Tuesday, November 24, 2009

She dreamed a dream in time gone by

A friend and I met up at Grand Central yesterday morning and walked to work, taking my preferred route through Rockefeller Plaza. Just as we approached the Christmas tree, there was something in the air.

I dreamed a dream in time gone by...

But it was not a recording! Susan Boyle was there in person, performing live on NBC's "Today":

We were behind the stage and couldn't see her, although you can spot us as shadowy figures across the street, standing by the southwest corner of the fence around the tree.

It was a kind of magic that compelled us to stand still for the duration of the song. The videos can't do justice to the wondrous sounds spreading through the area. Thanks again, Susan.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

How much were you bribed with, Martin Hansson?

Go to hell, you frog-lover.

"Both Cowen and soccer leaders both appealed to France's sense of honor — and acknowledged the long odds for a rematch."

Appealing to what?

Do these idiot UCLA students think they're in France?

They're certainly acting like it, whining like the recent college grads I wrote about a few years ago, except this time about a 32% fee hike.

If these whiners can no longer afford school, then they need to take fewer credits and/or work (more) on the side. Why should everyone else (i.e. taxpayers) have to subsidize their education? Even an ultra-far-left friend, when he was studying in Germany, had no sympathy for university students who were protesting proposals that they'd have to get jobs while in school.

"We're fired up, can't take it no more"? That's right, we the taxpayers can't take any more of these twits. Shame on them. Deport them all to France, where they belong. This country doesn't need any of them. Then again, they're a perfect example of everything wrong in California. My father used to mock this "gimme" attitude by saying (as the effective words of the one he was mocking), "Hooray for me, to hell with everyone else!"

The latest headline is "Group blocks regents from leaving UCLA building," because the whining dunces are linking arms to prevent the regents from exiting the building where they held their meeting. Forget the police -- what the hell is wrong with the regents, that they don't have the balls to swing a few punches or burst on through? They need only push through a pair of interlocked arms, then push and shove as necessary, and the rest of us will see on the news how quickly these cowards will part like the Red Sea before the Hebrews.

The regents would be perfectly in the right, and any students wanting to fight back were already the aggressors and hence could (should) be arrested.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Obamacare: cutting costs by cutting tests so you can...die!

It truly is Deathcare. Is it coincidence that the new guidelines are issued under this administration, during the big push to socialize American medicine?
Stop Annual Mammograms, Govt. Panel Tells Women Under 50

For the first time in 20 years, a government panel is telling women in their 40s to stop getting routine mammograms and recommending that a host of other breast cancer screenings slow down.

The United States Preventive Service Task Force announced Monday that it recommends against annual mammograms for women age 40 to 49 because, they say, the "harms" and risks of testing do not outweigh the benefits.

USPSTF still recommends doctors start screening all women over age 50, but with a mammogram once every two years instead of annually.

The task force also recommends against teaching breast self-exams for all women and said evidence was insufficient to recommend mammograms for women older than 74.
I tell you bluntly: this is deliberately a first effort to reduce health care costs. It's not about making things more "efficient," no matter how much Obama blabbers that. Gone is his rhetoric about "preventitive medicine" -- reducing costs will first come via reducing the number of tests. Then it won't be long until rationing like Canada or the UK's NHS: "with most [doctors] saying the health service cannot afford to provide free care to everyone."
"These new recommendations are long overdue. Most countries do not support mammography screening under 50 and do it every other year after 50 in their government-sponsored screening programs," said Dr. Susan Love, founder of the Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation.
And outside the U.S., cancer survival rates -- especially breast cancer -- are much lower. Could it possibly be, gee, because Americans get the tests more frequently than Canadians and Europeans, giving more Americans a chance to catch cancer early?
"Their justification: these new guidelines capture 81 percent of mammography's benefits, save a lot of resources, with only a 3 percent drop in survivorship from the most common cancer to affect women," said Dr. Marisa Weiss, president and founder of BreastCancer.org. "But what really is the cost? And who is paying that price? It could be you, your mom, daughter, sister, aunt or grandmother, or all of us."
This doctor's criticism is absolutely correct. How can anyone talk about saving resources when it's directly trading lives, even a mere three percent?

