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Gun Control to go before US Supreme Court

June 25th, 2008

The BBC has an article regarding the gun control case to be presented to the US Supreme Court. The case is focused on a DC security agent that wants to carry a gun at home, with his argument that if its ok to carry at work, why not at home? The pro gun-control advocates (read crazies) think there is no reason to carry a gun in urban DC. The pro gun-rights advocates (read libertarians) know not only the true point of the 2nd amendment, but also the inverse relationship between gun rights and violent crimes.

The 2nd amendment exists only to prevent a repressive regime from using deadly force against its populace. If the population is equally armed as the Armed forces, then there is a 10:1 ratio between the general population and the repressive regime’s army.

Additionally, as gun rights are allowed (that sounds so ignorant), John Lott has shown us that violent crimes go down. Who (robs|murders|rapes) a person carrying a Beretta on their hip? Who enters a building to mass murder when the entire building is packing heat? That mass murder gets nowhere fast.

Day Care at High School?

June 25th, 2008

The Boston Herald has a story on the alleged pregnancy pact in Boston. The thing that bothers me the most is the day care center on site. Seriously? Boston tax dollars spent on day care for high schoolers? That scares me.

Anti Trust – Taking Profitable Companies’ money and Giving it to Losing Companies since 1933

June 25th, 2008

The New York Times has an article describing the anti-trust lawsuit between Mastercard and American Express. Mastercard was found to be too successful on the order of $1.8 billion. Thats right. Mastercard was too good at what it was doing for its consumers, providing low rates to use its network to vendors like restaurants and merchants, and pairing well with banks to offer low interest rates. On the other hand, American Express offers high rates of use and doesn’t pair with any bank outside of itself, and is losing money hand over fist. Thanks for redistributing wealth from a company that earned it to a company to dumb to read the writing on the wall.

If you know any merchants accepting credit cards, you may know why American Express is not accepted everywhere like Visa and Mastercard. Now, Mastercard, responsible to their share holders, must make up that government imposed loss. Can anyone guess how? Can anyone guess how long American Express will last with the majority of its profits coming from anti-trust lawsuits?

From the article:

The announcement early Wednesday comes more than three years after the Supreme Court ruled that Visa and MasterCard had violated antitrust rules by barring their member banks from offering credit cards that could be used on rival payment networks.

If those member banks wanted to use American Express or Discover networks, they were welcome to walk away from their Visa and Mastercard accounts. Why do you think they did not? Because they are better networks, more widely accepted due to Visa and Mastercards merchant rates. Instead, we allow our government to push around the successful companies, the companies that will pull our economy out of the gutter (not the US government), and hand over their hard earned profits to companies that only stay in business by robbing Peter to pay Paul.

Florida to buy chunk of Everglades from sugar firm

June 24th, 2008

Reuters has an article discussing how the State of Florida is buying a portion of the Everglades from a private sugar cane company. To summarize, the people of Florida are being held at gun point to buy land from a local, long time business that they, themselves are unwilling to buy themselves. Don’t believe me? Ask a Florida citizen to not pay taxes… who will come to their door, armed, demanding payment or jail time? The tax man. If this was such a big deal to the masses, then why did they not donate money to an Everglades Organization to buy the land from the company to preserve far better than any government run shenanigans? Why do environmentalists insist we all buy land to preserve it for their interests? It has been shown time and again that private property is a far better way to perserve land than some government bureaucrat’s pet project. The worst part is the Florida government does not have $1.75 billion to pay for the land, so they are borrowing it in the form of state bonds? So, tax payers are not only having to buy land they do not necessarily want, they must also pay the financing fees to boot! That stings!

Don’t forget that there exists a sugar import restriction in the United States. Sugar’s current price is artifically high because of import tariffs. Thats why high fructose corn syrup is used to sweeten goods like soda and candy. Now, with one of the country’s largest sugar cane producers closing shop, how will that affect the US sugar market? I bet corn growers are drooling over this…

US Supreme Court To Hear AT&T Access Fee Appeal

June 24th, 2008

InformationWeek has an article regarding AT&T’s anti-trust lawsuit.  The idea of anti-trust laws date back to Andrew Carnegie and his steel empire. However, just because they are old, does not make them any more realistic or better for consumers. From the article,

“The U.S. Supreme Court has decided to hear an antitrust case involving AT&T and Internet service providers, which are protesting that AT&T’s access fees are too high.”

