Thursday, April 30, 2009

Quotus Interruptus Humorous

... For some good laughs from Brian Sack via Glenn's web site:

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Can We Have The Robber Barons Back?

Well, if there really were any.

No quotarian diversion would be worth its salt without C.S. Lewis:

"Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience." -- C.S. Lewis

He saw it coming, no?

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Freedom Has Failed? Really?

Before I drift off the quotes track:

"One of the methods used by statists to destroy capitalism consists in establishing controls that tie a given industry hand and foot, making it unable to solve its problems, then declaring that freedom has failed and stronger controls are necessary." —Ayn Rand, 1975

These words were written more than 30 years ago, but they apply exactly to today’s financial crisis. Today’s problems are the result of a government-controlled financial and housing system that rewarded irrational behavior and punished responsible behavior. Yet they are being blamed on “the free market”—with more controls offered as the solution.

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More Mencken

"Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want and deserve to get it good and hard." --H. L. Mencken

I had read a bit of Mencken in my "youth" and had somehow more or less forgotten him. That'll teach me to do that again...

And here's where to find the video on "Democracy" they conveniently forgot to show in your Civics class.

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Wednesday, April 29, 2009

QOTD: "Practical Politics"

If you didn't take the time to watch "Cry Freedom" then at least you don't want to miss this Mencken quote from one of the featured signs:

"The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins." -- H.L. Mencken

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Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Cry Freedom

Via Instapundit.

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Sunday, April 26, 2009

Thoughts From a Right-Wing-Extremist…

This is a pre-release of the headline article I have written for the Northern Colorado Rod and Gun Club News Letter. Trying to get the word out is a big job, and I'll use any avenue I can to do it!

It looks like many Americans have gone from being every-day people to learning that they are in fact now labeled as “right-wing-extremists.” Our new leaders are on a world tour apologizing for us on our behalf, and changing the face of terrorism from being called “terrorism” to being labeled as merely “overseas contingencies.” This year has been interesting because also, in light of all this “change,” Americans are finally waking up and getting active about all the spending, apologizing, confusing statements, and are just fed up with politics in general.

So what does this all have to do with guns and gun clubs, you ask? Everything! If our basic human rights as citizens get trampled on and our beloved U.S. Constitution gets thrown under the bus, then you can believe that our rights as gun owners will soon be nothing more than a memory. I am writing to you this month, not as a News Letter Editor, but as a citizen: to tell you about some of the things that Americans are doing to show their opposition to debt and their support for the principles on which our Founding Fathers built this country. There is a huge amount of emotion being churned up and people are finally saying that enough is enough.

One such effort that is growing in popularity here in Northern Colorado is something known as the “9.12 Project.” For those of you who follow the Glenn Beck Program on Fox News, you know that the 9.12 Project came out of a desire for our leadership to follow principles and values rather than politics, promises, and empty rhetoric. There are nine principles and twelve values that we have embraced as being important to our solution to problems.

But oddly enough – that is not what the “9” and the “12” are about. What this is about is remembering who we were on 9/12/2001. On 9/10/2001, we were care-free and oblivious to imminent danger. We had our heads in the sand. On 9/11/2001 we were in shock and wondering how an attack could happen on our soil. On 9/12/2001, we woke up and became determined Americans who resolved not to let these attacks happen again. The goal of the 9.12 Project is to turn us all into “9.12ers” again. Resolved and determined that we would not let our great country slip silently into the night or become a distant memory. This is not about becoming anti-government or finding ways to disrespect our President. This is not about political parties. This is about liberty, freedom, and taking responsibility for our own lives, lest the government step in and decide they can do a better job.

