Saturday, February 29, 2020

Gun rights in the news

I have two stories today.  The stories themselves are related only by the fact that they are gun related stories.

First up is a story at the American Thinker entitled There's A Very Good Reason The Media Is Silent About The Milwaukee Mass Shooting by Andrea Widburg. So you don't have to read the whole post, I'll give you a hint: the shooter doesn't fit the narrative.
On Wednesday, an angry ex-employee got a gun, put a silencer on it, went to the MillersCoors facility where he had once worked, and shot five people to death before shooting himself. One would expect to have a barrage of news stories about America's gun violence problem and the need to ban guns. After all, on Tuesday, before the shooting happened, the Democrat candidates were all over each other trying to explain why each would be more effective at destroying the Second Amendment. Instead, we got crickets.
The reason for the media's silence became apparent when the media identified the shooter: 51-year-old Anthony Ferrill was black. This meant that the media couldn't use its white supremacist narrative to justify grabbing guns.
The narrative broke down even further when social media posts revealed that Ferrill may well have been an Elizabeth Warren–supporter, an assumption arising from the fact that his wife proudly posted a selfie last year at an Elizabeth Warren rally
Oh, well, of course, so we'll just bury this one, shall we?

When we complain about the media's leftist bias, it is this sort of thing that is often the source or our charge.  It's not that they slant the news they report, which they often do, but how often news that doesn't fit the so called "narrative" is ignored.  Then, to make matters worse, when a columnist jumps on the gun control bandwagon, he often reports that good guys with guns don't stop the crimes. or that all shooters are somehow white skinheads.

Next up is a story from by Matt Vespa entitled The Debate Is Over Concerning This Part of the Second Amendment?:
The Left has long lost this debate, but they keep trying to relitigate it on the campaign stump. The Second Amendment grants the individual right to keep and bear arms. That was the landmark D.C. vs. Heller decision, though it applied only to federal enclaves. The McDonald v. Chicago decision extended this right to the states proper. But the Left is obsessed with the militia portion of the amendment: “A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed”
The Left never admits defeat. They just don't have the right messaging, or something. In any case, what they are doing is not debating, but instead spouting talking points and hurling insults. The debate has raged since before I was born, but intensified in the 1960s. It seemed that the Left had won with the Gun Control Act of 1968. But there followed a number of scholarly works by familiar names such as Alan Korwin, David Koppel, David Hardy, of course David Codrea and Mike Vanderboeg, as well as John Lott and Gary Kleck. There were others of course. These scholars found that what many believed to be true was actually so, namely that guns were used many more times for defensive purposes than were used in crime. That criminal use of guns, far from being an epidemic, was concentrated in a few urban centers. In fact, if we take these major urban centers out of the statisics, America is a pretty safe place.

Please read both articles, which are short.  Got to get going now.  Bye!

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

A Rose By Any Other Name...

All of the Democrat candidates for president have been proposing socialist prescriptions for America, but why go with a come lately when you can vote the real thing.  Bernie Sanders has been a socialist since he first ran as a mayor in of Burlington, Vermont in the mid 1970s.  I have a friend who was an original Bernie Bro back in the day.  Even then they were dreaming of "throwing up people against the wall" when the revolution came.  My friend, of course, has repented of these ideas, but sadly, Bernie has not.  But if you are a fan of socialist dictators, vote for Bernie.

Bernie was recently interviewed by 60 Minutes in which he said that everything Fidel Castro did wasn't bad. That's true enough, I guess. And Hitler built the Autobahns and instituted a 40 hour work week. But in both cases, these are not why we loathe these regimes. First, both regimes restricted liberty and were massively authoritarian. Second, when people disagreed with the leaders, both regimes resorted to killing people on an industrial scale. Indeed, this has been the main trademark of all socialist regimes, including the Soviet Union, Communist China, Pol Pot's Cambodia, Cuba, or...well...wherever socialism has been tried.  Socialists see it as a feature, not a bug.

