Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Pioneer Project: Producing Projectiles Why Me?

You could take that question one of two ways.

If I'm asking it (that is, I'm saying, "Why me?" or you're saying, "Why you?") the answer is fairly simple- someone had to take this thing from a "plan to have a plan" stage to a "plan that we're trying to implement" stage.  And I volunteered.

If you're asking it (that is, You're saying "Why me?"), the answer is a little more difficult.  Why should you trust me, Some Internet Guy, with your hard-earned money?  Why should you care about this endeavor?

And I could answer "you have to trust someone," but a) that's not very helpful and b) it's not true.

So let's see if I can provide and answer that is both more helpful and true.

Either you believe that we're in dire straights in this country, or you don't.  If you don't, then read no further- there is no reason (beyond any generosity you may be feeling) to help us with the Pioneer Project.  If you do, however, then you have to ask yourself what you are going to do about it.

The sad fact is that "our" politicians do not listen to us because they are not "our" politicians.  They work for themselves and their own power (which is hardly surprising, however disappointing it may be).  Their power and privilege are best served by serving a variety of paymasters, none of whom are you and me.  This is even true of our political leaders who aren't supposed to be politicans (*ahem*SCOTUS*ahem*).

A further fact is that a reckoning is coming.  I don't know whether it's coming next week, next month, next year, or next decade.  I do know it's coming.  I further know that it isn't getting any further away.  It will never be longer until the reckoning occurs than it is today.

And that scares me.

So I and others on the Ace of Spades site proposed this project- a combining of efforts to see like-minded people through the hard times when that reckoning occurs.  But that project requires certain things- among them resources (particularly monetary and material).  Now, there are various ways we could get those resources, but we like the "self-reliance" model.

That is, we plan to provide a product that people want and sell it for a price they will pay.  Yes, this hand-loading endeavor will be "mine."  I (exclusively) will operate it at least in the early days.  Hopefully it will expand.  But a fair portion of the profits from that endeavor will be channeled back into the Pioneer Project to fund other people's projects.

Maybe you want to start a farm-to-market truck in a rural or semi-rural area.  The more resources we have, the better we can help you do that.

So I'm not asking you to give me money.  I'm asking you to invest in your future, and that of your family. 

Think it over.

Monday, March 25, 2013

The Case Against Background Checks

So Democrats keep pursuing "Universal Background Checks" for "common sense gun control."  Their primary "Fact" (which happens to be wrong, color me stunned) is that "40% of gun purchases happen without a background check."

Before I point out why background checks are a bad idea, let's go ahead and dispense with this argument.

First, as I pointed out, it's wrong.  Roughly 60% of guns are purchased directly from stores or dealers and require full background checks.  Roughly 30% of guns are obtained via gift or inheritance.  There's already laws against knowingly giving a gun to someone who isn't supposed to have one, so any additional "background check" rules are not going to do squat about that.

That leaves roughly 10% of gun purchases which do not require a background check.  Heck, let's be generous and remove the gift/inheritance demographic completely.  That means (back of napkin math) that our pool goes down to 70% of it's original.  If we assume 100 guns as the original number(this math should scale up, since we're talking real percentages), now we're down to 70 that were purchased at all.  Of those, 60 have background checks, and 10 do not.  Ten is approximately 14.29% of 70, which is far short of 40%.

But 40% sounds scarier, so that's what they're running with.

Now, lets take a look at what this argument is really saying.  It has two false premises.

False premise number one: A new law can stop people from breaking the law. 

As already mentioned, it's already illegal to give a gun to someone who is legally prohibited from having one.  If I give a gun to a known felon, I've broken the law.  Are you suggesting I'm going to be more concerned about breaking the law after your super-double-serious law about background checks passes?

False premise number two: The American people are not trustworthy.
The only reason background checks make sense for purchases at all is that we don't want "crazy people or felons" to have weapons.  That's fine as far as it goes.  However- as proven with the Newton, CT shooting, crazy people can still get guns (see point one about criminals not obeying the law).  The same is true of felons.  So the only reason that 40% number is scary at all is if you believe that a) the only reason someone would purchase in a way that didn't require a background check was to obtain an illegal weapon and b) that if that purchase now required a background check they wouldn't find some other way to obtain a weapon.

If you don't believe both of those things, then it shouldn't matter if that number is 10%, 14%, 40%, or 90%.

Now that we've shown the Liberals don't really have a case for universal background checks, let's consider the case against them.

