Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Free Trade versus Balanced Trade

Raymond Richman, Howard Richman, and Jesse Richman have put together a short piece explaining the difference between free trade and balanced trade entitled, of course, Free Trade vs. Balanced Trade over at the American Thinker. Free trade and balanced trade are often, though not always, the same thing. When countries are not deliberately putting their thumb on the scales, a practice known as mercantilism, free trade works to both parties advantage. But, when one party manipulates its currency to put the other country at a disadvantage, free trade no longer works as balanced trade. Indeed, one can look upon such manipulations as a form of warfare.  In the period from 1960 to 1990, the Japanese were practicing mercantilism against the United States.  Now, it is China.

You can read for yourself the effects that having an chronic trade deficit has had upon our economy, and as a result, on our standard of living. Hardest hit have been blue collar workers. Technology alone has hit the blue collar trades hard, but then to add the insults of an unfavorable trade balance has sucker punched them.  While costs have increased at an alarming rate, the actual income for thse people has been going backward.  And this effect is slowly creeping up into the white collar jobs as well.  Is it any wonder that Trump supporters boiling mad and that that anger is ready to boil over.  And Hillary calling them a "basket of deplorables" seems more like a badge of honor.  Well, here is the cause:
The Problem of Mercantilism
Most of the problems of international trade are related to the fact that a number of countries have been running chronic trade surpluses which cause chronic trade deficits among their trading partners. They are following the mercantilist prescription of running trade surpluses in order to grow their economies more rapidly.
Almost all economists have decried mercantilism. For example, Adam Smith, the founder of modern economics called it a policy of “beggaring all their neighbors,” because mercantilists intend to grow at their trading partners’ expense.
The problem is that mercantilism works if trading partners tolerate it, as John Maynard Keynes, the founder of modern macro-economics pointed out in the chapter about mercantilism in his 1936 magnum opus The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money:
[A] favorable [trade] balance, provided it is not too large, will prove extremely stimulating; whilst an unfavorable balance may soon produce a state of persistent depression. (p. 338)
China and several other Asian countries have successfully grown their economies at U.S. expense by following the classic recipe for mercantilism as laid out by University of Chicago economist Jacob Viner in 1948 and Chinese economist Heng-fu Zou in 1997.
Mercantilism gives faster economic growth and increased political power to the trade surplus countries, but gives trade deficits, slower economic growth, and reduced political power to their trade-deficit victims. The correlation between trade balances and changes in political power are striking, as we demonstrated statistically in a recent conference paper.
Unfortunately, the majority of the American economic profession has completely ignored the growing research about the destructive nature of chronic trade deficits and about ways to combat them. For example, in their popular international economics textbooks, now in their tenth and eleventh editions, Paul Krugman (with his co-authors) and Dominick Salvatore never consider the causes of chronic trade deficits, and never offer remedies to those trade deficits.
What Trump has been laying out as his economic policy is a series of steps that allow the Federal Government to balance trade by imposing tariffs when a country manipulates its currency, as China is doing, to re-balance the trade deficit.
Another is Prof. Peter Morici at the Robert H. Smith School of Business of the University of Maryland and former director of the Office of Economics at the U.S. International Trade Commission. He now supports a dollar-yuan conversion tax that would be applied to Chinese imports into the United States at a rate that would be adjusted to the rate of Chinese currency market interventions.
If Trump is elected, and is successful at putting an end to massive illegal immigration, vetting immigration from Muslim countries, and curtailing unbalanced trade, we might yet save, truly save, the middle class. The middle class is the hard working, tax paying, yeomanry of America, without whom both the poor and the rich do not survive. Beyond restoring the middle class, Trump also needs to work to reform education so that the middle class has the tools to compete in the world.  we can't all be rock stars and fashion designers. Somebody has to make cloth and guitars.  Why not us?

But more important than this, we need industries to actually make stuff in America because if we have to go to war, and we have to import this stuff, we don't want too be in a position of importing it from a hostile nation.  The steel industry has largely gone overseas.  The ship building industry has gone overseas.  Only Ford remains as a private company building cars and light trucks in the US, and Ford imports a lot of parts from overseas.  General Motors has become Government Motors, and Chrysler is now the American face of Fiat.  Fiat for crying out loud!  Just imagine fighting WWII today.  I realize we probably won't have to fight a WWII, but if we are not prepared to, we surely will.  Si vis pacem, para bellum-If you want peace, prepare for war.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Keith Lamont Scott Narrative Continues to Unravel

As you probably know from other sources by now, Keith Lamont Scott did indeed have a gun when he was shot by Charlotte police. No "book" was found at the scene, but Scott was wearing an ankle holster which can clearly be seen in the police body camera. So, the entire "reason" for rioting in the first place was made up. Why?

 First up is Where Did Keith Lamont Scott Get His Gun?. Scott, as it turns out, had a long and violent criminal history. In crime scene photo you can see he was carrying a Colt Mustang Plus II in a well worn ankle holster. As a convicted felon, Scott would have been prohibited from possessing a gun, much less carrying it in public. The gun in question, however, is a rarity and something of a collector's item. So where did Scott obtain the Colt Mustang Plus II?
This leads us to the probability that Scott’s gun was obtained on the criminal black market, and more than likely through theft. Criminals are unlikely to know the actual value of the firearms they steal, and a relatively obscure handgun like the Mustang Plus II in .380 amusingly doesn’t have the cachet among criminals that a stolen Glock or even a Hi-Point does among criminals.
It’s bizarre that the media isn’t pressing Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police to reveal information about the firearm in Scott’s possession, including and ATF tracing information that may indicate the origins of the pistol into the retail market, and whether it was ever reported stolen.
In an update, Joe Bruno reports that police confirm that the gun was reported stolen after a break in, and that the suspect says he sold the gun to Scott.

