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.
-----The 'Civil Flag' -- Forgotten Flag, or Flag of Fraud and Fiction?
-----Status of the 'Fair Tax Act of 2005' (H.R. 25; S 25)
Weights & Measures:
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Thursday, March 31, 2005
Wednesday, March 30, 2005
The FairTax: A Real Step Toward Getting the Money and Corruption Out of Washington Column dated 31 March 2005
George Will has written a powerful column about the FairTax. It is definitely worth a read -- I would go so far to say it is a must-read for any unfamiliar with the FairTax. "Rep. John Linder, a Georgia Republican, has a 133-page bill [HR 25, the FairTax] to replace 55,000 pages of tax rules. His bill would abolish the IRS and the many billions of tax forms it sends out and receives. He would erase the federal income tax system -- personal and corporate income taxes, the regressive payroll tax and self-employment tax, capital gains, gift and estate taxes, the alternative minimum tax and the earned income tax credit -- and replace all that with a 23 percent national sales tax on personal consumption. That would not only sensitize consumers to the cost of government with every purchase, it would destroy K Street [shorthand for Washington's lawyer-lobbyist complex]."
How's that for getting the money out of Washington politics? I'll bet most of the hypocrites who supported the unconstitutional McCain Feingold bill will not support this one. _____________________________________________
Washington Deploys 500 More Border Agents to Arizona Story dated 29 March 2005
"The Homeland Security Department will assign more than 500 additional patrol agents to the porous Arizona border, saying they will help keep potential terrorists and illegal immigrants from entering the country, The Associated Press has learned. . .The border buildup was to be announced Wednesday -- two days before civilian volunteers with the so-called Minuteman Project begin a monthlong Arizona patrol against immigrants crossing the U.S.-Mexico line." Does this have anything to do with the potential PR disaster waiting for the Bush Administration if he does nothing while a violent gang of Central American illegals carry's out it's death-threats against US Citizens standing up for the rule of law where their criminally negligent government has failed them? If the natives are restless now, imagine what would happen if the government allowed criminals to assault American citizens. _____________________________________________
Bush, ACLU Side with Murderous Central American Gang in their Opposition to the Minutemen Story dated 29 March 2005
"The notorious crime syndicate Mara Salvatrucha is threatening Arizona's Project Minuteman and reportedly plans to teach it 'a lesson' once the Minutemen begin fanning out along Arizona's border regions this weekend. This probably was not the bedfellow that President Bush, the U.S. Border Patrol and the American Civil Liberties Union were counting on when they began criticizing the civilian border-surveillance group in recent weeks. But the president, law enforcement officers and activist groups have unintentionally ended up on the same side of the issue as a violent criminal gang targeted by coordinated raids just two weeks ago."
You might remember that this group of animals (mostly illegal aliens) thinks nothing of killing and/or stealing from others. Their presence in many East Coast cities, and other cities across the country is a direct result of lax border control. And Bush wants to give this vicious Central American gang more opportunities to enter illegally.
Realm of Sovereigns would like to extend a sarcastic 'thank you' to el Presidente, the U.S. Border Patrol, and to the ACLU. Thank you for you support of the rights of criminals to illegally enter our country and kill us. Now how about acting like the President of these United States, Mr. Bush? Ignore the ACLU and deploy the border patrol to round up and deport all illegal Mexican immigrants now. Or is that too much like enforcing American borders, language, and culture for you, there? _____________________________________________
A Quick Note on the 'Fox Blocker' Story dated 28 March 2005
In recent news, you may have heard about a little piece of metal called the 'Fox Blocker', that you can screw into the back of your television that will block the Fox News Channel. Guess what, I've got a 'Fox Blocker' too. It's called a remote control. The little bit of metal is $9.00 after sales tax. Mine comes with the television, so is basically free. I shouldn't have to say more . . . but I just can't resist the fun.
This thing is supposed to be a protest against the alleged 'obvious right wing bias' of Fox News. Okay. Sure, but if Fox News has an obvious right wing bias, that makes them no better than cnn, cbs, abc, nbc, npr, and the bbc who have a left wing bias they are not afraid to show (again, may I direct you to the weeks or even months of coverage the Abu Ghraib situation got as opposed to the one, maybe two days of coverage the U.N. sex abuse scandal has gotten. COME ON!! UN forces are alleged to engage in pedophilia! For crying out loud, people, you can't possibly tell me that there isn't some sort of bias going on when the major media outlets devote so much time to the humiliation of actual criminals and virtually ignore pedophilia engaged in by UN so-called 'peacekeepers'. They are operating from a basic point of left-wing dogma: US = bad, UN = good. Their refusal to deviate very far from this leads to ridiculous patterns of news coverage. Actually, on this particular issue, I can only speak to the coverage I seen in newspapers. Fox might actually be reporting on the sexual depravity of the UN for all I know).
The truth is that people have been fed biased coverage for so many years that any attempt to give a more balances, analytical report might seem like a wild deviation from the norm, or bias. Libertarian talkshow host, Neal Boortz reminds us in his Nuze of his nearly year old 'Fox News Challenge'. Neal said, "This story [about the 'Fox Blocker'] reminded me of my challenge. It's been about eight months now, and not one response. My challenge was simple. Watch Fox News and come up with one example of right wing bias in the actual reporting of the news; not in the opinion portions of the various news shows .. but in the actual reporting of the news." He claims that no one has answered his challenge. This is almost, but not quite true. I e-mailed him a letter outlining clear pro-Republican bias on the part of Fox News Washington Managing Editor, Brit Hume, also the host of Special Report. Given, one has to alter one's perspective just a bit to see the bias, but once 'pro-Democrat/Socialist' has been substituted for 'moderate, unbiased, centrist,' then the bias of Brit Hume becomes clear. In January of 2004 Brit Hume said "Halliburton" several times without mentioning that it was Vice-President Cheney’s former company. This does not follow the pattern of mainstream journalism. Nearly every other major news outlet (including ABC, NBC, CNN, and even the BBC) always reminds the public of Halliburton’s connection with the Vice-President whenever the company is mentioned.
Assuming that journalists, particularly at CNN and the BBC, pride themselves on journalistic objectivity, one can only assume one thing about Brit Hume’s omission. Fox News’ Washington managing editor may have a pro-Republican bias.
I am, of course, joking.
Perhaps the best way I can portray how I feel about all this lunacy is to point you to the Dilbert comic that ran on 26 March 2005. When I read this one, I immediately thought of the criticism that people always heap on the Fox News Channel (some of it deserved, most of it, in my opinion, not). The Pointy-Haired Boss accuses Dilbert of hating a new project. Dilbert counters by pointing out that he doesn't hate it, he just mentioned the pros and cons -- people have been so conditioned to take sides that a balanced analysis looks like hatred. Unfazed, the Pointy-Haired Boss persists in asking why Dilbert can hate the project so much. I really think this sums up a lot of the insular thinking about Fox News. People are so wrapped up in their own biases that any deviation from them looks like bias. Sort of like how, when you've been out in 30 below weather, the 32 degree freezer is now (from your perspective) quite balmy. _____________________________________________
Rapacious IRS Eyes eBay Story dated 27 March 2005
"In tax law, there is no clear, bright line that separates fun from profit, or a hobby from a business. But IRS instructions make it clear that all income -- a category that includes bribes, gambling winnings, kickbacks and money made in illegal activities -- can be taxed."
And now the greedy bloodsuckers at the IRS are looking at eBay sales. That's nice. Please write Congress and ask your Representative and Senators to support the FairTax (H.R. 25, and S. 25). The FairTax would replace the federal income tax with a national retail sales tax. There is a minimum amount of money that is considered to be the subsistence level that will not be taxed, but beyond that, everyone with the money to buy new, finished, consumer goods will be taxed at a uniform rate (used goods would not be taxed). Please support this bill. I would love to see all the little IRS gremlins sent packing. _____________________________________________
Taiwanese Protest Chinese Law Authorizing the PRC to Crush Taiwan Militarily Story dated 26 March 2005
"Hundreds of thousands of people chanting 'Oppose war, Love Taiwan' joined President Chen Shui-bian Saturday to protest against China's anti-secession law that sanctions the use of force against the island. . . China's state media quoted Chinese academics as saying the march could raise tensions and sour ties." I just love it when the dispensers of dogma try to play academic. It's so much fun. Okay, 'academics', if you really believe that this march could raise tensions and sour ties, and if you are rational academics, you have to examine all the factors. Ask yourselves (if your dogma will allow you), "What is it that prompted the march in the first place?" Could it be, perhaps, a direct response to your so-called 'People's Republic' passing a law authorizing it to conquer a territory and people whom have never been subject to its political or military jurisdiction? And if that is so, is it not, then the PRC's action that ultimately could be responsible for, as you say, any raise in tensions and souring of ties? Are you engaging in the thought-stopping techniques that your masters told you to use whenever faced with a rational argument that opposes state dogma?
