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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.

The AWB of 2018

I think Trump is playing the Democrats again. I am waiting to see how this plays out. The last time Trump did this was with the DREAMers. He offered the Democrats everything they wanted and more, and they walked away. He offered again with gun control, and the Democrats are now going whole hog on this. Here are the current House Bill (hr5087) and Senate Bill (s2095) about the Assault Weapons Ban of 2018.

I hate to quote Nancy Pelosi and admit she's right, but "they have to pass the bill to see what's in it." If you know anything about Parliamentary procedure (I keep a copy of Robert's Rules of Order, Newly Revised, 11th Edition on my desk). A Congressman can stand up and say, "Mr. Speaker, I move that concerning hr5087, the lines starting at page 18, line 7 and proceeding to page 19, line 4, inclusive, be stricken from the bill." If that motion is seconded and voted on in the majority, then the exemption for federal, state and local government entities to purchase any of the weapons in the ban is removed. That might change things a bit. It would be simple, would it be easy? Of course not. However this is the method one party puts "poison pill" riders in a major bill from the other side of the aisle to make the bill fail.

Like the Affordable Care Act, I cannot see a single Republican changing the bill or voting for it. They want the Democrats to vote for this, in unanimity because that will show the American People how the Democrats regard the citizens of this country. These bills have less than a 5% chance of reaching Trump and I am sure he would never sign the bill, because he knows his approval rating and his base would dwindle to almost zero within minutes of the ink being dry. What it has done is clearly shown that every sponsor and co-sponsor of these bills and everyone who votes for them, unless they are in the super-blue districts or states, are going to have a very tough time retaining their seat in the midterm elections in November, regardless of party.

If this issue is properly played by Trump and the Republicans, the midterms should be beyond devastating to the Democrat party.

The 'why' of the Second Amendment, part 2

In the last post, I plainly explained why you must have the freedom to acquire tools you deem necessary to protect yourself, because the police can’t, won’t and don’t protect you. Here I will reinforce that with current events.

First of all, I am not taking a position on either side of the arguments for these two examples. I am not saying who is right and who is wrong, either last week or 300 years ago. This situation just is. Back in 2000, the government of Zimbabwe confiscated White-owned farms and gave the land to Blacks that did not own land. There was one small problem, the Blacks who now owned the land did not know how to farm, so the country known then as “the breadbasket of Africa” today cannot feed itself. Twenty-five percent of their population is fed by foreign aid.

The point here is, the government let by Robert Mugabe didn’t like Whites owning land, so the law was changed and these farmers were rounded up and forced off their land. If white settlers just took the land from us without paying for it,” Mugabe said, “we can, in a similar way, just take it from them without paying for it.”

Today, right now, the same thing is happening in South Africa. Jacob Zuma calls for confiscation of white land without compensation. The situation same exact situation that happened in Zimbabwe 18 years ago is repeating itself right now in South Africa. The government “just decided” that this was going to happen, so the laws were/are being changed to let it happen. The military and police will carry the confiscation out and there isn’t a damn thing the Whites can do about it.

And just in case you don’t think that’s serious, the leader of the Economic Freedom Fighters Julius Malema is quoted as saying,

“We are not calling for the slaughter of white people‚ at least for now. The rightful owners of the land are black people. No white person is a rightful owner of the land here in SA and the whole of the African continent." [emphasis mine]

What does that have to do with the US? Very simply. If the government, any government wants something, they can make a law and take it, without your consent. What stops them? Nothing but every armed citizen. Let’s give you some perspective. There are a total of 1.3 million men and women currently serving in the US military. Realistically, there about 250,000 men who are capable of squad-level combat between the Army and Marines. The rest are either other forces not trained for insurgent warfare (Like the Navy. The Navy’s only ground combat forces are the Marines) or are support personnel. A good part of the Army are support personnel. You can expect a supply clerk to be reasonably proficient in how to use an M-4, however he probably hasn't practiced infantry maneuvers since Basic Training.

The other side of the equation is the citizens of the US. On the opening day of deer season in Pennsylvania alone, over 1 million men and women are in the field with a rifle. They are versed in fieldcraft (hiding in the woods) and are able to consistently put a bullet into a dinner plate-sized target at 100 yards. Think about that. One State can field a pool of armed citizens four times the military’s entire combat ready troop force. And there’s 48 more states behind them (I’m not counting Hawaii because it’s a gun-controller’s wet dream). I am not expecting Joe Suburban to be a Rambo and mow down companies of troops. If every armed citizen takes out one trooper, he's done his job. The citizens may rarely win, if at all for any stand-up fights. However we can make the effort so difficult and unpalatable that the government gives up. After all, it’s how we won against George III.

The Jewish people who survived the Holocaust had two words to say about it: "NEVER AGAIN." I believe with all of my heart that if each Jewish family had armed themselves and killed one SS trooper when they were rounded up, the Holocaust would have been far less than the devastating six million dead.

So the lesson is this: If you have the means to protect yourself from criminals or government (or even the criminals in the government), then you can resist their demands. If you have been disarmed, no significant resistance is possible. When we surrender part of a right (a type of weapon, a certain size of magazine, etc.) it just makes it easier for those who took that away from us to come back next week and ask for more. This is why pro-Second Amendment people refuse to compromise. Once we start down that road, it becomes increasingly difficult to do a U-turn and get back to where we were.

The 'why' of the Second Amendment, part 1

I am going to say something you won’t believe, yet is 100% factual. I am also almost sure it will piss you off.

Concerning the shooting at the Parkland School shooting on February 14th, the Broward County Deputies did everything they were legally required to do.

I can see your brow furrow and the confusion run rampant across your face. “How can you say that? They stood outside while people were being killed!!!”

Before I address that, I need to ask you, what is the root term to describe police officers, sheriff’s deputies and so on? Law Enforcement Officers. What do LEO’s do by their very job description? (Hint: it’s in the term we just used) They enforce the law. Upon the complaint of a citizen or their own observation that a crime has been committed, they investigate the event, gather evidence, arrest those they believe committed the act and present the suspect and the evidence to the prosecutors. That is the legal limits of their job.

So when someone called in, “There’s a man with a gun at Parkland High School, he’s shooting everybody! HELP!!” The police/deputies arrive at the scene and found that a person who was not authorized to have a weapon on the school campus had gotten onto the campus with a firearm. That person then repeatedly discharged said weapon which resulted in the death of 27 people and the wounding of 15 more. The LEO’s then conducted an investigation, gathered evidence, then conducted a search which resulted in the capture of the suspect. That person is now in confinement awaiting the conclusion of the investigation and the preferment of criminal charges.

In other words, when they were told someone broke the law, determined that the law had indeed been broken, gathered evidence to determine who that person is and what exactly they had done, and lastly they found the person and brought him to justice.

“But they stood outside while people were being killed!!!” And.......? As I have repeatedly stated, the job of the police is not to protect individual people, it is to enforce the law. You and you alone are responsible for your personal safety. I fully expect for you not to believe me, so here is the SCOTUS ruling: South V. Maryland (1856). The sad news will come hard to any family who attempts to sue the Broward County Sheriff’s Office for failure to engage the shooter. Every lawyer will sadly inform them they don’t have a legal leg to stand on.

Now that I have described the legal extent of their duties, what is the extent of their moral, ethical and human duties to those in the school? Undoubtedly to rush in, singly or as a team, find, engage and stop the shooter, even at the expense of their own lives. Those duties apply to LEO and legally armed citizen alike.

As I write this, the fact has been released that over 60 tips were given to the FBI and local law enforcement agencies that, “This guy is going to shoot up a school, and soon.” Frankly, it doesn’t matter if the police had received 600 or even 6,000 tips, they all would have ended the same: The police will say, “He didn’t break a law, there is nothing we can do until he does.”

Bob can tell Joe, “I’m going to be the next school shooter.” Joe tells the police what Bob said. This is called hearsay and is not admissible in court. Joe can’t go into court, and testify that’s what Bob said. If the police go to Bob and say, “I heard Joe said you told him you are going to be the next school shooter” and Bob agrees to that statement, then the police can arrest him for something like “making terrorist threats.” If Bob posted a video of him saying that or wrote about it online, the police can see it and use that to arrest Bob. If Bob says, “I have no idea what you’re talking about” or doesn’t answer at all, the police can do nothing.

You really, really, really want this system in place. Because if the police can take away Bob’s firearms, put him in jail or a mental institution indefinitely “for evaluation” just because Joe told the police Bob said that without other evidence, guess what you have? That’s right! A POLICE STATE. In the former Soviet Union, dissidents (anyone who spoke out against Communism or the government) were declared to be mentally ill (by the law and doctors employed by the government) and ended up in mental hospitals or “reeducation camps” for however long as the government wanted to hold them. After all, the Soviet Union was paradise on Earth! You must be crazy to not want to live there, right?

This is why you don’t want any agency of the government to summarily confiscate you or your possessions without first going through an extended and well-documented process involving neutral third parties (i.e., Judges). If you allow the police on scene to immediately take your guns (or anything else) because of whatever conditions or reasons, no matter how strict that list is, it won’t be long before those conditions will be relaxed and/or expanded until they can do it anytime, anywhere.

You do not want that, trust me.

The battlefield of words

When you engage in armed conflict, where you fight is just as important as what you fight with. Use or denial of terrain is an important component of any battle plan. A successful commander picks where he will engage the enemy, so that the terrain and conditions favor him more than his opponent. At the Battle of Agincourt, Henry V positioned his forces so the French had to cross open, muddy terrain to reach the English forces. When the French advanced, they became mired in the mud, which in turn destroyed their maneuverability and the advantages of their cavalry. This allowed the English archers (armed with that famous English Longbow) to obliterate the French forces. The French could not hide, could not evade and could not retreat. That day, for every Englishman who died, the French lost over 10. No wonder Shakespeare immortalized this battle in his play Henry V ("Once more into the breech, my friends, once more;").

Engagements in the battle of ideas are no different. We do not fight physically (okay, in other places like the Japanese Diet they do) but there needs to be a common language and set of terms used in this debate. I can best relate this in a video I remember but can't find, the guy brings flowers home to his wife as a gesture of his love and devotion to her. She is mad because she doesn't like flowers and ignores the fact that he tried to do something nice for her. It's sad that they are arguing with each other about two completely different subjects. He is asking for recognition of his expression of love despite the miscue, while she is arguing that he doesn't love her because he doesn't present her with what she wants. This is why when we discuss controversial subjects, we need to use the same words and terms, and those words and terms mean the same thing to both sides. If we don't agree on the battlefield (words, terms and their meanings) then we are just yelling at each other in different languages for different reasons and nothing gets resolved.

