Sunday, February 28, 2010

With all due respect, Ms. Mintz...

So in this morning's edition of the Brazosport Factless, my local newsrag published a letter I had written about how Chief Neil Longbotham had stolen over one hundred thousand dollars worth of cash and video poker machines from a local "Eight Liner" parlor that had been found to be paying out cash prizes.

Also on the opinions page was an op-ed piece by Ms. Yvonne Mintz of the Brazosport Facts, telling me and the countless others who were disgusted about this obvious theft by a "public servant" that our anger is "misplaced" and should be directed toward our state legislature.

While I am angry at my legislature in general anyway, I do firmly understand that they could honestly care less about the wants and wishes of the People of the State of Texas...unless those people are so pissed off at their legislators that they're chasing them down the road with pitchforks.

Regardless, our LOCAL officials deal with what is going on LOCALLY. The reason I am disgusted by the confiscation of a man's personal property (other than, of course, Chief Longbotham's inability to be publicly honest about it, saying that he raided the place to "protect the public"), is that our local officials can and do have the authority to decide what priorities to place on certain things within the arena of their respective offices.

Ms. Mintz's own article provides plenty of reason to be very upset about this...not with the legislature, but with the local law enforcement and the county DA's office.

I used to work at one of these "eight-liner parlors" when I was in college, and I know for a fact that they DO NOT STAY IN BUSINESS WHILE OPERATING WITHIN THE BOUNDARIES OF THE LAW. Let there be no mistake about it, you do not run a video gambling joint legally without going broke. It just does not happen. While this may have been possible ten or fifteen years ago, the laws have been changed within the past decade in a manner that makes these places a no-win situation for everyone involved...unless the relationship between the house and the player crosses the line of the law.

Prior to laws being changed (or possibly just clarified), an eight-liner parlor was forbidden to pay out in cash...but it was able to pay out in the form of "gift certificates" that could be worth a maximum of $5 in game credits or merchandise. The way it worked was simple...they couldn't pay you in cash, but they could give you a $600 television if you had saved up 120 of these $5 certificates. Often, the player would show the house a newspaper flier of the merchandise desired, and someone working for the house would go purchase it, bring it back to the game room, and help load it up for the customer.

After the law was updated, they still couldn't pay you in cash...and now, the maximum value of any prize was $5. You could no longer collect a stack of 100 certificates and trade them for a prize worth $500, you now had to trade them in for 100 prizes worth $5 each. Anyone stupid enough to continuously pump $20 bills into a machine for hours at a time, with no possibility of actually winning anything bigger than a $5 plastic trinket, likely wouldn't have that kind of money to begin with. The law, in effect, turned what was once legalized gambling into an overrated video game arcade.

Game rooms are typically open 24/7. That's AT LEAST five grand a month in payroll, provided you have only one attendant on duty at any given time...and that attendant is only making minimum wage. Then you have the light bills. Do you have any idea how much power consumption goes on when you have 50 computers sitting side by side? Don't forget about the complimentary snacks and drinks that are often provided for the players, because most municipalities require a permit to sell food/drinks. Then there's the lease or mortgage on the building, if you don't own it outright. Most importantly, don't forget about paying your annual taxes on each coin-operated gaming machine.

You're looking at an overhead of at least eight grand a month, which means you have to be pulling in about $300 every 24 hours. That's just to break even. This is required EVERY SINGLE DAY, regardless of how jacked up the economy is, or whether it's a Tuesday night, or the county fair is in town, or whatever other reason there may be for people not coming into your game room. If you have more than one employee, you're going to need to bring more dollars into those machines.

Simply put, you're going to have one hell of a hard time getting enough people into your game room spending that kind of money on what is essentially an obnoxiously noisy Nintendo game, without breaking the law. Grown folks just are not going to come into a game room and pump $50 into a machine for the prospect of winning a trinket worth $5. Seriously, you can't even buy a Barbie doll for $5 anymore. What kind of prizes are these people giving away? Keychains and beer koozies, maybe?

Okay, so now we've established that EVERY eight liner parlor is breaking the law. Yes, every single one of them. Here's why it shouldn't matter...


Interestingly enough, Ms. Mintz tells us that investigations, such as the one resulting in the THEFT (you'll notice I don't use the word "confiscation", because "confiscation" is simply theft by a government employee) of over one hundred thousand dollars worth of cash and video gambling devices, required the use of an informant and took several months of surveillance.

