Our Laws Are Perverse

The law in this country has been perverted. A human being needs to be safe in his person, he needs to be able to able to enjoy the fruits of his labor, and he needs to be free.  Free to speak, to travel, to work, and to associate as he sees fit. Protecting these three elements is the proper purview of the law. All people have the right to use force to defend themselves from theft, assault and enslavement. When the law expands beyond the community’s protection of the individual’s rights, it becomes an instrument of plunder and oppression.

Democrats and Republicans alike are guilty of perverting the law. The only difference is that in the ranks of the Republican Party are those who wish to reverse this trend. The Democrat Party seeks to further expand the role of government through even greater perversion of the law, with some statist Republicans going along as willing accomplices.

When the Law is used to abridge personal freedoms, as in the case of our current drug laws, the result is the rise of a black market and with it a criminal class.  The failed experiment in prohibition should have reversed this trend.  It has not.  Progressives, like Woodrow Wilson, pushed through a series of laws starting with the Harrison Act to curtail drug use.  This was the beginning of our 100-year odyssey in Federal social engineering.  Our abject failure in this arena is more than obvious; it is tragic.  Today close to 1.5M people are in the prison system because of possession charges.  Like alcohol prohibition, the only lasting impact is that the citizenry loses respect for all laws.

When the law is used to codify the plunder of one group at the expense of another, the result is not equality.  Three familiar forms under which this plunder will occur are crony capitalism, socialism, and communism.  In the first form, crony capitalism, a favored industry or company is handed a monopoly through the erection of tariffs against competition, or the industry is subsidized through the taxation of the general public.  Under communism, the state directly seizes all the means of production at every level and the end result is a planned economy.  The Great Leaps Forward of 1950’s China and the Five Year Plans of the Soviet Union are object lessons in the misery and death spawned by such state sponsored plunder of private property.  Socialism serves as the bridge from the statism of the Crony Capitalist to the statism of the Marxist.  State sanctioned plunder is a betrayal of the citizen and eventually leads back to the feudalism we witness today in places like North Korea.  Too-Big-to-Fail is but one of our steps down this path.

State sponsored plunder serves only to balkanize the nation.  Those whose property is plundered resent the beneficiaries of this wealth transfer.  Those who receive this plunder develop a festering resentment, as they justify this largess as their deserved recompense for the structural inequities of society.  The political class plays upon these resentments.  When plunder has been codified long enough, the citizens are reduced in stature from being freemen who elect public servants, to dependents of a political overlords patronage.

Republican Party statists seek to criminalize every vice and Democrats seek to make every virtue a requirement.  These impulses are perverse, for they employ the overwhelming force of the state to crush the free will of the individual.  A man has the right to ruin his health and turn his back on his neighbor.  A man has the right to be ignoble. The state becomes monstrous when it usurps the conscience of a man.  A people, if it is to remain free, must refrain from the base impulse of using the law to right past wrongs or use the law for social engineering; the result is always a spiral of violence, poverty, and reprisal.  The 20th century is a testament to this folly and the millions of graves are a rebuke to those who would play God, which is the ultimate perversion.

Freedom of speech mortally wounded in the UK, but may survive in Australia

The politicians have finally figured out how to regulate the press in the United Kingdom (Telegraph).

No, that’s not a good thing. The entire political spectrum outside of Parliament (from Toby Young to Dan Hodges) is furious. Hodges is particular about how “it’s already undermining legitimate journalism” – with specific examples of critical British stories that would never have seen the light of day “had the Leveson recommendations been in force” (Leveson is the synecdoche for the press regulation scheme). Keep in mind that Hodges is loudly, cuttingly, and hilariously Labour.

On the plus side, it appears the Down Under assault on the free press has been dealt a crushing blow by three MPs who refuse to back it (Australian and Andrew Bolt). Given the fluid state of the Australian House of Representatives, the opposition of three Independent MPs should be enough to sink the ridiculous attempt of the Australian government to restrict the press.

Then again, the nonsense out of London may give Canberra new momentum.

Cross-posted to the right-wing liberal

Bill Whittle outlines the way forward for conservatives

An excellent and practical video. It’s well worth the hour you’ll spend watching it, and for those of us who have been extremely discouraged by the results of the election, Bill give a gracious-but-firm kick in the butt!

