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

All politics in this country now is just dress rehearsal for civil war. -- Billy Beck

Friday, March 30, 2018

More Quora Debate

I recently received an invitation to answer a question over at Quora because another contributor had used a previous answer of mine in his response.  Instead of answering the question, I directly engaged the other contributor.  The question was, "Is there a rigorous, logical and consistent way to define what firearm constitutes an 'assault weapon' and what doesn't?" The answer by Mr. Dave Consiglio that started all of this was:
This answer:

Kevin Baker's answer to Are the differences between assault weapons and sporting weapons merely cosmetic?

Perfectly illustrates the problem we currently have with a vague definition of assault rifles.

Is there a rigorous way to do this? Sure. There are dozens of rigorous ways to do this. How would I do it?

I'd define (and ban) any weapon that can fire more rapidly than the weapons available when the 2nd amendment was passed. If it was good enough for Madison and Jefferson, it should be good enough for us.

I've heard estimates between 2 and 5 rounds per minute for a musket of that era. Please feel free to correct me if that number is in error. But anything faster than that is an assault rifle in my book.

That takes all semiautomatic weapons off the table. Handguns are mostly out, too. What's left are single shot hunting rifles. Slow ones.
So I responded:
Each time I come across this answer, I find it amazing that the author thinks it’s original to them, and has never been proposed before.

Let me quote from one of my favorite legal dissents once again:

“Judges know very well how to read the Constitution broadly when they are sympathetic to the right being asserted. We have held, without much ado, that ‘speech, or...the press’ also means the Internet...and that ‘persons, houses, papers, and effects’ also means public telephone booths....When a particular right comports especially well with our notions of good social policy, we build magnificent legal edifices on elliptical constitutional phrases - or even the white spaces between lines of constitutional text. But, as the panel amply demonstrates, when we're none too keen on a particular constitutional guarantee, we can be equally ingenious in burying language that is incontrovertibly there.

“It is wrong to use some constitutional provisions as springboards for major social change while treating others like senile relatives to be cooped up in a nursing home until they quit annoying us. As guardians of the Constitution, we must be consistent in interpreting its provisions. If we adopt a jurisprudence sympathetic to individual rights, we must give broad compass to all constitutional provisions that protect individuals from tyranny. If we take a more statist approach, we must give all such provisions narrow scope. Expanding some to gargantuan proportions while discarding others like a crumpled gum wrapper is not faithfully applying the Constitution; it's using our power as federal judges to constitutionalize our personal preferences.”

If you apply your logic to the First Amendment respectfully, this is the only technology you are Constitutionally guaranteed:

The quill pen:


The hand-operated printing press:


The soap box in the public square:


And hiring a town crier:


After all, if they were good enough for Madison and Jefferson… Right?

Oh, and were you aware that individuals could purchase cannon back then? Even cannon-armed ships used a privateers to harass enemy shipping?

No licensing, no registration, no tax stamp.

Good enough for Madison and Jefferson, right?
He responded rather swiftly:
I’d be OK with legalizing period cannons. It would be inconsistent for me not to be OK with it, wouldn’t it? But black powder only, and you’ll have to use traditional packing and lighting methods. Also, police will be armed with the latest weapons because the 2nd amendment only applies to common citizens, not to the military or police forces.

I would also oppose licensing or registering cannons, muskets, and related devices. I would posit that ships would have to be registered, though, as flags and other insignia were required on ships in those days. Similarly, docking and transporting were regulated, even during the revolutionary war. Thus, privateers would face some small regulation.

Oh, and they’d have to be sailing vessels only. Of course. Wood and canvas.

As for the 1st amendment, I would gladly give up the internet in exchange for the more than 30,000 people dead each year in this country at the hands of modern firearms. The post office existed in those days, and we could return to writing letters. Since I allowed for modern guns with similar firing rates to muskets, I think it’s fair that modern pens are allowed, though quills would certainly be permitted. Similarly, electric presses that printed at a rate similar to those available in 1791 would be permitted.

It really was good enough for Madison and Jefferson…and it is still good enough for me. I knocked on doors this weekend, campaigning for a future congressperson who will begin the dismantling of the murderous modifications to our laws undertaken by the NRA. It is my hope that we will soon return to a time when ordinary people could not own weapons that could slaughter crowds of people in mere seconds.

And you should want that, too.
OK, it was ON.
Someone once observed that there can be no useful debate between two people with different first principles, except on those principles themselves.

Since that’s not what is happening here, I’d like to explain what I am doing: Mr. Consiglio represents one side of a rather intense debate in this country. I represent another. In keeping with Quora’s BNBR policy, I think Mr. Consiglio is an outstanding example of his side, and appreciate his participation in this forum, but I’m not here to change his mind. I’m here for those not committed to one side or another to witness two opposing views and decide for themselves which better reflects reality.

Let us begin:

“…I would gladly give up the internet in exchange for the more than 30,000 people dead each year in this country at the hands of modern firearms.”

Note his anthropomorphism of the firearm - “at the hands of modern firearms.” The guns are at fault. They are the active vector causing death. Yet a gun cannot load itself, aim itself, or pull its own trigger. That requires, well, actual hands - the hands of a human being.

And of those 30,000 annual deaths? Nearly 2/3rds of them are suicides. About as many more people commit suicide without firearms annually. Generally, when someone has decided to take their own life, they find a way to accomplish it. Yet we’re not seeing marches in D.C. to end suicide.

And the United States with all of its guns ranks about 48th for suicide behind such gun-controlled nations as Japan and Belgium.

The remaining 10,000 annual deaths? Overwhelmingly homicide, true. But the U.S. ranks around 100th worldwide for homicide rate. Nothing to be proud of, but 10,000 deaths isn’t nearly as scary a number as 30,000 is it?

Next: “Also, police will be armed with the latest weapons because the 2nd amendment only applies to common citizens, not to the military or police forces.”

Just for the sake of argument, let’s stipulate that we suffered (a wildly excessive) 30,000 firearm deaths annually since passage of the 1934 National Firearms Act. That’s been 84 years x 30,000 = 2,520,000 deaths in the United States at the hands of private citizens - either their own hands, or the hands of another.

