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I have partially fixed the issue with the deep dives for mobile users. You can see the images, however the layout leaves something to be desired...

 

Also working on my library, I have books that you aren't seeing and now I know why.

Radicalization of Radicals

By the nature of physics, a vehicle with the steering wheels in the back (relative to the direction the vehicle is moving) can cause the vehicle to turn sharper, in less distance and for less turning of the steering wheel. When done properly, this is a great enhancement to the control of the vehicle. Done improperly, a catastrophe can occur.

The other day, Tom Perez, who is chairman of the Democrat National Committee, said this on The Bill Press radio show:

"What's this tell you about where the Democratic Party is going today?" Press asked the DNC chair.

Perez said his daughters both texted him about their excitement over Ocasio-Cortez's win.

"Because, she really, she represents the future of our party," Perez said, complimenting the self-described Democratic socialist for running a "spirited campaign."

The future of our party. I hope that the context of Mr. Perez’s remark spoke of Ms. Ocasio-Cortez was, “young, female, minority” identity politics. While Conservatives are concerned about the ideological position of a person and what their plans are if they win office, Democrats generally look to checking off demographic points. If Mr. Perez was lauding Ms. Ocasio-Cortez’ political outlook as a “Democratic Socialist,” then they (and we as a result) are in deep trouble. Because she represents the amount of radicalization for the Democrats that has increased exponentially with every generation since the 60’s.

Ms. Ocasio-Cortez in her campaign promoted a “Santa Claus” government, with free single-payer health care, federally guaranteed jobs, free college education, and the abolishment of the Immigrations and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE).

If John F. Kennedy had been teleported from 1960 to 2016, he would, by his views not only been a Republican, he would have been to the Right of Trump. Think about that for a moment. The mainstream Democrat Presidential nominee in 1960, who was considered radical at the time because he was a Catholic, his views 56 years later would be considered a Right-Wing Hatemonger by the same party that they nominated to lead the country. This bellwether is why Conservatives use the term “run to the left” for Liberals and why Ronald Reagan (who was a Democrat in 1960) said in 1962, “I didn’t leave the Democrat party, the party left me.”

The radicals became radicalized in the early 2000’s, which led to the election of Obama in 2008 and his eight years in office. He was at least a borderline Socialist but never openly admitted it.

This radicalization continues its’ run to the Left today when Bernie Sanders (an openly admitted Socialist) became a viable candidate for the Democrats last bid for the White House. Of course, he never had a realistic chance going up against the Clinton Machine, but that’s beside the point. The fact-of-the-matter is, a significant number of Democrats “felt the Bern” and thought a Socialist as president was the best option for the country.

In statistics, one data point is nothing. Two data points can indicate a rough direction. With the primary win of Ms. Ocasio-Cortez, and her likely election to the House (I don’t know if there is even a Republican running in that district), there will now be two Socialists in Congress. I am confident there will be three or four of them after the 2020 elections.

And then we have The New Republic, Bernie Sanders Is Not the Left.

This author makes no pretense about his views:

Sanders and his supporters have helped push the Democrats to the left, but the party has yet to truly embrace its left flank.

I suppose it’s a rhetorical question, but “why must the Democrats ‘embrace its left flank’?” If there were more than a minuscule few on the left flank, wouldn’t that then be the center? Why should the Democrats embrace the left flank and not the right flank?

A quote from the article:

…Sanders has never been a figurehead to everyone in the American left. His primary bid did draw the support of many leftists, but leftist voters in the United States aren’t spoiled for options—or at least they weren’t when Sanders launched his long-shot bid for president. That’s changing now, and it’s putting Sanders’s politics in perspective. He does not occupy the left-most band of the spectrum.

It’s certainly true that Sanders is to the left of most Democrats. But contrary to how he’s often portrayed in the media, he is not a doctrinaire leftist. His principal benefit to the left has been to mainstream certain beliefs—namely, that access to health care, education, and living wages are rights, not luxuries. But Sanders is not a revolutionary. His views aren’t even entirely consistent with democratic socialism, the political tradition he claims. It’s one thing to call for breaking up the big banks, and quite another to call for the nationalization of private industries. [emphasis mine]

When you couple the author’s call for the Democrats to “embrace their left wing,” then lament the only Socialist in the halls of DC power isn’t far enough to the left, then my statement of “radicalizing of radicals” rings true.

I can’t understand how anyone can look at the past 100 years of history and not see what has happened to the people under the rule of Socialist governments (100,000,000 dead by democide in the past century and rising every day) and say, “The Socialist system is sound, it’s just the right people weren’t in charge.”

I hate to tell these people, there never can be “the right people in charge” because a single person and especially a group of people will never have the pool of knowledge, the reasoning ability and the incorruptible character required to do the job properly. When the government owns and controls the means of production (which is the very definition of Socialism), the centralized control that is required to manage that system can never quickly enough or correctly allocate the resources at its’ disposal efficiently to meet the needs of the citizens.

We can also look at these Socialist governments and see that those in charge never truly wanted for anything. It was the poor schlubs at the bottom who starved to death eating mud pies while the ruling elite got fat.

Socialism has failed spectacularly 90% of the time it’s been tried. The other 10% are still in the process of eating themselves and haven’t gotten to the end stage yet. The Chinese are stubbornly trying to remain Communist, however since they took control of Hong Kong in 1997 and their involvement in global trade, they have been dragged kicking and screaming into a somewhat market-type economy.

Insisting Socialism works and not having a single successful example while saying all of the failed Socialist governments to date have failed because of “not the right people in charge” or “that wasn’t true Socialism” are exemplifying the adage, “insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, expecting different results.” A system where a few people are in charge of most everything while everyone else is forced to work against their own self-interest is going to fail, every time it’s tried.

Watch out for this kid

Last week, I attended a CPAC365 forum sponsored by The American Conservative Union. It was very interesting, I got to see HUD Secretary Ben Carson speak and I almost got to interact with Art Laffer (of the Laffer Curve), however it seems he wrenched his back (he’s 80) and could not make the flight.

Someone I did meet was an 11-year-old young man who was covering the event like a reporter and was also interviewing people. His dad is his cameraman and driver, as they have traveled over 50,000 miles doing this since he was eight. His website is Phoenix Rising in America. I admire this young man because he was able to articulate what he wanted to do to his parents to a level that his dad left his job to pursue and help him in his quest. I wish him and his family all the best.

As a personal note, my son was a bit younger than this young man when I developed my mental health issues. My son showed similar potential in his own areas, however my illness cut off his promise because I was not there for my son and I have regretted that loss every day since. I try to help my now adult son, but that weight of his lost potential is a heavy albatross around my neck every day.

A Reading of the Declaration of Independence

I missed this yesterday. Listen to this. If this does not cause tears to come to your eyes, shivers to run up and down your body and a base anger against those who seek to oppress others, then please leave the United States for you do not belong here. This document and the words therein are truly timeless and speaks to every generation. If listening to this does not stir something within you, then you do not yearn to breathe free.

Happy Independence Day!

This is one of those things that need to be said every year.

I don't celebrate the 4th of July, because I don't know what is special about that date. If we celebrate the 4th of July, why don't we celebrate the 24th of August? We celebrate New Years Day, Memorial Day, Flag Day, Labor Day, Veterans Day, Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day. So it sticks out as a sore thumb to me as to why we celebrate July 4th and not Independence Day.

To know the history of the world, not just the United States gives you the true context and the deep significance of Independence Day. On July 4th, 1776 AD, there were several dozen countries in the world, most if not all some kind of Oligarchical Monarchy. Just to be clear, an "Oligarchical Monarchy" pertains to a monarch (King or Queen) that more or less ruled with the permission of the powerful people (lords and other nobility) of that country. The 13 colonies in America was the first time in all of recorded history that a colony had successfully fought it's way to independence from the mother country. While many other countries have been liberated from control of their mother country since then, the vast majority of these separations were with the permission of the mother country.

The men who started and led this insurrection knew that if they did not triumph in this fight for independence, those who survived the battlefield would be hung as traitors. Not a quick or elegant way to go in those times. You were not dropped in such a way as to break your neck making the death quick, you were hoisted upwards and left to strangle, slowly.

Through the Articles of Confederation and the Constitution, our Founding Fathers codified a government that is ruled by the People, not the People ruled by the government. That concept was totally absurd at the time. I seriously think that kind of independence is the kind to celebrate by calling it for what it is, not just by the date.

Do not, under any circumstances wish me a "Happy 4th of July." However I will happily celebrate with you the Independence Day of the United States.

Why Liberals are terrified right now

With the news of Justice Kennedy retiring, Liberals are having a shit fit because Kennedy is the infamous "swing vote" that almost sides with the more Liberal judges on social issues. President Trump has been appointing strict Constitutionalists to the lower courts and there is no reason to believe that he will not continue on that path with his pending SCOTUS appointment.

