Saturday, June 30, 2012

We Have Been Betrayed

I reserved judgement on the Supreme Court's ruling on ObamaCare until such times as my blood cooled down to a low boil. In the meantime, I have been reading various opinions about it, and I have been trying to find the silver lining. But I can not see it.

One writer, for instance, points out that this will seal the end of Obama's career. He will be voted out. Really? Well, perhaps, but ObamaCare will remain, and it remains problematic. Costs will go up, care will be more difficult to obtain, and innovation in the medical world will come to a grinding halt. Obama will be hailed as a hero on the left from now on. No doubt solar panels and windmills will be named in his honor.

A more common line among our "conservative" pundits is that John Roberts has cleverly boxed in the Congress by circumscribing the Commerce Clause. He has certainly set up language that allows him at a future point to cite it as precedent, if and when such a case ever comes before the Court. But what the "conservative" pundits have let go unmentioned is that he could have struck down ObamaCare by saying that ObamaCare represented a stretch of the Commerce Clause that finally snapped the fabric of the Constitution.  But he didn't do that.  Why he didn't simply strike it down is a question that will haunt conservatives from now on.  Perhaps the appointment of Roberts is the last poke in the eye by the Bush Administration.  Perhaps Roberts is that wolf in sheep's clothing known as a RINO. 

There is jubilation in some corners that someone has finally acknowledge that ObamaCare is a tax. I did not know that these people required that kind of validation. Of course its a tax. The underhanded manuevering to get it passed by calling it a mandate was illegal, because it in fact the largest tax increase in American history. Some want to repeal it before the elecction, when a number of vulnerable Democrats can be expected to join with the Republicans in voting to repeal. Hannity had this nonsense last night.  But why would any Republican care to keep a single Democrat in power after they were so shabbily treated during the debate on ObamaCare? It was, remember, so-called "passed" without a single Republican vote. So let them twist. In any case, such a vote would be symbolic because Obama will veto it, and they are unlikely to have the votes needed to over ride his veto.

Roberts, in saying to Congress that the Commerce Clause here is invalid, but you can make the whole ObamaCare mess Constitutional by calling the individual mandate a tax, has made a distinction without a difference. They can now compel me to buy a Chevy Volt, or for that matter, broccoli, by threatening me with a tax if I don't. So, from now on Congress will use it's unlimited power to tax instead of the Commerce Clause. I just don't see where Roberts is laying the ground work for limiting the expansion of the Federal government here.

Then, there are all the provisions in the ObamaCare law that will affect different people differently. The Gun Owners of America highlighted, again, one of the provisions that will affect gun owners in the future:
Centralizing these medical records will allow the FBI to troll a list of Americans for ailments such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) to deny them their gun rights, in the same way that the Veterans Administration has already denied more than 150,000 veterans their right to bear arms.

Ironically, the Boston Globe last week reported how snarky liberals have been shocked to learn that hundreds of pages of their most intimate psychiatric notes have been posted into the database -- available for reading by hundreds (perhaps thousands) of strangers who work for their provider.
So, just as the military knows the status of each unit, and each units capability to immediately deploy for war, so now must the government know the intimate and juicy details of each of us. The Godless philosphy behind such outrages is that we do not own ourselves, but belong to the State. Therefore, the State has a right to these details. I have counselled people privately not to take certain problems to their doctors because it will end up in a database. Databases, in turn, can be hacked, so that everything about you can be known by anybody. There is no privacy. John Roberts has said this is Constitutional.

I now await the "conservative" pundits doing the Dr. Strangelove* on us, telling us that, "you know, ObamaCare isn't so bad."

* For reference, see here.

