Wednesday, January 30, 2013

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Monday, April 30, 2012

PayPal Justice

Typically my commentary does not address what is “hot” in the news. I have enough difficulty attempting to be factually correct without jumping to conclusions before all the facts are available. My preference is to examine philosophical, principled and motivational justifications for the long-term strategies and attitudes of our so-called political leaders or for those of us who oppose them. Given my natural distrust of the “media” arising from years of observation and as a practitioner, I find that it is often unproductive to comment about a story until the narrative has been settled. Today is an exception to my usual hesitancy.

This past week it was revealed that more than $200,000 had been donated to the George Zimmerman defense fund via “PayPal” and other sources. Zimmerman, as you probably recall, has been charged with second degree murder for the shooting death of Trayvon Martin on February 26th in Sanford, Florida. Although the special prosecutor, Angela Corey, has not yet released her evidence supporting the charge, the pre-trial was held and the judge, Mark E. Herr, found the evidence sufficient for moving forward with probable cause. At a subsequent hearing the new judge, Kenneth Lester Jr., set bond at $150,000 for Zimmerman’s release from jail pending trial. Although I have taken the LSAT, I chose to follow the graduate school route to doctoral studies. I am not, therefore, an attorney, but my understanding is that there are three factors involved in the process for determining bail: 1) the nature of the alleged crime; 2) the severity of the charges; and 3) the potential risk for flight by the alleged (charged) perpetrator. Weighing those criteria (and perhaps others) Judge Lester determined that a $150,000 appearance bond (roughly a $15,000 cash outlay to bondsman) was warranted in this case. What has changed? Are the facts or the charges different from when the bond was set? Has Zimmerman attempted to flee the jurisdiction of the court? What has changed?

If the judge determined that the crime, charges and flight risk warranted a $150,000 bond, why should the existence of a $200,000 defense fund alter the circumstances? When the Martins, the prosecutors and a gaggle of their liberal brain-dead followers clamor for a larger bond simply because of the defense fund, it suggests another level of the “soak the rich” mentality that is so prevalent among the thoughtless class. Class warfare and all its accoutrements are replacing justice in our nation. Just like they are in many other aspects of our society. Some may argue that the fund heightens the probability that Zimmerman may take flight for a location that may be a haven from extradition. Perhaps, but for whatever reason the judge decided that it was unlikely that Zimmerman would flee. If His Honor changes the bail or bond amount for any reason beyond the increased potential for flight, then he will have succumbed to the class warfare cancer.

True justice should base the amount of the bond on the nature of the crime, the severity of the charges and the potential for flight….nothing more, nothing less. The bank account of the accused should not be a direct factor in the bond determination. If one believes that access to funds is critical for flight, pull the passport of the accused until trial. Stop this class warfare nonsense in the halls of government and the chambers of the court.


Saturday, April 28, 2012

Littlestuff Weekender-4-28-2012

Here’s a shocker for the weekend. Europe and its union are in trouble. Political discontent, fiscal crises and economic woes from The Netherlands in the north to Spain in the south and the Czechs in the east plus major disagreements in Germany all add up to turmoil and increasing fragility. Unfortunately the best word picture that I can suggest is the ever popular “whack-a-mole” as issue after issue pops up and demands immediate action. So…anyone know how Monaco is doing these days? It must be a tiny haven of sanity in the midst of all this chaos. Then again, perhaps not.

Here in NW Ohio we are experiencing some “payback’ for our balmy March as we have some chilly days and nights interspersed with more typical April weather. The inconsistent temps have caused me to delay much of my transplanting as I wait for the danger of frost to dissipate and soil temperatures to maintain levels above 55 degrees.

So it appears Romney has locked up the nomination according to him, the media and most pundits. The Ron Paul stalwarts caution “not so fast” as they continue to harvest the fields for committed delegates. The best analyses that I have read indicate that RP could indeed finish second in the race and secure major platform and convention concessions. Despite the internal activities of the GOP, it seems that Obama and Romney have begun squaring off against one another. Romney’s vetting process for VP has begun and the early money is on Senator Marco Rubio (Fla.) or Senator Rob Portmann (Ohio). Don’t overlook governors from key states, but a senator would offset Romney’s lack of experience on Capitol Hill.