It comes down to one thing: background checks are de facto gun registration.  Even if I don't mention the specific model of the handgun being sold, the background check alerts the government that Citizen Y has purchased a handgun.  Now the government knows that Citizen Y has a handgun.

Registration is the necessary first step in confiscation.  Not that confiscation will necessarily result (though we know that's their end-game), but that without registration confiscation is completely impossible.

Now, since we know their end-game is complete confiscation- they've said as much in hundreds of ways- then it stands to reason they also know that 100% registration is the only way to get to confiscation.  Since I don't particularly want my guns confiscated, you'll excuse me if I reject the idea of Universal Background Checks.

I trust the majority of my fellow citizens.  In fact, until a specific individual gives me a reason they cannot be trusted, I trust all of them.  It does not bother me one whit if you get a gun without a background check.  Why should my doing the same bother you?

Pioneer Project: Producing Projectiles

The first Project of the Pioneer Project has been decided upon: reloading.  Short version: see that pay-pal link over at the side?  Send it some cash.

Long version:
I will be getting the operation off the ground (if off the ground it can be gotten).  But there are lots of things that need to happen to make it legit (and not just a way for you to fund a fun new hobby of mine). 

First, there's an LLC.  If this is going to be for the Project, then it needs to be a seperate entity from any specific person in The Pioneer Project. 

Second, there's an FFL.  Well, really it's a quasi-FFL.  You don't need the full FFL just to sell ammunition, but you do need a Federal Permit which is quite like an FFL.

That paperwork costs money. 

Then you actually get into the practicum of re/loading ammunition.  Since I'm new at this, we'll be starting small.  I figure if I can produce 500 rounds per week pretty quickly, I'll be doing pretty good.  But there's equipment to be purchased- both durable equipment (like the press, dies, and so forth) and consumables (like brass, bullets, and powder).

Once I'm up and running, I'll expand.  Then I'll sell re/loaded ammunition to, well to anyone, but Pioneer Project members get first dibs.

So click that pay-pal "donate" link, and toss some coin our way.  It might well be a better investment than your stocks and bonds.

I've received at least one request for a detailed breakdown on what your money gets you.

Below is a list of approximate costs.  The Pioneer Project will be getting an LLC as soon as possible.  Assuming the rest of the money comes together, we already have someone willing to donate both the legal time and the filing fee.

Manual Press150.00
Die Sets120.00
Case Trimmer100.00
Case Tumbler60.00

In addition, there will be consumable materials- brass, primers, bullets, etc. I'm either going to start with .38/.357 or .45 Colt as I've been told it's better to start with revolver rounds until one is more comfortable with the process and getting precise length completed cartridges.

Friday, March 22, 2013

I Heart Texas

In these days of Federal Tyranny and general gloominess for Conservatives, sometimes you read a story that just makes you smile.  Oddly, this one comes from the New York Times.

I really don't have anything to say about it except that I'm really proud of my State.  A well armed populace is a safer populace, and even our most liberal city has figured that out.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

More, Please Part 2

Take a look at this article (I know, it's Rachel Maddow- think of it as opposition research).  Now, tell me the unnoticed bias which is just completely wrong.

Here, I'll highlight the specific paragraph:
Congress passes hundreds of resolutions, meant to commemorate everything from a special awareness week or Little League champions. The resolutions lack any real power of law and are predominantly ceremonial. For example, earlier this month the Senate passed resolutions to mark "World Plumbing Day" and commemorating the three-year anniversary of the Haiti earthquake.

Found it?  Why is US Congress "commemorating" anything?  What business are "special awareness week(s)" or "Little League champions" of the Federal government?  If they so "clutter the floor," maybe we should just do without them?  If they're so much ceremonial fluff, why have them at all?

No, I appreciate this move by Ted Cruz.  More, please.  This is just more reinforcement to the idea that the Federal Government should be involved in our day-to-day lives.  I reject that premise completely.  It is not even partly true.  In a perfect world, I would never have to consider the Federal Government.  I could focus on my State and Local governments (places where a) my voice can really be heard and b) I can at least sort of pay attention to everything that is going on), and let the Federal Government get on with doing it's job.

Unfortunately, the Federal Government has decided that I cannot do that.  Or, rather, that I cannot do that if I don't want more and more of my liberty stolen.  So I have to pay attention to this kind of crap.  Well, if I have to pay attention to it, then you'd better treat it seriously.  If it's not important enough to treat seriously, then don't do it.  Period.

