My Presidential Prediction

Presidential predictions are pretty much bogus. Telling ahead of time who’s going to win has proven to be very unreliable. For the last three elections (probably more), I’ve seen all sorts of people use all sorts of indicators–economic-based, poll-based, even sports-based–about how such-and-such has “predicted” 14 of the last 15 elections (always after the fact, of course). Clinton just wasn’t going to be re-elected in 1996. No way could Bush win in 2000. And no way could he be re-elected in 2004. I think it’s clear that using these “predictors” is just another form of selection bias, and that we should pay no more attention to these than to people who tell us how to predict how many babies will be born based on the phase of the moon or how to make a killing in the stock market.

So I may be going out on a limb here with my prediction, but I think that history will bear me out. I will not attempt to predict who will win the Democrat or Republican nominations, or who will run under what third parties, or who will be our next President.

But I will make the following prediction: no matter who gets nominated, people on the other side will say that this person is so horrible that you must vote for their candidate to keep this very dangerous person out of office. Of course, those on the other side will say the same about their candidate. They’ll both be telling us that this election is so important, that this time there’s so much on the line, that this time you have to tolerate the lesser evil in order to save the country from certain doom. That it is so important that you just cannot waste your vote voting your conscience, since that conscience may take you to a third-party candidate and thus take a vote away from the only person who has a chance of beating this severe threat to our very way of life.

In fact, this will be the worst, most severe, most dire, most crucial, most vital election, where we all have to make the biggest, most important decision we have had to make…

…since the last election, when they were telling us the exact same thing, which was the worst since the one before that, which was the worst since the one before that…

That’s my prediction, and I’m standing by it.

Putting oil prices in perspective

Many pundits (when they can tear themselves away from the primaries for long enough) express complete horror and dismay at the fact that last month oil prices reached $100 per barrel.

However, that still means that it’s cheaper to get half a pound of oil from halfway around the world than it is to mail a 1-ounce letter across the street.

More Zoning Harassment

Someday, when the mountain of evidence is big enough, people are going to realize that I’m not crazy when I say that zoning is fascist and tyrannical. Here’s one more piece of evidence on the pile: Reason.TV’s Drew Carey talks about a town that’s a modern-day Footloose (how many of you realize that was based on a true story?), prohibiting dancing and using other zoning ordinances to try and force a good, family-friendly restaurant out of business. No one knows why, and no one can get any answer from the local government goons.

Liberals/skeptics are VERY selective about the Constitution.

I’ve seen this a lot in the past couple of months from
my fellow skeptics, mostly from the liberal side (the libertarian
skeptics don’t seem to have this problem). They make a big deal out of
the First Amendment, particularly the establishment clause, and rightly
so; but when it comes to other parts of the Constitution, it seems to
be okay to ignore it if it goes against what they want.

Tenth Amendment completely forbids Congress from doing anything not
mentioned in Article I Section 8, and that includes forcing schools to
teach evolution, setting a religious education policy for the schools
(as Dennett wants to do), as well as many provisions of the Civil
Rights Act (and just about everything else done by Congress, for that
matter). Sorry, guys, but that’s a state/local battle, not a Federal

Article III Section 2 completely forbids the Supreme Court
from deciding matters internal to a state and its citizens. It lists
everywhere the Supreme Court and the lower Federal courts created by
Congress has both original and appellate jurisdiction, and that’s not
one of them. The only exception is if it’s a direct controversy under
the Constitution. Shooting down Intelligent Design in the Dover trial
is therefore 100% Constitutional; setting the abortion policy for the
states based on the stages of pregnancy as Roe v. Wade did is not.

Constitution only specifies three Federal crimes: treason, piracy, and
counterfeiting. You might be able to use the Necessary and Proper
Clause to add certain other crimes related to the powers in Article I
Section 8 such as tax evasion or stealing the mail, but not any kind of
fraud, even if it is committed by psychics. If murder is a state crime,
then so is fraud.

No matter how much you feel religious stuff
should be taxed, Article I Section 9 specifically prohibits the Federal
government from taxing goods and services that cross state lines
(Section 10 likewise prohibits the states, with some very specific
exceptions). That would include religious communication.

that matter, Sections 9 and 10 prohibit both the states and the
Congress from passing Bills of Attainder. This means you can’t pass any
laws that target any person or group of people. And that includes religious groups.

Just as the Constitution does not allow
Congress to ban gay marriage, neither does it allow Congress or any
other Federal entity to require citizens, companies, or groups to
recognize gay marriage. Deal with it.

There are lots of other
examples, but this should give you the idea. The Constitution either
means something, or it doesn’t. And if you agree with even one of the
above actions, or any action that is repugnant to the Constitution,
then you have no cause–either legally or morally–to speak out against
anyone else violating the First Amendment or anything else.

As I
always say: if you want to be free to do what you want, you have to set
others free to do what you don’t want. Otherwise, you just want a
tyranny that agrees with you.

