Date ►►► January 30, 2013
I've seen an interesting Snorgtees ad on Power Line; a busty young blonde chick with really cute glasses wears a t-shirt that reads, "the misuse of 'literally' makes me figuratively insane."
Well, the misuse of "amnesty" makes me want to punish someone.
I have an old, very old copy of Black's Law Dictionary; it's the fourth edition, copyrighted 1951. It's entirely possible that more current editions have a completely different definition of amnesty... but, well, I doubt it.
The old definition is: "A sovereign act of oblivion for past acts, granted by a government to all persons (or to certain persons) who have been guilty of crime or delict, generally political offenses -- treason, sedition, rebellion -- and often conditioned upon their return to obedience and duty within a prescribed time."
In typically circular fashion, here is the legal definition of oblivion: "Act of forgetting, or fact of having forgotten; forgetfulness. Official ignoring of offenses; amnesty, or general pardon; as, a act of oblivion. State or fact of being forgotten."
I am not a lawyer, nor do I even play one in the blogosphere; but it's clear to me that oblivion, forgetting, ignoring of offenses, pardon, and amnesty all imply that no punishment of any kind is to be levied against those granted "amnesty."
Is that what we're talking about, a full and complete pardon for all illegal aliens, with no punishment of any kind -- no fines, no back taxes, not even an admission of guilt? We haven't seen a bill yet this time; but in that sure wasn't the case back in 2007... yet conservatives screamed "Amnesty!" back then, too.
The McCain-Kennedy legislation in the Senate, called alternately the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2007 or the Secure Borders, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Reform Act of 2007, unambiguously contained punitive and restitution elements:
S.1639 would have created a new class of visa, the "Z visa", that would be given to everyone who was living without a valid visa in the United States on Jan. 1, 2008; this visa would give its holder the legal right to remain in the United States for the rest of their lives, and access to a Social Security number. After eight years, the holder of a Z visa would be eligible for a United States Permanent Resident Card (a "green card") if they wanted to have one; they would first have to pay a $2000 fine, and back taxes for some of the period in which they worked. By the normal rules of green cards, five years after that the illegal immigrant could begin the process of becoming a U.S. citizen.
Yet despite that, conservatives consistently derided it as "amnesty" (including those on Power Line -- who misuse the same word even now). Again, I'm not a lawyer; but it seems to me that the proper term for partial forgiveness of a sentence, accompanied by admission of guilt and some measure of punishment and restitution, is a plea bargain.
Now maybe it was a bad plea bargain; much of the devil would be in the details. But in any case, a plea bargain is not an amnesty. They are completely different concepts.
So why do otherwise sane and rational conservative commentators on illegal immigration so consistently misuse the word amnesty to describe what is clearly an offer of a plea bargain? Alas, I can think of no other reasons than propaganda, argument by tendentious redefinition, begging the question, and an attempt to extort dissenters by threatening to label them criminals and criminal-lovers.
It's akin to referring to all abortions as "murders," and accusing every doctor who has ever performed one, for any reason whatsoever, of being a "baby murderer." The purpose is not to stimulate debate but to stifle debate, not to find common ground but to silence the opposition. That is, just the sort of thing that liberals and progressives use all the time to silence the Right. How wonderful that we now stoop to doing the same!
If we're going to talk about the new immigration-reform suggestion from today's Gang of 8, then let's at least do so honestly, rather than using elminationist rhetoric to smear anybody who disagrees as a lawless bandito and traitor to the United States... a description that better fits our new Secretary of State, JFK *, than folks who want to find a solution to the illegal population somewhere in between mass deportations and true amnesty.
* Kerry was confirmed by a Senate vote of 94 to 3; 42 of the 45 Republicans -- necessarily including many "tea party" Republicans -- voted to confirm and support the man who accused his compatriots in Vietnam of committing "atrocities," "war crimes," and "crimes against humanity;" the man who tried to negotiate, on his own initiative, a separate and ruinous surrender of American forces to the Communist government of North Vietnam.
Evidently, conservatives and tea partiers were too enraged by the possibility of immigration reform to notice that they were voting to confirm a Secretary of State who was even more damaging to the U.S. war effort than was Jane Fonda vamping on an enemy anti-aircraft gun.
Date ►►► January 29, 2013
Not Very Sporting
The ushering in of the Second Age of Obama has already revealed some fascinating glimpses of our nation's future. Take, for instance, the decree just handed down by the Department of Ignorance -- er, Education -- mandating the "reasonable" accommodations that schools must now make to ensure that disabled students can participate in sports programs:
Under the latest rules, schools must tweak traditional programs to give qualified disabled students a shot at playing as long as they can do it without fundamentally changing the sport or giving anyone an advantage.
For instance, a visual aid instead of a starter pistol for the deaf runner would be easy to implement, while adding a fifth base to a baseball field to shorten running distances would be considered too big a change.
If alterations to a traditional team aren't feasible, schools must create a sports program that is open to disabled students, the order says. If there aren't enough students, schools should seek to create district-wide, regional or mixed-gender programs.
