wrong about George Mason, and they'll be wrong about UCLA and Florida too. These last are good teams, no doubt. But if I were a betting man I'd put money on Villanova and LSU, because so few are doing it.

What about George Mason, you ask? Well, they've had a nice run haven't they.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Charges dropped in teacher sex scandal

State prosecutors decided Tuesday to drop charges against a former Tampa teacher accused of having sex with a 14-year-old middle school student.

The decision means Debra Lafave won’t go to trial and the victim won’t have to testify.

Debra Lafave, the teacher accused of having sex with a 14-year-old student, says there is no double standard in the way woman sex offenders are treated.

Well, of course there is and I don't think Ms. LaFave is being honest. But, frankly, there should be a "double standard" for LaFave if "double standard" means reacting to this case with some common sense, that is.

A 14 year old student had sex with his incredibly hot teacher. Damaging? Probably a little, but nothing like the damage done to him that stems from all the ridiculous media attention and invasion of privacy that the poor kid has had to deal with. Put this boy on trial and grill him with embarrassing sex questions and I guarantee that this kid will never have a "normal" sex life again.

Let me mention again that the 14 year old is a male and his teacher a female. There is some truth to the joking around that this kid got to live out just about every teenager's fantasy. I for one am glad that the prosecutors did not try to make a statement with this case and condemn both of these ninnies to a further protracted and permanently destructive trial and public punishment, and all in the name of "equality under the law." What a farce that would be! Both have suffered enough.

So two cheers for common sense (which can also mean "double standard")!

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Dubai Is Just Alright With Me

""President Bush is correct, whatever his motives, to support Dubai Ports World's planned acquisition of some US port operations. Tragically, this and future foreign investments are threatened by the national security hysteria and anti-Arab atmosphere that Bush initially created. The net result may be less foreign investment in the United States as Middle Eastern investors take their petrodollars elsewhere.""

---------An interesting article from Mises.

Monday, March 06, 2006

A Fresh New Message

"We are entirely capable of bungling this opportunity to regain control of the House and Senate and the trust of the American people," Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) said to scattered applause. "It will take some doing, but we're in this for the long and pointless haul."

Friday, March 03, 2006

Glen Whitman In My Email

---------Hello out there. I recently received an email update from the Cato Institute. Included in it was this:

Against the New Paternalism: Internalities and the Economics of Self-Control, by economist Glen Whitman, examines the emerging theory that Coaseian externalities can also apply over time to one's future self, in the form of an "internality." Some have used this theory as a justification for government involvement in people's personal lives. Whitman develops the theory further and finds that there is in fact little rationale for government intervention in personal affairs.

---------Just thought that I'd let you know. Here is the link to the policy analysis.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

FISA Controversy

""In his Feb. 6 Senate testimony on the president's secret surveillance program, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales argued, repeatedly, that federal agents must sidestep special warrant procedures established by Congress, because they are incredibly time-consuming. But this excuse doesn't stand up to scrutiny.

Gonzales was complaining about red tape created by the executive branch — a handicap of the president's own making. That's not a good basis for dodging judicial review of National Security Agency wiretapping.""

---------It certainly isn't. And here is the rest of the story.

Basically, the vesting of the Executive Power in the Office of the President seems to vest the President with inherent and plenary power. But this should be distinguished from arbitrary and absolute power. It is well understood that a President, in order to fulfill his duties, and by the very nature of his job and of the Executive Power, must have great leeway in the direction of his office. This is what the Founders meant when they said that the the desiderata of the Executive Power are, roughly, energy and responsibility, the former characterized by unity, secrecy, dispatch, competent powers, and duration of office and the latter characterized by limits on the same. Exactly how those limits are to work depends upon the context of the political situation and the climate of ideas, with some Presidents exercising power more vigorously than others. But the exercise of the Executive Power is not absolute nor outside the purview of the Congress primarily or the Courts to a lesser degree. Where the Courts or Congress infringe on the President's control over the Executive Branch, that is, how it will perform and who will perform, he may very well ignore their suggestions, laws, or rulings. But where the President claims power to pursue limitless action in any arena, including his own, without limit, the Congress and Courts are right to assert otherwise. And they both have the power to do so. The question is how, when, or even if they will. The Executive Power cannot encompass all the others without becoming tyrannical. At least, many great minds seem to think so.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Olympic-sized Negativity

I've noticed a bunch of columnists and talking heads denigrate the U.S. Olympic performance in Torino. The Salt Lake Tribune, an incredibly nasty and negative paper, has consistently bagged on a number of athletes and developments, never for a moment letting alone or appreciating any victory, except of course for its own: "I knew these spoiled American brats would fail. I told you so!"

Some of our athletes are, undoubtedly, spoiled brats. And yes, they are American too. Put these two characteristics together and we have the makings for a pretty nasty being it seems. For nothing is impugned more in the Tribune, and a host of other fine papers, than wealth, privilege, and ability; Nothing seems to say wealth, privilege, and ability more than 'American.'Thus, the American Olympic athlete is a prime target for media scrutiny and dissection.