Ron Paul, Hugo Chavez, and the Cuban Missile Crisis

Last night, Ron Paul participated in the Republican Presidential debate broadcast on the Univision channel. Questions were ones of particular interest to the Latino population.

For most of the night, Ron Paul got huge cheers and even apparently a standing ovation at the end. But one answer he gave received lots of boos:

We should talk to Chavez. We talked to Stalin, Kruschev, and Mao. We’ve talked to
the whole world. Actually I believe we’re at a time where we ought to
talk to Cuba, open travel with Cuba, trade with Cuba. We create the
Castros and the Chavezes of this world by interfering and
creating chaos in their countries, and they respond by throwing out
their leaders.

Yes, he was booed for saying we should actually talk to Chavez! The thing is, the crowd was overwhelmingly supportive of him when he said to get out of Iraq, no nation building, etc. Either there’s some blind hypocrisy going on or it was the Giuliani Brigade again.

Paul mentioned Kruschev. One of the worst crises our country was in was the Cuban Missile Crisis. We came that close to nuclear war. The issue was Soviet nuclear missiles in Cuba, 90 miles from the US border in Florida, which was a response to our missiles next to the Soviet border in Turkey. How did Kennedy resolve this issue?

Contrary to what we were told in school (or, at least, what I was told in school–I’m a Cold War Kid, so maybe it’s not so propagandized now), Kennedy found the solution by agreeing to take down our missiles in Turkey, as well as agreeing not to invade Cuba, in exchange for the Soviet missiles being removed. It was the result of a lot of talking between Kennedy and Kruschev. Kennedy lost appeal with the Generals, who thought they should invade immediately (which would almost certainly have prompted a nuclear response), but ultimately it was the right choice, and the only one that could have worked.

In fact, as a direct result of this, a special telephone line was set up between Moscow and DC so that the two leaders could talk easily when they needed to.

The whole idea of just invading, fighting people you don’t like or don’t agree with, is taking the easy way out. It’s a lot harder to swallow your pride, admit that maybe you’ve made at least one or two missteps, and work to correct them for the sake of peace and prosperity. It’s people who don’t have the strength to do that who resort to force and military might.

Yes, that means they’re cowards. Let me be clear: George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Rudy Giuliani, John McCain, and all the rest of them are cowards–doubly so because of the precious liberties they have infringed and want to continue infringing. Only Ron Paul, like Kennedy before him, has shown himself to have the true strength of character we need to make this country safe and secure, at peace, while still preserving the freedoms we cherish.

That’s why we need him in the White House. That’s why no one else will do.

HR 3835: Restore the 4th Amendment and habeas corpus

We all know about the war crimes our current administration has been committing, most recently with “waterboarding,” which, despite their Orwellian description of it as an “enhanced interrogation technique,” is torture, and has been determined to be so by every war crimes tribunal who has examined the subject. The Japanese military and government were prosecuted for waterboarding at the Tokyo War Crimes Trial. Nothing has changed.

And as I’ve blogged about before, habeas corpus is so important that, without it, you have no other rights.

Now, Ron Paul has introduced HR 3835: The American Freedom Agenda Act of 2007, “To restore the Constitution’s checks and balances and protections against government abuses as envisioned by the Founding Fathers.” This bill will restore the checks and balances dismantled by Congress and the Bush Administration, restore habeas corpus, reject torture, challenge the constitutionality of presidential signing statements, and many other reversals of violations of our basic liberties.

Now for the outrageous part: this bill has no cosponsors whatsoever. Not one. And there is no corresponding bill in the Senate.

You should be angry. You should be outraged. You should contact your representatives and demand that they cosponsor this bill. You can easily do so here.

Also, since most of the presidential candidates are members of Congress, if you support one of them, write to them and demand that they cosponsor this bill if they’re in the House, or introduce a similar bill if they’re a Senator.

Do this especially if they’re talking about impeachment. As I’ve also blogged about before, it’s kind of convenient that the Democrats have waited to do this now that impeaching Bush & Cheney will put a Democrat in the White House. But to be in favor of impeachment but not be for this bill? What’s the point in impeaching Bush and Cheney if the horrible acts infringing our liberty continue?

I’ve heard talk of a vote of “no confidence” for members of Congress who don’t support impeachment. Maybe the vote of “no confidence” should be for those who don’t support this bill.

These are our basic liberties. It’s the Constitution 101. It’s their oath of office.

If they don’t support it, maybe they should be thrown out along with the President.

The debates: NOT equal has an article about how unfair and unequal the Republican debates have been, unfairly giving more time to the ones the media has been declaring the “frontrunners”:

The justification given for this is that the voters are to see those
candidates with a legitimate shot at winning the nomination, something
that is measured by polling data and fundraising numbers. So before we
get into the polling data and the fundraising numbers, let’s see how
much each of the candidates were allowed to speak.

