Monday, October 31, 2011
And wait for the Great Pumpkin to rise from my wife's very small (3-1/2 pumpkins) but very sincere (it's the sincerest!) pumpkin patch.
We usually see him after a half dozen beers washed down with Wild Turkey. . .
The full silent film ultimate horror classic
Sheriff: Time For Citizens To Arm Themselves
Sheriff Chuck Wright Doesn’t Hold Back
SPARTANBURG COUNTY, S.C. -- The Spartanburg County Sheriff is known for speaking his mind, and at a news conference on Monday, he didn't hold back his anger and frustration after a woman was attacked in a park over the weekend.
Investigators said 46-year-old Walter Lance grabbed a woman who was walking her dog in Milliken Park on Sunday afternoon. They said Lance choked the woman, made her take off her clothing and tried to rape her.
Lance is in custody and was denied bond on Monday.
Sheriff Chuck Wright opened his news conference by saying, "Our form of justice is not making it."
He said, "Carry a concealed weapon. That'll fix it."
Wright said Lance had been charged numerous times with crimes again women, and other crimes such as resisting arrest and escape. Wright said Lance had been on probation for a federal gun charge.
He referred to Lance repeatedly as an "animal," and expressed his disgust about Lance's long record and the attack.
Wright said Lance has had more than 20 charges dating back to 1983.
Wright said Lance has been in jail more often than he has, and he runs the jail, and he said he gets out easier. He punctuated by saying, "And I'm aggravated."
He said he doesn't believe every person needs to be kept in jail, but he said, "I don't think this animal deserves to be out in our society, walking alongside our women."
Wright said,"Liberals call me and tell me the chain-gang form of justice isn't working. Well, let me inform you, your form of justice isn't working either."
He said Lance should not have had the right or opportunity to "violate a good, upstanding woman."
"This is a horrific crime," Wright said. "Her life was threatened so many times."
He said Lance "doesn't fight police or men folk -- he just goes after women." He said Lance is not married because, "No woman can stay married to him because he beats them down too much."
Wright said, "It's too bad someone with a concealed weapons permit didn't walk by. That would fix it." He said people are tired of doing the right thing and criminals getting away with their actions.
He said several times, "I want you to get a concealed weapons permit."
Wright said, "I'm tired of looking at victims saying, 'There's life after this' … I'm tired of saying, 'We're sorry, we can't keep them in jail.'"
Wright said in his view, gun control is, "How fast can you can get the barrel of your gun back on the target?"
Wright said the attack is not the fault of Millken Park. He said, "It's a nice place for families."
He said officers patrol the area all the time and respond to various calls there. He said, "Don't blame anyone for having an animal on their property … We can't get it all."
He encouraged women to walk in groups, and he ended by saying again, "I want you to get a concealed weapons permit. Don't get Mace. Get a firearm."
And then he said, "I think I better stop before I get sanctioned."
The Legend of Sleepy Hollow
by Washington Irving
FOUND AMONG THE PAPERS OF THE LATE DIEDRICH KNICKERBOCKER.
A pleasing land of drowsy head it was,
Of dreams that wave before the half-shut eye;
And of gay castles in the clouds that pass,
Forever flushing round a summer sky.
CASTLE OF INDOLENCE.
In the bosom of one of those spacious coves which indent the eastern shore of the Hudson, at that broad expansion of the river denominated by the ancient Dutch navigators the Tappan Zee, and where they always prudently shortened sail and implored the protection of St. Nicholas when they crossed, there lies a small market town or rural port, which by some is called Greensburgh, but which is more generally and properly known by the name of Tarry Town. This name was given, we are told, in former days, by the good housewives of the adjacent country, from the inveterate propensity of their husbands to linger about the village tavern on market days. Be that as it may, I do not vouch for the fact, but merely advert to it, for the sake of being precise and authentic. Not far from this village, perhaps about two miles, there is a little valley or rather lap of land among high hills, which is one of the quietest places in the whole world. A small brook glides through it, with just murmur enough to lull one to repose; and the occasional whistle of a quail or tapping of a woodpecker is almost the only sound that ever breaks in upon the uniform tranquillity.
I recollect that, when a stripling, my first exploit in squirrel-shooting was in a grove of tall walnut-trees that shades one side of the valley. I had wandered into it at noontime, when all nature is peculiarly quiet, and was startled by the roar of my own gun, as it broke the Sabbath stillness around and was prolonged and reverberated by the angry echoes. If ever I should wish for a retreat whither I might steal from the world and its distractions, and dream quietly away the remnant of a troubled life, I know of none more promising than this little valley.
From the listless repose of the place, and the peculiar character of its inhabitants, who are descendants from the original Dutch settlers, this sequestered glen has long been known by the name of SLEEPY HOLLOW, and its rustic lads are called the Sleepy Hollow Boys throughout all the neighboring country. A drowsy, dreamy influence seems to hang over the land, and to pervade the very atmosphere. Some say that the place was bewitched by a High German doctor, during the early days of the settlement; others, that an old Indian chief, the prophet or wizard of his tribe, held his powwows there before the country was discovered by Master Hendrick Hudson. Certain it is, the place still continues under the sway of some witching power, that holds a spell over the minds of the good people, causing them to walk in a continual reverie. They are given to all kinds of marvellous beliefs, are subject to trances and visions, and frequently see strange sights, and hear music and voices in the air. The whole neighborhood abounds with local tales, haunted spots, and twilight superstitions; stars shoot and meteors glare oftener across the valley than in any other part of the country, and the nightmare, with her whole ninefold, seems to make it the favorite scene of her gambols.
The dominant spirit, however, that haunts this enchanted region, and seems to be commander-in-chief of all the powers of the air, is the apparition of a figure on horseback, without a head. It is said by some to be the ghost of a Hessian trooper, whose head had been carried away by a cannon-ball, in some nameless battle during the Revolutionary War, and who is ever and anon seen by the country folk hurrying along in the gloom of night, as if on the wings of the wind. His haunts are not confined to the valley, but extend at times to the adjacent roads, and especially to the vicinity of a church at no great distance. Indeed, certain of the most authentic historians of those parts, who have been careful in collecting and collating the floating facts concerning this spectre, allege that the body of the trooper having been buried in the churchyard, the ghost rides forth to the scene of battle in nightly quest of his head, and that the rushing speed with which he sometimes passes along the Hollow, like a midnight blast, is owing to his being belated, and in a hurry to get back to the churchyard before daybreak.
