Short Takes: November 30, 2000

The Colorado Freedom Report:  A libertarian journal of politics and culture.

The Colorado Freedom

Short Takes: November 30, 2000

All Short Takes by Ari Armstrong unless otherwise noted.

'A Very Clear Attempt'

In case anyone had any doubts about whether divining voter intent by "dimpled chads" is outright election fraud, the following quote should make the matter clear. The counting of these non-votes is "a very clear attempt" to carry out a coup d'etat for Gore.

November 24, Associated Press, "Gore Picks Up Votes As GOP Rallies," by Russ Bynum:

"This is an attempt to vote for Al Gore,'' board member Suzanne Gunzburger, a Democrat, said as she examined a ballot at a horizontal angle. "It is a very clear attempt. And I believe there is light on the bottom when I hold it this way.''

The Rocky Mountain News published an excellent editorial November 23 which noted, "[H]undreds or even thousands of people who failed by any reasonable definition to vote may nevertheless be counted in one column or the other in Florida's final tally. Indeed, the fate of these ballots with so-called dimpled chads may actually be the key to whether a large majority of Americans ever accepts this election's outcome as truly legitimate."

Suspected Rapist Stopped by Armed Elderly Woman

The Rocky Mountain News featured the following Associated Press headline November 24: "72-year-old not charged in Springs intruder shooting." What a sad commentary on the state of our culture! The headline should have read, "Local officials honor 72-year-old for safeguarding community."

The article reports, "Authorities were examining the similarities between Saturday's break-in and two in August and September in which two women, one 56 years old and another in her 70s, were raped." The burglar fled after he was shot and wounded.

Emogene Zamarripa, some may begrudge you for protecting yourself with a gun. But to me, you're an American hero.

Endangered Species

I was shocked to read the following line in Peter Blake's November 29 column in the Rocky Mountain News: "[E]x-Senate Majority Leader Tom Blickensderfer... was named [by Governor Owens] the state's 'endangered species coordinator,' a newly created post that pays $90,000 a year."

I don't know why I was surprised; giving away the peoples' money to their friends is the greatest perk our rulers have. The endangered species most in need of protection in Colorado is the free citizen.

Occupational Hazards

The November 23 Rocky Mountain News ran an extraordinary "regional briefing:

Violence against federal land management employees and property dropped... from 190 in 1998 to 113 in 1999, according to a report by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility.... A park ranger was killed by an unspecified "felonious act," forest facilities were burned and bombed and numerous shootings were directed at employees of the U.S. Bureau of Land Management.

Not mentioned in the paper were the acts of violence committed BY federal land management employees against the citizens, though two wrongs do not make a right. Federal agents have stolen cattle, conducted militarized raids on innocent farmers who unintentionally plowed a rat nest, and confiscated private property without offering just compensation.

Not only have federal land management employees violated numerous Articles of the Bill of Rights, but their very jobs are unconstitutional. The federal government is authorized to own "post offices and post roads" and military facilities in the country, and nothing more.

Random Court Rulings

My first reaction was joy at reading the November 29 headline, "High court reins in roadblocks: Random drug stops ruled unconstitutional" (Rocky Mountain News 38A, reprinted from the Houston Chronicle, piece by Steve Lash).

My second reaction was sadness, since no such case should ever have made it to the Court because police should have realized such activity is illegal on its face.

With his radio program on 1360 AM, Mark Call brought to my attention further reason to sigh over the Court's ruling. Strangely, Clarence Thomas dissented. However, in his dissent Thomas noted that perhaps random police stops are unconstitutional per se, only that wasn't the issue brought to the court.

Meanwhile, Sandra Day O'Conner ruled that random police stops are fine on principle, only they must be limited to cases which "pose a direct and immediate threat to safety," as Lash sums up. I.e., the Constitution means what it says it means, unless O'Conner decides otherwise.

Of course, this whole problem is exacerbated by the vast properties illegally held by the national government, including the roads, and by the illegal war on drugs.

Granola Fascism

On November 24, a man chained himself to the door of a bookstore in Boulder called Borders Books and Music, preventing the store from operating for three hours (Rocky Mountain News November 26, page 14A).

Not only did the man violate the property rights of the store owners, as well as the right of the patrons to peaceably assemble there, but he also trampled on the rights of free speech and the free press. As Rand noted eloquently, all rights are at root property rights. In this case, the right of free speech is bound up with the physical building of the book store and the books themselves.

At issue is whether a business owned by a corporation is allowed within the Peoples' Republic of Boulder. Of course, the formal definition of fascism is state control of nominally private property. Maybe next time the granola fascists can round up all the books inside the bookstore -- as those books are almost exclusively published by large corporations -- and light them on fire.

