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, August 31, 2009

Restoring the Lost Constitution

Can we?

Don't doubt that it's been lost. A while back I struggled through Randy Barnett's Restoring the Lost Constitution: The Presumption of Liberty, a college-level text on that subject. Barnett thinks we can, but first he spends some time detailing how we went from, in his words, “islands of government power in a sea of liberty” to the exact opposite - sinking islands of liberty in an ever-expanding sea of government power. For Barnett, a law professor, the changes are viewed through a narrow lens - that of legislation and court decisions. He views the path back largely as a reversal of that course, but I don't think the courts can save us.

If you're a hardcore Three-Percenter, you may believe that the Constitution might be restored by men fighting a 300 meter Second Revolutionary War with small-arms. I'm not so sanguine about that one, but I appreciate the sentiment. If I thought it could actually work, I'd be on the front lines pulling triggers.

Current pundits think the path back might be through a "throw the bums out" sweeping change of our legislative bodies. I'm not so sanguine about that, either, as I'll explain.

But don't for a moment doubt that whatever the government is operating under presently, it isn't the Constitution of the United States that each and every elected and appointed public official still swears an oath to uphold and defend, and it hasn't been for quite some time.

Back in October of last year, I posted a short video of a portion of an interview of Soviet defector Yuri Bezmenov discussing the socialist strategy of "ideological subversion" of an enemy country. That interview was taped in 1985. As Bezmenov explained, the process of "ideological subversion" was:
To change the perception of reality of every American to such an extent that despite of their balance of information no one is able to come to sensible conclusions in the interest of defending themselves, their families, their community and their country.

It's a great brainwashing process which goes very slow, and it is divided in four basic stages. The first one being demoralization. It takes from 15-20 years to demoralize a nation. Why that many years? Because this is the minimum number of years it takes to educate one generation of students in the country of your enemy.

--

In other words, Marxism-Leninism is being pumped into the soft heads of at least three generations of American students, without being challenged or counterbalanced with the basic values of Americanism, America patriotism.
Recently I've been reading John Taylor Gatto's The Underground History of American Education. Gatto states in no uncertain terms that from his perspective something changed radically in the American public education system in 1965. It did so in all the metropolitan school systems nationwide, and later spread to the suburban and rural school systems. Bezmenov states that "at least three generations of American students" had socialism "pumped into their heads" as of 1985 - that is, a minimum of 45 years of "ideological subversion," dating back between 1925 and 1940, and putting the first generation subject to that subversion into positions in the educational system that enabled enaction of that widespread systemic alteration by 1965, and accelerate the process further.

Here we are in 2009, a further twenty-four years on, and we have elected as President a man whose supporters see Ché Guevara as a hero, who was surrounded by active supporters of socialism, who appointed at least one advisor who is an open communist, and his history strongly suggests that the President was heavily influenced by socialists throughout his life.

Many of his generation (which is mine) were.

I'm not saying that the entire population of the country has been brainwashed by an organized, orchestrated conspiracy of the Tuesday Night Socialist Club, far from it. But the evidence strongly suggests that the undeniably attractive "from each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs" ideology has set deep roots in the American culture since Marx first cast the seeds of his philosophy to the four winds. In fact, a 2002 Columbia Law School survey found
. . . that sixty-nine percent of respondents either thought that the United States Constitution contained Marx's maxim, or did not know whether or not it did.

The survey result cannot be dismissed as anomalous, for it parallels the outcome of a survey conducted by the Hearst Corporation fifteen years ago.
And law professor Michael C. Dorf, who I quote from above, next asks the real question of this essay:
These results, taken together, are troubling for a constitutional democracy in which popular consent underwrites the government's legitimacy. How can Americans be said to tacitly ratify the Constitution over time when so many of them have a deeply erroneous idea of what it contains?
What Constitution would we restore? Sixty-nine percent of the survey respondents couldn't even tell you that it didn't contain Marx's maxim!

I haven't read the book, but Orson Scott Card, in a piece he wrote five years ago, reviewed a book by Jane Jacobs, Dark Age Ahead. In that review, he quotes this:
Jacobs sees us as being well down the road to a self-inflicted Dark Age, in which we will have thrown away many of the very things that made our civilization so dominant, so prosperous, so successful. We are not immune to the natural laws that govern the formation and dissolution of human communities: When the civilization no longer provides the benefits that lead to success, then, unsurprisingly, the civilization is likely to fail.
As she says in her introduction, "People living in vigorous cultures typically treasure those cultures and resist any threat to them. How and why can a people so totally discard a formerly vital culture that it becomes literally lost?"
Dark Age Ahead gives us a series of concrete examples of exactly that process.
"Every culture," she says, "takes pains to educate its young so that they, in their turn, can practice and transmit it completely." Our civilization, however, is failing to do that. On the contrary, we are systematically training our young not to embrace the culture that brought us greatness.
A civilization is truly dead, she says, when "even the memory of what has been lost is lost."
A civilization is truly dead when even the memory of what has been lost is lost.

That quote has stuck with me ever since. (And I recommend you read the rest of Card's post as well.)

For whatever reason, we have not passed on our culture. We have systematically discarded it, forgotten it, refuted it, and in some cases reviled it. Card himself, in one of his more recent novels, described America thus:
(America) was a nation created out of nothing - nothing but a set of ideals that they never measured up to. Now and then they had great leaders, but usually nothing but political hacks, and I mean right from the start. Washington was great, but Adams was paranoid and lazy, and Jefferson was as vile a scheming politician as a nation has ever been cursed with.

...

America shaped itself with institutions so strong that it could survive corruption, stupidity, vanity, ambition, recklessness, and even insanity in its chief executive.
But can it survive enmity?

The Constitution is the fundamental legal document of our nation. It is the philosophy of John Locke laid down as the basic law of the land: Life, liberty, property. Protect all three against attacks from both private individuals and governments - including our own.

But socialism is based on the philosophy of Rousseau, and the two are totally incompatible. As Jonah Goldberg put it during an interview with radio host Hugh Hewitt back in February of last year:
Rousseau says the government is there, that our rights come from the government, that (they) come from the collective. Locke says our rights come from God, and that we only create a government to protect our interests. The Rousseauian says you can make a religion out of society and politics, and the Lockean says no, religion is a separate sphere from politics. And that is the defining distinction between the two, and I think that distinction also runs through the human heart, that we all have a Rousseauian temptation in us. And it's the job of conservatives to remind people that the Lockean in us needs to win.
And I'm afraid we've already lost that fight. There aren't enough Lockeans left, and we awoke too late. Rousseau's beautiful but flawed philosophy has, like the pied-piper, led our children to the pier, and the Endarkenment cometh.

And there's your free ice cream for the day.

Just Another Busy Week

Just Another Busy Week

Posting again promises to be slow. Sorry 'bout that, but the free ice cream machine is on the fritz!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Quote of the Day

Quote of the Day
Rules are for the proles.

If you're Charlie Rangel or Tim Geithner, you can cheat on your taxes without consequences.

If you're Bill Clinton or Ted Kennedy, you can treat women in the most beastly fashion with impunity.

If you're Al Gore or RFK Jr, you can pontificate about global warming while living in a mansion and flying around the world in private jets.

If you're Nancy Pelosi, you can staff your vineyard with non-unionized illegal aliens living in squalor.

Welcome to Animal Farm, Democratic Party style.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Falling Down On the Job

Falling Down On the Job

As mentioned, the first rule of blogging is to try to post something every day. Rule #2 is to try to make your posts topical and interesting, or at least interesting.

Fail.