The problem on the other side: some proponents of frequent cancer screenings aren't arguing that it's a woman's right to get screenings as often as she wants, but that the government should mandate, even fund the screenings. This soundbite, in and of itself, is correct, but we don't know what the doctor is intimating. It's also immoral to force insurers to cover screenings periodically, even for the good purpose of mammograms. The solution, as always, is the free market: women can pay for screenings out of pocket, or they can get policies that will cover screenings as often as they want. The latter is general practice with Western insurance, which doesn't make it less silly. Who gets an auto insurance policy that covers oil changes?
However, Dr. Diana Petitti, vice chair of USPSTF, said the task force never looked at costs in their research or their recommendations.

"The task force doesn't deal with insurance and coverage," Petitti said. "Cost was not a part of what the task force looked at."
I don't believe this for a second. The new recommendations state:
The harms resulting from screening for breast cancer include psychological harms, unnecessary imaging tests and biopsies in women without cancer, and inconvenience due to false-positive screening results. Furthermore, one must also consider the harms associated with treatment of cancer that would not become clinically apparent during a woman's lifetime (overdiagnosis), as well as the harms of unnecessary earlier treatment of breast cancer that would have become clinically apparent but would not have shortened a woman's life. Radiation exposure (from radiologic tests), although a minor concern, is also a consideration.
The bolded part is my emphasis, proving that monetary costs were very much taken into account. If they were not, then why is the task force worrying about anything being unnecessary? If there's no concern over the monetary cost (equipment and labor), then there's no basis to consider the tests "unnecessary."

But the truth is that the task force doesn't want women to be frightened enough to make sure that it isn't cancer, to spend a little money and endure negligible radiation to make sure it isn't something that can kill them, and to spend a little time. The most damnable part, though, is "would not have shortened a woman's life." That translates to, "How do you know she wouldn't have died earlier from something else?"

In other words, they're telling women not to get screened for that little lump, because maybe they'll die in a car accident next week.

Who among you would want a woman you love to take a chance? Damn the worry of "false positives," and damn "inconvenience." When someone's life could be at stake, why shouldn't she feel free to spend a few dollars for tests?

The AP article mentions a few things that ABC's did not:
Breast cancer is the most common cancer and the second leading cause of cancer deaths in American women. More than 192,000 new cases and 40,000 deaths from the disease are expected in the U.S. this year.

Mammograms can find cancer early, and two-thirds of women over 40 report having had the test in the previous two years. But how much they cut the risk of dying of the disease, and at what cost in terms of unneeded biopsies, expense and worry, have been debated.

In most women, tumors are slow-growing, and that likelihood increases with age. So there is little risk by extending the time between mammograms, some researchers say. Even for the minority of women with aggressive, fast-growing tumors, annual screening will make little difference in survival odds.

The new guidelines balance these risks and benefits, scientists say.

The probability of dying of breast cancer after age 40 is 3 percent, they calculate. Getting a mammogram every other year from ages 50 to 69 lowers that risk by about 16 percent.

"It's an average of five lives saved per thousand women screened," said Georgetown University researcher Dr. Jeanne Mandelblatt.

Starting at age 40 would prevent one additional death but also lead to 470 false alarms for every 1,000 women screened. Continuing mammograms through age 79 prevents three additional deaths but raises the number of women treated for breast cancers that would not threaten their lives.
It's so easy to talk about reducing costs when the people are reduced to statistics. I don't know how this "researcher" meant the data, but are four lives out of 1000 that easily dismissed? This isn't balancing risks and benefits: it's balancing costs and lives. Again, I'm putting aside the forcing of others to pay for the tests. I'm just pointing out that when the government issues new guidelines, patients and insurers are too quick to swallow the new rules.