It should be obvious to any candid observer, however, that while the American Olympic athlete may very well be wealthy, privileged, or vane, he or she may be none of these things. The only immediate similarities shared among our many Olympic athletes is their general ability and flag. In any case, I wonder how our athletes at these Games differ greatly from those of other countries. And if this is the case, why it is that the spoiled brats of America, however many there truly may be, are put forth as the very bane of the Olympic spirit and the very image of rampant immorality?

Let me be blunt please. I think that the media generally and the Salt Lake Tribune specifically have created the monsters they seek. I believe that the media is a generally nasty thing, like taxes are a nasty thing, and that it has carefully fashioned the caricatures which we so well recognize: the rebel bad boy, the dramatic ice queen, the choker, the angry black guy, and the no-name surprise who thankfully came through where our scrutinized and hyped rebel, drama queen, choker, token "ethnic," etc., failed. And its all been about some kind of failure, despite the fact that America is behind only Austria in the medal count and the fact that most of our athletes are nice, simple, and competitive people. All in all, the media formula is a tired one.

Let me continue being blunt. Olympic athletes aren't often well spoken, well adjusted, humble, team players, good sportsmen, or even well educated. They probably don't vote how you do, they probably have secret sinful lives, and they most definitely aren't going to stay indoors and undercover during the Games. They probably will have gratuitous amounts of sex, use drugs, drink hard at after parties (or at 'during' parties), talk shit, and generallly provide all sorts of lurid tales for discerning talking heads to present for our consumption. What shall the media present for us then?

"BODE MILLER: He's the biggest bust in Olympic history" from the San Francisco Chronicle.

"Olympian quest for advertising gold turns to lead:
Disappointing Olympics for U.S. team will hurt the endorsement potential for many U.S. Olympians" from the CNNMoney.com

"America's 10 biggest busts of Olympics:
Bode, Weir, Kwan just few of many U.S. disappointments in Turin" from NBC Sports.

"U.S. brats take joy out of the Games" from the Salt Lake Tribune.

"Opening ceremony too much pomp and circumstance" from idem.

"Speedskating melodrama spices up bland games" from idem.

"At least we don't have to talk about Bode anymore" from idem, etc., etc., etc.

What a bunch of crap...

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

I'm Noticed That I'm Missing My Homework. The Bastards!

""US intelligence agencies have been removing thousands of historical documents from public access, the New York Times has reported.

The restoration of classified status to more than 55,000 pages began in 1999, the paper said.

At that time, the CIA and five other agencies reportedly objected to what they saw as a "hasty release" of sensitive information.

The files include documents already published or obtained by historians.

The New York Times said the reclassification programme accelerated after President Bush took office and especially after the 9/11 attacks.

But because it runs in secrecy, it continued without being noticed until December 2005.

According to the report, it was intelligence historian Matthew Aid who noticed that dozens of documents he had copied years ago had been withdrawn from the National Archives' open shelves.

Those are said to include decades-old State Department reports from the Korean War and the early Cold War.""


Monday, February 20, 2006

What The Cartoons Are Really About (Malkin)

""Last October, a Danish newspaper called the Jyllands-Posten published a dozen cartoons of the prophet Muhammad. The illustrations included various depictions of the prophet Muhammad, some innocuous (Muhammad walking in a pasture) and a few with provocative references to radical Islamic terrorism. One showed Muhammad with a bomb in his turban; another had Muhammad wielding a sword in front of two, wide-eyed Muslim women covered in black abayas; another featured a cartoonist hunched over his desk, sweating in fear, as he drew Muhammad in suicide bomb-like apparel.

The newspaper was making a vivid editorial point about European artists' fear of retaliation for drawing any pictures of Muhammad at all. (Remember: It's been a little over a year since Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh was murdered by an Islamist gunman over his movie criticizing violence against women in Islamic societies.) A Danish author had reported last fall that he couldn't find an illustrator for a book about Muhammad; the Jyllands-Posten editors rose to the challenge by calling on artists to send in their submissions and publishing the 12 entries they received in response (available at http://www.michellemalkin.com/archives/004413.htm).....

Soft-on-terror mouthpieces are blaming the messenger for the conflagration. Former appeaser-in-chief Bill Clinton condemned the cartoons as "appalling" and "totally outrageous." Where was Clinton's condemnation of the gun-wielding, death-threat-issuing, flag-burning bullies of Islam who have targeted Denmark for jihad?""

Good question...

Jonah Goldberg

I recently attended a talk given by Mr. Goldberg. He has a book coming out about the connections between socialism and fascism, or rather about how they are basically the same thing.

I tried to tell some of my buddies, but they weren't hearing it. It seems that despite what are apparently similar (if not identical) practices, one government is left and the other is right of center. Who knew?

Here's to liberal fascism, which is also the working title of the book. Out soon.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Tid Bits and Nit Wits

A Pakistani cleric announced Friday a $1 million bounty for killing a cartoonist who drew Prophet Muhammad, as thousands joined street protests and Denmark temporarily closed its embassy and advised its citizens to leave the country.

