Saturday, October 22, 2011

Cain stumbling under glare of national spotlight - Yahoo! News

"Fresh" Pizza in TorontoImage by pbeens via Flickr
Cain stumbling under glare of national spotlight - Yahoo! News

Don't worry. A man running for president is only joking about killing people. ha ha. what a kidder.

Here's a clue about telling jokes, Mr. Cain. First, don't joke about death, especially the death of the downtrodden.

Second, if you are telling a joke, pay attention to whether people laugh or not. If not, let them know you were telling a joke.

Third, don't lie about your non-jokes way after the fact and expect me to believe you.

Here's to the Crazy Ones

A lot of people think that fans of liberty are a bit whacked.

There's nothing crazy about wanting people to interact with each other peacefully.

That's all liberty is.

The actually crazy ones are those who think only force can solve problems.  Lets hope they emerge from their psychosis soon.

Any truly great idea must struggle to gain acceptance.  There has never been a better time to return to the great ideas on which this country was founded.

Banking Isn't the Problem

Reaction to Irish banking and financial crises...Image via Wikipedia
There's nothing inherently faulty with people lending their money to others or with an intermediary taking part of the action for arranging things.

Most of the recent problems with banking have a different root cause, namely that the government relieves you of all responsibility for choosing wisely who you lend your money too.

Your savings are insured. But unlike rational insurance, risky banks are insured at the same cost as prudent banks. That doesn't exactly give banks useful feedback about the risks they are taking.

On top of that, the government also implicitly guarantees to these banks that they'll never let them go out of business. So they can take all kinds of risk and only suffer when they don't take enough high-paying risks.

And, over time, those in charge of this insurance take money for gradually loosening standards for what they insure. Yes, Congress is actually corrupt. Sorry to break it to you.

Oh, sure, Congress clamps down on the banks AFTER bad practices lead to disaster. But then, slowly and inexorably, time and lobbyist cash gradually get Congress to loosen standards.

The public, who didn't truly understand the causes of the previous disaster, has forgotten about what happened, the political pressure dissipates and Congress returns to subsidizing unreasonable risks.

But don't worry: you're insured. Unfortunately, unlike any other insurance you've ever bought, behind the scenes, the actual costs are being billed to you. You'll be forced to pay higher taxes in the future to clean up the very disaster the government supposedly protected you from.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Bill Clinton Misinterprets Constitution

One DollarImage via Wikipedia
Here's the article.

Clinton points to this clause in the Fourteenth Amendment: "the validity of the public debt of the United States ... shall not be questioned." as justification for ignoring the debt ceiling. But as I read it, its talking about the debt not being questioned, not new spending not being questioned. Default is not allowed constitutionally. Clearly, paying the interest on our debts SHOULD take precedence over new spending.

Paying the interest on the debt is not the same as paying for new spending. There is more than enough revenue to pay the interest. If Congress and the President followed the Constitution, there's no risk of default.

Of course, the actual language is about whether the US is on the hook for debts incurred by the Confederacy or any losses related to emancipating the slaves.

"Section 4. The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned. But neither the United States nor any State shall assume or pay any debt or obligation incurred in aid of insurrection or rebellion against the United States, or any claim for the loss or emancipation of any slave; but all such debts, obligations and claims shall be held illegal and void."

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Unintended Consequences

Graph demonstrating increases in United States...Image via Wikipedia
Another sad story.  An infant was shot and killed, this time in Silicon Valley.

Its unfortunate that those who report these sad stories seldom identify our drug policies as the root cause of a lot of the violence we see.

When alcohol was illegal during Prohibition, there was a great deal of violence associated with distribution of alcohol.  And it evaporated when prohibition was repealed.

If we simply allowed each neighborhood to decide for itself what drug use was allowed, drug sales would become a peaceful activity governed by the same laws as other industries.  And it would take place in limited areas, away from where people raise their kids.

And I think that's what people really want.  They don't need to control everybody's lives.  That's not possible under any system.  But it is possible to limit where it happens and greatly reduce the violence associated with it.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Are There Natural Human Rights? -

The New York Times has an interesting article on natural rights.

Every human naturally seeks to be free of the coercion of others. No reasonable person is going to give others the ability to coerce him. But cooperating together to prevent such coercion is reasonable. And necessary, because groups of humans attack and control other groups. And this is also true of animals.

Rights are simply a way of specifying what the limits and purpose of such cooperation should be.

And its clear that reasonable people, when aware of all that the state is capable of, would only give it power to protect the interests of those agreeing to its establishment.

Everything beyond that is simply an attempt to hijack the state for one's own purposes, usually to be able to obtain what belongs to others or to control them in other ways.

