Monday, September 17, 2012

September 17, 2012

On this date in 1787, the Constitutional Convention approved the final draft of the U.S. Constitution. For an excellent educational tool on the Constitution -- and it's the duty of every citizen, in my opinion, to know and understand this fundamental document -- I recommend The Heritage Guide to the Constitution.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

September 11, 2012

Today I touch the memory of ordinary lives and extraordinary bravery. It's a day for honoring those who serve my community, my state, my nation.

It's time to visit again the aching grief, to embrace my rage and to shape anger into vigilance that guards my freedoms.

Whatever else I thought I needed to say can wait until tomorrow.

Today, I remember.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Quotes of the week, DNC edition

"We make it possible." (No kidding -- that's the theme of the 2012 Democratic Party National Convention)

"Government is the only thing that we all belong to." (from a DNC video shown at the convention)

"We run this country for the People!" (Elizabeth Warren, candidate for U.S. Senate from Massachusetts, with true socialist fervor)

"We think 'we're all in this together' is a better philosophy than 'you're on your own.' ... If you want a you're-on-your-own, winner-take-all society, you should support the Republican ticket. If you want a country of shared prosperity and shared responsibility -- a we're-all-in-this-together society -- you should vote for Barack Obama and Joe Biden." (Bill Clinton, undoubtedly through clenched teeth)

"I always figured that if Bill Clinton landed on Mars, he would know how to do it with them, he would know how to reproduce, he would know everything. He'd just instinctively know how to talk to people." (Chris Matthews, gushing incoherently on MSNBC)

We needn't wait for tonight's punchline -- the collectivist rhetoric spewing from the stage at this week's Democratic Party National Convention has been downright frightening.

While the GOP ticket of Romney-Ryan is no prize, supporters of Pres. Obama are going "all-in" to perpetuate an irresponsible, dependent, entitlement culture -- and damn, they sure are proud of it. To the extent they're successful, at any level, they're destroying our nation.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Quote of the week

"None of us have to settle for the best this [Obama] administration offers -- a dull, adventureless journey from one entitlement to the next, a government-planned life, a country where everything is free but us.

"Listen to the way we're spoken to already, as if everyone is stuck in some class or station in life, victims of circumstances beyond our control, with government there to help us cope with our fate.

"It's the exact opposite of everything I learned growing up in Wisconsin, or at college in Ohio.

"When I was waiting tables, washing dishes, or mowing lawns for money, I never thought of myself as stuck in some station in life. I was on my own path, my own journey, an American journey where I could think for myself, decide for myself, define happiness for myself. That's what we do in this country. That's the American Dream.

"That's freedom, and I'll take it any day over the supervision and sanctimony of the central planners."

(Rep. Paul Ryan, the Republican Party's nominee for Vice President, from his acceptance speech Wednesday evening)

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Quotes of the day

"Here's what it boils down to: I think that the country could survive four more years of Obama. But I don't believe the country can survive...full of people that would reelect him." (Rush Limbaugh)

"Let us come to the point. Obama is reaching out to his very own special constituency. It is composed of those who believe that the Republicans would put up as their candidate for the presidency a person who in his business life would engage in fraud, tax evasion, even murder. Mr. Obama is casting his net for the moron vote. I do not believe that there are enough morons out there to reelect him." (R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr. in The American Spectator)

I have to agree with Rush Limbaugh (this time) and, regrettably, I must disagree with Bob Tyrell -- there are more than enough moronic American voters to sustain this president's assault on Liberty.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Facebook follies

During a ritual cruise of Facebook this morning I came across a few posts that had me shaking my head. The first was an image crediting liberal political ideology with the creation of weekends -- seriously.

"In 1886," the graphic claims, "7 union members in Wisconsin died fighting for the 5-day work week and the 8-hour work day."

In 1886 my great-grandfather was a young man, mining coal to feed his family, working as many hours as the company would give him. One of his sons, my grandfather, became a farmer, raising dairy cattle and coaxing crops from 240 acres behind teams of draft horses.

After my father left military service, he became the first member of his family to graduate from college. He returned to his hometown and worked over four decades as a veterinarian -- out the door at 4am every day for his farm clients and in the clinic 'til 10pm (or later) every night treating housepets and performing surgery.

As for me, I can't imagine being proud of insisting on working a 5-day, 40-hour week. I guess it's not in my blood.

The second Facebook puzzler, not unexpected in this political climate, also displayed breathtaking ignorance of work and business.

Reacting to Pres. Barack Obama's "You didn't build that" speech, Georgia business owner Ray Gaster added a panel to the sign outside each of his three Gaster Lumber and Hardware locations:
I built this business without gov't help.
Obama can Kiss my ass.
I'm Ray Gaster & I approve this message.
One of my Facebook friends, a committed statist, posted an annotated photo of Ray Gaster and his sign. The altered image features 18 callouts, each presuming to show how the owner couldn't possibly have succeeded without the government's help.

