Hey! Randy

Archive for July, 2013

A Remedy for the Lies

Posted by heyrandy on July 22, 2013

Nullification How to Resist Federal Tyranny in the 21st Century. Tom Woods, 2010

It is our only hope. The Federal Government has grown so large, so intrusive that there is little chance of stopping its all-controlling nature. In the last one hundred years the government has gone from delivering the mail to regulating our toilets (and the water that flushes them), our light bulbs, our air, our medicine, and our cars. That is just the beginning of a larger list. Uncle Sam’s bureaucrats now regulate everything. Woods poses a solution.

The principle of nullification dates back to the founding of the republic. Nullification has a long,glorious history. You would never know that by listening to nullification’s critics. They all insist that nullification is illegal and would re-institute slavery. Woods shows why all this is wrong.

Woods also shows why nullification is necessary. Without nullification there is no way that the people can restrain the Federal Government. The states would become merely administrative districts of the central government. This was a great fear of the states. Assurances from the Federalists were not well received. This is one of the reasons the Bill of Right was included in the Constitution. The principle of nullification was well understood. It is embodied in the Tenth Amendment.

Ratification the Constitution was not a simple process. Woods shows from the Federalist and Anti-Federalist papers that the states were worried that the central government would overtake the states. Proponents of the Constitution assured the doubters that no such thing would ever happen. The doubters insisted on adding the first ten amendments as a guarantee that federal tyranny would be prevented. The amendments have proven ineffective. The amendments have been steadily weakened. They are now a chimera. Nullification is all that is left.

Woods lays out the theory of the Constitution as a compact among the states as opposed the nationalist theory that the Constitution comes from a single people. The compact theory has been eclipsed by the nationalist theory since 1830. We see the result.

Woods recognizes the difficulty in enacting nullification. In addition the ignorant media shills who screech and scream against the theory, there is the serious matter of Federal funding for state and local projects. Since the lower levels of government are so desperate for Federal money, the Federal government can threaten to withhold this money if the states nullify any Federal law. The states will be hard pressed to resist the will of voters angry that their kid’s school in no longer getting all that free Federal money. This threat of withholding of Federal funds was used in the 1970s to coerce the states into accepting the 55 mile-per-hour speed limit. No state refused.

Nullification is now getting some attention by the states. It along with a renewed interest in the 10th Amendment give us some hope in taming the Federal monster.

The second part of the book is a reprinting of “Eleven Essential Documents.” These documents give historical force to Wood’s argument. The documents also show that the founders did serious thinking about these issues in the early days of the country. These documents set forth the real meaning of nullification. Read this book and nullify.

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Flounders

Posted by heyrandy on July 17, 2013

Founders A Novel of the Coming Collapse, James Wesley,Rawles, 2012

The is the third in the author’s series of post-apocalyptic novels. (A fourth volume is due in October, 2013.) This volume expands on some of the characters mentioned in his previous works. The book centers on a couple who leave Chicago, Illinois and travel to safe-house retreat in Idaho. The couple does not get out of Chicago before their vehicles are stopped and captured by rioters. The couple then proceeds on foot.

Along the way we meet other characters and are treated to discussions of their religion, gun calibers, and how people who survived did so. For the combat partial there a several shootouts.

I found the book trite. It is almost unbelievable that two people could make it as far as they were supposed to with as little difficulty as they encounter. It is almost a isn’t-it-wonderful-that-the-world-has-ended situation.

The book ends 178 years after “the collapse” with someone using a metal detector to find scrap metal. It is a great day when he finds seventeen old, rusty fence posts. If the situation is this bad, where did he get the metal detector? The man does find the pirate treasure. This lets him take his child helper out for ice cream. The best idea in the book.

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Deep Dope

Posted by heyrandy on July 15, 2013

The Politics of Heroin, Alfred McCoy, 1991

The production and sale of heroin has deep political roots. The trade prospers because of government permission. Sometimes that permission is government cooperation. All governments need money. This is an easy way to get it.

