SOVEREIGN COMMENTARY

News, Comment, and Opinion

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A thoughtful compilation and analysis of some important, but underreported and under-researched news stories, with particular focus on keeping the People informed about all Enemies, Foreign and Domestic.

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BY ALFRED WEST

(AKA THE SOVEREIGN EDITOR).
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    Sunday, February 27, 2005

    Orange County Sheriff's Office deprives man of liberty, Orlando Police storm troopers terrorize family at Christmas

    This is the story of Trason Brooks and his friend, Chris Brussow, who suffered mightily at the hands of Beate Faanes(1), with the Orange County Sheriff's Office and the Orlando Police Department as willing accomplices. Beate Faanes, besides having a silly name, is described as being absolutely gorgeous (I don't see it, myself. She's not unattractive, but there must be something extra that she projects in person if she is to be described as unusually beautiful). She is 25 years old, 5'9" tall, has an athletic figure, blonde hair, blue eyes -- a real attention-getter among those of us who happen to be male.(2)

    Faanes had a boyfriend by the name of Trason Brooks. They dated on and off over a period of 18 months, but Brooks broke off the relationship for good. Apparently, she was looking for marriage and he wasn't.(3) After two months of having no contact at all with Faanes, he was surprised to find himself being taken into custody by the Orange County sheriff's Office and "charged with attempted first-degree murder and aggravated stalking" -- of Beate Faanes.(4)

    The Sheriff's Office said that Faanes had been attacked (she had the injuries to prove it) and she had fingered Brooks as the attacker -- that was enough probable cause, they thought, to arrest Brooks.(5) Now, to those of you who think that sheriff's deputies and police officers always act only in their capacity as peace officers, you might think that arresting Brooks was the right thing to do. However, it will become clear to you that in this case, the Orange County Sheriff's Office (OCSO), and later the Orlando Police Department, behaved in this scenario much more like common thugs and storm troopers than like peace officers. In fact, if you apply the Sauce for the Goose Rule, their actions were no less than criminal, but more on that later.

    You see, Brooks has solid alibis for two of the three attacks that Faanes had alleged. "He told Orange County investigators as much, but 'they didn't care. They relied on her word 100 percent,' he said. The sheriff's office attitude, he said: 'You beat this girl, she has the marks, she has no witnesses, but you're guilty.'"(6) And it gets worse.

    According to OCSO records, Faanes had "attempted suicide in January 2004 over a break-up with another boyfriend. And, investigative records state, she admitted lying to Brooks about having aborted his baby in an attempt to gain his love -- in fact, she was never pregnant."(7) Despite this character evidence, and despite the fact that Faanes had no witnesses whereas Brooks had several, Detective Brian Cross, the lead sheriff's detective, maintained that she was still credible. "At the time, based on the evidence at hand, he said the most likely apparent danger would be to not arrest Brooks and risk having Faanes later turn up dead. So Brooks, a 28-year-old golf instructor and aspiring real estate salesman, went to jail with no bond."(8) In my opinion, this makes Brian Cross guilty of willful negligence in not investigating Brooks' alibis. Personally, I think he should be brought up on criminal charges, as I would be for false imprisonment. The thugs down at the OCSO, who didn't even consider that Faanes might be lying, dutifully put Brooks in a maximum-security lockup where he stayed for the next 93 days.(9)

    Now enter Brooks' good friend, Chris Brussow. Brooks had not, in fact attacked Faanes, and Brussow knew it. How did he know it? Because Brooks was with Brussow one of the nights that Faanes (and the malefactors down at the OCSO), allege that he attacked her. As any good friend (or good citizen) would do, Brussow went before a judge to testify as to what he knew so that, hopefully, his friend would be released from jail.(10)

    Unfortunately, his testimony would end up having the opposite of its intended effect. You see, Faanes was in the courtroom when Brussow gave his testimony, and, like magic, she suddenly had been attacked by Brussow as well. Nearly two months after his testimony, Faanes "came forward with a new allegation: that Brussow came to her apartment and attacked her, punching her face and cutting her side. . . There were new bruises and a cut, so this time it was Brussow being carted off to jail. "No matter what I said to anybody, they laughed at me," he recalled. "'Sure you're innocent.' 'Sure you didn't do it.'"(11) As you can see, the arresting officers are behaving a lot more like thugs than like peace officers.

    Unlike his friend, Brussow was able to get bond after four days in jail.(12) His freedom, however, would not last. "On Christmas Day, Faanes told police Brussow again attacked her, this time with a knife, almost slitting her neck."(13) So, like the dutiful little malefactors they apparently are, without doing any background research into the situation, the thugs of the Orlando Police Department "stormed Brussow's condo within hours with a warrant for attempted murder."(14) These Orlando police storm troopers brazenly interrupted Christmas, with weapons at the ready, shouting, "'get face down, face down,' probably seven officers at least one dog. We're [Brussow & his family] all on the ground in handcuffs. It's very disheartening to look up see my mom in handcuffs,' [Brussow] said. 'All I could think about is this girl who's done this to me. I'm obviously terrified because now I'm going back to jail again.'"(15)

    In my opinion, these actions of the Orlando Police Department amount to criminal negligence, and I think that everyone who participated in this operation should be arrested and charged criminally under the laws of the State of Florida with assault and battery. Now, how can I say that? After all, these police officers were just doing their jobs, right? We don't want to deter them from catching criminals do we? Well, no, they weren't doing their jobs, and I want to keep them focused on catching criminals, which is not what happened here. You see, "[w]hile out on bond on house arrest, Brussow was attached to an ankle bracelet that tracked his every move. And it proved he was home on Christmas when Faanes claimed he attacked her miles away."(16) If the malefactors over at the OPD had bothered to look into the matter instead of immediately dispatching storm troopers, they would have known that Brussow was innocent of the charges. But, no, instead of doing what we pay them to do, these thugs thought it would be fun to go bust up someone's Christmas gathering. It disgusts me even thinking about it.

    Also, by this time, "Brooks' lawyers produced a dozen alibi witnesses and dental records proving he was in Jackson County when Fannes claimed he last attacked her in Orange County, 300 miles away. Finally, a prosecutor asked Orlando police to seek the truth Brooks and Brussow had been claiming all along. . . Both are consulting lawyers about possibly suing Faanes and law enforcement agencies for not diligently checking out her claims before arresting them. But for now they're just glad they're not in jail or prison."(17)

    Brooks and Brussow should, in my opinion, be allowed to seek file criminal charges against the law enforcement agencies involved in this matter. In the case of Brian Cross and the Orange County Sheriff's Office, it was a case of willful negligence that led to the unjustified incarceration of Trason Brooks. In the case of the Orlando Police Department, it was gross negligence that led them to send storm troopers to terrorize the family of Chris Brussow at Christmas. In the face of such negligence, it shouldn't be a case of merely 'oops, sorry' and payment of money damages, there should also be some jail time -- at least 93 days dished out to some so-called law enforcement personnel here.

    You have a sheriff's office that refused to corroborate that Brooks was, indeed, Faanes' attacker, you have sheriff's deputies who taunted Brussow and judged him guilty with absolutely no objective evidence, and you have a Police Department willing to storm a family gathering no-questions-asked when they can find out whether they should simply by picking up the telephone. I'm sorry if you think law enforcement personnel deserve special treatment -- I do too, but not in a case like this where it is clear that there has been willful and gross negligence; not just an honest mistake. In cases like this, the Sauce for the Goose Rule(18) should be applied. In other words, if law enforcement personnel engage in behavior that I would be arrested for and charged with a crime, then they also should be arrested and so charged.

