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Saturday, January 31, 2009

Dog license requirements are not man's best friend

To go along with my recent post regarding the inhumane treatment animals receive from the state: The Toledo Blade kindly reminds us that the deadline for purchasing a county issued license for your dog is here. The warning is that if we don't pay up now, the fee doubles in size and an extra fine will be imposed. I love thinking how we supposedly live in a free country, but we can't even own a dog without handing over this extortion fee each year.

At least I don't live in Lucas county where this fee is required. But wait, I live in Wood county, the next one over, which still has a $14 fee. Not quite as bad as Lucas county, but still something I would really rather not be forced to pay. The Wood County Humane Society offers up many compelling reasons we should do this:

1. If my dog gets lost, it's the fastest way to get him back to us. I'm not sure why a regular tag with our phone number on it wouldn't be just as fast. Or are they seriously trying to tell me that a state approved tag would be faster than a normal tag? Somehow I think not.

2. The license fee keeps my city's shelter going. They don't explain why every dog owner should be forced to pay for this. And if it's anything like the shelter I previously wrote about, the one that abuses animals down near columbus, I'd definitely rather not pay for that. So much for that compelling reason.

3. Your dog license shows you are a responsible owner. How exactly does paying $14 or $25 for a tag that would normally cost $1 show that you are responsible owner? To me, being a responsible dog owner means picking up his poop when you go on a walk. Getting a one dollar tag with contact info on it would be just as responsible. If anything, for anyone willing to do this it shows they are irresponsible with managing money. Especially if their money is going to a shelter that abuses animals.

4. It's the law. It may be the law, but does that mean it's a good, responsible law? No, it doesn't. There can be arguments made for disobeying unjust laws. It's called protest. Obeying something just because it's the law is no reason at all. Our laws are getting increasingly more repressive, and this is just one more example. Now, I will admit that abolishing dog laws may not be on the top of an anarchist to-do list. But all these little things do add up, and that doesn't mean it shouldn't be addressed at some point. Many laws are nothing but a club that the government uses to bash us over the head with. These are the laws that people should disobey en masse.

In my opinion, none of the reasons they list for handing over yet more of your hard earned money to the state are compelling. The humane society says there are many compelling reasons to do this, yet there are only four given on their site. Upon closer examination, I see no good reason to purchase a dog license from my county government.

Friday, January 23, 2009

The government is "investing" in technology

I work in the technology industry for a private employer. According to this article, next year may be shaping up to be a good one for Toledo. I'm all for the expansion of technology, but only if they are doing it free from government subsidies.

From what I can tell, this is not the case. It turns out these guys get lots of funding from the state, to the tune of $15 million. It's funny how they still claim to be private-sector driven and funded development company right on their home page. But when you get down to it, they have twice as much money coming from the government as they do from private sources.

At first, I was excited to hear about new technology companies in the Toledo area. It's great when people invest in technology development, but ultimately, state "investment" is a bad idea. I would much prefer if the government wasn't sticking its nose in the technology sector. The extra money creates an incentive for people to embark on riskier projects that otherwise would not have made sense in a normal economic environment. It also takes money that people would normal spend on every day needs and misallocates it to places where it doesn't really belong. Shame on this company for claiming to be privately invested.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Free ride at the University of Toledo

But not free for the taxpayers. The University of Toledo has begun offering free tuition for students based on need. Nowhere have I been able to find out how much this program will cost. There are only two sources of the news through google, found here and here, both of which don't mention any dollar amounts. I guess it doesn't matter to them, as long as people are getting stuff for "free". How nice of our government to hand over our money in this way.

It may not surprise some of my readers that I most definitely oppose this measure. I don't believe anyone should be educated by the government at all. Why, you may ask? Hop on over to the Alliance for the Separation of School and State to find out. They have a pretty decent write up with a lot of good reasons. If you feel the same as they do, take a minute to sign their proclamation, stating simply:
I proclaim publicly that I favor ending government involvement in education.
I love how short and sweet this statement is. They're not trying to throw in any extra stuff that could turn away someone who is so thoroughly anti-state such as myself. So far, 30,500 other people have signed it.

I went to a private, church-owned university and I had a perfectly fine education. I would almost say that college is actually pretty over-rated. My computer science degree left me unprepared for the business world. What I do now as a consultant I learned mostly on my own, thanks to private companies who were willing to invest in my time. I feel like I might have been better off if I had worked on real-world projects for those 5 years instead of being stuck in classrooms.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Toledo clergy and state worship

We have all seen people gushing over how great our new president is. This frenzy has boiled over into practically every aspect of our lives, permeating every facet of our local media. It seems virtually impossible to breathe without hearing someone cry tears of joy about our new overlord. This hasn't been any different for some of Toledo's clergy.