Update: For a humorous take on the ObamaCare ruling, see A Modest Proposal

Update 2: Andrew McCarthy's take is a PJ Media here.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Katie Pavlich Fisks Fortune Magazine

Yesterday, David Codrea had a cryptic message on his blog War on Guns in which he points to a CNN article, that in turn points to a Fortune magazine article. The article attempts to throw some mud in the Fast and Furious waters in an apparent attempt to scare some congressmen who might be wavering on the Contempt of Congress vote today, into voting against it. That is what I read here, anyway. David indicated that he was constrained by someone from releasing rebutting information. I, like everyone else, will be eagerly awaiting that rebuttal, if it ever comes. Meanwhile Katie Pavlich has done a good job of fisking the Fortune magazine article at The article can be found at Fortune Magazine Tries to tell the Truth and Fails Miserably.

The growing perception of course, is that the President himself was involved, since he has now asserted Executive Privilege. There is that cryptic "under the radar" comment to Sarah Brady reported in May, 2011 by Fox News. At the time I wasn't sure what was meant, but it takes on new meaning in light of the Presidents assertion of Executive Privilege. Tea Party has put together a plausible theory linking Hilary Clinton to the Gunwalker scandal as well here. Note that this is largely speculative, based on the evidence in hand, but it will be interesting to get a look see at all those documents if they ever get them.

I was amused yesterday by Jay Carney's assertion that Issa is just playing politics.  Well, of course he is playing politics; what else would you expect.  But that doesn't mean he doesn't have a pretty strong case to make.  Normally, whenever someone begins yelling "Racist!" at them, the Republicans fold like a cheap suit.  The fact that he has convinced Boehner to stand up to the rhetoric and hold a vote of Contempt of Congress is extremely telling. 

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

We Must Fight Like We Mean It

Michael Walsh has an article today at Pajamas Media that every conservative, libertarian, or Constitutional conservative must read entitled First Principles. I skimmed through a book by Walsh, writing under his pen name, David Kahane entitled Rules for Radical Conservatives.  He mentions the book in this article. First principles are those are those truths that underlay all the rest of what we do in a given area of study or endeavor. First priciples, once enunciated as here, become powerful tools in carrying out your own strategies or tactics. So, what are a conservatives "first principles?" Let's let Walsh tell it:

Now we are engaged in a great Cold Civil War. But the decision American voters will make in November is far more than merely an ideological clash about what the Constitution meant or means. For that supposes that both sides are playing by the same rules, and have a shared interest in the outcome. That presumes that both sides accept the foundational idea of the American experiment, and that the argument is over how best to adhere to it.

That is false.

For some, this is a difficult notion to grasp. To them, politics is politics, the same game being played by the same rules that go back a couple of centuries. The idea that one party — and you know which one I mean — is actively working against its own country as it was founded seems unbelievable.

But that is true.

As I said yesterday, you can not appease these guys, or compromise with them, or even concede a that they might have a point. You can not be distracted by cat calls that you are a racist, or are mean, or lack compassion, or any of the other things that the Left reverts to whenever they have no arguments, or when their lies have been exposed.

For example, when discussing photo identification for voting, time and again I hear the argument that doing so will somehow discriminate against "minorities," or will somehow suppress this legitimate voting demographic. Frankly, I am astonished that they have gotten away with this lie for so long. Photo identification is required for thousands of transactions that take place every day. You must show a photo identification to visit the emergency room, to cash a check or to veryfy a credit card or to obtain a cell phone.   Even if you do not drive, the State offers free official photo identification to anyone who walks in and who qualifies. But that is the point, isn't it-those who qualify. They are not so much concerned about voter suppression as they are that this will greatly suppress the fraudulent vote.  Everyone seems to be too polite to say that what they want is to increase the chances for a fraudulent voter to escape detection, but that is what they want, and we should call them on it.  Turn the tables.  They say racist, you say felon.

In a similar vein, the current meme that Republicans are seeking documents related to the Fast and Furious operation are just racists trying to get Eric Holder to back off his lawsuits against States that purging the voter rolls can be countered by pointing out that laws were broken. States like Florida are also following the law.  Do they not care about the rule of laws?  Are they condoning felonious acts by our government, felonies that resulted in the murders of Brian Terry and 200-300 innocent Mexicans? They cry "racist," you yell that they have blood on their hands.

