Archive for June, 2012
Sometimes I hate being right:
Unfortunately for the American people this vote will likely result in nothing of consequence. Even while condemning each other statists have a habit of ensuring no real punishment befalls their fellow comrades.
The Department of Justice has announced that they’ll shield Eric Holder from prosecution:
The Justice Department moved Friday to shield Attorney General Eric Holder from prosecution after the House voted to hold him in contempt of Congress.
The contempt vote technically opened the door for the House to call on the U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia to bring the case before a grand jury. But because U.S. Attorney Ronald Machen works for Holder and because President Obama has already asserted executive privilege over the documents in question, some expected Holder’s Justice Department to balk.
Here is the problem with trying to bring charges against the head of the Department of Justice, the Department of Justice is the organization that has to act on those charges. This conflict of interest allows members of the executive branch to shield themselves. Now those trying to prosecute Holder have to move through the court system but the court system itself has not enforcement arm, they rely on the executive branch for that so even if they find Holder guilty they still have to convince Holder’s underlings to actually move against him.
I’m guessing this attempt to shield Holder will go until the end of the election. If Obama wins the election he may decide to throw Holder under the bus at that time.
Even though I live in the Twin Cities area I avoid going into Minneapolis. I’m not a fan of big cities and even less of a fan of big cities where there’s nowhere to park. It looks like my decision to avoid the city has been the right now:
After several years of declines, violent crime downtown has risen dramatically this year, according to police statistics. Rape cases have risen 32 percent, with 41 cases reported this year through June 18, compared to 31 in the same time frame this year. Aggravated assault cases are up 22 percent. Robberies are also up 118 percent in that time period.
I’m not terribly surprised by this increase. The gun control zealots will obviously blame the sharp increase on the carry permit law in Minnesota but the real issue is likely one of economics. Unemployment continues to increase and as people get more desperate they turn to more violent means of fulfilling their wants. The sharp increase in robberies makes nothing but sense to me considering the current economic climate.
Fortunately Minnesota is a shall-issue state so anybody who isn’t a prohibited person can get a carry permit. I’ve been advocating people get carry permits and this story is an example of why. When crimes such as rape and aggravated assault are increasing you should also consider a means of self-defense.
It’s not a secret that there is a severe shortage of organ and tissue donors in the world. Much of this can be attributed to law that prohibit those donating organs or other bodily substance from gaining financially. Thankfully it has been ruled that those donating bone marrow are no longer guilty of a crime when receiving compensation:
The Institute for Justice today announced a major legal victory for cancer patients and their families from across the nation when U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder declined to seek Supreme Court review of a March 2012 decision of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that compensating most bone- marrow donors is not a crime. This decision will give doctors and their patients a powerful tool in the fight against deadly blood diseases.
“This decision will not only save lives, but also reinforce the principle that doctors and patients should have the freedom to make their own choices when confronted with deadly diseases,” said Jeff Rowes, a senior attorney with the Institute for Justice and lead counsel on the case.
Many hold the erroneous idea that organs sold for money are somehow so inferior to those donated that they should not even be accepted. This has created a major shortage because people, being self-interested creatures, desire compensation for giving up their property. Laws barring organ donors from receiving compensation is a direct violation of voluntary association as it prevents those wanting to sell their organs from doing so. These laws have also created a black market for organs, which have lead to stories of individuals waking up in a bathtub full of ice missing their kidneys. Hopefully this ruling will set a precedence and we’ll see the act of receiving compensation for donations become legal.
One of my friends who I would describe as Marxist made a post on Facebook exclaiming that yesterday’s Supreme Court ruling was a good step but the endgame is a publicly funded single-payer healthcare system. I found it strange that an opponent of capitalism would advocate for a publicly funded healthcare system.
Let’s consider for a moment one of the most often brought up criticisms of capitalism by Marxists. According to Marxism the laborer/capitalist relationship is exploitative. The capitalist is said to exploit the laborer by taking a portion of the laborer’s productive capacity, which is kept by the capitalist as profit. Under this criteria a publicly funded healthcare option must also be seen as exploitative. Instead of the capitalist taking a portion of the laborer’s productive capacity the state is. The only effective difference, under Marxism, between the capitalist/laborer relationship and the state/laborer relationship would be who is performing the exploitation.
This is one of those inconsistencies in Marxism that is usually overlooked by its advocates. Somehow a capitalist that takes a potion of a person’s productive capability is an exploiter while a state that takes a portion of a person’s productive capability is benevolent. I never understood this belief and no Marxist has ever been able to adequately explain it to me. Of course not all communists follow such absurdities, on the topic of healthcare I turn to an anarcho-communist (the only kind of communist I respect, even though I disagree with them) named Peter Kropotkin. Kropotkin wrote Mutual Aid: A Factor of Evolution where he correctly observed the generally cooperative nature of animal life, specifically humans. He concluded that humans beings are cooperative and that cooperation among a species is necessary for survival.
