Saturday, February 02, 2013

He shoots! He Scores!

White House photo shows Obama skeet shooting | General Headlines | Comcast:

WASHINGTON — Two days before President Barack Obama's first trip outside Washington to promote his gun-control proposals, the White House tried Saturday to settle a brewing mystery by releasing a photo to back his claim to be a skeet shooter. Obama had set inquiring minds spinning when, in an interview with The New Republic magazine, he answered "yes" when asked if he had ever fired a gun. The admission came as a surprise to many. "Yes, in fact, up at Camp David, we do skeet shooting all the time," Obama said in the interview released last weekend, referring to the official presidential retreat in rural Maryland, which he last visited in October while campaigning for re-election. Asked whether the entire family participates, the president said: "Not the girls, but oftentimes guests of mine go up there." Obama never mentioned skeet shooting prior to that interview. The White House photo released Saturday is dated Aug. 4, 2012. The caption says Obama is shooting clay targets on the range at Camp David. Obama is seen holding a gun against his left shoulder, his left index finger on the trigger and smoke coming from the barrel. He is wearing jeans, a dark blue, short-sleeved polo shirt, sunglasses and earmuffs.

 Our President is not only a shooter, but he's looking very dapper.

I don't know about you, but I am very impressed!

This reminds me of a conversation which I had with a Vietnamese boat-person back in the 80's (I was teaching English as a Second Language at the local community college at the time.)
My Vietnamese friend then imparted to me a wisdom which was popular in his country .. before he was forced to flee it:

"Pay no attention to what they say, but look carefully at what they do."

I'm looking very carefully. Are you?

BLOGMEAT: February 02, 2013

BLOGMEAT is my own "special" contribution to the Blogger Community.   Ostensibly, it is an attempt to present a selection of (often unrelated) articles in the general media resources and link them to my own private cultural biases.  BLOGMEAT articles may have no unifying theme other than to provide me with an opportunity to rant.   You may not agree with my interpretation of the issues.

For this issue, all articles are taken from current or issues of the local newspaper, the Gazette-Times.

Letters to the Editor: Furor over assault weapon ban keeps NRA donations rolling in.
Please, can someone tell me why it would be bad to have more stringent laws on gun registration? That is part of being responsible, isn’t it, to be held accountable if something happens?
And why is everyone freaking out about a ban on assault rifles and acting as though “they” are trying to take all your guns away? Who needs an assault rifle or a 30-shot magazine, except to do a lot of harm?
So-called responsible gun owners should have no problem with laws meant to curb illegal guns and mass killings, and all this hue and cry about rights being taken away is ridiculous, overblown and politically motivated. Stir the gun owners into a frenzy of paranoia, and reason goes out the window ... again.
My hand is up, and I'm silently screaming: "Me, Me, Me!  Call on me please, Teacher.  I know the answer to that question."

Thank you.

The answer is: we already have laws against ALL of the things that murderers do, and none of these laws have done a single thing to stop them.  In countries where private ownership of firearms is outlawed, the outlaws still have guns.

But we ... you and I ... would not.

New laws would only prevent honest people from access to the tools of their own defense.   The phrase "laws meant to curb illegal guns and mass killings" is meaningless; we already have those laws.  How are those laws working for us?

"Who needs an assault rifle, or a 30-shot magazine"?

Tell me ... who needs a driver's license?   Why can't you ride a bike or use public transportation?

A driver's license gives you permission to drive.   It can be revoked.
An assault rifle and a 30-shot magazine don't need permission; it's a right embedded in the Constitution.

Who needs a newspaper?  I don't ... I haven't bought a newspaper for years. But the right to publish a newspaper is guaranteed under the Constitution, too.   Just because I don't need it, that doesn't mean I don't support your right publish.

Likewise, the rights to freedom of religion, public assembly ... I haven't been inside a church for years (lots of people have been killed because their religion wasn't popular), but I still support it.  And public assembly?  Do you remember your history?   The Boston Massacre in 1770 led to the American Revolution.  The British Soldiers were successfully defended by John Adams, because they Americans had no right to public assembly.

