#NeverTrump & Austin Petersen

May 8, 2016

I recently had a friend, a conservative I greatly respect, sincerely ask that I reconsider my #NeverTrump position. He explained that due to the President’s role in nominating Supreme Court Justices, I need to realize that while ideals are good, sometimes “live gets in the way” and that as one of those times, I needed to “take one for the team in order to win”. Below is my response followed by a video explaining my take on the current state of conservatism, the Republican Party, and why I’m supporting Austin Petersen for President.

I know you are coming from a place of sincerity. I could not agree more that this election is much more important than who is in the White House for the next four years. Indeed, it is because of my long-term outlook and concern for the Constitution and the God-endowed liberties it protects that I am so strongly opposed to Trump and what supporting him says about the GOP and its conservative base.

Think. Is Trump principled? Is he a man of character? Can you point to one thing he has done in his life, beyond offering up cheap rhetoric in the past couple years, that convinces you that he holds an ounce of commitment to the Constitution or its principles? I’ve looked….and I cannot. He is not a good man. His rise to political popularity has been characterized by capitalizing upon the worst of people. Their anger. Their fear. Their ignorance.

I do not believe that Trump offers any more security in regards to nominations of Supreme Court Justices than Hillary Clinton does. What I do believe is that if conservatives “take one for the team” as you suggest and help Trump become the leader and the face of the Republican party, it represents the death of any surviving remnant of conservatism it has left. I believe, as President Lincoln did, that the Constitution “must be maintained, for it is the only safeguard of our liberties”. At this time, I feel my refusal to support Trump and to support a third-party candidate is the best way to do preserve conservatism and the Constitution it exists to protect. If conservatism suffers a blow at the hand of others, I will serve my days seeking to rebuild it the best way I know how. I ask that you at earnestly and sincerely seek to understand my rationale.

 


California: Upside-down & Backwards (Water Edition)

April 9, 2015

California: Upside-down & BackwardsSo a few days ago I was eating at a Chipotle in Lubbock, TX when I overheard three Texas Tech students discussing water management and the California drought. Of course I couldn’t miss this opportunity to educate others, especially Texans, of the awful condition of the Golden State. I ended the discussion with a warning to watch and learn from California’s mistakes to ensure Texas remains great and free.

But what are California’s mistakes? Due to time constraints we’ll narrow the long list to just water-related issues. With the looming threat of steep fines for taking a shower that the government deems too long, California’s drought is an opportunity for Californians, as well as the rest of the country, to step back and review some of the contributing factors to this dire predicament.

California has failed to make significant improvements to its water infrastructure since the early 1970’s. You see, new canals and desalination plants cost money, and in a state that spends $25 Billion each year on illegal immigrants there’s not much left for lessor priorities like water. So while many are demonizing the agricultural industry or green-lawn’ed residents, I feel the blame for the embarrassing financial mismanagement of the state lies squarely with the voters at large. CA_high_speed_railNo better example exists than California’s voter-approved high-speed rail project. Forbes contributor Thomas Del Beccaro recently offered humorous commentary on “The Great California Train Shortage”. ucla-water-main-break-flooding-01The 20 million gallons of water lost in a main break near UCLA last summer demonstrates that cash-strapped-induced neglect of water infrastructure extends to cities and municipalities. In a state that has seen a dozen droughts since 1850 yet prides itself in its wine, cheese, oranges, etc, etc…voters who pass high-speed rail and elect sanctuary politicians like Gov. Jerry Brown and a long list of state democrats are at the root of the problem.

Making things worse are environmentalists and judges putting the Delta Smelt, an endangered 3-inch fish, over the human demand for fresh water. Hundreds of billions of gallons of fresh water is forced to drain into the ocean instead of being diverted for human use. While we know the disregard smelly hippies have for showers, maybe the remaining Californians will re-evaluate the sacrifices environmentalists have made to protect the Delta Smelt.

