Tuesday, June 30, 2009

75th Anniversary of the Night of the Long Knives

The American Thinker has a great article on the 75th anniversary of Night of the Long Knives by Bruce Walker. Bruce reminds us that the goal of every totalitarian is always the same: power. No matter what ideology espoused, the goal is always the same, to acquire and maintain power.

The Night of the Long Knives was not an attack on the "socialism" in National Socialism, as it is so often suggested. Two weeks after the Night of the Long Knives, Graf von der Golz, Deputy Commissar in the Ministry of Economics in July `5, 1934 speech to businessmen said: "Any organization that represents the interests of the employer will be regarded as illegal and disbanded and the guilty parties will be prosecuted."[i]

As we watch our Leader's face everyone on television, his words as answers to every problem, and his inspectors general fired when they find malfeasance, his legislators asked to vote for bills they have not read, our media practically scripted in its treatment of him, is it not prudent to ask how little the lust for power has changed in the last seventy-five years?

Making Tradeoffs

It's getting crazy around here, what with guest coming in for the 4th of July weekend. Blogging will be light for a while, but when I get the chance, I will post a few things. I have a short window of opportunity right now, so I thought I would post Absolute Values and Growing Government published by the Townhall.com Staff yesterday. This was taken from a Townhall.com blogger named Andrew, who should be proud of some truly excellent writing.

Do you ever have one of those epiphanies where you just have to say "Huh"? I did yesterday, though because of the craziness going on now, I didn't have time to post about it. I had it when I read this Townhall.com piece. Go read the whole thing. A little taste though:

The truth is quite simple: All values are relative, and all are subject to a cost-benefit analysis. Though many arguments exist against this, and some may even sound plausible, a little bit of thought will show that, despite the seemingly plausible arguments, there really is no such thing as an absolute value.
I have expressed it differently. I have expressed the idea as worshipping the creation rather than the creator. Some of my readers are apparently agnostic or atheistic, and did not care for my formulation. This formulation should speak to them, then. It also expresses a conservative ideal of the golden mean.

For example, Life is precious, and we should not waste the great gift God has given us, and by extension we should not waste the lives of others. Thus self defense is an exception to the rule that you "shall not murder." Because the murderer has demonstrated by words and deeds his intention to kill, you have the right to defend yourself. Pacifism in the face of a murderous attack is just as wrong as initiating such an attack.

Peace is a good thing. With peace comes the prospect of prosperity, and in its absence, no prosperity is possible. Liberty is also a good, but some liberty must be surrendered to have peace. However, if too much liberty is demanded, peace is no longer possible for those who treasure their liberties. But the Declaration of Independence said it far better than your poorly endowed scribbler. The Continental Congress said:

But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.
Similarly, every person wants a clean environment, but at what cost? We in the United States have achieved a remarkably clean environment over the last 40 years. We have done so because we have been more prosperous than other countries. Less prosperous countries can simply not afford to put the amounts of money that we have into reducing the environmental effects of that prosperity. But we have come to the point of diminishing returns, and one has to weigh the costs of lost opportunity against the possible gains.

Frankly, I do not see the gains.

The environmental literature is littered with scare words. When you see someone say that this or that "might" cause a disaster, or "could" cause such and such to happen, it should send a red flag up in your mind to ask what are the actual probabilities of that undesirable thing happening.
For example, they say that if you smoke cigarettes, you "could" get lung cancer. To scare you further, they point out that smoking a pack a day doubles your risk. Wow, you better quit. But wait, what is the risk of getting lung cancer? Well, it turns out that the risk for a non-smoker is 7.5%, meaning that you have a 92.5% risk of dieing of something else. So, double that and if you smoke you have a 15% risk, meaning that you still have an 85% chance of dieing of something else. So, a smoker weighs the good of his life against the pleasure (a good) of smoking, and decides to take that risk. Now I am not defending smoking here, but pointing out a common way that society is buffaloed into spending money in support of Left wing causes.

So, what are we risking with Waxman Markey? Well here we are making a $9.4 trillion bet that "if" anthropogenic global warming exists, we will be able to cool the planet by hundredths of a degree in 2050. Does that look like a trade off you would make? After all, heating and cooling your home are goods, easy transportation is a good. Remember that there are no absolute goods, only relative values. Would you spend your hard earned money on a flim-flam scheme like this one? What opportunities might you be passing up in order to have this good? Is it worth it? I say it isn't.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Waxman-Markey: Porkulus Redux

Eternity Road has a post up by the Curmudgeon entitled simply Waxman-Markey. The Curmudgeon is Francis W. Poretto's alter ego.

There's no question that this bill will radically increase the price of electricity, and of every fuel other than uranium. Indeed, several of its backers have admitted that much -- and have touted it as a feature rather than a bug. The bill amounts to the largest and longest protracted tax measure in the history of the world. Just as bad is this: given the Obama Administration's hostility to expanded exploration for coal, oil, and natural gas, the supply of all the fuels that power American society is likely to decrease.

