Saturday, September 22, 2007
Thus, one views the film with a predetermined bias. We expect 'The Brave One' to extol the virtues of disarming ordinary citizens. Our expectation, however, is not met, although the film does indeed raise serious questions concerning issues such as self-defense, gun rights, and law enforcement.
Ultimately, however, the question is raised, how far can or should an ordinary citizen go in self-defense and in seeing justice served, when a system such as ours often deprives the citizens of both? And, at what point does such a pursuit disintegrate into a vigilantism that borders dangerously on criminality?
The film provides no answers to these questions. However, it is no inconsequential matter that the movie's two protagonists feel forced to act outside the law in bringing justice to inhuman and brutal excuses for humanity.
If Foster's statements on gun rights and self-defense were intended to promote the movie and boost attendance at theaters, then we will see if her plan worked. If my viewing of the film is any indication of viewer interest, then the movie is in trouble in spite of the fact that it topped the box office last weekend. The theater was two-thirds empty.
Yet 'The Brave One' is, indeed, an excellent film and worthy of a viewing. Foster gives a riveting performance, one of the best of her career. And the story-line and plot of the film hit a common nerve in modern society--the danger of gangs of criminals in our streets, the seeming inability of law enforcement to adequately address that danger, and the utter helplessness that many citizens feel in the wake of criminal violence that often leads them to take matters into their own hands out of sheer desperation.
It is to be hoped that the film can garner a widespread viewing if for no other reason than the issues it raises.
If, on the other hand, Foster the private citizen actually believes that ordinary citizens should be banned from exercising self-defense with firearms, then her starring role in this film is yet one more example of Hollywood hypocrisy, i.e., starring in a film that seems to grant a pass to extreme measures on the part of ordinary citizens with firearms while personally denouncing the right of citizens to possess those weapons.
We have seen this phenomenon many times before from the likes of Barbra Streisand, Michael Moore, Sean Penn, and many more, who will gladly and willingly accept the megabucks of stardom, provided by good old American capitalism, while personally denouncing the American form of government and advocating for Fidel Castro, Hugo Chavez, and others who believe capitalism to be the embodiment of evil.
If capitalism is so evil, then why are such actors accepting the loot that is gained by employing the principles of capitalism to fund, stage, film, and market their movies to the public? Do they not realize that were it not for free market economics and the principles of marketing--all products of capitalism--they would likely be living in poverty or at least working each day for an average living like most Americans?
A common sentiment expressed among those of us who have studied this phenomenon for years is that such persons are the victims of their own unconscious elitist mindset which holds that what they do as America's premier darlings of film is OK for them but is not OK for the rest of society.
Thus, Streisand, Moore, Penn, and the rest of the like-minded comrades against capitalism can bask in luxury and lavish wastefulness while at the same time attempting to put a heavy guilt-trip on the local soccer moms for driving Chevy Tahoes or Ford Expeditions.
It is certainly not clear as to Foster's true motivation for her words about self-defense and guns prior to the release of 'The Brave One.' But one thing is for sure, whether she intended to do so or not, her comments gained the movie tons of great publicity, compliments of American capitalism.
Friday, September 21, 2007
The War on Guns has breaking news today about 2 students being shot at Delaware State University this morning, the result of which was a complete lock-down of the campus. Not surprisingly, the University has a 'no guns' policy:
The War on Guns also reports that apparently Arnold has neither signed nor vetoed the gun microstamping bill in California, so this is a good time for a surge of emails and phone calls:
Rudy Giuliani will speak before the NRA today. He says he plans to 'clarify his views on guns' in a speech to the group to be delivered today:
In case you missed it, Mike McCarville has the results of a new Rasmussen poll on the current political debates conducted by both Parties:
A Keyboard and a .45 reports the latest update on the negligent discharge of a firearm at a Jewish Synagogue:
Alphecca comments on Hillary Clinton's refusal to condemn the actions of Moveon.org in denigrating the character of General Petraeus:
Pamela Geller at Atlas Shrugs says that despite President Bush's insistence that 'we are fighting terrorists over in Iraq so we won't have to fight them here,' the extremist terrorist wing of Islam is right here in America, right now, moving among us. And she has the facts to prove it:
Red's Trading Post says that the ATF is making scarce an article on how to pass an inspection of a gun shop, even though they were once recommending the article:
Say Uncle has a new update on the Colt CCO who was body-slammed by a police officer for legally carrying a concealed weapon:
The Bitch Girls report on the John McCain-Rudy Giuliani war of words at the meeting of the National Rifle Association:
Sharp as a Marble shows us an often overlooked reason why armed robbery is not a good idea:
Snow Flakes in Hell points to an update on HR 2640, via Bitter Bitch, which apparently has stalled due to an added amendment that has Democrats arguing among themselves:
Armed and Safe also weighs in on Democratic in-fighting concerning HR 2640:
Nicki at The Liberty Zone provides more information on 'The Joyce Foundation' which has bought off the International Police Chiefs Association:
Traction Control has the ominous news that 3000 National Guard troops are going to be removed from the southern border (so much for 'safeguarding our borders'):
Xavier Thoughts has a good report on his son. He is doing great after having surgery yesterday:
Cameron Bailey points to yet another tragic story of police power run amok:
The Volokh Conspiracy gives us an example of the supposed 'academic open-mindedness' on America's top university campuses. It seems that 'open-mindedness' closes shut tight when it involves someone outside the extremist leftwing:
Tamara K. over at A View from the Porch provides an assessment of Rudy Giuliani's chances in the South if he is the Republican nominee:
My favorite intellectual, Dr. Walter Williams, publishes his latest syndicated column today, and it is a MUST-read, entitled, 'Stupid, Ignorant, or Biased?':
We at The Liberty Sphere, missing no opportunity to keep sly and stealthy politicians on their toes, have designated Hillary Clinton as 'Hillary the Hutt,' the female version of the Star Wars character 'Jabba the Hutt.' Hillary's reference to Vice-President Dick Cheney as 'Darth Vader' prompted the designation.
