Archive | September 2015

When Did the Infection Become So Pernicious?

The right wing of American politics has long been a collection of people from pretty diverse groups within an otherwise politically homogeneous umbrella. The outer group is composed largely, and this is due to the way that history played out and not because of any intent, of people who view government in general with a bit of distrust. That distrust seems to me to be borne of a desire to go on with their lives free from anyone else’s opinion on the matter. Within that outer umbrella of those that I’ll call “personal responsibility advocates” there are quite amazing numbers of smaller parties with highly diverse interests.

We have many issues that seem to resonate with the right wing: drug policy, foreign policy, gun rights, alcohol policy, welfare policy, states rights, the size of government, the powers delegated to government, the mechanisms of delegation of power, and on and on. For many in the right any one of the issues that matters to them may matter enough for them to be called single-issue voters on the issue because their opinion on it weighs so very heavily in their voting habits. Gun rights advocacy is one of the poster-children of this tendency.

2A advocacy deeply affects the voting habits of millions of Americans and that’s understandable. Once enshrined in the Bill of Rights the second amendment is no longer just an amendment to an agreement about the formation and rules of government. Rather the Bill of Rights is seen widely as a charter not of simple civil rights but of human rights which are much more fundamental. You have, individually, all of the rights spelled out in the first 10 amendments and no man can take them away from you. God given, natural, etc… whatever you want to call them, you have them from birth no matter where you’re born as long as you’re under U.S. civilian jurisdiction.

That’s the belief despite the fact that those rights can be and; quite frequently are, taken away or otherwise violated or infringed by the very government we put in place to protect them. Remember that after you’ve been convicted of certain crimes and have served your sentence (i.e. your debt to society has been paid) you are no longer in possession of several of those 10 fundamental rights of a free man. Some of them but not all of them can be kept. A rational and dispassionate person might question, “Why the selectivity?” A really thoughtful one might suggest that it’s like that for a reason and then describe exactly what those reasons are and compare them to the realities of the world and decide that a change is or is not in order. They will certainly have given it the due thought that few people give to even fewer issues these days.

Beyond genuine political matters such as welfare and women’s rights, taxes and immigration policy there are matters of conscience that are being dragged into the discussion and being used as selection criteria for our politicians. These are dangerous areas to contemplate legislation in or to select legislators on the basis of because conscience and politics are not always able to be rationalized in the same framework. Frequently you have to put one to the side or there just will be no progress. Sometimes it’s a matter of oxymoronic definitions that can’t be dealt with rationally. Sometimes it’s simply fallacious to ask a system of politics to solve for a matter of; essentially, faith.

In the past 50-ish years but, in particular since the 1973 Supreme Court decision on Roe v. Wade which legalized abortion, and especially since the founding of the Moral Majority by Jerry Falwell something really dramatic has happened to the right wing and particularly to the Republican party. It’s been infected with religious fundamentalist based conservatism which has gradually gotten more and more pernicious, internally logically inconsistent and intolerant of its own members. The right now largely sees the bounds of the ethics of modern evangelical protestant Christianity as the boundaries and defining character traits of how they think the Republican party in the USA should act. The hell of it is, they’ve been a little inconsistent with their beliefs over the last 30 years.

For two thirds of a decade after the Roe v. Wade decision nobody in non-Catholic circles seemed to give two damns about the abortion question. In 1968 Christianity Today (the bulwark magazine for the conservative Christian at the time) flatly refused to characterize abortion as sinful and prominent ministers such as W. A. Criswell (former president of the Southern Baptist Convention and pastor of First Baptist Church in Dallas and one of the most famous fundamentalists of the 20th century) was pleased: “I have always felt that it was only after a child was born and had a life separate from its mother that it became an individual person,” he said, “and it has always, therefore, seemed to me that what is best for the mother and for the future should be allowed.” If you look at things it was a decade between one pastor saying he didn’t give a hoot about abortion and Falwell’s creation of a political advocacy group that seemed to care very much about abortion and anything else they could get their judgmental mitts on.

Falwell created the Moral Majority explicitly excluding the idea that it might discriminate against any religion. He actively courted Jews, Catholics and anyone else that agreed with their message, much to the chagrin of men like Bob Jones Jr. (then president of Bob Jones University, about the most bigoted university in the USA) who called Falwell “the most dangerous man in America”. Falwell deliberately injected religion into politics partly to shore up the Republican chances at electoral victory in the 80’s and by the time he’d shut down the Moral Majority he was able to declare that the central mission of the organization; which I contend was an afterthought, to make sure that religious conservatism was in American politics to stay, was completed and successful. He didn’t give a damn about abortion per se’. If he had he’d have formed MM in 1973 instead of 6 years later. What Falwell seemed to want was a job leading the masses and he was able to give himself not only a job but a fortune and political power which he didn’t have to win in an election or serve a traditional constituency to keep. Seems more than just a little self-serving any way you look at it. In fact a look at Falwell’s entire career suggests the speedy evolution of an opportunistic leech with a keen eye for creating divisions in groups that would push money into his pocket and power into his jacket.

So even in the height of the discussion as a matter of law, the evangelical movement seemed to not care very much, possibly at all until Falwell needed something to do and a paycheck. Now the abortion issue is right up there with gay rights and drugs and whether Jesus is or ever was anyone’s particular savior and whom exactly he was saving from precisely what. The evangelical movement sees all of those as matters of deep political consequence and has not only lost the capacity for forgiveness both inside and outside their ranks but has seemingly lost the page marker in the Bible where it talks about not judging and the reasons for not doing so. They are hyper-judgemental and the first to condemn someone for being any different than they are. Unfortunately for the right Evangelicals largely seem to call themselves Replublicans and that seriously dilutes and harms the message of classical republicanism which concerns itself with the delegation of limited authority and the sovereignty of the people rather than of the executive (or king). Republicanism has nothing intrinsically to do with silly things like abortion or gay marriage or whether or not the planet is 4.5 billion years old or around 6 thousand. It simply makes no statements about that stuff because it’s not concerned with them at all.

