Monday, December 31, 2012

Cutlery Control urged for UK.

I hope everyone has a Happy New Year!  I couldn't resist posting this!
The logic of gun control ultimately leads this idiotic proposal (cutlery control).  Ban long knives in the UK as violent crime is on the increase (I guess their gun control isn't working) and  kitchen knives are use in as many as half the stabbings?

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Happy Holidays!

Happy Holidays to all!  Barring some really big legal  news, I'll be on vacation from the blog till early Jan. Thanks for all who participated!

ObamaCare Contraceptive Mandate cases

Obamacare mandates that employers provide birth control coverage for all female employees. After allegations of Freedom of Religion violations, HHS excluded churches from the mandate.  Howerver, a number of religious organizations that are not "churches" have sued alleging First Amendment violations. There are a number of separate suits, but this one is the first one to make it to a U.S. Court of Appeals.  Unfortunately, they dodged, at least temporarily a ruling.  The government has promised to reconsider and may issue new regulations on the topic.  Stay tuned!

Brian Terry's family files suit over BATF's fast and furious

The family of murdered Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry filed a $25 million lawsuit against the government.  Terry was allegedly murdered by a weapon that BATF let get across the border untracked in it's infamous Operation Fast and Furious.  Perhaps some disinfecting light will be shown on this insane government program.  However, expect the government to stonewall, and it is always difficult to sue the feds.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Obama: Not going after rec. pot users in 2 states

Pres. Obama said the feds would not go after recreational pot users in Colo or Washington state where state voters chose to decriminalize recreational use.  This is not that big a deal.  The feds have never been interested in recreational use.  They only go after the dealers.

What can we expect from Pres. Obama?

What can we expect from Obama in his second term? FWIW, here are just a few predictions.

Give that Republicans maintained control of the House; we can expect a lot of executive orders to get around the House. Yes, the President may lawfully use executive orders and direct federal agencies, but only to execute laws and policies passed by Congress. Under the Constitution the President executes the laws passed by Congress. The President does not make the laws. It is sometimes a fine line, but it is clear that in domestic affairs executive orders and agencies may be directed only to execute laws and policies created by Congress. Orders and agencies may not be used by the President to make new policies, not approved by Congress. The process may not be used to bypass the legislative process. Obama got the Hispanic vote. Expect aggressive use of executive orders in the area of immigration. The President has a lot more leeway in military and foreign affairs, and we will continue to withdraw from Afghanistan. However, one gets the impression that the administration is looking for some pretext to get involved in Syria in some fashion. Stay tuned. In spite of Obama’s anti-Israel leanings, he still got the Jewish vote. Expect Obama to continue quiet support of the Palestinians and to lean even harder on the Israelis to make concessions. Much will depend on future Israeli elections. Perhaps this is the best approach to lasting peace in Israel and Palestine. Who knows? Stay tuned.

As always, the power to nominate people to fill Supreme Court vacancies will be crucial. Many key decisions are 5-4. Democrats retained control of the Senate. Hard-core liberals foam at the mouth when discussing Citizens United (First Amend rights for corporations) and the Second Amendment case D.C. v. Heller. Liberals have offered proposed constitutional amendments in Congress to overrule both decisions. Just as many hard-conservatives still foam at the mouth over Roe v. Wade, there is no reason to think the attacks will subside. Obama publicly criticized Citizens United and is not a fan of Heller. If Obama gets any appointees, he will be looking for Justices to limit or overrule those two cases (and expand federal constitutional powers). One of the cardinal rules of politics is to “reward your friends and punish your enemies.”   Obama urged his supporters to vote for him to get "revenge." Of course by punishing your enemies, you are also supporting your friends who also dislike your enemies. The NRA and corporations backed Romney. Catholic and other leaders criticized Obama for some of his health care policies. Expect Obama to go after them via the Supreme Court or legislation. We can also expect that candidates who are wimpy on First Amendment freedom of religion will be looked upon favorably. Unlike the situation when conservatives control the White House and Senate, we don’t need to worry about attacks on abortion and privacy rights. Every President does this. However, this practice threatens civil liberties and weakens the constitution, depending upon what is targeted. Is it too much to ask to request that Presidents stop playing ideological games with the Supreme Court? Don’t’ expect this practiced to end as long as victors reward their friends and punish their enemies. It certainly won’t end in this politically polarized atmosphere where many elections are decided by relatively slim margins.

Justices usually retire when there is someone in the White House with whom they are ideologically compatible. Don’t expect any of the conservatives to retire. However, death or disability can happen to anyone at anytime. Kennedy has been relatively healthy and probably enjoys his role as the most powerful person on the Court. The liberal most likely to retire is Ginsburg who is 79 and has had serious health problems. Look for the Court to remain ideologically split as it is now.

In the civil liberties area, as stated above don’t expect support for Second Amendment or freedom of religion. The administration has supported the indefinite military detention provision of the NDAA. Look for strong civil liberties support in the areas that liberals tend to favor: women’s’ rights, abortion rights, etc. Expect aggressive support for affirmative action that will test the limits of the equal protection clause. Most of this is good, but how about some principled, even-handed loyalty to the supreme law of the land.

The Obamacare decision seemed to support unlimited federal power under the taxing and spending and general welfare clauses. However, Republicans in the House will, at least temporarily, block use of these clauses for radical federal expansion of Democratic programs. However, the Obamacare precedent remains a potentially loaded gun to be used when the time is right.

Being a lame-duck, Obama may be even more aggressive in pushing his far-left agenda. Expect courting and efforts at vote buying of new and traditional democratic and liberal voters to continue. Left-wing political correctness will be pushed even harder.