When is the world going to notice that the People's Republic of China is an imperialist power? _____________________________________________
UN 'Peacekeepers' Actually Sexual Predators Story dated 25 March 2005
"The reputation of United Nations peacekeeping missions suffered a humiliating blow yesterday as an internal report identified repeated patterns of sexual abuse and rape perpetrated by soldiers supposed to be restoring the international rule of law. . . [A] study, released at the UN's headquarters in New York, [says]: 'The reality of prostitution and other sexual exploitation in a peacekeeping context is profoundly disturbing because the United Nations has been mandated to enter into a broken society to help it, not to breach the trust placed in it by the local population.' There have even been reports of paedophilia committed by peacekeepers."
Well, that's nice. Now we know what those blue helmets are for. . . to cover up the red horns underneath. Would someone like to explain to me why this doesn't merit front-page coverage every day for a couple of weeks? The so-called 'Abu Ghraib tortures' were fodder for front-page headlines for weeks, and mentioned on across several networks in unrelated news-coverage for months. And the men who were 'tortured' at Abu Ghraib were very bad men, by all reports. You know, people who had done very bad things to other people -- much worse things than humiliation. The people who were the victims of the UN storm troopers (I mean 'peacekeepers') were not bad people. They were people who were the victims of bad people (you know, the type of bad people that would be locked up and humiliated if the US were in charge). There is something very, very wrong with our broadcast and print media if they will give so much attention to the Abu Ghraib situation and little or no attention to the sociopathic depravity of the UN troops. _____________________________________________
In Move Sure to Please His Pal, Vicente, Jorge Bush Speaks Out Against US Citizens Who Want Border Laws Enforced Story dated 24 March 2005
"President Bush yesterday said he opposes a civilian project to monitor illegal aliens crossing the border, characterizing them as 'vigilantes.' He said he would pressure Congress to further loosen immigration law. More than 1,000 people -- including 30 pilots and their private planes -- have volunteered for the Minuteman Project, beginning next month along the Arizona-Mexico border. Civilians will monitor the movement of illegal aliens for the month of April and report them to the Border Patrol. Mr. Bush said after yesterday's continental summit, with Mexican President Vicente Fox and Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin at Baylor University, that he finds such actions unacceptable. 'I'm against vigilantes in the United States of America,' Mr. Bush said at a joint press conference. 'I'm for enforcing the law in a rational way.'
Enforcing the law in a rational way, Mr. President? Rational. . . like "pressuring Congress to further loosen immigration law" was it? How can one claim to be 'enforcing' the law in any manner (rational or otherwise) when one's solution to the breaking of that law is to make it even easier to break with impunity? If you're going to loosen the law to help law-breakers, why don't you grant amnesty to all the people being persecuted by the IRS? Any while you're at it, relax the tax law and make the top marginal rate 10% -- if it's good enough for God, it sure as anything ought to be good enough for Uncle Sam. _____________________________________________
Mexican President Threatens to Sue if Americans Mistreat Illegal Immigrants. To Vicente Fox, I say "Hypocrite!" Story dated 24 March 2005
As I have said in the past, Mexico, though willing to encourage lawlessness on the U.S. border, is not timid when it comes to employing extreme measures (that making the alleged Abu Ghraib abuses seem like a day at the spa) to deal with their own illegal immigrants.
"The State Department says that the Mexican government, angry that a thousand American volunteers will begin an Arizona border vigil next month, consistently violates the rights of illegal immigrants crossing its southern border into Mexico. [However,] [m]any of the illegals in Mexico, who emigrate from Central and South America, complain of "double dangers" of extortion by Mexican authorities and robbery and killings by organized gangs. The State Department's Human Rights Practices report, released only last month, cites abuses at all levels of the Mexican government, and charges that Mexican police and immigration officials not only violate the rights of illegal immigrants, but traffic in illegal aliens. Although Mexico demands that its citizens' rights be protected when they illegally enter the United States, immigrants who cross illegally into Mexico "are often ripped off six ways until sundown," says George Grayson, a professor at the College of William & Mary and a fellow at the Washington-based Center for Immigration Studies (CIS). Mr. Grayson, who wrote a report for the center on Mexico's abuses of aliens, says "very little" is being done by Mexico to protect the welfare of the Central Americans and the others who cross into Mexico. Mexican President Vicente Fox said last week that his government will sue in U.S. or international courts if the volunteers -- part of the Minuteman Project, which is designed to protest the Bush administration's lax immigration policies -- break the law."
Well, that's just peachy, isn't it? And I now say unto Vicente Fox and the so-called government of Mexico: "Now you make the outward part of your government appear clean, but your inward part is full of greed and wickedness. Hypocrytes!" _____________________________________________
China so Environmentally Irresponsible They Are Facing Severe Water Shortages Story dated 23 March 2005
"In Beijing . . .each resident has access to only 10,593 cubic feet of water a year, compared with the world average of 35,310 cubic feet . . . more than 300 million rural Chinese lack clean drinking water since most waterways are fouled by industrial effluent, untreated sewage and runoff of agricultural chemicals from fields . . . A survey in January found that only 47 percent of water in major rivers is drinkable, while half of all lakes are heavily polluted. And 35 percent of ground water is undrinkable due to pollution . . . Hundreds of thousands (of) Chinese are afflicted with various diseases from drinking water that contains too much fluorine, arsenic, sodium sulfate or bitter salt"
Lest you forget, China was exempted from the hypocritical (and I believe specifically anti-American) Kyoto Protocols. And, if China ever criticizes (or has criticized) the U.S. for our allegedly bad environmental record, I say to China, "before you seek to counsel me on the speck in my eye, remove the plank from your own." _____________________________________________
Tuesday, March 22, 2005
Mexican President Fox is Opposed to US Border Enforcement, Bush Seeks to Accommodate Him Story dated 22 March 2005
"Mr. Fox has been busy lecturing America from a distance over the past several days, attempting to instruct gringos in law, procedure, extremism and even the architectural principles of concrete construction. Mexico's National Human Rights Commission, which has yet to successfully tutor Mexico's notoriously corrupt and brutal national police in how to behave, issued a warning in advance of the Texas summit that certain Americans who assist the U.S. Border Patrol in stemming the waves of illegals into Arizona are 'extremists' who bear watching. An Arizona group called the Minutemen has enlisted nearly a thousand men and women, including 30 pilots and their private planes, to look for illegals. The Minutemen insist that they will not confront lawbreakers, but will notify the Border Patrol. This citizen support for the law puzzles Mr. Fox." The Mexican President wants the border between Mexico and the U.S. to completely disappear so he can sent all the undesirables across his northern border that he wants to. The Minutemen project is a direct response to Fox's lawless attitude toward the U.S. border. That Fox is howling so loudly should tell us something. The more shrill someone gets, and the more abusive ad hominems they stack into their rhetoric, the more likely it is that they are in the wrong and that they have been called on it. "The Bush administration has refused to strengthen the Border Patrol, as it promised Congress last year that it would, and the natives, frustrated, threatened and angry, are restless." _____________________________________________
Army Recruitment Down There has been a story that I have been noticing on the news wires for the past week or so. I am not going to link to any of the stories because the speculative reports on the topic are either incomplete, or flat wrong. Could it have anything to do with the fact, do you think, that the military mistreats our soldiers? We have an officer now being charged with murder for shooting two suspected terrorists in a combat zone. If you were offered a job, but the risk of doing the job (assuming you weren't killed in the performance of the job) was that you would be charged with murder if you did what you were supposed to do, would you take that job? I wouldn't. If the military offered truth in advertising, their poster would have to look something like this:
Join the Military
See the World
Get a College Degree
Performance of your duties may result in murder charges being brought against you by the same government you are taking orders from. The U.S. Military takes no responsibility for such actions.
For information on how our government is mistreating Lt. Pantano, go to Michael Savage's Lt. Pantano page. _____________________________________________
Mexico President Calls for US to Keep US Citizens from Enforcing US law Story dated 17 March 2005
"Anti-immigrant sentiment appears to be growing in the United States, Mexican President Vicente Fox said Wednesday, and he urged U.S. officials to act quickly to control movements such as the 950-member-strong Minuteman Project on the Mexico-Arizona border. . . Mexico's National Human Rights Commission recently issued a warning about several new grass-roots movements inspired by Arizona's Proposition 200. Other Mexican officials have cited the Minuteman Project, a plan by activists to patrol the border during April, as a sign of rising extremism."
