Thursday, August 31, 2006

More about "sponsored posts"


As you can tell, I'm trying not to let "sponsored posts" overwhelm my bloggage, but I did want to get back to Kn@ppster's readers with a followup report. There are a lot of "income opportunities" out there which turn out to be scams. You do the work, but you never see the money. I try to keep y'all informed of what I run into on my never-ending quest for bucks.

I'm happy to report that PayPerPost is not one of those scams. I've actually received money from them -- two $5 "referral commissions" (via PayPal -- very convenient) for sending them new bloggers (thanks, guys!). I haven't been paid for the "sponsored posts" yet, because they defer payment for 30 days to ensure that bloggers don't post, collect, then erase the posts, but I have every expectation of receiving those payments. Their site even gives me a convenient countdown to the day when I will be paid for each post.

So: This is a good one. There's no reason why you can't easily make enough money to cover dialup Internet service or your paid blog hosting service -- more if you're ambitious. If you're interested, visit PayPerPost -- and please use my email address (thomaslknapp at yahoo dot com) in the "referred by" space when you sign up!

And by the way, no, this is not a "sponsored post" except to the extent that I might make some referral commissions from it.

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First Look 2008: LP Situation Report


A few months ago, I started a series of articles on candidates for the Libertarian Party's 2008 presidential nomination, eventually posting some general thoughts, some asides, and profiles of Karen Kwiatkowski, Michael Badnarik and George Phillies.

I paused in that series because, as of that time, I wasn't seeing serious activity from other actual or prospective candidates. Now I'm involved with a new party which may very well run a slate of its own, so it's only reasonable to assume that I'm writing this and future articles in the series from a decidedly different perspective.

Still, keeping up with what's going on in the LP is worthwhile, and I'd like to bring things up to date a bit:

- Candidates who had announced prior to the series hiatus, but whom I have not yet covered, include Lance Brown, Jim Burns, Dave Hollist and Robert Milnes (thanks to Politics1 for keeping a handy reference list). I may profile some or all of them in the future. Right now, the only one of these "other guys" who seems to be even remotely active is Milnes (see his recent interview at The Next Prez).

- Since my last article, at least four new candidates -- Gene Chapman, Steve Kubby, Christine Smith and Doug Stanhope have thrown their hats in the ring. Addtionally, the obviously libertarian Kent McManigal has announced his candidacy, but has not specified any particular party's nomination as his goal. [Note: I am not sure of the timeline on the Chapman and McManigal announcements -- I just know that I noticed them recently rather than earlier]

Some quick and dirty prognostication:

As I see it, the LP's nomination is, as of right now, Steve Kubby's to lose. I'm not saying that just because I like him (although I do, and although I supported him for the VP nomination in 2000). I'm saying it because he has some chops.

- Kubby is a capable campaigner with real political experience in helping put Proposition 215, California's "medical marijuana" law, over the top.

- He has a base of support in the party (and, unlike George Phillies, does not seem to have a base of firm opposition to match it).

- He has a base of support outside the party in the drug law reform movement. He announced his candidacy to a mob of 50,000 screaming Hempfest attendees. Most LP presidential candidates don't get near a mic in front of 50,000 people even after their nominations.

- He's successfully raised funds for various projects, and I have no doubt that his "past donor" Rolodex is, or shortly will be, smoking from use.

- His ongoing legal case has generated some name recognition for him, and that name recognition tends toward the positive, at least among people who won't dismiss marijuana advocates out of hand. The case is generally, and correctly, perceived as the railroading of a political threat, not the prosecution of a criminal.

I am not suggesting that Steve Kubby is the best possible nominee -- others may enter the race, and personally I think Kubby would be smarter to run for governor of California again in 2010 and president in 2012, as 2008 is going to be a foreign policy referendum, not a plebiscite on the drug war -- but he's starting his bid with formidable pre-existing advantages over his current opponents, and the LP could certainly do worse.