Nowadays we in the Replublican party are being overwhelmed with not just fundamentalist protestant christian religiosity but with a curiously under-considered dogmatic interpretation of scripture which is largely modern and appears to be attempting a revival of pre-renaissance ideas of a flat and young Earth, literal readings of the Bible, condemnation of your neighbor and other fundamentalist tropes. The Obergefell v. Hodges Supreme Court decision was immediately and loudly and is still being decried as the corrupt product of an “activist court” “legislating from the bench” and “outside SCOTUS’s authority”. What that analysis lacks is any idea of what the Supreme Court’s authority is, which is to decide matters of constitutionality on any case that is brought to them. They can accept or refuse any case, they have life tenure, are appointed not elected and their decision is final and binding. If you come to them with a case and they take the case up then whatever decision they reach is the final word on the matter until a new court is seated (which can take decades) and a new case is found and fought and accepted by SCOTUS. The idea that a century ago some states attempted to nullify SCOTUS decisions by simply failing to follow or enforce them is meaningless because those states that attempted nullification were acting outside the constitution, in open rebellion and contempt of court, just like Kim Davis did.

Religion has a place. I’m not sure what that place is since it’s never had one in my life but I’m sure there’s a place for it in the world if not in my personal universe. Possibly it would go well in a museum or a text book dedicated to mental disorders. There’s also a place for politics. Possibly in a museum or in a text book about mental disorders. When the two start sharing the same decision space though, we get nothing but the worst possible products of both. We must remember that this is not a Christian nation. It’s a nation populated largely by Christians but the two are not synonymous. The founding fathers created a pluralistic system of government at a time when the common way to do things was for one religion, one specific sect even, to be dominant and to occupy the spaces of political power as well as spiritual power. They did that because they weren’t stupid or all from the same sect. Some were apparently even flirting pretty vigorously with atheism. All recognized though that several of the sects in parts of the emergent country would want to eradicate sects in other parts so they’d better make it so the sects all had to tolerate each other by giving none of the sects as such a single ounce of political power.

If the Republicans want to succeed then they need to drum out of the party the idea that religious ideologies have any place in discussions on matters of governance. We need exorcise the demons of hate, bigotry, pride, wrath and judgement from our ranks. It doesn’t matter if someone wishes to believe a stack of 2000 year old indefensible, unproveable superstitions based on the bizarre ideas of theocratic primitive tribesmen. That’s fine. Kinda illogical but fine. Don’t inject the ideology of a religion into matters of law and governance though. Some religions think abortions are a non-issue, just like fundamentalist evangelicals in the 60’s did. Today the only religious group I can identify that is as vigorous about compliance with their particular superstition is fundamentalist Islam. A shocking and some might say unjust comparison. I don’t think so. Look at the actions and words of the two groups. The only difference I can really find is Christian fundies in the USA usually show their faces when they commit an atrocity.

Some religions don’t give two damns about 2 guys that like to kiss and hug and want to spend their lives together. Some care very much indeed. No two systems of belief; which is by definition the blind acceptance of some story as fact without a shred of evidence and occasionally in the face of evidence to the contrary, are going to see exactly the same way on these sorts of divisive issues because they arise from someone asking a divisive question in the first place. Doing so in a way that the question cannot be satisfactorily answered by either side. As soon as there is real testable and falsifiable evidence which can be independently verified you can do just that and come up with something that can objectively serve as some sort of answer.

I spend a good bit of time on gun and speech rights forums and what I’ve found in each of those is astonishingly disheartening. The most vicious, hateful and persistent diatribes against any one person or practice are handed down by those that profess adherence to a religion of forgiveness and love. The most forgiving and loving statements seem to come from those with absolutely no bond at all to any system of supernatural faith. It seems to me that secular humanists have stolen from Christianity the mantel and title of protector and defender of the sinner and given to the religious right, by way of like kind exchange, a complete indifference to the suffering of men and a feeling of self-superiority which appears to be unjustified in all of its many manifestations.

The religious Republican right seems to act a lot like the way that they say the Democratic left operates. Sticking its nose in the affairs of others, punishing non-conformity, berating and attacking classical constitutional liberalism (classical liberalism associated with individual freedom, not modern liberalism associated with welfare), and rewarding willful ignorance. The right wing has lost its lofty position as defender of freedom and is now engaged in a campaign of gain-saying and division which if left unchecked will collapse the Republican party and take with it the last bits of the conservative ideal: That men are free to do with their lives that which they wish. If they should transgress against another then they must stand and take the consequence willingly to make recompense, and; having done so, return to the fold of the community to continue his life unabated in pursuit of whatever joy he can find.

No problem of physics or mathematics or chemistry or logic can be solved by ignoring the facts. No problem of society can be solved by society fracturing. No problem of governance can be solved by reaching outside the world of government. No amount of faith stops a bad idea being a bad idea. No amount of empirical evidence will convince a mind clouded by blind belief.

If you think that’s anti-christian, ask my christian wife how anti-christian I am. I hold all three of the Abrahamic religions in some level of contempt, it’s hard to look at their histories and not do so. I don’t actively try to destroy their freedom to be themselves. I also recognize that, in the west at least, the competition for power between the forces of faith and the forces of temporal authority (government) created independent powers that did not need permission or enablement by the other to be legitimate and in that separation of church and state authorities space was created for genuinely free men to enjoy a life not ruled by a political or religious center of power but by the people through their representatives. Christianity is a one to many relationship. God says so, so everyone has to do it. Modern representative constitutional democracy is a many to one relationship where the masses agree on a set of rules and the individual is imposed upon to obey them or to accept the consequence of not doing so. They’re so fundamentally different it should be obvious to all that the mixing of them can only be nonsensical.

