He who places his hope on thee, O Virgin all-glorious, will prosper in all he does.

Inscription on Byzantine coin during reign of Romanus III



Monday, December 02, 2013

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Happy Lent!

No blogging or commenting during Great Lent.


For zeal for thy house has consumed me,
    and the insults of those who insult thee have fallen on me.
10 When I humbled my soul with fasting,
    it became my reproach.
11 When I made sackcloth my clothing,
    I became a byword to them.
12 I am the talk of those who sit in the gate,
    and the drunkards make songs about me.

Psalm 69: 9-12 
RSV

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Stretching The Consitutional Privilege

Searching for relevance and an competitive advantage among consumers aged 18 to 44, the United States Postal Service is taking requests for celebrity stamps and rolling out postal fashions.

The Post Office has outlived its usefulness and should be shuttered. A view on the unconstitutionality of the Service is found here:

In his pamphlet, ;The Unconstitutionality of the Laws of Congress Prohibiting Private Mails,' [Lysander] Spooner highlighted the inefficiency guaranteed by the act of banning competition in postal service. Once there was an enforced monopoly, he stated, postal officials would 'feel few quickening impulses to labor' or 'to move at the speed that commercial interests require.' The consequence would be 'a cumbrous, clumsy, expensive and dilatory government system' that would be 'nearly impossible to modify or materially improve' except by opening it up once more to 'rivalry and free competition.'

But Spooner objected to a postal monopoly not merely or primarily because it cheated the public by requiring an extravagant fee for an inadequate service. His main objection lay in the argument that the monopoly violated individual and constitutional rights in at least three ways. First, Article I, Section 8, of the Constitution authorized Congress 'to establish post offices and post roads,' but it didn’t bar others from doing so as well. The power to create was not a power to prohibit. The Ninth Amendment states, 'The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.'

Second, freedom of the press included—and, indeed, required—the right to privately distribute material to whoever wished to read it. A government postal monopoly would be able to ban periodicals from using virtually the only legal channels of distribution. This control constituted a direct affront to the First Amendment.

Third, a monopoly post office that can control the flow of information inevitably would be used to political advantage by those in authority. In 'Private Mails,' Spooner argued, 'Its immense patronage and power, used, as they always will be, corruptly, make it [the monopoly post office] also a very great political evil.'

Ecrasez l'infame!

"Fire Two Blasts Outside The House"

Joe Biden becomes even more bizarre in his love affair with double-barreled shotguns:

Biden, the owner of two shotguns, has often used his firearm ownership in debates of the practicality of assault weapons. In a particularly offbeat moment today, he explained an imaginary scenario where trouble would come to his Delaware home:

'I said, "Jill, if there's ever a problem, just walk out on the balcony here, walk out and put that double-barrel shotgun and fire two blasts outside the house."'

Continuing the trope, Biden stated a shotgun would be easier to fend off an intruder than the civilian variant of an M-16 assault rifle.

'You don't need an AR-15,' he said. 'It's harder to aim, it's harder to use, and in fact you don't need 30 rounds to protect yourself,' he said.

'Buy a shotgun,' he concluded.

Luby's Massacre Survivor Testifies


Thursday, January 24, 2013

Joe Biden, Self-Defense Expert

Sheriff Joe Rides To The Rescue, Again





Michael Bloomberg's Radiation State

Mayor Michael Bloomberg is defending the NYPD's testing of a high tech device capable of detecting concealed guns at a distance. 

Speaking Wednesday morning at the Urban Assembly School for Applied Math and Science in the Bronx, the mayor compared the scanners to the metal detectors that people have to walk through every day to get into buildings or board airplanes.

'That's something we just have to live with,' Bloomberg said. 'The alternative is intolerable. You cannot let people walk in and potentially carry weapons or bombs into buildings or on an airplane, and we've got to get guns off the streets.'

On Tuesday, Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said the NYPD is working with the U.S. Department of Defense to develop the device that reads a form of natural energy akin to radiation. If something is obstructing the flow of that energy, like a weapon, the device will highlight the object on a person's body.

Civil liberties advocates counter the technology would subject anyone on the street to a virtual pat-down.

So far the technology utilizing terra-hertz imaging can detect weapons from about 13 feet away. Police want to put the device in a vehicle and scan an area for weapons as far as 80 feet away.

Water absorbs the terahertz radiation, and metal reflects it. Concealing a gun behind Granny's hot-water bottle or a piece of mylar painted with metallic pigment would defeat Bloomberg's plan. Short of total concealment, one could break up a gun's outline. Please keep in mind that I'm not suggesting that anyone illegally conceal firearms, yadda, yadda, etc.

