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 I interrupted to note that Obama had not repealed the Patriot Act, and had even embraced it.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 

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

This Just In: Corn Doesn't Make Good Fuel for Cars

Debra Saunders has an article up today at the Patriot Post entitled You Can Stop Paying for Al Gore's Mistake. The article says that Al Gore has finally realized that ethanol isn't a very good fuel, and because it uses tons of fossil fuel to make, hasn't helped the environment either.

In Greece earlier this month, Al Gore made a startling admission: "First-generation ethanol, I think, was a mistake." Unfortunately, Americans have Gore to thank for ethanol subsidies. In 1994, then-Vice President Gore ended a 50-50 tie in the Senate by voting in favor of an ethanol tax credit that added almost $5 billion to the federal deficit last year. And that number doesn't factor the many ways in which corn-based ethanol mandates drive up the price of food and livestock feed.
These politicians remind me of children who have to stick their fingers in lamp sockets to prove that it's a bad idea, and the "environmentalists" aren't much better. Any first year physics student could have told them, if they cared to listen at the time, that making ethanol would use more energy than would be generated by the ethanol. In physics, there is never a free lunch. Everyone must pay the entropy piper.  Now, perhaps, we can get rid of yet another subsidy for yet another useless idea.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Bruce Walker "Gets It"

Bruce Walker is another person who "gets it." His article today, in the American Thinker entitled Bombs Don't Kill People, Terrorist Do is a classic argument against the instrumentality theory of crime. The Left, in an attempt to absolve the perpetrator of the crime, wants us instead to get rid of the tools that he uses.  In this case, he is arguing against searching every airline passenger, in the benighted belief that all are guilty until proven innocent.  He also notes that the criminal himself never cooperates. If a gun isn't handy, a knife will do. If neither a gun nor a knife is handy, a baseball bat, a chain saw, even a rock will do.  As Walker says:

This is precisely the disconnect which the Left faces with airport security and passenger examinations. The danger is not that someone will bring a handgun, a knife, or even an explosive on an airliner. Properly stored and maintained, none of these will do the slightest harm to anyone. In fact, if every passenger on September 11, 2001 had been armed, the terrorists would almost certainly have been stopped. Disarming the innocent never stops violence.

Moreover, the "things" which can be used to cause injury are as endless as human imagination, and in the hands of terrorists, almost anything can be used to murder large numbers of people. The variety of methods and tools of destruction are as broad as the bored minds of evil men. Anyone who has toured a prison can hear from guards about the remarkable ingenuity with which inmates can make real-looking "guns" or very real knives and other weapons.
With the new Tea Party driven Republican majority coming into both houses of the State legislature, I can only hope for more sanity and common sense to follow. We have had in recent years, laws proposed to keep concealed handgun licensees from carrying their handguns in a McDonald's, for heaven sake-for the children, of course. Once again, the emphasis is on the instrumentality - handguns - and not on the type of persons wielding them. People who have gone to the trouble (and it is considerable expense and trouble) are not likely to be the ones threatening their children. Rather it is those who don't obey the law in the first place who are most likely to be the ones who shoot up a McDonald's.  Yet somehow these soccer moms believe that if they can keep their children from a knowledge of violence, they will be able to inoculate them for life against any violation of their persons.  Using that logic, they should also be against sex education in schools.

As it is, the law current excludes concealed carriers from most anyplace where one might have a need for a gun:  banks, movie theatres, restaurants, riots, parks, schools, including college campuses, and on, and on, and on.  If a man can be trusted with a gun, he can be trusted almost anywhere with it.  If he can't be trusted, he can't be trusted anywhere.  We need to get rid of the "criminal free fire zones" the State has set up.  But more importantly, we need to stop looking for the instruments of killing, and instead do the real police work of looking for criminals.  

