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Friday, December 26, 2008

The State's animal cruelty

Not only is the State terrible at taking care of children, as we saw in our last post, it also can't manage animals. A Columbus Dispatch article from last week details the abusive conditions heaped on helpless animals by the Franklin County animal shelter. It should give pause to animal rights activists who clamor for more state control over animal issues. Anyone who is considering adopting an animal from a state operated shelter should think twice before making this decision. These shelters think nothing of pushing vicious and aggressive dogs on unsuspecting families.

Like many other types of activists, animal rights people often push for more state intervention. Clearly, the vast government incompetence demonstrated here is not suitable for them to achieve their goals. If only they realized what they are asking, they would stop immediately and use what funding and resources they have to set up their own private shelters and wildlife preserves. Not only would it be much better for their cause, they wouldn't be forcing others to fund their desires.

Personally, I think the large amount human suffering in the world deserves more attention than animal suffering. I have no problem if you want to spend your own money to help alleviate the suffering of helpless animals. That is your right. However, you don't have a right to shove your way into my wallet in support of your favorite causes. Especially if it results in even more animal cruelty.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

State fails, kids die

Whether you want to believe it or not, state failures are all over the place in our society. If there ever was a rallying cry for state action, it would be "won't somebody think of the children!" Normally, the person saying this implies that they think the state should act to make some law, and this would magically solve whatever problem they're discussing. If these people really knew how the state operates, they would be making this exclamation with the intent of getting the state out of the protection business entirely.

Even in cases of directly caring for children, the state doesn't live up to expectations, to say the least. In the latest harrowing example, The Columbus Dispatch examined the record of their county child services. They found that 87 out of 234 children who died of abuse did so under the protective care of the state. State workers regularly fail to act on complaints of child abuse when called. In one particularly bad case where a child died, there were 12 calls to county officials over 4 weeks where they did nothing. The basis of this report is that this death wasn't just an anomaly, nor will it be the last.

Contributing to the care of needy children isn't a bad thing. It only becomes a bad thing when the state is entrusted in their care and children end up dying on their watch. Naturally, the solution outlined in this article is to throw away even more resources on these failures (much like public education). There are some rumblings in state officials to create a statewide child care system, instead of relying on county governments. If only they had more resources, and took more moeny from the people, they could do better. Where have I heard that tripe before?

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Update: Manna Storehouse wants Lorain county to return $10,000 worth of property

The Stowers family has enlisted the Buckeye Institute in their defense against the government, who raided them at gunpoint and stole their food just a couple weeks ago. I really hope it goes well for them, and I plan on contributing financially to their well being. Please follow that link and take a look. Apart from the video of their statements, you will also find a link to the text of their court filing. Their a detailed description of all the sordid deeds performed by these small men.

This should be a real eye opener to anyone who still believes the government protects the little guy. I'm glad there are people like the Buckeye Institute, who are willing to donate time and effort to help those in need. They are the real ones who are defending freedom today. Not soldiers, not politicians, not the police, and certainly not president Bush or the even the next guy (what's his name).

I can't tell you how wrong it is that people do this to others under the guise of "law". It's one thing for criminals who rob the poor, get caught, and serve time behind bars. It's something else entirely when the very people who claim to be elected to uphold the law are doing it. I wouldn't expect anything different though. They have fooled generations of us into believing that we need their "protection". I don't think they will always exist though. This chaos we call the government will only be around for so long, then it will fail. States always do, and there's no reason to believe America is special.

The Buckeye Institute will be mounting a consitution based defense. We have seen that constitutions don't really protect us from government abuse, but I read an opinion once that it's useful to point out the many ways in which the state violates its own laws. I can see the value in that, but I don't really see much value at all in Ohio's or America's constitutions. Except for the Bill of Rights.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Wal-Mart gives $400,000 to Ohio food banks, heating aid

Love 'em or hate 'em, you can't criticize Wal-Mart, Ohio's largest private employer, for giving $400,000 to Ohio state food and heating programs. I guess you could if you think they're just grandstanding. Personally, I don't. Even if they are, the bottom line is that their contribution will have a positive affect on the people here. It's rather unfortunate that they gave it to government agencies, but in a more perfect world those wouldn't exist.

In the past, I have been criticized for saying that charities will help the poor if there was no government. I really don't think poor people would starve or suffer any more under no government than they do now. The government programs we have now hardly seem to do any good to the people who really need it, such as those in inner cities. You could even say that the government's drug policies create black market gang wars that keep inner cities in perpetual poverty.

