Homeland Stupidity http://www.homelandstupidity.us Government is stupid. Discover a better way to organize society. Tue, 15 Apr 2014 02:34:15 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.1 Liberty Was Also Attacked in Boston http://www.homelandstupidity.us/2013/04/28/liberty-was-also-attacked-in-boston/ http://www.homelandstupidity.us/2013/04/28/liberty-was-also-attacked-in-boston/#comments Sun, 28 Apr 2013 21:53:14 +0000 http://www.homelandstupidity.us/?p=842 Forced lockdown of a city. Militarized police riding tanks in the streets. Door-to-door armed searches without warrant. Families thrown out of their homes at gunpoint to be searched without probable cause. Businesses forced to close. Transport shut down.

These were not the scenes from a military coup in a far off banana republic, but rather the scenes just over a week ago in Boston as the United States got a taste of martial law. The ostensible reason for the military-style takeover of parts of Boston was that the accused perpetrator of a horrific crime was on the loose. The Boston bombing provided the opportunity for the government to turn what should have been a police investigation into a military-style occupation of an American city. This unprecedented move should frighten us as much or more than the attack itself.

What has been sadly forgotten in all the celebration of the capture of one suspect and the killing of his older brother is that the police state tactics in Boston did absolutely nothing to catch them. While the media crowed that the apprehension of the suspects was a triumph of the new surveillance state — and, predictably, many talking heads and Members of Congress called for even more government cameras pointed at the rest of us — the fact is none of this caught the suspect. Actually, it very nearly gave the suspect a chance to make a getaway.

The “shelter in place” command imposed by the governor of Massachusetts was lifted before the suspect was caught. Only after this police state move was ended did the owner of the boat go outside to check on his property, and in so doing discover the suspect.

No, the suspect was not discovered by the paramilitary troops terrorizing the public. He was discovered by a private citizen, who then placed a call to the police. And he was identified not by government surveillance cameras, but by private citizens who willingly shared their photographs with the police.

As journalist Tim Carney wrote last week:

“Law enforcement in Boston used cameras to ID the bombing suspects, but not police cameras. Instead, authorities asked the public to submit all photos and videos of the finish-line area to the FBI, just in case any of them had relevant images. The surveillance videos the FBI posted online of the suspects came from private businesses that use surveillance to punish and deter crime on their property.”

Sadly, we have been conditioned to believe that the job of the government is to keep us safe, but in reality the job of the government is to protect our liberties. Once the government decides that its role is to keep us safe, whether economically or physically, they can only do so by taking away our liberties. That is what happened in Boston.

Three people were killed in Boston and that is tragic. But what of the fact that over 40 persons are killed in the United States each day, and sometimes ten persons can be killed in one city on any given weekend? These cities are not locked-down by paramilitary police riding in tanks and pointing automatic weapons at innocent citizens.

This is unprecedented and is very dangerous. We must educate ourselves and others about our precious civil liberties to ensure that we never accept demands that we give up our Constitution so that the government can pretend to protect us.

Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit is given.

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Security and Self-Governance http://www.homelandstupidity.us/2012/07/23/security-and-self-governance/ http://www.homelandstupidity.us/2012/07/23/security-and-self-governance/#comments Mon, 23 Jul 2012 15:59:40 +0000 http://www.homelandstupidity.us/?p=783 ]]> The senseless and horrific killings last week at a movie theater in Colorado reminded Americans that life is fragile and beautiful, and we should not take family, friends, and loved ones for granted. Our prayers go out to the injured victims and the families of those killed. As a nation we should use this terrible event to come together with the resolve to create a society that better values life.

We should also face the sober reality that government cannot protect us from all possible harm. No matter how many laws we pass, no matter how many police or federal agents we put on the streets, no matter how routinely we monitor internet communications, a determined individual or group can still cause great harm. We as individuals are responsible for our safety and the safety of our families.

Furthermore, it is the role of civil society rather than government to build a culture of responsible, peaceful, productive individuals. Government cannot mandate morality or instill hope in troubled individuals. External controls on our behavior imposed by government through laws, police, and jails usually apply only after a terrible crime has occurred.

Internal self governance, by contrast, is a much more powerful regulator of human behavior than any law. This self-governance must be developed from birth, first by parents but later also through the positive influence of relatives and adult role models. Beyond childhood, character development can occur through religious, civic, and social institutions. Ultimately, self-governance cannot be developed without an underlying foundation of morality.

Government, however, is not a moral actor. The state should protect our rights, but it cannot develop our character. Whenever terrible crimes occur, many Americans understandably demand that government “do something” to prevent similar crimes in the future. But this reflexive impulse almost always leads to bad laws and the loss of liberty.

Do we really want to live in a world of police checkpoints, surveillance cameras, and metal detectors? Do we really believe government can provide total security? Do we want to involuntarily commit every disaffected, disturbed, or alienated person who fantasizes about violence? Or can we accept that liberty is more important than the illusion of state-provided security?

Freedom is not defined by safety. Freedom is defined by the ability of citizens to live without government interference. Government cannot create a world without risks, nor would we really wish to live in such a fictional place. Only a totalitarian society would even claim absolute safety as a worthy ideal, because it would require total state control over its citizens’ lives. Liberty has meaning only if we still believe in it when terrible things happen and a false government security blanket beckons.

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Independence Day: 100 Resources for Liberty http://www.homelandstupidity.us/2012/07/04/independence-day-100-resources-for-liberty/ http://www.homelandstupidity.us/2012/07/04/independence-day-100-resources-for-liberty/#comments Wed, 04 Jul 2012 14:00:46 +0000 http://www.homelandstupidity.us/?p=705 We in the United States are about to receive a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to reclaim our birthright, the liberty which the state has been whittling away day-by-day from the moment the Constitution was written. I am not talking about the presidential election. I’m referring to the impending collapse and dissolution of the United States.

There is no longer any question that the U.S. will collapse; it passed the point of no return some time ago. The question now is what to do about it.

History has shown us that all collapsing governments are eventually replaced with something else. Often the replacement is an even worse government. As people who know that only with true liberty can humanity reach its full potential, it is up to us to ensure that what comes next is a society where individual liberty is respected. (If you don’t yet know this, see “Start Here” below.)

To that end, this year as we watch the United States and other governments around the world blow up like tonight’s fireworks, I present you with 100 resources you can use to advance the cause of freedom both here in the U.S. and around the world. Dark times are ahead, but the light of liberty continues to offer hope for civilization. Help shine that light.

(Note: Listing here does not necessarily imply complete endorsement of every position the listed resource may advocate.)

Start Here

A Beginner’s Guide to Liberty (PDF)
Liberty needs defending. Political leaders have clearly failed to grasp the benefits of allowing us to live our lives as we choose. By releasing our talents and creativity, liberty brings unprecedented wealth, and promises a bright future built on new ideas. It also gives us protection from the abuses that have come too often from over-powerful states.
The Philosophy of Liberty
This simple yet attractive and intelligent introduction to libertarian ideas is an international hit. Tell your non-libertarian friends about it!
World’s Smallest Political Quiz
The World’s Smallest Political Quiz is a fast, fun, and accurate assessment of a person’s overall political views. The Quiz is composed of two parts: a new political map that is far more accurate than the old “Left-Right” line, and ten questions on specific political issues to help a Quiz taker find his place on that new political map.

