Saturday, August 27, 2011

Mark Hertsgaard, Climate Cranks, and "Conservativism"

This little factoid really bothers me:

There is a major paradigm shift in the climate story, in the climate problem. What changed, sometime around the turn of the century, was that global warming triggered outright climate change, and it did so a hundred years sooner than scientists expected. And so that huge shift in the problem – the fact that now we're locked into a significant amount of climate change, even if we do everything right--Mark Hertsgaard

Mark Hertsgaard and the Climate Cranks from Mark Hertsgaard on Vimeo.

The problem is that Conservative parties outside of the US have admitted to climate change, as this screen capture from the UK Conservative Party shows:

UK Conservative Party (You know, the Party that produced Margaret Thatcher) Policy on Climate Change:

Climate Change and Energy

The Government believes that climate change is one of the gravest threats we face, and that urgent action at home and abroad is required. We need to use a wide range of levers to cut carbon emissions, decarbonise the economy and support the creation of new green jobs and technologies. We will implement a full programme of measures to fulfil our joint ambitions for a low carbon and eco-friendly economy.

* We will push for the EU to demonstrate leadership in tackling international climate change.
* We will seek to increase the target for energy from renewable sources, subject to the advice of the Climate Change Committee.
* We will continue public sector investment in carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology for four coal-fired power stations.
* We will establish a smart grid and roll out smart meters.
* We will create a green investment bank.
* We will retain energy performance certificates while scrapping HIPs.
* We will establish an emissions performance standard that will prevent coal-fired power stations being built unless they are equipped with sufficient carbon capture and storage.
* We will cancel the third runway at Heathrow and refuse permission for additional runways at Gatwick and Stansted.
* Through our 'Green Deal', we will encourage home energy efficiency improvements paid for by savings from energy bills.
* We will reform energy markets to deliver security of supply and investment in low carbon energy, and ensure fair competition.
* We will give an Annual Energy Statement to Parliament to set strategic energy policy and guide investment.
* We will work towards an ambitious global climate deal that will limit emissions and explore the creation of new international sources of funding for the purpose of climate change adaptation and mitigation.
Now, why can't the US Republican party and other "Conservatives" get on the same bandwagon?

See also:
Generation Hot
Mark Hertsgaard
Generation Hot on Facebook
Why Are Republicans Against The Science?
The Conservative Party | Policy | Where we stand | Climate Change and Energy

The Obscenity of Equating Gun Control with Genocide

So, I'm reading the posts by my fellow bloggers on the subject of gun control and genocide; there's not much I disagree with.

Those who employ the argument that gun control causes genocide should understand several things.  First, they share such beliefs with Neo-Nazi and White Supremacist groups.  To make things weirder, many such groups who claim gun control leads to genocide will also tell you the Holocaust was a myth.  These are your ideological bretheren.

Remember, next time you're at a gunshow--be sure to look for the vendors selling Nazi memorabilia.  Think about it; gunloons want you to believe they're all about preventing genocides--but they seem to have a great fondness for a regime that killed 6 million.

Is it coincidence that gunloons also tend to be racist, anti-gay, and against most civil liberties?

Additionally, since the debate over Health Care Reform has began--so has an effort by far right wing groups to claim genocides are caused by both gun control *and* universal healthcare.  In fact, you can find rightwing groups who claim abortion, public education and taxes lead to genocide . IOW, genocides are very often reduced to boogeymen by far rightwingers to militate against policies they don't like.

It's an obscene argument.  It's factually and historically false.  But the really grotesque aspect is that in claiming gun control leads to genocides is the implication the victims are to blame.  It's not far removed from those who would claim a girl kind of deserved rape because she was wearing a short skirt or a tight blouse.  But, with genocides, we are talking about thousands, millions of victims who are used as cynically as pawns.

If one requires evidence, one should note the vast majority of Jewish groups support gun control.  In fact, the NRA lists many of these Jewish groups and organizations as "enemies."

Gun control and Genocides

A tip of the hat to Matthew White who compiled this list ( with some additions from me.

There's an old saying: "The road to Hell is paved with good intentions", so wouldn't it be really ironic if a law created with the purpose of cutting back on the number of murders actually had the opposite effect?

Of course, there's another old saying: "Yew-juice is sovereign against snake-bite", which goes to show you that sometimes old sayings are just plain stupid. Sometimes good intentions turn out just fine, and sometimes laws don't have ironic outcomes.

But among the advocates of irony, the leading cause of 56 million needless deaths would seem to be gun control. Here's an account ledger that is reposted at several sites:

CONSIDER THIS... This is just part of the known tally ...

* In 1929 the Soviet Union established gun control. From 1929 to 1953, approximately 20 million dissidents, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.
* In 1911, Turkey established gun control. From 1915-1917, 1.5 million Armenians, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.
* Germany established gun control in 1938 and from 1939 to 1945, 13 million Jews, gypsies, homosexuals, the mentally ill, and others, who were unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.
* China established gun control in 1935. From 1948 to 1952, 20 million political dissidents, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.
* Guatemala established gun control in 1964. From 1964 to 1981, 100,000 Mayan Indians, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.
* Uganda established gun control in 1970. From 1971 to 1979, 300,000 Christians, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.
* Cambodia established gun control in 1956. From 1975 to 1977, one million "educated" people, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.

That places total victims who lost their lives because of gun control at approximately 56 million in the last century. Since we should learn from the mistakes of history, the next time someone talks in favor of gun control, find out which group of citizens they wish to have exterminated.

Why fifty-six million? Mere coincidence? Well, the precise calculations follow, but if I were of a more cynical bent, I might suggest that they just made it all up to prove a point. After all, 56 million is without a doubt the perfect random number. Since a million doesn't mean much anymore, you'll want to crank it up the next level and accuse your enemies of something in the ten millions. Of course, it would be even better to accuse them of a hundred million, but usually, that's out of reach. A number as high as that needs a lot of buttressing, so you'll have to settle for a number a tad lower and lot more accessible. Fortunately, if you can push your number up over the halfway mark, you can imply a hundred million without actually having it. Anything over 50 million will do. Well, truthfully, 51 isn't enough. Your first instinct upon seeing 51 is to round it down to 50, so you need to tack on a second digit large enough to resist the rounding-down. You need to push it at least as close to 60 as to 50 -- let's say 55. Of course, numbers ending in 0s and 5s always look like ballpark guesstimates, so let's add 1 to it, and it'll look more precise.

We see now that 56 million is the lowest number that implies both accuracy and a hundred. As I said, the perfect random number.

If we're being cynical.

But since we're not being cynical, let's take the accusations at face value and see how the numbers add up. After all, comparative genocide is one of Matthew White's hobbies.

Well, right off the bat I can see that whoever compiled this tally has a different definition of defenseless than mine. I wouldn't declare the largest military machine on the planet "unable to defend itself", but by adding 20 million from the Soviet Union, this list does. After all, Stalin's most infamous terror fell heavily on the Soviet Army, culling tens of thousand of officers, and executing three out of five marshals, 15 out of 16 army commanders, 60 out of 67 corps commanders and 136 out of 199 division commanders. In one bloody year, the majority of the officer corps was led away quietly and shot. It may be one of life's great mysteries as to why the Red Army allowed itself to be gutted that way, but obviously, lack of firepower can't be the reason.

I am not sure that the assumption that Turkey's institution of "gun control" would have helped the Armenians either. One problem with "pro-gun" arguments is that they have the unspoken assumption that people owned guns prior to the enactment of these laws (such as comparisons to England and Australia). Usually, there wasn't wide spread gun ownership prior to the enactment of these laws, which is likely in the case of the Armenian genocide. Additionally, this happened during the First World War. The Armenians who were in the Ottoman Empire (which is now called Turkey) army were disarmed, but again, this sounds like what happened in the Soviet union.