But while better infrastructure and wiser priorities would certainly help alleviate the suffering from drought, the underlying fact exists that fresh water is currently a limited resource and there are no guarantees that drought may force tough decisions to be made as to the use of water. The question is if allowing a centralized government to pick winners and losers and dictate the allocation of such a critical resource is the only, or best, solution. Writer and economist Robert P. Murphy suggests a crazy alternative:

Wouldn’t it be nice if there were a social system that allowed humans to decide in a decentralized manner how much of a resource they wanted to use? But wait, because of the scarcity, there would need to be some type of information feedback mechanism, so that people only used the resource when it was really important to them, and they economized more stringently during a time of reduced availability. Furthermore, we couldn’t just survey people, because then they might lie. If only there were a way for them to signify their desire to consume more of the resource, that would force them to be honest about it and would help foster social cooperation.

Of course he’s referring to a free-market economy in which supply and demand drive price instead of government fiat. Scarcity and sustained demand mixed with competition creates an environment that encourages innovation. While Californians may be unable to exercise control over the weather and the scarce nature of water, if they so choose, they can certainly realign their priorities and seek free-market solutions to greatly alleviate the pain.


Why Gun Control Advocates Hate Facts

February 7, 2013

As expected, during his State of the Union address, President Obama made an emotional case for stricter gun control measures. To those who have actually researched the issue, it was no surprise that Obama left out any statistics pertaining to the effectiveness of gun control. However, what was surprising was that in his emotional appeal for gun control Obama referenced the murder of Hadiya Pendleton in Chicago, where gun control is the strictest in the nation while at the same time gun violence is also the highest in the nation. It is apparent that statistics are stacked against gun control when even the emotional arguments made in favor of it point to damning statistics.

In 2012, with over 500 murders, Chicago was the murder capital of the nation. Pendleton’s murder being the 44th in Chicago this year, Chicago is on pace to surpass last year’s staggering murder rate. Illinois is the only state that does not allow concealed carry in some form. For 28 years handguns were banned in the city until the Supreme Court ruled the ban unconstitutional in 2010. In spite of the handgun ban being in place for 23 years, in 2005, 96% of the firearm murder victims in Chicago were killed with handguns.  Chicago murders committed with handguns averaged about 40% higher than it was before the ban took effect. “Assault” (definition pending) weapons and “high-capacity” (aka standard capacity) magazines are currently banned in Chicago. In order to obtain a Chicago Firearm Permit, which costs $100 and must be renewed every three years, a law-abiding citizen must complete a training course that includes at least four hours of classroom training and one hour of range time. The cost for these courses typically range from $100 to $150. Applicants must also pass two separate background checks.  Gun owners must also file a registration report every year. With such strict gun control yet high gun violence, one would think Obama and other gun control advocates would avoid any reference to Chicago at all costs. In contrast with Chicago, in spite of similar socioeconomic factors, being a major center for illegal activities such as the drug trade and human trafficking, and much more lax gun control, Houston’s murder rate is 29% less than Chicago’s.

As Senator Feinstein introduced the Assault Weapons Ban of 2013, one would think you wouldn’t be able to get gun control advocates to shut up about the success of the 1994 10-year federal ban on “assault” weapons. However discussing the previous ban (which included a “high capacity” magazine ban) is largely avoided because it was a failure. Even the very Koper / University of Pennsylvania study Feinstein likes to say proves the ban’s success actually said, “we cannot clearly credit the ban with any of the nation’s recent drop in gun violence. And, indeed, there has been no discernible reduction in the lethality and injuriousness of gun violence”. John Lott, author of More Guns, Less Crime, provided an even more thorough analysis of the assault weapons ban by looking at rape, robbery, and aggravated assaults statistics on top of gun murder rates. Unlike the Koper study, Lott’s research accounted for state Assault Weapon Bans and 12 other different types of gun control laws. Lott’s research concluded these bans had no impact on violent crime rates. Despite gun control advocate Sarah Brady’s warning that “our streets are going to be filled with AK-47s and Uzis” if the ban wasn’t extended, according to FBI statistics, since the sunset of the assault weapons ban, both the national violent crime rate (-16%) and murder rate (-14%) has dropped.

