Friday, December 31, 2010

Constitutional Governance and the People Who Stand Against It

Leftist apologists for the incomprehensible crimes of Communism and Fascism in the 20th century often claim that "real" Communism has never been tried because they didn't have the "right people" in charge. But if they could get the "right people" elected, it would prove itself to indeed be a Utopia. Of course, since such people seem to be as rare as hens teeth, one of these indispensable persons could be run over by a bus and the whole thing would collapse once again into mass murder and corruption. But that eventuality never seems to enter these peoples thoughts.

It is this notion that somewhere, out there, is just the "right person" that intrigued me about an article today in the American Thinker entitled IF I Do It, It Is Holy by Henry Percy.  To quote Percy:
Whatever a great man does is good because, well, he's great. Sound familiar from our contemporary politics? The same principle is found in Indian spirituality: whatever the guru does is holy because he is the guru. He is good not because of what he does, but what he does is good because he is good. His behavior may appear immoral, unethical or even illegal, but that is because our consciousness is too impure to evaluate the actions of the holy man. Jesus said, "By their fruits ye shall know them," but for the seeker of enlightenment the task of separating the false prophets from the true has nothing to do with evaluating a candidate guru's fruits. No, the seeker's task is to find a perfect master, follow his behests blindly, and accept all he does no matter how inimical it may appear.
I was reminded of a conversation between two Obama supporters and myself several months ago during which a remark was made that Bush and put in place the Patriot Act, and how that was evil and showed that Bush was evil. I interrupted to note that Obama had not repealed the Patriot Act, and had even embraced it. One turned to the other and said "But don't you think that Obama's use of the Patriot Act is noble, while Bush's was evil?" The other nodded approvingly, saying "Oh, yes, oh yes!"

Clearly, if they were to run the rest of their lives on the basis of "good people can do no wrong, and bad people can do no right," they would be at a loss to explain the actions of anyone, or to understand them.  In such world view there would be no possibility for redemption, or for making mistakes.  Every mistake is the result of a bad person acting evilly.  And since the mistake was the result of evil, there can be no apology, no trying to set things right, and no forgiveness.  But such a worldview does explain how someone can defend an offspring even knowing they did wrong, and condemn the society that seeks justice for that wrong.  Said offspring would be good in their eyes, and therefore any action taken by that offspring would of necessity be good also.

I think the notion of the guru character fits in with how many people view Law in the Empathetic Society, another piece in the American Thinker today by Jeremy Egerer. Go read the whole thing, as it has some important things to say.

At first glance, the two ideas seem to stand in contrast to one another. Either people believe that good men can do no wrong, or they believe that compassion should rule a good man's life. Either way, one can not believe in both. But I think, in their deepest part, they retain the childish notion that a good man can not commit evil, and a bad one can not do right. Sometimes, as in the conversation mentioned above, they inadvertently reveal that belief. But since they know that others believe man to be more complicated, they hide instead behind a crippled and often misplaced version of compassion. After all, it is said Hitler loved his dogs. He may have even loved Eva Braun, though he clearly loved power more.  For all that, he was still a profoundly evil individual.

People who think like this, unfortunately, can still vote.  The only way to minimize the damage they can do is to insist that government never exceed the limitations placed on it by the Constitution.  While the Constitution has been abrogated at several points in our history by emergencies that may have seemed overwhelming to those in the thick of them, I think most of them could have been avoided had people been determined to do so.  We must be determined reign it in, and keep it in the box.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The End of the Republican Party

I had to cool off before I could get my thoughts together about the lame duck session of the 111th Congress. So many things that needed more time, more debate, were hurriedly passed, such as the START treaty, DADT Repeal, and others. Frankly, I don't know why there is a lame duck session. These people have lost the confidence of voters, so having them decide issues seems unethical at best, actionable at worst. In any case, the Republican party did not cover itself in glory during the lame duck session, caving to the Democrats time and time again, when they should have used the filibuster to delay as much as they could. The American Thinker has a piece up entitled Is the Republican Party Finished? by Michael Filozof. Mr. Filizof believes that we conservatives are in the same position today as were leftists in the 1960s. He argues that we need to take to the streets, and take over a party as the leftists did in 1968.

Not so fast there, agent provocateur.

I have argued for some time that one of the distinguishing characteristics of Progressive/Socialist/Marxist/Leftists/Fascist/Communists is a certain lack of emotional maturity. There are means that are repugnant to a moral understanding of life, no matter how noble you think the ends may be. Peacefully rallying as Glenn Becks 8/28 rally are good. Rioting as...well take any riot you can think of from Los Angeles, to Chicago, to the Seattle, is not good. Property damage, people injured and arrested without a tangible goal being accomplished.  Oh, everyone knows you threw a tantrum alright. But what actually changed? The Left didn't take over the Democrat party as a result of the 1968 riots in Chicago. In point of fact, they took over, and purged the party of the moderates in 1972 under the banner of George McGovern. It was politics, not riots that got them there. It was also then that they began the Long March through the institutions. It is the Leftists of 1972, not the Leftist of 1968 that we must emulate.

Thanks to Dave Hardy, Stephen Holbrook, David Kopel and others, Second Amendment research and scholarship took a great leap forward over the last 30 years.  The Heritage Foundation, the American Enterprise Institute and others have advanced conservative scholarship in other areas as well.  Books like Liberal Fascism by Jonah Goldberg have been coming out to wide audiences, and people are reconnecting with the real history of the United States. That needs to continue. We have made progress with our media on the Internet and talk radio. Our next mission, should we decide to take it, would seem to be to re-infiltrate colleges and universities.  Finally, one of the things we must do is commit to Constitutional governance.  The Left claims that we just want to tell them how to live.  For example, if we were following the Constitution, Roe v. Wade must eventually be overturned.  But we can not put in a Federal law that makes abortion illegal either.  The Constitution does not deal with that, instead leaveing such matters up to each individual State.