Such is the general purport of this legendary superstition, which has furnished materials for many a wild story in that region of shadows; and the spectre is known at all the country firesides, by the name of the Headless Horseman of Sleepy Hollow.
It is remarkable that the visionary propensity I have mentioned is not confined to the native inhabitants of the valley, but is unconsciously imbibed by every one who resides there for a time. However wide awake they may have been before they entered that sleepy region, they are sure, in a little time, to inhale the witching influence of the air, and begin to grow imaginative, to dream dreams, and see apparitions.
I mention this peaceful spot with all possible laud, for it is in such little retired Dutch valleys, found here and there embosomed in the great State of New York, that population, manners, and customs remain fixed, while the great torrent of migration and improvement, which is making such incessant changes in other parts of this restless country, sweeps by them unobserved. They are like those little nooks of still water, which border a rapid stream, where we may see the straw and bubble riding quietly at anchor, or slowly revolving in their mimic harbor, undisturbed by the rush of the passing current. Though many years have elapsed since I trod the drowsy shades of Sleepy Hollow, yet I question whether I should not still find the same trees and the same families vegetating in its sheltered bosom.
U.S. Will Withhold Funds For U.N. Agency After Vote to Grant Membership to Palestinians
The United States will not pay $60 million to a U.N. cultural and educational agency after it voted Monday to accept the Palestinian mission as a full member, triggering a U.S. requirement to cut off funds.
"We are not going to be able to continue contributing to the budget," State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said. "Palestinian membership as a state in UNESCO triggers longstanding legislative restrictions which will compel the United States to refrain from making contributions to UNESCO."
Washington is required by law to cut off funding to any U.N. agency if the Palestinian Liberation Organization is granted membership in any group at the international body.
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization voted 107-14 with 52 abstentions on Monday granting Palestinians full membership in the organization. The U.S. voted against the nomination. Eighty-one votes of the 173 UNESCO members were needed for full membership to be approved.
"Long Live Palestine!" one delegate reportedly shouted in French at the meeting.
The U.S. funds about 22 percent of UNESCO's budget, or roughly $80 million annually. Nuland said the $60 million was scheduled to be sent in November.
"We obviously have to comply with U.S. law, to comply with U.S. restrictions. That said, we will have a conversation with Congress on moving forward," she said.
Nuland said that if the U.S. ends up in arrears it could challenge U.S. membership status.
The U.S. rejoined UNESCO in 2002, after having left the organization 19 years earlier.
An aide to House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairwoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen said the congresswoman supports full enforcement of the law, without exception.
Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla., has also introduced legislation that would withhold U.S. contributions from any U.N. agency or program that "upgrades" the status of the Palestinian observer mission at the U.N, whether full membership or not.
Ros-Lehtinen has previously argued efforts at de facto recognition of a Palestinian state is an attempt to evade a negotiated settlement with Israel.
Former U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. John Bolton said the U.N. vote signals weakness in U.S. diplomacy, particularly since some of the United States' closest allies voted against U.S. wishes.
"So ineffective was Obama administration diplomacy, that France voted in favor of Palestinian membership, and Britain and Japan abstained. U.S. statutes, dating from 1990, now require a full cutoff of U.S. funding, which Congress should insist occur immediately. Should the administration seek changes in the applicable statutory provisions that would eliminate or weaken the funding cutoff, Congress should reject them," Bolton said.
"UNESCO has made its decision: it prefers Palestinian membership to American participation. Now let the rest of the U.N. specialized agencies make their choice," he added.
Nuland said that the U.S. doesn't think it is "helpful" that the Palestinians sought membership with UNESCO while the "Quartet" of nations working on Mideast peace tries to get the Israelis and Palestinians back to the negotiating table to create a two-state solution.
"We considered that this was, as I say, regrettable, premature, and undermined the process of getting where we want to go," she said. "It creates tensions when all of us should be concerning our efforts to get the parties back to the table."
Israel's ambassador to UNESCO Nimrod Barkan told Reuters that the vote is a tragedy.
"UNESCO deals in science, not science fiction," he reportedly said. "They forced on UNESCO a political subject out of its competence."
Okay, okay, let’s all stand up and say it together: We are appalled at the kind of Jews who deface graves, burn down mosques and spray-paint hate slogans. I don’t know a single person in this country who disagrees or could find any way to excuse, condone or rationalize such indecent behavior.The Jawa Report agrees with her that the court's decision is some of the most bottom of the barrel political correctness ever seen, not to mention that the authorities' allowing this harvest of hate to go into Itamar is abominable. This is exactly why legislation is needed to overcome this kind of putrid PC mindset.
Do we feel better now? I know what would make me feel better: never having to read another self-righteous, one-sided demonization of “settlers” or another hand-wringing, groveling apologia from my government. Although I suppose the words have to be said, they do no good, except to make the writer or speaker feel superior. They don’t illuminate the problem or in any way set us on a road to redemption.
Instead, let us all open up the books and look directly at the pictures in this bloody album, something we Jews in Israel are loath to do, preferring – if we agree to look at all – a soft-focus lens, or, better still, to shift focus completely, like the post-bus-bombing haste to pick up body parts, wash away blood and hide the charred metal carcasses before, God forbid!, a foreign reporter can snap a picture.
See, we are back to normal, whoever-is-in-charge seems to be saying with a smirk of self-congratulation. Good as new. Don’t make a fuss. Suck it up.
That actually works for most of us in Israel, most of the time. But there are those few who find it hard to move on, who want closure of some kind, call it justice, retaliation or revenge. That said, very few of them are arsonists or the ones with the spray cans.