My friend was hoist by his own petard -- the unintended result was a fairly comprehensive illustration of how our federal government meddles where it doesn't belong, how it takes credit for what it doesn't do, how it plunders and squanders and wastes and overspends the citizens' money.

The Annotated Gaster doesn't deserve even a participant ribbon, much less a gold star.

Finally, it's been entertaining to watch left-wingers' heads explode over Mitt Romney's choice of Paul Ryan. The disinformation, the tortured talking points...let's just say that I may run out of popcorn well before Election Day.

Perhaps the most sideways reaction I've seen, however, came to me from New York City by way of a Facebook thread:
"I am personally embarrassed that Paul Ryan was a graduate of Miami of Ohio. Yes, there were many conservatives that attended in my days at the University. However, I developed my liberal and ethical leanings from Miami. He obviously had a different 'Miami experience.' So sad."
Sad? Really? How arrogant is that?

Looks like Paul Ryan didn't read the chapter in the student handbook requiring all Miami grads to ply the waters of the world listing to port.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

'More American Reserve Power'

This political season seems a good time to scroll back to a vintage ad first depicted on KintlaLake Blog here almost 18 months ago.

The year was 1919. The advertiser was Remington UMC, the campaign was "For Shooting Right" and post-war nationalism was the proud refrain. Remington placed a series of unapologetic ads in popular sportsmen's magazines like Outing and Forest and Stream.

The opening paragraphs of one of those ads -- "More American Reserve Power" -- should ring clear and true with every independent citizen-patriot:
"The strength that comes from the hills was never worth more in this country than it is today. Both to the man himself and to all about him.

"No poison-pollen of Old World imperialism gone to seed can contaminate -- nor any attempt of crowd-sickened collectivism undermine -- the priceless individualism of the American who truly keeps his feet on the earth."
I can't get those words out of my head. While the current campaign for President of the United States insults my intelligence and promises to assault individual liberties, strangely it's the century-old work of a Remington copywriter that resonates.

The passage offers me no solutions, of course -- it's merely rhetorical refuge from my frustration with a government gone mad and a People gone to sleep.

In a 1788 letter to Col. Edward Carrington, a Virginia Delegate, Thomas Jefferson wrote,

"The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield, and government to gain ground. As yet our spirits are free."
I see a nexus between the Remington ad and Jefferson's letter. Without expressing resignation, both acknowledge the enemies of Liberty, and both celebrate the wellspring of true independence:
"...the priceless individualism of the American who truly keeps his feet on the earth."

"...our spirits are free."
The key is this: Liberty resides in the individual spirit. Political winds may swirl around us and the burden of bureaucracy may bend our backs, but we remain Americans -- citizens of a nation, not subjects of its government.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

'May posterity forget that ye were our countrymen'

"If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen!"

(Samuel Adams, whom Thomas Jefferson called "truly the Man of the Revolution," from a speech delivered at the Pennsylvania State House in Philadelphia on August 1, 1776)

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Horace sense, revisited

"...The right to own and bear arms is a natural right of man, guaranteed by our Bill of Rights, but superior to all laws and constitutions. It is our only defence against tyranny, and, as such, will never be relinquished by Americans who respect their birthright."

(Horace Kephart, from "The Gun: A Fool I' the Forest," published in the February 1901 issue of Outing magazine)

Friday, August 10, 2012

'From my cold dead hands!'

It looks like I'm back for one more encore. I've been asked to serve a third term as your president.

I don't think anyone's done that before. But George Washington hung around until the Revolutionary War was won. Roosevelt hung around until World War II was won. Reagan hung around until the Cold War was won. If you want, I'll hang around until we win this one, too.

Do you feel that incredible energy in the air here today? I'll tell you what it is. It's the feeling you get when you're making a difference in the future of your country.

That was my goal -- to make a difference -- when I became your president two years ago. So I set some lofty goals. I said I'd do my part if you'd do yours. Now, just two years later, we've accomplished them all.

All except one.

First, I asked you to rebuild our NRA membership, and you have. Not by just a few thousand members, but by one million members.

Second, I asked you to rebuild our NRA war chest, and you have. I don't mean just in dollars, but in sense. The good sense of the NRA leadership you see here today. Your leaders are qualified, competent, unified, and believe me, fearless.

Third, I wanted to bring the NRA back to the table of mainstream political debate, and we have. You saw Wayne on that tape. I'd say we're not just at the table.

We're eating their lunch.

But more than anything else, I asked you to believe in each other again. To believe that gun ownership is as wholesome as it is constitutional. To believe that an NRA sticker on your windshield is a sign of pride. To believe that a kid who wants to plink at tin cans is not a kid gone wrong. To believe that the great flame of freedom our founding fathers ignited has not grown cold.

I declare that mission accomplished! I look around this great hall and I see the fire is in your eyes, the pride is in your hearts, and the commitment is here in your presence today. The NRA is baaaaaack...

All of which spells very serious trouble for a man named Gore.

