Thursday, December 29, 2011

The Republican Establishment Speaks

I have been reading Jonah Goldberg's articles since the mid 1990s, when I discovered him at National Review Online, along with his couch, which seemed to star in some of his pieces as a character in its own right. Goldberg has matured into a father, husband, and a thoughtful conservative voice. So the article appearing at today entitled Conservative Establishment Divided Against Itself somewhat surprised me. Goldberg has become a part of the "Republican Establishment." Goldberg claims that he has not moved from the principles he so eloquently spoke about a decade and a half ago, but rather it is we, the conservative base, who has moved further to the right.

Long pause, staring out the window of the office overlooking the PolyKahr estates....

He is correct. I cannot speak for everyone else, but I can relate my own journey to come to this point in my life. I suspect others have followed similar pathways that have led them to a place close to mine. Conservatism, in the mind of Goldberg, is not an ideology. There are no unifying principles to Goldbergs conservatism except that the conservative is the one standing athwart history yelling "stop." The conservative says "think about the unintended consequences," or "think how this could be used by your worst enemy." Unfortunately, the Left usually thinks it has thought of the unintended consequences. Also, unfortunately, the conservatives have been too polite to use what the Left has given us against them.

You can see the problem with this state of affairs already. The Left constantly frames the issues we are all talking about. Slowly they marshal their forces until it appears they have the majority opinion. The conservative press makes arguments against the proposal, but since these are often based on tradition, religion, and the nature of man, all things the Left rejects, the arguments are dismissed out of hand. Out of desperation, the conservative offers up a "compromise" which is less destructive, but in fact the Left has just won yet again. We conservatives find ourselves in the ridiculous position of trying to defend programs that before we were against. It is disconcerting to see so called "conservative" politicians trying to figure out how to save Social Security and Medicare, for example. Today the Left starts out as if what is has always been, and keeps pushing the nation ever leftward. For example, taking the gun control scheme currently in place, they run around asking why we in the gun rights community can't compromise on "reasonable, common sense" gun control. But if the truth be actually told, most of the 20,000 laws currently on the books are illegal and unconstitutional, and should be stricken.

Then I thought of the word, "conservative." A "conservative" conserves. But what is it he is trying to conserve? In Europe, conservatives try to conserve the monarchy. For the most part they have failed miserably. In America, conservatives have been trying to maintain the gains made in the Revolution and subsequent writing of the Constitution. Being a Constitutionalist solves many of the problems we have had with the Leftward movement of our national politics over time. The Constitution offers a set of fixed principles, that none the less can be changed if enough of us can be convinced to change it. If it were adhered to by everybody, most of our nation's problems would be manageable.

Not to be thwarted by anything so minor as a dusty 200 year old document written by men who couldn't possibly survive in today's fast paced hustle and bustle world, the Left has turned the Constitution into a "living, breathing" document that can be bent, folded, stapled and mutilated as needed to sanction the latest most up to date fad. PETA is suing to grant some killer whales human rights. How avant guarde!  How very Left, the idea that rights are granted by men.  How stupid.  Yet unless we assert some fixed principle why this is a stupid idea, it too will become the law of the land.

So, I come, at last, to where I am. The Constitution meant what it said when it said it, and it means the same things today that it meant when it was written. The original intent of the Constitution can be researched and understood, and this is the method that should be used. By these standards, a huge number of subsidies, entitlements, transfer payments, and laws should be stricken from the books. Does that sound radical to you Mr. Goldberg? Maybe it is, but I can look myself in the mirror each day knowing that I can argue from principle, rather that just saying to the Left "slow down."  We need to have rock solid and unchanging principles if we are ever to turn back the current slide into fascism and a police state.  

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

I, the Journalist

The First Amendment to the Constitution states:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or of the right of the people to peacefully assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
The emphasis in the above is mine.

The freedom of the press spoken about above is the freedom to publish, be it "news," opinions, stories, advertisements, open letters to the editor, or anything else that someone else might wish to read. The content was prepared by authors, called variously reporters, correspondents, copy writers, or more generally journalists. A journal is any daily account of events, whether those accounts be financial, a record of what you did with your time, a record of your travels on a day by day basis, or just your opinions about how events affect you.  In my career with the Navy, I used a product from Franklin Covey to record my daily plan, as well as how that plan turned out.  I did not publish it however. But, an interesting time can be had by exploring The National Diary Archive. A diary is another name for a journal.

Now, "blog" is short for "web log."  A log is yet another name for a journal.  Sailors kept logs of their travels with positions, weather, cargo, personnel, and anything else that might interest the owner of the vessel at a later time.  So, if a blog is a journal, and publishing on the web is a form of publishing, then I am a journalist. I have thought of myself as a journalist ever since I started writing this blog.

What got me thinking about it today was an article at The American Thinker entitled Who is the 'Free Press' in the First Amendment? by Dan Smyth. In the article, Smyth makes the point that it is not journalists, per se, but rather the technology of the printing press that is protected. Smith makes liberal use of an article published by Eugene Volokh (blog: The Volokh Conspiracy) to back up his claim. The "press" therefore was not intended to denote an industry, a class of mandarins with special esoteric knowledge, or the "Fourth Estate," but rather to give anyone who has the means of publishing his content the ability to do so without prior restraint.

All of this seems straight forward enough. But, you would be wrong. Apparently, in a case involving liable, one Judge Marco Hernandez has declared that since one Chrystal Cox, the blogger involved, did not attend Journalism school, and since she doesn't have a boss, in the form of an editor looking over her shoulders, nor is she an "authorized journalist" from an established media company, she is not a journalist. Never underestimate the ignorance that comes out of the mouth of highly educated Judges. Of course, if Judge Hernandez had pondered on the history of journalism just a little bit, he would have discovered that most of the great journalists learned their craft through something called "on the job training," not going to elite Journalism Schools. Our early journalists were often a hard bitten, sometimes hard drinking lot with up close and personal experience with the human condition. Couple that with a healthy sense of irony and a particularly interesting turn of phrase and you have your instant journalist. Indeed, having lived a life worth writing about used to be seen as a plus in a journalist's resume.

I can not speak to the issue in the Chrystal Cox case of whether she committed liable or not, nor can I speak to the Oregon Shield Law, but I can say that I, and others like me, are indeed journalists.  I don't make a dime from doing this, and my circulation is relatively small, but I am a journalist none the less.   

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

A Missed Christmas Gift

Christmas was quite busy for me. The grand kids were anxious to open their presents, so I didn't spend much time on the reading list. As a result, I missed a great gift of my own, this powerful Rumination from Francis Porretto of Eternity Road.

I have had similar discussions with various people. Indeed, the question "How could a loving god allow children to suffer so?" is a familiar refrain. My answer is usually briefer than Mr. Porretto's, and suffers by comparison. Go and read the whole thing, as it is worth it to anyone who contemplates the Great Questions of the Universe. But a quote may get your juices flowing:

The heart of the thing is the nature of free will under the veil of Time. We are temporal creatures. Alone among the living species, we experience the passage of time, in which we sequence the events of our lives and concoct theories about why this happened instead of that. Because our wills are free, we are capable of taking many paths forward from any point in time and circumstance. The scope of our decision making is limited only by our nature.

Our nature is defined by the laws of the universe that gave rise to us. God decreed those laws and made them self-enforcing. But they don't constrain our wills. We are free to choose what ends we will pursue: pleasure or pain; profit or loss; stasis or dynamism; good or evil. Freedom of the will is God's original gift to Mankind: the one that distinguishes us from all the lower orders...and perhaps from some of the higher ones, as well.
He goes on to point out that if you think about God, as opposed to relating to him, you are not thinking big enough. The fact of God's omniscience and our free will can only be understood by acknowledging that God stand outside of time and space. Thus God must know how we will use the great gift he has given us, and yet it is up to us to choose.  We alone can not alleviate all the evil in the world, but wouldn't it be great if more of us worked harder at it?  Choose wisely,

And may God bless and keep you, Francis Porretto. 

More Evidence Against the Global Warming Scare

Speaking of indoctrinating children in the cult of Goofball Wormening, The Daily Bayonet has Everything you ever needed to know about man-made global warming in one sentence and a graph.

This was the question I asked all those years ago, and never got an answer:
If the earth was warmer during prehistoric periods, and no one was about driving SUVs, what caused the warming then?
The obvious answer was the Sun. But if the Sun caused the earth to warm then, couldn't the Sun be causing the earth to warm now?  Shouldn't the possibility be at least contemplated? 

Mustn't ask these questions. It is not PC.

Back to the Future

Education of our children, and in my case, grand children, is a topic that is often devoid of any common sense. Proposals to improve things are usually offered that involve more money spent on "technology" and the latest fads. As pointed out by today's featured article, the way we learn has not changed in the entire history of man, and we already know how to do it.  Yesterday's American Thinker an article that reminded me of the movie title "Back To the Future."  The title of the piece A World Without Schoolteachers is an interesting read, and I recommend it to you, gentle reader.