I should also mention that I'm glad Ted Cruz does not seem to believe he is there to make best buddies with Harry Reid or (even) John McCain.  Rather he is there to represent the State of Texas and see to it that the Federal Government begins adhering to its actual Constitutionally granted authority.

An authority, I'll note, that includes not one word about "commemorating Multiple-Sclerosis Awareness Week" or anything similar.

The Tenther "War On Drugs."

Kurt Schlichter has a piece over at about building a "bite me" coalition.  I recommend you go read it.

But it got me thinking: what he's really talking about is a Tenther coalition.  Shrink the Federal Government.  Let the States decide for themselves.  Let the People decide for themselves.  It's a highly Libertarian Tenther coalition, to be sure, since it's focusing on even shrinking State and Local governments, but I could get behind that.

However, whenever we start talking Libertarian policies, we inevitably talk about "the war on drugs."  And, inevitably, someone suggests "just letting the States decide."

As a Dedicated Tenther, I think I need to address some points here- and they're applicable across the Tenther movement.

1) There is a role for the Federal Government.
Advocating for small and limited Federal Government is not the same as advocating for no Federal Government.  The Articles of Confederation were scrapped for a reason.  The EU, which is built on an even shakier confederation, is reeling from one crisis to the next.  A strong Federal Government is necessary for many things.

2) The States' powers and privileges are not sacrosanct.
This is a corollary to number 1.  Wherever the State's powers and privileges conflict with the Federal Government's, the States must take second place.  If they don't, we're back to that whole "Articles of Confederation" thing.  That didn't work out so well.

3) The Default must be Personal Rights
It's easy to get caught up in the Tenth Amendment as being empowering to the States, but the 9th and 10th amendments were designed to be empowering to The People.  The People were supposed to have more control over their specific states, so granting greater rights to the State was supposed to be safer.  I point to Colorado and New York for how that's going.  We must remember that the Power rests with the People; it is delegated to the States and then to the Federal Government.

With those in mind, along with the common knowledge of the 10th Amendment, I propose a Tenther's view of drug policy.

1) Federal drug policy should be as permissive as possible.  Allow it to be imported, place an import duty on it, require it to meet certain standards, etc.  It's getting in anyway, and this would lessen the strength of the black market (though not the strength of the drug growers).

2) State drug policy can be as restrictive as that State wants.  Full legalization for California?  Go for it.  Completely illegal to posses, transport, or sell in Oklahoma?  Sure. 

3) Personal responsibility must be paramount.  If you can't get a job because you're a drug addict, that's not my problem.  Not one dime from the public treasury should be spent on you.  Got high and killed someone in a car wreck?  I'm sorry, "being high" is no longer a mitigating circumstance, it will now (by law, if I had my way) be an exacerbating one.  Sharing needles so you caught some horrible disease?  Sucks to be you, my friend. (For the record, this is how I feel about alcohol and tobacco as well)

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

The Pioneer Project: Hitch Up Your Wagon

In my previous post, I introduced the Pioneer Project.  I provided what is, in essence, our Mission Document.  It's all high-minded and noble, and not very helpful on a practical scale.

So, what -in real world terms- is the Pioneer Project?

Well, the website is mainly a forum.  The point is to have a place where we can discuss a variety of topics from the best/most cost-efficient way to reload ammunition to finding someone who can help you learn how to weld.  We'll also be a sounding board for personal project ideas, and find a way to channel help from those who wish to help to those who need the help.

"Help" here can be advice, monetary, or material support.

To get into the forum, you'll need to register first.  There are Reasons we made that decision, but the upshot is we don't want Derp (people from the HQ will get that reference- I'm fairly certain the rest of you can figure it out).

Once there, very little is off limits.  If an Admin/Moderator asks you to drop a topic, then drop the topic.  Short of really out there racist/bigoted crap (and none of y'all would bring that, would you? Would you?) I can't think of anything that we're going to ask you not to talk about.

Beyond the website- on the other side of the computer- is a community of people who want to weather the storm our politicians have cooked up.  Look for some people to start farming- and ask for help to get started.  Look for others to ask for help learning to fix cars, or machine parts.  Heck, maybe you want to learn one of those things.  Ask, and we'll see if we can get you an answer.

And remember, just like those Pioneers of yester-year: we don't have anyone in authority coming to rescue us.  We're striking out on our own for a reason, after all.