RAMALLAH, WEST BANK—Hamas leaders invited "all living Israelis" to a comprehensive summit in an effort to end conflict in the Middle East once and for all.

Every day as I drive in to school I pass a Volvo 960, or something like that, with a Cali plate that reads: "I B PHD"

How tacky. Really sophomoric, I think. I laugh derisively to myself all the way down the street, perhaps worrying that when (or if, rather) I too am anointed I'll lower myself to such ostensible and conspicuous grandstanding.

All over I notice people driving with stickers in their windows, license plate frames, etc., ad nauseam, ad blarum, blah blah blah... "look at me and my car and cell phone, I am not even driving right now"

"Harvard Graduate"
"Claremont Graduate University" (haaaa!)
"Cal Poly Pomona"
"I Went Somewhere Better Than You"
"Drinking At College Cost 50K"
"My Rod Is Ivory"

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

You Have to be Bloody Kidding

What a ridiculous media event is the hunting accident involving our worthy VP? This should be of no consequence - and is truly of no consequence - to anyone. Now, of course, one may say that they agree; they may also say that the nature of public things, being rather charged and commanding of attention, requires that even when a "story" such as this ought to be noted in passing at most, nevertheless the "story" requires full publicity and "openness."

I think not. Utter bollocks, rather. To give in to non-reason is the little death that brings total obliteration. We see far too many little deaths lately, I think.

Like this one... ""Watching the news in my hotel room before my speech, I just saw CNN air a few of the new, highly inflammatory Abu Ghraib photos now making the rounds.

No pixelation of the nude prisoners in the photos. No disclaimers about paying respect to members of the US military who will be endangered by publication of the pics. The Washington Post used the opportunity to republish Abu Ghraib photos and video it obtained in April 2004.

Readers have been e-mailing all day the question the MSM needs to answer:

Why the Abu Ghraib photos, but not the Mohammed Cartoons?

We're listening...""


Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Harry Reid Is Ridiculous

I'd rather hunt with Dick than ride with Teddy!

I am thinking about putting that on t-shirts or mugs or bumper-stickers or something.
Anyone who can help me with that gets a cut of the massive profits. We will have to careful about wind-fall taxes, however.

Friday, February 10, 2006


Just wanted to let you all know that I was able to get the hell out of Kentucky this semester. I am working for gasp! a Democrat congressman from KY on Capitol Hill.

I like interning, especially with the government b/c as we all know nothing gets done and everyone gets their pay check.

Just wanted to give an update. After a week at this job, I realized I will never work for the government and will continue into the private sector. (And my libertarian beliefs have only gotten stronger here!!)

Cant wait for some more seminars this summer!

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

The Morally Superior (already dead?) West

What? There are no real morals. It's all relative man!
Superiority? Every culture is equal dude! What are you, racist!?
Just chill out, it's all good, I promise, nothing really matters anyway...

------What I learned in college------

for an interesting read see

Warm, sunny, kinda blue skies here in Calico.
Hope all is well wherever you may be.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Encouraging the Enemy

""Krepinevich said in the interview that he understands why Pentagon officials do not state publicly that they are being forced to reduce troop levels in Iraq because of stress on the Army. “That gives too much encouragement to the enemy,” he said, even if a number of signs, such as a recruiting slump, point in that direction.""

------I guess it's too late for keeping this from the public, huh.


Saturday, January 21, 2006

The Conservatism of the Liberal Movement

"I kept having difficulty getting my point across without staking out my position," I said to a friend. He recommended then that I preface all my political diatribes with a kind of disclaimer like, "Please note that am not referring specifically to the Democratic and the Repbulican Parties, ridiculous bodies both." At this point I was to smile and gather nods from around the audience. Of course, politicians are so dumb! Everyone knows that for hell's sake. He continued with his suggestion. "Say that you vote red nationally, and blue locally, at least as a general rule." Good advice I thought. Maybe I'll try that more....

It is striking how conservative the liberal movement is not in theory but in fact. It is also a little paradoxical. For on the one hand we are served a popular liberal rhetoric which amounts to little more than this: it's everyone's right to be vulgar, licentious, and profligate (conditions which are oddly enough blamed on capitalism). On the other hand, liberal intellectuals, if that is what they deserve to be called, advocate a honeyed fascism of state dominance directed to an ancient idea of civic virtue. On the one hand, the people of an open society and free market cannot be trusted to make or allowed to suffer their own choices, and yet these same mental children can be taught the highest form of the good, which is sacrifice to the society, and learn to love what is greater than man, i.e. the state. On the one hand, the government of the United States is the most evil creation ever, but government everywhere else ought to be given leeway and understanding for its vagaries. In fact, we have a lot to learn about social programs from South America, Europe, Canada, China even. On the one hand, corporations are evil and control everything, but the vast corporate body of mankind can be trusted to run government everywhere. Just get here and you get to vote!

