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Ye Olde Libertarian Saturday
Author: TriSec    Date: 05/17/2008 10:40:41

Good Morning!

By now you must know where I'm headed if the blog is posted at this hour on a Saturday.
The separation of individual blood components is done with a specialized centrifuge (see apheresis). The earliest manual forms of plateletpheresis are done by the separation of platelets from multiple bags of whole blood collected from donors or blood sellers. Since each blood bag (usually 250 ml or 500 ml) contains a relatively small number of platelets, it can take as many as a dozen blood bags (usually from 5 to 10 bags, depending on the size of the blood bags and each donor's platelet count) to accumulate a single unit of platelets (enough for one patient). This greatly increases the risks of the transfusion. Each unit of platelets separated from donated whole blood is called a "platelet concentrate".

Modern automatic plateletpheresis allows the blood donor to give a portion of his platelets, while keeping his or her red blood cells and at least a portion of blood plasma. Therefore, no more than three units of platelets are generally harvested in any one sitting from a donor. Most donors will donate a "single" or "double" unit, however the occurrence of "triples" has been increasing as more suitable donors are recruited.

Because platelets have a life-span of just 5 days, more platelet donors are always needed. Some centers are experimenting with 7 day platelets, but this requires additional testing and the lack of any preservative solutions means that the product is far more effective when fresh.

Even though red blood cells can also be collected in the process, most blood donation organizations do not do so because it takes much longer for the human body to replenish their loss. If the donor donates both red blood cells and platelets, it takes months, rather than days or weeks, before they are allowed to donate again (the guidelines regarding blood donation intervals are country-specific).

In most cases, blood plasma is returned to the donor as well. However, in locations that have plasma processing facilities, a part of the donor's plasma can also be collected in a separate blood bag (see plasmapheresis).

So why not give the Red Cross a call?

So...do you like paying taxes? [Hell ya! ]. Well hey, there's an easy solution. How about calling it something else?
Taxation is a dirty word, notes liberal writer Richard Conniff, in an April 15 commentary in the New York Times entitled "Abolish All 'Taxes'."

"The word 'tax' was never pretty," Conniff writes. "But it has lately become the ugliest word in the English language, right up there with its evil twin, 'death.'"

So far we heartily agree with Mr. Conniff. "Tax" is indeed an ugly word. That's because it describes an ugly and widely-hated practice -- the seizing of huge amounts of money at gunpoint from citizens, and the squandering of that money on endless ill-conceived and destructive government schemes.

So what's Conniff's solution? Cut back or eliminate taxes?

Unfortunately, no.

Conniff says we should just... change the word.

"I propose we stop saying 'taxes' and start calling them 'dues,'" he writes.

The word "dues" is far better, Conniff says, because it "is rooted in social obligation and duty" and thus won't be as unpopular.

Conniff acknowledges that implementing this linguistic presto-chango trick -- in which coercive taxation magically becomes the equivalent of voluntary membership in a club -- "will be an uphill struggle." He also acknowledges it is "sneaky" and arguably "Orwellian."

"But we need language to remind us that this is our government, and that we thrive because of the schools and transit systems and 10,000 other services that exist only because we have joined together."

Alas, Mr. Conniff doesn't specify exactly when we all "joined together" and agreed to fund these 10,000 "services."

He continues:

"'Taxation' is a throwback to the time when kings picked our pockets. 'Paying my dues,' a phrase popularized in the jazz music world, is language by which we can stand together as Americans."


We like what one of Conniff's liberal friends said to this proposal:

"I probably wouldn't like paying dues either," his friend said. "The government isn't my kind of club."

It's not ours, either. In truth, the government is a "club" only in the sense that it is frequently used to beat people over the head.

George Orwell understood perfectly what folks like Conniff are up to. Wrote Orwell: "Political language [is] designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable."

Sorry, Mr. Conniff. "Dues" is to "taxes" as "making love" is to "rape." To paraphrase Shakespeare, a tax by any other name would stink just as bad.

Indeed, the world "taxation" is itself a euphemism. A more accurate word would be "robbery."

Changing gears, many of us when pressed might just name Thomas Jefferson as our favorite Founding Father. [I'd choose Elbridge Gerry, but that's another story. ] So, how would you celebrate his birthday publicly, if given the chance? Would you have a big party and read the Declaration of Independence? Maybe travel to his elegant home at Monticello? Contribute to a cause dedicated to preserving individual liberties and freedom? Or maybe you'd just head to the Jefferson Memorial and dance around? Well.....maybe you'd better not do that last one.
Thomas Jefferson famously said, "Dancing is a healthy and elegant exercise."

Thus it seemed appropriate that a small group of young libertarians decided to celebrate Jefferson's April 13 birthday with a ten-minute "silent dance" at the outdoor Jefferson Memorial in Washington, DC.

The Jefferson Memorial is a large open-air monument, open to the public 24 hours a day.

The twenty or so libertarians met at the Memorial near midnight, a time chosen so as not to interfere with the constant flow of visitors during daytime hours. Also in order not to disturb any visitors, no audible music was played; instead, they used iPods and headphones.

