Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Fuck the Keynesians.

Never mind the bullshit propaganda and lies put forth by the politicians.....

(Can you say: Barney Frank? Sure, I knew you could.)

....and their trained parrots in the mainstream media.

The current financial meltdown wasn't the result of a lack of sufficient regulation.....

(the US has what may very well be the most heavily regulated financial system on the planet)


.... and/or a failure of the free market economy.

(Which, incidently, hasn't existed in this country since the 19th century.)

Well then, what really caused the financial meltdown?

Robert Stewart gives a short, sweet, and logical analysis of what really happened over at the Ludwig von Mises Institute website.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Santa's helpers disable naughty cameras in Tempe

Now these folks are true patriots.......



Tuesday, December 16, 2008

D.C. tightens gun rules after court ruling

WASHINGTON — The District of Columbia Council passed more regulations for gun owners today, months after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the city’s 32-year-old handgun ban.

This quote from Councilwoman Mary Cheh pretty much puts their whole fuckwitterey into perspective:

“No constitutional right is absolute, nor is this right to possess a gun in the home for self defense."


What part of "shall not be infringed" don't these fuctards understand?

Monday, December 15, 2008

Monday, December 8, 2008

Waking from the Nightmare


by L. Neil Smith
lneil@netzero.com

via The Libertarian Enterprise:

By now it has been made abundantly clear that the American political process will never be opened to libertarians, who are, ironically, the only remaining legitimate heirs to the Founding Fathers.

Four long decades have taught us that, even if we do stand out in the broiling sun or the driving rain to collect all of those petition signatures (something that is, quite mysteriously, never required of those who have thrown their lot in with the two-headed Boot On Your Neck Party) the bought-and-paid-for Old Media "news" will still ignore us.

Or make fun of us.

There is no guarantee that votes for our candidates will even get properly counted, and not end up discarded and scattered in a landfill somewhere, or electronically purged from systems designed from the ground up to prevent the election of any but the properly approved candidates.

And, if everything else fails, if our party begins to represent an unacceptable danger to the BOYN Party, they'll infiltrate a ringer, employ the useful idiots already in our midst (those, for example, who don't want the platform to say anything they'd feel embarrassed to explain to their mommies) to get him nominated as our candidate, and proceed to discredit and destroy all we have worked for forty years to create.

Many of us saw this kind of thing coming a long time ago, and have been wracking our brains, some of us for decades, trying to think of a way to prevent or counteract it. My wife Cathy and I had an idea 20 years ago (and some of our long-suffering friends have heard about it repeatedly), but it seemed like an impossibly arduous undertaking, and we were in what I have described as our electoral pacifism phase, anyway.

Now I don't think we have any choices left. Which is why I bring up the subject, one more time, of the National Recall Coordinating Committees.

The National Recall Coordinating Committees.

That plural form is very important. We want to build something that is essentially headless, but at the same time, visibly at work everywhere. We want the National Recall Coordinating Committees to become a constant threat to every corrupt socialist politician in America—the kind of threat that both the American Civil Liberties Union and the National Rifle Association should have become but are not.

Please keep in mind that the following is simply a crude outline, a skeleton that will flesh itself out as we move along. The National Recall Coordinating Committees would begin locally, by gathering and disseminating information on the processes of recall, impeachment, and other legal methods of dislodging political parasites from the jugular of voters and taxpayers, at every level, national, state, county, and municipal.

Potential volunteers should consider whether they want to start at the city, county, state, or some other level. Their first task, after they establish themselves with the national organization, should be to exhume their jurisdiction's recall and impeachment provisions and help get them onto a national database which can be put on an appropriate website.

Whatever national organization we permit should act simply as a registrar for local organizations, a clearing-house and data gathering point, and as a generator of various materials in various media for public distribution. Over the years we have learned from many other groups we've belonged to never to let it act as a chokepoint or gatekeeper.

The National Recall Coordinating Committees must be guided solely by the Bill of Rights and—since it's the creation of libertarians—the Zero Aggression Principle. I detest having to write these words, but it should avoid those areas of controversy that legitimate members of the freedom movement are divided on, such as abortion and immigration. I have strong opinions on these issues, myself, and it is distasteful not to pursue them, but if the Founding Fathers hadn't followed a similar course with regard to slavery (something they're often criticized for), we'd all be speaking with British accents today.

Once we have the free country the Founders intended, we can settle all our old arguments with coffee and pistols at dawn, if absolutely necessary.

With our national recall and impeachment database established, we can begin to research each sitting politician's weaknesses and exploit them. In which precincts, for example, did a legislator win by only a handful of votes, and can they be reversed in a recall election? Many different tactics are possible, but in the long run, it won't matter whether we win or lose any given recall or impeachment campaign, only that it cost the other side time and money. It's called "attrition", which is how our side won the American Revolution, and why we lost in Vietnam.

At every turn we must avoid watering down our principles with the ideological poisons of compromise, gradualism, political moderatism, incrementalism, and so-called "pragmatism". Remember: "The perfect is the enemy of the good" is only an empty slogan. The historic fact is that, if it weren't for those who insist on the perfect, if it were left only to the compromisers, gradualists, political moderates, incrementalists, and so-called "pragmatists", there'd never be any good.

A few more thoughts:

The Bill of Rights is the property of the people, not of lawyers, judges, or academics bent on weasel-wording it out of existence. It is also the highest law of the land, superceding all lesser statutes and ordinances, treaties, and the body of the Constitution itself. Judges who consistently rule against the Bill of Rights should face continual efforts to remove them from office. Wherever it is possible, the 14th Amendment should be used to prevent such creatures from ever holding office again. Avoid trivialities (like semen on a White House intern's blue dress) and focus, instead, on crimes against the people and the Constitution.

On the principle that, "This time it has to cost them something," we can't be satisfied when a bad policy is reversed. We must remove whoever proposed it from office, and, if possible, abolish the office, itself. Unlike the National Rifle Association, which I've often referred to as a "Necrotic Republican Appendage", Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership is almost alone in demanding abolition of the brutal, anticonstitutional Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives. We would do well to follow their example.

Above all, we must always act with complete openness. We must never lie. Nor must we ever soft-pedal our principles or eventual goals.

First among these must be the placement of a stringent—no, let's make that Draconianpenalty clause within the Bill of Rights.

We must also repeal that section of the Constitution which gives legal immunity to legislators for whatever crimes they commit in office, and with it, all laws and findings that give similar immunity to those—like hired FBI assassins—who commit crimes for the government.

