Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Nice State You Got There...

Be a shame if something were to... happen... to it.

That is the not-so-subtle meaning of this letter from The White House to the Great State of Texas.  Yes, your State received a similar one as well.  It details the specific cuts the White House will have made if Sequester goes through.  Note that all of these cuts are from actual operations.  Somehow not one mention is made of fewer vacations for the President.  Somehow not one mention is made of fewer "fact finding missions" or reduced salaries rather than cut jobs.  Not one mention is made, in short, of cutting anything that isn't useful.  No, all the cuts will be targeted specifically to make the sequester as painful as possible, just so that the Traitor in Office can blame Republicans again.

I'm not going to review all the cuts, though you should do so to see what I mean.  What I am going to do is look at the introduction to the letter, so you can see how this is operating exactly like a protection racket.  If you don't want to click over, I'll be quoting the whole thing.

Impact of March 1st Cuts on Middle Class Families, Jobs and Economic Security: Texas

Okay, let's stop there.  I know, it's just the title, but it's important.  Note the tone the letter is already taking.  "Oh, these cuts will have an 'impact' on Middle Class Families!"  No scare-mongering there.  None. At. All.

Unless Congress acts by March 1st, a series of automatic cuts -- called the sequester -- will take effect that threaten hundreds of thousands of middle class jobs, and cut vital services for children, seniors, people with mental illnesses and our men and women in uniform.

Note the blame of congress here.  The President came up with the sequester.  He recommended the sequester.  He signed the bill that created the sequester into law.  Yet now Congress must act.  There's not a single thing he could do.  He's powerless!  Of course, he could target cuts at unnecessary expenditures.  But this is President Dumbo.  He's not going to do that.

There is no question that we need to cut the deficit, but the President believes it should be done in a balanced way that protects investments that the middle class relies on.  Already the President has worked with Congress to reduce the deficit by more than $2.5 trillion, but there's more to do.  The President has put forward a balanced plan to not only avoid the harmful effects of the sequester but also to reduce the deficit by more than $4 trillion in total.  The President's plan meets Republicans more than halfway and includes twice as many spending cuts as it does tax revenue from the wealthy.  For details on the President's plan click here [link not reproduced].

Note the wording here: "cut the deficit."  Democrats would have you believe, despite sixty-plus years' evidence to the contrary, that raising tax rates is a legitimate way to "cut the deficit."  It is not.  It does not work.  It has never worked.  It will not ever work.  The Government is spending more money in a year than you could get if you taxed every US Citizen into poverty and beyond.  The only thing we have not seriously tried in modern times are real spending cuts.

Note also two further obfuscations.  That "$2.5 Trillion" is partially projected savings from winding down military involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan and partly projected savings from ObamaCare.  However, the first is not "savings."  Not spending money you weren't planning to spend anyway is not "cutting."  The second is a lie.  It is a known lie.  Everyone who doesn't live under a rock knows it's a lie.

Then there's that last line: "The President's plan meets Republicans more than halfway and includes twice as many spending cuts as it does in tax revenue from the wealthy."  This single line is so chock-full of errors its almost deserves its own post.  I'll hit them quickly- 1) SCOAMT promised 3:1 spending cuts to tax increases during the election.  That he's now proposing 2:1 is not "meeting Republicans more than halfway," it is moving the goalposts.  2) Notice that tax rate hikes are called by their new Orwellian Name "tax revenue."  Never mind that they won't bring in any appreciable additional revenue.  3) The tax hikes the President are proposing don't hurt the wealthy.  He himself has admitted it.  His point in closing the supposed "loophole" for "corporate jets" (which is actually normal tax law anyone can use- if you buy a special uniform for work, you get exactly the same tax-cut.  It's a business expense that can be written off your taxes) is that it will prevent the rich from buying new jets.  That doesn't hurt the rich.  It does hurt the middle class workers whose livelihood depends on the rich buying those jets.

Unfortunately many Republicans in Congress refuse to ask the wealthy to pay a little more by closing tax loopholes so we can protect the investments that are helping grow our economy and keep our country safe.  By not asking the wealthy to pay a little more, Republicans are forcing our children, seniors, troops, military families, and the entire middle class to bear the burden of deficit reduction.  The President is determined to cut spending and reduce the deficit in a balanced way, but he won't stick the middle class with the bill.  The President is willing to compromise, but on behalf of the middle class he cannot accept a deal that undercuts their economic security.

How many lies can they pack in to one paragraph?  Let's see:
1) Republicans are not refusing "to ask the wealthy to pay a little more."  The know the wealthy- the working affluent, as I like to call them, are already paying nearly (and sometimes more) than 50 cents of every dollar to various levels of government.  If you ask them to pay more, they'll either just quit making money, or move elsewhere.  Don't believe me?  Ask California and New York. 

2) "Investments" is Democrat-ese for "spending," and "helping grow our economy and keep our country safe" is Democrat-ese for "F*ck you.  Pay me."  The sequester is a drop in the bucket.  It comes out to somewhere between 1 & 2% of current spending.  You cannot convince me that needed services have to be impacted.  That is a choice Democrats are making, not one Republicans are forcing.

3) "Republicans are forcing our children, seniors, troops, military families, and the entire middle class to bear the burden of deficit reduction."  "Everything he just said is Bullsh!t."  I've already gone over this- this is Democrats' choices, not Republicans.  One of the proposed cuts (by Republicans) was to cut congressional salaries.  Nancy Pelosi refused those because her high station deserved the money she's making, and how dare you look at the your Betters, peasant?

4) "but [the SCOAMT] won't stick the middle class with the bill."  Once again, this is a lie.  The President has already raised tax rates on the middle class.  He wants to do worse by raising the minimum wage (which will make everything more expensive and increase unemployment further).  And, again, those "tax loopholes" he wants to close are things the middle class use every year.  Every time you take the mileage deduction for your work car, or deduct the cost of your uniform from your taxes, you're using exactly the same "loophole" the "wealthy" are using for their corporate jets.

5) "The President is willing to compromise..." once again: moving the goalposts is not "compromise."  He promised 3:1 (which Republicans said they might reluctantly support depending on the details), now he's offering 2:1.  That's not compromise.  As for "a deal that undercuts their economic security," maybe he could look at his own economic policies before he tries to blame Republicans.  He might also look at his own (well documented) roll in the Mortgage Bubble.

Our economy is continuing to strengthen but we cannot afford a self-inflicted wound from Washington.  Republicans should compromise and meet the President in the middle.  We cannot simply cut our way to prosperity, and if Republicans continue to insist on an unreasonable, cuts-only approach, Texas risks paying the price.

There we have it.  First, a couple more lies: "Our economy is continuing to strengthen..." well, maybe if you work in Government.  It's still really freaking tough for the rest of us.  "We cannot simply cut our way to prosperity,"  yes, we can.  We've done it before.  See the late 19-teens and what became known as "the roaring 20s."  That was "cutting our way to prosperity."  It wasn't the first time we did it, either, though I'm pretty sure it was the last.

