Saturday, May 5, 2007

Who's At Your Door?

Anyone paying attention is aware that the War on DrugsTM has been an utter failure. The price of cocaine has dropped like a rock since the campaign began and our prisons are bursting at the seams with low-level, non-violent offenders guilty of nothing more than wanting to feel good.

Hand in hand with the War on DrugsTM has been the militarization of police departments around the country. Nearly every medium sized or larger department in the country now has some type of paramilitary unit and it is not just high level Miami Vice style cartels that they are being used against, but normal people just like you and me that may or may not even use drugs.

These units are being used based on the flimsiest of warrants and in situations that couldn't possibly justify their use. Naturally, there have been dire consequences to their raids. Police are executing no-knock and knock-and-enter warrants on innocent people and in many cases, those innocent people are seriously hurt or killed. What's even worse, is that in many cases, police are lying and planting evidence to cover their own asses.

No one in the Blogosphere has been more diligent in covering this issue than Radley Balko. It is from Balko that I learned about the cases of Kathryn Johnson and Frances Thompson. Just two botched cases in one city by one department. The latter ended with just a scared 82 year old woman, the former with an 88 year old woman lying handcuffed and shot as she bled to death on the floor.

These are not isolated incidents either. There are stories just like these taking place all over the country. In fact, Cato has put the Google Maps API to use in the most important manner that I have yet to see. They are tracking botched paramilitary police raids around the country. Their list currently has 296 such stories, including 41 which involve the death of innocent civilians.

This is the kind of stuff that I have in mind when I think of the need for a strong 2nd Amendment. Often times, the response that I get from gun control advocates is that I am simply being paranoid and must be like the so called "nutjobs" at Waco or Ruby Ridge. Of course, what else would I expect from people that have no real concept of why the Founding Fathers even included the 2nd Amendment in the Bill of Rights. They felt the need for it not primarily for hunters or even self-defense from others, but rather for self-defense against a tyrannical government.

That someone could even consider the possibility of the need to defend yourself against a rogue government seems beyond their comprehension. Naturally, I don't need to point out that these are often the very same people that consider Bush to be akin to Hitler. Such irony would be lost on them anyway.

Who Will It Be?

The first 2008 primaries are still 9 months away, so what better time to engage in idle thoughts and useless predictions about the outcome for both parties.

Let's start with my thoughts on the Dems:

Hillary Clinton -- barring any major missteps, the likely nominee
Barack Obama -- already starting to falter under the spotlight
John Edwards -- possible VP selection
Joe Biden -- no chance
Bill Richardson -- possible VP selection
Christopher Dodd -- no chance
Dennis Kucinich -- no chance
Mike Gravel -- no chance
Al Gore -- things become much more interesting if he jumps in

Now on to the Reps:

Rudy Guiliani -- possible nominee or VP selection
John McCain -- rubs too many people wrong
Mitt Romney -- no chance
Ron Paul -- should get the nomination, but won't
Sam Brownback -- no chance
Tom Tancredo -- no chance
Tommy Thompson -- no chance
Jim Gilmore -- no chance
Mike Huckabee -- no chance
Duncan Hunter -- no chance
Fred Thompson -- not declared, but likely nominee

Of course, there is no way of knowing what will happen between now and then. Besides, the shear madness of the political thought process of both Democrats and Republicans boggles my mind, so trying to guess what they will actually do is really just pointless.

I probably have a better chance of guessing what country the next Ms Universe will be from and would undoubtedly enjoy getting to know more about the candidates much more.

Feel free to give me your thoughts on the matter in the comments.

Friday, May 4, 2007

Ron Paul Won't Get My Vote for President

Off the top of my head, I can't think of another elected official on the national level that has done more to consistently promote liberty in the modern era than has Dr. Ron Paul. In the face of the acerbic environment of DC, he has resisted the temptation to sway with the polls and has stood fast on principle. It is no wonder that the LP dubbed him as their candidate for President in 1988.

Of course, anyone who follows politics knows that third party candidates rarely have much success on any level, which is why Dr. Paul runs as a Republican. I am constantly amazed that he manages to get re-elected in TX-14 simply by putting an (R) at the end of his name rather than an (L), but without changing his message. He certainly doesn't do it with help from the RNC. To them, he is nothing more than a placeholder for the Republican Party. They do not actively support him, though they should. A good look at his views could do a lot to remind Republicans of many of the things they supposedly stand for.

By this point, after such a glowing description of Dr. Paul, you may be wondering why he won't be getting my vote for President. Simple. Republicans are idiots and he will be lucky to garner a few percentage points of the vote during the primaries. Therefore, he will not actually be running for the Presidency, but only the Republican nomination for President. Because of that, he won't be getting my vote for President.

He will get my vote for the Republican nomination though, and he should get yours as well. The Republicans have taken advantage of the fact that many liberty minded people feel like they are between a rock and a hard place come election time. They don't want to vote for whatever unappealing character happens to get the Rep. nomination, but they also find themselves afraid to vote for a third party candidate for fear of the unappealing character on the Dem side will win.

Believe me, that is a nauseating feeling indeed. I have voted for the LP candidate during the last 2 Presidential elections (since I started considering myself a libertarian), but I can say that the thought of Gore or Kerry being President scared the hell out of me. The thought of another Republican like Bush scares me as well, so I will undoubtedly vote for whomever garners the LP nomination once again. And once again, he will have no chance of actually winning.

