Saturday, January 30, 2016

My take on the FBI's video of the shooting of LaVoy Finicum



This is what I see when I watch this low quality footage. Other people might see different things. Feel free to comment.
1:09: Suspect vehicle (white Dodge pickup with crew cab and camper) stops in the middle of the road. Police have guns drawn
8:10: Suspect vehicle takes off again and flees at high speed. This is a felony.
9:15: Suspect vehicle encounters the police vehicles blocking the road. The suspect vehicle veers to the left. An officer lunges toward the suspect vehicle which is still moving. I don′t know why he would do this. It is dangerous and you can′t stop a truck with your body.

9:20 The driver of the Dodge pickup gets out. He has his hands up as if he wants to surrender. He is staggering though the deep snow. Then he puts his arms down. It looks like he′s flailing as if he lost his balance. Or maybe he is reaching for his gun. But his arms are clearly down, so the police shoot and kill the driver.

Normally, if you are armed and you need to surrender to someone else who is armed, you keep your hands up to show that you cannot fire at them. You keep your arms up until they tell you to put them down. The police knew he was armed. If they believed he was reaching for a weapon, then they were justified in shooting him. This doesn′t look like a murder from the video.

Monday, January 04, 2016

My take on the Oregon protests

This story starts in 2001, when Dwight Hammond and Steven Hammond set fires on federal land that burned 127 acres. They were convicted of arson, and a judge gave Dwight a three month sentence and Steven a one year sentence. The defendants claim that this was to control an invasive species, the prosecutors claim that it was to cover up illegal poaching.

Even if the Hammonds were telling the truth, I can't really condone setting fires on federal land as a form of pest control. In my opinion, arson is worse than bank robbery. Most bank robbers just slide a note over the counter, the tellers follow their training, and the FDIC reimburses the bank for any cash that isn't recovered. Arsonists are more reckless and destructive, causing more property damage and risk to human life than bank robbers. But the mandatory minimum sentence for arson is 5 years, while the minimum sentence for bank robbery is 10 years.

The Hammonds received less than minimum sentences and served their time. But an appeals court ruled that they should have received longer sentences, and that they should go back to prison. While I would agree that they should have received 5 year sentences in the first place, I also feel that if you are charged, convicted, and serve the original sentence, the government should leave you alone unless you commit another crime.  I think that the law should err on the side of the defendant throughout the entire process. But that isn't what the law requires. The law requires that the Hammonds go back to prison.

People do have a right to protest prison sentences if they feel that the sentences are unfair. But they don't have a right to take over a government building. I would much prefer that this standoff end with no bloodshed. But if these protesters use lethal force to resist arrest, then the moral responsibility for what happens next falls on them.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

The War on Terror is over (If you want it)

With all of America's wars, there will always be sore losers who think the wrong side won. Seventy years after World War 2, there are still people who wear swastikas. One and a half centuries after the Civil War, there are still people who support Southern independence. Cecil Rhodes wanted to undo the American Revolution by having the US rejoin the British Empire. We can't win every heart and mind. We can't kill everybody who doesn't like us. Victory involves setting an objective and accomplishing that objective. Usually that objective involves getting someone important on the other side to sign a piece of paper,

I propose that there just isn't anybody important in ISIS, Al Qaeda, the Taliban, or any other group. There will always be someone who says that they are loyal to one of those group. Just because some lunatic shoots some people and says he's part of a bunch of other lunatics isn't sufficient cause to send troops and bombs halfway around the world. Attacking ISIS because of the San Bernadino shooters would be like burning Atlanta to the ground again because some racist punk murdered some people in a black church.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Keep pseudoephedrine over-the-counter

It might seem trivial to compare the inconvenience of a doctor's appointment to the tragedy of meth addiction. But a law that requires a prescription for pseudoephedrine is going to have health consequences for innocent Hoosiers while doing very little or nothing to stop people from using meth.

Even with health insurance, very few people are actually going to go to a doctor to get cold meds. First of all, all Hoosiers live within 70 miles of the state line. So going to another state will be less of a hassle than going to a doctor. Some Hoosiers might stock up on cold meds as well. And some people will choose the worst possible option: going to work or school without controlling the symptoms and placing coworkers and classmates at risk of catching a cold.

