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Sunday, July 29, 2007

Cheney and his bum ticker:

I'm glad that, as stated by the Chicago Tribune Cheney 'fine' after defibrillator is replaced. As much of a schmuck as he is, I don't wish him, or more importantly, his family, any ill will. However, I find it an interesting juxtaposition that, a week after his alleged boss, Bush, made Cheney acting President for two hours and five minutes, Bush became acting Vice President while Cheney's defibrillator was being replaced. During that time, he admirably fulfilled the modern duties of that office, namely, sitting around like an idiot, not being particularly relevant to much of anything, and making someone else in the government look good in comparison.

As always, enjoy the music. I thought the video in particular was appropriate for this. :)

Thursday, July 26, 2007

A random irritation:

First, to be absolutely clear, I have no problem whatsoever with the GLBT community. As long as non-related adults are happy and involved in a loving and healthy relationship based on mutual respect, and as long as they respect my right to do the same (although "right" and "ability" are very much different issues and something I have to work on...), I'm cool. No, what bothers me is all of these beautiful women playing transvestite or transgender males. It wasn't too bad when it was Olympia Dukakis in the "More Tales of the City" miniseries, but lately, I've seen the still beautiful Mimi Rogers on one show playing a male transvestite, and on "Ugly Betty", I saw the stunning Rebecca Romijn playing a male-to-female transsexual. I think it's warped mah fragile little mahnd, to quote Eric Cartman from South Park. Fuck it. Mimi Rogers and Rebecca Romijn are still fucking HOT! Still, it seems like such a shame to waste that kind of beauty on an admittely hilarious plot device.

With that in mind, I post the following flashback to a more innocent time. Enjoy. :)

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

More on minarchism vs. isolationist anarchism:

Paul, please forgive me, but you raised an interesting point in the comments section of my post.

1138 said...

"No, I'd put you somewhere closer to an isolationist anarchist than a conservative.

"I think there are a lot of folks who thing they want what you believe you want.
All I can do is pray that you never get it.
A modern technological society can't run on the governmental division you aspire to, just look at the Balkans."

7/25/2007 10:39 AM

My response was as follows:

Not quite. I'm a minarchist, which is similar (to an anarchist), but unlike anarchists, I at least acknowledge the necessity of the existence of government. I echo a letter from Thomas Jefferson to Isaac H. Tiffany in 1819, "Of liberty I would say that, in the whole plenitude of its extent, it is unobstructed action according to our will. But rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others. I do not add 'within the limits of the law,' because law is often but the tyrant's will, and always so when it violates the right of an individual." Yet the paradox that is inherent in this statement is who steps in when the "equal rights of others" are violated? This common defense of the rights of others is the greatest purpose of government, and in fact, the one that is most ethically sound for a government to undertake. Leave charity to individuals, churches, and other organizations. They're far better at administering it, and they're not nearly as likely to misuse the funds for other ends as we've seen with Social Security.

The cite for the Jefferson quote is here, and is available on the University of Virginia website. In short, I believe government is a necessary evil, but one whose scope and power should be as small as possible while defending the rights of the individual from harm caused by others. I'm not opposed to the use of military force; I merely think we as a people should think long and hard before we do so, and that it be done very judiciously.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Please, don't call me a conservative.

First, I believe the most succinct crystallization of the proper role of government can be found in the Wiccan Rede: "An' ye harm none, do what ye will." I'm a Christian by philosophy, upbringing, and culture, yet I've never seen my political beliefs stated better.

Also, don't get me wrong: If this were the 1960s, I would at least be aligned with the Goldwater conservatives. The modern neoconservative, however, I find as distasteful as the abuses of power and fiscal mismanagement that have also been, if not typical, then at least not atypical, of the American liberal movement in the past, most notably in the form of LBJ. Of course, this is in contrast with classic liberalism which is a completely different creature.

If you choose to pick my stances apart, I am extremely fiscally conservative. I believe the government should judiciously manage the hard-earned money every taxpayer entrusts them with, while doing their best to take as little of it as possible so as to do minimal harm to the economy.

However, it is my stance on the proper role of the military that my conservative credentials start to fall apart. I favor either a completely non-interventionist policy or a minimally-interventionist stance. The proper role of the military is to defend the United States. In some rare and very proscribed cases, such as stopping genocides such as what we see in Darfur and elsewhere around the globe, I would support the insertion of our troops, but only if there were a clear mission and if we had the resources to help. In such a case, however, I would much prefer other forms of humanitarian aid.

