August 2006

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Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Targeted Killings 

Here is a very good Washington Post article about Israel, and its policy of targeted killings.

I've said before that I favor assassinations over wider wars (which kill more, and less guilty, people).

It's a very important tactic to help prevent innocent deaths. The Israelis practice it very carefully and should be respected for their moral approach to defending their people while taking great pains to avoid as much innocent death as possible.

Unfortunately, it isn't possible to avoid all of it.


Punishing Saddam 

This is great.

Apparently, Saddam Hussein has been forced to watch the South Park movie (in which he's depicted as being Satan's lover and co-conspirator) repeatedly.

I'm sure some will consider it torture.

But, dammit, it's funny.


Why I'm not a Democrat 

I understand the suggestion of many libertarians that it might be wise to support Democratic candidates in the mid-term elections in order to split the power between the executive and legislative branches. Gridlock might improve our chances of avoiding really bad laws and regulations.

Unfortunately, whenever I see an article like this one (indicating that many Democrats will include an anti-Wal-Mart agenda in their campaigns), I remember why I find the left so despicable.

I don't know much about Wal-Mart, but I know that it is a successful retailer, and the nation's largest private employer. It conducts millions of transactions each day and all of these are made voluntarily by people who think that the transactions make them better off. Wal-Mart brings many products to market at very low prices and thus helps improve its customers' quality of life.

I don't think people hate Wal-Mart because it has the worst practices of any private company. I think they hate it because it is large, visible, and successful. They want to believe that big is bad, and success is unfair. Wal-Mart provides a convenient scapegoat to exploit people's economic anxieties. In that sense, it reminds me of anti-semitism. It appeals to people's fear, and stupidity.

The Democratic leadership, which should know its constituency well, believes that this campaign will help them win elections. That's enough to tell me that these people should not be supported, and that there's something terribly wrong with the average Democrat.

I realize that Republicans engage in similar exploitations of people's fears (of gays, immigrants, atheists, etc.), but they don't seem as eager to enact widely harmful laws as Democrats are. They don't seem to hate human success.


Monday, August 21, 2006

Asset Forfeiture 

Apparently, it's now illegal to drive with money.

Radley Balko posted about this outrageous decision by the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Basically, the government stole $124,700 from a man because anyone carrying such a large amount of cash is presumed to be dealing drugs, and even though they had no real evidence, and he had a well corroborated explanation, the government gets to keep the loot.

Under civil asset forfeiture law, there doesn't have to be a conviction of a person. All they need is some evidence that the property (in this case, cash) may have, at some point, been involved in a drug crime. It's the property, not the person, that's found guilty.

This law, intended to be used as a tool to combat racketeering by organized crime, turns out to be a tool for the government to conduct its own racket.

This is just awful.


Friday, August 11, 2006

Back 

I've been back since Sunday, but never got around to posting.

I went on a 7-day Alaskan Cruise with my wife on this ship. It was fantastic. We're ready to go again.

By the way, if you can afford to go and get a room with a balcony, I recommend it. We really appreciated being able to enjoy the view (glacier, whales, ports, open sea...) in privacy.