The Pioneer Project

The Declaration of Independence could describe modern times.  So could the Texas Declaration of Independence.  The Federal Government ignores the Constitution whenever, wherever, and however it wants.  The productive class is required to subsidize the unproductive class.  Hard work, far from being rewarded, is seen as some kind of greed or hate.  The desire to protect ones family, rather than being common sense, is painted as some kind of mental disease.

Liberal Politicians (from both Parties) seek to destroy your liberties.  The Media assists them.  From newscasts to weekly TV series American values are mocked and derided.  Things our parents would have been ashamed to see, let alone to do, are shown not only as though they are normal, but as if they are laudatory.

You don't agree with the status quo.  You still believe in hard work.  You still believe that the first place someone should look for support is family, then Church, then community.  You believe that the Rule of Law is still important.

You are not alone.  Millions of Americans still believe in hard work and family.  Millions of Americans still believe in the Promise of Liberty.

But what can we do against the status quo?  How can we fight back to regain our Liberties and reassert our values?

Let me introduce you to the Pioneer Project.  Like our spiritual ancestors- the American Pioneers- we believe in hard work, liberty, and opportunity.  Your life will be as rich, or as poor, as you make

The purpose of the Pioneer Project is three-fold.

(1) The primary mission is to provide material and financial assistance to any member attempting to set their proverbial stake in the ground and get to work.

(2)The second mission is to provide training and intellectual assistance to anyone, member or otherwise, who also wants to go on their own.

(3) The third mission is to connect all these individuals in a community of trust and mutual ambition.

Tyranny in Small Things

Austin, the Capitol City of my Great State of Texas, recently passed a ban on plastic grocery bags.  Now everyone is supposed to use reusable (that is: cloth) bags instead.  This is being hailed as a win for the environment, because those plastic bags were so terrible.

Man, I'm so old I remember when plastic bags were the "environmental" choice, since those eeeevil paper bags came from trees.  (Hint to liberals: when something literally does "grow on trees," that's not a bad thing.)  So now the plastic bags are no longer in favor, so we must change to cloth bags.

Now at least one City Council member in the City of Dallas wants to implement the same thing in that city.  This is why conservatives in Texas should not turn a blind eye to the bad things the Austin does; eventually some idiot will try to bring those bad ideas to our own cities.

Now, I don't actually have a problem with reusable bags themselves.  They are a breeding ground for disease, but they're cloth.  They'll survive the clothes washer just fine.  Wash 'em every couple of weeks and you'll be fine.  Double wrap your meat, and wrap your produce, and you can go even longer between washings.  I use them at Aldi (I don't even buy all of my groceries there, and they've cut my grocery bill about in half), because Aldi (as a private enterprise) encourages their use.  I'm fine with that.

On the other hand, I also like plastic bags.  They're convenient.  They're light.  I don't have to turn around and go back home when I realize I didn't bring any with me. 

On top of that, they're every bit as "reusable" as my cloth bags.  I don't reuse them for groceries, but we keep one in our minivan to put trash in.  I used to carry a couple in my kids' diaper bags (thank God they're both out of diapers now- those things are expensive), for accident containment.  I use them as a "lunch box" for work.  I've used them to line trash cans in the house, paint buckets, and all kinds of things.

They save me a lot of hassle. 

In short, it really annoys me that people are now telling me I shouldn't be able to use them.  So let me ask this: are you targeting plastic trash bags next?  Plastic trash bags are, well, plastic, too.  Am I going to have to change out my plastic trash bags for paper?  For canvas?  If not, then you'll excuse me if I don't believe your objection to the plastic trash bags is about the environment; rather, it's about your desire to control ever facet of my life.

Blow that.

It is not the government's job to mandate that I use reusable grocery bags.  It is not the government's job to make sure I recycle.  It is not the government's job to force me to do anything.

This seems like a tiny thing, but it really isn't.  The Government has already taken over health care.  Just ask your doctor how much of a pain ObamaCare is.  Ask your insurance provider.  Government wants to rule every part of your life, and this is simply another facet.  It seems minor, but the door it opens is huge.

Update & Scienceyist Alert:
FotB tsrblke sends along this little nugget.  Turns out that those "reusable bags" are actually worse for the environment than plastic bags anyway.  And that assumes that someone is just using the plastic bag once and then throwing it away.  It gets even worse (for the canvas propagandists) if you reuse even just 40.3% (well less than half) of your plastic bags just once. 