The Third Reich did not need gun control (in 1938 or at any time for that matter) to maintain their power. The success of Nazi programs (restoring the economy, dispelling socio-political chaos) and the misappropriation of justice by the apparatus of terror (the Gestapo) assured the compliance of the German people. Arguing otherwise assumes a resistance to Nazi rule that did not exist. Further, supposing the existance of an armed resistance also requires the acceptance that the German people would have rallied to the rebellion. This argument requires a total suspension of disbelief given everything we know about 1930s Germany. Why then did the Nazis introduce this program? As with most of their actions (including the formation of the Third Reich itself), they desired to effect a facade of legalism around the exercise of naked power. It is unreasonable to treat this as a normal part of lawful governance, as the rule of law had been entirely demolished in the Third Reich. Any direct quotations, of which there are several, that pronounce some beneficence to the Weapons Law should be considered in the same manner as all other Nazi pronouncements - absolute lies.

A more farfetched question is the hypothetical proposition of armed Jewish resistance. First, they were not commonly armed even prior to the 1928 Law. Second, Jews had seen pogroms before and had survived them, though not without suffering. They would expect that this one would, as had the past ones, eventually subside and permit a return to normalcy. Many considered themselves "patriotic Germans" for their service in the first World War. These simply were not people prepared to stage violent resistance. Nor were they alone in this mode of appeasement. The defiance of "never again" is not so much a warning to potential oppressors as it is a challenge to Jews to reject the passive response to pogrom. Third, it hardly seems conceivable that armed resistance by Jews (or any other target group) would have led to any weakening of Nazi rule, let alone a full scale popular rebellion; on the contrary, it seems more likely it would have strengthened the support the Nazis already had. Their foul lies about Jewish perfidy would have been given a grain of substance. To project backward and speculate thus is to fail to learn the lesson history has so painfully provided.

Just a few steps down, we can trim another 20 million from our total. Take a look at China, 1935. Picture, if you will, a long, peaceful line of naive little natives queueing up to dump their guns into an industrial smelter, while off to the side, a bureaucrat with a clipboard checks their names off the list. That's the image this list would like to create. The problem is, in 1935 China was in the midst of the Age of Warlords. Even if you know nothing about Chinese history, just the name "Age of Warlords" should tip you off. It was a pistol packer's paradise, a lawless Wild West where all power flowed from the barrel of a gun.

But it's not just the ready availability of guns in China that contradicts the Big Tally. No, it's just as important what everyone was doing with all those guns -- fighting for supremacy, fighting against the Communists, fighting the Japanese. In other words, gun control or not, everyone who had a side to take had already taken sides. Everyone who wanted a gun already had a gun. The enemies of the state who were killed after 1949 weren't defenseless; they were just plain beaten.

This is what I call the Cold-Dead-Hands Test. If the only way to get someone's gun is to pry it from their cold, dead hands (literally or figuratively), that's not gun control. When Grant disarmed the Confederates at Appomattox, that wasn't gun control; that was taking prisoners. When the Soviets disarmed the remnants of the German 6th Army at Stalingrad, that wasn't gun control either. Mao didn't come to power in China by tricking the populace into surrendering their arms. He pummeled his well-armed opponents in a stand-up fight. There's a big difference between unable to fight back, and fighting back but losing.

It's just as hard to label the Cambodians defenseless when you remember that they had just spent five years and a half million lives trying to stop the Khmer Rouge. It's also hard to call the Guatemalans defenseless when it took a 30-year civil war to rack up their body count. Even most of the victims of Hitler went down kicking and screaming. The majority of the Jews and Gypsies were hunted down in countries like Poland and Russia that had been overrun in open battle, and if they were lacking guns, it certainly wasn't German laws that created the situation.

Frankly, this list is a pitifully weak argument against gun control, simply because most of the victims listed here did fight back. In fact, if there's a real lesson to be learned from this roster of oppressions, it's that sometimes a heavily armed and determined opposition is just swept up and crushed -- guns or no guns.

Politics: Conservative

I find it odd that people describe me as a liberal, although I don't mind that monicker given what I believe conservative has come to mean in this country. Case in point, my wife's "uncle" has a t-shirt with American Revolutionary "patriots" saying "Right wing crazies" or some such.

Now, Conservative is described as a political philosophy that favours tradition and gradual change. Another description of conservative is cautious with adherence to custom and precedent. Any movement toward change is considered. The American Revolutionaries were in no way conservative. They broke from England in contradiction of law and for no sensible reason. The American Revolutionaries were like bratty children. And, the people in the United States which claim the title "conservative" are in no way conservative either, especially if they wish claim to being the rebels' progeny.

On the other hand, that appellation has changed quite a bit since Richard Nixon. Looking back at Nixon's administration, he would seem surprisingly liberal to today's conservative. I would also posit that James Clark McReynolds would also seem very liberal by today's standards. He believed that the liberty guaranteed by the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment included an individual's right "to contract, to engage in any of the common occupations of life, to acquire useful knowledge, to marry, to establish a home and bring up children, to worship God according to the dictates of his conscience, and generally to enjoy privileges, essential to the orderly pursuit of happiness by free men". This belief eventually went on to found the right to privacy in Griswold v. Connecticut 381 U.S. 479 (1965), and the right to abortion in Roe v. Wade 410 U.S. 113 (1973).

McReynolds also penned US v. Miller 307 U.S. 174 (1939) and its Collective right interpretation of the Second Amendment. Justice McReynolds would find Justice Kennedy's comment about Miller being "deficient" as showing Kennedy's mental deficiency. McReynolds was a person to whom things were obvious. To McReynolds issues were right or wrong, and if you could not tell the difference then no amount of explanation would help. He had no patience for those who disagreed. What was right, was self-evident.

McReynolds didn't feel the need to spell out his decisions for those who were not at his intellectual level. So, I believe Justice McReynolds would return Justice Kennedy's "complement".

Additionally, the Supreme Court which is considered "Conservative" may overturn McReynold's precedent in US v. Miller wihtout any real basis. It goes against the Court second guessing legislation. It goes against public policy. And it goes against logic if the reason is merely that "the public believe the Second Amendment comprises this right". I have mentioned the logical fallacy of argumentum ad populum ad naseum and don't feel the need to repeat what it is. I would also add it goes against the rule of law.

Anyway, there are a few strains of conservativism: Cultural, religious, and fiscal. I would also add neo-conservativism, however, I am not sure what that really is. Neo-Conservativism runs contrary to everything that Conservativism is supposed to be.

A bit of an aside, Conservatives are also supposed to value property rights. An RKBA type wrote to say that he believed his right to self-defence outweighed my rights as property owner. This is thorough nonsense as self-defence is limited by law. I am allowed to bar firearms from my property and you are free not to enter if you feel this is not safe.

Cultural conservativism supports preservation of the heritage of a nation or culture. There is a national myth in the United States which varies greatly with US history. They myth began with the signing of the Declaration of Independence of the proud yeoman rising up against British tyranny. Although, the more I read Loyalist history, the less I believe that there was any strong support for the rebellion. In fact, I believe many people were forced to the "patriot" cause, but this isn't the place to expound on that. The independent frontiersman is the image we see, instead of the middle class citizen of New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Alexandria, Baltimore, Hartford, Providence, Charleston, and Savannah. The first is a myth and the latter is the reality.

Religious conservativism. Again, the radical right is doing everything to trash people's freedom of conscience. Amazing that someone like Justice McReynolds can be considered the father of Roe v. Wade! Additionally, the puritan strain, those who came from Cromwell and the New Model Army were the ones who wanted a separation of Church and State. Yet historical amnesia has struck and we see the resurgence of Cromwell and the New Model Army.

Fiscal conservativism. Is a joke from my previous posts. "Tax and spend" is vilified yet we have profligate spending on the military. We spend more on Iraq while this nation crumbles. Of course, there is a study that says more people are liberal/progressive than conservative in this country; however, one couldn't tell that from the media. And the media is supposedly liberal.