During the 20th Century alone, governments caused the deaths of something on the order of 200,000,000 of their own citizens.

China: 76,000,000

USSR: 62,000,000

Germany: 21,000,000

Cambodia: 2,000,000 (over far less than 84 years)

Etc. etc. etc.

But Mr. Consiglio sees absolutely nothing wrong with ensuring that the agents of government have overwhelming superiority over the average citizen - for our own good, of course. After all, nothing like that could possibly happen here. Right? And after all, what are we mere citizens going to do against nuclear-armed bombers?

Ask the Vietnamese and the Afghans.

As a friend puts it, “Faith in government defies both history and reason.”

And, finally: “I knocked on doors this weekend, campaigning for a future congressperson who will begin the dismantling of the murderous modifications to our laws undertaken by the NRA.”

Thank you, Mr. Consiglio, for participating in our Representative Republic. But somehow I doubt you aware that those supposedly “murderous modifications of our laws undertaken by the NRA” have corresponded with a dramatic decline in gun crime specifically and violent crime overall?

Gun Homicide Rate Down 49% Since 1993 Peak; Public Unaware


What's Behind The Decline In Crime?

Pssst: Crime May Be Near an All-Time Low

The worst thing you can say about things like expanded “shall-issue” concealed carry laws, for example, is that they might not have contributed to these remarkable declines. Oh, and over the same period the number of firearms in private hands has skyrocketed, finally putting a stake in the heart of “more guns = more gun crime” mantra.

Too bad that only works on vampires.

P.S.: “It is my hope that we will soon return to a time when ordinary people could not own weapons that could slaughter crowds of people in mere seconds.”

We’ve never lived in a time like that. One black powder Napoleonic cannon loaded with grapeshot fills that bill. And I find it disturbing that you want such power to be only in the hands of the government.

ETA: I stumbled across this after writing this comment - An Assault Weapons Ban For the IRS (And Other Federal Regulatory Agencies)

Pullquote:

“In 1996, the Bureau of Justice Statistics officially counted 74,500 federal officers who had arrest and firearm authority. By 2008, the Bureau quantified over 120,000 such officers. Newly updated counts were supposed to publish by this July but the Bureau now admits that over 80% of federal agencies ignored or stonewalled responses to their latest survey. What are they trying to hide?

“Even though our organization at Home Page | Open the Books estimated the number of non-Department of Defense federal officers at 200,000+, the current number of non-military federal officers and security personnel could be much larger.”
I think Dave pulled a frontal lobe:
You make the usual compelling but incorrect arguments. People really are much more likely to kill themselves if they have a gun. And we are marching against suicide by marching for universal healthcare, which would help prevent it. And I don't care what the murder rate is in Cambodia - I'm talking about America and you change the subject. And a Napoleonic cannon weighed a ton and needed horses to move it but the Las Vegas shooter easily carried his arsenal into a hotel room and killed dozens. And the government could already vaporize you with a drone or a tank or a nuclear weapon regardless of your gun.

The list goes on and on.

The truth is that you like guns and so in your mind you should have a right to own them. Anyone who suggests otherwise is just wrong.

I would just remind you that slave owners really liked owning slaves and thus felt they should have a right to own them. All their arguments and statistics and logic were just rationalizations of what they wanted to be true. They started a war to defend their beliefs. We had to outnumbered them and then amend the Constitution to finally put an end to their dominance over national discourse.

We will do the same again. It will take time. We have time.
I've been pretty busy, so I let that sit and stew for a bit, then responded:
Sorry for the delay in responding, but I’ve been busy with work. Thanks again for continuing the discussion. Let’s begin:

“People really are much more likely to kill themselves if they have a gun.”

And you can point to which studies that prove this statistically? The study performed at the behest of the Clinton Administration by the National Academies of Science indicated that five-day waiting periods had only one statistically provable effect - it changed the method, but not the rate, of suicide in men over the age of 50. This has been the case for multiple studies conducted in multiple nations over multiple years. So in order to bolster your claim, I think we’d need multiple studies saying what you’re asserting. I haven’t seen them.

“And we are marching against suicide by marching for universal healthcare, which would help prevent it.”

Japan has universal health care. Their suicide rate far exceeds our own. Again, I think you’re making assertions that the facts don’t necessarily back up. And I don’t recall seeing a “Universal Health Care” march on Washington. Perhaps I missed that one.

“I don't care what the murder rate is in Cambodia - I'm talking about America and you change the subject.”

No, you deliberately dodged the subject - retail death at the hands of criminals, vs. wholesale death at the hands of government. You insisted that the government wasn’t affected by the Second Amendment and could have all the mass-murder-capable firearms it wanted while we mere peons should be limited to 3–5 rounds a minute, tops. You stated that you wanted our military and law-enforcement members to have that kind of firepower. I pointed out that - historically - mass murder by governments exceeds mass murder by individuals by a couple of orders of magnitude at a minimum.

And you responded with “I don't care what the murder rate is in Cambodia….”

The Khmer Rouge killed those 2,000,000 victims in a mere five years - from an overall population of 7.5 million - about the population of Dallas-Ft. Worth.

Then you said: “And a Napoleonic cannon weighed a ton and needed horses to move it but the Las Vegas shooter easily carried his arsenal into a hotel room and killed dozens.”

Yes, dozens. As opposed to millions. Or merely hundreds of thousands. Yet you’re OK with private citizens possessing Napoleonic cannon that they can move around with, say a truck.

Something tells me that your concern about the capability of mass-murder isn’t really what we’re discussing here.

“And the government could already vaporize you with a drone or a tank or a nuclear weapon regardless of your gun.”

Sure, if they want to declare all-out war on the citizenry. But they have to leave the drone shack, climb out of the tank or get out of the nuclear bomber some time. And the people they take orders from aren’t exactly invulnerable either.

“The truth is that you like guns and so in your mind you should have a right to own them.”