But then there's the clincher: "Texas risks paying the price."  See, the SCOAMT can't allow cuts that won't hurt, because this is a scam.  He- not Republicans- is holding the middle class hostage.  He- not they- can target cuts so that they trim "fat" instead of "muscle."  He- not they- can move back toward the middle- his original proposal which had already been accepted in principle- 3:1 cuts-to-taxes.  Most Republicans would have jumped on that in a second in January.  That's what the President said in the campaign, the President was re-elected, obviously the people supported that.  But now he has moved the goalposts to 2:1 cuts-to-taxes.  That's after we've already increased taxes on everyone who makes a paycheck, and already increased the top marginal tax rate.  The President would like you not to remember that those things happened at his insistence.

This is no different from a Mob Boss saying that if you don't pay your protection money, he "can't be held responsible for any damages," while his enforcers are right there ready to knock your display cases over and start a fire in your shop.  This is all the President's doing.  For him to attempt to blackmail Republicans this way is beyond outrageous. 

Don't lean on the Republicans.  Support them.  Tell them "more please."

Monday, February 25, 2013

Heretics Must Be Silenced

BenK over at the AoSHQ linked this story this way, "Remember You Stupid Right Wingers, The Dems Don't Want To Take Your Guns."  That perfectly sums up the article.  But I want to point out something that should be obvious, but still needs to be pointed out.  The hostile tone the article takes toward gun-owners.

You see, the NRA obtaining (that is to say: someone leaked it to them) the article and then daring to use it in advertising "underscores the no-holds-barred battle underway as Washington's fight over gun restrictions heats up."  Also, we're reliably informed that "the White House has not proposed and does not support" gun confiscation.  See, ABC said so, so it must be true.

But maybe we should make our own determination.  When the Vice President is recommending you commit a felony offense rather than actually defend yourself, maybe the White House is not the most trustworthy source on what they want to do.  So let's look at those proposals.

Proposal One- "Universal Background Checks."  Essentially this would do nothing.  Democrats claim it would close the "gun-show loophole."  Problem: the gun-show loophole does not exist.  If a licensed dealer sells you a firearm, they're supposed to do a background check.  Even if you want to sell your gun privately to some other person (called "private transfer") that's supposed to be done via an intermediary who has their FFL.  Now, those private transfers don't require the same background checks that direct sales do, but you're unlikely to sell your gun to someone who isn't supposed to have one anyway.  And background checks won't stop gifts and "boating accidents."

In short, if someone who is not legally permitted to own a firearm wants a firearm, they're already barred from that with enough redundant systems to make the straight forward purchase of a gun, even privately or at a gun show, difficult.  They are already more likely just to go to the black market or use other means to obtain one illegally. 

Proposal Two- Limiting magazine size.  First, as the memo points out, this is just silly.  Among other things, magazines are easy to manufacture if you have just a little bit of skill at machining.  That's not exactly a ubiquitous skill, but neither is it terribly rare.  Beyond that, though, is the fact that there are already millions of those magazines already in private hands.

Now, let's say that the government were somehow able to just make all the "bad" magazines go away.  What then?  Well, it means an aggressor has to prepare a little more, buy a few more magazines, and that's about it.  It does not take that much time for a well prepared aggressor to change magazines.  If you were hoping to "rush him," all you're doing is volunteering to be the next one shot.

Proposal Three- banning new sales of "assault weapons."  We've already gone over the fallacy of that term, but let's recap- an assault rifle is a selective-fire rifle capable of firing more than one bullet per pull of the trigger.  "Assault Weapons" are weapons Democrats think "look scary."  It would not be difficult for Remington, or Colt, or Ruger, or any other arms manufacturer to take a barrel capable of firing the .223 bullet used by an AR-15, and marrying it to a stock that looks more like a traditional hunting rifle.  Add a magazine and make it semi-automatic (like Ruger does with it's .22LR 10/22) and now I have a weapon that is exactly the same as the "Evil Black Rifle" called an AR-15.  Only I can call this one the "fluffy bunny" and it would be just fine.

And that's before we look into how many are already in private hands, how making them illegal won't stop criminals, etc.

At bottom, none of the proposals on the table does a thing to make people any safer.  Indeed, it makes them more vulnerable by preventing law-abiding citizens from having the means to defend themselves.  None of these proposals will take a single gun off the streets.  None of them will stop a single rifle already in private hands from being used.  None of them will make weapons any less available to criminals. 

If you want to do that, you have to completely disarm the citizenry.  That is the only option.

Now, either the SCOAMT and his administration really don't have any plans to confiscate guns, which just goes to show how fundamentally unserious they are, or they're lying.  Now, I might be willing to buy "unserious," but I don't think that's it.  Gun control to the point of gun confiscation has been a Liberal wet-dream for decades.  This is proven by how much they howl when gun-rights advocates point out when people defend themselves with guns.  It is proven by how little coverage those events get.  It is proven by how little coverage the continual blood-bath in Chicago gets (did you know they had 3 school shootings last year?  All three with 10+ victims?  Why haven't we heard about that from "no one can have a gun outside the home" Chicago?).

Liberals want to take your guns.  They're smart enough to know better than to admit that outright.  And when it gets stated and backed up with evidence, they will do anything they can to silence the opposition, and make the people pointing out their goal the bad guys.  Thus the article.

ABC is lying to you.  The White House is lying to you.  They do want you disarmed.  Don't believe different.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Sequester: Just Do It

Much time and energy has been spent trying to explain to US Citizens why the Fiscal Sequester would be a Very Bad Thing(TM).  Once again, our feudal lords are holding our physical security and health hostage so that we will agree to give them yet more power, yet more money.  We're being told that money for USDA Inspectors will be cut, so either our food supply will be limited (because inspections can't be done) or will be less safe (because they're done but hurried).  We're being told that money for the TSA will be cut, so that it will take even longer at the Airport to get on your plane.  We're being told that money for the Military will be cut, so our national security will be weaker.

I say bring it on.  All of it.  Bring the pain.

If what it takes for the Federal Government to have less power over my life is to strangle the USDA, the TSA, and the Military (largely civilian contractors, but make no mistake- active duty military operations will be hampered), then so be it.  At this point, I am much more concerned about the power the Federal Government has over me than I am about whether or not my food has disease.

After all, what on earth did we do before the USDA?  What, you mean people weren't simply falling dead in the streets?  Food-borne disease was either mild or rare (and sometimes both)?

What on earth did we do before the TSA?  Oh, get on planes much more quickly, with less hassle?

The only one of these that concerns me is the US Military, and that's more of an abstract worry.  If we are weak enough long enough we can expect more attacks against the United States, our allies, or our interests.  But even that is a mid-to-long-term worry.  It won't happen immediately.

No one has an option which will cut the budget enough.  No one.  No one will confront the sacred cows of Entitlements, which are now more than 50% of US Federal Government spending.  No one will consider cutting the Federal Department of Education.  What business does the US Government have in educating kids in Santa Fe?  No one will consider cuts to the agencies which provide no useful service, but only expand Government power because the point is to keep the Government as powerful as possible.