Activism

Civil Disobedience Evolution Fund
The Civil Disobedience Evolution Fund works to restore freedom and support liberty by acting as a bridge between liberty activists and supporters. We support those activists who disobey bad laws, but only if such acts are done in a peaceful way. We do not support violence of any kind.
Cop Block
We highlight the double standard that some grant to those with badges by pointing to and supporting those harmed. By documenting police actions whether they are illegal, immoral or just a waste of time and resources then putting direct pressure on the individuals responsible (ideally while recording and then later sharing), we can work together to bring about transparency and have a real impact.
Democratic Freedom Caucus
The Democratic Freedom Caucus (DFC) is a progressive, pro-freedom caucus in the Democratic Party. The purpose of the DFC is to promote individual liberty, constitutional democracy, and social responsibility.
Fr33 Aid
Fr33 Aid was created to help liberty activists organize projects that educate people about the value of mutual aid and lessen the burdens of government. Our main activity involves providing voluntary medical and educational services at liberty-related events.
Free Keene
Many of us at Free Keene once thought that the system we know of as government was the solution to certain problems. We realized we were wrong when we discovered the inescapable, ugly truth. Government is force. It is the violent monopoly.
Free State Project
The Free State Project is an effort to recruit 20,000 liberty-loving people to move to New Hampshire to exert the fullest practical effort toward the creation of a society in which the maximum role of civil government is the protection of life, liberty, and property.
Freedom Activist Network Index
A directory of people, events, organizations, and news media of interest to liberty activists.
Fully Informed Jury Association
The FIJA mission is to educate Americans regarding their full powers as jurors, including their ability to rely on personal conscience, to judge the merit of the law and its application, and to nullify bad law, when necessary for justice, by finding for the defendant.
International Society for Individual Liberty
The International Society for Individual Liberty is an association of individuals and organizations dedicated to building a free and peaceful world, respect for individual rights and liberties, and an open and competitive economic system based on voluntary exchange and free trade.
Libertarian Meetup Groups
Meet Libertarians near you! Come to a local Libertarian Meetup to share your opinions on today’s political climate and issues and learn how you can contribute to America’s political future. Everyone interested in Libertarianism is welcome.
Liberty on the Rocks
Liberty on the Rocks is a non-profit libertarian organization that empowers and assists liberty enthusiasts in becoming better connected, informed, and involved. Through local chapters and events, citizens and activists throughout the country can increase the size of their networks, enhance their understanding of economics and the philosophy of freedom, widen their knowledge of local and national educational outlets, and increase their opportunities for involvement.
New Hampshire Courtroom Legal Opposition Group
The New Hampshire Courtroom Legal Opposition Group (NH-CLOG) is an organization set up by New Hampshire liberty activists in order to aid other activists in their legal defense against the State to the fullest extent possible. We educate activists on the ins and outs of the court system and related byzantia, how to represent someone in court without being an actual attorney-at-law (lawyer), provide easy access to copies of form blanks for activists to use, and sometimes blog about interesting or important cases we’ve fought or helped someone else fight.
New Hampshire Liberty Alliance
The New Hampshire Liberty Alliance is a non-partisan coalition working to increase individual freedom in New Hampshire by monitoring bills in the legislative sessions and encouraging private charity, a civil society, and citizen involvement.
Republican Liberty Caucus
Rather than sit back while our liberty is whittled away, we’re working to shift the Republican Party and American politics back to adherence to the rule of law and the U.S. Constitution. We advocate the principles of individual rights, limited government, and free enterprise.
Shire Society
Isn’t a society supposed to be a voluntary association of individuals? If so, then what the government people insist is a society, is in fact, not. It’s only a society if one gives consent. Did you consent to be part of the coercive government’s society? Even if you did consent, whether you were fully informed or not as to the implications of your decision, shouldn’t you be able to peacefully withdraw your consent?
Students For Liberty
Students For Liberty is an organization that supports liberty. SFL does not dictate the foundations upon which individuals justify their belief in liberty. Rather, Students For Liberty embraces the diversity of justifications for liberty and encourages debate and discourse on the differing philosophies that underlie liberty. What Students For Liberty endorses are the principles that comprise liberty.
Young Americans for Liberty
Young Americans for Liberty (YAL) is the largest, most active, and fastest-growing pro-liberty organization on America’s college campuses. With more than 300 chapters and 26,000 student activists nationwide, YAL seeks to recruit, train, educate, and mobilize students on the ideals of liberty and the Constitution.