The truth is that I have a right to defend myself and my family, my neighbors, my state, and my nation. It just so happens that for an individual a firearm is pretty much the best tool for that defense. Denying me those tools while ensuring that others have them puts me at a severe disadvantage. The people who founded this nation understood that an armed populace was the last, best bastion against all enemies, foreign and domestic, and thus they wrote a guarantee into the founding legal document establishing our form of government ensuring that the government would not have the power to disarm the people wholesale.

Now we’re hearing calls to repeal the Second Amendment because - at last - The Other Side™ has acknowledged that prohibition. But they neglect one further bit of recognition: The Second Amendment protects a pre-existing right, stating that right “shall not be infringed.” Repealing the Second Amendment won’t overturn the right to keep and bear arms, it’ll just make confiscation “legal.”

Like slavery used to be. Remember, slaves weren’t allowed to possess arms, either.

He responded almost immediately. Sorry for his lack of formatting:
Sorry for the delay in responding, but I’ve been busy with work. Thanks again for continuing the discussion. Let’s begin:

. “People really are much more likely to kill themselves if they have a gun.”

. And you can point to which studies that prove this statistically? The study performed at the behest of the Clinton Administration by the National Academies of Science indicated that five-day waiting periods had only one statistically provable effect - it changed the method, but not the rate, of suicide in men over the age of 50. This has been the case for multiple studies conducted in multiple nations over multiple years. So in order to bolster your claim, I think we’d need multiple studies saying what you’re asserting. I haven’t seen them.

Guns and suicide: A fatal link

Guns in the Home and Risk of a Violent Death in the Home: Findings from a National Study | American Journal of Epidemiology | Oxford Academic

There are more. The Clinton study was about waiting periods. I'm talking about an absence of guns.

. “And we are marching against suicide by marching for universal healthcare, which would help prevent it.”

. Japan has universal health care. Their suicide rate far exceeds our own. Again, I think you’re making assertions that the facts don’t necessarily back up. And I don’t recall seeing a “Universal Health Care” march on Washington. Perhaps I missed that one.

That is correct. But their murder rate is far below ours. Also, many countries have universal health care and a lower homicide and suicide rate. The average for countries with universal health care is much lower on both counts.

. “I don't care what the murder rate is in Cambodia - I'm talking about America and you change the subject.”

. No, you deliberately dodged the subject - retail death at the hands of criminals, vs. wholesale death at the hands of government. You insisted that the government wasn’t affected by the Second Amendment and could have all the mass-murder-capable firearms it wanted while we mere peons should be limited to 3–5 rounds a minute, tops. You stated that you wanted our military and law-enforcement members to have that kind of firepower. I pointed out that - historically - mass murder by governments exceeds mass murder by individuals by a couple of orders of magnitude at a minimum.

Yes it does. So what? Our government doesn't engage in mass murder. We're talking about homicide and suicide.

. And you responded with “I don't care what the murder rate is in Cambodia….”

The Khmer Rouge killed those 2,000,000 victims in a mere five years - from an overall population of 7.5 million - about the population of Dallas-Ft. Worth.

Yes they did. Our government does not do that. Off topic.

. Then you said: “And a Napoleonic cannon weighed a ton and needed horses to move it but the Las Vegas shooter easily carried his arsenal into a hotel room and killed dozens.”

. Yes, dozens. As opposed to millions. Or merely hundreds of thousands. Yet you’re OK with private citizens possessing Napoleonic cannon that they can move around with, say a truck.

How could one man with one cannon kill millions? He'd have a hard time killing a few. Then, people would restrain him.

. Something tells me that your concern about the capability of mass-murder isn’t really what we’re discussing here.

You're the one who thinks everyone should have access to a portable cannon (aka AR-15)

. “And the government could already vaporize you with a drone or a tank or a nuclear weapon regardless of your gun.”

. Sure, if they want to declare all-out war on the citizenry. But they have to leave the drone shack, climb out of the tank or get out of the nuclear bomber some time. And the people they take orders from aren’t exactly invulnerable either.

Please. Drones are in the sky 24/7. Nukes haven't been dropped from bombers since the 50s. The president pushes a button and you die. Your gun is useless.

“The truth is that you like guns and so in your mind you should have a right to own them.”

The truth is that I have a right to defend myself and my family, my neighbors, my state, and my nation. It just so happens that for an individual a firearm is pretty much the best tool for that defense. Denying me those tools while ensuring that others have them puts me at a severe disadvantage. The people who founded this nation understood that an armed populace was the last, best bastion against all enemies, foreign and domestic, and thus they wrote a guarantee into the founding legal document establishing our form of government ensuring that the government would not have the power to disarm the people wholesale.

Now we’re hearing calls to repeal the Second Amendment because - at last - The Other Side™ has acknowledged that prohibition. But they neglect one further bit of recognition: The Second Amendment protects a pre-existing right, stating that right “shall not be infringed.” Repealing the Second Amendment won’t overturn the right to keep and bear arms, it’ll just make confiscation “legal.”

Pre-existing rights aren't a thing. When the 2nd is appealed you will have no right. The sooner the better.

Like slavery used to be. Remember, slaves weren’t allowed to possess arms, either.

Nope. And you can't possess a slave anymore. Soon it'll be slaves and guns.
Oy, this is really getting good, so I decided to tweak him again and see what else I could get him to say:
“The Clinton study was about waiting periods. I'm talking about an absence of guns.”

No, the Clinton study was about ‘gun violence,’ including suicide. The study overall said “We find no statistical evidence that gun control has any effect - positive or negative - on the rate of gun violence, but five-day waiting periods have this interesting statistical effect of changing the method of suicide for older males.” The study was Firearms and Violence: A Critical Review.

Your second link - “Guns and suicide: a fatal link” was a survey. It shows what in statistics is known as correlation, but not causation. The majority of vehicles owned in Wyoming are pickup trucks. This correlates with the suicide rate, but does not cause suicide. Connecticut and New York are both anti-gun states and their “Gun Ownership” numbers look approximately the same, but Connecticut has a much higher Suicide rate than New York. Massachusetts has the lowest “Gun Suicide” rate and is the most gun unfriendly state in the country, yet California and Illinois - also very gun-unfriendly states - have much higher rates of suicide by gun. Why? Strain all you wish, but you haven’t proven causation.