How are the two preceding paragraphs related? If one side was to let the other define the terms and the scope of the discussion, the side that defines the terms and scope is Henry V and the English, while the poor sap that has to charge across that open quagmire is Charles d'Albret and the French.

Case in point: This young man is debating his very Liberal Indoctrination Facilitator Teacher and she puts forth the silly notion that the Las Vegas shooter was a terrorist. I have queued the video to the appropriate part, but you should watch the entire video.

https://youtube.com/P-8k7YKl8hE?t=5m0s

The student gives the correct definition of the word terrorist, namely someone who engages in terrorism, which is the use of violence and threats to intimidate or coerce, especially for political purposes. Did the LV shooter's actions cause terror? Of course, I don't doubt that for a second. If I had been on that killing field, I would have been terrified. Did he have a reason to kill all those people, such as to "punish Trump supporters," or "to coerce people to convert to Islam or die" (both of those are political reasons, BTW)? If he did, he was stupid enough to not tell anyone his reasons before his heinous act and subsequent death, thus squandering the opportunity.

To be frank, any act of violence usually causes terror in the receivers of that violence. By a simple extrapolation of her definition, every person who commits a violent act is a terrorist. So, if every violent criminal is a terrorist, it dilutes the term to uselessness by the time a real terrorist (Ted Kaczynski, Timothy McVeigh and Osama Bin Laden to name a few) arrives on the scene. And by a small leap of logic ("Liberal logic" is the worst oxymoron I can think of) every White person is a racist, every male is a sexist, every straight person is homophobic and right on down the line of identity politics.

Are those prior suppositions true? I am sure zero of the above suppositions are no where near the truth. Why? For two simple reasons. First, you can't say "all" in any of these cases. I'm sure I could find one White person who is not a racist, simply because they love and/or married a person of another race. I would call that pretty extensive evidence contradictory to the original claim. Second, none of those suppositions follow the definition as written in the dictionary.

Just for discussion's sake, let's suppose that this young man accepted his "teacher's" incorrect and distorted definition of terrorist. Do you think he could have held his ideological ground in that discussion as well as he did? Not really, he would have been fighting an uphill battle. Do you think she would have had a great advantage in the discussion? Yes, for the very reason I explained in the opening paragraph of this article. By letting the terms and boundaries of the discussion to be set by distorted definitions, he would have seceded the selection of the battlefield to her and would have consequently been mired down in her twisted definitions and cut to pieces by her "Liberal logic" (that term leaves a bad taste in my mouth just thinking about saying those words!). Also, if you accept a different definition of a word or term at the start of a discussion, you leave the door open for a re-definition in the middle of the discussion, putting you at a further disadvantage because there is now a third definition in play. Of course, if during the discussion one of the other definitions is more advantageous to the Liberal's argument, they will switch to that and not tell you. Think of it as a "Verbal Calvinball."

This is why when words are used, everyone needs to agree to what they mean, and the dictionary is the neutral ground. "Sociological Context" is merely the Political Correctness of the 21st century.

 

As effective as a restraining order

So the other day I stumbled across this website, the Convention of States. It is a grassroots effort to activate Article V of the Constitution, which is a way for the States to make Amendments to the Constitution outside of the federal governments control. To this point, all twenty-seven Amendments have been by Congress proposal (by a 2/3rds super majority) and ratified by 3/4ths of the states. This website proposes the other method, where 38 states (3/4ths of the States) propose and agree on amendments all by themselves.

The list (without specifics) of proposed amendments are:

  • A balanced budget amendment
  • A redefinition of the General Welfare Clause (the original view was the federal government could not spend money on any topic within the jurisdiction of the states)
  • A redefinition of the Commerce Clause (the original view was that Congress was granted a narrow and exclusive power to regulate shipments across state lines–not all the economic activity of the nation)
  • A prohibition of using international treaties and law to govern the domestic law of the United States
  • A limitation on using Executive Orders and federal regulations to enact laws (since Congress is supposed to be the exclusive agency to enact laws)
  • Imposing term limits on Congress and the Supreme Court
  • Placing an upper limit on federal taxation
  • Requiring the sunset of all existing federal taxes and a super-majority vote to replace them with new, fairer taxes

You see, this is one of those "sounds good, but is it a good, sound idea?" kind of things. I do not have a large fear that this convention would propose a repeal of one (or more) branches of the federal government, or the repeal of certain Amendments (such as the 2nd Amendment).

My view on this is, it's not the laws that need to change, it's the people who interpret and enact the powers enumerated in the Constitution. This falls under a heated discussion frequently performed by wargamers, known as the "RAW vs. RAI" (Rules as Written/Rules as Interpreted) debate. This argument frequently put forth by rules lawyers boils down to a "The rules don't say I can't, so this must mean I can" argument. Which is how our current overlords see things, instead of the "if it's not in the Constitution we can't do it" outlook, which is the proper way. The intent of the Constitution was to define the structure of the federal government and restrict its ability to narrowly defined parameters.

Now let me Fisk the above list.

Balanced Budget: As I alluded to just above, an unscrupulous politician will find a way around any written law. If they can't find a way to parse the words to mean what they want ("It depends on what the meaning of 'is' is"), they will make shit up. If you try to make a rule that covers all the bases, you'll end up with a document that is about as long as the EU's Constitution. Instead of making a law requiring a balanced budget, how about "If, during a term of Congress (a term is two years, the 115th Congress is the current one) a spending deficit has occurred, no member of that Congress is eligible to run for re-election in any future federal election or serve in any position of the federal government after their term of office." The rule and intent here means, "if a Congress overspends, any amount at any time, the 535 members of Congress, once their individual current term expires, can never serve in the federal government in any capacity again." Elected, appointed or hired. This law then invokes leverage of what Milton Friedman called "a person's enlightened self-interest." It won't matter if you voted for the appropriation that resulted in the deficit or not. If there was one, you're out at the end of your term and you can never return.

General Welfare Clause & Commerce Clause: I fail to see the need to "redefine" these clauses, since they are quite clear and what we need is moral citizens who adhere to the original intent of these clauses. Again, we can define it all day long, however immoral people will find a loophole to subvert it or just ignore it no matter what.

International treaties and law: I am unaware of any law requiring that US judges or legislators consider international law or treaties when writing or applying judgements to our current laws. I have been known to be wrong once or twice. I do know that some Judges have used International law to justify their rulings, however again I am unaware of any requirement they do so. I believe a simple return of the Judiciary as a whole to the "four corners of the law" concept would solve this issue.

Executive Orders and Administrative Law: Executive Orders were originally designed as a tool for the president to direct the agencies under his authority. What needs to be done in this case is to repeal the Administrative Procedure Act of 1946. This allows Executive Branch agencies to draft, enact and enforce administrative regulations that have the force of laws equal to those laws passed by Congress. Now, these agencies are not supposed to make things up out of whole cloth, these regulations are meant to "fill in" broad parts of the laws passed by Congress. Case in point, the Clean Water Act of 1972, which gave the EPA power to regulate discharges into the "Navigable Waters of the United States." Recently, the EPA expanded its definition of "Navigable Waters" to include all waters of the United States.

I have to ask this: Do you think it is a good idea for your local police/sheriff to create laws (with or without "public input"), separate from the local legislature and then enforce them? Say the police start handing out $25 "warning tickets" to motorists who go over 40 MPH in a 45 MPH zone, because "they don't want you going over 45." I'm reasonably sure you would be against that. Then why should the EPA get to create then enforce laws that they, not Congress passed? All we have to do is look at Article I, Section 1 of the Constitution:

All legislative powers (i.e., the ability to make laws) herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States..." [emphasis mine]

I can see how granting executive branch agencies the power to make regulations with the force of law parses these words and subverts the Constitution. Because if Congress can't do it (i.e. make laws in areas not defined by the Constitution), they can give authority to an agency close to that line, then feign shock and outrage when the unaccountable bureaucrats of said agency runs amok with its regulations, going into areas the Congress can't get to Constitutionally.

Taxation (upper limit/sunsetting): Believe it or not, people usually act in their own self-interest. If we make the laws so Congress is ineligible for re-election if they run a deficit, I can assure you any tax measure that will raise enough revenue to prevent a deficit will pass unanimously, even if the lowest tax rate is set to 100% of income. I am 104% against any type of direct democracy. I will make an exception here. Since we have tied a legislators political future to their spending habits, it would not end well for the People to give them control of raising the revenue that they mean to spend.

I would propose here that we enact a "flat tax" system, instead of the regressive "last dollar" tax system we have now. This means if you make certain levels of income, you are taxed at different rates. For example, your first $20,000 of income is taxed at 8%, then income between $20,001 and $40,000 is taxed at 12% and so on. We should pick one tax rate that applies to everybody for all earned income. The kicker is any proposal to raise the tax rate is proposed by a given Congress, then is put on the federal ballot for the next election of Congress. Two-thirds (67%) of the popular vote must vote in favor of any tax increase for it to be ratified. I would also require that the federal tax filing date to be the Friday before a federal election, just so it's fresh in everyone's mind how much they pay for the government they are getting.

My amendment: There is one change I want to see, and that is repeal of the Seventeenth Amendment, namely the direct election of Senators. If you study the Federalist Papers and other writings of our Founding Fathers, you will see they quite clearly understood human nature (and that of governments run by humans). It is part of our make up, individually and collectively to acquire and maintain wealth and power. The Constitution was designed to keep those urges in check by dividing power among the several stakeholders, as we call them today. We have a bicameral legislature because Congress is supposed to represent the interests of the People (House) and the State governments (Senate). With this Amendment, the Senate became another "People's House" (a term used to describe the House of Representatives) because the people elect them, just state-wide rather than by district. The State governments no longer have a say in federal affairs.

I titled this article in this way because the Constitution, for all its flowery words, Divinely inspired concepts and lofty intent, is still just a piece of very old parchment. It cannot do anything without people acting in a moral way to follow the rules and intent of this great document. A restraining order (a piece of paper issued by a judge that prevents contact between two or more people) has never stopped that abusive spouse from finding and killing the spouse who fled the abuse. All it can do is detail consequences for its violation after the violators capture by police, but too late to save a life.