So .. Why would anyone "need" an assault weapon?   We don't have to show you no stinkin' "need".

Letters to the Editor: Why no demand to enforce laws on illegal immigration, drugs?
With all the hue and cry over a number of sheriffs declining to enforce possible gun control laws, one does wonder where the outrage is over the lack of enforcement of federal immigration laws and drug laws.
After all, you are now proclaiming if it is a law, it must be enforced. Seems to be rather hypocritical.
Okay, you've got me there.  I'm looking at the mission statement website for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.  It it says right here that: ...
The Department of Homeland Security secures the nation's air, land, and sea borders to prevent illegal activity while facilitating lawful travel and trade. The Department's border security and management efforts focus on three interrelated goals:
.... but apparently,  that mandate can be abrogated by the Office of the President of the United States.

It's not in the Constitution, nor in the Declaration of Independence. The Preamble to the Constitution includes:
We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
I see nothing about "... secure our borders ..." there.  I can only assume that this means that the President is not constitutionally required to do so.

Well ... except perhaps Article 4, Section 4 of the Constitution, which states:
The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government, and shall protect each of them against Invasion; and on Application of the Legislature, or of the Executive (when the Legislature cannot be convened) against domestic Violence.
I guess it depends on what your definition of "Invasion" is.  Bill Clinton liked this kind free-style interpretation of legal points.

It's not as if the Federal Government isn't talking about the issue: It's just that it has been so severely  "Politicized" that our fearless legislators are more focused on elections than they are on the issues:

The immigration debate is threatening to split the Republican Party, pitting those who focus mainly on presidential elections against those who care mostly about congressional races.
Strategists say that if Republicans are to win presidential elections, which they've been losing lately, partly because of dismal support from Hispanic voters, they must soften their rhetoric about illegal immigrants and embrace some version of "immigration reform."
But granting illegal residents a path to citizenship, which critics call "amnesty," is deeply unpopular in many House Republicans' districts.
President Barack Obama wants such a pathway. So do some prominent GOP lawmakers who are seeking a way out of their party's jam.
The plans differ on when and how citizenship might occur, with border security a central issue. Resolving these differences may determine whether a major law is enacted in the coming months.
Some GOP strategists fear they will lose either way.
 [emphasis added]

As usual, it's all about the Republican Party. 

Mayor's group sponsors gun control Super Bowl ad:
A gun control group founded by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is airing an advertisement during the Super Bowl calling for background checks.
The 30-second spot by Mayors Against Illegal Guns will air in the Washington area during the third quarter of the game between the Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49ers.
The ad calls on lawmakers to pass rules requiring background checks on guns. It is narrated by children, with "America the Beautiful" playing in the background
This item intrigues me. 

Federal law already mandates background checks on potential firearms purchases through a dealer, so that can't possible be the issue ... can it?  Even Bloomberg wouldn't make a major fuss about an issue which has already been settled.   Would he?
Well, okay, the man's a nutcase on this issue, so perhaps he can.

My guess, though, is that he is talking about private sales of personally owned firearms by non-dealers.

If so, this may be a serious problem.

In order to be completely effective, the law would restrict ALL firearms transfers between private individuals.  That means, it would prohibit a man from giving his family .30-30 Winchester deer rifle to his grandson, for example.  In other words, it would intrude upon all forms of goods transfer regardless of the context.

No other form of "transfer of goods" is currently as highly regulated as firearms.  This measure would trample on familial traditions,  and bring us one giant step closer to a "Big Brother" state.

As demonstrated in earlier comments here, the right to privacy is one of those issues which often tempt people to ask: "Well, if you have nothing to hide, why do object to 'full disclosure'?"  Speaking only for myself, I don't want a CCTV camera in my bathroom.   Perhaps your own valuation of privacy is less extreme than mine.

