Category Archives: Politics

The Post-Orlando Gun Control Debate

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The mass shooting at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida has prompted yet more debate on gun control.  The usual suspects on the left are calling for bans on the AR-15 (which was not used in the Pulse shooting) and other semi-automatic weapons wrongly dubbed “assault weapons,” bans of standard capacity 30-round magazines, more background checks (though the Pulse shooter passed them) and all manner of other restrictions.

A couple of fundamental principles often get pushed aside in these discussions, when in fact, they should be the guideposts that define the discussion.

First, it is critical to any discussion involving the regulation of gun rights to recognize that we are talking about a Constitutionally protected civil right, and one which stems from the fundamental human right of self-defense.  The right to keep and bear arms was not bestowed upon us by the government, any more than were the rights to free speech, freedom of association, or the free exercise of religion.  Rather these are inherent human rights that the Constitution (and specifically, the Bill of Rights) prohibit the government from infringing.  Although the right is not unlimited, regulation of it should be subjected to the strictest scrutiny.

Second, freedom is not free.  A free and open society in which people are citizens with individual liberty rather than subjects of the State carries with it a number of risks that we willingly tolerate as a price we pay for freedom.  The right to keep and bear arms is certainly one such risk.  It has resulted in a country that has hundreds of millions of firearms in circulation.  There are so many guns in this country that attempting to purge them from our society—even if it were Constitutionally permissible and desirable from a policy standpoint (which it isn’t)—would be virtually impossible.  Thus, we must recognize that attempts to limit access by law abiding citizens to firearms will have little impact on the bad guys, who will always be able to get them anyway; and this includes magazine fed semi-automatic rifles and carbines like the AR-15.

There are many other examples of the tolerance of risk as a price of freedom.  The fourth, fifth, and eighth amendments all operate to increase the likelihood that bad guys, including violent criminals and deranged Muslim jihadists, will escape detection, prosecution, and conviction for their crimes.  But these are very important rights that we should not be willing to give up based largely upon emotional reactions to highly publicized, but statistically insignificant, events.  “Those who give up essential Liberty to purchase a little temporary Safety,  deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.”

Third, the second amendment is not there merely to ensure that we can hunt or engage in sporting activities.  It is there to ensure the right to self-defense and the preservation of a free state.  That’s right, I said it.  We have the right to bear arms so that we can kill people, if necessary, in the defense of our persons, our family, our country and our liberty.  It is absolutely a check on domestic government power, as well as on foreign powers who must contemplate the difficulty of occupying a country with “a rifle behind every blade of grass.”  These are good things.  An armed populace is incredibly difficult to control without the consent of the governed.

That said, the notion that we should outlaw magazine fed semi-automatic rifles like the AR-15, or standard capacity 30 round magazines for such weapons, is anathema to the purpose of the second amendment.  Such weapons are needed by civilians precisely because they are effective, efficient tools that present a credible option in a firefight.  The bad guys have these weapons, and no new law is going to change this fact.  The government has even better, select fire versions of them.  If, as a civilian, my right to keep and bear arms does not include magazine fed semi-automatic weapons, then the right is largely an empty one, because I will be in no position to effectively defend myself, my family, my country, and my liberty as contemplated by the second amendment.  Even a modern revolver or bolt action rifle is no match against a magazine fed semi-automatic weapon in a firefight, much less a single shot long rifle, which was the military “assault rifle” design of choice when the second amendment was adopted.

It’s worth noting that the second amendment clearly extended to the long rifle and other military weapons in use in the eighteenth century.  From an historical perspective, it is fallacy to suggest that the second amendment does not extend to military firearms, including “assault rifles.”  Although the subsequent bans on importation (1968 Gun Control Act) and manufacture for civilian use (Firearm Owners Protection Act of 1986) of automatic and other types of military firearms has never been Constitutionally tested in the Supreme Court, there is a very good argument that ownership of modern military automatic and select fire assault rifles is protected under the second amendment.

In any event, under the Heller and McDonald decisions, the Supreme Court has declared that the second amendment extends, at a minimum, to firearms in common civilian use.  Civilians have been using magazine fed semi-automatic rifles like the AR-15, along with standard capacity (30 round) and high capacity (100 round) detachable magazines for many decades.  The AR-15 itself is one of the most widespread and popular rifles owned and used by civilians in the United States.  Thus, attempts to ban the AR-15, or modern magazine fed semi-automatic rifles in general, is clearly unconstitutional under existing precedent.  So ought to be attempts to ban standard capacity magazines for these weapons.

Moreover, even if such bans were politically feasible and Constitutional, they would be bad policy.  Rendering hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of legally acquired and owned firearms and/or magazines illegal with the stroke of a pen (as cities like Los Angeles have done, and the State of California is currently considering) is wrong.  Leaving aside whether such a ban would be an impermissible ex post facto law, it would only be effective to take these weapons out of the hands of law abiding citizens.  The bad guys will never have a problem finding a semi-automatic rifle, or a 30 round magazine.  There are just way too many of them out there.

