Category Archives: Political

Warner to be Executed

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Filed under Bitcoin, Fiction, Political

(CNN) -- On Friday December 19th, 2081, the Mesa Blockchain confirmed its first execution order, issued by judge Ethan Curlond naming convicted murderer Bernie S. Warner as the condemned.  This has been the first known actionable execution order ever recorded by any blockchain.

Warner has been tried and convicted under rules pursuant to The Blockchain of Ethos Judicial Consortium.  The execution block, which is required to contain only one transaction, pay no transaction fee, and be cryptographically padded to double the length of a regular block, was initially verified by Metascape Mining, Ltd.  MesaCoin still yields 476 µMSC as a mining reward and Metascape directed the reward to an address of the victim's families.

The blockchain rules also require a minimum of 23 additional (unrewarded) confirmations for these types of blocks.  Confirmation is still pending at the time of this article, but it is expected to become fully confirmed within 48 hours of the first confirmation.  No fork conditions were predicted prior to or during the entire confirmation.

At least three confirmed, separate appeal motions have already been seen in the blockchain, as well as one motion for mistrial.  During the conviction phase in this case, as well as in other types of cases, these kinds of motions are typically ignored because no other venue has been defined for them as of yet.  The motions relating to the execution order are also expected to be similarly ignored.

Ignored motions are common in blockchain jurisprudence when no other judicial consortiums have been established to challenge the deciding consortium.  It is up to the consortiums to accept motions that challenge decisions by other consortiums.  By ignoring a motion, all consortiums are functionally in agreement with the deciding consortium, which means the decision is currently being upheld.

Warner was convicted of First Degree murder in 2079 for the killing of his business partner, Bryan Gushgrurn.  Gushgrurn was murdered on January 5th, 2075.

Due to jurisdictional disputes leading up to the actual murder trial, Warner's dual citizenship became the primary focus of preliminary court proceedings.  In 2075, Warner's US Citizenship was revoked by the State Department due to Warner's own Motion of Litmus resubmitted by the Expatriation Envoy of the Mesa Blockchain.  This left Warner with sole Mesa Blockchain citizenship.  The envoy immediately placed Warner in custody and transported him to Beadthall Detention Facility, a private jail in the City of Albuquerque, New Mexico.  The facility has a population of only 22 other inmates.  Warner later posted bail of 20,000 µMSC (approximately $11 million USD).

A Motion of Litmus was a document used around the time of the 2045 rush that stated a particular person with existing citizenship had intent to become a citizen of a blockchain.  Although Warner cryptographically signed the Motion of Litmus, it was not used as evidence in the murder trial because the original document predated the tragic events by decades.

Warner was recorded as a stateless citizen in the Mesa Blockchain during the 2045 MesaCoin rush, two years after the final collapse of the now antiquated BitCoin Blockchain.

Warner had declined dropping the motion even though it was originally submitted in 2045 and not processed by the US State Department when it was received with the roughly 120,000 other motions, a practice common during the rush.  Warner's original motion was marked as "sent" and a transaction marked it as confirmed in the Blockchain, which was enough to satisfy the definition of citizenship in the Mesa Blockchain.  Though his motion was left unanswered, like most of the motions at the time, it became fast-tracked due to the pending murder trial in order to establish jurisdiction by the various consortiums of the Mesa Blockchain.

“[The US State Department] still likes to cherry-pick which of those old motions to answer, even to this day," Mark Bentslend, an advocate of blockchain jurisprudence, commented after the State Department accepted the motion.  He continued, "This practice helps maintain their diminishing legitimacy, even though roughly one in four babies born in the US are recorded only by a blockchain and are effectively stateless."

Warner's situation was unique in that it represented the first complete and verifiable murder proceedings of any person by a blockchain.  This is due to Warner's statelessness and cooperation with the interested consortiums.

