Two people I Would Vote For… If I Could

March 27, 2012 by

As a liberty candidate, I provide people with an opportunity  to vote their conscience if they seek a candidate who is consistently for less government and more individual liberty in all areas.  In some cases this opportunity is afforded to voters in specific districts or municipalities.

Voters in Michigan’s 11th Congressional District and residents of Berrian County have such an opportunity. 

Ray Kirkus has been a devoted activist for the cause of liberty in a number of ways.  He is a skilled organizer who understands how the system should work, and is quick to point out where it fails.  He supports fully informed juries and a locally supported local government.  He holds steadfastly to the values that are needed at all levels of government to save our republic: a respect for individual rights, and a realistic recognition of the hazards of unrestrained government.


If elected, Kerry Bentivolio would be a Congressman ready to follow in the footsteps of Ron Paul and Justin Amash, by leading us toward a society where politicians follow the Constitution and serve the citizens.  He has consistently spoken out for free speech, the Bill of Rights, civil rights, and a rational economic policy.  He has worked closely with people in his community for that goal.  Residents in the 11th district would be wise to show up for the August primary to ensure his participation in the general election.


My Choice for President

February 27, 2012 by

I am a Republican candidate for United States Senate as well as a Precinct Delegate.  I have been a delegate at the last two Republican State conventions.  Prior to being a Republican candidate, I ran for a variety of public offices as a Libertarian. I first met Ron Paul in 1988 when he ran for President as a Libertarian.  I worked on his Republican campaign in 2008, and have been knocking on doors and phoning from home to get him elected in 2012.


Many people campaign on a platform of liberty, and many others get elected to public office.  Ron Paul not only speaks about liberty, he has manifested it through his service as a veteran, and his voting record in Congress; always standing on the side of right even when he must stand alone.  He is the only viable candidate who stands consistently for free markets, honest money, and a non-interventionist foreign policy in a constitutionally limited Republic.


I proudly accept responsibility for any of my political opinions, and am not acting as the spokesperson for any employer or organization I am involved with.

Union President Endorses Ron Paul!

February 11, 2012 by

Some people will be surprised to know that I am in two teacher unions. AFT and MEA. My union local at Wayne County Community College District is AFT-2000. They do excellent work representing the membership, and dues are not used for political action. So even though membership has been voluntary, I have been a member.

One downside is that they frequently endorse candidates that I can’t stand. So I was pleasantly surprised tonight when Wallace O. Peace, the president of my local (AFT-2000), endorsed Ron Paul for the Republican presidential nomination. He told all those attending the meeting that the primary wasn’t closed, and that we should vote for Ron Paul and stop Romney!


De Facto Martial Law is Imminent in the USA

December 29, 2011 by

As of this posting the Bill has not been signed by President Barack Obama.  There is an online petition on the White House website.  It may seem hopeless to petition the president on his own webpage, but this is the most popular petition there.

One last try.

On the night of Tuesday November 29th I participated in a Senatorial Debate hosted by the Brighton TEA Party, Rattle With Us, RetakeOurGov, Lakes Area TEA Party and the West Oakland County TEA Party Patriots.  Thank you to all of them for hosting a fair and balanced forum.  On the way home I found myself dwelling on differences I had with some of the other candidates.  I was starting to think that even Debbie Stabenow might be better than one or two of them.

Then I got home and went online.

To my disbelief and horror I learned that Michigan’s own Carl Levin, and former Presidential nominee John McCain had introduced an amendment to a bill (S. 1867) that would give the President the authority to order troops to  arrest and indefinite detention of people in the United States without any due process.  A casual reader of this Bill (it’s long so search for “Subtitle D—Detainee Matters”) might point out that this bill only applies to people who are supporters of al-Qaeda or related groups, but this language begs the question.  Since there is no due process, this qualification need only be claimed, not proven.