UPDATE: Latest on NDAA detention case

The indefinite detention provision of the National Defense Authorization Act has spurred much opposition.  The Plaintiff's have asked the U.S. Supreme Court to intervene--at least temporarily.   Hopefully, the U.S. Supreme Court will eventually rule on the merits of this statute.  Although the statute is vague, it is potentially dangerous.  Further, it could be very difficult to determine if, when and who is detained.  Anyone who thought Pres. Obama would be a strong supporter of civil rights has been mistaken. Thanks to Bennett Jones for the link

UPDATE:  Supreme Court Justice Ginsburg refused to block enforement of the controversal NDAA provisions. The law will remain in effect.  This was a long shot and, as most expected, the government won and the plaintiffs lost.

Tomorrow (Sat 12/15) is Bill of Rights Day

  Dec. 15, is Bill of Rights Day.  Most of us have a lot to celebrate this time of year.  The Bill of Right is one things we should celebrate and one thing we should aggressively support against those who would weaken it (e.g advocating repeal of the Second Amendment, weakening the Fourth Amendment, etc).  The Bill of Rights and continuing support for it have made and will keep us the freest people on the planet and a country that truly deserves to be called "the land of the free and the home of the brave." Stand up to the authoritarians on both the left and right.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

First Amendment Hypocrisy on Campuses

A university Prof. wrote:

"As a university professor, I have seen, over the past few decades, just how misunderstood basic civil rights on campus can be. While people of all persuasions like to defend their side’s First Amendment rights, they tend to be less enthusiastic, if not downright hostile, when it comes to defending (or even tolerating) those with whom they disagree."

Border Searches of Digital Devices

Fourth Amendment protections are much weaker at the border.  Your digital device is subject to the usual rules. The search of the device can be done automatically, no suspicion, warrant, etc. required. The lawsuit did not challenge the siezure of the device.  If the search had taken place relatively quickly after the seizure, there would be no case.  The delay in conducting the search was the issue.  In spite of some good arguments about privacy and First Amendment concerns, I don't see courts treating digital devices any differently.  To be searched under the Fourth Amendment, the person must have had a reasonable expectation of privacy in the item searched. Given the historical powers of the government at the border, the fact that border crossing is, in most cases, voluntary,  people expect more scrutiny at the border, people can delete sensitive info from their computers before coming to the border, the widespread use of computers by terrorists and criminal gangs, etc., arguably, there is no reasonable expectation of privacy.  Even if there was a reasonable expectation of privacy, the government interest would outweigh the degree of the intrusion.  Sorry, but this cautious libertarian is leaning toward the side of caution on this one.

Gun control failing in Britain

Gun control doesn't work on an island with strict gun control laws, weaker search and seizure protections, and a relatively small gun stock among the population (as compared to the U.S.).  Only an idiot could think it would work in the U.S. without abandoning the 4th Amendment.  Thanks to Prof. Joseph E.Olson for the link.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Handgun hypocrisy?

Many gun controllers have bodyguards, security details, live in gated communities or high-rise high-security buildings.  Many are able to use their political clout in cities like NY and Chicago to get permits. (See article below on court decision on Illinois anti-carry law)

More on the Supreme Court's gay marriage cases

At this point, my predictions on the 2 gay marriage cases at the Supreme Court are 5-4 striking down DOMA (in Windsor v. U.S.) and requiring that states recognize gay marriage (Hollingsworth v. Perry--the Prop. 8 case). The precedents, e.g. Loving, Romer, Lawrence v. Texas, etc) all suggest that result (as did O'Connor's concurring opinion clearly did in Lawrence).   Kennedy will be the swing vote.  His prior rulings in Romer and Lawrence suggest that is the way he will vote.  However, Roberts fooled us in the Obamacare case and there is always the possibility that Kennedy will surprise us.
Many are hoping for sweeping, clear-cut rulings in the 2 gay marriage cases the Supreme Court will hear.  However, there could be some procedural and other issues that the Court could decide without giving us blockbuster rulings. In other words, the Court could "punt."

Big Victory for the 2nd Amend.

Great news for those who love liberty.  Bad news for left-leaning authoritarians. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit ruled today that Illinois' total ban on carrying firearms for self-defense outside the home or business is unconstitutional. 
This is one of the few victories for the Second Amendment in the federal courts.  The court gave the state 180 days to come up with a law that was not a total ban.  Let’s hope this is finally a case that the U.S. Supreme Court will hear.

Monday, December 10, 2012

"The NRA is the new KKK."

More anti-Second Amendment, left-wing, propaganda (Fecal matter?) The speaker obviously lacks a historical understanding of the KKK, one of whose aims was to disarm blacks.

Second Amendment takes another Hit

U.S. Court of Appeals upholds NY law requiring a showing of "need" for concealed carry permit. IMHO, this law is unconsitutional.  The Founding Fathers and Supreme Court giveth and the lower courts taketh away.

Excessive force? Breaking car window and dragging suspect out through it.

The Ninth Circuit suggested that under the circumstances, it could be.

Chicago: America's False Confession Capital

DOJ has opened an investigation of  Chicago PD.  If anyone thinks a left-leaning city goverment means strong constitutional rights, they are sadly mistaken.  Watch the video and related videos and materials.

Friday, December 07, 2012

Handgun most common weapon used in civilian justifiable homicies.