According to the original article, Chief Longbotham was quoted as saying that several "complaints" had been made to the police department about this establishment paying cash to its players. Okay, really? Come on. Who calls the police to complain about a video game parlor paying cash to its customers? Obviously, it isn't the police department themselves, otherwise that statement would be a complete and total lie...which would leave only two other options.

Either A) the complaint was made by a player that lost his rent money for the month in hopes that he would score big, or B) the complaint was made by the owners of another game room. Either way, I continue to ask...who was harmed by paying cash to the players?

Absolutely NO ONE that didn't wantonly and willingly put himself into a position to lose money. You're a complete idiot, if you think the house doesn't have an advantage in "games of chance". The odds of winning any casino-style game are severely stacked in favor of the house. With any computer-based game (such as video poker, keno, slots, et cetera), the odds can actually be manipulated via the game's processor chips...ironically, most avid players even know this, and continue to play.

But now, I ask this...if a man is willing to risk losing his rent money for the chance of winning it back five-fold, is the house he's betting against not also running the risk of losing more money, even if the odds are stacked in favor of the house? If so, is this not a mutually agreed-upon contractual relationship?

Keep that in mind, and now ask yourself this: Are there not other problems that thousands of dollars worth of man-hours and resources could not be spent on, especially when these problems involve crimes against people and property?

As a police chief, is it not Longbotham's responsibility to his community to more wisely utilize his department's resources in a manner that actually IS "protecting the public", as opposed to wasting them on something as petty as arresting someone for paying cash prizes at an eight-liner parlor?

I know there are worse places to live, but I also know for a fact that burglary and thievery goes on in the city of Brazoria. You know it, I know it, and the police chief knows it. What's more important, protecting the private property of the citizens you are paid to serve, or attempting to enforce legislated morality in a manner that the majority of the public does not agree with by STEALING the private property of the citizens you are paid to serve?

Should we hold our legislature responsible for outlawing video poker? Absolutely, but the officers who enforce these laws are equally culpable, as are the district attorneys who prosecute these cases. Without investigators and prosecutors, such laws are utterly useless.

Since the newspaper article has stated that arrests will be coming soon (for all I know, they've already been made), I suppose the only recourse the owner of Jacks R Better will have is a sympathetic jury.

Regardless of this, the majority of people in Texas support legalized gambling. When faced with choices for our legislature, however, we are far too often given candidates that place legalized gambling at the bottom of their list of priorities (where it probably should be, were it not for our budget problems and the possibility of the metric shitloads of tax money we could be bringing in for the state through legalized gambling). Because it isn't a "hot-button issue", it isn't being used as a campaign promise. As such, our legislators don't want to be known as "the guy that wants to bring in gambling", because his re-election opponents will seize on this as an opportunity to claim that such a legislature is attempting to destroy the "family values of Texas" or some such nonsense.

I probably wouldn't have cared about any of this, as I'm not a gambler and don't even live in the city of Brazoria. I was, however, just a bit miffed when I saw Chief Neil Longbotham being quoted as saying he was shutting the gaming parlor down to "protect the public"...because I know that statement is complete and utter bullshit.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

...from my Cold, Dead Hands!

That's where they can take them from, the sonsabitches!

What am I rambling about? Why, nothing much, just Attorney General Eric Holder's decision to ban my hunting rifle!

Yes, all the major news outlets are reporting that Mr. Holder is pushing for not just a reinstatement, but a PERMANENT reinstatement, of the "assault weapons" ban.

Okay, I'm sorry, but I've been speaking the English language for the better part of three decades. I understand that "assault" is an ACTION, not an OBJECT.

The reason for wanting to reinstate the ban on "military-STYLE" weapons? It has absolutely nothing to do with crime in America, and everything to do with crime in MEXICO! Well, that's the excuse we're getting, anyway. In reality, it has nothing to do with crime ANYWHERE, and everything to do with the disarmament of the American people.

You see, for ten years (1994-2004), America was under the "Assault Weapons Ban" (henceforth known as the "AWB"). Violent crimes involving assault weapons were CUT IN HALF! Yeah, but then read the fine print. You see, crimes involving assault weapons went from 2% to 1%. That still leaves out, of course, the 98% OF ALL VIOLENT CRIMES THAT WERE NOT BEING COMMITTED WITH SO-CALLED "ASSAULT WEAPONS" TO BEGIN WITH! The AWB did absolutely nothing in the way of actually deterring violent crime. All it did was make it more expensive for target shooters, collectors of militaria, et cetera to purchase the rifles they wanted.

