Of course you can trust the government

From David Hardy on the Waco investigation:

The House Committee on Government Reform hired Carlos to examine the tapes. Unfortunately, he died from a heart attack (a weakness that ran in his family). The Committee thereupon issued statements that he’d never given them a report, that they were about to fire him, and essentially disavowing everything to do with him.

There was one problem with that story. Carlos had faxed me the report right after he gave it to the committee and briefed its staff. He found there were indeed gunshots. In fact, he pieced together an encounter. A Davidian appeared to throw something at an armored vehicle, and the something went off with a quick burst of heat. The hatches on the vehicle opened, some people dismounted, and fired in the direction of the fleeing Davidian. The battle went on from there. Carlos told me that as he played and paused the video for the congressional staffers, explaining what they were seeing, they looked like they were sucking on lemons.

Reading David’s series of posts on Waco is bringing back some very unpleasant memories and way too much adrenaline:

What the government did to Randy Weaver and his family and what they did at Waco are a why I purchased my first gun, why I’m involved in the gun rights movement and why there is Boomershoot.

Never again.

Quote of the day—Glenn Reynolds

Fracking: Helping Middle America at the expense of dictators. No wonder lefties hate it.

Glenn Reynolds
January 15, 2016
FRACKING: IMPOVERISHING THE SAUDIS AND RUSSIANS AND IRANIANS WHILE PUTTING MONEY IN AMERICAN POCKETS.
[I could add more reasons but I can see this being a significant component. Of course they wouldn’t put it in terms of “expense of dictators”. <sarcasm> The dictators are really representatives of the people in an utopian seeking country and U.S. capitalists are harming “the people” to satisfy corporate greed. </sarcasm>—Joe]

Constitutional Sheriffs in the news

Via Drudge, we get this piece from Progressive Rag, The Washington Post.

The elitist, fear-mongering editorializing in the piece only makes it better, kind of like John Boehner calling Ted Cruz the living embodiment of Lucifer– It’s something of a ringing endorsement, considering who’s saying it. So much so in fact that you’d think he should understand that and keep his mouth shut.

Continue reading

Quote of the day—Lily Tang Williams

If you believe more gun control by your government is going to save lives, you are being naïve. The champion of all the mass killings in this world is always a tyrannical government.

Where I came from, China had killed thousands of the students by its own government during the massacre of Tian An Men square in 1989. I surely wish my fellow Chinese citizens back then had guns like this one I am holding in the picture.

I am a Chinese immigrant and an American citizen by choice. I once was a slave before and I will never be one again.

I will always stand with my AR, no matter what my President signs with his pen.

LilyTangWilliams20160105

Lily Tang Williams
Facebook post on January 5, 2016

Quote of the day—Thomas Jefferson

I hold it that a little rebellion now and then is a good thing, and as necessary in the political world as storms in the physical. Unsuccessful rebellions indeed generally establish the encroachments on the rights of the people which have produced them. An observation of this truth should render honest republican governors so mild in their punishment of rebellions, as not to discourage them too much. It is a medicine necessary for the sound health of government.

Thomas Jefferson
James Madison, Paris
January 30, 1787
From Monticello.org A little rebellion
[Yeah. Like that is going to happen. President Lincoln and his close followers were reasonably mild in their punishment of the rebellion of the southern states. But he was a Republican and an unusual one at that.

We do not currently have a government in “sound health”. These days I imagine a rebellion would most likely occur under a President Hillary Clinton. I would expect the rebellion would either succeed or the rebels genetic material would be wiped from the planet, their property turned to ash, and their lands salted so heavily plants could not grow for a 100 years.—Joe]

Quote of the day—Noah Rothman

Owen took his vision to Indiana where he pursued a radical new experiment in social organization. In 1824, he purchased an existing settlement and founded the town of New Harmony. This was a truly socialistic society in which private property itself was done away with. The fate that befell New Harmony is a familiar one. The idealists who were attracted to this communal society were intellectuals and experts, and not the workers whose lots he had so hoped to better. Productivity collapsed. Industries that had once thrived under Johann Georg Rapp – a German philosopher and leader of a religious sect called Harmonists who initially founded the settlement – withered or collapsed entirely. Within two years, and following a substantial amount of instability and tumult, the experiment failed. To account for this disaster, Owen did what all revolutionary socialists have done ever since in order to exculpate themselves for failure: he blamed the ignoble character of the participants in his great experiment.

Noah Rothman
April 14, 2016
The Character of a Socialist
[And as we have seen in dozens of other places like Cambodia, USSR, and Communist China when the intellectuals try to remake the character of man or eliminate the “limiters”, all in the name of doing good, to make progress, the death toll rises into the tens of millions.—Joe]

Quote of the day—Scott H. Greenfield

So make your case. Advocate your position. Persuade everyone you see that your position is right, that the demise of humanity is imminent and that we must act immediately to stem climate change.  Yes, go for it.