No surprise here.  The handgun is the most frequently used weapon in civilian justifiable homicides.  Note, howerver, that the FBI's data grossly underreports the number of civilan (non-cop) justifiable homicides. 
The UCR measure of civilian jusifiable homicides (JH) is not reliable. First, and this is a problem with all UCR data, not all police agencies report, not all agencies use consistent criteria, and politics sometimes play a role in reporting and classifying. With regard to JH, remember that UCR data is reported by police. I would bet that except in the most obvious cases, police will report a possible justifiable homicide as a homicide as they have no way to know who to believe. The person claiming JH has a motive to lie and the police are not required to beieve the suspect. Further, police generally are cynical and don't want to appear to be gullible. Thus, reports by police in the UCR underestimate the real number of JH's. How do we know if something should arguably be counted as a JH? Later, the police may determine that a crime they reported as a criminal homicide (CH) was really a JH. This may come about because of ballistics tests, powder residue tests, or any number of causes. Do police go back and change their report to the UCR? Probaby not. They are busy collecting current data, and would have to admit that they were wrong. Police agencies have more pressing business than correcting reporting errors.Next, assume an alleged CH gets to the prosecutor's office. Further investigation may reveal that it was most likely a JH. The prosecutor drops the charges. Does the prosecutor report this to the UCR. No. The UCR is for police to report. Assume the prosecutor presents the case to the grand jury and they decide not to indict because they believe the CH was really a JH. This decison will never appear in UCR. Finally, assume the CH charge goes to trial and the jury finds that it was JH. This will never appear in the UCR. What the UCR actually represents is only the tip of the iceberg of JH's.  Later changes will never be reflected in the UCR. Research based on polls by Kleck, Gertz and other suggest that there are as many lawful defensive uses of firearms as there are unlawful use. These conclusions have been challenged, but this research has been replicated. Further, the crime-control/deterrent effect of citizen handgun ownership is not totally measure by the number dead criminals. Lawfully wounding or scaring off a violent criminal prevents a crime. If the criminal is deterred because he/she knows the person is armed, or has guns in the house, a crime is prevented. Unfortunately, there are no official statistics on this. See the link

for a reprint of an article by the nation's leading criminological expert on gun control and related topics, FSU Prof. Dr. Gary Kleck.

Longest-Serving U.S. Attorney Resigns Under Cloud

U.S. Attorneys generally have excellent records.  This one is the exception. The convictions of the Danziger bridge cops may be questioned.

Supreme Court to hear 2 gay marriage cases

One of the most contentious outstanding culture wars and legal issues is gay marriage.  Hopefully, we will have 2 Supreme Court decisons on this by June or so.
Stay tuned.

NBC sued over edited Geo. Zimmerman tape

Geo. Zimmerman is suing NBC for its release of an edited tape that cast him in a very negative light (racist).  NBC previously apologized.  Hope Zimmerman wins.  The media gets away with too much unprofessinal, unethical behavior.  Hopefully, someone will be held accountable.

TIH: 1789, 1941, 1993


Delaware became the first state to ratify the U.S. Constitution.


Pearl Harbor, of course


A gunman opened fire on a Long Island Rail Road commuter train, killing six people and wounding 17. (Colin Ferguson was later sentenced to a minimum of 200 years in prison.)

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Only in the Big Apple! (Bizarre Crime)

Latest criminal conviction for a brutally bizarre murder in Nanny York City. No disrespect intended for the victim and his friends and family, but  NYC is long past due on banning computers and corkscrews.

Why "Nullification" is Invalid

Thanks to 44 who e-mailed me an interesting piece on the current "Nullification" controversy.  The article, to which I am responding is by Tom Woods.  He makes a lot of superficially appealing points, but misses a few key ones.

He writes

“Thus we read in a recent AP article, “The efforts [to nullify unpopular federal law] are completely unconstitutional in the eyes of most legal scholars because the U.S. Constitution deems federal laws ‘the supreme law of the land.’” (Note, by the way, the reporter’s use of the unnecessary word “completely,” betraying his bias.)

What the Supremacy Clause actually says is: “This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof…shall be the supreme law of the land.”

In other words, the standard law-school response deletes the most significant words of the whole clause. Thomas Jefferson was not unaware of, and did not deny, the Supremacy Clause. His point was that only the Constitution and laws which shall be made in pursuance thereof shall be the supreme law of the land. Citing the Supremacy Clause merely begs the question. A nullifying state maintains that a given law is not “in pursuance thereof” and therefore that the Supremacy Clause does not apply in the first place.”

I agree with that so far. He has spotted the key nail, but fails to hit it on the head. The gut issue that he misses is WHO has the final say on whether a federal law is “made in pursuance thereof” (is consistent with the Constitution)  It was established in 1803 (Marbury v Madison)  and anticipated in one of the Federalist papers that the federal courts, and ultimately the U.S. Supreme Court would have the final say. Somebody must have the final say or chaos will rule and the rule of law will be threatened.  Nullification is a power of each individual state. I have never seen it argued that the alleged power arises only when all of 2/3 of the states want to nullify (see below) For nullification as it has been argued to make sense, the states individually must each  have the final say on the meaning of the Constitution. Individual states could then reach different results on what the Constitution means that are binding in that state. If something is the Supreme law of the land, it must have uniform interpretation if it is to be “supreme".  This is inconsistent with the rule of law, and the Supreme Court’s 1803 decision in Marbury v. Madison. Jefferson is cited by the author, and his words provide some insight, but Jefferson was not part of the Constitutional convention. One can cherry pick the debates and find support for just about everything.   The Constitution specifies two specific remedies for unhappy states.  It does not specify nullification. There are 3 well specifically established routes, that do not threaten the rule of law and constitutional supremacy and uniformity, that states can use if they want to question a federal law. File a lawsuit and hopefully get to the Supreme Court. One can hope that the Court would hear the case if it was in the ballpark. States can ask that the federal law be invalidated.Second, one can amend the Constitution. Two-thirds of the states can, under Art. V of the Constitution, can call for a convention to amend the Constitution.  Finally, those unhappy with the law can use the federal legislative process to get it repealed.  There are at least 3 cleary valid alternatives to nullification.Why are these folks jousting at windmills and wasting our time with this sophistry?

Nullification defeats the uniformity and consistency across the nation that was one of the main motivations for the new constitution. Let me provide an extreme example of the mischief that could occur.  I don't think this will ever happen, but I am trying to make a point.  A plaintiff gets an injunction against a state forbidding it from discriminating against interstate commerce within the state.  The state argues that the statute authorizing courts to issue injunctions against state governments (42 U.S.C. sec. 1983) and its accompany jurisdictional statute are unconstituttional. If those statutes are unconstitutional, the courts have no jurisdiction to issue injunctions against the state and thus the injunctions are invalid. 

