I attended a very interesting meeting last night. The bulk of the group were big “L” Libertarians but there were also a few of that dying breed of small-government-Republicans. I have railed on about how the Republican party has been taken over by God-and-Guns conservatives. After talking with these small-government-Republicans, I really have to wonder what it is that still makes them Republicans? If you limit government to the level it is supposed to be at, all of the God-and-Guns conservatives lose their ability to legislate morality. That in effect kills most of their platform. Without the “compassionate conservative” spending and the ability for the state to tell you what to do with your body (which may be a sin but isn’t a crime) I don’t think Republicans look that differently than Libertarians. Republicans are still talking about strict constitutionalism but other than a few Supreme Court justices I have seen nothing that harkens back to the days of Barry Goldwater. Even Ron Paul has been show the door by a party he refuses to leave. The only thing I can think of is that the small-government Republicans are operating under the Muslim rule of “the enemy of my enemy is my friend”. Maybe they should ask the State department how that’s been working for America.
I have been getting email newsletters from a guy named Tim Schmidt from Jackson, Wisconsin who runs an organization called the United States Concealed Carry Association (USCCA) for about a month now. At first I was interested in what the organization might offer to American citizens. I was especially enthused by Tim’s assertion that all citizens that can conceal carry should because it benefits everyone to have law-abiding citizens out there that the Bad Guys (BGs) don’t know are packing. Well, my enthusiasm hit a brick wall today. Something about the Wisconsin address seemed a little funny to me so I looked closely at the concealed carry laws for the state of Wisconsin. I was shocked to see that Wisconsin and Illinois are the only two states in the nation that DO NOT issue concealed carry permits, period. Tim Schmidt is not just publishing a magazine about guns, he is publishing a magazine about the conceal carrying of firearms. Additionally, he has sent out another email newsletter (the last one I’ll ever get from him) in which he openly stated that he does carry a concealed weapon. As you probably already know from my previous posts, I am a Bill of Rights advocate. That Bill of Rights includes the Second Amendment and I am a solid supporter of states efforts to pass Right-to-Carry legislation. People like Tim Schmidt do a great deal of damage to the Right-to-Carry advocates by taking away our assertion that Right-to-Carry legislation will do good because it will put more law-abiding citizens on the streets with weapons that can be used to stop criminals. I think that if Tim wants to be a leader in his state in the effort to pass Right-to-Carry legislation that would be great, but for him to openly advocate concealed carry in a state where it is illegal simply makes Tim a criminal. I have emailed USCCA to tell them that what their President is doing is illegal and undermines Right-to-Carry advocacy all of the country. I think that anyone who cares about the right of law-abiding citizens to keep and bear arms should write or email USCCA and ask Tim to step down as the head of the USCCA and to condemn anyone that breaks the law by carrying concealed in an illegal manner. You can write to them through their website at: http://www.usconcealedcarry.com/public/department6.cfm
Today is the 134th running of the Kentucky Derby. Three years ago over thirty thousand thoroughbred foals were born in green pastures all over the US. This year 19 colts and one filly will run in today’s race at Churchill Downs. One will win. One will set off a storm of speculation about the Triple Crown and if today’s winner can do what no horse has done in 30 years.
That leaves about 31,999 (American Horse Council, 1998) thoroughbred horses that won’t even be footnotes in horse racing history. Some will win other races, many will lose other races. Some will find loving forever homes where they will be treated like champions no matter if they never ran a single race. Sadly, many will be betrayed by the people that bred them, the people that trained them, and the people that invested the soft hope of spring three years ago as foals frolicked with their mothers. Those same foals will have grown into horses that will be sold to kill buyers and slaughtered for human consumption.
Today while you are watching the Kentucky Derby and sipping on a mint julep, I ask that you think about the foals that were born this year that will never race in the Kentucky Derby in three years and will end up in slaughterhouses because of over breeding and an attitude that these animals are expendable. Write the American Association of Equine Practitioners and ask them to renounce their stance that horses bred to be racers, riders, haulers, and lawn ornaments are just livestock animals that deserve no better than to be slaughtered for human consumption.