Let the Left flail and burn.  We have more important tasks to do to get the country back on the right track.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Yet Another "State of Emergency"

The Confederate Yankee has a post up about another recent State of Emergency because of snow. The Lt. Governor issued this one. You can find the Yanks post here. A hat tip to Bubba of the blog What Bubba Knows for pointing me to it.

In NC, a declared State of Emergency makes it illegal for those with concealed carry permits to carry off their property. It also makes it illegal for open carriers, by the way. So, in the eyes of the State, just when a person might be most vulnerable because police are likely to be engaged elsewhere dealing with people in need, those of us who have prepared find ourselves rendered defenseless.  What is the logic behind this?

But of course, logic has nothing to do with it.  Rather, anti-gun politics is behind every infringement of our basic right to self defense.  There have been numerous attempts to analyse what it is about some people that makes them think, against all evidence, that controlling guns will somehow make us safer.  Some have proposed that this insistence is the result of projection.  The anti-gun individual believes himself untrustworthy, and makes the assumption that everyone is like himself.  The mechanism by which this occurs is fully treated by Dr. Sarah Thompson at Raging Against Self Defense: A Psychiatrist Examines the Anti Gun Mentality It is an interesting read into inner workings of one of these sad individuals. Then there is the "Black Hat/White Hat" idea here that asks whether Black Hats are genetically defective? Interesting, to be sure, but I don't think we can really take the theory too seriously, appealing though it may be.

There is often a tendency to appease the madmen among us.  Just give them whatever they want so they will stop screaming at us.  As parents, we often do this with children, giving them food, or buying some trinket they want at the moment.  Indeed, in some ways the anti-gun crowd seems like a bunch of unruly children, who don't understand why the universe will not conform to their rules.  Unfortunately, this is not a time for appeasement.  It doesn't matter why these people think the way they do, the rest of us have stand up and say "no."  It is our duty, and our responsibility.  No one else can defend ourselves and our families.  Only we can do it, and to do it, we must have the most effective tools available.

I can hope that if the new Republican led legislature is not composed of "White Hats," that they will at least be conscious of losing their right to impose on us further at our expense at the next election.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Montana Senators Request Rogue ATF to Cease and Desist

Via Bubba of the blog What Bubba Knows and the NRA comes this good news. Montana Senators denounce rogue ATF actions in a letter to Director Melson. You will remember I asked you to write your Congressmen and Senators here. Apparently the effort is bearing fruit. Good work.

Christmas Blessing

May the Lord bless you and keep you.
May the Lord make his face to shine upon you,
and give you peace.


Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Another Power Grab, This Time by the FCC

Image from Theo Sparks

According to The Blaze, the FCC by 3-2, voted to regulate the internet via Net Neutrality. This is another power grab, over Christmas week no less, by an out of control Federal Agency.  Indeed, the timing tells you everything.  They are hoping that if they do this now, nobody will notice.

Meanwhile, the GOP is posturing to stop the FCC from implementing any rules, and Verizon has threatened a lawsuit.

My biggest concern at the moment with this, as with the BATFE and the EPA is that these executive agencies are making laws.  The making of law under the Constitution rests solely in the legislative branch, the House and the Senate.  Congress has granted, unwisely I think, certain rule making authority to these agencies under certain specified conditions.  But Net Neutrality is outside the scope of that authority.  Congress drafted legislation on Net Neutrality, but never passed it.  In the case of the EPA, carbon dioxide is not even a pollutant, but a naturally occurring gas in the atmosphere.  What these examples represent are attempts by the Administration, led in this case by Cass Sunstein, at full blown dictatorship.  They are testing the waters, to see what they can get away with.  If they can get away with pulling these things off, Congress will largely become irrelevant.  Of course, there will still be a Congress, and we will still vote for the Congressional candidates, but more and more law will be made by dictate.  The Congress will serve mainly to ratify executive branch decisions, and as a side show to distract the American people.

The GOP will have to recognize this power grab for what it is, and smack down the FCC hard.  Perhaps taking it apart and handing its various tasks to other agencies might be enough.  I am not certain anything less will do.  But the American people will have to rise up and say, in the words of Mike Vanderboegh "Oh, Hell No!"

Update:  A hat tip to David Codrea at the War on Guns for pointing me to this article by John Fund in the Wall Street Journal. Fund says that a group of left wing foundations virtually made up the "problem" Net Neutrality is supposed to solve, did the research that the FCC relied on, and got their own people on the FCC to vote for it.  So, 3 people, sitting in a room, have decided for 300 million, with little debate, what the law will be.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

BATFU Imposing Gun Owner Registration by Fiat

Thanks and a hat tip to David Codrea of the War on Guns for pointing me to ATF Announces Demand Letters for Multiple Sales of Long Guns in Border States. This is a particularly egregious violation of law because it is not authorized by Congress for rifles, as it is for handguns. (As an aside, the Constitutionality of that law is disputed by rights advocates as well, but it has been passed by Congress, signed by the President, and is the law of the land.)  It also sets up a registry of gun owners, something specifically disallowed by Congress. At the moment, it is only temporary, and only within the Border States, but what can be done temporarily can be done permanently. And since when are people living in Border States not entitled to equal protection of (and from) the law?

I hate to ask you to do this so close to Christmas, but take the time to go over to the GOA website and send a letter to your Congressman and your Senators. GOA makes it easy with a pre-written letter. Be polite when you edit the letter.

