Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Running Safety for Women... And Men

In a discussion in a running group today, the topic turned to the safety of female runners.  Of course, someone chimed in with a totally useful and unique comment: "Here's a tip: Men stop harassing women.".

Brilliance.  Why hasn't anyone else ever thought of that?

But let's get serious.

Scolding all men (eg "Men stop harassing women") is not a solution to the problem of harassment (or of assault, or bias).

Men who harass/assault women are a small fraction of the male population, and the rest of us "men" do our damnedest to suppress them.

The police officers who arrest the worst of them; the majority of prosecutors, judges, and other justice officials who put them in jail; and the jailers who keep them there -- they are overwhelmingly MEN.

Even before an arrest happens,  when citizens stop a criminal by tackling them or otherwise restraining them, those citizens are almost always MEN.

So let's give "men" some credit:

The vast majority of men love women, and love their wives, daughters, girlfriends, and friends, and will never hurt any of them much less a stranger.

The best way to make women's outdoor activities like running safer is to acknowledge that safety is partnership that requires both men and women to look out for one another. A lot of us guys on the trail are doing our best to do just that -- without your admonishment.

I have a personal story that illustrates the point.

A few years ago, a very frightened elderly woman who had passed me on her bicycle a few minutes prior came back down the trail towards me, and stopped to ask if she could drop in behind me and follow because there was a suspicious-acting man on the trail ahead.  I was running armed just for reasons like him.  I had seen him earlier that day myself and thought he looked like trouble.

So of course I agreed and told her to tuck in behind me and to one side me until we passed him.  I was careful to keep my body between him and her.  Thankfully nothing happened, and she went safely on her way after we were out of sight.

The point is, most men do care.  Most of us will do our damnedest to help when needed.

In the meantime, don't be afraid to run armed, regardless of whether you're a man or a woman. Many runners do it because they also run in areas where help may be too far away when it's needed, either for help from a human predator or from a big cat or someone's vicious dog.

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Written by Marc Montoni <AMCAmbassador@gmail.com>, October, 2019.  This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.


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Friday, September 27, 2019

The Two-Minutes Hate on Vaping

In the news this past few weeks has been a good example of a manufactured "crisis".

Media outlets have breathlessly fixated on the "dangers" of vaping (aka "
e-cigarettes").  I guess this is the assigned Two-Minute Hate for the last half of September.

But let's go over a few actual facts that don't fit well into the mainstream crisis narrative.


First: Tobacco is a legal plant that many individuals want to enjoy.  If it is prohibited, then we will simply have yet another war on a plant that will be as effective as the war on poppies, marijuana, coca, khat, and many others.

Standard, over-the-counter nicotine "vape juice" carries basically the same risk of long-term health effects as cigarettes.

Keep in mind that e-cigarettes, like cigarettes, is simply a "delivery device".  When different kinds of "delivery devices" are developed, different people are going to try them, and use them, if they wish to.  There are already cigarettes, cigars, little cigars, cigarillos, dissolvables (such as lozenges, strips, or sticks), smokeless (chewing tobacco and moist snuff), waterpipes ("Hookah"), and now e-cigarettes.


There are already millions of vapers.
The mainstream media has generally (with a few notable exceptions) failed to make clear that the current "crisis" among vapers is not caused by vape juice, but rather, by a subset of vapers who are putting THC oils (and vitamin E oil, and other crap) in their e-cigarettes.  And probably a lot of other substances, according to investigative articles in the Washington Post and Wisconsin State Journal.


One of the more interesting aspects of vaping is the possibility that vape juice can be rather easily tailored, and there is already some evidence that the trend among longer-term users of e-cigarettes is to choose smaller nicotine content juice cartridges over time.

If the vaping market were left alone, there is reason to believe that trend (of lower nicotine content vape choices) would continue and/or accelerate: One thing that a free market always does is it tends to mitigate negatives and accentuate positives.

The black market (
Prohibition) means adulterated drugs, which means death for more than a few users (especially youthful, inexperienced ones who don't know what to look for).  Which is what we are right now seeing with the current "Vaping Crisis".

Then consider what the free market has delivered in comparison to Prohibition: We now have light beer and non-alcoholic beer, whereas under Alcohol Prohibition the trend was toward harder and harder, more potent varieties of hooch.

In a legal market, and with steady Education and Persuasion campaigns, kids trying drugs will find pure (and ever-safer) prepackaged versions of them at Rite Aid and Wal-Mart, with instructions on safe use.

They won't get that from the local gang-banger who is filling vape cartridges with THC oil.


Over time, then, it stands to reason that it would be better for there to be a less-harmful alternative to cigarettes to be encouraged and available so people who have to put something in their mouths will be able to choose something less harmful rather than more harmful.

