Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Two more threats against our freedom.

This story, if true, is quite disturbing, to say the least...

Air Marshals: Innocent People Placed On 'Watch List' To Meet Quota


DENVER -- You could be on a secret government database or watch list for simply taking a picture on an airplane. Some federal air marshals say they're reporting your actions to meet a quota, even though some top officials deny it.

The air marshals, whose identities are being concealed, told 7NEWS that they're required to submit at least one report a month. If they don't, there's no raise, no bonus, no awards and no special assignments.

"Innocent passengers are being entered into an international intelligence database as suspicious persons, acting in a suspicious manner on an aircraft ... and they did nothing wrong," said one federal air marshal.

The Link:


Our Electoral College under widespread attack...


(07-24) 04:00 PDT Sacramento -- A Stanford University computer science professor has come up with an idea to circumvent the more than 200-year-old Electoral College system and institute a national popular vote to elect the president of the United States.

The proposal by John Koza, who also invented the scratch-off lottery ticket, is receiving serious consideration by lawmakers in several states. Legislators in California, New York, Colorado, Illinois and Missouri have sponsored bills to enact such a plan.

Koza's scheme calls for an interstate compact that would require states to throw all of their electoral votes behind the winner of the national popular vote, regardless of which candidate wins in each state. The plan doesn't require all 50 states to join, but a combination of states that represent a majority (at least 270) of the electoral votes. If the largest states join in the agreement, only 11 would be needed. [Holy S**T! [Ed.]

Proponents say Koza's proposal is ingenious because it would avoid the immensely difficult task of trying to get rid of the Electoral College system by amending the U.S. Constitution.

Koza, who co-wrote a 620-page book detailing why it's time to change the system and how his plan would work, said his goal for this year was to let his ideas germinate with hopes of catching the attention of some state lawmakers. But the proposal caught on faster than expected.

Read the whole thing:


Saturday, July 22, 2006

A Convenient Lie?

John Stossel hammers Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth at Real Clear Politics


When he was in college, atmospheric-science professor John Christy was told, "it was a certainty that by the year 2000, the world would be starving and out of energy."

That prediction has gone the way of so many others. But environmentalists continue to warn us that we face environmental disaster if we don't accept the economic disaster called the Kyoto treaty. Lawyers from the Natural Resources Defense Council (another environmental group with more lawyers than scientists) explain: "Sea levels will rise, flooding coastal areas." And Al Gore's new movie, "An Inconvenient Truth," depicts a future in which cities are submerged by rising sea levels.


But many scientists laugh at the panic.

Christy says, "Doomsday prophecies grabbed headlines but have proven to be completely false. Similar pronouncements today about catastrophes due to human-induced climate change sound all too familiar."

But the media can't get enough of doomsday.

Here's the linkup:


Thursday, July 20, 2006


Today is my Birthday!!!

Happy Birthday to Me! HEH.

I Thought Conservatives Detested Suicide?

Then why pursue these suicidal policies against our enemies?

From ARI:

The U.S.-Israeli Suicide Pact

By Elan Journo

The Iran-Hamas-Hezbollah axis is fully responsible for initiating the war on Israel, but the Islamists' aggression is the logical product of U.S.-Israeli policy. The longstanding commitment of Israel and America to "diplomatic engagement" with Palestinians and Islamists--a euphemism for appeasement--is suicidal.

For decades America has urged Israel to placate and surrender to our common enemy. The U.S.-endorsed "Road Map to Peace," like the "Peace Process" and sundry initiatives before it, rationalized Palestinian terrorism as the result of a legitimate grievance. If only the Palestinians' wish for a civilized, peaceful state were fulfilled--Washington deluded itself into believing--terrorism would end. And fulfilling this wish requires not smashing their terrorist infrastructure, but showering them with land and loot.

But the majority of Palestinians actually seek the destruction of Israel, and the slaughter of its people. Because they embrace this vicious goal, hordes of Palestinians idolized arch terrorist Yasser Arafat for waging a terrorist war to wipe out Israel and establish a nationalist dictatorship. They abetted Arafat's terrorism and celebrated his atrocities. They served as cheerleaders or recruits for terrorist groups--and when they had the chance, they embraced the even more militant religious zealots of Hamas. It is no surprise that, according to a recent poll, 77 percent of Palestinians support their government's kidnapping of an Israeli soldier and that 60 percent support the continued rocket fire from Gaza into Israel.