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Americans Learning How To Be Serfs

Following up on yesterday's post here is an article in the American Thinker entitled Americans Learning to Submit by Anthony W. Hager. Hager makes many of the same points I did yesterday, so it is worth a read. I say this because I am often accused of exaggerating; of being a wild eyed radical. "They would never do THAT" I am told.  To further queries of what, pray tell, would stop them, I get just vague notions of human decency and the fact that the public wouldn't go along with it.  If you are one of those people, and you have been paying attention the last two years, I submit that there is no bridge too far.  Our "ruling class" is determined to "rule."

Some quotes to stimulate a quick trip to the American Thinker:
On Animal Farm, appeals to necessity, subtle changes to established rules, and revisionist history were the tools used to control Boxer and his comrades. Boxer willingly accepted his marching orders until his fate was sealed. The tactics that led to his demise and the enslavement of his friends are now deployed at airport security checkpoints across America. I can't help but wonder if we've become a nation of "Boxers."

The TSA has released images from both the millimeter wave and backscatter imagers currently in use. The fact is that the TSA images aren't exactly fodder for next month's Playboy centerfold. Other images are circulating that depict an inverted scan that reveals both nudity and identity. But such photos are easily faked, and there appears to be no proof that they are authentic. That's little comfort to air travelers who are exposed to humiliating body scans and invasive pat-down searches. Even the stance assumed for the scans -- feet apart and hands held above the head -- portrays a submissiveness that belies a free people. Fellow Americans, our government has declared us guilty until we prove our innocence.
Emphasis mine.

It has been said that our Constitution is not a suicide pact.  Perhaps not, but any official who violates Constitutionally guaranteed civil rights should have to answer for it, and defend his actions.  Until then, it would be wise for everyone to remember that our Constitution was written for both good times and bad.  There are ways to increase airport security that do not violate peoples civil rights, their dignity, and do not assume citizens are guilty until they can prove their innocence.  There are also laws against officials violating civil rights under color of law.  It may be hard to find a prosecutor to do it, but if you do, the "I was just following orders" defense will not stand.

Update:  Yet another outrage from The Sexual Assault agency can be found here courtesty of the Drudge Report.

Friday, November 26, 2010

The National Opt Out Day that Wasn't

I was mildly surprised when the National Opt Out Day campaign appeared to fizzle the Wednesday before Thanksgiving.  I had thought that most people understood that these nude scans and intrusive gropes were unwarranted intrusions upon peoples rights to be secure in their persons.  Perhaps I was wrong, or I was wrong about how much liberty people were willing to give up for the illusion of safety.

Then today, I found Newark airport controversial scanners barely used on busiest travel day over at So, if I am reading between the lines here, TSA chose not to use its ham handed techniques to blunt the effects of National Opt Out Day. Hmmmm. And nothing happened. No planes were hijacked. Hmmmm.

Apparently others have the same suspicion, based on this site. So if most people experienced only the normal metal detectors (bad enough) I suppose that would have indeed blunted the effects of a National Opt Out Day. In so doing, TSA has avoided, for today, a confrontation with the American people, but it has not backed down one little bit. That's a problem.

The 4th Amendment to the Constitution says:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
I would also remind you that we are all supposed to be assumed innocent until proven guilty, and under the 5th Amendment, we can not be forced to incriminate ourselves.  These nude scanners and gropes grossly violate these provisions and strip people of their dignity and modesty.  They are made to feel like slaves.  They are treated as terrorists until they prove they are not.  That is standing the Constitution on its head.  But maybe you're one of those who say "I haven't anything to hide, therefore let them search me if it makes us safer."  But does it?  Note that nothing happened on the day before Thanksgiving, despite the TSA backing off from scanning and groping every passenger.  Of course, Homeland Security officials say that there are hundreds of terrorist plots foiled, but what evidence do they provide?  Somehow, their methods are always so secret that they can not be revealed, but trust them.  Stalin would be so proud.

