Property Rights?

May 10, 2009

Not in our nation’s capital:

But, you can LEASE your front yard from the government for only thousands per year!

When will it end?


Social Commentary in Music

April 22, 2009

I’ve been an avid listener to music since I was about 10 years old. My parents listened to Big Band music (Glenn Miller, Dorsey Brothers, etc) a lot when I was young, so it’s been a part of my life as long as I can remember, but when I listened to my favorite type of music as a teenager, I quickly noticed something: there was almost always ‘social commentary.’ I don’t mean ‘teenage angst’ or love songs, or party songs – those things were present in the Big Band music of my parents (they didn’t listen to Cab Calloway).

I liked rock music. Specifically, what we called “hard rock.” A good portion of that music talked about government oppression, but even more devoted itself solely to the war (Vietnam, for you youngsters out there), or to the draft, racial and gender discrimination, unjust laws, unjust taxation, an out of control federal government, and a host of other societal problems. In many of the songs, there was anger. In fact, in many of the songs, there was a LOT of anger. But it was focused. There were also protests – a lot of them. They weren’t usually polite affairs, with proper government-issued ‘permits.’ In fact, if you had suggested that they ask the government for permission to protest, you would have been laughed out of the room.

And things changed. People came to see the war in Vietnam as the injustice it was. Gender and racial discrimination were tackled. The draft was eliminated. When the war and the draft were no longer an issue, most of the people in that generation basked in a brief glow of satisfaction, and then immediately went on to other things, like having a life, raising a family, a real job, etc.

Fast forward several decades, and now we once again have a war on foreign soil (two fronts this time), there is talk of mandatory ‘national service’ ( a draft, by any other name is just as repressive, and this one will be gender-blind), global narco-wars, fueled by the enormous profits created mostly by US drug laws, which has made it so profitable that entire countries have been corrupted simply by the huge profits to be had in the growing, manufacturing, transportation, and selling of the stuff.

Where is the social commentary? I see a lot of young white guys driving BMWs blaring rap “music,” and singing along about how bad it is to be a poverty-striken black youth in the inner city. Of course, the white guys in the BMWs are usually pulling up in front of a GAP store to get a new pair of $200 jeans, but the irony never seems to sink in. I see teenage white girls singing rap lyrics about how thrilled they are to be a young black drug dealer who shoots other black guys for fun before raping his girlfriend.

What I DON’T hear is music expressing anger against the war in Iraq, or the war in Afghanistan. I don’t even hear music expressing outrage over 9/11. Why? I wish I knew.

My band did a “protest song” a couple of years ago. I don’t want to think that only a bunch of guys over 50 are pissed off enough to write protest songs.

Wanting a Parent

April 22, 2009

When we were small children, our parents provided for us, fed us, told us what to do, and kept us safe from ourselves by yelling at us if we did something which may have led to injury. If we did something we had been told not to do, we got punished in some manner. For us nearing middle age, it was probably a spanking. For the slightly younger readers, it might have been a “time out.” There were certain things which our parents didn’t think we were ready to handle, so they were made “off-limits.” Gen X-ers and Y-ers were probably forced to wear helmets and pads when they rode their bikes so they wouldn’t hurt themselves during the inevitable fall. Playgrounds were filled with rubber, to prevent skinned knees, and “monkeybars” were all but banned, because they were “too dangerous.”

Everyone felt safe and protected, secure in the knowledge that someone loved them, cared for them, and protected them. In other words, life could be carefree and worry-free, because parents took care of those things.

Fast forward to adulthood: People get out on their own after leaving their parents’ house, and find out that there are all sorts of things to worry about that they never even seriously considered before, like paying bills and having enough left over with which to eat. In addition, they have all the usual choices about every single aspect of adult life, and they are unprepared, or unwilling to take this responsibility for their life. It was much more comfortable and secure having a parent to make all of these decisions. They don’t WANT the choices. So, they find someone to take the “choice” out of every decision of day to day life, and the logical group to remove choices is the government. In this quest, they can almost always find some special interest group who would profit by expanded governmental powers, so even in this endeavor they don’t have to go to a lot of trouble beyond asking someone to help them.

A good example of this is the issue of seat belt laws. When you are a child, your parents insist that you always wear you seat belt when in a car, and you are left with no choice in the matter. If you don’t put it on, you get yelled at, grounded, refused permission to use the car, or whatever punishment you parents mete out. Suddenly, as an adult, you find yourself faced with the dreadful and weighty decision of whether or not to wear a seat belt. So, you find a group who would profit from a law which would require seat belt usage, and they get laws passed, by the typical means that special interest and lobby groups use, so that there is no longer a choice.