This is the utter perversion of both the classical (ancient) and modern philosophies of American liberalism, a judicious and self-understood combination of the (often mistakenly opposed) philosophies of virtue and economic freedom. Indeed, the ancients, like Aristotle, did contend that the good of the regime or the city was a more divine and greater good than that of the individual, a holding which gets any good libertarian's hackles rising. But one shouldn't confuse what Aristotle was trying to say and what he meant by the regime and the city, an idea which ought to be distinguished from the state or the actual workings of government. I will not go into what Aristotle was trying to say here but it is clear that the Founders conceived of the ancients and the moderns as allies in freedom and virtue, and fasioned our regime with an aim at securing what could rationally be hoped for with the fortune bestowed on us by the unmoved mover (a little joke there).

In any case, I continue to wonder at the fear portrayed by so many of the brethren of freedom at what is considered to be the vilest of them all: christian convervatism. Now I ask that you please step back from this last comment and understand what I am asking here, for I am no advocate of what is commonly understood by the term "right-wing radical." And, I shouldn't have to say this but I feel that I must, I do not attend church, do not pray, know nothing of the Bible, and generally couldn't be considered a religious person in almost any way. That said, let me continue by wondering aloud whether or not the future of liberty has more to fear from the remnants of christianity and real conservatism - the schools and pockets of intellectuals associated with these now abhored vestiges of "mysticism" and "brutish ignorance", of which (strangely enough) seem to be the last, and best, sources left for the advocacy of limited government - or the musings of a more and more quixotic left - so deeply confused and full of inner contradiction, and yet so commonly and vastly absorbed, shouted, and spewed - that advocates a happy and cooperative world ordering and then hinders free trade, insists on the subjectivity of morality and the exaltation of the vulgar and yet talks about the sacrifice of the individual to the confirmed opinion of the elite, and imagines a world full of material wealth and also free of choice, responsibility, or capitalism?

Sunday, January 15, 2006

The Supremacy of the Institutional Presidency

The courts of the United States have rarely ever been effective or even utilized checks upon the powers of the Executive office. Ever since Marshall made the distinction between "political" and "legal" issues in the first Supreme Court, the distinction has been maintained to a large degree and used many times. It is the give and take between the two political branches that will shape the roles of the Presidency vis a vis the Congress. We fluctuate between having what are referred to as the imperial and the imperiled presidency. The courts often cannot be good judges of what occurs on the battlefield or within the military services. The Congress on the other hand does have the tools and and incentive to check the power of the President.

Although the purpose of any legislature is to provide the guidelines for lawful action, where action is taken in absence of specific law it is not necessarily unlawful. Of course, concerning issues of armed conflict, our Legislature is empowered to make guidelines for the Armed Forces and to provide the framework for (or determine on issues of) war and peace. Nevertheless, the dynamic and fitful nature of warfare and foreign relations makes clear the impracticability of legislating for every possible contingency. Common sense and experience might reaffirm the impracticability of prelimiting legislation, moreover, with examples of the danger of attempting it. An overzealous propensity to circumscribe everything within the many letters of the law might very well destroy the most essential aspect of the law in general: spirit. An unworkable battery of legislation, constraining at once successive legislatures and those charged to execute the law, would soon teach us “how little the rights of a feeble government are to be respected, even by its own constituents,” let alone foreign enemies.

The Congress, when it chooses to do so, is constituted to act with deliberation and reflection, even (one would hope) in times of imminent danger. But the executive is so constituted to act with quickness and command. Accordingly, among the desiderata of the single executive, as argued by Alexander Hamilton, are “decision, activity, secrecy, and dispatch.” These can only be effectuated by competent powers, at once broad enough to demonstratively respond to emergency, and yet not so liberated from principled bounds as to be unrestrained. Perhaps the most competent power, and greatest trust, granted to the President is that of commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces. A most solid conclusion “drawn from the natural and necessary progress of human affairs” makes it clear that the most immediate care of government is providing “safety from external danger.” Moreover, “of all the cares or concerns of government, the direction of war most peculiarly demands those qualities which distinguish the exercise of power by a single hand.” With this in mind, it appears that the executive is distinctively empowered and intended to respond to security threats, or “external danger.”

With awesome power comes great responsibility. The President is charged not only to faithfully execute the law but also to “preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States.” Other duties include giving “to the Congress information of the State of the Union” and “[in] extraordinary occasions, conven[ing] both Houses, or either of them.” Just what constitutes “extraordinary occasions” may be difficult to define. Categorically, despite its perpetual recurrence, the nature of war and the burdens it places on governments and citizens could not be properly called ‘ordinary.’ Instances wherein the United States military is called into action ought not be so considered. Moreover, however broad the President’s powers may be, the classic maxim that the Legislature makes the laws while the Executive enacts them must stand for something.

