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Not a liberal government in any sense

Whatever else he can be called, I do not think that Mr Obama can be called a liberal. I was having a good chat with fellow blogger Paul Marks last night and he made this point. And as if by coincidence, via Instapundit, comes this story:

“The US Department of Homeland Security is set to kickstart a controversial new pilot to scan the fingerprints of travellers departing the United States. From June, US Customs and Border Patrol will take a fingerprint scan of travellers exiting the United States from Detroit, while the US Transport Security Administration will take fingerprint scans of international travellers exiting the United States from Atlanta. The controversial plan to scan outgoing passengers — including US citizens — was allegedly hatched under the Bush Administration. An official has said it will be used in part to crack down on the US population of illegal immigrants.”

Brilliant idea (sarcasm alert). How will fingerprinting people make illegal immigration more difficult? Surely, if supposedly unwanted folk are leaving a country, they are doing that country a favour, so why make it more irksome for them to move away by fingerprinting them or by insisting on other evidence, details or whatnot? I guess greater minds than mine have an answer.

As Thaddus Tremayne noted on this blog not so long ago, our own marvellously-run administration is pondering the idea of getting all travellers from the UK to divulge their travel and accomodation plans, reasons for trips, etc. (So I guess eloping couples will have a lot of explaining to do). As he also noted, the day may not be far off when exit visas, of the sort that used to be applied in the Communist East, make a comeback. So if you want to get the hell out of the UK before it crashes into bankruptcy, rising inflation and tax, then it is probably smart to do so in the next few years, regardless of the outcome of the next General Election. Paranoid? Well, who would have thought that the very notion of detailed information requests from travellers would have been mooted a few years ago. The ratchet effect keeps going.

And by the way, for those who sneered at Dale Amon’s enthusiasm for spacefaring the other day, it is stories like this that explain why “exit” strategies such as spacefaring and sea-steading are gaining some interest from libertarians. It may sound utopian, but the general idea of “getting out” has never been more popular. And that is why I keep banging on about the attempted assaults on so-called tax havens. They are an attack on the very notion that places of refuge from governments should exist, for rich or poor alike.

34 comments to Not a liberal government in any sense

  • Marco Polo

    What a coincidence! ObamaBush has a plan to track folk leaving the country, and Brownie has a plan to track folk leaving the country!! Absolutely amazing coincidence, isn’t it? Of course, I’m not stupid, I realize that it is just pure coincidence because the two plans are for quite, quite different purposes: the ObamaBush one is to prevent illegal immigration (Pearce’s sarcastic question is just silly; of course it will help stop illegals, it’s just that neither Pearce nor I are intelligent enough to figure out how, but we don’t need to know, do we?).
    Whereas the Brown plan(Link), on the other hand, is to

    increase protection against the threat of international terrorism

    . See? Chalk and cheese.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    Mr Polo, not sure what to make of your comment What is your point, exactly?

  • Kevin B

    Jonathon, I’ll let Marco Polo speak for himself, but the sense I got from his comment was that governments will grasp at any hot topic to sell the liberty restricting policies they want.

    In the US, they felt the point that would convince the punters best was ‘illegal immigration’ and in the UK it was ‘international terrorism’.

    In neither case were these the whole reason, but admitting the real reason was thought to be off-putting to the voters.

  • Andrew Duffin

    I hope I would not be so rude as to sneer at Dale, but spacefaring!

    Just consider: every single thing you need to sustain life in space, right down to the very air you need to breathe, has to be brought, at vast expense, from Earth.

    What kind of “getting out” is that?

    Comparisons are sometimes made with the original emigrants from Europe to the US. Politically, I guess such a comparison stands up. Physically, it does not: the Pilgrim fathers were fairly sure they would find a land where there was air to breathe and water to drink, and where crops could be grown. Just a minor difference in the climate wiped out most of them.

    People who talk about escaping into space are fantasists, nothing more.

  • Nick Riggs

    Andrew Duffin: why bother posting when you don’t know what you’re talking about.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ISRU

  • Johnathan Pearce

    Nick, thanks for the link.

    Duffin sounds like a Deep Green. “All this exploration stuff, it is all fantasy, for overgrown kids, it’ll never work.”

    How do you know?

  • Following the link back to its source, I find a correction:

    Editors Note – This story originally contained a representation that the biometrics trial in Atlanta and Detroit included the fingerprint scanning of US citizens. This has since been proved to be incorrect and the story has been modified – only non-US citizens will be expected to provide a biometric record.