But, then again, what exactly is a conservative since I have just shown that Justice McReynolds would seem liberal by today's standards. He might have to become politically correct, but he would seem liberal. So, labels such as conservative and liberal seem to make no sense in US politics. And, given what conservativism has come to mean, as opposed to what I understand it to be, I am glad to be called something else.

EDITORIAL NOTE: I am not sure where Justice Kennedy was going with the "deficient" comment, but since McReynolds was a known bastard, I will not retract this. I believe McReynolds would have done something as fucked up as that

Things I found in my research.

I usually cite to The Address and Reasons of Dissent of the Minority of the Convention of Pennsylvania to their Constituents, December 12, 1787 when I want to demonstrate "personal right" language being used in the debate over the "right to arms". That is this text:

7. That the people have a right to bear arms for the defence of themselves and their own state, or the United States, or for the purpose of killing game; and no law shall be passed for disarming the people or any of them, unless for crimes committed, or real danger of public injury from individuals; and as standing armies in the time of peace are dangerous to liberty, they ought not to be kept up: and that the military shall be kept under strict subordination to and be governed by the civil powers.

This text uses explicit language that would indicate an "individual right".

But one of the things I've noticed from reading primary sources is that whenever the right to arms is mentioned, not far away is a concern about standing armies. Even this text specifically mentions "standing armies in the time of peace are dangerous to liberty, they ought not to be kept up: and that the military shall be kept under strict subordination to and be governed by the civil powers." in addition to "personal right" language.

Moreover, if one reads the actual document, one finds the issue of the federal standing army is the real concern, not personal "gun rights":

From the foregoing investigation, it appears that the Congress under this constitution will not possess the confidence of the people, which is an essential requisite in a good government; for unless the laws command the confidence and respect of the great body of the people, so as to induce them to support them, when called on by the civil magistrate, they must be executed by the aid of a numerous standing army, which would be inconsistent with every idea of liberty; for the same force that may be employed to compel obedience to good laws, might and probably would be used to wrest from the people their constitutional liberties. The framers of this constitution appear to have been aware of this great deficiency; to have been sensible that no dependence could be placed on the people for their support: but on the contrary, that the government must be executed by force. They have therefore made a provision for this purpose in a permanent STANDING ARMY, and a MILITIA that may be subjected to as strict discipline and government

A standing army in the hands of a government placed so independent of the people, may be made a fatal instrument to overturn the public liberties; it may be employed to enforce the collection of the most oppressive taxes, and to carry into execution the most arbitrary measures. An ambitious man who may have the army at his devotion, may step up into the throne, and seize upon absolute power.

The absolute unqualified command that Congress have over the militia may be made instrumental to the destruction of all liberty, both public and private; whether of a personal, civil or religious nature.

First, the personal liberty of every man probably from sixteen to sixty years of age, may be destroyed by the power Congress have in organizing and governing of the militia. As militia they may be subjected to fines to any amount, levied in a military manner; they may be subjected to corporal punishments of the most disgraceful and humiliating kind, and to death itself, by the sentence of a court martial: To this our young men will be more immediately subjected, as a select militia, composed of them, will best answer the purposes of government.

Secondly, the rights of conscience may be violated, as there is no exemption of those persons who are conscientiously scrupulous of bearing arms. These compose a respectable proportion of the community in the state. This is the more remarkable, because even when the distresses of the late war, and the evident disaffection of many citizens of that description, inflamed our passions, and when every person, who was obliged to risque his own life, must have been exasperated against such as on any account kept back from the common danger, yet even then, when outrage and violence might have been expected, the rights of conscience were held sacred.

At this momentous crisis, the framers of our state constitution made the most express and decided declaration and stipulations in favour of the rights of conscience: but now when no necessity exists, those dearest rights of men are left insecure.

Thirdly, the absolute command of Congress over the militia may be destructive of public liberty; for under the guidance of an arbitrary government, they may be made the unwilling instruments of tyranny. The militia of Pennsylvania may be marched to New England or Virginia to quell an insurrection occasioned by the most galling oppression, and aided by the standing army, they will no doubt be successful in subduing the* liberty and independency; but in so doing, although the magnanimity of the* minds will be extinguished, yet the meaner passions of resentment and revenge will be increased, and these in turn will be the ready and obedient instruments of despotism to enslave the others; and that with an irritated vengeance. Thus may the militia be made the instruments of crushing the last efforts of expiring liberty, of riveting the chains of despotism on their fellow citizens, and on one another. This power can be exercised not only without violating the constitution, but in strict conformity with it; it is calculated for this express purpose, and will doubtless be executed accordingly.

My theory is that there was a fear that laws regarding hunting and personal uses could be used to disarm the militia, which was the intent of these proposed rights to arms. Even this text allows for the public to be disarmed "for crimes committed, or real danger of public injury from individuals". Thus whatever right existed was far more connected to the militia duty than to personal uses.

Anyway, as I keep saying, if one reads the primary sources of concerning the Second Amendment, one doesn't need to go too far to find it linked to the threat of a Federal Standing Army.

See also:
St. George Tucker, Blackstone's Commentaries 1:App. 300

Idaho Concealed Carry

An autopsy of Katy Benoit done the day after she was shot at her Moscow home revealed that the University of Idaho graduate student had been struck 11 times with .45-caliber bullets, Moscow police said in a press release Friday afternoon.
The ex-boyfriend psychology professor Ernesto Bustamante did the deed, it seems. He was one of those shining examples of Concealed Carry at it very best.

In the complaint, "Benoit alleged that threats of violence occurred on three separate occasions where Bustamante held a gun to her head and detailed the manner in which he would use it," police said in the press release Friday.
In addition, he was on enough prescription medicine to call anyone's mental health into question. But, in Idaho that's just the way things go. Gun rights is gun rights.

Bustamante was issued a concealed weapons permit through the Latah County Sheriff's Office on March 28, expiring in 2016.

What's your opinion? Do they issue those things too easily?  Joe Huffman hasn't had a thing to say about this case, by the way.

Would my idea of licensing gun owners and requiring criminal as well as mental health background checks week out some of these guys?

Please leave a comment.

Man Shoots Neighbor Walking Dog

The New City Patch reports

Recluse. Loner. Shut-in. Those were some of the descriptions police say they have found best describe 53-year-old Eric Goods of Valley Cottage, who is accused of attempted murder in the apparently unprovoked shooting Tuesday morning of a neighbor who was taking his dog out for an early-morning walk.

That's the whole story really. No one knows what could have provoked the incident. One neighbor is walking the dog early in the morning, the other neighbor comes up behind and shoots him four or five times, no reason.

I'd like to suggest something, I don't know if anyone else has thought of it. Mr. Goods was stark raving mad. His mental condition could have been easily identified even in the most cursory exam.

The pro-gun crowd love to ask, "what law could have prevented this particular crime?" Well, how about licensing of gun owners which would require criminal as well as mental health background checks. The license would have to be renewed periodically. Do you think Eric Goods would have passed? I don't.

Of course, given the way the NRA and the gun lobby have law enforcement hamstrung nowadays, this is what we're left with.

Clarkstown detectives were still checking records late Wednesday to determine whether Goods legally owned the gun used in the shooting.

Is that pathetic or what? What's your opinion?

Please leave a comment.

Semper Paratus - Even Against Zombies

The CDC came out with a wonderfully informative report a while back entitled, Preparedness 101: Zombie Apocalypse. I thought it was a joke, until, after providing a history of Zombie lore, I read this.

Well, we’re here to answer that question for you, and hopefully share a few tips about preparing for real emergencies too!
"Real emergencies, too," get it?

