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The Web Home of Shane Killian http://shanekillian.org/sk Education, Liberty, Skepticism - For our minds, for our freedom, and for our future Wed, 22 Jan 2014 22:30:33 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.4.2 The Niggardly Son: A Leftist Parable http://shanekillian.org/sk/The-Niggardly-Son:-A-Leftist-Parable/ http://shanekillian.org/sk/The-Niggardly-Son:-A-Leftist-Parable/#comments Wed, 22 Jan 2014 22:30:33 +0000 http://shanekillian.org/sk/?p=9433 Continue reading ]]> Apparently, according to leftists and New Keynesians, being prodigal is a virtue. So if being prodigal is a virtue, what of its opposite? And if Jesus really were a socialist, how different would the parable had been?

Click here to view the video on YouTube.

The Parable of the Niggardly Son.

Once upon a time, there was a man who had two sons. One day, he decided it was time to give each of his sons their share of the estate. So he divided all his property between them.

“While he’s been selfishly inhibiting circular flow, have I not been helping it along with my drinking and debauchery?”

The first son was prodigal, and immediately set about spending his newfound wealth. This greatly pleased his father, as it meant that the resulting increase in GDP would stimulate the economy. But the second son was niggardly. He selfishly liquidated his assets and placed them in sound interest-bearing investments, greedily hoarding his wealth and decreasing aggregate demand through the Paradox of Thrift.

He went out from his home and spent many years away, amassing a great fortune, placing himself in the hated 1%. Until finally, one day, he returned.

As he approached his boyhood home, his father saw him, and ran to him and put his arms around him. The first son, the prodigal son, who initially didn’t realize what was going on having been in the middle of a particularly raucous night of economic stimulus, saw his brother returning, and became angry.

“Father!” he shouted, with a prostitute on each arm. “All these years I have obeyed you! I have given up selfish greed and avoided recession and sticky prices by spending whatever money I could at the time. I have renounced Say’s Law. I have sacrificed greatly by going into debt to help keep enough inflation going to grow the economy. I have given token amounts to the poor so that they may eat for another day. I have obeyed you in all things! But now this son of yours comes home, and you just welcome him, despite the fact that he has forsaken all that you have taught us?”

“But brother,” the second son, the niggardly son, the frugal and thrifty son, said, “I have created businesses in many different cities, and I have bought businesses that were failing and turned them around. I took them from employing a handful of people to employing thousands!”

But the first son wasn’t listening. “And what has he done for the poor? Has he not once given a hamburger to a homeless person?”

“Many of the businesses I created were in poor areas. I gave poor and homeless people jobs, so that they weren’t poor or homeless any more. Many of them now manage my businesses, and some are even co-owners!”

The first one spoke right over top of him: “And while he’s been selfishly inhibiting circular flow, have I not been helping it along with my drinking and debauchery? With my new 60-inch flat-screen TV? With my flashy new sports car that costs five times what a more sensible car that’s just as good if not better would cost? How can you still love your greedy, thoughtless younger son?”

The second son appealed to his father. “Dad, I have created scholarship trusts so that the needy can afford private school and college, and I’ve formed foundations that provide vaccines and clean running water to people in third-world countries.”

“Yeah,” piped in the older son, “And I’ll bet you took tax deductions on all of those, too!”

“But the money was no longer mine. I never gained any personal benefit from it. Father, listen to me: I’ve learned how to amass a fortune and TRULY help the economy. I can lift the poor out of poverty, not just feed them for a day. I can increase both the quality of life, and the quantity of it with technological and procedural health care innovations, the kind that happen a lot less often in countries with universal health care. I recognize that since resources are limited but desires are unlimited, then every single person has something to contribute, some way to benefit others that they’d be willing to pay him money for, and thus create a job for him.”

“Yeah? Well I could do a lot better by throwing rocks through your windows! Then a glazier would have work!”

“And where would the money come from?” the second son retorted. “It would have to come from somewhere else I would have otherwise spent the money. Say I wanted to buy a new suit. The glazier’s job would come at the expense of the tailor’s.”

“But I’ll bet you’re responsible for a lot of automation! Don’t you realize, as the Luddites did, that technology just takes jobs away from people?”

“100 years ago, most people were farmers,” the second son pointed out. “Don’t you see? When farming became automated, they did something else. Like making cars or selling iPhones or fixing computers, things that didn’t even EXIST back then, because the people who might have done these things were too busy farming. Automation really just clears up capital which can be used to make new products and services, and create new jobs.”

“Yeah, and what other businesses did you harm in the process? How many jobs did you take away from other firms in your monopolistic fervor?”

“My brother, you are stuck in faulty zero-sum thinking. If I did hinder other businesses, it’s because they weren’t providing as much value to their customers as I could. But really, most of my market share I got from people who weren’t even in the market before, because they couldn’t afford it. But because of my innovations, they are able to participate in a market that was completely closed to them before.”

The older son turned on his dad. “Surely you’re not listening to this?”

The father finally spoke. “Boys, boys! You are my sons, and I love you both. This is a joyous day! We are a family again! That is what is most important. Don’t you see?”

At this admonishment, the two sons embraced, and the father’s heart was filled to the brim. “Let us celebrate!” he cried. And they did. And the father was happy. And the older son was happy. And the younger son, the niggardly son, he was the happiest of all of them.

Even though no one wanted to hear anything he had to say about the benefits of a permanent portfolio.

The end.

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2014 Just Isn’t Realistic http://shanekillian.org/sk/2014-Just-Isnt-Realistic/ http://shanekillian.org/sk/2014-Just-Isnt-Realistic/#comments Fri, 03 Jan 2014 22:00:53 +0000 http://shanekillian.org/sk/?p=9404 Continue reading ]]> Hi, um, it’s Ian, uh, Ian Kilhansel of Bogus Publishing Group, and, uh, I got your manuscript in for your futuristic novel, 2014, set 30 years in the future.

“I mean, you’d have to be pretty dumb to fall for that.”

And, don’t get me wrong, we are wanting to work with you and we think you would be a good novelist for us and we could make a lot of money publishing your novels, but this manuscript as you’ve sent it to us, well, frankly, it needs a lot of work.

Click here to view the video on YouTube.

I love the idea, and here we are in 1984, living the year of George Orwell’s famous work, and so you have this good story of a cautionary tale about how the United States could sink into the darkness. You have Communism falling in the early ’90s, and I know we all want that, I know President Reagan wants that, ’cause this Cold War has just gone on for too long. And then you have America becoming a lot like the Soviet Union, and in many ways even worse. So I like the idea, and you’re saying, don’t let’s become like this huge enemy we spent so many decades and billions of dollars to defend ourselves against. I like that. I think that has the makings of a good story.

The problem is, there’s so much that’s in here that just isn’t realistic. I mean, okay, you’ve got this terrorist attack on New York in 2001, the World Trade Towers get destroyed, that’s very dramatic, very iconic, but then the president just goes crazy attacking countries that had nothing to do with it, and the people just let him get away with that? I mean, only a decade or so since communism fell? People would remember. Please don’t pretend that our readers are idiots. They love the books we publish because we know they’re intelligent, and frankly, this just strains all belief.

Also, you need to be more creative with the rhetoric used by this President Bush character, and his successor, and their administrations and the news pundits, I mean, it’s just exactly the same thing they’re saying today about Communism, just replace the word “communism” with the word “terrorism” and that’s all you’ve done. So you need to be more creative there. It doesn’t make any sense to take these points that are made about an economic superpower with thousands of nuclear warheads and ICBMs and apply it to this ragtag, loosely-organized group of extremists who only barely manage to hijack planes with boxcutters and then can’t do it again. I mean, it just doesn’t fit. Nothing about it rings true.

