Showing posts with label freedom. Show all posts
Showing posts with label freedom. Show all posts

Friday, September 27, 2013

Cutting The Cable TV Cord

We didn't plan to get cable in Arizona. When I called to set up the internet the guy talked me into it saying we could have it free for 6 months; albeit with a more expensive and probably the same quality internet service. The guy suckered me. At our short term apartment cable was included so that was an easy decision.

We moved here and just didn't get cable. So far so good. Right now things are busy enough with me working and us trying to get settled in. Not too far from now we'll probably hook up the tv to an antenna and do Hulu or Google TV to have some options. Overall though we both seem pretty ambivalent about setting either of those options up. We watch some tv over the net on devices. I watch Sons of Anarchy and Wifey watches a couple programs when she has a down minute.

Some folks say tv makes you dumb and is filled with propaganda to control your mind or something. I wouldn't go that far. Saying tv is worse than wasting time listening to music on the radio or reading junk fiction would be hard to substantiate in my book. That being said tv certainly isn't making you any smarter.

The biggest differences so far are that we are outside more [though in fairness having new decent space is a factor there] and just might be talking with each other more. Also the money being saved will pay for a security system which will be nice.

Cut the cord, take your life back and save some money.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Bad Laws: A Conversation On Real Solutions

We freedom loving Americans often find ourselves in situations where we are met with laws we deem arbitrary, overly restrictive, pointless, designed to produce revenues for the government or whatever. We will just call these bad laws. So what is a person to do. Far too often the answer is to yell, scream or whine about it. The mean government is picking on me, blah blah blah. While a good tantrum rant releases tension it is not usually productive in terms of actually fixing the problem. Today I want to talk about potential solutions for those who are bored of simply complaining and actually want to change the situation.

[Far too many reading this only love their own freedoms. Though in fairness that is somewhat natural. You don't hear me yelling all the about home schooling or raw milk being over regulated to death. The simple reason is that I'm pretty ambivalent on both of these topics. A better way might be to say the significant issue is everyone wants to protect or create whatever freedoms they want while simultaneously being able to use governmental forces to control others doing things they do not like. The raw milk producing home schooling family believes they know best what should be allowed to happen in far away's bedrooms and lives so they try to control them. The other people who have never seen a milk cow, let alone a small family dairy believe they know better than the people whose family has been there for a hundred years. The real answer is that none of them know much about the other's lives and they all need to leave each other alone. Freedom for me means freedom for thee. So stop being a jerk who whines about rules that limit them whilst simultaneously trying to rule other peoples lives. End tangent.]

So there is a law we do not like. Fundamentally I see two broad options.

We can recognize that a rule is stupid but it is in fact the law so it has all those  nasty consequences. Since we do not want problems we will begrudgingly follow the arbitrary and stupid law most of the time. A good example of this is the fact that I do not on a regular basis physically assault people in public. At least once a week there is somebody I really want to smack around, if just because I am in a bad mood. My restraint comes not from fear of them but from not wanting to get arrested for assault then go through all that BS.

The other option is to accept that the rule has consequences but decide we simply do not care and are willing to take the risk of sometime being caught and potentially facing those consequences for the benefit of breaking the rule. We all know, or might even be, the person who drives over the speed limit on their way to and from work. Knowing where cops hang out on the route they rightly figure the odds of getting caught on any day are low. When intermittently busted they probably figure after the 100 times of getting away being caught once isn't a huge deal and it's just a fine anyway.

Which way I lean between these two varies on a case by case basis. First in my mind is the severity of the consequences should I be caught. A minor traffic ticket isn't a big deal so maybe it's worth doing 68 or 70 in a 65. The other obvious variable is the risk of being discovered. Let's say I lived alone and enjoyed a recreational substance that is currently in a murky legal status. If I produced it myself, only for myself, without the need for obvious precursor chemicals, etc and enjoyed said substance exclusively at home the odds of being discovered are very low. Though the penalties would be far higher than speeding a but the odds of being discovered are so low the law would probably not get in my way.

Aside from obeying or ignoring what can we do to get around these bad laws?
-Change them. Most levels of government in America have some way a normal citizen can, obviously with enough support, change, add or remove laws. The mechanics can be complicated and obviously a majority of voters is generally needed but it can be done.

-Change who is in charge. Don't like the dog catcher being a jerk, convince voters you will do better, take his job then do it better. Think the Sheriff (they matter A LOT) is not pro gun, push for a trusted member of the community to fill the position.

Changing and circumventing are probably most effective at lower levels of city and county then to a lesser degree the state level. City and county politics (at least outside big areas) are such a snooze few people participate and not many more pay attention or vote. An active campaign with half a decent point that gets normal people excited about an idea/ candidate stands a decent chance of success.

-Circumvent them. Figure out a similar way to meet the same end result without violating the law. This admittedly tends to work best when those who wrote the laws are ignorant on the topic. Guns are a good example here, after the .50BMG banning silliness it took a day or so for .499 rifles and ammo to start popping up. Ban that and .498 would only take 2 days. You get the idea. This has also been shown painfully clear in the area of financial and banking laws. A law is passed that says banks should not do X so they do Y which has the same end result.

-Vote with your feet. Do the research, travel to check it out then move to where you would prefer to be based on a variety of factors. In particular within the US we are seeing some very disparaging situations in terms of firearm and financial freedom develop over time. This makes strategic relocation worth considering. Instead of griping about California's gun laws move to Arizona, Nevada or Oregon all of whom are far more accommodating to gun owners and shooters.

Edited to include:

2 glaring omissions were made in the options which needed to be added for a full discussion.