After the motion was accepted and Warner successfully expatriated, he made a statement, "I feel like I can only get a fair trial recorded within my blockchain.  I'm still fighting this because I'm innocent, but I have no faith in the old ways.  I never did consent to United States jurisprudence.  It's none of their business.  They don't have an incentive to give me a fair trial.  The consortiums do."

Even after the murder conviction, Warner stated that he still had faith in the appeal process.  "I maintain my innocence and I'll start my own consortium if I have to," Warner said.

Warner made no further public statements after the execution order went into the confirmation phase.

CNN and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Bob the Builder Lives in a Socialist Society

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Filed under Political
Can I over-analyze everything?  Yes I Can!  Just remember that when you read this article.
So Bob the Builder is a children's TV show, depicting Bob as a building "contractor."  I use scare quotes because he doesn't ever formally contract with anyone. The show is broadcast in many countries, but originates from the UK.

One of the things I noticed is completely omitted from the show is the concept of money and economics.  Now, you might say that's fine because it's a children's show, so why complicate it with such ideas?

And you would be correct, except that I'm not talking about the lack of focus on these concepts.  I'm talking about the active and conscious omission of these topics.  Money in specific and economics in general are purposefully removed from the show.

Sure, maybe I'm over-analyzing.  Maybe I see things in a distorted way because of my views.  Not only that, but how does one prove a negative like this?  You can't.  So with that in mind, bare with me.

In "Snowed Under: The Bobblesberg Winter Games," there is a perfect opportunity to depict money or even just a credit card.  Bob checks into a hotel; Spud orders room service and even gets a job.  Yet there's no mention of cost or pay.

In "New To The Crew," the town's folk build all kinds of things out of an old willow tree.  "Reduce, Reuse, Recycle!"  There is no association made between how much time it takes to do all these things and what the town's people could have been doing instead.  In economics, this is known as the "marginal alternative use" of resources.
The labor from the rest of the town is being hindered by the disposal of the old willow tree.  That is the marginal alternative use of this labor. Therefore, it is of utmost importance in this sector to be acquainted with the relevant investors and to manage the transaction process ideally.  That process is completely missing.  But it's not just ignored, it's actively omitted.

There are times when lack of labor is depicted.  But usually it is a result of poor character on the part of Bob's workforce (the machines do not represent automation, they represent labor only).  They are usually messing around and have a lesson to learn in the end.  Labor being misallocated never results in a labor shortage.  If there's a chance of labor shortage, Bob just brings in more machines with no explanation as to how they are acquired.

Bob and his team always evaluate the ability to accomplish the task by Bob asking, "Can we fix it?"  His team always enthusiastically responds with "Yes we can!"  But they never ask "Should we fix it?"  A socialist society would never be able to answer a question "Should we fix it?"
Is it better to have a bonfire with the wood from an old tree or have the whole town build random stuff with it?  Is it time to tear down a stricture or repair it?  They don't ever know the answers for sure.  This is because a socialistic society is blind without prices.

You might say that depicting intricate economic concepts like this is beyond children.  Most children's shows skip money.  On the other hand, Bob talks about intricate environmental and ecological concerns all the time.  They depict civics and regulations.  They even depict endless paperwork.  Wait, what?  So why not at least touch on economic concerns then?  Why this and not that?

Instead, economic ideas are purposefully removed.  The desire to simplify can lead to economic illiteracy, which we have plenty of already.  Granted, the show is meant for a world-wide audience.  To depict prices means showing currency, which might tie the show to a specific geographical locale.  But that's a lousy reason to omit something.

Posted via email from Anthony Martin's Weblog

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US Judge OKs confession extracted by threatening suspect with rape #09CARACAS442

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Filed under Political

Original story reported back in May by Reuters:

http://ca.reuters.com/article/domesticNews/idCATRE63R2DF20100506

Now it's being reported that this a perfectly valid form of:

http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2010/08/15yearold-gitmo-detainee-threatened/

"In one of the first military commissions held under the Obama administration, a US military judge has ruled that confessions obtained by threatening the subject with rape are admissible in court."

