Saturday, October 29, 2005

Music: Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey

Image Hosted by There are plenty of young jazz acts out there looking to infuse some fresh blood and hipness to the scene, and I've listened to quite a few of them. One group that really blasted me beyond the notion of jazz being a music form whose odyssey has been stalled for the most part is the Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey. Not only did I begin searching out some more recent jazz and improvisational artists after my initial consciousness-altering encounter with The Fred, but I also started exploring more avant-garde and free forms of improvisation instead of simply sticking to the more commonly known jazz masters like Miles and Herbie and 'Trane.

Image Hosted by Their newest release on the Hyena Records label, called The Sameness of Difference reveals a new side of the band that could be described as more mature and melodic while still providing bits of the quirkiness that was so typical of their often chaotic live performances. Recorded in a studio session with legendary jazz producer Joel Dorn, this album features Brian Haas on acoustic piano rather than the Fender Rhodes that I was expecting, along with fellow band members Reed Mathis on bass and Jason Smart on drums. Dorn suggested to them that they perform their own takes on some jazz standards that influenced them, which eventually extended into songs from other genres members of the band have an appreciation for. The result is an album with only a few originals as the band also features covers of tunes by Jimi Hendrix, Bjork, Charles Mingus, Flaming Lips, Neil Young, Brian Wilson, The Beatles, and Dave Brubeck.

The musicianship is top notch as is Dorn's production efforts, and this album is their most polished and impressive to date. The only slight downside to me is that the longest track on the album is their rendition of the Charles Mingus classic "Fables of Faubus", which chimes in at 6:05. For a band that has made a name for themselves over the years by displaying some serious improvisational ability in the live setting with many compositions (some completely improvised on the spot) extending well beyond just a few short minutes, some of the song lengths were a surprise to me. Regardless of the short and consise nature of the finished products, they are sweet and open the door for new fans to hop aboard the odyssey as accessibility is at an all-time high.

Image Hosted by Before I get to the tunes I'm offering up, I'll briefly note a couple of interesting things about the band. One is that while the band members are not neccessarily libertarian in their political orientation, they have been active in getting people to question authority. As is shown along the side of Brian Haas's Fender Rhodes (see pic.), they have been giving out free stickers at their shows with the following message: A TRUE PATRIOT QUESTIONS OUR LYING GOVERNMENT. They're also critical of modern medicine to a degree, as shown by the message appearing on the other sticker they offer up: DOCTORS SHOULD TEACH NUTRITION NOT PHARMACEUTICAL ADDICTION.

The other thing I'll mention before getting to the music is that while listening to the songs, you'll notice an instrument that certainly doesn't sound like a piano (acoustic or electric), a bass guitar, or drums. While Haas occasionally tweaks with the sound of his Fender Rhodes or whips out a melodica to spicen things up, it is bassist Reed Mathis who is known for his tweaking. He often uses an octave pedel and other effects with his bass guitar, allowing him to create otherworldly sounds with the bass while Haas lays down a bassline on the keys. The effects make for some wild sounds for your ears that have gathered the attention of many and has made Mathis a hot commodity among bassists.

Since there is often a sharp contrast between how they sound on their new album and how they sound live with a Fender Rhodes, I'm going to provide a few songs from the album followed by live versions that reveal a totally different side to the compositions. First up is a song that they have been performing live for a couple of years now titled "Slow Breath, Silent Mind", a song that is also the title track of one of their live albums.

ALBUM: The Sameness of Difference (Hyena, 2005)
MP3: Slow Breath, Silent Mind

From their performance at Harpers Ferry in Allston, MA on April 29, 2003:
MP3: Slow Breath, Silent Mind (live)

Next up is a song with a catchy theme to it called "Santiago".

From the new album:
MP3: Santiago

From their performance at The Granada Theater in Lawrence, KS on July 9, 2005:
MP3: Santiago (live)

The next song reveals their occasional penchant for mixing some politics into their musical odyssey. I especially love the live version since a song called Halliburton Breakdown should sound evil, and this particular live take is not only fittingly evil, but downright insane!