As for the government's intrusion into people's personal lives, frankly, I think Las Vegas is too conservative by half, and I even think The Netherlands could use a bit more liberalization in the classical sense, though at least they are almost there. What consenting adults do with their own bodies, as long as they harm no other, should not be subject to the government's intervention. However, I do support using intoxication as an aggravating circumstance in the consideration of other crimes, such as Lindsay Lohan's recent stunt. In her case, the possession and consumption of various substances should not be at issue directly. It's the fact that she endangered others and knew this was a risk of what she was doing. Had she done that at home and slept it off, that would have been an entirely different issue.

On immigration, as long as the immigrants are willing to assimilate to our culture and can function at some level in our society without becoming a burden, I say open the floodgates. We're all a nation of immigrants here. It's just that, for some of us, it happened so many generations ago that we've forgotten.

I'm also very irritated about this "left vs. right" thing. The terminology hasn't had any true relevance since Revolutionary France, when the terms were defined by the seating arrangements at their assemblies. In this White House, I've seen some telling elements of fascism, and this is not a term I use casually. Fascism is every bit as much anathema to a moderate conservative as socialism is to a moderate liberal.

I believe people should be kind and generous to one another, but the government has proven time and again that they are grossly inefficient at handling charity, and that, frankly, is the least of their problems.

So, if I'm not a conservative, what am I? For one, I'm an anti-federalist. The government works best that works closest to the people they serve. Therefore, I support vastly increased decentralization of government power. In the end, I love freedom, and a strong central government, as proven most recently by this administration, is anathema to such a goal. While I'm not entirely a pacifist, I'm very restrained in my support of uses of force, again almost exclusively for the purpose of self-defense. In short, I'm a minarchist, though one who's intelligent enough to know that if this is to work, an incrementalist approach is necessary, and we must clean up the messes of those who came before to avoid further damage to the country.

Finally, conservatives and liberals have hope that the government will right itself just on the brink of disaster. Based on the evidence, I believe the time for such action is now to rein in the spending and reform and/or eliminate programs, and I believe it's not going to begin to happen until it's already too late. Whenever someone calls me a conservative, I think at times they grossly overestimate my optimism. At my best, I'm a pragmatist, and at worst, I'm very much a pessimist.

Enjoy the music.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Woohoo!!! I did what South Park worked to avoid:

Free Online Dating

Mingle2 - Free Online Dating

I would like to thank my filthy FUCKING mouth for this award. :)

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Russ Feingold Censure Resolution:

As I was watching Meet The Press, it was impossible to ignore Senator Feingold's announcement that he would be putting forth a measure to censure the President, though he made a point not to rule out other people who may be the subject of a censure resolution. Last year, when he made his censure motion and only three of his fellow Democrats joined him, I respected him for his courage. However, in a time when justice cries out for this President to be impeached, he's acknowledging that his proposition has no legal binding and will, in essence, tell any Republican President should know when they serve concurrently with a Democrat Congress: They don't like him. I'm deeply disheartened, yet far from surprised, that none of the leadership of either major political party has the courage and integrity to do that which must be done for the good of our nation: Impeach President Bush.

Also, I'm equally disturbed by something I mentioned earlier: Congress' failure to get rid of the national debt and reform and/or eliminate the entitlement programs before our nation is only able to pay for the interest on the debt and some, but not all, of our basic infrastructural needs. May our descendants forgive us our pettiness, shortsightedness, and weakness.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Handicapping the 2008 Presidential Election:

Democrats: Hilary brought in Bill far too early. She could very easily become the Howard Dean of this election cycle, a task made even easier by the widespread... hatred isn't too strong a term for the emotion engendered by the mention of her or her husband by those on both the left and the right. She's running this race as though it were a 400m sprint, but elections these days are more like an Ironman triathlon.. She's peaking far too early, and I predict she'll be out of this race in everything but name by January. I see it being between Obama and Edwards, and Obama has a decisive advantage. He has greater charisma, minimal baggage, and is generally far more likable than Edwards. Also, he would be far tougher to beat by a Republican because they wouldn't be able to successfully use a large number of Rove's dirty tricks. Prediction: Obama by a whisker.