Nullification is fun to argue about, but is constitutionally irrelevant and invalid. I am reminded of theologians arguing about how many angels can fit on the head of a pin. 

Borough Insurer to pay $900,000 in Taser Death

Mt. Joy (Pa.) borough officials breathed a sigh of relief when their insurer settled a Taser death suit for $900,000 and agreed to pick up the entire tab.  News releases usually do not specify how much the insurer and the insured will pay.  I wonder if the borough's liability insurance will go up?

Monday, December 03, 2012

My Take on the Recent Pres. Election (FWIW)

After reflecting on the event for almost a month, here’s my 2 cents, FWIW, on the Presidential election. I am not going to mention all the obvious things, (e.g. demographics), just a few things that the “experts” generally missed.

1. Mass media partisanship was the worst ever. Most of the major mass media (e.g. NYT, NBC, CBS, ABC, Time magazine) showed major pro-Obama bias. Anything that seemed to be anti-Obama or pro-Romney was spun or ignored (e.g BATF’s Operation Fast and Furious). The worst offenders were Fox (pro-Romney) and MSNBC (suggestions that racism sparked much opposition to Obama). Al Sharpton (a chronic race-baiter) had (still has?) a show on MSNBC. Needless to say he did not support Romney.

2. Given that liberals generally dominate higher education most places, it is not surprising that Obama won the college student vote and given that these faculty frequently write and speak to the general public, that Obama won overall.

3. It seemed that anger motivate many pro-Obama voters. Even Obama suggested that people should vote for him to get “revenge.” People were rightly fed up with some of the excesses of capitalism, capitalists acting badly (e.g. Enron, huge salaries and bonuses for execs who ruined their companies, etc.) There was a perception that the “rich” and corporations don’t have too much power and don’t pay their “fair” share of taxes. (Is this an update version of populism?). The “politics of envy” may also have played a part. Class warfare became at least an implicit theme. One of the most effective political ads was one which blamed Romney and the corporations ( Bain Capital)with which he was affiliated for making the unemployment problem worse by laying off employees. This is, of course, what any businesses does when the economy tanks and the business starts taking losses. Nonetheless, the ad triggered the anger. Of course, the problems are much more complex than just capitalists acting badly, e.g. out-of-control government spending.

4. Rather than moving to the center of the political spectrum to get more votes, Romney seemed more interested in courting the Tea Party and other right-wing groups.

5. Obama’s attempt to buy votes (immigration reform by executive order, proposing federal supplements to teacher salaries) were blatant, but probably effective.

6. Most people saw Obamacare as a necessary and worthwhile reform. Few thought about how it would be paid for, its impact on medical care and the constitutional issues. (My own personal policy take is that it is a worthwhile reform, if we can pay for it without more massive deficits and it doesn’t hurt the quality of care.) I have doubts on the constitutional issues and the general impact of moving too far to the left).

7. Did too many hard-core libertarians and Tea Partiers sit out the election because their candidates didn’t get the Republican nomination?

8. Romney didn’t stress enough the European economic chaos that comes with the far left and the welfare/entitlement state. He didn’t stress enough that future generations are going to be very heavily taxed to pay for the welfare state’s care of the ballooning baby boomer elderly population (medical, social security, etc). One can argue that the young voters who voted for Obama may have shot themselves in the foot (inflicted a self-inflicted wound).

Next installment: What we might expect from Barack in the next few years.

New book on libertarianism

Thanks to Bennet Jones for the material below (via e-mail). See esp. the comment on the birth of modern libertarianism and for at least one difference between libertarians and conservatives.

"The Rothbardian Way

by Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr.

Here is the introduction to the new edition of For a New Liberty: The Libertarian Manifesto.

There are many varieties of libertarianism alive in the world today, but Rothbardianism remains the center of its intellectual gravity, its primary muse and conscience, its strategic and moral core, and the focal point of debate even when its name is not acknowledged. The reason is that Murray Rothbard was the creator of modern libertarianism, a political-ideological system that proposes a once-and-for-all escape from the trappings of left and right and their central plans for how state power should be used. Libertarianism is the radical alternative that says state power is unworkable and immoral.

"Mr. Libertarian," Murray N. Rothbard was called, and "The State's Greatest Living Enemy." He remains so. Yes, he had many predecessors from whom he drew: the whole of the classical-liberal tradition, the Austrian economists, the American antiwar tradition, and the natural-rights tradition. But it was he who put all these pieces together into a unified system that seems implausible at first but inevitable once it has been defined and defended by Rothbard. The individual pieces of the system are straightforward (self-ownership, strict property rights, free markets, anti-state in every conceivable respect) but the implications are earthshaking. Once you are exposed to the complete picture – and For a New Liberty has been the leading means of exposure for more than a quarter of a century – you cannot forget it. It becomes the indispensable lens through which we can see events in the real world with the greatest possible clarity.

This book more than any other explains why Rothbard seems to grow in stature every year (his influence has vastly risen since his death) and why Rothbardianism has so many enemies on the left, right, and center. Quite simply, the science of liberty that he brought into clear relief is as thrilling in the hope it creates for a free world as it is unforgiving of error. Its logical and moral consistency, together with its empirical explanatory muscle, represents a threat to any intellectual vision that sets out to use the state to refashion the world according to some pre-programmed plan. And to the same extent it impresses the reader with a hopeful vision of what might be.

Rothbard set out to write this book soon after he got a call from Tom Mandel, an editor at Macmillan who had seen an op-ed by Rothbard in the New York Times that appeared in the spring of 1971. It was the only commission Rothbard ever received from a commercial publishing house. Looking at the original manuscript, which is so consistent in its typeface and almost complete after its first draft, it does seem that it was a nearly effortless joy for him to write. It is seamless, unrelenting, and energetic.