    Again, before I get hate-mail from law enforcement people and their families, let me reiterate that it is my strong belief that to carry out his legal duties, a peace officer must be granted a little leeway for honest mistakes committed while carrying out those duties. But the key word is honest. When a member of a law enforcement agency engages in willful or gross negligence, he should be brought up on criminal charges -- which is exactly what he would insist on if you or I had committed similar negligence. If punishment for this sort of malfeasance were standard practice, our police and sheriff's deputies would be much more responsible in the performance of their duties, and people like Brooks and Brussow would not have to suffer in the manner that they have.

    As for Beate Faanes, I hope she goes to prison for a long time. She has been arrested and is currently being charged with perjury and filing false reports. But who is the bigger malefactor, here? Faanes? Or the law enforcement agencies that made it possible to do what she did? Americans like me have had enough of this kind of thing and it needs to stop. Now.
    ---------Orange County Sheriff's Office (407-254-7000)
    ---------Orlando Police Department (407-246-2470)


    ______________________________

    (1) In the early days of coverage, there was a misprint in the spelling of Ms. Faanes' name. As a consequence, many web publications spell her name as Beate Faanis.
    (2) Pipitone, Tony. "Woman Faces Perjury Charges After Men Jailed In Bogus Attacks," WKMG-Local 6 News, 2005 February 11, http://www.local6.com/money/4162598/detail.html, last accessed on 2005 February 27.
    (3) Ibid., paras. 3 & 37.
    (4) Ibid., paras. 4-6.
    (5) Ibid., paras. 5 & 8.
    (6) Ibid., paras. 6-7.
    (7) Ibid., para. 10.
    (8) Ibid., para. 11.
    (9) Ibid., paras. 13-14 & 16.
    (10) Ibid., para. 20.
    (11) Ibid., paras. 21-24.
    (12) Ibid., para. 25.
    (13) Ibid., para. 26
    (14) Ibid., para. 27.
    (15) Ibid., para. 28.
    (16) Ibid., para. 30.
    (17) Ibid., paras. 31-32 & 44.
    (18) Sauce for the Goose Rule: If the sauce is good for the goose, then it's also good for the gander.


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    Friday, February 25, 2005

    Kelo v. New London, Eminent Domain: Supreme Court to rule whether government can give your house to a private developer

    25 February 2005

    This post is a little after the fact. I apologize; I was otherwise engaged the day this case was heard.

    For any of you who are regular readers of my web log, you already know about the facts surrounding Kelo v. New London. I will try not to repeat myself too much. The facts are simple: The city of New London, Connecticut has decided that local homeowners are not providing enough tax revenue for the government (or enough jobs for the economy, or something). Many municipalities accomplish their goals by declaring such areas 'blighted' (using shockingly flexible guidelines to determine what 'blight' is). New London doesn't actually have to take this step, all they have to do is invoke "a state law designed to revitalize older commercial and industrial areas," and hand the properties over to a private developer who will then build a new commercial park. This action will generate lots of jobs and, coincidently, it will generate a lot more tax revenue than the rightful owners ever could (which I'm sure wasn't a factor in New London's decision). Because of the increased jobs and tax revenue, New London and other local government can claim that such takings constitute a 'public benefit' for which eminent domain may be used under the Constitution. The trouble with this standard is that it is effectively no standard. If the Supreme Court rules in favor of New London, and against Kelo et al, then any government will be able to take anyone's property for virtually any reason so long as the taking will result in more tax revenue for the government (a public benefit). More simply put, if the Supreme Court rules against the property owners in this case, if Wal Mart wants to knock down your house to make way for a Supercenter, and if your local elected leaders want the Wal Mart there, your house is gone. You won't have any recourse because of the Supreme Court's ruling.

    Of course, as one of the articles below points out, a ruling in favor of the property owners won't help us very much necessarily. After all, since New London makes no claim of blight and since the development is purely for economic gain, the court could get away with finding for the property owners without having to address any specifics about when it is appropriate for governments to use eminent domain for traditional purposes such as blight. My instinct is to argue that the terms 'eminent domain' and 'private ownership' ought to be mutually exclusive. But I do recognize the real public benefit of urban renewal projects involving the taking of truly blighted areas and transferring them to private developers (for a fair price, of course). However, unlike with other types of public projects, the potential for the abuse of this sort of application of eminent domain is so great that there ought to be rigorous and very strict standards for determining what blight is, and the presumption should always be on the government to show blight before a taking is allowed. I might also add, that, given the distastefulness of forcing one private owner to sell their property to another private owner, the owners of blighted properties ought to be paid 150% of the value for the inconvenience.

    Disturbingly, the court is divided on this issue. The prevailing view is that the takings clause of the Fifth Article of Amendment to the Constitution of these United States grants the government the power of eminent domain. I am puzzled by this interpretation since the first ten Articles of Amendment, known as the Bill of Rights, were concerned with enumerating some of the specific rights that we the people have against the government. The takings clause of the Fifth Amendment clearly says 'public use', not 'public benefit'. The language seems narrower than the language eminent domain proponents are in the habit of using. I really hope the court actually upholds the rights of the people in this case. To those who try to vilify the property owners as holding up development that will benefit a majority, I say that nature of thievery is not changed just because there is a greater number of thieves. What am I supposed to do? Say it's perfectly okay to steal from someone just because a majority of people say it's okay? I don't think so. And if you're one of those people who thinks it isn't stealing if they're paid, try to imagine how you'd feel if someone came up and snatched your laptop, but left you with $700. If that happened, would you feel like you'd been stolen from? There's probably some stuff on that laptop that money can't replace. Oh, and there's that little issue of consent. You didn't desire to sell your laptop, it was merely taken. If there is no consent, a taking is theft.

    The case is Kelo v. New London, No. 04-108. A decision is expected by July.
    ---------Is Your Stuff Yours? The Answer Isn't So Simple (Actually, the answer is simple. If I worked for it, made it, bought it, or was gifted it, then it's mine.)
    ---------High court to weigh eminent domain
    ---------Supreme Court examines limits of city's eminent domain powers -- Residents in working-class neighborhood square off against city
    ---------Limit urged on eminent domain -- Property owners ask high court to block forced sale
    ---------Justices hear eminent domain case -- Taking houses for offices at issue
    ---------Eminent domain case may have imminent implications -- Supreme Court considers seizure of private land
    ---------High court should limit eminent domain -- New London residents ask to block forced sale

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    Sandy Berger Participated in a National Security Panel Discussion at Purdue University

    Story dated 25 February 2005

    Okay. So what? Or, that's what I assume that average person would say in response to that. As for me, who pays attention to such things, I can't understand why Berger is not in prison, much less why he was speaking at Purdue University -- as if he were the sort of person with the character requirements to speak in such a forum. Or maybe character doesn't count for anything anymore. Berger was observed stuffing sensitive, highly classified documents into his socks and underwear. Such documents were recovered from Berger's office. What if you or I had done such a thing? Actually, I doubt you or I would hade made it out of the building without being arrested, nor would our protestations that we had 'accidentally stuffed the said documents into our socks and underwear' be accepted. Why is Berger afforded deferential treatment? Is he a member of a 'ruling class' to whom the ordinary rules do not apply? I certainly hope not.
    ---------Archives Staff Was Suspicious of Berger -- Why Documents Were Missing Is Disputed
    ---------Sandy Berger Probed Over Terror Memos
    ---------Feds probe Clinton aide over missing papers -- Former national security adviser under criminal investigation

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    Thursday, February 24, 2005

    CHINA - TAIWAN - UNITED STATES Beijing anti-secession law and Taiwan anti-annexation bill

    Story dated 24 February 2005

    As you may or may not be aware, the People's Republic of China (PRC) claims Taiwan as their own territory. This comes as a surprise to most of us since the PRC has never had political or military control of Taiwan. In fact, the Republican government of Taiwan predates the PRC by a number of years, being the last outpost of the Republic of China, founded early in the twentieth century. Beijing has gotten the idea that it would be cool to enact an anti-secession law that would make it illegal for any territory claimed by the PRC to formally declare its independence. This law affects Taiwan, and territory that has belonged to Japan since the 19th century. Well, Taiwan's pro-independence Taiwan Solidarity Union is proposing an 'anti-annexation' legislation. This ought to be fun -- especially since we have to, by law, come to Taiwan's rescue if things go wrong and the PRC tries to crush them militarily (as they've very publicly threatened to do).