If this bill isn't somehow killed in the Senate, it will reduce America to a penurious, has-been power, whose citizens will swelter in the summer and shiver in the winter while paying a fortune for the privilege.
I have read estimates that electricity costs may increase by 90%, never mind transportation fuels. Summers get hot here. The day time high temperatures have ranged up to 100 degrees of late, with humidity to match. I remember Ohio winters when the day time high temperature did not get above zero. If your income is, say $20,000, does it become a struggle whether to cool the home or put food on the table? Can you afford to drive to your job even?

Let's look at energy independence, so beloved by the left as a campaign slogan. This bill will mean we will explore for, and extract less fuel than we do now here at home, and thus we will be importing more of our energy under a cap and trade regime than we are now. If they think we are being blackmailed into unnecessary wars in the middle east now, what will they think when we are being blackmailed into wars in more places because we have to import more fuel from around the globe. All this while the country has abundant fuel sitting in the ground.

Then there is the question of whether you are truly being "represented" in the Congress, or are these relatively wealthy men and women (a Congressman makes $174,000 plus benefits any one of us would love to have) are just in it for themselves? If your Congressman had to live under the same rules as you do, do you think they would pass this sort of economic travesty?
I have not heard the figures, but I would imagine substantial numbers of people called the Congressional hotline to voice their opposition to this bill. Why weren't their concerns taken into account? What was so urgent about this bill, that it could not wait until after the July 4th holiday? Would one more day of delay have made a difference in the global temperature 100 years from now? Really? And we know the Congressman who voted for this bill could not have read or understood it. There we 300 pages of changes to the bill that were included by the Rules Committee at 3:00 am that morning. They did not even have a single completed copy of the bill before voting on it. Where's the outrage?

This is another Porkulus Bill, passed in a hurry, in the middle of the night, before Congressmen took off for July 4th so they wouldn't have to face the anger of the electorate.

I think I need take a page from Francis Poretto, and create an alter ego for these little rants.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Inmates in Charge of the Asylum

So today we will see which Democrats value more: their own political skin, or paying back the environmentalists. I have a feeling I know the answer. Congress is not listening to or representing We the People anymore. They are not listening to facts. Instead, they seem to be in the thrall of the Gaia worshipers. The Waxman-Markey cap and trade bill appears likely to pass despite its huge cost, despite that fact that it will do almost nothing to solve the problem it nominally attempts to solve, despite the fact that we are in a recession, despite the fact that Europe has already tried it an shown it to be a dismal failure on every level.

First up is Michelle Malkin whose piece EPA's Game of Global Warming Hide and Seek in today's Townhall.com brings up some evidence EPA didn't want to hear:

The free market-based Competitive Enterprise Institute in Washington (where I served as a journalism fellow in 1995) obtained a set of internal e-mails exposing Team Obama's willful and reckless disregard for data that undermine the illusion of "consensus." In March, Alan Carlin, a senior research analyst at the Environmental Protection Agency, asked agency officials to distribute his analysis on the health effects of greenhouse gases. EPA has proposed a public health "endangerment finding" covering CO2 and five other gases that would trigger costly, extensive new regulations of motor vehicles. The open comment period on the ruling ended this week. But Carlin's study didn't fit the blame-human-activity narrative, so it didn't make the cut.
The role of the EPA should be as an honest broker. They should not be trying to fix the results by telling half the story. That is what advocates and activists do. It's fine for private activists, with an agenda and an axe to grind to tell only half the story. We expect it of them, and there are always counter voices to listen to and find the other half. But when an agency of the Executive branch silences legitimate voices because they have already made up their minds, facts be damned, it is We the People who end up paying dearly for their incompetence. Of course, this is not new territory for the EPA, but it is troubling none the less.

Next up is David Limbaugh's article Throw the Bums Out, also at Townhall.com today. David points out that in addition to not reading the 1,200 page bill before passing it, Congress has not done any other due diligence required before implementing such a monster:

...Doesn't it make sense that before enacting legislation to reduce greenhouse gas emissions for the purpose of reducing man-made global warming, Congress would investigate whether significant man-made global warming is occurring (as opposed to watching Al Gore's propaganda film and simply declaring, by fiat, that scientists have reached a consensus on the issue when they clearly have not)?

And if, after a thorough and balanced inquiry, they determine that it is occurring, shouldn't they next examine whether their proposed legislative remedy is likely to significantly ameliorate the problem?

But they not only have not conducted a bona fide examination of the man-made warming issue but also have not attempted to examine, in any remotely scientific way, how much their proposed bill would reduce global warming (assuming it exists to the extent they contend) or whether any such reductions would make any difference at all to humanity's short- or long-term health or happiness or anything else.

All of this would be outrageous enough if there were no economic costs associated with their proposal. But in fact, the costs would be astronomical and way beyond the calculations they are presenting -- fraudulently -- to the American people to stunt the opposition they'd encounter if the truth were revealed.
I frankly do not think we can likely stop this in the House. Maybe we can stop it in the Senate. I would suggest going off the grid, and living in your car, but with Government Motors "smart" cars, there isn't enough room for the reloading bench.