Our methodology for this is actually quite fool-proof. We take a
transcript of the debate and parse each of the words spoken at the
debate and count who spoke how many words…

Each of those candidates fall in line with about where they stand in
the polls and in fundraisinig. Well, except for Ron Paul. He spoke the
least of all the candidates. Now, we are not going to go so far as to
say he should get as much time as Romney or Giuliani–although it
would be fair if all the candidates spoke the same amount of time.

But we will claim it irresponsible of CNBC to censor Ron Paul to the
point that he spoke the least of every candidate including Tancredo,
Hunter, and Brownback.

They then elucidate the completely objective measures they use to make that case (emphases mine):

Ron Paul raised $5 million dollars. This translates to REAL support
and REAL people that want to hear his message. Ron Paul’s fundraising
numbers were comparable to John McCain. Mike Huckabee was only able to
garner about $1 million dollars…Ron Paul is sitting at double
among moderates in New Hampshire and and at 8% in Michigan (the
state in which this debate took place). And the Republican party is
doing a disservice if they try to silence the moderate voice. Read our
article on "Ron Paul Surging in the Polls Among Moderates"…Ron Paul has won 15 straw polls (
nationwide, more than Huckabee, Hunter, Tancredo, Brownback combined!
Heck we could even add John McCain to that list and Ron Paul would have
beaten them all…He has more monthly visitors to his campaign website than any of the
other candidates
–including the top tier. The graph is going up, yet
more signs of a surge.

It would be even more impressive if they had considered the source of the money raised, the support garnered, and how the money was spent. For example, he didn’t have to buy his victory in the straw polls like Mitt Romney. All he had to do was show up.

They give an example of the blatant bias:

The biggest evidence of such blatant censorship of Ron Paul came when
Rudy Giuliani challenged Ron Paul by name saying “Where was he on
9/11?”…When a candidate is addressed by name it is only
common courtesy to give him time for a rebuttal. Nope, they did not
even give him the courtesy of standing amongst the candidates–always
at the edge and having the least amount of speaking time.

Yeah, because Giuliani’s probably remembering how badly he got schooled when Dr. Paul had the chance to speak in response to him. Paul’s assertions are backed up by the evidence and the experts agree with him. Giuliani can’t make that claim.

What’s the big problem with simply giving all of the candidates equal time, and allowing them to respond when addressed by name? Or is that too much equality and fairness for the big parties and corporations who want to keep gaming the system?

Ron Paul raises over $1 million in 7 days!

In 2004, Libertarian Presidential candidate Michael Badnarik raised a little over $1 million for the entire election cycle. Now, Ron Paul has raised the same amount in a week, all from grassroots supporters, with the same Libertarian message–but with a lot more national attention.

Now do you see why they work so hard to keep Libertarians off the ballot? Now do you see why they try to exclude us from the debates and marginalize us in the media? Dr. Paul has experienced this; several Republicans said he shouldn’t be in the debates, the mainstream press still calls him a marginal candidate (when by any objective measurement he’s the frontrunner of frontrunners), and Sean Hannity still claims his support comes from a few online “spammers.”

They don’t believe this. They never believed this. They know full well the truth, which should be obvious to anyone by now: Libertarians are a threat. We’re a threat to big government and corporations who have been sucking off the teat of the people for far too long now. But when people are exposed to the Libertarian message in a forum where the voice is given equal time, look what happens.

One million dollars in one week–all from regular voters, without one penny of big corporate or special interest money.

The Ron Paul Revolution is happening…regardless of whether or not it’ll be televised.

Another town ditches traffic lights

As I’ve blogged about before, traffic engineers are starting to doubt the effectiveness of traffic lights. First, the town of Drachten in the Netherlands experienced great success with removing their traffic lights; now, Bohmte, Germany is doing the same thing:

From September 12, all traffic controls will disappear from
the center of the western town of Bohmte to try to reduce
accidents and make life easier for pedestrians.

In an area used by 13,500 cars every day, drivers and
pedestrians will enjoy equal right of way, Klaus Goedejohann,
the town’s mayor, told Reuters.

"Traffic will no longer be dominant," he said.

This is following on the success in Drachten:

Monderman’s ideas have already been implemented in the town
of Drachten in the north of the Netherlands, where all stop
lights, traffic signs, pavements, and street markings have

"It’s been very successful there," Goedejohann said, adding
that accidents in Drachten had been reduced significantly.

But then, of course, there are those who want to cling to the old ways, fearful of change and progress:

"Just because it worked in the Netherlands doesn’t mean it
will work here," said Werner Koeppe, a road specialist at
Berlin’s Technical Traffic Institute.

Gee, how often have we heard that before? And I’ll bet you anything that’s what the politicians here in America will say the same thing when it comes time to try the initiative here.

One more expression to watch out for whenever you hear a politician utter it–it’s almost never true. Yes, there are cultural differences, but human behavior isn’t that different.