Whereas the President is vested with executive power, he is charged with “taking care that the laws be faithfully executed.” The positive laws of the United States come from Congress. The supreme laws of the land are declared in the Constitution. The presumption in the former case is that the People of the United States, through their representation in Congress, shall control the laws that will control them. The presumption in the latter case is that the Constitution, recognizing natural rights and “secur[ing] the blessings of liberty,” shall be the ultimate law, acting both as the fountain and limit of the powers of government.

It is the Constitution, in fact, that the President takes an oath to “preserve, protect, and defend.” And, just as overweening prerogative, enervation in the executive is a sure path to ruin. Article II is therefore constituted so as not to unwisely or artificially hinder actions taken by the President that are essential to good administration or necessary to preserver the charter. It provides the ingredients for effective energy and salutary independence. These ingredients are unity, duration, provisions for adequate support, and competent powers: unity for responsibility; re-eligibility for duration; power of appointment for support; and a qualified negative to protect the powers of the office from usurpation as well as to restrain ill-designed laws. Hamilton says in Federalist 70 that “energy in the executive is a leading character in the definition of good government.” Energy, we are told, “…is essential to the protection of the community against attacks; it is not less essential to the steady administration of the laws; to the protection of property… [for] the security of liberty against the enterprises and assaults of ambition, of faction, and of anarchy.” In Federalist 25, Hamilton remarks that occasions will arise in which a standing army is needed to preserve order and security of society. He states, therefore, the impracticability of too greatly circumscribing the legislative discretion over the military, which would limit also the executive’s conduct and ability to administer to the laws. An army, perpetually needed, ought not be neglected; an army, once created, needs a perpetual and constitutional commander. The President, as commander-in-chief, necessarily has the duty to insure the order and tranquility of the country, and may need to do so from time to time without direct sanction from Congress. This could not mean in any regular fashion that upon creation of an army, the President would have singular initiative to pursue foreign or offensive adventure. It does mean, however, that as threats to domestic security are impossible to completely provide against, and by nature limitless, a certain degree of latitude must be left to the executive to act in emergency. Hamilton says it best: “Wise politicians will be cautious about fettering the government with restrictions that cannot be observed, because they know that every breach of the fundamental law, though dictated by necessity, impairs the sacred reverence which ought to be maintained in the breast of rulers towards the constitution of a country, and forms a precedent for other breaches where the same plea of necessity does not exist at all, or is less urgent and palpable.”

In terms of the President’s authority to conduct foreign relations and make treaties, “it cannot be doubted that his participation in [these] would materially add to the safety of the society.” First of all, the desiderata of the single executive, i.e. decision, activity, secrecy, and dispatch, “point out the executive as the most fit agent in those transactions; while the vast importance of the trust and the operations of the treaties as laws plead strongly for the participation of the whole or a portion of the legislative body in the office of making them.” As convenient as the President is as the organ for communications with foreign governments and treaty making, still he “can have no pretensions, from the nature of the powers in question compared with the nature of the executive trust, to that essential agency which gives validity to such determinations.” I take this “essential agency” to be that of the deliberative sort, entrusted to the Legislature and confirmed by the reason and consent, the responsibility and responsiveness, and the nature and structure of the Constitution that secure the natural rights of man from government excess.
It should be obvious that personal ability makes for very different Presidencies, yes. But it is the Constitution that contains the man within the law. It sets the threshold both low and high. Charisma, or lack thereof, cannot be the underpinning foundation of energetic and effective government. Identifying the extremely rare politician/patrician needed to direct the common weal through (and with) the grains of history must be near impossible. And there is no guarantee that such a rare politician shall be President if ever he is identified. Instead, as the Founders foresaw, the generations create very different men, and not all of them shall be Washingtons.

It is the Constitution, then, that maintains a stable order in America. Note these ideas. Even the unscrupulous find it necessary to defend their actions or policies in the Constitution, and this has been the continuing rule since we started this whole thing. This constant referral to the Constitution creates the impetus for examinations of rights and powers, perpetually. The Constitution forms the possible everyday.

The institutions and branches themselves, structured as they are, empowered as they are, responsible as they are to the deliberate sense of the community, create the conditions in which our governors, officers, and representatives exercise their power. The power of our governors is directed to the duty of a free government, fundamentally, and to the duties outlined in the Constitution primarily, and to the duties, the offices, of ensuring order and tranquility. Duty is the end, power is the means. Because the duty inherent in any office is at the forefront of the understanding of our system, even those lacking wisdom, virtue, or intelligence, who shall no doubt find their way into office (this is real life, after all), shall be contained in a system of explicit powers, explicit limits, explicit duties, and a climate of ideas that raises those officers found wanting to better (more powerful) levels, while restraining the too ambitious.

