Racist

Paraphrased:

“I think that blacks are either not responsible enough or not intelligent enough to obtain even the most basic forms of identification…so you’re a racist.”

“Even though the majority of people in this country receiving welfare, housing assistance and/or food stamps are white, whenever you mention those programs, I think exclusively of poor black people…so you’re a racist.”

I do agree with one of the things he said toward the end of his diatribe:

“[black political activity in 2008] didn’t seem like a political movement as much as it felt like a fan club”.

But, of course it’s never racist to vote FOR someone solely because they’re black, it’s only racist to vote AGAINST someone that happens to be black, even if race had nothing to do with it.

Racism is most definitely alive and well in today’s United States of America. It just has a slightly different flavor than in past eras.

Political Saviors

I wrote this this morning, but I hesitated to post it. I realize I’ve been very negative lately…but I can’t escape the fact that this is what I really believe. So here goes:

I haven’t been talking much about politics lately because I see it as so pointless and it’s so depressing for me.

I do still read a lot of political blogs and keep up with the “news”, and I just don’t understand what’s going on. Maybe I’m just getting old with all these things I don’t understand lately.

Anyway…why does everyone seem to think that the Future of Our Nation (and possibly the world) hinges on this November?

Do they REALLY expect anything substantial to change? Our choices are an establishment, big government leftist and an establishment, big government, slightly less leftist.

Are they expecting Romney to come into office and somehow un-set the precedent of the President legislating by executive order that Obama (and, to be sure, the presidents before him) has set?

Pshaw.

Other than, perhaps, George Washington, can someone name a single, solitary President who has voluntarily given up power once the precedent has been set?

Do they really think that Romney is going to come in to office, repeal Obamacare, get the government out of our lives, get the deficit under control and start paying off the national debt?

Pshaw.

A Romney administration may make some sort of symbolic effort to decrease the annual increases in government spending (that will be portrayed by the media as horrifically slashing budgets that will cause poor people to starve, old people to die, young people to grow up stupid, the ice caps to melt, the oceans to rise, tornadoes, earthquakes, swine flu outbreaks, poor box office returns, low credit scores and bad breath), but real reform? In your dreams. The kinds of cuts that would be necessary to do that would be political suicide.

Romney may even sign into law a repeal of Obamacare, but I can hear the cries already: “But what will we replace it with?”. It won’t be a week before we start hearing about Obamacare lite…repackaged as Romneycare, and only encompassing 2,405 pages, rather than the 2,409 of the “Affordable Care Act” that is anything but.

And what is going to change? 4 years from now we’ll be going through all this over again. Do you think the perpetual victims are going to change their spots under Romney? Do you think the leftists are going to magically come to understand and accept the principles of a free market, capitalist economy in the interim? That the nanny-staters will suddenly realize that their attempts to dictate how everyone else must live their lives were misguided?

Pshaw.

The odds are, the economy isn’t going to get significantly better over the next four years no matter what Romney does. If they have the political fortitude to make the real, difficult reforms that are needed to turn things around, the public and media outcry would be incessant and deafening. The reforms necessary would be painful and would actually cause the economy to get worse before it could possibly get better.

If they don’t (as is inevitable) have the fortitude to do more than rearrange the deck chairs, we may see some small improvements as a result of people having a better outlook and more confidence…businesses may hire a few more people and invest in growth if they’re a little more confident about what the short therm future may hold in terms of taxes and regulations, but the root causes of our problems will remain unaddressed and, as a result, nothing real will change.

So we’ll be going through this again in four years, hearing the same promises and arguments and character assassinations…and edging ever closer to the inevitable collapse when the proverbial house of cards comes tumbling down.

If, of course, that doesn’t happen in the next four years…which is a distinct possibility.

Then what?

The survival of our nation doesn’t hinge on this election. It hinged on the past ten or twenty elections, and we weren’t up to the task. We’ve already failed and our nation is nothing like the land of the free and home of the brave that our founders envisioned. The cancers of socialism and cronyism have metastasized. We aren’t willing to endure the painful side effects of any potential cure, so it’s just a matter of time before the life support machines just can’t keep up any more and we simply succumb to the inevitable.

