Jack Wakeland

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About Jack Wakeland

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  • Birthday 10/06/1960

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  • Location Chicago, Illinois
  1. My new blog on crime

    I'm a little late in dropping this encouraging note. You've got a good blog started and it is an area that is rich. I like the title, "Crime is a Choice." I read your first two posts, "crimes of passion" and "drugs and crime" and learned something new: that in many domestic murders the killer attempts to “undo” his crime by removing the body from the evidence of violence. Very interesting. As an opponent of all victimless crime laws, I used to hate the claim by conservatives that drugs cause crime. But it is absolutely true in one respect. There is a very, very strong drug-crime link. That link is not limited to the circumstances of drug selling and drug buying being legally defined as crimes. The link is not limited to the low-effort, elicit income that draws the most ruthless violent criminals to 'compete' with each other over sales turf. Do you know (or have you known) criminals? Knowing a reformed criminal is a very helpful experience in understanding the criminal mind. I've have two close friends who used to be habitual property criminals. One of them exhibited all of the characteristics of the criminal mind that Stanton Samenow writes so precisely about. Amongst acquitences and friends of friends, I've seen that there are a lot of men -- and very surprisingly, once in a while, a woman -- who exhibit all of the mental habits of violent criminals. I have a long-standing acquaintance who used to be a major drug criminal many, many years ago. He quit the business because he saw that he'd have to learn to be a violent criminal. The man is not a close friend and never will be because even though he righteously turned against his drug gang, he's never reformed his mind: he's never worked an honest day in his life. One cannot ever trust a man who has no productive purpose. From one of these men that I learned, by his own frank recollections, the drug-crime link. In his youth the man was a serious property criminal both before and after he began a destructive crack habit. He's a twelve-stepper who's been sober for 8 years (ever since I met him) and credits himself (and his god) for his moral reform regarding alcohol and drug abuse...but he still doesn't see that in the history of his choices, his choice to stop being a thief came first, years before, he was able to successfully quite abusing drugs. This man does not exhibit any of the characteristics of the criminal mind outlined by Stanton Samenow...but he's described to me in detail all the facets of that psyhcological state. He lived in that state until he was 38 years old. The issue of moral reform is very close to the hearts of Objectivists -- in adpoting Objectivism, we've all done some of it ourselves. The reformed property criminals that Stanton Samenow writes about and many of the reformed addicts I've met have engaged in very similar types of psychological re-training. In both types of men, I've found the answer to the questions: Can a man who is fundamentally evil recover himself? Can he learn how to live honestly? Can he attain happiness? Is there some part of him or some part of his life that is permanently destroyed? (My heart is open to reformed addicts and property criminals. But it is closed to violent criminals...the methodology for how to deal with that type of man is war. Some of the best discussions on the statistical correlations of what wins that kind of war in a society of laws can be found in John Lott's More Guns, Less Crime. The only effective weapon, Dr. Lott finds, is incarceration. A violent criminal behind bars is the only criminal who does not victimize members of the general public.) I would second RayK's suggestion. If you admire a writer, write to him. As an amateur writer I can attest to the fact that a writer enjoys few things as much as a reader who appreciates him.
  2. Dr. Peikoff on The Mosque in Manhattan at Ground Zero

    How can I possibly join you in feeling horror over the murders of "multiple school principals"..."for telling off Muslim children?" How can I even accept your claim. I don't know what is happening in France. Am I to base it on your unspecific say-so? What I know is from the British press -- who were all over the 'uprisings:' riots and car burnings, in banlieues in Paris, the banlieues in Lyon and in other parts of the country. The British papers recoiled in horror over a particularly ugly series of assaults by an Algerian youth gang on a train out of Marsailles (if I recall it correctly). Great Britain has similar (but less severe) problems with 'dis-affected' Pakistani youth. A criminal psychologist in Great Britain, who write under the name Theodore Dor has penned many fascinating and horrifying essays about the descent of British 'street culture' into barbarism. It is a form of barbarism with which those of us who have lived in large America cities are very familiar -- very, very familiar. So all I can guess about France is from what I know has happened -- and continues to happen -- with America's black ghettos...and from what I read in the British press...and the very little I can glean from the French press (my French language skills are very, very bad.) Please tell me: how can I disregard the entire French press corps? They would actually suppress the murders of school teachers and principals? (I didn't search for stories about murders by Muslims. I searched for stories about the deaths of teachers and school principles and found none over the past year.) If there have been murders, where are the stories? What about the families of the dead? What about witnesses? They have never spoken with the British press (who are less restricted and eager to publish shocking articles about France)? And these witnesses of unreported murders: they have never spoken to the America's conservative press -- who are ravenous in finding this kind 'un-reported' or 'under-reported' and in reporting on it with great insistence and great persistence. Do you know of a specific murder? 'Just' one? Please tell me about it...no...scratch that...please tell the other people on this thread about it -- people form whom you have some regard and have some intellectual respect. What is your objective evidence that Muslim youth have been murdering school teachers or principles over insults to the youth Ummah of France? Oh...if you think banlieues are the most criminally-infested neighborhoods in the Western World, come visit me. We'll go to the city -- downtown Chicago is a 40 minute drive from my place. We can spend a weekend in August at the Best Motel on 6535 S King Dr. We can stroll up to Woodlawn and down 67th Street, stop and sit on the curb and sip malt liquor from brown paper bags for a few hours before midnight on a hot summer night. I don't know if you're an American or if you've seen much of this country. We have our banlieues, too. Sadly America invented them. France's are a second-handed version of them. (In many ways the British and European 'street-thug culture' was inspired by and copies what was 'developed' here in America's black and hispanic urban ghettos.) I'd invite you to the Robert Taylor Holmes or Cabrini Green, but we have been reforming ourselves over the past 15 years. We've torn them down. But even with reforms and improvements -- including the imprisonment of over 2 million Americans -- 2/3% of the entire population -- things are still very very rough. There is less brawling and a little less in the way of muggings in America's streets. But there are a lot more armed robberies and two to three times as many murders. In America's banlieues, riot police don't get gasoline bombs chucked at them or peppered with bird shot and have to go to the emergency room to have burns treated and shot plucked out. The Police get shot in the head with 9mm pistols and a couple dozen are sent to the morgue every year.
  3. Dr. Peikoff on The Mosque in Manhattan at Ground Zero