Naturally I was fascinated to see where firearms and personal protection came on the list. I know what our gun-rights friends would have to say. In fact, reading them, you'd think guns first last and always, and maybe some canned goods, is all you need.
* Water (1 gallon per person per day)
* Food (stock up on non-perishable items that you eat regularly)
* Medications (this includes prescription and non-prescription meds)
* Tools and Supplies (utility knife, duct tape, battery powered radio, etc.)
* Sanitation and Hygiene (household bleach, soap, towels, etc.)
* Clothing and Bedding (a change of clothes for each family member and blankets)
* Important documents (copies of your driver’s license, passport, and birth certificate to name a few)
* First Aid supplies (although you’re a goner if a zombie bites you, you can use these supplies to treat basic cuts and lacerations that you might get during a tornado or hurricane)
Not even a mention, not even among those useful tools and supplies.

The fact is the pro-gun crowd like to paint themselves as "prepared," but their perception of what to prepare for is skewed. Why, because they like guns too much. It's that simple. They try to justify this by talking about those incredibly rare situations in which a gun MIGHT save the day, and they always fall back on the 2A right to carry a gun anywhere they want any time they want. But the fact remains, in a major emergency in which the society breaks down, their guns will be as useful as paper weights and door stops, nothing more.

Just like when crossing the street on the way to Starbucks, death will come to you in a form impervious to your personal protection piece.

What do you think?  Please leave a comment.

Stephen King Standing Up to the Bullies

Friday, August 26, 2011

History Repeats Itself; the More Things Change, the more they stay the same

An interesting view of how the era viewed itself looking back, a decade or so after the Blair Mountain events.

I saw this at the very end of the Gold Diggers of 1933; it resonated with the issues in the conflict of Blair Mountain.

Who is Paul Treanor anyway?

I found Paul Treanor while trying to find critiques of Libertarianism. This was at the time when Ron Paul's face was plastering the internet on both sides of the issue. That makes sense since Libertarians aren't sure either!

I liked it when one Ron Paul supporter decried his opponents as Libertarians!

Which leads to the fact that I have always had a dislike for Libertarianism which has been made stronger since there is no real definition of the ideology: it can range from minarchist to openly anarchist. Of course, this is a right wing anarchy where large corporations can dump toxins into the drinking water in order to sell bottled water. These are the folks who will keep you perpetually in debt in the name of a free market.

This diversity of libertarian viewpoints can make it quite difficult to have a coherent discussion about it, because an argument that is valid for or against one type of libertarianism may not apply to other types.

It is very hard to find any literature about libertarianism that was NOT written by its advocates. This isolation from normal political discourse makes it difficult to evaluate libertarian claims without much more research or analysis than most of us have time.

Many libertarian arguments are like fundamentalist arguments: they depend upon restricting your attention to a very narrow field so that you will not notice that they fail outside of that field. For example, fundamentalists like to restrict the argument to the bible. Libertarians like to restrict the argument to their notions of economics, justice, history, and rights and their misrepresentations of government and contracts.

Widen the scope, and their questionable assumptions leap into view. Why should I accept that "right" as a given? Is that a fact around the world, not just in the US? Are there counter examples for that idea? Are libertarians serving their own class interest only? Is that economic argument complete, or are there other critical factors or strategies which have been omitted? When they make a historical argument, can we find current real-world counterexamples? If we adopt this libertarian policy, there will be benefits: but what will the disadvantages be? Are libertarians reinventing what we already have, only without safeguards?

Interesting that this subject is now turning toward rights, especially since Paul Treanor's comments on rights form a basis for my comments in my Rights post. Indeed, most of the libertarian concepts are bastard progeny of the arguments that led to the American War for Independence: in particular the concept of government by consent. Despite propaganda to the contrary, that is not a conservative idea, but a liberal one. Conservativism, by its nature believes in slow and calculated change rather than a radical shakeup of the system.

Anyway, I find Paul Treanor to be interesting from a myriad of reasons especially since we share an interest in Urban, environment, planning. Besides, I like the way the man thinks.

To bad he is next to impossible to locate!

Jewish Resistance to Nazi oppression

For the most part, there wasn't too much armed resistance to the Nazis from the Jews. First, they were not commonly armed even prior to the 1928 Law. Second, Jews had seen pogroms before and had survived them, though not without suffering. They would expect that this one would, as had the past ones, eventually subside and permit a return to normalcy. Many considered themselves “patriotic Germans” for their service in the first World War. These simply were not people prepared to stage violent resistance. Nor were they alone in this mode of appeasement. The defiance of “never again” is not so much a warning to potential oppressors as it is a challenge to Jews to reject the passive response to pogrom. Third, it hardly seems conceivable that armed resistance by Jews (or any other target group) would have led to any weakening of Nazi rule, let alone a full scale popular rebellion; on the contrary, it seems more likely it would have strengthened the support the Nazis already had. Their foul lies about Jewish perfidy would have been given a grain of substance. To project backward and speculate thus is to fail to learn the lesson history has so painfully provided.

That's not to say that resistance didn't occur, there were a few ghetto uprisings, The Warsaw Ghetto Uprising is the best known of the Jewish resistance that arose within the Ghettos in German occupied Eastern Europe during World War II. This was caused by Nazi Germany's effort to transport the remaining ghetto population to Treblinka extermination camp. The uprising began on January 18, 1943. The most significant portion of the rebellion took place from April 19 until May 16, 1943, and ended when the poorly armed and supplied resistance was crushed by the German troops under the direct command of Jürgen Stroop.

The Ghetto fighters (numbering some 400 to 1,000 by April 19) were armed primarily with pistols and revolvers. Just a few rifles and automatic firearms smuggled into the Ghetto were available. The insurgents had little ammunition, and relied heavily on improvised explosive devices and incendiary bottles; more weapons were supplied throughout the uprising or captured from the Germans. Some weapons were hand-made by resistance: sometimes such weapons worked, other times they jammed repeatedly. In his daily reports, Stroop wrote his forces were able to recover the "booty" consisting of:

  • April 20, 1943:...In today's action we caught, apart from the Jews reported above, considerable stores of incendiary bottles, hand grenades, ammunition, military tunics, and equipment.
  • April 22, 1943:...captured 80 incendiary bottles and other booty.
  • April 23, 1943:...We captured apart from valuables and money - some gas masks.
  • April 24, 1943:..and an amount of paper money, especially dollars was captured; this money has not yet been counted.
  • April 25, 1943:..and in one bunker 3 pistols and explosive charges were captured. Further today, significant supplies of paper money, currency, gold coins and items of jewelry were secured.
  • April 26, 1943:...Once again, weapons, Molotov cocktails, explosive devices and large amounts of money were captured.
  • April 27, 1943:...In this operation we captured 3 rifles, 12 pistols, partly of heavier caliber, 100 Polish "pineapple" hand grenades, 27 German steel helmets, quite a number of German uniforms, tunics and coats which were even furnished with ribbon of the East medal, some reserve magazines for machine guns, 300 rounds of ammunition, etc.
  • April 28, 1943:..capturing more arms, ammunition, and military equipment
  • April 29, 1943:..Captured are 2 rifles, 10 pistols, 10 kilograms of explosives, and ammunition of various types
  • April 30, 1943:..Today, we again captured arms and particularly parts of German uniforms from them.
  • May 2, 1943:...arms and ammunition captured.
  • May 3, 1943:...We captured among other things, one German rifle, model 98, two 08 pistols and other calibers, also home-made hand grenades.
  • May 4, 1943:.. We captured 1 carbine, 3 pistols, and some ammunition.
  • May 5, 1943:..Today, we again captured arms and ammunition, including one pistol.
  • May 6, 1943:..One Jew who had escaped from Lublin was caught just outside of the Ghetto wall. He was armed as follows: 1 08 pistol, ample reserve ammunition, 2 Polish "pineapple" hand grenades.
  • May 7, 1943:..We captured 4 pistols of various calibers and some stores of ammunition.
  • May 8, 1943:..We captured about 15 to 20 pistols of various calibers, considerable stores of ammunition for pistols and rifles, moreover a number of hand grenades, made in the former armament factories.
  • May 9, 1943:..Again we captured some pistols and hand grenades.
  • May 10, 1943:..Today, we again captured small arms and some ammunition.
  • May 11, 1943:..Considerable amounts of food were captured or secured, in order to make it more and more difficult for them to get necessary food...We captured several pistols, hand grenades, and ammunition.
  • May 13, 1943:..Booty: 6 pistols, 2 hand grenades, and some explosive charges.
  • May 14, 1943:..some pistols, among them one of 12-mm caliber, were captured. In one dugout inhabited by 100 persons, we were able to capture 2 rifles, 16 Pistols, some hand grenades and incendiary appliances. Of the bandits who resisted, some again wore German military uniform, German steel helmets and "knobelbecher." Apart from the carbines. we captured 60 rounds of German rifle ammunition...Booty: rifles, pistols and ammunition. Further, a number of incendiary bottles (Molotov cocktails).
  • May 15, 1943:.. We captured 4 pistols of larger calibers, 1 infernal machine with fuse, 10 kilograms of explosives, and a considerable amount of ammunition.
  • May 24, 1943:
Seven Polish rifles, one Russian and one German rifle, 59 pistols of various calibers, several hundred incendiary bottles, home-made explosives, infernal machines with fuses, a large amount of explosives and ammunition for weapons of all calibers, including some machine gun ammunition. Regarding the booty of arms, it must be taken into consideration that the arms themselves could in most cases not be captured, as the bandits and Jews would, before being arrested, throw them into hiding places or holes which could not be ascertained or discovered. The smoking out of the dug-out by our men, also often made the search for arms impossible. As the dug-outs had to be blown up at once, a search later on was out of the question.
So, the Jews were able to acquire firearms and other weapons despite Nazi "Gun Control". If they didn't get them prior to the uprising, they could have been able to have captured weapons from the defeated Nazis. Additionally support from the Polish Underground also provided the insurgents with a limited number of badly needed weapons and ammunition from its meager stocks. Jewish fighters from the Jewish Military Union (ŻZW) received only from the National Security Corps (PKB) underground police force: 2 heavy machine guns, 4 light machine guns, 21 submachine guns, 30 rifles, 50 pistols, and over 400 grenades. The Polish Resistance also disseminated information and appeals to help the Jews in the ghetto, both in Poland and by way of radio transmissions to the Allies.

