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
[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]

Quote of the day—Tyler Durden

King Obama sees political trends he doesn’t like, knows that Congress can’t do anything about it because the public doesn’t want it to, so he does it by himself by executive decree.

Tyler Durden
January 9, 2016
Americans’ Positive Perception Of NRA Soars As Obama Escalates Gun-Control Agenda
[I have nothing to add.—Joe]

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.


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—Grimaldi and Ballhaus

All told, the Clinton Foundation and its affiliates have collected donations and pledges from all sources of more than $1.6 billion, according to their tax returns.

James V. Grimaldi and Rebecca Ballhaus
February 19, 2016
Hillary Clinton’s Complex Corporate Ties
[Via President Killary and Hillary Clinton Exposed Part 1 – How She Aggressively Lobbied for Mega Corporations as Secretary of State.

$21.6 million in “speaking fees” from from Goldman-Sachs, and other Wall Street firms and special interest groups during 2013-2015. As well as over a billion and a half dollars in corporate donations to her foundation. That explains how she “reflects common people’s concerns and problems” and yet I’ve been told I can’t possibly relate to other people because I’m a privileged white male.

I’m glad I finally have that figured out.—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—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.

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—Carry Sword in France

Because-as society evolves, governments can no longer deal effectively with violence ever-present in our streets. Because-all citizens should have the right to defend itself, to ensure its security when the forces of order are absent or impotent. We French of all backgrounds, faiths and political tendencies united in this petition are asking the legitimate right to carry a firearm.

Carry Sword in France.
We ask the government to order the establishment of a decree authorizing all citizens to be entitled to carry a firearm in France

[I’m not sure about the organization, the date, and the translation in general, but the sentiment is fairly clear.

As Paul Koning said, “If that petition succeeds, the French will have a concealed carry system about as friendly as that of California. I suppose it’s a start.”

H/T to Andrew Benghazi.—Joe]

Suicide and guns

Washington State just passed a law regarding suicide by gun. As I started read the first article on the topic I was highly skeptical:

My husband died by suicide. Here’s what happened during my awkward call with the NRA.

It wasn’t the hardest phone call I’ve ever made, but it was certainly awkward. I was cold-calling the National Rifle Association. Because the NRA is well-known for offering gun safety training, I wanted to know whether the organization had ideas on how to reduce the number of firearm suicides.

But I learned a couple of surprising things from that call and the many follow-up meetings with a local NRA lobbyist and the executive director of the Second Amendment Foundation.

First, they were not just willing to talk but also willing to listen.

The details of the law are here. The voting is telling:

Passed by the House March 8, 2016  Yeas 94  Nays 2

Passed by the Senate March 1, 2016  Yeas 47  Nays

Basically the law requires a task force, in part, to:

(a) Develop and prepare to disseminate online trainings on suicide awareness and prevention for firearms dealers and their employees and firearm range owners and their employees;
(b) In consultation with the department of fish and wildlife, review the firearm safety pamphlet produced by the department of fish and wildlife under RCW 9.41.310 and, by January 1, 2017, recommend changes to the pamphlet to incorporate information on suicide awareness and prevention;
(c) Develop suicide awareness and prevention messages for posters and brochures that are tailored to be effective for firearms owners for distribution to firearms dealers and firearm ranges;
(d) Develop suicide awareness and prevention messages for posters and brochures for distribution to pharmacies;
(e) In consultation with the department of fish and wildlife, develop strategies for creating and disseminating suicide awareness and prevention information for hunting safety classes, including messages to parents that can be shared during online registration, in either follow up electronic mail communications, or in writing, or both;

Yes. It addresses pharmacies as well as firearms owners, dealers, and ranges. It looks like it has the potential to be a good program that truly tries to address the problem of suicide in a fair handed manner and not just something to demonize gun ownership. Others think so as well:

A couple of years ago, Stuber began reaching out to firearms retailers and asking them if they worried about the possibility of selling a gun to someone who might be suicidal. Virtually every employee she spoke with, she said, answered yes. With some trepidation, Stuber called the National Rifle Association and Gottlieb’s group to enlist their help in reducing firearm suicides. To her surprise, they were willing to talk, and also listen.

“There’s real hurt,” she said. “Everybody showed up at the table willing to share their pain. This is an issue that impacts all of us.”

Forefront, the NRA and the Second Amendment Foundation met with groups including the Seattle Police Department and the Department of Fish and Wildlife over about six months to draft the language for the initiative. Rep. Tina Orwall, D-Des Moines, the bill’s main sponsor, was instrumental in getting the legislation passed, Stuber said.

About 20 other states have taken steps to bring together suicide prevention advocates and gun owners, Stuber said, but none of those efforts are as broad as the Washington bill. Gottlieb thinks the initiative could become a successful model that can be replicated in other states.

“Lots of us in the firearms rights community have been concerned that a significant percentage of suicides involve lethal force,” he said. “If there’s a way to lower those numbers, it’s in gun owners’ interest to do that. To me, this is a no-brainer, but it took someone like Jenn to put it together.”

Quote of the day—Sean Barney

We will ban military-style assault weapons and large capacity ammunition clips.

Sean Barney
Delaware candidate for U.S. Congress (D)
April 7, 2016
Barney hopes to make gun control an issue
See his complete position on ADDRESSING GUN VIOLENCE.
[He also wants to eliminate the default proceed if the FBI doesn’t complete the NICS check within three days. This would enable people in Washington D.C. to halt all gun sales in the entire country by simply sending NICS employees home. Imagine a government shutdown for a few days or weeks. Imagine budget cutting. Imagine “technical problems” in doing the background checks.

And don’t ever let anyone get away with telling you no one wants to take your guns.—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—Hillary Clinton

That he would place gun manufacturers’ rights and immunity from liability against the parents of the children killed at Sandy Hook is just unimaginable to me.

Hillary Clinton
April 6, 2016
Clinton Hits Sanders on Gun Control, Sharpens Attacks
[Why not the car manufacturer that the killer drove to the school? Or the clothing manufacturer? And I’m shocked she didn’t mention the ammunition manufacturer.

It’s unimaginable to me how someone could believe that the manufacturer of a product should be liable for its deliberate, criminal, misuse. But then I suspect real issue is that Clinton “thinks” in terms of politics rather than factual or logical terms. She knows that her claim will gain her favor with certain voters and that is all that matters to her.

It’s easy for us to think she is talking crazy talk and has crap for brains. But she is a practiced, deceptive, predator who has lived a lifetime benefiting from saying things that are unsupported by facts or logic. She will continue her path of deception and destruction until she is stopped. I prefer she ends up in shackles before she is nominated but I’ll settle for an defeat at the polls in November.—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
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—Justin Stakes

Gun control is not about saving lives. It never has been and never will be. It is about control, even to the point that it causes innocent persons to lose their lives to violent crime. To the antis such deaths are an acceptable, maybe even a necessary, means to an end.

Justin Stakes
March 9, 2016
Are We Protecting Victims or Are We Playing Gun-Control Games With Their Lives?
[I have nothing to add.—Joe]