We must discredit the very concept of "emergency powers" and make sure that, "for the duration of the current crisis" all individual liberties are maximized, in part because that's what actually solves problems.

And we must abolish sovereign immunity and imminent domain.

Today marks the historic beginning of Bill of Rights enforcement in America. Make a note of it now, to show your children and your grandchildren. Then, until we get a national chapter house up, write to The Libertarian Enterprise and let us know how you're willing to help.


Four-time Prometheus Award-winner L. Neil Smith has been called one of the world's foremost authorities on the ethics of self-defense. He is the author of 25 books, including The American Zone, Forge of the Elders, Pallas, The Probability Broach, Hope (with Aaron Zelman), and his collected articles and speeches, Lever Action, all of which may be purchased through his website "The Webley Page" at lneilsmith.org.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

The Austrians Were Right

Statement of Congressman Ron Paul
United States House of Representatives

The Austrians Were Right

November 20, 2008



Madame Speaker, many Americans are hoping the new administration will solve the economic problems we face. That’s not likely to happen, because the economic advisors to the new President have no more understanding of how to get us out of this mess than previous administrations and Congresses understood how the crisis was brought about in the first place.

Except for a rare few, Members of Congress are unaware of Austrian Free Market economics. For the last 80 years, the legislative, judiciary and executive branches of our government have been totally influenced by Keynesian economics. If they had had any understanding of the Austrian economic explanation of the business cycle, they would have never permitted the dangerous bubbles that always lead to painful corrections.

Today, a major economic crisis is unfolding. New government programs are started daily, and future plans are being made for even more. All are based on the belief that we’re in this mess because free-market capitalism and sound money failed. The obsession is with more spending, bailouts of bad investments, more debt, and further dollar debasement. Many are saying we need an international answer to our problems with the establishment of a world central bank and a single fiat reserve currency. These suggestions are merely more of the same policies that created our mess and are doomed to fail.

At least 90% of the cause for the financial crisis can be laid at the doorstep of the Federal Reserve. It is the manipulation of credit, the money supply, and interest rates that caused the various bubbles to form. Congress added fuel to the fire by various programs and institutions like the Community Reinvestment Act, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, FDIC, and HUD mandates, which were all backed up by aggressive court rulings.

The Fed has now doled out close to $2 trillion in subsidized loans to troubled banks and other financial institutions. The Federal Reserve and Treasury constantly brag about the need for “transparency” and “oversight,” but it’s all just talk — they want none of it. They want secrecy while the privileged are rescued at the expense of the middle class.

It is unimaginable that Congress could be so derelict in its duty. It does nothing but condone the arrogance of the Fed in its refusal to tell us where the $2 trillion has gone. All Members of Congress and all Americans should be outraged that conditions could deteriorate to this degree. It’s no wonder that a large and growing number of Americans are now demanding an end to the Fed.

The Federal Reserve created our problem, yet it manages to gain even more power in the socialization of the entire financial system. The whole bailout process this past year was characterized by no oversight, no limits, no concerns, no understanding, and no common sense.

Similar mistakes were made in the 1930s and ushered in the age of the New Deal, the Fair Deal, the Great Society and the supply-siders who convinced conservatives that deficits didn’t really matter after all, since they were anxious to finance a very expensive deficit-financed American empire.

All the programs since the Depression were meant to prevent recessions and depressions. Yet all that was done was to plant the seeds of the greatest financial bubble in all history. Because of this lack of understanding, the stage is now set for massive nationalization of the financial system and quite likely the means of production.

Although it is obvious that the Keynesians were all wrong and interventionism and central economic planning don’t work, whom are we listening to for advice on getting us out of this mess? Unfortunately, it’s the Keynesians, the socialists, and big-government proponents.

Who’s being ignored? The Austrian free-market economists—the very ones who predicted not only the Great Depression, but the calamity we’re dealing with today. If the crisis was predictable and is explainable, why did no one listen? It’s because too many politicians believed that a free lunch was possible and a new economic paradigm had arrived. But we’ve heard that one before--like the philosopher’s stone that could turn lead into gold. Prosperity without work is a dream of the ages.

Over and above this are those who understand that political power is controlled by those who control the money supply. Liberals and conservatives, Republicans and Democrats came to believe, as they were taught in our universities, that deficits don’t matter and that Federal Reserve accommodation by monetizing debt is legitimate and never harmful. The truth is otherwise. Central economic planning is always harmful. Inflating the money supply and purposely devaluing the dollar is always painful and dangerous.

The policies of big-government proponents are running out of steam. Their policies have failed and will continue to fail. Merely doing more of what caused the crisis can hardly provide a solution.

The good news is that Austrian economists are gaining more acceptance every day and have a greater chance of influencing our future than they’ve had for a long time.

The basic problem is that proponents of big government require a central bank in order to surreptitiously pay bills without direct taxation. Printing needed money delays the payment. Raising taxes would reveal the true cost of big government, and the people would revolt. But the piper will be paid, and that’s what this crisis is all about.

There are limits. A country cannot forever depend on a central bank to keep the economy afloat and the currency functionable through constant acceleration of money supply growth. Eventually the laws of economics will overrule the politicians, the bureaucrats and the central bankers. The system will fail to respond unless the excess debt and mal-investment is liquidated. If it goes too far and the wild extravagance is not arrested, runaway inflation will result, and an entirely new currency will be required to restore growth and reasonable political stability.

The choice we face is ominous: We either accept world-wide authoritarian government holding together a flawed system, OR we restore the principles of the Constitution, limit government power, restore commodity money without a Federal Reserve system, reject world government, and promote the cause of peace by protecting liberty equally for all persons. Freedom is the answer.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

The Obama Temptation

Mark Levine has a great article over at the National Review that touches on something that has been bothering me for some time now: the creepy cult-like aura that surrounds the Obama campaign.
Whether it's the blogosphere, the MSM, the grocery store, the numerous Obama campaigner's who've come knocking on my door over the past few weeks, or some of my colleagues at the office- I've noticed that many Obama supporters display a disturbing fervor that closely resembles religious zealotry. And, like religious zealots everywhere, any attempt to inject reason, rationality, skepticism, or verifiable facts into any discussion that involves their One True Chosen One invariably results in a blatant display of cognitive dissonance. But, as Mr. Levine is far more articulate than I am, I digress.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

2A today for the USA: The Truth about the Second Amendment

At this point in time, it looks like socialist I-can-save-you-from-having-to-think-for-yourself Wonderboy Barrack Obama and his scumbag freedom-hating sidekick Jackass Joe "Drug Warrior" Biden are likely to be the next Dynamic Duo to wipe their sorry asses with what little remains of the US Constitution. With that in mind, this little ditty from JFPO becomes more relevant than ever before:

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Jack-booted thugs steal the life savings of elderly couple

More fallout from the War On Drugs:

"It is not at all uncommon for the war on drugs to target the very last people among us who ought to be treated as criminals:
For example, the 90-year-old couple, Lester ("Smitty") and Mary Smith--who were raided at their Philo home last week (9.24.08) with law enforcement seizing their life savings and all their plants in the process--are qualified patients with doctors' approvals and did nothing wrong."

