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SeaViews: Insights from the Gray Havens 
April 1999

(formerly the _Rochester Rag_, formerly the _News from Detroit_)

Motto: The surest way to get a reputation for being a trouble maker these days is to go about repeating the very phrases that the Founders used in the struggle for independence.

-- C.A. Beard 


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On last month's Fix;

the answer to last month's Fix,
 "Given that:
   The recent shootings in Colorado demonstrate the dubious
   effectiveness of the severe gun control laws in that state;
   Students in Kent WA were suspended for having drawings of
   bomb designs;
   Our President begs the nation's children to solve differences
   with words not weapons (while he bombs Serbia);
    How would you explain US actions to a visitor who has
    read the US Constitution?"

The answer friends is quite simple. The bulk of the laws in this country are unConstitutional and illegal. See. That wasn't too hard.

The President is doing what you would expect any good Dem. to do. He's calling for tighter gun control laws. "Kids should not be able to buy guns until they are 21. They should not be able to own semi-automatic assault (Ed: this is an oxymoron) weapons. They should not be able to carry guns in school."

Pssst. Mr. President. Most of those laws are already on the books - and I'm pretty sure that school principals frown on packing heat in school lockers. Fat lot of good that did.

But of course long time readers of this rag know that this land was settled by religious wackos with guns (today, we call them Pilgrims). Furthermore, the nation was born in a civil war with our parent country - England. Because of that experience we have this thing called the Bill of Rights which curiously enough lists the right to bear arms right after the right to criticize the govt. President Clinton may have had that part confused when he said legitimate sportsmen have no need for weapons of the type used in Colorado. Somehow, I doubt that the guys writing the Constitution, and who had just fought a war, were thinking about using guns for duck hunting.

My wife has a friend whose husband Ron, through a curious string of circumstances, now finds himself the host of an hour long radio talk show in Seattle. Ron makes Howard Stern sound like Martha Stewart. In the April 18 show's monologue he trashed Charlton Heston and Tom Selleck (both are NRA members) for daring to suggest that had the school in Colorado had an armed guard or two, this tragedy would not have happened. In true liberal style and grace, Ron said of  the two of them, "... turning this into an excuse for making a pro-gun political statement shows just what opportunistic assholes these guys really are. They are urine filled boils on the anus of society. If they had any real balls, they'd go into a room filled with the armed parents of those dead kids, but they won't because they are cowards." Of course, Ron said all this while bravely hiding behind his radio pseudonym, and went on for the next hour to exclaim how this incident proves the need for gun control - and somehow that was not crass political opportunism. Furthermore, the use of numerous bombs in the Colorado school was not in any way allowed to dissuade him from his gun hatred.

Ron did say one thing though that while not accurate in itself, pointed the way to what the problem is. He said, "Guns turn rage into fatalities." Catchy, but wrong. Undisciplined rage leads to violence and fatalities. And he himself provided ample evidence of uncontrolled, irrational, frothing at the mouth - rage.

Go ahead. Ban guns. That will work with the same efficacy as the war on drugs and Prohibition. Since I don't want to get in trouble for causing more death and mayhem, let me just say this, someone with basic cleaning chemicals and access to an air conditioning intake could kill dozens in an enclosed building. Perhaps we should have a seven day waiting period and perform background checks on those wishing to possess sharpened sticks?

The problem cannot be fixed by banning guns. Guns are just a manifestation of science. Unless you are willing to ban books, knowledge and thinking, people will find ways to kill each other. Of course we had a period where the search for knowledge was banned. Historians call it the Dark Ages. I am afraid that a public that wants Daddy govt. to take care of them, is willing to embrace the thought police once again.

Most of you reading this are in the neighborhood of my age, and probably come from the Great Lake states. Many of us grew up with guns, knives, chain saws, etc. Somehow, we didn't kill too many people. Why is that? Well, I'm not a very religious person and do not believe that one has to appeal to an Almighty to appreciate the common sense of the Golden Rule. But the point is, we had limits, we respected others rights. Some things were wrong. Stealing, lying, adultery, rape, assault, murder.

And don't tell me that judging behavior of others makes me a right wing Christian moralist. To the extent that the "sins" listed above deprive me of my personal property,  liberty, or cause measurable harm, this philosophy is consistent with Libertarianism. To be a Libertarian does not mean that one does whatever one wants and to hell with the consequences. That is simple anarchy. A Libertarian works for what he owns, thus the property has personal value. Hopefully, the concept of  value is generalized. Hence, the Libertarian respects the sovereignty of  himself, as well others and nations.