Everything that has a beginning, has an end.

“Castle Doctrine” defeated in Virginia

The Virginia Shooting Sports Association (an NRA affiliated Virginia gun rights group), in lamenting the demise of the Castle Doctrine bill that was presented to the Virginia Legislature this year, attempted to vilify another Virginia gun rights group by equating their opposition to the bill with the anti-freedom lobby’s opposition of it:

Virginians for Responsible Gun Laws sent this email today applauding yesterday’s effective defeat of the last remaining Castle Doctrine bills…

Ironically, the group used language similar to language used by a gun rights group in opposing the bills, explaining that Virginia law on the issue of self defense has been carefully crafted by the courts. A Virginia gun rights group was actively opposing the Castle bills during the General Assembly.

The VSSA Blogger indicated that the unnamed gun rights group should have been appeased by language that was added to the bill specifically to address those concerns.

VSSA and the NRA supported the legislation and worked with patrons to address concerns raised by some that the bills would override protections already in common law…[by]…including specific language clarifying the bill:

“…shall not be construed to limit, withdraw, or overturn any defense or immunity already existing in statutory or common law prior to the effective date of this law.”

I was going to leave a comment on the VSSA blog, but apparently a Google account is required, which my readers will well know I no longer have.

So…I’ll do this here.

The un-named pro-rights group that the VSSA blogger was back-handedly insulting was the Virginia Citizens Defense League, of which I was an Executive Member until fairly recently.

I have, both here on my blog, as a blogger for VCDL, and as an EM, strongly supported the concept and advocated the need for a castle doctrine bill here in Virginia. I know no-one at VCDL who is opposed to the concept in principle.

But neither I, nor VCDL leadership, will endorse a law that may potentially do more harm than good.

The added language notwithstanding, the proposed bill backed by the NRA and VSSA still had a glaring, huge, deadly flaw:

Any person who lawfully occupies a dwelling is justified in using any degree of physical force, including deadly physical force, against another person when (i) the other person has unlawfully entered the dwelling and has committed an overt act toward the occupant or another person in the dwelling [bold added -ed]

Right now, there is no requirement in Virginia Law or established case law for an overt act to have occurred. The only requirement is a reasonable belief that bodily injury is imminent.

Under the language of this bill, the defender would be required to wait until the criminal, who has already broken into their home, commits ANOTHER overtly hostile act before self defense is protected by the proposed law.

This is clearly unacceptable. Versus adding a vague statement about this law not being construed to change any existing laws (which could be interpreted any number of ways by a creative judge who “discourages self-help”), how about fixing the language itself? All they would have had to have done is strike the “overt act” requirement.

I would prefer any such law to include a presumption of imminent bodily injury when defending one’s castle against an unlawful intruder, but would have been satisfied with just the removal of the “overt act” language.

The bottom line is that this bill was fatally flawed and needed to be defeated. It may sting the NRA and its affiliates to be defeated by an upstart like VCDL, but if they want our support, they need to earn it. Attempting to equate VCDL to anti-gun groups when the two opposed this legislation for exact opposite reasons is hardly the way to win support for your cause.

Not worth publishing

Yesterday Weer’d posted about the response of one of the handful of anti-gun bloggers out there to the counter-demonstration staged in response to their “stop a bullet with a candle” publicity stunt.

I don’t read the anti-gunner’s sites because they don’t say anything worth reading and it just gives them traffic.  I believe the best way to deal with them is just to ignore them and let them wither on the vine.  If it weren’t for pro-freedom people reading and linking them, they wouldn’t have any traffic at all…or at least very, very little.

With that said, I used to engage them and try to discuss the issues with them, as they inevitably claim they want to do.  Every time I did so, I was met with derision, name calling, obfuscation, and the breaking out of “reasoned discourse” wherein any comment they couldn’t refute, was simply not published, followed by unfounded and unsupported claims that the unpublished comments were harassing, threatening or obscene.

The conclusion I drew from these experiences is simply that the anti-freedom lobby is made up of flatly dishonest professional victims who are incapable of actually engaging in discussion about the issues, whereupon, I stopped reading or engaging them.

