Judge Jim Gray: The War on Drugs Must End

A conservative judge explains his conversion from drug warrior to social reformer and champion of liberty:

Basically, he nails the problem with the war on drugs by explaining exactly who benefits from the laws and who pays for the negative consequences of our outdated policies.

Prohibition has always failed and always will – it is contrary to the very spirit of American liberity. Until these issues are fixed though, we can expect lots of money flowing in to the gangs and prisons and police departments. Luckily, its a shortage of cash that might have us evaluate the moral wrongs being carried out in the name of zero tolerance and drug-free dreaming.

Tea Party Crashes, Fizzles

While I’m sympathetic to those who believe our government is acting beyond its intended functions and wasting the wealth of the American people, it is hard to not laugh a bit at how the Tea Party movement has been jerked and led around by the Republican party establishment that is most guilty of unconstitutional expansions and unnecessary military spending.

Not long after Ron Paul’s supporters came up with the idea for a Tea Party donation event, conservative PR specialists have been trying to find a way to co-opt the growing anger on the right side of things.

Within a few months of the donation Tea Party, a new “Tea Party protest” was being planned for tax day.  Suddenly though, anyone who had participated in the first grass-roots movement would have sensed that something was wrong.  Whereas the first Tea Party event had been organized exclusively by individuals without political connections, the second one was funded by all of the Republican operatives and front groups you might have come to expect.

When it was announced then that Sarah Palin and Tom Tancredo would be headlining the Tea Party convention and that tickets would cost almost $600 a piece, it should have been clear to even the slowest political analysts that this was little more than the old nativist neo-cons trying to regroup following the epic disgrace known as 8 years of Bush.

I don’t know what they talked about there, but I can take a guess.  Tancredo is one of those who seems to think that all evil in America came here from across the Mexican border, and Palin is so out there that we’re not sure she’s thinking about anything at all.  So frankly, I also don’t care what they were talking about at the Tea Party conference, because as far as I’m concerned this is just the new euphemism for neo-con.

But there’s still a downside here … is it possible for a legitimate opposition to form against the government that’s otherwise out of control?  If voter anger can so easily be corralled into a new establishment font group, what hope is there of reform coming from voter movements?

Ready for the World Bank to Regulate your Business and Travel?

Word is leaking from Copenhagen that the whole conference is really just an attempt to give extraordinary new powers to the World Bank and private banking cartels. You’ll have to view the whole document here, because WordPress doesn’t seem to want to allow me to embed it on this site.

Not only would the agreement codify and institutionalize the wealth gap between rich and poor nations, it would also help to serve the interests of the ultra-rich within those rich countries, by giving them more direct control over how ‘permission’ for economic activity is obtained.  Those with little direct activity in the burning of fuel will now be in charge of rationing those carbon credits – and we can probably expect a whole lot of complex derivative deals that allow speculators to pull profit on the very foundation of our economies – energy itself.

Call us denialists or skeptics or whatever.  There are plenty of serious environmental problems to be dealt with in this world, and our fearless leaders are fixing exactly zero of them.  To them, the only dilemma that remains is how to go about retaining and magnifying one’s own power.

Its Getting Hard to Talk about Politics

The worse things get, the harder they are to discuss in a calm and rational manner. Indeed, compounding the issue is the chilling effect of surveillance and the paranoia this adds to the equation.

The polls have established that the government is incredibly unpopular – and the vast majority of citizens see the country headed in the wrong direction. But what of it? What are you going to do about it?

Law after law is passed; dollar after dollar spent. Those who resist the edicts are likely to see an in-depth and long-term prison tour. Simply suggesting passive resistance can also be interpreted as a crime in our legal system…

So for all intents and purposes, I can only advise that you do exactly what they tell you. Pay your taxes on time and ignore all those loopholes and deductions that the ruling class regularly feasts on – they were not meant for you. Keep your papers and registrations and permissions up to date and on hand – you never know when you’ll need to prove that you’re allowed to stand on that sidewalk over there.

Why stand out of line? Why separate yourself from the safety of the herd mentality? Its not like the future of an entire nation is at stake… Its not like the legacy of liberalism and the reputation of a government by the people is on the line…

All I can legally tell you is to obey…

No Love for the Government

Despite a promise of hope and change, Americans are increasingly disillusioned with the performance of the federal government, and they’re becoming increasingly pessimistic about the direction our country is currently headed in.

