Saturday, January 26, 2013

G.I. Jane?

I suspect that this post is going to get me into trouble, but it can't be helped.  Sometimes, there's no way to avoid upsetting someone when their most cherished ideals and beliefs are challenged.  This is such a time.

It has been a desire of Progressives for decades to eliminate all distinctions between the genders.  Going back to the very first rumblings of the feminist movement in the late 50's and early 60's, "intellectuals" have been hard at work attempting to deny that men and women are inherently, physically, mentally & emotionally different. 

They claimed that traditional "gender roles" were discriminatory and degrading to women and that "any woman can do anything any man can do", often ignoring contrary evidence plain for all to see;  the facts that men, in general, are bigger & stronger was determined by these intellectuals to be irrelevant to the discussion.  The more militant feminists even went so far as to declare:  "A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle!".  They decried the opinion that each sex had strengths and weaknesses independent of the other as chauvinistic.  The very idea that men were superior, physically or mentally, at anything was declared sexist and discriminatory, while at the same time dismissing the fact that women are superior, physically, mentally & emotionally, to men in other ways as unimportant.

It was against this backdrop that the initial push for "equality" in the military, had its origin.  Women began to demand changes in the way the armed forces recruited and promoted soldiers and officers because of a perceived "discrimination" that resulted in too few women achieving high ranks as compared to men.  They thought that their honored service throughout the previous wars as auxiliaries, WACs, in support services and units outside the front lines and in the USO was somehow regarded as less important than that of "real" soldiers.

Several "gender equality in the armed services" studies were conducted during the 70's & 80's.  It wasn't until the 90's, however, that activists found their strongest ally in Pres. Bill Clinton.

Mr. Clinton, being both an astute politician and a progressive, saw the military as an ideal laboratory for social experimentation.  He had a population subject to total control and which could not leave before the experiment was over.  Under his watch, the military was transformed from a true fighting force into a more egalitarian mission.  The focus was less on defeating an opposing military and more on "winning the hearts and minds" of our foes.  He promoted the forced integration of the sexes in the military, including expanded roles of females in active combat zones, and commissioned further studies on gender roles within the military.

This political tampering with the military began to dilute the effectiveness of our fighting forces, leading some to comment that the military was becoming little more than "meals on wheels with MREs and M-16s".  Hardly engendering fear and respect in our adversaries around the world.

Before I go any further I want to make clear a couple of things:  1) While compassion is nice, and necessary to the civilian population, it has no place in a war zone.  The primary purpose of any military force is, in the immortal words of Rush Limbaugh, to" kill people and break things".  That should be the only focus of a military at war.  If you want to set up a separate "compassion corps" to work alongside the military, fine.  Just don't mix the two.  The competing goals will interfere with either being efficiently accomplished.  2) Nothing in this post is to be construed as claiming that women are unfit to fight.  Nonsense.  Anyone who has seen a mama bear or a human mother whose children are threatened knows there is no fiercer foe.  The purpose of this post is to reflect my opinion that the forced integration of military combat units is unwise and counter-productive to it's stated goal of making the military more efficient and effective.  3) I am not some "women should be barefoot and pregnant" throwback.  I AM, however, a traditionalist and believe that in the misguided drive to a false "equality" our society has paid, and continues to pay, a heavy price.

That said, consider some of the findings of the government's studies of the matter:

The results [of the study] indicate that, in general, women who join the Navy qualify at lower rates than men for nontraditional [ie., combat] ratings. Further, no improvements have apparently occurred since 1981 in the qualification rates of women for technical, sea-going ratings. To improve the qualification rate of women for nontraditional occupations in the near term, Minimum requirements would need to be modified or alternative standards developed.--Dwayne F. Baxter, Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, CA  September 1993  [Link:]

It was found that integration of the military quickly resulted in disciplinary problems and a perception, often accurate, that standards weren't being applied uniformly, resulting in less unit cohesion and operational effectiveness.  DIs were reluctant to get in the face of female recruits and discipline them as toughly as the males out of a fear of being brought up on charges of sexual harassment.  This in turn resulted in resentment by many of the male recruits of their female counterparts.

