Stolen government money

It seems that someone just embezzled three billion dollars from the US treasury. Well, actually, it was some insurance companies, and the Treasury just cut them checks. And it wasn’t authorized by congress. And the treasury told congress to go piss up a rope when they said “you can’t do that!” That story and other bureaucratic contempt for the law here.

The rule of law is dead, unless some pols and appointees start going to jail, or otherwise paying for their crimes against the people.

Appliances

Guns are, in a manner of speaking, an appliance. They have a function, and they do it well, for a very long time under most usage rates. The technology is pretty straightforward, the cost is competitive, the technology generally improves with time, and they are easy to operate.

Major home appliances? Not so much. Continue reading

Prometheus

Cool. Very cool, and very unexpected.

Just got word from Vox Day that The Stars Came Back has been nominated for a Prometheus Award for this year. It’s the award given by the Libertarian Futurist Society.

Past winners include Sarah Hoyt, Harry Turtledove, L. Neil Smith, Vernor Vinge, Terry Pratchett, Ken MacLeod, Poul Anderson, James P. Hogan, J. Neil Schulman, and many more big names. Even if I come in last place, just being nominated to potentially stand amid such a group of names is quite an honor.

Kafkatrapping

I came across a great new word today at ESR’s blog. “Kafkatrapping

The term Kafkatrapping is based on the story “The Trial” by Kafka. (whole story here)

The definition: a form of argument that, reduced to essence, runs like this: “Your refusal to acknowledge that you are guilty of {sin,racism,sexism, homophobia,oppression…} confirms that you are guilty of {sin,racism,sexism, homophobia,oppression…}.”

There are several variants of it explicitly discussed and described in the blog post. Well worth reading. We run into it a lot from the left, and among anti-rights activists generally.

Needing clarity

There has been much wailing and gnashing of teeth over what to do with the “terrorism done in the name of Islam” problem in the wake of the recent events in France, just as there is after each such event. Many talking heads say many things, but mostly their words shed darkness rather than light. The first step in finding a solution is properly defining the problem. Without clarity, there can be no visibility.

I have a simple proposal:

The next time there is such an event in a western nation and we can positively identify and surround the perpetrators before they are dead, we offer them this deal: Drop their guns/bombs and hold up their hands and surrender with the remaining hostages unharmed, and they can be tried in the Sharia court of their choice, with the following caveats: the trial must be started within one year, the verdict delivered within two years, and the court must be formally recognized and approved of by at least two leading national Islamic leaders in the Islamic world (such as the Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia and the Ayatollah of Iran, or similar) who acknowledge in public, in the nation’s native language, to the people of their respective nations, the court’s legitimacy.

Either they find the perps not guilty and we can have an official Islamic court ruling that Sharia is utterly incompatible with western culture, laws, and values; or they are found guilty and executed, and we have an official Islamic finding that terrorism and murder is forbidden under Islam. If no leading scholars will recognize the court publicly it will be a tacit admission they want it both ways – be legal in Islam, but not have the west see that.

Either way, the clarity such a decision would provide would allow the appropriate battle-lines to  be drawn, so the proper war could commence with sides more clearly delineated.

Tweakage haiku

Lower back spasm
Collapsing in agony
Gravity wins again

Or perhaps a limerick is better:

There once was a spasm near lumbar
That dropped a man down for a tumbler
He whimpered in pain
As he stretched out again
On the floor where he might have to slumber

Yeah, your lower back going out on you with a muscle spasm is really a pain. Basically a day stretched out, where any little twitch or twist might send it back into spasm, while icing it and taking pain killers and an anti-inflammatory like ibuprofen. Eventually I was able to get to the PT to get a slightly rotated vertebrae back in place, and the ER for a shot of industrial-strength muscle-relaxer / anti-spasm meds and painkillers. Then a slow recovery; last time it was about a week to get to 75%, then another month or so until I felt pretty much 100%.. I’m up to walking around without a cane, most of the time. The only good part about it was that this time it happened in the house, so I wasn’t stretched out in the neighbor’s driveway starting up at the trees. It must have been accumulated stresses, because all I was doing at the time was picking up a little bit of spilled cereal off the floor.