Let's forget for a moment that a federal agency making such a sweeping change on a whim that affects every public school in the country is antithetical to the concept of federalism. And let's put aside the notion that such a change, as well-intentioned as it is wrongheaded, should have to go through a legislative body rather than be forced upon citizens by bureaucratic fiat. Hell, let's even ignore how much the thing is gonna cost cash-strapped school districts that can barely afford the programs they already have.
The bottom line is this: the rule will just make schools drop sports programs entirely.
Think it won't happen? You only need to take a look at the havoc wreaked by Title IX (mentioned in the quoted article as the greatest thing since boxed wine). The story hails a huge surge in women's participation in college sports because of that law, but in reality Title IX has decimated overall participation in non-scholarship intramural sports. Colleges rightly decided that it was far easier to cancel those programs than go to the trouble and expense of making sure they were fully compliant with the law.
I'm sure that some schools will make good-faith efforts to make the accommodations mandated by the new regs, and for a little while it might even work. But the vagueness of the language leaves open the huge potential for abuse, and all it will take is one juicy lawsuit and the attendant media coverage that follows for schools to figure out it just ain't worth it. After all, what's "reasonable" is in the eye of the beholder -- at least as far as trial lawyers are concerned.
Date ►►► January 25, 2013
I'm not here to argue the case for gun liberty. Rather, I take up the smart man's burden to do battle on the field of logic, rhetoric, and rationality.
Jon Stewart (of Daily Show fame) seems to be under the impression that he, being a logical prodigy, and being for "gun control" in all its manifest denials of essential liberty, has definitively refuted the most popular arguments against gun banning and confiscation. Let's see if that claim holds more than a raindrop or two of water.
Here are the five arguments he supposedly debunks -- wherein I debunk the debunking, or D²Bunk the immortal Stewart...
Argument #1 – We don’t outlaw cars because of drunk driving
Stewart's proposed debunking: Many laws have been passed to reduce drunk driving; "Cars have not been outlawed, but sensible regulations have been passed."
D²Bunking: The laws passed prohibited dangerous misuse of cars -- for example, driving under the influence of alcohol and other drugs. I doubt that any gun-rights supporter would object to similar laws prohibiting dangerous misuse of guns (for example, firing celebritory rounds into the air in a big city).
But the anti-gun laws that Stewart supports infringe upon perfectly legitimate use of guns and even their possession -- all those guns and magazines that would be banned under the new proposal by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA, 90%). Now if Mr. Stewart can show me even one single make and model of car that was banned from possession and sale because of its perceived association with drunk drivers, I will concede the point.
Good luck on that one, Mr. Stewart.
Argument #2 – No gun control law will be perfect
Stewart's proposed debunking: All we need do is undertake "a 'series of steps' which, implemented over time, could improve the situation."
D²Bunking: This argument is such a straw man, it should have been delivered by Ray Bolger.
Not even the grainiest anarchist argues that because the law cannot be perfect, we should have no laws! (Even if he's against all laws, he would come up with a better rationale for it.)
So what is the real argument that Stewart caricatures? The real argument is not that "no gun-control law will be perfect," but that the particular gun-control laws proposed are not even rational. Rifles and pistols are added to the ban-list of "military-style assault weapons" for purely arbitrary, capricious, and cosmetic reasons.
Too, gun-rights supporters argue that the fundamental premise of gun control is flawed, because it assumes that a criminal who is willing to commit assault, robbery, rape, or even murder will nevertheless recoil from violating a gun-control law.
Argument #3 – The solution is more guns
(That is, the argument that the way to stop a bad guy with a gun is via a good guy with a gun.)
Stewart's proposed debunking: Many shooters have body armor and assault weapons (using definition du jour).
D²Bunking: All right, then the solution is good guys with more high-powered guns! Don't arm your school guards with .22 caliber target pistols. Give them something more substantial. Even the most military-looking semiauto is a lot cheaper than the guard who fires it, so go for the gusto. Let every school contain an arsenal.
Argument #4 – The Second Amendment prohibits gun regulation
Stewart's proposed debunking: "Stewart begs to differ, saying the Second Amendment only grants the right to bear arms to a “well-regulated militia."
D²Bunking 1: Long discredited. The grammatical structure of the Second Amendment does not place "well-regulated militia" in the subject but leaves it as a subordinate clause. Its only purpose is to give a reason why it's there in the first place. It's explanation, not limitation.
Stewart's other proposed debunking: "[M]any weapons are already banned,"
D²Bunking 2: Thus proving that it's constitutional to ban weapons! If I get my city to prohibit speeches by Occupiers, does that therefore prove that it's constitutional to limit the speech of Occupiers?
Courts strike down laws every year on constitutional grounds; ever since Marbury v. Madison, that has been one of the major duties of the Supreme Court and lower courts. For example, just today, the D.C. Circus struck down Barack "Recess!" Obama's inter-session recess appointments to the National Labor Relations Board. The fact that "many weapons are already banned" doesn't mean they were properly banned; courts will eventually have the final say on that.
Argument #5 – Any gun control will lead to a tyranny where all guns are taken away
Stewart's proposed debunking: No politician is openly advocating confiscation of all guns [well, actually many are; but let's press on]; therefore, fears of gun-grabbing are irrational.