How Killer Is CLP, How Suck Is FireClean? Here’s How:

Well, here’s the military specification surrounding current CLP performance requirements. MIL-PRF-63460E_AMENDMENT-2

It doesn’t matter what FireClean says they are selling. Specially formulated is a flat lie. The infrared spectrometry showed undeniably that they’re doing nothing more than pouring rapeseed oil into a little plastic bottle and charging a huge amount of money for it. They’re hucksters, charlatans, snake-oil salesmen of the lowest kind.

There are very good reasons why one should not use FireClean as a gun oil. Most predominately is that most people shoot their guns, then clean them, then store them away. They could use mineral oil for all it’s worth and it’d cost them about 2 cents per application. Next, when poly-unsaturated vegetable oils like rapeseed oil oxidize or are exposed to UV light the oils break down to form a particularly nasty kind of sludge. The sludge they form is very chemically stable and thus hard to clean. That sludge also lacks useful lubricity since the viscosity is off the charts when it goes to sludge, and that doesn’t take long. Vegetable oil is a very poor agent for cleaning carbon fouling. It has no detergent or solvent characteristics to speak of other than being a liquid at room temperature. It is capable of suspending a bit of grit and grime but that grit isn’t well dispersed and so forms sludge and becomes actually abrasive even easier. Vegetable oil is terrible under high pressure conditions and high temperature conditions (some people use it as fuel in internal combustion engines for this very reason). The smoke point is below the burning temperature of paper and in the presence of oxygen and high pressures, like from firing a gun soaked in it, it does something called Dieseling which is to say it combusts violently (this is why there’s so much smoke from the FireClean gun in Larry Vickers idiotically termed “test”). Whatever preservative/rust-inhibition characteristics the oil has, it’s prone to fairly rapid degradation by simply being on Earth, it’ll go actually rancid quickly, and so we have to consider that preservative quality to be so short lived as to be arguably useless. It’s not that FireClean won’t keep a gun running with some level of lubrication, provided the gun is cleaned constantly and relubricated. It’s that it provides shitty lubrication and is not capable of being a decent cleaning agent and has no preservative qualities to speak of.

FireClean is snake-oil, plain and simple. It doesn’t matter what your buddy that shoots a lot says. I shoot a lot too and I’m a competitor here in the UNITED STATES where we know how to shoot a lot. Your buddy is not a materials scientist, a chemist, a tribologist or anything else that might qualify him to have an opinion. He’s some masked man in Finland (Finland, long known for their amazingly advanced lubrication technologies, NOT). Anyone that uses FireClean immediately loses credibility with me because their credulity had at some point overcome their ability to ask even the most basic of questions. One key question that’s never been answered by FireClean (and admittedly I don’t know that it’s been directly asked) is, what exactly are the performance characteristics as compared to MIL-PRF-63460E? Another question clearly not asked by FireClean users, why the hell would I spend that much on Crisco when I could buy real CLP which is about the most awesome (and this has been pretty clearly demonstrated for 30 years) cleaner, lubricant and preservative for firearms from pocket pistols to 8 inch cannon. If anyone had at some point come up with anything even nearly as awesome, the US military would be ordering it by the tanker load and would have already come up with a specification that described its performance so that they’d be sure to have the same thing every time they ordered a few thousand gallons of it.

A Debate Continues: ReasonFest

@Gaidheal_Alaska and I follow each other on Twitter. He’s a smart guy and though we share most political ideologies we go about that in very different ways. This brings about tons of opportunity for lively debate and discussion but with the 140 character limit sometimes things have to get all bloggy.

In a recent blog post he expounded on a discussion we’d been sort of unable to properly have within the confines of tweets. The topic is the recent SCOTUS decision which effectively forced states to not only allow but recognize marriage between any two consenting and eligible adults regardless of gender.

To begin with I think we should set the contextual meaning of some terms. Gay marriage; a more nonsensical term is difficult to think of, is a loaded word and an oxymoron. Partly it’s loaded because only people with a bent of moral philosophy that prohibits homosexuality really give a damn. Partly it’s loaded because that having of ones nose in someone else’s business and standing in judgement of them is also prohibited in these same philosophies so the people most fervently against gays being “married” is on the face of it a little hypocritical. Additionally, marriage itself is a religious practice, not a civil one and this is where the government of our country screwed itself. Permitting of marriages and recognition of only marriages performed under such permits is idiotic in the extreme. Many nations leave rites of birth, death, marriage and divorce to the church (for lack of a better and more inclusive term). The religion is the arbiter of the eligibility and the agent of the rite so only the church should have shit to say about it. If the church marries you, well the government can only think of you as being married to whomever the church said you were married to under the church’s authority. When church ceded some of that authority to grant the rite (note the spelling difference between rite and right) to the government they broke marriage. I don’t know when or why it happened but it did here at some point.

That of course means that since people are disgusting and Rule 34 is a real thing that the government must at some point start setting limits, like you can only be married to a live adult human who is capable of making their own life decisions. Well, now the mentally retarded may not end up with the right and the courts will end up involved again and bang, now Benny and Joon are getting hitched and making itty bitty Benny’s and Joon’s.

The point of the 14th amendment is the hard part for most to accept. It means that whatever your personal beliefs, you’re nothing special and every single person in the country must be treated equally under law. That means a lot of laws are going to fall over the coming years because people during the progressive era spent a lot of time sticking their legislative noses into the affairs of private citizens in a streaming self-righteous assertion of rightness.

If government has no right to make a law respecting religion then any religion defined by any set of rules is legit and thence gays can be married because Rule 34 and people are disgusting animals trying to find a niche in their environment. SCOTUS did the right thing as gross as it might be to some people. If you ask them to solve a question of law they might do it and we have to suck it up and wait for the court to change if we want to try again.