-Legal Challenge. Find a law you think can be overturned for whatever reason (Unconstitutional seems to be the most common) then look for some schmoe who broke said law or was harmed by it and sue. Keep going until the law is changed or you have exhausted all appeals. This was a staple of business for all manner of leftists for decades and has recently been adopted by Team FREEFOR. The MacDonald case is a good example of this. The downside of this method is need for extensive free legal support or a deep pocketed backer to pay the bills.

-Resistance. The issue with government is that sooner or later everything is backed by force. Break all but the most minor rule and you will face the consequences or eventually men with guns will show up to take you away. You can run, comply or fight. If you fight somebody is going to be seriously injured. Should you get away all sorts of people will be after you. They might burn down your house with the family inside, shoot your wife in the head or who knows what else. Bottom line it doesn't end well.

Now if someone is trying to take your children to a reeducation camp or your newly hated ethnic group is bring rounded up for cleansing by all means take out as many key individuals of the regime as you can culminating in a blaze of glory. On the other hand it's probably better to just pay the traffic fines, follow city ordinances about building, pay your taxes, etc all then go home for dinner followed by a drink and bed.

I do not mean to imply this list is all inclusive but it should give a framework from which you can problem solve to actually do something about these problems. As always thoughts are welcome.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Fix Is On- There Wasn't An AR-15 Involved in Sandy Hook?

So it turns out the asshat who shot all those kids in Connecticut did not have a Bushmaster AR-15 with him at all. This fear driven propaganda is just an excuse to push a totalitiarian socialist progressive agenda to disarm law abiding Americans.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Freedom For Everyone Or Just Folks Who Think Exactly Like You?

It has become clear to me recently that some people only want their own freedom. More accurately they want to be able to say yes, no or maybe to various potential freedoms based on their own belief system. This is what really confuses me.

Anybody who gets in the way of THEIR freedom is a jack boot Stazi thug that should be killed; however they have the right to tell everybody else what the hell they can and cannot do. It isn't that they only pursue their own freedoms (in terms of practicing or advocating for them) that is the issue. I do not donate money or time to help causes I don't care about or expect other people to. (Though this year when I voted there was one simple question for everything. Will this person/ bill make people more or less free? I voted for freedom including several bills I do not personally agree with. Think about it.) It is that they have such a sense of moral superiority that they think it is their right to not only do what they want, but prevent others from doing the same. The concept that other people have some rights also is simply not in their worldview. It is pretty clear that these folks do not want to live in a free society, they just want to be the one wearing the jack boot.

This brings us to an interesting point. It isn't that you cannot choose to associate, or not associate, with who you want. It isn't that you cannot advocate for or against what you want by promoting education and whatnot. However when people talk about using force of law (or other types) to make people act the way they think is correct in areas that are reasonably within the realm of freedom it becomes an issue.

It is my personal opinion that to expect other people to accept my freedom I have to accept theirs. That is the trade off.

Do you think that everyone should get out of your business but you have the right to tell them what to do? If so what makes your views inherently superior to other peoples? What are your thoughts on this topic?

[Also this brings up another point. I think the whole liberty/ FreeFOR community needs to stop arguing about pie in the sky fantasy worlds. Seriously all this argument is just mental masturbation. That would be fine except that it causes significant conflict. It is like two guys who make 30kish a year with kids and stay at home wives arguing over whether Nighthawk or Wilson Combat makes the better 1911. They probably cannot afford a third of either pistol so it is pointless anyway. To make this even dumber imagine that these like minded friends get angry with each other and stop bring friends over this stupid theoretical argument about pistols they can't afford anyway. Liberty/ Free FOR folks would be much better off spending their energy on individual preparations and building local community instead of on stupid pointless arguments.]

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Thinking of Panic Buying?

I have talked to a couple people in the gun biz and they are really busy. I'm not talking rumors over the internet from a guy who knows a guy but actual humans I regularly interact with. Since the election went to our President Barrack Obama the speculation is that he will try to push through some sort of Assault Weapons Ban or other gun control measures.

Personally I do not think the winds of our time are for gun control. Between Heller, the Republicans owning the house and arguably the Democratic party at large learning from '94, a lot of states adding or going to 'shall issue' with concealed carry and the popularity of many modern weapons including Glock pistols as well as other polymer double stack's and the AR platform I don't see it happening. For goodness sake Walmart sells AR-15's these days. There could be too many people who own them or have vested interests in making them for it to happen. However I could be wrong.

Honestly part of the reason I am not all that worried is that over time I've built up a decent stash of weapons as well as magazines and ammunition to feed them. It didn't happen overnight. An order of Glock mag's here, some .223 there, a few AR-15 mags for my birthday, etc. It turns out that if you make 3-4 orders for mags or ammo a year for several years it sure adds up. It certainly wouldn't be ideal if what I've got is all there will ever be but it wouldn't be disastrous.

As we discussed before there are some problems with panic buying. Also as Commander Zero once noted (more or less) if you can comfortably afford something and want it then why hasn't it come home with you already. The guy they find for the news who never liked guns but goes out and gets 2 AR's with a bunch of mags and several cases of .223 ammo because they might be banned is IMO very rare. If you wanted a case of 9mm ammo or a nice AR-15 rifle then either you own it or there is some reason like money, motivation or whatever that it hasn't happened already.

A more realistic scenario I think is that you might re prioritize things if it looks like a ban might be coming. While they are also really important medical stuff, extra boots and commo stuff are unlikely to be banned in a month or two. Depending on where you are low and where you are comfortable it might be prudent to move item #3 on your list which is a spare set of mags for your pistol and #4 which is some more .22 ammo to the front burner. You might even feel strongly enough about the urgency to skip drinks with the guys and bring leftovers or a sack lunch to work a few times to make things happen in a hurry.

