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Current Topic: Politics and Law

RE: The election is basically over.
Topic: Politics and Law 1:02 pm EDT, Aug 31, 2008

Decius wrote:

City Councilman and mayor of Wasilla, Alaska (pop. 5,000), before serving less than two years as governor of Alaska. You gotta be kidding me!

McCain's decision to select a woman for VP is a transparent attempt to court some of Hillary's supporters, many of whom are not liberal, and being sore about their candidate's loss, are attracted to McCain as a perceived moderate. However, the VP may become the President, and Palin, having absolutely no foreign policy experience, is totally unqualified to be the President of the United States. This will be quickly apparent to everybody and it will blow up in McCain's face. It will destroy his candidacy, and unfortunately it will be a serious pock mark on Palin's here-to-fore admirable political career.

Obama and Biden are your new President and VP.

This election is over.

File me in the "protest vote for Barr" camp, although I do think the LP platform is viable.

I don't see this choice helping McCain at all. I am no fan of "windfall profits" taxes. This was one of my major sticking points with Obama, playing Robin Hood and giving US firms disincentive to invest here with his Emergency Economic Plan. Looks like Palin is doing the same thing already in Alaska:

Borrowing from this article on the LP blog:

In less than two years as governor, she managed a 6 percent increase in part of the state's budget, as well as being responsible for a windfall profit tax on oil companies—much like that proposed by Democrats and opposed by people like John McCain. And, according to CNN, "Alaska now has some of the highest resource taxes in the world."

This, of course, has disastrous consequences to development in the area. "BP Alaska, which runs Prudhoe Bay, said earlier this year that it had delayed the development in the western region of the North Slope as a result of the tax," the Seattle Times reported earlier this month. "ConocoPhillips cited the same reason for scrapping a $300 million refinery project."

Palin also was responsible for using $500 million in taxpayer money to help build a pipeline in Alaska, without the support of Alaskan oil companies. Without their support, CNN says many in the Alaskan government feel the pipeline will never be constructed, though the state will still be on the hook for half-a-billion dollars.

Is this Palin's "Pipeline to Nowhere"?

More detail about her oil tax in her own words:

There is no dissension -- 25 percent is the right number.


Progressiveness is the additional share we capture when oil prices and profits are high. I chose to set the progressiveness knob [i.e., the windfall profits tax] at a relatively low level in exchange for more security when prices are low. We accomplished this through a gross tax floor at our legacy fields. If the Legislature chooses to discard that floor, then the knob on progressiveness needs to be set higher — to make sure we capture a more equitable share when prices are high and profits extraordinary.

Here we go with the windfall profit crap again. How exactly does that work when you ENCOURAGE production when prices are low and DISCOURAGE production when prices are high?

McCain/Palin? No thanks.

And for anyone who thinks VP picks don't really matter, there have been 9 VP's that took over the reigns. It's not unreasonable to consider, "Could the VP do the job?" The answer with Palin should be pretty obvious.

RE: The election is basically over.

RE: Save the Internet!
Topic: Politics and Law 1:14 am EST, Mar  8, 2008

Decius wrote:
To be perfectly honest with you, I think this is bunch of fucking bullshit.

Except for the computer chick at 0:33. Mmmm... Love that 70's getup.

Can the phone companies do wrong? Yes, of course they can. Blocking or degrading service to existing customers who have already agreed to pay for "Internet" access should not be legal.

As best I understand that is the main thrust of the Net Neutrality argument. Everything else you described seems to be superfluous to the issue.

RE: Save the Internet!

Ron Paul's Paranoia
Topic: Politics and Law 1:31 pm EST, Dec 18, 2007

Your prognostication about Ron Paul might be right. This was a pretty stupid thing to say IMHO. If anyone needs something to paint him with the paranoid brush this is a prime nugget. Seriously don't understand the strategy behind making a statement like this.

Ron Paul's Paranoia

Time for the truth about the Liberty
Topic: Politics and Law 2:45 pm EDT, Jun  8, 2007

Forty years ago this week, I was asked to investigate the heaviest attack on an American ship since World War II. As senior legal counsel to the Navy Court of Inquiry, it was my job to help uncover the truth regarding Israel's June 8, 1967, bombing of the Navy intelligence ship Liberty.

On that sunny, clear day 40 years ago, Israel's combined air and naval forces attacked the Liberty for two hours, inflicting 70 percent casualties. Thirty-four American sailors died, and 172 were injured. The Liberty remained afloat only by the crew's heroic efforts.

Israel claimed it was an accident. Yet I know from personal conversations with the late Adm. Isaac C. Kidd – president of the Court of Inquiry – that President Lyndon Johnson and Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara ordered him to conclude that the attack was a case of “mistaken identity.”

The ensuing cover-up has haunted us for 40 years. What does it imply for our national security, not to mention our ability to honestly broker peace in the Middle East, when we cannot question Israel's actions – even when they kill Americans?


I am certain the Israeli pilots and commanders who had ordered the attack knew the ship was American. I saw the bullet-riddled American flag that had been raised by the crew after their first flag had been shot down completely. I heard testimony that made it clear the Israelis intended there be no survivors. Not only did they attack with napalm, gunfire and missiles, Israeli torpedo boats machine-gunned at close range three life rafts that had been launched in an attempt to save the most seriously wounded.

I am outraged at the efforts of Israel's apologists to claim this attack was a case of “mistaken identity.”