So, go with the sequester.  It's the only plan on the board with real, substantive cuts.  And we're taxed enough already.

Friday, February 15, 2013

More Please

Politico has a story which is trying to highlight just how... uncouth Texas Senator Ted Cruz is.  Senators are positively dismayed that he's not "following the rules" and just playing the game of go along to get along.  Phrases like "unfair line of questioning" and "combative line of questioning."  Why, he's not playing like the Democrats are his friends!  How barbaric.

If I had any lingering qualms over electing Ted Cruz, this piece has gone a long way toward dispelling them.  It's about time Republicans quit pretending that Democrats were their friends.  Getting combative with Chuck Schumer on a Sunday TV Show?  More, please.  Strong questioning of cabinet nominees?  More please. 

“I made promises to the people of Texas that I would come to Washington to shake up the status quo, to fight for conservative principles and to lead a concerted and meaningful effort to end the unsustainable spending, deficits and debt that have been propagated, unfortunately, by members of both parties,” Cruz said.

More please.

“Of course comity is important, but comity does not mean avoiding the truth concerning a nominee’s policy record,” Cruz wrote in an email.

More please.

“Your continued anti-gun crusade may well cause some to wonder if the interests of the citizens of Chicago are being sacrificed in pursuit of a partisan agenda,” Cruz told Emanuel in an unusual letter, calling the mayor’s efforts a “bullying campaign.”

More please.

On Thursday, Graham argued Cruz wasn’t being unfair to Hagel but that he feared the Texas Republican’s questions about the sources of the former Nebraska GOP senator’s income would create a new and difficult standard for future nominees.

More.  Please.

If this is enough to give sitting senators the vapors, maybe it's time we got all new senators.

More please.

Thursday, February 14, 2013


The Red-Coats are coming.
The Red-Coats are coming.

It's official, Democrats across the nation are waging war against the 2nd Amendment.

US Senate Democrats support reintroducing the "Assault Weapons" Ban- which bans a host of purely cosmetic features.
New York just passed sweeping gun controls, including limits on any magazine size over 7 rounds.
Missouri Democrats have introduced House Bill 545, which would not only ban "Assault Weapons," but would confiscate them.
And New Jersey Democrats just passed 20 gun control bills out of committee.

This must not stand.  As our forefathers before us, we "must hang together, or else we shall all hang separately."

Save that image.  Print it out.  Send it as a post-card to your State Senators and Representatives and to your National Senators and Representatives.  If you feel like including a note specifying why you sent it, please do.  But as of right now I'm calling on every 2nd Amendment defender to flood their State Legislatures and the Federal Legislature with this simple note.  Maybe then they'll get the hint.

Liberal Locusts

No, not grasshoppers.  Locusts.

Yesterday, I talked about liberals being the prison guards (and sometimes willful prisoners) in Socrates' Cavern.  Today, I want to look at the idea of Liberals as Locusts.

What do I mean?  Well, like Locusts, Liberals (especially Rich Liberals, but all of them really) like Big Government.  They vote for big government, and a huge welfare state.  As a result, the government then hikes taxes, and institutes all kinds of nanny-state regulations, strangling business.  Eventually (sometimes slowly, sometimes quickly) the state begins to fail, all of the resources have been exploited, and Liberals move on to the next state.

For instance: in the 60's, California was a relatively Conservative state.  Ronald Reagan was Governor there beginning in 1967 (elected in 66).  He enacted welfare reform (which increased benefits, but decreased recipients).  Reagan was then succeeded by Jerry Brown (yes, that Jerry Brown) in 1974.  Thus began the swift decline of California.  Taxes went up, services went up, taxes went up some more.  And now businesses and "the rich" are fleeing California in droves.

If this were the only example, it might be accepted as an anomaly.  It is not the only example, however.

In the 1990s and early 2000s (and probably before) Colorado was a fairly conservative state.  They voted for Bush in 2000 and 2004, for example.  However, during those years many of those same Californians fleeing the decline of their State saw Colorado as a prosperous state, and decided they wanted some of that.  So they moved there.  Lucky for Colorado, they had already passed a Constitutional Amendment capping growth in Government Spending.  Nevertheless, Colorado, once a reliable Red State, is now reliably blue.  They voted overturned their Republican majorities in 2006.  In 2008 and 2012 they voted for Barack Obama. 

The amount of damage Colorado can suffer (currently) is fairly low.  Because of that prior law, there's only so much money the State has to spend, which limits the monkeying with their taxes somewhat.  All it takes, though, is a repeal of that Amendment, and the Democrats will be truly loosed on the State.

We can look to the East as well.  New York Liberals are fleeing to Florida, making it more Liberal as well.

In both of these cases, when they finally use up all the resources there, they will look elsewhere.  Perhaps my own Texas.  Perhaps Oklahoma.

This is part of the Liberal Ideology.  I don't believe there is any specific plan, here, but it is inherent in how Liberals think.  They believe they are entitled to all of these "services" and so force the Government (really: other taxpayers) to provide them.  When there is no more wherewithal to provide them, or the cost to themselves gets too high, they move on.  And they never learn that the only thing not changing in all of this is their own policies.

And This is why Rick Perry Didn't Woo The Media

In Rick Perry's 2010 run against Bill White, he fairly scandalized the Texas Media by not once agreeing to sit down with the various Newspaper editorial boards to "seek their endorsement."  When asked about it, he said it was because he knew they weren't going to endorse him anyway, so why bother?  He was excoriated and ridiculed.  And won by (if I recall) ~7 percentage points.

And he was right to eschew the Texas Media, beyond what was absolutely necessary to get his message out.  Here's a contemporary example of what he was dealing with:
Headline: "Perry Ending Calif. Trip Empty Handed- So Far." 

It's also important to recognized that "So Far" is on a second line.  Note the tone of the headline (which is all most people will read or remember): "That loser Rick Perry who thought he could compete when to California to woo businesses and came back empty handed.  Ha!"

Never mind the fact that a business, even a small business, can't just decide to move in 3 days.  Small business people are exceptional, but they aren't miracle workers.  Larger companies take even longer just to make up their minds to move.

Never mind that Texas has already been successful in either wooing businesses away from California all together, or at least into expanding into Texas.

Never mind that apparently Rick Perry was in Governor Brown's head enough, that Brown thought he had to insult Rick Perry, instead of sticking up for his own state's business climate.

Now, all of that is of interest to me, here in Texas.  Why should it interest you outside of Texas? 

Texas is one of the most conservative States in the Nation.  We have plenty of doozies, but our local Democrats tend to be only flirting with insanity, rather than being actually insane.  Rick Perry himself was once a Democrat, back when "Conservative" and "Democrat" went together without hysterical laughter.  Our news organizations tend to reflect that.  Even the very liberal Dallas Morning News can't stomach some of the more blatant bias in, for instance, the New York Times.  If a Republican Governor in a Republican State knows that he can count on the State (and local) Media machines to be hostile, then it's time our national Republicans learned the lesson, too.