Here is The Liberty Sphere's original article:
With each passing day the dirty money scandal revolving around Hillary the Hutt and Norman Hsu, the Democrats' equivalent to Jack Abramoff, grows deeper. But you would never know it by listening exclusively to mainstream media news sources, which to this day have given only scant attention to the scandal.
This is in stark contrast to the Jack Abramoff scandal involving a few Republican lawmakers, which dominated the mainstream media news outlets for weeks.
Thursday we learned that Norman Hsu, who illegally bankrolled dozens of major Clinton donors, is facing charges in New York in a $60 million dollar 'Ponzi scheme' and engaging in widespread campaign finance violations.
A 'Ponzi scheme' is the practice of setting up a phony business to serve as the engine from which to raise millions of dollars for political campaigns. In Hsu's case, it was a phony apparel business in New York.
Hsu pressured the investors in his business to donate funds to various candidates of his choice, and then asked them to pressure their families and friends to make similar donations.
Another such business set up by Hsu involved a Madison Avenue private equity fund. According to the Wall Street Journal, investors in the fund were asked to make donations to the Presidential campaign of Hillary Rodham Clinton.
Sources close to the case told the Wall Street Journal that, in spite of the fact that the private equity fund was not named specifically in the case against Hsu in New York, the fund is in all likelihood 'Source Financing Investors' which is managed by Joel Rosenman, one of the organizers of the Woodstock Rock Music Festival in 1969.
The Journal also reports that Rosenman and Hsu have a long-term business relationship.
In short, these schemes were set up so that individual contributors could donate to the campaigns of Hillary Clinton and other Democratic candidates without a penny coming out of their pockets. The donors would be reimbursed from Hsu's stash of illegal cash.
According to federal law, it is illegal to donate to a political campaign in someone else's name, which is exactly what Hsu is charged with doing.
It goes without saying that all of this is adding up to one big legal problem for Hillary the Hutt and husband Bill 'Cigars' Clinton.
According to astronomers, Neptune's southern pole is heating up to 40 degrees warmer than the rest of the planet.
Obviously greenhouse gases are to blame. After all, the leftist political movement known as 'the environmentalist movement' has blamed man-made carbon-based greenhouse gases for the climate change observed on earth.
But there are no greenhouse gases on Neptune. So what on earth...err, Neptune...could be the cause of such warming?
You guessed it. That big yellow ball that provides the vast majority of the heat experienced in our solar system is the cause of Neptune's warming at its southern tip.
Apparently Neptune's 'antarctic summer' lasts for 40 years as the southern tip of the planet faces the sun. This produces a dramatic increase in temperatures, even that far away in the solar system.
A 40-degree hike in temps is nothing to sneeze at. For example, if Antarctica were to experience a 40-degree hike in temps during its summer season, we truly would be facing a major, worldwide catastrophic event.
Just be glad you are not on Neptune to warm up at its southern tip. With average temperatures on the planet hovering at around 350 degrees below zero, a 40-degree warm up will still not be enough to keep you from going into the deep freeze.
The year was 1947 in the Deep South. A grocer/music store owner/radio personality in Pensacola, Florida by the name of J.G. Whitfield decided to fulfill a dream and start a singing group, which he called, 'The Gospel Melody Quartet.'
'Southern Gospel Music' as it is called today had been around since the 1920s with fans from the Southeast to Texas, and all the states in between. This unique genre of music was born and bred in the southern portion of the United States, and its popularity was confined almost exclusively to churches. But little did J.G. Whitfield know that what he was about to do would make music history and propel 'quartet music,' as aficionados call it, into the TV era.
Music promoters across the Southeast, the Deep South, and the Southwest would introduce Whitfield's quartet to the stage by saying, 'And now give a big welcome to those boys from Florida, with sand in their shoes and a song in their hearts, the Gospel Melody Quartet!'
'The boys from Florida' stuck in Whitfield's mind as a major calling card in those days. And thus, one day he walked into the quartet office in Pensacola and declared to the members of the group, 'Boys, from now on we are officially The Florida Boys Quartet.'
And the rest, as they say, is history. The Florida Boys were on the very first gospel concert promoted in New York City in Carnegie Hall in 1963. The were the first group signed to an exclusive gospel label called 'Canaan Records' in 1964. Canaan, which was a subsidiary of the mammoth Word Records out of Waco, Texas, was at one time owned by the music industry giant Arista Records in California--a major secular record company.
This group was no backwoods truckload of hicks from the Deep South who couldn't carry a tune. To the contrary, these guys appeared more than once on NBC's Today Show, the Grand Ole Opry, Country Music TV's Crook and Chase, the National Christian Booksellers' Convention, and in nearly every major musical arena in the U.S. and the world.
In 1973 the Florida Boys were invited by the Israeli government to perform in a series of concerts throughout the nation of Israel. They sang before packed concert houses along with three other major groups, The Thrasher Brothers, the Downings, and the Blackwood Brothers.
The Florida Boys were among the first of a handful of Gospel Quartets to have their own syndicated television show with a sponsor in the early 1960s. That show, called 'The Gospel Song Shop,' was sponsored by the Chattanooga Medicine Company and was the forerunner of the history-making 'Gospel Singing Jubilee,' which became such a widespread success that at one time it was shown in every major TV market in America from 1964 until 1980.