For example, Rev. Robert Culp of Toledo's First Church of God says that attending Obama's inaguration will be comparable to "Simeon in the Bible when he saw Jesus". I don't understand how anyone could compare a politician, who's sole purpose is arguably to violate the 10 commandments, to God. If I was a member of his congregation and heard that, I would have walked out.

Then there is Rev. Thomas Fant, of St. Stephen AME Church, who declared that political changes have been "generated by God." He sees proof of divine intervention in Obama's ascent to power and that god is always working for the common good of all mankind. If there ever was anything that is NOT proof of working for the common good, it is politicians who are conniving enough to gain power in this gang of thieves.

I can understand how black people are happy to see their own race be successful. That is not the issue. What I don't understand is how any of them could possibly think the government is on their side, or ever will be. It's even worse when they bring religion and divine intervention into the picture. State institutions go against practically everything these people teach as good. And for them to claim that their favorite politicians are divinely inspired is no different than the old "divine right of kings" doctrine, re-applied to democracy.

To me, it makes no difference whether we can change leaders once every four years. All they will do is keep most of the same power structure in place. The only good that could ever come of this would be for Obama to decrease the government's control over my life. I don't see any possibility that this will happen. I also don't see Obama slowing down the government's war machine. He virtually promised to keep military aggression going on my dime.

It is complete tomfoolery to presume that the government can do anything that remotely approaches divine. The state has always been the first in line to desecrate anything religious. Pastors and religious folks would do best to recognize this and repudiate their claims of divine intervention in government.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Take Back Toledo

A new effort has begun to try and recall Toledo mayor Carty Finkbeiner. Take Back Toledo charter members include local libertarian talk show host Brian Wilson. Among the reasons they list of why he must go:
  • $10,000,000 deficit this year and twice that for next year
  • many failed city projects
  • erratic behavior in firing and demoting staff
  • lots of other strange behavior
It really doesn't matter to me who is the mayor of Toledo. The disease of government incompetence will surely affect anyone who occupies that office. Even so, it would behoove the people to know that public officials can and will be removed from office if they fail to live up to their duties.

In my opinion, ALL government officials fail the people. Especially local ones who really should matter to us the most. They should all be removed from office as often as possible. If these government idiots knew they could be recalled at any moment they might actually attempt to do what is best for the city instead of only themself and their friends.

Ultimately, I don't think it would improve democracy enough to make me want to keep it. But it might make things more tolerable for the time being - at least until we can figure out how to do away with government entirely. For now, if somebody came to my door, I would happily sign their petition to recall the mayor. I would also happily add the entire city council and county government as well.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The casino debate in Ohio - missing the point

There are a few problems with how this debate is framed that I would like to discuss. Casino proponents in Ohio have been trying time and time again, and are set for another round. For me, this is just another highlight of the injustices in the government we are forced to live under. It's disturbing how people waste so many resources on fights like this, in order to have the simple freedom to bet their own money on games of chance. It is yet another glaring problem with democracy and mob rule - the vast economic resources that are spent trying to get things past instead of allowing people the freedom to choose.

To the christian groups fighting this, who think gambling is immoral - banning it will NEVER succeed in getting people to stop or getting it out of society. Just like how banning alcohol did nothing to eraticate the unpleasant side affects of alcoholism. Gambling has been here for thousands of years, and is here to stay. Why do you keep insisting on holding the rest of us down? Does it makes you feel better about yourselves to have this control over people who don't share your views? What do you gain from this, other than smug self-satisfaction?

Another problem with these continual ballot measures is the state control aspect even if they do pass. There would still serious restrictions on gambling in the state. Only certain companies could legally set up gambling operations in approved locations. Thus we see that, even if the measures are successful in getting passed, the state would still be handing out monopolies on this priviledge. True freedom would entail the ability for people to set up mini-casinos in their basement if they wished.

I've never been a very big gambler myself. The only form of gambling that I really enjoy is the Texas Hold'em variation of poker, a game which actually takes tremendous skill to be successful over the long run. I played it online virtually every day for 2-3 years, before I got burnt out. When I stopped, I actually ended up with only minor losses. I suspected I would have a renewed interest in playing the game if I go down to the neighborhood bar and pay $20 to enter a multi-table tournament. Currently, holding a neighborhood tournament like this is outlawed in most states as far as I know. Even in states where some semblance of gambling is legal, you can only do it in state-approved institutions, thus ensuring their monopolist take on this highly lucrative venture.

