Google says good-bye

Subject: Re: [#7423143] No more Google AdWords for my business.
From: AdWords Support 
Date: Thu, February 26, 2004 0:30  
To: Joe Huffman   
 

Hello Joe,

Thank you for your email. I am sorry to hear that you have decided to
delete your AdWords campaigns.

I understand that you are concerned about Google’s policies regarding
sites that sell firearms.

Google believes strongly in freedom of expression and therefore offers
broad access to content across the web without censoring results. At the
same time, we reserve the right to exercise editorial discretion when it
comes to the advertising we accept on our site, as noted in our
advertising terms and conditions. At this time we do not allow ads for
websites that sell guns or related products, nor do we allow these
products as keywords.

You may be aware that a different set of laws and regulations apply to
commercial speech (advertising) than to the search results we show when
you do a Google search. As a business, Google must make decisions about
where we draw the line in regards to the advertising we accept, both from
a legal and company values perspective. Please note that the decisions we
make concerning advertising in no way affect the search results we
deliver. We will continue to show search results for guns and related
products.

We appreciate your comments on this issue, which will help inform our
future policy discussions. Thank you for taking the time to write us.

Please feel free to email us at adwords-support@google.com if you have
additional questions or concerns.

We look forward to providing you with the most effective advertising
available. 

Sincerely,

Loretta
The Google AdWords Team

Bush calls for Constitutional amendment prohibiting gay marriage

I listened to part of President Bush’s speech this morning.  Interesting stuff.

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,112326,00.html

I’m glad he brought up the full faith and credit issue. He probably realizes that at least parts of the “Defensive of Marriage Act” could (should in my opinion) be struck down because of the “full faith and credit” clause in the U.S. Constitution (see the text of the speech for a little bit more on this).

I can’t see getting enough support (2/3 of both houses of congress and 3/4 of the state legislatures) to pass the amendment. So… my guess is that we will soon have a bunch of same sex people holding a marriage license and demanding the “full faith and credit” clause be enforced. In the case of the California licenses there may be some problems, at least for a while if not permanent, because of the law the voters passed against gay marriage. But in Massachusetts it’s inevitable it will happen.  While it’s possible almost anything can happen in any court, include the U.S. Supreme Court, it seems to me that the full faith and credit clause will most likely be upheld.  This will then give us people with concealed weapons licenses a lot of leverage in being able carry in all states and cities in this country and with “our bucket of water“ being carried by some of the anti-gun bigots that are actively trying to restrict our civil rights.

I know… a long chain of events each dependent on all the previous events but it’s a pleasant thought – a bunch of bigots having to face their own hypocrisy.

I just deleted my Google Adwords campaign

No need to give bigots my money when there are better alternatives available.  Here is what I told them:

It is with great reluctance that I do this. I have been very impressed with Google in almost every endeavor they have undertaken.

I just deleted my ad campaign and won’t be creating any new ones as long as Google continues it’s policy on the restriction of certain civil rights. I will also be contacting other Google advertisers whom I would normally purchase from to inform them of your policies and to tell them I will be finding different suppliers if this policy is continued and they continue to advertise with Google.

Please see the following links for more details if desired.

http://blog.joehuffman.org/2004/02/09/

http://blog.joehuffman.org/2004/02/11/

http://blog.joehuffman.org/2004/02/12/

Regards,

 

Joe Huffman

More Boomershoot entries and a new explosive mix

I had a big flood of entries in Boomershoot 2004 last week.  Probably a record in terms of dollars, but not in number of entries.  I’m past the breakeven point for the actual event expenses now and can start paying off some of the loan for the Taj Mahal (http://www.boomershoot.org/TajMahal/Magazine.htm).

Yesterday Ry tested out a new mix someone emailed to me.  It comes close to meeting our needs and has some big advantages.  We probably can tweak it enough to work for us and still retain the advantages.