From the new album:
MP3: Halliburton Breakdown

From their live performance at The Granada Theater in Lawrence, KS on July 9, 2005:
MP3: Halliburton Breakdown (live)

I've decided to throw in a few extra tunes in order to further introduce people to the odyssey of Jacob Fred. The first track is their take on a song written by Howard Deitz and Arthur Schwartz titled "Alone Together". It features Brian Haas on acoustic piano and is from a live album titled Slow Breath, Silent Mind. The other two numbers happen to be my introduction to JFJO. They are from their performance on May 2, 2002 at the Old Pointe Bar in New Orleans (during Jazzfest).

ALBUM: Slow Breath, Silent Mind (Kufala, 2003)
MP3: Alone Together

From the May 2, 2002 show at the Old Pointe Bar in New Orleans, LA:
MP3: Thelonious Monk is my Grandmother (live)
MP3: Hunter Gatherer

Wal-Mart = anti-free market

It comes as no surprise to me that Wal-Mart supports a minimum wage hike. I'm sure that news of this surprised the hell out of people with a "progressive" mindset. In fact, I've heard such people claim that corporations like Wal-Mart would love to hire people for far less than the minimum wage in order to boost the bottom line even more.

Well, Wal-Mart's CEO has come out and stated that he disagrees with that notion. If you want to get an idea of why a minimum wage hike would actually be in Wal-Mart's interests, check out Lew Rockwell's commentary on the subject. An excerpt:
Before looking at the evidence, let's do some a priori theorizing based on the history of US corporate regulation. Historians such as Robert Higgs, Butler Shaffer, Dominick Armentano, and Gabriel Kolko have chronicled how the rise of business regulation, including intervention in market wages, was pushed by large companies for one main reason: to impose higher costs on smaller competitors.

This is how child labor legislation, mandated pensions, labor union impositions, health and safety regulations, and the entire panoply of business regimentation came about. It was pushed by big businesses that had already absorbed the costs of these practices into their profit margins so as to burden smaller businesses that did not have these practices. Regulation is thus a violent method of competition.

Think of it this way. Let's say you run a retail coffee shop that sells only "fair trade" coffee, which is expensive to acquire, but for which consumers are willing to pay a high price. All is going swimmingly until a competitor shows up and sells unfair coffee that tastes just as good for half the price.

Let's say consumers begin to change their minds about the merit of your "fair trade" coffee and your profits fall. You must make a change to survive. You can compete by offering a wider range of choice. Or you can lobby the local government in the name of "social responsibility" (oh, such high ideals!) to require that all coffee sold in your town be "fair trade."

Who does that benefit? Your company. Who does it hurt? Their company.
Read the whole column to see how he applies all this to Wal-Mart's situation. This specific form of violent competition also reveals something else that your typical "progressive" might be shocked to realize. Says Rockwell:
Now here is the great irony. The left has long been in a total frenzy about how Wal-Mart saunters into small towns and outcompetes long-established local retailers. Wal-Mart's opponents have whipped themselves into a frenzy about the company's success, claiming that it always comes at a huge social cost.
Near the end of the column, Rockwell touches upon something that puzzles me and places me at odds with some people who nornally seem to promote the free market more consistently than your typical vulgar libertarian:
Free-market advocates who have long defended Wal-Mart can only be disgusted at this shift in the company's methods from competing on market grounds to calling for the state to crush its competition. Even more disgusting is how the company can count on the economic ignorance of its critics to help do it.
As a free market advocate, I have never defended Wal-Mart. I don't understand how someone committed to free market principles and is consistent about it could do so. As this article by Jonathan Tasini written back in April for clearly shows, Wal-Mart has been at odds with free market thinking in numerous ways aside from just this recent example. As Tasini states, "Truth is, Wal-Mart could not survive in a real free market". If you ask me, it must be a knee-jerk reaction for some of these otherwise consistent free market types to defend anything criticized by certain leftists.

In order for free market support to become more appealing to "progressives" and other leftists, constant support for state capitalist institutions like Wal-Mart needs to come to an end. These corporate beasts need to be exposed as the enemies to genuine free enterprise that they really are.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Individualism: The ersatz form and the real deal

Nelson Hultberg has confronted the phenomenom he refers to as "ersatz individualism" in a recent Free Market column. Portions of this column are welcomed by yours truly and should be grasped by those who may have a false notion of what individualism is all about. There are parts of this essay that I'm also not real fond of. I'll briefly discuss both.