But even as Palestinians mounted more attacks, Washington pressed Israel for more concessions--and bolstered the terrorist-sponsoring Palestinian Authority with millions of dollars in aid. The U.S. forbade Israel from laying a finger on Arafat, and extended this tender solicitude to Hamas leaders. Washington actually whitewashed the blood-stained Arafat and his crony Abbas as peace-loving statesmen and invited them to the White House. And when Hezbollah now fires rockets at major cities in northern Israel, President Bush demands that Israel show "restraint."

Depressingly, Israel has continually relented to American pressure to appease our common enemy. It has prostrated itself before the Palestinians, with flamboyantly self-sacrificial offers of land-for-peace; it has withdrawn from southern Lebanon, ceding ground necessary to its self-defense; it has withdrawn from Gaza, leaving its southern cities at the mercy of rocket fire from the Hamas-run territory.

Such U.S.-endorsed appeasement by Israel, across decades, has enabled Hezbollah and Hamas to mount their current attacks. Yet America remains undeterred in its commitment to appeasement.

The U.S. is now trying to woo Iran with endless offers of economic "incentives," if only Iran promises to stop chasing nuclear weapons. Evading Iran's lust to "wipe Israel off the map," evading its funding of Hezbollah and Hamas, evading its avowed enmity to America, evading its decades of fomenting and orchestrating a proxy terror war against American civilians--evading all of this, Washington deludes itself into believing that paying Iran off will, somehow, wipe out its hostility.

Inevitably, this encourages Iran to continue its aggressive support for terrorists and its fervent quest for nuclear weapons. Merely by prolonging the negotiations endlessly, Iran gains time to acquire a weapon to wield against its neighbors, to provide to Hamas and Hezbollah or to other proxies to use against the United States. And were Iran eventually to accept some deal, American aid would merely be sustaining Iran's regime--and, inexorably, a covert nuclear program.

We are teaching the Islamic totalitarians in Gaza, Lebanon and Iran that their goal of destroying us is legitimate; that aggression is practical; that the more aggressive they are, the more we will surrender. U.S.-Israeli policy has demonstrated that we lack the intellectual self-confidence to name, let alone condemn, our enemies--and that we lack the will to deal with threats mercilessly. It vindicates the Islamists' premise that their religious worldview can bring a scientific, technologically advanced West to its knees.

To protect the lives of our citizens, America and Israel must stop evading the nature of the enemy's cause: our complete destruction. We must stop appeasing our common enemy--and embrace self-defense as a matter of intransigent principle. To put an end to the current rocket attacks from Lebanon and Gaza, America should urge Israel to annihilate the annihilators: Hamas and Hezbollah. And to thwart Iran's nuclear ambition, America must use as much military force as is necessary to dispose of that catastrophic threat and the regime responsible for it.

Elan Journo is a junior fellow at the Ayn Rand Institute (http://www.aynrand.org/) in Irvine, Calif. The Institute promotes Objectivism, the philosophy of Ayn Rand--author of "Atlas Shrugged" and "The Fountainhead." Contact the writer at media@aynrand.org.

Copyright © 2006 Ayn Rand® Institute. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

There is No Need for Endless Global Conflict

From ARI---

Dear Editor:

Islamic totalitarians have explicitly stated their goal: to
forcibly impose Islamic law around the world. To succeed, they will
continue to attack those parts of the world that oppose
their "divine mission." The United States, Israel, Canada,
England, India, and any other country that places the least bit of
value on freedom and progress, will continue to be targets.

The freer nations need to recognize the real nature of this
enemy: an ideology that demands complete submission to Allah,
either voluntarily or at the point of a knife. Do you wait for the
knife to slit your throat or do you fight back and defend yourself?

The combined military strength of the freer countries is more than
enough to eliminate decisively and definitively the assorted
collection of murderous terrorists and the governments that support
them financially or ideologically. There is no need for an
endless global conflict. What there is a need for is a
recognition that those of us living in freer countries have the right
to take any necessary actions to defend ourselves--and that our
lives are at stake.

Debi Ghate
Vice President, Academic Programs

Copyright (c) 2006 Ayn Rand(R) Institute. All rights reserved.

To which I, personally, add, why hasn't Israel used nuclear weapons against Damascus, Tehran, and hell, ALL of Lebanon? The reason? The corrupt immoral morality of altruism.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Short Notes

This I found somewhere on the net. The runner-up to the annual Bad Writing contest. Hilarious!!

