Happy Fourth of July!

July 4, 2016

Sprit_of_'76.2

It’s Independence Day here in the US, in which we celebrate our break with the British Empire. We’re 240 years old and, despite what some sanctimonious Lefty scolds might think, I think we’re doing pretty darned good. We’re not without our problems or faults, for instance two major parties that manage to find the two worst people possible to nominate for president, but I continue to believe America is exceptional among the nations of the world and that we are indeed a force for good. If you’re looking for some good Independence Day reading, there’s always the Declaration of Independence itself. Think of it as a short ideological summation of who and why we are.

Then there’s the US Constitution and the Bill of Rights, which function as a citizen’s “owner’s manual.” And yes, to those of you in other countries raising an eyebrow about now, we do tend to place those documents on a pedestal. You have to admit, however, they’ve worked well for over two centuries. How many republics and constitutions has France had in that time?

Gosh, it’s become quiet…. Winking

A lot’s been written around the Web about today, so I’ll spare you my musings. Instead, I want to leave you with something that I think symbolizes the best of the “Spirit of 1776:” a reenlistment ceremony held in 2008 in Baghdad in Saddam Hussein’s former palace, Al Faw. Over 1,200 enlisted personnel volunteered for another tour of duty, sworn in by General Petraeus himself:

 

Petraeus reenlistment

Eat that, Michael Moore. Oh, and Congressman Murtha? What was that about our military being broken?

Happy 4th of July, folks. Enjoy the hot dogs and fireworks.  smiley party

LINKS: More at Sister Toldjah, and Cassandra’s “love letter to America“.

UPDATE: Historian Victor Davis Hanson, as always, puts it better than I:

The Founders’ notion of the rule of law, coupled with freedom of the individual, explains why the United States runs on merit, not tribal affinities or birth. Most elsewhere, being a first cousin of a government official, or having a prestigious name, ensures special treatment from the state. Yet in America, nepotism is never assured. End that notion of American merit and replace it with racial tribalism, cronyism or aristocratic privilege, and America itself would vanish as we know it.

There is no rational reason why a small republican experiment in 1776 grew to dominate global culture and society — except that America is the only nation, past or present, that put trust in the individual rather than in the state and its elite bureaucracy. Such confidence in the average free citizen made America absolutely exceptional — something we should remember more than ever on this Fourth of July.

Those notions are being put to a test these days as progressives try ever harder to divide us on tribal lines and turn free citizens into wards of the State while the two parties nominate exemplars of “cronyism and aristocratic privilege,” but I still believe they’re true. smiley us flag

Note: This is a republication of a post I wrote in 2008, edited to repair broken links or replace text no longer available on the web.

 


Orlando massacre: Was the FBI waiting for the killer to send them an invitation?

June 17, 2016

Warning after warning sign that Omar Mateen was a threat. Such as:

Then a few weeks ago, the gun store called the FBI.

“Mateen then called someone on the phone and began speaking in Arabic. Robert Abell says that’s when the salesman became suspicious.

“He just made the mistake of asking for an armor that wasn’t normal,” he said. “And then on the phone conversation was another key that you might need to step back and look at this. Our guy made the right decision at the time. I’m not selling him anything.

“As soon as we said we didn’t have the bulk ammo he walked out the door.”

Abell says they denied the sale, which they have the right to do. But before they could get his name and information, Mateen left the store.

The gun shop owner says they immediately alerted the FBI about the suspicious man who wanted to purchase body armor. But the feds never followed up and visited the store.

They failed to connect the dots on a lot of other red flags, too — read the whole thing.

Nobody in their right mind expects we can mount a perfect defense against terrorism, whether organized from abroad like 9-11, or conducted by a native-born citizen acting largely on his own — such as Omar Mateen. Every defense has its weakness, its point of vulnerability and failure.

But it’s laughable for FBI Director Comey to stand there, in the face of a long track record of warning signals, and say “I don’t see anything in reviewing our work that our agents should have done differently.”