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    "Republic of Texas" Again Pushes for Independence

    Story dated 24 February 2005

    Now, before you immediately dismiss this as insanity, ask yourself this question: Why is it more desirable to be part of a larger country? I mean, aside form the security advantages? This actually goes to another question: Why is it so important that Iraq remain as one unit? Would the citizens not be better off if the country were split into separate regions representing the population bases of Kurds, Sunni Muslims, and Shiite Muslims respectively? If a majority of the citizens of a state want to secede from the Union, why should they be stopped? They could have legitimate cause -- they might be tired of the Supreme Court interfering with their laws, they might be tired of federal taxes depressing their economy, they might be tired of sending their citizens to fight overseas to free other people while their own are oppressed by OSHA, the DEA, the ATF, and so forth. Should we be allowed to stop them from seceding? If we did stop them, would that make us an empire?

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    Wednesday, February 23, 2005

    As I suspected -- the People's Republic of China has pushed Japan too far, now they're pushing back

    Story dated 23 February 2005

    It's been my theory since last year that China has been testing the line with Japan to see how far they could push. Kudos to the Japanese for putting their foot down.

    "To the east of Taiwan, Japanese islands already feel Chinese pressure: drilling last fall for gas in an area claimed by Japan; a Chinese submarine caught in November trying to slip through Japanese territorial waters; and a continuing effort by China to have a Japanese island declared a rock, a legal strategy that would deprive Japan of thousands of square miles of economic rights."

    "Discarding the language of diplomacy, Hatsuhisa Takashima, the spokesman for Japan's Foreign Ministry, said in an interview on Monday that the inclusion of Taiwan in the security list was a consequence of these actions. China has been increasing its military budget by 10 percent annually in the past 10 years, said Takashima, whose government is actually cutting its defense spending this year."

    Those in the EU who want to lift the embargo on selling arms to the PRC are basically opposed to the security interests of Taiwan, Japan, South Korea, and the United States. And even Australia, if you want to get right down to it. Why aren't these people being criticized? What if the United States had decided to freely sell arms to Hitler during World War II? Do you think the Allies would have been pleased? The selling of arms to an imperialistic, tyrannical power should not be tolerated.

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    Monday, February 21, 2005

    United States and Japan issue joint security statement regarding Taiwan, signals Tokyo policy shift

    Story dated 21 February 2005

    That Japan mentioned Taiwan by name in a public statement represents a huge policy shift for Japan who has studiously avoided making such statements in the past. "The shift in the Japanese stance on Saturday was fairly subtle. The Japanese government has previously called unilaterally for peace in the Taiwan Strait, and has offered logistical but not military support to the United States in case of a conflict between Taiwan and mainland China. But Japan has been much more cautious about including any reference to Taiwan in bilateral security statements with the United States. Japanese officials were reluctant to call attention to the language in the statement on Saturday. Nonetheless, it represented a departure from the most recent previous military cooperation statement between the United States and Japan in 1997, which simply called for the two countries to work together in the "area surrounding Japan."" Now, I wonder if Japan's new stance could have anything to do with the recent military incursions by China's military into Japanese territory? Well, in any case, this is very good for Taiwan, whom China has threatened to annex by force. It's also good for us since US law would require us to defend Taiwan should the PRC attempt a conquest.

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    Saturday, February 19, 2005

    China Increases Trade Presence in the Caribbean

    Story dated 19 February 2005

    "The United States has applauded China's economic offensive, seeing it as a herald of political reform." Hmmm. Apparently, the people doing this applauding are unaware that it is not uncommon for Chinese corporations to have close ties with the military (you know, CEOs that are generals -- that sort of thing). If the People's Republic of China actually starts to demonstrate a capacity to comprehend what human rights are, then I'll applaud inroads by Chinese companies.

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    Wednesday, February 16, 2005

    Five Democratic campaign staffers in Wisconsin ordered to stand trial for GOP tire slashing

    Story dated 16 February 2005

    There's a buried story for you. Nothing to see here, folks. Just some Democrat activists excercising their freedom of expression. Come on. Can you imagine if this had been Republican staffer slashing the tires of Democrat 'get out the vote' vans? It would be headline news for weeks and there would probably be lawsuits and the whole election would probably have been contested -- again.

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    Tuesday, February 15, 2005

    New Information on the FairTax

    Originally posted on 15 February 2005

    The FairTax's designation in the Senate has changed to S. 25 for the purpose of more closely mirroring the related House bill, H.R. 25. The current bill is titled 'Fair Tax Act of 2005'.

    You ought to write your people in Congress to get their support behind this bill. The FairTax would transform the United States into the largest tax shelter in the history of civilization. Businesses from all over the world would come here to set up shop. This would lead to a growing economy and thus an increase of federal tax revenue (from the national retail sales tax). There would be no more income tax; no more wicked IRS. There will be no more April deadline to do your tax paper work. I really don't see a downside.
    ---------How to Contact Congress

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    Friday, February 11, 2005

    Alachua County Sheriff's Deputies Behave Like Highwaymen

    Story dated 11 February 2005

    None dare call it highway robbery, but it is. Likely, my views on this matter will get me the label of being anti law-enforcement. But I am not. What I am against is the application of state power to misappropriate property. Police do this all the time. They call it something like 'a proper application of asset forfeiture laws'. You know the type -- 'just following orders'. First, let me tell you about how this story was reported in the media. On Wednesday night of this week, "Alachua County Sheriff's Deputy Josh Crews stopped the driver of a pickup at about 11:30 p.m. heading north on the interstate [I-75] for straddling lane lines." The driver of the truck was Jose Luis Llamas Delgado, a 39-year-old man from Englewood, California. Apparently, when Deputy Crews asked Mr. Delgado if he might search the vehicle, Mr. Delgado did not know of his right to refuse such a search. Nor did Deputy Crews inform Mr. Delgado of his right refuse the request. When Deputy Crews searched the truck, "he found a flattened spare tire with $160,780 secreted inside." Now, the facts, according to Lise Fisher of the Gainesville Sun state that a drug dog was used. However, the grammar used in the article, when taken in context with the other facts, makes it unclear whether or not drugs were actually found. What is clear is that the dog located the money in its hiding place. I believe that the author of the article meant to say that drug dogs can also be used to locate money. Lt. Jim Troiano, spokesman for the Sheriff's Office, stated that they suspect that the money is related to a drug trafficking organization. They base this opinion upon "comments made by the truck's driver, the dog's response and the location of the hidden cash." Mr. Delgado has not been arrested, nor have charges been filed against him (so I guess the dog didn't actually find any contraband narcotics). The Deputies did, however, seize the money. Yes, that's right Mr. Delgado, we can't find anything to charge you with, but we're keeping your money. The Sheriff's Department is planning to initiate federal asset forfeiture proceedings. They are working with the Drug Enforcement Agency (which has a questionable record when it comes to respecting the Bill of Rights) in this matter. In the meantime, Lt. Troiano has said that this is like "arresting the money." Of course, since they haven't charged Mr. Delgado with anything, they don't really have probable cause to 'arrest' the money, now do they? Except the opinion of the 'arresting' deputies that Mr. Delgado cannot have that money for any legitimate purpose. You know, since it was hidden away in a spare tire.