Your first link was from a 2004 study that - once again - correlated gun ownership with the risk of dying by gunshot. That being the case, why is the homicide rate in Washington D.C. where guns are very difficult to get legally so much higher than right across the river in Virginia where they’re practically unregulated? Correlation does not equal causation, either here or worldwide.

Next topic: Government. “Our government does not do that. Off topic.” Our government supported slavery for its first 100 years. Our government put Japanese-Americans in concentration camps and stole their property. There’s a lot of things our government hasn’t done - yet. But “It can’t happen here” is a mantra I fully expected.

“How could one man with one cannon kill millions?” One man can’t. But an army can. Which is why one man with an AR-15 rifle concerns me less than an entire police department equipped with the full-auto version.

“Pre-existing rights aren't a thing.” Tell that to your neighbors. See how they react.

Once again, thank you for being such a sterling example of type.
He popped back immediately with this:
You, as well. A perfect example of blind faith in the 2nd amendment in the face of incredible evidence to the contrary. The cult of gun is strong indeed.

And I am telling my neighbors, with my vote. My candidate supports strong gun control. So will the majority of the House of Representatives by this time next year.

In the end, your arguments won’t matter. Your vote won’t be enough. We are coming for your guns because your “right” to own one doesn’t trump our “right” to not be slaughtered by the members of your cult who keep demonstrating with crystal clarity that we should not allow citizens to own whatever gun they want.
I was sorely tempted to ask him - if there are no pre-existing rights, why is slavery wrong? And is lethal force in the avoidance of enslavement justified? But I'll leave that to others.

Oh, and Mr. Consiglio is a high-school teacher. Quelle suprise.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Anybody Interested in a Central/Southern AZ Blogshoot?

Got an Aussie friend whose brother will be in town late May, early June.  We're looking at June 3 at the Casa Grande public range for an informal gathering of the People of the Gun.

Anybody still read this blog and interested?

Saturday, February 24, 2018

I am REALLY Beginning to Appreciate This


Is Broward County a Smaller Version of Chicago?

There's been a lot of outrage toward Broward County, FL's Sheriff Scott Israel over his department's lack of response to the rampage shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. See also this.  I'd like to point out that the Broward County Sheriff's Department has a longer history that people should be aware of.

During the waning days of the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban (that wasn't), then-Sheriff Ken Jenne invited CNN's John Zarella to demonstrate to him the difference between the then-legal semi-automatic weapons and those that had been banned by the 1994 AWB.  It was one of the earliest things I posted about here at TSM.

He had a deputy fire four rounds from a (legal) AK-clone into cinderblocks.

He then demonstrated that rifle rounds from that AK-47 clone would penetrate the "bulletproof" vests worn by law enforcement - vests that are rated, at best, to stop pistol rounds. Zarella was shocked. He was told that the rifle held only ten rounds, as per the law. He was not told that 30-round magazines were still legal and still fit in that rifle.

Then he ostensibly demonstrated a banned AK-clone. Thirty-round magazine, FULL-AUTO.

A transcript of the clip (video not available) is here.

The NRA responded to this episode of "fake news."

And Sheriff Jenne? Well, he suffered a rather spectacular fall from grace not long afterward.

Is Broward County a smaller version of Chicago?

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Quote of the Day - Totalitarianism Edition

Inspired by a comment on my previous post, I went looking into Jean-Francois Revel and his book Last Exit to Utopia: The Survival of Socialism in a Post-Soviet Era. In a Wall Street Journal review of that book, I found this, the QotD:
The totalitarian phenomenon is not to be understood without making an allowance for the thesis that some important part of every society consists of people who actively want tyranny: either to exercise it themselves or — much more mysteriously — to submit to it. - Jean-Francois Revel
Calls for aggressive disarmament of the American public ring that alarm bell emphatically.

Discuss.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Other People's Content

As you may know, I frequent Quora.com. Recently someone asked the question:
What are the great ideas of progressivism distinct from liberalism?
This answer by Charles Tips is one of the best, most concise responses I've ever read, and I asked him if I could archive it here on my blog.

He said yes:
All of progressivism is distinct from liberalism. It rests on an idea I hesitate to call great, but which certainly has been workable. And that idea depends on a number of ancillary ideas and methods.

The modern reordering of politics


Monarchism enjoyed a long run of more than two millennia before being beset in short order by three new politics: Liberalism kicked in in the late 17th century. Bonapartism commenced in the early 19th century followed by Marxist socialism in the mid-19th century.

It was a rough time to be a monarch or aristocrat, institutions propped up only by myth (some are made of better stuff and are more beloved of God), militia (the finest knucklebreakers money can buy) and corruption (we give ourselves titles, offices and land; you can barely survive without paying us). If Napoleon wasn’t running roughshod over your turf exposing you as not so hearty as you claimed, Old Karl was filling your subjects ears with nonsense about class-free society.

But the real kicker was liberalism, which, with its economics of productivity, stood as a rival power center. When Richard Arkwright, a poor tailor’s son, died near the end of the 18th century worth half a million pounds from his inventiveness and enterprise, it sent shock waves through all of European society. The reverberation was especially strong in the courts of kings—scientists and tinkerers and commercial men now had an engine that could produce real wealth and offer useful employment to our subjects!

The gentry had laughed up their sleeves at the very notion of the United States of America—a class-free society… with no titles of nobility… with subjects made full citizens… and the leaders of government construed as public servants!!?? Preposterous! But it kept succeeding—not preposterous but prosperous.

Napoleon came and went, and his nephew was not the adroit he was. Socialism threatened wide-scale revolution then went quiet. But liberalism had bestowed commoners with the goose that lays golden eggs. What were thinking layabout sycophants to do? And then the United States threatened to split in two. Maybe liberalism was a dead end.