Republicans: I agree that Fred Thompson is the 800-lb. gorilla in the mist for the GOP, though recent revelations hurt his chances of winning the GOP nomination. McCain's campaign is only waiting for a physician to call the time of death. Giuliani has done a fair impression of the Hindenberg. Romney isn't looking much better, and will continue to have trouble with the evangelical wing of the GOP because of his faith. Brownback's campaign is rotting so badly it's drawing flies, and the rest of the GOP field isn't worth mentioning. The hour groweth short if Thompson wants to enter the fray. Prediction: If Thompson enters, he still wins by a mile. If not, too close to call between Giuliani and Romney.

Wild Card: Mayor Bloomberg of NYC could be the spoiler for the Democrat candidate, perhaps this year's Ross Perot in reverse. However, this would be mitigated substantially if Obama gets the nod. He's a businessman first and foremost, and I don't see him entering if he doesn't think he has a real chance of winning. Prediction: He enters only if Hilary wins the Democratic Party nomination. I get the sense that he hates the Clintons as much as Perot hates the Bushes.

My thoughts on the GOP and politics in general: With Romney, I have little doubt that he may be a good father and husband. He certainly did good work as the governor of the state of Masochism, er, Massachusetts. If he were running on his record as governor, I would have absolutely no problem voting for him with a clear conscience. His latest move to the right, however, has left a very bitter taste in my mouth, and I'm not sure I like anyone running any better, certainly not among the front runners. Perhaps it's because I'm more of an anti-federalist than a classic libertarian, although I am very libertarian on social issues. Fiscally, I advocate the government pinching pennies so tight Lincoln's beard comes out the other side. The evidence is clear. The Emperor is bare-assed NEKKID, and if we don't financially clothe him (to abuse the metaphor even more), it will be our children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren who will pay a terrible price.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Mr. President, You Are No "Sun King".

I'm going back to something President Bush said on April 20, because he said something fairly similar today. He said, "My job is a job to make decisions. I’m a decision — if the job description were, what do you do — it’s decision-maker. And I make a lot of big ones, and I make a lot of little ones." Doesn't quite have the same ring as the apocryphal Louix XIV quote, "L'etat, c'est moi!" However, I'm sure it's the best he was able to manage on his own, in spite of his legion of speech writers. So, instead, I take an old Lloyd Bentsen quote and turn it into something quite absurd when I say, "I knew Louis XIV in a past life, and you are no Sun King." While the first half of the sentence is a load of crap, since I find the concept of reincarnation completely absurd, the second half stands. Mr. Bush, you are not the United States of America. You are not our people. You are not some benevolent absolute monarch to whose whim we are all subject. You are not what makes the United States great, what makes living here a dream and a beacon of hope to oppressed people everywhere. You, sir, are the least of us, a representative of our weakness, of our child-like folly, and for those of us who helped elect you twice, the source of a shame so deep we cannot begin to utter or comprehend its depths. It is in your, ahem, "honor", that I quote the first three stanzas of T.S. Eliot's "The Hollow Men".

"We are the hollow men
We are the stuffed men
Leaning together
Headpiece filled with straw. Alas!
Our dried voices, when
We whisper together
Are quiet and meaningless
As wind in dry grass
Or rats' feet over broken glass
In our dry cellar

"Shape without form, shade without colour,
Paralysed force, gesture without motion;

"Those who have crossed
With direct eyes, to death's other Kingdom
Remember us -- if at all -- not as lost
Violent souls, but only
As the hollow men
The stuffed men."

Mr. President, I ask you to read those words, really ponder them, look at the totality of your life, not only as President, not only as a Governor, not only as an executive with the Texas Rangers baseball team; but rather, as your worth as a man. I look at you, Mr. President, and I see a man who was given so much, and who had all of the advantages to achieve greatness, yet you chose to be banal. You chose to mistake pettiness and stubbornness for the virtues of decisiveness and sound judgment, and people in the United States and abroad have suffered as a result. I hope, as I have since you took office more than 6 years ago, that you find wisdom and honor, and have the courage to act on those keystones of just government. I hope, as I have since you took office more than 6 years ago, that, instead of focusing on building your legacy, you instead allow your legacy to build itself on a foundation of virtue and courage. However, I have long since realized those hopes are in vain, so now I also hope that you at least don't screw things up any more in the waning days of your presidency, and that your successor is somehow able to fix your colossal mess. I also hope you have a pleasant and restful retirement, and that you have the good sense to stay away from the cameras much like your father has. And for the United States and the other peoples around the world, I hope for peace and an end to needless suffering.

