THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 556, February 7, 2010
"It is worth everything you are to think for yourself."
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I was thinking about this recent supreme court decision that effectively overturns McCain-Feingold, which I've previously liked to call "The incumbent protection act" of 2005 or whatever it was. It seems likely that L. Neil picked that name or something similar for it.
No doubt everyone noticed the president being rude about the court's decision in his state of the union address. For my own part, anything that upsets Obama can't be all bad. And now that he's issued executive orders saying that American citizens can be assassinated for any reason, maybe he'll get some of the vacancies he wants to fill on the supreme court.
(For those of you pushing the "conspiracy" button on this bit about presidential assassination squads, check out the story at Salon. Greenwald isn't libertarian in all things, but he has the story. And I guess Jim Bell wasn't expecting his idea to be implemented by the other side. Oh, well.)
Anyway, it was refreshing to think of all those corporations and unions and non-profit entities getting their funds together to influence the election process. And, I thought, why not? Let every American incorporate and spend as much as he or she pleases for and against any candidate. Sounds like fun.
Don't want to incorporate? Join the club. Any club. Lots of existing corporations are available, and most of them have nothing like 501c3 or 501c4 status, so they can play politics as they please. Form a new club and pay $25 in your state (or in a nearby state) and you'll have a non-profit corporation. Easy. Could even be fun.
Then I thought, why stop there? The court has gotten out of touch with stare decesis, the business of leaving past decisions alone (Stare decisis et non quieta movere, "Hold to past decisions and change not what is done."). And who can blame them? A lot of bone headed decisions have gone before.
So, let's petition the court to review some real boners. How about Kelo versus City of New London, Connecticut? If the city government can steal your land, bulldoze your home, turn it over to Pfizer, and when they get caught in the economic collapse, leave the whole area more blighted than ever, which the supreme court in Kelo said was just fine, then what is the point of ever owning property?
Why buy land when the kleptocrats can steal it? Why pretend that you have any "equity" in your home? Yes, I'd overturn Kelo.
What about overturning Bennis v. Michigan, the 1996 case in which the state seized a woman's automobile which her estranged husband had taken without her knowledge and used in soliciting a prostitute. How this taking complies with the fifth article of the Bill of Rights which says, in part, "nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation" is quite beyond me.
Go back as far as you like, come up with supreme court decisions that you don't like, and let's get cracking. The court is ready to overturn everything.
It can't be worse than the mess they've made with US v. Miller, Presser v. Illinois, and other idiotic anti-gun rulings. And if some things that you think are fine settled the way they areRoe v. Wade for many personsget thrown back into the mix, what price liberty?
No, I don't happen to think that the court is going to do anything useful, really. Nor that Congress and the prexident will avoid making new bad laws to undo what has been done.
But living as I do in a world without the promised air cars and hotels on the Moon, I don't see any reason to be upset by lots of changes to "settled law." Let the games continue. Regards,
Welcome to my Nightmare
Naked mole rats are eusocial mammals. They live in hives with one breeding female with all the work done by non breeding members of the hive to support mama rat. There is only one other eusocial mammal at this time in biological history,the Damaraland mole rat.
These creatures have adopted the survival strategy of ants, termites, honey bees and other social insects. They scare me, as there other mammals evolving in that direction, for example the meerkats in which fully successful alpha females usually block other females in their group from breeding or else drive them out of the group. Note that certain cult leaders tried to claim all nubile members for themselves and you will understand the cause of my fear.
In her book Man after Man Dougal Dixon described a species descended from us that took this path. Of course it would take a lot of mutations and environmental stresses that favored hive behavior over individualism to take us down this path, millennia of these pressures and a splitting away of what to me is a monstrous population from the rest of us. However, humans transmit memes as well as genes and it can reasonably be argued that these memes could favor certain tendencies over others (a culture that encourages vegetarianism would interfere with the breeding success of obligatory carnivores for example. More cogently, it's hard for libertarian lads to get laid by authoritarian lassies, or libertarian lassies to resist the urge to make sure their would be authoritarian lovers never get testicular cancer.).
