Tuesday, January 29, 2013

On Illegal Immigration

It's just a topical cornucopia today.

So, also big on the national stage at the moment is "Immigration Reform" which we all know is code for "amnesty."  Apparently, some Republicans (including Marco Rubio.  Awesome), think that catering to Democrats on this issue will somehow win them votes with Hispanic voters.  I'm not exactly sure how that's supposed to work.

First off, there's the fact that Hispanics vote overwhelmingly for Democrats.  They're not quite to the Black Community numbers, but a vast majority.  Indeed, it is considered "impressive" that Rick Perry pulls nearly 40% of the Hispanic vote in Texas.  Think about that for a minute.

Secondly, the only people who benefit from amnesty (I don't care what they call it, that's what it is- own it Republicans) are Democrats (who get more voters on a better than 7 : 3 basis) and illegal immigrants.  These immigrants are often poor, usually on multiple forms of Government (that is: tax-payer provided) assistance, and generally not the kind of crowd that is normally going to vote Republican (that is: to have their "free" stuff taken away).

Third, it royally screws over legal immigrants.  For those who have already completed the process, it makes a mockery of the trouble they went through to follow our laws.  For those completing the process now, it says "hey, why bother?  We don't care about our laws, why should you?"  Even those who decide to stick it out are going to be negatively affected as ICE is overwhelmed with paperwork related to enforcing whatever new amnesty is passed.

And what will Republicans get?  Nothing.  Zip.  Zero.  Nada.  Zilch.  Enforcement?  If you're granting Amnesty, what is there to enforce?  Oh, you want me to believe we'll suddenly start enforcing it for any "new" illegal aliens?  You'll excuse me if I'm skeptical.

Now, one of the rhetorical devices Liberals will use to defend amnesty is this line: "What do you want?  We can't deport them all!"

This line gets used so often that it needs to be carefully reviewed.  There are three ways that illegal aliens could be deported.  The method preferred by the enforcement crowd is self deportation.  We believe that if we enforce the laws (more on that in a minute), and stop claiming they should be eligible for tax-payer funded benefits like Social Security, Medicaid, and TANF, that most of them would leave on their own.  They might go home; they might go somewhere else.  Either way they would no longer be here as a drain on our social services.

The second method, and the one Liberals accuse us of supporting is "mass deportations."  Now, this tricky because it could mean one of two things.  What they mean when they say it, though they may not be willing to admit it, is the idea of mass mobilization of LEO in a systematic manner, kicking down doors, throwing smoke grenades, and generally terrorizing the "poor" illegals.  Then anyone who could not prove their citizenship or legal status would be deported.

This is important, because no one is actually advocating that.  It's not on the table.  It's a particularly weak straw-man.

The third method, (and liberals will try to claim that this is "mass deportation" as well- thus trying to confuse the matter) is deportation of illegals as they are identified through other means.  If one is caught driving without a license, or through some other contact with law enforcement, deport them.  The reason Liberals claim this is "the same" as mass deportation is that "it would be deportation on a massive scale."  See?  "Massive scale" = "mass deportation."  QED.

Or not.  To say that it would be "the same" as the more generally accepted definition of "mass deportations" is the same as saying that we have "mass drunk driving enforcement" because there are a lot of drunk driving cases.  Absolutely not.  With the exception of "Driver Checkpoints" (which I believe are unconstitutional), cops are not specifically seeking out drunk drivers, but when they find them they don't hesitate to fine or jail them.  And we don't hesitate, if they plead not-guilty, to try them in a court of law.  The same would be true of immigration.  No one, except possibly ICE agents (whose job it is anyway) would be looking specifically for illegal aliens.  When they are found, however, we should not hesitate to start deportation proceedings.

Which brings us back to the "enforce the law" point.  Yes, we understand that enforcing the law will necessarily result in deportation on a massive scale- either through self deportations or through deportation proceedings or (more likely) some combination of both.  I won't say that it is "the point," but it's definitely a side benefit.  These people are here illegally.  I'm supposed to care if they experience some inconvenience when we enforce the law?  Why?

So let's start with that, first, huh?  Take any form of amnesty off the table.  In fact, take any legislation off the table.  The laws are already written.  We don't need more.  We simply need to enforce the laws that exist.  There's no need for "Immigration Reform."  What is needed is "Customs and Border Enforcement Reform."

State of the State


Today, Governor Rick Perry gave his State of the State Address.  Using this opportunity, he called for things conservatives want, and which- if Liberals' goals were truly what they claim- Liberals would support as well.

Here is the quick run-down:
The whole tone is set in this set of acknowledgements:
You have realized a simple truth: bureaucracy doesn't stimulate the economy, it gets in the way.

Texans succeed not because of bureaucracy, but because you, Dr. Allen, have ensured we have accountable, rigorous public schools.

Texans succeed because you, Chairwoman Zaffirini, have helped create a system of affordable, accessible higher education.

Texans succeed because you, Chairman Seliger, have given them the freedom to do more with the money they earn, and when private employers have more to spend, both the private and public sector benefit.

Texans succeed because you, Rep. Lozano, have given employers the freedom to innovate and expand with consistent, predictable and sensible regulation.

And Texans succeed because you, Rep. Creighton and Sen. Huffman, have let job creators know they won't be frivolously dragged into court and held hostage by individuals seeking to make a quick buck.

Get government out of the way, keep schools accountable to their students and their parents, control costs at public intuitions of education, keep taxes low, and protect business owners- especially small business owners.

Then an accomplishment that should make the enviro-nazis happy, but won't:
We lowered ozone levels by 23 percent between 2000-2011, and cut industrial NOx gas emissions by 60 percent over that span.

We'll get to his proposals after the break->

Tyranny 101

Andy, over at the AoSHQ says of this clip: "We Laughed at that.  He's serious... and representative of a sizable swath of the left."

He's right, too.  But I think this is even more insidious than that.

There are two things happening beneath the surface of this clip.

The first is the deliberate conflation of "Rights" and "Privileges."  A right is something that cannot be taken away.  The Government does not- cannot- grant or refuse any right at all.  They can punish the act of engaging in a right.  They can attempt to circumvent or infringe upon rights.  The right still exists independent of what the government does and regardless of what anyone thinks on the matter.  A privilege is granted by the State.  It only applies in certain circumstances.  Sometimes these circumstances are very broad (public education is a privilege), and sometimes these circumstances are very narrow (so is Social Security).

By purposely confusing the two, the Leftists simultaneously make people feel they are "entitled" to certain privileges, while making them believe they are not entitled to practicing certain of their rights.  This brings us to the next point.

The other thing happening under the surface, here, is that the Left is trying to make people believe that the Government is the source of all things.  That air you breathe is regulated by the Government.  The Government provides you the "right" of education, while denying some the "privilege" of gun ownership.  In this way, people come to view the Government not as a group entrusted with authority by, and accountable to, the People, but as a monolithic entity- an Aristocracy in all but name- to which we are all beholden for everything.

