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Trayvon Amendment

US House Democrats have proposed an amendment with mechanisms to force states with “stand your ground” laws to remove them using the coercion of the purse strings.

This will serve to make it official. Only our wise government overlords and criminals (yes, these are one in the same) can use force.

Don’t be fooled. This has nothing to do with Trayvon. Regardless of what really happened with Trayvon (contrary to popular belief, the media is not a jury of anyone’s peers — remember Duke Lacrosse), he is now both unfortunately dead and a pawn of a ruling class bent upon preserving preserving their monopoly on deadly force.

Nullification (not secession) in Arizona

I’m a little behind on posting here, but it’s never too late to criticize.

In a blog post last week, E.J. Montini wrongly misinterpreted intent and history of a recently filed application for citizens initiative in Arizona relating to nullification of federal law.

Montini writes:

According to the Arizona Capitol Times a group of citizens is trying to do what the Legislature has tried and failed to do not so long ago – secede from the union.

A reading of the initiative as filed reveals that Montini is sensationalizing the scope of the initiative, and/or is entirely unclear of the states rights notion of nullification, as opposed to secession.

The initiative clearly affirms the right of the State of Arizona to reject any federal law deemed unconstitutional.  It is clearly not a call for the State of Arizona to secede from the Union should it deem a law unconstituional

The doctrine of nullification invoked in this initiative has a long and valid history.  Our Founders and those instrumental in the authoring of the US Constitution supported the notion of states nullifying federal law as an important check on federal power.  The concept was discussed and supported as a necessary factor for ratifying the US Constitution in the 1788 Virginia ratifying convention.  Thomas Jefferson introduced the term “nullification” in the Kentucky Resolutions of 1798.

Far from the radical notion of secession, nullification, although mostly forgotten, is a critical check on federal power, and could act as such today.

Montini’s lumping nullification into the more radical notion of secession, and his mockery of it , demonstrate his disregard for history, and his inability to accept the idea that anyone besides our wise federal overlords can possibly govern.  In Montini’s mind, dissent at the state level violates the status of ordinary citizens as chattel of our federal masters, and is thus worthy of mockery.

Tom Woods, a best selling author and a far smarter and more studied historian and scholar that Montini might ever dream of becoming, has written extensively on the doctrine of nullification.

George Takei & Apple Asian Labor: Where’s Your Apology, George?

I recently posted a rebuttal to a blog post by George Takei on alleged mistreatment of Asian plant workers by companies used by Apple for manufacturing.

In summary, George Takie expressed shock and dismay over Asian workers treatment as they exercised the opportunity presented by industrialization to better their lives by moving from communal subsistence farming to factory jobs.

Setting aside Takei’s ignorance of the economics of emerging economies and his overflowing western guilt, his post turns out to have one major flaw.

It’s based upon lies.

It turns out that This American Life, the radio show who broadcast the piece by Mike Daisey that set off the firestorm of liberal guilt did some fact checking after airing the piece, and found it lacking one of the basic elements of good journalism:  truth.  BBC reports on their retraction here.

The problem is that George Takei hasn’t issued a retraction or follow-up on his blog post.  In fact, the liberal media and anti-capitalist pundits have largely ignored the retraction, and continue to whine about the unfairness of horrible capitalism.

I offer an explanation of this lack of follow-up.  They don’t care about the workers for whom they expressed concern.  They were merely easy weapons to be used in an ongoing attack on capitalism.

I like George Takei and his blog.  I hope he proves me wrong.  I doubt he will.

 

 

Follow-up on Arizona Concealed Carry and Violent Crimes

A Facebook comment I made summarizing my earlier post on an E.J. Montini article‘s complete lack of statistics on safety in Arizona due to fairly unrestrictive gun laws drew a comment that deserves mention here.

The comment, questioning the accuracy of my claim that Arizona’s law allowing registered conceal carry of guns was passed in 1994, is brief but deceptive in it’s importance.

Rich Moss ‎@ jack we just passed the conceal carry law so your data does not show any changes made by the law yet…. if we passed it in 1994, then it would show proof.

Simple enough:  Rich confused the recent unrestricted concealed carry law with the much earlier law allowing concealed carry with permit (CCW).  He was mistaken (and yes, I’m the jerk who points this out).  I was correct, and his comment turned out to support my claim that violent crime began to decrease immediately after passage of the registered conceal carry law.

Bully for me.

There’s much more importance to this.

Rich, who is politically aware enough to specifically question another comment’s accuracy on the Facebook page of a veteran Arizona Republic columnist, has been unaware that his fellow Arizona citizens have been legally carrying concealed guns since 1994.

Wait!  The anti-firearm crowd would have us believe that Arizona is the wild west (if the wild west were actually wild, lawless, and full of frequent shoot-outs) due to our gun laws.

But here’s a seemingly rational, informed guy who had no idea that his neighbors were packing heat for the last 18 years.  He likely hasn’t been shot as a result, or shown the business side of a gun.  Easy access to guns by his law abiding neighbors changed his life so little that he never noticed them carrying guns.

In this sense, EJ Montini is right.  Arizona gun owners are indeed responsible.

Arizona Concealed Carry & Violent Crime Rates

In a blog post on 3/15/2012, the Arizona Repugnant’s Big-Fish-In-A-Small-Pond E.J. Montini posted a remarkably neutral view on Arizona’s gun laws.

In his post, he states,

The easy access to firearms in Arizona has NOT made us the safest state in the nation.

Nor has it made us the UNSAFEST.

