Tuesday, October 6, 2009
Correlations do not imply a casual relation. The argument for a casual relation between the flu and schizophrenia is well, to put it bluntly, pretty much laughed at by the scientific community. Regardless of how ridiculous the proposal of a casual link might be, there is no denying the correlation. However, when it comes to vaccines and autism there is a growing acceptance of there being an actual causal relation not just a correlation. Something that was once considered ridiculous. (Of course, mercury is safe!)
Let's start with some undisputed facts about thiomersal, the mercury compound used as a preservative in vaccines.
(1) The use of thiomersal in routine childhood vaccines is being phased out in the United States and the European Union.
(2) Thiomersal is used in inactive flu vaccines in children two years and older and in other vaccines that are not routinely recommended (emphasis mine) in young children, including the vaccine for diphtheria and tetanus, according to the Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
(3) Thiomersal is metabolized into ethyl-mercury and thiosalicylate in the body.
(4) Ethylmercury clears from blood with a half-life of about 18 days. (Half-life is the period of time it takes, for a substance undergoing decay, to decrease by half.) So, at 18 days 50% of the ethylmercury that was already metabolized and present in the blood stream is gone. At 36 days 25% of the original amount of metabolized ethyl-mercury remains, at 54 days 12.5% remains, etc.
(5) Ethyl-mercury in the brain has a half-life of about 14 days. So, at 14 days 50% remains, 28 days 25%, 56 days 12.5%, etc.
(6) Inorganic mercury metabolized from ethyl-mercury has a much longer clearance, at least 120 days. (Emphasis added.)
(7) Ethyl-mercury is very permeable, meaning it flows pretty much unhindered throughout the body, it crosses through the blood-brain barrier (not very easy) and the placental barrier (actually very easy, hence women are so heavily cautioned against consuming certain foods and medications during pregnancy, almost everything can cross the placental barrier).
(8) Using thiomersal allows for multi-dose vials of vaccines instead of single-dose which are more expensive.
(9) Thiomersal's safety for its intended uses first came under question in the 1970s, when case reports demonstrated potential for neurotoxicity when given in large volumes as a topical antiseptic.
While thiomersal and autism remain a controversy, but we do know that mercury, as well as other heavy metals, causes serious medical problems in high enough doses. It is important to note that the effects of mercury poisoning are partially dependent on which type of mercury, elemental mercury, inorganic mercury compounds (as salts), or organomercury compounds that the individual was exposed to.
The empirical evidence and date on thiomersal just isn't there for either case. Why? Because it is studied very little to not at all. Methyl-mercury has been studied rather extensively, but thiomersal breaks down into ethyl-mercury.
Perhaps this is overly cynical, but there is little financial incentive to study thiomersal and the autism correlation. If thiomersal is casually linked to autism, there would be a huge public outcry. There would be an increase in lawsuits against pharmaceutical companies, a drop in sales, a huge mistrust of vaccines in general, a decrease in the number of people who get vaccinated (regardless of what it is for) and which vaccines they do get (if any) and a large decrease in reveune for drug companies. Also, quite probably an increase of indiences of diseases that formerly were vaccinated against. The government would also come under fire since the FDA approved the vaccines in the first place. So, in light of all that who would (1) want to study it and (2) actually get funding for it? And for the cynics, like myself, (3) manage to not have their results buried?
Although, as thiomersal is eliminated from vaccines and/or individuals start refusing to get vaccines that contain thiomersal, if there is a decrease in the incidence of autism... Well, such a correlation kind of just fuels the fire now, doesn't it?
Monday, June 8, 2009
Society is a Blessing, But Government is Evil
by Thomas Paine
A great part of that order which reigns among mankind is not the effect of government. It had its origin in the principles of society, and the natural constitution of man. It existed prior to government, and would exist if the formality of government was abolished. The mutual dependence and reciprocal interest which man has in man and all the parts of a civilized community upon each other create that great chain of connection which holds it together.