As hosts for The Gospel Singing Jubilee, the Florida Boys welcomed to television as their special guests all of the major groups in Gospel Music in the course of time. The Oak Ridge Boys (before they became a country music group), the Blackwood Brothers, Hovie Lister and the Statesmen Quartet, the Cathedral Quartet, J.D. Sumner and the Stamps Quartet (J.D. was once listed in the Guinness Book as the lowest bass vocalist in the world), the Speer Family, the Prophets Quartet, and the Lefevres (which was started by Mylon Lefevre's parents) were some of the icons The Florida Boys brought to TV.
Through the years the Florida Boys were joined by other groups as co-hosts of the Jubilee, such as the Happy Goodman Family, the Dixie Echoes, the Couriers, the Inspirations, and the Hinsons.
On any given weekend, at any number of venues in the southern portion of the U.S., one could see these groups in person on all of the major concert stages in that area of the country. The Florida Boys were always at the forefront of these concerts as the only group to sustain continuous popularity for 60 years.
This year, however, marks the end of the line for this beloved group of Christian singers. The Florida Boys are retiring after 60 years in full-time quartet singing. Three of the quartet's members, Les Beasley, Glen Allred, and Derrell Stewart, have been with the group for over 50 years. The original members of the group from 1947 are all deceased, including founder J.G. Whitfield.
Glen Allred has the senior status with the Florida Boys, having sung baritone for the group since 1952. Allred began his career with the Oak Ridge Boys and played on the Grand Ole Opry back in the early 50s. Shortly thereafter he joined the Florida Boys and has been recognized by his peers in the industry as THE epitome of a quartet baritone.
Les Beasley, manager and lead vocalist for the group, was the driving force behind the Florida Boys' success. Beasley's expertise as a business manager and promoter gained for the Florida Boys a key component of success in any genre of music--the spotlight and recognition of the movers and shakers among promoters, publicists, retailers, and recording execs.
And then there was the crowd-pleasing showman, pianist Derrell Stewart, who always had a smile and who always wore his trademark red socks.
Through the years these three beloved performers presented a vocal quartet that included various personnel; bass vocalists such as Gene McDonald, Buddy Liles, Billy Todd, and George Younce; and tenors such as Harold Reed, Coy Cook, Tommy Atwood, Laddie Cain, and Jerry Trammell.
Despite the personnel changes through the years with the bass and tenor positions, Les, Glen, and Derrell always managed to put on the stage a quality quartet that pleased generations of fans all across the country.
They will be sorely missed. But after 50-plus years of being on the road, they deserve to park the tour bus and stay home with family.
Here's to the Florida Boys for 60 wonderful years of memories, music, laughter and tears, and 'the sweetest music this side of heaven.'
For a pictorial history of this legendary Gospel Quartet, click here:
For photos of The Florida Boys' final performance at the National Quartet Convention last week, click here:
Thursday, September 20, 2007
Images courtesy of A Human Right.
Focusing on guns and politics, here is today's Second Amendment News Roundup:
The Bitch Girls blog on the question, when is a gun not a gun?:
Say Uncle provides an update on the Colt CCO who was body slammed by a police officer for lawfully carrying a concealed weapon:
Say Uncle also says that sales of those 'Triangle of Death' t-shirts he had manufactured are not going well, to say the least. Now, get on over there to Say Uncle, buy one of those t-shirts, and wear it proudly:
David Hardy at Of Arms and the Law reports that the Joyce Foundation has been 'buying off' various organizations. Now it seems they have bought the International Association of Chiefs of Police:
Nicki at The Liberty Zone provides a stirring excerpt from her autobiography, which describes how she came to cherish the right to keep and bear arms. My friends, if ever there were something you need to read, it is this:
Nicki also provides this warning concerning the ominous Philadelphia District Attorney, Lynne Abraham:
Wow. The War on Guns is reporting the DC has backed off its position that the 2nd Amendment is not an individual right and is now propounding the concept that a handgun ban does not violate the Amendment so long as citizens can own other guns:
The War on Guns also has this nightmare scenario that shows the consequences of gun free schools:
In addition, the War on Guns posts a disturbing bit of evidence from the DOJ that documenting gun purchases by persons of Arab descent is a violation of their civil rights, but NOT a violation of others' rights (why am I not surprised?):
Snow Flakes in Hell has some great comments today on Rudy Giuliani and the NRA. Read with an open mind and THINK!:
Armed and Safe says that great progress has been made on pro-Second Amendment counties in Illinois (the counties are passing resolutions affirming the 2nd Amendment to counter the Chicago-area gun-grab):
Blogonomicon posts a vintage Marlin gun ad from the 1940s....neat!:
Red's Trading Post has a MUST-read today. Long-time agents of the BATFE, who once may have been 'Mr. Nice Guy' for gun-dealers, are now following orders from above and are seeking to shut down gun shops. Read it all here:
Sharp as a Marble writes about a school teacher left defenseless against her abusive husband, on whom she had a restraining order, because of the school's gun-free policy:
Traction Control issues an urgent alert to stop the 'Dream Act,' the backdoor, under-the-table method Senators have devised to resurrect the 'Immigration Reform-Amnesty' measure that was defeated:
Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership has the full scoop on the raid on Red's Trading Post:
Mike McCarville reports that a new Zogby-Reuters poll shows that public approval for Congress is down to a mere 11 percent. That's ELEVEN percent...the lowest in history. President Bush's approval stands at 29%:
McCarville also says that today U.S. Senator Jim Inhofe, R-Oklahoma, minced no words in ripping into Moveon.org and expressing support for General Petraeus:
The editors of National Review, the great publication founded by William F. Buckley, Jr., have an editorial on Hillary Clinton's national healthcare proposal:
World Net Daily is reporting that Republican Presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee won a significant straw poll:
Alphecca points to some common sense concerning gun rights and the state of New Jersey:
Front Sight, Press gives us a peek into the fantasyland in which many antis live:
My friends, it's time to take a break from guns and politics in order to offer a prayer for one of our own. Xavier requests our prayers for him and his son today. His son is having surgery. You got it, buddy!:
Unbelievable. Simply unbelievable. John Lott says that the Washington Post, in responding to a statement by Fred Thompson, actually claims that the Soviet Union lost more soldiers in fighting for other people's liberty than any other nation on earth. Damn. You wanna run that by me again?:
Michelle Malkin is reporting that the plot thickens in the saga of the Hillary Clinton-Norman Hsu dirty money scandal. Hsu now faces charges in New York:
Malkin also says that the vote on the so-called 'Dream Act'--another amnesty bill--will take place TOMORROW in the Senate. She also has an update on which side the Senators will vote:
Gun Law News reports an update in the Heller DC case and provides a link to more info. Go check it out:
As most of you know by now, my favorites are Duncan Hunter and Fred Thompson. But this sort of makes me want to vote for Ron Paul. Enjoy:
It occurred to me in contemplating such a comparison that perhaps Mrs. Clinton could be 'Hillary the Hutt,' a female version of the obnoxious, evil blob in the Star Wars films by the name of 'Jabba the Hutt.'