This background was necessary in order to illustrate the irony of the comment that Weer’d pointed out in his post:

So far, no comments from the gun rights extremists are worth publishing. Come on guys, you can do better. “Dancing in the blood of victims”? Really guys. How rude and insensitive.

As if they actually would publish a comment that they can’t think of a way to dismiss out of hand.  That’s funny right there.

I couldn’t resist so I actually followed the link to her place where I found some other aspects of her position that I just had to respond to:

No one said candles would stop anything. You totally missed the point of the whole thing- on purpose I would add.

You seem to have forgotten the many other people for whom the bell was rung and for whom candles were lit on Sunday. Jan. 8th was the anniversary of a horrific national tragedy that highlights our lax gun laws. The vigils on Sunday were to call attention to the way too many victims of gun violence. Gabby Giffords story is known to the world. There were videos and photographs of her plastered all over the media all over this country calling attetntion to the one year anniversary and many of them to our lax gun laws as well.

To which I responded:

We didn’t miss the point at all and I think you know it…because you know as well as we do what the point really was. It was about attempting to commandeer the memorial of a tragedy to exploit it for publicity and political gain.

You can claim that your sideshow was, in part, to honor the victims of the Tuscon tragedy all you want, but I find it interesting that at the ACTUAL memorial service, no mention was made of you, your group, your agenda, or your political stunt.

You know what I find rude and insensitive? People exploiting the deaths of others, even of loved ones, to push a political agenda that has virtually nothing to do with, and would not have prevented, the incident(s) being exploited.

This is how you honor them? By using their suffering and even death like a poker chip in a political game? By trying to use their victimhood as a shield against criticism?

It’s not just rude and insensitive, it’s downright disgusting.

You should be ashamed. But I’m pretty sure you’re not. Which is why I don’t much bother any more.

So far that one “wasn’t worth publishing”.

In response to commenter “Country Tea”, she asserted:

No one is going to take your rights away Country Tea. 

To which I responded:

“No one is going to take your rights away Country Tea.”
Especially not the Brady Campaign, that’s why they tirelessly fight for your rights.
For example:  They strongly supported the effort to overturn Washington DC’s unconstitutional ban on defensive firearms in the home.
Oh…wait…
Well, they strongly supported the effort to overturn Chicago’s unconstitutional ban on defensive firearms in the home.
Oh…wait…
Well, they strongly oppose the proposed ban of certain types of firearms specifically protected by the second amendment under the “in common use” language used by the supreme court in the Heller decision.
Oh…wait…
Well, they strongly support the property rights of individuals re: the ability of citizens to lawfully sell their privately owned property without the interference of the government.
Oh…wait…
Well, they strongly support the right of law abiding citizens to practice the “bear” part of “keep and bear arms” and carry defensive firearms in public.
Oh…wait…
Well…never mind all that.  They really don’t want to take any of your rights away;  just ask them, they’ll tell you.
That comment was likewise deemed unworthy of publication.
Just not worth it I guess.

As a matter of fact, I do feel lucky…

…but not for the reasons that CNN Money implies:

The United States holds a disproportionate amount of the world’s rich people.

So where do these lucky rich people live? As of 2005 — the most recent data available — about half of them, or 29 million lived in the United Statesanother four million live in Germany. The rest are mainly scattered throughout Europe, Latin America and a few Asian countries.

The implication, of course, being that we Americans and Germans, and other western societies have achieved wealth through nothing more than “luck”.

As I said in the title of this post, I do feel very lucky (I actually prefer the term “blessed”) to have been born into a society that fosters personal achievement and success and not into one of the cesspools that punishes it.

But that’s as far as the luck goes.  It isn’t “luck” that has resulted in the success of the western world, it is a superior economic, governmental and societal model.  I’m very blessed to have been born into that superior society, but the success that free-market, democratic societies enjoy over other societal models has nothing to do with luck.

As a side-note:  Saying that the US has a “disproportionate amount of the world’s rich people” is like saying that bodies of water have a disproportionate amount of the world’s fish.