The historical context illustrates a point often overlooked: modern libertarianism was born not in reaction to socialism or leftism – though it is certainly anti-leftist (as the term is commonly understood) and antisocialist. Rather, libertarianism in the American historical context came into being in response to the statism of conservatism and its selective celebration of a conservative-style central planning. American conservatives may not adore the welfare state or excessive business regulation but they appreciate power exercised in the name of nationalism, warfarism, "pro-family" policies, and invasion of personal liberty and privacy. In the post-LBJ period of American history, it has been Republican presidents more than Democratic ones who have been responsible for the largest expansions of executive and judicial power. It was to defend a pure liberty against the compromises and corruptions of conservatism – beginning with Nixon but continuing with Reagan and the Bush presidencies – that inspired the birth of Rothbardian political economy.

It is also striking how Rothbard chose to pull no punches in his argument. Other intellectuals on the receiving end of such an invitation might have tended to water down the argument to make it more palatable. Why, for example, make a case for statelessness or anarchism when a case for limited government might bring more people into the movement? Why condemn U.S. imperialism when doing so can only limit the book's appeal to anti-Soviet conservatives who might otherwise appreciate the free-market bent? Why go into such depth about privatizing courts and roads and water when doing so might risk alienating people? Why enter into the sticky area of regulation of consumption and of personal morality – and do it with such disorienting consistency – when it would have surely drawn a larger audience to leave it out? And why go into such detail about monetary affairs and central banking and the like when a watered-down case for free enterprise would have pleased so many Chamber-of-Commerce conservatives?

But trimming and compromising for the sake of the times or the audience was just not his way. He knew that he had a once-in-a-lifetime chance to present the full package of libertarianism in all its glory, and he was not about to pass it up. And thus do we read here: not just a case for cutting government but eliminating it altogether, not just an argument for assigning property rights but for deferring to the market even on questions of contract enforcement, and not just a case for cutting welfare but for banishing the entire welfare-warfare state.

Whereas other attempts to make a libertarian case, both before and after this book, might typically call for transitional or half measures, or be willing to concede as much as possible to statists, that is not what we get from Murray. Not for him such schemes as school vouchers or the privatization of government programs that should not exist at all. Instead, he presents and follows through with the full-blown and fully bracing vision of what liberty can be. This is why so many other similar attempts to write the Libertarian Manifesto have not stood the test of time, and yet this book remains in high demand.

Similarly, there have been many books on libertarianism in the intervening years that have covered philosophy alone, politics alone, economics alone, or history alone. Those that have put all these subjects together have usually been collections by various authors. Rothbard alone had mastery in all fields that permitted him to write an integrated manifesto – one that has never been displaced. And yet his approach is typically self-effacing: he constantly points to other writers and intellectuals of the past and his own generation. In addition, some introductions of this sort are written to give the reader an easier passage into a difficult book, but that is not the case here. He never talks down to his readers but always with clarity. Rothbard speaks for himself. I'll spare the reader an enumeration of my favorite parts, or speculations on what passages Rothbard might have clarified if he had a chance to put out a new edition.

The reader will discover on his or her own that every page exudes energy and passion, that the logic of his argument is impossibly compelling, and that the intellectual fire that inspired this work burns as bright now as it did all those years ago.

The book is still regarded as "dangerous" precisely because, once the exposure to Rothbardianism takes place, no other book on politics, economics, or sociology can be read the same way again. What was once a commercial phenomenon has truly become a classical statement that I predict will be read for generations to come."

Different school standards for different racial groups?

More harmful insanity from the folks in charge of public education.  Where do they find these leaders? The author writes:
"So yes, it touches me in a raw spot, this news that two states — Florida and Virginia — have adopted new education standards under which they would set different goals for students, based on race, ethnicity and disability.
Like many other states, Florida and Virginia requested waivers from the No Child Left Behind Act’s unrealistic goal of having every child at grade level in reading and math by 2014. But these states used their waivers to create separate and unequal performance standards for their black, white, Hispanic, Asian and disabled children.
Last month, for example, Florida set a goal of having 86 percent of white kids at or above grade level in math by 2018. For black kids, the goal is 74 percent. Virginia is wrestling with similar standards."

What message does this send to black parents and students and non-black parents and students?  The left's politically correct obsession with equality at any cost takes root.  Does this mean these states are  basically going to give up trying to improve education for black students?  Do these rules violate equal protection?  Can we expect society to become "color blind" when government fosters just the opposite?  This should give some insight into how the left pretends to really care about black Americans in order to get their votes.  Does it empower and encourage black students and parents?

Small Texas town to get first female law enforcement officer

The small Texas border town of Presidio is about to get its first female officer.  She  recently graduated from the Sul Ross State University Law Enforcement Academy

College campuses not supporting pot use by students.

Voters in Colorado and Washington voted to legalize recreational use of marijuana.  Most institutions of  higher learning, however, do want it on their campuses.  Young voters helped pass the laws, but may not get the benefit if they are college students.  In general, however, state law trumps university regs.
Four female veterans and the ACLU have filed a lawsuit against the Department of Defense.  They want equal training and promotion opportunities for women who, in reality, serve in combat roles.

New lawsuit focuses on women in combat

Four female veterans have filed suit against the Department of Defense demaning equal combat training and promotion opportunities  for women in the U.S. military.  These changes are probably long overdue given the women are, in fact, involved in combat roles but are not trained or promoted for it.

New President in Mexico

Mexico has a new President from a different party (PRI) than that of his predecessors  (PAN).
As usual, this one has promised to combat corruption.  Many expect that he will back off on the war against the cartels started by his predecessors in the interest of saving lives.  The Mexican economy has been surprisingly good in spite of all the chaos.  His politcies will obviously have significant impacts on the U.S. and drug enforcement in particular. Stay tuned.