The thesis of the article is that the new Kindle and Nook book reading devices will have a revolutionary effect on the way children are educated. By bringing so much material into the hands of even the lower middle class student, it is entirely possible that we will return to the old way of teaching children, with better results than we are achieving now. Children will finally be home schooled, with access to tutors and the whole of the Library of Congress:

Tutoring has always been the preferred model. That is after all how the very rich educated their children. Second-best, and not-so-second-best at that, were the small schools where the second tier of society, the well-off not-so-rich, pooled their resources in some public location and shared tutors. (Which is why the British, as in Eton and Harrow, still call exclusive private schools "public" schools.) And of course, the elite universities did their best to maintain the tutoring model of education. Did their best, that is, to steer clear of classroom instruction...

In fact, even the simplest tutoring approach often works magic. Years ago, a twelve-year-old foster child arrived in our home essentially unable to read after six or seven years of classroom "special" education. To the point where he didn't even know how to use a dictionary. Our oldest son, a prolific writer, happened to be visiting us at the time, saw the problem, and came up with a fix. He handed the boy the newspaper he read each morning, told him to sit on his bed, read it aloud, and circle every word he couldn't pronounce or didn't know the meaning of. Then, later, the two of them went over the circled words together. The first day, every fourth or fifth word was circled, but it wasn't very long before the number of circles began to decrease, and something clicked in the boy's mind. "Hey," he seemed to say to himself, "this is not such a mystery. I can get this reading and writing thing working on my own." And he went on to other material. Then, when he was ready to begin high school, the state and local school district sent a team to evaluate him in order to design a classroom program that met his "special needs." Only there wasn't any, because they were shocked to discover that he tested at or above -- and in a couple of subjects, far above -- his grade level.

Now, imagine a child who can already read, and can already use a dictionary:

And that's all it takes. Hand out the reading assignment, be available, or have someone else available to examine the essay they write and perhaps send them back to the same material book for another go or two on the same subject. Because tutoring doesn't teach a discrete body of knowledge as much as it does a skill we don't hear much about anymore: scholarship. Not simply memorizing some facts about a subject, but examining it from one perspective and then another until you develop a detailed, three-dimensional view of the subject. It's your month to learn about the Revolutionary War? Read a biography of Washington one day, then in the next Paine or Jefferson, Madison and Adams. Intersperse these books with a personal account of a common soldier, a slave, a parson of the time. Sample some fiction which portrays the period -- Drums Along the Mohawk, for example. Some of the short and breezy economic looks about the period like The Timber Economy of New England. Maybe read the newspapers of the time.

I have been reluctant to get a Kindle or a Nook, in part because we have a pretty extensive library right here at home. But there are a lot of books I just can not afford, and space here at the PolyKahr estate is quite limited. Perhaps I need to look into getting one of these things and trying it out. The thought that my grand daughter is being indoctrinated that man made global warming is a fact bothers me. Now, whether she eventually comes to the conclusion that man is causing global warming doesn't bother me. Rather, it is that she is being given only one side of the argument, and doesn't have a chance to hear the other side. That is the difference between indoctrination and education. One teach you to believe certain things, the other teaches you to think. Believe me, this world needs more thinkers.

Monday, December 26, 2011

What Courage Looks Like

Please go check out a new blog called Liberated Now. Pamela Geller of the blog Atlas Shrugs pointed me to this site. It is a very powerful read, though to date there are only 3 postings. It is the story of a person born Muslim who discovers that Islam is a hoax, and that the Koran preaches hatred and murder.

We in America talk frequently of a culture war on Christianity. Every year at this time, Nativity scenes seemingly become the targets of atheists and ACLU lawyers who want to take them down to prevent one of these thin skinned atheists from being offended. Christmas trees become holiday trees, and many store clerks wish you "Happy Holidays" instead of saying "Merry Christmas." But all of that is small potatoes, not worth getting excited about. The trees are a hangover from pagan holidays celebrating the winter solstice, and while I think Nativity scenes should be allowed to be displayed, so far the courts have only prevented them on public property. To be sure, we need to push back often, and hard, but none of us are going to lose our lives, or even be put in prison over these things.

On the other hand, our converted Muslim friend faces death if anyone around him finds out. This is serious, and yet he has done it anyway. If you want to know what courage looks like, go to the site and read.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!

"For unto you is born this day, in the City of David, a Savior, which is Christ the Lord" Luke 2:11.

As the Savior, Jesus frees us from the evil that man had brought into the world. Being now free, he expects us to use our freedom to free others. Let us ponder on this, and see if we can not make everday a Christmas in the coming year.

May God bless and keep each of you,


Thursday, December 22, 2011

Another Reason to End the EPA

Funny how articles on a topic seem to run in batches. Apropos of yesterday's post, Way Up North has a link to Borepatch's article on the Climategate 2.0 email dump. Go read the whole thing, including the embedded links.

Does Gringrich's and Romney's embrace of "man made global warming" make sense now? Unfortunately, there is no way to know who all may be involved. Some of the politicians may be running under the radar, while one may make a good guess about others. The EPA has been in the thick of it though, since before the original Kyoto Protocol was negotiated, with AlGore leading the charge in Kyoto.  Bush took a neutral position on the issue, so I don't think he was directly involved.  But the Massachusetts vs. EPA (2007) case "forcing" the EPA to regulate green house gases happened on his watch.  The point is, who can be trusted to do the right thing by the American people?

I recommend we all pray about who we should vote for in the coming elections.

The EPA Needs to Go

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has long preferred totalitarian approaches to its functions, instead of taking market based approaches that encourage people to see doing the "right thing" as being in their own self interests. The EPA simply doesn't believe in the free market, or that doing things for selfish reasons can be moral in any sense of the word. After pondering this strange dilemma for a long time, I came to the conclusion that this problem stems from the fact that many environmentalists are communists, and "green" is the new way to impose a drag on the United States so it doesn't out compete Communist countries. The most recent manifestation of the wretched attack of the EPA on the American economy can be seen in the EPA's Unconscionable War on Fracking over at the American Thinker by Jeffrey Folks.

A quote of a few paragraphs will give you a flavor of the article:

But it's not just that the EPA has a habit of releasing incomplete reports based on inadequate research. Those draft reports are not just incomplete. It seems that they contain scientific errors and apparent fabrications that raise serious doubts about the ability of the agency to do its job. The Pavillion fracking case is a good example.

While charging the drillers in question with contaminating groundwater, the EPA suppressed information in a manner that would compel any court of law to dismiss the case and issue a serious reprimand, if not bring charges of contempt, against the prosecution. Surely, the EPA was aware, or should have been aware, of the fact that well water in Pavillion has been "contaminated" with polluting chemicals for half a century. This natural "pollution" is not the consequence of fracking, as the EPA charges, but of natural contamination.

Not only did the EPA report suppress this evidence -- evidence that argues strongly against contamination on the part of drilling company -- but it failed to address further scientific evidence that would rule out contamination. Not only were Pavillion's water wells already polluted decades before drilling began, but the pollution that the EPA says entered the system from drilling involved chemicals never used in fracking. (They are, however, used in the construction of water wells of the kind that might be found in Pavillion, not in oil and gas wells.) And yet the EPA persisted with its charges, knowing that the very chemical it discovered in well water could not have entered the wells in the manner suggested.

When the Constitution, and the rule of law, is ignored, or openly flouted, it is hard not to conclude that we are no longer living in the United States, but in a tyrannical country located in the place of what used to be the United States. That this has gone on for decades, under both Republican and Democrat administrations, and has only gotten worse tells me that both parties are to blame.

The EPA has been involved in chicanery and skulduggery since its inception in 1970 under (Republican) President Richard Nixon. The first "victory" of the environmental movement under William Ruckelshaus was the virtual banning of DDT. While I admit that the use of DDT was too frequent, and it was used in too many situations, it none the less is true that before DDT, malaria was endemic in the United States. By the end of WWII, it was virtually eradicated from CONUS. However, one of the most notorious cases involves the Hooker Chemical Company and the Love Canal. Reason Magazine did an expose in 1981 in Love Canal: The Truth Seeps Out by Eric Zuesse. It is a long article, but an instructive read on the way the EPA operates. In this case, they used public ignorance, due in part to misreporting by the MSM, to try to lay the blame at the feet of Hooker Chemical. But Hooker took extraordinary measures to bury their wastes in a landfill that far exceeded the state of the art, and to warn the Board of Education that the property was unsuitable for any use other than a park. Indeed, it was the City of Niagara Falls itself, who penetrated the clay cell walls while building a sewer and precipitated the release of the chemical wastes that led to people being evacuated from their homes. None of that mattered to EPA. In their way of looking at the world, Hooker Chemical was to blame for making chemicals that have made every body's lives better, and worse, making a profit doing so.

Folks concludes his article:
When federal agencies begin to wield power in an unconstitutional manner, depriving citizens and corporations of property in the most callous manner imaginable, one of our fundamental liberties has been lost. It is time for the EPA to be not only reined in, but eliminated, and for whatever legitimate functions it has to be handed over to more responsible departments of government at the state level.