Nader ushers Bush into a second term

Ralph Nader threw his hat into the presidental ring.  The Republicians are rejoicing and the Democrats are whining:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A64417-2004Feb23.html

This election is going to boring.  And with a Bush sweep he will probably feel he has a mandate to implement a police state should he want it.  Heavy sigh.  At least he probably won’t make much, if any, effort to take our guns away in the near future — at least that is a partial deterrent against a police state.

Google Adwords suck, Overture rocks

After having Google tell me they don’t allow people to advertise product related to the exercise of certain civil rights I started looking at alternatives.  It turns out you can place an ad on Overture.com and get advertising to show up on http://search.yahoo.com, http://www.Search.MSN.com, http://altavista.com, and http://www.cnn.com/SEARCH/.  There are some downsides:

  • The minimum rate is $0.10/click – twice that of Google.
  • Minimum of $50 up front instead of $5.00 from Google.
  • It can take a few days before they will approve your ads compared to minutes for Google.

The upsides are:

  • They didn’t have a problem with my guns and explosives product.
  • They did disallow a few words and phrases but they gave rational reasons and I respect their conclusions.
  • They have better tools for determining the phrases and key words that are being used by people doing the searches.
  • I’m getting a lot more hits!
  • Their tracking is better.  They have a cookie system set up that will report whenever someone clicks on an ad ultimately, even days later, clicks on my entry form.  I can see what key words are actually generating people interested in entering the event versus just looking at pictures and watching the videos.
  • I can see in the log file exactly what the raw query was and how it was morphed into a key phrase of mine to generate a hit.  This means I can figure out the keywords people are using and put those on my pages if it’s a good match.  Key words that aren’t a good match but are still morphed into a hit I can tweak to avoid the hit.
  • No requirement for minimum click rates, Google has been dropping words and phrases if they don’t meet their minimum number of clicks per impression.  My friends and I have probably provided a dozen clicks or so just to keep me from losing the keywords.

Kim du Toit is by far better than anything else, but he is doing this as a favor and I don’t have any control over being able do this on a regular basis.

Here is the break down on people that have clicked on banners, ads, and links from various places so far this month:

KimduToit.com 402
Shotgunnews.com 144
Overture Ads 36 (started on February 14th)
Google Adwords 23 (running all month and probably 12 of those were my own and friends)
JoeHuffman.org (all personal sites): 23
RyJones.org/com Gawth.com EveryoneEveryWhereAlways 17
Xeniahs.org (and other banner ads place by her) 2

So… comparing Overture to Google I get hits at a rate of about 7 a day versus about 0.6/day.  Over ten times as good.  I’m going to tell Google to get lost.  No point paying bigots your money when there are better alternatives available.

Gay marriage and the disintegration of the Democrat party

Not only has MA said it will be issuing marriage licenses to same sex couples in May, but San Francisco has married thousands in the last week and Chicago might start soon:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/4251510/

My take on this is that there is a good chance this issue will dominate in this year’s elections. Although I think marriage for same sex couples is the correct way to go I don’t think the population at large will stand for it yet. I think it will polarize people so much that people that would have normally not voted will register to vote and then vote against those pushing for it — Democrats. If the Republicans can find some way to appear sympathetic to same sex couples while still prohibiting their marriage they will win big.

Another coffin nail ready to be pounded into place is the illusion of the Democrats as understanding the little guy and protecting them from the rich people. Both Kerry and Edwards are multi-millionaires and don’t really have a clue of what it’s like to work at a real job for a living.

You could be seeing the final death throes of the party. I’m not at all thrilled about having a single dominate party. Lots of risk there but the destruction of the Democrats is not entirely unwelcome either. The die-hard Democrats that I know are all blatant socialists or communists — more proven deadly and failed political systems have not been invented.

