Per my appearance on the Terry Gilberg Show on Saturday, May 3rd, I provide more detail and sources.
Connecticut Stabbing Perp Christopher Plaskton, may be show signs of psychosis.
Anti-depressants and ADHD medication are often correlated in these incidents. On Jan 7, 2011 Time Magazine reported on a study that listed the drugs most often linked with violent behavior. 8 of the top 10 drugs which are linked with violent behavior are specifically supposed to be mood-altering, and the 9th is allegedly supposed to address a sleep problem.
We can go back to Columbine 15 years ago for a chilling list that illustrates the problem. Eric Harris was taking the antidepressant Luvox. Klebold was witnessed taking the antidepressants Paxil and Zoloft. (Officially, Klebold’s medical records remain sealed. Why?)
Mexican Army May Be Crossing US Border
Documentation of over 300 incursions over 18 years, but apparently not enough to get anyone riled up about Mexico actually invading the US militarily. Residents of the border actually have more complaints about the Border Patrol. Shades of the fall of Rome where the citizens welcomed the invaders because the tax code they lived under was so onerous. Perhaps the border residents think that Mexican government can’t be much worse than our own?
The number of BP agents has almost tripled since 1999, while the number of apprehensions has fallen to a third of what it was 15 years ago. So we have government employees accomplishing approximately 11% as much as they did 15 years ago. That sounds about right. (Since the raison d’etre of the Border Patrol is to secure the border, the fact that three times as many agents are doing one third as much work means that either (a) the need for BP has dramatically fallen or else (b) they’re way less effective than they were 15 years ago. Either way, it just demonstrates the complete utter incompetence of government.
Toronto mayor rob ford goes to rehab. can he redeem himself and get reelected again?
Can you say “Marion Barry”? Twice elected mayor and once elected councilman. 1990 – caught smoking crack. 1994, re-elected mayor of DC. 2002 arrested for marijuana and cocaine possession. 2004 elected councilman. 2005 put on probation for not filing taxes for several years. 2011, probation extended because he didn’t file yet again.
I think Toronto has the mayor it wants. The real story here is not that Rob Ford has a vacuum hose for a nose. The real story is that a majority of Toronto voters don’t care. The culture of Washington DC is one where using drugs does not disqualify a person from public office. Apparently the culture of Toronto is the same. In Arizona, our culture is a little different. I say “live and let live”. Just don’t make me responsible for paying for someone else’s addiction treatment.
Sexual Assault Investigation at Schools
When the US Constitution was written and approved in 1789, the Christian churches exercised a power over the culture that was at least equal – if not superior to – the power of the central government. For that reason, the culture in which the Constitution was created must be considered when interpreting the Constitution. Net neutrality today plays a role similar to that played by the christian church back then.
American culture in the late 18th century was deeply Christian. This is not to say that every person was a Christian, or that every person believed or practiced Christianity. It is merely to say that the prevailing, publicly accepted ethic was traditional Judeo-Christian morality. Anyone who publicly violated those ethics would incur the opprobrium of the majority.
(Please note my repeated use of the words “public” and “publicly”. It is intentional.)
The Founders could implicitly rely on public morality to provide a counter-balance to any unbalanced behavior on the part of the government – at least insofar as that unbalanced behavior violated public morality and ethics. There was nothing written into the Constitution about balancing the power of the government against some external power because that external power was as common as dirt and as prevalent as air.
The situation today is greatly changed. The First Amendment to the Constitution clearly defines the most significant limit to the power of the government:
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.
To summarize: Congress is prohibited from:
- Providing any governmental backing to any religion.
- Prohibiting the exercise of any religion
- Making it illegal to say some things
- Abridging the freedom of the press
The powers prohibited to Congress by the First Amendment are powers that act as a counter-balance to the government. Those powers were – in 1789 – the church and the press. The power of the church is no longer a counter-balance to the power of the government, and the Olde Media press, (newspapers and broadcasters) have little more than the Public Relations arm of Government. In other words, the traditional counter-balances to government are no more.
…the Internet is the great Counter-weight.
It allows the common man a voice that can be heard around the world, bypassing corporate and government gate-keepers and making public those things which governmental minions (governminions?) would prefer be kept secret.
So even though the Church is impotent and the Old Media press is co-opted, the bloggers, new media reporters and internet investigators stand today as the last line of defense against an ever-encroaching state.
“Net Neutrality” is a vital component of this counter-balancing power of the internet. If the corporate behemoths that own the “pipes” of the internet also are given power to censor the content, (by way of charging different rates for different types of data), then the balance of power is once again weighted disproportionately in favor of the rich and powerful and against the poor and powerless.
