Thursday, June 17, 2010

Move Along Federal Government and Let the Locals Work

A while back, not long after this oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico began to get some attention from the press, I was talking to this girl I know. Now this girl is as common as a common person can get. She's a product of the public schools and a consistent diet of mindless television and the news propaganda networks. She surprised me when she told me I had been influencing her thinking, then she asked me what I thought about what was going on in the gulf. I told her that I didn't know, that it seemed a bit suspicious to me, and then asked her what she thought.

Once again, she surprised me. She told me that it seemed to her that they (they being those who were in charge of mitigating the disaster) were purposely making the disaster worse. My jaw about dropped when I heard this. Here was someone who normally just regurgitated the "facts" as reported by the network talking heads expressing an opinion contrary to what was being reported. I had to ask myself, is this gulf fiasco being handled in such a grotesquely negligent fashion as to make it appear obvious that they are more than just negligent, they are actually trying to make it worse?

She wanted to know whether I thought that BP or someone had actually blown the rig on purpose. I told her that I didn't know, but that it wouldn't surprise me either way. I agreed with her that it certainly seemed they were doing their best to make the disaster as bad as it could be. I told her I couldn't see how anyone could possibly benefit from this disaster, but that maybe I just didn't know enough yet. That was a few weeks back.

Well, I still don't know enough about this disaster to form an opinion on whether it was a true accident or not. If it was done on purpose, I have to wonder what those making the decisions were thinking. More likely it was due to extreme negligence in an effort to save money. I do believe, however, that this disaster has been mishandled from the beginning. I say it is a disaster, but calling it a catastrophe might be a better description. In fact, I believe the federal government has helped in taking this disaster and making it into a catastrophe.

This much I know, government, and especially the federal government, fails miserably at nearly everything it does. It specializes in failing. Many times, it fails so spectacularly as to make it almost entertaining. This is one of those times. If it wasn't so serious, the failure here would almost be funny. It fails, and then it claims it needs more money and more power to prevent the failure from happening again. Of course, when given more money and power, the federal government sets itself up for even more massive and spectacular failures.

I know, it looks like BP and other companies failed here, but let's consider a few things. First off, the companies responsible, like BP and Halliburton, are federal government favorites. Why the feds continue to use Halliburton, Blackwater, etc., after all the controversy they've caused is beyond me. Perhaps it has something to do with campaign contributions and lobbying bribes, I mean pressure. I've also heard that Mr. Obama actually waived some of the requirements for BP to do the exploratory drilling it was doing. Imagine how shocked I was to hear that. I heard that required safety measures were also waived. The big companies seem to get all the breaks while the little companies who can least afford it must pay through the nose just to get into the business, which chills competition to the big boys. Can you say big business influence in government?

I think it's important to remember that accidents do happen. Natural disasters happen. Man made disasters happen. With this in mind, it is also important to remember that after the fact it doesn't so much matter who caused the disaster, what matters is who reacts to the disaster, how fast and how that reaction effects it. In this respect, the federal government has, as usual, failed miserably. Blame can be settled later, but as this catastrophe continues the attempts to minimize its impact need to move forward without delay. Unfortunately, that's not how things are working out.

The federal government has a propensity for creating disasters or making them worse. From the Kennedy assassination, to the events of 9/11, to the aftermath of hurricane Katrina, errors made at the federal level can be pointed at as reasons the disasters happened or were made worse. The hurricane Katrina is a great example of this. The feds took too long to respond. They wouldn't allow private vendors to bring life saving water in to alleviate suffering even though they didn't have enough. Instead, they ran around confiscating guns of people who were doing a fine job taking care of themselves and defending their own property. They wouldn't let the people just walk away from the super dome and cross a bridge to leave the city. In short, the feds increased suffering and likely the death toll as a result of their actions rather than helping the situation.

How many more times will we allow this to happen? How much longer can we afford to support such ineptitude? Now the same thing is happening with the oil situation in the gulf. State governments have been told not to bring out booms or use other methods that could protect their coastlines and safeguard their wetlands and other fragile environments. They were told that the feds would handle everything. The feds obviously don't know what they're doing. They haven't handled a thing. They've simply hemmed and hawed and have done nothing to protect the coastline. BP evidently has taken the hint from the feds and it seems they also don't know what they're doing. Either that, or they're purposely making matters worse. We can't say for sure, because press coverage has been banned from areas affected and no independent source has been able to report or film the true extent of the catastrophe.