John Boehner: MSNBC is not your friend.
Mitch McConnel: The New York Times will never like you.
John McCain: ABC, CBS, and NBC will be glad to use you against other Republicans, but they will never, ever support you.

National Republicans need to take a page out of Rick Perry's book (actually, they need to take several, but one hopeless battle at a time) and start treating the National Media as the Hostile, if not outright Antagonistic actors they are.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Conservatives, Liberals, and Socrates' Cave

In Plato's Republic, he relates a (probably fictional) story about a conversation between Socrates and Glaucon in which Socrates postulates a set of prisoners bound in such a way that they had to face a wall on which shadows of the real world played out.  He first posited that those prisoners, raised thus from birth, would believe what they were seeing to be "the real world."  He further expounded on the difficulties if just one of those prisoners was let free, and then even compelled to see more and more of the real world.  Finally, he suggested what would happen if that prisoner, finally having acclimated to the world outside the cave, returned to that cave to try to educate the other prisoners.

The Wikipedia article on the story is pretty good.  Go check it out before you get to the rest of this post.  I'll wait.


Good.  You're back.

I don't know why I was thinking about this the other day, but I was, and I think I hit on a glimmer of understanding.  People, in general, are those prisoners in the cave.  The Media (by and large) are the ones who stoke the fire, decide what order people cross the bridge, and who make sure the prisoners don't break free on their own (not a hard thing to do, once they're acclimated to their position). 

Conservatives are that prisoner (by and large).  We have, by whatever means, broken free from that imprisonment.  At first it was painful and frustrating.  The world shouldn't work like this.  The world didn't work like this.  But, as time passed and we re-verified our new perceptions, we came to accept the real world for what it is.

Liberals, on the other hand, fall into two or three camps.  The first are the prison guards.  They are in league with the Media (actually, the other way 'round.  The Media is beholden to them), and like the situation as it is.  They want people to remain ignorant.  I won't even say that all of them have wholly nefarious motives.  Some of them really believe that "ignorance is bliss" and that those prisoners "aren't capable" of understanding/coping with/dealing with the real world.  Many of them, however, like the power they exert for its own sake.

The second set of liberals are the people walking on the bridge.  They know what the real world is.  However it happened, they are not in the cave.  Some of them escaped.  Others were never in the cave to begin with.  But they never think of the people in the cave unless something happens to bring them sharply to mind.  They support the prison guards for a variety of reasons.  Some of them believe that the prisoners are dangerous- why, they wouldn't be prisoners if they weren't dangerous.  Some of them believe that the prisoners "deserve it" somehow- they'd never be able to tell you how.  Still others believe that if the prisoners were loosed, their own station would suffer.

The third set of liberals are the prisoners themselves, or are a subset of them.  They are comfortable with what they know, and any attempt to instruct them otherwise is heresy.  They believe that conservatives are crazy, and that our tales of the real world are fanciful, even deranged, projections.  They don't believe in the prison guards, because they've never seen them for what they are.  If they give any thought to the possible existence of the guards, they assume that the guards have their best interests at heart, or are doing what they're doing for some justified reason.

Democrat politicians and the Major Media Outlets are the prison guards.  They have allowed some to be free in the sure knowledge that those can be counted on.  Hollywood "limousine Liberals" and other Celebrity liberals/moderates are the people carrying the bundles.  They know how the world works, because it works that way for them especially (Hollywood gets far more targeted tax breaks (read: any) than "Big Oil").  For their various reasons they either don't consider the plight of the prisoners to be something worth worrying about, or (worse) they believe that it is good for them for people to remain in the dark. 

The few principled liberals (about as common as a Conservative Democrat) are the liberals still chained up.  They believe that (for instance) Government should "take care of the people."  They believe the trite that "hard work should always lead to success."  They believe, deep down, in "from each according to his ability, to each according to his need."  Any attempt to warn them, to teach them, to give even the most minor shake to their illusion will be met with hostility.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Softer Tyranny

Or: How even a 2nd Amendment Defender Can Fall For the Left's Lies

In piece on Law.com, Robert Levy, co-counsel to Dick Anthony Heller (of District of Columbia v Heller) posits that: "Reasonable persons should be able to fashion reasonable restrictions—a framework for gun control in the aftermath of Newtown—without violating core Second Amendment rights."

With due respect to the counselor, he has bought in to many of the left's lies.  Rather than take down each of the specific proposals (which would be pointless anyway, as he provides them in a "pros and cons" format), I'm going to point out some flaws in his premises.

1) "The (2nd Amendment) is not absolute."
As co-counsel to Dick Anthony Heller, I was a vigorous advocate for the right to possess firearms for self-defense. But I understand, as does every rational individual, that the right is not absolute. The Second Amendment does not guarantee a 12-year-old's right to possess a machine gun in front of the White House when the president is walking on the lawn.

Okay, first lets fight that straw-man.  No 12-year-old is (in current culture) going to carry a machine gun in front of the White House at any time- the President being present or otherwise.  Of course the absurd is absurd.  That said, why would a 12-year-old not have a "right to possess a machine gun" other than being a minor in the first place?  Let's put this another way- granted that a 12-year-old should being carrying a gun unsupervised anyway, does a 30-year-old have a "right to possess a machine gun?"

This leads directly into this line: "the right is not absolute."  If that were the case, it wouldn't be a "right."  It would be a "privilege."  The authors of the 2nd Amendment, however, called the ownership and usage (to Keep and Bear) of weapons a "Right."  Rights are, by their definition, absolute.  I have an absolute right to defend my Life.  I have an absolute right to determine my own destiny.  I have an absolute right to accumulate property.  And you will notice that liberty and property (or the more genteel "pursuit of happiness") do not receive the same treatment that the right to self defense does.  The right to self defense is declared sacrosanct: "Shall Not be Infringed."

2) Magazine Size Limits
Firearms experts note that murderers can easily load a second or third magazine in a matter of seconds. Accordingly, limiting magazine size to, say, 10 rounds will not have much practical effect. Perhaps so; but that would also mean individuals trying to defend themselves would not be seriously hampered by a 10-round limit. They too could reload very rapidly.

This is one of "pros and cons" arguments, but it bears special attention.  The point he misses (either willfully or coincidentally) is that those two situations are very different. 

A murderer (say, in an elementary school) is going to have lots of people running away and (importantly) darned few trying to attack him.  Seconds, in an actual fight, are a very long time.  An active shooter isn't in a fight, though.  So a mass shooter has lots of time to reload.  Unless people have suddenly become able to outrun bullets, however, their victims are not going to benefit overmuch from those seconds.

The Korean shop owner, or a woman in her own home, facing multiple assailants is in a distinctly different situation.  There, they are not the aggressor.  As such, even the seconds (~1 - 2) it takes (even longer if you're in California, and so can't have normal one-button magazine releases), can be all the time it takes from the last shot you fired until the first of those (remaining) "multiple assailants" can actually get to you.  So where the seconds are a luxury our mass shooter has, they are not available for someone engaged in fending off multiple assailants.

