Saturday, April 28, 2007


A Ghost is Born sucked. Here's to hoping their new album is a major rebound for them.

See, they're not all that country. :)

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

The Myth of Society and the Common Good

If you were to look up the definition of society in the dictionary it would be listed as a noun. But if society is a person, place, or thing than what does it look like? How big is it? How can it be described? Truly, society is nothing more than a theoretical mental construct. Actual society is made up of nothing more than a number of individuals, who operate in their own self-interest, and have their own values. But belief in society as a noun is what allows people to claim society has it’s own set of hopes, fears, wants, needs, emotions, and values. All the things that make actual individuals different and individual.

We can claim that “society” wants certain laws passed, and so passing those laws benefits the common good. Individuals, of course, have no rights versus this imaginary common good, and yet it is individuals themselves who suggest these laws, not society. Society is the concept that allows a small group of people to tell a large group of people what they can and cannot do.

The belief in society and the common good is what drives men, who would otherwise be bakers and butchers, to goose-step with rifles in their hands. It is the myth that allows the rights of the minority to be stripped in favor of the majority. It is, above all, the complete absence of rational thought, and the surrender to romanticism that allows a few leaders to bend the will of many people.

After all, there really is no answer to the common good, or worst of all “The Children”. A politician can sell anything if it’s under the guise of being for The Children. Every rational argument can be repressed and refuted by just the emotional call to an imaginary group of children who supposedly all share the same hopes, fears, wants, needs, emotions, and values. We all know that private individuals are better at providing hot dogs and shoes than the government, so what’s the rationale argument for Public Education? There is none, only an appeal to the romantic ideas of society and the common good.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Local fire

A few weeks a go the local lumber yard caught fire and turned into 5 alarm blaze. We didn't get to see it because we were sleeping I think, but there are pictures available on the web if you click here, as well as a press release for download here.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007


Some time ago I wrote a post that quoted from Lysander Spooner’s “No Treason”. The post was centered on the obvious notion that tax is theft. I concluded the post with a disclaimer stating that while Spooner was an anarchist, I was not. There have, in fact, been many occasions in the past where I have found myself trying to distance myself from the anarchist label and all that it is perceived to mean.

Well people change, their worldviews evolve, their philosophies become more defined, and I am writing this to declare myself an anarchist. I know it’s a label that evokes a pretty strong, and often negative reaction from so many people. I also know it’s a movement that has been largely dominated by Luddites and those who use violence to get what they want. I fall under neither of these categories. If an adjective needs to be added to it, I’d call myself a Private Property Anarchist; one who sees natural law and private property rights as sufficient for society to run itself, without the presence of an organization that is nothing more than a parasite known as the State.

Comment and criticize as you see fit, but at the same time I’m curious how and why your political views have changed over the past year or so, if at all. Declare for yourself what you are, politically. I’m not talking about how you vote every 2-4 years, but rather what political philosophy you hold as truth more than any other.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Politics without rhetoric

Ron Paul is running for President in '08, but will not make much a splash in the scheme of things due to lack of funds. Welcome to democrazy in America. His name doesn't show up much next to the likes of Giuliani or McCain, let alone the elites like Obama or Clinton II.

I wouldn't necessarily endorse Paul, but he certainly is better than any GOP candidate that's going to run in the next 5 elections. He is, in fact, not a Republican at all, but a Democrat. A Democrat in the line of Grover Cleveland or many of our political leaders prior to the Civil War. Part of a political party that exists only in name in America, as the principles that once loosely held it together have long since dissolved. Much in the same way the name Liberal is bestowed upon those who are anything but liberal.

This is how our political system has evolved. It matters little what a politician says, save the occasional "clean and articulate" slip of the tongue, and much more what they are called. Democrats, Republicans, conservatives, liberals, Greens, Libertarians, independents, and the worst of all, the cursed Neo-Cons! Now I'm not writing this to defend or persecute any of these groups, but does anyone really know what defines them? Neo-Con has become the most tossed around pejorative lately, slapped on anyone who dares to oppose the goals of the mainstream left.

Modern politics have become nothing more than a rhetoric filled sound bite with the left blaming "corporate fat cats" for all the ills of society and the right blaming crazy Muslims. Neither has a plan for change, and admittedly that is because the Federal Government can't fix many of the problems that we wish it could. But the sad thing to me is that so many have given up learning what is the cause of this out of control government. They're fixed on Government as the solution, not the problem. What's the solution to Neo-Conservatives? Vote Democrat.

But how did we come upon this Neo-Conservative movement? Where did this idea of preemptive war come from? How about the expansion of the welfare state during a Republican administration, is that something we could have foreseen?

Ron Paul laid out and assessment of the Neo-Conservative movement a few years ago and it has been preserved on Google Video (God bless the Internet). Sure it's a long lecture and starts out a little slow, but simply put some things take more than a 30 second sound bite to say. Maybe if we sat down and actually listened to what the Neo-conservatives believed BEFORE the past elections things could have been different today. Then again the only other option was Democrats so it's hard to believe it could have been all that much better.

Neo-CONNED! by Congressman Ron Paul
"Authoritarian rule is authoritarian rule, regardless of humanitarian undertones." -Ron Paul

Follow-up reading:

A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm (1996)
The End of History? by Francis Fukuyama (1989)

Monday, April 09, 2007

A dangerous ruling in Britain

Britain bans paid military interviews

LONDON - Britain on Monday banned all military service members from talking to the media in return for payment, reversing its decision to allow the 15 marines and sailors held captive in Iran to sell their stories.