Here's my burst of creativity. I'll be fashioning a sheet of aluminum foil into an extremely artistic representation of commonly-used hand gesture that displays a single finger. I'll wear the foil somewhere on my upper abdomen and beneath my outer garments for the benefit of Bloomberg's minions. I hope that Hizzoner will enjoy viewing my artistry as much as I'll enjoy expressing my delight with the inefficacy of his Radiation State.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

An Orthodox View

The findings of two criminologists – Prof. Don Kates and Prof. Gary Mauser – in their exhaustive study of American and European gun laws and violence rates, are telling:
Nations with stringent anti-gun laws generally have substantially higher murder rates than those that do not.
The study found that the nine European nations with the lowest rates of gun ownership (5,000 or fewer guns per 100,000 population) have a combined murder rate three times higher than that of the nine nations with the highest rates of gun ownership (at least 15,000 guns per 100,000 population).
For example, Norway has the highest rate of gun ownership in Western Europe, yet possesses the lowest murder rate. In contrast, Holland’s murder rate is nearly the worst, despite having the lowest gun ownership rate in Western Europe. Sweden and Denmark are two more examples of nations with high murder rates but few guns. As the study’s authors write in the report:
If the mantra 'more guns equal more death and fewer guns equal less death' were true, broad cross-national comparisons should show that nations with higher gun ownership per capita consistently have more death. Nations with higher gun ownership rates, however, do not have higher murder or suicide rates than those with lower gun ownership. Indeed many high gun ownership nations have much lower murder rates. (p. 661)
Finally, and as if to prove the bumper sticker correct – that 'gun don’t kill people, people do' – the study also shows that Russia’s murder rate is four times higher than the U.S. and more than 20 times higher than Norway. This, in a country that practically eradicated private gun ownership over the course of decades of totalitarian rule and police state methods of suppression. Needless to say, very few Russian murders involve guns.
The important thing to keep in mind is not the rate of deaths by gun – a statistic that anti-gun advocates are quick to recite – but the overall murder rate, regardless of means. 

The Vatican Speaks

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Commish On Crime

The Wall Street Journal published an interview with William Bratton, former NYC Police Commissioner. He spoke about decreasing firearms' magazine capacities and enforcing background checks for firearms purchases. He spoke also about enforcing laws against minor crimes. 

The most important feature of his NYPD anti-crime program could have been his "stop and frisk" program:

...the 1968 Supreme Court ruling Terry v. Ohio, which held that a police officer is allowed to stop, question and frisk a person on the street if the officer has 'reasonable suspicion' that the person has committed, is committing, or is about to commit a crime. 'Stop-and-frisk' became a central feature of policing—and now, in a transformed New York two decades later, it has become a matter of controversy. Liberals want it banned. 


Critics of stop-and-frisk argue that it discriminates against blacks and Hispanics, who are the subjects of a majority of stops. Proponents say this simply reflects the demographic realities of crime. Although blacks make up only 23% of New York's population, for example, they accounted for more than 60% of all murder victims in 2011 and committed some 80% of all shootings. The issue is now in the federal courts, where for the first time a judge last week ruled a part of the program unconstitutional.

'Stop-and-frisk is not something that you can stop. It is an absolutely basic tool of American policing,' Mr. Bratton says. 'It would be like asking a doctor to give an examination to you without using his stethoscope.' Critics, he complains, 'always leave out the middle term—stop, question and frisk. About 60 to 70 percent of the stops don't result in a frisk in New York.' As for Judge Shira Scheindlin's recent ruling, he predicts a reversal 'when it goes to the Supreme Court.'

Friday, January 18, 2013

It's Called The Market, Father

Moscow, January 9, Interfax - Officials and businessmen need to win people's confidence back, Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin, the head of the Synodal Department for Church and Society Relations, said.

'Many people now feel alienation from decisions made in the economic sphere. Decisions are made by a limited circle of people. Our president has called the privatization unfair. This doesn't mean that everything should be taken away and divided. We don't need new year 1917 in the form in which it happened almost 100 years ago,' Father Vsevolod told a press conference at the
Interfax central office on Wednesday.

However, he said it is important that people who make economic decisions should feel the feedback from the people.


The priest said it is important to win back officials' and the business community's trust, and in order for that to happen people should be involved 'in the decision-making process in the economic sphere and national economic processes.'


Fr. Vsevolod said the World Russian People's Council, of which he is deputy chairman, has voiced the idea of increasing people's involvement in the resource economy management and the idea of giving people specific guarantees that they will get their portion of revenues from the resource production and processing.


'These ideas need to be seriously discussed because there is a problem: the divide between the elite and the people,' he said.

This particular priest never connects the dots between his praise of the State's control of the economy and the ordinary folks' "alienation from decisions made in the economic sphere". Rather, he's proposing an increase in State management. 