Do the math: a mammogram from 50 through 69 will save five lives per 1000 women, but earlier screenings from 40 to 50 and continued screenings for the elderly will save four more lives. That's nearly double.

But don't mind me; I'm just the son of a cancer survivor, who beat it almost 20 years ago. Under ObamaDeathCare, the one test that revealed her cancer would be considered "inefficient" and "unnecessary," because her original medical problem in fact had relation to her cancer. The doctor was puzzled enough, though, and ordered a very extensive assortment of tests.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Go Pacquiao!

The Pambansang Kamao just finished praying in his corner. I think he'll take Cotto in six rounds, KO or TKO. Here's hoping!

Cotto is coming out right now, and we have San Miguel ready.

Friday, November 13, 2009

No, this isn't The Onion: Obama wants to use TARP to...reduce the deficit

Lost in the major headlines is something Mark Levin mentioned on his show tonight. Are we in an Orwellian nightmare, that government is now saying with a straight face that borrowed money, which already added to existing debt, can be used to reduce total debt?
White House Aims to Cut Deficit With TARP Cash

WASHINGTON -- The Obama administration, under pressure to show it is serious about tackling the budget deficit, is seizing on an unusual target to showcase fiscal responsibility: the $700 billion financial rescue.

The administration wants to keep some of the unspent funds available for emergencies, but is considering setting aside a chunk for debt reduction, according to people familiar with the matter. It is also expected to lower the projected long-term cost of the program -- the amount it expects to lose -- to as little as $200 billion from $341 billion estimated in August.

A $210 billion surplus in TARP funding could be used to reduced the U.S.'s towering national deficit. WSJ's Deborah Solomon says the move follows criticism of the Obama administration's approach to debt.

The idea is still a matter of debate within the administration and it is unclear how much impact it would have on the nation's mounting deficit levels. Still, the potential move illustrates how the Obama administration is trying to find any way it can to bring down the deficit, which is turning into a political as well as an economic liability.
This is all borrowed money, whether from foreign nations or the Fed creating money out of thin air. The federal government did not cut from any other spending to compensate for TARP expenditures, therefore TARP was using all newly borrowed money. The claim is that the money won't be spent, but who really believes that will happen? It will be quietly paid back to the lenders, giving Congress a mere several of weeks before they again approach that farce called a "debt ceiling"?

Let's look at the numbers. Last month, Reuters reported $138 billion left in TARP. The latest numbers I can find are from Scripps News, which agrees with the WSJ's figure of $210 billion. However, that's inflated: it's counting the expected $50 billion in repayments over the next 12 to 18 months. Sure, sure. And when you apply to a bank, hedge fund or other entity that asks for your net worth, do you think you can factor in the next year and a half of "expected income"?

The higher figure doesn't cover much past the October deficit alone ($176 billion), anyway. The national debt as of tonight is $11.99 trillion. That's 11,995.7 billion dollars. Even if this money had come from Santa Claus, it still wouldn't make a dent.

If a private company told its stockholders anything like reducing its debt via borrowed money that's part of the overall debt, any executives putting their names to those documents would be going to jail for accounting fraud. Why aren't we holding federal officials, and yes I'm including Obama, to the same standard?

The Scripps article concludes, "The whole $210 billion would probably not even cover the deficit we've run in the last six weeks but even a symbolic gesture is at least a start."

Symbolic? That's like Brad DeLong making a token gesture of dieting by ordering a burger without cheese...then adding a slice he bought elsewhere.

Finally, note that the Treasury expects that taxpayers will lose "as little as $200 billion" from TARP. So much for Bush's claims of taxpayers making a profit, and Barney Frank's own lies. Tim Cavanaugh debunked the Obama administration spin of last September, and on the flip side are absurd profit projections by the New York Times that that fool Yglesias gobbled right up.

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Thursday, November 12, 2009

Gee, GWB, now you're sorry?