Worst Editorial Board in the Commonwealth strikes again

Paul Akers, the schitzophrenic Editor of the Free-Lance Star, has come out with another biased editorial excretion without any semblance of balance. This one, one the topic of the much-discussed Rappahannock Toll Road.

Some background: for some years, there has been a need for a new Western crossing of the Rappahannock River. As Stafford and Spotsylvania developed Rt 17 and Rt 3, there has been a struggle to adjust to growth in those areas. In response, there have already been several projects to address that- including a botched widening of Rt 3 (with Federal stimulus money). In the 1990s and 2000s, a project called the Outer Connector would have created a short Western passage from I-95 exit 136 or 140 in Stafford, crossing Rt 17 in Stafford, then across the Rappahannock into Rt 3 in growing Western Spotsylvania. That project was nixed by the City of Fredericksburg- who (despite the project not going through the City) owned the shorelines of the river on both sides due to an historical quirk, and had the right to nix the project. Eventually those concerned with the Battlefields (not an irrelevant concern) joined to deep-six it.

So, in response, they came up with a concept of putting two new interchanges between Exit 133 and 130, two new river crossings, and a toll road going from I-95, exiting at Fredericksburg’s Central Park shopping complex, and continuing through the environmentally sensitive areas just south of the River in Spotsylvania, dumping off at Rt 3 near Gordon Road.

Two bridges, two new interchanges in a three-mile span, and a four-mile toll road (this part costing $400 million).

This is where the issue falls apart.

First, the cost of the project would have fallen almost entirely on Spotsylvanians using the toll road- and at $100 million/mile of road, that would have been no insignificant toll they would have paid per trip. The high toll per trip would have diminished the traffic benefit significantly.

Second, the brunt of eminient domain theft would have fallen disproportionately on Spotsylvanians, the road would have crossed the property of hundreds of people in a part of the county near the River and a reservoir that would have been environmentally sensitive, to say the least (not to mention tourism lost, etc). Spotsy would have been the only entity to have had to make significant residential eminent domain thefts, incurring the cost and time to do so.

Third, the only exits would have been into Fredericksburg’s Central Park and ending up onto Spotsylvania’s Gordon Road. That means that significant traffic and sales tax revenue would have been diverted away from Spotsy businesses on Rt 3 and toward the City’s Central Park (no wonder the City suddenly “forgot” their environmental concerns for this project, huh?).

Fourth, VDOT estimates that the road would have saved the average Spotsylvanian only 7 minutes to reach Gordon Road. That’s a lot of money for 7 minutes.

Fifth, if not enough money were collected from tolls, the balance would have come from- you guessed it- General Funds.

Akers makes a bunch of condescending and inaccurate assertions in his piece as well. He implies the Supervisors who voted against this only listen to NIMBYs and the Spotsy GOP. Problem is, the Spotsy GOP took no position on the Toll Road last year, at all. The new Supervisors, however, knocked on literally thousands of doors to talk to tens of thousands of voters. One wonders how many people Paul Akers talked to about this topic. Also, he neglects to mention that the vote against the Toll Road was 5-2 (Supervisor Emmitt Marshall voted against it as well, and he is no one’s conservative).

Interestingly, Akers does not take the Fredericksburg City Council to task for its environmental concerns killing a project that would have relieved these issues years ago. As usual, he lays the blame for all the region’s problems at the feet of Spotsy- specifically, Spotsylvania conservatives.  The new supervisors actually wrote an op-ed explaining their position and outlining other options they would like to pursue. Akers chose to sit on that op-ed instead of printing it; instead, he took an out-of-context quote from one of the new Supervisors to make it look like he was some kind of uninformed rube. Finally, he implies that the current supervisors had opposed the 2003 Outer Connector; none of them said a peep about it then. That part was an outright misrepresentation by Akers.

Bottom line, a paper is supposed to be democracy’s forum for truth and opinion (separate sections, of course). The FLS under Akers is neither. He needs to be replaced by someone competent to tell the truth and confident enough allow for diversity of opinion.

How conservatives view today’s political debates, Part I

Fmr. Florida Gov. Jeb Bush hit the ball out of the park with this op-ed piece in the WSJ today.

There are so many good points, it’s hard to know where to begin.

As always, I would begin with the Constitution: Engrained in it is the “pursuit of happiness”, listed as one of the unalienable rights. I would define this pursuit as “Economic Freedom”, and argue that it is as important to our Republic as Freedom of Speech, Right to Bear Arms, Freedom of Press, etc.