There's also a leaked cable that lists rape threats as one of the methods "Cuban Police" use to coerce CMPP applicants of something called a "US Embassy issued YY visa foil."

So this is yet another "do as I say, not as I do" situation.

Posted via email from Anthony Martin's Weblog

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State Dept. Busted on Support of Coup #09TEGUCIGALPA645

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Filed under Economic, History, Political
This one really bugs me for some reason.  It reminds me of the School House Rock spoof video "Pirates and Emperors."

First of all, I think it's interesting that Wikileaks is being lambasted for releasing these cables.  But I do have a question.  Is there a given cable that should have been kept a secret?  Taken as a whole, it's easy to be critical.  But if you look at them one-at-a-time, specifically which cable do Wikileak's critics claim should not have been released?  If you can find one, I'd be willing to evaluate it.  But all collectivists always love to generalize everything (that's a little dry humor, by the way, I realize I just generalized).  The point is, what is so critical to national security?  Please be specific.

I know it would take quite a while to look at them one-at-a-time.  And sometimes the problem isn't readily apparent on both sides.  So I'll agree that not all of these cables are smoking guns if the critics are willing to admit not all of them as a whole represent a breach of national security.

Taking them each carefully, there are some examples of U.S. "Hegemony" demonstrated in specific cables.  In the political game, you can't be against hegemony if you are nationalistic.  So that's simple, I'm not nationalistic.  Do I like the regimes that the U.S. government is monkeying with?  No, not really.  But not liking a regime doesn't mean I want to topple it using a relativistic approach.

I can be against elected national socialistic regimes without undermining them by using relativistic means.  I guess the democratic process is the best in the world until it isn't.  That seems to be the criteria the U.S. government uses.

U.S. "interests" trump everything, apparently.  Why would we support it?

The article below mentions an Oliver Stone documentary at the end called "South of the Border."  It's a bit dry.  It makes the point over and over that the U.S. foreign policy is being used all over South America.  The cable confirms this notion.  Internally, the U.S. has no issue secretly attempting to topple governments it doesn't like.  And while these South American governments are socialist regimes that are totally wrong, it doesn't mean anyone has to police them and "fix" them, at tax payers expense.

Believe me, I think people like Hugo Chavez and his ilk are a desease of South America masquerading as its own cure.  But U.S. involvement is like recommending cancer as a cure for AIDS.

All the U.S. does is make enemies for itself.  It spreads the IMF and the DEA which actually create more problems than they solve.  And this is the democracy that is so wonderful?  Really?

The Oliver Stone documentary also holds out the hope that the Obama Administration would correct the mistakes of past administrations.  It looks like this specific leaked cable proves nothing of the sort.  No administration is willing to leave its neighbors alone.  Yet supposedly the U.S. is hated for its freedom.  But we all suffer the consequences, giving ammunition for our neighbors hate us.

By July 24, 2009, the U.S. government was totally clear about the basic facts of what took place in Honduras on June 28, 2009. The U.S. embassy in Tegucigalpa sent a cable to Washington with subject: "Open and Shut: The Case of the Honduran Coup," asserting that "there is no doubt" that the events of June 28 "constituted an illegal and unconstitutional coup." The Embassy listed arguments being made by supporters of the coup to claim its legality, and dismissed them thus: "none... has any substantive validity under the Honduran constitution." The Honduran military clearly had no legal authority to remove President Zelaya from office or from Honduras, the Embassy said, and their action -- the Embassy described it as an "abduction" and "kidnapping" -- was clearly unconstitutional.

It is inconceivable that any top U.S. official responsible for U.S. policy in Honduras was not familiar with the contents of the July 24 cable, which summarized the assessment of the U.S. Embassy in Honduras on key facts that were politically disputed by supporters of the coup regime. The cable was addressed to Tom Shannon, then Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs; Harold Koh, the State Department's Legal Adviser; and Dan Restrepo, Senior Director for Western Hemisphere Affairs at the National Security Council. The cable was sent to the White House and to Secretary of State Clinton.

