Miscellaneous

Who Creates the Jobs?

Posted on May 5, 2014. Filed under: Miscellaneous, Society | Tags: , |

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I saw this cartoon over the weekend, and it cracks me up how the left sees job creation. According to this, it is the workers who create jobs. The left panel depicts CEOs of large corporations as job destroyers, while the middle panel depicts smaller business owners as people who create jobs only when the middle class, the workers, have enough money to create demand.

It’s true that many large corporations have moved the bulk of their operations overseas. Labor costs are always a concern for any company, as are taxes. The left likes to rage about how these evil corporations are keeping income overseas so they don’t have to pay taxes on it. Is that a failure of the corporations, or of government policy and law? The fact is, government policy has been encouraging corporations to move out of this country. Mexico and Canada have benefited far more than America has from NAFTA.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m sure businesses lobbied for all of this, after all, the job of a CEO is to look after the best interests of the business, to do what is best for business. If labor costs and taxes are cheaper overseas, then it should not surprise anyone when business looks overseas to solve its problems.

Let’s focus on the third panel. Business owners hire workers when “middle class consumers have enough money to spend which creates demand”. While true to a degree, it is also misleading. Where, exactly, does the middle class consumer get enough money? They have to have a job (most of us anyway) that pays them enough to be able to have enough money to create “demand”. In other words, someone had to create a job for this middle class wage earner to have in order to have enough money to spend on their demand.

If the product is really good, it will create demand for it, like the iPhone for instance. As demand goes up, more jobs will be created. Even by the evil corporations.

To suggest that the middle class consumer is the only source of demand is disingenuous. Companies demand products from other companies.

For example, my wife and I have what I call a micro business. We create a product that we sell at the local farmers markets. We were discovered by another company, and we now supply them with our product, which they in turn use on their product, and sell it to other businesses for them to sell in turn. The ingredients that we use we get from yet another company.We create demand, albeit small, from Company A, and in turn, we take what we created and sell to Company B, as well as our customers at the markets.

We have no employees, other than ourselves.

Which is the other misconception that the above cartoon shows.

People do not start businesses with the intention of creating new jobs. That’s a side effect of having a great product to sell.

That’s what creates the demand. Great products. Those companies that do not create great products don’t survive for long. Those companies that do create great products grow, and eventually they turn into corporations. *shudder*. As they grow, they hire people to work for them to produce this product. Every major corporation out there started as a small business at some point. Every business has a cycle, and sometimes they go through growth spurts where they hire lots of people, and sometimes they go through a period of time where business contracts, and they let people go.

There is nothing evil about it. Companies are formed because of someone’s desire to make more money. Corporations have shareholders who put money into buying shares of the company in order to make more money, be it from dividends, or the value of their shares increasing. It’s all about the desire to make more money, the desire to maybe get rich, if their product is good enough. It’s about the desire to retire young and be able to spend their time in a more leisurely way.

One final note.

Far be it for me to use my blog to shamelessly promote my business. For those who are interested or curious as to what my wife and i do on the side, visit www.twoshakesandashimmy.com

 

It’s not a chicken and egg thing.

 

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HGTV: The American Flag Makes a Great Tablecloth!

Posted on June 13, 2013. Filed under: Miscellaneous | Tags: |

Some idiot thought this was a good idea

Some idiot thought this was a good idea

I get to work this morning all pissed off and riled up. I had heard on the radio on my drive in that HGTV, the “Home & Garden Decoration” website had an article on Fourth of July decoration.

Some numbskull thought it would be a good idea to suggest that you use an American flag as a decorative tablecloth. They even went as far as suggesting you use nylon to clean spills up more easily.

I’m sure the articles author thought this was harmless enough, and obviously the editors did as well. (The article has since been pulled and an apology issued)

This is not the only example of disrespect that we show this nation’s flag.

Clothing manufacturers have discovered it as a source of revenue.

The flag that people have sacrificed life and limb for, that people have have bled for to bring freedom to us and others.

The American flag is not a do-rag for your greasy head. It is not a pair of pants or shorts to be warn near your junk.

It is not a shirt, nor a jacket.

I’m sure that people are not intending to be disrespectful of the flag, but there are certain things you do not do with it.

You do not wear it. If you want to wear an American flag patch, that’s fine. That’s completely different. It isn’t the shirt/jacket/shorts that is constant contact with your skin.

You do not let it lay or drag on the ground. If it touches the ground (or if it needs to be retired), you burn it. That’s what I was taught.

You fold it in a triangle for storage.

I saw a funeral home near where I live display on their readerboard that if you need to retire your flag, you could just drop it off with them. They collect a lot of things like coats and clothes and recycle them.

Flags are not to be recycled. They are to be burned when they need to be retired.

I also saw workers for the City of Tigard collecting the flags they had put up for Memorial Day weekend. The workers were rolling the flags around their poles, which is okay, but then they were just throing them in the back of an old pickup truck, with the flags themselves laying on the floor of the bed. No protective tarps, nothing. Just the old rusted bed.

No one respects anything anymore, and we don’t teach our children that there are certain ways we treat the flag. We need to get back to that. It is important that our children know and understand that the flag represents our nation. It does not represent our government, it represents us. If we can’t treat it with the respect it deserves, then we can’t treat each other with the respect we deserve.