3) Legalize drugs.
The single most effective option—which is not being discussed at all—would result in a huge reduction of gun violence: Legalize drugs.

No, no it wouldn't.  First off, no one (rational) is considering some gang member or drug dealer who gets shot because of a drug deal gone bad a "victim" of gun violence.  Outlaws are outside the law; they'll find something to fight about anyway.  And it completely ignores (as in: does not even address) the problems inherent in legalizing drugs, especially in our current culture. 

Responsible gun owners already know that guns and alcohol do not mix.  People who are into drugs are not going to be "responsible gun owners" (for the most part), and may not grasp the wisdom inherent in not mixing guns and drugs.

It also assumes that the drug cartels will suddenly "go legit."  No.  Most narco-terrorists are using the "narco" part simply to fund their other activities.  Those activities will still require funding.  Even if drugs are no longer a viable avenue of funding, they'll find something else that is.  So unless you're going to legalize everything (and I mean everything) then you're not going to end drug-related gun violence by legalizing drugs.  You might change it into "Soccer game-fixing related violence," or any number of other things.  But the violence will continue.

4) "Mental Health."
I've already addressed this one, actually.  Who determines who is mentally incompetent to possess a firearm?  How long do those determinations last? 

Now, to be fair to Mr. Levy, he is "on our side" on this one.  My problem is not with him, and he sides with 2nd Amendment advocates, on balance, in his piece.  The majority of his opinion is well formed and well founded.  But if we do not address these points, and expose them as faulty premises and ideas, we will never completely win the argument.  Until we have won the argument, gun owners will be forced to defend their rights every few years, and potentially in a more hostile political/cultural environment than we have currently.

New York Times, On Our Side?

Well, no, not really.  But even the blind squirrel, as they say, occasionally finds a nut.

First, the scenario:  A writer for the NYT, John Broder, took a test drive in a Tesla Model S Sedan.  The cost for this "family car" is $101,000.  He test drove the car from the suburbs of Washington, DC to Milford, CT.  Let's just say it did not go well.

Next, the analysis: This from the Washington Post.  WaPo writer Charles Lane points out the generous federal subsidies (read: taxpayer money) given to Tesla to build and market the Model S.  He points out other analyses where scientists are saying that the electric car is a non-starter, at least for now.

Now, my own take:

I'm actually a fan of the idea of an all electric car.  I don't give a rip about "peak oil" or "global warming."  I'm a tech-geek, and I think an all-electric car is just cool.  If we can add lasers, so much the better.

On the other hand, I also bow to reality.  The reality is that energy storage technology (whether batteries or fuel-cells) simply is not ready for a car that replaces how most people drive.

First, there's the cost.  Electric vehicles, from the Chevy Volt, to the Nissan Leaf, to the Tesla line, are much, much more expensive than their "conventional" counterparts.  I don't think I'd get to $101,000 total cost of ownership on my Toyota Camry in years.  And, let's be honest, in the same amount of time, an electric car would also increase it's total cost of ownership.  You have to pay for the electricity which would power your home-charger.  Unless you want to get home and not go anywhere until you get up to go to work in the morning, you'll have to buy a special charging station.  And that's on top of regular maintenance.  I don't know of an electric engine uses oil (I suspect it does), but I do know brake-pads are brake-pads, and they'll need to be replaced.  Same with parts of the suspension, tires, and so forth.

Second, there's the fact of American driving habits.  Now, maybe if you live in a great big city like NYC, it makes sense to have an electric vehicle.  If your total round trip is going to be 40 miles, you're fine.  For those of us who live in "fly-over country" they're just not practical.  My total commute is about 80 miles a day.  And that assumes I don't have to take any detours, or run any errands.  Certainly that's well within the range of a Tesla (~200 miles, or so), but, then we're back to that price tag.  It is not "well within the range" of a Volt or Leaf.  And that assumes the only places you'll be going are work and home, with the occasional grocery run. 

My parents live over 200 miles away, across the flats of Texas (they live near Abilene, I'm in the DFW Metroplex).  Between here and there is a whole lot of nothing.  The drive, at slightly-over-highway speed takes around 2.5 - 3 hours (thank you, Texas Legislature, for the higher speed-limits).  Using the "high performance" Tesla Model S as your baseline, and using their driving guidance, the trip would take between 3 and 4 hours, not including at least one stop to recharge the battery (about another hour).  What is now (for this Texan) a "Hey, let's go get dinner with my folks" turns into "gee, can we take the two days?  We'll have to do something with the dogs..."  And I'm hardly alone in that.

Now, back to that WaPo article.  Even that talks around some of the problems, and I've been basing my analysis on their rather generous (if still "disappointed") coverage.  Let's look at some quotes:

As an American Physical Society symposium on battery research concluded last June: “Despite their many potential advantages, all-electric vehicles will not replace the standard American family car in the foreseeable future.”

"Potential advantage" is scientist for "Pipe dream."

I accept the president’s good intentions. He didn’t set out to rip off the public. Nor was the electric-car dream a Democrats-only delusion. Several Republican pols shared it, too.

To quote our illustrious Vice President: "That's a load of... stuff."  Consider exactly who got all those green energy subsidies, and to whom they donated.  Yeah, it was a scam from the beginning.  The fact that some Republicans bought into it (note he doesn't point out which Republicans.  Why do I think I will not find Jim Demint or Rand Paul's names on that list anywhere?) does mean it wasn't a scam; it means they got snookered, too.  That, or they were in on the scam.  Possibly both.

Energy Secretary Steven Chu, he of the Nobel Prize in physics, epitomized the regnant blend of sanctimony and technocratic hubris. He once told journalist Michael Grunwald that photosynthesis is “too damn inefficient,” and that DOE might help correct that particular error of evolution.

This is the man behind the boondoggle.  Seriously, he believes that we can "correct" photosynthesis.

Electric cars will almost certainly not replace conventional, internal combustion engine vehicles any time in our lifetimes.  Certainly not in the United States.  Physics has said "no" just as physics said "no" to wind energy and solar energy.  It is time to stop wasting (taxpayer) time and (taxpayer) money on these things.

Friday, February 8, 2013

If Liberals Treated all our Rights like they treat the 2nd...

If Liberals treated all our Rights like they treat the 2nd Amendment...

You would have to pass a background check and present a photo ID to join a church.

You would have to get a permit to write.

"High Capacity Assault" Lawyers would be banned (hey, maybe that one's a good idea...)

Simply having stuff would be "probable cause" for it to be seized.

The right to a speedy trial would require a permit and a three-day waiting period.

Sound off with your own in the comments.

