Teamsters to Uber: If we can’t beat you, we’ll join you

DC Taxicab Protest

As hundreds of cab drivers ensnarled traffic in downtown Washington, D.C. this morning at the behest of the Teamsters Local 922, the Council of the District of Columbia passed trailblazing legislation that “[embraces] innovation, [supports] consumer choice and [empowers] small business owners,” according to a post on Uber’s blog.

From the BuzzFeed account:

The controversial bill [B20-753], dubbed the Vehicle-for-Hire Innovation Act of 2014, has been heavily opposed by the taxi unions for not creating a level playing field but praised by Uber for codifying safety standards they say have already been in place.

The legislation “could be a model for the rest of the country and maybe the world,” said David Plouffe, Uber’s chief strategist and former aide to President Barack Obama, in a Q & A session with the Washington Post.

That’s great, right? A win for consumers, who are overwhelmingly pleased with Uber’s service, and entrepreneurs, who are clamoring to drive for Uber and other ride-sharing apps.

The legislation does create a stricter regulatory framework for UberX than the existing framework for DC cabs, as indicated in this side-by-side comparison:

DC Uber Regulations

D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray must sign the bill before it goes into effect.

And now some good news: People are living longer than ever before

wsj graph

Let’s talk about something positive: The future. A front page story in the Wall Street Journal today reports that people are living longer. Men have added 2 years to their life expectancy and women have added 2.4 years. We are living longer, and it is a beautiful thing — even better if we prepare for it.

From the story:

Life expectancy for men and women is on the rise because fewer are smoking and there is better medical treatment, said Dale Hall, managing director of research for Society of Actuaries.

The actuarial group’s figures differ from other mortality estimates.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said this month that the average 65-year-old man would live to be 82.9 years old, while the average 65-year-old woman would live to be 85.5 years old.

The life expectancy from birth for the total U.S. population was 78.8 years old, the agency said. (That figure is markedly lower than the others because it factors in the deaths of Americans who never reach age 65.)

Most of us don’t live to work, but we do work to live. Whether we like our jobs or not, work is a part of life. What’s more, if you want to live a long time, you had better work for it. And you ought to plan ahead.

Irony? Left-Wing Commencement speaker Bill Maher target of latest “disinvitation” protest at America’s most liberal college

Bill Maher

It has become commonplace for students — predominantly liberal ones — at universities to organize against speakers — predominantly conservative ones — in an effort to put pressure on the administration to disinvite those speakers or to have the speakers themselves withdraw.

The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) calls Commencement season “disinvitation season” for a reason, and they have tracked an alarming increase in the number of speakers who have been “disinvited” to speak to university students, particularly over the last 15 years. Just take a look at the findings from their 2014 report:

The FIRE Disinvitation Chart

But in an interesting turn of events, students at America’s most liberal university — University of California at Berkeley — launched a change.org petition to disinvite notoriously liberal comic and HBO show host Bill Maher.

This author believes speakers of all political persuasions should be encouraged to address students and spark dialog on campuses, which are often touted as the “marketplace of ideas.” This author also realizes that most speakers who are invited to address students on university campuses trend liberal.

“You and I have a rendezvous with destiny…” 50 years later, Reagan’s words still ring true

Ronald Reagan and Barry Goldwater

On this day in 1964 — 50 years ago — Ronald Reagan gave the speech that launched his political career. “A Time for Choosing” was a half-hour campaign video for Barry Goldwater’s ultimately unsuccessful presidential campaign.

And though it didn’t achieve its intended result, Reagan’s words still ring true today.

You can view the entire speech here:

There are a number of memorable phrases throughout the speech. The most famous being the “rendezvous with destiny” line:

You and I have a rendezvous with destiny. We’ll preserve for our children this, the last best hope of man on earth, or we’ll sentence them to take the last step into a thousand years of darkness.