Struggle over the power of judicial review in Egypt

The concept of judicial review (Courts can overrule the actions of the other branches of government when those  actions are deemed inconsistent with the supreme law of the land--Constitution) is long- and well-established in the U.S.  Arguably, that concept has helped make the U.S. the freest nation on the planet.  Egypt is currently struggling with this concept.  The outcome could be crucial in shaping the future of Egypt.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

S.Ct. won't revive Chicago's Recording of Police ban

The Supreme Court let the Court of Appeals decision invalidating the law stand. The Court refused to hear Chicago's apeal. This law wasn't even close to being constitutional.  Just a hint at what it might be like to live in a police state.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Saturday, November 24, 2012

TIH: 1963,1971, 2010


Dallas nightclub owner Jack Ruby shot and mortally wounded Lee Harvey Oswald, the accused assassin of President John F. Kennedy.


Hijacker D.B. Cooper parachuted from a Northwest Airlines 727 over Washington state with $200,000 in ransom. His fate remains unknown.


A jury in Austin convicted former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, R-Texas, on charges he'd illegally funneled corporate money to Texas candidates in 2002. (DeLay is appealing a three-year prison sentence.)
P.S. I apologize for my low techiness.  Have been unable to post but now it is fixed (hopefully)


Saturday, November 10, 2012

TIH: 1942, 2009


British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, discussing the recent victory over Rommel at El Alamein, Egypt, said "Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning."[One of my heroes, great speaker and leader]


John Allen Muhammad, mastermind of the 2002 sniper attacks that killed 10 in the Washington, D.C. region, was executed.

Friday, November 09, 2012

Bipartisan threats to civil liberties.

Some threats to civil liberties will probably not change no matter who is in the White House.  The "War on Terrorism," like the "War on Drugs," has, and will spawn threats to a free society (e.g. NDAA detentions without due process).

Is This a Great Country or What?

I'll try to make this a regular column with the latest "insanity" from American capitlists, public officials, media, wacko individuals, etc.  Just what we need--a breast-feeding baby doll?

Unaccountable Presidents a Huge Risk

Doesn't matter who is in the White House.  President's need to be accountable.

Thursday, November 08, 2012

Some Comments on Recent Congressional Elections

Some comments on the recent elections (Bloggers' comments in [])
"Democrats in Illinois controlled the redrawing of congressional districts after the latest Census, and the new lines proved too tough for several Republicans. Conservative tea party freshmen Reps. Joe Walsh and Bobby Schilling lost, as did moderate freshman Robert Dold and seven-term veteran Judy Biggert, a social moderate." [Republicans did the same thing in Texas.  If you think either party is high in integrity, you are sadly mistaken.  This is a shameful practice that goes back many decades if not for two centuries in this country]

"One winner was Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., D-Ill., the Chicago lawmaker who took medical leave from Congress in June and has been at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota for treatment of bipolar disorder."  [Is Illinois a great state, and Chicago a great city. or what?}

"Public corruption has been an unfortunate aspect of Illinois politics for a century and a half. Even before Governor Blagojevich tried to sell the vacant senate seat to the highest bidder, the people of the state were exposed continuously to outrageous corruption scandals. The state history of political corruption features Paul Powell, a former secretary of state, who died leaving hundreds of thousands of dollars hoarded in shoeboxes in his closet, 13 judges nabbed in Operation Greylord for fixing court cases, and a state auditor who embezzled more than $1.5 million in state funds and bought two planes, four cars, and two homes with the money.

Since 1972 there have been three governors before Governor Blagojevich, state legislators, two congressmen, 19 Cook County judges, 30 Aldermen, and other statewide officials convicted of corruption.1 Altogether there have been 1,000 public officials and businessmen convicted of public corruption since 1970."

Voters in 3 states endorse gay marriage

Voters in 3 states have endorsed legal gay marriages.  This could be a turning point on this issue in this country.  Look for more states to follow suit.  This cautious libertarian endorses the trend.  Equal protection means equal protection, and the Supreme Court has recognized that there are constitutionally protected rights involved.

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Congrats to Obama & Biden

Congrats to Pres. Obama and VP Biden.  I wish I had bought some gun company (e.g. S&W, Glock, etc.) stock before the election.

Colo. & Wash. Legalize Pot

The states of Colorado and Washington approved ballot initiatives to legalize pot.  The topic was also on the ballot in a few other states.  Seems to be a trend here.  Perhaps Obama will deliver on his 2008 campaign promise to stop enforcding federal pot laws against medical marijuana.  He may go farther than than an "legalize" recreational pot use and possession under federal law. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Freedom of Religion and Equal Protection Challenges to Obamacare

Although the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Commerce Clause and Taxing Power challenges to Obamacare, (Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, PPACA) other significant issues remain outstanding.  The 4th Circuit will hear a challenge by a religious college that the requirement that they provide abortion coverage for their employees violates First Amendment freedom of religion.  They are also arguing that Equal Protection is violated because some religious organizations are allowed to opt out of the PPACA.  Stay tuned.

Monday, November 05, 2012

Chicago "violence" gun tax becomes law.

It seemed like just a looney idea when proposed, but now it's law in Chicago.  Left-wing political correctness goes amuck and becomes law.  Is this a great contry or what?  I wonder if re-elected, if Obama will carry this idea over from his old hometown and political stomping grounds?

Friday, November 02, 2012

Some good Second Amendment and gun law sites:

David T. Hardy

Michel and Associates, Firearms rights litigators

TIH: Various

[parentheticals added by blogger]


Gen. George Washington issued his farewell address to the Army near Princeton, N.J.


British Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour expressed support for a national home for the Jews of Palestine in what became known as the Balfour Declaration.  [We know how this ultimately ended-up]


Charles Van Doren admitted to a House subcommittee that he had the questions and answers in advance of his appearances on the TV game show "Twenty-One."