It's been a busy week, and next week looks much the same. The following week is, of course, the Gun Blogger Rendezvous, so things should pick up quite bit. Oh, and I've heard from Joe Rothstein:
Kevin:
On vacation now. I'll get back to you after Labor Day.
We'll see, I suppose.

Anyway, there'll be more content soon, I promise.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Post for Thursday


I guess I'm supposed to say something about Ted Kennedy's passing. The only thing that comes to mind is that he indeed got to skip out of the party without paying his portion of the check. From Peggy Noonan's WSJ piece a few years ago, A Separate Peace:
Do people fear the wheels are coming off the trolley? Is this fear widespread? A few weeks ago I was reading Christopher Lawford's lovely, candid and affectionate remembrance of growing up in a particular time and place with a particular family, the Kennedys, circa roughly 1950-2000. It's called "Symptoms of Withdrawal." At the end he quotes his Uncle Teddy. Christopher, Ted Kennedy and a few family members had gathered one night and were having a drink in Mr. Lawford's mother's apartment in Manhattan. Teddy was expansive. If he hadn't gone into politics he would have been an opera singer, he told them, and visited small Italian villages and had pasta every day for lunch. "Singing at la Scala in front of three thousand people throwing flowers at you. Then going out for dinner and having more pasta." Everyone was laughing. Then, writes Mr. Lawford, Teddy "took a long, slow gulp of his vodka and tonic, thought for a moment, and changed tack. 'I'm glad I'm not going to be around when you guys are my age.' I asked him why, and he said, 'Because when you guys are my age, the whole thing is going to fall apart.' "
Mr. Lawford continued, "The statement hung there, suspended in the realm of 'maybe we shouldn't go there.' Nobody wanted to touch it. After a few moments of heavy silence, my uncle moved on."
Lawford thought his uncle might be referring to their family--that it might "fall apart." But reading, one gets the strong impression Teddy Kennedy was not talking about his family but about . . . the whole ball of wax, the impossible nature of everything, the realities so daunting it seems the very system is off the tracks.
And--forgive me--I thought: If even Teddy knows . . .
I think there's a real good chance "the whole thing is going to fall apart" in just the next few years.

I'm really curious to know just how old Teddy was when he said that.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

First Rule of Blogging

First Rule of Blogging:

Try to post something every day.

This is all you're getting today!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Those Who Can, Do

Those Who Can, Do

The old saying is "Those who can, do. Those who can't, teach. Those who can't teach, criticize."

There's a new addition: "The completely incompetent go to work for the government."

Read the tale that Mostly Cajun tells.

And remember - we're supposed to want government oversight of our health care?

You REALLY Want to Come to the Rendezvous


Mr. Completely has put up a schedule of the activities planned for this year's Gun Blogger Rendezvous:
Thursday, September 10th

2:30 pm. Leave the Hospitality Room to car pool to Scheel’s Sports Store in nearby Sparks.

3:00 pm – 5:00 pm. Guided tour at Scheel’s Sports and browsing/shopping. Pick up munchies and soft drinks on way back to hotel.

6:00pm. Leave the Hospitality Room to go to dinner. Location to be determined later.

Thursday Evening until midnight: Refreshments and conversation at the Silver Legacy Hospitality room. Bring your own refreshments and munchies.


Friday, September 11th.

8:00am. Leave the Silver Legacy Hospitality room, then downstairs to one of the restaurants for breakfast.

8:45am. Leave the Silver Legacy Hospitality room to car pool up and head out to the Washoe County Shooting Facility, the Pyramid range for rifle and pistol target shooting out to 900 yards.

9:30am – 2:00pm. At the range.

3:00 pm. – 5:45pm. Show-N-Tell at the Silver Legacy Hospitality room.

6:00pm. Leave the Silver Legacy Hospitality room to go to the ground floor to Gecko’s BBQ Restaurant for dinner.

Friday Evening until midnight: Refreshments and conversation at the Silver Legacy Hospitality room. Bring your own refreshments and munchies.


Saturday, September 12th.

8:00am. Leave the Silver Legacy Hospitality room, then downstairs to one of the restaurants for breakfast.

8:45am. Leave the Silver Legacy Hospitality room to car pool up and head out to the Washoe County Shooting Facility, the Pyramid range for an introduction to Steel Challenge Action Pistol shooting.

9:30am – 2:00pm. At the range.

4:30 – 5:15pm. Rachel Parsons of the NRA

5:15 – 6pm. Bill Brassard of the National Shooting Sports Foundation

6:00 pm. NSSF all you can eat pizza feed at the Silver Legacy Hospitality room. After dinner will be the fund raiser raffle for Project Valour-IT and the drawings for the door prizes.

Saturday Evening until Midnight: Refreshments and conversation at the Silver Legacy Hospitality room. Bring your own refreshments and munchies.


Sunday, September 13th.

7:30am. Leave the Silver Legacy Hospitality room, then head downstairs to one of the restaurants for breakfast.

8:15am. Leave for the Virginia City Camel Races Festival and Cowboy Fast Draw Blogger Match.

9:00am – 10:00am. Cowboy Fast Draw Shooting.

The Cowboy Fast Draw shooting is the last scheduled event for the Gun Blogger Rendezvous, but many attendees will be staying Sunday night and returning home on Monday. The Camel Races Festival, The Reno Car Museum, the Downtown River Walk, the new Reno Museum, and a number of other things should be considered for the rest of the day on Sunday.


Note that many of the times shown are departure times. Plan on being there a little earlier than the departure time.
OK, that's what's planned. There's also a FAQ post if you need some more info.

Now, on Saturday night we're going to have the raffle drawings, and as you should know by now, we're giving away the Para GI Expert that I'm donating and a $2,000 value training certificate to Front Sight that YOU NEED NOT BE PRESENT TO WIN. (The prizes are separate - two prizes, two winners.) So far we have sold about 175 tickets for these two prizes, and we still have a bit over two weeks to go before those sales stop.

BUT IF YOU ATTEND, there are a myriad of other prizes you can win. (Attendees also have a shot at the GI Expert and the training certificate.) Hi-Point has donated their new 9mm Carbine, and Para USA had promised to donate a pistol as well.

Today they revealed what that pistol will be, their Gun Rights Edition high-capacity PXT P14:

The specs are:
Product Code: PX1445S GR
Caliber: .45 ACP
Rounds: 14+1
Barrel: 5"
Weight: 40 oz.
Length: 8.5"
Height: 5.75"
Hammer: Spurred
Sights: Fiber-Optic Front/2-Dot Rear
Receiver: Stainless
Finish: Stainless
Magazine: PNM45
MSRP: $1,149.00
I'm (obviously) not eligible to win the GI Expert, but I'd LOVE to win this pistol!

So far the attendee's list is about 34 names long, so your odds will be pretty good!

READ THIS

READ THIS:
You don't really "arrive" in Germany, as much as you are born there: naked, bleeding, in pain, unsure of your surroundings, not knowing anyone and wondering what in the hell just happened.

-- Maj. Chuck Zeigenfuss, From My Position... On the Way!: "He has no personal effects..."
Then read this:
British officers in his unit, 2 Rifles, wanted to track their man every step of the way, and to ensure that his family was informed and supported in this time of high stress. Yet having their soldier suddenly in the American system caused a temporary glitch in communications with folks in Germany. The British leadership in Sangin could have worked through the glitch within some hours, but that would have been hours wasted, and they wanted to know the status of their soldier now. So a British officer in Sangin – thinking creatively –asked if I knew any shortcuts to open communications. The right people were only an email away: Soldiers Angels. And so within about two minutes, these fingers typed an email with this subject heading: CALLING ALL ANGELS.

