Friday, June 29, 2018

Newspaper Shooter Jarrod W. Ramos Unaffiliated with Either Party

Maryland newspaper shooter Jarrod W. Ramos was apparently registered to vote but unaffiliated with either political party.  According to Maryland voter records there is a Jarrod W. Ramos registered in a Maryland town about 25 miles away.

Left-Wing Extremist Wins Democratic Primary in NY 14th Cong. Dist.

The Wall Street Journal reports that the Fourteenth Congressional District in Queens, which is in Astoria, near to where I grew up, and the Bronx, has elected a left-wing extremist in its Democratic primary. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez defeated moderate Democrat Joseph Crowley. The Journal opines that this will influence the Democratic Party to move further to the extreme left, and it observes that is not a cause for celebration. If the Democrats regain control of Congress, there will be further impetus toward totalitarian solutions, authoritarianism, political correctness, and socialism.  

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Edwin Vieira May Have a Point

Edwin Vieira's point about the absence of state- and local-based militias in America has made me think about the Second Amendment. I'm swamped but eventually want to read Vieira's book. The Second Amendment says this:

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

As Vieira points out, liberal opinion about the Second Amendment since the 1960s has emphasized the individual right to bear arms, but the Second Amendment is not couched in the language of individual rights. Rather, it makes an affirmative statement about militias, namely, that they are necessary to the security of a free state.

As Vieira notes, this reasoning was based on the writings of John Trenchard in "An Argument, Shewing that a Standing Army Is Inconsistent with a Free Government and absolutely destructive to the Constitution of the English Monarchy."

The Second Amendment makes a positive assertion about freedom, which I suspect because of cognitive dissonance, is almost universally overlooked.

The Second Amendment makes this argument: If there is no militia, then there is no freedom. Since Americans largely ended the state militias in the early 20th century, according to the Second Amendment we no longer have a free state--or at least one that is secure.

"Cognitive dissonance" refers to the tendency to avoid accepting contradiction. Since we have been trained to believe that America is a free state and that the Constitution is the document that protects that freedom, we tend to overlook the affirmative claim that without a militia, which we lack except ceremonially, we are not free or that freedom is at risk. Nevertheless, the language is plain.

The lack of interest among liberals in the reconstitution of state-based militias and the institution of universal military training (not necessarily service, but training) is that there is a large inconvenience to being trained and that universal service requires an element of coercion. As well, we tend to confuse individual self-indulgence with freedom.

Freedom does not mean that we are free to be paid without working, and it does not mean that we are free to live in a secure state without contributing to its defense. The voluntary, pay-for-service standing army is coercive because taxes are coercive, and they are necessary to support the standing army.

A citizens' militia is also coercive, but it removes the monopoly on violence currently held in Washington and downloads it to the state, community, and individual levels. That creates a valid resistance point to authoritarian power, and it also enhances the military as a defensive rather than an aggressive institution.

I don't yet have a conclusion to this line of reasoning, but many pathologies of post-World War I America stem from irresponsibility, the breakdown of the family, lack of self-confidence, and de-masculinization that arises from fatherless homes and politically correct indoctrination in female-dominated schools.

A reconstitution of militias may help reinvent freedom in America and may serve as an antidote to a range of politically correct pathologies.…/anthony-wile-edwin-vieira-o…/ 

Will Cuomo Subvert the Janus Decision?

Betsy McCaughey, writing in the New York Sun, says that Andrew Cuomo is already scheming to subvert the recent Janus decision, but it will be difficult because the decision requires that employees make a proactive choice to join a public union rather than it be automatic.  I've already contacted some competent parties to see whether there is anything I can do to hasten the PSC's cessation of dues deduction.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

SCOTUS Ends Public Sector Unions' Funneling Dues to Dems

The Supreme Court has ruled in the case of Janus v. AFSCME that public employees can't be coerced to pay dues to public sector unions, which lobby on behalf of a wide range of left-wing causes and funnel significant amounts of dues to Democratic candidates.