    The couple of comments posted over the past two days about how the Muslims are overrunning Europe are ABSURD. This is defeatism born of cultural problems in Europe that have nothing to do with the Muslims (i.e., a sense of decline and doom due to the loss of world leadership after WW II, slow economic growth, the more widespread acceptance of modern German philosophy, Europe's more collectivist leanings, and the general aging of the European population). I know this is a vain appeal, but -- please -- don't get me wrong. I understand that the serious Muslims of Europe are causing plenty of problems. They're committing all of the horrible misogynist crimes they commit in their home countries. They're making numerous death threats for the purpose of terrorizing a dis-armed and defenseless European public (very few Europeans get licenses to possess guns for self-defense in the home and none of them carry pistols on the street like we can legally do in most parts of the U.S.). And, in some cases, carrying them out. (I am particularly incensed by the fact that anti-Muslim stalwarts -- heroes of mine -- in the Netherlands, Denmark, and Sweden live either in a totally defenseless state or live under virtual house arrest. One of the Mohamed cartoonists was attacked in his home by an axe-wielding Islamic jihadist and was forced to flee for his life, locking himself in a 'safe room'...and he had to do it with such haste that he left his 8-year-old niece alone in his living room, alone with the attacker. In America, such an attack could be answered with a hail of bullets. I read the British newspapers quite often, so I was surprised to 'learn' that unmentioned in them. There is a terrible situation going on just across the Channel in France: "Multiple school principals have been assassinated in France for telling off Muslim children." I spent (wasted, actually) about 15 minutes searching English- and French-language papers for stories about these jihad murders, but found none. More defeatist nonsense! Men of Europe: please calm yourselves. You are not about to drown in a rising morass of violent un-integrated immigrants. Look to America. After the de-legitimization of the police and the law by the New Left in the 1970s, we suffered several horrific waves of violent crime. Our society has been permanently cheapened by it, but -- thanks to prisons packed to overflowing with criminals and a general armed standoff -- we've got the situation more or less under control. And our crime problem started with an un-integrated minority among us: a black population -- hardened to violence and every other conceivable outrage -- due to 100 years of merciless oppressed following the North's acceptance of defeat at the hands of a Southern white insurgency. Can you survive the current troubles? Look to America. We did. I will repeat myself -- in vain again -- but the Ground Zero Mosque will not degrade Lower Manhattan into something akin to the Gaza Strip. Lacking specific, actionable intelligence about what the builders will accomplish, we do not yet know how culturally evil the neighborhood they're creating will be. A worst-case scenario is a repeat of London's Finsbury Mosque. If the "Cordoba House" is found to be hosting criminal and warlike conspiracies, it can be shutdown and those involved can be detained under the Congressionally-granted war powers of the "Patriot Act" or arrested and charged with crimes in the ordinary civilian system. In this matter, I do not subscribe to the defeatist attitude either. The "Cordoba House" is a double-edged sword. If, as we expect, it attracts jihadists, they will be coming to a central location that can be readily surveilled and policed. There will be more of them in America, but they will not be better hidden among the attendees of the 1200 or so Mosques that are spread throughout the U.S....or hidden somewhere in the 100,000s of private homes of true Muslims who might shelter them. The FBI, U.S. intelligence services, and the U.S. military are perfectly competent to suppress the potential security threat posed by an attempt by true Muslims to turn the "Cordoba House" into a 'Finsbury Mosque.' Back in 1998, 20th Century Fox released a movie entitled "The Siege." The story was based on the absurd notion that the U.S. would react to a terrorist campaign based in Brooklyn in the same manner as the Russians reacted to the Chechen terrorist campaign: by imposing martial law on New York City, shutting down all entrances and exits to the city, finding all Muslim men of military age in massive house-to-house searches of the Five Boroughs, and interring them -- 10,000s of them -- at a football stadium. I liked the two lead characters played by actors I like, Denzel Washington and Annette Bening, so I recommended the movie to some of my friends. They made fun of me because it was an absurd plot. They told me that the U.S. government would never use the 101st Airborne to occupy an American city. They'd never send in attack helicopters to hit a suspected terrorists hide out -- an auto repair shop in Brooklyn -- with missiles. The American people would never accept the mass internment of all Muslim men in New York City. The movie, my friends told me, was delusional view of leftist Hollywood movie-makers. It's how they think America would react to a Muslim terrorist campaign. But I see -- here -- that the opinion that we should consider ourselves to be in a state open warfare against Muslims in America is not fiction. Happily, my side holds the majority. Our government will play out this low-grade form of warfare with some finesse, limiting damage to innocent bystanders. And will continue to gain world-wide advantages by finding 100s of million of Muslim allies who aren't true believers are are willing to cooperate with us in finding the millions who are actively at war with us; slowly grinding down and demoralizing the true believers in the process. And -- please -- don't tell me that cannot ever happen. That's just more defeatism. That divide and conquer approach is already well along the way to being accomplished in Iraq. And the example of Iraqi Shiites participating in their nation's infant republic has inspired the "Green movement" of Iran -- a movement that seeks to end the system of Wilayet al-Faqih in Shiite Iran.
  4. Dr. Peikoff on The Mosque in Manhattan at Ground Zero