Many libertarians eschew the “left-right paradigm” when it comes to politics. Ronald Reagan brushed it off decades before it became commonplace in libertarian discourse:

Feminists have really beclowned themselves with their latest…

FCKH8 Feminist Video

Some days you just have to wonder how much longer our culture can survive. We were once a nation that valued knowledge, enlightenment, hard work, honesty, and charity, among other noble character traits. Now, it seems we have become a nation of narcissistic, selfie-taking, self-indulgent, dim-witted brats who throw tantrums until we get our way.

Last week I turned on the radio, only to have my ears assaulted with a local radio station’s discussion of an ad released a few days ago by an organization called FCKH8, the title of which is “Potty-Mouthed Princesses Drop F-Bombs for Feminism.” The ad features young girls, who appear to be between six and eight years old, who repeatedly vomit the “F-bomb” as a way to shock the audience and get attention for their message, which is, essentially, that women are victims (if you want to see it you’ll have to Google it…I won’t dignify it by linking to it).

The ad starts off with several very young girls, dressed up in princess outfits, saying “Pretty…pretty…pretty…” when suddenly one screeches “What the F***?! I’m not some pretty F-ing helpless princess in distress…I’m pretty F-ing powerful!”

Seriously? This is how you make a point? By getting little girls to parrot the raging victimization rant of grown women ticked off at life? By making these little girls sound like common trailer trash rather than teaching them to embrace the strength of their femininity? Far from making me more likely to consider their opinions, it disgusted me to see the depth radical leftists (whether vulgar feminists demanding equality, or radical environmentalists calling for global warming “deniers” to be imprisoned) will sink to bully their way to public policy victories.

Our continued fight for liberty requires “Human Action”

Freedom from Bondage

In his epic work, Human Action, Ludwig von Mises outlines three conditions necessary before a person will act. All three conditions must be met:

  1. The person must feel an uneasiness with the current situation.
  2. The person must have a vision of something better.
  3. The person must have a belief that a particular action will make that better vision become reality.

If we hope to ever get large numbers of people interested in our ideas and willing to act to advance those ideas, we must devise a way to satisfy all three conditions in their minds.

The first condition presents no challenge. Most people already feel uneasiness with the current political setup. Nearly everyone wants a “change.”

But change, to what?

This is a tough question, and one that most people cannot answer. Most lack a clear and preferable alternate vision. They don’t meet Mises’ second criteria. This is what differentiates those of us who understand the philosophy of liberty. We possess the vision. We know what a truly free world would look like. And if we want people to go along with us, we must communicate and spread that vision.

But why don’t more of us do so? What prevents most of us who “get it” from dedicating ourselves to the cause of converting people? Why is there no domino effect, wherein our vision spreads from person to person, with each new convert taking purposeful action to spread the vision? Why do so many people become impassioned with liberty for a time, only to subsequently turn away from what seems to be an intellectual dead end? What prevents their flash of vision from turning into action? The answer is that many never fulfill Mises’ third condition. They lack hope for victory.

Government-mandated middle men keep innovative company Tesla out of five states

Rep. Thomas Massie's Tesla

There’s an odd regulation Democrats and (mostly) Republicans have enacted in five states — and the reason for its enactment is still unclear.

Consider this: You want to buy the latest iPhone 6. Today, you can go to your nearby Apple retailer and pick one up directly from the company. In this instance, the manufacturer (Apple) is also the retailer. There are many companies like this, which both manufacture their goods and then sell them directly to consumers, either online or at a physical location.

But in five states it’s illegal for one type of manufacturer (in this instance, an automobile manufacturer) to sell directly to consumers. Most of the automobile industry sells its stock through licensed dealers. Manufacturers sell their automobiles at wholesale rates to dealers, who then mark up the price of the vehicles and sell them to consumers. You wouldn’t necessarily walk up to a General Motors plant and pick up a Cadillac. That’s just not how it’s done.

In Texas, Arizona, New Jersey, Maryland, and now Michigan, politicians are advancing protectionist policies that ban consumers from buying directly from automobile manufacturer — namely Tesla, the electric car company founded by billionaire inventor and investor Elon Musk.