Of course it is worth noting to be reasonable about it. Do not be financially stupid or bet too heavily on one possible scenario. I certainly wouldn't recommend spending money you cannot afford or going into debt. Also be careful not to get gun/ mag/ ammo/ accessories tunnel vision. Yes guns and the stuff to run them are important but you still need food, fuel, cash, extra clothes and medical supplies. I think it is reasonable to slightly adjust your priorities (especially for a short period like 3-6 months) to fill needs that may become more difficult or expensive to fill later.

Please note that I am not at all against having a good stash of guns and gun stuff.  If I stumbled into a bunch of money from my dead Zimbabwean Uncle tomorrow another AR and Glock 9mm (or a few of each) with plenty of ancillary stuff would come home with us. It is just that we have limited resources to prepare for all sorts of scenarios. Also to be blunt it is more likely that I will need a Coleman stove w/ fuel and some canned goods than a bunch more shotgun shells sitting in the closet by the other shotgun shells.

As to putting my money where my mouth is. Recently I have purchased 4 of those new 25 round Ruger 10/22 mags and 1 more 10rder for the .22 Buckmark recently. That being said those were shortages identified in recent inventories. I am toying with a few future purchases that might be made in the next few months: a handful of PMAGs and Glock mags as well as a new AR-15 lower for Project AR Upgrade  would be nice. However I'm not going to be prioritizing this stuff above food (which we are short on) and new funding streams that may or may not develop are also a factor so who knows.

Anyway those are my thoughts on that. What do you think?

Thursday, January 26, 2012

The Freedom To Make Bad Decisions

Alternate Title: Libertarians and Puritans
I am typically a pretty concrete writer. I write about things I have done, things I am doing or the like. I am far more likely to be talk about how to pack a bag, ways to get in shape or how to improve your finances than some philosophical or political stuff. These are my strengths and the things that typically interest me so I play to them. Today we are going in a whole other direction. I posted a picture recently (probably a couple weeks or even months by the time this posts)that basically said if you don’t want people telling you what to do don’t try to tell them what to do and it brought a lot of discussion. I replied to folks in the comments section but it got me thinking.

The thing about freedom is that it isn’t just about good decisions.  In fact I would argue that it is mostly about bad ones. Also there is the thorny issue of which omnipotent power decides what exactly constitutes a good decision and what gives them the right to tell anybody else what to do.

Everywhere you go there is some darn politician or expert who wants to be able to tell people what to do. Now I like experts. I have a money person, a weight training person, a conditioning person, some tactical training people, etc. The thing is that I choose to solicit their advice and follow it if I want to, for as long as I want to. If someone wants to tell me what I HAVE TO DO that is an issue for me.

Who the hell do they think they are? Why are they so inherently superior to me that they can tell me what I have to do? If their argument was actually convincing I will probably have gone along in the first place and they wouldn’t need a regulation or a law at all. I don’t think anybody has my best interests at heart more than I do.  More to the point if I am doing something that isn’t clinically and scientifically perfect but I really enjoy it then why should they get to tell me that I can’t? It could be smoking or drinking or eating ice cream or whatever. If I want to spend my time and money on something to try and bring some enjoyment or happiness to my life it really isn’t anybodies business.

Look at the First Amendment to our Constitution, freedom of speech and religion and a bunch of other stuff. You never hear about a freedom of speech case where a nice woman said something polite to her friend. Freedom of speech is about Larry Flint offending just about everyone and the Westborough Baptist “church” spewing ignorant  hate at military funerals. These things are offensive to any reasonable person.

Not many people would like to have Larry Flint over for Sunday family dinner.  Pretty much everybody hates that “church” full of idiotic hate mongers. If 20 rough men with ax handles showed up at their next funeral protest and cracked some skulls I would be fine with that, and I don’t think I would be alone.  The thing is that the freedoms built into our governmental protect those idiots. This is a good thing. It is built on centuries of accumulated customs and philosophy which culminated in the great nation of America. Really if you want to get deeper I believe these rights come from God.

The point of freedom is that you can do what you want unless it infringes on somebody else directly. Not “well studies show” or “second order effects of” or “society” but directly. Obviously Rapist Jim’s desire to rape doesn’t allow him to infringe on Suzie’s right not to be raped. More to the point as long as I am not threatening, menacing or vulgar I can tell anybody what I think of them at any time.

 I can quit my job and start hitchhiking around the country like some 50’s beatnik. If I could physically do it I could smoke a whole carton of cigarettes in a day. I can wear my shoes on the wrong feet and tap dance in the rain. I can borrow money I know I shouldn’t for stuff I don’t need.

All of the things I talked about are stupid. Quitting my job to chain smoke cigarettes and hitchhike around the country tap dancing in the rain while running up a huge visa bill would be stupid all around. The point simply put is that it is my life and I am free to do with it what I wish, good, negligible or bad.

I can bust my hump, save like crazy, start a business, invest wisely and then make huge money or I can get a shack in the woods, have a still and some chickens and get drunk in a hammock during the summer and a recliner in the winter.  It is my life to do with what I wish.

The thing about freedom is that it doesn’t mean freedom from consequences. I am free to tell a 6’8” 400 pound biker covered in prison tattoos that black leather and motorcycles are just a sad cry for help based on impotence, homosexual tendencies and mommy issues but I doubt that would end well. I am free to tell my boss what I really think of him and after that I would be free to find a new job. I am free to eat McDonalds twice a day every day if I want, and I will become obese and probably have a heart attack at 50. I am free to blow my earnings on gambling knowing full well the odds aren’t in my favor and if I play long enough losing is a virtual certainty but I have to deal with the after affects. I am free to neglect my family and start chasing cocktail waitresses but that is going to cause issues in my marriage and likely I would be doing it from a half empty studio apartment before long.