The column focuses on basketball icon Dennis Rodman, the man who is well known on and off the court as a ferocious defender and rebound specialist who displays many flashy, non-conformist traits while living a party hardy lifestyle. Here's the commentary from Hultberg that should be noticed:
To those on the radical left, Rodman is not corrupting society at all. He is merely American individualism blooming. He and others of his ilk like Larry Flynt and Howard Stern are manifestations of the American credo, the liberals tell us. Defying cultural traditions requires a contrarian courage and the ability to march to the beat of one's own drummer. It's one of the measures of a man's mettle. On the contrary, this is not what individualism is about at all; this is "ersatz individualism." True philosophical individualism has nothing to do with the crass defiance of common sense and decency that runs so abrasively through the hallucinatory veins of today's culture. Individualism is not a call for license and heedlessly doing whatever your whimsical fancy drives you to do; it is a call for self-reliance. It is expressed through personal productivity and the full exposition of one's abilities, not through compulsive weirdness in one's style of living...

Aside from what he mentions, I would add that true individualism involves respect for and defense of individual rights against those who wish to thwart them in an attempt to promote some sort of political agenda. It contrasts with collectivism since it rejects the illusory notion that some non-existant collective has rights and needs that trumps the natural rights of individuals. A non-conformist who fully expresses him/herself whose values conflict with true individualism (such as by advocating any sort of political coercion against individuals) is no individualist, no matter what he/she and others may claim.

What I don't like about Hultberg's column is his blatant cultural conservatism. I may not care for Rodman's nihilistic attitudes and many other aspects of his persona, but I respect his desire to express himself, even if much of it is nothing more than self-absorbed attempts to get media attention. There is nothing wrong with non-conformity. Nothing wrong with going against traditional gender roles, dressing like a "carnival geek", or anything else that these "ersatz individualists" engage in. In many respects, I'm a non-conformist. I may not cross dress, but I give those who engage in such a practice props for doing so. I don't like the fact that Hultberg flat out condems such people as symbolizing "everything that is wrong with our society". Not every real individualist who values non-coercion and the free market is a cultural conservative, a traditionalist who goes to church and expects people to dress and act in cookie cutter fashion.

Such mindsets can actually be dangerous. There are many everyday people of the "there ought to be a law" variety who hold such traditionalist views. If I wish to paint my own house pink, not maintain an artificially green and weed-free lawn, place goofy ornaments in my yard (that's yard, not lawn), have an organic garden, and perhaps even have a chicken or two, it is none of my neighbor's business. Such behavior that some may consider to be non-civilized "dementia" (a word Hultberg uses) is perfectly acceptable for people to engage in, and in fact they have every right to partake in such activities and live as they please. Unfortunately, many laws have been enacted that force people to do or not do certain things on their own property in order to please their traditionalist neighbors. I am reminded of a recent Cryptogon blog post that brings attention to people in Arizona who are not fond of their neighbor's organic garden and want the local government to do something about it.

Why can't people just mind their own damn business? Who cares what Dennis Rodman chooses to wear? Who cares how I decide to maintain my property? While Hultberg may not advocate such state action, he indirectly lends support to those who approve of and attempt to create and enforce such nonsense. And he is just flat out wrong if he thinks that being "consummate conservatives in a cultural context" is what real individualism is all about.

Monday, October 24, 2005

A couple of announcements

First off, I thought I'd let readers know that I'll be writing a thorough music related post sometime this week (probably Friday). In fact, I'll have a new music post every week for the next three. This week, I'll be writing about the new Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey album. The following two weeks will feature posts about some good hip-hop I've been listening to lately and an extraordinary drummer named Kevin Sawka and some of his projects.

Second, I thought I'd pass along news of Claire Wolfe's holiday book offer. Now is the time to order one of her great books if you'd like an autographed copy! I was apparently the first person to place an order since the offer began when I placed my order for her new book titled How to Kill the Job Culture Before It Kills You. Some good reviews of this much anticipated book have been written by Wally Conger, Sunni Maravillosa, Jorge, and B.W. Richardson among others that I must not be aware of yet.

