Saturday, July 19, 2008

People of Raynham, get some sense and fire Lou Pacheco

As always, of course police want you to wait for them. Otherwise, most of them will be out of a job. It's the most immoral form of protectionism there is.

A janitor groped a 4-year-old boy in a public bathroom, and the boy's father rightfully wouldn't stand for it. He threw a solid punch to the janitor's head, and now the police are charging the father too -- with felony assault!

Everyone in the area needs to know that this "Market Basket" store now has a tacit policy of continuing to employ child molesters who were caught in the act, and that the Raynham police have a tacit policy of arresting you for defending your child. The chief can go to hell and be molested by every demon there:
But, Pacheco said, his officers had probable cause to believe that both parties had possibly committed arrestable felonies. Neither party had any record or warrants

And while the father claims the incident was an outright sexual assault, there was an arguable dispute on the facts as the elderly man who could only speak through an interpreter, said he was "just joking around," he said.

He said his officers used their discretion not to arrest the man right away because the reason for an arrest is to protect the public by stopping the crime or similar ones from continuing and to ensure the parties will appear in court.

"None of those are the facts as I know them or as the officers knew them at the time. Innocent until proven guilty is still the law of the land and people on their own can’t become judge jury and executioner. That is not the way the system works," he said.
In other words, if your child is being assaulted, dial 911 and hope someone will come in time, that the police will throw the perp behind bars, and that the police will arrest the right person!

Right there, the chief of the Raynham police said that if your child is attacked, if they don't believe other attacks will occur, that's too bad for you: they can let the person go. They believe a child molester will appear in court and won't necessarily attack again, but a father defending his child is a threat and/or flight risk?

Based on Pacheco's idiotic logic, the Raynham police need to arrest each other for making arrests. Of course they don't, because they've set themselves above "the law" that they expect everyone else to follow. They're claiming only they can execute judgment on who to arrest and not to arrest, and that the rest of us have no such right. That's impossible, because government's just powers come from the people, and legitimate government cannot do anything that people cannot legitimately do as individuals.

What this idiot Pacheco is saying that when one of my friends is home alone with her two girls, it's taking the law into her own hands if she shoots an intruder. Pacheco is saying that when that friend and I are worried about being carjacked, we can't act as "judge jury and executioner" by defending ourselves. How about the 26 people stabbed when Berlin's new train station had just opened, or any of the victims I enumerated who could only hope (and too often in futility) for the police to rescue them?

And do you know the biggest irony about this? Pacheco is trying to sound tough against online predators. He ought to realize there are plenty in the physical world, too. And as long as he declares it's the police's responsibility to respond rather than for people to defend themselves, then the asshole should stop wasting taxpayers' dollars by going to conferences. He should also stop worrying about young boys carrying plastic toy guns when there's a far greater danger that the boy will be attacked.

When it comes down to a parent and some creepy old man, the parent should get the benefit of the doubt. We have even more, namely the plain truth in front of us. There's no "question" about what happened: the molester confessed that he touched the boy, which is still a crime no matter how much it was "joking around." Yet the police arrested the father and didn't do anything beyond merely charging the janitor. That sonofabitch was even back at work right away!

If I were the father, the janitor would be lucky to escape with all his body parts intact. I swear to God, anyone who does that will find whatever little prick he has pulled out through his nostrils.

The welfare state's new posterwhores

Via my friend jk at Three Sources, who got the story from several sources, including Gateway Pundit and Moonbattery. Look at these two, then think about how those of us who are responsible enough to work hard, balance our budgets between saving and spending, exercise and eat healthy, then have to take into consideration the tax "contributions" taken from us under threat of death, are paying for these two to stuff their faces and stay at home full-time. Then they have the gall to complain they're not getting enough money, and NPR has the gall to report sympathetically.

I have absolutely nothing, nothing but contempt for these two. I would hope that they get what they deserve and are hit by a bus, but odds are they'd crush the bus and be just fine!

One of my friends noted, "Women with appetites larger than life!"