"We totally reject the idea of these migrant-hunting groups," Fox said. "We will use the law, international law and even U.S. law to make sure that these types of groups, which are a minority . . . will not have any opportunity to progress."
"Organizers of the Minuteman Project say they have signed up more than 950 volunteers, including 30 pilots with aircraft, to patrol the border for 30 days beginning April 1. The activists say they will notify the Border Patrol if they see border crossers and will not confront them directly."
For those of you who don't know, the Minuteman Project is an organization set up to monitor the border and to notify authorities of illegal crossings. Fox's only reason to be upset at this is if he supports illegal immigration, which his actions suggest he does. He has also promised to use international law to overturn Arizona's proposition 200 which requires proof of citizenship to get state benefits. _____________________________________________
Mexican President Ridicules U.S. for Attempts to Enforce Immigration Laws Story dated 17 March 2005
Mexico's President Fox either can't or won't enforce the U.S.-Mexican border from his side (although I tend to think that he won't given the extreme measures he uses to defend Mexico's own southern border). And he ridicules the U.S.'s attempt to do so with the use of walls and fences as an aid. What no one will say about all this is that Mexico is attempting to conquer parts of the U.S. by just moving their excess population here. It has been the official policy of the Mexican government to encourage illegal immigration to the U.S. and Bush is happy to oblige. What's the point of voting Republican if we don't get anything out of it? Republicans are supposed to defend out borders and protect Americans. Looks like they are just like the Democrats -- which gives me no one to vote for. _____________________________________________
Russian to Participate in Chinese Rehearsal for Taiwan Invasion Story dated 17 March 2005
Yes, that's right, the Soviet Union -- I mean Russia -- who's leader is a 'good friend' of George W. Bush will be participating in military exercises with China later this year that are to include a rehearsal of an invasion of Taiwan. In Russia's defense, "[t]he initial plans were to practice operational teamwork in combating terrorism during the exercise. However, Beijing, skillfully changing the format of the exercise, has tried to re-orient the two countries' armies to practicing an invasion of Taiwan." _____________________________________________
OPEC to boost crude oil output by up to 1 million barrels per day Story dated 17 March 2005
Wonder why gas prices are high? Well, part of it is because the eco-radicals in this country won't let us build more refineries. Another part of it is the fact that OPEC cut production back in December to drive up the prices. Looks like the decision to drill in ANWR is having an effect. "The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries agreed Wednesday to boost its members' daily crude oil production to a maximum of 28 million barrels a day, up 1 million barrels from the current level, to stabilize surging crude oil prices." _____________________________________________
Galveston County, Texas -- A model for Social Security reform Story dated 16 March 2005
This article tells one of the most important (and therefore suppressed) stories about the true nature of the U.S. Social Security scam -- I mean 'program'. Many years ago, it was possible to opt out of the Federal Social Security program, which, if run by a private institution, would be considered criminal fraud and would result in prison-time. But this option wasn't available to everyone necessarily, just local government. That was back "before the U.S. Congress passed a "reform" bill in 1983 that closed the door for local governments to opt out of Social Security."
Speaking about the Galveston County plan, a county judge stated, "Our plan, put together by financial experts, was a "banking model" rather than an "investment model." To eliminate the risks of the up-and-down stock market, workers' contributions were put into conservative fixed-rate guaranteed annuities, rather than fluctuating stocks, bonds or mutual funds. Our results have been impressive: We've averaged about 6.5% annual rate of return over 24 years. And we've provided substantially better benefits in all three Social Security categories: retirement, survivorship, disability."
I actually like this plan better than Bush's plan. But the point is that there is a retirement plan out there that is significantly better than Social [in]Security right there in Texas. Any politician who tells you otherwise is either lying, or stupid. In either case, that politician should not be returned to office. _____________________________________________
US House Sharply Criticizes China's Law Allowing for the Conquest of Taiwan Story dated 16 March 2005
"The U.S. House of Representatives has approved a resolution sharply criticizing China for the approval by the National People's Congress in Beijing of a law authorizing the use of military force against Taiwan in the event of any secession attempt by Taipei.
The resolution expresses grave concern about the anti-secession law, saying it will escalate tensions across the Taiwan strait and make dialogue between Taipei and Beijing more difficult." Well, good. At least one branch of the U.S. government actually cares about tyranny in the world and wants to do something about it. _____________________________________________
Senate Votes to Allow Oil-Drilling in Alaska Story dated 16 March 2005
"Amid the backdrop of soaring oil and gasoline prices, a sharply divided Senate on Wednesday voted to open the ecologically rich Alaska wildlife refuge to oil drilling, delivering a major energy policy win for President Bush." This is good. In my opinion, people are more important than wildlife and the human cost is becoming too high to maintain security in the Middle East. We need to become self-sufficient by producing our own oil and just tell all those petty tyrants in the Middle East to play among themselves, without U.S. subsidies. The phrase 'ecologically rich' used to describe ANWR is misleading. It is covered by ice most of the year and the drilling would only affect a very small portion of it (imagine a postage stamp on the corner of your living room carpet). And caribou like oil pipelines; they help them keep warm. If you don't believe me, feel free to look it up yourself.
My support for oil exploration within the U.S. aside, it is my belief that a Solar Energy Production Satellite would be much more beneficial to us in the long run. See my article describing SEPS for more information. _____________________________________________
White students decide that they aren't going to take anti-white racism from race warlords anymore Story dated 16 March 2005
"Some white students at a South Jersey Catholic school walked out of classes Tuesday in protest over a speech by the New Jersey Secretary of State Regina Thomas [who is black, and apparently a bigot]. . . Many students and faculty members walked out of the speech offended. They said that she lambasted one student for not knowing his black history and that she insinuated that the students were racist." I think this should happen every time one of these race warlords tries something like this. The sauce for the goose rule applies. If something would be considered racist if a white person were doing it or saying it to a black person, then it works the other way around too. For your information, this Thomas woman used to work for Jackson's 'Rainbow Push Coalition' -- which is known for extorting money from corporations by threatening civil rights litigation. _____________________________________________
More on China's Plans to Conquer Taiwan 16 March 2005
The passage of an anti-secession law by the People's Republic of China is having an effect on the world as a whole. If you don't know about the details of the PRC's law, read earlier stories in this web log where I go into more detail. Basically, the law allows the PRC to conquer territories claimed by Beijing, but themselves claiming to be independent of the tyrannical PRC (this permissiveness is under the laws of the PRC only, this has no international legal effect beyond some generous interpretations of comity). Territories affected are Taiwan, and the Senkaku Islands, part of Japanese territory. Korea may eventually be included under this law, as the PRC currently has state historians working to prove that Korea was a historical Chinese kingdom -- but for now, we are concentrating on Taiwan, which is the territory of immediate concern. The PRC has promised to crush Taiwan militarily, and they now have passed a law that allows their government and its military to do just that.
"Despite objections voiced by Taiwan, the U.S. and Japan, China's rubber-stamp parliament on Monday passed the "anti-secession law" by 2,896 votes to none, with two abstentions. The law, effective immediately, provides for the use of unspecified "non-peaceful means and other necessary measures" against Taiwan if other methods fail. China claims Taiwan as its own and envisages eventual reunification, along the lines of the "one country, two systems" formula that governed Hong Kong's return to mainland rule in 1997." [I would like to take this opportunity to point out that since the U.K. relinquished control of Hong Kong (without consulting its citizens), the economy has seen trouble, civil rights have been jeopardized and are by no means guaranteed anymore, and the sentiments among the citizens is that they were freer and better off as a British protectorate than they are under the PRC with a Chinese executive.]
Australia is feeling pressure from these new tensions cause by the PRC's law since they are Australia's third largest trading partner after the U.S. and Japan. Australia is one of the U.S.'s most important security partners in the world and for this reason, trouble between the U.S. and China would have a profound impact on Australia. Any future Chinese aggression against Taiwan could trigger intervention by American forces. "The 1979 Taiwan Relations Act commits the U.S. to help Taiwan defend itself and "to maintain the capacity of the United States to resist any resort to force or other forms of coercion that would jeopardize the security, or the social or economic system, of the people on Taiwan." Were a conflict to erupt in the Taiwan Strait, Australia could also be drawn in because the 53-year-old ANZUS Treaty obliges Canberra to support the U.S. in the event of an armed attack in the Pacific." Because of the effect a conflict would have on Australia, their government is striving to keep relations calm -- even allowing the head tyrant of Beijing, President Hu, to address the parliament.
