Liberty is an inherently offensive lifestyle. Living in a free society guarantees that each one of us will see our most cherished principles and beliefs questioned and in some cases mocked. That psychic discomfort is the price we pay for basic civic peace. It's worth it. It's a pragmatic principle. Defend everyone else's rights, because if you don't there is no one to defend yours. -- MaxedOutMama

I don't just want gun rights... I want individual liberty, a culture of self-reliance....I want the whole bloody thing. -- Kim du Toit

The most glaring example of the cognitive dissonance on the left is the concept that human beings are inherently good, yet at the same time cannot be trusted with any kind of weapon, unless the magic fairy dust of government authority gets sprinkled upon them.-- Moshe Ben-David

The cult of the left believes that it is engaged in a great apocalyptic battle with corporations and industrialists for the ownership of the unthinking masses. Its acolytes see themselves as the individuals who have been "liberated" to think for themselves. They make choices. You however are just a member of the unthinking masses. You are not really a person, but only respond to the agendas of your corporate overlords. If you eat too much, it's because corporations make you eat. If you kill, it's because corporations encourage you to buy guns. You are not an individual. You are a social problem. -- Sultan Knish

Monday, November 17, 2014

Quote of the Day - Education Edition

My students do know — because they have been taught this — that America is run by all-powerful racists who will never let them win. My students know — because they have been drilled in this — that the only way they can get ahead is to locate and cultivate those few white liberals who will pity them and scatter crumbs on their supplicant, bowed heads and into their outstretched palms. My students have learned to focus on the worst thing that ever happened to them, assume that it happened because America is unjust, and to recite that story, dirge-like, to whomever is in charge, from the welfare board to college professors, and to await receipt of largesse.

- Danusha V. Goska, 10 Reasons I Am No Longer a Leftist
Read the whole thing.

I am reminded of this 2011 "Truth in Fiction" excerpt from the science fiction novel The Road to Damascus:
(The party) is composed of two tiers. The lower tier produces many outspoken members who make their demands known to the upper tier. The lower tier is derived from the inner-city population that serves as the base of the party. The lower tier's members are generally educated in public school systems and if they aspire to advanced training, they are educated in facilities provided by the state. This wing constitutes the majority of (the party's) membership, but contributes little or nothing to party theory or platform. It votes the party line and is rewarded with cash payments, subsidized housing, subsidized education, and occasional preferential employment in government positions. The lower tier provides only a handful of clearly token individuals allowed to serve in high offices.

The upper tier, which includes most of the party's management, virtually all the appointed and elected government officials, and all of the party's decision-makers, is drawn exclusively from suburban areas where wealth is a fundamental criterion for admittance as a resident. These party members are generally educated at private schools and attend private colleges. They are not affected by food-rationing schemes, income caps or taxation laws, as the legislation drafted and passed by members of their social group inevitably contains loopholes that effectively shelter their income and render them immune from unpleasant statues that restrict the lives of lower-tier party members and all nonparty citizens.

(The party) leadership recognizes that in return for supporting a seemingly populist agenda, they can obtain all the votes they require to remain in power. Even the most cursory analysis of their actions and attitudes, however, indicates that they are not populists but, in fact, are strong antipopulists who actively despise their voting base. This....is proven by their efforts to reduce public educational systems to a level most grade-school children (in other countries) have surpassed, with the excuse that this curriculum is all that the students can handle. They have made the inner-city population base totally dependent on the government, which they control.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Your Moment of Zen

Since I've cut back on posting, I think I'll be doing these a bit more often:

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Anybody got some marshmallows?

Thursday, November 13, 2014

The Stupidity of the American Voter






Well, he's right.  I made the argument during what passed as "debate" over Obamacare (as did literally thousands of others) that you could not:
  • add millions to the health insurance rolls
  • add tens of thousands of IRS and other government agents to the federal payroll to regulate the Act
  • not add any doctors or medical centers to the existing system
  • eliminate lifetime payout caps
  • remove limits of insurability for those with pre-existing conditions
and honestly promise a DECREASE in health insurance costs and an IMPROVEMENT in health care services.  Much less "If you like your Plan, you can keep your Plan.  If you like your Doctor, you can keep your Doctor."