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Newtown: Glee Episode Too Soon; We Were Warned, But Not Warned

Posted on April 12, 2013. Filed under: Miscellaneous | Tags: , , |

Official seal of Newtown, Connecticut

Official seal of Newtown, Connecticut (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I want to start off by saying that I sympathize with the folks of Newtown, Connecticut for their loss. No parent should have to endure what they have had to endure.

That said, I am getting tired of seeing them on my television or computer screen constantly. It’s bad enough that the Democrats are using them as their poster children to push their gun control agenda, jet setting them around the country to gin up support for violating everyone else’s rights.

I found this yesterday, but never found the opportunity to use it. James Madison, after the ratification of the Constitution in 1788, wrote a letter to Thomas Jefferson. In this letter, he is debating whether there should be a Bill of Rights or not:

Repeated violations of these parchment barriers have been committed by overbearing majorities in every State. In Virginia I have seen the bill of rights violated in every instance where it has been opposed to a popular current. … Wherever the real power in a government lies, there is the danger of oppression. In our Governments the real power lies in the majority of the Community, and the invasion of private rights is chiefly to be apprehended, not from acts of Government contrary to the sense of its constituents, but from acts in which the Government is the mere instrument of the major number of the Constituents. This is a truth of great importance, but not yet sufficiently attended to. … Wherever there is an interest and power to do wrong, wrong will generally be done, and not less readily by a powerful & interested party than by a powerful and interested prince

The government is less inclined to violate a person’s rights, unless there is popular support to violate those rights. The danger is not the government, but the majority who think they are doing right, but are doing wrong instead. Good intentions pave the way to Hell.

Now things are getting to the point of the absurd.

Glee is not a show that I watch. It doesn’t interest me, but last night, I guess that Fox aired an episode about a school shooting.

This left parents in Newtown outraged, saying that it’s too soon.

Excuse me, but since when did Newtown suddenly run this country? Since when do they get to determine what’s too soon and what isn’t for the country. It may be too soon for you, so don’t watch it.

I heard one parent say this morning on the news that the producers didn’t call them and warn them. Since when does anyone have to call and run plans past them? In fact, the school superintendent sent emails to the parents warning them that the episode could be disturbing, so there was, in fact, warning sent out.

It was so realistic that I couldn’t believe it,” [Tricia] Muzzio [who received [Superintendent Janet] Robinson’s letter, yet still watched the episode of “Glee” with her two daughters, who both went to Sandy Hook Elementary School] said. “This close to the tragedy without any warning, I believe was inconsiderate.”

You were warned, but you still chose to watch it!

Maybe I’m just being an asshole, but I am sick and tired of these people telling us how the rest of us should feel.

Drama often reflects real life issues. I understand that the parents of the slain don’t want to see a television show that depicts their tragedy.

But don’t pretend there was no warning about the episode.

There was.

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Is it Ever Okay for the Government to Kill American Citizens?

Posted on March 6, 2013. Filed under: Miscellaneous, Politics | Tags: |

Almost a month ago, I posted about Obama’s drone strike strategy and the lack of due process given to American citizens overseas. the fact that erstwhile press secretary Robert Gibbs admitted that he was not to acknowledge such a program existed should be proof enough that it was shady to begin with. If you have to hide behind a wall of secrecy, then you probably aren’t doing the right thing.

George W. Bush allegedly authorized a drone strike on a known terrorist that killed an American who was known to be with him. The Bush Administration referred to him as collateral damage, since he was not the target of the strike. For the record, I have not been able to dig up any information on this allegation. It is known, however, that many innocents were killed under Bush’s watch, and many more under Obama.

We have become outraged over the thought of our own government targeting and killing Americans overseas without due process. We have forgotten about the innocents that our government has killed during the “war on terrorism”.

Our attention has turned to the possibility that our government could decide to turn loose the military, or use drone strikes on citizens in our own country. Eric Holder sent a letter to Rand Paul stating that the use of military force on American soil would be justified.

Obviously, I don’t agree that using drones to kill anyone in this country is justified, no matter what.

It got me to thinking, however. Is there ever a situation that killing an American citizen, on US soil would be justified? I’m not talking about killing those people who get into a shootout with police.

Consider this. Hijackers take control of an airliner, like they did in 2001. Their intentions are not clear. Are they going to fly it into a building, killing thousands?

Is it justifiable to down the airliner, killing hundreds of innocent American citizens (and probably some non-citizens and tourists as well) to potentially save thousands of lives? If you do nothing, then not only do people in the building die, but so do the people on the airplane. By downing the airplane, only the passengers die.

I’m not suggesting that it would be an easy decision, nor that there wouldn’t be some fallout over doing it.

It’s an incredible juxtaposition, the argument about not killing American citizens who may be guilty of committing a crime versus killing innocent people whose only crime was booking the wrong flight.

It may seem like a no-brainer to some, but for me it is incredibly gut wrenching, and fortunately, that decision isn’t up to me.

Of course you down the airliner, keep the number of innocent deaths to a minimum, but that doesn’t make it an easy decision. Of course, there is always the possibility that the hijackers were going to land at some airport and demand some sort of ransom, but we don’t know what their intentions are.

Unfortunately, nothing is ever black and white. Sometimes we have to make some unpleasant decisions.

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Are Humans Devolving into Dummies?

Posted on March 1, 2013. Filed under: Miscellaneous | Tags: , , , , , , , |

A stitched panorama of downtown Portland, OR a...