~ Full story here ~

Friday, October 10, 2008

Obama & Biden: Socialist Nanny Staters LLC

I was outnumbered by the brain-dead sheeple of these once-great United States....... and all I got was this lousy T-shirt.

House Socialists plan second 'economic stimulus' package

Because , well, you know, the first one was such a freaking success.

Here's the deal:
House douchebag Nanci Pelosi wants to steal yet another 150 billion+ dollars of our hard-earned cash and toss it down the black hole of government.

Surprise, surprise, surprise.

Keep your powder dry, folks. Change is a-comin'......... and it aint gonna be pretty.

Up in smoke: failures of Bush administration drug policies

The Bush Administration’s Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) has had what can only be described as an unhealthy obsession with marijuana for years now. ONDCP has spent millions in tax dollars on anti-marijuana ads, for example, that have been remarkable only in how utterly ineffective they are. Now, a review of government drug data by George Mason University senior fellow Jon Gettman shows just how big this failure on the part of the Bush administration is. Should we honestly expect anything less from them at this point?

{ Full story here }

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Red State Update Talks Town Hall On CNN American Morning

Estimated drug overdose deaths averted by North America's first medically supervised safer injection facility

Abstract

Background

Illicit drug overdose remains a leading cause of premature mortality in urban settings worldwide. We sought to estimate the number of deaths potentially averted by the implementation of a medically supervised safer injection facility (SIF) in Vancouver, Canada.

Methodology/Principal Findings

The number of potentially averted deaths was calculated using an estimate of the local ratio of non-fatal to fatal overdoses. Inputs were derived from counts of overdose deaths by the British Columbia Vital Statistics Agency and non-fatal overdose rates from published estimates. Potentially-fatal overdoses were defined as events within the SIF that required the provision of naloxone, a 911 call or an ambulance. Point estimates and 95% Confidence Intervals (95% CI) were calculated using a Monte Carlo simulation. Between March 1, 2004 and July 1, 2008 there were 1004 overdose events in the SIF of which 453 events matched our definition of potentially fatal. In 2004, 2005 and 2006 there were 32, 37 and 38 drug-induced deaths in the SIF's neighbourhood. Owing to the wide range of non-fatal overdose rates reported in the literature (between 5% and 30% per year) we performed sensitivity analyses using non-fatal overdose rates of 50, 200 and 300 per 1,000 person years. Using these model inputs, the number of averted deaths were, respectively: 50.9 (95% CI: 23.6–78.1); 12.6 (95% CI: 9.6–15.7); 8.4 (95% CI: 6.5–10.4) during the study period, equal to 1.9 to 11.7 averted deaths per annum.

Conclusions/Significance

Based on a conservative estimate of the local ratio of non-fatal to fatal overdoses, the potentially fatal overdoses in the SIF during the study period could have resulted in between 8 and 51 deaths had they occurred outside the facility, or from 6% to 37% of the total overdose mortality burden in the neighborhood during the study period. These data should inform the ongoing debates over the future of the pilot project.

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Full article here: (HTML) (PDF)


Monday, October 6, 2008

The Do-Something Congress - Ron Paul is right once again.

The Do-Something Congress
by Ron Paul

It has not been a good week for the Republic. It took quite a bit of trampling of the Constitution, but the bailout bill passed, as I suspected it would.

The bailout failed the first time it was brought to the House. Undaunted, the Senate pressed on by attaching the bailout as an amendment to another House passed bill that was pending in the Senate. The new bailout version had new taxes, so according to the Constitution it should not have originated in the Senate.

The rallying cry heard all over the Hill the past two weeks was that Congress must act. Our economy is facing a meltdown. Would this bill fix it? Nobody could really explain how it would. In fact, few demonstrated any real understanding of credit markets, of derivatives, of credit default swaps or mortgage-backed securities. If they did, they would have known better than to vote for this bill. All they knew was that this administration was saying some frightening things, and asking for a lot of money. And when has Congress ever been able to come up with a better solution to a problem than to throw more of your money at it? So that is what Congress did, enacting a financial PATRIOT Act in the process.

In its embarrassment at being called a "Do-Nothing Congress" the 110th Congress took decisive action and did SOMETHING. No matter that it was the wrong thing. In fact, it wasn't until the Senate had a chance to load it up with even MORE spending, when it was finally inflationary and horrible enough, at $850 billion instead of a mere $700 billion, that it passed – and with a comfortable margin, in spite of constituent calls still coming in overwhelmingly against it. 57 members switched their vote!

The market went down anyway. Our nation is now just that much more in the hole. You will pay your part of this mess through inflation, and very likely hyperinflation.

Sometimes doing nothing is much better than thrashing about aimlessly. When one is caught in quicksand, for example, or when one doesn't understand economics and finds oneself in the position Congress was in for the past two weeks, with decades of irresponsible monetary policy coming to a head. Why should we trust the same people who said just a few months ago that the economy was perfectly sound? The same people who just knew there were weapons of mass destruction? The same people that crammed the PATRIOT Act down our throats? Why not consult the people who had the foresight and understanding to see this coming? They would have recommended such logical actions as repealing the Community Reinvestment Act, which forces banks to make bad loans, or allowing the market to set interest rates instead of the Federal Reserve system. How about abolishing the Federal Reserve altogether? There are many things that could have been done, but don’t expect Congress take a course of action that comes from a place of understanding and competence when they could just spend money.

This bailout will be the legacy of the 110th "Do-Something" Congress, along with record low approval ratings. Here's hoping the 111th Congress will be a "Do the Right Thing" Congress, and will focus on repealing and abolishing what is wrong with government instead of reinforcing it.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Friday Music Break: Alice Cooper- Along Came A Spider

War On Drugs: Brainwashed? Mission Accomplished.