When an agency begins to attack private citizens with no regard for the law, there is no limit to the damage that can result. Today it may "only" be the property of oil and gas companies that are at stake. Tomorrow it will be not just the property, but the life and liberty of all Americans. If the extralegal activity of federal agencies like the EPA is not curtailed, all Americans will soon be at risk of imprisonment at the whim of any one of the president's czars. That is the attitude toward law that exists in a totalitarian state, not in a democracy.
Breaking up the EPA would be a great start for a new President and Congress. Will they have the guts to do it?

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The Shroud of Turin Likely Authentic

I am taking a break today from the all bad news all the time format that this blog has become to report something interesting. The Huffington Puffington Post is reporting that the Shroud of Turin is likely authentic according to a team of scientists based on their most recent findings.  Go and read.

As a Christian, I don't really know how I feel about the Shroud.  On the one hand, if it is indeed the Shroud that Jesus wore when he was buried, and the image was somehow burned into the cloth at the moment of his rising, I am awed again by the power of God to perform such miracles.  On the other hand, if the the Shroud is not the cloth worn by Jesus when he was buried, and the image, presumably of someone else, was made by still unexplained means, there remain the Gospels and the Letters.  One either has faith, or one does not.

I saw a piece, I think it was on the History channel, but I could be wrong, where Peter M. Schumacher was demonstrating his discovery of a thee dimensional image in the cloth, and his supposition that it was because the shroud was wrapped around the body.  Schumacher's paper can be found here at Interestingly, what we see today is a flat image that was once three dimensional. When that is taken into account, one can see the actual image of the person buried in the Shroud. But again, the question of just who was buried in the Shroud remains a matter of faith. You either believe it was Jesus, or you don't.

So here is the great mystery.  If knowing that the Shroud is special, different, and likely the result of a great miracle helps you believe and strengthens your faith, then that is a good thing.  But even if the Shroud is eventually shown not to be the cloth Jesus was buried in, that doesn't falsify the Gospels or the Letters.  In the end, you must have faith to believe.  There will never be enough positive proof if you do not.  It has been so for 2011 years.

Merry Christmas!

Update: Meanwhile it appears that Frankincense may be endangered according to a report at USA Today. Frankincense was one of the three gifts of the Magi to the child Jesus. The tree, from which frankincense is harvested grows in small pockets, and the tree doesn't reproduce itself prolifically.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Back in the USSR

I tend to think of myself as a realist. I see trends, and follow those trends to their logical conclusions. Then I look at what societal and cultural circumstances might limit those trends. I read news stories, probably too many, and I follow blogs, again probably too many. I also talk to people and try to find out what they are thinking. Now, Mrs. PolyKahr thinks I am pessimistic. Certainly if one looks at trends today, one sees no end to, what for me and many of those I talk to, the bad news. Our rights are being taken by governments at all levels, while our responsibilities and legal liabilities only grow.  Witness We have crossed the Rubicon by Eric Peters over at Lew Rockwell. Does Peters sound a little paranoid? Well, maybe, but then after witnessing what has happened over the last two decades, I can't help being just a little paranoid.

For example, a friend the other day happened to mention a hypothetical to try out on me. (Now remember, this was sprung on me, and it is not a complete analysis.) My friend wondered whether he could keep his gun on his person in a flight from Raleigh to Charlotte where he was to purchase a car for the return trip. He would, he pointed out, have no baggage to carry since he intended to return that day. He would not be going to another State so his North Carolina permit would be good for the entire trip. I pointed out that in any case, the State authority that owns the Raleigh-Durham airport doesn't permit guns anywhere on the grounds of the airport. Beside that, the Federal Government has carved out little Federal Reservations at each airport where, we are told without any apparent irony, we don't have any Constitutionally protected rights. At that point, another friend who had been listening pointed out that in the old days we used to carry guns on the plane and nobody thought anything about it.  In a mere 40 years we have gone from carrying on planes with no paperwork, to having enough regulation to at least cause you a little bit of concern.  Now, the responsibility to know at all times where one's gun is has not been relieved for any of us that carry. If our gun is used in a crime, we will surely be questioned at the least, and may face prosecution.  But the best way to know where one's gun is, is to have it secured in a holster on the hip. Government has made that impossible.

While self defense is a fundamental right that has been pared away over time, we have been losing our rights to property, and our liberty a slice at a time for decades. In most urban areas today, a tree can not cut down on your own property without a permit. Do you actually own that tree, or does the government? You must pay taxes on any income you earn for working. So who owns the fruits of your labor, you or the government? The debate the regime is waging right now over how much of his income a wealthy individual should pay would indicate that the government assumes it does. And if the government owns the product of our labor, it must think it owns us too.

A piece at the American Thinker today, entitled We Need Not Repeat 1776, by Deane Waldman paints a picture that seems to be too pollyannaish about our prospects, at least to the realist in me. Waldman makes essentially the same point in his article that I made in the previous post that the Founders gave us a way to hold a bloodless revolution whenever our government did not meet our needs. What he didn't point out is how the will of the majority of the people is being subverted at every turn by collectivists in an effort to get some new voters.

One of the most infamous attempts to disenfranchise large numbers of North Carolina voters comes in the form of the NAACP and the NC Democrat Party  suing the leaders of the House and Senate to overturn the new voting districts, which resulted from the 2010 census and the election of a Republican controlled Legislature.  What they hope to do is get a court to invalidate the results of the 2010 election.   And instead of throwing these rascals out on their ear, it appears that the court is entertaining the case!

I can't help but feel like I have been taken Back in the USSR.  Merry Christmas all!

Update: Over at the American Thinker today is The Hitman Cometh: America to be a 'War Zone' touching on similar topics. It is a good read.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Don't Like the Outcome of Elections-Get New Voters

For years now, I have heard that there is some poor schmuck out there somewhere who is a legitimate citizen, but who can not show valid photo identification of himself. Should this person be denied the right to vote just because (fill in the emotional tag line here)? I ask who that person is? The only response is a vague reference to even more vaguely oppressed minorities. Whoever this person is, he doesn't drive so no need for a driver's license. Obviously he doesn't travel to foreign countries, at least not legally, so no need for a passport. But, since you are asked to identify yourself at seemingly ever turn, what is so hard about going down to your local DMV and getting a free identification card with a photo? Who can't manage that? Show me the individual, and then let's talk.

Ray Hartwell has a great piece on the issue over at Pajamas Media entitled Plain and Simple, the DNC Wants Voter Fraud. Mr. Hartwell:

And so, when I think about the DNC’s concern about the implications of voter ID laws “for real people,” I have to wonder if their concern isn’t really more about people who are not “real” – i.e., the dead and imaginary voters who have turned out for decades now in Chicago and other Democratic strongholds across the country.

Certainly the activities of ACORN and its allies in 2008, which are being cranked up again for 2012, belie any DNC profession of concern about the integrity of elections. The same can be said for the Department of Justice’s refusal to take action to clean up voter rolls – they will not force local authorities to comply with federal voting laws by removing dead people and others who are ineligible from the rolls.

When I read articles like this from Hot Air, I have to think that Hartwell is right. The Democrat politicians want voter fraud. There can be no other explanation for the lame excuse making taking place in Wisconsin. The next conclusion is also pretty clear: they, more than Republicans, believe they benefit when people take the admonition to "vote early, vote often" quite literally. To the degree that it happens, and they get away with it, what does that say about the legitimacy of the laws the politicians are making? The legitimacy of our form of government is that the people's representatives make the laws under which we live. What if that weren't true?

Recall that the Democrats passed ObamaCare on a party line vote and against the will of the majority of the people in this country.  Recall that polls indicate that that majority has only grown in the years since that vote.  Yet the Democrats felt invulnerable enough to thumb their noses at the voters and go ahead with this horrible monstrosity.  They weren't falling on their swords for the good of the Republic, but hoping to steal yet more liberty from the American people  They felt little fear that the people would rise up.  Why is that?

The Founders gave the American people a way to hold a bloodless revolution every two years. The Constitution provides a framework to carry out the words of the Declaration of Independence:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness...

Voter fraud essentially disenfranchises the legitimate majority of voters by deciding for them which politician shall represent them in the making of laws. It is, I believe, for that reason that the Democrats did not fear the voters over ObamaCare. They have in essence, gotten rid of their legitimate voters and have instead gotten new voters, ones to their liking, and they are loathe to give them up.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Sharia is coming, Sharia is coming!

What is it with Leftist and Islamists? Pamela Geller reports on a Shameful State Department Initiative over at the American Thinker. Go and read.

She is right in every particular. The "religion of peace" is not a religion at all, but a brutal political system. It is notoriously intolerant, yet asks for tolerance. It is incompatible with personal liberty and freedom.

Pamela doesn't mention this, but the same government that has been waging a misguided war on Christianity under the idea that the establishment clause forbids all references to God and Jesus, somehow justifies cozying up to Islam?  Does that mean they don't see it as a religion either?