The fictional slug-like alien is a crime lord and gangster who employs a plethora of goons, hit-men, body-guards, smugglers, and other criminals to operate his massive empire of corruption.
Are we starting to get the picture?
Darth Vader Cheney vs. Hillary the Hutt.
Perhaps George Lucas could make this into a film. I would go see it.
First, it is important that we steer the nation back to the Constitution as a liberating set of ideas penned by those who longed to be free from oppression, coercion, and tyranny. Far from being an antiquated set of beliefs that restrict and limit human behavior, the Constitution's central focus is on the expansion of liberty.
Education in the home and in our schools is essential to the rediscovery of the Constitution as a liberating document.
Second, in light of the general principle of the expansion of liberty, we must affirm the right of individual citizens to make their own choices although some of those choices may not align with our personal preferences or beliefs.
For example, non-smokers certainly have a right to clean air around them, but smokers also have a right to smoke. This means that non-smokers must stand for the rights of smokers to do their thing in smoking areas, in their homes, and in other public places, as long as non-smokers are afforded a reasonable amount of smoke free air.
The same principle applies to the issue of coupling. Decisions regarding romantic preferences are personal and must be protected. Allowing a gay couple to have a civil union that is recognized legally is no threat to marriage.
For example, the fact that I am a heterosexual male who is attracted to the opposite sex in no way forces me to prevent same-sex coupling in order to somehow 'protect my manhood' or to 'protect marriage.' My manhood is fully intact no matter what gay persons do. And marriage between a man and a woman will survive even if gay couples are allowed legally recognized unions.
If we are to maintain liberty, we MUST safeguard personal habits and choices even if they may appear strange or inappropriate for us.
Third, we must keep conservative members of the religious community on board with us by affirming the right to religious expression in the public arena. If we believe in the unfettered, unobstructed right to bear arms, for example, then that same principle must apply to ALL of the rights enumerated in the Constitution.
Religious conservatives need to know that we value their beliefs and their contributions to the political process. If they feel devalued or used, they will either stay home on election day or make a stupid mistake by voting for a purveyor of anti-freedom in protest.
Deeply spiritual people of various stripes have blazed a trail for liberty in this nation. These honorable persons learned from the Puritans that we cannot limit freedom. Hindsight shows the folly of the Puritan experience of coming to America for liberty only to turn right around and limit religious liberty for their detractors.
Fourth, we must return to the original Constitutional principle that America's defense must be exactly what the word denotes, i.e., defense and not offense. Outside of World Wars I and II, America's involvement in foreign adventures has tended to result in disaster.
Are there exceptions to this principle? Of course. There are times when it is absolutely necessary to involve ourselves on the world stage when the alternative would be mass genocide and broad-scaled tyranny, such as the prospects of a Hitler-dominated Europe.
Fifth, we must stress the concept of personal empowerment over dependence. Personal empowerment is a liberating process of being in control of one's destiny, one's decisions, one's life. Dependence, on the other hand, is serfdom and slavery.
Americans must be shown that dependence on government is the ultimate slavery. The highest example of liberty is when an individual lives with the knowledge that ultimately he/she is his/her own guardian and master.
In addition to the fact that this principle will guide the way to our deciding what is truly necessary in government and what is not, this principle will keep taxes and big government in check.
Sixth, with mounting problems facing us from globalization, climate change, border security, immigration, terrorism, and the like, we must take a 'can-do' attitude to each of these threats. Americans built the Panama Canal. We invented air travel. We invented mass production of autos using the assembly line. We were the first to put a man on the Moon.
If we could take each of these significant giant leaps in human progress, then there is no doubt that American ingenuity will lead the way to significant developments in emissions-free travel, safe nuclear energy that includes missile shields, personal devices that detect terrorist threats, and any number of further strides in technology.
Seventh, legal immigration must be affirmed and encouraged while illegal entry into the country must be stopped cold. Our complaint is not with Hispanics, Asians, or any other ethnic group. Those who are willing to come here legally and gain their citizenship according to our laws are to be welcomed with open arms. We need and appreciate all that they bring to our society in terms of manpower and technology.
