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?