They have an apologist in someone named Kevin Hayden. To point out the people who live off taxpayers' money is to "attack fat people"? Add him to the list of the world's self-certified morons:
I do not consider $125/month food bills to be evidence of gluttony nor an argument against helping poor people fend off incapacities and starvation. I do believe that there are crimes of commission deserving punishment and that conservatives of all sizes will defend the criminals for no other reason than they agree with the politics of the perps. Because the law doesn’t matter. Fatness does. In fact, fat people should be exiled so as not to offend their eyes.
Oh, so these two, who are even lower than the stereotypical social-services-stealing with a host of anchor babies, are victims, according to this moron. He's directly saying it's our fault for criticizing and defending any criticism.

State-worshippers will never understand. These two are fat because they're lazy, of course, but that's a secondary point. The main point is that their friend the State forces us to pay for their food, enabling them to live a life of sloth and thievery. No one is arguing against helping the poor, which is liberals' perpetual strawman — the argument is against forcing people to help, and as I said before, effectively under penalty of death.

"Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise: Which having no guide, overseer, or ruler, Provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest."

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

There's nothing like Medicare to bring out the idiocy in politicians

Fundamentally, the only thing Bush and Democrats fight about is how to spend the money they stole from taxpayers, and how they should steal it. Democrats wants to get it all now, and damn the rest of us. Bush is perfectly willing to compromise with Democrats on higher spending, but he wants to shift the burden to future generations.
Bush Vetoes Bill to Stop Doctors' Medicare Cut
Bush Vetoes Bill to Protect Doctors From Cut in Medicare Pay, Objects to Financing
By KEVIN FREKING Associated Press Writer
WASHINGTON July 15, 2008 (AP)

President Bush on Tuesday vetoed a bill designed to protect doctors from a 10.6 percent cut in their reimbursement rates when treating Medicare patients.

The White House supports rescinding the pay cut, but objects to the way the legislation would finance the plan, largely by reducing spending on private health plans. Both chambers of Congress are expected to move quickly to try to override the veto, beginning with the House.

"I support the primary objective of this legislation, to forestall reductions in physician payments," Bush said in a statement. "Yet taking choices away from seniors to pay physicians is wrong."
The New York Sun explained that part I emphasized: "To pay for rescinding the 10.6% rate cut, lawmakers would reduce spending on private health insurers serving about 9 million elderly and disabled patients through Medicare Advantage."

Now wait a minute: private health plans? If the government is spending my money on someone else, there's nothing "private" about it! "Private" means that government stays out of it.

And how does the Washington Post report this? By quoting Nancy Pelosi, who makes it appear like mean ol' Bush doesn't want people to go see the doctor. Nothing could be further from the truth, even if the truth means Bush wants people to go see the doctor courtesy of other people's coerced money.

Bush correctly vetoed the bill, but he'll likely never understand it was for the wrong reason: it's good that doctors will take a 10% pay hit for Medicare patients. That gives them less incentive to accept patients who can only "pay" via Medicare -- I used quotes there because they're not paying, Medicare's not paying, but the rest of us who pay taxes, whose money government takes at the point of a gun, are paying.

If Pelosi and her husband want to make sure "poor" people can see doctors, they can set an example by paying the bills themselves, instead of making me pay. The two are veritable "rich bitches": they evidently are now earning millions each year in rental income from their waterfront properties, whose values have increased thanks to Pelosi's votes. "Most ethical Congress in history," riiiiiight.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

$2000 Katrina debit cards plus "economic stimulus" checks -- Iraqi style

"Iraq Handing out Cash to People on the Streets" reads the headline:
It is a politician's dream: Handing out cold, hard cash to people on the street as they plead for help. Iraq's prime minister has been doing just that in recent weeks, doling out Iraqi dinars as an aide trails behind, keeping a tally.

The handouts by Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and a handful of other top officials are authorized — as long as each goes no higher than about $8,000, and the same people don't get them twice. Aides say they are meant merely to ease the pain a bit, and are motivated by a belief that better conditions will lead to more security.
No higher than about $8000?! It's the $2000 Katrina cards all over again, which proved to be disastrously abused. Who can seriously expect this to go well? And it's even worse than the typical American-style of wealth redistribution.
The cash handouts are just one small — if eye-catching — part of a major investment push this summer by Iraq's government. The aim is to rebuild basic services and jumpstart Iraq's damaged economy by quickly distributing as much of the country's glut of oil revenue as possible.