Why?

We have to make it easier for people to do the things that allow them to rise. We have to let them compete. We need to let people fight for business. We need to let people take risks. We need to let people fail. We need to let people suffer the consequences of bad decisions. And we need to let people enjoy the fruits of good decisions, even good luck.

That is what economic freedom looks like. Freedom to succeed as well as to fail, freedom to do something or nothing. People understand this. Freedom of speech, for example, means that we put up with a lot of verbal and visual garbage in order to make sure that individuals have the right to say what needs to be said, even when it is inconvenient or unpopular. We forgive the sacrifices of free speech because we value its blessings.

Yes, exactly Governor- We forgive people who say dumb things in the name of freedom of speech for everyone. Why don’t we forgive those who have the cajones to take a risk and fail?

This is precisely what is wrong (and, I would argue, fundamentally un-American) about the current Administration and its allies in Congress. They think it’s their duty to ensure outcomes- essentially, to outlaw risk. That is certainly been the underlying premise behind most of their legislation and regulations- from the Stimulus to Dodd-Frank to the EPA.

And what kind of leaders do we really need?

Increasingly, we have let our elected officials abridge our own economic freedoms through the annual passage of thousands of laws and their associated regulations. We see human tragedy and we demand a regulation to prevent it. We see a criminal fraud and we demand more laws. We see an industry dying and we demand it be saved. Each time, we demand “Do something . . . anything.”

As Florida’s governor for eight years, I was asked to “do something” almost every day. Many times I resisted through vetoes but many times I succumbed. And I wasn’t alone. Mayors, county chairs, governors and presidents never think their laws will harm the free market. But cumulatively, they do, and we have now imperiled the right to rise.
Precisely. Too many politicians take a knee-jerk reaction thinking it’s their job to fix every problem. It’s not. The foundation of our country was people fixing their own problems.
 
So, what is our choice in 2012?

In short, we must choose between the straight line promised by the statists and the jagged line of economic freedom. The straight line of gradual and controlled growth is what the statists promise but can never deliver. The jagged line offers no guarantees but has a powerful record of delivering the most prosperity and the most opportunity to the most people. We cannot possibly know in advance what freedom promises for 312 million individuals. But unless we are willing to explore the jagged line of freedom, we will be stuck with the straight line. And the straight line, it turns out, is a flat line.

Yes, this. 2012 is almost here. Game on.

Worst Editorial Board in the Commonwealth slimes again

Seriously, every member of the Free Slant Star Editorial Board should be replaced, immediately.

One of their most obnoxious members, Richard Amhrine, put forward one of the worst examples of childish screed I’ve ever seen in a (what used to be) respectable paper. For those just joining, allow me to refresh some of the FLS Editorial Board’s greatest hits:

2009: Republicans are “abortionists”

2009: Republicans are “Neanderthals”

2011: Republicans are “government-hating nutzies” (and I’m pretty sure they would have called us Nazis if they could have gotten away with it)

2011: Takes Sen. Edd Houck to task for his abominable false ads claiming Bryce Reeves wants to “Send jobs to China”. Finishes by “trusting him to do the right thing”, which he never does, using the ads until the end of the campaign. They endorse him as well, despite this.

2011: Endorsed liberal Hap Connors for the “Chancellorville” district of Spotsylvania…. which does not exist.

2011: Amhrine’s screed, which scarcely pulls together every liberal talking point or stereotype about Republicans into one badly written roll of personal insults and one-sided lies.

No Republican should seek or accept these clowns’ endorsement until every member of their editorial board is replaced. They are a disgrace to their profession- a profession that almost no one holds in high regard these days in the first place. An outfit like this explains why.

The Worst Editorial Board in Virginia Strikes Again

The good folks at the Free Lance Star editorial board have struck again today, allowing 5- count ‘em, 5- leftist letters to the editor to appear today, with nary a conservative. As someone who has had his submissions ignored because they “are GOP talking points”, I find the hypocrisy appalling.