Jeebus, talk about being utterly clueless and grossly ignorant of reality.
Check put this op-ed in the UConn Daily Campus:

"Criminalization Best Deterrent Against D
rugs"


by Megan Lynch.
This imbecile has obviously swallowed the entire Drug War propaganda scam hook, line, and sinker.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

The scumbags in the senate passed the so-called 'bailout' scheme tonight

Surprise, surprise, surprise.

The fucktards have screwed us again.

This is the list of those few senators who actually give a shit:
Allard (R)
Barasso (R)
Brownback (R)
Bunning (R)
Cantwell (D)
Cochran (R)
Crapo (R)
DeMint (R)
Dole (R)
Dorgan (D)
Enzi (R)
Feingold (D)
Inhofe (R)
Johnson (D)
Landrieu (D)
Nelson (FL) (D)
Roberts (R)
Sanders (I)
Sessions (R)
Shelby (R)
Stabenow (D)
Tester (D)
Vitter (R)
Wicker (R)
Wyden (D)

These folks truly deserve your congratulations (and your votes) for daring to Do The Right Thing.

As for the remainder of the senate: they can kiss my hairy ass.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Never Forgive, Never Forget

By L. Neil Smith

via The Libertarian Enterprise

Forty years ago, whenever a guest character on a TV crime drama displayed firearms—or big game trophies—on a back wall of his home or office, you immediately knew who the villain would turn out to be. Apparently, in the pathetically ignorant view of Hollywood and New York writers, who know nothing of reality, gun ownership and hunting were attributes limited to murderers—usually rich ones—and thieves.

Later, individuals sufficiently concerned about the direction that their country was taking to equip themselves for the protection of their homes and families, and make other provisions against a collapse of the economy—or of civilization in general—were invariably vilified by TV's "dominant culture" as poor, illiterate political and religious fanatics, violent wife beaters, child abusers, racists, and neonazis.

Take a look around now, as the price of gas soars, the housing industry crumbles, and the dollar disintegrates, and tell us who was wiser.

Those of us—early libertarians, genuine conservatives, even the rare enlightened liberal—who knew better than this, suffered these propagandistic calumnies in varying degrees of silence (it was the beginning of my career as a columnist), but never forgave, and never forgot.

Sarah Palin is our revenge.

It doesn't matter a bit that I disagree with Palin on an enormous collection of important issues—evolution, abortion, stem cells, homosexuality, domestic partnerships and gay marriage, the place of religion in political life,—I'm not planning on voting for her or her running mate, Mad Jack McCain, anyway. I'm just enjoying—more than I can say—the glorious sight of Democratic hopes and schemes (which I loathe just as much as I do Palin's views on the issues I mentioned) flushed down the toilet of history by a member of the gun culture.

Kafloosh!

Palin represents a phenomenon that would never have come to pass—she is an individual we never would have heard of—if it weren't for our "betters" who are so ashamed of the word "liberal", which they have irrevocably soiled, that they now call themselves "progressives". They believe they own our lives and have a right to tell us how to live them. Their relentless persecution and punishment of America's Productive Class over the last six or seven decades, especially those who have aspired and labored to become prosperous and self-reliant, is precisely what caused so many of "us" to rally around the values Palin articulates.

Enjoy her, my left-wing socialist friends, she's your creation, entirely.

And in exactly the same way Norman Lear's misguided creation of Archie Bunker generated a cultural icon with exactly the opposite effect Lear intended, or novelist Brian Garfield wrote in Death Wish of a vigilante villain who became America's hero in Charles Bronson's movies, Palin has given new life to things that liberals had hoped to eliminate from a society that is now slipping from their grasp. As a libertarian—an individual who has sworn on everything he holds dear never to initiate physical force against another human being for any reason whatever—even I am enjoying what I agree with Camille Paglia constitutes a spectacular political drama of unquestionably historic proportions.

It's similar to seeing media liberals get all huffed up about the National Rifle Association. I know—and if you're reading this, you probably do, as well—that the NRA, in fact, is a cowardly, craven, compromising organization of BDSM "bottoms"—submissives—who, rather than endure what they imagine will be intolerable treatment by their "tops"—their dominators—are willing to chain and brand and whip themselves on the theory that it doesn't hurt quite as much that way.

Or that it hurts better, somehow.

Starting as early as the 1930s, NRA leadership signed off on—or even wrote—much of the illegal gun law we suffer under today. I'm always a little heartened nevertheless, when I see an NRA sticker on a car or hear the NRA attacked by lefties who don't know its history. The mere presence of those three letters is a constant challenge to those who mistakenly believe they can order our lives better than we can and are driven by a profound psychosis to protect us to death if necessary.

Now if only there were a National Smoker's Association.

But I digress.

And just as the NRA presence can mean one thing to me, in the thick of the struggle, and another to hairsprayheads and Hollywood types, so can the presence—the very existence—of Sarah Palin. Both mean absolutely nothing, philosophically. Both mean absolutely nothing politically. But LewRockwell.com and Annette Bening (both of whom despise her) to the contrary, culturally, Palin and the NRA mean everything.

The general public and the mainstream media are unaware of what you and I regard as the NRA's many grievous strategic and tactical shortcomings. They understand little of the deep and real differences between the pusillanimous NRA and genuine Second Amendment advocacy. Yet to have them all in an hysterical flap because the girl Republican Vice Presidential nominee is an NRA member, a hunter, an angler, and a hockey mom is a good thing, a wonderful thing, and a delight beyond describing.

To the marxoid elite, of course, it's positively alarming. The American Productive Class, whose assigned role for the past century has simply been to shut up and fork over, suddenly appears to have had the audacity to talk back to those who mistakenly believed they own it.

Does it really mean anything? Is it something that will last? Only time will tell. A great many pundits opine that Palin, given power, will be coopted by the Beltway and simply melt away as a distinctive entity. I'm not religious myself, and personally see all religions—especially the big, rich, "respectable" ones, as equally crazy. But I know a lot of religious folks, and I am inclined to think that the Beltway, which believes in nothing, is far likelier to be coopted by Palin.

If Bob Barr and Wayne Alan Root hadn't swindled the Libertarian Party away (with the dollar help, I hear, of Richard Viguerie), and Mary Ruwart had received the Presidential nomination she had earned and richly deserved, people would have a genuine alternative—and a female Productive Class candidate—to vote for on Election Day. Of course that was why it was necessary for the Republicans to hijack the party.

Wasn't it?

Never forgive, never forget.