Next up, we find that Keith Lamont Scott Threaten his Wife Last Year with the gun he had when shot by police. This puts the lie to her statement, caught on her own video, that Scott did not own a gun. Indeed, we have it in court records that she in fact knew he did.  So, what was she trying to do with the lie that the gun was in fact a book, and what did she see that made her repeatedly tell Scott "Keith, don't do it!  Don't do it Keith!"?  Only she can tell us, but she is unlikely to be questioned by police.

Finally, Bob Owens notes that Scott Apparently Was Holding a Handgun, Not a Book Owens simulates Scott's position in the photo taken from CMPD body camera, and shows that indeed it does look like a gun. Under these circumstances, it makes perfect sense that the officer involved will not be charged. But will this convince Black Lives Matter, or indeed change their narrative?  Or, unless the thug actually shoots the police first, will they not be satisfied?  I suspect that latter.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

The Daily Show Makes the Case Against Gun Free Zones, but Doesn't Follow Own Logic to its Conclusion

Guy Benson, over on points out that Oops: The Daily Show Inadvertently Makes the Case Against Gun Free Zones. Go watch the Daily Show make the case that putting up a sigh telling Muslims to "get out" really has no effect on Muslims intent on murdering "infidels."
You know what’s also strange is this man genuinely thought people who go around blowing people up would be stopped by a sign? You realize you’re talking to terrorists, not vampires. They don’t need to be invited in, alright? Or maybe he’s onto something, because if you think about it, we’ve never tried that. We’ve never actually tried to repel terrorists with signs. Yeah, maybe that’s all the airports need is a sign that says “No Terrorists,” yes? Yeah, and then guys are going to be walking going, “Oh, I was going to blow up the airport, but the rules are rules and they said I can’t come in. They said I can’t. They said I can’t come in.”
I think I have made that point many times here about so called "gun free zones," AKA victim disarmament zones. If a criminal means to commit a crime in a gun free zone, he is not going to be put off by a sign, just as a terrorist is not going to be put off by a sign or for that matter, a law.

But, this is the part where I begin to have some trouble.  Listen to the audience laughing away at the presenters remarks, true though they be.  Now, if the liberal audience "gets it" when a liberal presenter delivers the "news" on the show, why doesn't that translate to the audience "getting it" in other contexts?  Why can they not stretch their brains just a little to find similar logic in similar circumstances?  The next leap is then to ask, why make a law that will affect only those not inclined to disobey the law in the first place?  Perhaps there is an unspoken agenda at work?

I am not, of course, trained as a lawyer, so the following represents my  opinion as a layman trying to follow the law.  I realize that many of these laws are designed to punish people of whom the authorities suspect of doing actual harm to people, through fraud, assault, theft, and other actual harms, but they can not prove it.  Having laws prohibiting things that might otherwise not be dangerous in and of themselves may  allow prosecutors to convict these people of "something."  The trouble is that these types of laws are too often turned on otherwise law abiding people.  Often the reasons for this are less than noble.  Too often, too, the very people who should be the subject of such laws are never charged with committing the crime. For example of 80,000 people who were denied a gun because of a background check, only 44 were prosecuted in 2012 according to Kelly Ayotte in Politifact. Politifact goes on to muddy the numbers some, but in the end finds that Ayotte's statement is "mostly true."

Under such circumstances, if the goal is simply to provide ordered liberty for everyone, the only legitimate reason for making laws under our Constitution, why add more laws that will be ignored not only by the criminal but by the prosecutors as well?  The law should not be designed to play "gotcha" with the citizen.  It should instead free him to be his best.

An apology to Mrs. Keith Scott

I must apologize to at least the wife of Keith Scott. She did witness the events  This video obtained and broadcast by NBC News, shows the events from the point of view of the wife of Keith Scott. In the video taken on a cell phone, you can hear her yelling at Keith to stay in the car. You can also hear the police officer yelling at him to drop the weapon. So, the police officer, a black man himself, thought he saw a weapon, and was frightened enough to have drawn his weapon and was shouting commands at Mr. Scott.  Clearly Scott was ignoring both his wife and the police officer.   What is unclear is why?  Did Scott mean to provoke the police?  Or was he just confused?

In the video, the wife yells to the police that Scott has just taken his medicine and that he won't hurt them.  Unfortunately for Scott, the police officer doesn't really know if what the wife is yelling is true, or if he even heard her.  The well known tunnel vision effect could have already set in, such that only by complete submission could Scott himself have prevented his being shot.  So, if it was a book, as the wife claims, that makes the anger understandable. It doesn't, of course, explain the rioting, looting, and generally acting like animals. Nothing justifies that behavior.  The mob takes out its anger on any number of targets who had nothing to do with what caused their anger.

The rioting assumes that every white person is a devil.  Clearly this isn't true, any more than the notion that every black person is a racist out to destroy every other race of men.  All people are in fact children of God, and everyone you meet potentially displays the image of God.  

