Liberty is an inherently offensive lifestyle. Living in a free society guarantees that each one of us will see our most cherished principles and beliefs questioned and in some cases mocked. That psychic discomfort is the price we pay for basic civic peace. It's worth it. It's a pragmatic principle. Defend everyone else's rights, because if you don't there is no one to defend yours. -- MaxedOutMama

I don't just want gun rights... I want individual liberty, a culture of self-reliance....I want the whole bloody thing. -- Kim du Toit

The most glaring example of the cognitive dissonance on the left is the concept that human beings are inherently good, yet at the same time cannot be trusted with any kind of weapon, unless the magic fairy dust of government authority gets sprinkled upon them.-- Moshe Ben-David

The cult of the left believes that it is engaged in a great apocalyptic battle with corporations and industrialists for the ownership of the unthinking masses. Its acolytes see themselves as the individuals who have been "liberated" to think for themselves. They make choices. You however are just a member of the unthinking masses. You are not really a person, but only respond to the agendas of your corporate overlords. If you eat too much, it's because corporations make you eat. If you kill, it's because corporations encourage you to buy guns. You are not an individual. You are a social problem. -- Sultan Knish

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Aw, Damn

Aw, Damn

Death in the (extended) family. Tam's cat Mittens passed today. When people ask me if I prefer cats or dogs, my answer is always "Yes." Cats are lower-maintenance than dogs. You don't have to walk them, and (if you're lucky) you don't have to clean up after 'em much either. But you have to provide service to cats. Dogs, on the other hand, worship you.

I've had both, and loved both. And losing them sucks.

Drop by Tam's and leave a note of condolence, would you?

"These out-of-town internet dudes are another matter."


In a follow-up to last Thursday's "They mostly seem like ordinary folks" piece on the decision by California's North Coast Journal to publish the names of CCW permit holders in Humboldt County (and the associated "They seem so normal!" story), we have a post at CalGuns (h/t to reader John):
I just received a call from HANK SIMS, the editor of the North Coast Journal (707) 826-2004. It came across my Caller ID, so it MUST be "public Information"

He wanted to verify that I had indeed submitted a "Letter to the Editor" online (not comments to the article, but an actual letter submission which I assume they have printed, or may print.)

The conversation started out pleasantly, but quickly turned into a heated debate. I told him that he should be able to glean from the 137+ NEGATIVE comments about posting the names of CCW holders, that it was the wrong thing to do. He refused to see it that way.

He told me that MY reading of the public information act, that the info is there for anyone who wants to go get it but purposefully publishing it from a data fishing expedition is wrong, is flawed. He saw NOTHING wrong with compiling the list of CCW holder names and publishing them on the front page. His defense? He didn't publish their addresses or anything potentially damaging!

He said that the names alone give no usable information, but I told him that from Heidi Walters' name ALONE, I have her PO Box mailing address, former residential addresses, work history, DOB, husband's name, EX-husband's name, the names of their current and former neighbors and a lot of other "public information" I have been able to gather by simply surfing the net. I haven't even bothered to find out what car she drives, the names of her children if any and so forth. I have more important things to do, but I darned sure could find out a lot more with little effort.
RTWT.

So, needless to say, editor Hank Sims [(707) 826-2004], has gotten an ear- and an inbox-full of irate mail from gun owners. In fact, AAN, the "Association of Alternative Newsweeklies" has discovered our interest:
North Coast Journal Story on Weapons Permits Causes a Stir

The Humboldt County alt-weekly provoked an angry response last week with a cover story revealing the names of citizens who have permits to carry concealed weapons in the county. The cover illustration of a handgun was composed of names supplied by the county sheriff's office of 641 individuals holding such a permit. The story has caused an "internet shitstorm," editor Hank Sims tells AAN News, as evidenced by the comments on the story itself and various online forums and blogs. Sims notes that the reaction online has been much harsher than his face-to-face encounters. "A number of local people called or came into the office last week a little bit angry, wondering how we got their name or why we should be allowed to publish the list. They were all very cool, and I had some great conversations," he says. "These out-of-town internet dudes are another matter."
THR, Calguns, and this blog were linked in the blurb. Interestingly, the report was credited to "AAN News." I guess whoever was responsible for actually typing the words didn't want to risk an "internet shitstorm" themselves.

You know, it's remarkable that the local response has been so low-key, seeing as how gun owners and especially CCW permit holders only appear to be ordinary folks. But journalists know that, deep down, they're really bloodthirsty killers who need to be exposed! It's only with the anonymity of the Internet (yeah, I'm anonymous as hell) that our true bloodthirstyness can be released!