I guess it is time to start taking the stretching, lower back, and core muscle exercises more seriously, and pay attention to any lower back stiffness and be proactive with the ice and ibuprofen. My dad had some intermittent back problems 30-ish years ago, and my brother a couple years ago, my other brother 4-5 years ago (and they are ~30, two, and four years older than me, respectively).

Riding the Red Horse

Riding The Red Horse is a military fiction anthology being published 15 Dec 2014 by Castalia House. It is edited by Tom Kratman and Vox Day. I have a short story in it, the story of the first Armadillo mission. There are some big names in it, and I am honored to be among them. Vox posted about it here.

RH1_900

Continue reading

First 594 casualty

I-594 has claimed its first casualty, even though it doesn’t go into effect until December. A museum in Lynden, WA, is returning some WW II rifles it was loaned, loans which would become problematic once the law is in effect. So, people going to the museum will not be able to see the parts of history they once could. I’m sure you feel much safer now.

The push to marginalize guns and gun owners, to make them seem “other,” different, freakish, and strange continues.

Veterans Day

It’s here again. Thanks, all you servicemen, current and former.

Google at least sort of recognized it this year, though they had to give it their PC twist by having the female in uniform standing out front saluting, even though men make up ~85% of the US military.

My kid’s school is starting a new tradition, the “wall of honor,” giving a small paper “brick” for each relative the student has who has worn the uniform. It was interesting looking them over, and seeing a number of name clusters where it’s obviously a family tradition. It also makes you realize how small a percentage it represents.

Looking at my own history, I served in the Army Reserve.
My dad and his brother both served in the Army (drafted in the 50s).
My brother-in-law and another uncle on my mom’s side were career AF.
My grandfather served in the cavalry in the 30s, and the Coast Guard in WW II.
A great uncle served. Another great (great?) uncle was even in the Spanish-American War. A great aunt was in the WAAC in WW II. Considering how few people I know anything about in my family history, an awful lot of them spent at least one enlistment in uniform. No spectacular war stories, just a lot of “been there, done that, did my part, moved on.”

Again, thanks to all those who have done their part in serving this great nation.

Keep and bear, not use?

Interesting news story yesterday. The Seattle police had sued over the new “use of force” rules, saying in part that it violated their 2nd Amendment rights.

The judge’s decision came down, and she (judge Marsha Pechman) dismissed the suit. According to the KOMO article :
The judge also dismissed the officers’ constitutional arguments, saying that while the Second Amendment ensures the right to keep and bear arms, it doesn’t protect the right to use the weapons.

Ummmm…. Excuse me? That’s like saying you have the right to free speech as long as you don’t say anything.

Random election thought

The Dem election machine has been touting a massive database of voter information, allowing them to micro-target voters.  The early version was used by the Obama-bots in 2008, then a more refined version in 2012. It has incredibly detailed info on each voter.

Google and Facebook are operated by well-known lefties.

Speculation/question: How much of the incredibly huge and detailed amount of data that these two organizations collect on individuals could be / is funneled into a politically-driven marketing database that would help the Dems figure out the exact right email to send to get them to the pols?

Scary thought.

What are the more libertarian / conservative sources for similar purposes?

Just say “no” to liberal-owned data-mining companies.

A bad free speech decision

Another court case over at Volokh. Bible Believers v. Wayne County (6th Cir. Aug. 27, 2014). Some true believer bible thumpers went a-preaching at a huge Michigan Arab festival. They got balls, even if they might be shy a few common sense points.