This means that there will be a solid four strict Constitutionalist votes and one part-time Constitutionalist in Mr. Roberts (whom long ago I said I can never use the title "justice" with him). With the two oldest Justices being "living" Constitutionalists (Ginsberg, 85 and Breyer, 79) If Trump is re-elected, it is entirely possible he could and would fill those seats with strict Constitutionalists as well.

This, of course, has Liberals in a full on seizure mode. Why? Simply put precedents like Roe v. Wade and Obergefell v. Hodges will be in great jeopardy of being overturned.

The ancestors of Liberals (crusading "do-gooders" who want to impose their morality on everyone else) pushed through the Eighteenth Amendment, the Constitution's only foray into social issues. It proved to be such a [sarcasm]wonderful success[/sarcasm] that it was repealed by the Twenty-First Amendment only fourteen years later, the only Amendment to have that "honor." So these "Social Justice Warriors" turned to the courts to impose their will on the People. The reason why Abortion and SSM (same-sex marriage) are hotly fought debates across this country is because We The People didn't settle these issues, nine people wearing black robes in Washington did.

As I said in A Legacy Built on Sand, precedents like this that can be easily overturned (in this instance, "easily" is a bit understated) because someone with a different political perspective holds the office now and can undo improperly done things.

I never have been and most likely never will be in favor of any kind of direct democracy. Our Founding Fathers hated the idea of mob rule, which is why they created this government as a Constitutional Republic. That being said, there are in rare instances of large and dividing social issues like these, each State should put these issues to an "up or down" vote and make it unreviewable by the Judiciary (aka California's "Proposition XX was overturned by judges today..."). That way, the citizens of the States can decide the issue for themselves. Some States will probably vote in favor of abortion and SSM, some States "yes" on one and "no" on the other, and still other States will vote "no" on both. And just to be clear, while I am using abortion and SSM together as examples, each example needs to be treated slightly differently.

The issue of abortion pertains to the legality of performing an abortion in that State. If Arkansas does not allow abortions but Missouri does, I would not be against Arkansas pro-choice "family clinics" offering transportation to abortion clinics in Missouri where a woman could get an abortion. Hawaii may support SSM, while Montana might not. There is nothing preventing a same-sex couple from traveling from Montana to Hawaii and getting married. Under Article 4 Section 1 of the Constitution, a valid marriage certificate issued by Hawaii must be accepted by Montana. It doesn't matter if the certificate is for Mary and Mike or Richard and Randy.

And just because I'm a flexible guy on this "direct democracy" thing, we could revisit these (and other social subjects) every, say 20 years. That way if social norms change and evolve, the laws specific to these social subjects could evolve as well.

SCOTUS 2018 Decisions

So here are (to me) the six most important cases to roll out of this Supreme Court session. Five of these were serious dealings in favor of individual liberty and against those who wish for discretionary government control. The last one will severely hurt small businesses, no matter what.

MASTERPIECE CAKESHOP, LTD.,ET AL.v.COLORADO CIVIL RIGHTS COMMISSION ET AL.

This was a "punt" by SCOTUS, leaving the decision about the Constitutionality of the law itself undecided. I am okay with this, because I am in favor of the feds keeping their nose out of state business unless it crosses state lines. That being said, when the state government is actively against selected (group or individual) people for whatever reason, then it becomes a SCOTUS issue.

The court found in favor of Masterpiece Cakeshop in that the Colorado Civil Right Commission was openly hostile to and prejudiced against the baker. Part of the decision reads:

Held: (a) ...Indeed, while the instant enforcement proceedings were pending, the State Civil Rights Division concluded in at least three cases that a baker acted lawfully in declining to create cakes with decorations that demeaned gay persons or gay marriages. Phillips too was entitled to a neutral and respectful consideration of his claims in all the circumstances of the case.

(b) That consideration was compromised, however, by the Commission’s treatment of Phillips’ case, which showed elements of a clear and impermissible hostility toward the sincere religious beliefs motivating his objection. As the record shows, some of the commissioners at the Commission’s formal, public hearings endorsed the view that religious beliefs cannot legitimately be carried into the public sphere or commercial domain, disparaged Phillips’ faith as despicable and characterized it as merely rhetorical, and compared his invocation of his sincerely held religious beliefs to defenses of slavery and the Holocaust...

Yeah, I like limiting the power and authority of unelected government bureaucrats who make up their own rules.

JANUS v. AMERICAN FEDERATION OF STATE, COUNTY, AND MUNICIPAL EMPLOYEES, COUNCIL 31, ET AL.

This will hurt the public-sector employee unions very badly. This is actually the second case like this one, however, the first case, FRIEDRICHS, ET AL., PETITIONERS v. CALIFORNIA TEACHERS ASSOCIATION, ET AL. was undecided due to Justice Scalia's unexpected passing, thus making a 4-4 split. In both Janus and Friedrichs, public sector employees resented having to pay dues to a union that they didn't belong to and didn't believe in the political objectives of those unions. The unions and government in both states agreed that the unions would represent both union members and non-union members, even if the non-members didn't want the representation of the union.

The fees confiscated from paid by non-members are "fungible" money, meaning that once it is received into the general fund of the union, you cannot say one way or the other that the money was or was not spent on any actions that the non-members objected to.

I am all for collective bargaining for those who want it and individual bargaining for those who don't want collective bargaining. If the non-union members end up with a worse deal than the union members, They are free to join the union. If the non-union employees get a better package than the union because, you know, they might perform their job better and know they don't have the "protection" of the union, then the better performing teachers might jump the union ship.

NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF FAMILY AND LIFE ADVOCATES, DBA NIFLA, ET AL. v. BECERRA, ATTORNEY GENERAL OF CALIFORNIA, ET AL.

You can tell how overbearing this law is by the first sentience of the decision:

The California Reproductive Freedom, Accountability, Comprehensive Care, and Transparency Act (FACT Act) was enacted to regulate crisis pregnancy centers—pro-life centers that offer pregnancy-related services. [emphasis mine]

My question is, why weren't the clinics that are pro-abortion pro-choice clinics regulated under the same act? If this law required pro-life centers to advertise free or low cost abortions, why wasn't the pro-choice centers required to advertise the pro-life options? The rabid pro-choicers will undoubtedly say, "they offer adoption or other pro-life options as part of their information package." Of course they do. I'm sure the woman is given a brochure on adoption... that's 2nd from the bottom of 18 brochures about family planning, aftereffects of abortion, etc. while being carried on a whirlwind from waiting room to recovery room. And of course, the staff would never say the words "you could give the baby up for adoption" or let the woman see the ultrasound of the fetus while assessing how best to terminate the fetus.

This is a clear case of the state government restricting the freedom of speech by requiring an organization to say/display/advertise a position and an option that is antithetical to their purpose and mission. I am very glad California was kicked to the curb. To show my ideological consistency, if this was a pro-life state that was forcing Planned Parenthood to post pro-life posters, I would be happy that PP got the nod and the states law knocked down.

TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES, ET AL. v. HAWAII ET AL.

This was the case of a court actively interfering with the lawful daily business of the President. Trump enacted a 50-day hold on immigration from seven countries, Chad, Iran, Iraq, Libya, North Korea, Syria, Venezuela, and Yemen. This list was developed by the State Department and Homeland Security under Obama. These countries were selected because either:

  • They have no functioning national government so we have no one to confirm the identity of an applicant,
  • The records of that government are unable to satisfy our government agencies as to the identity of an applicants information, or
  • They are an actively hostile foreign power and thus have reasons to issue false documents to people meant to infiltrate the US for the purposes of spying or sabotage.

Here's what the decision said:

After a 50-day period during which the State Department made diplomatic efforts to encourage foreign governments to improve their practices, the Acting Secretary of Homeland Security concluded that eight countries —Chad, Iran, Iraq, Libya, North Korea, Syria, Venezuela, and Yemen—remained deficient. She [Acting Secretary of DHS] recommended entry restrictions for certain nationals from all of those countries but Iraq, which had a close cooperative relationship with the U. S. She also recommended including Somalia, which met the information-sharing component of the baseline standards but had other special risk factors, such as a significant terrorist presence.

I'm sorry, I don't think there's a lot of Muslims in either Venezuela or North Korea, so #MuslimBan doesn't seem to fit quite right. Also, those countries with a majority of people who practice the Muslim faith (Chad, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria and Yemen) make up less than 10% of the worlds Muslim population. Again, #MuslimBan doesn't hold up to the truth.

The lower court took into consideration the campaign statements of Candidate Trump. It looks to me that the lower court didn't adhere to the "Four Corners of the Law" standard that Judges should use for every such case before them. SCOTUS did adhere to the Four Corners principle, meaning they looked at the Presidential Proclamation that started this whole kerfluffle. The read what it said, noted the sections of the US Code in the proclamation, then read those sections of the US code and the majority (IMO, this decisionreally should have been a 9-0) concurred that the law of the land gives the President the discretionary power to enact such requirements and limit or withhold all immigration from those countries for not meeting our baseline documentation requirements.