Opium is grown in the remote hills of third-world countries and through an elaborate series of chemical processes is turned into the white power of heroin. The profits in this business are so great that many countries’ secret intelligence services have used the trade to finance their clandestine operations.

The book focus on the area of southeast Asia called the Golden Triangle. This is the border areas of Laos, Thailand, and Burma (now Myanmar.) Peasant framers grow opium and then trade it to mostly Chinese merchants. The merchants then sell the opium to secret laboratories which turn it into heroin. The heroin is then smuggled into the western countries.

Along the way there is massive bribery and corruption of government officials.

The unspoken thesis of this book is that the trade is unstoppable. As long as people want heroin they will bet it. Government would go broke without it.

The book gives the history of heroin and how it became illegal. It was once a minor problem they grew when the drug became illegal. There is a lesson here. Read the book to learn it.

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Nut Town

Posted by heyrandy on July 12, 2013

Insane City, Dave Barry, 2013

Where do you go to find Burmese pythons, billionaires, illegal refugees, and the ultra-trendy in an atmosphere alive with ethnic tensions? If you said Miami, Florida, you are right. Welcome to the crazy place. I forgot to mention the orangutan.

Barry, a former columnist for the Miami Herald, writes about all this to not only give a view of the city that the tourist promoters do not like but to raise the very important questions of immigration policy, drug laws, and the influence money has in politics.

The story concerns Seth, an indolent, under achieving only child of elderly Jewish parents, and his fiancee Tina, the eldest of two daughters of billionaire Mike Clark. Tina is everything Seth is not. A hard-driving, take-no-prisoners graduate of Harvard Law School. Seth is a graduate of a state school “with a solid B average” in marketing. He writes pseudo tweets for feminine care products. She does “important legal work” on behalf of groups that advocate for the “undocumented” immigrants. She has never met any of the people for whom she files legal briefs.

Secondary themes running through the book are the value of college educations, obsession with being part of the elite within the elite, vanity, and hypocrisy.

The language of the book is vulgar. There are numerous sexual references. But if you can get through all that, the book addresses serious issues in the style that Barry is famous for: truth is funny enough.

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You Are Guilty

Posted by heyrandy on July 10, 2013

Three Felonies a Day, Harvey Silvergate.

If they want you, they will find the crime to fit. This is the thesis of Silvergate’s book. He gives many examples of how this is so. There is almost no one the federal prosecutors cannot indict and convict.

The reason it is so easy to indict people is the vast number of federal laws and the ambiguity with which they are written. There is also the problem of how prosecutors stretch the laws well beyond their original intent to make the law useful in getting someone.

Silvergate reveals all the tricks used by prosecutors. Squeeze the low-level people, even if there is no crime, so they incriminate a higher-up. Then repeat the process with the higher-up until you get your man. It is called ladder climbing. Prosecutors pile on phony charges such as mail fraud, wire fraud, and conspiracy. The prosecutor can then offer to drop these charges in exchange for a plea deal. Justice doesn’t matter, convictions do. It is about numbers. You can’t quantify justice, but convictions add up nicely.

The courts go along with this horror. Prosecutors routinely ask the courts to freeze the defendants funds, claiming the money is part of the crime. This makes it difficult for the victim to get good legal counsel. It also make it easier to get a conviction.

It is a case of us all being criminals.We just have not yet been convicted. While you wait your turn you can read Silvergate’s book and count the felonies you have committed.

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Scatter Shot

Posted by heyrandy on July 9, 2013

Hit List, Richard Belzer and David Wayne, 2013

Belzer and Wayne proceed upon the thesis that the deaths of so many of those involved in the JFK assassination as witness, no matter how peripheral, is evidence of a conspiracy. The authors point out that the statistical probability of this number of people dying in a group of about 1400 is almost too vast to calculate.