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Keith Scott's Family Should Not Be Allowed to Show Their Faces in Public Again

According to Bob Owens over at Bearing Arms, it now appears the Scott family made up the story about how Keith Scott died, which story apparently set off the Charlotte Riots. Of course, that begs the question, how did the rioters come together so quickly and just decide, on the spot to start a riot? But before we get to that, let's look at Keith Scott's family's vicious behavior:
But Keith Lamont Scott was not shot by a white officer.
He was shot and killed by an African-American CMPD officer.
There was no book nearby.
And there was a gun, which other witnesses in the apartment complex admit seeing in Scott’s hands as officers warned him repeatedly to put it down.
Scott’s family apparently made up their story about how he died as they went along.
And so called journalists went along with it because the lie fit their narrative. But, how does the Scott family benefit from creating the lie, and how can they think it was doing the right thing to do so? I understand the emotional turmoil the people close to Keith Scott must feel, but it appears that the death of Keith Scott was caused by Keith Scott, in an apparent suicide by cop.  Was Scott associated with the Muslim movement, wherein he would supposedly gain benefits in heaven by martyring himself?  (Also note the difference between what a Christian martyr is versus Muslim Martyr.  In Christianity one can not initiate martyrdom by killing, or threatening to kill others.  No, you must be killed while peacefully practicing Christianity.  As with everything else, Muslims have it backwards.)

Back to the question asked earlier, about how the Charlotte Rioters came together so quickly and on the spot seemed to come up with a decision "we should riot."  To me this defies explanation.  Have these people got nothing better to do?  Don't any of them have to go to work in the morning?  What about taking care of their families?  Getting the kids bathed, teeth brushed, homework done, and off to bed?  If this was a "flash mob," brought together by social media, doesn't the press have equal access to social media?  Don't the police?  Bring an old fart, without a smart phone, I am not on social media.  Besides, the current "in" media changes every five seconds, so why bother.

Bob Owens has an answer to that as well in a piece entitled  American ISIS: Time to Treat Black Lives Matter as the Domestic Terrorist It Is. Black Lives Matter is in fact a Leftist terror group. Like all terrorists, they use violence, in this case rioting, and the threat of rioting, as a way to intimidate the population and get them to pressure their political leaders to give in to their (unstated) demands. As far as what their demands might be, it seems they want to be able to commit crimes without consequence. that's all. They want to be able to brandish a gun, and not have the police react. They want to be able to mug people, intimidate them, sell drugs, whatever, without consequence.

Of course, the people behind the scenes, the REAL  power, want to create chaos and destruction in hopes of provoking a sense of crisis.  As Rahm Emanuel said, a good crisis should never be waste. The powers behind BLM hope to be able to put in place laws that take away our rights and with them everything we have in this world.  Don't give in.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

The Skittles Analogy Is Right, Given Where We Find Ourselves

David French over at National Review Online has a post today asking When it comes to Syrian refugees, who really lacks compassion? National Review of course, has been part of the Never Trump brigade ever since he established himself in the race. I understand their concern. None the less, Trump Jr's analogy of the Skittles is not wrong, given where we find ourselves.

Yes, refugees are people, not candy.  Everyone understands that including Donald Trump Jr.  Leftist virtue signalling misses the point.  Indeed it always seems to miss the point.  Leftists are happy to make themselves feel good by taking in potentially dangerous refugees, as long as those refugees are settled somewhere far from them and their families. Frankly, I think these people see the problem, but are deliberately obtuse in order to give themselves an excuse to pat themselves on the back for their "compassion" with other peoples lives.  I don't for a minute think they care a  fig for the refugees.  They are just using the refugees as fodder for their own agenda.

French points out that as well, the number of jihadist who infiltrate the refugee population is less than the equivalent of 3 Skittles per bag.  Again, though, how low does the risk have to be to make it acceptable?  If instead of, say. 3%, the risk is only 1.5%, would you take that risk and eat the Skittles? How about 0.75%? No?   And even if Mr. French would, at some point, take a risk and eat the Skittles, what gives him, or anyone else the right to make that decision for another? French:
Yesterday, I wrote that Americans are still reluctant to face facts about the Muslim world. And one of those sad facts is that jihadists will exploit our compassion. They will exploit our openness. It is incumbent upon our national leadership (and the pundit class) to understand those facts and adopt policies that reflect that reality. If one terrorist out of 50,000 refugees brings down an airplane or detonates himself in Times Square, the ratio of terrorist to refugee is of cold comfort to the families of the fallen — especially when there was (and is) an alternative path, one that saves refugee lives while protecting American security.
I grow weary beyond speaking of Leftists who claim virtues not their own while placing the costs on others.  French points out that the choices being offered are not the only choices out there.  He is correct about that, and he is correct that we may still chose to use American power to protect the refugees over there instead of bringing them here.  We can be compassionate and protect American lives.  What French doesn't say is that it won't happen in a Hillary Administration.  We can only hope it happens in a Trump Administration.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

A Word to the Wise

Stewart Rhodes over at the Oath Keepers has The Truth About the NY and NJ Bombings (and the Minnesota Mall Attack): We Are At War You do know who Stewart Rhodes is, and who the Oath Keepers are, right?
Go armed at all times, in all places, and ignore idiotic signs and rules. I also highly recommend that you read Suarez’s recent books Killing the Active Shooter and The Final Weapon. Get your mind right, get trained, go armed, and be ready to be a protecting warrior when faced with evil rather than a bleating sheep, running away in terror, as this sad society conditions people to be. If you are present at such a terrorist attack, you are the first responder. We are at war. Act like it.
A word to the wise.

Our Fate is in God's Hands. May He be Merciful

Once again, Thomas Sowell has struck the proverbial nail on its proverbial head with the article over at entitled Our Political Predicament. I have often pondered the notion that it is exceedingly unfair to be tethered to political decisions that you personally can see are wrong, but you personally have to live with because your "neighbors" wanted it that way. I particularly remember the famous bumper sticker in the Clinton years "Don't Blame Me. I Voted for Bush." For youngsters in the readership, that would be Bush the Elder.  Such said it all, but made no difference.  We all got our belly full of Clintonian policies, whether we voted for them or not.