I can't believe that the Australians are buying the propaganda that is being spread by the PRC. "When he addressed the parliament, Hu urged Australia to play "a constructive role" in the peaceful reunification of China and Taiwan, stressing that the threat to regional peace came from pro-independence elements on the island." Excuse me? And I suppose that the British weren't at all responsible for the actions of Michael Collins and the IRA back in the early twentieth century. I don't know, when an imperialist subjugates, or attempts to subjugate a country (in the case of Taiwan), it seems to me that it is perfectly natural that the people of that country might object and form an independence movement, or engage in some other form of resistance. And you know what? The British used the same argument for a hundred years, saying that their regional stability was threatened by the independence movement in Ireland. Well, excuse them for not appreciating tyranny imposed upon them, I'm sure, 'for their own good'. And I suppose that the kid who gets beat up for not giving his lunch money to the bully caused the situation by not bowing to the bully's tyranny. Go ahead, believe the PRC if you want, but their statement is a fallacy.
As with many military actions, this new focus on a possible invasion of Taiwan could have a domestic policy purpose. "The move also could serve to distract the public somewhat from the unrest over rural poverty and other social concerns." Of course, as long as we continue to allow the PRC's propaganda that Taiwan is provoking them to be believed, this little fact will likely receive little attention in the international media who, it seems, have never met a tyrannical regime that they didn't idolize. I defy you to read all the news stories about the PRC and Cuban government in the past year and, based solely on those stories, not get the impression that the leaders of those countries are wonderful human beings. (The media often conveniently ignores human rights violations by these regimes.)
In other (good) news, it seems the EU is having second thoughts about openly giving aid and comfort to a tyrannical regime. "China's new anti-secession law could negatively influence plans by the European Union to lift a 15-year-old ban on arms sales to China, or at least the timing of such a move, an EU official said Tuesday." The EU, it seems, still wants to be seen as being committed to the concept of liberty and justice for all and has declared that it has a policy interest in not upsetting the military balance between the PRC and Taiwan. Although, in my opinion, the fact that they were willing to sell weapons to China at all speaks volumes about the true character of the EU.
Here's my favorite one: China is claiming that all of the to-do over this new law is because it has been mischaracterized by the Taiwanese propaganda machine and the international media is buying into the spin and blowing the whole situation out of proportion. Oh. Sorry, my mistake -- apparently the law doesn't represent a move by China to crush Taiwan militarily, as they have promised to do. Nothing to see, here, folks. Come on, does anyone buy that? Imagine that the U.S. had passed a similar law involving Cuba. Would anyone for a moment believe any U.S. propaganda that Cuba was 'mischaracterizing' the law? An official (unnamed) Xinhua news agency spokesman is quoted as saying: "The statement by (Taiwan's) Mainland Affairs Council...maliciously distorts this legislation. . . "This is to mislead and distort, purely with ulterior motives. Its aim is to cheat Taiwan compatriots and international public opinion and provoke cross-Strait antagonism once again. This is very dangerous." Does anyone else notice that this so-called 'statement' actually says nothing? A conclusion that is offered with no supporting premises may safely be refuted by the simple fact that there is no proof. In other words, the Chinese are lying. If they were telling the truth, they would offer a little more than just a concluding statement.
In other world reactions, we can gague what governments are in favor of liberty and which aren't. The Soviets, I mean Russians, support the PRC. As do the French, whose coverage of the law is lauded by the Chinese. One Chinese paper reported that "Mainstream French newspapers have given great and objective coverage to China's Anti-Secession Law, helping let people know that this is a law designated to safeguard peace across the Taiwan Strait rather than a war bill as distortedly alleged by some Western media." A phenomenon that gives me hope that the EU may not turn out to be as tyrannical as I had feared, European reaction to the law is divided. Some support it, others oppose it because it is wrong to conquer people. And, of course, it is wrong to conquer people. The sooner the entire world learns this, the safer we will all be. Before you socialist-types say anything, the jury remains out as to whether or not the U.S. has conquered Iraq. Conquest requires the oppression of a people. Since Germany and Japan were defeated by the US, they have become powerful free countries. There is no reason, at this point, to assume Iraq will be any different.
---------China says Taiwan is distorting its anti-secession law
---------China's Taiwan Law Places Australia in Awkward Position
---------New Chinese Law Allows 'Non-Peaceful' Actions Against Taiwan
---------A look behind China-Taiwan tension
---------China Taiwan law could negatively influence EU move to lift arms ban
---------China: Anti-secession law doesn't mark tougher Taiwan policy
---------China seeks to allay fears over Taiwan law
---------World reacts to China's new anti-secession law _____________________________________________
Anti-Cancer Compound in Green Tea Identified Story dated 15 March 2005
A pot of green tea keeps the doctor away. "Researchers at the University of Murcia in Spain (UMU) and the John Innes Center (JIC) in Norwich, England have shown that a compound called EGCG in green tea prevents cancer cells from growing by binding to a specific enzyme." That's good news; I already drink a lot of green tea. It also kills the bacteria that cause cavities and bad breath. My dentist says that I have some of the best-maintained teeth she has ever seen. _____________________________________________
China Caught Supplying Iran with WMDs Story dated 15 March 2005
I can't really say I'm surprised. China is a belligerent, imperialist power with designs on world domination. It is in their interests to keep petty tyrants, like the mullahs of Iran, well armed so as to distract the U.S. and other champions of freedom from seeing the main show. _____________________________________________
United States concerned about China's military build-up Story dated 15 March 2005
We have good reason to be concerned with the PRC's military build-up. They have promised to crush Taiwan militarily. We are obligated by U.S. law to defend Taiwan. _____________________________________________
Netherland Muslims Seek to Ban Films Critical of Islam Story dated 15 March 2005
"A Dutch court rejected a bid by a group of Muslims on Tuesday to ban a politician from airing a film critical of Islam over concerns it could be offensive to Muslims. . . Ayaan Hirsi Ali faced the legal challenge after she announced plans in January to make a sequel to her provocative film "Submission" about violence against women in Islamic societies, broadcast on Dutch television last year." I guess since the courts failed them, the Islamo-fascists will just kill her, like they threatened to do when they murdered Theo van Gogh in broad daylight last year. _____________________________________________
National Crackdown on Members of Extremely Violent Central American Street Gang (Which Arrived because of Lax Immigration Controls) Story dated 14 March 2005
The government on Monday announced the arrests of 103 alleged members of MS-13, a street gang rooted in Central America where members have been known to behead enemies and attack with grenades and machetes. . . The arrests, in seven cities since early January, are the first of a nationwide crackdown on Mara Salvatrucha, or MS-13, which is one of the largest and most violent street gangs in the United States. . . Federal officials estimate between 8,000 and 10,000 MS-13 members live in 31 states -- the majority of them in the country illegally. There have been machete attacks in U.S. cities along the East Coast." Oh, that's just great. It is my position that anyone who opposes a crackdown on illegal immigration is a direct threat to my personal safety. These misanthropes should not have been allowed across the border anyway. Now we have our own president colluding with the Mexican President to legalize these people. That's nice. Bienvenidos a los Estados Unidos. I apologize for my spelling, but aqui se habla Ingles. Not Spanish. _____________________________________________
Monday, March 14, 2005
Instant Karma? Red Army Invades China Story dated 14 March 2005
"Along with such weighty issues as an anti-secession law and a leadership transition, China's parliament also weighed the threat of invasion -- by red ants. . . The Agriculture Ministry lists fire ants as one of 85 destructive pests that have prompted import quarantine checks." Well, I'm sorry for the people of China (it's always the people who have to pay for blunders by their tyrants), but it serves the Imperialist PRC right. Maybe this will give them a little taste about how the people of Taiwan might feel about an invasion. _____________________________________________
China Passes Law Authorizing Use of Force if Taiwan Persists in its Independence Story dated 15 March 2005
You remember that anti-secession law that the People's Republic of China (PRC) has promising to pass? The one that I have been grousing about for months on my web site? Well, they did it. They passed the law that makes it illegal for any territory claimed by the PRC to make a formal statement that it is independent from Beijing. This makes problems for both Japan (whose Senkaku islands are claimed by the PRC as part of China), and for Taiwan who, in the most warped legal fiction I've seen outside of the US 9th Circuit, the PRC claims as a rogue province. Their claim, of course, completely ignores the fact that Taiwan is a sovereign republic that has never been under the political or military control of the PRC. The law allows the PRC to use military force to ensure the unity of Chinese territory -- meaning that they will simply invade any Beijing-claimed territory that makes official statements that it is independent and crush any resistance. Nice, huh? Where's the UN on this one? Or do they only care when it's the British, Americans, or Japanese acting in an imperialist fashion?
