Friday, February 14, 2003

Complaints spur name change for school play

Technical High School students involved with the play "Ten Little Indians" will make some changes to tonight's opening after people complained to the school's administration about the title.

The administration asked the artistic director to explain before the play begins that the title isn't meant to offend American Indians. The program will be printed with "And Then There Were None," the name of the Agatha Christie book on which the play is based, in large print and the title in small print.

That was, of course, the American title of Agatha's novel. The British title was "Ten Little *******." [Fill in the plural of a dialect variation of the Spanish word for black.] If the students had used *that* title, they'd be hung.
What Would Jesus Shoot?

Rio De Janeiro, Brazil ( - Religious leaders and politicians here are protesting a group that wants to portray Jesus Christ carrying a revolver and causing the death of a child. The portrayal is to take place during Rio's Carnival celebration, which starts later this month.

Collateral damage during a shootout with Satan.

I'm not sure Christ would carry a revolver, however. I think he'd be a large frame semi-auto man. Maybe even a Streetsweeper for his famous intervention in the foreign currency markets of Temple of Jerusalem.
Guns & Duct Tape on Curtis & Kuby WABC Radio

On WABC radio in NYC this morning, Curtis Sliwa (head of the Guardian Angels) and Ron Kuby (radical lawyer, communist, and partner of the late William Kunsler) were chatting about terrorist attack preparations. Ron repeated his point that guns and plenty of ammo were the most important part of any emergency survival kit.

Ron's classic quote: "Guns will get you through times of no duct tape better than duct tape will get you through times of no guns."

Thursday, February 13, 2003

Man[Person]-eating lions dine on ecotourists

Ecotourists are helping nature in an unexpected way - by becoming "fast food of the bush" for man-eating lions, it was claimed today.

Reports of lions eating humans are increasing in Africa, and one reason may be more tourists camping on the big cats' doorstep.

Craig Packer, of Minnesota University, told New Scientist magazine: "There have been a fair number of attacks on humans in the last couple of years, including some in South African camps.

"The problem is, there is a growing number of camps putting people in the bush right next to lions."

Ah the glory of nature. Gaia detects an excess in certain populations and as "though by an invisible hand" acts to readjust the balance.
Instapundit Exclusive--Sauron Lives!

THE LOCAL CHAPTER OF EARTH FIRST! has partially covered a billboard for "Hooters" with this sign reading "Frodo Has Failed -- Bush Has The Ring." (A couple of them -- looking very chilly -- are "occupying" the sign, as you may be able to make out on the lower right. And yes, this is actual, firsthand photojournalism here on InstaPundit.)

So, let's unpack this. EF! is claiming that George Bush is Sauron. But Sauron, as all right thinking persons know, is a non-human, dark-hued practitioner of an alternative faith/lifestyle who is oppressed by humans and their Elven and Hobbit running dogs. They all appear in a series of novels written by a racist, misogynist, Christian for g*d's sake. Sauron was the good guy, wasn't he? Or at least misunderstood.

Does that make W our second Black (or at least Dark) President?

Wednesday, February 12, 2003

Surviving the Khmer Rouge

Francois Bizot is thought to be the only Westerner to survive Khmer Rouge imprisonment during their genocidal control of Cambodia in the 1970s.

The book he wrote in 2001 on his experience, 'The Gate', has been recently published in English.

He's teaching at the Sorbonne. By all means listen to this short actuality from the BBC.

He talked to the BBC's East Asia Today programme about his horrific ordeal, and his relationship with his interrogator, the notorious Khmer Rouge leader [actually their chief torturer] known as Duch.

The interview and the book are full of "banality of evil" sorts of quotes. "When I saw the killer's mask drop from him, what I saw behind the mask was not a monster...I saw someone looking like myself." Translation -- Duch was an idealistic, communist academic who naturally found himself torturing people. Just like "us" or like those of us who are idealistic communist academics.

"What I learnt from Duch and the torturers was that, altogether the good and the bad are in ourselves."
Truth Detector: Who's Mean-Spirited Now, Esquire?
So Eric Alterman has apologized for the following remark in an Esquire piece:

ESQ: "As a liberal who do you find more objectionable, Bill O'Reilly, Chris Matthews, or Rush Limbaugh?"