In considering the CinC Clause, it is important to note that the President has no internal checks placed upon him but a sense of personal duty. In the Constitutional Convention it was hotly debated and eventually decided against whether or not to append to the President an advisory board or council of revision. Rather than this, it was decided to remove any difficulties in ascribing sole responsibility for action to the President. This shouldn’t be casually brushed aside as of no consequence. Indeed, it is vitally important and farseeing to have tied a person’s self-interest to their sense of duty as the Founders so did in the Constitution’s structure of forms and powers. But it cannot be fathomed, as I see it, to read the CinC Clause as empowering the President to direct the armed forces as he sees fit without sanction or without a due sense of emergency. The sense of duty as a check only goes so far. In fact, a sense of duty is often as pernicious as it is beneficent. The experience of mankind has taught the necessity of auxiliary precautions. His power must be checked, then, effectually by the outside, from Congress primarily or from the Courts. These checks come in the form of four year elections, the Congressional power of the purse, and reactionary response of the Congress to Presidential initiative.

Congressional assertiveness usually puts a ceiling on Presidential power. Ideas and customs may do this when Congress cannot or will not. Let the climate of ideas change too greatly and the Congress will be ineffective in its duty to protect rights and policy considerations will dominate, creating poor and transient laws that address ephemeral, politically motivated concerns. If this happens, principle is lost and the ceiling, as well as the floor, of Presidential power will be set by the President. The Constitution can only contain what its parameters are understood to be, in principle.

Emergency powers, while being ordinarily outside the Constitution or prohibited by statute, might be necessarily lawful in extraordinary times or circumstances. And, as Lincoln showed us, the Congress and the Courts and the People would have the ability to judge of any actions taken by the President after her took them. The presumption, then, is not in favor of presidential initiative so much as it in favor of individual liberty, Constitutional reason, and effectual government. If this requires independent executive action, so be it. For there definitely exists Constitutional war-making. Indeed, the characteristics of the Executive office strongly support his sole energy, dispatch and discretion. At the same time, these qualities strongly suggest against the notion that the President ought to be considered as the sole initiator and prime mover of the forces, military or otherwise, of our government.

We would do well not to give too much prominence to the idea that the President is an elected monarch (which is the worst kind as the Founders saw it). The tension of the ideas behind the need for an energetic executive and the need for deliberative and representative councils cannot be too easily ignored. They are not incompatible; they are not, either, comfortable with the other. Locke has much to say about this, and Jefferson really liked Locke.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Impeachment, Alito, and the Haj Stampede!!

Read Roman's latest.

Seriously though, where tf are you guys? Important craziness is going down and the cafe is dead.

Ya'll better be away from your computer because you're off fighting communism or something.


Thursday, December 29, 2005

FREEDOM WATCH article from Boston Phoenix

This from a good friend and civil libertarian attorney, Harvey Silverglate, in Boston.

Five minutes to read Harvey's take on the Intelligent Design battle in Dover, PA.

Also, I've recently blogged about my observations of Body World, the exhibit of plasticized cadavers currently on display at the Ontario Science Center. Want to know more?

2 days, 8 hours and 28 minutes until 2006 hits Texas.

In other news, Tom Delay registered for re-election in Sugar Land, last week.

Your man in district 22,


Saturday, December 24, 2005

Next Summer's Seminars...

So is anyone else checking the IHS website every five minutes to see where, when, and what about next year's seminars will be, or is it just me??? ;-P

Take it easy,

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

For the natural law fans...

Here is a link to a writing competition in Navarra, Spain. First price is 1000 euros and the subject is: "“Posibility and meaning of natural law in liberal societies”.

good luck...

And of course all the best for all of you in this next year...

Monday, December 19, 2005

No bets for the girls?

I didn't know who else to turn to.

My cousin made the Olympic Hockey team today. The "Miracle" game this winter is going to be Team USA (Women's) vs. Canada in the final. If you watch only two hours of the 2006 Winter Olympics, watch the Women's Hockey final. It will be dramatic and beautiful and for the women's Red Army of Canada, devestating. It's everything we look for in sports.

So why can't I put a few bucks on my team to win?

Because Vegas bookies "don't know enough about women's sports."

Where's the outrage?

Thursday, December 08, 2005

To Communitarians of All Colors

There are many things you don't like about life. And there are more things that you hate about America. That's too bad, and I truly feel for you, mainly because I feel for me. You see, I fear what you'll do when you and your friends gain power, the only power you think matters in life: government. In a way you're right. Government is the one universal thing among us; it is the one evil we all submit to, because we have to. Despite the staggering grotesqueness of every government in history, even the good ones, the idea that government shall be our earthly god seems to pervade everywhere of late, especially among you socialists. Why you think this I'll never know. This belief in the supreme worth of government and statism comes to be your uniform, as pervasive and universal as government itself. Like the punk movement that ridiculed everyone else for wearing their corporate uniforms, and yet was (and still is) characterised by a more stringent uniformity than existed in almost any other social group, you communitarians, who hate this government, would have the total state.

This won't work, because it can't. Not for humans. But for less-than-humans it might. And the one good thing about the total state, as seen from the perspective of the total statist, is that the total state creates less-than-humans. But some people, no matter how invasive a "wellfare" state might become, will always have a human element that will fight against collectivism. However soft the coercion is at first, it shall end brutally hard. But the ruined men and women of your total regime won't quickly build a new and better one, if ever they do. Indeed, what you'll have is a recurring cycle of dependency and depredation, now this false idol now this populist general.