If the American people are willing to accept being groped and scanned at airports, I guarantee that eventually TSA will show up at football games, malls, trains and bus stations.  If we accept that, they will eventually show up at check points on the highway.  There is nothing that will satisfy these insatiable bureaucrats.  At each intrusion upon peoples rights will be the claim of necessity, and you will never be able to prove them wrong.  It's time we realize that the fear of terrorists, real as it may be, should be far less than our fear of letting Government abrogate our civil rights to relieve it.  "Those who would trade essential liberty to achieve purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." Benjamin Franklin

Hat tip to The Blaze.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Gun Control Bad for Blacks

Marc Lamont Hill has a pretty even piece in the NY Daily News Wednesday entitled Strict Gun Laws are Bad for Blacks: Why African-Americans Should Value Second Amendment Protections. Of course, along the way Hill displays the usual Liberal's disdain for people disposing of their own property as they please, and doesn't seem to know that "straw purchases" are already illegal. But on the whole, it is a pretty insightful piece for a liberal newspaper.

As a black progressive, I am tempted to echo the sentiments of most liberals, who regard this pro-gun turn as a full-fledged civic crisis. For most of them, gun ownership is an expendable rather than inalienable right, one worth ceding in exchange for a more peaceful society.

While I understand this position, the price of the ticket, at least for black people, is simply too high.
The price for anyone should be viewed as too high. But I understand if Hill thinks that a minority might be especially targeted by bigots. It has happened before all too regularly both here and abroad.  Indeed, all of the Constitutionally protected rights should be upheld by everyone to protect everyone.  That is why they were put into the Constitution.  But I am happy to see a black writer in a liberal newspaper awakening to the dangers and starting to speak out.  I welcome Marc Lamont Hill to the fold.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The War on Guns: Should those who oppose TSA excesses be ‘prohibited persons’ for gun ownership?

The War on Guns: Should those who oppose TSA excesses be ‘prohibited persons’ for gun ownership?

As requested by David, I'll pass this along to my reader, and stand proudly with him as a "domestic extremist." If David or I meet the definition of "domestic extremist," who, I wonder, does not?

Hagmann’s information, if confirmed, presents a new danger in light of the government‘s predilection for blacklists, and the stated goal of the anti-freedom camp to use those lists to prohibit gun purchases.

I say “if confirmed.” While the existence of such a memo would not surprise me because it is consistent with an observable pattern of freedom erosion, I would need to see it. I don’t say that to challenge Hagmann’s report, merely to acknowledge a standard I impose on myself before presenting something as validated.
We need to be cautious here, but if this turns out to be true, it would seem to confirm the TSA, and Homeland Insecurity not as a bumbling agency that just does not understand, but as a malevolent force trying to provoke the American people.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Squeezing the Average American from the Top and the Bottom

Joe Herring had an article at the American Thinker yesterday that I wanted to highlight for two reasons. The first is that, although critics of the Tea Parties and the Constitutionalists keep saying that we are violent, the fact is that it is the Left that is fomenting violence. The second is a more subtle point. While many on the right have indicated that they will defend their families and the republic if necessary, these people do not want to overthrow the government. Rather, they want to restore it. It is the Left who wants to overthrow the government and replace it with a foreign system of government called Marxism. Please read the entire article at the American Thinker entitled The Threat of Leftist Violence. A quote:

To conservatives, the idea of armed overthrow of the government is nigh on unthinkable. To foment a revolution seeking to invalidate the Constitution in favor of some form of beneficent utopian dictatorship seems as lunatic as to be dismissed without thought. Yet this is precisely the stated aim of hundreds of left-wing groups in America and abroad. Where conservatives can envision resistance to only a government that has destroyed the Constitution, progressives now advocate armed rebellion against a government that won't destroy the Constitution.
The fact of the matter is that many on the lunatic Left view the window closing, at least for another generation. While they have pursued their lives, somehow the experiences have not disabused them of the false notions of their youth, and they remain committed to the project to radically transform our Constitutional republic into a Marxist dictatorship. This is treason, though they will try to blur treasonous acts with defense of the republic.  They are convinced that success is just a matter of having the "right" people in charge.  They are getting desperate.  The One has failed them.  They have not been able to sell their ideas to the public.  Many on the Left are calling the voters stupid and ignorant.  But others have already gone on to the notion violent revolution is the only way.

