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The Liberty Lamp: Libertarian News & Editorials

A blog dedicated to the advancement of libertarian principles, and to the protection of activist groups' privacy and Constitutional rights. Topics include discussions on privacy tips, current events, political topics, and bulletins on how to get involved in various pro-liberty activities.

Friday, September 30, 2005

Privacy, Small Buisiness, and Some Policy Proposals

Life has been busy lately, thus there's been a period of about two weeks since my last post (though there have been some interesting comment posts- see the emminent domain post lower down on this page). Now I'm not typically known for idle chit-chat, so let's get to the important points.

First, my legal papers involving my new LLC incorporation/organization recently came in. Because of the way that pertinant buisiness laws in the state of New Mexico are written, you can use an organized Limited Liabilities Company (LLC) for either normal buisiness purposes, or for yourself as a way to mask your personal assets. This can come in handy if someone is thinking of suing you- if they can't find any assets they can't sue. For more info, and to contact a reliable LLC organizing agent, please see this site. From that location, you can also order either of the two books by JJ Luna that have been featured on this site ("How To Be Invisible" and "How To Work at Home From Any Age").

Now on to the almighty ongoing "War On Drugs". This came to me during a recent session of an economics course I'm taking: As with high taxes on tobacco and alcohol, taxing the snot out of or prosecuting the users of dangerous and frequently abused substances does not effectively stem the flow. Why? Because, long story short, such users/customers are, as we all know, addicted- which means that they will pay whatever they can possibly afford to for these drugs, even if it means they can't buy, say.... toothpaste or deoderant? On the supply side, dealers and kingpins make millions of extra dollars for the same quantity sold.

If we really want to stop the rampant use and trafficking of dangerous drugs, law enforcement policy needs to focus on the sellers, not the buyers. If there's no supply, it doesn't matter how many people want the product. A secondary benefit of this would be that all those stupid but otherwise generally harmless stoners would be released from prison, leaving room for all those violent criminals that are always being tossed out after only a few years because the jails are too full.

Think About It.

Next, let's look at the latest financial developments in the nation-state of France and how it could have "interesting" parallels in the United States. On the BBC website, there's a feature article about how the owner of the Addidas sportswear company just won a civil case resulting in him winning millions of dollars in damages... at the expense of French taxpayers! "How is this possible", you ask. The answer is that at the time of the event triggering the lawsuit (bank fraud), the bank in question was STATE OWNED. Thus, the bank dumped the burden on the French taxpayer by claiming effectively the same status (it's now independent) from back then in this modern situation. What the helvetica? I don't know either.

Unfortunately, though, I do know that it is possible for the same kind of foul play to occur courtesy of the Federal Reserve and it's affiliate banks. See this page of the Liberty Dollar/NORFED website. Don't forget to check out and maybe even start using Liberty Dollars so that we can build an actually stable economy for once. If/when I start taking donations for the upkeep of this site, LDs will be accepted.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

New Literature Additions!

After a month or two of slow down, we are pleased to announce two new entries in our writings archive. The first, entitled How To Exit the Matrix is both a sociological/moral exploration into the privacy meddling powers of the state, and a great guide for learing how to beat snoops at their own game. The second new text, courtesy of Activist Security is similar but geared toward activist groups who may be under scrutiny by hostile agents.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Liberty, The Military, and Hurricane Katrina

A thought provoking article from a mailing list I'm on. There haven't been many posts, and there won't be for a while, as I'm very busy with school and activism crap.

"http://www.lewrockwell.com/gregory/gregory90.html

September 9, 2005

Military Occupation in America and the Prospects for Liberty
by Anthony Gregory, anthony1791@yahoo.com

The government response to Katrina, aside from being riddled
with error and incompetence, has been downright cruel - forcing people to
leave their pets and property behind, keeping charity out of the city,
turning away private volunteers and assistance, treating people who might
only be scavenging for abandoned and rotting food like dangerous criminals,
disrupting private transportation and burdening flights out of the city with
ludicrous post-9/11 security measures, expropriating private property,
separating families and forcefully corralling human beings onto buses and
into buildings without adequate fresh air, water or plumbing. Reading the
news reports, we see the government reacting with a mixture of ineptitude
and martial law, appearing to do everything it can to prevent civilization
from surviving and rebounding after the flood.