What to do about the bird flu?

The latest statist fear mongering is centered around the so called possibility of a bird flu pandemic. Aside from this commentary by Steve Trinward over at The Medical Freedom Channel, the best response I've seen comes from Jorge, one of the co-conspirators over at Sunni Maravillosa's blog. In this post, I learned of Jorge's response to a Jacqueline Passey blog post on the subject. His response:

What should the government do? In no particular order:

-- Eliminate patents which are an immoral grant of monopoly, thereby drastically lowering the cost of vaccines.

-- Eliminate the FDA (and equivalent agencies outside the US), thereby drastically reducing the cost of vaccines and drastically reducing the time to market.

-- Eliminate all licensing laws, thereby increasing the availability of medical personal, lowering the cost of services, and lowering the cost of infrastructure (by not requiring "licensed" electricians, plumbers, etc)

-- Eliminate all drug laws, including those requiring prescriptions for medication, that way people can medicate themselves if they choose, without wait for medical personal, and can get their vaccines from where ever they think best.

-- Eliminate all regulations for the medical, building and transportation (to name just there) industries, so that the necessary infrastructure can be built faster and more people can provide treatment.

-- Eliminate all taxes, thereby lowering the cost of vaccines, increasing the purchasing power of those who need the vaccines, making transportation and storage of the vaccines much cheaper as well. This will also make it cheaper for charities to purchase vaccines, to help those few who still cannot afford them.

-- Eliminate all immigration laws, including all types of visa requirements, thereby allowing medical and other workers to travel freely to where ever there services are needed.

If someone infects someone else, restitution is owed. Courts can also order a person confined if they pose an active threat to others.

Freedom is the answer. What is the question?

Yup, those are the only things the government can do that'll have any sort of positive effect.

Friday, October 21, 2005

MLL "War or Liberty" pamphlet available for download

Image Hosted by Thanks to Wally Conger, a classic out of print pamphlet by Samuel Edward Konkin III is now available again, with a minimal update and edit job by Wally himself. The pamphlet provides a concise description of the causes of war and how it is, as Randolph Bourne put it, "the health of the state". It is both futile and counterproductive to rely on the state to protect your freedom. He e-mailed me a copy of the pdf file, and I'm now making the file available for download here on my blog. The file is being hosted by, so the link will work either for 7 days or for 25 downloads, whichever comes first. I'll refresh the link every week.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

3 new ISIL "channels"

When checking out Kn@ppster today, I discovered that the International Society for Individual Liberty has three new sites that they call channels. Each of these channels focuses on a different issue: The Choice Channel (education), The Medical Freedom Channel (medicine), and Question Earthority! (the environment). Thomas Knapp is the project coordinator for all three and the editor of Question Earthority.

I'm especially interested in the medical and the environmental sites and the topics covered by them. My initial visit to The Choice Channel left a bad taste in my mouth though since editor R. Lee Wrights seems to be fan of both school vouchers and charter schools.

Nader's state-free idea for revitalizing New Orleans

Ralph Nader has proposed that New Orleans provides an opportunity for cooperatives to step in and help revitalize the city in a grassroots way that counters the state driven corporatization that is going on. Click here to read the whole thing.

He first criticizes the corporate statist response:
The corporate looting of New Orleans is underway. The charges of corruption, political favoritism and poor delivery of services by corporate contractors for government projects are already being leveled by the media and some alert officials. After all, over $100 billion of taxpayer monies will be flowing to New Orleans and the Gulf area communities in the next several months.

Plans for the new New Orleans by the large corporate developers are not including many poor or low income families in their plans. These developers see a smaller ritzier New Orleans with gentrified neighborhoods and acres of entertainment, gambling and tourist industries. In a phrase, the corporatization of New Orleans' renewal.

He then envisions an alternative:
New Orleans provides possibly the finest opportunity in many years for the cooperative movement to make itself known and to save New Orleans from being looted by corporate predators of various stripes who are presently designing the new New Orleans. Cooperatives demand grass roots organization and customer responsibility or they cannot exist. Cooperators, as customers are called, started these cooperatives in the early days-both consumer and producer cooperatives-throughout farm country USA.