U.S. officials and a fed-up American public are urging exactly that — for Iraq to spend its own money, not America's, to rebuild the country now that violence has eased.
The very problem is that the government is running the oil industry, then trying to dole out profits so "equitably." Does this sound familiar? It should. "From each according to his ability, to each according to his need," as Karl Marx put it.

As much as I hated Saddam Hussein and wanted to see him toppled, even I must ask: did we really "invest" thousands of American lives, not to mention those who survived but will never be whole again (lost limbs etc.) to replace a dictatorship with communism? To pour a trillion dollars of Americans' money into Iraq, then have Iraqis receive all this money while Americans are duped with $600 "tax rebate" checks?

The solution is simple: privatize Iraq's oil industry. The Iraqi government should heed the words of Andrew Jackson, who wrote in his explanation of vetoing the renewal of the Bank of the United States: "why should not the Government sell out the whole stock and thus secure to the people the full market value of the privileges granted?" If the government sells the oil industry, even if it means selling it to foreign corporations, that money can be used to rebuild the country's infrastructure. Meanwhile, the oil companies will need workers, so Iraqis can still be employed in lucrative jobs.

Then again, why should we expect Iraqis to do what Americans can't? Americans now are largely state-worshippers, despite the tradition of individualist freedom that founded this continent. Iraqis have never had that in their society: until five years ago, they were always under the rule of some kings or dictator for all the thousands of years that humans lived there. I can only hope for the irony that someday they'll reach that true freedom that Americans have lost, setting an example for us.
Yet the new Iraqi effort runs a high risk of failure: The government is disorganized, fears of favoritism remain and the shadow of corruption haunts every step.

"Money is not a problem," al-Maliki told a recent gathering of tribal chiefs in the southern city of Basra, after government forces had defeated Shiite extremists there. "But we must put it in honest hands to spend."
The problems are the direct result of government running the industry. When government spends money, it's swayed by special interests with every incentive to waste. When the private sector spends money, profit is of paramount concern, which necessarily breeds efficiency. And who cares if someone's making a profit? Profit is not evil. By definition, profit is earned in the private sector.
Despite such problems, Iraq's oil revenues, an estimated $70 billion this year, still provide the best chance of leveraging the country's fragile period of calm into something more lasting, many officials say.
So where's the repayment that George W. Bush promised before we invaded Iraq? As I've quoted before: "We are told that the money is an advance and that, a few centuries from now, we shall recover it a hundredfold. But who says so? The very Quartermaster General's Department that swindles us out of our money. Listen here, gentlemen, when it comes to cash, there is but one useful piece of advice: let each man watch his purse... and those to whom he entrusts the purse-strings."

Bastiat wrote that over a century and a half ago, warning against the enthusiasm for colonizing Algeria and supporting its economy. As he had noted in "What Is Seen and What Is Not Seen," his countrymen used several fallacious arguments much like the ones today: propping up the other country will foster jobs there and at home, and improving trade. What is not seen is the money lost to the economy at home, and it is indeed lost to Americans until we're "repaid" -- if that ever happens.
Top U.S. commander Gen. David Petraeus has repeatedly called money a crucial weapon to lure neighborhoods from extremists and stabilize Iraq. The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. Mike Mullen, urged the government to pass out money even faster this week on a trip to devastated Mosul in the north.
And what will happen when the cash handouts must inevitably cease, and these Iraqis must learn to work for themselves? That's right, they won't want to, because they'll have been used to, they'll have been bred to be dependent. They'll have no incentive to develop job skills to thrive in this new "free Iraq."
The United States has been doling out cash itself, most effectively to former Sunni militants who switched sides to fight al-Qaida. The military has also provided money and assistance to projects like fixing damaged roads in the Shiite enclave of Sadr City after battles there.
"Rebuilding infrastructure" is one thing, but these bribes -- and let's not mince words here -- will only go so far. Iranian agents, for example, will gladly pocket the money and go on fighting for Tehran's interests.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

More statistical idiocy

McQ linked to a study by a University of Alabama researcher and another from Harvard Medical School: "for every 10 percent increase in gas prices there was a 2.3 percent decline in auto deaths."