Once you understand the article above, making sense of this next one is far easier.  At the American Thinker today is an article by Richard Kantro entitled TSA 2, America 0. His point is that the TSA is deliberately trampling upon our Constitutionally protected liberties for the purpose of softening us up, and as usual, claiming necessity.

There are still some to whom it seems alarmist to assert that the execrable Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is in a purposeful confrontation with the American people. A blue-uniformed, official, we-always-win confrontation. No, they're just trying to do the right thing and keep the skies safe.

So what if the TSA's attitude seems quickly to have come up to speed with and fallen in behind that of a rather famous frequent flier whom nobody pats, and who has advised, "Don't think we're not keeping score, brother"?

And who cares if no less an authority than the former director of TSA security operations, Mo McGowan, said last Tuesday that "[n]obody likes havin' their fourth amendment violated goin' through a security line, but the truth of the matter is, we're goin' to have to do it." 'Course, he could have been just kiddin'.
Again, read the entire article.

There is a solution to this, you know. What has happened is the government has interposed itself into a private transaction. You pay the airline company for your ticket, and you board that company's aircraft, but between the purchase of the ticket and boarding the aircraft, some government goons feel you up, or look at your naked body. If you resist, they arrest you.  Now, while the government can not (theoretically) violate your rights without probable cause and a warrant, the airline certainly can. We need to return security of the airlines to the airlines themselves. Let the airlines innovate, such as pre-screening frequent fliers and those who submit to it. That would eliminate perhaps 90% of the airport screenings.  Let the airline take responsibility for getting you safely to your destination.  Ticket prices will necessarily go up, as they will have more liability, but the cost would be far less that what we are paying for TSA.  Better still, our liberties will remain intact.

The security theatre now being played out across the land is just that.  We are not made safer, but our liberties are being eroded by the very government that is supposed to protect them.  Naturally, they are claiming necessity.  As the English would say, bolox.  At the same time, the Left is preparing to go into the streets and begin making it uncomfortable for us from below.  The hope is that we will look for a savior to bring order.  We must stand our ground, and insist on our Constitutional rights.  But to do that, we must be prepared.  Have you stocked up on food and ammunition?  You may be needing them.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Light Blogging Ahead

It is Thanksgiving week, and I expect light blogging ahead.  Please have a Happy Thanksgiving.  Also please remember that the purpose of the holiday is to give our Father in Heaven thanks for all he has done for us in the passed year.  See you all when I get back.

May the Lord be with you,


Sunday, November 21, 2010

Ethridge Concedes to Ellmers

As of Friday, Bob Ethridge conceded to Renee Ellmers. The story is at the National Journal here.

Sorry to be late getting that to you, but it has been busy around the PolyKahr house. We are having family and friends in this year for Thanksgiving. Today I finally have a chance to prepare my Grandmother's recipe for fruit cake. It makes a big recipe, and I'll be sending some along to my Dad and others.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

More on the TSA (The Sexual Assault) Controversy

Leonidas, over at Eternity Road has the best explanation I have seen for the outrage being expressed by air travelers of late. You can find it at Boycott Commercial Air Travel! The picture at the top says it all. When the original 9/11 terrorists took over airplanes with mere box cutters, I said at the time that if civilians with concealed carry permits could carry their weapons on board, it would not have happened. I still believe that.