Cooperative principles and member participation have been undermined by the hectic pace of a commuting workforce in a corporate economy that requires two breadwinners or more per family to have a chance at a middle class standard of living. Cooperatives provide many tangible and intangible community values but they need the time of their members to truly flower.

New Orleans and other Hurricane-stricken communities can give new life to the cooperative movement, and it can give new life to the shattered lives of these residents as they try to rebuild their livelihoods.

Since what he's proposing here consists of voluntary, grassroots efforts to create a coopertative alternative to the corporate state looting, it seems as if his proposal is one that free market types can support as opposed to all the statist "solutions" being talked about and implemented.

Yes, I know that he refers to "labor, environmental and other normal legal safeguards for the people" as if they are a good thing, but we all know that he's not a libertarian. Despite that, his vision for cooperatives in New Orleans as an alternative to statist measures is libertarian.

*UPDATE: Kevin Carson has addressed this Nader article over at the Uncapitalist Journal's blog. I apparently missed where Nader called for federal reconstruction aid to be channeled to cooperative alternatives. As with Carson, I don't support the use of federal aid, even though it would be slightly less noxious if channeled to decentralized cooperative institutions instead of the usual corporate suspects.

The inevitability of private interests

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usYep, that's right. Private interests are inevitable, which means that everything that goes along with such interests are also inevitable. As long as political power exists via some sort of state, there will be corruption, cronyism, and counterproductive measures to protect the populace and promote the non-existant notion of the "common good".

You don't just have to take my word for it. Check out Anthony Gregory's latest LRC column. As Gregory puts it:
The same private interests willing to cheat the consumer and worker in business are also willing to enter politics, to fund campaigns, to run for office, to bribe officials, to exploit every advantage the state offers to the dishonest entrepreneur. Further entrenching the monopoly of violence that is the state into the economy only ups the ante of the game over political influence. The more the state can regulate private interests, the more private interests will take control of the state.

The larger the state is, the more private individuals and groups have an interest in keeping the racket going. As the government expands to the detriment or assistance of specific sectors of the economy, collusion is inevitable. Those with power will use it to help the businesses they favor for whatever reason, and those in business will seek to deflect harmful legislation and encourage desired legislation. The more government intervention in the economy, the more the state and business classes coalesce, the more private interests can socialize their costs and privatize the profits to themselves. Socialism merely guarantees unearned profits and unjust power to whoever controls the state. And the state will be controlled by someone.

At the extreme this is all fascism or communism really is: the state becomes the principal corporation in society, with a monopoly on customers and no competition. Employer and producer become one with judge, jury and executioner. In a more mixed economy, social-democratic state-capitalism displays a similar kind of ugliness, but in smaller doses. Big Business and the most powerful private interests will categorically be the ones in government’s favor. How could it be any another way? That the top regulators of drugs are former drug company CEOs, the top regulators of banking are fat cat bankers, and the top regulators of the presidential debates are heads of the two political parties should leave no one surprised. The promise that it could be different should leave no one fooled.

The problem is not that the democratic system is somehow broken, or that the right people have yet to step up and demand change and/or be elected to public office. The problem is the system itself. As long as political power exists, private interests will wield control over such power and people will be reduced to being consumers of prepackaged political products that they'll be able to pick and choose from every four years. Power to the people, my ass!

There is no bigger illusion than the one that views the system as being fixable. If you want to be free of the tyranny of wicked private interests who wield political power, than you must reject the system that gives them that power in the first place.

Sunday, October 16, 2005


That haunting depiction of Leviathan was created by artist Tommy Castillo. I encourage you to click on the pic to see the enlarged version since you'll be able to see what Leviathan is composed of.