CARPENTER v. UNITED STATES

Okay, let me make this clear. If you have a cell phone or tablet with you, that device is constantly broadcasting your location. If you're going to do something bad, don't take the cell phone/tablet that has your name on the account to where you're doing the bad thing. Carpenter was an idiot for doing this. Turn it off and leave it somewhere far away from the crime you're going to perform or have someone drive it around away from where you are while you're doing bad things.

I believe the court acted properly here in it's judgement of the location data obtained without a warrant is inadmissible in court, because no business should willingly surrender any of a customers' personal information to the government. To do so violates the trust between the company and the customer. If the police don't want to expend the manpower necessary to follow a suspect, then they should have to get a warrant.

The bad news is there is a device called a Stingray that can imitate a cell phone tower and have phones exchange their data with the Stingray, while the Stingray then passes your data to the real cell phone tower so you don't know you're being monitored. This technology has already been used by hundreds of local law-enforcement agencies thousands of times. Look for the use of these devices to increase.

The one "SCOTUS Screwup" that I saw was SOUTH DAKOTA v. WAYFAIR, INC.

This decision has kicked the whole "internet tax" debate on it's head. Up until this decision, a mail-order transaction has been free of sales taxes unless the seller has a store in the same state as the buyer. Why is that? Think of it this way. The tax structure of the county and state where I reside currently is like this:

  • State Sales tax of 7%
  • County sales tax of 2.25% on non-grocery items, up to $1,600.
  • County sales tax on groceries 0.25%
  • Then there are several suburbs who also tack on a 0.5% or 0.75%

That this means that a company with a mail-order component to their sales now has to know all those rules, the addresses of the customers who might or might not be subject to that municipality tax, plus the address of the state, county and municipal tax collection offices entitled to those taxes.

Now multiply that by 3,300, because that's approximately how many counties there are in the United States. In the end, it means that any small business (which is 80% of all businesses in the US) now has an accounting and tax-liability headache the size of Mount Everest.

As a solution, they could either sell their wares through Amazon (which already have the necessary numbers of accountants and lawyers to surmount this Everest of paperwork), they could pay a service to keep track of all of this (both of these options would cut into their already small profit margins) or as a last resort, stop selling on-line entirely.

So there you have it, four cases where the court upheld individuals First and Fourth Amendment Rights, a smack on the nose of those who seek to interfere with the legal and lawful affairs of the President as he properly discharges the duties of his Oath and Office. And last but not least, a stupid decision that will cost thousands of businesses sales and profits.

New stuff!!!

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls! Have I got some news for you!

First, I have finally compiled my personal library, it is #5 of the banner rotation. Please take a gander at what I am reading and my reviews. If you click through to Amazon and buy it, supposedly I get a small commission. I'm not betting my house payment on it though.

Second, I have added to the link roll to the right Civics 101. A "short form" (10 minutes) podcast from New Hampshire Public Radio, each episode gives an easy-to-understand explanation of the subject at hand. It is wonderfully well-balanced, being totally apolitical with each subject. I was actually shocked while listening to #125 about the police. The SME (Subject Matter Expert) started talking about Ferguson and he started commenting on how the police were ticketing citizens for BS stuff to generate city revenue, like I said when it first happened.

I am currently working my way through all of them, I'm getting in 8-10 a day. I am enjoying them immensely.

Trump's Secret Immigration plan

I have been having it out with several of my liberal (small "L") and liberal-leaning friends today on Facebook about Trumps' Zero Tolerance policy, which includes separating children from their families while awaiting processing. I was shopping in a couple stores after work, trying to formulate how to explain what's going on, when I was hit by an epiphanial thunderbolt.

They are right. Trump is being very cruel and he is doing it intentionally.

That's when the second epiphanial thunderbolt hit me with what he is trying to do. It's obvious Trump does not like the current immigration situation, it's why he campaigned on a border wall. Now that we have all of this Liberal outrage over the current Zero Tolerance policy, Congress is now considering legislation to reform the immigration laws we currently have on the books and that Trump is enforcing to the maximum degree.

I have not heard any talking head expound on this, I may be the first with this idea.

If the immigration policies are rewritten to the point that the US becomes inhospitable to illegal immigrants, you don't need to build a wall on a border no one wants to cross. Physical walls can be climbed over, tunneled beneath and broken through if what's on the other side is worth it. If you get through that wall and the next thousand miles is an inhospitable wasteland, what's the point of getting through the wall in the first place?

I know why they do it. We are the only country in the world that can claim immigrants from every other country in the world. People spend two months locked in a shipping container crossing the Pacific to get here, they overload floating conglomerations of junk that sane people wouldn't use to cross a stream and cross 90 miles of open ocean to get here, they cross miles of open desert on foot or jammed into uncooled tractor-trailers. I understand all that. They risk their lives to escape abject poverty, war-torn countries, drug wars, religious persecution, all to come to a place that speaks two words to them: OPPORTUNITY and FREEDOM. Our ancestors who passed through Ellis Island thought the streets of America were paved with gold. These people who risk their lives to get here must still believe that on some level. I thank God every day that I was born here and I got the privilege to defend those ideals for thirteen years.

If any other country had what we had (or even more of it), these people would be going there, not coming here. All that being said, if we let any one enter at any time, this would not be a country. Life is inherently unfair and not everyone gets to grab a brass ring. But I digress.

There is another layer to this, again that I have not heard from anyone before. Trump is not going to get the immigration law he wants, that's a guaranteed outcome, even with the Republicans. But for every aspect (Democrat generated to be sure) that Trump doesn't like, He's going to use those Democrat-supported points to beat every Democrat over the head that supported the kooky parts of this immigration bill. Any potential "Blue Wave" will get dashed into inconsequential foam on the Shoals of Trump.

Even the timing for this is perfect, because the legislation should be crossing Trump's desk in the September-October time frame, when the campaigns are in full swing. This could flip a lot of wobbly Democrat seats, and put secure seats (like those in California) in jeopardy.

I could be wrong, I've been wrong before. All that being said, I see this situation, no matter the outcome to at a minimum not hurt Trump and probably help him while severely hurting the Democrats.

Trump is using this Zero Tolerance to lance an infected boil on the United States as a whole. The immigration issue is an issue that has greatly divided us. To lance and drain it, squeezing out the infection (and I am NOT implying illegal immigrants are the infection, rather our treatment of them) and causing short-term pain will heal it and make the US better and healthier in the long run.

This needs to be said

I am in the middle of reading Is Administrative Law Unlawful? by Philip Hamburger. Every page is sending chills up and down my spine because what the author is saying is codifying into words a lot of thoughts and concerns I have been having myself on this subject that I could not bring a coherent voice to say. The book review for this book is being written as I read it.

Several friends have complained about Trumps separation of children from adults who are trying to enter the United States. One was complaining about the "Zero Tolerance" policy currently being used on this subject.

A couple things to consider on this subject:

  • If the previous administration hadn't been letting people in with "a wink and a nod," thereby prompting more and more people to try, the current administration wouldn't be trying to hold back a human wave. ICE is currently trying to enforce the laws the previous administration told them specifically not to uphold.
  • For the "children ripped out of their parents arms," the adults were going into a general holding facility, think a prison or jail setting. Think real damn hard about this, would you want children to be loose in a situation like that? One second of inattention and the missing child would be found later, raped and dead.
  • Also, those who claim to be family, may not be family. People seeking wouldn't lie about something like that, would they?

In this video, Mr. Thomas Homan, the acting Director for ICE lets Rep. Nanette Barragan (D-CA) have it with both barrels. The fireworks start at the 7:00 mark.

"I know of no method to secure the repeal of bad or obnoxious laws so effective as their stringent execution."

- Ulysses S. Grant

Zero Tolerance is the expected standard for Law Enforcement Officers. LEO's cannot, should not and MUST NOT have any discretionary enforcement leeway. If you want the laws to be more merciful, tell your Congressman and Senators to alter or abolish them. If LEO's have the ability (through law or by policy from their management) to turn a blind eye to law-breaking, then we DO NOT HAVE A NATION OF LAWS, NOR JUSTICE, NOR FREEDOM. We have a nation of favor-seekers, willing to do anything to earn the blind eye of LEO's to be turned toward them.

Don't like the laws? Good for you! I'd like as little as possible too, please. And that goes double for the too-numerous-to-count regulations that also encumber us in our daily lives. Please include the federal, state and local levels in that divestiture of unnecessary, burdensome, interfering and encumbering laws and bureaucratic red-tape.

All I want for Christmas this year is a government that can fit into (and obey) the Constitution.