It's time to tell the feds to get lost. It's time to show them how things should be done. I've heard many great ideas that can be tried but have been summarily dismissed. I've heard of tried and true methods that have been used in the past that the feds won't consider. The federal government isn't helping, it's making matters worse. It's trying to position itself in such a way that it becomes everything to everyone so that soon we won't be able to wipe our butts without its permission. It's time to show them how real people react to real problems and get them solved. It's time to get out there with the solutions and start using them, and to challenge those federal officials who are seeking to prevent such solutions from being implemented. Make them arrest those trying to help. Record their actions. Show the public how tyrannical they have become. Smear their reputations, which are already questionable, as they have smeared wildlife with their crude. They have no right trying to prevent anybody from implementing protection methods that will likely help.

Step out of the way, feds, and let those who know act. Let those with real concern help. Let those who have made plans implement them. You have shown that you are nothing more than a bunch of elitists spewing hot air. You have shown that your control and your lies are far more toxic and caustic than any oil disaster could ever be. You have shown that your involvement in any disaster is more dangerous to our liberties and our lives than any act of God could ever hope to be. You should be no longer welcome and your solutions should be shunned.

Worst of all is going to be the excuses. When all is said and done, the federal government will admit that mistakes were made and that they are somewhat to blame. They will commence an investigation that will take years and cost millions. They will then come up with recommendations to make sure something like this doesn't happen again. Those solutions will amount to implementing new taxes, more money and more power for the federal government. We've heard that before. We've seen that song and dance. It's time to say no. It's time to tell them they've had their chance. In fact, they've had more than enough chances. We need other alternatives. We need to give our money to people who will do what they promise to do. We need a free market where someone who mucks things up as much as the feds have will be fired or will go out of business. This big government monopoly and their big business friends have screwed us over one too many times.

As for the blame, I think not only should BP and the businesses involved pay for 100% of the clean up, I think they should be 100% liable for any lawsuits that come from this catastrophe. Tax payers should pay nothing. I think if any of them go out of business, well that's just too bad. Maybe the small businesses that spring up to fill that void will do a better job in the future. In fact, I think that the owners of these companies should be held personally responsible. I think that Queen Elizabeth of England and Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands should have to pay from their personal wealth to the extent of the amount of BP they own. They do, after all, enjoy the benefits of ownership, they should have to share in the risks as well.

The too big to fail mantra has gone too far. Government protection of corporations has cost humanity too much. Until and unless this type of practice is stopped we will continue to see abuse of regulations and restrictions. If those who own these businesses were subject to competition, if they knew they could end up losing all their wealth, especially in the case of gross negligence, then these types of accidents would be far less likely to occur. The same is true of agents of the governments. Until they can also be held personally accountable corruption will flourish. Until such a time, the least these entities can do is to let anyone who can help clean up their messes do so, especially since government and their big business friends seem too incompetent to be trusted.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Subtle Modern Tyranny at Work

The quest for freedom is worldwide. People have been tyrannized for too long and wish relief from such tyranny that freedom would provide. Governments wish to maintain their power and control over the common folk and continue striving to keep them down and obedient in any way possible. In some countries, particularly those of lesser means, governments brutalize their citizens without a qualm. There is a multitude of examples of this happening throughout history, but these governments continue such practices even in modern times. More "civilized" countries, such as those we in the Western world reside in, use far more subtle means to apply their tyranny. All governments seem to have an interest in keeping certain information from getting out to the populace.

Recently the Bangladeshi government decided to block facebook. They did so, according to reports, because of pressure from Islamic extremists. The extremists were a little perturbed that someone had posted a cartoon critical of the prophet Muhammad. So, rather than just accepting that not all people are going to view the world and religion as they do and that some might actually disrespect their beliefs, they decide to ask the government to force an entire social networking site to be shut down. Rather than just letting others have the freedom to believe what they want to believe, they look to the inherent violence of the state to try to force others to follow the same beliefs they have. That is not acting in a very neighborly or spiritual manner.

Now, I'm not a huge fan of facebook or twitter because of privacy concerns, but I do use them. Even though they collect far too much data on individuals, in my humble opinion, and they are likely either working with government to provide that information or will cave to government demands if pushed, the social networking sites are quite effective tools. They are a great way of keeping up with events both public and in the private lives of friends and family. I feel one should understand the nature of these sites and the dangers of using them, but I certainly think government should not shut them down. Individuals have the natural right to associate with who they want to associate with and governments should learn to stop violating this right.