PS- My thoughts go out to the owners, trainers, breeders and anyone else associated with 8 Bells who was lost during this year’s race.
I know everyone and their dog will be chiming in on the Michael Jackson verdict today. However, that will not stop me from throwing in my two cents worth. The way I see it the verdict was a triumph for the weird. People can still stand there and talk all they want to about how an older man shouldn’t have young boys in his bed but that is simply a moral judgment and what we saw yesterday was justice. Society has had a hard time distinguishing between the two lately. Too many moral crusaders have used the power of concentrated interests to put into place laws based on morality not justice. After this verdict I don’t have a doubt that there will be ugly bills drafted all across our beautiful nation that will specifically say that what Michael Jackson did is a criminal act, not that Jackson would be caught dead living in most of those places. For that matter, I would be surprised if he stuck around the US at all. Given the toll this trial took on his health I can’t say that he should feel all that welcome here when his own government tried to take him to task on charges that could not stand up to a trial by his peers. Ten counts, that is how many laws the prosecutor felt he could convict Jackson of violating. Not a meager amount of work involved there. He must have felt he really had the law on his side, didn’t he? Or did he simply jump into the arrest and trial of a man he knew he would have a hard time convicting simply because he as an individual felt outrage over Jackson’s moral indiscretions? My vote is for the latter. In my opinion, the prosecutor needs to have his decision reviewed by his peers on the bar and if they feel he did not press the charges with the intent of getting an actual conviction, then he needs to be disbarred. This is all assuming that the legal community has the courage required to police their own. We have enough moral crusaders writing the laws, we don’t need more of them enforcing the law. The jury found Jackson innocent on all counts, but the peanut gallery of moral crusaders never will because they have, and will continue to confuse morality with justice.
We need a new “religion”. One that stresses the here and now. One that proclaims the greatness of mans ability and mans potential. The religion that is dominant today is one that encourages obedience, humility, and a focus on the hereafter. They claim that faith is required. I don’t want faith in an unknown. I don’t want to focus on the hereafter. I want people to be true to themselves. I want people to understand that faith in your abilities will be rewarded in this lifetime and that your personal integrity is the true currency in life. Be amazed at the world around you not because you cannot understand why it exists but because you can appreciate it and strive to understand its unlimited complexity. I want followers who rejoice in mans ability to create a flowing river of knowledge that does not yield to stubborn thinkers but carves its way down through ignorance to the shining sea of the truth. The journey is not quick and it is not easy but it is inevitable. The truth is powerful not because it is obvious but because it is unmovable. You can see many layers of dirt on top of the truth and the shape the dirt takes may resemble the truth. People may pronounce that the image they see is the truth but when someone else wipes away some of the dirt to reveal the truth no one can honestly look at the truth and deny it. You may ask how will we know when we have seen the real truth and the answer is that after numerous other people have tried to dig further and found only the unmovable face of the truth will it be know to all. I want a “religion” that understands not only the potential of mankind but also the necessary journey that each person must take to realize their own potential. People must be free to follow their own path. Freedom requires obedience to freedom. You cannot talk about freedom with boundaries other than where another’s freedom begins. The state is not an individual and cannot be given freedom. The state cannot stand in for an individual and take freedom. The state can only recognize that each person is free and protect that freedom when it is violated by others. This is the only way people can live with freedom. There is only one economy that is compatible with freedom and that is capitalism. Only when people are free to deal with whom ever they feel like are they free. Any alteration to a market is an alteration to who you can deal with or what can be exchanged.