You could also write to and register your displeasure. Again, be polite. Here's what I wrote:

Dear Ms. Terrell,

Pursuant to your request for comments in the Federal Register dated 17 December 2010, I am writing to provide comments on your proposal to require thousands of dealers to report multiple rifle sales to the BATFE. The Federal Register helpfully lists topics on which you wish comments. I will not comment on those, but instead, get to the heart of the matter.

Frankly, I am vehemently opposed to what I can only view as a power grab by the BATFE. You do not have the authority to require dealers to report multiple rifle sales. The requirement to report multiple handgun sales was imposed by Congress in 18 USC § 923(g)(3)(A). If Congress had wished to require reporting of multiple rifle sales as well, that requirement would also be a matter of federal law. The fact that it is not stands is proof that Congress does not wish to have them reported.

Your motive for making the proposal are not stated, but one can speculate that you desire to be better able to trace these weapons, which some have demonized as "assault weapons." Having this information creates a de facto registration system, to which I must stand firmly opposed. How many guns a law abiding person has, of what type and where they are located is not, put bluntly, any of the Government's business. Furthermore, I doubt that this proposal serves any legitimate purpose, but if you think it does, go before Congress and request a change in the law. Please remember that the "The ATF cannot enact a law, nor can it amend a law."


Or, you can use the excellently worded letter at Armed and Safe here.

When Necessity Becomes a Moral Imperitive

Back in August, I wrote about Chicago residents who had decided to ignore Mayor Daley's gun prohibition and keep a gun in the home for self defense here. I called it civil disobedience. It should keep lawmakers awake at night, but it doesn't seem to, that any law that is unjust can only be enforced with tyrannical actions by the government. The rational reaction by a certain percentage of the people to unjust laws is to simply disobey, if the chances of getting caught are low enough.  Now, the truly criminal among us is actually extremely low.  Murderers, robbers, rapists and the like constitute a very small percentage of the population.  Such people are beyond the pale to start with.  But when people begin to feel that the government is stealing their money on the one hand, and using it against them on the other, then you get a situation like Chicago, where people begin to quietly disobey.

Such a situation seems to be shaping up in America, as described by Christopher Chantrill at the American Thinker today in Off-The-Books America. Now, there has always been a certain amount of "black economy." Do you report the proceeds from a garage sale? No? Well, shame on you. But the reasoning isn't hard to see. You bought that stuff with taxed money. The sale of the property didn't net you anything you didn't already have, but only made the stuff ultimately cheaper. It's as if you bought it on sale. Such "tax evasion" is petty, and not worth going after in any case. But what Chantrill describes are untold numbers of people, living off the grid, largely unregulated and untaxed, yet they are competing with legitimate business that do pay taxes and do submit to onerous regulations. Yet the only way that the state can force ever more onerous regulations down peoples throats is to become more tyrannical, to make the penalties even more draconian. Chantrill paints a bleak picture:

Every time the government enacts a new benefit or tax or economic regulation, it increases the cost of doing business for ordinary, law-abiding businesses. Every marginal business affected by the new tax or regulation has to make a decision: does it try to obey the law, or does it go "off the books"? Of course, our liberal rulers understand the problem. That is why they often exempt small businesses from the latest regulation. But what they are admitting, every time they do it, is that their high-tax social-benefit state is profoundly unjust.

One of these days, some right-wing demagogue is going to turn the general disgust with liberal injustice into a national political movement of bitter clingers.

But don't expect the ruling class to notice until it is too late. As Deirdre McCloskey writes: a typical oligarchy rises, closes to new entrants, and then goes to sleep.

Meanwhile, the regulatory state starts to break apart from its internal contradictions, and more and more of the rest of us decide to work off the books. But there comes a time when it is not just economically necessary to avoid unjust laws and taxes. It becomes a moral imperative.
Chantrill doesn't describe the half of it when it comes to onerous regulations adding cost and making us uncompetitive. Most small businesses do not have the wherewithall to hire lawyers to pour over the CFR looking for the thousands of ways they may be violating the law every day. But they are what built this country, and keeps it fed. They deserve better from our would be rulers.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Corrupting Science for Fun and Profit

Fred Singer, noted physicist and Emeritus Professor in Environmental Science at the University of Virginia, has an article today in the American Thinker entitled Second Hand Smoke, Lung Cancer, and the Global Warming Debate. Now, Professor Singer is not a smoker, and would normally not have a dog in the fight, but is appalled at the corruption of science that has occurred in service to a political agenda. I will note that I am a pipe smoker, and am appalled at the political agenda that seeks to use the State as a kind of mother to make me and others like me cease an enjoyable hobby because others object.

Singer details the fraud that has occurred in the smoking debate:

So what is the truth about SHS and lung cancer? I am neither an oncologist nor a chemical toxicologist, but I do know some statistics, which allows me to examine the EPA study without bias. I can demonstrate that the EPA fudged their analysis to reach a predetermined conclusion -- using thoroughly dishonest procedures. EPA "scientists" made three major errors: 1) They ignored "publication bias." 2) They arbitrarily shifted the statistical "confidence intervals." 3) They drew unjustified conclusions from a risk ratio that was barely greater than 1.0.
o Since none of the epidemiological studies provided the clear answer they wanted, the EPA carried out a "meta-analysis," lumping together a selected group of studies. Unfortunately, this approach ignores publication bias -- i.e., the tendency for investigators not to publish their studies if they do not find a positive result.

o The EPA, in order to calculate a positive risk ratio, relaxed the confidence intervals from the generally accepted 95% standard to 90% -- and admitted this openly.