One thing to consider: the United States has been steadily moving toward the statist end of whatever a mixed economy is. It has managed so far to maintain such a high level of wealth and well-being, truly accessible to more people here than anywhere else in the world, that the demands for well- and wealth-fare have been steadily answered, year after year, decade after decade, since the implementation of the New Deal. This is as close to workable socialism as you'll ever get. And trust me, since your thinking now of Canada and France and Britain and the Scandinavian states, the grass isn't greener my friend. But if you disagree I heartily invite you to vote with your feet. But certainly you aren't thinking of China or the Soviet Union. You may as well wish for a return of the socialist German state. Certainly these could never be idealized! And yet, the idea of a total state is so beguiling for so many. Intellectuals and laymen alike fantasize for that concretization of what has been impossible until recently: a true Big Brother.

I hope that in time your hate for what you think capitalism is may infect what you confuse in the chimera of communism. Otherwise, we'll all get what you have coming for us.

Looking forward to tomorrow.
Looking forward to nothing forever.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Murals of Evil

I have wondered why some images provoke such public disgust while others, in many ways no different, are acceptable for public consumption. In what passes for a student center located on a campus in Anymetropolitan City, USA I now sit with a cup of coffee and lots of work before me. Behind me, however, hang six framed artistic representations among which are Lenin and Stalin. The other four I'm not so sure of, but I believe they all represent communist leaders. One bears a striking resemblance to a small, but deadly North Korean like Kim Jong Il (or perhaps his father Kim Il Sung); another has a prominent mole on his chin, like Mao Tse Tung. The last two are harder to get a clear idea of. One is obviously lighter skinned and is probably a Spaniard, the other dressed in full military garb, portly, and resembling someone from South America. Whoever these last may be, you might say that among them they've killed hundreds of millions of people, literally.

The surprising thing is this. Put a picture of Hitler up on the wall and a media firestorm is guaranteed.

I have been asking around for the reason that these pictures adorn the walls, believing that someone has a point to make about the evil represented in them. I have been rebuffed a few times by various people for nozing around in a subject that will certainly cause tension. I guess that most people would rather ignore a problem than get involved in it.

But I have also been told there is "nothing wrong with an ideal...."

And now the real heart of the problem is manifest. The pictures on the wall apparently aren't a problem at all.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Roman's Observations of the Gulf Coast 11/18-11/20/05

Along the Blvd of Broken dreams we saw some had spray painted messages on plywood, among them “Katrina 1, Gulfport 0, but it’s only halftime,” “Gone to the Virgin Islands,” and only three “You Loot, we Shoot” signs. Many had erected impromptu flagpoles and flew the Stars and Bars. Some flew their Mississippi flags as well. We parked and walked amongst the houses, poking around, feeling like thieves (though we had no stealing intentions – I took only a ziplock bag full of sand from the beach for my collection). It was very sad to see where owners had made small piles of whatever they could salvage. Broken china plates, vases, baby spoons, an ash tray. A small pile in the corner of the foundation, the only remaining possessions in what was surely a beautiful home along one of the nicest beaches on our side of the Gulf. We could see where the kitchen had been by the linoleum, the hallways by the hardwood floors, and tiles on porches amongst the stumps of columns that once rose in front as grand entrances. Bulldozers and excavators rumbled in nearby lots behind the trees like dirty yellow dinosaurs. Many of the fallen trees, great live oaks, had been spray painted with day-glow pink. A line around the circumference of the trunk or a large branch indicated CUT HERE, an X meant to haul away, and SAVE had been written on the larger unbroken portions, the purpose being to sell the wood to make into planks. I was happy to see this resource salvaged wisely.

For the COMPLETE story visit Roman's blog!

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Canada's Creepy

The waves of the future are upon us now. These are the waves that Plato spoke of.
Send in the Clones.

Universal day care, i.e. indoctrination camps for "re-education."

Tuesday, November 22, 2005



What's the mood on Claremont's campus after the passing of Peter Drucker? Do students on campus respect that he did so much for America's corporations or are they too busy advocating for "fair" trade?


Saturday, November 19, 2005

Question about a comment about rent controls.

Howdy from Hattiesburg, Mississippi.

Today I got an email from a fella named James with a comment addressed to me re: rent control. I've pasted it below. I've searced both blogs I contribute to and can't find wtf the comment refers to; I've spent fifteen frikken minutes trying to remember what conversation it came from. I've got nothing.

So James, whichever James in my life you are, could you please be more specific? Email me the text you're commenting on? Is it my notes from the seminar? (If so, it's not my thoughts; it's the thoughts of whoever was lecturing, which should be on the header of the notes.)

I've got a Southern Miss football game to tailgate for, so I'll see ya'll later.

(More later on my observations of Gulfport and Biloxi, MS)


I don't know where you get the idea that rent controls hurt the poor.

Developers will only build rental housing at the expensive end of the market to maximize their profits regardless of the demand as the past century has proven which is why there has always been a shortage of affordable housing.