For the majority of Obama’s first year in office, his approval ratings had hovered above the 60% mark – leaving a much smaller 40% to complain about his actions or lack of actions (as the case may be.)  In the last few weeks, however, this number has quickly slid down to a much closer 50-50%.  For every Obama fan, there is someone who thinks he should be doing a whole lot less or a whole lot more.

And this highlights another problem the government currently faces in its attempt to legislate from the center – the voices of complaint are splintered, and thusly do not point to a more popular course of action.

Congressional job approval is now at about 27% nationwide, so just about one in four Americans is happy with the work being done by our highest paid representatives.  Unfortunately, this offers little danger to incumbents, because as unpopular as the entire body is, people tend to appreciate their own corrupt bastard.

So all in all, about a third of the nation is happy with the direction we’re headed in, and there’s not a whole lot of evidence that this direction is likely to change any time soon.  In fact, the momentum of the machine is intent on self-preservation and resistance from true change – but that won’t stop us from hoping for some kind of real future change.

Everyone is Talking about the Weather…

Ahead of the climate summit in Copenhagen, the internet has been abuzz with accusations derived from the leaked emails from global warming research centers.  Some of the world’s richest and most powerful are now gathering in Europe to discuss new enforcement powers for the United Nations when it comes to regulating the economic activities and legal rules for member nations.

Under the faith of science, the relatively young relic of nationalism and sovereignty is fading quickly in the face of a new world order, a bureaucratic, technocratic monolith glued together by a faith in and fear of a human triggered environmental apocalypse.

Voices of protest are lost among the crashing waves, the river of fate thundering down the valley of the old ways.  As the institutions have been fortified for so long, they will hardly need to ask our consent before giving up our future claims of self-determination.

Blizzard clouds gather on the horizon as civilization enters its own winter – the crisis is upon our door and we have hardly defined what threats are bearing down on us, and we’ve scarcely had time to consider remedies.  We may deny the sources of danger that are growing, but it cannot be doubted that we have entered into a cold and dark time.

Lobbyists want your internets under government control

Over the last few years, there’s been a lot of talk about net nuetrality, and in the last few days some of this nebulous debate has become a priority for a few people in Congress.

The thing is, the internet already operates more or less on the principles of traffic nuetrality.  While a few ISPs have been caught throttling traffic and giving some feeds a minor priority over another, the courts have been mixed in their response and nothing particularly egregious has come up to merit harsh retaliation.

That’s not good enough for the ISPs.  Many people from magazine publishers to video producers would like to see the internet turned into a more controlled medium.  Instead of an open peer-to-peer network, they’re dreaming of a one-way mass communication machine that operates like the owners of the infrastructure want it to.  Think radio or TV, where choices are tightly controlled.

Think about all the lost opportunity for the rest of us who don’t happen to own a municipally-granted monopoly on cable lines.

McCain is behind the new push to protect ISPs from accusations of bias, and unsurprisingly he’s one of the biggest recipients of money from the very companies who would benefit from being able to control and fine-tune your internet experience as they see fit.

Defeating this obviously corrupt proposal from the member of a minority party won’t be too difficult.  Despite it, the FTC is digging in on an attempt to regulate online marketing, but their regulations and guidelines don’t demonstrate that they’ve really pondered the full chilling effects on the industry.  As non-American websites are unaffected, we’re moving into a time when American sites are cluttered with disclaimers while ones originating elsewhere will look ‘more legit’ because they don’t come with warning labels.

Indypundit.com doesn’t advertise (yet) so I don’t have to worry about any restrictions on my electronic speech (yet…)

Credit card vendors leaving college

An insane tradition of American debt-based consumerism is the marketing of credit cards on campus, to students.  Not only are the students likely to be buried by existing student loan debt, they’re also faced with an onslaught of offers for new credit.

And when you’re broke on campus, it can be hard to say no to another “eat now” and “pay later” type of arrangement.

But what happens when the jobs aren’t there for graduates like we’ve seen so recently?  Many students will be left with huge penalties and horrible credit records for life just because they graduated in the wrong year.

At the very least, efforts to lend to students will be declining across the board.  Instead, the government will take out debt on your behalf.  You’ll still get to pay it back, but they’ll decide how to spend the cash now.

Oh, but you’re hungry now?

Its something to think about while we congratulate the government for “liberating us from debt.”  They’ve done more than any single bank to ensure that we’re all on the hook.