How does that work? The same way the amendments to the National Firearms Act in 1986 made an M16 more expensive to own! You see, these weapons were not actually "outlawed" outright, you could still own them. You just had to jump through more hoops to get them, and their supply was limited because full-auto weapons could not be manufactured for civilian use. Any full-auto weapon owned by a civilian had to be taxed and registered with the BATFE, which caused a $1,000 rifle to instantly become priced at $10,000.

Every day, we're hearing about how Mexican drug cartels are waging war in the streets of Mexico. They're shooting people in broad daylight, like it's the cool new thing. You hear about automatic rifles and hand grenades being used regularly.

And yet, Mr. Holder thinks that this is because of some sort of "gun show loophole". BULLSHIT. Unless you have been fingerprinted, had your personal paperwork signed by the local chief of police, and gone through a very thorough background check via the BATFE, YOU CANNOT BUY A FULL-AUTOMATIC RIFLE. In all likelihood, you won't even ever see one of these at a gun show, since most vendors bring what is available to the general public...even if they have a Class III Federal Firearms License.

So where do these weapons come from, if the Mexican cartels are using them to murder people in record numbers? Armalite M16 rifles, the full-auto rifles used by the US Military, get to Mexico via the US government. They are either given, or sold at below market value, as part of our "foreign aid" to Mexico in our efforts to win the "War On Drugs". Unfortunately, the government of Mexico is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Mexican drug cartels. If you have an army officer responsible for a few hundred automatic rifles, and the cartels want those rifles, that officer will either be a few thousand dollars more wealthy, or that officer will be dead.

Full-auto AK47 rifles are also not available in America, nor are hand grenades...but American law cannot prevent manufacturing plants in Venezuela, ComBloc eastern European nations, or China from producing and selling these weapons. Obviously, the gun control laws that outlaw private citizens from owning firearms can't stop it either.

Oh, you didn't know that? That's right, it is ILLEGAL for the average Mexican citizen to own a firearm. In order to own one, he must meet certain legal addition to registering the rifle and every round of ammunition. On top of this, it is a "may issue" situation, as opposed to a "shall issue". In other words, the government doesn't have to issue the permit if it does not want to. Even still, the TYPES of firearms that may be purchased by Mexican citizens is severely restricted. A Mexican citizen is FORBIDDEN to own anything capable of firing a "military caliber", such as ***dingdingding*** an AR15, an SKS, an AK47, and countless other so-called "assault rifles".


Obviously, gun laws won't stop criminals. Criminals, by definition, do not obey the law. "When guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns", and all that jazz.

In nations where guns are outlawed and the police departments aren't COMPLETELY corrupt, such as China and the United Kingdom, the rate of violent crime is not much different than here in the United States. Notice I didn't say "violent GUN crime". Obviously, if it's next to impossible to obtain a gun even by illegal means, you're going to use something else. In England, the weapon of choice is a kitchen knife. In China, it's actually rat poison!

Furthermore, the "90%" figure all too often thrown out about the number of so-called "assault weapons" being traced back to American buyers is complete bullshit. It's 90% of TRACEABLE weapons being traced back to American buyers. That's 90% of all weapons that have serial numbers that can be traced...which is a very small fraction of a percentage of all weapons recovered by the Mexican government. Did I mention that most weapons used by Cartel members can't actually be traced to anyone, and that the entirety of the Mexican gov't is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the drug cartels?

Now, let's get to this supposed "gun show loophole" that Mr. Obama and his ilk keep referring to. THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A "GUN SHOW LOOPHOLE". This "loophole" they refer to is nothing more than a lack of a legal requirement to register a transfer of ownership of a firearm between two private parties via the federal government, according to federal law. If you go to a gun show, and see a guy at a booth selling firearms, that guy has a federal firearms license...which means that he's going to either do the paperwork and background check, or he's going to risk jail for breaking the law. If you purchase a firearm from someone who is NOT A LICENSED DEALER, you don't have to do a background check. It doesn't matter if this person is your grandpa, your next-door neighbor, or some random individual walking around at a gun show trying to sell his deer rifle. You don't have to do an FFL transfer from a private seller (at least not in this state, I am not sure of other states).