Check it out:
"I went against my free-market instincts and approved a temporary government intervention to unfreeze the credit markets so that we could avoid a major global depression," Bush said.
Actually, it's the continued intervention that exacerbated what should have been a mild government-induced recession.
"history shows that the greater threat to prosperity is not too little government involvement, but too much."
Gee, now he says that?
"As the world recovers, we are going to face the temptation to replace the risk and reward model of the private sector with the blunt instruments of government spending and control."
Oh, now he says that, after pushing the $700 billion TARP and setting the stage for one bailout after another?

"But, if he'd had Obama in his hair, that would be fine."

That's my friend Charlie's reply, after I sent him this, and he remembered this.

A little rewording

In the original post, I reworded part of Matthew 23:

Woe unto you, tyrants and redistributionists, hypocrites! For you shut up the halls of justice against men, and occupy them to do anything but mete justice.

I've changed it slightly to what I think is a little better:

Woe unto you, tyrants and redistributionists, hypocrites! For you shut the doors of justice to men, not seeking to open them yourselves, and prevent others from opening.

And arriving this morning at Rockefeller Center

This was the scene at Rockefeller Center at 8 this morning:

I presume they've put it up already; I'll see tomorrow morning.

You can read the tree's story here.


Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Susan Kelo, meet Neville Presho

A court awarded Neville Presho €46,000 for his house. The AP article uses the ridiculous word "wins," when in fact it wasn't a victory at all:
Presho said Tuesday that his mid-19th century stone-built home had become "a car park surrounded by boulders to prevent inebriated drivers from driving into the harbor."

High Court Justice Roderick Murphy ruled that he couldn't determine who set fire to Presho's property in 1993 or knocked down its stone walls in the following months while Presho, his wife and two children were living in New Zealand, 11,600 miles (18,700 kilometers) away.

Presho said he returned to Ireland in 1994 after being told by Donegal County Council — the nearest local authority for a northwest island that famously bills itself as a self-governing kingdom — that his home had suffered mysterious damage.

Presho recalled how, as the passenger ferry arrived from the Irish mainland, he searched in panic but couldn't see his home at all.

He soon learned that a neighbor with whom he had entrusted a key had permitted Doohan's construction workers to live in his home while the neighboring hotel was being built.

While gathering testimony from March to July, Murphy determined that the workers left behind flammable materials in the property and the blaze was deliberate, but he couldn't reach a conclusion as to who ignited it. Nor could he be certain who knocked down the shell that remained, although he noted that Doohan owned the only heavy construction equipment on the island.

The judge said police could not get island residents to cooperate with the investigation into the house's gradual disappearance over a nine-month period, an event that "should have been obvious to all."

The Associated Press left telephone messages for Doohan and his lawyer, John Cannon, but they were not returned. Cannon told the court Monday his client planned to appeal rather than pay.

Presho never achieved fame as a filmmaker — but produced, directed and co-wrote one that uncannily foreshadowed his own experience. His 1981 film "Desecration" told the story of an amateur archaeologist on an Irish island who toils to preserve its medieval castle, but his restoration work is destroyed by other islanders determined to develop a mine there instead.

Presho spoke wistfully Tuesday of his lost island retreat, where he could sit on his front doorstep watching the fishermen come and go in the harbor and the panorama beyond of the wild Atlantic and Donegal mainland.

But Presho said he doesn't expect to live there again. Even if he does receive his court-ordered euro46,000, that's less than a fifth of the average house price in Ireland.

"You could build a really nice chicken coop with that sort of money," he quipped, "but you'd have no money left over to buy the chickens."
"Mysterious damage," indeed.

How can there be grounds for an appeal? Regardless of who set the fire, the hotel clearly has been trespassing on Presho's property for 15 years. The owner was already there and clearly knew he was trespassing, making him complicit in the crime. Some jurisdictions use the euphemism "conversion," but it's in fact grand theft.

What minimal justice for Presho. The lesson is that when you have "law" and "courts," you can get all the "due process" you can stomach. "Due process" just doesn't guarantee the decision is correct or just.