So the bottom line is that this bill would give the president the authority to send troops into US streets, round up innocent civilians, load them into box cars, and store them in detention camps for the remainder of their lives.  President Obama originally said he didn’t want that power and would veto this bill.  Later he retracted the veto offer and is now threatening to sign it.

So what does all of this have to do with Stabenow and the Senatorial debates?  Senator Debbie Stabenow is among the Senators who voted “Yea” on this bill

(Motion to Invoke Cloture on S.1867).  Well, none of the disagreements I have with any of my Republican opponents is this bad.  As much as I have opposed Pete Hoekstra’s bailout vote, or Gary Glenn’s anti-LGBT policies, I can’t compare their folly on these issues to the outright fascism that Debbie Stabenow approves of.

The people who voted in favor of this bill have attempted to do more harm to America than any act of terror.  Rather than a specific tragedy on a specific day, we face the prospect of continuous terror in a prison nation where  any one of us could disappear on any given day.

This was an act of treason, and the 88 traitors who have taken this action deserve no more respect or mercy than any one who is correctly called a terrorist.  A later vote was even more disturbing: 93 in favor and only seven against.

The mainstream media has completely ignored this travesty.  Only a few Television personalities such as Judge Judge Andrew P. Napolitano on the Fox Business Network dared touch it.  Since this time, the Bill has moved through the House of Representatives and up to the President’s desk.  On December 14th  H.R. 1540 was made compatible with S. 1867.   283 Representatives supported the final version and 136 opposed it.  My representative, Hansen Clarke, did the right thing and voted “Nay.”

Finally, it went back through the Senate with the offending clauses still intact.

Some have argued that this is a false alarm, but  a careful reading of the Bill shows all concerns to be justified.  In response to emails and phone calls, Senator Stabenow defended her actions claiming, “The National Defense Authorization Act only codifies into law what is currently U.S. policy.” The implication being that unconstitutional policies are somehow better if made law.  The opposite it true.  It is much easier to contest a wrongful government action in court if there is not a law legitimizing it.

Stabenow further claims,

“I voted to ensure that only terrorists who are members of al-Qaeda and who commit an act of war against the United States can be detained. For the first time, detainees now have the right to a hearing before a judge with a defense lawyer present. The bill, which passed the Senate by a vote of 93-7, also protects the right of habeas corpus. In addition, I voted for an amendment, which passed, explicitly stating that nothing in the bill shall be construed to affect existing law related to U.S. citizens, lawful resident aliens, or any other persons who are captured in the U.S.”

The relevant portions (Subtitle D—Counterterrorism) can be found in the final version, and do not support the Senator’s claim:

Section 1031a. Reads, “IN GENERAL.—Congress affirms that the authority of the President to use all necessary and appropriate force pursuant to the Authorization for Use of Military Force (Public Law 107–40) includes the authority for the Armed Forces of the United States to detain covered persons (as defined in subsection (b)) pending disposition under the law of war.”  Part 2 of that subsection identifies possible “covered persons” to include, “A person who was a part of or substantially supported al-Qaeda, the Taliban, or associated forces that are engaged in hostilities against the United States or its coalition partners, including any person who has committed a belligerent act or has directly supported such hostilities in aid of such enemy forces.” Note the use of wedge phrases like “associated forces,” “belligerent act,” and “substantially supported.”  It is also noteworthy that this makes people who oppose governments of coalition partners into “covered persons” even if they are not part of al-Qaeda (which is more of a movement than an organization).

Another critical phrase here is “Disposition under law of war.” This is spelled out in Subsection b:

“1 (c) DISPOSITION UNDER LAW OF WAR.—The disposition of a person under the law of war as described in subsection (a) may include the following:

(1) Detention under the law of war without trial until the end of the hostilities authorized by the Authorization for Use of Military Force.

(2) Trial under chapter 47A of title 10, United States Code (as amended by the Military Commissions Act of 2009 (title XVIII of Public Law 111–10 84)).