There is widespread agreement with the reason the National Research Council provided as to why assault weapons bans are not effective, which is “the relative rarity with which the banned guns [are] used in crime”. Only 2.6% of all murders are done with rifles. Even if you only care about those murdered in mass shootings because the fear factor is milked by media and anti-gun liberals, of 62 mass murders wherein 5 or more people were either shot or killed since the early 80’s the majority involved handguns & shotguns. 14% were with with other semi-automatic rifles.

A more telling statistic is that of those 62 mass murders, 42 of the shooters had a mental illness or history of mental illness. The most consistent statistic is that “with just one single exception…every public shooting since at least 1950 in the U.S. in which more than three people have been killed has taken place where citizens are not allowed to carry guns.” A telling example is the mass shooting at a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado that left 12 dead and 58 wounded. The movie theater chosen by the killer, Cinemark Century 16,  was neither the closest to his apartment nor the one with the largest audience. Of the 7 movie theaters showing “The Dark Knight Rises” on July 20th within 20 minutes of the killer’s apartment, Cinemark Century 16 was the only one where guns were banned.

Statistics from  D.C. (vs. Utah), Russia and Holland (vs. Norway), Mexico, Brazil provide evidence that more strict gun control laws don’t work. In the video below, Lee Doren does a great job of exposing the mistakes and manipulations of statistics in an effort to promote stricter gun control.

If the above statistics didn’t provide a big enough challenge for gun control advocates, Obama’s own experts in the Justice Department’s research and evaluation agency, the National Institute for Justice, said in a memo that a ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines “is unlikely to have an impact on gun violence” but that it could be effective if coupled with mandatory buyback programs with no exceptions. But of course Obama has promised not to take away existing (currently legal) guns and gun control advocates have strained to depict such concerns of legal gun owners as paranoid, despite the fact that it has happened previously and New York and Missouri politicians have recently shown support for legislation that would confiscate previously legal “assault” weapons.

So if you actually take the time to do research and look at statistics, the real problem is gun-free zones and mental health, not the 2nd amendment.


Our Foolish Founders: The 2nd Amendment

December 16, 2012

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Whether it’s in Aurora, Kansas City, or Newtown, liberals seem anxious to jump at every shooting tragedy as an opportunity to call for stricter guns law. To a liberal, there’s no time to be wasted for mourning or investigations when there is a political agenda to be pushed. The ultimate source of contention and the greatest obstacle standing in the way of these anti-gun liberals is the 2nd Amendment of the Constitution.

We hear liberals like Bob Costas rant about the evils of hand-guns as they assign them the primary blame for murders as one might blame matches for arson or forks for obesity. However instead of focusing on the many holes in liberal logic, I would like to focus on how I interpret the anti-gun arguments.The 2nd Amendment of the Constitution states that “the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed”. So when liberals talk about the need to make it more difficult or or altogether impossible to legally own guns, or certain kinds of guns, this is what I hear:

Right to bear arms? Uninfringed? Stupid founders. They obviously thought weapons would never innovate beyond flintlock pistol & musket. Those silly founders carelessly included the 2nd amendment in the Bill of Rights without considering the risks of allowing citizens to be armed. Probably because people weren’t really violent back then. Those dumb founders didn’t realize how must respect psycho murderers & tyrants have for the rule of law, and thus would never skirt a law that says ‘This gun is not allowed’ or ‘Don’t bring you gun in here’. Good thing us liberals are so much smarter & can right the wrongs of our founders & the 2nd Amendment.

What changed since the founders adopted the Bill of Rights? Did they not have mentally unstable people back then? Was there no violence, or murderers? Or is it just that in the modern day, there is no longer a threat of tyrants taking advantage of an un-armed people? That apparently while the common man has lost the privilege & responsibility to be armed, world leaders have become so enlightened & civilized they would never exercise force & oppress a free people?