Let me say that I am not ranting about using seat belts. I am a firm believer that seat belts can save lives and prevent some injuries. My own life was probably saved on one occasion by a seat belt. But, I believe that legislating their use is beyond the scope of legitimate government, and falls more properly under the heading of “common sense” and “good decision-making skills instilled by parental upbringing.” It is government forcing people to do something “for their own good,” and is but one example of government acting like a parent. How did that particular law come about? Insurance companies! When someone is in a car accident, they are more likely to be injured, or more seriously injured if are not wearing a seat belt, therefore, insurance companies would have to pay more money for medical bills. The insurance companies looked for a way to get around this they found a group of citizens who wanted a parent to look out for them to ask the government to force them to do what they should be doing anyway. The insurance lobby then throws a lot of money toward legislators, and the next thing you know, a law is born.

Along the same lines, there are unfortunately a lot of citizens who don’t want to be exposed to anything which makes them uncomfortable. They then ask the government to restrict what others can say or do (or think!), so they won’t have to be exposed to ideas or situations which they want to avoid. Is it because they don’t want to be exposed to anything with which they disagree, or is it because they fear that if they are exposed to new ideas they may have to actually think for themselves with nobody to tell them what their opinion is? I don’t know, but the heart of the matter is that they must not trust themselves to make decisions, therefore, they don’t trust anyone else. They want a parent to not only tell them what to think, but also to tell everyone else what to think so they can avoid having to critically examine new ideas.

This could be the most insidious result of the Nanny State. People come to rely on it for not only keeping them safe and forcing them to do what they should to begin with, but they also come to rely on the state to tell them what to think. This has resulted in the state being able to foist its intentions upon the citizens, and the citizens assume that those are the intentions that they, the citizens, desire. Is it possible that a citizen in New York REALLY cares whether a citizen in Montana owns a black military-style rifle? I hardly think so. Is a citizen REALLY offended that someone in Texas defended themselves against a rapist or murderer by drawing their own handgun? I suggest that anyone who does not want a woman to defend herself from a rapist is the worst sort of sexist, but more than that, anyone who is offended that someone can defend themselves from physical attack wants us all held hostage by the fact that any of us, at any time, could become the victim of a violent criminal, with our only recourse being to ask the government to “help” us. It’s the only way that the state can create a population of mewling, subservient citizens.  In other words, a population of people who act like small children in need of parenting.

What Now?

April 20, 2009

Well, we all had a good time at our local Tea Parties, right? I saw some nifty signs, great costumes, and good t-shirts. We all listened to some speakers tell us what we already knew, got some new bumper stickers, and are feeling pretty darned good about ourselves because we “did something.”

The question we have to ask ourselves now is: “Now what?”

In case you haven’t noticed, nothing has changed since 4/14/09. The same unConstitutional laws are still on the books and being enforced. The same unConstitutional taxes are being extracted from us by force. We are still spending billions of dollars (and thousands of lives) on an unConstitutional war. Local SWAT teams are still armed and dressed like a crack SS unit, and they still breaking down doors (sometimes, even the right door) to enforce unConstitutional laws.

For some reason, it doesn’t seem like our one-day party changed much.

Maybe it’s because all of the party organizers got all the right permits beforehand (got the King’s permission). Maybe those groups who got fined for “polluting” when they dumped tea in the rivers and lakes have all paid their fines. Maybe it’s because all of the party-goers were so thoughtful and kind that no traffic was obstructed and no hallways were clogged by protesters at statehouses around the country. In short, maybe we were too polite. Maybe, by getting our permits and paying our fines, we are showing the tyrants that we are willing to submit to whatever restrictions they place on us – even those limiting our free speech! What would be our situation if the protesters at the REAL tea party had asked King George for his permission first?

What do we expect to have changed from our one-day event? Now that it is over, the media hype has died down, the statist pundits have had their fun trying to marginalize anyone who dares to object to any government program. Those in government can relax, knowing that they will never again hear from 99% of the people who participated, and that if they offer a few sound bites before the next election, most of those people will still vote for them and they will be re-elected.