Former Congressman Thad McCotter put it quite succinctly in March of 2010:
The Democratic Party believes that you can take an imperfect health-care system and fix it by putting it under the most dysfunctional and broken entity in the United States today: It's called the Federal Government.

That proposition is insane.
But that's how they sold it.  A lot of people bought the lies.  Even worse, a lot still do.

The Democrats depend on the stupidity of their supporters.  After all, it's served them remarkably well in the past.  In 2000 (long before I started this blog) I wrote a piece now archived at KeepandBearArms.com entitled An Uncomfortable Conclusion.  I will reproduce it here, as fourteen years later I wouldn't change a word:
With the continuing legal maneuvers in the Florida election debacle, I have been forced to a conclusion that I may have been unconsciously fending off. The Democratic party thinks we're stupid. Not "amiable uncle Joe" stupid, but DANGEROUSLY stupid. Lead-by-the-hand-no-sharp-objects-don't-put-that-in-your-mouth stupid. And they don't think that just Republicans and independents are stupid, no no! They think ANYBODY not in the Democratic power elite is, by definition, a drooling idiot. A muttering moron. Pinheads barely capable of dressing ourselves.

Take, for example, the position under which the Gore election machine petitioned for a recount - that only supporters of the Democratic candidate for President lacked the skills necessary to vote properly, and that through a manual recount those erroneously marked ballots could be "properly" counted in Mr. Gore's favor. They did this in open court and on national television, and with a straight face.

So, it is with some regret that I can no longer hold that uncomfortable conclusion at bay:

They're right. We are.

Not all of us, of course, but enough. Those of us still capable of intelligent, logical, independent thought have been overwhelmed by the public school system production lines that have been cranking out large quantities of substandard product for the last thirty-five years or so. The majority of three or four generations have managed to make it into the working world with no knowledge of history, no understanding of the Constitution or civics, no awareness of geography, no ability to do even mildly complex mathematics, no comprehension of science, and realistically little to no ability to read with comprehension, or write with clarity. And we seem to have developed attention spans roughly equivalent to that of your average small bird. (Ed. - Twitter didn't come along until 2006!)

After all, about half the public accepted the Democratic premise that we were too stupid to vote correctly because their guy didn't win by a landslide, didn't they? And the other half was outraged, not that they made such a ludicrous argument, but that they didn't want to play fair and by the rules that no one seems to understand or to be able to explain.

The other majority party isn't blameless in this; they like an ignorant electorate too. It's easier to lead people who can't or won't think for themselves. It took both parties and many years of active bipartisan meddling to make the education system into an international laughingstock.

However, the end result of this downward spiral has been an electorate ignorant in the simple foundations of this country and its government. Most especially the foundation of a rule of law in which EVERYONE is equal under the laws of the land. The Democrats have taken advantage of this general ignorance to its logical extreme. President Clinton, when testifying under oath, debates the meaning of the word "is," and essentially gets away with it. Vice President Gore, when shown to be in direct violation of campaign finance law states that there was no "controlling legal authority."

Laws don't MEAN anything to them. A law is an inconvenient bit of wording that just has to be "interpreted" properly to achieve their ends. When they file suit, they must shop for the proper judge, or they might not be able to get the "spin" they want. Like the Mad Hatter in Alice in Wonderland, words mean just what they want them to mean, no more no less. And that meaning can change at any time.

What has this election proven? The system is broken beyond a shadow of a doubt. Humpty-Dumpty is smashed. Regardless of who wins the recount in Florida, we have a system that has abandoned the rule of law because the populace let it, not knowing any better. Everything is up for interpretation. We don't live in the United States of America anymore, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. We live in `Merica, land of the free to do whatever we please, with no adverse consequences to our actions because that just wouldn't be "fair". Ain't Democracy wunnerful? Let's just vote ourselves bread and circuses and wait for the Barbarians to come over the walls. Bet that'll get more than 49% of the vote, huh?
(This is the piece that got me kicked off of Democratic Underground, BTW. Somebody had to Google my name to find it and then point a DU administrator at it.)

