The Custom of Thinking

At Two–Four Billy Beck has this to say about my suggestion that he should consider getting health insurance:

I don’t know what any of you ever thought was going to happen to me. I had to explain something to Lynette the other night, which ought to be available to a moment’s consideration by anyone in the custom of thinking. I’m forty-nine years old now, Rich. When I come to face the first serious systemic medical crisis of the sort that commonly happens to human beings approaching that part of their lives, there is going to be no way in this world that I will be able to deal with it in the way that every blinking asshole on the street assumes that such things should be taken care of.

If Billy Beck gets a serious ailment he will need either to pay for his treatment, use insurance, or he may not get effective treatment – just like any blinking asshole on the street would have to deal with it. I’ve suggested just one of many workable solutions to his impending health dilemma. A 49-year-old male can buy a very decent health policy for less than $100/month in most states in this country. $1200 a year. Is it beyond the realm of possibility that Billy Beck could manage such a payment? Yet, he rejects the very idea of it below.

Beck III: Tell me something: what would you have me do when, say, a serious kidney ailment — like the one that my father had in his late-50’s — rolls up on me.
Beck III: Go ahead. Tell me.
Lynette: What did your dad do when he had his back in what, the 1980’s?
Beck III: The United States Air Force — according to their contract with the man for his service — shelled out about a half-million dollars to save his life.
Beck III: Do you undestand?
Beck III: Nothing remotely like that is going to happen in my life.
Beck III: And here is a fact: if I’d been left alone to produce…
Beck III: Of for Christ’s fucking sake: I’m ont even going to entertain that with a mouse click.
Beck III: I mean: this is just stoopid.
Lynette: You can get health coverage
Beck III: You’re delusional on that popint, Lynette.
Lynette: Far as I know you don’t have to be in good standing with the IRS to buy health insurance
Beck III: How the fuck do you think I’m going to pay for something like that?
Lynette: I don’t know
Lynette: You’d think of a way
Beck III: That’s right. You don’t.
Beck III: Like *how*?
Lynette: Landscaping
Lynette: You’re in good shape
Beck III: This is getting absurd.

Casey Sheehan – Just Following Orders

The big anti-war tent outside the Crawford ranch is on its way to surpassing the Winchester Mystery House for blind stairwells and bizarre additions. Today Mother Sheehan added a few more curious wings to Camp Casey, welcoming in Hamas, tax protesters, impeachment advocates, and those who would prosecute American military leaders for war crimes.

It’s inevitable that those who mock and villify Mother Sheehan will be quick to criticize her for corpse dragging. They’ll make statements to the effect that she’s defiling her son’s memory by making him the centerpiece of her roadside freak show, but, as Radley Balko points out, how can they know the mind of Casey Sheehan better than his own mother? How can they know that Army Spc. Sheehan did not feel that he was complicit in war crimes? Certainly he volunteered to participate in Bush’s criminal war, but he was, after all, just following the orders of the architects of war crimes. He was only doing their bidding, albeit quite willingly, when he died in Iraq.

While it’s true that poor Casey’s corpse would have fared better had it been dropped from a helicopter onto the streets of Mogadishu, if Mother Sheehan wants to enlist her own son into a posthumous war against George Bush, who is Michelle Malkin to malign her for it?

note: Yet another weird addition has materialized along the Crawford roadside attraction in the form of David Duke’s stamp of approval. Mother Sheehan’s demand for Israel’s withdrawl from Palestine has met with the former Grand Dragon’s passionate endorsement of the protest.

Now Playing — You Wish

Some libertarian chick flicks via LibertyBelles and ReasonHitandRun

You’ve Got Mail Delivered by a Non-Gov’t Agency
Taxless in Seattle
Reardon Metal Magnolias

But the list would be incomplete without the following blockbusters:

My Big Fat Offshore Bank Account
Bend it Like Billy Beckham
Alice Rosenbaum Doesn’t Live Here Anymore
Meet John Galt
Waiting to Ex-Patriate

Seductive Delirium – The Power of Wielding Government for Liberty

The buzz in favor of using eminent domain to give Justice Souter a taste of his own medicine boils down to 1) street theatre – It’s effective in convincing the masses of the wrongness of blatant government thievery and 2) seductive delerium – It provides a slim, but desperate hope that equally applying oppressive policies to those who create and enforce those policies will make them lift the boot up from our necks – just a little, anyway. As a one commenter puts it, “If space aliens COULD rescue us from this government, I’d support that, too. ”

The street theatre justification for the Lost Liberty Hotel project falls flat from the get go. While it does call attention to the use of eminent domain for private enterprise, it doesn’t go far in convincing the masses of anything beyond simply reinforcing their own existing tendencies.

At best, statists see the Kelo case as a way that big, bad capitalists take advantage of the “little man.” They come away from the Lost Liberty Hotel Show saying, “Right on. It’s wrong for Souter to let Pfizer take property for business use. Government is the only group that should be confiscating property. Power to the people!”