This then is the unfairness of democracies, and it is what the Founders hoped to protect us from by putting in safeguards that made our's a Republic.  The House of Representatives would be elected by the People.  The Senate would be selected by State Legislatures, and the President would be elected by the Electoral College based on votes by the people.  In case of a tie, the President would then be selected by the House of Representatives.  It was a delicately tuned system.  Unfortunately, this Constitutional balancing act has been breached by various means, including an Amendment turning the Senate into an arm of the people rather than the States, which has slowly reduced the power of State governments in making National law.  This in turn made other Amendments possible with which the States likely would not have gone along.  Our history throughout the Twentieth Century was changed because of the 17th Amendment.

So it is we find ourselves in a predicament:
My own take on this election is that the voter is in a situation much like that of an American fighter pilot in World War II, whose plane has been hit by enemy fire out over the Pacific Ocean and is beginning to burst into flames.
If he bails out, there is no guarantee that his parachute will open. But even if he lands safely in the ocean, he may be eaten by sharks. If he comes down on land, he may be captured by the Japanese and tortured and/or killed.
In other words, there are huge and potentially fatal risks. But, if he remains in the plane, he is doomed for certain. To me, Donald Trump represents multiple and potentially fatal risks. But Hillary Clinton is a certainty of disaster. Her vaunted "experience" is an experience of having repeatedly made decisions that turned out to be not merely wrong but catastrophic.

Quite so, and well said.  The analogy is an apt description of where we find ourselves.  I originally was not going to vote for the President, though I would do my duty for down ballot candidates.  But then I realized that God put me on this earth to do the best I could, not to be the perfect one.  Indeed, that is why he sent his Son into the world to take upon himself my multiple sins of commission and omission.  I, therefore, am free to eat the unclean food, so to speak.  I do not have to live as a monk, hoping to not commit a sin, yet doing so by not risking himself.  So, I will vote for Trump, and may God help us all.  For our fate is in his hands in any case.  May He yet be merciful.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Harley and the Davidsons

I just got through watching Harley and the Davidsons. I recorded it when it was on Discovery, but I delayed watching because of other pressing matters. I watched the first part one week, the next the next, and recently finished the third. Overall, I would say the story is a nice piece of fiction, loosely based on the history of the Harley Davidson Motor Company. Why do I make such a harsh assessment?  How about if I get to that after a little bit of explanation.

I have been fascinated by Harley Davidson motorcycles since I was a kid.  Unfortunately, I came along during the AMF years (1969 - 1981) when Harley was making crap motorcycles, and facing an influx of good Japanese motorcycles.  Harleys had a reputation for leaking oil constantly, and having parts fall off or break down.  I can remember a Harley Davidson rider riding with a group of us Gold Wing guys.  We got to the first rest stop, and he had to turn back because his mirror kept falling off, and this was in the mid 1990s.  But despite the hard times on which the Motor Company had fallen, its reputation was being rebuilt by Willie G. and the other investors who rescued the Motor Company from AMF.

I have been a Honda man myself, starting out on a Honda CB 750. After several years, I got a 1982 Honda Goldwing Interstate. My last motorcycle has been a 1998 Honda Goldwing SE. At this point I figure I am getting too old to learn a new motorcycle layout, and besides, they are expensive. But I still love Harley Davidson not only for what it has been, but what it represents.  In a world where American industries keep being outsourced, or sold to foreigners, the Harley Davidson story is the kind of pluck Americans love.  It is both triumphant and an underdog story.  Since buying back the Motor Company, each new machine has been incrementally better, more reliable, and more powerful.  The latest big twin engine, the Milwaukee Eight, could be the best yet.  Harley also listens to its customers, and is branching out to newer riders and a wider audience.

So, what is it about the 3 part mini series that doesn't quite feel right to me?  For one thing, some of the events never happened at all, or were changed to make the movie more dramatic, or the characters more sympathetic.  For instance, when Hendee comes to challenge the Davidsons at a local race, that event never really happened.  Walter also didn't get into fisticuffs with the head rider for Indian Motorcycles.  Yes, Indian and Harley Davidson were rivals, but I doubt they hated each other.  Frankly, a more realistic depiction of the characters would have been sympathetic enough.

What really disappointed me, though, was how one dimensional the characters were.  Each of the main characters seems to have had one, and only one side to his personality.  If you only knew the movie version, William Harley was a mad scientist/engineer who never ventured out on one of his own designs.  How could a person design motorcycles without actually riding them?  In fact Harley was "an avid racer and had a passion for testing out his new bikes."  Again, while Walter Davidson and Arthur Davidson might have attended more to the business end, Harley was no slouch at business either, and oversaw the wartime contract with the War Department.  The Davidson brothers had similar multifaceted personalities that could have been brought out by the movie makers.

I realize the movie was not an enthusiasts movie, but Harley Davidson produced a lot of bikes based on the 45 cubic inch engine. The 45 is equivalent to 737 cubic centimeters today, or the 750 class. Today, the Motor Company builds a 500 cc bike (the Hoglet), the 883, and the 1200, most are built using the big twins. but in the past, the 45 was a major seller for Harley Davidson, and very little was said about these or any other engine other than the knucklehead.