Although I've no idea who I'll vote for in November—most likely I'll cast a blank for President, and you should, too—at the moment I'm content. All those Barnaby Jones and Hawaii Five-O episodes I sat through (not to mention later entries like the X-Files and Numb3rs) that slandered and libeled folks like me have come home to roost.

In the words of Nelson Muntz, "Ha-ha!"


Four-time Prometheus Award-winner L. Neil Smith has been called one of the world's foremost authorities on the ethics of self-defense. He is the author of 25 books, including The American Zone, Forge of the Elders, Pallas, The Probability Broach, Hope (with Aaron Zelman), and his collected articles and speeches, Lever Action, all of which may be purchased through his website "The Webley Page" at lneilsmith.org.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Cosmic 'dark flow' detected across billions of light years

ScienceDaily (Sep. 24, 2008) — Using data from NASA's Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe (WMAP), scientists have identified an unexpected motion in distant galaxy clusters. The cause, they suggest, is the gravitational attraction of matter that lies beyond the observable universe.

"The clusters show a small but measurable velocity that is independent of the universe's expansion and does not change as distances increase," says lead researcher Alexander Kashlinsky at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. "We never expected to find anything like this."

Kashlinsky calls this collective motion a "dark flow" in the vein of more familiar cosmological mysteries: dark energy and dark matter. "The distribution of matter in the observed universe cannot account for this motion," he says.


~ Full article here ~

Monday, September 22, 2008

Is the Obama campaign rolling out the astroturf?

Hope, Change, & Lies: Orchestrated "Grassroots" Smear Campaigns & the People that Run Them


Government Failure

Government Failure
by Sheldon Richman, September 19, 2008 (via the Future of Freedom Foundation)

"Politicians have an obvious interest in portraying the financial meltdown as the result of a government hands-off policy. They can’t very well advocate government controls if government controls are responsible for the debacle we’re now living through. The pundits just don’t understand economics.

But believe it or not, the problems in the financial and housing industries are not a market failure. They are a government failure."


~ Full article here ~

Pro Libertate: The Triumvirate and the Plunderbund

Pro Libertate: The Triumvirate and the Plunderbund

Saturday, September 20, 2008

The Paulson bailout proposal

May the fleas of a thousand camels infest the collective crotches of the Bush administration.


This is the draft bailout proposal- which pretty much speaks for itself:
(Note Section 8: Review)
---------------------------------------

Section 1. Short Title.

This Act may be cited as ____________________.

Sec. 2. Purchases of Mortgage-Related Assets.

(a) Authority to Purchase.–The Secretary is authorized to purchase, and to make and fund commitments to purchase, on such terms and conditions as determined by the Secretary, mortgage-related assets from any financial institution having its headquarters in the United States.

(b) Necessary Actions.–The Secretary is authorized to take such actions as the Secretary deems necessary to carry out the authorities in this Act, including, without limitation:

(1) appointing such employees as may be required to carry out the authorities in this Act and defining their duties;

(2) entering into contracts, including contracts for services authorized by section 3109 of title 5, United States Code, without regard to any other provision of law regarding public contracts;

(3) designating financial institutions as financial agents of the Government, and they shall perform all such reasonable duties related to this Act as financial agents of the Government as may be required of them;

(4) establishing vehicles that are authorized, subject to supervision by the Secretary, to purchase mortgage-related assets and issue obligations; and

(5) issuing such regulations and other guidance as may be necessary or appropriate to define terms or carry out the authorities of this Act.

Sec. 3. Considerations.

In exercising the authorities granted in this Act, the Secretary shall take into consideration means for–

(1) providing stability or preventing disruption to the financial markets or banking system; and

(2) protecting the taxpayer.

Sec. 4. Reports to Congress.

Within three months of the first exercise of the authority granted in section 2(a), and semiannually thereafter, the Secretary shall report to the Committees on the Budget, Financial Services, and Ways and Means of the House of Representatives and the Committees on the Budget, Finance, and Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs of the Senate with respect to the authorities exercised under this Act and the considerations required by section 3.

Sec. 5. Rights; Management; Sale of Mortgage-Related Assets.

(a) Exercise of Rights.–The Secretary may, at any time, exercise any rights received in connection with mortgage-related assets purchased under this Act.

(b) Management of Mortgage-Related Assets.–The Secretary shall have authority to manage mortgage-related assets purchased under this Act, including revenues and portfolio risks therefrom.

(c) Sale of Mortgage-Related Assets.–The Secretary may, at any time, upon terms and conditions and at prices determined by the Secretary, sell, or enter into securities loans, repurchase transactions or other financial transactions in regard to, any mortgage-related asset purchased under this Act.

(d) Application of Sunset to Mortgage-Related Assets.–The authority of the Secretary to hold any mortgage-related asset purchased under this Act before the termination date in section 9, or to purchase or fund the purchase of a mortgage-related asset under a commitment entered into before the termination date in section 9, is not subject to the provisions of section 9.

Sec. 6. Maximum Amount of Authorized Purchases.

The Secretary’s authority to purchase mortgage-related assets under this Act shall be limited to $700,000,000,000 outstanding at any one time

Sec. 7. Funding.

For the purpose of the authorities granted in this Act, and for the costs of administering those authorities, the Secretary may use the proceeds of the sale of any securities issued under chapter 31 of title 31, United States Code, and the purposes for which securities may be issued under chapter 31 of title 31, United States Code, are extended to include actions authorized by this Act, including the payment of administrative expenses. Any funds expended for actions authorized by this Act, including the payment of administrative expenses, shall be deemed appropriated at the time of such expenditure.

Sec. 8. Review.

Decisions by the Secretary pursuant to the authority of this Act are non-reviewable and committed to agency discretion, and may not be reviewed by any court of law or any administrative agency.

Sec. 9. Termination of Authority.

The authorities under this Act, with the exception of authorities granted in sections 2(b)(5), 5 and 7, shall terminate two years from the date of enactment of this Act.

Sec. 10. Increase in Statutory Limit on the Public Debt.

Subsection (b) of section 3101 of title 31, United States Code, is amended by striking out the dollar limitation contained in such subsection and inserting in lieu thereof $11,315,000,000,000.

Sec. 11. Credit Reform.

The costs of purchases of mortgage-related assets made under section 2(a) of this Act shall be determined as provided under the Federal Credit Reform Act of 1990, as applicable.

Sec. 12. Definitions.

For purposes of this section, the following definitions shall apply:

(1) Mortgage-Related Assets.–The term “mortgage-related assets” means residential or commercial mortgages and any securities, obligations, or other instruments that are based on or related to such mortgages, that in each case was originated or issued on or before September 17, 2008.