Let me buy you some glasses so you can see those red flags more clearly, Mr. Comey.


Of course @HillaryClinton can’t say if bearing arms is a constitutional right.

June 5, 2016
x

“I support… Which answer do you want?”

That would require her to have read and actually understood the document, instead of just paying it cursory lip service:

Hillary Clinton couldn’t definitively say Sunday that the Second Amendment of the Constitution guaranteed the right to bear arms during an interview with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos.

Republican rival Donald Trump has charged that Clinton wants to abolish the amendment. While Stephanopoulos said he knew that wasn’t true, he pressed her on her gun views that have increasingly gone to the left.

“Do you believe that an individual’s right to bear arms is a constitutional right, that it’s not linked to service in a militia?” he asked.

“I think that for most of our history, there was a nuanced reading of the Second Amendment until the decision by the late Justice Scalia, and there was no argument until then that localities and states and the federal government had a right, as we do with every amendment, to impose reasonable regulations,” she said. “So I believe we can have common-sense gun safety measures consistent with the Second Amendment.”

She then went on to blather more about “common sense” and “reasonable” regulations, but, to Stephanopoulos’ credit, he didn’t let her off the hook, pressing her about whether the right to bear arms is individual.

And, of course, the answer is “yes, it is an individual right.” Even A-level progressive constitutional scholar Laurence Tribe agrees with that:

“My conclusion came as something of a surprise to me, and an unwelcome surprise,” Professor Tribe said. “I have always supported as a matter of policy very comprehensive gun control.”

And he’s not the only one, as you’ll see at the article.

But Hillary is in a bit of a pickle: On the one hand, as a good Progressive, she thinks the Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, and the doctrine of natural rights that lie behind them and were at the core of the American Founding, have been made obsolete by the march of History. In fact, they positively get in the way of the better managed society (managed by progressive experts, of course) we need to head toward. The right to self-defense is one of those bothersome natural rights. If Hillary came out and said an unequivocal “yes,” then she risks alienating her progressive-Socialist base.

On the other hand, Hillary needs to retain traditional Democrat voters, who also happen to like their guns and think it’s their business and no one else’s if they own won. Trump strongly appeals to a large swathe of these voters, and Lady Macbeth risks losing them if she gives in to her inner gun-grabber.

Hence the clumsy evasions. Dilemmas, dilemmas.

I’ll just sit back and enjoy watching Her Inevitableness squirm. smiley popcorn

PS: If you want to read an excellent book about the right to bear arms as understood at the time of the Constitution’s writing, I can recommend “The Founders’ Second Amendment: Origins of the Right to Bear Arms” by Stephen Halbrook.


(Video) Memorial Day and America’s “Forgotten War” in Korea

May 30, 2016

korean war

The Korean War (1950-53) is sometimes called America’s “Forgotten War,” the one that came between our crushing victory in World War II and the turmoil of our defeat in Vietnam.

It’s forgotten in part because its results were, at first glance, inconclusive: the North Korean regime survived, and the war was suspended in a ceasefire. In other words, a “draw.”

I’ve argued before that this is an incorrect way to view the war. True, we failed in our initial objective: to liberate all the Korean peninsula. But our later goal, the survival of the South Korean state, turned into a good few could have anticipated. Since the war, South Korea has become a prosperous democratic nation and a close ally of the United States. So, while we didn’t achieve all our war aims, it’s hard not to call this “victory.”

North Korea, on the other hand, gives new meaning to the phrase “Hell on Earth.”

For Prager University, historian Victor Davis Hanson (1) looks at the Korean War and offers not only the same reasons I adduce to call it a win, but also points out why it was an intensely moral fight on the part of the US and its allies:

The Korean War, and the men who fought it, should never be forgotten.

Footnote:
(1) One of my intellectual heroes.

 


California Primary: my last ballot as a Republican, and the cowardice of state Democrats

May 22, 2016
"I get to vote twice? Gee, thanks, pal!"