The problem, the Nazi troops were far better armed and had the ability to resupply, which the Jews in the Ghetto were not.

The upshot:
3,000 Jews were killed in the ghetto during the uprising (some 6,000 among them were burnt alive or died from smoke inhalation). Of the remaining 50,000 residents, most were captured and shipped to concentration and extermination camps, in particular to Treblinka.

Germans 17 killed and 93 wounded.

Sometimes a heavily armed and determined opposition is just swept up and crushed — guns or no guns. And those who aren't prepared to fight are just crushed.

Despite your giving firearms a godlike quality,they cannot protect you in all circumstances. A firearm is useless against an enemy that is better trained and equipped: especially if that equipment includes armour, artillery, guided missiles, drones, etcetera.

Sorry to spoil your fun, but...

Wow, are the people I'm dealing with here members of the "The Armed Intelligentsia"?

Lead's neurotoxicity is really showing up in the level of their comments.

Not to mention I have to spoon feed these people concepts and they are unable to comprehend them.

The worst part of it is that they could do the research themselves, but for whatever reason are unable to do this.

The repetitive nature of these comments is also pretty tedious to boot.

Personally, I prefer for people to say things that are intelligent and interesting. That isn't what I'm seeing, with a few exceptions, but they are other lefties and the mods.

While we are under no obligation to publish comments, MikeB likes to publish them to get the discussion going. Dog Gone tells me that I am educating you, but I see inner city children who are far better at learning than the gunloonz.

So, have fun, comment away. I may respond if I see something that interests me, but I may also respond via a post and then not address the issue again.

But if this is "The Armed Intelligentsia",I'd hate to meet the truly stupid ones.

Riot-hit Reeves furniture store in Croydon resumes trading

The South London furniture store which suffered a devastating fire and was the image of the UK riots has reopened. Of course, the main store burned to the ground, but there was a smaller shop across the road where business has resumed.

Mr Reeves said: "The staff have been brilliant and the local community with their support and well wishes have really spurred us on.

Recalling the impact of the fire on the smaller store he said: "The whole front was scarred up, the windows were all broken... everything was sort of heat damaged.

"But we've all rallied around and cleaned up.

"We actually had the doors open a couple of days after the fire because we had just decided that there's an awful lot of interest and people will want to come down and have a look and we might as well open the doors and see if people want to buy things.

But customers could not get in as the area was cordoned off, he added.

The landmark store was burnt down on 8 August

Describing trading from a compact store he said: "We brought stock out of warehouses and really we just tried to make the best bits of the two shops into one shop because it is a considerably smaller area, but it does give us the opportunity to at least keep trading while we try to find out what's happening with the old site.

"Its just a brilliant spirit and they (customers) have just encompassed the whole thing by coming in and buying."

Someone has been charged with causing the store fire.

Riot-hit Reeves furniture store in Croydon resumes trading

Armed Aggression Disguised as DGU

Last week over at The Truth About Guns, Robert asked the following question.

Have You Ever Felt You Needed A Gun and Didn’t Have One?

Commenter Josh offered this.

Within 5 minutes of getting off the bus at the station, a drunk and presumably cracked out homeless man came running at me swinging a 2×4. I was sick, tired, and in a place i’d never been. Adrenaline started pumping, and I started thinking about how I was gonna avoid getting hit in the head with this 2×4.

When the guy got about 3ft from me, he just stopped dead in his tracks, laughed, burped, and walked off the otherway.

After reading a dozen similar stories, I responded.

Doesn’t the fact that you lived to talk about it indicate that in fact you didn’t need a gun? Doesn’t the fact that you and Robert and others are looking back on situations you all survived and admit that you wish you’d been armed, say something about your fear and paranoia and insecurity?

I think it does.

These are the worst kind of examples. These should be posted on my site as proof that you are paranoid. The ones you need here are the guys who were shot or killed when they were not carrying. Those would make your point for you. But what you’ve got here is quite the opposite.
In reflecting back on this exchange, I've taken it one step further. We all agreed that the ones who truly did have a need for a gun are dead and can't tell their tale. I guess that was some kind of reluctant acquiescence on their part although not one of the commenters or moderators said I was right or that I had a point.

The next logical question is,

What would have happened if you'd been armed?

Since we now know that every one of the past scary situations described was one in which no gun was needed for survival, we can conclude that ANY use of the gun would have been unnecessary and therefore criminal. That would be from simple brandishing to killing someone.

One more logical step: EVERY one of those cases in which the gun came out unnecessarily, would have been called a legitimate Defensive Gun Use. What else is a gun owner to do? It's not his fault when someone gets too close to him or scares him in some way. In describing it to the police afterwards, naturally he'd feel justified since he'd felt his life was in jeapardy.

Robert Farago calls his readers and commenters "The Armed Intelligentsia."  I feel there's good reason for that.  As a group they are intelligent and knowledgeable, they continually reinforce the importance of training and gun safety.  I've described them as "fanatical," which, I don't know if they realized it, was a compliment.

If among such superior examples of gun ownership, and I mean that sincerely, we have such a bleak picture of the uselessness of carrying a gun, imagine how much worse it is among the general gun-owning public.

Guns are bad news and concealed carry makes it worse.

What's your opinion?  Please leave a comment.

Soldier of Fortune on Militias

Following is the text of a sidebar to an article in the April, 1995, issue of Soldier of Fortune magazine, page 48, entitled "..necessary to the security of a free State...", by Mike Williams. The sidebar, by Wayne Anthony Ross, appears on page 52.

I make no claims as to the legal accuracy of this piece, but wanted to present the opinion given by Soldier of Fortune Magazine:

Join A Militia -- Break The Law?