Teach Your Daughter To Shoot

Let me end this with these words from John Adams and I implore you to deeply Grok them: "Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other."

 

Trust issues

The other day, Bowe Bergdahl received his sentence for his crime, a Bad Conduct Discharge and time served. I have spent the days since the publication of his fate searching for best how to describe why the name Bergdahl will be held in contempt, derision and revilement for as long as the United States has a military force.

Before I begin, I need you to review the story of Corporal Jonathan Yale and Lance Corporal Jordan Haerter in my post, Six seconds to live. WARNING: Keep tissues handy while reading.

When you are tasked with standing a watch, a great responsibility is placed on your shoulders. Not only for the protection of "all government property in my view," but for the very lives of the battle brothers and sisters under your protection.

Veterans will generally back other veterans to the hilt in any situation, simply because of the fact that in battle, your life and the lives of all around you depend on you doing what needs to be done. This is why the trust runs so deep. One sailor on a ship in a moment of inattentiveness can sink that ship as shown in this Navy training film, Seven Sailors. One soldier or Marine likewise failing to properly attend their duties can lead to the loss of a platoon, a company, a division. We do not go into battle because we hate who stands against us. We go into battle to protect those we left behind and those who stand with us. The trust we have in each other gives us the courage to go on.

When Bergdahl walked off his post, he broke that trust. His reasons were noble, however by abandoning his post in a war zone, he placed the lives of every man and woman on that base in extremely grave jeopardy. Enemies could have breached the base perimeter and Bergdahl would not have been there to sound the alarm. Or any of a hundred more disasters could have happened and Bergdahl was not there to sound the alarm in time. Trust broken like that can never be regained.

Bergdahl will be paying a heavy price for the rest of his life. He will receive no benefits from the VA or other governmental related veteran agencies, he will not be able to get a job of any great importance. If he does, it will be to exploit his situation and condition to advance the agenda of others. He is also one of the thousands of "walking wounded" with emotional issues from serving in a combat zone and his captivity. No government agency will help him. His former brothers-in-arms will reject and shun him at best.

His punishment was deserved, and I think worse than life imprisonment, because he has to face his community and he will run into veterans. He has a life sentence of being ostracized and suffering contempt and derision from the community. He will stand as an example on how decisions can have serious life-long consequences.

 

It's a math thing

For all y’all who want to see a $15/hour “working” minimum wage, let me make this clear. It’s a math issue, like I’ve alluded to all along. The government cannot force an increase in payroll costs and not expect a business to either lower the product quality, number of employees or their hours, and/or prices to rise. It all boils down to the math of the numbers in a business’s Profit/Loss sheet.

Miracle

And yes, I am aware of and have read Card and Krueger’s paper on minimum wage in NJ and PA.

Bloomberg distills “the math thing” down to the essentials in this article, Seattle's Painful Lesson on the Road to a $15 Minimum Wage:

… If you make $9 an hour, but generate $10.50 in revenue for your boss, a law that raises the wage to $10.45 may cause her to shrug and decide it’s easier to keep you on as long as she’s making something. But a wage that forces her to pay you far more than you bring in…. Continuing to employ you would just be bad business.

So let’s set the stage to open this discussion.

In April 2015, Seattle raised the hourly minimum wage from the Washington State mandated $9.47 to $10 or $11, depending on several factors, on its way to $15 in 2021.

In July 2016, the University of Wisconsin released a paper, Report on the Impact of Seattle's Minimum Wage Ordinance on Wages, Workers, Jobs and Establishments Through 2015 on the first step. The results were there, although unremarkable. Wages up with no significant negative impact across the board. Likewise in June 2017, the University of Berkeley released a Center on Wage and Employment Dynamics report Seattle’s Minimum Wage Experience 2015-16. This one focused on fast-food restaurants. It also described no significant negative impact as a result of the wage increase.

So, let’s recap. The first step raised the minimum wage 5-16% and showed no significant ill effects on the Seattle economy. So far, so good.

Then on January 1, 2016 Seattle again boosted the minimum wage to anywhere from $10.50 to $13, depending on several factors. The second step raised (from the original $9.47) the minimum wage by 10-27%. According to The National Bureau of Economic Research (paywall, sorry), things started happening. When that second step hit, pay overall increased by 3%. That’s the good news. The bad news is the number of hours worked decreased by 9%, leading to these workers on average losing $125 a month in pay. This is where that math thing comes into play.

So if it’s a math thing, why didn’t the number of hours worked decrease by 3% and make it balance out? Administrative costs went up because with the increased minimum wage also came new regulations, increasing the administrative workload (and thus overhead) on the business.

To illustrate this, here is an article from CNN Money, New study casts doubt on the benefit of Seattle's $15 minimum wage:

Things have been harder on Joe Fugere, the owner and founder of Tutta Bella Neapolitan Pizzeria. He runs five restaurants -- three are within city limits -- and also manages 200 employees.

Fugere says he's always supported a $15 minimum wage, and still does. But an array of new regulations have collectively been tough on his business.

One example, he said, is a scheduling ordinance set to go into effect in July. It mandates that bosses must give workers their schedules two weeks in advance -- and requires them pay up if hours change.

"One piece of legislation after another, in a very progressive city, can add up," Fugere said.

He loves his city, but said he's hesitant to expand his operation there.

"If I were to open another restaurant today, I would not open it in Seattle," Fugere said. "In fact, I'm looking elsewhere." (emphasis mine)

So here you have Mr. Fugere saying he will expand his business, just not in Seattle because he can’t afford it there.

How can you say with a straight face that “raising the minimum wage helps the workers”??? Because when that worker’s wage went from $10.20 to $10.50, their pay (assuming a 40 hour week) went from $408 to $420, however that workers hours dropped to 36 hours a week (assuming that 9% reduction in hours). This means they only made $378 that week, which is a $30 pay cut from what it was before the pay raise.

In conclusion, what does this show? That Economics is a very complex science, made harder by the randomness of human beings. The laws of physics are pretty much universal (if you excuse the pun) across the universe. Economics will get a close but not exact result from a repeated given action. You could try the same experiment twice with the same set of people and not get the exact same result. The same experiment in another culture would also produce a similar, but not exact replication of the result.

Economics also shows some elasticity in it. In the example above, the first small rise in the minimum wage did not produce an appreciable negative result. However a second rise outside of an unknown trigger level  produced a significant negative change in the result. If that second change had happened a year later, the result would probably have been similar to the first, i.e. negligible since the market had time to absorb the first change and stabilize to "the new normal" from it.

I am still doing research on the nature and demographics of minimum wage workers, you should see that soon.

 

What I read

I have been accused of existing in a "Conservative echo chamber" and I only pay attention to Right-Wing content. Just to make it clear, I go through the articles I link to in detail to acquire the facts salient to my point. For every link I do post, there are between 5-10 I read through and don't use, or use to fact check the ones that do end up in my postings. I have gone back through the past 25 non-personal posts I have made and counted the links I have referenced. I then put them up against the website Media Bias Fact Check and this is what I found:

Left Bias, such as The Huffington Post: 3.

Left Center Bias, such as the New York Times: 11.

Least Biased Xinhuanet (Chinese news), 1.

Right Center Bias, such as the Wall Street Journal, 4.

Right Bias, such as National Review, 3.

The Website IFL Science is listed on MBFC as Pro-Science.

I did have two news links that weren't on the MBFC list, Oregonlive.com and Kotaku.com.

The rest of the links are reference sites, like Law.Cornell.edu, Britannica.com, Supremecourt.gov and others.

So while I pull from the entire political spectrum, I actually quote more Liberal sources than I do Conservative. I don't see this as "living in a Conservative echo chamber."

 

What are we?

I ask that question in all seriousness. Are we a nation of laws, or are we a Banana Republic where the government can do whatever it wants?

In a Banana Republic, if El Presidente doesn't like you, he makes up a law like "Felonious Mopery on the High Seas", makes the penalty death upon conviction, then has you arrested and charged with said crime. You are tried the next morning, found guilty before lunch and executed that afternoon.

In a nation of laws, the police have to wait for a complaint. This means Joe Blow goes down to the local precinct and makes an official statement on the order of Paul Somesuch stole my car (or whatever)." The police would then look up the laws for Tennessee and find that § 39-14-103 defines theft of property. § 39-14-105 breaks out what class of crime it is. Considering Paul stole Joe's $30,000 Lexus, Paul will likely be getting charged with a Class C Felony upon his capture. The police can also witness a crime, or find evidence of a crime (e.g., a human body).

In these cases, the police start with the indication that a crime has been committed. During the investigation the confirm what crime has been committed, then locate the person who their evidence convinces them committed the crime. An arrest is made and the perpetrator and the evidence are turned over to the District Attorneys who then evaluate if they can convict the accused, and on and on. Just watch Law and Order for the whole process.

What we have whenever there is a Special Investigator appointed to look into a high profile, politically charged situation, we start out with investigating a person to see what crimes they have committed, then charging them with those crimes. I didn't like the Starr investigations into the Whitewater case in the 90's and I don't like Mueller's investigation into the "Trump-Russia collusion" today. Both of these were legal hunting licenses. "Get these people and anyone near them for anything and everything you can."

This past Monday, George Papadopoulos, Paul Manafort and Rick Gates were charged by Mueller. Let's look at these.

George Papadopoulos pleaded guilty to "lying to investigators." His lie? At one point in time he was trying to set up a meeting with an overseas professor who "had substantial connections with Russian officials." He stated that he tried doing this before becoming a part of the Trump Campaign. He stated later that he tried to set this meeting up AFTER he became a part of the Trump Campaign.

You can be caught for "making false statements" just by rewording an answer to a question asked multiple times. Because when you reword an answer, you 99% of the time leave out a small tidbit of information, or add said small tidbit that you didn't include before. You could also change an answer because you remembered something you didn't before, you are nervous or a dozen more reasons. That change in an answer, not matter how small is all they need to get you.

Manafort and Gates were charged with conspiracy against the United States, conspiracy to launder money, failing to register as a foreign agent, making false statements, and multiple counts of failing to file reports for foreign bank accounts. From all accounts, these offenses predate their involvement in the Trump Campaign by months or years.