Thrilled to vote against Trump

Well, that’s that. I’ve just filled in my mail-in ballot and cast my last vote as a Republican, the party I’ve identified with for 45 years. Like I said before, I refuse to be part of a party that nominates an anti-constitutional authoritarian populist demagogue. (1)

Instead I cast my vote for president for… (drumroll) …John Kasich. Not that I would ever vote for him normally (I still think he’s a sanctimonious ass), but what little polling there was for California showed he had the best chance of beating Trump in my congressional district. So, strategic voting it was. Go, Kasich.

"This is my happy face"

“This is my happy face”

 

That aside, there were a few other elections of note. In the race to be among the top two finishers and thus earn a spot in the general election for the federal Senate, we had 34 (!) candidates to choose from. (2) Since there was no way I was voting for Attorney General Kamala Harris or bigoted dimwit Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez, and most of the other candidates I’d never heard of, I cast my ballot for Thomas Del Beccaro, a former state chair of (what’s left of) the Republican Party in California. Who knows, with so many Democrats splitting the vote, he just might sneak into the top two.

For the House and  State Assembly races, I voted for the Republican as the only other choice besides the (statist, progressive) Democrat incumbents. Not that the Rs have any chance: there are so few in these districts, I think they can be counted on two hands with fingers left over.

Judicial races are always frustrating: few candidates even have web sites, and I never see them campaigning, so I know next to nothing about them when election day rolls around. My default is to vote for the incumbent or, if there is none, to prefer a prosecutor.

There was only one proposition on the ballot: a constitutional amendment to allow the legislature to suspend members without pay. I voted for it. However, this is also where the “cowardice of state Democrats” part comes in.

This proposition should have been named the “Senator Leland Yee” bill in honor of the Democrat state senator indicted for arms-trafficking. In addition, that same year, another Democrat state senator was convicted of voter fraud and perjury, while a third Democrat was indicted for bribery. 2014 was a banner year for California Democrats.

Funny thing, though. They weren’t expelled from the Senate, even though that body had plenary power and every reason to do so. Why, you may ask? Because expulsion meant special elections to fill those seats and, with all the negative publicity for Democrats these scandals and the expulsions would bring, there would have been a decent chance of Republicans capturing one or more. This, in turn, would have made it harder for Democrats to regain the filibuster-proof two-thirds majority in the state senate (they have that easily in the Assembly) that would enable them to tax-and-spend even more wildly than they do now. So, no expulsions, and the corrupt Democrat senators kept their seats until one finally resigned. (3)

However, to make themselves look good, Senate Democrats under then-Senate President Steinberg proposed this amendment to allow suspension without pay. That’ll show those crooks! This proves California Democrats are tough on political corruption!

Even though they refused to expel three corrupt Democrat senators… smiley well I'm waiting

Cowards.

Still, the bill is worthwhile on its own merits, so I voted for it. Ballot marked, envelope signed and sealed, ready to mail.

And now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to change my registration to “decline to state.”

 

Footnote:
(1) And those are Trump’s good points.
(2) And you thought the Republican presidential primary was overcrowded…
(3) Senator Calderon (D), indicted for bribery, took a “leave of absence” and was term-limited out at the next election. Senator Yee was suspended with pay until replaced in the next election. Only Senator Wright had the decency to resign.


I did not leave the Republican Party. The Republican Party left me.

May 3, 2016

First, a video I think fitting to the occasion:

Such is my mood.

Tonight, Donald Trump won convincingly in the Indiana primary, and Ted Cruz ended his race shortly thereafter. Thus, the last conservative candidate and potentially competent president left the field. All we’re left with is a choice between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, between an incompetent leftist who should be in prison and an incompetent would-be caudillo who is America’s answer to Hugo Chavez. And the latter is now the face and voice of the ostensibly *conservative* party.

With that, I am no longer a Republican, for I cannot be part of any organization or faction lead by a corrupt, emotionally unstable statist and narcissist who makes Barack Obama look like Solon.

To paraphrase Ronald Reagan, I did not leave the Republican Party. The Republican Party left me.