In the form of harshly-worded missives!

I am, once again, reminded of the words of Dr. Michael S. Brown. We're tired of the decades-long slow motion hate crime against guns and gun owners. This is another piece of evidence that we're not taking it quietly anymore.

Quote of the Day

Quote of the Day

From this House of Eratosthenes post, Party Like it's 1999 wherein there is a link to Neal Boortz who has a clipping from the Sept. 30, 1999 edition of the New York Times (Paper of Record, y'know) that says:
Fannie Mae Eases Credit To Aid Mortgage Lending

By STEVEN A. HOLMES
Published: September 30, 1999


In a move that could help increase home ownership rates among minorities and low-income consumers, the Fannie Mae Corporation is easing the credit requirements on loans that it will purchase from banks and other lenders.

The action, which will begin as a pilot program involving 24 banks in 15 markets -- including the New York metropolitan region -- will encourage those banks to extend home mortgages to individuals whose credit is generally not good enough to qualify for conventional loans. Fannie Mae officials say they hope to make it a nationwide program by next spring.

Fannie Mae, the nation's biggest underwriter of home mortgages, has been under increasing pressure from the Clinton Administration to expand mortgage loans among low and moderate income people and felt pressure from stock holders to maintain its phenomenal growth in profits.
Yes, boys and girls, Bubba gave us a real nice going-away present!

But that's not the quote of the day. It's just a setup. Continuing:
In addition, banks, thrift institutions and mortgage companies have been pressing Fannie Mae to help them make more loans to so-called subprime borrowers. These borrowers whose incomes, credit ratings and savings are not good enough to qualify for conventional loans, can only get loans from finance companies that charge much higher interest rates -- anywhere from three to four percentage points higher than conventional loans.
Y'see, this is how the MARKET WORKS. If you're a higher risk then the lender had better see a higher return on his risk, or you're not worth the risk.

But Fannie Mae (and Freddie Mac) removed the risk (so everyone thought). As Franklin Delano Raines famously said in House testimony, "These loans are almost riskless!"

And who doesn't like free money?

But that wasn't the QotD either. From the House of Eratosthenes piece, here is your QotD:
If the cause-and-effect is still a mystery to you . . . well then, you just might be a liberal democrat.
Following close on its heels is this from that same NYT piece - a bit of, shall we say, foreshadowing?
In moving, even tentatively, into this new area of lending, Fannie Mae is taking on significantly more risk, which may not pose any difficulties during flush economic times. But the government-subsidized corporation may run into trouble in an economic downturn, prompting a government rescue similar to that of the savings and loan industry in the 1980's.

"From the perspective of many people, including me, this is another thrift industry growing up around us," said Peter Wallison a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. "If they fail, the government will have to step up and bail them out the way it stepped up and bailed out the thrift industry."
Please do read the whole piece. It's chock-full of crunchy goodness! Nine years to the day. Who'dathunkit?

Obviously George Bush is at fault for not Nipping. This. In. The. BUD!

Mr. Wallison published American Enterprise Institute paper on the topic of "Regulating Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac" in May of 2005 that you might also find interesting.

(*Ahem*) I hereby nominate Peter Wallison to the position of Secretary of the Treasury.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Trust Us: There's Nothing Worng!

Trust Us: There's Nothing Worng!

Instapundit had this YouTube video. Since I've posted other stuff on the topic, I thought I would post this one, too:


My favorite quote from the video by Don Manzullo, (R-IL):
Mr. Raines: $1.1 million bonus on a $526,000 salary. Jamie Gorelick: $779,000 bonus on a salary of $567,000. This is... What you state on page 11 is nothing less than staggering. "The 1998 earnings per share value turned out to be three dollars and twenty-three cents and nine mills ($3.239) - a result that Fannie Mae met the max, the EPS maximum payout goal right down to the penny.

"Fannie Mae understood the rules and simply chose not to follow them, if Fannie Mae had followed the, the practices, there wouldn't have been a bonus that year."
(6:20-7:08 in the video.)

Watch the whole thing.

(I love C-SPAN. AND YouTube!)

Sunday, September 28, 2008

"That was freakin' awesome"

"That was freakin' awesome"

One bit of good news, for SpaceX the fourth time was the charm. They have successfully achieved orbit with their Falcon 1 booster toting a (non-)payload of 364 pounds of machined aluminum. CEO Elon Musk announced, "That was freakin' awesome." I imagine there was a bit of emotion behind that.