To be a Liberal, on the other hand, is to define deviancy down and extoll the virtues of dependancy. Abortion, even if the head is emerging, is not murder. Three way bisexual marriages - just another lifestyle choice.  Single parent families with latch key kids? Hey, the husband was a dead beat. Sixty percent illegitimacy? Normal. A traitorous adulterer in the White House? My kind of guy. Meanwhile, if I'm a poor, starving and illiterate mother of six illegitimate kids you rich people owe me.

Eco-liberals talk about sustainable life-styles. They should look at what they defend.

Maybe Ron was right. Maybe cowardice is at the root of this disease. But the cowards are not Heston and Selleck. They are those of us that avoid confrontation when faced with behavior that is clearly wrong - be we parents trying to be our kids best friends - or at work when faced with bigotry, immorality and worse. We are cowards when we tolerate bullies, rudeness, and accept the reasoning of those who would trade essential liberty for temporary safety - and ultimately lose both.

On the Sham Budget Surplus;

Recall the State of the Union Address in January? Well, maybe you don't, but I do. Clinton said that under his leadership. we have attained the first balanced budget since the 60's. Well, to get that "balance", Clinton ordered his accountants to do something that no other President has ever done. He counted the Social Security trust-fund towards the budget. However, the trick has been revealed because we now have this war thingy in Kosovo. To continue to pay for it, Clinton wanted to take $4 Billion from the trust-fund. Well, it seems some retired folk have heard about that and raised the awareness of the press. Word now is, taxes will be raised. Enjoy your virtual tax refund.

Guest Editorial:

The Laws;

It occurs to me that it has been awhile since I've listed Langer's Laws. Some are original, some are not.

  1. Never naively trust someone who stands to lose from telling the truth.
  2. To understand individual or group motivations, follow the money.
  3. Liberals define fairness as having the deck stacked in their favor.
  4. Government is built on legalized extortion.
  5. Liberals are very generous with other people's time and money.

    Corollary to this and last point: liberals outnumber conservatives in govt. positions.
  6. The person who cares least about, and may be willing to destroy a thing, controls it.
  7. Nobody has ever gone broke underestimating the gullibility of people.

    Corollary: Slick marketing beats technical excellence.
  8. The trick to advancement is to make your competitors feel friendly and safe as you climb   over their backs up the ladder.
  9. Followers look for external validation. Leaders find strength within.
 10. You know you are becoming mature when you no longer do things that you have to make
    excuses for, and refrain from making excuses for the things you have to do.
 11. You are only obligated to be honorable with those who are so with you.

And since this is Tax month, I thought the following review might be timely;

On the Tax Code;
by Steve Langer , April 1995

What is the purpose of the tax code? Is it to raise revenue to operate the
govt., or is it a tool of social engineering to smooth out the injustices of
life? Or, is the purpose of the tax code to guide our spending habits in our
allegedly free market?

Well, I think the Founders had this crazy idea that taxes were to pay for
the common defense and a judicial system. Of course today we have sin taxes,
energy taxes, pollution taxes, gift taxes, heredity taxes, interest/capital-gains taxes and income taxes.

The purpose of the first three is to compel us to spend money in a way that
the govt. defines as "good." The purpose of the next two is to act as a
transfer payment from those who have to those who don't (did you know that
at your death, 75% of your estate beyond the first $600K goes straight to
the Federal govt.) The purpose of the last two is to act as a transfer
payment from those who produce to those who consume. As Walter Williams said
in the March 29 Detroit Free Press_,

  "If sin taxes punish sin and pollution taxes punish polluters, what
   do income taxes punish?"

But what could be more fair than the "progressive income tax?" Could someone
explain to me why it is fair to tax someone who makes $30k/year at 28% and a
millionaire at 48%? Is it because the millionaire doesn't experience as much
hardship when buying a new car because the car is a smaller fraction of
their worth? Yet is it not true that by buying more than the rest of us, the
wealthy provide more jobs which produce additional income tax?

Of course the pinnacle of fairness is defined by pure democracy as
exemplified in a stockholder's election. One vote per share. Those with a
bigger stake get a bigger say, a linear weighting function as it were. I say
we sell stock in the US, and you get as many votes as you own shares. Now
that would be progressive.