One particular truth-challenged submission challenges conservative opposition to the Spotsylvania Urban Development Area proposal. This proposal went down in flames before the Board of Supervisors (no conservative lot, they) last week- for a host of reasons, and in the face of intense public opposition over more than a month and two separate public hearings. It was a horrible proposal, planting thousands more rooftops in the county while rezoning industrial land to residential all over the place. So basically, it was great if you thought there were not enough rooftops and too many jobs in the county. Turns out, building thousands of high-density Arlington-style condos 60 miles from the nearest place any of these people would have to work is not such a good idea after all.

Problem is, the local leftist front group, the Committee of 500, backed it to the hilt. If it were not an election year, it might have slipped through. But the writer of the submission (part of that condescending leftist front group supported by the FLS Editorial staff) claims the plan was “reasonable and in need of a few tweaks”. Yeah, like Obama’s fiscal policy.

One other egregious LTE attacks Eric Cantor for having the audacity  to demand that the Federal Government live within its means and not raise taxes on employers during a recession. This LTE reminds me of the time-tested adage: Democrats love employment but hate employers. They will recklessly bash any company that brashly dares to turn a profit in the Obama economy (no small feat, mind you) while resisting cuts to Federal programs the same way my 2 year old resists taking a bath. Problem with both is, if you don’t force the issue, something stinks. And kudos for Congressman Cantor for forcing the issue with this President.

Justice Thomas On The Citizens United v. FEC Case

Justice Clarence Thomas has expressed his thoughts on the recent 5-4 ruling in the Citizens United v. FEC case that found corporations have a First Amendment right to free speech in the political realm, at least as far as making unlimited independent expenditures in favor or opposition to specific candidates.

First up is this nice tweak:

“I found it fascinating that the people who were editorializing against it were The New York Times Company and The Washington Post Company,” Justice Thomas said. “These are corporations.”

The part of the McCain-Feingold law struck down in Citizens United contained an exemption for news reports, commentaries and editorials. But Justice Thomas said that reflected a legislative choice rather than a constitutional principle.

Touché!

Then he goes back in history to examine the impetus behind banning corporation contributions and it isn’t necessarily the “good government” bill of goods that the public has been sold on.

He added that the history of Congressional regulation of corporate involvement in politics had a dark side, pointing to the Tillman Act, which banned corporate contributions to federal candidates in 1907.

“Go back and read why Tillman introduced that legislation,” Justice Thomas said, referring to Senator Benjamin Tillman. “Tillman was from South Carolina, and as I hear the story he was concerned that the corporations, Republican corporations, were favorable toward blacks and he felt that there was a need to regulate them.”

It is thus a mistake, the justice said, to applaud the regulation of corporate speech as “some sort of beatific action.”

So, there you have it. Those who oppose corporate political speech are on the same side as early 20th Century racists.

“That was a step too far.”

The AP’s story on Justice Alito’s silent refuting of President Obama describes Obama’s statement with “That was a step too far.”

Here is the article.

With the AP is criticizing President Obama in a news story, even in a round about way, he’s lost much of his grip on the press.

Justice Alito is right. It does not apply to foreign corporations and it does not overturn a century old precedent.

President Obama, the former law professor who has a staff to write and verify speeches, should not have made this error.

“Least Famous Black Hate-Crime Victim In America”

Who is Kenneth Gladney?  Well, Mark Steyn at National Review says Mr. Gladney may very well be the “Least Famous Black Hate-Crime Victim In America.”

You see, Mr. Gladney is an African American who was beaten by members of the Service Employees International Union while they called him racial epithets.  Why did they beat him?

Because he dared show his opposition to Obamacare at Rep. Russ Carnahan’s town hall meeting in St. Louis, Mo.

Here is the statement of Mr. Gladney’s attorney:

Kenneth was attacked on the evening of August 6, 2009 at Rep. Russ Carnahan’s town hall meeting in South St. Louis County. I was at the town hall meeting as well and witnessed the events leading up to the attack of Kenneth. Kenneth was approached by an SEIU representative as Kenneth was handing out “Don’t Tread on Me” flags to other conservatives. The SEIU representative demanded to know why a black man was handing out these flags. The SEIU member used a racial slur against Kenneth, then punched him in the face. Kenneth fell to the ground. Another SEIU member yelled racial epithets at Kenneth as he kicked him in the head and back. Kenneth was also brutally attacked by one other male SEIU member and an unidentified woman. The three men were clearly SEIU members, as they were wearing T-shirts with the SEIU logo.