Books

The Adventures of Jonathan Gullible: A Free Market Odyssey
The Adventures of Jonathan Gullible tells the story of a boy who becomes shipwrecked on an unfamiliar island after being swept out to sea in a storm. Having previously lived in a relatively free society, in this new strange land he experiences culture shock as he learns learns of bewildering laws and traditions of the islands inhabitants. The story highlights the absurdities of the laws, the controls imposed on people’s lives, and the economic drawbacks of these laws. The laws highlighted are recognizable as common to many countries throughout the world.
Anarchy and the Law: The Political Economy of Choice
Contemporary history has shown that limited government is untenable, as it is inherently unstable and prone to corruption, being dependent on the interest-group politics of the state’s current leadership. Anarchy and the Law presents the most important essays explaining, debating, and examining historical examples of stateless orders.
The Art of Being Free: Politics versus Everyman and Woman
This is a book on the current state of freedom, by one of the great thinkers and essayists of our time: Wendy McElroy. But it is unlike any you have ever read. It deals with the current crisis in a way that no one else does. It has deep and fascinating research on all the main issues we face: the loss of security in the name of security, the state’s role in strangling economic opportunity, the petty central-planning that has regimented every aspect of life, the loss of basic civil liberties.
Basic Economics: A Common Sense Guide to the Economy
If economics makes absolutely no sense to you, like many people, this is the book for you. Clear and concise with compelling examples, once you finish reading it, talking heads like Paul Krugman and Ben Bernanke will never be able to fool you.
The Enterprise of Law: Justice Without the State
In the minds of many, the provision of justice and security has long been linked to the state. The book argues not only that the state is unnecessary for the establishment and enforcement of law, but also that non-state institutions would fight crime, resolve disputes, and render justice more effectively than the state, based on their stronger incentives.
Healing Our World: In an Age of Aggression
Through its win-win approach, Healing Our World illustrates how the rules of social interaction which we learned as children hold the secret to universal harmony and abundance. Lauded as “the most important book of the decade.”
Human Action
Human Action is the most important book on political economy you will ever own. It was (and remains) the most comprehensive, systematic, forthright, and powerful defense of the economics of liberty ever written. This is the Scholars Edition: accept no substitute. You will treasure this volume. The Scholars Edition is the original, unaltered treatise (originally published in 1949) that shaped a generation of Austrians and made possible the intellectual movement that is leading the global charge for free markets.
Liberty Defined: 50 Essential Issues That Affect Our Freedom
Dr. Ron Paul writes that to believe in liberty is not to believe in any particular social and economic outcome. It is to trust in the spontaneous order that emerges when the state does not intervene in human volition and human cooperation. It permits people to work out their problems for themselves, build lives for themselves, take risks and accept responsibility for the results, and make their own decisions. It is the seed of America.
The Market for Liberty
If you’re like most people, your government high school history classes probably taught you that slavery was abolished years ago. Government people wouldn’t lie to you, would they?
No Treason: The Constitution of No Authority
“But whether the Constitution really be one thing, or another, this much is certain — that it has either authorized such a government as we have had, or has been powerless to prevent it. In either case, it is unfit to exist.” — Lysander Spooner
One Nation Under Surveillance: Privacy From the Watchful Eye
You — no matter how innocent you think you are — need to protect yourself now, before the state comes calling. Three times the size and 12 years in the making, this is the long-awaited sequel to and replacement of the popular 1997 Bulletproof Privacy by Boston T. Party. (Read our review.)
The Online Library of Liberty
The Library is where electronic versions of classic books about individual liberty are stored. These texts go back some 4,000 years and cover the disciplines of economics, history, law, literature, philosophy, political theory, religion, war and peace. They are in a variety of formats — facsimile PDFs so scholars can view the original text, HTML for ease of searching and attractive layout, and text-based PDF EBooks for personal use.
Priceless: Curing the Healthcare Crisis
In the groundbreaking book Priceless, renowned healthcare economist John Goodman reveals how patients, healthcare providers, employers, and employees are all trapped in a dysfunctional, bureaucratic, healthcare system fraught with perverse incentives that raise costs, reduce quality, and make care less accessible. Unless changed, these incentives will only worsen the problems in the coming months and years.
The Road to Serfdom
Originally published in 1944 — when Eleanor Roosevelt supported the efforts of Stalin, and Albert Einstein subscribed lock, stock, and barrel to the socialist program — The Road to Serfdom was seen as heretical for its passionate warning against the dangers of state control over the means of production. For F. A. Hayek, the collectivist idea of empowering government with increasing economic control would lead not to a utopia but to the horrors of Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy.
Rollback: Repealing Big Government Before the Coming Fiscal Collapse
America is on the brink of financial collapse. Decades of political overpromising and underfunding have created a wave of debt that could swamp our already feeble economy. And the politicians’ favorite tricks—raising taxes, borrowing from foreign governments, and printing more money—will only make it worse. Only one thing might save us: Roll back the government.
Standing Up to Experts and Authorities: How to Avoid Being Intimidated, Manipulated, and Abused
Dr. Sharon Presley offers a how-to toolkit that provides specific techniques to help people stand up to and deal effectively with experts in a wide range of contexts. This book looks at specific settings in which authorities or experts can bamboozle people, including institutions, the workplace, media, and services.
To Serve and Protect: Privatization and Community in Criminal Justice
In contrast to government’s predominant role in criminal justice today, for many centuries crime control was almost entirely private and community-based. Government police forces, prosecutors, courts, and prisons are all recent historical developments-results of a political and bureaucratic social experiment which, Bruce Benson argues, neither protects the innocent nor dispenses justice.
Weapons of Mass Instruction: A Schoolteacher’s Journey Through the Dark World of Compulsory Schooling
John Taylor Gatto demonstrates that the harm school inflicts is rational and deliberate. The real function of pedagogy, he argues, is to render the common population manageable. To that end, young people must be conditioned to rely upon experts, to remain divided from natural alliances, and to accept disconnections from their own lived experiences. They must at all costs be discouraged from developing self-reliance and independence.
ZeroGov: Limited Government, Unicorns and Other Mythological Creatures
Here is the dirty little secret. There is no such thing as limited government. Nowhere in recorded human history has a government been born or deliberately erected that did not expand over time. Expand in a fashion that always does at the expense of human liberty and freedom and to the advantage of the political elements and their inevitable clients. We are ultimately left to our own devices to make the world as we wish it be. I envision a world without limits and without slavery. A world where a human volition is never stymied by the cowed and collaborationist spirit that haunts the soul and being of most humans on Earth.

Events

FreedomFest
FreedomFest is an annual festival where free minds meet to celebrate “great books, great ideas, and great thinkers” in an open-minded society. It is independent, non-partisan, and not affiliated with any organization or think tank. FreedomFest invites the “best and the brightest” from around the world to talk, strategize, socialize, and celebrate liberty. FreedomFest is open to all and is purely egalitarian, where speakers, attendees, and exhibitors are treated as equals.
Libertopia
It is a unique experience…a 3 day celebration of our individuality and diversity packed with renowned speakers, workshops, panels, parties, banquets, music, film, art, literature, commerce, exhibitors, themed camps, performers, social networking and much more!
New Hampshire Liberty Forum
Liberty Forum is New Hampshire’s premier liberty-oriented conference. It has developed a reputation for drawing together people of diverse backgrounds from across the Northeast and beyond for the purpose of discussing strategies to reduce government interference in our lives and build a better society through business, the arts, volunteer work, etc. It is also an opportunity to introduce attendees to New Hampshire and give them a taste of the many benefits of socializing, networking, and organizing with a large group of like-minded people.
Porcupine Freedom Festival
Celebrate liberty and learn about the Free State Project at the Porcupine Freedom Festival (aka PorcFest). This amazing week of education, speakers, forums, family events, music, live entertainment and camaraderie is held in the beautiful White Mountains of New Hampshire.

Organizations

Advocates for Self-Government
The Advocates for Self-Government works to bring about a free society by empowering those who love liberty to become highly successful at taking the ideas of individual freedom and responsibility, free markets, and peace to the world.
American Civil Liberties Union
The ACLU is our nation’s guardian of liberty, working daily in courts, legislatures and communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties that the Constitution and laws of the United States guarantee everyone in this country.
Campaign for Liberty
Our mission is to promote and defend the great American principles of individual liberty, constitutional government, sound money, free markets, and a noninterventionist foreign policy, by means of education, issue advocacy, and grassroots mobilization.
Cato Institute
The Cato Institute is a public policy research organization — a think tank — dedicated to the principles of individual liberty, limited government, free markets and peace. Its scholars and analysts conduct independent, nonpartisan research on a wide range of policy issues. (En Español)
Competitive Enterprise Institute
The Competitive Enterprise Institute is a non-profit public policy organization dedicated to advancing the principles of limited government, free enterprise, and individual liberty. Our mission is to promote both freedom and fairness by making good policy good politics. We make the uncompromising case for economic freedom because we believe it is essential for entrepreneurship, innovation, and prosperity to flourish.
Downsize DC
We believe the federal government has grown too centralized, too intrusive, and too expensive. We believe in constitutional limits, smaller government, civil liberties, federalism, and low taxes. We want to end laws and programs that don’t work, cause harm, and violate the Constitution. We want to restore the full force of the 9th and 10th amendments, which reserve most social functions to the people and the states.
Electronic Frontier Foundation
From the Internet to the iPod, technologies are transforming our society and empowering us as speakers, citizens, creators, and consumers. When our freedoms in the networked world come under attack, the Electronic Frontier Foundation is the first line of defense. EFF broke new ground when it was founded in 1990 — well before the Internet was on most people’s radar — and continues to confront cutting-edge issues defending free speech, privacy, innovation, and consumer rights today.
Foundation for Economic Education
FEE’s mission is to offer the most consistent case for the “first principles” of freedom: the sanctity of private property, individual liberty, the rule of law, the free market, and the moral superiority of individual choice and responsibility over coercion.
The Independent Institute
The Independent Institute is a non-profit, non-partisan, scholarly research and educational organization that sponsors in-depth studies of critical social and economic issues. The mission of the Independent Institute is to boldly advance peaceful, prosperous, and free societies grounded in a commitment to human worth and dignity.
Institute for Human Studies
The Institute for Humane Studies advances a freer society by discovering and facilitating the development of talented, productive students, scholars, and other intellectuals who share an interest in liberty. Each year IHS awards over $750,000 in scholarships to students from universities around the world. IHS also sponsors the attendance of hundreds of students at its summer seminars and provides various forms of career assistance.
Institute for Justice
As our nation’s only libertarian public interest law firm, we engage in cutting-edge litigation and advocacy both in the courts of law and in the court of public opinion on behalf of individuals whose most basic rights are denied by the government — like the right to earn an honest living, private property rights, and the right to free speech, especially in the areas of commercial and Internet speech. As Wired magazine said, the Institute for Justice “helps individuals subject to wacky government regulations.”
Law Enforcement Against Prohibition
LEAP is made up of current and former members of the law enforcement and criminal justice communities who are speaking out about the failures of our existing drug policies. Those policies have failed, and continue to fail, to effectively address the problems of drug abuse, especially the problems of juvenile drug use, the problems of addiction, and the problems of crime caused by the existence of a criminal black market in drugs.
Ludwig von Mises Institute
It is the mission of the Mises Institute to place human choice at the center of economic theory, to encourage a revival of critical historical research, and to advance the Misesian tradition of thought through the defense of the market economy, private property, sound money, and peaceful international relations, while opposing government intervention as economically and socially destructive.
The Prometheus Institute
The Prometheus Institute is the first public policy organization dedicated to utilizing the power of mobile technology to empower the citizenry with the tools and knowledge to advocate for policy change. Through mobile applications, social networking innovation, and creative branding, the Institute is constantly pursuing the cutting edge in public policy advocacy.