I have always wondered why economics is called ‘the dismal science’. I know that my beginning economics course in college was taught by a man who had all the charisma of a polyester leisure suit. When I took a macroeconomics course at a community college it was taught by a retired Marine officer and more often than not the lectures sounded like a hellfire and brimstone sermen. At that younger age I enjoyed the lectures but did not fully appreciate that the instructor was passionate about economics because of the overwhelming effect it has on everyones lives. I would liken it to any other science, just because you never learned about gravity in school does not give you the ability (a la Bugs Bunny) to walk off of a cliff with no ill effects. Likewise, just because ‘the dismal science’ bored you to tears in school (if you toook the course at all) does not give you the ability to ignore the market forces that economics study. I would especially like to point this out to anyone who thinks that companies are their just to employ people. Companies are there for just one reason, to make a profit. Your employment is a favorable side effect of your companies success, but it is NOT the reason for your companies existance. In Colorado we have a looming grocery workers strike. Why? Because the union workers in the big chain stores are demanding insurance benefits and the stores are not willing to put them on the bargaining table. Why are the stores not willing to provide their workers with company paid insurance. The reason is called Wal-Mart. This huge ‘evil’ non-union shop does not pay for insurance for their employees or even pay union wages to its workers. By doing this Wal-Mart is able to gain a significant competitive advantage over the chain stores. The thing that makes this possible is because the labor market will support Wal-Mart. Wal-Mart has no problem hiring workers with little or no skills and offering them jobs that do not provide insurance benefits. The chain stores are hiring out of the same labor pool and if they are required to provide their union employees with insurance benefits they will suffer another competitive disadvantage to Wal-Mart. The unions have adopted the idea that companies are their to provide workers with jobs and in pursuit of this idea they may destroy the companies that provide their union members with jobs because they are attempting to ignore a basic law of a market economy. The companies are there to make a profit and by taking on too many comparitive disadvantages the companies will not make a profit because their customers will have gone to Wal-Mart and the company will have to close up shop. There are some sectors of our economy where the unions can and do control the labor pool and can call their own shots but grocery stores workers are not one of those labor pools and the unions are dancing dangerously close to destroying the companies their workers depend on.
There is a guy out there who is pissing me off. This twerp is shouting in TV and radio ads about ‘Free Government Money’! He rattles off a list of things that you can get government money for. I am going to do a little editing for all of you that may not understand the economic reality of this idiots raving. Here we go: “The government can help you steal other peoples’ money so you can go back to school with legally stolen money, or start a coffee shop with legally stolen money, or work on your invention with LEGALLY STOLEN MONEY! Just buy my book where I will outline how you can get money that the overzealous government has stolen from hard working citizens. You just need my book and the right government forms to outline the hardships that you have had to endure in your miserable life that entitles you to get in line for the money that the government has stolen for you.” This idea that people should just give you money because you mean to be better and all you need is a chance is ludicrous. You need to earn that money. If you don’t earn that money you have no idea how hard it was to make it and you will piss it away. If you want proof, here is a piece of information for you, the ONLY successful income transfer program the government has ever hatched is the G.I. Bill. Why was it successful? Because the G.I.s that took advantage of it weren’t exactly given the money, they had to sign up for military service and put their asses on the line. They had to go through what many like to call ‘The School of Hard Knocks.’ Then they were allowed to go to real schools on the governments dime with the full appreciation of what life is without an education. So before you go and send your money off to this con-man, just consider if you do manage to succeed in life after you get your PhD with money the government stole for you, how are you going to like the government stealing from you?
