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WE’RE ALL CRIMINALS NOW

I’m writing this from a place called Mea Culpa City. It’s not a lot of fun being here, but it’s where I have to live until I finish this essay. It turns out that I have wronged a friend. The silver - well, pewter - lining is that in attempting to rectify it I learned how easy it has become for the Federales to turn any of us into criminals.The Cato Institute in Washington has just published a book on this: Go Directly To Jail: The Criminalization Of Almost Everything. It documents how the federal government now views its jurisdiction as limitless - which means almost anything you or your business does can be a federal crime. The Cato book paints a frightening picture - but the truth is, it’s much worse.It’s worse because of the depraved collusion between politicians and their buddies in the media to demonize and criminalize someone on the front pages of newspapers. This of course is not exclusive to Washington. States are on to the game as well. New York’s Elliot Spitzer has turned the State Attorney General’s office into his private Gestapo. But he’s New York’s problem. Federal agents and federal politicians are a problem for all of us.

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USE SNOPES!

Has anyone emailed you this picture of the December 26 tsunami hitting Phuket, Thailand? It’s all over the web, yet if you’ve ever been to Phuket, you know this is a fake. The city is actually Antofagasta, Chile with phony Photoshopped waves. We all have friends with the terrible habit of forwarding some shocking claim worthy of National Enquirer on to everyone in their email list, without bothering to check its veracity out first. There’s no need to be upset at them, for they’re excited and just want to share something they think is cool - but now you can tell them how to easily find if any claim is for real or not. Just go to Snopes.

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A NEEDLESS CATASTROPHE

I troll Microsoft newsgroups regularly. It’s part of duties. Normally I troll development newsgroups, particularly those involving databases. However, now I’m doing a stint in XP newsgroups. Last week I described a catastrophe in the making that I was able to avert. This week I’m describing one I ran across last night, but too late. Not that I have much sympathy. Just to save $39.95, the fellow I'm about to describe ruined his computer.

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SARKO VS. EURABIA

My wife just returned from a business trip to Paris last night. She hadn’t been there in a while and was shocked at its transformation. “Where are all the French?” she asked. “Every other person I saw was Arab or North African.” Now she understands how Europe is becoming Eurabia.Yet standing in the way blocking France’s march to cultural doom is a short, wiry fellow with a distinctly un-French name. He’s the most popular politician in France, rock-star popular, married to a beautiful, glamorous model, and the odds-on favorite to be the next President of France. He’s Nicolas Sarkozy - the beloved “Sarko,” as everyone calls him, and he’s part Jewish.

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CIRCLE SQUARED: Iran, Iraq, Syria

In his final weeks in office, Secretary Powell has unfortunately continued to chant his mantra, "we are not working for regime change in Iran," as if he were proud of it. He, and his colleagues at State, the National Security Council, the Pentagon, and the CIA, should be ashamed. The mullahs are active supporters of terrorism all over the world, including Iraq, and we cannot expect to win this war so long as they remain in power.

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AN EAGLE CHRONOLOGY

For some set of reasons I don’t really fathom, my becoming an Eagle Scout at 12 years old disturbs certain people. Out of all the stuff in my bio, this is the thing these folks call into question. Not only do I get emails on it, but there are even debates about it on a number of internet web sites and chat rooms. So to settle this, here’s my chronology of how I made Eagle.

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WANT BETTER AND CHEAPER DRUGS?

The most monumental mistake of George W. Bush’s first term was his Medicare Prescription Drug bill. You have read that it is going to cost American taxpayers an estimated $6 trillion. That’s more than the entire current federal debt. But - it is much, much worse than that.Let’s begin with the asinine assumption that in order for the cost to be only six trillion over the next 40 or so years, average American life expectancy will increase by just two years. For the last 125 years, life expectancy in America has been increasing by three months per year. For the last 30 years, as infant mortality rates have shrunk to be statistically marginal, all of the increase has gone to the elderly. By 2050, Americans will be living at least 11-12 years longer than today - which doubles the time folks will collect Medicare (and Social Security) benefits. So now we’re at twelve, not six, trillion in prescription drug costs alone. Yet we are just getting started. George Bush’s bribe of prescription drug “benefits” for old folks who still refused to vote for him in the numbers he expected is going to cost our kids and their kids well over 20 trillion dollars.I can tell you what the solution is - but unless you’re a fan of Milton Friedman and Ludwig von Mises, economists who fully understand how government regulation can ruin a market sector, it will take getting used to.

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ARMSTRONG AND ARNAUD

Liberal media journalists are all a-flutter about columnist Armstrong Williams being paid $240,000 by the Department of Education to promote the No Child Left Behind program. They are whipping themselves into a moral dudgeon over a conservative black writer besmirching his journalistic ethics. TMS, the outfit that syndicates Armstrong’s column to papers throughout the country, canceled him.While they are so morally incensed, maybe now these folks can start investigating their brethren who are taking bribes from Saudi Arabia. A year ago last January, the editor-in-chief of the prominent Saudi newspaper Al-Riyadh, Turki Al-Sudairi, disclosed that the Saudi government dispenses millions of dollars a year in bribes to journalists around the world to write articles sympathetic to Saudi Arabia and to attack Israel. French newspapers are virulently anti-Semitic as it is, but Saudi money insures they stay that way. Hundreds of journalists, reporters, commentators, and talking heads from scores of publications and media outlets in dozens of countries are on the Saudi payroll. It’s a very sophisticated operation, and world-wide in scope.That scope includes America - especially America.

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WHEN MALWARE REALLY GRIPS YOUR SYSTEM

When you’ve lost control of your computer to "malware," there are only two things to try. The first I’ll describe below. The second is to reformat your hard disk(s) and reinstall the operating system and all your programs. The second is apt to be painful, with a permanent loss of data unless you regularly back up your important data. I’ve discussed this in previous columns. Here's my advice. 1) Download the following two items...

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CHICOMS AND CHAOS

It is a humbling experience to have a deep conversation with a truly great man. Harry Wu has been nominated repeatedly for the Nobel Peace Prize. He is in the same league with Andrei Sakharov, Lech Walesa, Aung San Suu Kyi, and His Holiness the Dalai Lama. It is Harry Wu who deserved the Nobel Peace Prize last year, not a racist kook, Wangari Maathai of Kenya, who believes AIDS was invented by white scientists to exterminate black Africans. When I had lunch with Harry this week, we agreed that China faces chaos - and that the Chicoms will most likely try to cure the chaos with war. The New York Times reports (12/31/04) that there were over 60,000 - sixty thousand - riots, disturbances, and public protests throughout China in 2004. "People can see how corrupt the government is while they barely have enough to eat," a demonstration leader was quoted. "Our society has a short fuse, just waiting for a spark."

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