August 28

Domestic War On Tyranny

Recently I had a chance to attend two of Florida-01 Congressman Jeff Miller’s town hall meetings. At the latter, he made some comments about the need for the US to start drone-bombing into Pakistan more and more, without Pakistan’s permission – which is an act of war against the country of Pakistan itself. I got a chance to address him on this, and the transcript of our somewhat heated back-and-forth is below.

My name is Calen Fretts, I have a few questions for you. First on Pakistan. You brought up how basically you think we need to be bombing into Pakistan, trying to get the Taliban. Pakistan is a sovereign country. At the same time that you’re saying this you’re talking about Libya, the Libya “kinetic action” (not war), being an “arbitrary war” and “how do you choose which country we bomb?”…

(Miller interrupts): Alright let me answer your question.
Fretts: Can I finish the question?
(Miller interrupts): No, let me answer your question.
Fretts: Can I finish please?
(Miller interrupts): NO, let me answer your question.

Miller: Your question is “why would I support sending a missile into Pakistan vs sending a missile into Libya”, correct? I think that’s what you asked.
Fretts: Not exactly. I didn’t get to finish.
Miller:  Well that’s “kinda” what you read. Alright, because the people in Pakistan are killing our men and women in uniform every single day.
Fretts: Can I finish the question?
Moderator: Go ahead, let him have his follow-up.

Fretts: It seems you’re being just as arbitrary as Obama is on this. And my question is, do you support the sovereignty of other countries, and why do you seem so eager to drag us into yet another never-ending war front in the middle east?

Miller: Okay, I appreciate your question that was designed to try to pull me off of something whereby I believe that if people are killing our American men and women and sending them home in body bags, sending them home maimed without arms and legs, the United States of America has every right to go and find these people and kill ’em. You don’t believe that, I do.

(And the crowd goes wild… it’s MILLER TIME! Moderator pulls mic away from me and tells me “That’s it, you’re through!” when I try to respond.)

Since I wasn’t given the opportunity to respond to Miller’s statement then, I’d like to do so now. By Miller’s logic, we ought to invade Libya, and if any American troops get killed or maimed, then the invasion would be justified. OR, you could use reasonable logic, and realize that if we withdrew our troops from the middle east, they would NOT be getting sent home in body bags, or getting killed and maimed, not to mention spending trillions of dollars of taxpayer money on wars that we just don’t need. So, Miller wants to start a new war on a new front. He doesn’t want to end any wars in the middle east, clearly. And he just wants to arbitrarily pick and choose which countries we invade. He doesn’t want to support Obama’s war, he just wants to support his war – whatever the Republicans choose. There you have it.

After seeing what the past decade of war has done to this country, I am now convinced that the only war we should be fighting is a Domestic War On Tyranny. That starts with kicking ALL the bums in DC out of office, including Jeff Miller.

Video: Congressman Jeff Miller town hall 2011-08-26 – War on Pakistan

Category: Florida, politics, war | Comments Off on Domestic War On Tyranny
June 22

The Fed is the root of all money evils

The Federal Reserve, more commonly known as “The Fed”, is the central banking system of the United States. As the common saying among sound money endorsers goes, The Fed is “no more ‘federal’ than Federal Express”. It is in actuality a quasi-federal cartel of private banksters and federal bureaucrats which centrally dictate United States economic policy with no oversight, transparency, or accountability; in fact, it has never been audited in its entire existence. The Fed claims one of its primary objectives is to control inflation, but in fact, the purchasing power of the dollar has decreased by more than 95% since its initiation, and the US has seen a number of recessionary and depressionary periods.

US dollars, more accurately called Federal Reserve Notes, are fiat money; that is, money backed by nothing of intrinsic value, traditionally such as gold or silver. For this reason, The Fed can engage in a little-understood but extremely detrimental act known as quantitative easing (QE). QE is, simply, the printing (or digital creation) of new (but worthless) money (also known as “expanding the money supply”), and is tantamount to legalized counterfeiting. This has the effect of decreasing the value of all other money in circulation, essentially stealing from your savings.

To counteract this criminal enterprise, the US must drastically reform its monetary policy. We must Audit the Fed and determine exactly where our money has been going for decades. We must return to a system of sound money, backed by a valuable asset like gold or silver.