Those are mostly idiot kids, or the kind of criminal element that always finds its way into extremist circles in all countries, religions and movements. The ones that concern me are the normal people forced to face extreme circumstances, who could very well be pushed over the edge.
Let’s start with the people of Itamar[...]
On September 13, Hakim was sentenced to five consecutive life sentences. Explaining their decision not to invoke the death penalty, the judges said: “The imprisoned criminal, whose life would be taken after being sentenced to death, might turn into a martyr, a shahid in their terms, with all the meanings that are attached to it.”
Dear judges, so what? He’ll go on the PA national heroes list, with every other suicide bomber and other scum. He’ll have a street named after him in Gaza. Isn’t that better than making him into an incentive for yet another terrorist kidnapping, subjecting us all for years to the pleas of desperate, grieving parents, and inevitably opening the doors and setting him free? As if that decision weren’t enough, last week residents of Awarta were permitted by Israeli authorities to enter Itamar to harvest their olives. The result could certainly have been foretold. Residents of Itamar, who firmly believe that Amjad used the last harvest to scout their homes and plan his barbaric slaughter, claimed that the Awarta villagers had drawn fingers across their throats and told them they’d be “Fogeled.”
Got maybe 2 inches of very wet very heavy snow here. Throughout the county it ranged from 5 to 12 inches. In Berks alone there were/still are 65,000 without power at all. We were fortunate here.
In more ways than one. At one point during the storm I went out to look around at the growing damage when I heard the CRACK felt the snow and ice on my neck and back and remembered how to run seconds before the thigh thick widow-maker came down where I had been standing.
Elderly gentleman over in Alsace Township wasn't so fortunate. He was killed while sleeping in his recliner when a similar branch crashed through the roof of his mobile home.
So I'm back online. Got a good bit of chainsaw work ahead of me this week, though.
How'd the rest of you make out?
Unesco gives Palestinians full membership
Unesco, The United Nations' cultural agency, has decided to give the Palestinians full membership of the body, in a vote that will boost their bid for recognition as a state at the UN.
Unesco is the first UN agency the Palestinians have sought to join as a full member since President Mahmoud Abbas applied for full membership of the United Nations on Sept. 23.
The United States, Canada and Germany voted against Palestinian membership. Brazil, Russia, China, India, South Africa and France voted in favour. Britain abstained.
Huge cheers went up in Unesco after delegates voted to approve the membership Monday. One shouted "Long Live Palestine!" in French.
Israel said that the vote will harm prospects for the resumption of Middle East peace talks.
"This is a unilateral Palestinian manoeuver which will bring no change on the ground but further removes the possibility for a peace agreement," Israel's Foreign Ministry said in a statement. "This decision will not turn the Palestinian Authority into an actual state yet places unnecessary burdens on the route to renewing negotiations."
On Sunday, Riyad al-Malki, the foreign minister had said of the bid: "This success, if it is realised, and with this large number of votes, will give a great boost to the efforts that we are making to get the required vote in the United Nations."
Admission will be seen by the Palestinians as a moral victory in their bid for full UN membership.
Washington, which has the power to veto such applications, opposes the Palestinian bid for a full UN seat on the grounds it is unhelpful to efforts to revive peace talks with Israel, the last round of which broke down a year ago.
Israel's closest international ally, the United States has said it will use its veto power in the Security Council to quash the bid for full UN membership, were it brought to a vote.
But Unesco is one of the UN agencies the Palestinians can join as a full member regardless of their broader status at the United Nations, where they are currently classified as "an observer entity".
Palestinian success could bring a financial cost for Unesco. Under US law, the admission as a full Unesco member would trigger a cut-off in US funding which accounts for 22 per cent of the agency's funding.
Beacon Power, Backed by Obama Administration Provided US Loan Guarantees, Just Like Solyndra, Files Bankruptcy
From Eye on the World:
Oct. 31 (Bloomberg) -- Beacon Power Corp., an energy- storage company that received $43 million in backing from the U.S. program that supported failed solar-panel maker Solyndra LLC, filed for bankruptcy after struggling to raise private financing.But hey, that good thing is,
The money-losing company, which makes flywheels that manage energy moving through a power grid, had sought to avoid the fate of Solyndra, which entered bankruptcy last month after receiving a $535 million loan guarantee from a U.S. Energy Department program designed to spur alternative energy development. Beacon faced delisting of its shares by the Nasdaq Stock Market and warned in an Aug. 9 regulatory filing that it might not remain a “going concern.”
“The current economic and political climate, the financing terms mandated by DOE, and Beacon’s recent delisting notice from Nasdaq have together severely restricted Beacon’s access to additional investments through the equity markets,” Chief Executive Officer F. William Capp said in papers filed yesterday in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Wilmington, Delaware.
Beacon, based in Tyngsboro, Massachusetts, listed assets of $72 million and debt of $47 million in its Chapter 11 petition. Two affiliates also entered court protection.
Beacon’s first grid-scale plant, with 200 flywheels, began operating in January. The 20-megawatt facility in Stephentown, New York, was funded using the $43 million Energy Department loan guarantee issued in August 2010. About $39.1 million is currently due under the loan, Capp said.
In addition, Beacon received $29 million in grants from the U.S. and Pennsylvania for a 20-megawatt plant in that state and hired Group Robinson LLC to help raise more funds for the $53 million project. Group Robinson, a Menlo Park, California- based renewable-energy consulting company, also was helping Beacon find customers outside the U.S.
Beacon’s U.S. loan agreement includes “many protections for the taxpayer,” said Damien LaVera, an Energy Department spokesman.
“This plant itself, which is operational and generating revenue, is a valuable collateral asset,” LaVera said in an e-mail yesterday. The Beacon Power subsidiary that received the loan guarantee “has cash reserves and proceeds from the plant that it was required to hold as collateral on the loan.”
Coptic Bishop: Christians Are Experiencing Their Worst Time in Recent Centuries
Earlier this month Egyptian forces drove over Coptic Christians in military vehicles at a rally in Cairo.
The Copts were protesting violence against Christians in Egypt.
