The above string of letters indicates the real danger of this current administration to America, our Constitution and Bill of Rights. It represents what is has done to damage to those rights secured by the Constitution and Bill of Rights, the ruthless manner in which such damage is done and it represents the potential for future such abuse.
What has been done?
To start with the IRS and the AP, we now have on record the first shots that Obama and his fellow travelers are willing to take to enhance their power and to cow their opposition. Though the investigations are nowhere complete it is clear that the abusive targeting, by the IRS, at the President’s opponents came from sources near to the president. More than the targeting of conservative not-for-profits with abusive questionnaires, these opponents have been targeted by audits. And, additional pile-ons by abusive investigations by the EPA or the Department of Labor.
As if the Fourth Amendment wasn’t enough, the Department of Justice weighed with further prods and decided to go after the First Amendment with the theft of phone records from AP reporters. It’s very questionable whether the reporting of a foiled terrorist attempt in Yemen was truly a national security leak or just a ‘narrative leak’ dealing with the President’s then presidential campaign touting the end of terror. But, given the utter politicization of everything the President touches, one can’t tell any longer. Nor, can one trust the president when he tries to make the distinction between politics and national security.
It is a matter of record that there is a systematic abuse of power for the accumulation and maintenance of power in the hands of a certain elite.
Then we have the complete lack of control and measured response once the socialists, that dominate the Democratic Party, think they have the upper hand. The gun control craze of the last six month so perfectly illustrates this. It first was only when the President and his allies thought they at the perfect narrative, Sandy Hook, that they even brought up the topic. All platitudes about respect for the Second Amendment went out the window. Draconian laws popped all over the place.
Senator Feinstein, after waiting twenty years had yet another chance to roll out her new and improved ‘assault weapons’ ban. This ban went beyond the first with an out-and-out registration system complete with finger prints. And, slow-motion confiscation–’grandfathered’ guns could be kept until the owner died. Then such guns would be turned over to the government instead of the owner’s heirs.
Senator Schumer further revealed the true goals of the latest round of attempted gun control with his remark, that universal background check was the ‘sweet spot’ to pass something through the US Senate. This remark came after it was becoming apparent that the ‘assault weapons’ ban was going down in flames. It reflected Schumer’s goal to pass something, anything. It matter not that what was passed would truly address some realistic crime reduction goal. Rather, it was an attempt to get anything on the law books to make the exercise of those rights secured by the Second Amendment more difficult and onerous. The Machin-Toomy universal check bill, which had Schumer’s fingerprints all over it, was pages upon pages of deceit. The general prohibition against gun registries was gutted with just a prohibition applying now only to the Attorney General. Nothing to allow any other department of the Federal government to create registries–for example, the HHS through medical records greatly eased by electronic medical records.
The blue states, where there was no realistic opposition to the Democrats gun control mania truly reveals the complete lack of control with the exercise of governmental power. The Democrats in control of the Colorado legislature and governorship passed a raft of gun-control bills including a background check and magazine capacity limit. Never mind, that in the mind of most Coloradans, this was a settled issue with a series of compromises, worked out in the wake of the Columbine mass shooting, that consisted of legislation that would address the issues surrounding the Columbine shooting and at the same time expand the gun rights of law-abiding citizens. But, no, with the right ‘narrative’ and a shift in legislative and executive power into the hands of one party, all of this went out the window. Poorly written legislation that is impossible to enforce; legislation that serves as flypaper to entrap law abiding citizens with felony convictions on technicalities.
All of this legislation that will only burden the law abiding since it will do nothing to alter the behavior of criminals since they they won’t get a background check and will show up with ‘high capacity’ magazines. All of this legislation, signed into law by Governor Hinkenlooper, a man who got rich making and selling beer–a business activity made illegal earlier last century by a similar stroke of a pen. And, now with a stoke of a pen the making of magazines has forced Magpul out of the state of Colorado. Never mind the loss of some 800 jobs, manufacturing jobs no less. Hinkenlooper just shrugged off these newly unemployed Coloradans, something about broken eggs and omelets.
Abuse potential for the future?
Metadata can tell you a lot of things. Indeed it can pick up illegal activities that would otherwise hide is a see of data clutter. But, it can be use to serve what ever purpose the owner or user of that data desires. It helped re-elect the current President and helped that President trash his opponent in that same election.
But, what more can it do? Could it pinpoint and prompt a visit from the HHS obesity ‘outreach agent’ based on soda purchases? Could too many purchases at Cabela’s and Sportsman’s Warehouse prompt an ATF outreach agent for buying too much ammunition? Could coupling medical data from mandated electronic medical records be correlated to visits to certain political web site serve as the basis to deny or approve medical care? The data is there. One day it catches a terrorist. The next day it ensnares a citizen in a felony charge over a technicality. Maybe leveled with a little lie to get a search warrant to ransack your home. With everything illegal or regulated there’s probably something that will land you in prison; it just a matter of finding out what that may be.
Take a look at the photographed checks on your monthly bank statement. Combine that with the monthly credit card statements. Combine that with your web site visits on the History tab on your browser. Combine that with your email traffic. So, much can be immediately inferred by looking at those things. Who needs gun registries or enemies lists; these patterns speak for themselves. We know there are people in our government willing to use the power of government against their political enemies. The NSA data only give far more detailed and accurate information to carry out those attacks.
This series of scandals serve to create a massive breakdown in the glue that holds a free society together–trust. Trust that there are limits and people will have the self restraint impose those upon themselves for reasons of personal dignity and honor; not because of external limits impose by courts and threat of prosecution. Trust that people can be entrusted with privileged knowledge and power for use in advancing the general welfare; not their own.
And, so the Progressive conceit of replacing the individual responsibility with the ‘scientific’ and dispassionate judgement of a class of ‘expert’ bureaucrats comes crashing down. The Progressive conceit that Constitutional limitations to protect the individual stood in the way of efficient and modern governance. What we have is venial progressives using the levers of power to sustain and enhance personal power and lavish personal economic benefit.
Who watches the watchers? This was one of the most fundamental questions that our Founding Fathers debated. It seems that all of the watchers have created a very elite club in Washington DC for the purpose of watching everyone steal power and treasure for themselves.
This is the best of various outcomes. A complete crash and burn of the latest gun control push in the Senate last week. Because, there was never a real dialogue, a real two way conversation. The very legislation again played into the fundamental dishonesty of the gun control forces; a never settled, always expanding net of laws, rules and regulations with intent, little by little, to strangle the Second Amendment.
The Toomey-Manchin background check compromise is a prime example of that dishonesty. The proposed bill was better only by being less bad that the original bill, authored by Senator Schumer, that it replaced. For all of its high minded protection of the Second Amendment, it was riddled with loopholes that could at a later date be exploited into creating a de facto registry by compiling any and all information already in the hands of the Federal government.
And, in the states, where Democratic Party control stood unchecked, laws have been passed with wild abandon that utterly render the original intend of the Second Amendment entirely meaningless. Laws that make it a felony to possess heretofore perfect legal firearms. Bans on firearms and accessories that have caused whole companies to move with wholesale loss of jobs, manufacturing jobs, in those states.
In Colorado, we have the example of Magpul, whose biggest business, is making standard 30 round magazines. Yet, at the stroke of a pen, Colorado’s governor has make that business illegal. This from a man, who prior to entering politics, made his money making and selling beer. A product that once too was made illegal at the stroke of a pen during the prohibition. Irony proof.
But, let’s have a real conversation. First is the purpose of the Second Amendment. It’s purpose is not about sport or hunting. The purpose of the Constitution and Bill of Right was to build a country, not a country club. It was about having an individual right to access to up-to-date weaponry to give the individual parity in acting in concert to repel an invasion or insurrection. To repel criminal agents in the pay of a tyrant. To repel criminal agents who would attempt to harm you or kill you, attempt to invade your home or business, attempt to harm or kill your family.
In fact, the greatest threat to life from criminal activity is an armed government against an unarmed civilian populace. Over 100 million unarmed civilians have been killed by the likes of Lenin, Stalin, Hitler, Mao and Pol Pot over the twentieth century. Above and beyond the casualties of war by armed combatants in that era. Horrors never visited upon our country by virtue of an armed civilian populace.
Let’s have a conversation about the stupidity of the ‘gun free’ zone; the very cause of these sensationalized mass murders. For the Aurora, Colorado mass killer, there were ten such movie theaters between his residence and ultimate venue for his outrage. The theater he picked was the one that specifically had a ‘gun free’ policy. Ditto just about every school in this country; except Utah which allow concealed carry on campus by its teachers. Been working well now for several years.
A gun free zone is an unrestricted kill zone. The only way to prevent these mass shootings from happening is to immediately meet that threat with lethal force. Where this happens by virtue of an armed citizen (usually concealed carry), the causality rate is kept to about two victims. Where the armed citizen isn’t present (or prohibited) the causality rate rises to an average of 16 victims by the time the police arrive.
Then too is a conversation over the so-called ‘assault weapons’ ban. There is a reason our police and soldiers are armed with AR15 variant rifles, standard 30 round magazines, semi-automatic pistols and their attendant 15 round magazines. Those reasons also apply to the armed citizen. First, the citizen will need firearms of military utility because of the expectations of militia duty–namely, being expected to come forth in time of emergency armed with weapons, furnished by themselves, in common use. The AR15 rifle is becoming the preferred home defense weapon. It is light, with a light recoil, making it accurate and easy to control thereby minimizing the risk of collateral damage. The telescoping stock makes the rifle adjustable for use by a 6’4″ man or this more diminutive wife. The 30 round magazine helps minimize weapon manipulation allow a single defender to stand and survive against multiple assailants.
On second thought, let’s not have a conversation. Fresh from some sort of electoral ‘mandate’ last November, with a really sensational mass murder to flog, the Democratic Party stripped off its mask and showed it true intentions. Not ‘reasonable’ controls, but a mad rush to pile on every regulation imaginable. Laws written behind closed doors, no hearings, no debate or reflection. A real conversation, is first of all, undergirded by good faith.