1. David Gay writes;Date: Fri, 23 Apr 1999 10:24:06 -0500
From: "David H. Gay" <>
Subject: Re: local_check_header


>  "Given that:
>    The recent shootings in Colorado demonstrate the dubious
>    effectiveness of the severe gun control laws in that state;
>    Students in Kent WA were suspended for having drawings of
>    bomb designs;
>    Our President begs the nation's children to solve differences
>    with words not weapons (while he bombs Serbia);
>   Describe:
>     How would you explain US actions to a visitor who has
>     read the US COnstitution?"

This is simple. We have a self-serving deluded President that we
failed to get remove from office because of respect for the office
of President not the person occupying the office. Mr. Clinton is
trying to create a legacy for himself, prove that he isn't a
coward for evading the draft for an "immoral war". Therefore he
allowed a Secretary of State with a pathological hatred for
Serbians start a war against the Serbians. For some reason the
normal checks and balances have failed.

Of course this type of behavior by anybody else is not to be tolerated.


"Half of the harm that is done in the world is due to people who want to
feel important."
       --T.S. Eliot, 'The Cocktail Party' (Harcourt Brace)

Quote(s) of the month:

"We must teach our nation's youth to settle disputes with words, not weapons."

-- President Clinton's remarks in the aftermath of the Colorado School shootings. [He neglected to amplify his remarks with respect to the ongoing war he has waged in Kosovo.]

Fix of the month:

"Construct an exit strategy for Kosovo where everyone saves face and Clinton wins the Noble Peace prize." 



1. Pudget Sound, 20 April: For the past three weeks, the Sound has played host to over two dozen gray whales who are passing through on their way from the Baja calving grounds back to the Arctic summer retreat. Makes the Ferry rides even more exciting.

2. Kent, 22 April: A High School sophomore was suspended from school for having drawings of how to make bombs on his person. The school Principal said he was responding to the public outcry that not enough was done to predict and prevent the massacre in Littleton CO.


1. Littleton, April 20: Fifteen people were killed and another twenty wounded, when two heavily armed high school students went on a five hour killing rampage in their high school with guns and home made explosives. The two were found dead themselves, apparently of self-inflicted wounds. Police are investigating if other people were involved as it seems incredible that the two by themselves could have planted the number (over 30) and sizes (25 pound propane tanks) of bombs that were found.

Washington D.C.

1.  April 28: Well, the declassified report on the Chinese post doc who smuggled weapons secrets out of Los Alamos National Labs came out this week. And get this, his smuggling has been known about since 1995, yet he continued to smuggle and was only fired last fall. The FBI says they "might" arrest him - in a week or two. Funny thing, in the fifties a married couple, the Rosenbergs, were executed for less. But of course that was before our current progressive attitudes.

Last month I alluded to this incident when I suggested the timing of  the Kosovo bombing may be to cover it. But neither I nor Hollywood (ala "Wag the Dog" or "Canadian Bacon") could have envisioned that a couple of students in Colorado would have given the President such a brilliant diversion from this news.  Hmmmm.

Curious how Clinton will use Colorado as a spring board for more gun control rhetoric, while we hand over the biggest weapons on Earth to the largest remaining Communist power.

Net News;

1. John Johnson sends the following;


More and more it seems like national policy is being driven by polls:

"Poll shows Support builds for ground troops."

"Majority of Americans Against Impeachment, Says New Poll."

But just who is being polled? And what do they really think have
swirling in their brains?

Veteran Democratic pollster Rob Schroth on Thursday unveiled a national
survey that suggests that likely voters in the U.S. would prefer at least three entertainment or business figures to the current roster of presidential candidates!

Among the highlights of survey:

As an independent candidate for the presidency in 2000, Donald Trump
narrowly leads Al Gore among likely voters -- and is within striking distance of front-runner George W. Bush.

Bush            35%
Trump           31%
Gore            30%
Undecided       06%

Clint Eastwood also leads Al Gore among likely voters -- and is also
within striking distance of front-runner George W. Bush.

Bush            39%
Eastwood        29%
Gore            27%
Undecided       05%

If she entered the presidential race as an independent candidate, Oprah
Winfrey would be very competitive with both Al Gore and Elizabeth Dole.

Dole            34%
Winfrey         32%
Gore            30%
Undecided       04%

Ø Robert Redford is viewed more favorably (63%) and is better known
(86%) than two-time presidential candidate Lamar Alexander (27% favorable/43% name recognition).