OF COURSE you’re going to find a “disproportionate” amount of things in the places that make it possible for them to exist.  That this would be surprising to the geniuses at CNN money says more about their biases and ideology than it does about the “distribution of the world’s wealth”.

"Assault Weapons" and homicide

In another case of a comment that turned into a post:

My good friend Thirdpower, over at Days of our Trailers, pointed out the fallacies in a recent editorial by perennial anti-gun bigot Jesse Jackson.

Although Thirdpower did a good job of succinctly pointing out a major problem in Mr. Jackson’s first point, I don’t feel he went far enough.

Under a federal assault weapons ban from 1994 to 2004, there was a 60 percent drop in assault-weapon deaths. – Jesse Jackson

There was a 60% drop in ALL homicides during that period. -Thirdpower

I’ve looked at this issue in detail before, when researching the issue in forming my own opinion about it (an exercise I heartily recommend for anyone before taking a position on an issue) so I started to put some of my findings out there in his comments section.  As usual it got too long for a comment, so here’s the truth about “assault weapons” and homicide and the effect of the ban on scary looking cosmetic features (sometimes referred to as the “assault weapons ban”):

All my data came from the FBI Uniform Crime Reports.  Not from the NRA, or Brady Campaign, or any other biased group that may have massaged the numbers to make them say what they want them to say.

Every year’s UCR has a table that breaks down homicides by weapon for the year of the report and the preceding 4 years.

The UCR doesn’t differentiate between “assault weapons” and other rifles (probably because there IS no functional difference) so the numbers I use to represent “assault weapons” is actually the number of homicides where ANY type of rifle is used.

That’s an important distinction because it means that these numbers are actually TOO HIGH.  We don’t know by how much, but they are, in fact, inflated in favor of the anti-gun position.

So:  What do the numbers say?

In 1994, the year the ban was passed, and the first year Mr. Jackson cited for his claim, there were 22,084 homicides.  Of those, 15,463 involved firearms.  only 724 were committed with rifles of any type.

That means that rifles of any type were used in 3.3% of all homicides in 1994 and only in 4.6% of “gun homicides”…the metric that the anti-gun lobby likes to use because, I guess, you’re less dead if you’re killed with a knife or something.

Although the number of homicides decrease steadily throughout the period 1994 to 2004 (a trend which actually began in 1991, well before the passing of the Clinton Crime Bill), so did the use of rifles…so the percentage remained fairly steady.

In 2004, the year the ban expired, there were 14,210 total homicides, of which 9,385 were committed by perpetrators using firearms, and 403 using rifles.

To give credit where due, Mr. Jackson was correct that there was a 60% decrease of homicides in which rifles were used (actually 55.6%, but that’s close enough for government work isn’t it?)…but Thirdpower was absolutely correct that there was a corresponding decrease in total homicide (64.3%) and firearms homicide (60.7%).   In fact, if we pretend (as the anti-freedom lobby regularly does) that a simple correlation can be used as proof of causation, then the assault weapon ban decreased non-firearm homicide more than it did firearm homicide.

At any rate, getting back to my point: crunching the numbers again, we find that a very similar percentage of homicides were committed by criminals using rifles of any type:  2.83% of all homicides and 4.29% of gun homicides.

So there may have been a slight decrease but the numbers are remarkably steady.

But, since Mr. Jackson’s contention is that the ten years of “assault weapon ban” CAUSED that slight decrease, obviously, when the ban expired in 2004, the rate of murders with “assault weapons” MUST have gone back up right?  Especially when you consider the huge upsurge in popularity of the AR-15 style platform in all types of shooting endeavors.

Um…not so fast there buster.

In 2010, there were 12,996 total homicides…note the continued decreasing trend…including 8,775 gun homicides and 358 committed by criminals using rifles.

Hmm.  That means that in 2010, 2.75% of all homicides were committed using rifles of any kind, and only 4.09% of gun homicides were committed using rifles.

That’s six years AFTER the ban expired.

Hmmm.

Something doesn’t add up here.