Let me repeat: This isn’t about political parties – honest! Too many people have become tired of all the corruption, politics as usual, and empty rhetoric—from BOTH of the major parties. People have gotten tired of their country being called arrogant and being apologized for. 9.12 Project web sites, blogs, and online discussion boards are springing up all over the place to show that regular citizens care and that what this country needs are values and principles, not power-grabs, control of every aspect of our lives, debt, and out of control spending.
Personally, I think that people are getting concerned about the thought that by ignoring principles and values, so much of what we have as Americans could possibly be turned over for others to decide for us. What I mean by that is the notion that our Constitution and founding documents have been deemed to be out-dated, dynamic, and in need of “change.”

America started as the greatest miracle on earth, and has been the last true hope for the entire world. If we let our country fade away into a sea of debt, complacency, apologies, and letting the rest of the world decide what rights our citizens should have, then that hope will be gone. There will be no great, last refuge for the oppressed people of the world to seek. If America becomes one of the oppressed, then there is nothing left.

For information about the 9.12 Project here in Northern Colorado, visit the following web site:

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Saturday, April 25, 2009

Did I Forget To Mention...

Katrina Pierson for President? Finally a solution to the British President dilemma ;) My deepest apologies for not posting her here sooner. An authentic speaker wielding Jefferson quotes. It doesn't get much better than that.

I'm also reminded of the comments of President Kennedy at a gathering of Nobel Laureates at the White House. He said that there hadn't been so much brainpower gathered there since Thomas Jefferson dined alone ;)

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Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Brian Reminds Us Of Earth Day 1970 (Updated)

I was pondering what to post today and ... Lookee here, Brian Shaver just got drafted into being a NoCo Surrounds Them blogger!:

First, some fun predictions from the very first “Earth Day” in 1970: Just Google it.
  • “It is already too late to avoid mass starvation,” -- Denis Hayes, chief organizer for Earth Day
  • Imminent global famine
  • Possible extinction (of mankind)
  • In a decade, urban dwellers will have to wear gas masks to survive air pollution…by 1985 air pollution will have reduced the amount of sunlight reaching earth by one half….”
  • My favorite! “The world has been chilling sharply for about twenty years,” he declared. “If present trends continue, the world will be about four degrees colder for the global mean temperature in 1990, but eleven degrees colder in the year 2000. This is about twice what it would take to put us into an ice age." -- Kenneth Watt, Ecologist
Hoo Haw! Remind me again why we let these nutjobs have any power at all over us? What is wrong with this picture?

AND AN UPDATE FROM RUDY: Today is Earth Day, a holiday created to honor the planet and to raise the consciousness of man’s effect on the environment. Philadelphia has a very strong tie to this day. One of its native sons, Ira Einhorn, was a co-founder of the environmentalist jubilee.

But Mr. Einhorn has another line on his resume. In addition to being a environmental guru, he is the Unicorn Killer.

While a student at the University of Pennsylvania, Mr. Einhorn dated a Bryn Mawr College graduate by the name of Holly Maddux. When the affair ended in 1977, Mr. Einhorn went into a jealous rage and murdered her. Whole story here..

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Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Oil Shortages and Government Intervention

(Ray Harvey -- author of the excellent new book "Leave Us Alone" -- has graciously contributed the following post. Be sure to click the "Read more" link and take it all in. Careful though, you might actually learn something! --Bob Gronlund)

Early in the 1970's, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) -- which includes Algeria, Angola, Ecuador, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Libya, Nigeria, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Venezuela -- imposed an oil embargo upon the United States. This precipitated a sharp decrease in U.S. oil supply.

Not to be outdone in terms of sheer hubris and stupidity, the American government got started at about that same time on its steady barrage of environmental regulations, all of which conspired to further reduce the domestic supply of oil and gas.

For example, the vast reserves of oil on the outer continental shelf off the coast of California were put off-limits to drilling for fear of oil spills that would despoil the coastline. In addition, a great deal of the land owned by federal government -- a substantial amount, since the government owns more than half of all the land west of the Mississippi River -- was placed off-limits to oil exploration for environmental reasons. Meanwhile, the hundreds of new regulations that had been imposed on oil refineries made it much more costly, if not unprofitable altogether to build them (Dr. Thomas Dilorenzo, How Capitalism Saved America).