In the economic sphere, in the absence of State corporativist crony capitalism, producers face demand curves that reflect the choices of ordinary consumers. Let's let consumers decide how resources are allocated.

Smith And Wesson Is An Instructive Example




 Back in 2000, Smith and Wesson made an expedient deal with the Clinton Administration to get out from under lawsuits seeking to tap gun manufacturers' deep pockets. S&W's status as a producer of "bread and butter" gun store products didn't protect it from gun owners' severe financial punishment for its betrayal. I fully support the NRA's long reach and longer memory in dealing with politicians who sell out gun owners.

Non-Islamic Finance Is The Key

Turkey's ambitions to be among the top ten global economies by 2023 could mean that the rising star of the emerging market economies becomes 'the China of Europe', according to an economist and a prominent Turkish business woman.

Turkey's economy was the fastest growing in Europe in 2011, growing 8.5 percent (the second fastest after China among major emerging market economies). But in 2012 Turkey, like China, experienced a slump in growth as the global economic slowdown adversely affected its exports and capital inflows.

After what has been seen as a 'soft landing' for Turkey, growth is seen picking up in 2013 with the latest HSBC manufacturing PMI reaching a 14-month high in December as new orders and exports rebounded.

Indeed, while most of Europe struggles to achieve 1 percent growth, Turkey is expected to have 3.5 percent growth in 2013, the IMF said in recent forecasts.

You Must Be Kidding

Cyprus may seem too small for markets to care. But UBS has warned that the Mediterranean island is big enough to cause trouble in the euro zone after seeking a bailout from the troika, made up of the International Monetary Fund, the European Commission and the European Central Bank.

After all, this is not the first time a relatively small economy has threatened to trigger a pan-European domino effect ranging from Ireland, to Greece and Portugal.

'The Cypriot case has all the ingredients to raise questions about the consistency of the euro project again, comparable to -albeit possibly less dangerous than - the Grexit hysteria less than a year ago,' said economist Martin Lueck from UBS...

...So far, it seems that the Troika bailout won't come easily as European authorities have already voiced their concerns over money laundering and tax evasion in the island. European Commissioner for Economic and Monetary Affairs Olli Rehn told the Cypriot authorities that it must take a strong stance against money laundering if it wants aid. Cyprus has denied the allegations and seems reluctant to accept the conditionality attached to the bailout package. 

Cyprus' banking secrecy makes her a target of her high-tax neighbors. Good luck.

Pointed Debate


Virginia Del. Joe Morrissey, a Democrat hailing from the Richmond area, showed off the weapon while pushing for tighter gun-control laws, The Washington Examiner reported.

'A lot of people don't know that in many locations in the commonwealth, you can take this gun, you can walk in the middle of Main Street loaded and not be in violation of the law,' Morrissey said on the floor, according to the Examiner, assuring other lawmakers that the gun was not loaded.

A subcommittee voted Thursday night to kill a bill Morrissey introduced that would have tightened gun controls in the state, The Roanoke Times reported. That bill would have banned the sale of so-called assault rifles and high-capacity magazines.

Christie Disapproves

Blunt-speaking New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, thought to be eyeing a 2016 run for the Republican presidential nomination, blasted an NRA ad that mentions President Barack Obama's daughters as 'reprehensible' and warned it 'demeans' the powerful gun-rights group.

'To talk about the president’s children, or any public officer’s children, who have—not by their own choice, but by requirement—to have protection, and to use that somehow to try to make a political point is reprehensible,' Christie said.

'The president doesn’t have a choice, and his children don’t have a choice, of whether they’re going to be protected or not,' the governor said. 'It’s awful to bring public figures' children into the political debate. They don’t deserve to be there.'

Washington's political elites favor sending their children to posh schools like Sidwell (Obama's choice) because of the abundance of armed security officers. The presence of armed security, by the way, isn't dependent on whether a President's child attends, but is an ongoing amenity for all attending students

Say what you want about someone like Eleanor Clift, the leftist debater on PBS' McLaughlin Group, but she sent her children to DC public schools. Her unhypocritical stance is more admirable than Obama's. 

Christie missed the NRA's point entirely, but what could one expect from a Governor who happily presides over a gun-control paradise like New Jersey?

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Second Amendment Insurrection




The Battle of Athens (Tennessee) in 1946 shows the value of exercising Second Amendment rights against a corrupt and tyrannical government.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

James Buchanan, Eternal Memory

James Buchanan, co-founder of Public Choice Theory (and the so-called Virginia School of Economics), died yesterday. May God keep him in eternal memory!

Here's a nice bio:  http://www.econlib.org/library/Enc/bios/Buchanan.html

 

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Narrowing Inconvenient Speech

The top elected official in Newtown has called on Florida Atlantic University to fire communication professor James Tracy over his assertions that last month's Sandy Hook Elementary school massacre of 20 children and six adults may not have happened.