The landholder, the farmer, the manufacturer, the merchant, the tradesman, and every occupation prospers by the aid which each receives from the other, and from the whole. Common interest regulates their concerns, and forms their laws; and the laws which common usage ordains, have a greater influence than the laws of government. In fine, society performs for itself almost everything that is ascribed to government.
To understand the nature and quantity of government proper for man it is necessary to attend to his character. As nature created him for social life, she fitted him for the station she intended. In all cases she made his natural wants greater than his individual powers. No one man is capable, without the aid of society, of supplying his own wants; and those wants acting upon every individual impel the whole of them into society, as naturally as gravitation acts to a center.
But she has gone further. She has not only forced man into society by a diversity of wants, which the reciprocal aid of social affections, which, though not necessary to his existence, are essential to his happiness. There is no period in life when this love for society ceases to act. It begins and ends with our being.
If we examine, with attention, into the composition and constitution of man, the diversity of talents in different men for reciprocally accommodating the wants of each other, his propensity to society, and consequently to preserve the advantages resulting from it, we shall easily discover that a great part of what is called government is mere imposition.
Government is no further necessary than to supply the few cases to which society and civilization are not conveniently competent; and instances are not wanting to show that everything which government can usefully add thereto, has been performed by the common consent of society, without government.
For upwards of two years from the commencement of the American war, and a longer period in several of the American states, there were no established forms of government. The old governments had been abolished, and the country was too much occupied in defense to employ its attention in establishing new governments; yet, during this interval, order and harmony were preserved as inviolate as in any country in Europe. There is a natural aptness in man, and more so in society, because it embraces a greater variety of abilities and resources, to accommodate itself to whatever situation it is in. The instant formal government is abolished, society begins to act. A general association takes place, and common interest produces common security.
So far is it from being true, as has been pretended, that the abolition of any formal government is the dissolution of society, it acts by contrary impulse, and brings the latter the closer together. All that part of its organization which it had committed to its government, devolves again upon itself, and acts as from reciprocal benefits, have habituated themselves to social and civilized life, there is always enough of its principles in practice to carry them through any changes they may find necessary or convenient to make in their government. In short, man is so naturally a creature of society that it is almost impossible to put him out of it.
Formal government makes but a small part of civilized life; and when even the best that human wisdom can devise is established, it is a thing more in name and idea than in fact. It is to the great and fundamental principles of society and civilization – to the common usage universally consented to, and mutually and reciprocally maintained – to the unceasing circulation of interest, which passing through its innumerable channels, invigorates the whole mass of civilized man – it is to these things, infinitely more than anything which even the best instituted government can perform, that the safety and prosperity of the individual and of the whole depends.
The more perfect civilization is, the less occasion has it for government, because the more does it regulate its own affairs, and govern itself; but so contrary is the practice of old governments to the reason of the case, that the expenses of them increase in the proportion they ought to diminish. It is but few general laws that civilized life requires, and those of such common usefulness, that whether they are enforced by the forms of government or not, the effect will be nearly the same. If we consider what the principles are that first condense man into society, and what the motives that regulate their mutual intercourse afterwards, we shall find, by the time we arrive at what is called government, that nearly the whole of the business is performed by the natural operation of the parts upon each other.
Man, with respect to all those matters, is more a creature of consistency than he is aware of, or that governments would wish him to believe. All the great laws of society are the laws of nature. Those of trade and commerce, whether with respect to the intercourse of individuals or of nations, are laws of mutual and reciprocal interest. They are followed and obeyed because it is the interest of the parties so to do, and not on account of any formal laws their governments may impose or interpose.
But how often is the natural propensity to society disturbed or destroyed by the operations of government! When the latter, instead of being engrafted on the principles of the former, assumes to exist for itself, and acts by partialities of favor and oppression, it becomes the cause of the mischiefs it ought to prevent.
If we look back to the riots and tumults which at various times have happened in England, we shall find, that they did not proceed from the want of a government, but that government was itself the generating cause; instead of consolidating society, it divided it; it deprived it of its natural cohesion, and engendered discontents and disorders, which otherwise would not have existed. In those associations which men promiscuously form for the purpose of trade or of any concern, in which government is totally out of the question, and in which they act merely on the principles of society, we see how naturally the various parties unite; and this shows, by comparison, that governments, so far from always being the cause or means of order, are often the destruction of it. The riots of 1780 had no other source than the remains of those prejudices that the government itself had encouraged. But with respect to England there are also other causes.