Let's talk about "worse" for a minute. I have nothing against Doug Stanhope. I think he's a funny guy. He has some name recognition as well. Unfortunately, that name recognition is generally associated with dick jokes and the direct marketing of videos featuring topless co-eds. I have nothing against dick jokes or topless co-eds, either, mind you ... but I'm having real trouble taking "Stanhope 2008" seriously (especially since the Politics1 link to his campaign web site leads to a search-engine-optimized link farm).

There's something to be said for "celebrity candidates," but let's think this over for a minute. Dennis Miller is a celebrity comedian. So is Al Franken. I don't see either one of them on the list of front-runners for their parties' presidential nominations. There's a reason for that. A comedian who has never been elected to prior public office running for the presidency of the United States is, and will be seen as ... a joke. For that matter, comedians like Sonny Bono and that guy from "Love Boat" made it to Congress, but were never considered serious presidential prospects.

And, while running a comedian for the presidency might increase the LP's vote total in 2008, that would be purely a matter of novelty value. Novelty value wears off quickly, and the LP has 2012 and after to think about. Doug Stanhope is the pet rock of LP presidential prospects. Even if his candidacy sold wildly in 2008, the party on whose ticket he ran would be stuck out in the garage with the round tuits and "Garfield" freaked-out-cat car window stick-ons four years later and for some time after that.

No, Steve Kubby is not as well-known as Doug Stanhope (who, by the way, isn't particularly well-known) ... but Kubby is probably more well-known than any past LP presidential nominee was at the time of his first nomination. And he's known for political activism, not for one-liners.

Of course, all bets are off if the evil one enters the arena. But right now, I'm betting on Kubby. At present, the only other candidate I'm seeing who deserves a shot at the nomination based on doing the work involved in an active campaign is George Phillies, and I'm unconvinced that that work will pay off for him.

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Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Sponsored Post: Laminate Flooring


The first time I saw laminate flooring for sale, I thought it was a pretty cheesy idea: A money-saver for starter homes, perhaps, but no substitute for "real" traditional hardwood floors.

Of course, that was before I came up against my current do-it-yourself nightmare. The linoleum-type floor tile in our kitchen was old when Tamara moved in 13 years ago, and lately it's become just plain unacceptable (faded, cracking, etc.). I'm going to have to do something about it.

My first instinct was ceramic tile, but that just has too many disadvantages. It's pricy, it's a pain to install, and it's hard on bare feet -- we generally don't wear shoes around the house.

When I worked construction, I had to help put down tile once (most of our work was rough-framing houses and leaving them for finish crews, but the odd job came along). Once was enough. I'm just not looking forward to it.

The link above leads to a full-coverage site on laminate flooring, and I learned a few things there that are pointing me in the direction of going with it. Easier installation is a plus, of course, as is price.

One thing I didn't know (I'd never looked!) is that the stuff is available in patterns that mimic tile, marble and such. There's a ten-foot open entrance connecting our living room (with its "real" hardwood floor) and the kitchen. Trying to match them would be difficult -- at the very least I'd have to stain, and then there's the matter of grain and texture -- and I prefer a contrast anyway. I'm thinking perhaps a dark red ceramic tile look. The site's notes on durability and laminate flooring's standard aluminum oxide finish are also encouraging. I'd rather do this job again 20, rather than 12, years from now.

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On being a radio god


I don't do as much radio as I'd like, and I usually forget to let Kn@ppster's readers know when I'm going to be doing it. Gotta do something about that. Soooo ...

I'll be on The Danny Fontana Show in North Carolina on Friday, September 1st, from 2:30 pm (eastern) to 3:30 (I think).

Check the site for affiliate radio and TV stations, and for webcast info (there's an archive -- I can't tell if there's a stream or not).

Topic: Sigh -- wouldn't you know it? The "Fair" Tax scam.

I had the chance to be on one of my favorite shows, Freedom Rings! on Monday to talk about the Boston Tea Party. A lot of fun and it went well, but as far as I can tell there's no web-accessible audio archive. If I get a chance to do it again, I'll try to give you a heads up.