Didja see that Gore rally in D.C. last weekend? One of the marchers said, "The hands that rock the cradle rule this nation." And I thought, No madam, the hands that rock the cradle rule our families and governments and corporations. The hands that wrote the Constitution rule this nation.

All the anti-gun celebs came out to march. Tipper Gore was there, Rosie O'Donnell was there (I like to call her Tokyo Rosie). A fine actress, Susan Sarandon, was there and shouted with great diplomacy and stateswomanship, "We Moms are really pissed off!"

I must ask, pissed off about what? If it's crime, why aren't you pissed off at the failure of this Administration to prosecute gun-toting criminals?

If it's accidents, why aren't you pissed off at swimming pool owners, or stairway owners, or pickup owners?

Why aren't you pissed off that gun accident prevention programs aren't in every elementary classroom in America?

As a matter of fact, why aren't you pissed off at parents who're oblivious that their kids are building bombs in their bedrooms?

Why aren't you pissed off that Mr. Gore wants registration and licensing instead of parenting and prosecution?

Which leads me to that one mission left undone: Winning in November. That's why I'm staying on for a third tour of duty.

Today I challenge you to find your third term, and serve it. Find your extra mile, and walk it.

Only you know what you can do between now and that decisive November day to turn the tide of these elections in favor of freedom. I ask you to find it and fulfill it.

Go the extra distance, find that extra member, write the extra check, knock on one more door, work one more hour, make one more call, convince one more friend, turn the other cheek if you must, but find your third term and serve it.

That's your part to play. What more important role can there be...than to bequeath our freedom to the next generation as pure and intact as it was given to us. As Mr. Lincoln commanded: "With firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us finish the work we are in...and then we shall save our country."

Each of us in his own way, plus all of us in our collective millions, must give that extra measure that freedom demands of us.

Let me tell you what I mean. Until a few hours ago I was finishing my 80th film in Vancouver, Canada. I was there because I love my craft and I love to feed my family.

So you'll forgive me if I'm a little tired. I flew all night, across a continent and three time zones, to be here with you. I'm here because I love my country and I love this freedom.

But it was just the most recent flight in thousands of flights, the most recent mile on thousands of roads I've travelled in my ten years of active service to this great Association. It's been a helluva ride.

I remember a decade ago at my first annual meeting in St. Louis. After my banquet remarks to a packed house, they presented me with a very special gift. It was a splendid hand-crafted musket.

I admit I was overcome by the power of its simple symbolism. I looked at that musket and I thought of all of the lives given for that freedom. I thought of all of the lives saved with that freedom. It dawned on me that the doorway to all freedoms is framed by muskets.

So I lifted that musket over my head for all to see. And as flashbulbs popped around the room, my heart and a few tears swelled up, and I uttered five unscripted words. When I did, that room exploded in sustained applause and hoots and shouts that seemed to last forever.

In that moment, I bonded with this great Association. And in thousands of moments since, I've been asked to repeat those five words in airports and hotels and rallies and speeches across this land.

In your own way, you have already heard them. That's why you're here.

Every time our country stands in the path of danger, an instinct seems to summon her finest first -- those who truly understand her. When freedom shivers in the cold shadow of true peril, it's always the patriots who first hear the call. When loss of liberty is looming, as it is now, the siren sounds first in the hearts of freedom's vanguard. The smoke in the air of our Concord Bridges and Pearl Harbors is always smelled first by the farmers, who come from their simple homes to find the fire, and fight.

Because they know that sacred stuff resides in that wooden stock and blued steel, something that gives the most common man the most uncommon of freedoms. When ordinary hands can possess such an extraordinary instrument, that symbolizes the full measure of human dignity and liberty.

That's why those five words issue an irresistible call to us all, and we muster.

So as we set out this year to defeat the divisive forces that would take freedom away, I want to say those words again for everyone within the sound of my voice to hear and to heed, and especially for you, Mr. Gore:

From my cold dead hands!

(National Rifle Association President Charlton Heston, in opening remarks delivered at the NRA Annual Meeting on May 20, 2000)

Thursday, August 9, 2012

I miss Barry Goldwater -- and you should, too

"I have little interest in streamlining government or in making it more efficient, for I mean to reduce its size. I do not undertake to promote welfare, for I propose to extend freedom. My aim is not to pass laws, but to repeal them. It is not to inaugurate new programs, but to cancel old ones that do violence to the Constitution, or that have failed their purpose, or that impose on the people an unwarranted financial burden. I will not attempt to discover whether legislation is 'needed' before I have first determined whether it is constitutionally permissible. And if I should later be attacked for neglecting my constituents' 'interests,' I shall reply that I was informed that their main interest is liberty and that in that cause I am doing the very best I can."

(Those are the words of Barry M. Goldwater from his 1960 book, The Conscience of a Conservative. Over a half-century later, Liberty-loving Americans are suffering through a presidential election year dominated by Santa Claus on one side and Wink Martindale on another. With the exception of Rep. Ron Paul and Gov. Gary Johnson, this campaign shows little evidence of Sen. Goldwater's legacy.)

