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Saturday, July 02, 2005

The George W. Bush loyalty quiz

How do you score?

The George W. Bush Loyalty Quiz

Your score is 1 on a scale of 1 to 10. You hate Bush with a writhing passion. You think he is an idiot, a liar, and a warmonger who has been a miserable failure as president. Nothing would give you greater pleasure than seeing him run out of the White House, except maybe seeing him dragged away in handcuffs.

Take it here.

You know you're a "godless liberal" when...

  • You don't agree with every single thing that Pat Robertson (or should that be Jerry Falwell?) says.
  • You believe that "family values" means bringing up children in a loving, nurturing environment.
  • You believe that "moral values" means upholding your own moral code based upon the Golden Rule and respecting the rights of other, not jamming your own down other's throats.
  • You don't believe that laws should be passed based upon a narrow interpretation of a minority of the population of the holy document of one of America's many religions.
  • You don't pick and choose which commandments out of the bible to obey as "God's true will."
  • You're a:
    • Catholic
    • Episcopalian
    • Unitarian Universalist
    • Quaker
    • Wiccan
    • Jew
    • Thelemite
    • Muslim
    • Buddhite
    • Hindu
    • a member of any earth-based faith
    • a member of any goddess-based faith
    • a member of any pantheistic faith
  • You celebrate love and diversity, not hate and bigotry.
  • You support the right of women to choose to give birth or not.
  • You support the use of birth control.
  • You support love, joy, sex, and sexuality, without restrictions when all is consensual.
  • You believe in human rights for everyone.
  • You support the true marriage/union of any souls that find partners in life.
  • You believe that wars should only be fought in self-defence.

Please feel free to add to this list by using the "comments" link.

Friday, July 01, 2005

A Blog no more

Freedom's Gate is no longer a blog. It's now a virtual online magazine, with aggregate news sources, commentary, and humour, allowing reader discussion under the links titled "comments."

Letters to the editor sent to may be published on Freedom's Gate. Writers may send individual articles intended for publication to Writers who feel that they are within the scope of Freedom's Gate can email to discusss becoming part of the team.

You can subscribe to a daily email digest of Freedom's Gate using the email submission in the right sidebar, or get individual articles sent to your newsreader by clicking any of the syndication links in the right sidebar of the page.

The look of the site, the writing style, the subject matter, the content, and the technological back-end will be virtually identical to what I've been using, but the change (as least as far as the FEC is concerned) will be drastic. Starting today, my days as a blogger are ended and my days as a writer and commentator begin.

Your editor-in-chief,

Some background from Atrios and The Talent Show.

The House has voted to uphold a provision of the Constitution...

now it's time to call your Senators and tell them to do to same.

US Constitution, Article I, Section 8:
Clause 17: [The Congress shall have Power ] To exercise exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever, over such District (not exceeding ten Miles square) as may, byCession of particular States, and the Acceptance of Congress, become the Seat of the Government of the United States.

From The Washington Post:
The U.S. House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly yesterday to repeal one of the District's gun restrictions, prohibiting the city from spending funds to enforce a law that requires any firearms kept at home to be unloaded and disassembled or bound by a trigger lock.

It's about time that Congress does something that removes restrictions on the rights of US Citizens to defend their lives and homes.

It's O'Connor, not Rehnquist

(But will he be next?)

Here's the Washington Post article on her retirement.

Although Bush says that "he and his advisers would also consult with members of the Senate,"
and that there should be a "dignified process" in the Senate "characterized by fair treatment, a fair hearing and a fair vote," judging by his history of picking nominees who cater to his religious fundamentalist base who want to turn America into a Theocracy, there's a good possibility that he'll pick someone guaranteed to meet the definition of "extraordinary circumstances" that the "Gang of 14" will use for a filibuster. Personally, I'd still like to see Candidate Frist invoke the "nuclear option," and have this settled once and for all.

Tom Knapp of the Knappster Blog had made a prediction a few days ago of a recess appointment, but now he thinks that O'Connor deliberately worded her resignation to preclude the possibility of that, as she said that "she will leave before the start of the court's next term in October, or when the Senate confirms her successor." He thinks that she wants to "safeguard" the Seat 'against someone who's "unacceptable" with respect to overturning Roe v. Wade.'