Kenneth was beaten badly. One assailant fled on foot; three others were arrested. Kenneth was admitted to St. John’s Mercy Medical Center emergency room, where he was treated for his numerous injuries. Kenneth was merely expressing his freedom of speech by handing out the flags. In fact, he merely asked people as they exited the town hall meeting whether they would like a flag. He in no way provoked any argument or altercation, as evidenced by the fact that three assailants were arrested.

Welcome to Obama’s America…

Has Anyone Reported Virtucon To Obama’s Ideological Purity Czar Yet?

The big news yesterday out of the White House was their call for Americans to snitch on their family, friends and neighbors if they were badmouthing Obamacare, even if it was just in “casual conversation.”  (By the way, 1940s Germany called and said it wanted its idea for this back.)

Well, today U.S. Sen John Cornyn (R-Tex.) wrote the White House to take a stand against this program.

“I am not aware of any precedent for a President asking American citizens to report their fellow citizens to the White House for pure political speech that is deemed ‘fishy’ or otherwise inimical to the White House’s political interests,” Cornyn writes

“I can only imagine the level of justifiable outrage had your predecessor asked Americans to forward emails critical of his policies to the White House. I suspect that you would have been leading the charge in condemning such a program — and I would have been at your side denouncing such heavy-handed government action.”

. . .

Cornyn specifically asks whether those who quote the president’s past statements — such as his 2003 statement that he was a “proponent” of single-payer care — qualifies as “disinformation.” He also asks what actions the White House would take against those engaging in “fishy” speech.

Just one more thing that Bush would have been raked over the coals for doing had he done this.  One need look no further than the Left’s outrage over domestic spying plans intended to capture terrorists before they could strike on U.S. soil.  That is a far cry from having American citizens report on other American citizens that they fail an ideological purity test and are free thinkers.

So, if you would like to report Virginia Virtucon to The Teleprompted One’s Ideological Purity Czar so that we may be sent off to be re-educated, you may contact them at flag@whitehouse.gov.

Biggest S. Ct. Ruling Is The One They DIDN’T Issue

While many may focus on today’s S. Ct. ruling overturning Judge Sonia Sotomayor’s lower court ruling on race-based job promotions, the real big news comes from the ruling that the court DIDN’T issue — Citizens United v. FEC.

This case is now set for a special hearing in September and could potentially knock down the abomination known as McCain-Feingold.

The justices said they want lawyers to address whether the court should overturn its earlier rulings on limiting corporate and union contributions in federal elections.

This is HUGE.  All McCain-Feingold did was give rise to unaccountable 527 organizations.  That bad law should be put out of its misery as quickly as possible.

Obama Admin. Targets Private Citizen’s First Amendment Rights

Today it is Rush Limbaugh.  Tomorrow it could be you or me.

By February, [James] Carville and [Paul] Begala were pounding on Limbaugh frequently in their appearances on CNN.

Neither Democrat would say so, but a third source said the two also began pushing the idea of targeting Limbaugh in their daily phone conversations with [White House Chief of Staff Rahn] Emanuel.

Conversations and email exchanges began taking place in and out of the White House not only between the old pals from the Clinton era but also including White House senior adviser David Axelrod, Deputy Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer, Press Secretary Robert Gibbs and Woodhouse.

. . .

A senior White House aide has been tasked with helping to guide the Limbaugh strategy.

Outside, Americans United for Choice, a liberal group, and the Democratic National Committee are driving the message, in close consultation with the White House.

And Limbaugh isn’t the only private citizen being attacked by their government.  WH flunky Robert Gibbs has previously gone after CNBC’s Rick Santelli and Jim Cramer as well.

Whether or not you are a public figure like Limbaugh and Santelli, we are all private citizens, not candidates or elected officials.  Anyone truly concerned about civil liberties (and not simply when they are convenient to support from a Democrat-ick political hack perspective) should find these attacks on free speech to be chilling.

Finally, are you as shocked as I am that Gov. Timmy!’s DNC is involved in this sort of abuse of power?  How long until we find out that The Teleprompted One is keeping an enemies list?

“When you can’t ask a question to your leaders anymore, that gets scary”

On the personal scrutiny that Joe the Plumber has received from the media since he asked Barry Obama a substantive question about his tax policy:

I asked a question. When you can’t ask a question to your leaders anymore, that gets scary. That bothers me.

Just wait until the Fairness Doctrine is reinstituted and even more free speech goes out the window.