D²Bunking: Just one word... The United Kingdom.
The defense rests.
Determinedly, Dafydd Doubles Down on der Daring Democrat Divination
Hillary Rodham Clinton Rodham will never, ever, ever be the Democrat nominee for President of the United States. Not in 2016, not in 2020, not never.
Date ►►► January 16, 2013
"Republocrats and Demicans?" Think Again...
Let's play Compare and Contrast.
Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick -- Democrat:
Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick on Monday laid tax and fee increases and new taxes on the table, including more than doubling the state's gas tax.
He's seeking more than $1 billion a year in new revenue to fund projects designed to fund public transit and highway operations, reduce MBTA debt and borrow money to double infrastructure spending. Beacon Hill leaders reportedly signaled agreement....
According to Boston.com, Patrick listed possible revenue sources including:
- Raising the gas tax from 21 cents to 51 cents per gallon
- Raising the sales tax from 6.25 percent to 7.75 percent
- Raising the state income tax to 5.66 percent from 5.25 percent
- Levying a vehicle miles-traveled tax at 2.4 cents per mile
- New, emissions-based vehicle title and registration fees could raise $175 million
- A payroll tax on workers in regions with transit service could raise $140 million to $207 million
Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman -- Republican:
Nebraska Governor on Tuesday became the second Republican governor in the last week to propose ending his state's income tax, saying he wants to make Nebraska more competitive with its neighbors by eliminating the tax on both individuals and corporations.
Heineman said that if a complete elimination of the two taxes could not be passed, he would push to lower rates on both individuals and corporations. He promised to make up the lost revenue by reducing business exemptions to the sales tax.
Last week, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal said he wanted to eliminate all personal and corporate income taxes in his state. Louisiana's personal income tax rate is 3.9 percent....
Other states in the country's midsection, including Oklahoma and Kansas, have also recently considered lowering taxes.
Np need to vote; the major parties are indistinguishable! No difference. May as well just sit out the next election, as so many did the last one.
To paraphrase M. Twain, there is something fascinating about reductionism and political levelism. One gets such wholesale returns of fatalism out of such a trifling investment of ignorance.
Comes now the New York Post, with another colorful story chock full o' human interest. It seems as though the frisky co-eds of NYU have creatively applied their assets toward paying their college expenses -- except that it isn't so much their beautiful minds as their beautiful bodies making the grade:
More New York City co-eds are turning to a new source of income — sugar daddies — to cope with the rising cost of their college tuition, surprising statistics released yesterday reveal.
And the majority is enrolled at New York University, according to the sugar-daddy dating site SeekingArrangement.com.
Nearly 300 NYU co-eds joined the site’s service last year seeking a “mutually beneficial” arrangement with rich older men — a 154 percent jump over 2011.
It was the second-highest number of new members for any college in the country.
Hundreds more young women from Columbia, Cornell and Syracuse universities also have recently signed up for the service, the site said.
“I’ll admit that I’ve thought about doing something like that,” said a Columbia junior who gave only her first name, Karen.
“It would be easier in some ways than working, taking classes and then spending years paying back loans.”
Of course, it's entirely possible that these wealthy older gentlemen are just looking for clever conversation -- but I'm kinda thinking that they might be expecting just a bit more bang for their buck. So how exactly does this work, anyway? Do the girls get a flat rate, or do they charge by the credit hour? Whatever the answer, you can be sure that the state of New York will be looking for a way to tax their earnings.
Whatever happened to the good old days, when a girl could get by doing something moderately less skeevey -- like hustling pool or stripping? To think that it's come to this just makes me sad. Of course, some people would say that it's nothing new: Young hotties have been coddling rich codgers for time immemorial (you think Hef's latest wife married him for love?), but at least there was a semblance of respectability about it. Not to mention a tidy divorce settlement when all was said and done.
No, what we have going on here is just thinly-veiled prostitution -- but that's no big deal, these co-eds reason, because if I'm going to be having sex anyway I might as well get something out of it. Call it the price of modern feminism. With their battle cries for free birth control and insistence that women treat sex the same as men, they've reduced female sexuality to a mere commodity and given the guys all the power.
Hardly what I'd call women's liberation.
Thee Derangers ave Smell Czech
The opening paragraph of Rich Galen's latest issue of his cyberzine, Mullings:
The conventional wisdom among the geniuses who are paid to tell us what to think about and how to think about it has been that the National Rifle Association's Wayne LaPierre had lost his mind when he proclaimed, after the tragedy in Connecticut, that the way to stop a bad guy with a guy is with a good guy with a gun.
Honestly, Mr. Mullings, I'm quite certain that the NRA has no policy position whatsoever on the subject of same-sex dating!
The trouble with spellcheck arrives when you misspell a word by using another existing word; thin theirs nod mulch spiel chalk cane dew two alp ewe wreck hover!
(Of course, guy the time you read this, Rich will probably have corrected it -- by a human hand, brain, and highball.)
Date ►►► January 14, 2013
Gun Defense: Worldwide, Police Are Not Always Your Friends
During the recent and ongoing gun control debate, I've heard many people ask, "Wy does an average civilian need an assault weapon?"