(2) Secretary.–The term “Secretary” means the Secretary of the Treasury.

(3) United States.–The term “United States” means the States, territories, and possessions of the United States and the District of Columbia.

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Friday, September 19, 2008

Click, Clickity-click

From The Libertarian Enterprise:

L. Neil Smith

I don't think many people realize it any more—many of those who do are inclined to lie about it and attempt to cover it up—but the first ten amendments to the U.S. Constitution, commonly known as the Bill of Rights, were written not just to protect us from the would-be kings and dictators in government, but to protect us, as well, from democracy.

On both sides of the Federalist-Antifederalist split, most of the Founding Fathers expressed hatred and fear of the notion of "absolute democracy" in which the highest law was "vox populi, vox dei" ("The voice of the people is the voice of God."), an ancient proverb that novelist Robert A. Heinlein, an unusually astute observer of history and human nature, translated as "How the hell did we get into this mess?"

The rights that the Founders chose to enumerate were meant never to be decreed, legislated, adjudicated—or voted—away. They had been placed (or at least the Founders believed) beyond the reach of politicians, bureaucrats, and the people, themselves. While they were inclined to celebrate the mind and spirit of the individual human being, the Founders knew that our species doesn't play particularly well in groups, and that the collective intelligence of a mob is that of its brightest member—divided by the number of people in the group.

So how did we get from a society in which individuals were free, and the Bill of Rights was unassailable, to a society in which nothing is allowable unless you have begged specifically for the government's permission?

There are many answers to that question—my first novel, The Probability Broach, for example, is primarily about the unfortunate influence that the 1794 Whiskey Rebellion had on American history—but my purpose here is to consider the role of two more fundamental phenomena: an irrational obsession to make the whole world "safe" for idiots, and an insatiable desire to extract big bucks from deep pockets.

The single action cartridge revolver (relax, I'm not actually changing the subject, here) is a comparatively simple contrivance, although it does require that you meet it halfway in some respects. For example, although the original 1873 Colt "Peacemaker"—and its many imitators—has six chambers for cartridges bored into its cylinder, it is only safe to load five, leaving one chamber empty so that an accidental blow to the hammer (as when you drop it, or the stirrup falls onto it from your saddlehorn when you're tightening the cinch) can't unintentionally discharge the firearm straight into your leg.

For more than a hundred years, that was the drill, and everybody understood it. It's even mentioned in movies like The Shootist, when John Wayne explains it to a young man—Ron Howard—he's teaching to shoot. All you have to do is count cartridges as you slide them, one by one, through the opened loading gate, into the cylinder. Stop when you get to five. Make sure the chamber you leave empty is the one that's just forward of the hammer, and that the cylinder is indexed—locked in place—before you close the loading gate. As impossibly complicated as it is to try to write—maybe impossibly complicated to read, as well—it's extremely simple in practice. There's even an alternative technique, involving skipping the second chamber that you roll past, but I don't care for it, and I'm not going to go into it here.

Believe me, it's much simpler than driving a car with a manual transmission.

For all of that trouble, you get four extremely soul-satisfying clicks whenever you cock the weapon, a soul-satisfaction that's frustratingly hard to describe, easy to experience, and impossible to forget. You used to be able to hear it in the opening moments of Gunsmoke.

It's the very sound of the Old West, come to life.

Click, clickity-click.

All of that changed in 1973, however, the hundredth anniversary of Colt's first cartridge revolver, when Sturm, Ruger and Company, an outfit that had been succesfully manufacturing single actions in many ways superior to the Colt for 20 years, introduced what I have always referred to as their "Ralph Nader Safety Revolver", a gun designed, in essence, by liability lawyers, for idiots who can't count to five and stop.

Apparently some of those idiots had gotten lawyers themselves and sued the company, blaming it for the unfortunate results of their own idiocy. Because of the newly-designed ignition system, it was now safe to load all six chambers. Ruger would even convert your dangerous, nasty old five-shooter to a safe and sound six, for free. But a single action revolver is all about the sense of history it invokes. The click, clickity-click was gone forever, and with it, in this writer's opinion, the thrill it had offered—along with any reason not to buy a double action revolver instead, or even better, a semiautomatic pistol.

And so the threat of government action—in this case the fear of civil lawsuits—reshaped American culture after all, in ways that the Founding Fathers didn't want, and couldn't have anticipated, all to protect idiots from themselves, and reward them when their idiocy catches up to them. The operation of an antique style of handgun may seem like a small thing, but it's representative of a much larger phenomenon.

Today, you must apply for an expensive, difficult-to-obtain permit from the government before you are allowed broadcast your ideas to the world.

You must get government permission if you and your fellow beings wish to assemble and march to protest against the same government (how insane is that?) or apparently even meet in private to plan the event.

Otherwise, government's hired thugs will electrocute you, gas you, herd you all together, knock you down, and stomp your head and chest before they drag you off to a barbed wire pen. No, don't look at me like that: every one of these outrages just happened—again—at the Republican National Convention in Minneapolis. They may do it—and tear your press pass off—even if you've obtained the requisite permission.

You even have to clear your spiritual beliefs with the expert theologians at the IRS before you can officially be said to have a religion.

And, of course, you have to get an okay from the government before you can purchase a gun, and a permit to exercise your right to tote it.

It's what I call "controlled carry".

And that's just the first two amendments

If you should happen to ask them about any of these violations of the Constitution—provided they don't just smash your face and have you hauled off to Guantanamo—the politicians and bureaucrats in charge will explain, faux-patiently, that it's all for your own good, and that safety considerations must always trump the rights of mere individuals.

"We had to destroy the Bill of Rights in order to save it."

So what we have now, apparently, is the political equivalent of Ruger's Ralph Nader safety revolver, a "Safety" Bill of Rights, if you will (or even if you won't), ostensibly intended to protect idiots—meaning you and me and anybody else feeble-minded enough to believe in exercising their individual liberties—from themselves. More to the point, our rights under the Constitution or any other construction don't mean a thing if our betters, our masters, and our owners decide that they represent a danger to them. That's what the Republican power elite was telling us last weekend in Minneapolis. It's the same thing that the Democratic power elite told us the weekend before that, in Denver.

Since even the smartest individuals are almost always idiots in groups, constituting a clear and present danger even to little old ladies with shopping carts, innocent sheep in Wyoming, and wooden Indians outside of cigar stores, it may be there's no way out of the trap that's been set for us. Safety fascism has taken America over permanently.