Portland, OR at night (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Why do we seem to be experiencing an increase in mass shootings over the past couple of years?

According to researchers at Stanford and Harvard, the answer could be because that, evolutionarily speaking, we are becoming dumber and more emotionally unstable.

If you need proof that we are getting dumber, just look at the clowns we send to Washington.

According to researchers at Harvard, what we ingest is lowering our intelligence.

Portland, Oregon is intent on putting fluoride into the water supply in order to assist children to have better, stronger teeth. There is a group that is against this plan, and they are wanting to bring it up to a vote.

According to Harvard research, fluoride in the water supply is causing a decline in human intelligence, so they may be on to something. In fact, fluoride in large doses is toxic, and at lower dosages can cause gastrointestinal discomfort. Chronic exposure to fluoride can also interfere with bone formation. It sounds like a trade off that really isn’t worth it.

Personally, I didn’t care whether the water was fluoridated or not, but as I’ve been researching it, I am now completely against it.

According to other studies, pesticides, high fructose corn syrup and processed foods also contribute to our dumbing down.

There have been questions about aspartame.

However, there are several things that these studies either never ask, or never mention.

We have grown into a culture of better living through chemistry. What effect are pharmaceuticals such as Zoloft, Prilosec, Viagra, Ciallis, and Amberen having on our body chemistry?

I just love their commercials.

Taking this pill will cure your heartburn, but you may experience explosive flatulence, sudden gambling addictions, the urge to walk down the freeway in the middle of the night for no apparent reason, thoughts of suicide or harming others. You may feel depressed while taking this pill or after you stop taking this pill. 

Why on earth does the Food and Drug Administration approve these things? The cynical side of me says that they do it based on how much money they have contributed to various campaigns (see the aspartame article).

We have no idea what the long term effects of these drugs and chemicals are, and how they will impact the generations that follow us, long after we are dust on this earth. We have no idea what the long term effects of soap, oil, gas, household cleaners, makeup, makeup remover, nail polish, nail polish removal, shampoo, deodorant or hairspray has on us or changing the chemistry and DNA that we pass on to our children.

I’m not trying to be alarmist here. It’s just something I think about from time to time. If we splash a chemical on our skin, we wash it off, but a small amount is still absorbed through the skin. The odors of air freshener and kitchen cleaner gets absorbed into our lungs, even if we don’t get any on our skin.

Truth be told, I am less concerned about household cleaner and hygiene products than I am about the drugs. I am more concerned that the FDA can be subjected to financial and political pressures to approve something questionable. Now you know how some of these things are getting approved.

Our safety is for sale in Washington.

It’s just food for thought. Maybe I’m wrong and there aren’t any changes going on. I’m not a doctor or a chemist after all. I just sit and wonder about these things. And worry.

 

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What I Learned This President’s Day Weekend

Posted on February 19, 2013. Filed under: Gun Control, Miscellaneous, Police State, Politics | Tags: , , , , , , , , |

The long weekend is over, but I never really take a rest from politics, even if I don’t write anything. I often participate in debates, sometimes heated, and sometimes I learn a thing or two.

The main thing I learned from a friend this weekend is that if someone is talking about gun control, they’re not talking about the Second Amendment.

How can you have a discussion on gun control without a discussion of the Second Amendment?

A friend of mine on Facebook started asking if we were fooling ourselves about the gun control debate, to which I responded “There is no debate. Shall not be infringed. End of discussion”.

Of course, he didn’t like that answer, so he started pulling out stats. Homicides dropped 50% per capita in Illinois (not Chicago, but the entire state) and they tightened gun restrictions. Texas, on the other hand, loosened theirs and homicides dropped by a third. So his conclusion was that whether gun laws work or not depends on the area.

People never look at the obvious stat to me: Incarceration. Maybe homicides are falling because people who commit these crimes are being locked up in huge numbers. Chicago is an area where firearm homicides are too common. This will continue, because the victims and the people of the community live with the fear that if they talk to the police, they are next, so the perpetrators have no fear of being caught. Until the people of Chicago take their neighborhoods back and start helping the police, this will only get worse. It saddens me that anyone has to live with that level of fear.

I also learned that if you believe the government is trying to take your rights away, you are crazy, and if you say so, you are ranting. I guess I rant a lot, because I believe the government is trying to take our rights away. Not all at once and not in a rush, but slowly, over time so we won’t notice.

The police everywhere are working hard to subvert the Second Amendment as well as the Fourth.

The Chicago Police Superintendent, Garry McCarthy said that lobbying groups backed by legal guns owners (the NRA, et. al.) are corrupt:

“If there was special interests affecting police work, I believe that would be called corruption. So, if it has do with donating money versus a popular vote, I think we have a bigger problem in this country and somebody’s gotta wake up to that,” said McCarthy.

He also went on to say that he believes the Second Amendment is a threat to public safety.

Here’s the real gem: McCarthy went on to express his belief that judges and legislators should rely on public opinion polls when interpreting our Constitution. 

Because the Constitution is all about opinion polls.

Mr. McCarthy, you really need to read your Constitution. The First Amendment specifically protects the right of the people to petition the government to address grievances. The NRA gives money to candidates who they believe will further their interests. Nothing wrong with that. No one says the candidate has to take it.

Notice that it is the people who are corrupt in his eyes, not the government or the candidates who take the money.

How do these idiots get into these positions?