I have a fundamental problem with this line of question: Why should we have to prove a "need" to demand our fundamental rights, or any one of them, which are guaranteed by, but predate the United States Constitution? But even with that caveat, here is a beautiful example of why we civilians do need access to so-called assault weapons.
For more than a decade, drug cartels and criminals have actually controlled a large part of the Mexican state of Guerrero (the state which contains the resort city of Acapulco); they have extorted, kidnapped, raped, and killed many thousands of people, as the government helplessly looked on. The police, the national guard, the Mexican marines are no help: They're outnumbered and outgunned, and they are corrupted by the very evil they're supposed to fight.
Fed up with the years of violence, townspeople in several Guerrero cities finally took up arms and made a stand:
Several hundred civilians have taken up arms in two towns in a southwestern Mexico state and are arresting people suspected of crimes and imposing a curfew, leading authorities to promise to reinforce security forces in the area....
People in the area said about 800 residents were participating in the armed groups acting as unofficial police. The vigilantes ordered a 10 p.m. curfew for the two towns and are looking for suspected criminals. Schools have suspended classes....
A man in a ski mask at one roadblock told reporters that townspeople had to act against criminals.
"They kill, extort, rape. You do not know if they are drug dealers, thugs, who want to grab everything," he said. "We want to return peace and tranquility to the entire population. Only the people can restore order." [Emphasis added -- SY]
Although more corrupt than the United States or Canada, Mexico is nevertheless a democratic country. Compared to other coutries under Communism, socialism, or other dictatorial regimes, it is relatively civilized. And they have much stricter gun control laws than any state of the United States. And yet, the law has not, cannot protect them. People are suffering from the extreme violence of organized criminals, drug lords, revolutionaries, and terrorists, despite living where the entire country is legally a "gun-free zone."
The anti-gun radicals in America may dismiss Mexico as "totally different" from the U.S.: Our police are more effective, our government is still under our control. But take a long look at Chicago, whose murder rate, at 19.4 per 100,000 is actually worse than Mexico's murder rate of 18 per 100,000.
In most firearm killings in Chicago, including of many minors, the criminal's weapon of choice is a hundgun. So why does a gun-control fanatic such as Pierce Morgan talk only about banning assault weapons, which are rarely used in crime and the primary purpose of which is not murder, robbery, arson, kidnapping, or even (despite its name) assault, but to defend against a large number of assailants -- as during the L.A. riots of 1992?
It's hard to resist concluding that Mr. Morgan is less interested in preventing the deaths of children and young adults in ordinary violent crimes in Chicago, and much more anxious to prevent the sort of self-defense uprisings, against a corrupt and compromised government, that we're now seeing in Guerrero.
I think the curtain concealing Mr. Morgan's statism is slipping.
Date ►►► January 10, 2013
The Imperator Misses a Bet
President-for-Life Barack Obama and his Treasury flunkies have concocted a wonderous lotos-dream of an idea. They can't simply print money willy-nilly to reduce the deficit; that's the Federal Reserve's job!
But a bizarre loophole allows them to print -- I mean mint -- a trillion-dollar coin... but only if made out of platinum; evidently, no other chemical element will do.
Their idea is to mint such a coin and stick it in the United States Treasury's account at the Fed. I'm not sure who gets to keep it in his pocket. This would, of course, pretty much eliminate the deficit; after all, the government would just have deposited a trillion dollars in its account -- abra-cadabra, our deficit problems are solved.
But the president and his advisors appear to have missed a huge opportunity... why not simply mint sixteen of those trillion-dollar coins and deposit them all? Voilà, the entire federal debt has just been paid off!
With those sixteen platinum blondes as hostages (is Lady Liberty the new Jean Harlow?), the Fed will cheerfully pump $16 trillion into the economy, in cash-like electronic blips. I'm sure Paul Krugman and other genius economists will assure us that air-dropping sixteen thousand thousand thousand thousand buckaroonies won't affect inflation much; maybe just 100% to 500% per year -- we can live with that. And the One can then take credit for being the first POTUS ever to completely eliminate the national debt. Another spectacular triumph! (All right, except for that old krummhorn Andy Jackson in 1835-1836; but he was an old, white southern racist, so he can safely be ignored.)
Solving great dilemmas is so much simpler when you get to redefine and reprogram all the normal rules of economics, politics, science, and mathematics to suit your own convenience and conceits. Just ask Captain Kirk about that pesky Kobayashi Maru test.
Date ►►► January 9, 2013
Chicago's 500th Failure of Gun Control
Since the elementary-school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, anti-gun politicians have seized the opportunity and again started proposing new and increasingly draconian gun-grabbing laws.
But strangely, a city which had banned handguns more than thirty years ago now suffers the worst homicide rate in the country. How can that be?
The City of Chicago, also known as the Windy City (possibly because it's Barack Obama's stomping ground -- well, among other reasons), boasted more than 500 homicides last year. Its high crime rates are infamous, with a homicide rate of 19.4 per 100,000 -- about four times the national average of 4.8.