The book is a series of short chapters on many people who have died in a short time after the assassination. Some of the people are directly involved in the assassination, e.g., Lee Harvey Oswald, but many of those included in the book are not even tangentially related to JFK’s death. Francis Gary Powers (of U2 fame), really?

Even if we discount the extraneous inclusions, the book still suffers from a lack of real evidence. Yes, the deaths of people like JFK’s paramour Mary Meyer are unsolved, but this does not mean she was on the verge of blowing off the lid on the conspiracy.

The authors admit that some of the people they profile may have died for other reasons than to keep them quiet about the assassination. It is always difficult to interpret the murders of mob bosses. Jimmy Hoffa hated the Kennedy brothers, but Hoffa’s real enemies were the mob thugs who controlled the union. They wanted to keep Hoffa’s replacement in office.

If all the people mentioned by the authors were actually involved in the killing, just how big was this conspiracy? If the conspiracy was as large as the authors imply, it is amazing that we know so little of it. The old saying applies: it is not a secret when if more than one person know it. The authors believe that there were a lot of people involved.

The book is of little value even to the die-hard conspiracy theorists. I found their treatment of the evidence to be superficial. Many of the chapters end on a very tentative notes. There is little concrete here. The dead deserve better.

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Believable

Posted by heyrandy on July 8, 2013

Beyond Belief, Jenna Miscavige Hill, 2013

Jenna Hill gives us the inside view of a very unusual religion. Scientology is quite the rage among the Hollywood set. Tom Cruise, Kirsty Ally, and Pricilla Pressly are a few of its more famous adherents. These celebrities are only one side of Scientology. Hill gives the perspective of a third generation Scientologist. Not only is Hill a third generation Scientologist, she is niece to the current leader of Scientology, David Miscavige.

Hill’s account of upbringing in the church is a tale of mistreatment, misrepresentation, and tyranny. The system she reveals is one of total control over those within its ranks. Hill’s parents were on the staff of Scientology, so Hill attended the church’s boarding school, “The Ranch.” It was a place of extreme regimentation, unforgiving discipline, and constant spying.

Hill tells us that she seldom saw her parents. This is not unusual. The church routinely posts children’s parents to locations far from their children. The church often posts spouses apart from each other. The church denies it, but the church is very anti-family.

The church is also rich. Scientology is not free. It is not even low cost. Hill never had to pay for her Scientology training because she was the child of staff workers and also held a job with the church. But “public Scientologists, those who do not work for the church, pay plenty. Hill mentions courses that cost $4000-$6000 each. There are endless courses. There is always another step to take and pay for.

Hill’s parents left the church even though they held high ranking positions.This was a major embarrassment for the church. Her parents wanted to take Jenna with them, but she refused to go. She wanted to stay in the church.

The end of Hill’s love for the Church began when the gave her the run-a-round about her wanting to marry. She began to see through the lies. She finally married her husband, Dallas, in a Scientology ceremony. Her family could not attend because of the Church’s sanctions against them. She says it was not much of a ceremony.

After her marriage she and her husband were sent to Australia on an “impossible mission.” They were to raise money to buy choice property in Canberra to erect a Scientology center there. Since there were only a few Scientologists in Canberra, it was an arduous task. They did manage to raise some money before they came home. Hill thinks the real reason they were sent off was to preclude any embarrassment to the Church that might arise from her parents. Nothing in Scientology is straight forward.

When Hill announced she was leaving, she almost left without her husband. He was so enmeshed in the Church’s teachings that he could no let go. She was not about to let the Church win, so stayed a while to persuade her husband to go. It was actually the Church’s arrogance that changed his mind.

The Church wanted protect itself from Hill, and asked her to sign a confidentiality agreement. Hill tore up the paper in front of the woman who presented it to Hill. Hill had already signed a “billion year contract” when she was a child. She was not signing any more papers.

The book exposes Scientology for what it is: an avaricious, tyrannical fraud. For those interested in Scientology, start here. There is a lot more to this religion than smiling celebrities.

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