This was in no way a demonstration or any attempt to provoke a confrontation, according to organizers. It was just light-hearted, spontaneous, kind of geeky fun. A videotape confirms the group was silent and non-disruptive, dancing gently; indeed, the busloads of school kids who daily visit the monument are far louder and more disruptive. There were only a few other people at the monument besides the small group of libertarians, and none were disturbed. The group broke no laws.

Still, after just a few minutes, the National Park Police ordered the dancers to leave, using abusive and threatening language. Brooke Oberwetter, a woman in her mid-twenties, was handcuffed and arrested when she simply asked why they were being expelled. The police refused to answer her question. She was later charged with "interfering with an agency function" and released after five hours. She now faces a federal trial.

The arrest has drawn international attention. Writing in TheAtlantic.com, Megan McArdle notes: "As a resident of DC, I'm certainly overjoyed to hear that violent crime has fallen to a level where we can spare valuable police resources to fight the silent scourge of ... dancing. Now that we have no more murders or muggings, it seems to me that we should also be looking at newsboys who smoke, women who attend the theater, and of course, the iniquitous habit of playing cards on the Sabbath."

In a time of war and severe attacks on fundamental civil liberties, this may seem a trivial matter. But all across America, one hears more and more stories about heavy-handed arbitrary government law enforcement tactics, in schools, workplaces, and public places. Many fear America is rapidly becoming a very different place than "the land of the free." That Americans are being conditioned to blindly obey state authority without question.

We have a pretty good idea what Jefferson would have thought about this affair. After all, he said: "Rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others. I do not add 'within the limits of the law,' because law is often but the tyrant's will, and always so when it violates the right of an individual."

We'll wrap up this morning with the wit and wisdom of Presidential Candidate Dr. Mary Ruwart in our long-running feature, "Why aren't YOU a Libertarian?"
QUESTION: I agree with a lot of things libertarians believe. However, I can't name one person that I know, or know of, who is a libertarian or a Libertarian Party member. And I never hear libertarian political candidates. Why is that? Perhaps libertarians tend to speak only to themselves, and seldom enter the public debates in politics?

MY SHORT ANSWER: If you aren't aware of libertarians among your acquaintances, perhaps you don't vocalize your support of libertarianism in your own circles of influence. I find that mentioning my political beliefs often elicit comments such as "Libertarians have a lot of good ideas!" or "I'm a libertarian too!"

Of course, if you attend local Libertarian Party meetings, or Ron Paul meet-ups, or meetings of other libertarian groups, you can get to know quite a few libertarians in your community, quickly.

Regarding the Libertarian Party, if you visit one of their meetings you'll quickly learn that Libertarians are forced to spend about 90% of their financial and activist resources just to stay on the ballot, thanks to outrageously discriminatory laws passed by the two older parties. Each state legislature, consisting of Democrats and Republicans, erect huge barriers for new parties so their candidates won't have a genuine opportunity to influence public opinion.

Even when libertarian candidates of any party manage to get through the ballot hurdles and other obstacles, they generally find their comments are largely ignored by the media, which seems to find it hard to think of politics outside the familiar "Democrat versus Republican" or "liberal versus conservative" model -- an inaccurate model which leaves libertarians and Libertarians out entirely. (The Advocates for Self-Government's famous World's Smallest Political Quiz is helping people to see through the fallacy of this limited view.)

This year, Republican libertarian presidential candidate Ron Paul -- despite huge grassroots support -- never received anywhere close to the publicity he should have received for his pathbreaking campaign. Similarly, Libertarian Party presidential candidates are routinely excluded from the presidential debates, which in the past have been controlled by, you guessed it, the leadership of the Republican and Democratic parties.

In short, libertarian candidates and libertarian activists *do* speak out on the major issues of the day, and offer innovative and viable solutions -- but often aren't heard because the "gatekeepers" are difficult to get by.

Now for some good news! A lot of this is changing, and changing fast. Thanks to the hard work of libertarian educational organizations like the Advocates for Self-Government, the public and the media are learning that there is more to politics than left and right. The Quiz, for example, is in the online supplementary material of a dozen textbooks. So today's students are learning about libertarianism in their classrooms -- thanks to the Advocates!

The Internet has dramatically decentralized political campaigns and allows libertarians to finally bypass the gatekeepers and reach the public themselves with their ideas and candidacies. Ron Paul's startling grassroots campaign is just the first sign of great things to come, I think.

According to pollsters like Gallup and Rasmussen, there are more libertarians and libertarian-leaning Americans than ever before -- about 10-20% of the population, according to many researchers. You can learn more about that here: http://www.cato.org/pub_display.php?pub_id=6715

Another gauge of growing support for libertarian ideas is the number of celebrities and prominent people who now proudly call themselves libertarians. A few decades, there were almost none. Now there are hundreds. The Advocates has a long list of them, complete with biographies and quotes, here: http://www.theadvocates.org/celebrities.html

I suggest you share your passion about political issues with those around you. There are more libertarians and libertarian-leaning individuals than ever before, and more people are open to our ideas than ever before. It's a great time to be a libertarian, and to meet other libertarians. Once you speak up, you may find they're all around you!

Ah, and whether or not you agree with the Libertarian Party....the sentiment is the same. Get out there, talk to people, volunteer! You'll find plenty of people out there that believe the same thing you do....all you need to do is ask. :peace:

66 comments (Latest Comment: 05/18/2008 12:06:33 by Random)
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