Ø Clint Eastwood is viewed more favorably (72%) and is better known
(93%) than U.S. Senator and presidential  candidate John McCain (26% favorable/36% name recognition).

Ø Former Chicago Bull forward Michael Jordan is viewed more favorably
(77%) and is better known (94%) than former New York Knick, former U.S. Senator, and current presidential candidate Bill Bradley (42% favorable/56% name recognition).

Ø Oprah Winfrey is viewed more favorably (76%) and is better known (96%)
than former cabinet member and current presidential candidate Elizabeth Dole (63% favorable/92% total name recognition).

Ø Over one-third of likely voters are prepared to vote for an un-named, generic "successful businessperson who's never run for office before," which would place he or she ahead of Gore and only one percentage point behind  Bush:

Bush                    35%
Businessperson          34%
Gore                    25%
Undecided               06%

[The poll was conducted from April 5-9 among a random selection of 800
registered voters who self described themselves as likely to vote in the November, 2000 general election for president. The margin of error for the survey is +/- 3.5%.]

George Lucas for NATO Supreme Commander!

2. And Matt B sends this.

Date: Mon, 19 Apr 1999 12:33:22 -0700 (MST)
From: Matt Birkholz <>
To: Dr. Steve Langer <>
Subject: Cool if you are Libertarian :-)

This is short and made my heart sing.  Gene hit many compelling points:
voluntary cooperation, goofy zero-sum world-view, etc.

If "Save Social Security" did not sound hollow before, this should help.

> From: Gene Woltz <>
> Date: Sat, 17 Apr 1999 13:45:39 -0700
> Arizona Libertarian Party Announcements -