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Constitutional illumination

Rather than burdening readers with a lengthy introduction, I'll get right to the meat of this post. Here's the Second Amendment to the Constitution of the United States:
"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."
You and I know that those 27 words guarantee an individual right. Some still insist, however, on the primacy of the first clause -- that is, the necessity of "a well regulated militia" to be armed somehow trumps "the right of the people."

So here we are, 223 years after the Bill of Rights was introduced, applying today's language, culture and politics to our understanding of the Framers' intent. Wouldn't it be helpful to have something resembling a contemporaneous take on this fundamental right?

To that end I present Article VIII, Section 20 of the first constitution of the newly admitted State of Ohio:
"That the people have a right to bear arms for the defense of themselves and the State; and as standing armies in time of peace are dangerous to liberty, they shall not be kept up: and that the military shall be kept under strict subordination to the civil power."
Adopted in 1802 -- the year before Ohio achieved statehood and just 11 years after the U.S. Bill of Rights was ratified -- that leaves no doubt about the purpose of granting the People an individual right to bear arms: "for the defense of themselves and the State."

Come-lately critics and anti-gun zealots, please take note: There's no mention of "hunting" or "subsistence" in that section -- that's because they were (and are) irrelevant to the right to keep and bear arms.

The 1851 revision of the Ohio Constitution moved the state's Bill of Rights up from Article VIII to Article I -- talk about primacy -- and the section related to arms underwent a slight change at the same time:
"The people have the right to bear arms for their defense and security; but standing armies, in time of peace, are dangerous to liberty, and shall not be kept up; and the military shall be in strict subordination to the civil power."
That language remains in force today, underscoring that every citizen of The Great State of Ohio rightfully may bear arms "for their defense and security." It also reminds us why military forces must be "well regulated" -- because "standing armies, in time of peace, are dangerous to liberty."

I could leave it there, certainly, but Ohio's constitution has much more light to shine.

Returning to our nation's founding documents, here's the second sentence of the Declaration of Independence:
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."
The first Constitution of the State of Ohio (1803) incorporated similar principles, addressing "natural, inherent and unalienable rights" in Article VIII, Section 1:
"That all men are born equally free and independent, and have certain natural, inherent and unalienable rights; amongst which are the enjoying and defending life and liberty, acquiring, possessing and protecting property, and pursuing and obtaining happiness and safety; and every free republican government, being founded on their sole authority, and organized for the great purpose of protecting their rights and liberties, and securing their independence; to effect these ends, they have at all times a complete power to alter, reform or abolish their government, whenever they may deem it necessary."
In the 1851 revision, which saw Ohio citizens' enumerated rights given proper prominence, the "inalienable rights" passage became more concise. This is Article I, Section 1:
"All men are, by nature, free and independent, and have certain inalienable rights, among which are those of enjoying and defending life and liberty, acquiring, possessing, and protecting property, and seeking and obtaining happiness and safety."
Notice that both versions of this section -- the second of which is still in force, by the way, 161 years after its adoption -- codify two fundamental rights before all others: "enjoying and defending life and liberty" and "acquiring, possessing, and protecting property."

Legal scholars continue to argue over whether the Declaration of Independence represents law or merely principle, but the Constitution of the State of Ohio carries the force of law. Fortunately, the early Ohioans who crafted their state's governing document -- during the same formative era in which the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights were written and ratified -- saw fit to incorporate the inalienable human right to defend life, liberty and property.

That's because they understood our nation's founding principles. Their understanding is my understanding -- and a legacy of Liberty.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Couldn't've said it better

"On this morning's edition of Fareed Zakaria GPS, the host reported that the U.S. accounts for 5% of the world's population and 50% of the world's privately owned firearms -- now that makes me proud to be an American. For those who are ashamed of Liberty but don't have the wherewithal to relocate to another country, I offer this graphic. (Instructions included at no extra charge.)" (via Facebook)

Sunday, July 22, 2012


That poster is part of a campaign by USDA Food and Nutrition Services, aimed at recruiting applicants for its Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), better known as "food stamps."

It must be working. Since January of 2009 the number of Americans living in poverty, statistically speaking, has risen 6 million to almost 16 million. And today almost 46 million Americans are on food stamps, up 14 million over the same period.

Yes, times are tough.

Last week we learned that the USDA made an agreement with the government of Mexico to increase participation in the food-stamps program among Mexican nationals living in this country. As if that weren't enough of a puzzler, few days earlier the House Minority Whip opined that food stamps is one of the "most stimulative" things that our government can do for the national economy.

You read that right.

I'm sure that taxpayer-funded assistance, when used according to directions, helps keep individual Americans and their families from going hungry. You won't convince me, however, that a ballooning and much-abused entitlement program is making our nation stronger.

