Do conservatives hate the poor?

As the welfare roles expand to cover more than 100 million Americans and Moody’s contemplates downgrading America’s credit, the debate over what the government can and should do about an expanding underclass More »

When wealth is transferred, not created, only Washington wins

In America today, the best way to get rich is to masquerade as a “public servant,” deceive the people with promises you’ll never fulfill, and when anyone objects, condemn them as a More »

Screaming “Racism” in a Crowded Nation

The other day the Wolf Report’s very own Aaron came to me with this story.  Apparently the intelligentsia over at New York magazine claims the “You didn’t build that” controversy is mired More »

“End the Fed” giving way to “Internet Freedom?”

Some interesting developments in the Ron Paul camp this week. The Pauls issued a document called “The Technology Revolution: A Campaign for Liberty Manifesto” and are saying that the cause of “Internet More »

A government of laws, not of men

Critical to the theory and legitimacy of modern democratic government is the idea that no one is above the law. Thomas Paine wrote in his pamphlet Common Sense: “In America, the law More »

IN CONGRESS, JULY 4, 1776 The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America

IN CONGRESS, JULY 4, 1776 The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America hen in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have More »

Bill Maher: Chilling Speech

I’ve noticed that in the past four or five years there has been a chilling drumbeat coming from certain quarters of our political life.  It is a drumbeat so loud that it More »

Toure: Serial Enemy of Liberty

Toure, who has made a career as a race hustler (the man can find racism in just about anything), is at it again: “Many Americans say they’re unhappy about the health care More »

Police Now Tracking Law Abiding Citizens Who Watch the Watchers.

A Harlem couple has been branded as “professional agitators” by the NYPD.  From the looks of the “DNAInfo” website and the mugshots of Christina Gonzalez and Matthew Swaye, it’s safe to say More »

The “Image Is Everything” White House Strikes Again

I had planned to make my first post here about the Affordable Healthcare Act.  The legal monstrosity recently deemed ‘constitutional’, has all the underpinnings of a liberty crushing piece of big government More »

Banning guns makes the problem worse

As the initial shock over James Holmes’ midnight massacre subsides, the inevitable chorus of demands for tougher gun control laws is on the rise. But outrage is not a rational argument and the fact that this tragedy occurred changes nothing about the rational, evidence-based case for the private ownership and concealed carry of firearms.

Let’s keep the following facts in mind before we go demanding changes to the law:

  • We have known for at least 16 years (since John R. Lott’s 1996 study) been that taking guns out of the hands of lawful owners leads to more assault. Florida legalized concealed carry in 1997 and the murder rate declined 39% over the next 10 years because criminals were afraid that their marks might be armed.
  • Many things are correlated to homicide rate, but the strictness of a country’s gun control laws aren’t among them — income inequality, poor lack of medical care, and a large trade in illegal drugs (Fajnzylber et al, 2002) are. Gun control is a sideshow to the real problems that cause America’s problem with violent crime.
  • If you think that a willing killer is going to be deterred because he has to buy a gun from his weed dealer instead of from Walmart… well, no study to cite here, you’re just out of your mind, because even a stoner is willing to buy from that guy. In a country with 88 guns per 100 people, gun control laws will leave firearms in the hands of all the wrong people.

This should be required reading for any gun-hating, wannabe do-gooders!

 

Fantasy vs. Reality

I hate to move too far off topic, but I saw something interesting today.

 

Richard Nixon’s 1968 RNC Acceptance Speech

vs.

Oliver Stone’s Sinister Fantasy Version of Richard Nixon’s 1968 RNC Acceptance Speech

 

There’s not too much commentary to give on this, it’s just interesting to see how a harmless and fairly normal/patriotic speech given by a politician can be recreated and dramatized to make him look like a sinister scheme.  Sure President Nixon will go down in history with mixed results, but it’s very interesting to see the methods that can be used to alter the context of a speech without altering the content.

