Saturday, May 21, 2005

Who is a terrorist and who is a patriot?

Lady Liberty writes:

"According to The American Heritage Dictionary of the English language, terrorism is either 'the unlawful use or threat of violence especially against the state or the public as a politically motivated means of attack or coercion' or 'violent and intimidating gang activity.'

"The idea behind terrorism is basic: to generate terror. The methodology, regardless of the specifics, is just as simple: sudden and deadly violence of the kind that any rational human being would find terrifying. Terrorists hope their actions will engender whatever change it is they're aiming to facilitate through such intense fear...

"In its knee jerk reaction to the 9/11 attacks, the federal government rapidly defined its targets not only as terrorists but as those who are broadly defined as 'potential' terrorists... From the perspective of both the laws and the agencies, the most immediate result was that of a curtailment of civil liberties...

"Distilled down to its most basic premise, virtually any human being could loosely be termed a 'potential' terrorist...

"The biggest problem for those of us who are innocent is that some in government have gone much further. They've enaged in what is essentially a rewriting of definitions so as to target some people who are not... particularly popular with those same government authorities. Coincidentally (or perhaps not so coincidentally), many of the people falling under these more refined definitions are the same people who are the most likely to be railing against government inroads against various freedoms...

"For reasons that can easily be logically refuted, the government has determined that the ID cards are a great way to fight terrorism. Do you really think they're going to take any refusals to participate particularly well?

"recently... at a kind of educational seminar... conducted by the Department of Homeland Security... he was also informed that those supporting a strict interpretation of the Constitution are terrorists.

"Even as the label 'terrorist' is being redefined, so is the term 'patriot.' A patriot is, quit simply, one who loves his country. But now some government officials suggest that anyone who criticizes the war effort in Iraq is 'unpatriotic.' Others in positions of government authority... have made it clear that anyone who suggests that civil liberties might be more important than absolute safety are behaving unpatriotically...

"I do believe that the National ID card and similar tracking measures are evil because they undermine freedom... I am concerned at the rapidly growing mindset that potentiality is all but synonymous with actuality... I do support a literal interpretation of the Constitution as well as a return to the ideals of the Constitution as they were originally presented to the 13 colonies prior to ratification...

"In George Orwell's infamous novel 1984, one of the hallmarks of the tyrannical government under which his characters lived was something called 'newspeak.' By using 'newspeak,' the government redefined various words to mean whatever it wanted them to mean, and via incessant propaganda, it made sure the general population knew the 'correct' definitions as well. In the novel, bad was redefined as good, and war became peace; history was rewritten on an almost daily basis to conform.

"This habit of redefining words might be a little more subtle in the real world, but there's very little question that it's happening. The recent discoveries of government propaganda films released as 'news' stories was dismaying, but not unsurprising... In the short run, I suppose, then, I should consider any government attempts to label me and people like me as 'unpatriotic' or a 'terrorist' as actually being a compliment. But in the long run, government's predilection to change such definitions on a whim doesn't bode well for me...or for any of the rest of you, either."

03-13-05: By Definition

The Price of Patriotism ... by Christopher Manion

Christopher Manion explains why it's getting more and more difficult to fill the ranks of the all-volunteer army:

"as the war in Iraq grinds on, it offers a rare glimpse into market forces and their impact on patriotism...

"military recruiters are working night and day to fill the ranks of the U.S. government’s 'volunteer forces.' In spite of signing bonuses of $20,000.00, there are still not enough enlistees. When asked why recruiting is so tough, military recruiters... answer simply and truthfully: 'the war.'

"Second, the Financial Times reports that American mercenaries in Iraq, coyly referred to as 'private forces,' receive just under half a million dollars per man a year to perform the same duties, and run the same mortal risks, that most U.S. government troops do...

"As the war grinds on and troop strength continues to diminish, two options emerge clearly on the horizon. Either the pay received by the 'volunteer' forces will continue to rise toward the market value, or involuntary conscription will become the law of the land. A third option – that the war will end and the need for additional troops will subside – has been ruled out by the Bush Administration...

"Rousseau gave us that timeless slogan of ideological empire: the citizen 'must be forced to be free.' ...

"America’s Founding Fathers recognized the entire democratic charade as the nightmare of power-hungry madmen. They embraced instead the notion of a national government with strictly limited powers, where the voice of the states and of the people commanded the government, and not vice-versa. With regard to war, the Founders sided with Augustine and the Just War theory that had reigned in Christendom for a millennium and more...

"Increasingly, the American population is turning against the war. In a traditional democracy, where the people rule, that judgment would eventually lead to disengagement and peace...

"But not in Rousseau’s totalitarian democracy. There, instead of heeding the will of the people... the Sovereign imposes the 'General Will' – his ideological vision of what is good for them. And then, logically, 'they must be forced to be free,' and they are conscripted and sent into mortal combat...