Soldiers’ Angels Shelle Michaels and MaryAnn Phillips moved into action. Day by day British officers mentioned how Soldiers Angels were proving to be incredibly helpful. The soldiers expressed deep and sincere appreciation. Yet again, the Angels arrived during a time of need.

-- Michael Yon, Do Americans Care about British Soldiers?
Maj. Zeigenfuss concludes his piece with this:
If you've not joined soldiers angels yet, please do so. There are many ways you can help, either through time, monetarily, visiting, writing a letter, or adopting one of over a thousand soldiers who have asked
* Donate a backpack
* Donate items for a backpack
* Make a Blanket of Hope
See why the Gun Blogger Rendezvous supports Soldiers' Angels and Project Valour IT? And why you should, too?

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Your Moment of Zen

Your Moment of Zen

Time for another:


A ray of hope?

Quote of the WEEK

Quote of the WEEK

From this YouTube video taken at a Washington Town Hall with Rep. Brian "Brownshirt" Baird:

As a Marine, as a disabled veteran that served this country, I've kept my oath. Do you ever intend to keep yours?

David from Camas, WA
His Nancy Pelosi line was a close second.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

I LOVE FedEx

I LOVE FedEx!

I'm writing this post from my new EeePC which was delivered to me this afternoon by the guy that owns the local FedEx Home Delivery franchise! For whatever reason, Woot! shipped this thing "home delivery," and FedEx tried to deliver it to my place of work at 7:50 AM. Of course, no one was there.

I called the FedEx toll-free number and explained that they'd tried to deliver to my office, could I pick it up at their local main office? She put me on hold and contacted that office. When she returned she told me that they would try to deliver it again. I asked "when?" and was told "During business hours."

Marvelous.

So I went down to the office for a while this morning. To no avail, of course. I left a note on the front door: "FedEx, Sorry I Missed You." I then went on about my day.

I'd just gotten back from the grocery store and was putting the stuff away when my cell phone rang. It was about 4:30PM. "Mr Baker? This is the FedEx Home Delivery guy. I'm at your office."

Thankfully I live about five minutes from the office. He waited until I got there. He'd gotten an email from Corporate, and wanted to make sure I was happy.

He succeeded!

I WILL NOT REGISTER


Instapundit links to a piece by Declan McCullagh at the CBS News site, Sorry, Mandatory Gun Registration Is Constitutional. Instapundit comments:
Though I disagree with that as policy, that’s probably right. I could certainly construct a chilling-effect sort of argument that would be no more unfounded than many other constitutional doctrines that are “good law” today, but I’m not sure that such is really compelled by the Constitution. On the other hand, that the 1792 Militia Act required people to prove that they owned at least one qualifying gun is not necessarily support for the notion that you must account to the government for every gun you own.
I'm forced to admit that I agree with the good professor. If the .gov wants to know if I have at least one "qualifying gun," I'll be more than happy to tell them. I have a CCW, so they already have reason to believe I own at least one handgun (and I write this blog, so they know I own a lot more than that, but not how many in total, and not by serial number.) But if they want a list of everything I own, not only "No," but "HELL NO!"

And why? Because I fully concur with the sentiment expressed by Charles T. Morgan, the Director of the Washington, D.C. office of the ACLU in 1975 House testimony on a gun registration bill:
What the administation's and Congressman McClory's bills . . . call for is a whole new set of Federal records. . . .

I have not one doubt, even if I am in agreement with the National Rifle Association, that that kind of a record-keeping procedure is the first step to eventual confiscation under one administration or another.
That's all it's good for.

A while back someone (Tam, I believe) proposed an excellent illustration of the futility of registraion and licensing as a crime-control measure: Take a standard 8.5 x 11 inch piece of paper. Fold it in half and tear it along the fold. With a pen, write "License" on one piece and "Registration" on the other. Hand the piece marked "Registration" to the supporter of such laws, and say:
You are the government. That's my registration. This piece of paper in my hand is my license, and this pen is my licensed, registered firearm. Explain to me, using only these three items, how licensing and registration will prevent me from criminally misusing my firearm.
Yes, registration may very well be Constitutional, but it is useful for only one thing: eventual confiscation. There are already something on the order of 300 million firearms in private hands in this country, the vast majority of which are not registered. Canada has a two billion dollar boondoggle on its hands trying to register a tiny fraction of that number of rifles and shotguns, and it is still being plagued by massive non-compliance.

If it's tried here in the States, I will be among the non-compliant.

Quote of the Day

Quote of the Day

I stole this one from my boss's blog:
I will add as a fifth circumstance in the situation of the House of Representatives, restraining them from oppressive measures, that they can make no law which will not have its full operation on themselves and their friends, as well as on the great mass of the society. This has always been deemed one of the strongest bonds by which human policy can connect the rulers and the people together. It creates between them that communion of interests and sympathy of sentiments of which few governments have furnished examples; but without which every government degenerates into tyranny. If it be asked what is to restrain the House of Representatives from making legal discriminations in favor of themselves and a particular class of the society? I answer, the genius of the whole system, the nature of just and constitutional laws, and above all the vigilant and manly spirit which actuates the people of America, a spirit which nourishes freedom, and in return is nourished by it.

If this spirit shall ever be so far debased as to tolerate a law not obligatory on the Legislature as well as on the people, the people will be prepared to tolerate anything but liberty.

James Madison as "Publius", Federalist No. 57, February 19, 1788
". . . the people will be prepared to tolerate anything but liberty."

We certainly seem to be.

Friday, August 21, 2009

It's Not Really Prophecy


A couple of weeks ago I wrote Malice vs. Stupidity, a post in part about the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) - a piece of self-congratulatory legislation overwhelmingly passed by our Congresscritters in the wake of lead-contaminated toys from China. While listening to the Vicious Circle #15 podcast this afternoon, I heard Alan say that he fully expected to see someone get prosecuted and convicted for selling a children's book in violation of that Act, and TD (I think) said the book probably wouldn't even be contaminated - thus someone would go to jail for selling a legal product.

Then this evening Instapundit links to a story about the Feds going after garage sales:
Seller, beware: Feds cracking down on garage sales

If you're planning a garage sale or organizing a church bazaar, you'd best beware: You could be breaking a new federal law. As part of a campaign called Resale Roundup, the federal government is cracking down on the secondhand sales of dangerous and defective products.

The initiative, which targets toys and other products for children, enforces a new provision that makes it a crime to resell anything that's been recalled by its manufacturer.

"Those who resell recalled children's products are not only breaking the law, they are putting children's lives at risk," said Inez Tenenbaum, the recently confirmed chairwoman of the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

The crackdown affects sellers ranging from major thrift-store operators such as Goodwill and the Salvation Army to everyday Americans cleaning out their attics for yard sales, church bazaars or — increasingly — digital hawking on eBay, Craigslist and other Web sites.

Secondhand sellers now must keep abreast of recalls for thousands of products, some of them stretching back more than a decade, to stay within the bounds of the law.
Keep reading and you'll see that the Federal agents charged with enforcement of these laws are also given the responsibility to enforce the CPSIA restrictions as well.

Is there anything the Federal government isn't responsible for regulating or enforcing anymore?

Abandonment or Ass-Covering?

Abandonment or Ass-Covering?