Cos really, America is the only superpower left, and it has this huge military, bigger than all other countries in the world, and troops everywhere, and all these wars going on, and why? Who’s the enemy? In order for this to be plausible, you need to set up another superpower to be the enemy, because that’s the only way this huge military and all this warmongering makes sense, you need a big enough enemy to justify this, and these scattered Muslim extremists just don’t qualify. I mean, you’d have to be pretty dumb to fall for that.

So, while all this is going on, there’s an economic bubble followed by a crisis, and boy, we all know about that, don’t we? But I think you need to do a bit of economic research because, okay, the Fed pushes down interest rates and generates the malinvestment, the banks are protected by Fannie and Freddie, so they’re shielded from risk, so they drive up the bubble and then it bursts, all that makes sense. But then you go a little crazy: you have the politicians blame it on the free market! I mean, how could they even get away with that? Problems caused by extreme regulation on the most highly regulated industry in the country, and they blame it on the free market? No way! The press would be on them in a hot second! I mean, remember David Frost a few years ago taking down Richard Nixon? And he was a comedian! The press is savvy, the press is hard-hitting. I mean, you’d have to have the press so deeply in the back pockets of the politicians for them to go along with this clearly false rhetoric, I don’t even see how such a thing could be possible. I mean, the only reason the Soviet Union is able to do that is by imprisoning journalists and putting their own people in. But without that? For journalists to just take a politician’s word when it so clearly isn’t true? When you could easily debunk it with a modicum of research? You couldn’t even call them “journalists” anymore. They’re really government patsies.

Um, and again, you need to study your economics, especially recent events, because you have all these economists talking about how to get out of the crisis they need to keep pushing interest rates down, and as we just saw it’s the exact opposite! They need to release their controls and let interest rates climb back up to equilibrium. So unless your fictitous Fed chair–what’s his name, Ben Bernayck?–unless he’s never even HEARD of Paul Volcker, there’s just no way he’d be that stupid.

So, then, we have this new president, and he runs on this platform of hope and change, but then he gets into office and just keeps doing the same thing that his predecessor did, only more so! I mean, it’s hard to think that the same country that stood up to the Russians, the country that made the movie Red Dawn, would just lie down for this crap. You seem to have a very low opinion of the American people here.

And you end up with this big worldwide surveillance network, the NSA spies on people through their phones, everyone has a computer in his home that the NSA can just look into any time they want, and people are just okay with this? They’re not descending on Washington with torches and pitchforks? Another recent movie you might want to check out is Footloose: look at how people cherish their civil liberties and never tolerate even the slightest infraction. You have no real mechanism for oppressing the people and stopping them from speaking out, in fact, you have this worldwide open network of computers where people can come on and type whatever they want, what’s happened to people in your future that they just accept something that extreme? There’s no explanation for this anywhere.

And speaking of extreme, we get into some real science fiction here: the president now has this fleet of flying killer robots that he can send all over the world to take out his enemies. And he’s actually telling the people that he has the right to send these robots anywhere on the planet and kill whoever he wants, he doesn’t have to charge them with a crime, he doesn’t even have to justify it after the fact! He even kills American citizens this way! I mean, first of all, if you want ANYBODY to believe this, you’ll have to get rid of the Constitution and just have the president declare martial law. But again, just 20 years after communism falls? This is ridiculous! Nobody would stand for it! It would be like trying to fly a Swastika in 1965! It’s just not realistic. It’s completely unthinkable that a president would just be able to get away with this, without incredible opposition from pretty much everyone.

So this is a very dystopian future you’ve created here, which is good, but you need to do it realistically. You either need the Soviets to just take over America, or you need to set up a new enemy that’s so powerful that we need to go trillions of dollars in debt to fight them. And you don’t have one.

And some things you have are just so insane they stagger the imagination. You have a mass-murdering president with a secret kill list, that continues to wage war and even attack countries America isn’t at war with, and you have him win the Nobel Peace Prize! I mean, WHAT? You couldn’t even pull this off in The Twilight Zone. It’s just too ridiculous.

And I do want to say this, it bothers me that you made this president black. I mean, I get why you did it, for story reasons, because the first black president is a great way to sell hope and change to the people, so that explains why an obvious rogue like him could get away with just blatantly lying like he did throughout his campaign. You can believe that. But then, he gets into office and does all of this, and the black community doesn’t turn against him in droves? Where’s Jesse Jackson or someone like that to publicly denounce him? Or prominent black celebrities, going after him for this blatant betrayal of everything they stand for? I really hate to use this word, and I’m sure you didn’t mean this, but it comes across as a bit racist, like you think so little of the black community that they’d just be suckered into all of this just because the president happens to be black. I’d definitely revise that part, because I think you might really offend black readers by portraying them as being this small-minded and easily duped.

Amazing that this war criminal gets re-elected, and I think you really need to make this 2012 election more realistic. I mean, this Mitt Romney clown? Who’s basically this clone of the president as far as his policies are concerned, but look at how lame and idiotic he is! And THIS is the guy the Republicans put up? They don’t have anyone any better? Why would ANYONE vote for a candidate that’s a clone of this President’s policies, but is so completely unlikable? It’s almost like the Republicans just threw the election to him.

I mean, I get that you need the president reelected for story reasons, but it’s like you feel the only way that can happen is if his opponent has the same policies, and is a complete moron to boot. No, the Republicans would absolutely seize this opportunity to nominate a freedom-loving, pro-capitalist candidate to come forward with a humble foreign policy, bring the troops home, respect civil liberties, repeal this Patriot Act thing you have going on, maybe even reign in or at the very least audit this out-of-control Federal Reserve, and THAT is the kind of candidate they’d nominate to take this dangerously criminal president out of office once and for all. Unless they’re all taking stupid pills or something.

I think the only way you can make this reelection plausible is if he just rigs the election, because it’s just too nonsensical to have a president this terrible get re-elected. That really strains suspension of disbelief.

Things locally are just as ridiculous. You have police raiding homes without warrant and killing the family dog, you even have police arresting cameramen who are filming them while performing their duties, they’re shutting down kids’ lemonade stands, for crying out loud!

And then we get to 2014 itself. And I’m sorry, but the events in that year just get even more insane and unbelievable.

It really sounds like everyone in this dystopian future of yours has just completely taken leave of all reason, from economists to journalists to even the Nobel Committee. And it’s like the people have just taken on the government like their religion, and the president and politicians are infallible high priests and whatever they say goes. Absurd, insane, and frankly, a bit insulting.

So, all in all, good dystopian science fiction concept, but I think an extensive rewrite is in order. It’s just too crazy to think that the country could get so mindlessly jingoistic in so short a time. I mean, that just could not happen, just 20 years after the fall of communism. No way that could happen.


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NC Board of Elections refuses to count constitutionally-valid votes http://shanekillian.org/sk/NC-Board-of-Elections-refuses-to-count-constitutionally-valid-votes/ http://shanekillian.org/sk/NC-Board-of-Elections-refuses-to-count-constitutionally-valid-votes/#comments Sun, 16 Dec 2012 21:48:02 +0000 http://shanekillian.org/sk/?p=9342 Continue reading ]]> One would think that, even in a pretend democracy, they’d at least give the appearance of counting everybody’s votes. It can be frustrating when The Powers That Be cheat to ensure that they’ll be elected over their challengers; it’s even more frustrating that they cheat even when they don’t have to.