Monday, March 18, 2013

On Rebranding

Over at the HQ for the last little while, we've been talking about Rebranding the Republican Party (or the Conservative movement- sometimes the two get conflated when they shouldn't).  I've commented a lot over there, but I wanted to use this space to get a bunch of ideas all in one place.

First off, as I see it, the Republican Party and the Conservative Movement are not the same thing.  I am a Conservative.  Until and unless the Republican Party can prove to me that they are also Conservative, I am not a Republican (even though I'll probably vote "R" much more often than "L" for the moment).  Now, Many Republicans are Conservative, and I would venture that most Conservatives are Republican, but not all Republicans are Conservatives, and a goodly number of Conservatives vote Libertarian (I cannot believe anyone who is conservative could vote Democrat in good conscience).

To that end, it is the Conservative Movement that I will be discussing. 

So, if you're ready to come along for the ride, take a look under the fold.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Where We're Headed

CNBC has a story about the EU "saving the banks but losing a generation."  It's a stark and startling insight into how they got where they are, and where we are headed if we don't fix things.

Forget the debt crisis.  Forget the austerity riots.  One quote sums up all the problems they're having, and that we will have:
"We saved the banks but are running the risk of losing a generation," said Martin Schulz, a German socialist who has led the European Parliament, the EU's only directly elected institution, since January last year.

"One of the biggest threats to the European Union is that people entirely lose their confidence in the capacity of the EU to solve their problems. And if the younger generation is losing trust, then in my eyes the European Union is in real danger," he told Reuters in an interview.

Think about that for a moment.  "One of the biggest threats to the European Union is that people entirely lose their confidence in the capacity of the EU to solve their problems."

Let's break this down.
First: His statement assumes that the EU could solve anyone's problems anyway.  No government can solve people's problems.  The EU less than most, since it is not really a government in any meaningful sense anyway.  Even if the government could solve your problem, it could only do so by causing someone else a problem.

Second: His statement completely ignores where people got this fallacious idea in the first place: the Statist policies of Marx and others who believed that Government should "do something."  The idea of Government "doing something," is one that says the Government should be your parent, your nanny, and your boss.  Nothing you do can escape government control.

If the EU wants to fix its unemployment crisis it must take the opposite tack.  Get government as far out of people's lives as possible.  Yes, the lesson will be painful- as many such lessons are.  But it will be better for them in the long run if people realize that it is their job to care for themselves, not the government's job to "solve their problems."

And we are on the same path.  This same theory that the government should "solve [our] problems" is what drives the Democrat party.  It is the theory that says we must take from those who have succeeded and give to those who have failed.  It is the theory that says the Government can, let alone should, mandate that people engage in a specific economic activity.  It is the theory that says people chosen for government service are somehow more special, more qualified, more Human than everyone else, and so only they should be allowed the right to defend themselves.

We must return to the individualism of our past.  We must return to that pioneer spirit that said, "I'll take care of myself.  If I absolutely can't, my family will help."  We must return to the ideas of self-reliance and self-sufficiency.

And we will.  One way or another it will happen.  Either we will change voluntarily and relatively painlessly, or we will change reluctantly and very painfully.  In either case, reality will not be denied. 

We're like a house of cards built on an earthquake generator, and someone's hand is on the switch.  Either we unplug the generator, or we'll all come crashing down.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

A Fundamentally Unserious Party

So Senate Democrats, for the first time in 4 years, have released a budget proposal.  It's contents are depressingly unsurprising, tax-and-spend policies that Democrats always pursue.  Meh.

However, there were somethings this brings up that we should look at.

From the report:
The plan calls for $975 billion in new tax revenue through closing loopholes and ending deductions and credits benefiting corporations and the country’s highest wage earners.

Like all "tax increases" this is a load of bovine fecal matter.  First off, raising tax rates- whether through marginal rate increases, or "closing of loopholes" never generates much more revenue.  Instead, it depresses GDP.  Oh, certainly, people will have less money to take home, but that won't be because the Government is actually taking in much more.

Then there's that whole "deductions and credits benefiting corporations and the country's highest wage earners."  This, like "tax increases" is complete horse hockey.  The US Tax Code does not give Bill Gates a single deduction for which you could not qualify.  Not one.  It does not give Exxon-Mobile a single deduction for which Joe's Pizzaria down the street could not qualify.  Not one.