Excess and inequality of taxation, however disguised in the means, never fail to appear in their effect. As a great mass of the community are thrown thereby into poverty and discontent, they are constantly on the brink of commotion; and, deprived, as they unfortunately are, of the means of information, are easily heated to outrage. Whatever the apparent cause of any riots may be, the real one is always want of happiness. It shows that something is wrong in the system of government, which injures the felicity by which society is to be preserved.
Having thus endeavored to show, that the social and civilized state of man is capable of performing within itself, almost everything necessary to its protection and government, it will be proper, on the other hand, to take a review of the present old governments, and examine whether their principles and practice are correspondent thereto.
It is impossible that such governments as have hitherto existed in the world, could have commenced by any other means than a total violation of every principle, sacred and moral. The obscurity, in which the origin of all the present old governments is buried, implies the iniquity and disgrace with which they began. The origin of the present governments of America and France will ever be remembered, because it is honorable to record it; but with respect to the rest, even flattery has consigned them to the tomb of time, without an inscription.
It could have been no difficult thing in the early and solitary ages of the world, while the chief employment of men was that of attending flocks and herds, for a banditti of ruffians to overrun a country, and lay it under contribution. Their power being thus established, the chief of the band contrived to lose the name of robber in that of monarch; and hence the origin of monarchy and kings.
The origin of the government of England, so far as it relates to what is called its line of monarchy, being one of the latest, is perhaps the best recorded. The hatred which the Norman invasion and tyranny begat, must have been deeply rooted in the nation, to have outlived the contrivance to obliterate it. Though not a courtier will talk of the curfew bell, not a village in England has forgotten it.
Those bands of robbers having parceled out the world, and divided it into dominions, began, as is naturally the case, to quarrel with each other. What at first was obtained by violence was considered by others as lawful to be taken, and a second plunderer succeeded the first. They alternately invaded the dominions which each had assigned to himself, and the brutality with which they treated each other explains the original character of monarchy. It was ruffian torturing ruffian.
The conqueror considered the conquered not as his prisoner, but his property. He led him in triumph rattling in chains, and doomed him, at pleasure, to slavery or death. As time obliterated the history of their beginning, their successors assumed new appearances, to cut off the entail of their disgrace, but their principles and objects remained the same. What at first was plunder assumed the softer name of revenue; and the power they originally usurped, they affected to inherit.
From such beginning of governments, what could be expected, but a continual system of war and extortion? It has established itself into a trade. The vice is not peculiar to one more than to another, but is the common principle of all. There does not exist within such governments a stamina whereon to engraft reformation; and the shortest and most effectual remedy is to begin anew.
What scenes of horror, what perfection of iniquity, present themselves in contemplating the character, and reviewing the history of such governments! If we would delineate human nature with a baseness of heart, and hypocrisy of countenance, that reflection would shudder at and humanity disown, it is kings, courts, and cabinets that must sit for the portrait. Man, as he is naturally, with all his faults about him, is not up to the character.
Can we possibly suppose that if government had originated in a right principle, and had not an interest in pursuing a wrong one, that the world could have been in the wretched and quarrelsome condition we have seen it? What inducement has the farmer, while following the plow, to lay aside his peaceful pursuits and go to war with the farmer of another country? Or what inducement has the manufacturer? What is dominion to them or to any class of men in a nation? Does it add an acre to any man’s estate, or raise its value? Are not conquest consequence? Though this reasoning may be good to a nation, it is not so to a government. War is the faro table of governments, and nations the dupes of the game.
If there is anything to wonder at in this miserable scene of governments, more than might be expected, it is the progress that the peaceful arts of agriculture, manufactures, and commerce have made, beneath such a long accumulating load of discouragement and oppression. It serves to show that instinct in animals does not act with stronger impulse than the principles of society and civilization operate in man. Under all discouragements, he pursues his object, and yields to nothing but impossibilities.
