Friday, February 29, 2008

Marines Banned from Berkley, CA

As many know by now, the city council in Berkley, California has made a decision to ban Marine recruiters and everyone is up-in-arms about it (pun intended).

Of course, this has caused a major stir among citizens, veterans groups, and even some members of the federal government who have threatened to withhold federal money to the city! Having been threatened by the feds, the city government of Berkley is now changing their tune.

The prevailing reasoning for disagreement with the local government of Berkley is that the Marines have been an organization who have ensured that Berkley (and the rest of the country) have the kind of freedom that we have, which I readily agree with, and so banning the Marines from the area is considered disgraceful, especially during a time of war.

However, if the rest of the country is going to use freedom as the excuse for dictating the kinds of choices a local government should be making, perhaps the following two questions should be given some thought:

1. What is the point of having the freedom that the Marines ensure if the use of such freedom is frowned upon?

2. If we expect Berkley not to use the freedom that the Marines have ensured, are the Marines really ensuring them with any freedom at all?

Got Non-Interventionism?

Sadly, no.

As he has done time and again during the current 2008 Presidential Primary, Dr./Rep. Ron Paul has done an outstanding job of pointing out how the U.S.'s foreign interventionist policies are disastrous. You can watch one of those times right here.

Unfortunately, this common sense observation has fallen on deaf ears, since his primary results are now very lacking.

Nevertheless, this matter continues to stand out loud and clear and we see a brand new example of it in Serbia, where the U.S. Embassy in Belgrade was recently torched for the U.S. backing Kosovo's declared independence.

Why did such a backing need to be done? Why couldn't Kosovo declare their independence and the U.S. simply make no comment on the matter, other than how it hopes relations and possible trade with Kosovo can develop, no matter what political format Kosovo chooses? Furthermore, why do we need a piece of American ownership (otherwise known as an embassy) on Serbia's land?

And we wonder why we get the kind of blowback that we get.

Now, on top of that, we have U.S. Navy warships en route to the East Mediterranean, in response to tensions between Lebanon and Syria. Why is their political conflict the U.S.'s business when there is no direct effect to the U.S. and only possibly an indirect effect that can easily be repelled by the most powerful national defense in the world, as opposed to a national offense that simply creates more hostility toward the U.S. and undermines freedom and the example of freedom that the U.S. should be setting?

The U.S. government even had the gall to call such a movement of the Navy "a clear message for the need for stability".

Sending warships is a way to convey a desire for stability?

And we wonder why we have terrorists.

Incidentally, no one here is calling for isolationism. I am talking about non-interventionism and as I have already discussed, there is a difference.

I hope that we can one day discover that a foreign non-interventionist policy is far more consistent with freedom and the example a free country should be setting.


"To do is to be." ~ Nietzsche

"To be is to do." ~ Kant

"Do be do be do." ~ Sinatra

Wisdom is in the eye of the beholder.

Monday, February 25, 2008

What They have Learned

I think our 2008 Presidential candidates, thus far, have learned some very valuable lessons. Here's some of what I think they are, in no particular order:

Richardson - Having so much experience means that you are part of the problem.

Clinton - Having so much experience means that you are part of the problem.

Dodd - The mainstream counts.

Hunter - The mainstream counts.

Tommy Thompson - The mainstream counts.

Gravel - You can't anger people into voting for you.

Giuliani - You can't scare people into voting for you.

Kucinnich - Socialism is not popular.

Paul - Libertarianism is not popular.

Edwards - A one-issue candidate is not popular.

Huckabee - Humor will only get you so far.

Romney - Money will only get you so far.

Fred Thomspon - You have to act like you actually want to be President.

Bidon - Trash talking at the wrong time will get you trashed.

Gilgrist - You have to be in it to win it.

Obama - Being articulate and handsome has tremendous benefits.

McCain - Sympathy for great hardships you have endured will get you votes.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

The Internet Freedom Preservation Act of 2008 (HR 5353)

Recently, the House moved to pass a bipartisan bill that would preserve Internet freedom - Freedom of Speech. You can find out all about it here.

Here, you will also find the opportunity to send a canned message to your local representative that gives your support to this bill and requests the same from your representative. The system selects your representative based on the address information you supply.

You can edit the message how you see fit. Below is how I edited mine. Feel free to copy it in its entirety if you wish or alter it any way that you want:

"As your constituent, I request you co-sponsor the Internet Freedom Preservation Act of 2008 (HR 5353).

This important, bipartisan legislation protects the Constitution's First Amendment of Free Speech.

Phone and cable companies are businesses and, as such, have a right to conduct their business in the manner they choose. However, they are not businesses that sell trinkets and everyday merchandise.

They are businesses that happen to be responsible for the access to something much greater than themselves, by their own choice. They have been entrusted with an unprecedented bastion of free speech.

The Internet is not just a means of communication. It is a location. It is a place where tens of millions of Americans make a living and provide for their families. It is a place where they grow the size and scope of knowledge and expand that knowledge's distribution. It is a place where they stand and speak aloud not only in the public square, but now on the global square. It is a place where they trade and participate in commerce. It is a place where they gain more control over their own lives.

Regulating the ebb and flow of access to such freedom will destroy that very freedom. We cannot, and will not, allow so very few who are already making a huge profit on such a privilege to begin dictating and controlling the outcome of that privilege and freedom, all for the sake of more profit.

Personal profit at the expense of destroying a level of freedom unheard of and unable to be comprehended by civilization until recent years is nothing short of criminal, particularly when reasoned against the First Amendment of our Constitution.

Please recognize the law - the First Amendment - and stand up for our freedom. Join Reps. Markey and Pickering in support of this effort to maintain our rights."