In sharp contrast to government "help", private programs often seem to do much more good for the poverty stricken. Even if you insist on claiming that their aid programs actually do help the poor, it's not exactly for them to even apply for benefits. The massive red tape can be daunting, to say the least. Also, t's not like programs such as the Salvation Army and Red Cross would cease to exist if the government stopped what they were doing. There would probably even be more charities like them that don't yet exist, if it weren't for government busilly sapping and wasting everyone's money in their massive, hapless bureaucracy. Without having the feds around, people might even give more to charities once they realize how much more pleasant it makes society.

Private charity is much more efficient. So much that when Katrina struck New Orleans, Wal-Mart's emergency response team was there helping people way before FEMA bothered to show up with their mud-ridden trailers. The great industrialists of years past, "Captains of Industry" that are libeled in public school textbooks as "robber barons", actually gave away much of their wealth, from schools to libraries to great buildings like Carnegie Hall.

So yes, you can say I definitely think private charity does a much, much better job caring for the poor than the government. The government's policies actually help create more people than there would have been. I don't care how much you want to reform their huge public agencies. They will always fail to help you during emergencies when you really need it most. If you really want to be safe in a world without government, donate to private charity when you can afford to, buy insurance, and don't spend all the money you earn.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Sex offender branding for teenagers - utterly ridiculous

If there is one thing that always gets people clamoring for more laws, it is when children get harmed. Mass hysteria ensues, people go crazy, and insist the government must "do something". Nobody ever bothers to think about how these laws will affect people in the future. These laws end up getting applied on a massive scale in ways that were never intended. Lots of people end up getting their life royally screwed up for no good reason. Such is the case when sex offender laws are applied to teenagers who engage in behavior that is normal when they begin reaching maturity.

Apparently there is an "epidemic" in high schools across the country where kids send nude photos of themselves. At least that is what one lawyer called it. In Cuyahoga county, some kids have been caught doing this and have received this dubious label for up to 10 years. All eight of the students involved in this particular case were from 14 to 16 years old. None of these kids had previous criminal records and will now be screwed up for a long time. This could have been dealt with a simple talking to from parents. Instead the state is stepping in and handing down the gauntlet.

Please understand that I'm not saying we should encourage kids to engage in this sort of behavior. Nor am I saying that it is good or that we shouldn't try to prevent it. What I do think is that the government's solution is not making things any better. These nude pictures are illegal for kids to send by federal laws, yet punishing them in this way is doing nothing to stop it. On top of that, these kids, who are not criminals by any step of the imagination, will have a very heavy burden to carry for the rest of their life.

I've also read about other cases around the country where a girl will tell a boy she is older than what she really is. The boy has sex with her, and then finds out she is 13 instead of 16 after the fact. The law still nails the poor bastard for a long time to come. This is one of them. I doubt this situation would exist if the girl was 17 and had sex with a 13 year old boy.

As usual, the government is way overstepping the bounds that any moral society should allow. They seem to think they should be doing the parenting for you, instead of allowing you to handle the situation. I guess most parents are lazy and don't want to teach their kids good morals, so they don't mind it when the government steps in and does this nasty work. On top of that, this exposes yet more reasons not to sent my children to public schools. By all means, let's teach our kids moral standards. But, please don't allow the social prudes in our government to dictate what these standards and punishments should be.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

City bulldozes Frank Giglio's house, jails him

I often read that local politics is what really matters the most in people's daily lives, and that is where the activism and involvement should be. I'm of the opinion that if you really wanted to help people's lives for the better, politics is the last thing you should get involved with. Your time would be so much better spent working for charity or entreprenuership. Politicians, even local ones, don't fight for the poor. They are nothing but parasites, feeding off their host, the people, until civilized society is destroyed.

This past week held many examples of stunning abuse from local governments, from city up to state. For one, in Cleveland's Tremont neighborhood, they bulldozed a man's house because they didn't think it was well kept enough. The man ended up going to jail for allegedly threatening demolition workers with a gun. I can't say I blame him for trying to protect his property. Maybe there is an argument somewhere in here for allowing people to own any means of protection they can get their hands on. Especially larger explosives and missiles. In cases like this, firearms or handguns are woefully inadequate to protect your property. Perhaps if this poor man had some heavier artillery they would have thought twice about razing his home.

It's astonishing that such a dysfunctional, wasteful, abusive city government can find the time and inclination to level some old man's house. Especially one in such an old and historic community. Where does it ever end? I wonder how much power will people give these locally organized criminals before they realize they made a terrible mistake.

There should be an important distinction here made between a city government and a homeowners association. When I bought my house in Ohio, I had to agree that I would follow certain rules and restrictions on the property. I knew this before hand, and voluntarilly signed the contract, allowing them to have that power over me. If people want to live in a community where standards like this are enforced, they should form homeowners associations like this. Frank Giglio lived a neighborhood that didn't have this type of voluntary enforcement rules. He was perfectly within his rights to have unkempt property. City government's job, incompetent though they are, is not to enforce cleanliness standards in privately owned homes. Screw you, Cleveland government. You should all quit your political jobs and work in private industry.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Ohio government steals $10,000 worth of food and materials from private co-op

In yet another alarming police state action, the Ohio Department of Agriculture "seized food, electronic devices and documents from a Pittsfield Township organic and natural food cooperative believed to be unlicensed." Thank goodness we have the government to protect these idiots from themselves.

