Friday, May 29, 2015

One of My Rare Defenses of a Republican

Former US Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert -- a Republican from Illinois -- has been indicted on two charges:

  • Withdrawing his own money from his own bank accounts in unapproved amounts; and
  • Lying to the FBI about why.

In anything resembling a free -- or even sane -- society, neither of those things would be crimes.

Rachel Maddow used the word "forever" last night to describe federal laws 1) requiring banks to report transactions in excess of $X and 2) making it illegal to conduct transactions of less than $X to avoid the reporting requirements. My recollection is that she has it completely wrong; such laws first went into place in the mid-to-late 1990s (e.g. "Know Your Customer") and got tweaked in the early 2000s (the "USA PATRIOT Act"). That, by the way, would have all been on Denny Hastert's watch.

In a free -- or even sane -- society, what you did with your money would be your business and nobody else's. Ditto lying about it to busybodies to/with whom you had no contractual obligation to speak truthfully or non-aggression obligation to not defraud.

The implication in the indictment is that Hastert was being blackmailed; that he was paying "hush money" to and an unidentified "Individual A" in order to keep that someone from going public with some kind of damaging information.

If that damaging information pertains only to Hastert and to the person being paid off -- that is, if what was being covered up was not itself aggression against/involving some third party -- I also don't see why anyone but Hastert and "Individual A" should have any say in the matter (see Walter Block on blackmail for why).

But if the state does have such an interest, it seems to me that according to the state's own disclosures, Hastert was the victim, not the perpetrator of blackmail/extortion. So why is it that he's been indicted, but "Individual A" has not?

Thursday, May 28, 2015

An Explanation ...

English: Tamara Millay, Libertarian activist a...
English: Tamara Millay, Libertarian activist and U.S. House candidate. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Over the last few weeks, some of you may have noticed I'm not "around" blog-wise as much as I had been, and that I've made non-specific references to a "family medical situation." I was non-specific because I was waiting for someone else to be comfortable disclosing the details outside a very small circle of family and friends. Now that she has, I can tell you about it.

A couple of months ago, my wife (Tamara Millay) got her first mammogram. She was then called in for a second one to confirm the presence of something anomalous. Following that, a biopsy and a diagnosis of ductal carcinoma, aka DCIS or, in English, breast cancer. Since then, there's been an MRI, resulting in detection of something in the other breast, to be followed next week by yet another biopsy. Upcoming, of course, will be treatment -- surgery of some sort, radiation, etc.

So yeah, things have been less than fabulous around here lately. Fortunately, Tamara is a fighter and an optimist, and of course I'm doing all I can to be 1000% supportive, as are the kids, as we navigate through this. We all appreciate your positive thoughts and, if you are so inclined, prayers.

I'll continue to be as frequent/regular as I can with the blogging and podcasting and so forth, but obviously other things take precedence and priority right now.

Thanks For Asking! 05/28/15

This week's AMA thread (and subsequent podcast) is brought to you by Darryl W. Perry:

First, a note: Every week, I forget to put this thread up on Wednesday. And every week, while I'm putting it up late, I say to myself "you know, what I ought to do is create a Google Calendar reminder for myself so that I don't forget to put it up on Wednesday." And every week, I promptly forget to do that. So this week, it occurred to me BEFORE I put up this thread, and I went ahead and set it up. So hopefully you'll start seeing these threads on Wednesday like you're supposed to.

OK, so the rules revisited:

  • You ask (in comments on this thread). You can ask anything that strikes you as interesting.
  • I answer -- either in the comment thread, or on the weekend podcast, or both.

So ... hit it!

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