(3) Transfer for trial by an alternative court or competent tribunal having lawful jurisdiction.

(4) Transfer to the custody or control of the person’s country of origin, any other foreign country, or any other foreign entity.”

So it may include, “Detention under the law of war without trial until the end of the hostilities authorized by the Authorization for Use of Military Force.”  This is the smoking gun that shoots down the Senator’s claim.  Yes it may also include trials, but not necessarily.  This allows for detention WITHOUT TRIAL.  This can be a life sentence, since the “…end of the hostilities…” is an arbitrary moment when the enemy is a loosely knit movement like al-Qaeda (or “associated forces”), and the “hostilities” take the form of sporadic acts of homicide against a variety of people at a variety of locations.

But all of this knit-picking misses on major point which is that without a trial ANYONE becomes a covered person since a person is innocent until proven guilty and the trial is the means by which guilt is determined.  In other-words, the Senator’s claim that the law would, “…ensure that only terrorists who are members of al-Qaeda and who commit an act of war against the United States can be detained.” Completely begs the question.

As for other claims.  The phrases “habeas corpus” and “defense lawyer” are nowhere to be found in the document.  There are unrelated references to “attorneys who provide pro bono legal assistance to members of the Armed Forces.”  The only thing resembling such due process is a clause referring to MILITARY judges and MILITARY council under “PROCEDURES FOR STATUS DETERMINATIONS.”  This is not the due process civilians are entitled to under the Bill of Rights, and remember this is not required since the law provides for, “Detention under the law of war without trial until the end of the hostilities authorized by the Authorization for Use of Military Force.”

Finally there is the claim that, she, “… voted for an amendment, which passed, explicitly stating that nothing in the bill shall be construed to affect existing law related to U.S. citizens, lawful resident aliens, or any other persons who are captured in the U.S.”  OK.  It does say that, but then why have the other parts of the law there to begin with?  Any new law pertaining to “U.S. citizens, lawful resident aliens, or any other persons who are captured in the U.S.” must affect existing law by adding to it.  All this really does is say that existing laws remain on the books and are not amended by this one.  It does not negate the fact that this additional law is also on the books and may be used on the aforementioned persons.  Furthermore, courts have routinely ruled in favor of laws that conflicted with the United States Constitution or “existing laws.”  So this doesn’t hold much weight, and if one is being held without trial, the opportunity to invoke existing law may not arise.

The bottom line is that Congress has passed a law that that puts dictatorial powers in the hands of the President.  It has been brazenly ignored by the establishment media. This, at a time when there is apparently no urgency or extraordinary circumstances.  This is not an accident. We are destined to live in interesting times.

12-28 Scotty Boman – WSPD-AM

December 28, 2011 by

It was a pleasure to speak to Charlie Earl again.

12-28 Scotty Boman – WSPD-AM.

My thoughts on the Federal Reserve System

December 28, 2011 by

On November 22, 1913, Representatives Robert L. Owen and Carter Glass introduced HR 7837. A bill that, (after a month and various modifications) became the Federal Reserve Act. Since then, the dollar has lost over 99% of its value as measured in gold, which had been the basis of the dollar for more than a century.  Since that time, we’ve seen the value of 1/21-oz. of gold go from $1 to $83.44

The worse example of Federal intrusion into, and collusion with, a special interest is the Federal Reserve System. As a federally sanctioned cartel of privately owned banks, the Fed has unparalleled privileges. The deal is further sweetened by the appointment of its Chair by the President, giving it the prestige of a fourth branch of government. I would re-introduce legislation to audit and retire this institutional leach on American prosperity.

 I would vote in favor of a comprehensive audit of the Federal Reserve System, repeal legal tender laws, ban the creation of new credit (out of thin air) by Federal Reserve member banks, and dissolve the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System.

