Dec 18, 2012

Newtown, Connecticut: The Libertarian Party Gets It Right.

I was amazed, but the Libertarian National Committee issued a fantastic press release in reaction to the tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut last week:

For Immediate Release
Dec. 16, 2012

Families throughout the nation mourn the horrific deaths of 26 people, including 20 young children, killed Friday during a Newtown, Conn., mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

“It’s impossible to imagine the depths of despair and grief that the victims’ families are experiencing right now,” said Geoffrey J. Neale, Chair of the Libertarian National Committee. “Our hearts go out to every one of them.”

In the immediate aftermath of news surrounding the shootings, pundits and politicians called for new restrictions on firearm ownership, exactly the opposite of the approach needed to combat tragic gun violence in schools.

“We've created a 'gun-free zone,' a killing zone, for the sickest criminals on the face of the Earth," said R. Lee Wrights, vice-chair of the Libertarian Party. "We've given them an open killing field, and we've made the children of this country the victims."

Wrights pointed out that merely the knowledge that armed people will be present acts as a deterrent for would-be shooters.

"They're not going to walk into a police station, and why not? Because that's where the guns are," he said.

The Federal Gun Free Schools Zone Act prohibits carrying firearms on school grounds in most cases, effectively criminalizing the right to self-defense in places filled with the most vulnerable citizens. Without that federal prohibition, adults working at the school would have been free to defend themselves, very possibly saving the lives of many of the young children and adults who were slain in this horrific tragedy.

"We must stop blinding ourselves to the obvious: Most of these mass killings are happening at schools where self-defense is prohibited," said Carla Howell, executive director of the Libertarian Party. "Gun prohibition sets the stage for the slaughter of innocent children. We must repeal these anti-self-defense laws now to minimize the likelihood they will occur in the future and to the limit the damage done when they do."

Responsible gun owners can and do prevent mass shootings from occurring and escalating.
  • A 1997 high school shooting in Pearl, Miss., was halted by the school's vice principal after he retrieved the Colt .45 he kept in his truck.
  • A 1998 middle school shooting ended when a man living next door heard gunfire and apprehended the shooter with his shotgun.
  • A 2002 terrorist attack at an Israeli school was quickly stopped by an armed teacher and a school guard.
  • A 2002 law school shooting in Grundy, Va., came to an abrupt conclusion when students carrying firearms confronted the shooter.
  • A 2007 mall shooting in Ogden, Utah, ended when an armed off-duty police officer intervened.
  • A 2009 workplace shooting in Houston, Texas, was halted by two coworkers who carried concealed handguns.
  • A 2012 church shooting in Aurora, Colo., was stopped by a member of the congregation carrying a gun.
  • At the recent mall shooting in Portland, Ore., the gunman took his own life minutes after being confronted by a shopper carrying a concealed weapon.
For several years after the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, gun prohibitionists blocked pilots from carrying firearms. But after it became undeniable that guns are an essential line of defense against hijackers and other terrorists when the lives of innocent passengers are at stake, Congress finally passed legislation allowing it.

It's time to take the same approach with teachers, school administrators, and security guards, who should be allowed to carry the tools necessary to protect the students in their care. It's time to put an end to gun-free zones and make it much easier for responsible adults to arm, train, and protect themselves and the people they love from the violent criminals who seek to harm them.

"You can't depend on somebody else to take care of your own life for you," Wrights said. "It's too precious to put it into the hands of somebody else, particularly when the seconds count."

Dec 12, 2012

'Our Government-Created Financial Crisis' Goes Deeper, Yet.

Walter Williams wrote a good review of John Allison's new book on the roots of the financial crisis. You can read it here: Our Government-Created Financial Crisis | CNS News. My additional comments below are cross posted:

I have not read Mr Allison's Book yet, but I concluded that the predominant responsibility belonged to the Government back in 2008. There are several other events/facts that are rarely mentioned which really expand the evidence against Uncle Sam:
The ratings agencies that 'certified' the MBS', CDO's and CDS' that hid the true risk associated with the various debt instruments are a government-created cartel. Fitch, S&P and Moody's are the only SEC authorized rating agencies. Since they have no competition, is it at all surprising that the value and accuracy of their rating's are poor to say the least?
Second, the sheer existence of various government entities (Fannie, Freddie, FHA, VA, etc.) which underwrite mortgages has introduced significant "unseen" (per Bastiat and Hazlitt) moral-hazard without even considering the "seen" implications of the CRA.
Back in the 1950's and 1960's the vast majority of mortgages were privately held. When one wanted a mortgage one would go to a their local bank or S&L. That loan would in most cases be held by the same local financial institution for its lifetime. At that time the norm was 20% down-payment and a 30 year mortgage with a fixed or variable rate on the balance. When the local loan officer recommended approval of a loan, it was with the understanding that the risk associated remained with the local institution. Everything about the loan; the interest rate, the credit of the mortgagor, amount, etc., were determined based on risk.
Over the years since then, watching the government takeover of larger and larger portions of the mortgage market, we see the growth of mortgage brokers who did not hold the loan. They simply pass it on and make their living solely based on commission. Risk was no longer the primary driver. Now the qualification standards of the various government organizations were the main criteria of loan approval. The qualification standards in turn were primarily determined by politics. Countrywide's "Friends of Angelo" program; The CRA pressure on various lenders to increase approval rates; The political pressure brought by Clinton and the Bushs' on the various HUD Secretaries to increase the percentage of loans underwritten by the Government, etc., are just  symptoms of the moral hazard created by the simple existence of Fannie, Freddie and the rest.

