U.S. Catholic Bishops take on Bush Administration’s immigration raids

From Rocco comes this story:

For over a year now, DHS has targeted employers who hire unauthorized workers by using force to enter worksites and arrest immigrant workers. During the process of these raids, U.S.-citizen children have been separated from their parents for days, if not longer; immigrants arrested have not been afforded the rights of due process; and local communities, including legal permanent residents and U.S. citizens, have been disrupted and dislocated. The sweeping nature of these raids—which often involve hundreds of law enforcement personnel with weapons—strike fear in immigrant communities and make it difficult for those arrested to secure basic due process protections, including legal counsel.

I used to be staunchly against illegal immigration, but the inconvenient facts of the matter show that this mess can hardly be laid entirely at the feet of the immigrants, or even at the feet of their employers. Our nation was founded upon the philosophical idea of the natural rights of man, but somehow this doesn’t obtain anymore when it’s inconvenient for the government or for bourgeois WASP culture. The present immigration laws are ridiculous, with many hoops for people to jump through in order to become citizens. The U.S. government even harasses students who come here to study, then want to stay. These are people who without doubt want to contribute to our society, and the government makes them pay outrageous fees and play a kind of lottery even to stand a chance of winning citizenship.

It may be a bad idea to have no immigration policy whatsoever, but the one we have now is unjust, and moreover, hardly beneficial to our culture. So, keep talking, Catholic bishops. This is one area in which you actually don’t drive me completely nuts.

Criminalizing sloppy dress

This story comes to us from the “government is a panacea” department.  Riviera Beach, FL is cracking down on the insidious behavior of sloppy dress.

Um, doesn’t it seem pretty obvious that if someone hasn’t enough pride to dress properly, no law is going to get them to do so?  These laws often sound good to puritans and other uptight sorts, but really, the absurdity of all this is readily apparent when you see the mug shots of the people who are caught in this net of stupidity.

Underlying all of this, of course, is the irrational American fear of nudity.  It’s a good thing the U.S. didn’t keep the land it fought on in Italy in World War II.  Otherwise, General Eisenhower might have stopped by to put a pair of pants on Michelangelo’s David.

The Ice Cream Diet: An Update

A few weeks ago I explained my new diet, which involved, among running and other things, eating ice cream. After I lost ten pounds, though, I hit a plateau, and the result of this is that ice cream is only part of my day roughly twice a week. I am now running up to 4.5 miles a day and have lost 15.5 pounds. Not bad considering I only started at the beginning of August.

I have been very well-behaved, but at the price of my social life: I have been avoiding places which are not friendly to the waist line, which includes all restaurants and bars–the loci of the great majority of my socializing. I’m really feeling like I need a drink, though. I’m tired of living in a “cave,” as it were. Maybe I’ll run out for one tonight.

Learning the lessons of August 15

Today, September 11, is a day of much State-sponsored solemnity in memory of the terrorist attacks that took place here seven years ago. One will read and hear much pious civic claptrap, but undoubtedly there will be little soul-searching as to what might have motivated people to come halfway across the world to kill innocent Americans who had nothing to do with the government policies which inflamed the terrorists.

The only time there seems to be any “reflection” about that azure, late summer day is when Rudy Giuliani and his Republican friends try to score political points with it. Even at this year’s convention, Giuliani pumped up McCain by saying that he “understands the lessons of 9/11.” On the contrary, we have, if anything, repeated many of the same mistakes after 9/11 which goaded the terrorists into their evil deeds in the first place.

Americans generally seem to think that September 11, 2001 was a watershed moment in the history of our country, a new “start” from zero. This view is hopelessly myopic and merely an excuse to engage in flag-waving.

So what did lead up to September 11? One could cite any number of events, from the stationing of Marines in Lebanon, to the time the H.W. Bush administration turned its back on Saddam Hussein, to our stationing of military forces in Islamic holy lands. Surely all of these are factors which aggravated the Muslim world–and we need not condone the actions of terrorists in order to see that one should not take a swing at the hornets’ nest in the first place.

But what made all this possible? Why, profligate government spending, of course! The U.S. can’t run the world without having gobs of money to dump into the military-industrial complex. “Yeah, that’s right, no wonder we have all these high taxes,” you might say. Well, not exactly. When it comes down to it, income taxes are petty theft compared to the way the government really gets its funding, which is by having the Federal Reserve print money out of thin air.