I'm not a lawyer and I didn't stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night. I cannot speak on the viability of these charges against Manafort and Gates. I will say something on their first charge. Conspiracy against the United States (Title 18, Chapter 19, Section 371 of the US Code) is like Section 134 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice. It is a "We can't find another law to convict you with, so we'll get you with this one." It can be used against a group who "commit any offense against the United States, or to defraud the United States, or any agency thereof in any manner or for any purpose". If the government feels at any time that two (or more) people worked together do deprive the US government of money or property it deems to be theirs, they can get you on this charge. It is so broad you could drive a fleet or tractor-trailers through it.

Again, are we a nation of laws where you investigate a crime and find the person who committed it, or are we a Banana Republic where we investigate the person until we find a crime they committed?

 

To disavow or not to disavow, that is the question

So the other day, a week before the November 7th election day for the Virginia Gubernatorial race, we see this ad from the Latino Victory Fund. I just visited their FB page, which is as scrubbed clean as you can get. Mind you, the ad itself is only the first minute.

The Latino Victory Fund group seem to be supporting the current Lt. Governor Ralph Northam, against Ed Gillespie. My polite words fall short of how racist and stereotypical this video is. To not even imply, but to clearly state that Gillespie supporters would run down children (the Gadsden flag for the front license plate is an ironic twist) is an attack on every person who supports Gillespie.

You would think that Mr. Northam would speak out publicly against such a horrible attack ad. I'm sure if he is a man with redeeming qualities, he would. Here's his words from "Good Morning Virginia" on November 1st:

ANCHOR: “There was an ad put out, I understand not by your campaign but by a group that is supporting you, and if we can just show a little bit of it. It does show a man driving in a pickup truck with a Confederate flag, essentially chasing down a child down the street. Your thoughts on this? Is this helping when it comes to mending the fences that have been broken within the Commonwealth?”

NORTHAM: … “This group that put out this ad – it was not from our campaign – I wouldn’t have put that ad out, but the ads that Mr. Gillespie has put out have provoked this hate and fear mongering, and so these individuals have responded, and they did it in a way that perhaps wasn’t what I would do, but it certainly provoked fear in them.”

It must be me, but I don't hear any condemning or criticism beyond "That's not how I would have made that ad."

Just to show the other side, here's the ad run by Gillespie alluded to by the talking heads in the first video:

Just to give you an idea of who MS-13 is you might want to read this Time article on them. Now, did the ad say or imply "ALL Latinos"? No. Did Gillespie's ad say or imply that MS-13 only preys on Whites? I didn't hear it, I got the message that MS-13 is a threat to all Virginians. The ad also clearly says "Northam's POLICIES" are making that threat greater by fostering conditions (sanctuary cities) that add to the power of MS-13.

The reason why I bring this up is specifically for the lack of Northam's disavowing of such an ad.

Because the MSM has a problem with letting the fact that Trump disavowed David Duke, the KKK and other hate groups multiple times for and for years. The MSM will spout repeatedly all day long about Duke's endorsement, but refuses to air more than once (if at all) Trumps clear disavowment of all hate groups.

Of course, if Trump doesn't say the disavowment the way the MSM wants it said, they will repeat ad nausiam about how "his words weren't strong enough."

Just more reasons on why the extreme Left are despicable and without honor or integrity.

 

Being sensible and reasonable

For all of the people who wonder why some people are so adamant about being able to own weapons for self-protection, I can describe why in two words: bee stings.

I am over 55 years old. I have been stung by a bee in my life once, when I was about 8 years old. It hurt, I ran home to my mom who got the stinger out and that was that. In the end, it was no big deal to me.

But what if I was allergic to bee stings? What if I knew I could go into anaphylactic shock and possibly die if I got stung? Would it not be sensible and reasonable for me to carry an epi-pen everywhere I go on the slight off chance I got stung? Even though I have only been stung once and not again in over 20,000 days? Oh, sure, I can hope that a) someone sees me get stung and hears me say I need a paramedic, then b) wait for paramedics to show up to give me that shot and hope I don't die in the meantime. Or, I can attain the knowledge and skills, then carry the necessary implements to solve the problem myself. I have been driving motor vehicles for 40+ years. For the past 35 of them, I have always mounted a fire extinguisher in every vehicle I own or use regularly, such as company-issued vehicles. I have had to use them three times. I consider it to be sensible and reasonable for me to carry a fire extinguisher.

Owning and carrying weapons is exactly the same thing. We possess and carry the appropriate tools to appropriately handle a very-low probability event that has a high chance of a fatal outcome for ourselves or those we are responsible for because we have determined it is a sensible and reasonable thing to do. Who provides the threat (criminal or government) is not important. The fact that a situation could develop, no matter how unlikely, is important. In situations like that, we can't hope that the police are called and they respond in time to save us. BTW, the police have no duty or obligation to protect individual citizens. To Protect and Serve is nothing more than marketing bullshit.

 

Why there is pain and suffering

I kid you not, from God Himself on why there is pain and suffering in the world:

This clip has stuck with me since I saw this movie, Oh, God! Book II in 1980. Please, carry this with you throughout your life when you experience bad times, pain and suffering. Without these to compare against, how can our happy times truly be happy?

 

Curing Healthcare

I put this in my category of Economics rather the Obamacare because this is more of an economic plan than a plan to repeal/replace the ACA (although that clusterfuck should be taken out into the woods and buried alive).

This is a relatively simple plan, however it will be far from an easy plan to bring to life. There will be pain for many in the short term. But, like resetting a dislocated joint without anesthesia, once the initial great pain is over, the relief will be great and lead to a better quality of life. This is also not the exact or final version. However the overall concept needs to happen this way or it will fail.

I believe every person has the right to choose whom they want for all of the products and services they use every day. I believe they have the right to not necessarily act in their own best interests as well. Mistakes are how we learn and improve ourselves. Government should exercise restraint so it does not interfere with that process.

The free market and its incentive to drive costs down and quality up will be the major lever in every aspect of this plan. Insurance companies, drug companies, medical device providers and healthcare providers will have a constant pressure on them to keep prices and premiums down and services up.

The first step is to get government all the way out of healthcare. Medicare, Medicaid and the VA can be just like (and compete with) the private insurance companies. Every time the government gets involved with a private industry and starts subsidizing this or that aspect, the prices go through the roof because it becomes a third party-payer. There is you, the company that provides the good or service you seek, then the government. When the government pays for you, it does not care about the price or the quality of the good or service rendered to you. When that happens, prices skyrocket and quality tanks.

The second step is to get employers out of healthcare as well. Employers only started offering healthcare as a job benefit when there were wage freezes during WWII. This extra benefit helped companies lure talent to them. So, if the employer no longer has to subsidize the health insurance plan, they can just raise the pay rate of the employees commensurate with what they contribute now, or just pay it to the employees as a line on their paycheck for income.

Step three, healthcare ought to be available nationally. Because right now, if you change jobs or move to another area, your healthcare plan may not service that area.

Before I get into my idea, let’s talk about the present system so you know how things are done now. I worked for UnitedHealthcare for 5 years and was acquaintances with the two people who negotiated the contracts with providers. I also interacted frequently with the admin staff who handled the paperwork.

A healthcare provider (HCP), if they want to accept insurance from one or more insurance companies (IC) has to negotiate a contract with each insurance company. Each IC will charge different rates for the same service. IC A will pay the HCP $100 for a service 1 and $80 for service 2. IC B will pay $92 for service 1 and $98 for service 2. Each IC also has their own paperwork and procedures to submit charges. For medium-to-large HCP’s this requires at least one full-time administrative person per IC to process and track the claims to make sure they are filled out properly, correct any errors and make sure the HCP gets paid. The IC likewise has a veritable army of staff to process the HCP paperwork.

Hospitals in particular have multiple price structures. A few years ago I got to spend 5 days in the ICU and 7 days in a regular room because I choked on my own cooking and the ER doctor almost killed me trying to get it out. The “book” price (i.e. list price) for my stay was just over $125,000. Because I had insurance, $102,000 of that “disappeared” due to negotiated prices with my IC. My IC paid about $21,000 and I paid the balance.

The present system is a purposefully confusing mish-mash of prices, most of which are hidden from the consumer/patient. Even if you pay your HCP cash up front, what you pay is not necessarily what the IC pays.

So here is my idea. It’s so simple it’s actually frightening, mostly for the people who like to overcharge you.

The first step is IC’s tell you plainly and up front when and how much they will pay for services. Think a menu board at McDonald’s. The services are already detailed using the ICD-10 codes currently used to bill goods and services. Prices could be indexed according to the cost of living by zip code.

The second step is the HCP will also have a menu board for how much they charge for services.

First of all, all of this applies to non-emergency care. Emergency care, believe it or not, only accounts for 6% of medical spending. While it would be similar, I haven’t thought through the particulars for that side yet.

The actual execution of this new system goes like this:

1. You discover you have a need for medical services.
2. You select a HCP to perform those services. You consider your choices based on your priorities and criteria, using the variables of cost, quality and accessibility. You shouldn’t have to choose based on if they are “in network” or not.
3. You visit said HCP and have those services performed.
4. At the end of the visit you are handed a bill, detailed by ICD-10 codes.
5. Depending on your financial situation, you can pay it now or later.
6. You send said bill to the IC, who then reimburses you according to the plan you have purchased (deductibles, co-pays, etc.).

That’s it! What are your advantages? You choose your HCP, based on your priorities of price vs. quality, not a bureaucrat of either the IC or governmental kind.

Let’s say you need a regular office visit. The IC will reimburse you $90 for the visit. You have narrowed your options to HCP A or HCP B. A is a mediocre doctor skills-wise, but is very communicative and friendly. He charges $100 for this visit. B is a great doctor in the skills department, however his bedside manner is lacking at best. Your questions are either ignored or answered tersely. You get more information from his nurse than you do from the doctor. He charges $80 for his services.

Your choice (and not someone else’s) is which doctor you partake the services from. You can choose a great doctor who treats you as your symptoms, confident that he is methodical in his methods, complete in his diagnosis and treatment regimen, or go with a less-capable doctor who does good (but not outstanding) diagnosis and treatment and treats you as a person rather than your symptoms. This is your choice to either pay an extra $10 with HCP A, or pocket $10 and see HCP B.

But where do the market forces come in? Before you walk in the door.