As the University of Alabama reported:
An analysis of yearly vehicle deaths compared to gas prices found death rates drop significantly as people slow down and drive less. If gas remains at $4 a gallon or higher for a year or more, traffic deaths could drop by more than 1,000 per month nationwide, said Michael Morrisey, Ph.D., director of UAB's Lister Hill Center for Health Policy and a co-author on the new findings.
Someone tell this to the Democrats! They're all in agreement that $4 per gallon gasoline is hurting Americans. And after decades of preventing us from drilling and building new refineries, they're trying to shift blame to Bush.

This should be a debate question for Obama and McCain to answer. "A study suggested high gas prices can be good because they help reduce traffic fatalities. Do you think high gas prices can be a good thing?" Obama no doubt would say that lower traffic fatalities are a benefit, that they encourage us to use more alternative fuels, but how can he reconcile that with every time he and other Dems say, "Higher prices are hurting Americans"?
"It is remarkable to think that a percent change in gas prices can equal lives saved, which is what our data show," Morrisey said. "For every 10 percent rise in gas prices, fatalities are reduced by 2.3 percent. The effects are even more dramatic for teen drivers."
When I first saw this as a news article elsewhere (can't find it right now), it explained that higher prices reduce overall fatalities in part by discouraging younger drivers. They're overall the least-experienced drivers, tend to be in more accidents, and tend to have lower incomes. Also, drivers overall are slowing down to conserve gasoline.

OK, so let's impose taxes on gasoline to increase the prices by 4348 percent. At that point, it will reduce fatalities by 100%! And how about if prices go up 4349 percent and higher -- does that mean we'll start bringing people back from the dead?

Am I being unfair here? Hardly. The very study is based on their own "extrapolation," and their use of the post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy. I'm merely using their own idiocy against them, particularly the dishonest method of taking 2006 behavior (when gas prices were getting high but nowhere as significant to Americans' budgets) and applying it to 2008:
The research included death rates and gas-price changes from 1985 through 2006, and the calculated percent reduction in fatalities can be extrapolated to 2008 and beyond, Morrisey said.

The results come after earlier research by the coauthors found lower gas prices have the opposite effect by wiping away many of lifesaving outcomes from the enactment of mandatory seatbelt laws, lower blood alcohol limits and graduated drivers licenses for youth.
So never mind people's ability to transact peacefully with each other at a price they agree on. We can't allow low gas prices because they offset our cars' safety features and regulations designed to protect us!
The UAB-Harvard findings did show the more restrictive graduated license programs helped reduce traffic deaths by 24 percent among drivers aged 15 to 17.
Let's "extrapolate" out on a limb, to mix a metaphor a little. If we don't license anyone aged 15 to 17, will that completely prevent them from dying or causing others to die? Of course not. It will be as effective as suspending or revoking drunk drivers' licenses.

This is why "extrapolation" is usually so stupid, especially by studies with an agenda to promote. Pay attention here.
The research was funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
That's all we need to know: like many academic researchers today, they found data and massaged it to justify what the sponsor wants. This foundation is another leftist organization that supports control over our lives, from socialized medicine to making sure our kids eat only "healthy" food. Take a look at some headlines from their site:

"McCain Health Care Plan Would Lead to More People Dropping Employer Coverage"
"Opinion: Health Care Costs Must be Controlled and Coverage Expanded"
"Some San Franciscans are Frustrated by Slow Pace of Health Care Program Expansion"
"On The Road To Universal Coverage"
"Employment-Based Health Benefits Under Universal Coverage"
"Falling Behind: Americans' Access to Medical Care Deteriorates"
"Disparities in Health and Health Care among Medicare Beneficiaries"

I'm immediately skeptical of anything that such busybodies and their "researchers" tell me.

In the end, it's force that suppresses rights but also can protect them

Our friend jk noted someone's comment that, "all government power is enforced at the point of the gun." I expanded on that a bit. It's not just at the barrel of a gun, but ultimately with the threat of government killing you.