And then there's Radio Free Liberty, another favorite. That was awhile back -- you can find the show in the archive, but you should listen to them all.

I'm still fiddling with the idea of A Podcast Of My Very Own. Stand by for that Real Soon Now. And, of course, if you have a show of your own and an open time slot for a mouth-breathing revolutionist, drop me a line. Especially if you're Angela Keaton.

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Monday, August 28, 2006

The "Fair" Tax is a welfare scam


Over on one of the Yahoo! Groups I frequent, a poster wrote the following:

There is an old saying that says that the perfect is the enemy of the better. The fair tax while not perfect is clearly much better.


Below, I extend and revise my reply, which I figure is both detailed and succinct enough to make a good blog post/capsule argument (since I've been alluding to the "Fair" Tax now and again, but haven't actually taken it head on). I've also linked some of my claims to supporting source material:

Only if by "clearly much better" you mean it:

- Results in the theft by government of just as much money as the income tax (the "Fair" Taxers boast that their proposal is "revenue neutral");

- Results in the same amount of, or perhaps more, redistribution of wealth than the income tax (the "Fair" Taxers boast that their proposal is at least as "progressive" as the income tax);

- Puts every American on the dole so that they're recipients of monthly government welfare checks which the majority will likely fight tooth and nail to keep coming in perpetuity (the "prebate"); and

- The "Fair" Taxers' arguments about eliminating the IRS aside, will require a bureaucracy to administer (both to collect and to send out the welfare checks).

The "Fair Tax" is at least as bad as the income tax in every way, and worse in some ways. It's not a tax cut. It's not a tax elimination. It's just a strengthening of the tax system by linking it to a welfare program -- just like Social Security, which has been a "third rail" issue in American politics for half a century precisely because millions of Americans have a vested interest in keeping the checks coming.

It may not be politically possible to get the income tax straight-out eliminated right now, but it is politically possible to get it CUT, which would be a far superior alternative to the "Fair" Tax.

The Boston Tea Party's program calls for universal, bottom-up tax cuts as follows:

"The Boston Tea Party calls for legislation adopting an annual, regularized increase in the personal exemption to the federal income tax of $1,000 or more, and the additional application of said personal exemption to all FICA/Social Security taxes paid by employees and employers."

Members of Congress (mostly Democrats) routinely propose and vote for increases to the personal exemption, so it's politically doable.

Increases to the personal exemption give EVERYONE who pays taxes a tax cut, from the janitor at the local factory to Bill Gates.

Increases to the personal exemption remove people from the tax rolls and withholding treadmill entirely (every time the exemption goes up, more people's income falls below the taxable amount).

Applying the personal exemption to Social Security payments would address the extreme regressivity of the Social Security system. The poorest people pay proportionately the most in Social Security taxes (since the requirement to pay is capped at a certain income level in, I believe, the $60K range), and they receive the fewest benefits (due to shorter lifespan).

Eliminating the income tax is the best option. Failing that, cutting it is. Replacing it with a tax that doesn't cut taxes, doesn't remedy redistribution problems, doesn't eliminate (or probably even reduce) the associated bureaucratic and administrative costs, and puts every American on government welfare is just a scam if the goal is to reduce or eliminate taxation.

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Related Links: Kim Priestap: Fair Tax Blog Burst | third world country: Fair Tax/OTA

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Thursday, August 24, 2006

Sponsored Post: Gambling Guide


Before getting into what I expect to actually be a fairly meaty post, I'm going to do the sponsor right and encourage you to visit The Gambling Guide. If you gamble -- or if you're interested in doing so -- it's a fine resource.

For obvious reasons, it's best to equip yourself with some basic knowledge before your first trip to the casino, or before playing games you haven't played before. The Gambling Guide offers tutorials on the standard games, as well as -- so far as I can tell -- sound advice on betting practices, strategies and "systems." As a long-time leisure gambler and the author of one gambling book (the self-e-published Roulette for the Leisure Gambler, which I may put back up for sale some time soon) and of help files for an online casino, I think I'm reasonably qualified to render that judgment. I've reviewed the guide's roulette and blackjack sections. While they're not comprehensive, they do cover the basics and include the appropriate cautions to keep novices from making really bad betting decisions.