Here is some information on Rent Controls from this Tenant site.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Schmoller vs. Menger

You will find a very good article on why Germany, and by extension every other Socialist country in the world, is having, and will have, economic stagnation, leading to ruin and probably a new virulent totalitarianism. Yay.

Anyway, one of the very interesting things in this article concerns an argument about the universality of economic principles. This arises between the two schools of thought mentioned in the title of this piece (just add an -ism if you will). The laissez-faire folks take the position that regardless of time or place, the free market works, and works better than anything else. Of course the historicists disagree.

What is intriguing about this argument besides what's on the face of it? Well, deep down at the heart of it all is a question concerning epistemology and ethics. The question is whether we can discern the nature of the universe, of man's mind, of man's necessary conditions for not just survival but also "good" living; for if we can, all else follows and, most importantly, a correct political regime is manifest.

The question is whether there exists a right and wrong from which to judge our existence by. The historicists say "no, get used to it." The laissez-faire folks say "yes, and watch what happens when you employ it."

Ayn Rand's philosophy holds as much as the latter. But hers is a little deeper. Starting from the metaphysical nature of the universe, Rand traces a path to natural right from teleological foundations. What strikes me about this article is that it does as well, at least implicitly. But what is this foundation but natural law and "the laws of nature and of Nature's God," as Jefferson said?

Any Scorpios Here?

As we all know, the popular site, the Onion (who the White House is going after for completely unrelated reasons) often posts nonsensical stories that are funny, and occasionally, nonsensical stories that are not.

This was their listing for the horoscope of Scorpio this week:

This Week’s Horoscopes
Scorpio: You'll lose the use of your left arm this week when your city uses rather draconian eminent-domain laws to commandeer it for garbage-hauling and tree-removal duties.

...You know you are a libertarian when you feel rallied by this.

I was at a political meeting yesterday, and everyone thought I was nuts for being so crazy over property rights. Sigh.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

I Need Some Help For A Paper

I am supposed to write a paper in my Intro Stats class. It is supposed to be very simple and use at most a Bivariate Regression. I don't know what a Bivariate Regression is yet, because that chapter is next week. I tell you this so you realize where I stand on Stats knowledge and so that anyone who rights back won't feel the need to use big words.

Anyway, the idea is to test two variables against each other, or so I gather. My ideas are thus: (1) Use a simple and easy to find economic indicator of freedom, i.e. something that indicates lack of regulation or minimal state interference, and see if good things accrue, i.e. less crime, more good shit, etc.

(2) Use an indicator of gun ownership, like NRA membership, and then test that against less crime, good shit, etc.

I was hoping to do this across the 50 States so that my sample isn't too small, or I could use the counties in California. I would love suggestions for what variables I should use and where to find them. My goals are to do this easily, for a grade, and not so much to prove a point, although if that can be done in this little silly paper please let me know.

Thank you for your help with this!
I look forward to hearing from you.

Monday, October 31, 2005

Who is Alito?

I must say that I have supported Bush on many things. I was especially happy when I learned more about John Roberts before he was placed on the SCOTUS. I was of the opinion that old Georgie was going to leave a legacy by his Supreme Court nominations, and not the one suspected by the abortion-crazed partisans of either evil party, but one of a kind of mild liberalization of the Court, one in which the powers of governement were trimmed back and Social Security, min. wage laws, and Ted Kennedy were found to be unconstitutional.

But then Miers came along. I don't think she got a fair shake, but there were other solid Originalists to choose from. Justices like Owens and Brown who - and I admittedly haven't done research on these beyond the snippets I pick up from Cato, Fox News, CNN, and Progressive Radio here in L.A. - have lambasted the aggrandizement of government scope and power in terms taken from the libertarian tradition, and who have maintained some form of acceptability to the righty rights thereby giving them a chance to actually be appointed. I hoped that Miers might be one of these; perhaps will never know. One saving grace that should be obvious to everyone is that she wasn't acceptable to the abortion-crazed partisans of the Right, which means that Bush wasn't interested in simply pandering to them, i.e. a good thing.

But who is Alito? I suppose we'll know soon enough. But right now we know, at least the snippets tell me, that the abortion-crazed partisans are terribly excited, i.e. a bad thing. Oh, how I was hoping for Owens or Brown!

Washington Post
Cato Opining

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

A Bit Off-Topic, but a Good Cause

I, on a whim, donated coffee to our troops through this site (that I personally order my coffee through as well).

I just received a letter and a photo from the troop that I sent to, and it was really heartfelt.

If you would like to donate great coffee to our troops, you can do so on this website: http://www.bocajava.com/support_the_troops.jsp?promo=TROOP_SUPPORT

They match any coffee donation that you make, which is awesome.

Please pass on this text, or at least this link---it is a great cause!


Tuesday, October 25, 2005

How much is our blog worth?

This site calculated the worth of our blog: Your blog, cafeliberty.blogspot.com, is worth $2,822.70

Not bad...