Too high? Your employer is suing you because it thinks your wage is too high. That is ridiculous. If AT&T wants to charge “high” fees for others to use their equipment, then so be it. If it is too high and you think you have a sound business plan, obtain a loan and build your own hardware. Charge lower rates than AT&T and gain all of their customers. Thats how the free market works. If AT&T’s prices get too high, customers will switch to cable-based phones and internet, or satellite, or none. The internet and phone service are not required to survive, although they make survival fun. The entire idea of anti-trust laws are ridiculous. IF you can’t hack it in the business, get out. We operate in a Profit and Loss system. If you can’t take the loss, get out.

Lets recall the entire purpose of the US Supreme Court is to decide if laws or behavoirs are unconstitutional. If you can show me the anti-trust clause in the US Constitution, then lets invoke jury nullification because this is ridiculous.

Book Review – The Revolution, A Manifesto

June 23rd, 2008

The Revolution – A Manifesto, by Ron Paul was, bar far the best book I have read since I read Unintended Consequences. It outlines in detail the problems with our bloated, and unconstitutional, federal government. It describes how our foreign policy, monetary policy, and domestic policy are all intertwined and are easily analogous to a house of cards. In the book, Dr. Ron Paul describes the true root problems of the debacle which is our current federal government, as well as how this house of cards will either collapse, as on its current course, or how we as a people can dismantle it. The book is worth its weight in gold (pun intended) and every person, liberal or conservative, adult or child, should read the plainly obvious future of our country. Buy the book! Buy two, so you can share it with your neighbor.

The revolution has begun!

Movie Review – Hotel Rwanda

June 23rd, 2008

I finally was able to watch the movie, Hotel Rwanda, this weekend. I have seen the documentary footage a year ago. Overall, the film was very well done. It had a great plot, plausible characters, and a strong tie to politics and freedoms. I found the movie thought provoking especially in terms of international interventionalism, liberties, and human rights. For those who don’t know the term, international interventionalism, here is a brief summary.

International interventionalism describes how countries such as the United States intervene and meddle in the affairs of other countries. For example, we intervened in Iraq due to the bogus reason of Weapons of Mass Destruction. The United States attempted to intervene in Somalia in the 1990′s. The United States spends billions of dollars intervening in other countries every year. This intervening rarely helps the victim country and typically hurts it in several ways. In typical areas of intervention there is a dispute between two groups of people. The interventionalist picks a side and helps that side smash the other via propaganda, guns, and other not so savory methods like torture. Well, now that smashed side is very angry that some foreigner came into their land and killed their people. Imagine of the UN came into the United States and started killing our protesting citizens. How many of them would get very angry, leading to their own defense via terrorism (Remember, terrorism is only terrorism from one point of view. From another, it is patriotism).

Well, in Rwanda, Belgium was the colonial leader who had selected the minority Tutsi race of people to lead the country while under Belgium rule. A colony is as interventionalist as you can get. Furthermore, they split the nation via an ethnic boundary… bad idea. Well, when Belgium left, the majority Hutu race gained control. Now… there is a majority in control that had been supressed for many years. Can anyone guess what happens? One part Hatred and one part propaganda mix to create genocide. It did in Rwanda, it did in Nazi Germany, it did in China. The general rule of thumb is that interventionalism kills people. Now back to the movie.

Now, the question is, what could the nation of Rwanda done to prevent this type of insanity. If we look to our country, there are ten things written down that were intended to prevent this type of atrocity. You may remember the Bill of Rights. Let’s closely examine the second amendment.

A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.

If every household had several militia-caliber weapons, how would had the outcome changed?

There is a part of the movie where Don Cheagle’s character, Paul, says to the army officer, I don’t use guns. I found that profoundly foolish in a time when owning gun meant surviving. By saying I refuse to protect myself, you are saying I insist someone must do it for me. He insisted that the UN and the corrupt police protect him. Well, the UN pulled out what little efforts were there. And the corrupt police general lost interest in the money Paul was offering. It would had been easier, cheaper, and more effective to protect theirselves. Unfortunately, the Tutsi race paid a hefty price for their lack of armament.

The movie was done very well. I watched it as my young son slept in my arms and I thought about what I would do when that event transpires in the United States. What would you do?