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Georgia Going for Constitutional Carry

The War on Guns: Georgia Gun Owners going for ‘Constitutional carry’

Go and read at the War on Guns. It is about time. I have accepted having a concealed handgun license as an intermediate step. But frankly, from my perspective, no one should have to obtain a license to either purchase a gun, or to bear it. The move to "shall issue" has had a salutary effect on the argument, however, by demonstrating that concealed carriers are a law abiding bunch who don't go around killing people because they looked at them the wrong way. There has been no blood in the streets, or wild west shootouts. But many people hesitate to obtain these licenses for a number of reasons: fears of what a future government may do, fears of being outed in the press. Some want to have the privilege because they have been threatened before, but fear the process for obtaining a license would alert the other party to where to find them. I understand.

A right can not be licensed. You don't require a license to publish a blog, for example, no matter how much you dislike what is said. To do so renders speaking out a privilege, not a right. You can not require a fee to exercise your right to vote. Books can not be banned, no matter how disreputable the content of the book. Then why may the rights guaranteed by the Second Amendment be licensed and taxed?

It has been argued that the solution for people who speak reprehensible ideas is more free speech. Don't censor these guys, the free speech advocates say, instead encourage others to offer their reasons why it is reprehensible, and let the public decide. Public opinion will do more to stop such ideas than censoring them. I agree. But then, why doesn't the same hold true for Second Amendment rights. John Lott has argued, and no one to date has made a valid counter argument, that more guns equals fewer crimes. Everyone who can should bear arms freely, so that criminals will not know at any time who is carrying a gun and prepared to use it. This is not vigilante justice, but stopping the crime right there when it happens. If an armed society is a polite society, think how much more civil our society would be if more of us were armed.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The Herald Gets it Wrong

A recent editorial in the Johnston County Herald contained an editorial that touched on something that I had some personal experience with. The Town of Garner recently reacted to the new State law allowing concealed carry in public parks by defining "recreational area" fairly tightly.

The Town of Garner, like a lot of towns, views itself as a "right thinking place, where progressive values of the people prevail." I determined this from watching them, rather than from anything actually said. As such, they had designated public parks as places where you couldn't bring a concealed handgun. Never mind that all sorts of other potentially lethal items such as baseball bats, crow bars, knives, and so forth could be brought to the parks, and in some cases were required to be there. I speak of baseball bats. On December 1, 2011, the new Castle Doctrine went into effect. Among the things provided in the law was that cities could no longer designate public parks as no gun zones. It was clear at the meeting of the Town Council that they didn't want to do this. None the less, they also did not want to finance a losing lawsuit from the group Grass Roots North Carolina, a group to which I belong.

Overall, the editorial is not terribly anti-gun, and I would normally pass it without comment, but there are huge flaws in the reasoning.  A quote from the editorial:

As for those who think that law-abiding folks ought to be able to carry a gun wherever they want, we're sympathetic. At the same time, we sympathize with moms and dads who might be uncomfortable at the sight of someone packing a handgun on the playground. We sympathize too with referees who don't want to confront parents with pistols, and no one wants an athlete or spectator to get caught in the crossfire of an exchange of gunfire.

The first thing to note is that moms and dads wouldn't see these guns. They are called "concealed" for a reason-you can't see them. I am always amazed when this argument is trotted out. It is trotted out for instance as a reason to keep concealed carry out of bars. After noting that it is illegal for someone to drink while carrying concealed (which is where they go first) the anti-gunners will rejoinder with "but what if some drunk sees your gun, takes it from you, and shoots up the place." Of course, no one will see it, because it is concealed.

The piece goes on to note that criminals, by definition, don't obey laws. The editors hope thereby to divert the most powerful arrow in our quiver. But look at what they have done! They have just assumed that moms, dads, referees, athletes and spectators can all rest assured knowing that no one has a gun on the premises. Except they don't know any such thing. Instead, these people are lulled by an illusion of safety.  Any security these people feel is created by some security theatre staged by the city. But if putting up signs could prevent violence, the this little skit on You Tube would be true, along with Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy.

During the meeting with the Garner Town Council, we mentioned the case of Anna McCall who fended off a man trying to kidnap her three year old son will playing at a playground. Anna McCall's story was fortunately a happy one. One wonders if the next time it happens in Garner, will the parent be quite so lucky?

December 7, 1941...a day that will live in infamy...

Mike Vanderboegh is a keen student of history. He is also a great story teller. So, go and read a little bit about World War II that you may not have known, or that you may have forgotten at Sipsey Street Irregulars.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

The TSA: Stealing your Rights and Liberties Every Day

I haven't done anything on the TSA (Testicle Squeezing Agency) lately. It is not for a lack of things they do that are worth writing about. In fact, they seen to do something outrageous ever single day. But, in the interests of keeping from going insane, let's take a look at just one little outrage, over at the American Thinker entitled TSA Stops Dangerous Looking Purse. The American Thinker piece links to a video news report from Jacksonville Florida News 4 station. The purse does indeed have a design of a handgun on it. Oh my!

For a number of years now, I have been suspicious that my trusty 1911 might just be going out at night while I am sleeping, and holding up people. Guns do that, you know.  They just go off whenever there is a fender bender.  So, of course, little plastic replica guns probably go off all the time too.

I can believe that there is indeed, somewhere in the thousands of pages of Federal Regulations, a regulation that prohibits replica firearms inside airport "security" perimeters.  Probably the original intent was to keep someone from carrying a realistic replica into the airport, waving it around, and getting shot.  I get it.  But looking at her purse, it is pretty clear that this is not such a replica, and it is pretty clear that it is also not a weapon.

But, all of this begs the question, are we really any safer? The government now violates the rights of every American who steps on a plane.  After all, we don't have to fly, they say.  Flying is a choice, a "privilege."  You could drive a car.  But of course, you can see the slippery slope.  When they start setting up roadblocks on the highway, will they then say say that you don't have to drive, you could walk? This is nonsense.

The 4th Amendment to the Constitution states:

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.

Note that the Amendment, like most of the Constitution, is pretty clearly written. A non lawyer can understand what it says. Note that it doesn't say anything about "privileges" that the government may rescind at will. Notice too that before a search begins, a Warrant must be issued, usually signed by a Judge, stating that they have probable cause, and that a specific person is to be searched, and specific things seized. Searching everyone, or even random searches of people in general, is not allowed, unless they have a reason to search a person, and have obtained a Warrant.

The government has no business placing itself into the middle of a private transaction.  You purchase a ticket from the airline which entitles you to fly on their planes from point A to point B.  If the airline wishes to perform a security check, they are entitled to do so.  After all, it is their airplane and their business they are potentially risking.  If passengers feel that the airline is not doing enough, those passengers are free to take a competing airline instead.  The government does not need to get involved in this process.  The airline could offer to run background checks on people as a courtesy, and have them pre-screened before they get to the airport, for instance.  Such background checks would be perfectly legal as a condition of traveling using that airline.  Otherwise, travelers would face airline security at the airport.  All of this would be legal.  What is not legal, no matter what the Supreme Court may have said, is allowing the government to search everyone who comes to the airport on the grounds that someone, somewhere, might be a terrorist.

I remember as a kid that we could go right out to the airplane to greet a passenger who had just arrived.  Having come to a strange city and a strange airport, it was considered a courtesy to greet them and guide them to awaiting ground transportation.  Will we ever be able to recover any of our lost liberties?  

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Banning Assault Pools and Pillows

Ammoland has a very good summary of child fatality statistics in an article entitled More Children Killed by Pillows than by Firearms. According to the article, in 2010, only 65 children (those aged 14 and under) were killed by firearms. That same year, 1,210 were killed by suffocation, and 739 were killed by drowning. Should we ban assault pillows and assault pools?

Every few years, the gun grabbers bring up the idea that thousands of "children" are killed every year in drive by shootings, and from finding their parent's gun and shooting themselves or others.  I hate to be harsh, but the far greater number of these "children" are ages 15 through sometimes as old as 20, who are involved in criminal gangs, selling drugs, running prostitution and guns.  I feel genuinely sorry for the mothers who come on television and sob that their boy was a good boy, but the facts usually say otherwise.  By the age of 18, many have a long record of crimes.

Please make a copy of the chart included with the article.  The next time someone starts yammering on about the number of children killed with a firearm, pull out the chart.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Was Ted Stevens Really Guilty?

I carry no water for former Senator Ted Stevens of Alaska. But, this is interesting: according to USA Today, Inquiry Finds Misconduct by Prosecutors in Ted Stevens case. Such misconduct was also present in, among other cases, the Olafson case. What I find remarkable is that no prosecution of the prosecutors is recommended because the judge didn't issue a "clear and unequivocal" order that they "follow the law."


Now it is necessary to state that the proceedings will follow the law, otherwise you don't know under what set of rules the prosecution may be conducted? Really?  As officers of the court, aren't they supposed to automatically follow the law, or be disbarred?