But despite the fact that the U.S. government was crystal clear on what had transpired, the U.S. did not immediately cut off all aid to Honduras except "democracy assistance," as required by U.S. law.

Instead, a month after this cable was sent, the State Department, in its public pronouncements, pretended that the events of June 28 -- in particular, "who did what to whom" and the constitutionality of these actions -- were murky and needed further study by State Department lawyers, despite the fact that the State Department's top lawyer, Harold Koh, knew exactly "who did what to whom" and that these actions were unconstitutional at least one month earlier. The State Department, to justify its delay in carrying out U.S. law, invented a legal distinction between a "coup" and a "military coup," claiming that the State Department's lawyers had to determine whether a "military coup" took place, because only that determination would meet the legal threshold for the aid cutoff.

QUESTION: And so - sorry, just a follow-up. If this is a coup - the State Department considers this a coup, what's the next step? And I mean, there is a legal framework on the U.S. laws dealing with countries that are under coup d'état? I mean, what's holding you guys [back from taking] other measures according [to] the law?

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL ONE: I think what you're referring to, Mr. Davila, is whether or not this is - has been determined to be a military coup. And you're correct that there are provisions in our law that have to be applied if it is determined that this is a military coup. And frankly, our lawyers are looking at that exact question. And when we get the answer to that, you are right, there will be things that - if it is determined that this was a military coup, there will be things that will kick in.

As you know, on the ground, there's a lot of discussion about who did what to whom and what things were constitutional or not, which is why our lawyers are really looking at the event as we understand them in order to come out with the accurate determination.

 

But the July 24 cable shows that this was nonsense. The phrase "military coup" occurs nowhere in the document, a remarkable omission in a cable from the Embassy presenting the Embassy's analysis of the June 28 events, their constitutionality and legality one month after the fact, if that were a crucial distinction in assessing U.S. policy. And indeed, initial press reports on the statements of top U.S. officials in response to the coup made no such distinction, using the descriptions "coup" and "military coup" interchangeably.

Why did the State Department drag its feet, pretending that facts which it knew to be clear-cut were murky? Why didn't the State Department speak publicly after July 24 with the same moral clarity as the July 24 cable from the Embassy in Honduras? Had the State Department shared publicly the Embassy's clear assessment of the June 28 events after July 24, history might have turned out differently, because supporters of the coup in the United States -- including Republican Members of Congress and media talking heads -- continued to dispute basic facts about the coup which the US Embassy in Honduras had reported were not subject to reasonable dispute, and U.S. media reporting on the coup continued to describe these facts as subject to reasonable dispute, long after the Embassy had firmly declared that they were not.

As the Center for Economic and Policy Research noted in an August 2009 report, in the previous 12 months the U.S. had responded to other coups by cutting U.S. aid within days. In these cases -- in Africa -- there was no lengthy deliberation on whether a "coup" was a "military coup."

What was the difference?

A key difference was that Honduras is in Central America, "our backyard," so different rules applied. Top officials in Washington supported the political aims of the coup. They did not nominally support the means of the coup, as far as we know, but they supported its political end: the removal of the ability of President Zelaya and his supporters to pursue a meaningful reform project in Honduras. On the other hand, they were politically constrained not to support the coup openly, since they knew it to be illegal and unconstitutional. Thus, they pursued a "diplomatic compromise," which would "restore constitutional order" while achieving the coup's central political aim: removal of the ability of President Zelaya and his supporters to pursue a meaningful reform project in Honduras. The effect of their efforts at "diplomatic compromise" was to allow the coup to stand, a result that these supporters of the coup's political aims were evidently content with.

Why does this matter now?

