The entry of Donald Trump onto the political scene; was, initially, easy to miss; or dismiss. He, his positions and style of delivery were roundly criticized by conservative pundits. Criticized to the point of pundit, George Will, hoping that he loses all 50 states to Hillary Clinton–presumably for lack of purity of messaging.
Yet, what everyone regarded as a flash in the pan, the ultimate ego trip for a rich blowhard, wasn’t. It didn’t stop and Trump kept coming and coming. Racking win after win and now with the delegates needed to be the Republican nominee this summer. I don’t think that it is a great exercise in clairvoyance, to say as of this January, it will be President Trump.
For, in the midst of the naysayers were other voices; voices like Alabama Senator Sessions. For years Sessions fought a lonely battle against uncontrolled immigration and for secure boarders. He fought this battle in the name of Americans losing jobs to uncontrolled immigration. And, finally, someone cut through the DC fog and obfuscation and staked out a clear message of support for what Sessions was fighting for; and, to the gasping of the Washington punditocracy, Sessions endorsed Trump. But, how surprising is that, Trump was the only one that took Sessions’ message to heart.
The threads were there, scattered all about, waiting of someone to weave a tapestry. Here are some:
Ronald Reagan. The eight years of the Reagan presidency were the last time in memory that we had clear leadership, clear goals and achievement of those goals. Reagan wasn’t conservative to score debating points. Early in life he was a New Deal Democrat. No, he was there for American security, prosperity and freedom. Conservatism after a lifetime of experiences was the path to those goals.
When Reagan inherited the mantle of President, he was given a dismal job of reversing high inflation, high unemployment and ascendant Soviet Union. It was common at the time to speak of the United States of having passed its peak and to be in permanent decline. Yet, Reagan reversed all of these and left a legacy of a strong, ascendant United States. Militarily and economically. His legacy was end of the threat of nuclear war with the USSR and an robust economy that has essentially thrived until the crash of 2008.
It speaks to the power of Reagan’s legacy that, for the last 30 years since Reagan, every president has ridden on the robustness of that legacy. But, that legacy has been ridden down into the ground. We’ve been a in a downward spiral (Its Trump. Get Over It. Thomas Lifson, American Thinker). A spiral of corruption and rent seeking that has ridden Reagan’s legacy into the ground.
The US still matters because of the strength of the economic and military legacy rebuilt during the Reagan years. The US has been the engine of peace and prosperity since 1945. There is simply no other country on this planet that can create such a legacy. But, now we are trying to fight an existential worldwide war against the totalitarian ideology of Islam with a military that is a shadow of what we once had in the days of Reagan. Our economic power is in tatters because of debt and the eight years of debasing our currency by virtue of the FED’s quantitative easing–fancy words for printing more money. And, despite cooking the books on inflation at the Department of Labor, inflation is real and abundantly clear as you shop the aisles at Sam’s club.
Further, the economic power and prosperity has been raided incessantly to fund all manner of programs that have little to do with the real purpose of the Federal Government—security (national defense and border integrity), internal order (roads, bridges and contracts) and an honest buck.
The real damage, though, of the last 30 years is the development of a self-serving governing class of legislators, bureaucrats, lobbyists, political punditry, media and all manner of syncophyants and hangers-on that now dominate what passes for our leadership in the Bo-wash (Accelera?) corridor on the East Coast. Revolving doors of jobs and favors between government and the rent seeking crony capitalists that turn with the speed of a jet turbine. A symbiosis between the regulators and those regulated that can afford to buy off the regulators.
Politically Correct (PC). If there’s going to be one legacy coming out of Trump’s presidential campaign, it is making PC a central campaign issue. PC is really a device to silence dissent to the current “received wisdom” of our ruling elite. It also has the virtue of stopping meaningful change by eliminating the very words to allow a productive conversation about the problems that vex our nation–Newspeak ascendant. Add to this the further barriers to communication such as “trigger” warnings, safe spaces and social and MSM shaming that attempts to utterly destroy opponents with the wrong opinion.
But, in particular, the conservative elite had it coming since topics that the “respectable, main stream” actors refuse to address will be addressed. By “disreputable” individuals out on the fringes. By ignoring ‘them that brung them to the dance,’ namely the voters, Trump caught our elite totally off guard by having the audacity to juxtapose such words ‘illegal’ and ‘immigrant.’