    Not that that makes it any better. It just makes it look a little less like exit visas.

  • Following the link back to its source, I find a correction:

    Editors Note – This story originally contained a representation that the biometrics trial in Atlanta and Detroit included the fingerprint scanning of US citizens. This has since been proved to be incorrect and the story has been modified – only non-US citizens will be expected to provide a biometric record.

    Not that that makes it any better. It just makes it look a little less like exit visas.

  • llamas

    Just more security theatre.

    Taking people’s fingerprints upon leaving the country might have some useful purposes – it is a better (but not perfect) way to ensure that the person leaving is the same person who entered, and prevents some forms of identity-shfting which might, by some remote possibility, be of use to terrorists.

    But – having seen & dealt with ICE and TSA at DTW for many, many years now – I predict the real effect will be a rash of false positives, complete and utter confusion, endless delays and wasted effort, and not-a-few people locked up for days or weeks while the error is tracked down. Or not. White-haired grandmothers in wheelchairs will be banged up in TSA holding cells as suspected terrorists because they got hand-lotion on the scanner. But they’re foreigners, so who cares anyway? They have no Congressman to call.

    Try a thought experiment. Sit in the International arrivals area at DTW for couple of hours, and take note of all the people who wander by dressed in their Ruritanian-admiral TSA finery. And then ask yourself – which of these folks look to you as thought they could sort out a fingerprint mismatch problem with despatch and efficiency?

    These folks should read Bruce Schneier. Hell, they should hire him. But it will never happen.

    llater,

    llamas

  • RRS

    Totalitarianism does not descend upon a people; the people submit to totalitarianism.

  • Paul Marks

    When I was young (yes I was young once – although in a talk with J.P. last night I made the discovery that I was unsure how old I am, senility or an effect of living alone with birthdays just being normal days, take your pick) various predictions were made about space travel.

    I read the books saying that people would be (for example) on Mars by the mid 1970′s and so on.

    They were not written by wacky people – various serious people (from the 1940′s and before) made various predictions that seem absurd now. And not just about space travel – they made predictions about really fast commercial aircraft (to Australia in a couple of hours for normal business) and nuclear fusion and ……..

    None of it has come to pass – with the exception of the predictions about computers. Most of those predictions have actually come true.

    To some extent the cynics were correct about space travel. For example the Astronomer Royal back in the 1950′s who was so mocked for saying “space travel is Moonshine” was not saying it was techically impossible (so the Moon missions did NOT refute him).

    What he was saying was partly that distances involved were really vast (so big they were hard for the human mind to grasp) and partly that the places involved were really crap. Nice to look at – but not a sensible place to go to.

    And they are crap – it is sad but true.

    Going to the Moon has been compared to European explorers crossing the Atlantic – but it is nothing like it.

    When the Europeans arrived in the “New World” they had stuff like air to breath. Raise your helmet in triumph after a year’s journey to Mars and you die.

    If Mars and so on had been Earthlike then I think people really would have gone there. And certainly if the Moon had not turned out to be a lifeless lump of rock there would be many bases there right now.

    However, there is a lot more than the above involed – and such things do not explain why other aspects of development predicted the best part of a century ago did not come to pass.

    WARNING I AM ABOUT TO GET POLITICAL.

    It is the government.

    The endless government spending and the taxes and the EXPANSION OF THE MONEY SUPPLY (thus distorting the capital spending) needed to prop up the government spending and those corporations (banks and others) close to the government. Such subsidies did not start last year (that is just when they became so vast they could not be hidden anymore) they have been going on for decades.

    I have no doubt that voluntary cooperation (for profit and non profit) could have found many uses for space travel (made it non “Moonshine” – for example perhaps there would have been bases on the poles of Mars using local water) and could have developed science and technology in many other ways to.

    But the economy was too distorted for these things to be.

  • Paul Marks

    Barack Obama and liberalism:

    Well firstly Obama and Hillary Clinton and others tend to call themselves “Progressives” rather than liberals – and if one looks into just how gut tearingly evil the American Progressive movement was they have a point (although I still think that Barack Obama is a lot worse than even the worst American Progressives of the late 19th and early 20th centuries).

    Anyway, people on this blog know I have a problem with “liberalism”, not just with modern liberals but even with 19th century liberals, – to put it briefly I do not think they were generally as pro liberty as is often supposed. The talk of the 19th century liberals was full of the words “liberty” and “freedom” – but their policies were less clearly pro liberty (to put it mildly).

