Tuesday, July 31, 2007
Borders book stores have finally added an "Atheism" section to many of their stores. Let's just hope that Barnes&Noble will follow suit and start acknowledging the rest of us.
One thing I've noticed is that it seems to be only an "End Cap" so far, but it's definitely a step in the right direction.
You can read the body of the directive here: http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2007/05/20070509-12.html
I'll go through the directive and address the important points as I see them.
(2) In this directive: (e) "Enduring Constitutional Government," or "ECG," means a cooperative effort among the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of the Federal Government, coordinated by the President, as a matter of comity with respect to the legislative and judicial branches and with proper respect for the constitutional separation of powers among the branches, to preserve the constitutional framework under which the Nation is governed and the capability of all three branches of government to execute constitutional responsibilities and provide for orderly succession, appropriate transition of leadership, and interoperability and support of the National Essential Functions during a catastrophic emergency;This rather clearly states that proper Checks and Balances will remain in effect and that the law of the Constitution will remain, ensuring elections will still take place as laid out in Article II, section 1 of the US Constitution.
(11) Continuity requirements for the Executive Office of the President (EOP) and executive departments and agencies shall include the following: (b) Succession orders and pre-planned devolution of authorities that ensure the emergency delegation of authority must be planned and documented in advance in accordance with applicable law;
(20) This directive shall be implemented in a manner that is consistent with, and facilitates effective implementation of, provisions of the Constitution concerning succession to the Presidency or the exercise of its powers, and the Presidential Succession Act of 1947 (3 U.S.C. 19), with consultation of the Vice President and, as appropriate, others involved. Heads of executive departments and agencies shall ensure that appropriate support is available to the Vice President and others involved as necessary to be prepared at all times to implement those provisions.This also seems to clearly that state that powers shall be accorded in compliance with the directives listed in Article II, section 1 of the US Constitution, and in US Code Title 3, Chapter 1, Section 19 regarding the processes of election and succession.
(21) This directive: (c) Is not intended to, and does not, create any rights or benefits, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by a party against the United States, its agencies, instrumentalities, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.This seems to clarify that no special powers or rights are granted by this directive and that it serves only as an organizational document to serve in expediting effective governance in compliance with the US Constitution and other applicable laws in a time of catastrophic crisis.
In summary, this is nothing to worry about.
Monday, July 30, 2007
In the next 7 hours after I posted that comment, which is still "awaiting moderation", 11 other comments have been approved by the site moderator(s).
(It has since been approved. I tip my hat to the moderators for this.)
I would like to share the comment here so that you can read it and then read the rest of the comments on that article to put it in perspective to illustrate how conspiracy theorists like to pick and choose what information they choose to acknowledge in their quest to confirm their own (often mistaken, misinformed or simply uninformed) personal bias about the issue.
I have seen this same type of response on a number of different forums, in relation to a number of different current issues. People seem desperate to confirm their own stance and will intentionally ignore any information to the contrary, even if it is credible and backed up by actual evidence.
http://phreadom.blogspot.com/2007/07/importance-of-ed-and-elaine-brown-and.htmlAcknowledging what I wrote would not require a lack of support for Ed and Elaine Brown, but simply a rethinking of the actual issues and a greater understanding of the actual facts and issues involved.
Read the facts.
This isn’t really an issue of legality. The laws are on the books and they are “legal”. Period.
The issue here isn’t one of legality, it’s a matter of principle. The laws themselves stand in violation of the principles of the founding fathers, the constitution and of Freedom and Liberty in general.
That is what the Browns are standing up against. The 16th Amendment was properly ratified. The US Tax Code does plainly state a requirement to file and pay taxes etc.
All these claims I keep hearing are based on the spread of ignorance and misinformation. I’ve done the research and read the issues and the court cases myself.
Again, the issue here isn’t the legality of the current laws… they stand as a part of the system. The problem is with their origins in corruption and their violation of the natural laws of the land, the laws meant to be protected by the Constitution.
You people need to do some actual studying and get a better understanding of the principles involved. Your spread of misinformation and ignorance does not help Ed and Elaine Brown, it simply makes it so much easier for the media to write you off as the ignorant conspiracy nuts you’re being when they show the proof that refutes your ignorant claims. You need to research and strike at the root… expose the underlying principles, the deeper issues at stake… the very core of Freedom and Liberty in the US and the violations of the natural law principles of the US Constitution.
Phreadom - July 29th, 2007 at 9:08 pm
After further browsing of that website, I found an even better example of this phenomenon. An article about a video of the September 11th attack on the World Trade Center claiming to be proof of demolitions use to bring down the towers.
The article states:
There are 2 explosions at 7:52 about 30 floors below the impact. If you pay close attention, you will see two flashes and hear 1 boom, possibly 2. Pay close attention.The video presented with that claim can be found here: http://video.google.com/googleplayer.swf?docId=5474006551011489413
And another video linked just below the video, for the context of proving that demolitions were used to bring down the towers can be found here: http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=1951610169657809939
The second video is linked with the words "9/11 Revisited - Were Explosives Used?".
On actually watching the video, the first problem with their claim is clear almost immediately upon seeing the aforementioned spot in the video at 7:52.
I posted the problems as comments on the article (awaiting moderation), and will summarize them below.
Did you think to factor in the speed of sound? Or that if the "boom" you speak of, which is only the tiniest audible click or pop in the video, would have followed with over a full second gap between the flash in the video and the audible click or pop we hear? (Which would have still placed it around a half second after the second flash at best.)Below are two screenshots from the video showing the intro statement that tells the distance from the towers and a shot of one of the supposed "explosions" that accompany the so called "boom(s)".
As stated in the intro of the video, given the 500 yard (457.2 meters) distance from the towers, a full 1.32 seconds would have elapsed between the tiny flashes and the sound reaching the camera, given the speed of sound at 344 meters per second.
This is clearly not the case. The “pop”, which is hardly a “boom”, coincides precisely with the timing of the first small flash and could be nothing more than noise in the room or a bump on the camera and certainly does not belong to the almost single pixel sized “flashes” on the video unless the video was doctored to synchronize the audio and video.
Or how about the fact that most of the conspiracy videos state that the "detonations" went off either before the planes ever hit, or as the towers collapsed?
Not only are there a number of disparate claims of the same event happening specifically at very different times, but many of them are easily debunked when you factor in actual science.