What made me want to look for a cool image of Leviathan was my recent used book store find. I was lucky enough to come across a copy of the 1972 book edited by Murray Rothbard and Ronald Radosh titled A New History of Leviathan. The cover of the book features red and blue vertical stripes and a fancy drawing of Leviathan. The book itself provides essays from both Rothbard and members of the New Left concerning the rise of the American corporate state. One of the Rothbard essays was recently posted on LRC and is a must read: War Collectivism in World War I.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Plutocracy bashing, Roderick Long style

Brad Spangler pointed out that Roderick Long is going to be giving a talk this Saturday at the Advocates for Self-Government 20th Anniversary Celebration called “Fire the Rich! Why the Free Market Is the Proletarian Revolution.” I too really hope that a transcript or audio or anything is available at some point in the future. I'd love to hear what Long has to say on that subject.

In the meantime, I discovered via Long's recent blog post about his recent and upcoming talks that the Mises Institute already has a mp3 of his speech from their conference called "The Economics of Fascism" available for download. You can download it by simply clicking here. To check out other great speeches made available by the Mises Institute, click here.

A reason to laugh at the so-called prestige of the Michigan Law School

The following comes from Karen DeCoster's blog:
Thanks to XM, I was able to hear a great Coulterism the other day. (A "Coulterism" is a jackass comment coming from the mouth of that jackass Ann Coulter.) Her rant was in regards to the nomination of Harriet Miers. Said she (a paraphrase): "We right-wing types don't care about all these different issues, we don't care if taxes are going up all over, and we don't care if Bush is tanking the entire economy. The only thing we care about is the Supreme Court." Now, realize that this remark came after she told her Fox comrade that the Supremes were there not to strictly interpret the Constitution, but rather, to interpret it in the way that it needs to be interpreted. The right way, is, of course, to "change with the times." Interpreting the Constitution liberally, is, of course, a horrific sin. She mentioned the Founding Fathers as being some guys from way back that don't have a clue as to what things would be like in the here and now. I am not making up this simpleton stuff. She stated it that simply. There ya go: reason and principles goodbye! And this broad has an advanced law degree?

Yup, and it's from the University of Michigan Law School. They may have a pretty quadrangle and library, but their standards must have gone down the tubes big time to let her through.

By the way, isn't it always conservatives who whine about the judicial activism and tax and spend nature of mainstream liberals? Maybe they should focus more of their attention on slamming lil ms. ball o' hate.

Monday, October 10, 2005


Is today supposed to be some sort of holiday? No, it's not Halloween yet, but I'm pretty sure that today is being recognized by the government as a holiday.

I know, it must be a day celebrating some dead white guy. Well, if he was such a great man, then I'm sure that everyone would be tickled pink to celebrate the day.

Oh well. Fuck him.

Brownshirt Watch: George Mason edition

The name of the following Counterpunch article says it all: Student Brutalized by Cops and Rightwing Students for Protesting On Campus Military Recruiting

A Pakistani-American who once served in the US Air Force stands in front of a military recruiting table outside the George Mason University student center with a sign saying "Recruiters lie, don't be deceived" taped to his shirt and receives verbal diarrhea on multiple occasions from enraged student brownshirts before they finally get campus security to amplify the harassment. Here's what followed:
The staff member called campus security, at which point a police officer, Lt. Reynolds, approached Khan and demanded to see his student ID. Khan said he told the officer he was not carrying his ID and tried to walk away when the policeman tried to arrest him and then became violent. "He threw me into the stage," Khan claimed, referring to a dance area in the student center left from an event earlier in the day, "and I just sort of raised my hands to show I'm not violent and tried to get as much attention by saying, 'I'm being non-violent and I'm being brutalized.'"

Fellow student and friend Amie Wells confirmed Khan's account, saying the officer "grabbed him, put him in a half-nelson headlock," and then "slammed him into a metal stage," propped three feet above the floor. Wells added that the officer then slammed Khan into the ground hard, resulting in his face hitting the surface.

Describing the atmosphere, Wells said a number of right-wing students were cheering on police officers who were attacking Khan, exclaiming, "Kick him!" She claimed most of the crowd appeared to be on the side of the police. "It was disgusting," she said. Another student who witnessed events, David Curtis, said some students initially implored the police to let Khan go, but others soon arrived to support the police, chanting "Kick his ass!"

According to Khan, Wells, and Curtis, one of the right-wing students who had earlier harassed Khan joined the cops in forcing him on the ground. Curtis asked the student what authority he was exercising, and the student backed off.