Update 6/27/09: As predicted, the House indeed passed the Waxman-Markey cap and trade bill. Glenn Beck reported last evening that some big names appear ready to profit big time. Algore may become the first cap and trade billionaire (big surprise there.) Goldman-Sachs stands to gain, as well as AIG. These last two, being now arms of the Government through the bailout process, makes the whole rot smell most distasteful. And then there is GE, owner of NBC and MSNBC. That of course explains the cheerleading from the media we have been hearing. Keep in mind that all these guys hope to make a killing of our your now strained pocketbook. Every item you buy will have a small cap and trade tax attached, though it won't be listed as such. Once again Congress has picked winners and losers. Guess who has been chosen to play the chump?

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The Tyrants and the Pretender

Finally, for today, there is this post from Eternity Road, entitled The Tyrants and the Pretender. The Curmudgeon says it all, and very well at that, so I will just quote a few graphs and let you savor the entire thing.

Obama, a social-fascist, has no interest in anyone's freedom. His drive is for power. He finds the sentiments of tyrants more to his taste than the aspirations of would-be-free men. He certainly prefers the company of tyrants; he's spent enough time trying to charm them. Perhaps he hopes to learn from them.
Your Curmudgeon imagines that the tyrants of the world -- the ones who don't trouble to conceal it, that is -- are secretly amused. Obama can't possibly rise to their estate; Americans are too well armed, and his support is too precarious. A bad-enough false move would precipitate a second American Revolution, which could end with his bullet-riddled corpse hanging from a balcony. Of the bad moves in prospect, perhaps three would be bad enough: government-managed health care; the Employee Free Choice Act, and the Waxman-Markey cap-and-trade bill.
What might we who understand and love freedom do to hasten Obama's expulsion from the Oval Office, perhaps even from the country? Your Curmudgeon entertains the question every day. Do you, Gentle Readers? What possibilities have you been pondering? Bequeathing Air Force One to Iran, or perhaps to some unplumbed African hellhole, would be a tolerable cost, wouldn't you say?

"Only I am the president of the United States." -- Barack Hussein Obama, press conference, June 23, 2009.

Another Lautenburg Proposal

Classical Values has a great post on the Lautenburg proposal to deny guns to those on the "Terrorist Watch List." Thanks to Dave Hardy for pointing to it on his blog, Of Arms and the Law.

This is a horrible and unconstitutional abuse of government authority, by a man who simply hates the idea that the "little people" might defend themselves with a gun. The Terrorist Watch List has been controversial because you can apparently be placed on it by a bureaucrat without being convicted of any crime, you can not find out if you are on it or why, and there is no means to get your name cleared. Presumably, you could appear on the list because someone at TSA doesn't like you, and wants to harass you. Or, who knows, because you are a conservative blogger? Because I don't know the criterion for getting on the list, I can speculate all day about it. Nixon had his "Enemies List," but this is supposedly "official."

Now, let's also think about the practical effects of the proposal for a minute. Does anyone believe that a real terrorist is going to just walk into a gun store, select a Glock 19, fill out the paperwork, and carry it out of the store leaving a paper trail of the serial number, and empty casing, and the place where purchased? Anyone? Of course not. Like anyone bent on a criminal enterprise, they will obtain their weapons through the black market, or smuggle them into the country. They probably won't steal the weapons themselves because of the risk to the mission if caught. So who do you think this will affect? If you said the law abiding citizen, you are correct. Lautenberg is using the ruse of the current bogeyman, the terrorist (who by the way, is real) to craft a law to harass law abiding citizens who may feel the need of a gun, especially when police forces are being cut due to the economic climate.

Anyway, go read the who thing. The comments section is particularly amusing as well.

Cap and Trade Regulates the Essential Element of Life

Not especially well written, but certainly contains a lot of useful information, The Regulation of the Essential Elements of Life by Lonnie E. Schubert is in the American Thinker today. Schubert comes at it from a slightly different angle, but essentially it is the "giggle test" so extolled by my former boss. An example:

Please, the simple fact is that carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is roughly in equilibrium with carbon dioxide dissolved in the oceans. Carbon dioxide concentration will necessarily rise in the atmosphere as the average ocean temperature rises. To ensure I am clear, global warming causes a rise in carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere. The causation is the same in the laboratory. Again, think back to your freshman and sophomore physics labs. Carbon dioxide comes out of the carbonated beverage as it warms. If it is kept chilled, it retains much more of its carbonation. Solubility is inversely proportional to temperature for carbon dioxide in water. Colder oceans absorb more carbon dioxide removing it from the atmosphere. Warmer oceans will not hold the carbon dioxide, and atmospheric concentrations go up.

Perhaps it is nonintuitive that all of our fossil fuels came from carbon dioxide that was once in the air and was subsequently converted to biological material through photosynthesis. Our fossil fuels are simply carbon dioxide concentrated by solar energy and earth forces so we can easily use it now. It is simply unreasonable to suppose it to be catastrophic to place this carbon back into the atmosphere from whence it came.

As Upton Sinclair said, "It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!"

