Friday, May 27, 2016

The ATF's Dog Ate the Documents

Katie Pavlich is reporting today at Townhall.com that Mexican Cartels Used Fast and Furious Guns for Mass Killings. Meanwhile, justice turns s l o w l y as a federal judge just last month ruled an "executive privilege" claim made in 2012 was apparently not legitimate after all. So, now the DO(i)J (Department of in-Justice) must release fast and furious documents.  Except, some other tactic will be used.  Perhaps their email system failed at the same time the IRS system failed and everything was lost?  Or, maybe they could try the old standby, my dog ate it.

I keep reporting things as I find them about fast and furious because I believe getting to the bottom of it is important, and putting those responsible in prison is important. You see, some people will obey the law because it is the law. But...dare I say it...a majority of people obey the law only when it serves their purposes, or when the consequences of disobeying are sure and swift.  But when justice drags on so long, justice is truly denied.  That laws were broken by people whose job was to ensure they were followed, and people died as a result, is not mere politics.  Keep in mind that the very laws designed to prevent criminals from obtaining guns by straw purchases were violated, at the request of the ATF, and then the guns were allowed to walk,  The fact that the whole scheme was designed to create the impression that U.S sourced guns were being used as crime guns in the War on Drugs and that therefore more gun control was needed, makes this even more tragic.  People have been killed to serve an agenda.  No one has been charged or tried.  Am I crazy to think that someone should pay a price for this horrendous negligence?

Saturday, May 21, 2016

The Ultimate Shoe Shining Technique

You all know I like to keep my shoes  well polished.  I do like to spit shine them, but sometimes I don't have time even for just brush shining my shoes.  What to do then?  Actually, there is another technique that puts a beautiful shine on your shoes, and that shine is more durable than spit shine.  Its called fire shine, though you don't actually use fire.  Shoe polish is flammable, and you don't want to burn up your expensive shoes.

The only piece of equipment you will need in addition to your shoe shine kit is a heat gun, or a hair dyer blower.  You don't want to do more that soften the polish on your shoes. The hair blower will be a bit slower, but polish melts at a fairly low temperature.  So, here goes:

The first step is to polish your shoes as usual, swirling the polish on with a dauber brush.  You do not need to use a cloth since you will spread the polish out with the heat.  Don't forget to get the outsides of the sole, and put some polish between the sole and the uppers.

Next, turn on the heat gun and point it at your shoe until the polish begins melting.  At this point, move the heat gun over the shoe fairly rapidly.  You want to melt the polish all over the shoe, but then rapidly move on to another part of the shoe to avoid overdoing it.  This should take less than a minute per shoe.  The polish will immediately re solidify, but will be smoother.

Nest step is to buff the shoe with your buffing brush.   You will be amazed.  As an added benefit, the fire shine is longer lasting.  Another benefit is that you can polish other leather goods such as holsters, belts, even leather jackets and the polish won't rub off on your clothing.  Summer temperatures in North Carolina can get up over 100 degrees with humidity.  Leather goods are exposed to a lot of sweat with its attendant moisture and salt.  Polishing you leather goods will extend their life, and leave you with more money for ammunition, and fire shining puts a hard shell polish on your leather goods.

Friday, May 20, 2016

California's Kim Jong Uns

California used to be a beautiful State.  I lived in Southern California for a few years in the mid 1980s in Ventura County and worked at the Pacific Missile Test Center, now renamed and its mission downgraded.  California then was a lovely place.  I remember the year round 70 degree temperatures, flowers blooming in January, the low humidity.  But leftist politics has made California a hell hole.  The latest is the recent spate of gun grabbing as reported by Matt Vespa at Townhall.com here.

Leftists seem to always think that controlling the tools a criminal uses to do what criminals do will somehow keep criminals from...well...doing what criminals do. It is an insanity that defies logic.  For example, what is to keep someone from going to Nevada, purchasing ammunition, and then returning to sell such ammunition on the black market?  What about reloading ammunition?