Sunday, February 3, 2008

What the Free Dictionary Says

Here’s what The Free Dictionary has to say about the term "It’s a Free Country":

“Something that you say which means that you have the right to do something even if someone else has criticized you for it. ‘I'll shout if I want to - it's a free country!’”

Well, I wouldn’t say that is the extent of it, but such a perspective certainly is a great start to the basic concept of what it means when you say "It's a Free Country".

It's a free country because we can live by whatever perspective we want to (or at least it should be like that), so long as it doesn't cause harm to others.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Critique of the Reagan Library Republican Debate

I watched the Republican Presidential Primary Debate at the Reagan Library on Jan 30th and I can say, without a doubt, that I think it was the most pathetic and disgraceful debate I have seen yet.

My critique:

1. First and foremost, was this a Republican debate or was this the McCain/Romney debate? The majority of questions, focus, and time - a vast majority - was spent on McCain and Romney. The other two candidates, Ron Paul and Mike Huckabee, received very little attention.

Anderson Cooper even went as far as to skip over Ron Paul on numerous questions, as well as cut Ron Paul's responses off on multiple occasions after Paul merely uttered a few words, only to move back to McCain or Romney for lengthy amounts of their opinions.

Cooper even flat-out lied to Ron Paul by stating he would come back to Paul in order to let him finish what he was saying, which he never did. He tried to do the same thing to Huckabee. Is this the kind of thing we want from our media, deciding for us who we should pay attention too? Is that what it should be like in a Free Country?

An honest debate would provide equal time and amount of questions to ALL candidates. What CNN did in this debate is nothing short of steering the influence of voters by giving more time to some candidates and not others.

It's time we stop letting mainstream media make the kinds of choices that influence We the People and it's time we start holding them accountable when they try such a disgraceful attempt. We can do that by turning off mainstream media and turning independent media on more. Make the ratings drop. We have the power to do this.

2. Not only were we subjected to who CNN thought should be the focus of the debate (McCain/Romney), we also had to witness McCain and Romney snipe, argue, and pick at each other with the kind of arguementive immaturity we see on an episode of Jerry Springer or Bill O' Riley. It was the ultimate battle of "you said, no I said, no you said, how do you know what I said, waa-waa-waa". It was pathetic (I can't say that word enough).

This was a debate for who should be the President of the United States, not a Jerry Springer Show and not an episode of Bill O' Riley. What's even more pathetic is that such immaturity was virtually accepted by the mainstream media and the people at large. I even had someone who I work with tell me that they thought it was a good debate.

Have we dumbed ourselves down so much as to think presidential candidates fighting like 5-year-olds passes for a good debate? Pathetic. And until the most recent Democratic debate, Obama and Clinton are just as guilty.

After the finger pointing, cat scratching, verbal assaults, continuous jabs, and whining like little bitches was finally over and things began to cool down, the smartest thing said all evening was this:

Per candidate, here's a breakdown of what I saw:

A. Romney - A total clown, fully engaged in the most immature debate of "he said, she said" that I have ever seen (next to past Obama/Clinton conflicts). He denied several accusations, only to have his own past words which supported those accusations quoted back to him by McCain and even CNN.

The only good thing that Romney did during this debate was explain his mandated health care plan in a way that actually makes sense, which up until now I have always despised. When he was governor and mandated health care in his state, he did it because he found people in his state who could afford health care yet were going to the hospital without it because they knew the taxpayers would foot the bill. This actually makes sense to me, but I have to think about it more.

B. McCain - A total clown, fully engaged in the most immature debate of "he said, she said" that I have ever seen (next to past Obama/Clinton conflict). He denied several accusations, only to have his own past words which supported those accusations quoted back to him by Romney and even CNN (sound familiar?).

The only good thing from McCain is that he is the only Republican candidate who has really made any kind of concrete effort to address environmental concerns, which is a major issue to a large portion of the country. And, he is the only candidate, Republican or otherwise, who has addressed those concerns in a practical way, although he would do well to add Ron Paul's attention to property rights on his list of practicalities.

C. Ron Paul - It's hard to critique someone who barely had any time to talk. But, what little we did hear from Paul, I can say that the man has a serious problem with charisma. Many people think charisma is not important. I disagree. I think charisma gets the message accross 10-fold. Ron Paul's lack of charisma could be why his message is failing to reach so much of mainstream America.

I think he also dropped the ball in his closing statement, by choosing to focus the entire statement on whether or not we have sound money. He should have focused more on his support for freedom, the Constitution, and how Reagan supported the same.

On the other hand, everything that Ron Paul did manage to say was, by and large, the most intelligent, thought-provoking, and substance-filled information that was stated during the entire debate, as usual. Perhaps that is another reason why Paul is not "winning". In a dumbed down culture that seemingly reveres the antics found on Jerry Springer, anything thought-provoking might not catch on.

D. Huckabee - I'm not a Huckabee supporter because I don't agree with some of his policies, but I have to say that I didn't see a single thing wrong with what Huckabee did during the debate. I think he was practically flawless.

Of particular success was his calling out of CNN's Anderson Cooper for ignoring him (Ron Paul failed to do that for himself), by constantly reminding Cooper that he was also part of the debate. Huckabee also called out the immaturity of McCain and Romney by stating that he didn't "come here to umpire those two".

Most impressively, Huckabee articulated his belief that leaders who make decisions at the top should be aware of how those decisions affect people at the bottom, otherwise those leaders are not leaders at all. I think that was dead on.

Huckabee is also very charismatic; the only Republican candidate left who is (as opposed to McCain, whose personality resembles a wet, paper bag).