I’m not sayin’, I’m just sayin’

A while back, in the post Oh, This is Delicious I made two predictions where I spoke about Mueller indicting a Russian company and how it was a very stupid thing to do. Admittedly I got the Manafort prediction wrong, but I think this will make up for it: And it’s all clearly explained here: Mueller is Trying to Keep Evidence from Defendants in Russian Trolls Case.

I spoke about the "discovery" phase of a criminal trial, where the prosecution must turn over all of the evidence, even the exculpatory evidence ("exculpatory" meaning it shows that you didn't do the crime you're accused of). I make a point of this because this is not a cornerstone of our legal system, it is the bedrock of it. In order for a person or company who is accused of a crime to properly defend themselves, they have to know what they are accused of doing and all evidence concerning the matter.

Except the Muller team doesn't want to turn it over. They are currently petitioning the Court to either totally bar the release of all evidence to the accused Concord Management and grant access only to their "domestic representation" (i.e., the US-based lawyers). Maybe, sometime in the future, two teams of lawyers (a second group of lawyers for the defense and a group of government lawyers not associated with the prosecution) could petition the court and if the two teams agree, let Concord Management see some of the evidence.

I don't care what reasons Mueller's team give for this reasoning, the accused cannot prepare an adequate defense if they cannot see the evidence against them. This legal Cirque du Soleil tells me the Muller team has exactly zero evidence. Thus, they are trying any legal maneuver they can to keep from publicly showing they are assholes.

If this motion is approved, or the indictment is not withdrawn, or the indictment is not thrown out of court, we will know without a doubt the fix is in. Stay tuned.

Trump's NFL Judo Move

On June 4th, Trump cancelled the event where the Philadelphia Eagles (who I am told won the Super Bowl, I didn't watch) were scheduled to meet with Trump in the White House the next day. CNN even says so: Trump cancels Philadelphia Eagles visit to the White House.

Here are a couple of Torrey Smith's Tweets about the cancellation:

So many lies smh Here are some facts 1. Not many people were going to go 2. No one refused to go simply because Trump 'insists' folks stand for the anthem 3. The President continues to spread the false narrative that players are anti military,

There are a lot of people on the team that have plenty of different views. The men and women that wanted to go should've been able to go. It's a cowardly act to cancel the celebration because the majority of the people don't want to see you. To make it about the anthem is foolish.

Let me say up front that not one Eagle took a knee for the Anthem during the regular season. I also want to make clear I agree with Mr. Smith in that I believe a majority of NFL players are not anti-military. It has been a small minority of players who are kneeling and I will give those kneelers the benefit of the doubt that they are not anti-military.

What the CNN article doesn't say is in the security arrangements to visit the White House, everyone planning to attend an event like this has to submit an application with their name and other information for a security check. Eighty people submitted their applications to attend the White House event. Why is this important? You have an invitation to be part of a delegation to meet the President. You have to go through the effort to submit paperwork. I can understand, say, five people out of eighty might have to cancel at the last minute. Sickness, injury, family emergency, whatever. Those are, in Project Manager terms, "known unknowns." When seventy of eighty people cancel, that's a hearty "FUCK YOU" and an attempt to embarrass Trump. The White House was planning for seventy plus people attending, not ten. The prospective publicity photo released to the press, which should have been 30+ people would have been five, including the mascot. Trump would have been skewered by the press even if he had gone ahead with the event.

Judo is an Asian Martial Art. "Ju-Do" actually means "The Gentile Way" and this art teaches how to use your opponents own weight, inertia and body against them. I specify this because this past Friday, Trump answered some question on the White House Lawn on his way to the G7 Summit. This is what he said:

I'm gonna ask all of those [NFL players] to recommend to me ... people that they think were unfairly treated by the justice system and I'm gonna ask them to recommend to me, people that were unfairly treated, friends of theirs or people that they know about and I'm gonna take a look at those applications.

So why is this a brilliant Judo move? Trump directly addressed the main point that the NFL players were kneeling for, namely "social injustice," then said, "I will look at pardoning anyone you say has suffered "social injustice."

This puts the NFL players in an untenable position.

  • They are going to have to submit some names, or Trump wins outright because by submitting zero names, the players admit by omission that there is no "social injustice."
  • Whatever names they submit will be examined to almost the minutest detail. They would have to submit people like Alice Marie Johnson, whom Kim Kardashian advocated for at the White House and won her freedom. This means they can't submit names of those who have multiple violent convictions, deep gang ties, etc. Well, they can, but then the NFL players would look like fools.
  • Trump is under no obligation to pardon or commute the sentience of anybody.
  • If the NFL players do submit names and they are released, they will be in Trump's debt and will be forced to say nice things about him. They may follow up with sarcastic comments in the next breath, but that will only expose the players' hypocrisy and hurt their credibility, not Trump's.

I don't see Trump coming out on the bad side of any of these possibilities, even with a hostile press. I may have to start addressing Trump as "Mr. Miyagi." Start watching at 55 seconds.

Well played Mr. Trump. Well played.

Ex Libris

Growing up, I was a voracious reader. I read sci-if by the ream. A book a week? HA! I was averaging almost a book a day. Lensman, Venus Equilateral, Gor, The Destroyer and more. I had a bookshelf filled with just anthologies of short stories. The visions of Asimov, Bradbury, Burroughs, Heinlein, LeGuin and more filled my head at night.

As an adult I transitioned to technical books, learning to better apply myself to my craft. I also started enriching myself with the history, ship specifications and tactics of the Navy and our potential adversaries. This was the time of the “techno-thrillers” like “The Hunt for Red October.” Clancy and Cussler dominated my nightstand. This is when my taste for Sun Tzu, Jomini, Mayan, Clausewitz and more also found room in front of my eyes.

When I became a life member of the NRA and started carrying a weapon, my attention turned not only books about firearms in general, but how to properly and effectively apply the craft of armed self-defense and to research about the political fight surrounding firearms.

Then, sadly, my in-depth reading dried up. My illness limited my ability to read and comprehend like I had before. Not only because of mental bandwidth, but also spending most of my time just to survive. Once I started this blog, I was reading again, however it was all on-line news and opinion articles with research into what I was writing about.

For the past couple of weeks, I have been managing to sit down long enough here and there to read again. Some DTF (Dead Tree Format, actual books), some digital. But I am reading again. Like when King Arthur said in Excalibur after drinking from the Holy Grail, “I did not realize how empty was my soul until it was filled.”

I am currently (in my copious free time) working on adding a sub page that will join the rotation under the main banner and list my library, with my reviews on those books. I have to apply some coding tricks to make the list do what I want and I want to have 4-6 reviews "on the hook" before I let you see them.

Cost-Benefit Analysis

For everything we do (or don’t do), we mentally perform a cost/benefit analysis first. Let me explain:

You wake up in the morning and you don’t want to get out of your warm, comfortable bed and go to work. After all, who wants to get out of a warm bed and go to work?

The benefit of staying in bed is that you continue to be warm and comfortable. The cost of staying in bed is you could lose your job, which leads to no housing, bed, utilities, food, car and so on. If the benefits outweigh the costs, then do it. If the costs outweigh the benefits, you might not want to do it.

Another example: In countries where Islam is the primary religion, theft was a rare crime because they tended to lop a hand off for being a thief. In the immediately preceding years, they have become “Westernized” and don’t do that as much today.

So, your benefit is whatever your stole, while the cost can include losing at least one of your hands and all the future handicaps associated with having only one (or no) hands.

I bring this up because for the past eighteen months, we have been pounded on an hourly basis about the “Trump collusion with Russia.” Up until recently, the whole story was, the event that started the “investigation” was when Papadopoulos told Downer (when specifically asked), “the Russians have Hillary’s missing emails.” We now know, thanks to the outing of Halper, that the entrapment started a month earlier, with Halper telling Papadopoulos, “Did you hear the Russians have Hillary’s missing emails?” Of course, the FBI had to approach Halper and prep him to do this, then there was the time invested in thinking this up before Halper was recruited, but you get my point. But I digress.

Those who have created and fed this "Trump-Russia Collusion" narrative, have finally realized realized the jig is up because even their most ardent supporters are seeing that this entrapment wasn’t Kosher, have been trying to do a “Peace with Honor” kind of withdrawal, begging the Republicans to not put them through what they have been putting Trump through since he took office. They want to get away scot-free with just a “we’re sorry.”

The point here is the Trump Administration needs to set the cost/benefit analysis for anyone who wants to “weaponize the government” (use the massive investigatory and prosecutorial resources of the federal government to advance personal or political agenda) way into the “costs outweigh the benefits by several orders of magnitude” category so no one never even considers doing something like this again.