Funnily enough, the entire state of Illinois has some of the strictist gun-control laws in America. More specifically, Chicago completely banned handguns in 1982. In March 2010, in the Chicago Tribune, Steve Chapman wrote about the failure of that law:
When Chicago passed a ban on handgun ownership in 1982, it was part of a trend. Washington, D.C., had done it in 1976, and a few Chicago suburbs took up the cause in the following years. They all expected to reduce the number of guns and thus curtail bloodshed.
Neither happened: The strict gun laws curtailed no bloodhsed; in fact, precisely the opposite:
In the years following its ban, Washington did not generate a decline in gun murders. In fact, the number of killings rose by 156 percent -- at a time when murders nationally increased by just 32 percent. For a while, the city vied regularly for the title of murder capital of America.
Chicago followed a similar course. In the decade after it outlawed handguns, murders jumped by 41 percent, compared with an 18 percent rise in the entire United States.
As Chicago banned handguns, other cities and states started to adopt "shall-issue concealed-carry permit" laws (shall-issue CCW); such laws required state officials to grant concealed-carry permits to anyone who applied, excepting only those specifically excluded, such as felons, the mentally deranged, habitual drunkards and drug addicts, and those persons already under restraining orders for violent activity. As of now, including states with no restrictions on gun ownership at all, 41 states allow law abiding citizens to carry concealed weapons.
While the gun-banning District of Columbia and City of Chicago sufferred skyrocketing crime rates, the United States as a whole experienced a very significant decline.
Both DC's and Chicago's handgun bans were declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court: District of Columbia v. Heller in 2008 and McDonald v. Chicago in 2010. But constitutionality aside, Steve Chapman thinks the Chicago law was doomed from the beggining:
Maybe that's because there were so many flaws in the basic idea. Or maybe it was because strict gun control makes even less sense at the municipal level than it does on a broader scale. At any rate, the policy turned out to be a comprehensive dud....
If we were starting out in a country with zero guns, it might be possible to keep such weapons away from bad guys. But that's not this country, which has more than 200 million firearms in private hands and a large, perpetual supply of legal handguns.
Only a tiny percentage of those weapons has to be diverted to the underground trade for crooks to acquire all the firepower they need. While gun bans greatly impede the law-abiding, they pose only a trivial inconvenience to the lawless.
This is especially true at the local level. Banning guns from one city makes about as much sense as banning them on one block. [Emphasis added -- Sachi]
True enough. But the obvious question remains, if it doesn't work at the local level, why would it work if we banned guns nationwide? The same logic applies: Since we cannot ban guns from all over the world -- nor can we prevent people from making guns -- how can we stop smugglers and clandestine manufacturers from getting guns to criminals, who need them vitally and will therefore pay whatever it takes to get them? Demand drives supply.
Drugs like cocaine, heroin, methamphetamines are completely illegal; yet the supply is plentiful, despite a many-decades long "war on drugs" that at times has been quite draconian. If we can't stop millions of drug shipments across the border or from hidden meth labs, how could we possibly stop mere thousands of guns from entering the black market? As Chapman's logic implies, whether he recognizes it or not, all a nationwide gun ban would do is keep them away from law abiding citizens.
Who places the highest value on owning a firearm? Criminals. Who is least likely to fear being prosecuted for violating the law? Criminals. Who is most likely to have access to illicit dealers? You guessed it.
We don't have to guess or speculate anymore. We have conducted our own empirical study over the past several decades. For example, we banned machine guns and sawed-off shotguns in 1934 (the National Firearms Act), handguns in many cities back in the 1970s through 1990s (due to pressure by Handgun Control, Inc. and the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence), and so-called assault weapons (whatever those are) from 1994 to 2004 (the Public Safety and Recreational Firearms Use Protection Act, a.k.a. the federal assault-weapons ban). The result, in each case, was that crime went up significantly, not down.
Contrariwise, when we tried the opposite approach, in the many states that adopted shall-issue CCW, we discovered that when there were more guns in the hands of law abiding citizens, there were fewer crimes committed. Of course, correlation does not prove causality; we cannot state for certain that more guns result in fewer crimes. But by this point, we can pretty definitely say that more guns do not result in more crimes, which is the central argument -- in fact, the only argument -- of gun controllers.
Anti-gun radicals focus only on the murder weapon; they never consider the context in which the murders occur. For example, they almost never question whether their proposed law would have prevented the crime... or even whether their proposed law was already in effect when the crime occurred! Scores of anti-gun commentators rose up after the Newton massacre and demanded that we finally, finally ban "automatic weapons"... which of course have been strictly controlled by the National Firearms Act since a few years after the St. Valentine's Day Massacre.
Aside from killing innocent children (already illegal), carrying guns into a gun-free zone (public school, a.k.a. a free-kill zone) is also already illegal. That did not deter Adam Lanza. So why would an additional handgun ban or a revived "assault weapon" ban have deterred him? If he could not get guns from his mother's gun collection, he would have found another source. For that matter, he might have found another weapon all together, such as molotov cocktails or even an Oklahoma-City style ANFO bomb. There are scores of ways to kill large number of people, if one is determined and unafraid of dying -- or in Lanza's case, planning to kill himself anyway.