Though not particularly articulated as such, I think that American’s reluctance to wage war is the fact that the use of force is done in the absence of due process. But, saying that, when Americans to wage war, a successful war, it is best done in the American style of warfare–to take the battle to the enemy and take the enemy apart. One of the distinct advantages of this style of warfare is the fact, by virtue of distance, the rule of law can be preserved at home while the violation of such occurs on the enemy’s territory.
Which brings us to the manner in which the manhunt for the two Muslim terrorists was conducted in Boston. In some respects, the response should be frightening. A whole city shut down by a literal army of militarized police forces, all with weapons unholstered and at the ready. Door to door searches by these same government agents against an essentially unarmed civilian populace. Massachusetts’ gun law make it so; if these gun laws existed in 1775 there’d be no Lexington or Concord and we’d all be speaking Canadian (ht: P.J. O’Rourke).
This brings into direct relief the wisdom of the manner in which our last President chose to fight. That is, taking the battle to the enemy. It had the advantage of keeping the enemy so busy that they had to time to take the initiative to our shores. It avoided having to fight a battle in the midst of your own civilian population with all of the attendant problems of stretching the Bill of Rights. With a city essentially under martial law, complete with police forces essentially indistinguishable for infantry soldiers, where were the limits? Could they enter a house against the owner’s wishes? What questions could or did they ask? ”Did you see anyone that looked like the two bombers?” Or, “Are you hiding someone here? We’ll need to come and check.” ”Do you have any guns, we’ll need to make sure.”
Not paranoia. With out any warrants, the police entered multiple homes in New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and seized guns. Guns to this very day that haven’t been returned.
First, is the problem of blowing the problem up out of proportion. Let’s face it, two terrorists against a city of millions and the whole city shut down. In some less ‘enlightened’ cities in fly-over country, the minute those two came up for air, it would have been all over before the police arrived. The shoot out at the Seven-Eleven that left the older of the two dead, would have ended with both of those two dead or captured in the hands of armed citizens before the police arrived.
But, like Mumbai in 2008, a terrorist plot paralyzed an entire city because the extinction of a gun culture, so it is with Boston. A population totally habituated to letting the ‘experts,’ the ‘authorities’ handle it. A entire city unable to two isolated losers because only the authorities should handle guns. In my hometown of Casper, where essentially every household is armed, these two fugitives wouldn’t have a chance. Yes, they might still set off a bomb. But, after that, they better be miles out of town if they want a chance to survive.
More to the point is the fact that by creating a conditioning of someone else handling the problem, we create bigger problems than if we trusted our own citizens to use their judgement and handle the problem on a ‘retail’ level. Think back to September 11, 2001. What if the eight pilots and copilots were armed? (And, don’t give me the shocked response of ‘guns on an airplane, they’ll go off and we’ll crash!’. The planes crashed anyway.) What if the common ‘wisdom,’ going back to the first hijackings in the 60′s to Cuba of sitting by passively had not applied and the passengers rushed the hijackers. How much different the fundamental history of the last decade would have been.
Then, there is the conditioning that placing an entire city under essentially martial law is now the norm. Maybe it was, in this case, justified in the name of public safety. But, what about the future, will the deployment of an army in a major city be done for baser reasons? Rooting out undesirables? Confiscating guns? Searching to ‘incriminating’ contraband? Public safety or dry run for a police state?
A essay to Senator Barrasso, Senator Enzi and Representative Lummis:
In about a week, on April 8th, 2013, Congress will re-convene and the US Senate will formally take up gun control legislation in what represents the latest outrage in a whole string of such since January of 2009 to shred the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Standing on the graves of dead children, the gun controllers have whipped up a media frenzy in order to pile on more will restrictions on the right to keep and bear arms. Restrictions that will do nothing to keep criminals with evil intent from acquiring the firearms they need to carry out their criminal endeavors. These restrictions will fall fully and exclusively upon the law abiding citizens who had nothing to do with the crimes committed at Sandy Hook or in Aurora, Colorado.
Never has there been any debate or attempt to reverse the fundamental cause of these mass murders; the ‘gun free’ zone. It was this very policy that made such mass murders a reality in the first place. Yet, from the flurry of all these gun control proposals, is not one iota of introspection, on the part of those in the gun control crowd, that, maybe, the whole concept of the ‘gun free’ zone needs to be thoroughly vetted and rejected.
Indeed, the gun free zone is a kill zone. A shooting fish in a barrel zone. And, statistics bear this out. Generally, the mass killer when confronted by an armed citizen or law enforcement officer has the decency to commit suicide. The problem is that law enforcement can’t be everywhere, so their presence is many minutes away; giving the mass murderer an eternity of minutes to carry out his murderous plan. Whereas, an armed citizen, especially in a state with shall-issue concealed carry permits is right on the spot. On average, a mass murder will kill about 16 people until the police arrive, that number drops to an average of two when that same mass murderer is confronted by an armed citizen.
Further, rather than coming up with more gun control, more ‘gun free’ zones, and, now, more money to hire security for schools, simply enlist the help of the average citizen. Permit teachers, so willing, to get the training for a concealed carry permit and to carry their concealed guns to school. Encourage more citizens to carry in general; state that allow concealed carry do indeed have lower crime rates. Rewrite laws to reduce the legal burdens on citizens who step up and use their concealed weapons to stop a crime in progress.
And, while we are on the subject of crime. The criminal act that is the greatest threat to my life is that of an armed government against an unarmed civilian populace. In the Twentieth Century alone, some 100 or more million people have been killed by their governments–Lenin, Stalin, Mao, Hitler, Pol Pot, Castro and so on. All following the same pattern: registration, confiscation and slaughter. The cycle is very predictable of about 20 years.
Universal background checks will not work for the same reason most gun control does not work. Criminals, as the term would imply, work outside the law. Therefore, all that happens is that the privacy of the law abiding citizen is violated. And, violated permanently, since the paperwork associated with any such purchase is permanent. If you really want a meaningful compromise, why don’t you couple any universal background check with a permanent and complete destruction of all associated paperwork of such transactions after, say, one year–including the paperwork mandated by the 1968 gun control act. Why don’t you limit the background check to the person and not the gun being purchases with, again, the same mandated destruction of those records of the transaction.
Finally, we get to first principals. The Second Amendment is not about hunting or sport. Neither term is even mentioned in the Bill of Rights. The Second Amendment is about securing the fundamental right to the means for self-defense; the means to defend life, liberty and property. It about the means to have the means, in the form of specific weapons, that will give the citizen a measure of parity against the armed aggressor; whether the aggressor is a common thug or a thug in the pay of a tyrant.
There is a reason that the rifle of choice is the AR15 modern sporting rifle fitted with a standard capacity magazine of 30 rounds. There is a reason that the pistol of choice is a Glock with a standard magazine capacity of 15 rounds. Those reasons are the same for countless police forces who equip their law enforcement officers with the same. And, with the exception of full automatic fire, our soldiers are equipped with the same as well. Therefore, for the same reasons, every law-abiding citizen–who by state and federal law are a member of the militia–needs access to the same.
Each and every one of these gun control laws now before you in the Senate and, in the near future, the House, needs to be categorically rejected. There are some 20,000 gun control laws on the books already. Gun law number 20,001 is not going to make the slightest difference. Because, like the 20,000 before, all of these laws only strip away the most fundamental of civil rights of self-defense by the law abiding citizen while criminals will continue to ply their trade undisturbed since they don’t obey these laws in the first place.
Eugene P. Podrazik
It’s too late. Had Cyprus immediately backed off on the haircut proposed for its depositors, the banking sector might have survived. But, no matter what, as of this Thursday, when the ‘bank holiday’ is over there will be a run on the banks over there.
The issue is that this deal to impose a tax on deposits was cut between the powers that be in the EU and the ruling party on Cyprus. No matter what is said now, trust no longer exists. Maybe it didn’t happen today, but the idea is out there. The idea was on the way to being implemented and no one had the sense to say ‘stop.’ As a result, the rift in trust will take a long time to heal.
Which in a broader sense is one of the failings of socialism. The concept that you may use the force of government to take from one and give to another for whatever rationale you want to give. That the individual will, for whatever whim of some self-appointed elite or philosopher king, give up his rights for whatever the greater good may be.
This trust is being violated all over the world. Things that once stood as settled; things that were reaching a democratic consensus are being up-ended. All in the name of social good.
It’s happening here. No, not deposits. Though the trillions of dollars in peoples retirement plans haven’t gone un-noticed by certain elements in Washington D.C. who think that money could be used to continue the current binge of spending and programs.
No, the recent surge of gun-control is our stalking horse. Legislation is still moving forward that would pave the way for confiscation. In fact, outright confiscation was mentioned in some of the proposals for New York State’s latest gun control act passed last January.
The real example of a violation of trust is actually in Colorado. There was actually a settled consensus of a package of gun laws, passed in the aftermath of the Columbine murders that to most people’s satisfaction struck a balance between measures to better control the flow of firearms to the wrong hands while allow further liberalization of gun regulations for law-abiding citizens to protect themselves. This all is going up in smoke as the Democrat controlled legislature and governor are in the process of passing new laws including a limitation on magazine capacity. And, even the so-called pro-business governor, will sign this law and lose some 800 jobs when Magpul moves out of the state.
The net effect will further cause a rift between the governed and the elite that seeks to govern. The shortages of semi-automatic rifles and ammunition will not abate for a long time since there is no trust that the strenuous objections that led to the demise Senator Feinstein’s latest ‘assault’ weapons ban won’t be the last of that. She waited 20 years to get this ban up and running again; and, she and her fellow travelers will be waiting, like the wolf in the woods to strike yet again. Gun owners aren’t going to get burned again. Prepping has gone mainstream. Folks, as they swing by to pick up the laundry and get a gallon of milk, are going to also stop at the sporting goods store to pick up some ammunitions as will. For a long time.