Monday, July 09, 2007

The Emperor is Bare-Assed NEKKID!

I watched 60 Minutes last night, and aside from being entertained by Andy Rooney's curmudgeonly ranting, I was deeply disturbed by a story about David Walker. He has been derided by some as a "Chicken Little" about the nation's fiscal health, but I can find no flaws with his arguments. It's sad that he's realized that he can accomplish nothing by dealing directly with our elected representatives, but I find his determination encouraging. The government of the United States is heading towards financial ruin, and no one in power is doing a damned thing about it. I'm worried for myself and for the generations to come. When my grandparents were children, they had the Great Depression, and something even worse is on the horizon. Clinton didn't totally suck on this issue, but he didn't do enough, and Bush, instead of at least standing on that progress, has actually made the problem significantly worse. All in all, this is a disaster waiting to happen, and it's proof that Keynesian economics simply don't work. Mises was right all along, or at least, he was more right than wrong.

I encourage everyone to read this story at the link below:

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Eight Random Facts about the Farting One:

1) Spoken English is almost equivalent to a second language for me, although it's the language I grew up hearing. The written form is where I was first really able to express myself. I didn't even speak a coherent sentence until I was 3, and I didn't achieve true comfort with the spoken form of the language until much later. The causes to this day are not entirely known, but there are some very solid theories.

2) I once wanted to become a speech pathologist out of gratitude to those who helped me, sort of a "Pay It Forward" type deal. Of course, then I remembered that I'm not exactly fond of children who aren't related to me (and some who are). :)

3) I have never voted for a Democrat in any presidential election, although I regret not voting for Badnarik in '04 and for Harry Browne in '00. Also, I have never voted a straight ticket in my life, with my record being roughly half Republican and half other.

4) I have never voted in a Democrat primary, not because I didn't like some of the candidates, but rather, because that's where all the interesting races are and the greatest opportunity to mitigate the damage is in Alabama.

5) I love a good fight, argument, or debate. I find little is as entertaining as watching two people slug it out, or slugging it out myself, though for the last 10-15 years, I've stuck to the verbal forum, because I absolutely suck at fighting.

6) I almost joined the Sierra Club, again, because I was young and spoiling for a fight, a battle of wits. Seeing what they've become now, I'm glad I didn't.

7) I have NEVER liked mainstream country music, with the exception of bluegrass and zydeco.

8) I spent a weekend in the Paris Hilton. Wanna see the video? j/k One of my hobbies is trying to shock people with some of the jokes I tell. Pissing people off is just a natural talent I have.

Since I don't have 8 people to tag, I'm posting yet another video. It's completely unrelated to the above post, but I like it. It's a fan video that combines footage from one of my favorite films (Equilibrium) with one of my favorite songs by VAST. Enjoy.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Bush got him a little Scooter II, a response to Greenwald:

Since Glenn Greenwald's article is of a fair amount of length, I won't cite the entire article here. It is, however, definitely worth a read, and I ask that you read before continuing on with my post.

If Bush is, in fact, Nietzschean in his outlook, would that make him, and by extension, his lackeys, nihilists? I would argue that the problem of corruption at the top levels of government is far older than six years. That said, Bush has taken that initial flaw, and instead of ameliorating it, has chosen to take it to disturbing extremes and added a strong thread of cronyism. Macchiavelli did not describe things as they should be. He described things as they really were. A few years ago, I would have hoped that we have progressed since then, but Bush has given lie to the dreams of my youth. In conclusion, I could find no meaningful flaws with Mr. Greenwald's arguments.

Enjoy the music.

Rome is burning: Thoughts on the past and present

In recent months, perhaps a year or more, I have found myself very curious about the ancient Romans. Could they see the end of their empire? Were there those among them who could see that their empire, their way of life, was inexorably drawing to a close? Did they know that they had gone past the tipping point, away from civilization and into decay? Did it hurt them to the core of their very being, or did it just sit there in their bellies, a vague malaise, a sense that something just wasn't right? These questions haunt me. I'm not bothered by the fact that I will never know the answer. I'm bothered by what I see on the news.