Well, I don't want to give away any more ideas either to the criminals, who can figure "work arounds" on their own, or to gun grabbers, who clearly have not noticed the words in the Constitution that reads "shall not be infringed."  No, instead, let me say to anyone living in California, your State government does not trust you.  They view each and every one of you as a potential terrorist just waiting for your chance to take out your fellow citizens or...gasp...the rulers themselves.  Their behavior and attitude seems to resemble that of North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un.  That should worry you.  It certainly worries me.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Why the Full Court Press for Bathroom Access

So, why has the Left (read Progressives, Socialists, Communists, Fascists, and so on, because they change names at the drop of a hat) decided to push bathroom access on a very reluctant public now?  The answer may surprise you.  But Richard F. Miniter has the answer in a piece at the American Thinker entitled What the Restroom War is Really About. Miniter:
The answer is that liberals are not only drawn to the issue like salmon to their home stream, but that they’re afraid to leave it be. But not for the reason you think. Indeed, they couldn't care less about the hurt feelings of the sexually confused.
What they’re targeting is the mindset of those men who aren’t at all confused. After all, you have to remember that their goal has always been a state of being which doesn’t admit any identity for oneself other than that provided by the government...
It always comes back to this, that the Left wants to substitute the State, with themselves in control of the State, for God. The State is not all powerful, but He is. Just as Obamacare has been a disaster, in that we still have 30 million people without insurance, and insurance rates are rising faster than the did before Obamacare for those that do have it, so Bernie will not be able to deliver on his promises of free stuff. Someone has to pay, and there aren't enough billionaires and millionaires to soak to pay for this his free stuff. As Margaret Thatcher said, "The problem with socialism is that eventually you run out of other peoples money." No, the Left is not God, and they can not give you what God can, and they know this. That is why they work so hard to keep Christianity out of the public square, and why they are so enamored of Islam.

Read the whole thing at the link.  It isn't long, and it will tell you everything you need to know about the issue, and every other issue too.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Gun Control and Thug Culture

The problem of gun violence, or indeed, violence period is the thug culture, which has been glamorized by Hollywood and the "music" industry.  Whether it is the television series Empire or Rap "songs" with misogynist lyrics extolling violence, the thug stereotypes are based in reality. Bob Owens, over at Bearing Arms has an article about it entitled Thug Culture Stereotypes are Rooted in Cold, Hard Facts. Those who believe in the thug culture, view the rest of society as their prey. These are the wolves. They roam among us, and seeming strike at random. Owens:
We’ve held time and again that thug culture is the single most recognizable source of criminal violence in this nation, because this subculture both justifies and popularizes violence as an acceptable way to get ahead in life. It is echoed in thug culture music, movies, and in daily interactions where they view their fellow human beings as prey, and themselves as predators.
Gun control supporters attempting to reclassify themselves as opponents to “gun violence” (as if other forms of criminal violence are acceptable) keep attempting to skate around the thorny issue of thug culture, but thug culture has an ugly way of refusing to go away when ignored.
Apparently the 3 men involved robbed and murdered another man in order to "flash cash" at a concert they were attending, in an effort to appear more affluent than they actually were. Don't have money? Steal it. Don't have a gun? Steal one. Going to prison? It just adds to your street cred, as they say, and you get an advanced degree in thug culture. Liberals would have us believe that these people are acting out of hopelessness. But in fact, it is intellectual laziness coupled with gross nihilism that is at the heart of thug culture. Thugs may never have read Schopenhauer or Nietzsche, but they have absorbed the lessons none the less.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Something Different-Motorcycling in NC

I am riding my motorcycle more lately, after pondering selling it and settling into old age gracefully. I have decided to ride it as long as I am able, but not to trike it if I become unable to ride on two wheels. The motorcycle in question is a 1998 Honda Gold Wing SE. The wife bought it new for my Christmas present in early 1999. I had been riding a used Honda Gold Wing Interstate, GL1100. I rode the 1100 down to the Atlanta area where we sold it to a friend, then drove over to Lawrenceville and picked up the brand new GL1500SE. The next day we rode it to Northern Virginia. It was January, and cold, but I had had enough experience of touring by then to keep warm during the whole trip. Of course, after that initial ride, I had to take it to my local mechanic for its 500 mile oil change.