    Think about that for a moment. Imagine if you were driving with even $50,000 in your car. Would you not hide it in the best place you can think of as a precaution against theft? Why is it suspicious that this man was hiding a large sum of money? Last time I checked, it was not illegal to have money. You have money, do you not? Forget Mr. Delgado for a moment. At first glance, he does fit the profile of a drug dealer -- at least to people who hold certain stereotypes. That being the case, a lot of people will assume that it is the right thing for the Sheriff's Department to impound the money. But he was not charged with anything whatsoever. That means that Deputy Crews and the Alachua County Sheriff's Department applied state power to take money that was in Mr. Delgado's possession without his permission, or any action on Mr. Delgado's part to justify such a taking. Do you think, then that Deputy Crews or other deputies would hesitate to take your money? After all, Mr. Delgado's having committed a crime (or not) did not factor into the taking. Given this standard of behavior, what makes you think that the Alachua County Sheriff's Department would treat you any different than Mr. Delgado was treated?

    Imagine that you have a grandmother whose family's savings were wiped out when their bank failed in the depression. As a consequence, she does not trust banks and, instead, keeps her money in pickle jars in the basement. Now, imagine that she wants to open a college account for your son in the amount of $75,000. How is she going to get that money to the bank? She will drive, of course. Now, your grandmother probably has an old car. Maybe one of the taillights isn't working and Deputy Crews pulls her over. Now imagine that he wants to search the car for some reason. Your grandmother thinks of law enforcement personnel as peace officers, so, or course she is going to let him. She has no idea that people who were once peace officers now spend a lot of their time as regulatory enforcers. Now what do you suppose is going to happen when Deputy Crews finds the $75,000 that your grandmother is carrying? Sure she hasn't committed a crime; but neither did Mr. Delgado (that we know of). What if Deputy Crews makes an adjudication (as an officer of an administrative agency) that someone driving a beat-up old car ought not have $75,000 in cash? What's going to stop him from taking it? The Constitution ought to, but it doesn't. And if the Constitution doesn't stop a sheriff's deputy from taking someone's money, what differentiates him from a highway robber? Other than the fact that you won't be arrested for resisting a highway robber, that is.

    Perhaps the thing that disturbed me the most about this whole thing is that the press simply parroted the facts that the Sheriff's Department fed them. No one questioned anything. What is the point of having the freedom of the press defended in the Constitution if the press isn't going to report when the government might be violating the rights of the people?

    The Sheriff of Alachua County at the time of this asset seizure is Stephen M. Oelrich.

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    Fisher, Lise. "$160,780 found during traffic stop," The Gainesville Sun, 2005 February 11, http://search.gainesville.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20050211/LOCAL/50210048.


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    Lawyer Is Guilty of Aiding Terror

    Story dated 11 February 2005

    "Lynne F. Stewart, an outspoken lawyer known for representing a long list of unpopular defendants, was convicted yesterday by a federal jury in Manhattan of aiding Islamic terrorism by smuggling messages out of jail from a terrorist client." Cool. Finally, a lawyer is actually sent to jail for using attorney client privilege to commit criminal acts. Before you feel sorry for her, remember that this woman aided Omar Abdel Rahman in communicating with his followers and thus was the primary accessory to any terrorist acts committed by them. Ms. Stewart, even if she did not knowingly participate in events leading to loss or endangerment of human life, did violate a court order to keep her client form communicating with his followers. She ought to have known that it was dangerous to aid him in doing so, thus she acted with a reckless disregard for human life. This is very unprofessional conduct for a lawyer and I think she should be disbarred.

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    Thursday, February 10, 2005

    U.S. House of Representatives approved the Real ID Act on Thursday

    Story dated 10 February 2005

    Most of the news stories about this act focus only on the good aspects of this bill. Anyone care to mention that this bill will create a national database on people who are not criminals, and that such information, according to this bill, will be shared with certain officials of foreign governments? How do you feel about the Mexican government having access to your personal information? If you're like me, you'll say it's none of their business and you ought to have the right to keep your personal information from falling into their hands. Conservative talk show hosts like Michael Savage are praising this bill. Indeed, I agree with the aspects that he is praising, but this bill is fundamentally flawed and is, I believe, actually a hindrance to the security of individual Americans. As Ramsey Clark said, "There is no conflict between liberty and safety. We will have both or neither."

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    Congressional bill seeks to deny driver's licenses to illegals

    Story dated 10 February 2005

    "The House is expected to pass a bill today that would effectively block states from providing driver's licenses to undocumented immigrants -- making moot California's simmering debate over the issue. . . The legislation proposed by Rep. James Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., would require states to verify that all applicants for driver's licenses are American citizens or are living in the country legally. If states don't comply within three years, their licenses couldn't be used for federal purposes, including boarding airplanes." Well, that'll be nice. Why shouldn't you have to show proof of nationality to get a driver's license? However, if this article if referring to the 'Real ID Act of 2005' (H.R. 418), which is not clear, then this bill stinks. There is no way I am going to condone the sharing of information about U.S. nationals with representatives of foreign governments.

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    Japan and S. Korea are urging N. Korea to reverse its stated decision to pull out of nuclear disarmament talks

    Story dated 10 February 2005

    Well, North Korea has a nuclear bomb. Or at least, they say they do. They are now refusing to negotiate. That's great. Those totalitarian little tyrant-madmen are going to destabilize the entire region. Might I point out that, as a totalitarian regime, we are under no moral obligation to recognize North Korea as a legitimate government? If they make too much trouble, the U.S., Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, and Australia ought to liberate North Korea. Heck, we can even let China help if they can play nice with Japan and Taiwan.

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    Wednesday, February 09, 2005

    Bill Prompts New National ID Card Fears

    Story dated 09 February 2005

    "Congress is considering legislation that conservatives and libertarians warn will create a national ID card system, calling it a backdoor attempt to remove privacy protections gained in a law passed only last year. . . The Real ID Act of 2005 (H.R. 418), introduced Jan. 26 by House Judiciary Committee Chairman James Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.), would eliminate existing privacy protections and give the secretary of Homeland Security expanded powers to control states' driver's licenses and ID cards, and the data collected while issuing them." Well, that's great. Something tells me that a lot of this information collected will fall into the 'none of your business' category. I do agree that there ought to be some sort of national standard for drivers' licenses, I do not think that there should be a nationalized database on U.S. nationals. Quite frankly, the government has given me no reason to think that they will use my information in a responsible manner. If I were to murder someone, steal from people, or otherwise harm anyone, that's one thing -- that's 'need to know information that it would make sense to have a national database for. However, I do not do those things, so I would like to respectfully ask the government to mind its own business. Sadly, I fear that people like me who actually believe in the Bill of Rights may one day very soon find ourselves on an FBI list of know 'dissidents' or some such thing.

    What's even more disturbing is that the law will "mandate participation in a network of identification databases open to some foreign officials. [emphasis added]" Excuse me? Any lawmaker who thinks that is a good idea should be recalled for failure to defend the people of the United States from all enemies foreign and domestic. "Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) wrote a "Dear Colleague" letter to House members Wednesday entitled "What will you tell your constituents?" Paul shared his belief that the Real ID Act could "make terrorism and illegal immigration more likely." "What is to stop a corrupt foreign official from selling or giving the most sensitive information about your constituents - their name, address, date of birth, Social Security number, and other identifying characteristics - to Mexican drug lords, to terrorist cells that most experts believe are operating in Mexico and possibly Canada, to terrorist organizations overseas, to human traffickers who will use their identities to create even more convincing fraudulent documents?" Paul asked (emphasis in original). "Nothing will stop them.""