".... Bag Policy Still Drawing Fire, Interest"

Corvallis’ bag policy has been in effect for a month, but controversy over the issue still is simmering.
It still has opponents in town (a group is gathering signatures to put the matter on the ballot) and the Gazette-Times continues to receive letters and reader comments.
And as smaller retailers get ready to conform to the ordinance, one local business owner says the policy, which bans single-use plastic bags and mandates that merchants charge 5 cents for each paper bag given to customers at checkout, already has cost her about $5,000.
Yes, the tiny little community (in the person of our city commissioners, I guess) has decided that it is "Politically Incorrect" for merchants to give away free 1-mil bags to contain our shopping purchases.  As a consequence, we either have to bring our own bags, pay five cents for each PAPER bag, or take our purchases home in individual bite-size handfuls.

The bags which are available for purchase are "multi-use", and cost eighty-nine cents each.  And if we forget to bring them to the store, we have to buy more.

Personally, I liked the little thin plastic bags my store use to provide me for free.  I used them to line my waste-basket, and to wrap smelly items (such as smoked salmon containers ... made of MUCH heavier plastic)

If I had more bags than I could use?  No problem; the store provided a receptical at each entrance where excess bags could be deposited for recycling.  . I didn't often use it; I found a use for every bag, eventually.
Now, I buy much thicker (bulkier) plastic bags at a higher cost to line my waste-baskets.  I empty them as frequently, and truthfully I make no more effort to 'recycle' these expensive bags than I did the free bags I previously employed.

It's a petty issue, and I'm dealing with it.  I am not, I admit, dealing with it with a fair amount of grace.  The first time I went to the store and grumbled to the clerk "... this new bag law is causing all of us a lot more trouble than it's worth!", the clerk replied:

"Tell me about it!"

I swore to myself when I began this article "I am NOT going to use the term 'Nanny-Statism' tonight!"

But I couldn't resist.

There's  just one more reason why this is a solution to a problem which doesn't exist. Our Leaders have just turned a system which worked smoothly with a minimum of ecological impact into a major problem.

Ah.  That's all the blogmeat for today.  You may have found all of this unimaginally boring, but I feel MUCH better now.  Sometimes, all that is needed to turn a stressful day into a mellow moment in my life is the option to rant until I get it all out.

If you've read this far, perhaps you may be a Redneck. 

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Chicago Drive-by

Teen performer at inaugural events fatally shot | US National Headlines | Comcast:
CHICAGO — A 15-year-old girl who had performed in President Barack Obama's inauguration festivities is the latest face on the ever-increasing homicide toll in the president's hometown, killed in a Chicago park as she talked with friends by a gunman who apparently was not even aiming at her. Chicago police said Hadiya Pendleton was in a park about a mile from Obama's home in a South Side neighborhood Tuesday afternoon when a man opened fire on the group. Hadiya was shot in the back as she tried to escape. The city's 42nd slaying is part of Chicago's bloodiest January in more than a decade, following on the heels of 2012, which ended with more than 500 homicides for the first time since 2008. It also comes at a time when Obama, spurred by the Connecticut elementary school massacre in December, is actively pushing for tougher gun laws.
[Emphasis Added]

When I took journalism classes in college, I learned that the usual questions are who, what, where, when, why and how.  These six facts should be answered in the first paragraph of an article.

Answers here are; Innocent, Killed, In Chicago (near Obama's residence), Tuesday, For No Good Reason, and "Because Gun Laws Are Not Tough Enough".
White House press secretary Jay Carney said Wednesday that the president and the first lady's "thoughts and prayers are with" the teen's family, adding: "And as the president has said, we will never be able to eradicate every act of evil in this country, but if we can save any one child's life, we have an obligation to try when it comes to the scourge of gun violence."
[Emphasis Added]

Thank you Jay Carney for turning a tragedy into a political talking point.   Had you not said that, we would not have been smart enough to realize that Liberals will do anything, say anything, to advance their agenda of undermining our constitution.