Sanders, and the compliant media, are now trying to sell socialism as "Democratic Socialism," but as Dave Ball makes clear at the American Thinker today in an article entitled Rebranding Socialism As Democratic Socialism, it is still socialism, and it still stinks.
As we approach this year’s elections, the purveyors of socialism have tried to rebrand their product by calling it “democratic socialism.” The sales force and marketing department of democratic socialism, the Democratic Party, and the mainstream media, are plying a new fairy tale that democratic socialism is nothing like socialism. No siree, nothing like it, they sing in chorus. The chorus, however, is badly out of tune. Democratic socialism is not the wonderland of inclusiveness, social justice, equality, and happiness it is advertised to be. It will not end human exploitation and it will not save the planet. It is still socialism, just with a new name. Socialism has never worked for any nation and it will not work in this country, even with a new name.
Please go read about Sanders' policy proposals, and realize that if he gets even one of these proposals through, we will lose a great deal of freedom to determine how we live our lives. Sanders says he opposes authoritarian regimes, and yet what he proposes are authoritarian policies. Whether you call it Democratic Socialism, or Communism, or Fascism, it is all the same, and it isn't good for you. Indeed, as Dennis Prager says today at
First, truth is not a left-wing value. As I have said and written ever since studying communism and the left in graduate school at the Columbia University Russian Institute, truth is a liberal value and a conservative value, but it is not a left-wing value.
What does this mean? It means that whatever Sanders says about his proposals, you should probably take it with a grain of salt. And since the entire Democratic politician class has become enthralled with Socialism you really can't believe a word they say. Vote for them at your own risk, literally.

Sunday, February 23, 2020

To Believe In Climate Change or Not To Believe In Climate Change: That Is The Question

It is time, I suspect, to do another piece on that endless hoax known as global climate change.  Yeah, that's the ticket, global climate change.  Because nothing says scientific consensus like the idea that the climate we have today is the same as it always was.

Now, I am always amazed that people, like music teachers for example, who can count, but are otherwise ignorant of any higher mathematics, physics, chemistry, or even biology, want to tell me how they believe the global climate change hoax is real.  And of course their claim to authority is because a "consensus of scientists" have said so.  But if these people understood science at all, they would realize that scientific truth does not depend on how many people sign onto a theory.  You don't get to vote on a scientific truth.  If scientific "truth" depended on a "consensus of scientists" we would still believe that the space between stars and planets was filled with something called " the ether."

Today at the America Thinker Marc Sheppard has a particulary clever take down of the global climate change hoax using Edgar Allen Poe's poem "The Raven" as a literary device.   His piece, entitled
Quoth The Raving: "How Dare You" is a satiric take on the climate change hoax that nevertheless presents a number of facts that tell us that the climate is pretty much where it historically has been since the last ice age.

While the satirical poem contains a number of facts itself, the true power of the piece is in the links provided, which I urge readers to check into.  This does make reading this a long reading session, so set aside some time.

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

The Difference Between Republicans and Democrats

I have been a Republican all my life because the Republican party actually stood for certain principles.  The party stood for small government, free enterprise, but first and foremost it was an anti-slavery party.  The party was founded in 1854 in Ripon, Wisconsin.  The first Republican President was Abraham Lincoln. After the Civil War, it was Republicans who past the Civil War Amendments that acknowledged the citizenship of blacks, their right to vote, their right to equal protection under the law. Had not the Democrats undermined the effect of these amendments with their Ku Klux Klan and their Jim Crow laws, we might not be having the racial divisions we have today. Thus, it is surprising to me that the majority of blacks today vote exclusively for Democrats.