So what does this mean? This supposed "loophole" does not apply to gun shows, but rather, every single individual gun owner in the United States of America that does not sell guns for a living.

Okay, so moving right along. We've discovered that the weapons used in cartel violence aren't coming from Joe Bob the redneck that bought a truckload of Semi-Auto AK47s at a gun show so he could smuggle them into Mexico. Why would they, when the cartels can just as easily import the real deal from Venezuela? But anyhow, let's now look to WHY there is cartel violence in Mexico to begin with!

If you outlaw a substance that people are going to continue to consume illegally, you're going to create a black market for it. You haven't reduced its consumption, you've merely increased its potential for profitability. When the demand is extremely large (such as that of, oh I don't know, COCAINE), and its supply is limited to those willing to risk a life sentence in federal prison to get it here, the price is going to skyrocket.

Unlike alcohol or marijuana, cocaine cannot be easily and readily produced domestically. The climate, labor requirements, et cetera for producing cocaine make its domestic production next to impossible. As such, it must be imported.

Smuggling in cocaine through customs at an international airport in the US is rather difficult, especially if one is wanting to bring in enough to make it economically viable. Our porous border to the south, on the other hand, is ready to rock and roll...and has been, for decades. This is how the drug cartels became so powerful! Coca plants are grown in south and central American nations, smuggled up into Mexico, and then trucked across the border via NAFTA trade routes. If you don't believe me about the NAFTA thing, check every major cocaine bust coming in on a truck from Mexico!

So how do we stop it? Do we start shooting people who smuggle cocaine? We could start doing that, but it won't put a dent in the problem. The short answer is, of course, WE DON'T STOP IT. If a man is willing to risk a life sentence for smuggling tons of cocaine into America, you're not going to stop him with the threat of death. There is a market for cocaine in America, and there are willing participants in other nations that smuggle it in.

So the proper answer to this? LEGALIZE IT! Yes, I said that. Legalize the sale, use, and possession of crack, coke, smack, meth, weed, and every other illicit drug known to man, for those over the age of 18.

Wait, did I just really say that? You're damned right I did. Almost every person in America knows, right now, that smoking crack is bad for you. There's a reason why the term "crackhead" has such negative connotations. Regardless, we're still not even close to putting a dent in the consumption of cocaine in this nation.

But imagine what would happen if you were to legalize the sale, use, and possession of drugs in this nation...and have them regulated like you would with a bottle of Maker's Mark.

About half of the prison population would be GONE, instantly. About 20% of our prisons are comprised of inmates incarcerated solely for the non-violent sale and/or possession of drugs...which is, with the exception of marijuana, a felony in every state. Then, you have the other 30% who are incarcerated for the violence revolving around drug-related issues that cannot be solved in a civil court due to the fact that disputes involving illegal activities cannot be resolved in such a manner. Of course, old cases of murder and assault will still be housed...but there will be drastically fewer new ones, if you could buy your reefer or coke at a "dope store" like you can with tequila at a liquor store. Remember how debts were settled in the days of alcohol prohibition?

Then, you look at treatment and education. While they comprise less than ten percent of all the money spent on our "drug war", they have been shown to be 16 times more effective than "drug interdiction" (read: arrests and incarcerations). Double or even triple your efforts in these areas, and spend zero money on the DEA, and you're saving billions of dollars every year while simultaneously reducing the number of people who are actually using drugs.

Then, think of all the money, man-hours, and other resources that can be saved at the local law enforcement level. You've got fewer users because you are educating more people before they start to use drugs, you've got less users still using because you've treated more of them, and both of these things equate to fewer drug-related crimes not involving sale or possession (i.e. theft, robbery, et cetera). These crimes will be further reduced by the fact that a drug habit becomes less expensive once it becomes regulated and can be sold by any licensed dealer...just like alcohol licensing provided more competition and lower prices.

Then, you have fewer children using drugs. Children typically have far less money than adults do, which means the market for selling DAMNED NEAR ANYTHING is going to be more lucrative if you are dealing your dope in a regulated market and abiding by the rules. If these rules say you'll lose your license and go to jail for selling a rock of crack to a 17 year old kid, what's the incentive to do so when you have an adult customer willing to buy it legally?

When you have a free market, there is money to be made, just like there is with tobacco and alcohol. I am unaware of any deaths over "turf wars" involving alcohol sales, since the end of prohibition in America.

As usual, the proper answer is less regulation, not more. The same applies to firearm sales.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Andrew Joseph "Joe" Stack III..."martyr" or "murderer"?