It is no coincidence that the Federal Reserve Act and the Sixteenth Amendment (which established the income tax) were enacted in the same year, 1913 (as a matter of fact, the Seventeenth Amendment was introduced in this year as well, making it a very bad year for the US). Prior to the income tax, most citizens were able to live the majority of their lives without the involvement of the government. The government was funded via consumption taxes, and a return to such a method would do us well.

The Fair Tax would simplify and basically eliminate the current leviathan tax code, decreasing the burden on individuals and small businesses. It would place an emphasis on savings (the wealth of a country), as individuals would have an added incentive to contemplate their own spending. And it would spur economic growth and return jobs to the US, as corporations scramble to invest in the return of industry.

June 10

cheatsheet for World’s Smallest Political Quiz

The short answer: “Agree” to all! Take the quiz, and post your results and comments below.

Government should not censor speech, press, media or Internet:

ANY government encroachment is always a slippery slope. The state has proven time and again that once they get their foot in the door, they will only open it wider. The First Amendment guarantees recognition of the right to absolute freedom of these mediums, period.

Military service should be voluntary. There should be no draft:

Compulsory military service is an infringement of the individual’s right to freedom. Anything the government enforces involuntarily must be done either directly or indirectly at the point of a gun, with the threat of violence, which is not only immoral but against the spirit of liberty. Besides, anyone forced to do something against their will lacks motivation to perform – and if the people of a country lack the motivation to defend themselves from an impending attack, that country is destined to fail either way.

There should be no laws regarding sex between consenting adults:

There should be no laws regarding ANYTHING between consenting adults. Sex falls into that category. What people choose to do with their own bodies is up to them only – period.

Repeal laws prohibiting adult possession and use of drugs:

Possession and use of drugs harms nobody except possibly the user. As established previously, what people choose to do with their own bodies is their business only. Objectors will point out various crimes and hazards stemming from drug use – these issues only exist because of black markets and would be significantly reduced or eliminated altogether with decriminalization. Personally, I have never once used a single illegal drug, but I will defend anyone else’s right to do so of their own volition.

There should be no National ID card:

The powers that be want to put the means in place to eventually be able to track and control our every move – would never happen on my watch. If it were up to me, I would eliminate the Social Security card too, and go back to the original means of identification which worked just fine: by name.

End “corporate welfare”. No government handouts to business:

I would not give another corporation a single taxpayer dime if my life depended on it. Modern governments seems to be primarily run “by the corporations, for the corporations”. This is called fascism, or corporatism. Governments should not have a single finger in business; if a business is failing, the invisible hand of the market will do its work. A new business or entrepreneur will come in, buy up the assets, and restructure them in a more useful way. This holds true even for “critical” sectors, such as banking (though there are issues there with the FDIC, but that’s a whole new issue).

End government barriers to international free trade:

Absolutely. What products the government restricts in order to “save jobs” for businesses, it restricts the citizen (generally, the “little guy”) from obtaining at better prices. Protectionism helps only the corporations by allowing them to artificially inflate prices, creating monopolies. Market competition, even with other countries, is what equalizes costs and spurs innovation. If an entrepreneur can undercut a foreign industry at a profit, he will do so; otherwise, the citizens are obtaining the product at market price, and the entrepreneur’s attention is best suited elsewhere.

Let people control their own retirement: privatize Social Security:

Government control of the individual’s affairs in any way, including finances, should be called what it is: the Nanny State. Most people can manage their own retirement on a custom basis and much more efficiently than the state as a collective, and if they choose to let it sit in a bank, that is their own prerogative. Besides, Social Security is a complete failure and is nothing more than a tax-and-spend slush fund.

Replace government welfare with private charity:

The government has no business forcing one citizen to pay for another against his will. Objectors will claim that without government welfare, the needy will go unhelped; however, they fail to recognize that everything the government does, it is said to do with the will of the people. This means that if it is the will of the people to give to the needy, they will do so whether or not they are forced, and if it is not their will, the government should not be doing it in the first place.