On Friday I’ll be leaving for a convention in Las Vegas and later in the month we’ll be off to Orlando for a few days. I also have several medical tests scheduled for this coming month (250,000 mile check-ups), and the outdoor work will be accelerating. Consequently, I will not be posting on my regular schedule until around June 8th although I will add something from time-to-time when I can.

Kudos to Ohio State Representative Randy Gardner who has begun a state-oriented effort to correct the invasive species issues with Lake Erie. He rightly observed that we DO NOT want the federal EPA involved. Meanwhile, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood has called for a federal ban on cell phone use in automobiles. He’s a former Republican Congressman from Illinois….would someone please read the 9th and 10th Amendments to him? Geeeeesh!

Back on the air with my usual Tuesday program on Tuesday May 1st from 6:00-7:00pm on The Talk of Toledo, 1370 WSPD.

Off to a “plant swap” and an auction today followed by some late afternoon fence work. Have a wonderful weekend. Liberty….first, foremost and forever.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Rocks and Clods

If you read my previous column on this topic (“Picking Rocks,” 4-11-2012), you know that rocks represent the politicians, bureaucrats and policies that harm our prosperity and limit our liberties. Rocks must be removed from the field whenever we encounter them. They will damage our tools (yes, I broke a tine on my 3-point tiller on my final pass before planting) and disrupt our seeding if we allow them to remain in place. Rocks hide just under the soil until a rain exposes them, and that is when the diligent farmer must retrieve them and remove them from the field.

Clods are somewhat different from rocks. Clods are tightly wound or clustered hunks of soil that resist the manipulation of the seed bed preparation tools. Clods are made of the same stuff as the remainder of the fertile soil so the goal is not to discard them, but to pulverize their stubbornness into cooperating with the rest of the seedbed. While clods are actually soil, their tendencies to deflect seeds at planting time can limit plant growth and diminish the harvest. Cultimulchers and cultipackers are useful for breaking the clods, but sometimes after a gentle rain clodbusting can be accomplished by the more gentle application of a harrow. The harrow is preferable because of compaction issues related to the two packer types.

Yes, we do have some clods in the liberty-patriot movement. They are the ones who may be focused on only one issue, one candidate or one party. Their sentiments are with us and our goals, but their blinders have caused them to be resolutely bullheaded about what they perceive as our best path. Oddly… most clods believe that all the other members of the movement are thickheaded and cloddish. They suspect that we are unusually dense because we cannot grasp the obvious superiority of their point of view. They stay with us, but constantly grouse about our failure to see it their way. They bitch a lot. They rightfully discern that their opinions are unappreciated. While they profess loyalty to the Declaration, Constitution and other Founding or Framing principles, they insist on government intervention into certain aspects of our lives. Typically the clods support a Homeland Security-type effort that crushes individual liberty or they promote federal legislation that defines strict guidelines for personal behavior. Neither approach is constitutional nor respecting of individual sovereignty. Clods rarely understand how their positions may be counter to the Founding vision. Instead, they interpolate the characters and integrity of the Founding Generation into hard-fast legal requirements. They fail to realize that the Framers’ insistence on citizen virtue as a fundamental element of our nation’s success was an individual necessity not a collection of laws and rules.

Clods are not hopeless. They are valuable members of the field. If treated with care and carefully cultivated, they will become very fertile members of the movement. Rocks are permanent, always dangerous and must be removed. Clods generate bumpy rides and are difficult and obstinate, but they must be massaged to become the productive assets they can be. Leaders and Do-ers sometimes have difficulty discerning the difference between rocks and clods. Clods often seem to be obstructionist and disruptive, but their hearts and souls are laden with patriotic fervor. Their reasoning, understanding and knowledge must catch up to their passion, and they will become the indefatigable warriors for the cause of liberty. Admittedly they’re a little thick, somewhat hard and very rough around the edges, but clods are precious and will carefully nurture the seeds of freedom if they are treated appropriately. Clods will become vital parts of the fertile field when they accept the goals for the harvest.