Those in government know that most of us will go back to watching Americans Idle, and most won’t lift a finger to put any pressure on government officials. Legislators know that they can pretty much do anything they want, and the vast majority of the American public won’t even KNOW, unless the government-sanctioned media shines a light on it, which is unlikely. They know from experience that there are few citizens who will take the time to read the bills introduced; fewer still will make the effort to watch the legislature, either in person, or on CSPAN (or the local equivalent). The few mass mailings of form letters they get from special interest groups can be easily ignored – unless of course, they happen to agree with the position of the legislator, in which case they will be heralded as “proof” that ‘something needs to be done.’ Individual handwritten letters will only be scanned for keywords, and a form letter reply will be mailed back to the citizen, and half the time the keyword scanner will get it completely wrong. Your letter will simply be marked into either the “for” or “against” column for a particular bill.

What if a certain number of people showed up at their state house nearly every day, without warning? What if they refused to leave until their “representative” listened to their grievance, AND reasons? On “Tea Party Day,” everyone knew exactly when citizens would be there, and so it was possible to simply be “out of the office” during those hours? What if every day, as they drove to their office (which is really OUR office), they wondered how many people would be in the waiting room, in the halls, on the sidewalks, and waiting on the phone? Do you think it would be harder for them to put us out of their mind on a daily basis?

As long as they continue to ignore us, they will just do as they please – which is to increase their power and keep their job. When they find out that people are watching what they do, and that people CARE, maybe they will think twice before succumbing to lobbyists and special interest groups.

Are we a “special interest group?” You bet! Our interests are the Constitution, rule of law, and the resulting liberty.

Don’t let them forget it.

Blago Gets Rewarded?

March 30, 2009

I heard that disgraced Illinois Governor Blago got “six figures” for a book deal. In other words, if you are perceived as enough of a crooked scumbag, you get paid at least $100,000 to tell everyone what a fine individual you are.

This is a disgrace. Talk about selling out the citizens!

Of course, politicians at all levels in Illinois are known for honesty, integrity, and fairplay. (example1)

After all, Blago replaced a governor who inconveniently happened to have been serving a prison term for corruption.

Now it turns out that the person Blago appointed to fill Obama’s vacated seat just happens to have been somehow involved in fundraising for Blago, even though he repeatedly testified to the contrary.

I’m not sure what it is about Illinois politicians; Democrats specifically; but they seem to have all missed the class on “ethics” and “honesty.”

Preachers and Smoking

March 5, 2009

Our liberty-impaired state legislators are considering a state-wide ban on smoking in “the workplace.” Our county government, who is equally unfamiliar with freedom, passed such a ban over a year ago, but it exempted bars. The pending state-wide ban would have no such exemption. There can be no “smoking” and “non-smoking” sections as have been typical for the past 20 years or so.  There is just to be “no smoking” in any building used for business.

The hypocrisy is glaring – that those who impose their will upon us want us to be able to go to a bar and drink as much alcohol as we like before we drive home, but we aren’t allowed to smoke while ruining our liver and impairing our judgment before getting in our car.  You can wipe out a family of five because you drive after a few drinks, but you can’t offend anyone in a bar by smoking.

As if it’s the government’s place to decide for us what to do with our bodies in the first place! They claim “it’s for our own good.” Who gave them the authority to decide what is for our own good? The government couldn’t care less about our health, except as it potentially affects our ability to pay them tithes in the form of taxes. It’s not about our health, it’s about power: the power one group of people wants to exert over another group.

To make matters even more ridiculous, a group of local ministers is now lobbying FOR the ban. As is typical of those who must pander to keep their coveted 501(c)-3 exempt status, they will lick the master’s hand and agree with whatever Big Brother wants. After all, that tax exempt status is worth literally MILLIONS of dollars to churches, and is what allows them to gather riches that bank execs can only dream about. So, if the government wants something, there will be a group of ministers who are eager to demand that the government do that, and will hold a media event to show how pious and subservient they are.  For a church to be critical of the government means that it may have its tax exempt status “reviewed” by that same government. Besides, religions have an even longer history of wanting to control citizens than our government does. This is no doubt the very same group of ministers who routinely demand that the government impose draconian gun control measures.

It’s not about safety. It’s not about our health. It’s about imposing their will on everyone else. It’s about control. That’s why the government loves them so. In most matter, the religions fall right in lock-step (or should that be goose step) with the government when there appears to be an opportunity to control citizens.

More Business as Usual

March 5, 2009

Well, it looks like more business as usual. The “Omnibus Spending Bill” now before congress is so bloated with pork, earmarks, and drastic spending increases that even some Democrats are balking.

Note the mention of influence peddling and corruption. Nothing ever changes. As long as the same breed of power-hungry crooks and petty tyrants are in Washington, and as long as they continue to ignore the Constitution, this is how things will remain.