America is a nation based on an idea. What happens when that idea dies? What happens when those who would lead us pervert those ideas to justify the indefensible, or worse, ignore them altogether? What happens when those who would teach the next generation abdicate their responsibility to the next generation in the name of some nebulous "greater good"? What happens when those who would lead us and teach us, those who shape today's world and have the power to shape the future of our nation, cite the sins of those who came before to "justify" equally monstrous acts against the innocents of today?

Am I talking about Michelle Malkin's bizarre support of internment camps? Am I talking about racist reporters and "professors" who insist that "something happened" at a lacrosse party in Durham on March 13, 2006, in spite of overwhelming evidence to the contrary? Am I talking about virtually anything that comes out of the mouths of Ann Coulter, Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, or Bill O'Reilly? The answer to these questions is a resounding "Yes!" Juvenal had a term for the dumbing down of the Roman people: bread and circuses. When you find that people are more worried about the fate of a rich heiress and the latest styles and music than they are about the fate of our nation, when what would have been another Watergate (the Libby affair) is barely a blip on most people's radar, this frightens me. No, scratch that. This scares the living shit out of me.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Parents Involved in Community Schools v. Seattle School District

Given the importance of this case, I felt the need to devote an entire post to it. Before I continue, I want to make it clear that Justice Kennedy is decidedly NOT one of my favorite Supreme Court Justices, especially since the Kelo decision, although, to be fair, his concurring opinion was easily the most sane and fair of those in the majority. Had he known facts that later came to light, I feel he could have very easily ruled the other way using that same reasoning. Several states reacted in manners consistent with Kennedy's criteria to the benefit of property owners. However, I've already groused about the "Bong Hits 4 Jesus" ruling, so I won't go into that here. Some say Kennedy's a conservative with libertarian leanings. I say he's a conservative who has the occasional pang of conscience.

Now, on my main point, I find myself echoing his opinion in a case critics decry as undoing the Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, KS, decision. Justice Kennedy's stance on this issue was that, while race cannot be THE deciding factor, it can be A deciding factor and that other measures should be taken to prevent resegregation. I also echo Justice Thomas' when he said, "If our history has taught us anything it has taught us to beware of elites bearing racial theories." And although I felt Chief Justice Roberts' plurality opinion was overreaching, I think he was dead-on when he said, "The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race." Chief Justice Roberts may be a bit of a bastard, but that bastard was right on that point. Discrimination cannot be used to fight discrimination, yet the opinion of the minority in this case was that the ends justify the means. My stance is that the ends are only as noble as the means used to achieve them, and in this case, the means were ignoble and racist. On the most overreaching aspects of the Roberts opinion, no majority was written, merely a plurality. This issue is far from settled, and I think the ensuing debate can be healthy for this nation. However, I somehow doubt it will be, given the abundance of demagogues on both sides of the political spectrum in this nation. Hate begets hate, and Seattle chose to go down that slippery slope.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Bush got him a little Scooter.

What can I say? I felt a little whimsical. There is a silver lining in the whole Scooter Libby sentence commutation: Libby is still a convicted felon, he still has $250k in restitution to pay, and he still has probation to serve. He didn't take documents out of the National Archives and destroy them in the middle of an investigation(Berger), and he didn't evade taxes and make deals with Iran during the hostage crisis (Marc Rich). I'm sorry, but I don't see where the GOP at large in a much worse position on the issue of letting the guilty go free than the Democrats. At least Libby is still a convicted felon, which is more than can be said about Rich or Berger. Honestly, the Democrats should be grateful for Bush's deep unpopularity and the short memory of the body politic. If you're in the mood to search for hypocrisy, there's more than enough for most of the major players to get seconds and thirds and eat crow until their bellies are full. With the Clinton White House, you had Byzantine levels of corruption. With the Bush II White House, you have cronyism taken to new depths of depravity. In both, you have a systematic pattern of obstruction of justice and perjury, although only under Dumbya was a top aide prosecuted for it. As far as I'm concerned, take your pick. I'm disgusted by both and am appalled by the harm each did to this nation in their own unique way. And frankly, in both cases, the truest form of rebellion either President's children could do is by choosing not to be such fucking embarrassments.