They seek to make us slaves, and many are too enamored of their "free" phones, or houses, or TVs, or Internet service to bother to consider the implications.  Which assumes the Government Run education system has imparted to them and honed their capacity for such consideration in the first place.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Also, Burger King "May" Sell Hamburgers For Money

It's absolutely pernicious.  The Left's hate of people having any Liberty and freedom from "Daddy Government" colors their every perception.  Case in point.  A home invader was shot during the course of his crime.  How does WPXI out of Pittsburgh report it? "Police said people inside of a Garfield home may have acted in self-defense when they shot an intruder Wednesday night."

May have.  Now, reading the rest of the report, I'm pretty certain the police did say, "They may have acted in self defense."  Note the lack of a quotation in the piece.  It seems pretty clear that the bad guy was armed (broke in by shooting the door), and dangerous (during said shooting, hit one person inside the house in the face).  I can't imagine there's a jury outside of New York City, or maybe England, who would convict the people inside the house of anything. 

So, if it's unlikely that the police said "may have," then why did the station report it that way?  Well, because the assumption (to Leftists) is that any use of a gun is criminal, and the burden lies on the shooter to prove that it wasn't.  Shooting is quickly becoming the new "harassment" in that mere accusation will soon be enough for a conviction. 

It's also to make you, the reader, think that when someone breaks into your home, using a gun to get through the lock, your first reaction shouldn't be to defend yourself, but to hide and hope help arrives.  Remember, when seconds count, the police are only minutes away!

An Uncomfortable Truth

One of the rhetorical devices that the anti-gun nuts will use is that if you support the full-auto weapons ban, you must necessarily support the "Assault Weapon Ban."  Now, that argument has at least two problems with it.

First there is the problem that the two types of weapon are functionally different.  A fully automatic weapon and an "Assault Weapon" (which is defined almost solely by cosmetic features) are two very different things.  Even a fully-automatic weapon (such as a machine gun) and true assault rifle (select fire weapon) are functionally very different.

Second is the idea that one supports the full-auto ban in the first place.  We'll come back to that later.

Leftists would have you believe that semi-automatic weapons are, by their definition, more deadly than weapons that require some sort of "action" to chamber the next round.  (That's what "bolt-action" or "lever-action" or "pump-action" mean- you have to physically manipulate the gun to get a bullet into position for firing).  So, by this logic, this is an ultra deadly weapon that no one should own:

A Highly Deadly Semi-Automatic Rifle. In .22LR

Where as this is a nice safe weapon, that doesn't fire at the rate of one pull = one bullet:

A Nice, Safe Howitzer requires reloading between shots.

Hmmm... maybe it's not the frequency of bullets being fired that makes a weapon dangerous, but the size of the round.

In that case this:

A .45 Revolver Fires a Big Bullet

is more dangerous than this:

NATO 5.56 is not much larger than .22 caliber.

Wait.  That can't be it...

No.  What they really want to ban are all weapons that scare them- and all weapons scare them.

Now, as to supporting the full-auto ban in the first place.  Some people do.  I don't.

The point that 2nd Amendment Advocates try to make is (primarily) this: responsible gun owners are responsible.  The weapon is not, itself, dangerous, and people who are going to be a danger will find a way to be a danger no matter what weapons are illegal.  I don't see how that fails to apply to a machine gun, a howitzer, or an M1A2 Abrams Main Battle Tank.  Certainly we should hold people accountable for their behavior- and mishandling a weapon (any weapon) in such a way that it injures or kills someone else should be (and is) a crime.  But if the point of the 2nd Amendment is to protect the People from the depredations of a tyrannical government (it is), then there is no philosophical basis to prevent honest, responsible gun owners from purchasing and owning any weapon they desire.

A Stark Example

There are two areas.  One is a city, the other is considerably larger.  One is, and has been for decades, controlled by Democrats and has a very strict gun control scheme.  The other is an active war zone.  One has had 4 deaths this year, the other has had 40, just from gun-shots.  What are we talking about?  Afghanistan and Chicago, IL.  But which is which?

Chicago, home of our Gun Grabbing President, and his ballerina ex-adviser (who happens to be mayor now), has had 40 gun related murders, despite having one of the most strict gun control schemes in the country.  Afghanistan has seen only 4 US servicemen die this year.  Which of those sounds like an active war zone?

Of course, the difference is that Afghanistan is an active war zone.  US Soldiers carry weapons with them all the time.  They have the means, as well as the right, to protect themselves from violence.  If you even look like a threat, a US Soldier will treat you as one.  Given the means to do so, they are very good at making sure the ones dying are the bad guys.

Contrariwise, the only people with guns in Chicago are the bad guys.  Citizens of Chicago have virtually no ability to defend themselves from violence.  This weekend alone there were 7 gun-related deaths, and 6 more injuries, in Chicago.

But SCOAMT and his ilk think that Chicago is a model for the rest of the country.

Now, I already hear some of you say "but US Soldiers receive extensive training!"  Indeed they do.  However, the strict use of their weapon doesn't receive a whole lot of training.  Practice, yes.  Training, no.  They're taught myriad things, from weapon use, maintenance, and discipline, to the US Army field guide (I'm told they're supposed to memorize it), to battle discipline, and even tactics and strategy.  And that's just in Basic Training.

Those things are designed to let them fight wars.  A simple gun owner, carrying a weapon for his own protection "just in case," doesn't need "extensive training."  He (or she) needs to know how to use his weapon, how to clean and maintain it, and discipline ideas from where to point it, when to touch (let alone squeeze) the trigger, and (just as importantly) when not to pull it out, let alone aiming it at someone/something or touching the trigger.

That doesn't take that long to learn.  Most people can pick it up very quickly.  If you don't think you can, you have two options- elect not to carry yourself (if gun controls are loose enough, one of your neighbors will have a weapon and probably be willing to defend you), or take classes that let you pick it up anyway.  You can even find tactical training programs for civilians. 

Whatever the case, though, any supposed dangers have got to be better odds than simply living in Chicago with its current murder rate.  When an active war zone is safer (because self defense is not only allowed, but facilitated) than a major US city, I think it's fairly obvious that further restricting gun ownership is not the answer to make us safer.

...And the Wages of Sin are Death

The Malthusians over at the New York Times have a new piece up (I found it via Drudge) crying and wringing their hands over "planet-warming emissions."  You see, the Europeans (because we must be exactly like the Europeans) have accepted the racket known as "carbon trading" and have already enforced it on power providers and manufacturers.  The NYT wants you to think this is a simple "cap" system whereby a power plant or manufacturer simply pays penalties if they release "too much" carbon into the air.  In reality, these are almost always rackets whereby people like Al Gore get rich.  The scam is this: some companies know they'll never hit that carbon limit.  So they sell some of their quota.  Now they make more money, and the company that buys that part of the quota is hit with fewer fines.  It is, in essence, a way for successful enterprises to be forced to subsidize their less successful counterparts.

Well, Europe was about to do the same to airlines.  Everyone (and I mean "everyone who wasn't going to profit from this scam,") proclaimed and emphatic, "NO!"

The US said no, China said no, India said no, the airlines said no.  Eventually Europe got the idea, and decided to postpone the plan "for just one year."  Yeah, we'll see how that works out for them.