First, the constitutional and political crisis in Honduras is ongoing, and the failure of the U.S. to take immediate, decisive action in response to the coup was a significant cause of the ongoing crisis. After nominally opposing the coup, and slowly and fitfully implementing partial sanctions against the coup regime in a way that did not convince the coup regime that the U.S. was serious, the U.S. moved to support elections under the coup regime which were not recognized by the rest of the hemisphere, and today the U.S. is lobbying for the government created by that disputed election to be readmitted to the Organization of American States, in opposition to most of the rest of the hemisphere, despite ongoing, major violations of human rights in Honduras, about which the U.S. is doing essentially nothing.

Second, the relationship of actual U.S. policy -- as opposed to rhetorical pronouncements -- to democracy in the region is very much a live issue from Haiti to Bolivia.

Yesterday there was an election in Haiti. This election was funded by the U.S., despite the fact that major parties were excluded from participation by the government's electoral council, a fact that Republican and Democratic Members of Congress, in addition to NGOs, complained about without result. The Washington Post reports that the election ended with "nearly all the major candidates calling for the results to be tossed out amid 'massive fraud.'": "12 of the 19 candidates on Sunday's ballot appeared together at a raucous afternoon news conference to accuse the government of President Rene Preval of trying to steal the election and install his chosen candidate, Jude Celestin."

Yesterday's election in Haiti had the fingerprints of the U.S. government all over it. It was funded by the U.S. "Security" for the election was purportedly provided by UN troops, paid for by the U.S. And the crucial historical context of the election was the 2004 coup that deposed democratically-elected President Jean Bertrand Aristide, a coup engineered by the U.S. with years of economic destruction clearly intended to topple the elected government.

Last week, Bolivian President Evo Morales called out the U.S. for its recent history of supporting coups in the region.

AP's treatment of President Morales' remarks was instructive:

Morales also alleged U.S. involvement in coup attempts or political upheaval in Venezuela in 2002, Honduras in 2009 and Ecuador in 2010.

"The empire of the United States won," in Honduras, Morales said, a reference to the allegations of former Honduran President Manuel Zelaya that the U.S. was behind his ouster.

"The people of the Americas in Venezuela, Bolivia and Ecuador, we won," Morales continued. "We are three to one with the United States. Let's see what the future brings."

U.S. officials have repeatedly denied involvement in all of those cases and critics of the United States have produced no clear evidence. [my emphasis]

It's certainly true that critics have produced "no clear evidence" of U.S. "involvement" in any of these cases -- if your standard for "clear evidence" of U.S. "involvement" is a US government document that dictated in advance everything that subsequently happened. But this would be like saying that critics have produced "no clear evidence" for the Armenian Genocide because researchers haven't yet found a Turkish Mein Kampf. [Some who dispute that there was an "Armenian Genocide" do actually claim something like this -- "there is no proof of a plan" -- but claims like this are generally not taken seriously by U.S. media -- except when the U.S. government is an author of the crime, and the crime is recent.]

 

In the case of the coup in Venezuela in 2002, we know the following:

- Groups in Venezuela that participated in the coup had been supported financially and politically by the U.S.

- The CIA had advance knowledge of the plans for a coup, and did nothing to warn the Venezuelan government; nor did the US do anything meaningful to try to stop the coup.

- Although the US knew in advance about the plans for a coup, when these events played out, the US tried to claim that there was no coup.

- The US pushed for international recognition of the coup government.

- The International Monetary Fund, which would not take such action without advance approval from the United States, announced its willingness to support the coup government a few hours after the coup took place.

These facts about U.S. government "involvement" in the coup in Venezuela are documented in Oliver Stone's recent movie, South of the Border. This is why it's so important for as many Americans as possible to see this movie: because there are basic facts about the relationship of actual U.S. government policies -- as opposed to rhetoric -- to democracy in Latin America that major U.S. media simply cannot be counted upon to report straight. In order to successfully agitate for meaningful reform of U.S. government policy in Latin America, Americans have to know what the actual policy of the U.S. government has been, something they are unlikely to learn from major U.S. media.