Like Leonidas,  I have also refused to fly, only once relenting in 2006 to fly Las Vegas, where we were there to babysit with the grand daughter, while her parents partied.  But, if you still have any doubts, read Leonidas post.  The most intriguing, to me anyway is here:

You are more than 100 times as likely to die in a car crash than from a terrorist attack on US soil. About 42,000 people die annually in a car crash. 3,000 people died on 9/11, and a few in other terrorist attacks since (e.g. Ft. Hood.) The odds are clear - under 4,000 people have been killed in terrorism attacks on US soil since 2000, while over 400,000 people have died in car accidents. While terrorism is horrifying it does not rise to a risk that justifies abrogation of our Constitutional rights - especially when the proffered claims of "safety" magainst said attacks made by the government are in fact intentionally false and misleading.

This probably presents the leading argument for why we should not allow our freedoms to be taken away from us like this. And frankly, I do not think the TSA is not using these naked body scans and groping sessions to further security, but to numb us to having our privacy invaded in this fashion. Once we become used to it, there will be more, and at more places. Court houses would seem to be next. Then it will be sports stadiums, and finally anywhere at all. Soon enough, backscatter devices will be portable enough that they will be used at routine traffic stops. Precedent already allows police to stop everyone at drunk driving checkpoints (a thoroughly unconstitutional development.)  So, take a car to grandmas house, or take a sleigh, or a train, or bus.  But do not take a plane.  We have to send a message that Americans will not tolerate further intrusion on their persons for any reason.

Update: The American Thinker has a very good article, by Selwyn Duke, that bears on the topic at hand entitled Profile Muslims or Pat Down the Masses. Among other things, Mr. Duke brings up:

Now, we all know what kind of suicidal idiocy engenders such blindness: a politically correct brand that panders to the sensitivities of vocal, politically favored minority groups such as Muslims. But what about the sensitivities of millions of Americans who have to tolerate intrusive body scanning and pat-downs and watch their children subjected to same? And the kicker is that when Janet Incompetano (as Mark Steyn calls her) was asked if Muslim women sporting hijabs would have to go through the same full-body pat downs, she equivocated and said, "adjustments will be made where they need to be made" and "With respect to that particular issue, I think there will be more to come." Are you kidding me? Is this Total Recall meets One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest? Muslim women are the demographic second-most likely to commit Islamic terrorism. If they aren't subjected to scrutiny, what is the point (besides "security theater")?

What's the point, indeed. Every one of the terrorist attacks have been committed by Muslims. No one else. If we can't screen Muslims, why even bother-unless as I think, the exercise has other purposes.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Remind You of '1984'?

Ben Shapiro has an article up at today entitled The Obama Administration In Your Pants. Please check it out. It is a fascinating read about the latest tactic by TSA to invade our privacy for no real increase in safety.

Here, though, is for me the money quote:
But we're supposed to trust the TSA. "We are frequently reminded that our enemy is creative and willing to go to great lengths to evade detection," the TSA explains, touting its new policies.
It's a stretch, I know, but I found it remarkably similar to the perpetuals wars, and the justifications upon which freedoms had been slowly stolen from the people in George Orwell's book '1984'.  If more people would stand their ground and simply refuse to be either scanned or patted down, we could end this horror. This is not for your protection, and the TSA will be hard pressed to show any benefit to it. Frankly, it is nothing less than sexual assault under the color of law.
The irony of all this is that it won't make us safer. Not one whit. So long as we treat nuns and imams the same way at the security gate, we're doomed to failure. You can't find bombs when you search 621 million passengers; they could be hidden anywhere, including Abdulmutallab's secret favorite spot. Terrorists already know how to beat this system. The scanners don't pick up what's inside body cavities. They don't make our luggage screening system any better (seriously, is there anyone in the United States who hasn't accidentally passed a pocketknife, nail clipper or Mace through security?). All this does is overload the system even further so that by the time our intrepid and steadfast TSA agents examine Muslims, they're so tired of prodding and poking that they do a cursory job.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Taming the Administrative State

I toiled for 25 years in what I considered service to my fellow citizen working for the Federal government. I finally retired, in part, because of the conflict between what is, and what is supposed to be. Ayn Rand said:

The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren't enough criminals, one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws.
There are, you see, too many laws. The days when a citizen could know the law, and therefore be able to stay within its boundaries, has long vanished. Today, there are arcane "laws" on the books over which you, or I might stumble at any time, that we know nothing about, and more importantly, would not reasonably know to ask about. Many are arbitrary, or are arbitrarily enforced. So, while knowing the law, and believing yourself to be within it, one can find oneself being hit with fines and other penalties for noncompliance.  Others "laws"  clearly are Unconstitutional, yet have been "interpreted" by the courts to be Constitutional. Such are the wetlands laws, and the Endangered Species Act, which claim to be able to take your property, while granting you the priviledge of continuing to pay taxes on the property, all  wihout compensating you for it.  Another example is the recent Seattle case of the BATFE confiscating some airguns because they claimed these could easily be turned into "machine guns."  Really?

The problem of too many laws, arbitrarily enforced, and at the same time refusal to enforce others, is the subject of a post at Eternity Road by Francis W. Porretto entitled Horsemen Part 2: A New Political Alignment. In explaining the new political alignment, Poretto introduces us to a new, seemingly oxymoronic term, anarcho-tyranny:

Yet the functional characteristics of both anarchy and tyranny are easily seen in our current state of society. Government by law, the American conception of governmental legitimacy, has vanished because of the proliferation of millions of obscure, unenforceable, and mutually contradictory laws. The exercise of arbitrary power without regard for the rights of the citizen is rampant; denial of the right to bear arms, no-knock drug raids, "asset forfeiture," "civil penalties," and warrantless searches and wiretaps are merely flagrant examples. All that's missing is consideration of the dynamics that have brought those conditions about -- conditions any sane man would condemn utterly and, if adequately equipped, would surely resist -- and which are propelling the new alignments of the present day.
We balk at the writing of National Security Letters by FBI agents, yammering on about how this is a grotesque violation of the Constitution-and it is. But at this stage of the Administrative State, do they really need a law? Couldn't the FBI simply write a rule, getting a Federal Judge to agree on its necessity as cover? Except for budgeting for the agencies swarming among us and eating our profits, is Congress even necessary anymore? I often wonder if the kabuki theatre of elective politics isn't merely to take the audience's eye off the other hand:
In considering these matters, electoral politics -- the pursuit of elective office and the behavior of those who've attained it -- is where the eye tends to focus. Certainly that's the center of most media attention. Yet there are other routes toward power over others that don't require complex and expensive campaigns or a protracted trawling for votes. Those are the avenues that have been, and are being, most successfully pursued by the would-be tyrants of our day. They've done some of the worst damage to the concept of government by law.
What a person does who lives under such a State is to avoid anything that marks him out as deserving suspicion, while quietly pursuing one's own interests. In a sea of green dots, one doesn't want to be the red dot:
The growing reaction, amid growing consciousness of the power and lack of constraint on the regulatory state, by ordinary Americans is quiet, stubborn personal resistance. As a citizen becomes aware of particular regulatory threats to his personal position, he tends to react, not by assuring compliance, but by armoring against it. This is particularly visible in regard to "endangered species" regulations and "wetlands" regulations. Many a landowner who finds a specimen of an "endangered species" on his land will adopt the 3-S treatment for such creatures. After all, if a federal agent were to encounter that wolf or spotted owl, the landowner's whole parcel could be declared "protected habitat," and therefore barred to human use in perpetuity. Similarly, a landowner who discovers that a segment of his parcel would technically qualify as a "wetland," another category of property barred to human exploitation, is more likely to have it quietly dried out and filled in than to report his discovery to the local authorities.

Go read the whole post. As usual, Mr. Porretto includes a wealth of data that I have glossed over, and just says it more elegantly than I can. Porretto doesn't get into what to do about the overgrown and out of control Administrative State, but I have a few ideas.