But never by silencing critics, no matter how wrong you are certain they are.  This subpoena cannot stand, no matter how strongly, how passionately, you disagree with CEI.  There is a line that cannot be crossed, no matter what, and that line has been crossed. Prevail because your ideas are better than theirs, but not because government has the means to bludgeon ideas with which it, and you, disagree.

Scott H. Greenfield
April 8, 2016
The CEI Subpoena Cannot Stand
[H/T to Alan Gura on April 8th for the retweet of Greenfield’s tweet.—Joe]

Quote of the day—M.E.

Perhaps this is almost too obvious/tautological/stupid to say, but although widespread change must eventually reach the majority, it does not often start there. Writer Rebecca Solnit put it this way:

Ideas at first considered outrageous or ridiculous or extreme gradually become what people think they’ve always believed. How the transformation happened is rarely remembered, in part because it’s compromising: it recalls the mainstream when the mainstream was, say, rabidly homophobic or racist in a way it no longer is; and it recalls that power comes from the shadows and the margins, that our hope is in the dark around the edges, not the limelight of center stage. Our hope and often our power.

I understand this, but thing that has always bothered the sociopath in me is the collective amnesia that everyone experiences. No one admits, I used to be homophobic but then I realized I was wrong. Instead there is rampant hypocrisy. There is no humility. There is no healthy skepticism of their feelings of moral certainty. The moral certainty just shifts beliefs, from anti to pro or vice versa.

M.E.
April 1, 2016
Changing our minds
[I read M.E. because of the insights she has into the population at large and to a certain extent her self analysis. She, in essence, has no empathy for other people and tries to make rational sense of their actions. Because of her somewhat unique viewpoint she sees the nonsensical behavior and can generalize more quickly than I do. I find it fascinating to catch a glimpse of the world through her eyes.

The shifting of moral certainty applies to so many things. Gun ownership, religion, freedom of speech, due process, enumerated powers of the government, recreational drug use, equal rights for women, global cooling/warming/climate-change etc. People, in general, do not know and/or care to distinguish truth from falsity or right from wrong. They “just know”.

Politicians take advantage of this and claim political positions which they believe will yield the most votes. Mussolini, Hitler, Stalin, Chavez, and many others in all countries were extremely popular in the beginning and in hindsight extraordinarily disastrous. It shouldn’t have taken hindsight. And with so many examples in history it shouldn’t take hindsight to see the errors being made today. But yet it appears to be the case.

Why is this? I think there are only three relatively easy to discern conditions necessary to predict the worst of, but of course not all, disasters.

  1. Many political options can be eliminated as “a bad idea” with very little analysis. But they are not eliminated because they are the same political options that are among the most powerful vote getters in a population that is unable to distinguish truth from falsity.
  2. A government which has essentially no limits on power.
  3. High social and/or economic stress.

When such a government is directed by people who either have no interest and/or ability to distinguish truth from falsity then disaster is nearly inevitable. It can easily become a powerful monster with an agenda of destruction with absolute moral certainty.

Welcome to the current political world of the United States.—Joe]

Quote of the day—Richard Feldman

Someone ought to present both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton with the joint “Salesmen Award of the Decade.”

They have collectively achieved what advertisers could only dream about. Their ill-informed, uninformed and intentionally misinformed, anti-gun rhetoric is a caustic shot directly across our bow. If it’s political jihad that they want to wage on this, the most quintessential of all American domestic issues, then it’s political jihad they shall receive.

Richard Feldman
March 23, 2016
Richard Feldman: Obama’s Gun Issue Misfires on Hillary
[In related news:

Political jihad over guns in November? Only if Hillary isn’t in shackles by then.—Joe]

Hypotheses to test

It’s not a scientific study by any means, but this article from the New York Times could be used to generate a good hypothesis worthy of being tested:

“Our cities are facing a huge problem, maybe the largest since World War II,” Mr. Goldstein said. “How is it that people who were born here in Brussels, in Paris, can call heroes the people who commit violence and terror? That is the real question we’re facing.”

Friends who teach the equivalent of high school seniors in the predominantly Muslim districts of Molenbeek and Schaerbeek told him that “90 percent of their students, 17, 18 years old, called them heroes,” he said.

Mr. Goldstein, 38, grew up in Schaerbeek, the child of Jewish refugees from Nazism. Now a councilman from Schaerbeek, he is also chief of staff for the minister-president of the Brussels Capital Region.

I could see the hypothesis worthy of test being something like:

  • Most Muslims in Europe are peaceful and tolerant
  • Those who commit terrorism and violence do not represent Islam in Europe

I could also see the politically correct crowd insisting that it is racist and Islamophobic to even test such a hypothesis while simultaneously insisting the quote above is proof Jews are racists.