Because the doctor has one set price for each service, they save on payroll by not having extra staff to deal with the IC’s. This lowers the HCP’s payroll costs and their prices can come down accordingly from less overhead. They also have market forces holding their costs down because no business wants to be on the high end of a price range of standardized services without offering additional services to make the higher price justifiable. If you have three gas stations relatively close to each other (physically and price-wise) and one of them sells gas for 20 cents a gallon less than the other two, which one will you stop at? Probably the cheaper one, unless you know it is a low-quality fuel that gives your vehicle trouble. Of course, if one offers a full-service experience (pumps the fuel for you, wash your windows, check the air in the tires, check the oil, etc.) they could probably charge 20 cents more a gallon than the others and people would pay the higher price for the services.

The same concept will apply to the IC’s and other medical-related industries, such as pharmaceuticals and medical devices. They will have to deal with market forces. If pharmaceutical company decides to overcharge on a product (e.g. the 1,000% price hike of epi-pens), they will suddenly find themselves with a lot less customers, who will seek cheaper alternatives, or use it less often. Our seniors on Medicare are faced with these choices today when they fall into that “donut hole” of coverage. There would also be new companies which would have the incentive to bring a new product to market that is just as effective and a lot cheaper.

These market forces foster competition in providing goods and services with more value and quality for the same or lower price. We see that every day right now. HCP's who are of poor quality, overcharge for their services and all that bad stuff would be quickly run out of business because word gets around quickly today on various referral sites and social media on both good and bad companies.

Here is an example of how the free market delivers better products or services for the same or lower price. My first car was a base 1963 Dodge Dart. It was a “slant-6”-cylinder motor, manual “three on the tree” transmission, hand-crank windows, no A/C, no airbags and lap belts. The base model cost $2,385 back then, which in today’s dollars works out to be $19,136. A base 2016 Dodge Dart costs about $22,190, with a V-6 engine, automatic transmission, electric windows, A/C, three-point seat belts, airbags, and a whole bunch of other features that in 1963 would be considered luxury features, if they were available in any vehicle at all. Not to mention the 2016 Dart is a lot more comfortable. Yes, today’s Dart is more expensive than the older one, but not by a large margin, which is more than offset by improvements in safety, comfort and convenience.

But, you ask, what if the patient doesn’t pay the bill and pockets all the money? Then their physical pain will translate to a legal pain. The amount of medical bills covered by insurance, reimbursed to the patient but not paid to the doctor would be like student loans, not able to be discharged under bankruptcy.

Do I have any evidence that this model will work? I sure do! The Surgery Center of Oklahoma is one of several practices that accept cash only. The Ocean Surgery Center is another. SCO has one facility and performs over 25 surgeries a day, using a "cash, one payment, up front and no insurance accepted" model. Their prices are published on their website, are soup-to-nuts (all pre-operation consulting/testing, the surgery itself, overnight post-op stay and followup care) and their prices are 50% and more off hospital prices for the same services. Time has an article on SCO and "direct primary care" where you pay a monthly fee to your PCP for all your care offered there. Business Insider has separate articles on SCO and Direct Primary Care. I think DPC is a great start, however what do you do when you need services outside your PCP's office? Hence, my idea above.

This will not be an overnight process. In all actions economic, once the change happens there will be a 6-18 month period of “fluctuation” while the market adjusts to the new conditions and everyone sorts out the changes and their ramifications. Prices and components of services will jump and fall in price. But like that dislocated shoulder, once that initial pain and the echoes of resetting the dislocation have passed, the healing can truly begin.

 

The lynching of the law

A lynching is defined as, “to put to death, especially by hanging, by mob action and without legal authority.”

A mob gathers and conducts a lynching when and because they are incensed over an event. Emmitt Till and Matthew Shepard are two events where young men died horrible and brutal deaths because someone lied about being offended.

In the light of the recent Mandalay Bay Massacre, as with all high-profile events like this, people who are misguided or with ill intentions exploit the events to advance a political agenda. It took only nine hours after the shooting started for Hillary Clinton to Tweet this:

hillary tweet

The process of making laws is supposed to be a cold, calculating, exacting and boringly dull process. Watching paint dry is supposed to be more exciting. It was made to be as hard as possible by our Founding Fathers because they understood human behavior when it wields power. The laws were supposed to be as few and simple as possible as to be easily understood “while running.” Imagine yourself trying to read and understand a complex concept while running down the road wearing one-buckle shoes.

In the current federal government, it takes 218 Representatives, 51 Senators and the President to agree to create a law. If the president doesn't agree and vetoes the bill, it then needs 291 Representatives and 67 Senators to agree. To amend the Constitution, it takes the 291/67 in Congress to propose and then the legislatures of 38 States have to agree.

The Constitution had one foray into codifying a social issue into law, namely the Eighteenth Amendment, which was enforced by the Volstead Act. For those of you who don’t know, this Amendment created Prohibition, which outlawed the production, transportation and sale of intoxicating liquors. In other words, no alcohol. It went from Congressional proposal to ratified by the States in just over a year, which is bullet-train fast when speaking legislatively.

Of course, this social endeavor into law worked out so well we enacted the Twenty-First Amendment almost 15 years later to repeal it. This effort only showed that the majority of people did not want prohibition and it gave rise to “organized crime” which was all too happy to operate outside the law and provide a good that was in demand by the people.

Of course, the thousands of deaths from gang violence, bad product and all that stuff is inconsequential to protecting the people from themselves because they make bad choices when left without adult supervision, right?

We have our own modern version of legislation that was passed in the heat of the moment after 9/11, and we have had years to regret its passage, namely the PATRIOT Act which has led to the explosion of the surveillance state we have today.

In conclusion, making law immediately after an event such as Las Vegas as a knee-jerk reaction to "do something about the problem" 99% of the time does not solve the problem and often makes the problem worse, plus other aspects of our lives are negatively affected due to the Law of Unintended Consequences. As my High School Drafting Teacher Mr. Scully drilled into me, "Check your work. Check it again. And again. And then, check it one more time."

 

Free State to Police State

As Nancy Pelosi Dianne Feinstein (they're both ugly California Liberals, I can't tell them apart) said, “Mr. and Mrs. America, turn ‘em all in.”

I am going to explain in a very detailed way what will happen if Congress engages in a gun-controller’s wet dream of banning and confiscating firearms, it doesn’t matter if we are talking about all firearms or just a single type.

Step 1: Repeal the Second Amendment. You know, that pesky Constitutional limitation, “the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed” part. So now you have the Twenty-Eighth Amendment, “Section. 1. The second article of amendment to the Constitution of the United States is hearby repealed.”

We can get the guns now, right? No, not yet. Calm down Skippy.

Step 2: Like in Australia, enact a “mandatory gun buy back program.” Which I am sure a few people will partake in such a system. Let’s just say the government will pay you $100 per weapon. Hm, with an estimated 300 million firearms in the US, that would work out to be $30 Billion. I’m sure the government has that kind of cash just laying around.

Now? How about now?? Skippy, not yet.

When the buyback fails (believe me, it will fail), the government will have to move to the next step.

Step 3: Nationalization of the police force. There are not enough federal law-enforcement officers to perform the confiscation on a national level within any reasonable length of time. You could add in the military and it won’t make a dent. The result is your local Chief of Police or Sheriff will no longer answer to your city or county government, they will answer to Washington.

Now? Now?? Now??? Almost there, Skippy. Just one more step.

Step 4: Repeal of the Fourth and Fifth Amendments. There might not be an actual Amendment to repeal these Amendments, it might be just a functional ignoring, like those in power are want to do so often. Why? Because to enforce such a ban judges would have to either issue a warrant without cause for every property, or the police would be granted the power to just go door-to-door and search every building, every piece of furniture and run a metal detector over every square foot of grass. Because, you know, us Americans are an inventive and sneaky lot in hiding stuff we don’t want found. Plus, to confiscate life, liberty or property without due process is a tenet of the Fifth. Of course, considering the current scale of “asset forfeiture” we have today, that part of the Fifth is already annulled.

The gun buyback program would most likely not apply in cases where the National Police forcefully come into your home and smash your home looking for firearms. They would, however, most likely follow the Russian execution method of shooting you in the back of the head, then billing your family for the cost of the bullet. Instead of leaving a $100 bill for every firearm they found on your bed like you’re a prostitute after they raid your home, they will leave a bill for the time and materials it took to kick down your door, ransack your house and leave your family in shambles, no matter if they found anything or not.

Now comes the bloody part. The first time a gun owner kills a police officer come to take their firearms, it will quickly escalate, maybe to the point where any resistance, any cross word or cross look will result in a maximum response by the police.

Yay! We have a police state now!!! Yes we do Skippy, yes we do.

So now you have a national police force, able to enter any building at any time for any reason. This means no property rights. A secret police will probably also be formed to entrap those who manage to evade the confiscation, as well as the “home machinists” who can manufacture weapons out of any machine shop.

The police will also brook no resistance. Brutal beatings and street executions by the police to any kind of resistance will become the norm. This kind of public example cows the populace into submission.

You say, “This can’t happen here.” I don’t have enough fingers to point at examples where exactly this very thing has happened, and I don’t have to go very far back in history to do so either. After all, Hitler, Mao, Stalin, Pol Pot and their ilk stand upon the summit of 140 million bodies of their own people whom they killed in the prior century alone. All those dead were made that way because basically our killers didn’t like them for one reason or the other.

In fact, we only have to go back to the hours before the Mandalay Bay Massacre. In case you didn’t hear about this because of the coverage of Las Vegas, a small, independent section of Spain called Catalan held a referendum on if they should separate from Spain or not. The response of the Spain government (who is a big fan of severely restricting civilian ownership of firearms) mobilized their police force to fire tear gas and rubber bullets into crowds, then wading in with truncheons to beat the crap out of people and seized ballot boxes in an attempt to disrupt the referendum. NY Times, LA Times.

If those in power believe that they can disarm the citizens of this country, this is exactly what will happen. All of this is human nature, which the Founding Fathers understood and sought to fight by how they structured the Constitution.

Governments (and the people whom comprise them) universally seek to expand their power and scope of control. This should be a given that is just as universal that the sun comes up in the East and water is wet. This is why the Constitution was written the way it was, with clear delineations on which branch has what power and that if it isn’t in the Constitution, the government doesn’t have that authority.

Just remember things like this when you clamor to surrender Rights in the name of safety.

 

Reasonable restrictions

So, those I have spoken with about “preventing the next mass shooting” after the Mandalay Bay Massacre speak in very open-ended terms about “more licensing” and “better storage requirements” to help cut down on mass shootings.