Maybe the Libertarian party can fill the power vacuum that occurs if the Democrats implode. One can only hope and push a little bit here and there…

Islamic terrorists

Every once in a while I hear someone, either in person or on some news outlet, claim something to the effect that we need to learn how to life in peace with the Islamic fundamentalists that wish to do us harm. Basically what they are saying is that we must be doing something that pisses them off and we should stop doing whatever that is and then we could get along. Putting this as gently as I can – people that believe that are delusional. Read Osama bin Laden’s letter to America (http://observer.guardian.co.uk/worldview/story/0,11581,845725,00.html) carefully. Here are some excerpts:

What are we calling you to, and what do we want from you?

(1) The first thing that we are calling you to is Islam.

2) The second thing we call you to, is to stop your oppression, lies, immorality and debauchery that has spread among you.

(a) We call you to be a people of manners, principles, honour, and purity; to reject the immoral acts of fornication, homosexuality, intoxicants, gambling’s, and trading with interest.

We call you to all of this that you may be freed from that which you have become caught up in; that you may be freed from the deceptive lies that you are a great nation, that your leaders spread amongst you to conceal from you the despicable state to which you have reached.

(b) It is saddening to tell you that you are the worst civilization witnessed by the history of mankind:

(i) You are the nation who, rather than ruling by the Shariah of Allah in its Constitution and Laws, choose to invent your own laws as you will and desire. You separate religion from your policies, contradicting the pure nature which affirms Absolute Authority to the Lord and your Creator. You flee from the embarrassing question posed to you: How is it possible for Allah the Almighty to create His creation, grant them power over all the creatures and land, grant them all the amenities of life, and then deny them that which they are most in need of: knowledge of the laws which govern their lives? (ii) You are the nation that permits Usury, which has been forbidden by all the religions. Yet you build your economy and investments on Usury. As a result of this, in all its different forms and guises, the Jews have taken control of your economy, through which they have then taken control of your media, and now control all aspects of your life making you their servants and achieving their aims at your expense; precisely what Benjamin Franklin warned you against.

If you fail to respond to all these conditions, then prepare for fight with the Islamic Nation. The Nation of Monotheism, that puts complete trust on Allah and fears none other than Him.

Another data point, if that wasn’t clear enough, was a comment from a guy I know at the CIA who works with psychologists there (no, I can’t prove I actually talked to someone at the CIA, those guys don’t hand out business cards). He told me, “Very few people in the U.S. understand, or can understand, how different these people think from us. Their thought processes are completely foreign to us.”

What are you going to say to someone that says you must give up “trading with interest“, our constitutional form of government and accept a government based on the Quran or prepare to fight? My response is, expressed with a great deal of sadness, our resolve is just as great as yours and until you can respect our way of life we will take this fight to you and we will kill as many of your warriors as we have to before they ever set foot on our soil. We will do our best to make sure this fight is on your soil with your homes and with your families in harms way. Our homes and families will continue our way of life in as much peace as we can give them. You can respect us or you can fear us, but you will not harm us, prepare to harm us, or conspire to harm us, or you will imprisoned and/or killed.  I realize you are willing to die for your cause but there is a certain amount of symmetry in that — we are willing to kill for ours.

Valentines Day

Yesterday was my parents 50th Wedding anniversary.  We had a get together at my brother’s house.  Lots of relatives and some of the neighbors showed up.  Everyone seemed to have a good time. 

Afterwards my son James and I went out to the new explosives magazine to do a little bit of work on it and check on how the roof was holding up to the snow load.  Everything seemed to be fine.

Barb, James, Xenia and I went to the movie 50 First Dates after we got back. Some of the humor was questionable in the first half of the movie and neither Barb nor I were very amused, but the second half of the movie was good and we ended up liking the movie as a whole.

Google goes limp.

A non-response if I ever saw one.  I think it pretty much speaks for itself.

—–Original Message—–
From: AdWords Support 
Sent: Thursday, February 12, 2004 4:15 PM
To: Joe Huffman
Cc: Ry Jones; Stephanie Sailor
Subject: Re: [#7002486] Your Google AdWords Approval Status

Hello Joe,

Thanks for your suggestion. We appreciate hearing from our advertisers and encourage you to continue to let us know how we could improve the Google AdWords experience. In order to maintain a high quality of service for our advertisers, we are always interested in making improvements to the program.