>                      Gang Of Phascists
>                           Part 1
> Typical  of socialists, who protect the state regardless of
> costs or consequences, the major parties are increasing the
> utilization of force (taxation, regulation,
> criminalization,   monopolization)   to   maintain   a
> dysfunctional and unworkable welfare state.
> The  most  obivous  example  of this effort to "protect the
> state"  is  the effort to "save" social security; a program
> that harms everyone but government. An effort not supported
> by  a  strong  majority  of  the public, only by politicans
> scheming  to  PROTECT THE PROGRAM (who would want to lose a
> 400-500 billion yearly cash flow?).
> Their  aims  are  evident  in  their rhetoric. They want to
> "save  social  security", not take steps to insure retirees
> the  maximum  possible  retirement  benefit.  They  want to
> restore public education, not take steps to insure children
> the highest possible quality education.
> They   won't   because   retirement   benefits   above  the
> subsistence level and high quality education do not involve
> government; something neither major party will tolerate.
> Only  in the fantasy world of government is life a zero sum
> game,  "if  government  doesn't do it it won't get done" is
> just   self   serving  rethoric.  In  the  real  world  "if
> government  doesn't  do  it it" means that it will get done
> sooner, cheaper, better, and voluntarily.
> They will continue to deliver this caricature of capitalism
> and constutitional government as long as voters continue to
> validate  it.  What they fear most is that voters will stop
> wasting  their  vote  on them and will start voting for the
> real American vision, not the caricature. It wont take much
> of what they fear most to envoke change.
> Don't  take  the  fast  or  slow track to total government,
> secure   the   benefits   of  liberity,  vote  Libertarian.
>          --- End Commentary / Start of Document ---
> Cato: Today's Commentary
> March 29, 1999
> The Grand Old Spending Party
> by Stephen Moore and James Carter
> Stephen Moore is a director of fiscal policy studies at the
> Cato Institute. James Carter is a fiscal analyst working in
> Washington.
> Congressional budget resolutions are all too often like New
> Year's  resolutions. We all pledge at the start of the year
> to  watch  less  TV, lose weight or exercise daily, but the
> promises   are   violated   early   and   often--then  soon
> conveniently forgotten.
> This  year's  budget plan, crafted ably by Rep. John Kasich
> of  Ohio,  has  many  positive  features.  By taking Social
> Security  off-budget,  the  plan  deftly  avoids  the "save
> Social  Security  first"  trap  set  by the White House. By
> adhering  to  the  spending  ceilings  from the 1997 budget
> deal,  the  plan would, in theory at least, prevent another
> ugly  $20  billion election-eve spending spree like the one
> we  saw  at  the end of 1998. Perhaps best of all, it would
> effectively  repeal  the  "pay-go"  budget  rules that have
> prevented  savings  from budget cuts from being turned into
> tax cuts.
> But  the  plan  still  has gaping defects. First, the GOP's
> budgets  are  still  too  big. The $1.74 trillion Uncle Sam
> would  spend  next year is more than $50,000 per second. In
> the five-year budget now being pasted together in Congress,
> the  federal  government  will spend just a shade under $10
> trillion--of  which  about  90 percent will replenish nanny
> state social programs.
> Second, the budget resolution fails to mention by name even
> a  single  government  program that should be extinguished.
> Can  it  be  that  the  party that seized a majority in the
> House and Senate five years ago with a Reaganite message of
> smaller  and  smarter  government  can  no  longer identify
> programs  that  should  be  smaller  and  smarter? Surely a
> budget  that  called  for  the  elimination of oinkers like
> bilingual  education,  corporate  welfare  grants to market
> Ralston  Purina  cat  food,  1970s-style population control
> programs  around  the  world  and honey bee subsidies would
> elicit  thunderous approval from a public that increasingly
> questions  whether  it  gets  anything close to its money's
> worth from Uncle Sam.
> Many   domestic   programs   that   were  once  slated  for
> elimination  are  now  better  fed  than they were when the
> Democrats ran Capitol Hill. The odious Goals 2000 program's
> budget  has  doubled  from  $231  million  in  1995 to $507
> million in 1999. The Economic Development Administration, a
> pork-barrel  agency  that  the  Reagan White House long ago
> identified  as a weed patch in the federal budget, has seen
> its  budget catapult from $350 million to $438 million. The
> accompanying  table  shows  how  programs  once  slated for
> termination have grown in recent years.
>                The Return of the Living Dead
> Cabinet Agencies                              1995       1999
>                                                        (times 1 million)
> Department of Commerce                $3,410     $4,767
> Department of Education Programs   31,322    35,000
> Goals 2000                                      231         507
> Manufacturing Extension Prg.           40          128
> Economic Development Admin.        350        438
> Star Schools                                     25         45
> Americorps                                      426        456
> Bilingual Education                           225        351
> Trade Adjustment Assistance            268        325
> Adult Education                                299        400
>              Source: Internal Revenue Service
> Our  strong  suspicion  is that, by year's end, this year's
> budget  resolution  may not be worth the paper it's written
> on.  One  reason  to  be skeptical is that so far this year
> when  actual  spending  plans  have  come to a vote, fiscal
> conservatives  have  been  routed. Earlier this month House
> Republicans approved a 50 percent four-year increase in the
> Great  Society era Peace Corps program. "I'm surprised that
> anyone  who says they are for smaller government would have
> supported  this  bill," moaned Rep. David McIntosh (R-Ind.)
> after the 326-90 vote.
> This  seems to be the continuation of a pro-spending trend.
> Last  year  the  inflation-adjusted  increase  in  domestic
> discretionary  spending was the second largest in 21 years.
> Republicans  in  Congress have outspent Clinton's budget in
> two of the past three years.
> In  some  cases,  the  GOP  is  even now openly boasting of
> outspending the White House. The budget resolution trumpets
> "an  overall  Department  of Education net increase of $2.4
> billion  in  2000,  double  the  president's budget, and an
> increase  of  $31  billion  over  the next five years, five
> times  the president's request." Such pro-spending rhetoric
> sends  to  voters  precisely  the  mixed  messages that are
> causing the GOP heartburn in the polls.
> On  fiscal  matters Republicans need to learn from Reagan's
> political  success  in  battling the pro-spending Democrats
> for  eight  years.  That  success  emanated  from  Reagan's
> unwavering  commitment to a few core ideas: strong defense,
> less  government  interference  in  our lives, lower taxes.
> Even  when  Reagan  lost  the short-term policy battles, he
> drew public support by sticking to those bedrock principles
> of  freedom.  When  the  Reagan  White  House  caved  in to
> congressional spending demands, it didn't crow about it.
> This  year's  budget  resolution is fine. But actions speak
> louder than words. Will Republicans actually cast the tough
> votes  to  cut  spending? Rep. Mark Sanford, the third-term
> South Carolina Republican recently despaired: "I would hate
> to have to say that we've spent five years at this job, and
> at  the  end  of  it, government was bigger and taxing more
> than  when  we  came, but that's where we are." That's also
> the best way to get run out of town in November 2000.

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