Legal research on the subject of militias raises the question of their authority to organize. Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution of the United States provides that: "The Congress shall have the power ... To provide for calling forth the militia to execute the laws of the Union, suppress insurrections and repel invasions ... To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the militia, and for governing such part of them as may be employed in the service of the United States, reserving to the states respectively, the appointment of officers, and the authority of training the militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress."

The Second Amendment reads: "A well regulated militia being necessary [for] a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."

The Constitution, therefore, demonstrates that militias are a creature of the state, subject to being called forth by the U.S. government "to execute the laws of the Union..." This is bolstered by the wording of the Second Amendment which holds, "A well regulated militia being necessary [for] a Free State..." and by Article 1, Section 8, Subsection (16), which reserves to the states "the appointment of officers and the authority of training the militia..."

Title 10, U.S. Code, Section 311 further stipulates that the militia consists of all able-bodied males aged 17 to 45, both citizens and those who have declared their intent to become citizens, and of female citizens who are officers of the National Guard. It also specifies that the militia consists of two classes: the organized militia and the unorganized or reserve militia. Many states have similar statutes. Those citizens who apply, or are called up for service and are accepted by a state militia, are part of an organized militia. All others eligible under the law are members of the unorganized militia, and are subject to call up by the state.

Thus, while most citizens are members of the militia, and therefore have the right to keep and bear arms to respond to a call to assemble by lawful authority, the appointment of officers, and the training of militia members are the responsibility of the state. These militias that purport to support the Constitution, yet have appointed their own officers and conduct their own training without authority from the state, are therefore in apparent violation of Article 1, Section 8, Subsection 16 of the U.S. Constitution.

The Michigan Constitution provides in Article III, Section 4, that "The militia shall be organized, equipped and disciplined as provided by law." This "rump" organization has not been "organized, equipped and disciplined as provided by law." Instead private citizens, well-meaning though they may be, have organized, equipped and presumably disciplined themselves without any legal authority whatsoever.

Interesting enough, the state of Michigan, and a number of other states, already have organized militias other than the National Guard. In Michigan, this militia is known an the Michigan Emergency Volunteers. Other states call their organizations State Guards, State Military Reserves, State Militias or State Defense Forces. One wonders why this Michigan group doesn't simply join the authorized and organized Militia of Michigan.

Further evidence that states retain the power a govern and regulate militias can be found in American Jurisprudence: "...the state governments have the power to regulate or prohibit associations and meetings of the people .. and they also have the power to control and regulate the organization, drilling, and parading of military bodies and associations, except when such bodies or associations are authorized by the militia laws of the United States. The exercise of this power by the states is necessary to the public peace, safety, and good order. To deny the power would be to deny the right of the state to disperse assemblages organized for sedition and treason, and. the right to suppress armed mobs bent on riot and looting.

"Prohibiting any body of men, other than the regular organized militia and the regular troops of the United States, to associate themselves together as a military company or organization, or to drill or parade with arms without a proper license, is not violative of the federal Constitution."

In light of this guidance, states have enacted legislation regarding militia-type training. The California Penal Code Section 11460 states:

"(a) Any two or more persons who assemble as a paramilitary organization for the purpose of practicing with weapons shall be punished by imprisonment in the county jail for not more than one year or by a fine of not more than one thousand dollars ($1,000), or by both.

"As used in this subdivision, 'paramilitary organization' means an organization which is not an agency of the United States government or of the State of California, or which is not a private school meeting the requirements met forth in Section 12154 of the Education Code...

"(b)(I) Any person who teaches or demonstrates to any other person the use, application, or making of any firearms, explosive, or destructive device ... or any person who assembles with one or more persons. for the purpose of training with ... the use of any firearm ... with the intent to cause or further a civil disorder shall be punished..."

The Second Amendment should not be confused with the legality of citizens militias. The NRA, while supporting and defending the amendment, does not believe that the right to keep and bear arms is dependent upon membership in a militia, and has drafted this response:

"It is the NRA's view, based on law (Article 1, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution; Title 10, U.S. Code, Section 311(a)), court precedents, and legal historical interpretation, that all able-bodied persons, explicitly those between the ages of 17 and 45, are members of the federal unorganized militia, except members of the organized state guards ... the National Guards of the various states (which also serve as a part of the National Guard of the United States, a military reserve subject to nationalization by the President of the United States), and certain government officials. An "organized citizen militia" must be created under the Constitution itself and/or the laws of a state.

"Title 10, U.S.C., clearly affirms the existence of the citizen militia; it is little changed since the original Militia Act of 1792 (except for the addition in this century of recognition of the third type of militia, the federally supported National Guard, in addition to the enrolled and unenrolled militia).

"Further, the individual right to own firearms is guaranteed by the Constitution, but the right to own firearms is not at all dependent upon the militia clause. The militia clause of the Second Amendment merely adds to the reason for the right, which is a common law right rooted in the right of protection of self, family, and community.

"The Second Amendment guarantees an individual's right to arms; participation in a citizen militia organization does not make that right more valid nor any stronger."

-- Wayne Anthony Ross

Thursday, August 25, 2011

I fought the law!

Dennis v. United States, 341 U.S. 494 (1951)

Dennis v. United States, 341 U.S. 494 (1951) puts paid to the insurrectionist theory:

The obvious purpose of the statute is to protect existing Government, not from change by peaceable, lawful and constitutional means, but from change by violence, revolution and terrorism. That it is within the power of the Congress to protect the Government of the United States from armed rebellion is a proposition which requires little discussion. Whatever theoretical merit there may be to the argument that there is a “right” to rebellion against dictatorial governments is without force where the existing structure of the government provides for peaceful and orderly change. We reject any principle of governmental helplessness in the face of preparation for revolution, which principle, carried to its logical conclusion, must lead to anarchy. No one could conceive that it is not within the power of Congress to prohibit acts intended to overthrow the Government by force and violence. The question with which we are concerned here is not whether Congress has such power, but whether the means which it has employed conflict with the First and Fifth Amendments to the Constitution.

What? No mention of the Second Amendment in that passage??? Again, the Second Amendment cannot be construed as allowing insurrection, treason, or any other“change by violence, revolution and terrorism”.

More Libertarian or Anarchy

Is it patriotic to wish for and work for the dissolution of government?

Yet it is a theme that is stated loudly and clearly at Tea Party rallies and GOP candidates' speeches. These are sentiments we are hearing from so-called "conservatives":

  • The government is evil.
  • The government is bad.
  • The government is our enemy.

That's the type of thing that Anarchists say. Anarchists hate statism and want to smash the State.

Is this really Conservativism, or is something far more sinister going on?

Richard Nixon a liberal?

What is the US becoming? Somehow the topic of US health care came up at dinner last night. It seems that Richard Nixon proposed a comprehensive health care plan in 1974!:

Now it is time that we move forward again in still another critical area: health care.

Without adequate health care, no one can make full use of his or her talents and opportunities. It is thus just as important that economic, racial and social barriers not stand in the way of good health care as it is to eliminate those barriers to a good education and a good job.

Three years ago, I proposed a major health insurance program to the Congress, seeking to guarantee adequate financing of health care on a nationwide basis. That proposal generated widespread discussion and useful debate. But no legislation reached my desk.
--Richard Nixon

I found it worrying when I watched a documentary and saw some of the programs Nixon brought about, such as the Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act, which would now be decried as socialist!

What is going on with United States Politics?

Where do gun rights come from anyway?

If the Civic rights model says that the Second Amendment only addresses the Congressional power to Arm the militia granted under Article I, Section 8, Clause 16, is there such a thing as gun rights under that interpretation of the Constitution?

Yes, there is, but it doesn't arise from the Second Amendment. It comes from State Constitutions.

I was putting off this post, but Fat White Man made the comment:

Ohio has it right in our state preemption law:

9.68 Right to bear arms - challenge to law.
(A) The individual right to keep and bear arms, being a fundamental individual right that predates the United States Constitution and Ohio Constitution, and being a constitutionally protected right in every part of Ohio, the general assembly finds the need to provide uniform laws throughout the state regulating the ownership, possession, purchase, other acquisition, transport, storage, carrying, sale, or other transfer of firearms, their components, and their ammunition.
As I said in response, he's on the right track here by citing state law.