Actually, I think he’s less idiot and more “I would rather see guns in the hands of the police than in the hands of citizens” type person. Most people like to complain that gun control laws only target law abiding citizens, not criminals. It’s not just that, but disarming the population makes it easier for a police state to rise.

I also learned that if you are required by law to let the sheriff into your home for a “look-see”, that’s not a violation of the Fourth Amendment.

I always thought the Fourth prevented such drop in inspections.

I’m not banging on all of our police officers. There are many who are very nice, conscientious people who take their jobs seriously. They put their lives on the line daily, and I am sure the job is very stressful, not just on them, but their families. However, there are some cops who get on power trips and abuse their suspects, thinking they are above the law.

Look at the Chris Dorner situation this last week. LAPD shot up two cars and injured 3 innocent people in their hunt for Dorner. I’m not condoning what Dorner did, but the LAPD did not make themselves look good. Then there was the whole cabin fire thing. The Sheriff’s Department denies burning it down intentionally, but the audio suggests differently.

Then there are the drones that will be taking to the skies in large numbers. Some states and cities are banning them, but not all. Law enforcement is lobbying hard for them, just as they are lobbying for warrantless wiretaps and the ability to snoop on you on the internet. The Department of Homeland Security is interested in smaller drones, you know, the ones we can’t see while they are in flight.

I have no problem in calling them out in a search, like they had wanted to in the Dorner hunt, but I do take issue with them wanting to fly them all day, every day, just because.

Then we have the president, who has decided that he is judge jury and executioner of American citizens if he, or some other “well informed, high level” government official decides they are an “imminent” threat. That these people were overseas is of little consequence. How long before another President decides that if the government could do it over there, they can do it here?

It’s been a busy weekend. We’ve learned even more about the governments attempts to subvert our rights:

  • The First Amendment right to petition the government to redress our grievances: Threat to public safety/corruption
  • The Second Amendment: Threat to public safety; attempted confiscation by Missouri and Minnesota of all firearms.
  • Third Amendment: Right to privacy subverted by spy drones.
  • The Fourth Amendment: Washington’s attempt to get police into homes without probable cause/warrants, government spying on internet activity, spy drones
  • The Fifth Amendment: Executive branch’s judge/jury executioner drone program, attempted confiscation of legal firearms by State governments.
  • The Sixth Amendment: National Defense Authorization Act of 2012; see section 1021 and 1022. Allows the government to detain anyone for indefinite amount of time without Due Process, speedy trial, facing ones accusers, or going before a judge.
  • The Eighth Amendment: Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishment. Does anyone seriously think that bails and fines are not excessive these days?

I told my friend that just because the government may have acted like this in the past is not a valid excuse for them to continue, that it is not a valid reason for us to sit back and take it. There comes a time when we must say “Enough!” and stand up to the government and tell them that good government does not come from an opinion poll, nor does it come from oppressing the rights of the people. It does not come from government borrowing money hand over fist to pay for everything. The government is not a friend, and definitely not a sugar daddy.

If speaking out in defense of one’s rights makes me crazy, then I guess I’m crazy.

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The Culture of Violence and Mass Murder(ers)

Posted on January 31, 2013. Filed under: Miscellaneous | Tags: , |

In the aftermath of the Newtown school shooting, there are two sides blaming two different things as the cause of the massacre. The left points to guns as the problem, while the right is focusing on the “culture of violence” in America.

Plenty has been said about how guns don’t kill people to those on the left, but they still want to ban guns anyway. I’ve said plenty on the subject and am not going to say more here.

The right is blaming the entertainment industry for the rise in mass shootings. Let’s examine this claim a little closer.

  1. Movies are rated to give parents a good idea of the content of a movie.
  2. Television shows are now rated for violence, language, sexual content, and if it is there, nudity/brief nudity.
  3. Music is rated with “explicit lyrics” stickers so parents are aware of what is on a given CD.
  4. Video games are rated for content (E for Everyone, T for Teen, and M for mature audiences)
  5. Television boxes now come with parental control codes to block access of channels to children.

In all of these cases, the entertainment industry is full of ratings to allow parents to know what they may not want their children to see. If children are being exposed to this much violence, is it the fault of the entertainment industry, or the the parents?

Why are mass murderers predominantly white males? Since 1982, there have been 62 mass shootings, according to Mother Jones. In only 1 case, was the mass murderer a woman. In 44 of the others, the shooter was a white male.

Why is that? Is it because females somehow are not exposed to the same types of entertainment that males are? I’m pretty sure that’s not the case.

My wife loves to watch Sons of Anarchy and Justified, both pretty violent shows. We watch Dexter, a show about a serial killer who only kills those who escape justice. We don’t live in the times of the Brady Bunch anymore.

But these are adult shows, with adult language and themes. Don’t want your kids exposed to them, don’t let them watch. Don’t allow them access to channels that show them. Don’t let them watch anything that Quentin Tarantino makes. It’s not difficult.

My wife and I are not about to go out and murder a bunch of people.

So why are most mass murderers male?

Could it be the unthinkable, the thing we are told repeatedly that does not make a difference?

Could it be the absence of positive male role models in the lives of boys as they make the transition from teenagers to men? We are told repeatedly that families raised by single mothers are perfectly okay. However, mothers do not understand the psyche of male teenagers, and can’t fulfill some of the needs that males need. I know, I was raised by a single mother, but I had some very strong male figures in my life, most notably my grandfather. My father was nowhere to be seen.