Now to the point by point response to the Obergefell and Powers of The Federal Government post linked above.

Women were given the right to vote as a constitutional amendment because the constitution actually defined men as the only critters with any legal standing. For a while it was only white men and that was in the words. Women couldn’t bring the case to the court because they had no standing to do so. They were property, not citizens according to the constitution. Shitty as that was, it was eventually undone. I’d also assert that only property owning men should vote. If someone wants to debate that issue I’m happy to but know that it makes far too much sense when you think about it.

Alcohol being banned is a weird one. It was done under pressure from interest groups and as such was not able to be done under a law because it violated the constitution in several ways. The only way to rationalize the desire of the mad old bitties and the law was to amend the constitution directly. Then the prohibition could NOT be challenged in court on constitutional grounds. I’m really surprised I have to point out these last two paragraphs to you.

Income taxes required the 16th amendment because the way that the tax was to be implemented and what was to be done with the proceeds was going to violate the constitution. Pollock v. Farmers’ Loan & Trust Company. The 16th amendment was almost a direct repudiation of Thomas Jefferson’s ideals on the matter of the growing taxation and expansion of governmental reach and that might explain why it seems so odd that it might be done. The author of the Declaration of Independence would have never accepted such a thing for sure. Good thing 16A came along almost 100 years after Jefferson.

The de-facto ban on machine guns and other Class III weapons did not happen with the NFA and it was done as a tax specifically to avoid it being a ban which would have been unconstitutional. Admittedly this is a prime example of government run amok. Using very narrowly interpreted views of law to effectively violate the constitution under the guise of “tax”. They used tax specifically because the federal government has almost complete carte blanche with respect to levying of taxes. You should know that. The real ban was the Hughes Amendment in 1986. That actually did ban machine guns from being produced for civilian consumption from there on. That actually was unconstitutional but because it was stuck in a bill called the Firearms Owners Protection Act which was hugely necessary at the time to actually protect gun owners from the government. Basically they were trying to give us a hand job but insisted that we give a reach-around and Hughes used it as a window to fuck the citizenry in the ass.

The previous 4 points have all been teetering between plain ol’ straw-man arguments and false equivalency but really they’re just broken comparisons.

The reason for the lack of constitutional amendments since 1971 is simple and many-fold. First the Sunshine Laws put public affairs much more into the open than they’d been and opened the door for really effective and voluminous lobbying efforts to get into what used to be closed markup sessions. This caused every decision to have huge and instantaneous political consequences and legislators were loathe to rock the boat lest they piss off some segement of their constituency. Second, the big problems had already been largely fixed. The constitution provides for a massively fair and equitable existence (in theory) and doesn’t need screwed with too much. Third, the important one, is you’re looking at a scale of time that’s too small. Amendments are frequently spaced decades apart. 35 years is about half as long as the longest gap in history so it’s meaningless to point out. Lastly, the Sunshine Laws not only opened up lobbying but that caused a firestorm of intra-party instability. There just wasn’t enough cohesion in either party nor enough willingness to compromise on either party’s part to accomplish something that required so much of the government to agree and which has such long lasting ramifications. This is a non-sequitur argument though and has not thing to do with the point you’re trying to make. It’s also a red herring as you’re distracting from the point of whether or not gay marriage needed an amendment and you’ve not established that it did/does. In fact SCOTUS has refuted the notion that an amendment was/is necessary at all by noting that an extant amendment already covers this. Logical fallacies are stacking up bud. They’re not good for your argument.

As far as where the answer lay, I would partially agree with you insofar as it was about the 1930’s where the government stuck their heads up everyone’s asses and started passing intrusive and back-door’d legislation which while legal under certain interpretations of law, were blatant attempts to circumvent the protections of the constitution. NFA is a prime example but prohibition is not. NFA was done back-door and then more back-door evil (GCA 68) heaped upon it and more (Hughes/FOPA 86) until we got BATFE in its current form which actually describes a string as a machine gun part. Prohibition of alcohol was done via an amendment which means it not only was legitimate but could not be well argued against. Odd then that prohibition is the one that was repealed though and NFA and GCA and Hughes are still in place.

You’re correct in that the federal government is broken. It was broken by the people demanding that it do their bidding instead of what was good for the country. People think their opinion matters or should matter to their representatives and it does and should absolutely not. You choose a member of congress indeed but, when you have done so he is no longer a member of your community. He is a member of congress and he does a disservice to you if he sacrifices his responsibility to your opinion. Sunshine Laws, direct election of senators, presidential primary elections, ballot initiatives and all of the dispersing agents of governing authority being spread amongst the people have eroded the power of the government and true power now lay in the bureaucracies that have been generated as a result of opening up of government and increasing the zones of responsibility that we expect them to take on.

It’s a sad fact that much of the time if you want something, convincing the supreme court is the route of choice but it’s only the route of choice for people with immense resources to spend on the issue. If that’s not how it is then legislation or even nullification are the preferred routes to effective policy change.

Federalism was destroyed by the Civil War and those that spend time lamenting the death of proper federalism are practicing a truly non-useful form of sentimentality. The fact is that before the Civil War each state was basically a country. The Fed had extremely limited authority and responsibility. Unfortunately in their efforts to crush the south (which will rise again) the north aggregated much of the authority of governance into the Fed and the states of the north supplicated. The south was unable to do that and their spirit of independent states acting in unison was partly responsible for their swift crushing under Sherman’s boot. After the war there was a continual lessening of the sense that one might be Georgian if from Georgia and that you were an American from Georgia and then that you were an American in Georgia. The states lost their lofty positions because they got the shit kicked out of them properly by, I must point out, the single most constitution trampling president in history who oddly gets called the Great Emancipator, Abraham Lincoln, despite the fact that he never liberated Jack or shit and that 3 constitutional amendments done through congress actually freed the slaves and made them citizens.