We have ridden all over the Commonwealth of Virginia, to Lake George, NY, to Northern Ohio, to Greenville, SC, to Springfield, MO, to Dallas, TX, then on to Cripple Creek, CO, at which time we made trips to Wyoming and down to the Four Corners. The wife in all this had the worst of it, riding behind my motorcycle on a Yamaha Virago, but she never complained. I think she has ridden with me on the Gold Wing only once. After a long trip she rode in the back seat to a restaurant for dinner and back. We rode back from Springfield, MO through Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama, to Atlanta, then onto Northern Virginia the next day. Of course that doesn't count the countless poker runs and visits to other chapters, and various charity events. I think I would have toured more then, but I was working and didn't have the time.

I was the safety officer for Goldwing Road Riders Association, Chapter VA-A for three or four years, and in that time of writing monthly safety articles, I did accumulate some knowledge and statistics. For example, a motorcyclist is 24 times more likely to die in an wreck than a car driver. That grim statistic can be mitigated by wearing proper clothing, jacket, boots, and a full face helmet. It can also be mitigated by constantly working on your motorcycle operating skills, and riding defensively. Oh, and don't drink and ride, and only in moderation when you do drink. There are old motorcyclists, and bold motorcyclists, but there are no old bold motorcyclists.

Motorcycle riding is a perishable skill, and one needs to practice it often to keep fresh. A new rider is most likely to crash during the first 3000 miles of riding. I consider that when you switch brands, or styles of motorcycle, that 3000 miles starts again. Also, most motorcycle accidents happen within 3 miles of home. What that tells me is that a lot of motorcyclists figure that going to the store for a loaf of bread or something is not a big deal, so they don't take the precautions that they might take when going on a longer trip. A lot of motorcycle accidents are one vehicle accidents. A motorcycle rider is not up to riding that day, and his mind wanders, or he is worried about an upcoming meeting and so he doesn't watch the road ahead. For motorcycles, you need to lean the bike into the turn, and because you are using more of your available friction to both keep you going forward and turn the bike, you must get below the speed in the turn before the turn. If you brake in the turn, you may well use up your available friction, with the result that you and the motorcycle may start sliding toward the edge, and if the edge of the road is a drop, well...Motorcyclists need to always stay in the moment.

Something happened when we came to Raleigh, NC. The summers were incredibly hot and muggy. It is like living in someone's arm pit. My old leather jacket is too hot to ride in during the long summer. Even my AeroStitch Darien jacket, with all the vents open, is too hot. I have finally settled on a Firstgear net jacket, and that has been working for me since the weather turned warm. I don't feel as secure in this gear, but I have made the compromise for the sake of at least riding. Most NC riders I see are wearing short sleeved shirts, sometimes shorts as well, and tennis shoes. Such would never have done where I learned to ride, but I do understand.

Motorcycle touring is a specialty all of itself. One can go fully rugged, camping in a tent, and cooking over an open fire, or one can go the motel route. I prefer the motel, with a comfortable bed, air conditioning, and a hot shower to start the day. Coffee is nice too. Today I plan to go no more than 300 miles a day. I have gone as far as 600, but I was beat at the end, and today I would have to rest a day before continuing. If you are one of those people who packs everything but the kitchen sink, motorcycle touring will turn you into the quintessential light packer. You will be amazed what you can live without when on the road. It may have been years since you stepped into a laundromat, but you can wash your clothes there and keep going. Many hotels have washing facilities also. I have washed out several pairs of briefs in the sink and hung them to dry overnight. Then too, you can mail yourself, care of the postmaster at some distant location, pick up your supplies, and mail your dirty laundry back home. People pick up tee shirts from rallies they attend, wear them for several years, until they shirts are pretty worn out. So, they wear these old rally shirts along the road, tossing them in the trash at the end of each day, and pick up new ones at their destination.