Ray Ubinger is a North Carolina activist for voter’s rights, especially the right of write-in votes to be counted. North Carolina law requires even write-in candidates to qualify to the Board of Elections; however, the North Carolina Constitution spells out in VI.6 who is eligible for election to office, and standing court precedent Spruill v. Bateman says that the legislature may not make additional qualifications to those in the Constitution.

Folks, this isn’t about the right of candidates to seek election; this is the right of the people to have their votes counted. The State of North Carolina is blatantly and unapologetically violating that right, as Ubinger’s email exchange with Don Wright, General Counsel for the NC Board of Elections, shows:

From: Ray Ubinger <ubinger@gmail.com>
Date: Fri, Nov 16, 2012 at 12:53 PM
Subject: Question to Don Wright
To: mperry@durhamcountync.gov

Shouldn’t Ray Ubinger’s write-in vote be counted for Timothy Rohr (Caldwell county voter #1460206 and a licensed attorney) for Attorney General, since NC Const. VI.6 defines Rohr as eligible to be elected to office by the people, and since the NC Supreme Court specifically ruled in Spruill v. Bateman that the legislature may not create additional qualifications to elective office beyond those already spelled out by the People in the organic instrument of the Constitution?

On Mon, Nov 19, 2012 12:50PM, Wright, Don <don.wright@ncsbe.gov> wrote:

Dear Mr. Ubinger,

Timothy Rohr was not a certified write-in candidate for NC Attorney General and a write-in vote for him would not count based upon the statute GS 163-123.

Mr. Rohr, who I understand, had filed as a Libertarian Party candidate before in another election, was free to file  for the Libertarian nomination for this office or qualify as a certified write-in. The Libertarian Party  has been enjoying ballot access in North Carolina for several years now with interested Libertarian voters only needing to file for office.

The Durham County Board of Elections properly did not count your attempted write-in vote for Mr. Rohr.

Don Wright
General Counsel

(Note: Timothy (T.J.) Rohr is an attorney, Libertarian, and Councilman for the City of Lenoir, NC.)

From: Ray Ubinger <ubinger@gmail.com>
Date: Mon, Nov 19, 2012 at 1:42 PM
To: "Wright, Don" <don.wright@ncsbe.gov>

Hello Mr. Wright,

The Board are only sworn to uphold statutes which are “not inconsistent with” the Constitution, correct?

NC Const. Art. VI Sec. 6 say that qualifications to elective office must be contained in the Constitution, correct?

Certifying by petition is not a requirement contained in the Constitution, is it?

And the NC high court said likewise in Spruill v. Bateman, did they not: that the legislature may not create any additional qualifications to office whatsoever beyond those in the Constitution? And that ruling has never been struck down, has it? I quote verbatim from it here:

“The Legislature is therefore forbidden by the organic instrument to disqualify any voter not disqualified by that article from holding any office.  The General Assembly cannot render any ‘voter’ ineligible to office by exacting any additional qualifications, as by prescribing in this instance that the candidate shall be a ‘licensed attorney at law,’ any more than it could prescribe that he should own a specified quantity of property, or should be of a certain age, or race or religious belief or possess any other qualification not required to make him a voter.”

Further, the same case law cites:

“Brightley, Elections, 44; McCafferty v. Guyer, 59 Pa. 109. Whoever is entitled to vote is entitled under our Constitution to hold office, except as where restricted by that instrument. The constitutional provision in these matters cannot be abridged by requiring any qualifications whatever in addition to those set out in the Constitution.”

I was not asking you whether or not the legislature ordered my vote to be discarded. Everyone agrees they think they own my vote in that regard. What I am asking you, still, is how the Board members can rightfully obey that order when the People’s organic instrument as clarified by the state high court says the legislature has no such authority to issue the order in the first place.

It is not about candidates or political parties (two terms that appear nowhere in the Constitution). It is about Ray Ubinger’s right as a voter. The legislature is telling the Board to treat me like a convicted felon: ‘throw Ubinger’s vote away’. But I have never even been charged, much less convicted of a felony. (I am furthermore a commissioned, commended, disabled and honorably discharged U.S. Army officer.) I am constitutionally “entitled” to vote. That’s the word in Art. VI Sec. 1, “entitled”. So you would seem to be talking about an entitlement that doesn’t count. But that is a contradiction in terms, isn’t it?

Thank you.
Ray Ubinger
Durham Disfranchised Voter #642520

On Mon, Nov 19, 2012 1:47PM, Wright, Don <don.wright@ncsbe.gov> wrote:

Dear Mr. Ubinger,

I disagree with your opinion. Your vote for Mr. Rohr was properly not counted.

Don Wright

From: Ray Ubinger <ubinger@gmail.com>
Date: Mon, Nov 19, 2012 at 1:52 PM
To: "Wright, Don" <don.wright@ncsbe.gov>

Dear Mr. Wright,

It’s a question of fact. Doesn’t the NC high court say the legislature may not pick and choose which constitutionally qualified person We the People may elect?

Ray Ubinger

On Mon, Nov 19, 2012 2:27PM, Wright, Don <don.wright@ncsbe.gov> wrote:

Mr. Ubinger,

Again, I disagree with your opinion that candidate filing or qualifying as a write-in candidate in a partisan race is unconstitutional.

Don Wright

From: Ray Ubinger <ubinger@gmail.com>
Date: Mon, Nov 19, 2012 at 2:57 PM
To: "Wright, Don" <don.wright@ncsbe.gov>

Mr. Wright, if you’re not going to answer my question, there is no need to keep replying. My question did not contain the words “candidate” or “filing”. Those words are being put in my mouth. Except I would say that *I* filed—as a VOTER—correct? Durham Voter #642520 since 1992–true, or not?

And NC Const. VI.1 says I am entitled to vote in the AG contest—true, or not?

And NC Const. VI.6 says only the Constitution may define someone as disqualified to be elected—true, or not? “Every qualified voter in North Carolina who is 21 years of age, except as IN THIS CONSTITUTION disqualified, shall be eligible for election by the people to office.”

And, the NC Supreme Court’s position on this issue in Spruill v Batemane took the words that ‘the legislature may not create any qualifications whatever to elective office beyond those contained in the organic instrument’—correct?

Ray Ubinger

(I assume this post went unanswered, as the next email from Ray is in December:)

From: Ray Ubinger <ubinger@gmail.com>
Date: Sat, Dec 1, 2012 at 6:43 PM
To: "Wright, Don" <don.wright@ncsbe.gov>

Don’t take my word for the citation. View a published version yourself:


Then ignore it, because you don’t care about my right to vote.

People tell me to sue. But the court has already ruled. Spruill has never been overturned. Picking and choosing which votes to count is none of the legislature’s business, by NC high court decree since 1913.

Durham county officials be sure not to try to get Don to answer my questions which he repeatedly ducked. You don’t want to tick your masters off.

On Mon, Dec 3, 2012 8:41AM, Wright, Don <don.wright@ncsbe.gov> wrote:

Dear Mr. Ubinger,

The issue that concerns you is that you desire a write-in vote for Timothy Rohr, a registered Caldwell voter, be counted as a vote for North Carolina Attorney General. Mr. Rohr did not file as the Libertarian candidate for that office. In fact, the Libertarian Party (nor the Republican Party) did not have a candidate for Attorney General. Mr. Rohr did not file a petition under GS 163-122 to be an unaffiliated candidate for that office. Nor did Mr. Rohr file a write-in petition under GS 163-123 to be a certified write-in candidate for that office. Thus your attempt to vote For Mr. Rohr as a write-in for the office of North Carolina Attorney General  was not authorized by law and your vote for him was properly not counted by the Durham County Board of Elections.