When a liberal talks about guns you will likely hear them say that the only purpose of guns is to kill. They speak as if they have no concept of righteous defense. That there is never a justified reason to kill. I wonder why they think police officers, who are there to “serve & protect”, carry weapons. Who convinced them that the common citizen must outsource their personal defense & completely trust the government instead of also being able to defend ourselves? Certainly not our founders. There are plenty of examples in history of tyrants turning on & using force against their own citizens, even very recently in the middle east. On top of citizens protecting themselves from other citizens, to lull ourselves into believing that our own government would never turn against it’s own citizens is a grave error. Our founders certainly believed it was possible.

ImageTo put ultimate trust in government to protect it’s citizens and for them to yield up their right to defend themselves defies the wisdom of history, which our founding fathers were all too aware of when they included the 2nd amendment. While the founders allowed the constitution to be adapted and interpreted, the Bill of Rights represents the core of what it means to have freedom & liberty. I can only imagine the disappointment & righteous anger our founders have toward anyone, foreign or domestic, that would try to diminish or interpret those God-given rights out of existence.

I leave you now with a couple humorous yet wise videos by some of my favorite common-sense intellectuals:


The History of U.S. Federal Taxation

September 29, 2012

While many modern liberals, such as Obama, express open disdain for the Constitution and the “negative liberties” contained therein, every so often you will me one that actually attempts to use the Constitution to justify today’s ever-expanding federal government and an equally increasingly progressive income tax to attempt, in vain, to fund it. Its apparent to me that a history lesson is order.

A federal income tax was originally not part of the Constitution. Article 1, section 2, clause 3 of the Constitution allowed only for “direct” taxation that would then be re-distributed to the states based on population. Attempts to  It is important to remember that at the time of it’s signing, this new constitution that allowed a federal government with a limited role and limited taxation was a response to a failed attempt, the Articles of Federation, that illustrated our founders’ hesitation and fear of a large federal government. An attempt for a federal income tax that wasn’t apportioned to the states was ruled unconstitutional in 1895 and a non-apportioned federal income tax did not become a part of the Constitution until the 16th amendment was ratified in 1913.

Our founding fathers viewed private property rights as an integral part of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness and thus knew that due to its coercive nature, taxation is a special exception to the right to private property and therefore its utilization should be limited to assist in the most legitimate roles of the federal government. States were given more freedom in terms of taxation because our founders knew that there is typically a higher degree of accountability within local government. And since citizens have the ability to move freely, when citizens of…oh, I don’t know…lets just say California…feel their private property rights are being unjustly oppressed that can move to…oh, I don’t know…Texas.

Liberals either don’t understand the Constitution and our founders’ efforts to limit federal government or they openly disdain the Constitution and therefore hope to change it.


Libertarianism VS. Liberalism

August 14, 2012

Recently a friend of a friend, upon finding out that I was a fan of Ron Paul, proceeded to explain how “libertarianism takes liberalism to the extreme”. After summing up the libertarian mindset as “leave me alone, don’t tax me, don’t provide services for me”, he enlightened me on the flaws of the free-market, explaining that a free market lacks a “mechanism to control the consumption of scarce resources” and that without government intervention there is nothing to deter what he referred to as “idiot” marketplace decisions.

Of all the libertarians I’ve met (they are easy to find in the military) I’ve never met one that doesn’t acknowledge the role of taxes and regulations. The key is what is their purpose.

Libertarians believe their constitutionally-sanctioned existence is for the sole purpose of protecting liberty (including economic liberty…ie the free-market). Reasonable regulations are necessary to ensure others (including companies) don’t encroach upon another’s rights. For example, the toxic waste of one company must be regulated to keep it’s improper disposal from damaging the resources available and enjoyed by other individuals & companies.

Taxes are necessary to provide a limited number of services and infrastructure that cannot be effectively provided by non-government institutions (due to conflict of interest etc.).