I’m not suggesting that every male who is raised by a single mom is going to end up a mass murder, but I think it increases the odds. Women don’t know what it is, or what it is like to be a man, just like men don’t know what it’s like to be a woman.

I think this is just one link in the chain, and I certainly don’t think it is the be all, end all answer. However, I think we need to examine the effects of this more closely, and do what we can to bring better role models into the lives of young men as they begin the transition to manhood, bring people into their lives who can help them deal with that transition.

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Eternal Vigilance (Part 3)

Posted on January 22, 2013. Filed under: Miscellaneous, Politics |

[Editor’s Note: This is the third part of a series of posts to keep the posts from getting too long. I am not going into too much detail for brevity.]

Quick jump back to December 7, 1941.

The Japanese Imperial Navy attacks US soil at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. In 1942, the government institutes a program where Japanese people were taken from their homes and relocated to internment camps.

Of those Japanese who were interned, 62% of those were American citizens. In 1944, the United States Supreme Court upheld the Constitutionality of Executive Order 9066 and 56 Stat. 173, 18 U.S.C.A. 97a (an Act of March 21, 1942) (Korematsu v. United States).

In addition, very few Japanese Americans were allowed to join the military, and those that were allowed, served in Europe, not the Pacific.

Reparations were later made to those interned in the 1980’s.

Fast forward to today.

It’s hard to believe that it has been 20 years since the Branch Davidian Waco Massacre. While they did have a pair of .50 caliber rifles, I don’t think it was ever proven that they were manufacturing illegal automatic weapons, the reason the whole siege was started to begin with. I also don’t think it was ever proven (though it was alleged) that Koresh ever married 14 year olds or had sex with them. The media worked overtime to show us that Koresh was a scumbag and kind of crazy, but I don’t think anything was ever proven.

In each of the instances that I have highlighted, the government has in one way or another, shown some tyrannical tendencies. Not all of these stories involved guns or the government trying to take them. Some did.

The government has taken steps over the last 100+ years to protect itself. In 1903, the Dick Act of 1903 was signed into law. It is better known as the Militia Act of 1903, or the Efficiency of the Militia Act, which essentially Federalized the State Militias. It essentially states that in an emergency, the Federal government can call up and Federalize the National Guard (State Militia) depriving any state of its troops.

There are those who say that the act can’t be repealed (which isn’t true, any act can be repealed, but it also does not mean it can’t be amended), that it nullifies all gun control laws, and that any militia troops can’t be used outside of their home State. The National Guard are moved all around the United States, fighting fires and helping when natural disasters strike. They also made up 40% of all US ground troops during World War I, and fielded 19 division during the Second World War. So much for the idea that they can’t be taken out of their home States, or even the United States.

The danger here is that the government has taken the militias away from the states (remember “A well-regulated militia, being necessary for the security of a free state” and all that stuff? They are now Federal troops, and a Federal call-up overrides any states needs or wishes.

In 1957, President Dwight D. Eisenhower federalized the entire Arkansas National Guard to ensure that the Little Rock 9 could safely enter the Little Rock High School, and to prevent the governor of that state from using them to keep the Little Rock 9 out, as he had already done. I am not suggesting that Eisenhower was wrong in this matter, only that it does create precedence for taking State troops away from the states.

That was the beginning. Ever since, there have been numerous attempts at gun control legislation (a lot of which is now being overturned by the Supreme Court), and the building of government power and control, not just at the Federal level.

Look at where we are at. in 2001, the Department of Homeland Security was created. DHS has been watching us like hawks ever since.

The IRS has gigantic databases on we, the people. Obamacare is creating databases. DHS is also keeping databases on us. The President is trying to weaken HIPAA in order to add your personal health records to the database. Cameras are everywhere, and drones are patrolling the skies, watching us. Computers now have facial recognition software, a byproduct of constantly having our pictures taken. Where have our rights to privacy gone?

Something is wrong when someone jokes after writing something (or even saying something on the phone) and saying that they are probably on some government watch list now. It may sound paranoid, but why should we have to be paranoid about our government?

Why does the Federal government need a gigantic database on We, the People? What are they tracking?

Why does law enforcement need warrantless wiretaps? What happened to the Fourth Amendment?

Why is a West Point think tank warning about “right wing” groups such as the “anti-federalist” movement, which supports “civil activism, individual freedoms and self-government.”

I though this nation was founded on the principle of individual freedoms and self-government. Apparently not, according to the West Point Center.

The “Combating Terrorism Center” at West Point (yes, that West Point) issued a report entitled “Challengers from the Sidelines: Understanding America’s Violent Far-Right”. The report links anyone with beliefs or activism in limited government with ties to one of three movements: a racist “white supremacist” movement, an anti-Federalist movement, or a Fundamentalist movement.

The liberal establishment has now infiltrated one of the schools where our officers are taught. Some Republican Congressmen are calling for this think tank to be stripped of government funds for coming up with “worthless” reports like this one. However, the report isn’t worthless. It exposes how the left truly thinks. They view individual rights and self-government as abominations that must be put down.

However, as the liberals try to paint the right as dangerous and violent, they play down the likes of Occupy Wall Street, the Weather Underground (Bill Ayer’s terrorist group), Earth Liberation Front (and it’s other arm, the Animal Liberation Front), and these rich kid terrorists from Greenwich Village.