I'm not denying government complicity in 9/11, and I do in fact think they were involved in, at the very least, allowing it to happen... but this kind of misinformation or wild speculation only serves to discredit the investigations into the events.
I'm no fan of the George W. Bush administration and I do think that based on a variety of information that they were involved to some extent in 9/11 through a combination of previously knowledge and intentional inaction at the least, if not more, based on things like the highly improbable collapse of WTC7 given its very minor damage and architectural stability etc. However, even given my stance on those issues, I like to maintain a more fact based, skeptical approach to this issue.
As I stated before, I think that giving into to wild speculation and conspiracy theorist type hysteria, we only serve to distract attention from the real issues involved and the actual credible information that's available.
(Again, I'd like to note that my comments were eventually approved after this article was written. I appreciate that move on the moderators' part. I still think this issue remains for a countless number of other forums, websites etc, so I'll keep this article here in that regard.)
Saturday, July 28, 2007
After seeing the "Another Friend of Ron Paul" banners on a number of different blogs and websites, I decided to add one to my website. However, having a black background, the existing one wouldn't work for me. I created one for a black background for my own site and felt that I might as well share it, and decided that I might as well make a version for white backgrounds as well. These should work on a variety of light and dark backgrounds, as they are alpha-blended transparent PNG images. So the background color will show through (on IE7, FireFox, Opera etc. Pretty much anything but IE6, and they can be made to work with IE6 as well with a bit of additional code trickery. Google is your friend.)
Hopefully others may find these useful.
Dark backgrounds - 997x849px PNG format
Light backgrounds - 997x849px PNG format
I'm offering the "proof" image sizes so that people can adjust them as need be.
Friday, July 27, 2007
Now let us contrast that with Article 1, Section 9, Clause 8 of the United States Constitution:
No title of nobility shall be granted by the United States: and no person holding any office of profit or trust under them, shall, without the consent of the Congress, accept of any present, emolument, office, or title, of any kind whatever, from any king, prince, or foreign state.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Article_One_of_the_United_States_Constitution#Section_9:_Limits_on_Congress
George H W Bush was also granted Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath Knighthood, or GCB in 1993, after his Presidency.
Further very interesting reading can be found in the proposed Titles of Nobility Amendment to the United States Constitution.
After further research into this issue, after seeing some questions to the validity or application of this clause in relation to Giuliani's candidacy, I've come up with some additional information.
Here is a brief description of the order and some links that further describe it.
The Order of the British Empirehttp://www.honours.gov.uk/honours/chivalry.aspx
This order was instituted by George V to recognize all levels of service to the country during the first 'total' war. It has evolved to embrace service and achievement in all fields. The Order has a military division and a civil division. The chapel of the order is in St Paul's Cathedral.
- Motto: For God and the Empire
- Date Created: 1917
- Levels: Knight/Dame Grand Cross (Post Nominal Letters: GBE) Knight/Dame Commander (Post Nominal Letters: KBE/DBE) Commander (Post Nominal Letters: CBE) Officer (Post Nominal Letters: OBE) Member (Post Nominal Letters: MBE)
From a CNN transcript of news coverage of the event on February 13th, 2002:
Well, if you follow the protocol established by Buckingham Palace -- and they set the rules -- you are not suppose to call him sir here. He is not a British subject. He is an American citizen. He was not dubbed with a sword in a formal knighthood ceremony. He was simply presented with a medal.With that in mind, we can take into consideration Section 7342 of the US Code entitled "Receipt and disposition of foreign gifts and decorations".
There are very real complications in all of this. Let me give you some examples. You mentioned earlier that former U.S. president George Bush, Ronald Reagan, and I should add Jimmy Carter also received honorary knighthoods from the queen. Suppose for example that during their investiture, a former president of the United States got down on his knees before a foreign sovereign, that just is not protocol, and that's why you have this different level of knighthood in which the awardee, the recipient, today's case being Mr. Giuliani, receives a medal. He is entitled to wear that medal on formal occasions with a white tie. He can sign his name, Rudolph Giuliani, KBE -- Knight of the British Empire. He is not a sir however. He can not be called a sir, should not be called a sir, even here in Britain, because he is not a British subject. He is an American citizen.
With that information in mind, it could be argued that the Knighthood was granted simply as a decoration in recognition for meritorious service, and thus falls under the Congressionally approved definition of decoration as listed in the US Code.
I have also read that the Justice Department specifically found that such Knighthood falls under that code and thus does not violate the Emoluments clause of the US Constitution, but I have not yet been able to find any information to verify that claim.
There are a number of arguments on both sides of this issue concerning the will and intent of the founding fathers in Article 1, Section 9, Clause 8 as well as concerning the validity of the ratification of the original 13th Amendment and its alleged cover-up after vital documents were lost in the War of 1812 which included the burning of the White House and other government buildings in 1814.
Simply stating, there is currently nothing stating that Giuliani could not, as a private citizen, accept the title of Knighthood. The issue currently would revolve around the implication and definition of Knighthood in relation to his possible Presidency. The emolument clause does not apply to state officials or private citizens, only Federal Government officials.
It should also be noted that as a US citizen, Giuliani cannot be referred to as "Sir Rudolph Giuliani", nor can any other person who is not a citizen of the UK or Commonwealth be referred to as "Sir". They may, however, use the initials of their honorary knighthood, such as KBE, after their names.
All in all it's an interesting topic, but one which I doubt will be of much concern to Giuliani's candidacy. I think there are far more important issues to be raised in regard to Giuliani's fitness as a Presidential candidate and we should focus instead on those issues rather than be distracted by a footnote of arguably historical interest.
Tuesday, July 24, 2007
I've seen a number of issues lately where CNN has been dropping the ball to say the least, if not outright maliciously trying to marginalize certain groups, candidates etc.
The YouTube Debates Misrepresented American Youth
CNN is at it again, ignoring the vast array of insightful and probing questions to pick and more run of the mill questions a few silly fluff pieces that represented a small minority of the submitted videos in order to make today's youth look less intelligent and savvy of some of the more important issues today.
You can view the YouTube Democratic Debates here.
I've gone through some of the videos, and while some are interesting, others seem to be a waste of valuable "debate" time. Only a few answers were given in response to each video, which didn't give a chance for each candidate to even have to weigh in on all the questions answers (for those that were addressed to all the candidates).