This morning came across this gem from Bastiat on Government. Here, he mocks those who believe in the power of government because they expect it to be
…a beneficent and inexhaustible being, …which has bread for all mouths, work for all hands, capital for all enterprises, credit for all projects, oil for all wounds, balm for all sufferings, advice for all perplexities, solutions for all doubts, truths for all intellects, diversions for all who want them, milk for infancy, and wine for old age – which can provide for all our wants, satisfy all our curiosity, correct all our errors, repair all our faults, and exempt us henceforth from the necessity for foresight, prudence, judgment, sagacity, experience, order, economy, temperance, and activity.
That is both a perfect description of the modern view of government and also a timeless description of humanity’s view of a Divine Being. In our genius, we have replaced a transcendent Divine Being with an earth-bound one. <facepalm>
We’re coming up on the six year anniversary of the Bear-Stearns sale to JPMorgan. That was the event that motivated me to dig into the realities of the financial world. I’m preparing a bigger anniversary post for March 16th, (the anniversary of the actual event),but in the meantime, here’s a video from the protest we conducted on Wall Street in April of that year.
Phillip Pilkington is a research assistant at Kingston University in London and recently penned an article on “Libertarian Paternalism”. It provoked me. This is my response.
In your article, you said:
Look, the libertarian paradigm is ridiculous…
And then went on to state that libertarians believe:
…people exist as atoms in a world where each atom has no effects on other atoms except through completely free contractual arrangements.
To put it plainly, you’re wrong.
Whatever else you may have right in your article, you are simply wrong about what it means to be a libertarian and what libertarians believe. I agree with you that conflating “libertarian” with “paternalism” is also wrong, but you portray libertarianism as a crackpot belief system disconnected from reality.
Contrary to what you suppose, I am not mentally insulated from the world around me. You misrepresent the libertarian impulse.
Libertarianism is first and foremost an ethic; it is a belief system about how to have moral interactions with one another. The first principle of libertarianism is a moral rule, not an economic rule: Non-Aggression. To be a libertarian means to believe that coercion itself is immoral. Now, if you prefer to keep morality out of the discussion, fine, but then you are no longer talking about libertarianism, you are talking about something else — perhaps utilitarianism.
To support your assertion, you posit a “massive speculative attack on (a country’s) currency” and state that currency controls would be the appropriate response. But your illustration is flawed. Fiat currencies are innately coercive. A massive speculative attack on a fiat currency is just a battle between two criminal classes. Both are engaging in immoral acts – theft through fraud.
The libertarian response to aggression is proportionate defense. If libertarians are disconnected from reality, then this is where the disconnect occurs: at the point of responding to overwhelming force. The people who control the reins of power in the state can and do crush individuals with impunity. The people who control the levers of fiat currency likewise crush individuals with impunity. As a libertarian, I have to stand and shout “crushing people who have done you no harm is immoral!” and for that alone I am considered a crackpot. Fine. I am a crackpot for believing that treating one another morally is preferable to treating one another as tools to be used and disposed of without a second thought.
You seem to be a good guy with a questioning mind and I appreciate that. Furthermore, you might be right and I might be wrong. If so, you’re going to have to support your assertions. Until then, you’re just making noise.
In my unending quest to be of service to humanity, I bring the following proposed NFL rule change to your attention. But first, a little background.
Righting a Slight Wrong
I love football; I’ve been watching it avidly since I was less than 10 years old. I consider it the greatest team sport in the world, and want to see it thrive. To that end, I think there is an inequity in the rules that should be rectified.
First, the rule in question is Rule 14, Article 2, Section 1:
“If a distance penalty, enforced from a specific spot between the goal lines would place the ball more than half the distance to the offender’s goal line, the penalty shall be half the distance from that spot to their goal line.”
In other words, if you commit a 15 yard penalty within the boundaries of your own 30 yard line, it will actually cost you less than 15 yards. Thus, the offender is penalized less harshly than if the foul occurred outside their own 30 yard line. In other words, the defense actually has less to fear from a penalty the closer the offense gets to scoring, and the offense has less to fear from a penalty the closer they are to their own goal line.
Over the years, the of football are changed to balance inequities. For example, once the forward pass became a formidable weapon, defenses routinely engaged in pass interference to avoid giving up big plays. In response, the NFL changed the penalty for defensive pass interference so that the ball was awarded to the offense at the spot of the foul, regardless of how many yards were involved.