As I said before, I carry no water for Stevens, but he should have been tried under the rule of law, giving him the full benefit of the doubt. Exculpatory evidence should have been revealed to him. The purpose of prosecuting people is not to find them guilty and send them to jail, but to find justice, or as close as we can get in this world. Sometimes that means jail, sometimes that means letting a bad guy go free. Was Stevens guilty? We will never know because of these prosecutors shenanigans.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Only a 40% Chance the Supreme Court will Rule Individual Mandate Unconstitutional

In Trade is a predictions market, that lets people bid on predictions of the outcomes of real world events. The markets give probablilities of future events happening, for example, Barack Obama being elected President in 2012. People either buy "yes" shares or "no" shares. Obviously, chance that an event will happen is reflected in the price of the shares, which range from $0 to $10. For instance, if the price of the share is $7.00 dollars, the event is predicted to have a 70% chance of happening. As of this writing, the odds of Barack Obama winning the election is 52% The odds of Romney running against him is 70%.

All of this is very interesting, but it seems a little bit like betting on whether or not the Cubs will in the World Series next year.  Strangely, though, In Trade has a pretty good record of predicting the outcome of events correctly. So, it was diappointing to see that trading is going on for a prediction "The U. S. Supreme Court to rule individual mandate unconstitutional before 31 December 2012" and that the odds of this event are only 40%. If the Supreme Court can torture the language enough to find this horrible law "Constitutional" then we are well and truly done as a nation.

The individual mandate in ObamaCare relies on the dubious notion that the Commerce Clause grants to Congress near universal authority to regulate any activity it wants on the grounds that it has a tangential effect on interstate commerce. (It also relies on a clause, known only to Representative John Conyers, called the "Good and Plenty" clause, but I digress.) This was not the original meaning of the Commerce clause. Remember that the States are sovereign. So, one State, Ohio for example, could enact a "Buy Ohio" law that made it illegal to sell anything made or grown in another State if that product was also made or grown in Ohio. Or, the States could have erected tariffs against products from out of State. Congress could therefore regulate how commerce was to be conducted among the several States. They were given authority to create a framework for trade and commerce internal to the United States that enhanced the general welfare. Then, under President Franklin Roosevelt, the Court began taking a more expansive view of the Commerce Clause, notoriously ruling in Wickard vs. Filburn that even grain that a farmer raised on his own property, and which never left his farm, none the less affected interstate commerce. With this view of the Commerce clause powers of Congress, it is hard to see that any activity could not be regulated. It was put very well at the Volokh Conspiracy:

For example, not everyone eats broccoli. But everyone does participate in the market for food. Therefore, a mandate requiring everyone to purchase and eat broccoli would be permissible under the federal government’s logic, as would any other purchase requirement. As the Eleventh Circuit puts it, “the government’s position amounts to an argument that the mere fact of an individual’s existence substantially affects interstate commerce, and therefore Congress may regulate them at every point of their life.” Whatever we do, we are always implicitly making decisions not to purchase some product or other, and those choices all have economic effects.

There is a bright spot in all this however, the Court has begun trimming the sails of Congress just a bit. In 1995, in Lopez the courts began ruling that some things simply do not meet the test of interstate commerce. 

Only a 40% Chance the Supreme Court will Rule Individual Mandate Unconstitutional

In Trade is a predictions market, that lets people bid on predictions of the outcomes of real world events. The markets give probablilities of future events happening, for example, Barack Obama being elected President in 2012. People either buy "yes" shares or "no" shares. Obviously, chance that an event will happen is reflected in the price of the shares, which range from $0 to $10. For instance, if the price of the share is $7.00 dollars, the event is predicted to have a 70% chance of happening. As of this writing, the odds of Barack Obama winning the election is 52% The odds of Romney running against him is 70%.

All of this is very interesting, but it seems a little bit like betting on whether or not the Cubs will in the World Series next year.  Strangely, though, In Trade has a pretty good record of predicting the outcome of events correctly. So, it was diappointing to see that trading is going on for a prediction "The U. S. Supreme Court to rule individual mandate unconstitutional before 31 December 2012" and that the odds of this event are only 40%. If the Supreme Court can torture the language enough to find this horrible law "Constitutional" then we are well and truly done as a nation.

The individual mandate in ObamaCare relies on the dubious notion that the Commerce Clause grants to Congress near universal authority to regulate any activity it wants on the grounds that it has a tangential effect on interstate commerce. (It also relies on a clause, known only to Representative John Conyers, called the "Good and Plenty" clause, but I digress.) This was not the original meaning of the Commerce clause. Remember that the States are sovereign. So, one State, Ohio for example, could enact a "Buy Ohio" law that made it illegal to sell anything made or grown in another State if that product was also made or grown in Ohio. Or, the States could have erected tariffs against products from out of State. Congress could therefore regulate how commerce was to be conducted among the several States. They were given authority to create a framework for trade and commerce internal to the United States that enhanced the general welfare. Then, under President Franklin Roosevelt, the Court began taking a more expansive view of the Commerce Clause, notoriously ruling in Wickard vs. Filburn that even grain that a farmer raised on his own property, and which never left his farm, none the less affected interstate commerce. With this view of the Commerce clause powers of Congress, it is hard to see that any activity could not be regulated. It was put very well at the Volokh Conspiracy:

For example, not everyone eats broccoli. But everyone does participate in the market for food. Therefore, a mandate requiring everyone to purchase and eat broccoli would be permissible under the federal government’s logic, as would any other purchase requirement. As the Eleventh Circuit puts it, “the government’s position amounts to an argument that the mere fact of an individual’s existence substantially affects interstate commerce, and therefore Congress may regulate them at every point of their life.” Whatever we do, we are always implicitly making decisions not to purchase some product or other, and those choices all have economic effects.

There is a bright spot in all this however, the Court has begun trimming the sails of Congress just a bit. In 1995, in Lopez the courts began ruling that some things simply do not meet the test of interstate commerce. 

Obedience to God May Mean Disobedience to Government

Anthony Martin has an excellent post today at the Martin Christian Ministries entitled Obedience to God May Mean Disobedience to Government. Go read. This is truly important.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

H.R. 822 Revisited

I recently wrote about H.R. 822, the National Right to Carry Reciprocity Act here. I was decidedly underwhelmed by this bill, feeling that it would never receive the support of both houses of Congress and the President. Several other articles have appeared about H.R. 822 at Keep and Bear Arms. The first of these appeared in the Washington Times under the bipartisan byline of Heath Schuler and Cliff Stearns, both Congressional Representatives, entitled The Nation Needs Right to Carry Reciprocity on Friday, November 11, 2011. They write:
H.R. 822 would allow any person with a valid state-issued concealed-firearm carrying permit or license to carry a concealed weapon in any other state. It would not create a federal licensing system but merely would require states to honor one another’s carry permits, just as states recognize one another’s driver’s licenses. Concealed-carry permit holders would have to obey the concealed-weapon laws of the state they enter, just as drivers must obey speed limits and basic safety laws of whichever state they are driving in, regardless of where they are from.
For once, Congress would be fulfilling a Constitutional role, enforcing, among other things, the "full faith and credit" clause of the Constitution, as well as strengthening the Second Amendment. As a concealed carry license holder, I appreciate the simplicity of this requirement. It might have prevented this man from being arrested in New Jersey and serving 7 years for possession of guns he owned legally. Then again, if you are carrying hollow points in your defensive weapon, as many of us do, you might just go to jail anyway. Or this from the Blaze. New Jersey is a State that has concealed carry provisions, but not for ordinary "citizens" who must face armed criminals with their bare hands and hope for the best.

The Seattle Gun Rights Examiner has an article entitled Showdown Looming on National Right to Carry again on Friday.

That is, the right to keep and bear arms applies to all citizens in all states equally, and this right is a civil right that crosses all state borders and city limits. This – at least in theory – means that all law-abiding citizens who choose to go armed have that right within the borders of the United States, subject to local regulations, which change from state to state. Therein may lay a dilemma, but reasonably intelligent gun owners should be able to understand the basics about where firearms are prohibited and where they are allowed.
I agree. Unfortunately, however, some States feel that their role is to tell their subjects how they may defend themselves, rather than let citizens decide such things for themselves. If this passes, I see New Jersey laws becoming even more draconian as a counter to it. These collectivist bastards will not give up power easily.

Update:  The Gun Owners of America has some important information that you should read.

The War on Guns: ‘Conservative’ case for Mitt Romney no case at all

The War on Guns: ‘Conservative’ case for Mitt Romney no case at all

Go read the post, and the link to the post, which takes you to David Codrea's National Gun Rights Examiner page. Go ahead, I'll wait.

Read it? Good.

Just in case the "Republican establishment" is reading this post, let me be clear. I will not vote for Romney. It doesn't matter if that means Obama gets a second term. I am tired of holding my nose to vote for the lesser of two evils. Enough. David is right, let the "establishment" hold their collective noses for a change.