I will admit that Taiwan might be part of the problem, here. They have not officially declared themselves a state in their own documents despite the fact that they have been a de facto sovereign republic for some time. Though the Republic of China accepted Japan's surrender in Taiwan, the Treaty of San Francisco (by which the Japanese gave up any territorial claim to Taiwan) never designated another outside power to control Taiwan. Under international law, neither the PRC, nor any other states has a legitimate claim to Taiwan (this actually includes the ROC). Theoretically, to get the support of the international community, Taiwan would merely have to declare that they were an independent state in their official documents. And of course, that would incite the PRC to attack -- and they would blame Taiwan for inciting that attack. You see, the PRC wants a peaceful unification. As Carl von Clausewitz said, "The aggressor is always peace-loving; he would prefer to take over our country unopposed."
In slightly more encouraging news, while the Bush Administration has not abandoned its pro-tyranny 'one-China' policy, the president has publicly stated his displeasure at the new anti-secession law.
---------White House unhappy with new Chinese law
---------Will America, Japan and rest of the world stand up against the dragon to protect Taiwan's independence?
---------China's president tells army to prepare for war _____________________________________________
Thursday, March 10, 2005
National Retail Sales Tax Gaining Notice, Favorable Opinion, But there's a Problem Story dated 10 March 2005
At first glance, it seems that the FairTax is actually getting some positive media exposure. But if you look closer, you'll realize that what they're talking about in this story isn't actually the FairTax. They are discussing a very dangerous idea, one that is a grotesque perversion of the FairTax. The FairTax would replace our current oppressive income tax system with a national retail sales tax. Congress, apparently, in true greedy-politician fashion has found a way to corrupt the idea of the FairTax. Their brilliant idea? Keep the 'retail sales tax' part of the FairTax idea, and simply add that to our income tax. That's nice. Instead of liberating us to a certain degree with the FairTax, there are some RINOs in Congress wanting to add a national sales tax on top of our income tax. Excuse me for being annoyed, but if I had wanted this sort of behavior out of Congress, I would have voted for Democrats. I am really starting to think that the Republicans have completely lost it. Here's the relevant quote from the article: "House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Bill Thomas, R-Calif., the key player in the House on tax policy and Social Security reform, has said a national sales tax might fit into an overall fix for Social Security. Thomas is looking for revenue to extend Social Security's solvency and finance private accounts. Creating a new sales tax and merging it with the income tax might solve the revenue problem." And there you have it: Republicans trying to find ways to raise our taxes. We ought to inform our members of Congress that we think this is a hideous idea and that we support the FairTax bill (H.R. 25, S. 25) -- not this new idea.
---------How to Contact Congress _____________________________________________
China's Lenovo has won US government approval to buy the personal computer arm of iconic technology firm IBM 09 March 2005
So Lenovo is going to be allowed to buy IBM after all. That's a problem. Lenovo is a company based in the People's Republic of China. The PRC does not have a separation between business enterprises and their government/military. It is not uncommon for an active army general or other government official to also be a CEO in a Chinese corporation. This makes any Chinese company that provides important products for the U.S. government a very real security threat. I can't believe the government authorized this deal. Even if it weren't a security threat, I still wouldn't be able to recommend ever buying another IBM product since to do so would be to subsidize a tyrannical regime that represses its own citizens and has openly promised to militarily crush Taiwan if they persist in asserting that they are a free republic. It's a real shame, too. I have found the ThinkPad to be an incredibly reliable laptop, and I was looking forward to buying a new one.
---------Lenovo's IBM bid gets US go-ahead
---------Lenovo-IBM deal gets green light _____________________________________________
Bush Picks Right Man to be US Ambassador to the UN 09 March 2005
George W. Bush has picked John R. Bolton to be the next United States Ambassador to the UN. President Bush has definitely made the right choice and I endorse his selection 144 per gross. How can I support Bolton with such confidence? Easy -- he has an impressive reference list. In my opinion, he is hated by all the right people. Socialist French policy experts, Syrian policy experts, the North Korean government, socialist German policy experts, socialist Norwegian policy experts, the Iranian government, the world socialist movement, and UN advocates in general all hate Bolton. The North Koreans fondly refer to him as "human scum" (and let me tell you, coming from the savages that run that country, that is all the endorsement I need). That tells me everything I need to know about him. But, if you need some more detailed information, I'm sure I can oblige you.
Bolton supports the notion of a free and independent republic of Taiwan. This is an unusual quality at the UN where most of the hypocrites who make up the members/representatives blatantly ignore the fact that the People's Republic of China has repeatedly threatened to conquer the sovereign liberal republic. He is opposed to the International Criminal Court -- which is good because provisions in that treaty clearly violate the Constitution of these United States, a fact which is never discussed. "[A]s the U.S. State Department's top official on disarmament affairs. . . he has pressed for the isolation of Iran and North Korea and possible punitive measures for their suspected development of nuclear arms." And that's a good thing. We don't need people who have no understanding of what human rights are developing weapons of mass destruction. When I look for people I want in positions of leadership, I look for people who will uphold the Constitution of these United States. I believe Bolton is such a man -- in 1999, he is quoted as saying, "It is a big mistake for us to grant any validity to international law even when it may seem in our short-term interest to do so, because over the long term, the goal of those who think that international law really means anything are those who want to constrict the United States."
Robert McGeehan, an analyst at the Royal Institute of International Affairs in London, states that "Bolton takes a very dim view of the U.N. . . He, with a lot of others, feels that the degree of corruption is out of control, and that (Secretary-General) Kofi Annan is doing very little about it." A person who takes a dim view of the U.N. is one who is paying attention to how that cesspool of an organization behaves. We give them U.S. tax dollars to spend, and all they can do is complain that this gift is not enough. We provide all sorts of logistical support for various U.N. operations, and they complain that we aren't paying our dues. We give aid to the ungrateful Islamic countries hit by the tsunami in December and the UN calls us stingy. It's time we put the U.N. in its place. The United States is a nation of laws. It is not the personal moneybox of the little tin dictators that make up the U.N. and it's time we taught them that.
Notice, too, how all the Democrats are complaining that Bush is appointing a U.N. critic to be the ambassador. Are these the same people who complained when Bush chose cabinet members who wouldn't criticize his administration? If the Democrats expect to be taken seriously, someone needs to teach them about the 'sauce for the goose' rule.
By the way, one of the links below is to the World Socialist Web Site or some such thing. Okay, it isn't so much as a link as it is a text URL you can cut ant paste yourself if you so choose. Realm of Sovereigns has an official policy of never linking to the web sites of people who willfully advocate tyranny and other forms of theft. These little tin commissars over at WSWS refer to the government of the sovereign republic of Taiwan as the 'Taiwanese regime' and consider Bolton to be evil because he supports Taiwan. They apparently think the enslavement of the citizens of Taiwan by the imperialists in Beijing to be a good thing.
---------Many Overseas Worried by Bush's U.N. Pick
---------Bush names hardliner as UN ambassador
---------UN: Bush Chooses Critic Of Organization As New Ambassador
---------World Socialists: Bush picks right-wing attack dog as UN ambassador http://www.wsws.org/articles/2005/mar2005/bolt-m09.shtml _____________________________________________
Wednesday, March 09, 2005
Virginia Man Steals Documents From National Archives, Faces Jail Time Story dated 08 March 2005
"[A man] stole 118 documents by hiding them in his clothing, according to [U.S. Attorney] Wainstein and Sarah T. Chasson, an assistant U.S. attorney who is prosecuting the case. He later sold many of them to a single private collector, who was not named in the court documents, and placed others for sale through the Butterfields auction house." "He faces a possible prison term of up to 10 years and a fine of $250,000. Under federal sentencing guidelines, his probable prison term will be 24 to 30 months, according to federal prosecutors."
"At his swearing-in ceremony yesterday, Allan Weinstein, the new U.S. Archivist, announced plans to thoroughly review security issues, including the loss of documents through thefts or mishandling." ""We have zero tolerance for any kind of theft," said National Archives spokeswoman Susan Cooper. "The new archivist said he has only anger and contempt for those who abuse the privilege" of Archives research." Well, that's interesting. Anyone else find that interesting? Because, you see, I remember this Sandy Berger guy. You know the guy -- used to be on Clinton's national security team? Yeah, well, he was caught sneaking sensitive documents out of the National Archives in his socks and underwear. In October of 2003. He's still free, though still under investigation. I'll take this Weinstein character seriously when Berger is hauled off in shackles and put in prison where he belongs.