I’d rather eliminate gun free zones and encourage people to carry.  If Pulse hadn’t been a gun free zone, and 10 or 20 people had been carrying pistols, I’m betting the death toll would have been substantially diminished.  These assholes always target gun free zones because they are cowards and they know that they can maximize the carnage if their victims are unarmed.  You don’t see too many mass shootings at gun shows, NRA conventions, shooting ranges, or gun stores.

My Trump theory: Obama built that.

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My Trump theory: Obama built that.

For eight long years, average, non-elite, working Americans have suffered through anemic economic growth, a massive expansion of an increasingly politicized regulatory state, a massive expansion of the welfare/entitlement state, a massive expansion of the national debt, and a relentless attack on traditional values. They have been bullied and belittled from the Bully Pulpit. They are told they are stupid, racist, and out of step with the times.

For eight years the Administration neglected and mismanaged the core functions of government (national security, international affairs, command of our troops abroad, the domestic economy, protecting personal and economic liberty, rule of law, etc.). Instead, the Administration has focused on the expansion of domestic government power for its own sake and in areas where it doesn’t belong. The Obama Administration has attacked individual civil rights like free speech, religious liberty, and the second amendment; attacked free markets like the Internet; attacked small business; and solidified political power through venal (but effective) class and identity politics.

Those of us who just want government to stay out of our lives and stop quashing our economic opportunity have been unrepresented for a long time. We watch from the sidelines as our money and rights are redistributed to corporations and the ultra rich through regulatory capture and crony capitalism, and to special interest minority groups through programs, welfare, public employee union deals, and legal favoritism.

We feel like we are getting screwed by an arrogant, elite ruling class that uses us and turns us against each other to preserve their own power and privilege. The Republicans who we have elected over the last 16 years seem no better than the Democrats. In fact, they seem worse in a sense because they get elected by paying lip service to smaller government and conservative principles, but are every bit as guilty of big government excess and service to entrenched special interests as the Democrats.

We want to blow it up. All of it. We want to set a bull loose in the china shop. We want someone who we perceive to be genuinely outside of it and therefore free of original political sin.

That’s why I think Trump is winning. It doesn’t matter that he is uneducated in matters of domestic and international policy. It doesn’t matter that many things he says are out of step with core conservative political principles. It doesn’t matter that he seems ignorant of fundamental economic and philosophical principles that we hold dear. History has proven that those who talk a good game in these matters betray us upon entering office anyway.

This is what happens when an arrogant left wing ideologue is allowed to occupy the Oval Office for eight long years. Obama has been the most destructive president in America’s history in my opinion. He wanted to transform America. He vehemently hates American imperialism and wanted to weaken her ability to exercise international power. He wanted to irreparably damage the opposition party, and thereby disrupt the ability of contrary ideologies from taking hold and gaining political traction.

Mission accomplished.

I hope you have stocked up on Confederate battle flags…

Because

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Nazi gear though, no problem!  Hell, it’s even available with free 2-day shipping on Prime.

Nazi Armband Nazi Flag iPhone Case Nazi Necklace

But putting this aside, it is really quite concerning that an item like the confederate flag, which is both historically significant and symbolic of a certain point of view, should be taken out of circulation in commerce in the name of political correctness. Orwell’s 1984 comes immediately to mind.

There was a time in this country when grown-ups wore big-boy pants and could handle controversial topics of conversation, offensive viewpoints, and the existence of historical facts without needing or wanting to be shielded from such things by the government or anybody else.

Suck it up, pansies.

The Ant and the Grasshopper

I didn’t write this, but kudos to whoever did.

Ant Grasshopper

THE NEW ANT and the Grasshopper.

Two Different Versions …
Two Different Morals

OLD VERSION

The ant works hard in the withering heat all summer long, building his house and laying up supplies for the winter.

The grasshopper thinks the ant is a fool and laughs and dances and plays the summer away.

Come winter, the ant is warm and well fed.

The grasshopper has no food or shelter, so he dies out in the cold.

MORAL OF THE OLD STORY:

Be responsible for yourself!

MODERN VERSION

The ant works hard in the withering heat and the rain all summer long, building his house and laying up supplies for the winter.

The grasshopper thinks the ant is a fool and laughs and dances and plays the summer away.

Come winter, the shivering grasshopper calls a press conference and demands to know why the ant should be allowed to be warm and well fed while he is cold and starving…

CBS, NBC, PBS, CNN, and ABC show up to provide pictures of the shivering grasshopper next to a video of the ant in his comfortable home with a table filled with food.

America is stunned by the sharp contrast.

How can this be, that in a country of such wealth, this poor grasshopper is allowed to suffer so?

Kermit the Frog appears on Oprah with the grasshopper and everybody cries when they sing, ‘It’s Not Easy Being Green’…

Occupy the Anthill stages a demonstration in front of the ant’s house where the news stations film the SEIU group singing, We shall overcome.