Another voice on Aurora

[Massad Ayoob, noted firearms instructor and prolific author, posted this yesterday on his Backwoods Home Magazine blog, "Massad Ayoob on Guns." The hyperlinks are mine.]

And it happens again...

Shortly after the clock ticks into the early morning hours of July 20 during a midnight movie premier at a theater in Aurora, Colorado, a mass murderer opens fire. A dozen or more dead, dozens more wounded, and practically by the time responding officers arrive the anti-gunners are already at their keyboards choreographing their traditional dance in the blood of innocent victims. One, CNN's resident Pommie priss -- who has already long since proven himself totally clueless as to the real-world dynamics of violence -- twitters that guns should be 100,000 times harder to access.

Maybe jobs as public-opinion-forming talking heads should be 100,000 times harder to get, as well. By the way, the "Pommie" reference is nothing against the British in general. The pragmatic Brits I know are aware that they have living countrymen who remember when England begged American gun owners to ship them hunting rifles, shotguns, and handguns for their civilians to use as last ditch weapons against the expected Nazi land invasion. It was the Brits themselves who coined POME (Prisoner Of Mother England) to define their brothers and sisters who evinced the mentality we see in the commentator in question.

Overlooked by most is a point discovered by famed Constitutional lawyer Don Kates: the theater in question forbade firearms inside. They themselves made it impossible for even one good person in the theater to draw a lawfully-carried handgun and put a bullet through the monster's brain, to stop the horror and shortstop the tragedy.

Once again, we see that "gun free zones" are hunting preserves for psychopaths who prey on humans.

[Amen, Mas -- amen.]

Saturday, July 21, 2012

On Aurora

[This was posted by a Facebook friend last night. It echoes "Here's your sign," which appeared on KintlaLake Blog almost a year ago.]

I'm sorry to be posting this so soon after the mass shooting in Aurora, Colorado -- please know that my heart goes out to the victims and their loved ones -- but I'm angry.

I'm angry because, according to news reports, the movie theater where 12 people were murdered and another 59 wounded had a "No Guns Allowed" policy. It may well have posted signs like this one.

This sign kills.

Make no mistake -- even if one or more moviegoers had been lawfully carrying firearms in that theater this morning, there's no guarantee that they could've stopped the shooter or reduced the number of casualties. But we do know two things for sure.

First of all, permitting lawful carry just might've given those theater patrons a fighting chance. More important, signs like this -- and the policies they represent -- advertise to the world that the facility on which they're posted is full of unarmed people, potential victims, fish in a barrel.

It makes no sense.

Today's massacre was an act of evil, carried out by a madman. Everyone knows that madmen are shadows and evil is a fact of life, and yet some among us still suggest that we can prevent such violence by restricting or outright banning some or all firearms -- leaving innocents outgunned at best, disarmed at worst.

That's the equivalent of posting this sign on our houses and on our cars, tattooing it on our foreheads. And it makes no sense.

Madmen and criminal predators always -- and I mean always -- will find a way to get 'hold of the tools of their trade, and incidents like the one in Colorado this morning demonstrate that they sure as hell don’t obey laws and policies, much less signs. Disarming law-abiding citizens by statute, then, can have only one result.

Innocent people will die. When will we learn that?

I see signs like this on businesses every day. Uncomfortable as I am to be entering an "unarmed victims zone," sometimes I patronize the establishment anyway, rationalizing my choice in one way or another.

Not any more. It makes no sense.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Principle & counter-principle

Speaking last Friday in Roanoke, Virginia, Pres. Barack Obama now-infamously said,
"If you've got a business, you didn't build that. Somebody else made that happen."
Mitt Romney, at a campaign event yesterday in Irwin, Pennsylvania, responded:
"Something happened on Friday -- President Obama exposed what he really thinks about free people and the American vision and government, what he really thinks about America itself.

"He probably wants to understand why his policies failed. If you want to understand why his policies have failed, why what he has done has not created jobs or rising incomes in America, you can look at what he said.

"And what he said was this, he said, and I quote -- and he's speaking, by the way, of businesses like this one, small businesses, big businesses, middle-size businesses, mining businesses, manufacturing, service businesses of all kinds. He said this:

'If you've got a business, you didn't build that. Somebody else made that happen.'
"That 'somebody else' is government, in his view. He goes on to describe the people who deserve the credit for building this business. And, of course, he describes people who we care very deeply about, who make a difference in our lives -- our schoolteachers, firefighters, people who build roads.

"We need those things. We value schoolteachers, firefighters, people who build roads. You really couldn't have a business if you didn't have those things. But, you know, we pay for those things.

"The taxpayers pay for government. It's not like government just provides those to all of us and we say,

'Oh thank you, government, for doing those things.'
"No, in fact, we pay for them and we benefit from them, and we appreciate the work that they do and the sacrifices that are done by people who work in government. But they did not build this business."
And that's the truth -- not bankable truth, alas, but truth nonetheless.