In the meantime, in case you needed more evidence that a) the current environmental movement is made of Malthusians (people who want humanity to die off) and b) is not based upon science, but rather a quasi-religion which just happens to have Al Gore as its Chief Priest and Prophet, the NYT gives us this gem of a line:
For many people reading this, air travel is their most serious environmental sin. One round-trip flight from New York to Europe or to San Francisco creates about 2 or 3 tons of carbon dioxide per person. The average American generates about 19 tons of carbon dioxide a year; the average European, 10.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

What's Missing Here?

I got this from FotB tsrblke:
In accordance with the Jeanne Clery Campus Security Act, the Department of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness (DPSEP) is sharing the following Campus Safety Notice about an incident reported to DPSEP.

This morning, the [1] Metropolitan Police Department notified DPSEP that a student was robbed at approximately 2:00 a.m.  near the corner of [1] Boulevard and [1] Avenue on the edge of the campus.

The student was approached by unknown subject, who displayed a silver handgun. The student surrendered her purse and cellphone, and the subject fled the scene in a dark-colored SUV.

The student was not injured during the incident. City police are investigating the matter, and DPSEP will increase its evening patrols in the vicinity.

The subject is described as a black male in his early 20s, 5’8”-6’ feet tall, thin build, wearing a dark-colored ski jacket, black pants and a black knit cap.

In addition to making you aware of this incident, we would like to share the following safety tips.
If possible,don't walk alone at night.
Always remain alert and aware of your surroundings.
Scan parking lots,sidewalks and streets for suspicious persons and activity.
Look confident and purposeful when you walk.
Don’t flash your personal belongings such as MP3 players, cell phones, and laptops
Report suspicious activity or persons to DPSEP or the Metropolitan Police Department.
If you are the victim of a crime:
Report the incident immediately by calling DPSEP at [Phone] or 911.
Make a mental note of the suspect’s gender, race, age, height, clothing and distinguishing characteristics.
If more than one suspect is involved, concentrate on the person closest to you.
Try to note the direction of travel of the suspect(s) from the scene.
Department of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness' [1] Program also provides free safety escorts for students, faculty, staff and visitors who want to be accompanied to cars,other buildings or across campus. [1] operates: Monday through Wednesday - 6:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m., Thursday - 6:00 p.m. to 2:00 a.m., Friday - 6:00 p.m. to 3:00 a.m., Saturday - 7:00 a.m. to 3:00 a.m., and Sunday - 7:00 a.m. to 1:00 a.m.  To request a safety escort call [Phone]
For additional crime prevention tips and safety information, visit the DPSEP web site a [Website removed]
[1] - Redacted by request

He has two points- one with which I agree, and one with which I don't:

The one I don't agree with is that he takes exception to this line: "Look confident and purposeful when you walk."  Yet self-defense experts will tell you this is an invaluable piece of advice.  They sometimes put it another way, "Don't act like a victim."  Merely looking confident and purposeful is a way to help say, "I'm not easy pickings.  Wait for the next guy."

The other point he makes, with which I agree, is this: no where in that email is any talk of self-defense.  The closest they get is to tell you that you can get a "free" safety escort.  In fact, this specific incident would not have been helped by the safety escort- that program (per the email) only runs 6P - 1A Mon - Wed.  That means they knocked off at 1A on Thursday morning.  The robbery happened at 2 AM.

Of further note, the robber was apparently not terribly concerned with the fact that robbery was illegal.  Nor that it was illegal to carry a gun on campus.  It's almost as if criminals don't obey the law.

Now, this was a simple robbery.  Most self-defense experts will also tell you just to comply with a robber.  For one thing, this one already had his gun out.  Had the student had a weapon, and attempted to draw it, she probably would have been shot herself.  For another, even if he didn't have a gun at all, by the time a robber is demanding your stuff, he's close enough that you probably don't have time to pull a gun and fire (with anything resembling accuracy) before he could be hitting/kicking/stabbing you.

But what if it hadn't been a simple robbery?  What if it had been a rape attempt?  An assault? 

Bad people are going to do bad things.  That's simply the way the world works.  Given that truth, I want the ability to defend myself when the situation rises.  Liberals would have you believe that the mere ability to defend yourself is worse than getting robbed, raped, or beaten to death.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Another I Told You So

Hmmm... what could possibly be wrong with diagnosing "grief and anxiety" as mental illnesses?  I mean, beyond the fact that's just stupid?

Oh, and over here I remember that the SCOAMT promised that his administration would crack down on the mentally ill getting guns.  Apropos of nothing, of course.

My mother often calls me a pessimist.  She says I look on the bad side of things and should really endeavor to see the good instead.  I tell her that Endeavour doesn't fly anymore.  After she rolls her eyes, I tell her that I'm not a pessimist.  It's not that I look at things as they are and say "Doom, gloom, and agony on me," rather I'm a cynic in that I always expect people to act in their own self-interest (that is: selfishly), and a realist in that I realize that is never going to change.

When I wrote that piece, I said this:
Do you know how easy it is for the DSM-V to be modified based on politics?  Congratulations, owners of multiple guns.  You can now be diagnosed as mentally-ill.

Okay, I know that diagnosing children as mentally ill is not exactly the same as calling any owner of multiple guns a psychopath, but they end up with the same result.  People who are not sick (most of them) being forever branded as "mentally ill."  Oh, and incidentally denied their second amendment rights as a result, at least potentially.

I do neither deny nor doubt that mental illness really exists, is a real thing, and that people with mental illnesses need treatment.  What I do reject is any so obviously fuzzy realm of science being given the authority of canon by way of a "manual."  Too many people look at the DSM-V as writ gospel regarding mental health, when we really know nothing about the brain.  We don't know why some medications work for some people, and not others.  Some medications for depression, if given to the wrong person, can actually make their depression worse.  Yet we are told by these same people that grief and anxiety (normal reactions to, say, the death of a loved one) are reason to be concerned about mental illness.

I'm not even going to say that there aren't times that someone's "grief" can go on too long and become a chronic thing that needs real help (though I'm guessing the times it needs to be treated with medication are few and far between).

What I am going to say is that this is proof that the DSM-V is a highly political manual.  It doesn't always and exclusively change because of advances in science; it frequently changes based on "best guesses" and, not infrequently, politics and a social agenda.

Which makes the SCOAMT's Imperial Pronouncements last week especially troubling.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Causal Confusion

You've probably heard or seen commercials from the National Association of Realtors about "the benefits of home ownership."  These include better grades for kids, more cohesive family units, higher employment, and unicorns (I think I made that last one up).  To hear them tell it, if everyone just bought a house, everything would be better. 

Even granting them the best of motives, this is irresponsible advertising and giving people false expectations.  And I don't grant them the best of motives.

You see, the premise of these commercials is a fallacious conflation of causal relationships.  For my Liberal readers: it gets cause and effect backwards.

In the early days of my blog, I addressed it this way: frugality fosters wealth, not the other way around.  You see, the fact is that couples who are committed to each other and their children, who work hard and save money, and who have the personal habits associated with those things will tend to own homes.  It is not owning the home that makes them committed and hard working.  Exactly the opposite, it's the commitment and hard work that makes them good candidates for home ownership.