RICHARD BERNSTEIN, quoting from THE KINDER, GENTLER MILITARY: Can America's Gender-Neutral Fighting Force Still Win Wars? by Stephanie Gutmann reported:  She says the country's leaders, submitting to political pressure, have allowed military preparedness to be gravely compromised for the sake of an unworkable sex-neutral principle. She describes Camp Jackson as a kind of Girl Scouts for grown-ups, a place where self-esteem therapy prevails over hard, physical tasks.

''Because training regulations note that 'many new soldiers are not physically fit or capable of strenuous activity,' '' she writes, ''they no longer do a required number of push-ups to a count, the drill sergeant exercises along with them as a sort of 'role model' and they drop out when they feel like it.''.  At the Great Lakes Naval Training Center, she finds that the old obstacle course is now called the confidence course and has been moved indoors. For a while, Ms. Gutmann reports, trainees got ''blues cards'' that they could hold up to get a break in the middle of an activity, but, while those were eliminated after being ridiculed in the press, ''recruits can still avail themselves of something called a 'training timeout.' ''

''Ability groups'' have also been created to handle weaker trainees. The Army, Ms. Gutmann says, found that many women could not pass the standard grenade-throwing test of 35 meters (115 feet). So women only have to ''pick up a live grenade and essentially dump it over the wall of a deep cement enclosure, where it could burst to its little heart's content.''  Still, Ms. Gutmann is no extremist in these matters. She offers a set of policy recommendations -- one of which would be to eliminate sexual recruitment quotas -- that would keep the armed forces open to any and all who meet the necessary high standards.

These misguided attempts at enforcing equality between the sexes hasn't been limited to the military.  Police and Fire departments nationwide have been forced to lower qualification standards to accommodate women and minorities, regardless of it's effect on the readiness of the unit.  Even with this, some still don't qualify.  Predictably, they head to court, claiming "discrimination":  A 27-year-old Chicago woman is suing the city because she says she wants to be a firefighter – and she failed a physical screening test she says is discriminatory.  July, 2011

Kate O'Beirne

Men of the Hour:  Did somebody say “firemen”?
September 21, 2001
A federal judge found in 1982 that the fire department's physical test for applicants improperly discriminated against women. Judge Charles Sifton ordered the department to water down the test and reserve up to 45 positions for women. One of the delighted female plaintiffs, who had failed the challenged test, explained, "I wasn't able to carry the dummy up and down a flight of stairs in the requisite amount of time, but I did very well on the mile run." The portion of the test that required carrying victims was eliminated, in favor of testing candidates on their ability to drag a 145-pound dummy along a marked path. Speaking of dummies, Judge Sifton had ruled that upper body strength was largely "irrelevant" to firefighting.

There is ample evidence that watering down qualifications results in increased risk, not only to the otherwise unqualified personnel, but to others in the same unit who need to rely on him/her to be able to perform.

Walter Williams, a Professor at George Mason University, penned a column in May of 1995 detailing one very costly incident of just such PC effects on military readiness when qualifying recruits to duty even after they have demonstrated a distinct inability for such duty:

Costly Affirmative Action

Navy Lt. Kara Hultgreen was killed attempting to land her $38 million F-14A Tomcat fighter on the USS Abraham Lincoln. The Navy's official public report was the crash "was precipitated by a malfunction of the left engine." Questions about pilot error were greeted with charges of sexism. ABC's Peter Jennings said there had been a "vicious campaign against allowing women to serve in combat." But here's what really happened:

On approach to the USS Abraham Lincoln, Lt. Hultgreen made five major errors and ignored repeated wave-off signals by ship's landing officer. One of those errors caused the F-14A's left engine to stall, sending the plane out of control, because Lt. Hultgreen mistakenly jammed on the rudder. In the twenty years of F-14A's service, no pilot had ever stalled an engine this way. In an effort to back up their lie that the crash was due to engine failure, the Navy selected nine male pilots to "fly" through Lt. Hultgreen's pre-crash conditions in a ground simulator.

Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Jeremy M. Boorda reported "the situation was re-created in an F-14 flight simulator. Eight of nine pilots in the simulator were unable to fly the plane out of the replicated regime." What Admiral Boorda failed to say was that the male pilots had been ordered not to execute the F-14A manual's so-called Bold Face Instructions, the critical things a pilot must do to fly through an emergency similar to Lt. Hultgreen's.