This weekend Coptic Bishop Anba Stephanos told Aid to the Church in Need reporters that Coptic Christians are experiencing their worst time in recent centuries. Stephanos also said that all Coptic Christians are “prepared for martyrdom, as at the beginnings of Christianity.
ACN website reported, via Free Republic:
Bishop Anba Stephanos (Orthodox Coptic) of Beba and Elfashn
Coptic Bishop: “Christians are currently experiencing their worst time in recent centuries”
Christians in Egypt are currently experiencing their worst time in recent centuries. This statement was made by the Coptic Orthodox Bishop Stephanos of Beba and Elfashn to the international Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN). Christians are being violently killed under the eyes of the international media. Also, for the first time in many years, churches are being systematically burned and destroyed. The police are taking no action and nobody is punished for it. In the Egyptian media, “the facts are systematically covered up in order to keep the international media from reporting the truth and bringing pressure from outside,” he complained. However, video films showing the massacre of demonstrators on 9 October were broadcast by the three television stations operated by the Coptic Church and have thus also found their way into the international media. This time the attacks on Copts “have been better documented”.
Problems are also experienced in day-to-day life because calls are often made in the media not to buy from Christian merchants or to sell anything to Christians. Businessmen are therefore faced with a struggle for economic survival. Christians are indirectly excluded from employment, for example by job advertisements specifying “a female employee with headscarf”. Attempts are being made “to drive the Christians out”.
The Bishop warned against placing too much hope in the elections that are planned to take place in Egypt at the end of November. The future is “absolutely unclear”, he said. Nevertheless, in his view the Copts can “play a major role” because they are “numerically strong”.
Bishop Stephanos underlined the need for mutual solidarity among Christians. Jesus Christ said that we are all of one body. When one limb suffers, all the others suffer with it. Asked about his hopes for the future, the Bishop said: “We pray for freedom and peace, not only for Egypt but for the whole world.” If peace existed, the consequence would be that such problems would no longer arise. Nevertheless, all Coptic Christians are “prepared for martyrdom, as at the beginnings of Christianity.” From childhood onwards they hold close ties to their Church, which they regard as “their mother”. They would “support their country and their Church without any hesitation.”
Deadliest Afghan Bombing Points to Pakistan
Posted by Ryan Mauro
On Saturday, Pakistan showed how dismissive it is of U.S. pressure. Only days after Secretary State Clinton’s visit to Pakistan and one day prior to her trip to Afghanistan, the Pakistan-based Haqqani network carried out the deadliest bombing in Afghanistan since the war began. Thirteen NATO personnel were killed by a suicide bomber and there is every reason to believe it will be traced back to Pakistan’s intelligence service.
The attack is a challenge from Pakistan. Haroun Mir, an Afghan analyst, said, “The Pakistanis are sending another message, too: They are not willing to abandon their support of the Taliban.” The Pentagon’s latest report on the war in Afghanistan states that the Pakistani safe havens and the weaknesses of the Afghan government present the most serious problems to the war effort. The fact that Pakistan allowed the Haqqani network to carry out such an operation shows it has no intention of changing its behavior.
Saturday’s attack is particularly brazen given the direct accusations leveled at Pakistan by senior U.S. officials. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen, bluntly called the Haqqani network a “veritable arm” of the Pakistani ISI intelligence service. When asked to clarify, he responded, “I phrased it the way I wanted it to be phrased.” He also accused the ISI of orchestrating a truck bombing on September 10 that wounded 77 American soldiers, attacks on the U.S. embassy and NATO headquarters and a June 28 attack on an Intercontinental Hotel. government accused the ISI of organizing the September 20 assassination of former Afghan President Rabbani, who was leading negotiations with the Taliban. Pakistan’s reaction has been to brush it off.
The unfortunate reality is that until Pakistan stops facilitating acts of terrorism in Afghanistan, the country cannot be stabilized. This support is also critical to Al-Qaeda’s survival. The Pentagon report says that the Haqqani network is the group’s “most significant enabler” and Al-Qaeda views the Taliban as “integral” to its own campaigns. In a new BBC documentary titled “Secret Pakistan,” a Taliban fighter says that Al-Qaeda operatives identify candidates for suicide bombings in Pakistani terrorist camps run by members of the ISI. These candidates are then set apart for specialized instruction.The documentary interviews other mid-level Taliban commanders about their time in Pakistan. One says that Pakistan’s help plays a “significant role” and the safe havens are “really important.” They say that their network of training camps are overseen by members of the ISI or those closely tied to it. “They are all the ISI’s men. They are the ones who run the training. First, they train us about bombs, then they give us practical guidance,” a Taliban commander says.
The film also brings to light new evidence that Pakistan did know brought his family to Abbottabad in 2003 for a period of time.’s location. A former Afghan intelligence chief said he told President Musharraf in 2006 that Bin Laden was in a town called Manshera, only 12 miles from Abbottabad, where he was ultimately killed. An arms smuggler for the Taliban said he personally helped shuffle Bin Laden from one location to the next. In addition, Abu Farraj al-Libi, a senior Al-Qaeda operative who was in charge of finding a safe haven,
The Pentagon report shows that the U.S. is indeed making progress in Afghanistan, but this progress will be limited because of the Pakistanis, and once U.S. forces leave, the progress could be jeopardized. The report found that the levels of violence in Afghanistan fell for the first time in five years in May. The number of attacks in September was 26% less than the previous year. However, cross-border attacks are again increasing and much of the fire comes from areas near Pakistani military posts. This again proves Pakistani culpability.
The U.S. drone has been the weapon of choice in striking at Pakistan’s safe havens for terrorists. In mid-October, two senior Al-Qaeda leaders were killed, both involved in planning attacks overseas. One was a member of the terrorist group’s Shura Council. On October 26, the drones killed between 13 and 22 members of the Taliban in South Waziristan, including a deputy to the chief of the Pakistani Taliban. On October 30, the fourth strike in five days happened, killing 6 terrorists in North Waziristan. The drone campaign has been decisive in the war on terror and in making progress in Afghanistan, but Saturday’s attack shows that it alone cannot defeat the Pakistan-based terror networks.