Forthright and free speech is essentially crowd-sourcing of self-correcting criticism and debate. A effective manner of throughly vetting a politician or program. Supressing free speech will only push a problem down for a while where it will fester and eventually burst back on the scene as bad, if not worse, than ever.
What’s really coming back is forthright speech, plain talk. Calling a spade a spade. One wonders, by the way, if Truman’s plain speaking would have had a home in today’s Democratic Party.
Toilets and Cakes. Our elite wasn’t just willing to wallow in their corruption. They had to take it a step further. Live and let live wouldn’t cut it. They had to declare war on the unwashed masses in fly-over country. War was officially declared when Obama in the famous unguarded moment discussed us poor rubes as clinging to Guns and Religion.
So, in what simply amounts as gratuitous attacks on Middle America, we have ‘human rights’ commissions bankrupting small businesses with excessive fines over refusing to bake a cake for a gay wedding because of moral objections. Forcing the Little Sisters of the Poor to hand out contraceptives. Trying to pass any sort of gun control legislation to create barriers to the exercise of rights secured by the Second Amendment. To make a felon out of an otherwise law-abiding citizen with fly-paper regulations.
Yet, where is the IRS in auditing the Clinton Foundation? And, at the same time, why is a weaponized IRS auditing Obama’s Tea-party opponents? How come these solar and wind projects, wiping out eagles, hawks and owls get a pass on the endangered species act and a small landowner (welder, Andy Johnson) is getting reamed by the EPA for putting a pond on his land? And, where exactly did those half-billion dollars for Solyndra go? Is DC one big ‘get of jail free’ card? Does it seem that laws are just for little people?
Then the toilets and ‘transgender’ identities. This is only clap-trap that could come out of a bloated higher education establishment also wallowing in the trough of tax payer dollars. For most people, gender identity is looking down your pants realizing that if your an outie, your a boy, an innie, a girl. Rather, you’re hopelessly bigoted if you object to a 40 year-old man in a dress going into the same bathroom as your ten year-old daughter or granddaughter. Here, being part of Peggy Noonan’s “protected” class, wanna bet that that’s not going to happen on Obama’s daughters on their annual Martha Vineyard summer vacation? Its only a matter of time before some pervert in a dress is going to get blow away by a pistol packing mother. What then? Female empowerment versus gender identity versus rape culture versus safe spaces versus a really big micro-aggression?
Wyoming Girls’ Hockey: This is another was of discussing the divide between the elite and the little guy. Between Peggy Noonan’s “protected” and “unprotected” class. Out in Wyoming there’s no such thing as Charles Murray’s bubble from his book Coming Apart. No gated communities. You rub shoulder daily with cops and firemen. You mixed it up with drillers, frackers and coal miners. With teachers, accountants and lawyers. You shop at the same Wal-marts, Safeway’s and Sam’s Clubs. You take your family to eat the same Outbacks and Texas Roadhouses. You drive a truck. Your Charles Murray bubble score is comfortably above 50. I doubt the Georgetown crowd could hit a score of 20.
Then you go to your daughter’s hockey practices and games. You sit at team dinners. You sit with these same people from all walks of life and discuss the world around you. Keeping your business going in spite of Federal regulation. Impending layoffs. Hiring freezes. Good jobs, once had, that just dried up to outsourcing or some environmental jihad.
You discuss the devastation of 500 coal mine layoffs in Gillette and how those 500 breadwinners, 500 families deprived of that paycheck will utterly devastate a town of only 30,000. You reflect on how the 100 or so frackers, through their own hard work were earning six-figure incomes in Fremont County (population ~35,000). And, how Fremont County’s economy has taken such a toll, economically, when Obama’s co-religionists in Saudi Arabia dropped the price of oil specifically to wipe them out.
You reflect on the callousness of President “I’ve-got-a-phone-and-a-pen” carries out his “war on coal” and turns his back on 20,000 jobs blocking the Keystone pipeline. Then, there’s Hillary Clinton’s plan to “put a lot of coal miners…out of business.” You read articles in the Wall Street Journal about finding “new economic opportunities” for coal mining communities that have lost all their mining jobs. These “new economic opportunities” might sound so hip as your swilling wine and brie in a DC cocktail party. But, those people, those communities torn asunder by these glib assertions were perfectly happy to ply their trade as coal miners and oil drillers. And, happy to bring a solid paycheck home to secure decent food, clothing and shelter for their families.