o Even so, their "Risk Ratio" was just a little above 1.0 -- whereas careful epidemiologists, because of the presence of confounding factors, generally ignore any result unless the RR exceeds 2.0.
To sum up this somewhat technical discussion, while I cannot give specific answers about lung cancer or other medical issues connected with SHS, I can state with some assurance that the EPA analysis -- to paraphrase my former teacher, Nobel physicist Wolfgang Pauli -- is "not only wrong, but worthless."
Now, smoking is not something that is easy to defend. Certainly smoking cigarettes decreases one's longevity and can be viewed as a selfish indulgence, as can drinking, riding motorcycles, sport parachuting, and any other risky activity. Interestingly, pipe smokers tend to live two years longer than non-smokers, but I doubt it has to do with smoking a pipe and more to do with the personality of pipe smokers.  Also, interestingly, even smokers are more likely to die of something other than lung cancer.  Meanwhile, only one study has reported anything at all, and that barely 600 deaths due to something that might have been secondhand smoke.  The war on tobacco has been acrimonious with opponents of smoking claiming their "right" to breathe fresh air, while smokers exerted their "right" to be left alone.  It has also resulted in an economic upheaval.  For many tobacco farmers, the replacement crops have not been as profitable as has tobacco was.  Meanwhile, laws that outlaw smoking undermine property rights, and obscured other causes of lung cancer such as welding and diesel smoke.  My Dad faces a $500 fine for smoking on his own property each time he goes to the office.  The government could have spent the time and money used to make war on tobacco by trying to cut down the roughly 30,000 fatal traffic crashes that occur each and every year.

Interestingly, just as following the money trail on the anti-gun issue leads back to the Joyce Foundation, so with tobacco it has been the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.  Go ahead, look it up.

So, what does all this have to do with Goofball Wormening?  The same corruption of science that was used in the war on tobacco is being used to advance Goofball Wormening, and for the same reasons.  The war on tobacco resulted in a transfer of wealth from poor and lower middle class smokers to rich and powerful lawyers, and to State coffers to use as a slush fund in support of Democrat causes.  Goofball Wormening, if they get their way, will result in the transfer of wealth from average Americans to rich Democrats. It would be disastrous enough if it were true, but it is not in either case.

North Carolina's Emergency Law Attempts to Nullify Second Amendment

This is old news at this point, but seems a good idea to bring it up again because of changes in the NC State Legislature about to take place. On June 29, 2010, Paul Valone wrote an excellent article in the Charlotte Gun Rights Examiner entitled Gun Rights Legal Battle Shifts to North Carolina. He details the ways in which the North Carolina law allowing the Governor and even local Mayors to declare states of emergency harms legal gun owners.   When normal law and order break down, for whatever reason, and local gun owners band together to protect the citizens and their property, that group constitutes a militia. This is, of course, the time when having a gun available may be most needed.

In a recent development in the case, the Brady Campaign to disarm us all has filed a brief with the court.  David Codrea, the National Gun Rights Examiner discusses the brief at Anti-Defense Lobby Seeks to Nullify Second Amendment When It is Needed Most. Go read both articles.  Note, though, that your 2A rights can not be nullified, or taken away.  This is a natural right, granted by God.  The 2A only recognizes the right, as does the NC Constitution.

So, what has changed?  The main news has concentrated on committee chairmanships at the Federal level, and what Congress might do and not do.  But the State Legislature here has changed parties in both houses, and for the first time in over 100 years, Republicans control the agenda.  I don't expect much in the way of gun bills, though getting rid of gun prohibitions in the emergency law, and freeing up some of the restrictions on concealed carry in various places would not be out of the question.  The big things though are redistricting and getting our State budget under control.  We also need to get some of these Federal unfunded mandates lifted.

Friday, December 17, 2010

The Death Panel Strikes

A thank you to Bubba, of the blog What Bubba Knows for pointing me to Obama's Death Panels Tells Women Suffering from Breast Cancer: Go Ahead and Die Already. Just as in a former time, when words actually had power, the "Defense Department" was called "The Department of War," whatever Obama calls them would be called "Death Panels."  Because that is what they are. Some men and women sitting in Washington thinking up ways to save a buck by letting certain people die. Gussy it up all you like, but Sarah Palin was right.

Now, why would the Administration risk offending women?

The Adolescent Left

I am always a little taken aback by behavior coming from supposedly mature statesmen that seems more like that of a teenager. Case in point is the Democratic reaction to keeping the Bush tax rates in place. Anthony Weiner's reaction to the President's tax compromise on Fox News perhaps best illustrates the point. There was much talk of millionaires getting to keep the tax rate, but no serious talk about the morality of our current tax system. The American Thinker today has an article by Keith Riler entitled The Adolescent Left that explains, at least in part, why this is so. If the past four years have seemed like we have a bunch of children running our country, it may be because we have had exactly that.

Riler first talks about the meaning of freedom:

By disordered freedom, I mean the 1960s-influenced, "don't tell me what to do/I'll do whatever the hell I want to do" kind of freedom. Pope John Paul II summarized the flaw in such a stunted and animalistic view of our potential when he explained that "[f]reedom is not a matter of doing what we like, but rather of having the right to do what we ought."