It won’t help, and will hurt. Let me tell you why. First of all, there is that “[T]he right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed” part of the Constitution. But all of these people have spoken about “reasonable government restrictions.” That is an oxymoron if I ever heard one.

It is an extremely subjective term, as what one person would consider “reasonable” another could easily consider the same criteria as “restrictive enough to choke a person.”

For the first example of “reasonable government restrictions” we only have to look as far as the Department of Education. In October 2010, Russlynn Ali, the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, without authority, approval from her superiors or using proper channels, in her “Dear Colleague” letter (read it, please) she used Title IX to set up in Universities, for lack of a better term, “Sexual Assault Star Chambers” where hundreds of men have been accused and convicted of sexual assault. These are not courts of law, but rather chambers where guilt is presupposed and exculpatory evidence is laughed at. The standards of evidence and testimony held by these star chambers that would be laughed out of a criminal or civil court. These convictions often come without any evidence or witnesses other than the accuser and her word. In fact, in one case the young woman supposedly assaulted, loudly and vigorously defended her boyfriend. She was shushed and threatened with expulsion from the school. These “convictions” ruin a young mans’ future and it happens dozens of times a year. Here is one example. When the Huffington Post weighs in on the guys’ side, you know something is up. Part 1 and Part 2.

While I lived in California back in the 80's, I rode a motorcycle as my primary transportation. One day, someone made an off-hand semi-sarcastic remark to the head of CDOT (California Department of Transportation) that, "Motorcycles need to have seat belts, because the riders keep falling off." If you ever have ridden (and/or went down) on a motorcycle, you know you want to get as far away as possible from that machine if it (and you) go down. Well, the head of CDOT took that remark seriously and came within a gnat's ass of requiring seat belts on motorcycles.

In my own experience, the BATF as part of the Organized Crime Control Act of 1970, decided to regulate a material known as Ammonium Perchlorate Composite Propellant, or APCP. This is basically rubber infused with a salt of Ammonia. Like the DOE above, the BATF just decided one day APCP was an explosive (more precisely, a "low explosive") and claimed jurisdiction over its storage and use. They never followed their own testing procedures to determine if it was an explosive or not. By the way, this is the fuel used in the Solid Rocket Boosters on the Space Shuttle. This material is so safe, it is the only solid rocket fuel that is "man-rated," meaning it is safe and reliable enough to use with humans in the payload. To tell you the truth, typing paper burns faster than this stuff in the tests used when you are assessing if something is an explosive or not.

In the 80’s, model rocketeers discovered the handy aspects of this as high-powered rocket fuel for launching large rockets. But, in order to purchase, store and use APCP, you had to have a “Low Explosives Users Permit.” This meant you could only have so much of APCP, stored in a box with specific requirements, surrender your 4th Amendment rights because a BATF agent could make “unannounced inspections” and on, and on, and on. And on some more, and more, and more still.

It took the two national model rocketry organizations (National Association of Rocketry and Tripoli Rocketry Association) over 20 years and $3-4 Million in lawyers’ fees to get a judge to vacate this rule.

Shall I go on?

Now I am sure you and I and a few of our friends could come up with reasonable restrictions. But you see, we don't get to decide, as I have illustrated in the three above instances, the bureaucrats are the ones to decide what the "reasonable restrictions" are going to be. All it takes is one bureaucrat who doesn’t believe in civilian ownership of firearms to set regulations like in the video and below (or worse). WARNING, Graphic violence:

We would also see a bureaucratic maze like gun ownership in Japan, coupled with storage requirements like “[T]he safe weight shall be in excess of 1,000 pounds empty, to be secured to a concrete foundation with four (4) 1.5” diameter threaded bolts extending through 14” of concrete. Access to the contents shall require three different combinations, of which no one person can hold more than one combination.”

Now, I’m sure you can see the absurdness of these requirements, which would prevent anybody living in an apartment from having such a safe, plus if you did own your home, the cost of tearing up your foundation to mount those bolts would be extraordinarily expensive, on top of the cost of the safe, the weapons, the permits and so on.

This is why pro-RKBA people fight so hard against any regulation, because once the nose of this camel gets into the tent, his big ass is not too far behind.

 

Let's talk about Las Vegas

Here we are, eight days after the Mandalay Bay Massacre. We have had time to treat the wounded, grieve the dead and learn things about the shooter. Now that things have calmed down, let’s have a rational discussion about this and other mass shootings.

First of all, the shooter (who will not be named because I don’t want to contribute to the perpetuation of his name) was an older White male. He had no contacts with the police other than a traffic ticket some years prior. He was reasonably affluent and outside of a currently unconfirmed picture of him wearing a “pussy hat” at some kind of anti-Trump rally and a voter registration card showing a Democrat Party affiliation, we do not know about his politics. He had no online social media accounts. He is, for all accounts and purposes, “a grey man.” The term “grey man” means a person who is present, but not noticed.

We will most likely never know the reasons behind why the shooter performed his heinous act. The shooter left no online manifesto, no note, he never voiced his thoughts or intentions to anyone, which means forensic investigators have little to nothing to work with and reconstruct.

Which leaves the door open for all kind of crazy conspiracy theories, like that he was a patsy for Operators (I’m talking Special Forces, not the telephone type) who actually did the shooting and all the like.

We do know he purchased all of his weapons legally. Since he had no criminal history or documented mental illness, all the background checks came back clean and there was no reason under the current laws he could not purchase firearms.

The shooter also purchased legal aftermarket modifications to enable a semi-automatic rifle to fire as fast as a fully-automatic weapon. No laws were broken by the shooter as he built his collection.

We also know he rented rooms near other large gatherings, but did not check in. This shooter was doing research and took the time to thoroughly research how to cause maximum carnage.

This presents us with the most terrifying and unstoppable threat we face today: A person on a mission who is willing to trade his life to accomplish his mission and knows his life is forfeit going in.

Now, what I want to know from all the people who read this little missive of mine, outside of a total ban on the civilian ownership of firearms, what laws would stop a person like this? I can truthfully say, zero. Because a person committed to this path would do whatever was needed to acquire weapons legally, or just go to the black market and purchase them illegally.

And I am not just talking about firearms. For those of you who might have forgotten about Oklahoma City on 4/19/95, one hundred and sixty-eight people died when that killer detonated a 5,000 pound ANFO bomb in front of the Alfred P. Murrah federal building. Then there was also a pipe-bomb attack during the 1996 Olympics that killed 1 (a news cameraman also died from a heart attack running to cover it) and injured 111 people. This number was thankfully low because a guard was ordering people out of the area when it detonated.

The bad news is, this is the new normal. Just like when nuclear weapons were first developed, the concept of mass shootings is already out there and like the nuclear genie, this cannot be put back into its bottle and “uninvented.”

Today, any moderately competent grad student in Physics can engineer a nuclear device. The only major hurdles are getting him enough Plutonium and krytron switches. Any precision machine shop can engineer the Plutonium to the necessary tolerances.

I bring this up to illustrate a point. If somehow all of the nuclear weapons on the planet disappeared this coming Friday, By Wednesday of next week every country that had a nuclear capability would be making new weapons.

All it takes for the next “mass death” event is a person who has lost their regard for innocent human life and has the means to acquire the tools necessary to carry out the desired operation, be it by gun, bomb, poison or gas.

 

Why I no longer watch the NFL

I believe in the freedom of speech. I believe it is one of the unalienable Rights given to us by our Creator. Especially when that speech says something I don't like or want to hear. I served this country for over 13 years so people could say what they sincerely believed without the fear of the government coming for them in the middle of the night.

I fully support every NFL player, coach and owner who decided to take a knee, in the past and in the future. No "if's, and's or but's" about it. They did and do a brave thing. Kind of similar when I forced the Grand Lodge of Tennessee to expel me as a Mason because I spoke out publicly about their mistreatment of two fine Men and Masons, for the sole crime of them loving each other.

So if I support these players, why am I never watching football again? I'm glad you asked.

A message, especially a message trying to invoke social change needs to be clear, concise and repeatable. It must meet all three criteria to prevent it from becoming distorted by numerous reiterations. If you make a copy of a copy of a copy, some of the information will be distorted or lost because of the corruption by the constant reiteration. If there are many voices, they must be united in and for that message. It also needs to be delivered the correct way to a given audience. To communicate any message or call to action, it has to be delivered within the paradigm of your listeners. If I would deliver a given message, I would deliver it differently to a local Ladies Auxiliary of the Kiwanis Club than I would to a national NAMI convention. Same message, different delivery because the way each group sees the world is slightly different.

In this case there is a political shotgun approach. Many speakers, many messages. The core message (if there ever was one) has become diluted and lost. The end result is the many messages are blurred and diluted against the whole. When your audience cannot discern the central message out of the many messages, it will turn away in search of something else to hold its' attention.

Here's the important part: The venue of the delivery is critical. Your audience needs to be open to your message.

These protests are causing severe damage to the sport of Football and the NFL. The protests are driving viewers away by the thousands. The answer why is very simple.

Today, right now, there is very little you can do in your life that there is not a political undertone. We are relentlessly bombarded with political opinions from our news, our entertainment, even our personal interactions, online or face-to-face. Social Media is awash with opinions. There are no rules, there are no referees, it's a constant knock-down-drag-out knife fight. We used to watch sports as an escape. We would emotionally invest ourselves in the conflict between teams. We did this to forget about all of the hate-filled politics in the rest of our lives for a measly three hours. And these protesting players took this last bastion of a non-political arena away from us.

The people who watch(ed) these games are second in their patriotism only to NASCAR. They subscribe not to a political party, but to the belief and ideals that this country represents. As a country we are not perfect, we've made lots of big mistakes. All that being said, we as a nation have always tried to do the right and moral thing.

"Taking a knee" is a sign of submission. By performing this act, you are signalling that you are admitting that to whom (or what) you are kneeling for is superior to you and you surrender control of yourself to them. This is why a serviceman presenting the flag that draped the coffin of a fallen soldier kneels before the family they are presenting to. The kneeling soldier humbles himself to the sacrifice of the family. I do not see this here. The NFL payers are not kneeling in submission, but not standing in protest.

There is a time-honored tradition of recognition when ships on the high seas come close aboard (nautical parlance for near each other) the sailors on the side of the ships facing each other come to attention. On warships the sailors actually salute at the appropriate moment. One ship initiates the recognition, saluting the other by briefly dipping their national flag to half-staff, then returning their flag to full staff. The other ship responds by likewise dipping their flag the same way. US ships never initiate, we only respond.