Unfortunately, this disease does not simply effect the NAR.  It seems to have spread everywhere.  Colleges tell you that getting a degree will enhance your prospects, when the truth is (especially in this age of degrees in Underwater Basket Weaving), that the kind of people who are likely to be successful are the same ones who will tend to get college degrees.  More over, they will tend to get STEM degrees, not Liberal Arts degrees.

This really gets to the heart of our "because I deserve it!" society.  We have ceased being a society of personal responsibility and liberty- the society that built this nation into the greatest on earth- and have become a society of "steps to success" and "easy money."  Our grandparents and great-grandparents did not believe that there were certain steps that would lead to wealth and prosperity.  Rather they realized that accomplishing certain goals would require certain steps.  Our parents, for various reasons, began getting that backward, and they imparted that to my generation. 

Now, people believe that if they go to college, they are owed a job when they graduate.  They believe that once they sign to purchase a house, they are owed prosperity and a good school and a job.

It's completely backwards, and it will change.  The only question is if it will change because we, as a society, set out to change it, or if it will change because the gods of the copy-book headings will force it on us.

Liberal Idiots

As BenK over at the Ace of Spades HQ says, "One Group Of People Getting Screwed By Obamacare That I Don't Feel Sorry For In The Least."

It turns out that many colleges and universities are cutting the hours of their adjunct (read: part-time) professors, to keep them below the 30 hr/wk Obamacare eligibility line.  Surprising absolutely no one with a brain, colleges and universities are moving to protect their bottom lines as much as possible.  However, this seems to have surprised the supposedly highly-educated college staff.

From the article:
“I think it goes against the spirit of the [health-care] law,” Mr. Balla said. “In education, we’re working for the public good, we are public employees at a public institution; we should be the first ones to uphold the law, to set the example.”

A couple of things with this.  First off, you are not working for the public good, and you are not public employees.  You are working for a paycheck, as proven by your grousing about a smaller paycheck, and you are a private employee.  This is true even of State system Universities.  Public employees are police, firefighters, and politicians.  You don't want to be a "public employee," Mr. Balla.

More important, though, is this line: "I think it goes against the spirit of the [health-care] law."  You see, Mr. Balla supported Obamacare (I'm guessing, but it seems pretty evident) because it would give "People" (read: "him") "Free" (read: Employer paid) health insurance.  He never once considered that employers, whether his beloved colleges or the local Stop-and-Rob, or the local burger joint, might look at the requirements of the law and decide the best way to protect their bottom line would be to have as few people eligible for insurance as possible.

Put simply, there is no such thing as "the spirit" of any law.  Laws are written down very carefully.  It is true that the more complicated a law is, the more loopholes and exceptions will exist.  But there is no requirement for any employer to keep people on at 30+ hours per week.  If you want to test this, do something that is technically illegal, but is within "the spirit of the law," for instance: speeding.

Traffic laws, especially speed limit laws, we are told are to "ensure our safety."  So it stands to reason that the "spirit" of speed limit laws is "drive a safe speed."  Well, on an open stretch of highway with no other traffic, a safe speed might well be 90 miles per hour.  Indeed, it might be safer than the actual posted speed limit of 65 or 70 MPH, because by driving faster you're actually on the road less, meaning there is less time for something to go wrong.  Try explaining that when the State Trooper pulls you over for doing 20 miles over the speed limit.

Laws are written explicitly.  Anyone who believes they can write a law, or that any law has been written, such that it will be enforced based on its "spirit" is a fool, a shyster, or both.  In this case, I believe Mr. Balla is both.  He's a shyster because he thought it was a nifty trick to get the government to force his employer to provide insurance despite his part time status.  He's a fool because he believed that would work.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Date Night

The young-ish married couples at our church have long had a "babysitting co-op."  If your church doesn't have one, and you have kids, consider starting one.  It's awesome.  Basically three times a year we end up babysitting all the kids of the other parents in the co-op (about 10 this year, including our own).  In return, we get nights out roughly every other week. 

Did I mention it's awesome?

So, last Friday was the first co-op night of the new year, and my wife and I decided to make it special.  So what did we do?  The most romantic thing in the world.  We sent hot lead at high velocity through paper targets.

Yes.  Our date that night was to go to the gun range (it was my wife's first time shooting a handgun).  Then we went for food, but you don't care about that.  No, you care about my wife's first time firing a handgun.

We used my Springfield XD9 (I've blogged about it here before), and she had fun.  How'd she do?  Well, see for yourself:

Those are both pictures she took of her first target.  She was proud enough that she insisted on keeping the paper itself, and then taped it to our wall to take these pictures.

The shots in the 10 and X rings were after she had a better feel for the pistol.  The ones mostly in the 9 ring were her fist several shots.

One major downside to this date, however.  I think I'm going to have to buy her a handgun (the XD is just a little too big for her hands), and one just simply isn't in the budget right now.

First world, second amendment problems.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Sometimes I'm Just Not Cynical Enough

Just two days ago, I said this:
     4.  Direct the Attorney General to review categories of individuals prohibited from having a gun to make sure dangerous people are not slipping through the cracks.

You know, someone more cynical than me might point out that the AG would now have the power, at least arguably, to put any member of one of the groups designated by the Secretary of Homeland Security as being a "dangerous person."  So, congratulations, military vets, religious conservatives, and members of gun clubs.  You may no longer be able to purchase firearms.

Yesterday (I just found it today), the Washington Times had this:
The West Point center typically focuses reports on al Qaeda and other Islamic extremists attempting to gain power in Asia, the Middle East and Africa through violence.

But its latest study turns inward and paints a broad brush of people it considers “far right.”

It says anti-federalists “espouse strong convictions regarding the federal government, believing it to be corrupt and tyrannical, with a natural tendency to intrude on individuals’ civil and constitutional rights. Finally, they support civil activism, individual freedoms, and self government. Extremists in the anti-federalist movement direct most their violence against the federal government and its proxies in law enforcement.”

So there you have it.  Now, simply believing in the Federalist (I love how they have Newspeak-ized the term "anti-Federalist" to mean "anti-Nationalist") system, and that the Federal Government might maybe be overstepping its bounds a little bit makes you a dangerous and violent criminal.

Yay us.

Now, I could go on and on about how there have been no- repeat that: no- violence from "far right groups" in America that I can recall in my life time.  In fact, all of the politically motivated violence I can recall has been from the Left side of the aisle.  Jared Laughner, anyone?  How about that Marx quoting maniac who flew his plane into a building in Austin?

I could, but I won't, because it doesn't matter.  What does matter is that a branch of the US Department of Defense just called everyone who believes in the Federalist system, individual liberty, and self-governance a potential terrorist.  In light of the SCOAMT's Imperial Proclamation above, that seems pretty scary to this "anti-Federalist."

(And, no, the irony of Tenthers being called "anti-Federalist" is not lost on me).

Let it Burn.

That's Just Crazy Talk

Back in 2009/2010 when conservatives were pointing out the myriad problems with ObamaCare, one of the things we were assured would never happen would be that doctors would stop practicing or would move to fields which were less expensive to practice with similar repayments.  You know, like rational people.  "That's just crazy talk." 