The progress in Afghanistan is encouraging, but the cost of it may be for naught if the Pakistan-based terrorists unravel it as U.S. forces depart. American soldiers in Afghanistan deserve to have a winnable mission and to be protected. Instead, they are fighting a war that cannot be won until Pakistan is held accountable for trying to kill them. It is time to honor our soldiers by making Pakistan pay a steep price for its actions.
What Are Unalienable Rights?
by Russell D. Longcore
Owner and Editor, DumpDC.com
I don’t think I’ve ever seen an expansive article about unalienable rights. We all seem to just refer to the Declaration of Independence and what Jefferson wrote, and then defer to it. But natural law and unalienable rights are where it all starts.
Thomas Jefferson wrote: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, and are endowed by their Creator with certain Unalienable Rights… Self-Evident. Obvious. Perhaps it was self-evident to the 18th Century common man, but I submit to you that the common 21st Century mind is not equally equipped. Much of the wisdom of the ages has been withheld from the modern man by the government schools. And why not? If you were a government, both tasked by The People to educate them and controlled by the same People, why teach generation after generation how to control you? Why not teach those generations how to be controlled? Self-evident truths bow to governmental self-preservation when The People aren’t watching vigilantly.
Building a tower requires building a firm foundation FIRST…or your tower goes over when the winds blow hard. Gentle readers, we’re in a CAT 5 hurricane right now that’s going to take down our American tower. If you do not have a working understanding of unalienable rights, you’ll likely fall for the next iteration of oppressive, tyrannical government foisted upon an uneducated populace who move their lips when they read. And if you don’t truly understand this philosophy, you cannot possibly teach it to your young.
Unalienable rights are also known as Natural Law or Absolute Rights. In this article these terms will be interchangeable. Also, the use of a male pronoun or the word “man” means all humans.
We begin with a definition of “Unalienable:”
“Unalienable: incapable of being alienated, that is, sold and transferred.” Black’s Law Dictionary, Sixth Edition, page 1523. One cannot sell, transfer or surrender unalienable rights. The Creator bestowed them on every individual. All human beings possess unalienable rights. Unalienable rights cannot be taken nor surrendered but they can be simply ignored. This is a little like the story Jesus told about the prodigal son. A recalcitrant son learns through tough lessons that he cannot escape his father’s love nor his rights as his father’s son.
But can we find natural human rights without a recognition of a Creator? Yes, without a doubt. What you’ll learn here about Natural Law dwells in the heart of every human being simply because he exists. The concept of Unalienable Rights is life-affirming whether or not you believe in a Higher Power, since the concept showcases the uniqueness of the human being in this world. Unalienable Rights are the highest form of humanness while at the same time the most elementary of man’s characteristics.
Unalienable or Inalienable?
There is a very serious error made throughout America as related to Unalienable Rights. That is, that many people use the term “Inalienable Rights” and think that the terms are interchangeable. But they are as different as night and day.
Inalienable Rights: Rights which are not capable of being surrendered or transferred without the consent of the one possessing such rights. Morrison v. State, Mo. App., 252 S.W.2d 97, 101.
Inalienable rights can be transferred, sold or surrendered if you give your consent. Inalienable rights are not bestowed by the Creator or inherent in humans. ”Persons” have inalienable rights, and the word “Person” is a legal term¹. Inalienable rights can be bestowed to persons by government, and can be likewise removed from persons by government. At times, government itself can be considered a “Person” in a legal sense. Most state constitutions recognize only inalienable rights.
Therefore, because we possess Unalienable Rights, endowed by our Creator, to secure these rights(not grant or create them), “Governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”² And the rights we bestow upon government are the Inalienable Rights that we all possess that can be transferred to other persons.
We’re going to build this like a pyramid, much like the Hierarchy of Needs developed by Professor Abraham Maslow, Ph.D. He placed the bedrock human needs as the base of the pyramid, these being the most fundamental needs upon which all others are built. Physiological needs are first, simple survival of the human body. Next up comes Safety, then Love, Esteem, then Self-actualization as the headstone.
I don’t have a cool graphic for Unalienable Rights, so you’ll just have to look at Maslow’s pyramid and use your imagination. It won’t be all that hard.
The Right of Life
When Thomas Jefferson wrote of “certain Unalienable Rights,” he placed them in the proper order, with Life being the first and most basic of all. This is the right to simply exist as a sentient being…one able to perceive sensations, a consciousness. Unalienable rights come into being at the moment that a human becomes a human. I do not mean when the individual becomes a viable human, capable of life outside the womb. Both sides of the abortion issue agree that a zygote…a human female egg fertilized by a male sperm…is human, and that every day after it becomes an embryo for about 270 days it is human. Our right to life means our right to express our humanness and to simply be alive. The opposite is the death of a human being. The right to life gets very complicated, since none of us were able to leave the womb and live without assistance, sustenance and support. An argument about embryonic viability here entirely misses the point, since even post-birth humans need daily care until at least age 5 (or 10) or they will likely die. So along with our own innate right to life, we acknowledge our responsibility to assist other human life to exist and express itself. Maslow pointed to the need of breathing, food, water, sleep, sex, homeostasis and excretion…all part of maintaining life, and without any one of those needs, life would eventually stop. Note here that the right of life is seldom exercised individually, but is inextricably tied to the lives of others.
Right of Personal Security
The next step up the Unalienable Rights pyramid is the right to protect one’s very life and bodily existence. And by acknowledging the duties we have to others to whom we give life…our progeny…we extend the right to protect their lives also. Personal security first means that our bodies are safe from harm. That security encompasses both protection by others while we are unable to secure our own safety and protecting ourselves and our loved ones after we become capable of assuring our own safety. Note here that the right of personal security is seldom exercised individually, but is inextricably tied to the safety of others. The Second Amendment has its foundation in this unalienable human right, relying upon it to secure a free state through the use of a militia. The Second Amendment is not the “right” to keep and bear arms. It is the restriction on Congress to violate the Unalienable Right of Personal Security. Both the 4th, 5th and 14th Amendments were supposed to secure this Right.
