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THE GLOBAL WAR ON TERROR AND ITS IMPACT ON LIBERTY:
If Professor Hanson can explain how my objections endanger American liberty, with examples and actual facts, I await with interest. If Professor Hanson can explain why the Patriot Act is not an intolerable affront to a nation founded on “the consent of the governed”, I await with fascination.
Well, the British certainly are responding to the elevated terror threat. Are they sacrificing too much freedom in order to gain security? And can the same thing happen here? The Pubcrawler discusses threatening talk and the First Amendment.
The Australians might be kicking it up a notch. Please read the news here and join in the discussion on religious freedom and terror.
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SPREADING DEMOCRACY ACROSS THE GLOBE:
Freedom requires the ability to communicate without fear. In fledgling democracies a new generation of computer users is discovering that instant messengers and acronyms are a valuable asset. The Idiom is here to explain.
Meanwhile, as women in places like Afghanistan and Iraq gain the power to vote, let's remember that it's been less than a century since American women gained suffrage. Mensa Barbie (PLEASE tell me that's really you in the picture!) shares this tribute to a suffragette.
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Below the Beltway wonders whether or not there is a place for libertarians within the democrat party.
Never sought to hold public office before. I want people who do, not politicians.
And it gets better from there!
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Ever apply for a mortgage? How about any other large loan (new car, etc.)? Did you feel like you were drowning in a sea of paperwork? No, this is not an ad for a low-stress mortgage. It's Searchlight Crusade discussing the levels of mortgage documentation.
The brillant minds at the Hawai'i (spelled in PC) state government have decided to eliminate what incentives the citizens of Hawai'i had to conserve gasoline and whatever incentives oil companies had deliver enough gasoline to meet the increased demand. As gas prices go higher, drivers who don't want to pay $60 or $70 to fill up their big SUVs will switch more fuel efficient cars or drive less. Oil companies have an incentive to produce and sell more gasoline to cash on on the high prices. As the supply begins to meet demand, prices of the good begin to drop. What the socialists on the Hawai'i Public Utilities Commission did what set the stage for possible fuel shortages as Hawai'i residents lose an incentive to conserve and oil companies have no incentive to bring gasoline to the people of Hawai'i.
Also on the subject of government regulation gone bad: Oregon is joining California and Washington in mandating lower emissions on new cars. My ideas here.
Now I will use my editorial power for the week to propose another tax idea:
How about getting rid of the entire system of "taxation" and replacing it with a new system of "rent"? Every adult simply pays an equal share of the government's spending bill, with the amount the government can spend as a percentage of the GNP fixed Constitutionally? OK, this sounds strange and radical: it is!
Let's say (for simple numbers sake) that the government is spending one trillion dollars (if we cut all the pork, this is even feasible). Now, again for simple numbers sake, say there are 200 million eligible rent payers (children not included; some classes of people could have exemptions; work out the details later). That equates to $5,000 each. You pay this amount. Period.
WAIT! WHAT ABOUT THE POOR?
How much is the cost of living going to decrease if we end all taxation? How much of the cost of your food, your gasoline, your shelter, your clothes, etc., is eaten up in taxes? 10%? 20%? 30%?
Honestly, I have no idea. But I'll bet it's a lot. Consider that every step in the logistics chain from raw material producer to manufacturer to wholesaler to distributor to local merchant has to pay taxes on profits, and subsequently must raise prices: in the end, taxes are paid by the consumer. Eliminate the taxes at every step, and prices will fall. A lot.
So... how much money will you save by having so much less to spend on everything?
Do you want to bet that you will save at least $5,000 on your annual living expenses?
Why do I support this radical idea?
1) It's truly fair. The bulk of the government's spending should be on things like defense, which benefit us all. The military doesn't spend more of its resources protecting Bill Gates than it does protecting Bill the Garbage Man.
2) Economic boom. Get rid of the many layers of taxation, and watch the economy prosper like never before.
3) Most people pay less. And after the cost of living change is factored in, I have faith that even the poor save money overall compared to the present system.
What if you can't pay? Well, what if you don't pay your taxes now? You either get the money somehow, or you suffer penalties. In my ideal system, most people could have their rent paid for them automatically as part of their salary package, much the way we have automatic withholding now. So you don't run into that "I had the money, but foolishly spent it" problem. If unemployed and broke, there would be many charitable services that would pay your rent, or a portion of it, in exchange for your voluntary service. Some people with the most extreme hardships could get exemptions. And of course, there will be some deadbeats who end up breaking big rocks into little rocks. In other words, not much would change.
So go ahead. Rip this one apart in the comments.
We should tax panhandling and charge a fee for sleeping in public places. "That's the City of Denver's bridge you're living under. You owe us rent."
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PHILOSOPHY and RELIGION:
What does "freedom of association" mean to you? Do you think that a religious organization should be free to exclude those who do not share the same faith? Part-Time Pundit informs us that the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals feels that way:
Liberty demands that people be allowed to say what they want and organize how they want unless there is a very significant reason to regulate. Only on campuses do these attempts to regulate free associate and free speech exist and finally the courts are starting to put an end to it.
Of course, at SIU, they have some free speech problems of a different sort...
Our courts, with the endorsement of our political leaders, are committing cultural harakiri for the sake of the 'rights' of the few misfits among us. We do not need to be 'all inclusive.' There are cases when it is appropriate to discriminate. We have to be willing to offend some people, because some people are wrong and will be rightly offended when the rest of us tell them to take a flying leap.
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Some posts defy easy classification...
Mr. Completely fills us in on a plan to import endangered animals onto the American great plains. Now, the question is, what is the real motivation here?
Their goal is to stop growth, stop building, stop logging, stop mining, and stop manufacturing. They want to close down all the land they can to public access, and waters too.
I have been saying for years that, while most environmentalists think they are helping the environment, the leaders of the movement actually don't care about birds and plants and air and water; they care about taking down America. Most environmental groups have a hidden background in the radical communist/socialist circles. If you think I'm being a little extreme, why not discover the network.
[W]e’re brighter than we used to be, but lazier. We have more capacity, but we use less of it. Physically and mentally we are self-indulgent, flabby, unwilling to wake up from the consumer-culture dream of entitlement. We pursue happiness by means ever more elaborate and frenetic, dimishing returns long since having set in. When reality hands us a wake-up call like 9/11, too many of us react with denial and fantasy.
God help us all. Unless you're an atheist. Or is it Atheist?
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