Theologian Servais Pinckaers elaborates further with the example of a novice piano student. Unless that piano student submits himself to the rigors of study and practice, against which he could certainly rebel at any time, that student will never become a maestro. The same can be said about humans and the attainment of our full potential through the voluntary submission to ethics, morality, and responsibility (against which we may certainly rebel at any time). This responsible freedom clearly contrasts with a hormonal adolescent's "don't tell me what to do" outbursts.
I have meant to talk about this aspect of freedom precisely as it touches on the very heart of what has become of the state our arts. So much passes for art these days that is, frankly, the acting out of spoiled brats against their parents; it is a hoax. Since when is art supposed to shock and offend the prevailing culture? While some historians think the Impressionist painters were rebelling against the older Academic style, I think it had to do more with advances in technology. They had more pigments, and photography was new. In drama, Hollywood has taken to remaking older films, True Grit being the latest. As a young man, I loved poetry, but I can't think of any today that is being produced that is worth putting pen to paper. It all seems to by lyrical, written in obscure private languages where words have no real meaning, or any meaning you want to place on them, without recognizable metric patterns or rhyming schemes. The state of our art scene reflects the state of our society. Too many people want to get to expressing...whatever it is they want to express...without first going through the arduous task of learning the craft, and what has gone before.

Although less obvious, the liberal affection for the hypocrisy charge reveals a strong desire for disordered freedom. By charging hypocrisy, the adolescent libertine's goal is to avoid ever having to hear a moral norm (i.e., "you should"). This is an understandable quest for any fan of a serial adulterer and liar like Bill Clinton, but no normal thoughtful adult would agree that only those who are perfect should establish rules of conduct or the corollary -- that unless perfect rule-makers can be found, no norms should be established.

Put differently, should we really prevent an alcoholic from cautioning others about drinking or a parent from advising his children not to lie? Both the alcoholic and the parent are hypocritical in that each is guilty of the sin against which he cautions, but both are to be commended for their advice. In this light, the clear point of the left's oft-utilized hypocrisy charge is to silence adult commentary so as to permit unchaperoned moral chaos.
I am vulnerable to the charge of hypocrisy, as are we all, I think. I have made mistakes that I don't want my grand children to repeat. Traditions, properly applied, tell us what has worked in the past, and more importantly, what has not. But for the grace of God, I might be dead or rotting in jail.   But, we have the ability to pass on what we have learned to the next generation.  Indeed, we can look over nearly 5,000 years of history. It is a unique ability not possessed by any other creature on earth. It is both a blessing and a curse, like so many things in this world. but seems stupid in the extreme to throw all that away simply because you are rebelling against your parents.

Ok, so what wisdom would I pass on?  Just this, that our Founding Fathers largely got it right.  They were flawed men, all of them.  But they somehow managed to distill out of history a new thing that works.  Marx, on the other hand, got it horribly wrong.  "By their fruits you will know them."  The Constitution, when applied as written, works.  Socialism, Communism, Fascism, etc do not work.  Following the Constitution takes study, thought, and rigorous discipline.  It is the essence of freedom defined as having the right to do what we ought.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

The War on Guns: Florida school board shooting shows failure of ‘gun control’ on multiple counts

The War on Guns: Florida school board shooting shows failure of ‘gun control’ on multiple counts

A reminder that on occasion the obvious needs to be reiterated. In this case, the fact that criminals don't obey laws can not be stated often enough.  Gun fee zones only provide soft targets to those not inclined to obey the law.  They protect no one, and in fact endanger everyone who must go inside them.  One can wish away mean old men with evil guns, but magical thinking has little affect on reality.

Another thing that is interesting about this case is that the guy turns out to be nuckin futz as reported in this article in the American Thinker by Selwyn Duke entitled Citizen, Class Warrior, Florida School Board Gun, and Good Humanist. Duke's point in the article is that like a fast car having excellent brakes, so for us having the ability to do great damage that guns represent requires an equally strong moral basis to restrain that usage.

While still a teen, the budding serial killer and cannibal Jeffrey Dahmer said to his parents, "If there's no God, why can't I just make up my own rules?" How is it that a man who lived the stuff of horror films understood the implications of atheism better than "scholars" such as Christopher Hitchens and Richard Dawkins? The answer lies not in superior intellect, but in superior intellectual honesty. Dahmer simply had scraped away the pretense and explored the boundless universe of atheism to its fullest. And this is expressed in an encapsulation of what Dostoevsky's Ivan Karamazov believed: If there is no God, everything is permitted.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Don't Shoot the Messenger

The American Thinker today has an interesting article entitled What Wikileaks Cables Really Reveal by Vasko Kohlmayer. It's not long, so go read it.

Here is the money quote:
Last year, Human Events examined an energy report issued by the Congressional Research Service. Its conclusion: "The United States has largest energy reserves on Earth."

The data clearly show that the United States could be and should be completely energy-independent. So why are we not? Why is the world's energy-richest country the world's largest importer of energy? How have we arrived at this absurd state of affairs?
Of course, we all know the answer. Leftists, disguised as "environmentalists" have tied up these resources through regulations and laws in the name of "protecting" us, while effectively stealing our money and our freedom. The real question is why have we let them do it?

Kohlmayer is right, though.  Instead of getting mad at the Australian guy, we should turn our anger those in Government who have done this to us, and set about correcting the situation.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Now Leftists are Changing the Meaning of "Dignity" and "Respect"

An article in the Raleigh News and Disturber today tries to make the travelling public out to be the bad guy, and poor little TSA to be the good. You can find the article Pat-downs anger RDU fliers. A quote:

"Our officers are trained to treat all passengers with dignity and respect, and to fully communicate with each passenger to ensure they understand the process throughout screening," he said.
It is not possible to treat someone with dignity and respect while groping their intimate parts. Dogs are treated like this. Slaves used to be treated like this. But citizens with rights are not treated like this.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Towards a Flat Tax

Yesterday, an article by Monte Kuligowski caught my eye at the American Thinker entitled Another Reason for a Flat Tax: Freedom of Speech. The article makes some of the same points I did in the post entitled Taxes. A quote:

Our current progressive income tax system is inherently problematic in a free society. It slaps the face of equal justice under law and repulses the 14th Amendment's requirement of "equal protection of the laws." "Spreading the wealth around" was anathema to the founding generation, as evidenced by the remarks of Thomas Jefferson:

"A wise and frugal Government, which shall restrain men from injuring one another, shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned."
Asking certain people to pay at a higher rate for the same, or less benefit than others on the basis of an arbitrarily defined income level is discriminatory. That you are discriminating against people who make more money does not remove the immorality of it.  It is still discrimination against people who have likely done nothing to you except be more successful at making money.