    However, I would accept that there is some sense that 19th century (and perhaps even modern) liberals are supposed to be in favour of free speech and civil rights. And it is clear if one studies the background of Barack Obama that, for all his talk about the “rule of law”, he could not give a tinker’s curse for freedom of speech or other such.

    Of course the vicious racist (not just in speeches, but in legal cases such as the New Haven firemen’s suit the lady tried to even prevent geting its day in court) and life long socialist (college hero – Norman Thomas) that Barack Obama has nominated for the Supreme Court makes the point well.

    This lady may help with female voters and hispanic voters, but the only use she has for the Constitution of the United States is to wipe her bottom on it. Freedom of speech (First Amendment) does not apply to “hate speech”, the right to bear arms (Second Amendment) does not apply to State and local restrictions…….. and so on.

    And yet this evil women (and she is evil) is described by the mainstream media as a “liberal” or even a “moderate liberal”

    However, it was a recent game example that brought home to me just how much the left have perverted the word “liberal”.

    I govern a couple of nations in the game “Nationstates” and recently one of the nations I govern got an invitation to change region (do not worry about the game details).

    The person who invited me to change region said that most of the people in his region were “liberals”. So I had a look at the region……..

    The elected representative of the region to the “World Assembly” (no nation I govern is a member of the World Assembly, but that is another matter) was fairly typical of the sort of “liberals” this region was populated by.

    The name of the nation was (and I am not making this up) “The Reserve Army of the Unemployed”.

    Not even a democratic socialist term – a Marxist term.

    The tax level of the nation was 100% – i.e. not really a “tax” at all, rather the total control of all resources and the destruction of civil society.

    And, almost needless to say, the flag of the nation contained the sacred image of President Barack Obama.

    None of these things was meant “ironically” (if that is what readers are thinking).

    This is the sort of “liberalism” that our enemies (even at the basic grass roots level) are planning for us and are trying to put into effect.

    These are the followers of the Community Organizer in Chief. And he shares the “Community Activists” basic view of the world – he just hides it under a lot of “cool” image stuff.

  • Only a possibility:
    - Establish a program of exit fingerprints. The target population doesn’t matter.
    - The US Congress is about to pass a law taxing the portfolios of people leaving US domicile.
    - This fingerprint identification becomes quite useful, if then applied to citizens.

  • Laird

    There are undoubtedly innumerable nefarious uses our government could find for fingerprints; however much we speculate on it I’m sure they’ll come up with something new to amaze and dismay us. However, there aren’t too many US citizens whose fingerprints aren’t already in some government database. Serve in the military; hold any sort of government job (even as a contractor); get yourself arrested (on any pretext); obtain nearly any form of professional license; possess a driver’s license in any state which has acceeded to the demands of the Real ID Act; etc., etc., and you’ve been fingerprinted. So this program really means relatively little to the citizenry. What it will do is give the government a database of the fingerprints of foreigners. I’m not clever (or diabolical) enough to imagine what they will do with it, but I’m sure there’s a plan.

  • I am not at all sure there is a plan – yet. They know that the possibilities are many, but they don’t need to be in a rush to explore them before they pass the laws. I think they just pass these laws because they can, and because these laws give them control over other people – who cares if they are citizens or not? Fingerprint them first, sort them out later.

  • veryretired

    The clearest American antecedent to the current administration is the “every man a king” sloganeering of the Huey Long regime in Louisiana, which was a powerful influence during the depression.

    In overall philosophical terms, I would tend to reach back to the corporate state theories of a certain Italian political leader who was very influential in the 1920′s and 30′s.

    The pattern seems to be one of collectivism, corruption, and then chaos, whether financial or otherwise. I can hardly wait for phase three.

  • J.M. Heinrichs

    More commentary on the fingerprinting here: Billy’s fault.

    In fact, the requirement for fingerprints on exit was first put in law in 1996, was recommended again by the 9/11 Commission, and was also included in the 9/11 implementation act. Despite this, the Bush administration was always a little ambivalent about the requirement — mainly because the requirement is not a security measure.

  • guy herbert

    I’m afraid blaming Obama for this one (never mind the weird conspiracy theory Andrew_M_Garland offers) really doesn’t work. This is nothing new. The DHS has taken years to ramp up its grossly inefficient and oppressive US-VISIT programme for years, as comprehensively criticised (for its management rather than principle) by the GAO. (Example from 2007 (pdf)).