Society in every state is a blessing, but government, even in its best state, is but a necessary evil; in its worst state, an intolerable one.
The trade of governing has always been monopolized by the most ignorant and the most rascally individuals of mankind.
Thomas Paine (1737–1809) was an English pamphleteer, revolutionary, radical, and classical liberal. Born in the market town of Thetford, England, he migrated to the American colonies at the age of 37, just in time to take part in the American Revolution. His main contribution was as the author of the powerful, widely read pamphlet, “Common Sense” (1776), advocating independence for the American colonies from Great Britain. He is also known for “The American Crisis” (1776–1783), a series of pamphlets supporting the American Revolution, and “The Rights of Man” (1791) defending the early French Revolution.
The previous essay is an excerpt from the writings of Thomas Paine which can be found in the third chapter of Liberty and the Great Libertarians, edited by Charles T. Sprading.
Sunday, April 5, 2009
I'm starting to think so. I do not want to live under communism. If true Marxist communism (where the proletariat actually overthrows the bourgeoisie) ever happens, I'd be curious to visit. Every communist society that has existed in the world has always been run by some oligarchy.
Slavery is freedom I guess.
Saturday, April 4, 2009
Is it really? The idea that we should able to choose our own government just seems so common sense to me. One of the things that I despise about globalization is that we're losing different types of governments. If I want to live in an egalitarian society I have that right. If I want to live in a monarchy, I can. If I want to live in a fascist dictatorship (don't know why I would, but for whatever reason), I honestly think that I should have every right to be able to do so.
Friday, April 3, 2009
The documentaries do explain why the Federal Reserve is bad, etc. But still no one evers trully examines how the hell people like Franklin, Jefferson, Madison and Jackson knew. I've heard the founding fathers were well versed in philosophy, as it is supposedly apparent in their writings. Well, I'm a philosophy student, although still only an undergrad, and I have never read any philosophical text that talked about banking. So I was still confused.
Today, however while trying to find a link to the six part video Credit as a Public Utility, I found this quote:
"The most hated sort [of wealth getting], and with the greatest reason, is usury, which makes a gain out of money itself and not from the natural object of it. For money was intended to be used in exchange but not to increase at interest. And this term interest [tokos], which means the birth of money from money, is applied to the breeding of money because the offspring resembles the parent. Whereof of all modes of getting wealth, this is the most unnatural.” - AristotleAlas, an explanation! Well, at least a clue anyway. Apparently, one I have to go back very far and two into obscure and little known texts. (I have at least two works of Aristotle on my bookshelf.) Of course, I being everso curious am now wondering, "Well, how did he know?" I do enjoy trips down the rabbit hole, but apparently I have a very long way to go.
Wednesday, April 1, 2009
I am somewhat hostile towards the Republican party, which I acknowledge to be in err. Bush and Cheney certainly make it easy, but my hostility does not extend from them but rather their strong anti-abortion stance. I dislike their fiscal policies (they spend too much and at the same time give tax breaks). They argue for limited government, but at least since the Reagen era having been increasing it. I seem to be teetering somewhere between limited government (read: libertarian; I think the GOP and I differ in distinction) and anarchy. (I rather resent the assertion, but I do hate the federal government so perhaps it was a fair assessment.) Murray Rothbard wrote a very interesting article available on LewRockwell.com about libertarian anarchism that dispels many misconceptions about anarchy and argues what it actually is; definitely an interesting read.
Now that I have gotten substantially off-topic, I seem to have found an unlikely "ally." David Vitter (R) is one of the US senators for LA. He was also very quick to reply to my emails much to my surprise. (I didn't really expect a reply from any since I assume them to be quite busy, but he was definitely the last.) He actually wrote me a personal reply in response to my email protesting the further bailout of AIG. Since then I have gotten updates about what's going on in Congress and actions he's taking, etc. The most recent headlines were:
Quite honestly, I'm impressed. I have not looked into legislation that I might be for that he's currently opposing, and thus not in the update, but I am genuinely surprised to see someone arguing against automatic pay raises for themselves. It's definitely a measure that I applaud, Vitter's definitely grown on me. I could seriously hug him for voting against the bailouts since square one.