Incidentally, wealth (what the Democrats often talk about when demagoguing the issue) and income are two different things.  Wealthy people can often make quite a bit of income from investments in tax free municipal bonds and other tax shelters that others are not able to take advantage of due to the lesser amounts available for investment.

Equal protection of the law should require everyone to pay the same percentage rate for taxes. If the income tax rate were 10%, with no loopholes or special-interest deductions, the "rich" obviously would pay much more than the "poor," but everyone would be equal under the law. And a greater incentive would exist to advance on the pay scale.
Beyond the unfairness, and illegality of taxing different people at different rates solely based on the incomes there is the fact that our tax code has become so complex that it may be used as a political weapon. Joseph Farrah, editor of famously accused the Clinton administration of using the IRS to harass him during those years. Then there is the Obama administration:
A recent AT article reminded me of the remarks of Mr. Obama after Arizona State University declined to award the president an honorary degree. The university cited Obama's lack of accomplishments in denying the customary degree at the president's commencement speech back in May of 2009.

In response to the perceived "snub," the New York Times reported the words of Mr. Obama: "President Crow and the [Arizona State] board of regents will soon learn about being audited by the IRS."
Do you think that might have a chilling effect on those who might otherwise wish to protest something the government is doing? Our tax code should not be a tool of tamping down protest, even if Mr. Obama's remarks were meant as a joke.

All of the above doesn't even begin to scratch the surface of whether or not the taxes collected are spent within the scope of the authorities granted under the Constitution, or the immorality of forcing one person to serve another's interests at his own expense.  I covered some of those issues in the previous post mentioned above.  Suffice it to say I could find no reason why these should be imposed on free Americans.  Let us finally fix the tax code, then reduce our spending to match what we can afford, and what is within the scope of the Constitution.

Another Bigot Heard From

What did I tell you the other day? This argument seems to spring forth like dandelions on a spring day whenever there is a threat to allow legal concealed carry in "bars."

“It would be a nightmare for us,” Jamison said referring to his business. “What happens when it’s (the gun) pulled?
Of course, "bars" here means any number of family restaurants that happen to serve alcohol as well.  Such restaurants serve as a place where one can take the kids and have a pleasant evening out.  I find, though, that I go to fewer and fewer of them, precisely because of this attitude.

Hat tip to David Codrea for pointing me to this.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Goofball Wormening Schemers Keep Trying

Thanks to Tam, at the View From The Porch and the Liberty Sphere comes this news from Australia: Breaking: The Abdication of the West. This is one of Christopher Monckton's missives from the Cancun Climate summit. Monckton warns that the purpose of Cancun, far from being the last hurrah of goofball warmening, is to set up a world government, which will tax us and other "wealthy" nations and transfer those funds, not so much to the "undeveloped" nations as to themselves.  Oh, they intend to throw the "undeveloped" nations a bone or two, but this will really be about transferring national Sovereignty to the new government.  Why they would pursue this so tirelessly is not hard to imagine.  Why we would go along with it is not quite so obvious.  The lunacy of the entire enterprise can be seen here in another missive from Lord Monckton in which he calculates the absurd costs associated with reducing the so called carbon footprint of of England. In 100 years, the real weather you experience will not be noticeably different than it is today. Poor nations then will be the same ones as they are today. Nothing will really change, except we will be poorer, and have less freedom.  Go and read both.  They are long, but well worth reading in their entirety.

When our Founders were contemplating their next moves, after all that King George had done to the Colonies, they prayed to God.  The Declaration of Independence closes with the words "...with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence..." In contrast, this conference, which hopes to establish a world government opened with a prayer to Ixchel. These people are pagans, and I suspect their schemes will eventually be dashed upon the rocks of history, but history shows us that such schemes can produce huge amounts of misery, and much death and destruction before they are extinguished.  Let us pray they shall not succeed.

Update:  A more optimistic article on the topic may be found here.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

The War on Guns: Are ‘guns in bars’ automatically ‘a dangerous combination’?

The War on Guns: Are ‘guns in bars’ automatically ‘a dangerous combination’?

Not if the one who is armed is not drinking.

"Well, what if some yahoo who has been drinking grabs for your gun?"

"And how is said yahoo to know I have it, if it is concealed."

I grow weary. We have to fight the same battles in each and every State. First you have to get enough men and women elected. Then you have to argue each and every one of the same allegations over and over. Nobody seems to be able to look just one State over (Kentucky) to see that is has presented no problems there. It is as if they spoke a different language, or maybe Kentuckians are just made of sterner stuff.