Documents obtained by Elaine Donnelly, director of CMR, shows that Lt. Hultgreen not only had subpar performance on several phases of her training but had four "downs" (major errors), just one or two of which are sufficient to justify the dismissal of a trainee. The White House and Congress' political pressure to get more women in combat is the direct cause of Lt. Hultgreen's death. But the story doesn't end there. A second female F-14A pilot, identified by Elaine Donnelly only as Pilot B, has been allowed to continue training despite marginal scores and seven "downs", the last of which was not recorded so she could pass the final stages of training.

And one final example of the inequality inherent in the push for "gender neutral" services:

Chicago Now by  Katalin Rodriguez Ogren, April 24, 2011

Women receive the same training as men.  But like all standardized trainings seen in the police or fire department, the military also has different standards for women to meet for push ups, sit ups, and 2mile runs.  According to the Army Gender Integrated Basic Training(GIBT), "A close look at data and testimony gathered by this and other recent studies indicate that there are no significant benefits from gender integrated basic training, but many problems and complications that detract from the primary purpose of GIBT."  It goes on to quote various studies that support the position that women are not physically capable to handle an integrated or combined physical training which carries tremendous weight when evaluating whether women can be assigned combat positions:

  • Numerous American studies have confirmed that in
    general, women are shorter, weigh less and have less muscle mass and greater relative
    fat content than men. Women are at a distinct disadvantage because dynamic
    upper torso muscular strength is approximately 50-60% that of males, and
    aerobic capacity (important for endurance) is approximately 70-75% that of
  • A test of Army recruits found that women had a
    2.13 times greater risk for lower extremity injuries and a 4.71 times greater
    risk for stress fractures. Men sustained 99 days of limited duty due to injury
    while women incurred 481 days of limited duty.
  •  In the United Kingdom, major studies were
    ordered in 1998 to ascertain the feasibility of co-ed basic training. Army
    doctors found that eight times as many women as men were being discharged
    during basic training, due to injury rates that doubled following the
    introduction of identical training programs for both sexes. Differences in
    strength, bone mass, stride length and lower body bone structure caused women
    to suffer disproportionately from Achilles tendon problems, knee, back and leg
    pain, and fractures of the tibia, foot, and hip.
The "gender-free" system was ended in January 2002 because stress fractures for women rose from 4.6% to 11.1%, compared to less than 1.5% for male trainees. 


It's should be clear by now even to liberal progressives that despite all their efforts at denial, men and women are different.  That's not to say that women don't have a role in the military, clearly they do.  It's not even to say that women are incapable of operating in a combat theater, many clearly are & some are even superior shots and strategists to many of their male counterparts.  The problem comes from trying to deny nature and "make everyone equal".  It just doesn't work.  Forcing the inclusion of women in traditionally male fighting units such as combat squads, or Special Forces such as Green Berets, SEALs, Airborne, Force Recon, Rangers, etc. will only serve to reduce unit cohesion and effectiveness for no good reason. 

Men and women are different.  They think and react differently.  Men understand that when they go to war they are at risk of death or capture at the hands of the enemy.  They accept this, and understand that the mission's objective still must be foremost.  Insert a woman into the equation, and the calculations go out the window.  We all know just what the additional risks are that women will face in the event they are captured, especially in the Middle East.  They will be viciously and repeatedly gang-raped, at least.  Does anyone really believe than any man could face that with equanimity?  That they could mentally and emotionally accept the notion that "she knew the risks when she signed up, we've got a job to do"?  Men by nature are genetically built for combat and aggression, for the defense of their women and children.  No amount of PC pronouncement from intellectuals can change that basic fact.  Our fighting forces need to be able to keep discipline and focus.  The distraction of having to "look out" for a female comrade could prove fatal, both to the unit and to it's objective.

Let women serve in whatever manner they qualify, but let's not put other lives at risk in the name of political correctness and a "gender equality" that doesn't exist.