But those who break our laws right off the bat by attempting to gain something for nothing are to be prosecuted severely. If it is so vitally important for a person in a foreign country to come to America to live and work, then the very least we should expect is an adherence to our laws, a knowledge of our language, customs, and culture, and an appreciation for our rich history as a beacon for liberty.
Illegal aliens have no business being in this country at all. Their behavior is an affront to every single immigrant who came here legally and went through the process of becoming citizens.
Naturally these seven components of a winning political strategy for the 21st century are only a start. There are many more issues to be considered.
I would hope that a dialogue could ensue concerning the precepts described here as well as other pertinent issues. I certainly do not claim the final word. But it would seem to me that these are the basic essentials, the bare necessities for a future in which liberty is cherished, valued, and protected.
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
Images courtesy of A Human Right.
Focusing on guns and politics, here is today's Second Amendment News Roundup:
Ryan Horsley reports that Red's Trading Post has been hit yet again with another audit by the BATFE. It is time for all of us to contact the Office of the Inspector General at the Department of Justice:
Say Uncle points to an FBI study that should be of interest to all of us:
Say Uncle also says that the 'pants-shittin'-hysterics' crowd has a new buzzword--'assault caliber handgun':
Sharp as a Marble has the quote of the day, and it's a good one:
Snow Flakes in Hell has good news today. One of the Bloomberg group's Mayors has been defeated in a re-election bid:
The Bitch Girls nail it with commentary about a student who finds out 'the awful truth' about military colleges:
The Bitch Girls also have some well-chosen words about Venezuela's Hugo Chavez:
In addition, the Bitch Girls post the list of speakers for the annual NRA gathering, and just wait 'till you see who's on the list!:
Cameron Bailey alerts us to a blogger who enumerates the many good reasons why advertisers should support blogs and blogging:
Oscar Poppa comments on the Barry Manilow-Elisabeth Hasselbeck flap at 'The View':
The War on Guns reports that Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon may be joining up with Bloomberg:
Nicki at The Liberty Zone provides commentary on the stupidity of politicians in ignoring criminals while banning guns:
JR at A Keyboard and a .45 is interested in opening a gun shop, and he needs advice from those who have experience in this endeavor:
Armed and Safe blogs about Rudy Giuliani's supposed change of heart on the 2nd Amendment:
Alphecca reports that Colt, manufacturer of firearms for consumers, and weapons for law enforcement and the military, has been hit with a heavy fine by OSHA:
Blogonomicon has a sad story from a fellow blogger. Being a dog-lover myself, I can readily identify with this. This blogger attempted to adopt a dog but was denied because 'he has children under the age of 12.' The result was that the dog was killed by SPCA. Read the details here:
John Lott answers the question as to who gives more to political campaigns--the NRA, or Moveon.org?
U.S. Senators are now trying to resurrect the immigration reform bill, that met an overwhelming defeat due to public outrage, by introducing its provisions bit by bit. This is nothing but pure amnesty for lawbreakers, and only 18 Senators have committed to vote NO. Michelle Malkin has the details:
Our favorite intellectual, Dr. Walter Williams, has this MUST-read entitled, 'Insulting Blacks':
The website 'ATF Abuse' posts an interesting case in which the Supreme Court ruled that ATF agents could be personally liable for violating a person's Constitutional rights in an official investigation:
Growing up in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains gave me a unique perspective on the world, for good or ill. Most of it, I will be quick to say, has been for good.
The values of mountain and Piedmont folk in the Carolinas, Virginia, Tennessee, and Georgia are solid as a rock and time-honored. Faith, family, honor, respect, courtesy, tradition are all words that describe this area of the country.
Part of the religious faith of evangelical Christianity, which runs deep in this neck of the woods, has to do with the 'the end of time,' or as theologians would put it, 'the parousia.'
Many Christians believe that at or near the end of time the forces of evil will take over the world in the name of peace, goodwill, and prosperity. Fooled into believing the rhetoric of these purveyors of hate and evil, the masses will help them usher in a new world order.
Part of that new world order will be a system of identification. 'The mark of the beast,' as it is called in the Book of Revelation in the Bible, will be the identifying emblem of this new system of government.
This mark involves the infamous number '666' that each person will be required to wear on their person, engraved into their skin, in order to make purchases such as food, clothing, beverages, and other goods. Those who refuse to accept the mark will be simply out of luck when it comes to acquiring life's necessities.
Today as we were treated to further information about Hillary Clinton's proposal for universal healthcare, we learned that she envisions a time in America when it will be necessary to show proof of health insurance before one can get a job.
Thus, if you are out of a job and have no health insurance, you are barred from being hired for a new job.
And, without a job you can't buy food, beverages, clothing, or the other necessities of life.
Do I believe that Hillary Clinton is the anti-Christ and that her healthcare plan is the 'mark of the beast?' No. Contrary to many of my brothers and sisters in the evangelical Christian world, I believe that the book of Revelation was written primarily to first century Christians in code to warn them about coming dangers within the Roman Empire, particularly with regard to Nero's impending scourge.
In no way does this mean, however, that there are no parallels between Hillarycare II and the book of Revelation's frightening scenario of a dominant world government where people must tow the party line in order to live.
For years many of us have been sounding the alarm concerning the dangerous 'slippery slope' of the expansion of government control over various sectors of our lives. The creeping crawl of government power is very jealous and protective of its territory. It only relinquishes power as citizens successfully fight it. And if citizens do not fight it, it continues gradually infecting and infesting every single area of human life, until one day George Orwell's nightmare in '1984' is a reality.