Maybe the real reason behind the new regulations in Austin, Texas essentially driving out Uber is the fact that there comes a time when people have had enough of the billionaire silicone valley solons’ “creative disruptions.” Macroeconomics may be all the rage when your pulling down a six-figure income at some think tank or foundation. But, to the little guy who world has been destroyed by outsourcing to some factory in China, the microeconomics is what really matters.
Immigration and Trade. Really the opposite sides of the same coin. The free trade purism being flogged at the Georgetown cocktail parties are devastating Middle America since most of our trading partners are really practicing merchantilism. And, if you can’t displace American workers by manufacturing over there, you have uncontrolled immigration to displace them over here. And, if free trade is such unalloyed good, why is one of the few domestic industries that is truly creating good jobs for a comfortable middle class lifestyle are in the gun industry?
The gun industry is anything but free trade. You can’t export unless you have special export licenses. Nor, can you import unless you have a significant manufacturing presence for that firearm product in the US. Yet, somehow, we have a robust, competitive domestic industry making high quality, innovative products. Essentially surrounded by a wall of tariffs 50 miles high. We scoff when socialist theory falls apart in real world situations. Is free trade, after some point, too much of a good thing? Where does free trade fall apart when theory collides with the real world–in the real world of rent seeking on an international level.
Or, I would gladly spent fifty cents per gallon for diesel to know that all our oil guys were back at work fracking.
Then there the other half; immigration. There are plenty of immigrants that have been coming to our shores since Jamestown. You can look up my immigrant grandparents on the Ellis Island website. But, that’s the point. They came here legally, within the law, above board, on the books. With the intention of becoming Americans—including one uncle, a son of those immigrant grandparents of mine, who earned a bronze star for valor in France in WW II. They just didn’t waltz in over an unguarded border with ISIS trying to run in its sleeper terrorist operatives under the cover of the hoard. Also, how did a bunch of 12 year-olds from Central America make it to the border over 1200 miles of Mexican desert?
Donald Trump is bringing the forgotten Americans to the table. And, even are elite conservatives should be thankful because he’s bringing them to a new home in the GOP because they will be the margin that gives the GOP victory. The GOP and America needs them at the table. The Americans who work with their hands and make things. The America that goes to war to bleed and die to keep America safe as mankind’s last and greatest hope.
I understand Donald Trump.
Americans recoil at war since it is a disruption of the basics of the rule of law. The killing of other human beings on split second decisions, under the extreme pressure that the slightest hesitation may mean that your life may be forfeit instead. Which brings up the fundamental need to fight a war physically separated from our homeland. To take the fight to the enemy. To destroy the enemy on his own territory. And, to destroy the enemy so he will not rise up against you again.
This is the Jacksonian world view. A very practical and realistic world view despite the derision from the elites that subscribe to other schools of thought, particularly Wilsonian.
The Jacksonian distrust of outsiders is born of a fundamental fact that those insiders may not or choose not to understand or work under the same organizational and governmental assumptions that are yours. Particularly, in the realm of the individual, his rights and prerogatives. Parliamentary institutions work well in the Anglosphere; under the assumption of certain limitations of power and the importance of guarding individual rights against mob rule. Under the assumption that parliamentary representation’s fundamental purpose is to create a governing institution that will enhance and protect the individual’s rights.
The United Nations has become mob rule; tyranny of the majority. An assembly dominated by totalitarian and authoritarian nations who send representatives that have absolutely no accountability to the people of their respective nations. And, as such, these international organizations are now lush tyrant country clubs. Largely financed by our tax dollars.
While the Wilsonians choose to apply force after a very exacting set of rules, the Jacksonians will pursue a threat and destroy on the basis of its immediate malign intent. If a thug kicks in your door and is in the process of advancing upon you and your family with a six-inch hunting knife, you don’t start reciting his Miranda rights. Rather, you cover the threat with your Glock and pull the trigger. The Jacksonians do so because those outside our Western Civilization do not accept or respect those aspects natural law, natural rights and Constitutional restraint. Moreover, in part since the Jacksonians (aka flyover country) will bear the brunt of the carnage, the fight will be an intense all-in affair with the specific intent to permanently render the enemy incapable of ever rising again.