Last week, Governor Kathleen Blanco described the National Guard
troops arriving "fresh back from Iraq" to impose order in the Gulf States as
"locked and loaded" and ready to "shoot to kill."

Military personnel, recently stationed in Iraq, have described
what they see on the ground in New Orleans. A Washington Post article quotes
one troop saying, "It's just so much like Iraq, it's not funny. . . except
for all the water, and they speak English." Another called the situation
"like Baghdad on a bad day."

Tens of thousands of National Guard troops and active-duty
personnel are or will soon be deployed throughout the Gulf Coast. "But,"
according to the Washington Post, "the massive military effort remains
severely disjointed and hampered by a lack of basic communication between
units, Army officers here say. Ground commanders for New Orleans have been
functioning without the ability to track the location of some units
reporting to them - something unheard of in Iraq, the officers say."

The article continues,

"Much work remains for U.S. soldiers in this gutted no man's
land, where looting, drive-by shootings and other crime are rampant. Much as
in Iraqi cities, the troops are moving by the hundreds into makeshift bases
in schools and other public buildings, setting up checkpoints and 24-hour
patrols. The guardsmen have been authorized to seize weapons and detain
people.

"'We're having some pretty intense gun battles breaking out
around the city,' said Capt. Jeff Winn of the New Orleans police SWAT team.
'Armed gangs of from eight to 15 young men are riding around in pickup
trucks, looting and raping,' he said. Residents fearful of looters often
shout to passing Humvees to alert the soldiers to crimes in progress.

"'Hey, stop!' a man wearing a baseball cap yelled to an
Arkansas Guard team Sunday afternoon as it drove through the city's Metairie
district in Jefferson Parish. 'Those people don't live here!' he said,
pointing to a white sports car parked outside a large brick home.

"Atkinson sped over to the car, hopped out and pointed at it
with his M-4 rifle. He and Capt. Derald Neugebauer, 36, of Vilonia, Ark.,
questioned the two men about looting - but because they had no radio
communication with the New Orleans police, they had to flag down a passing
patrol car to hand over the two men."

So we see here a bumbling, draconian military reaction to an
enormous government failure. Yet all too many left-liberals seem to think
the problem is simply Republican mismanagement and not enough government
spending. I have heard very few on the left denounce the imposition of
martial law and the treatment of human beings in the area as livestock or
worse. They complain that the federal government has been all tied up in
Iraq and so it has neglected New Orleans, but they have not been as quick to
note that perhaps the federal government's efforts to bring relief and order
to the flooded American coast, however well funded, will prove as
problematic and counterproductive as its attempts to bring "freedom" to the
Middle East. Do they really think that the U.S. government's military
occupiers are suited for disaster relief?

What might be worse than the liberal critique is the
conservative reaction to it. Americans on the left are at least upset and
unhappy with the system, as they should be. Liberal news outlets have not
appeared as critical of the establishment in some time. The rightwing, in
contrast, upholds Bush's handling of the situation, saying he's doing
everything as well as he can, and that the only problems are the local
authorities and the recalcitrant population unwilling to follow orders and
evacuate. The federal government doesn't owe the indigents anything, so say
the most brazen conservative pundits, borrowing rhetorically from
libertarian opposition to welfare statism, but doing so for the perverse
purpose of vindicating the federal response and upholding the big-government
Bush regime. Sure, it is wrong and wrongheaded for the feds to tax Americans
for disaster relief. But the feds are hardly blameless for what has
happened. Sure, to blame Bush alone for the catastrophe is out of line and
unproductive. But to portray Bush as the victim is an obscenity.

The rightwing sentiment seems to hold that the government is
correct in imposing martial law, and that it should shoot all looters and
troublemakers on sight and implement order with an iron fist where the flood
has swept it away. Clearly, most conservatives have little opposition to
government involvement in addressing the disaster per se. If anything, their
qualm seems to be the idea of their tax dollars going to welfare recipients
rather than on hiring more National Guard troops to tame the disorderly
hordes in Iraq and New Orleans, and, if that fails, to shoot to kill. Nor
does the right seem any more likely than the left to object in principle to
coercively detaining American citizens in a convention center or sports
arena. Mandatory evacuations and detentions - the very cause of much of the
looting and violence - receive conservative approval.