Thomas Jefferson recognized the danger during the era of our nation's founding, and stated that the natural state of affairs is for government to seize power and that eventually, and periodically, citizens must go to battle to preserve liberty.
And it is at this precise point that the book of Revelation in the Bible may not be so narrowly limited to circumstances in the first century.
If one looks at Revelation through a symbolic lens instead of a literal one, we can easily see that perhaps the story of the anti-Christ and the mark of the beast refers to circumstances that repeat themselves in the course of human history.
Thus, perhaps Hillarycare II is a type of mark of the beast, if indeed she intends to prevent citizens from getting a job unless they have health insurance. Further, perhaps the mammoth government bureaucracy required to regulate and enforce such measures is a type of anti-Christ.
In no way is this possibility intended to impugn the character of Hillary Clinton personally. Here we are speaking purely of concepts, ideas, and institutions rather than individuals. Reading the book of Revelation with a symbolic lens yields an interesting array of possibilities if the anti-Christ, the mark of the beast, and other such terms are viewed as metaphors for totalitarianism.
Oppressive and omnipotent governments certainly embody every single manifestation of evil known to the human race. Consult your history on the reigns of terror of the Communist Party in the USSR, particularly under Stalin, the Third Reich in Germany, the Communist government of Fidel Castro in Cuba, and the scourge of the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia after the Viet Nam War.
Certainly the Founding Fathers of the United States of America minced no words in describing the danger and rottenness of a government that meddled too much in the lives of the citizens.
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
Images courtesy of A Human Right.
Focusing on guns and politics, here is today's Second Amendment News Roundup:
Gun Owners of America issues a new alert. One of the fiercest opponents to gun rights in the Senate, Dianne Feinstein, has introduced S. 456--a bill designed at harassing gun owners and gun shops as if they were members of the Mafia:
The Volokh Conspiracy takes a look at an article written by America's leading historian of homicide, Randolph Roth, which examines guns in the old west and whether the notion of revisionist historians that guns were scarce is correct:
A bit off-topic, John Lott points to a study which shows that younger women being attracted to older men and vice versa is biological and good for the human race:
Snow Flakes in Hell says that Miami Police Chief Jim Timoney actually thinks that the assault weapons ban accomplished something:
Say Uncle alerts us to some new gun laws around the nation:
Sharp as a Marble has a riveting piece today which shows that Big Brother has nothing on reality, particularly given that when you buy a gun you essentially sign away all your privacy:
In addition, Sharp as a Marble nails it with a response to Sally Field's stupid remark the other night at the Emmys:
Nicki at the Liberty Zone believes, and with good reason, that if Giuliani is the GOP nominee, the NRA will endorse him, despite his clear record of gun-grabbing:
Nicki also says that Bloomberg and Lautenberg are at it again, and she has some key questions concerning their plan to prevent terrorists from obtaining guns:
.45 Superman at Armed and Safe is back from a VERY long absence. Welcome back, buddy! He provides further comment on the Bloomberg-Lautenberg gun-grab:
Red's Trading Post blogs on the GOA and the JPFO:
The Jet Pilot has evidence that Americans are largely ignorant concerning their rights:
Alphecca has this interesting post entitled, 'Three Day Waiting Period on Illegal Gun Sales':
Alphecca also reports that Outdoor Life has started a gun blog:
Blogonomicon has something today that you just gotta see!:
The McCarville Report has a MUST-read today on character assassination:
Michelle Malkin reports that yet another dirty-money fundraiser connected to Hillary Clinton has pled guilty to conspiracy in a federal criminal investigation:
Tamara K. over at A View From the Porch presents THIS for your reading pleasure on Hillarycare II (I love it!). Hat tip to Say Uncle:
Mr. Completely has good news for those of you attending the Gun Bloggers Rendezvous. A new pistol will be raffled off at the meeting to benefit Project Valour-IT:
The most glaring and obvious problem with Hillary's proposal is that it places the bulk of the burden for healthcare on the backs of U.S. employers. Small businesses and entrepreneurs will suffer the most, many of whom will be unable to withstand such a financial burden.
These will be forced out of business.
Under Hillarycare II, American employers will be required by federal law to provide health insurance to their employees or pay into a fund that helps provide coverage for the uninsured.
The immediate consequence of such a provision is obvious--employers will eliminate jobs.
For example, say I own and operate a small business that relies on 10 employees with minimal skills, working at slightly above minimum wage. If I am suddenly forced to provide healthcare coverage for these employees, immediately I am placed in a terribly unnecessary catch-22. I can keep all the workers, provide the coverage, and go out of business, or I can eliminate eight jobs and keep two so that I can afford to provide them with health coverage.
My business does not make enough money to survive under Hillary's proposal without eliminating jobs.
The only other alternative is to go out of business, meaning that none of the original 10 employees will have jobs.
The American service industry relies on the unskilled, minimum wage worker to keep costs down. Many of these workers are not provided with health insurance coverage. If these employers must now provide such coverage, not only will their personnel costs skyrocket, but they will either pass these costs along to the consumer, resulting in skyrocketing inflation, or they will begin massive layoffs.
It is not the responsibility of the American employer to provide healthcare coverage to its employees. Corporations began this practice during the post-WWII boom years when companies lured quality, dedicated, and loyal employees to its rosters by giving them an incentive package to close the deal.
This way the employees were happy, and the employers had long-term, valuable employees for life.
As American society has become more mobile and as both employers and employees have seemed to devalue the mutual loyalty of the status quo, employers in many cases have no longer felt it necessary to provide health insurance.