Well, someone should tell the Windber Medical Center in Southwestern Pennsylvania that, because apparently they didn't get the memo.  As of March 31 they will stop delivering babies due to ObamaCare. 

The Windber Medical Center will stop delivering babies after March 31 because its obstetricians are either leaving or refocusing their practices, and because hospital officials believe they can't afford it based on projected reimbursements under looming federal health care reforms.

I'm surirpised by this.  Not that it is happening, but that this is the first one I've heard about.  I'm sure there will be more, and I would not be surprised to find out this isn't actually the first, just the first one to get national attention of any sort.  The fact is that ObamaCare is cripiling doctors and hospitals.  "If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor," was a lie.  The SCOAMT knew, or should have known, that doctors would leave the feild in droves.  Which will be just another arrow in the Trannie's quiver when they're ready to fully Nationalize healthcare.

And it is coming.  All tyrannical regimes do two things first.  They nationalize healthcare, making you dependent upon the state for your health.  They disarm the populace, making you easier to control and incidentally dependent upon the state for your protection.  We're seeing a push to disarm the populace in the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting.  ObamaCare is the vehicle by which the Trannies will nationalize health care.

Unfortunately, it may be too late to do anything about that.  So let it burn.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Beware Gun Grabbers' Double-Speak

We've heard a lot about Americans' "rich hunting tradition," and evil "assault weapons."  As such, I believe it is necessary to provide a warning against ever accepting their terms as the nomenclature for the gun debate.  Tansnational Progressives (Trannies) (shamelessly stolen from the AoSHQ) like to use words that sound innocuous for things that are bad, and words that sound scary for things that are not.  They love to use double-speak and word games to make it harder to argue against them.

For instance, when a Tranny talks about our "rich hunting tradition," they're a) lying (no such "rich tradition" exists- more in a minute) and b) laying the ground work for banning all guns.  See, if it is true that I don't need ten bullets to kill a dear, it is also true that I don't need a gun at all.  People hunted dear, and even bigger game, with bows and arrows, and with spears and javelines before that, long before gunpowder was even invented.  So if we're going to limit gun ownership based on what is "needed" for hunting, then we can ban guns outright.

Now, to that "rich hunting tradition."  That's bull crap made up by Democrats to give them cover to steal your guns.  While it is true that many people have hunted for a long time, it is a) not something unique to American or Americans, and b) has never been (as far as I can tell) a majority of the population.  And hunting as a purely recreational activity certainly did not first arise in America.  So while it is true that we have had hunters, even recreational hunters, from before the beginning of our nation, to call it a "rich hunting tradition" is a sleight-of-mouth trick to make you equate the 2nd Amendment with hunting- a relationship which simply does not exist.

As for "assault weapons," as the Reason author so ably points out, Trannies don't even know what makes a weapon and "assault rifle."  An assault rifle is a selective fire weapon, meaning it can fire in semi-automatic, burst (usually), and/or fully-automatic modes.  We also call them "machine guns" (though that's not correct either, as machine guns are not typically selective fire, and are only capable of fully-automatic fire).  To be an assault weapon, there has to be a way for me to pull the trigger once, and more than one bullet to come out.  No weapon used in Aurora, CO, or Sandy Hook Elementary met that definition.  So they must actually mean something different.

Based on their words, to them the difference is magazine capacity.  So a weapon holding 7 bullets in New York is just fine, but one holding 8 is suddenly an "assault weapon."  Congratulations owners of virtually all semi-automatic pistols: your handgun is now an "assualt weapon."  So are many bolt-action rifles. 

If they're so willing to defraud the language with these terms, what are they doing with terms like "dangerous person" (a little vague, no?), or "gun safety devices?"

Liberal Media Personalities: You Gun Owners Are Evil

See, if you own a gun, you support the Eeevil "Gun Lobby."  And the Gun Lobby must be opposed like the Nazis, and failing to do so is the same as failing to speak out against Democrats (like Bull Connor) during the 1960 Civil Rights debates.

I would set aside these two statements, because they're so stupid, but many will listen to them.  Even if these two particularly stupid statements don't persuade anyone, they're simply adding to a growing chorus designed to make you believe that a) guns are evil, b) gun owners are evil, and c) anyone who thinks otherwise is weird or defective.  Therefore they must be exposed and ridiculed.  They must also be refuted.

So let's take this "Nazi" thing, first.  Opposing gun ownership is being like the Nazis, not like opposing them.  For those of you not aware, just like every other tyrannical regime since the 19th Century, one of the first things the Nazis did was prohibit private ownership of firearms.  You see, the point of owning a gun is not to hunt, or shoot at paper targets, or at clay pidgeons.  The point of owning a gun is not even, primarily, to defend yourself, your family, or your home from robbers and theives.  The point of owning a gun is to have the means to oppose a tyrannical government.

So, when a tyrannical government wants to take power, the first thing it must do is to disarm the populace.  So far from opposing the "Gun Lobby" (read: "Gun Owners") being like opposing the Nazis, it is simply enabling those who would be Nazis, or any other kind of tyrant.  This is also why, yes, I should be allowed to own a howitzer.

Now, on the Civil Rights comment.  Again, would it surpise you to know the nation's first gun control laws were enacted (again, by Democrats) in the South to prevent the newly freed slaves from defending themselves from the likes of the (largely Democrat) KKK?  So, far from failing to oppose the gun lobby being akin to failing to oppose desegregation and Civil Rights, opposing the gun lobby is exactly like opposing the Civil Rights movement in the 1960s.

The simple fact is that no single item represents the Freedom of Man, and the fact that the People are Sovereign over their Government like The Gun.  An armed populace is one that does not need to fear its government.  An armed populace is one that is sovereign over its government.  Armed civilians are the employers and bosses of the military and the police.  Simply put, a disarmed populace is none of those things.

And only a tyrannical government would seek to disarm its populace.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

There He Goes Again.

So, the White House finally decided it had had enough of the plebes daring to voice their opinion, so SCOAMT changed the rules on the White House petitions.  Now, instead of having to get 25,000 signatures, a petition must receive 100,000 to reach the status that it must receive an "official response."

Now, this may seem like a mundane thing, but it really isn't.  This is, as our illustrious Vice President might say, a Big F'in Deal.  In fact, it's another step toward the Neo-Feudalism that I've mentioned in this space before.  You see, the President can't be bothered with responding to something a mere 25,000 of The People care about.  No, he can only bestir himself for something 100,000 sign onto.

But if he can set any number to trigger an "official response," then he is already circumventing the People's 1st Amendment Right to petition for redress of grievances.  How?  Because then nothing is preventing him from setting the number at 300,000, or 500,000, or 1,000,000 or... well, you get the idea.

That is, if the President gets to set minimum boundary on whether or not he will even consider a petition, then he is saying that only "enough" of the people have a right to petition for redress of grievances.  And it is only a step, and a quite small one, from "enough" to "certain."

So, I have started a petition, which I hope you will sign (yes, you'll have to give them an email address).  While I really wanted to say drop the requirement to 1, I figure there are some practical limits.  So I simply requested that the President reinstate the old rules.  To stop moving the goal posts, if you will.

If it gets enough signatures, and I actually get a response, I'll update with what that response is.