KEEPING THE HEAT ON ENDING AUTOMATIC PAY RAISES FOR CONGRESS CRITICIZING THE CORPS’ OUTFALL CANAL DECISION
PUSHING FOR AN END TO THE TROUBLED BAILOUT PROGRAM
CALLING FOR THE REAPPOINTMENT OF U.S. ATTORNEY JIM LETTEN
US Senator Landerieu (D), however did take a substantial amount of time to get back with me, especially in comparison. She replied in regards to my opposition to the increase of troops in Afghanistan and continuation of occupation of the Middle East. She had apparently voted for and continues to support the measures; much to my dismay, but at least she was very candid about it I guess. I am not a democrat, but many of my views are in line, at least they used to be anyway, with theirs so I was especially disappointed by this.
I think it was Aaron Russo, former governor (can't remember the state at the moment), and creator of the film America: From Freedom to Fascism, who correctly said in an interview about the film that people tend to get it wrong and play into the system by aligning themselves with one party and vehemently opposing the other instead objecting to the system itself. (While a fan of his works, Russo has criticized Michael Moore for being guilty of playing into the fold.) I was definitely guilty of this as well, but amazingly my agreement with Vitter on the issues (I still find it surprising) and the display of Obama's true colors (he's reneged on every campaign promise he made from single payer to being pro-unions to withdrawal from Iraq) has led to my realization of such.
I'm a Vitter fan? Really? I do not like Obama at all. What? This has definitely been an interesting first 100 days and shift in my political views. I find myself very distracted by all the turmoil, internally and with the global crisis, and scratching my head in disillusioned disbelief. If I had a chance to talk to my more political friends from high school, I would definitely get a resounding, "Say what?"
But, I am not wearing a tin foil hat. Rothbard's article is a prudent reminder of the legitimatises of the alternative theory. While I was stirring in self-doubt, I forgot the most notable case of conspiracy, the JFK assassination. Many different independent groups did their own investigations, one in Louisiana that eventually led to the only criminal case on the matter (as a Louisianan a great source of pride for me), that converged to the same conclusions and they didn't agree with the Warren Commission one iota.
Rothbard points out the differences among conspiracy theorists themselves, the bad ones employ logical fallacies and assumptions based on hypothetical beneficial connections but no further research. (Sort of reminds me of yellow journalism for some reason.)
Quite recently I had an argument with a good friend who I consider to be a highly intelligent individual (physics major, 4.0, chancellor's scholarship), who "does not buy into conspiracy theories." (In his exact words.) I asked, "Wait, even with the Warren Commission?" He had no idea what I was talking about. "The congressional group that investigated the Kennedy assassination?" I get an, "Oh, okay." Sadly, the lecture began at that point and I never got to ask if he thought Oswald acted alone. Granted at the end of our brief discussion, and further chats since, I'd bet he's never heard of the Texas School Book Depository.
Maybe I take some of that knowledge for granted, like the fact that the Warren Commission was the congressional body given the task to investigate the Kennedy assassination. Is that unreasonable? If so, maybe reasons like this are why people point and shriek, "Oh noes, they're wearing a tin foil hat!" (Granted, usually in less dramatic rhetoric.)
I have to ask: "When did it become so taboo to challenge the accepted wisdom?"
Tuesday, March 31, 2009
***Sorry to have linked so many films that at least circle around this idea. I feel like I'm starting to sound like a paranoid twit, talking about the Federal Reserve, etc. was never something that was supposed to be a reoccurring topic on this blog.
Sunday, March 29, 2009
As if I didn't have enough videos already linked. For about the first 20 minutes are so it felt more like a repeat, but instead of a recap of all the problems with our financial system Firewall offers real world solutions. I would rank The Money Masters which I linked in my previous post as a higher priority view than Firewall, but still a worth while to view at some point. It's just under 90 minutes.