Of course, David is correct, that Romney has a terrible record on guns. If a gun control bill reached his desk, do you think he'd sign it? No matter what he says now, once elected he will probably go with his natural inclinations. Romney seems to be another one who thinks because he doesn't "need" an "evil black rifle," nobody else does either. Of course, the Second Amendment spells out a right, not a need. He also has a terrible record on health care, signing in to law in Massachusetts RomneyCare, which was the basis for ObamaCare. He hasn't repudiated it, even though it has done none of what was promised. Now, I realize that it is Constitutional at the State level, while it is not Constitutional at the Federal level. But even if it is Constitutional at the State level, there remains the fact that it is a massive collectivisation of Americans that seeks to enslave others to provide for a few who can not, or will not provide for themselves.  And I know he promises now to repeal ObamaCare. But how anxious do you think a President Romney will be to repeal ObamaCare if it comes to his desk? Frankly, I just don't trust him to keep his word. We've seen this before with candidates from both sides of the aisle, so there is plenty of precedent.  For instance, remember that candidate Bush promised to veto campaign finance reform, but President Bush signed it.

Then there is his plan to handle the economy: a 59 point plan. Really? I like some of his ideas, like requiring Congress to approve major regulations before they take effect. But what about small ones, like the ATF imposing reporting requirements on dealers who sell more than 5 long guns to the same buyer in a week along the Southwestern border. What about making Congress actually write those regulations, rather than delegate the job to the executive branch. Indeed, there is so much that the Government is doing now that is Unconstitutional, and therefore illegal. What will he do about those things? But then, Romney, protestations aside, is not a conservative, much less a Constitutionalists.  Of course, he can not simply abolish agencies like Education and Energy, as woeful as those agencies are, but he could put it before Congress.   But I don't see him doing that either.

A vote for Romney is a vote for more big government, and more deficit spending.  We need less, not more.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Getting All Lathered Up Over Nothing

So, according to Opposing Views, Senator Scott Brown of Massachusetts will not vote for H. R. 822, the National Right to Carry Reciprocity Act of 2011. Yawn.  This is hardly news. Frankly, I don't get lathered up over bills like this anymore.

But I should explain.

I used to get worked up over such things. Thinking logically, I couldn't see the difference between a gun permit and a driver's license. Different States have varying requirements for obtaining a driver's license, but once I have it, I can drive in any State of the union I want. The same can not be said of my Concealed Handgun Permit. While North Carolina has extensive reciprocity with other States, I can not carry in all of them. Both cars and guns can be used to kill, and thus require their owners to use them responsibly. Approximately 12,000 people are killed as a result of gun homicides. In that same year, 2004, there were 38,444 fatal car crashes. It seems like there should be more emphasis on drivers than on gun owners. Others, apparently, do not see things the same way.

Look, this bill has very little chance of actually being passed and signed into law. Even if it is passed by the House, it is likely dead on arrival in the Senate. Indeed, what the bill is designed to do is allow normally anti-gun Congresscritters to burnish their street cred with the NRA ahead of an election that is sure to upset some Congresscritters' apple cart.  Jeff Knox has a great piece on the issue over at World News Daily. Jeff Knox:

What will probably have the greatest impact on whether the "full faith and credit" concealed weapons permit bill (H.R. 822) gets voted out of the House is its prognosis in the Senate. If Harry Reid and Senate Democrats make it clear to their House colleagues that the bill would be dead on arrival in the Senate, the House will consider it a freebie and pass it in a heartbeat. If, on the other hand, Reid and company suggest that locking up the bill would be difficult and politically inconvenient, there will be much more resistance to passage in the House – from Democrats and Republicans.

It is unfortunate that for once the Congress would be performing a Constitutional act by passing this bill. But there is real danger as well. As soon as the House finds itself back in Democrat control, perhaps with the next election (after all, the Republicans haven't exactly covered themselves in glory so far) the bill would then be used as a basis to add all kinds of restrictions on guns nationally.  And we have seen how little the Democrats care for our opinion with the passage of Obamacare. So, in many ways, I think I would rather let the issue rest where it is.

Meanwhile, we'll be pushing for Restraunt carry here in NC.  We've come so close twice before.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Bill Engvall Should Stick to Comedy

David Codrea, writing as the National Gun Rights Examiner, takes Comedian Bill Engvall to task for statements made about the Second Amendment on Bill Maher's show. You can find it at Bill Engvall Owes Gun Owners and Apology. Kurt Hoffman, writing as the St. Louis Gun Rights Examiner has this to say:

Comedian Bill Engvall then disagreed--to an extent--saying he could not support giving up protection of the right to hunt and to defend one's family, but said, "I don't think there's any reason for a person like myself to own an AK-47." Maher interjected, "Can we have just one gun?" on the theory, perhaps, that the First Amendment protects the right to publish just one article. Meanwhile, Engvall offered to meet Wagner halfway, and ban guns on which, "You can just pull the trigger, and 60 bullets fire out." The oppressive laws on machine guns are apparently not oppressive enough for Engvall.
Of course, Engvall is a celebrity comedian, who can probably afford armed security wherever he makes a public appearance. Now, I like Bill Engvall's comedy routines. He makes you laugh without resorting to fowl language and overt sexuality. But Engvall is terribly ignorant about the reasons why the Framers included the Second Amendment. First, Engvall feels that he doesn't "need" an AK-47. That is fine and dandy, but what Bill Engvall needs or doesn't need hardly defines what the other 300 millions of Americans may "need." The Framers wisely left that open to each person to decide. Frankly, having studied the biographies of a few of the Founding Fathers, I would be very wary about second guessing these erudite students of history. Just sayin'. Now, it happens that I don't "need" an AK-47 either, having no place to practice with the weapon. But I know plenty of people who do feel a "need," and I wouldn't second guess these people. On the other hand, I am currently looking for a good pump action shot gun in 12 ga. Others may not feel the same. Thus the gun market provides guns for every purpose imaginable for just that reason.

Second, the Bill of Rights is notably not a Bill of "Needs." Under the Second Amendment, one does not have to demonstrate a need for particular weapon in order to keep and bear it. I would note that while Engvall apparently hunts with traditional bolt or lever action guns, many people are now taking their "evil black rifles" afield to hunt with. In the Eastern part of the country, there is little need for a long distance rifle because the forests are so thick, one can usually only see no more than 100 yards, perfect for an AR-15 platform weapon.

Katie Pavlich has some interesting points at Pavlich points out that in every case throughout history, tyrants have always disarmed the people first, to gain control of them. She cites the Nazi use of the gun registration lists to confiscate the weapons Jews prior to launching Kristallnacht, the night of broken glass. It is a lesson worth remembering.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

In 2012, the Cry needs to be Repeal!

The number of Federal crimes is estimated to be 4,450 according to a Heritage Foundation report Revisiting the Explosive Growth of Federal Crimes. This number has been growing by 56.6 per year at least since 1980. And of course, this doesn't even begin to count the causes of Federal civil action against individuals and companies for various environmental and other actions resulting in fines. For instance, there is the case of the Dollarhites at Dollarhite is being threatened with a $4 million fine for selling more than $500 dollars worth of rabbits. The follow up to the story can be found here. But this is not an isolated incident.  This happens thousands of people across the country almost daily, most of them under the radar.  Ayn Rand had it right in her book Atlas Shrugged: "There's no way to rule innocent men. The only power government has is the power to crack down on criminals. 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." We are probably at that point.

As a Christian, I know the Ten Commandments. I understand that I break one or more of these commandments daily. In a perfect world, I would love the Lord with all my heart, and sole, and mind, and thus be able to keep every one of the other nine, but this is not a perfect world. But throwing myself on the mercy of my God is a different matter than depending on the kind mercies of a random policeman, or a Federal Agent, not to mention Federal Prosecutors, Judges, and juries. Any time someone wants to go after an individual, they can usually find something for which to hang them.  If not for the actual crime itself, then they can use your varying statements to law enforcement over a long investigation as proof that you lied, itself a crime.

I have long called for the repeal of laws now on the books. So, it was with some comfort that I see others now calling for repeal of laws. 500magnum writing in Gunleaders blog that it is time for gun rights activists to begin asking politicians which Unconstitutional gun laws they are willing to repeal. I think it is a good idea. But why stop there?  There are so many laws, rules and regulations that are either out and out Unconstitutional, or of dubious Constitutionality, that whole Federal departments could be eliminated, saving millions, or billions of dollars.  Further, the Courts do us a grave disservice by presuming that the any law passed by the Congress, and signed by the President is Constitutional on its face.  With all the shenanigans that go on today in Congress, such a presumption is wholly unwarranted.

Many people think that Martha Stewart was convicted of insider trading, itself a vague law that should put fear into anyone who regularly trades in the stock of industries that they well understand.  In fact, as Tibor Machan notes the charges of insider trading were dismissed. In fact, Martha Stewart was convicted of lying to Federal Agents, obstruction and conspiracy. But one has to wonder what it was she was guilty of obstructing, or what crime the conspiracy was guilty of committing, absent the actual crime? Martha Stewart's case was a reminder to the world that if the Federal government wants to get you, it will.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Spartanburg County Sheriff Speaks the Truth

It is a rare occurrence these days to hear a Sheriff utter the truth in such a plain fashion.  For doing so, I understand the Sheriff Wright is taking some flak as a result of remarks he made during a news conference to the effect that women should walk in pairs, and get and carry a handgun. A discussion of Sheriff Wright's remarks can be found at Opposing Views and at WYFF Channel 4.