Sunday, January 20, 2013

23 Executive Orders

Here's my evaluation of President Barack Hussein Obama's Executive Orders on Reducing Gun Violence, and what they could likely mean for the rest of us:

1. Issue a Presidential Memorandum to require federal agencies to make relevant data available to the federal background check system.

Left (intentionally) undefined is just what will be considered "relevant data".  Could it be political affiliation?  Politicians/causes you donated to (remember, Obama tried to force the Romney campaign to reveal it's donors list, expressly for the purpose of pressuring people/businesses to not donate)?  Tea Party/NRA member?  Pro-lifer?  What could be considered irrelevant?  Maybe past criminal history, if you're a member of an "oppressed  minority" who "only turned to crime out of a lack of opportunity"?  We, as Americans, have a Constitutional right to privacy (being secure in our homes, papers, and personal effects).  We also have a right to know just what infringements on that right to privacy the government is considering.

2. Address unnecessary legal barriers, particularly relating to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, that may prevent states from making information available to the background check system.

You know that little piece of paper you sign at the doctor's office that informs you of your right to keep your medical information and anything you share in consultation with your doctor private?  Yeah, Obama wants the government to be able to give itself a waiver to violate that (HIPAA) law.  You still won't have any legal right to the information that your 13yr old daughter is seeking an abortion, but your physician will be required under this EO to turn over to the authorities everything they ask for, without informing you.  Did your doctor temporarily prescribe anti-depressants?  Check out number 4.

3. Improve incentives for states to share information with the background check system.

What's the flip side of incentives?  Penalties.  I could easily see this morphing into a system which holds back a state's share of federal funds (highway, education, Medicare/Medicaid, etc.) if they refuse to violate their citizens' privacy rights.

4. Direct the Attorney General to review categories of individuals prohibited from having a gun to make sure dangerous people are not slipping through the cracks.

"Categories of individuals"?  See number 2.  This presumably means those deemed at risk of committing violence;  specifically the psychotic, schizo, anyone taking anti-psychotic medications, and those with diagnosed mental illnesses that could reasonably disqualify them from gun ownership. Again, there is no definition of who will make up these categories, or what criteria will be used in those classifications.  It was only a short time ago that Janet Napolitano's DHS issued a directive to all state law enforcement agencies on domestic terrorism risks.  In it, I recall at least 3 distinct groups were named:  Right-wing extremist groups, Tea Party activists, and returning American veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.  She later took down and disavowed the memo (after initially standing by the report), blaming it on a subordinate publishing it without review.  Obama is setting the foundation for a potential gun grab by having the government designate groups of people who "deserve" 2nd Amendment rights and those who might pose a danger to the State.  Keep an eye on this one.  It could be huge.

5. Propose rulemaking to give law enforcement the ability to run a full background check on an individual before returning a seized gun.

If you have legally purchased a gun, you have presumably already cleared a background check.  If your gun is seized, it is likely to be tangentially involved in a crime of some sort.  Good luck ever getting it back.  If you've been "grand-fathered" in as a gun owner previous to the enactment of these EOs, odds are you will, upon review, run afoul of one of the "categories of individuals prohibited from having a gun".

6. Publish a letter from ATF to federally licensed gun dealers providing guidance on how to run background checks for private sellers.

This one makes no sense.  Federally licensed gun dealers (1) already know how to run background checks and (2) no licensed dealer is going to risk his/her federal license by engaging in private sales without one.  I can only assume that the ATF directive will be inclusive of all the new restrictions the Dems can manage to enact restricting 2nd Amendment rights.

7. Launch a national safe and responsible gun ownership campaign.

Using taxpayer money to promote the left's agenda.  The NRA already runs several such campaigns.  This is nothing more or less than using the people's tax money to fund a propaganda campaign designed to convince them to cede some portion of their rights.

8. Review safety standards for gun locks and gun safes (Consumer Product Safety Commission).

Look for the costs of such safety devices to increase in direct proportion to the level of their being mandated.  This will likely lead to a "recommendation" by the CPSC to require that all gun owners purchase federally "approved" gun safes and locking devices as a condition of "responsible gun ownership".  One way around the inconvenience of the 2nd Amendment is to make it so expensive and burdensome to comply with federal rule-making that most people will voluntarily decide it isn't worth the hassle.