Libertarians believe that beyond this limited scope taxes & regulations encroach upon the right to private property and to make ones own choices (an increasingly extreme idea to today’s liberals). Libertarians believe that beyond this limited scope it is the individuals actually doing the work and producing, not some detached government bureaucracy, that has the solutions. Liberals on the other hand believe people (normal people not the “anointed intelligentsia” as Thomas Sowell calls them) are too stupid to be left on their own without the help of the government to tell them how to live and to organize society. Every decision as mundane as how to carry home your groceries or what size soda to order to the very personal and serious manner in which you manage your own health must be made for you or at least influenced by the government. This is why people who have no problem with & even enjoy being completely dependent upon the government flock to the Democratic party (home of this brand of liberalism). So you can see how irritating it is to hear libertarianism so mis-represented and to hear the outlandish claim that there is any greater connection than a similar use of letters.

In regards to free-markets, I’ve never heard a libertarian claim that the free-market is flawless (such use absolutes is seriously irritating) only that it has less flaws than any other system where the government steps in to manipulate the marketplace. It’s almost comical to hear someone say the free-market cannot address scarcity. Ever heard of supply and demand? If a resource is truly scarce than (ceteris paribus) the price increases and demand drives innovation. Whale oil, for example, was replaced by kerosene. The problem is eco-fascists have an irrational believe that a scarcity exists when it clearly does not. Since the free-market isn’t promoting the agenda their irrational belief demands, they must us the government to force the changes the free-market is not yet ready to make…and they’ll do it at a great economic loss. Since most of these eco-fascists view humans as a plague upon the earth, the very real and cruel damage caused by such economic loss actually fits in nicely with their irrational belief.

As for “idiot” marketplace decisions (hedge funds, NINJA loans, etc.) there is another important economic concept that apparently slipped through the cracks of economic illiteracy. We call it “risk”. With higher risk comes the greater potential for both profit and loss. The problem is the “too big to fail” concept made popular by G.W. Bush (you’d be hard-pressed to find a libertarian who agrees with the bailouts) and continued by Obama effectively removes the risk associated with these “idiot” decisions. So it was Fannie and Freddie (gov’t sponsored entities) and the liberal push for low-income housing that was the primary factor of the sub-prime mortgage collapse. And a legal system crafted by lawyers’ unions with politicians (of both parties) in their pocket has removed much of the individual responsibility that helped managed “idiot” marketplace decisions on the individual level.

Here is a more entertaining explanation of how government interference in the marketplace worsens the boom & bust cycle & only promotes cronyism. (*Note: Libertarian / Austrian economics is represented by Hayek)

UPDATE: I found the following video in the recommended section of YouTube and it perfectly explains many of the points I made above.


Purpose-Filled Mothers & The Modern Feminist

May 19, 2012

Last Sunday was our fist Mother’s day since we found out we would shortly become parents (Click here to see our YouTube announcement). So understandably, as I contemplate the many ways our lives will change due to the birth of our first child as well as the current changes to my wife’s body, I am humbled and honored to be married to such an amazing and selfless woman. For nearly a decade Julie has worked in the Veterinary field. Working with animals is something she not only loves, but something she if very good at. She will shortly trade her career with animals to become a full-time stay-at-home-mom. It is a trade she decided long ago she would make and one she looks forward to and welcomes.

When Julie was 15, she had an appointment with her academic counselor to discuss her academic goals and how they could be aligned with her career goals. Based on Julie’s description, this counselor perfectly encapsulated a liberal’s ideal blend of academics and modern feminism. A woman who heroically escaped the traditional and limiting roles of marriage and children so she could dedicate herself to molding the minds of the future and likewise save women from such burdens and misfortune. The counselor asked her the typical questions you would expect in such a situation.

“So, Julie, what interests you? What do you want to be when you grow up?”

While young Julie understood the value of having goals as well as back-up plans she succumbed to her teenage desire to be bold and a bit rebellious.

“I want to have kids and be a mom.”

“But what to you want to do to make money? For your career?”

“I want to be a stay-at-home mom. My husband can work and make money.”