What we must focus on instead is the person who kills innocent people, not the specific weapon he chooses to kill them with; how do we identify and stop that man before he kills?
The best way is armed point defense. Why shouldn't we have armed security guards in every school? If the cost is too high, why not reduce it by firing one or two useless administrators for every armed guard the district hires? Rich people's sons and daughters -- including Barack Obama's -- have armed guards protecting them, even apart from the Secret Service protection the president and vice president enjoy. Why shouldn't everybody else's kids be equally protected?
Banning guns never stopped criminals. Only guns in the hands of many good people can do that. As the saying goes, when seconds count, the police are just minutes away. But the intended victim of a violent crime is already there, and should already be prepared to defend himself and loved ones.
A Modish Proposal
I've tried not to wade into the gun-control/gun-confiscation debate much; it's like arguing with a Creationist: No matter what paranoid, phony-baloney gun hysteria I disprove by hard evidence today, the gun-fearing
asses masses will start tomorrow with that very same claim, as a brave new argument that has never been answered!
A few posts ago, in the Emperor's New Gun Groove, I predicted that President Barack "You don't need that!" Obama will turn his second term into a trillion-year spree of gun control and attempts at confiscation. I called it his "central animating crusade and agenda," or CACA. I take none of that back; indeed, Low Joe Biden has conveyed the great thoughts of the imperator (in whose name are all victories won), that the best way to rid America of guns is for the Lightbringer simply to order them gone through imperial decree -- thus bypassing all that messy, time-wasting fro-ing and to-ing in
the Roman senate Congress.
By contrast, Sachi has written a most serious post about gun control failures; but it is hanging fire, because I'm supposed to edit the piece but I've been too lazy to get a round tuit.
However, I always have time for frivolity and mirth! So here is my contribution to the literature (hey, Analogies "Я" We!)
As I understand the core argument of gun hysterics, it runneth thus:
- Gun abuse is the proximate cause of gun deaths and injuries.
- Experts tell us that in 2011, there were about 265,114 gun crimes in the United States, including 8,583 gun murders.
- By definition, without access to a gun, a person cannot commit a gun crime, accidentally shoot someone with a gun, or otherwise abuse a gun.
- So if we confiscate and destroy all the guns in the United States, then nobody can criminally or accidentally shoot anyone.
- That means there will be 265,114 fewer crimes and 8,583 fewer murders per year.
- Some bitter-clingers claim that firearms can be useful and beneficial, for example, by aiding self-defense to criminal assaults; but with all these gun deaths, we simply cannot risk humoring these fanatics.
- So to hell with all this "gun rights" gibberish, time to abolish all guns today. Think of all the children and senior citizens who are victimized daily by gun-crazied right-wingers!
This is a clear and persuasive argument, virtually unanswerable; it is so crisp, in fact, that I should like to import it to another case, many times deadlier, yet very similar to this one:
- Eating too much food and eating carelessly are the proximate causes of food deaths from obesity and choking and such.
- Experts tell us that in 2009, obesity caused between 112,000 and 365,000 premature deaths per year.
- By definition, without access to food, a person cannot overeat and cannot become obese.
- So if we confiscate and destroy all the food in the United States, then nobody can die or be hospitalized because of obesity.
- That means there will be between 112,000 and 365,000 fewer premature deaths per year.
- Some gluttonous fatties claim that food can be useful and beneficial, for example, by preventing people from starving to death; but with all these obesity-related deaths, we simply cannot risk humoring these voracious, overeating pigs.
- So to hell with all this "food rights" gibberish, time to confiscate and destroy all food in America today. Think of all the children and senior citizens who are victimized daily by the irresistable sight of mountains of food!
I think this is a fine, fine argument as well, every bit as logical as the previous one up-page. So let's redouble our efforts to eliminate the danger posed both by the millions of American firearms, and by all the potentially deadly food we produce in this rapacious republic. Get rid of it all, and paradise will be sure to follow!
Best "In a Nuthouse" Explanation of the Year!
Of course, the year is still young...
This is ripped straight from Rich Galen's most recent Mullings; and if you're not reading Mullings -- for free! (but please send a $30 donation at fundraising time) -- you're missing a treat and a wonder.
Here's the bit, sent in by one of Rich's readers; and boy does this just put the federal debt cliff on that old nutshell:
- U.S. Tax revenue: $ 2,170,000,000,000
- Fed budget: $ 3,820,000,000,000
- New debt: $ 1,650,000,000,000
- National debt: $14,271,000,000,000
- Recent budget cuts: $ 38,500,000,000
Let's now remove 8 zeros and pretend it's a household budget:
- Annual family income: $ 21,700
- Money the family spent: $ 38,200
- New debt on the credit card: $ 16,500
- Outstanding credit card balances: $ 142,710
- Total budget cuts so far: $ 38.50
One quibble: I believe the national debt is closer to $16 trillion than $14 trillion -- leaving the "household budget" in dutch for $160,000 samolians, not $142,710; but who's counting? (Certainly not Obama, Geithner, or "Pinky" Reid!) But that just gilds the cake.
I wonder if a simple YouTube of someone pointing at a chart very like unto this one could go viral, and maybe shake the faith of a few Obamolytes?