9. Issue a Presidential Memorandum to require federal law enforcement to trace guns recovered in criminal investigations.

Again, aren't they already required to do this?  We could've used such a trace on "guns recovered in criminal investigations" to get information on Fast and Furious, something we're still waiting for.

10. Release a DOJ report analyzing information on lost and stolen guns and make it widely available to law enforcement.

Duh.  The police already know that the vast majority of guns used in crimes are reported "lost or stolen".

11. Nominate an ATF director.

Ya think?  We've had domestic terrorist assaults (Maj. Nadal Hassan), we've seen other attempts thwarted, we've seen examples of mass shootings in several parts of the U.S. during Obama's first term and NOW he's going to finally nominate a director of the ATF?  Maybe, if we'd had a director in the agency, Fast and Furious wouldn't have gone undetected so long.  It may even have been stopped before it began.

12. Provide law enforcement, first responders, and school officials with proper training for active shooter situations.

Again, restating the obvious.  Something that is already being done, and would have been done with or without Obama putting his name on it.  Law enforcement and first responders since 9/11/01 already have such training, as do many urban and inner-city schools.

13. Maximize enforcement efforts to prevent gun violence and prosecute gun crime.

Another favorite of the NRA, they've been lobbying for increased enforcement of existing gun laws as well as for enhanced penalties for anyone committing gun crimes.  Nice to see a Democrat President finally coming around.

14. Issue a Presidential Memorandum directing the Centers for Disease Control to research the causes and prevention of gun violence.

What, exactly, does the CDC have to do with gun regulation?  Are they going to determine that the desire to own a firearm is symptomatic of a "disease", and a cause for government intervention? (Maybe they'll determine that insistence on the right to keep and bear arms is a mental disorder, curable/preventable by re-education in "proper modes of thinking and actions"?)

15. Direct the Attorney General to issue a report on the availability and most effective use of new gun safety technologies and challenge the private sector to develop innovative technologies.

See #8 above.  The "challenge" to the private sector will be akin to the "challenge" of government to the automakers to meet new, ever increasing CAFE standards.  ie., If you don't come up with a way to meet the government's requirements for standards of gun safety, you won't be allowed to manufacture or sell your product.

16. Clarify that the Affordable Care Act does not prohibit doctors asking their patients about guns in their homes.

Hand in hand with the CDC.  What business is it of your doctor's whether or not you own a firearm?  Are they really going to classify gun ownership as symptomatic of a physical or mental illness?  Just fyi, included in the "Affordable Care Act" is a provision allowing you to refuse to answer queries about private gun ownership.  Your doctor can ask, but you can legally refuse to answer (although I'm sure your refusal to answer would be noted by the doctor and reported to the government).

 17. Release a letter to health care providers clarifying that no federal law prohibits them from reporting threats of violence to law enforcement authorities.

No federal law, perhaps.  Some states, however, do have such prohibitions.  What IS required, however, is that doctors, ER nurses, and mental health professionals report to local authorities when they have legitimate information of a credible threat to harm individuals.  Again, we see an attempt by Obama to "deputize" others to his cause.  Often by deliberately skirting the letter, and intent, of the law.

18. Provide incentives for schools to hire school resource officers.

Wait, what?  Isn't this exactly the position of Wayne Lapierre of the NRA?  Didn't he get blasted and ridiculed by the left for just this proposal?  Again, it's nice to see a Democrat embrace common sense conservative proposals. </sarc>

19. Develop model emergency response plans for schools, houses of worship and institutions of higher education.

Again, something already in place or in the works locally as a response to the Newtown tragedy.  Also, it's nothing the federal government has any business getting involved in.  These are local issues, and local solutions are best and most efficient in addressing them.

20. Release a letter to state health officials clarifying the scope of mental health services that Medicaid plans must cover.

More government mandates.  Weren't "mental health services" addressed in Obamacare?  Why don't we have an Executive Order reevaluating the restrictions on involuntary committal?  If the truly disturbed (the ones who commit these attacks of mass murder) aren't free to roam society, they can't commit these kinds of crimes.

21. Finalize regulations clarifying essential health benefits and parity requirements within ACA exchanges.

You mean  that the ACA was passed while some provisions weren't finalized?  Why didn't they catch this when the read the bill prior to voting on and passing it?  Oh, wait.........nevermind.