By the same token, employees have increasingly felt no loyalty to the company at all, and will skip from job to job and company to company, depending on who makes the best offer at the time.
But the bottom line is that nowhere is it written in stone that U.S. companies have any obligation whatsoever to provide health insurance for their employees. And if they are forced by federal law to do so, look for massive layoffs as jobs are eliminated in an attempt to contain spiraling costs.
The way to address this problem is to make it attractive for employers, even small business owners, to provide health coverage. One way to do that is to allow small business and single-employee/owner entrepreneurships to buy into group insurance plans, thus vastly reducing the costs of providing the coverage.
A second problem inherent in Hillarycare II is that there is absolutely no mention of the fact that individual citizens should be encouraged to take some personal responsibility for their own healthcare. Those of us with a libertarian bent have long advocated for personal medical spending accounts to which workers and individual citizens can contribute.
These accounts can be opened through one's employer, and a predetermined amount, decided on by the employee, is deducted from one's paycheck each pay period to go into the account.
The value of these individualized healthcare spending accounts is that it teaches sound principles of economics and personal responsibility. Hillary's concept of health insurance takes the matter totally outside the realm of personal human responsibility and places it squarely in the realm of the federal government and employers.
If ever there were a concept that teaches by example that the world owes a person a living, and insurance to boot, then this is it. Why not just go ahead and say that U.S. employers owe their workers a new car every four years? And if for some reason the employer can't do it, then the government will.
These kinds of ideas originate in the land where candy canes grow on trees and where where the rocks yield rich Hersey's chocolate.
Finally, Hillary's proposal mandates that those citizens who cannot afford health insurance be covered by the federal government. This would essentially be an expansion of the current Medicaid program.
Several questions must be asked of the candidate lest such a thing be allowed to go unchallenged. First, what are the criteria to be used to determine whether or not one is able to afford health insurance? Who sets such criteria? What kind of bureaucracy will need to be put into place to manage such a massive expansion of government power?
Another vital question revolves around choice and empowerment. If and when these who cannot afford health insurance are placed on the rolls of a government insurance program, do they get to choose their own physician? Can they change physicians if they are not happy?
These issues must be addressed before a significant portion of the population, if not the majority of the population, will support such a mammoth plan such as Hillarycare II. As we have noted many times, we are open to methods of making provision for those who lack health insurance, but so far we have not seen a plan we could support.
So far, the plans put forth by the likes of Hillary Clinton, John Edwards, and even Mitt Romney run a high risk of making the dog deathly sick in an attempt to heal part of its tail.
Monday, September 17, 2007
Alphecca has news that more Alabamans are arming themselves these days:
Alphecca also has this to say about Fred Thompson on the subject of gun control:
In addition, Alphecca reminds us that today is Constitution Day:
Blonde Sagacity has this to say about gun laws:
The McCarville Report shows us the evidence that the new mantra of the Democratic Left is that 'all Republicans are crooks':
Xavier Thoughts has the intriguing saga of a doctor who isn't acting like a doctor. And it points to a major problem in the U.S. in allowing droves of foreign medical students into our schools of medicine:
Front Sight, Press posts this interesting read on guns and crime in England:
Front Sight, Press also presents this MUST-read on the new tactics of terrorists:
JR at A Keyboard and a .45 further sheds light on this new phase of terrorism, that poses great risk for the most defenseless among us:
JR also has the link to the new manual on the 2007-2008 Texas Concealed Handgun Laws and Selected Statutes:
Speaking of the new tactics of terrorists, I wrote four articles on this back in March and April of this year....scroll down for all the articles, the latest of which is posted first:
For something a bit off topic, Blogonomicon has a vintage pipe ad from a newspaper in 1934. I like such things, being a connoisseur of the pipe myself, but I admit I have never tried Granger Tobacco. I prefer the smooth tobacco shop blends:
And for serious pipe connoisseurs, Cameron Bailey has THIS interesting piece of information:
The Volokh Conspiracy posts vital information on new updates on the DC handgun and self-defense bans:
The Buckeye Firearms Association has today's update on media misunderstanding of concealed handgun license records:
Buckeye also provides interesting reading on the challenges that lie before us in light of the Clinton Administration's order for the Treasury Department to crack down on federally licensed gun dealers in the early 1990s (and let's not forget that this man's wife has at least a 50-50 chance of becoming President in 2008!):
John Lott gives us the reason why the mainstream media loves campaign finance reform regulations:
Ryan Horsley of Red's Trading Post reports some good news. He has received assurances of a high level review of ATF abuses:
Say Uncle says it the way I like it. Yeah, what he said!:
Sharp as a Marble welcomes a new gun blogger to our ranks:
If you haven't seen it already, Snow Flakes in Hell has a good post on guns in schools:
The Bitch Girls report that Wyoming has a bison problem that calls for some help from hunters:
Nicki at The Liberty Zone blogs on the Miami police being given authority to carry 'assault' weapons:
The War on Guns has a news story that not only gets my shorts in a bunch but literally gripes my butt. Read it all here:
Ladies, if you will excuse me for a moment I will need to indulge myself in a bit of exaggerated admiration for the female body, compliments of Traction Control:
Oscar Poppa opines on the apparent new Attorney-General:
Michelle Malkin has the latest update on Norman Hsu's bankrolling of the Hillary Clinton campaign, and just wait till you see what 'daddy warbucks' Norman did for the campaign staff!:
The Senator's brief statement could well sum up the campaign strategy of the Democratic Party in 2008.