Monarchy rallied and soon King Wilhelm I charged Prince Otto von Bismarck to go out and get the many German principalities and duchies to submit to his rule. He needed an incentive, and the strongest appeal to the masses was socialism. He decided to explore and so had a famous series of private meetings with Ferdinand Lassalle, leader of an early social democratic party (that being the name communists had had to resort to in order to get around sedition laws).

Bismarck soon concluded, by God, this man is every bit the monarchist I am, just for the House of Lassalle rather than the House of Hohenzollern. I know how to work with such opportunists!

And so he stole Marx’s entire scheme and implemented it in the name of the King. He hired leading social democrats into his government, united all the German states under now-Kaiser Wilhelm I, created the paternalistic welfare state, and not long after made socialism illegal. As Bismarck explained:
My idea was to bribe the working classes, or shall I say, to win them over, to regard the state as a social institution existing for their sake and interested in their welfare.
The new myth: We Care. By swallowing socialism whole, he had lucked upon the means to protect privilege against liberalism. Item #2 in The Communist Manifesto had been a graduated income tax. Implement that and the political class then has a throttle on the personal wealth of the rising entrepreneurial class. All the goodies capitalism produces can be kept—the goose can keep laying the golden eggs; we just get our eggs off the top. And we need a lot of them because We Care.

Social democracy comes to America

The United States was birthed at the zenith of liberalism as the pinnacle of liberalism. Our Constitution guaranteed a society that was flat and free. Citizens were free to pursue their own self-interest because Adam Smith had shown that turns out to be good for everyone.

In order for an enterprising man to succeed, he has to create a win for his workers so that they willingly stay engaged in production. He has to create a win for his customers so that they keep buying his products. He typically must use the profits that eventually begin flowing in to shore up the business. It is only with a great deal of risk and fortitude that he himself can gain a win.

Modern free-enterprise economics had supplanted pre-modern non-productive economics, which was zero-sum (win-lose) and therefore produced no new wealth. In fact, the old non-productive economics was now referred to as corruption. Only, for those who were well-situated, it was so much less toil than productive economics. One could become wealthy not by getting in harness for the long haul but simply opportunistically by taking advantage of one’s status.

As word of the Bismarckian bombshell began arriving in the US, several things were going on.
  • Resentment, reaching well into the North over Reconstruction and the three amendments with the effect of making former slaves full citizens
  • Former slaves from the South and Swedish farm boys arriving from the Upper Midwest looking for factory and trade work
  • The steady arrival of “new immigrants” on the eastern seaboard—Jews from Eastern Europe and Catholics and Orthodox from Southern Europe
  • The rise of industrial might and industrial tycoons
  • A rising number of politicians unwilling to be content in the role of public servant
  • The widespread adoption in genteel families of Victorian morality
Progressivism, the movement to implement Bismarckian social democracy in the US soon dominated both parties. However, the movement faced a huge impediment in the Constitution, a document crafted as a bulwark against statism. Here are some of the methods employed by progressives over the years in service of their great idea.
  • Law schools at Harvard, Yale and other leading universities devoted themselves to a democratic reading of the Constitution—majority rules rather than the republican idea that no law is valid that impinges on the rights of anyone
  • Doubling down on democracy with new voting methods—ballot initiatives, recall elections, referenda, direct election of senators and so on
  • Adoption of the Prussian Volksschule, geared to indoctrination, as our public school model
  • Alliance with the Conservative Democrat faction in the South
  • Scientism—Spencer’s popularized version of Darwinian evolution becoming the basis for eugenics and white supremacy
  • Amending the Constitution (XVI) to permit a capitation tax (previously disallowed) on income
  • The rise of Keynesian economics, an economics conceived specifically to allow for political control of the economy
  • After progressive numbers were halved in the wake of Prohibition, an increasing reliance on Fabian deception
  • The rise of administrative law together with federal agencies having police units not publicly accountable
  • Approval of public-sector unions, which has seen a rise in public-sector compensation outpacing that of all productive sectors and with union dues going directly to the Democratic Party
  • Political Correctness—the use of Gramscian ideas to control thought, meaning and culture
  • The rise of the deep state and “weaponization” of public agencies
To be sure, there are many branches to these methods, and this list is far from exhaustive. But all such methods are in support of the great idea of progressivism. In a nutshell…


And so our wealthiest neighborhoods now surround our political capitols, especially Washington, DC, and our politicians no longer see themselves as lowly public servants: United States order of precedence.
Damn, Charles, that was beautiful. And frightening.

Thursday, February 01, 2018

Jaguar!

Sorry, should have posted this earlier.

The Jag has arrived.  It came last Sunday.  Here it is on the transporter with 1700+ miles of road grime on it:


And here it is parked in the garage, clean and with about 60+ more miles on it than it had when it rolled off the trailer:


Just one more - this is Jaguar's "Celestial Black" under direct sunlight:


It's absolutely gorgeous.  Reminds me of Colt's Royal Blue finish.

And yes, it runs like a striped-ass ape.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

My Birthday is Coming Up in March....

(Hint, hint.)

Were I willing to become single again, I'd be signing on the dotted line for this.


Update:



UPDATE: She said "Yes."

Paperwork should arrive tomorrow for my signature(s). Then I just have to wait for the car to arrive from Illinois.

I think I'll be attending car shows as an exhibitor. This is one-of-255, and most of the 255 are convertibles.

Wow.  Just...wow.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

It's Gone

Remember my 3/4-life crisis when I sold my Mustang and bought an MG?

Almost a year later, I'm rid of the MG.  Took a pretty big loss on the deal, but my garage now has a hole in it, thank you jeebus.  The new owner seems pleased.  I'm pleased.  My wife is pleased.

Now I need to clean up the garage so she can park her car inside.

Monday, January 08, 2018

Still Doing Cleanup

Going through the archives trying to clean up broken links and other things in old posts.