The only reason I could see for a government shutting down such a site is because they want to keep certain information from being disseminated. Or perhaps they'd like to keep certain points of view from being expressed. In any case, they have to measure the benefits of shutting down such a site against the benefits of being able to monitor just about everyone's activities. The Bangladeshi government apparently felt it would gain more power and control by shutting down facebook than by letting people associate freely and express their own feelings.

But then, some may think, Bangladesh is only a small, third world country. Certainly nothing like that kind of censorship could happen in a more modern country, like those of the west. Yet Australia and the UK have already started to censor content their citizens are allowed to access, just like China. They have used excuses such as hate speech to censor or remove content that expresses political points of view, or points out governmental corruption, or in some other way challenges those who hold power. In the United States laws are being proposed that move in the same direction. The Constitution provides US citizens with the first amendment which is supposed to protect us against such abuses, but law abiding politicians seem few and far between these days. With the war on drugs, the war on terror, and just war in general, they love to use these excuses to violate the laws they have sworn an oath to uphold. After the passing of all the unconstitutional laws of the past decade, the bailouts, the recently passed health care bill, the power elite have proven that they'll more or less do anything they please and it wouldn't surprise me in the least if they pass laws allowing them to censor the web.

Ordinary folk are not stupid. They seek honest opinion and truthful reporting and they don't seem able to get it through more traditional outlets. They see things on television and read things in the newspapers that don't jibe with what they experience in real life. This likely isn't a recent phenomenon as there is an old saying about not believing everything you read in the papers, but there was a time when these news outlets were more trusted. Modern society has come to find the Internet and now many use it as a source for their information. Blogs and Youtube give one a much more honest and truthful view of what's happening in the world, in my humble opinion, many times without spin. That's likely a big reason why television news and print newspapers have lost so many of their customers.

Should the government decide to censor the Internet as we know it, people will not stop seeking the truth. The genie has been let out of the bottle. It is not going to be put back in. People will figure out other methods to disseminate honest and truthful information. They will still gather together and associate with who they please. Those who seek to deny alternative views and control thought with propaganda will not only meet with stiff opposition, they will soon enough have the light shone upon them and will likely lose their relevance and the trust of the populace they may have once enjoyed.

More disturbing still is the move many government entities have made toward criminalizing the video and audio recording of public officials while they carry out their public duties in a public setting. It seems that it is okay for government entities to record our movements and our possible violations of the law, but that is not reciprocal. They don't want their criminal activity recorded. They'd like their abuses to remain in the dark. They want anyone accusing them of abuse to have no evidence so that any account of the incident remains one's word against the word of an officer. I mean, we are told that if we have nothing to hide and we do nothing wrong, then we have nothing to worry about with all this surveillance. Shouldn't the same be true for them? As long as they are doing nothing wrong, they should have nothing to hide from us. These anti video laws should be vehemently opposed by anyone concerned with government accountability.

Better than that, the populace needs to continue to ignore such laws and work toward a more open society. We need to let the control freaks know that we demand they respect our individual rights and that we will ignore their supposed authority should they continue to violate those rights. We have the right to defend ourselves against those who abuse the power the populace entrusts them with. We can do so by providing honest, truthful accounts of events. We can do so by carrying and using video cameras to record encounters with public servants. These are principles that need not be compromised.

In the third world, corruption and tyranny are more out in the open. People are not safe in their homes from government thugs who will break down their door, arrest and even kill innocent people for nothing more than their political views. They will do so for believing in the wrong religion. Or even because someone with power just doesn't like you. They might even do so because you happen to belong to the wrong tribe, a tribe who is not in power or who cannot afford the weapons necessary to defend themselves. There are horrific acts of violence that take place in such areas. These acts are made possible not only because one group manages to get so much power over another, but because they believe they will not be held accountable for their actions. Perhaps things would be different if the poor in the third world could carry around video devices, capture such terror on video and get it out on the Internet for all to see.

