An Old Acquaintance Rekindled

I recently got wind of a new Blog via Billy Beck. Well, turns out that I also know Bruce McQain from way back, ’95 or ’96. Bruce and I once teamed up on Usenet in thread called “Taxation is Theft.” It was us against a slew of lawyers and tax professionals. Their claim: that taxation is not theft because it’s a “lawful taking” (fancy words that mean it’s Ok, because Uncle Sam says so). Ok, fine, that’s what the law says. But is that what morality provides? Are not laws [supposed to be, at least] a mere imperfect reflection of our moral sense about things? And, did we need laws hundreds and thousands of years ago to tell us that theft and robbery were wrong? And, was not one of America’s founding moral principle that the government is subject to the same morals as individuals are? Believe it or not, the lawyers maintained against all reason that the concept of theft exists only because it’s a codified legal principle—as if primitives in caves didn’t understand that it was wrong for the next guy to take their stuff. Bruce has a good grasp of anthropology, and that certainly didn’t hurt. Needless…

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Stranger Than Fiction

By the time you read this, the news will probably already be out in the major networks regarding Kerry’s alleged [recent] dalliances with an intern. Drudge scoops again.

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Arnold, Arnold, Arnold…

Dear Mr. Schwarzenegger: I just heard your spot on the radio drumming up support for your program to solve California’s fiscal problems. A word of advice; stop using phrases such as: “after all, it’s your money.” This kind of talk just won’t fly politically. Have you any idea at all of the implications of that phrase, and what sort of a moral condemnation it represents for the government and “constitution” you have sworn to uphold? I shudder. Let’s get this straight. When the government collects less revenue, it is an expense to the government, which is why politicians and the news media always refer to tax cuts as too expensive. Got that? As you have been so successful at everything you’ve ever set out to do (bodybuilding, acting, investing, business entrepreneurship), I assume you want to be a successful politician too. So, here’s how. First, heed the above. Next, you’ll need to adopt the Hillaryesque demeanor that we are all your little children and need your guidance in every aspect of our lives. Everything accrues to you and your government. You need to begin saying things like our homes, our jobs, our paychecks, our children, etc. Use the word we…

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Come Again?

In my last entry, here, I proposed an inelegant choice: fraud on the part of Republicans or dishonesty on the part of Democrats. I’ve received some curious input from several sources, so I’m motivated to elaborate. The main thrust of that post was to express my stern disapproval over the very real lack of a sound and concise moral foundation amongst Republican politicians. The result is that they are continually waving in the wind, standing up for nothing—except in times when the moral justification to engage in war is saleable to the public. It seems they can only stand for something when it comes to a menacing USSR, international terrorism, or the next perceived national threat to come along. But when it comes to how the founding moral principles of this country (strange notions such as the moral right to own and dispose of one’s life and property as one sees fit) should dictate political actions in domestic issues, they are either silent, or worse, violate those principles while giving lip-service to those yearning for a small sign of moral fortitude from their politicians. Equally frustrating is the tendency of the many good, value-upholding people who call themselves Republicans to…

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Fraud or Dishonesty: Take Your Pick

I must admit to being somewhat seduced by the Revolution of 1994. Oh I’m sure you remember it, don’t you? The election of that year marked the exact moment in time of our great Republican rescue—the moment when the scope, influence, and cost of government began its sharp decline owing to the power shift in Washington after decades of a Democrat stranglehold. After all, that was the whole point of it, wasn’t it? Had not the republicans campaigned on the promise of finally delivering a whole cornucopia of government-limiting delights—things like accountability, term limits, tax cuts, welfare reform, balanced-budget amendments, cutting and even eliminating bureaucracies, and so on? They even wrote it up in a nice little Contract with America. In 1994, the year prior to the republicans storming in to clean up the place, the federal budget was already an astounding $1.2 trillion. In 2004, 10 years later, the budget is $2.4 trillion, a 100% increase. They doubled the already bloated federal government in the mere space of 10 years. In that same 10-year period, the U.S. population grew by 30 million people, from 260 million to 290 million, an 11% increase. I’ve had enough. I don’t need to…

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Worker Exploitation is Real!

Those who know me best know that in spite of my market-anarchist leanings, I have a soft spot for labor, of the downtrodden, the exploited at the hands of greedy capitalists {uncontrollable grin}. So, here’s a rhetorical question. Suppose a company locates overseas in your typical third-world cesspool, with the obvious reason for doing so being that they can buy labor at a cheaper price there than here, just like you can buy a pair of shoes cheaper at Payless than Saks. So, what should they pay the workers in this third-world country? Is it sufficient to pay them about what they already get on average (after all, jobs are being created that did not otherwise exist, so that in itself is a benefit, right?)? Or, do you believe they are obligated to pay more? If so, how much more? Should they pay a 10% premium, 20%, 30%? … Ok, now that you have your answer firmly in place, read this. And, in case the link goes away at some point in the future, U.S. firms pay between 40% and 100% more than workers earn on average in the domestic economy. So, who doesn’t win? The foreign “exploited” worker wins….

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Just Simply Beautiful

This is a brand new rigid-wing hang-glider designed and manufactured by Aeros, of, of all places, the Ukraine. Apparently, after the fall of the USSR, some ex-aeronautical engineers became entrepreneurs. In both the flex and rigid wing categories, it is quite well known the world over that Aeros delivers the best in performance for the money. Their wings are always near the top of the stack in all national and international X-C competitions, and they significantly under price the other 3 top manufacturers of the world (Wills Wing of the US; Moyes of Australia; Icaro of Italy). To see a small side show of this beauty, christened the Phantom, go here. Now, what’s different about this rigid wing from the one I fly, and the other brands is that it has ailerons instead of spoilerons. Ailerons, basically, modify the twist of each wing in roughly opposite quantities (remember how the Wright Brothers controlled roll–through physically twisting the wings). This makes the wing roll one direction or another and is how a turn is typically initiated. With spoilerons, you simply have a panel on the top surface of each wing, and you cause the panel to be raised on the wing…

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