Paradise Lost

As an Atheist, religion holds a certain curiosity for me. I grew up in the Church and my transition from believer to non-believer was a gradual one that took place over many years of continued study during my adult life. I don't seem to recall there being any one pivotal moment that changed my way of thinking. For years I considered myself Agnostic and just eventually completed the transition.

The extended transition is, I believe, a process that has made me much more accepting of those who still choose to believe. My transition to libertarianism from conservatism took place during this same extended time period.

Some people, however, are not so fortunate in their epiphanies. Take the case of the poor bastard pointed to here by Tim Blair. This fellow is apparently a true believer in the religion of Environmentalism (and yes it is a religion). Apparently, he was just recently slapped in the face with the realization that the orthodoxy's premier profit, Al Gore, is not pure of heart.

During his live slideshow today, however, he showed his true colors. One of his slides was a quote from Genesis, which he used to show that humans are the stewards of biodiversity. I have no problem with people quoting from the bible (as long as it makes sense), but I found it kind of funny that he went out of his way to announce that he did not mean to push his religious beliefs on people by using the scripture in his slideshow. I didn't really see the need for this disclaimer, because I actually agreed with the use of the scripture.

The slide I found particularly interesting/shocking/sad, was his new(?) slide containing a graph of human population growth over the past couple hundred-thousand years. It started off good. He pointed at the beginning of the graph, showing the population of humans on Earth from 200,000 years ago, and referred to the "rise of humans."

Cool beans. So he believes that Homo sapiens evolved from other hominid ancestors, right? Nope. In the very same breath, he then continued to explain that according to his religious beliefs, this "rise of humans" was God's creation of mankind - apparently 200,000 years ago. His graph then changed to include the caption "Adam & Eve" above this starting point.
One can only imagine that such a sight must have felt like a right hook from Tyson in his prime. After all, one of the most vociferous arguments from those who espouse the idea of anthropogenic global warming (AGW), is that anyone that disagrees with its teachings is either a shill for "Big Oil" or a backwards rube who rejects science, just like those idiot Christians.

The right hook was followed by a quick left jab:

I started laughing, and I had to consciously blink my eyes and double-check the screen to make sure I was seeing it properly. Let me get this straight...the guy's entire presentation exists in order to present people with the scientific data showing that human-caused climate change is a fact. He does his very best to include references in all of the slides, showing to any thinking person that this data is not made up, that it comes from the forefront of our scientific research (there was many slides containing data from Science journal, and a few from Nature).

At the same time, he tarnishes his beautifully crafted presentation by not only stating his belief in creationism - but by placing the words "Adam and Eve" right on the slide (which is actually a scientific graph) as a caption explaining the beginnings of mankind.
Once his head stopped spinning, I would bet that the sense of betrayal emanating from him must have been palpable to those closet to him.

Something doesn't add up here. On one hand, he is using science to predict the disastrous outcome of our current actions and rally support for taking proactive measures to make sure bad things don't happen, but on the other hand, he is clinging to stone-age beliefs that another very important area of science has proven wrong (that we humans evolved from other forms of life, and that every organism on Earth has a common ancestor).

And of course, all the religious people in the audience get to feel good knowing that this important politician sees no dilemma in using this this zero-sum belief system. I should also note that at this point in the lecture (I'll call it the schism) he stated that there is no conflict between science and religion. He appeared as though he wanted to say more about this, and even mentioned the Scopes trial, but then decided to continue on with the slideshow instead.


The schism pretty much ruined the rest of the show for me. His message about climate change and our need to take action was great, inspiring even. However, I am now somewhat confused about the sort of man that is Al Gore. If you're going to be intellectually honest about issues like climate change, than why not carry through to the next logical step and apply this kind of honest thinking to everything?
While it would be easy to engage in some good ol' schadenfreude at this poor bastard's realization that Al Gore is nothing more than an opportunist scumbag, it is never easy watching true believers abruptly faced with reality.

Update: Elliot Joseph has more thoughts on Environmentalism as religion.

Girl Friday - 050407

One of the regular things I like to do is a weekly post featuring the beauty of the human female form. I do this every Friday, and hence the title, Girl Friday.

Normally, I don't post Anime, but I like this picture so much that it is currently gracing my Desktop. I don't know who the artist is, but I like his work.

Liberty Dog V.3.0 we go again. Liberty Dog blogging V.3.0. I have created blogs twice before, One Billion Red Chinese and a Dog Named Liberty and Fuki Blog. Both are now defunct due to lack of time on my part. Well, the time constraints on my life haven't really changed, but there are just so many things that need to be talked about, that I will give it another go.

I promise nothing, so expect the same. I will blog when I can. In the past I have mostly done political blogging, with a bit of humor and some good ol' fashioned T&A thrown in for good measure. I expect that will pretty much stay the same this time around, though in order to keep more material flowing, I may do some link and point style blogging a la Instapundit.

Hopefully, those that know me will give me a spot in their blogrolls once again. It only takes a few seconds to write the code and if I slack off again, it is even quicker to delete it.

Over the next few days, I will recreate my own blogroll and such other things as are necessary such as adding Sitemeter, etc.

So I guess there is nothing left to say but, "Let the games begin!"