We look forward to providing you with the most effective advertising available. 

Sincerely,

Charlene
The Google AdWords Team

Google tries to explain

Subject: Re: [#7002486] Your Google AdWords Approval Status
From: Joe Huffman
Date: Wed, February 11, 2004 20:27
To:

Thank you for the clarification on keywords.  That helps a great deal.  I
will abide by your restriction more carefully in the future.

I realize this almost for certain isn’t your personal decision, but I am
perplexed by the restriction.  Your restrictions on firearms sales brings
up a flurry of concerns about the ethics of your company and appears to be
significantly out of step with the majority of Americans.  For example in
a recent Zogby poll
(http://client.xntec.com/clientpages/oleary/report0104.html) 79% of
Americans surveyed supported the right of the people to carry concealed
firearms in public.  And all the major candidates for U.S. President agree
individuals have a right to keep and bear arms:

http://ww2.americansforgunsafety.com/31524155311.html

So what is the basis for Google to restrict people from supporting,
through sales of firearms, this constitutionally guaranteed right?  Are
there other Constitutionally guaranteed rights you restrict as well?  I
really don’t see the difference between your restrictions on people
engaged in firearms and ammunition sales and someone trying to defeat
Constitutional protections against slavery.  Do you have restrictions
against selling property to Jews or blacks attending certain schools?
Just what sort of ethical framework does Google use to disapprove keywords
and phrases?

Again, I realize it’s probably not your decision, but I would appreciate
it if you would pass my concerns on to those that do make the decisions.

Thank you.

Joe Huffman
Event Director
—-
http://www.boomershoot.org/

AdWords Support said:
> Hello Joe,
>
> Thank you for your email. I understand that you would like to have more
> guidelines on constructing ads and keywords.
>
> At this moment, we do not have a public list of specific keywords,
> subject matter, or products that are unacceptable according to our
> policy.
>
> To clarify the issue of gun-related keywords, keywords that advertise
> guns or similar products, like ‘tactical rifle’ and ‘sniper rifle,’ are
> unacceptable. However, we do allow keywords such as ‘rifle training’ and
> ‘rifle class’ because they are specific keywords that are advertising
> for a service or event, but not actual firearms.
>
> Please feel free to email us at https://secure.lasthome.net/mail-lasthome.net/src/compose.php?send_to=adwords-support%40google.com if you have
> additional questions or concerns.
>
> We look forward to providing you with the most effective advertising
> available.
>
> Sincerely,
>
> Charlene
> The Google AdWords Team
>
> Original Message Follows:
> ————————
> From: “Joe Huffman” <https://secure.lasthome.net/mail-lasthome.net/src/compose.php?send_to=joeh%40boomershoot.org>
> Subject: Re: [#7002486] Your Google AdWords Approval Status
> Date: Tue, 10 Feb 2004 20:13:00 -0000 (GMT)
>
> Do you have a list of these restricted keywords or subject matter that I
> could view?  It would help me to better construct my ad such that I
> avoid the embarrassment of having my keywords disapproved.  I am also
> confused by your statement that ads are not allowed with keywords
> related to guns or similar products but yet you suggest ‘rifle training’
> and ‘rifle class’.  A better understanding of your policy would help to
> save both you and me time and hassle.
>
> Thank you.
>
>
> Joe Huffman
> Event Director
> —-
> http://www.boomershoot.org/

Freedom of (some) expression is supported.

I wonder if advertising products used in the exercise of other constitutionally protected rights are in violation of their guidelines.