That whole line of argument is a lie.  It is a damnable lie and the Democrats and Media should nto be allowed to keep getting away with it.  Closing those "loopholes" will hurt middle-class families far more than it would hurt the rich, and that's not even taking into consideration the fact the Rich have options the middle-class do not regarding wealth management (hint: there's a reason it's called the Income Tax).

Here's another one:
It also calls for $100 billion in new stimulus spending while cutting $1.85 trillion from the deficit over 10 years. The rest of the savings would come through spending cuts.

First, let's assume that they were serious about this (they're not: it's another lie).  Our deficit for last year alone was well over $1 Trillion.  They want to cut that over 10 years.  Yeah, that's serious budget management right there.  As for "spending cuts" they're crying over an approximate 2% cut to the rate of growth from the sequester.  They seriously expect us to believe they're going to cut spending?

Those both lead to this:
Senate Budget Committee Chairman Patty Murray said the budget takes a balanced, “pro-middle-class” approach and argued the country’s economic problems started long before fellow Democrats entered the White House in 2009.

Yeah.  Not so much.  Another bald-faced lie.

And whose fault is all this, you ask?  I'd give you three guesses, but you'll only need one:
“Despite some of the rhetoric you may hear from my Republican colleagues, the Great Recession didn’t start the day President Obama was elected,” said Murray, D-Wash.

Ah, yes.  Boooooosh!  Good to know.

This is fundamentally unserious.  It is designed only to generate spin and run news cycles.  It continues running up the debt and making our situation yet worse.  But the Democrats now would have you believe we don't have a spending problem.  Nope, we're not spending too much, we're spending too little.

It is a fundamentally unserious proposal from a fundamentally unserious party.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Fithy Quislings

I don't know enough curse words to capture my sentiment upon reading this story.  It seems GOP Leadership (for whatever that is worth) has decided they "don't need no steenking Conservatives," and that they will be willing to pass Democrat Legislation, marginalizing the majority of their own caucus.

Once my immediate, word-stealing rage dies down (it flares back up every time I re-read the article), I have a couple of things to point out.

First: When grass-roots conservatives were calling to remove Boehner as speaker, we were pooh-poohed and told that of course Speaker Boehner was the best man for the job.  Often this pooh-poohing came from the same Conservative representatives now at risk of being frozen out. 

That is not to say that we expected this kind of betrayal.  Squishy "moderate" stances?  Sure.  Outright betrayal of principle?  Not so much.

Second: The current House Leadership is not Conservative.  Oh, I think a Conservative or two snuck into the upper echelons somehow, but the vast majority of them are not now, nor have they ever been Conservative.  They don't care about "We, the People."  They care about themselves, their own power, and their privilege. Anything which jeopardizes that must be dealt with.  Unfortunately, they seem to believe the best way to secure that power and privilege is to side with Democrats in making us serfs, or at least peasants (I don't think they quite view us as chattle.  Yet.)

Third: The House has fallen into the old trap.  It's one that grass-roots conservatives had hoped to avoid when we hoped to get rid of Boehner.  It goes like this: "We have to do something!  If we're not passing legislation, we're not doing our job!!!!"

In many ways this is the most important point.  Conservatives know that Congress can do its job best by doing nothing in most cases.  Pass a budget; confirm appropriations; oversee the Executive branch.  That's all Congress should be doing in most cases.  However, as full-time legislators, they believe their job is to write (well, vote on, I'm pretty sure none of them has written their own in quite some time) legislation.  That mindset is the only one that could have produced this quote:
“It is better if the House does their work,” said McCarthy. “We should be sending bills to the Senate.”

This, as Ben Shapiro notes, is tantamount to a declaration of War on Conservatives.  The Moderates in Congress want their power.  They want to be invited to the best parties.  They want yet more government expansion.  In fact, the only place Moderates disagree with Liberals is the pace.  Liberals want More Government Now! Moderates want More Government Slowly!

After the initial publication of the Big Government article, Rep. McCarthy's office contacted Breitbart News and whined:
In a statement to The Hill, McCarthy spokesperson Mike Long said: "Whip McCarthy strongly supports returning to regular order to bring legislation to the floor that has the support of a majority of the majority. Insinuation to the contrary is completely false."

Of course "Whip McCarthy strongly supports returning to the regular order."  "Strongly supports" is not "is committed to," and in no way is that statement a rejection of the original report.  Whether Boehner and Cantor agree is unclear, but it seems unlikely that the Majority Whip would have made such an inflammatory statement without the blessing of his bosses.