The best way to do this is to prosecute everyone involved in the decision-making progress to the harshest extent possible. This means a public trial and upon conviction, lengthy prison sentences for Obama, Hillary, Comey, McCabe, Clapper, everyone in a government leadership position who participated or did not hinder this plan. This also means Downer, Halpin, the partners of Fusion GPS, and anyone in that little incestuous circle of “Hillary’s Friends” who worked on this. Maximum sentences, running concurrently (10 convictions @ 10 years each = 100 years jail time).

We know Obama was briefed on what was going on because of the texting between Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, things like “POTUS wants to know everything." If Obama was the as transparent and ethical as he wants us to believe, the investigation could have been stopped with five words by him, “Shut it all down. Now.”

I NEVER want to see the resources of the federal government used to advance illicit political objectives ever again. Men went to prison and Nixon resigned over the Watergate scandal. There should be negative consequences of equal stature levied against those in the Obama Administration and Hillary campaign for this heinous usurpation of federal power.

If you disagree with this, please comment as to why you think this spying was okay. Your choices are 1) you can toe the party line and use convoluted reasoning to justify it, or 2) just publicly admit you're in favor of an American Police State.

More bureaucratic overreach

Let me make this perfectly clear: I *HATE* tobacco. Both my parents were 2 pack-a-day smokers. Growing up, other kids thought I smoked because I always smelled like cigarettes. For as much as I hate cigarettes, you can shift the decimal place to the right when it comes to cigars. To me, cigars smell like burning dog crap.

That being said, tobacco is as of I write this, a legal product to grow, process and use. I realize any attempt by the government to outright prohibit tobacco would be worse than the Volstead Act, the law that enforced the Nineteenth Amendment, otherwise known as Prohibition.

It came to my attention the other day that the FDA, in the infinite wisdom of the Philosopher Kings who run the agency, have decided to enact new regulations across the tobacco spectrum, including premium cigars. Much like when the BATF declared (not even using their own internal testing standards) that APCP (the only man-rated solid rocket fuel) was a "low-explosive" and subjected model rocketeers to 30 years of onerous and intrusive regulations. I speak of this and other examples in a previous post, Reasonable Restrictions.

Let me loop back here. I hate tobacco. I can smell someone smoking from 100' away. The smell seriously sickens me. When I was a Mason, several brothers smoked cigars. While they smoked, I was near them as little as possible. They were considerate in their use, the smokers sat in one corner of the public area and smoked near a return vent. You were free to join them or leave them be.

There is no "safe level of use" for tobacco. Every time you smoke, you purposefully introduce known carcinogens and toxic compounds into your body. The nicotine seriously stresses out your heart and other organs as well. Smoking even one cigarette enhances your risk of certain cancers and maladies for years afterwards. The "pleasure" one feels from lighting up is not pleasure in the usual sense, it is the relief of the symptoms associated with withdrawal from nicotine.

In order to be consistent in my Conservative beliefs about my opposition of Executive Branch agencies making law, I believe there should be zero regulations like this from the Executive Branch and minimal laws coming from the Legislative Branch in the first place. Products in demand by the public should not be banned at all. I can go with reasonably taxed and moderately regulated. I also fully support individuals to make stupid and self-destructive choices as long as it affects only themselves. I also have to stand with the hundreds of small "mom-and-Pop" cigar companies operating in the US who are going to be put out of business (and make thousands of workers jobless) because they don't have the resources to fight or adhere to these regulations and stay open.

A legacy built on sand

In order for something built to stand for a long time, it must be built on a solid foundation. While you can just pour a concrete slab for a house on dirt (houses in the south don't have basements), if you want to build a skyscraper, you have to drive pylons deep into the ground until you hit bedrock and then build from there. A skyscraper built upon a poured slab on dirt will topple over before it's completed.

Jesus spoke on this in Matthew 7:24-27: “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.”

It is the same with the Obama legacy.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership, The Paris Agreement, DACA, the Iran "deal" and more have all been, or are in the process of being nullified precisely because Obama did not lay the proper foundation. In each of these cases, Obama did all these using only "his pen and a phone." The Senate did not ratify any of these agreements, nor was there any legislation passed by the Congress to show assent by the Legislative Branch for these actions. Trump is now dismantling all of these "Obama Legacy" achievements and more piece-by-piece simply because there was no foundation that these "cornerstones" of Obama's were built upon to they could stand in the face of a president that doesn't share Obama's ideological beliefs.

This, more than anything shows Obama's arrogance, hubris and exactly how good of a "Constitutional Scholar" he really was. If Obama really were the "Constitutional Scholar" he claimed he was, he would have known that any future president could by the stroke of their pen, nullify all of his "great achievements."

Market forces at work

Yesterday, the NFL came out with a new rule, "players may remain in the locker room during the playing of the National Anthem, however if they are on the field, they must stand and show respect."

Since Colin Kaepernick first knelt two years ago, I have fully supported his choice to kneel. I said so in my post . And since I supported his right, I hoped he would support my choice to not watch football games where this disrespect was performed. The 3 hours of a Football game was a place I could be in and not think about politics at all. Colin and all who followed suit destroyed that safe haven for me. It seems that millions of other Americans shared my views, because since that first kneeling, NFL viewership is down some major numbers. Major enough that the sales downturn is enough that the yells of the accountants are now louder than the Social Justice Warriors.

I am not naive enough to think Colin's Caper is the sole reason. You have many people "cutting the cord" and abandoning cable TV services, plus Millennials who are starting their own households are not getting cable TV in the first place, opting for Internet only and streaming everything. It may be also that Football was the last reason why people had cable TV at all. I am sure there are at least one reason for everyone who stopped watching the NFL. All that being said, Colin may have been the straw that broke the camel's back. I personally gave up watching all TV except Football over 5 years ago. I stopped watching Football as of the Colin Caper. Right now, I have broken the habit and interest of Football for so long I have zero interest in watching again.

Now, if the NFL had been smart and saw what would happen (almost anyone with a modicum of common sense would have seen this coming) and had Colin apologize and beg for forgiveness the Monday after he first knelt, I might have been still watching Football. But they didn't so now I'm not.

I do support the NFL for making this change, I understand it's the best compromise they can make between the fans, the advertisers and the SJW's. For me, it's almost enough way too late.

Buh-Bye.

Equal Prosecution under the law part 2

Again (and again...) Liberals can flout the law with impunity and the Liberals in power and who make the decisions over who gets prosecuted turn a blind eye to their fellow Liberals. Conservatives, on the other hand, are investigated to the 5th decimal place and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law for even the slightest misstep.

Now, we can do one of several things. We can abolish these stupid and silly laws or we can prosecute everyone equally as hard. Since Liberals love prosecuting Conservatives for insignificant crimes, it seems only fair that the reverse should happen.

Dinesh D'Souza, a Conservative political commentator and the right's equivalent to Michael Moore screwed up and reimbursed some friends who had donated to a single political candidate for an election. Yep, he broke the law. D'Souza pled guilty to one felony count of making illegal contributions in the names of others and was sentenced to five years probation, eight months in a halfway house and a $30,000 fine.

Now we have this report, Rosie O’Donnell’s campaign donations to Dems went over legal limit. From the article:

Filings show O’Donnell gave a combined $5,400 in contributions over the limit to the five candidates, and used five different New York addresses and four variations of her name.

And what are Rosie's comments on this matter?

“Nothing nefarious,” the outspoken star and Donald Trump arch-nemesis wrote in an email to the Post. “I was not choosing to over donate.

“If 2700 is the cut off — [candidates] should refund the money,” she wrote. “I don’t look to see who I can donate most to … I just donate assuming they do not accept what is over the limit.”

I cannot adequately comprehend nor explain these words. So, I am going to quote Ambassador Londo Mollari of the Centauri Republic, a character from the TV show Babylon 5:

"Ahh, arrogance and stupidity, all in one package. How efficient of you."

Like I stated in my original premise, Conservatives should prosecute Liberals who break the same laws that Conservatives are prosecuted for. I fully anticipate that O'Donnell be convicted or plead guilty to her crimes and since she did it *FIVE* times, she receive twenty-five years probation, forty months in a halfway house and a $150,000 fine.

If Liberals want to weaponize government and prosecute Conservatives for BS process crimes, Conservatives need to return the favor. It's only fair.

Oh, this is delicious

On February 16th, 2018, Robert Mueller made a grand spectacle indicting 13 Russian nationals and 3 Russian companies charged with “information warfare against the United States,” with the stated goal of “spread[ing] distrust towards the candidates and the political system in general.”

I specifically mean "grand spectacle" because I am sure Mueller never thought that these people and companies would actually travel from Russia to the US and face the charges against them. In Russia, they are safe from Muller's prosecution because they are beyond the reach of the US Justice system. So Mueller's team must have been very surprised and shocked when lawyers for Concord Management and Consulting, LLC actually showed up on May 7th to enter a "not guilty" plea for the charges against them. Not only that, they requested a speedy trial (no delays) and also requested that the discovery phase of the trial start immediately.