The governments roll should be to prevent fraud concerning financial instruments, by setting standards as enumerated in Article 1 Section 8. A free market of currencies that would ultimately follow a gold standard is the best option, though a treasury certified gold standard on backed currency would be constitutional, and be better than the current approach.

I have been opposed to the Federal Reserve System for decades and have been actively campaigning against it since 2008:

The establishment has been able to pull wool over people’s eyes by making them think it is too complicated for mortals to understand.  Here is an informative cartoon to break down such barriers: 


January 16, 2011 by
[Authors note:  This column was originally published in the Michigan Libertarian.  Several readers have commented that I needed to share these thoughts with a larger readership.  Recent inappropriate reactions to the events in Arizona (which attempt to link a killers tragic behavior to non-violent expression) highlight the need for more people to read this.]

Freedom is the right to tell people what they do not want to hear. – George Orwell –


There is a stealth attack on our liberties and most people don’t even recognize it.  Before people are conquered by coercion and force, they must be disarmed philosophically.  Once people accept a false premise, exalted opinion makers can use that premise to promote their agenda. 

A consistent philosophy is like a sophisticated piece of architecture or a machine; without structural integrity it will collapse or fail.  Sometimes there are specific elements of a structure that are needed to support the rest.  In a building it may be a cornerstone, keystone or column.  In a machine it may be a simple pin, filter, or chip.

The distinction between violence and communication is critical to liberty and civil society.  Without it there can be no principled defense of free speech, nor can there be principled objection to violence being used in response to speech.  The statist agenda has been well served by the recent MSM fixation on so-called “cyber-bullying.”  The phrase is such a clear example of Orwellian newspeak that I would expect this to be nothing more than hyperbolae or a metaphor.  “Bullying” is a phrase that has been associated with violence.  The use of “Cyber” as a prefix is consistent with the use of certain technology.  If the terminator starts making threats and beating people up, that’s cyber-bullying, but that is not how the phrase is being used.

People are being called cyber-bullies for making unwelcome remarks about peers and colleagues on the Internet.  This wouldn’t be a matter of concern, if the word-use were understood to be metaphorical.  For example, politicians will refer to “attack ads,” with full understanding that they need not draw a gun to defend themselves.  But talk show hosts, law enforcement officials, and politicians actually believe that verbal and electronic taunting is an act of violence.

The lack of publicized dissension to this doublethink is mind numbing.  Most pre-schoolers of the prior generation had superior intellectual integrity to the opinion leaders of today.  They had a simple, though accurate phrase, “Sticks and stones can break my bones, but names will never hurt me.”  The degree to which a person believed the phrase was the degree to which the outcome would support it; the words may be harmless, but the response one has to them may not be.

It has now become politically correct to disarm those who are most vulnerable, and convince them that they are emotionally defenseless, against criticism.  As a teacher, I have seen the so-called “anti-bullying” hype that gives the impression that the way to address criticism is to silence the critic.  Rather than learning that ideas are to be fought with better ideas, youth are learning that unwelcome criticism must be fought by silencing the critic.  Civil liberty considerations not withstanding, this is a terrible disservice to young people.  So long as someone takes ownership of his or her responses, he or she has a way to preserve his or her self-esteem amidst a surge of insults.  Without these coping tools, the object of the taunts is helplessly waiting for help from others.

This leads me to the next critical piece of the philosophy that is in danger.  The distinction between one person’s actions and those of another.  Once again, the intellectual integrity of most pre-millennial preschoolers towers above the philosophical cesspit of contemporary pundits.  The childhood wisdom would be encapsulated in a rhetorical question: “If someone dared you to jump off the bridge would you do that too?”  Back in the day this would prompt a person to reflect on the stupidity of blaming his or her actions on the fact that someone else dared him or her to do it.  These days it could be cause for prosecution. 