Tyranny in a Velvet Glove

Here, go read this.  Human Events has the list of the SCOAMT's Executive Orders on Gun Control.

At first glance, these don't look so bad.  They look like "propaganda" or "window dressing."  But on further review, they are a tyrannical government attempting to disarm its citizenry.

Let's take a look at just a few:

2.  Address unnecessary legal barriers, particularly relating to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, that may prevent states from making information available to the background check system.
Oh, good.  So now my private health information is an "unnecessary legal barrier" to the Government deciding if my 2nd Amendment Rights should be honored.

 4.  Direct the Attorney General to review categories of individuals prohibited from having a gun to make sure dangerous people are not slipping through the cracks.
You know, someone more cynical than me might point out that the AG would now have the power, at least arguably, to put any member of one of the groups designated by the Secretary of Homeland Security as being a "dangerous person."  So, congratulations, military vets, religious conservatives, and members of gun clubs.  You may no longer be able to purchase firearms.

5.  Propose rulemaking to give law enforcement the ability to run a full background check on an individual before returning a seized gun.
Law enforcement already runs a background check on individuals before returning seized guns.  So the only purpose for this, that I can see, is that a "full background check" takes longer, which means yet more delay in retrieving your wrongfully seized gun.

10.  Release a DOJ report analyzing information on lost and stolen guns and make it widely available to law enforcement.
Guns reported lost are stole are already logged that way.  When someone runs a gun's serial number, it will come back as "lost" if it was reported lost, or "stolen" if it was reported stolen.  I'm not sure what this is supposed to accomplish if it's not more than that.  If it is more than that, expect DOJ officials to come "verify your report" of a lost or stolen gun.

14.  Issue a Presidential Memorandum directing the Centers for Disease Control to reaserch the causes and prevention of gun violence.
Do you know how easy it is for the DSM-V to be modified based on politics?  Congratulations, owners of multiple guns.  You can now be diagnosed as mentally-ill.

 16.  Clarify that the Affordable Care Act does not prohibit doctors asking their patients about guns in their homes.
Now he's just re-writing the law by fiat.  Not that that's new for him.

20.  Release a letter to state health officials clarifying the scope of mental health services that Medicaid plans must cover.
Remember that point about the DSM-V I made earlier.  Yeah.

Now, this is not to say that all of this will happen.  It's possible that this was just done to make the SCOAMT feel good about himself.  But it is what could happen.  And that should be enough.  The President has just declared that he, through his Secretaries, has the ability to take your right to own a gun away from you by fiat.

This is tyranny in a velvet glove.  The fact that we even have to consider that he might do it is completely unacceptable.

All the while he hid behind children- children the policies he believes in so epically failed to protect- while declaring that pointing out that his own daughters have armed security 24/7 is somehow "Repugnant and Cowardly."

No.  From my cold, dead hands.

From My Cold, Dead Hands

Today, Barack Obama will outline his plans for further gun control, in addition to announcing Executive Orders he plans to sign to enact some form of gun control without Congress.

I'm not going to discuss the merits of gun control legislation for two reasons.  First, there are none.  Second, the people who now want to deprive me of my 2nd Amendment Rights don't care about the merits, or lack thereof, of the legislation they wish enacted, they only want more power over me.

See, Sandy Hook Elementary doesn't matter to them.  Neither did the Aurora, CO theater shooting.  Neither did any previous mass shooting.  If those events actually mattered, they would have put together this series of events:

  1. Bad guy selects location where victims have no ability to resist
  2. Bad guy goes on rampage
  3. When people with ability to resist show up, Bad guy surrenders or (just as likely) takes his own life.
That's always the way.  In fact, I only know of three instances, and only two in my lifetime, where people being better armed would not have stopped the violence much sooner.  The UT Clock Tower Sniper, the Hollywood Bank Robbers, and the Gabriel Giffords's event (remember, a Federal Judge was killed that day.  I guess he doesn't matter since he was a Republican).

Here's the thing.  In none of those events would more gun control laws made anyone more safe, either.  In the case of the Clock Tower sniper, there was no way to get to him until police stormed the tower.  In the case of the bank robbers, they were heavily armored enough that even the police could not hurt them until they appropriated shotguns and those same "semi-automatic assault rifles" (an oxymoron) from a civilian gun dealer.  Some guy with a Glock in an inside-the-pants concealed holster wasn't going to do much.  In the case of the Gabriel Giffords, there were too many people in the way for a responsible gun owner to fire back at the assailant.

Let's examine that one a little more, because it's important.  See, there were people at that event who were armed.  But they were responsible, law abiding gun owners.  At least one of them openly stated that he did not draw his weapon because he knew there was too great a chance of hitting an innocent. 

When we talk about "gun control" what we really mean is restricting people like that very responsible and law abiding gun owner from being able to protect themselves.  The bad guys aren't going to care about any gun laws; they've already decided to commit mass murder.

Democrats know this.  Maybe some are truly earnest about wanting to "do something," but this kind of gun violence has existed since at least the 1920s.  It isn't like the majority of them have not had time to figure it out.  So their purpose cannot be to keep guns out of bad people's hands, they know they're not going to do that.

So why would they want to enact these laws?  As I said above: Power.  A disarmed populace is a compliant populace.  If the citizenry have no means to resist tyranny, they are less likely to resist tyranny.  The only purpose any politician can ever serve, whatever he has deluded himself into believing, by restricting gun ownership in any form is to empower tyrants.

I will not ever knowingly empower a tyrant.  Not even passively.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

What's Next? "Reeducation" Camps?

Now, this is from Joe ("J-O-B-S. Three letters") Biden, so I suppose we should take it with a grain of salt.  Apparently the Administration is seeking to bypass congress in an unconstitutional twofer.  The Malignant Traitor wants to issue an executive order for gun control.  Unconstitutional 1: what part of "the right of the People to Keep and Bear Arms shall not be Infringed" doesn't he understand?  Unconstitutional 2: Laws are made by congress, silly.  The Executive has no authority, even via Executive Orders to compel or direct the private citizenry in any way, unless specifically granted by statute.  Which statute provides the President the power to do anything about guns I own or wish to own?

Frankly, though, as laughable as this is, it is also highly disturbing.  It is, without overstating the case or being overly outlandish, fascist.  It is, more or less, exactly what a certain poorly-mustached dictator did in Germany.  Other notables who also socialized medicine and disarmed their populace: Mussolini, Mao, Stalin.  Now what do these four have in common?

Oh, yes: mass murder/genocide and evil orders of magnitude greater than just about any other we can find in history, with the possible exceptions of Pharaoh having all Hebrew boys killed during childbirth, and Herod ordering the deaths of every male child aged 2 and under.

And these are the people (probably including Pharaoh and King Herod) that the Malignant Traitor and his Cabinet officials see as inspirational.

The Good Guns Do

It is easy, in the wake of any mass shooting tragedy, to fall prey to base emotionalism and believe that merely banning guns (or banning "bad" guns) would have prevented the tragedy.  As shown over and over that is simply not the case.  Obviously someone intent on murder is not going to be particularly hampered by some law prohibiting him from having a "semi-automatic assualt rifle" (a gun which, by definition, cannot exist). 