Sailorcurt links to a fascinating op-ed at CBS that proclaims as its headline:
The Health Care Cost Saving Myth
Dan McLaughlin: There Will Be No Cost Savings. There's No Sense In Pretending Otherwise.
Holy $hit! Honesty in the MSM! The piece continues with flawless logic:
One of the central selling points used by President Obama to push the Democrats' health care plan is the notion that a comprehensive overhaul of the health care system will reduce costs. But costs to who, and how? Let's step back a minute and try to figure out how Obama's cost-cutting argument could possibly be so.

First, a quick reminder of two reasons why cost-cutting is such an important selling point.

Number one, the core of what the Democratic base, in particular, wants from health care "reform" is universal coverage. You often hear statistics thrown around about there being 30 or 35 or, last I heard, 47 million people without health insurance, and the implication that these people are receiving zero or negligible healthcare. Debunking those statistics and assumptions is itself a cottage industry, but let's leave that aside for the moment, because the fact of the matter is that in a country of 300 million people, when you strip out the people who (1) already have health insurance and expect to continue having it, (2) don't especially want to buy health insurance, (3) are only briefly without health insurance and not worried about it, or (4) don't or can't vote, what you end up with is a very small slice of the electorate that would benefit from getting health insurance they currently lack or fear lacking. Now, voters don't only vote their own self-interests on any issue - but the fewer people who benefit directly from legislation, the harder it is to drum up public support for a bill that may threaten the self-interest of others. So, it becomes politically necessary, if the bill is to be as sweeping and ambitious as most of the versions circulated have been, to sell it to the public on the basis of some argument above and beyond insuring the uninsured. That's doubly so because if your goal was solely to insure the uninsured, much of what is in the various bills would be unnecessary.
(My emphasis.)

So we've established that the purpose cannot be to "insure the uninsured." Onward!
Second, specific to the issue of saving money for the federal government, the Obama Administration and the Democrats have already severely tried the electorate's appetite for massive expansions of federal spending, especially deficit spending. The explosion of new spending, most notably the pork-laden "stimulus" bill, makes prior complaints about spending under Bush look like complaints about the deck chairs on the Titanic and flatly contradicts Obama's read-my-lips pledge during two of last October's debates that his proposals would result in a net reduction of federal spending. The voters have noticed that they're not getting anything resembling what they were promised. Thus, Obama has repeatedly pledged, with the same assurance as his campaign pledge on spending, that the health care bill would be "deficit neutral." The Congressional Budget Office, typically a liberal redoubt, has repeatedly thrown cold water on the claim that any of the proposals on the table would be deficit-neutral. Clearly, to get there, cost savings would need to be found somewhere to completely offset outlays.

How's that gonna work?
Damned fine question! And remarkable admissions for an MSM outlet to publish! (I guess they figure no one really reads anymore.)
Let's review the options. The Democrats' main argument is that restructuring the entire health care sector will reduce the nation's total (public and private) outlay for health care. When you boil it down, though, there are only three variables you can cut: reduce the amount of medical care provided; reduce what providers of medical care earn for their products and services; and reduce intermediary costs. All are problematic.

I. Less Medical Care
AKA: "Rationing."
The most obvious way to cut spending on medical care is to buy less of it. That's at the crux of the public's worry about "death panels" cutting off care, about rationing; it's why so many of the people showing up agitated at town halls are senior citizens worried about getting less medical care.

The "death panel" phrase was shorthand, of course, but it neatly captured the core of the problem: government already rations care, albeit not very efficienctly, in programs like Medicare and Medicaid (see, e.g., here - then again, the failure to do more rationing explains those programs' exploding, budget-busting costs) and the end-of-life consulting procedures criticized by Palin and subsequently dropped by chastened Democrats are not the only way in which government incentives could or would be brought to bear on physicians to push patients from consuming health care to preparing for death or assisted suicide. More here, among many other places. But you don't have to be looking at the end-stage to see that any plan premised upon cost-cutting by reducing the amount of care provided would, well, reduce the amount of care provided. And if the costs being cut are taxpayer costs, the power to do so would end up being vested in some sort of governmental entity, likely a panel of government-appointed "experts," as Mickey Kaus notes was alluded to by President Obama himself back in April:

THE PRESIDENT: So that's where I think you just get into some very difficult moral issues. But that's also a huge driver of cost, right?

I mean, the chronically ill and those toward the end of their lives are accounting for potentially 80 percent of the total health care bill out here.

LEONHARDT: So how do you - how do we deal with it?

THE PRESIDENT: Well, I think that there is going to have to be a conversation that is guided by doctors, scientists, ethicists. And then there is going to have to be a very difficult democratic conversation that takes place. It is very difficult to imagine the country making those decisions just through the normal political channels. And that's part of why you have to have some independent group that can give you guidance. It's not determinative, but I think has to be able to give you some guidance.
Mark Steyn had a fascinating example of such rationing in a National Review piece last week. In it he illustrated the difference between health "care" and medical treatment. And yesterday I pointed to a piece by Maj. Chuck Zeigenfuss illustrating that "death panels" are completely unnecessary, so long as you have the right forms handy.
One argument advanced by proponents of the various plans is that costs would be reduced by providing more care, because preventative care would prevent more expensive care from being needed. Even leaving aside the grim fact of human mortality (i.e., preventing heart disease at one age can just leave you to die slowly of cancer or suffer prolonged dementia later), Charles Krauthammer notes that studies in reputable medical journals have concluded that the need to offer preventative care to so many people to make sure you catch health problems early means that more widespread preventative care is more, not less expensive:

Think of it this way. Assume that a screening test for disease X costs $500 and finding it early averts $10,000 of costly treatment at a later stage. Are you saving money? Well, if one in 10 of those who are screened tests positive, society is saving $5,000. But if only one in 100 would get that disease, society is shelling out $40,000 more than it would without the preventive care.
Another illustration of the adage that "For every problem there is a solution which is simple, obvious, and wrong."

And usually government-mandated.
That's a hypothetical case. What's the real-life actuality? In Obamaworld, as explained by the president in his Tuesday town hall, if we pour money into primary care for diabetics instead of giving surgeons "$30,000, $40,000, $50,000″ for a later amputation - a whopper that misrepresents the surgeon's fee by a factor of at least 30 - "that will save us money." Back on Earth, a rigorous study in the journal Circulation found that for cardiovascular diseases and diabetes, "if all the recommended prevention activities were applied with 100 percent success," the prevention would cost almost 10 times as much as the savings, increasing the country's total medical bill by 162 percent. That's because prevention applied to large populations is very expensive, as shown by another report Elmendorf cites, a definitive review in the New England Journal of Medicine of hundreds of studies that found that more than 80 percent of preventive measures added to medical costs.

Whatever else can be said for more preventative care, it is likely to offer no great cost savings.
Quite the opposite, in fact. ("Obamaworld"? "Back on Earth"? I like this guy!)

Why is it that this is so obvious to the people who actually look, but denied by those who so strongly urge rapid passage of "health care reform" legislation?

Don't you wonder?
Moreover, reducing the total amount of care provided contradicts one of the central premises of the entire project, which is that it will result in providing more care to tens of millions of people not presently receiving it. As Bob Hahn notes, if this is the case, it won't just drive up costs but will create shortages:

If we added 47 million more people to the health care system, there would be lines. We wouldn't even know how to send 47 million more people to McDonald's without causing lines.
Around the blogosphere, this kind of observation is usually noted with a resounding DUH!
I'm unfamiliar with the details, but apparently there is some provision in Obama's plan that expands the number of doctors, nurses, hospital beds, etc., to instantly accommodate 47 million more people. It usually takes eight to ten years to school a new doctor, so whatever the Democrats are doing here is a major advance.