To get back to Europe, I doubt, unless you’re one of the elite, that there is going to be a truly viable banking industry for a long time. Switzerland is going to be the only place to bank. Not only because they take the issue of trust seriously. But, because those banks are nestled in a heavily armed civilian population in a well defended mountainous country that will make any forceable confiscation of property a very bloody proposition to those who wish to steal other people’s property.
Here’s the latest coming out of Colorado. Here’s what happens when the party of Woodrow Wilson, the party of the ‘living’ Constitution gets to run things. More gun control. Some of the items are limitations of magazine capacities, making gun owners pay for their own background checks, even opening gun manufacturers to liability lawsuits if their products are misused by criminals.
These proposals are in the face of losing business in the form of Magpul pulling out of Colorado and losing 600 jobs.
Governor Hinkenlooper is all set to sign this bill; as long as the magazine capacity is between 15 and 20 rounds. How magnanimous. Once again we see the myth of the moderate Democrat. Just like the pro-life Democrats who sold their principles and morals down the river for Obamacare.
But, here’s the deceit. David Kopel discusses how, in the aftermath of the Columbine murders, Colorado State legislators sat down and worked out a compromise to address measures to prevent guns falling into the wrong hands. Measures were agreed upon to give law abiding citizens certain rights concerning concealed carry. At least in government buildings, real gun free zones, only enforceable if all access point to the building were secured. The point was a real compromise, one that wasn’t perfect, one that didn’t leave either side perfectly happy. But, the compromise, represented by these series of measures, that addressed true gun crime prevention and also allowed loosening of restrictions to allow law abiding citizens the ability to defend themselves.
This should have been a settled issue. And, one get the impression from Mr. Kopel’s take that many in Colorado did regard this issue as settled. But, no. Now with the Democrats in control of both legislative houses and the governorship, this compromise, this settled agreement is being opened up again for more gun control. ’Reasonable,’ ‘common sense’ gun control until an opening arises to shove more draconian regulations through.
The deceit goes further. Anyone who owns an AR15 know about Magpul. Magpul makes, among other AR 15 accessories, the PMAG–a 30 round polymer magazine that essentially is the standard against which all similar such magazines are measured. Yet, this Colorado legislature, is willing to chase out Magpul and its 600 jobs from the state. Not just any jobs, but real live manufacturing jobs; the holy grail Democrat Party. So much for Obama’s recent State of the Union ‘pivot’ to jobs.
The rule of law is an agreement to abide to a certain framework of rules; fixed rules that will apply to everyone. It’s just a fancy term for what goes around, comes around. You the individual, the smallest minority, will not have rights to life, liberty and property trampled. One day you may have the power protect those rights, the next day you may not. Your ability to keep those rights when you’re down may very well depend on whether you respected those same right in the past when you were on top. It is built on a trust that both parties will both refrain from using the power that could be brought to bear against each other. Trust that the rules won’t be suddenly changed.
Maybe, what the Second Amendment guarantees is that the above social contract will be respected.
This deceit comes from a violation of that contract and it degenerates into mob rule. Which is what the ‘Chicago way’ is really about. Fifty percent plus one may loot the fifty percent minus one. Ultimately, mob rule will beget mob rule. Instead of rule of law we will degenerate into armed camps, literally. What Senator Feinstein’s assault weapons ban has started is a sundering of trust. A most fundamental sundering of trust by cutting across the very right to defend one’s own life. There is little to compromise over. As the 100 millions souls killed over the last century by the likes of Mao, Hitler, Stalin, Castro and Pol Pot attest, there is no middle ground. Life or death.
The mere fact, that this assault weapons ban passed once and by Feinstein’s recent re-introduction still lurks as a threat, shows that no amount of good faith will ever be enough. The quest for power by a self-made elite ever hovers over the little people. Even over their very lives.
It’s been remarked when the current gun control controversy dies down there will be plenty of bargains for AR 15′s. Ditto ammunition and magazines. I don’t think so, I think that while supply shortages and prices may abate, they will never go back. Heretofore, there will be a constant and incessant demand that make the shelf life, at the local gun store, for every semi-automatic pistol, rifle and shotgun very short. Same will be true for the accompanying magazines and ammunition. No one on the gun side is going to get caught short again. There will now be an ingrained mentality of always stocking up. Even if it means picking up another magazine or box of ammunition as an ‘impulse’ item by stopping at the sporting good store while picking up the dry cleaning.
Whether, the new ‘assault weapons’ ban passes or not, the mere fact it came up again killed any trust on the part of Second Amendment advocates with the gun controllers. Further, if prominent Democrats in the House and Senate fail very clearly and forcefully condemn this ban this breach of trust will take a very long time to mend. Mend and regain the trust of folks who indeed vote. Gun control rarely puts a politician over the top in an election, but it sure can get them defeated. Even folks in the bluest of blue states may start to come around to the pro-gun side over time; there’s only so much crime before even the bluest of liberals may decide that a gun may save their lives someday.
Though not the only reason, but gun control is turning out to be the issue that especially underlines the growing disaffection between the citizen and his relationship with his government. The Second Amendment at it core represents the securing of a right to have the means at hand to protect life, liberty and property. And, twice now, in the last two decades, Senator Feinstein has crafted bills that have created a gulf between American citizens and its government that will not heal for decades to come. Trust the Senator, and disarm yourself. Not that the Founding Fathers’ long view of history left them with any illusions.
But, like the simple acts of choosing food to eat or filling your gas tank, everything you do has become political. So, it is with guns. To own a gun is to forever catapult out of the ranks of the low-information voter. Merely, owning a gun will now put you in a position for forever defend keeping that tool. And, you will know one of the reasons to keep that gun is 100 million souls have been dispatched by the likes of Lenin, Stalin, Hitler, Mao and Pol Pot; in every case a disarmed populace at the hands of an armed government.
So, trust. Trust and its antithesis, hypocrisy. The gun controllers have jumped on a horrible tragedy of the murders of a score of children at Sandy Hook. Yet, instead of realizing that this tragedy was a direct result of an ill-founded ideal of theirs, the gun-free zone, this is used as a platform to excuse even further and more draconian gun control measures. Measure that will do nothing to address this particular situation, but burden otherwise law abiding citizens with further regulatory burdens.
Yet, these elites live in bubbles of tight and well-armed security. Their children go to private schools like Sidwell Friends that have all sorts of security, and secret service if the current occupant of the Oval Office happens to have school aged children in attendance. Children who are too precious to be place in the free fire zone of gun-free Sandy Hook.
We have concealed permits very selectively distributed by the City of New York to citizens that read like who’s who of financial and political influence. In addition to armed bodyguards either hired or provided by the police to Mayor Bloomberg.
Despite strict–as in strict liability–prohibitions of ‘assault weapons’ and ‘high capacity clips’ in the city limits of Washington D.C. we have Senator Feinstein grandstanding her ‘assault weapons’ ban in front of a display of such. She having gotten ‘special permission’ to do such. Special permission? From whom? Then, there is David Gregory, physically holding a 30 round magazine, in known violation of Washington D.C. law who is excused from any legal liability. Courtesies denied ordinary citizens who unknowingly have run afoul of the exact same laws while in D.C.
All of this begins to underscore a sense that we live in an era much like the Hunger Games where the elite in the Capitol live a life apart from and free of the rules that govern those underlings who live in the Districts. Indeed, while the rest of the country is struggling through a depression, there is a economic boom in Washington D.C. A contrast remarked upon repeatedly in the blogosphere.
There is bad faith. We have been repeatedly told that all that is wanted is reasonable gun control to try to curb violence. And, there is absolutely not motivation to confiscate your guns. Yet, these gun control advocates keep coming back to the well to ask for more. Asking for more curbs and restrictions when their last round of legislation fails. Moreover, none of this legislation seems to address criminal usage of guns; rather, it criminalizes the use and possession of guns of the otherwise peaceable and law-abiding citizen. And, now, sensing another crisis that can’t be allowed to go to waste, the gun controllers are now trying to put into place the foundations of a registration system that will only serve to allow confiscation.
It becomes reflexive to go out and hoard some more every time the MSM and their political travelers sense hysteria can be ginned up for more gun control legislation. The issue is never settled since short of complete disarmament, there is never enough.
Confiscation? Paranoid? Hardly. New York City established a registration system in the 60′s; only to use that system, after subsequently banning ‘assault weapons,’ to demand that certain guns already registered be turned over or removed from New York City. A similar situation has occurred in California over their ‘assault weapon’ ban. And, now in Minnesota, where legislation proposes to exactly that. Though it didn’t make it into the final law, for the present, Governor Cuomo’s bill orginally included provisions for all sorts of confiscations of certain arms and related accessories—in those words.
Feinstein’s ban allows you to keep what you have (for the time being) after being investigated, fingerprinted and photographed. And, paying a $200 tax per gun since these will all be registered under the National Firearms Act. But, ultimately it is confiscation since upon death such arms will go to the government and not to your heirs. The real irony is when death will intervene to allow such a transfer to the government; the length of your ‘natural’ lifespan may be decided when government agents show up to collect your registered guns.
So, all of these reassurances have been for naught. Lies to get smaller laws through until the time was ripe to pass major legislation to, what now appears, be an attempt to register and/or confiscate firearms. In the campaign to enact the first ‘assault weapons’ ban, the then named “Handgun Control, Inc.” (Now renamed the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence) immediately jumped on the bandwagon even though its stated purpose was about handguns and not rifles. Or, was there a deeper agenda? As a gun owner, whom do you really trust when someone approaches you with a national ‘conversation’ on ‘reasonable controls?’
The next issue is everyone is guilty of something. Laws and regulations are so intrusive and extensive that it is impossible to know or comprehend what the law really is. It now becomes some arbitrary exercise of being in the wrong place at the wrong time; or somehow pissing someone off who has the power to bring the state after you.
But, gun owners have been in that situation for a long time. The absolute thicket of gun regulations that exist from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, not to mention the reams of regulations from the ATF again makes it probable, approaching unity, that you have violated something.