    I fear that scrapping or curtailing the DHS foreigner-fear and security-theatre programmes is even more anti-populist and even less likely than scrapping the War on Drugs. It is not therefore a useful test of liberal intent since no politician in executive office is going to pass it. (Has anyone in congress apart from Ron Paul suggested scrapping the DHS? Has anyone at all suggested opening up the borders?)

  • Guy,

    Are you deliberately missing the point? The fact that no politician in office would do it does not mean it’s not the right thing to do. If they’re all gits that doesn’t stop them some being gits because they are less gittish than others. That’s moral relativism on an epic scale. The fact that Bush started this shit doesn’t get Obama off the hook for not ending it. He is POTUS with a majority in Congress. He could end it. You are judging the US political class by their own standards. Next you’ll be saying Stalin wasn’t as big a bastard as Mao because he didn’t kill as many. Yes, true, but not relevent. The significant truth is that they were both bastards nonetheless.

    “It is not therefore a useful test of liberal intent since no politician in executive office is going to pass it. ”

    It is a test and it is a test they all fail.

  • Marco Polo

    Alisa’s(Link) almost got it, tho Jonathan(Link) seems to have trouble joining the dots.
    Who suggested a national DNA database in the UK? What was the public response?
    Who suggested “the Matrix” in the US? What was the public response?
    What is the next step for the folks who dreamed up the above two plans? Give up?
    Who thinks it would be a great idea if everyone (well, not quite everyone) had their financial info on a chip which was implanted at birth, and which could be controlled by a central computer? How do you think they might “sell” such an idea to the public? (Hint: scroll down to the second Dr Fun cartoon)(Link)
    Who is thinking in terms of 50-year plans?
    Do you think those folk don’t plan for reversals?
    What is the track record of human beings (otherwise knowns as sheeples) protesting against tyrannical moves by their leaders? (Hint: read this(Link))
    Who salivates at the possibilities of this kind of technology?(Link)
    Do you think they are salivating at the idea of all the stolen cars they could recover, or at the potential of the phrase “of interest to the police”?
    Do you think… but that’s enough, don’t you think?
    “Pass the laws first, figure out how they might be used for greater enslavement later”.

  • guy herbert

    Are you deliberately missing the point?

    No, I’m attempting: (1) To put Jonathan’s point in a factual context – that the DHS’s fingerprinting plans are neither new nor in any way an Obama policy, they are part of the inertia of state, failure to alter which doesn’t necessarily tell you anything about a practical politician’s beliefs. (There are plenty of signs of the Obama adinistration’s illiberalism in is active policies, surely?). (2) To point out the the worldwide development of a bureaucratic framework to destroy the liberty and privacy of travellers comes about because there are almost no consistently liberal politicians in any mediated democracy. If you want signs of underlying liberal beliefs, you cannot expect to find them in every, or any particular, policy area.

    I submit a politician trying and failing to do something — in Obama’s case to shut Guantanamo, perhaps — is a better indicator of his personal convictions than either inaction against, or promoting, popular or instutional consensus.

  • Guy,

    I couldn’t give a flying fuck about Gitmo and it’s gitmates.

    I also don’t give a toss about “intentions”. Obama could nix the TSA. He’s president. He has a congressional majority. The only reason he hasn’t is that he’s a statist cunt.

    Guy, your approach to this is tantamount to saying, “Well he was raping my wife but at least not up the ass”. Fuck that, Guy. I read this site and I blog myself because I wanna be free. Because I care about freedom. Because I adore it. Because it is all that really matters and quite frankly I don’t care about equivocation or puttting things “in context”. I certainly care about “context” didn’t the last time some TSA bitch shrieked at me over nothing.

    To be honest Guy (and I don’t care if this gets me IP banned) because I’m fucking furious that you – given all your work on NO2ID – are saying such arrant bullshit on the finest Libertarian website on the planet.

    There has been a lot of talk here about the “lesser of two evils”. Your words on this score sound more to me like the lesser of two weasels.

  • Vercingetorix

    the DHS’s fingerprinting plans are neither new nor in any way an Obama policy, they are part of the inertia of state, failure to alter which doesn’t necessarily tell you anything about a practical politician’s beliefs.