——

Subject: Re: Your Google AdWords Approval Status 
From: “Joe Huffman” joeh@boomershoot.org
Date: Tue, February 10, 2004 0:45
To:  

I read your “Editorial Guidelines” prior to making making my ad.  I could
not find any restrictions on the product we are delivering, and even after
reading your letter below I am at a loss for your disabling of my
keywords.  We do not sell firearms or ammunition.  We offer training and
opportunity for practice to owners of long range precision rifles.  We
have police snipers, military, and former military personal attending and
teaching at our events.  How do you suggest we reach this audience through
Google AdWords without using some of the keywords you have disabled?

Regards,

Joseph Huffman
Event Director
—-
http://www.boomershoot.org

> Hello Joseph,
>
> Thank you for advertising with Google AdWords. After reviewing your
> account, I have found that one or more of your ads or keywords does not
> meet our guidelines. The results are outlined in the report below.
>
> ———————————————-
> Campaign: ‘PPS Boomershoot,’ Ad Group: ‘PPS Boomershoot’
> ———————————————-
>
> KEYWORD(S): 50 cal sniper rifle, 50 caliber sniper rifle, accurate
> rifle, competition rifle, high power rifle, long range rifle, precision
> rifle, rifle event, rifle range, sniper rifle, tactical rifle
>
> Action taken: Disapproved
> Issue(s): Unacceptable content as keyword
> ~~~~~~~~~
>
> SUGGESTIONS:
> -> Keywords: Google policy does not permit the advertisement
> of “firearms and ammunition”. This content is not permitted as ad text
> or keywords. We have therefore disabled the keyword(s) listed above.
>
>
>
>
> ———————
> Please read below for definitions of the issues I found:
>
> Unacceptable content as keyword: In keeping with Google policy, we do
> not permit advertisers to use certain content as keywords for their
> Google AdWords campaigns. Google believes strongly in freedom of
> expression and therefore offers broad access to content across the web
> without censoring search results. Please note that the decisions we make
> concerning advertising in no way affect the search results we deliver.
>
>
> ———————
>
> If a keyword has been disapproved, your ad(s) will no longer be
> displayed for searches on this keyword.
>
> If an ad has been suspended, please edit it based on our suggestions,
> and then save your changes to automatically resubmit the ad for review.
> We’re confident that these changes will improve your ad performance and
> increase your return on investment.
>
> Our goal is to help you reach your target audience and maximize your
> investment. All ads are reviewed by AdWords Specialists to ensure that
> our advertisers create successful, high-impact advertising in keeping
> with our program’s Editorial Guidelines.
>
> For more information about our ad requirements, please read the AdWords
> Editorial Guidelines at:
> https://adwords.google.com/select/guidelines.html
>
> Please feel free to email us at adwords-support@google.com if you have
> any further questions or concerns. We look forward to providing you with
> the most effective advertising available.
>
> Sincerely,
>
> The Google AdWords Team

“Assault weapon” ban — they don’t have any clue what they are talking about.

If only the politicians and the reporters would be factual and accurate we could have a rational discussion on the topic.  But expecting people to be rational is irrational.

I’m probably jousting with windmills again.

—-

Subject: Re: Assault weapons ban back in play.
From: Joe Huffman
To: eepstein@sfchronicle.com
Date: Tue, February 10, 2004 0:17

I just read your February 9th article:

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2004/02/09/MNGH04S1DU1.DTL

I would like to point out some errors for your future reference:

1) There is no such thing as “automatic ammunition clips”.  You probably
are referring to a “magazine” which is commonly, and mistakenly, called a
clip.  The law does refer to a “detachable magazine”.  And this detachable
magazine is required for it to be an “assault weapon”, not one of two
features from the list.  See
http://usinfo.state.gov/usa/infousa/laws/majorlaw/h3355_en.htm for more
details.

2) You make reference “the banned AR-15 assault rifle”.  Again there is no
such thing.  An “assault rifle” is a fully automatic rifle.  The AR-15 is
a semi-automatic firearm.  See

http://www.boomershoot.org/general/ScaryWords.htm#AssaultWeapons or

http://www.quarry.nildram.co.uk/Assault.htm

for more details.