---------Indict Sandy Berger now _____________________________________________
Oil prices "unrealistically high" -- Saudi adviser Story dated 07 March 2005
"Current crude oil prices are "unrealistically high" and do not reflect any physical shortages in world markets, Adel al-Jubeir, a foreign affairs adviser to Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah, said on Monday."
Well, that's interesting. It's as I pointed out in an earlier post, the Saudis actually cut back on production because there was too much oil flooding the world markets. So what's the problem? Big oil companies colluding to fix the prices? Or could it have something to do with the BANANA (Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Anything) environmentalist crowd not letting us build any new refineries in the last 20 years or so?
I think that we should have a national policy of energy self-sufficiency. If the Bush Administration really cared about national security as much as they claimed, they would be pushing harder to drill in Alaska. In a related story, I have heard that some experts are projecting oil reserves off the coast of Louisiana that are greater than the amount of oil used so far in the petroleum age. I don't know if this is true or not. But even if it were, do you think the odds of us drilling there would be any greater than us drilling in Alaska? Before you start postulating about the deleterious effects of oil spills in the Gulf, allow me to point out that every year, more oil is released into the water from natural deposits than was spilled by the wreck of the Exxon Valdez. Or so I am told. _____________________________________________
Tuesday, March 08, 2005
Big Brother, Coming Soon to the Canadian Internet (if no one stops it) Story dated 07 March 2005
Canada's federal government has a proposal called the "lawful access" initiative. "If lawful access becomes reality, Canada's telecommunications service providers (TSPs) will be required to refit their networks to allow for real-time interception of communications, to have the capability of simultaneously intercepting multiple transmissions, and to provide detailed subscriber information to law enforcement authorities without a court order within 72 hours. Moreover, Canada's service providers will be subject to inspections and required to provide the government with reports on the technical capabilities of their networks. These activities will be shrouded in secrecy with service providers facing fines of up to $500,000 or sentences of up to five years in jail for failing to keep the data collection confidential." So, not only would Canada require companies to make it possible for them to monitor you, but they would also make it illegal for them to tell you that you are being monitored. Wonderful.
It also turns out that Canadian "network providers themselves may seek to interfere with the free flow of data." For example, certain providers are seeking to block Voice-over-IP (VoIP), which, in a sense, is free flow, uncontrolled information in its purest form. It seems they want to control and monitor the flow of information as well.
We need to pay attention, folks. If we don't speak up whenever governments or corporations want to collect information about us and control the information we exchange, we may soon find ourselves living in an Orwellian surveillance society. _____________________________________________
Finally Making Front Headlines: Imperialist Beijing Promises to Conquer Taiwan; Does CNN Support the PRC? Story dated 07 March 2005
It's weird finally seeing this issue on or near the front page. Michael Savage is even talking about it, it seems. I, on the other hand, have been talking about this issue for months. Not that I think people are stealing my material. Quite the contrary, I don't understand why it's taken so long for this issue to gain any momentum. For those of you who have not been reading my web log, let me summarize the situation in its historical context. In the middle of the last century, the Chinese Communist insurgents defeated the army of the Republic of China (which had been in power since the early 1900s). The government of the Republic of China (ROC) escaped to Taiwan along with millions of ROC refugees. Taiwan, formerly a Japanese possession had been surrendered to the ROC at the end of WWII. After the Communists took over the mainland, the ROC set up a government in exile in Taiwan, which they continued to administer as a province of the Republic of China. The Communist government, styled the People's Republic of China (the PRC), never took Taiwan. They have never, from that time to now, had political or military control of Taiwan. The government of Taiwan predates the PRC by almost half a century. Yet, somehow, the PRC thinks that Taiwan is the property of Beijing. So now, the tyrants of Beijing have crafted an 'anti-secession' law. The law would make it illegal for any territory claimed by the PRC to declare independence. This includes Taiwan, and the Senkakus (some Japanese islands). The law authorizes the PRC to use military force to enforce their claims. In conjunction with this law, the PRC has been promising for months to crush Taiwan with their military. And no one cares. It's almost as if the rest of the world buys the fact that Taiwan is not a sovereign republic and instead is actually a rogue province of the PRC.
Despite my appreciation that this story is finally getting some notice, the actual coverage is basically revisionist history in action. The CNN article that this post links to does not mention the historical context of the PRC's claims on Taiwan (like I did at the beginning). All they say is that "China has considered Taiwan a renegade province since communist forces drove nationalists from the mainland in 1949, and has repeatedly threatened to use military power against the island if it declares independence." CNN basically omits the very important fact that the PRC has never, ever actually had political control of the island. I might be overreacting, but this seems like tacit support by CNN of the PRC against the sovereign republic of Taiwan. _____________________________________________
California judge said bloggers should not have same protection afforded journalists under US law Story dated 04 March 2005
Well, that's disturbing. Hopefully, if appealed to a federal court, the ruling will be different. (However, looking at their McCain-Feingold ruling, don't count on the federal judges to have a better understanding of the First Amendment than even you do). Here's the situation: the California Superior court is compelling bloggers to turn over their information sources. So-called 'traditional' journalists are protected form having to reveal their sources. So bloggers don't count as traditional journalists? Apparently the California Superior Court doesn't think so. And lest you believe them, I suggest you read the pamphlets published during the Revolutionary War and the Constitutional Convention. If those aren't blog-like, in character, I don't know what is. It is likely this sort of (blog/opinion) journalism that the Founding Fathers had in mind when they penned the First Amendment segment regarding to the 'freedom of the press'. If web log publishers aren't afforded the same sort of protections as so-called 'traditional journalists', then their monopoly will be strengthened. This is bad. Bloggers have recently played an important role in keeping the so-called traditional journalists honest. Remember Dan Rather? Or how about Eason Jordan of CNN? If not for bloggers, their sort of biased journalism would have no counterpoint and thus would never have been exposed. _____________________________________________
CDC: Flu Season Less Severe Than Last Year Story dated 04 March 2005
"After all the panic last fall over the vaccine shortage, the flu season is turning out to be milder than last year's severe bout, but it may not have peaked yet, the government said Thursday. . . Last year, flu cases started early and rapidly hit a high point in December, clogging emergency rooms with flu sufferers. By the end of that season, 153 children had died from the flu. So far this season, nine children have died from the flu."
Yes. I remember the flu outbreak of last year (2003-2004). I remember that they were pushing the flu vaccine earlier than ever. I first heard government officials urging people to get the flu vaccine in late summer. That's weird, I thought, I've never heard anything about the flu this early in the year. Do, as dutifully panicked followers, a lot of people went to get their flu shot early. Then we had some of the worst cases of flu I'd ever heard of break out earlier than in recent memory. More people died from flu than I remember hearing about lately. Now fast-forward to this year. Flu vaccine shortage, big presidential campaign issue, lots of unfounded rhetoric-induced panic and unreasonable fear of contracting the flu. This year the outbreak is much milder in spite of the wild speculations by democrats concerning flu-related death, doom, and destruction.
I don't take the flu vaccine. I never have. I don't get sick very often. Now, I'm not a doctor, I'm just an observant guy who asks questions. I'm not going to tell you what I think of the flu vaccine, but does anyone think that there could be a connection between the distribution of the flu vaccine and the occurrence of flu outbreaks? We are told that the flu vaccine helps stave off outbreaks. Is that what you have observed? _____________________________________________
People's Republic of China Claims to Have an Understanding of Human Rights, Criticizes U.S. Record Story dated 03 March 2005
The People's Republic of China (PRC) is threatening to conquer the sovereign republic of Taiwan. They have conquered Tibet and continue to oppress the people there. They seek to seize Japanese territory for their own. They arrest people who speak out against the government. They arrest and kill (unofficially) Christians who are caught witnessing there. They even arrest party leaders who think, for example, that it isn't very nice to roll over college students who advocate democracy with tanks. However, on Thursday, 03 March, the PRC "issued a tit-for-tat report card. . . on human rights in the United States that lambasted the Pentagon for "wanton slaughters" abroad, belittled American elections as awash in special-interest cash and accused U.S. courts of deep-seated racial bias." Among other charges, the report states that "The United States claims to be 'a paragon of democracy,' but American democracy is manipulated by the rich and malpractices are common," the report said. "Elections in the United States are in fact a contest of money.""