Nowadays, pundits will say that unwelcome words or online postings “cause” a suicide.  Remarkably, this double-think goes unchallenged.  This is one of those cases where the truth is so self-evident that explaining it becomes difficult.  The word “suicide” is reserved for killing one’s self.  By definition the killer and the victim are the same person.  To say someone else caused a suicide is to say that the act is not what it is.  This is not just a matter of minutia.  People are often put in prison or executed for killing other people.  By definition the victim causes the suicide.

The reader may choose to respond with anger and disbelief, but the fact of the matter is that suicide victims cause their own deaths.  Putting the truth plainly is not the most sensitive thing to do, but often it is the kindest thing to do.  Tragically, statists exploit the grief of suicide victims families.  Rather than guiding them to acceptance and helping them move on, suicide victims are used as poster children for laws that squelch discourse, and empower bureaucrats.  Personal tragedies, childhood crushes, and teachable moments become part of a media circus, with children playing the Orwellian character, “Boxer” in the center ring.

The immediate outcomes are personal, but the paradigm shift this facilitates is even more abominable.  If a writer is responsible for the way readers respond, then all writers are potential unwitting murderers.  This not only has the effect of incriminating the innocent, but also absolving the guilty; if the author of an email or posting can “cause” a person to kill him or her self, the author could also “cause” a person to kill someone else.  Thus a killer could use the “somebody dared me to do it” defense!

Some readers may think I am being alarmist, and that these semantic sins won’t have legal consequences.  Unfortunately, the tree of irrationality is already bearing tyrannical fruits:

  • I attended a school assembly where an FBI agent told children that he has had to arrest kids for sending unwelcome emails, and they have been taken from their parents and put in juvenile detention. Missouri has made “cyber-harassment” a Class D felony.
  • State Representative Lisa Brown supports similar legislation in the Michigan Legislature.  She supports fines for adults who make unwelcome remarks about other adults in blogs.

I have made a distinction here between words and violence, but I don’t wish to say words are of no consequence…. Just the opposite.  Words communicate ideas.  Belief in certain ideas can be lethal.  The philosophy we have, guides our response to the words we hear.

When one’s philosophy equates words with violence, one is inclined to respond with violence.  Not only does this bring greater tragedy, but it does nothing to defeat the depraved ideas.  Brute force is impotent against flawed beliefs.  The best way to defeat false beliefs is with the truth.  This is much easier said than done, but that doesn’t make it less true.  The ultimate alternative is the draconian approach of criminalizing ideas and executing heretics.  In the battle of ideas there is no substitute for philosophy.

[Republication of the unabridged article with credit to Scotty Boman is welcome]

Forced Health-Care Crusaders take Aim at First Amendment

September 21, 2009 by

Medical Symbol

Religious freedom and alternative medicine have been placed in the cross hairs of the Federal government, and weapon of choice is so-called health-care reform.  This most recent plot to criminalize people who mind their own business floated to the surface earlier this month with a bill proposed by Senator Max Baucus which would include a fine for those who refused to purchase health insurance. 


My first thought was that Bacchus had a bit too much wine and the plan would sink.  For one thing, Obama had opposed such fines.  Without presidential support or enough support in Congress such a bill would be dead in the water.  But no!  In a true-to-form flip-flop our President has decided that fining people who have previously been law-abiding citizens is OK.


This is wrong on so many levels, that it is hard to know where to begin.  Fines are customarily imposed to punish people for actions, not inactions.  Even the “inaction” of not stopping at a stop sign is a type of action.  I am actively driving a deadly machine.  By choosing a course of action that has intrinsic hazards, I am accepting the responsibility to do it in a manner that does not endanger others.  One can call “failure to stop” an inaction, but driving through an intersection and endangering my neighbors is an action.  This stands in stark contrast to the action of existing.  Simply being alive without buying health insurance is to be an infraction.