Damn I posted a lot back when.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Quote of the Day, Civil War 2.0 Edition

From American Thinker, What Might Civil War be Like?:
Cities cannot feed themselves under any conditions, and what food could be grown on America’s resource-starved farms would be gobbled up by people nearer and dearer to the farmers. Leftists would have to both secure vast territories around their urban strongholds and relearn from scratch the generations-lost art of food production. Liberal enclaves stranded in the hinterland would simply be untenable. We, on the other hand, would be critically short of new Hollywood movies. Without a steady supply of the works of Meryl Streep and Matt Damon, millions of conservatives would instantly drop dead from boredom – that is, according to Meryl Streep.

Friday, December 08, 2017

Wow. Just Wow.

4K, 100,000 frames per second. Lightning like you've never seen it before. Go fullscreen.


Transient from Dustin Farrell (www.dfvc.com) on Vimeo.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Lois Lerner is Frightened

The news is reporting that former IRS executive Lois G. Lerner and her deputy Holly Paz want their testimony in the Tea Party targeting investigation sealed because they're afraid of public reaction should the information be released.

They should be afraid. Everyone sitting in a seat of power in a government office should be afraid of pissing off the public. "Tar, Feathers," as Instapundit puts it, should probably be employed somewhat less than metaphorically from time to time, so as to reduce the possibility of "Rope, tree, some assembly required."

At least some of the corrupt Illinois politicians end up serving time.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Wow. Is This Thing Still On?

I see it's been awhile since I posted here.  Sorry about that.  Not intentional.  Lots to write about, not much interest in actually writing.  Maybe after Thanksgiving.  Thanks for visiting.  Read the stuff on the sidebar.

Friday, October 27, 2017

Bleg and Gun Raffle:

This year I was a first-time attendee of Blogorado, and fell in love with the Farm Fam.  One of their own - well, I'll let Old NFO tell the story:
Gun Raffle!!!

I know this is a lousy time to ask for money, but one of our extended Blogarado family is in need. FarmFam’s daughter-in-law, Andi, 33 and the mother of two small boys, suffered a stroke in mid August. Unfortunately, it wasn't diagnosed correctly for two weeks, delaying treatment.

She's facing a year to 18 months of physical therapy to get back to full function.

Therapy costs are running $200-500 per session, and she needs therapy once a week. Andi has not been able to afford health insurance, because she her husband own a small business that makes too much money for them to get assistance with health insurance, but not enough for them to be able to afford health insurance, and raising two boys.

Any help will be much appreciated, as Andi has begun physical therapy, and without health insurance she has to pay the full cost of every session.

In order to help her out, we are doing another gun raffle to try to help her with her therapy. One change from what we did for Tam is to run this through a Go Fund Me, https://www.gofundme.com/andrea-keenan-medical-fund, so that the money is immediately available to her for her therapy. One IRS change is that Go Fund Me $$ are now counted as income for the family, so we are shooting for a goal of $25,000 to offset the tax burden they will be hit with.

Here are the ‘rules’ $10 per chance, $50/6 chances, $100/12 chances, etc. Make your donation to the Go Fund Me above, and copy your donation receipt to 4anditherapy@gmail.com. This will count as your entry into the raffle. If you have already donated, we will accept prior donations to the Go Fund Me.

The raffle will run from now through the end of November, with the drawing to be held 1 December via a random drawing program. First number gets their choice, second gets their choice, etc.

The raffle packages are-
1. Taurus .44 Magnum pistol


2. Ruger MK-II bull barrel .22


3. Custom sub-MOA AR-15 - BCM 18” SPR Mk 12 upper with PRI carbon fiber handguard, BCM BCG, all Wolff springs except buffer. KNS anti-roll trigger pins, JP Enterprises Silent capture buffer and spring, Magpul PRS stock, Magpul MIAD grip, Norgon ambi mag release, Teal Blue Bravo Ambi Bolt catch, AeroPrecision lower with 45° safety, Harris bipod adapter for front rail, full length top rail, BUIS front sight, Gissele SSA-E trigger, BCM gunfighter charging handle.


4. Remington 870 Express pump in 20ga


5. Chinese copy of a 12ga coach gun


6. Springfield Range Officer .45 with 7 magazines and custom holster


7. Springfield Range Officer 9mm with 7 magazines and custom holster


8. Lawdog’s personal Rock Island 1911 9mm, reworked by Joe Speer with 6 magazines


9. A ladies package consisting of a ring (late-Victorian-style design with either high-quality glass or mid-grade garnet stones. The mount is jeweler's metal, size 6 3/4 or 7). A unicorn necklace, late 1980s-early 1990s James Avery sterling silver charm on a silver chain. A coin necklace, an 1904 Indian Head penny, silver dipped in a gold-plated mount with a gold-plated silver chain. And a handmade necklace and earrings from Phlegmmy.

10. Signed copies of Lawdog’s, Peter Grant’s, Dorothy Grant’s, and JL Curtis’ books

11. TBD (other possible packages are being discussed)
All guns will be shipped FFL to FFL for winners. Pictures of the various packages will follow in the next couple of days.

Thank you in advance, I know she will appreciate the help, and this will take a little pressure off the family!If you can help out, please do. These are good people.

EDIT:  Updates to the prize list and raffle status are being maintained by Old NFO.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Picture Dump - Cars & Coffee, 10/14/17

The second Saturday of every month, one of the high-end strip-malls in Tucson holds "Cars & Coffee" where, for a couple of hours, anybody can bring their car and show it off.  There's a wide, wide variety of vehicles at these things, but this month there was the largest turnout I've yet to see - at least a couple hundred cars.  Here are some of the highlights:

First, the exotic:





Then the classic:






Next, the unusual:







And, finally, something I've never seen in the wild before - An aluminum-bodied, right-hand drive AC Cobra:




There were also of course Camaros and Mopars, Golf GTIs and Subaru WRXs, BMWs, Porsches and Ferraris and more Mustangs than you could shake a proverbial stick at.  It's a good show every month, and gratifying to know that there are still a LOT of young gearheads out there interested in going FAST, along with us old farts who can finally afford the cars they dreamed about in their youths.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Motive

When I first heard of the details of the shooting spree in Las Vegas, my immediate thought was of Matt Bracken's Enemies Foreign and Domestic.  My second thought was of the University of Texas, Austin tower shooting.  I was not alone on either thought.