However, Curtis says, a university employee who stood about six feet eight inches and weighed around 300 pounds began helping the cops to further subdue Khan. "He performed jujitsu moves on me while the cops held me down, and the cops let him do it," Khan said. "Frankly, the cops were doing just fine without him, but this huge guy came and put [Khan's] free arm in a Kamora," Curtis said, referring to a jujitsu maneuver in which the arm is painfully bent backwards. "You could see on his face that it was really hurting him," Curtis said of Khan. A police officer claimed the university employee was an "auxiliary police officer," but Wells, who works with the man in the computer store, said she had never seen him in that capacity.

Khan said he was then dragged off by two officers toward a police car but was reluctant to get in. He says one cop was preparing to spray him with mace. "He held the can straight at my eyes, about five inches away from my face," Khan said. "So I started yelling, 'Hey, this cop is trying to mace me, someone take a picture if you have a camera!"

Wells quickly took out her cell-phone camera and began snapping pictures. "After I did that, the cop put away his mace can and said, 'Okay, no one's going to get maced today.' I mean, clearly, he knew he was doing something wrong," she said.

Khan says Officer Reynolds told him he had to arrest him because, "What with 9/11 and everything else, we didn't know what you would do." Khan also says another policeman told him that "You people are the most violent people in the world." Before being hauled off to the Fairfax County Jail, Khan was warned by the police who were questioning him that "If you even look at [cops] the wrong way, they'll hang you up by your feet."

Sunday, October 09, 2005


Those for those liberty lovers who wish to lower their time preference, there is a new site that utilizes RSS and Atom to provide an interweb hub for keeping up on the growing number of liberty blogs out there: LibertyFilter.

It may make me sick to my stomach to be included in a blogroll with a heartless "libertarian", but I do think that this site is a good idea and I recommend checking it out.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Time to drop the puck!

Image Hosted by At long last, hockey is back! The NHL hockey season begins tonight. Aside from college football, hockey is the only sport I really care about, so I'm pretty excited. Go Wings!

Hockey fans might appreciate the following link I'm gonna provide. It's for a site called NHL and it provides pics of every uniform ever worn in the NHL, going all the way back to 1917. The Detroit franchise made it's debut in 1926 and was known as the Cougars before changing over to the Red Wings in 1932. They had a couple of cool uniforms that I've decided to post here.

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Living so close to the Canadian border my whole life, I've been blessed to have CBC available, which means being able to watch Hockey Night in Canada and a much better overall coverage of the playoffs than any American network. The following mp3 is quite a nostalgic piece of music for hockey fans north of the border and even a few south of it.

MP3: Hockey Night in Canada theme song

What's libertarian about Lula?

Today's edition of Strike The Root, edited by Ali Hassan Massoud, includes a link to an essay by Alvaro Vargas Llosa released by the Independent Institute about the demise of Brazilian president Lula da Silva. While I have no qualms with the essay itself, I'm not exactly fond of the tag that Ali gave it: "Brazilian “Left-Wing Libertarian” Flames Out".

I've heard of overly PC establishment libertarians being called left-libertarians, which is an inaccurate label, and now it's being used in reference to Lula? Using the word libertarian in reference to him is sorta like using the same word in referene to Dubya. Who's next - the Clintons?

I acknowledge the fact that there must be some sort of middle ground between democratic socialists (authoritarian lefties) and anarchists. A term that I've heard used before in reference to anti-authoritarian lefties who aren't quite anarchists is social minarchist. Such people, in my mind, are often just as libertarian (although sometimes more or less so) than minarchist libertarians of the right such as Ron Paul or your typical Catoite. The problem here is that my knowledge of Lula, although admittedly limited, seems to tell me that he doesn't fall into this category.

If you want to see some real left-libertarian people and ideas, then check out the blogs that are part of the Blogosphere of the Libertarian Left.

If there is anyone reading this who knows more about Lula's agenda and the overall situation in Brazil who has some level of disagreement with me over my judgement of him, I'd be interested in reading your thoughts on the matter.