Alterman: "No question it's Limbaugh. He has an army. O'Reilly and Matthews are entertainers. I don't think anybody would follow the other two into a fire, but Limbaugh is different. The lack of civility that he demonstrates toward liberal politicians is really dangerous to our political public. I hate to say it, but I wish the guy would have gone deaf. I shouldn't say that, but on behalf of the country, it would be better without Rush Limbaugh and his 20 million listeners."

But lost in the reaction to the remark is that Rush is, in fact, profoundly deaf. He has regained hearing bionically but he's still deaf. An interesting case because he apparently got almost as good results as it's possible to get from his implant. Many people have problems with the devices. I would guess it's because he spent 35 years listening to people and sounds coming to him over headphones and he had to interpret them. We are what we do. Whatever we spend time doing our brains change to facilitate the doing. Action begets physical transformation of the circuitry.

I wonder what Alterman means by the phrase "danger to our political public". Does Rush encourage assassinations? What about his affect on our non-political public? Just wondering.

How to Invade Iraq Without Violating the Non-Aggression Principle (In case you felt the need to)

1) Fire the 82nd Airborne and abandon Fort Bragg.
2) The 82nd Airborne finds itself in the vicinity of a great deal of abandoned land, equipment, and ordinance and sees the entrepreneurial opportunities.
3) The 82nd Airborne begins to mix its labor with the soil and homesteads the former Fort Bragg. Sells naming rights on the open market. Fort Bragg becomes Fort Viacom.
4) Motivated by the need to meet payroll costs for 14,000 trained troops, the 82nd Airborne forms a joint stock company and issues shares (NASDAQ Ticker AIRB). Retains name "82nd Airborne" to preserve powerful brand identity.
5) Forms joint undertaking with ExxonMobile (XOM), Shell Oil (SC), and British Petroleum (BP) to prospect for under-exploited oil reserves in the Middle East.
6) Identifies oil development opportunity in land claimed by the so-called Government of Iraq (an outlaw entity that claims to rule territory by threat of force).
7) Cuts a deal with the recently privatized 25th Infantry Division
8) Lands forces in unoccupied territory.
9) Brings the oil fields of "Iraq" into a regime of private ownership by mixing their labor with the soil and converting them from unowned to owned property.
10) Are attacked by the armed forces of the self-styled "Government of Iraq".
11) Blows away the attackers thus preserving their property rights.
12) Note the absence of non-aggression axiom violations.

For those who doubt that a Libertarian Anarchist can legitimately violate the (nonexistent) national sovereignty of a nation without violating his principles, I can only point out that L. Neil Smith's The Probability Broach features an "invasion" of Germany by a 1000 airship fleet from the North American Confederacy and also an accepted claim by the Hamiltonian invaders from an alternate timeline that free societies can't object to armed groups entering their (non) territory. I would think that LNS qualifies as a moderately pure libertarian.

Economists' statement opposing the Bush tax cuts

But do these economists support tax increases? Some do presumably even though our tax burden (Federal + State) is more or less as high as it's ever been. But what about the rest? If they don't support Bush's tax cut then they are supporting a tax increase for most Americans. That's because the State governments are busy increasing their already record-setting tax burden.

So you've got a choice. Support offsetting Federal tax cuts or favor a tax increase at this point in the business cycle.
Sex, Drugs and Rock 'n' Roll
The latest in a series from the WSJ on the various flavors of "Conservatism." I guess that that pedagogical purpose justifies an Introduction to Libertarianism that would have been more suited to 1973 or 1983 than to 2003. Too bad Ms. Lee took a rather unnuanced approach to the subject.

Let's parse this puppy:

Sex, Drugs and Rock 'n' Roll
Libertarians have more fun--and make more sense.

Wednesday, February 12, 2003 12:01 a.m.

...Libertarianism is simplicity itself. It proceeds from a single, quite beautiful, concept of the primacy of individual liberty that, in turn, infuses notions of free markets, limited government and the importance of property rights. In terms of public policy, these notions translate into free trade, free immigration, voluntary military service and user fees instead of taxes....

...To libertarians, on the other hand, the model of a free market functions as a template for all things. Not only does the market operate as a continuous process for sorting through competing ideas as well as goods, it also allows each individual to express himself or herself....