Your personal criticism of Attorney General Cooper, as set out in your earlier e-mails. for being an unopposed candidate for Attorney General is misplaced. Your concerns should be directed to both the Libertarian and Republican Parties and their members for not having a filed candidate against Mr. Cooper. Ballot access, enjoyed by the Libertarian, Republican, and Democratic Parties , allows qualified members of those parties to easily become candidates for office by the mere payment of a filing fee.

This agency makes no judgment on the failure of Mr. Cooper to be opposed. It was a fact, and we dealt with it on that basis.

This ends the matter of your attempted write-in vote for Timothy Rohr to be counted. The county canvass has occurred and the State Board has certified the statewide results for the Office of Attorney General.

Don Wright
General Counsel

(Wow, note the finality there! “This ends the matter.” Screw the Constitution, screw the courts, we’ll do what we want.)

From: Ray Ubinger <ubinger@gmail.com>
Date: Mon, Dec 3, 2012 at 1:37 PM
To: "Wright, Don" <don.wright@ncsbe.gov>

Mr. Wright, you spend a lot of words answering questions I didn’t ask and stating facts I don’t dispute.

Yes the legislature invented a title called “Candidate” (a term appearing nowhere in the Constitution) and yes the legislature defined Mr. Rohr as not being one. Yes the legislature grants a special privilege exclusive to “Candidates,” so, yes, the title amounts to a title of nobility. Yes the legislature forbids anyone but someone whom it feels like calling a “Candidate”, to have votes for him or her be counted for partisan non-municipal elective office.

Yes the legislature invented a hurdle by which if a constitutionally eligible person neither files “candidacy” under a recognized “party” banner (political parties are another term invented by the legislature, not appearing in the Constitution)—nor collects a number of petition signatures high enough to please the legislature—then the legislature disqualifies that person from winning elective office higher than city council, or soil & water, anywhere in North Carolina.

Yes the legislature disapproved of Mr. Rohr’s being allowed to be voted for for AG.

Yes the legislature forbade Us the People from electing Mr. Rohr as Our AG.

Yes the legislature went so far as to order that ALL AG votes for ANYONE BUT Roy Cooper “shall not be counted for any purpose.” Yes this was tantamount to election by the legislature back at noon on August 8, when NCS 163-123(f) narrowed the number of possible AG winners from thousands down to one, on a date when not one ballot was cast anywhere in the state.


Did the Constitution tell the legislature so?

No, the Constitution defined Mr. Rohr as eligible to be elected by the people to AG.

“EVERY qualified voter in North Carolina who is 21 years of age, except as IN THIS CONSTITUTION disqualified, shall be eligible for election by the people to office.”

NC Const VI.6.

You do not dispute that Mr. Rohr cleared every hurdle in that document:

    • citizenship
    • age
    • residency
    • licensed attorney
    • legally registered to vote
    • not a felon
    • never been impeached out of office.

Was it the NC Supreme Court, who told the legislature they could declare Cooper the only possible winner back on August 8, before a single ballot was cast?

No, the NCSC says the opposite:

“The Legislature is therefore forbidden by the organic instrument to disqualify any voter not disqualified by that article from holding any office.  The General Assembly cannot render any ‘voter’ ineligible to office by exacting any additional qualifications, as by prescribing in this instance that the candidate shall be a ‘licensed attorney at law,’ any more than it could prescribe that he should own a specified quantity of property, or should be of a certain age, or race or religious belief or possess any other qualification not required to make him a voter.”

“Or that he should file ‘candidacy’ papers and/or petitions,” we might just as well add.

Yes, your holy lords in the legislature disapproved of Mr. Rohr. But so what? Aren’t they supposed to work for me? Didn’t they get to vote at the polls? Who said they could cast a second vote by having my vote voided? You didn’t petition to have your vote counted, so why should I have to petition to have my vote counted?

Ray Ubinger
who by the way met every Constitutional entitlement to have my vote counted
and incidentally is a disabled, commended and honorably discharged veteran of the 82nd Airborne Division
but you are treated me like a damned felon

ps Stop trying to pass the buck onto the NC Republican or Libertarian party. Counting my vote is YOUR job.

And this is where the replies from Wright stop coming in. Must be nice to have absolutely no accountability, eh?

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Question for Stimulus-Believing Statists http://shanekillian.org/sk/Question-for-Stimulus-Believing-Statists/ http://shanekillian.org/sk/Question-for-Stimulus-Believing-Statists/#comments Sat, 28 Jul 2012 14:04:38 +0000 http://shanekillian.org/sk/?p=9335 Continue reading ]]> We’ve heard over and over again that the state can stimulate the economy by creating money out of thin air. Doesn’t matter where it goes, they say (although it usually seems to go to their cronies), just create that money and you’ll be out of the recession in no time! Isn’t that what we’ve been told ever since the financial collapse? Well, I have a question about that, one I’d really like the statists to answer:

Click here to view the video on YouTube.


Transcript below the fold.

Okay, this video’s not going to be very long, it’s just a question I have for statists who believe that if government creates money out of nothing and spends it in the economy then it’ll stimulate the economy and lead to economic prosperity. After all, isn’t that what we’ve been told for four years? Isn’t that what we’re continuing to be told even though the economy is still languishing after a total “stimulus” of twenty trillion dollars?

M1 Money Supply, monthly average seasonally adjusted, January 2006 - June 2012

My question has to do with something that happened during World War II. The Nazis engaged in Operation Bernhard, which is probably the biggest counterfeit operation in history. The Nazis wanted to destabilize the British economy, so in 1942 over a hundred counterfeiters were given the task of making counterfeit Bank of England notes £5 and up that were as close to the real thing as they could get, to be used to inflate the currency.

They did a phenomenal job! From the type of paper that was used, down to the thickness of the ink, the counterfeit notes they made were indistinguishable from the real thing. They even cracked the serial number code: what range of serial numbers matched notes made in what year and so on. They were then laundered and used to buy imported goods and pay German secret agents. A lot of the notes were introduced into the British economy simply by sending agents in with suitcases full of money to live up the high life!

They did such a good job with the counterfeit notes that not even the Bank of England could tell the difference! They looked at notes that had the same serial number, and knew that at least one had to be counterfeit, but couldn’t tell which one! Technically, this meant that the counterfeit notes were actually genuine Bank of England notes, since the law defined a genuine Bank of England note as one the Bank of England would accept. And since they had no way of detecting the forgery, the Bank of England did indeed accept these! The bank declared these forged notes “the most dangerous ever seen.”

The Bank of England was forced to withdraw all notes £5 and over, and redesign them to prevent further damage to their economy.

So, here’s my question for all these statists barking on about money creation being stimulus: why did the Nazis try to destroy Britain by stimulating their economy? Why did Britain react to this as a danger, instead of saying “Oh thank you Germany for stimulating our economy and making us rich”? Weren’t the Nazis doing them a favor by creating money and spending it in their economy?

Why is it a most dangerous attack when the Nazis do it to Britain, but “stimulus” when our government and the Federal Reserve do it to us? Do you have an answer for this? Well? Do you?