I liked the movie well enough for what it was, but it wasn't a historically accurate account, nor was it really an accurate portrayal of the men who make the Harley Davidson Motorcycle Company the icon it is.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Constitutional Carry in Missouri

In the press of important things to mention, and of course, with the news media calling the horse race between Trump and Hillary, one of the things overlooked recently was the passage of Constitutional Carry in Missouri, over riding Governor Nixon's veto.

I have noted elsewhere that I am a concealed carrier, but only because my state does not recognize Constitutional carry, or in other words, permitless carry of your handgun.  This is not in fact new, but a return to a historical mode of bearing arms.  In reality, the State's only real interest in making you attend a course, and then putting you through yet another background check, is to make sure you don't harm or injure someone else.  That's it.  The fact that you had to get a background check to buy the gun should be enough background check.  It is on you, the individual, to know the law, ignorance of which is no excuse.

Charles C. W. Cooke over at National Review has a short piece on the Missouri law at Missouri Becomes eleventh Constitutional Carry State. He writes:
When VerBruggen suggests that permitting systems don’t do anything at all, he means, of course, that they don’t do anything at all to the crime rate. Naturally, they do a number of things to the people who have to obtain them. Depending on the state, a permit can cost up to $450, it can involve time-consuming prerequisite steps, and it can delay for months the exercise of a constitutional right. If there were evidence that these impositions did something worthwhile, they might — might — be defensible. But there’s not. So they’re not. Good on Missouri’s legislature for acknowledging that. Let’s hope that others follow suit before long.
Exactly so. These permits, which require you to take a certain course of training, requires you to apply with variously the Sheriff, the County Clerk of Courts, or the State Police, pay a fee, and may require fingerprints and other so called "proof" don't do anything in terms of preventing crime. Here in NC, required training costs $125, my application fee for first time is $90, and $75 for renewal every five years. Then there is a fingerprint fee for first time permittees. Do you think a poor person without extra disposable income could afford that? NC is a fairly reasonable State.  After all that, it can take up to 90 days for the State to run a complete background check and issue the permit.  This in a "Shall Issue" State.

In point of fact, the Constitutionality of States requiring a permit to carry a concealed weapon is dubious at best.  Historically, people carried flintlock pistols, and later revolvers concealed with no permit.  The popularity of pocket pistols like the Colt Pocket Hammerless Pistol in .32 Auto at the turn of the last century shows that a lot of people still carried, if not daily, at least on occasion.  Hopefully, more States will come to recognize that keeping a permit system in order to provide an income stream for Sheriffs' departments provides no added benefit for the public.  In the interim, we find ourselves with a less than ideal system that is nonetheless better than it was.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

An Education Bureaucrat Accidentally Spills the Beans

Bruce Deitrick Price has another great piece today at the American Thinker on the plight of our young students as they try to learn to become adults.  The piece is entitled K-12 Parent X Takes On Principal Zero Here is Price's money quote, pulled from the letter written to Price by Parent X:
Finally the principal, aggravated and arrogant, told me schools no longer believe in academic excellence because demanding subjects no longer appeal to the mainstream student or to his parents.
He proclaimed that his program, his syllabus, his teachers were all fully in compliance with local, state, and federal standards, and he wasn't going to change a single thing to accommodate me or my daughter.
He said proudly he is a "Progressive," he has a Ph.D., and he had "helped" develop and design many of those standards, and he believed in them. He said any kid who wants a higher-level education for a professional career will have to get it somewhere else.
He was emphatic that neither I nor the school board member could change anything.
Many teachers today believe that the average person sits around all day drinking beer and watching NASCAR races. Such people believe that the average person has no knowledge or experiences that may pertain to what a student might need, or how to impart this to them.

I recently came across a "teacher" of English in one of our local High Schools. Having just gone down Six Forks Road and noting the cross streets, I noted that there were a number of English and American authors, particularly Coleridge, Barrett and Browning memorialized by naming streets after them. When I met her, I pointed this out to her, and learned that she did not know of Robert Browning, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, or Samuel Coleridge. She was also not familiar with William Carlos Williams, Wallace Stevens, or Ezra Pound. She had heard vaguely of T. S. Eliot and Alfred Lord Tennyson, though Robert Frost and Walt Whitman might as well have been neighbors at the beach. So, what did this person learn herself at school, and what, if anything of use, can she impart to her students?

My Granddaughter recently entered a local Christian school because the County would not place her in a school with a decent academic record.  Rather, for their own convenience they want to scatter students like my Granddaughter around to help raise the otherwise poor academic results of their school system.  The public schools had not been teaching cursive writing, leaving students with stick and ball printing skills only.  Fortunately, the Christian school does teach cursive, and my Granddaughter is picking it up fast.  I worry though that she may already have succumbed to cruel punishment they inflicted on her in an attempt to teach basic arithmetic.

More from Price:
What does this principal do all day? Put another way, what is his real job? I think the best word is enforcer. His job is to lay down the law to irritating parents who are slow to get the message. If they or their kids still have any dreams, they should give them up. Accept average.
My impression is that all the bureaucrats in education, such as this principal, make $50,000 more than they could make in the real world. His main skill is not technical, professional, or educational. His main skill is bamboozling parents. He tells the community how much education they can have. He has to deliver this message: You want education? You can't handle education. You're peasants. Mediocrity is good enough for you. Eat cake"
But let's look even deeper. What is a Progressive? That's just a fancy word for Socialist or Communist. They set low goals, especially in education. Apparently, they want people to be permanently weak and controllable. They don't want to educate people who might replace them or compete with their own children. Progressives always seem to be training an underclass who will be happy to stay at the bottom, so that Progressives can 00rise to the top.
Just so.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

VCDL sues Katie Couric and Stephanie Soechtig

You may remember several months ago, Katie Couric produced a deceptive "documentary" along with Stephanie Soechtig about gun violence in America.  A number of news sources, including the Virginia Citizens' Defense League  (VCDL), claimed they had proof that the film had been edited to make members of VCDL appear to be a bunch of bumbling fools when asked about the latest thing on the gun grabbers wish list, Universal Background Checks (UBC).