And this is why Just Foreign Policy is urging Americans to organize house parties on December 10 -- Human Rights Day -- to watch South of the Border. You can sign up to host a screening here.

Here is a clip from South of the Border, in which Scott Wilson, formerly foreign editor of the Washington Post, describes the "involvement" of the U.S. in the coup in Venezuela:

And here is a clip from South of the Border in which President Morales talks with Oliver Stone about the role of the media:

Oliver Stone: "Now [Morales] is joining the Hugo ranks, becoming more the 'bad left' in the American media."

President Morales: "The media will always try to criminalize the fight against neoliberalism, colonialism, and imperialism. It's almost normal. The worst enemy I have is the media."

 

South of the Border Clip #2 from Cinema Libre Studio on Vimeo.

 

Follow Robert Naiman on Twitter: www.twitter.com/naiman

 

Posted via email from Anthony Martin's Weblog

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Private Banking and Other Free Market Myths

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Filed under Economic, History, Political

It's time to have an adult conversation about private vs. public.  There is no private banking system, at least not on the large scale.  If we had a private banking system, it would be able to go under.  The ability to fail is one of the main criteria that makes something private.  Safety nets obscure this notion.  It blurs this distinction.  If the safety net is big enough and strong enough, it obliterates this distinction.

No organization that is shielded from failure is private.  It can't be.  Failure avoidance is the incentive that makes organizations efficient.

If you could eat ten cheesecakes with no risk, wouldn't you?  I mean no risk at all.  If the cheesecakes were free ... if you knew you wouldn't feel sick later in the short term ... if you knew you wouldn't gain weight in the long term ... if you knew you would have no chance of a coronary in the very long term ... what would stop you from eating ten cheesecakes every day?

Failure and risk are natural checks and balances.  It's the ultimate cost of doing business.

The same is true financially as with the cheesecakes.  There is no credible risk of a large bank going under.  Even if a bank looks like its at risk, it will be absorbed by another.  Assets will be transferred, liabilities will be wiped out.  The executives get their pay.  Their bonus will resume.  Did you know CEO bonuses are higher today than they've ever been, even in the middle of this recession?

 

I don't want to focus on the bonuses.  They are a drop in the bucket.  Focusing on executive bonus is just an indicator, similar to porkbarrel spending, which is also a drop in the bucket.  But if you want to know the health of an institution, take executive bonuses for banks and porkbarrel spending for legislators to extrapolate.  When they're out of whack, the institution is in trouble.

"Too Big To Fail" is just a cute euphemism for nationalization.  The banks have been nationalized long long ago.  You could say it happened in 1913 when the Federal Reserve was created.  It took a long time to devalue the currency to this point.  It's just like the frog in luke-warm water.  The frog has been in there a very long time.  It's a very tender frog.

In the real private industry, if you do a bad job, your profits are hit at some point.  You might be able to shield or cloak your losses for a while.  But eventually, reality sets in and you have to deal with the problem.  The more deception used to shield the loss, the more the losses pile up.  And if you can just call your "uncle" to make the losses just disappear, then guess what?  You are no longer in the private industry.  You've been nationalized.  It's that simple.

So what's wrong with nationalization?  Well, the failure guarantee is no longer implicit.  The failure guarantee becomes explicit.  Is there an implicit guarantee for banks anymore?  No.  It's completely explicit.  Therefore, they are a nationalized industry.  There's no need for speculating when nationalization will happen.  It's a done deal.  The implicit guarantee is an indicator that will lead to the explicit guarantee.