"I know what you're thinking, punk," hissed Wordy Harry to his new editor, "you're thinking, 'Did he use six superfluous adjectives or only five?' - and to tell the truth, I forgot myself in all this excitement; but being as this is English, the most powerful language in the world, whose subtle nuances will blow your head clean off, you've got to ask yourself one question: 'Do I feel loquacious?' - well do you, punk?"

I'll do more research to credit the actual author of the above, and the site/blog where I found it.

[1:46pm] Found it. The "blog" is philosophicaldetective.com. The writer, and runner-up, is, Stuart Vasepuru Edinburgh, Scotland

2nd Note:

Serious pet peeve of mine...

The abuse of language, philosophy, morality and politics in equating/calling dictatorships "sovereign nations". If this is not a moral obsenity, I don't know what is.

Democracy as applied to everything, or, Using the Net to destroy the Net.

This editorial sums up my position, exactly.
Thank you, Alex.

Net Neutrality vs. Internet Freedom
by Alex Epstein
Posted by ARI Media at 2:27 PM

America's leading Internet service providers (ISPs) have spent many years and billions upgrading their transcontinental networks, which constitute the backbone of the Internet. Now they are eager to profit by offering new, compelling services. One plan is to give certain websites high priority on their data, so as to guarantee "quality of service"—the speed, frequency, and reliability with which data is delivered. This would enable content providers to offer high-quality live TV and videoconferencing or advanced remote medical monitoring, without the delays and unreliability that plague the Internet today. Unfortunately, data prioritization is fiercely opposed by advocates of "Net Neutrality," who claim paradoxically that freedom and innovation demand that companies not be free to make this innovation.

Net neutrality is the idea that ISPs should not be able to favor some types of data over others; their networks must be "neutral" among all the data they carry. Net-neutrality supporters claim that if ISPs are free to give preferential treatment to certain websites' data, they might drastically slow down un-favored or less-wealthy websites, diminishing their ability to offer content and make innovations. A prominent net-neutrality coalition cautions: "If you are an aspiring entrepreneur, you may be impeded from providing the 'next big thing' on the Internet."

But such scenarios are nonsensical. For any of the nation's competing ISPs to offer customers slow, patchy, let alone nonexistent access to the websites they seek to visit, would be commercial suicide. As for innovation, websites are free to continue using standard, non-prioritized Internet service. The fact that this would be slower than premium service does not mean that it would be slow, just as UPS's decision to offer overnight delivery did not lead them to suddenly degrade their Ground shipping. Premium Internet services would enable, not stifle, innovation, by giving websites creative options they did not have before.

The specter of ISPs offering glacial access to certain websites is a smokescreen, designed to obscure the net-neutrality movement's goal: preventing anyone from having superior, unequal access to customers. In the minds of net-neutrality advocates, the Internet is a collectively owned entity, to which all websites have an equal claim and are entitled "equal access." As the title of a leading net-neutrality group proclaims: "It's our Net."

But it isn't.

The Internet is not a collectivist commune; it is a free, voluntary, and private association of individuals and corporations harmoniously pursuing their individual goals. (While it began as a government-funded project, the Internet's ultra-advanced state today is the achievement of private network builders, hardware companies, content providers, and customers.) Because the Internet is based on voluntary association, no one can properly compel others for their ad space, bandwidth, publicity—or data prioritization. Those who create these values have the right to use and profit from them as they see fit. Google has no more right to demand that Verizon be "neutral" with its network than Verizon has a right to demand that Google be "neutral" with its coveted advertising space.

The only thing equal about the participants on the Internet is that all have equal freedom to deal with others voluntarily. This means they are equally free to compete for the bandwidth, dollars, and talents of others—but not entitled to an unearned, equal portion of them.

It is the freedom of participants on the Internet to offer and profit from whatever products, services, or content they choose that has made it such a phenomenal source of content and innovation. Net neutrality would deny ISPs that freedom. It would deny their right to engage in creative, innovative, and profitable activity with those networks—in the name of those who demand their bandwidth, but are unable or unwilling to earn it in a free market.

The widespread support for net neutrality among successful Internet companies—including Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, eBay, and Amazon—is short-sighted and contemptible. These companies, which have benefited greatly from the unimpeded freedom of the Internet, are now trying to deny the same freedom to innovative ISPs and ambitious competitors under the egalitarian banner of "equal access." This is an invitation for any clever moocher to demand "equal access" to their hard-earned resources; indeed, Google is already being sued because its proprietary search engine allegedly gives "unfair" rankings to certain companies.