"The rising demand for troops invites a closer look at the two alternatives. The first – the market – is unlikely to provide the necessary manpower. As the value of patriotic 'goodwill' declines even further, the bonus and pay formulae would have to approach the price of $450,000.00 per man per year already paid in the market – to the mercenary forces now serving by the thousands in Iraq.

"The only alternative is the draft. What the free market and natural law... cannot provide must be supplied by coercion – involuntary servitude of the youth who refuse to buy into the flag-waving happy-talk endless wars of the Leviathan state...

"Of course, this scenario reveals the profound contradiction between the symbolic language of 'democracy' that the U.S. government uses to justify its wars...

"And the future conscripts? 'They must be forced to be free.'

"May they rest in peace."

The Price of Patriotism ... by Christopher Manion

Friday, May 20, 2005

Spy vs. Spy in the Drug Wars :: PEJ News

Bill Piper writes:

"Proposed legislation would compel people to spy on their family members and neighbors, forcing all Americans to become foot soldiers in the war on drugs.

Neighbors spying on neighbors? Mothers forced to turn in their sons or daughters?

These are images straight out of George Orwell's 1984, or a remote totalitarian state. We don't associate them with the land of the free and the home of the brave, but that doesn't mean they couldn't happen here. A senior congressman, James Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.), is working quietly but efficiently to turn the entire United States population into informants--by force..."

Spy vs. Spy in the Drug Wars :: PEJ News

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Why I prefer Indiana in the Central timezone

Indiana's Governor Daniels signed Senate Bill 127 into law on May 13. This act requires Indiana to observe daylight saving time (DST) throughout the state, beginning in 2006.

In addition, this act also requires the governor to petition the United States Department of Transportation within ten days to initiate proceedings to hold hearings on the location of the boundary between Eastern and Central Time in Indiana.

Now that we will be observing DST, I would very much like to see as much of Indiana as possible on Central Time.

State Representative Jackie Walorski of Lakeville says, "If we do nothing, we'll end up in Eastern Time. If we're proactive and do something, we can probably petition to be in Central Time.

"Several of the counties are going to go together and give a resolution to the governor in a couple of weeks and say we're petitioning to be on Central time. I really want us to be in this consortium of counties that makes a presentation to the governor, because we have a lot more power when we come together, as separate counties in a region instead of being all by ourselves on the issue..."

A "Central Time coalition... plans to make a presentation to the governor in a few weeks, which is well in advance of the federal hearings that will probably take place this summer."

I would like to see as many counties as possible be part of this consortium or coalition.

Because most localities prefer to have their clock read 12:00 at local noon, the earth has been divided up into 24 natural time zones, each 15 degrees wide on the average. This results in approximately the same number of hours of sunlight in the morning (before noon) as in the evening (after noon) in the middle of each zone. The Eastern zone is centered on 75 degrees and the Central on 90. This puts the natural boundary between Eastern and Central time at 82.5 degrees.

If you look in the atlas, with Fort Wayne at 85 degrees in the northeast and Evansville at 87 degrees in the southwest, you can see that all of Indiana lies well within the natural boundary of the Central timezone, as well as virtually all of Kentucky and Michigan, and the western half of Ohio.

Over the years, the statutory boundary has gotten moved quite a bit west of the 82.5 degree line in the U.S., especially north of Kentucky. I would like to see this boundary moved back closer to the natural boundary in Indiana by being drawn up our eastern border, aligning our time with our neighboring states to the west rather than those to the east.

Because most of Indiana has been observing Eastern time, and since Indiana is well within the natural boundary for Central time, there is already plenty of daylight in the evening to suit me. Even as we have been from 1966 until now (year round Eastern Standard) we already have anywhere from nearly an hour (November) to nearly two hours (February) more daylight in the evening than in the morning.

If Indiana successfully petitions to go to Central time, this would stay the same in the summer. If we continue on Eastern time, the sun would rise in July about 6:40 am and set about 9 pm, giving us only 5.3 hours before noon and 9 hours after noon, or a whopping 3.7 hours more sun in the evening than in the morning. Our clocks would read 1:50 pm at local noon. This just seems excessive to me.

I find it helpful to be able to wait until twilight before trying to get the family to bed. I find 8:45 pm already late enough for that in the summer months. It would be even tougher to get children to bed at a decent hour if we had to to wait until 9:45 pm for twilight on Eastern Daylight time.

Central Daylight Time, which most of Indiana effectively observes now in the summer, would still give us nearly two extra hours of sunlight in the summer evenings. Observing Central Standard Time in the winter would give us one more hour of morning sunlight than we have now. Having the sun up by 7am instead of 8am in December would be a nice help to dispel the mid-winter gloom.

Ref: (3 May 2005, Jackie Walorski quote)
Ref: (timezone history)
Ref: (more Indiana time history)

Following are some of the e-mail addresses and websites at which Indiana citizens can contact politicians and bureaucrats who are likely to have some influence on Indiana's timezone.
- { U.S. Department of Transportation }

Governor Mitch Daniels

Indiana state legislators

U.S. legislators