The Democrats can't have it both ways. One way or another, they either need to sell the public on the idea of sharply curtailing the amount of medical care provided, or stop claiming cost savings that can only come from less care.
(*ahem*) DUH!
II. Medical Care For Less Cost

The issue of shortages brings us to the problem with the second option: rather than reducing the amount of care provided, reduce the amount paid to the people who provide it: doctors, nurses, and pharmaceutical and medical device companies. Certainly on the Left there is a fair amount of sentiment for making it less profitable to provide care. But there is really no getting around the basics of supply and demand: if we make it less profitable to become a doctor, we will end up with fewer doctors. If we skimp on salaries for nurses, home health aides, and less-skilled care providers (e.g., people who work in nursing homes), we will exacerbate the existing shortage of nurses and other providers, which is likely to become more acute in years to come as the population ages. And if labor responds to financial incentives, capital is even more sensitive: slash the profit margins of drug companies and medical device manufacturers, and inevitably there will be less investor capital for those companies and less coming out of the pipeline in terms of drugs and devices that save or improve lives. The net effect will be the same as rationing care directly: cost savings will come only by reducing the quantity and quality of medical care.
But that's back here on Earth. In Obamaworld . . .
III. Cutting Out The Middleman

With open advocacy of government rationing of care largely politically infeasible and reducing the profitability of health care providers economically impractical, the debate logically falls upon the middlemen, mainly insurance companies. Pretty much everybody hates insurance companies, whose business model by nature involves collecting more money than they lay out. And there's empirical data to support the idea that we're spending proportionally more of our health care dollars on insurance, rather than care, than we used to spend. To shift the discussion away from rationing care, Democrats are desperately trying to paint the insurers as somehow siphoning off more money to enrich themselves than they "should," an effort that's now leading to an especially vindictive crackdown by panicked Congressional liberals:

House Democrats are probing the nation's 52 largest insurance companies for lavish spending, demanding reams of compensation data and schedules of retreats and conferences.

Setting a deadline of Sept. 14, the letters demand extensive documents for an examination of "executive compensation and other business practices in the health insurance industry."

The main idea here, other than simply intimidating the insurers, is to try to sell the Democrats' plan on the theory that the insurers are artificially inflating their overhead. The fact that they have to subpoena 52 companies suggests that this will not be as easy a case to make as in the case of a monopoly industry…and of course, a monopoly is the preferred solution of Democratic policymakers, elected officials and even Democratic base voters who essentially see the long-term goal as using a "public option" to plant the seeds for replacing this patchwork of private companies with a single-payer system of government monopoly insurance.
Which I covered here. They deny, deny, deny when in front of the general public, but when surrounded by the like-minded, they have no problem declaring the actual end-game being pursued. (Damned YouTube.)
But let's unpack here a little further the elements of the expense of a middleman. First of all, there's the question of why have insurance at all. Most of us pay for other life essentials - food, clothing, shelter, transportation - directly, rather than buying, say, grocery insurance to make sure that an insurance company or government agency will give us groceries every week on terms acceptable to the insurer plus a premium. Now, unless you are seriously wealthy, insurance against truly catastrophic health care costs makes economic sense, so that the pool of the insured absorbs the individual occurrences of massive spikes in one person's health care costs. But pretty much all the proposals on the table go far beyond purely catastrophic coverage.
This is a point I think that gets overlooked far too much. I don't have an insurance policy that pays for oil changes or new tires on my truck. I don't have an insurance policy that pays for replacing my worn-out clothes and shoes. But I have an insurance policy that pays for annual checkups at my doctor and my dentist. Why?
The entire rationale of the Democrats' proposal is to get more people to buy insurance or have it bought for them than is currently the case, thus increasing the proportion of our health care that is paid for through intermediaries rather than directly. That's true of people who currently buy no insurance and get little or no care, or pay for it out of pocket; it's true as well of people who currently get their care from emergency rooms. That's exactly the opposite direction of where you want to be moving if cutting intermediary costs is your goal.
Especially if the intermediary is a government bureaucracy.
And in the existing health care market, Democrats (with the help of big-government Republicans) have been driving up costs for the past two decades by piling on mandates and "patients' bill of rights" legislation that ever increases the number of procedures that the insurers have to be involved in. The Medicare prescription drug plan likewise expanded the scope of health care products and services paid for through a public intermediary rather than directly by consumers. And of course, subsidizing preventative care that may be presently paid for out of pocket does the same. So, not only are the Democrats proposing to have more people use health care intermediaries (public or private), but their proposals will inevitably continue the trend towards having more types of health care paid for through intermediaries.
But of course! If this legislation passes the competition to "give away" more and more medical "entitlements" will be dizzying! It will be, as the population ages, the easiest way to buy votes!
Well, say Democrats, we will use more intermediaries, but we'll be much more efficient in doing so, because the public plans won't have a profit motive and expensive executives. Which is true. But it's also true that government programs, even ones that start out fairly simple, tend only to grow and expand over time and grow less efficient as their competition is eliminated and the political power of those who draw salaries and contracts from them grows. Will unionized government workforces necessarily be less expensive than non-unionized private insurer workforces? History doesn't suggest so.
History rather insists on the exact opposite. As Daniel Hannan explained, the British National Health Service is currently the third largest employer in the world, after the Chinese Red Army and the Indian National Railway system. China and India each have populations that top 1 billion. The UK has a population on the order of 60 million.

And 1.4 million of them work for the NHS, with over half being administrators (paper-pushers, bean-counters, etc.) rather than doctors, nurses, or other care-givers.

Extrapolate that out to a population of 300 million, and you get about seven million American Health Service workers.

And there's no reason to believe that wouldn't become the case here.
As one National Review reader posed the question:

If we can cut a half-trillion dollars from Medicare and Medicaid to pay for health insurance reform but if, as looks to be the case, healthcare reform won't pass, why not just cut a half-trillion dollars from Medicare and Medicaid anyway?

The fact that it hasn't happened and won't happen should remind us that replacing a competitive private marketplace with a colossal, Washington-run bureaucracy is a bad bet to produce savings. The conservative answer in this situation is not to throw out the entire existing system on the hope that things will work out better than they ever have before.
Or: Let's NOT "Do it again, only HARDER!"
The elephant in the waiting room is the other big cost driver of intermediaries besides the scope of coverage and the cost of having shareholders and executives: lawsuits. Precise figures are again a subject of intense dispute, but a goodly chunk of what drives the amount of `unnecessary' care provided, the cost of providing services and the cost of intermediaries is the need to protect against and pay for the cost of medical malpractice and denial of coverage litigation. None of the Democratic proposals, however, seek to make any practical inroads against this source of costs. Replacing a private system with a public one could arguably do so if the trial bar is effectively precluded from bringing against the government many of the kinds of lawsuits now used against private insurers
You mean like in this case?
- but aren't liberals in favor of keeping those kinds of suits viable? And how likely is it that in the long run they won't provide other mechanisms to keep one of their vital constituencies in business?
"Vital constituencies" indeed. How many members of Congress are lawyers, again?
We have pretty much exhausted the options for cost-cutting: less care (at a steep political price, at the cost of giving frightening power to the government, and at odds with the goal of providing care where none is now given); less money to caregivers, which would amount to the same thing; less use of intermediaries (which is likewise contrary to the whole thrust of the project); or less cost in using intermediaries (which is impractical and unlikely to pan out).

There will be no cost savings. There's no sense in pretending otherwise.
And since when has lawmaking had anything to do with making sense? It's about buying VOTES. It's about GETTING RE-ELECTED.

And it's about EXPANDING GOVERNMENT POWER. Period.