By now, I'm sure you've likely heard about the nutjob that crashed his single-engine prop plane into the tax office in Austin, TX. "Keep Austin Weird", right? I going to call him a "murderer", because he killed an IRS worker? Nope, and here's why...

In the 1940s, our own government set out to write what would become the first internationally-binding criminal statutes. This set of Ex Post Facto laws, known as the "London Charter", are what was used to prosecute not only the Nazi leadership but also lower-level Nazi party members. The reasoning was, essentially, that the Nazi party's various agencies that were responsible for these "crimes against peace" and "crimes against humanity", were actually "criminal organizations" in and of themselves...and the mere membership in these organizations was a criminal act. As such, every member of the organization was culpable for any act carried out by the organization if that act was committed by official policy of the organization. This is how men who simply guarded the gates of concentration camps were hanged for the atrocities committed within the camps, even though the gate guards were "just following orders" and had no actual hand in gassing anyone.

Fast-forward to 1970. Section 18, United States Code, was amended to include the Racketeering-Influenced Criminal Organizations (aka "RICO") statutes provided for by Section 901(a) of the Organized Crime Control Act. Much the same as the London Charter had codified what constitutes a "criminal organization", the RICO law allows for prosecution in the presence of certain predicate offenses. What might have been a max penalty of 10 or 20 years can now be prosecuted with the possibility of a life sentence if the offender is found to have been a member of this "criminal organization".

Does the Internal Revenue Service meet the definition of a "criminal organization", according to the RICO law? Well, for starters, it is an "organization" (obviously, right?). Second, it is involved in systematic robbery, kidnapping, and even murder as an official policy of that organization!

Okay, so that last statement is open for debate, but let's look at it this way...suppose you get up and go to work Monday through Friday, at a specific wage. You get your paycheck every Friday afternoon, and go cash it. Ten minutes later, some crackhead hops out from behind a minivan and demands 1/3 of your paycheck as you're trying to get into your car to leave, all the while threatening to kidnap you if you do not comply. In the state of Texas (and many others), you're allowed to tell this crackhead to get lost...and if he attempts to make good on his threat to kidnap you, you're allowed to put one in his forehead.

However, since it is a government agency performing the robbery, it isn't considered "robbery" at all. That doesn't change the fact that a large portion of the wages YOU worked for were taken from you, under the threat of being kidnapped (the government likes to call it "confinement in federal prison"...oh, the semantics!), and these people are likely to murder you in the event that you should assert your right to your own property and not allow them to take it under the threat of force.

So yes, I consider the IRS to be a "criminal organization", as it robs American citizens every day by demanding tribute. Make no mistake, the "income tax" DOES NOT have anything to do with maintaining our infrastructure. Plenty of other taxes handle that stuff. It doesn't go into road-building, social security, et cetera. It goes to pay for entitlement programs and government salaries.

I don't know about you, but I personally disagree with a "War on Drugs", the notion that a congressman should have a taxpayer-funded aide for his taxpayer-funded aide, the welfare state, and about 95% of everything else our federal government pisses away our hard-earned wages on. On a daily basis, new programs are added when our government finds new and inventive ways to waste our money.

On top of this, the income tax has become even more of a violation of the "equal protection" amendment, as it does not apply to everyone individually. Obviously, we have a progressive-scale income tax rate in this country, in the sense that we use a "bracket system" that taxes a person at a higher rate when that person has a higher personal income. In addition to this, we also tax different people in the same tax brackets differently, according to the taxpayer's personal lifestyle.

The amount of interest paid on a student loan by the taxpayer, the number of children living in the taxpayer's household, the decision made by the taxpayer to go into debt by purchasing a new home or automobile, et cetera has ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with the taxpayer's income...and yet, the amount of income tax he is required to pay is different from another taxpayer with a different lifestyle.

For instance, I paid several thousand dollars more in income taxes last year than a coworker, even though that coworker had a far greater personal income than I did in that same time period. Why? Because that coworker has several children, and had several other deductions he was able to claim. I personally chose to not have children, and as a result, my government feels that I am responsible for paying for the "fair share" of the children of others.

I am not sure what Mr. Stack's issues with the IRS were the result of, for three reasons. Mr. Stack is dead, and did not detail these issues in his several-page-long suicide note. Mr. Stack's wife has not yet spoken to the press about these issues. The IRS refuses to disclose such information to the press.