The precedence of this abomination is profound.  The only equivalent, in my memory, was when involuntary servitude was sanctioned by the Federal Government in the form of the draft.  Now we slip down the slippery slope into a realm where civilians can be penalized for not obeying specific orders from their commander-in-chief.  At least the advocates of the draft could claim an exception on the basis that the President had the right to raise an army (an argument that I find insufficient), but no Constitutional sanction is sought after here.  After ignoring the Tenth and Ninth Amendments for decades, the politicians arrogantly think the public will comply when they say BOHICA, and I fear they may be right.


In addition to fining people who would rather mind their own business than follow orders, this law would force people to become customers of an industry, rather than have that industry reach out to them in the free market.  Soon every industry will have it’s lobbyists on Capital Hill asking that people be required to purchase their over-priced products, or face penalties.  Never before has our government forced people to buy an expensive product as a requirement for existing.  In a sense we are to be fined for the crime of being born.  Our sentence is to buy an insurance policy or pay a fine.  I have not yet read about the penalty for rejecting both options.  If the fine is taken by force, it will violate the Constitutional prohibition on confiscating personal property without reasonable compensation.


Obama has made a fallacious comparison of coerced health insurance purchases to the requirement that drivers buy auto insurance.  First of all, auto insurance is imposed by the states, not by the Federal government so there are no ninth or tenth amendment issues so long as the feds stay out of it.  Second of all, states have consistently enforced a number of controls on drivers (including the requirement that one carries a license) under the claim that driving is a privilege rather than a right.  There are reasonable objections to this claim, but so long as it stands, one cannot use it as precedence for coerced health insurance purchases.  So far, existence has been regarded as a right rather than a privilege; perhaps the plan will change that distinction as well.  Finally, I could discontinue my auto insurance immediately, and I would never get a fine for being without it, that is until I got caught driving without it (which would be an action not an inaction).


This idea is also offensive on the level of common decency.  Many people want to be insured but can’t afford it, or are simply rejected by the insurance companies regardless of ability to pay.  I suspect this is where the “public option” comes in. The idea of prodding people into it, with the threat of a fine, smacks of blaming and punishing the victim.


Others may be able to afford the health care that works for them, but not be able to afford buying insurance that doesn’t cover what they need.  A poor person who has been helped by chiropractory, homeopathic-medicine, herbology or acupuncture may be forced to chose between becoming sick and buying insurance he or she doesn’t use, or becoming a fugitive.


Of all the reasons this is a bad idea, one lights the fire in my belly more than any other.  What about people who reject health insurance for religious reasons?  I know it may seem rather cute to bring up that desecrated piece of parchment again, but there is supposedly such a thing as freedom of religion in this country.  While I have no religious objection to modern medicine, I respect the rights of those who do.  The key word being “rights.”  This is right up there with other rights like freedom of the speech and freedom of the press.  Members of many religious denominations and sects reject the type of medical treatments that this law would require them to purchase.  Forcing them to purchase a product, that is against their religion to use, is a violation of their religious freedom.  It would be like forcing traditional Muslims and Jews to purchase thousands of dollars worth of pork.  This outrageous idea would never see the light of day, yet statist politicians have no problem forcing members of The Body, Bible Readers Fellowship, Bible Believers’ Fellowship, Christ Assembly, Christ Church, Christ Miracle Healing Center, Christian Science, Church of God Chapel, Church of God of the Union Assembly, Church of the First Born, End Time Ministries, Faith Assembly, Faith Tabernacle Congregation, Followers of Christ, Full Gospel Deliverance Church, General Assembly, Holiness Church, Jehovah’s Witnesses (only objection today is to blood transfusions), Jesus through Jon and Judy, “No Name” fellowship, Northeast Kingdom Community Church, and The Source to purchase insurance.  Perhaps it is because many of them are not involved in the political process: Another right I respect.


