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Showing posts from August, 2009

Bearing Arms and State Sovereignty

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Another state sovereignty push has begun sweeping the nation, and it's centered on our right to bear arms. The Firearms Freedom Act has been passed, introduced, or intended to introduce in a number of states recently. From the official site:
Originally introduced and passed in Montana, the FFA declares that any firearms made and retained in-state are beyond the authority of Congress under its constitutional power to regulate commerce among the states.

Since its passage in Montana, a clone of the Firearms Freedom Act has been enacted in Tennessee, and has been introduced in the legislatures of Alaska, Texas, South Carolina, Minnesota and Florida. Legislators in many other states have announced that they will introduce FFA clones when their legislatures next convene.

The FFA is primarily a Tenth Amendment challenge to the powers of Congress under the “commerce clause,” with firearms as the object – it is a state’s rights exercise.To date, those states that have passed the FFA are Monta…

The Government Can!

As serious as the government wasting resources and abridging our freedoms is, it's important to sit back once in awhile, and have a laugh (YouTube, 3m4s):

The Myth of Health Insurance II

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It just so happens the day after I posted this Thomas Szasz article on the myth of health insurance, the FEE.org daily podcast discussed this very thing. It's about 25 minutes (.mp3) and features economist Paul Cwik. The podcast can be downloaded here.

The Myth of Health Insurance

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About a year ago, I experimented with going into financial services, which included having to get licensed to sell life insurance. To meet the requirements, I had to learn the basics of insurance generally, and what life insurance is specifically. What I learned about insurance is that it's what we buy to protect ourselves against risk. Insurance is simply a way to transfer risk. What is risk? Risk is the chance of loss. Thus, you can't insure against certain losses, only uncertain ones.

In what areas are there the genuine chance of loss? We are all mortal, so there's a chance that I could lose my life, and so my family would lose their breadwinner. I have life insurance to cover my family in the event they lose me through death. I also have automobile and homeowner's insurance to cover my assets in the event of an accident, etc. I even have identity theft insurance to pay for the cleanup required if my name and credit are used without my permission.

Here to explain the …

Climate Change Carousel

By now, you're probably as convinced as I am that "global warming" isn't a problem and that the proposed policies to combat it would be disastrous. In fact, they already are. But I wanted to get this new video by the Competitive Enterprise Institute on here anyways (Viddler, 39m, 52s):

Imagining "Death Panels"

It's not that hard to imagine "death panels". In fact, Oregon's got 'em! (YouTube, 1m, 28s):

Cash 4 Clunkers V

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I saw this a couple of days ago and have been meaning to put it here. I'm sure hospital administrators can't wait for ObamaCare! or worse:
NEW YORK (AP) - Hundreds of auto dealers in the New York area have withdrawn from the government's Cash for Clunkers program, citing delays in getting reimbursed by the government, a dealership group said Wednesday.

The Greater New York Automobile Dealers Association, which represents dealerships in the New York metro area, said about half its 425 members have left the program because they cannot afford to offer more rebates. They're also worried about getting repaid.

"(The government) needs to move the system forward and they need to start paying these dealers," said Mark Schienberg, the group's president. "This is a cash-dependent business."

The program offers up to $4,500 to shoppers who trade in vehicles getting 18 mpg or less for a more fuel-efficient car or truck. Dealers pay the rebates out of pocket, then…

Cash 4 Clunkers IV

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It turns out some of the worst-polluting cars don't qualify for the Cash 4 Clunkers program. Go figure:
Nearly 5 million of the nation's most polluting vehicles were quietly excluded from the popular "cash for clunkers" program after lobbyists for antique auto parts suppliers and car collectors persuaded the government to shut out cars built before 1984.

The restriction has prevented consumers nationwide who own older cars and trucks from cashing in on the $3-billion federal program even though many don't consider their jalopies to be collectors' items.

When the federal government announced the rebates of up to $4,500, Chris Hurst said, it looked like the perfect time to unload his gas-guzzling 1981 Ford F-150 pickup. Hurst, who lives in the Sierra foothills north of Fresno, was surprised to discover his truck was too old to qualify.

"If we could have gotten that rebate, it would have worked perfectly for us," said Hurst, who is now trying to sell the v…

Wind or Nuclear?

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I was in Evanston, Wyoming over the Fourth of July weekend. For the fireworks show, we traveled west to a little city named Lyman. We prefer the fireworks over there to the fireworks in Evanston. On the way, we drove by several new massive windmills. I couldn't help but wonder how expensive they were for how little energy they generated. It seemed like such a waste. Ray Harvey, writing for the Mises Institute has the same sentiments in his latest look at different types of energy, including wind and nuclear:
Windmills are taller than the Statue of Liberty, and they're loud; the Audubon Society calls them "condor Cuisinarts."

Wind comes strongest along mountain crests. Thus the Blue Ridge Mountains, the Adirondacks, the Appalachians, and so on would all have their ridges lined with these monstrosities. Yet environmentalists object to the building of one small nuclear plant, which, compared with a windfarm, is tiny.