The Internet is one of the great bastions of freedom and innovation in our civilization. Let us keep it that way by rejecting "net neutrality."

Alex Epstein is a junior fellow at the Ayn Rand Institute in Irvine, CA. The Institute promotes Objectivism, the philosophy of Ayn Rand—author of "Atlas Shrugged" and "The Fountainhead."

Copyright © 2006 Ayn Rand® Institute. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Another Salem?

Here in the States, we're hearing more and more about how Christians are the persecuted minority "the world over". [But especially in America]. This message is being broadcast by an extremely well-funded PR machine, no doubt. Perhaps that machine is in use to cover-up stories like this one from Oklahoma, where we see just who is persecuting who--if it can be believed. I, personally, have no doubts about it.

Here are some excerpts:

Just Another Salem: Christian Persecution of Atheists in the American Heartland

Not long ago I wrote about the experiences of Charles Smalkowski and his family in Oklahoma. Falsely charged with assault, Smalkowski was offered the chance to leave the state and not file suit against the school district because of their official Christian prayers and persecution of his daughter. He resisted, the charges were increased to a felony, and his family suffered. In the end, he won.

Here's Mr. Smalkowski himself, writing in American Atheist...
"The loving Christians brought their children to hear the verdict. They brought the town. They brought ministers. I even saw another Judge in the back of the room. The Judge who in an earlier hearing while slapping an inch thick stack of papers on his bench saying with a list of witnesses this big you had better be a good boy. It was lies then, it was lies now and the DA knew it! (She was later forced to hand over a written statement she denied for over a year existed!) People prayed openly for a conviction."

So many people attended... but for some reason, neither the so-called victim of Smalkowki's alleged assault nor the assistant district attorney bothered to show up. Why? Perhaps they had a good idea that the case wasn't going to go there way.

Here's the links. Go. Now.


Here's the American Atheist link:


SecFox note: I don't necessarily support the American Atheist organization. They are merely against God. Against theism. Which leaves wide open what the do believe in, usually a 'secular' or 'liberal' version of mysticism/religion, such as Humanism or Unitarianism. I reject both of these as variants of the same bankrupt altruist coin.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Reparations for slavery going "Mainstream" into Culture

This article points out that although quiet for a while, the reparations for slavery movement is gaining traction again in America.[Perhaps its gaining only in the American Left and is not in the mainstream yet. Ed]


Advocates who say black Americans should be compensated for slavery and its Jim Crow aftermath are quietly chalking up victories and gaining momentum.

Fueled by the work of scholars and lawyers, their campaign has morphed in recent years from a fringe-group rallying cry into sophisticated, mainstream movement. Most recently, a pair of churches apologized for their part in the slave trade, and one is studying ways to repay black church members.

"This matter is growing in significance rather than declining," said Charles Ogletree, a Harvard law professor and a leading reparations activist. "It has more vigor and vitality in the 21st century than it's had in the history of the reparations movement."

Here's the link for the rest of the story, with apologies to Paul Harvey.


What is worrisome to me, is that "conservatives" have no fundamental opposition to this idea and will put up a bravely brief front, but succumb to it due to their own altruistic faults, namely that "we are our brothers keeper".

The Ayn Rand Institute provides some needed intellectual ammunition against the above here: [Copy and paste the whole link].


Saturday, July 08, 2006

Spiritual Fuel

Got back from the free event at the Objectivist Conference in Boston shortly after 1am this morning. Inspiring is all I can say. The event was a panel discussion on the state of Objectivism in academia and prospects for future growth. I can say that things are looking good and are getting better each academic year. Yes, there's still opposition, but it is waning. Dr. Brook also publicly paid tribute to four graduates of the OAC [Objectivist Academic Center] that have been accepted into major university graduate programs in philosophy. All in all, this was an inspirational talk and did provide spiritual fuel to those in attendance.

After that event, the Anthem Foundation held a party celebrating its fifth birthday. Here I got to meet Tara Smith, Debi Ghate, John Lewis [whom I had met previously, a few years ago, and who remembered me from that visit][!]. C. Brad Thompson of Clemson, Rob Tarr of the Thrutch blog, Paul and Diana Hsieh of Noodle Food fame. Betsy Speicher and I renewed our acquaintance from years ago. There were other heavyweights there, but I didn't get the chance to thank them and speak to them. Darn it!

Note to ARI's conference co-ordinator---have more conferences on the east coast!!!