Reason #2

“Don’t get me wrong. Being Lady of the Golden Wood is great and all, but I could pamper myself at a nice libertarian B&B now and then. Hmm… just a little government. Only for good, of course.”

“Confiscate this, Souter!”

Conservatives and libertarians who are enticed by the Lost Liberty Hotel plan believe that wielding the power of government could make government cry uncle and back off. In other words, the space alien rescue. Expansion of government doesn’t make government back off. Even if Congress passed a law limiting the use of eminent domain for private projects, it will still be back in force before the ink is dry, taking your stuff in all manner of other ways.

It’s like making it illegal to pick one pocket, but open season on all the other pockets. That’s how government rescues you.

So what’s the right way to react to the Kelo ruling? Do what you should have been doing all along. Work on a personal freedom strategy, not a collective one. Martyring yourself in order to make a point to the masses is a waste of life, just as expending the slightest energy in street theatre to sway the herd is a wasted effort.

Who Needs Endless Debate?

Starting this summer, travelers from sea to shining sea will be able to share in the fun of the virtual strip search that, before now, had only been enjoyed by prisoners in the wide, open spaces of the Big Sky State Prison system and suspected drug mules at Miami International Airport. So, as your government fends off muslim street chimp indignation with an aggressive and thorough investigation into the scandalous breach of Saddam Hussein’s privacy, Security Tsar Michael Chertoff will be overseeing the testing of x-ray backscatter technology which he expects to deploy in the full forefrontal vanguard of airport passenger screening across the homeland by the end of the year.

Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff told a Senate subcommittee last month that he wants to employ the technology and doesn’t want an “endless debate” over privacy issues.

The Rapiscan type system has been around for the past 5 years, most notably at Miami International on suspected drug couriers and to search prisoners at Montana State Prison. The TSA won’t disclose where they’re currently being tested or where they will first be put into official use, but pretty soon there won’t be any need to fuss over what you’ll be wearing to the airport because, to the TSA, it’ll all look like clear vinyl rain slickers, anyway.

Lookin’ smart, America.

“Busted!” TSA screener shows off the capabilities of the new Rapiscan 1000, coming soon to an airport near you.

Is partial privatization is worse than the status quo?

Over at Will Wilkinson’s place, Gil asks:

Do you think that partial privatization is worse than the status quo?

It’s not privatization, partial or otherwise, while the government continues to control the disposition of the funds.

The proposals I’ve seen for the “privatization” of Social Security remind me of the “deregulation” of the electricity market that occured in California during the mid 90’s. It was no deregulation at all. It was the highly regulated transfer of the electrical market into a highly regulated bidding system. It was mutated from a totally regulated industry into a half-assed, inviable monstrosity that was doomed to collapse – still totally regulated, but dubbed deregulated when it never was so.

So it’s not really privatization at all, but putting that objection aside, here’s my quick and dirty take on what I see as, basically a two pronged Social Security reform plan.

1) Force younger workers to put up to $3000 yearly (1% of their annual income) into a completely dedicated, untouchable account, thereby making those individuals less of a liability when they retire and go from benefit payers to benefit takers. In other words, “Look, Micha Youngworker is a millionaire now. He can take care of himself in his golden years. He won’t be needing any of that other 13% of his income that we took from him and his employers over the past 30 years.” To that, crotchety old Micha might reply, “Fine then! You guys just soaked about a half a million from mine and my employer’s income and it’s just ~poof~ gone to pay for whatever you saw fit. This, while you are still taxing me at 40% . That’s just not right, but who am I to say what is right? Whatever, give me the million and will you finally just get your fingers from around my neck and let me go fishing with Venlet? Sayonara, leeches!”

2) Decreasing the benefit paid out. This could be done by decreasing the upward adjustments of the benefit over time, means testing, etc. AARP’s not going to like that a bit, but I’m sure Congress will figure a way to grease those immediate skids and, don’t fool yourselves, it’s going to cost you more to ameliorate plan critics. Just figure that in as part package price.

Sounds like a plan, Stan, but as time goes on what happens to the bonus fund? You know the one our vaunted legislators have been getting to play with for the past 30 or 40 years. The yearly Social Security surplus bonus box. The Congress creatures will be finding less and less in that box every fiscal year until one day soon, they go to open the box and there won’t be anything. Awwwww. It’ll be like an eager little curtain climber opening a nicely wrapped empty Christmas present. The Congress will be sad.

And what do they do when they get sad? Exactly.

Count Me Out

The voters are tagging themselves like pigeons now.

blue bracelet red bracelet

Blue (aside from getting you roughed up in Blood neigborhoods) shows your solidarity and your desire to work toward a saner goverment. Red is your way of telling the world that you voted twice for Bush and that you promote prosperity and counter terror at home and abroad, but good citizens ought to display the courage of their convictions by skipping the faggy wrist bands, altogether, in favor of something that could transmit their voting records, or whatever else happens to be looping around in their music box minds, to the public airwaves.

Put an RFID chip in the bracelets or, better still, in their collective gluteus maximi and parade about, knowing that they’re broadcasting their voting record to anyone who wants to take aim and shoot with a Radio Shack passport reader. Then they could truly say they’re putting their asses into the serious process of democracy.