This brings me to a related point. The "debates" of modern Presidential elections are anything but actual debates. There was an excellent article on NPR a few years ago that shed some much needed light on the farce that is the modern Presidential debate entitled Connie Rice: Top 10 Secrets They Don't Want You to Know About the Debates A definite "must read" piece.
CNN needs to be publicly called out for it's repeated attempts to misrepresent the issues, the candidates and the youth of today.
I sincerely hope this gets corrected before the Republican version of these "debates" are held, as I can only imagine how low they'll stoop to keep Ron Paul out of the spotlight.
Check out the YouTube Republican Debate site and get involved!
Monday, July 23, 2007
The story of Ed and Elaine Brown is something we should be keeping an eye on.
Many people confuse this issue with simply not paying taxes. The issue here is a bit more complex (as is often the case) and actually centers on one tax specifically, not on all taxes.
The issue has to deal with the perception of Income Tax as a direct tax, and its implementation as a direct, unapportioned tax in regards to Sections 1 and 9 of Article 1, and Amendments 9 and 16 of the US Constitution
Article 1, Section 2:
The House of Representatives shall be composed of Members chosen every second Year by the People of the several States, and the Electors in each State shall have the Qualifications requisite for Electors of the most numerous Branch of the State Legislature.
No Person shall be a Representative who shall not have attained to the Age of twenty five Years, and been seven Years a Citizen of the United States, and who shall not, when elected, be an Inhabitant of that State in which he shall be chosen.
Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole Number of free Persons, including those bound to Service for a Term of Years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other Persons. The actual Enumeration shall be made within three Years after the first Meeting of the Congress of the United States, and within every subsequent Term of ten Years, in such Manner as they shall by Law direct. The Number of Representatives shall not exceed one for every thirty Thousand, but each State shall have at Least one Representative; and until such enumeration shall be made, the State of New Hampshire shall be entitled to chuse three, Massachusetts eight, Rhode-Island and Providence Plantations one, Connecticut five, New-York six, New Jersey four, Pennsylvania eight, Delaware one, Maryland six, Virginia ten, North Carolina five, South Carolina five, and Georgia three.
When vacancies happen in the Representation from any State, the Executive Authority thereof shall issue Writs of Election to fill such Vacancies.
The House of Representatives shall chuse their Speaker and other Officers; and shall have the sole Power of Impeachment.
Article 1, Section 9:
The Migration or Importation of such Persons as any of the States now existing shall think proper to admit, shall not be prohibited by the Congress prior to the Year one thousand eight hundred and eight, but a Tax or duty may be imposed on such Importation, not exceeding ten dollars for each Person.
The Privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion the public Safety may require it.
No Bill of Attainder or ex post facto Law shall be passed.
No Capitation, or other direct, Tax shall be laid, unless in Proportion to the Census or enumeration herein before directed to be taken.
No Tax or Duty shall be laid on Articles exported from any State.
No Preference shall be given by any Regulation of Commerce or Revenue to the Ports of one State over those of another; nor shall Vessels bound to, or from, one State, be obliged to enter, clear, or pay Duties in another.
No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law; and a regular Statement and Account of the Receipts and Expenditures of all public Money shall be published from time to time.
No Title of Nobility shall be granted by the United States: And no Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under them, shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State.
The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.
16th Amendment:The first two sections of Article 1 meant that any direct Federal tax or Capitation tax would have to be distributed equally among the States of the Union according to their respective populations.
The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration.
A Capitation tax is basically a direct tax, per person, of a set amount based simply upon being a citizen.
The 16th Amendment removed the apportionment requirement for direct taxes, thus allowing the Federal Government to collect direct taxes and not have to redistribute them to the states.
The 9th Amendment is referred to by more libertarian protesters in arguing that some rights are simply natural rights that are still protected even if not explicitly defined as protected rights in the Constitution. Their argument is that if the Federal government can collect such a tax and not have to equally redistribute it to the states, the government can use this form of extortion as coercion to force states into compliance with the Federal Government's wishes by restricting redistribution of funds by placing conditions on funding, much as was recently done with the Real ID Act and by many other acts in the past, where states were not obligated to conform, but would have their funding cut and face other restrictions if they did not.
Another argument is that the income tax is a form of extortion stating that you must pay under threat of imprisonment, and thus must hand over part of any income in order to maintain your freedom.
There are many arguments on both sides of this issue, and while a number of them simply do not hold water, so to speak, others bear serious consideration.
Some that don't hold water are the argument that the 16th Amendment was not valid either because the draft legislation distributed to the states had minor differences in punctuation (a comma instead of a semicolon), capitalization and the like, or the argument that Ohio was granted statehood in 1803, yet there was no official government proclamation until 1953, and thus Ohio's vote was invalid.
Other arguments center on the word "voluntary" in the IRS Tax Code, or argue that there is no law that explicitly states that a person must pay an income tax. These claims have been refuted time and again in courts of law on the grounds that it is implicitly declared that there are criminal penalties including fines and imprisonment for failure to file, as well as explicitly stated as such in the US Internal Revenue Code.
Some arguments that bear further consideration include those that argue that certain rights and liberties are protected, even if not originally enumerated in the Constitution or subsequent Bill of Rights. This was actually an area of heated contention during the ratification of the Constitution where the Federalists argued that in enumerating certain rights, there could be the implication that any rights not explicitly listed were not protected. This was part of the motivation for the 9th Amendment after the Anti-Federalists won out in their desire for a "Bill of Rights". Others include those mentioned above, such as the danger of the government being able to extort funds from its people or force states to comply with Federal wishes by restricting funds that previously would have been apportioned to the states, having been derived from direct taxes on those states' citizens, if they do not follow the wishes of the Federal Government and so on.
Pro-Income Tax arguments usually focus on the assertion that our government could not survive without the income tax, or are based on the implication that tax protesters want to do away with all taxes etc. I have personally found these arguments to be based on either misinformation or ignorance. The government lasted for well over a century with very little in the way of income taxes, which were generally only implemented during times of war or other exceptional need until the 16th Amendment was ratified in 1913 under the justification that it was impractical to differentiate various forms of income and thus simply removing the need to differentiate by removing the requirement for apportionment of direct income taxation.
Some of the "solutions" to these perceived problems have been the movements to have the 16th Amendment repealed, and implementation of the FairTax legislation, among others.
It is a complex issue that weighs the desires of the government against the desires of the people under the justification of taxation in order for the government to provide services to the people.