The Right of Labor
The first manifestation of the greater Right of Property is found in the Right of Labor. Every human being owns the work of his own mind and hands, and any hindrance to his employing his mental and physical ability in whatever method he thinks proper, without causing injury to another individual, would be a violation of the Right of Labor. This right will be found in Maslow’s Safety block.
Right to Acquire and Enjoy Property
“Without property rights, no other rights are possible. Since man has to sustain his life by his own effort, the man who has no right to the product of his effort has no means to sustain his life. The man who produces while others dispose of his product is a slave.” Ayn Rand, The Virtue of Selfishness
This Right touches all of the other Unalienable Rights. First, a human fully possesses his own body, and may do with it what he pleases, as long as his choices do not violate the property rights of another human. Next, man owns his labor and may use his labor for his own subsistence. He may use his labor as an expression of value or a medium of exchange, and may freely exchange that value to acquire property. Then he may have quiet enjoyment of his property according to any manner that best reflects his happiness. Property may take the form of physical assets, but may also be less tangible assets like intellectual property. Property rights mean ownership and control, which includes the right to use an asset as well as the right to prohibit others from using the asset. Property rights also allow the owner to determine the value of an asset, and to even destroy an asset if he so chooses. The only restriction on the Unalienable Right of Property is that it does not infringe upon the Unalienable Rights of others.
As John Locke stated in The Second Treatise on Government (1690) “The great and chief end therefore of men uniting into commonwealths, and putting themselves under government, is the preservation of property.” What man would willingly join a society that did not protect his enjoyment of the fruits of his own labor?
In The Wealth of Nations (1776), Adam Smith states that “private property created a role for government in defending property (rights), and the existence of government created the security to stimulate the creation of new property.” Many today wonder why the economies of the nations are in such dreadful shape. But most governments around the world are undermining property rights, the very reason for their existence. When there is no predictability in the marketplace, and individuals are preyed upon by governments, the incentive for creating new property is diminished or altogether extinguished. Those still seeking to create new property will migrate to the governments that best protect property rights. That’s why capital is leaving America for foreign locations and will continue to do so.
Right to Contract
This Unalienable Right gives all individuals the liberty to voluntarily enter into contract with any other individual or group of individuals, so long as there is agreement as to the terms of the contract by all parties involved, and so long as the contractual agreement does not violate another individual’s Unalienable Rights. Therefore, in light of property rights, individuals may sell their labor to an employer at mutually agreeable terms. Individuals may profit from the disposition of other property by mutual agreement.
All Unalienable Rights preceded the establishment of governments. However, governments chafe mightily under this Right. In America, the years 1897 to 1937 were a 40-year period in which the US Supreme Court vigorously protected the Right to Contract. This period of time is called the “Lochner years,” referring to Lochner v. New York (1905). In Lochner, the High Court struck down a New York statute that set maximum working hours. Justice Rufus Peckham, writing for the majority, stated that the Due Process Clauses found in the 5th and 14th Amendments were stout enough to protect the Unalienable Right to Contract, and that the State of New York had no business restricting the hours that an employee and employer may agree to. After 1937, the Court has relentlessly attacked the Right to Contract, supporting laws like the minimum wage and child labor statutes. Most of the burdensome Federal regulations are attacks on the Right to Contract, since they require parties to contracts to perform acts that they would likely not agree to if given a choice.
Right of Free Speech
This is the freedom to speak freely, provided that your speech does not violate the free speech of other individuals. The Right of Free Speech is an absolute right, subject to no other restrictions than another individual’s Unalienable Rights. Naturally, your liberty to speak does not allow for libel, slander, fraud or falsehood. This is another Unalienable Right which governments despise, and most governments do not allow untrammeled free speech. And free speech may take many forms, such as spoken, written, printed and performed.
Right of Beliefs or Conscience
Individuals have an Unalienable Right to believe what they wish, to worship as their conscience dictates, or as a negative right, to not believe or not worship as their conscience dictates.
Right of Personal Liberty
The classical liberal (the good kind) concept of personal liberty is as a moral principle in which an individual is free to govern himself, his life and his property without outside compulsion, force or fraud, provided that his personal governance does not intrude upon or violate the liberty of another individual.
Right to the Pursuit of Happiness
“Striving to find meaning in one’s life is the primary motivational force in man.”~ Dr. Viktor Frankl, 1992
The Pursuit of Happiness provides the vehicle through which man can find life’s meaning.
The Pursuit of Happiness would be found on Maslow’s pyramid at the very top as a Self-Actualization need. But this Right encapsulates all the other Rights and cannot be accomplished until the other Unalienable Rights are in place and utilized. Your pursuit of happiness would be short-circuited if you do not enjoy the Rights to Life, Labor, Property, Contract, Belief and Liberty.
To understand how this phrase “the pursuit of happiness” found its way into the Declaration of Independence, you must know some background about Thomas Jefferson. He was strongly influenced by the Greek philosopher Epicurus, even referring to himself as an Epicurean. The teacher’s philosophy was simple: if you cultivated close personal relationships, limited your desires to the necessities of life, and found joy in the moment, you would find happiness. Everything in moderation.
Think about a Being that creates humans, then endows them with Unalienable Rights simply because they are human, and the pinnacle of their Rights being the Right to the Pursuit of Happiness! Not its attainment, but the pursuit. The Creator is no cosmic Joker, playing a cynical game by creating a desire in the breast of each human being for happiness, but having no available tools to meet the desire. We are endowed with the desire, the ability and the Unalienable Rights necessary to live a life of purpose and meaning, and to pass on those purposes and those meanings to subsequent generations, all seeking the same outcomes.
Share this article with those you love. Then discuss it. Teach your children these lessons so they understand how the Creator meant for them to live. Understanding your Unalienable Rights will give you a reason to live, a gratefulness to your Creator, and true self-esteem based in reality.
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¹The Declaration of Independence by Thomas Jefferson, 1776.