Print Media

Freedom Communications
Freedom Communications, headquartered in Irvine, Calif., is a national privately-owned information and entertainment company of print publications and interactive businesses. The company’s portfolio includes information and entertainment websites, mobile applications, daily and weekly newspapers, magazines and other specialty publications.
Reason Magazine
Reason is the monthly print magazine of “free minds and free markets.” It covers politics, culture, and ideas through a provocative mix of news, analysis, commentary, and reviews. Reason provides a refreshing alternative to right-wing and left-wing opinion magazines by making a principled case for liberty and individual choice in all areas of human activity.

Radio and Podcasts

Free Talk Live
Three hour nightly call-in radio show with no set topic and no callers turned away. Airs on 100+ AM/FM radio stations and SiriusXM satellite radio as well as online.
Freedomain Radio
Topics range from politics to philosophy to science to economics to relationships to atheism – and how to achieve real freedom in your life today.
Liberty Conspiracy
Because freedom is no longer in vogue. We believe in the power of the Invisible Hand, the parable of the Broken Window, and more… Our goal is to spread Liberty and Freedom ideas widely around the world.
Liberty Radio Network
LRN.FM is your source for the best liberty-oriented audio content on the internet, 24/7. You’ll hear live shows as well as the latest episodes of podcasts from around the world.
No State Project
When it comes right down to it, unless you’re just being a jerk who doesn’t want to admit the obvious, we’re all anarchists. Because what it comes down to is each us personally does not want to be forced to pay for services. We each want the freedom to choose, we don’t want to be slaves or thrown into a cage for no other reason than we didn’t want to pay someone’s salary.
School Sucks
When taken literally, “school sucks” is perhaps the most accurate and astute synopsis of the system I’ve ever heard. Here’s why…
The Scott Horton Show
Formerly known as Antiwar Radio, Scott Horton’s independent show is available on the Liberty Radio Network.

Television

Stossel
Stossel is a weekly program highlighting current consumer issues with a libertarian viewpoint. The Dallas Morning News named John Stossel the “the most consistently thought-provoking TV reporter of our time” and the Orlando Sentinel said he “has the gift for entertaining while saying something profound.”

Web Sites and Blogs

The Agitator
The blog of Radley Balko, a senior writer for Huffington Post, who focuses on investigative reporting on civil liberties and the criminal justice system.
Agorism
As the state is banditry, revolution culminates in the suppression of the criminal state by market providers of security and law. Market demand for such service providers is what will lead to their emergence. Development of that demand will come from economic growth in the sector of the economy that explicitly shuns state involvement (and thus cannot turn to the state in its role as monopoly provider of security and law). That sector of the economy is the counter-economy — black and grey markets.
Antiwar.com
An online magazine and research tool designed to keep the American people and the world informed about the overseas plans of the American government.
Center for a Stateless Society
The Center for a Stateless Society is an anarchist think-tank and media center. Its mission is to explain and defend the idea of vibrant social cooperation without aggression or centralized authority. It seeks to enlarge public understanding and transform public perceptions of anarchism, while reshaping academic and movement debate, through the production and distribution of media content, the organization of events, and the development of networks and communities.
End of the American Dream
Waking people up and getting them to realize that the American dream is quickly becoming the American nightmare.
Free World Order
One of the basic ideas of Free World Order is that certain freedom information is powerful and can be profitably applied. A person who knows such information has competitive advantages in the marketplace. In fact, I contend that practically anyone can make a fortune applying such freedom information.
Freedom’s Phoenix
We recognize that Freedom was taken from us the moment the ink was drying on the Constitution. Today’s governmental structure is imploding under its own weight, and its death rattles aren’t going to be pretty. At Freedom’s Phoenix we observe, comment and try to stay out of the way. We know freedom will rise from the ashes, and we want to make sure that everyone’s freedom is never signed away again by those who believe they have the power to do so.
Homeland Stupidity (You Are Here)
When the government does something stupid — which is all the time, since government is stupid — read about it here. Focusing primarily on the United States, with a special focus on “homeland security” idiocy.
The Humble Libertarian
Our purpose is to demonstrate to the people of the world how little the statists really know about what they imagine they can design, that is: to correct the fatal conceit that a benevolent state can forge a better society by decrees backed with force.
ifeminists
Individualist feminism and libertarianism are similar in that both philosophies uphold individual freedom and personal responsibility as core values. It is natural that libertarians interested in issues that affect women are drawn to ifeminism.
Lew Rockwell
The daily news and opinion site LewRockwell.com was founded in 1999 by anarcho-capitalists Lew Rockwell and Burt Blumert to help carry on the anti-war, anti-state, pro-market work of Murray N. Rothbard. Lew strives to present a diverse daily selection of interesting articles from our writers and other sites, but he does not necessarily endorse every view expressed. He does, however, believe that each piece will repay your reading.
Reboot the Republic
The primary mission of RTR is to disseminate important information that isn’t being reported by the propagandist main stream media or our overlords in Washington and their owners. Digest the information and decide for yourself what to believe.
Strike the Root
The mission of STR is to advance the cause of liberty, primarily by de-mystifying and de-legitimizing the State. STR seeks a world where people are free to live their lives as they see fit, as long as they don’t use force or fraud against peaceful people.
Voluntaryist.com
Voluntaryists are advocates of non-political, non-violent strategies to achieve a free society. We reject electoral politics, in theory and in practice, as incompatible with libertarian principles. Governments must cloak their actions in an aura of moral legitimacy in order to sustain their power, and political methods invariably strengthen that legitimacy. Voluntaryists seek instead to delegitimize the State through education, and we advocate withdrawal of the cooperation and tacit consent on which State power ultimately depends.
Wealth.net: Rebooting Capitalism
Since the global financial crisis there is much distortion in the public discourse about what exactly was to blame. In its wake I predicted and feared a backlash swing toward socalism and collectivism, and that phrases like “capitalism,” “free enterprise” and “free markets” would become reviled and unusable.
What the Hell is Praxeology?
Praxeology is the study of those aspects of human action that can be grasped a priori; in other words, it is concerned with the conceptual analysis and logical implications of preference, choice, means-end schemes, and so forth.