The National Ensign (the proper term for the US flag) is never to be dipped, as in leaned forward when other flags are nearby. Among other flags, it is the first to be raised and the last to be lowered. If it touches the ground, it is to be torn into strips and burned, without ceremony. These rules (and more besides them) are meant to treat the symbol that represents this country with respect.

We kneel before our Creator, as citizens we are supposed to stand tall. You are asked (never required) to stand during the national anthem, when the flag passes close by or when colors are rendered. Some job functions where the National Anthem is played, the employer can require you to stand, the government can never require you to.

The power of this country comes not from the government, but from the people. The National Ensign represents all citizens. We are a nation of equals. The President is subject to the same laws as we are, thus equal to the rest of us. If you "submit to the flag" (a ploy by the Left to sell the rest of us a bogus bill of goods), you admit that you are not a citizen but a subject. The people of Great Britain are known as subjects because they are "subject to the Crown." Before the Magna Carta (the first document that actually alluded to human rights), Kings had pretty much free reign (sorry, couldn't resist the pun) and could do whatever he wanted. You lived or died by the benevolence of the King.

So, ask yourself this question: are you a subject, or a Citizen?

 

Always improving

I have heard multiple FB posts and meme's about how "We put 'In God We Trust' on our money and 'Under God' in the Pledge of Allegiance in the 50's to separate us from 'Godless Communists.' " And how Baseball players didn't stand for the Anthem until WWII and NFL players didn't come out for the Anthem until 2009.

Think about this: Very, very rarely is something done right the first time. The Constitution is one of those things and we still have "improved" it 17 times (the Bill of Rights was 10 at once and the 21st Amendment repealed the 18th Amendment).

Think about plastic sandwich bags. they were invented in the late 50's, the kind where you had a "flip-over" top. It took about 15 years for the Ziploc bags to become sandwich bags. It took 25 years after that for someone to come up with the idea we have now, which is to make one side of the bag taller than the other, making those bags easier to open.

Besides, "We've always done it this way/We've never done it that way" are two of the seven signs of stagnation. Doing things a certain way because we've "always done it that way" without a good reason why we are still doing it "that way" is stupid.

If you can't articulate a good, sensible reason why we do things a certain way, find out why. Once you can explain why things are done this way now, then and only then you can articulate why it should be changed.

Change for the sake of change is never good, Change for the better should always be encouraged.

Why big government is bad

One of my core values is that people should live as they please with a minimum intrusion from government. The People should be able to act in their affairs as they please, even to their own detriment as long as the actions do not hurt others. The laws should be as few as possible and they should (in our Founding Fathers words) "be understandable while running."

Milton Friedman, in his case against big government, says this (paraphrased): "Big business and big government are friends. Big business can lobby to the government for laws that favor them and hurt their competitors. Big government would have that power, while a limited government would not. " So, all y'all who want government in every aspect of people's lives are helping the mega-corporations all y'all rail against.

Case in point: Thanks To Lobbying, It's Illegal To Power Your Home With Solar Panels In Florida.

I bet you didn't know it, in many areas, especially urban areas, it is actually against the law for your home to not be connected to the electrical grid. Let me explain why.

A former supervisor and good friend of mine lost her house in the Nashville Floods some years back. She lived on the shore of a river that was flooded to prevent the breach of a dam. She rebuilt her home, literally 12 feet higher. She had a cinderblock foundation 12 feet high (that is now a garage and storage area) built, then her house was built on top of that. The thing of it was, when the house was finished, she couldn't move in until a "Certificate of Occupancy" was issued by the local building inspector giving her permission to live in her house.

Back in the 1930's, during the early days of the Tennessee Valley Authority, many homes in remote areas that wanted electricity in their homes used gasoline generators or private (small) hydroelectric dams to power them. Then the TVA came along and "insisted" that these remote homes connect to the electrical grid (and pay to plant poles and run the wires up there). Those people who were resistant to the insistent sometimes would find a bullet hole in their generator, or their dam exploded, ruining their power production.

I bring up those stories because if someone finds out that you have disconnected from the utilities, the utility company can get the government to revoke the Certificate of Occupancy for your home. It won't matter that you have a Tesla roof and power wall, the government will force you to vacate your home until you restore utilities. Don't think so? Call your local power monopoly and ask them what would happen if you told them to pull their electric meter.

Give this some serious thought. Citizens in states with prevalent sunshine (Hawaii, Florida, Texas, etc.) would have a great opportunity to live on their own terms, generating and storing their own electricity. Big, controlling governments and power monopolies however don't like that. They can't control you as easily, nor take your money willy-nilly.

Just remember shit like this when you demand a controlling, Socialist nanny-state to run your life for you. The end result will be you won't have the ability to act in your own best interest without prior permission from government. Yeah, good luck with that.

 

But at what cost?

Since Obamacare became the laws of the land, I have been saying "Obamacare was designed from the start to be a clusterfuck of Biblical proportions. It is so bad, once it is fully in place and people see just how bad it truly is, they will clamor for anything that's not Obamacare. And that's when Single-Payer will be rolled out."

We are now at that point.

Today, Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) will introduce this bill to the Senate, "The Medicare for All Act." The good news is, 2/3rds of Democrats realize that they are dead politically if the co-sponsor this bill. Those who are on the record as co-sponsors are Tammy BALDWIN (D-WI),Richard BLUMENTHAL (D-CT), Cory BOOKER (D-NJ), Al FRANKEN (D-MI), Kirsten GILLIBRAND (D-NY), Kamala HARRIS (D-CA), Martin HEINRICH (D-NM), Mazie HIRONO (D-HI), Patrick LEAHY (D-VT), Mr. Edward MARKEY (D-MA), Jeff MERKLEY (D-OR), Brian SCHATZ (D-HI), Tom UDALL (D-NM), Elizabeth WARREN (D-MA), Sheldon WHITEHOUSE (D-RI).

Would you like to know the unfortunate truth? You know, those pesky things called facts about what will most likely be the consequences if this (or some version) becomes law? We only have to look as far as Senator Sanders home state of Vermont and his own words.

From Sanders' own mouth,

“But I think what we understand,” Sanders said. “Is that unless we change the funding system and the control mechanism in this country to do that. For example, if we expanded Medicaid [to] everybody. Give everybody a Medicaid card – we would be spending such an astronomical sum of money that, you know, we would bankrupt the nation.” [emphasis mine]

From the Wall Street Journal article, The Single-Payer Siren Song (it's behind a paywall, but the important part is right there) where Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin was actively looking at a Single-payer system for his state. He abandoned the idea in 2014 when he realized there would have to be an additional 11.5% payroll tax, plus raising the income tax by up to 9.5%.

In my personal case, if my income was divested of my healthcare deductions, then the payroll tax and income taxes were added, my bi-weekly take-home pay would probably drop about $125 a check because the taxes are more than what I'm paying now. Someone making say $15/hour without benefits, their paycheck would DROP at least $350 a paycheck. Considering they were only bringing home $2,185 before, that just got cut to $1,817 for two weeks at your "living wage."

And, of course, costs and prices would skyrocket because Medicaid only pays providers 80% of what private insurance pays them. Just as an economic survival factor, providers will have to raise their prices to Medicaid by 20% to not take a pay cut. Or, no longer accept Medicaid insurance.

Just as a thought exercise, what do you think would happen if "BernieCare" became law of the land and everyone got a Medicaid card, but no doctors would accept it?

Every time you disconnect the cost of a good or service from the price paid by the consumer for that good or service, prices go up because nobody really cares what the prices are because they don't have to pay for it. It's "free" to them.

Prices come down when the consumer has a choice and price shops. Why should I pay $100 for a service at Dr. A when Dr. B offers the same service and quality for $80? We see that every day because millions of people go to Amazon to buy stuff and not the store down the street because the price of goods on Amazon are cheaper and delivered to your door.

What we need are prices at a doctor's office up on the wall like they are at McDonald's. You walk in and see what an office visit costs, how much for lab testing, and all the way down the line. We can then look on the insurance company's website and see how much they pay for those services. You go to the provider, get the service, get the bill to show what services you received. You then send it off to the insurance company and they reimburse you. Because you price shopped, you can either pay or pocket the difference.

It would take 18-24 months for everything to stabilize, but I can be reasonably sure that prices will come down. Why? Because the consumer can decide if the price is worth the cost. Remember, the cost is what you pay in cash, the price is what you have to do (work overtime, sell things, skimp on other things, etc.) to acquire that amount of cash. If a family member comes down with cancer or other serious condition, the family makes the decision on how much care (if any) the member gets. If the treatment for a cancer diagnosis will cost the family $20,000 (Because it will cost $100,000 and the insurance will only pay $80,000), which would grant the sick member with a 20% to live more than a year, what would you do? The choices are simple, destroy the families finances and more than likely die in a year or two, or pass on sooner.

Yes, choices like that are upsetting. They are not easy and you will live with regret either way. Today we see cases where people will demand insurance companies pay hundreds of thousands of dollars to extend the life of someone by a few weeks or months. Is this cost-effective? Say we have a finite pool of money (because, you know, we do). We can use this money to either extend the life of person A by 6 months, or extend the life of person B 20 years. Or, how about extending the lives of 20 people (B through U) by one year? If you were a family member of A, what would you choose?

What upsets me is Liberals screaming "PEOPLE WILL DIE WITHOUT HEALTHCARE!!!!1!!!!!111" I hate to tell them this, people die every day, sometimes with the best healthcare on the planet. Medicine can only delay what is inevitable for all of us. In fact, medical errors in the US account for over 250,000 deaths annually, third in number after heart disease and cancer.

Think about it. Most of the time, medical care only treats the symptoms of the illness until the body itself can repair the damage. If you get a cold, the doctor tells you to buy stuff that will stop the runny nose, body aches, diarrhea, vomiting and so on so you can not feel so bad and can function until your body kills off whatever is making you sick. For emergency care, say you gash your arm or get a compound fracture on your leg, the medical professionals who treat you will only stop the bleeding, keep you breathing and prevent infection until your body can repair itself. People die only because the body cannot repair the damage or illness happening to it.

I know this stuff is hard. No one wants to make these kind of choices. That being said, we all make choices daily that have lasting effects. They have to be made because we can't have "everything all the time." To think so is to not live in reality.