Funny thing, most eusocial populations tend to be highly inbred. Introduce new illnesses and they get wiped out rather easily. Arguably unless you reproduce new hives really really quickly, it can be argued that eusociality is genetic suicide. Somehow I don't think the 12 to 14 years minimum you need for humans to reach reproductive if not intellectual maturity is fast enough for this purpose.
It is the altruistic duty of libertarians and anarchists to promote individualism, lest we be sucked in by the suicidal siren call of eusociality.
[*shudder* Thanks for sharing that, Al. Non-thanks, I meanEditor]
General Warning And Commentary Regarding Digital Data And It's Storage
Here we see a brief glimpse into the world of digital forensics and the vast potential for mistakes, misuse, and reasonable doubt. While it's a royal pain, folks shouldn't keep sensitive data on their main machine and they also should not be using a computer to pay their bills. A credit card with a low limit may be obtained and used for online purchases if necessary. If consolidation of bill paying and electronic transfer is desired, many banks and credit unions offer this service and by doing so they shift liability and security of those transfers to themselves and their institutions.
At all times one should strive to maintain clandestinely secured back-ups of certain data. Other data of a personal nature but relatively benign should be routinely transferred and stored on quality optical CD/DVD media for ease of storage and usage. This storage should be in duplicate or triplicate depending on the individual's comfort level and these duplications should be facilitated using different brands and lots of media to guard against quality control issues and subsequent undetected flaws and production deficiencies. While massive storage devices are becoming commonplace, they increase the vulnerability and potential for incriminating data to be placed by a third-party and remain unknown to the owner/user/maintainer until such data allows the target to be framed and/or subverted.
Of course, it should also be noted that cloud computing and/or maintaining cloud back-ups is never in one's best interests.
Sadly enough, almost everyone we speak to, regarding effective digital data security, is currently vulnerable and exposed.
On the other hand, nothing can prevent others from planting evidence and/or just whisking one off to Syria or Gitmo.
What a mess we're in...
Just a quick note of thanks for your continued great contributions! Please help us promote Starving The Monkeys before it is banned!
Seriously, if there was one current book that could be handed out to everyone... this is it...
Oh the shrieks of sheer horror and terror as the Mobocracy Looter Minions read about "their" loot and booty gravy-train ending soon... very soon...
By the time we were just a few pages into it we ordered a whole carton of 24 from Tom and since then we have ordered another carton of 32 as well
We've asked those obtaining the book to also do the same if they feel so inclined and surely many will
Again, keep up the great work!
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Tip of the Day:
"The Philosophical Maturity found as a Student and Advocate of the Non-Aggression Principle is so simple it's almost too good to be true. When one begins to understand that each person is an Individual Sovereign Human Being with Basic Inherent Inalienable Irrevocable Human Rights the world as we know it is cast in a totally new illumination. Much the same as we acknowledge blue, red, and yellow as the primary colors, we also acknowledge the Right to Life, the Right to Liberty, and the Right to Property as our primary basic human rights."
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Re: "Obama Moons America" by L. Neil Smith
There are alternatives to NASA. One of them would be to put Jerry Pournelle and his team in charge of building a working lunar base and Luna City. He's even promised to bring some sea water (with putative molecules of Robert Heinlein, whose ashes were scattered at sea) and add a small memorial in the spirit of "Requiem." Jerry has extensive plans. I think his price tag would now run to about $10 billion, given inflation.
Another approach would be to eliminate NASA and the FAA, sell off every stapler and paper clip, raze their buildings to the ground, return the land to the private sector or the universities from which it came, and sow salt where the Vehicle Assembly Building once stood (no stone standing atop another) as a monument to the idiocy of central planning.
Neil speaks brilliantly of the dangers of "a future under the thumb of the sworn enemies of private capitalism and individual liberty." But that is the danger of a future under the thumb of NASA and the FAA. That's why there are no destination resorts in orbit this month, even though Bigelow posted the $50 million prize money for orbital vehicles to travel to his planned space hotels. We know what that future looks like, because it is our present.
It isn't technology and it isn't a lack of economic activitytourism, communications satellites, resource development (mining), and many other proven industries only await access to space. It is bureau-rats and politicians who keep throwing legal impediments in the way of Space Travel Services (1990), MirCorp (2000), Virgin Galactic (2005) and others. Andrew Beal was so frustrated that he took his three hundred million dollars and went back to, ugh, banking -shudder-.