Something is definitely causing our homicide rate to decrease, but it sure wasn’t any ban on pistol grips and barrel shrouds.  In fact, there is no correlation at all between any gun control measure and the significant decreases in homicide rates we’ve been enjoying since about 1991.

You know what HAS correlated nicely with the decreasing homicide rates?

(click the image to go to the source)

One other point to make regarding the use of “assault weapons”, or any rifles for that matter, in homicide:

According to the same FBI Uniform Crime Reports – hands, fists and feet are consistently used two to three times more often to commit homicide in this country than rifles of any type.

Two to three TIMES more often.

That’s 200 to 300 percent.

Perhaps we should be registering and restricting ownership of bodily appendages.

You see how it works?  By focusing on one small element of the issue, and ignoring the greater context, they can make something relatively minor look like a much bigger problem than it really is.  So-called “Assault Weapons” are involved in only a tiny fraction of homicides and even if restricting them were 100% effective (which it would not be…in fact, the 1994 to 2004 AWB demonstrated pretty thoroughly that such a law is approximately 0% effective), it would only reduce homicides by less than 3 percent…and that’s assuming that the bad guys don’t just use their hands and feet instead.

This is what is known as “a solution in search of a problem”; and is prima facia evidence of the lack of rational thought that goes into your typical anti-freedom advocate’s issue selection process.

If you want to verify that the information I presented here is an accurate representation and not just “cherry picked” to reach a predetermined conclusion (another favorite trick of the anti-freedom lobby), here are links to the source data:

1994 to 1998, Table 2-10 (pdf): http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/crime-in-the-u.s/1998/98sec2.pdf

1999 to 2003, Table 2-9 (pdf): http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/crime-in-the-u.s/2003/03sec2.pdf

2004 to 2008, Table 8: http://www2.fbi.gov/ucr/cius2008/offenses/expanded_information/data/shrtable_08.html

2006 to 2010, Table 8: http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/crime-in-the-u.s/2010/crime-in-the-u.s.-2010/tables/10shrtbl08.xls

Sage Advice

Marybeth Hicks:

Call it an occupational hazard, but I can’t look at the Occupy Wall Street protesters without thinking, “Who parented these people?”

…There are some crucial life lessons that the protesters’ moms clearly have not passed along.

Here, then, are five things the OWS protesters’ mothers should have taught their children but obviously didn’t, so I will:

Well worth the read.

Hat tip to family friend and fellow blogger Vanilla, both HERE, and HERE.

Completely at a loss

I don’t know where to turn.

I’ve discussed my problems with Perry, Romney, Gingrich and the rest before.

Now I’m beginning to have doubts about Herman Cain.

It’s not the fact that someone has brought up some old, unspecific charges of sexual harassment.  That’s not unusual at all for someone in a position of leadership as he was at the time.  The charges, as I’ve seen them so far, seem pretty weak and seem to me more along the lines of someone misconstruing actions or statements that were either completely innocent, or at worst “overly friendly”. 

The charges just don’t seem that serious to me. The fact that the Restaurant Association settled rather than go into litigation doesn’t mean squat either.  Only that the association chose to avoid the publicity and make the issue just “go away”.  The fact that the “victims” agreed to gag orders as a part of the settlement seems especially suspect to me.  If you had genuinely been victimized by someone, wouldn’t you want it made public so they couldn’t continue that type of behavior and continue to victimize others?  Taking a relatively small payout and promising never to tell anyone about it just doesn’t seem reasonable to me to someone who was genuinely victimized.

So, basically, the charges don’t sour me against Herman at all.

What has made me doubt his suitability for the office of President has been the handling of the charges by Herman and his team.

That never happened.
Oh wait, I do vaguely recall something like that happening – I had forgotten.
Oh wait, I guess I did mention something about it to my campaign back when I was running for Senate, but the charges were false and it never amounted to anything.
Oh wait, perhaps I do recall something about a small settlement.
Oh wait, perhaps the settlement was a little larger than I remember.
Oh wait, perhaps the settlement was MUCH larger than I remembered.
This is an attack by the Perry Campaign
Well…maybe it wasn’t an attack by the Perry Campaign…it must be Race Related.

