PreviewThe people shape their own destiny
-- either as free people or as slaves.

If they remain self-reliant, they stay free.
Ever expanding state power destroys lives.

Government panacea is a defective idea.
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Thursday, July 7, 2016

From the FBI look at Clinton's "private" email

"Although we did not find clear evidence that Secretary Clinton or her colleagues intended to violate laws governing the handling of classified information, there is evidence that they were extremely careless in their handling of very sensitive, highly classified information."

Yeah, the FBI won't suggest action against the Democratic Party candidate -- they think they have to have evidence of intent to commit a crime, like they do when you find yourself speeding through a school zone (sarcasm) -- the FBI report is not the warm and fuzzy thingy the Democratic Party probably wanted.  The FBI found Mrs Clinton clumsy at best, thus just the kind of president the Untied States needs after 8 years of uncomprehending blankness from Mr Obama.

This is a link to the FBI director's press release.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Olando and Pink Pistols

Gwendolyn Patton, First Speaker of the Pink Pistols, an international GLBT self-defense organization, warns people not to jump immediately to the assailant’s guns as the object of blame, but to concentrate instead on Mateen’s violent acts.

“The Pink Pistols gives condolences to all family and friends of those killed and injured at Pulse,” began Patton. “This is exactly the kind of heinous act that justifies our existence. At such a time of tragedy, let us not reach for the low-hanging fruit of blaming the killer’s guns. Let us stay focused on the fact that someone hated gay people so much they were ready to kill or injure so many. A human being did this. The human being’s tools are unimportant when compared to the bleakness of that person’s soul. I say again, GUNS did not do this. A human being did this, a dead human being. Our job now is not to demonize the man’s tools, but to condemn his acts and work to prevent such acts in the future.”

Patton’s concerns are that knee-jerk gun-control efforts may make preventing future events harder rather than easier, as only the law-abiding potential victims will be affected by such laws. “It is difficult, if not impossible, to foresee such an event,” continues Patton, “But if they cannot be prevented, then they must be stopped as fast as someone tries to start them.”

Thursday, June 9, 2016

The American exception

America is history's exception. It began as a republic founded by European migrants. Like the homogeneous citizens of most other nations, they were likely on a trajectory to incorporate racial sameness as the mark of citizenship. But the ultimate logic of America's unique Constitution was different. So the United States steadily evolved to define Americans by their shared values, not by their superficial appearance. Eventually, anyone who was willing to give up his prior identity and assume a new American persona became American.

The United States has always cherished its "melting pot" ethos of e pluribus unum -- of blending diverse peoples into one through assimilation, integration and intermarriage.

When immigration was controlled, measured and coupled with a confident approach to assimilation, America thrived. Various ethnic groups enriched America with diverse art, food, music and literature while accepting a common culture of American values and institutions.

Problems arose only when immigration was often illegal, in mass and without emphasis on assimilation.

Sometime in the late 20th century, America largely gave up on multi-racialism under one common culture and opted instead for multiculturalism, in which each particular ethnic group retained its tribal chauvinism and saw itself as separate from the whole.

Hyphenated names suddenly became popular. The government tracked Americans' often complicated ethnic lineage. Jobs and college admissions were sometimes predicated on racial pedigrees and quotas. Courts ruled that present discrimination was allowable compensation for past discrimination.

Schools began to teach that difference and diversity were preferable to sameness and unity. Edgar Allan Poe and Langston Hughes were categorized as "white male" or "black" rather than as "American" authors.

Past discrimination and injustice may explain the current backlash against melting-pot unity. And America's exalted idealism has made it criticized as less than good when it was not always perfect.

Nonetheless, for those who see America becoming a multicultural state of unassimilated tribes and competing racial groups, history will not be kind. The history of state multiculturalism is one of discord, violence, chaos and implosion.

So far, America has beaten the odds and remained multiracial rather than multicultural, thereby becoming the most powerful nation in the world.

We should remember that diversity is an ornament, but unity is our strength.