You've gotta love it. I want to see the video.

Quote of the Day

Quote of the Day

Paraphrased from this Mostly Cajun post:
Taxpayer: A title much of the Democrat Party's core constituency fails to acheive
Because it's never a good idea to vote against your own economic best interests, and who doesn't like "free money"?

Here's a couple of associated quotes:
A democratic government is the only one in which those who vote for a tax can escape the obligation to pay it.

--

The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public's money.
Both of those by Alexis de Tocqueville.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

The Subprime Crisis in 9:59

The Subprime Crisis in 9:59 10:59 10:51


By all means, watch.

And you might want to read this, too.

UPDATE, 9/29: The original video was yanked. A 1 minute longer version has been substituted. (h/t to Strider.)

The $700 Billion Kidney Stone

The $700 Billion Kidney Stone

Bill Whittle publishes at NRO once again, with Pain. Who knew all we had to do was pay him?

Excellent as always. And, having suffered a kidney stone myself, I was unable to refrain from wincing (and laughing out loud) at his description. The only difference, the EMT was given permission to give me morphine in the ambulance but he couldn't find a vein. Mine passed apparently much faster than Bill's, but I think it was made on the same production line in the same Bulgarian factory.

(h/t to DJ for the pointer.)

Alger, Hayek, Hoffer and Porretto

Alger, Hayek, Hoffer and Porretto

I've quoted Eric Hoffer from his seminal book True Believer: Thoughts on the Nature of Mass Movements before. Here's one that I've quoted at least twice previously:
Hatred is the most accessible and comprehensive of all unifying agents. It pulls and whirls the individual away from his own self, makes him oblivious of his weal and future, frees him of jealosies and self-seeking. He becomes an anonymous particle quivering with a craving to fuse and coalesce with his like into one flaming mass. (Heinrich) Heine suggests that what Christian love cannot do is effected by a common hatred.

Mass movements can rise and spread without belief in a God, but never without belief in a devil. Usually the strength of a mass movement is proportionate to the vividness and tangibility of its devil. When Hitler was asked whether he thought the Jew must be destroyed, he answered: "No.... We should have then to invent him. It is essential to have a tangible enemy, not merely an abstract one." F.A. Voigt tells of a Japanese mission that arrived in Berlin in 1932 to study the National Socialist movement. Voigt asked a member of the mission what he thought of the movement. He replied: "It is magnificent. I wish we could have something like it in Japan, only we can't, because we haven't got any Jews."
Francis Porretto has written a piece that I think everyone should read, Hatings.

I honestly wish I could say that I thought Francis was wrong, but I can't. My only quibble: the Republicans aren't innocent, either.

I'm further reminded of a post no longer available on the web, written by Ironbear, who still comments here occasionally:
It would be a mistake to paint the conflict exclusively in terms of "cultural war," or Democrats vs Republicans, or even Left vs Right. Neither Democrats/Leftists or Republicans shy away from statism... the arguments there are merely over degree of statism, uses to which statism will be put - and over who'll hold the reins. It's the thought that they may not be left in a position to hold the reins that drives the Democrat-Left stark raving.

--

This is a conflict of ideologies...

The heart of the conflict is between those to whom personal liberty is important, and those to whom liberty is not only inconsequential, but to whom personal liberty is a deadly threat.

At the moment, that contingent is embodied most virulently by the "American" Left. This is the movement that still sees the enslavement and "re-education" of hundreds of thousands in South Vietnam, and the bones of millions used as fertilizer in Cambodia as a victory. This is the movement that sees suicide bombers as Minute Men, and sees the removal of a brutal murder and rape machine from power as totalitarianism. This is the movement that sees legitimately losing an election as the imposition of a police state. This is the movement that believes in seizing private property as "common good". That celebrates Che Guevara as a hero. The movement who's highest representatives talk blithely about taking away your money and limiting your access to your own homestead for your own good. The movement of disarmament.

The movement of the boot across the throat.

Think about it. When was the last time that you were able to engage in anything that resembled a discussion with someone of the Leftist persuasion? Were able to have an argument that was based on the premise that one of you was wrong, rather than being painted as Evil just because you disagreed?

