We take no position in the ongoing Taylor Swift versus Kanye West divide.  But as perhaps surprisingly…
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Taylor Swift: Intellectual Property and Anti-Counterfeiting Champion

We take no position in the ongoing Taylor Swift versus Kanye West divide.  But as perhaps surprisingly featured in a Wall Street Journal opinion this week, we do applaud her strong stance in defense of intellectual property (IP) and against the scourge of counterfeiting:

Pop star Taylor Swift has been feuding in recent days with rapper Kanye West and his wife, Kim Kardashian.  The details of the drama are lurid and complicated, but young aficionados of Snapchat and Instagram have been following it all intently.  If only the same were true for other Taylor Swift feuds that have received less attention.  Namely, those the 26-year-old songstress has fought in defense of a principle often scorned by fellow celebrities and the social-media generation generally:  the value of intellectual…[more]

July 22, 2016 • 01:09 pm

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As Obama Exploits Massacre for Partisan “Fiscal Cliff” Gain, Some Important Gun Facts to Consider Print
By Timothy H. Lee
Wednesday, December 19 2012
The reflexive exploitation of the Newtown murders to score ideological points was a predictable one. But that doesn’t make it any less tawdry.

What happened at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut isn’t fairly a “tragedy.” 

A deadly auto accident is a tragedy.  A natural disaster is a tragedy. 

What happened was evil.  It was murder.  It was depravity of the lowest, most perverse, diabolical, heartbreaking form. 

The "tragedy" is the predictable onslaught of unintelligent and opportunistic preening from gun control advocates.  People who obviously lack even a rudimentary knowledge base to recognize that straightforward crime and sociological data across the nation, and even throughout the world, refutes almost every claim they assert. 

Sadly and pathetically, that now includes Barack Obama. 

This week, he attempted to exploit the massacre for his own partisan political gain.  Appearing before reporters to name Joe Biden – the same man he appointed to ensure that “stimulus” dollars weren’t wasted on things like Solyndra – to lead an effort to impose new federal gun restrictions, Obama used the child victims as political props: 

“And when you think about what we’ve gone through over the past couple of months – a devastating hurricane and now one of the worst tragedies in our memory – the country deserves folks to be willing to compromise on behalf of the greater good, and not tangle themselves up in a whole bunch of ideological positions that don’t make much sense.”

For good measure, Obama even used the murders to promote “energy and immigration reform,” of all things: 

“Right now, what the country needs is for us to compromise, get a deficit reduction deal in place, make sure middle-class taxes don’t go up, make sure that we’ve been laying the foundations for growth, give certainty to businesses large and small, not put ourselves through some sort of self-inflicted crisis every six months, allow ourselves to focus on things like preventing the tragedy in Newtown from happening again, focus on issues like energy and immigration reform and, you know, all the things that will really make a determination as to whether or not our country grows over the next four years, ten years, forty years.” 

In reality, Obama is the one refusing to compromise in the “fiscal cliff” discussions.  Nevertheless, some simple realities refute the reflexive, emotion-based, predictable, partisan anti-gun outbursts that Obama and others have exploited Newtown to air. 

First of all, crime in America has steadily plummeted in recent decades, during the same period in which gun ownership rates have steadily ascended to record highs and gun restrictions were steadily relaxed.  As David Kopel, author of Firearms Law and the Second Amendment, notes, the domestic murder rate has declined by more than one-half since 1980.  Meanwhile, the number of states that have either unrestricted or “shall issue” carry laws has increased from just 9 to 41 since the 1980s. 

By the way, that includes a nationwide decline in crime since 2004, when the so-called “assault weapons” federal ban expired.  Yet now some reflexively reassert its necessity, including Obama. 

Here’s another inconvenient reality for gun “control” advocates like Obama or Bob Costas or Piers Morgan.  If “gun culture” causes violent crime, then why do countries with high gun possession rates have low murder rates?  And why do countries that prohibit firearms often have high murder rates? 

Here are just a few examples. 

Switzerland has the fourth-highest gun possession rate in the world at 46 guns per 100 residents.  Yet its murder rate is almost nonexistent, at 0.7 per 100,000.  Similarly, Finland has the eighth-highest gun possession rate (32 per 100 citizens), Sweden is tenth (31.6) and Norway is 11th (31.3).  But Norway’s murder rate is only 0.6 per 100,000, Sweden’s is 1.0 and Finland’s is 2.2. 

By way of comparison, the U.S. has the world’s highest gun possession rate at 87 per 100 citizens, but its murder rate is actually fairly low among nations at 4.2 per 100,000. 

In contrast, Brazil effectively prohibits firearms and it stands 75th in gun possession rate at 8 per 100 people.  Yet its murder rate is shockingly high at 21.0 per 100,000 – five times the American rate.  Mexico also severely restricts guns, and is 42nd in world gun possession at 15 per 100 people.  But its murder rate is four times that of the US at 16.9 per 100,000.  Similarly, Russia’s gun possession rate is only 68th, but its murder rate is more than twice as high as America’s at 10.2 per 100,000. 

Accordingly, worldwide data alone invalidates the claim that gun prevalence explains elevated violent crime. 

In terms of history and logic, it must also be noted that events like the Holocaust, Cambodia’s killing fields or China’s “Cultural Revolution” are inconceivable in America because of the Second Amendment.  Yet supposedly more “enlightened” Europe experienced slaughter on that massive scale, from the tip of France to the toe of Italy to deep Russia, within living memory. 

Preventing such state-sponsored atrocities, not hunting or sport shooting, was precisely why the Second Amendment was drafted and included in the Bill of Rights. 

The reflexive exploitation of the Newtown murders to score ideological points was a predictable one.  But that doesn’t make it any less tawdry. 

And the fact that it is contradicted by hard evidence and historical data the world over demonstrates its illogic. 

Question of the Week   
In which one of the following years was Secret Service protection afforded to major candidates for President and Vice President of the United States?
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Quote of the Day   
 
"Disruptive. That's a good word to describe Donald Trump's presidential candidacy, and to describe the sometimes ramshackle Republican National Convention his campaign more or less superintended in Cleveland this past week. ...Over history America has mostly been built by disruption. ... Maybe some disruption from a candidate who says he has 'no tolerance for government incompetence' is in order."…[more]
 
 
—Michael Barone, Principal Co-Author, The Almanac of American Politics and Washington Examiner Senior Political Analyst
— Michael Barone, Principal Co-Author, The Almanac of American Politics and Washington Examiner Senior Political Analyst
 
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