Victor Davis Hanson

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Socialist Planning Doesn't Work

Lets deal with this on a purely intellectual level. Why can't an economy be planned by well-meaning federal power? Wouldn't it be possible to assemble the best and brightest minds? Get them who really understand an economy to make things go. Then we can really stimulate the economy form a central plan. Why doesn't that work? It turns out good information is a problem The central planning requires excellent theory and excellent information. That's the problem. The people doing the planning can't have the best information, they aren't involved. The answers they get are always wrong. The policy they implement must fail. The obvious reply is to gather better information! That means get rid of privacy! Still not good enough. By the time the information is gathered, collated and made into a sensible picture, the picture has changed. The target moved. What if the socialists stop the economic 'target' from moving? What if they make everyone wait unto the economic planners are finished with their planning? You can see that is the recipe for a sluggish, even dead, economy. Don't worry about the economic planners satisfaction with this. History shows they will learn not to care how much human misery they make. Central planning will always suffer from poor information. Brilliant theory with garbage information gives garbage answers. What is frustrating to leftist planners is poor theory, even bad theory, if applied at the lowest local level, has superior, up-to-date information and will give superior results. Nothing is more local than the individual. The atomistic practice of free enterprise is consistent with liberty and always results in a people-oriented economy. Okay, forget pure intellect. No matter how well meaning the politicians seem to be, Socialism leads into lingering malaise, poverty and inhuman oppression. If America turns more sharply left, we are in for a long period of malaise. Intrusive government itself is the problem. As long as this government continues to centralize economic power in Washington DC, this economy will wobble toward collapse.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Taught Not to Try

How and why socialism stops the flow of human innovation

The first step in inventing something shouldn't be waiting for government approval. What would ever get done?

"Regulators like to see new types of law and regulation imposed upon the internet and restrict emerging technologies," warns Adam Thierer, author of "Permissionless Innovation."

"From drones to driverless cars to the 'internet of things' ... they want to put the genie back in the bottle of all this wonderful innovation that's out there."

"Think about 20 years ago. If Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook, if Steve Jobs of Apple or anybody from Google had to come to the government, say, the Federal Communications Commission and get their blessing or a license to operate, you have to wonder how many of them would even exist today," said Thierer.

I assume that most would not exist, or if they did, they would be much less useful than they are now. All Silicon Valley innovation would have been slower and dumber had they been forced to apply for FCC permission each step of the way.

Luckily, in the '90s, a Republican Congress and President Bill Clinton gave entrepreneurs a green light. Shrinking regulation was a popular idea then. As a result, American innovation pulled ahead of the rest of the world. We got iPhones, Google and Facebook because competing private businesses ran the show.

In Europe, politicians took control. French bureaucrats created a computer network called Minitel and spent a fortune giving free computers to millions of people. The Minitel computers replaced paper phone books. People also used them to chat, book train reservations, etc.

Lots of people celebrated the "forward-thinking" French bureaucrats, but by 2012, Minitel was dead — replaced by unplanned innovation from America.

Europe treated innovation as something that could be run by centralized industrial policy. Today, many in the U.S. want to follow that example.

Try anything with a drone that involves making money, and government says you have to wait for permission from the Federal Aviation Administration.

"That's not the way innovation happens," says Thierer. "It's a bottom-up spontaneous kind of thing. Create the right environment and innovators innovate."

Government worries about irresponsible things you might do with your drone, like fly it into an airplane. But drones weighs less than seagulls, which hit planes all the time.

"If you base all public policy on hypothetical worst-case scenarios, then best-case scenarios never come about," says Thierer. "We'll never get life-saving or life-enriching innovations."

Fortunately, not everyone listens to regulators. At one hospital, volunteers use 3-D printers to create prosthetic hands for kids with missing limbs. It's illegal to make such a device without FDA approval, but they do it anyway.

Things can go wrong. But we have mechanisms for dealing with mistakes other than requiring licensing that prevents new things from ever being. Parasitic lawyers will sue you if you injure someone. Property rights and common law can be used to punish those who violate the rights of others.

Says Thierer, "There are always risks in the world. But we have ways of solving that without preemptive, precautionary, permission-based controls."

When we consumers see a new invention or new way of doing business, we ask whether we might benefit from it. Politicians and bureaucrats ask whether the innovator got their permission. Can we tax it? Is it fair? Is it safe? Government errs on the side of saying no.

When we assume that everything new must be approved by the state, innovation heads to other countries. Drone-makers now are moving to Canada and Australia, warns Thierer. Driverless car companies are going to the U.K.

It might seem prudent to have a rule that says: Don't try anything new unless we're sure it's safe. It's actually called "the precautionary principle," and that's basically the law in Europe. But reasonable as that sounds, "make sure it's safe" also means: Don't do anything for the first time.

This is a recipe for stagnation. Think of all the innovation that came out of Europe lately. I can't think of much either — Ikea, the wireless heart rate monitor. Of course, they were invented years ago, before regulation grew and European innovation died.

Let's not let it happen here.

By John Stossel