Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Judicial activism or self defense?

In the NY Times:

Once upon a time, liberals looked to the Supreme Court to secure social justice, while conservatives abhorred what they called judicial activism. Now that conservatives are on the verge of locking down control of the court, they can’t wait for the court to enshrine new legal doctrine to achieve victories that have eluded them in the political branches, or, if need be, to validate successes won now that the White House and Congress are in Republican hands. Rollbacks of federal regulation of the environment, the workplace, health care and the voting booth are the constitutional grail for conservatives. Suddenly, liberals are the ones preaching judicial restraint. In the fight for the court, hypocrisy is king.
Are conservatives really asking the court to achieve victories for them or are they merely responding to progressive lawsuits which blocked Constitutional and legal action by the President and Congress?

Is there really any question that the President has the power to block immigration from countries in the name of national security as specifically granted in law?

Is Obama's executive order on DACA recipients really more legitimate than Trump's executive order on the same subject?

Is overturning a federal judge's false claim that M-16s and AR-15s are basically the same rifle (and therefore subject to a ban in direct contradiction of a previous SCOTUS ruling) really judicial activism?

The Washington State Attorney General has filed something like twenty lawsuits against the Trump Administration.  I am not convinced that it is judicial activism when conservatives expect a conservative judge and a conservative court to push back.

This article instead sounds like someone lecturing conservatives about what it means to have real conservative principles, while letting progressives do whatever they want without a word said when they are in power.  Typical that when the left is in power we are told that elections have consequences and when the right is in power we are lectured about how pursuing our agenda is wrong-headed and we are given "advice" on the correct way to be conservative.  Reminds me of leftist commentators back in the Clinton era telling conservatives what they needed to do if they ever wanted to win another election, like any of those opining actually wanted that.

Sunday, September 2, 2018

But who are they?

Saw a reference to the Initiative on Global Markets in a blog comment somewhere.  The poster was referencing some article on the site in support of a particular viewpoint.  Don't remember what the viewpoint was, not sure if I was on his side or the other side, but it made me wonder, having never heard of the IGM, what and who they were.

Short version, lots of economists from around the world.  Over 90 (which presumably means fewer than 100) from Europe and the United States are routinely polled on various economic issues.

My question, however, is from what schools of economics?  I suppose  you could poll 90 Keynesians and get a completely different result than if you polled 90 Frankfurt School or 90 Chicago School economists.  I dug for a while on the site but not being up to speed on the backgrounds of various economists in the Western world, I wasn't able to come to any conclusion.

Anyway, just thought I'd throw it out there.  Just because a whole bunch of people generally agree on something doesn't mean that they are right, just that they agree.

Except for the mode of firing

A firearm primer for you.  Guns have a hammer.  The hammer hits a firing pin.  The firing pin hits the back of a cartridge.  The back of the cartridge lights the powder.  The powder explodes and forces the bullet down the barrel.  Pretty much all guns designed or built in the last hundred and fifty years operate this way. 

The "mode of firing" is where guns differ.  Revolvers rotate a new cartridge into place when you pull the trigger.  Semi-automatics use part of the pressure from the burning powder to slide a new cartridge into place so that you can pull the trigger again to fire another round.  Automatics use part of the pressure from the burning powder to not only slide a new cartridge into place, but release the hammer again and again until you either run out of ammunition or let go of the trigger.  This is the difference and it is pretty key to the designation of a firearm.

The left is so intent on banning all our guns that they choose to either ignore, or be ignorant of, these distinctions.  I tend to believe the former since it takes all of ten seconds to learn the difference (I just explained it in two paragraphs above).

Enter federal district court Judge Young, ruling on a weapons ban by the state of Massechusetts.  Heller, the Supreme Court decision on the Second Amendment, included the opinion that any weapon in common use is protected.  From the Cato blog
Judge Young ... rejecting the argument that an “M-16” is a machine gun, unlike the weapons banned by Massachusetts, and deciding that semi-automatics are “almost identical to the M16, except for the mode of firing.”