The Left has painted itself into a rhetorical and logical corner, and unfortunately, they have no logic that might act as a paint thinner. It's not possible for them to compromise with those that they've managed to conflate with the most venal of malevolence, with those whom they're convinced disagree not because of different opinions but because of stupidity and evil, with those who's core values are diametrically opposed to what the Left has embraced. There can be no real discourse, no real discussion. There's no common ground. There can be no reconciliation there - the Left has nothing to offer that any adherent of freedom wants. The only way they can achieve their venue is from a position of political ascendancy where it can be imposed by force or inveigled by guile.

And all adherents of freedom have far too many decades of historical precedent demonstrating exactly where that Leftward road leads - to the ovens of Dachau.
And no, that's not hyperbole.

Quote of the Day

Quote of the Day
(Critics) waste time on America’s debased, overwhelming, industrial pop culture. They attack it with an energy appropriate to attacking fascism, or communism, or death. But that culture (bad television, movies, ads, pop songs) is a snivelling, ingratiating, billion-dollar cur. It has to be chosen to be consumed, so it flashes its tits, laughs at your jokes, replays your prejudices and smiles smiles smiles. It isn’t worthy of satire, because it cannot use force to oppress. If it has an off-button, it is not oppression. Attacking it is unworthy, meaningless. It is like beating up prostitutes. - Julian Gough, "The rest is silence," Prospect magazine.
This is an excerpt from an article on the death of writer David Foster Wallace found originally at University Diaries. I've not read his only novel Infinite Jest, nor do I plan to, but I think that single paragraph has a much broader application than its author intended.

"If it has an off-button, it is not oppression."

That needs to go on a T-shirt, becoming part of America's "debased, overwhelming, industrial pop culture."

Friday, September 26, 2008

Anybody Need an Aimpoint?

Anybody Need an Aimpoint?

SWFA has a sale on their Aimpoint CompC3, the civilian version that's waterproof to 17' rather than the military version that's good to 150':


That's a pretty good deal, there. I'd be interested, but my AR M4gery upper is already equipped with a EOTech. The deal with the free QD mount is part number 11421KIT, the third item on the page.

Just thought a couple of you might like to know.

More Poetry

More Poetry
The Obama Victory March
(To the Tune Of "Marching Through Georgia")

Sound the tocsin loud and clear
We must repel this thrust
Our enemies have now revealed
The truth to our disgust
So we fight and smite them
With the power of the left
As we go marching to D.C.

Chorus:

Hurra Hurra We'll bind them up in Torts
Hurra Hurra We'll beat them in the Courts
We'll sue them in the local
And the state and federal too
As We go marching to D.C.

When We've won We'll really show
The people we despise
How we act towards those who lost
Out on our fair prize
We'll harrass them with law suits
And drive them into the sea
As we go marching to D.C.

Chorus:

Now we've settled in and packed
The courts to our content
Never shall the opposition
Fight our devilment
For we've got the strangle hold
On The government
As we came marching to D.C.

Chorus:

"algie" from the first comment at Instapundit's poll on Obama's attempt to shut down the NRA's Obama Gun Ban commercials.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

"They mostly seem like ordinary folks."

"They mostly seem like ordinary folks."

Well, another case of the Defenders of the First Amendment sh!%%ing all over the Practitioners of the Second Amendment, with the prerequisite smug superiority. The Humbolt County, California North Coast Journal has acquired a list of Concealed Carry permit holders in the county, and published it. (h/t to reader Jason who emailed the link.)

Read Pistol Packing People:
Hundreds of Humboldt County residents have a permit to carry a concealed firearm. Who are they, and what are they thinking?

By Heidi Walters
Anybody want to dig up Heidi's personal information? After all, it's our right to know!
We recently asked the Humboldt County Sheriff's Office for the names of all of the people holding a permit to carry a concealed weapon (CCW) in this county.

Why did we ask for this list? Call it curiosity sparked by the recent Supreme Court ruling overriding Washington, D.C.'s ban on private ownership of handguns, in which the court decided once and for all that the words in the Second Amendment, "the right to keep and bear arms," define an individual's right, not just that of a well-regulated militia.

Or call it pure nosiness -- an "invasion of privacy," one CCW permit holder told us, in a calm, patient voice.