Now, coming from the PRC, one would be justified in taking such charges with a grain of salt. However, it doesn't mean they're wrong -- after all, even a stopped clock is right twice a day. I actually think there is some merit to some of the charges they make. However, that doesn't change the fact that, for all our problems, we are still a nation of laws (thought I really don't know how much longer that will last). If the PRC, for example, locks you up for speaking out against the government, there's nothing you can do. Here, you are permitted to sue. And if you do sue, you will win (unless you spoke out against the government within 60 days of a general election and were jailed for not paying the fines incurred under McCain-Feingold). The point is that there is a principle in the United States that the government is accountable to the people and responsible for protecting the individual rights of the people. The PRC recognizes no such principle, apparently. There is no doubt that we need to get our own house in order, but we don't lock up people who want to keep the military from crushing student protests, and we don't threaten to conquer sovereign liberal republics. _____________________________________________
Friday, March 04, 2005
I Was Afraid of This -- The First Amendment's Gone; Bloggers to Fall Under Unconstitutional McCain-Feingold Act Story dated 03 March 2005
U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly has ruled that the internet is not exempt from FEC regulation under the unconstitutional McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform act of 2002 (that George Bush signed). If she'd paid attention in her Constitutional Law class second semester of law school, Kollar-Kotelly would know that the McCain-Feingold Act violates the First Amendment. Apparently, she didn't pay attention and, thus, instead of striking down the law, we have Colleen Kollar-Kotelly basing a ruling upon it. According to Bradley Smith, one of the six commissioners at the Federal Election Commission, "In just a few months. . . bloggers and news organizations could risk the wrath of the federal government if they improperly link to a campaign's Web site. Even forwarding a political candidate's press release to a mailing list, depending on the details, could be punished by fines." You see, John McCain and Russ Feingold used a very broad definition of what a contribution is. Apparently, linking to a campaign web site, or even expressing anything that could be construed as advocacy for a candidate within a certain amount of time before the election counts as a contribution. In my opinion, the people who supported this piece of legislation (including President Bush) really shouldn't be returned to office absent some compelling reason to retain them (e.g. John Kerry).
What I want to know is how linking to someone's web site counts as a contribution? It cost me nothing but my time to maintain my blog. I wrote the most of the HTML framework (something I am not terribly good at). It takes me as long as it takes to type out the link to post it. It's not a lot of time. If you can say that this application of my free time counts as a campaign contribution, what if I put a campaign bumper sticker on my car with an important issue and the web address? It would take about as much time to stick on a bumper sticker as it would to add a link. My bumper sticker would be seen by a lot of people. Probably by more than actually come to my web site. Does my bumper sticker subject me to the tyranny of McCain-Feingold? Or what about my occasional rant about the unconstitutional activities and voting records of certain politicians? It's not that different from water-cooler talk at work, or in casual conversation waiting in line at the post office. I'm saying the same things. If McCain-Feingold can apply to the content of my web site, why can't that application logically, then, extend to other media by which the same ideas are conveyed?
I'm sorry I don't seem very eloquent today. I appear to be suffering from writer's block. So to conclude, let me quote the First Article of Amendment to the Constitution of these United States (which, really, is the only counterpoint to McCain-Feingold that I need): "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances." It says "Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech," not "Congress may, from time to time, make laws abridging the freedom of speech." McCain-Feingold abridges the freedom of speech. There is no way anyone can reasonably argue that it doesn't. The members of Congress who voted for it did not honor their oath to uphold the Constitution. Neither did the justices who refused to find this law unconstitutional. What's the point of having a Constitution at all if those who are charged with making and reviewing our laws simply ignore it.
The only way to stop this sort of abuse is to contact our members of Congress whenever they do something unconstitutional and let them know that we are displeased. If they hear from enough of us, their desire to get reelected will override whatever idiocy it is that causes them to ignore our Constitution.
---------How to Contact Congress
---------The Campaign Finance Site _____________________________________________
Thursday, March 03, 2005
United States Supreme Court Bases Opinion on International Law, Violates Tenth Amendment Story dated 03 March 2005
In Roper v. Simmons, the United States Supreme Court ruled that it is not permissible to put vicious murderers, who just happen to be under the age of 18, to death. The main problem I have with this ruling is that the Supreme Court based its decision largely on international precedents. Well, that's a bit outside their sphere, I think -- I mean, considering that the function of the Supreme Court is to make sure our laws conform the Constitution of these United States.
"The Court's majority looked to international law in overturning a sodomy law in Lawrence v. Texas, but that was a brief reference. In Roper, the Court lavishes page after page of attention on the views of courts in Canada and Europe. It attends to the views of the United Nations as well.
Basically, the Supreme Court is now allowing international opinion to be a controlling factor in how they rule. This violates their oath to uphold the Constitution. If they could have found a way to rule against the execution of pre-18 year old murderers based solely on a provision of our Constitution, I believe the justices would have done so. However, the Constitution does not provide guidance here, so these justices relied on foreign precedent. In essence, they allow foreign precedent to be controlling in how our Constitution will be interpreted (regarding what it will permit or deny absent a clear statement on the topic). And this violates the Constitution -- specifically usurping the 'gap-filling' function of the Tenth Amendment.
The Tenth Article of Amendment to the United States Constitution states that "[t]he powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people." Okay, so what does that mean? Well, I like to think that it means what it says. Believe it or not, you don't need to be a lawyer or a law-school trained judge to figure it out. All you need is the ability to read and to think logically. It says clearly and distinctly that the United States (that's the federal government -- including the Supreme Court) only has the powers that are delegated to it by the Constitution. The States, and the people, on the other hand, have all of the powers that the Constitution neither permits to the United States, nor prohibits to the States. Now, a reasonable analyst might conclude, then, that if the Supreme Court cannot tell by reading the text of the Constitution itself whether or not something is permitted, then that is a power reserved to the States or to the people. Assuming the above is true, if the Supreme Court defaults to international precedent as a gap-filling measure -- to make the Constitution grant a power where it does not specifically do so -- then its action violates the Tenth Amendment, which is the Constitution's built-in gap-filler. Q.E.D.
It is my belief, based on the above analysis, that the Justices who relied on international law and opinion in Roper have violated their oath of office to uphold the Constitution and they need to be held accountable. Article I Section 2 Clause 5 of the Constitution delegates to the House of Representatives "the sole Power of Impeachment." Article II Section 4 states that "the President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors." A Justice of the Supreme Court is a civil officer. To blatantly breach one's oath of office is (or ought to be), at the very least, a misdemeanor (you know, lying under oath before a federal official). At worst, it's treason, but impeachment for treason is a bit more complicated in this day in age. I think that the proper response to the Roper ruling would be for our Representatives to impeach the offending justices. But I doubt they have the courage.
---------The emperors' black robes _____________________________________________
NJ Coptic Family Slaughtered -- Police Finally Have a Lead on Suspect Story dated 02 March 2005
The head of the family, Hossam Armanious, received death threats form Muslims preceding his murder. His daughter received extra mutilation (in excess of what the rest of the family received) in the form of stab wounds through her Coptic cross tattoo. The investigators claim there is no evidence that the killings were religiously motivated (I wonder if they would feel the same way if he had received death threats from the KKK?). The major theory is that it was a robbery, but there are conflicting reports on whether anything of value was taken from the house. Now, in what police claim supports the robbery theory, ATM records show that Armanious' debit card was used at several ATM machines after the murders. "Someone using Hossam Armanious' debit card removed thousands of dollars from several of his accounts during a string of ATM visits in the days following the murders of Armanious, his wife and their two young daughters. The suspect used the Bank of America card at ATMs in Jersey City and midtown Manhattan starting on Jan. 15, the morning after the four were found stabbed to death inside their home, and continued for five days, DeFazio said. The prosecutor said Tuesday investigators were able to identify the make and model of a car that drove up to an ATM in Jersey City, and were working on reading the license plate number from the ATM video." Well, this is good news. Maybe we'll be able to bring the killer to justice. _____________________________________________
No one is near solving illegal immigration Story dated 02 March 2005
This has been my major gripe against the Bush Administration since the beginning. He absolutely refuses to enforce or immigration laws. It is clear that most Americans, especially those in the Border States want illegal immigration stopped -- now. Why does the Bush Administration do nothing (besides call for amnesty for those who break our laws)? And why doesn't Congress do anything? Surely they can see what the real will of the people is with the passage of popular measures like Proposition 200 in Arizona that prohibits non-citizens from receiving state benefits.