Date ►►► January 8, 2013
And I'm Spent
There's a terrific scene in Young Frankenstein when Gene Wilder says to Igor, the hunchback played by the late, great Marty Feldman, "You know, I'm a rather brilliant surgeon. Perhaps I can help you with that hump." To which Igor replies, quite deadpan, "What hump?"
It would seem that this is what House Republicans faced with the president, according to John Boehner's account of the fiscal cliff negotiations in the Wall Street Journal:
What stunned House Speaker John Boehner more than anything else during his prolonged closed-door budget negotiations with Barack Obama was this revelation: "At one point several weeks ago," Mr. Boehner says, "the president said to me, 'We don't have a spending problem.' "
You could say that this attitude defies comprehension -- after all, if digging yourself into a $16 trillion hole isn't enough to make Obama and the Democrats wake up to the perilous state of the nation's finances, nothing will -- but then that would be missing the entire point. See, for years now we right-wing crazies have been debating the Ultimate Question: Are Obama's economic policies the product of sheer incompetence, or is he doing it on purpose? His Excellency's attitude toward the debt pretty much clinches the latter.
There Is Absolutely No Truth Whatsoever...
(I considered simply stopping there; but I reckon I should "complete the sequence, Mr. President" -- which itself is a nicely obscure film reference.)
...to the rumors that I am nought but a sock puppet of Steven Hayward. Whoever he was.
(No, I have not been dipping into the sacerdotal wine. There's madness in my method.)
Date ►►► January 3, 2013
Happy New Year, everybody! And if you had any hopes that things might actually get delightfully boring for a change...well, there's always next year. Already we've been treated to the High Drama of the fiscal cliff deal -- freshy passed by both houses of Congress in the dead of night the way that Brother Bluto might cram for a chemistry final -- but look on the bright side: At least we won't have to endure another election cycle until 2014. Time enough to restock the liquor cabinet in any case.
I know there's been a lot of grousing over the the deal (It only cuts $1 of spending for $41 in tax hikes!) and a fair amount of counter-grousing (The middle-class Bush tax rates are now permanent, hallelujah!), but in the end it's probably the best the Republicans could have hoped for given their largely self-inflicted weakness of position and having Barack Obama on the other side of the bargaining table. God only knows what really went on during those closed-door sessions, but with the president constantly moving the goalposts around I imagine that John Boehner must've felt a bit like Lando Calrissian negotiating with Darth Vader.
Boehner: "1.6 trillion? That wasn't part of the deal!"
Obama: "I am altering the deal. Pray I don't alter it any further!"
And for all that trouble, we get to have another go-round in February when the debt ceiling comes knocking again. Nothing like long term vision in Washington politics, is there?
Ah, well. This is what the people voted for, right? Still, I have to wonder how long it's going to take for everyone to get tired of the All-Crisis-All-The-Time schtick that seems to be the administration's modus operandi and want to go back to some level of normalcy. Simply put, people can't deal with this kind of heightened uncertainly for very long before keeling over. On that score, the economy is already way ahead of the populace, having long since curled up into a self-defensive ball while Barack continues to slap it around backhand style. One can only hope that the people will soon tire of the same abuse: Voters, if you don't get help from the GOP, please get help somewhere.
As for me, I get to keep my tax rate -- at least for now. But everybody is gonna feel a little pinch when they get that first paycheck of 2013 and see that their payroll taxes have gone up (all holidays have to come to an end, alas). Consider it a foretaste of things to come -- because, one way or the other, if Washington wants to continue to spend like it has been, they're gonna come after the middle class. That is, after all, where the real money is. The extra $60 billion or so that they're squeezing out of "the rich" with these tax hikes won't even begin to feed the beast.
Bon appetit, everyone!
Date ►►► January 1, 2013
The Emperor's New Gun Groove
It appears that President Barack H. "You didn't build that!" Obama has finally decided what will be (one of) the central animating crusade and agenda (CACA) of his second term: gun control and/or confiscation. He wants to make all of America into one vast "gun-free zone," a.k.a., a free-kill zone.
If you'll recall, last term's CACA was ObamaCare -- which he pushed onto the American people despite mounting dislike (and rejection, squirming, kicking, and howls of outrage), and which he insists will be implemented fully, every last drop, no matter what the people want. (The stimulus bill, that is, the trillion-dollar spree, was a sideshow, just payback for the many Friends of Statism who supported President B.O. through the seven lean years).
One can only presume that el Jefe will attack guns with the same violent fervor, the same fanatic, holy zeal, as he did the Patient Rejection and Unffordable Care Act; that is, he will ignore all previous failed attempts at gun control, set up his own organization (perhaps the Children's Crusade for a Gun-Free American Zone?) -- then relentlessly shill for the complete and extra-judicial transformation of constitutional America into confiscational Venezuela.
But if Obama does elevate gun control to be his new CACA, well, that's a very good thing indeed.
Oh, then good for the gun-control mob? No, certainly not for them; they shall be hijacked by and submerged under the president's own personal campaign to be kingmaker and achieve eventual deification, like a Roman emperor; but -- Tiberius, or Caligula?