You know what amazes me? This election season. It began with such hope: an administration with unpopular policies; a corrupt, unlikable, and incompetent probable Democratic nominee; and a large Republican field offering many excellent choices. If any election was a shoo-in for Republicans and conservatives, it was this one.

And it all crashed and burned like the Hindenburg.

And you know who is responsible for this? No, not Donald Trump. He had every right to run and make his case to the public. Nor is the Republican Party ultimately to blame, though they helped create the conditions that drove alienated voters to Trump. The large field of candidates wasn’t responsible, because people could still have made a choice to coalesce around someone other than Trump. But, they didn’t. The media? Please. They whored themselves for Trump, certainly, but, again, the media doesn’t have mind-control rays to make voters vote a certain way. The final choice still stays with the true sovereign in the country: the voter.

And that is who is truly responsible and to blame for the rise of Donald J. Trump and the likely electoral disaster the Republican Party and conservative movement face in November, as well as the harm the nation will suffer under a Clinton presidency: the Republican primary voter.

Yeah, it’s your fault.

When Trump gets swamped in November; when Obamacare becomes irreversible; when the Senate flips back to the Democrats; when even the House is lost; when Hillary gets away with her felonies; when all the gains we made in state legislatures and governorships are pissed away; when the economy still stinks; when the IRS goes back to abusing people whose opinions it doesn’t like; when the state grows and grows and grows and our rights shrink ever further and the world becomes ever more dangerous, well, that’s the choice you made.

It’s all on you, the voter.

You maniacs. You blew it up.

On the verge of the easiest win we’ve ever had and a chance to make historic improvements in this country and undo the damage of the last 16 years, you decided that now was the perfect time to have a tantrum and break it all. Consider these six names:

  • Perry
  • Walker
  • Jindal
  • Rubio
  • Cruz
  • Paul

All of them were there for your choosing. Any one of them would likely have made a good president, maybe even great, and certainly better than Barack Obama has been, Hillary Clinton will be, and Donald Trump could be only in his dreams.

But, instead, you chose the guy who pandered to your justified anger. The con-artist who told you he knew how to make you great again, even though his policy prescriptions were so incoherent that even a resident of Wonderland would be confused.

The duty of a citizen is more than the act of voting and chanting “USA! USA! USA!” at sporting events.

The duty of a citizen is to use his or her vote wisely, with reason and thought toward what is best for the Republic, with sound judgment of the candidate’s character, and not to give it to a sideshow barker selling “Dr. Feelgood’s Miracle Cure.” There is no way a reasonable, sober, intellectually honest and responsible citizen could look at Donald Trump and think him in any way qualified to be president.

But then there’s you.

You had a duty, Trump voters, and you failed in it. You tossed away the heritage the Founders left us to swoon over a new Juan Peron.

You blew it up.


The shot heard round the world, updated

April 19, 2016

I’m a bit red-faced Blushing that it took a British blog to remind me that today is the anniversary of the Battles of Lexington and Concord in 1775, generally regarded as the opening skirmish of the American Revolution. Tory Historian points out that both sides claimed victory, but perhaps I can be forgiven a bit of national pride for arguing that we won on points: the advance column withdrew under fire and was considering surrender when it was rescued by Percy’s brigade. General Gage then found himself besieged in Boston. Flag

Regardless of any “Monday-morning generalship,” it is fitting that the anniversary comes just a few days after the Tax Day Tea Parties, a genuine grassroots movement that organized itself to protest Washington’s mad plans to borrow and spend like drunken sailors on pay day — and, inevitably, to make us pay for it all with ruinous taxation.

In 2009, just as in 1775, popular sentiment erupted to send distant masters a message. Thankfully, this time, shots weren’t needed, but the point was made just the same: Don’t tread on us.

treadflag

PS: This is a re-posting of something I wrote in 2009, in honor of the Battle of Lexington and Concord. If, however, you want to read an account of the bloodiest battle of that day and its all too human cost, read about the fight at Metonomy.

 


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