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

The Margin of Fraud

So we have a very tight race for Arizona's Second Congressional District, the one that was represented by Gabrielle Giffords until she resigned after being wounded in a rampage shooting here in Tucson. Incumbent Ron Barber was on Giffords' staff and was also wounded in the shooting. He ran for the district in a special election and won, then ran in the 2012 General election against Republican Martha McSally, whom he narrowly defeated. Wikipedia reports:
The district was, at least on paper, slightly more Democratic than its predecessor. However, his race against Republican Martha McSally was one of the closest in the nation. McSally led on election night by a few hundred votes, but the race was initially too close to call due to a large number of provisional ballots. Barber eventually overtook McSally as more ballots were counted. By November 16, most of the outstanding ballots were in heavily Democratic precincts near Tucson. The Arizona Republic determined that as a result, McSally would not be able to pick up enough votes to overcome Barber's lead. By November 17, Barber's lead over McSally had grown to 1,400 votes. The same day, the Associated Press determined that there weren't enough ballots outstanding for McSally to regain the lead, and called the race for Barber. McSally conceded the race later that morning.
Well, history repeats, kinda.  At least it rhymes.

Once again the day after the election, McSally had a lead - 36 votes. The following day her lead had widened to 363 votes. The day after that, it narrowed to 317 votes. On Saturday the margin was 509. Sunday, 341. Monday, 179.  If the final difference is less than 200, an automatic recount is triggered.

Today's margin? One hundred thirty-three with "two hundred ballots left to count." The key quote:
(Barber spokeswoman Ashley Nash-Hahn said:) "In Pima County, 782 voters had their ballots rejected, and those votes have not been counted. During the legal recount process, we will work to see that every lawful vote is counted and that the voices of Southern Arizona are heard."
Anybody taking bets on this one?  She obviously didn't win by more than the margin of fraud.

Saturday, November 08, 2014

To the Mouth-Breathing Knuckle-Dragger Who Hit My Car

...and then just drove off:

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May the fleas of a thousand camels infest your crotch.

It's not like I wasn't WELL within my parking spot:

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UPDATE: The repair estimate is just over $1,900.

So, Ebola do you Think?

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At Tucson Comic-Con today.

Saturday, November 01, 2014

Weaponizing Government

Recently, Gerard Van der Leun posted a quote from Fred on Everything:
Fools say, "If you are not doing anything wrong, you have nothing to fear." This might be true, or partly true, or sometimes true, or occasionally plausible, if government were benevolent. It isn't.

The feds—whatever the intention of individuals—are setting up the machinery of a totalitarianism beyond anything yet known on the earth. It falls rapidly into place. You can argue, if you are optimistic enough to make Pollyanna look like a Schopenhaurian gloom-monger, that they would never use such powers. They already do. The only question is how far they will push. What cannot be argued is that they have the powers.
Please do read the whole thing.

I was reminded once again of a quote I pulled off the Geek With A .45's blog back in 2004 (sadly no longer available from the source, but I've still got it) and have repeated here often:
We, who studied the shape and form of the machines of freedom and oppression, have looked around us, and are utterly dumbfounded by what we see.

We see first that the machinery of freedom and Liberty is badly broken. Parts that are supposed to govern and limit each other no longer do so with any reliability.

We examine the creaking and groaning structure, and note that critical timbers have been moved from one place to another, that some parts are entirely missing, and others are no longer recognizable under the wadded layers of spit and duct tape. Other, entirely new subsystems, foreign to the original design, have been added on, bolted at awkward angles.