For everything we do there is a consequence or more accurately numerous ones. There are first, second and third order affects of everything we do if you look hard enough. Take enough simple little decisions like charging a nice dinner out or hitting the gym and skipping desert and they add up to huge things. 

To say you believe in freedom except for this that and the other thing doesn’t work. Really that is just “I am right and you are wrong”. To think that everything you believe is good should be allowed and everything you think is bad should be banned is the most egotistical and idiotic political philosophy out there. My son thinks that way. He will move things or throw them to suit his desires. He will hit people or try to move them or harass them if they don’t want to/ can’t pick him up or otherwise are bothering him. Whatever he wants is right and what he doesn’t is wrong. This is ok because he is a one year old and thinks the world revolves around him. Over the next few years he will grow out of this. I expect it from him so I don’t think it is too much to ask of adults.

That reminds me of the Puritans who fled England because they were persecuted and ultimately came to America, where they promptly persecuted anyone who didn’t believe exactly what they did. I find the comparison between the modern religious right and the pilgrims to be striking. They have strong beliefs and think they should be able to force you to have the same beliefs. Moreover they think they have the right to punish you if you do not have those beliefs. At least the pilgrims went to a new place to force everybody to act like them (though they did it because they were persecuted back home) unlike the religious right who think they can make everyone act like them wherever they are. 

My family is very socially conservative. This is for a lot of reasons but it boils down to us believing it is the right way to live. Other than the various sects that say we can’t have booze and have to do other wacky things we live a lifestyle that meshes quite well with conservative republican/ Christian standards. That isn’t the issue. The issue is that we choose to live this way; we don’t do it because somebody told us to or wants to compel us.

I have realized recently that I can’t even call myself a Republican with a straight face anymore even though I may (or may not) vote for them. There are probably some republicans who are not fascists or puritans but they have been keeping a low profile for awhile now. Is it too much to ask for a candidate who isn’t a shameless whore to big business (crony capitalism, not free markets) or an evangelical who wants to force me to live by his particular religious code?

I just don’t see why anybody has the right to tell me what to do with my own life, money and body and by logical extension I don’t get to tell them what to do with theirs. When it comes to some religious issues I do not see why it is any different. I’m certainly not going to live under Islamic law and someone who is a Buddhist or an atheist shouldn’t have to live under a set of rules they don’t agree with. Also I tend to think that religious issues get sorted out elsewhere.

I have a live and let live philosophy about other people’s beliefs and ways of life. This extends from whacky religious nut jobs and vegans all the way people into weird sex stuff, drug users and the like.  To paraphrase Commander Zero “I don’t really care if people have gay orgies while snorting a mountain of cocaine on top of rocket launchers as long as they do it on their own land and kids are not involved.”  It doesn’t mean that I approve of it, just that it is none of my business and as such I stay out of it. We all have to bite our tongues now and then but we get to do what we want, seems like a fair trade off to me. Also life is short and if a person thinks something will make them happy then I wish them the best.

In closing the freedom to make bad decisions is something I firmly believe in.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Two Things That Are Really Bothering Me

I can honestly say I am a lot more pro law enforcement and government in general then most bloggers. However a couple things have really been hacking me off recently. First are supposed laws which make it illegal to film cops/ sheriffs/ meter maids/ whomever. These really anger me. Second the TSA is recently getting their way onto the same list.

I think the filming thing is one of the biggest examples of jack boot Stalinist tactics out there. They are also probably the biggest example of "lets try to call everything we don't like illegal" that I can think of. Of course some guy with a video camera following youaround would get annoying to anybody. However a cop who follows the rules and generally doesn't act like an Only One/ brown shirt doesn't have anything to fear. It is the cops who do shady illegal stuff all day long knowing that dirt bags (sorry but you know what I mean) who get treated like dirt or strait up harrassed won't say anything. Heck even if a normal non dirt bag complains about a cop of course the cop must be right. Often a recording of some sort by a third party is the only piece of evidence a DA or jury will actually believe that can refute a cops testimony. When bad cops (I don't think they are all bad) lie a video tape is just about the only way to disprove them.

What hacks me off even more about this is that cops try to record everything. I recall the case of some drunk college kid awhile back. He got arrested for disturbing the peace, drunken disorderly and attacking a cop. The kid was in serious trouble. However a few days later a video from across the street came out. The kid staggered around a corner and the cop body checked him with a horse then whooped the hell out of him with a stick. Aside from having too many drinks while watching college sports he didn't do a single thing wrong. The only thing that saved that kid from serious trouble was that video tape.

Some cops need to be held accountable for their actions and also the 'blue wall of silence' needs to be broken down. The only way I see that happening is by citizens holding them accountable in a manner people will act upon which means video (or I guess audio) tapes. This seems like a great cause for the ACLU.

The TSA probably have the biggest chip on their shoulder of any government agency. I think it is because deep down they know they are slightly above minimum wage wanna be security guard lackies. A chip on ones shoulder coupled with a bit of very narrowly defined power breeds a serious attitude problem.They are all over the media these days. They will pornoscan you or feel you up.

The whole thing is just so rediculous I don't even know what to say about it. What does this say about the sad state of our country; that we are more willing to force little kids and grandma's to get felt up by some slightly above minimum wage former mall security guard loser then openly admit what everyone knows anyway that the entire terrorist threat comes from males between about 17 and 40 of Arab nationality. More specifically Arab males who have just recently come to the US. Despite homeland security, the TSA, FBI, CIA and a few other agencies bungling we can at least accurately identify the group in question. There is no need to pornoscan grandma's from Minnessota or grope 10 year old soccer players from Iowa.

Hopefully the backlash against the TSA is finally reaching critical mass to the point where it cannot be ignored. Maybe there will be enough news pieces and people writing and calling their various representatives that they do something about it. I don't think the topic of security or anything that gets pushed under that umbrella should be beyond reproach.