Monday, July 16, 2012

For once, for cryin' out loud, choose Liberty

Shortly after declaring my support of Gary Johnson, Libertarian Party candidate for President, I began catching flak. The most common reaction (and the easiest to have predicted) goes something like this:
"A vote for a third-party candidate is a vote for Obama."
That presumes, of course, that I agonized over the choice between Johnson and presumptive GOP nominee Mitt Romney -- which I didn't. It wasn't even a contest.

A second term for Pres. Barack Obama, undesirable at best, isn't the worst thing that could happen to our country. Swapping a big-government Democrat for a big-government Republican and expecting something to change would be far more disastrous. Wishing for such an outcome is symptomatic of our national two-party disorder.

I had a rather strident exchange with one particular fellow, a friend for more than a decade, over the role of government. It was prompted by the assault on individual liberties, as I see it, represented by the Affordable Care Act (aka "Obamacare").

My friend reportedly suffers from some sort of "pre-existing condition" and, because he now relies on the federal government to forestall what he describes as a "death sentence," his physical affliction is indistinguishable from his ideology. That is,
"If you don't support Obamacare, then you don't care if I live or die and you're certainly not my friend."
A passion for Liberty, according to him, also means that I hate all sick people, all poor people and all women. On top of that, he says, it makes me a racist.


I'm not unsympathetic to his suffering (or anyone else's, for that matter), but it's sad to see what happens to a man when self-interest swallows principle.

And then there was the customer who came into our shop late last week. An unapologetic Obama supporter, he summarized his perspective this way:
"What's the problem? Just keep printing money!"
That, he said, would avoid the "unnecessary pain" of slashing programs, cutting government jobs and balancing the federal budget.

Naturally, he wants "rich bastards" to pay higher taxes -- a lot higher.

So here we have a guy who doesn't get that printing money and deficit spending only postpone pain -- they don't prevent it. He jaws about "expanding access to the American Dream," but he wants the "rich bastards" who have achieved it to pay for entitlement programs demanded by those who haven't.

The good news, though, is that even if his man doesn't win in November, he should be happy with a Romney administration.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

One more from Jeff Cooper

"One bleeding-heart type asked me in a recent interview if I did not agree that 'violence begets violence.' I told him that it is my earnest endeavor to see that it does. I would like very much to ensure -- and in some cases I have -- that any man who offers violence to his fellow citizen begets a whole lot more in return than he can enjoy."

(Lt. Col. John Dean "Jeff" Cooper)

Problems (illustrated)

Sunday, July 8, 2012

A bit of Cooper's wisdom

"We are steadily asked about the age at which to teach young people to shoot. The answer to this obviously depends upon the particular individual; not only his physical maturity but his desire.

"Apart from these considerations, however, I think it important to understand that it is the duty of the father to teach the son to shoot.

"Before the young man leaves home, there are certain things he should know and certain skills he should acquire, apart from any state-sponsored activity. Certainly the youngster should be taught to swim, strongly and safely, at distance. And young people of either sex should be taught to drive a motor vehicle, and if at all possible, how to fly a light airplane. I believe a youngster should be taught the rudiments of hand-to-hand combat, unarmed, together with basic survival skills.

"The list is long, but it is a parent's duty to make sure that the child does not go forth into the world helpless in the face of its perils.

"Shooting, of course, is our business, and shooting should not be left up to the state."

(Lt. Col. John Dean "Jeff" Cooper)

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Flagg Day

James Montgomery Flagg's iconic image of Uncle Sam turned 96 years old yesterday.

Although most of us know the stern, finger-pointing Uncle Sam from the 1917 U.S. Army recruiting poster, he first appeared on the cover of Leslie's Weekly magazine over the caption, "What Are You Doing for Preparedness?"

Among the artist's other patriotic characters was the distaff Columbia. Flagg's Uncle Sam personified American power, authority and resolve, both at home and abroad, while his Columbia evoked Liberty, industry, unity, complacency -- human qualities, human aspirations, human failings.

In short, Uncle Sam embodied the U.S. government and everything it represents. Columbia stood for the People.

Of Flagg's many propaganda illustrations, perhaps my favorite is a menacing-looking Uncle Sam holding a pistol, from a 1917 Leslie's cover. It was captioned, "Get Off That Throne!"

I'll close with one more American propaganda image from the World War I years. This one was created not by James Montgomery Flagg but by renowned illustrator J.C. Leyendecker, a poster promoting the Boy Scouts of America's 1917 Liberty Loan Campaign.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Our Lives, Our Fortunes, & Our Sacred Honor

The unanimous Declaration of
the thirteen united States of America

When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. — Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their Public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected, whereby the Legislative Powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers.

He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by a mock Trial from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury:

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:

For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies

For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & Perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these united Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States, that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. — And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Unlimited government (illustrated)

If you've been paying attention to right-leaning media since this time yesterday, you've heard this question: Does the Supreme Court's ruling on "Obamacare" signal the end of America as we know it?

Answer: Of course it doesn't. We already knew that the People are being smothered by an intrusive federal government.