Here are a few more talking points which haven't been addressed
  • Chicago laws already make it illegal to own a firearm.  .
  • Making it more illegal (if that's even possible) to own a firearm in Chicago won't change a damn thing to effect "the scourge of gun violence".
  • I personally own more firearms than I can enumerate without thinking about it for a while, and for the 30th consecutive day this month I have not shot anybody.
 To illustrate the proliferation of guns in Chicago, check out this map:
What you are looking at is a map of all the gun stores in Chicago.  All three of them ... only one of which is actually located IN Chicago.

Where I live, there were three gun stores, but two of them went out of business and the third is actually located in a nearby "bedroom community".  Nobody shot anybody here this year.   One might say that my small town is 42 times safer than Chicago ... but that would be true if there were at least one shooting.  Actually, my small town is infinitely safer than Chicago.

Why should this be?  Could it be because we don't have street gangs here?  Because the police are more efficient?  Certainly it isn't because our gun laws aren't "tough enough" ... hell, we're downright [spit] "Liberal" about firearms ownership here.

Could it be that we don't have a lot of wild and crazy young people here?   Probably not ... our town population is reduced by 30,000 every summer when most of the college kids go home at the end of the school year.  And we have not one, but two high schools.  Trust me, judging by the loud music and drunken parties every week in my neighborhood alone,  many of the young people are certifiably "wild and crazy".

I don't think that the "scourge of gun violence" is caused by lenient gun laws.  In fact, I don't think the problem of "gun violence" has as much to do with guns as it has to do with violence.

(In the same way, the issue of "gun control" has less to do with guns than it has to do with control.)

A July 15, 2012 article in "24/7 Wall Street" (international investor analysis) titled "The Most (and Least) Peaceful Countries in the World"  reports that "The Institute for Economics and Peace released the sixth edition of their annual Global Peace Index".   Here are a few things that report has to say about the root causes for violence ... or lack of violence:

The IEP also considers several socioeconomic factors that are not themselves part of the rank, but that they measured as possible drivers of violence and peace. The data suggests that while a country’s GDP, adult literacy and unemployment do not appear to have a strong impact on peace, others appear to be directly related. The presence of civil liberties and freedom of the press have much closer relationships to peace, according to the report.
The clearest among these are political factors such as corruption. According Killelae, the relationship between corruption and the lack of peace is profound: Slight increases in corruption do not appear to affect slight increases in peace, but he says that once a tipping point is reached peace “just disappears.” While the IEP is not exactly sure why corruption is such a powerful indicator, Killelae suggests that it is near perfect measure of “just how well functioning the level of government is.”
Let me see: civil liberties, freedoms, corruption.   What communities in the United States come immediately to mind here?   How about Detroit, Chicago, and Washington DC?

Lots of violence in those towns.   Really hard for an honest citizen to own a legal firearm, in exactly those places where it's most needed.   Heller was a good start, but what communities are dragging their feet on compliance?  See above.

It is a tragedy that an innocent child was murdered in an act of senseless violence.  

It's also a national shame that the leaders of the most free nation in the world can think of no better way to curb violence than to reduce our freedoms, and limit out ability as free citizens to defend ourselves against attack.

If we let them do this to us, we will no longer be free citizens.   We'll just be "subjects".   I don't want my government to turn me into a subject ... or a felon.

And that is MY political agenda.

"Stick shift? WTF?

Florida thieves forced to shift gears during Corvette carjacking | Fox News:
A Florida Corvette owner said he was almost carjacked at gunpoint, but the would-be thieves ran away because they couldn't figure out how to drive his car.
Randolph Bean was sitting in his bright yellow Corvette when two men took him by surprise, ..... Bean said the two came from behind, and he "barely caught them in the mirror."
According to the police report, one of the men had a gun. "He started yanking on the door and made me open the door. He kind of flung it open and dragged me out and demanded that I get on the ground... face down, so I couldn't look at him, of course," Bean told
Bean, 51, said one of the thieves pointed a gun at him while asking how to use the car. "They apparently couldn't start it," Bean said. "I had to tell him four different times to push in the clutch, because it's a standard transmission." The suspects reportedly gave up and ran away, leaving Bean on the ground. Police tried searching for the suspects, but they took off.
I have to laugh.