My question at the moment is: does this piece represent a shift away from the Obamafellatio we've come to know and loathe from the MSM, or is it just an aberrant "covering our asses" piece that the powers-that-be can point to in the future as evidence of their "fair and balanced" coverage of the health-care debate?

I know where I'd place my bet.

Vicious Lies and Slanders

Vicious Lies and Slanders

In relation to yesterday's (Belated) Quote of the Day, I just received this via email. I'm not even going to go to Snopes to see if it might even possibly be real, I'm just going to roll with it:
They Walk Among Us

A Washington DC airport ticket agent shares the following 12 experiences that demonstrate the intelligence of our politicians and, therefore, why our country is in trouble!!! Oh boy!

1. I had a New Hampshire Congresswoman (Carol Shea-Porter) ask for an aisle seat so that her hair wouldn't get messed up by being near the window. (On an airplane!)

2. I got a call from a Kansas Congressman's (Moore) staffer (Howard Bauleke), who wanted to go to Capetown. I started to explain the length of the flight and the passport information, and then he interrupted me with, "I'm not trying to make you look stupid, but Capetown is in Massachusetts."

Without trying to make him look stupid, I calmly explained, "Cape Cod is in Massachusetts, Capetown is in Africa"

His response -- "click!"

3. A senior Vermont Congressman (Socialist Bernie Sanders) called, furious about a Florida package we did. I asked what was wrong with the vacation in Orlando. He said he was expecting an ocean-view room. I tried to explain that's not possible, since Orlando is in the middle of the state.

He replied, "Don't lie to me, I looked on the map and Florida is a very thin state!" (OMG!)

4. I got a call from a lawmaker's wife (Landra Reid) who asked, "Is it possible to see England from Canada?" I said, "No." She said, "But they look so close on the map." (OMG, again!)

5. An aide for a cabinet member (Janet Napolitano) once called and asked if he could rent a car in Dallas. I pulled up the reservation and noticed he had only a 1-hour layover in Dallas. When I asked him why he wanted to rent a car, he said, "I heard Dallas was a big airport, and we will need a car to drive between gates to save time." (Aghhhh!)

6. An Illinois Congresswoman (Jan Schakowsky) called last week. She needed to know how it was possible that her flight from Detroit left at 8:30 a.m., and got to Chicago at 8:33 a.m.

I explained that Michigan was an hour ahead of Illinois, but she couldn't understand the concept of time zones. Finally, I told her the plane went fast, and she bought that.

7. A New York lawmaker, (Jerrold Nadler) called and asked, "Do airlines put your physical description on your bag so they know whose luggage belongs to whom?" I said, "No, why do you ask?" he replied, "Well, when I checked in with the airline, they put a tag on my luggage that said (FAT), and I'm overweight. I think that's very rude!"

After putting him on hold for a minute, while I looked into it. (I was dying laughing). I came back and explained the city code for Fresno , Ca. is FAT ( Fresno Air Terminal), and the airline was just putting a destination tag on his luggage.

8. A Senator John Kerry aide (Lindsay Ross) called to inquire about a trip package to Hawaii. After going over all the cost info, she asked, "Would it be cheaper to fly to California and then take the train to Hawaii?"

9. I just got off the phone with a freshman Congressman, Bobby Bright (D) from Ala who asked, "How do I know which plane to get on?" I asked him what exactly he meant, to which he replied, "I was told my flight number is 823, but none of these planes have numbers on them."

10. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) called and said, "I need to fly to Pepsi-Cola , Florida . Do I have to get on one of those little computer planes?" I asked if she meant fly to Pensacola , FL on a commuter plane. She said, "Yeah, whatever, smarty!"

11. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) called and had a question about the documents she needed in order to fly to China. After a lengthy discussion about passports, I reminded her that she needed a visa. "Oh, no I don't. I've been to China many times and never had to have one of those."

I double checked and sure enough, her stay required a visa. When I told her this she said, "Look, I've been to China four times and every time they have accepted my American Express!"

12. A New Jersey Congressman (John Adler) called to make reservations, "I want to go from Chicago to Rhino, New York."

I was at a loss for words. Finally, I said, "Are you sure that's the name of the town?"

"Yes, what flights do you have?" replied the Congressman.

After some searching, I came back with, "I'm sorry, sir, I've looked up every airport code in the country and can't find a Rhino anywhere."

The man retorted, "Oh, don't be silly! Everyone knows where it is. Check your map!"

So I scoured a map of the state of New York and finally offered, "You don't mean Buffalo , do you?"

The reply? "Whatever! I knew it was a big animal."
What's worse; that someone would write something like this, or that I don't really have a problem thinking it might just be true?

Quote of the Day

Suffice it to say, my life experience taught me that school isn’t a safe place to leave your children.
-- John Taylor Gatto, The Underground History of American Education
The whole section is quotable, but this excerpt tops it all.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

(Belated) Quote of the Day

(Belated) Quote of the Day

But worth the wait:
Now let’s just take a minute and think about our elected officials, be they democrat, rino, or pretty much anyone other than Ron Paul, who has his own set of problems anyway. Some senators can’t manage to drive across a bridge without killing someone. Others think their staff sent them an internet. Bluntly put, congressmen and senators are too busy diddling page boys, evading their taxes, drowning their workers, going out with mistresses, explaining that barrel shrouds are shoulder things that go up, and generally demonstrating as frequently as possible that between all 535 of them you could find more intelligence and general competence (in ANY field other than getting elected) in a lightly stunned ground squirrel.
-- Stingray, from Atomic Nerds in Just a thought . . .
Another "Oh. Damn." moment.

Oh. Damn.

Oh. Damn.


That is viciously truthful.

Found at From My Position . . . On the Way!

And you might want to read this, too.

Who needs "death panels"?

Well, Now We Know Where the Terminators Will Come From

And it ain't Sunnyvale, California.

Remember the Cyberdyne Systems T-800?



It looks like it started out life as an exoskeleton designed to assist human beings:


Exoskeletons Are on the March

Cyberdyne is shipping nearly 100 more exoskeletons this fall

17 August 2009—An army of exoskeletons is coming. And according to their inventor, Professor Yoshiyuki Sankai of the University of Tsukuba, in Japan, they’re making a difference in the lives of disabled people.

Speaking at the International Conference on Intelligent Robotic Technology and Business, held earlier this month in Taipei, Taiwan, Sankai proudly described how the robotic exoskeleton suit HAL (short for Hybrid Assistive Limb), helped a 46-year-old man whose left leg was withered by polio when he was 11 months old.

HAL reads electric signals at the surface of the skin that are generated by the muscle beneath and then uses them to guide the movement of robotic limbs strapped to a person’s real limbs, thereby multiplying their strength.

The polio patient’s withered left leg generated extremely weak bioelectric signals at first, and the robotic limb remained unmoved. Ten days later, with HAL’s assistance, the patient moved his left leg based on his own intention. “He cried,” says Sankai.

Sankai suspects that in the past 45 years, the patient’s brain had rarely generated the signals needed to move his left leg. After the patient used HAL, the levels of signals strengthened and became detectable. Sankai says that similar phenomena were observed when applying the HAL suit to patients with spinal cord injuries. Starting in late April, his team began measuring bioelectric signals in polio and stroke patients before and after using HAL. They hope to record data over a period of 8 to 12 months. An analysis of how the brain adapts to HAL will be taken into account to improve the exoskeleton’s operation, says Sankai.

In Japan, more than 20 sets of various HAL exoskeletons are in use at hospitals and rehabilitation centers, Sankai says. The facilities lease the robots from Sankai’s company, Cyberdyne, for about US $1700 per month on average.

