Posse Comitatus: Rest In Peace

Of all the idiocy we’ve seen during Dubya’s administration, this may end up being the worst……

The U.S. military expects to have 20,000 uniformed troops inside the United States by 2011 trained to help state and local officials respond to a nuclear terrorist attack or other domestic catastrophe, according to Pentagon officials. […] There are critics of the change, in the military and among civil liberties groups and libertarians who express concern that the new homeland emphasis threatens to strain the military and possibly undermine the Posse Comitatus Act, a 130-year-old federal law restricting the military’s role in domestic law enforcement.


The American Civil Liberties Union and the libertarian Cato Institute are troubled by what they consider an expansion of executive authority.

Domestic emergency deployment may be “just the first example of a series of expansions in presidential and military authority,” or even an increase in domestic surveillance, said Anna Christensen of the ACLU’s National Security Project. And Cato Vice President Gene Healy warned of “a creeping militarization” of homeland security.

“There’s a notion that whenever there’s an important problem, that the thing to do is to call in the boys in green,” Healy said, “and that’s at odds with our long-standing tradition of being wary of the use of standing armies to keep the peace.”

Given the way the ‘war on drugs’ has turned so many US law enforcement agencies into thuggish paramilitary shock troops, jailed thousands of non-violent offenders, and overthrown many long-held constitutional protections, it’s pretty safe to assume that such a resource of state power will eventually be used to assist other “high risk” law enforcement activities, such as braking up political riots, anti-terrorism raids, and so forth.

Barack Obama was elected on the slogan of ‘change’. Let us hope one of his first acts is to squash this nonsense while it’s still an idea.

I’m not holding my breath.

Arguing about freedom with a communist

I recently had an argument on Usenet with a communist regarding an important aspect of freedom: doing what you want with what you have.

My opponent, a polite Australian communist named Fran was arguing the usual undefinable socialist platitudes: that using private property for ‘frivilous’ reasons (ie. more than what we ‘need’) is immoral as it wastes resources, keeps others in poverty, violates the rules of social ‘obligation’ and leads to an empty, meaningless life.

The final posts in the thread nicely sum up the argument that occured. I’ve posted the exchange below the cut. For the purposes of readability, I’ve played with the formatting a little. Keep in mind, this was a quickly typed series of responses, not a prepared series of debate points.

Continue reading

Your tax dollars at work

Apparently, the Aussie notion of a “fair go for all” means stealing my money to pay this clown to poison the minds of children:

I am a teacher. I teach at a secondary school in Sydney’s western suburbs

In fact, Mr. Bob Treasure is the head teacher of a faculty at the Erskine Park High School in Sydney. He’s also an enthusiastic supporter of totalitarianism:

What’s more, the considerably greater proportion of GDP expenditure on education in Cuba is spread evenly. It is designed to make opportunity the same for all. There is no palpable nor obscene inequality of private schools with abundant resources and public schools with few. The Cuban education system is one built upon social justice, and for that we say:


Sounds wonderful.

Blessed with Fidel’s munificent education system, the young Cuban Eloi can use their reading skills on books they’ll get jailed for reading, research things on the internet which they’re not permitted to access, learn about other countries they’re not allowed to travel to, learn about their government which they’re not allowed to oppose.

Well, at least if they get sick, they’ll be taken care of in Cuba’s glorious “free” healthcare system.

This is something of which the Cuban people are rightly proud, and it is something for which we say:


Well, I loved the cockroaches and blood on the floor. Very colourful. Viva Fidel!

Just the kinda guy we need teaching the young’ns.

I hope the bastard ends up under Val Prieto’s floorboards.

(Cross-posted to whackingday.com)

Paging you economist types (updated)

Someone just told me that the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme “saves Australia over 1.5% GDP in health costs”.



When questioned regarding the 1.5% figure, the author said it represented…..

just the pharmaceutical costs saved.

If the PBS were removed, those that could afford to buy
drugs still would, but those that couldnt wouldnt simply not
buy any drugs, they’d buy cheaper, far less effective drugs
but in higher volumes.

The costs saved in that figure dont include, as you say, the
costs of keeping people out of hospital, nor does it include
the costs saved by keeping people out of GP clinics.But most
importantly, it doesnt include the costs saved by making
people healthier more quickly and cheaply,  thus allowing
them to get back to work/family life quicker.Those costs
saved alone are enormous.

The PBS is one of the best pieces of  public health policy
ever invented anywhere in the world at any time, by any
empirical measurement.

Feel free to add your own $0.02