    Dr. Peikoff recommended that the Ground Zero Mosque be bombed if it is built – evacuated first, and then bombed. And a legal disclaimer had to be added after the end of Dr. Peikoff’s statement to make it clear that such a bombing should be done only by duly authorized U.S. military action. I’m sorry if it seemed to be “scare tactics” for me to bring that up to you. Maybe it was. After all people have exchanged ideas about the statement in this forum for nine days without bringing it up even once. But can we have such an extended conversation about Dr. Peikoff’s statement without mentioning the thing that made it so particularly memorable? If it was beyond the pale to bring up this part of Dr. Peikoff statement, does that mean that you oppose bombing the mosque? Does anyone in this forum think that the U.S. military should bomb the mosque?
  5. Dr. Peikoff on The Mosque in Manhattan at Ground Zero

    We know what the symbolic meaning is of building a mosque at Ground Zero. It is an attempt to establish "Islamic ground" in perpetuity near the site of one of Islam's greatest modern 'victories.' At least one of the prayer rooms will have an unobstructed view -- from two blocks away -- of the Ground Zero site. (To pray to Mecca, however, Muslims will have to turn to their left and face away from the view...so that part the "Cordoba House" builders couldn't figure out.) But aren't symbolic gestures just another form of speech. And isn't the best -- and only legitimate -- method of opposition to such uncivilized and warlike sentiments the speech of the opposition? Once revealed to the public and condemned, each and every one of them in detail -- won't the hostile statements coming from Muslims gathering at the "Cordoba House" serve to boost our war effort? Isn't up to us -- the secular opposition -- to win the argument. Isn't it up to us to turn their house of barbarism and evil into a liability for their cause? Are you confident in the grandiose and delusional ambitions of the Islamists? Are you confident that they are correct and far-sighted regarding the value of this facility in their cause? I'm not. Quite the opposite. Every time the Muslim presence becomes more oppressive, it has generated spontaneous resistance; even in the Muslim World; even in the Sunni Triangle in American-occupied Iraq. You point to "actions to implement...thoughts" as being the criteria of what makes a criminal idea a crime. I agree. But what are the actions that the Islamist leadership of the "Cordoba House" project has in mind that constitute a criminal conspiracy? Theirs is a conspiracy to elevate Islamist speech. They would like to provoke a hostile response from us non-believers and we should give them at least as much as they expect. But in addition to a hostile response, the "Cordoba House" Islamists hope that they will provoke legal and government action in which force is used to them. They hope to pose, once again, as Muslims who have been oppressed and aggrieved, once again, by the West. And they hope to use that manufactured grievance to undermine the certainty of the West that we are in the right. (That is one of the points that Walid Shoebat made in his PJTV interview). But in following the precepts of justice and the rule of law -- as I suggest -- there will be no premature or unjust shuttering of their mosque. And their objective will be denied. A good prediction of what practical results the "Cordoba House" Islamists can expect is presented in an article by Stella Paul of the American Thinker. In this article, Stella Paul points to the experience with the "Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center," a giant mosque built five years ago in downtown Boston, with the full support of the City (including a subsidized price for the land). The mosque immediately attracted all of the worst Islamists in the metropolitan area. The enjoyed an orgy of anti-American and anti-Western denunciation. The founder of the organization was imprisoned for 18 months for his terrorist ties before they even broke ground for the mosque and 'cultural' center. A prominent fund-raiser is a booster of the Muslim Brotherhood. A top donor was indicted for taking cash from al Qaeda's top fundraiser. And