What is harder, or has been up to now, is to show the ways good, responsible, law-abiding citizens are using guns to make the world better.  Or, at least, to protect themselves.

Stepping up to the plate on this matter is the Cato Institute, a libertarian-leaning think-tank.  They have put together this interactive map.  What does it show?  Instances of responsible gun owners using their guns to defend themselves, their family, their neighbors, and their homes.  It's still a work in progress, and I'm sure it will be for the forseable future.  Go check it out, and pay particular attention to the types of things against which people use guns to defend themselves.

With newspapers and web-zines publishing lists of legal gun owners names (and addresses), it only seems right that someone point out what those legal gun owners are doing with those guns.

Small Business Owners React to Obamacare; Leftists Cry

H/T Gabe at Ace of Spades.

Let us stipulate, for the record, that no one enjoys seeing people further impoverished.  That said, I can't help but indulge in some schadenfreude, here.  If I had to guess, I'd say that the "single mother of three" was more than happy that she was going to be able to soak her bargain-basement employer for a high-speed health plan.  I wouldn't even be surprised to find out she was an Obama voter.

Across the nation, economic reality is rearing its inevitable head, and Leftists are crying that "it's not fair!"  Some are even threatening to boycott entire corporations because of the hard decisions franchise owners face.  They are shocked, shocked that small business owners are cutting part-time employees hours to avoid them suddenly being considered "full time" despite not working full-time hours.

What, exactly, did they think would happen?

Well, honestly, most of them didn't.  To most of them, especially rich actors, the economy is magic, and money is merely a talisman used to work that magic.  They have no understanding of the economy, and they believe that it is not understandable.  So when they heard "free health care," and "a right to health care," they never stopped to ponder economic realities like TANSTAAFL, or that the laws of supply and demand stem from the core fact of the scarcity of resources. 

But then there are those who did think about it.  Most of them, I will generously grant, really should have fallen into the first group.  They don't understand economic reality.  Unfortunately, they think they do.  So when they heard "employer paid health care" they thought, "Yeah!  Every worker deserves (oh, how I hate that word- DT) health care!"  To them, those business owners are all just greedy jerks who want to become rich "on the backs of their employees."

Some few, however, thought about economic reality, and understood it.  They are simply evil.  They understood exactly what would happen.  Indeed, they understood that this was the design of the law.  Small business owners, especially restaurant owners (either family restaurants or franchise owners), tend to work on very small margins.  That is, after they've paid their businesses' bills, including payroll, what they actually take home is fairly modest.  Anything that cuts into that margin poses a very serious threat of putting them in a negative feedback loop which would end in bankruptcy and (and this is important) the closing of their business.  What, exactly, do they think will happen to those workers?

See, the point of Obamacare is (as admitted by the Malignant Traitor himself) to be a "Trojan Horse" for single payer.  The Democrats want more people forced out of their insurance and onto the Exchanges.  That is the only possible outcome of all the mandates and fees baked into the law.  Once enough people are forced onto the "Public Option," they'll be able to cry, "See?!  We told you those evil capitalists were only in for the money!  They don't care about you!" and enact single payer.

And once the Government controls your access to health care, the Government controls every facet of your life.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Feel Good Story of the Day

Chalk this up as another story the anti-gun crowd doesn't want you to know about.

In Georgia, a woman defended herself and her child by shooting an intruder several times in the face and torso, then escaping to a neighbor's house.

There are lots of little gems in the story; things like how the intruder had been arrested six or seven times (the math is unclear) since 2008.  There is the part where the woman tried to hide, and the intruder kept looking through the house until he found her and her son.

These should show that no amount of law or appeasement will stop bad people from doing bad things.  It certainly seems like Mr. Slater is a certified hard-case.  Something tells me he wouldn't think twice about violating a "Gun Free Zone." 

Also of note, however, are how the confrontation played out.  She emptied the cylinder of her .38 revolver into the man.  Based on reporting, she hit him 5 times in the face and torso, and that didn't put him down.  It did stop him, but getting shot in the torso and face five times did not kill him.  Once he was stopped, he only stopped because he didn't realize she didn't have any more bullets.  This indicates he was hopped up enough on adrenaline that he would have been capable of harming her if he'd realized she didn't have any more bullets and she hadn't fled.

I want it to be clear that this woman did everything right.  She did it exactly as most safety experts would have told her.  She attempted to avoid the confrontation, but defended herself with full force when the confrontation became inevitable. 

However, this could easily have gone the other way.  Had she been unarmed, as many in the anti-gun lobby would wish, she and her son could easily be dead today.  There are more than a few liberals who will get the vapors over the fact she emptied her gun at the man.  They will tell you it it's a good thing she didn't have one of those evil "assault rifles" or "extended clips."

I'll tell you exactly the opposite.  This woman (unidentified by the linked report) was very lucky that her assailant lost count of the shots she fired, or didn't recognize that she only had a revolver.  If he had, he may have attacked her anyway.  I'm willing to bet when she realized the man was still capable of action, she wished she'd had one of those evil extended clips.

The fact is that responsible gun ownership is responsible for far more prevented crime than any "mass shooter" is responsible for death an mayhem.  Further, I'd be willing to bet that if he'd been facing an AR-15 instead of a .38 revolver, the assailant would have run from the confrontation.  In fact, her having such a weapon may have finally avoided conflict- there would be no reason to shoot a man, soiled pants clinging to his waist, who is running away.

In either case, I'm glad this woman and her son are safe.  I feel no pity for the criminal who, according to the report, lies in critical condition with pierced lungs, liver, and stomach.  If he dies, that's the price he chose to pay by breaking into their home.  If he survives, I hope he is locked up for the rest of his natural life span.

Friday, January 4, 2013

This Person Can Vote

I dunno, sweetie.  What on earth might have happened to make your paycheck go down?

After my initial response of hysterical laughter, that simple post made me kind of upset.  I'm just not sure what made me more angry- the fact this woman was doubtless one of the ones calling for more taxes on "the rich," or the fact she was so caught up in the rhetoric of her own side that she failed to see what they were actually doing.

This is the primary problem with the 11th hour nature of the Fiscal Cliff deal.  Because Congress believed it had to [i]do something now![/i] the American People didn't have a chance to see what was in the legislation and let their voices be heard.  Instead, all we got was pablum and talking points.

As a result, we have no spending cuts.  As a result, taxes on everyone with a job are going up.  As a result, job and wealth creators are being punished with yet higher taxes.

And people like this, who undoubtedly think themselves informed, have absolutely no clue. 

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Rich White Folks: "Please pay for our failure to plan for disaster!"

So, now that the Fiscal Cliff has been solved*, it appears the next fight is over the funding of a Sandy Relief bill.  Apparently, the Northeastern United States (arguably one of the richest geographic regions, per capita, on the planet) cannot pay to clean up after Hurricane Sandy without the help of people in Topeka, Kansas.

Because of this, the Senate introduced a bill to pay for the cleanup and rebuilding of those portions of the NE that were smashed by the storm.  They then proceeded to load it with so much pork, Oscar Meyer was planning to sue.  Some of the money in the bill was going to go to such hard hit areas as... Alaskan fisheries.  Yes, really.