²PERSON. This word is applied to men, women and children, who are called natural persons. In law, man and person are not exactly synonymous terms. Any human being is a man, whether he be a member of society or not, whatever may be the rank he holds, or whatever may be his age, sex, &c. A person is a man considered according to the rank he holds in society, with all the rights to which the place he holds entitles him, and the duties which it imposes. 1 Bouv. Inst. n. 137.
2. It is also used to denote a corporation which is an artificial person. 1 Bl. Com. 123; 4 Bing. 669; C. 33 Eng. C. L R. 488; Woodes. Lect. 116; Bac. Us. 57; 1 Mod. 164.
3. But when the word “Persons” is spoken of in legislative acts, natural persons will be intended, unless something appear in the context to show that it applies to artificial persons. 1 Scam. R. 178.
4. Natural persons are divided into males, or men; and females or women. Men are capable of all kinds of engagements and functions, unless by reasons applying to particular individuals. Women cannot be appointed to any public office, nor perform any civil functions, except those which the law specially declares them capable of exercising. Civ. Code of Louis. art. 25.
5. They are also sometimes divided into free persons and slaves. Freemen are those who have preserved their natural liberty, that is to say, who have the right of doing what is not forbidden by the law. A slave is one who is in the power of a master to whom he belongs. Slaves are sometimes ranked not with persons but things. But sometimes they are considered as persons for example, a negro is in contemplation of law a person, so as to be capable of committing a riot in conjunction with white men. 1 Bay, 358. Vide Man.
6. Persons are also divided into citizens, (q.v.) and aliens, (q.v.) when viewed with regard to their political rights. When they are considered in relation to their civil rights, they are living or civilly dead; vide Civil Death; outlaws; and infamous persons.
7. Persons are divided into legitimates and bastards, when examined as to their rights by birth.
8. When viewed in their domestic relations, they are divided into parents and children; husbands and wives; guardians and wards; and masters and servants son, as it is understood in law, see 1 Toull. n. 168; 1 Bouv. Inst. n. 1890, note.
A Law Dictionary, Adapted to the Constitution and Laws of the United States. By John Bouvier. Published 1856.
Slouching toward the 1930s
By Monty Pelerin
The current economic crisis rivals the one of the 1930s. Despite shameless propaganda by government and its cronies in the media, people understand that the situation is getting worse. Consumer confidence continues to decline as does confidence in the future.
We are headed for an event that history will record as worse than the Great Depression. It is unavoidable.
The Level of Debt
The principal reason for the dire prediction is the level of debt outstanding. Current debt levels are simply not sustainable. Assets and cash flows cannot support or service this debt.
No economic recovery can occur without massive debt reduction. As shown below, current debt is much higher than the 1930s:
As a percentage of GDP, debt is at an all-time high. Immediately prior to the Great Depression US debt was about 200% of GDP. It rose briefly to 300% as a result of massive government interventions to combat the Depression.
At the beginning of the current downturn, debt was about 370% of GDP. It is about 400% currently.
Eyeballing the chart from 1870 forward, debt levels are generally in the range of 150% of GDP. That appears to be the norm for the last 140 years. Only in the 1920s and recently did debt exceed 180% of GDP. Even funding World Wars I and II did not drive debt above 180%.
To return to 150% requires a reduction of about $30 Trillion in debt. That represents about two full years worth of GDP!
The Political Myths
After the 1930s politicians convinced themselves and the public of two things:
- Free markets need government interventions to produce a healthy economy.
- Keynesian pseudo science provided the tools necessary to manage the economy.
Both beliefs were false, but both aided politicians' insatiable drive for power and control. Once the public came to believe these myths, government owned the economy. Any economic problem became a political one. Economic slowdowns were no longer politically acceptable.
"Don't just stand there, do something" drove economic policy. It was politically impossible to allow an economy to correct on its own. Political action was required, even if such activity was ultimately harmful. Politicians had to do something, anything! Their constituents demanded it.
The "government is responsible" attitude quickly spread. Today, virtually any perceived problem or inequity is assumed to be fixable by government. Government readily took on responsibility for virtually every aspect of our lives.
The madness is evident. It is assumed that government creates jobs, educates kids, designs toilets and light bulbs. It is necessary to provide mortgages, retirement benefits and healthcare. "Green energy" and other new technologies are assumed impossible without the assistance of government.
This litany of the presumed need for government could continue for pages. Virtually all these presumptions are false. Worse, many in the public still believe that these "services" are "free."
Every swing in the business cycle, no matter how mild, became the responsibility of government. Government was to step in and "fix" economic problems. Seventy years of such "fixes" preceded our current problem.
Economic downturns are both normal and necessary. Individual and business mistakes are remedied via economic slowdowns. Misplaced capital and labor is freed up for more productive uses. When this cleansing does not occur, an economy becomes less efficient and grows at a slower rate. The mistakes remain in place and are perpetuated.
Government intervention is not corrective. It is a cover up of prior mistakes. The phrase "pretend and extend" describes what happens. Instead of allowing the economy to correct, government attempts to avoid the correction and the pain by covering up the mistakes. That has been the history of much of the last 80 years. Continued interventionism brought the economy to this crisis point.
The artificial boom that began decades ago is exhausted. Response to the dot-com stock market bubble was the last coverup that "worked." The system was flooded with credit and one bubble was replaced with another. Now the housing bubble has burst, marking the high point of "pretend and extend."
Credit expansion since 2008 has been impotent. The real economy has stopped responding. Economists who advocate more stimulus or credit are either ill-trained or have political motives. Governmental stimulus and credit expansion created the problem. Recommendations for more of the same qualify as insanity per Albert Einstein's definition.
A Worldwide Problem
The US is not unique. Most of the developed world is burdened by excessive credit and government spending. Easy credit enabled governments to grow too large and individuals to take on too much debt. The point where markets are unwilling to provide more debt has arrived.
The position of the US, thought to be stronger than other countries, is not, as shown in this chart:
Rumors of another US credit downgrade circulate for good reason.