Libertarians chafe under what they perceive as extortion of personal property under threat of imprisonment, essentially a "stay out of jail" fee, and the idea that in the United States today there is no longer any true Freedom. Everything is taxed. The Federal Government reaches its hands further into our pockets and our lives on a daily basis and continually strips away our basic Freedoms and Liberties a little at a time in order to further expand their power and fatten their coffers. Money is taken from the states and used to force states into compliance with Federal wishes by only granting funds and services on the condition that states comply with Federal wishes etc. This, coupled with restrictions on gun ownership rights, suspension of due process, domestic surveillance and other invasions of privacy, expansion of powers for domestic military use and numerous other acts have pressed many libertarians and freedom lovers into increasingly questioning the authority of the government and the limits to which a people can be beholden to that government and still be considered Free.
I'll be keeping my eye on this one.
Sunday, July 22, 2007
On July 4th, 2007, around 2,500 people gathered at the "Omaha Beach" landing site at Normandy where they spelled out the words "France will never forget" in giant letters with their bodies, accompanied by large flags of both France and the United States.
Even after the ridiculous behavior of denouncing France and renaming our foods "Freedom Fries", "Freedom Toast" simply because France dared to voice the opinion that we were making a mistake with the war on Iraq, France still maintained the historic moral high ground and expressed its gratitude to the brave men and women who gave their lives defending the freedom of France.
France has always held the United States in special regard as a sort of brother in arms, a role model in the quest for freedom. This was their motivation for building us the Statue of Liberty and continues today to motivate them to look past our childish actions and remember the brave country whose founding fathers shrugged off the yoke of oppression in pursuit of the ideals of Freedom and Liberty, and whose sons and daughters gave their lives during World War 2 to help defend the Free World in Europe.
Europe has always had a longer memory than America... they come from a much longer history... where the soil itself speaks of millennia of Empires come and gone.
Let's hope that America will some day gain this same sense of history, maturity and humility.
Vive la France!
Original article: NASA hides the true color of Mars.
So I went digging in my old archived bookmarks and thankfully immediately ran across the link I was looking for.
And the thorough debunking of it, 3 and a half years ago: NASA Is Not Altering Mars Colors.
The main point here is that almost anyone with a cursory knowledge of astronomy or even basic science could probably come up with the idea that there are different colors involved in the light of a different planet with a different atmosphere than ours and that color correction has probably been applied to images that hit the press versus images that the scientists are using internally.
Beyond that somewhat obvious first skepticism, some actual research could have further explained the issue before running off on a conspiracy theory. Furthermore, the fact that the article not only has persisted on the internet for several years after being debunked, but then again made the news, simply saddens me.
As an aside, the ending comment in the first article also mentions a mysterious formation that might be involved as a reason for the color correction cover-up, which also should fail under the same basic critical assessment as the color correction. A rather thorough debunking of that phenomenon can be found in the thread Martian crater with golf ball in it (?) found on the Bad Astronomy and Universe Today Forum.
Or to take the risk of hearing it right from the proverbial horse's mouth (which I'm sure the conspiracy theorists would object to), Revealing Mars' True Colors: Part One, directly from NASA's Mars Rover website.
Saturday, July 21, 2007
This is not the real problem with the Order, as I will show. The fact that this violates the 5th Amendment of the US Constitution is the real problem that people should be up in arms about.
First of all I'd like to defuse a bit of the hysteria by pointing out that while it does say in Section 1, a, i, B "undermining efforts to promote economic reconstruction and political reform in Iraq or to provide humanitarian assistance to the Iraqi people", it should be perfectly clear that this is a sub-condition of what is clearly listed in Section 1, a, i, which reads "to have committed, or to pose a significant risk of committing, an act or acts of violence that have the purpose or effect of".
To read the condition as a whole, we would have the following:
Any person determined by the Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Secretary of State and the Secretary of Defense, to have committed, or to pose a significant risk of committing, an act or acts of violence that have the purpose or effect of undermining efforts to promote economic reconstruction and political reform in Iraq or to provide humanitarian assistance to the Iraqi people.So unless you are committing or pose a significant risk of committing an act or acts of violence in order to undermine the Iraq war effort, this doesn't apply to you. It's a simple matter not only of context, but of simply reading the whole sentence.
With that cleared up, we come to the most important point. The violation of the Fifth Amendment of the United States Constitution.
No person shall be held to answer for any capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.Bush's Executive Order effectively allows him to bypass this and deprive anyone of their property without due process of law. This blatant violation of one of our most basic rights laid out in the Bill of Rights is what people should be up in arms about. And yet it seems that everyone is so caught up with the idea that Bush can use this against war protesters that they completely miss the point that he has just blatantly violated the Fifth Amendment rights of every US citizen.
With that serious point clarified, another point I'd like to address is that of the "State of National Emergency" mentioned several times. "national emergency declared in Executive Order 13303 of May 22, 2003, and expanded in Executive Order 13315 of August 28, 2003, and relied upon for additional steps taken in Executive Order 13350 of July 29, 2004, and Executive Order 13364 of November 29, 2004."
Under The National Emergencies Act (50 U.S.C. 1601-1651) (effective September 14th, 1976), we see that States of National Emergency expire after 1 year if the President does not explicitly extend them before 90 days prior to the anniversary of the State of National Emergency declaration.
That would mean that this current state of Emergency would have been in effect for well over 4 years now, having been extended by the President 4 times already and will be up for expiration again around the end of February 2008, at which time the President may choose to further extend it barring the Congress previously choosing to terminate it.
I don't see any set limit on how long the President can continue extending them aside from Congress explicitly voting to end the State of Emergency. Congress must meet every 6 months after the declaration to vote on whether or not the state of National Emergency should persist.
I mention this only because I was a bit shocked to realize that we've been under a state of National Emergency for the past several years now and had never before realized the frequency and duration of such declarations or the scope of their powers.
Tuesday, July 17, 2007
Ron Paul is the most financially supported, by military personnel and veterans, 2008 Presidential Candidate.
Units are contributions in dollars, rounded to the nearest dollar, by employees of the respective military organizations.
Source: Finance Reports for the 2007 July Quarterly.
I have included the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines, as well as the Army National Guard, Air National Guard, Coast Guard and any military veterans.
These statistics include the contributions of employees who recorded or indicated their military branch. Contributions where no employer was specified were naturally not included.