--

Others pass by without a second look, with no alarm or hue and cry, as if they are blind, as if they don't understand what they see before their very eyes. We want to shake them, to grasp their heads and turn their faces, shouting, "LOOK! Do you see what this thing is? Do you see how it might be put to use? Do you know what can happen if this thing becomes fully assembled and activated?"
Bill Whittle, interestingly, weighs in on the subject as well in his latest Afterburner:


Jonah Goldberg caught a lot of flak for his 2008 book Liberal Fascism, but they say when you're catching flak it means you're over the target.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Your Moment of Zen

I guess I wasn't kidding when I said back in May that I'd be cutting back on posting.

Anyway, here's a much-overdue Moment of Zen™ for you:

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(click for full size)



Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Fury over Fury?

Scott Ott, Bill Whittle and Stephen Green discuss the recent film Fury, and the Hollywood treatment of Americans at war.

Bear in mind, none of them had actually seen the film when this was made.  Please watch before continuing:


I saw the film on Friday, and my favorite Merchant O'Death saw it Sunday.  MO'D is a Marine from a military family, and an armor enthusiast.  I asked his opinion of the Trifecta you just watched.  Here's his response:
By happenstance, my paternal grandfather was a tank commander in the 3rd Armored Division in WWII. The 3rd AD landed in France at Omaha White beach starting on June 23rd, 1944. My granddad was assigned to the 33rd Armored Regiment, one of the units that drove ashore on the 23rd. He fought through the rest of the war, being shot out of three Shermans before being assigned as (I believe) his battalion commander's driver (in a M-5 Stuart light tank) in the last month or two of the war. His personal decorations were a Purple Heart, a Bronze Star and a Silver Star, the latter being awarded for pulling the other four crew members, who were incapacitated, out of one of the aforementioned tanks under enemy fire. He came home with all of his fingers and toes, but carrying some extra weight in the form of shrapnel in his lower extremities. There is no doubt in my military mind, that he experienced all of the brutality and horror depicted in "Fury", and some that was not shown in the film. I guarantee that he was very familiar with the dying horses and clouds of flies during the summer of 1944 that "Gordo" talks about in the movie. That really happened. His unit liberated the Nordhausen concentration camp. He fought through the "Battle of the Bulge". He was there for the battles of Aachen and Cologne. And when it was finally over, he came home to my grandmother. He went to work for the United States Postal Service as a letter carrier and retired as Postmaster of the city of Monterey Park, California raising three sons along the way.

I remember him sharing a few anecdotes of his time in Europe during the war. As a small child, I would listen intently to the stories. When I was older, especially after I had joined the Marine Corps, those anecdotes became very sobering. I had a hard time understanding why my granddad didn't clank when he walked, and wondered how he could sit comfortably with balls that big. He was a soft-spoken man that looked like an old-time college professor. I never heard him swear once. I only ever saw him drunk one time. I never saw him mad or melancholy. Never once did I hear him refer to the Germans he fought against as any thing other than "the Germans". Never heard "Nazi", "Kraut", "bad guys", "the enemy" or anything similar come from him when talking about his war time experiences. Never heard him reference the SS except in a historical context. If he harbored any special enmity toward them, I never knew of it.

There is plenty of historical data pointing to acts of brutality committed by both sides during the "War in the West", but these pale in comparison to what happened on the Eastern Front. While there are stories of something resembling chivalry between the Germans and the Western allies (Adolph Galland allowing the RAF to air drop a pair of prosthetic legs to RAF ace Douglas Bader after the latter was interred in a POW camp), quarter was neither asked nor given in the East. The Germans and Russians had a special kind of hate going on there. I think the recent "fad" of Hollywood depicting American soldiers shooting surrendering German troops or allowing German soldiers to burn to death strikes a sharp blow to the American sense of "fair play" that has been drilled into us since the end of WWII. It has been perpetuated in the myriad war movies made over a 60 year period. Were the scenes of Brad Pitt driving a fighting knife through the eye socket of a German officer and shooting a surrendering soldier in the back with a revolver brutal? Sure they were. Could they have happened in real life? Sure they could. Did they happen in real life? Probably. In the end, it was a movie. Historical fiction, not a documentary. Did these scenes offend me or make me question my own morality or shatter my noble illusion of the "greatest generation"? Nope. Would the movie have been just as effective in delivering it's message without those scenes? Probably.