In an emailed comment, Newtown First Selectman E. Patricia Llodra called Tracy an 'embarrassment' to FAU and all educators for espousing what she called 'his outlandish conspiracy theories.'
'Shame on you, too, FAU, to even have someone like this on your payroll,'wrote Llodra, a former teacher. 'I can assure you, sadly, that the events here in Newtown unfolded exactly as are being reported, with the horrible outcome of the violent death of 26 innocent people, including 20 children.'


In several posts on his memoryholeblog.com, Tracy, 47, suggests the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary may have been an event staged with hired actors and orchestrated by the Obama administration to promote gun control.

 This is an interesting hypothesis, but not as interesting as the actual hypothesis that the Professor proposed. The news account quoted above is from Connecticut. A more complete reporting (from Florida) is quoted below:


In the national media today, James Tracy is the nutty professor. The whacko professor. The one-man argument for abolishing tenure.

A communications professor at Florida Atlantic University, Tracy is reaping the whirlwind for a blog post and a Sun Sentinel interview in which he questioned the official explanation of the Sandy Hook school massacre in Newtown, Conn.

He's not sure it didn't happen -- 'One is left with the impression that a real tragedy took place,' he told the Sentinel's Mike Clary -- but he suggests the story of the mass murder may have been manipulated by the government, pulling the strings of complaisant news media, to turn it into a simple and digestible argument for gun control.

And if so, Tracy continues, Newtown could join the Kennedy assassination, the Oklahoma City federal building bombing and even the recent Aurora theater killings as incidents-turned-to-myths for social control.  

The only common denominator between the two accounts is the outrage of various government tools who think that the good Professor should be silenced by depriving him of employment.




Sunday, January 06, 2013

Bloggers, Behave!

Moscow, January 3, Interfax - Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia has said that the diversity of ideas inherent in church circles sometimes assumes absurd forms in the Internet environment.
'In the web space groups of church liberals and conservatives are appearing that are not looking for the truth, divine truth but a means of finding fault, stinging each other. This is a very sad tendency,' he said at a diocesan assembly in Moscow ahead of New Year.

He said that divisions and feuds within the church 'are evidence of infantility, childishness in faith which sometimes assumes ruffian forms.' '
But if for the media format of contacts such phenomena are quite natural as they comply with modern ideas of the freedom of though, they are deeply alien to our centuries-old church tradition, as they are alien to the very spirit of Evangelical teaching,' the Patriarch said.

Mom Shoots Intruder

Friday, January 04, 2013

Putin Welcomes Depardieu

On the 3rd of January 2013, President Vladimir Putin signed a decree, granting Russian citizenship to the actor, Gérard Dépardieu, formerly of French nationality. Already in December 2012, the film star stated in public that he does not consider himself to be a French citizen any longer and applied for a Russian passport.

The Russian President's website Kremlin.ru informed, 'In accordance with Article 89(a) of the Constitution of the Russian Federation, the President ordered to satisfy an application for citizenship of the Russian Federation by Gérard Xavier Dépardieu, who was born 1948 in France'...

The Russian Federation has a very mild income tax of only 15 percent, even for very rich people, while France wants billionaires like Gérard Dépardieu to pay 85 percent of their income, which the film star flatly and categorically refused.


In his heated argument with some functionary of the French régime who called him 'pathetic,' he pointed out that he worked hard all of his life for what he is earning these days. And he was not born with a golden spoon in his mouth, either.

On the contrary, he stems from a poor working class family and made it to the top earners' bracket all by himself. Gérard Dépardieu is a classical self-made man. His parents divorced early, leaving the boy on his own. He remembers spending most of his childhood in the streets...

In reality, this regime wants to suck up ever more tax payers' money, to fill the endless black holes of its financial disasters, after France paid for the expensive bombing of the Great Socialist Libyan Jamahiriya, helping to genocide the population and destroying the nation.

The French regime furthermore pays enormous sums of money to finance terrorists, sent to the Socialist Arab Republic of Syria, in order to terrorize the Syrian population and assassinate the Syrian President, Dr. Bashar Al-Assad.

Maybe Gérard Dépardieu does not approve of how his hard-earned millions are being abused by the French regime?

I'm a Depardieu fan, and I'm especially fond of his earlier roles, including those opposite Isabelle Huppert.

A Russian's View Of American Guns

 Stanislav Mishin in Pravda:





The Second Amendment never pertained to sporting arms, but military-style small arms. Viewing the superiority of ordinary citizens' Kentucky rifles over military muskets, one could presume that the Second Amendment was indifferent to this disparity of force. The effort to ensure that citizens are barred from owning superior weaponry is foreign to American tradition.