the son of one of the organization's leaders was arrested for plotting massacres at several shopping malls in the Northeast. The organization that seeks to build the "Cordoba House" claims that they have exactly the opposite intentions. They claim that they want to promote peace and harmony between Islam and the West ...just as the founders of the "Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center" claimed. So these kinds of activities we've seen in Boston are probably what we can expect from the "Cordoba House." But, unless Congress passes a special anti-terrorism law -- like the "Patriot Act" -- the U.S. government has no legal authority to restrain the speech and association that might happen at "Cordoba House" before it happens. (I would be skeptical that such a measure could be drawn narrowly enough to avoid future mis-applications of that law to targets that have no connection to the current legally undefined conflict America has with the Muslim World.) Instead we should -- we must -- wait for their conspiracy (petty and delusional, evil and dangerous as it is) to begin. For the organizers of the "Cordoba House" the conspiracy is indirect. Theirs is a conspiracy to enable others to hatch conspiracies. They want to provide a place for fellow Islamists to meet and publicly and peacefully assemble. They want these fellow Islamists to elevate Islamist speech...which is always and everywhere warlike and unpeaceful. They hope that the warlike and unpeaceful speech might -- in turn -- attract real 'men of action,' the truest of the true believers. They hope to attract a critical mass of these 'men of action' who will leave the "Cordoba House" as secret cells spread across America. They hope that these cells will prepare for 'acts of resistance' to Western 'oppression' -- i.e., the mass murder of American non-believers by American Muslims in a sustained terrorist campaign. My answer to send scores of FBI and CIA undercover agents (typically loyal American Muslims) into the "Cordoba House" to place any or all who go there under intensive surveillance. If the CIA could persuade all of the terrorists of Pakistan to gather publically in one house under assumed identities, it would be an special operations dream -- a soft target ready for the carving. Having such a thing happen on American soil is a not a dream. It's a nightmare -- a repeat of London's Finsbury Mosque. But infiltration, surveillance, arrests and military detentions, civilian trials, and military tribunals: these are the lawful and legitimate weapons Americans should use against the "Cordoba House." If the Ground Zero Mosque it is -- indeed -- found to be a hotbed of Islamist activity, the just grounds would be established for shutting it down and imprisoning (or militarily detaining) its organizers. In the case of the Ground Zero Mosque, we should be looking to this approach, not the prior restraint of free speech and free association.
  6. Dr. Peikoff on The Mosque in Manhattan at Ground Zero

    Thank you for this question. It can't be answered unless one throws out the law. The constant reiterations of the evils of Islam I read here are true. Mohammed's religious writings as the potentate of Medina are a handbook for dictatorship -- which make them darkest and most foul ideas in all the Catacombs of religion. But these reiterations don't answer the question. Can belief ever legitimately be considered a crime? Again, I urge any Objectivist who thinks the answer might possibly be "yes:" Look in the mirror. You are the next man who will be accused of this crime. Oh...a note to those who think the law does not apply because we're at war: The building of the Ground Zero Mosque does not have the power to change Lower Manhattan into a breakaway province of Islamic rebellion presided over by a Mufti issuing fatwas for the deaths of our Jewish entertainment executives and populated by mobs of insurgent Muslim men who impose sharia law on our beautiful women. Lower Manhattan will not become the Gaza Strip. Therefore, keep you bombs in your bomb bays. That's New York City you're talking about down there. The law -- military or civilian -- applies.
  7. Dr. Peikoff on The Mosque in Manhattan at Ground Zero