Gun Control Is Racist

"Why has no enterprising racist made the point that requiring ID and a background check to buy a gun will prevent poor people of color, particularly, illegal immigrants, from accessing their Second Amendment rights?
Posted by: Sherry McEvil, Wily Wrepublican Wench at February 08, 2013 11:27 AM (kXoT0)"

That was a comment today at the AoSHQ.  I liked it so much I'm stealing it. (Wait, I already gave attribution?  Crap.)

The point of the comment (for my willfully ignorant readers) is to link the idea of Voter Id (which, for some reason is racist and will prevent Blacks or Hispanics from voting), to the concept of gun control.  It's absolutely right in all it's particulars, and it sums up the idea nicely.  I'd like to expand on it, though- because that's what I do.

The same people who would have us believe that presenting a valid, photographic identification card would "disenfranchise" the poor and minorities would have us overlook the fact that photo Id and a background check- not to mention permits (which are sometimes quite expensive) and other requirements- would have at least the same effect on people exercising their second amendment rights.  Even more so, because of those previously mentioned permits. 

See?  Photo Id for Voting = Racist.  Photo Id for 2nd Amendment = "Common Sense Controls."

But the 2nd Amendment is a right- conferred by Nature (or Nature's God) and merely protected by the 2nd Amendment.  The 2nd Amendment does not grant the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, it strictly prohibits the Government from infringing on that Right. 

On the other hand, voting is a privilege.  Unlike the Right to Self Defense/Defense Against Tyranny (the Right to Keep and Bear Arms), voting doesn't even exist without specific government action.  Voting is unique to democratic and republican forms of government.  An absolute monarchy, for instance, does not have voting.  That does not mean an absolute monarchy could not protect the Natural Rights of its Citizens/Subjects (such a situation is absurdly unlikely, but not inherently impossible).

So why is it that the one they don't have a problem limiting is the one that is a Natural Right?

Further, I should point out that Gun Control really is racist.  It was first implemented in the United States as a way to keep newly freed slaves from obtaining and using guns.  When Hitler came to power in Germany, one of the first things he did was to institute very strict gun-controls (mostly used to disarm the Jews).

It is simply true that any extra burden on gun ownership really will (as Liberals claim would happen with voter ID) have a disproportionate impact on the poor and minorities.  Add into that the fact that the poor and minorities are at least slightly more likely to live in neighborhoods with high crime rates, and it's even worse.  But these supposed "Civil Rights" crusaders do not acknowlege the damage they are doing.  Whether unknowing (which seems unlikely at this late date) or intentional, they really are attempting to implement laws which will deprive the poor and minorities of one of the Rights.

Why do Liberals hate brown people?

Punishing The Innocent: Gun Insurance

James Taranto has a piece in the Wall Street Journal from yesterday where he takes on the not-so-new idea of Gun Insurance.  For those unfamiliar with the scheme, it works like this: when you buy a gun, you must also pay to insure it against any damage "it" may cause.  California legislators are trying to pass it now, but it's not exactly a new idea- having been tried and failed in Massachusetts and New York dating back to at least 2003.

Taranto focuses on an Op-Ed by political scientist HL Pholman.  Pholman, like so many liberals (I don't know his political leanings, but the arguments are those made by liberals) suggest that being forced to purchase insurance would cause people to change their behavior.  Which is likely true to at least some extent.  He does have the fallacious idea that semiautomatic rifles (rarely used to kill humans) would be more expensive to insure than handguns (quite frequently used to kill humans), but his idea is not entirely incorrect.

Taranto deals with the behavior modification aspect, but I want to deal with another.  Even if all of the benefits that Pholman asserts actually were to come to pass, this law would be terrible.  Why?  It punishes the innocent for the behavior of the guilty.

Think about it.  The people who would purchase gun insurance are people whoa are unlikely to be murdering people anyway.  Oh, some of them might use their insured guns in acts of passion, but the vast majority of weapons used to murder are used by criminals.  These criminals are not going to purchase gun insurance.  Even if it becomes a requirement enforced on the seller, all that means is that they'll resort to the Black Market.  These are criminals- by definition they break the law.

On the other hand, someone who buys a gun and insures it legally is now being forced to pay for those "uninsured gun owners."  My Second Amendment Rights are being Infringed (he claims they aren't, but they are- any hurdle; even a financial one; placed on the People by government is an infringement of my right to keep and bear arms) because of the acts of criminals.  Now, let's say I'm Johnny Gun Owner, and I have my guns insured because the law says so.  Then, Billy Bad Guy comes and steals my guns while I'm at work (darn, I knew I should have sprung for a gun safe instead of just a gun cabinet!), and goes on a shooting spree.

Now I, Johnny Gun Owner who has done nothing wrong, am liable for all that damage.  Presumably I'll have to pay a deductible (just like you do for every incident with your car insurance or homeowners insurance), and the insurance company will be stuck for the rest.  Now, maybe if he'd stolen the guns the day before, I could have registered the guns as stolen, but not now- now it's too late.

Now, before anyone starts saying, "Yeah, but," realize that we cannot legislate by "yeah, but."  That's part of what got us into the mess we're in- where every American Citizen probably violates at least three laws every day.

Once more, for the Liberals- it is already illegal to murder people.  It is already illegal to threaten them with physical violence, whether with a gun, a knife, or even just your fists.  It is already illegal to steal guns.  At what point do we acknowledge that criminals don't care about the law, and that punishing law-abiding citizens is not the answer?

Random Smile

So, you ever have one of those moments where something you enjoyed in the past shows up- you weren't thinking about it, you weren't even thinking about anything related to it, it just happens to show up- and it just totally makes your day?

I had that happen yesterday as I drove home because this happened to pop up on my radio.  It made me smile the whole way home despite DFW traffic.

Thursday, February 7, 2013


ObamaCare is a mind-twisting, sanity killing nightmare of a law.  As I have said previously, it changes US Citizens into Subjects.  The moment the US Government seized control of Health Care, it seized complete control of our lives.

Don't believe me?  How else do you explain this?
The FDA says much of ObamaCare is aimed at helping Americans live healthier lives, and these proposed labeling requirements would help them do just that. In the text of the proposed regulation, the FDA states: "[The information] should help consumers limit excess calorie intake and understand how the foods that they purchase at these establishments fit within their daily caloric and other nutritional needs."

That's an FDA Statement about a Rule requiring grocery and convenience stores to provide nutritional information on "prepared, unpackaged food" they will sell you.  That would include your donut and coffee at 7-11 as well as that soup you bought at the soup and olive bar in your local up-scale grocery store.  It would include the prepared samples you can get at Sam's Club or Costco on the weekend.

Now, the Fox Article focuses on the cost issue.  It will cost grocery and convenience stores a great deal of money to provide the correct nutritional information.  As Food Marketing Institute regulatory counsel Erik Lieberman said:
Lieberman said failure to get it right comes with stiff penalties: "If you get it wrong, it's a federal crime, and you could face jail time and thousands of dollars worth of fines."