Astonishingly, some libertarians have expressed opposition to the right-to-work provision of the Taft Hartley Act (an amendment to the National Labor Relations Act). As a matter of common sense, allowing employees to opt out of unions is a major blow both to the Democratic Party and to statism. Today's landmark decision is related not to right-to-work laws but to public sector employees, who are covered by state labor laws

 A significant reduction in public employee dues money may result.  The decision will hamstring the Democrats and reduce the pressure that the unions can bring to expand Medicaid, prisons, and similar big government policies. 

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

America Needs a Militia

This interview  of Edwin Vieira is instructive.  His discussion is based on his book The Sword and Sovereignty: The Constitutional Principles of “the Militia of the Several States.”  Vieira holds four degrees from Harvard, including a Ph.D. and law degree, and as an attorney he has argued landmark labor cases.  I have had a couple of small interactions with him.  As well, Mark Mix, the head of the National Right to Work Committee, has spoken to my classes, and Vieira has worked directly with him.

Some of Viera's points are:

-All competent Americans belong to the Constitutional militia. The chief exceptions involve physical and mental incapacity. The males-only limitation, which was prevalent in the 18th century, no longer applies, so all able-bodied and psychologically fit Americans are members of the militia. That is true legally because the state-based militia codes are  still in effect.

-John Trenchard, in the 1690s, made the case that a standing army is incompatible with liberty. Whoever holds the sword, the ultimate force in society,  exercises sovereignty.  Since the US is a self-governing republic, the people need to hold the sword.  Delegating this authority to the federal government is equivalent to delegating sovereignty to an elite special interest or tyrant.

-Current approaches to homeland security are incompatible with freedom, self-governance, and the Second Amendment.  A true Constitutional militia is the basis for true homeland security.  The Second Amendment says that a well-regulated militia is necessary to the security of the a state. In other words, only when the people hold military power can the state be secure and free.

- The average person is the object of control of the current homeland security institutions; he is not a participant in them. Hence, America has adopted police state tactics: surveillance, propaganda, lies, indefinite detention, and ultimately assassinations committed by the executive branch without judicial review.  These practices are unconstitutional and incompatible with freedom.

-The current homeland security system directly contradicts the vision of the founding fathers.

-The National Guard is Constitutional, but it is not a militia.  A militia conforms to the historical patterns of militias that existed in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.  Vieira says that there are 17 principles associated with a well-regulated militia.   These  include universal service and all militia members' owning their own firearms.

-The militia, although it still exists on paper, withered in importance because of the Dick Act, also called the Militia Act of 1903 (32 Stat. 775),  and The Efficiency in Militia Act of 1903.”  The Act separated organized and unorganized militias. This distinction is unconstitutional.

-Vieira argues that the pro-freedom and pro-Second Amendment  movements have erred in emphasizing the individual right to bear arms, which Vieira says is certainly part of the Second Amendment, but only a small part.  The main purpose of the Second Amendment is to insist that well-regulated militias are necessary to the defense of a free state; in diminishing the importance of the militia itself, the debate has centered on individual rights rather than a full understanding of the founding fathers' vision of freedom.

-Vieira argues for a renewal of legitimate militias that are similar to the current Swiss militia system. To adhere to the Constitution, the states would need to establish universal militia service requirements and training, and the current federal control of homeland security would need to end.  The people should be trained to protect homeland security, which is not a federal function.

Vieira's view is radical, more radical than any left-oriented aim of further centralizing the state and putting more police power in state hands. Institution of universal militia service might lessen the obsession with higher education, which could be in part replaced by militia training requirements for 17-year-olds.

Monday, June 25, 2018

Increasing Likelihood of Chinese Debt Crisis

 One of the effects of the new tariffs is that China may default on its heavy debt load. Chinese provinces and businesses owe more than twice what the heavily indebted US federal government owes as a percentage of GDP (105% to 256%). Much of that debt is denominated in dollars, so if they cannot trade with the US, they may not be able to pay it back because they will be unable to obtain the dollars. In this article Reuters reports that a firm in Inner Mongolia has defaulted on $629 million in "off-balance sheet loans." It's unclear whether the current crackdown by the Chinese federal government on provincial debt is related to the Trump tariffs, and it's far from certain that a general credit crisis looms in China. They are moving in that direction, though.

If China defaults, that will cause financial troubles here in the US because China owes much of the money to US lenders--more than $1 trillion according to Investopedia.