Remember that with great liberty, like taking creative license with history, comes great responsibility.  Don’t treat Oliver Stone’s political movies as history lessons (just Google his butchering of the JFK assassination), save it for the professionals.

Law of the Sea, Sunk for now.

When Sen. John Kerry’s spokesmouth announces that “rock-ribbed Republicans” support the same idea as John Kerry – you should be highly suspicious. In this case, “it” is the Law Of the Sea Treaty (“LOST”), the good news is it sounds like it is dead… for now.  The Chamber of Commerce, hardly a “freedom loving institution” is all for this massive expansion of tyranny, as is Kerry and the global corporatist movement. Somehow, it has been stalled since Reagan was president — and we are lucky enough to have it stalled again for another year.

The story of this treaty, and why it is so insidious, is that it takes the last frontier on earth – the seas beyond the coastal shelf – currently known as “International Waters” and assigns their ownership to… you guessed it, the UN. Furthermore, what that would do is allow the UN to collect revenue and taxes (for the first time in its history) independently of its own members’ contributions (which are mostly US and Europe dues anyway). If that doesn’t chill your spine, you are probably took a wrong turn on the internet before you got here.  The UN would be able to collect royalties on all kinds of products of the sea, including oil and gas. If you thought the Saudi princes were extravagant with their oil money, just wait until the UN gets its hands on all that cash.

This treaty comes up at least once every presidential term, and sometimes once each congress, and so far we’ve avoided signing it. Eventually it will get passed, just like a massive healthcare takeover, or eminent domain, or a massive expansion of the power of the government to tax, our liberties seem to be eroding, both fast and slow, every day. But at least this time, the tide has been stemmed. I’ll drink to that!

Numbers Speak Louder Than Words

Conn Carrol, over at The Washington Examiner, has posted a commentary deriding the California Democratic Party’s governance of the Golden State.  The numbers he presents are frightening.

“Democrats have also enjoyed complete control of the state legislature since 1997. And they have governed exactly the way you’d expect Democrats to govern….”

“Spending has more than doubled, from $45.4 billion in 1996 to more than $92.5 billion today. Income, sales and car taxes have all been hiked. As a result, California has the most progressive income tax system in the nation, with seven income tax brackets, and the second-highest top marginal rate.”

“Even with all those tax hikes, California’s 2012 budget is still $15.7 billion in the red. So what does Gov. Jerry Brown want to do? Raise taxes again, of course. He has proposed a ballot initiative that would: 1) raise sales taxes on everyone and 2) raise incomes taxes on those making more than $250,000 a year (like Obama has proposed to do nationally). But even this $8.5 billion tax hike would still leave the state $7.5 billion short. Where will California get that money? Who knows?”

“At 10.8 percent, California has the third-highest unemployment rate in the country. There are fewer private-sector jobs in the state today, 11.9 million, then there were in 2000, 12.2 million.”

The numbers Carrol rattle off are appalling and depressing for sure.  What it illustrates should send a shockwave across the other 49 states all the way to D.C.  Keynesian-Statist spending schemes aren’t just vice grips on economic liberty, they also bankrupt the treasury while providing little if any relief to the citizenry.

History has shown again and again, whether in the 1920s, 1960s, or 1980s/1990s that economic liberty leads to prosperity.  The other side of that coin, statism, has a history of poverty and economic collapse.  An extreme example can be found in the authoritarian 5 year plans in the Soviet Union and early Communist China or more subtle examples can be found in the soft tyrannies of statist European social democracies.  The message is clear, liberty leads to prosperity while statism leads to depression and stagnation.

 

 

The New York Times endorses slavery

In an opinion piece straight out of bizarro world, Thomas Ricks proposes we solve the “Children Question” by reinstating the draft and sending America’s lackadaisical youth off to war.

Ricks’ reasoning: if we’re going to wage wars in far-flung hellholes, every American family should have “skin in the game.” Maybe the thought here is that if enough teens die abroad, Americans will realize what a senseless waste our overseas operations have been? Is there really no better way to drive that point home than conscripting every American and making families pay an even higher blood price for the government’s folly than they already have?