Walsh again:
By rejecting their premises, you do more than simply level the playing field: you also force them out of hiding and either cause them to flee or, more rarely, actually admit their true intentions — something that is almost impossible for them to do. For they must be devotees of what I (and David Kahane) have dubbed “American taqiyya,” the concealment of their destructive purposes under the rubrics of “Fairness,” “Tolerance,” “Compassion,” etc.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Thomas Sowell on Socialist or Fascist

I missed this excellent article by Thomas Sowell at the American Thinker entitled Socialist or Fascist? on June 12, 2012. I have been seeing and hearing more of this kind of talk of late. If it does nothing else, it vindicates my own instincts that Obama is a socialist functioning as a fascist. It also is gratifying that someone with a far larger reach than your humble correspondent is informing the American people that they have elected a Fascist to office, with the implication that he better be voted right back out.

My first warning about Obama came in November 2008 with a book report on Jonah Goldberg's Liberal Fascism. There have been several since. But Sowell's piece is perhaps clearer for having had the last four years to consider. Thomas Sowell:
What President Obama has been pushing for, and moving toward, is more insidious: government control of the economy, while leaving ownership in private hands. That way, politicians get to call the shots but, when their bright ideas lead to disaster, they can always blame those who own businesses in the private sector.
Just so. That is the distinction I have made as well between a Socialist and a Fascist.  The fact that Fascist want to leave business in private hands, but to call the shots led to the term "Thugocracy."  I have likened this administration as being like a Mafia boss who comes into a restaurant, takes a look around, and says to the owner "Hey, Bub, you got a new silent partner, me."  What can the owner do but acquiesce.  If he refuses, he knows he will be shot.

But of course, it is more than just the economy. He wants control of everything. Obama, and his minions in the Administration believe that we the people are virtual children who don't really know what is good for us, and so he and his regulators must decide these things for us.  Why? Well let's look at Jonah Goldberg's definition of Fascism from the book:

“Fascism is a religion of the state. It assumes the organic unity of the body politic and longs for a national leader attuned to the will of the people. It is totalitarian in that it views everything as political and holds that any action by the state is justified to achieve the common good. It takes responsibility for all aspects of life, including our health and well-being, and seeks to impose uniformity of thought and action, whether by force or through regulation and social pressure. Everything, including the economy and religion, must be aligned with its objectives. Any rival identity is part of the ‘problem’ and therefore defined as the enemy.”
See, that is why they can't simply limit themselves to educating you. Right now, Michelle Obama is "educating" the nation on the "right" things to eat. But the American people just won't listen. They keep eating all the "wrong" foods. Soon, she will bring out the iron fist to regulate you, and if you still refuse to eat your vegetables, well..."ve haf vays..." It's for your own good, don't you see?

In a similar vein, the Administration is in conflict with religious liberty in general, and the Catholic church in particular because Catholics insist on maintaining their principles in the face of the HHS regulation that says every institution (except now places of actual worship) must offer contraceptives and abortificients.  But Catholics have Universities, Hospitals, and parochial schools, as well as offering help with addictions and other social services.  I imagine they look at these institutions as "worship" too, as would be Biblically correct.  Indeed, all work is looked upon by Christians as "worship," so that having our worship defined in any way by the State is a violation of our First Amendment rights to begin with.  Never mind that we be forced to be parties to murder. 

In fairness, this has been going on, little by little, for close to 100 years. Starting with the 16th Amendment to the Constitution ratified in 1913, and continuing with a blizzard of "good governance" laws from local zoning ordinances to Federal laws such as the Endangered Species Act, and through Supreme Court decisions such as Kelo, we have been losing our property rights, and with them our freedoms and liberties. New York City's law limiting salt consumption and its proposal on soft drinks are just the latest and most bizarre. But these have come about because once private property that happened to be used for the benefit of the owner by serving the public has now become de facto "public property."  In some communities, it is illegal to cut a tree on your own property without the permission of some little official.  You are now just a share cropper on the Master's land. And if the Master doesn't want you to do something on that land, like say, build your house he will sic his regulators on you.