In other words, the Goofball Wormening proponents want you to believe them, and not your own lying eyes. A little known factoid included in the above article is that the increase in fossil fuel use can be attributed solely to the increase in population. Interestingly, with our population being so large, we experience dense traffic every day because most of us live in or around cities. We get a distorted view of how much fossil fuel is being used. But in the United States, only 6% of the land area is developed, meaning has buildings and such on it. In Illinois and Indiana several years ago, I traveled for miles on interstate highways without seeing an on coming car. Out west, there are roads where one could wait for days for another traveler to come by. I once read a statistic that if all the oil that was ever pumped were to be put in one spot, it would fill Lake Tahoe. I could go on, but you get the point.

The point is that the cry of Goofball Wormening has nothing to do with science, or common sense. Gaia is not mad at us, and will not punish us. Instead, this is a power grab by people who want to control our lives, to control how much and where we can travel, form where we can get goods and services, and so much more. In the process, they plan to profit mightily on our backs. Don't let them.

Update: One of the facts pointed out in the above article is that the percentage carbon dioxide in the atmosphere rises and falls in response to average temperature of the oceans. It is a lagging indicator; or the earth warms and then carbon dioxide rises. As the earth again cools, which it is doing now, carbon dioxide goes back down. So here's a prediction. If cap and trade is implemented, the earth, already cooling, will continue to cool, and CO2 will go down. This will be pointed to as showing the success of cap and trade. It will not be true, but "the people who care and are empathetic" will want to believe it because it shows their sacrifices have saved the planet. Once again, conservatives will be the bad guys for pointing out the facts. Conservatives will have no credibility because "the people who care and are empathetic" don't want to hear facts.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Conservatives in the Wilderness

Thomas Sowell has good news for conservatives in his article today entitled Republicans in the Wilderness. The money quote:

In a country with more conservatives than liberals, it is puzzling-- in fact, amazing-- that we have the furthest left President of the United States in history, as well as the furthest left Speaker of the House of Representatives.

Republicans, especially, need to think about what this means. If you lose when the other guy has all the high cards, there is not much you can do about it. But, when you have the high cards and still keep taking a beating, then you need to re-think how you are playing the game.
This tracks well with a Glenn Beck bit I saw last night. Glenn is promoting his new book "Common Sense," and went out to test whether his common sense ideas resonate with self described liberals if there is no ideological tag associated with it. He had someone from Fox News read a series of statements from his new book to each of them. Interestingly, they all agreed with them in this small sample of liberals in Manhattan. Then of course, Beck had the person tell them who made the statements. At that point, several of them were shocked and horrified. If Glenn Beck said it, they were against it. In my family, if I tell them I heard it on Rush, or read it on the Drudge Report, it is instantly suspect, and I have to gather other competing sources to prove I am right. But if Katie Couric says the same thing, they take it all in without question. Ann Coulter, during the campaign, endorsed Hillary Clinton. She kept the joke running for several weeks, figuring her endorsement would be the kiss of political death for Hillary. I have tried this same thing with liberals in my family. I might read something Jonah Goldberg has written, or repeat something Rush Limbaugh has said. They often agree, until they find out who said it.

I think many liberals view themselves as being caring and empathetic. They want to root for the underdog. Along comes the left, using language to confuse the issue, and makes oh so reasonable sounding proposals that anyone who "cares and is empathetic" would naturally agree with. Of course, with a nation as rich and blessed as we are, how can any child go hungry at night, how could anyone in need not have the health care required because of lack of insurance. The list is endless. To counter that, the Right has had to expend countless words, research, and having just the correct messenger on each and every issue. And while the Left can fudge facts, the right must be correct about everything. The left never loses credibility, and the right seemingly never has any.

Take gun rights as an example. The left comes up with a throw away argument, based on nothing, but it sounds good, that fewer guns means we will have fewer deaths. Of course that is easily countered, so it became fewer gun deaths-as if gun deaths alone were of importance. On that one issue, countless tons of ink were expended, performing peer reviewed studies, writing scholarly legal treatises, scholarly Constitutional treatises, writing books for the general reader, and so on, all leading up to one case, the Heller case, which was decided as we knew it should be all along. 40 years, and possibly longer.

All this explains G. W. Bush's "Compassionate Conservatism" which turned out not to be very conservative, but it did get Bush elected twice. So, from all this I conclude that conservatives, to win elections, need to make their ideas sound "caring and empathetic," things anyone who is "caring and empathic" would agree with. They need to have an articulate messenger who is not known to be conservative, and who eschews publicly any known conservative thinker or personality. They need to have a great personal story of struggle and hardship, and eventual success. Then, when they get elected, they need to suddenly put in place ruthlessly conservative policies.

Oh, wait a minute...isn't that what the Left does? Flying under a false flag until they reach their goal, then showing their true colors, using people like so many toothpicks, and as easily expendable, using people's weaknesses against them, enslaving them while claiming to empower them? If the Left told the truth about itself and its goals, nobody would want anything to do with it. But the Right never has credibility, no matter how many times, on how many issues we have shown ourselves to have been correct.