    Watch that passive voice, guy. The State is not some Lovecraftian space amoeba god thing. We don’t wake up and read the ‘paper’ over coffee, slap the table and look to the Missus and go, “Oh, looks like Cthulu ate Boston. Well, whaddya gonna do about that? Pass the sugar, dear.”

    Obama could say no in a hundred different ways. He’s saying yes. Bush, for the last 7 years, never said yes. There’s plenty to dislike about Bush and plenty to dislike about Obama, but you cannot exactly blame the guy who said “no” and toss away blame from the guy that said “sure thing, skippy!” and then conjure Azathoth and have us all cower in the corner.

    Obama owns this story too.

  • guy herbert

    I couldn’t give a flying fuck about Gitmo and it’s gitmates.

    Then no way are you a libertarian or even a liberal. You might not regard it as the most pressing problem for a British libertarian, but to say you don’t care about the world’s most powerful state arbitrarily seizing people from foreign lands and indefinitely imprisoning them, arrantly overturning its historical commitment to rule of law in order to do so is, frankly, astonishing. All but the most patridiotically particularist Americans recognise there’s a problem there, even if many fall back on legalism and deemed necessity to excuse it.

    My approach here as everywhere else is both principled and pragmatic. I will always take the lesser of two evils because that is only ever what is on offer. NO2ID would have got nowhere if I had ever permitted it to become a libertarian crusade, and I spend a good deal of time flattering views I despise, and suppressing potential ideological factions in order to keep it going.

  • Bobbie

    Whatever a Sovereign Nation State chooses to pursue as it’s taxation strategy, is a matter for that Nation State alone.

    ANY attack upon a Nation States Sovereignty, is illegal in International Law, and BY DEFINITION, an Act of War.

    Politics around the World has become too addicted to taxation (don’t confuse Politics with Government, just because Politics has hijacked Government), too addicted to ‘Empire Building’, too addicted to embracing the completely disproved (by John Locke) concept of ‘The Divine Right of Kings’.

    Politicians have not just aspired to put themselves above the Law, they have aspired to BECOME the Law! Destroying the Rule of Law in the process of exercising an illegitimate and illegal ‘Royal Prerogative’ (and in our case here in the UK, by putting our Monarch in clear breach of her Coronation Oath, committing treason in the process, in other words), which is sadly the EU’s complete reason for existence, and the path that the UN has been more than delighted to adopt as well.

    If. as John Locke put it, “If the Law makes the King, then the King is subject to the Law” then how much more so is it true, that “If the Law makes the GOVERNMENT, then the GOVERNMENT is subject to the Law”! Which is the true failing of our Speaker in Parliament, because our Speaker is supposed to be the Constitutional watchdog on the scene, and willing and able to tell Parliament as forcibly as necessary, that they can’t go there, they can’t do that, because it is ILLEGAL under the CONSTITUTION!*

    This is 1687 all over again, and we are in the run up to a repeat of the Glorious Revolution of 1688 (read our 1688/9 Bill of Rights that came from it, which is part of our very much written down Constitution). Who can say if we will be so lucky as to have such a bloodless Revolution this time?

    These are dangerous times. If we don’t keep a clear and cool eye on our outstanding Constitution, throughout what is coming, then we run the severe risk of ending up with something very undesirable as a replacement, and it will be a long hard struggle to return to our former sanity.

    *We need to counter this. Sadly even our Barristers are no longer educated in the Common Law, or Constitution (why there is such a shortage of Constitutional experts now), and Sir William Blackstone’s ‘Commentaries on the Laws of England’ (the Judge’s reference book) isn’t even available at our Educational Establishments that teach Law (hence clueless retards being churned out into our legal system).
    A possible solution, is to take 50% of the Barristers, and put them through 3 years retraining and reducation, when they have don. that, the other 50% go back to school.
    In the meantime, for 3 years, given the undesirable and unusual circumstances, we have a temporary ‘fix’ for the Commons by having a very senior Law Lord (hopefully old enough to remember what the Law actually is, and with a pretty competent grasp of the Constitution) sit there as Speaker.
    Once the Barristers have done their retraining, we have a National vote, every 2 years, for Speakers for the House of Commons and the House of Lords. Term limits for Speaker are no more than 2 years, so our Barristers get good grounding and experience where they can do some good, and that should play out well later after some have served as Judges, when some get sent to the Lords as Law Lords.