For those of you not familiar with the Justice system, I need to cover a few things before I get to my punch line.

1. A prosecutor can "indict a ham sandwich" because in a Grand Jury hearing, because all that happens here is the prosecutor shows the Grand Jury his evidence that the parties he is charging committed the crimes they are charged with. The standard of proof ("proof beyond a reasonable doubt") does not apply here because the level of proof is much lower. The defense also does not appear during the Grand Jury because this is not the trial, this is just to determine that there is sufficient evidence to convict. With the standard of proof being very low and no opposition, obtaining an indictment is a lot easier than obtaining a conviction. Just because there is an indictment does not mean there will be a conviction.

2. The "discovery" phase of a trial happens before anyone actually goes into the courtroom. Here, the lawyers for the prosecution and the defense meet and the prosecutors give the defense all of the evidence they have and will use to try the accused. This is so the defense can inspect the evidence, verify it's veracity and build a defense to introduce doubt and make the government's case fall below the "beyond a reasonable doubt" standard.

3. The Sixth Amendment clearly says, "In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial..." This means that if the defendant(s) demand a trial right now, the prosecution cannot "drag it's feet" for any reason. If the prosecutors do drag their feet, the judge can throw the case out.

Taking these three points together, the Mueller team probably cobbled shoddy evidence together and stopped collecting evidence and its' investigation in that area once the indictment was obtained, because they must have thought that no one would actually show up to challenge the charges. It must have been shocking to the Mueller team when lawyers actually showed up, requesting that the trial move forward immediately. This means that the Mueller team does not have the time to go and do the investigative work that is necessary to actually solidify their case and obtain a conviction. They have to disclose everything they have right now and cannot gather more evidence.

The equivalent sports metaphor here is the Wide Receiver who catches a 50-yard pass and there are no defenders around him. He then does a high-stepping saunter towards the goal line and spikes the ball on the 4-yard line because he mistook the 5-yard line for the goal line. The result is he fumbles the ball and the defense has the opportunity to grab the ball, deny the touchdown and maybe even run it the 96 yards back for a touchdown of their own.

And, you see, that's not even all of it.

On May 4th, 2018, Federal Judge T.S. Ellis III was presiding over a hearing related to the Mueller team's indictment of Paul Manafort and the charges of "money laundering, failure to register as a foreign agent, making false statements to investigators, tax fraud, bank fraud, and failing to report foreign bank accounts" against him.

This stumble for the Mueller team here is that according to their scope document, they are tasked with "(i) any links and/or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of President Donald Trump; (ii) any matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation; (iii) any other matters within the scope of 28 C.F.R. § 600.4(a)."

Now, 28 C.F.R. § 600.4(a) actually reads:

The jurisdiction of a Special Counsel shall be established by the Attorney General. The Special Counsel will be provided with a specific factual statement of the matter to be investigated. The jurisdiction of a Special Counsel shall also include the authority to investigate and prosecute federal crimes committed in the course of, and with intent to interfere with, the Special Counsel's investigation, such as perjury, obstruction of justice, destruction of evidence, and intimidation of witnesses; and to conduct appeals arising out of the matter being investigated and/or prosecuted. [underlines are mine]

So, it appears (and Judge Ellis seems to be agreeing with the concept) that crimes that are alleged to have been committed by Manafort in 2005 fall outside of the scope of authority for the Mueller team to prosecute. According to Judge Ellis, the reason for these charges seems to be a cudgel to threaten Manafort into turning "States' Evidence" against Trump.

In Judge Ellis' own words:

"I don't see what relation this indictment has with what the special counsel is authorized to investigate," Ellis told prosecutors. "You don't really care about Mr. Manafort's bank fraud ... What you really care about is what information Mr. Manafort could give you that would reflect on Mr. Trump or lead to his prosecution or impeachment."

Ellis later quipped: "The vernacular is 'to sing.'"

It appears to me that Mueller and his boys have gotten a bit too big for their britches and are going to get not one, but two severe smackdowns to their integrity.

Equal Prosecution under the law

"I know of no method to secure the repeal of bad or obnoxious laws so effective as their stringent execution." - Ulysses S. Grant

The Republicans need to start speaking a language the Democrats understand. In the 80's, Hezbollah in Beirut kidnapped four Soviet attaches and killed one when the Soviets didn't acquiesce to Hezbollah's demands. The KGB then spoke in a way that Hezbollah understood, kidnapping a relative of one of their leaders and mailing said family member to the leader, one piece at a time. Hezbollah never kidnapped a Soviet citizen after that.

In December of 2017, Michael Flynn, President Trumps' initial National Security Advisor, plead guilty as part of a plea bargain for "lying to the FBI over the content of a conversation he had with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak." He was initially charged under the Logan Act, which has been around since 1799. Flynn was told that he would be "bankrupted and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, along with his son, under the Logan Act" if he did not accept this plea bargain. Too bad we now know that during the interview with the FBI agents, the notes from the agents reflected that "Flynn was not being deceptive or misleading in his answers." I find it confusing to be accused and prosecuted for lying when the investigators didn't think the accused was lying.

The sticking point with me is, Flynn was carrying out his duties as the incoming National Security Advisor when he spoke with Kislyak in December of 2016, seven weeks after the election. He was expected, as the incoming NSA, to open dialogs with foreign dignitaries as a representative of President-elect Trump's administration.

Fast forward to today. It was learned in the days up to Trumps announcement that he would withdraw from the Iran deal, FORMER SecState John Kerry (who served in Vietnam) was communicating with the Iranian government "under the radar" about the deal he helped negotiate, clearly a Logan Act violation.

What really needs to happen is the FBI and the Justice Department investigate and pursue John Kerry exactly as hard as they did Michael Flynn. That is all I ask. Not "The Chicago Way" where "if they put one of us in the hospital, we put one of them in the morgue," but rather if the other side wants to pursue spurious charges on over-inflated events, we need to do the same to them as well.

We are (supposed) to be in a fair boxing match of ideologies. If they want to have a pair of brass knuckles on under their boxing gloves, we need to drop a horseshoe in ours.

Net Neutrality

"A bit is a bit is a bit." - Proponents of net neutrality.

There is a lot to say about this, let's see if I can unpack it and lay it out in an order that makes sense.

1. All bits are NOT created equal. Tell me, do you think your Netflix (or whatever) streaming is less important, equally important or more important than the stream of video, audio and data whereby a surgeon on one continent can watch and control a robotic surgery machine on another continent to save a person's life? I hope you answered "less important," because if you didn't, you're at least bordering on being a selfish, narcissistic sociopath.

So, there must be "fast lanes," "priority traffic," whatever you want to call it. And in order to do that, the person who wants that fast lane has to pay more. The roads that comprise our highways are laid out, built differently and cost more than a road within city limits. At a basic level, the Internet is no different.

2. The FCC should not have the power to make these decisions. The Legislative Branch makes the laws, the Executive Branch enforces those laws. When the enforcer gets to write the laws (you can call them "rules," "regulations" or whatever), it doesn't end well for those subject to those rules. Would you like it if the county sheriff where you live directed his Deputies to start issuing tickets for having a license plate frame on your vehicle? The state government or county commission didn't pass a law saying that license plate frames are a traffic violation, he did it on his own. This is the local equivalent of what happens every time a government Executive Branch agency issues a "regulation."

I have zero problem with Congress passing legislation for or against Net Neutrality (actually I would, which I explain later) but if my Representative or Senator votes opposite of what I want him to vote on the issue, at least I can vote against him in the next election. As far as Tom Wheeler or Ajit Pai, the FCC chairmen when Net neutrality became a regulation or was repealed, what do you and I do to get them out of power if we think he's gone overboard? Not a damn thing. They are appointed bureaucrats who are not answerable to We The People.

3. What is the result of "Net Neutrality?" I can answer that question in two words: Government Control. History (and this blog) are full of examples where government control, no matter if the control are elected politicians or unelected bureaucrats, does not end well for We The People. All those Liberals who celebrated Obama weaponizing government agencies ("I have a pen and a phone") and controlling more and more of our lives have been scared shitless over the past year because Trump now has all that power. I personally don't want either of them, or for that matter anybody to have that level of control and power over me. The government gets its' power from the consent of the governed, and I most certainly do not consent to the government having this kind of power.

Capriciousness in the exercise of power, no matter how great or small the amount of power, is an integral part of every human being. It is better to not let government (which is made of fallible, capricious people) have that kind of power in the first place.

4. The best way to fix this is... Competition. There are two things inhibiting competition when it comes to Internet services: Capital outlay and monopolistic practices. It takes a lot of money to bring Cable or DSL lines to every building and home in a city. It costs a lot of money to buy the hundreds of miles of cable, the workers and trucks to hang and maintain those wires, plus rent from the local entity that owns the power poles that the cables hang on. The big companies (like Comcast) also make anti-competition contracts with a local government body to make sure only their cable can hang on the poles. For as expensive as it is to hang all that cable on a power pole, that cost is a drop in the bucket compared to running it underground.