All of this stuff is so stupid and the only real explanation for it that I can see is conditioning. Conditioning people to subject themselves to whatever kind of indignities some random employee of an obscure government agency tells them to. Conditioning them to not ask questions. One more paranoid than I could say the slippery slope to travel passes and inspection checkpoints a la Stalinist Russia isn't that long.

I personally don't worry about it much. Not because I like it at all but because I don't have another option. As a military family and particularly a military family overseas if we want to see our family we have to fly. It would take a lot to stop us from doing that. It is however interesting to theorize about this stuff.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Good Stuff I've Read Lately

Mayberry wrote a good post yesterday.
For a teaser here is part of it "Lead by example. Lead by leading yourself. Live and let live..."

Also a teaser of my comment. "Until we are willing to give up our pay offs in order to end the screwing Peter to buy Paul's vote AND deal with our neighbors annoying stuff; we are going to continue to be screwed by a lot of people and also have others mess with our lifestyle." 

Also something Ferfal wrote today was pretty awesome.

Monday, July 12, 2010

5 Common Habits That Cost You Dearly

Read this and think about it. If you are doing any of these things and are not in the money spot you want to be then maybe some change is appropriate.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

quote of the day

"Your country needs you Logan"-Striker
"I am Canadian"- Logan

I enjoy those easy going beer loving folks up north.  If they had better gun laws I would seriously consider moving up there. Yeah they have socialized medical care but we are headed that way at a dead sprint anyway. To their credit the Canadians managed to avoid the whole sovereign debt issue because their banks stayed out of the derivative and bail out madness.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Can it happen here?

I was reading Time today (as usual) and came across a story about Australia's new massive Internet censorship plan. It started me thinking: can that happen here? I didn't think too long, because the answer is, under current law, yes. Easily. Here is how.

We need to understand that the Federal Constitution, under the supremacy clause, is the highest law in the land. After it, there is federal law, then state constitutions, then state law. Note, federal law trumps state constitutions. The State of Oregon is often used as a case study for this, because, unlike most states, the Oregon Constitution is interpreted very differently than the Federal Constitution (no matter where you go to law school, if you take a class on how state constitutions work, you will focus almost exclusively on the Oregon Constitution). Under the Oregon Constitution, there is a complete ban on content regulation of speech; under the Federal Constitution, there is a multi-part test, which I will be discussing later. The Oregon Constitution is MUCH more protective of free speech than the Federal, but it only applies to state law. If a federal law is in violation of freedoms protected in the Oregon Constitution, it can still be applied to citizens of Oregon.

On a side note, for those of you who follow the blog, you have noticed that Ryan and I don't say where we are from. There is a reason for this; Ryan is in the military, and I will be a lawyer soon. This blog could have a negative impact on our careers, and the nice thing about the Internet is it allows us to say what we actually think. I mention this only to tell you that, no, I am not from Oregon. Nice try, keep guessing (not that you care).

Anyway, when looking at free speech issues, there are two lines of analysis. Speech regulations are either content based, or conduct based. For example, a law saying no yelling in city parks between the hours of 9pm and 6am, is conduct based; it applies to people based on what they are doing. A law saying no supporting libertarians in city parks is content based; the law specifically targets the content of the speech. The law in Australia is content based; it targets certain types of speech.

When a law is content based, the strict scrutiny test is applies. It requires that the law must be "narrowly tailored" to a "compelling government interest". Strict scrutiny basically means the law fails. While this is not universal to all cases (this test also applies to Equal Protection claims and affirmative action has passed it), the overwhelming result is that a law is invalidated.

Right now you are saying "but Ryan, J.D., you said it can happen here! You are a lair!" There is a second prong of the analysis. There is some speech which the Court has said is simply not protected. Strict scrutiny does not apply, its completely free to be banned. Here are the 3 big categories, with explanations.

1) Inciting- Speech can be banned if it creates a "clear and present" danger of lawless action, the conduct is likely, and the speaker intends it to cause the conduct. In the South, during the civil rights movement, MLK telling people to engage in sit-ins, could be a crime. Its not protected.

2) Fighting Words- Abusive words which are likely to cause a physical reaction from a reasonable person. If you say anything which makes me want to hit you, it can be banned. Please note here, this actually applies to anything. Saying you are a libertarian at a democrats house could be considered fighting words. It hasn't gone that far, but it rationally and easily could.

3) Obscenity (my personal favorite)- Speech that is sexual, offensive, and "lacks serious value" can be banned. As Justice Stewart famously said in Jacobellis v. Ohio,
"I shall not today attempt further to define the kinds of material I understand to be embraced within that shorthand description ("hard-core pornography"); and perhaps I could never succeed in intelligibly doing so. But I know it when I see it, and the motion picture involved in this case is not that." While the Court does not currently use the "I know it when I see it" standard, this phrase sums up how the Court actually views obscenity.

Anything which falls under these categories could be banned nationally from the Internet. Porn is gone. Anything saying a law is unjust could be censored. Anything which makes someone else want to hit you, good bye.

As noted before, this law would even apply in Oregon. In Oregon, it could not happen. There is no test to determine whether the constitution is violated other than, does the law restrict speech based on content. If the answer to that question is yes, the law is unconstitutional.

I love the Internet, because it allows me to say what I think. Are there down sides? Absolutely. The KKK assholes get to say what they think. However, that is what the Freedom of Speech is all about. You can think and say whatever you want, and I get to think and say that you are an asshole. You can do the same to me. That's the beauty of it. Once you take that away, freedom becomes meaningless.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Stop Backing Yourself Into a Corner

One of the wonderful things about America is that it is a very free country. Maybe not quite as free as it was at some other point but people living in the good ole USA have more rights, protections and freedom to do what they please than in just about every other country in the world.