But, many gun owners have made the choice to take a chance since its better to be tried by twelve rather than carried by six. Gun laws, therefore, have been largely honored in the breach.
Which leads us to the realm of unanticipated consequences. Since my start in collecting guns in 1990, I’ve noticed acceleration in the acquisition of guns and ammo over the 20 or so years. Before Feinstein’s first ban gun show were relaxed affairs where you entertained yourself looking at all sorts of displays and hunting down a bargain or two. You could buy an AR 15 made by Colt (top of the line) for about $700. You could buy an SKS rifle for about $80. The SKS was a cheaply made Russian rifle specifically designed for use by illiterate peasants barely out of the bronze age; and very popular in Florida for use on an airboat in case an alligator took a particular interest in you as lunch. Popular because if it fell overboard you didn’t care it was so cheap.
Yet, in the years that have gone by, there is no such thing as a disposable gun to allow falling overboard. Every gun is bought and closely guarded against the day there will be no more. The $700 AR 15 is now in excess of $2000. While, after the lapse of the first ban, prices may have abated and supplies become more plentiful, these have never really returned to the days before the Feinstein’s first ban. Everything is being acquired against the day of confiscation.
The biggest irony is that the AR 15 can probably owe a lot of its popularity to the attention it was given in the original ‘assault weapons’ ban. It was a gun with a very niche appeal and one looked down upon by a lot of gun aficionados. Yet, over the last twenty years it has now become the most popular rifle sold in America.
Moreover, the AR 15 growing popularity has paralleled the growth of the ‘shall issue’ concealed firearm permit. The effect is to familiarize and demystify these guns and their capabilities. It has familiarized a broader swath of Americans to the arbitrariness and the frank ridiculousness of hundreds of gun control laws. It has removed the taboo of guns for self defense. It has familiarized more Americans with the true intent of the Second Amendment and defanged the argument that thus and such gun has no utility for hunting or thus and such gun’s only purpose is for military usage. It has highlighted the true purpose of the Second Amendment against the hypocrisy and corruption of the ruling elite.
Not to say that people are enduring six month back order times for guns, accessories and parts now just to hand these items over to the government. Nor, are people spending hundreds if not thousands of dollars, even in this time of economic depression, to, on Election Day, vote for candidates that will take away those very things that they’ve parted with so much money to acquire. That money that is cleaning every gun and bullet off the shelf in every gun store in this country should be regarded as serious statement of commitment to a cause as is bundled PAC contributions.
Whether plinker, skeet shooter or hunter, in the back of every gun owners’ mind is a tool to save your life against the day you may face a thug—in the pay of a tyrant. That is the ultimate one issue voter.
Then is the issue of civil disobedience. As is already true in states and local jurisdictions that require gun registration, we can expect little voluntary photographing, fingerprinting and gun registrations to comply with the proposed Feinstein Assault Ban II. And, we will now have a nation of tens of millions of felons. All at the stoke of a pen. One day a law abiding citizen, the next a gun felon.
Yet, if everything is illegal then nothing is illegal. Arbitrary law that offends common sense will create a turning away from our government the very people who most fervently support law and order. Arbitrary compliance will be the answer to arbitrary law. What will specifically be violated is failure to register a gun, heretofore legal, as a National Firearms Act (NFA) firearm in the same class as machine guns, short-barreled guns and gun silencers. So, if some 80 millions are already felons under the NFA, why stop there? Why not acquire a machine gun? Converting an AR 15 to true full automatic fire isn’t that hard in your average garage with tools that can be acquired at Home Depot.
With the advent of three-dimensional printing, an item like an AR 15 magazine can be easily ‘printed.’ Indeed there down-loadable CNC plans that can be loaded into a 3D printer to make an AR 15 lower—the portion of the AR 15 that carries the serial number and is considered the ‘gun’ by the ATF.
Such a ban and such lack of compliance will have the effect of stripping the last bit of legitimacy to the governing elite. A compliance rate in excess of 5 percent will be shockingly high. What of, what I expect to be, the 90 percent who won’t comply? The very citizens who have a higher propensity to populate the ranks of our military and law enforcement. Citizens who are more likely to be the productive class that actually pays taxes that actually support the boom times of Washington D.C. Citizens who will pretend to be law abiding but will no longer feel a civic duty to contribute beyond obeying the little laws to give the impression there’s nothing to hide. No longer of nation of public spiritedness. But, of nation of hoarders and hiders. A nation where everyone is a felon, everyone is Spartacus, everyone is Galt.
Every time one of these mass killings take place, I shudder. I shudder at the carnage. I shudder at the media and political hysteria that will ensue with specific intent to assault the Bill of Rights.
The fundamental problem with the progressive movement over the last century is the fundamental distrust of elites for the ‘common’ man. One its founding principles is the notion that in the coming new age of the then dawn of the twentieth century was that the pace and complexity of life would render individuals unable to render rational decisions. Nor, would the institutions enshrined by our Constitution be able to do the same.
And, so, the necessity of establishing an oligarchy of philosopher kings would be necessary. Bureaucracies and their highly trained, dispassionate ‘experts’ would set rules and standards to regulate economic, how you will spend your money, what you will but and, yes, even personal life. We, the people, know our place would defer to the ‘authorities.’ I’m sure you feel better know that your money is safely invested in Solyndra and one of our ‘premiere’ law enforcement agencies, the BATFE, spend millions shipping thousands of guns to the Mexican drug cartels. And, really, how well has the Federal Reserve worked out over the last century? With Bernanke now having the distinction of being the largest currency manipulator in history. Wise philosopher kings indeed.
Citizen legislatures that would meet for brief times each year would be replaced by full-time, ‘professional’ legislators that would work full time, well, legislating. Texas didn’t heed that siren call, perhaps bolstered by a joke told in Austin that one kept one’s daughters indoors and the doors locked during the two months the legislature was in session. California, went with the full time concept. Worked really well.
So, it is with guns. Using single, sensational incidents, a whole narrative was built on the fact here again are the benighted masses simple unable to behave themselves. Bitter clingers unable to control themselves. That the same-said dispassionate bureaucrat would control lethal force and, we again, should defer to the authorities who would know how to handle guns that we the people simply can’t do.
Never mind, that the worst threat your survival a governmental monopoly on lethal force. It is in these situations that the murder rate has skyrocketed in to the tens of millions–the Soviet Union, China, particularly under Mao. Even in Germany the ‘civilized’ homeland of Mozart, Beethoven and Goethe.
Never mind, that there is now solid statistical evidence, thanks to the experience of concealed carry laws, that guns in the hands of private citizens does deter crime. Indeed, crime rates continue to fall.
Never mind, that the progressive legacy of federal, state and local law has left huge swaths, sometimes entire states, as gun-free zones. This, leaving, gun owners in the position of proving the negative because the lack of crime does not leave the mark of the school shooting such as the one in Connecticut. Even in situations were a gun owner intervened, we can’t really know how effective the armed civilian was simple because there was no further body count.
But, maybe the criminal knows the effectiveness, since he targets those very gun-free zones. So, it is perhaps time to close the ‘gun-free’ loophole. We know that citizens who have concealed carry permits are indeed very responsible with the use of their firearms. Moreover, despite the hysterical predictions of gun opponents, the concealed carry permitting has not put of whole new class of homicidal ‘bitter clingers’ on the streets just waiting to turn every traffic accident into gun-related bloodshed.
For all we invest in law enforcement, they just never seem to be around when you need them. Law enforcement does work since, somehow, even irrational criminals seem to plan their escapades when the police aren’t around. Whether in Bengazi or in Connecticut you are on your own. To be a citizen, rather than a subject, is ultimately being personally responsible to safeguard your own life and liberty; and that of your family.
I just shake my head at these incidents and the simplistic beliefs of feeling secure in our own little gun-free bubbles of safety. I feel secure, here in Wyoming, that I like my fellow citizens are well armed. Secure that I live in a society that is equipped, both materially and with a corresponding mind-set, that will not tolerate such murderous outrages. Such outrages don’t happen here because the perpetrator would be dead at the hands of responsible, well-armed citizens long before the police arrived.
Quoting William Buckley, Jr.: “I would rather be governed by the first two thousand people in the Boston telephone directory than by the two thousand people on the faculty of Harvard University.” Ditto guns.
I’ll start with Glenn Reynolds suggestions about awkward and embarrassing tax increases. And, add the following. What is needed is a series of tax cuts and spending cut directly targeted and tailored for the Democrat Senators who’s states have been hit by Obama’s ideology and stupidity.
What the House needs to do is create a tax bill that is economically beneficial with special Christmas presents for these Senators.
For Chuck Schumer, the threshold for taxing the ‘rich’ is set at $1,000,000; just as he asked. Schumer’s campaign war chest would also be greatly expanded by abolishing the Obamacare tax on capital gains. Ditto Senator Durbin from Illinois; he’s got a cozy relationship with the commodity traders from the Chicago Board of Trade and The Chicago Mercantile Exchange. Added benefit, Democratic support of ‘fat cats’ with little to no class warfare from the New York and Illinois delegations.
For the Senators from Massachusetts and Minnesota, a repeal of the Obamacare medical device tax. A tax that’s already causing layoffs in both of these states.
More Christmas gifts. How about forbidding federal money being spent to enforce greenhouse gasses regulation and the new ridiculously low sulfur and mercury standards that is shutting down power plants and laying off miners in droves. I think the senatoral delegations from West Virginia, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Illinois might like that.
Even more Christmas gifts. How about forbidding the spending of federal dollars to enforce the endangered species act threatening to shut down new oil exploration projects. The senators from Louisiana and Colorado might like that.
You could also slip in clauses to specifically allow off shore drilling and approval of the Keystone pipeline. Admittedly this is not a fiscal matter and could be filibustered. But, who cares, Senator Reid hates the filibuster and wants to ‘reform’ it.
And, by the way, these proposals are all heavily weighted towards the states with Democratic senators.