There are, however, some Democrats who can claim a moral high ground on this issue. While I didn't hear any Congressional Democrats calling for an independent investigation in 2001, not all of today's major players were prominent figures on the national stage at that time. Most notably, I'm referring to Senator Obama. In 2001, I believe he was a state legislator in Illinois, and regardless, he was truly a non-entity on the national stage. If a state legislator expresses outrage, even a leader in such a body, who really notices? Is it really knowable what Senator Obama's position was on that issue in 2001? I'm not stating that Democrats should not express their outrage over Bush's latest stunt. I'm just saying that in many cases, it rings more than a bit hollow. I'm not saying this in the defense of the GOP, Bush, or, frankly, anyone other than Obama. For a long time, I've detested both of the major political parties fairly equally, and it's this type of "Do as I say, not as I do" shit that really pisses me off.

Enjoy the music.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

SCOTUS End of Term Decisions:

First, the easy ones: The Texas death-row inmate who was clearly too insane to know what he was doing... Dude needs help and to be locked away for the rest of his life, not to be strapped to a gurney and killed. While what he did was monstrous, justice is better served by treating someone so obviously mentally ill, rather than by ending his life. Some might argue that it is crueler to leave someone in that state, but my responses to those arguments are, on the first count, an echoing of what occurred in Nazi Germany, and second, an old Latin phrase, Dum spiro, spero. While I breathe, I hope, and in this case, I hope that man gets the help that he needs and that he is never again placed in a position where he can do harm to others or himself.

Another easy one, and one long overdue, was the Supreme Court's decision to hear the appeals of two Guantanimo Bay detainees. If our Constitution is to have any meaning, it must be applied to all equally. It is my hope that this will begin to address that particular imbalance.

Sadly, those two were the only easy ones to consider. The striking down of the McCain-Feingold Campaign finance reform act was easy from a legal perspective. The First Amendment trumps any of the provisions in that law, and the Court rightly saw that and acted accordingly. However, the larger question of how to better handle campaigns remains alarmingly untouched, and will likely remain so for quite some time.

It is with the McCain-Feingold ruling in mind that I take issue with the Morse v. Frederick decision that allowed the government, in the form of the school, to abridge Joseph Fredericks' First Amendment rights. While I think holding a sign that said "Bong Hits 4 Jesus" was quite stupid, I also believe it falls under protected free speech. As a result, I am deeply alarmed by this ruling.

I also take issue with the decision in the matter of Bowles v. Russell. In this case, the Court decided that it was the responsibility of a litigant to independently verify deadline information provided by a judge acting in his or her official capacity. In the business sector, this illogic would never fly. In this case, the judge provided incorrect information which led to harm against an individual, and the Supreme Court ruled to abdicate its responsibility to address that harm. This is a truly sad day for this nation.

Next is the case of school desegregation. It's sad that this is still an issue today, and it's even sadder that some demagogues on both the left and, to a lesser extent, the right are intent on distorting the dream of true equality. The question at issue was whether a mother should be required to drive her child 90 minutes each way to and from her child's school simply because he's white. On this issue, I agree with Justice Kennedy's position that schools should not decide which students can attend which schools based solely on race, but that other measures should be taken to prevent resegregation.

Finally, the Supreme Court took what I consider the weasel way in refusing to consider the case against the Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives. Instead of handling the issue head-on, they instead ruled that taxpayers had no standing in filing such a suit. My opinion on the substance of the case is twofold. I start with the White House press release on the issue. While the words are beautiful, and the intent may even be for the betterment of the country, I cannot help worrying that this is yet another slippery slope this administration has put our nation in. Churches have been instrumental in very positive social changes in the past, including but not limited to the Abolitionist movement and Civil Rights movement. On an oftentimes smaller scale, churches have for a very long time served as centers for distributing aid to those in need. These efforts are to be applauded and met with gratitude. However, no matter how effective the accounting practices, what is to prevent churches from switching their primary means of gathering aid from the donations of their members to the federal government, while spending an increasing amount of money on their evangelical desires? On the other side of the equation, what is to prevent the federal government from attempting to influence such churches' teachings by holding the purse strings? As it stood before the creation of this office, the main benefits churches received from the government were passive. They are not taxed if they apply for tax-exemption and abide by the policies to keep that status, and those policies allow for a wide range of religious expression in keeping with the First Amendment. However, I am deeply concerned that this office blurs that line significantly.

It is with that last decision in mind that I post the following music video. I've had my emo moment in my previous post. It's long past time for me to start kicking ass again. Religious fundamentalists really bother the hell outta me when they decide to get into politics. In fact, when I was younger, it was, oddly enough, my faith that drew me towards libertarianism.