Then Rev Al Sharpton’s assistant has the group kneel down to pray for the grasshopper while he damns the ants. The Reverend Al can not attend as he has contractual commitments to appear on his MSNBC show for which he is paid over two million dollars a year to complain that rich people do not care.

President Obama condemns the ant and blames President Bush 43, President Bush 41, President Reagan, Christopher Columbus, and the Pope for the grasshopper’s plight…

Nancy Pelosi & Harry Reid exclaim in an interview on The View that the ant has gotten rich off the back of the grasshopper, and both call for an immediate tax hike on the ant to make him pay his fair share.

Finally, the EEOC drafts the Economic Equity & Anti-Ant Act retroactive to the beginning of the summer.

The ant is fined for failing to hire a proportionate number of green bugs and, having nothing left to pay his retroactive taxes, his home is confiscated by the Government Green Czar and given to the grasshopper.

The story ends as we see the grasshopper and his free-loading friends finishing up the last bits of the ant’s food while the government house he is in, which, as you recall, just happens to be the ant’s old house,
crumbles around them because the grasshopper doesn’t maintain it.

The ant has disappeared in the snow, never to be seen again.

The grasshopper is found dead in a drug related incident, and the house, now abandoned, is taken over by a gang of spiders who terrorize the ramshackle, once prosperous and peaceful, neighborhood.

The entire Nation collapses bringing the rest of the free world with it.

MORAL OF THE STORY:

Be careful how you vote in 2016.

Intimidation and compliance is unacceptable.

The terrorist attacks on the Charlie Hebdo cartoonists Stéphane Charbonnier, Georges Wolinski and Jean Cabut, their colleagues and visitors, and the police has shocked and horrified civilized people around the world.  The goal of these radical Islamic savages is to intimidate free and civilized people from speaking out against them.  Free speech must not be chilled.  The response to such atrocity must be to overwhelm these savages with speech, not to cower in silence.  The following headline from AllahPundit sums it up:  Mark Steyn: Charlie Hebdo was a target only because the rest of the media wouldn’t share the risk.

liberalism doesn’t depend on everyone offending everyone else all the time, and it’s okay to prefer a society where offense for its own sake is limited rather than pervasive. But when offenses are policed by murder, that’s when we need more of them, not less, because the murderers cannot be allowed for a single moment to think that their strategy can succeed.

So in that spirit, “piss be upon him”:

o-CHARLIE-COVER-570

MuhammedNo1

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Feeling the effects of Obama Care

Zeke Emanuel, the father of Obama Care, was recently quoted as saying that he wants to die at 75 because living past 75 renders us disabled, faltering and declining, robbed of creativity, feeble, ineffectual, and pathetic.  As a key player in the creation of Obama Care, Emanuel has done an enormous disservice to this country.  He knows that this monstrosity of law was passed by loathsome legislative procedural gamesmanship, and that it remains deeply unpopular to this day.  Only a progressive true believer from the Washington Post could view Emanuel’s comments with anything other than cynicism.  But the personal impact of such a one-size-fits-all bureaucratic approach is devastating.

My father recently turned 80.  He is healthy, active, self-sufficient, intellectual, and very much enjoys his life on the Northern California coast, where he enjoys watching the Blue Heron skilfully hunting the gophers in his yard, drives his Corvette on twisty mountain roads, flies his private plane, and develops his own photographs in his custom dark room the old-fashioned way–using photo paper and chemicals.

I can assure you that my father would not have wanted to die five years ago, and he doesn’t want to die now.  But he was recently informed by his physician that he was no longer eligible for any kind of preventive care that could save or extend his life.  Why?  Because under the Obama Care mandates written by Zeke Emanuel, old folks aren’t eligible for the kind of medical care they have previously enjoyed.  Zeke has decided that everybody should want to die at the age of 75, just like him, and that we shouldn’t waste precious medical care on the elderly.  And as a good progressive technocrat, he thinks it’s just fine to forcibly impose his views on the rest of us.

So my dad has to die sooner for lack of medical care because Zeke Emanuel, Barack Obama, and the Democrats in the House and Senate, have decided that they have the right to control what medical care my dad is allowed to have–whether he pays for it himself or not.

But the damaging impact of Obama Care is far greater than just the rationing and deprivation of care by government bureaucrats.  It is driving medical innovation out of the country.  This piece from the Wall Street Journal has the numbers.  It is inevitable that as more and more people personally experience the negative impact of Obama Care, and witness the decline in quality and access, there will be backlash.  But by the time Obama is out of office, Obama Care will probably have developed such a large constituency that it will be impossible to repeal.

An Educational Standard Only A Corrupt Politician Could Love

This is a great piece from the Wall Street Journal discussing the insane “new math” being taught under the Common Core standards.  We are not doing ourselves or our children any favors by dumbing down the math curriculum and requiring our kids to draw pictures for five minutes as a means of solving a 30-second math problem.  As a parent who helps his kids with their Common Core math homework, I speak from personal experience.

WSJ–Marina Ratner:  Making Math Education Even Worse