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Two recent stories show that Faith and Force are Corollaries

In Delaware, Christian/religious school board flexes its muscle--against Jewish student(s)...


Although no force is exhibited in this article, a Slate writer offers tribute to the faith of Democratic Senator Barack Obama, whom I predict will be the unanimous choice for Vice-President on the Democratic ticket in 2008. [You heard it here first].


Revisions done 7/8/06

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

America, 'Tis of thee I sing!

Various quotes from two of my favorite people:

"Since the golden age of Greece, there has been only one era of reason in twenty-three centuries of Western philosophy. During the final decades of that era, the United States of America was created as an independent nation. This is the key to the country--to its nature, its development, and its uniqueness: the United States is the nation of the Enlightenment.

Leonard Peikoff, from his book, 'The Ominous Parallels'

"The basic premise of the Founding Fathers was man's right to his own life, to his own liberty, to the pursuit of his own happiness--which means: man's right to exist for his own sake, neither sacrificing himself to others nor sacrificing others to himself; and that the political implementation of this right is a society where men deal with one another as traders, by voluntary exchange to mutual benefit."

Ayn Rand, 'For the New Intellectual'

"The difference between an exchange of ideas and an exchange of blows is self-evident. The line of demarcation between freedom of speech and freedom of action is established by the ban on the initiation of physical force."

Ayn Rand 'Capitalism:The Unknown Ideal'

"Every argument for God and every attribute ascribed to Him rests on a false metaphysical premise. None can survive for a moment on a correct metaphysics.
For instance, God is infinite. Nothing can be infinite, according to the Law of Identity. Everything is what it is, and nothing else. It is limited in its qualities and in its quantity: it is This much and no more. "Infinite" as applied to quantity does not mean "very large": it means "larger than any specific quantity." That means: no specific quantity--i.e., a quantity without identity. This is prohibited by the Law of Identity.
Is God the creator of the universe? There can be no creation of something out of nothing. There is no nothing.
Is God omnipotent? Can he do anything? Entities can act only in accordance with their natures; nothing can make them violate their natures...
"God" as traditionally defined is a systematic contradiction of every valid metaphysical principle. The point is wider than just the Judeo-Christian concept of God. No argument will get you from this world to a supernatural world. No reason will lead you to a world contradicting this one. No method of inference will enable you to leap from existence to a "super-existence."

Leonard Peikoff 'The Philosophy of Objectivism" lecture series.

"Mankind is not an entity, an organism, or a coral bush. The entity involved in production and trade is Man. It is with the study of man--not of the loose aggregate known as "community"--that any science of the humanities has to begin...
A great deal may be learned about society by studying man; but this process cannot be reversed: nothing can be learned about man by studying society-by studying the inter-relationships of entities one has never identified or defined."

Ayn Rand 'What is Capitalism?'

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Book'em Dan-o

July's reading selections:

Fiction: A Death in Vienna by Daniel Silva

Non-F: The Computer Privacy Handbook by Andre' Bacard

"Death" is Silva's fourth installment in the Gabriel Allon espionage series. Overall the series is an excellent read if you like spies and treachery.

Bacard's book is about PGP [Pretty Good Privacy] encryption and a few other things concerning privacy in the information age. Poorly written, you have to sift through fits of the authors paranoia to get to the good stuff.

Slightly revised 7/8/06

Superman Revisited

I went to see the new Superman movie yesterday and I want my money back. The one glaring fact about this new version of Superman is the obvious hatred of dogs by the scriptwriters.

I've no trouble with Routh, who plays Superman. He did his best with a bad script. A script that leans heavily on the mystical/religious side of things.

James Marsden stands out [but not too far], in an otherwise dreadful selection of cast members, who show their complete lack of acting abilities in every scene. Parker Posey, whom I loathe on principle, plays her usual role of the slut. Kevin Spacey is unconvincing as arch-nemesis Lex Luthor. Spacey is an actor so overrated I'm sure he laughs all the way to the bank, and back home again. I cannot think of a single role of his where he deserves even the slightest praise.

A telling moment in the movie is when we hear that astronomers have discovered remnants of Superman's home planet [or, where it might have been], and he leaves the world to travel there to see for himself. Apparently this was way too selfish on his part and why Lois Lane is pissed, confused and pathetic. In Metropolis, as well as in real-life, any thought of self is hailed as all-encomassing evil.

This movie deserves no more than a D+ or C-.

Don't take my word for it, see for yourself.

[Slightly revised 7/8/06]