Sheriff Wright is absolutely correct in everything he is saying here, even if what he says is not "politically correct." What the critics of Sheriff Wright do not apparently understand is the difference between vigilante justice, and self defence. If a woman is able to stop a rape herself because she carries a gun, or if someone with a carry permit is able to stop a rape, that is legitimate defence of self, or of others.  The police can not be everywhere all the time, and when they do stop a crime, it is usually their good fortune to be at the right place at the right time.  The unfortunate fact is that the police usually come to the scene after the crime has been committed, document the evidence, and find the perpetrator.  Only someone with a gun can possibly hope to stop the criminal in his tracks at the point where he commits his crime.  Sheriff Wright was just acknowledging these facts.

Also, keep in mind that when the criminal chooses to break the law (and it is a choice) he takes the risk that someone may well try to stop him.  He can only hope that the person who does try to stop him will not kill him in the process.  But that's a risk he takes of his own accord.  Still, we know that criminals do evaluate the risks they are taking, and Sheriff Wright is correct that if more people carried guns routinely, there would be less of this type of crime.

Vigilante justice, on the other hand, occurs when someone decides to seek revenge after the crime has been committed, either because there is no system of justice, of because justice has failed.  While our courts continue to work, the vigilante is as much an outlaw as the perpetrator he pursues.  But, in a state of nature, or in a state of lawlessness, vigilante justice is the only kind there is.  Indeed, many criminals engage in vigilante justice because the kind of business they pursue is outside the law, and they can not rely on the police or courts for justice.

Some years ago, during the Bush administration, men gave up some of their time to go to our Southern border and observe illegals coming across from Mexico.  These men were called "vigilantes" by the liberal press and the President.  But they were not.  Much as a neighborhood watch, which observes and reports to authorities, so were these men acting to observe and report to Customs and Immigration.  President Bush did a great disservice to these men in calling them "vigilantes."

Finally, I would note for the North Carolina legislature, that this woman's rape occurred in a park.  You can cry all day long about the danger to "the children" from having guns around them, but which is more traumatizing to kids: to have their mother assaulted and raped in front of them, or to have concealed handguns around them protecting them?  I know from personal experience that my grand kids never even notice the concealed gun on my hip.  They just aren't paying attention, which is why we have to. 

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Criminal Gang Run Amok While the Press is Blind

Please go and read the article in entitled ATF Ignored Death Threats, Tried to Frame Whistleblower Agent to Cover Up Corruption by Katie Pavlich. A hat tip, and a big "thank you" to David Hardy of the blog Of Arms and the Law. I'll have some comments when you are done. Take your time, and just digest what has been done to both Jay Dobyns, and to Vince Cefalu et al.

Done? Good.

Look, this is what happens any time a government, whether Federal, State, or local, seeks to enforce the law by breaking it. Even with the best of intentions, eventually the government itself becomes just another criminal gang. Criminals do not, by definition, obey laws, and operate without rules. But we expect our government, on the other hand, to scrupulously obey the laws it has made, and follow due process in all matters. If the government's hands are not clean, it begs the question by what right does it sit in judgement of everyone else?  Presumably, the government makes laws that advantage itself, so if they can not live within the law, who can?

Everyone should be outraged by the criminal behavior written about in the above article.  While it may temporarily advantage one political party or another, everyone should want to get to the bottom of it, for it is surely a bipartisan issue.  Attempts by the press to ignore this story because "their man" is currently in the White House only show up the biases of the press, but do not serve readers interests.  What is displayed here, is the thugocracy in action, and everyone should recognize that sooner or later, the thugocracy will come after everybody, supporter and opponent alike.  It always happens that way; read your history.  If the press refuses to speak up now, there will be nobody to speak for the press when its turn comes.  Its only hope it to make this an epic scandal.  Remember that 200 Mexicans, and at least 18 Americans were killed.  KILLED.  Dead as a result of what these criminals did. 

As for the citizen disarmament gang, do you really trust the government with a monopoly of power?  If so, why?  What has the government done to earn your trust?

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Important News You Won't Hear from the MSM

A great little piece from John Lott over at Fox News. Lott says the "Media silence is deafening about important gun news." And what news, you say? It is the lowering of the murder rates in the City of Chicago, that's what news.

But Armageddon never happened. Newly released data for Chicago shows that, as in Washington, murder and gun crime rates didn't rise after the bans were eliminated -- they plummeted. They have fallen much more than the national crime rate.

Once again gun rights advocates have been proven correct.  Will the Violence Policy Center be listening?

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Fast and Furious now coming fast and furious

I had thought to do a Gunwalker update today, to bring my generous readers up to speed on a rapidly moving story, but Mike Vanderboegh beat me to it in a post at Sipsey Street Irregulars. The big news, of course, is the Subpoena issued by Rep. Darryl Issa Monday for a staggering array of documents from the Attorney General, and his top staff. Meanwhile, Mike V. and David Codrea report that Obama apparently knew that Eric Holder knew nothing about Fast and Furious before Holder knew he knew nothing about Fast and Furious...I think. Go check out the National Gun Rights Examiner. In fact, go check it out every day.

Stories about Fast and Furious have appeared on CBS, with Sharyl Attkison, on Fox News, Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, and Judge Napolitano. Some of the stories have gotten some of the details wrong, but in the main have gotten the overall story correct. My own completely unscientific polling on the scandal suggests that at least a dim awareness of the story is getting out to most of the people, though the proportions of it have not yet hit the general population. So let's review shall we? The ATF let an estimated 2000 guns "walk" into Mexico and into the hands of Mexican criminal gangs. Some of these weapons were purchased using taxpayer funds. As a result of this callous plan to let them go and to see where they turned up, two Federal Agents were killed, 200 Mexican civilians were killed, and an estimated 18 U. S. civilians were killed. It now appears that the FBI, the DEA, Homeland Security and the State Department may be involved. For instance, there are indications that the FBI may have allowed a prohibited person to purchase weapons by manipulating the NISC database.  The Government is thereby disobeying its own laws in order, we are told, to enforce the law.  How does that work?

A few stories have popped up citing a Bush era plan, similar to Fast and Furious, to let straw buyers purchase weapons, which were then outfitted with RFID tags.  The ATF had planes overhead following the weapons as they made their way to the border.  The RFID tags were poorly placed, often limiting the range of the tags, and the gun runners would wait until the planes had to return for fuel, and then dash across the border.  The embarrassed ATF lost track of the guns.  500 weapons were involved, and the ATF shut it down pretty quickly when they were unable to keep track of the guns.  Lesson, supposedly, learned.  Along comes the Obama administration, with an even bigger plan to let guns walk.  More, they didn't even try to track the guns, just see where they turned up.  So why are these stories popping up now?  Well, it has to do with Lefty thinking, which is often childlike.  Remember as a kid, when you wanted to do something, and your mother said no?  Often you would cite another child who was allowed to do it.  In your mind, at the time, that should have ended the argument.  But you mother came out with something like "And if (name of child) jumped over a cliff, would you do it?"  Of course you wouldn't, but the point is that because others may or may not have gotten away with something does not excuse you.  But Leftys, being rather childlike, will say "But Bush...." It wasn't the same, but even if Bush "got away with it" doesn't excuse this administration.

Multiple laws, both domestic and international were broken.  As a result, people were killed.  Those who broke the law, or sanctioned breaking the law, should be punished.  If our elected officials are not subject to the laws they make for the rest of us, then the United States can no longer be said to be a representative republic.  Instead, it will have become a dictatorship.

Update: CBS is reporting that we can add grenades to the things being smuggled across the border. Now, to be clear, grenades are not something a U. S. citizen may buy or posses. The fallacy that gun shows are a flea market for buying military hardware is myth kept alive by the gun grabbers for political points. But if you want to see for yourself, go to a gun show. There's no secret handshake, and everyone is invited. Ask around about machine guns, or grenades, grenade launchers, or what have you. Go ahead.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

OWS Just Gets Better and Better

I wasn't going to do another piece on the "Occupy Wall Street" (OWS) crowd, because I believe it is a disgusting temper tantrum put on by children who don't have to gumption to get a degree in mathematics, physics, chemistry, or engineering. They didn't have the gumption to go to trade school and become a machinist, a carpenter, a brick layer, or one of thousands of jobs that need doing. No, instead we have a bunch of kids who major in some sort of "studies" like transgendered studies, womyn studies, or black studies, or, well, pick an irrelevant topic. Or they go to film school. How many film school graduates do we need? Hasn't anyone noticed that the most successful films were done before there were film schools? Has anyone noticed that today the movies consist of a lot of remakes of older classic films? I refer to such wastes of time and money as getting a degree in basket weaving.