22. Commit to finalizing mental health parity regulations.

Redundant.  See #21.

23. Launch a national dialogue led by Secretaries Sebelius and Duncan on mental health.

These two will lead the charge and direct this arm of the propaganda campaign.  Sebelius, through the HHS, and Duncan, through the NEA, will no doubt coordinate and decide there is a "need" for additional study (funded by tax dollars) and increased federal funding and mandates for "mental health screening and treatment", all while ducking any conclusions as to the responsibilities of the mentally disturbed for their actions or any mention of the possibility of involuntary committal to a secure facility for their treatment and society's safety. 

There you have it.  Another over-long post, I know.  If you've persevered to the end, I very much appreciate your dedication.  I don't see where any of the above proposals will have/would have had any effect on the mass gun attacks seen over the past few years, and I don't believe restricting freedoms is the way to address the problems we face as a society.  If you think I'm off on any of the points I've made here, or if you think there are additional concerns I haven't picked up on, please, post them in the comments section below.

Until next week, be safe & be well.


Saturday, January 12, 2013

2nd Amendment debate

Firearms stand next in importance to the Constitution itself....From the hour the Pilgrims landed, to the present day, events, occurrences, and tendencies prove that to insure peace, security and happiness, the rifle and pistol are equally indispensable....the very atmosphere of firearms everywhere restrains evil interference--they deserve a place of honor with all that is good--George Washington

[Apologies for the long post, I've got a lot to say this week]

Here we go again.  Under the Rahm Emanuel political doctrine, "Never let a crisis go to waste.", Obama/Biden, along with prominent Democrats such as Nancy Pelosi, with the enthusiastic (rabid?) support of the gun control lobby, seem to be on the verge of severely limiting the 2nd Amendment rights of American gun owners.

The basis of the argument seems to be that because of the recent spate of violent attacks involving firearms, government needs to "do something" to protect us from such ever happening again.  Forget the fact that there is no gun law written or imagined that would prevent an evil or mentally unstable person from committing murder; in the case of the Newtown, CT shooting, the murderer was already barred by law from purchasing or possessing even rifles or shotguns, much less semi-automatic pistols.  Tell me, what additional law would have prevented him from doing what he did?

Liberals will say that if the guns weren't in the home to begin with, then there would've been no massacre.  Perhaps.  On the other hand, he may have ambushed people with a butcher knife.  Or maybe he would have gone online to The Anarchist's Cookbook and built an IED, ala Oklahoma City?  As I said in my post following the shooting, evil will always find a way.  Clamping down on law-abiding Americans' Constitutional Right to keep and bear arms and to determine their own best self-defense will have no effect on whether or not the bad guys have access to guns.

"When guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns" is only a cliche' because it's true.  It is a statistical fact that the percentage of legal gun owners involved in violent or gun-related crimes is vanishingly small.  We legal gun owners are, by definition, abiding by the law.  Criminals and the criminally insane, also by definition, do not.  Any additional restriction on legal ownership of firearms will be similarly ignored.

Gun control? It's the best thing you can do for crooks and gangsters. I want you to have nothing. If I'm a bad guy, I'm always gonna have a gun. Safety locks? You will pull the trigger with a lock on, and I'll pull the trigger. We'll see who wins. – Sammy "The Bull" Gravano, whose testimony convicted John Gotti

The left argues that the scope of the 2nd Amendment needs to be restricted because the founders who wrote, and later amended, the Constitution could never have envisioned the sophistication and deadly proficiency of modern weapons and that no one "needs" weapons capable of delivering multiple rounds at a rapid rate of fire.  Only police and the military need "assault weapons".

The strongest reason for people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government. -Thomas Jefferson

When you actually read the full text of the U.S. Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, and the Federalist Papers, which lay out the arguments for and against the establishment of the Constitution as well as the various Amendments, you begin to gain an appreciation of the context surrounding the creation of the founding documents of what was once the greatest, most free country in history.  The 2nd Amendment had nothing at all to do with hunting or "shooting sports".  The 2nd Amendment is a confirmation of Man's natural right to self defense and protection of his family and property against any and all aggressors, including the possibility of a future tyrannical form of government.