Well, now the VCDL is suing Couric and Soechtig.  Matt Vespa has the story over at entitled See You in Court: Gun Rights Group Files Lawsuit Against Katie Couric Over Deceptive Edits in Documentary. Note that I am a former member of VCDL, and once held a Virginia Concealed Carry permit. It's good to see that there are occasional cosequences for such behavior.

So, just to recap, why are gun rights people so adamantly against the idea of UBC?

 First and foremost, the current background check system does not work as it was intended.  Remember, when it was first proposed the idea was that criminals would not be able to get hold of a gun.  Predictably, (and predicted) the criminals simply went black market, and bought stolen guns, or stole them themselves.  Universal background checks wouldn't improve the situation, because criminals would still just go around the background check system.  So, what is it that the politicians who are pushing UBC want to achieve?  Remember that the politicians actually know these facts.  Keep in mind that the politicians won't actually say why they want UBC, but in other countries a UBC has usually been turned into a registrations scheme that allows the government to know where every firearm is located, and then allows them to seize them at will.  This usually precedes a tyrant taking over.

Well, but what about the guns held by criminals?  The government will not know where their guns are held.  True, but then the criminals are not likely to resist the tyrant.  More likely they will go along in hopes of reaping some of the spoils.  No, it is the citizen, the salt of the earth, law abiding types, who have been betrayed in the most cynical ways, who are most likely to resist.  Without guns, however, their resistance is largely futile.

Second, on a more philosophical note, but just as important, for laws have to be based on a philosophical foundation, background checks represent a prior restraint on a civil right..  Unlike your other civil rights, you must prove to the satisfaction of some unelected bureaucrat that you are worthy to exercise a right that all people have by virtue of being born human.  This is petty tyranny in its own right, never mind what the gun grabbers want.  After all, the unelected bureaucrat is supposed to be a public servant, not your master.  What master allows his servants to be better armed than he is?  Then there is this little inconsistency in the law:  one must show a photo identification to buy a gun, but the Supreme Court has just said that it is racist to do so, since it won't overturn an appeals court ruling to that effect.  Is the background check law then racist?  Should it also be struck down?  One wonders at the tangled web that is being created here.

As Matt Vespa says, "...good on VCDL for recording the audio of their interview as an insurance policy..."  I do hope they win.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Deplorable is as Deplorable does.

Hillary's claim that half of Trump supporters are a "basket of deplorables" was just too much for me. The more I thought about it, the madder I got.  Again, Mr. Trump is not my ideal candidate, but at least he seems to be a real American, and he at least says the things most real Americans feel need to be done.  Hillary, on the other hand, seems almost like some kind of "pod person" from an old science fiction show, and Obama seems positively alien. Jesus said you will know them by their fruits.  Deplorable is as deplorable does, and it is a badge of honor to be despised by the despicable.

Christopher Chantrill has an article over at the American Thinker today entitled Hillary's "deplorables" ain't the half of it.  The heart of Chantrill's piece is here:
But really. Let’s have a reality check about the -isms and the -phobias.
Racism is a problem? You mean in the country that went to war to free the slaves, that passed the civil rights acts? That elected a black president? Sexism? You mean the country that gave women the vote, that has encouraged women, indeed, has mandated that women get preference at the university and the workplace? Homophobia? You mean the country that doesn’t riot in indignation when elite gays get to harass the little people for not wanting to bake a gay wedding cake? Islamophobia? You mean the country in which a supermarket checker gets to wear the hijab, a defiant statement of separation and act of segregation in my book, and gets to live to tell the tale?
You know what I think? I think that the ordinary white middle class has shown the most amazing patience and sturdiness as they have marked time for the last 50 years while liberals deployed government force to help blacks, women, gays, Hispanics, Muslims at their expense.
Out of an abundance of Christian love, and a realization that we are all God's children, we have tolerated all of these "deplorables" in our midst, in the hope that they would each, in their turn, come to realize that they had been fortunate enough to have found themselves in the best of all (earthly) circumstances.  Is the United States perfect?  Certainly not, and never was, nor will it be.  But if you measure the United States against Utopia, you are using the wrong yardstick.  The proper measure of the US, is against every other system of government that exists, or has existed, in the world.  Perfection awaits the Kingdom of God.  But, for those not born here, perhaps if you feel your life was better where you came from, it would behoove you to return there.  For those who were born here, unlike the old Soviet Union, or North Korea today, you can leave for a better world.  No one is holding you here, and we would be much better off without your constant condemnation.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

My Moral Compass Is Intact

I don't read as many other columnists as, say, Jonah Goldberg reads, and unfortunately, I can not follow the news like he can, because I have other things to do.  It is not my life, or rather, it may be, but no one is paying me for my opinions.  So, when I say I don't know of any conservatives who have been defending the moral equivalence statements made by Trump, as stated by an outraged Goldberg at in Trump Smashes the Moral Compass of Conservatism. I mean that. No one I know is defending Trump's statements about Putin. Another thing, though, where was Goldberg s moral outrage when Bush 43 said similar things?