Upon reading Llosa's essay, it seems to me that those who held some degree of optimism over Lula's agenda are receiving a rude awakening. Just another corrupt statist thug, Lula apparently is. Corporate-style globalization is indeed not the answer to the perpetual poverty down there, but neither is the type of bureaucratic planning and meddling that Lula and other statist lefties want to engage in.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Computer slavery, brought to you by Micro$oft

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I posted a link to this post by Brad (contributor at Wendy McElroy's blog) back in August. It describes how the upcoming Microsoft Vista operating system may tinker with your computer and prevent you from doing certain things, such as using copywrited material in ways that they don't approve of. That in itself is evil, but there's more. Here's a link to Brad's most recent post about Vista, which reveals that it will include encrypted file systems to prevent other operating systems from reading it's files.

If you wish to be able to use your own computer how you see fit without any interference, then steer clear of this new virtual prison by Micro$oft when it comes out. I'm using XP at the moment, but will be switching to Linux soon, and no computer of mine will carry any other M$ operating system.

There will likely be more revelations about Vista in the future, so stay tuned to Brad's posts over at the McBlog.

Monday, October 03, 2005

A fox in charge of protecting every henhouse

Debra, one of the contributors to Claire Wolfe's blog, recently pointed out how the USDA has been both covering up cases of Mad Cow disease and forbidding private companies from engaging in their own Mad Cow tests. None of this is surprising to me in the least. Here's some of Debra's analysis after revealing the details of all this:
The point is that the federal government is calculatingly, consciously, willfully ensuring that consumers who are concerned about Mad Cow have absolutely no accurate data with which to make their purchasing decisions. This is no different than the government disarming you while cooing, "That's okay, we'll protect you." And then either leaving you to get mugged, or mugging you themselves. (Kinda like New Orleans, now that I think about it).

Indeed. The government should never be put in charge of anything important, such as safeguarding food from various threats. Corruption and ineptitude are amongst the unpleasant and inevitable results of such idiocy.

Many of the people concerned about Mad Cow disease are also concerned about other food related issues, some of whom happen to be consumers of organic foods. These people have unfortunately allowed the fox (government) to guard the henhouse (organic food) on yet another issue. I knew that government organic standards would be hijacked and watered down sooner or later; indeed, it's inevitable that such a thing will occur. Thus, I am once again not surprised one bit to find a sneak attack against organic standards to be in the works as we speak.

Private certification agencies were doing just fine safeguarding the integrity of the organic food movement. Now the fox is in charge, those tasty free range eggs that organic consumers enjoy are in danger of being consumed by corporate interests. Am I upset about it? Yep, but I'm not just upset at the government like so many organic consumers and lefties are right now. I also realize that those who supported government intervention in the first place are the root cause of whatever ends up threatening the integrity of organic foods in the future. Organic foods should have been kept as far away from the government as possible.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Liberty vs. Equality

A relatively new blog out there that I have found to be quite interesting is Joel's Humanistic Blog, created by Joel Schlosberg. In a recent post about the pros and cons of Jonathan Kozol, he mentions and quotes from an essay by Bertrand Russell called Proposed Roads to Freedom. I haven't read the essay yet, but I'll get around to it soon. The excerpt that Schlosberg provides is actually a quote from G.D.H. Cole's Self-Government in Industry, and it's one that deserves quoting yet again.
What, I want to ask, is the fundamental evil in our modern Society which we should set out to abolish?

There are two possible answers to that question, and I am sure that very many well-meaning people would make the wrong one. They would answer POVERTY, when they ought to answer SLAVERY. Face to face every day with the shameful contrasts of riches and destitution, high dividends and low wages, and painfully conscious of the futility of trying to adjust the balance by means of charity, private or public, they would answer unhesitatingly that they stand for the ABOLITION OF POVERTY.

Well and good! On that issue every Socialist is with them. But their answer to my question is none the less wrong.

Poverty is the symptom: slavery the disease. The extremes of riches and destitution follow inevitably upon the extremes of license and bondage. The many are not enslaved because they are poor, they are poor because they are enslaved. Yet Socialists have all too often fixed their eyes upon the material misery of the poor without realizing that it rests upon the spiritual degradation of the slave.