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An HONEST State of the Union Address http://shanekillian.org/sk/An-HONEST-State-of-the-Union-Address/ http://shanekillian.org/sk/An-HONEST-State-of-the-Union-Address/#respond Tue, 24 Jan 2012 23:00:45 +0000 http://shanekillian.org/sk/?p=9321 Continue reading ]]> Tonight, President Obama will give his fourth State of the Union address. As usual, we can expect platitudes, spin on how well the economy is doing when it isn’t, how well government programs have worked when they haven’t, and claiming credit for things the government had nothing to do with. I’ve often wondered what it would be like if the person in the White House were actually honest, and told the Congress and the people what we really need to know. So join me in this alternate universe for the REAL State of the Union Address. The transcript follows, or you can listen to the audio here:

Click here to view the video on YouTube.

My fellow Americans, I speak to you tonight not as an authority, not as a President, not as an expert, but as a concerned citizen who loves his country, with the same spark of life with which liberty itself always speaks.

I wish I could say to all of you throughout this great land of ours that the State of the Union is wonderful, but alas, I cannot. Not as long as we continue to incarcerate a greater percentage of our population than any other industrialized nation, in the name of the failed and insane War on Drugs. Not as long as families are torn apart and lives ruined by botched drug raids, many of them on innocent people.

I wish I could say the State of the Union is secure, but I cannot. The sad and scary truth of the matter is, we have nothing that could with any intellectual integrity be called a national defense. What we have instead is international offense. With so many of our troops killing so many people in so many places where we have not declared war, we are not defending ourselves from enemies, we are making more of them. How sad is it that, only 30 years ago, we were standing up to a superpower with over 27,000 nuclear weapons, but now we are frightened to death of even the possibility of a single nuclear weapon getting into the hands of some two-bit dictator in a funny hat.

I wish I could tell you that our financial State of the Union is sound, but I cannot. Despite the National Debt continuing to spiral out of control, the Federal Reserve is continuing its failed policy of monetizing debt, and injecting liquidity into a broken banking system, in a desperate attempt to create a new financial bubble to replace the failed housing bubble, just like they created the housing bubble to replace the failed NASDAQ bubble. And they make all of us poorer as a result.

I wish I could tell you that the state of our health care was good, but I cannot. As the decades continue to bring more and more government corporatism in health care, creating artificial shortages and driving up costs for the sake of making the rich richer, the only so-called “reforms” being seriously considered are ones that go even further in the direction of more government interference. How many of you are old enough to remember when you could take care of your medical bills for a year for only one day’s wages, simply by joining a mutual aid society? How many of you are old enough to remember that, no matter how poor you were, you could always get treatment at a nearby free clinic or charity hospital? It was not the failures of the market that drove those out of existence; it was government corporatism supporting the insurance companies. How many of you remember when hospitals were cheap, and doctors got about the same amount of pay as a school teacher, and even made house calls? It was not market failures that drove up costs and salaries and reduced services; it was artificial shortages caused by government licensing and regulation. Yet, no one is seriously proposing rolling all of this back and letting our health care be so cheap it costs you less than it does to fill your tank with gas.

I wish I could tell you the state of our economy was good, but I cannot. As government attempts to create more jobs, it merely destroys them, never realizing that jobs are a means to an end, and that end is the production of things that will make people’s lives better. As government attempts to stimulate big business, it destroys small business, the lifeblood of the economy, the biggest employer. Government destroys jobs, while pretending to be the friend of the worker.

Are any of you anywhere near old enough to remember when labor unions actually represented the workers and worked for their betterment? Back when they got no government handouts–indeed, government was fighting them tooth and nail? It seems government found a better way of fighting them: by monopolizing them. Now, in many states, for certain professions workers are not only required by law to join a union, but to join one specific union–and so that union has no incentive whatsoever to work for the betterment of those workers, because they don’t have to fear those workers cancelling their membership and selecting a different union. The free market takes much better care of its workers now than any union does; that’s why the United Auto Workers union has had no luck going into right-to-work states like South Carolina where they actually have to convince workers that membership is worth the dues they pay. And so they run to the government to mandate it. They can only survive by government fiat.

I wish I could point out, as many Presidents do, some woman, or child, or family in the audience today who has been helped by one of my pet boondoggles. But the truth is, for every one person helped by government interference, countless more are harmed, through tax increases, or through regulations destroying their jobs, or through increasing prices due to regulation and inflation. How heartless is it to use people in this way, for no other reason than to score cheap political points?

I wish I could point out how responsible we’ve been, but the truth is, we’ve been irresponsible and unaccountable–and that includes both political parties. Why, look at the fake controversy we created about a default that was never going to happen, just because we didn’t want to reduce the amount by which we were increasing spending by about 2%! We pretended it was some great slashing of the budget, when in fact government is even bigger today.

I wish I could point out how transparent my administration has been, but the fact is, we’ve deliberately obstructed transparency laws like the Freedom of Information Act to an unprecedented degree, including refusing to turn over evidence of favors to and by union bigwigs, blocking photographs showing the hideous abuse of prisoners by US armed service members, and even instructing the Justice Department to lie when responding to freedom of information requests.

I am very sorry to have to say that the State of the Union is not good, and will not get any better until we realize that government is not a solution to our problems. The honest truth is, none of us here on Capitol Hill care about you. We only care about using you as pawns in our political game. And we can’t do it any more. We are spending ourselves into oblivion and saddling our children and grandchildren with debt that they will have to work even longer and even harder to pay off.

Thank you for listening to me. I’m not going to close with any religious platitudes about God blessing the United States of America, because it would only sound hollow given the way we abandoned the American people, for our own profit, and for the profit of our political cronies. Instead, in the hopes that the voters will finally realize what government really is, I’ll just say, good night.

This commentary originally appeared on the Bogosity podcast.

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9/11 Follow-Up http://shanekillian.org/sk/911-Follow-Up/ http://shanekillian.org/sk/911-Follow-Up/#comments Tue, 20 Sep 2011 02:00:15 +0000 http://shanekillian.org/sk/?p=9295 Continue reading ]]> Well, my 9/11 commentary sure drew a lot of negativity from listeners, but I guess that’s to be expected when you have an internet full of people who each want to blame their own personal boogeyman for these horrendous attacks. And it seems that if you proffer any different motivation for the attacks, no matter how reasoned, no matter how much the facts agree with it, no matter how many intelligence experts agree with the conclusion, then you’re a horrible person who loves the terrorists and wants to make excuses for them.

These people seem to fit into one of three categories. The first is the jingoistic “America First!” crowd. To these people, America is absolutely perfect and wonderful because we have freedom and the terrorists hate that, and that’s why they attack us, and no other reason. Point out that there are other countries that are freer than America in many respects, such as Switzerland and New Zealand, and they aren’t anywhere close to being the terrorist target that we are, and you’ll receive loud screeds about how you hate America.

The second category is the Alex Jones conspiritard “truther.” I think the less said about them the better.

The third is the one I want to talk about, because that’s where I’ve gotten most of my criticism. As an atheist skeptic, it stands to reason that I’ve attracted a lot of atheist and skeptical listeners and subscribers, and many of them took great issue with what I was saying. How could I not be shouting from the mountaintops that this was due to religion, how religion poisons the minds of otherwise-good people, and makes them commit these kinds of atrocities? It just had to be Muslim extremists who believed in 72 virgins because there’s just no other way you can get people to kill themselves and others by flying planes into buildings.