Heck, it Christmas, give every state a tax break or a regulatory break. 2014 isn’t that far away. How about further expansion of Second Amendment civil rights–all those Western State Democratic senators would love to burnish their NRA credentials.
If Obama so badly want to veto, let him. Just make sure he vetoes a bill that will throughly screw his own party.
What was Christopher Stevens thinking. I don’t know what his real philosophies and politics really were. But, let us speculate. History BA from Berkley, High School AFS exchange student in Spain, Peace Corps volunteer in Morocco from 1983-5 (safely teaching in Morocco during the ascendancy of President Reagan’s military buildup). Being born in 1960, he turned 18 in 1978–no draft and no draft registration. Did he really have a clue; a man of the left coast? A man who grew up in the the California golden years of the 60′s, 70′s and 80′s. By the way, pursuing Wikipedia, one notes his mom is a cellist for the Marin Symphony Orchestra…
Now, let’s look at his food chain at the State Department. Numero Uno is Hillary Clinton. The same said secretary who was pushing the UN small arms treaty as a method to circumvent our rights secured by the Second Amendment. So, would considering actually having and employing lethal force cross the Secretary Clinton’s mind? Defending yourself? With guns? As a Second Amendment right? Like, that’s so Tea Party. A distraction to be pawned off on some troglodyte at the lower, expendable end of the State Department food chain. Never has it occurred to Clinton (or her boss) that Islam is that very destructive force of nature that will crack the thin egg shell of civilization. And, flatten the ivory tower.
Here we have that very dichotomy of the attitudes that inhabit the MSM, the elite on the Washington DC cocktail circuit, the insulated elites that simply have never had an idea of what the unwashed masses in fly-over country deal with on a daily basis. Where inflation is real as gasoline has double in price since Obama’s inauguration, ditto basic stables like ground beef and chicken (not free range, but the stuff that comes in a bag from Tyson).
And, I’ll bet, besides thinking “why little me?”, Ambassador Stevens was thinking some very un-PC thoughts, thoughts that would come only from the likes of the NRA, like I could really use a firearm. Like, where are the Marines. Like Marines with M4 carbines, machine guns and grenade launchers. And, those nifty little armored personnel carriers with those cool machine guns on top.
The tragedy of Ambassador Stevens’ death is the door to an unbelievably naive world view devoid of practicality. A world view discussed from Charles Murray’s book Coming Apart bubble quiz with, I’ll bet, bubble scores somewhere near zero. Did anyone listen to one of the rough-speaking Marines, with a better situational sense than State Department ‘intelligence’.
Finally, what about the most fundamental human right enshrined in the Second Amendment? The right to self defense. The right to defend your life. A right long discarded the salons of Georgetown and in the soft life of the California of Stevens’ youth as irrelevant to worldly tastes and attitudes. Why wasn’t he armed? Why weren’t his companions armed? Why such groveling to the local ‘authorities’ over the possession of firearms? At the very least, one would assume that he’s in the middle of a war where ‘authority’ is a guy with a gun.
Not that this will ever happen in my lifetime; but, if appointed ambassador, I’m only accepting if I have every gun, bullet and magazine allowed by Wyoming law in my possession at my future embassy. And, Constitutional carry while out and about. And, a staff of like minded personnel and Marines.
This gives a pretty good summary as any. Look at the details; the assailants ran in single file and attacked a specific group of diners; attacked with metal and old fashion police batons. Also with hammers. Weapons that can kill, place a victim in the hospital for many months, or for life in a wheelchair. The first question: who was attacked and who attacked? Second question: who was behind the attackers (or who would most benefit from this attack). Yes, there are web sites, taking credit for the attack who claim that the diners were from the “White Nationalist Economic Summit.” But, in this day of s0-called journalism that amounts as propaganda cover for a particular group, I’ll withhold judgement. Moreover, as distasteful as the name and motives of those attacked may be, I have no evidence that those diners were disturbing the peace or were plotting to do so.
So, we come back to the Second Amendment. A right throughly suppressed in Illinois, particularly in Chicago. Illinois is, in fact, the sole hold out over concealed carry permits. And, Chicago, is doing everything to squirm out of the Heller and McDonald decisions. So much for the rule of law; a concept buried by Chicago Machine politics. Yet, in this very incident, we have a clear-cut attack with lethal force. A situation that in every locale that recognizes the civil rights secured by the Second Amendment, would have allowed the use of lethal force to counter this attack. Yet, depending on the political connections, these attackers will mostly go free and the victims will go home to nurse their wounds. And, yes, had someone stood up and fought back with a firearm, the only conviction would be placing that individual in prison for ten years.
But, the real issue is the need to defend not just against the mayhem of disaster or being preyed upon by thieves or rapist. Rather, there may come a time when citizens, who choose to remain free, may need to confront the criminal acts and agents of a criminal government. This issue in the Ashford House resembles the actions of some of the paramilitary units that targeted and murdered individuals that spoke out against the ruling authorities.
It is obvious that this attack was organized and planned. And, the perpetrators will walk free for the very simple fact that the witnesses, all out-of-towners, won’t be coming back to testify. Who would? You’ve just survived an attack that could have left you dead. You’re going to come back to a court system that is in the pocket of the same fellow travelers as the attackers? Unarmed?
What is keeping the socialist plans of such individuals as our Dear President is the fact that the confiscatory taxes that would be needed to put those plans into full implementation are being held in check by an armed citizenry. We have some semblance of a Bill of Rights for the same reason. And, conversely, we have our European brethren victimized by every idiotic social engineering scheme and environmental scare because they are basically powerless. A gun is not a talisman to make danger fade; nor is it an excuse to shoot everything in sight at the least provocation. But, it provides the necessary means to give a citizen the fortitude to stand and deliver, knowing there are means in the gravest extreme.
I can’t say it as well as Jeffrey R. Snyder, so I would refer you to his essay, A Nation of Cowards.
I had an epiphany this weekend. Our now infamous EPA administrator, Al Armendariz, isn’t just crucifying oil and gas firms, but by extension, through the EPA looking to justify it’s existence, is crucifying America. My small example is my Ford F350. This is a 2008 model with a 6.4 liter diesel engine. Much to my chagrin, I found that the fuel economy stank. I got about 10 mpg in the city and 12.5 mpg on the highway (maybe 14 mpg with a tailwind). I grumbled but didn’t do much for fear of voiding the warranty.
But, as diesel fuel crept over four bucks a gallon (an outrage since this is supposed to be kerosene, for heaven’s sake), I had to do something. That something was removing the factory tail pipe with the particulate filter and replacing it with a 5 inch steel pipe, chipping the engine (to essentially tell the controller chip that the filter is no longer there) and a new air intake.
With the back pressure gone and the chip no longer feeding fuel to the particulate filter (to burn off the particulate) the performance changes were phenomenal. My city mph went to 14-15 mpg. This is factoring in the fact that my daily commute from my office to my home involves coming up about a 1000 feet in elevation.
My trip, with my family, from Casper to Salt Lake City showed performance changes that were beyond subtle. Going west on I-80 to SLC, I got an average of 17 mpg over the 280 or so miles from Rawlins to SLC. This was bucking headwinds that were gusting up to 50 mph. On my way back, I got an average of about 21 mpg on that same 280 mile run. This return included an hour long 2500 foot climb in elevation as I drove out of SLC to Evanston, Wyoming (about 4200 feet and 6700 feet above sea level, respectively). Even during the climb out, I was averaging 18 mpg.
Performance was markedly improved as well. No longer a hesitation when I pushed the accelerator. Useful when you need to clear a congested intersection.
These above numbers represented increases in fuel economy on the order of 30 to 40 percent. This wasn’t trying to parse some subtle changes as to how many parts per billion of some ‘pollutant’ may cause some statically significant change in pulmonary disease in left handed South Sea Islanders living fifty miles from a power station.
Plain as day, plain as the fact that I was stopping less for fuel. And, plain as the fact that, no, I wasn’t pouring black smoke out of my tailpipe. All in an eight cylinder diesel truck with the aerodynamics of a barn door. Here’s an apples to oranges comparison with the Chevy Volt, which get 37 mpg on gasoline. 21 mpg is not 37 mpg; but it start to nibble at the heels of 37 mpg for a whole lot more vehicle (a trip to Home Depot for lumber combined with a big stock up at Sam’s Club).
And, all of this by removing a performance robbing, fuel economy robbing, tail pipe and particulate filter.
Which brings us to the big question. For the last thirty or so years, we have, in the name of environmental purity, dumped substandard products on the American public. We have cars of increasing complexity that are more expensive to design, manufacture, purchase, operate and maintain. A car like the Datsun 210 got 50 mpg on a carburatored 1.4 liter engine and like the VW bug was cheap to own and operate. It was the car that would allow you to get a start in life by providing you the necessary transportation to your first job. These cars are gone due to EPA regulations; and no, the new bug isn’t the VW bug of yore. Moreover, this destruction of simple, workable productions has extended into just about every facet of American life.
We have a vast bureaucracy that has a mandate to require the most advanced technology that creates a constantly shifting set of rules without any regard to true cost/benefit analysis. Nor, any attention to the law of diminishing returns. Pollution was indeed worse in the 60′s and 70′s when the EPA first arrived on the scene. But, today? With a bulk of the pollution cleaned up, we have an agency in search of a mission. In search of a rationale for continued existence. And, because of the open-ended nature of the legislation that enables these agencies’ mandates, they forever gin up all sorts of new monster to slay with every costly regulations.
We add in a political agenda to target a particular industry, we now have a weapon, outside the protections of due process as secured by the Bill of Rights, to run a given politician’s enemies into the ground or out of business. Unless you can bear the expense of very expensive legal help.
In many respects, the EPA’s job was done by about 1980. Since then, we’ve had regulation by every crackpot crisis that some environmentalist dreams up. Acid rain (remember that?), Alar, and of course, the all purpose Global Warming. And, what do you have for all of that besides substandard and unnecessarily expensive products. Take you tail pipe off. There’s a whole cottage industry in people modifying their trucks to get some semblance of decent performance and economy.