Any-hoo, they carried their signs, wore their shirts, did their preaching. The Muslims assembled took offense, and a lot of their kids (naturally) started getting actively hostile (always use kids, so if the cops crack heads it makes for good propaganda videos). The cops told the Bible Believers to shut up or leave. The Bible believers said they had first amendment rights. The cops said “leave or we’ll arrest you for disorderly.” The court agreed. Reading the decision excerpts, the court has an argument, but I think the defense / dissent (the Bible Believers) has a much stronger argument.

Be a good case to appeal, especially if they win. If they don’t, then the incentive is for the hostile Muslims to get REALLY hostile to shut down opposition.

Incentives are important.

Decisions, decisions

In Taylor v. City of Baton Rouge, the ban on guns in places that sell alcohol — including supermarkets and service stations, and their parking lots — was struck down on Second Amendment grounds.

It’s cool to see the 2nd actually meaning something. Not sure if this is the best case to take the the SCOTUS, but it’s not a bad decision. A strange piece was that it was a default judgement, because the defendant didn’t answer the complaint properly.

In other court news, in Sylvester v Harris California’s 10-day waiting period was struck down with respect to people who already own guns. Not strict scrutiny, not any clear other level of scrutiny, either. In any case, good news.

As always, much more at the links.

 

I-594 questions

Text of I-594 here.

Video of testimony here.

I’ve been going over it a bit. I’ve got a few questions that might be good to ask its supporters.

A person wants to take an adult friend to do some casual training and firearms familiarization, planning on loaning her a variety of guns and ammo during the afternoon. They want to go to a nearby parcel of public land that has been legally and safely used for recreational shooting for decades. What specific section or subsection of 594 would exempt them from having to run a background check every time they handed a gun back and forth? Considering a vast amount of training is done this way, it seem important.

A friend discovers her violent ex-husband just got released from jail, and she calls you at 10 PM Saturday night, fearing he might show up at her door any time. She’s a decent shooter, but due to finances she doesn’t already own a gun. What specific section or subsection of 594 would exempt you from having to run a background check to loan her a gun for a month until she can get the money together to buy one?

Sec 3(4)(f) states that [requiring background checks] shall not apply to a list of specific activities, such as”: The temporary transfer of a firearm (i) between spouses or domestic partners;
Why are no other family members included?

(ii) if the temporary transfer occurs, and the firearm is kept at all times, at an established shooting range authorized by the governing body of the jurisdiction in which such range is located;
Why is there no section listing such shooting ranges, or providing for how an existing range can become authorized?

(iii) if the temporary transfer occurs and the transferee’s possession of the firearm is exclusively at a lawful organized competition involving the use of a firearm, or while participating in or practicing for a performance by an organized group that uses firearms as a part of the performance;
Why isn’t training for self defense, hunting, or recreation included?

(iv) to a person who is under eighteen years of age for lawful hunting, sporting, or educational purposes while under the direct supervision and control of a responsible adult who is not prohibited from possessing firearms;
Why only minor children, not other family members or adult children?

or (v) while hunting if the hunting is legal in all places where the person to whom the firearm is transferred possesses the firearm and the person to whom the firearm is transferred has completed all training and holds all licenses or permits required for such hunting, provided that any temporary transfer allowed by this subsection is permitted only if the person to whom the firearm is transferred is not prohibited from possessing firearms under state or federal law;
Can you clarify exactly when it would, or would not, be legal to borrow a gun to hunt with?

More generally, what section allows for temporary transfers for training for recreation, self defense, or hunting with privately owned guns without requiring a background check every time a gun changes hands?

MAIG bribery

To be more specific, Mayors Against Illegal Guns member Gordon Jenkins, a New York, Democratic Mayor, was arrested on bribery charges. Not just ““bribe receiving” but also “endangering the public health” and “intimidating a witness in connection with an incident in Fallsburg.”

A fine, upstanding bunch of folks those gun controllers mayor Bloomberg hangs with are.

