Thursday, July 31, 2008

Wondering what ANWR looks like?

This isn't all of ANWR, just where we'd like to drill. There's not a tree for several hundred miles. It's an Arctic desert. Tell me again why we can't drill here? Image source here.

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After I posted this, a reader found a great blog at the Heritage Foundation with even more pictures. Have a look here.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Why you should never, ever talk to the police

This almost pains me to post. I don't believe the police are bad or abusive. Or, at least, I don't think most of them are. However, this professor and police officer make some incredibly good points about why you should never, ever talk to the police. See the videos here.

It's not a matter of being innocent or thinking the best of the police. I hope anyone reading this is both innocent of any crime and also thinks well of the fine men and women in uniform who do the tough job of protecting us.

As it turns out, talking with them can never benefit you, so you just shouldn't do it.

Banning Things in California

Great minds think alike. Mark has posted below about California's recent bans with a fantastic take on the issue. Here's mine:

Hearing about LA banning fast food in some neighborhoods, San Francisco banning tobacco in small drug stores and California banning trans fats statewide simply makes me sigh and want to move out of this reason-forsaken socialist state.

To some degree, bans do work. After prohibition, per capita drinking levels never returned to what they had been previous to it. However, enforcing that ban wasn't worth the blood or money.

Most importantly, bans on things that are simply unwise violate the principles of America and weaken bans on things that are actually harmful to society.

America was founded on self-reliance and personal responsibility. Every time you take a reasonable decision out of the hands of the individual, you make them less an adult and more a child. You also get them thinking in terms of "what can I get away with?" instead of "what is prudent and best for me?"

If you ban unwise things, then people get used to circumventing the law to make poor choices. Instead of seeing it as harming themselves, they see it as flipping off the man. You get them used to breaking the law, which isn't good. We want people thinking that if something's banned, there's a good reason for it. There's a ban on murder, and I don't want that one ever to be reduced in importance in someone's mind because they're used to ignoring bans. It seems ludicrous, but it's an attitude that builds over time.

What will these bans do? People will walk a little farther for their cigarettes. A lot of cold happy meals will be sold at a slight markup off the backs of trucks in Los Angeles, and people will be proud of how they're bucking the system.

LA, SF and ... Saudi Arabia?

Today the news greeted me with the LA fast food ban, the SF cigarette-in-drug stores ban, and...the Saudi ban on dogs and cats.

Saudi Arabia's religious police have announced a ban on selling cats and dogs as pets, or walking them in public in the Saudi capital, because of men using them as a means of making passes at women, an official said on Wednesday.
This is the core value of fascism: that the government should get away with anything it thinks is right. I even posted that quote a few days ago.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Education, the Supreme Court and Your Rights

When the founders set up our nation, it became clear that we needed something that wasn’t commonly available in the world: a free education for all people. The concept of government-provided education is rather socialist for a group of people who essentially set up a nation on libertarian principles. The reason for this was that the only way the Constitution could stand and elections would work is if the people were truly educated with respect to their rights and the issues.

How did it work? Rather well. Alexis de Tocqueville wrote his Democracy in America based on his 1831 visit to the United States. He wrote:

“The observer who is desirous of forming an opinion on the state of instruction among the Anglo-Americans must consider the same object from two different points of view. If he singles out only the learned, he will be astonished to find how few they are; but if he counts the ignorant, the American people will appear to be the most enlightened in the word…

“In New England every citizen receives the elementary notions of human knowledge; he is taught, moreover, the doctrines and evidence of his religion, the history of his country and the leading features of its Constitution. In the states of Connecticut and Massachusetts, it is extremely rare to find a man imperfectly acquainted with all these things, and a person wholly ignorant of them is a sort of phenomenon.” (Democracy in America, 1:326-27.)


Why are these principles so vital? If you look at what’s happening in America today, you can see why the founders were so determined to have the principles of the Constitution generally known. Politicians and courts are freely altering the rights guaranteed therein, and even changing basic understanding of the document, so they can do what they want.

The Constitution wasn’t written to spell out the rights of the Citizenry, though some are very carefully guaranteed by it. It was designed to carefully enumerate and limit the rights and responsibilities of government. In their study and keen understanding of government and human nature, the founders understood that people with power will usually take whatever control they are permitted to take, and that some of the population will be happy to give it so they don’t have to deal with responsibility (more on that in a future post). The only way to prevent that was to have the government’s powers limited, in writing, and have the people understand those rights so there could be no back room revisions of the document.

“Miranda Rights” should never have to be given by the police. First, government officials in any capacity do not give any citizen his or her rights. The police are simply informing, but the concept is vital. The Constitution does not give any citizen his or her rights. Being a human being endows each citizen with unalienable rights. The Constitution simply safeguards those rights by keeping government from infringing on them.