A number of comments in the essay like this one suggest that libertarians' support for liberty is utilitarian. That we are all Benthamites because freedom is the best way to (self-organize) society. That has been part of libertarian philosophy but most libertarians base their politics on natural rights/natural law not utilitarianism. Mill not Bentham. We support the free market not because of efficiency but because a free market is what happens when individuals' freedom of action is not politically constrained. Libertarians focus more on the morality of liberty than its efficiency.

...Libertarians are not comfortable with normative questions. They admit to one moral principle from which all preferences follow; that principle is self-ownership--individuals have the right to control their own bodies, in action and speech, as long as they do not infringe on the same rights for others....Libertarians do not concern themselves with questions of "best behavior" in social or cultural matters.

Here libertarianism is given too much and too little in the same paragraph. Too little because libertarianism is one of the most highly normative political philosophies. As political philosophers, libertarians can quickly and easily test various political proposals against the non-aggression axiom and downcheck everything from the Securities and Exchange Commission to the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to the local Vector Control District (free those vectors!). On the other hand, the author gives libertarianism too much by stating that libertarians don't propose norms of best behavior in social matters. This assumes that libertarianism in a "complete" philosophy. It's not. Libertarianism qua libertarianism is only a political philosophy and lacks theories of esthetics, ethics, theology, epistemology, and personal behavior. Libertarians as individuals are perfectly free within their political philosophy to espouse white supremacy, pacifism, private ownership of nuclear weapons, Anglo-Catholicism, atheism, the worship of Shiva, vegetarianism, the Atkins' Diet, grammatical prescriptivism, progressive education, etc.

By contrast, conservatives are comfortable with normative issues....These values are not the result of the agnostic process of the free market; they are ontologically inherent. Because conservatives assume that there is a recognizable standard of excellence...For example, they argue that the state of marriage between a man and a woman possesses great virtue. And they can go on to distinguish lesser states of virtue in other types of relationships. This process of distinguishing isn't an entirely epistemological argument, however; it is based, in part, on tradition and, in part, on sociology taken from assumptions about "best behavior."

Libertarians believe that marriage between a man and a woman is just one among other equally permissible relationships; ...Conservative thought proceeds from absolutes, hierarchies and exclusivity. Libertarian thought promotes relativism and inclusiveness--although, admittedly, this tolerance comes from indifference to moral questions, not from a greater inborn talent to live and let live....

I can't tell here whether the author is accusing conservatism of the sin of epistemology or reliance on authority or what. Actually, both conservatism and libertarianism have a long tradition of committing both sins. Aristotle is beloved of libertarians and conservatives. Aquinas and C. S. Lewis both used logic and epistemology in their explorations of theology. Lewis' argument against priestesses in the [Roman or Anglican] Catholic Church and Robert P. George's contemporary argument against same-sex marriage are rigorously based on the proposition that such arrangements are not wrong but logically impossible. On the other hand, libertarians have also sometimes relied on tradition (The Enlightenment and the Founding Fathers) and sociology (utilitarianism) in butressing their arguments.

All this falls to the bottom line in obvious ways. Conservatives are against gay marriage, they are often ambivalent toward immigrants, and patronizing toward women; they view popular culture as mostly decadent and want to censor music, movies, video games and the Internet. They crusade against medical marijuana. For their part, libertarians argue for legalizing drugs; they are in favor of abortion and against the government prohibition of sex practices among consenting adults. They abhor censorship. In the conservative caricature, libertarians believe in sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll--but it is not far from the truth. Unfortunately, these debates are often animated by the fact that conservatives see libertarianism only as the face of what it defends: transgendered persons adopting children, video games of violent sadism and, yes, cloning. Simply put, the shocking and repellent decline of civilization. But for libertarians, these are merely some of the many aspects of a civilization that is advancing through vast and minute experiments. The exercise of freedom trumps the discomforts of novelty.

Libertarianism (as discussed here) is not a lifestyle choice. I know plenty of libertarians who have conservative or even reactionary social views. There are also conservatives (the Amish, for example) who eschew government authority and practice their traditionalism on the basis of voluntary organization. The real argument is between conservatives and "liberals" who favor a central, coercively organized social system and conservatives and liberals who favor voluntary arrangements.

...Now, few doubt that Hayek has won and that the economic argument has been settled in favor of free markets. What remains is the battle over politics and culture. One down, two to go.