I almost get giddy as I imagine the horror Julie’s response produced within her counselor. Try as she might, teenagers are a stubborn breed, and the counselor was not able to save my future wife from a life looked down upon with disdain by the modern feminist and their session ended in mutual frustration.

While I find this confrontation amusing, I am concerned that modern feminists like Julie’s high school counselor have become more vocal and socially accepted than ever. Women like Democratic pundit Hilary Rosen who last month criticized stay-at-home mother of 5 Ann Romney for expressing concern and opinions on economic issues because she had “never worked a day in her life”. While Hilary Rosen’s comments were publicly denounced by Obama and DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, looking deeper reveals that such disdain for traditional family values and stay-at-home moms is a sentiment deeply rooted amongst liberals and that apologies and denouncements were nothing more than political and strategic damage control. Hilary Rosen isn’t someone who snuck her way in front of a camera who’s lack of experience drove her to make such a tactless statement. Quite the opposite. Rosen is a PR expert hired as a communications consultant by the DNC to coach Chairwoman Wasserman (who remember condemned Rosen’s comments) on media appearances. Since Obama has been in office Rosen has visited the White House 35 times, 5 of which she met personally with Obama. Michelle Malkin did a great job detailing the history of stay-at-home-mom vitriol by liberal woman including Hilary Clinton and Teresa Heinz-Kerry showing us that Rosen’s perspective on stay-at-home moms and traditional roles are as welcome and accepted amongst the inner circles of liberal politics as she is.

Modern feminists often disguise their efforts to diminish and devalue the role, significance, and worthiness of motherhood by masking their campaign as an effort to empower women or as concern for their well-being. A recent article, for example, cited a study that shows “stay-at-home moms are more likely to have felt depression, sadness, anger and worry.” My immediate thought is that if the goal is to avoid an increase of those feelings at all costs, why have kids to begin with? That is the increasingly adopted attitude promoted by these enlightened “me”-based studies. I found it telling that this article about motherhood & women seeking purpose mentions nothing of the purpose or fulfillment of motherhood itself.

The article advices stay-at-home-moms who clearly don’t have enough purpose or value in their current role to find a job outside of the home and that “if, for a period of time it’s not in the cards to have a job, find a purpose.” I image a stay-at-home mom holding an infant in her arms with a toddler playing on the floor looking around the room thinking, “where can I find purpose”. Really?! Obviously balance is healthy, but again, the article mentions nothing of the purpose and fulfillment of motherhood itself.

In a truly enlightened article, Julie B. Beck instead focuses on the priceless and irreplaceable (day care, or otherwise) role of mothers who “do not abandon their plan by succumbing to social pressure and worldly models of parenting.” Instead of belittling stay-at-home-moms by suggesting they must seek for a real (or more fulfilling) purpose, Beck praises mothers who “are selective about their own activities and involvement to conserve their limited strength in order to maximize their influence where it matters most.”

Obviously circumstances differ and adjustments and exceptions are sometimes unavoidable. However I share Thomas Sowell’s sentiment (below) that the need for both parents to work is often manufactured for the sake of economics wants and are a reflection of priorities.

One of the biggest excuses for lax parenting is that both parents “have to” work, in order to “make ends meet.” Yet, within living memory, it was common in working-class families – black and white – for the husband to work and the wife to stay home to raise the children. Why didn’t both parents have to work then, in order to make ends meet? Were people so much richer then? On the contrary, they were much poorer. Today’s families living in poverty have things that average Americans could not afford then.

If people in those days had lived the way we live today, of course it would have taken both parents to make ends meet. They would probably have had to put the children to work too. People make choices and have their own priorities – and adults take responsibilities for their choices and priorities. It is a cop-out to say that they are “forced” to have two-income families just “to make ends meet.”

I am eternally grateful for mothers who do their very best to be stay-at-home moms and understand that the role a mother plays in the life of their child cannot be effectively delegated. I pray that moms never forget that their selflessness and sacrifice in motherhood, and the added emotional strain that comes with it, is infinitely more valuable and thus holds greater purpose than any paycheck with a set dollar amount.