And that is why conservatives are in the wilderness.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The War on Guns: Prior Restraints on Speech and Guns Enable Tyranny

The War on Guns: Prior Restraints on Speech and Guns Enable Tyranny

David Codrea has an excellent link up to his Gun Rights Examiner article. A quote:

And like it or not, just as we can't require a permit for you to speak your mind, or impose a waiting period before you can purchase a newspaper, or demand that you register your video purchases, just as we can't pass laws prohibiting concealed crucifixes, the same holds true for guns--or at least should.

But that's not the same, cry the gun haters. The only purpose of guns is to kill!

Demonstrably not true, but so may words and ideas, unless you think the despots of the past and present have rounded up and dispatched their victims by themselves. And just as words can also provide deliverance, so too can guns. They do in this country on a daily basis, to the tune of up to 2.5 million times* a year.

This leads us to the final flawed premise; that any of the 20,000* "reasonable" infringements constructed in the minds of headline-seizing politicians, and enacted to date at the federal, state and local level, have made society safer, or have kept the predators among us from wreaking carnage at will.

Is there anyone who seriously thinks law number 20,001 will be the one that finally works?

All of us, in our own way, keep saying the same things. Why is no one listening?

Monday, June 15, 2009

The Confusion of the Pagans

Sandy Rios has an article on Townhall entitled The Confusion of the Pagans, in which she delivers some sharp words concerning the murder of George Tiller. She is commenting on Dr. Carhart's eulogy for Tiller:

“What I want to assure the press and reassure the women of America is that we will somehow, somewhere continue to provide abortions later in gestation.” Who exactly is assured by that statement? Who is comforted … happy … relieved? And what kind of man would spend his days dismembering live, kicking babies and delivering them part by part? What kind of man would assure women he will continue to perform the heinous act of stabbing a baby in the back of the head with scissors, suctioning its brains, crushing its skull as the lower body, already delivered, thrashes in pain, removing the head last so as to fool himself and the law into thinking it is not infanticide? What man is proud of that? What man lives and breathes that mission and what woman or member of the press applauds his assurance not to worry? It can happen to their baby or grandbaby in the future too?

Go and read the whole thing. It is very powerful.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Customs and Border Patrol Sneaking One By Us

John Longenecker has a good article on what I am calling the "Great Pocket Knife Scandal" over at the Los Angeles Gun Rights Examiner. You can find the article by clicking on Gun Rights Examiners on the side bar to this blog, and going down to John Longenecker and clicking on "Pocket knife ban models gun control formula." A little quote to whet your appetite:

You see, the agencies charged with deciding ultimately decide against the will of the people. Instead of taking No for an answer, they invite comments, but will still not reject the idea as an interference with our liberty. This is soft tyranny. They’re going to get their way instead of our getting our way.

Soft tyranny.

Why it’s a mistake to make guns and pocket knives illegal is because they just telegraphed this exact blueprint to America that our fears are coming true. Soft tyranny is here. In the United States, you can see the second amendment’s function against this kind of tyranny at work; the armed citizen totally discredits many anti-crime policies which don’t work because that is not where crime is fought. Crime is fought the moment it strikes. Crime is caught after it has struck and done its damage. This may speak the language of Justice, but it does not speak the language of safety and sovereignty. Forty-eight states affirm your right to carry a handgun, but the big cities punish it. It wouldn’t do if the big city populace got the idea they didn’t need so much of what the government wants to ‘give’. Gun control obfuscates one’s authority to act; crime grows and dependency on officials grows. Unwelcome. Unconscionable
When I was in my teens, my Dad taught me how to make a knife from an old file. An old saw blade works well too, or if you want to hammer and forge, old lawn mower blades can by put into service. There are, of course, many ways to make a knife, and a serviceable one can be made without a great deal of skill required. My Dad learned as making a knife was his introduction to a high school class in forging. My point is that pretty much anyone with a modest amount of machine tools can make knives. With more tools and a well equipped shop, it's easy to make either guns or knives.

My recollections aside, as hard as it is to fight everything that is coming down the pike at us, we need to write our Senators and Congressmen about this. The administration is testing our resolve, looking for weaknesses. Perhaps it's knives, or eating greasy burgers. Maybe if they don't ban it but tax it, we'll sit by complacently. But the Left wants to control you and your behavior (for your own good of course) and they don't sleep. Ever.

Friday, June 12, 2009

The Liberty Sphere: Perspective on the Growing Outrage in America

The Liberty Sphere: Perspective on the Growing Outrage in America

The Welshman has a great piece summarizing what radio talk show hosts are hearing from their listeners. It would behoove the politicians in Washington to hear this for themselves, and decide on their own that enough is enough.

I know I have said this before, but the country I was born in no longer exists. In the last 5 months, it has disappeared so fast down the rabbit hole that I have wondered if changing the name might be in order, out of respect for what it was, rather as Germany became the Third Reich, or Russia became the USSR. This must stop, somehow, and be reversed wherever possible.

As Paul Valone's great piece "The Gun Debate Explained for Liberals" (which can be found by clicking the Gun Rights Examiners on the sidebar of this blog) says:

Unfortunately, because you are liberal, and because liberalism seems to manifest itself as a pathological obsession to run my life, I can’t reason with you. Therefore, my only choice is to beat you. (Stop cowering: I mean metaphorically, not literally.)