I have tried many solutions to the inevitable rain. Most riding suits are rather worthless. However, FroggToggs do indeed work, are light, breathable, and keep a person dry. Of course, if it is raining a frog strangler, it is best to take cover and wait it out. If the weather looks to be an all day rain, stay in the motel, or plan a walking trip to visit local sights. Remember that a road trip on a motorcycle is not a sprint, and the journey is more important than the destination. A first aid kit, and knowing how to use it is good insurance. Some reading material is also a good idea for those days when you are kept inside by rain. Having a plan for what to do when things go sideways is also a good idea. Many of us have AAA or other roadside assistance insurance. But these guys are not going to be of much help when a motorcycle breaks down. Goldwing Road Riders Association has roadside assistance and you can call on members pretty much anywhere in the United States, Canada, Mexico and some European countries. One final tip on touring: don't plan to take the Interstate if you can map out a route along US highways and State roads. You may not get there as fast, but your route will take you through more interesting places. For now, most of my riding is around town, as I get back into it. You have to work up to riding say, 6 or so hours. If I can, I would like to go to the Wings Over the Smokies rally. To prepare, I plan to have several shorter trips to this summer starting at around 2 hours, then 3, then 4 to build up endurance.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

The Force Left

I am not sure who came up with the term "Force Left" as distiguished from the older freedom left, the people we generally called "liberals." But it is brilliant in that it clarifies for us exactly what we are talking about. Kevin Williamson over at National Review has an article entitled The Brute Force Left making the case that the Force Left is not interested in debate, but in control. And the only way to control another person is to intimidated them, or kill them. In the 20th Century, various forms of the Force Left, whether Communist or Fascist, killed 110 million of their own citizens.  The ultimate proof of the facts concerning the Force Left was the Berlin Wall, put up by East Germany to keep its citizens from escaping to West Berlin.  Not only were they walled in, but if someone tried to scale the wall, armed guards would shoot them to keep them from escaping.  No one knows how many would have voluntarily left had they had the chance.  Kevin Williamson:
All of those are relevant, but consider one further, broader dynamic at work: The Right is finally coming around to the understanding that what mainly distinguishes it from the Left is not its general preference for muscular foreign policy, its not always convincing defense of the Judeo-Christian tradition, or even its relatively faithful reading of the Constitution, as important as those things are. Rather, the fight between Right and Left is about coercion.
That the Left has become much more intensively coercive in recent years has not gone unnoticed among conservatives. In Liberal Fascism and elsewhere, Jonah Goldberg has popularized a longstanding view of the left-wing philosophy that in the United States calls itself “liberalism” — though we cannot in good faith call it that — that connects it with the nakedly coercive, antidemocratic, and anti-constitutional tendency of Woodrow Wilson and the progressives of his era, and with the various nasty totalitarian movements that inspired them and were inspired by them in turn. It’s not that we expect Robert Reich to come marching up Fifth Avenue wearing jackboots (the Pride March ain’t what it used to be) but that managerial progressivism is fundamentally corporatist in the sense that Mussolini et al. used the term: It conceives of formal political power and economic production as a single unit to be kept working in harmony, like a well-tuned engine, by such experts as the state recognizes as suited to the task. In theory, these men are to be guided by evidence meeting scientific standards — they are to be the sort of disinterested and dispassionate pragmatists that exist mainly within the narrow confines of Ezra Klein’s cranium.
The problem, as various capital-”F” Fascists and National Socialists and Communist politburos and Vox readers all discovered in their turn, is that even if these dispassionate and disinterested existed — and they don’t — bureaucracies do not have the collective cognitive firepower to replace markets, or even to intelligently guide them. From the Soviet five-year plans to Obamacare, all central-planning exercises begin in hubris and end in chaos.