    I welcome chance to correct the one error I made in my July 8 post. Leonard Peikoff never said that all Muslims should be stripped of their religious liberty. The only thing that Dr. Peikoff favored in his statement was that construction of the Ground Zero Mosque should be prohibited by administrative government action -- or if that failed -- that the mosque should be bombed. I stand corrected. It is from others who were making posts on this forum in reaction to Dr. Peikoff's statement, that I became aware that there was an argument that all mosques should be torn down. It is from this forum that I became aware of the sentiment that all Mohammedans should be prohibited from...well I don't know what it is exactly that they're supposed to be prohibited from... Someone will have to tell me. After carefully reviewing Leonard Peikoff's ban it or bomb it statement and carefully reading most heavily publicized pro- and con- arguments for Dr. Peikoff's position that were made by Diana and Paul Hsieh, Amy Peikoff, and Ed Cline I discovered that the most important issue isn't being discussed. Yes, there is an issue about the private property rights of the anti-American Islamist mosque builders. Yes there is a 14th Amendment issue about whether the Federal Government should intervene to stop local 9/11 survivors from banning the mosque. And, yes, there is a rule-of-law issue about whether or not the mosque builders can be deprived of their right to property for no reason other than because they're anti-American Islamists. (The mosque builders have not been accused of providing material support to outlawed Islamic terrorist groups.) The one right that the major pro- and con- arguments keep skirting is the central issue of liberty that joins all of these other more minor issues together: What is at stake is whether or not the Ground Zero mosque builders have a legitimate claim to religious liberty; which means a legitimate claim to build a structure that expresses their religious ideas, to freely speak inside that structure to express their religious ideas, and to freely associate with fellow members of their religion inside that structure. Do they have that right even though they follow the most evil religion currently being practiced in the world: Islam? Do they have that right though their religion has -- in effect -- declared war on the United States and perpetrated a long train of murderous attacks, including the massacre of 2750 people in the World Trade Center? This case is not about perpetually un-enforced elements of the 5th Amendment, as El Cline implies. No, it is about one of the few liberties that is well recognized and well-protected in America: The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Some have already done, it, but I would be much obliged if those in favor of banning or bombing the Ground Zero mosque would make their arguments on that basis.
  8. Dr. Peikoff on The Mosque in Manhattan at Ground Zero

    Some one has to come to the defense of peaceful Muslims and I'll join Dan Cross in doing it. Dan is the first honorable -- AND RATIONAL -- man to stand up for them in this forum. Muslims have the right to erect shrines in which to conduct their prayers. They have the right to do this on any property they own. Where their call to prayer from the minarets does not disturb the peace, they have a right to sing it out load to the street – as much right as the Christians have to their church bells. Do I abore Islamic doctrine? Yes. Mohammed’s peaceful altruist-collectivist and spiritualist writings from Mecca are as evil as any religious doctrine in the world. Mohammed’s criminal-warrior writings from Medina – written when he was its dictator – are the most evil religious writings in the world. They may be the only religious texts written by a sitting tyrant and they provide a code of criminal conduct and a call to invade, plunder, and massacre with an intensity that Attila the Hun could not surpass. But all Muslims do not follow the writings from Medina. Many go against traditional Islamic approach of giving priority to Mohammed’s later writings (the doctrines of Medina) over his earlier ones (of Mecca). The figures available from opinion surveys show that Muslims living in the Muslim world oppose the existence of Western Civilization by margins of 80 to 20 in the West Bank; 70 to 30 in Pakistan; 60 to 40 in Iraq. In immigrant communities in the western countries one finds the highest proportions of peaceful Muslims. In a survey conducted immediately after the Tube bombings in London, Muslims were equally split – 50 to 50 – over the question of whether or not they’d like to see Western Civilization erased from the earth. I keep these, the innocent Muslims, in mind when I say I oppose Leonard Peikoff’s call to strip all Muslims of their religious liberty and to strip their religious organizations of all property rights. I also keep the evil ones in mind, too. I will not be a part of any effort to use the power of the state – or any other form of physical force – to abridge that any part of the religious freedoms of Muslims when they are practiced peacefully. Evil, anti-Western Muslims have every right to form peaceful associations, to peaceably assemble, and to worship their god in the same irrational – and peaceful – ways that Christians do. We have good laws and good enforcement efforts to search for and stop terrorist conspiracies and to search for and stop material support for terrorists overseas. The mosques of Brooklyn and Dearborn are constantly attended by undercover FBI agents. (FBI agents who are – almost to the last man – Muslims fighting to defend America.) Because the attacks of 9/11 and the hundreds and hundreds of other terrorist acts against Americans, there are few reasons for any judge to deny warrants for searches and surveillances. And, since 9/11, Congress has created special police powers that permit warrantless searches and surveillance, the use of the international intelligence agencies, and the use of military surveillance and combat capabilities. These anti-terrorist policies and the laws that support them are the only kinds of government measures that may be legitimately applied to the anti-Western Muslim living in America. By contrast, the prohibition of a mosque two blocks from the World Trade Center site, would be a tyrannical act; and act of oppression. We Objectivists are members of a small and unconventional philosophical viewpoint. We are viewed by many Americans as evil. Our cultural intentions are – in fact – subversive: we want to transform American society to match the image of our ideas. Do not be so quick to advocate the violation of the rights of free speech and assembly of another small and dis-favored American group. Do not be so quick to advocate their transformation into second class citizens. We could find ourselves in similar shoes. Our conferences could just as easily be banned. Our intellectuals could just as easily be thrown off our nation’s college campuses (as they used to be). And this website could just as easily be blocked by order of the government. What kind of society do you want to see America become, anyway?
  9. The Good of Carrying Guns