The next assertion that the Fed would have used a constitutional amendment in the old days to “legalize” gay marriage is simply false and displays a shocking lack of understanding between laws and rights. There was never a need to have a law directly against gay marriage until fairly recently because gays weren’t taken to really well for most of the country’s history and the permit form only had a place for “Man’s Name” and “Woman’s Name”. It was not for a very long time a law that said gays can’t get married. It was done simply through limiting the options that the form for the license would allow. Since there was no law and the religious right felt the need for one as gay rights causes started to become cause celeb during the 80’s and 90’s amendments were done to state constitutions which explicitly prohibited not being gay and married but the state from recognizing that condition. The questions asked in Obergefell are simple and basic questions of equal protection and since they address state constitutions and state laws and as such they are the province of the court system. The court system ruled. If there had been no constitutional language or law then there would no basis for a lawsuit. If it had been recognized by a constitutional amendment then that amendment would be the law of the land but it would be unnecessary because the issue is settled in extant amendments, to whit the 14th.

Justice Kennedy wasn’t the only judge in the room and he’s not the one that made the decision. The full SCOTUS banc did. The follow-up paragraph of 1868 straw-man’ness is nifty but irrelevant. To quote,

The intent behind the 14th Amendment was to put blacks on an equal legal status as white people before the law. That was the intent because that was what was going on at the time….

Does anyone seriously think that the people who passed that amendment were in effect authorizing same sex marriage? To assert that it doesn’t matter what they thought is to in effect repudiate the whole notion of self government. The people who passed the 14th Amendment had certain outcomes in mind. To twist that amendment to mean totally unrelated and unintended outcomes is corrosive to the whole notion of government by consent of the governed which was the key foundational concept in the Declaration of Independence. According to the Declaration, when a government no longer operates by the consent of the governed, then the people have to right alter or abolish said government.

Not, it absolutely doesn’t matter what they wanted the extended ramifications to be. The fact is that the protections clause is fair on the face of it. Your assertion that the morality and desires of the writer of the 14th cared to carve out some protections but not others which he thought were icky is absurd. The idea that equal protections being applied equally repudiates the intent of the 14th is the most amazing kind of double-think. The idea that rights must be arbitrarily restricted among classes of people is corrosive is a plain jane slippery-slope fallacy and a statement of fact without a shred of evidence. Your consent isn’t necessary, the other 379,999,999 people in the country gave theirs. Consent in governance is the entirety of time that there is not an active revolt in progress.

We are at a place where the plain meaning of many parts of the Constitution are ignored and meanings nowhere to found are substituted in their place. We are at a place where the Constitution means what five men in black say it means.

Sure enough. Some really questionable decisions have been handed down and each and every time it happens it’s the Federal Government being sued by someone else about something that the Fed decided to do which are either prohibited directly or not expressly granted to the Fed by the constitution. Things like Obamacare (Oh! Bummer! Crap! was my response to the name.) being said to be not unconstitutional because it was a tax despite exactly not being a tax and instead being a law forcing me individually to engage in commerce which I may not need or want. So you’re right that SCOTUS is abused and frequently is too full of cowards and those ignorant of law and history and logic to make the right decision and it is in fact corrosive to the country every time they spill their idiocy. It’s a good salve that the SCOTUS has done a generally acceptable job of enshrining our rights. I think we can pardon them the occasional mistake since the country is supposed to be here forever and all. Perhaps we can fix the errors a little later and laud our accomplishments for the moment.

To say that the constitution doesn’t grant the exact power that it does to whom it does is a false statement. I expect better from you. They have life tenure, they are appointed and then confirmed. They can accept or refuse to hear any case they want and their decision is final. Dred Scott was a case of SCOTUS behaving exactly like they did with Obamacare and is a decent demonstration that nothing is perfect but does nothing to bolster your point that they lack authority.

As far as self-government, perhaps we have different definitions. Self government means that the people pick who will lead them, not what those people will do individually by virtue of having been picked. That’s delegation and perhaps a quick refresher on delegata potestas non potest delegari will clarify the role of government.

You do not need to win a right that already exists and which is being suppressed by politics. Politics is the domain of compromise not of hard and fast rules. Rights are the domain of courts. Simple as that. The false equivalency fallacy and conflation of the two is harming your argument more than your misunderstanding of how government works and for whom it does so.

San Francisco didn’t make gay marriage legal. Gavin Newsome actually broke the law in a bellwether movement which is characteristic of classical California politics. He recognized that the demographic in his area actually not just had the right but now had a legitimate and urgent need to have that right recognized and defended. California didn’t impose jack on the rest of the country or even itself. As far as gay marriage in California went, Gavin Newsome’s actions in 2004 were more or less a non-factor. In fact all of the marriage licenses issued to gay couples under his 2004 silliness were invalidated and were basically not worth the paper they were printed on. 4 years later the religious right sponsored by the Mormon Church pushed Proposition 8 which passed but was almost immediately struck down as unconstitutional. That created a path for SCOTUS to get into the issue since it would cause a circuit court split eventually as Obergefell came up.

… a gentleman who best embodies what the remedy should be when the Federal government exceeds its authority: John C Calhoun. He is regrettably also famous for being a champion of slavery and it is unfortunate that resistance to the Federal government is so often associated with slavery. It has a much broader pedigree than that. In fact, one of the finest examples of resistance to Federal authority are those who refused to go along with the Fugitive Slave act. The Fugitive Slave act though federal law and as such the law of the land was reduced to a dead letter in many areas of the North by people simply refusing to comply with the law. And it wasn’t just people. The Wisconsin Supreme Court at one point declared the federal law unconstitutional! The phrase ‘law of the land’ fell on deaf ears in many areas of the North with respect to the Fugitive Slave act.