In the State of Florida, a Senate panel has voted to ban the use of drones for spying by police. The bill has now moved to the floor for debate. There are always obvious exceptions, but the bill is intended to prevent the police from spying on people without good reason. What has Congress done? They authorized an additional 30,000 drones around the US a year ago. This is the split Congress we have heard so much about. It seems that spying on the People is one thing they can agree on.

Of course, this would not be complete without a mention of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012, signed by Obama. This law effectively suspends Habeas Corpus, or the requirement that you have to be brought before a judge. Section 1021 allows for indefinite detention of people, including American citizens, without trial. The next section (1022) states that foreign nationals are to be held by the military, but that American citizens don’t. What this means is that American citizens can be held indefinitely by law enforcement if the government deems it so.

But it says that it only covers those who have been determined to have participated in the course of planning or carrying out an attack or attempted attack against the United States or its coalition partners!

Because the US Government hasn’t trumped up any charges before (See Ruby Ridge and Waco).

Which brings us back to where we started.

“It is the common fate of the indolent to see their rights become a prey to the active. The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance; which condition if he break, servitude is at once the consequence of his crime and the punishment of his guilt.”

Liberty is a precious thing, and we must jealously guard it, with our lives if need be. There are those out there who feel that their lives are so precious that they would prefer to live, in chains if necessary, condemning their children to a life of slavery.

There are those, no doubt, who will read this and think I am a delusional paranoid. They believe that in these modern times, the government would never be capable of such horrendous things. I’m sure that the people who were on the receiving end of government tyranny felt that the government wouldn’t act like that in their “modern times”, either. While doing my research, I found that I have a mindset about the government that closely resembles that of Timothy McVeigh. I, however, do not intend to blow stuff up to make a statement.

The government watches the internet.

The government fears the internet, that’s why they have been trying to figure out a way to control it. China already controls theirs, the US would like to follow suit.

Make no mistake, the government is protecting itself. The National Guard will fire on citizens if push comes to shove. The military will fight us if it comes to that. Yes, there are those who say they will defect, but I wouldn’t put my money on that. If an internal war were to start, the military will fight to protect the government. Remember how it has acted before.

I’m sure my words have attracted the attention of some government crony somewhere, and will not be surprised to find out that some day, I won’t be able to fly, or get a passport or something, just because I am stating my opinion. That’s a scary proposition when I have to fear my government to that degree.

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Eternal Vigilance (Part 2)

Posted on January 22, 2013. Filed under: Miscellaneous, Politics |

[Editor’s Note: This is the second part of a series of posts to keep the posts from getting too long. I am not going into too much detail for brevity.]

Ruby Ridge, Idaho, 1992

The FBI, ATF and US Marshals Service started investigating Randy Weaver, because of a dispute over a $3000 land deal between Weaver and a neighbor, which the neighbor lost. That neighbor, Terry Kinnison, then wrote letters to the FBI and Secret Service claiming Weaver wanted to kill the Pope, the President of the United States, and the Governor of Idaho.  The ATF became aware of Weaver in 1986 when he was introduced to an ATF informant at a meeting of the Aryan Nations. I know that sets off a lot of red flags for a lot of people, but that was his first attendance to those meetings. By late 1989, he had had a falling out with both the Aryan Nations and Frank Kumnick, the man who had first invited weaver to the meetings and the original target of the ATF investigation.

At this time, the ATF claimed that Weaver had sold their informant a pair of sawed off shotguns that were shorter than the legal limit. A Federal Grand Jury indicted Weaver for possessing and manufacturing illegal weapons, but not for selling them. Weaver’s trial date was set, but through a series of mistakes and accidents, Weaver was either not informed of the trial date, or was given the wrong trial date. As a result, he failed to appear, and the judge issued a bench warrant for his arrest. The judge refused to rescind the warrant even when it was discovered that Weaver’s probation officer had given him the wrong date.

The Marshals went up to Weaver’s property and began a siege. Weaver refused to flee, but said any attempts to take him in would be resisted. Weaver had a strong distrust of the government. There was a period of time when Weaver negotiated with the Marshals through third parties, but ultimately, the Federal prosecutor ordered the Marshals to cease negotiations.

Ultimately, Weaver was arrested, but not after the Marshals had killed one dog (Striker), Weaver’s son, Samuel, and his wife, Vicki. Samuel was shot in the back while trying to retreat, and Vicki was unarmed. In fact, she was holding her youngest child when she was shot in the face. In the end, Weaver and his friend Kevin Harris were arrested. Harris had killed one of the Marshals.

Weaver and Harris were ultimately acquitted of all charges. Weaver maintained that the shotguns he had sold to the ATF informant were of legal length, and the the informant has shortened them.

All of this over a pair of sawed off shotguns. Even a US Senate subcommittee found the actions of the government agencies abhorrent and reprehensible, and their rules of engagement ridiculous (among their ROE were the orders to shoot any adult seen carrying a weapon).

Waco, Texas, 1993

There are people out there who are going to say that I am a David Koresh apologist. I’m not. The man was a scumbag, but the last I checked, being a scumbag wasn’t illegal, and until he was convicted of something, he still had rights.

For brevity, the following is from Wikipedia (I am aware that Wikipedia is not always the best place for info, but the information is sourced, although I have removed the footnotes).