This is why DC v. Heller was such an important decision and yet should have never come before the Supreme Court. The thought of depriving any lawful citizen of their ancient and unalienable right of self defense should have been so foreign the DC lawmakers should never have tried it. If they failed, then the first court reviewing the matter should have stricken it down. Even further, the Supreme Court should never have had any option to set the standing of the 2nd Amendment (that is, whether it carries the same weight and force as the other amendments). That should never be a question. Of course it has, and of course no legislative body in the United States has any right to abridge that right. In listing out the rights of government, the Constitution specifically forbids any governmental body from engaging in the denial of the right of self defense to any citizen. It’s that simple.

Furthermore, the Constitution is not a “living document” as judicial activists mean that phrase. It is a living document in that it is a vital, vigorous guard standing over the rights of the people. It is not mutable, however, to be molded and shaped by any court’s whim. It can only be changed by a deliberately difficult amendment process. Again, this is a planned design to prevent abuse of the people by government.

This brings us back to education. Our schools today aren’t having children read the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution or the Bill of Rights. Far from the purposes of the founders, they are determined to make sure people do not know their rights, so those rights can be changed and there is no outcry at laws like the DC or San Francisco handgun bans, which so obviously contradict rights that predate our Constitution.

If schools will not teach these things, then it’s up to each American to find out for himself or herself. The book mentioned below is a great place to start, as are the links on the right of the page. Learn our founding documents and the philosophies of the people who wrote them so you’re never left to the whims of capricious politicians.

Friday, July 18, 2008

The Five Thousand Year Leap

You may have guessed from reading this blog that I do a lot of reading, and these days, it's often news. I have taken time to read and study a rather incredible book: "The Five Thousand Year Leap: Twenty-eight Ideas That Changed the Word," by W. Cleon Skousen.

If you believe in the founding principles of the United States of America, this is a book that you must read. Even if you'd like to depart from them, this is a book you should read to understand that from which you'd depart.

I took my time on this one, and will be sharing some quotations from it in the hopes you'll be encouraged to purchase a copy and read it. What the founders of this nation created was new, it was fresh, and it worked. The further we depart from it, the more we give in to our baser natures, and sink into the tried and failed formulas which have been used and are in use by other nations. To abandon true success for imagined comfort is enticing but ultimately debilitating.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

A Quote from Liberal Fascism

The German and American New Deals may have been merely whatever Hitler and FDR felt they could get away with. But therein lies a common principle: the state should be allowed to get away with anything, so long as it is for "good reasons." This is the common principle among fascism, Nazism, Progressivism, and what we today call liberalism. It represents the triumph of Pragmatism in politics in that it recognizes no dogmatic boundaries to the scope of government power. The leader and his anointed cadres are decision makers above and beyond political or democratic imperatives. They invoke with divine reverence "science" and the laws of economics the way temple priests once read the entrails of goats, but because they have blinded themselves to their own leaps of faith, they cannot see that morals and values cannot be derived from science. Morals and values are determined by the priests, whether they wear black robes or white lab smocks.

-- Jonah Goldberg, "Liberal Fascism" p. 131

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

California's Budget Problem

I haven't done the detailed analysis others have. I just believe our accountancy department in California when they say, "We don't have a revenue problem, we have a spending problem." Mike Shedlock went to the trouble to do the numbers and prove it on his blog.

He shows the problem graphically in this image.

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By the way, California's money problem is no different from the federal government's problem. We absolutely must spend less than we take in, but that doesn't win elections. Since the money doesn't belong to the politicians, they don't care. They spend it however it will help them win. As responsible citizens, it's our job to stop allowing that tactic to work.

Monday, July 7, 2008

People say the darndest things

People can say very astonishing things, as is the case in this article. The quotation that amazed me is this one:

"All these people I am close to have been killed by something that should have been stopped a long time ago," Littlejohn, 18, said as she prepared for a cultural exchange in Rwanda. "Just because it's constitutional doesn't mean it should be allowed. The Constitution was based in the 1700s. This is 2008."

Wow, Ms. Littlejohn, that's very insightful. Let's get rid of the 4th and 8th amendments too, since they're outdated, so we can search you without cause for your pot stash and give you a public beating for having it.

The 2nd amendment, based in principles of defense of self from tyrannical government as well as from criminals, is as relevant today as the 1st, 4th and 8th amendments are. Note that the rights under those amendments have only been expanded, while everyone has felt free to curtail the rights granted under the 2nd amendment until the DC v. Heller decision.