The Curmudgeon Emeritus over at Eternity Road has a post up today that breaks through all the chaff and gets to the heart of the matter concerning government spending, Constitution limitations, and indirectly, taxation. You can find the post here. It's a good read, but here is the money quote:

To be perfectly fair, one conceivable approach to the limitation of government is a hard limit on how much it may spend. However, as Johnson makes plain, that is not the nature of the limits imposed by the federal Constitution. The Constitution doesn’t specify a federal spending limit; it specifies areas of authority, beyond which Washington is forbidden to go. In theory, Washington could Constitutionally seize every dollar any of us makes or owns, if the revenue were put toward a purpose enumerated in Article I, Section 8. Granted that we wouldn’t like it, much.
Yesterday, during the debate on whether to extend the Bush tax rates for a while longer, the unfortunately named Anthony Weiner, New York 9th District Congressman, had this to say (and I paraphrase since I don't have a means of recording these things) that Obama essentially caved, and that he would like to have the debate about weather to grant millionaires and billionaires continued tax relief.  Sigh.

Really? We have collectively had this debate. Neither side can convince the other. But, here's how it looks from my side, one more time:

1.  There is no moral basis for choosing to have millionaires and billionaires pay a higher rate than even the lowest paid person in America. Oh, someone who makes a million dollars would have to pay more, sure. But they should not also have to pay at a higher rate, since they do not benefit at a higher rate.  You, of course, will paint a picture of millionaires as Monopoly men complete with stove pipe hats and cigars.  They're the evil rich who rub their hands as they steal each unearned penny from the poor.  But then I can paint a picture of a woman I knew once, named Martha.  Martha worked at a modest level job with the Federal government.  Her husband managed properties for various owners.  Both made a comfortable living, but not very spectacular.  When I asked her how she became a millionaire, she indicated mainly living frugally, some good investments, and her Maryland home which they had owned for twenty years and was paid off.  They had no children, and she liked to contribute to environmental causes.  It was not how I would have done it, but then, it was her money.  It was HER money, right?  Martha is one of the millionaires I have known.  More are small businessmen and women who struggle every year to keep the business running and make their payroll.  They get by on thin margins, and must respond to continuing competition, over and ever changing regulation, and of course, taxes.  It seems, Mr. Weiner, that if you had this countries best interests at heart, you would be trying to help these people wherever you could, instead of demagoguing the issue.

2. Then there is the issue of  scope of government. The Constitution grants 16 powers to the Congress. The commerce clause and the general welfare clause have been bent all out of proportion, but you know, even if you won't admit it, that the founders never intended that the Commerce clause would be stretched so that Congress can do anything it wants. Each of those powers were ones that all Americans benefit from, and therefore all Americans should pay equally.  But under the current system of taxation and spending, you have created yet more moral hazards for yourselves.  Each year, Americans spend a certain amount of time working for the government.  If a person's tax rate comes out to 25% of his income, he therefore has to work 25% of the time for the US government.  Put another way, from January to April, he is working for the government, and only after he has satisfied that debt is he "allowed" to work for himself and his family.  We are, for all intents and purposes, serfs working the land for an absentee landowner who has done very little to help us, much to hinder us and get in the way, and now wants "his" share.  We should chase you out of our fields, if we had the guts.  Such is what you have done to a land of once free men.  But it gets worse.  Much of what you take in as taxes, you redistribute to others in the form of subsidies, grants, and entitlements.  This makes us not only serfs, but actual slaves.  A slave is someone who is forced against his will to serve another.  Slavery was outlawed in this country, and yet here it is going on every day, "all nice and legal like."  It is as if the Mafia moved in and now runs our government.  How can you justify that, Mr. Weiner?

3.  Taxes are intended as a fee, if you will, that everyone pays for the Federal government to provide a few services for the Sovereign States that they can not provide for themselves as efficiently (but I note they can provide these services if called upon to do so.)  We expect the government to maintain a sound currency.  We expect the government to fund a small professional armed services.  We expect the government to defend our borders, to regularize trade between the States, and to carry on diplomacy with foreign powers.  You have failed in all of these areas, as the Wikileaks demonstrate profoundly.  Instead, you seem intent on using our resourses as a means of social engineering, or of achieving someone's idea of "social justice," or "fairness" however you define it.  That is not your job, no matter how noble it may sound.

There is ultimately one solution to our debt problems, and that is to return to Government doing the job assigned to it, and getting out of the jobs it seems to want to do.  If that doesn't sound like a good job to you, Mr. Weiner, then may I suggest you obtain honest work elsewhere.  Serving the people is supposed to be a privilege, and not a reason to pillage.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The Ubiquity of Evil

Ol' Remus, at the Woodpile Report has a must read post up entitled It Can't Happen Here, but it is. Ol' Remus often posts as well at Eternity Road, but I didn't find it there. Instead, I have David Codrea of the War On Guns to thank for pointing me to this one.

Ol' Remus uses Babi Yar, the site of the Nazi's great killing of Jews, and other dissidents during the invasion of the USSR as a cautionary tale to remind us that the evil being perpetrated by the DHS and TSA can be found in any population.  Evil is, unfortunately, ubiquitous as well as banal.
The "reason given for it" was security. To review, at Babi-Yar, a ravine near Kiev in Ukraine, German security units assisted by local volunteers worked day and night until 33,771 captive Jews had been "processed" in this largest of such special actions. It took two days of nonstop killing. Eventually about 100,000 others—POWs and various civilian hostages—were also stripped, murdered and interred at Babi Yar. These and other security agents protested at their trials they were merely following orders. That they did what they did at all condemns them, orders or no. That they did so under pretense of security, with enthusiasm and macabre inventiveness, earns them an eternal place in the annals of the unspeakable.

Warrantless strip searches and hands-on violation of ourselves and our kids, our sisters, wives and grandmothers as a condition of travel is something we of a certain age believed wouldn't happen here. That it's being done in the name of security recalls events and regimes we thought well behind us. That DHS has labeled dissenters as domestic extremists suggests something else truly ominous is in the making. To be clear, the only acceptable course for DHS is to back away from this. Well away. Alas, it appears they're determined to make this blunder all but irretrievable.