“It’s worthwhile, because a suit can be used for eight patients per day,” he says, adding that the service could possibly be cheaper once the market for the exoskeletons increases.

Sankai, who is Cyberdyne’s CEO, expects to supply 80 to 90 suits in Japan in October. At the end of September, 10 sets of HAL suits will be delivered to Denmark to be used by nurses who care for elderly people. The suits should enhance the nurses’ strength, helping them to move patients.

More versions of HAL are in the works, says Sankai. Following HAL’s use by a man injured in a car wreck to climb the 4164-meter Breithorn Mountain, in Switzerland, the company decided to develop a weather-resistant outdoor exoskeleton. Sankai says the company will also be introducing a HAL with significantly smaller and lighter batteries this fall at an event in Kyoto.
Screw Terminators. I want a Mecha:



21 Days!


There are now THREE WEEKS until Gunblogger Rendezvous IV! If you haven't signed up, time is running out. Once again, for those of you who may be new to this site, the GBR is an annual gathering of gunbloggers, readers, and guests in Reno, NV for a nice long weekend of shooting, show-and-tell, bullshitting, eating, adult beverages, and damned little sleep! And there are prizes!

The attendees this year include (but are not limited to):

Mr. Completely, our host

KeeWee, from KeeWee's Corner

Phil & David, from Random Nuclear Strikes

US Citizen of Traction Control (who failed to secure Summer Glau, but we'll forgive him.)

Ride Fast & the Commandress, from Ride Fast - Shoot Straight

Mr. & Mrs. JimmyB, the Conservative UAW Guy

Lou from Mad Gun

Derek from The Packing Rat

Rachel Parson from the NRA

D.W. Drang from The Clue Meter

EJ from Engineering Johnson

Cap'n Bob & The Damsel

Mark Knapp from Firearms Lawyer

Maj. Chuck Ziegenfuss from From My Position - On the way and founder of Project Valour-IT.

Dirt Crashr, from Anthroblogogy

Chris & Mel Byrne, from The Anarchangel

Uncle, From Say Uncle

Miss Elain-eous of Bearcat's Spin

Azreel of Free Spirit Mind

John O'C. of the Gun Counter forum

Benjamin of The Reasonable Nut

Larry Weeks, from Brownell's

Andy and Lance from HiCap Gun Works

and Guest of Honor, Alan Gura

And me, of course. And the prizes? Well, I'm giving away a Para USA GI Expert that you need not be present to win! In that same drawing, you can win a certificate for four days of training at Front Sight in Nevada. Valued at $2,000, you can use it for one four-day class or two two-day classes.

IF YOU ATTEND you can purchase raffle tickets that might win you another Para pistol, or a Hi Point 9mm Carbine. Or you might win a framed Heller Kitty t-shirt autographed by Alan Gura! Other sponsors include (but are not limited to):

Steel Challenge Shooting Association

National Shooting Sports Foundation

Brownell's

GLOCK

Dillon Precision

Lucky Gunner Ammo

Natchez Shooter's Supply

Midway USA

Remington

Nosler Bullets

Which means there will be some damned cool stuff.

And, of course, there will be shooting!



So make your hotel reservations, sign up for the Saturday night all-you-can-eat Pizza dinner, and we'll see you there!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Quote of the Day

Quote of the Day
I must simply state

That the most awesome plane ride in the world is the one that takes you OUT of Iraq. We're not back on American soil yet, but I've now checked off the second tour where I got out of that country with all MY fingers and toes, and all my Joes are healthy and riding the plane home with me.

Ladies and gentlemen, THAT is a win.
Abby is coming home! Welcome back!

Monday, August 17, 2009

"All of these things serve to make America less American."


Daniel Hannan, conservative member of the European Pariament for Britain gives a speech at the Army-Navy club in August of this year. Worth your time:

Part I:


Part II:


Part III:



Thanks, DJ.

Why I Do This

I received this email this morning:
Kevin,

I've commented occasionally on your blog, under the name Splodge Of Doom.

I have been reading TSM regularly for nigh-on three years now, starting when I was seventeen. I was pretty new to politics and the like, and started out very easily swayed by whoever I last listened to on any particular issue.

You and the regulars on your blog have taught me a lot over the time I have been reading (although it is perhaps more fair to say I have learned from Markadelphia, rather than him teaching me anything) and I have grown quite a bit since I started reading.

I do not always agree with you, but I pay attention when you speak. This critical thinking stuff is harder than it looks!

This note is just to say thank-you, and I appreciate the lengths you go to to write TSM and reach the fence-sitters.

Yours respectfully,

(Splodge Of Doom)
And this also why I'll never ban Markadelphia. He's too perfect an example of the Left in this country not to let him illuminate their failings.

Damn, that made my week.

I've Joined the EeePC Army

Woot! had this as today's item:
Asus Eee PC 900 Netbook with 1.6GHz Atom Processor $169.99
  • + $5 shipping
Condition:
New
Product:
1 Asus EEEPC900A-WFBB01 Netbook with 1.6GHz Atom Processor, 8.9” LCD, 1GB DDR2, 4GB SSD and Linux

Obviously I'm going to need to get an SD memory card for it. Any suggestions? And does Firefox work with GNU Linux, or will I need to wipe the thing and start over with a different OS? I'm new to these things, but I didn't think I could pass up this deal.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

An Investment in Failure


The 6/23/09 QotD:
Before the 1994 Republican takeover, Democrats had sixty years of virtually unbroken power in Congress - with substantial majorities most of the time. Can a group of smart people, studying issue after issue for years on end, with virtually unlimited resources at their command, not come up with a single policy that works? Why are they chronically incapable?

One of two things must be true. Either the Democrats are unfathomable idiots, who ignorantly pursue ever more destructive policies despite decades of contrary evidence, or they understand the consequences of their actions and relentlessly carry on anyway because they somehow benefit.

I submit to you they understand the consequences. For many it is simply a practical matter of eliciting votes from a targeted constituency at taxpayer expense; we lose a little, they gain a lot, and the politician keeps his job. But for others, the goal is more malevolent - the failure is deliberate. Don't laugh. This method not only has its proponents, it has a name: the Cloward-Piven Strategy. It describes their agenda, tactics, and long-term strategy.

American Thinker, 9/28/08 - Barack Obama and the Strategy of Manufactured Crisis by James Simpson
My 6/11/09 QotD:
Philosopher Bertrand Russell suggested that "Men are born ignorant, not stupid. They are made stupid by education." And, it was Albert Einstein who explained, "Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." So which is it -- stupidity, ignorance or insanity -- that explains the behavior of my fellow Americans who call for greater government involvement in our lives?

According to latest Rasmussen Reports, 30 percent of Americans believe congressmen are corrupt. Last year, Congress' approval rating fell to 9 percent, its lowest in history. If the average American were asked his opinion of congressmen, among the more polite terms you'll hear are thieves and crooks, liars and manipulators, hustlers and quacks. But what do the same people say when our nation faces a major problem? "Government ought to do something!" When people call for government to do something, it is as if they've been befallen by amnesia and forgotten just who is running government. It's the very people whom they have labeled as thieves and crooks, liars and manipulators, hustlers and quacks.

Walter E. Williams, Americans Love Government
Now, Thomas Sowell from August of 2007:
It is not just in Iraq that the political left has an investment in failure. Domestically as well as internationally, the left has long had a vested interest in poverty and social malaise.