We call it exercising our rights under the First Amendment as well as the California Public Records Act.
Yes, it's always the case that the Press has a First Amendment Right to expose. . . what? People exercising their rights as citizens of this country?
A CCW permit in California allows a person to carry on his or her person, or in a car, a concealed, loaded handgun. You don't need a CCW permit to keep a gun in your house. You also don't need one to openly carry a gun in unincorporated areas (but who'd want to do that?)
A lot of people, Heidi. A lot of people. But it tends to frighten people like you, so they generally opt for CCW permits instead.
or to have one, unloaded and locked away, in your car. But, just so you know, in California even with a CCW permit you can't carry a loaded firearm into a bar, within 1,000 feet of a K-12 school, or into a public building like a courthouse.

More interestingly, it's a way to take the pulse of the generally law-abiding portion of the community (for, there's no telling how many people out there are packing without a permit; in Humboldt it's probably a pretty damned high number).
Generally law-abiding? CCW permit holders, Heidi, are statistically far more law-abiding than the rest of the population. They're even more law-abiding than law-enforcement officers, on average.
How many of us feel the need to carry a concealed weapon? And why?
As to why, could it be because of those who carry without a permit? The vast majority of which are known as violent criminals?
The number of CCW permit holders in gun-tolerant Humboldt has fluctuated over the years, but it's always been high up on the per-capita list -- at one time second only to gun-encouraging Kern County. According to a state Department of Justice report on the number of CCW permits in California counties between 1987 and 2007, Humboldt's count rose steadily from 387 in 1987 to 794 in 1993, then jumped to a high of 1,439 in 1994. In 1995, the number of CCW permits in the county dropped to 1,339, and in 1997 there were 977. By 2003, the number of CCW permits hit another peak, 1,247, then tapered off in years after that, to 1,031 in 2007. As of late August 2008, there were 652 CCW permit holders in the county. The count could change, as permits are good for two years and some may expire while others get issued or are renewed.

Humboldt County Sheriff's Office Records Supervisor Melva Paris and three other staffers put the list together for us, hand-pulling files and typing up the names of 652 permit holders and the number and type of guns they're packing (you're allowed up to three guns on the permit, the serial numbers of which get printed on it). Eleven of the CCW permit holders remain confidential, said Paris, because their stated cause for wanting to pack a gun (such as having a stalker, for instance) indicates they could be endangered if identified.
But you'd publish those if you could, wouldn't you? After all, the Public has a RIGHT TO KNOW!

Besides, CCW permit holders are just like sex offenders, right?
Looking at the list, one thing is immediately apparent: Having a CCW permit in Humboldt is very much a family thing. There are oodles of couples packing. Packs of siblings. Mom-dad-and-offspring groupings. There are also great quantities of Republicans, a generous dollop of Democrats, and a sprinkling of Greens and assorted others. There are people many of us know. A retired police chief. School employees. Lots of real estate agents. Judges. A garbage company owner. A pastor. Gun dealers. Government workers. Caltrans employees. A harbor commissioner. An HSU professor. Letter-to-the-editor writers. Activists. Our sales manager, Mike Herring (who, we hasten to add, does not pack while on Journal business). Shopkeeps. A famous tennis player. Artists and mechanics. A man who shares the name of that musician who, legend has it, found himself at a crossroads one day and sold his soul to the Devil in exchange for some serious chops. A deputy D.A. A sitar player. A loan officer.
And not an "Authorized Journalist" in the lot, is there? I bet you were shocked! SHOCKED! to find Mike Herring's name on the list. How long until he's ostracized, or am I too late already?
They mostly seem like ordinary folks.
But it's just an appearance, right? I mean, there's got to be something wrong with these people!
Still, something makes them different from those of us who don't carry a concealed weapon.
See?
To get a CCW permit a person has to pass muster with the local Sheriff, whose job it is to decide who gets a CCW permit and who doesn't. CCW laws differ from county to county and even more from state to state. In Los Angeles County, gun people say it's next to impossible to get a CCW permit. But in rural counties such as Humboldt, which Sheriff's Lt. Michael Thomas said has been called a "rifle-rack community," it's easier.

You do need to be a Humboldt County resident, a non-criminal (no conviction within the past 10 years), stable of mind, of "good moral character," not on any psyche meds or under the influence of any other drugs, at least 21 years old, able to pass the shooting test (shoot 50 rounds and hit the target dead-on with 40 of those, at a distance of 45 feet), and able to show a good cause for wanting to carry a concealed weapon. And, said Lt. Thomas, who interviewed applicants for a couple of years, you have to show you know the laws regarding gun ownership and gun violence.
(Psssst! Hey Heidi! In Arizona you don't need a "good cause!" Just a clean record.