According to the Affidavit presented by ATF investigator David Aguilera to U.S. Magistrate Dennis G. Green on February 25, 1993, the Branch Davidian gun business (the “Mag Bag”), had purchased many legal guns and gun parts from various legal vendors (such as 45 semi-automatic AR-15 lower receivers from Olympic Arms). Deliveries by UPS for the “Mag Bag” were accepted and paid for at Mount Carmel Center by Woodrow Kendrick, Paul Fatta, David Koresh or Steve Schneider. These purchases were traced by Aguilera through the normal channels used to track legal firearms purchases from legal vendors. None of the weapons and firearms were illegally obtained nor illegally owned by the “Mag Bag”; however, Aguilera affirmed to the judge that in his experience, in the past other purchasers of such legal gun parts had modified them to make illegal firearms. The search warrant was justified not on the basis there was proof that the Davidians had purchased anything illegal, but on the basis that they could be modifying legal arms to illegal arms, and that automatic weapon fire had been reported on the compound. When the reports of automatic fire were first received, Steve Schneider and David Koresh showed the County Sheriff’s Department a “Hellfire” device, a quick-firing trigger sold with an ATF letter certifying that the device was not a machinegun.

The affidavit of ATF investigator David Aguilera for the search warrant claimed that there were over 150 weapons and 8,100 rounds of ammunition in the compound. The paperwork on the AR-15 components cited in the affidavit showed they were in fact legal semi-automatics; however, Aguilera told the judge: “I know based on my training and experience that an AR-15 is a semi-automatic rifle practically identical to the M-16 rifle. […] I have been involved in many cases where defendants, following a relatively simple process, convert AR-15 semi-automatic rifles to fully automatic rifles of the nature of the M-16. […] Often times templates, milling machines, lathes and instruction guides are used by the converter.” Aguilera stated in the affidavit and later testified at trial that a neighbor had heard machine-gun fire. However Aguilera failed to tell the magistrate that the same neighbor had previously reported the noise to the local Waco sheriff, who investigated the neighbor’s complaint. Paul Fatta, who was also involved in the failed takeover of the group in 1987, told The New York Times that Koresh and he had visited the sheriff after the surveillance had been spotted and claimed that the sheriff’s office told them their guns were legal.

The Davidians partly supported themselves by trading at gun shows and took care always to have the relevant paperwork to ensure their transactions were legal.

They had paperwork, and the county sheriff said they were legal. There was no probable cause for the warrant, just the “experience” of an ATF investigator. Whenever they sold weapons at gun shows, they made sure all the paperwork was proper and the weapons legal.

The siege went on for 50 days, until it ended violently on April 19, 1993, resulting in 82 men, women and children being murdered by the government, 76 being caught in the fire and most of them being burned alive.

The final assault came as a result of the FBI fearing that there might be a mass suicide, ala Jonestown, although Koresh denied this repeatedly, and those who had escaped the compound said they had not seen any such preparations.

In the end, the compound caught fire. The government maintains that the Davidians started the fires, while those who did escape say the government started them, either accidentally or deliberately.

At least two .50 caliber weapons were recovered from the scene. No one is certain if the Davidians actually fired them during the battle, as it was never proven in the court trials of the survivors.

However, during another trial, the district court found that the Davidians shot first, and that they started the fires. It should be noted that in civil cases the rules of evidence and proof are much more relaxed than they are in criminal trials.

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Eternal Vigilance (Part 1)

Posted on January 21, 2013. Filed under: Miscellaneous, Politics |

[Editor’s Note: This is the first part of a series of posts to keep the posts from getting too long. I am not going into too much detail for brevity.]

A friend of mine once asked “Has there ever been a case where the government actually tried to take the guns away?”

So, if the government has never done it before, they obviously won’t ever try.

The price of freedom is eternal vigilance. That quote is often attributed to Thomas Jefferson, but may actually have been uttered by an Irish politician named John Philpot Curran in 1790:

“It is the common fate of the indolent to see their rights become a prey to the active. The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance; which condition if he break, servitude is at once the consequence of his crime and the punishment of his guilt.”

By asking if the government has ever actually tried to take guns away from people, it shows that we are growing too complacent. We have become fat and happy. We have never had to sacrifice like our ancestors have sacrificed.

January 23, 1870

Montana

Tensions between white settlers and the Blackfoot Confederacy had been increasing for years. In 1869, a young Blackfoot by the name of Owl Child stole some horses from a white trader named Malcolm Clarke, as payment for some horses that Owl Child had lost. Owl Child blamed Clarke for that loss. Clarke tracked Owl Child down, beat him in front of several Blackfeet, and raped Owl Child’s wife.

In response, Owl Child and several other Blackfoot warriors shot and killed Clarke while seriously wounding his son.

Calls for revenge became widespread. The United States Army demanded that Owl Child be killed and his body turned over to the Army, a call that went unheeded among the Blackfoot Confederacy.

When the deadline came and passed, General Phillip Sheridan (of American Civil War fame) sent a detachment of the 2nd Cavalry Regiment to find and punish Owl Child.

In January of 1870, the detachment’s scout had come upon the tribe hiding Owl Child, but they had left the area. That only left the camp of Chief Heavy Runner, who had always had friendly relations with the settlers. Major Eugene Baker, in charge of the detachment ordered an attack on the camp, despite being told by scouts that it was the wrong camp. The attack proceeded over the protests of the scouts, and most of the men of the camp were out hunting, resulting in a massacre of women and children. The Army put the casualties at 173 killed and 140 women and children captured, including Chief Heavy Runner. The Indians counted 217 dead. It became known as the Marias Massacre.