My sole recourse is to marginalize you and reclaim my culture, and that is what I have set about doing. If not me, then my children. If not them, their children. We will make the Thirty Years’ War look like a trifle.

There. We’ve cleared the air. Don’t we all feel just a little

Armed and Safe: When gun bans are not enough--the war on . . . pocket knives?

Armed and Safe: When gun bans are not enough--the war on . . . pocket knives?

Kurt has a fascinating article on, of all things, folding knives. The Citizen's Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms has an alert citing the Customs and Border Patrol's efforts to ban even more folding knives.

I keep a pocket knife in my pocket every hour I am awake. It's an Old Timer built in the three bladed configuration of the old stockman's knives. It's a tool I find a use for nearly every day, and I have carried a pocket knife every day since my Dad gave me my first at the age of 7 years old. I also carry a modern folding knife that can be opened one handed. It too is very useful. There are occasions when you have one hand tied up holding something, and realize a need to cut (usually a string or something.) Pulling out the modern folder, deploying the blade, and cutting is another useful item I do not want to give up because some bureaucrat in Washington, who doesn't know me or my needs, decides I don't "need" that kind of knife.

A little history: pocket knives are often also called pen knives. The reason is that every gentleman carried one in order to sharpen and true up the writing tip of a quill pen. Feather quills were used before steel quills were invented in the middle of the 19th century. It is hard to imagine Thomas Jefferson penning the Declaration of Independence without his feather quill pen and ink pot. Not as widely recognized is that he would also have had a pen knife to keep his quill sharp.

Quote of the Day

From Burt Prelutsky's article today at Townhall.com:

However, I also believe that after taking a good look at America today, they’d shake their heads and wonder how, after such a glorious beginning, we’d wound up in this pitiful condition. How did we go from George Washington to Barack Obama in, historically speaking, the blink of an eye; from the man who refused to be king to the man who would be czar?
Go read the whole thing. Burt is by turns sarcastic, sardonic, and has a dry humor that I enjoy reading.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

A Time to be Born, A Time to Die

I have had reason, and time lately, to contemplate the death penalty and abortion, and the rightness and wrongness of each of these. The first incident was the killing of abortion doctor George Tiller by Scott Roeder. Mike Vanderboegh has some of the pieces of the story, which indicate that Roeder probably didn't give a damn about abortions. Then there was the killings at the National Holocaust Museum by white supremacist James Von Brunn. Jonah Goldberg has an article up on Von Brunn and what the Left's reaction to him means over at Townhall.com. Once again we have a whack job trying to carry out his fantasies of racial war and general mayhem. I was on the road at the time, visiting family in Ohio, so had only the poor reportage of the MSM to rely on. Never the less, it got me to thinking about abortion, on the one hand, and murder and the death penalty on the other. Both an opposition to abortion, and being in favor of the death penalty are life affirming positions. I know this will come as a shock to those who have not dwelled deeply on the subject, so I will try to distill my thoughts below.

In the Bible, in the Book of the Exodus, God dictates to Moses the 10 Commandments, by which covenant God agreed to bless the people of Israel if they agreed to follow them. One of those commandments was "You shall not murder." Now, murder is the intentional taking of an innocent human life. Note that it does not say "you shall not kill," the word is "murder." God had earlier provided for the killing of animals for food (sorry PITA.) God also recognized the killing of someone if that person was trying to kill you or another innocent party in self defense (sorry gun grabbers.) At the same time, He takes a dim view of revenge.

So, in general, abortion is murder. The claim that the fetus is not a person is pure sophistry. In the normal course of events, the fetus of a human mother will eventually emerge as a human baby. There is a zero chance it will emerge as some other creature. Since the definition of murder is the taking of an innocent human life, abortion is therefore murder (usually. The cases where there may be some mitigating circumstance include the rare cases of rape and incest and the rarer chance that carrying the child to term will result in the death of the mother.) The child, for that is what it is, has no choice in the matter, has done nothing wrong in the eyes of the law, and can not defend himself. The fact that he can not even object can not be used against him, since that would allow the killing of any child up to the age of 3 years or so. We instinctively recognize with horror how wrong such thing would be, and recoil from it. But we have a problem. The child is under attack from the very person who should be defending him, namely his mother. The law, if it was operating justly, would step in and defend the child when no one else would.

Feminist groups are always claiming women have to have choice about their reproductive systems, and it is wrong to interpose the law between a mother and her womb. But the mother had a choice, in most cases. She simply made the wrong one. Her choice to have sex with a male partner led directly to her current pregnancy, and in due time will result in a child being born. (The male partner is equally guilty if he pressured her into having sex when she might not have desired it.) Now, there are cases of both rape and incest where the mother had no choice. I am not speaking about such cases here, and to be fair, a small percentage of abortions are actually due to rape or incest. What I am referring to is the use of abortion to end a pregnancy because the mother realizes too late that she doesn't want to have a child at this time. That, as I said earlier, is murder, and the law should deal with such at least as seriously as if an adult had been murdered. I recognize that George Tiller was a willing accomplice, but the primary culprit is the mother of the child. Unfortunately, had Tiller not been willing to perform these abortions, many of the women who sought him out would have found another way. As Christians, we must be merciful and kind to women who find themselves in these predicaments to avoid having them commit the far worse sin of murder.