My point is much  more fundamental, however.  Look back at that FDA Justification: "The FDA says much of ObamaCare is aimed at helping Americans live healthier lives."  But it's not aimed at "helping."  From the Individual Mandate, to this rule, to rules beginning to hit school cafeterias, ObamaCare is quickly taking over every aspect of our lives.  It's healthier to walk or ride a bike than it is to drive- how soon before walking/biking to work is mandated to help "Americans live healthier lives?"  Getting 6 - 8 hours of sleep at night is healthier than working on short sleep.  How long before people have to keep sleep logs (like OTR Truckers already do) on pain of fines or imprisonment?

ObamaCare allows for these things.  As long as it is the law of the land, we have no defense against them.

Someone needs to pilot the proverbial Steam Ship into the maw of this beast.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Amnesty IS "A Path To Citizenship"

As Republicans plan to cave on "Immigration Reform" we keep hearing this from Conservatives who want to "sound reasonable,": "I wouldn't mind an amnesty if there was no path to citizenship."  Another formulation is "Grant amnesty, but anyone who accepts it is forbidden from ever becoming a citizen."  There are others as well.  That certainly "sounds reasonable," but it fails any form of intellectual rigor.

First off, once you have granted someone "amnesty," they are no longer guilty of their crime.  If they're not guilty of that crime, then what justification do you have for preventing them applying for- and eventually receiving- citizenship?  None.

Secondly, we have the 14th Amendment.  It states, in part, "nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws."  Now, some of our laws are written on how to obtain citizenship.  Once they are in the United States legally, there is no legal barrier to their citizenship.

Finally, though, even if the first two were not true, this falls into the "give a mouse a cookie," category.  Once you capitulate to an amnesty (by whatever name) you now have several million more legal residents.  Those several million legal residents (more likely: some Liberal group acting "on their behalf") will begin petitioning the Government for citizenship.  Their arguments will be eloquent: "We pay taxes," and "We serve in the military," and "It's not fair!"  And, eventually, Congress will cave again, and they'll become citizens.

The only way to avoid that is not to offer amnesty.  They came here illegally.  They chose to do so (in virtually all cases).  They could have come legally, but didn't want to put up with whatever hurdles were being thrown in their way (often enough by our Government, which now wants to grant them amnesty).

The Conservative Position on Illegal Immigration should not be "Enforcement First."  It should be "Enforcement.  Period."

There is a Reason it's "The Law" of Unintended Consequences

Via Gabe over at the AoSHQ comes this article from Ramesh Ponnuru at Bloomberg.  Ponnuru's article explores some of the "unintended" consequences of plastic-bag bans.  Among others he points out studies that show a body-count attributable to them.

Now, I don't know enough about the studies to say how rigorous they are, and certainly people should take enough responsibility for themselves to wash their reusable bags.  Neither of those are the point here.  No, the point is that this wouldn't even be a problem without the mandates to use the reusable bags.

I shop at Aldi (well: my wife does most of the shopping, because she loves me and knows I hate it, but you get the point), and I love it.  Their prices are fantastic.  I can feed my entire family (4 people, plus two dogs) on an average of $100/wk because of Aldi and Walmart.  Aldi encourages the use of reusable bags (note: does not require, just encourages).  We have made that choice because we like the savings related to it.

The important thing there is that it is my choice.  I could choose not to shop at Aldi.  I could choose to shop at Aldi, but buy plastic or paper bags from them every time.  I could choose.  People in San Fransisco, and Los Angeles, and other California cities cannot choose.

If I fail to wash my reusable bags and I get sick, that's my own darn fault.  I made choices that led to that decision.  If I knew I was a sloppy kind of person who was never going to wash them, I could choose not to use them at all and save myself the hassle.  Those cities in California have decided that people can't take a look at their own habits and make decisions based on them.  No, they have to have their actions and choices mandated by the city council.

Now, though, we have evidence (however tenuous) that reusable bags are killing people.  And we know the Liberals (for whom California is a bastion) believe in the axiom "If it might save even one life."  So what follows?

In a Conservative State, or even just one still in touch with reality, we'd allow plastic bags back in.  But not so in California.  They'll either do nothing, or they'll Do Something.  These are Liberals: they'll Do Something.

My Guess?  You know those propane cylinder recycling places?  They're usually at grocery stores and some convenience stores.  You can take your empty tank and get a new (or at least full) one much cheaper.  I suspect a mandate along those lines.  Once the mandate kicks in, people will bring in their reusable bags and place them in a large rolling laundry cart, like you might see at a hotel.  They'll get a voucher for the number of bags they brought in.  Then, when they check out, they'll be given that same number of bags "for free" and the grocery store will be required (enforced with inspections from City and/or State health officials) to wash the returned ones.

And the cost will simply be passed to the consumer.  But that will simply be another "unintended" consequence.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Federalism FTW!

Ace links this Meade piece about the Republicans new "Red State Model" strategy.  The idea seems to be that Red States should (hold on to your seats, you won't believe the radicalness of this idea)- act like Red States.

If Conservatives in Red States really believe that lower taxes, lower regulations, and less government interference are good for the economy, they should try it and see.  I believe we call that "Federalism," and I believe it was the idea behind having a Federation of States, rather than a single National Government. 

Commenter Toby928 over at the HQ has this to say:
I want something even more radical, let Texas or some other red state go full 10th Amendment and refuse both Federal largess and Federal mandates. Secede in place, as it were.

I agree there, too.  Push actual Federalism.  Refuse Federal funds along with the strings they have attached.

Yes, it would suck.  It would suck because that money is going to DC anyway, and it's going to be spent anyway.  It would suck because we'd see more DC Politicians getting rich off our money.  It would suck because more of our money would be diverted to other states (someone explain, again, why a man in Texas is responsible for the health care of someone in New York?).  It would suck because people here would scream when some of their free stuff got taken away.

Nevertheless it would be right.  And if Texas led the way, other states may well follow.  And if enough States followed, we might see some actual change at the Federal Level, and a shift back to the Federalist System the Founders prescribed.

About Focusing on "Mental Health"

In my Jan 16 post "Tyranny in a Velvet Glove" I said this:
    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.

Then, just two days later, I wrote this:
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.

Now, I'm sure there are some who rolled their eyes and thought, "okay, now you're over reacting."

Maybe y'all should tell that to Doctor Lee Heib, MD.  Here's what she wrote (published last night):
Wait … not so fast. The problem is one of definition: Who is mentally ill?

The use of psychiatry against dissidents in the Soviet Union was one of the major human rights scandals of the 1970s and 1980s. Overt tyrants don’t need to employ psychiatry as a weapon, but establishing a dictatorship that pretends to be a republic requires a stealthy way of silencing opponents. As the Soviets discovered, not everyone is afraid to speak out, and when dissidents are perceived by the public as speaking truth, they must somehow be discredited.
So there you have it.  Not from some schlub on the internet, but from someone in medicine who can see how the SCOAMT is manipulating that profession for his own political ends.

Now, I hear you saying, "But she's not a psychiatrist, and that was the USSR.  How would she know?"