Previously, I incorrectly attributed to Richard Ebeling what in fact Walter Williams wrote, in 1999, as part of the foreword to "Your Money or Your Life: Why We Must Abolish the Income Tax" by my friend Sheldon Richman. If you don't understand that taxation is immoral because it is coercion, you need to read this book.
Some might consider Richman's title to be hyperbole, but it accurately describes what is at stake. We can readily see this by asking, What is the endgame of the following scenario? Suppose an American told the U.S. Congress, 'I am an emancipated adult. I wish to be left alone to tend to my own retirement needs. If I fail to do so adequately, let me either depend on charity or suffer the consequences; however, I refuse to pay into the government's Social Security retirement program.' If that person refused to fork over part of his earnings as Social Security 'contributions,' the IRS would fine him. If that person rightfully concluded that he has not harmed or initiated violence against another and therefore refused to pay an unjust fine, he would be threatened with property confiscation or imprisonment. Suppose he then decided to use his natural or God-given rights to defend both his physical property against confiscation and his person against aggression? More than likely, he would suffer death at the hands of the U.S. government. The moral question Americans ought to ask is whether they can produce a moral argument that justifies a citizen's being subject to death by his government when that citizen has initiated violence against no one and simply wants to privately care for his own retirement needs? I know of no standard of morality that yields an affirmative answer.
Nonetheless, most of us yield to tyranny. Why? Some might explain, well, the first federal income tax was imposed during the Civil War and later declared unconstitutional, then it returned as a bait-and-switch so the federal government could impose a tiny income tax on the very top income earners in exchange for lowering tariffs, and we've been socially engineered by public education for several decades to believe in wealth redistribution. And they would be incorrect.

Two centuries ago, Thomas Jefferson already knew that "The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground." Unfortunately, people have always been more willing to do what Samuel Adams said. People do tend to "love wealth better than liberty, the tranquillity of servitude than the animating contest of freedom." Most of us would rather be rich servants than masters over our own lives, living predictable routines instead of taking risks in individual freedom. Most of us are accustomed to serving in chains that they don't see liberty is the easier way, like Christ's yoke is light.

"Most" people means that the farce of "democracy" allows them to impose their will, forcibly, over the entire political jurisdiction; those of us who'd rather live free, not harming anyone else, are instead compelled to follow. Remember my parable about how people declare themselves a government?
Give us what we demand, cried out the multitude, lest we seize it by force.

And the merchant replied, Depart in peace while ye yet can, for ye have no right to my possessions save with my consent, and as I have done no wrong to any man, none of ye have any authority to seize any of my possessions.

Behold, cried out his neighbors with one voice, that we have declared ourselves a
government, and as such we have given ourselves the authority.

The merchant replied, Ye have no authority, for one cannot give authority unto oneself.

That matters not, they replied and began to grumble, for we are a greater number than thee and thy family, and because of our greater numbers, we have decided that thou shalt pay us tribute.

Then did his neighbors, armed with swords and staves, seize a goodly portion of the merchant's possessions. The merchant did not consent in his heart, but for the sake of his wife and children, he did not resist in his actions.
For those who didn't fully understand, people "voting" in a democracy is the same thing as a crowd declaring, "Oh, but we're a government!" It's not a new concept that people assume sudden authority to do what they like: William III needed Parliament to be declared king, but only the king could summon Parliament, and there was no king, as James II had fled the country. To get around that, an ad hoc "Convention Parliament" convened to give William the crown. "Convention" simply means that its authority was not from previous parliamentary process -- so this "Parliament" was one because, well, it said so.

So if had no real authority, nothing derived from the real Parliament, why was its declaration believed? Ask yourselves this: how is that any different from when your neighbors join to create a "government" by voting? After all, that government does not have your consent, so why should it have authority over your life and property? In the reverse, I could declare myself a king over my neighbors, but how could I enforce that? The difference is in the root word: to enforce, one threatens superior force and will exert it if needed. William had enough supporters to back the Convention Parliament, just like police, FBI, ATF, et al, will back the will of your neighbors' "government." Both have no legitimacy and no true authority, but they're both about a group declaring that it has given itself authority over others, because it can enforce that self-given power. If you think "voting" is a peaceful thing, think again. Are generals "peaceful" because they merely make decisions about who wields weapons and how?