    Ray, You raise a very interesting issue here. The policies that many employers have adpoted (especially in states that have shall-issue concealed carry licenses) the formula "your right to carry a gun ends at my property line." They search private automobiles to find guns (in many cases using the local police to do it) and to fire any employee who has one in his car. One's right to bear arms does not end at someone else's property line. It does not end anywhere (except where government-supervised special security zone exists, e.g., past the metal detectors in the airport or inside a prison). What happens at the proprety line is that the right of the property owner to control the use of his land and his right to not associated with gun carrying people comes into play. There are borderline cases here. The case of employers searching employee's vehicles for the purpose of imposing a pacifist anti-gun agenda is one of them. One's motor vehicle is own's own private property. Enclosing things within (or attaching things to) your car is your property right. This right does not end when you enter someone else's street or parking lot. The property right of that the owner of a street or a parking lot does not extend to the contents of you motor vehicle. The extent of his right is to set conditions of the use of his property and violations can be enforce only two ways: 1. ejection for tresspassing (with or without the help of the police -- with the possibility of criminal prosecution reserved only for eggregious cases of tresspass) 2. refusal to associate with some one who will not follow the conditions of use (e.g., firing employees who violate a no-gun-possession policy) What the owner of a parking lot cannot do is to search your car without your consent. Doing so is the felony crime of burglary. Enlisting the police to do the searches does not legalize the burglary, it merely componds it by adding to it another crime: the blatant violation of the 2nd and 4th Amendment rights of those who have parked their cars in the parking lot. The National Rifle Association is currently pursuing legal action and seeking legal protections against employer searches of private automobiles. If you look into what the NRA is doing on this issue; however, they've got themselves entanged in the anti-rights welfare-state view that employees own their jobs and cannot be fired without just cause. In several states the NRA has drafted laws that would prohibit employers from firing employees who are caught with guns at a gun-ban facility. It is obviously every employer's right to fire anyone for any reason...including evil reasons like because they're black or because they carry guns. --------------------------------------------- As a (one-time) instructor and someone who maintains a little bit of training in this area, I would strongly encourage anyone on this list who legally carries a handgun for self-defense (or, who feels compelled to illegally carry a handgun for legitiamte self-defense) to get some combat handgun training and to periodically practice the moves at home (with a visually-verified UNLOADED gun). Marksmanship training is 10% dry fire/90% live fire (it can be very hard to learn). Combat training is 90% dry fire/10% live fire...plus force-on-force training (e.g., with paintball guns)...(It is very easy to learn, easier than basketball) Most CCW holders don't practice drawing their guns and reholstering -- let alone practice engaging targets quickly, shooting on the move, seeking cover, shooting moving targets, changing magazines, clearing jams, etc. (For a guide on the proper movements for combat handgun, I strongly recommend the books of Gabe Suarez. But I even more strongly recommend taking at least one class from a reputable teacher. In an era in which 40 states have shall-issue concealed carry permits, these kinds of classes hvae been sprouting up everywhere.)
  10. Drop in Oil Prices in 2008