People give the state the power that it has for one purpose: to prevent coercion. There really is no consent for everything else. If people were presented a checklist with everything the state could potentially do, all reasonable people would (naturally) check the "Protect me from coercion of others and do it for much less than it would cost me to do it myself" checkbox and not check "Do whatever you think is best" checkbox.

To submit yourself to a security arrangement does not mean you submit yourself to whatever else other people decide.

No reasonable person would have agreed at the establishment of the state that it should have unlimited power, unless, of course, he planned on being the beneficiary. So either the state, in its ultimate form, is not mutually agreed upon. Or the majority have been fooled. Or gradually, over time, the "social contract" has been eroded and twisted into something that no reasonable person would have agreed to and has no choice but to suffer through.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Joplin Needs Your Help

Text REDCROSS to 90999 to Give $10.  More details here.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Federal Debt Grew by $54.1 Billion During Fight to Cut $38.5 Billion - Politics - The Atlantic Wire

sow and pigletsImage by micmol  via Flickr
Federal Debt Grew by $54.1 Billion During Fight to Cut $38.5 Billion - Politics - The Atlantic Wire:

"It took eight, long days for the White House and Congress to agree on $38.5 billion in spending cuts for the rest of fiscal year 2011. In that short period of time, the federal debt increased by $54.1 billion to a total of $14.2642 trillion, according to the Bureau of the Public Debt."

We need a constitutional amendment that requires a balanced budget, but allows money to be borrowed as long as a tax is immediately instituted that pays it off in 10 years at a constant rate.

So if we borrowed $1 trillion at 5% interest, we'd need additional taxes of $10.6 billion every month for 10 years.

The only way to know if the people are willing to borrow is to see if they are willing to pay it back.

Monday, March 14, 2011

We Are Thinking of You, Japan

Craftsman (職人)Image by subtle_3106 via Flickr
Have you ever made something good in the hopes that it might make a difference in some one else's life?

I was thinking of this as I drove home in my Toyota, a car that has served me well for the last decade.  I thought of the workers and the engineers who put extra effort into something so things might be a bit easier for me.

And now, in Japan's hour of need, I just wanted to say thanks to all of those people in that very great nation.  I know you will pull through and put everything back together, because that is what you have always done.

I hope that if you feel alone in your struggle that we are thinking of you and hopefully the help we send will make your recovery a little bit easier.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Why Collectivism Can't Learn

Deaf Government AreaImage by Editor B via Flickr
When individuals make mistakes, they can, if they choose, learn and improve.

But when government makes mistakes, those paying the price usually have to fight to be heard over the voices of those who have figured out how to profit from the mistake. And years may pass before any action.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Murders Spark Renewed Calls for Cutlery Control Laws

Various cutleryImage via Wikipedia
Its about time we restricted access to cutlery and motor vehicles.

Police: NYC man arrested after going on stabbing, hijacking spree -

Ok, so nobody thinks we should stop driving cars.  Is it because we are familiar with them and like what they do for us that allows to ignore all the same arguments people make for gun control?

Control of guns, cars and cutlery is fine when property owners voluntarily contract together to make mutually beneficial rules.  Since the neighborhood or village very closely approximates that situation, that is where these decisions should be made.

When people voluntarily join a situation and are free to leave it, its perfectly legitimate for the participants to make all kinds of restrictions that would be wrong to impose by force.

In fact, the desire to control what happens where one lives is one of the primary reasons people seek to make rules for everybody else.  When people have such control, they feel less need to impose their views on others.

I think if we supported such hyper-local control, we'd actually have a lot more options.  Neighborhoods would actually be a lot more diverse and life would be more interesting in general.

And we would have had things like smoke-free neighborhoods (which we still don't have) decades ago.  And neighborhoods devoted to the smoker as well.  Some might see that as a downside, but people are always going to be doing things we don't like, no matter how many laws are passed.

The important thing is that we each be free to make our own choices.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Message to Egypt

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. --That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness."

Form a new government that recognizes your rights to life, liberty, property and happiness and you can put this turmoil behind you.  You don't need to choose between law and order and making the government live by the rule of law.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

A More Possible Balanced Budget Amendment

Thomas Paine; a painting by Auguste Millière (...Image via Wikipedia
‎"Government ought to be as much open to improvement as anything which appertains to man, instead of which it has been monopolized from age to age, by the most ignorant and vicious of the human race. Need we any other proof of their wretched management, than the excess of debts and taxes with which every nation groans, and the quarrels into which they have precipitated the world?" -- Thomas Paine

I'm in favor of a constitutional amendment that requires any new borrowing by government to be coupled with an immediate tax that pays off the new debt within ten years. 

That discipline will allow for emergencies but still force Congress to pay the bills.  I understand many would prefer an amendment that allowed for no borrowing at all, but that is considerably harder to get.  Let's not let the perfect be the enemy of the good.
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