AS discussed by Mike Conrad at the American Thinker yesterday in an article entitled What Really Makes Democrats and Republicans Different, the fact is that the Democrats have no principle except winning at all costs. For example why would the LGBTQ etc community make common cause with Muslims? Muslims who want to establish Sharia Law would kill Gays under the same Sharia. For that matter, Muslims are opposed to abortion in all but the most restricted cases, yet Democrats are pushing for abortion on demand up through and even post birth. How do these two groups make common cause? But these are the kinds of groups that are gathered under the umbrella of the Democrat party, as detailed by Conrad.
The Democratic Party today embraces sharia-compliant females — à la Brooklyn's Linda Sarsour and Minnesota's Ihlan Omar — along with hyper-feminists and LBGT constituencies.
The Democrats also embrace expansive abortion rights and seem to be moving to the point of legalizing abortion up to the minute of birth. New York State has legalized such a broad definition.
ronically, Islamic countries and culture are notoriously restrictive with abortion and lethal to any LBGTs who fall into their hands. So why would practicing Muslims, such as Mmes. Sarsour and Omar, attach themselves to the Democratic Party?
How do the two of them reconcile Islamic culture's honor killing, repression of sexuality, and mutilation of women with the Democratic Party's acceptance of sexual deviance? Likewise, how does the Democratic Party reconcile these ladies' embrace of a retrograde creed?
There are other issues. How does one reconcile extreme green politics (which crushes business) with promises of good-paying jobs for union workers?
This is the weakness of the Democratic Party. It is a jumbled mess of constituencies that are objectively hostile to one another.
Conrad claims that the problem of objectively hostile groups is a weakness. But then, as his article makes clear, the Democrats have been playing this game for over a hundred years. Seems to me that maybe it isn't a weakness at all. What the Democrats have discovered is that most their voters are concerned with their own lives, and don't really pay attention to what other are doing.  And it doesn't hurt to have the media on the Democrats' side.  So, a Democrat candidate can speak to a group of factory workers in New Jersey about raising the minimum wage and screwing the capitalists, then speak to a bunch of feminazis at Oberlin College about expanding abortion.  Probably a number of the workers enjoy hunting and shooting, while most of the feminazis support gun control. 

Due to a combination of limited attention to things that don't immediately affect their lives, and the tendency to believe things that confirm their biases, most people remain unaware of the fact that all these promises can not possibly kept.

Indeed, this ability to promise the moon and then blame their opponents for their failures has worked so well, that Republicans find themselves often in the position of being the more effective managers of their unconstitutional policies.  If only someone would for once stand up for that scrap of parchment called the Constitution.

Sunday, February 16, 2020

Not My Problem

I graduated college back when the dinosaurs roamed the earth, with a degree in Civil Engineering and no debt. I paid for college as I went along. I worked in the Library, graded papers for professors (which required me to sollve the problems first!) and took a year off to work for NASA Marshall Space Flight Center. Now, we see the Democrat candidates offering to wipe out the loans that students voluntarily took on to get their degrees. How is their debt my responsibility? Apparently Margot Cleveland at The Federalist agrees with me. She writes at The Student Debt You Willingly Took On Is Not My Problem To Solve. Cleveland writes:
There are many ways to counter these arguments, based on both economics and equity. But it’s hard to counter soundbites with sense, so instead, here are my inquiries for these politicians, the press, and all the students demanding relief from the burdens of their debt: Tell me your sob stories from age 12 on, not what you can’t do now, but what you couldn’t do then. Tell what you had to do then and through college to avoid what is now, to you, crushing student debt.
What time did you get up to deliver papers in junior high? How many hours a week did you work since 14 to save for college? How many toilets did you scrub? How many high school football games did you miss because you were working? What dream college did you forgo to avoid taking out student loans?
Which 8 a.m. class did you take so you could complete your major’s requirements and still work in the afternoon? Which bus line did you take to get to your job because you didn’t borrow to buy a car? What job did you work full-time while completing your MBA at night?
None of my business? You’re right. Nor is your student debt my business or my problem.
There is no doubt in my mind that colleges have increased tuition at a breathtaking pace, which is unconscionable. I also believe that many of the people who took what are essentially worthless courses probably did not need to go to college. College is not a place to party and grow up.  You are expected to be an adult when you go there.  And employers who demand a degree, even one in underwater basket weaving, do a great disservice to young people who still have the grit and determination to succeed. Furthermore, there are a number of trades where one can obtain training at a more reasonable price, and begin working within a year or so.  Tradesmen do not have $100,000 in student debt.