Oh, then it's good for President Obama! No; in fact, it surely will go absolutely nowhere. It's unlikely that Congress can enact any major measure; and even if it did, such gun-control bills would have the same effect now as they have historically had: None at all.
It's all just mummery and flummery; perhaps not Obama himself, but certainly his firearms advisors know that virtually no homicides are committed using so-called "assault weapons," or any kind of rifle; know that a round with the same bullet and the same charge will produce about the same effect on the human body, whether or not that round is fired from a dreaded semiautomatic pistol or by a benign, sweet, and gentle revolver; know that knife wounds have about the same lethality as pistol wounds, and so forth.
So why flog that long-dead nag? Simple: Not cherchez la femme, but rechercher la puissance!
Then who the heck is it good for?
For us, baboso! By chaining himself to the albatross of gun control, Barack Obama has found perhaps the only issue which could destroy his presidency and besmirch his legacy... for even liberals and lefties love their Glocks.
Brief detour: In general, second-terms have a mixed and checkered history for American presidents. Richard Nixon's second term lurched from flip-flop to gaffe to incoherent rambling, culminating in an ignominious exit under the accumulated weight of Nixon's betrayal of our victorious military forces in Vietnam (in a cockamamie deal with the Dems).
Contrariwise, Ronald Reagan had an excellent second term: He cowed the Tyrant of Tripoli; he pushed through a second and decisive tax-reform bill, despite a Democrat-controlled House; he sent Mikhail Gorbachev reeling at Reykjavik; and he signed a series of nuclear-arms reduction treaties that for the first time were pro-America, not pro-Soviet. His policies (aided and abetted by Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and Pope John-Paul II) led directly to the 1989 tearing down of the Berlin Wall (as Reagan had urged in a Peggy Noonan speech two years earlier), and culminated in the complete collapse of the Soviet Union two years later.
What was the difference between Nixon and Reagan? One very striking distinction was that Reagan had a CACA (or several, really), but it was the same set of CACAs that he had pressed in his first term: tax reform, rebuilding our military, muscular foreign policy geared towards the needs and benefit of the United States, not "world opinion," and of course the destruction of the Evil Empire. He didn't dump his first-term goals, nor did he go haring off in all directions trying to find a new "groove" to follow.
By contrast, after Nixon's landslide victory in 1972, he seemed to have run out of ideas; he certainly had lost whatever CACA he once had.
But CACAs are not always helpful or beneficial to a president or his party; every CACA is unique and must be inspected carefully to sniff out the good from the stupid. On the Democratic side, consider the immense energy expended by Lyndon Johnson on the "war on poverty," giving us the so-called Great Society, which was basically the New Deal redux, and on steroids. This certainly was a "central animating crusade and agenda," but it left Johnson a nervous wreck, unable even to stave off credible primary challenges in 1968 -- challenges that ultimately forced Johnson to withdraw from his own reelection race, leaving the anti-Republican field to the unelectable Hubert Humphry (and the execrable George Wallace).
Why did Reagan's CACA succeed, while Johnson's failed? Again, I believe a significant distinction was that, Reagan's ideas were widely shared by the American people; whereas Lyndon Johnson's Great Society crusade, which mainstreamed and normalized poverty, squalor, and economic failure (forcing successful middle-income families to subsidize losers, drug addicts, and bums) was controversial from the beginning and hemorrhaged support with every passing year in which the country went from wrong track to worse track.
Barack Obama's gun-control CACA -- along with his unpopular ObamaCare law, the lawlessness of his administration, and his seeming kow-towing to the world's most vile and dangerous dictators -- clearly fits the corrupt, anti-liberty, unAmerican, "LBJ" mold far better than does the Reagan mold: Most of Obama's upcoming crusades, especially gun control and/or confiscation, are anathema to a huge swath of the United States. And not just red-state America; millions of Obama voters in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Colorado, Florida, and many others still "cling to guns or religion."
But knowing Obama, as four years living under his regime has taught us, when the people begin to resist his regulatory state and his bombastic, unresponsive "negotiation" style, the president will dig in his heels on all of his various projects and proposals, and vow to stick it to the American people good and hard, whether they like it or no.
End detour; resume normal speed.
In the whole, wide, political world, nothing unites Republicans better than another attempt to disarm American citizens. Too, a gun-control agenda will likely turn the American people away from the Democrats, alienate the president from his base, and turn him into a nagging, hectoring, threatening, bitter old man, the opposite of cool. And it will set us up nicely for 2014 and 2016. Not a bad prospect -- for the GOP!
Obama appears determined to squander every bit of popularity he currently retains -- of which he has little to spare anyway these days -- to fling it all away on hopeless causes, from gun control to appointing Chuck Hagel to be Secretary of Defense.
So to quote Obama's illustrious predecessor, "bring it on," el Jefe. Let gun control completely define his second term, or even become an integral component of a slew of liberal assaults on the United States' foundational principles.
But the more you tighten your grip, Mr. Food-Stamp President, the more star systems will slip through your fingers.
Awaken to Your Worst New Year's Nightmare...
Perfect Progressivist Paradise!
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