    The House of Commons also needs term limits. Two terms maximum. Fixed terms for Parliament too. Limits on MInistries and the number of Ministers – do we REALLY need over 100 Ministers and their associated Departments? Of course not.

    The House of Lords needs to return to its Constitutional legality, and that means booting out all of the Life Peers.

    Membership of the EU is completely unconstitutional, neither we nor they need such an unnecessary and hugely expensive expansion of Government (none of us can afford it when times are good, let alone when times are bad – I say this as someone that loves the Continent very much, and has done business there for years). The EU has become the biggest pork barrel on the Planet, it isn’t fixable even if there was the intent to fix it (there isn’t), we need to refuse to be associated with such a level of corruption and blatant criminality.

    Regional Assemblies, like the EU, are nothing but useless POrk Barrels themselves, and need to be gone yesterday.

    Local Authorities need a large broom powerfully weilded, that lines up the thieves and worse that have taken over our Local Government.

    Most need to be in jail and throw away the keys.

    Once that is done, we stand a fair chance of going forward with a clear head and a clear vision for the future of our children.

    That means things like a return to proper trade apprenticeships, proper courses and strategy for education, and, odd as this may sound, chuck out decimalisation. Not for the reasons you may think, but because we have lost the diversity of numbers. Maths for example is too easy now, and it is so easy, the kids can’t do it (I’ve seen it in action, I went back to College some years ago, and 2 hour exams I was able to do in my head in a few minutes, the kids were failing at with the full 2 hours scribbling away – and these aren’t dumb kids, they were a privilege to be ‘back at school with) .
    With 240 pence to the pound, 12 pence to the sahilling, 16 oz to the pound, 14 lb to the stone, 112 lb to the cwt, etc., etc., it built up the neural pathwats and links in their brains, so that ‘doing sums’ became second nature and they didn’t even have to think about it.

    I don’t think we should be disadvantaging our children to the degree we have already.

  • Bobbie

    Whatever a Sovereign Nation State chooses to pursue as it’s taxation strategy, is a matter for that Nation State alone.

    ANY attack upon a Nation States Sovereignty, is illegal in International Law, and BY DEFINITION, an Act of War.

    Politics around the World has become too addicted to taxation (don’t confuse Politics with Government, just because Politics has hijacked Government), too addicted to ‘Empire Building’, too addicted to embracing the completely disproved (by John Locke) concept of ‘The Divine Right of Kings’.

    Politicians have not just aspired to put themselves above the Law, they have aspired to BECOME the Law! Destroying the Rule of Law in the process of exercising an illegitimate and illegal ‘Royal Prerogative’ (and in our case here in the UK, by putting our Monarch in clear breach of her Coronation Oath, committing treason in the process, in other words), which is sadly the EU’s complete reason for existence, and the path that the UN has been more than delighted to adopt as well.

    If. as John Locke put it, “If the Law makes the King, then the King is subject to the Law” then how much more so is it true, that “If the Law makes the GOVERNMENT, then the GOVERNMENT is subject to the Law”! Which is the true failing of our Speaker in Parliament, because our Speaker is supposed to be the Constitutional watchdog on the scene, and willing and able to tell Parliament as forcibly as necessary, that they can’t go there, they can’t do that, because it is ILLEGAL under the CONSTITUTION!*

    This is 1687 all over again, and we are in the run up to a repeat of the Glorious Revolution of 1688 (read our 1688/9 Bill of Rights that came from it, which is part of our very much written down Constitution). Who can say if we will be so lucky as to have such a bloodless Revolution this time?

    These are dangerous times. If we don’t keep a clear and cool eye on our outstanding Constitution, throughout what is coming, then we run the severe risk of ending up with something very undesirable as a replacement, and it will be a long hard struggle to return to our former sanity.

    *We need to counter this. Sadly even our Barristers are no longer educated in the Common Law, or Constitution (why there is such a shortage of Constitutional experts now), and Sir William Blackstone’s ‘Commentaries on the Laws of England’ (the Judge’s reference book) isn’t even available at our Educational Establishments that teach Law (hence clueless retards being churned out into our legal system).
    A possible solution, is to take 50% of the Barristers, and put them through 3 years retraining and reducation, when they have don. that, the other 50% go back to school.
    In the meantime, for 3 years, given the undesirable and unusual circumstances, we have a temporary ‘fix’ for the Commons by having a very senior Law Lord (hopefully old enough to remember what the Law actually is, and with a pretty competent grasp of the Constitution) sit there as Speaker.
    Once the Barristers have done their retraining, we have a National vote, every 2 years, for Speakers for the House of Commons and the House of Lords. Term limits for Speaker are no more than 2 years, so our Barristers get good grounding and experience where they can do some good, and that should play out well later after some have served as Judges, when some get sent to the Lords as Law Lords.