Sowell, again:
The self-flattery of the vision of the left also gives its true believers a huge ego stake in that vision, which means that mere facts are unlikely to make them reconsider, regardless of what evidence piles up against the vision of the left, and regardless of its disastrous consequences.
The point? Since Sowell is too polite to say it, I will. You can not compromise with these people. You can not appease them. Give them half a loaf, and they will bite off your hand. They can not be allowed anywhere near the levers of power, because even if what they want is not wanted by the majority of Americans, they will find a way, legal or illegal, to jam it down our throats. You can not even concede that they may have a point.  The Left sees itself as the elite, destined by whatever they call a god to rule. They play for keeps. We should too.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

A Cliff Notes Guide to Fast and Furious

Over at the American Thinker today, Russ Vaughn has the Cliff Notes version of the Fast and Furious scandal, entitled Fast and Furious Falling Apart. On the other hand, for a more encyclopedic treatment, you can read Katie Pavlich's new book Fast and Furious: Barack Obama's Bloodiest Scandal and the Shameless Cover-up. I have not gotten around yet to reading the book length version. Indeed, if it tells the fascinating story of how Mike Vanderboegh and David Codrea caught the scent of the ATF whistle blowers, and hooked them up with Representative Darrell Issa and Senator Chuck Grassley, it should be a good read.  There were times when I thought my fellow bloggers were conducting a cloak and dagger operation.

Vaughn's piece is also a good read, and I highly recommend it to you, gentle reader. Vaughn has produced a number of memorable lines, such as this:
For those who keep a constant wary eye on the left's never-ending war on our 2nd-Amendment right to keep and bear arms, the increasingly fishy smell emanating from Washington led to connecting the dots back to the year-earlier revelations in the liberal media that weapons being used in Mexican crimes were traceable back to American sources more than 90% of the time. That false meme had spread quickly through the major liberal media, along with calls for stricter gun control laws in this country by...guess who! How about our president, our secretary of state, our attorney general, and other notable Democrats, for starters?
The emphasis above is mine. Vaughn continues:
It doesn't require much in the way of deductive powers to conclude that the fish-wrap smell seeping out of Washington probably had to do with Eric Holder's Department of Justice being used to tightly wrap something rotting from the head down. And what could that be? Early proponents of the theory suggesting that if the DoJ's rationale smelled fishy, then perhaps the true reason for F&F was to create justification for more gun control legislation here in this country were looked at as crackpot conspiracists. Even now, most of those Republican members of Congress pursuing this scandal refuse to cite the true purpose of F&F, still referring to it as a bungled federal program. There are exceptions: Florida congressman John Mica speaking on one of the Sunday talk shows this weekend, made clear his opinion that F&F was a sinister and cynical attempt by the Obama administration to undermine the 2nd Amendment. I watched him say it, but Google has no link. Imagine that.
Imagine indeed.

Fast and Furious has been the worst case so far of illegal acts by this administration, though certainly not the only ones. To summarize, a law enforcement unit of the Federal government turned a blind eye to illegal gun sales, and even encouraged them. They failed to interdict these guns, though in many cases they could have done just that. The FBI, who runs the NICS, had to have been at least informed, and may have in some cases allowed a known felon to buy these guns. (Indeed, finding out how far this operation spreads to other agencies besides Justice is a goal of Issa's committee.)  They then conducted an act of war against another sovereign nation which resulted in the deaths of 200 Mexican citizens, at least one Federal agent, and an untold number of people on this side of the border.  When it was discovered that they had done these things, they attempted to cover it up.  Thus, Federal officials are guilty of accessory to murder, at the very least.

Why?  Why would our government break its own laws, and international laws, and risk killing of innocent people?  The goal sought must be a very high priority, something so important that it is worth the peoples' very lives to achieve.  A General officer in the military always has an estimate of casualties any given operation will cost.  He weighs the cost in mens' lives against the tactical or strategic goals to be achieved.  Our General always wants to minimize the loss of men's lives, while achieving the strategic goals, and this will drive the methods used.  Of course, the General is dealing in the lives of men and women who at least recognize that their lives are expendable in a war operation.  But the Obama administration risked the lives of unknowing civilians who had not been informed that their lives were expendable.  So, what was so important?  Personally, my opinion matches that of the Florida congressman John Mica, that the purpose was a "sinister and cynical attempt to undermine the 2nd Amendment."