The Washington Post has the story:

What’s good for General Motors dealers is good for America.

Terrorists don’t seek peace, and other things we learned from Canada this week

Ottawa Shooting

Some thoughts come to mind in the wake of Michael Zehaf-Bibeau’s shooting on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Wednesday, and the week’s earlier incident in which another alleged terrorist murdered a Canadian soldier using a vehicle. The incidents contradict ideas germinating in some spheres of Western thought that seem to cumulatively suggest that terrorists are fundamentally good people who are simply misunderstood.

For instance, one premise often suggested is that terrorists are libertarian in nature. They want nothing more than to be left alone to brutalize their neighbors in peace, the contention goes. Provided the Western world leaves them alone to kill and pillage the people of their own lands, they will reciprocate and leave the West in peace.

A second corollary premise arising from this argument is that terrorists are not evil. They are in fact sane, normal people. They can be reasoned with; they would not terrorize the Western world, murder diverse ethnic groups, or slaughter adherents of alternative religious groups if they did not have good reason.

Third and finally, some will argue that mainstream Christians are no better than Islamic terrorists. Jonathan Merritt, who made his name advocating that the church embrace homosexuality, made the argument in a Twitter exchange with Erick Erickson. In it, he wrote, “Christians let the drones do the killing for them.”

Mix of youthful idealism, tech-savvy culture could make Millennials prime target for terrorist recruitment

Millennial Terrorists

Millennials are many things, most of them innocuous and slightly detached, befitting a generation born into a world of smartphones and delayed adulthood. But they display a relatively vanilla cultural generational shift, certainly not as shocking as the counter cultural revolution of the late 60s-early 70s, to name a recent example. Harmless. Or are they?

Once they walked out, Dagan announced, with utmost poise, “It’s funny, because I am for a Palestinian state.”

He proceeded to speak at length about the roots of Islamic fundamentalism, the history of Islam, and the creation of ISIS—its philosophy, structure, economics, and future. His talk was utterly uncontroversial. The protestors, most of whom were graduate students, were ill-informed about their target. Dagan did not come to discuss the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, nor does he deny the need for a Palestinian state. And yet, because he served his country as a soldier and an intelligence officer, he was branded an enemy.

It’s not unusual, of course, for young people to get wrapped up in the chatter they hear most often, even if — as is the case in the Israeli/Palestinian conflict — much of what they hear barely scratches the complicated surface of the issue. As The Federalist piece puts it:

Fueled by an ideology where Israel is 100 percent guilty and Palestine is 100 percent blameless, these students failed to see the shades of gray. They protested a man whom they agreed with more than they would like to admit, and who was not there to discuss the topic they were so anxious to weigh in on.

OUTRAGE: Social Security paid millions to Nazi war criminals after they left the US

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WARNING: There is not a single detail, fact, or argument in this story that makes the slightest bit of sense in a rational, just world. You should take safety precautions before reading any further. Apply duct tape to your head generously so that when it explodes you will still have all the pieces. Stuff cotton in your ears so that your brain does not leak out of your head. Sit down in a comfortable chair so that when you are rendered temporarily (or permanently-it’s that bad) blind with rage you will at least not injure yourself.

After a two-year investigation, the Associated Press reported on Monday that the US government has paid millions of your tax dollars (via the mythical “trust fund”) in Social Security benefits to Nazi war criminals even after they left the US, some of them decades ago.

The payments flowed through a legal loophole that has given the U.S. Justice Department leverage to persuade Nazi suspects to leave. If they agreed to go, or simply fled before deportation, they could keep their Social Security, according to interviews and internal government records.

So let’s get this straight: Instead of deporting (or prosecuting) Nazis that had been living here in secret for decades, mostly by lying on their immigration forms, we promised them they could keep their Social Security benefits, up to $1,500 per month, forever, if they left the country and renounced their citizenship or had it revoked.

 


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