July 4, 2013

Rush Limbaugh’s Sobering Description of Where We Really Are

Filed under: Health Care,Immigration,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 6:15 pm

From his Wednesday broadcast, as succinct a rundown of this administration’s lawlessness (to this point) as you’ll see anywhere, starting with the illegal delay of the ObamaCare employer mandate (bolds and some paragraph breaks added by me):

Now, if the president can decide, “We got a law here but, you know what, implementing it and enforcing it might not help me,” so if he can just delay Obamacare, what else could be delayed that he doesn’t like? Maybe all these new Border Patrol agents in the Hoeven-Corker amendment. Maybe they can be delayed, too, after the law has been signed into law. It can be enforced, delayed, or ignored on the whim of the presidency. What is the reason we go through the legislative process if, when it’s all over, the president can pick and choose what he’s going to allow and what he isn’t going to allow, what he’s going to permit and what he isn’t gonna permit, what he’s gonna implement and what he isn’t gonna implement. Why even go through the legislative process?

You know, we thought Egypt was a country in trouble. Obama just canceled the game. He didn’t want Obamacare to play out, so he canceled it, for now. He’ll play the game, we’ll go back to it when he’s got the Congress in his back pocket. Then he’ll reschedule the game.

I mean, folks, this is the stuff of banana republics. Laws have no meaning. You remember when the president said the Congress was in recess when they weren’t so he could appoint some people who otherwise couldn’t make it? Remember when he rolled the bondholders of General Motors when he took over the car companies? The bondholders are due money; they’re first in line to get paid. He called ‘em “greedy.” He told ‘em to get the hell out, to eat it for the country.

Remember when he refused to defend the Defense of Marriage Act? The regime just decided, “You know what? We don’t like this bill, and we’re not gonna defend it in federal court.” Remember when he unilaterally granted amnesty to hundreds of thousands of illegal aliens. Just snapped his fingers, just did it. And, of course, his campaign spent millions falsely calling Mitt Romney a tax felon and a murderer.

But laws come and go at the pleasure of a corrupt regime. The IRS serves as the president’s goon squad. His cabinet secretaries buy off businesses and industries one by one. We don’t yet know what the NSA is doing at his behest and I don’t really know what degree of cooperation the Federal Reserve has with Obama. One thing we do know the Fed is doing is bailing out banks left and right.

The Fed dollars are bailing out and propping up rich people all over the place to the detriment of middle-class people. The dollar is becoming more and more worthless. The ability for a family in the middle class to accrue wealth is becoming harder and harder and harder. Sequester? Sequester was an excuse to punish the same people who already got roughed up by the TSA and the IRS. What kind of country do we have now?

At least the people of Egypt had the good sense to turn out in the streets and express displeasure with the way they were treated.

Well, here we are.

We have a long, long road to get back to anything resembling the country our Founders envisioned. I hope we’re up for it.

Becker’s proposed law against gun destruction deserves passage

Filed under: 2nd Amendment,Activism,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 6:10 pm

This column went up at Watchdog.org with minor edits earlier today.

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Buckeye State 65th District State Representative John Becker has a compelling idea to raise money for cash-strapped municipalities: Instead of destroying perfectly functional firearms, sell ‘em.

Republican Becker, whose district encompasses the northwestern half of Clermont County in southwestern Ohio, notes that current practice for most law enforcement agencies in the state is to melt down guns seized from criminals once they are no longer needed as courtroom evidence.

A few decades ago, when I worked at a local foundry, the Cincinnati Police Department would from time to time bring such weapons in and watch as workers threw them into the blast furnaces. That practice seemed wasteful to me. Becker agrees.

Since then, as aversion to guns has grown in certain sectors of the populace, some cities have engaged in gun turn-in and buy-back programs to, in their minds, “get guns off the streets” and supposedly make conditions safer. Those guns currently suffer the same fate as the ones involved in crimes.

In House testimony on June 25, Becker made these accurate observations:

Firearms are property. When law enforcement agencies destroy firearms, they are destroying assets. At a time when budgets are tight, it makes no more sense to destroy firearms than it does to destroy office furniture, vehicles, computers, or other assets that are generally sold or auctioned off when they are no longer needed.