Symbolism

I came across an interesting article at the Blaze about a conversation with a former gang member. It was from an excerpt from the book “The Future of the Gun.” It looked at guns as symbols, specifically symbols of power in inner cities neighborhoods, and how the youngsters saw people in light of the laws, guns, and power/strength, in a way that makes a lot of sense, but a perspective articulated in a way I’d never heard before.

Let me show you what’s going on here: Over there you see some stores that are open — there are shop owners there. They should be the pillars of this society. They should be the leaders…everyone should look up to them. But they don’t. They’ve been neutered, their guns have been taken away. They have to call 911, and hope [someone comes to rescue them] if something happens. So they’re victims waiting to happen.

Conversely:

Now look around more: There’s a cop. Unfortunately, too often the youth…they don’t look up to police officers, and there’s all sorts of deep reasons for that…Now look around more, what else do you see? What you see are…gang leaders.

The end result in this former gang member’s view is that for the young kid:

he looks around the neighborhood, and he looks for the power…He looks to the gang member who has a gun tucked away in his shorts. He’s the power in that neighborhood. Whereas the average person who has been disarmed, the average store owner who has been disarmed are neutered, they don’t.

He’s right. People, especially young men, want power, to feel empowered. Welfare laws what they are, there are few good fathers to be role models in a lot of inner city “families.” Boys and young men look for “strong”  men to emulate, and they see gang-bangers above shop-keepers in the social hierarchy. The anti-gun laws have created the inner city gang problem, and here is the underlying mechanism. Gun laws are not only unconstitutional, they are anti-human, they are anti-black, anti-business, anti-woman, and anti-equality. As people are wont to say, “read the whole thing.” It’s not long.

Summer Trip

I grew up in Alaska, and still have most of my family there. Summer is a great time to go places with the kids, and visiting home is always an item high on the list. But, because Alaska Airlines normally has a defacto monopoly on flying into Juneau, it’s usually around $500 a ticket from Seattle. When Delta decided to give them some competition this summer, priced promptly got cut in half. The daughter has been there once before, when she was two, and the son only in utero. So, we went. Continue reading

Halbig vs Burwell

The DC Court of Appeals handed down it’s decision in Halbig vs Burwell, an ObamaCare challenge. The crux of the challenge is that the law, as written, says that people on exchanges established by a state can get the subsidies, people using the Federal exchange established by Uncle Sam cannot. This was done (they said at the time) as an incentive to encourage states to set up their own exchanges, and it was estimated that only a small number of knuckledragging states would fail to do so (so screw them)… (OK, so the last part was my words for their actions).

But when 34 states failed to set up their own exchange, it caused a problem. Millions of people don’t want to have their promised subsidies “taken away.” So, the HHS said “well, it really means any exchange, including the Federal one.” The DC Court of Appeals just said “No, state means state.” And, as an added bonus, just a few days ago the HHS itself said that in the ACA, “State” means “State,” not “state and/or territories.” A bit more than a week ago, Obama’s law professor said it would likely turn out this way.

This is potentially a nuclear bomb in the heart of the law. Next stop, en banc review on the (packed?) court, or the Supreme Court. Only downside is finding out how the Rs will manage to shoot themselves in the foot with this news (with the media’s willing help, of course.)

UPDATE: the 4th Circuit just ruled the other way on the same thing. Wow, that was timely.

Another good analysis.

Another one from Forbes. If upheld, it would cancel the subsidies, AND the tax for not buying insurance (i.e., kill the mandate).

Electronic Marques

Interesting idea. The US Constitution authorizes operations against pirates. Article 1,Section 8, Clause 10 “To define and punish Piracies and Felonies committed on the high Seas, and Offenses against the Law of Nations;”

It also covers issuing letters of Marque and Reprisal, Article 1, Section 8, Clause 11 “To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water;”

Why not do the suddenly obvious and issue Letters of Marque and Reprisal to private corporations to go after international electronic pirates, foreign agents who are attacking our corporations and infrastructure electronically? Makes sense to me.