Uranium generates gigantic amounts of energy in a very s…

Firearm Licensing Act of 2009 (HR45)

I just got word of a new bill introduced in the House that would give the Federal government all kinds of power over firearm ownership. This bill should be seen as a disgrace to anyone who loves liberty and self-government. A few telling parts from my own perusing:

Licensing Requirement
(1) IN GENERAL- It shall be unlawful for any person other than a licensed importer, licensed manufacturer, licensed dealer, or licensed collector to possess a qualifying firearm on or after the applicable date, unless that person has been issued a firearm license--
Application Requirements
Issuance of License
Renewal of License
Sale or Transfer Requirements
‘(bb) Unauthorized Sale or Transfer of a Qualifying Firearm- It shall be unlawful for any person to sell, deliver, or otherwise transfer a qualifying firearm to, or for, any person who is not a licensed importer, licensed manufacturer, licensed dealer, or licensed collector, or to receive a qualifying firearm from a person who is not a licensed importer, l…

I am a Political Terrorist

I'm not a Republican, but I do oppose Obama's health-care "reform", soo...
The recent attacks by Republican leaders and their ideological fellow-travelers on the effort to reform the health-care system have been so misleading, so disingenuous, that they could only spring from a cynical effort to gain partisan political advantage. By poisoning the political well, they've given up any pretense of being the loyal opposition. They've become political terrorists, willing to say or do anything to prevent the country from reaching a consensus on one of its most serious domestic problems (emphasis added).
This isn't the first time I've been called a terrorist. It seems we are becoming desensitized to that word.

Health-care Reform Fallacies

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I'd like to share two podcasts and an article on the fallacies surrounding our president's latest attempt to "reform" the health-care industry. It is imperative that we educate ourselves on this issue if we don't want to end up like Canada or Great Britain where hospital procedure wait times average 25 weeks and where only animals and people wealthy enough to travel to the US receive first-class medical-care.

The first podcast is from the recent Mises University, held at the Ludwig von Mises Institute. It is a lesson given by Walter Block and is excellent. He explains things in terms everyone can understand. This podcast can be downloaded by right-clicking here, and clicking "Save link as".

The second podcast and article are by the Foundation for Economic Education and feature Freeman editor-in-chief Sheldon Richman. The podcast can be downloaded like the above here. The article is the latest from Mr. Richman, found here. An excerpt:
The New York Times poi…

Cash 4 Clunkers III

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So we know that the Cash 4 Clunkers program has been a nightmare for dealers and a tool used to destroy what would otherwise be good, reliable used cars for the lower and middle classes. Now, as was obvious to some, the AP is reporting that climatologists see the program having what amounts to no effect at all on emissions:
Calculations by The Associated Press, using Department of Transportation figures, show that replacing those fuel hogs will reduce carbon dioxide emissions by just under 700,000 tons a year. While that may sound impressive, it's nothing compared to what the U.S. spewed last year: nearly 6.4 billion tons (and that was down from previous years).

That means on average, every hour, America emits 728,000 tons of carbon dioxide. The total savings per year from cash for clunkers translates to about 57 minutes of America's output of the chief greenhouse gas.

Likewise, America will be using nearly 72 million fewer gallons of gasoline a year because of the program, based…

Cash 4 Clunkers II

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I spoke with another dealer today, this one a new Suzuki dealer, and the first thing she told me was how much of a "nightmare" the program has been for them. Without fail, every claim they submit is denied the first time, and they are forced to re-submit. This is interesting in light of the news that the program ran out of money. It probably has more to do with how many outstanding claims they've been denying and re-receiving.

Also, I asked about the cars traded in. She told me that they are mostly 2000 model year and newer. Out of the 30 cars she has in her "clunker lot," 25 of them would easily sell as quality used cars. Yet, they are forced to destroy them. She said that if they were 1990 model year and older she could understand the benefit, but everything she's received is only a few years old. Our leaders are so wise.

Cash 4 Clunkers

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One of the criticisms I've heard and agree with of the "cash for clunkers" program is that it reduces the number of affordable cars for lower and middle class buyers. This is a valid criticism.

I've spoken with a new Toyota dealer and asked them what they do with the cars that are traded in under this program. They told me that they are required, under their own dime, to drain all of the oil out of the engine and then fill it back up with (something like) "silver nitrate", run the engine until it ceases, and then have it towed to a junk yard.

This seems like an incredible waste of what would otherwise be a perfectly good, affordable automobile to someone in need of such. At least this dealer was unhappy that they were stuck with the labor and tow costs of the "clunker", as well as the entire paperwork process that they must go through to get paid, weeks down the road. And some want government run health-care...

ObamaCare Details

Thought I'd pass on what is claimed to be the details of Obama's health-care reform bill (I put a few in red that I wanted to emphasize):
Page 22: Mandates audits of all employers that self-insure. Page 29: Admission: your health care will be rationed.Page 30: A government committee will decide what treatments and benefits you get (and, unlike an insurer, there will be no appeals process) Page 42: The “Health Choices Commissioner” will decide health benefits for you. You will have no choice. None. Page 50: All non-US citizens, illegal or not, will be provided with free healthcare services.Page 58: Every person will be issued a National ID Healthcard. Page 59: The federal government will have direct, real-time access to all individual bank accounts for electronic funds transfer. (!!!!!)Page 65: Taxpayers will subsidize all union retiree and community organizer health plans (read: SEIU, UAW and ACORN) Page 72: All private healthcare plans must conform to government rules to parti…