History demonstrates Kropotkin’s point as the voluntary solution reached by humans to help those in need was mutual aid. There was never a need for the state to enter the healthcare market and in fact their entering the market is what caused it to be the mess it is today. Before the state there were mutual aid societies that individuals voluntarily joined to pool their resources for the good of the membership. New members who were down on their luck were accepted into these societies without demands for payment as it was understood the members would begin paying once they got back on their feet.
Any state controlled healthcare system is exploitative because the relationship between the state and laborer, unlike the relationship between a capitalist and laborers, isn’t voluntary. If an individual fails to pay into a state controlled system they find themselves the victim of kidnapping or even violence if they should choose to resist. I’m not sure how a person who believes capitalism to be an exploitative system can support a publicly funded system of any sort.
I’ve been skimming through the 193 page Supreme Court decision [PDF] regarding the Affordable Healthcare Act and I must say, they’re right. The individual mandate is ruled constitutional through Congress’s power to tax, specifically the penalty fee that must be paid by those without a minimum level of health insurance is seen as a punishment for non-compliance with taxation. I haven’t had time to do a detailed read but I must also face the fact that the Constitution does grant Congress the power to tax, in fact it’s one of the most egregious powers granted to the federal government in the Constitution.
When you think about it this is really an affirmation of what has been done for ages. Every person in the United States is made to buy many things including aircraft carriers, nuclear missiles, Predator drones, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, monuments in Washington D.C., salaries for politicians, roads, armaments for federal agencies, etc. We’re forced to purchase these goods through federal taxes. If we’re forced to purchase aircraft carriers why can’t we be forced to purchase health insurance?
One of the problems with taxation, beyond the fact it’s a form of theft, is the fact it’s a mechanism to force individuals to do business with those they generally wouldn’t do business with. I have no use for a aircraft carriers or nuclear submarines so would have little reason to do business with Northrop Gruman, but through taxation I am forced to do business with them. How many people wanted to do business with Solyndra? Obviously not enough to keep the company afloat, yet we were all forced to do business with them through taxation. Taxation is another form of subsidy as it gives wealth to companies that would likely not obtain it through free markets.
In all honesty little has changed with this Supreme Court ruling. Let’s look at the Solyndra case for a moment. Solyndra obtained most of their funding through various government grants and a bailout. Congress could have funded Solyndra using a different mechanism, namely by forcing everybody to buy solar panels from Solyndra. It wouldn’t be terribly difficult to justify, Congress would merely have to write legislation that purported to advance self-sufficiency and renewable energy or as a mechanism to fight terrorism by decentralizing the power grid. The reason they didn’t do that is because people get upset when they are forced to buy something from a company but are generally complacent when it comes to paying taxes. In other words throwing a layer of obscurity between tax victims and receivers of tax money keeps the public happier. This Supreme Court ruling merely removed that layer of obscurity, which allows people to see where their tax money is going directly.
What has really changed with this ruling? Nothing. Congress and the Supreme Court have merely decided to flaunt their powers openly instead of from the shadows. Given time we’re all going to learn precisely how “free” we are in this country.
At least there was some good news yesterday:
US Attorney General Eric Holder has been held in contempt of Congress for refusing to hand over a set of documents on a failed sting operation.
In a 255-66 vote, some Democrats joined with the House of Representatives’ Republican majority.
Mr Holder is the first sitting attorney general to be held in contempt.
Congratulations go to Mr. Holder for being the first sitting attorney general to be found in contempt, that’s quite the accomplishment. Unfortunately for the American people this vote will likely result in nothing of consequence. Even while condemning each other statists have a habit of ensuring no real punishment befalls their fellow comrades. Holder probably won’t even receive a slap on the wrist and whether or not the public will ever see the documents being concealed by him is unknown.
I’m sure you’ve all heard the news by now that the Supreme Court has upheld the Affordable Healthcare Act:
In a dramatic victory for President Barack Obama, the Supreme Court upheld the 2010 health care law Thursday, preserving Obama’s landmark legislative achievement.
The majority opinion was written by Chief Justice John Roberts, who held that the law was a valid exercise of Congress’s power to tax.
Many of my friends are cheering this ruling while many of my other friends, and much of the liberty sphere, are decrying this ruling. Personally I’m ambivalent. This ruling merely confirms what we’ve known all along, the federal government can put a gun to your head and force you to buy something. The way I see it the federal government is now being more honest about its intentions. In fact this ruling really helps rake in a the new wave of government transparency that Obama has been talking about.
I’ve said that two of the most egregious clauses in the Constitution are the ones granting the federal government a monopoly on interpreting the Constitution through the Supreme Court and the power to tax. It appears both of the clauses I hate so much have conspired to further erode our liberty. I’m not sure if this conspiracy was done to spite me but it proved my point and there is little I love more than having my ego inflated by being proven right. I hereby both thank the Supreme Court for helping inflate my ego and damning them for upholding the statist agenda.