Governments everywhere are trying to prevent a massive economic and financial correction, but they will not succeed. In order for economies to return to health, debt must be liquidated. De-leveraging must occur. Debt will be paid down and/or defaulted upon. Normal economic growth cannot resume until excess debt is removed from the system.
The Problem With De-Leveraging
Reducing debt is known as de-leveraging. The ramifications of de-leveraging are not widely understood. Ray Dalio of Bridgewater Associates discussed the process on the Charlie Rose show (full transcript):
I think it's important to understand that we're going through a deleveraging. So we have to understand the big picture is -- there's a deleveraging. Three big themes: first there's a deleveraging; secondly we have a problem with monetary and fiscal policies are running out of ammunition; and thirdly we have an issue in terms of people most importantly who are at each other's throats politically and globally in terms of having a problem resolving those.
So then we begin the process in reverse as you can't spend as much you -- somebody else's income falls. And that process works in reverse.
Imagine you earned $100,000 a year and you didn't have any debt. You can go to a bank and borrow $10,000 a year. You can spend, therefore, $110 a year. When you spend $110,000 a year, somebody else earns $110,000 and they can go to a bank and there's a self-reinforcing process in which your debt rises in relationship to your income.
And that goes on for a long time and that goes on for 50 or 75 years through history. We've had 50, 75-year cycles and then you reach a point where you can't anymore get more debt and the process starts to change. And you can't leverage up. Traditionally the private sector leverages up, we leveraged up then we got to a point in 2007 where we had a bubble and that same sort of bubble that happened in Japan, same sort of bubble that happened in the Great Depression, meaning we reached our debt limits. Europe's reached its debt limits.
The current credit bubble is bigger than the one that preceded and caused The Great Depression. Consumer and government balance sheets are worse than they were eighty years ago. Income is incapable of supporting current debt levels.
Reducing debt to manageable levels will produce another Great Depression, likely greater and more painful than the original. Debt reduction requires lower spending and higher savings. Large amounts of debt will not be paid and will be liquidated via defaults.
Until now, governments have done everything to prevent this natural process from occurring. According to Dalio, governments have "no more tools in the tool kit."
Some governments and private companies will experience bankruptcy. Harrisburg, PA just did so. National government defaults will occur with Greece most likely be the first. When the economy begins to shrink, private companies will follow.
The Other Alternative
There is no other alternative cure for the economy other than de-leveraging.
Governments around the world will attempt to avoid de-leveraging because of the associated pain of a Great Depression. Unfortunately, that is not possible as Ludwig von Mises pointed out:
There is no means of avoiding the final collapse of a boom brought about by credit (debt) expansion. The alternative is only whether the crisis should come sooner as the result of a voluntary abandonment of further credit (debt) expansion, or later as a final and total catastrophe of the currency system involved.
Prior attempts to avoid corrections got us to this point. Now the supply of credit has been exhausted and taxpayers deeply indebted. Another coverup is not possible.
The simple summary of what years of governmental intervention accomplished is the impending economic and financial tragedy. Politicians from the past may have gleaned benefits. Our generation is left to pick up the pieces.
A printing press is available to most countries. It is no solution to the underlying economic problems, but is the method that the political class will try once again. Doing so will make the situation worse. It steals purchasing power from the private sector. In extremis, it will cause hyperinflation, effectively wiping out the value of savings and fixed contract obligations.
Credit creation cannot prevent de-leveraging. It merely defers it and impoverishes the citizens of a country prior to the onset of a Depression. Will the US government engage in such chicanery? Based on past history, the answer must be an unqualified Yes! Jon Hilsenrath, sometimes referred to as the unofficial trial balloon holder for the Fed, has reported:
Federal Reserve officials are starting to build a case for a new program of buying mortgage-backed securities to boost the ailing economy, though they appear unlikely to move swiftly.
Steve Englander of Citibank describes how Europe will be set up as an excuse for more credit creation:
Policymakers in the US, UK and elsewhere are using the euro crisis as cover to ease policy. For example, the FRBNY's Dudley yesterday characterized even the improved US numbers as disappointing and pointed to further measures if growth did not improve. Chinese growth targets and policy maker comments imply that measures might be taken if there is any sign of slowing. The BoE has already expanded it QE program.
That a Great Depression lies in our near future is not at issue. Whether we are forced down the route of hyperinflation before the correction occurs is unknown.
Our best outcome is a Depression tomorrow. Better sooner than later. That is what politicians have provided. Hopefully they will not "do something" but "just stand there." The economy needs to be left alone. Their help is killing us. Hyperinflation will truly destroy.
Monty Pelerin blogs at Monty Pelerin's World.
To the rest of us nothing could be more obvious than that THESE are who the 1% really are. THE FEDERAL GOVT, THE ACADEMICS WHO ADVISE THEM AND BUSINESS FOR MONEY AND THEN MOVE INTO BOTH, AND THE HIGH END FINANCIAL MANIPULATORS WHO THEN SLIDE INTO GOVT AND UNIVERSITIES TO ADVISE BOTH…AND THEN THE GOVT AGAIN WHO MAKES THE RULES THAT MAKE THE UNETHICAL AND IMMORAL LEGAL - who are really ONE.
Organized theft among govt, academia and humongous multinational businesses by making legal what is obviously immoral, and unethical is NOT capitalism.
It is CORRUPTION CAUSED BY GREED, and clearly NOTHING HAS CHANGED.
Any bank too big to fail must be broken down.
No savings bank can be an investment bank.
Banks that wish to engage in real risk, must have very stringent capital reserve rules.
Bonuses for derivative financial products must be paid out throughout the life of the derivatives, NOT AT CONTRACT SIGNING
What is truly ironic is that the left saw a revolutionary socialist in Obama, and so did the right, and it is clear that he DOES believe in the social programs in which this elite knows not best, but almost all.
However it should be clear that he is NO REVOLUTIONARY, for his prescription to fix these structural problems he inherited is to accelerate the very processes which brought us to where we are. He got a shitty load of crap, and then made it immeasurably larger. BECAUSE HE IS ONE OF THEM