Schools have clearly done a great job of failing to teach the Constitution. The principles set out in that document are based not in the 1700s, but in philosophy based on human nature. Governments seek to subjugate their people unless carefully limited in their powers. The Constitution is designed to prevent that, and the 2nd amendment is arguably the last line of defense against tyrannical government. The relevance of that ancient right, which predates the Constitution, hasn't changed in thousands of years.

Ms. Littlejohn's friends might have stopped their attackers from criminal use of force if they'd been lawfully armed and thus able to engage in defensive use of force.

Banning guns hasn't stopped shootings and stabbings in the U.K., as anyone who follows the news can tell you.

"All these people I am close to have been killed by something that should have been stopped a long time ago..." I agree with that. Humankind should long ago have given up its violent and criminal nature in favor of mutually beneficial behaviors. Since it hasn't done so, banning any particular instrument of violence will always be an insufficient and meaningless gesture.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Are you kidding me? San Francisco pays airfare to send criminal illegal aliens home--without prosecuting them!

I heard about this story today and couldn't believe it. This is the San Francisco Chronicle version, so it's the most liberal you can get. Here's the Fox interview on it. While I was searching for the actual story, I also found that Michelle Malkin has already blogged about it.

What can I add to that? Not much. I'm shocked, appalled and certain that we're authoring the downfall of our nation by ignoring our laws and allowing criminal illegal aliens to do as they please here. In California, and increasingly throughout the U.S., we seem to want to target lawful citizens doing legal things, like owning and carrying their firearms, using cell phones in traffic, regulating helmet use on motorcycles and so forth while we ignore and in this case, aid and abet, criminals!

When it's time to vote, please consider very carefully who is running for each office, especially legislative ones for both the state and federal level.

If we expect more from our politicians instead of accepting them as corrupt scumbags, they will have to change to meet our expectations.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

The Real Independence Day

I'm flying my U.S. flag today in remembrance of the real Independence day. U.S. Independence wasn’t declared on July 4, 1776. The General Congress actually passed the motion to declare independence on July 2, 1776 and the printing of the Declaration took place on July 4, 1776. John Adams expected that future generations would likely commemorate July 2nd as our Independence day.

Sorry, John, we’ve forgotten. Well, most of us have. The concept of government by the people, of the people and for the people seems all but forgotten. We forcefully reminded our U.S. Senate last year, through calls, letters and e-mails, calling them to task for attempting to pass immigration legislation that 80% of the citizenry disagreed with. We need to do the same to remind them we'd like to utilize our domestic energy resources, a move they're presently blocking. The principles of government answerable to the people should be written in the hearts and minds of all citizens of this nation, whether their ancestors stepped off the Mayflower or they had their Oath of Allegiance and gained their citizenship yesterday.

So, today I’m flying my flag in memory of the rights I should have but only kind of do. We should have a tax structure that guards our private records from search and seizure. I should be able to carry a firearm in defense of myself, my family and my beloved nation if I so desire. I should feel that the money I do contribute to my government is going to good causes–causes we can all stand behind. Most of all, as I go about my day, I should feel free to do so with minimal government interference yet without fear from scofflaws and criminals.

Might we all remember the true spirit of independence and the real meaning of our Constitution is my fervent hope as I remember the beginning of this great nation this week. Fly your flag today, and remember what it’s really all about. Fly it Friday, too, and set off some fireworks. Of greatest importance, never let your elected official take you for granted or think you’ve forgotten what the brave actions of this nation’s founders really meant.

Happy Independence Day!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Self-Defeating Environmentalism

I'm astounded at some "environmentalism." We need energy in this nation, and we only have a few choices on how to get it. Hydroelectric is great, but we've tapped most of our best locations. We're close to capacity. In addition, just try to get through the environmentalist-created hurdles to build a new dam.

Another solution is solar energy, and one would think there's no problem with solar energy. One would be wrong. Here's a story about the Bureau of Land Management placing a moratorium on new solar energy products on federal land for at least two years so they can study the environmental impact of solar panels on BLM lands.

Environmental impact of solar panels in the desert? Um, it'll provide some shade for some very overheated lizards. The tiny critters will sing little lizard songs to praise the giant deity-like humans who gave them refuge from the Sauron-like burning eye of the sun. That's the freaking environmental impact. They might even build little lizard churches to us.

In all seriousness, the oil pipelines in Alaska have helped shelter and warm animals in the area, especially during breeding season. We clean up and sink large ships to act as artificial reefs in the ocean, and oil platforms in many oceans serve to shelter sea life.

All changes to the environment are not bad. The longer we put off new sources of energy, the more desperately we'll need them. When real crisis comes, people won't pay attention to the screaming environmentalists while they build massive coal burning plants. Why not let us build our solar panels now to stave that off? Maybe a few nuclear reactors, too?