Under the Constitutional system, The Bill of Rights is a baseline. States can guarantee broader rights than that granted by the US Constitution. States cannot offer less protection than that guaranteed by the Bill of Rights. Thus, we have the Second Amendment, which is narrowly interpreted for the right to apply to the Militia:

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.
One of the legal maxims I keep mentioning is Expressio unius est exclusio alterius (The express mention of one thing excludes all others) : Items not on the list are assumed not to be covered by the statute. That is, you can't infer that a statute, or other legal writing, applies to something if it is not specifically mentioned somewhere in that writing. (So keep looking in the Constitution for "self-Defence").

On the other hand, state provisions explicitly allow for non-militia uses. Examples:

Colorado: The right of no person to keep and bear arms in defense of his home, person and property, or in aid of the civil power when thereto legally summoned, shall be called in question; but nothing herein contained shall be construed to justify the practice of carrying concealed weapons. Art. II, § 13 (enacted 1876, art. II, § 13).[Self-defense right explicitly protected.]

Connecticut: Every citizen has a right to bear arms in defense of himself and the state. Art. I, § 15 (enacted 1818, art. I, § 17). The original 1818 text came from the Mississippi Constitution of 1817.[Self-defense right explicitly protected.]

Delaware: A person has the right to keep and bear arms for the defense of self, family, home and State, and for hunting and recreational use. Art. I, § 20 (enacted 1987).[Self-defense right explicitly protected.]

Georgia: The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed, but the General Assembly shall have power to prescribe the manner in which arms may be borne. Art. I, § 1, ¶ VIII (enacted 1877, art. I, § XXII).
1865: "A well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed." Art. I, § 4.
1868: "A well-regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free people, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed; but the general assembly shall have power to prescribe by law the manner in which arms may be borne." Art. I, § 14.[Self-defense right protected, McCoy v. State, 157 Ga. 767 (1924).]

Idaho: The people have the right to keep and bear arms, which right shall not be abridged; but this provision shall not prevent the passage of laws to govern the carrying of weapons concealed on the person nor prevent passage of legislation providing minimum sentences for crimes committed while in possession of a firearm, nor prevent the passage of legislation providing penalties for the possession of firearms by a convicted felon, nor prevent the passage of any legislation punishing the use of a firearm. No law shall impose licensure, registration or special taxation on the ownership or possession of firearms or ammunition. Nor shall any law permit the confiscation of firearms, except those actually used in the commission of a felony. Art. I, § 11 (enacted 1978).
1889: "The people have the right to bear arms for their security and defense; but the Legislature shall regulate the exercise of this right by law." Art. I, § 11.

Illinois: Subject only to the police power, the right of the individual citizen to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. Art. I, § 22 (enacted 1970).[Self-defense right protected, Kalodimos v. Village of Morton Grove, 470 N.E.2d 266, 273 (Ill. 1984).]

Indiana: The people shall have a right to bear arms, for the defense of themselves and the State. Art. I, § 32 (enacted 1851, art. I, § 32).
1816: That the people have a right to bear arms for the defense of themselves and the State, and that the military shall be kept in strict subordination to the civil power. Art. I, § 20. [Self-defense right protected, Kellogg v. City of Gary, 562 N.E.2d 685, 694 (Ind. 1990).]

Louisiana: The right of each citizen to keep and bear arms shall not be abridged, but this provision shall not prevent the passage of laws to prohibit the carrying of weapons concealed on the person. Art. I, § 11 (enacted 1974).
1879: "A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be abridged. This shall not prevent the passage of laws to punish those who carry weapons concealed." Art. 3.

Get the idea?

State provisions explicitly mention personal uses of firearms, but don't confuse the Second Amendment with State Constitutional provisions.

We have this quote showing a difference between use for the common defence and personal uses from ratification times:

The Bill of Rights secures to the people the use of arms in common defense; so that, if it be an alienable right, one use of arms is secured to the people against any law of the legislature. The other purposes for which they might have been used in a state of nature, being a natural right, and not surrendered by the constitution, the people still enjoy, and [may?] continue to do so till the legislature shall think fit to interdict. “Scribble Scrabble,” Cumberland Gazette, January 26, 1787; “Scribble-Scrabble,” ibid., December 8, 1786

The right to keep and carry firearms was one of the issues in Commonwealth v. Selfridge (1806), the most important murder trial of the early republic that began to change the need to retreat in self-defence situations. In this case, Selfridge’s lawyer conceded that “every man has a right to possess military arms” and “to furnish his rooms with them.” Yet the defense also recognized that the ownership and the use of non-military weapons were not constitutionally protected. Rather than assert a constitutional claim, the defense framed a common law argument on behalf of his client. Selfridge’s attorney argued “there is no law written or unwritten, no part of the statute or common law of our country which denies to a man the right of possessing or wearing any kind of arms.” Given this fact, it was indisputable that “in every free society a man is at liberty to do that which the law does not interdict, nor can the doing that which is not forbidden be imputed as a crime.” Therefore, the acquittal in the Selfridge case made perfect legal sense since Selfridge had not broken any law.
Trial of Thomas O. Selfridge, attorney at law, before the Hon. Isaac Parker, Esquire, for killing Charles Austin, on the public exchange, in Boston, August 4, 1806 by Thomas O. Selfridge, Published by Russell and Cutler, Belcher and Armstrong, and Oliver and Munroe (Boston) 1807.

Likewise, there are other instances where it is made clear that States legislatures could regulate firearms for personal uses:

The legislature, therefore, have a right to prohibit the wearing or keeping weapons dangerous to the peace and safety of the citizens, and which are not usual in civilized warfare, or would not contribute to the common defense. The right to keep and bear arms for the common defence is a great political right. It respects the citizens on the one hand and the rulers on the other. And although this right must be inviolably preserved, yet, it does not follow that the legislature is prohibited altogether from passing laws regulating the manner in which these arms may be employed.

To hold that the legislature could pass no law upon this subject, by which to preserve the public peace, and protect our citizens from the terror, which a wanton and unusual exhibition of arms might produce, or their lives from being endangered by desperadoes with concealed arms, would be to pervert a great political right to the worst of purposes, and to make it a social evil, of infinitely a greater extent to society, than would result from abandoning the right itself. Aymette v. State, 21 Tenn. (2 Hump.) 154 (1840).

Aymette is quite clear on the difference between the use of arms for Common defence and personal uses.

But don't look to the Second Amendment for your "gun rights" since that was one of the Tenth Amendment rights which was granted to the States.

So, McDonald v. Chicago gets it backwards by saying that the Second Amendment right should be incorporated to the States--It's the other way around.

State Constitutional provisions grant gun rights, not the other way around.

I should add that Article VI, Clause ii States:

This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.

That means The US Constitution is controlling law over state provisions.

Thus State Constitutions can explicitly provide greater "gun rights", but it is ultimately the US constitution prevails.

Schengen, Small arms treaty, and Heller

This is an ellaboration on my comment in The Filthy Lying NRA and Their Incredibly Slick Phone Operators

The UN Small Arms treaty sounds as if it would influence US firearms laws the same way that the Schengen Treaty influenced the Swiss firearms laws. The Schengen Agreements have created a borderless Schengen Area, which operates very much like a single state for international travel with border controls for travellers travelling in and out of the area, but with no internal border controls. Part of these changes was to harmonise laws in order to eliminate customs checks. One major change in the Swiss Firearms law is that Gun trade among individuals will require a valid weapon acquisition permit which is a radical restriction, from a Swiss point of view, that is assumed will undercut private gun trade dramatically.

The aim of a potential U.N. arms treaty is to combat the illicit international trade of small arms by "tightening regulation of, and setting international standards for, the import, export and transfer of conventional weapons" in order to "close gaps in existing regional and national arms export control systems that allow weapons to pass onto the illicit market." Even if such a treaty came to pass, U.S. rights and laws regarding the sale and ownership of small arms would still apply within the United States.