I hate militarism. I despise war. I deride and abjure the death merchants who pose as military contractors and have sucked in trillions of dollars in the last nine years since the war with Afghanistan was started on flimsy pretext. But I would rather have the Air Force, or the Navy, build and operate a moon base, than have NASA involved in any way.
We changed the NASA charter in 1988. I know. I worked myself to gluteal separation on that one. NASA's charter is now to open the door to space settlement. But they are not doing it. NASA isn't opening the door, it is being the door.
NASA delenda est.
To which L. Neil Smith replied
My dear Mr. Holder,
I am certain that lovers of controversies will be disappointed to learn that I do not disagree with a single word the inestimable Mr. Davidson has written in his recent letter about NASA in response to my article about Moon Over Obama.
I am somewhat concerned about the time-frame, with China on the march, as it were, but I suspect that Mr. Pournelle and his worthies could create a Moon base better, cheaper, and more rapidly than NASA. The Navy doing it is attractive, tooI've always had a soft spot in my head for thembut they are another tentacle of the Great Shoggoth.
I don't want to leave readers with an impression that I see the Chinese as villains or that I believe violent onflict with them is inevitable. I do not. There are villains among them, to be sure, just as there are villains among us. Establishing our own Moon base, especially a capitalist one, will allow us to become better friends as their culture is peacefully overwhelmed by hot tubs, muscle cars, and MacDonald's.
Let's explore the Pournelle notion. If Mr. D. will provide some links, I'll gladly write another piece about the possibilities. I would be more than willing to invest in such a thing, although I don't know what Jerry would do with my 47 cents.
I am and remain,
L. Neil Smith
To which Jim Davidson replied:
It has been some time since I read Jerry's pronouncements in his "Chaos Manor: column in Byte magazine. More recently, I met Carl Helmers at a conference hosted by Doug Casey (Eris Society, 2002) without knowing that he had started Byte way back before microcomputing was popular.
I've run across these links this morning:
No doubt Jerry has some archives with much more. I have a breakfast date with a fantastic young lady, so I'll leave it there until later on. How much later on? Depends on the lady.
And then Jim CC:'d TLE thusly:
Yesterday, L. Neil Smith surprised me by writing that a NASA moon base would be better than none at all.
His reasoning is compelling. It did occur to me right away, though, that you had previously talked at some length about the designs for a moon base to be built by a team of your own conception for prize money, perhaps to be posted at around $10 billion (by government, industrialists, or other sources).
Do you have some archives from Chaos Manor about your thoughts on developing a moon base? I seem to recall quite a lot of specifics were discussed and identified, right down to bringing up a pint or so of sea water as a memorial to Robert A. Heinlein as in his short story "Requiem."
Any comments or suggestions would be welcome, and derogatory remarks would be regarded as an honor.
Further comments from Mr. Davidson:
The pages from Jerry's site discussing his moon base proposals are found here:
That should show google results in English with 64 pages, repeats not omitted.
As you can see the results run back to 1999 and up to current date. So, more than ten years he's been thinking about this project.
This link summarises information on Helium-3 in lunar regolith. Just what we don't need, one infant industry (space settlement) depending on another infant industry (fusion that may or may not ever produce net positive energy).
Several false positives, and quite a few "I don't have a flying car or a moon base" laments. Heh.
Lots of pages to wade through, still.
By the way, for only $3 billion, Mitch Mitchell proposed Lady Base One back in 1989. I still have one of the posters and a stock certificate suitable for framing. Heh.
Re. 1: "Mansacks and Generale"
Re. 2: [this link to a .pdf]
It would help immensely if you were to describe the vagaries of the item Re. 2 above for those less informed.
Merely tossing a a PDF with names and figures is a bit 'intimidating' when the nomenclature is lacking relational value as to who and what is being discussed.
[I don't usually include quotations/sigs but this one is so goodEditor]
To which Jim Davidson replied:
> It would help immensely if you were to describe the vagaries
The item in question lists out about $62 billion of AIG's pay-outs to various banks. The names of the banks, such as GSI and SocGen are abbreviations widely understood in the industry.