Other

Bitcoin
Bitcoin is an experimental new digital currency that enables instant payments to anyone, anywhere in the world. Bitcoin uses peer-to-peer technology to operate with no central authority: managing transactions and issuing money are carried out collectively by the network. Bitcoin is also the name of the open source software which enables the use of this currency.
Doug Stanhope
Doug Stanhope is a stand-up comic. Has been since 1990. His material ranges from true-life graphic perversion to volatile social criticism. Doug is vulgar, opinionated, brutally honest and shockingly uninhibited and is certainly not for everybody. He is a libertarian who has endorsed Ron Paul and the Free State Project.
Penn Jillette
Penn Jillette is an American illusionist, comedian, musician, and best-selling author known for his work with fellow magician Teller in the team Penn & Teller, and advocacy of atheism, scientific skepticism, libertarianism and free market capitalism.

Worldwide

Centre for Civil Society (India)
We believe in the individuality and dignity of all persons, and their right to life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness. We trust their judgement when they cast their vote in a ballot box and when they spend their money in a marketplace. We are driven by the dream of a free society, where political, social, and economic freedom reigns. We are soldiers for a Second Freedom Movement.
European Students for Liberty
ESFL supports pro-liberty student groups by helping to provide resources, advizing students on effective leadership strategies, and connecting students from across Europe with both like-minded peers and important leaders and organizations in the pro-liberty movement. ESFL’s activities help students generate the skills, momentum, and connections necessary to effectively advance the pro-liberty movement within Europe and abroad.
The Israeli Freedom Movement (Hebrew)
The aim of the Freedom Movement is to promote personal and economic freedom in Israel.
Jerusalem Institute for Market Studies
The Jerusalem Institute for Market Studies (JIMS) is an independent, nonprofit economic policy think tank whose mission is to promote social progress in Israel through economic freedom and individual liberty.
Libertarian Alliance (UK)
The Libertarian Alliance is the largest and most active libertarian organisation outside North America. We are not against any transient set of politicians, or their policies, or their parties. We are against the State itself – the State and all the other structures of oppression that it creates or enables. When we talk about freedom, we don’t set or imply limits.
Libertarian Party of Canada
The mission of the Libertarian Party of Canada is to reduce the responsibilities and expense of government. This, so that we may each manage our lives to mutually fulfill our needs by the free and voluntary exchange of our efforts and property for the value that best realizes our happiness.
Libertarian South Africa
South African Libertarian Society
Libertarianism @ Japan
リバタリアンは平和と物質的豊かさを備えた世界を欲している。また、それを勝ち取るための唯一の方法は、自己統治によるものであり、他者による統治ではないと考える。
Libertarianz
Libertarianz is the first and only political party in New Zealand committed to the concept of a free society with a free market economy. We are committed to shrinking the power and influence of government in every area of our lives. We will put paid to bloated government bureaucracy and its authoritarian inclinations.
Liberty Australia
Frustrated by the lack of substance in the mainstream media and so-called “free market” think tanks, we have created a framework capable of undercutting the mainstream, getting the right information out there and harnessing grassroots activism. Our goal is a free and prosperous Australia.
Liberty League (UK)
The Liberty League exists for students and professionals committed to the defence of freedom. The Liberty League acts as an organisation and a network for societies across the intellectual and political spectrum, helping to inform, recruit and develop supporters of Liberty.
Partido de Libertad (Spain)
Para nosotros la libertad de la persona es el valor supremo, y pensamos que el orden espontáneo de la sociedad y de la economía es superior a cualquier forma de organización y planificación estatal. Creemos en una sociedad de hombres y mujeres soberanos de sus vidas y conscientes de su unicidad, de sus derechos, de sus responsabilidades y de la extraordinaria importancia de su propia libertad.
Le Québécois Libre
Le QL défend la philosophie libertarienne et libérale classique, c’est-à-dire la liberté individuelle, l’économie de marché et la coopération volontaire comme fondement des relations sociales. Il s’oppose à l’interventionnisme étatique et aux mouvements collectivistes, de gauche comme de droite, qui visent à enrégimenter les individus.
The UK Libertarian
This is one of the most basic fallacies I hear and it’s usually one of the first things somebody says before they’ve got a bit deeper and realised that yes, we have actually thought about these things, and we’re not just heartless bastards who want a cold dog-eat-dog world where the poor are eaten by cannibals and the rich sell us all into slavery blah blah blah.

There is certainly much more out there. Do you know of something I missed? Leave a link in the comments.

]]> http://www.homelandstupidity.us/2012/07/04/independence-day-100-resources-for-liberty/feed/ 1 Yemen on the Brink: Implications for U.S. Policy http://www.homelandstupidity.us/2010/02/04/yemen-on-the-brink-implications-for-u-s-policy/ http://www.homelandstupidity.us/2010/02/04/yemen-on-the-brink-implications-for-u-s-policy/#comments Thu, 04 Feb 2010 14:00:00 +0000 http://www.homelandstupidity.us/2010/02/04/yemen-on-the-brink-implications-for-u-s-policy/ ]]> I am extremely concerned over current US policy toward Yemen, which I believe will backfire and leave the United States less safe and much poorer. Increasing US involvement in Yemen may be sold as a fight against terrorism, but in fact it is more about expanding US government control and influence over this strategically-placed nation at the gateway to Asia.

The current administration, according to today’s testimony of Assistant Secretary of State Jeffrey Feltman, has dramatically increased foreign aid to Yemen, from $17 million in FY 2008 to $40 million in FY 2009, to $67 million for FY 2010, to, according to the president’s recent budget sent to Congress, $106 million for FY 2011. That represents an incredible six-fold increase in US aid to Yemen over just four years, at a time when the US economy continues to falter.

When I look at the US assistance plan for Yemen I see that it is primarily focused on nation-building. That is the failed idea that if the United States sends enough money to a foreign government, with which that government purchases US-manufactured weapons and hires US-based consultants and non-governmental organizations, that country will achieve a strong economy and political stability and in gratitude will become eternally friendly to the US and US interests. I have yet to see a single successful example of this strategy.

Yemen - Mosque in Sanaa

According to Assistant Secretary Feltman’s statement, “Priorities for U.S. assistance include political and fiscal reforms and meaningful attention to legitimate internal grievances; better governance through decentralization, reduced corruption and civil service reform; human rights protections; jobs-related training; economic diversification to generate employment and enhance livelihoods, and strengthened natural resource management.” How can we believe that the US government can achieve abroad what we know it cannot effectively achieve at home? We are going to spend millions of dollars to help create jobs in Yemen as we continue to shed jobs in the United States?