My take on things is that there is a huge problem in Europe that to a greater or lesser degree extends over the entire globe and there are no good solutions. There are only painful remedies and pragmatic tradeoffs which will challenge our principles to their core.

Quote of the day—Jan Koum

I think this is politicians, in some ways, using these terrible acts to advance their agendas. If the White House thinks that Twitter can solve their ISIS problem, they’ve got (a lot of problems).

Jan Koum
April 4, 2016
Forget Apple vs. the FBI: WhatsApp Just Switched on Encryption for a Billion People
[Yes. And the same is true of gun control, a lot of banking laws, tax law, and probably 1000 or more other things. WhatsApp is just exploiting a small chink in the armor.

Government back doors to communications violates The Jews in the Attic Test. WhatsApp intent is to keep communication private. This is no small task. I’m certain it is private from your local police force, snoopy neighbors, and most employers. But if a billion people use it that is a very juicy target for nation states. Such a high value target will justify an enormous expenditure of resources to break it. I expect it is only a matter of time before it is broken. But that doesn’t mean that it will stay broken or that gaining access to each conversation isn’t very expensive and cost prohibitive except in extremely important situations.

That said, I have WhatsApp installed on my phone.—Joe]

Quote of the day—Paul Craig Roberts

An attack on abortion rights, for example, produces a far greater outcry and resistance than the successful attack on habeas corpus and due process. President Obama was able to declare his power to execute citizens by executive branch decision alone without due process and conviction in court, and it produced barely audible protest.

Historically, a government that can, without due process, throw a citizen into a dungeon or summarily execute him is considered to be a tyranny, not a democracy.  By any historical definition, the United States today is a tyranny.

Paul Craig Roberts
Does The United States Still Exist?
An address delivered to the Libertarian Party of Florida on March 23, 2016 in Destin, Florida
[Interesting points.

Remember: Why Boomershoot? Insurance against tyranny.—Joe]

Quote of the day—Bruce Schneier

Across the US, states are on the verge of reversing decades-old laws about homosexual relationships and marijuana use. If the old laws could have been perfectly enforced through surveillance, society would never have reached the point where the majority of citizens thought those things were okay. There has to be a period where they are still illegal yet increasingly tolerated, so that people can look around and say, “You know, that wasn’t so bad.” Yes, the process takes decades, but it’s a process that can’t happen without lawbreaking. Frank Zappa said something similar in 1971: “Without deviation from the norm, progress is not possible.”

The perfect enforcement that comes with ubiquitous government surveillance chills this process. We need imperfect security­ — systems that free people to try new things, much the way off-the-record brainstorming sessions loosen inhibitions and foster creativity. If we don’t have that, we can’t slowly move from a thing’s being illegal and not okay, to illegal and not sure, to illegal and probably okay, and finally to legal.

This is an important point. Freedoms we now take for granted were often at one time viewed as threatening or even criminal by the past power structure. Those changes might never have happened if the authorities had been able to achieve social control through surveillance.

Bruce Schneier
2015
Pages 97 and 98, Data and Goliath
Via Mass Surveillance Silences Minority Opinions
[This line of thought can be extended to many other victimless crimes still on the books from gun “crimes” to gambling, social nudity, sex toys, and various activities involving consenting adults.

The counter point is that with near perfect surveillance political corruption, murder, terrorism, and other horrible crimes could be significantly reduced. So the question becomes, “How do you balance the tradeoffs?”

It appears to me the greatest threats to society come government (look at the number of murders committed in the 20th Century by governments against their own citizens as opposed to murders committed by citizens on each other). Hence as a “common-sense good first step” I am of the opinion that greatly enhanced surveillance for government employees is a good thing. Implement the most extreme surveillance practical for politicians and others in positions of power. Encrypt it and store it securely. But if they are accused of wrongdoing their data comes out of storage and is reviewed for evidence of criminal activity. The rational could be, “With great power comes great responsibility. With great responsibility comes great oversight.”—Joe]

Quote of the day—Michael Faraday

Contrary to opinion, leftism isn’t just about hate. Leftists are more complex than that. From my time as a red diaper leftist, I can tell you that a whole range of emotions are involved. Hate, anger, fear, bitterness, jealousy, envy, rage, greed, pride, smugness and paranoia (not technically an emotion, but it is widespread among leftists).

With such a parade of negative emotions, it is no surprise that so many leftists suffer from chronic depression, often from a young age. Even if they lose the anger, they still retain the attitude: that the government must fix everyone’s problems, regardless of cost and that there is an enormous right-wing conspiracy that is just around the corner.

The victim narrative of the Left is very infectious. You are always the victim and you are always owed something. The wealthy are always evil, while you are always good and wholesome.

Michael Faraday
March 16, 2016
The Mind of the Left From an Insider
[Amazing stuff in this article. Or at least it matches my confirmation bias extremely well.

