Category Archives: The Surveillance State

And “The System” Rolls On

So, it’s been over 100 most days for the last month and a bit, with some massive wind and dust storms… generally not the most pleasant outdoor environment, and like many Arizona residents we’ve neglected our yard a bit.

Note, I said “a bit”; here’s the total weed growth since we last did the weeds in March(the dead branches are damage from a series of severe wind storms over the past couple months. We’ve been waiting for the trees to recover a bit before trimming back; and the desert scrub grass at the base of the trees is there ON PURPOSE):

Today we received a notice from the city of Scottsdale, demanding we remove the “Excessive weed growth” from our “desert landscaped” front yard by Sunday, or face a $2000 fine.


Well, first of all, they call THAT EXCESSIVE?

WTF Over?

Not only that, but a $2000 fine?

We’re not talking about some anal HOA here. Our house was built in 1953, long before the unholy institute of unlawful prior restraint, the home owners association, was an itch in Satans scrotum.

No, this is the city of Scottsdale…

Now, I thought something was a bit fishy about that; so I started looking at city ordnances etc… and there is nothing that says they can levy a $2000 fine for weeds. The only thing I can find is a “blighted property” statute where they can charge you $2000 for allowing your property to fall into a dangerous state of disrepair or abandonment.

Sooo, they’re going to declare a property “blighted” because of (and I counted them) 29 small weeds, mostly right along the edge of concrete.

Yeah, Ok, that’s really gonna fly. Obviously, if I took them to court then I would win; but seriously, who’s going to do that? Hell, just to take them to court, I’d have to post the fine, AND fees penalties and costs in escrow before hand.

So, grumbling, we go out in the 102 degree sun and pick the weeds. Then we notice a bunch of other folks outdoing similar things.

It seems that every house in the neighborhood got some kind of a violation notice.

Our neighbor got a notice saying he would have to pay a $600 fine for not having his house number posted properly so that it was visible from the street…


Not only that, but it’s also on his mailbox, which is on the side of his house facing the driveway. He has a set of numbers on the side facing the street as well, but one of the numerals had fallen off during a recent windstorm, and he hadn’t fixed it yet.

This one was flagged because it was a “fire hazard” because “emergency services may not be able to find the address in case of emergency”.

Did I mention that every address in the city is in the cities GIS database, which is GPS linked to all city vehicles, and emergency services?

We talked with him (a great guy actually. A rastaman in his early 50s who’s been here for 20 years. He and his wife have a beauty salon a couple miles away, and a bunch of grown kids), and he says a few days ago a guy from the city was around looking at everyones houses, and didn’t leave ’til he found violations on everybody. Then this morning he went around posting notices.

So, what would have happened if we were gone on vacation for the week?

This is your tax dollars at work ladies and gentlemen. bureaucrats have to justify their existence after all, or they could be downsized (unlikely, but hey, it could happen). Thus, they drive around every neighborhood in the city, and search every house and yard for some kind of violation.

I guess if here are no violations, then obviously they aren’t doing their job; so there have to be violations.

Just like lawmakers have to make new laws… because after all, they are lawmakers right; if they arent making laws then they aren’t doing their jobs…


But what about when there AREN’T any violations, or no more laws are needed?

Of course THAT would never happen, because there are ALWAYS more laws to make, and the laws are written so that EVERYONE is a violator, no matter how they try not to be; because the government cannot control you if you aren’t guilty of something.

So everyone is guilty, and the system rolls on

…and more bureaucrats are hired, and more attorneys, and more prosecutors, and more officers… and the system rolls on.

Because that’s what systems do. They perpetuate themselves. They create work, to ensure that there is always work. They increase work, to ensure they can always increase their empires. They justify work, to ensure they will always increase their budgets… and the system rolls on.

I am a cynically romantic optimistic pessimist. I am neither liberal, nor conservative. I am a (somewhat disgruntled) muscular minarchist… something like a constructive anarchist.

Basically what that means, is that I believe, all things being equal, responsible adults should be able to do whatever the hell they want to do, so long as nobody’s getting hurt, who isn’t paying extra

Rudy Laughs At Habeas Corpus

Rudy Giuliani lets us all know what he thinks about Habeas Corpus. (Note, I am not endorsing Alex Jones,, or any of the kooky conspiracy theories Alex Jones espouses.)