The problem is that the Supreme Court said that laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms were acceptable in Heller-McDonald. Additionally, Registration was acceptable as well. The only issue is whether the US would implement those Constitutionally acceptable restrictions.

I do like how the Snopes piece on this ended:

There is no "legal way around the 2nd Amendment" other than a further amendment to the Constitution that repeals or alters it, or a Supreme Court decision that radically reinterprets how the 2nd Amendment is to be applied.

I thought that already happened with Heller-McDonald.

The Mourning of a Hero


Dog mourns at casket of fallen Navy SEAL

Labrador retriever Hawkeye lays down with a sigh at funeral of his owner

By contributor
updated 2 hours 9 minutes ago 2011-08-25T13:54:58
Navy SEAL Jon Tumilson lay in a coffin, draped in an American flag, in front of a tearful audience mourning his death in Afghanistan. Soon an old friend appeared, and like a fellow soldier on a battlefield, his loyal dog refused to leave him behind.
Lisa Pembleton  /  Getty Images
Labrador retriever Hawkeye lays by the casket during the funeral of his owner,
Navy SEAL Jon Tumilson, 35, on August 19, 2011.
Tumilson was one of 38 killed on August 6 when a rocket-propelled grenade
took out a U.S. Chinook helicopter in Afghanistan.
Tumilson’s Labrador retriever, Hawkeye, was photographed lying by Tumilson’s casket in a heart-wrenching image taken at the funeral service in Tumilson’s hometown of Rockford, Iowa, earlier this week. Hawkeye walked up to the casket at the beginning of the service and then dropped down with a heaving sigh as about 1,500 mourners witnessed a dog accompanying his master until the end.
The photo was snapped by Tumilson’s cousin, Lisa Pembleton, and posted on her Facebook page in memory of the San Diego resident. Tumilson, 35, was one of 30 American troops, including 22 Navy SEALs, who were killed when a Taliban insurgent shot down a Chinook helicopter with a rocket-propelled grenade on Aug. 6.
“I felt compelled to take one photo to share with family members that couldn't make it or couldn't see what I could from the aisle,” Pembleton wrote on her Facebook page. “To say that he was an amazing man doesn't do him justice. The loss of Jon to his family, military family and friends is immeasurable.’’
Hawkeye was such a huge part of Tumilson’s life that Tumilson’s family followed the dog down the aisle as they entered the service in front of a capacity crowd in the gymnasium at the Rudd-Rockford-Marble Rock Community School. Hawkeye then followed Tumilson’s good friend, Scott Nichols, as Nichols approached the stage to give a speech. As Nichols prepared to memorialize his friend, Hawkeye dutifully laid down near the casket.
The youngest of three children, Tumilson had wanted to be a Navy SEAL since he was a teenager. Friends and his two older sisters remembered a fearless soldier, and a Power Point presentation was shown that illustrated Tumilson’s active life outside of the military, which included scuba diving, martial arts, and triathlons.
"If J.T. had known he was going to be shot down when going to the aid of others, he would have went anyway," friend Boe Nankivel said at the service.
“Your dreams were big and seemed impossible to nearly everyone on the outside," his sister, Kristie Pohlman, said at the service. "I always knew you'd somehow do what you wanted."
As for Hawkeye, the loyal Labrador will now be owned by Nichols, Tumilson’s friend.

This Is Possibly THE Creepiest Thing to Come Out of Events in Libya

Who would have thought Gadhafi would turn out to be a scrap-booker?  Of all the potential hobbies.....


In the ruins of Gadhafi's lair, rebels find album filled with photos of his 'darling' Condoleezza Rice

The ransacking of Moammar Gadhafi's compound is turning up some bizarre loot. Following on from the Libyan leader's eccentric fashion accessories and his daughter's golden mermaid couch, the latest discovery is a photo album filled with page after page of pictures of Condoleezza Rice.

Ammar Abd Rabbo / Abaca
Rebels examine a photo album of former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, which was found in Moammar Gadhafi's Bab al-Aziziya compound in Tripoli, Libya, on August 24.
The former U.S. Secretary of State paid a visit to Tripoli in 2008 during a brief interlude that saw Gadhafi begin to be welcomed back into the international fold. As Jason Ukman of the Washington Post wrote on Wednesday, "it was only three short years ago that Rice shared a late-night dinner with Gaddafi to break the Ramadan fast, three short years ago that the United States and Libya were celebrating what was to be a new chapter in their relations."
In a 2007 interview with al-Jazeera television, Gadhafi spoke of Rice in glowing terms. "I support my darling black African woman," he said. "I admire and am very proud of the way she leans back and gives orders to the Arab leaders ... Leezza, Leezza, Leezza. ... I love her very much. I admire her and I'm proud of her because she's a black woman of African origin."

Mahmud Turkia / AFP-Getty Images, file
Moammar Gadhafi poses with Condoleezza Rice prior to a meeting in Tripoli on September 5, 2008. Rice's was the first such visit in more than half a century, marking a new chapter in Washington's reconciliation with the former enemy state.
AP photographer Sergey Ponomarev was with the rebels as they flicked through the album in the Bab al-Aziziya complex on Wednesday. "There were lots of rebels celebrating their victory," Ponomarev said. "It was still unsafe - loyalists were shelling the compound from time to time - but rebels were celebrating the seizure of the Gadhafi compound. They believe the victory is in their hands. Some of them even brought their children to the scene."

Sergey Ponomarev / AP
Rebel fighters look through a photo album they found inside Moammar Gadhafi's compound on August 24.

The Flat-Earthers are Right

via The Futility closet

“If a projectile be fired from a rapidly moving body in an opposite direction to that in which the body is going, it will fall short of the distance at which it would reach the ground if fired in the direction of motion. Now, since the Earth is said to move at the rate of nineteen miles in a second of time, ‘from west to east,’ it would make all the difference imaginable if the gun were fired in an opposite direction. But … there is not the slightest difference, whichever way the thing may be done.”

Liberal Viewer on Rick Perry

Liberal Viewer on Rick Santorum

TS's dilemma

Speaking about surplusage, why bother with the second amendent when Article I, Section 8, Clause 16 of the constitution already grants congress the power to organize and arm the militia? Are you saying a whole amendment to the bill of rights is mere surplusage? Or is it completely separate from Article I, Section 8, Clause 16 and affirms an individual right of the citizens to keep and bear arms- which the aforementioned clause does not?
If the Second Amendment right "pre-exists the Constitution", then The Second Amendment is surplusage--Why have this right if everyone knew it exists?

If Article I, Section 8, Clause 16 has no effect--why have the Second Amendment since it would be surplusage?

Article I, Section 8, Clause 16 does not have effect--then it is surplusage.

Let me here call your attention to that part which gives the Congress power "to provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining the militia, and for governing such part of them as may be employed in the service of the United States--reserving to the states, respectively, the appointment of the officers, and the authority of training the militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress." By this, sir, you see that their control over our last and best defence is unlimited. If they neglect or refuse to discipline or arm our militia, they will be useless: the states can do neither--this power being exclusively given to Congress.--Patrick Henry, Virginia Ratifying Convention, 5 June 1788 Elliot 3:51--52

Note that Henry is specifically addressing Congress's Powers under Article I, Section 8, Clause 16 and mentions them in this quote.

But, it's a right of the people.

This is law, not math, not science, not philosophy--one uses the rules of legal construction, not the rules of other disciplines.

The Second Amendment only addresses the concern expressed by Patrick Henry: "If they (Congress) neglect or refuse to discipline or arm our militia".

BTW, if you are going to talk about Occam's razor, which is a principle that generally recommends, when faced with competing hypotheses that are equal in other respects, selecting the one that makes the fewest new assumptions.

This is the solution which gives you that answer.