Thursday, July 28, 2005

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Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Whiskey Rebellion Day

I intended to post the following on the 16th, but I neglected to do so. In past years I have published this as a letter to the editor in a few papers, but this year I didn't. I did email it around rather widely, and I printed a number of copies on some nice card stock and passed around with small bottles of Jack Daniels--just call me the Whiskey Fairy. :)

Whiskey Rebellion Day --- July 16th

In 1794 the farmers of Western Pennsylvania rose up at the imposition of a tax on whiskey. Moon-shining was the only way to get their produce to market in the East without spoilage. Alexander Hamilton, Secretary of the Treasury, ordered the registration of all stills and imposed a tax of 25% of the value of the whiskey that could be produced by the stills.

The farmers surrounded the plantation of tax collector John Neville and advised him to leave the county. He refused, and ordered his troops to fire, killing Oliver Miller in what was the first shot in the rebellion. The farmers then returned fire. It was only 24 years since King George's troops had fired on Americans in Boston. The next day James McFarlane was killed, having been told Neville's soldiers wished to parley. That ended any hope of peaceful resolution, and the locals burned down Neville's plantation as federal troops aided his escape.

The government responded (as you would expect) with more force. Washington marched on the "rebels" with over 15,000 troops (more than he'd ever managed to field against the British). After a few more months (during which time some of Neville's cohorts were tarred and feathered) the farmers realized they could not withstand the government troops, and faded into the hills. Thomas Jefferson resigned as Secretary of State over the use of military force and Hamilton's unconstitutional abuse of power.

On July 16th, drink a toast to those who knew how to deal with corruption and greed in government, and remember Oliver Miller and James McFarlane, the first two American patriots killed by their own government.

Mike Ruff

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Get Rich Quick Idea # 2

Just a quick one this time: Pinatas made to look like politicians. Hang them in effigy, then beat them until they burst, and get a prize. You could sell Clinton, Kerry and Kennedy and so forth to Republicans, Bush, Reagan, Nixon, and so forth to the Democrats, and some of both to Libertarians.

Make Them realistic enough, and maybe folks will confuse the real politicians for the pinatas, and hang 'em and beat 'em hoping for some candy.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Grateful Slave

Grateful Slave
by Paine's Torch

I am a grateful slave.
My master is a good man.
He gives me food, shelter, work and other things.
All he requires in return is that I obey him.
I am told he has the power to control my life.
I look up to him, and wish that I were so powerful.
My master must understand the world better than I,
because he was chosen by many others for his respected position.
I sometimes complain, but fear I cannot live without his help.
He is a good man.

My master protects my money from theft, before and after he takes half of it.
Before taking his half, he says only he can protect my money.
After taking it, he says it is still mine.
When he spends my money, he says I own the things he has bought.
I don't understand this, but I believe him.
He is a good man.

I need my master for protection, because others would hurt me.
Or, they would take my money and use it for themselves.
My master is better than them:
When my master takes my money, I still own it.
The things he buys are mine.
I cannot sell them, or decide how they are used, but they are mine.
My master tells me so, and I believe him.
He is a good man.

My master provides free education for my children.
He teaches them to respect and obey him and all future masters they will have.
He says they are being taught well; learning things they will need to
know in the future.
I believe him.
He is a good man.

My master cares about other masters, who don't have good slaves.
He makes me contribute to their support.
I don't understand why slaves must work for more than one master, but my master says it is necessary.
I believe him.
He is a good man.

Other slaves ask my master for some of my money.
Since he is good to them as he is to me, he agrees.
This means he must take more of my money; but he says this is good for
I ask my master why it would not be better to let each of us keep our
own money.
He says it is because he knows what is best for each of us.
We believe him.
He is a good man.

My master tells me:
Evil masters in other places are not as good as he; they threaten our
comfortable lifestyle and peace.
So, he sends my children to fight the slaves of evil masters.
I mourn their deaths, but my master says it is necessary.
He gives me medals for their sacrifice, and I believe him.
He is a good man.