If vaping is made illegal, it will simply go underground.  The technology for vape pens is widely known and easy to replicate, and prohibiting it will simply open up a new market for organized criminals to supply.

As an interesting side note, Colorado is not having anywhere near the problem with this that other states are -- because marijuana is legal, and people therefore tend to use traditional marijuana delivery methods.

The THC oil vaping problem would likely resolve itself in a legal market.  If CVS and Walgreens were selling vape juice with THC in it, they would have to find ways to make it as safe as possible, or they would find themselves with a lot of liability claims.  Drug traffickers who are illegally filling vape cartridges have neither the will nor the ability to figure out how to do that -- they're just supplying a product that people want, and they aren't going to be hauled into court if their product hurts someone.

Libertarian Party articles about vaping bans:

https://www.lp.org/libertarians-vaping-industry-condemn-trump-vaping-ban/


1.  What do Libertarians think of Trump’s vaping regulation?


2.  Libertarians, vaping industry condemn Trump vaping ban

3.  I Vape I Vote Membership Promotion


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Written by Marc Montoni <AMCAmbassador@gmail.com>, May, 2019.  This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

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Saturday, September 14, 2019

The Power of One Libertarian

DID YOU KNOW...

Roy Scherer is only one man, but he accomplished some rather incredible things.  Medical marijuana was just one of Roy's signature accomplishments: Virginia was the first state with it!

Roy convinced enough members of the Virginia General Assembly to liberalize the law in the late seventies -- long before the California initiative that addressed the issue there in the nineties. Virginia's MedMar reform passed quietly into law mostly due to Roy's patient, quiet persuasion.  Unfortunately, it wasn't a self-executing law, and remained mostly unused.

However...

A little-known secret is that the only doctors in Virginia who could legally suggest it without the DEA raiding their house, shooting their kids and dog, and revoking their medical license, were those at the V.A. hospitals.  If I recall, most of the couple of dozen legal federal users of the late seventies and eighties were residents of Virginia, and, several of them were VA patients.

Some cracks in the wall eventually appeared in the rest of the country: The federal government finally said in 2010 that patients treated at Veterans Affairs hospitals and clinics will be able to use medical marijuana in the then-14 states where had been legalized.  Read more about this here.

Another example of Roy's handiwork is the historically-lenient Virginia possession law (under, again going from memory, 1/4 ounce is (or was) a rather cheap misdemeanor fine, rather than a jail-able offense).

And Roy has been exceptionally successful in stopping bad legislation in committees by pointing out flaws even the sponsors had to agree with.

Yes, more would get done with numbers, but no one should be quick to dismiss the incredible success Roy has had as a single lobbyist.  So many times it can be just a matter of remembering that lawmakers are human (or at least resemble them), and having an interested citizen around to do a "second reading" from a hands-off starting point often shows legislators where their ideas smash up against reality.

It often takes only takes one or two Libertarians in the right place at the right time to get what can be huge reforms enacted.  For instance, the only time in U.S. history that a state income tax was abolished happened to coincide with the terms of just two Libertarian Party legislators -- Dick Randolph and Ken Fanning -- in the Alaska state legislature.  It was the Libertarians who introduced the repeal bill, and persuaded their 18th century holdout political opponents to support it.

[NOTE: This article was first published in Old Dominion Liberty Letter Issue #39 on Monday, 26 July 2010.  Old Dominion Liberty Letter was an email newsletter that was periodically sent to Libertarian Party members and prospects in Virginia.  This author served as the editor of the publication for most of its run.]



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Written by Marc Montoni <AMCAmbassador@gmail.com>, May, 2019.  This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

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For more information about the Radical Caucus, see www.LPRadicalCaucus.org or see the Facebook group https://www.facebook.com/groups/2497146127/  .
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Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Abolish Marriage Licensure - And Stop Collecting Data

In the continuing saga of the state sticking its nose into marriage, three couples in Virginia are suing the state government because the state refused to issue them marriage licenses -- because the plaintiffs refused to state their races on their license application.

Instead of fighting it in court, the Commonwealth should make the suit moot by immediately eliminating the marriage license system and all associated requirements, benefits, restrictions, and regulations.

Every state, not just Virginia, collects demographic information for marriage licenses.  Even if they don't ask directly on the form, all states require a state-issued ID at some point in the process, and those demographic entries are either shown in the clear on the ID itself or it's behind it on the DMV database -- which means that the state marriage license database has all of that as well.

Libertarians support marriage equality -- because we favor the immediate abolition of marriage licensure, for all of the same reasons we favor the elimination of all other forms of state permission slips.  Libertarians regard licensure as the government taking away a right all individuals have, and then selling them that right back as a privilege.