And, while we’re taking about crucifying your favorite enemies, why don’t we go totally Roman on the EPA (and wide swaths of the federal bureaucracy to boot). How about heads on a platter a la John the Baptist? Maybe Michelle can play the part of Salome. How about Mr. Armendariz. Ms. Jackson of the EPA. Secretary Chu for his brilliant venture capitalism on the taxpayer dime? How about the Roman tradition of decimation? That’s where, if a particular military unit did particularly badly on the battlefield, every tenth man was killed as punishment. Think of it, an instantaneous ten percent reduction in the Federal workforce. Oh! I’m sorry, just like Mr. Armendariz crucifying, it’s just an overwrought analogy.
Much is made of not judging people by appearances. Color of skin, beauty, physique, clothing. Yet, we have such things as a multi-billion dollar fashion industry selling apparel with the express goal of creating a ‘look.’ Creating a message.
If you want to project seriousness and professionalism, you probably dress in a suit and tie. If, as a politician, you want to project yourself as plain-folks guy, you probably dress in an open collar shirt and casual pants. If your marching in one of those ‘slut-day’ feminist parades, you probably wear a short, tight skirt. And, so on. We’re lectured incessantly on not judging by appearances, yet we ignore that lecturing because we purposely dress ourselves to create an appearance we hope other people will perceive as such. Look at your wardrobe.
And, yet everyone is shocked when Mr. Martin gets killed for sending such a message. Judging from his tweets, various photos associated with his social media messaging (the one in particular of him giving the third finger salute) it seems that Mr. Martin seemed to want to send forth the image of a hard-ass ‘gangsta.’
I imagine that Mr. Martin, on the night of his death, was probably not planning anything in particular. But, what Mr. Zimmerman saw was a young black man with the dress, appearance and demeanor of a ‘gangsta.’ As, a neighborhood watch captain, Mr. Zimmerman approached Mr. Martin and inquired of his business. It obviously degenerated from there.
But, there remains the fact that if you choose to portray yourself in the threatening demeanor of a ‘gangsta,’ people may actually take you at your word and act accordingly. If you choose to look like a threat, people may assume a posture designed to defend against that threat–perceived or otherwise.
Yes, yes. We all want to do our own thing and freely express ourselves. But, freedom also means you have to accept the consequences of the exercise of that freedom. Everyone else is just as free to interpret the appearance and do so in a manner that you may not like or intended. Others may roll their eyes. Others may even snicker at your appearance. If you dress in a manner that conveys the popular public’s image of a slut, you may be regarded as such if you dress as such. If Mr. Martin wore a Marine Corps t-shirt and carried himself in the deportment of a Marine, I suspect that Mr. Zimmerman would had an entirely different take on the situation. And, if you dress like a threat and walk around as such in a high-crime neighborhood, things could degenerate; and degenerate dangerously. Mr. Zimmerman doesn’t live in a vacuum of the university faculty lounge, he lived in that same said high-crime neighborhood.
Sure, judging a book by its cover sucks and is unfair. But, then maybe you should look to your own wardrobe and just chuck it out because maybe expressing yourself via your dress is just plain superficial. Maybe we should all be allowed to just dress in those idiot Mao suits and have done with it.
BHO’s hot mike gaffe reveals a lot. A plea for Russia to essentially go easy on Bam until the election in exchange for ‘flexibility’ thereafter.
So, the question is what needed to be so private? What fundamental national security fact was going to change between now and November?
The principles of Just War prohibit such things as holding civilian populations hostage; a concept posited some 800 years ago by St. Thomas Aquinas? Surely that principle is not due to change over the next 6 months.
Missile defense is just that. Defense. Very simply, having the means to ward off aggression, which is in no way immoral. In fact, by protecting civilian population from being rendered hostage, it furthers the concepts of Just War.
Therefore, what does Obama dare not articulate now that he can after the November election? The same fundamental tactical and strategic facts governing the security of our nation and that of our democratic allies in Eastern Europe now will remain unchanged later this year. Does he intend to do something that will make him more unelectable such as placing our security at greater risk? Does he intend to sell out our allies and friends (obviously not his, given his totalitarian instincts)?
Does he intend treason?
My thanks to Bookworm Room for citing my post today.
The issue of the movie ‘The Hunger Games’ is, at a its logical not-so-extreme, is its plausibility. Because the world of Hunger Games is the common denominator to which every social organization degenerates that rejects the precepts of Western Civilization.
Let’s start by looking at the world of Hunger Games.
First is high speed rail. Really. It is an incredibly luxurious affair reminiscent of first class accomidations of a late 19th century passenger railroad service. Or, say, first class service on a 1960′s PanAm flight. And, fittingly so, since these high speed rail services are incredibly expensive to build and maintain. Even with lavish subsidies, this will be the service of the well healed, or those on expense accounts or government business. So it is with this movie; high speed rail for ‘official’ business.
While on the subject of transportation, we see very little in the way of transport besides the above mentioned rail and, we may assume, aircraft with military purpose. All ‘public transportation.’ All forms of transport that in some fashion is controlled by some public entity. Nothing in the form of personal transport, the family sedan, a conveyence that you can gas up and take for a spin at the drop of hat, whether for work, errands or a family Sunday drive. Out in the districts, we see hovels within walking distance of the drudgery of the places of employment; the mines and mills. To deny one personal transportation is to deny freedom of movement, the ability to search out new opportunity or a new life. You can’t very well quit you job to get another one on another town if you can’t get there.
It’s abundantly clear that the Second Amendment is nonexistent. Katniss’s weapon, a bow and arrows, for heaven sake, are carefully hidden in the forest. And, given the contrast of the luxury of the Capitol and the abject poverty of the districts, we may assume confiscatory taxes that are simply the authorities taking what ever they want leaving only the barest of resources that make even eating only at a sufferance.
The second theme is the black and white contrast of the wealth and luxury of the Capitol and the object poverty of the ‘districts.’ A dichotomy that is only seen in the third world. The Capitol is a grotesque display of luxury and wealth by persons who seen to have no purpose or purposeful career. This is even unlike the ‘robber barons’ of the 19th century who are recognized, however grudgingly, as builders of various industries and businesses. We may have not like them, or their tactics–Rockefeller, Carnegie or Vanderbilt–but they did leave a legacy of economic benefit. And, we recognize these men for their work, yes work, in building these empires. Not once, do we see anyone in the Capitol doing any semblance of productive work.
The third and most enduring theme is the manner in which people use other people. Without the least thought. A theme relentlessly hammered home for the two-plus hours of the movie. Blood samples taken at the ‘reaping’ without a please or thank you. Tracking devices implanted into the forearms of the Tributes as a casual bureaucratic task. Money and property that would allow people of the districts to obtain dignity are simply taken at the merest whim and used at the merest whim simply because you have the power.
Further, this use extends to their very lives; where, simply because you have the power to do it, and you want to show that you have that power, you select 24 young men and women and pit them in battle to the death. With a random altering of game rules merely to provide more entertainment excitement for the viewers. No different that the millions of people killed in the last century for reasons or prejudices known only to their leaders; simply because they have the power to act on those reasons. A randomness no different than being unlucky enough to be in the impersonal striking range of a car bomb.
Herein lies the contrast. Western Civilization is a amalgam of Judeo-Christian morality that among other things and above all places as paramount the worth of the individual. That is a God that created man in his own image, endowed him with the ability to know God and the free will to choose to love Him. This is the God that gave us the Ten Commandments, the origins of natural law. The concept that there are certain rights and duties that will not be trumped by any human or majorititarian authority. This is the morality that says, in the end of times, that all people, will each stand before and be judged by God for their deeds upon earth. No Nurembergian ‘collective guilt.’
The Greco-Roman contributions served as the basis of the institutions that would allow the preservation of those individual rights. Trial by jury by one’s peers. Presumption of innocence. Burden of proof upon the accuser. And, as history progressed towards the English Enlightenment, we have further institutions develop to further the cause of the individual such as parliamentary government and the development of stock holding corporations to allow groups individuals to pool resources to accomplish task that heretofore were only in the realm of governments with the power to tax.
Against this is every other so-called ideology. Regardless of the name–progressivism, communism, socialism–they all share a common theme of a small cadre of ‘leaders’ who essentially own everything. Both property and people. And these leaders, Plato’s ‘philosopher-kings,’ are the ones that squander half a billion tax dollars to their cronies on Solyndra. They want to spend billions more on a high speed railroad in California. In addition to the confiscation of the tax dollars, such a railroad will require the confiscation of farmland (about 25 acres for each mile of right of way) for the railroad right of way; the sanitized term is eminent domain.
These same said philosopher-kings hate the Second Amendment since these schemes of confiscation are barely held in check by the fact that, for the present, the peasants can actually bring more than just pitchforks to the party. The Second Amendment animus is so strong that the creation of an anti-gun ‘narrative,’ with Fast and Furious, resulted in the murder of at least one US Border agent and hundreds of Mexican citizens.
And, in the end, what happens is the development of a bipolar society. The producers who live in the periphery to be taxed and regulated for the central government. The ‘leaders,’ their hangers-on and their praetorian guard who exist at the center and devolve into an existence solely for the maintenance of their own power.
Visiting Washington D.C. is notable for the fact that a lot of the trillions of dollars spent annually happen to stick around in that burg. And, Charles Murray’s Coming Apart bubble is as thick as the Great Wall of China in that town as region after region is mired and devastated by regulations and taxes with out the slightest acknowledgment of the pain caused. Jobs blocked or destroyed because of regulations designed to stop oil and coal production and use over the fraud of ’global warming.’ Thousands of jobs blocked, needed in this depression, because of blocking the Keystone pipeline. California’s Central Valley turned into a new dust bowl over the delta smelt. Moral beliefs over the value of life overrun by regulations that will require you to pay for contraceptives and abortifacents simply because the President has the power to say so.