Has anyone stopped to consider why the framers found it necessary to create an Amendment confirming the right of private citizens to keep and bear arms?  After all, firearms were as ubiquitous in their society as cell phones are today.  There was certainly no controversy over the so-called "proliferation" of handguns.  It was because they had just come through a violent struggle with an oppressive government and, being well educated men, they knew that historically the imposition of tyranny often followed the disarming of the populace.

Among the many misdeeds of the British rule in India, history will look upon the act of depriving a whole nation of arms, as the blackest. – Mahatma Gandhi, in Gandhi, An Autobiography, p. 446

 Armed people are free. No state can control those who have the machinery and the will to resist, no mob can take their liberty and property. And no 220-pound thug can threaten the well-being or dignity of a 110-pound woman who has two pounds of iron to even things out … People who object to weapons aren't abolishing violence, they're begging for rule by brute force, when the biggest, strongest animals among men were always automatically right. Guns ended that, and a social democracy is a hollow farce without an armed populace to make it work. – L. Neil Smith (from The Probability Broach)

Liberal Progressives like to argue that if we just enacted "sensible gun legislation" we'd be safer.  That new laws such as bans on so-called "assault weapons" and "high capacity magazines" will eliminate their existence.  They ignore the inconvenient fact that criminals are violating the laws already on the books.  Somehow, they have convinced themselves that these new laws would be obeyed.  Show me one society where that has worked.

Australia, the U.K.?  They enacted bans on privately owned guns and liberals point to them as examples for us to follow.  Yes, murder rates did go down.  The relationship to the bans is tenuous, at best.  Murder and gun crime rates were already in decline at the time the bans were enacted.  However, the rates of violent crime and home invasions in each country have gone way up.  In fact, the rate of violent crimes committed per 100,000 residents in the U.K. is much greater than in the U.S.  Good luck getting the gun control advocates to look at these data.

Areas of the country that have the strictest anti-gun measures (Washington, D.C., Chicago, New York, etc.) all have the highest rates of murder and violent crime, while areas that have less restrictive gun control measures (or none at all) have much lower crime rates.  In fact, my home state of Vermont has nearly no restrictions on private gun ownership, provided only that you aren't a felon or under indictment for a violent crime or criminal domestic assault; yet, we have among the lowest incidence of violent and gun crime in the nation.  All you do by restricting private citizens' rights to gun ownership is open the field up for the criminal element, reducing their risk and increasing the danger to the law-abiding citizen.

Consider the following:

The police can't stop an intruder, mugger, or stalker from hurting you. They can pursue him only after he has hurt or killed you. Protecting yourself from harm is your responsibility, and you are far less likely to be hurt in a neighborhood of gun owners than in one of disarmed citizens – even if you don't own a gun yourself. – Harry Browne    

 Switzerland is a land where crime is virtually unknown, yet most Swiss males are required by law to keep in their homes what amounts to a portable, personal machine gun. –Tom Clancy

An armed society is a polite society. – Robert A. Heinlein    

Gun bans don't disarm criminals, gun bans attract them. – Walter Mondale    

Laws that forbid the carrying of arms... disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes... Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man. - Thomas Jefferson's "Commonplace Book," 1774-1776, quoting from On Crimes and Punishment, by criminologist Cesare Beccaria, 1764

We should not forget that the spark which ignited the American Revolution was caused by the British attempt to confiscate the firearms of the colonists. - Patrick Henry

This is just a very short list of quotes by founders and scholars concerning the traditional right of the American citizen to keep and bear arms.  I could have easily found dozens more.  The bottom line, though, is that it doesn't matter.  The right to keep and bear arms is a natural right, not one dependent upon the beneficence of government.  All living beings share this right.  Would you sign on to legislation limiting the length of a tiger's claws?  Or the number of wolves or lions allowed in a pack?  How about the amount and virulence of venom allowed to a cobra?  Ridiculous, of course.  Yet politicians, and those with a similar agenda of control want to impose such limits on us. 