So, in one of their few laudable moves of the last two years, the Republican House blocked the bill.  They currently aren't even planning to bring it to a vote, as far as I can tell.

Immediately, the long knives came out.  From Republicans.  See, apparently it is completely verboten to even consider that individuals should have their own plans for possible disasters, let alone States.  So it shouldn't matter how much unnecessary spending is in the "relief" bill, it should just be passed without question.

Now, I'm not a fan of this federal disaster relief anyway.  I wasn't a fan of it for Hurricane Alex in the 90s.  I wasn't a fan of it for Katrina or Rita.  I'm not a fan of it for Sandy.  I'm sorry, but I simply cannot find the provision of the Constitution which empowers Congress to spend one red cent on "disaster relief."

For an example of what I do support, I point to Texas's "Rainy Day fund."  This is a special fund which we have set aside to pay for disasters in Texas.  We have been very, very good about not taking money out for purely budgetary concerns (well, as good as we can expect from politicians), and really using it as an emergency fund.  It served us well when cleaning up after Rita.  It served us well again when fighting massive wildfires in 2011.  In the case of the wildfires, it was the only money we had to pay for firefighters and cleanup, because the Federal Government (that is: the SCOAMT) refused to acknowledge the wildfires as a Natural Disaster (which would have opened the way for some federal loans, mostly).

It may seem harsh to say, "clean it up yourselves," but remember this: I think everyone should clean up their own disasters.  I don't think people from New York should be on the hook for tornadoes, wild fires, or even hurricanes in Texas.  I don't think people in Arizona should be on the hook for earthquakes in California.

Nevertheless, a relief bill will be passed.  My arguments have been voiced many times before, and the country has decided they're without merit.  But why is it out of line to ask for a few extra days so that a clean bill can be proposed and passed?  Why must it be done immediately, and full of pork?

*By which I mean: totally not solved, and only barely kicked down the road

The "Lawful Stupid" Party

Confession time: I'm a nerd.  I've played Role Playing Games (real ones, where you use pencils and paper and dice and (for preference) miniatures) for as long as I can remember.  I played Red Box D&D long after it stopped being TSR's primary product.  I played 2nd Ed. AD&D.  I played Vampire: The Masquerade.  I played the Buffy: The Vampire Slayer RPG.  I played all 3 flavors of the Star Wars RPG (the best version is still the West End Games D6 version).

Through all of this, a few "archetypes" of characters became apparent across all games.

There's always that guy who's trying to be funny, but really is just incredibly annoying.  For him, my brother coined the term "Kinder-malkie," from the Dragonlance Kinder and the Vampire Malchavians (both of which were often played to this archetype).

Another was "Lawful Stupid."  This is found most often in D&D Paladins, but you'll find it across all genres.  The next most often is the Jedi in Star Wars.  The Lawful Stupid character is someone who is supposed to be pure, and just, and a bright shining light of bright shininess.  Instead they come off as naive and, well, stupid.

I'm not even sure why this popped into my head this morning, but it did, and almost immediately I thought of the Republican Party.  Sans the "pure," "just," and "bright shining light of bright shininess" parts, "Lawful Stupid" seems to fit Republicans, especially John Boehner, to a T.

The hallmark of a Lawful Stupid character is that they not only hold themselves to a strict set of standards, but they believe (or act as if they believe) that everyone else holds themselves to those same standards despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary.  In D&D, this results in the Paladin letting someone go when everyone at the table knows they're a bad guy "because it's in character."  In Politics, it results in last night's "Fiscal Cliff" fiasco, not to mention Romney's loss to the SCOAMT in November.

It's the only thing I can think of that would explain the Republicans' move last night.  Despite the fact Democrats always promise spending cuts "later," and despite the fact those cuts never materialize, Republicans once again took Democrats at their word that we would "address spending later."  How stupid do you have to be to believe that again?

Personally, I prefer to play the Lawful Ruthless character.  This character holds himself to a strict standard, and then punishes others for not in any way he can conceive.  A Lawful Ruthless character would have held the SCOAMT's feet to the fire over his entire failed record- and dropped the term "miserable failure"- as often as possible during the campaign.  A Lawful Ruthless character would returned to the Senate an amended bill that contained the higher, Plan B, tax rate increases and massive spending cuts.

For all his affability, Ronald Reagan was Lawful Ruthless.  He had absolutely no scruples against showing his political opponents in the worst light possible.  To some degree, it was Romney's willingness to do this against Republicans that made some people absolutely sure he'd do the same against the SCOAMT.  That never happened.  John Boenher appears not only to be unwilling to drag his opponents' names through the mud, he seems bound and determined to show them in the best light possible.

If Republicans are going to both win national elections and fix the fiscal problems that plague this country, they are going to have to stop being Lawful Stupid, and start being Lawful Ruthless.  Their opponents won't meet them in the ring with referees, so they must be willing to fight in back alleys with brass knuckles, beer bottles, and knives, politically speaking.

We want Republicans to be principled, and forthright.  We never once said anything about "nice."

Brave, Brave, Brave Sir Boehner

I would really love to get into staring contests with any Republican US Congressman or Senator.  I'm pretty sure I could beat them all.  Certainly President SCOAMT and the Democrats do every time.

Late last night, the Republicans caved on the Fiscal Cliff negotiations and traded away their only hole card- tax rate hikes- for the promise that maybe, possibly, sometime in the future, the Democrats will consider spending cuts.  If they feel like it.

This is like the political version of "Henry the VIII."  The next verse really is the same as the first, and it really doesn't get better; it only gets worse.

The Republican dominated House voted for the Democrat-controlled Senate's "Fiscal Cliff" bill which does not actually address the fiscal cliff at all.  However, because Republicans are about as clear sighted as Mr. Magoo, they were unable to articulate that the Cliff was not some artifact of current law (the automatic tax hikes and fiscal sequestration).  The Cliff is a flaw inherent in our current system that means that at some date, possibly in the not-to-distant future, we'll simply run out of money.

Not that we'll run out of currency; that is impossible since we print our own.  But currency is not money.  Money is an abstract representation of the value of the productivity of the people.  The more currency their is, the less it represents that money (we call that "inflation").  But, at some point, there simply will not be enough valuable productivity to pay all of our bills. 

When that happens, the whole house of cards will come tumbling down.

Now, since money is a fixed thing- dependent directly upon the value of the productivity of the people- it is impossible (or at least incredibly improbable) that taxation, either more or less of it, will address the fiscal cliff in any significant way.  The only thing that is sure to work is getting spending under control.

And Republicans let our best chance at doing just that slip right through their fingers.

However, to have done so would have required courage.  Addressing spending would have required Republicans to put up with being vilified, and pilloried.  It would have required them to stand up against both the Democrats and the Democrat's even more Liberal allies in the Media.  It would have required clear and coherent explanation of the actual nature of the problem.

Instead, like Brave Sir Robin, Speaker John Boehner decided that "compromise" was more important than principle.  He decided to bravely run away from a confrontation, because he was more afraid of possible negative consequences to himself than he was of the guaranteed negative consequences for the economy, and for the American People.