Yemen is a country mired in civil conflict. The Shi’ites in the north, who make up a significant percentage of the country’s total population and a majority in their region, have been fighting against what they see as the discriminatory policies of the Sunni-based government in the capitol, Sana’a, for years. Yemenis in the south, who up until 1990 were a separate country, likewise oppose the central government and threaten to escalate this opposition. Added into this mix are elements of what are called al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), some of whom are left over from the US-supported fight against the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan in the 1980s, and others have been radicalized by their exposure to Wahhabi extremism in US-allied Saudi Arabia. Still others in AQAP are veterans of the insurgency against US occupation of Iraq. We cannot forget either those Yemenis who were held for years by the United States without charges at Guantanamo Bay. How many of those were innocent of terrorist actions or intent but became radicalized under such conditions?

Saudi Arabia’s concern over the Shi’ite unrest in north Yemen has led to unsubstantiated claims of Iranian involvement in attempt to draw the US into a regional problem that has nothing to do with the United States. Saudi Arabia has struggled with unrest among its own Shi’ite population and is determined to prevent any spill-over. There are some here in the US who repeat false claims of Iranian involvement in the hope of expanding the US military presence in the area. Others in the United States irresponsibly call for a US pre-emptive war in Yemen. We should be clear on this: expanded US involvement in Yemen plays into the hands of bin Laden and his organization as has been made clear on many occasions. Luring the United States into a conflict in Yemen by falsely advertising it part of a war on terror will certainly radicalize the Yemeni population against the United States. It will weaken our over-extended military and it will further destroy our economy.

Similarly, the US-backed central government in Sana’a stands to gain by claiming its internal problems are part of a global crisis that requires US intervention. The central Yemeni government has much to gain by making its battles and its problems our battles and our problems. But that gain will come at the expense of US soldiers, US security, and the American economy. I wonder how long it will be before the US establishes a permanent base on the strategic territory of Yemen?

I hope, as we begin to debate the foreign affairs budget for next year, that we may yet change course from that of the last administration, where the failed policies of interventionism, militarism, and nation-building have left the United States in a diminished position in the world.

[“Yemen – Mosque in Sanaa” photo by Niklas Schiffler; CC BY 2.5]

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Welcome: Portraits of America http://www.homelandstupidity.us/2007/10/28/welcome-portraits-of-america/ http://www.homelandstupidity.us/2007/10/28/welcome-portraits-of-america/#comments Sun, 28 Oct 2007 13:00:00 +0000 http://www.homelandstupidity.us/2007/10/28/welcome-portraits-of-america/ ]]> Since September 11, 2001, getting in to the U.S. as a foreign visitor has become a harrowing experience. So much so, in fact, that foreign tourism is down 17% as many tourists choose to spend their holidays elsewhere rather than be poked, prodded, searched, fingerprinted and verbally abused by U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents.

Not to fear, though; the Department of Homeland Security and Department of State have done something about it.

The first Americans that foreign tourists run into upon arrival are Customs agents. Of course, what they’ve done doesn’t at all involve training Customs agents to be less abrasive and more welcoming.

Instead, Homeland Security and State have partnered with Walt Disney Parks and Resorts to produce a video to show to foreign visitors in international airport arrival areas and make them feel welcome, while they wait their turn in line to be shaken down. The government calls this a “multimedia initiative to welcome international visitors to the United States.”

“Disney commissioned the project as part of the Rice-Chertoff Initiative that seeks to secure America’s borders while welcoming legitimate visitors to the United States,” according to a CBP news release.

“America’s arrival for its foreign visitors really needs to be a welcoming experience,’ said Walt Disney chairman Jay Rasulo in an accompanying video about the making of Welcome: Portraits of America. “We know that in the first one hundred steps when people leave an airplane is when we have a chance to really make an impression about what a welcoming place they’ve arrived.”

Now it’s true that after people manage to get past Customs and into the country, Americans are some of the most friendly, generous, welcoming people in the world. And this video showcases this fact. But it does nothing to assuage the fears of foreign tourists: that they’ll never get into the country in the first place, that they will be denied entry, or detained for hours for no reason, or even tortured.

A DHS spokesman last year called “flawed and self-serving” a 2006 survey which found that international visitors to the U.S. worried more about Customs agents than terrorists and that one-third found them so rude and abrasive that they planned never to return to the U.S.

The video began playing last Monday at Washington Dulles International Airport and Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston, and will be rolled out to international airports nationwide, according to DHS. No word yet on whether Customs agents will begin treating visitors with dignity and respect.

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TSA screeners fail most bomb tests http://www.homelandstupidity.us/2007/10/25/tsa-screeners-fail-most-bomb-tests/ http://www.homelandstupidity.us/2007/10/25/tsa-screeners-fail-most-bomb-tests/#comments Thu, 25 Oct 2007 13:00:00 +0000 http://www.homelandstupidity.us/2007/10/25/tsa-screeners-fail-most-bomb-tests/ ]]> Transportation Security Administration screeners at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport missed more than 60% of bomb components which undercover agents attempted to smuggle through airport checkpoints, according to a classified report.

The January 2007 report, obtained by USA TODAY, also said that screeners at Los Angeles International Airport failed to detect the bomb parts and fake explosives about 75 percent of the time.

But screeners at San Francisco, who work for a private contractor under a pilot program, missed only 20% during a recent round of red team testing by the Department of Homeland Security.

“That’s a huge cause for concern,” said Clark Kent Ervin, the Homeland Security Department’s former inspector general. Screeners’ inability to find bombs could encourage terrorists to try to bring them on airplanes, Ervin said, and points to the need for more screener training and more powerful checkpoint scanning machines.

In the past year, the TSA has adopted a more aggressive approach in its attempt to keep screeners attentive — the agency runs covert tests every day at every U.S. airport, TSA spokeswoman Ellen Howe said. Screeners who miss detonators, timers, batteries and blocks that resemble plastic explosives get remedial training.

The failure rates at Los Angeles and Chicago are “somewhat misleading” because they don’t reflect screeners’ improved ability to find bombs, Howe said.

TSA chief Kip Hawley, responding to previous reports about screeners missing hidden weapons, told a House hearing Tuesday that high failure rates stem from increasingly difficult covert tests that require screeners to find bomb parts the size of a pen cap. “We moved from testing of completely assembled bombs … to the small component parts,” he said. — USA TODAY

TSA has been failing these tests since its inception. In Denver, it missed 90% of tests. Last year at Newark Liberty, guess what the TSA didn’t find. A Government Accountability Office investigation last year found much the same story at airports all over the country.

Before 9/11, airport security was run by private companies, but with heavy government regulation and oversight. And they still had high failure rates, primarily because the results were covered up. Then as now, the government doesn’t like to be embarrassed or shown for how incompetent it really is.

The official line from the TSA is that they’re still failing because the bar has been raised on the tests and they’re actually harder now.

TSA spokeswoman Lara Uselding, who said tests are conducted at every airport in the nation, said the leaked figures actually reflect 2006 test results and things have improved in the past year.

“We are seeing better test scores at airports than are reflected in the report. We are doing a wider variety of tests and more tests,” she said. “Under TSA pay for performance officers must show improvement or be pulled off the line.”

Uselding said the TSA designs testing with an expectation of failure, so “the results of these tests are not appropriate for public dissemination.”