Or has it?

Lying on the desk beside my keyboard as I write, is a big, fat Glock M20, a 10 millimeter semiautomatic pistol with an absolutely astonishing (to me, anyway) magazine capacity. Many things about this weapon are remarkable, but the pertinent fact is that it doesn't have any kind of manual safety. A gun doesn't need a safety as long as you remember to keep your finger off the trigger until you mean to pull it.

The Glock is a relatively new development, historically speaking, one that flies in the face of every current trend by depending on the user's intelligence for safety. So maybe there's some hope left, after all.

At least for those of us who aren't idiots.

As for the rest of American civilization, maybe it's time for some reeducation. I have a book under development aimed at accomplishing that very thing and am now planning a website to expose and deal with police violence. I'd be happy to tell you all about them, any time you wish.

My old friend and partner Aaron Zelman is making a groundbreaking video for the Internet on the individual right to own and carry weapons. It's an expensive proposition to do it right and he could use help.

Go to www.jpfo.org.

I'm confident there are others hard at work on similar projects. Ron Paul's supporters don't seem to have missed a beat since their candidate stepped down, but appear more active and enthusiastic than ever.

If you don't have a project of your own for the advancement of liberty, and don't plan to start one of your own, then offer your support to those who do. It is of such stuff that true revolutions are made.

Freedom first, safety second—or maybe third.


Four-time Prometheus Award-winner L. Neil Smith has been called one of the world's foremost authorities on the ethics of self-defense. He is the author of 25 books, including The American Zone, Forge of the Elders, Pallas, The Probability Broach, Hope (with Aaron Zelman), and his collected articles and speeches, Lever Action, all of which may be purchased through his website "The Webley Page" at lneilsmith.org.


Wednesday, September 17, 2008

War On Drugs: Mukasey Slings the Feces

Excerpted from remarks made by Attorney General Michael Mukasey as he announced the results of "Project Reckoning":


"By spreading dangerous drugs and resorting to brutal violence, international drug cartels pose an extraordinary threat both here and abroad. Too many communities, here and abroad, have been damaged by the drugs and violence associated with these cartels. Too many innocent citizens, and too many law enforcement officers, have died on both sides of the Southwest border, and in cities and towns across this country."

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The fascist fuckwit conveniently ignores the fact that it is the prohibitionst policies which he supports that are the root of the problem.
One thing is certain.
The fallout from the War On Drugs is far more destructive to the citizens of this planet than the effects of the drugs themselves.

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~ read AG Mukasey's full statement here ~

Op-Ed: The Cornell Daily Sun

Prohibition of Sanity

Straight No Chaser
September 17, 2008 - 12:00am
By Daniel Eichberg

"It’s not what you think. The United States is embroiled in an immoral, racist, and ineffective war, costing taxpayers $69 billion a year with no end in sight. But unlike Iraq, this war is fought in America’s streets and the casualties are American civilians. Without exaggeration, the War on Drugs is this country’s single most destructive public policy failure since slavery.

The War on Drugs is America’s second attempt at the failed policy of prohibition. In 1919, Congress ratified the 18th Amendment, banning the sale, manufacture, and transportation of alcohol. Instead of reducing alcohol consumption and its associated crimes, Prohibition multiplied them exponentially. The abolition of legal booze created an incredible demand that fueled a thriving black market. Increased demand generates increased cost, so gangsters like Al Capone made millions trafficking illegal hooch with huge profit margins. These thugs gunned down rival bootleggers, as well as bystanders caught in the crossfire. Violent alcohol trafficking disappeared only after Prohibition was lifted and bootlegging alcohol became unprofitable."

~ Full article here ~

RE: the 2nd Amendment Enforcement act

via Jim Abrams (AP wire) :
House Votes To Ease DC Gun Restrictions

WASHINGTON (AP) —" The pro-gun majority in the House has voted to make it easier for residents of the nation's capital to buy and own firearms.

Democrats who favor gun rights joined Republicans in approving the measure backed by the National Rifle Association. It allows District of Columbia residents to possess semiautomatic handguns and eliminates rules that guns kept at home must be locked up and unloaded.

The House vote comes three months after the Supreme Court ruled that the District's three-decade-old ban on possessing handguns violated Second Amendment rights to bear arms."

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How friggin' special. Our republic has descended so far into the sewer that it literally requires an act of Congress to allow the residents of DC the freedom to exercise their supposedly constitutionally guaranteed right to bear arms.


What part of "shall not be infringed" is so hard to understand?

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BATF lost at least 76 weapons and over 400 laptops

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Morons. Why does this agency even exist?

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WASHINGTON - The ATF lost 76 weapons and hundreds of laptops over five years, the Justice Department reported Wednesday, blaming carelessness and sloppy record-keeping.

Thirty-five of the missing handguns, rifles, Tasers and other weapons were stolen, as were 50 laptops, the internal audit found. Two of the stolen weapons were used in crimes.

The audit by Justice Department Inspector General Glenn A. Fine found "inadequate" oversight of weapons and laptops resulted in "significant rates of losses" at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

"It is especially troubling that that ATF's rate of loss for weapons was nearly double that of the FBI and DEA, and that ATF did not even know whether most of its lost, stolen, or missing laptop computers contained sensitive or classified information," he added.

~ Full article here ~

Monday, September 15, 2008

A monster fed by ignorance, corruption, and paranoia

Great Op-Ed piece on the insanity of the US War On (some) Drugs in the Irish Independent:

"The US government succeeds in over 90 per cent of its prosecutions, which indicates that the system is a stacked deck. US criminal justice is based on the plea bargain, which is essentially the exchange of immunity or a reduced sentence for inculpatory perjury against targeted people. It is an evil and repulsive system based on intimidation, suborned falsehoods, and impoverishment. Irish, British and Canadian prosecutors using these tactics would be disbarred.

The prosecutors routinely try to freeze assets of targeted people, ex parte, on the basis of affidavits they know to be fraudulent. They did so with me. Few people can afford to go the distance with the Justice Department, and are conducted to their confinement by the Judas Goats of the public defender service, pawns of the prosecutors, understaffed, and paid on the basis of supposed merit by the judges, most of whom are also ex-prosecutors."

~ Full article here ~

Incarcerex

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Crime and Drug Policy


By Art Carden @ MWC News:Image

The United States imprisons almost one in one hundred American adults—a higher number and percentage of its population than any other country, according to a February 29, 2008 Washington Post article. This has been especially devastating for minorities—as the Post points out, “(o)ne in nine black men ages 20 to 34 is behind bars.” Many of these people remain in a continual pattern of crime. Are we a safer society as a result, or should we re-evaluate our crime policies?