    The House of Commons also needs term limits. Two terms maximum. Fixed terms for Parliament too. Limits on MInistries and the number of Ministers – do we REALLY need over 100 Ministers and their associated Departments? Of course not.

    The House of Lords needs to return to its Constitutional legality, and that means booting out all of the Life Peers.

    Membership of the EU is completely unconstitutional, neither we nor they need such an unnecessary and hugely expensive expansion of Government (none of us can afford it when times are good, let alone when times are bad – I say this as someone that loves the Continent very much, and has done business there for years). The EU has become the biggest pork barrel on the Planet, it isn’t fixable even if there was the intent to fix it (there isn’t), we need to refuse to be associated with such a level of corruption and blatant criminality.

    Regional Assemblies, like the EU, are nothing but useless POrk Barrels themselves, and need to be gone yesterday.

    Local Authorities need a large broom powerfully weilded, that lines up the thieves and worse that have taken over our Local Government.

    Most need to be in jail and throw away the keys.

    Once that is done, we stand a fair chance of going forward with a clear head and a clear vision for the future of our children.

    That means things like a return to proper trade apprenticeships, proper courses and strategy for education, and, odd as this may sound, chuck out decimalisation. Not for the reasons you may think, but because we have lost the diversity of numbers. Maths for example is too easy now, and it is so easy, the kids can’t do it (I’ve seen it in action, I went back to College some years ago, and 2 hour exams I was able to do in my head in a few minutes, the kids were failing at with the full 2 hours scribbling away – and these aren’t dumb kids, they were a privilege to be ‘back at school with) .
    With 240 pence to the pound, 12 pence to the sahilling, 16 oz to the pound, 14 lb to the stone, 112 lb to the cwt, etc., etc., it built up the neural pathwats and links in their brains, so that ‘doing sums’ became second nature and they didn’t even have to think about it.

    I don’t think we should be disadvantaging our children to the degree we have already.

  • Vercingetorix

    Then no way are you a libertarian or even a liberal…but to say you don’t care about the world’s most powerful state arbitrarily seizing people from foreign lands and indefinitely imprisoning them, arrantly overturning its historical commitment to rule of law in order to do so is, frankly, astonishing.

    Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition! But before you drum us out of the libertarian movement, Cardinal Guy, you should also add arbitrary detention, search and seizure in foreign lands, use of lethal force including firearms, cannons and artillery, missiles and bombs against people without due process, and all of that.

    Or you could just get over yourself. It is not a break from history to detain, question and even execute foreign agents, saboteurs, and provocateurs and it is certainly not immoral to do so, much less illegal.

    You’d have an easier time of it to tilt at the big scary windmill of war – why war is so very illiberal and, like, totally un-libertarian and uncool! – than to get me sobbing at the thought that someone like Khalid Sheik Mohammed was so very meanly spirited away from his bat-cave and now must spend the rest of his life behind bars.

    Rest assured, you can be very concerned with civil rights, the preservation of liberty, free speech, the encroachment of nanny-statism and welfare idiocy, and still despise Gitmo hysteria. Heaven forbid, we use the “comfy chair” on mass murderers and their allies! Why, all those soldiers and Marines safe in their body armor, why don’t they arrest more of those good tribesmen and put them up on trial? Gah, nonsense. Next…

  • Sunfish

    My approach here as everywhere else is both principled and pragmatic.

    So, in Guyherbertopia, should the would-have-been inmates have merely been shot without having their surrenders accepted?

    Or what? If the status quo offends you so, what would you have be different?

  • Paul Marks

    Sounds like Colonel Peters’ position.

  • Bobbie

    Sorrry about the double post, my adsl connection is playing up. Pity can’t edit as I’d delete the 2nd one (and fix some typos).

    There’s a lot of confusion about Iraq, so I’ll repeat this:

    “ANY attack upon a Nation States Sovereignty, is illegal in International Law, and BY DEFINITION, an Act of War.”