The old advertising slogan, "Progress is our most important product," has never applied to the left. Whether it is successful black schools in the United States or Third World countries where millions of people have been rising out of poverty in recent years, the left has shown little interest.

Progress in general seems to hold little interest for people who call themselves "progressives." What arouses them are denunciations of social failures and accusations of wrong-doing.

One wonders what they would do in heaven.

--

They have shown no such interest in how tens of millions of people in China and tens of millions of people in India have risen out of poverty within the past generation.

Despite whatever the left may say, or even believe, about their concern for the poor, their actual behavior shows their interest in the poor to be greatest when the poor can be used as a focus of the left's denunciations of society.

When the poor stop being poor, they lose the attention of the left. What actions on the part of the poor, or what changes in the economy, have led to drastic reductions in poverty seldom arouse much curiosity, much less celebration.

This is not a new development in our times. Back in the 19th century, when Karl Marx presented his vision of the impoverished working class rising to attack and destroy capitalism, he was disappointed when the workers grew less revolutionary over time, as their standards of living improved.

At one point, Marx wrote to his disciples: "The working class is revolutionary or it is nothing."

Think about that. Millions of human beings mattered to him only in so far as they could serve as cannon fodder in his jihad against the existing society.

If they refused to be pawns in his ideological game, then they were "nothing."
Now, three quotes from my perennial "progressive" commenter Markadelphia:
Show me Nancy Pelosi calling for violence and cheering when a comment is made about lynching. I don't doubt that she is corrupt--mostly everyone is up there--but fervent and psychotic? No. - 08/10/09

--

I have spent my entire life (41 years) studying history and have no problem admitting that, on the whole, Democrats have been more criminal and racist then Republicans. - 10/31/08

--

Correct me if I am wrong. You believe that government is corrupt and would make the health care situation worse. I too believe that government is corrupt but that's because we elect nincompoops to office. If we elected people who were skilled and intelligent rather than someone you can have a barbeque chicken sandwhich with, then I believe government can work. - 09/08/07
We've established that Markadelphia (and by extension, I would hope, most on the Left) understands and admits that "mostly everyone" on Capitol Hill is corrupt, and that, "on the whole" Democrats have been more criminal than Republicans (not that that distinction matters a great deal, other than the fact that they are in complete control of the legislative and executive branches of government at the moment.)

After the 2008 election, I have to ask: Did we get rid of the "nincompoops"? Or did we just swap out a few?

And, given that "mostly everyone" on Capitol Hill is still corrupt, why on EARTH should we assume that "Cap & Trade," "Health Care Reform," "The Stimulus Plan," or any other piece of massive legislation being proposed is anything OTHER than another DELIBERATE "Investment in Failure"? Another power grab by the corrupt and criminal class already seated in the halls of power?

Which is it - ignorance, stupidity, or insanity? I really want to know.

UPDATE:  Original JSKit/Echo comment thread is available here, thanks to John Hardin.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Another Sign We're Winning

Another Sign We're Winning

Another incident that makes Paul Helmke a Sad Panda. Verbatim from Instapundit:
SCENES FROM A NEW AMERICA: So I dropped the girls off at a movie, and — since the Insta-wife was lunching with her mom — stopped at a Sonny’s Barbecue for lunch. A man — late 40s, big, with a wife and a daughter — came in with an empty holster on his belt. As he sat down at the booth next to mine, the manager came by and asked him if he’d left his gun in the car. Yes, said the man, who had a permit but thought he wasn’t allowed to carry in restaurants in Tennessee.. Well, they’ve changed the law, said the manager, and if you want to go get it that’s fine with us. It’s legal now, and I’m happy to have you carrying — if somebody tries to rob me, it’s two against one.

The man stepped outside and returned with a Springfield XD in the holster, chatted with the manager for a bit about guns, and then sat down and had lunch with his family.
Note that no children, homeless persons, nor other innocents were harmed by this customer.

Immortal Quote of the Day

Immortal Quote of the Day
"In actual shootings, citizens do far better than law enforcement on hit potential,” said (Cole County, Missouri Sheriff Greg) White. "They hit their targets and they don't hit other people. I wish I could say the same for cops. We train more, they do better."

-- Guns to be allowed on campus?
h/t to Robb at Sharp as a Marble for that shocker. We've known it for a long time. Nice to see a Law Enforcement official admit it in a public forum, and the media repeat it.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Right-Wing Hate Groups?


One more swing at the Markadelphia piñata before I call it a night. When I posted the compilation video of Obama's "I was for Single-Payer Universal Heath Care Before I Was Against It," Markadelphia accused me:
As to this video, wow...what happens when you watch this? Do you immediately think of it as gospel? Or do you question how it was edited and ask yourself if it is propaganda?
But in a comment to my "Free Speech Permit" post, he linked to a story about how "Right-wing militias are on the rise."

ORLY?

It was reported in the mainstream media, thus it must be true!

Or was it (DUM-dum-DUM!) PROPAGANDA?!?!?

The website Sweetness & Light did a little background checking on the source of that "report," the Southern Poverty Law Center, and the author (sole author) Mark Potok, who also happens to be a Huffington Post contributor (no bias there!)

The evidence? Apparently Mr. Potok's own fever-dreams. S&L has been keeping tabs on Mr. Potok for quite a while.

But these fever-dreams fit the template, and thus must be accurate! (Just as the angry crowds at "Town Hall" meetings are "astroturf" but the bussed-in supporters with professionally printed signs being paid $10-15/hr for their work are "grassroots.")

No, Markadelphia, you don't get no respect. On a daily basis you prove you don't deserve it.

Bullet, Dumpster, Done

Bullet, Dumpster, Done

I have said before:
While I'm not a big fan of capital punishment, there are those occasions where the evidence is so overwhelming and the crime(s) so heinous that I'd be more than happy to be the guy pressing the plunger, pulling the handle, or throwing the switch.
I'm in general opposed to capital punishment because pretty much anything government does, it does poorly, but . . . (see above.)

Here's another example of where I'd be happy to be the guy carrying out the sentence:
'Psychopath' Sentenced to 120 Years in Horrific Child Porn Case

PHILADELPHIA — A seldom-employed psychopath was sentenced Wednesday to spend the rest of his life in prison for making a huge cache of child pornography that shows him sexually assaulting a dozen children, including infants at a girlfriend's in-home day care.

The FBI found John Jackey Worman with more than 1 million images and 11,000 videos of child pornography when they arrested him in suburban Philadelphia in 2007. Worman made girls in his care perform sex acts for school lunch money.

"I cannot know ... what was going through your head while you were molesting my daughter. Was it a big joke as I pulled away each day?" the mother of one of the abused infants asked Worman during testimony Wednesday. He stared blankly ahead.

Worman has told prison doctors he feels no remorse for sexually "anointing" his female victims.

"I am totally at peace with everything I have done," he said, according to U.S. District Judge Lawrence F. Stengel, who sentenced him to 120 years in prison.
I'll spare you the details of his acts, but I want to comment on this (and sue me, AP, if you want. I claim "fair use.")
Psychiatric tests conducted by the U.S. Bureau of Prisons revealed only that he is a pedophile with an anti-social personality disorder.

--

Worman declined to make a statement Wednesday. His court-appointed lawyer argued against a life term, comparing it to "putting down" an animal.

"A sentence that basically says we're putting you down does not recognize whatever degree of humanity exists in Mr. Worman," lawyer Mark Cedrone said.
John Jackey Worman is the human equivalent of a rabid dog. "But he's SICK!" some may cry. Indeed he is. And it's an incurable disease.

We put down rabid dogs. We should do the same to rabid humans.