It is interesting that Katness, at considerable risk to herself, wrecked the games by winning by only fighting in self-defense and by her dignified burial of her companion Rue. An individual, acting as an individual and treating her friend Rue as such. A point not lost on President Snow, nor the rioters in Rue’s home district; making Katness a political liability and costing the Gamemaker his life.
The question is whether we will hew to the concept that our Constitution and Bill of Rights is there to allow the individual to define the state or whether the State shall now define the individual. This movie is plausible because it has played out in so many ways over the last century.
I keep trying to write this post, but the stupidity comes so fast as to make my comments obselete
Taleb Nassim, in the Black Swan, remarks about F. A. Hayek’s assertion that societies, not individuals think outside the box. The simple truth of this statement is simply the statistical probability that the more people are in on a problem the greater the chance that someone will hit on a solution or a shortcoming faster. Or, 300 million people, it the billions upon billions of transactions in a given day are going to uncover a problem, shortcoming or, conversely, an advantage far quicker that a bureaucrat.
Our ‘green’ energy policies are example upon example, writ large, of the utter failure of one of the foundations of progressivism. That is, the concept that decisions large and small are beyond the individual—and hence the free market—and can only be handled by the dispassionate wisdom of government ‘experts.’ This folly is only magnified by our current President; aided and abetted by fellow Nobelista, Dr. Chu, of the Energy Department. Somehow, they presume to have all the answers to our carbon-free, rainbow-pony future that is known only to them. The same-said answer that have eluded, over the last two centuries, the hundreds of millions of people who have participated in exchanges of goods and services in the area of transportation, heating, air conditioning, lighting and the like.
Energy policy is about providing ready, on-demand sources of energy that can be readily tapped for immediate use, easily transported and easily stored. To date, that happens to be hydrocarbons.
Proof? Look in the mirror. Or, look around at the world. Every animal uses a hydrocarbon called glucose to burn for energy. The reasons is that weight for weight, volume for volume, hydrocarbons is the most efficient way to store and transport energy. One of the biggest problems in artificial heart development is an energy supply. The natural heart muscle, burning glucose, does a far better job than the alternative; batteries that we use to power artificial ventricular assist devices.
Look at the basics of physics: Force equals Mass times acceleration. And, Work equals Force times Distance. Ultimately, we burn energy to perform work. Work, most easily visualized transporting an object some distance is a function of that distance and the mass being moved. Mass is the amount of stuff you have; protons, neutrons and so forth. And, remember, energy is mass that needs to be carried. Therefore, it takes energy to move energy.
So, now lets just skim why we use energy as we do and not as our solons in Obama’s administration think we should. For instance, because we in a relatively sparsely populated country, stepping out our door will mean the average American will travel farther than his European or Asian counterpart. Many of the oh-so trendy European solutions for bullet trains and disposable-diaper micro-compact with pie pan wheels are designed for population densities at many hundreds or over a thousand people per square mile. With the exception of, say, Manhattan, our country is a country with a population density of under one hundred people per square mile. Thousands of pounds of the space shuttle Columbia fell on Texas and Louisiana, yet no one got hit.
So, if you are going to travel farther, you’re going to want to do more on each trip. You’ll want to combine errands, make larger purchases, say, once a week rather than daily. You will want a larger vehicle. Until, CAFE standards killed it, the station wagon. The SUV was the loophole that allowed auto manufacturers to continue to offer the station wagon that Americans still needed. So, in some respect, the SUV is one of the most noticeable distortions of the market because of our green stupidity policies.
Now let’s move on into the realm of politically correct engineering. People are foisting all sorts of ‘new’ technology that has been around for the better part of a century. In some cases, a millennia.
First, is the electric car. It’s been tried already. And, its utility has long been sorted out. If you were to go the the ‘Street of Yesteryear’ at Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry, you will see a circa 1910 battery powered car. I believe it got about forty miles on a charge–just like the Volt. And, for all of the fawning over the Volt’s innovation, it on and has been on our nation’s railroads for the last 50 years. Because every modern locomotive uses a diesel engine to power a generator that drives motors that turn the wheels. A Prius on steel wheels. Minus the batteries because they’re too heavy. Oops.
But, to understand the real idiocy of electrical cars you need to place them in the context of the Datsun 210. The 210 was a compact car made by Datsun in the mid ’70′s. It had a carbureted 1.4 liter four-banger engine and go 50 mpg. And, remember, if you’re not burning gas, you’re burning coal because the electricity has to come from somewhere. So, no, you aren’t getting the EPA rated 200 mpg from your Chevy Volt. All that politically inflated mpg rating does is allow Government Motors to sell more Suburbans and not exceed the CAFE standards.
As for the Nissan Leaf? Real original. It’s called the golf cart. It works out on the links because the cart doesn’t wander far from home and you have all night to recharge.
Windmills? They’ve been around since the Middle Ages. If it was such a great idea, they’d still be in use today. Without subsidies. The power is at the whim of wind conditions; not necessarily when you need the power. Just as a personal example, I looked into a personal system for my home
While the ‘Firearms Interstate Commerce Reform Act’ of the 1968 Gun Control Act is a much-appreciated reform, it falls into the category of half measures. Gun control is yet another example of the detritus of a century of ‘progressive’ legislative initiatives that has now brought our nation to its knees with unsustainable debt and regulation.
The entire gamut of gun control regulations is going to have to come under a through scrutiny. While Justice Scalia, in his Heller opinion made room for the role of regulation, the notion is largely boilerplate since none of the rights secured by the Bill of Rights is absolute in all circumstances. But, the focus is going to have to change and the scope of these regulations narrowed since the burden of justification for these regulations will fall on the government to specifically show their necessity. The reason is that Heller and McDonald profoundly shift the locus of control over the rights enumerated from the government in the militia interpretation of the Second Amendment into the hands of the individual.
First, we need to look at the issue of the militia and this quote from the Miller case of 1939; the decision that best embodies the militia interpretation of the Second Amendment:
The significance attributed to the term Militia appears from the debates in the Convention, the history and legislation of Colonies and States, and the writings of approved commentators. These show plainly enough that the Militia comprised all males physically capable of acting in concert for the common defense. ‘A body of citizens enrolled for military discipline.’ And further, that ordinarily when called for service these men were expected to appear bearing arms supplied by themselves and of the kind in common use at the time.
The above quote implies the individual possession of arms. But, it places that possession into scope of these arms to be used at the behest of a governmental need. It would also imply that the government would have some role into what arms would be appropriate for militia use; in part dictated by the mission envisioned for the militia.
Just on this basis alone, one could argue that what is already in use by infantry soldiers and law enforcement would, by default, be a weapon in ‘common use’ for militia use as well. The first general mission would be a battlefield situation of holding or taking ground. This would involve holding and securing roads, crossroads, bridges and other strategic facilities (power plants, industrial infrastructure or refineries). This would, therefore, require, at the very least, semiautomatic rifles and pistols with large capacity magazines. The rifles would have to be modeled off military assault rifles since, unlike hunting rifles, these weapons would need the durability to allow for high volumes of fire.
Safety for these militia members would be the same as our uniformed soldiers and law enforcement personnel. Flash suppressors and, increasingly, sound suppressors to protect a militia member from danger of giving away his position.
The second arena of conflict would be close quarters combat. This might be in situations where combatants close to distances of 50 yards or less. Or, combat situations that require the control building requiring those structures to be cleared of enemy personnel. This may be more in the domain of law enforcement. But, this is also very much an issue faced by our soldiers in suppressing the al Queada insurgency in Iraq.
In close quarter combat, long range precision become second to the accurate delivery of a high volume of fire. That means automatic weapons. Not necessarily a ‘machine gun,’ but, at the very least, a three round burst capability standard in the military’s M16 rifle and M4 carbine.
Additionally, gunfire in an confined, indoor space can create noise and flash is can be particularly disorienting. And, potentially lethal if you are blinded by muzzle flash or disoriented by the noise of a gunshot magnified by echoing in an enclosed space. You ability to follow up, to stay oriented and aware may be the difference between life and death. Again, reason to have flash and sound suppressors on your firearm.
Combat in confined spaces will now bring up the need for more compact firearms. Rifle barrels shorter than the National Firearm Act’s (NFA) sixteen inches. And, short barreled shotguns. The M4 Carbine has a barrel length of 14.5 inches.
So, even from the standpoint of the militia model of the Second Amendment, one can call into question the Constitutional legitimacy of regulations imbedded in the NFA.
Now let’s move on to Heller and McDonald and the newly enshrined protection of the individual right to keep and bear arms for defense of life, liberty and property. So, in addition to militia duties, we now add a whole new universe for the keeping and, in the gravest extreme, using lethal force. At this point, the state’s interest in an armed militia become an expectation that the expected armament will meet some minimum criteria of weapons in ‘common use.’ But, beyond that minimum criteria, we now come to the individual’s choice as to how he will equip himself to protect life, liberty and property. And, beyond militia duties, where and how he will engage when a perceived threat arises.
The most likely area of threat will be defense of home and family or possibly his business. This will almost invariably require the defense of an enclosed space; a residence or place of business. All of the tactical considerations of close quarters combat and clearing a building come into play. Therefore, all of the above considerations of more compact weapons, weapons more easily wielded in confined spaces, sound suppressors, flash suppressors and a high rate of fire become more than a matter of militia preparedness. Further, since we are talking of an individual right, the interests of the state now only come into play if there is a clearly defined public safety issue.
Then we move on to the subject of the Gun Control Act of 1968 (GCA). The requirement of filling the ATF 4473 form can now be called into question since we now have issue of prior restraint and privacy in the exercise of a right secured by the Bill of Rights. A case might be made if it were a method to insure that citizens fulfilled their militia obligations by purchasing and maintaining weapons suitable for militia duty. But, in the era of an individual right and a National Criminal Instant Background Check System (NICS) to confirm that the potential gun buyer is indeed eligible, why is it any longer necessary to permanently record a purchasers name, address and so forth? If the purpose is to prevent the sale of a firearm to a violent felon, a much more unobtrusive manner of check is now the more Constitutionally appropriate order of the day; such as the NICS.