Apples and oranges, you say?  The only thing that differentiates man from the animals mentioned above is the ability to use their mind to facilitate the use of tools for defense, in the face of the fact that humans, as noted by Yaron Brook of the Ayn Rand Institute, make miserable animals.  Our teeth and claws are pitifully inadequate to the job of defense.  The ability to use and invent tools is our "natural defense" against predators.  Take away our ability to make and use these tools, and we are left defenseless to the world.

Our society is dependent upon the rule of law for peaceable coexistence.  The first law of the land is the Constitution of the United States of America.  All other laws are based upon the powers and privileges granted to the State by the consent of the governed.  Otherwise, all rights and privileges are reserved to the people, through their individual states.  The federal government, through the Constitution, is constrained to it's primary function:  the protection and security of the rights of the individual.  If it acts outside those boundaries, it is initiating the very tyranny the 2nd Amendment was meant to address.

To disarm the people is the best and most effectual way to enslave them. – George Mason

The Constitution shall never be construed….to prevent the people of the United States who are peaceable citizens from keeping their own arms. -Samuel Adams


Saturday, January 5, 2013

Washington Math

Obama:  "I'm asking the richest Americans to pay a little bit more, while preserving tax cuts for 98% of working Americans."

Well, we got a deal on the "fiscal cliff". 

Sort of.

Somehow, with the magic of Washington, D.C. mathematics a tax increase on "the richest 2%" ended up a tax increase on 77% of working Americans.  And this doesn't include the ~$1T in new taxes/tax increases coming online in the new year to help fund Obamacare.

To add financial injury to the insult of calling what our politicians cobbled together in 11th hour horse-trading a "deal", the legislation is loaded with giveaways to political insiders and their favorites.  From Hollywood movie moguls to rum producers to renewable energy interests;  if you had the ear of anyone on the negotiating teams, you got yours.

There's a saying:  "Nothing good happens after 2 a.m."  I have a companion to that:  "Nothing good comes out of Congress at the last minute."

The bill that passed the Senate (never mind the Constitutional requirement that all revenue generating bills (ie., taxes) must originate in the House of Representatives) was literally just such a last minute production.  The 147-page bill was delivered to Senators literally minutes before holding the vote.  There is no way any single individual, including the one's responsible for it's creation, had time to review the legislation before passage, much less any meaningful deliberation or debate.  What happened to this "most transparent administration in history" and "we're going to have all negotiations covered by CSPAN, publicly broadcast for all Americans to observe"?  Not to mention the little detail of posting all legislation (House and Senate) online for a full 72 hours before any floor action, in order to allow for public comment and input?

It was reported months ago that Democrats were willing to accept a deal that increased revenue in a ratio of 1:3 for spending reductions.  This "deal" isn't even close to that.  It's not even dollar-for-dollar.  Obama repeatedly said he wanted a "balanced approach".  The result?  The President got a deal for $41 dollars in increased revenue for every $1 in spending reductions.  The best part?  The spending reductions are "To Be Determined"; no specifics.

John Boehner and the Republicans who signed on to this disaster claim that it was done to protect the 98% of Americans who would have seen their taxes rise if all of the Bush-era tax cuts were allowed to revert to their earlier levels.  We've already seen what that 2% turned into.  They also claim that now that the tax rates have become permanent for that 98% of working Americans, they now hold the upper hand on spending reduction targets with the upcoming debates over the raising of the debt ceiling. 

Problem is, Obama has already said that he is not going to negotiate further.  He has publicly stated that he will not allow the Congress to use the debate over the debt ceiling to press him for spending reductions.  In fact, he also stated in the same press announcement that he intends to push for increased "investment" in necessary infrastructure improvements to help move the economy forward.  For those new to the game, "investment" is Washington-speak for increased spending.

We've heard all of this before.  Remember the "emergency" stimulus spending that was so vital to the economy in order to ward off a "2nd Great Depression"?  It was supposedly targeted to "shovel ready jobs".  Months later, we found our President admitting, with a chuckle, that "shovel ready wasn't as shovel ready as we thought."  We still don't know where most of that money went.

Never fear!  The courageous, stalwart Republicans are really gonna hold him to it, this time.  They've finally drawn a line in the sand and they aren't about to be pushed around any more.

I'd almost settle for them being pushed around a little less.