I’m curious about the future, this precedence really sets up the federal government for future cronyism the likes of which we’ve never seen. If the federal government can force me to buy health insurance under the power to tax what else can they force me to buy? Can they claim high speed trains are such a social benefit that I must purchase yearly passes? Can they claim global warming is such an extreme danger that I must purchase carbon credits? Where will the lines be drawn? How far will this go? Will future bailouts come in the form of individual mandates instead of direct transfers of taxpayer money to failing businesses? We certainly live in interesting times.
With all of this said I believe the next question that must be answered by Obama’s supporters is this: Does the karmic value of passing this law and getting it upheld outweigh the karmic loss of murdering people overseas?
It appears Eric Holder’s last great attempt at avoiding a contempt vote has vanished as Speaker John Boehner has announced Congress is going forward with the vote:
The House is moving forward with a vote to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress over a bungled gunalking operation, Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, told reporters Wednesday.
“We’ve given them ample time to comply,” Boehner said of White House officials.
The House Oversight Committee voted last Wednesday to hold the attorney general in contempt for refusing to release documents relating to Fast and Furious, a failed government operation that landed guns in the hands of Mexican cartels. House Republican lawmakers have questioned the administration’s role the case after President Obama granted Holder executive privilege.
If Congress is able to get ahold of the documents currently being concealed by Holder I’m guessing a veritable gold mine of corruption will be revealed. Holder has tried everything from claiming the documents would hamper ongoing investigations to getting his big man Obama to exercise executive privilege to keep the public from seeing them. I can’t imagine that much effort would be put into hiding documents that didn’t contain incriminating evidence.
I do a lot of biking in my free time. Whether I’m riding on roads or mountain bike trails I always have my Glock 30SF on my hip. Concealing a weapon while riding a biking isn’t very easy, I make the half-assed attempt by pulling my shirt over the Serpa holster I carry the gun in but needless to say people notice it once in a while and then they ask why I feel the need to carry a gun while biking. This is why:
This morning, journalist Jeremy Iggers was one of at least three victims violently attacked by six young thugs on the Midtown Greenway, a walking/biking path that runs through an old railroad right-of-way a couple blocks off of Lake Street.
Iggers and another biker were hit by thrown rocks; the other biker was beaten, and a third was robbed (it’s not clear if he was also injured). He writes about it here:
The Greenway has long been a favorite location for muggers, and it’s little wonder. The Greenway is a convenient conduit that brings innocent victims directly to criminal actors, in a straight-line tunnel with few or no avenues of escape, in the convenience of their own neighborhoods.
I end up using the Greenway periodically as it’s the quickest bike trail between my home and many parts of Minneapolis. There are numerous blind spots where attackers can get the jump on bikers. The Minneapolis Police Department supposedly has cops on bikes patrolling the Greenway but I’ve never actually seen one so I believe that claim almost as much as I believe claims of unicorns existing. For the most part those on biking trails are on their own. You can’t always avoid danger but you can equip yourself to have a better chance of surviving it.
Concealing a firearm while you’re riding a bike isn’t easy but, so long as you have a carry permit, Minnesota is an open and concealed carry state. If you ride a bike, have a carry permit, and want to carry a firearm, and aren’t doing so because you can’t figure out a good method of concealing the firearm don’t worry about it and carry your firearm. It’s better to potentially make others on the trail uncomfortable than to face multiple violent thugs unarmed.
According to gun control zealots stand your grond laws allow anybody to murder somebody and get away with it by claiming they felt their life was in danger. Once again their claim doesn’t holdup as it appears Police investigate all shootings even if the shooter claims he felt his life was in danger:
A US man has been sentenced to four decades in prison after being found guilty of murdering his neighbour.
Raul Rodriguez, from Texas, shot teacher Kelly Danaher after an argument about a noisy party.
He had argued that a state law known as “stand your ground” allowed him to shoot the 36-year-old.
Prosecutors said that former fireman Rodriguez was the aggressor as he was carrying a gun when he went on to his neighbour’s drive and could have safely left at any time.
I left out all the mentions of the Zimmerman case because it’s irrelevant to this story and was inserted solely to get ratings on this story. Regarding this story though we can see that stand your ground laws don’t allow individual to get away with murder, they merely change the default view from one of guilt to innocence. This avoids situations like the once faced by Jay Rodney Lewis who lawfully defended himself only to be arrested and held for months (during this time he was evicted from his apartment, all his stuff was tossed out onto the street, and he was fired from his job with the Internal Revenue Service). Police will still investigate the shooting to determine whether or not your claim is truthful and if it’s not charges will be brought against you.
Once again the claims of gun control zealots have proven to be false, which is why most people ignore everything they say.