I currently get my Internet from Comcast, because I don't do DSL. If Verizon or Google were to bring FIOS to my neighborhood, I'd change providers in less than 0.3 femtoseconds, if the prices were lower and/or the service is better and not throttled. So if Verizon FIOS does come to my house, Comcast has to meet or beat Verizon's prices and services in order to keep my business. It's either that or go out of business entirely.

In the end, I want to have the final say in who provides services to me. I don't have that choice if the government makes the choice for me. A government bureaucrat in Nashville or Washington does not and cannot know what I and my family want and need, along with my criteria to determine what I want and need. So why should I let them make those choices for me?

Bait and Switch

So, even more in the aftermath of the Parkland shooting, the anti-gun press cannot get nor tell a story straight.

In the below video, a "child actor" is sent into to various convenience stores and attempts to buy tobacco, alcohol and lottery tickets, which the sale of all of these items are highly regulated and tightly controlled by the states. A clerk can get fired for selling those products to a minor because the store can get into heavy fines or even be forced to close by the revocation of their business license. That's the bait, the paradigm that's set in your mind and you're still thinking about when the switch hits.

The switch happens when he goes to a gun show and buys a rifle. Because the purchase took place at a gun show, the reporter want's you to think "Ah, that must be that 'gun show loophole' that they're always talking about." I admit, they did use the words "private sale" to make the legal team happy, you're still left with the impression that "those stores can't sell alcohol/tobacco/lottery tickets and yet this kid can buy a gun???" However, unless you have some knowledge or experience with gun shows, you don't know about the difference between a purchase of a rifle from an FFL (Federal Firearms License holder) sale from a private sale.

To give an equal example as to what happened in the gun show, let's say the kid waits in the store until he sees someone buy a pack of cigarettes. The kid then walks up to the adult, still in the store and the kid says, "Hey, can I buy that pack of cigarettes from you?" The private sale that happened in the C-store is conceptually and legally the same as the firearms transaction in the video at a gun show.

Now I'll bet you're left with the impression he purchased one of those AR-15 style semi-automatic assault rifles, right? BZZZZZZT!! Wrong! In the below image, the action of the rifle comes into view of the hidden camera, and we have... most likely an older model Marlin XT-22, bolt-action .22 rimfire rifle. It probably only has a 7 or 10-round magazine. Don't quote me on the manufacturer or the model, all I see is what you see. I can say for sure it is a bolt-action .22 rimfire, suitable only for shooting cans and hunting squirrels.

As a bolt-action, you have to manually load each round by lifting the bolt handle, pulling it back (ejecting the empty casing or the bullet already in the chamber), then pushing the bolt forward which loads a new round and pushing the handle back into firing position by moving it down. This takes your hand off the trigger and for aimed shots you can get a shot off about once every three seconds..

bolt action

Again, to give those who aren't in the know about firearms, this is the rifle that a 12- or 13-year-old boy would find under the Christmas tree when I was that age. Back when, you know, we could go out after the homework and chores were done and do what we wanted until dinner time or the streetlights came on. They're called "free-range kids" today. Before he got that rifle, he had to show a certain level of maturity and be able to articulate and demonstrate the four laws of firearm safety. Said rifle would also be quickly taken away and extra chores assigned upon an inappropriate use of the rifle.

And if you watch the presenter at the end, again he is correct in the facts, but does not specify that a private sale does not have to take place at a gun show, it can happen anywhere.

More gun control lies

I do not write these words lightly. I hold every man and woman who has served in the armed forces with more regard and esteem than I will any civilian. Zero exceptions. This is why this PSA burns me up.

I do not know if the words they spoke are theirs, if they believe the words they speak, or if they are paid to say them. I don't know and I won't speculate. That being said, this "PSA" is 90% lies and I will take it apart piece-by-piece.

1) The M-16/M-4 rifle is a true assault rifle. The M-4 is actually a carbine which is primarily distinguished from a rifle by the length of the barrel. These weapons are capable of firing semi-automatic (one trigger pull = one round fired), or depending on the model burst fire on the M-4 (one trigger pull = 3 rounds fired) and fully-automatic fire with the M-4A1 and M-16 (one trigger pull and the weapon continuously fires until you release the trigger or the ammunition is depleted). The rounds fired from these weapons are military-grade intermediate-power cartridges.

2) The AR-15 is a semi-automatic only version of the M-16 and was actually developed before the M-16. The inside mechanism is totally different from an M-16/M-4, the parts cannot be swapped to make the AR-15 capable to fire fully-automatic. While it is physically possible to compromise the AR-15 workings to get it to fire fully-automatic, the mechanism will likely quickly fail (as in explode during the first magazine firing full-auto).

3) To compare an AR-15 style rifle (semi-automatic operation only) to an M-16/M-4 would be like trying to compare the 0-60 acceleration times of a 1987 Yugo that has a 54 horsepower engine with a 1963 Mustang with a 354 Cleveland that produces 266 horsepower. The Yugo makes it 0-60 in 16.8 seconds, the Mustang/354 Cleveland team does 0-60 in 8.5 seconds. They are both automobiles, however in comparison they are in vastly different classes of performance.

4) The ballistic performance of the .223 civilian round and the 5.56mm M855 armor-piercing military round are also vastly different, the same Yugo vs. Mustang comparison also applies for the ammunition. If you were to attempt to fire a 5.56mm M855 round through an AR-15, the rifle would explode in your face. I promise you, that would ruin your whole day.

In conclusion of these four points, these two breeds may look the same, but they are totally different in every other aspect but looks and caliber.

Now, why in the world would someone want a weapon like that? I can answer that question in two words: Tiananmen Square.

For those of you who weren't born or able to remember 1989, it was a time of great change. Poland was breaking free of the Soviet Bloc, the USSR was going through Perestroika and Glasnost and there were calls by the Germans to reunite East and West Germany. In late 1989 (after Tiananmen Square), the wall that separated West Berlin from the rest of East Germany was torn down. Needless to say, the young Chinese heard about these things and wanted to get in on the action.

So, to protest multiple things, they did an #occupyTiananmenSquare in the capitol of Beijing. Except there wasn't Twitter, or hashtags back then. For about 6 weeks, they did what Occupy Wall Street did, without the yuppie tents and cups of Starbucks. There was great discord in the Chinese government about what to do about these protestors. The protests quickly spread to 400 cities throughout China.

Well, the Chinese government finally decided how to handle the protestors. They mobilized 300,000 troops, who went into to each of these protesting enclaves with tanks and fully-automatic weapons and killed the protestors. According to the article linked to above, over 10,000 protestors were killed just in Tiananmen Square. Those not killed by the bullets were bayoneted. If you don't know what a bayonet is, it's a long knife that is attached to the muzzle of a rifle and turns the rifle into a spear for when the trooper doesn't want to shoot you or has run out of ammunition, he runs you through the chest with the bayonet. It's a painful way to die and a common practice on how to handle enemy combatants left on the field after a battle is over.

In the aftermath of the bloodbath, those protestors who survived but did not escape China were either executed or sent to prison for years. Tiananmen Square is why you will never see another protest of the Chinese government. The slaves of the Chinese State know all too well the price to be paid for speaking out and saying unapproved things.

It is precisely this, a massacre of tens of thousands of people who were exercising something we don't even think about here, because being able to say whatever we want, especially when people protest against something the government did that they didn't like, we don't have to fear that we will be mowed down with automatic weapons. Because we have the Second Amendment and so vigorously defend the right to keep and bear arms, arms of a kind and type WE CHOOSE, not what the government thinks we should or should not have.

Do not believe for a second that if the citizens of this country are stripped of the Right to protect themselves from an oppressive government, that "Tiananmen Square will never happen here." It has happened too many times in the past 100 years for it not to happen again. In the 20th Century, upwards of 200 MILLION PEOPLE died at the hands of oppressive governments. Do you seriously want even a chance of that happening here?

During the Revolutionary War, the Militia (sometimes known as "Minutemen" because they could be ready to fight in a minute) who fought with the Continental Army had the same equipment as the professional soldiers they stood beside and against. That's all we, as citizens ask for today. Don't hit me with strawmen about crew-served weapons, anti-tank rockets and grenades. Those do not have a civilian purpose and are legitimate weapons of war. Besides, we can scavenge those from the bodies of the soldiers we kill. ;-)

Science with an agenda

I think it would be a good thing for there to be a calm, rational discussion on Earth's climate and what we can do about cleaning up our home, like cleaning up the Great Pacific Garbage Patches. Hat tip to Real Climate Science for the charts and links to the data.