One statistic of note that I'd like to shed a little further light on is the contribution numbers of Barack Obama. It has recently been revealed that Obama has been counting anyone who bought a ticket to one of his speeches, bought a bumper sticker, t-shirt, coffee mug etc... as a campaign contributor by having them also give their information and counting the money as campaign donations, thus giving him an extraordinarily high number of contributors and an inflated total of donation dollars. At this time I am not aware of any of the other candidates using such methods.
Even given Obama's dubious campaign finance reporting, he still trails behind Ron Paul.
|All 2008 Presidential Candidates|
|Republican Party Candidates|
|Democratic Party Candidates|
|All 2008 Presidential Candidates|
|Ron Paul||26.23||Duncan Hunter||1.05|
|Barack Obama||24.02||Joe Biden||0.84|
|John McCain||18.31||Mike Gravel||0.16|
|Hillary Clinton||11.08||Sam Brownback||0.07|
|Bill Richardson||5.59||Dennis Kucinich||0.05|
|Mitt Romney||4.05||Tommy Thompson||0|
|John Edwards||2.63||Chris Dodd||0|
|Rudy Giuliani||2.44||Jim Gilmore||0|
|Mike Huckabee||1.84||John Cox||0|
Based on a smaller, incomplete sample of the Republican Party from http://thespinfactor.com/thetruth/2007/07/16/military-support-for-the-republican-candidates.
I wondered what the results were for all of the Republican and Democratic candidates and decided to go through the data myself and compile a full listing of all the candidates listed with the Federal Election Commission for the July 2007 Campaign Finance Report.
Poll: Other/Undecided Leads GOP RaceHow hard is it to figure out that the "Other" category is getting so many hits because you're not putting Ron Paul as an option?
In a new AP/Ipsos Poll, 25% of Republican respondents say they are either undecided or would prefer someone other than the current field — more than the vote share of any actual candidates listed in the poll. Compare this to the Democratic side, where only 13% of respondents are undecided or prefer none of the above. In the horse-race numbers, Rudy Giuliani leads the GOP side with 21%, followed by Fred Thompson at 19%, John McCain at 15%, and Mitt Romney at 11%. Among Dems: Hillary Clinton 36%, Barack Obama 20%, Al Gore 15%, and John Edwards 11%.
At this point in the race it's really starting to seem like they're excluding him intentionally out of a fear of him actually winning. It's undeniable that he's a strong contender and a viable candidate who is participating in the debates, is all over the news, and wholly dominates almost all on-line or text in votes that he's actually been included in etc. Not only that but he tops John McCain in campaign finances and is the top candidate in financial support from the US Military branches.
This has gotten to the point where polls can no longer claim ignorance of him or pretend that he's not a viable candidate.
Sunday, July 08, 2007
Ridiculous new legislation is now before the Commons in the UK which plans to make it illegal to possess "Extreme Pornography". You can read the original text of the law on the Parliament's website.
This would effectively make it illegal to possess images of consenting adults role-playing, or indulging in victimless fetishes etc. Mind you, this makes it illegal to take pictures of rape fantasies, BDSM, etc. Essentially any aspects of actual illegal activity that this law would cover are already covered by existing laws. All this law serves to do is expand that to infringe on the rights of people who are engaging in consenting sexual activity with other adults. Essentially forcing their own morals on other adults who may happen to not share their personal sexual interests. And I must stress again, that no crime is being committed under what the majority of this legislation would cover. It serves only to victimize those who choose to find their sexual gratification a few steps off the beaten path, but still are committing no crimes etc. If a consenting adult gets their rocks off by beating whipped, tied up, clamped, vigorously fisted etc... that is their right. What crime is being committed? Offending te delicate sensibilities of prudes?
This is reminiscent of the issues we were discussing recently on Child Pornography, but in this case no crime was ever committed.
Also, this law would include other such ridiculous aspects as making it illegal to even take a screen grab from a theatrical movie, if that screen grab could be considered sexual in a context that included violence.
And lets not overlook the fact that these "crimes" will land you in jail for 3 years with a lifelong spot in the Sex Offenders registry, for things as simple as taking a screenshot of a theatrical movie and masturbating to it.
Criminal Justice and Immigration BillPart 6Criminal lawPornography etc.64 Possession of extreme pornographic images
- It is an offence for a person to be in possession of an extreme pornographic image.
- An "extreme pornographic image" is an image which is both—
- pornographic, and
- an extreme image.
- An image is "pornographic" if it appears to have been produced solely or principally for the purpose of sexual arousal.
- Where an image forms part of a series of images, the question whether the image appears to have been so produced is to be determined by reference to—
- the image itself, and
- (if the series of images is such as to be capable of providing a context for the image) the context in which it occurs in the series of images.
- So, for example, where—
the image may, by virtue of being part of that narrative, be found not to be pornographic, even though it might have been found to be pornographic if taken by itself.
- an image forms an integral part of a narrative constituted by a series of images, and
- it appears that the series of images as a whole was not produced solely or principally for the purpose of sexual arousal,
- An "extreme image" is an image of any of the following—
where (in each case) any such act, person or animal depicted in the image is or appears to be real.
- an act which threatens or appears to threaten a person’s life,
- an act which results in or appears to result (or be likely to result) in serious injury to a person’s anus, breasts or genitals,
- an act which involves or appears to involve sexual interference with a human corpse,
- a person performing or appearing to perform an act of intercourse or oral sex with an animal,
- In this section "image" means—
- a moving or still image (produced by any means); or
- data (stored by any means) which is capable of conversion into an image within paragraph (a).
- In this section references to a part of the body include references to a part surgically constructed (in particular through gender reassignment surgery).
- Proceedings for an offence under this section may not be instituted—
- in England and Wales, except by or with the consent of the Director of Public Prosecutions; or
- in Northern Ireland, except by or with the consent of the Director of Public Prosecutions for Northern Ireland.65 Exclusion of classified films etc.
- Section 64 does not apply to excluded images.
- An "excluded image" is an image which forms part of a series of images contained in a recording of the whole or part of a classified work.
- But such an image is not an "excluded image" if—
- it is contained in a recording of an extract from a classified work, and
- it appears that the image was extracted (whether with or without other images) solely or principally for the purpose of sexual arousal.
- Where an extracted image is one of a series of images contained in the recording, the question whether the image appears to have been extracted as mentioned in subsection (3)(b) is to be determined by reference to—
and section 64(5) applies in connection with determining that question as it applies in connection with determining whether an image is pornographic.