If your sole objective is to stop meth, it would make for sense to lobby the federal government to reclassify pseudoephedrine as a Schedule II drug like Adderal or oxycotin. A state law in this case is a pathetic half-measure. On the other, if not even Congress can be persuaded to outlaw a drug, then that should be an indicator of how silly the whole idea is.

Tuesday, December 08, 2015

Trump proposes banning Muslims from entering the US

Trump is running a campaign that seems like it's more designed to embarrass the GOP than actually win an election. Most of the time he sounds more like Stephen Colbert than a serious statesman.

On the off chance that he is serious about spending 4 to 8 years in a job more difficult and dangerous than any job he has ever had, let's look at his proposal to bar Muslims from entering the US. Would this policy actually prevent a terrorist attack?

Let's start by asking how do you tell if someone if Muslim? In most cases, it is hard to tell just by looking. Islam is not a race or a skin color. There are black Muslims in Kenya and Somalia, there are Asian Muslims in Indonesia and the Phillipines, and there are Muslims with blonde hair and blue eyes in Bosnia.

The best way to know is to simply ask. Most Muslims are pretty open about their beliefs, just as most Christians and Jews are. And I would imagine most of them would begrudgingly comply with an order to stay out of the US. But Muslims who would obey US law aren't the ones you should be worried about. An actual terrorist who wanted to get into this country would likely lie about what his religion is.

So any law barring Muslims from entering this country will do nothing to keep us safer. The only reason anyone supports this idea is because they just don't like Muslims.

Monday, December 07, 2015

Celebrate Liberty Christmas Party Potluck

This Saturday the twelfth of December from 630 - 10 pm we will be having our Celebrate Liberty Christmas Party Potluck at the home of Tom and Jeannette Jaquish, 1423 Louisedale Dr., Fort Wayne, IN 46808.

Bring an open mind and food or drink to share. Bring booze if you want it. Feel free to invite family and friends -- the more the merrier! We will have toys and entertainment for children. The house has two small dogs.

PLEASE RSVP ON OUR EVENT PAGE HERE POSTING DETAILS OF HEAD COUNT (DISH, #ADULTS & CHILDREN).

Questions? Call 260-484-5946 or email jeannettejaquish@yahoo.com.

Friday, December 04, 2015

Gun control and the no-fly list

President Obama is asking Congress to pass a bill that keeps people on the No Fly list from owning guns. Politicians frequently find the need to say or do anything to make it appear to their supporters that they are taking action. But I don't think Obama actually wants this law, and he wouldn't ask for this law if he actually expected Congress to pass it.

 This is how the No Fly List is supposed to work. There are roughly 47,000 names on a secret list, and the only way to find out if you are on the list is to buy a ticket and try to board a plane. The government does not want people to know if they are on the No Fly List.

I can understand the reason for this secrecy, even if I don't agree with it. If the government thinks that someone is a sleeper agent, they don't want that person to know about their suspicions. Maybe they can't locate this person to arrest them, or maybe they want to see who he's talking to before they actually collar him. My own thought is that if the government has probably cause to think that someone plans to kill a bunch of people, they should arrest him if possible or at least let the public know that person poses a threat.

 But as long as the list is secret, terrorists have a strong interest in knowing if they are on the list. So if a terror group is planning a major operation and wants to know which of their assets in the US can actually board a plane, the group's leader could simply order his followers to try and buy guns. Whoever successfully buys a gun is not on the No Fly List, and whoever can't buy a gun would resort to Plan B. If the terror-watch list was available as a publicly searchable database, then terror suspects would have difficulty buying anything that required them to show ID. But if the government wants to keep people from knowing that they are being investigated, then even terror suspects should be allowed to buy guns, as absurd as that sounds.

A less absurd solution would be to issue arrest warrants for people with known terrorist ties. After all, if a person is too dangerous to be allowed to fly, they are too dangerous to be allowed to drive, board a train, visit a museum, or buy chewing gum.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Some interesting things to note about France and Muslims,

1. Prior to 1940, France tried to seal off its border with Germany with the Maginot Line, a series of heavily armed forts and bunkers. It was much more formidable than any fence or wall proposed by 21st century US politicians, and it still didn't work. 2. From 1940 to 1944, there were a series of mass shootings that took place in France. 3. Neither the Roosevelt Administration nor the Truman Administration took any steps to seal our borders to keep out Catholic or Lutheran immigrants who fled in the aftermath of these shootings. 4. During this same time period, the Grand Mosque in Paris was allowed by the Nazis and the Vichy regime to remain open. 5. This mosque provided fake Muslim documents to Jews so that they could hide from the Nazis. This action put the mosque at great risk but saved the lives of over 100 Jews.