    The question you asked is very interesting and it should be answered. The answers from all quarters (in this thread and by modern liberal and conservative journalists) is to catalog all of the forces that could possibly drive the price of oil down and then conclude that one has explained it. But that doesn't. The reason why oil prices dropped in the second half of 2007 is that the forces that drove the spectacular price rise in the first half of 2007 left the stage: 1. Vast sums of capital loosely invested in commodities based on enthusiasm and momentum-buying -- vast sums of capital that were created by Greenspan/Bernanke easy money policies of the '00s. (Check out Yaron Brook's comments on this topic. He's right on the money.) 2. Demand rising to within approx. 5% of the engineering limits of the world's oil pumping capacity -- in a world in which most of the oil pumping capacity is controlled by criminal regimes, at least one of whom (Iran) repeatedly threatened to start a war by "militarily" disrupting the oil shipments of all of its neighbors. In the 2003 - 2006 time frame, speculative investors jumped from a real estate market that had been driven to reach high temporary gains through momentum buying to the stock markets in order to get better returns. But, in making the jump, they created temporary momentum-driven gains in the stock markets. By the beginning of 2007, these temporary gains in the stock marked had played out (i.e., the supply of greater fools -- like me -- had dried up). So, in search of double didget annual appreciation rates, speculative investors jumped into commodities and into credit default swaps. But commodities and credit default swaps are a pure zero-sum game. The trillions that these speculative investors threw into these markets pushed prices up by pure momentum. In 2008, in less than six months these investors created trillions in unreal self-referential "wealth" on paper by force of the masses of their own enthusiastically pledged captial. A good indication of this was the fact that the price of oil did not go up all by itself. Oil and copper and beef and chromium and corn and just about every other publically traded commodity doubled in just a few months. And the non-publically-traded commodities? Well, the prices for steel and concrete and many other mundane commodities took a giant leap upwards, too. What is it that we call a general rise in prices? Inflation. These prices rises indicated that there was too much paper money out there. The dramatic fall of the dollar against other national currencies over the period 2003 - 2007 proved that the primary driver of this world-wide inflation in commodities prices was inside the United States. Implicitly government-backed mortgage lending -- mortgages purchased or that had the potential to be purchased by Fannie Mae and Freddy Mac -- and their securitization and use in the general global credit markets (a practice also led by or backed by Fannie Mae and Freddy Mac) led to the inflationary production of debt in the private capital markets. And the Fed under Greenspan and Bernanke happily accommodated this inflationary spiral with low federal funds rates for bank reserves and by pilig on their own increases in the money supply through the purchase by their Open Market Committee Some of the most dramatic, inflation-driven prices rises in commodities occured with oil. But the most dramatic was copper. While the whole culture was abuzz with concerns about "Peak Oil," there was also talk of "Peak Copper." As it turns out, the world will not see peak oil for at least 15 more years (and that is likely to happen so soon only because of the incompetence and malfeasance of state-controlled and state-operated oil companies that possess three-quarters of the earth's proven reserves). But the fact of the matter was that in the summers of 2007 and 2008, world oil consumption reached 82 - 84 million bbl/day at a time when oil analysts believed that peak oil production capacity was only about 87 - 90 million bbl/day. This approx. 90-95% capacity utization rate in a world in which most production was in incompetent or malevolent hands raised rational financial concerns over where oil prices might go in the future. And the threat of war over free passage of oil shipments throught the Strait of Hormuz added a rationally-calculated $5 - 10/bbl premium to the price. The engineering limits and political concerns -- something that I informally dubbed "Geopolitical Peak Oil" -- caused oil prices to rise at rates slightly above those of other commodities that were, themselves, climbing upwards at hyper-inflationary rate driven by too much paper money created by the glut of (implicitly) government-backed mortgages and mortgage-backed securities. THAT paragraph, I'll admit, was quite a mouthful...but it sums up the explosive rise in oil prices from the winter of 2007 - 2008 to the summer of 2008. The collapse of world credit markets led to a sudden $15 trillion shrinkage of world-wide credit (and the paper money that government-backed credit illegitimatly generated). The destruction of all this paper "capital" in the months of September and October erased momentum-buying in oil futures and led to the immediate and total collapse of oil prices. The general disruption and economic slowdown caused by the collapse of the inflationary credit bubble will, of course, lead to a reduction of world-wide oil consumption...and has decreased the utilization rate of the world's oil pumping facilities to below 90%. This is a secondary effect of the collapse of inflationary credit. After the collapse -- now and for the next year or two* -- weak demand will be the dominant issue for oil prices going forward. * or three or four or five years...if our government continues to destroy the privately-controlled economy with "experiments" in government ownership.
  11. It's Election Day!

    I'm with you. The expansion of the welfare state that we're all about to experience is a legallized crime. Its perpetrators should not be given the respect due to civilized men. Unfortunately you (and I) will have to watch our tongues. As of January 20, saying something that is one degree more antagonistic than "I wish the bastard ill" regarding Sen. Obama physical well being will become a federal felony.
  12. Mandatory Community Service = America now fascist & Fuehrer is Obama

    Yes. This is the (almost) plausibly constitutional way to legally enforce "service" on young people. Establishing a cerntain number of hours of "community service" as a requirement for high school graduation is a very common practice now. In a private school with its volumtary attendance requirements this would not be a violation of the young people's rights...it would just simply be irrational and evil. But in a public school where attandence is enforced by truancy laws -- and the whole thing is funded by tax dollars -- this is the initiation of force and should legally be considered to be a crime. It should be a serious felony punishable by ten years or more imprisonmnet. "Change" started long before Sen. Obama was elected President. Unfortunately, this kind of change was the centerpiece of John McCain's bid for the Republican nomination in 2000. Unfortunately, Sen. Obama's predeliction for committing legalized crimes is not nearly as limited as Sen. McCain's. With Speaker Pelosi and Majority Leader Reid (and all the Soros-founded 527s "nutroots" organizations) egging him on, Sen. Obama will do damage to liberty. Expect Obama/Pelosi/Reid to target free speech because it is "divisive."
  13. Obama's crowds