One thing that Firewall does explain is public-private partnerships, the latest ripoff proposed by Tim Geithner as a solution to clean up toxic assets. I realize that this is a completely ridiculous idea, but as credit-default swaps aren't tied to anything of actual value, just tell all the purchasers tough luck. They wasted money on insurance and guess what? In typical insurance policy style, your claim has been denied! But that would just be far too logical for Wall St.
The thing the the segment on public-private partnerships most reminds me of is Huey P. Long. He was definitely a corrupt official in true Louisiana fashion, guilty of quite a few schemes that later earned him the title the Kingfish. However, he was a populist and accomplished tremendous good on behalf of Louisiana citizens. One thing being he drove a privately owned bridge that reeked huge profits by charging toll fees for use out of business by convincing the state legislature to give him funds to build his own bridge, at a "different" location.
The Money Masters is a three and a half hour video that covers this an entire history of banking in America, our constant struggle against central banks, a sobering history of the Rothschild family, and various ways former presidents killed the central bank.
No summary I could give of this video can do it justice. I can only urge you to watch it. It is by far the best video I have seen that discusses central banking and the Federal Reserve.
Thursday, March 26, 2009
Policies of the last 25 years, the last ten in particular, have been snowballing ever so slowly until it just all blew up. After the first financial disaster of the 20th century we had the Glass-Stegall Act that kept companies in check until it was gutted in the last 90s under the Clinton administration by "reform" measures put forth by senators that received large campaign contributions from Wall St companies. This allowed insurance companies, investment banks, and commercial banks to be able to merge. Also, there used to be an eight percent cap on lending whereas now lenders can charge any rate they wish, which has led to loans with rates as high as thirty percent in some cases.
What we need to do, rather than giving the Treasury expansive power, is go back to tighter regulations that prevent companies with massive conflicts of interest from merging together. For massive corporations, the high level executives reap massive rewards from these deregulatory measures, and as such the ability to wield a very powerful influence on Washington policy.
What we should do is 1) reinstate Glass-Stegall in its original form, 2) never allow investment banks, insurance companies, and commercial banks to merge, 3) require greater capital and more collateral in reserve, 4) reinstate a lending cap, 5) put an end to credit-default swaps as a market (a CDS encourages banks to engage in risky lending because they face no loss in capital if the borrower defaults which also encourages making loans to borrowers that will default because the banks are guaranteed the money; which means the insurance company is effectively the lender and they have no say in who can borrow), 6) repel The Accounting and Auditing Act of 1950, which prevents the Federal Reserve from being audited by Congress in section 31, USC 714(b), and 7) centralize the Federal Reserve back under the control of Congress because as it is currently the Federal Reserve is in fact a private institution with no government oversight and currently Congress has no legal right to oversee or investigate ANY of activities and actions by the Federal Reserve. The Federal Reserve is a privately owned and operated central bank with complete autonomy from any and all government action, sanctions, and regulations.
These actions would allow the markets to regulate themselves while protecting the public interest because it prevents institutions from gaining to much power and control; and institutions that get labeled "too big" to fail will not be able to develop. Under these measures the Treasury would have no need for expansive powers that place far too much control in the government.
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
Monday, March 23, 2009
I just have one thing I really want to say, /clap. I am unbelievably proud of Europe at this moment. Since I have such high disdain for my country, I have been dying to see someone to just tell the US to fuck off and mind their own business. Europe has the loudest voice to do this with because of our close ties.
In the article, Germany says that you cannot just print money to get out of the crisis and that it would lead to hyperinflation. Well, they would know. Post-WWI they tried doing precisely that because of demands to repay their massive war debts. Their currency went to practically zero and their economy collapsed. That was bad enough in and of itself, however that was not the end of Germany's woes. Those precise measures [to just print more money] that blew up in their faces led to Hitler's rise to power.
When the US dollar collapses (and it will), we can only hope that we do not see the rise of a modern-day Hitler to power in the US. For if one did, it would not be the Jews this time around (we kiss Israel's ass), but the Muslims. Bin Laden, al Quadea, the Taliban...... we've already seen the lack of popularity and dissent against those groups arise in the US because of lies perpetrated by our government.