Now, what should happen to Scott Roeder and to James Von Brunn if convicted? Interestingly, I favor the death penalty for murder. Murder always involves a choice. The killer makes a calculation that whatever he wants is more important to him than the life he takes. It is a cold and evil calculation, that treats humans as objects there to satisfy his desires, with no consideration of the other. When the killer makes that choice, he knows what the penalty is, yet makes the choice anyway. Society must have the death penalty if it wants to maintain the value of human life. If the penalty is say, 5 years, then the criminal can make the calculation that the killing may be worth what he will pay. A human life for 5 years. In setting such a penalty, society has declared that a human life is worth 5 years time if someone is willing to pay it. I don't know about you, but to me justice demands nothing less than a life for a life. The penalty is not a deterrent, nor is it vengeance, though individuals affected may see it that way. No, the purpose of the death penalty to protect civil society by saying that murder is the ultimate crime, because it has the ultimate penalty.

Just as abortion, no matter how gussied up with fancy languages and sophisticated reasoning is still just murder, so murder should be punished with the ultimate penalty. To do less is to cheapen life, and to spit upon God's great gift to us.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Losing private property

Francis Poretto of Eternity Road has an excellent post up about the need to return to the concept of "private property." To quote Poretto:

Today, there's essentially no right of private property left. Consider: activist busybodies can forbid you to fill in a wet trench on your privately owned land. They can forbid you to cut down your own tree. They can demand that the flora on your land be of certain kinds and in certain percentages. They can forbid you to add a wing to your home, or rent out an unused bedroom, or operate a one-person business therein. And of course, given the Kelo decision, politicians can relieve you of all rights to your home at their sole say-so, not for any defensible "public use" but merely because they want someone else to have it.
Environmental law in particular, is rife with the notion that the government can do pretty much anything, based on the flimsiest of environmental notions, and the private property "owner" has to comply. Usually, this involves the "owner" losing control of some aspect of his formerly private property, while having to bear often onerous costs for the "benefit" of the public at large. I await the community I live in insisting that I treat the yard to rid it of the "wild flowers" that grow in my lawn. At that point I will raise the specter of putting all these pounds of toxic chemicals into the storm water system and let the environmentalist fight it out with the yard proud. But how did we come to this? Francis Poretto again:

The rights of private property have been under assault for as long as the concept has existed, but the first serious blow against them in America arrived with the notion of a "public accommodation."

In the early Sixties, the majority of federal legislators were eager to do something about vestigial race-based discrimination by retail businesses. It was the politically hot topic of the day, second only to the campaign against "separate but equal" in public schools. But given the First Amendment's recognition of freedom of association and the Fifth Amendment's concession of private property rights, a rationale was required from which to argue that a retail business wasn't fully protected by those rights.

The rationale was that, since a retail business implicitly solicits the trade of the general public, it straddles the boundary between private property and a public facility: it must be required to "accommodate" anyone who walks through its door. Accordingly, legislation that compels such accommodation was deemed Constitutionally licit, even though no power granted Congress by Article I, Section 8 would appear to cover the undertaking. And so we got the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and all that's followed from it as the notion of a "public accommodation" has been expanded to cover ever more organizations, institutions, and facilities.

You see, formerly a tavern owner, for instance, had the right to refuse service to anyone. He could allow or disallow pretty much any (legal) behavior. Tavern owners often still claim that right, but it is questionable how enforceable that claim may be if a person of the correct minority status pushes it. In any case, with the concept of "public accommodation" we now find that the pettiest of behaviors are decided not by the tavern owner, but by laws. Thus, for instance, no smoking laws, even in "private" offices.

Conservatives appalled by the luxuriance and infinite scope of law in our time must attack the problem at its root: the destruction of the rights of private property.

But how to do it? This is an illustration, yet again, that whenever lawmakers try to take a shortcut to doing something, even something good, like ending discrimination, there are unintended consequences. Unfortunately, according to the race hustlers, they didn't solve the problem of discrimination either. How typical.

California: Initiative Bad, Republicanism Good

NOW they tell us. It seems that the initiative process, famously used by Californians to amend the laws of that State is under seige. According to an article on Townhall.com by Meredith Turney, the California legislature is contemplating laws to make the initiative process more difficult, or too expensive for the average citizen of that State.

California’s initiative process is officially passé, at least according to the media and those who have recently lost critical battles at the ballot box. Since last week’s California Supreme Court ruling upholding the people’s ability to amend the state’s constitution via the initiative process, there has been a steady drumbeat—which will certainly increase in its intensity—that the initiative process makes it “too easy” to amend such an important governing document.
The initiative process was born of the "Progressive" "good government" movement during the late 19th Century. It introduced direct democracy into a republican representative governing process. It was, therefore, derided by conservatives at the time for this very flaw. Interesting that now that the tables are turned, and it is the radicals in power, and the conservatives have learned to use the intiative process, that suddenly direct democracy doesn't look like such a keen idea. What utter hypocracy.