With these conservative boot-lickers, who needs liberals?

"So Where Does Ms. Kelo Go To Get Her Home Back?" asks McQ. Then the noted boot-licker "Joe," with the equally boot-licking Steverino (who I have previously exposed as a worshipper of the state), have the unbelievable positions of defending government's "right" to seize people's property. But, they argue, the law permits it, the Constitution permits it, due process.

Yes, they've had fit in just fine with the Tories of colonial America.

My reply:
Good lord, you two are such contemptible boot-lickers. You have no idea of real liberty and instead worship the state, babbling on about legalese nonsense you don’t even understand.

Kelo had her house seized — how can either of you maintain that it was it not? She didn’t leave voluntarily. She left because the police would have dragged her out, and physically resisting would have meant additional force to subdue her. She could have also been arrested and jailed for contempt of court, no matter how wrong the court’s decision was. It doesn’t matter. As Jefferson put it, “Law is often but the tyrant’s will, and always so when it violates the rights of the individual.”

Kelo was forced to take “just compensation” — it was never enough to convince her to sell, but she had to accept, or else. You can blabber all you want about “fair market value,” but that does not mean someone has the right to force someone to sell property at a price the owner thinks is too low. What you, “society” or “government” thinks is a “fair price” doesn’t matter. That’s none of your business: people will ascribe different economic values to the same thing, and it’s the owner’s right to want higher than someone else would ask for. It doesn’t matter that Kelo wanted to continue living in a blighted area. That’s none of your business, either. Or do you think you or “society” have a right to make people live elsewhere? Do you not believe that people have rights over their own property?

Why don’t you take a midnight walk through some friendly parts of Brooklyn, say, Brownsville, Crown Heights or East New York? Be sure to sport nice clothes and flash a bit of dough. I’m sure that some locals would love to demonstrate how they can acquire your possessions without “seizing” them. You’ll be no more harmed than Kelo and other affected homeowners were.

You cite “law” and even “the Constitution” as if they’re absolute, when in fact law that violates individuals’ rights is of no effect, being inherently unjust. Do you defend slavery as “legal” before the 13th Amendment? Or do you understand that just because something is “the law” does not mean it is automatically just and correct?

Just because the Supreme Court makes a decision does not mean it’s correct. Don’t you know what happened to Dred Scott? His status as mere property was, guess what, ruled according to the law.

You cite “due process” and ignore that William Wallace, Anne Boleyn, John Lathrop, Giles Corey and countless others were given “due process” according to the law. “Due process” is a meaningless phrase to lovers of liberty, and a tool for the tyrant to make things legally permissible.
Here’s a news flash, dude/dudette the US Constitution is SELDOM ever clear about what it “means” exactly.
And yet you cite it to support your own side. You’re nothing but a hypocrite, “Joe.”

As wrong as the Constitution can be, it was written very plainly. What does ”
I wasn’t entirely pleased to sell my ancestral manse on after the Parental Units died, and the price wasn’t all I hoped for either, BUT I took the deal.
And why did you? Money pressure? Or did the government come and tell you that you had to sell, because everyone up to the Supreme Court said so?

You apparently chose to sell. No one threatened to toss you out if you didn’t comply.
So, there is established law that allows the state to buy property from an individual without the individual’s consent, but with fair compensation. That’s not force winning out over property rights, that’s a state exerting its Constitutionally allocated power.
What disingenuous bullcrap. It’s still force, because the homeowner didn’t want to do it. The fact that it’s “Constitutionally allocated power” still does not make it “right” or “proper.” Why is this so hard for you boot-lickers to comprehend?

Even going by your standard of the Constitution, eminent domain was never intended for this. The four conservative justices disagreed, in case you didn’t notice. You’re defending the five liberal justices who think it’s ok for government to make someone sell his home to a private buyer.