My dad, who is a combat vet, has told me on more than one occasion, that if Hollywood made a war movie that ACCURATELY depicted what war was really like, people wouldn't go see it. A two hour movie would consist of ten minutes of sheer terror and utter confusion. The other hour and fifty minutes would be a bunch of guys wandering around, bitching incessantly, telling dirty jokes, farting, scratching, swearing, and grab-assing.
He also had this commentary on the film:
I went and saw "Fury" this evening. You were right, I wasn't disappointed, though I must say that there were several aspects that drove me nuts. All-in-all, I really enjoyed the film. It wasn't as violent as people had insisted it was; nothing in the movie was as disturbing as the demise of the Red Viper in GoT! Brad Pitt was very good and (much as I hate to admit it) Shia LeBeouf was exceptionally good. Since you asked, I will give you a brief run-down of my take on the movie:

Stuff I didn't like:

* The plot in general. By April of 1945, there would be NO EXCUSE for sending a single platoon of Shermans into harm's way, let alone without the support elements organic to an armored division: armored infantry (though there were some grunts in the beginning), artillery, reconnaissance, tank destroyers, anti-aircraft, combat engineers, maintenance, supply, medical etc. By that late date, there would have been more than enough men and material to make sending a single platoon of tanks out on the "mission" depicted in the film ludicrous at best.

* As usual, the Germans were depicted as inept, robotic entities. The gun crews manning the 7.5cm PaK 43s would not have missed those Shermans traversing open ground at such close range. The fact that they were SS troops makes it even more unlikely since even that late in the war, the SS still maintained a very high level of training and morale. The SS officers would NOT be wearing their early-war, "feldgrau" wool uniforms, complete with peaked officers caps. They would have been wearing the same stuff as everyone else, mostly a mix of uniform components. Due to the high level of Allied air activity at this point in the war (P-51s, P-47s, A-26s, B-26s, Typhoons and Tempests were roaming the countryside shooting, bombing and rocketing everything that remotely looked German, with impunity), a battalion of SS infantry and vehicles would not be moving down a country road in broad daylight, let alone singing the "Horst Wessel Leib" (at least I think that is what they were singing).

* Not too sure Fury's crew would be that dysfunctional. Guys that would have been together that long would have had their shit wrapped a bit tighter. Also not sure that they would have been sent a newby trained as a clerk-typist as an A-driver either. We were far from being that desperate for tank crewmen that late in the war.

* The sniper at the end of the movie just would not have been there, especially wearing a face veil (which was a beautiful, technical touch by the way).

* Too many tracers! At one point I thought I was watching the opening scene to Star Wars: Episode IV......

* I didn't see a single BAR in the movie! WTF???

Stuff I did like:

* The acting.

* The sound effects. The .50cals sounded like .50cals!

* The small arms. War Daddy had a Smith and Wesson 1917! The Germans were equipped with a believable mix of small arms. Nice to see only a few of them had Schmeissers.....

* The vehicles. Of course! The Shermans were all correct (as far as I can tell after one viewing). One M4A3E8 (Fury), one M4A1 76mm (W), and what were either two M4A3s or later production M4s, both sporting 75mm guns. The one minor issue was the use of T-84 tracks on "Fury" when they should have been T-66 or T-80 tracks. T-66 tracks are pretty scarce these days, but T-80s are pretty common. The T-84 track was used on Shermans post-war. I'll give that one to Hollywood. The knocked out vehicles at the beginning were well done, including a PzKpfw IV aufs H or J and a Panther (could have been CG, I suppose)! Some of the vehicles in the background throughout the film include an M-4 high speed cargo tractor towing a 105mm howitzer, an M-26 "Dragon Wagon" tank recovery vehicle, several "deuce-and-a-halves", what appears to be an honest-to-goodness Schwimmwagen, several SdKfz 251 halftracks (which could have been Czech OT-810s but as there are several original -251s in running condition I am betting hey are the real deal), and the requisite Jeep. The star of the show, as far as I am concerned, is the REAL PzKpfw Mk VI, known to one and all as the Tiger. The only running Tiger I in existence and someone finally managed to put it in a movie! That was worth the price of admission all by itself!