However, I will say this...Mr. Stack was, in my mind, obviously not a "crazy sociopath". 31 years of life experience has told me that you don't have a wife, two children, a nice home, college degrees, and a private airplane when you're batshit crazy to the point where you're unable to function in normal society. Mr. Stack, in addition to working in private industry, also apparently had many professional relationships with various government entities he did engineering work for.

Last night, a friend asked me what I thought about this, and I said that I didn't condone it...but that I understood it. Then he asked me, if things were so horribly bad with the IRS, why couldn't Mr. Stack have simply left the country and set up shop somewhere that didn't have the ridiculous taxation we face here. My response was that, in all reality, he should never have had to. Mr. Stack was an American citizen. Texas was his home. He probably felt that a life without the home he knew was not a life worth living...which is, likely, why he decided to take his life.

Again, I certainly do not condone the actions of Andrew Joseph Stack III...but I definitely understand them. Mr. Ken Hunter, the son of the man who was killed, states "My dad, in that building, he didn't write the tax laws. If he would have talked to my dad, my dad would have helped him.” Doubtful, Mr. Hunter. Doubtful. Your father may not have written tax laws, but he damned sure helped with their enforcement...which, by extension, makes your father an accessory to robbery, kidnapping, and murder.

Lest we forget, the IRS office Mr. Stack crashed into was not simply a place to drop off your 1040EZ forms. It housed the regional IRS Criminal Investigations Unit, which is the enforcement arm of the IRS. If the Internal Revenue Service is to be viewed as a "criminal enterprise", the office Mr. Stack flew his plane into could be said to house the IRS's "leg breakers". The Criminal Investigations Unit is the unit making sure that John Q. Taxpayer is forking over Big Brother's cut every time a paycheck gets cashed, "or else".

I'm not sure how high up Mr. Hunter was in this office, but he was in his late 60s and had been employed by the IRS for about 30 years...which leads me to believe that he wasn't exactly a secretary. If this is the case, he was undoubtedly involved in the prosecution of those who refused to be robbed by the government.

As such, Vernon Hunter was a robber. In Texas, you're allowed to kill people who attempt to rob you...provided they don't wear a government ID badge. Vernon Hunter's family will get no sympathy from me. Personally, I think this tax-collecting scumbag got his due.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that we should start chasing tax collectors with torches and pitchforks, nor should we just shoot them or crash airplanes into their offices. What I am saying is that every person who works for the IRS is working there voluntarily, and should fully expect animosity from those they steal from. Personally, I think I would rather spit on a tax collector, as opposed to shaking his hand...but that doesn't mean I'm going to kill him. If someone does shoot a tax collector, I won't shed any tears over it.

In order to maintain an honest living, a man has to work. In order to lawfully work in the United States of America, a man is forced to give a specific amount of his wages to the government, against his will. If you are willing to collaborate with robbers, thieves, kidnappers, and murderers (by seeking employment with the Internal Revenue Service), you are simply asking for whatever harm comes your way as a result of this activity.

No, I don't think this makes Andrew Joseph Stack III a "martyr", but I don't quite think it makes him a "murderer", either. He was just a man that had enough, and decided it was worth it to him, to end his life if Big Brother wasn't going to allow him to live free.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Debra Medina, the TEA Party, and "mainstream" media

So for the past week I was in Florida enjoying a week's vacation at Walt Disney World. Somewhere in the middle of all of that, I got a phone call from my cousin about Texas gubernatorial hopeful Debra Medina's appearance on the Glenn Beck radio program.

I honestly don't like Glenn Beck. I thought he was somewhat of a scumbag before this, now I know for sure. He claims to be a "libertarian at heart", and a "conservative". He is nothing of the sort.

Instead of focusing on the issue at hand, namely ISSUES CONCERNING THE STATE SHE IS CAMPAIGNING IN, he brings up some issue about her supposedly being a "9/11 Truther". Interestingly enough, I could find no such references to 9/11 on her campaign website.

So, instead of sticking to the Texas-oriented issues at hand, Beck decides to go off about 9/11, writes her off as being some sort of kook, and then all but praises Hutchison and Perry. He even derides Medina for refusing to disavow members of her staff who might POSSIBLY be of the persuasion that our government was involved in 9/11.

First and foremost, let's point out that Ms. Medina NEVER ONCE stated that our government was in any way responsible for 9/11.