FBI arrests 406 for mortgage fraud

June 19th, 2008

The BBC has an article regarding how the FBI has arrested 406 individuals with whom are suspected to have committed mortgage fraud. While I agree that lying to customers is wrong and should be punished at a civil, potentially criminal level, I disagree with the final quote of the article.

“Mortgage fraud and related securities fraud pose a significant threat to our economy, to the stability of our nation’s housing market and to the peace of mind to millions of Americans,” said Deputy Attorney General Mark Filip.

Mortgage fraud does not pose a significant threat to our economy. The Federal Reserve System is a significant threat. It caused the housing boom, and subsequently, caused the housing collapse. By dropping the interest rate so low, the Fed spurred nonsustainable growth in the housing (and investment) market. Everyone saw housing as a great investment, because it was a great investment. Housing Demand shot up because the supply of money shot up. Then, once they realized their mistake, they jerked the interest rate up. Well, now all of those great investments are no longer great investments. Some people used mortgages that make strong business sense to use if there is significant growth in the housing market, like there was. Well, those tools really hurt their owners once the Fed starts raising interest rates dramatically.  Well, 3-4 years later, after an interest rate roller coaster ride, we are left with a housing market collapse, people blaming mortgage lenders for their own choices (read mistakes) and bureaucrats trying to pin the whole thing on a scape goat (read mortgage lenders).

To summarize, the Fed caused the housing boom. The Fed caused the housing collapse. Having the money supply controlled by bureaucrats is a destiny of failure and inflation. Will we learn? Probably not, unless all 300 million Americans read (and agree with) this blog, which we know won’t happen.

McCain Sets Goal of 45 New Nuclear Reactors by 2030

June 19th, 2008

The New York Times has an article describing John McCain’s Energy Policy. He stated he wants 45 new nuclear power plants built by 2030. First a little history on nuclear energy. Nuclear energy is the safest, cheapest way to power this country. It is cleaner than coal, gas, and oil. It is cheaper than solar and wind. It is more dependable than all three. And it is illegal to construct a nuclear power plant becuase the United States government won’t grant you permits to build one even if you wanted to finance it your self.

The fact that McCain supports nuclear energy is very clear. The problem is how he wants to pay for it. If some company out there wants to build a nuclear facility, and is willing to finance that structure, fantastic, grant the paperwork immediately. However, if no one is willing to do it without government subsidies, then too bad.  The problem with nuclear is the damn hippies are against it, 100% no discussion. Even if McCain was able to grant permits to companies willing to pay for their own power plant, they are unwilling because construction takes longer than four years. Who knows who will take the helm after McCain. A left wing tree hugger (I like my trees too, only ones on private property, but that is a whole other discussion)? That is a very expensive slippery slope.

High-Achieving Students in the Era of No Child Left Behind

June 19th, 2008

The Thomas B. Fordham Institute publisehd some news today regarding the performance of children in the era of the No Child Left Behind Act. Essentially, high performing students (gifted in my day) are not as high performing as before. They speculate it is due to the amount of effort involved in educating low performing students (dumb in my day). It may be a surprise to you that if teachers are focusing on the future ditch diggers and lanscapers, they are neglecting the future doctors, engineers, and top businessmen. The phrase, “only as strong as the weakest link” comes to mind.

Its too bad we don’t have a mechanism to take our high performing students out of places that do not put forth the proper effort into educating tomorrow’s leaders. But wait, wouldn’t vouchers address that? Our economy has been based on specialization for 230 years. By allowing schools to specialize in teaching certain demographics, couldn’t schools specialize on teaching gifted students or other types?

Now, I know what it takes to run a proper DOE. I also know the extreme difficulty (if not impossibility) of running a proper DOE and establishing causality (A caused B, i.e. No Child Left Behind caused gifted kids to be dumb) and the paper states that their evidence did not demonstrate causality, just a correlation. This is an important fact to know and understand. I will close with the following quote.

The national survey findings show that most teachers, at this point in our nation’s history, feel pressure to focus on their lowest-achieving students. Whether that’s because of NCLB we do not know (though teachers are certainly willing to blame the federal law). What’s perhaps most
interesting about the teachers’ responses, however, is how committed they are to the principle that all students (regardless of performance level) deserve their fair share of attention and challenges. Were Congress to accept teachers’ views about what it means to create a “just” education system—i.e., one that challenges all students to fulfill their potential, rather than just focus on raising the performance of students who have been “left behind”—then the next version of NCLB would be dramatically different than today’s.