Does it bother anyone that there is a Chicano activist group, Movemiento Estudiante Chicano de Aztlan (MEChA), which "boasts a "manifesto" calling for an "Aztlan" nation in the American Southwest and northern Mexico"? Is it any wonder that American are peeved that our government is doing nothing to stop the flood of illegal Mexican migrants flooding across our border? _____________________________________________
Eminent Domain Abuse in Ogden Utah: Local government attempts to seize private homes and businesses for Wal-Mart Store Story dated 01 March 2005
"The city [of Ogden, Utah] is about to initiate condemnation proceedings and use eminent domain, if necessary, to acquire property for Wal-Mart in a 21-acre neighborhood along Wall Avenue. Most of the owners of 34 homes and eight businesses have agreed to sell, but more than a dozen refuse." It is those people's right to refuse to sell. It's their property.
In an unusually individual-rights minded move, the Utah senate passed a bill to make such acquisitions illegal in the state. "Sen. Curtis Bramble, R-Provo, has said Ogden's Wal-Mart project is a "perfect example" of the kinds of projects he sought to stop with the legislation. It's bad public policy, Bramble said, to push people out of their homes so the land can be sold to Wal-Mart." Predictably, local governments think that this bill is unfair to them. But, then, thieves always start shrieking when people try to stop them. _____________________________________________
Wednesday, March 02, 2005
EXCLUSIVE -- China wants Taiwan peace despite new law Story dated 01 March 2005
I wonder if the joint Japanese-U.S. security statement regarding Taiwan has anything to do with this. The People's Republic of China, after promising to 'crush Taiwan militarily' seems to be backtracking a bit. "There's a lot of speculation now that with the NPC (National People's Congress, or China's parliament) passing the anti-secession law that China is not ruling out war across the Straits," said Yang, commissioner of China's Foreign Ministry in Hong Kong.
"But Chinese leaders have said repeatedly that war is only the last resort. We have already waited 56 years."
"The central government wants a peaceful reunification . . . but at the same time, through legislation, we want to tell Taiwan people that independence is not a way out."
Of course, I think that this is just rhetoric aimed at making the U.S. and Japan less nervous about China's military adventurism. If you'll notice, the PRC is still espousing its willingness to wage war against Taiwan (a sovereign republic) if they formally declare their independence from Beijing, I don't see how it's any better that the PRC will only use military force as a 'last resort'. Allow me to reiterate that the PRC has never at any point controlled Taiwan. Their claim that Taiwan is some sort of 'rogue province' is patent nonsense. The government of Taiwan predates the PRC. It is therefore temporally impossible for the PRC to have a legitimate claim to Taiwan. Legally speaking, Taiwan has a much better claim to mainland China than the PRC does to Taiwan.
The encouraging thing about this story, though, is that the PRC is offering Taiwan a level of autonomy greater than that of even Hong Kong if they peacefully reunite with China. This is the "one country, two systems" model. In essence, Taiwan, under this model, would have 'dominion status'. The PR claims that they would continue to be self-governing, but I suspect their foreign policy would be controlled by Beijing.
I would like to point out that the PRC still has not allowed universal suffrage in Hong Kong, despite the high degree of autonomy they are apparently allowed. What is Taiwan's incentive to believe the promises of the PRC? Allow me to remind you that the PRC is still in the habit of locking up people who have alternative points of view as to government policy. This is hardly a practice that would engender feelings of trust. _____________________________________________
United States Armed Forces Persecutes Marine for Doing His Job 01 March 2005
Since I am several weeks behind, most of you have already heard about Marine Corps 2nd Lt. Ilario Pantano. For those of you who haven't (and to be honest, the media has been fairly silent on this issue, in my opinion), Lt. Pantano is being charged by the USMC with premeditated murder. He could get the death penalty if convicted. What did he do to deserve having these charges brought against him? He shot two suspected terrorists in south Baghdad. "He was leading a quick-reaction platoon raiding a house full of weapons. Two suspected terrorists had emerged from the house [where the marines found several mortar aiming stakes, a flare gun, three AK rifles, 10 AK magazines with assault vests and IED making material], got into an SUV and tried to flee. The lieutenant and his comrades shot out the SUV's tires and made the suspects search the vehicle. After Lt. Pantano had ordered them (in Arabic) to stop what they were doing, the suspects unexpectedly turned toward the Lieutenant to rush at him. So Lt. Pantano made a split-second decision to preserve his life and those of his men [In other words, he made them stop with the application of deadly force]. It turned out the two suspects were unarmed [a fact that he could not have known when they rushed him]. Lt. Pantano reported the incident to his superiors, who investigated it and accepted his version of the story. He then served several more months with distinction." In a world that made sense, that would have been the end of the matter. Lt. Pantano was in a combat situation, and he shot two of the enemy as they rushed toward him and his men. That's his job. It's what we pay him to do.
But apparently, the ugly world of politics has crept into the bureaucracy of the United States armed forces. You see, the actions by Lt. Pantano took place in April. He has only been charged recently. I have heard that, despite corroborating evidence by a naval officer, Pantano is being charged on the lone accusation of an enlisted man with a history of trouble-making. The Marines are probably afraid of an ACLU lawsuit or some such thing if they don't prosecute Lt. Pantano, so they are sacrificing him to make themselves look good. At the same time, the Naval Criminal Investigative Service is using political doubletalk to make it sound like the Lieutenant hasn't actually been charged with anything yet. It's politics, it's ugly, and it has no business in our military. The charges against Lt. Pantano need to be dropped immediately and if the ACLU does sue the Marines over this incident, they need to be sued themselves for endangering our soldiers. If our soldiers have to stop and ponder whether the enemy rushing toward them really means to kill them or not for fear of an ACLU lawsuit if they choose wrong, their effectiveness will be greatly reduced as will their safety. If our soldiers become paralyzed by murky political considerations, they will be little better than targets. That the marines would do something like this to one of our soldiers for any reason is downright criminal.
The media coverage of this story has been, for lack of a better word, incomplete. Of particular interest to the discerning reader will be the TIME 'article' below. It's really an opinion piece -- and not a very well-reasoned one at that. That TIME would print such a specimen speaks volume about the quality of their publication. This editorial contains ad hominem attacks, digression, affirming the consequent, non causa pro causa (possibly), and who knows how many other formal fallacies. Of course, in the author's defense, TIME might have minimum word limits, which leads to a lot of excess verbiage, which, in turn, can cloud the issue (it's the main reason so much academic prose is so obtuse). My impression of the piece was that the author, Paul Quinn-Judge, seems to focus solely on the seriousness of the charges against Pantano (erroneously assuming that the charges themselves are evidence of wrongdoing). While he finally admits that Pantano "received word that a large arms cache had been found in the house the men had just left" (of course, this falls short of the detail available: "several mortar aiming stakes, a flare gun, three AK rifles, 10 AK magazines with assault vests and IED making material"), Quinn-Judge does not seem to think that this should make Pantano any more wary of the suspects if they were to, say, make any sudden moves. My criticisms of the author's presentation notwithstanding, this article does provide an alternative view of the circumstances of the actual shooting that is not presented in the other articles I have read -- of course, that view is largely that of the unnamed sergeant who filed the complaint. In my opinion, the evidence favors Pantano, but I don't have access to all the evidence.
To me, perhaps the most disturbing thing about this whole matter is the fact that the burden of proof in the media reporting seems to be on Lt. Pantano. This is not correct. In such cases, the burden of proof is on the state. Anyone ever hear of 'innocent until proven guilty'? Lt. Pantano is not guilty unless the reasoned findings of a court indicate that he is so. Yet, why do we have only Lt. Pantano's name? Why don't we have the name of his accuser? Why don't we have the name of the particular officer who is responsible for prosecuting him? Why don't we have the name of the officer who ordered that the charges be brought against Lt. Pantano months after the fact? Considering that these people have the burden of proof in this case, do they not deserve the same scrutiny that the defendant gets? Apparently not. If you notice, in many cases that are reported, if the name of the accuser and the prosecutor, if they are mentioned at all, are difficult to find. More difficult if it's a federal prosecutor. Why is the media so willing to print the name of the accused, but either de-emphasizes, or totally omits the name of the prosecutor and the accuser in many cases? If the prosecutor and the accuser are honest, then there is no reason to conceal their identity (this does not conclude that they are dishonest, but it raises the question). This practice has the danger of giving the false impression that the accused is guilty before there has even been a trial. And they call bloggers irresponsible . . .
---------A Marine accused
---------FBI probing threat against accused Marine
---------Fire Lt. Pantano's accusers
---------TIME: Did He Go Too Far? -- How a shooting in Iraq led to murder charges against a respected Marine
---------This US Marine Needs Your Help
---------Witness says accused Marine ordered Iraqis to stop _____________________________________________
"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."