See what he did there?  The M-16 and the AR-15 (banned by Mass) are almost identical "except for the mode of firing".  Since all guns operate identically except for the mode of firing, Judge Young presumably would then agree that the state can ban anything they want.  Does your revolver look like the Webley that the British carried through two world wars?  Weapon of war that not only looks identical to your revolver, but has an identical mode of firing.   Is your Colt 1911 identical to the pistol carried by American troops for almost 100 years including mode of firing?  Weapon of war.  Does your AR-15 look just like an M-16 except for the switch that determines mode of firing?  Banned.  Never mind that the whole point of the original law was NOT to ban semi-automatic firearms, but to ban fully automatic firearms.  If your semi-automatic firearm looks and acts just like a fully automatic firearm (except, of course, for that pesky mode-of-firing issue), banned.

Interestingly some states have also added the SKS to the list of restricted firearms, a semi-automatic rifle that has NEVER been built in fully automatic mode.  Ever.  It was designed as a semi-automatic, utilized by many militaries around the world as a semi-automatic, and sold now as a semi-automatic.  Never mind.  Banned.

The good news is that as soon as Judge Kavanaugh is on the Supreme Court they will probably overturn this ridiculous and politicized ruling.

Saturday, September 1, 2018

Lies of the left

Bob Ferguson, Washington state's attorney general, has spent the last two years thinking up ways to sue the Trump Administration instead of working on needed things in the state.  Recently he sued to block the distribution of 3-D printable gun files.

For the record, these are not guns, they are files for a 3-D printer or a CNC machine, depending on which set of files you download.

For the record, the 3-D printable gun is not and undetectable plastic gun as it needs metal parts such as firing pin, spring, and ammunition to operate, all of which can not be made of plastic.  It also can't fire more than one shot without endangering the user, so I guess we could hope that stupid criminals all switch to these.

For the record, it is perfectly legal and  consistent with the First Amendment to the Constitution to share information.  I remember in the 80s and 90s actually having all sorts of interesting books on how to make various illegal drugs, including LSD.  I never had any intention of making any of them, but it was interesting to have and perfectly legal.  The left is now hypocritically claiming that having information is illegal.  I'm curious, what if I have looked at the plans?  Is my head now in violation?  Hmmm.

So why am I telling you this now?  Because I get an email from Ferguson every month or so in which he brags (mostly about his latest lawsuits) and the latest included this gem.

We blocked the legalized distribution of untraceable, undetectable 3D-printed guns to individuals, including felons and domestic violence abusers.
 This is a flat out LIE!  It was never legal to distribute guns and, as mentioned above, they aren't undetectable.  It also isn't legal to distribute guns to felons and domestic violence abusers (although I'm not sure what that last thing is, presumably he means people convicted of domestic violence who have had their Second Amendment rights taken away). 

The untraceable part is interesting, however.  It is currently perfectly legal under federal law to make your own gun.  You can, right now, and subject to state law, walk out to your garage and build a gun using your dremel, drill, and hand tools.  You can then, again subject to state law, take it down to the gun range and fire it to your heart's content.  What you can't do is sell or give it to anyone else without first calling the Bureau of A. T. Firearms, and E. and having them assign you a serial number.  At which point it is both traceable and legal to sell.  So actually, you can (regardless of the outcome of this particular case or the existence of Defense Distributed) make all the untraceable guns you want.  Ferguson and his lawsuit did nothing but tromp all over our First Amendment rights.

If you've ever watched Firefly or Serenity, however, you probably know, "you can't stop the signal".  How exactly they intend to block the distribution of information on the internet I am not sure.    It has been temporarily blocked here:

Defense Distributed

but you can still download them here:

Telling, however, that they have to lie about what they are doing to get people to support them.  I suspect that if they were honest (it is legal to make your own gun; these files allow you to make a really inaccurate and dangerous one with a 3-D printer; better guns are readily available pretty much everywhere) most people wouldn't care.  Instead they have ginned up some fake outrage (remember when Glock started selling guns?), they have the public convinced that this is the biggest threat to the United States since King George sent his armies; and they now have the federal judiciary involved in preventing free speech.  I am confident that this will be overturned, but it is just one more example of why we need to remain vigilant, not matter how tired we are of politics.