Sensing that Americans have assessed the failures of the Democratic Congress in fulfilling campaign promises in 2006, i.e., the shameless pork barrel spending and the failure to do something about earmarks, the corruption and scandal revolving around key Democratic members of Congress, and the failure of Democrats to unite on the subject of Iraq, apparently the Democrats have decided that the only way they can win is to run once again on the weaknesses of the Bush war plan in Iraq.
In describing the campaign strategy envisioned by the Democrats, Mr. Bayh stated that 'Americans want a change of direction and strategy in Iraq, and they sense that if they vote for Republicans they will be voting to continue the course set by President Bush.'
The thing that Mr. Bayh is describing is essentially a replay of the 2006 election strategy employed by the Democrats. They made the 2006 Congressional and Senatorial elections a referendum on the Iraq War, and they won.
They are hoping that lightening will strike twice in the same place.
It is essential, however, to consider one key variable. Despite the Democrats' insistence that the 2006 elections were all about the Iraq War, the 2006 elections were not all about the Iraq War.
The explanation that Republicans lost Congress due to the Iraq War is a rather simplistic one. In actuality, they lost because of several high-level scandals, the last of which occurred just weeks before the election, and because of the failure of Republicans to be real Republicans.
Jack Abramoff and Mark Foley hurt Republicans badly. And the voters decided that Republicans needed to be punished at the polls. This time, however, the Democrats are sorely mistaken if they think the voters will be any kinder to them in light of their own scandals, which are many. Norman Hsu waits in the wings to wreak havoc on any number of key Democrats, and he is only the tip of the iceberg.
Further, the Republican controlled Congress of 2004-06 dug its own grave by refusing to address out-of-control spending, which ran up huge budget deficits. Traditionally Republicans have insisted on balanced budgets and controlled government spending.
The fact that Republicans failed to be real Republicans cost them at the polls. As Republican Presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee states, 'Because of the fact that we did not deliver on our promises, the American people fired us.'
It is already abundantly clear that the Democratic Congress has failed to deliver on its promises. Can they really expect the American people to be any kinder to them than they were to Republicans in 2006?
These are key issues that could well tip the scales in favor of Republicans in 2008.
But the road is fraught with danger at every turn. The Iraq War will be a major issue for good or ill. Republicans cannot win by merely talking about the successes we have had, and it is abundantly clear that we have had many successes. And yes, we love our troops, and they have performed magnificently. However, we must go far beyond that.
Any Republican strategy for victory must acknowledge the failures of the Bush administration in conducting this war from 2002 until the summer of 2007. The surge has worked, but the things we were doing prior to 2007 were a recipe for disaster.
Further, a Republican strategy for victory must include a clearly stated objective with a clearly stated step-by-step plan to win this thing outright, and then gradually get the troops out.
More than likely, a winning Democratic strategy will involve the very same thing, though they would be loathe to admit it. And thus, the Republican and Democratic strategies will be more or less the same, with the expected differences in semantics.
The bottom line? The Republicans can win. And the odds are much more in their favor than Newt Gingrich's prediction of 80-20 odds in favor of the Democrats.
Sunday, September 16, 2007
The ethics reform promise has turned out to be a joke. This is one of the most corrupt and ethically challenged Congressional terms ever seen in modern history. We have documented examples of the corruption many times on The Liberty Sphere.
This Congress is also poised to be the most reckless purveyor of pork in recent memory as well.
Pork barrel spending is the practice of politicians of inserting into legislation spending amendments that benefit their home territory--'earmarks,' as they are commonly called today.
The promise of the Democrats to do something about earmarks is also quickly becoming a big joke in Washington. Recently U.S. Senator Jim Coburn, R-Oklahoma, castigated the Senate for putting earmarks ahead of bridge safety, even as the nation reels from a major tragedy regarding an unsafe bridge in Minnesota.
What did the Democrats decide to do instead?
Two examples, one from the Senate, and the other from House, perfectly depict the attitude of this Congress toward pork-barrel spending.
Senator Dianne Feinstein, D-California, who has yet to face one single hearing into the scandal revolving around her awarding lucrative government contracts to her husband's businesses, requested a $4 billion dollar earmark in order to build a park in--and get ready for sudden onset nausea--Beverly Hills.
You read that right. Beverly Hills, California.
Even the dimmest watt in the socket knows that Beverly Hills is absolutely the last place in America that needs a park funded by taxpayers to the tune of 4 billion dollars. Without doubt, the top ten earners in the Beverly Hills zip code could build the park out of their own pockets and never miss it.
Moving on to the U.S. House of Representatives we have Charles Rangel, that jovial ole chap whose intellect never quite climbed up to equal his personality. A pleasant fellow, no doubt, Rangel nonetheless has always been afflicted with the disease that epitomizes the woes of the Democratic Party leadership. He has never met a tax he didn't like, and he believes that taxpayers exist to fund government programs so that government can help taxpayers.
The circular logic of such a thing aside, Rangel wants to build a monument to himself in New York City. The U.S. Representative from New York wishes that the taxpayers of America--you and I--pay the sum of $2 million to refurbish an old building for a library on the campus of City College of New York in Harlem.
And that's not all. Rangel wants the building named after himself.
Maybe I am drawing a complete blank at this point, but I thought this sort of thing is what they do for politicians who are dead. Or at least to honor those who retire from Congress after years of service.
But who's really concerned about such things? When you are the King and Queen of pork barrel spending like Rangel and Feinstein, I suppose you can get whatever you want at taxpayer expense, whenever and wherever you want it.
As the late Republican Senator and conservative icon Everette Dirksen quipped about the spending of Congressional Democrats during the 1960s, 'A billion here, a billion there, and pretty soon you're talking about real money.'
It turns out that Dirksen's observations are just as relevant today as they were then.