There are so many reasons why living in a democracy ultimately ends up being repressive and not free at all. I'll concede that we have more freedom than other countries have had in the past, but the situation is still far from ideal. True freedom will never exist until people have the ability to set up any non-violent activity they wish without being raided by the police. Even if some people end up engaging in self-destructive behavior, society would be must better off over all.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Red light camera challenge coming for Toledo

For those locals who are suffering under the ongoing fines imposed as a result of these abhorrent machines, relief may soon be on the way. A group called the Coalition Opposed to Additional Spending and Taxes (COAST). I previously wrote about traffic enforcement and automatic cameras here, and you could say my views haven't changed since then. You can see that post here.

Police departments around the country are still trotting out the tired old claim that cameras increase public safety. Toledo's chief Mike Navarre is no different. It's pretty funny how he didn't bother to give out any numbers. Probably because there is no proof whatsoever of those claims. If I was him I would probably say that too, given the massive amounts of cash the cameras rake in.

I'm glad there are people like COAST who are taking it upon themselves the challenge of combating this government abuse. Even though I am against all taxes, I could at least agree that additional taxes are bad and support them in this cause. These red light cameras are nothing but an additional tax imposed on the people by the Toledo city bosses. Undoubtedly, they will squander the money away on corruption and waste. One can only hope people will rise up against them and put an end to this blatant money grabbing.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Derrick Foster gets 5 years for shooting cops in self defense during drug raid

This former Ohio State football player got his jail sentance. He bowed down to the state and apologized, saying he still respects the police and isn't a bad person. It makes me wonder what he would have gotten for sticking up for himself. I'm not sure I would have been so grovely, but I can't say I blame him for trying to appear remorseful in front of the leviathan.

Very few government policies are so vastly wasteful and hypocracy ridden than the so-called war on drugs. This guy will sit and rot for 5 years in a penitentary for shooting what he thought were robbers busting down his door. This isn't just an isolated case, either. Ryan Frederick is currently suffering the same abuse at the hands of the authorities, except in his case the officer he shot actually died while these two didn't.

The worst part is that no one in the house was charged with any drug crimes. This leads one to ask some serious questions:
Upon what evidence did the police conduct this raid? Why was this "a suspected crack house?" Why no drug charges? What does the affidavit say? Where there any controlled buys at the house? Is it typical for the narcotics unit to conduct three raids in one night? Early reports described a witness who claims to have heard police give an order to smash in the house's windows just prior to the raid. Did that witness hear an announcement? Was it loud enough to be heard by the people inside?
The officers who were shot said nothing except that someone who opens fire on another person needs to be held accountable. This clearly doesn't apply to the police, since they shoot innocent people to death all the time and completely get away with it. Only when they do it, it's called "duty". Well, I guess it really is one of the primary duties of the state to murder innocent people. I think we would be much better off with private competition in security. When it's provided by the government it instantly becomes insecurity.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Sheriff Gerald McFaul gives raises to niece, friends amid 21 layoffs

In a move that would make even the most corrupt political machine bosses proud, the Plain Dealer is reporting that Cuyahoga County's Sheriff has given jobs to his relatives while firing others with 10-15 years more experience. I've seen enough now that I'm convinced that local county government positions and contracts exist only so politicians can give jobs to their friends and relatives that would otherwise be unemployable and unproductive.

I suppose I should be happy that the government fires the most experienced people in favor of favored appointees. On the one hand, this maks them even more incompetent than they otherwise would be if they only had good people in all government positions. On the other, I'm paying through the nose to support bums in office that provide no value whatsoever to my daily life.

For example, the mayor hired his son-in-law as a garage superintendent and gave him a 100 percent raise to basically wash cars and oversee two other city employees. If there wasn't a better example of waste and incomptence, I don't know what. I guess the city needs all their cars to be washed, and they will be just that much cleaner if they pay their employees this well... hogwash.

This isn't the only corruption going on in Ohio's most populous county. The county commissioner and auditor are still under investigation for corruption charges of accepting gifts in exchange for county jobs. People always ask me how we could ever survive without local governments sapping our money and telling us what to do. I wonder how we survive with these hypocrites and scumbags in charge wasting vast sums of our money. We would definitely be better without these parasites, and the sooner people learn this, the better.

The best part is we don't even vote for most of these city positions. We vote for the people who get to appoint their friends and relatives to lucrative make work jobs that provide no value whatsoever to our economy. Quite a system of patronage we have going here. It's simply amazing that people don't care, and yet still claim that this is the best possible system of government we can hope for. I hope and believe we will eventually find a way to prevent these hypocrites from ruling our life.