Understand, Goldberg is one of my favorite writers. I have been following him since the early 1990s, when he was having conversations with his couch. So, Please go and read it for yourselves, as I don't have time today to pull a bunch of quotes.

Read it?  Good.  Let me just say that like a lot of folks, I don't trust Mr. Trump.  He was not my guy.  Here's what I have come, reluctantly, to realize.  We know what Hillary will do.  We already don't like what Obama is doing, and Hillary will do far worse because Obama has laid the groundwork for her to do far worse.  On the other hand, we don't know what Trump will do.  But there is a chance that Trump will do more of the right things.

There really is no other hand.  Neither Gary Johnson, nor Jill Stein has a snowball's chance.  I know many libertarians who have thought long and hard about voting for Johnson.  The election, for better or worse, is between Trump and Hillary.  Any vote not for Trump is, unfortunately, viewed by the voting system as a vote for Hillary. Hillary will certainly view it that way, and claim a mandate.  And here I come back to this:  You know what Hillary will do, and it ain't good.  Hillary views us as "enemies" rather than as people with different views, whose views need to be weighed into the whole.  Trump, on the other hand, seem to want to solve the problems of all Americans.  Given our choices, it seems worth taking a flyer on him.


Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Keeping and Bearing Arms as a Civil Rights issue

Jenn Jacques over at Bearing Arms has a post that points to another post by Dom Raso at the NRA entitled Too Many Americans Don't View Second Amendment as a Civil Rights Issue. I get it. Being raised on the notion of racism and minority rights as civil rights, we don't here to much about the older universal rights. But the universal rights were the first civil rights. The right to speak, the right to spread your ideas in print, which is the freedom of the press, the right to practice your religion, all free from Government interference (not the interference of the people). Among those rights, of course, is the right to defend yourself when attacked.

I have on occasion noted that if the current administration treated the right to keep and bear arms as it does the right to healthcare, then every individual would be required to obtain and train with an M4 Carbine, which would of course handily do away with the "assault weapon" debate that currently distracts us from real issues.  But, what is a "right?"  The term is loosely bandied about and many things are said to be "rights," of which the Government must get into the middle, and usually must pay someone or other something, all of which is designed to get "free stuff" for some at the expense of everyone else. Here is one definition of a right provided by The Free Republic
A right is the sovereignty to act without the permission of others. The concept of a right carries with it an implicit, unstated footnote: you may exercise your rights as long as you do not violate the same rights of another—within this context, rights are an absolute.
A right is universal—meaning: it applies to all men, not just to a few. There is no such thing as a "right" for one man, or a group of men, that is not possessed by all. This means there are no special "rights" unique to women or men, blacks or white, the elderly or the young, homosexuals or heterosexuals, the rich or the poor, doctors or patients or any other group.
A right must be exercised through your own initiative and action. It is not a claim on others. A right is not actualized and implemented by the actions of others. This means you do not have the right to the time in another person’s life. You do not have a right to other people’s money. You do not have the right to another person’s property. If you wish to acquire some money from another person, you must earn it—then you have a right to it. If you wish to gain some benefit from the time of another person’s life, you must gain it through the voluntary cooperation of that individual—not through coercion. If you wish to possess some item of property of another individual, you must buy it on terms acceptable to the owner—not gain it through theft.
The emphasis is mine. That last, "not gain it through theft" includes not gaining through the actions of Government to tax one person and give it to another-or in other word, redistribution of wealth.

Where there is a right, there is also a concurrent responsibility.  You can exercise your rights only so far as you do not interfere with the rights of others.  So, while I have the right to bear arms, which means carrying them in public, I do not have the right to endanger innocent others.  The mere carrying of a gun does not endanger others.  The mere knowledge that I am carrying also does not endanger others, no matter what they may say. (No one has the right to restrict another based solely on their own internal feelings, real or imagined.)  But I may not brandish my weapon without being under threat of attack.  And I may not fire my weapon in such a way as to endanger another.

Criminals will always disobey the law, as well as steal the rights of others.  That is what makes them criminals.  But we don't have a problem with the normally law abiding citizen brandishing their weapons and shooting up the place.  No, the problem is that certain members of Government wish to steal our right to keep and bear arms (remember what I said about criminals.)  More Americans need to assert their civil right to keep and bear arms.  It is not truly a Constitutional right, because it exists prior to, and independent of that document.  But it is a civil right.

Ever since man has walked the earth, he has been at a disadvantage relative to the other beasts.  Man has no natural weapons,  Instead, what man has is the ability to shape weapons from the items he finds around him.  As such, he has always carried some sort of weapon, whether it be a stone knife and spear, a bow and arrows, or, as today, a gun.  Whether you personally feel the need to exercise this fundamental civil right is entirely your choice, based on your evaluation of your risks and your situation.  But your situation may change, and you should not be willing to give up any of your civil rights.  If you happen to be one of those who want to tell everyone else what to do, you might want to think about that.