What happened when AIG was bailed out by the USA taxpayers at the orders of guys like Hank Paulson at the USA Treasury under Bush and little Timmy Geithner at the New York Fed under Bush? Well, very simply, the banks had made bad decisions, year after year, pushing all of their counter-party risk for collateralized debt obligations onto AIG.
AIG broke. It wasn't able to meet the obligations. If you look at the underlying value column, bottom of page 5, it says that $35 billion of collateral was posted to cover $62 billion of obligations.
And that's just on this Schedule A. Overall, the bail out of AIG
was at least $180 billion as of April 2009.
Why was your money paid to AIG? Well, for one thing, so they could,
on Timmy's orders, pay out huge bonuses to their management and staff,
totaling $200 million.
But, much more vitally, AIG was given all this money as a gift to Gold Mansacks and Societe Generale. Goldman Sachs shows in the listing on that .pdf as GSI. RBS is Royal Bank of Scotland. UBS is Union Bank of Switzerland. HSBC is Hong Kong Shanghai Bank Corp. Rabobank is a Dutch bank. Barclays is another big foreign bank. Soc Gen is the Societe Generale bank. Deutsche Bank is a German bank.
Is any of this coming clear, now? The Schedule A .pdf file is the smoking gun that shows (a) which banks, mostly his former employer Gold Mansacks and foreign banks, Timmy wanted to be sure got all the loot from the big bailout and (b) that he wanted to keep this fact a secret until 2018.
Here's what Wikipedia has to say about the scandal:
> 'intimidating' when the nomenclature is lacking relational
I didn't want to write a big long essay about this matter. The cronyism and fascism inherent in these enormous payments to the banking gangsters is at once both very depressing and terribly obvious. The story seems like something Kitco or Bloomberg might publish, the scandal something for CaseyResearch. So I dashed off a quick note about the fact of the smoking gun so others could have a look and form their own conclusions.
Here are my conclusions: the United States government is a tyranny. The people who run the government are eager to destroy your life, your liberty, and especially your wealth, entirely for the benefit of the evil, snorting, pitchfork wielding imps who run the big banks, the big defense contractor companies, the big pharmacy companies.
Go to Wikipedia and look up the FEC committee contribution records for any incumbent in any feral office. Your congress critter. Your senators. Your president. Look them up by name, go to the external links, you'll find someone has formed a link to the Federal Elections Commission web site for that particular corrupt politician. Look at the names of the committees donating to his campaign.
Then look at the other members of, say, the Senate banking committee. Or the House ways and means committee. You'll see the same political action committees of the banking industry, the big banks, the big pharmacy companies, the big accounting firms, the big defense contractor (death merchant) companies, all donating to each and every politician who pretends to represent your interests, but is bought and paid for.
The average Congress critter has a net worth of $2 million. The average income of your neighbors in the USA is about $47,440 based on per capita gross domestic product figures lately published. And most of your neighbors are underwater on their homes, student loans, credit card debt, etc.
Schedule A represents part of the story "why are Americans so poor." The richest country in the world has a per capita gross domestic product of $113,044. That is a low tax country, Luxembourg.
So, what does it all mean? It means that the people in government are going to go right on taking everything you own, telling you it is for the good of society, and then turn over all your wealth to the idiot bankers when they screw up their risk picture. Or give it to the idiot military contractors. Or the big pharmacy companies. Or some other group of wealthy and influential jerks.
I suspect Timmy Geithner will lose his job at treasury. Couldn't be soon enough to satisfy me. I suspect that it took a whole lot of phone calls by all those wealthy and influential banking industry political action committees to get 70 votes for Bernanke in the senate. (Check out the other 30 and see what happens to their campaign finances this year.)
Should you be upset? I guess. If you think you were living in a free country, where what you earned was yours to keep, you should be disappointed to learn the truth. If you think you were living in a society where the government was of laws, not of men, and treated the rich and the poor equallyat least so far as to deny the rich the option of stealing bread or sleeping under bridges just the same as the poor, I guess you should be vexed that the government is corrupt. The rich have had the government take bread from your mouth, and they are eating it, and spilling crumbs on your carpet, and laughing at you.
But this great experiment in America faced enormous odds. It was a great thing, in my view, to make an effort to create a free and transparent government with limited powers that treated all men as though they were created equally, with respect for life, liberty, and property. It failed, though.