On the other hand, force can also be used to defend our rights. I like the word "right," because whatever the etymology, it implies that our rights are what are just and proper, and going against our rights is, well, wrong. In the end, it all comes down to force: how much each side has, and if each side is willing to use it all. I'm afraid I don't know the answers to either. The Japanese, specifically Yamamoto, were worried about having to invade the mainland U.S., fearing that "There would be a rifle behind every blade of grass" -- why should agents of government be any less afraid?

Mostly forgotten is what else Samuel Adams said in that speech: "a politic minister will study to lull us into security by granting us the full extent of our petitions. The warm sunshine of influence would melt down the virtue which the violence of the storm rendered more firm and unyielding. In a state of tranquillity, wealth, and luxury, our descendants would forget the arts of war and the noble activity and zeal which made their ancestors invincible.... We have no other alternative than independence, or the most ignominious and galling servitude. The legions of our enemies thicken on our plains; desolation and death mark their bloody career, while the mangled corpses of our countrymen seem to cry out to us as a voice from heaven." He who has ears, let him hear.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

The Obama campaign manufactures more faux outrage

Tonight's "Hannity and Colmes" undoubtedly garnered some relatively high ratings. The highlight was video that caught Jesse Jackson whispering a seemingly backstabbing accusation: "See, Barack been, um, talking down to black people on this faith-based. I wanna cut his nuts off."

Jackson, of course, had to apologize. How ironic: his backtrack proved he has no balls of his own. Doesn't he have the moral fortitude to stand by his words, as private as he thought they were? Ha, well we are talking about Jesse Jackson, aren't we? What moral fortitude?

Call me cynical or even crazy, but from the very first time I saw the video, it just didn't feel right. I think the slip-up was manufactured. Yes, I believe it was completely fabricated.

Greta Van Susteren, on her show immediately following, pointed out that Jackson is a veteran of TV, including experience as an anchor on CNN, and so he should have known that there can always be a live mic somewhere. That only bolstered my belief that it was all set up. Oh, the news coverage is real enough, but I can't shake the suspicion that it was deliberately done. This was also caught during a break in taping, and from all his TV and radio appearances, Jackson should know that recording rarely, rarely stops. Especially when you're taping, it's far easier for an engineer to let things roll, rather than stop it for a break and risk forgetting to restart. Then look at how far apart Jackson was sitting to risk making a confidential remark, and how clearly the whisper was picked up. Surely Jackson would know how sensitive microphones are. You can speak very naturally and soft-spoken in the studio, and sound just fine.

But method and opportunity aren't enough. There must be motive also. So why would this be done on purpose? Simple: to give points to the Obama campaign, which is having trouble attracting undecided voters, and particularly a lot of Clinton supporters who may never forgive Obama for taking the nomination away from their queen (and don't forget the important Clinton donors who might not give at all to Obama's campaign).

A while back, I said I'd talk about "the faux 'outrage,' the spectre of 'racism,' that the Obama campaign is creating." What could be better than a major black leader being perceived as Judas for betraying the Obamessiah under his breath? It turned out that Jesse Jackson made a "What do you mean it was caught on tape" remark and had to fall on his sword, which is just as well. He has too much baggage to have a high-profile position. Sharpton is controversial, but with his "loyalty" to stand up for Obama here, it might get him a position in the Cabinet. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development?

It's the Obama campaign that has to make things a race issue. A while back, I reminded us that Bill Clinton was so misquoted and misconstrued when he said, "This whole thing is the biggest fairy tale I've ever seen." He was talking about nothing else but the myth that Obama has been consistent on Iraq (whether opposing the war from the beginning or withdrawing U.S. forces immediately). Even now, as Charles Krauthammer so thoroughly documented, Obama is a bigger flip-flopper than John Kerry ever was. Tony Blumer at Newsbusters had an excellent piece showing Obama's flip-flops and self-contradictions just on pulling out of Iraq.

But how did Obama's campaign spin Clinton's comments? Suddenly there was "outrage" that Bill Clinton was so cavalierly dismissing the possibility of a black man, oh pardon me, an African-American man, becoming for president. That post was mainly to talk about Geraldine Ferraro, who was forced to resign after speaking the plain truth: Obama wouldn't have gotten this far were he not a black man.