Some may argue that these people will benefit from forced health-care.  That misses the point.  Consenting adults have a right to make decisions about their own bodies because it is THEIR bodies, not somebody else’s.  Perhaps this simple self-evident point now falls on deaf ears because so many people have tolerated the plethora of laws that have told people what they can eat, drink, eat, smoke, or inject.  They have tolerated laws that have told them what times they can do these things.  They have tolerated laws that tell consenting adults who they can have sex with, what positions are allowed and whom they can marry.  Ironically, many people have used religion to justify such laws.  A few people who thought religious freedom only applied to their particular belief, set the stage for many innocents who will see religious freedom disappear completely.


What will happen when people reject forced health-care for religious reasons?  What will the czars in DC decide must be done when they refuse to pay the fines?  I know they will wish those people would just go away.  Will they try to make their wish come true?


How far must this go?  When average citizens are fined for rejecting random rectal exams, will they finally say, “Enough is enough! Get your laws off my body!”


Heed the Wake-Up Call from Space

August 13, 2009 by
The collision between Earth and an asteroid a few kilometers in diameter may release as much energy as several million nuclear weapons detonating, one after another.

The collision between Earth and an asteroid a few kilometers in diameter may release as much energy as several million nuclear weapons detonating, one after another.

Carl Jung once coined the phrase “Synchronicity” to describe meaningful coincidences.  July 20th was the fortieth anniversary of the first manned moon landing, the 33rd anniversary of the first robotic Mars landing, the 15th anniversary* of the first time humans saw a comet hit a planet, and the date upon which the second such impact was observed.  Of these four events two are especially meaningful.

Fifteen years ago a comet named Shoemaker-Levy 9 impacted the planet Jupiter.  It left a scar in the Jovian atmosphere the size of the Earth.  Jupiter’s powerful tidal forces broke the comet into pieces that hit the planet in a volley of impacts.  If Earth had been hit by a comet that massive, life as we know it would be over.  One would think that would be a wake-up call.  Perhaps people would mobilize to prevent such an event from taking us out.

Such was not to be the case, other than a select few, humanity at large has lived in denial: Being more afraid of gays exchanging vows or cattle passing gas, then of a preventable phenomena that could cause our extinction.  But perhaps I am over-reacting here.  Shoemaker-Levy 9 was the only impact of such a massive object with a planet to be observed in recorded history.  Besides, Jupiter is the most massive planet in the Solar system, so it is more likely to attract objects like comets and asteroids.

One common reason to not be alarmed was the notion that such events are rare.  So rare that it had only happened once in recorded history.  That the most recent extinction level impact hit the Earth 65 Million years ago.  So most people (at least those with no concern for future generations) could smugly assume that no such impact would happen in their lifetime.

Well this past July 20th a discovery was made that should have been the ultimate wake-up call.  It put the infrequency argument to rest.

That is what makes this the most meaningful coincidence.

An amateur astronomer photographed a new dark spot on Jupiter. Within a day, an infrared photograph showed the glow of heat emitted from the same spot.  The consensus among astronomers is that this is the impact scar of a large asteroid or comet.

Just as disturbing as the severity of the damage is that no one even saw it coming.  This was a complete surprise.  The fact that we over-looked this object, raises the specter of other such objects being on a collision course with the Earth, but not yet discovered.

Clearly there is a need for improved detection; an Earth-bound comet or asteroid can be diverted from it’s collision course if immediate action is taken well in advance of the would-be impact.  The principle is similar to making a shooter miss her target.  If she is far enough away, a little wind or a twitch of the wrist by a fraction of a degree can make her miss, however this is not the case at point blank range.

So defending the planet has two key components: Detection and response.

While it is clear what needs to be done, it is not so clear who should do it, or how it should be done.  At present, very little is being done by anyone.

Too often people pass their responsibility on to the government, but this may be one area where it is at least constitutional.  The preamble of the Constitution of the United State of America includes providing for the common defense as one of the reasons for it being established.  Article I, Section 8, authorizes Congress to do a number of things (not all good) including provisions for the common defense.