And we have to be aware of that failure. The classical liberalism fallacy has burst through the illusion of your government. The fallacy: that governments care about consent of the governed; that governments are instituted to protect the lives, liberty, and property of the governed. Clearly, governments exist no matter how many votes they have to fake, no matter how many emergencies they have to declare.
And, just as clearly, governments exist for the benefit of those who run the government, not for your benefit. They offer no protection for your life, liberty, or property. They will kill you and take your stuff the instant they decide they want to.
Does that upset you? Maybe it should.
I'm beyond being upset about it, though. I've decided that there is no fixing what isn't broken. The system isn't broken from the point of view of those who run it. They get to be really rich, two million dollars net worth rich, and they get to hand out to their buddies trillions of dollars stolen from Americans. If I were to try to fix this mess, and were very successful, I might have a team of five or ten Congress critters fighting against the rest. Arguably, we have a few, like Ron Paul, who stand up against the tide.
But it doesn't do any good. And it is wasting my time. I want to go to the Moon, to Mars, to the asteroid belt, to other stars. I don't have time to dick around with reform efforts.
Sure, I joined the Libertarian Party and voted for Ron Paul in 1988. Sure I gave them money. But since 1971 they have won very few offices and the size of government has expanded by over 17 times. Look at the budget in 1971 and the budget today.
So, what am I going to do about it? Withdraw my support. Encourage other Americans to withdraw their support. And go about doing what I think best, for myself. Make money in the underground economies. Build my rocket planes. Get out.
Do you know judo or jui-jitsu? When you have a bigger opponent, how do you act? You don't go into a fist to fist, force on force contest. You'll lose. Instead, you use the mass and the momentum of your opponent against him. That's how a smaller person can defeat a larger one.
The system evidently relies on the willingness of Americans to pay income taxes and other taxes. It relies on the ability of the government to impose taxes without you having a way outlike at the gas pump. When is the last time you bought gasoline without paying state and federal fuel taxes? Farm diesel, maybe, but you know they dye it. And excise taxes on booze and smokes. And a zillion other taxes.
But what if that pillar of support were withdrawn? What if the unwillingness of Americans to be raped for the banking gangsters came to the point where nobody in the world finance system would believe that the USA treasury was good for the next loans? What if they stopped lending?
Given what they do with your money, given how they govern you, given their complete ignorance of the covenant of unanimous consent, what do you expect?
It's coming. And they know it. That's why Hillary is working on disarming everyone with this latest UN scheme. That's why Obama is moving hundreds of thousands of combat troops back to the USA.
I don't have all the answers. Except one: prepare.
Best wishes for success in your projects.
Re: "Obama Moons America" by L. Neil Smith
The good news is that two thirds of the American people disagree with Obama regarding the issue of returning to the moon. The bad news is that Obama and many of the "political elite" of America think pulling back from manned space exploration is a good idea. Screw potential enemies sitting at the top of a gravity well throwing rocks (really big rocks) at us. Once you've decided to curl up in a little ball and die threats of murder are meaningless.
That is what the decision to not go back to the Moon is, a societal decision to curl up and die. We will stop striving for greatness, we will stop dreaming. We will pull back and hide behind the Tortilla Curtain.
Like the Chinese gained anything by putting up a wall or by calling back their sailing ships a couple of millennia later. I hear tell they may have reach San Francisco Harbor and the west coast of Mexico, gotten all the way to Araby going the other way. Then they pulled their horns in got overrun by the Manchu and divided up by the western powers like a wounded gazelle overrun by jackals, not even wild dogs, jackals.
Like stopping expansion and putting up Hadrian's Wall saved Rome from the barbarians, Imperial corruption, and conversion to an alien religion before it split in two.
Giving up space and striving to send men to the moon and Mars will not strengthen America. It will mark the beginning of decadence and dissolution. It will trigger the demand for strong leaders, or more honestly tyrants. Rather NASA at its worse than an America Balkanized and gobbled up by China, a New Caliphate, and Unified Europe, the surviving American states nasty little tyrannies that hate the word freedom.
Rather NASA at its worse than Obama's rejection of hope and saying,"Actually, no we can't."
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