Good masters sometimes have to kill evil masters, and their slaves.
This is necessary to preserve our way of life; to show others that our
version of slavery is the best.
I asked my master:
Why do evil masters' slaves have to be killed, along with their evil
He said: "Because they carry out his evil deeds."
"Besides, they could never learn our system; they have been
indoctrinated to believe that only their master is good."
My master knows what is best.
He protects me and my children.
He is a good man.

My master lets me vote for a new master, every few years.
I cannot vote to have no master, but he generously lets me choose
between two candidates he has selected.
I eagerly wait until Election Day, since voting allows me to forget that I am a slave.
Until then, my current master tells me what to do.
I accept this.
It has always been so, and I would not change tradition.
My master is a good man.

At the last election, about half the slaves were allowed to vote.
The other half had broken rules set by the master, or were not thought
by him to be fit.
Those who break the rules should know better than to disobey!
Those not considered fit should gratefully accept the master chosen for
them by others.
It is right, because we have always done it this way.
My master is a good man.

There were two candidates.
One received a majority of the vote - about one-fourth of the slave
I asked why the new master can rule over all the slaves, if he only
received votes from one-fourth of them?
My master said: "Because some wise masters long ago did it that way."
"Besides, you are the slaves; and we are the master."
I did not understand his answer, but I believed him.
My master knows what is best for me.
He is a good man.

Some slaves have evil masters.
They take more than half of their slaves' money and are chosen by only
one-tenth, rather than one-fourth, of their slaves.
My master says they are different from him.
I believe him.
He is a good man.

I asked if I could ever become a master, instead of a slave.
My master said, "Yes, anything is possible."
"But first you must pledge allegiance to your present master, and
promise not to abandon the system that made you a slave."
I am encouraged by this possibility.
My master is a good man.

He tells me slaves are the real masters, because they can vote for their masters.
I do not understand this, but I believe him.
He is a good man; who lives for no other purpose than to make his slaves happy.

I asked if I could be neither a master nor a slave.
My master said, "No, you must be one or the other."
"There are not other choices."
I believe him.
He knows best.
He is a good man.

I asked my master how our system is different, from those evil masters.
He said: "In our system, masters work for the slaves."
No longer confused, I am beginning to accept his logic.
Now I see it!
Slaves are in control of their masters, because they can choose new
masters every few years.
When the masters appear to control the slaves in between elections, it
is all a grand delusion!
In reality, they are carrying out the slaves' desires.
For if this were not so, they would not have been chosen in the last

How clear it is to me now!
I shall never doubt the system again.
My master is a good man.

Monday, July 04, 2005

An Independence Day Message from Your Government

Take a moment to consider during the upcoming holiday season that the reason we rifle your bags, search your vehicles, tap your phones, read your mail, bug your computers, interrogate your bank, scan your faces, X-ray through your clothes, infiltrate your associations, spy on and censor the Internet, make it impossible to buy a gun, tax the ammunition for guns you somehow are able to buy, disarm pilots and threaten to shoot their planes down if bad guys take control of them, kick the public off of public land, raise your taxes again, spend your social security money on pork, take your money if you don't wear a seat belt, take your money if your child isn't in a restraint, take your money if we think you may have anything to do with drugs, take your money if we just feel like it, take more of your money if you try to get your money back, demand that you get a government ID number at birth (but call it a "social security" number), demand that you get another government ID at age 16 (but call it a "drivers license"), take over the raising of your children, give your children mind-altering drugs in school, make your children wards of the state if you disagree and want to raise them yourself, set up even further "security" measures because we're "at war" and define "war" so it may well never end, kill some of you if you put up too much of a fuss over any of this, and kill a few more of you by accident...

Yes, remember that the reason we, your Government, do all this is so you can spend your 4th of July celebrating your Independence and enjoying your "Unalienable Rights [to] Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness."

But don't think for a minute that you'll ever again get away with one of
those extremist Declarations.

written by
George Alan Esworthy
North Carolina