Oh, and if this finds its way into Rep. McCarthy's hands:  before you even think of "crossing the aisle" and enact gun control remember this: I'm a Texan.  Consider well the meaning of "come and take it."

Friday, March 8, 2013

On Assassinating US Citizens

Rand Paul's filibuster has everyone talking about domestic drone strikes.  This is a good thing, because domestic drone strikes would be A Very Bad Thing.  On the other hand, there are a fair number of conservatives who assert that Rand is wrong that the US Government should not be able to specifically target any US Citizen on US Soil.  They claim that if someone has "taken up arms against the US" they do not deserve Constitutional protections.

This is a highly dangerous position.  I'll even go further.  The US does not have the right to assassinate anyone on US soil- citizen or otherwise.  Let's break it down a little bit.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Democrats to Gun Owners: You're Insane

That's the underlying assumption behind this proposed "gun control" bill from Florida.  The short version is that they believe anyone who wants to buy ammunition has anger management problems, and should have to undergo anger management courses.

Now, I've alluded to this kind of thinking before, but I cannot explain how powerful this type of thing is.  The new push for gun control is that people who want guns are crazy, and should therefore be disqualified from ever owning a weapon.

This is a very powerful argument for those who are uninformed.  "Well, of course, anyone who wants a gun must be considering violence, why else would they want a gun?"  Responsible gun owners, of course, know that is not the case.  Responsible gun owners are much more likely to walk away from a conflict than non-gun owners.  We understand the heavy burden that goes with gun ownership.

Now, this law is especially insidious for two reasons.  First, it enacts a de facto gun-ban unless you get psychological help every 10 years.  Of course, the National Democrats' next step is to make anyone who has ever sought psychological help ineligible to own a gun.  Funny how those would work together.  Second, it reinforces the idea in the minds of the populace at large that people who own guns are exceptionally violent and should be feared.  It's the same drive behind all the kids getting suspended for doing things like pointing their fingers at someone like a gun, or biting their sandwiches into the shape of a gun (yes, those are both real stories). 

Conservative Legislators cannot content themselves with merely defeating this kind of legislation.  They must make it a laughing-stock.  They must so thoroughly debunk it that no one dares bring it up again.  Why?  Because that is the only way to fight the cultural indoctrination that is Democrats' real objective.  Democrats are smart enough to know that if they moved to take our guns they would be opposed.  So they hope to make people give up their guns willingly- both by making it especially onerous to own a gun in the first place, and to make you appear "weird," "unbalanced," or "violent" by society if you are known to be a gun owner.

Once they have made that image stick in the minds of the public, they believe they can then move openly to confiscate guns.  And, yes, I know they'll deny that.  They'd be stupid not to.  I ask you not to look at their words, but their actions and the logical consequences thereof.

Seeing History

The Travis Letter- the letter written by Lt. Col William Barrett Travis after the beginning of the siege of the Alamo to rally support and reinforcements- has been on display at the Alamo since February 24.  Somehow I missed that until last week.  Once I found out, I had to rectify the situation, and my family and I went to San Antonio yesterday to view the letter.  I think it's still there today, but will be gone tomorrow.  So if you're not already pretty near there, you're out of luck.

Much of the exhibit was information about Travis himself.  There were legal documents regarding his land-grant as a soldier in the Texas Army, then his heirs' expanded land-grant for him being a Hero of the Alamo.  There was even a document he filed with a court- he was a lawyer before he was a soldier.

It was actually kind of sad to see the letter itself.  It was humbling.  The reverence of most who viewed it was positively palpable.  But it was sad.  One hundred seventy-seven years is a long time for ink to stay on paper, and it wasn't exactly super-well preserved early on.  As a result, most of the writing has faded.  You can still pick out clips and phrases of the letter, but much of it has faded to the point where you can't read it anymore.

Nevertheless, the text of that letter still stirs the blood.  I encourage all of those who are looking to take our liberty to Remember the Alamo.  It would probably be a good idea to remember Gonzales, Goliad, and San Jacinto, too.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Maybe this is why he focuses on what you eat

Because Mayor Bloomberg has no clue how economics, let alone MATH!, work.

On one hand, it's nice that there are even some Democrats saying not to panic.  It's a refreshing change.  On the other, there's so much stone-cold stupid packed into that statement, I'm moderately surprised Mayor Bloomberg ever figured out how to breathe.