Thursday, October 08, 2015

Syria

I'm not going to pretend to be a foreign policy expert, but the people who do pretend to be experts are getting us into quite a mess in Syria. It is a bad idea to get involved in a civil war, even when one faction is led by a hated tyrant. Consider our own past experiences. US involvement in the Russian Civil War led to Soviet mistrust and resentment that lasted through the interwar period, World War II, and the Cold War. And now we are butting heads with Russia once again. So here is what I would do if I were President Obama: pull out and let Putin stick his hand in the meat grinder. Consider that the term "moderate rebel" is a oxrymoron, and any innocent people who might be worth helping are fleeing the country anyway. And while we are on the subject, all those military-age men flooding into Europe? I was a military-age man once, and I never got any where near the recruiting center. My guess is that the majority of these guys are like me in that they really, really, don't want to be in the military and don't want to be in combat. These guys are more draft-dodgers than terrorists. If we want to reduce ISIS and Assad's ability to carry out future attacks, then this is the type of behavior that we should encourage.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

NEXT BUSINESS MEETINGS

NEXT BUSINESS MEETING
This is technically the July meeting that had to be rescheduled twice, this delay will work to our advantage as Labor Day is the traditional start to campaign season, and this meeting right before will give us plenty of time to plan out and ramp up as needed consistently.

 
Wednesday 26th of August 2015
6:30 - 8:30 p.m.
Little Turtle Branch Library
Sherman Blvd. south of West State Blvd.

Please, RSVP via our EVENT PAGE, thank you.

Monday 28th of September 2015

6:30 - 8:30 p.m.
Pontiac Branch Library
Crieghton Ave. at Hanna St.

Please, RSVP via our EVENT PAGE, thank you.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Confederate flags and other useless symbols

Some symbols are useful, because they convey a clear message. Stop signs present a clear message, and I know what to do when I see one. I don't need to ask the fellow who put up the sign what he means by that.

Some symbols provide a more vague message. Che Guevara was a Communist guerrilla who hated black people and wanted to outlaw rock music. His face appears on t-shirts which are worn by people who don't seem to know this. I would imagine Che would be mortified that his face is used to make a quick buck, as if I would care what he things. The t-shirts are marketed as a symbol of rebellion. What the wearers of the shirts are rebelling against isn't always clear.

The same goes for Guy Fawkes masks. Guy Fawkes Day is a holiday in the UK that commemorates the failure of the Gunpowder Plot. Guy Fawkes tried to blow up Parliment and establish a Catholic theocracy. Even his fellow Catholics opposed his plan, and he was caught and hanged. Today, Guy Fawkes masks licensed by Warner Brothers are popular among radicals with both feet firmly planted in the air. I'm going to guess that Guy Fawkes and Anonymous have opposing views on separation of church and state. But again, Guy Fawkes is a symbol of rebellion.

When someone displays a Confederate flag, they might be trying to say that they are from the South, that they support states' rights (even though the CSA Constitution required states to allow slavery), or that their ancestors fought for the CSA, (hopefully their ancestors have accomplished other things in the past 150 years). Or they might be displaying that flag just to upset other people.

It is a waste of resources for state and local governments to display a defunct symbol. And it is a waste of energy for me to get upset when that's the reaction that people seek when they display such a symbol.

Wednesday, June 03, 2015

The Dennis Hastert Scandal: Why Individual Privacy Is Vital To National Security

There are folks who argue that it is worth it to give up privacy for the sake of national security. These people will then insist that they have nothing to hide. But privacy is actually vital for the security of a democracy.