Nov 2, 2012

What's Up With Progressives (And Other Socialists)?

I have finally come to understand why Progressives are so vituperative and malevolent: Reality simply does not function as they wish it would.

I know that would make me grumpy to say the least!

Nov 1, 2012

Sandy and Katrina: A Collectivist Response?

By Image ISS009E20440 was provided by the by the Earth Sciences and Image Analysis Laboratory, Johnson Space Center. [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
The whining I am hearing about the most recent storm in the Northeast reminds me of the response I witnessed to Katrina in 2005. They prompt me to ask: Why are these 'victims' waiting on  organizations to take care of them instead of getting prepared themselves beforehand? Did they not know that a 'bad' storm was coming? It seems hard to believe that they 'prepared' for the storm when "they arrive at a shelter without shoes or socks".

Here in Florida we face such storms multiple times a year. Although there are always a few people caught unprepared, the vast majority weather the storm quite adequately.We also have a generally high opinion of the various organizations that are kind enough to help out such as the Red Cross and the Salvation Army. (FEMA's historical role is that of a National Security organization, humanitarian assistance is relatively new, and simply adds another, highly politicized bureaucratic layer--often slowing the recovery process.) Apparently, here in Florida we still generally adhere to the philosophy that we are responsible for ourselves--both from a basic sense of self-respect as well as long experience of the severe limits on any organized help.

I can only guess that this radically different type of response to a similar crisis and identical organizations is the difference between the collectivist mindset and the individual responsibility mindset. When I hear of a hurricane headed our way, we don't even consider what FEMA or the Red Cross will be able to do for us; we start preparing. Do we have sufficient water, food, batteries, lamp oil, ammunition, clean clothes, plastic bags, charcoal, Sterno, etc. Are the cars full of gas? Do we need to refill our medications? In short, we do just about everything we can to survive without any external assistance.

I could be wrong, but just like Katrina, the people Sandy caught unprepared appear to have simply not prepared, and completely depend on the government and organizations like the Red Cross for their survival. They do not appear to be generally well-prepared, and are simply facing one-off situations: e.g., they did fill up the car with gas, make sure they had food, water, space blanket, flares, etc., in the trunk, but all was wasted when a wind-fallen tree crushed it. Instead, they did not personally prepare and expected the collective to care for them.


Apr 21, 2012

Write your Representative: Oppose HR-14 aka MAP-21

HR-14 titled "Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act," or "MAP 21," does at least two thing which are inimicable to a free society: Allows the IRS to administratively and unilaterally suspend a citizens passport and it creates a requirement for personal vehicles to be equipped wih ‘blackbox’ recorders by 2015. It has passed the Senate so Write your Representative immediately!

Mar 28, 2012

QUOTE OF THE DAY: Justice Scalia, "Can that possibly be the law?"

From today's Supreme Court oral argument on the Affordable Care Act regarding severability:
JUSTICE SCALIA: Mr. Kneedler, there are some provisions which nobody would have standing to challenge. If the provision is simply an expenditure of Federal money, it doesn't hurt anybody except the taxpayer, but the taxpayer doesn't have standing. That -- that just continues.

Even though it is -- it should -- it is so closely allied to what's been struck down that it ought to go as well. But nonetheless, that has to continue because there's nobody in the world that can challenge it.

Can that possibly be the law?

Unfortunately, Justice Scalia, under the current legal interpretation of "Standing," that is exactly what our law is today.

Feb 4, 2012

[Regulatory Tyranny: CRA 4 Telecoms] First free government cell phones, now free internet!

Feb 1, 2012

Jan 30, 2012

Jan 27, 2012

Jan 26, 2012

Jan 23, 2012

Jan 22, 2012

Jan 21, 2012

Jan 18, 2012

This Horror Story Shows How SOPA Would Be Bad News For Startups

This Horror Story Shows How SOPA Would Be Bad News For Startups

Iranian lawmaker says Obama proposed talks

Iranian lawmaker says Obama proposed talks

Press TV: Barak: Israeli attack on Iran 'far away'

Press TV: Barak: Israeli attack on Iran 'far away'

Iraq: Sunni-backed leader: Crisis tearing Iraq apart

Iraq: Sunni-backed leader: Crisis tearing Iraq apart

Jan 17, 2012

Jan 15, 2012

Press TV: Saudis hold protest rally in Awamiyah

Press TV: Saudis hold protest rally in Awamiyah

UK: Europe will adopt sanctions on Iranian oil

UK: Europe will adopt sanctions on Iranian oil

Iran warns Gulf Arabs on oil

Iran warns Gulf Arabs on oil

Jan 10, 2012

Jan 9, 2012

Jan 6, 2012