Tagged and Bagged

In a bid for some much needed publicity, Libertarian Presidential candidate Mike Badnarik and Green Party hopeful David Cobb have been jailed in St. Louis for protesting the Bush – Kerry showdown.


Here, ya go, Mike, you deserve it. It’s the least I can do, expecially since I just can’t bother myself to vote anymore. (Cobb is still a commie rat, though, and will need to get his picture posted elsewhere.)

follow up:

This is why the LP drives me nuts:

01:47PM CT

I just talked with Mr. Badnarik. He was in his hotel room and eating some dinner.

He said that after he and Mr. Cobb were arrested, they were placed in a police van – then there was some delay as they threw some students in the van with them. The stories from two of them are posted in the prior two entries of this posting.

Mr. Badnarik says that they sat in a cell for one to one and a half hours. He reported that the fingerprinting process was not as thorough as he had expected.

They did not have to post any bail – but were given tickets for “trespass” and “refusing a reasonable order from a policeman”.

“He reported that the fingerprinting process was not as thorough as he had expected.” What the heck? Say what you like about market anarchists, but LP is chock full o’ weird.

“Every Vote Counts!”

The Michigan GOP is accusing Michael Moore of election chicanery for offering gag prizes to college-aged slackers in exchange for promises to vote. They’re asking prosecutors in Michigan to roundly rebuke the rotund rabble-rouser.

I tell them that I may have been the original slacker, and that I do not want them to change their slacker ways. Keep sleeping ’til noon! Keep drinking beer! Stay on the sofa and watch as much TV as possible! But, please, just for me, on 11/2, I want you to leave the house and give voting a try — just this once. The stakes this time are just too high.

If they promise me that they’ll do this, I give the guys a 3-pack of new Fruit of the Loom underwear, and the women get a day’s supply of Ramen noodles, the sustenance of slackers everywhere. I then close by having them repeat the 2004 Slacker Oath: “Pick nose! Pick butt! Pick Kerry.”

“We want everyone to participate in this year’s election, but not because they were bribed or coerced by the likes of Michael Moore,” asserts Greg McNeilly, executive director of the Michigan Republican Party on behalf of the government’s monopoly on force and bribery.

The law expressly prohibits individuals from contracting with one another for something of value in exchange for agreeing to vote. If Sean Hannity took to the stage out in Red Country and started handing out free Jiffy Lube certificates in exchange for Bush votes, he’d be strung up in a minute, but Moore will, most likely, be strongly urged by his own legal team to desist from any further exchanges of gifts for promises to vote. Whether or not the government, which Moore so loves and would wield against others on his own behalf, will cite Moore for blowing off the Law, remains to be determined.

Still, as much as I’d like to see Moore’s head on a pike for general purposes, he shouldn’t be jailed or prosecuted for his violation of the statutes anymore than Martha Stewart should have been. Stewart was a savvy investor. Some would consider that to be a crime, but I don’t. Moore’s only infraction, in my book, is that he overpaid his slacker zombie army. A year’s worth of Tostitos is worth at least $150. A 3-pack of Fruit of the Loom underwear is worth about $5. That’s far more than the value of an individual vote, much less the promise to vote.

The law is wrong in it’s exclusive claim on the bribes-for-votes market. Where is the harm in opening up the votes market? How would life, as we know it, disintegrate if the GOP or any other individual or entity were allowed to distribute $100 bills, gift certificates, or free beer tokens for votes?

The benefits of a vote market would be quickly realized if the ban were lifted. For one thing, it would muzzle the tedious affirmations of mysticist, lever-wanking airheads who flounce about proclaiming “Every vote counts!” It wouldn’t take long for them to finally be shown the exact worth of an individual vote on the open market.

“Could it be an Illudium Q-36 Explosive Space Modulator?”

Night Heron swooped in briefly to pose the above question during commentary at Who Tends the Fires regarding civil war.

Victor Davis Hanson did call it correctly, I think. There are going to be interesting times, but Hanson didn’t mention civil war because there will be life after November for the Left. Michael Moore will score another Oscar and even the most virulent contingent of lefties will still be happy as pigs in slime, complaining about Big This and Big That. They will luxuriate in their whinging about big box stores and global warming, all the while they’ll be obliviously plaguing the aisles of Walmart and comfortably carting their pinheaded little mutants about with them in their SUV’s and minivans.

And Bush won’t leave them behind. He has entitlements for All. There is still *so much* to go around. Goodies for All.

There will be Prilosec, too! Free or discounted Prilosec for the the liberty minded – the guys you often find grousing about freedom and taxes on RKBA forums – to extinquish any grumbling in their guts before it progresses into outrage. After all, they truly are good, travailing souls who have jobs, families and pension plans. They won’t be kicking over anything but the lawnmower any time soon, either.

And then there are a handful of individualists who will continue to plot their freedom strategies as independently of the collective libertarian struggle as they are of the collective leeches.

All this spells no need to brace yourselves for immediate disintegration just yet.