Adding insult to injury, then, in 1971, the Nixon administration imposed wage and price controls across a multitude of private industries -- nominally to (in their words) "control inflation." In actuality, though, these controls were meant to bolster support for the 1972 elections. They were from the beginning only meant to be temporary controls, and thus, in 1974, they were mercifully done away with -- all, that is, except the most important: petroleum.

Because of the rapidly growing U.S. population, the demand for oil and gas had dramatically increased, which, in collaboration with the regulation-mandated supply restrictions, as well as the price controls, created massive oil and gas shortages. Holding prices below (free)market levels, you see, stimulated consumer demand artificially; simultaneously, it made it less profitable to increase supply: a deadly combination, the end result of which could not have turned out any other way.

These shortages created miles-long lines at gas stations across the country, for all the world to see.

Amazingly, however, only a handful of folks were smart enough to connect the obvious dots: government intervention created the problem in the first place, and government had no business getting involved in private affairs anyway.

Of course, the government responded with its usual half-assed "conservation" regulations, which is a little like spitting on a wildfire in order to put the fire out. California even imposed another of its famously fatuous laws, this one being that you could only purchase gas on certain days if your license plate ended with an even number, and on other days if the plate ended with an odd number.

It goes without saying that all this would never have happened if there had been no price controls and no wage controls to begin with.

But it gets worse:

When OPEC began its embargo, driving up the price of oil, domestic oil producers would have had extra incentives to introduce more supply onto the market. At the same time, the higher prices would have signaled consumers that it was prudent to conserve more. A new market equilibrium would have been reached without any shortages or misallocations, and the OPEC cartel would have been broken, as it eventually was, by increased domestic supplies brought on by free-market prices (Ibid).

But letting the free market be free is not in the nature of power-hungry bureaucrats. Thus, the federal government created a new bureaucracy called the Federal Energy Administration, which later became the Department of Energy (DOE), deplorably still with us today.

The DOE forthwith proceeded to institute a whole new line of preposterous price controls and allocation rules, "so that the U.S. energy industry soon rivaled any of the Soviet Union's centrally planned industries in its complexity -- and inefficiency. The head of the new energy department was even given a Russian-sounding title by the media: energy czar."

But in the words of William E. Simon, our country's first energy czar:

As for the the centralized allocation process itself, the kindest thing I can say about it is that it was a disaster. Even with a stack of sensible-sounding plans for even-handed allocation all over the country, the system kept falling apart, and chunks of the populace suddenly found themselves without gas. There was no logic to the pattern of failures. In Palm Beach suddenly there was no gas, while 10 miles away gas was plentiful. Parts of New Jersey suddenly went dry, while other parts of New Jersey were well supplied. Every day, in different part of the country, people waited in line for gasoline for two, three, and four hours. The normal market distribution system is so complex, yet so smooth that no government mechanism could simulate it (William E. Simon, A Time for Reflection, 1978).

Everybody reading this who supports Barack Obama and his extreme socialist policies because it makes you feel less guilty about yourself to throw in with "a minority" -- without any reference whatsoever to that minority's so-called political-economic ideas -- please hear that.

And please hear this as well:

As the shortages became more erratic and unpredictable, people began to "top off" their tanks. Instead of waiting, as is customary, to refill the tank when it is about one quarter full, all over the country people started buying 50 cents' worth of gas, a dollar's worth of gas, using every opportunity to keep their tanks full at all times. And the fiercely compounded the shortages and expanded the queues. The psychology of hysteria took over. Essentially the allocation plan had failed because there had been a ludicrous reliance on a little legion of government lawyers, who drafted regulations in indecipherable language, and bureaucratic technocrats, who imagined that they could simulate the complex free-market processes by pushing computer buttons. In fact, they couldn't (Ibid).

No. They couldn't. They couldn't then, and they still can't now.

No army imaginable, even one composed of the most brilliant, super-genius planners that ever was, could plan even the most rudimentary aspect of a complex economy.