Always discard the rocks. The politicians, bureaucrats and unconstitutional policies, programs and agencies are lethal. Their very presence displaces the seeds of liberty and destroys the work of freedom. When the rocks are numerous and control the field, the harvest is meager and the people starve. Rocks are deadly. Clods can counteract the rocks. Before they have become integrated into the fields of freedom, clods are used by rocks to stir the people and advance the rocks’ agendas, but when the clods understand and appreciate their rightful places in the fields of liberty’s labor, they will expose the rocks for what they are. Move and destroy the rocks. Nurture and work with the clods. Liberty will win.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Spasms of Sanity

There are 435 voting Congresspersons in the United States House of Representatives plus 100 Senators who represent all the citizens in the 50 states of the republic. There are also non-voting members from the territories and the District of Columbia. Once in a while they do get something right. I describe those oh-so-rare moments as “spasms of sanity.” One would think that in the entire 225 year history of our constitutional republic that there would be an overwhelming number of spasms to celebrate, but unfortunately most of their spasmodic behavior has been directed toward the erosion of our liberties and the destruction of our nation.

The tiny moments of government lucidity are rare. For the most part they spend their time and efforts constructing barriers to our prosperity and restrictions to our personal freedom. Although at some level they attempt to do the will of the people, they are captives of special interests, large contributors and agenda-driven do-gooders. Many of our elected officials seem to have abandoned every element of common sense that they may have possessed prior to their assuming office. It is as if they underwent a massive brain-draining vacuuming upon taking the oath of office….. oaths which they promptly ignore shortly after lowering their right hands. Some conspiracy theorists would suggest that government officials’ minds are mysteriously controlled by Bilderbergs, TriLateralists or the Illiminati. I’m not certain of the sources of the mental destruction, but I am painfully aware of its results. Personally, I suspect that there are elements embedded in the marble and granite found throughout Washington, D.C., that irradiate brain matter and destroy brain cells. My theory may not be true, but it has as much validity as any of the others for explaining the perplexing loss of intelligence and sense by our political “leaders.”

Clearly our exalted leaders are not stupid. They successfully convinced enough people that they were competent and capable in order to gain elective office. The mysterious loss of mental capacity seems to generally occur after the electoral battle has been won. Correspondingly, there also appears to be a massive erosion of ethics and integrity to complement the striking reduction in mental acuity. In addition it seems that with each successful re-election, the problem becomes startlingly more acute. The longer they “serve,” the “dumber” they get. In fact some of the senior members of Congress and the bureaucracy appear to have NO BRAINS AT ALL (see: Charlie Rangel, John Conyers, John Dingell, and Barbara Boxer). Congressman Rangel, for example, despite being a dedicated advocate of “soaking the rich” taxation policy to generate the funds for his welfare-based vote-buying schemes….is a notable tax scofflaw who owes the people of this nation a sizable sum of unpaid taxes. The most tragic stupidity of all, however, is the incessant mental deficiencies of the people who continually send such reprobates back into the halls of power… term after term.  

Perhaps… rather than celebrating the occasional spasms of sanity that emit from the halls of government, we should yearn for frequent spasms of intelligence from the eyes-in-the-headlights electorate. That may be an ideal that is far too optimistic. Despite our nation’s obvious slide into the pit of fiscal, social and moral ruin, voters continue to re-elect the brain-dead zombies who orchestrated the fall because they promise to correct the problem. So who….really….is the brain impaired party here? So…given our electoral history, the public’s lack of constitutional knowledge, and the unwillingness of our people to accept personal responsibility, it appears we have reaped as we have sown.

In the final analysis the true spasms of sanity must be experienced by those of us who observe the decay of the United States. Our voters, their elected leaders and the bureaucratic masters are all glowing examples of chronic and persistent liberty-free zombies. They are brainless, soulless and heartless. As we glance at the culture that has overtaken us, we must ignite our spasms of sanity by digging our bunkers, growing our food, stocking our ammo and…… grabbing our ankles. It will get ugly. When I look at so-called harsh measures such as the Paul Ryan budget plan and its feeble approach to our fiscal crisis, I am motivated to withdraw and prepare. When I hear voter after voter praising the Ryan solution and falling for the false promise of proficient government management, I know that my personal sovereignty has been compromised beyond recovery. Minimal measures are not solutions. They are illusions. Dream on, America. Sleep well. Finally….the unspoken question must be asked. If everyone around me is insane, am I the only person who has spasms of sanity? Or…. is everyone else in complete control of their mental faculties and I am the loony outlier? Crazy world, isn’t it?