Baker never submitted a report, and General Sheridan covered it up enough to prevent an official investigation.

December 29, 1890

South Dakota

At the end of the American Indian Wars, the US 7th Cavalry Regiment marshaled the Lakota Sioux near Wounded Knee Creek in South Dakota. The 7th Cavalry was there to disarm  the Indians. The tribal Medicine Man was dancing the Ghost Dance and telling followers that their ancestors and ghost shirts (shirts with buffaloes and eagles emblazoned upon them) would protect them from the cavalry’s bullets.

The Indians were allowing themselves to be disarmed, despite the urging of the Medicine Man to fight on.

One version of the events has a deaf tribesman named Black Coyote reluctant to give up his gun, saying he had paid a lot for it. In the ensuing scuffle, the weapon accidentally discharged and fighting broke out. The Cavalry, with the help of their Hotchkiss guns (a cannon with a revolving barrel) killed, by some estimates, 300 Indians, including 200 women and children.

In another account, the soldiers were told that Black Coyote was deaf, possibly meaning that he didn’t speak English. When the soldier did not heed the warning, he yelled “Stop! He cannot hear your orders!” Two soldiers moved behind Black Coyote and grabbed him, and in the ensuing struggle, the weapon was discharged. Five young Lakota had rifles concealed under blankets, and they threw the blankets off, firing at the cavalry.

Phillip Wells, the interpreter for Colonel Forsythe (the commanding officer of the 7th Cavalry) relates that Forsythe told him to tell Chief Big Foot “Tell him he need have no fear in giving up his arms, as I wish to treat him kindly.’

Wells continues: “A cavalry sergeant exclaimed, ‘There goes an Indian with a gun under his blanket!’ Forsyth ordered him to take the gun from the Indian, which he did. Whitside then said to me, ‘Tell the Indians it is necessary that they be searched one at a time.’ The young warriors paid no attention to what I told them. I heard someone on my left exclaim, ‘Look out! Look out!’ I saw five or six young warriors cast off their blankets and pull guns out from under them and brandish them in the air. One of the warriors shot into the soldiers, who were ordered to fire into the Indians. I looked in the direction of the medicine man. He or some other medicine man approached to within three or four feet of me with a long cheese knife, ground to a sharp point and raised to stab me. He stabbed me during the melee and nearly cut off my nose. I held him off until I could swing my rifle to hit him, which I did. I shot and killed him in self-defense.”

Regardless of who fired first, the end results was that out of about 350 Indians present, more than 300 were killed or mortally wounded.

As the army was trying to take guns away.

One could look at it as it was the end of a war and the loser was being disarmed by the victors. That’s true, but to murder over 200 women and children?

It could be overlooked if this were the only instance of the government murdering innocent people. Congress had been screwing the Indians and taking their lands for years. The Indians fought, unsuccessfully) to retain what was left of their lands and way of life. The Federal government took their lands and crushed the people, nearly exterminating them. Now that the Indians no longer have any land for the government to take, whose lands do you think they will confiscate? That’s right, it’s already started with Eminent Domain, and the Supreme Court backed it up with the now infamous Kelo decision: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/06/23/AR2005062300783.html

May 5, 1886

Milwaukee, Wisconsin

A gathering protest by over 14,000 people gathered at the Milwaukee Iron Works, demanding an 8 hour work day. This was before the rise of unions. Republican governor sent out 250 militia, what we would call the National Guard today, with orders to “shoot to kill anyone trying to enter the building.”

As the crowd approached the building, the militia opened fire, killing 7 and wounding a thirteen year old boy. No reports of anyone actually trying to enter the building.

May 4, 1970

Kent State University, Kent, Ohio

Four students were killed and nine injured when members of the Ohio National Guard opened fire on a group of unarmed protesters. Not all those injured were taking part in the protest, merely watching from a distance or walking by. The protesters had gathered to protest the US invasion of Cambodia. The National Guard had made a few arrests of protesters prior to the shooting, but what we see here is the willingness of government officials to use soldiers to violate First Amendment rights. This was not about taking guns, but it is about the unlawful use of force. There had been a few instances of violence and vandalism in the days before the shootings. As the Guard attempted to disperse the crowd, some began throwing rocks at the Guardsmen. Regardless, there was no reason for the soldiers to fire into the crowd. They could have fired over their heads, up into the air, or not fired at all.

A similar incident occurred at Jackson State College (Now Jackson State University) in Jackson, Mississippi, just a few days later on May 15, 1970, where a group of black students gathered to protest the invasion of Cambodia. Students were throwing rocks at white motorists, starting fires and overturning cars, the same typical violence seen in most protests.

The police showed up in force and after the fires were put out, they moved to disperse a crowd in front of a woman’s dormitory.  Shortly after midnight on the 15th, the police opened fire on the dormitory. Some police claimed they saw a sniper on the roof, while others said they had been sniped at in all directions. The FBI found no evidence of a sniper.

The end result was 2 students were killed and another 12 injured. One of the students was not a student of the college, but a high school senior.

I’m not trying to defend the actions of those who commit vandalism or arson in the course of a protest. However, in both the Kent State and Jackson State shootings, the authorities were unjustified in their actions. That didn’t stop them, however.

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