Only the free market can regulate itself.

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Monday, April 20, 2009

Survey Says...

Power Line has some tolerably good news on the Tea Parties:

This Rasmussen survey is the first I've seen on the tea party protests that have been held around the country, mostly last Wednesday. Rasmussen finds that 51 percent of Americans approve of the tea parties, with 33 percent disapproving. By far the largest group of respondents, 32 percent, is "very favorable" toward the protests.

Almost equally interesting is that one in four Americans says that he or she personally knows someone who participated in one of the rallies. That probably helps to explain why the Left's over the top attacks--slanders, really--didn't gain more traction.

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Sunday, April 19, 2009

Run, Don't Walk To Listen To Tom Woods

Here's an absolutely outstanding edition of Financial Sense interviewing Tom Woods on the crisis and his new book "Meltdown". This is now clearly my new best recommendation for just short of an hour of the best economic interviewing and education you will ever hear. Tom is a great communicator perhaps even better than Peter Schiff in his own way. And that's saying something.

Even if you think you don't understand economics, you will be completely blown away.

Run, don't walk to listen. Drop everything. Your jaw will be on the floor at the end realizing how much information you picked up. And your respect for the current so-called leadership of this country will be completely re-calibrated if it wasn't already.

And my offer of free copies of "Meltdown" remains open. If you listen to this you'll be wanting to take me up on it.

UPDATE: And Tom is just a few posts below (here) with a video on "Why You've Never Heard Of The Depression of 1920" from the Colorado Mises Circle earlier this month. Not as wide ranging but very educational and equally well presented.

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Thursday, April 16, 2009

Pathetic With A Capital Priceless

Congrats to everyone on the parties! I went to the one in Loveland which was a little different as we lined the sides of the busiest intersection in town. I think it had a lot more impact than standing in a park although there was too much horn honking to have any speakers. I can live with that.

It was also amazing the number of folks who drove by not only honking but waving flags. It was a good way for them to join in without feeling quite as silly as the rest of us. But I even started to warm up to it after a while. I decided to use a sign that was to the point: "ATTN: Washington, You have run out of our money." The favorite sign I saw on the web though was this one on Instapundit: "Why teach reading and math? Congress uses neither!". Hoo Haw.

But the reaction from Congresscritters was pathetic with a capital priceless:

PATHETIC: “Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) blasted ‘tea party’ protests yesterday, labeling the activities ‘despicable’ and ’shameful.’”

Ironic: “The husband of an Illinois congresswoman pleaded guilty Wednesday to tax violations and bank fraud for writing rubber checks and failing to collect withholding tax from an employee. Robert Creamer, a political consultant married to four-term U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky, could face four years in prison on the two felony counts when he is sentenced Dec. 21.”

Tax hypocrisy abounds in Washington, but they’re angry that people are protesting. . . .

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Sunday, April 12, 2009

Santayana's Depression

Here's a great summary of lessons learned from the last Great Depression -- and how Bush and Obama are pretty much violating them all...

Go visit the web page of the Colorado Mises Circle for more videos. Tom Woods' talk on the Depression of 1920 that you've never heard of will blow your socks off also. In fact, I'm embedding it just below so you have no excuse to miss it:
As Santayana said: "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."

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Monday, April 6, 2009

Cyber-Security - In The White House?!

As an Information Security Professional, this article has me very deeply concerned. As a citizen, this bill has me outraged:

April 2, eWEEK – (National) Bill would grant President unprecedented cyber-security powers. The Cybersecurity Act of 2009 introduced in the Senate would allow the President to shut down private Internet networks. The legislation also calls for the government to have the authority to demand security data from private networks without regard to any provision of law, regulation, rule, or policy restricting such access. The headlines were all about creating a national cyber-security czar reporting directly to the President, but the Cybersecurity Act of 2009 introduced April 1 in the U.S. Senate would also give the President unprecedented authority over private-sector Internet services, applications, and software. According to the bill’s language, the President would have broad authority to designate various private networks as a “critical infrastructure system or network” and, with no other review, “may declare a cyber-security emergency and order the limitation or shutdown of Internet traffic to and from” the designated the private-sector system or network. The 51-page bill does not define what private sector networks would be considered critical to the nation’s security, but the Center for Democracy and Technology says it could include communications networks in addition to the more traditional security concerns over the financial and transportation networks and the electrical grid. The bill would also impose mandates for designated private networks and systems, including standardized security software, testing, licensing, and certification of cyber-security professionals.