This is just a brief summary. There were several other, smaller items that bothered me, but I think the movie was really impressive overall. I'm sure I will go see it a couple of more times.
So, not too much outrage over the war crimes, check.

None on my part, either.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Quote of the Day - Ebola Edition

If we have to live in a Stephen King novel, why did it have to be The Stand?

 Seen on Facebook.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Friday, October 10, 2014

Apparently They Nuked Pandora...

The Na'vi have been wiped out, and mining of Unobtanium has resumed.

My 8-lb. keg of Unobtanium Unique finally came in.  Along with a 4-lb. keg of Power Pistol.

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Remember, I found a 8-pounder back in June.  The retailer wanted $299 for it, plus HazMat.  I passed.

Powder Valley still shows the 8-lb. keg for $109.25, but they don't have any.  My local retailer wanted $199.00 plus tax.  I paid it.  And $99 for the Power Pistol.

Remember those halcyon days of, oh, two years ago when pistol powder was about $18/lb in quantity?  Yeah.  So do I. 

The shop got in two of those 8-pounders.  Another customer saw mine and bought the other one on the spot.

Looks like I'll be loading this weekend!

Thursday, October 09, 2014

"Are we all quite mad here in the developed world?"

Not all of us, but far too many.

Next question?

Mark Champion of Bloomberg View asks the question upon considering the reaction to the government of Spain deciding to euthanize a mixed-breed dog, pet of a Spanish nursing assistant who contracted the Ebola virus.  He reports:
A petition to save Excalibur, the pet dog of a Spanish nursing assistant who has contracted Ebola, received more than 370,000 signatures before the animal was sedated and killed as a precautionary measure this evening. As his corpse was taken away in a van for incineration, a crowd of activists who had clashed with police during the day were reportedly shouting: "murderers!"

I don't remember people clashing with police to persuade their governments to do more to help stop the spread of Ebola in Africa, where more than 3,400 human beings have died from the disease. Indeed, an online petition to persuade the U.S. government to fast-track research for an Ebola drug has so far received 152,534 signatures. By that measure, we care half as much about finding a cure for Ebola as saving a dog.
Go read the piece and look at the pictures of the protesters in this Daily Mail piece.

In related news, PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, not People Eating Tasty Animals) wants to put up a granite memorial at a location where "hundreds of terrified chickens suffered and died" as the result of a truck accident.

I think a memorial Kentucky Fried Chicken outlet should be built there.

A Popeye's just wouldn't have the proper gravitas.

Edited to add:  James Lileks weighs in on the subject.

Thursday, October 02, 2014

Dealing with Loss

I posted about a week ago that Boo, my 19 year-old cat died.  Nineteen years is a long time to share with another creature, and loss is painful.  If you've ever had pets, you've almost certainly gone through it.

Another blogger lost her best buddy not too long ago.  Brigid lost her black Lab, Barkley back in February after almost eleven years.

Each of us deals with loss in different ways.  I've been blogging for a bit more than eleven years now, but I'm a good technical writer.  Anything other than posting an announcement of his passing is pretty much beyond me.

I've been reading Brigid since she started blogging.  To deal with her loss, she wrote The Book of Barkley, and it is everything she is online and more.  It is the story of  her life and the portion she shared with Barkley.  Brigid is an artist.  Words are her medium.  She paints with them - still lifes, landscapes, and sweeping frescoes of words.  Some are dark, some are cheerful, some are funny and some are startlingly beautiful and poignant.

She has used the proceeds from the sales of her book to help other bloggers, donate to Lab Rescue, and help out her dad who is 94 and in poor health.  Want a good book?  Pick it up on Amazon or wherever good books are sold online.