Saturday, February 15, 2020

Prepare to be disappointed

I have been waiting patiently for AG Bill Barr to lower the boom on a number of those who staged a coup against President Trump.  Indeed, I had high hopes that Barr might finally get some justice for the perpetrators of Fast and Furious, the Obama era scheme to send guns to Mexican drug cartels in hopes of tying the guns to the deaths of Americans and stir up sentiment for gun control.  After a year, I am losing hope, and with the decision not to charge McCabe, I think Barr has shown his hand.

Indeed, it seems that I am not alone. Todd Gregory and Erik Gregory have a post up at the American Thinker entitled Has The Deep State Beaten Bill Barr? that makes the point that what Barr is really doing is trying to run out the clock on Trump. They write:
Skeptical conservative voters were admonished to be patient, and that the likes of Comey, Susan Rice, Loretta Lynch, and Brennan would soon be charged for their crimes and jailed. Yet, amid the frantic waving of pom-poms, something perfectly predictable happened on the way to the Deep State's day of reckoning. The days turned to into weeks, the weeks into months, and now a full year.
It has been said that justice delayed is justice denied. It has now been more than three years since the broad outlines of the coup became public knowledge, as explicated in excruciating forensic detail by Mark Levin, Greg Jarrett, Deroy Murdock, Mollie Hemingway, and John Solomon, among numerous others. And still, to this day, no Deep State coup-plotter has been charged with a crime. Fringe associates of Trump sit in prison (e.g., Manafort, Stone) or wallow in legal limbo (Flynn) for "crimes" of obvious government entrapment that pale into nothingness compared to the open and audacious felonies of Comey, Clapper, Brennan, and their ilk. Indeed, the coup-plotters have cashed in and monetized their notoriety, with bestselling books, shameless GoFundMe Pages, lucrative cable news contracts, and an open-door forum to espouse their anti-Trump venom on all forms of media.
And what of the sainted Bill Barr? Barr's DOJ has all but exonerated McCabe of any crimes -- indeed, on February 14, the DOJ indicated that it would not pursue charges against McCabe. If Barr and the DOJ are unwilling to hold McCabe accountable, why would conservatives expect anything different with Comey, Brennan, or Clapper, or Obama, or any of the others who were so central to the coup that continues to this day? It's business as usual at Barr's DOJ — Republicans continue to be targeted (e.g., Duncan Hunter), while Democrats (Hillary, Comey, McCabe, take your pick) skate free every time.
If you, like me had hopes that the swamp might be drained, prepare to be disappointed.

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Wishing Rush Limbaugh God Speed

I was stunned yesterday by the news that Rush Limbaugh has stage IV lung cancer. Of course, I wish Rush God Speed in his recovery. My prayers are definitely with him.  Rush has been for me an island of conservative thought in a sea liberal and leftist propaganda.

One theory that supposedly explains the Rush Limbaugh phenomenon is that we tend to listen to things that confirm our biases, and ignore data that counters our prejudices.  I suspect that this is partially true, for many of us shell shocked conservatives needed a voice to tell us that we weren't alone.  That indeed, someone else thought as we did.  But Rush has done more than that.  Rush has not only been, as he credits himself "99% right," but humorously entertaining as well.  So well known are his many "Rushisms" that I find myself using them on occasion.  For example, I am typing this post using my "formerly nicotine stained fingers."

Rush has a long and painful fight ahead.  Suffering is, of course, the lot of mankind since the fall, and I can empathize with Rush in this hour.  And I know that Rush understands what I mean here.  But I can look forward to Rush's "undocumented guest host" Mark Steyn during his absence. Steyn is easily the equal of Rush in terms of acerbic wit.  But no one has the joy of life that Rush has, and that I shall miss.

Indeed, that joy for life is part of the essence of true conservatism, and is one of the things that signals to me that Rush's is an authentic voice.  The Left constantly claims that we conservatives want to oppress people: blacks, browns, Asians, gays, trans whatever, etc. etc. ad infinitam.  But as Rush has pointed out many many times, what we want is for Everybody to experience the good and abundant life we have.  There is one catch, though.  To achieve your best life, you have to adopt conservative principles.