Today marks the 40th anniversary of Israel's attack on the USS Liberty.

Time for the truth about the Liberty

RE: No Straw Men: How Rudy Will Make GWB Look Good
Topic: Politics and Law 4:01 pm EDT, May 14, 2007

Decius wrote:

Hijexx wrote:
I'm supporting Ron Paul's campaign.

Do you support getting rid of the federal reserve bank and putting the United States back on the gold standard?

I don't really believe in the gold standard. Gold is a commodity that is just as subject to price fluctuation as any other commodity. Gold has no intrinsic value, and money does not derive its value from scarcity. You fall into the same situation of someone's opinion of what gold is worth as you would a fiat currency.

Entries in a computer account for most money these days. Those zeroes and ones are a form of commidity if you will. Somebody is at the switch of all of this, creating new entries into the pool of available accounting entries to go around.

That form of centralized control is a good thing in my eyes ONLY if it is transparent. The Federal Reserve, in choosing to stop publishing M3 currency stats last year, took a huge step backwards in accountability. The picture of how much currency is being printed got a lot less clear after that move. When we can't clearly see how many dollars are chasing how many goods, you can't really peg how much your currency is appreciating or depreciating.

I'd feel a lot better if there was some reform at the Fed. I never really understood why the US government lets a private banking cartel run its monetary system. Why not abolish the Fed and let the US issue its own money? I don't believe in getting rid of centralized control of the currency per se, but it needs to be 100% transparent. Every dollar that is ever created needs to be accountable and all of that information should be available to the market. To me, that is "sound money."

I am also no fan of fractional-reserve banking. Ever stopped and asked yourself, why does the FDIC only insure deposits in a commercial bank up to $100,000? Then did you ever ask, why is a private corporation the one that insures my deposit? Then asked, why does my country's currency need to be insured by a private corporation? Which leads inevitably to the question, why does my country not issue its own money?

Our monetary system is definitely fishy to me, but getting back to your questions: "Yes, no."

RE: No Straw Men: How Rudy Will Make GWB Look Good

Congressman Ron Paul at the GOP Presidential Debate
Topic: Politics and Law 11:15 pm EDT, May  7, 2007

Compilation of Congressman Ron Paul at the GOP Presidential Debate held at the Reagan Library on May 3rd, 2007.

Congressman Ron Paul at the GOP Presidential Debate

Unconstitutional Legislation Threatens Freedoms
Topic: Politics and Law 2:46 pm EDT, May  7, 2007

Quoted from Ron Paul's website. Been reading his reports for a few years now and am refreshed to see that he has thrown his name into the hat for the Republican nomination. Too bad he's being shunned by the mainstream media even after basically winning the Republican debate.

RE: HR 1592. I have always believed that the concept of a "hate crime" is ridiculous. If I murder someone, they are dead. I should suffer the consequences of my actions. Whether I murder someone because I hate them or I wanted some quick cash, there is no difference in the result. Are they more dead because of my motivation?

* * *

Last week, the House of Representatives acted with disdain for the Constitution and individual liberty by passing HR 1592, a bill creating new federal programs to combat so-called “hate crimes.” The legislation defines a hate crime as an act of violence committed against an individual because of the victim’s race, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability. Federal hate crime laws violate the Tenth Amendment’s limitations on federal power. Hate crime laws may also violate the First Amendment guaranteed freedom of speech and religion by criminalizing speech federal bureaucrats define as “hateful.”

There is no evidence that local governments are failing to apprehend and prosecute criminals motivated by prejudice, in comparison to the apprehension and conviction rates of other crimes. Therefore, new hate crime laws will not significantly reduce crime. Instead of increasing the effectiveness of law enforcement, hate crime laws undermine equal justice under the law by requiring law enforcement and judicial system officers to give priority to investigating and prosecuting hate crimes. Of course, all decent people should condemn criminal acts motivated by prejudice. But why should an assault victim be treated by the legal system as a second-class citizen because his assailant was motivated by greed instead of hate?

HR 1592, like all hate crime laws, imposes a longer sentence on a criminal motivated by hate than on someone who commits the same crime with a different motivation. Increasing sentences because of motivation goes beyond criminalizing acts; it makes it a crime to think certain thoughts. Criminalizing even the vilest hateful thoughts--as opposed to willful criminal acts--is inconsistent with a free society.

HR 1592 could lead to federal censorship of religious or political speech on the grounds that the speech incites hate. Hate crime laws have been used to silence free speech and even the free exercise of religion. For example, a Pennsylvania hate crime law has been used to prosecute peaceful religious demonstrators on the grounds that their public Bible readings could incite violence. One of HR 1592’s supporters admitted that this legislation could allow the government to silence a preacher if one of the preacher’s parishioners commits a hate crime. More evidence that hate crime laws lead to censorship came recently when one member of Congress suggested that the Federal Communications Commission ban hate speech from the airwaves.

Hate crime laws not only violate the First Amendment, they also violate the Tenth Amendment. Under the United States Constitution, there are only three federal crimes: piracy, treason, and counterfeiting. All other criminal matters are left to the individual states. Any federal legislation dealing with criminal matters not related to these three issues usurps state authority over criminal law and takes a step toward turning the states into mere administrative units of the federal government.

Because federal hate crime laws criminalize thoughts, they are incompatible with a free society. Fortunately, President Bush has pledged to veto HR 1592. Of course, I would vote to uphold the president’s veto.

Unconstitutional Legislation Threatens Freedoms

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