I believe the “half-the-distance” clause creates an inequity that could be remedied in the following manner. We will keep the rule as it stands, but add the following qualifier:
If the “half the distance” rule is enforced, then the offended team, (the team against whom the foul was committed), is allowed to “bank” whatever yardage they would have been rewarded had they been farther from their own goal line. The banked yardage accrues throughout the game and may be used when the team has the ball one time in each half. Once a team has used their “banked” yardage in a half, they will no longer accrue excess penalty yardage.
So how would this be used? Let’s say Team A has accrued 16 yards in their yardage bank during the first half of a game. They are driving to score near the end of the half, and notify the referee that they wish to exercise their banked yardage. Before the next play is run, the referee advances the ball 16 yards. If the additional yardage gives the team a first down, then a first down is rewarded. The only thing the banked yardage cannot be used for is to directly score a touchdown. A team may use banked yardage to advance the ball as far as the defense’s 1-yard line, but no farther.
Q. Can the defense use the banked yardage to back up the offense?
A. No, it can only be used by the offensive team.
Q. When is yardage added to the bank?
A. Immediately after the team that is supposed to benefit from a penalty is “short-changed” some amount of yards due to the “half-the-distance” rule.
Q. Can a team use part of their yardage bank during the 1st half and carry over the remainder to the 2nd half?
A. No, all accrued yardage must be used at one time. Any unused yardage is forfeited at the end of the half.
- Teams will use their banked yardage to score more field goals at the end of each half. Knowing that accrued penalty yards will be used to help the other team score, teams that are better disciplined will benefit more by giving fewer accrued yards to their opponents and thus suffering less than more penalized teams.
- Commentators will criticize coaches about their misuse of banked yardage as much as they criticize coaches for their misuse of timeouts.
- There should be a slight decrease in major penalties inside a team’s own 30 yard line.
Let’s make this happen. I’m looking at you, Bill Simmons.
JudgyBitch wrote this on Father’s Day. I just found it. It’s probably better for me that Father’s Day is far off in the rear-view mirror. It likely would’ve destroyed me had I read it that day.
I’m posting this under the Borderline Personality Disorder, because it fits.
“Life’s Short. Heaven is Forever” - I saw these words on the back of a Hyundai as I drove back from lunch at Lobbys Burgers, (2 stars for food, 2 stars for atmosphere, 4 stars for the website). I rhetorically asked the driver, “How do you know?” And the answer is, “you don’t”. You just assume Eternal Rewards and Eternal Punishment and off you go, living your life to get as much of the former and as little of the latter as possible.
So many of the decisions people make are based on the belief that “Heaven is Forever”, but there is absolutely no way to know whether or not that is true. No one has ever come back and reported it, (non-verifiable accounts notwithstanding.) There is just no way to prove it.
It leads me to ask myself a question, “how many silly, life-altering decisions have I made based on something I cannot prove?” For me, the answer would be “a lot.”
Fear is the prime motivator here, and control is the object. People quite naturally fear eternal punishment – and really, what could possibly be more dreadful than facing an eternity of torment – and will therefore do almost anything to avoid it. Convince a person that unless he eats/drinks/speaks/thinks/believes the way you command him to or he will face eternal torture, and you can completely control that person. Or at least control that part of them which is subject to their own internal control.
The part not subject to internal control is the biology of desire. You can control what you do. To a lesser extent you can control what you think. But no one can control what they desire. And this – to me – is where most religions fail the sniff test. To be sure, belief in eternal rewards and punishments is powerful motivation, but oftentimes the rewards and punishments are doled out based on the content of our desires. If in fact we actually desired the things that religion tells us we should desire, then doing the things we are told to do would be easier and the Rewards should pile up like frequent flyer miles. But our desires – which we cannot control – are at odds with The Commands.
The gods of some religions don’t care what you want or what you think; they only care what you do. These gods are apparently far more interested in appearing to be good than in actually being good, a situation that calls into question what it actually means to be good. Other gods care more about your internal life than your external life, which is all well and good until you realize that your internal life is the place where the conflict rages and the only thing you really have control over is your actions. You can make yourself do the right thing, but you cannot make yourself want the right thing. That situation calls into question the sanity of the god who makes such demands.
We tend to desire what is forbidden, be it food, sex or control.
Yet the same people who tell us that God forbids what we desire, also tell us that God is the one who created us; that we are each and every one of us God’s Special Creation in whom He delights. It almost leads me to wonder if some Priest or King looked at the strength of biological desire and said, “we shall forbid these desires and thus plunge our subjects into shame and despair, and through their shame at their own humanity, exercise complete control over them.”
But that would be pretty cynical, wouldn’t it?
I recall the words of the Apostle John from his first epistle:
There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.
And I wonder, why the maniacal obsession with eternal punishment?
I have no answers, just questions.