The problem here is Montini’s application of statistics.  He fails to define what he means by safe.  However, let’s assume his notion of safe relates to crime.  Comparing crime rates between a state like Arizona, with nonrestrictive gun laws, to states with more restrictive gun laws is a false comparison.  It fails to take into account the myriad of other factors influencing crime rates in a given locality.

The better comparison is to look at crime rates within Arizona before and after significant changes in gun laws.  A graph of such a comparison is included below.  It charts violent crimes in Arizona per 100,000 in population.

Note that the graph takes a marked downturn after 1994.

Arizona began allowing concealed carry guns in 1994.

Arizona Violent Crimes Per 100,000 Population

Source: DisasterCenter.com

Holding Out Hope for a Brokered Convention

Rick Santorum’s strong showing in southern primaries today reinforced the division within the GOP between Santorum-style social conservatives and old-guard Romney-style more moderate Republicans. While I consider both of these camps unsavory, the division increases the possibility of a brokered GOP convention.

A brokered convention occurs when no single candidate has the required number of delegates to achieve nomination on the first vote at the convention. The last brokered convention was the 1952 Democratic National Convention, from which Adlai Stevenson emerged as nominee. FDR was the last nominee to emerge from a brokered convention to win the presidency, in 1932.

The possibility of a brokered convention raises questions.

Just how divided are the social conservative Santorum supporters from the old-guard Romney supporters? Are they so divided that compromise via political horse-trading will not allow one of the two candidates to emerge as victor?

Is the GOP capable of unifying around a new, white-knight candidate drafted on the convention floor?

Is the GOP divided to the extent that compromise is not an option for a signficant number of party members?

If the last of these is the case, then I suggest that this situation is precisely the sort of environment that generates an independent candidate, or even better, a third party.

Granted, a third party or independent candidate carrying the flag for social conservatives or moderates is hardly the party or candidate to provide much of an alternative from status quo politics; however, perhaps that sort of splintering might open the door for cracks in the two party system. I admit, it’s a long shot, proposed with an unusual degree of optimism on my part; however, strange times and unusual situations are fertile ground for change.

This is the sort of change for which we can all hold out hope, and perhaps endorse if given the opportunity.

 

E.J. Montini is Wrong About Public Employee Unions (and He Knows It)

In his March 1, 2012 column, Arizona Repugnant columnist and big-fish-in-a-small-pond, E.J. Montini, defends Arizona public employee labor unions against a rash of bills that might weaken the entrenched position of public workers in Arizona.

Montini begins:

A couple of hundred “thugs” are expected to gather at the State Capitol Thursday.

I thought perhaps he was referring to our legislators, but was disappointed to find that he was making an overly dramatic point by claiming that those of us horrible people who oppose public employee unions view public employees as “thugs.”

Although I try to avoid judging individuals based upon their group affiliations (I’m intolerant of nearly everyone based upon their merit as individuals), I should give Montini credit.  I do view some public employees as thieves, lazily scamming the taxpayers for wages rather than earning them by hard work.  I’ve detailed my complaints against some in Arizona Department of Education here, here, and here.

Montini’s defense of public employees and their unions relies largely on an appeal to emotions.   This is nothing new.  It’s the “we need higher taxes for the children” argument, a powerful motivator since many voters have completely lost the ability to reason rationally or philosophically, and can easily be swayed from whatever remains of a residual sense of wrongness by sentimental arguments.  The appeal to emotion is a great tactic when one has no real argument.

In sentence fragments that would make a high school grammar teacher he defends cringe, Montini writes of our public employee union members.

They’re the people to whom you trust your children. Or count on to process your tax returns or business licenses. The people you call in the middle of the night when you hear a noise outside your window. The men and women who respond to your 911 call when you smell smoke. The people who come in the ambulance when your husband is experiencing chest pains.

He’s correct.  Our public servants, our fire fighters, paramedics, police officers, and teachers provide valuable services to the taxpayers (services that should be privatized, but that’s a different argument).  They should be rewarded for these services, and they are.  They’re paid wages.

Montini wants those wages and compensation packages, including job security promotions, benefits, and such, to be subject to and determined by collective bargaining conducted by labor unions.

It’s easy to be swayed by this argument.  The problem is that this appeal to emotion hides the fact that there is no reasonable, rational argument for this to be the case.

Public employees are paid by tax dollars, appropriated by elected officials.  Union dues, garnished from the paychecks of public workers, are used to fund the election campaigns of elected officials sympathetic to the union cause.  In this fashion, public employee unions essentially choose their bosses.

In the private sector, this model is not dissimilar from that of an employee owned business.  Employees elect board members, who run the company.  If the company performs poorly under the management of these board members, the board members can be replaced.

The government doesn’t work this way.  The government is not a business and has no profit motive nor real repercussions for poor performance, except for the replacement of elected officials.

However, public employee unions fund the election of public officials, who then reward the union membership with higher wages, better benefits, and greater job security, all funded by the taxpayers.  There is no incentive for these elected officials, nor the workers whose unions funded their campaigns, to deliver better services at lower costs, because governments very rarely go bankrupt.  They simply tap the taxpayers for more money.  Voters can replace these elected officials, but this is difficult in an environment where they are well-funded by union campaign donations.

In this way, public employee unions perpetuate government waste.

Despite the history of the labor movement in the private sector, whether or not one agrees with it, comparing public employee unions to private employee unions is not a valid comparison.  They are very different, and the same labor regulations should not apply.

Abolishing public employee unions is a step toward better and more efficient government.

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