    Ron Paul is right. By the way, now is as good a time as any to say this, Ron Paul is the only politician that I trust. Well, I trusted Zell Miller, too, but he's retired. Does anyone know what it would take to get Ron Paul on the Republican ticket for president in 2008? I would love to work on his campaign. As you may or may not know, Mr. Paul ran for president on the Libertarian party ticket in the 1980s. He is currently a Republican and a member of the Republican Party Liberty Caucus -- you know, the Republicans that actually care about you and me? How about this ticket: Ron Paul for President, Zell Miller for Vice President? I know a lot of you are enamored with Dr. Rice, but Miller would be a much better choice if we could get him. How about instead of a Republican or Democrat ticket, we have an American ticket for a change. American values are life, liberty, and a respect for property rights. Both major parties have forgotten this in their so-called 'mainstream' platforms. So how about it? Paul and Miller in '08? Please?
    ---------How to Contact Congress

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    Patrick Kennedy Says Resistance to Gun Ban Is 'Insanity'

    Story dated 09 February 2005

    "U.S. Rep. Patrick Kennedy implied Tuesday that congressional colleagues who do not share his support for a failed gun ban being reintroduced in the House are mentally ill. The Rhode Island Democrat also accused lawmakers who oppose the anti-gun legislation of not caring about police safety."

    Okay, that does it, Kennedy. It doesn't matter which one, all of you are equally rotten. As you may or not be aware, there is this little thing called the Constitution of the United States of America. You might remember it from when both you and your tyrannical father took oaths to uphold and defend it when you accepted your offices (which, by the way, exist so you can serve the people, not the other way around). Part of the Constitution is the Second Article of Amendment, which states that the "right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed." Now, what part of "shall not" is difficult for you to understand?

    Or maybe it's the term 'arms' that is confusing to you, Mr. Kennedy. It does not refer to the limbs springing from the human torso, it refers to weapons. A gun is a weapon, you dishonorable twit. Thus the right of the people to keep and bear arms, including guns shall not be infringed. This man needs to be recalled. I wonder if we can sue him for breach of Contract (failure to carry out the oath he made as a condition of his acceptance of the people's offer to allow him to serve as their representative)?

    We have a name for a political entity in which only the police are allowed the right to keep and bear arms. It's called a police state.

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    Japan takes over lighthouse on island claimed by the People's Republic of China: Revisionist History In Action?

    Story dated 09 February 2005

    For those of you unaware of the situation, People's Republic of China has taken a much more aggressive stance in Asia. The PRC is working on an anti-secession law that will make it illegal for any territory claimed by the tyrants of Beijing to declare independence from them. The trouble is that the PRC claims Taiwan (a sovereign nation that has never been ruled by the PRC), and the Senkaku Islands, Japanese territory since the 19th century. The current excitement over the Senkakus comes from the Japanese nationalization of a former privately run lighthouse on one of the islands. "The move comes amid rising tensions between Japan and China, including a dispute over a major gas field near the islands where a Chinese nuclear submarine intruded in November setting off a two-day chase." Keep in mind that the PRC has been very interested in the Senkakus since a U.N. survey discovered possible natural gas deposits there in the late 1960s. My information says that, despite the survey's findings, large natural gas or petroleum deposits have yet to be found. Japan's original interest in the islands was, according to the literature I have read, purely navigational. They wanted the islands as a navigation aid. There had been no prior formal claim. Here's where the revisionist history comes in. The writers of this article state that "Japan declared the oil-rich but uninhabited islands were part of its territory in 1895, the same year it took over Taiwan." Excuse me? If this article is to be believed, Japan always knew there was oil there. The writers of this article are either sloppy, or deliberately trying to undermine Japan's historical claim on the islands (after all, the international press has been attempting to brainwash us all to think that, if oil is a factor in a situation, the person benefiting must somehow be evil). The fact is that this is not true. It is not even confirmed at this time that the Senkakus are 'oil rich' and this article published by the Agence France Presse is either deliberately trying its hand at revisionist history, or is just plain negligent. If it were always known that the Senkakus were oil rich, I don't think that the PRC would have waited until after the U.N. survey to announce its claim.

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    Known Criminal, Sandy Berger, to Speak at Purdue

    Story dated 09 February 2005

    "National government and industry experts. . . will speak during a panel discussion on Feb. 24 at Purdue University about new technologies needed to protect America from terrorist attacks. . . John Sununu, former White House chief of staff, will moderate the panel. Other panel members will be Kay; Sandy Berger, former national security adviser; Robert Crandall, former CEO of American Airlines; Reed Hundt, a technology expert and former chairman of the Federal Communications Commission; and cyber-terrorism expert Jonathan Zittrain." [emphasis added]. That's nice. But does anyone remember that Sandy Berger was caught on tape thieving confidential documents from the National Archives? If I (or Martha Stewart for that matter) had done such a thing, there is no doubt in my mind that I would be serving a lengthy sentence in federal prison right now. Sandy Berger, William J. Clinton's former national security advisor, is merely "under investigation for stuffing classified documents at the National Archives into his socks". My understanding is that not only did National Archives security catch this on tape, they were aware of it at the time, but didn't lift a finger to apprehend Berger as he exited the premises. There is something very wrong here. I can just see if this were me:

    Federal investigator: Sir, would you care to explain how these classified documents from the National Archives came into your possession?
    Me: Well, I'm a bit absent minded; they probably got mixed up with my own papers, heh, heh. . . (nervously rubs back of head)
    Federal investigator: Is it your custom to stuff your documents into your socks and underwear?
    Me: Ummm. . ., yes. It's a nervous habit. When I'm under a deadline, I get stressed and I do quirky things like that as sort of a nervous reflex.
    Federal investigator: So why were the only documents stuffed away in this manner were the classified documents from the National Archives?
    Me: I have no idea. You have to believe me, I had no idea that those documents were in my socks and underwear.
    Federal investigator: So you expect me to believe that when you got up and walked out of the building, you had no knowledge that you had stuffed these classified documents into your socks and underwear?
    Me: That's right. Am I free to go now?

    There is no way any investigator worth his or her salt would believe me. I would have been arrested and tried under applicable federal law (But not, apparently, if my name had been Sandy Berger). Not only has he not been arrested, but he has been invited to speak at Purdue University. If this is the sort of person that Purdue will invite to speak on its campus, I'm afraid that I cannot recommend that anyone ever patronize that school again.

    Purdue Contact Information: Emil Venere, Purdue Media Relations, 765-494-4709, venere@purdue.edu Linda P.B. Katehi, 765-494-5346, katehi@purdue.edu
    ---------Let Us All Now Praise Famous Democrats?

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    Monday, February 07, 2005

    U.K. plan to allow only English-speakers with special skills to immigrate

    Story dated 07 February 2005

    "U.K. Prime Minister Tony Blair plans to allow only people who speak English and have skills that are in demand to settle in Britain, after polls showed the public considers immigration rules to be too weak." NICE!! I like it; I've been complaining for years that the U.S. needs those exact guidelines; and now a quasi-socialist like Blair is proposing something just like it. Why can't you leftists in Congress ape Blair when he actually does something that helps the people? No, socialized medicine doesn't help the people.

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    France Calls for Fresh Start in Relations with U.S.

    Story dated 07 February 2005

    "France wants a fresh start in relations with the United States and both sides have much to contribute to a renewed transatlantic partnership, Foreign Minister Michel Barnier said in comments published Monday." Oh reeeaallllly. Figure out you aren't as economically important to the U.S. as Japan or Taiwan, did you? I say we let them rot; they'll just stab us in the back again as soon as we relax.