Has healthcare been nationalized?  Yes it has.  Is the doctor guaranteed to get paid?  Well, at the moment, the guarantee is just implicit.  If enough of them suffer devastating losses (high malpractice, financial ruin from non-payment, anything you can think of), they will become "Too Important To Fail" (or come up with some other cute euphemism).  So while doctors are still at risk of financial ruin at the moment because the relationship between doctor and government hasn't been completely hammered out in practice, there is no doubt in my mind, if a sudden crisis hits the medical field, government will pull out the safety net.  If the sudden crisis isn't forthcoming, it will be created.  "Never waste a disaster," as they say.

Is this all some big mistake?  Nope, it's by design.

Posted via email from Anthony Martin's Weblog

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Special

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Filed under Political
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New California Driver License

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Filed under Political
Here's an example of what the news paper reports as the new driver license.

Posted via email from Anthony Martin's Weblog

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Bloodbath?

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Filed under Political
It seems that at the moment, the primary rejoinder of the White House about the information released by WikiLeaks is that more innocent lives have been put at risk now than would have been without the leaks.  If this is true, at some point, further leaks would cause the loss of innocent to approach the level that would result from a complete withdrawal.  That's why I think these predictions are all total fabrications and BS.  The White House likely believes there is a very real "risk" resulting from future leaks.  They would likely call them "copycat leaks."  But courage is contagious, as Assanage so astutely pointed out.  Therefore future, even bigger leaks are an altogether credible inevitability.  Why not minimize the loss of innocent life by making a strategic withdrawal as soon as possible?  If innocent life really is such a priority to the White House, why not leave now?

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The Magic Threshold

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Filed under Political

WARNING: This is forbidden knowledge.  I'm just telling you right up front.  If you explore this idea too much, you might become an "undesirable."  You've been warned.

Basically, the point I'm trying to make here is that taxation is theft.  It seems to me that most people believe taxation is not theft.  They believe theft is immoral and taxation is just not seen as immoral.  I'm going to question this notion.  The basis is that if one person "taxes" you, it's theft.  But if multiple people tax you, somehow it's not theft (assuming they've taken the necessary precaution of writing words on paper, also known as "law").

The way I see it, taxes are institutionalized theft.  That is, theft that has been made "legitimate."  But how does someone take something immoral and convert it into something moral?

I've pose two questions to help sort out the difference between theft performed by an individual and institutionalized theft (that is, theft by a group of individuals, also known as government).

  1. If taxation is not theft, what would government have to do in order to commit theft?
  2. If taxation is not theft, is over-taxation theft?

For some reason, the first question takes a lot of effort for people to answer.  It's a little out of left field, right?  The second question sort-of gives an inch to the idea.  In fact, it allows the you to answer the first question and open the door to the idea that taxation is actually theft.

If I can get some agreement from above line of questioning, I can bring it home with a soliloquy I call "The Magic Threshold."

The Magic Threshold

Premise: 1) Assuming taxation is not theft *until* the level taxation is deemed to be excessive. 2) Government is not capable of theft *until* taxation is excessive; before that it is just not theft. 3) This level might well be different for everyone.

Questions: Is it possible for an individual to do the same? Is there a certain level at which taking something that's not yours is also *not* theft *until* a certain nominal level, *then* after that level is crossed, it *becomes* theft?

If so, what was it called before the theft threshold is crossed for that individual?

You might simply reply, "I don't think it applies to the individual. It applies to the collective of society."

To which I reply, "But I assume you are not suggesting that collectives are bound by a different set of moral consideration, right?"

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Mark Edge Interviews Benjamin Powell: Immigration

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Filed under Political

Attached is an excellent interview from July 14th, 2010 between Mark Edge and Benjamin Powell on the topic of immigration.

And in "rebuttal" by Lou Dobbs:

Notice, all Dobbs can do is call Powell an idiot and a jackass.  That's his only rebuttal.  On top of that, Dobbs confuses "fact" with "opinion."  The fact is, there is no such thing as illegal immigration because that notion is built on top of the opinion that states and nations exist in the first place.

Posted via email from Anthony Martin's Weblog

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