This is why government "authorities" wish to see such practices criminalized. They'd like to get away with their abuses. They'd like to know they have the power to do whatever they want and there's nothing anyone can do about it. They aren't going to police themselves. It is up to us to police them. The more we continue to challenge the authorities, the more we continue to record, broadcast and speak out against the abuses we see carried out by those in power, the safer we will all be in the long run.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

To the Graduates of the Government Indoctrination Centers

My youngest daughter graduated from high school this year, or as I like to call it, the government indoctrination center. I had the opportunity to attend her commencement. It was surprisingly not as boring as I thought it was going to be. A retiring English teacher gave a pretty good speech she called "Search and Re-search." It was quite entertaining as she went about explaining how she came up with her title because she was doing her own research at the time, how she turned to the Internet like so many of her students had done for their assignments, how she found so many great graduation speeches she could have plagiarized (but didn't). She then went on to quote a litany of memories, both good and bad, that various students provided and a lot of various tidbits of wisdom handed down to us by famous philosophers of times passed. She did, of course, throw in her own little commentaries to tie it all together. It was quite well done and I applauded her along with all those listening when she finished.

Her speech got me to thinking. I wondered how I would address a gymnasium full of graduating teenagers and their parents. More than that, I began to wonder about the real worth of a regimented state education. I know there are all kinds of traditions and platitudes attached to such occasions, and I wouldn't want to diminish that kind of "feel good" atmosphere, so I wondered what kind of a speech I could give from a freedom perspective to such a statist organization. After all, schools depend on your tax dollars taken from you under the threat of losing your home to the local "authorities" if you don't pay. They will kill you if you defend your home when they try to take it. They are, in essence, a monopoly organization you must pay whether you use their services or not, and they use the violence and the threat of violence inherent in government to make sure you don't even think about not paying.

It would certainly be hard to point out, in a feel good way, that the salutatorians and valedictorian have really only shown that they are better at following directions than any of the other students. They are, in essence, the most obedient sheep in the herd. Of course to point this out would be taboo, and it could possibly cause some young mind to stop striving for this accomplishment. I also noticed, in this class, that the three young people honored for their academic achievements all planned on becoming teachers. The statist system has reproduced in them its own mindset so as to continue its indoctrination process into the future.

Perhaps I could think of something that would encourage these young people to think outside the pyramid, to coin a new phrase from an old one. Perhaps I could suggest that these kids who want to become teachers within the system instead create a new system. Perhaps I could suggest that instead of spending all that money on additional education they may not necessarily need, they take that same money and start their own private school in the community. After all, aren't we actually sliding downhill when it comes to education? You have only to compare standard eighth grade tests a hundred years ago to the tests today's youths take to see what I mean. Perhaps they will be able to come up with better ways of learning, better ways of teaching. Isn't it better, after all, to have more people trying to solve problems and to have more solutions in practice to see what works and what doesn't than to have one system, a monopoly, stifling innovation by regulating from the top down and discouraging the inclusion of some ideas? Private, community schools wouldn't be subject to the dictates of the federal or the state governments so long as it was funded solely by the students and/or their parents.

I could point out that such a school wouldn't have to start out large. It could be small, perhaps attracting students who would otherwise be home schooled. Different methods of teaching could be used and personalized depending on the student, as could curriculum choices. The school would likely grow quickly as students enrolled in such a school would likely outperform students in state run schools. The competition would be good for all involved as the best and worst methods could be ferreted out and individualized learning shown to help each child obtain the fullest of his own personal potential.

It would also be difficult, on such an occasion, to point out that not everyone is cut out for academics. In the modern era of "no child left behind" no one seems to want to hear that education is not the "end all be all" that some would have you believe. Perhaps I could mention that there is nothing wrong with physical labor. There is nothing wrong with working hard to make a living. There is nothing wrong with learning a trade or doing menial labor to support yourself and your family. Some people may, in fact, find these things enjoyable.

There is far too much emphasis these days put on academics, in my opinion. If one finds that his calling is working with his hands or his muscles, than there is nothing wrong with the idea of taking an apprenticeship rather than continuing an academic course. It may seem counter intuitive to point out that diplomas and degrees aren't worth as much when more people earn them, but that message might become more readily acceptable when it is pointed that that no one should feel shame for working hard physically or at a trade. It might be more digestible when examples of successful tradesmen can be found, some who might make more than people who have earned college degrees.

I'd like to suggest to new graduates that it might not be such a good idea to go into debt to further one's academic pursuits. I doubt very much this would be an acceptable message at a commencement ceremony. Take the time to think through in a critical fashion what it is you really want to do to make a living, and then consider whether or not you really need training in an academic setting, or whether you might not be better off learning hands on in a work environment and getting paid at the same time. Certainly there are careers that require a higher education, but are they worth going into so much debt for? One may need to be licensed to be a doctor, for instance, but one can pursue other avenues to become a healer. There is a wealth of information available in this world for all to access, and a good reputation for helpful customer service is worth far more than all the paper documentation that you've completed x amount of coursework in the world.