I'm prepared for a big fight -- it'll help the White House and Frist (along with Rush, Hannity, and the other purveyors of the party line) to continue to accuse the Democrats of "obstructionism" (isn't that what an opposition party is supposed to do?) and divert attention away from failures in Iraq and Afganistan, continued profligate spending and massive mounting debt, reverse Robin Hood income re-distribution and corporate Welfare.

Who knows...maybe Bush will take the smart road nominate someone who won't be inclined to reverse Roe, thereby keeping the status quo, but who will be a protector of the Constitution in other ways. This way, when Rehnquist does retire, he'll be able to nominate an anti-abortion justice, arguing that it will still keep up with the status quo.

My definition of "settled once and for all" regarding judicial filibusters:
I thought that when the original battle was happening, and I still think, that when it comes down to a vote on the "nuclear option," Frist and co. will find that they don't have enough votes to overcome a veritable Senate tradition.

I'm all for the bicameral legislature envisioned in Heinlein's The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, wherein one half writes legislation and needs a 2/3rds majority to pass it, and the other half's sole function is to accept or veto it, and a veto would require only 1/3rd of the membership.

I agree with Gary Nolan (former Candidate for the 2004 Libertarian Party presidential nomination): Gridlock is good.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Self-Defense vs. Municipal Gun Bans

Self-Defense vs. Municipal Gun Bans

An article from Reason:

It’s a matter of contention whether there are more defensive gun uses or criminal misuses in the United States, but it’s clear that armed self-defense occurs on a regular basis. Florida State University criminologist Gary Kleck has concluded, based on national telephone surveys, that up to 2.5 million defensive incidents occur each year. This figure compares favorably to the roughly 350,000 firearm-related murders, robberies, and aggravated assaults the FBI reports yearly. In the vast majority of defensive uses, the victim simply brandishes the gun and the offender leaves—which is why one rarely hears about such incidents, Kleck argues.
It is rare for an American to get into legal trouble after using a gun defensively, but it has happened before. In 1986 prosecutors charged Oak Park, Illinois, gas station owner Donald Bennett with violating the village’s handgun ban after he shot at armed robbers. A jury acquitted him later that year despite his obvious guilt. In 2003 Brooklyn computer engineer Ronald Dixon spent three days in jail after shooting a home invader. Dixon’s handgun permit had not yet been approved.


At least Pennsylvania's Constitution leaves no room for ambiguity:

Article 1
That the general, great and essential principles of liberty and free government may be recognized and unalterably established, WE DECLARE THAT -

Right to Bear Arms
Section 21.
The right of the citizens to bear arms in defense of themselves and the State shall not be questioned.

Frank Gonzalez Rejects Appeals In President George W. Bush's Speech Earlier Tonight

Frank Gonzalez Rejects Appeals In President George W. Bush's Speech Earlier Tonight


For more information, contact the Gonzalez for Congress Campaign at or visit or call 786-287-7491.


Miami, FL, June 28, 2005, 11:56pm:

Frank Gonzalez, 33, mortgage broker and 2006 Democratic Party candidate for U.S. House in District 21, shakes his head and grimaces. He disagrees vehemently with the claims in President George W. Bush's speech tonight in which Bush attempted again to repackage his same pro-war message in the face of growing dissatisfaction among Americans and officials on Capitol Hill.

With already low approval ratings in the low 40 percents range, results from an ABC Poll released tonight show that 52% of Americans believe Bush intentionally misled Americans into supporting an invasion of Iraq; 62% say the U.S. is bogged down in an unwinnable quagmire; only 56% of Americans believe Iraq had some connection at all to terrorism, down from 77% just two years ago, though Bush himself already denied on camera any connection between Saddam Hussein and the 9/11 attacks on September 17, 2003.

Support among Republicans is also decaying. As one example, even 26-year career U.S. Representative Walter Jones (R-NC), creator of the infamous "freedom fries" idea, has demanded a time table for bringing home U.S. troops. "This guy has some nerve to stage this new political stunt before our military in Ft. Bragg--the people he is willing to send to their deaths--by harping on the tired rhetoric of patriotism, to justify his actions," said Gonzalez. "How do you think it would play before a normal cross-section of American civilians with their children at a Barbeque?"