Summing up with a statement that intellectual fail-sauce John C. Calhoun is the example we should be looking to to deal with the problem of capricious, ineffective and overreaching government is just hilarious and terrifying. Calhoun was a political apostate of the highest order, he had no allegiance to any single political doctrine nor a useful understanding of one. He never gave any idea enough effort or time to work. Calhoun started out as a big government, centralized power, nationalist, modern economic terrorist. Within a few years of trying to make his incautiously developed political theories pay off with greater national wealth, cohesion central power and benefits to be delivered to our posterity Calhoun discovered that people are dicks and threw his hands and mind up in the air. His subsequently evolved positions are the highest form on nonsensical bullshit. Nullification for one. Nullification is nothing but crying “wahhhh” and promising to do it anyway when your parents say you can’t go outside and play. It’s not a way to deal with issues which require compromise. Hysterical crybaby bullshit is what it is. Calhoun’s ideas amounted to the abrogation of everything that the government had accomplished up to his time and presage a poor understanding of both people and politics. What he understood was power corrupts and he’d like to be pretty goddamned corrupt if at all possible. If he’d have been alive another 20 years it would be hilarious to see his reaction. A man whose primary solution to any fork in the road is to leave the road entirely would have shit his pants watching the US recover from the Civil War with all the forks and twists in the path that arose. He almost certainly would have been at the head of many riots, insurrections and other treasonous acts because his solution to not agreeing with a law was to violate the shit out of it and just ignore it. Nullification works only insofar as the federal government doesn’t get their panties in a twist about what you’re doing. If they do you can bet your sweet ass that they’ll come down hard and huge on widespread violations of federal law. If the government really doesn’t give two shits like with marijuana; because almost everyone in the country has by now tried it at some point in their lives. The people and the government can’t be too big a hypocrite about it where state laws attempt to nullify federal law. We only get so far. The DEA still raids the odd pot club. The change that comes from modern nullification is that the fed looks at usually VERY OLD rules and considers that society is changing and allows society to change while they back away slowly and try to pretend that they were never against it in the first place.

I count 4 distinct straw-men, 1 slippery slope, 1 false equivalency, 2 red herrings and countless factual errors and misrepresentations. I really expect better from you. Politics is about compromise, not conversion. Part of compromise is willingness to not have it all your way.

Odum’s Coming and He Likes to Drink Alone

Dad used to tell me this story when I’d ask what it was like to work in California’s timber stands before man landed on the Moon. It’s told from my Dad’s voice and point of view to give a sense of how Pop would speak.

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After I got back from my first tour in Vietnam I was feeling pretty tough. I was just back from combat and I was in shape and man, I was one heck of a piss cutter. I’d gone to Hyampom to visit Rick and Ralph and I didn’t have a car so I hitchhiked into town from the main road at Hayfork. I figured the best place to find Rick and Ralph was probably at the bar so I headed straight there. It was a very hot day and the sun was bright and beat on me pretty hard. It was so bad the wind felt painfully hot blowing on my skin and I wanted out of it. The walk wasn’t anything special but it was one more punch in the face. Nothing had gone right on my deployment. I was wounded, I got malaria and I didn’t even get to tour Japan. To make matters worse, nothing had gone right on my return stateside.

When I got to the bar I pushed the bat-wing doors wide open with my chest, no need for arms. I strutted in like the cock of the walk. I’m dressed in my army uniform which wasn’t really a popular look at the time but in Hyampom nobody had given me a second look. I wasn’t ready for no reaction especially after getting spit on and rotten fruit thrown at me by hippie protestors after my plane landed. It was really weird because while everyone in town knew me, nobody even looked in my direction. Hey at least they weren’t spitting on me.

I walked up to the bar and had a seat near the entrance and the second my ass hit that chair the whole place seemed to start to empty out all at once. You’d think the building was on fire the way folks was leaving. Everyone but the bartender was leaving and I mean in a hurry. I was near the door and I see Rick coming towards me leaving in a lot more of a hurry than I figured he’d be doing.  Considering he was an alcoholic and he was in a functioning bar I couldn’t think of anything that might get him to leave much less that quickly. He was just about to stroll right past me when I stood up and grabbed his shoulder. He stopped and looked at me real serious right in the eye like he was scared, serious scared. I’ve never seen Rick scared and I wasn’t sure that whatever it was that could scare him like that was something I wanted to stick around to meet.

I asked where he was runnin’ off to and he said in this low and growly but clearly panicked voice, “Odum’s comin’ and he likes to drink alone.” And he just kept walking. That was pretty weird because Rick’s tough as bulls balls but he’s as gentle as a pussy cat. He sounded scared, bad scared. The kind of scared that makes a man turn mean and mad but he was runnin’ off. Rick ain’t never run from anything so I really started to be concerned for a minute. Then curiosity got hold of me.

I didn’t understand what or who Rick was talking about and, honestly, after spending a year getting shot at in the jungle I wasn’t too worried. I was tougher than steel covered rawhide and plenty ready to kill whoever I needed to at the drop of a hat. Any hat. Whatever or whomever Odum was I’d find out soon enough and I wasn’t worried at all about it. I turned and sat at the bar again and asked the barkeep for a beer. He slid one across to me and told me I’d better hurry up and drink that and leave. I asked why and he said, “Odum’s comin’ and he likes to drink alone.” and then the barkeep left.

I sucked down my bottle of suds and since the bartender had left with everyone else I went outside to let him know I was just gunna grab another from behind the bar and to put it on my tab. Just as I cleared the bat-wing doors to the outside I look to my right down the street toward the old sawmill and I see the most amazing thing: There’s a man, if you can call him that, riding on top of a huge chestnut colored bear. He’s got hold of the bear’s head by the ears and under each arm he’s got a mountain lion in a sort of pinched headlock. Everyone that was left on the street vanished like cockroaches in the light. I mean to tell you they had their hats and they was giddy-ing. I walked across the street to the post office and stayed out of the way. I didn’t want any part of that bear or them mountain lions. Not to mention the guy they was with.