Here’s a sampling of some of the comments: “Terrorist want to rule the world so the resistance to this regime and its religion is inevitable.” “We need a world free of religions once and for all.” “Religious prophecy has predicted the end of the world, and work very hard to make sure that prophecy comes true.” “Such reactions are not only fueled by religious dogma, they are a direct result of it.” “Even if we stopped meddling there’s not much can be done against a religion that hates us.” “Sorry, it is Islamic ideology, first and foremost, that drives people like Bin Laden to commit such pernicious suicide attacks.”

Well, there’s a very good reason why I didn’t say that, and that is, quite simply, it just isn’t true. Sure, the terrorists were Muslims, even extremist Muslims, but was that really their primary motivation? There is a big discrepancy here: Atheists love pointing out that, when religious people do charitable work, they’re doing it because humans are, by their nature, charitable people, and they’ve just convinced themselves that it goes along with their religion. Yet in this case, the mere possibility that the same effect was going on—that they had other motivations for the attacks and made that fit their religion—just doesn’t get considered.

But think about it: How would we react if another country—say, China—came to the US to do the same thing? And let’s say that they came here not only for altruistic reasons, but for reasons that most of us might even agree with. Let’s say they use their military to oust Texas governor Rick Perry for executing innocent people, putting in a governor of their choosing who will eliminate the death penalty. Let’s say they go into states such as Kansas and forcibly oust legislators trying to get creationism taught in the schools. Let’s say they go around the country and to Washington ousting corrupt politicians left and right. And all the while, they’re fighting our military, but in the process killing not only our soldiers, but thousands of innocent, civilian, noncombatant Americans as well—and wives lose their husbands, husbands lose their wives, children lose their parents, parents lose their children, people get severely injured and even dismembered, and lose their homes and everything they own, on and on all over the country. Just what do you think would happen to the mentality of Americans—regardless of religion—if someone were to do to us exactly what the American government has done to so many people the world over? Our jingoistic overreaction to 9/11 is just a microcosm of what it would be like.

They are correct about one thing: there needs to be something to turn someone from a freedom fighter into a terrorist. But while religion can be used for this purpose, it is by no means the only thing that can be used—any form of dogma will work.

Most people know about the Japanese Kamikaze pilots in World War II. This didn’t have anything to do with religion—there’s nothing in Buddhism or Shintoism about killing yourself to destroy other people. It began as a last-ditch effort: pilots attacking Pearl Harbor whose planes were too badly damaged to return home decided to take some of the enemy with them. This was seen by their fellow Japanese as an act of selfless bravery, which inspired others and even led to official Kamikaze missions, where planes were packed with explosives and, in cases where the target was known, weren’t even given enough fuel to return home. The first of these was an attack in the Leyte Gulf in October of 1944. Before leaving, the Kamikaze pilots were given ceremonies, but they were NOT religious in nature, but jingoistic. They were given Japanese flags and recited poems about Japan, and other rituals that had more to do with the traditions of the Samurai—a military nobility—than anything religious.

What’s less well-known is that Germany had their own suicide squad: the Leonidas Squadron. Dozens of pilots crashed explosive-laden planes into Soviet bridges. This had nothing to do with Catholicism (the official religion of the Nazis) but everything to do with jingoistic adherence to National Socialism and love for the Führer. The only reason the attacks didn’t continue—and therefore didn’t achieve the same notoriety that the Kamikazes did—was because commander Werner Baumbach convinced his superiors that it was a waste of resources and not very effectual, and that the Mistel bomb was much more efficient.

There are many other examples throughout history. Dutch suicide bombers were used against the Chinese in their battle to take over Taiwan. Sailors of the Ottoman would set their own ships on fire and crash them into enemy ships. A nihilist suicide bomber killed Tsar Alexander II. Rudolph von Gersdorff tried to assassinate Hitler by suicide bomb. And, of course, there are the passengers who fought to take down United Airlines Flight 93 on 9/11, killing themselves in the process but saving the intended victims. There are so many examples of suicide fighters motivated by things other than religion—nationalistic pride, defense of others, or even desperation—that it just cannot be said that the 9/11 attacks were motivated by religion alone, or would not have happened had it not been for religion.

The primary motivation is so clear, not only because it’s the conclusion of the intelligence experts who have directly examined the evidence, but also because it’s what these terrorists said their motivations were! Osama bin Laden made his reasons clear in several videotaped comments. For example:

Contrary to what Bush says and claims—that we hate freedom—let him tell us then, “Why did we not attack Sweden?” It is known that those who hate freedom don’t have souls with integrity…We fought with you because we are free, and we don’t put up with transgressions. We want to reclaim our nation. As you spoil our security, we will do so to you.

He mentioned America giving Israel assistance in invading Lebanon, saying:

As I was looking at those towers that were destroyed in Lebanon, it occurred to me that we have to punish the transgressor with the same—and that we had to destroy the towers in America so that they taste what we tasted, and they stop killing our women and children.

Even Arabs who aren’t terrorists say the same thing. As Reem Al-Faisal wrote in Arab News:

The truth is that at present the Muslims hate America and now, they hate not only its policymakers but most of the American people since they have proven recently without a shadow of doubt that they agree with their elite by voting back into office, by a comfortable majority, the Bush administration in spite of it’s obvious record of lies and abuse of power. The Americans can never claim from now on that they didn’’t know that there where no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. They can’t claim that they didn’’t know torture wasn’’t widespread in American prisons, from Guantanamo to Abu Ghraib, and the thousands of other secret detention centers. They surely can’’t claim not to know of this entire episode in which thousands have lost their lives and much more have seen their homes and lands destroyed as a result of the American military and its leaders who don’t hesitate in using the massive destructive power of the US on defenseless civilians.

As for the claim made by some that I’m saying this makes these attacks justified, how can that possibly be so? I just quoted bin Laden saying that, in essence, the terrorists attack us to teach us a lesson and make us not attack them. Last week I said that Reagan’s attack on Libya was motivated for the same reason: to teach them a lesson, and get them to stop messing with us. That in turn was because Libyan forces had bombed a nightclub in Berlin, which was done to teach the US and the UK a lesson about aiding anti-Libyan forces in Germany. I’m saying that none of these is justified, and, in fact, they are both fundamentally the same thing. We try and teach them a lesson by attacking them; that makes them try and teach us a lesson by attacking us; we then have to teach them another lesson by attacking them again, and on and on and on it goes, and the lesson never gets learned. It has to stop.

As long as we continue to ignore the foreign policy that directly results in this blowback, as long as we continue to try and shift the blame on to other things just because they conform with our own biases and prejudices, we will always be vulnerable to these kinds of attacks—regardless of the religious beliefs of those we have inspired to do so.

This commentary originally appeared on the Bogosity podcast.

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9/11 Commentary http://shanekillian.org/sk/91-commentary/ http://shanekillian.org/sk/91-commentary/#comments Tue, 13 Sep 2011 00:00:12 +0000 http://shanekillian.org/sk/?p=9271 Continue reading ]]> We have just passed the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. This should be a good time to go back and reflect on that great tragedy, what it means, and where we should go from here. Unfortunately, so many people are using it as a platform for their opinion on separation of church and state—on both sides. Of course, the real lessons of 9/11 once more go unlearned.

The lessons of 9/11 go to the unintended consequences of our foreign policy, as every intelligence expert has concluded but politicians continue to ignore and deny. They just don’t want to admit that our meddling in foreign affairs, our sending the military to police the world and topple governments and kill thousands of foreigners just might not be welcomed with open arms by some.