Finally, there is the issue of felony convictions for mere possession of a firearm or certain firearm accessories. The whole concept of guilt by possession come from the paternalistic attitidue that you’re not allowed to have that ‘bad’ thing anyway.
So, as a result, we now have the issue of somehow creating a whole new area for appeals for existing gun control laws as they are modified to accommodate the new world of the Second Amendment of the individual right. This goes back to one of the biggest casualties of gun control–res mens, the guilty mind. Or, in my way of thinking, the concept of the reasonable layman; the layman who can’t hope to know every nook and cranny of Federal, State and Local law and regulation. That is, there was a purposeful intent to commit harm. Therefore, rather than slapping another ten years on to a sentence for merely possessing a firearm, there will have to be more careful prosecutions to show that that possession was integral to the intent to facilitate the crime. And, appeals for prior convictions, will now need to be reviewed in the light of criminal use of firearms. This will be a mess, but this is the price of sloppy jurisprudence of ‘piling on’ charges in the first place. Welcome to the new world of deferring to Constitutionally secured individual right and the need for greater precision in determining the precise nature of what evil was actually committed. It’s a concept that is going to have to percolate itself back into our legal community.
I take the concept of militia duty seriously. In fact, as a former Naval officer, militia laws expect me to show up for militia duty in time of emergency until the age of 62. But, as a member of the militia and an individual, who in the gravest extreme, will use lethal force to defend myself, my family and my community and country, I very much expect that my government will indeed furnish, or allow myself to furnish, those weapons, reflecting the cutting edge of self-defense technology, that will optimize my chances of success and survival.
I wish to credit Gun Fight by Adam Winkler and Second Amendment Penumbras: Some Preliminary Observations by Glenn Harlan Reynolds for the ideas that I expanded on in this posting. It’s been 30 years since I graduated from college so I’ve basically forgotten all the rules of footnoting. And, I majored in engineering anyway.
Occupy this and occupy that. All a tantrum from a bunch of pampered brats who ran up untold educational debt to find that majoring in gay anger management and Marxist feminist deconstruction has exactly zero demand on the job market. So we now have yet another group people who’ve racked up untold debt on the government credit card with an expectation that we, the taxpayers, will get stiffed on yet another bailout by forgiving these government guaranteed loans.
But, what are we buying and what, exactly have we built into our government subsidized edifice called higher education? Let’s look at this from a historical perspective. That perspective would be the Morrill Act of 1862; the act that established our land-grant colleges. The Morrill Act established college funding for the following:
without excluding other scientific and classical studies and including military tactic, to teach such branches of learning as are related to agriculture and the mechanic arts, in such manner as the legislatures of the States may respectively prescribe, in order to promote the liberal and practical education of the industrial classes in the several pursuits and professions in life.
Note the specific mandates: military tactic, agriculture and mechanic arts. And, scientific and classical studies aren’t just weasel words to justify anything. These too, in the context of the times, had very specific mandates.
Classical studies means the understanding the underpinnings of Western Civilization. The understanding of the Judeo-Christian morality and the Greco-Roman traditions that undergird the concepts of individual liberty and the basis for the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. And, it meant that this understanding was to include an understanding as to why this is the best hope for mankind. If there is a role for ‘multiculturalism’ it is only to compare the superiority of Western Civilization to the harsh backwardness of totalitarian and tribal ideologies of socialism, communism and, for that matter, Islam.
We were building an educational system to build a country. To find and use the resources of our country to build a better place to live and to build a better and more hopeful life for our citizens. We have railroads and highways to build, mineral to mine and refine, factories to build and machines to design and construct. There is no room for Marxist deconstruction.
We need to build our agricultural resources. We have land to irrigate so we can turn deserts into rich breadbaskets. We need new technology to come up with drought and pest resistant crops. We need new techniques to increase the yield from each acre planted. We have a country to feed. We have no time for the stupidity of protesting ‘frankenfood.’ We have no time turning California’s Central Valley into a dust bowl for the sake of the delta smelt.
Military Tactic. Not peace studies. Not anger management. Seriously, this means ROTC. This means a huge portion of our officer class needs to be coming out of our colleges. It literally means, the Morrill Act providing the statutory basis, to have every college student be required to show firearm proficiency.
What a college wants to teach and what a student wants to study is the private business of of those persons or institutions. But, if the public dime is on the line–in the form of outright grants of public money to a given institution or a government backed loans or grants to a given student–then we need to ask what we are really buying.
In short, what our public dollars should be buying is education in the engineering disciplines, in the hard sciences, mathematics, and in business administration. Classical studies, in addition to the above civics lessons, needs to teach communication (written and spoken) for the specific purposes of furthering our mechanic and agricultural arts. We need teachers to teach specifically these things. And military “tactic.”
And, if you really want to major in women’s studies, social work, queer studies and the like, have at it. On your own dime. Without the expectation that anyone, especially the taxpayer, is in anyway on the hook for paying for those ‘majors.’ If you want to protest, do it in a manner that doesn’t interfere with anyone else’s use of public streets, sidewalks and parks. No, you don’t sleep on the streets, my taxes paid for those streets to allow for the safe and efficient movement of people, goods and commerce.
Better yet, get a job. You can start with flipping hamburgers and maybe use that time contemplating how to use your skills to really benefit society by offering goods and services that others really want to pay for.
Or, join the military. Its called the GI Bill. That’s how we used to pay for college before our current system became what is essentially a GI Bill without military service.
How about going to trade school, I know we can use skilled machinists. All the parts and accessories for my AR build are on perpetual backorder.
Charles Krauthammer and Angelo M. Codevilla provide very sobering assessments of what has happened to our republic over the last two years and century, respectively. (Here and here) (Bookworm here) The Republicans have the capacity to significantly alter the balance of power this November. It is very possible to take control of the House of Representatives. Will they use the power of the purse to completely gut Obamacare until the the election of a Republican to allow for repeal?
It is also very possible for the Republicans to elect enough truly conservative Senators to have an effective filibuster. Enough Senators to overcome the handicap of Senator Scott “I’m the 41st vote” Brown and our two squishes from Maine, Senators Snow and Collins. Will the GOP use that power to shut down the Senate? To block every judicial and cabinet appointment to stop the invasion of Elena Kagans and Donald Berwicks? And, in coordination with the House will every department populated by recess appointments be stripped of all funding?
Will a newly empowered GOP articulate a program of balancing the budget by sharply controlling spending and eschewing taxes? Will a newly empowered GOP make a distinction between things that government must do, such as national sovereignty, and things that are optional, such as entitlements? Or, will the GOP fall into the trap of trading defense budget cuts for entitlement cuts?
In short, will the GOP rediscover the party that Lincoln once led and demonstrate the discipline to stay in a fight that may last a century to repeal the institutions that the so-called progressive instituted that now imperil the individual liberties enshrined in our Constitution and Bill of Rights?
Or, will a GOP triumph in November be just another speed bump on the way to replacing individual liberty with European Socialism–Chicago-style?
Every generation or so, the progressives manage to secure control of the White House and both Houses of Congress (filibuster-proof control). And, with each such opportunity, the progressives manage to advance the ball with yet more programs to achieve this goal of cradle to grave welfare. In 1913, even Republican Howard Taft manage to drink the progressive Cool-aid and pass the 16th amendment–income tax. A generation later, it was FDR’s turn to introduce Social Security. Then LBJ with Medicare, Medicaid and the other detritus of his Great Society and War on Poverty. Jimmy Carter, through the first two years of his presidency had the opportunity to pass the Community Re-investment Act; the law that created ACORN and the sub-prime mortgage melt down of September 2008. And, now, the next generational spasm of progressivism, Obamacare.
The point of all of the above is that this accretion of programs are now threatening the viability of our Republic. We are, in fact, in a existential war with Islam. Yet, even without Obamacare, we no longer have the money to underwrite the most fundamental function of governance–national defense. Our tax revenues basically cover Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. National defense is be funded by deficit spending. And, this is before Obamacare really kicks in.
More sobering is the fact that each and every one of the above programs is still in place. Not one has been repealed or even significantly reformed. Obama, Pelosi and Reid couldn’t care less about the electoral bath their party will take this November because the track record is that the GOP will do exactly nothing. There is a whole century of nothing to back that contention up.
So, the real question before the GOP and the electorate they are trying to convince to vote for them is this. Will the GOP start to reverse, undo and abolish the damage of a century of progressivism? Obamacare was passed over the manifest objection of the general public by the progressive philosopher-kings who were determined to give us what they though was the medical care they think we should get. If in control of the House as of 2011, will the GOP completely defund Obamacare? In the name of deficit control, will the GOP defund just about every program outside of national defense? Will the GOP insist that proper governance be confined to external security, internal order and an honest buck?
Frankly, the destruction of the progressive march through just about every institution is complete; complete with the establishment of socialized medicine. We now have a county that won’t last long since every penny will be consumed by entitlements to the complete abandonment of governance that defines the nation-state. Therefore, the GOP’s choices are very simple. There is no “difference to split” or any way forward. Either the GOP fights to restore our Constitutional Republic or goes out of business as “me-too” Republicans.
A century ago, was the age of William Jennings Bryan’s “cross of gold” speech. It was more than about the debasing of currency by increased coinage of silver. It was the whole progressive program of “wise men,” the philosopher kings in their own ranks telling and assigning duties to the rest of we peasants incapable of making decisions on our own. Something the likes of Donald Berwick now does as he institutionalizes death panels.
But, even Bryan couldn’t have imagined that his free coinage of silver would devolve to the modern-day Fed. An institution that merely creates money at the stroke of a pen! Fiat money you don’t even have to bother to print, much less bother to coin. A currency so debased that the modern penny is now a zinc alloy coated with copper; since pure copper is too expensive to mint as pennies.