Or maybe we won’t actually put them on the front lines; Ricks reasons that paying decent wages to career soldiers is so expensive that it’d be better to use 18 year olds and pay them low wages to perform menial tasks like painting and mowing the lawn at the Pentagon. In fact, nearly half the text of the article is devoted to his point about how cheap these draftees would be to employ. At this point you begin to wonder whether this unabashed statist really wants to send the kids off to war, or has merely seized upon a way to disguise slavery as patriotism — ask not what your country can do for you, but whether the generalissimo wants his car waxed today, right?

Once he’s done indulging in this totalitarian reverie, Ricks returns to his central thesis in the final paragraph, positing that perhaps if more American sons and daughters had been at risk, we wouldn’t have gone into Iraq. Yes, it always seems to come back to Iraq with the liberals, as if there has never been a greater mistake and never will be. Even if we become a nation that forces its youth to do menial labor for government bureaucrats for pennies. Unfortunately the central premise of his argument is that we can right a wrong by inflicting a far greater wrong upon even more people. I can think of no stupider solution and no greater affront to liberty.

Source: New York Times (seriously NYT, are you trolling us with this one?)

“End the Fed” giving way to “Internet Freedom?”

Some interesting developments in the Ron Paul camp this week. The Pauls issued a document called “The Technology Revolution: A Campaign for Liberty Manifesto” and are saying that the cause of “Internet Freedom” will displace their campaign to end the Federal Reserve as their top priority. Full Buzzfeed article

Among the arguments made by the manifesto, which is a quick read:

  1. Apple created 500,000 jobs in 5 years without any help from the government.
  2. Privately owned broadband infrastructure should not be regulated by “net neutrality.”
  3. Private sector data collection practices should not be scrutinized and limited by the government.

So, it is basically a statement that the government should not be regulating tech companies. Quoting Ludwig von Mises: “When government seeks to solve one problem, it creates two more.”

I was hoping the document would contain some discussion of how we should combat threats to liberty coming from Big Broadband, Big Tech and Big Data, but I was disappointed.

Paul insiders say that this will be the key issue Rand will connect with the Paul supporters on (to date, he’s had some trouble rallying support from his father’s base, especially since he endorsed Mitt Romney). But I doubt that defending the liberties of big corporations will appeal to their libertarian base. Most Ron Paul supporters and most young, tech-savvy people in general are at least as wary of tyranny coming from big corporations as they are of tyranny coming from government. I am not sure they have their priorities straight — I despise tyranny in any form but remember that the government can compel you at gunpoint and a private corporation cannot — but it remains to be seen whether Paul’s base will it this way.

Either way, the Pauls are at least partially right — if it gets used at all, government intervention should be the last tool used against threats posed to liberty by technology giants. Who is so naive as to believe that if we give the government the power to regulate and control the owners of the Internet’s infrastructure, it will not eventually seek to expand its power? When has the government ever voluntarily reduced its power to compel and regulate?

But I would like to see more discussion of what we can do to ensure equal, unlimited, and unfettered access to digital services. Ultimately the private sector is going to deliver services that reflect consumer demand, so if consumers don’t understand why their online rights are important, the private sector service won’t value those rights. If the Pauls want to appeal to techno-libertarians, they need to turn some attention toward educating consumers and finding solutions that increase individual rights on the Internet — lest we trade one set of masters for another.

Drive-by of the day

“Perhaps Holder can have his folks give loaded guns to 6-year-olds and see what happens. They could call it “Potty Trained and Curious.” Or they could send teenage boys to a retreat with Jerry Sandusky and call it “Baths and Bi-Curious.” The list is endless of what our government officials can spend our money on, for stupid studies they did not get to finish in college while pursuing their humanities majors, yet they cannot apply common sense to pro forma the outcome.”