What’s worse is there seems to be a feedback loop. Supposedly we have to go over there to teach those terrorists a lesson. Reagan bombed Libya to teach Qadaffi a lesson. Shortly afterwards, Libyan terrorists destroyed a TWA plane over Lockerbee, Scotland. It seems that the lesson just doesn’t get learned—instead, it results in even more violence, which causes us to go over there again and try and teach another lesson…with similar results.

Our so-called “leaders” whine and moan about what a cowardly act the 9/11 attack was. Well, it was certainly an insane act, a despicable act, and a horrendous act, but the truth is, it was anything but cowardly. Certainly not as cowardly as the President ordering the bombings of foreigners, while he himself was completely safe, not having to face any danger, not even so much as real accountability for his actions. And by The President, I’m referring to Barack Obama…and George W. Bush…And Bill Clinton…and George H.W. Bush…and Ronald Reagan…and…well, I’d better stop before I use up all my time.

Oh, if only someone had had the foresight to warn us ahead of time that something like this would happen—oh, wait, someone did! It was none other than the late, great Harry Browne, in an interview on C-Span on July 3rd, 2000—the day after he received the Libertarian Party‘s nomination for President:

The problem today is that we don’t have much of a national defense. We can’t protect this country against any two-bit dictator who gets his hands on a nuclear missile. What we do have is a giant national offense. We have the ability to annihilate any country in the world. We have troops in almost 100 countries in the world as though we were the occupying Roman Army. We have bullied other countries into coming to Washington and agreeing to settlements that the President of the United States thinks is good for them. And of course we have been bombing countries around the world. It’s no wonder that terrorists are trying to attack our country! They don’t like our foreign policy. They don’t like the idea that we are running their countries, and they want to influence our foreign policy. And the only way they know to do that is by blowing up the World Trade Center or whatever. If we would simply butt out of other countries’ affairs then other countries would be much less anxious to come over here and try to terrorize us.

Every time something like this happens, we’re asked to give up more of our precious liberties. We’re told we need to do this, because the terrorists hate us for our freedom and want to take it away from us. But what sense does this make? It’s like saying, people hate you for being so rich, so you need to burn all your money to stop them from destroying it.

And then, of course, there are all the lies they tell us to get into war, like so-and-so has weapons of mass destruction to use against us, or is harboring terrorists, or whatever. These lies are well-documented: the website TruthAboutWar.org documented all of the publicly-available information about Iraq and Saddam Hussein before the Iraq war started to show that there just wasn’t any reason to believe that Saddam had these weapons or any ties to Al-Qaeda or any other terrorists. On the day the Iraq war started, they froze the site, and with the exception of a couple of articles which are clearly labeled, no additions have been made since then: the site represents the information that was publicly available the day the Iraq War started. So when Democrats and other people who supported the war wholeheartedly tell you they were misled, that there was no way they could have known, you’ll know not to take that seriously, either.

All the wars in my life I have been against. The Vietnam War, Cambodia, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Grenada, the Persian Gulf, Panama, Bosnia, Somalia, I’ve been against them all. And I’m against the current wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya. And I’ll save you the suspense: the next war the Democrats and Republicans get us into? I’m already against it. Because I know that it will be based on lies, just as all the others were. I’ll know not to believe them when they say that whatever country has weapons of mass destruction, because they lied about that in Iraq. I’ll know not to believe them when they say that that country’s leader is a more dangerous tyrant than all the dangerous tyrants in all the other countries we’re not invading; that he’s not really the next Hitler, because they said that about Slobodan Milosovik, Saddam Hussein, and Moamar Qadaffi.

And most of all, I’ll know not to believe them when they talk about the threat of terrorism, because I know that terrorism is inspired and encouraged by these foreign wars and occupations, killing people, destroying property, generating hate and resentment. Because people predicted that, and they were right, whereas the predictions of warmongers have been wrong time and time again. That is the lesson we should learn from 9/11. That is the lesson we should take with us as we move on into the 21st Century, and once again make this country a beacon of liberty unto the world, creating free countries and toppling dictators not through arms, because that never works, but through leading by example. Back when America did that, we inspired rebellions and freedom movements all over the world without having to send a single soldier. That is what America must become again, for our sake, and for the sake of all the people of the world.

This commentary originally appeared on the Bogosity podcast.

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Who I’m Voting For 2010 http://shanekillian.org/sk/Who-Im-Voting-For-2010/ http://shanekillian.org/sk/Who-Im-Voting-For-2010/#comments Thu, 14 Oct 2010 15:31:58 +0000 http://example.COM/?p=135 Continue reading ]]> Well, it’s time once again to place our marks onto ballots and pretend that it actually makes a difference. The most important point to remember is that sometimes not making any mark at all makes the biggest difference.

Let’s get the easy one out of the way first:

US Senate: Mike Beitler. The only other choices are Richard Burr, who’s less fiscally conservative than Bill Clinton, and Elaine Marshall, who seems to think that printing more money will somehow work all of a sudden. Beitler, on the other hand, is truly for smaller government, including bringing our troops home and ending senseless, expensive, and failed policies like the War on Drugs. No contest.

US House: None. Let’s face it, it’s between Patrick McHenry–another pesudoconservative–and Jeff Gregory, who thinks that we can solve everything with magical tax cuts and not have to worry about cutting spending to match (also, worst website ever!).

Constitutional Amendment: Is it just me, or does anyone else think they should publish the exact text of the amendment on the ballot? Anyway, here it is. This is a bad idea for several reasons:

  • First, North Carolina has a lot of dumb laws on the books, making it illegal to do things like give someone an alcoholic beverage in a room where people are pretending to gamble (NCGS § 14-293) or stealing pine needles (NCGS § 14-79.1).

  • Second, a lot of people commit felonies when they’re young and make mistakes. Many of them develop into good, honorable people despite–and in some cases even because of–these mistakes.

  • The very concept of a system of individual liberty means that someone should have their full rights restored upon completion of their sentence. All of them. Including the right to seek public office, even sheriff.

  • A candidate’s background–including his criminal record–comes into play when running for office. The voters can certainly decide to reject a candidate because of his criminal record. (And if their choice is diminished in this, it can only be because of North Carolina’s hideously restrictive ballot access and election system.)

  • It’s also interesting that this is confined to the office of sheriff, and not (say) to County Commissioners or state legislators. How many legislators would we no longer have if this were the case? (I’ll refrain from making a crack about Commissioner candidate Loy Dellinger. His case was most likely a bad rap–which actually supports my points here, anyway.)

What it all boils down to is, I’m voting against the Constitutional amendment.

State and local offices below the fold.

I’m going to skip the Soviet-style elections outright this time. Just imagine that I’ve said something witty and clever about each of them and compared them to either a Soviet Premier or the dictator of a banana republic.

Lincoln County Commissioner: Tough one. As I mentioned last time, I’m hesitant to vote for any more Dellingers, and anyone who openly admits to not even knowing how to use email in this day and age pretty much admits to not being able to run the county. As for Richardson, the Unified Development Ordinance doesn’t need to be “tweaked”–it needs to be eliminated. Plus, he–like Dellinger–supports districting. Klein approved the Unified Development Ordinance as well as impact fees, and, in fact, lists these on his websites under “Accomplishments.” And Carl Robinson supports districting, and thinks that getting even more people to hook up to an already-strained water system will somehow make it cheaper and more efficient. Given four bad choices, I’ll vote for none every time.

Register of Deeds: No reason not to go with Elaine Harmon again.

Sheriff: David M. Carpenter won the Republican nomination by virtue of his years of experience as a police officer and his promise to make the necessary changes to the sheriff’s office. Terry Burgin won the Democratic nomination by virtue of the fact that he’s not Tim Daugherty. While I think either of them would put an end to the scandals the sheriff’s office has been plagued with under Daugherty, I think Carpenter gets the edge here.