So money does grow on trees? Well, only on government trees and only for the State’s benefit. For the rest of us, this amounts to robbery. Here’s how. Imagine that you have a Mickey Mantle baseball card, one of a kind; there is no other like it. It will, based on its rarity, be worth an incredible sum of money. Let’s say, however, that someday it’s discovered that there are actually 2 million of these Mickey Mantle baseball cards. The value of yours will plummet. It will become a glorified bookmark.

The same is true with the money supply: fewer dollars in circulation means that each dollar will be worth more. When the Federal Reserve prints more dollars to pay for some State-sponsored conquest, the value of each dollar goes down. The net result of this is that your spending power, and your real savings, are greatly compromised. Inflation is not a fact of life, as many believe; rather, it is a result of the depredations of the U.S. government.

This is in fact how the government pays for its foreign policy operations, the very ones which got us mired in the Middle East in the first place, and the very ones which p*ssed off the terrorists. Tax revenue wouldn’t even come close to taking care of this.

Now, for much of the history of government inflation of money, the citizen still had something of a safety net in that he could redeem his dollars at any time in exchange for gold. On August 15, 1971, however, Richard M. Nixon severed this relationship completely. You are now stuck with these worthless pieces of paper. The government can debase the currency as much as it likes, and you are stuck paying the bill while the government goes on its bombing runs.

It seems to me, then, that we need to spend less time listening to Rudy Giuliani and his mob rehearse the supposed “lessons of 9/11” and spend more time pondering the lessons of August 15.

Barr spokesman: principled non-voters same as fat, lazy, stupid non-voters

Thanks to Tom Woods at LRC for pointing out this ridiculous statement from the Barr campaign.

There is no difference between the wannabe political philosopher who refuses to cast a vote “out of principle” and the lazy citizen who chooses to remain ignorant of the issues, the candidates and his or her government.

Except that the principled non-voter often does a very good job of explaining to his friends and relatives the absurdities of the two-party system. The apathetic voter, on the other hand, still doesn’t know who Dick Cheney is.

This statement goes on to get personal and drops some rather serious, if unsubstantiated, accusations:

As painful as it is to state the obvious: this campaign by the man is no longer about the message, it is about the money – lots of it. Other than in his pocket and in the pocket of his paid staff, where is all the money going?

No one seems to know for sure.

The Barr campaign is asking us to support “liberty” by supporting Bob Barr. A crucial part of Ron Paul’s message, however, is against wars of foreign aggression, and Barr isn’t so solid on that point. Maybe the Barr campaign is so wild today because they thought they had a stranglehold on the “liberty” demographic. Well, tough sh*t for them. They’re going to have to earn their support. Maybe Bob Barr should “write a book and sell it to his followers.”

Go away, Bob Barr. No one needs you.

Oink, Oink: American electorate is gleefully distracted by b.s.

This little tempest in a teapot is on its second or third day already. Barack Obama, referring to Sarah Palin, said that if you put lipstick on a pig, it’s still a pig. An enormously over-sized media- and McCain campaign-induced uproar ensued, and the American electorate is stupid enough to be distracted by it.

Meanwhile, under the leadership of Ron Paul, a number of the third party candidates met this morning at the national press club to express their agreement on four very important issues: the Iraq war, privacy rights, the national debt, and the Federal Reserve. But I wouldn’t exactly look for this to show up on the MSM.  [Correction:  Apparently it was streamed on CNN’s website. Was it broadcast on TV??]

Bob Barr, by the way, bailed on Paul, showing himself to be the fraud that many of us suspected he is. He may be running for the LP, but he’s still to the Left of Reagan.

The recordings of Glenn Gould: my refuge, my strength, my fountain of inspiration

We’re coming upon the end of the Glenn Gould year, which marks the 75th anniversary of his birth and the 25th anniversary of his death.  This Canadian pianist was in a certain respect the H.L. Mencken of the music world, cavalierly displaying his healthy irreverence for the more fossilized aspects of the classical music scene.  It was Gould’s recordings that cured me of that insidious infection known as artistic authenticity, and I shall be grateful to him forever for this.

Perhaps his signature piece was the Goldberg Variations of J.S. Bach. Here he is playing the Aria from that piece.