3) Feinstein and Schumer pick their words very carefully to avoid lying
but yet be deceptive.  The “guns recovered from crimes” is not the same as
what is implied in your article.  These are not guns that were used to
commit crimes because it includes guns that were recovered stolen
property.  The “assault weapons”, as defined by Federal law are used in a
such a small portion of crimes that any measurable reduction in crime by
their complete removal from the planet would be lost in the noise of year
to year fluctuations.  The politicians pushing the “assault weapon ban”
know this and are careful to avoid the topic.

See also: http://www.clintongunban.com/

Regards,

Joe Huffman
Senior Research Scientist II
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

NRA Certified Firearms Instructor

Boomershoot Event Director
—-
http://www.boomershoot.org
http://www.joehuffman.org

Google toolbar PageRank

Ry showed me some neat stuff about the Google toolbar.  I generally don’t install stuff like this, but this feature was cool enough to persuade me to do it on one computer.  The PageRank is Googles rating of the importance of the page on the web.  A page that has lots of links to it from “important” sites will have a high weight itself.  This PageRank is used in generating the sort order for web searches by Google.  Here are some numbers to give you an idea.  The top rank possible is 10.

http://www.google.com 10
http://www.msn.com 9
http://www.cnn.com 9
http://www.uidaho.edu 8
http://www.nra.org 7
http://www.jointogether.org/gv 6
http://www.bradycampaign.org 6
http://www.keepandbeararms.com 6
http://www.saf.org 6
http://www.ccrkba.org 6
http://www.moscow.com 6
http://www.orofino.com 5
http://www.sailorvsthemachine.com 5
http://www.modernballistics.com 5
http://www.boomershoot.org 4
http://www.lewistonpistol.org 4
http://www.joehuffman.org 3
http://www.whenprophecyfails.org 3
http://www.scottfamilyplace.org 3
http://www.palouseshooters.org 3
http://www.jameshs.org 2
http://www.kimhs.org 2
http://www.xeniahs.org 2
http://www.wontfix.com 0
http://www.uidaho.edu/~lisac 0 (new on the web, no links to it — until now)

Two clicks from my google Boomershoot ads

“Extreme sport” (and all the plurals etc of those words) has received 145 impressions and one click.  “Visit Idaho” got 14 impressions (a fair number of those were mine and Ry’s) and one click (neither was Ry or I).   Neither of the click resulted in them going past the first page they received.

$5.15 spent so far.    No big loss but no return on it either.

The hits from Kim du Toit have trickled off, three on Thursday, three on Friday, and one today (all Universal time, so today is over).  Shotgun news is still going strong however.  10 on Thursday, five on Friday, and 13 today.  The average for all of this month is 10.3/day, so it’s essentially level.

Interesting times for this weekend

Barb’s brother and sister in-law (Dow and Katy) were supposed to come in from Chicago tonight. But poor weather back east is going to keep them out until tomorrow. Sister Susan from Sacramento was supposed to ride from Spokane here with them. So she is going to be stuck in Spokane until they get in about tomorrow noon. And we are supposed to get up to three inches of snow here.

Xenia called from school today and said she was sick. I picked her up and brought her home.  Said she is the Queen of Snot. Lots of sneezing. Hope we don’t all get it and give it to all our guests.

Boomershoot 2004 ads

Today I placed an ad on google for Boomershoot 2004.  I used some key words and phrases that didn’t show the event in the search listing.  It turns out virtually no one was advertising with these words and I was able to get very cheap rates for at or near the top of the listings.  It’s expected to only cost about $35/month for an estimated 25 clicks a day or so.  Shotgun news is costing me about $50/month and resulting in about 10 clicks per day.  In addition I only pay for actual clicks on google whereas I have to pay for the Shotgun news banner ad whether I get any clicks or not.  We’ll see if they will pay for themselves or not.  The web logs give me pretty good tracking information so I can see how well each of the “Ad Campaigns” do.  The National Rifleman classifed ad will come out soon too.  I really need to fill up the Boomershoot this year to pay for the new explosives magazine.