About a decade ago, my son came to visit me (he was in his late teens) and we decided to go shopping for .. something which was important to my son.  I dis-remember.  Not important, except that he really wanted to go there and do that.

So I made him drive my car .. a Mazda 686, at the time.  Cute little car, crappy seat-belt system, and a four-speed stick shift.

Poor little Mazda never got so badly beat up.  Ben didn't miss a gear; he ground every damn one of them.  I swear, if I hadn't told him where each gearshift position was, he would never have got out of first gear ... after he finally found it (we're talking ten minutes or so, I kid you not.)

Ben  had never driven a stick shift, and he refused to drive it back home. Or ever again.  He has since gone into the Nave and I have no idea whether he has been taught how to drive a stick there, even though he is now a Petty Officer and a Master-At-Arms. (Doesn't the Navy teach cops how to cope?)

It's probably rude of me to make fun of my own much-beloved son, but .. really?

My thought is that it's probably a really good thing that my son is determined to make a career in Law Enforcement.

He'd never make it as a car-jacker.

PS:  No, he's never been near Florida.

NOTE TO PARENTS:  If you feel you absolutely HAVE to laugh at your kid, do it before he completes his training as a Navy Master-at-Arms.  Even if you don't think that's in his future ... you never know.  The kid will definitely kick your ass, one of these days ....
... just saying.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Obama entirely clueless about 2nd Amendment: Nobody Surprised

Obama: Gun-control advocates have to listen more | General Headlines | Comcast:

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama says gun-control advocates have to do a little more listening than they do sometimes in the debate over firearms in America.
In an interview with The New Republic, Obama says he has "a profound respect" for the tradition of hunting that dates back for generations. "And I think those who dismiss that out of hand make a big mistake. Part of being able to move this forward is understanding the reality of guns in urban areas are very different from the realities of guns in rural areas," he says.
Obama has called for a ban on military-style assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines and is pushing other policies following the mass shooting last month at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn. In response, gun-rights advocates have accused Obama and others of ignoring the Second Amendment rights of Americans.
The president says it's understandable that people are protective of their family traditions when it comes to hunting. "So it's trying to bridge those gaps that I think is going to be part of the biggest task over the next several months. And that means that advocates of gun control have to do a little more listening than they do sometimes," he says.
 Just who is it, not listening?

My goodness!  Is it possible that he has not been made aware by his Gun Czar that almost every state in the Union is a "Shall Issue" state?  And that this is a CONTINUING process?

Has it not even occurred to him to ask WHY states (and individual citizens .. of whom he is the presumptive leader) are so strongly coming out in support of the right to carry a concealed weapon?  Doesn't he recognize that this is entirely caused by the common citizenry who have not only lobbied for, but DEMANDED to defend themselves against predators?

(And, of course, a government running wild.  We're not there, and I hope we never find ourselves 'there'; but that IS the reason for the Second Amendment!)

Obama is not stupid.  Inept .. well .... I'll give you that one. Maybe.  Inexperienced, ill-advised, and a lot of other "I-words" which I will not suggest here because they may be interpreted as being Insulting to the office of the President of the United States of America.

Disingenuous?  Absolutely!

Obama is not unaware of the unrest in Red-State America. He knows that there is a strong drive for autonomy in the states, and a similarly powerful outrage in defense of our Constitutional freedoms.

He has taken this opportunity, and this tactic, to distance himself from the RKBA issues by blandly 'supporting' the rights of "his" citizens to continue their traditional "hunting rights".