First of all folks, and in case you don’t understand the gravity of this: This bill takes cyber security out of the hands of the trained and experienced information security professionals who know how to effectively manage cyber-security issues and threats (US-CERT and Department of Homeland Security) and puts these responsibilities directly into the office of a man who can’t speak lucidly without a teleprompter. Albeit that a staff would be performing these duties, how can we expect any intelligent final decisions to be made by this President regarding cyber-security issues? It seems to me that this is just more micromanagement by the anointed one. If he doesn’t like what kind of cars your company sells, he fires your CEO. Similarly, if he doesn’t like which type of anti-virus software your ISP uses, he shuts down your Internet access?

And the statement that “The legislation also calls for the government to have the authority to demand security data from private networks without regard to any provision of law, regulation, rule, or policy restricting such access.” should be a definite sign that privacy concerns about invasions without due process are in danger of being completely ignored.

The statement that “…the President would have broad authority to designate various private networks as a “critical infrastructure system or network” and, with no other review, “may declare a cyber-security emergency and order the limitation or shutdown of Internet traffic to and from” the designated the private-sector system or network.” means to me that any ISPs that have a number of customers whom this president deems a threat (i.e. those who speak out against him), can have their services shut down until they block those customers. Big Brother is indeed upon us.

The White House is taking over the Census.

The White House is taking over the duties of corporate CEOs.

The White House is taking over cyber-security.

Isn’t anyone else seeing the danger in all of this, or is it just me? Relax, Mr. Orwell – you were only 25 years off, but your predictions are coming to pass.

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Sunday, April 5, 2009

Declaration Lost

Dick Morris explains how not only the Constitution but now the Declaration of Independence have been trashed.

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Saturday, April 4, 2009

It is Still The WAR ON TERROR!

It looks like our new administration, in an attempt to appease our enemies, and blame America for everything, has yet again declared certain terms off limits for discussion. The new administration can call it whatever they want - but it is still the WAR ON TERROR! I don't care what politically correct, feel good verbiage they come up with. It is still the WAR ON TERROR.

Lest we forget - terror struck the World Trade Center in 1993. Domestic Terror struck in Oklahoma City in 1995. Terror struck our World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and a field in Pennsylvania in 2001. And it is terror today that our young men and women are fighting against in far-away lands, and dying to protect America from.

The feel-good, do-nothing politicians can call it what they want, but the fact still remains - it is still the WAR ON TERROR!

This is why we are 9-12ers. We will not forget. We refuse to go quietly into the night. We refuse to let our country fall without a fight.

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The Way Toward Hyperinflation

You don't have to read all of von Mises "Human Action" to get a basic handle on economics sans witch-doctory. Here's a start:
Mises was well aware of the final consequences of a monetary regime that rests on ever-greater increases in the money stock produced by banks' expanding circulation credit. It would, at some point, lead to bankruptcies on the grandest scale, resulting in a contraction of the credit and money supply (deflation).

Or it would end in hyperinflation:

But if once public opinion is convinced that the increase in the quantity of money will continue and never come to an end, and that consequently the prices of all commodities and services will not cease to rise, everybody becomes eager to buy as much as possible and to restrict his cash holding to a minimum size. For under these circumstances the regular costs incurred by holding cash are increased by the losses caused by the progressive fall in purchasing power. The advantages of holding cash must be paid for by sacrifices which are deemed unreasonably burdensome. This phenomenon was, in the great European inflations of the 'twenties, called flight into real goods (Flucht in die Sachwerte) or crack-up boom (Katastrophenhausse).[4]

Mises knew very well what he was referring to. He had lived through the period of great inflation that started in Europe in 1914 with World War I. This finally led to hyperinflation and a complete destruction of Germany's Reichsmark in 1923. On a technical level, Germany's hyperinflation was the result of the German Reichsbank monetizing the growing government debt, issued for financing social benefits, subsidies, and reparation payments.