Gay marriage in MA is inevitable

Today it was reported in the Washington Post:

The highest court in Massachusetts declared today that the state legislature may not offer “civil union” instead of marriage for same-sex couples, in a ruling that guarantees that the first state-recognized same-sex marriages in U.S. history can take place beginning in mid-May.

As pointed out in the article this will be a big debate point in the coming election and cause further division in the politics of this nation.  But it is a major step forward for freedom.  The other states will have to deal with that pesky “full faith and credit“ clause in the constitution that says they must recognize the licenses of other states.  Which will bring up the issue of concealed carry licenses.  Lots of implications here.  Glad to see it.

Now if MA would just get rid of bunch of their draconian gun laws.  Why is it that people seem to only want one or two particular flavors of freedom at a time?  I can’t help but think that people don’t want freedom at all, or at least they only want it for themselves and not everyone else.

Boomershoot 2004 entries from PA and TX

I got a call this morning from someone in Pennsylvania.  They were about to make their airplane reservations for Boomershoot 2004 and wanted to make sure there was still openings for the event.  I told him yes, there shouldn’t be a problem if it gets here the next week or so.  Pennsylvania!  First time for that state to be represented.  Cool.

Entries are actually running a bit behind normal so I’m pleased to hear people are in the process of signing up even if I haven’t received the entries yet.  I got a couple emails this week saying “the check is in the mail” so that should help get me to the point where I can order the rest of the materials needed for this year’s event.

I got an email from someone suggesting the targets have various color stripes or other markings on them to aid in the spotter/shooter dialog.  Good suggestion.  We knew it was a problem and planned to put up colored or marked stakes of some sort in the target area to use as landmarks.  But this would be even further help.

Kim du Toit put a link on his blog to http://www.boomershoot.org and doubled the number of page views overnight.  A couple of other blogs put up links as well, apparently after reading Kim’s post.  See http://web.tampabay.rr.com/coastwatcher/ for example.  I am very pleased.  Thank you Kim.  You will be our first representative from Texas.  And it was most pleasant listening to your South African accent when we talked on the phone.  I’m looking forward to seeing you and your family in May.

The U.K. is slip-sliding away.

From the BBC News — Blunkett plans tougher terror law

Home Secretary David Blunkett wants new anti-terrorism laws to make it easier to convict British terror suspects.  He has discussed lowering the standard of proof required by a court and introducing more pre-emptive action.

Just a couple of steps further.  They already given up the right to be confronted with charges and a speedy trial.  From the same article:

The Anti-terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001 allows foreigners who are suspected international terrorists to be detained indefinitely without charge or trial in the event their lives would be in danger if they were dported.

Britain is holding 14 foreign terror suspects under this law, based on evidence which is tested in secret.

They are planning for secret trials and inability to confront your accusors, again from the same article:

Evidence in the new trials would be kept secret from the defendants to protect MI5, MI6 and GCHQ intelligence sources, Mr Blunkett said.

And they have already given up part of the right to remain silent, from the BBC guide to suspect rights

The previously important right of silence was amended by the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994. Courts can now draw conclusions from your silence…

And of course everyone knows they gave up their right to keep and bear arms years ago.  It’s likely that it won’t be long before they realize the right to keep and bear arms is what guarantees the preservation of other inalienable rights.  Now would be a good time to review The Road to Serfdom by F. A. Hayek again.  Hayek spells out why socialism is a slippery slope whose inevitable conclusion is the loss of economic and person freedom resulting in tyranny.  It’s not that the proponents of the socialist system were intending for that to happen, but that it is a necessary conclusion of it’s implementation.  And that the good intentioned, probably trustworthy, early promoters, will be pushed out by those who crave the power and will abuse it.  It’s excellent reading material.