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    National Security vs. the Environmental Movement: Congress to vote on waiving regs for Mexican-border fence

    Story dated 07 February 2005

    "Congress is expected to vote next week on a measure that would allow completion of a controversial triple-fencing project along the U.S.-Mexico border near Imperial Beach without complying with state or federal environmental safeguards." "A provision in an immigration bill expected to pass the House. . .would give the homeland security secretary authority to move forward with the project regardless of any laws that stand in the way, and would bar courts from hearing lawsuits against it."

    The long haired, dope smokin', maggot-infested, FM listening, hippie college type environmentalists are saying that this project endangers the Tijuana River estuary, described as "one of the nation's premier wetlands". Okay. Let me explain something here. Usually when someone calls something a 'wetland' it is usually code talk for 'mosquito, tick, and venomous snake infested marsh, swamp, or bog that we have to conceal with rhetoric because no one would want to save it if we called it what it is. Of course, the term 'wetland' can also refer to pristine rivers, etc. But since the environmentalists won't let us differentiate, my official position is that wetland = marsh/bog/swamp. Oh, by the way, a 'rainforest' is actually a jungle. I never even heard the term 'rainforest' until I was in the fifth grade; before that it was perfectly alright to call a jungle a jungle. Of course, jungles have mosquitoes, ticks, venomous snakes, and other things that want to eat you. If we call it a 'rainforest', people will just think it's a forest where it rains a lot. I know that's what I thought when I first heard the term.

    I am behind a fence on the Mexican border 100%. You whiny environmentalists can shut up. As long as our arable land and drinking water aren't being polluted, human concerns absolutely come first. I am not going to condone Federal regulations that cause firefighters to die simply because support choppers can't fill up on water from a 'salmon habitat' (that's 'river' to the rest of us). Operating under the theory that the government ought not be able to have power that individual people wouldn't have, maybe we can get an 'anti-environmentalist' property rights movement going with some serious steam. If environmentalists really care about habitats, they can donate to foundations created for the purpose of preserving such places (I would donate to such a foundation). I understand eco-tourism has become quite profitable.
    ---------In the interests of National Security, Congress to vote on bill that waives environmental laws

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    Sunday, February 06, 2005

    Japan wary of emerging China

    Story dated 06 February 2005

    In light of recent military incursion by the PRC into Japanese territory and attempts by Beijing to meddle in the international affairs of Japan, the government of Japan is beginning to take a much harder line where China is concerned. "There is little love lost between Asia's two economic titans. Japan lobbies Europe and Russia not to sell advanced weapons to China's military; China opposes Japan's aspirations to a seat on the U.N. Security Council. China fumes at Japan's friendly relations with Taiwan; Japan wonders why it is giving aid to a nation that has a program to put a man on the moon." Priminister Koizumi has recently announced that Japan may halt foreign aid to China entirely. ("Over the past 25 years, Japan has provided China with nearly $30 billion in development loans, a fact rarely mentioned in China's press.") "I think it's graduation time," Koizumi said recently. "Gyohten [a Japanese business leader] questioned the wisdom of antagonizing China out of pique over Chinese harping on World War II and the invasion by Japan. "Many Japanese believe they have already apologized," he said. "But I, for one, believe that we should apologize as many times as possible." . . . But for Koizumi, Ishihara and their generation, there is a statute of limitations on contrition. As Kingston, director of Asian Studies at Temple University Japan, said: "This is a Japan that doesn't flinch any more.""

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    Friday, February 04, 2005

    Judge Doug Walker of Durango Awards Wanita Renea Young Damages for Self-Induced Panic Attack

    Story dated 04 February 2005

    This is actually late-breaking news from last week; and I don't update my web log on the weekend as a matter of general policy. Here's the story. Two community-minded girls decided to bake cookie for their neighbors. They would go around at night to neighbor's houses who had lights on and knock on the door, and steal away before the door opened, leaving a plate of cookies and a kind note. Well, one of their neighbors is an uncharitable soul whose chief purpose in life, apparently, is to find people to blame her self-inflicted problems on. This odious woman has been talked about on other blogs, and I cannot repeat much of that sort of language here (neither can you; use of such language will get your posts banned. Netiquette applies.) I think it is important that she be identified. If she is really okay with what she did, then she shouldn't mind her name becoming a household word. If you have a nasty neighbor, you could be living next to a 'Wanita Young'. I am annoyed that Judge Doug Walker ruled in favor of Wanita Young; she couldn't have gotten a judgment against the girls without him as an accomplice. Fortunately, it doesn't appear that the judge wanted to rule against the girls as he "declined. . . to award punitive damages, saying he did not believe the girls acted maliciously." He was probably bound by some precedent or other(of course, that still doesn't make it right). Despite the late hour (around 10pm), Wanita Young's lights were on and there were no 'No Trespassing' signs. I really don't think she had a case at all. It's rulings like this, Judge Walker, that encourage everyone to sue for anything.

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    Should we conquer Mexico?

    Column dated 04 February 2005

    The author of this column certainly thinks so. I think that author might not be unreasonable in his opinion. On 02 November, the voters in Arizona passed Proposition 200 which requires a person to show proof of U.S. citizenship before receiving public (tax funded) benefits or voting. This would effectively terminate the ability of illegal aliens from voting in elections in Arizona, or receiving public benefits in that state. Good for Arizona. I think all states should adopt that same policy. Mexico does not agree. Their government encourages its poorest citizens to become illegal immigrants into the United States (remember the illustrated guide to illegal immigration they published?). They hate proposition 200 and are seeking to exert their influence to reverse the measure passed by a vote of the people of Arizona. In a radio address last week, Mexican Foreign Secretary Luis Ernesto Derbez said, "We are seeking all the legal opportunities that exist, first using the legal capacities of the United States itself and ... if that does not work, bringing it to international tribunals." Excuse me? Did I read that right? The Mexican equivalent of our Secretary of State basically said that they were going to use employ every method available to them to reverse a proposition passed by the people of Arizona and valid under the Constitution of these United States? Joseph Farah, the author of this column thinks that this is tantamount to an act of war. Considering that Mexico's encouragement of illegal immigration is not unlike an invasion, Mr. Farah might have a point. So what should we do? Conquer Mexico? Or just stop the problem by putting our National Guard on the border. I prefer the latter. There should be no problem with us merely defending our borders; but then, there should be no problem with us enforcing our laws, but you see how that's working out.

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    Kofi Annan Pledges to Get to Truth in Oil-For-Food Scandal

    Story dated 04 February 2005

    That's nice. Kofi's son, Kojo, was up to his neck in this embezzlement, and we're going to trust him to get to the bottom of it? Can you imagine our press if Cheney promised to get to the bottom of a similar action involving Halliburton? I wish the press would scrutinize the U.N. more closely. The entire organization is corrupt.