Monday, September 5, 2016

The Racism at the Heart of Democrat Politics

I am told constantly by white liberals "you just don't understand.  Thousands of poor blacks can't even get down to the DMV to get a photo identification card, let alone get a drivers licence!"  Really?  Thousands? Apparently Samuel Tolley doesn't agree. He writes at the American Thinker a piece entitled Court Ruling Against Discrimination Discriminates Against African Americans Tolley:
Since the court ruled that African Americans disproportionately lack the ability to obtain proper ID, why should they need proper identification at all? If the court’s logic is fully applied, African Americans should be exempt from obtaining driver’s licenses, or any other government-approved form of ID necessary to purchase; alcohol, tobacco, medication, or perform any function which requires proper ID.
The court all but stated that African Americans are inferior and in need of special benefits; therefore, all us black folks can thank the Democratic Party for saving us once again

Except that isn't really what the court, or the lawyers who brought the suits were really saying.  That was, as the "liberals" like to say, code.  They couldn't tell us what they were really up to, because the American people, would be up in arms.  If they were speaking honestly, here is what the lawyers' brief might have sounded like:

"Look, your honor, we Democrats have so mucked up the Great State of North Carolina, in the hundred years we were in control, that in all probability, the voters won't give us another chance for another hundred years.  But North Carolina has become a battleground State for National elections. We desperately need to win here to win for Hillary.  So, we need resurrect as many voters from the cemeteries as possible, and bring as many ringers in as possible, to skew the vote in our favor.  That's also, your honor, why we keep fighting the new voting districts.  Of course, our districts were also gerrymandered, and race was a factor, a fact we can't admit to in public.  Please, your honor, we can't get around the voters without your help, to get back in power and continue to ruin this great country."

But of course, the lawyers can't say that in open court, and the court has to couch the language of its ruling in politically correct tones, but it is racist to the core, and they should be ashamed.  All of the blacks I know earn a living and pay their own way just like the rest of us.  So maybe the Democrats should stop using poor blacks as an excuse, and maybe Democrats should stop being so racist, since there are more poor whites, and try lifting people up instead.  The first thing in lifting someone up is to set expectations high.  In this case, I don't think it is too much to expect each voter to prove who he or she is.  African Americans have as much to lose from diluting their votes as whites or Asians.

Saturday, September 3, 2016

At least a Limerick evokes an honest belly laugh

There was a time when a gentleman read the Bible, could recite great poetry, could shoot a gun straight, and could diagnose and fix his own car.  There was a time when a gentleman was a man first, and reading, writing, and knowing both history and morality were a part of his education.  Great poetry, like music, speaks directly to the heart, and conveys great truths about ourselves, and humanity, that one can not get any other way.  So, it is with a certain amount of regret that I find modern poetry has fallen into such disrepute.  But more, I note that the times of a civilization's greatest works of poetry correlate with the times of a civilization's peak vigor.  Whether there is a causative relationship is for others to decide, but I find it disturbing that our arts have fallen on hard times, whether it is poetry, or painting, or drama.  It is as if a gold mine has played out, and the few remaining residents of the ghost town can only sit about and regale each other of stories of past glory.
Bruce Deitrick Price has a great article on the plight of modern poetry that I thought readers here might find interesting. He makes many of the same points I made in the post entitled the Like Everything Else It Destroys, the Left Murdered Art. Price's post is entitled The Plight of Poetry. Price writes with a clarity and a lucidity that I can only hope for, and of course, he is correct. A few quotes should give you the flavor, and I hope, encourage you to check out his blog:
Quick, name a famous living poet. I bet that 99.99% of Americans can’t do this. When I was a boy, they actually interrupted pop music on the radio to say that T. S. Eliot had died. Can you imagine this today? Once the lusty Queen of the arts, Poetry now seems dithering and irrelevant. What happened??
I will save you looking up when T. S. Eliot died by just telling you he died in 1965.
Fifty years ago we still had great and greatly famous poets. But after World War II, the universities swelled in number and size, and professors swelled with ambition. Poetry got kidnapped by publish-or-perish careerists (because universities count poems as “scholarly publications”). MFA programs claiming to teach the “craft” of poetry--never mind that it’s an art--sprouted like mushrooms. Dozens of little magazines, subsidized by university budgets and infused by academic hauteur, claimed to present true poetry. A small group (were there even a thousand of these people?) wrote, published, reviewed, praised, and gave awards to each other’s poems, all the while sniffing disdain at anything from outside their circle.
Robert Frost was also still alive when I was a student. William Carlos Williams, Wallace Stevens, and others were still alive, or recently deceased. Only a generation earlier, they had known in a similar way Alfred Lord Tennyson, the Brownings, Ezea Pound, and Walt Whitman, to name a few.

The great poets did not feel the need to reference other poets. Indeed, I suspect the modern habit of referencing other poets is to show that the writer of such poetry has read and studied these other poets. It is like a song about music; nice, but insipid.  But poetry wasn't always an effete and obscure affair, and didn't always mumble like a bad actor with poor enunciation.  Time was when poems, sang of great victories, and bitter defeats, of otherworldly loves, and star crossed lovers.  In short, poems, great poems inspired great thoughts:
Whereas McPoetry is usually tired and gauzy, great poetry is typically energetic and lucid. Opaque poetry? Unless it’s at the level of Ezra Pound and Wallace Stevens, let’s not go there. (Billy Collins, a poet laureate, crafts his poems so they can be understood on a first reading; you can guess that McPoets hate this guy.) The language of great poems is generally intriguing on its own; but typically you fall through the language into the story or epiphany. No story or epiphany? Why write? And great poetry almost always gives you a grin or a chill, a sigh or a shudder. They’re emotional. McPoems tend to murmur faintly.
Who today writes with vigor and emotion? Our songwriters may be the exemplars. One of the pleasures of being in a Karaoke bar is to really study the lyrics on the screens, study them as if they are great poetry. Some are. You just know, if they published a book of Recent Poetry That Actually Made Somebody’s Heart Beat Faster, most of it would be by the Beatles and 50 other rock and rollers, Tin Pan Alley wordsmiths, blues and country singers, rappers, and other outcasts.
One finds better writing in a Limerick than in much of modern poetry. At least a Limerick evokes an honest belly laugh.