- the image itself, and
- (if the series of images is such as to be capable of providing a context for the image) the context in which it occurs in the series of images;
- In determining for the purposes of this section whether a recording is a recording of the whole or part of a classified work, any alteration attributable to—
is to be disregarded.
- a defect caused for technical reasons or by inadvertence on the part of any person, or
- the inclusion in the recording of any extraneous material (such as advertisements),
- Nothing in this section is to be taken as affecting any duty of a designated authority to have regard to section 64 (along with other enactments creating criminal offences) in determining whether a video work is suitable for a classification certificate to be issued in respect of it.
- In this section—
- "classified work" means (subject to subsection (8)) a video work in respect of which a classification certificate has been issued by a designated authority (whether before or after the commencement of this section);
- "classification certificate" and "video work" have the same meanings as in the Video Recordings Act 1984 (c. 39);
- "designated authority" means an authority which has been designated by the Secretary of State under section 4 of that Act;
- "extract" includes an extract consisting of a single image;
- "image" and "pornographic" have the same meanings as in section 64;
- "recording" means any disc, tape or other device capable of storing data electronically and from which images may be produced (by any means).
- Section 22(3) of the Video Recordings Act 1984 (effect of alterations) applies for the purposes of this section as it applies for the purposes of that Act.66 Defence
- Where a person is charged with an offence under section 64, it is a defence for the person to prove any of the matters mentioned in subsection (2).
- The matters are—
- that the person had a legitimate reason for being in possession of the image concerned;
- that the person had not seen the image concerned and did not know, nor had any cause to suspect, it to be an extreme pornographic image;
- that the person—
- was sent the image concerned without any prior request having been made by or on behalf of the person, and
- did not keep it for an unreasonable time.
- In this section "extreme pornographic image" and "image" have the same meanings as in section 64.
Again, while this law would cover some acts that are illegal already, and should be illegal, it vastly expands outside of that to cover a vast array of victimless sexual activity between consenting adults, or simply fictional images and special effects and even goes so far as to assert the ambiguous charge of whether or not you find sexual gratification in such images etc. Attempts so far to correct this overreaching scope have only served to promote further expansion of the legislation.
You can track the progress of this legislation on the Parliament website.
Saturday, July 07, 2007
His post entitled "Piss On Ron Paul".
And my comment on that post;
I find it odd that you reference Red China, when Ron Paul's Constitutionalist ideals and Libertarian stance are the antithesis of Communist ideology.
Or the fact that you tout your Freedoms as an American while simultaneously deriding arguably the only pro-Constitution candidate that is openly and actively seeking to protect the very rights you tout while attacking him.
I think the ignorance and irrationality of your stance is self-evident. You certainly have a right to choose the candidate of your choice, but when you use arguments like those above, you inherently open yourself to (well deserved at this point) ridicule for the fallacious nature of those very arguments and draw skepticism on your ability to even rationally evaluate a suitable candidate. With that said, I'm honestly sorry that you feel that way.
First we have the infamous case of Giuliani's attack on Ron Paul at the May 15th Republican "debates", which included the following exchange:
Ron Paul: So there's a lot of merit to the advice of the founders and following the constitution. And my argument is, that we shouldn't go to war so carelessly. When you do that, the wars don't end.Given the short amount of time allowed for responses, Paul was not allowed to adequately rebut this ridiculous claim on Giuliani's part, but the following day Paul offered several responses, and a reading list for Giuliani. Paul explained that Giuliani's assertion that he had never heard of anything like the blowback scenario that Paul spelled out was odd considering that the CIA themselves had covered the concept no less than 8 times in the 9/11 Commission report, which he would have thought that Giuliani, as mayor of New York at the time, would have read.
Wendell Goler (FOX News panelist): Congressman, you don't think that changed with the 9/11 attacks, sir?
Paul: What changed?
Goler: The non-interventionist policies?
Paul: No. Non-intervention was a major contributing factor. Have you ever read about the reasons they attacked us? They attack us because we've been over there. We've been bombing Iraq for 10 years. We've been in the Middle East. I think Reagan was right: we don't understand the irrationality of Middle-Eastern politics. So right now, we're building an embassy in Iraq that's bigger than the Vatican, we're building 14 permanent bases. What would we say here if China was doing this in our country or in the Gulf of Mexico? We would be objecting. We need to look at what we do from the perspective of what would happen if somebody else did it to us.
Wendell: Are you suggesting we invited the 9/11 attacks, sir?
Paul: I'm suggesting that we listen to the people who attacked us and the reason they did it. And they are delighted that we're over there because Osama bin Laden has said, "I am glad you're over on our sand because we can target you so much easier." They've already now since that time have killed 3400 of our men, and I don't think it was necessary.
Rudolph Giuliani: Wendell, may I make a comment on that? That's really an extraordinary statement. That's an extraordinary statement, as someone who lived through the attack of September 11, that we invited the attack because we were attacking Iraq. I don't think I've ever heard that before, and I've heard some pretty absurd explanations for September 11.
[15 seconds of loud applause]
Giuliani: And I would ask the Congressman to withdraw that comment and tell us that he didn't really mean that.
Paul: I believe very sincerely that the CIA is correct when they teach and talk about blowback. When we went into Iran in 1953 and installed the Shah, yes, there was blowback. The reaction to that was the taking of our hostages. And that persists. And if we ignore that, we ignore that at our own risk. If we think that we can do what we want around the world and not incite hatred, then we have a problem. They don't come here to attack us because we're rich and we're free. They come and they attack us because we're over there. I mean, what would we think if other foreign countries were doing that to us?
From the 9/11 Commission Report (As written on http://ronpaul.typepad.com/my_weblog/2007/06/ron_paul_and_th.html):
- pg. 57- The Persian Gulf War, seen by many as perhaps the most effective military victory in American history, had unintended consequences that American policymakers could never have predicted. When Saddam invaded Iraq, the US gathered a coalition, based out of Saudi Arabia, to liberate Kuwait. At this time, Bin Ladin "proposed to the Saudi monarchy that he summon mujahideen for a jihad to retake Kuwait." The Saudis said no and jumped in bed with the Americans. After further protests, Bin Ladin was booted from his homeland and went into exile. This cemented Bin Ladin's hatred of both the Saudi monarchy and the US, as they were now in partnership desecrating the holy lands.