By doing so, he has obviated the concept that the Second Amendment protects military arms ... firearms which may be used for non-hunting purposes.

(As often as I disparage Wikipedia, they have a very nice summary of 2nd Amendment history. I recommend it as a starting point for your own research.)

In US v Miller, the court essentially disallowed the possession of a 'sawed-off shotgun' because it could not be proven (no defense was offered!) that a similar weapon was a "military arm".  Had Miller offered a defense, he could have shown that "trench guns" were a common personal arm during WWI in the trenches; sawed-off shotguns were, and are, a military weapon.  But because of the lack of a defense, and the testimony to that effect was not offered by the (absent) defendant, the court had no alternative but to find for the State.

In a unanimous opinion authored by Justice McReynolds, the Supreme Court stated "the objection that the Act usurps police power reserved to the States is plainly untenable."[140] As the Court explained:
In the absence of any evidence tending to show that possession or use of a 'shotgun having a barrel of less than eighteen inches in length' at this time has some reasonable relationship to any preservation or efficiency of a well regulated militia, we cannot say that the Second Amendment guarantees the right to keep and bear such an instrument. Certainly it is not within judicial notice that this weapon is any part of the ordinary military equipment or that its use could contribute to the common defense
 (Emphasis added)

Essentially, the court ruled that military arms .. or firearms which were similar to military arms ... were defended by the Second Amendment.  No other arms --- certainly no 'civilian' arms ... were defended.  Why were the terms ". in the absence of any evidence.." and ".. cannot say ..." included?  That is because the judge recognized, and lamented the lack of defense, because Miller skipped the state before the trial.  Thus, he failed to offer a defense .. which would have been accepted by the judge, and would have formed an entirely different precedence in American Canon Law.  Bummer!

Thus, your Remington .270 may not be defended by the 2nd Amendment.  However, your Remington  .30-06 MAY be defended, because both the Garand and its predecessor the 1903 Springfield used that caliber.  The Garand may not be applicable to your Remington; but the 1903-A3 is a shoulder-fired bolt-action rifle in that same .30-06 caliber, so it is conceivably justifiable as a military arm.

Your Remington Model 1100 in 12 guage is iffy .. but if you cut off it's barrel to match the WWI Trench gun .. hey!  It's a Military weapon .. a Trench Gun!

Get the picture?

Obama .. does not.
In fact, he is ignoring the entire concept of the Second Amendment.  Deliberately.

Personally, I have no problem with a President lying to me.  Reagan did it all the time.  I lost respect for him, but I 'understood' the whole "Iran/Contra" thing. 

[I say this with tongue in cheek; nobody REALLY understood the twisted legal tactics employed by both sides in the extended affair.  Interpret my semi-facetious assertion to mean that I recognized the Reagan administration's intent to accomplish a "private goal" to undermine communist aggression in South America to be merely a logical extension of the Madison Doctrine, which  "... stated that further efforts by European nations to colonize land or interfere with states in North or South America would be viewed as acts of aggression, requiring U.S. intervention."]

Obama's game plan has nothing to do with the elements of Reagan's "I Miss-spoke" Iran/Contra hearings.  Obama is just acting dumb so he can ignore the essential elements of the Second Amendment.

It's rude, it's insulting to intelligent Americans, and that insult is compounded by the obvious implication that either (a) we are so stupid that we won't notice what he is doing, or (b) we are so insignificant that our opinion  doesn't matter.

I never much liked Barack Obama, either as a President or as a man.  But I have never been so personally insulted as I am now by his regal suggestion that the Second Amendment has been included into the Constitution of the United States of America so we could go kill a dear for dinner.

What does he think he is?  Is he a King ruling over a bunch of Nimrods, or Dimwads?

I do fear for the future of this country, when an elected President can so thinly conceal his calumny under the guise of ignorance .... and enough of our citizens care so little for the constitution that they seem to accept his facade of ignorance without comment.