The monetization of the site seems to be based on affiliate links -- casino signups, book sales, etc. -- rather than on direct revenue from gambling. In other words, the site's proprietors don't have a stake in giving the reader bad scoop on play. That's a plus. Outside the "guide" sections on games, venues and such, the site also includes scrolling odds boards and other tools that sports bettors may find useful.

Bottom line: If you're going to gamble, be smart about it. The Gambling Guide is definitely a great place to arm yourself with the information you need to do that.

Now, to some explanatory material (some readers of this blog may find it odd that I gamble or advise others to do so):

In a recent email exchange, Paul Wakfer asked me to explain my views on "the value and rationality of gambling," as his views on it, in his words "have always been negative." Here's an excerpt from my reply:

For most people, gambling is not a rational activity if it is undertaken in the expectation of winning big or doing it as a profession. Every casino game has a house edge against the player -- some more than others and some with minor exceptions, but in general, gambling for money per se is an irrational activity.

Gambling can only be considered rational if one finds it entertaining, or otherwise rewarding on some basis other than the likelihood of winning.

Many people (myself included) do. If I play my cards right (pun intended), I can go to a casino for an hour or three, have a meal, drink as many beverages as I care to drink, sit around a table and converse with people I've never met before and often find interesting ...

... and at WORST I'll spend about what I'd have spent having dinner and drinks and watching the latest 90-minute Hollywood abortion down at the local cinema. At best, I may win some sizeable amount of money. In the usual course of things, I break about even. Maybe I'll leave the casino with $10 more or $10 less than I entered it with, but I'll also leave it having eaten prime rib for dinner, consumed a couple of drinks that I like but wouldn't pay bar prices for ... and probably with a couple of interesting conversations under my belt.


Once again, The Gambling Guide is the place to start if you want your gambling experiences to resemble mine as described above. Have fun!

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A "solution" indeed


In a recent article over at The Free Liberal, Carl Milsted sets forth what can only be described as an exceptionally bold proposal for the libertarian movement. While others, notably the "Fair" Taxers, have recently hinted at universalizing the output variable of the welfare state, Dr. Milsted does us the courtesy of coming right out in open support of a "citizen's dividend."

Please note: I'm not being sarcastic here. The "Fair" Taxers have been fairly cagey in describing their proposed "rebate" program. They don't want to be seen as welfare statists or wealth redistributionists, so they couch their ideas in "smaller government" and "increased efficiency" rhetoric. Dr. Milsted lays out his proposal as what it is, so that it can actually be discussed as what it is. Yes, he does address issues of efficiency, economies of scale and such, but he does so in a refreshingly open manner.

In criticizing Dr. Milsted's proposal, I'm not going to resort to libertarian principle. While I believe that the "citizen's dividend" would certainly fall afoul of most libertarian conceptions of legitimate state activity, I'm willing to concede in advance that it might be possible to construct a form of it that would not necessarily do so (this is especially true if one accepts a Georgist analysis of property in land and proposes that the government act as a property manager/rent collector for the populace).

Instead, I'm going to argue against Dr. Milsted's proposal on practical political grounds. I believe that, even if a "citizen's dividend" as envisioned by Dr. Milsted could be squared with libertarian principle, it would be a bad idea from a tactical and strategic standpoint.

Dr. Milsted's article is titled "A Versatile Solution." I find that title meaningful. A "solution" is "a homogeneous mixture composed of one or more substances, known as solutes, dissolved in another substance, known as a solvent."

Lip service to ideals of participatory democracy notwithstanding, I think that most Americans regard "the government" as an entity external to society; as a bunch of politicians in Washington who are, if not the enemy, at least not to be trusted too far. And I think that's a good thing. A "citizen's dividend" would go a long way toward making government a solute in the solvent of the population receiving the checks. It would more deeply embed the structure of the state in popular support, such that government could probably get away with just about anything it wanted as long as the checks kept coming.