Protecting the Earth from impact hazards, contrasts drastically from other NASA activities:  Astronomical research, space stations, and future exploitation of lunar resources are all activities that would be better left to the free market.  Furthermore, there is no Constitutional sanction for such activities.

Some might argue that the founders didn’t have impact hazards in mind, and that such an interpretation violates the principle of original intent.  Personally, I doubt the founders would want a military that could defend us from the weapons of 1700’s, but require a Constitutional amendment to protect ourselves from nuclear weapons or asteroids?

Another objection, in relation to original intent, is that asteroids differ from other threats in that we would be defending other nations in the process of defending our own.  I don’t think the founders would object to defending our country from absolute destruction by a foreign threat on the basis that doing so would have the undesirable side effect of saving billions of other people from death, and millions of other species from extinction.

All of the above statements may give the impression that I think such a defense must be provided by the government.  I don’t.  In fact I think it is entirely possible that a better defense could be developed by private corporations, in a perfectly free-market voluntary system.

A persuasive argument for such an absolutely Laissez-Faire Society is made by Linda and Morris Tannehill in their book, The Market for Liberty.  But this is a matter to be discussed if we are at the brink of moving from minarchy to anarcho-capitalism.  Clearly, this is not our present condition.

I have yet to meet a libertarian who would suggest that we make our nation vonerable to foreign invasion until we achieve a free market Utopia.  Likewise, if we require a free society as a prerequisite to avoiding extinction, then we may not live to witness such freedom.

I would love to see a society free of any coercive monopoly, but so long as we have a Constitutionally limited republic in which providing for the common defense is a core government function, it is the duty of our public officials to see that we are protected from deadly impacts.  Such an initiative should also encourage amateur astronomers, scientists, engineers, and aerospace businesses to play a key roll.

We are all in this together.

* Shoemaker-Levy 9 broke into fragments that hit Jupiter over a period of days: From July 16 through July 22, 1994.

Bailouts Didn’t Stop Bankruptcy

June 2, 2009 by

“…the game called BAILOUT has been played over and over again in the rescue of large corporations, domestic banks, and savings-and-loan institutions. The pretense has been that these measures were necessary to protect the public. The result, however, has been just the opposite. The public has been exploited as billions of dollars have been expropriated through taxes and inflation. The money has been used to make up losses that should have been paid by the failing banks and corporations as the penalty for mismanagement and fraud.”
– G. Edward Griffin. Creature From Jekyll Island (Chapter Two – The Name of the Game is Bailout, 2002)


It’s official.  Both General Motors and Chrysler Corporation have gone bankrupt.  While I didn’t expect this to happen, I considered it a better outcome then multi-billion dollar taxpayer supported bailouts.  I said so much in a radio interview on October 2nd, 2008 with WILS AM, radio host Walt Sorg.  Then I argued that it was fundamentally wrong to force people to support a business that was going to fail.  It was popular to oppose the bailout of Wall Street, but prinipal forced me to oppose the more popular bailout of the automakers for the same reason.

Of course the Democrats and Republicans went ahead with the bailouts anyway. Politicians, CEO’s, and labor leaders argued that these bailouts were essential to prevent bankruptcy.  Bankruptcy, it was argued, was an unacceptable outcome…

 Billions of dollars later, they are still bankrupt.  General Motors has become a government owned corporation, and our President is asking for more.  Ford Motor Company didn’t go this route, but how long can they survive in an environment where the government, that writes the rules, is also the primary owner of their largest domestic competitor?  Is this a level playing field?

 We could have spared ourselves a great deal of misery if we had only abstained from the bailouts, and allowed these businesses to do what they would have to do anyway.  Yes they would have gone bankrupt, but the currency would be stronger, and we wouldn’t be witnessing the nationalization of the auto industry. 

Furthermore, the money that was spent on these bailouts, would have remained in the hands of consumers, who could have spent their money on products made by successful businesses, who in tern could employ many of the workers who are now out of work.