*A note, I by no means advocate violence against any group, especially the aforementioned. I also oppose and detest any notion that would imply or explicitly implicate the above groups as guilty in any such way of the calamity of the US, directly or otherwise. I by no means think that these groups are responsible for any American troubles and would defend them against any such claim. They are the victims, not the guilty. America's problems are American made home grown by the military-industrial complex and I am forever sorry to every nation and their peoples for our gross foreign policy and destruction of their governments to serve the greed of our shadow government. It is my sincerest desire to see justice brought to those guilty in the US who have wrecked havoc internationally and I offer my deepest personal apologies.
Friday, March 20, 2009
Well, I did eventually make the trip to Wikipedia to get the Cliff Note's version on American tax laws and a link in the article led me to the bit on tax protesters. While I remain skeptical of the legality, the information on Wikipedia definitely makes a strong assertion that we are required to pay federal income taxes (note my word choice). After my spring semester ends, this is something I'd definitely like to look further into as Russo's film does not cited specific court cases, as I recall.
However, that is a bit off topic for this post. Russo's film, along with other tax protesters, miss the bigger issue in regards to the federal tax code. A popular argument against the requirement is that the 16th amendment was never properly ratified, Wikipedia disputes this claim.
The 16th amendment is objectionable, not because of claims against its ratification but because of its constitutionality. But, like Jay Leno said, "Let's just give our Constitution to the Afghans, we're not using it."
We all remember studying the Boston Tea Party and what it stood against: Taxation without Representation. Because of this strong belief when drafting the Constitution our Founding Fathers included taxation laws in the document. Most importantly (paraphrased), that taxes will be apportioned based on population of the states.
I feel that it is own these grounds that one should protest the 16th amendment; as unconstitutional in-and-of itself.
Granted this argument does not give wiggle room around tax requirements (the IRS can be quite ruthless).
The constitutionality of the 16th amendment was a key element overlooked in the film. However, I imagine if Aaron Russo was still alive, there would be an America: Freedom to Fascism Part II in which this would have been discussed.
Hopefully someone else will, since I own neither a video camera nor mad editing skills.
Sunday, March 8, 2009
The Director's Cut
While watching this film it reminded me of a quote from my favorite TV show, Joss Whedon's Firefly. Jayne had said:
"Do you want to know what the chain of command is? It's the chain I go get and beat you with."
Friday, March 6, 2009
Monday, March 2, 2009
Wake up! Orwell is perhaps one of the most famous authors. Best known for his novel 1984. Written in 1948, it tells of a future run by Big Brother. The Patriot Act and the Real Id Act are prime examples.
Orwell did warn us about totalitarian governmental control, which does make us wary of big government. However, maybe we mistook Big Brother to only be Big Government. If so, this film should be regaled as the Orwell warning of its time. This film draws upon parallels from the Orwellian world to illustrate where Big Brother has been hiding in ours.
Pastor Niemöller QuoteThe following is reproduced here because of its relevance to this critical moment in history. This is adapted from a statement by a survivor of the Nazi concentration camps (Pastor Martin Niemöller).
First they came for the hackers.
But I never did anything illegal with my computer, so I didn't speak up.
Then they came for the pornographers.
But I thought there was too much smut on the Internet anyway, so I didn't speak up.
Then they came for the anonymous remailers.
But a lot of nasty stuff gets sent from anon.penet.fi, so I didn't speak up.
Then they came for the encryption users.
But I could never figure out how to work PGP anyway, so I didn't speak up.
Then they came for me.
And by that time there was no one left to speak up.
— Alara Rogers, Aleph Press
In September 1996 anon.penet.fi ceased operations (as a result of attempts by the Scientology organization to force the operator to reveal the identity of people who had posted anonymously certain documents concerning that organization).
Saturday, February 28, 2009
The above link is a personal account of an American, living here in the US, was unable to view a YouTube, video on a news feed he subscribes to, Because It Was Unavailable In His Country.
Wow, just wow. In the recent following an intense discussion with a TA for my classes I have become increasingly aware of censorship in the major media networks. Thus, now I spend hours online reading news printed in other countries as well as my own. I told myself, "Well, at least I have the internet. It's the last democratic medium." Apparently, I was wrong.