When I was in college, Johnnie Cochran gave a talk in which he asked whether we are doing a service to the country by building a land of barbed wire and concrete “from sea to shining sea.” There is a psychological and social effect that has been pointed out by Ayn Rand, who argued (astutely) that social control is easier if we create a nation of criminals. Many statutes do not prevent crimes; they create them. Drug laws are a perfect example: drug use infringes on no one’s rights; it is the essence of a “victimless crime.”

Some might respond that there is no such thing as a “victimless crime” because of the effects of drug use on the user’s friends and families. These costs are all too real as the legacy of families torn apart by drug abuse suggests. If we are going to adopt this utilitarian line of reasoning, though, then we have to weigh the costs to families against the social costs created by the unintended consequences of the war on drugs.

The drug war is an integral part of the rapidly growing American prison population. Outlawing marijuana, cocaine, heroin, and other drugs created a whole new class of crimes and moved traffic in psychoactive drugs out of the legitimate marketplace and into the black market.

Another one of the unintended consequences of the drug war is the escalating potency of the drugs people use today. The marijuana on the streets today is much more potent than the marijuana that was on the streets thirty and forty years ago. As penalties have changed, so too have the drugs people use. Cocaine became more prevalent after the government cracked down on heroin in the 1970s. The crack epidemic was in part a response to attempts to eradicate cocaine, and the crystal meth epidemic of the last decade has happened in part in response to the war on crack. Criminal penalties give people incentives to pack as much potency into as small a space as possible; therefore, drug dealers have incentives to increase the potency of the drugs they deal.

Yet other examples of the unintended consequence of the drug war are the extremely low quality of the drugs that appear on the street and the violent means that drug dealers use to settle disputes. Someone who buys bad aspirin has legal recourse against the company that sold it to him. Someone who buys bad heroin or bad crack has no such legal recourse, and disputes over quality will be settled violently, if at all. Epidemics of urban crime are among the unintended consequences of the drug war.

It appears that we learned nothing from our experiment with alcohol prohibition in the first part of the twentieth century. When alcohol was outlawed, alcohol production and distribution were taken over by organized criminal syndicates—think Al Capone—and crime skyrocketed.

Prison is not the answer. In a recent set of lectures given on behalf of the Institute for Humane Studies, Georgetown University legal scholar John Hasnas argued in favor of restitution as opposed to incarceration and statutory law. Hasnas argued that people are not necessarily reformed while in prisons and jails. They learn to be better criminals. They attach themselves to larger criminal networks. After some of the horrible experiences of prison—like prison rape, for example—still others are likely to become even more withdrawn and antisocial. The current system isn’t working.

Proponents of law and order might see this as bleeding-heart, soft-on-crime liberalism. I agree that crime should be punished; indeed, a strong legal system is essential for a well-functioning society. To take one example, it has been argued by legal scholar Richard Posner (and I agree) that the penalties for drunken driving are not nearly severe enough. It is quite another matter, however, to argue that our current system is doing what it was meant to do. It is time to re-examine our drug policy.

~ View Original Article ~

Take off the towel.......

Bob Barr: Federal Drug War Rethought





via the Huffington Post:

As both a U.S. Attorney and Member of Congress, I defended drug prohibition. But it has become increasingly clear to me, after much study, that our current strategy has not worked and will not work. The other candidates for president prefer not to address this issue, but ignoring the failure of existing policy exhibits both a poverty of thought and an absence of political courage. The federal government must turn the decision on drug policy back to the states and the citizens themselves.

My change in perspective might shock some people, but leadership requires a willingness to assess evidence and recognize when a strategy is not working. We are paying far too high a price for today's failed policy to continue it simply because it has always been done that way.

It is obvious that, like Prohibition's effort to eradicate alcohol usage, drug prohibition has not succeeded. Despite enormous law enforcement efforts -- including the dedicated service of many thousands of professional men and women -- the government has not halted drug use. Indeed, the problem is worse today than in 1972, when Richard Nixon first coined the phrase "War on Drugs."

Whether we like it or not, tens of millions of Americans have used and will continue to use drugs. Yet in 2005 we spent more than $12 billion on federal drug enforcement efforts. Another $30 billion went to incarcerate non-violent drug offenders.

~ Original article Here ~

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Bone parts don't add up to conclusion of Palauan dwarfs





Scott M. Fitzpatrick1*, Greg C. Nelson2, Geoffrey Clark3
1 Department of Sociology & Anthropology, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina, United States of America, 2 Department of Anthropology, University of Oregon, Eugene, Oregon, United States of America, 3 Archaeology and Natural History, Division of Society and Environment, Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies, Australian National University, Acton, Australia

Abstract

Current archaeological evidence from Palau in western Micronesia indicates that the archipelago was settled around 3000–3300 BP by normal sized populations; contrary to recent claims, they did not succumb to insular dwarfism.

Background

Previous and ongoing archaeological research of both human burial and occupation sites throughout the Palauan archipelago during the last 50 years has produced a robust data set to test hypotheses regarding initial colonization and subsequent adaptations over the past three millennia.

Principal Findings

Close examination of human burials at the early (ca. 3000 BP) and stratified site of Chelechol ra Orrak indicates that these were normal sized individuals. This is contrary to the recent claim of contemporaneous “small-bodied” individuals found at two cave sites by Berger et al. (2008). As we argue, their analyses are flawed on a number of different analytical levels. First, their sample size is too small and fragmentary to adequately address the variation inherent in modern humans within and outside of Palau. Second, the size and stature of all other prehistoric (both older and contemporaneous) skeletal assemblages found in Palau fall within the normal parameters of modern human variation in the region, indicating this was not a case of insular dwarfism or a separate migratory group. Third, measurements taken on several skeletal elements by Berger et al. may appear to be from smaller-bodied individuals, but the sizes of these people compares well with samples from Chelechol ra Orrak. Last, archaeological, linguistic, and historical evidence demonstrates a great deal of cultural continuity in Palau through time as expected if the same population was inhabiting the archipelago.

Conclusions

Prehistoric Palauan populations were normal sized and exhibit traits that fall within the normal variation for Homo sapiens—they do not support the claims by Berger et al. (2008) that there were smaller-bodied populations living in Palau or that insular dwarfism took place such as may be the case for Homo floresiensis.

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