- pg. 59- Bin Laden's first fatwa against the US (1992) was first and foremost a protest against American occupation of Muslim holy lands, specifically Saudi Arabia. It was not a call to kill Americans because they were rich and free, it was a call to expel American troops from Arab lands.
- pg. 48- Bin Ladin's 1996 fatwa against the United States was not a blanket condemnation of America and a call to arms to destroy the American nation. The fatwa declared the limited aim of driving US soldiers out of Saudi Arabia. The American presence in Saudi Arabia, a byproduct of America's promise to protect the Saudis from Saddam during the Persian Gulf War and beyond, infuriated Muslim fundamentalist because in their eyes, infidels were occupying the holy land. Bin Ladin also spent significant energy condemning the Saudi government for allowing this occupation.
- pg. 49- In discussing the grievances aired by Bin Ladin against the United States, the 9/11 Commission Report specifically calls out "the suffering of the Iraqi people as a result of the sanctions imposed after the Gulf War". Listen again to Guiliani's rebuke of Ron Paul over the idea of our involvement in Iraq playing in part of motivating al-Qaeda to attack America. If this is the most absurd explanation Guiliani has heard regarding the motives behind the planners and implementers of the 9/11 attacks, then I wonder (with dread) what he has been listening to.
- pg. 49- also lists American support of Israel as a major grievance of Bin Ladin.
- pg. 51- al-Qaeda's ultimate ambition is not specifically the destruction of the US- it's the establishment of the Caliphate to unify all Muslims. To Muslim fundamentalists, America's extensive involvement in the internal affairs of sovereign Muslim nations (the Shah, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Jordan, etc) props us secular governments and delays the future ascendancy of the Caliphate. Attacking America is not an end in itself, just a means (one of many) to another end. If they hated countries just for their freedoms, you would expect enormous terrorist attacks in Switzerland, Luxembourg, Iceland, and dozens of other countries. You don't, there's a reason.
- pg. 147- Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the operational mastermind behind the 9/11 attacks and the Bojinka Plot, attended college in the United States and lived here for several years. Obviously, someone who lived here and then later orchestrated a murderous assault on our country hated us because of the freedoms, pleasures, and raunchy behavior we enjoy? No, it was because he hated our strongly favorable foreign policy preference for Israel.
- pg. 362- The Report reiterates that Muslim fundamentalist's hatred for America stems from "grievances stressed by Bin Ladin and widely felt throughout the Muslim world." These grievances are absolutely political- US military presence in Arab lands, favoritism towards Israel, and policies perceived as anti-Muslim. The 9/11 Commission Report does not list our freedoms or wealth as a contributing motive for terrorist attacks against our nation.
- The 9/11 Commission Report
- Blowback: The Costs and Consequences of American Empire by Chalmers Johnson
- Imperial Hubris: Why the West is Losing the War on Terror by Michael Scheuer (the former Chief of the CIA’s bin Laden Unit, Alec Station)
- Dying to Win: The Strategic Logic of Suicide Terrorism by Professor Robert A. Pape of the University of Chicago
I hate to cry conspiracy, but when an article that was on many of the major media sites suddenly disappears from them, and searches of those respective websites returns no new URL for the page, and even links to the article from other articles on that same site report that the pages no longer exist, it bears the question "what happened to the article?"
Fortunately the article was widely quoted and covered on numerous other sites, but it's curious that it's now notably absent from many of the major media outlets.
Luckily Reuters still has the article. We can also see a video of Wolf Blitzer's interview with Ron Paul the following day on YouTube.
Following that debacle, we have yesterday's news that Guiliani is yet again making absurd and ignorant claims about US foreign policy and military matters.
As the article clearly illustrates, Giuliani yet again couldn't be farther from the truth. This time his error is even more blatant than the last.
It seems to me to be increasingly evident that Giuliani has a fundamental lack of knowledge and understanding about our own government, our foreign policy, our military history and a variety of other pertinent issues, while in contrast Ron Paul has consistently demonstrated a deeper knowledge of our own history, the foundations of our government, our foreign policy, our economic system etc. The contrast should be clear to anyone who does even a cursory investigation into the facts.
For the sake of our nation, please vote for Ron Paul in 2008.
and many more.
Friday, July 06, 2007
"Why does fiat money seemingly work?"
The article explains the importance of the shift between currency backed by gold and silver to unbacked currency as the images below of one of the original Silver Certificates and one of the modern Federal Reserve Notes show.
Before 1913 bills were labeled along the lines of "Silver Certificate - This certifies that there has been deposited in the Treasury of the United States of America One Silver Dollar payable to the bearer upon demand". After the institution of the Federal Reserve, currency was moved to unbacked notes that bore the phrase "Federal Reserve Note - This Note is Legal Tender for all debts, public and private" that relied simply upon the Federal Reserve saying they had value. Read the article linked above for a much more in-depth explanation of the historical chain of events that led to this change.
Wednesday, July 04, 2007
Originally posted on Sunday, June 26, 2005 @ 4:37 AM
Make special note of the section entitled "Blastocyst stem cell ethical debate" around half way down the entry. Notice that these Blastocysts, from which the stem cells are extracted, are already being legally used by in vitro fertility clinics, "and when not used in additional therapy or in embryonic stem cell research are destroyed or frozen indefinitely by the thousands."
So... rather than actually try to help humankind by destroying a 5 day old clump of cells with no nervous system etc, which will absolutely be destroyed anyway if not used in an actual fertility procedure... let's just hose the whole thing because we're a bunch of bleeding heart religious conservatives with a personal agenda who can't put 2 and 2 together to see how stupid we're being.
Bush pledges to veto stem cell bill - May 23rd 2005
US stem cell research in jeopardy - January 24th 2005
Make special note of the last two sentences in that article: The existing rules cited are designed to prevent the destruction of further embryos from which stem cells are extracted. The process has provoked considerable polemic in the US, with George Bush coming down firmly on the side of the antis.
*ahem* Let me make this clear...
They're going to be destroyed anyway. Now because of your ignorant dogmatic politicking, we're going to lose all the possible benefits that might be had.
Have I made myself clear?
Now, I'm going to head one argument off at the pass by playing the devils advocate here.
<devils_advocate> Being frozen indefinitely does not mean destroyed. Doing the stem cell extraction procedure on the blastocysts will actually destroy them, whereas being frozen indefinitely doesn't. </devils_advocate>
Fair enough I suppose.