If you want to understand Statist principles, just look at what gives them an advantage. As soon as that stops working, they will abandon their "long held principles" and pick up another. 1984, here we come.

Switching topics, there will be light blogging during the next week, as I will be out of town. But I ask that my readers continue to check in, read the blogs in the sidebar, and click on Digg, when it will allow you to.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Judge Dredd and the "Only Ones"

While reading the Atlanta Gun Rights Examiner article here, I came across this post in the Georgia Carry website which offers some more explanation of what has happened in this case. Of special interest is the comment by "Black Prince":

I am a former Navy Boatswains Mate. I served on shore patrol duty many times while in the Navy. I was PROUD to wear that uniform and salute the ensign every time I came aboard. I am also a former deputy sheriff. There was no one in this country more supportive of law enforcement than I once was, BUT it is cases like this one that has caused me to change my mind about law enforcement over the last 20 or so years. I have thought about how that has happened.

It started with the FBI and their attack on the Branch Dividians at Waco. One man in that compound was charged with a firearms misdemeanor crime. David Coresh said that if the sheriff had come out and asked him to come in to discuss it that he would have cooperated. And even if he had been found guilty of the crime, all he would have faced was a fine. But 86 men, women , and children were burned alive because of the way it was handled. It was the begining of my disenchantment with law enforcement today. There is NO WAY the crime Coresh was charged with merited that kind of response. It was waaaaay out of porportion to the crime. It was excessive and it was CRIMINAL and it was directly approved by the attorney general of the United States, our chief law enforcement official, Janet Reno.

Then there was Randy Weaver at Ruby Ridge. He was minulipulated into committing a crime of cutting the barrel off a shotgun so the feds could blackmail him into becoming an informant on a group they had under survailance. When Weaver refused, they killed his wife, who had not been charged with any crime, as she was standing in the door of her home unarmed with her infant daughter in her arms. She was shot right between the eyes by an FBI sniper. Her 15 year old son was then shot in the back and murdered and he too, had not been charged with any crime. They also killed the family dog , and as far as anyone can determine, it had not committed any crime either.

Randy Weaver later won a milti million dollar award against the FBI for violating his rights and all charges against him were dropped. If a foreign nation had done that against an American citizen, the country would have wanted to declare war on them, but when our own government does it, we just pay off the victims and give the sniper a raise and promote him. That CRIMINAL raid was also approved by the chief law enforcement official in America, Janet Reno. It was waaaaay out of porportion to what should have been done. It was excessive,it was illegal, and it was CRIMINAL.

The federal government has been pouring money into police and sheriff departments all across the country since those incidents because they had violated the possee comatitas law. Look how many times you now see police and sheriff’s dept. people dressed in black with military weapons. They all think they are Rambo and they all act like that. That kind of training makes people AGGRESSIVE because their training teaches them to be AGGRESSIVE. They are training and equiping local police to act like the military and the local law enforcement people are doing exactly that. They have forgotten they are there to serve the public and not the other way around. Now we are GUILTY until they decide that we are not.

They have become the enemy. I don’t trust them any more and I dispise them for what they have become. They are DANGEROUS! I do not cooperate with them at all any more on anything and I am NOT GOING TO COOPERATE with them. I am learning to shoot for places that are not protected by a vest. It is a shame that our nation has come to this state, but it has.

A person’s moral compass can be determined by how he references free men the right to defend themselves. It can be determined by how they value life. The Second Amendment is so obvious to me that it is insane that there is any argument against it. That there is an argument in America from a whole gaggle of politicians, or police, or sheriff deputies that they will tell me where, when, how, and if I can defend myself and my family is preposterous. It is unacceptable and I will not accept it. As a free man living in America, the Second Amendment is my weapons permit. PERIOD!

Back when I was a deputy, we were required to know and follow the law, the Constitution, and to have some common sense when dealing with the public. OBVIOUSLY, those are no longer qualifications for being a deputy.

I have thought privately that the police seem more militarized than they did in my youth. I have noted that even small towns now often have a "SWAT" team. What do they need a SWAT team for? I have read with alarm sites where police officers, thinking that they might not be read by the public, call themselves "warriors." Do they mean soldiers, or do they mean that they are somehow professional paladins, guns for hire. It seems quite often it is the latter. It seems in their minds, they have become Judge Dredd, dispensing instant "justice" according to their own internal standards. This is not right. As David Codrea's "Only Ones" files clearly demonstrate, the police must be as constrained by the law as any member of the public (who pays them, by the way.) We can not have a group running around above the law, acting like Samurai with guns. More to the point, the police can not have access to any weapon to which any member of the general public does not have access. That merely sets up a Samurai class, above the rest of us.

The commenter also points to a way out of this mess. The Fed is the one who has been equipping and training these terrible examples. Perhaps we need to cut of funding for this. A government starved for cash has to start cutting somewhere. Don't they always start with the troops?

When I was young, it was well known that the average police officer was unlikely to ever draw his weapon while on duty. Indeed, a detective's need for his weapon was so rare, that most felt carrying a 2 inch Colt or Smith and Wesson revolver was enough. Makes you wonder how we got on the wrong track.