This isn't speculation -- we've seen it with Social Security. Even now, as that system hurtles toward collapse, we're only beginning to discuss the possibility of making cosmetic changes to it. The reason for that is that millions of Americans get a check from the government every month (or expect to soon), and those Americans are not going to put up with any guff from anyone whose ideas can be in any way construed as threatening an end to the checks.

A "citizen's dividend" would be Social Security writ large. Its constituency would consist of every American, and the vast majority of that constituency would, once the program was in place, fight tooth and nail to keep it in place. The threat that it might in any way be compromised would then be held over America's head versus any suggestion that the people mailing the checks -- the bureaucrats -- didn't want entertained.

The obvious counter-argument to this -- and one that Dr. Milsted alludes to -- is that a "citizen's dividend" would encourage fiscal responsibility in government, since it would be more politically acceptable to cut just about any other program than to cut the dividend itself. Once again, however, we need only look at the history of entitlements to see that this is a vain hope. Politicians don't propose cutting Program X in order to "save Social Security." They propose increasing taxes and funding Program X, on the claim that if Program X is not adopted, the crisis it is intended to address will itself threaten the solvency of Social Security.

Let's jump ahead twenty years, after Dr. Milsted's "citizen's dividend" is in place.

Libertarian: We really, really need to cut this "war on drugs" shit out.

Politician: Yeah, right. If we legalize drugs, the next thing you know we'll have a whole bunch of people strung out on heroin and lying in the gutter. They'll lose their jobs, they'll stop paying their taxes, they'll just live on their citizen's dividend ... which, by the way, we'll not have the money to pay for, since everyone will be a goddamn unemployed junkie."

Voter who gets a check from the government every month: Errrrr ...


If every citizen gets a check from the government every month, most of those citizens are going to come to expect that check -- and they're going to dance to the tune of the check writers, not vice versa. The check writers will, as always, be bureaucrats and demagogues whose interest is in preserving and increasing their own power, not in reducing it.

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Monday, August 21, 2006

Tea Time 2006: Notes from an unconventional convention


When the going gets weird, the weird start new political parties ... and I did exactly that last month. The Boston Tea Party's organizational convention will wrap up a few hours from now, and this strikes me as a good time to report on that convention.

Cool factoid #1 -- As far as I know, this is the first political party convention to be held entirely online. I say "as far as I know," because I'm not absolutely sure. Some Google digging turned up references to something called the "National Disability Party" planning an online convention in 2000, but I was unable to find any evidence that the event actually occurred. I've also been unable to find any evidence that the NDP still exists -- or, per my references of last resort, Politics1 and Ballot Access News, ever did exist, at least in terms of actually running any candidates for public office. These guys are making online convention noise, but they're late to the dance.

Buzzcrushers #1 and #2 -- I had hoped for the BTP to boast between 500 and 1000 members as of convention time. We're actually just over 250. Furthermore, even though every member was eligible to participate in the convention, only about 10% have done so. I've been to smaller "meatspace" party conventions (some state LP conventions, for example), but still, I'd rather we'd had a larger membership by now, and more participation in the event.

Cool factoid #2 -- We've elected our first permanent national committee: Tom Blanton as party chair, Chris Moore as vice-chair, Michelle Luetge as secretary, and four at-large committee members (Todd Andrew Barnett, Wendy Terry, Peter Borah and myself). That committee takes office as soon as the convention adjourns.

Cool factoid #3 -- The party's program will be complete a couple of hours from now. It will consist of a maximum of five points. Three points have already been ratified, calling for US withdrawal from Iraq, repeal of the USA PATRIOT Act, and repeal of federal prohibition of marijuana and hemp. Two others -- one concerning national ID and one concerning taxation -- are still being polled.