Monday, April 23, 2012

Antidote to Anarchy

As a libertarian, I am familiar with the oft-stated complaint that my views represent a yearning for anarchy. If the critics are suggesting that I wish to reduce government’s role to a very minimalist level or to limit the federal leviathan to its enumerated constitutional functions, then I plead “guilty.” I do so with vigor and glee. If those same critics believe that self-determination is the equivalent of social anarchy, I say “bring it on.” I do not fancy myself a fool who has been compromised by some misguided dream of Walden Pond. No, I am a wounded realist who has witnessed the oppressive growth of government and its suffocating nature. I have been battered and beaten by too many “good ideas” initiated by others who believe that I am incapable of making life-affirming choices.

My over-extended line of reasoning has led me to conclude that if I err and do not harm or damage others’ lives or property, then I must suffer and recover from the consequences of my faulty decision-making. If government assumes the power to choose for me and missteps, the entire nation….or a significant portion of it…will be harmed. Suffice it to say that I respect you and your preferences too much to want you to be damaged on my behalf. In other words… self-reliance, self-determination and individual sovereignty are the ultimate expressions of concern for others and their well-being. If my stupidity or naiveté lead me to the pits, why should you be forced to share my misery and pain? For those of the Christian faith…. Christ took the sins of humankind to the cross so that we could be spared eternal estrangement from Father. While each of us has his own cross to bear, we are not forced to endure that agonizing reconciliation for all.

The individualistic impulse is imprinted into our very nature. We seek to forge our own pathways and follow our personal compasses. We want to be free, but… at the same time some of us seek to escape the consequences of our frivolity and foolishness. There are those among us who believe that our better natures can be molded and manipulated into paragons of passivity leading to a level of hum-drum happiness and contentment. Perhaps … but not for all of us. If a significant number of us seek the succor and sustenance of government, it must by its twisted mission, force all of us to comply with its mendacious mandates. The lies of big government deceive us by luring us into a false security. Its enveloping arms of comfort become restrictive bands of tyranny. Those of us who long for liberty are compelled to resist by whatever means available. Resistance is messy. Reaction to resistance can ratchet the conflict upward and into chaos. Suppression and oppression often yield anarchy when the smoke has cleared.

The greatest antidote for anarchy is freedom. A free people have no compulsion to dismantle the infrastructure of the state. Their liberty and the government’s limitations provide an environment for prosperity and personal development. As our Framers envisioned it, one of the primary obligations of the federal government is to protect and defend the individual liberties of the nation’s citizens. The wise and learned crafters of our republic understood that liberty cannot be constrained for extended periods because the people will either cease production or openly rebel. A free people have no need to resist or subvert the government. When a government illegitimately over burdens its people with a bevy of laws, rules and regulations that are designed to constrict their individual opportunities for self-fulfillment, the citizens or a surly portion of them will vigorously react.

Because tyrannical regimes restrict the means and the resources for people to mount a resistance movement, the anti-government liberty effort will necessarily be ragtag and disjointed. If the citizenry successfully dislodges the offending government, the resultant outcome will lead to a number of liberty-minded groups vying to install their respective versions of a free and wholesome society. Under such a scenario there are two overwhelmingly likely end games. One is that a new round of repression would ensue in order for the victors to solidify their gains. The other is that the leadership and organizational structure of the successful groups would be quite diffuse and disorganized resulting in broad based anarchy across the land. The challenge would be for each region to design and re-establish some element of government and order that honors the freedom of its residents. Fortunately there is an excellent model from the late Eighteenth Century that has been enhanced by two and a quarter centuries of experience.

In essence an oppressive government is one that forcefully and unnecessarily squeezes a tube of toothpaste. If its tyrannical behavior incites an insurrection, it remains for the survivors to place the product back into the tube.