Americans have been fighting this battle over the details of how government permission slips are issued and to whom for decades now.  It's time to bring that battle to a close by eliminating all marriage license laws.

Interestingly, Republicans have picked up the idea from Libertarians, and have recently eliminated marriage licensure in Alabama and introduced repeal bills in other states.

Who or how many somebody loves is none of the government's business.

Libertarians support separation of marriage and state. Government marriage license regimes were introduced as tools of control like any other license, and therefore we call for their immediate abolition.  No free individual should be expected to obtain a "permission slip" from the state in order to marry.

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Written by Marc Montoni <AMCAmbassador@gmail.com>, May, 2019.  This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.


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For more information about the Radical Caucus, see www.LPRadicalCaucus.org or see the Facebook group https://www.facebook.com/groups/2497146127/  .
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Monday, September 09, 2019

Allegedly Gouging

Price Gouging: It may not fare well in the court of public opinion, but increased prices in the face of high demand and low supply is the market's way of conserving a resource.

If a hurricane blows through and I'm the first one to the store, I'm going to buy a dozen cases at $3 each and there will be none left for you.

If the price goes up to $25 a case, I'm going to buy 2 and the will be some available to you when you get there, albeit at a higher price point.

Here's a story about a guy named Chris. Just a regular working guy. He doesn't worry about stocking up on bottled water. Because Chris is smart. Before the hurricane blows through, he fills up containers from his tap water. And he also fills his bath tub full of water. It's not rocket science.

The fact that people are hysterical and idiotic should cost them money.

Every business owner is "price gouging" at all times. That is, they are all charging the highest price they can currently get for their product. All that changes in this scenario is the price that people are willing to pay. You aren't going to buy anything today that hasn't been prices at the highest price the provider thinks they can get the largest amount of people to pay.

Eliminating price gouging means fewer and fewer stores will bother sending employees to make emergency supply runs to stores further away from endangered areas so they can have product to sell.

So more "out of stock" signs.

That must be a good thing.

Right.

Libertarians aren't here to placate the ignorant voter.

We're here to speak to the exceptional voters who know the bullshit ignorant voters vote for is... bullshit.

Stop trying to kowtow to children, economic illiterates, moral relativists, and thieves -- all of whom were vaccinated to be that way by 12 years of government's coercion-funded forced- indoctrination penal colonies.

Monday, August 19, 2019

New College Major: "Useless Studies"

You know what those "_________ Studies" college major courses are?

They don't exist because they impart any useful skills for the demands of life after graduation.  Unless of course you can figure out a way to make ginned-up outrage into a paying occupation.

They exist for two reasons:

1) To enable the institution to meet hiring and student quotas. They serve perfectly to meet the ever-multiplying affirmative action laws and regulations (both in the faculty and student populations).

and,

2) To revenue farm, because universities are among the largest of our society's welfare queens (roughly a $100 billion cash sink at the federal level, a similar amount comes from states and localities). Think about it: Weak faculty members, and weak students, were once a market universities were neither interested in nor were they a market the university was able to tap.

Enter federal and state welfare (as well as donors who wanted to do a bit of cash virtue signaling). Now that the tap was turned on, administrators have become dependent upon the growth lathered on by debt-addled students who could never get into a rigorous program, hence never get into university.

And now we're going to "free" college for everyone.

Keep it up, y'all. Break that bank.

The sooner the country goes bankrupt, the sooner you'll crash the entire scam.

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Is Student Lobbying Expoitation?

I did not say they were being "exploited"; however, now that you mention it, that's probably an accurate word.

The school district, with the above Mr Ferguson's full support, steals my money, and gives it primarily to teachers who have a vested interest in perpetuating the system. The students are thus trained not to question whether the theft-based system should exist or not, they are instead trained to assume the theft-based system must be continued, the only question is how much privately-owned wealth must be stolen -- and of course, they are trained to always believe that more is always better.

The school district, which has *never* asked students to thoroughly explore the question of whether it is moral to allow government schools to continue to exist; much less whether it is moral for it to exist with stolen money, then encourages those same students who it has not taught to question the prevailing wisdom, to then become lobbyists for "more, more, more".

So you have a massive bureaucracy that both fails to teach students to actively question what they've been given, but on the other hand successfully teaches them to refuse to question it -- yet at the same time, in so many other areas of their lives, school system employees treat students like babies and violate their agency.

In essence, educrats regard students as incompetent to make decisions about their own lives -- smoking, drugs, profanity, sex, speech, academic performance, the list goes on -- and yet, when the educracy wants more money, they push those same students to lobby adults when the truth is those students have no idea what they are lobbying for actually costs others.

That is an exploitive relationship: Using someone you have purposefully withheld information from, to speak for you.

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