However, we know that not all are even frozen indefinitely (or as the following article states, "for a long time"), but that at least some, if not most are destroyed under the current procedures, and they have been handled as such for awhile now.
From that we know that this has been going on since roughly 1978. 27 years now. While we see that many of the same "concerns" being raised, obviously this procedure has been allowed to continue because of it's obvious, directly observable, desirable effects... namely, allowing parents who might not be otherwise able, to conceive and bear their own children.
That's the trouble with ignorant people... the more abstract or complicated an issue is, the less likely they are to understand or accept it.
Put simply, some of the issues here are:
- Lack of knowledge of all the pertinent information.
- Lack of ability to comprehend the pertinent information even when available.
- Lack of ability to perceive long term benefits.
- Desire to adhere to the religious/conservative group ideology.
Put very simply, fear of the unknown.
Warning, sarcasm and a bit of aggravation ensues beyond this point.
Remember kids, the following things are wrong! Now can you tell me why?
- Bypassing the natural method of conception.
- Creating life in the laboratory.
Because only the imaginary sky god is supposed to be able to do that! If we can create life ourselves, we're heading down the path of making the imaginary sky god obsolete.
We just can't have that! We need to stay in the dark ages where intellectual thought and literacy were suppressed to maintain belief in the church (And yes, I know that there were mainly "political" motivations behind that, to maintain a power structure dependent on the absolute belief in the Catholic Church as the sole means of communication with God, the sole channel of biblical learning and hence the sole means of salvation.), the bible, and it's imaginary sky god and outdated, backwards, and downright heinously erroneous ignorant fictitious world view.
The author goes on to cover the legacies of Thomas Jefferson and Andrew Jackson, who both made similar, if not even more radical, changes during their presidencies, and how that actually garnered them re-elections and massive public support after initially narrowly winning the elections.
An excellent read!
I know the story is from a couple months ago... but it begs discussion. :)I realize I get a little snitty in my wording, but I don't feel like rewriting it. The points are very clear and stand on their own.
One of the first, and most ridiculous, things I noticed was the fact that on a show about discrimination against Atheists, they make a panel that includes no atheists. How stupid is that?
That aside, the black guy came the closest to getting the point... the two ladies were total idiots. This is not a Christian nation and was never intended to be one. The Supreme Court has even begun to partially accept that fact and rule according to the Constitution. There is to be no establishment of religion and that is precisely what was done in the mid 1950's to counter the "Godless heathens of Communism" during the McCarthy era "Red Scare". "In God We Trust", "Under God" etc. All added between 1954 and 1957 in violation of the Constitution by acts of Congress.
Many of our founding fathers were Deists, not Christians, and understood the importance of maintaining a secular and neutral government in order to facilitate the equal treatment of all beliefs, religious or not religious. As Thomas Jefferson said: "The legitimate powers of government extend to such acts only as are injurious to others. But it does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods or no God. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg."
Jefferson, for those who don't know, wrote the Declaration of Independence.
And while he made a few deistic references in it, such as divine providence and man's creator, these are distinctly absent from the Constitution save for the parts where religion is specifically mentioned solely to note it's willful exclusion, as in the cases of there shall not be any religious litmus test for office and specifically spelling out the oath of presidency, conspicuously lacking any religious reference etc.
Those points aside... the two women in the video repeatedly state that they should have the right to have prayer in school etc. What they are obviously too stupid to understand is that as fellow American citizens, we have the right NOT to be forced to participate in your religious beliefs. You cannot legally force a child to say "under God" in the pledge and the supreme court supported this. Our problem is with the stupid Christian belief that they have the right to force Christianity on non-believers, but non-believers don't have a right to speak up against it. I don't trust in God and my government is not supposed to be speaking for me or promoting such a belief. The founding fathers understood this and it wasn't until almost a century after its inception that the larger blows were stricken against freedom of religion.
She is patently wrong is saying that freedom of religion doesn't mean freedom to not believe. That's precisely what it means! It means the freedom to believe in what you want, even if that means no God... as Thomas Jefferson himself plainly stated!
Atheists are tired of being forced to recite religious statements when they don't believe in them. Of having their children forced to recite religious observance statements in school, or participate in religious activities. Of having science replaced by religion in schools etc.
Atheists have just as much of a right to have their opinions heard and to be free of being forced to participate in another persons religion just as much as those stupid bitches on that show whining about the Atheists speaking up about their rights.
It honestly shocks me how they could make such obviously completely hypocritical statements without batting an eyelash! It belies the fact that they don't see Atheists as fellow American citizens. They don't understand the concepts of Freedom and Liberty... of a Neutral and Secular government protecting the rights of ALL of its people to believe as they will... to the pursuit of life, liberty and happiness. They believe that THEY are right and Atheists are wrong, so Atheists need to shut up and not have any rights.
It's this kind of ignorant Christian bullshit that makes me hate Christianity and religion. I have to applaud the black guy for at least understanding the concept that Freedom means that even if you don't like what the other person has to say, you have to allow them the right to say it. They have just as much of a right as you do. Freedom doesn't mean "only what I want to hear" or "only what I want you to believe". Freedom of religion is the freedom to believe what you want to believe and not suffer oppression or persecution for it. And that is most certainly precisely what the Christians are trying their damnedest to do.
PS: I just remembered.. I also hate the egregiously ignorant statement "Atheists don't believe in anything."
How fucking ignorant and stupid is that? Atheists most certainly do believe in quite a number of things. They specifically believe that the idea of a extra-dimensional omnipotent, omniscience man in the clouds who created the universe in 7 days etc... and generally most of the garbage written in the bible, is ridiculous and flies in the face of common sense, logic, and centuries of scientific advancement and human understanding. They believe a whole variety of individual things... they vary from person to person. But them believing, for good reasons, that the mythology of the bible is self-contradictory, evil and ridiculous to say the least... is a belief in itself based on facts and evidence. It is diametrically opposed to a "belief in nothing". As a matter of fact, given the juxtaposition of Christians and Atheists, it is in fact Christians who could more accurately be said to believe in nothing... having a belief in a whole slew of things with cannot be seen, touched, smelled, tasted, tested for, proven, or disproven. Their belief is in the utterly unseeable and unknowable, and goes so far as to not only be unseeable, untestable and undetectable in any way, but also flies in the face of everything that mankind has learned in the millenia since the mythology was written.
Now who believes in "nothing"? It is painful just how stupid Christians can be.