Defense Secretary Des Browne issued a statement saying the navy faced a "very tough call" over its initial decision to allow the payments, which came under sharp criticism. The new ban will not affect those who already gave accounts, a Defense Ministry spokesman said.

On Monday, in one of the first accounts, Faye Turney, the sole woman in the detained crew, said that she "felt like a traitor" for agreeing to her captors' demands to appear on Iranian TV and that she believed they had measured her for a coffin.

The Sun newspaper also reported that Turney, 25, was told by her captors that her 14 male colleagues had been released while she alone was being held.

Another sailor, Arthur Batchelor, 20, said he was singled out by his captors because he was the youngest of the crew.

The financial arrangements for Turney and Batchelor were not disclosed, but Turney said the offer she accepted was not the largest she had been offered.

Browne said lessons must be learned from a review the Ministry of Defense is now conducting regarding the regulations that affect service members talking with media.

"I want to be sure those charged with these difficult decisions have clear guidance for the future," Browne said. "Until that time, no further service personnel will be allowed to talk to the media about their experiences in return for payment."

The British sailors and marines were searching a merchant ship on March 23 when they and their two inflatable boats were intercepted by Iranian vessels near the disputed Shatt al-Arab waterway, U.S. and British officials said. Iran claimed the British had strayed into its territorial waters, a charge that Britain denied.

During the crew's captivity, Britain accused Iran of using the group for propaganda for putting them on Iranian television in appearances in which they "admitted" trespassing in Tehran's waters. They were freed last week by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who called their release a gift to Britain.

Turney, who also sold her story to British broadcaster ITV1, told The Sun that she feared at one point that she would be killed.

"One morning, I heard the noise of wood sawing and nails being hammered near my cell. I couldn't work out what it was. Then a woman came into my cell to measure me up from head to toe with a tape," The Sun quoted Turney as saying.

"She shouted the measurements to a man outside. I was convinced they were making my coffin."

Turney said she asked one Iranian official where her male colleagues were.

"He rubbed the top of my head and said with a smile, 'Oh no, they've gone home. Just you now,'" she said.

At another time, Turney said the same official asked her how she felt about dying for country.

By her fifth day in detention, she said she was told that she could be free within two weeks if she confessed that the crew had intruded into Iranian waters.

"If I didn't, they'd put me on trial for espionage and I'd go to prison for several years. I had just an hour to think about it," The Sun quoted her as saying.

"If I did it, I feared everyone in Britain would hate me. But I knew it was my one chance of fulfilling a promise to Molly (her daughter) that I'd be home for her birthday on May 8.

"I decided to take that chance, and write in such a way that my unit and my family would know it wasn't the real me."

Turney told ITV1 that she "felt like a traitor" when she was forced to write letters of confession that were shown on Iranian television.

Batchelor said in an interview with the Daily Mirror that he found his capture "beyond terrifying."

"They seemed to take particular pleasure in mocking me for being young," he said. "A guard kept flicking my neck with his index finger and thumb. I thought the worst."

Retired Maj. Gen. Patrick Cordingly said Monday he believes the sailors and marines were being used "almost as a propaganda tool" by the British government.

"I was depressed because I thought the team were so good on the press conference — they didn't overplay their unpleasant experience and we could all imagine what they had gone through," Cordingly said in a British Broadcasting Corp. radio interview.

Turney said she was offered "a hell of a lot of money" for her story and said she was not "taking the biggest offer."

"I want everyone to know my story from my side, what I went through," she told ITV1. She added part of the money she was paid would go toward helping personnel on her ship, the frigate HMS Cornwall.

After their release last week, the crew members told reporters in Britain they were subjected to constant psychological pressure in detention.

In an attempt to dispute that claim, Iran broadcast new video Sunday showing some of the crew playing chess and watching television during their captivity.

Some of the footage, briefly aired on Iran's state-run Arabic satellite TV channel Al-Alam, also showed crew members watching soccer on TV and eating at a long table decorated with flowers. The crew members could be heard laughing and chatting.

A newscaster said the video proved "the sailors had complete liberty during their detention, which contradicts what the sailors declared after they arrived in Britain."

At a news conference Friday, Lt. Felix Carman, who was in charge of the crew, said the sailors and marines were only allowed to socialize for the benefit of the Iranian media.

Apparently this isn't a permanent solution, but it sets a dangerous precedent. Governments should not be the only witness to the events of their own wars. Taking the incentive away from veterans to tell their story of what happened limits the amount of people who can afford to take time off of their normal lives to give an account.

This story calls to light the never ending need for historical revisionism.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

What's there to say?

Swedish couple fights for right to name their baby girl Metallica

Metallica may work as a name for a heavy metal band, but a Swedish couple is struggling to convince authorities it's also suitable for a baby girl.

Sweden's tax agency rejected Michael and Karolina Tomaro's application to name their six-month-old daughter after the legendary rock band. "It suits her," Karolina Tomaro, 27, said Tuesday of the name. "She's decisive and she knows what she wants."

Although little Metallica has already been baptized, the Swedish National Tax Board refused to register the name, saying it was associated with both the rock group and the word "metal."

In Sweden, parents must get the names of their children approved by the tax authority, which is in charge of the population registry and issues personal identification numbers.

Tomaro, who has appealed the decision, said the official handling the case also called the name "ugly."

The couple was backed by the County Administrative Court in Goteborg, which ruled on March 13 that there was no reason to block the name. It also noted that there already is a woman in Sweden with Metallica as a middle name.

The tax agency appealed to a higher court, frustrating the family's foreign travel plans.

"We've had to cancel trips and can't get anywhere because we can't get her a passport without an approved name," Tomaro said.