Well, the plural of anecdote is not data, but when anecdotes confirm (or seem to confirm) a prediction, then it's time to at least take a theory seriously.  So here's just one anecdote from her piece- click over to read the whole thing.
Brandon Raub, USMC veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan, made quite colorful anti-war and anti-administration remarks in a Facebook page. He was subsequently drug away in handcuffs by local authorities purportedly at the request of mental health workers.

Col. Thierry Dupuis, county police chief, acted under the state’s emergency custody statute which allows a magistrate to order civil detention and psych evaluation of anyone considered potentially dangerous – i.e., he was hauled off and jailed for a “pre-crime.” He hadn’t hurt anyone. He hadn’t done anything overt except express his beliefs on paper. And anyone with a three-inch kitchen knife is “potentially dangerous.”

Mental health is a tricky issue, and no one wants true psychotics to own weapons.  However, there is often no way to find the "true psychotics" until it's too late.  So we have two choices- disarm everyone, or deal with the fact that sometimes crazy people will get their hands on weapons and do crazy things with them.

Disarming everyone is not really on the table.  Even if we wanted to do so, we would not be able to (and you can take my guns from my cold, dead hands).

Monday, February 4, 2013

Texas Schools: "Be Good Little Communists..."

...And design a flag for the USSA.

Thus is the analysis from EAGNews.org, a school-choice website.  I can't say I completely disagree, but neither does this peg my outrage meter.

In fact, here is my biggest problem with the requirement for kids to create a communist flag: is there one for free countries?  See, the requirement reads thus:
Notice socialist/communist nations use symbolism on their flags representing various aspects of their economic system. Imagine a new socialist nation is creating a flag and you have been put in charge of creating a flag. Use symbolism to represent aspects of socialism/communism on your flag. What kind of symbolism/colors would you use?

Now, it is true that socialist and communist nations use symbolism on their flags, and specifically to represent aspects of their economic symbol (that's why so many of them have the hammer and sickle).  What is also true, however, is that all nations do that.  Our own "Stars and Stripes" are "symbolism" of our political beliefs.  It's just that in communist/socialist nations economic beliefs ARE political beliefs (given that both believe in government control of the economy).  Where the United States flag represents the fifty States, the thirteen original colonies, the bravery of those who fought, etc., etc., the USSR Flag (as one example) had the hammer and sickle to symbolize "The Worker."

So, here is my question- is there one that says, "Democratic/Republican nations use symbolism on their flags to represent various aspects of their political systems and/or national character.  Imagine a new Representative Republic nation is creating a flag and you have been put in charge of creating a flag.  Use symbolism to represent aspects of democracy/republicanism on your flag.  What kind of symbolism/colors would you use?"

If the answer to that question is "YES" then I'm... well, not okay with it, but willing to let it slide.  Teachers do have a fair amount of discretion in the classroom after all.  Who's to say the teacher won't lead the kids such that they represent their new communist nation with shackles and a dessert? 

If the answer is "No," then I'm not okay with it.  In that case, either particular political/economic systems should not have been mentioned at all, or you are advocating for socialism/communism- which would be the height of inappropriate in a school curriculum regardless of my own personal beliefs.

According to the story, various officials in Texas have attempted to contact the authors of the curriculum.  Hopefully they will clarify or change the requirement.  Until then, make sure your school board knows about the requirement, and knows that you vigorously oppose it until such time as the correct clarification is provided, or the requirement is removed.

Leviathan Government: "Feed Me!"

Bloomberg news is reporting that the SCOAMT thinks the US Government needs more of your money.  In related news, they are also reporting that water is wet.

The actual article is a smorgasbord of the SCOAMT being completely ignorant on the economy.  Ready for this America?  Just remember: you elected him.

1) Apparently increasing taxes will help grow the economy.  Every economist since ever says "Wha?"
2) Unemployment went up because "We cut military spending."  Well, yes you did, but you increased spending elsewhere.  And if "government spending" were what made jobs, we'd already be at ~5% Unemployment by now.  Did that happen and I just didn't notice?
3) Death Panels?  Yeah- they're real: "[SCOAMT] said the government can cut health-care costs..."

Seriously, this man has all the economic acumen of a grasshopper, and all the brains of a balloon animal.

Book Review: Amy Lynn

Amy Lynn is, as far as I know, the first and only novel written by Jack July (who comments over at the Ace of Spades HQ).  I'll admit I balked a bit at the $15.00 price tag for a physical copy of the book, but I was quite willing to spend $10 for the Kindle Version, which I did over the weekend.  I'm almost certain that was a better choice, since the physical book weighs in at a hefty 15 tons, I mean, four hundred twenty-some pages.

The blurb for the book on the Amazon website claims that Amy Lynn is the story of a "tomboy-ish girl" who grows up in rural Alabama.  That's mostly right.  Having now read the book, it might be more accurate to say it is about the life of a girl who grows up in Alabama.  Certainly Amy Lynn is the protagonist and heroine of the story, but the book is as much about her family as it is about her.

If you've got ten bucks to spend, you could do much worse than buying this on Kindle.  I'd recommend it, and give it a solid 4 / 5.

Synopsis/Spoilers/Deeper Review after the break:

Friday, February 1, 2013

White House: "Rejoice. Unemployment has decreased to 7.9%!"

Down from 7.8%.

No, seriously.  The White House thinks this is an improvement.  Not just that it's an improvement, but that it is such an awesome improvement, they're worried that you'll get depressed when next month's number's aren't as good.

Don't believe me?  I almost can't believe it myself.  But here (Via Drew at the AoSHQ) is the proof:
According to Alan B. Krueger, the White House Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, this is an improvement although he again warned against looking too much at one month of statistics.

"Okay," you say, "but that's just that reporter's impression of what he said."

Fair enough.  Here's the direct quote:
“While more work remains to be done, today’s employment report provides further evidence that the U.S. economy is continuing to heal from the wounds inflicted by the worst downturn since the Great Depression,” Krueger said in a statement. “It is critical that we pursue the policies needed to build an economy that works for the middle class as we continue to dig our way out of the deep hole that was caused by the severe recession that began in December 2007.”

Read that again: "Today's employment report {of ~150K jobs added, and U-3 increasing to 7.9% -DT} provides further evidence that the U.S. economy is continuing to heal..."

Ignore the "Blame Bush" rhetoric which follows that.  On what planet is job "growth" that is only roughly equal to population growth, and an increase in the Unemployment Rate "evidence that the U.S. economy is continuing to heal?"  Remember when some Republican (I seriously can't remember if it was George Bush or John McCain) said "the fundamentals of the economy are strong" when the crash started in 2008?  Do you remember how he was excoriated for the statement?  He was out of touch.  He was living in a fantasy land.

Yet, somehow, this statement is dead-on true, and completely grounded in reality.  I have neither seen nor heard a single "mainstream" media source that has expressed the least bit of incredulity at this statement.  Not.  One.

This is not merely a media that is supportive of this Administration.  It is a media which has decided to wage war against the American people as a propaganda arm of the Democrat party.