My take on the 9/11 thing? I don't believe that our government was directly responsible for it, in any manner of official capacity. I watched the second plane crash live, as it happened. I was as close to actually being there as a 22 year old man in Texas could possibly be.

However, it's simply and utterly retarded to think our government played no role in the 9/11 attacks whatsoever. First and foremost, it is universally accepted that "Al Qaeda" is responsible for the 9/11 attacks. It is also universally accepted that Al Qaeda grew out of the Mujaheddin, which were financed heavily by our own CIA to combat the spread of Soviet communism in Afghanistan (I mean, Rambo III, anyone? The History Channel? Hello!).

Regardless of whether our government's role was direct or indirect, there are still several questions about the 9/11 attacks that remain unanswered to this day.

Why did several people report hearing explosions coming from below the building that morning?

How did we manage to find intact passports of the alleged (I say "alleged", because they are assumed to have died, and therefore not tried in a court of law) hijackers amongst the rubble, yet the jet fuel is supposed to have burned so hotly that it melted the steel support beams?

Why did at least four (that I'm aware of, there may be more) of the alleged hijackers later surface in foreign countries after they supposedly died in suicide attacks involving hijacked and crashed airplanes?

Why was the debris from flight 93 unlike that found at any other jetliner crash in the history of man?

Why was there never any security film footage of the Pentagon attacks?

The fact remains that we will likely never know the answers to these questions. However, to suggest that we (the general public) know everything about anything concerning 9/11 is the same as suggesting that the Warren Commission was right about Kennedy and Oswald really did shoot alone. It's just stupid. There's no fault on anyone, in my book, for not immediately denouncing someone for not buying in to the idea that our government isn't telling us everything.

To call Medina a "kook", because she accepts the fact that our government is notorious for lying to us, and for failing to involve herself in policing the thoughts and opinions of those who support her candidacy, is typical. If memory serves, the same smear tactics were used on Dr. Ron Paul when he didn't support mainstream Republican ideas of warmongering. Remember how Fox News, and Sean Hannity in particular, accused him of saying "America is responsible for 9/11"? Sounds quite a bit like what is happening here with Ms. Medina.

Now, moving right along to the TEA Party movement. Does anyone else remember the origins of the TEA Party? "TEA" supposedly stands for "Taxed Enough Already". I know, because I was a part of it during its infancy...before it became nothing more than the activism arm of the Republican party.

In the days since its inception, it has gone from being strictly about lower taxes, to the point where it now chooses statist scumbags like Sarah Palin and Tom Tancredo as its representatives.

Let's start with Sarah Palin. If I'm not mistaken, she has publicly endorsed Rick Perry for the governor's race. That, in and of itself, should be enough of a reason to shun her like the plague. On top of that, she decided to denounce Obama's $780bil bailout...but had no problem supporting Bush's $700bil bailout. Bailing out businesses with taxpayer funds is being friendly to taxpayers? Look at her voting record concerning crime, and tell me that isn't a massive waste of tax dollars. Now that it's illegal in her home state, she doesn't smoke marijuana anymore (even though it was always illegal under federal law for her to smoke it)...but wasn't afraid to spend your money on fighting marijuana as governor of Alaska, because marijuana "threatens families". Did I mention she also supports the never-ending wars this nation appears to be in, as opposed to saving money and protecting our way of life by ACTUALLY DEFENDING OUR COUNTRY?

Then there's Tom Tancredo...I honestly don't even know where to start with this guy. He's against the legalization of drugs, for unending foreign wars against bumpersticker slogans, and is against a separation of the church and state...which are, either directly or indirectly, the three leading wasteful expenditures of tax dollars.

The TEA Party has been hijacked by the mainstream GOP. With people like Tancredo and Palin leading the way, who can honestly take them seriously? They obviously don't want to lower our taxes, they would rather just steal from us and piss it away on their own ideas of what our society should be.

Of course, the mainstream media has latched on to this, and has associated people who initially supported the idea of lower taxation with racist scumbags like Tancredo (who advocated a return to Jim Crow at the TEA Party Convention, and got a standing ovation for it) and idiots like Sarah Palin (who advocates "abstinence-only" sex ed, even as her teenage daughter is getting knocked up by the unemployed boyfriend).

Sorry, but I can't align myself with hockey-moms and klansmen, just because they have co-opted a historical reference. Let 'em teabag each other, I'll continue to vote my conscience...