Mark Steyn, writing at the National Review Online has a piece, American Autumn written in his usual pithy style with all the irony and sarcasm he is noted for when commenting on the cultural scene. Mark Steyn:

Who was Steve Jobs? Well, he was a guy who founded a corporation and spent his life as a corporate executive manufacturing corporate products. So he wouldn’t have endeared himself to the “Occupy Wall Street” crowd, even though, underneath the patchouli and lentils, most of them are abundantly accessorized with iPhones and iPads and iPods loaded with iTunes, if only for when the drum circle goes for a bathroom break.

The above is a somewhat obvious point, although the fact that it’s not obvious even to protesters with an industrial-strength lack of self-awareness is a big part of the problem. But it goes beyond that: If you don’t like to think of Jobs as a corporate exec (and a famously demanding one at that), think of him as a guy who went to work, and worked hard. There’s no appetite for that among those “occupying” Zuccotti Park. In the old days, the tribunes of the masses demanded an honest wage for honest work. Today, the tribunes of America’s leisured varsity class demand a world that puts “people before profits.” If the specifics of their “program” are somewhat contradictory, the general vibe is consistent: They wish to enjoy an advanced Western lifestyle without earning an advanced Western living. The pampered, elderly children of a fin de civilisation overdeveloped world, they appear to regard life as an unending vacation whose bill never comes due.

The problem is that too many people see nothing wrong with mooching off the "system," indeed, demanding more. But the "system" consists of you and me. If you take, it necessarily comes out of my pocket. That is theft, pure and simple. Oh, and by the way, I include corporate welfare and subsides in my condemnation. The "too big to fail" banks and auto companies, the Solyndras, Big Oil, the sugar growers, the corn growers, and on, and on, and on. What is wrong with America is not "the corporations" per se, but the fact that governments have insisted on picking winners and losers. Nobody needs to pick a winner in the case of iPad; the market picks it for you. To the degree that some bankers have committed crimes, I believe some of them should be serving time. But I also believe there are a few Congressmen who also should be serving time with them. Just sayin'.

Now, it appears that at least some of the protesters at OWS maybe paid to protest by a political party. Ms. Pelosi, call your office...

Update:  Francis Porretto, over at Eternity Road has more on the evil being paraded before the American public at The Writing on the Wall. Porretto paints a picture of the United States once again returning to a pre-industrial age. Romantics think that such a way of life would be peachy. In reality, it would be quite horrific. In the pre-industrial period, and indeed right up to the closing years of the 19th Century, most children did not live to the age of three. Those that survived that long could look forward to a hard scrabble life in which most people were used up by age 35. Girls as young as 10-12 had babies (because they if they didn't, they probably wouldn't live long enough to raise them), and huge numbers of women died in child birth. Boys of 15 years a age were already working and had little time for an education. Just think of Afghanistan, only worse. To give you a standard by which to measure, consider that today, the poorest American lives a materially better life than George Washington or Thomas Jefferson did. Now consider what it will be like if these cretins have their way.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Poor Little Rich Kids at the Occupy Wall Street Rally

A Dana Summers Cartoon says it all.

I have been watching, with a jaundiced eye, the "Occupy Wall Street" protesters, while watching the Gunwalker scandal and the other news with the one eye that is good.  I remember the similar protests, or "sit-ins," or whatever they were variously called in the 1960s.  I remember the so-called "Rap sessions" where students sat around in a circle sharing their ignorance with each other, and feeling smug that they were getting a better education that way.  What a waste of their parents' money! But that's the point.  A lot of these kids are relatively well off, or even rich, and are spending money they didn't earn on a lark.  They will have great memories when they are old, and who knows, some may find love and marry.

As today, so it was in the 1960s, that people did not spontaneously arise and become a mob.  Every instance of protest was invariably led by professional agitators behind the scenes.  Of course Occupy Wall Street is no different. And the demands produced by the protesters of Occupy Wall Street are meant to give our students something to make them feel like they are really doing something. What pikers!  For instance, look at the lousy minimum wage demand. If a minimum wage actually worked, then why not demand $100 per hour minimum? Or how about this: Uncle Benny over at the Fed could print up $100,, $200,000 and send it out to each of us!  Then we'd all be rich, Yeah, that's the ticket!  But of course the organizers know that the higher they make the minimum wage, the more people will be shut out of the job market.  If the minimum wage were $100 per hour, then anyone not producing a net $250 per hour, with benefits included, would not be hired.  Similarly, if Keynesianism actually worked, then sending out $100, 000 to everybody would be a great idea.  But everybody in Washington knows what a disaster that would be.  If they know that, then they also know that they have been lying to everybody for decades.

Daniels Greenfield, of the blog Sultan Knish had a particularly pointed take on the Occupy Wall Street protesters the other day in a piece entitled Days of Rage, Hours of Opportunism. Go read the whole thing.  It is instructive.

The last time I passed the Days of Rage protesters in downtown Manhattan, amid their litter of expensive camping equipment, iPhone chargers, mobile hotspots and handwritten cardboard signs, they reminded me of people who walk up to you in bars pretending that they just discovered a new brand of beer they want to share with you. Those people are plants, so are the people with torn cardboard signs surrounded by a few thousand dollars of equipment.

There are people who have reason to be enraged at Wall Street, but they rarely show up at rallies. They are too busy working a second job in their seventies or sitting outside a factory that was shipped off to China. And the people who do show up at rallies invariably have nothing to do with Wall Street and are financed by billionaires who made their money, directly or indirectly, in the stock market.
These people call themselves the "vanguard."  You won't find actual out of work "working people" at the rally.  Instead, what you have is rich young people who have convinced themselves that they are the voice for the poor and downtrodden.  If only the "working people" could shake themselves out of their "false consciousnesses" and realize their true power.  Our intrepid vanguard of course needs to raise peoples awareness. Such are the pipe dreams of people who have never had to figure out where the next meal is coming from, whether to buy shoes for the kids or pay the mortgage, never had to eat beans and rice, or rice and beans. These soft hands have never actually handled a wrench or a screw driver, and wouldn't know a bolt from a nut.

What Occupy Wall Street and similar staged events around the country are intended to do is allow Obama to declare martial law and suspend elections, because otherwise the President and his party are going to have another pounding at the polls come November 2012.  The unions who support this administration have seen the handwriting on the wall when they tried to recall those Wisconsin legislators.  Now they have to get really dirty.  So far, the protests have been relatively peaceful, but I can't help but believe that they have worse planned.  Looking at Gunwalker, it is also clear that this administration has no compunction about killing people for the cause.  So keep a jaundiced eye on the protests that are no doubt coming your way soon.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

The Evil that Men Do

Fellow North Carolina blogger Randy Dye has more on the outrage perpetrated by Governor Bev Perdue this last week over at Randy's Right. In turn, Randy points to a Canada Free Press article entitled "Warning: The Threat of Suspended Elections is Real" in which the author makes the same point that I did, namely that Perdue put up a trial balloon for the Administration. Randy has a segment from the Rush Limbaugh show that claims that if the election were held today, Obama would lose in a landslide.

I had a brief time to talk to an elderly gentleman Friday, to see what he thought. He is a retired practicing attorney, so has some familiarity with the Constitution. His first thoughts were that it was impossible. But I pointed out that if you had an administration that did not care about the law, that might even be considered lawless, was it really inconceivable? He pondered that a while, then said that he didn't like that our politics had become so polarized that both sides see the other as evil. I asked if he believed Obama was a socialist? He agreed that Obama was a Marxist of some stripe, but said the theory behind socialism was not evil. I pointed out that in the twentieth century Marxists of various stripes had killed an estimated 100 million of their own people. Wasn't that evil? We both agreed that Socialist theory ignored human nature, and that was its fatal flaw.  I pointed out that even if the theory is not in and of itself evil, that those who lust for power over all eventually rise to the top in these countries, and great evil is done in Socialism's name.  We ended up agreeing that this will be the case until Christ comes again.

Judi McLeod, in her Canada Free Press article, makes a point that unless patriots act now to stop the administration by all legal means, the President will likely ensure his re-election by suspending elections.  I had a post on 25 October 2008 in which I highlighted Laura Hollis' article in that outlined the very situation we are now facing. A catastrophe is conjured up, doesn't matter what as long as it can get the people panicked, and so for the good of the nation, the President is suspending elections.  But what do we do to stop it?  First of all, this is not the time to hand the administration a ready made emergency, although that is exactly what the Left is trying to accomplish with things like it's Days of Rage.  But you can be prepared.  Have your food and water stored.  Have ammunition for defense of yourself and family, and your neighbors.  If you can afford it, have some of your cash in the form of gold or silver in small enough denominations to be readily tradeable should our economy turn in that direction.  Unplug as much as you can.  If you have a law degree, consider joining with others to find a way to harass the administration in the courts.  There may be other things we can do.  But, as Mike Vanderboegh has said, "No Fort Sumter's."

May God bring us safely through the mess we have created.