You two are just two more reasons this country has gone to hell, not only because you look the other way when the state runs roughshod over people’s rights, but because you defend the state’s power to do so. Don’t cry to us when it happens to you. In fact, would you care to give us your addresses, so the rest of us can arrange for your local governments to condemn your residences andgive you pennies on the dollar?

And here are two free hints, Joe. First, right-click “Reply” so that you can make things threaded, instead of your myriad posts of trying to drown out everybodyelse? (But that’s the only way you “win” threads here, anyway.) And second, Connecticut is abbreviated CT, not CN. Then again, Connecticut’s loathsome seizure of property is exactly what you’d expect in China.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Woe unto you, tyrants and redistributionists, hypocrites!

(With apologies to the Original whose words I've based this on.)

Woe unto you, tyrants and redistributionists, hypocrites! For you shut the doors of justice to men, not seeking it yourselves, and prevent others from finding it.

Woe unto you, tyrants and redistributionists, hypocrites! For you seize people's houses, and in pretense make long speeches to justify yourselves: therefore you shall receive the greater damnation.

Woe unto you, tyrants and redistributionists, hypocrites! For you scour sea and land to find one new person to tax, and make him twofold more a slave than the one before him.

Woe unto you, you blind guides, which say that justice is nothing without your contraption of laws!

You fools and blind: which is greater, the law, or the justice behind it?

Woe unto you, tyrants and redistributionists, hypocrites! For you make others pay heavily to support you and tell them to conduct themselves by your declared yoke, omitting the weightier matters of justice, freedom and conscience: these you should have done, and the others left undone.

Woe unto you, tyrants and redistributionists, hypocrites! For you order the construction of beautiful buildings, and commit the foulest of deeds inside.

You blind tyrant, purge yourself of uncleanliness, that the interior may be worthy of the exterior.

Woe unto you, tyrants and redistributionists, hypocrites! Your offices appear clean and polished, yet they are filled with the greatest blackness. You appear righteous to all, but within you are full of hypocrisy and evil.

Woe unto you, tyrants and redistributionists, hypocrites! You build great cemeteries for the childen you send to war, then say, if only you had held office then, you would not have voted so. So you bear witness that you are part of the evil that sent them to die. Fill up, then, the measure of sin of your fellow officeholders!

You serpents, you brood of vipers, how can you escape the damnation of hell?

PelosiCare: what would Rand say?

Over at Three Sources, I left a comment with a Rand quote that can never be repeated often enough when discussing government:
Mark Levin was refreshingly correct last night, pointing out that it will now be a crime not to buy what the government tells you to. His show's site links to this.

Ayn Rand had warned us, so many years ago:

"There's no way to rule innocent men. The only power the government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren't enough criminals one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws."

I should add that Levin also had the excellent observation that Democrats are working so hard to close Guantanamo, but why when the federal government will need a gulag for all the new American criminals?
I also noted:
It's been asked often, "Once we have socialized medicine, where will Canadians go?" And how will they get cheaper pharmaceuticals? A major part of the health care "reform" is that the feds will force down drug prices. But right now Americans subsidize Canadian prices, because of Canadian price controls. Americans are willing and able to pay extra for our medicines, even though a foreign government is screwing us, so Canadians are getting a free ride from us. However, when our own government "negotiates" the lower prices, oops: our pharmaceutical manufacturers won't make enough of a profit to sell the drugs, or create new ones. Game over.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

More from 9 Chickweed Lane

(Again, click the image to open in a new window, if it's too large for your display.)

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Voting: the "patriotic duty" of exerting implied violence over your neighbors

There were some major state elections today, and also for Westchester's county executive position. I did not do what's often called "patriotic duty" -- and this is why I didn't vote.

As the song begins, "It's been a long road, getting from there to here." Only in the last couple of years have I begun to understand certain things, the implications of the poppycock fed to us in public school history and civics classes. I have gotten from there to here: from dismay over losing my "right to vote" to understanding that it's falsely called a "right."