So often people back themselves into a corner in terms of lifestyle and the resulting debt/ expenses. They have to live in this kind of house, drive this type of vehicle (or even a vehicle at all), charge stuff they can't afford and whatever. The result is that they are in an uncomfortable situation. These folks often turn around and blame everybody but themselves for their circumstances. It is a big picture version of eating a big mac and extra jumbo fries with a large milkshake for lunch every day and blaming other people for why you are fat.

If you don't like the amount of money you can make then get a degree or some certification or skill to become more valuable to an employer or customer. It is a lot more productive than whining. If you do not want a mortgage then find some kind of alternate housing you can afford to pay cash for. Maybe get a little piece of land paid for free and clear. Hate the idea of an HOA then don't buy a house in one. If zoning restrictions in your current location prevent this kind of action and you really still want to do it then MOVE to somewhere you can do what you want. If you want to home school your kids then move to a home school friendly area. Don't like the tax laws in your state? Move to a different one. Don't like your city/ states gun laws? Vote with your feet. If you want to be able to shoot an AK-47 from the front porch naked at 3 in the morning then start in a state that is cool with the AK-47 and then find a place with no nearby neighbors. If you don't want to deal with car insurance, registration and such then don't have a car. Live within biking/ walking range or public transport routes to the places you need to go. Maybe arrange to go to Costco with a cool neighbor who has a big van every month or two. If you don't want a credit card then don't have one. Don't like debt; too easy simply do not borrow money from anybody. If you hate paying taxes then make conscious (legal of course) choices to limit your tax liability.  This is checkers, not chess. Simply make choices to not be involved in things you don't want to be involved with and to be in the situation you want to be in. 

Of course because this is simple doesn't mean it is easy. Just like dieting or household budgets knowing what you should do and easy implimentation are very different things. Every decision has second and third order effects. You might like some parts of an area (family, work, recreation, etc) and hate the restrictive laws. Not having a vehicle sucks but you don't need insurance or vehicle inspections. Living in a nice house is more spacious and comfortable than a travel trailer or a shack/ tent. Generally places where you can buy a piece of land for the price of a decent pistol and do whatever you want on it kind of suck. They are far from jobs, may not have water or are otherwise undesirable. Hence the name junk land.

The thing is that you have to make a choice as to what is more important. Often nice places to live where there are plenty of good jobs and fun things to do have expensive housing costs. So either move to a place where you can afford to live comfortably or stay where you are and gripe about the rent/ mortgage/ taxes.

The old saying about construction comes to mind; a job can be done fast, cheap and right but you only get to pick two of them. Inevitably there are difficult choices and compromises to be made on all fronts (housing, location, work, vehicles, debt, tax and gun laws, zoning, etc).

The important word in that last paragraph is CHOICES. I'm not telling you that you must do anything (though it would be nice if you clicked on one of our ads and suggested the blog to a friend;) but am telling you that you can choose. The real interesting part is that this stuff can snowball big time. If you don't need to make a big rent/ mortgage payment then maybe you can quit that horrible job. You could then try a business idea that has been in your head for awhile. If you don't need to impress people at that fancy job then maybe an older paid off vehicle (or no vehicle at all) will work just fine. With all that time you aren't at work all kinds of things could be done.

Take some responsibility and ownership over your life. Figure out what is really important to you. Think outside the box and focus on what is important to you and your family, not the Johnson's, or anybody else. Make the inevitable hard choices and create the kind of life that you really want to have.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

quote of the day

"You can have peace. Or you can have freedom. Don't ever count on having both at once." - Robert A. Heinlein

Thursday, May 20, 2010

RE: Everybody Draw Muhammad Day

Blogger ReeBz said...
According to the dictionary of "Oxford University Press"- "Oxford guide to British and American culture", Freedom of speech is :"The right to express any opinions in public. This right became part of American law under the "First Amendment". If the opinions expressed are false or damage a person's reputation,however that person can take legal action under US law. In Britain people are free to express most opinions,but it is against the law to express some ideas,e.g ideas that aim to cause RACIAL hatred."

All those who are defending the "draw Muhammad day" because of freedom of speech then they must learn that freedom of speech has certain limits too. it doesn't mean that you start jumping on others necks or you start humiliating them.

If the cartoon is just cartoon for you, then wait let me draw a very offensive and humiliating cartoon of yours,when you will be sparked with anger I will slap hard on your face and say "hey dude, do not be angry. Its freedom of speech." Same is the case now, first Molly Norris drew images for south park, when she was threatened by the Muslims which was of course natural and reasonable, followers of Molly Norris started a terrible contest on the name of freedom of speech. Shame on All! If hurting some ones sentiments is freedom of speech then m sure no one will mind if we draw same dirty, offensive images of yours.

OK, TOR here. As you might imagine I have a response to this. First I am pretty amazed that somebody from Pakistan read my blog. Seriously it is a small world these days. Anyway it is interesting that I wrote a whole post to go with the advertisement for draw Muhammad day. I decided not to publish it to keep things civil and avoid argument and such. Looks like that is out the window.

Not going to lie I read this in the morning and am replying later on my lunch hour. Sometimes it is better to cool down and write with a clear head. I will try hard to avoid personal attacks or attacks on religion.

Here is the American First Amendment- Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. It is a  very complex amendment but among other things it says you can pray however you want, whenever you want and to whomever you want and I can say what I want. The concept in Britain that some speech should be banned or censured because people don't like it does not apply in America. We are different countries. In fact America fought a war with them in order to be able to make our own laws. Also I would point out that Muslims are not a race.

As to our First Amendment there is an interesting court case you should read called Hustler Magazine vs. Falwell.