It does, however, in this independent citizen-patriot's opinion, mark the end of our country as it was founded.

See, even if the Supreme Court's decision mobilizes Liberty-loving citizens to deny Pres. Obama a second term, or even to press our elected officials to "repeal and replace" Obamacare -- a dumb idea, swapping one big-government program for another -- it establishes precedent at the highest level of the federal judiciary. With a single ruling, the Court cleared the way for our bloated government to regulate and tax not only what we do, but also what we don't do.

(Somewhere, HRH Michael Bloomberg is toasting his unexpected windfall with expensive champagne.)

The damage is done. There's a deep gash in our founding principles, hemorrhaging Liberty.

July 4th, the day that we celebrate independence, is less than a week away. America is still the best and freest country on Earth and I will, indeed, celebrate that -- but I'll do so on Wednesday with tears in my eyes, knowing that our liberties are, perhaps, mortally wounded.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Unlimited government, affirmed

The Supreme Court today affirmed that the Affordable Care Act, a.k.a "Obamacare," doesn't violate the Constitution -- not because it's permissible under the Commerce Clause to compel citizens to purchase a product or service, but because Congress has the power under the General Welfare Clause to levy taxes.

What was sold to the People as a penalty, not a tax, has been upheld as a tax, not a penalty. It's a distinction without a difference, either way, and now it's settled law.

Chief Justice John Roberts, whose siding with the 5-4 majority confounds me, concluded the Court's opinion with this:
"The Framers created a Federal Government of limited powers, and assigned to this Court the duty of enforcing those limits. The Court does so today. But the Court does not express any opinion on the wisdom of the Affordable Care Act. Under the Constitution, that judgment is reserved to the people."
Limited powers? My ass -- not any more.

This landmark decision fundamentally transforms our nation. It unleashes a government of virtually limitless reach.

It's dark day for the People, a very dark day for Liberty.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Cave exploring

The other day I happened upon an essay entitled, "The Gun as a Weapon of Education," written by one Edward Cave and published in a 1918 edition of The Outlook.

The headline was intriguing, certainly, but the subhead hooked me:
"Lessons from the Long Trail that Goes 'Way Around Beyond the Bleak and Barren Mountains of Mere Marksmanship to the Happy Valley of Sportsmanship"
Knowing of the author's connection to Scouting, I scanned the piece for a mention. These lines jumped out at me:
"A couple of years before the Germans turned loose their war, for eight months I disturbed the pious and pacific calm of the National headquarters of the Boy Scouts with the rude idea that Baden-Powell, the British soldier who originated the Boy Scout idea, meant their slogan, 'Be Prepared,' to imply prepared to carry a gun, not a harp."
That, my friends, is absolutely priceless. Cave continued:
"Despite instructions, I drilled my troop of Boy Scouts, and drilled them hard. Since then I have had the satisfaction of vindication on both counts. In addition, I have had the satisfaction of helping a good many thousands of Boy Scouts and plain ordinary boys to learn how to shoot a .22 rifle properly. I joined the National Rifle Association of America and the United States Revolver Association, and recently induced the former to encourage boys to take up target-shooting outdoors with the .22 rifles."
Cave's assertion that he influenced "a good many thousands of Boy Scouts and plain ordinary boys" was no idle boast -- in 1915 he published Boy Scout Marksmanship, a seminal work on the subject and a valuable primer for boys within and beyond the uniformed ranks.

Later in the text, I chuckled at Cave's expressed intent to "square up some old accounts" -- that is, to needle certain types of people that he found particularly annoying. Specifically:
"Folks who are afraid of a gun, but otherwise all right.

"Folks who will not let a big-enough boy have a gun.

"Folks who are fond of roast chicken -- and, if necessary to get it, would chase a pet rooster till red in the face and chop his head off -- yet raise objection to all hunting, and are classified among wild life conservationists as sentimentalists.

"Pacifists -- the worst of the lot."
That passage is another keeper, for sure. Cave closed his engaging essay with this:
"Far away on the horizon you see what at first appears like a fog in some distant valley. It is the smoke pall above some city, and it reminds you, hunter that you are, of the vaporings of the city men you know who can never stand where you do, nor even rise above their droll little chimneys, yet presume to force upon their fellows their narrow conception of a world outlook.

"Poor little wall-warped and roof-stunted boys who were never allowed to have a gun!"
"The Gun as a Weapon of Education" is a fun read -- playful and unapologetic, relevant despite its advanced age. I recommend it.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Fighting over the kids

Long before the Winchester Junior Rifle Corps was launched in 1918, "schoolboy" rifle-marksmanship programs were conducted by the Boy Scouts, the National Rifle Association, the Public Schools Athletic League of New York City and various other organizations.

Remington, as far as I know, didn't push a club of its own during those years. Its advertising took a different tack as well.