Vaughn notes that Obama has shown time and again that he is a politician from the "Chicago school"  and that he does things the "Chicago way."  Perhaps.  Certainly, Chicago is starting to look like the murder capitol of the United States, with a murder rate nearly double that of American soldiers stationed in Afganistan.  But that's just fine with Chicago politicians, as long as they get police protection, they don't seem to care about criminals preying on their constituents.

Never lose sight of the real reason why liberals want to confiscate your guns. Liberals assert that government is the protector of all our freedoms, and therefore we need not be concerned with protecting ourselves and our loved ones. The folly of that assertion can be refuted with one word: Chicago. But the true reason for wanting an unarmed public is because such a citizenry is powerless in the face of armed government and therefore compliant. Liberals and Democrats know full well that the key to unrestrained governing is to first disarm the citizenry.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The Psychology of Right and Left

A very interesting article today at the American Thinker answers the question Why Liberals are Selfish. Kyle Becker makes the argument that coercive redistribution of wealth is not just theft, which it is, but is enslavement by the takers in society of the producers.
The left therefore seems to assume that the life, labor, and property of any individual are the possession of "society." This is a tribal, mystical, and frankly demeaning notion that is anything but concordant with civilized peoples.
If a person is born into the world and has the potential of leading his own life, which culminates in that person's death and no other's, then it is logical and moral to look at that living being as a totality.
In reality, a human being is not a cog in a machine, or a blob of protoplasm in a swamp of humanity, or whatever analogy reflects a part of a whole being subordinate to the whole. He is a sentient being, alive within the cosmos, and should be afforded every opportunity to direct his own inseverable experience, so long as he does not impinge on others' right to do so.
The above statements are some of the best I've encountered when discussing the difference between the Left and Right.  The differences in thinking presented as stark, for the sake of making them clear.  But in truth, they are more subtle than that, which has caused many to make the error of thinking they are the same.  Jefferson made that error at first, but realized his mistake.

The Left sees an individual man as weak, and therefore unable to accomplish anything of value absent a leader to lead him like a sheep to pasture.  Typically, Leftists believe themselves to be self actuating elite individuals who can lead others.  Indeed, it is a self congratulating act of noblesse oblige to take on these burdens. The Right does see our essential weakness as individuals, but recognizes that each has the spark of self actualization in him. This makes each individual a powerful (not omnipotent) person in his own right, if he chooses to be. He can pick and choose for himself among the choices available, and even has the ability to increase those choices.  Thus he does not need a leader, as each man is capable of leading himself.  In the Leftist view, the pie must be cut, and the issue is how much is each person's fair share.  In the view of the Right, we should just bake another pie.

But there is another very important thing going on here.  In the view of the Right, when something is taken from someone who has owns it, whether he has himself worked for it, or it has been voluntarily given to him, that is theft.  It doesn't matter that the whole society voted, and decided that your stuff was to be taken, it is still theft.  The rationales used for taking the stuff, be it because you can afford it, or because you belong to a disfavored group, does not matter.  It is still theft.  Moreover, by setting up a system of redistribution of these stolen goods, you are enslaving one person to support the needs of another.

By this reasoning, taxing millionaires and billionaires at a higher rate than other citizens is theft, and discriminatory.  Legitimate taxes should be borne equally by all, for the support of all.  The rich have no extra burden because they are rich.  Indeed, if money is rightly seen as a debt that society owes to those who have accumulated it, then we can get back to a realistic way of looking at taxes.  Similarly, for the Government to declare land areas as habitats for endangered species without paying for that land is again theft.