“We are spending money we don’t have,” Mr. Bloomberg explained. “It’s not like your household. In your household, people are saying, ‘Oh, you can’t spend money you don’t have.’ That is true for your household because nobody is going to lend you an infinite amount of money. When it comes to the United States federal government, people do seem willing to lend us an infinite amount of money. … Our debt is so big and so many people own it that it’s preposterous to think that they would stop selling us more. It’s the old story: If you owe the bank $50,000, you got a problem. If you owe the bank $50 million, they got a problem. And that’s a problem for the lenders. They can’t stop lending us more money.”

Okay, let's unpack that, first.

"We are spending money we don't have."  Yes, Mr. Bloomberg, that's the problem.  Spending money you don't have is bad.

“It’s not like your household. In your household, people are saying, ‘Oh, you can’t spend money you don’t have.’ That is true for your household because nobody is going to lend you an infinite amount of money. When it comes to the United States federal government, people do seem willing to lend us an infinite amount of money.

No, Mr. Bloomberg, the reason living on credit alone is bad is not that people will stop lending you money.  The reason is that eventually you're going to have to pay it back.  Once the bill comes due, there's not much you can do.  Oh, as long as you can keep your head above water (or buy a long enough snorkel), you can keep borrowing today to pay previous debts.  But that's just a "turtles all the way down" argument.  Eventually something will happen.  You'll miss a payment.  Checks will clear in an unexpected order causing your bank account to overdraw.  When that happens, it won't matter how much you owe- the people you borrowed from are going to come looking for their money back, and they won't accept "sorry, I don't have it, come back Tuesday."

That is every bit as true for the Government as it is for families.  The Federal Government might be able to borrow money indefinitely in theory, but Reality will not be denied and something will give.  When that happens, the whole house of cards will come down.  It'll make the Great Depression look like boom years.  If you think the lenders won't stop lending us money just because we owe them a lot, you don't understand how this whole "lending/borrowing" thing works.  Eventually one or more of three things will happen.

1) We'll miss a payment.  Do not underestimate how bad for the entire world economy "The USA Missed A Payment" could be.  Much of the world financial crisis in the Great Depression was because Germany "missed a payment."  If 1920s Germany could do that, imagine what 2013 America could do.

2) A lender simply will not be able to lend us more money.  This is a major problem with fiat currency: it gets too far divorced from money.  People look at a dollar bill and think of it as money.  They don't understand that it is only currency- the "money" is the labor which that dollar represents.  Money is finite.  At some point there will not be enough left to lend us more.

3) A lender will cease "throwing good money after bad."  At some point, a lending country (say, China) will decide to cut their losses.  Yes, us not paying them would be bad.  If, however, they believe we'll never repay them anyway, why make the situation worse by lending us yet more money?  What good would that do them?

If any of those things happens, the whole house of cards falls down.  And we're way too close to that edge for comfort.  By the way: a major US Figure (as the Mayor of NYC is) saying "Oh, they have to lend us the money, and we don't have to worry about paying it back?"  Yeah, that's a good way to get other countries looking seriously at option #3.

“Listen, I’ve worked now in government for 11 years,” he said. “One of the problems is the definition of ‘waste.’ You think the programs that I want are waste. And I think the problems that you want are waste..." 

No, Mr. Bloomberg.  No one is talking (seriously) about ending whole programs.  We should be, but we aren't.  Therefore the definition of waste is pretty narrow- money which is supposed to be used for a specific purpose which is not being used for that purpose.  Money that pays high-ranking NEA or SEIU members to go on vacation (on the public dime) is "waste."  Dollars spent deciding if a watched pot really ever does boil are "waste."  It's actually fairly simple.

Though, if you want to talk about whole departments or programs, I'd be willing to compare notes with you.

Finally, he says this:
"Everything we have was put in by Congress, signed by the president. There was a reason for it, or a constituency for it. Most of the tax breaks are designed to encourage or discourage economic activity.  There’s a reason for it.”

And there's your problem.  Virtually every part of our tax-code is now designed to encourage or discourage some kind of economic activity.  It is policy via taxation.  What the tax code should be doing, of course, is seeing to it that our government has enough money to operate.  To what extent it should operate is a separate- but highly important- question.  Regardless of the answer to that tangential question, it should be obvious that when we implement policy via taxation that's bad.  It leads to the kind of bloated, incomprehensible tax system that we have today.