… Destroying these or any guns does nothing to help a crime problem, and harms a law enforcement agency’s finances compared to auctioning them off.

House Bill 210, which is currently in the Transportation Committee, would, contrary to current custom, “require the sale to a federally licensed firearms dealer of all unclaimed or forfeited firearms and dangerous ordnance in the possession of a law enforcement agency that are legal for persons to possess, that are not used by an agency for police work, and that are not otherwise sold for sporting use or as a museum piece or collectors’ item.” Of course, as is the case with any guns they sell, federally licensed dealers who purchase guns through this mechanism could only resell them to buyers who pass a federal background check.

The amounts of money involved aren’t going to solve county or municipal budget problems, but they’re hardly inconsequential. For example, in an April drug bust in northeastern Ohio, “A total of 155 firearms were seized.” Conservatively assuming they were all relatively inexpensive handguns, each could be probably be auctioned off for at least $200, raising a total of $31,000. A more likely mix of guns actually seized could net $50,000 or more. Becker points out that police departments could then use the money obtained to ensure to purchase life-saving gear such as bulletproof vests.

Some pundits and law enforcement officials are not pleased with Becker’s idea. In fact, it’s fair to say that a few have gone ballistic.  Over at the far-left fever swamp known as Daily Kos, he has earned the distinction of being called “R-Gun Nut.”

On Friday, Mark Naymik at the Cleveland Plain Dealer wrote that Becker’s proposal “does absolutely nothing to advance the protection of gun rights.” Oh yes it does, Mark. It puts more used guns in the market for people who believe they need a gun to defend themselves but can’t afford to buy a new one.

Naymik quotes Cleveland Safety Director Marty Flask, a staunch opponent of Becker’s bill, who claims that his city’s gun buyback program “takes hundreds of guns out of homes, which keeps them from getting stolen, a primary source of guns on the street.” Flask can still conduct his buyback program and take guns out of the hands of people who don’t want them. He just can’t destroy them. If he wants the guns out of Cleveland, it would appear that there’s nothing stopping him from selling them to a dealer in another less dangerous locale and using the money to beef up patrols to prevent break-ins.

Naymik did hint at a larger, valid point when he complained that “the .22-caliber Ruger handgun used by Chardon’s T.J. Lane to kill three classmates would get a second life while his victims do not.” It seems to me that in the name of closure, murder victims’ immediate families ought to have a final say in whether the weapons involved in killing their loved ones get destroyed. There’s also the matter of whether the guns involved in particularly infamous murders should be allowed to become collectibles for those who only covet morbid bragging rights.

In a conversation I had with him on Monday, Becker, while correctly observing that guns don’t commit such murders, said he was open to considering such provisions as possible amendments to his bill.

With those exceptions, I believe Becker is onto something, and that Ohio should pass an appropriately modified version of House Bill 210.

Thursday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (070413)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 6:01 pm

Rules are here. Possible comment fodder may follow later. Other topics are also fair game.

Positivity: The Declaration of Independence

Filed under: Positivity,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 12:35 am

IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.

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 harrass 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 benefits 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 of 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 Brittish 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.

[The 56 signatures on the Declaration were arranged in six columns:]

[Column 1] Georgia: Button Gwinnett, Lyman Hall, George Walton;

[Column 2] North Carolina: William Hooper, Joseph Hewes, John Penn;
South Carolina: Edward Rutledge; Thomas Heyward, Jr.; Thomas Lynch, Jr.; Arthur Middleton;

[Column 3] Massachusetts: John Hancock;
Maryland: Samuel Chase; William Paca; Thomas Stone; Charles Carroll of Carrollton;
Virginia: George Wythe; Richard Henry Lee; Thomas Jefferson; Benjamin Harrison; Thomas Nelson, Jr.; Francis Lightfoot Lee; Carter Braxton;