One thing the presumably conservative Congress needs to do is revise the way regulations are made. Congress needs to bring such activities back under its fold. All proposed regulations should be staffed through the respective committees, then voted on by both houses of Congress, as if it were a law, before it could be implemented. All existing regulations should be immediately placed on hold pending a review by an oversight committee, that would be required to receive testimony from citizens on the effects the regulation has had, good and bad.  To those critics who argue that this would slow down the process to a crawl, I would ask them to go back and read the forgoing. It's a feature, not a bug.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Get ready for it, The Mask is Coming Off

Voter fraud, and election fraud is as old as the Republic. It has always happened here and there, though most elections have been largely free of such shenanigans. But ever since the Presidential elections of 2000, when Bush refused to sit down and take it, the election fraud, and voter fraud has become more blatant, and more public. Al Franken stole the election by fraud, in my opinion. He just kept finding ballots that...well, what do ya know...had his name on them. Franken was abetted by a partisan Secretary of State who looked upon his efforts with, shall we say, indulgence.

This election season, the Franken act is being played out in many places. In Texas, as the American Thinker explains in an article entitled Why Democrats Win the Close Ones by Rick Moran, Democrat Solomon Ortiz is pulling the same stunt against Republican winner Blake Farenthold.  Ortiz keeps "finding" ballots that just happen to be marked with his name on them.  The same thing may be happening in our own NC-2 race between Renee Ellmers, the election night winner, and Bob Ethridge who just magically happened to find some ballots with his name marked on them.

Now, one of the checks Election officials perform on election night is to count how many ballots were sent to each precinct, subtract how many people voted, including spoiled ballots, and how many unused ballots are being returned.  The numbers should match up.  So, if someone takes a few hundred ballots from a precinct, County officials will know election night.

Now, bad as this is, what all this very public election fraud is REALLY doing is stirring up chaos.  They want to get caught. The Left wants you not to believe that elections have value.  It's part of the plan to demoralize you.  Note too how the mask is starting to come off.  The Communist Party USA actually was a sponsor of the One Nation rally, along with all the usual suspects.  Then there are the calls for violent revolution emanating from the Left. Watch the video at the as this MSNBC calls for violent revolution. The Left will begin to squeeze the middle class from the top down, and the bottom up. They will try to initiate riots in the streets, have governments declare emergencies or martial law.  Try to confuse you even more.  Look at the students rioting in the formerly Great Britain.  Supposedly rioting because the cost of tuition is being raised, these students are just a little too animated for it to really be about that.  What they are really doing is creating chaos for the sake of creating chaos.

Next year, prices will begin to rise, as the dollar devalues.  It will be because of deliberate policy, and the President and Ben Bernanke knew it would happen, wanted it to happen even.  There will be hardship, as people find that a loaf of bread costs $25.  Many do not know how to bake there own.  Gasoline will also go through the roof, again by design.  There will be protests, and riots.  Top down, bottom up.  Then there will be someone saying that if we abandon our sovereignty, and join the rest of the world in what Soros calls a "new world order" that somehow all this will be fixed.  It is a lie.  This is what has been planned all along, and they are hoping you take the bait.  Don't.

Like cattle, you have been nudged and herded toward the cattle chute.  They want you to go there.  But resist.  Be prepared.

Now, if all this sounds like tin foil hat conspiracy theory, well, I am right there with you brother.  Until I watched Glenn Beck's series on George Soros, and realized that he has done this at least 3 or 4 times before in Eastern Europe.  I am still looking into it, but then, Glenn has not been wrong so far.  Take heed.  Be prepared.  Don't fall for any of the Left's tricks. 

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The War on Guns: Violent leftists agree with SPLC and 'Waco Jim' on threat from the armed right

The War on Guns: Violent leftists agree with SPLC and 'Waco Jim' on threat from the armed right

Just to show you, dear friend, what the other side believes, here is commentary from Bernadine Dohrn, Ted Rall, and others. Who is the violent ones again?