Cut taxes and government spending by 50% or more:

My ideal solution would be to cut government by 90% or more, but unfortunately this is probably impractical. I would like to go to a “Fair Tax” of 10% (if 10% is good enough for God, it’s good enough for me), end the wars and bring all troops around the world home, defund most executive departments/Cabinets, eliminate basically all unelected bureaucracies, repeal the majority of government regulations and legislation, and eventually privatize all welfare/charity. That is, return to Constitutional government – just for starters.

December 7

Wikileaks: good or bad?

the issue

Julian Assange, the man behind Wikileaks, has recently become a household name – but does he garner fame, or infamy? My first instinct was the former – that Wikileaks (or “WL”) is a “good” thing – but, like any levelheaded political enthusiast should, I decided to take a closer look. Assange has been under attack from the “right” AND “left”, an honor not often bestowed but currently shared by the TSA. Huckabee has called for his execution and Gingrich calls him an enemy combatant, while Obama wants him for espionage and Clinton charges him of “an attack on the international community”. But is there logic and reason behind these flurries of words, or might they be passionate but reckless verbal assaults?

The prevailing charge against Wikileaks is simply that it endangers American and other lives. One would presume that the released documents list names of individuals who would be compromised should they become known to the “enemy”, whoever that may be at the time. However, upon researching, one finds that before being leaked, the documents are first redacted – that is, sanitized of such personal information as specific names. How then does Wikileaks put lives at risk? According to the Pentagon, at least in August: “We have yet to see any harm come to anyone in Afghanistan that we can directly tie to exposure in the Wikileaks documents.”

How, then, can the faces of media outlets make such cursory claims? The answer, of course, is that journalism has become a lost art, at least in the mainstream. High-ranking government officials, too, should be held to a higher standard before lashing out – but at this point in our governmental discourse, we know standards have gone out the window. But never fear, there are some of us remaining out in the Inter-ether who’ve retained the skill of objective and impartial research and reporting, and thus I present “the rest of the story”.

the rest of the story

The most recently-released cables, known as “Cablegate” – while flushing out most of the newest media hype and backlash – are in reality little more than a PR embarrassment for the US, for the majority. However, there is evidence of at least one critical document which was leaked: a list of facilities ‘vital to US security’. To quote the article:

There are obvious pieces of strategic infrastructure like communications hubs, gas pipelines and so on. However, other facilities on the list include:

* Cobalt mine in Congo
* Anti-snake venom factory in Australia
* Insulin plant in Denmark

It is not clear whether the document reveals exact locations of these sites, or merely that they exist. However, let us assume the worst. If the document reveals exact locations of sites ‘vital to US security’, let us ask one question: how was such a document made so accessible to so many with low-level federal clearances? Anyone who isn’t a felon or a raging alcoholic can relatively easily get a ‘secret’ clearance; I’m pretty sure I had one to work for VDOT during a college internship. The highest clearance level of any of the leaked documents was ‘secret’. Nothing was ‘top secret’ or ‘classified’. If such information is so critical… why not?

the conclusion

The reason people are so scared of Wikileaks, particularly the higher-ups in the administration, is because it makes clear on many levels the incompetence of the federal government. It causes embarrassment, and it is easier to band together against a fall guy like Assange, than admit that our own government is vulnerable and, at least to an extent, incompetent regarding such things as potentially important to our national security as “state secrets”.

For the civil liberties-minded among us, the Wikileaks have led to many positive outcomes, such as this headline: UN urges US and Iraq to probe Wikileaks torture claims. There is an old Latin phrase: “Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?” which translates to “Who watches the watchmen?” Watchdog expose’s are often controversial, and while Wikileaks may cause the US gov heaps of embarrassment and pain, the common US citizen must exercise careful deliberation and weighing of all sides (there are more than two here) before joining behind mouthpieces like Huckabee or Gingrich, grabbing the pitchforks, and yelling “kill him!” in common mob mentality. Nobody throws the ‘traitor’ card when other ‘journalists’ convey important leaked information from ‘inside sources’ in the government. There is no principal difference here; only scale.

the moral

In this electronic age, if one document gets into the wrong hands, it can never be taken back. And where one site gets offed, ten more will pop up. Claiming that Wikileaks should be shutdown (or worse) is akin to Senator Jay Rockefeller’s claim that the “Internet should have never existed” because of the high amount of hacking attempts on high-profile DoD databases every day. If DoD databases are vulnerable, take them off the Internet. And if government documents are vulnerable, restrict access to them. But, fedgov, don’t push your intel failures onto a scapegoated watchdog website. That’s Wikilame. WIKILAME.