Give me a break Herman.  Can you remember what you had for breakfast yesterday?

That whole cycle calls into question Herman’s ability to perform under stress, to make solid decisions under pressure and to take the time to evaluate things thoroughly before responding “half-cocked”.

And the whole fiasco of blaming the Perry Campaign, which, of course, necessitated him admitting that he had warned a staffer about the event that he had just claimed he had no recollection of during his Senate campaign…a staffer who now works for a company that has done work for Perry.

And it wasn’t “we suspect” or “we believe that it could be so” or “we have a hunch”.

It was “The Perry campaign is definitely behind this and they owe us an apology”

Followed by the accused person denying it and giving blanket approval for any media person he’s spoken to, to “out” him if he was the source.

Followed by the Cain campaign saying “oh…well, maybe it wasn’t THAT guy, but we still think the Perry campaign is behind it”.

Come on guys…this is basic common sense.  You don’t accuse someone of something unless you KNOW they did it and can PROVE it.

Then, Cain had the audacity to play the race card.  Are you KIDDING ME?  

Is this what we can count on from President Cain?  Lies, dissembling, denials, unfounded accusations and just arbitrarily deciding that any criticism is “race related”?

Just writing it all out like this has gelled and clarified it in my mind (which was kind of the point).  I’ve lost all respect for Herman Cain over the past couple of days…not because he was accused of sexual harassment a decade ago, because his REACTION to that accusation has destroyed any confidence I had in his ability to deal with the challenges he’ll face as President in any kind of mature and responsible way.

Crap.

Now I’ve got NO ONE to vote for in the Republican Primary.  I’ll probably vote for Bachmann, but she doesn’t have a chance in hades of winning. 

And we’re back to RINO Romney probably winning the primary and me voting Democrat in a presidential election for the first time in my life.

Gag.

Please…someone, anyone, convince me that I’m reading these things wrong and that we’re not in as dire a straights as a nation as I think we are.

Please?

Anyone?

Disheartening, but probably true:

Heard on the news this morning:

“Herman Cain is the flavor of the week in the Republican Primary race, but when it comes down to it, Americans generally avoid the exotic flavors and choose Chocolate or Vanilla”

Or something to that effect.

In other words, we’ll dream about trying something different for a while, but when crunch time comes, we pull back from the bold choice and choose to remain safely within the arms of the current big government, nanny state status quo.

I hope the talking head was wrong this time, but from a historical standpoint, I fear that he may have been right on the money.

If Romney wins the nomination, it will be a very hard choice for me.  I trust that snake oil salesman just about as far as I can throw him.

The big danger is, if the Republicans take control of the Senate, he would very likely have a de-facto rubber stamp in Congress.  That scares me because his record demonstrates domestic policies that are not dissimilar from Obama’s. 

If Obama remains in office, with a Republican congress, the damage can be minimized, because many Republicans can be counted on to oppose anything Obama proposes just out of partisan interests, with Romney in the White House, those same proposals would have a good chance of passing for the same reason.

With a Republican controlled congress, we’d be in better shape with Obama in the Whitehouse than Romney, in my humble opinion.

There’s still hope that Cain can maintain his momentum; or, failing that, another more acceptable candidate (Perry or Gingrich either one I could hold my nose and vote for, they aren’t perfect, and they’re both big government statists, but at least they aren’t RINOs) could come to the fore, but if the candidate is Romney, I may be voting Democrat in a Presidential election for the first time in my life.

So, here’s a summary of my thought process right now:

If the candidate is Cain, Bachmann, Gingrich, Santorum or Perry (in order of preference), I vote Republican.  Even the less palatable of those choices would at least be forwarding  Big Government, statist control from a conservative perspective rather than liberal.
If the candidate is Paul, I vote for my dog.  If the rest of the country wants an obvious loon in charge, I won’t work against it, but I won’t support it either.
If the candidate is Romney (RINO) or Huntsman (RINO), I vote Democrat and trust that a Republican controlled congress will limit White House damage to just what is caused by maintaining our position in the international community as the resident laughingstock.