Taking a break

I have been having fun (off and on) posting to a twice-a-week schedule. I was hoping to get noticed by one of the Conservative Media and possibly asked to do some paid work. I am sorry to say that didn't happen and other factors have become a higher priority that I must suspend regular postings for the foreseeable future.

The classic phrase is "Gone Fishin'," however I never developed an appreciation for the hobby, despite spending my teenage years living on the shore of a lake considered to be a Trout-fishing Mecca. So, I think the term "Gone Gaming" is more appropriate.

This is not "Good-Bye," but rather in the pre-Internet days when our connections were via dialup, electrons were at a premium and baud rates were 300 8N1, "TTFN."

gonegaming

 

History is very messy

History is a very messy affair. No person of historical significance (other than Jesus) has ever been perfectly good or perfectly bad because we are all flawed beings. We all make conscious choices that we know when we make that choice are good or evil, sometimes the choices we make and think are good turn out later to have disastrous consequences and vice versa.

My lesson here is "Never take the condensed version of history at face value."

Case in point: The Cuban Missile Crisis. History is full of stories about how JFK "Faced down the Soviets aggression and made them blink under the threat of a nuclear war." History is not as compelled to tell you why the Soviets put those missiles in Cuba. You see, in 1961, Kennedy deployed Jupiter IRBMs (Intermediate Range Ballistic Missiles, ICBM's baby brother) in Turkey and Italy. Which for the Soviets, was their equivalent of them planting missiles in Cuba was for us. Had Kennedy not deployed IRBMs to Europe, the Soviet Union would not have deployed IRBMs to Cuba.

Second case in point: Have you ever owned or ridden in a Volkswagon Beetle? This iconic vehicle, of which over 21 million were made, was the brainchild of... Wait for it... Adolph Hitler. In German, "Volkswagon" literally means "People's car" or "A car for the people." Please, tell your local Antifa member who owns one of this fact. Does that excuse his brutal extermination of 20 million "undesirables" plus the 83 million war dead? Of course not.

So now let's get to my main point, the Civil War.

Robert E. Lee was initially offered the position of Commander of the Union Army when the Southern States started seceding. At that time, many Citizens of the United States regarded themselves as Citizens of the State first, then as a Citizen of the United States. Lee declined the offer when Virginia seceded because his loyalties were with Virginia, not the Union. Technically, he did not own slaves. His wife (a granddaughter of Martha Washington, her father was adopted by Washington) inherited 57 slaves and the land that now comprises Arlington Cemetery when her father died in 1857. George Washington Parke Custis (Lee's father-in-law)  stipulated in his will that the slaves be freed within five years of his death. Lee, one of the executors of his father-in-law's estate, freed the slaves five years and two months after Custis' passing. Lee had not owned slaves prior to this, nor afterwards.

Abraham Lincoln, that "savior of the Union," tromped on the Constitution so hard and so many times that it is astounding. Too bad history does not cover very well that he suspended habeas corpus so that Lincoln could jail state and federal lawmakers who opposed him. His violations are too numerous to mention in the scope of this article. Suffice it to say, Lincoln's presidency could be best described only by words from a hundred years later, "We had to destroy the village to save it."

Then you have that old devil, Nathan Bedford Forrest. Yes, that "founding member and Grand Wizard of the KKK." The facts state otherwise. He was an early member, not a founding member, there is a difference. The evidence he was a "Grand Wizard" of the KKK seems to be that the position was invented for him.

Yet, he turned away from the KKK. As Grand Wizard, in January 1869 he issued KKK General Order Number One: "It is therefore ordered and decreed, that the masks and costumes of this Order be entirely abolished and destroyed."

His last public appearance, at a July 1875 meeting of the Independent Order of Pole-Bearers Association, an organization of black Southerners advocating racial reconciliation, Forrest made these remarks:

Ladies and Gentlemen I accept the flowers as a memento of reconciliation between the white and colored races of the southern states. I accept it more particularly as it comes from a colored lady, for if there is any one on God's earth who loves the ladies I believe it is myself. (Immense applause and laughter.) This day is a day that is proud to me, having occupied the position that I did for the past twelve years, and been misunderstood by your race. This is the first opportunity I have had during that time to say that I am your friend. I am here a representative of the southern people, one more slandered and maligned than any man in the nation.

I will say to you and to the colored race that men who bore arms and followed the flag of the Confederacy are, with very few exceptions, your friends. I have an opportunity of saying what I have always felt – that I am your friend, for my interests are your interests, and your interests are my interests. We were born on the same soil, breathe the same air, and live in the same land. Why, then, can we not live as brothers? I will say that when the war broke out I felt it my duty to stand by my people. When the time came I did the best I could, and I don't believe I flickered. I came here with the jeers of some white people, who think that I am doing wrong. I believe that I can exert some influence, and do much to assist the people in strengthening fraternal relations, and shall do all in my power to bring about peace. It has always been my motto to elevate every man- to depress none. (Applause.) I want to elevate you to take positions in law offices, in stores, on farms, and wherever you are capable of going.

I have not said anything about politics today. I don't propose to say anything about politics. You have a right to elect whom you please; vote for the man you think best, and I think, when that is done, that you and I are freemen. Do as you consider right and honest in electing men for office. I did not come here to make you a long speech, although invited to do so by you. I am not much of a speaker, and my business prevented me from preparing myself. I came to meet you as friends, and welcome you to the white people. I want you to come nearer to us. When I can serve you I will do so. We have but one flag, one country; let us stand together. We may differ in color, but not in sentiment. Use your best judgment in selecting men for office and vote as you think right.

Many things have been said about me which are wrong, and which white and black persons here, who stood by me through the war, can contradict. I have been in the heat of battle when colored men, asked me to protect them. I have placed myself between them and the bullets of my men, and told them they should be kept unharmed. Go to work, be industrious, live honestly and act truly, and when you are oppressed I'll come to your relief. I thank you, ladies and gentlemen, for this opportunity you have afforded me to be with you, and to assure you that I am with you in heart and in hand" (Prolonged applause.)

I don't know about you, but that sounds like someone who made a mistake and was trying to do the right thing. Did I mention that in August 1874, Forrest wrote to Tennessee Governor Brown, offering "to exterminate the white marauders who disgrace their race by this cowardly murder of Negroes"? Does this sound like a man who he is currently painted to be?

Don't paint people in absolutes, because we aren't.

 

Switching Sides

I have been hearing lately about “sure, the KKK used to be Democrats, but now they’re Republicans.” This has caused some confusion in my mind, so I’ve been doing some research off and on, while letting my subconscious mull it over. A couple of days ago, I got the message from my subconscious saying that a conclusion has been reached, so here it is:

First of all, history is unequivocal in the facts that Democrats were the party that supported slavery. After the Civil War, it was Democrats that formed the Klu Klux Klan, and forced Jim Crow laws on Blacks in the South.

In the 1950’s, it was Democrats that fought integration of the schools. George Wallace, the Democrat Governor of Alabama himself stood at the doors of the school that was the first to be integrated. The Civil Rights Act of 1957, which was to support the SCOTUS decision Brown v. Board of Education. Senator Strom Thurmond (D-SC) filibustered the bill in the Senate for 24 hours and 18 minutes by himself. By the way, 107 House Democrats and 18 Senate Democrats voted against this bill. 19 House Republicans also voted against it.

When the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was being debated, Senator Thurmond again led the filibuster effort, blocking all work in the Senate for 57 working days (the Senate is only “in session” three days a week). Senators Richard Russell (D-GA), Robert Byrd (D-WV), William Fulbright (D-AR) and Sam Ervin (D-NC) filled out the filibuster team.

According to people who have told me “Klukkers are now Republicans” it was about this time that the “racist Democrats” heard the “Republican Dog Whistle” that the GOP was going to be the “party of racists” and invited them to switch sides. Never mind that the Republican Party was formed specifically to end slavery. Please, forget that most of the integration and equality efforts were by Republicans.

I will admit, that this is when the Republican Party started its ascent to prominence in the politics of the South, but it was not because of a “Republican Dog Whistle.” It was for another, more basic reason.

President John F. Kennedy, who is still by-and-large revered by Democrats, would have been a Republican today. A Roman Catholic, he would probably have been against Roe v. Wade. I can be as sure as anyone can be today because Kennedy appointed one Justice to SCOTUS, Byron White, who voted against the decision. Kennedy was also pro-RKBA, pro-tax cuts and anti-affirmative action. Kennedy’s positions on these subjects were considered the ideological base of the Democrat Party in 1960.

It was in 1962 that Reagan switched from being a Democrat to a Republican, saying that famous line, “I didn’t leave the Democrat Party, the Democrat Party left me.”

That the Democrat Party has stood for higher taxes, anti-gun, pro-affirmative action and pro-abortion (because, you know we have to force pro-life clinics to talk about abortions) since about 1968 until today, only says that the people who have run the Democrat Party have moved very far Left in their political views.
Coupled with the “toe-the-line-or-lose-your-toes” stance Liberals have (remember my post on Liberals eating their own?), it is no wonder that some Democrats have switched sides. They remained where they were ideologically, however the Democrats run to the Far-Left meant that some of these people found their ideological beliefs now aligned more with Republicans than Democrats.

How about that. Occam's Razor still applies.

Baby in the house!

Baby chick, that is.

I have owned a pair of Sun Conures since 2001, which means they predate this blog which was started in 2003. Rocket was the first one I bought, whom I took pity on. Rocket shared a tree perch with a Macaw at the breeders home and the Macaw didn't like Rocket, so the Macaw nipped 3 of 4 toes off one foot. Corky, short for Corkscrew (a type of model rocket) followed a couple of months later.

rocketcorky

They are about half way through their life span, and I never bothered to have their sex determined, which involves plucking a blood feather and sending it off for DNA analysis. If you have ever talked with me on the phone while I was home, you have heard them. They are loud, squawk a lot, and are very affectionate.

Almost a year ago, they discovered that they are a pair and started having sex. Corky is male, Rocket is the female. Eggs followed shortly there after. I built them a nest box, which they have chewed the lip (to keep things from rolling out) and the top off of it. I wasn't too concerned about egg viability because they were probably not fertile because of their age.

Probably.

Thursday night, we started hearing a very soft "peep, peep" coming from their cage. Lo and behold, a little baby Conure chick was there, freshly hatched. Panic mode ensues, hay was added to the cage and chick supplies were quickly researched and to be purchased in the morning.

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