As Americans we should all seriously consider the implications of letting our politicians lead us all down the road to socialism that they currently have us on. Walter Williams has written several lucid columns on this subject that I will not try to duplicate but rather I would encourage everyone to read how Socialism is EvilPart II
I understood that with campaign finance reform there would be special interest groups lining up to support their candidates even without being directly associated with that candidate. What I did not expect is that these special interest groups would get to do all of the mudslinging for their chosen candidate. Now we have a commercial on the air that blasts Pete Coors for wanting to lower the drinking age and talks up the other candidate for the Colorado Senate seat (I won’t mention his name here because he would want me to). The commercial states that by lowering the drinking age that Coors would be endangering our children. Come on people! If you would spend enough time raising your kid to be a responsible citizen, Coors raising the drinking age is not going to present a problem to you or your kid. Instead the Conservative Voters of Colorado would prefer to hide behind the government on the drinking age the same way they like to have the government out there telling kids that drugs are illegal because they are illegal. That’s very convenient for the Conservatives, but since when did our government become the moral equivalent of 7-11? Remember that convenience comes at a price. 7-11 is on the corner, waiting for your urgent business at midnight, but that Twinkie you so desperately need (we won’t go into why you need it) is going to cost you significantly more than it would in the grocery store that closed at 8pm. The same thing goes for the moral convenience of letting the government help you avoid tough issues with your child. Instead of talking at great lengths with your child about what drugs are and what drugs are not (yes, alcohol is also a drug) so they can make well informed decisions, you get to conveniently tell your youngster that you just can’t do something because that would be ILLEGAL. The cost may eventually make it back to you but the person that will really pay for your convenient decision will be your child. They will not have the benefit of growing up with wine at the dinner table and a couple of beers at the family gathering. They will not get to hear about harmless sleep overs where someone had too much to drink and passed out in the back yard because not only was no one allowed to leave because it was a parent sanctioned sleep over but because they were 13, so they couldn’t even drive. If you want your child to learn how to be responsible you have to teach it to them at home just like you do with every other moral decision you expect them to make. You should send you children to school to learn math and writing, and science, and logic. Not to be taught morality! That needs to come from the home. I know that it is tough and you would rather have someone else burdened with this heavy responsibility, but whose child is this? The answer is not that the child belongs to society or the government, the child is yours. So when your child self-destructs at 21 when they are finally allowed legally drink I do not want you to be allowed to go on living with a clean conscience because you have bought the idea that the government or society failed your child, YOU DID. That is the final price you will pay for the buying a bill of goods from a moral 7-11.
I heard another of those patronizing ONDCP (The Office of National Drug Control Policy) ads on the radio this morning. The ads are nothing but propaganda. The government has been given its marching orders by politicians that think they know how to live your life better than you do. Now they have extended their fight into your home. Not only do they want to make sure your kids know that “drugs are bad, m`kay” (think of South Park’s Mr. Mackey here) but they want you to tell your kids that. Whether or not you have personally tried drugs is going to have a big impact on whether or not you have this little government sponsored talk with your kid. If you haven’t even tried drugs you are much more likely to have “the Talk” because you have probably already signed on with the “drug are bad, m`kay” crowd. For those of you that have tried drugs and it didn’t trash your life, the ONDCP has ads for you too that will tell you that even though you survived a brief encounter with the “evil world of drug use” and lived to tell the tale that drugs are still bad and that you REALLY need to have that talk with your kid. The talk they want you to have with your kid is not one that includes how to be responsible citizens and limit the drugs you take or how to be safe and use the proper paraphernalia or even how to identify drugs that could kill them because they are impure. No, the talk the government wants you to have with your child is to tell them that the government knows what is best for them and that they should only do what the government wants them to. Oh, and if they could rat out any of their friends that are “evil drug users” that would be great, yeah (Way to go Lumberg!). To tell you the truth, I want you to have “the Talk” with your kids too. Except my version would include you introducing your kid to your dealer and showing him what really good stuff looks like. Hell, light up a bowl with the ankle biter and for once relax and enjoy the kid you are trying so damn hard to raise right in this world. A world where you and your wife have to work full time jobs to pay for all of the taxes that help fund the moral crusaders at the ONDCP. No, drugs aren’t for everyone. I know that as an addictive personality I need to stay away from drugs, but I was able to make that choice for myself, and I needed more information than “drugs are bad, m`kay”. There is still a huge black market out there in the US that is preying on our youth everyday because all the information our kids are getting is “drugs are bad, m`kay”. If we want our kids to grow up to be productive citizens in this country, I think the adults need to do a bit of growing up themselves first and take this issue seriously enough to stop saying “drugs are bad, m`kay” and give the children of this nation the information they need to protect themselves from the “evil world of drug use.”