Supreme Court Associate Justice: While Bob Hunter pays enough lip service to the Constitution, Barbara Jackson has a better record backing her up. She’s my pick.

Court of Appeals: Ann Marie Calabria understands that both the US and NC Constitutions establish governments of limited powers. That’s more than can probably be said for Jane Gray, who has received nominations from teacher’s unions and law enforcement groups. I’m going with Calabria.

Court Of Appeals II: Electric Boogaloo: While Steven Walker has made no bones about being a strict constructionist, the most Rick Elmore has said is that there is “no place for judicial activism.” Can anyone point me to a judge who has said, “Yes, sure, we should be judicial activists”? I’m voting for Walker.

Court of Appeals III: Return of the Thing: This one is between Martha Greer, who has bragged about decisions “involving businesses critical to our state’s economy” (and how critical they are to our economy should have nothing to do with judicial decisions), and Dean Poirier, who, as I pointed out last time, is a strict Constitutionalist. Poirier for me.

Superior Court Judge: I haven’t been able to find anything about either candidate. Neither one has a website, nor have they responded to any candidate surveys that I’ve looked at. Ya don’t wants my vote, ya don’t gets it. None.

Board of Education: Catawba Springs: Bob Silvers told the School Board, “It had been stated by certain board members that [superintendent] Dr. [David] Martin’s particular style of leadership had not been received well…I think you got it backwards. It is you that haven’t been well received.” The most I can find out about Karen Johnson Bolick is that she once put a cross made of icing on a cake in a church. I’m voting for Bob.

Board of Education: Howards Creek: Well, there’s no way I can vote for Joan Avery, and anyone who’s been paying attention to the school board scandal knows why. Unfortunately, Clayton Mullis is as short on definitive positions as he was when he ran for County Commissioner two years ago. None, I guess.

Soil and Water Conservation District Supervisor: Information on these candidates appears to be harder to find than Bigfoot taking an out-of-focus picture of the Loch Ness Monster. So, none.

Court of Appeals Judge: Okay, guys, this is not how you do Instant Runoff Voting! There are 13 candidates, but you only get to rank three. What this means is that, if none of your three candidates survive to the end, you end up having no say whatsoever in the final result! You also can’t state an equal preference (unlike Range Voting or the Condorcet Method), because it will invalidate your vote.

Okay, my first choice is the good constructionist Jewel Ann Farlow, with the good constructionist Cressie Thigpen in second (actually, I could have done these two in either order, since they’re equally good, but IRV doesn’t allow that). For my third choice, I’d have to go with Pamela M. Vesper for her comments that judicial interpretations shouldn’t be too broad, and she criticized the Supreme Court’s Kelo decision on that basis. My fourth choice, were I allowed one (and with proper IRV I would be), would have been J. Wesley Casteen, who praised the recent Supreme Court decision confirming the individual’s right to keep and bear arms. The rest of the judges were so vague and wishy-washy in their comments as to be indistinguishable from one another.

]]> http://shanekillian.org/sk/Who-Im-Voting-For-2010/feed/ 3 Opposing more speech suppression in the name of copyrights http://shanekillian.org/sk/Opposing-more-speech-suppression-in-the-name-of-copyrights/ http://shanekillian.org/sk/Opposing-more-speech-suppression-in-the-name-of-copyrights/#comments Tue, 21 Sep 2010 13:57:27 +0000 http://example.COM/?p=134 Continue reading ]]> I just sent the following letter to my Senators:

I am writing to oppose S.3804, the Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act. I believe that the real purpose of this act—like the Digital Millennium Copyright Act before it—has a more sinister hidden purpose.

It has never been found that file-sharing sites harm the profits of content makers. In fact, studies show just the opposite: by increasing awareness of their intellectual property, they have sold far more content than they otherwise would have. The results of these studies are so consistent, and so easily accessible, that it is laughable to think that the media corporations are unaware of them. All of their lobbying to protect themselves from these “pirates” is disingenuous.

The internet is free. On the internet, we have true liberty where all are equal. A rock band recording in a living room, an independent filmmaker with a home studio, and an amateur journalist all are on the same equal footing with the manufactured and controlled output of big media corporations. This is what they are really seeking to suppress, since file sharing allows these smaller, independent players to gain attention for their product.

With the DMCA, the first mp3.com was shut down, even though it required you to have a physical copy of the CD containing the music you subscribed to. They shut down programmers who were trying to make a DVD player for Linux (instead of paying the corporations for the means of viewing content they had legally purchased). Programmers were even arrested for trying to make ebooks accessible to the blind.

On YouTube, DMCA abuse is a serious problem. If someone posts a video opposing something you believe, or criticizing you or your agenda, simply file a DMCA claim, and without providing even the first shred of proof, the video is taken down. Countless videos have been lost, and even entire channels banned because of action taken against videos that had no infringing content, because of a dishonest few.

This bill would expand this to entire web domains. Under this bill, like the DMCA before it, just the claim of infringement–again no evidence required–will result in not only the removal of infringing content, but the entire domain as well. Not merely affecting the individual who allegedly infringed a copyright, not merely remove the alleged infringing content, the action is against the entire domain–meaning the entire website, and any other websites sharing that domain, are rendered completely inaccessible. People will not only be prevented from accessing the alleged (but not proved) infringing content, but also the legitimate content of independent providers for whom this is the only real means of competing against the big corporations. All of this, without the Attorney General so much as even filing an action. The site is declared guilty until proven innocent. This is mercantilism at its worst, the very thing our forefathers rebelled against when they dumped British tea into Boston Harbor.

Even worse, this bill has chilling ramifications for freedom of speech. An entire website can be shut down by an unproved claim; what is to stop abuse from happening all over the internet? This bill has, so far, been suppressed from appearing on the GPO’s website; I was able to read it because someone posted it to scribd.com, where users can post documents. This site is potentially vulnerable to the ramifications of this act. Imagine if people in Congress authoring such a bill in the future could take action against this site, or WikiLeaks, or any other such site just because they claim there’s infringing material somewhere on the site. This would deny everyone the benefit of all of the content on the site–including important, time-sensitive information like this.

Even if some content can be shown to infringe a copyright, that can be no justification for the wholesale denial of speech. As John Perry Barlow said about the internet more than a decade ago, “We cannot separate the air that chokes from the air upon which wings beat.”


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World’s Smallest Political Quiz (Randomized) http://shanekillian.org/sk/Worlds-Smallest-Political-Quiz-Randomized/ http://shanekillian.org/sk/Worlds-Smallest-Political-Quiz-Randomized/#respond Tue, 02 Mar 2010 22:41:24 +0000 http://example.COM/?p=133 Continue reading ]]> If you’ve been paying any sort of attention to this site, you’ve seen the link to the World’s Smallest Political Quiz in the sidebar. One criticism some people have levied against the quiz is that the use of “Yes” to refer solely to the Libertarian position introduces a bias; another is that the user knowing which questions are in the Personal category and which are Economic could bias their answers as well, even unconsciously.

I’ve written a script to appeal to those critics. I’ve taken each of the questions and written a negative counterpart. My script randomizes both the order of the questions and which form of the question is presented; sometimes a Yes will mean more liberty, other times it will mean more government.

So if you’ve taken the quiz before and thought it was biased, try this form–and see if it gives you the same result.

And if it does, consider that it just might be accurate.

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