UPDATE: The comments below say that Giuliani was laughing at the moron Chris Matthews. After rewatching the video, I have to agree with them.

I’m one of the original co-founders of The Liberty Papers all the way back in 2005. Since then, I wound up doing this blogging thing professionally. Now I’m running the site now. You can find my other work at The and Rare. You can also find me over at the R Street Institute.

Rudy Giuliani On The Consequences Of A Democratic Victory

Here’s what Republican Presidential candidate had to say about the consequences of a Democratic victory in 2008:

MANCHESTER, N.H., April 25 — Former New York mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani issued a stark warning Tuesday evening that Democrats would put the country on defense in the campaign against terrorism and needlessly prolong a conflict that he said America can and must win.

Giuliani appeared at the Rockingham County, New Hampshire GOP Lincoln Day dinner and spoke at length about the differences he sees between the Republican and Democratic parties on everything from fixing public schools and health care to combating the threat of global terrorism.

But he was most animated and direct when he focused on his prospective Democratic rivals and national security.

“If one of them gets elected, it sounds to me like we’re going on the defense,” he said. “We’ve got a timetable for withdrawal from Iraq. We’re going to wave the white flag there. We’re going to try to cut back on the Patriot Act. We’re going to cut back on electronic surveillance. We’re going to cut back on interrogation. We’re going to cut back, cut back, cut back, and we’ll be back in our pre-September 11 mentality of being on defense.”

First, I will observe that we haven’t seen Giuliani on the offensive before, clearly it’s a reflection of the fact that he is now the Republican frontrunner and thus feels more comfortable striking out on his own.

Second, though, let’s take a look at that list of Rudy’s:

1.    Withdrawal from Iraq ? Well, I said back in December that it was time for us to go

While there are some commentators who insist on characterizing the Iraq War as part of the War on Terror, in the beginning, it was sold to the American public, and the world, as a necessary action to remove from power a man who was hiding weapons of mass destruction. That intelligence turned out to be dead wrong; but the biggest failure of the Iraq War wasn’t the war itself (which was a stunning success) but the occupation, which has been a disaster from the beginning. It became evident from the day the Baathist regime fell that the United States really didn’t have a plan in place to govern and administer an occupied country the size of Iraq, nor did there seem to be a plan that took into account Iraq’s ethnic divisions.

Instead of a smooth transition to a free Iraq, or at least a free-er Iraq than existed under Saddam, we have instead created a nation in chaos where car bombs kill civilians every day and the central government seems incapable of protecting its own citizens. Rather than hanging on with hundreds of thousands of troops hoping for a victory that will never come, it’s time to give the Iraqis the tools they need to govern and protect themselves and then leave.

2.    Repealing the PATRIOT Act ? Sounds like a good idea to me

3.     An end to warrantless wiretaps and the erosion of the Fourth Amendment ? Again, seems like a smart move here.

4.     An end to torture and intimidation as a means to obtain information ? It’s about damn time.

Let me put it this way.

I definitely won’t be voting for any of the Democrats running for President, but if Rudy’s going to run as the candidate supporting a failed war policy, erosion of the Fourth Amendment, and torture, then I sure as heck won’t be voting for him either.

Montana Says No To Real ID

Earlier this week, Montana became the latest state to say no to Real ID:

HELENA – Gov. Brian Schweitzer said “no, nope, no way, hell no” Tuesday to national driver’s licenses, signing into law a bill supporters say is one of the strongest rejections to the federal plan.

The move means the state won’t comply with the Real ID Act, a federal law that sets a national standard for driver’s licenses and requires states to link their record-keeping systems to national databases.

Though several states have either passed or are considering resolutions or bills against the act, Montana is the first state to outright deny its implementation, according to the American Civil Liberties Union.

“This is the first one saying, ‘We’re not doing it,’ ” said Scott Crichton of the Montana ACLU.

Good for them. Similar rumblings of revolt have been heard from Maine, Arizona, Idaho, and Missouri.

Where does your state stand ?

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