That being said, we can't have that calm, rational discussion because the climate-change scientists are a) always in a panic about the Earth "cooling off to an ice cube" or "igniting into a ball of fire" and b) can't stop altering their data to advance an agenda. You see, I am old enough to remember when climate science first became a thing. Back in the 70's, these climate change scientists were screaming about global cooling and wanted Nixon to cover the polar caps with coal dust to absorb more heat and stave off the coming ice age. Then Al Gore came along in the 90's and started talking about global warming. Just imagine how bad it would have been if Nixon had done what he was asked.

When you are kept in a panic mode by telling you THIS DISASTER IS HAPPENING NOW and WE HAVE TO TRUST THE EXPERTS AND DO WHAT THEY SAY, you tend not to look too closely to the data because you're no scientist and all those numbers mean nothing to you. This means you have to trust the experts, and by extension their credibility and integrity must be pretty much unimpeachable. Which, if you read the rest of my piece, you will find the scientists are sorely lacking in this department.

Now, the terms global warming and global cooling have been replaced with global climate change because that way it can mean whatever anyone wants, sometimes both warming and cooling at the same time. And once again, I call into question the integrity of these scientists because they have altered their data.

I downloaded this data from the NOAA website, Raw Data 1895-2017 and Adjusted Data 1895-2017. I am keeping it because it might "disappear" or be altered. From the NOAA Website, Raw and Adjusted.

This graph illustrates the altering:

NOAA 1

In a science where tenths of a degree are big things, this data has been adjusted downwards up to 1.5 degrees before 2000 and adjusted upwards up to a degree since then until now. Because we are talking about a government bureaucracy here, a certain number of weather stations do not report their data. When that happens, the home office has to put an "E" (for Estimated) next to the temperature they think it was, based on their computer models. Between 1970 and 2000, the failure to reports was between 10 and 20%. Since 2000, those estimates have skyrocketed to almost 50%. I'm no scientist, but I wash almost everything but my laundry through a spreadsheet. If 50% of my data was guesstimates, my analysis would be worth exactly Jack Shit.

NOAA 2In the end, a swing of temperatures of that drastic would indicate something. That being said, the actual data does not show that and how accurate can you be about your claims when half of your data is guesses?

The myth of the 10 round magazine

Liberals think 30 round magazines are E-V-I-L, and 10 round magazines are much safer, less E-V-I-L and thus more tolerable because a "bad guy with a gun" has to reload more often and thus able to be captured while reloading.

Of course, when it comes to firearms, pro-gun-control advocates are talking out their ass.

In the below video, Sheriff Ken Campbell of Boone Country, Indiana has a professional competition shooter and a lady novice fire various timed drills with aimed shots. The first 2:00 is text clearly explaining the terms used.

Here are the numbers:

Pistol Drills Professional Novice     Rifle Drills Professional Novice
2x 15 round 20.6 22.9     1x 20 round 12.2 12.26
3x 10 round 18.0 25.5     2x 10 round 10.7 14.63
5x 6 round 21.5 26.9                

As you can see, the numbers are not significantly different either the total time between the shooters or the time increase to reload. The best-to-worst time spread for 30 rounds is only nine seconds, which isn't a lot of time.

For an additional reality check at 9:35 of the video a man was crouched "concealed" 25 feet away, who started running when he saw the reload taking place and stopped when the next round was fired. the guy got to within about 8-10 feet from the novice shooter, he barely made it out of concealment for the professional. Neither of these would have ended well for the other person. Also, if you notice throughout the video, the shooter's weapon is never "empty," meaning it always had a round in the chamber during reloading so the shooter could shoot anyone who attempted to intervene while they were reloading.

Before you get all excited and try to tell me about Gabby Gifford's shooter (I by policy do not mention their names) who was subdued during the reload, that happened because he basically flubbed the reload in the middle of a crowd of people, basically an arm's length away.

In closing, remember that anything that someone who is "pro-gun-control" is selling you a bill of goods. They don't want to ban all guns because they like the military, police and their private security teams to be armed, just not you.

Mixing politics and business

Businesses have one purpose: to generate a profit. Not to "make jobs," not to "help people" or anything like that. They offer a good or service to fill a demand in the market place, making more money for the owners/shareholders than they spend providing their good/service. Delta Airlines, for example, offers a service to transport you long distances faster than you could walk, run, swim or drive there.

Advertising is a way to increase awareness of your good or service. Television shows, radio shows, newspapers, podcasts and websites (I will collectively call them sites) sell advertising space to these companies because that site can show a certain number of people engage with the site every day. The more engagements, the more the sites can charge the advertisers. The rates and metrics are not important. Leave it at Rush Limbaugh can charge way more for ad space on his website than I could here, if I chose to, which I don't. Business can also partner with other businesses and organizations to offer discounts on their goods and services to the members of the organization, employees of the company and so on.

All that being said, advertising and discounts should be neutral and politics-free. The politics of the site or the advertiser should never be an issue in the decision on whether to advertise there or not. Advertisers wisely analyze the number of visitors and the demographic makeup of those visitors to a site and determine if they want to reach that group of people or not.

As consumers, we want to choose the goods and services we consume in such a way as to maximize value and minimize cost. I really do not care one way or the other about the views on marriage the CEO of Starbucks has, as long as the hot flavored liquid that company sells is what I'm looking for at a price I'm willing to pay, unless they start actively crusading for something I don't believe in, whatever that my be.

In the wake of the Parkland School Shooting, multiple businesses have decided to cut their business relationships with the National Rifle Association because a couple dozen people, appearing to be tens of thousands have deluged these companies, sweating "never to do business with you again!" unless the business acquiesces to their demands, and drop any relationship with the NRA.

There are a couple of problems with this model. First, the hatred and anger constantly demonstrated by Liberals burns white hot, but it burns out quickly. Next week their anger will be directed at something else. They have to constantly switch targets to keep the anger up. If they focus on one task too long, the anger fades. The rest of the country does slow burns. Not very hot, but we burn for a very, very long time.

If Liberals had wailed against the NFL and stopped watching over the kneeling during the National Anthem issue, most of them would have been back watching their teams play well before the end of the season. Us regular folk stopped watching football and never went back. The result is NFL viewership is off by significant numbers, bad enough that the networks had to do "paybacks." When a site promises a certain number of visits, and the visitor logs show that the stipulated number has not been reached, the advertiser gets credit or cash back to reflect the difference between anticipated and actual numbers. Since the whole kneeling kerfuffle started, NFL viewership is down over 20%.

When Delta and the other companies ended their relationship with the NRA because their politics interfered with their business sense, these companies pissed off 5,000,000 NRA members. Five million people who have a very long collective memory when it comes to who helped them and who abandoned them. As an unintended consequence of Delta's decision, the State Legislature voted to end Delta's exemption for a state sales tax on jet fuel in Georgia (the location of their hub). That means their expenses are going to go up and their pool of customers will likely experience a decline. In contrast, Fred Smith, CEO of FedEx, told these Liberals to go pound sand and would not cut ties with the NRA.

A business should never be active in politics, as in granting or denying discounts to groups based on their political ideology. The only question should be, "Can we increase our profits if we offer discounts or special services to a particular group of people?" If the answer is "Yes," then the business should. If "No," then not. Any other criteria will alienate current and potential customers of all groups.

Just in case you didn't know, the political power of the NRA does not come from making campaign contributions and lobbying to politicians. According to Open Secrets, The NRA in the 2016 elections cycle spent just a bit over $1 Million in campaign donations, which is #489 on Open Secret's list. #1 on that list is Fahr, LLC., an organization dedicated to stopping global climate change. That organization donated over $90 Million, exclusively to Democrats. The political power of the NRA comes from its 5 Million members. When properly (or even improperly) pissed off, NRA members can change elections. That block of voters in a district can swing an election either way. They can elect a pro-RKBA Democrat over an anti-RKBA RINO (Republican In Name Only) or make sure that anti-RKBA Democrat never has a chance in getting elected.

I personally would prefer "buycotts" as opposed to "boycotts" because that's where you preferentially engage with businesses (like FedEx) who keep their political nose out of their business, even if they may be a little more expensive than the politically active businesses.

Quite frankly, that political power just jumped with both feet into the economic area with this "pissing off." Watch for these companies to have a noticeable decline in sales over the next year:

  • First National Bank of Omaha 
  • Enterprise/Alamo/National Rent-A-Car
  • Hertz Rent-A-Car
  • Symantec
  • Simplisafe
  • Avis/Budget Rent-A-Car
  • Allied/North American Moving
  • Truecar
  • Delta Airlines
  • United Airlines
  • Paramount RX
  • Starkey

The best way to hurt a business is not to purchase its goods or services. So, I plan for a very long time to not use any of these companies unless they are the absolute and unavoidable last resort. I thought about sending them a nice email letting them know I will no longer do business with them, however my (and my wallets') absence will be way more effective in communicating my displeasure than any email.

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