First of all, let's just admit that we all have secrets. I'm not married, so one of my secrets is that either I have had premarital sex or I'm a virgin in my thirties. Dennis Hastert had a secret as well. He spent a lot of money and may have broken the law trying to keep that secret under wraps. It's normal and understandable for elected officials to want to hide their past, even though the methods used aren't always legal or ethical. The kind of people who get elected to office often lead very interesting lives, then turn around and pretend that their lives are as bland as possible in order to cause the least offense to voters. Still, politicians should have the same right of privacy regarding their personal lives as any other citizen.

If the 9/11 attacks were carried out in a different manner, Dennis Hastert might very well have become President. And his blackmailer could have had influence over public policy. The personal secrets of powerful men can be used to control them, and by extension the rest of the country. So consider that there are thousands of private citizens who may get elected to Congress or the White House in the next 20 to 50 years. I don't know who will be President in 2032, but the NSA is likely gathering data on him or her right now. And that data could fall into the wrong hands. Whatever your opinion of Edward Snowden is, he is still yet another example of how the US government is very bad at protecting vital information. So one way to ensure a safer future is to not try to gather people's personal data into one big honeypot.

Monday, June 01, 2015

Tabitha Dyck to represent the People of Fort Wayne #PlugTheHolesInExcessSpending

EDITORIAL NOTE: During our Annual Convention the Libertarian Party of Allen County, Indiana nominated and certified Mrs. Tabitha Dyck to be slated as our representative on the Municipal Elections ballot in November unanimously.

MEET OUR CANDIDATE

Mrs. Tabitha Dyck
Fort Wayne City Council At Large

#PlugTheHolesInExcessSpending
A graduate of Bishop Dwenger High School, Tabitha Dyck, is a current Nursing student, with the eventual goal of achieving her Master's Degree. She is a United States Naval Veteran who completed her service as a Naval Corpsman in an Expeditionary Medical Unit, and earned several Leadership positions during her career. In the the years following High School before joining the Navy, she worked various jobs while touring the Country. Some of these jobs were Server, Entertainment Promotions, Camp Ground Facilitator, and Cook.

In 2005, Tabitha made the decision to return to Fort Wayne and plant her roots in order to "flourish along our three rivers". She made this decision due to her family being here. There is also a low cost of living, and it is a comfortable, practical, City to settle down in. After her term with the Navy, she was reunited with the love of her life, Sam. They are both passionate about Urban Gardening and have proven its aide to sustainability in the past. Tabitha would like to share her experiences and learn more about others ideas regarding these topics.

Tabitha decided to run for Fort Wayne City Council At Large because she hopes to prevent excess spending in City finances. She wants to assist the local Community with Self Sustainability in a healthy and practical manner. She also wishes, most of all, to speak for those who feel they have no voice. You may contact Tabitha Dyck for more information or to schedule an interview by calling 260-415-5040 or leaving a message on her Campaign's Facebook Page.




NOTE FROM THE OFFICERS: We are openly seeking qualified candidates for the November ballot. If you are interested in running for Elected Office in any of the 40 Positions available in Fort Wayne, New Haven, Grabill, Woodburn, Leo-Cedarville, or Monroeville, please contact LPAC's Chair, Robert Enders, privately to schedule a sit down interview. Please also follow LPAC on FACEBOOK to keep up with current notices and information as well.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Downtown Arena?

The city paid consultants $39,000 to study the feasibility of a downtown arena. I could have told them that it wasn't feasible for free. Maybe if I charged more, city officials might listen.

 A downtown arena was proposed in 2000. The proposal died a deserved, horrible death when officials admitted that the Coliseum would be demolished if the Komets moved downtown. Regular readers of this blog already know my stance on local government subsidizing the entertainment industry. But broader public support is going to depend on several key questions.

1. Will the Komets move to the new arena?
2. If they do move, will Memorial Coliseum share the same fate as Memorial Field? My guess is that they will conduct a study to find alternate uses for the historic building designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. And it will stay open for a few years and operate at a huge loss to the county, and then it will get bulldozed anyway. So if you are emotionally attached to the Coliseum, you should be very concerned about the city building a competing sports venue.
3. If the Komets won't be moving, what is the point? Is some other minor league team with an idiotic name moving in? Or are there going to be concerts in this arena, just like at the Grand Wayne Center, the Embassy Theater, and the Coliseum? Is this city so jam-packed with concerts that they need another place to hold them all?