He continues, "This government gave up its silly search for weapons of mass destruction. Bush himself said there was no connection between Saddam Hussein and the 9/11 attacks. The Downing Street Memo is a smoking gun reflecting Bush's impeachable lies. Nearly 1,800 American soldiers have died and 13,000 others are maimed. Tens of thousands of Iraqis have been slaughtered in their effort to reject foreign occupation. Many on both sides have been poisoned with radioactive depleted uranium whose horrific long-term consequences have only just begun. Americans are learning how to keep a distance on school campuses between their children and military recruiters. American taxpayers have been drafted for $300 billion by a so-called 'conservative' administration that is spending us into bankruptcy. Our allies have abandoned us. We are an international pariah. The polls are screaming in disapproval. When will Bush's staunchest supporters finally graciously admit their error? When will we look to history to predict the future? The obvious warnings of tragic results were there from the start!"

ABC's Nightline reported that Republicans are now worrying that the Iraq debacle will be the focus of all upcoming Congressional races across America.

"Let's hope this is true," says Gonzalez, whose Republican opponent, Lincoln Diaz-Balart, has been one of Bush's staunchest supporters. Gonzalez reminds everyone, "Ending this immoral, illegal, fiscally unwise invasion has been my main focus from the beginning for my first 2 runs for U.S. House as a Libertarian. With my new strategy as a Democrat and with 55,000 previous supporters, I will appeal and work hard to unite all points in the political spectrum on common ground, common sense issues like these".
Pol. adv. pd. for & apprvd. by the Gonzalez for Congress Campaign.

Noble Lies, Liberal Purposes, and Personal Retirement Accounts

An abstract from The Cato Institute:

Opponents of President Bush’s proposal to make individually owned personal retirement accounts a part of the Social Security program routinely charge that it is motivated by ideological animosity toward the values Social Security is supposed to embody, such as equality and social cohesion. However, a frank look at the Social Security status quo reveals that the program is very poorly designed to realize liberal ideals. Social Security has a barely progressive overall structure, if it is progressive at all. The huge volume of transfers inherent in the system accomplishes very little income redistribution within generational cohorts. Furthermore, it works to the disadvantage of current workers, who will receive a smaller "return" on their payroll taxes than do current retirees. The terms of the imaginary "compact between the generations" are manifestly unfair.

What is worse is that the Social Security status quo embodies a government-perpetuated deception designed to generate its own political support by misleading voters into believing that their payroll taxes entitle them to later benefits. The architects of Social Security created a structure and accompanying rhetoric that were specifically intended to encourage the false belief that the system provides a kind of insurance, similar to private insurance based in contract and property, and therefore involves a binding entitlement to benefits. [emphasis added]

Two quotes that illustrate this from Fleming v Nestor 363 US 603 (1960):

"... eligibility for benefits ... (does) not in any true sense depend on contribution through the payment of taxes."

"Congress included in the original act, and has since retained a claim expressly reserving to it the right to alter, amend, or repeal any provision of the act".

As well as one from Helvering v Davis 301 US 619 (1937):

"The proceeds of both (the employee and the employer) taxes are to be paid into the treasury like other internal revenue generally, and are NOT earmarked in any way."

I'll have more about taxation, direct/capitation v excise taxes, and LTV tax to come.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Would you like a good reason to actually hope that Alberto "waterboarding is not torture" Gonzales is nominated to the Supreme Court?

Then read this article from today's Washington Post.

A Justice Gonzales would have to recuse himself from cases dealing with a wide range of issues -- from the Patriot Act to partial-birth abortion -- because of his high-level service in the Bush administration.

Federal law is clear: No federal judge, including any Supreme Court justice, may participate in a case if he 'has served in governmental employment and in such capacity participated as counsel, advisor or material witness concerning the proceeding or expressed an opinion concerning the merits of the particular case in controversy.' In addition, justices are to recuse themselves 'in any proceeding in which his impartiality might reasonably be questioned.'

Given that Gonzales was Bush's White House counsel for the entirety of his first term, and is now attorney general, that means he will have to decline to participate in a lot of important cases.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Police are for "Law Enforcement," not personal protection

A message to all who support more and more gun control -- just who do you expect to protect you if you can't do it yourself?

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Supreme Court ruled Monday that police cannot be sued for how they enforce restraining orders, ending a lawsuit by a Colorado woman who claimed police did not do enough to prevent her estranged husband from killing her three young daughters.

Jessica Gonzales did not have a constitutional right to police enforcement of the court order against her husband, the court said in a 7-2 opinion.