What commencement speech would be complete without some mention of the memories one has built in their high school years? While certain classroom stunts and schoolyard hijinks may be memorable, it would seem inappropriate to mention the memories that were lost as a result of being forced to go to school. There would be the time spent with family, with moms and dads, sisters and brothers, that could not be because you were in school. There would be memories of trips to town, or to the woods, or to a stream, or to a place of work, to learn first hand about commerce, or nature, or production of goods, or even the tedium that is adult life. It seems to me that our children are kept children for far too long and not given the opportunity to make decisions for themselves soon enough. Learning is something we all should do every day for as long as we live. It is not exclusive to schools. Childhood memories can be magical, but my best memories always happened outside of school hours. How many more of those would I have if I hadn't been stuck in the Prussian system of learning that was set up in this country long before I was born?

I could conclude with some statement of the future. I don't know how acceptable it'd be to mention that it doesn't look so bright if we remain upon the collectivist path we've been going down for far too long. I could say something about the importance of tradition and how they will look fondly upon their past, but I'd like to propose that they make their own new traditions. Rather than holding a graduation where all are wearing the same color gown and the same square hat, I'd like to see a graduation where everyone dressed as they liked. I'd like to see them all be themselves. I'd like to see them express their individuality. It is, after all, their individuality that will make the greatest impact on the world. Perhaps such a tradition could be started at the new schools I suggested earlier.

The future belongs to the graduates. They can continue to go along to get along as has been happening for too many decades now, or they can realize their individuality and start refusing to simply continue to follow along with the collectivist mindset espoused by those seeking answers through big government. They can decide to work hard to set up a free society where individual effort is rewarded. In order to do this, I'm afraid many of them will have to have certain lessons unlearned. There are other ways to view things than the ways taught in modern schools. I hope the graduates look into these alternative viewpoints with an open mind and decide for themselves which points of view make the most sense. Perhaps then, they can look fondly into the future rather than upon the past.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Judges are Fallible Human Beings Too

We are all human beings. Sometimes, we get into disputes. Since it is not always wise to partake in physical conflict, nor is it necessarily the fairest method, people through the ages have tried to figure out ways to implement better, fairer, more just dispute resolution methods. Once upon a time there were kings and people would bring their grievances in front of him. After all, it was his land, by divine right, that everyone lived upon. Or so said he and the men with the swords who enforced his laws. He would decide which party was in the right and which was in the wrong. If one was lucky and the king was objective, one might be able to find justice and fairness. The problem was, however, that kings were not always objective and too often it would matter not so much who was in the right and who was in the wrong, but who knew whom in relation to the power structure.

This kind of system managed to survive for thousands of years. But as humans flourished and populations grew, the systems had to evolve. For one thing, there were too many people with too many disputes and kings likely didn't have the time to deal with them all personally. For another, people began to migrate away from castles and into new cities that were popping up across Europe. More courts were created and judges appointed. Quite often these were called the "king's courts" and those involved, including judges, were the representatives of the king. Though some likely found some justice, I would venture a guess that the corruption in those courts was rampant. The church's courts were even worse if one is to judge by what happened to those who were convicted of witchcraft.

In their courtrooms, judges have always been the top dog. They still demand obedience from all who pass through the door into the their "court of law." To this very day people are expected to be reverent when attending court. To this day they are asked to stand when the judge enters the courtroom and address him as "your honor" when speaking, creating in him an aura of superiority and perhaps even piety toward the law. After all, not only does he command the respect and unquestioning support of men with guns, he is the final arbiter of the law while one stands accused before him. That is, of course, unless one has the financial wherewithal to afford an appeal should one be necessary, or worthwhile. The claim is there is equal justice for all available to Americans, yet a railroaded poor man will sit in a prison cell while a wealthier man can spend his wealth to try to keep what freedom he has. The judges don't care. They owe their fealty to the mechanism of the state, and they feel you owe your fealty and your worship to them.