Rush, if you are reading this, I stand with you.  Please go read Brian Joondeph's article embedded above for more accolades for Rush. 

Monday, February 3, 2020

John Lott on Bloomberg's Lies

John Lott has been a great warrior in the fight for gun rights.  His books, such as More Guns, Less Crime takes an exhaustive look at county by county statistics to show that as concealed guns have become more prevalent, violent crime has dropped. And this is what many in the gun rights community said would happen, though their predictions were based not on granulated statistical studies, but on knowledge of psychology. After all, if a criminal has to weigh in the fact that a victim may have a gun and use it, the act of robbing him or her becomes more risky. Even criminals don't like to be shot.

I have read More Guns, Less Crime and I appreciated what Lott did. I suspect that he did not start out to prove the practicality gun rights argument, but he was honest in seeing the data, and reported it honestly. In other words, Lott followed the evidence, and his conclusions were based on that.

Note though, that Lott's statistical studies are utilitarian arguments.  To the degree that the anti-gun movement is based in large part on utilitarian arguments and emotions, Lott's studies would seem to be the ideal thing to counter the anti-gun screeds.  So, I am often of two minds when confronting a John Lott article at because I believe that gun rights are an implied part of the principle of natural rights embodied in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.

As an example of what I mean, let us take the most recent article, which can be found at today at Bloomberg Is Running Two Misleading Gun Control Ads During Super Bowl While the fact that the ads are misleading is true, whether we are talking about 2,900 children killed with guns, or "only" 1,900 seems a little beside the point. Even one child is too many, and the tragedy is beyond measure.  This is a fundamental problem with utilitarianism.  The idea is that there is some level of, for example, crime with guns, that then says that no one can have them because there are being misused.  But what is that level?  The gun grabbers either won't say or don't know.

But if I feel the way I do, how can I support allowing guns to exist in the United States, much less having as many people as are willing carrying concealed at all times?  The answer to that is the other half of the equation.  The principled argument for guns.

First, most of the children killed with guns are killed because of gang violence.  Most gangs get money by selling illegal drugs.  Drug gang members carry guns to protect their valuable property because, being illegal, they can not ask the police to protect it.  Furthermore, note that it is illegal for drug gang members to have guns, yet they do. Illegal drugs are smuggled into the country.  So, if cocaine and heroin can be smuggled into the country, don't you think that guns can be as well?  Thus the argument for banning any sort of gun breaks down right there.  If there is a demand for something, someone will be willing to supply that demand.

Second, as a Christian, I believe there is no such thing as a "good person."  People who say they believe most people are basically good are virtue signalling.  They think by saying that others are good, that they will themselves be perceived as good.  But Jesus said that no one is good but God.  Look around!  If people were "basically good" there would be no need for the police, or services like LifeLock, Simply Safe, or what have you.  The fact is that we need to be ready and able to protect ourselves at all times.  Yes, most of the ways you will protect yourself do not involve guns, but sometimes there is no other solution.

Third is the nature of government itself.  The Left sees government as an unalloyed good.  But the truth is that, as George Washington noted,"Government is not reason, it is not eloquence-it is force!  Government is like fire, a dangerous servant and a fearful master."  Government is at best a necessary evil, one that should be held in chains and guarded carefully.  The people can not trust anyone to guard their interests but themselves, which of course is the why of the Second Amendment.  As a last resort, you may be required to take up arms against your own government, as our Founders finally did.  In the meantime, the fact that there are so many guns in the hands of so many citizens may give some otherwise tyrants pause.

Please go read Lott's article today, but remember that arguing statistics is a losing cause.  It is like wrestling with the proverbial pig:  you get muddy and the pig loves it.  However, there is an excellent book on the principles behind gun rights.  That book, if you can find it in print is A Nation Of Cowards: Essays on the Ethics of Gun Control by Jeff Snyder. It is a book worth having and rereading from time to time.