In Age of Inflation (1979), reviewing Germany's hyperinflation from a political-economic viewpoint, Hans F. Sennholz asked, "Who would inflict on a great nation such evil which had ominous economic, social, and political ramifications not only for Germany but for the whole world?"[5] His sobering answer was that

[e]very mark was printed by Germans and issued by a central bank that was governed by Germans under a government that was purely German. It was German political parties, such as the Socialists, the Catholic Centre Party, and the Democrats, forming various coalition governments that were solely responsible for the policies they conducted. Of course, admission of responsibility for any calamity cannot be expected from any political party.[6]

That said, the German hyperinflation was the result of a policy that considered the financing of government debt by an accelerating increase in the money stock as the politically least unfavorable method. It seems that the state of opinion hasn't actually changed much. Today, there is great public support when it comes to expanding the base-money stock for financing ailing banks, insurance companies and, most important, rising government debt.

"The doctrines and theories that led to the German monetary destruction have since then caused destruction in many other countries. In fact, they may be at work right now all over the western world."[7] Austrian economics would rightly maintain that current fiat-money polices have become increasingly inflationary — and they should have little doubt that the forces and instruments that can pave the way towards hyperinflation are already in place and gaining strength by the day .

No pretty but don't say you were never exposed to a history lesson from the master.

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Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Tea Parties Cancelled ... Just Move Along Now ...

Wait for it ... wait ... wait for it ... here it comes:
Remember this report from our nation’s history?

CNN (Continental News Network) Boston, 1773: The city of Boston canceled a proposed protest over tea taxes today, citing the fear that too many people dressed as Indians would be gathered near the wharves. Organizers expressed sadness over the cancellation, but meekly returned to their homes fearful of upsetting the officers of the Crown. Taxmen breathed a sigh of relief as the tar and feathers were put away not to be used this day.

You don’t remember that pre-revolutionary history? I should say you shouldn’t, because it didn’t happen. But flash forward a few hundred years and you’ll find it is happening today in Cape Coral, Florida where city officials canceled a tax day tea party gathering because they “feel too many people could show-up.”

That’s right, folks, the God-given, long-held American right to assemble and protest the actions of our government has been canceled due to too much popularity of the protest.

And what does it come down to? Money. You see, the city officials want an insurance policy taken out so that organizers can cover any loss that might occur as a result of the rally. And those insurance policies cost hundreds of dollars.

And it ends thus:

Americans do not have the rights they always thought they did. There is no right to protest government. There is no right to assemble. The people have no rights at all to voice their displeasure. Shut up people. Go home. Nothing to see here. Go quietly back to your IPods and DVDs. Big daddy government will take care of you. The Obemmessiah will decide what’s best for you. Don’t worry your little heads. Oh, and thank you for your payments on April 15th.

Put away the tar and feathers, won’t you? There’s a nice fella.

So I think you know you need to go RTWT now don't you? Seriously, this is a huge wake-up call. Read. The. Whole. Thing.

And my favorite part is that us gullible constitutional protesters probably will be paying AIG for the "protest insurance" policies somewhere or another.

I'll leave out the bad language but you should be glad you're not sitting next to me right now.


UPDATE 4/2/09 by Bob: It turns out that the part about city officials actually canceling the tea party was incorrect and has been retracted at the site the article links to (the link is broken if you tried to follow it). However, the part about needing insurance is correct. So you can count on continuing to fund more bandits the more we protest. And the idea that you need insurance to protest is beyond insanity. Way beyond.

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