Source: OC Register

 

Will the War on Drugs go out with a whimper?

James Higdon at the Daily Beast reports that Obama’s FY13 budget halves funding for the U. S. National Guard Counterdrug program, which flies helicopters over remote areas of the country in search of pot farms.

Now I’d rather see this program at 0% funding instead of 50%, because I couldn’t care less if someone wants to grow pot in the middle of nowhere, and I’d rather you buy it from an American instead of from violent Mexican cartels that post videos of chainsaw beheadings on the Internet as a reminder of how unstoppable your drug habit has made them. But I’ll take what I can get.

Still, I have to ask – why now Barack, only four months before the election? You had four years so why are you just now getting around to proposing we cut wasteful and counterproductive programs like this one?

The answer is that like all Republicrats, he knows that Americans want less government intrusion, he just doesn’t want to give it to us. Just like his reversal on gay marriage, this is a self-serving attempt to energize the liberal base before the election, and on the day after Election Day he’ll go right back to showering his banker friends with pork, declaring war on Iran, and letting the military detain American citizens without a trial.

But at least when you take a hit to forget the pain, you’ll be smoking American.

Arizonans To Vote On Initiative To Overrule Federal Actions

The Arizona Daily Sun is reporting of an initiative that would allow voters to overrule statist overreach by the federal government.

“The Arizona Constitution already says the federal Constitution ‘is the supreme law of the land.’ This measure, if approved in November, it would add language saying that federal document may not be violated by any government — including the federal government.

More to the point, it would allow Arizonans to reject any federal action that they determine violates the United States Constitution.'”

This would be huge.  Arizona seems to be a flashpoint in the war between statists and small government classical liberals.  Again and again the state of Arizona has attempted to defy a federal government it argues is not upholding federal law or constitutional mandate, whether on illegal immigration or the Affordable Healthcare Act.

Small government classical liberals like Thomas Jefferson often encouraged the practice of nullification, and the issue has largely remained dormant since the 1830s.  The results of this could mean 50 different states coming to several conclusions on the constitutionality of federal law.  What if statist-run states like California and New York abide by federal overreach while more conservative states like Alaska and Arizona declare such overreach as unconstitutional?

This is a can of worms, but any discussion of the unconstitutionality of the expanse of federal power is a discussion worth having.

Big Daddy Government Shuts Down Cigarette Rollers

Big Daddy knows what’s best for you.  Now I don’t smoke cigarettes, I don’t find them enjoyable and I know they’re poisonous.  However I do enjoy junk food and fast food, I find it enjoyable and I know…well they’re poisonous.  According to news reports, at midnight tonight a federal law will shut down “roll-your-own” cigarette operations nationwide.  The effects won’t be as massive as a federal crackdown on fast food or the entire tobacco industry would be, but no doubt jobs will be lost and customers will be angry.

Now what rolling your own cigarettes has to do with a highway bill is beyond me.  What does this have to do with transportation and roads?  Well nothing of course, but the federal government isn’t known for its richness of common sense.

I’m sure statists will declare that because tobacco comes mostly from the Carolinas and the south, it requires interstate commerce to get cigarettes to all 50 states. Thus the statist’s second favorite tool (first being the elastic clause), the Commerce Clause, will be invoked to allow the feds to regulate cigarette rollers in stores throughout the land.

Even if this travesty is somehow constitutional, is it right for the government to overreach like this?  Are we not tired of living in a country where the Environmental Protection Agency claims that ditches full of water on private property are “navigable waterways?”  Are we not sick of being told which light bulbs we must buy?  Are we not sick of the federal government telling us what kind of “low flow” toilets we have to buy?!

Federal overreach has been a growing problem in this country for the past half century, and it’s accelerated every time we have statists in elected positions.

In addition to our concerns about the Constitution being trampled on and civil rights violations by an increasingly powerful centralized government, expect to see more tales of extreme statist overreach.  Just pray you never have your property targeted by a federal bureaucracy!