Tests are conducted with “an in-depth knowledge of standard operating procedures and the capabilities of our technology. If our security officers got it right every time, then we are not pushing the envelope and challenging them to improve. Every failed test is a lesson and helps us to build a stronger workforce.”

And the tests get more and more difficult as security improves, Uselding said. “As scores start to improve on tests, our security experts change their tactics and devise even more difficult tests. Once security officers improve to that level of testing the bar is raised again. By constantly challenging our workforce we create an ever strengthening layer of security at the checkpoint.” — Chicago Sun-Times

The problem with that, of course, is that TSA screeners will get fairly good at whatever is being tested for, and lose their skills at whatever isn’t being tested. So perhaps they’ll find pen caps with someone’s ear wax in them, but miss the disassembled zip gun.

And, of course, how well (or poorly) the government is doing at providing security is “not appropriate for public dissemination.”

In the meantime, you can be sure that what you see at the airport checkpoint is nothing more than security theater, a lame and expensive attempt to make people feel good about flying, when it remains as dangerous and vulnerable to terrorists as it ever was, if not more so.

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Four potential risks to intelligence fusion centers http://www.homelandstupidity.us/2007/07/16/four-potential-risks-to-intelligence-fusion-centers/ http://www.homelandstupidity.us/2007/07/16/four-potential-risks-to-intelligence-fusion-centers/#comments Mon, 16 Jul 2007 13:00:00 +0000 http://www.homelandstupidity.us/2007/07/16/four-potential-risks-to-intelligence-fusion-centers/ ]]> The more than 40 local and regional intelligence fusion centers created after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, to improve information sharing between the federal government and state, local and tribal law enforcement, are failing to accomplish their mission of protecting the homeland.

The fusion centers were supposed to be a vehicle whereby information would be disseminated closer to the people who need it most: the state and local law enforcement and emergency personnel who will be the first to respond to a natural disaster or terrorist attack.

But, according to a new report (PDF) from the Congressional Research Service and obtained by the Federation of American Scientists, “little ‘true fusion,’ or analysis of disparate data sources, identification of intelligence gaps, and pro-active collection of intelligence against those gaps which could contribute to prevention is occurring.”

The report is also worth reading for its extensive background on intelligence fusion centers and the role of intelligence in modern law enforcement.

Time

“Some homeland security observers suggest that the rush to establish and enhance state fusion centers is a post-9/11 reaction and that over time some of the centers may dissolve,” the report says. Were the fusion centers created too quickly so that the government could look like it was doing something?

Over time, fusion centers could be consolidated, especially if there isn’t another terrorist attack or major natural disaster for them to work on, if the centers are duplicating each other’s work, or if the risks to given geographic areas change.

Funding

“If the United States is not the target of a successful terrorist attack, homeland security funding, arguably, may decrease,” the report warns.

“It is unclear how fusion centers would fare in such a situation.” Some fusion centers could close entirely, while others might continue operating, albeit with reduced staffing and capacity.

As it stands, the fusion centers have received a total of $380 million in start-up funding, but many of them have no further federal funding allocated to them, the report says.

Civil Liberties

“Arguments against fusion centers often center around the idea that such centers are essentially pre-emptive law enforcement — that intelligence gathered in the absence of a criminal predicate is unlawfully gathered intelligence.”

The farther away from a criminal investigation law enforcement gets, the higher the risk of a civil liberties violation. This is a difficult balancing act. A group of U.S. citizens speaking freely and associating with one another might be entirely innocent of criminal or terrorist intent, or they could be plotting the next attack. How can government preserve the rights of the former while stopping the latter from carrying out their plans?

According to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), “We’re setting up essentially a domestic intelligence agency, and we’re doing it without having a full debate about the risks to privacy and civil liberties.” Furthermore, the ACLU is also concerned with having DHS perform a coordinating role at the federal level with respect to these centers. “We are granting extraordinary powers to one agency, without adequate transparency or safeguards, that hasn’t shown Congress that it’s ready for the job.” — Fusion Centers: Issues and Options for Congress (PDF)

Underlying Philosophy

“Is the country any safer or more prepared with fusion centers or have we created a false sense of security?” asks the report.

As the report notes, “numerous fusion center officials claim that although their center receives a substantial amount of information from federal agencies, they never seem to get the ‘right information’ or receive it in an efficient manner.”

The fusion centers are further hampered by the way they are structured, according to the CRS. They have little private sector input, they encounter difficulties with classification of information, and in many cases they have limited access to relevant state information databases.

That access is uneven. The report said that one state center had access to only 30 percent of the pertinent databases, while officials at a different state’s center said they would soon obtain access to 92 percent of such databases. — Government Computer News

In addition, state and local law enforcement agencies are using the fusion centers for garden variety criminal intelligence, as opposed to counterterrorism.

“First, leadership at several fusion centers interviewed for this report noted they believed the country was moving towards an all-crimes and/or all-hazards model and they felt they needed to move with the changing tide.”

The report further noted that “most police departments and public sector agencies are more concerned with issues such as gangs, narcotics, and street crime, which are more relevant to their communities.” And, broadening their focus allowed the fusion centers to obtain more money.

Worst of all, the fusion centers don’t seem to have been effective at either their broad, all-crimes, all-hazards mission, or at the narrow counterterrorism mission.

“It is unclear if a single fusion center has successfully adopted a truly proactive prevention approach to information analysis and sharing,’ the report said. “No state and its local jurisdictions appear to have fully adopted the intelligence cycle.”

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Ron Paul gains support in second GOP debate http://www.homelandstupidity.us/2007/05/16/ron-paul-gains-support-in-second-gop-debate/ http://www.homelandstupidity.us/2007/05/16/ron-paul-gains-support-in-second-gop-debate/#comments Wed, 16 May 2007 13:00:00 +0000 http://www.homelandstupidity.us/2007/05/16/ron-paul-gains-support-in-second-gop-debate/ ]]> For those who doubted that Rep. Ron Paul was a serious contender for the Republican presidential nomination in 2008, the debate Tuesday night in South Carolina put all doubts to rest. Paul stirred up a firestorm of controversy for suggesting that the Department of Homeland Security made national security even more inefficient after September 11 than before, and especially for his assertion that U.S. foreign policy over the past several decades contributed to the rise of Islamic terrorism.

But viewers at home responded, putting Ron Paul in second place in FOX’s own tamper-proof viewer poll.

As opposed to the largely conservative FOX viewers, MSNBC’s interactive post-debate poll, with more moderate viewers, puts Ron Paul squarely at the top of the heap among that network’s viewers.

And his assertions are not without merit.

Last week, the Government Accountability Office reported (PDF) that DHS “lacks a comprehensive integration strategy with overall goals, a timeline, appropriate responsibility and accountability determinations, and a dedicated team to support its efforts.” DHS still doesn’t have a plan to “deal with its many management challenges . . . could have serious consequences for our homeland security.”

Paul said during the debate that we had all the dots to put together the 9/11 plot and stop the attackers, but the bureaucracy was too inefficient to connect the dots. So in response, the government created even more inefficient bureaucracy.