Cool factoid #4, or Buzzcrusher #3, depending on your perspective -- A resolution mandating that the Boston Tea Party dissolve itself as a political party and re-enter the Libertarian Party as an internal caucus is polling right now ... and appears to be going down to defeat by about 80%-20%.

Also still polling are a couple of bylaws amendments and a resolution adopting the "interim" bylaws as "permanent" (which is presumptively the case anyway for lack of any move to substitute another set -- I'm kind of proud that my quickly drafted bylaws actually stood up reasonably well in action).

Now, of course, things should start getting really interesting.

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About "sponsored posts"


As previously noted, I've decided to start "blogging for dollars." I want to share my reasons for, and thoughts on, doing so.

The obvious reason, of course, is, um, money. I doubt that I'll be making my living this way or anything, but a few extra bucks always comes in handy.

There's also a less obvious reason. I've had some "writer's block" problems lately. Blogging for bucks mitigates that in two ways, Money's a good motivator, and the "opportunity listings" may prove to be good ground for finding inspirational material (yes, really -- I've been writing reviews for awhile anyway).

Now, to the promises:

- I'll always make it clear that sponsored posts are sponsored posts.

- Kn@ppster will not be dominated by sponsored posts. I haven't settled on a maximum ratio yet, but they'll appear in between non-sponsored material of the type you've become accustomed to reading here.

And, finally, to the pitch:

If you want to get paid for blogging yourself, check out PayPerPost ... and if you sign up, please put my email address (thomaslknapp at yahoo dot com) in the "referred by" blank ($5 a shot for recruiting new bloggers!).

And now, back to more interesting stuff.

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Saturday, August 19, 2006

Sponsored Post: William Shatner DVD Club


OK, yes, I'm a William Shatner fan. Really. Say what you will about his florid acting style, there's only one real Star Trek and none of those pale spinoffs will ever match up to it. He didn't steer me wrong when he pointed me at Priceline, either. I can even dig his rendition of "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds."

So, when I signed up with PayPerPost (another story, and one which I will tell separately -- for now, suffice it to say that I'll make it clear when I'm "blogging for dollars" and that I won't do so for products or services I don't see some merit in), I thought it was kind of cool that the first listed opportunity was:

Get Your Free Sci-Fi Movie From William Shatner!

"Determining what movies get broad distribution and studio marketing support is a complicated process, and unfortunately the caliber of the film isn't the only consideration," Shatner says in the club's publicity material. "I've chosen a select group of memorable and entertaining sci-fi movies that never got the exposure they deserved, and made them available to fans everywhere at a great price."

The short and sweet:

- Free trial, free movie. If you don't agree that Shatner's sending you good stuff, you can kick out.

- The price really is great -- a film a month for $49.95 per year. It's touted as $4 a film (I believe there's a bonus DVD or two included). These aren't rentals, either: You get to keep the movies.

- Hey ... it's William Shatner. What could possibly go wrong? [Cynicism alert: Yes, I know that he may be just a figurehead, with a boiler room staff using his name and likeness. But ... it's William Shatner, guys! Other than Rush, he's probably the best thing to come out of Canada since, well, the founding of Canada. If it's a boiler room staff, they picked a good figurehead, so they can probably pick good movies.]

Some spare thoughts:

- The one fly in the ointment for me is the annual billing. I'd be willing to pay more -- $4.95 or $5.95 per month -- if I could be billed monthly.

- The films featured on the club's site actually look quite good. Everyone loves a blockbuster, but let's face it ... the better science fiction films of the last few years have been lower-budget flicks that were either way under-promoted (Equilibrium, for example) or promoted grassroots guerilla style (Serenity comes to mind). Do you think V for Vendetta would have been flogged hard (or even have been made) if the Wachowski Brothers hadn't passed a bankbook miracle with Matrix?

For whatever reason, be it love or money or both or something else entirely, Shatner's taken an interest in associating his name with getting good films to people who don't require a $60 million opening weekend as an endorsement.

I haven't signed up ... yet. That annual billing thing is a hard bump for for a cheapskate like me to get over. But I expect I'll either cave in or at least put it on my birthday wish list. The idea of a new science fiction movie every month at that kind of price is too good to pass up.