South Vietnamese President Ngo Dihn Diem was assassinated in a military coup.  [ The Kennedy administration was complicit in this assassination]                             


Former Georgia Gov. Jimmy Carter defeated Republican incumbent Gerald R. Ford, becoming the first U.S. president from the Deep South since the Civil War.  [Good intentions, but largely a uninspiring and ultimately failed Presidency]


President Ronald Reagan signed a bill establishing a federal holiday on the third Monday of January in honor of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr.


Californians rejected a ballot measure that would have made their state the first to [formally] legalize marijuana for recreational use.

Thursday, November 01, 2012

TIH: 1765, 1991


The Stamp Act went into effect, prompting stiff resistance from American colonists.


Clarence Thomas took his place as a justice on the Supreme Court.

Blogger's comment:  Thomas is the most conervative member of the Supreme Court.  He is frequently way out in right field.  He is too far out for me. I don't think he gives enough respect to the rights of criminal suspects, defendants and convicts.

Freedom of Speech on Calif. Univ. Campuses

The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights’ California Advisory Committee, has called on Calif. Universities to revise the "speech codes," to conform to the First Amendment.  "Each of the 32 universities in the University of California (UC) and California State University (CSU) systems maintains at least one speech code that restricts student expression. Eighteen institutions (56 percent)—including nearly two-thirds of CSU schools—enforce policies that clearly and substantially violate the First Amendment."  All of these speech codes lean to the Left.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Latest report on BATF's Operation Fast and Furious

The latest House committee report on BATF's infamous Operation Fast and Furious is out. It slams DOJ for its handling of the problem.  More disinfecting sunlight.

New Okla Open-Carry law

A new law will take effect in Okla. shortly that allows licensed concealed carriers to carry openly.  It's not hard to tell which jurisidictions trust their own law-abiding citizens (e.g. Okla.) and those than don't (Ill.).  A victory for those who love liberty and don't buy into the fantasy that more guns, and more licensed carriers mean more crime.

P.S. If you're like me, you're burned out on politics.  I'm trimming the blog.  We need to get back to CL&J more directly.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

TIH: 2005

2005:   Civil rights pioneer Rosa Parks became the first woman to lie in honor in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda. 

Friday, October 26, 2012

Liberal media on BATF's Fast and Furious results in lawsuit

The liberal-dominated media has ignored or attempted to spin BATF's outrageous operation Fast and Furious to favor Obama.  This lawsuit was brought by a whistle-blower.  Hopefully a little disinfecting sunlight will be the result of this case. Yes, I know the Bush administration had a similar outrageous plan, but unfortunately, they were never exposed.  I don't care which party's Prez gets exposed.  This kind out outrageous stupidity should never be tolerated.

2nd Amend Litigation Update

The 5th Circuit ruled in favor of the federal law that bans people under 21 from purchasing handguns. In the abstract I can live with that.  As the article suggests, what bothers me is that 18-20 year olds are good enought to become potential military cannon fodder and carry all sorts of weapons more dangerous than handguns, but we don't trust them to buy a handgun.  If Heller and McDonald are overruled we will see how many jurisdictions don't trust ordinary, law-abiding, competent adults to buy one.  Two other important cases working their way up are also discussed. I hope one of these two eventually gets to the U.S. Supreme Court. 

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Embarrassing Congressman

How do these people get elected?  The quality (intelligence, knowledge, concern for civil liberties, etc.) of representatives of both parties in the House is pathetic.  Here's an example.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

S.Ct. Grants Prisoner's Handwritten Petition

I don't imagine this happens very often, but the Supreme Court granted this prisoner's handwritten petition for certiorari.  I applaud the Court for giving opportunities to those who can't afford attorneys.

" Violence Tax" on Guns and Ammo

The latest craziness from the gun-controllers. If re-elected, I wonder if Obama will pick up on this idea from his home base (Chicago).

TIH: 1956, 1973, 1987, 2006

OCT. 23


An anti-Stalinist revolt began in Hungary.


President Richard M. Nixon agreed to turn White House tape recordings requested by the Watergate special prosecutor over to Judge John J. Sirica.


The U.S. Senate rejected the Supreme Court nomination of Robert H. Bork, 58-42.


Former Enron CEO Jeffrey Skilling was sentenced to more than 24 years in prison for his role in the company's collapse.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Great Quote on Media Bias

Daily Email - October 19, 2012

Romney Jokes about Media Bias as Reporters Protect Obama

By Cliff Kincaid
October 19, 2012

"Speaking at the Al Smith dinner, which benefits Catholic humanitarian causes, Mitt Romney took on the press in a joking manner that struck many as truthful. “Now I never suggest that the press is biased,” he said. “I recognize that they have their job to do, and I have my job to do. My job is to lay out a positive vision for the future of the country, and their job is to make sure no one else finds out about it.”

The quip is funny, but the lack of ethics in the media, on  most of both the left and right is not. Romney not only has to beat Obama, but most of the mainstream media. This is a very formidable task.

Mayor Bloomberg Unhappy

NannyYork City Mayor  Bloomberg is unhappy about the Presidential debaters not repudiating the Second Amendment.  Welcome to the "City of the free, and the home of the brave." 

TIH: 1765, 2011

Today in history


The Stamp Act Congress, meeting in New York, drew up a declaration of rights and liberties.


In Greece, hundreds of youths smashed and looted stores in central Athens and clashed with riot police during a massive anti-government rally against painful new austerity measures.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Interesting Study on Libertarians

This interesting study misses the point that there are at least 2 types of libertarians:
(1) natural law and rights libertarians (this blogger), and
(2) Ayn Rand libertarians (objectivism).
Type 1 theoretically deals only with the relationship between persons and their governments. Type 2 also covers interpersonal relationships.   Personal altruism has nothing to do with 1.  Being puretype 1. does not influence personal characterisitics such as altruism. I consider myself a pure type 1 who is also altruistic. Other type 1's I know seem altruistic to me.  Altruism comes into play only in interpersonal relationships.  The findings on altruism apply only to Rand libertarians.  I suspect that there are more "libertarians" of type 2 than 1. Of course there may be libertarians who are both 1's and 2's and perhaps other  categories.  An interesting, but flawed study that mixes 2 distinct groups together and misses important points.  Any libertarians out there who care to comment?