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    U.S. Dollar Gains on Euro

    Story dated 04 February 2005

    Well, this could be good. On the one hand, a weak dollar is good for our export markets. Bad for Europe and Japan. On the other hand, a weak dollar keeps investors from buying the U.S. dollar and U.S. Treasury bonds. Also, oil is traded in dollars worldwide and many countries keep a supply of U.S. dollars as their currency reserve the way we used to keep gold. If the dollar dropped low enough, oil could begin to be traded in Euros, and all those countries might want to divest themselves of their dollar reserves. What do you suppose that would do to our economy? Is the potential cost of a weak dollar worth a gain in our export market? I'm not sure, but I am also not an economist. I do know one thing. The FairTax has the potential to solve all of our economic problems. Want to increase our export market? Want domestic job growth? Want the increased value of the dollar worldwide that these conditions would effect? Want to see the U.S. economic supremacy continue for at least another century? I believe the FairTax could accomplish this. It is a national retail sales tax. In other words, it is a nationwide 19%-23% tax on finished retail products. There would be no tax on production, and no corporate/business taxes (both of these result in higher prices for the consumer). With the FairTax, the United States would become the largest tax shelter in the entire world, and that would put an end to all of our current economic problems. If you are worried about the continued growth and stability of our economy, I highly recommend that you write your Congress men and women and ask them to support the FairTax bill (H.R.25, S. 25).
    ---------How to Contact Congress

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    Wednesday, February 02, 2005

    Tyrants of Beijing and their Apologists Continue to Blame Japan for Sino-Japanese Tensions: PRC has unhealthy fixation on Yasukuni Shrine

    Paper dated 02 February 2005

    Today, I had the opportunity to read an excerpt of a paper written by Wenran Jiang, an associate professor of political science at the University of Alberta. The paper concerns the political relations between Japan and the Peoples' Republic of China (PRC). The perspective is interesting. I detect some pro-PRC bias on the part of the author, but to be fair, this could be just an attempt to faithfully render the situation from a PRC point of view. However, Jiang states that "Some even attribute the rising negative attitude of the Japanese toward China as a consequence of the Chinese behavior. However, a closer look at China's Japan policy in the past few years reveals quite a different picture." This suggests to me that the author's actual position is that the PRC is not the antagonist in the current Sino-Japanese relationship. This seems, also to be the official position of the state-controlled newspapers coming out of the PRC.

    The thing that bugs me the most about the PRC's position in this matter is their fixation on Japan's Yasukuni Shrine. This shrine was built to honor the spirits of all the Japanese who died in World War II. Japan's Prime Minister, Junichiro Koizumi, has made a habit of visiting the shrine since he was elected in 2001. Because this shrine also honors dead war criminals (a subset of 'Japanese who died in WWII'), Koizumi's visits draw "strong protest from China and other Asian countries." The PRC is highly offended saying that this shows that Japan's government is glorifying Japan's militaristic past and condoning the actions of war criminals. Critics (presumably pro-PRC) argue that "A nation that fails to acknowledge its darkest chapter is a nation that cannot be trusted. A French-German reconciliation model can work for China and Japan only if the Japanese deal with their past as thoroughly in their soul-searching as the Germans did. And they warn that history, if forgotten, is doomed to repeat itself." "In his press conference, Premier Wen explicitly referred to "Japanese leaders' repeated Yasukuni visits" as the key issue preventing mutual leadership visits in the past three years." Hmmm. The 'key issue'. You know, if this were South Korea saying such things, I would give them more weight, but for the PRC (or pro-PRC sympathizers) to make such statements is downright hypocritical. But more on that later.

    Jiang's paper also notes an increased distrust of Japan by ordinary citizens of the PRC and a similar rise in mistrust of the PRC by ordinary Japanese. China is actually feigning alarm that Japan might actually regard them as a threat. "First circulated in right-wing opinion magazines but now acquiring semi-official acceptance, China is regarded as a threat comparable to that of North Korea." And why shouldn't they be regarded as such? The PRC has publicly stated its intention to crush Taiwan militarily should they declare independence. To make their position stronger, and to draw a line in the sand, they have written a new anti-secession law that would make it illegal for any territory claimed by the PRC to declare independence. Taiwan is such a territory and the PRC has promised to meet any such declaration by Taiwan with overwhelming force of arms. The PRC also claims the Senkaku Islands (called the Diaoyus in Chinese), which have been part of Japanese territory since the 19th century and unclaimed before that. In light of their statements regarding Taiwan, another sovereign Republic, what conclusion should Japan reasonably draw? The PRC's claims that they are not the antagonists in this scenario are ludicrous, and I have no idea why a thinking person would seriously entertain their megalomaniacal delusions.

    Now, back to the PRC's fixation on Japan's Yasukuni Shrine. Yes, Japan has a shrine that honors war criminals along with other war dead. The PRC claims that Koizumi's visits to this shrine are the 'key issue' blocking the progression of Sino-Japanese relations. This only makes sense if one considers the PRC to be a normal state, such as the United Kingdom, the United States, Japan, South Korea, or Taiwan -- you know, countries that actually know what basic human rights are? But the fact is, while the PRC is complaining about human rights abuses that happened under the militaristic regime of Tojo and the Emperor Showa, they are currently engaged in human rights abuses on an egregious scale. The difference between Japan and the PRC is that Japan does not officially endorse human rights abuses. The PRC does. So excuse me if I am a bit dubious when the PRC trots out the pious rhetoric. Such obvious hypocrisy is an insult to my intelligence, and honestly, I can't see why their position is given any credibility. Anyone remember Zhao Ziyang? He was a leader of the Chinese Communist Party, until he was purged for sympathizing with the pro-democracy protesters in Beijing's Tiananmen Square -- just before the tyrants of Beijing used their military to crush the protests. Since his view was pro-liberty, and against tyranny (the PRC official position), he was purged from the party and held under house arrest until he died in mid January of this year. Or how about Jiang Zongxiu? This 34 year old was arrested by the Public Security Bureau (PSB) for communicating Christian ideas to people. The charge was the "spreading of rumor and disturbing the social order." She was sentenced to 15 days, but was beaten to death by PSB officers. There was no investigation of the circumstances surrounding her death. Or here's a big one: How about the PRC's promise to conquer the free Republic of China (Taiwan)? Ordinarily, we take a dim view of countries that make war on free republics. The point is that the PRC's complaints about Koizumi's visits to Yasukuni Shrine don't hold water when you consider Beijing's current human rights record.

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    Tuesday, February 01, 2005

    People's Republic of China has accelerated the deployment of missiles against Taiwan to 120 a year

    Story dated 01 February 2005

    "Beijing and Taipei have been rivals since their split at the end of the Chinese civil war in 1949. China claims sovereignty over Taiwan and has threatened to attack the self-ruled, democratic island if it formally declares independence." Hence the missile build-up. This is a situation that has been building for some time, but has been largely ignored in the press. Most people don't really know the history of that area and don't really know what's going on when they do hear about it from time to time (in section 16A of their paper, and almost never in broadcast media). I'm sure I've covered this before, but I sense it's time for a fresh history lesson.

    Once upon a time, there was a land called China and it was ruled by an emperor. In the early twentieth century, the emperor had to surrender power to the Republic of China. The Republicans educated the Chinese people in the ways of democracy while simultaneously working to expel Communists (who wished to enslave the people) from their ranks. During this time, Taiwan (originally colonized by the Dutch, later conquered by forces loyal to the Ming dynasty, then taken by Manchu forces, and eventually ceded to Japan) was administered as a territory of the Empire of Japan. At the end of WWII, Japan ceded control of Taiwan to the Republic of China. At that point, Taiwan was considered to be a province of the Republic of China. In the 1950s, mainland China was conquered by the Communists who instituted the tyrannical People's Republic of China (PRC). The Republican forces, along with some two million citizens of the Republic of China escaped to Taiwan. At no point did the PRC ever have control over Taiwan, military or otherwise. From that time to the present, the Chinese republicans have continued to administer Taiwan as a province of the Republic of China with the provincial government located in Jhongsing Village, near the city of Taichung, and the national government located in Taipei. The PRC currently claims that Taiwan is part of their territory though they clearly have no claim to it. Honestly, the Japanese have a better claim to it than the PRC since Japan actually ruled the island until they lost it in a war. The PRC has never ruled Taiwan. Why is this a difficult concept for some people to grasp? Maybe if more people were aware of this fact, there would be a little more righteous indignation when the PRC promises to crush Taiwan militarily if they formally announce that they are independent from the government in Beijing.