Who do these people think they are, trying to operate a food co-op without a license from the state? They are clearly incapable of feeding themselves without approval from the state. They need to be locked up by the government to teach them a lesson.

Other internet sources have reported that the faimily living at this residence was held for 9 hours at gunpoint by the friendly neighborhood SWAT team while their stuff was being carried away. They lost their whole supply of food for the year, essentially because they didn't purchase it from a government approved food conglomerate.

According to another story posted from the Plain Dealer regarding this incident (thanks to Matt for the link), the Lorain County Sheriff's Office disputes having a SWAT team there or holding the family at gunpoint. Well, Mr. Sheriff, if I thought the police were an honorable organization I might be inclined to believe you. Unfortunately, I don't. Also, even if they didn't have a SWAT team there, they didn't deny stealing these people's stuff. Either way, this incident is still a great example of why we shouldn't allow the government to have power over food inspections.

At what point did our society decide it is okay for the government to treat people like this? Does anyone seriously believe the government is only trying to protect these poor ignorant people from eating bad food? I hardly suspect that is the case.

As we clearly see here, even granting the government power over something seemingly harmless like food inspection ultimately results in this kind of tyranny and opression. Statists make fun of libertarians when they compare the government to mafia and organized crime. It seriously makes me wonder what they think of actions like this.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

True heroes refuse to fight in government wars. Why I don't support the troops.

I was very impressed that a soldier from Cleveland deserted the army rather than going back to Iraq. However, I was less than impressed with the 70+ comments that followed the story. It comes as no surprise that most people in this country believe you should "support the troops" even if you don't "support the war". The number of troops I can actually support is few and far between. This guy from Cleveland is one of them. Bravo, Andre, bravo. I can only hope more soldiers follow your lead and refuse to take part in this senseless, state sponsored campaign of murder and mayhem.

One of the common complaints people have in that thread is that the guy signed a contract with the army and he should follow through with it even if he disagrees with the war. Well, first of all, everyone should know by now that the Iraw war was started under completely false pretenses. I don't understand how anyone could possibly believe American troops are there legitimately. If you join up with the army believing that they are defending America and later discover they are not, you should not be obligated to follow through on your commitment.

Secondly, contracts to commit murder are not valid or enforcable. If someone in the mafia hired an assassin to knock off a rival and they failed to do their job, that contractural agreement cannot be enforced under the law. I don't see any difference between soldiers in the military who falsely believe they are doing the right thing by killing innocent people. It's no different than murder in my book. Even if the government approves of this type of killing.

These troops have made a choice to follow through with the government's plan. They know full well their actions result in the death of innocent women and children who never did anything wrong. They know the difference between right and wrong. If the government came to my house and told me that I should kill my neighbor because he is a threat to America, I sure as hell wouldn't do it. Even if they threatened me with physical harm (which governments are prone to do).

There are moral reasons I do not support the troops. They are the ones making war possible. They support a corrupt government who goes to war for the profit of their buddies in the military industry. I hope that eventually, the rest of the government's troops would stand up and refuse to kill. Then they would be someone I could support.

Monday, December 1, 2008

The poor performance of county courts

The Plain Dealer has a piece up detailing the many failures of government administered justice in Cuyahoga County. As in the failure of the government to provide the basic right to a speedy trial as outlined in the 6th amendment. They are so incompetent that the average disposition time for criminal cases under this jurisdiction is 173 days, longer for the more serious crimes. Even under an expedited system they are trying out in some areas, the time averages at least 80 days. Of course, they can't seem to find the money to make even this faster time widely available to everyone.

The administration of justice is one of the areas which even many libertarians claim is a rightful perogative of the government. However, the economic arguments against government intervention in other areas of the economy apply just as easily to criminal justice. The claim that free markets can't effectively do this essentially rests on the same assumptions as everything else. Just because the government does it now doesn't mean that markets are incapable.

Libertarian economist David D. Friedman's The Machinery of Freedom: Guide to a Radical Capitalism provides a very interesting framework for how this could be done. Some of the text is available for free on his website, including chapter 29: Police, Courts, and Laws--on the Market. Essentially, his argument rests on protection from coercion being an economic good. Another book I also plan on reading by the same author is "Law's Order: What Economics Has to Do with Law and Why It Matter". Which I will eventually get to... if I'm not so busy with writing blogs, family, and other things.