Elizabeth Warren was wrong on all counts when she used the building of the roads as a way to say that everyone contributed to the plant owners success, and thus he "owed" them the extra taxes.  Yes, the roads were built by the taxpayers of Massachusetts.  But, an individual decided to open a plant there.  That idea did not come out of the ether, and everyone did not have a hand in it.  That individual paid his share of the roads too.  He paid to have a contractor build a plant, he paid to have people working in his plant, he paid taxes along the way both property taxes and on the people working there.  If the product that the plant produced had failed to sell, would Elizabeth Warren be in favor of returning to that individual the taxes paid for the operation of that plant.  No?  I thought not.

Update:  Rachel Marsden has a great article up at entitled The Have Littles and the Have Nots. The article reinforces the point that it is individualism to leads to properity.

Holder Stands Pat against Issa

On the Fast and Furious front, it seems Eric Holder did not deliver the documents last evening. David Codrea, writing for the National Guns Examiner has the story here.

John Boehner is again in the picture as being one of those protecting Holder, and giving him the gumption to stand up firm against Issa. I talked to one of Speaker of the House, John Boehner's constituents when I was in Ohio recently. She was shocked, to say the least, that a Republican Speaker of the House would be playing footsie with a Democrat Attorney General. Frankly, if elected Republicans can not be counted on to consistently demand that this rogue administration acts within the bounds of the law and the Constitution, what good are they? Why should we need them? The Congress has let pass so much that violates the law THEY legitimately made, that one wonders if they have any relevance at all? Perhaps they like the idea of being there, but not really having any duties or power.

David is right about the NRA too. This vote, if it comes to the floor, is a big deal. Perhaps the biggest deal. Members need to know that how they vote on this issue determines their rating with the NRA.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Old gun grabbers never die, they just hide in the woodwork

Representative Darrell Issa has offered to meet with Attorney General Eric Holder at 5:00 pm today, according to a tip received by's Katie Pavlich here.

The gist of the article is that Holder could stay a vote on Contempt of Congress by providing the documents Issa has subpoenaed at the meeting.  I understand the need Issa feels to be seen as bending over backwards to be reasonable, but these games have to stop.  Justice delayed is justice denied, and Brian Terry family, the families of at least 200 slain Mexicans, and who knows how many people on this side of the border deserve some resolution to this issue.  Indeed, they deserve at the least to see that Holder is impeached, and that those directly responsible are behind bars.

The American people deserve justice as well.  The motivation behind Fast and Furious now appears to be to gin up the numbers on weapons being shipped to Mexican drug cartels in an attempt to impose another so called "Assault Weapon Ban (AWB)" on the American people.  The previous AWB, passed in 1994 and allowed to sunset in 2004 had no effect on crime whatsoever.  So-called "Assault Weapons," really just semiautomatic rifles that looked scary to some people, had never figured into crime statistics before the ban went into effect, and so had little effect on reducing crime.  But, then, the AWB was never designed to actually prevent crime.  It was a symbolic bill designed instead to intimidate gun owners.  By imposing the AWB, the effect was to make all semiautomatic rifles seem somehow illegitimate, somehow vaguely illegal, in the minds of the average person.  People who might have thought vaguely of someday getting one of these guns would be discouraged from doing so, and might think such guns were unavailable.  The right thinking folks who followed the mainstream media would come to believe these weapons were somehow more powerful and more dangerous than ordinary guns.  It was, in other words, an attempt by the Brady Campaign and other gun grabbers to divide and conquer the gun community a piece at a time.  The ultimate goal was to have all handguns banned, and to have ordinary hunting weapons locked up at an armory where the owners could get their hands on them only under certain very restricted conditions.

The Second Amendment to the Constitution was under assault, and was rapidly disappearing.  As usual, the Left would change the Constitution by reinterpreting the rights acknowledge in that document into something not dreamed of by the founders.  While things have changed for the better since then, don't for a minute think the gun grabbers have given up.  They will never rest, and neither should you.   