Well, preliminary reports are that there were no obvious brain abnormalities.

Mark Steyn recently received a missive from one of his fans on the incident, and in keeping with letting other people say it better than I can, I recommend you read what he had to say, but I will offer some excerpts:
This man amassed (rough figures) 24 guns in the hotel and another 19 at his home - 42 guns in total. He spent some $100,000 on buying them. The guns at his home are one thing but he also spent days filling his hotel room with more weapons and ammunition than he could ever conceivably use along with an array of advanced modifications and accessories.

Everything brand new. And very expensive. And mostly entirely redundant. Representing in effect an enormous waste of money and time and risk.

Except that is in the realm of generating massive publicity. Guaranteed massive publicity.

Yet despite having gone to enormous lengths to achieve that goal we are asked to believe this same man never troubled - never took the most elementary steps - to speak to that publicity. Indeed left behind no trace of anything that might demonstrate indicate or even hint at his motive or motives.

That would appear to make very little sense.

We would argue the opposite - that it makes absolute sense.

Because this gentleman did not simply fail to leave behind a motive; He took substantial trouble to ensure that no motive could be found - or attributed to him. All of which can lead us to only one conclusion:

It has been said that 'the medium is the message'.

In this case that is the literal truth. There is only one plausible motive for what this man did. And here it is:

This man wished to telegraph to America in graphic form the hard irrefutable evidence that guns and gun ownership and the ease of gun purchase in America are an evil and must be controlled. On that hypothesis everything now makes sense.
On the question of why the shooter scoped out other venues first, but ultimately attacked the Harvest Music Festival:
The people he chose to kill supports the hypothesis on 'guns'. Country and Western fans are virtually guaranteed to own or at least to defend the ownership of guns. By a certain logic this provides the gunman with two sound moral positions (because it is not beyond possibility he has a conscience):

First - While killing a very large number of innocent people is an horrendous crime it is nonetheless entirely justifiable - in moral terms - if it causes a restriction on guns. Because such a restriction would - it is widely held - save innumerable lives in the long run. There is no evidence for this but it is still a widely and passionately held belief.

Second - Since the people he is shooting are actively or passively defenders of guns and an obstacle to gun control they are by definition responsible in part for all the people who have been and continue to be killed by guns.
You see it in almost every story - "We may never know the motive." "The motive remains a mystery."

I don't think there was any kind of conspiracy involved, but I can't disagree with this assessment. It's almost as if he was shouting "How DARE we be allowed to be free!"

Wednesday, October 04, 2017

"This is Public. Please Share."

John Ringo, author of many books I've enjoyed greatly, posted something on Facebook I'm going to reproduce here.  The title of this post comes from it.

Other than that, I have no commentary:
A Theory on Las Vegas

I may be the only person in the 'pundit' world who can put what we know about the Las Vegas shooter in perspective because I've dealt with something similar before. My personal take, at this point, is 'homicidal psychotic break, rationale currently unknown, possible pharmacological.'

To debunk a few of the recent urban legends and prolapse some of the stupider arguments:

ISIS: Nothing in his electronic trail indicates any contact with ISIS despite their claims and some rumors. Nothing.

'There were multiple shooters/he was a patsy!': All the guns in the room were registered to Paddock. He was covered in GSR and even had burns on his hands from hot barrel/rounds.

'He was antifa killing Republicans!': Nothing in his electronic trail indicates the slightest political affiliation or interest. Nothing.

There weren't even angry emails. He never posted comments. Rarely read political news. Nada.

Gambling debts! He was broke!

Paddock was a habitual hobby gambler who was the sort of person casinos hate. He would set a budget on his gambling and stick to it religiously. He also rarely lost big or won big and never let either one change his habits.

He was a perfectly normal, successful, retired accountant well-invested in real estate with very little or no recent change in demeanor or actions.

Perfectly normal guy and only a ‘loner’ to the extent he wasn’t terribly socially active. ‘Loner’ apparently means he didn’t frequent wild parties. If he had the narrative would be ‘wild party animal.’

'Homicidal psychotic break means he couldn't have done the planning!'

Au contraire. Deep sigh. Been here, had someone in my life nearly do if not that than similar. With their permission I will now recount a story and show why everything about this makes a terrible sort of sense to me. The story is about my lovely and extremely loving wife, Miriam, and her descent to homicidal psychotic break due to a nasty drug interaction.

My wife has had the same doctor since she was a child. Old 'country' doctor who is the only person who has ever been able to handle Miriam's many oddities. A limited list:

My wife:

Has four kidneys and four ankles. (She ate the good twin.)

Was once listed as one of the top five Adult ADHD in the US and the only one who was clinically functional.

Has supremely bizarre drug interactions and thereby hangs this tale.

Miriam is a 'limited case pharmacological phenotype.' What does that mean? You know where on the warning label it says: 'in rare cases may cause you to grow two heads and fly to the moon'? Miriam is 'rare cases.' Every single time she tries a new prescription drug (fill in reason here) she is 'rare cases.'

This involves the 'in rare cases' effect of a drug called Cymbalta. Notably, as Cymbalta NOW states 'in rare cases may cause homicidal or suicidal psychotic break. Should not be prescribed to teenagers.' (Because it turns out in MOST cases WILL cause psychotic break in teenagers.)

Miriam was prescribed Cymbalta for 'depression' by her doctor in the early fall of 2007. I don't really remember if it seemed to work or not but she remained on it. I do recall that there as a shooting (by a teenager) that December in Nebraska in a mall. And I do recall Miriam's uncharacteristic comment.

'He only managed to kill five people in a crowded mall at Christmas time with a pistol and three magazines? He really needed to learn how to shoot.'