Lysander Spooner addressed the dismay I felt, and much more, in "No Treason: The Constitution of No Authority":
Yet the act of voting cannot properly be called a voluntary one on the part of any very large number of those who do vote. It is rather a measure of necessity imposed upon them by others, than one of their own choice.
So although some of us don't want to vote, we feel pushed into each new political Rube Goldberg to discover "the best candidate" and support him in the futile effort to cancel out others' votes against our persons and property. Little advance seems to come from the "democratic process," and Don Boudreaux explained why four years ago,
The right to vote. The right to yank a lever in a booth on intermittent occasions, along with thousands or millions of other people, the collective outcome of which is the election of a handful of power-mad, glib dissemblers who specialize in picking each of our pockets, transferring the booty to special-interest groups, and persuading us that we are strengthened, enriched, and raised to glory by it all.
Both are true observations, but I've come to realize that it's worse. I understood enough last year to write,
If you think "voting" is a peaceful thing, think again. Are generals "peaceful" because they merely make decisions about who wields weapons and how?
Voting is not peaceful in any wise. While not directly violent, it implies violence. A mugger may not have physically harmed you, but the threat was there if you did not comply. In this absurd idea of "the democratic process," the winning faction gets its turn to form a government with the implicit authority to use any means at its disposal -- tax gatherers, police, even formal military -- to coerce everyone else into following along. Into obeying, eventually upon pain of death.

What else but violence enforces the election result, or that the elected government can stay in power?

This is a subject for a future post, but the very basis of "the state," in fact the only reason, is because some people employ this contraption called "government" to legitimize the forcing of others who would otherwise not want to give up their freedoms over their persons and property. Any government enforces this authority by pure violence, whether it's threatened or actually inflicted. James Madison was correct to say, "If men were angels, no government would be necessary," but in fact for the wrong reason. Men don't need government to restrain bad people; quite the contrary. It's bad people who need government to legitimize control of others.

Remember what Walter Williams wrote as part of the foreword to Sheldon Richman's "Your Money or Your Life: Why We Must Abolish the Income Tax":
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.
But on what grounds do "democratic" governments claim the authority to seize some people's property and give it to others? Simply that people voted for the candidates who pass the laws to "tax and spend." Note that that's a euphemism: to tax is to force someone to give up his property, or else. Ask yourself if, were there no taxes, you would write a check to the government anyway. If you were not, then you're being forced.

And to vote is to assert that you have the potential authority to band with some of your neighbors to tell the rest what to do with their property, despite their God-given rights to their persons and property. Remember my parable that illustrates the nature of the state, when people band together because someone won't hand over his property, calling themselves "a government" to legitimize what they're doing:
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.
Would it have been any different if the neighbors had set up formal elections or a referendum, complete with fancy printed ballots and powerful speakers behind plenty of bunting with patriotic colors, then "outvoted" the merchant? Or if they had held a constitutional convention to claim their new political creation as "the supreme law of the land" and force it upon others again through majority vote? Spooner wrote at the start of part VI of No Treason, "It is no exaggeration, but a literal truth, to say that, by the Constitution — NOT AS I INTERPRET IT, BUT AS IT IS INTERPRETED BY THOSE WHO PRETEND TO ADMINISTER IT — the properties, liberties, and lives of the entire people of the United States are surrendered unreservedly into the hands of men who, it is provided by the Constitution itself, shall never be "questioned" as to any disposal they make of them."

Thank heavens that when I was a big Bush supporter, my voter registration was mucked up. The only times I actually voted for a presidential candidate was to cast a ballot for Harry Browne in 1996, and for Ron Paul last year (as a write-in). Those were paradoxical acts of participating in the machine, not to assert the mythical "authority" I described above, but to support a candidate who would not use the power available to him. Even so, I now cannot do that again. The morality is that you cannot truly defeat evil by using evil, and it's demonstrated empirically by the failure to advance real liberty through "voting" and other democratic nonsense.

I leave you with some of the best, most profound strips of "9 Chickweed Lane" (if they're too large for your display, click them to open in a new window):