Indeed, sharing of intelligence even between federal agencies, let alone with state and local agencies, still hasn’t improved that much since 9/11. Another GAO audit (PDF) last week found that the Homeland Security Information Network, meant to share intelligence with state and local officials, is doing a poor job and is largely redundant, since states and localities have already set up information-sharing networks, which DHS has failed to plug into. We’re little closer to being able to connect the dots, and all we have is a new “giant bureaucracy” eating up billions of taxpayer dollars to show for it.

That’s right, instead of real security, we’ve gotten real incompetence.

Citing the Central Intelligence Agency’s “blowback” principle, Paul explained that U.S. intervention in Middle Eastern affairs over the past several decades contributed to anti-American sentiment and helped create enemies, some of whom are today’s terrorists. This didn’t go over too well with Rudy Giuliani, who seems to know little about U.S. foreign policy for someone who supposedly led his city through the worst international terrorist attack in U.S. history.

“They attack us because we’ve been over there. We’ve been bombing Iraq for 10 years. … We’ve been in the Middle East,” Paul said in explaining his opposition to going to war in Iraq. “Right now, we’re building an embassy in Iraq that is bigger than the Vatican. We’re building 14 permanent bases. What would we say here if China was doing this in our country or in the Gulf of Mexico? We would be objecting.

“They are delighted that we’re over there because Usama bin Laden has said, ‘I’m glad you’re over on our sand because we can target you so much easier.’ They have already now since that time they’ve killed 3,400 of our men and I don’t think it was necessary,” he continued.

“That’s really an extraordinary statement,” Giuliani said, interrupting FOX News panelist Wendell Goler. “That’s really an extraordinary statement, as someone who lived through the attack of Sept. 11, that we invited the attack because we were attacking Iraq. I don’t think I have ever heard that before and I have heard some pretty absurd explanations for Sept. 11. I would ask the congressman withdraw that comment and tell us that he didn’t really mean that.” — FOX News

It goes back far before Desert Storm, as Paul pointed out, citing Reagan sending the Marines into Lebanon in 1983, saying “I will never turn tail and run,” and then pulling them back out after realizing just how “irrational” they are over there.

The only people who really reacted negatively to this were the handpicked debate audience, who applauded Giuliani for his ridiculous outburst and poor understanding of just what it is we’re up against.

While I rarely write about it, I follow the war in Iraq and other U.S. counterterrorism activities very closely. Ronald Reagan was right when he called them “irrational,” and so is Ron Paul. Indulge me for a moment while I quote from possibly the greatest military strategist of all time:

If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle. — Sun Tzu, The Art of War

Sound familiar? The reason we’re suffering so badly in Iraq is that we’ve failed to know and truly understand our enemy. We failed in 1967, we failed in 1983, we failed in 2001, and we have failed today. The party line is that the Islamic jihadists hate us and our freedom and want to establish a global Islamic caliphate, dominating the world under Sharia law. Some people in this country claim that every Muslim wants this. (This is kind of like saying that the Church of Scientology represents all of Christendom.) The reality is quite a bit more complex than that.

Speaking of which, it’s probably more accurate to think of Al Qaeda and their associated jihadists as a religious cult. This is, after all, exactly how they act. We already know how to deal with religious cults, and it doesn’t involve long, protracted wars in the desert halfway around the world.

One last thing Ron Paul has been at pains to point out is that it’s left-leaning Democrats who have gotten us into the vast majority of conflicts in the last century, and conservative Republicans who have gotten us out of the vast majority of them. We must certainly be ready to defend ourselves from those who would attack us and have attacked us. If I’m around when somebody starts shooting people in a shopping mall, he’s getting two to the chest and one to the head. But we should not be picking fights, especially with people we don’t understand. We should instead open commerce and trade and let other countries sort out their own problems. That’s been the American way since the beginning, and it’s about time conservatives started being conservative again.

I’m apparently not the only person who thinks so; Ron Paul gained 25% of the vote in FOX’s more secure viewer poll of largely conservative viewers, coming in just behind Mitt Romney at 29% and far ahead of Guiliani at 19%. Supposed first tier candidate John McCain has fallen to the back of the pack with the rest of the second-tier candidates. It’s going to be much more difficult for the mainstream media to keep up their blissful, deliberate ignorance now.

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FEMA still handing out Katrina cash inappropriately http://www.homelandstupidity.us/2006/12/08/fema-still-handing-out-katrina-cash-inappropriately/ http://www.homelandstupidity.us/2006/12/08/fema-still-handing-out-katrina-cash-inappropriately/#comments Fri, 08 Dec 2006 15:15:21 +0000 http://www.homelandstupidity.us/?p=647 ]]> A Congressional investigation found that the Federal Emergency Management Agency paid out an estimated $1 billion inappropriately after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, but to date have recovered less than one percent of the amount.

Government Accountability Office investigators testified at a hearing Wednesday that in addition, FEMA is still sending out tens of millions of dollars in in appropriate — payments through its Individuals and Households Program, which provides rental assistance to people displaced due to natural disasters.

“These payments include $17 million in rental assistance paid to individuals to whom FEMA had already provided free housing through trailers or apartments,” GAO managing director Greg Kutz testified before the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs. In addition, “FEMA made nearly $20 million in duplicate payments to thousands of individuals who claimed damages to the same property from both hurricanes Katrina and Rita. FEMA also made millions in potentially improper and/or fraudulent payments to nonqualified aliens who were not eligible for IHP.”

Cash Advance pay day loans overnight

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TSA screeners still fail to find guns, bombs http://www.homelandstupidity.us/2006/10/31/tsa-screeners-still-fail-to-find-guns-bombs/ http://www.homelandstupidity.us/2006/10/31/tsa-screeners-still-fail-to-find-guns-bombs/#comments Tue, 31 Oct 2006 14:00:00 +0000 http://www.homelandstupidity.us/2006/10/31/tsa-screeners-still-fail-to-find-guns-bombs/ ]]> Going through airport security is such a pain these days. They’re still taking tubes of toothpaste, bottles of water, and anything else over three ounces away from passengers, and they’re still letting guns and bomb-making components pass right through.

A report from the Newark, N.J., Star-Ledger on Friday said that Transportation Security Administration screeners failed 20 of 22 security tests performed at Newark Liberty International Airport by “Red Team personnel, special agents tasked with testing airport security.

And this is with heightened, “orange” level “security” at airports nationwide.

“We can do better, and training is the path to improved performance,” said Mark Hatfield Jr., Newark Airport’s federal security director, declining to address specifics. “Test results are not a grade or a scorecard; they are a road map to perpetual improvement; any other characterization is simply misleading. We have to challenge ourselves to do better every day and be relentless in that pursuit.” — Newark Star-Ledger

In March, a classified Government Accountability Office report found that investigators were consistently able to smuggle bomb-making materials into airports, even through the more invasive secondary screening process.

Security expert Bruce Schneier says airport passenger screening is “a very hard problem to solve,” noting that the sheer monotony causes screeners to simply stop paying attention after a short while. “This psychological phenomenon isn’t just a problem in airport screening: It’s been identified in inspections of all kinds, and is why casinos move their dealers around so often. The tasks are simply mind-numbing.”

Schneier says that even so, a cursory screening is good enough, as it deters “the amateurs and the incompetent.” He recommends computer-assisted screening for baggage and “well-trained security personnel wandering around the airport, both in and out of uniform, looking for suspicious actions.”

Makes perfect sense to me. Which is why it will never happen, at least as long as government is in charge of security.

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