[Column 4] Pennsylvania: Robert Morris; Benjamin Rush; Benjamin Franklin; John Morton; George Clymer; James Smith; George Taylor; James Wilson; George Ross;
Delaware: Caesar Rodney; George Read; Thomas McKean;

[Column 5] New York: William Floyd; Philip Livingston; Francis Lewis; Lewis Morris;
New Jersey: Richard Stockton; John Witherspoon; Francis Hopkinson; John Hart; Abraham Clark;

[Column 6] New Hampshire: Josiah Bartlett; William Whipple;
Massachusetts: Samuel Adams; John Adams; Robert Treat Paine; Elbridge Gerry;
Rhode Island: Stephen Hopkins; William Ellery;
Connecticut: Roger Sherman; Samuel Huntington; William Williams; Oliver Wolcott;
New Hampshire: Matthew Thornton.

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Positivity: What the Declaration’s Signers Endured (and What Happened 13 Years Ago to a Columnist Who Wrote About It)

Note: This post is a July 4 BizzyBlog tradition. It belongs in Positivity because the sacrifices of those involved contributed to the founding of these United States.

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The column below is, for reasons described in “Background” below, unenforceably copyright © 2000 Boston Globe, and is reposted here in full for discussion, critique, and educational purposes only, pursuant to the fair use exemption of copyright law.

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Jeff-Jacoby-colorBackground: In July 2000, veteran Globe columnist Jeff Jacoby (pictured at right, c. 2004) wrote the column that appears below.

After publication, his ignorant editors (putting it kindly) felt that he should have included a line pointing out that he was far from the first to write about the fates of the Declaration’s signers. Because he hadn’t, Jacoby was suspended for four months without pay. Note that The Globe did not, because they could not, suspend him for plagiarism.

Jacoby’s full response to his suspension is here. His most important points were these:

In short, whatever-happened-to-the-signers is an old, old theme in American inspirational writing …. These stories have been repeated so often, and by so many people, that they have risen to the level of American legend. Which is why it didn’t occur to me to take up valuable space in the column with footnotes or citations to earlier versions….

…. I care greatly about accuracy. Knowing that previous treatments of the lives-of-the-signers theme contained mistakes and exaggerations, I tried to take pains not to repeat anything untrue. As best as I could given the constraints of a deadline, I double-checked the biographical information I had, using encyclopedias of American history, books on the American Revolution, and relevant web sites, such as the one at www.colonialhall.com.

Many online and print readers of Jacoby’s columns (I believe that The Globe never did tell us how many) protested his suspension, including me. My protest e-mail to the Globe’s ombudsman said, in part:

Repeat after me, sir: FACTUAL history, especially from over 200 years ago, is public domain, and once verified and researched, does not have to be attributed. Your position is akin to having to look in three dictionaries to get to the meaning of every word and then having to cite those dictionaries every single time.

Where Jacoby found this factual history, whether “in a short book … by Paul Harvey,” “……in a widely circulated e-mail,” on a paper napkin, or on toilet paper is, after the fact-checking that YOU acknowledge he did, (repeat after me) IRRELEVANT.

The Globe did not reconsider the suspension. Matt Drudge “suspended” the Boston Globe’s link at his web site during the term of Jacoby’s suspension. Many online users “suspended” The Globe by refusing to read anything it published during that time, and more than a few print readers cancelled their subscriptions.

Upon learning of the suspension, Joe Farah of World Net Daily wrote:

I have read Jacoby’s column. I have read other works that inspired it. In my professional and expert opinion, this is not plagiarism. Neither is it a close call. It is, simply, the kind of derivative journalism that we read in American newspapers every single day — online and off. Jacoby did nothing wrong.

In fact, the only thing he is guilty of is writing a first-rate Independence Day column that reminded Americans of the great sacrifice our founders made for the freedom we enjoy. And that, I suspect, is what really bugs the politically correct crowd at the Boston Globe.

Indeed. Which is why, on this Independence Day, I am posting that column, omitting additional information about Thomas Nelson Jr. that Jacoby subsequently found to be inaccurate.

So we never forget.

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Fifty-Six Great Risk-Takers
By Jeff Jacoby
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