Important Links

  • http://sowhyiswikileaksagoodthingagain.com
  • http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-11882092
  • http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-11632839
  • http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-11923766
November 17

TSA: Tolerated Sexual Assault

Over the past week, more than ever before, public outcry over the TSA’s “naked body scanners” – also affectionately called “porno scanners” – has been LOUD. This, along with the TSA’s increasingly physical searching/groping procedures, has led some to give the agency new nicknames – my personal contribution is “Tolerated Sexual Assault”. But, as with any liberty-vs-security issue, there are always those on the other side of the fence. Here is a look at some of the more “security-minded” arguments, and their common-sense, liberty-oriented counterparts.

I’d rather submit to these invasive security measures than be blown up by a terrorist! How about this: you and yours get on a separate plane with no security, I’ll do whatever TSA says and get on a different plane that has been properly vetted for explosives, and I’ll make it to the other side. Hope you enjoy dying by fireball!

That’s what I’d like too! Well, kind of. Realistically, the airlines themselves ought to deal with security and let the people choose which level of checks they’d like. But we all know that won’t happen anytime soon. Anyways. They did it my way for 50 years and it was an issue once in the US because the TSA lapsed on its job and let multiple alleged “known terrorists” on planes. My line can have bomb sniffing dogs and metal detectors, your side can have porno radiation scanners and Tolerated Sexual Assault (TSA), and I’ll see you on the other side – albeit more quickly and comfortably, and with my dignity :)

This whole “porno scanners” thing is way blown out of proportion. All I saw in those images were gray blobs.

Some of the images aren’t that bad, but do a Google image search for “naked body scanners” (might have to turn safesearch off, LOL) and you’ll see what the majority of TSA agents are seeing (and are able to save). Here’s a link to an example of the naked body scans – WARNING, NSFW. Not to mention the fact that the scanners give off radiation and the long-term effects are unknown and untested. Plus, anyone serious about getting bomb material onto a plane will insert it inside themselves like Paris Hilton and her drugs. The porno scanners can’t even detect that. It’s a false security blanket.

Okay, so I see your points, but I don’t mind letting Big Brother see me naked if it means I’ll be travelling safely. What’s the big deal?

Let me mention a few more things you may not have considered:

  • the naked body scanners store naked pictures of minors. that’s illegal, child porn.
  • Muslim women can object to the scanners and the Tolerated Sexual Assault can only check them from head to neck, on religious grounds…… kind of defeats the purpose, no?
  • pedophiles, perverts, and people with superiority complexes jump at these type of jobs. it legalizes their illegal fetishes. not for me. do you really want some random guy looking at your wife/girlfriend/daughter naked?

At this point, I hope it is becoming clear that the whole thing is clearly just ripe for abuse and poorly thought out. And if that wasn’t enough, well, just today this story came out: Tolerated Sexual Assault agents will put their hands down your pants for free! You don’t even have to ask.

But isn’t it a national security risk anyways? Couldn’t a hijacker with a bomb take the plane and fly it into a building like they did on 9/11?

No. Unbreachable/impenetrable plane cabin doors have been installed on all commercial aircraft and are mandated to be locked for the duration of the flight – as they should have been before 9/11 ever happened.

Whatever. TSA is going to porno radiation scan and grope you, get over it. If you don’t like it, don’t fly.

That’s nonsense. I could make the same argument: “Security isn’t going to invade every inch of your privacy anymore. If you don’t like it, don’t fly.” But that’s not a fair or rational argument, either. The truth is, we’ve got to find a middle ground that does not breach our right to privacy as defended by the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution, as well as our right to travel. I’m all for a reasonable solution – that’s why I want to leave nudity, groping, and radiation out of it.

Category: 9/11, politics | Comments Off on TSA: Tolerated Sexual Assault