As a black man, Obama can play the race card, taking great pains not to make it obvious. There's never been a presidential campaign like this before, with a generic response to try to deflect all criticism, and make it appear the fault of the critic. Recently, Wesley Clark made some incredibly idiotic remarks about John McCain's military service, and Obama quickly distanced himself from the comments while praising McCain. How convenient, don't you see? A campaign friend or advisor can "independently" make criticisms Obama otherwise couldn't, and no matter what Obama says, any damage is still done. But the race card has been the Obama campaign's dirtiest trick all along, especially in feeding on enough "white guilt" by insinuating that people are racist if they don't vote for him. I always thought that the civil rights movement was about what Martin Luther King Jr. said, judging people by the content of their character, not their skin. So why are Obama supporters constantly the ones who make things into a race issue, by acting as if every criticism of Obama is because he's black? Why must the mainstream media constantly remind us that he would be the first black president? Which isn't true, you know, because his mother was white.

The Obama campaign has manufactured additional faux outrage over "attacks" on Michelle Obama. The woman has the right to free speech, and if she hasn't been proud of her country until now, that's her right to believe so and speak her mind. But there is no such thing as an immunity from criticism, because that would be to stifle others' freedom of speech and thought. Moreover, it's certainly reasonable to expect that people will form an opinion about a wife who has very much inserted herself into her husband's campaign. So the real problem with the Obamas isn't whether they're proud of this country or not, finally proud or always proud. The real problem is that they're charlatan elitists who act "outraged" over criticism of who they are and what they've done, things they bring upon themselves, and over things that didn't happen.

Friday, July 04, 2008

"We hold these truths to be self-evident"

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

Today, the United States celebrates the 232nd anniversary of declaring, "That these united Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States, that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved." Or as I'm starting to think of it, "Go to hell, you limeys" Day.

I couldn't imagine anyone other than Thomas Jefferson writing the Declaration of Independence. Even young children know about "Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness," but there's something most people don't notice when Jefferson begins that proclamation of unalienable rights. His inclusion of this, and several other subtleties, was no accident.

"We hold these truths to be self-evident..."

Think about it: self-evident. The rights reveal themselves to mankind, and someone who can't see their existence is either an ignoramus or a self-deceived tyrant. Tyrants aren't only kings and dictators, either. Tyrants can be your neighbors too, when they use the power of "majority vote" to declare themselves rulers over you and your property.

Tyrants, "democracies" and any other form of government may create laws and new vocabularies, but no matter what laws they pass, what parchments they write or stones they smooth and re-chisel, they cannot erase the fact that our unalienable rights exist and are self-evident. That's the wonderful nature of true rights: they're not dependent on what government says, and in fact, the only legitimate purpose of government is "That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed." This is another example of Jefferson's rhetorical precision: just powers, not merely "powers." Unjust powers, then, cannot come from the people's consent.

Contrast unalienable rights with the "civil rights" that most Americans today will demand and invoke, rights that are granted by government, because prior to the laws, the rights necessarily did not exist. For if the rights already exist, a law is by definition unnecessary, except to proclaim that the right exists a priori and is hereby safeguarded. Contrast the 1964 Civil Rights Act with the Bill of Rights. The former, as Kennedy introduced it in a 1963 speech, is "giving all Americans the right to be served in facilities which are open to the public..." Giving. This is the legal positivism that I've mentioned Friedrich Hayek often criticized. Sadly, Jefferson was so correct to explain that "all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed." Americans have been bred, and willingly let themselves and their children be bred, to be obedient "citizens" of the State.

The Bill of Rights, though, being based on self-evident unalienable rights, declares that "Congress shall make no law" infringing on several rights, and that certain enumerated rights "shall not be infringed" or "shall not be violated." This implicitly defines them as a priori, particularly when the Ninth Amendment declares that the enumeration does not mean those are the only rights. Good law does not tie down people -- it ties down government.

Frédéric Bastiat wrote several decades later, adding to Jefferson, that "Life, liberty, and property do not exist because men have made laws. On the contrary, it was the fact that life, liberty, and property existed beforehand that caused men to make laws in the first place." Existing beforehand, and self-evident.