This is also not the first case where I've heard of YouTube censoring material. I will note however, those cases I discovered by reading local newspapers. And in this particular case on CNN, the Church of Scientology was sueing YouTube for libal and discrimination because of some videos that were hosted YouTube that contained anti-Scientologist material that were posted by an independent party, unaffliated with YouTube. It should be noted that this party, name ungiven, was a particular group active in spreading "unfavorable" literature about the Church. Because of the pending letigation, YouTube removed the videos and apologized.
I remember thinking, wow, that's unconstituitional. I can't believe YouTube didn't just say, "Sorry, Charlie. Ever heard of the first ammendment?" But, I also kinda shrugged it off, because it was cheaper than going to court. How unbelievably outrageous! When did I get so complacent? Talk about naive, thinking that, "Oh, okay. They did because of court costs." But it did not even occur to me that it was possible that the government could do the same thing, and we just wouldn't hear about it.
Thursday, February 26, 2009
EU Makes Proposal to German Bakers
I'm honestly quite baffled by this. When did the EU gain the power to regulate food products of member countries? We're talking about sovereign nations with their own heads of state, military, and different political systems. The recent outcry is heard most loudly from German bakers who oppose the EU interference and overregulation that would require a change in the salt content in their famous heavy brown loaves.
The Black Forest, a German restaurant in my hometown, was immensely popular and drew crowds to the downtown area because of its famous brown loaves of bread. It was unbelievably exciting to go there as child because it was new and different, and this from a girl who grew up with the diversity of good ole Cajun cooking. I just find it disappointing that in the actual country, because of EU regulations we are going to see the recipe for German baked goods changed. I just can't stop scratching my head as to how this can happen. Having grown up in the 'melting pot' with very little national culture and unity, I envied Europe. All of the countries on that continent had different currencies, various languages, vast histories, different architectural styles. It seems like it's all starting to dissolve into the background.
Was the 9/11 Commission a government conspiracy as was the case with the Warren Commission? This is something that I would definitely like to explore further. We cannot allow a government that can lie to us and get away with it to exist. Our Founding Fathers would turn over in their graves if we allow such violations of our freedom and rights that they fought so hard to establish and keep. If such atrocities have occurred we must seek prosecution of the guilty with as much vigor as we would in cases involving international war criminals.
It is my sincerest hope that 9/11 was not the result of conspiracy. I don't wish to live in such a world. Asking these questions is vital to make sure that such a world does not exist or can exist. We have a civic responsibility to make sure our government continues to serve us and not itself, which sometimes requires asking hard and offensive questions. By asking such questions if we discover that it is the case that September 11th occurred exactly how it was reported, then we can rest assured that our government can be trusted and we know that justice was properly sought. To take the road less traveled upon is a lonely avenue and requires a brave endeavor, but it is a road that someone must take to ensure that we live in a world where truth ranks supreme and is always delivered. The truth is a natural right and as not only citizens, but also humans we are owed that right.
Big Brother Wants to Tax by the Mile
There's been a long push towards greener energy and more efficient cars. The unexpected downside? Less revenue generated by the gas tax. Oops, small oversight on that one. Instead of just a proposed increase of the gas tax, if necessary, the most popular solution was to begin taxation by the mile. Wow, talk about a violation of a right to privacy. The kind of technology necessary to monitor motorists by the mile would also be able to report where and when we drive. Cameras at stop lights where already considered invasive by many, and now there's a proposal to go further.
Oregon has already had a voluntary pilot test of this program, Massachusetts and Colorado already have similar proposals and legislation in the works. As long as we are still using gasoline, even if we are consuming less, I have to wonder why just raising the gas tax wasn't proposed. Seems to be the much simpler course of action and less expensive, technology to track mileage won't come cheap. It was just an idea, legislators say. It's good that they're trying to think ahead about how to compensate for the loss of revenue for road and highway construction caused by more efficient cars, but we must let them know that this is not the way, and that we as Americans oppose such a tax and consider it unconstitutional.