Thursday, June 7, 2012

The Heart of Darkness

I often probe the psychology of Marxists. I wonder what makes them tick. I find it hard to see things as they seem to, and so whey a piece comes along like Selwyn Duke's piece at the American Thinker entitled What Liberals Really Respect I take a few minutes to read what the author has to say.   Perhaps, I think, it will aid me in debates with Leftists and Marxists. Perhaps it will help me frame my arguments in terms they will understand. Alas, no, but it is still a good read. It explains why a fellow Democrat said admiringly of Bill Clinton "He's an unusually good liar." As a practitioner of that game, he was paying a complement to a master. Note that throughout, Mr. Duke uses the term "liberal" for people who are in fact Leftists (communist, socialist, or fascist) or just plain Marxists.

Let's allow Mr. Duke to explain his theory of why Leftists and Marxists are as they are:
In every civilization, you have, to use psychological terminology, well-adjusted individuals and dysfunctional ones. Of course, dividing people into two groups will always be problematic, as moral status is a continuum. As we walking, talking anachronisms like to say, we're all sinners; it's just a matter of degree. Nonetheless, some people do try to exercise virtue in their lives, while others are so immersed in vice that they could mistake it for virtue. However you characterize it, though, in our time, the dysfunctional vice-lovers are described by what is another lacking term: liberals.
Mr. Duke then goes on to explain with examples:
I remember another very liberal man I knew who, when explaining his desire to vote for Democrats in Florida, said that their opponents seemed "too honest." You may wonder why honesty, of all things, would turn anyone off. Is it that he suspected that those politicians' exuding of sincerity was artifice? This is often part of it, actually. You see, people tend to assume that others operate by the same principles they do (which is another reason why traditionalists can mistake liberals for normal); the man in question, for instance, is someone who at one time cheated a certain business I know of out of some rental fees while working on its grounds as an independent contractor. His justification was, "I deserve it." "Hey, everyone's got a game. So don't pretend to be a goody-two-shoes," the feeling-thinking goes. But there is more to it.
One time I read an internet posting made by a woman who had stopped renting to some Christians who had been tenants at her property. Her reason?
They made her feel bad about herself.
Duke goes on to explain with more examples how the Leftist and Marxists "think," and how that line of "thought" goes on to explain how they vote.  Towards the end, he makes a point that all Leftists are not so cynical, that there are the starry eyed waifs who truly believe what they are being told.  I have met these types too, but they worry me less.  Such people are likely to wake up one day and realize their mistakes.  When these people are good writers, as is David Horowitz, their conversion stories can be fascinating and instructive.  Never the less, there is one addition type not covered in this article.  That is the type that hates the human race: hates it with a vicseral hatred that can not be explained  You have probably seen or heard them railing about the environment, and how mankind is a cancer on the planet.  They too suffer from being godless, and being godless, therefore believe that they are all there is.  They also suffer from an overinflated ego that believes they have the power to change the climate.  They do not believe that the planet was created as a home to man, and therefore believe the environment is fragile. They are the ones who place a gnat's life over that of a man's, and advocate for abortion and euthanasia.  The unfortunate thing is these people are missing the plan that God intends.  

More on Fountain Pens

Another article on fountain pens, this time in the BBC can be found at Why are fountain pen sales rising? by Steven Brocklehurst.

The pen show was somewhat short on inks and papers. I was unable to find a bottle of Waterman's Havana Brown, but I did get Mont Blanc Toffee Brown, which is also a very nice color.  I also got a new nib for my blue Esterbrook J, and that pen and nib combination is loaded with the new ink.  It writes very nicely, I must say.  The nib is a broad stub, number 2314B for those who may be interested.  The only downside to using the stub nib is that I have to reload about every other day, as it lays down a lot of ink.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Going to the Pen Show today

An article appeared in the The Telegraph (UK) on, of all things, fountain pens. The article, written by Stephen Bayley, and entitled If you want to write like Hemingway... extols the virtue of fine writing in an age where the average person no longer writes letters. Coincidentally, this weekend is the Research Triangle Pen Show. I will be attending, naturally, because I like fountain pens, and I like fountain pen ink.