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    China offended by Japan's plans to defend Japanese territory

    01 February 2005

    Taiwan is not the only country that has to worry about the effects of China's anti-secession law. If passed, this law would make it illegal for regions that the People's Republic of China (PRC) claims control over to declare independence from the government in Beijing. This is a problem for Taiwan which, though an independent state, the PRC claim is a rogue province. This is also a problem for Japan. You see, the PRC has somehow gotten the idea that the Senkaku Islands, part of Japanese territory since the 19th century and unclaimed before that, are a Chinese territory called the Diaoyu islands. This idea has no merit and, aside from China having a huge military and nuclear weapons, I can't understand why anyone takes their claims seriously. "Japan first claimed the uninhabited and unclaimed islets in question in 1895 to use their rocky outcroppings for maritime navigation aids. From that time through the end of World War II, they were administered as part of Japan's Okinawa prefecture. Upon the Japanese surrender, the United States administered the islets under a military occupation authority. In 1972, when the United States returned Okinawa to Japanese administration, the Senkakus were included in the reversion." The first recorded claim by China that I have seen reference to is from 1968. I fail to see where the confusion as to the title comes from. China claims (I guess they forgot to tell anyone before now) that the Senkakus "have been part of Chinese territory since ancient times." Fine. In that case, the Florida Keys have been considered by my family to be part of our holdings since colonial times. May I have them back, please? Sure I didn't tell anyone until now, but that's okay. You can take my word for it.

    Anyhow, back to the subject at hand. What has the PRC upset is Japan's new defense plan which includes the mobilization of no less than 55,000 troops and destroyers, submarines, and warplanes in response to any attack on Okinawa and other outlying islands, including the Senkakus. The reaction from Beijing is not rational, it is more akin to that of a schoolyard bully upset that things aren't going his way. Remember that the PRC has promised to use military force to conquer territory that it claims. The PRC has claimed a piece of Japanese territory. How on earth did these bullies expect Japan to react?

    Now, for those of you who are inclined to believe the PRC's claims that those 'sneaky Japanese' are using these disputed islands as an excuse for a military build up, I have a few facts for you to consider. Neither the Empire of China, nor the Republic of China, nor the People's Republic of China ever expressed an interest in the Senkakus until a UN survey in 1968 revealed that "there may be petroleum deposits in the seabed near the islets." In the 19th century, Japan claimed the islands simply to help with their maritime navigation. When Japan claimed the islands at that time, China could have lodged a formal protest. They didn't -- unless it was lost in the mail.

    To America's shame, we are actually part of the problem. "As recently as March 2004, the State Department accepted [the PRC's] claims over the Senkakus as being equally valid as Japan's title." Thank you President Bush and Colin Powell. I'm sure the Japanese appreciate that knife you left in their back. This is not how you treat an ally.
    ---------Spokesman: China, Japan should resolve island dispute via negotiation (please note that the original, deliberately misleading, headline read China, Japan to resolve island dispute via negotiation)
    ---------China warns Japan against 'unilateral action' following new defense plan
    ---------China's New Challenge to the U.S.-Japan Alliance

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    More Eminent Domain Abuse in Norwood, Ohio; Mayor Tom Williams Compares Property Owners to Criminals

    01 February 2005

    The City Council of Norwood, Ohio colludes with Jeffrey R. Anderson Real Estate to condemn the property of private citizens and seize them through eminent domain. You see, these homes and businesses are in the way of Jeff Anderson's plans to expand his highly lucrative Rookwood complex. Now, if government actually protected the rights of the people like it is supposed to, that would be the end of it. Unfortunately, governments are more interested in lining their own pockets and increasing their power than actually doing their duty, and Jeffrey R. Anderson is a very rich man who generates a lot of tax revenue and new jobs for Norwood. "At his behest, and using his money, the city of Norwood has invoked its powers of eminent domain -- the right, granted by the Takings Clause of the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution, of a government to seize private property and turn it to public use -- to condemn a neighborhood and order residents out of their homes. Norwood is not the first city to act as a real estate broker whose offer can't be refused, nor is Anderson the first businessman to benefit from this kind of largesse." Indeed, it happens all over the country. "According to the Institute for Justice (IJ), a public-interest law firm, this is a growing trend. The institute analyzed eminent domain cases between 1998 and 2002 and found more than 10,000 instances where local governments had attempted to use a power once reserved for indisputably public projects like highways and railroads to obtain properties for private development projects such as box stores and golf courses."

    Pending before the Supreme Court this month is the case of Kelo v. New London, which will decide whether a government's transfer of property from one private person to another (causing increased tax revenue and/or more jobs) counts as 'public use' for Fifth Amendment purposes. This ruling will impact situations all over the country, including Norwood's. If the court rules in favor of property owners, we will be safe, but if the court rules against property owners, as the Bush Administration reportedly wants, then any government will be able to take anyone's property at any time so long as that taking results in greater tax revenue.

    Jeffrey R. Anderson's actions in Norwood, with the unanimous blessings of the City Council and the Mayor, Tom Williams, amount to nothing more than robbery, in my opinion. The only difference between this situation, and you taking your gun and seizing control of Mr. Anderson's property is that the former is sanctioned by law, and the latter isn't (if you think eminent domain doesn't involve guns, you're fooling yourself. The government can legally shoot you if you resist hard enough). An unjust law should not be allowed to continue. Unfortunately, we the people often have more pressing things to do than to chaperone the people that we hire to work for us in government. I'll tell you one thing; when Tom Williams campaigned on a return to the values of the 1950s, he apparently forgot to exclude 'respect for property rights' from that list of values (of course, I suspect that if he had remembered to, he would not have been elected).

    I would also like to point out that Mayor Williams is either trying to deliberately deceive the people of Norwood, or he lacks the capacity for logical thought. "According to Mayor Tom Williams, they took this action reluctantly, partly to secure tax revenues for the city. "I was a cop for 34 years, got shot once and shot people twice," Williams says. "It's the same with this thing. You hate to pull the trigger, but sometimes it’s a necessity."" Actually, it's worse than I originally thought. For Mr. Williams's statement to be logical, he has to believe that property owners who do not wish to sell their property are criminals. It is not the same thing, Mr. Williams. Usually (assuming the cop is honest and believes that his job is to defend life, liberty, and property) when a police officer shoots someone, that person is engaged in criminal activity. Someone wanting to continue to live in his or her own home is not criminal activity -- unless there was a change in the definition of 'criminal' of which I am unaware.

    You also ought to be aware that there is also a group of property owners who are opposed to their neighbor's property rights. You see, Jeffrey R. Anderson Real Estate has offered them more than what their houses are worth and they're willing to move. However, the sales won't happen if the eminent domain seizure of the other properties isn't allowed. These people claim that their rights are being negatively impacted by their neighbors' refusal to sell. Excuse me, but you do not have the right to demand that your neighbor use their property for your own economic benefit (yes, I am also opposed to fascist home owners' associations).
    ---------Can the government force you to sell your house in the name of new development?
    ---------The Condemned
    ---------Jeffrey R. Anderson Real Estate (513-241-5800; 3805 Edwards Rd. Cincinnati, OH 45209)
    ---------Jeffrey R. Anderson Real Estate contact page
    ---------News Footage, includes statements by Jeff Anderson, the Institute for Justice, and Norwood residents
    ---------The Elected Officials of Norwood, Ohio

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    * * *

    "If you love wealth more than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, depart from us in peace. We ask not your counsel nor your arms. Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you. May your chains rest lightly upon you and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen."

    --Samuel Adams
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