The "something else truly ominous" is, I believe, the strategy to transform America into a socialist dictatorship. The regime is squeezing Americans from the top down. They want us to feel as helpless as possible. No doubt many do. One can imagine that there would be many TSA agents and police officers to beat down anyone who objected to having his wife or children groped. One can also imagine that few of his fellow citizens would come to his aid.  At the same time, union officials are organizing to create chaos, like the riots in Greece and France, to squeeze Americans from the bottom up. No doubt members of the MSM have already written the stories, leaving only blanks for the names and places.  The hope is that these actions will turn us inside out.

When all this starts, we must remain calm. We must be prepared to provide for and defend our families, but we must otherwise remain calm. The regime will be looking for people to call for more security, to which they will respond with legislation calling for sweeping powers. We must stand firm on that day, that what we want is for the government to act within the Constitution.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Large Hadron Collider Creates Mini Big Bangs

I am a Christian, and as such, believe that God created the universe, which includes the Earth and the beings on it, including mankind. However, I am also an engineer, and have studied mathematics and science. As such, I believe that God used the natural world, and laws of nature to accomplish his goal. So, this excites me.   I realize that many atheists think I should be afraid of this research, but frankly it can only confirm what I believe to be true.

Most atheists who study a little bit of science seem to believe that science refutes the Bible and points to our existence as a random event.  I look at it and am constantly amazed at the unbelievable genius of the Lord, to make the world so perfectly. If anything, it only confirms the Bible, and points to an unimaginably brilliant Creator.  It is, perhaps, one reason I can not believe in the "fragile environment" which seems to always be on a knife edge, ready to collapse and send us to our doom.  I can also not believe in the pontifications of the neo-malthusians for the same reason.  We will not run out of resources.

Hat tip to Theo Sparks for pointing me to the article.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

The Gods of the Copybook Headings are Coming Again

J. Robert Smith provides today's take off point in an article at the American Thinker entitled Liberals and the Coming Redistribution of Fault. He points to an article in U.S News and World Report wherein Mort Zuckerman is leading the way in finding fault, not with the Leftist, collectivist policies of the past 80 years, but with "Western Civilization."

Let's congratulate Zuckerman for pointing the way in the coming attempt to foist blame on Western civilization for what is, essentially, a failure of leftism. Let's acknowledge, though, that Zuckerman appreciates that the United States and Western nations can no longer sustain profligate government. But Zuckerman's angst is misplaced. American and Western civilizations deserve no general indictment.

Leftism deserves the indictment. The left's failure -- here and abroad -- may just prove stupendous, and that's something that American liberals and European socialists can't abide. Hence the coming compassionate redistribution of fault.

If the United States and the West ever decline and are eclipsed, the root cause will be the failure of peoples to throw off and marginalize leftism -- intellectually, culturally, and politically. Leftism is a cancer that needs to be excised; doing so is critical in restoring societal health, here and in Europe.
Even now, when all around them is coming undone, the Left can not face the fact that their ideas have proved, yet again, a failure. The Left has been screaming lately that American businesses are sitting on, variously, approximately $1.7 trillion, and they want that cash. There is talk of stealing peoples 401K pension plans.  How throwing another $1.7 trillion into the fire is supposed to help when we are some $14 trillion in debt is never explained. Margaret Thatcher said that the trouble with socialism is that sooner or later you run out of other peoples money. And so we have.  So now people who worked, saved, and played by the rules all their lives will have to once again roll up their sleeves and apply the old, time tested laws of the universe to fix it.  You know the ones, the ones Kipling called The Gods of the Copybook Headings. My only question is: is it too little, too late?

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

ObamaMobile and The Government's Fraudulent MPG Numbers

A tip of the hat to Bubba of What Bubba Knows for pointing to this article from Pajamas Media, by Chris J. Kobus entitled EPA Fraud: Chevy Volt, Nissan Leaf Only Get 23,25 MPG. I am constantly amazed that the Government believes that we are too stupid to notice that each night these electric cars must be plugged in, and to figure out that the electrical charge must be generated somehow. Of course, when you get that first bill at the end of the month, and notice how much more electricity you are using, it will become obvious that you have simply traded one kind of energy for another.  Unless you are hooked up to a nuclear power plant, that power comes from fossil fuel. So, where's the advantage here?  23 MPG isn't really all that good either, considering the car's small size, and lack of comfort. 

Once again, any first year physics major could have told the EPA this would happen.  Adding up all the energy losses along the way, our student would have concluded that putting the generator of power (a motor) closer to the end use of the power (the wheels) would have made the most sense.  There is no free lunch, and everyone must pay the piper.  But in the beginning of the design process, high mileage wasn't the goal.  The goal originally was less overall pollution, and the emission of fewer tons of greenhouse gases.  At the time, I even questioned that goal.  While it's true that electrical power plants are cleaner than having a bunch of Honda generators running at each house, it seemed to me that the losses along the way may well have cancelled any gap between centrally generating the power, and generating it at the point of use (the car.)  Unfortunately, things have not gone well for the "environmentalists" and Gaia worshipers.  ClimateGate has blown the lid off their massive fraud, and made the whole of their program seem dodgy at best.  Of course, they haven't given up.  So, in recognition of The One's promotion of this vehicle, it should really be renamed the ObamaMobile. And it kind of fits into the overall regime, as the car that doesn't do what it was supposedly designed to do: like ObamaCare, or ObamaFinance, or the latest