    With the market crash, the whole focus and mood of the electorate has dramatically shifted. Like a jackals sensing possible weakness in the practical reputation that private property and free markets have earned over the past 25 years, the leadership of the Democratic Party (and the Main Stream Media) have declared all-out war on Wall Street and the entire "investor class." They crow even more loudly about how capitalism has failed as they crowed about how the war in Iraq was already lost. Citing the fact that a Republican president, and his appointees at the Treasury and at the Fed – as well as the main body of the Republican leadership in congress – have engineered the largest “emergency” government intervention in the economy since Nixon’s wage and price controls, the leadership of the Democratic Party now threatens to subject the nation to a revival of Roosevelt’s "New Deal." In response, libertarian-leaning Conservatives in the Republican Party woke from their slumber and have attempted to recast the campaign as a referendum on economic liberty. These capitalist sympathizers -- including literal passers by like Joe the plumber and Tito the construction contractor -- have taken over the McCain campaign and temporarily drowned out Sen John McCain's statist “me-too” condemnations of greed on Wall Street. The conservatives are trying to put Barack Obama on the spot for supporting a wholesale expansion in government schemes to redistribute wealth and income. And Barack Obama is not backing down. He answers the conservatives' charges with ridicule, dishonestly pretending that he does not want to re-install the Johnson-era regime of steeply-graduated income tax and large-scale “transfer payments” to the listless, the lazy, and the unemployable....while simultaneously advocating exactly the expansion of income re-distribution that the libertarian-leaning Conservatives accuse him of. In addition to the government’s forced purchase of shares of investment banks, counting the votes of those shares as controlling regardless of their number, and de-capitating the leadership of America’s financial institutions with executive salary caps – socialist programs sponsored by Democrats and centrist Republicans, the Democratic Party leadership is looking for more power. Yielding to their deepest philosophical impulses the Democratic Party leadership is experimenting with the idea of open political warfare against America’s “investor class," the 50% of American households that own corporate stock. After all, the Democratic leadership appears to feel, if those who seek personal financial independence don’t vote to perpetuate Democratic Party in power, why not prune their numbers by…say…converting our private 401K accounts into a program that “invests” in the U.S. government? The market crash has loosed the jackals of statism. The malcontented mood of the majority in our majority-rule nation is likely to deliver an Obama win and a general Democratic Party sweep of the congressional, gubernatorial, and state house elections. It is likely that Democratic Caucus the Senate will increase to 56 or 57 seats…enough to sustain most votes for cloture. And at the center of this cultural spectacle is Barack Obama and his crowds. It is not a good philosophical recommendation for a leader that he speaks of shared feelings for an hour at a time to the rapt attention of crowds of 35,000, 50,000, 75,000 and 100,000 people at a time. No shared political policy, no shared philosophical vision for the future of the nation…no, all that this demi-god offers the people in those crowds is the opportunity to be there, in person, to see the first black man in America get elected president. (In case you haven’t already done it, for an excellent tongue-in-cheek presentation of the totalitarian-cult-of-personality moments that keep cropping up in his campaign, go to Obama Messiah.) The strangest moment for Barack Obama and his crowds was when he decided to take his world-historical campaign to…Germany…to Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate. When a confused German government refused that venue to Sen. Obama, they offered him another from which eventually addressed a world-historical crowd of 200,000 Germans and wowed them as the the first black president in a recently racist America …woops, did I say he was already president just then?… Barack Obama delivered his acceptance speech for the Democratic Party nomination to a crowd of 84,000 complete with a classical (world-historical-style) backdrop. What will be the backdrop to his final…and inevitable…victory speech? And how many people will be required to fulfill the vision of president-elect Obama’s world-historical achievement? Chicago’s Grand Park and a crowd of 100,000s will transfigure. Chicago’s lakefront. In the midst of this wave of Hegelian emotion over the end of racism in America, one conservative wonders if the presumption that Sen. Obama is “secretly sensible" might actually be a rationalization for accepting a leader who is, at his root, a neo-Marxist? Should a rational individualist sit this election out? Not on your life.

    Amen! There is not distinction between Altruist-Nationalist-Stoic and Collectivist-Socialist demagogue who sometimes thinks he's a demi-god? There is no distinction between a Republican Party run by welfare statists and a Democratic Party run by opponents of free speech and specialists at election fraud? Only if you believe in the World of Forms. Here, in the real world where we are half-salve and half-free, there is a difference.
  15. ARC Opening Event in Washington DC

    I would offer my congratulations to Dr. Brook directly, but I don't think he would accept them right now (due to our difference over the war). So I will do it here, instead. Yaron Brook has been doing a superb job in this crisis for capitalism. In the past six weeks he's penned 11 excellent press releases and he's presiding over this exxellent series of lectures in Washington D.C.; speaking against statism in the shadow of the tyrants at Treasury, the White House, and Congress. With his clear spoken delivery, quick wit, and ability to field questions on a wide range of topics, Dr. Brook has earned a place on the cable T.V. and radio talk show circuit. He will be very effective in those venues during this crisis. In the midst of the market crash, no man has stood up to defend capitialism who isn't sure of himself. All who support capitalism for its practical value, but are unsure of the moral ground on which they stand have fallen silent. Today only Objectivists and libertarian conservatives who have read some of Ayn Rand's writings are speaking out against gigantic "emergency measures" that violate our property rights and threaten to derail our personal plans for our persuit of happiness by perpetuating this recession for several more years. Finance is Dr. Brooks specialty. We who value liberty are fortunate there is such a man to argue our case in this test for Wall Street's -- and our -- freedom.