The part about hate and being a victim really resonates with me. Emotions are how they communicate and expressions of hate are the means of signaling their virtue to other leftists. If they identify as a victim it justifies their hate. They identify with other victims. Those who do not identify as a victim of some sort must be the oppressors. And of course they always require a powerful government to right the wrongs they see inflicted upon them by powerful oppressors. The concept that powerful governments have been, can be, and always will be, oppressive is incomprehensible to them.—Joe]

Quote of the day—U.S. General Billy Mitchell

I believe that in the future, whoever holds Alaska will hold the world. I think it is the most important strategic place in the world.

U.S. General Billy Mitchell
To U.S. Congress in 1935
[Even ignoring the Aleutian Islands Alaska is surprisingly close to both Europe and Asia. It is less than 2800 miles to Sweden and Beijing, less than 2500 miles to Japan, and less than 800 miles to Russia. Alaska to Los Angles is over 1500 miles and Alaska to Miami is over 3200 miles.

But I don’t think it holds as much strategic value as Mitchell thought it would. Early warning of Russian attack on North America? Absolutely. Missile launch site for attacking eastern Russia? Sure. But it’s not significant in regards to the entire world. That is particularly true with the Mideast currently being the most important hot spot. Still, I found it an interesting thought.—Joe]

Quote of the day—Pawpaw

If Islam is unwilling or unable to rein in its radical adherents, they must not complain when we do so.  There will be collateral damage, as regrettable as it may be.  With the recent attacks in Europe and the United States, we may not long consider the Islamic problem to be simply one of law enforcement.  There may be a backlash, and the peace-loving Muslims may want to consider how that backlash may affect them, should they choose to ignore the problem within their religion.

They might not want to play Cowboys and Muslims.  Once the backlash begins, they may not have a chance to influence the outcome.

Pawpaw
March 23, 2016
The Problem With Islam
[I have nothing to add.—Joe]

Just five people.

John Robb claims that conditions are such that in November civil war engulfs this country via the actions of just five people:

One candidate declares victory.  The other cries foul.  Protests go national.  Violence, looting and active engagement with police.  

Calls for calm ignored.  Martial law is declared in different areas.  Internet is turned off in different areas.  

Violence grows.  The global economy collapses due to uncertainty over US economy (ill conceived financial derivatives ensure that virulent US contagion spreads to every nook and cranny of the global financial and economic system).

The US, suddenly impoverished, extremely angry, and mortally betrayed stumbles into civil war.

Read his blog post for the details of how it might be done.

Alternate quote of the day – Samuel Adams

“A general Dissolution of Principles & Manners will more surely overthrow the Liberties of America than the whole Force of the Common Enemy. While the People are virtuous they cannot be subdued; but when once they lose their Virtue they will be ready to surrender their Liberties to the first external or internal Invader. How necessary then is it for those who are determind to transmit the Blessings of Liberty as a fair Inheritance to Posterity, to associate on publick Principles in Support of publick virtue.”
Samuel Adams, Letter to James Warren (February 12, 1779)

Those old dead white guys seemed to talking about us (here in 2016) all the way back in 1779. Gosh; how did they know?

But they made a horrific error. They understood the importance of the non establishment clause, religious freedom clause, freedom of speech, of assembly and redress of grievances, AND the importance of education, but somehow they failed to make the connection between religion and education when it came to the importance of non establishment. He continues;

“I do verily believe, and I may say it inter Nos, that the Principles & Manners of N Engd, producd that Spirit which finally has establishd the Independence of America; and Nothing but opposite Principles and Manners can overthrow it. If you are of my Mind, and I think you are, the Necessity of supporting the Education of our Country must be strongly impressd on your Mind. It gives me the greatest Concern to hear that some of our Gentlemen in the Country begin to think the Maintenance of Schools too great a Burden.”

He’s right of course, but this argument has led to the making of law to establish education, rather than the free exercise thereof. It’s one or the other, which is why the first amendment included both the non establishment and the free exercise clauses with regard to religion.

That they (and we) seem to have failed utterly to understand the similarities between religion and education is surprising– Both are highly influential to a culture and it’s fundamental beliefs. That is precisely WHY they kept federal government out of religion and, tragically, why we got government into education.

The founders didn’t seem to contemplate the enemies of the American Founding Principles being in charge of a government education system, hostile to knowledge and truth, desiring a pliable, ignorant society ripe for the picking.

Therefore I once again put forth a recommendation for an addition to the first amendment to the U.S. constitution;

“…nor make any law respecting the establishment of education, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,…”

It belongs there for exactly the same reasons that religion belongs there, and it always did. I see the failure to include it (to allow such a thing as public education at all) as being one of the greatest failings of the Republic, possibly THE fatal mistake.