War is not a casual decision. It is why Jacksonians will fight a war only if necessary. It is a frightful expenditure of blood and treasure. But, one engaged, it is to be fought in a manner to achieve its goals with maximal economy with respect to the lives of our countrymen.
So, while Jacksonians are content to live and let live, if attacked, the Jacksonians will track you down, take the war to you, kill you and destroy your base of operations. As we did to Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan.
Which brings us to why, in light of NSA bulk collection of data, we have to abandon the Wilsonian world view for the Jacksonian one. By depending on the approval of legal structure, particularly international ones that thereby encroach on our sovereignty. We become involve in a defensive war. The enemy’s base of operations is largely intact. Initiative goes to the enemy to pick the time and place of attack. The enemy has an opportunity to infiltrate behind our lines by building mosques and the like on our territory. The enemy has the opportunity to exploit those very Wilsonian international institutions to their advantage and our disadvantage–law-fare.
And, in such a defensive war, you fight among your own citizens and invite collateral damage in your own country and to your own people. That collateral damage also includes the Bill of Rights, in this case the Fourth Amendment. These will be protracted, divisive and debilitating wars far beyond the controversies of fighting in a foreign land. Conversely, if we identify the enemy and clearly demarcate homeland from enemy territory, we can greatly diminish that damage to our rights and citizens.
Those that choose to live here and benefit in a manner they could have never done in the ‘old country,’ need to clearly demonstrate that change. To embrace American and to resign that former identity; as our Founding Fathers, by signing the Declaration of Independence, did when they took on the mantle of American and resigned completely their identity as European. In particular, to embrace the primacy of the individual, the centerpiece of the amalgam of Judeo-Christian, Greco-Roman tradition that we call Western Civilization. The US Constitution and Bill of Rights simply will not work outside that fundamental paradigm.
This is to be distinct and separate from what other civilizational philosophies that may exist. Preferably, far from our shores. And, so, when the need arises. When that other philosophy or totalitarian impulse decides to threaten and attack our freedoms, we can, with this demarkation, take the battle to those enemies, on their lands and into their cities. Thereby sparing our citizens the damage and indignity of having the rights secured by our Constitution and Bill of Rights compromised. The enemy is over there and we are here. The NSA can now collect data to its heart’s content over there because it’s now mostly over there.
If A&E were a publicly traded company, it decision to place the program Duck Dynasty in jeopardy should have merited the systematic sacking the entire management of A&E for failing to maximize shareholder return. For the sake of political correctness it is willing to take a financial hit on one of the most profitable ventures currently in A&E’s stable. Who are these ‘captains of industry’ that trash a profitable venture over the wrath of a demographic, homosexuals, that are far outnumbered by those who practice Christianity and/or choose to participate in heterosexual activities. And, for reasons that are, frankly trivial, merely expressing an opinion in a magazine interview. Never mind that Phil Robertson never personalized his opinions, or personally insulted anyone.
This lies in Tom Wolfe’s remark that liberalism is the etiquette of the upper classes. A whole bicoastal elite that lives in fear of being knocked off the A-list for party invites. The same elite that came up from the finishing schools otherwise known as the Ivy League. The same elite after networking in the Ivy League then goes off to work by taking over their parents occupations in government, law and finance to have their turn at looting this Republic. And, so, it is far more important maintain those networks and the insurance that your elite peers will ever at your side to find you yet another job than it is to run a company well. The abject fear of being cast aside from all the networking at all those Hampton parties.
Except that Phil Robertson, the patriarch of Duck Dynasty and the target of the wrath of the political correctness police, didn’t quite play along. Instead of creating a program of stupid rednecks doing stupid things, the program in a very human way promoted Christianity and a traditional family structure in a quiet, unobtrusive manner. And, God and guns thrown in.
Phil Robertson and his clan never direct hate or invective at anyone. They may disagree, but never to the extent of personally attacking those with whom they disagree. In fact, the show, doesn’t denigrate others, but rather invites others to join their fun. Indeed, Phil Robertson, in his GQ interview quotes the Bible and leaves judgement to the Good Lord. He’ll disagree with you and then go his own way; using his guns only to put dinner on the table. His disagreement with you will only be answered in the next world, by God and not by his hand.