The Force Left has discovered that using political correctness and other cultural tactics either will not get them over the hump, or at least will not get them there fast enough, has now turned to criminalizing unpopular thoughts and actions. For example, 17 State Attorneys General are proposing to prosecute climate skeptics under theories that the reason people keep denying climate change is because they are profiting from racketeering.  Other examples come from Dustin Howard's article at Conservative Review entitled Gun Taxes, Thought Policing, and the Triumph of the Force Left. Howard:
The totalitarian temptation is proving too much for the left across America. Daniel Flynn, in his book A Conservative History of the American Left, contrasted the “Freedom Left”, the benign old-fashioned liberals, versus the “Force Left”, the descendants of Marx that malignantly oppose fundamental rights in pursuit of their radical aims.  The Force Left has successfully seized control of their movement, and their fundamental transformation is manifesting in current events daily as we watch their struggle for ever more power.
The left as a whole has long been hostile to the Second Amendment, but has been divided of the regulatory means of mitigating its effects. Background checks, registries, magazine limits have all been incrementalist “salami tactics” to limit gun ownership, and according to them, limit violence.
The latest tack is to levy taxes against weapons and ammunition — some more confiscatory than others. In Seattle, it is 25 dollars per firearm, with a nickel tax on ammunition over .22 caliber, and a 2 cent tax on smaller calibers, which the National Rifle Association is litigating against. In the Northern Marianas Islands, to compensate for losing their handgun ban in court, their Governor imposed a $1,000 “excise” tax on the importation of firearms.
The latest massive iron fist to hit is the letter sent to North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory demanding that he, not the legislature, rescind the so called bathroom law. Mark Hanna has the story over at the American Thinker entitled Obama's Toilet Revolution:
His most recent stunt to this end is to use North Carolina’s “bathroom” law, or House Bill 2, as a springboard for the U.S. Justice Department to issue a sweeping dictate in the name of social fairness and civil rights. House Bill 2, which requires individuals to use the public bathrooms and showers that correspond to their birth sex, was drafted and passed in order to negate an unconstitutional Charlotte city ordinance that forced different sexes to share public accommodations.
What’s most ominous about Obama’s latest maneuver is that the letter sent by the Justice Department to North Carolina governor Pat McCrory stakes out a position for the federal government that would apply to every business in America, as well as all universities and colleges that receive federal funds, that are subject to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
Pat McCrory seems to understand that he is now locked in battle for the 10th Amendment rights of States. The States existed prior to the Federal Government. Each State was sovereign, and within it borders, made laws which seemed good to them. Each State could create currencies, and set the value thereof, could raise armies to defend its borders, and could set tariffs on goods imported from other States. Indeed, a State could ally itself with a foreign country against another State. It was chaos. In 1791, the States agreed to give up some, but only some, of their powers to a body to be called the Federal Government. The Federal Government would deal with things like setting currency for all the States, expand free trade among the States, and provide a national defense. The States remained sovereign, however, and to show good faith, the 10th and final Amendment was added to the Constitution.

People who say that what the Fed is doing is no different than what the State did in upending Charlotte's bathroom ordmance have not thought about it.  The State chartered the City of Charlotte, and can uncharter it as well, not without consequences to itself.  Indeed, a recent example of the State taking over a city was when the State of Michigan appointed an Emergency Manager to oversee Detroit finances when that city defaulted.  The City is a creature of the State, and its right to govern itself exists within boundaries set by the State.  The Fed is also a creature of the States, and if a State begins to feel that the Fed is no longer in its best interests, the State still has the right to secede.  For now though, the North Carolina and the Fed will fight it out in court.

Update:  Also at the American Thinker is this blog post from James Longstreet entitled  The Guidelines for Federal Coercion The problem that now faces North Carolina was foreseen by the Anti-Constitutionalists at the time of the signing of the Constitution. It is probably why the 10th Amendment was inserted in the Bill of Rights. Governor McCrory and the State Legislature may ultimately face a grave choice to forego certain funding to which they are entitled in order to remain free.