The system of American justice was supposed to rise above the courts of the past. It was supposed to consider every man innocent until proven guilty. It was supposed to provide equal justice for people of all walks of life and affect fair dispute resolution no matter your social and financial standing. It was supposed to protect your individual rights from intrusive government and agencies far more powerful than most individuals could ever hope to be. I would say that the court system has long since failed in its mandate, if indeed it has ever succeeded. Perhaps it was a better system long ago before I was born and perhaps it is better than the systems of other governments, but it has a spotty history of very poor decisions and of supporting the "rights" of ambiguous groups of questionable definition over the rights of real, definitive individuals.

Do not depend on the judges of this country to protect your individual rights. Indeed, they are likely to do the opposite. They are likely to side with the state and justify violations of individual rights for some promise of government security against what some phantom might be planning rather than sticking to not only principle, but what was meant to be the law of the land. That is what keeps their friends in power, it is what keeps them in power. They would rather rule over a nation of scared sheep simpering at the shadows they cast than live side by side in honor with free men willing to make their own destinies.

We, the common folk, have to reassert our power if we are to again have a just and fair dispute resolution system in this nation. We must recognize that our court system in its current form is being used to suppress our individual rights rather than protect them from government abuse. Once again, it is up to the common folk to show the way. Judges, as intelligent as they are supposed to be and as well meaning as some may be, are human beings, not superior beings. They do not know better than the rest of us and they are just as likely to become corrupt and look after their own interests and those of their friends rather than concern themselves with the founding principles of this nation, just like any other politician.

This is why jury nullification was instituted. We are the final arbiters of whether or not a law is fair. Of course, judges will try to say differently, but a truly educated populace would be harder to convince. It is through this mechanism we will be able to return our justice system back into the fair and just system it was meant to be, a system for making certain the people get their chance to judge the law, not simply those who violate the law. Through jury nullification we can rid ourselves of bad tax law, laws prohibiting certain substances such as medicinal herbs and marijuana, laws limiting the freedom of speech and prohibiting political dissent, laws restricting how news is reported and disseminated, laws that require the purchase of an unwanted service, national ID laws, etc., ad nausem. These types of laws were fought against by the founders of this nation, foreign governments that used them were admonished by my teachers and elders when I was growing up, and yet they somehow have become acceptable to our modern political elite who foist them upon a protesting populace selling them as a way to security in an insecure world. Well, these laws are not acceptable to me, and I hope they are not acceptable to most.

A couple of things need to start happening in order for this to work, however. First off, people need to start taking their cases all the way to court and trying them in front of juries. This system we have of plea bargaining has helped to strip the power of the populace to judge the law by preventing them from hearing cases where it becomes obvious how harmful these laws can be. For instance, I remember hearing quite often when I was kid the phrase "no jury would ever convict you." Nowadays, it is not necessary for a jury to convict you. A recent example of this possibility has hit the news in Chicago, near where I live. An eighty four year old man shot and killed a home intruder. He acted in self defense. Yet in Chicago, the right to self defense is questioned because there is a law forbidding gun ownership even for home defense. This old man is being charged with a crime because he defended himself in his own home. They will likely offer him a plea bargain because he obviously violated that law, but it is my hope he takes it in front of a jury and they judge the law as unjust and let him go free.

Secondly, you as a freedom loving individual must take action. As a person of conscience and principle, you need to start trying to get on jury duty rather than avoiding it. It is not enough to simply try to educate others about jury nullification, although that is an admirable endeavor. Assume that you will be the only one on the jury to know about jury nullification. This is where things might get a little distasteful. One of your principles might have to be set aside. You may have to lie, or at least deceive, to get on a jury. The system is so afraid of free thinking people that if it is discovered that you know about and will exercise jury nullification, either the judge or the prosecutor will not allow you to sit on a jury. It's best to keep your mouth shut and to even outright lie if necessary if we are to show the political elite that we will not allow their unpopular laws to take root.

It is difficult to fathom that people with such obviously collectivist views like Elena Kagan has are able to gain such power. Yet this is the way it seems to be. She will soon be a member of the Supreme Court and will be judging the laws that are written by a bunch of other collectivists sitting in Congress. It is up to the common folk to voice their objections to collectivist dogma in the strongest way possible. It is up to us to exercise the power we have in whatever venue necessary to make sure the principles of individual rights and liberty are honored by our politicians and their magistrates. With an educated and willing populace, it will not matter what laws are passed, it will only matter what laws we allow them to enforce. Jury nullification worked to reverse the prohibition on alcohol in the early part of last century, it can work to reverse the devastating laws that have been passed in the early part of this century, but it will not work if you remain apathetic and do nothing to make it work.