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Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Republican Liberty Caucus Cockeyed


You've GOT to be kidding me, RLC:

James Talent was unanimously endorsed by the RLC National Board in March of 2006 as a leading advocate of individual rights, limited government, and private enterprise. Rep. Talent received top libertarian ratings of 82.5% in our 'Liberty Index' for 2005 and a lifetime 75.2% rating.

We believe Rep. Talent will be a strong defender of liberty in the US Senate and urge our members to contribute to and support this campaign.

James is a member of the RLC Advisory Board.
-- RLC Endorsed Candidate Info


It had never occurred to me to look up Jim Talent's RLC "Liberty Index" rating before. Of course, it hadn't occurred to me to look up Pol Pot's or Francisco Franco's, either. I only did so because I came across a headline on one of Eric Dondero's non-mainstream, non-libertarian web sites -- "RLC SCORES MAJOR VICTORIES IN GOP PRIMARY RACES" -- and wanted to make absolutely sure that the listing of Talent's name under it was another Dondero calumny before letting the RLC know they needed to issue a disclaimer/denunciation.

But ... but ... he was telling the truth.

WTF, RLC?

I live in Missouri. I've followed Jim Talent's career. I managed his Libertarian opponent's 2002 campaign. There's simply no earthly logic under which the term "libertarian" can reasonably be stretched to encompass Jim Talent's positions, actions or career.

Not no way, not no how, not even close.

If you want to go into details, we can. Offhand, he's never met a piece of victim disarmament legislation he didn't like; he opposes private property and free speech if American flags are involved; he's consistently anti-family if the families involved don't meet his religious litmus tests; he wants everyone except congresscritters to pee in cups; he supported quashing the vote of DC's citizens to legalize medical marijuana; he's a welfare statist who supported the biggest American entitlement expansion since LBJ; and he voted twice to re-authorize the anti-American "Patriot" Act. And I'm just getting started. You don't want to go there. But if you think you do, we can (and I'm even willing to leave out abortion, on which libertarians can and do disagree; and the war on Iraq, on which many libertarians persist in grave error).

Heck, guys, I can accomodate, or at least take in good stride, a reasonable skew to your "Liberty Index." You're Republicans. You have an interest in portraying Republican congresscritters as "more libertarian" than Democratic congresscritters, even though the facts don't really support such a portrayal. But this goes way beyond skew. Jim Talent makes Hillary Clinton look like Ayn friggin' Rand. We're talking about complete organizational dissociation from reality here.

And speaking of dissociation from reality, Talent's primary victory wouldn't make a good RLC talking point even if he was worthy of libertarian support. He's an incumbent US Senator. Only four of those have lost their primaries in the last 26 years. If anything, he (and his backers) should be embarrassed that he polled less than 90% against a raft of completely unknown opponents.

C'mon, RLC ... you should know by now that if Eric Dondero quotes you straight, you're screwing up big-time.

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Monday, August 14, 2006

Best. Shave. Ever.


I've always been one of those "sensitive skin" guys. My drill instructors accused me of trying to commit suicide by a thousand shaving cuts in boot camp. I tried the menthol shaving creams, the aloe shaving creams, the stuff in a mug with a brush, all of it.

Enter Jeffrey A. Tucker of the Ludwig von Mises Institute: Problem solved. Sounded too good to be true, but it wasn't. I've followed his advice for a week now (after a few weeks of beard-growing because I hated to shave so much) without so much as a nick.

Shavers of the world, unite! You have nothing to lose but your Barbasol®!

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Friday, August 11, 2006

They saw the light?


Came across this while wandering:

In the flurry of pro and con statements from American Christians regarding Israel's strikes on Hezbollah guerillas, one major religious group has remained notably quiet - evangelicals.