The whole point of FREEDOM OF SPEECH is precisely that it does not have limits. Of course you can't slander people or yell fire in a crowded theater but other than that go for it. I can say whatever I want and so can you. In America I have to put up with the stupid opinions of all sorts of idiots saying ridiculous things. Some of their opinions anger and offend me. However everybody else has to put up with the stupid stuff that comes out of my mouth too. That is called freedom.

It is just fine to me if you do not want to draw Muhammad or not drink alcohol or eat bacon or whatever. I do not seek to impose my beliefs on you through force or any other way. Heck I won't even try through the free exchange of ideas. However I will be damned if I will let you force your opinions on me. As long as I follow the laws of my country (or wherever I happen to be) and don't harm anyone I will do exactly what I want, including drawing Muhammad.

You said "If the cartoon is just cartoon for you, then wait let me draw a very offensive and humiliating cartoon of yours,when you will be sparked with anger I will slap hard on your face and say "hey dude, donot be angry. its freedom of speech" " I am just fine with you drawing a picture of me or Christ or whomever you please. First I am fine with it because I believe in free speech. Secondly I have a sense of perspective and don't get my panties in a bunch every time somebody says or does a thing I do not like. Lastly I am fine with it because I just don't care at all about you or anything you do. You can die tomorrow or live forever, I am ambivalent. As a great quote said more or less "my freedom to swing my arm around ends when it hits someones nose."

"Same is the case now, first Molly Norris drew images for South Park, when she was threatened by the Muslims which was of course natural and reasonable" Here is where you really loose me. Your desire to force your views on others through the implicit threat of violence is not so cool. Do you think it is acceptable for everybody to do that or just Muslims, or just you? What if 10 men with guns came to your home and said if you continue to practice Islam they will do horrible things to you and kill your family? Would that be natural and reasonable?

There is no shame on all. SHAME ON YOU! Also shame on all those who try to force their views, religious or otherwise, onto other people through the threat of violence. 

Draw whatever you like and I will darn sure do the same.

Have a good day


Please note I would never want my readers share whatever views they have on this comment to its authors email ( or at its authors blog.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Everybody Draw Muhammad Day

Wrote a post to go with this and decided to skip it. The picture really speaks for itself.

Tomorrow I will draw Muhammad.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Read This-Massoud's Letter To The People Of America

A Message to the People of the United States of America

Date: 1998

I send this message to you today on behalf of the freedom and peace-loving people of Afghanistan, the Mujahedeen freedom fighters who resisted and defeated Soviet communism, the men and women who are still resisting oppression and foreign hegemony and, in the name of more than one and a half million Afghan martyrs who sacrificed their lives to uphold some of the same values and ideals shared by most Americans and Afghans alike. This is a crucial and unique moment in the history of Afghanistan and the world, a time when Afghanistan has crossed yet another threshold and is entering a new stage of struggle and resistance for its survival as a free nation and independent state.

I have spent the past 20 years, most of my youth and adult life, alongside my compatriots, at the service of the Afghan nation, fighting an uphill battle to preserve our freedom, independence, right to self-determination and dignity. Afghans fought for God and country, sometime alone, at other times with the support of the international community. Against all odds, we, meaning the free world and Afghans, halted and checkmated Soviet expansionism a decade ago. But the embattled people of my country did not savor the fruits of victory. Instead they were thrust in a whirlwind of foreign intrigue, deception, great-gamesmanship and internal strife. Our country and our noble people were brutalized, the victims of misplaced greed, hegemonic designs and ignorance. We Afghans erred too. Our shortcomings were as a result of political innocence, inexperience, vulnerability, victimization, bickering and inflated egos. But by no means does this justify what some of our so-called Cold War allies did to undermine this just victory and unleash their diabolical plans to destroy and subjugate Afghanistan.

Today, the world clearly sees and feels the results of such misguided and evil deeds. South-Central Asia is in turmoil, some countries on the brink of war. Illegal drug production, terrorist activities and planning are on the rise. Ethnic and religiously-motivated mass murders and forced displacements are taking place, and the most basic human and women's rights are shamelessly violated. The country has gradually been occupied by fanatics, extremists, terrorists, mercenaries, drug Mafias and professional murderers. One faction, the Taliban, which by no means rightly represents Islam, Afghanistan or our centuries-old cultural heritage, has with direct foreign assistance exacerbated this explosive situation. They are unyielding and unwilling to talk or reach a compromise with any other Afghan side.

Unfortunately, this dark accomplishment could not have materialized without the direct support and involvement of influential governmental and non-governmental circles in Pakistan. Aside from receiving military logistics, fuel and arms from Pakistan, our intelligence reports indicate that more than 28,000 Pakistani citizens, including paramilitary personnel and military advisers are part of the Taliban occupation forces in various parts of Afghanistan. We currently hold more than 500 Pakistani citizens including military personnel in our POW camps. Three major concerns - namely terrorism, drugs and human rights - originate from Taliban-held areas but areinstigated from Pakistan, thus forming the inter-connecting angles of an evil triangle. For many Afghans, regardless of ethnicity or religion, Afghanistan, for the second time in one decade, is once again an occupied country.

Let me correct a few fallacies that are propagated by Taliban backers and their lobbies around the world. This situation over the short and long-run, even in case of total control by the Taliban, will not be to anyone's interest. It will not result in stability, peace and prosperity in the region. The people of Afghanistan will not accept such a repressive regime. Regional countries will never feel secure and safe. Resistance will not end in Afghanistan, but will take on a new national dimension, encompassing all Afghan ethnic and social strata.
The goal is clear. Afghans want to regain their right to self-determination through a democratic or traditional mechanism acceptable to our people. No one group, faction or individual has the right to dictate or impose its will by force or proxy on others. But first, the obstacles have to be overcome, the war has to end, just peace established and a transitional administration set up to move us toward a representative government.
We are willing to move toward this noble goal. We consider this as part of our duty to defend humanity against the scourge of intolerance, violence and fanaticism. But the international community and the democracies of the world should not waste any valuable time, and instead play their critical role to assist in any way possible the valiant people of Afghanistan overcome the obstacles that exist on the path to freedom, peace, stability and prosperity.