I hope the battle of economics has been won. The remaining battle is purely over politics and that is not going well (since governments continue to grow in size and power). There can't be a battle over culture since absent political intervention, traditionalists will be able to live as they choose. No battle. A traditionalist PUD would be able to exclude gays and the godless at will and discriminate against decadence on any grounds it chose. If the more extreme libertarian anarchists were to win the political battle, a pro-life PUD could even punish abortion by death (among its population) if it was so organized. The "culture wars" are only a problem because governments can attempt to impose the ideas of one side or another on everybody. It's better to think of the conflict as being between monopoly and choice rather than as being between tradition and post modernism.

Monday, February 10, 2003

Official Taxpatriates Page

Every quarter since the end of 1996, the US Internal revenue Service has published a list of US citizens who have renounced their citizenship. As of the 4th quarter of 2002, 4159 names have appeared on this so-called taxpatriate list.

I just updated (more or less) my Official Taxpatriates page. In spite of its name, the Page itself is not official. Only the Lists are (and indeed are linked from the online version of The Daily Newspaper That Rules our Lives aka the Federal Register).

The .csv taxpats database has been updated but I have yet to update the JFILE and MobileDB versions. Is there anyone other than myself carrying the Taxpats list around?

CPO SPARKY is defending the Relocation of the Japanese from the US West Coast during WWII. Thanks to Instapundit for the link:

Some Facts (Not PC Shrill) on the Relocation of Japanese During WWII

The terms "internment" and "relocation" are often confused and used interchangeably. By law (an over 100-year-old Federal statute), no U.S. citizen could be "interned." That term applies only to detention of enemy aliens. When interned, enemy aliens were placed in Department of Justice camps under Army control. The people who were interned were considered threats to national security, subject to judicial review, and were allowed to have their families accompany them on a voluntary basis. Only some 11,229 Japanese (plus 5,620 Nisei who renounced their U.S. citizenship) were interned, along with 14,426 Germans, Italians, and other enemy aliens.

Evacuees were altogether different: those that were relocated were allowed, at least initially, to go anywhere they wanted in the interior. Note, also, that those of Japanese heritage who lived outside the Military exclusion area (California, the western half of Washington and Oregon, and southern Arizona) were not sent to relocation centers, although many of Japanese heritage living outside the exclusion area did request to be allowed to move into a center.

However, to suggest that 120,000 people were "locked up" as Mr. Floyd Mori suggests is, to use his own words, "outrageous and uneducated" and "patently incorrect."

Then perhaps CPO SPARKEY can explain why Mitsuye Endo had to file a Habeas Corpus petition to get out of her "Relocation Center" if she was in it voluntarily.

Mr. Justice DOUGLAS delivered the opinion of the Court.

This case comes here on a certificate of the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, certifying to us questions of law upon which it desires instructions for the decision of the case. Judicial Code 239, 28 U.S.C. 346, 28 U.S.C.A. 346. Acting under that section we ordered the entire record to be certified to this Court so that we might proceed to a decision, as if the case had been brought here by appeal.

Mitsuye Endo, hereinafter designated as the appellant, is an American citizen of Japanese ancestry. She was [323 U.S. 283, 285] evacuated from Sacramento, California, in 1942, pursuant to certain military orders which we will presently discuss, and was removed to the Tule Lake War Relocation Center located at Newell, Modoc County, California. In July, 1942, she filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus in the District Court of the United States for the Northern District of California, asking that she be discharged and restored to liberty. That petition was denied by the District Court in July, 1943, and an appeal was prefected to the Circuit Court of Appeals in August, 1943. Shortly thereafter appellant was transferred from the Tule Lake Relocation Center to the Central Utah Relocation Center located at Topaz, Utah, where she is presently detained. The certificate of questions of law was filed here on April 22, 1944, and on May 8, 1944, we ordered the entire record to be certified to this Court. It does not appear that any respondent was ever served with process or appeared in the proceedings. But the United States Attorney for the Northern District of California argued before the District Court that the petition should not be granted. And the Solicitor General argued the case here.

This case was decided the same day as Korematsu (which upheld the exclusion zones). Here the court decided that once the Feds excluded the Japanese, they had to let them go. Obviously not a view shared by the Feds or the War Relocation Authority because they didn't let anyone go (except into the armed forces) prior to this decision.

More in my next post on MAGIC intercepts, etc.