Yet, Phil’s firing and his reaction truly shows the gulf between our decrepit elite and his strength. His own personal strength and a mind-set of independence allows him to thumb his nose at A&E. He and his family have the pluck to seize an opportunity and run with it; and, in doing so, keep their end of the bargain by making this TV enterprise also very profitable to A&E. But, he’s not married to this success that he will abandon the fundamental principles that made his life so successful and thereby the show so appealing.
For A&E, it a dependence on appearances in the politically correct world–at least for its executives. For the Robertsons’, it God and guns. A belief there is an ultimate higher authority and a practical tool that concentrates your mind on the power and responsibilities of independence, respectively.
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.
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.
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.
Here’s the real agenda over the lack of response over the gulf oil spill. Here’s Obama in Pittsburgh, last Tuesday, giving a speech on the need to pass legislation to have the nation “kick a dangerous fossil fuel addiction.” Here’s Obama wanting to eliminate various tax breaks for the exploration for oil and diversion of this money to “clean-energy research.”
Here’s Obama not letting another crisis, the BP oil spill, go to waste.
Here’s Obama showing his ACORN agitator bona fides; unable to demonstrate any understanding on what it takes to be an executive and a leader. Rather, this is a community activist who knew the potential magnitude of this oil spill and purposely sat on this hands to give it time to grow. To grow, so he could demonize BP, the oil industry in general and create a drumbeat of support for the stalled cap-and-tax legislation now stalled in the Senate.
In one sense, it makes no more sense to blame Obama for this oil spill than Bush for Katrina. But to the extent that Obama planned to use this crisis to push his agenda, this oil spill is now and most completely, Obama’s fault.
This is exactly the type of situation that so demonstrates Obama’s utter lack of executive leadership experience; and his willful refusal to use the last 18 months of his presidency to learn that sorely need skill. This oil spill is not the result of willful misconduct. Moreover, it is a problem that the Federal government simply does not have the skill to solve. Obama is entirely at the mercy of the skills of thousands of engineers and oil field technicians to solve this problem.
But, the executive rarely possesses the intrinsic skills necessary solve many of the problems that challenge the complex organizations that make up many of our governmental and industrial concerns. Rather, the executive the person that must find and surround himself with people who can provide that intricate and specialized technical information. Then, that executive must wade through gobs of information and distill that information down to simple, literally yes or no directives. A decision that clearly points a way, clearly sets very simple and understandable goals.
Then finally, the executive becomes the cheerleader-in-chief. His job then becomes making the people under him want those same goals. To create an environment of can-do. An environment of winning.
But, Obama fumble right from the start. In his socialist, zero-sum mentality, he saw this oil spill as some sort of convoluted tactical ploy to advance an agenda. What he should have done was realize, particularly as President, that he is above this agenda and realize that there are situations and crises that require an understanding and solutions that need him to set aside a personal agenda and solve the problem regardless of that agenda. Prosecuting WW II had little to do with furthering the goals of the New Deal, yet, FDR was wise enough, as of December 8, 1941 to realize that he was now the War President and not the New Deal President.
The directive, on day one, should have been: stop the leak. Period. And, to the extent that regulations from myriad federal agencies might stymie such an effort, Obama’s job as to specifically insure that there would be no competing rules, directives or messages. Or, special approvals or permitting procedures. In the early days of the spill, the oil could have been contained and burned–greatly reducing the amout of oil that could now spread to various beaches. The EPA’s squabbling over the choice of dispersant should have been immediately quashed. Louisania Governor Jindal’s proposal to dredge up berms to protect the coast line should have been acted up within hours instead of three weeks.
Finally, creating a winning team effort is completely in conflict with Interior Secretary’s comment to “keep our boot on their neck.” I doubt that you will find Dale Carnegie or and subsequent book on leadership recommending such comments to the people you need to create a winning situation.
But, Obama was never a leader. His whole life was based on spending, usually extorted, other people’s money. And, it still is. His life is about creating a win by making someone else, less favored in his mind, lose. Rather than getting out in front and owning the oil spill in a manner to solve the problem, he sought to allow a crisis to fester for political gain. Now, he does indeed own the oil spill and it is entirely his fault.