Effective pressure should be exerted on those countries who stand against the aspirations of the people of Afghanistan. I urge you to engage in constructive and substantive discussions with our representatives and all Afghans who can and want to be part of a broad consensus for peace and freedom for Afghanistan.
With all due respect and my best wishes for the government and people of the United States,
Ahmad Shah Massoud.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

quote of the day

"I am free, no matter what rules surround me. If I find them tolerable, I tolerate them; if I find them too obnoxious, I break them."

-Robert Heinlein, The Moon is a Harsh Mistress

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Financial Peace

Financial peace is an appealing idea. Basically it goes like this, having a financial situation is where you can do what you want. I am not talking wealthy or do whatever you want tomorrow, crazy rich. I am talking being able to quit your job tomorrow should you decide to. Being able to retire early or move across the country (to a free state;) or what not.

How could you become financially peaceful? Also how could I become financially peaceful?

My first thought is that savings are essential. It would not be very smart to quit your job (no matter how bad things got) if next weeks paycheck is needed to pay bills and buy groceries. No matter your income savings are essential. Savings let you have a buffer to ride out a sudden job change or move or whatnot.

The second is living below your means. It doesn't matter if you are a surgeon making 200k a year or a laborer making 20k. You need a buffer between what you make and what your normal expenses are. It is hard to pull your kids out of public school and put them in a private one if you can't pay for it. It is hard to scale back a bit at work in order to spend more time with the family if you can't afford the pay cut.

The third is avoiding debt. Lets say you find out about work's new Friday furlough program that starts next week. This means 3 day weekends which are nice and a 20% pay cut which isn't so nice. You go home and tell the spouse about this. First a 3 day camping trip is planned and then you look at the finances. Eating out a bit less and going from the super every channel even in languages you don't speak plan to basic cable or just an antennae are obvious choices. Maybe watching the cost of food a bit more and putting off some plans for new furniture will help also.

People with minimal debt can do a lot to cut their overall expenses. If need be these folks can live absolutely dirt cheap to get by through a rough patch that is longer than their savings will just absorb. However folks who have a car payment and a credit card payment and a store card and a HELIC to pay off find they can not cut these expenses without serious back blast. These folks would have the same problem our federal government is having now. They have so many expenses they can not readily do anything to cut or eliminate.

The great part of these three is that they are pretty realistic for most people. Maybe not easy or fun but doable. Everybody can make choices that help in these and avoid those that detract from them.

Of course having no debt and a paid off residence would help a lot. These are not so easy to attain. The vast majority of the benefits of this idea come from the first three. Also living and practicing them makes it a lot more realistic to pay off your residence and have absolutely no debt. Paying off the mortgage faster or buy a couple acres with a travel trailer or whatnot is not unthinkable given the significant amount of income that has now been freed up.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Breakin The Law, Breakin The Law

One of the interesting and thought provoking parts of the book I am reading is that it discussed breaking the law. It is too tempting and easy to think that in any situation worse than a weekend power outage you will just saw the barrel of your Remington 870 flush with the tube and carry it around all the time shooting people who do things you do not like or otherwise doing whatever you want. Matter of fact almost every serious worst case scenario worth considering will have law and order and LEO's in some form or another. Making difficult choices in an environment which is probably more harsh and restrictive isn't a pleasant idea but it is a realistic one. Both Matthew Bracken's "Enemies" series and the recent and enjoyable "John Galt" blovel show that things can get really bad AND you will still have cops and laws to worry about.

This book discussed breaking the law in an interesting and dispassionate manner. Look at what you can lose or gain from breaking a law. Look at the cost to benefit of both sides. For example I firmly believe anybody who does not keep a valid drivers license, have a vehicle that is properly registered and maintain the necessary auto insurance is seriously asking for a ton of trouble. You can get pulled over and provided you have the previously mentioned basic stuff you can go on your way without a hassle. If you want to argue about the legality of drivers licenses or whatever you could well end up like the brothers in Patriots. A drivers license costs a few bucks and they are good for several years. Vehicle registration sucks but if you drive an older and modest vehicle it isn't that bad. Assuming your driving record is halfway decent and you drive an older vehicle the bare minimum liability insurance should not hurt your pocket that nuch. For the cost of being able to drive wherever you want carrying whatever you feel like and getting out of a police stop with just a modest fine to me this is well worth it. Often the alternative means real problems when getting pulled over, even for what would surely be a warning like a dead tail light. Getting pulled over and not having these simple documents (Papers Please!) will almost surely mean your vehicle is going to get towed. In order to be towed it needs to be 'inventoried' and depending on what you have in it that day things could degenerate significantly from there. At a minimum it will cost money, take time and inconvenience you significantly.

What law would it be an easy decision to break? Well ones that are not actively enforced and do not carry significant penalties come to mind.

To me this isn't about saying "I am a free American and I can do whatever I want". For instance breaking federal firearm laws will almost surely bring a serious penalty. Mr. "The Constitution gives me the right to saw off this shotgun barrel" could well find himself in prison. One who was a bit more pragmatic might note that the difference between an 18 1/4 inch barrel and a 17 3/4 inch barrel is a half inch OR a few years in the pen. It is about taking an objective look at how breaking certain laws could make you more free as well as the risk of legal consequences and the severity of those consequences.

Just think about it.

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