    Iraq was under licence by the International Community, after it illegally invaded a Soverign Nation State. This was Iraq’s invasion of Iran.
    Iraq then compounded its problems, by invading Kuwait, another Sovereign Nation State.
    At the end of that conflict, Iraq agreed to cessation of hostilities terms binding it to behave.
    Pretty soon, Iraq stopped behaving, and breached the terms of the cessation of hostilities, pretty much daily.
    Any single breach of those cessation of hostilities terms, were grounds for a resumption of hostilities. This is what confuses people really, there was only ONE war against Iraq (after the war with Iran, of course), not TWO! The FIRST War, was simply resumed.
    So every act in the resumption of hostilities, was perfectly legitimate, and perfectly legal.
    I do think the real grounds were deliberately concealed though, as there seems to be a faction that wants the realities of Law, and where Nation States get their Lawful Rights and Liberties from, away from ordinary people, in case they start digging a little too deeply, and come to realise that so many things, such as a certain 2nd Amendment for example isn’t an American Right, but is in fact an unalienable and Universal Human Right (and why that isn’t reflected in the UN UDHR begins perhaps to beg some pretty serious questions), that is correectly recognised and put into black and white, by America. That 2nd Amendment is just one example, but it fits in with just where Nation States get those Rights from – they get them in fact, from the individual human being, because Nation States have ‘Legal Personality’ (that term in the proposed EU Constitution that confused so many people), i.e. a Nation State is treated in International Law as an individual human being, and it is therefore entirtled to all of the Rights and Liberties of a human being. There are people scared witless (due to the lies and deceptions they have used to conceal such facts) that ordinary people will work that reality out.

    As for the treatment of captured terrorists, any combatant that fights out of uniform, throws away all of their rights. They are in essence acting exactly as criminals, ‘outside of the Law’ and are therefore putting themselves by their own choice, outside of the protections that the Law offers They can be disposed of as their captors see fit.
    This is something that is very relevant to our own internal Societies as well, as the Politically Correct have somehow managed to remove the most apt description of criminals in order to protect and support criminals, and the very real position that criminals that prey on the law abiding put themselves, as they are indeed acting outside of Society, and outside of the Law and its protections when they prey upon Society as parasites (it is indeed a parasitic relationship to a host Society).
    They haven’t managed to remove the description of OUTLAW States yet, but I am sure they are working on it.

  • Eric

    - The US Congress is about to pass a law taxing the portfolios of people leaving US domicile.

    You are behind the times, my friend. The substance of the measure in that 2007 article passed as part of a veterans appropriations bill. As it stands right now if you renounce your US citizenship you pay a one-time tax on all your assets, wherever they’re located. Also, if you renounce citizenship for the purpose of avoiding taxation (as determined by the IRS, and that’s what they always determine), you’re on the hook for full US income tax for the next ten years.

    I’m not sure how they enforce it all, but I know many countries that don’t have extradition treaties with the US for “normal” crimes have reciprocal treaties regarding repatriation of tax evaders.

  • Gary Schmitt

    I’m not sure how they enforce it all

    Short answer is, they cannot unless you are a complete half-wit and return the the USA. I stuck my US passport in the shredder and married a wonderful Swiss woman and entertained myself corresponding with the IRS for the many years. I was rather sad when they eventually gave up and stopped responding to my detailed and graphic suggestions. Short version:

    “We are the IRS! Fear us and obey!”

    “Fuck you.”

    “We are the IRS! Fear us and obey!”

    “No, really…Fuck you.”

    etc. etc.

    Tax fraud (lying about your wealth) can get you extradited from many countries, even Switzerland, but mere tax evasion (simply not reporting what is none of their damn business), not usually. The difference between the two is not insignificant most places outside the benighted USA, who think they have a slave owners brand on your as someone born in the US even if you earn money outside their sovereignty and jurisdiction. Screw that.

  • Paul Marks

    It is true that there was no real peace deal after the 1991 Iraq war (and that Iraq violated the various agreements that were made anyway – for example by attacking people they had agreed not to attack) so the Iraq war was not “illegal”.

    Also the Ron Paul case that there was no declaration of war is true only in form (not in content) – as both the House of Representatives and the Senate voted for what they all knew would be war (although they chose to use another word).

    However, something being legal does not make it sensible.

    Even though the United States armed forces seem to have won the Iraq war I remain of the opinion that it was not a sensible use of either money or the lives of soldiers or marines.

    Sadly this puts me in agreement with Comrade Barack Obama – however if even Lenin says ice is cold it does not make ice hot.

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