Geo. Zimmerman Trial Set: Media Circus Likely

The new trial judge in the Geo. Zimmerman case has set a tentative trial date of June 10. As the linked article states: "A judge Wednesday set June 10 as the date for the biggest murder trial in Seminole County history – Florida v. George Zimmerman. The case, which became a cause célèbre and launched civil rights rallies across the nation, promises to be a major media event." Will it turn out to be a Casey Anthony-type debacle? Will it turn out to be another Rodney King-type situation?  Going back even further,  will it be another Sacco and Vanzetti? I personally don't care whether he is found innocent or guilty, but he is entitled to his rights.  At this point, given the media bias against the defendant, prosecutorial misconduct, and the pressure of potential riots, I really doubt it.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Supreme Court same-sex marriage cases

In  this new term, the Supreme Court will also deal with controversial same-sex marriage issues.

Retired S.Ct. Justice Stevens continues to attack Second Amendment rights.

Retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens continues his "Feed My Ego" tour and continues to attack the individual right to keep and bear arms established in Heller and reaffirmed in McDonald.  I can't think of any case where a retired Justice campaigned against and individual right from the Bill of Rights.  These are dangerous times for those who love liberty. This is not surprising as Stevens voted against First Amendment rights in the flag-burning cases (Texas v. Johnson and U.S. v. Eichman) and Citizen's United. More left-wing authoritarianism on display.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

More on Affirmative Action case (Fisher)

Scotusblog presents are relatively readable summary of the UT-Austin affirmative action case (Fisher).  One of the issues is whether the university's race-conscious admission policies have succeeded in reaching a "critical mass" of minorities in the student body.  Under the Supreme Court's Grutter precedent, the program must be discontinued once the university reaches a "critical mass" of minorities.  As usual, the liberals and conservaitves have largely already indicated how they will vote by their questions and statements at oral argument.  Justice Kagan recused herself. 

Supreme Court to hear 2 drug dog sniffing cases

Drug-detection dogs are important part of law enforcement efforts.  The U.S. Supreme Court will decide 2 cases on this issue. 

Thursday, October 04, 2012

Supreme Court preview

The U.S. Supreme Court started its new term a few days ago.  Here's a preview of some of  the big cases they have decided to hear.  The affirmative action and gay rights case are sure to cause controversy no matter how they are decided. I certainly hope they will add a Second Amendment case.  A more complete list of cases accepted for review so far is here.

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

More campus censorship

Consistent with the left-wing political correctness that dominates most universities, this Prof. went over the line in censoring an anti-Obama comment.  However, on the minority of campuses where the right dominates, there are also restrictions on free speech.  Anyone who thinks most liberals or most conservatives really support the First Amendment, will probably be mistaken.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

More on NDAA indefinite detention

This article may help clarify the issues.The issue is not who will or might be detained or how the offense is defined.  The issue is the government's power to detain.  This power includes the power to detain/arrest U.S. Citizens on U.S. soil.  How can a person defend themselves if they are never charged and tried?  Although this might seem like something that is not likely to happen to a truly innocent person, that is not the issue. The government must not even be granted this power.  How will this person who is wrongly detained be able to clear themselves?.  The Pres. has promised never to abuse the law. Do you trust him? How much goes on that the Pres. doesn't even know about, or pretends not to know about.  This is too important to take the risk.  If you are arrested or detained in the U.S. by government, you have certain rights. PERIOD.  

Latest on NDAA lawsuit

The District Court's injunction against the "indefinite detention"  provision was stayed pending further Court of Appeals review. See the first comment below the article. This is another issue crying out for Supreme Court review.  Thanks to Bennett Jones for the link.

Univ. of Cal to pay nearly $1million to settle pepper spray suit.

The cash-strapped Univ. of Calif. has settled a lawsuit against its campus police for nearly $1 million.  I suspect they have a better use for the $, but too many public officials and police executives just view this as a part of the normal cost of doing business. 

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Good Article on Domestic Drones & 4th Amend.

This article is a good start.  However, we will proably have to wait for a U.S. Supreme Court decision to finally  settle this.

TIH: 1789, 1981

The first United States Congress adopted 12 amendments to the Constitution and sent them to the states for ratification. (Ten of the amendments became the Bill of Rights.)
Sandra Day O'Connor was sworn in as the first female justice on the U.S. Supreme Court.

Today, we have 3 females on the Court--all liberals.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Obamacare exemptions for AARP

In an earlier post I suggested that we need to look at who gets exemptions from Obamacare.  Haven't found much on this, but it appears that AARP got some.  Given the amount of insurance they sell, this is a significant gap.  If anyone else has anything on this, please post.  I bet you'll find lots of Obama "sympathizers" got exemptions.

Myths About Libertarianism

Although I find Lew Rockwell over the top sometimes, this article on conservative myths about libertarianism is enlightening and is perhaps at least part of what I label "cautious" libertarianism.

More Bad News for Higher Ed

This Walter Williams column suggests that not only have things been watered down,  and students know little, but, academia has become extremely politicized. The National Association of Scholars report on Calif. is here.  The lean to the left was accelerated in the '60's, and when us baby-boomers got into academia it was allover.  The politicization is nothing new to anyone who has been in higher ed as long as I have. Note that I personally abandoned the far left when it became clear that it was hypocritical, authoritarian, deceptive, manipulative and had no real interest in "liberating" people.  It was more interested in manipulating, controlling and buying the votes of  those it was pretending to advocate for.  I put Obama in this category as well as a lot of well-meaning, nurturing and naive people on the left.

TIH: 1755, 1789

John Marshall, the fourth chief justice of the United States, was born in Germantown, Virginia.
Congress passed the First Judiciary Act, which provided for an attorney general and a Supreme Court.