Businesses Defy IRS

Did everyone catch the extraordinary special report written by David Cay Johnston for the New York Times? (The piece was reprinted November 19 in the Denver Post as "Renegade employers openly defy IRS").

The article describes "a tiny but increasingly flamboyant fringe of American business. Arguing that the federal tax laws do not apply to them, these small companies are thumbing their noses at the IRS in a very public way: Not only have they stopped withholding taxes and turning them over, but they are bragging about it on Web sites and radio talk shows, and organizing seminars to promote the gospel of defiance."

Wow. I'm still declaring every cent of my income to the IRS, since I'm banking on traditional political change to eventually repeal the income tax and I want to avoid the hassles of open defiance. But I've got to say the sort of civil disobedience described in the Times leaves me breathless, and a little prouder to stand tall as an American.

Concealed Carry: A Right or Privilege?

So long as we treat concealed carry as a privilege granted by the state, rather than as an inalienable right, we'll have to live with the associated hassles. Kevin Vaughan wrote a comprehensive article for the Rocky Mountain News November 19 about the public availability of concealed carry records.

Several newspapers in the state have recklessly published the names of concealed carry permit holders, giving burglars a list of households with guns. Even though burglars are much less likely to rob a house when the occupant is home -- particularly if the occupant is known to be armed -- burglars "case" homes to make sure no one is home. Fortunately, the mere risk of facing an armed homeowner cuts the American burglary rate considerably, whereas burglary in England has skyrocketed with the gun bans there.

Of course concealed carry permits automatically register gun owners with the government. While these records are kept locally at this time, they would turn CCW holders into easy targets if confiscation laws are ever passed. I do not recommend a permit to anyone except those with a special need or those who are already well-known to government officials. (If you've completed a background check, you might as well go for it.)

However, Vaughan notes that if records are kept secret, local officials could issue permits only to their campaign contributors. As Patrick Henry himself said, "The liberties of a people never were, nor ever will be, secure when the transactions of their rulers may be concealed from them."

Mike Feeley, the Democratic Senator who helped engineer the Democrat take-over of the state senate, said, "I think just about everything government does should be open... including licensing barbers or optometrists or drivers or gun owners." The point that government ought not be licensing businesses or gun owners in the first place seems to be entirely lost on Feeley.

Campaign Finance Laws Succeed

Colorado's campaign finance laws are an unqualified success -- at further buttressing the power of special interest groups.

A quote from the November 19 Rocky Mountain News (35A, Steven Paulson, Associated Press) says it all:

[D]ot-com millionaire Jared Polis gave $65,000 to state Senate districts, which turned around and gave money to the state Democratic Party. Under state law, the maximum amount an individual or committee can contribute to the state party is $25,000, but an unlimited number of committees can contribute.

The little guys, including the third parties, hardly have the legal resources to circumvent the laws so effectively. But it's hardly surprising that yet another government program achieved the results opposite of those intended.

Secession: Don't Knock It Till You Try It

Peter Applebome wrote a story for the New York Times November 26 entitled There's an antidote to this family feud: secession. Unfortunately, he seems to be joking. But I still like the idea of Bush presiding over the "blue" states and leaving all the "red" states for Gore, an idea presented as another joke on late night television. O-well. At least if people are joking about it in national forums, it's in the public consciousness.

Causes of Columbine

I wrote the following sarcastic note as a letter to a newspaper, but decided not to send it in. Last week the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office released (on court order) a wide range of documents pertaining to the tragedy.

I for one do not see the point of sifting through the 11,000 pages of documents pertaining to the Columbine tragedy.

Why should we examine the facts about a) parental involvement with their children, b) school bullying, c) school administration and policy, d) police response before and during the crisis, e) early warning signs, or f) a breakdown in social morality?

It's so much easier just to blame the guns.

Tyrannical Prosecution

Forbes published an excellent review of a new book, The Tyranny of Good Intentions: How Prosecutors and Bureaucrats Are Trampling the Constitution in the Name of Justice.

The article makes the case that the drug war and other national witch hunts have led to the massive violation of Constitutional liberties. This is no surprise, but it's nice to see the case argued so eloquently, and in a popular conservative forum. The convergence of "left" and "right" civil libertarians is nowhere more obvious than in respect to drug prohibition. It's about time.

Harry Browne's Solution to Congressional Tyranny

Most of my readers have already heard the following quote, but I wanted to make sure:

When asked about gun rights, I say that I would disarm all federal employees, outside of the military, including those guarding Congress at the Capitol -- and they will remain disarmed until Congress restores the full and unconditional right of every American to defend himself. Most likely, it would take about five minutes for Congress to come to its senses.

The Colorado Freedom