When the bear got up even to the bar the guy riding him let go of its ears and when he did the bear turned its head, opened its mouth, roared and looked like he was gunna bite the guy riding him. What happened next was very fast. The moment the bears ears were free and it’d turned toward the rider the rider punched it right in the back of the jaw and the bear just dropped like a used rubber and the roar turned into weak whimper. The guy riding the bear stood up, crossed his arms and grabbed the moutain lions under each arm by the skin on their necks with opposite hands and smashed their heads together. The effort killed both lions instantly. You could see that the guy’s clearly not just knocked their heads together but actually crushed their skulls and brains to jelly with a single hit. He dropped the limp carcasses, walked into the bar and sat down. I crossed the street to follow him thinking this might be a fun fight to get into. As I walked in he was reaching over the bar and grabbed himself a beer off the counter. He twisted the top off and started drinking, paying me no notice. He seemed perfectly calm and mellow now that the bear and the lions weren’t around and the beer was around. I walked up to a stool a couple down from him and reached over and grabbed a beer for myself and took to drinking it.

The guy seems to be in a rush and finishes his beer on about the 3rd sip, spins in his barstool, gets up, starts walking toward the doors. When he gets to me he stops and looks at me real serious for a second. I thought he was going to hit me and I steeled myself getting ready for it. Nothing hit me. He just said, “Hey, you better hurry up in a hurry. Odum’s comin’ and he likes to drink alone.” Then he left. So did I.

Dedicated to my dad who passed away in December of 2014. Pop used to mention Odum when he wanted me to understand that it was time to be tough and to just get done what we had to do. Sometimes it was something little. Sometimes it was life and death. I never cared. What it meant to me then and now was that my dad needed me to be really tough for a minute and that he knew he couldn’t just tell me to man up without accomplishing the exact opposite of what he was trying to. The mention of Odum from Pop meant that what was coming up wasn’t going to be in any way easy and it probably would be the opposite of fun but that he knew I could get through it and he was going to have to do it too and couldn’t be worrying about me or neither of us might get through it the way we needed to. The story really hit home one day when I learned how tough my dad was. We were carrying a 550lbs wood stove into the house when the steel rods that stabilized the bottom end of his spine both snapped. They snapped so loudly that I heard them. He didn’t wince he didn’t move. He looked at me real calmly and said, “I’ve gotta put my side down now.” and he did. Then he walked quietly and smoothly to the couch, laid down on it and told me who to call and what to say. It was 6 weeks before he could take another step and that was exactly 1 step that day. When I think of someone really tough, how can I think of anyone else.

I miss you Dad. You’ll always be Odum to me.

Begging the Question With “Why Hunt” and Politically Correct Dishonesty

You know I tire of the continually degenerating intellectual capacity of the world and I blame the internet I helped build for doing it. There’s a trend lately to ask questions to which you’re seeking a particular answer, not just an answer. This is so dishonest it surprises me that it’s not called out more often. The reason it’s not called out more often might have to do with the fact that people interacting on the internet do not have anonymity to hide behind and thus aren’t honest about how they do it. There’s the second fact that people tend only to say things on the internet in such a way and from such a position that they’re unlikely to get any flak for it from any of the continually expanding number of anti-this and pro-that politically correct (if there was ever a less meaningful and internally false term I don’t know it) zealots.

I came across this gem this morning over at The Truth About Knives and couldn’t help but be piqued by it. Not only was it a disingenuous damned near outright dishonest post, it was also an equivocating self-rationalizing internally logically inconsistent pile of loopy, loony non-thought. I’ve been long known to have an inability to leave treasure like that laying around un-responded-to. Partly because I like to troll a bit and admit it openly and partly because I think it’s actually my duty to help the sort of person that engages in this kind of stupidity to un-fuck their thinking both for the good of the species in perpetuity and more importantly for the sake of the sanity of my grandparents grandsond and my grandchildren’s grandfather.

David says:
September 11, 2015 at 9:02 am

Serious question. I am not trolling or at least not trying to.

Why hunt?

I am not addressing pest control, eliminating invasive species, subsistence hunting, or killing predators for defense/safety. There are legit reasons to kill an animal. I am not some pinko-hippie liberal. Killing another living being for fun, or just cuz its there, seems sadistic in the truest sense of the word.

I am not anti-hunter and many of the pro-hunter arguments are legit. I do eat meat although I have reduced my consumption of it for various reasons. I know some great people who hunt. I am also aware that animals eat other animals and that nature is many things including vicious.

I would not vandalize or try to stop hunters. I think what these people did is dangerous and illegal. The idea of killing for fun is repugnant. I would rather walk around the woods and take a picture of what I was tracking.

You’re not asking questions here, you’re trolling. The hell of it is you seem to legitimately and honestly think that you’re not doing that by prefacing your argument (a term used loosely) with the disingenuous proclamation that you’re not trolling. You know exactly what you’re doing. You’re trying to place your value system upon another and then you’re asking them to justify themselves before you based on that superimposed idea of right and wrong.

Why hunt? The question itself is fallacious. You’re begging the question with the implication that there needs to be a reason. There may or there may not be. It might just be instinct or it might be for the sheer unadulterated hell of it.

Your first sizable paragraph is either a pointless exercise in false dichotomy or just plain standing up of a straw man. Your definitions of what constitute legitimate reasons don’t apply to anyone else. Your assertion that killing something for fun is sadistic is flatly false. Sadists take their pleasure in knowing that the subject of their energies feel it for as long and as intensely as possible. If you’re going to spend time diagnosing peoples mental disorders, at least you should learn about them. Your litany of justifiable, to you, reasons for killing critters is irrelevant. You can’t possibly understand the driving factors in the mind of someone who finds prairie dog eradication to be a real hoot. Even if they were to explain it to you you still wouldn’t get it. You’d just have had someone tell you THEIR reasons. Reasons are not justifications.