"War Department Offers Rifle Shooting Medals to Boys," from a 1917 issue of the Saturday Evening Post, is an example of Remington's approach. It used the lure of government-sanctioned marksmanship awards, along with the credibility of the Boy Scouts and the NRA, essentially to soft-pedal the brand. An excerpt from the copy:
"Another thing -- you don't have to shoot any special make of rifle and ammunition to compete for these National Medals. You can use any make of .22 caliber rifle and .22 short cartridges.

"We hope, of course, that you will select Remington UMC. Certainly you will, if you ask advice from men who
Two years later the W.J.R.C. was on the scene. Remington adjusted its pitch accordingly.

"News Indeed for the Young Man and his .22" popped up in a 1919 issue of Collier's. The ad's subhead -- "Individual Shooters Recognized by N.R.A. -- No need to join a Club" -- was an appeal to youthful independence and a shot across Winchester's bow. Later, this:
"Now don't hesitate to write us just because your rifle or ammunition is not Remington UMC. You don't even have to tell us what make you do shoot -- now. We'll take a chance that you will come to Remington UMC as your skill develops and you become more critical about your arms and ammunition."
And so the two companies exchanged volleys, vying for young shooters, their skirmish lasting nearly a decade. Which one prevailed?

Remington is still around -- it's the oldest company in the U.S. still making its original product, the oldest continuously operating manufacturer on the continent, the only American company that makes both guns and ammo here in the U.S. and the largest domestic manufacturer of long guns.

Winchester, which always struggled, sadly (or mercifully) is gone.

The W.J.R.C. had a successful nine-year run before it was absorbed by the NRA. Its descendant, the NRA Marksmanship Qualification Program, continues to thrive.

Monday, June 25, 2012

And you thought Scalia was cranky this morning...

[This irresponsible decision by the Department of Homeland Security reflects callous disregard for the People and stunning political arrogance. What are they doing to our country?]

Homeland Security suspends immigration agreements with Arizona police

The Washington Times

The Obama administration said Monday it is suspending existing agreements with Arizona police over enforcement of federal immigration laws, and said it has issued a directive telling federal authorities to decline many of the calls reporting illegal immigrants that the Homeland Security Department may get from Arizona police.

Administration officials, speaking on condition they not be named, told reporters they expect to see an increase in the number of calls they get from Arizona police -- but that won't change President Obama's decision to limit whom the government actually tries to detain and deport.

"We will not be issuing detainers on individuals unless they clearly meet our defined priorities," one official said in a telephone briefing.

The official said that despite the increased number of calls, which presumably means more illegal immigrants being reported, the Homeland Security Department is unlikely to detain a significantly higher number of people and won't be boosting personnel to handle the new calls.

"We do not plan on putting additional staff on the ground in Arizona," the official said.

The Supreme Court ruled Monday that Arizona may not impose its own penalties for immigration violations, but it said state and local police could check the legal status of those they have reasonable suspicion to believe are in the country illegally.

That means police statewide can immediately begin calling to check immigration status -- but federal officials are likely to reject most of those calls.

Federal officials said they'll still perform the checks as required by law but will respond only when someone has a felony conviction on his or her record. Absent that, ICE will tell the local police to release the person.

Officials said they had concluded the seven agreements they had signed with various departments in Arizona weren't working and took the Supreme Court's ruling as a chance to scrap them.

[Read the complete article here.]

Righteous dissent

"After [Arizona v. United States] was argued and while it was under consideration, the Secretary of Homeland Security announced a program exempting from immigration enforcement some 1.4 million illegal immigrants under the age of 30."

"The husbanding of scarce enforcement resources can hardly be the justification for this, since the considerable administrative cost of conducting as many as 1.4 million background checks, and ruling on the biennial requests for dispensation that the non-enforcement program envisions, will necessarily be deducted from immigration enforcement. The President said at a news conference that the new program is 'the right thing to do' in light of Congress's failure to pass the Administration's proposed revision of the Immigration Act. Perhaps it is, though Arizona may not think so.

"But to say, as the Court does, that Arizona contradicts federal law by enforcing applications of the Immigration Act that the President declines to enforce boggles the mind."

"...There has come to pass, and is with us today, the specter that Arizona and the States that support it predicted: A Federal Government that does not want to enforce the immigration laws as written, and leaves the States' borders unprotected against immigrants whom those laws would exclude. So the issue is a stark one. Are the sovereign States at the mercy of the Federal Executive's refusal to enforce the Nation's immigration laws?

"A good way of answering that question is to ask: Would the States conceivably have entered into the Union if the Constitution itself contained the Court's holding?"

"Arizona has moved to protect its sovereignty -- not in contradiction of federal law, but in complete compliance with it. The laws under challenge here do not extend or revise federal immigration restrictions, but merely enforce those restrictions more effectively. If securing its territory in this fashion is not within the power of Arizona, we should cease referring to it as a sovereign State."

(U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, dissenting from the Court's majority opinion in the case of Arizona v. United States. Read the Opinion of the Court here; Justice Scalia's scathing 22-page dissent begins on page 30 of the pdf document.)