The most influential organizations in the movement, usually vocal backers of the Jewish state, have made no formal comment on the war in Lebanon despite pleas from Israelis that they do so.
-- "Evangelicals quiet about war," Orange County Register, 08/11/06


And who can blame them? Evangelicals have traditionally stood by Israel through thick and thin, but the invasion of Lebanon just doesn't pass the smell test as a matter of national, cultural or religious survival, or even as something that's likely to improve Israel's security in any lasting way without massive American military intervention or some other "miracle factor." After the Busheviks' cynical abuse of evangelicals' close relationship with the Republican Party to sell the Iraq fiasco, they're probably getting to be just a teensy weensy little bit less trusting about this kind of thing.

Even most of the usual suspects can't seem to work up a good froth on Israel's behalf this time around. Outside of a few of the most hardcore Republican Surrealists and the whackjobs over at the Institute for the Destruction of Objectivism, nobody's buying.

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Thursday, August 10, 2006

Go, Joe ... no, really. Just go.


This one sentence tells you everything you need to know about Joe Lieberman (Narcissist-CT):

Early last month, the senator announced his backup plan to run as a petition candidate. He created a new party, Connecticut for Lieberman, to secure a higher position on the ballot than if he petitioned as an individual. -- "Lieberman kicks off indie bid," Greenwich Time, 08/10/06


In the beginning, the purpose of the existence of Democratic Party was to get Joe Lieberman a job in Washington. Then the purpose of the Democratic Party changed: It was to get Joe Lieberman elected vice-president so that he could someday be president. After that failure, the purpose of the Democratic Party was to nominate him for, and get him elected to, the presidency. And after that failure, he lowered his expectations: The purpose of the Democratic Party was to ensure the incumbency of US Senator Joe Lieberman.

After the Democratic Party failed of its real, true, sole purpose -- the care and feeding of Joe Lieberman -- three times, Joe Lieberman made it clear that it isn't just the Democratic Party which exists to serve Joe Lieberman. Now, the purpose of the existence of the state and people of Connecticut is to provide Joe Lieberman with a US Senate seat in perpetuity.

It's not about politics. It's not about issues. It's not about representation. It's. All. About. Joe. Lieberman. The world revolves around Joe Lieberman, see?

Jojo was a man who thought he was a loner / But he knew it wouldn't last / ... / Get back, get back / Get back to where you once belonged / Get back, Jojo -- go home

[And no, he's not a "libertarian Democrat", nor should libertarians support him.]

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Wednesday, August 09, 2006

America's new party counts down to liftoff


The Boston Tea Party has passed the 200 member mark and I expect (read: hope) that it will be much larger* by the time of its first "event" --



Have you joined yet?

A few things to remember:

- There's no requirement that the Boston Tea Party be your exclusive affiliation -- or at least, no such requirement from our end. Other parties may have rules applying to their officials and/or members.

- There are no dues.

- As a matter of fact, joining is as easy as entering your email address and certifying that you endorse the Party's platform: "The Boston Tea Party supports reducing the size, scope and power of government at all levels and on all issues, and opposes increasing the size, scope and power of government at any level, for any purpose."

- Oh, yeah ... you can do that here.

- Want to help spread the word? The Boston Tea Party does not raise or spend money as an organization, but feel free to advertise it yourself.

Back soon with more traditional bloggage.

* According to Wikipedia, the Libertarian Party counted "more than 80 members" as of its first presidential election, 11 months after its founding. Former LP chair and executive director Steve Dasbach disputes that claim. He says that the "more than 80" number refers to attendees at the LP's first convention, and that actual party membership in the first year was in excess of 300. We're a little over a month old and catching up to the LP's first-year figures quickly. Of course, we have the Internet and they didn't. I'm still hoping for 500 by August 19th.

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Thursday, August 03, 2006

Link love: Calculation versus Compromise


I had intended to publish "Without A Net: Calculation versus Compromise" over at Free Market News Network, and I hope that it does, in fact, appear there. However, the FMNN folks and I have had ongoing "missed email" issues and such, and I wanted to get the piece out there sooner rather than later, so here it is on my personal blogspace at the Boston Tea Party web site.

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