The great age of the fountain pen took place between 1900 and 1950. Of course, fountain pens survived longer than that, and attempts to make a workable fountain pen date back to the Civil War era, but the era in which fountain pens achieved sufficient technological success to be useful to a large number of people, and at the same time, the ball point pen was not needed was precisely the first half of the century. As Bayley writes:
Few things are more exciting than to hear a woman breathlessly say: “You have lovely handwriting.” But you are unlikely to hear this if you write with a cheap ballpoint and its viscous, blobby ink. For gratification of this sort, a fountain pen is required. And the written trail it must leave is, for best effect, a dense black water‑based ink. I have the stained shirts and schoolboy inky thumbs to prove it.
My parents learned to write by the Palmer method using dip pens. Dip pens are metal nibs, usually steel, set into long handles, that often favor the florid stylized writing known as Copperplate, named for the typeface that attempted to imitate the beautiful writing styles of some early calligraphers. Palmer was simply a simplified version of the earlier methods, good, it was thought, for business. Then there is the rigid regimentation enforced in the Palmer method, which is good for building little units in the fascist machine. There were many "methods," and each great teacher of fine writing had one. I learned to write by a method that is similar to Palmer, but but allowing for more individualism.  But in allowing for more individualism, it also inspired a lot of illegible hands.  See, one of the problems of Palmer is the many loops created by starting all writing at the base line, and insisting on connecting each letter to the one before.  In the wrong hands, it can all run together into a series of loopty-loops.  My mother had a beautiful hand using her Parker fountain pen.  My Dad's hand was somewhat sloppy, but legible using an old Esterbrook.

After I retired, my Dad gave me a modern Rotring fountain pen. These pens are advertised not to leak, even on an airplane! Previous pens had filled by using a device to compress a bladder, after which you released the device, and the vacuum created by the expansion of the bladder sucked ink into the pen. Some pens used a piston to replace the bladder, and some pens had patented methods, but most used the bladder. All of these pens, filled at sea level, tended to leak as one climbed in altitude, and some were so sensitive that any change in the weather seemed to cause a spot to appear on ones shirt just below where the pen resided. Interestingly, fountain pen ink, which will readily wash off the page at the merest drop of sweat from the brow, is permanent when it gets on fabric. This combination of problems were solved by the development of the ball point pen, first used by aviators during WWII, but soon adopted by the average working man who didn't have time to fiddle with his temperamental fountain pen.

In any case, the fountain pen led me to look into writing methods, and low, I discovered that before Spencerian and copperplate, the monks of the Italian renaissance had perfected a beautiful style of writing in which each letter was distinctly different from the others, so that one was able to at once write quickly, and have a legible hand. The style was called Italic and even better, the fountain pen was eminently suited to reproduce it. I got books on Italic writing, and then I practiced making letters, then words, then whole sentences. I got a journal, and began writing in it every day. I soon perfected an Italic hand that many think is calligraphy, but is actually just writing clearly and legibly. In the You Tube video here the writing beginning at 1:24 with the Pelikan Italic nib is in fact the style of writing known as Italic. Italic nibs are broad, and if you write with them at a constant angle, they will make broad stokes and thin strokes depending on which direction you are directing the stroke. I have some Esterbrook pens with the Signature Stub nibs (9284) that make very nice writing pens if you prefer Italic.

One of the joys of using fountain pens is the nearly inexhaustible supply of bottled ink available for the fountain pen.  Of course, the old inks, such as Waterman's are still available.  The famous Schaeffer ink in the bottle with the little ink well in it is gone, but has been replaced by such firms as Private Reserve and Noodler's. Noodler's makes an ink that is "bulletproof" and which when washed of the paper, the paper will be destroyed before the ink washes off.  It is good for providing secure signatures on checks.  Aurora makes what is considered the blackest of the blacks.  Indeed, inks, and the colors and consistency of various inks spark heated discussions on the Fountain Pen Forum. Note the irony, that a bunch of fountain pen users are communicating on the Internet, but it works.

Got to run  Got to get to the pen show and buy some more ink.