I don't do GDPR.

I have deactivated my FB pages, personal and for here. Timeframe if/when I reactivate them is unknown.

As long as you aren't a spammer, your respectful comments will be posted. Fair warning, you want to go Godwin's Law on me, the Ban Hammer comes down.


Net Neutrality

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

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

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

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

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

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 As far as Tom Wheeler or Ajit Pai, the FCC chairmen when Net neutrality became a regulation or was repealed, what do you and I do to get them out of power if we think he's gone overboard?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

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

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

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

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

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

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Bait and Switch

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

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

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

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

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

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

bolt action

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

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

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More gun control lies

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Science with an agenda

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

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

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

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

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

This graph illustrates the altering:

NOAA 1

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

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

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The myth of the 10 round magazine

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

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

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

Here are the numbers:

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

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

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

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

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

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Mixing politics and business

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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The AWB of 2018

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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.

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The 'why' of the Second Amendment, part 2

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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.

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The 'why' of the Second Amendment, part 1

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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.

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The battlefield of words

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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.

 
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As effective as a restraining order

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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."

 
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Trust issues

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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.

 
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It's a math thing

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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.

 
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What I read

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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."

 
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What are we?

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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?

 
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