If you want to support the cause, there is a cool t-shirt available at the codeisfreespeech link above.  Looks like this.  I already have mine and I just noticed (while fetching this picture) that they have added a "Can't stop the signal" t-shirt.  Sweet.  I guess I am supporting them some more.

Code is Free Speech

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Making progress

More garage cleaning, more stuff on craigslist for free.  Just so it is gone.

Interesting that there seem to be an increasing number of people who just collect free stuff.  I posted up a motorcycle wheel chock, a Harley front spoked wheel, and four trailer wheels.  All taken by people who appeared to have no interest in motorcycles, Harleys, or trailers.  Sounds like they will then try to resell or scrap the parts.  Works for me since I would have to pay to take them to the dump and/or the metal recyclers and not sure I would have made back the cost of gas for going to the recycle place.

Meanwhile, reorganized the garage today so that the bikes are accessible.  The middle one is now running (woohoo).  Need to pick up some screws to hold the air cleaner in place, then I am going to take it for a ride and make sure it keeps running (hopefully not dying far from my house).  It is going up for sale but not until I ...

Use the carburetor bank to see if I can get my other CBR running.  I had sent out the carbs to Wired George in Texas and when they came back there were issues.  Thing one, the bike didn't run and was overflowing gas.  When I took the carb bank apart I discovered that one of the needle jets wasn't in place so that bowl wasn't shutting off.  Pretty sloppy.  Thing two, when I fixed that and put it all back together, it still didn't run.  Thinking now that since the parts bike (pictured) is running I'll swap out the carbs and see if the keeper bike (not pictured but in much nicer condition) then runs.  That will tell me something.  Delays the sale but more important to have all my keeper bikes running so that I don't have projects other than maintenance sitting around waiting for me to have some free time (insert insane laughter track here).

Next, decide which of the two little motorcycle trailers is a keeper and which can go away.  After suitable work and upgrade, of course.

They say this like it's a good thing

I'm getting a bit tired of Cato's incessant "open borders" advocacy.  They haven't yet figured out that open borders and a welfare state are completely incompatible. 

Their conclusion, in case you don't want to read the article, is that immigration will immediately increase by 40% if they win.  Just precisely what we don't need.

Monday, July 9, 2018

The free rider problem explained

Free rider is a term coined by the unions.  It is designed to cast negative aspersions on those of us who choose not to join the union, but benefit from the bargaining in which the union engages.  We are supposedly not paying our fair share of the costs to have our contracts negotiated.

Here's the problem.  It was the unions who lobbied to become the sole bargaining power in the first place.

So step 1, convince the employer that no one else should be able to bargain for their own compensation.  Step 2, label anyone who doesn't want to pay you to be their agent a "free rider".  Step 3, force them to pay for the representation that you didn't want in the first place.

What is the solution?

I don't know.  I can see the difficulty in each employee reaching their own agreement, but on the other hand, that is exactly what has happened in every job I have ever had outside of the military until I became a teacher.

Let me throw one small  example out about how I have not been well represented by the collective bargaining that I was forced to pay for.  A certain amount of money is allocated for each employee for health care costs.  Each employee then gets to choose which plan they want.  If the plan costs more than what is allocated, they pay the extra out of pocket.  Fair enough.

I chose a Health Savings Account plan.  It costs significantly less than the allocated amount.  Guess what happens to the balance.  If you guessed that I don't see a penny of it, you guessed right.  It goes back into the "pool" to defray the costs of everyone else's health care.  I lose about $300 a month ($3600 a year) that should be a part of my compensation.  Why do I get this great deal?  Because the union is the sole negotiator of contracts and that is what they negotiated.

I'll throw up another post soon about the problems with "employer based health care" and why it isn't the best option.  I'll also throw in the teaser that it also isn't the "Republican" plan as I've heard mentioned recently as we ramp up the rhetoric for election season.  It is the default dating back to WWII.  Guess who was the President then.  I'll give you a hint, he didn't have an (R) after his name.