Your statement that nature is vicious is all that matters and you could have saved us both a lot of typing if you’d just stopped there. We’re part of nature and you seem to have forgotten that. We are an evolved species. We evolved into a particular environment and the various progenitor species that gave rise to ours throughout our evolution changed their environments whenever possible to milk it for what they wanted from it with no concern of the ramifications. We as modern humans do the same if more dramatically and effectively. We also have at least acknowledged our impact on the globe and have begun to take some small corrective actions to address the most egregious of them. Nonetheless we are still part of nature and specifically a part of nature that instinctively decides when we’re cold and hungry and happen see a critter pass by that’s unlikely to hurt us for chasing it around and that it’s made of meat and to top it all off it has a nice warm coat that we’ll have the meat and the coat off him. Best of all we try to have a good time about it because why the hell would you try to have a bad time doing so given the option.

If killing for fun is repugnant to you then that’s on you. Perhaps you can take some self righteous self satisfaction in your own rightness before yourself. Perhaps though, you could understand that you’ve got it completely bloody backwards again. It’s not usually killing for fun, it is frequently killing during fun, an important difference. If we could eat the animal and hang the horns on the wall after taking it’s picture and do away with all the blood and guts and the packing out of heavy carcasses through rough country don’t you think the camera would have been invented many hundreds of years earlier than it was.

There is in fact huge entertainment to be had from sitting in a farmers field or prairie and blowing rodentia to smithereens at considerable range with a scoped high velocity small calibre rifle, like an AR-15. Just because you haven’t had that particular fun and don’t think it would be much fun for you, doesn’t give you leave to go shoving your broken notion that it’s somehow wrong on anyone else. Nor does it create a situation in which you should expect them to give 2 squirts of cold piss about how you feel about it. If you feel really strongly then actually do something about it. Get involved or hush so to speak. Otherwise you’re really just tilting at internet windmills.

I could have responded only with the next bit but the previous bits needed to be said. I’m hopeful that the foregoing will assist you in organizing your thinking. Because it’s looking pretty sloppy at the moment.

Without further ado: Nobody needs to justify anything to you. You need to understand the world you live in and accept that there are bits about it which you do not think you’ll like but which you have not tried and which you feel so strongly that you won’t like it if you try it that you are very sure not to create a situation where you might try it. Possibly just in case. Reasons are not justifications.

Finally, if the preceeding is taken as an attack or whatever that’s as may be. I don’t care. It’s exactly David’s sort of ham-headed sloppy thinking that’s made critical and rational debate of contentious issues into the wildly rare and dangerous thing that it is.

How Much Ammo Is Enough Ammo

I was chatting with a gun-friendly coworker and mentioned that I was going to be picking up 10K rounds of pistol ammo that weekend and did they want to meet up for lunch. He looked at me a with just a little incredulity. As if to say, “Wow, that’s quite a lot.” but without saying it. I caught the look and noted that that wasn’t really much for me. I normally keep that much .22lr bulk ammo on hand and a similar amount of various rifle ammo as well as several hundred rounds of various shotgun ammo. When you shoot competitively and for recreation and serve as a shooting teacher for whomever asks for a little basic training you can burn ammo with astonishing rapidity.

For high power metallic silhouette competition I need enough match ammo to shoot 12 matches a year plus practice. Each match is about 100 rounds between shots for record and sighters and warm-ups. For practice outside of match days I need probably 250 rounds of my chicken load and 250 rounds of my ram load per year. For rimfire metallic silhouette I need enough match ammo to shoot 15 matches a year at 100 rounds per match plus closer to 2,000 rounds of match ammo for non-match practice. For precision rifle matches I need enough heavy bullet match ammo to shoot 6x 50rd matches and a couple 100rd matches each for my .223 and .308 rifles and closer to 500 rounds for horsing around and re-zero’ing. I shoot trap on average 3 times a month and I burn 100 rounds on each trip. I like to take a defensive pistol class every year if possible to keep the skills fresh which burns an easy 500 rounds of factory ammo by itself and then there’s the 2,000 or so rounds of reloads I burn doing dueling tree exercises with my silhouette coach. That’s just the ammo I basically have committed to having on hand at the appropriate time of year.

Like many competitive shooters, for me the winter is a little slender on matches so I spend a lot of time in the winter reloading to rebuild my ammo stocks which had been depleted during the match seasons. 1700 7mm BR + 3500 .22lr + 1300 PRS + 3600 12ga + 500 new pistol + 2000 reload pistol. We’re at over 12K rounds spoken for and that doesn’t cover things like load development, unplanned recreational shooting, taking friends that ask out for lessons or hunting and it doesn’t count anything at all for F-class or ELR, both of which are highly irregularly attended.

For me to have 12K rounds on hand is to be basically out of ammo. Picking up 10K pistol rounds (and all new factory loads) as a gimme from a buddy is a big win. There’s at least a couple years worth of pistol ammo there without loading a lick. I’m a little more conservative about burning my factory ammo though so that’s looking like a good number of years of training courses are done paid for. That also saves me the money I’d a burned on that factory ammo which I can use to pull in projectiles, powder and primers for my match reloading.

Given the stuff I’m picking up and my usual back stock I’ll have probably 25K rounds in the ammo safe by late winter and I’ll still consider myself to be nearly out of ammo because everything in there is pretty well spoken for. Thankfully I don’t have time to shoot any more than that so it’s not that big a deal. If I wanted to go out and have a hoot and just burn some powder off schedule then I’d just have to load some more to replace it.

My coach has probably closer to 100K rounds loaded and supplies for around that much. He shoots a lot more and has been doing it for a lot longer so it’s no surprise he has more just laying around. Some of them he doesn’t even shoot anymore.

So how much ammo do you actually burn in a year? Have you ever actually added it up? Betcha you will be surprised if you do.

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