In contemplating the situation here in America, a U.S. officer
in Iraq said, "If anything I'm kind of embarrassed. We're supposed to be
telling the Iraqis how to act and this is what's happening at home?" Whereas
at first we might have expected the conservatives to realize that the same
federal authorities who have bungled so much in New Orleans are probably not
apt to bring freedom to Iraq, instead they have only inflated their
endorsement of the right and power of the U.S. government to suspend civil
liberties for the sake of the common good. In New Orleans, the conservatives
have had their chance to see what federal freedom really means, and thus
what it likely means when imposed on the rest of the world. And the
rightwing sentiment is to bring it on.

Crises have led to America's largest expansions in government
power. Every major war, along with the Great Depression, account for the
vast majority of current government powers and major agencies. Despite their
occasional (and constantly diminishing) anti-government rhetoric,
conservatives are especially prone during times of crisis to call upon the
government to do something drastic. After 9/11, there were calls to nuke
parts of the Middle East, infiltrate every Mosque in America, and intern
Americans of Arab descent. At this moment, the conservatives, now on the
defensive as their president is being accused of not doing enough to address
a disaster, revert back to their signature rhetorical strategy of saying
that the government can't fix every problem. But they still defend the
federal government's most egregious measures in response to Katrina, and
they will likely support any federal aid that Bush provides. Some of them
continue to call for price controls in response to the rising price of gas.

If America falls victim to another terrorist attack, as bad as
or worse than 9/11 and as devastating as or more so than the Katrina
aftermath, can we expect the right to keep its cool? Or will it be time for
martial law throughout America, forced evacuations everywhere, crackdowns on
dissent and a shoot-to-kill policy for all people unwilling to follow
federal orders and be herded around like sheep? On the other hand, can we
expect the left to keep its cool? Will it cave in to any and all suspensions
of liberty so long as the government is "doing something - anything" to
create order out of chaos?

We have come to the point in America when the real domestic
issue has frighteningly become not one of whether government should grow a
little or shrink a little in one area or another: although it might not yet
be out in the open, the issue before us is the wholesale abolition of civil
liberty and whether such totalitarianism is ever justified, even in times of
crisis.

The conservatives and "liberals" who say yes, who endorse
martial law as sometimes necessary and proper and massive state violence as
the cure to calamity, natural or manmade, are on the wrong side of the most
important domestic issue of the day.

America is indeed at a crossroads. We do not yet know whether
this disaster will lead to a revival in collectivist thinking or a new
widespread disillusionment with the state. Somewhat ironically, our chances
of surviving as a nation with any freedoms intact now rely on converting
much of the left to our suspicion of government power at home as well as
abroad. For the moment, the partisan elements on the right appear far too
preoccupied with covering up the federal crimes in New Orleans and Iraq and
calling for new ones to be terribly bothered by the quaint notion of
individual liberty.

Our only hope might be that enough liberals and mainstream
Americans finally realize that the problem is not small government, or
Republican government, but government. This is sort of what happened in the
wake of Vietnam and Watergate, when the left followed its anti-establishment
impulses and shook off its managerial pretensions just long enough to
discover that the whole system was rotten. America had several years of
glorious skepticism and cynicism of centralized power. Then the Republicans
brought back faith in the federal state in the form of Ronald Reagan. David
Brooks worries that we might now be entering into another 1970s, but I would
view a new universal discontent with the state as the only possible silver
lining of the flood's dark cloud.

The government's handling of New Orleans could cause people
either to demand a return to normalcy or to be more than ever open to
dictatorship at home. To make the best of the horrible situation, we must
explain to everyone who will listen that 9/11, Iraq and New Orleans are
government disasters. We must expose how they have been so far followed by
government failures. We must demonstrate that even something like city
planning can be done - and done much better - in the voluntary sector,
without government. And we must not falter in our defense of civilization
and our opposition to its destructor, the state.

Anthony Gregory is a writer and musician who
lives in Berkeley, California. He is a research analyst at the Independent
Institute.

© 2005 LewRockwell.com"