My wife is extremely loving and extremely Christian. Her normal response would have been 'That's terrible. God bless their souls and I hope he finds peace!' 'I could have done better' metaphorically was... not Miriam. I'll admit I didn't really notice it at the time.
Nor did I notice that over the course of the next several months (not sure when it started) we started to have a lot of 'off-brand' bleach around the house. Miriam is a lovely wife but cleaning is not her thing. But she also purchases in a very random manner. (Note the ADHD thing.) This did seem to be alot of bleach, though. I mentioned it a couple of times in jest. (We finally ran through all the bleach she bought in 2007-8 about a year ago. That much bleach.)

I didn't realize there were twenty-nine more gallon bottles in the trunk of her car.

I do recall during a rather bad time (possibly around below) that 'when she was gone' (and it had the feeling of 'soon') I wouldn't have to worry about the cats because 'they would be coming with her.' Miriam occasionally says odd things but that stood out. I'm more than aware of various forms of murder suicide and it was... discomforting. But... Miriam sometimes says odd things. (Used to. Far less these days for a variety of reasons. She's gotten SANER with menopause which is... just as bizarre as everything else.)

Things around Mother's Day got bad but they usually are. (Reasons I won't relate.) Then at a certain point I got a call from my loving wife (GF at the time) saying she was coming home from work, early, and we needed to go to Parkridge. I wasn't even sure what 'Parkridge' was.

Parkridge is one of the hospitals in the area but the specific one she mentioned was the psychiatric hospital.

I asked her on the drive over what was wrong. She didn't want to talk about it. For various 'privacy' reasons I wasn't well informed at the time. But I'll fill in the blanks for you in ways they weren't filled in for me.

She finally realized something was VERY wrong and checked herself in. Miriam had had a 'homicidal psychotic break' due to a side effect of Cymbalta. In most cases this is light and happens during the first couple of months or first month. NOW doctors are told to evaluate regularly in the first few months. THEN there was no warning. And NOBODY goes nine months. Except someone with ENORMOUS coping skills who has had to deal with madness that drove others insane on a daily basis her whole life.

(By the way, the teenager in the mall above? Guess what anti-depressant he was on? One guess and it rhymes with 'Sin Malta'. He’d been on it a few months, prescribed right around the same time as Miriam.)

So my loving wife coped. She controlled. As she slowly went ever-loving NUTS.

The specific issue was she had 'an uncontrollable desire to do harm to those who do harm to others.' Notably, she'd built up a list of persons on the Megan's (sexual predators) List and had developed very carefully constructed kill plans for each. She was tracking them and targeting them carefully. She has an extensive background in forensics and was probably going to get away with it.

Now, people may look at the targets and go 'Well... Uhm... having a hard time with that being 'bad'.' But to be very clear, my wife had shifted, subtly and without warning, from sweet, Christian, Miriam to serial killer. And I do mean without ANY REAL WARNING.

I didn't know exactly what was going on at the time. I was approached by one of the staff after a few hours sitting in a hard chair out front.

'I understand you're an author?'

'Yes. What's going on? Is Miriam okay?' (We weren't married at the time. Yes, I married her AFTER this, people.)

'She's being evaluated. But I understand you work from home? Are there frequently?'

'Pretty much all the time.'

'We can release her if she is under 24 hour monitoring...'

I had to sign to get her out pledging I would maintain '24 hour monitoring.' (Yes, I had to sign an actual release taking responsibility for the actions of an adult. They wouldn't tell me FOR WHAT ACTIONS.)

Miriam covered the big stuff on the ride home. I didn't get lots of detail til... years later. Details such as: Manson-like she had started to get the other patients, and even staff, to agree that her plan totally made sense in her first group therapy session. That was the real reason they were sending her home. They were afraid she was infecting the patients and staff and would form a 'kill sexual predators' cult.

(I guess they thought I was immune or something.)

Issues with this went on and on for months as it slowly leached from her system.

But let me relate it to Las Vegas.

Most people think of 'homicidal break' as someone suddenly 'grabbing a letter opener and carving their way out of Cost Accountancy and into forensic history.' (H/t: the late Sir Terry Pratchett.)

That's not, generally, how it works. How much planning and preparation a person does depends upon how rapid the onset is (months in Miriam's case) and how good they are at planning and preparation. (Both Miriam and Paddock were planners. He was an accountant and multi-millionaire.)

So look at the story above and break it down:

Relatively normal person, perhaps a bit odd, has minor changes in behavior that no-one in their close circle really notices.

He/she is a methodical person with an agenda. Other people who've done mass kills simply did not do it right. He/she is going to do it right. He knows they hold concerts by the Mandalay. That's the perfect venue for the most kills.

Suddenly they're a mass killer for no apparent reason.

That was what WAS going to happen with my wife.

So, Paddock doesn't really surprise me. I've seen it before.

My guess is it will be doctors who figure it out. And if they do they'll find he either was having a bad drug reaction (in which case nobody will admit nothin’ just as they’ve never admitted it was Cymbalta that caused the Westroads Mall Shooting) or neurological degeneration of some sort. (A tumor caused the University of Texas ‘Bell Tower’ shooting.) If pharmacological, the drug doesn't even have to be a definitively 'psychotropic' drug. Many drugs these days from heart medicine to anti-malarials have some psychotropic effect.

(If this had anything to do with a drug reaction, any drug of any type, I hope the survivors sue the shit out of the drug manufacturer. Because most of these recent 'crazy' mass kills, going all the way back to the 'postal worker' epidemic (overdosage of Prozac) and Columbine (both kids were hopped to their gills on prescription anti-depressants and anti-anxiety drugs), have had SOMETHING to do with psychotropic drugs pushed by drug companies. Many of the murder/suicides of returning military personnel were closely linked to an anti-malarial. And nobody seems to be willing to speak truth to power on the subject. Just writing this post will probably get me sued.)

The only lesson to take from this is 'keep an eye on your loved ones especially if they have ANY changes in prescription.' Doesn’t matter if it’s heart medication. Keep an eye on their personality as well as health.

Homicidal break does not always happen quickly. Sometimes it creeps in like the fog on cats feet. It is only at the last that the cackle of madness is heard. By then it is too late.

May God rest all their souls and let them find peace.