BOO!)
Thomas said most applicants have done their research. But he likes to stress to them the possible ramifications of carrying a gun around. What if an attacker grabs it from you? What if you drop it and it goes off?

"You have to ask yourself: Do I really understand if I pull that gun out and point it at somebody, I could change at least two people's lives forever?" said Thomas. "That's scary. The potential there is life-ending or life-changing. And kids at home -- handguns in the house. If you're going to carry a concealed weapon, you're obviously going to have it in your home somewhere. And kids can find anything. If you hide something, they'll find it. ... That scares me to death."

Thomas said the most common causes people give for wanting a permit is for personal protection -- in places where there might be a long response time by the Sheriff's office, or while hiking, or while carrying large sums of money. Most aren't planning to pack all the time. He said he only rejected a couple of otherwise eligible applicants because of something they said in the interview.

"One guy was just so honest with me that he wanted to be there for law enforcement whenever it was needed -- ‘I want to be there for you guys,'" said Thomas. "He actually pretty much saw the light, so to speak, and he actually praised me for explaining to him why maybe he didn't actually need one and how that would put him in a very liable situation."

Of course, said Thomas, some people don't bother to get a permit to carry. Maybe they don't want to pay the $170 application fee. Maybe they think it's nobody's business.

Still, it's better if they get the permit, he said. If you're caught carrying without one, the gun is seized and you face possible jail time and a fine.
But at least your name won't end up in the newspaper if you're not.
Some of the CCW permit holders we called weren't happy about it. One, a pastor, warned: "Be careful what you say -- you might get bit."
Which is code for "shot!"
Another CCWer said we couldn't use his name, but he wanted to say that he thought the actual physical part of the application process -- where you shoot the gun and display your familiarity with it to a trainer -- could be more thorough. A woman who used to ride her bicycle alone a lot into remote country, who also asked that we not use her name, shared that she first got a permit 10 years ago after serial killer Wayne Adam Ford turned himself in at the Humboldt County Sheriff's Office, bringing with him the severed breast of a woman. "That really scared me," she said.
And she's not afraid of a gun? She could get SHOT!
Others, some reservedly and others goodnaturedly, agreed to talk. And at least one guy, David Elsebusch, said he thought the story might even motivate other people to get a concealed carry permit. "Everyone has a right to defend himself," he said.
Now that's a frightening idea!
And now, a few of our local CCW permit holders:

If you've been to a public meeting -- county supervisors, perhaps, or the harbor commission -- you likely know David and Penny Elsebusch. The McKinleyville citizens have been vociferously active in community dialogue ever since they moved up to Humboldt from Los Angeles and found themselves appalled by what David characterizes as shockingly slipshod government demeanor.

They're a dynamic couple -- David's a Republican who may have been leaning sort of Obama-way but now vows gleefully that he's going to be voting for "that gun-toting Palin!"

"Are you kidding me?" he said the other day on the phone. "She should be on top of the ticket! Don't even think about anybody else. I'm serious. I'm voting for the maverick reformer. ... In fact, I want to find a McCain/Palin sticker and cut it so that Palin is on top."

Penny, a Democrat, got on the phone and said she doesn't vote party line, but, still, she guesses they're "going to have different campaign signs on the lawn."

The Elsebusches both first got their Humboldt CCW permits 10 years ago -- they'd have had CCW permits in Los Angeles, too, if they could have. Twice their home was burgled down there -- one time, said David, he wasn't sure if the burglars were still there when he got home. And Penny had a couple of scary close encounters with carjackers while leaving her office at night.
Nah, not a valid reason for carrying a gun. The police can protect you! And these people are obviously insane. Palin?
They both belong to the National Rifle Association and the California Rifle and Pistol Association. But neither grew up around guns. They're not into competitive gun sports. And they certainly don't hunt.

"I'm not a Humboldter in the sense that so many people just love to go out there, they get all drooly about the thought of going out there to find some innocent animal and cause it to suffer and die," said David. "And I'm an animal lover, so, why would you do that?"
Because they're tasty?
However, David did qualify as an expert marksman while he was in bootcamp with the Marine Corps in the 1950s. He was even assigned to coach fellow recruits on how to fire firearms.

The Elsebusches each are permitted to carry the same two firearms. One is a .22-caliber Beretta semi-automatic that's generally Penny's -- "a little bitsy thing; I can carry it in my hand and you can't see it," she said. The other is a .38-caliber Smith & Wesson revolver with a two-inch barrel, a bigger gun that's generally David's.

David and Penny said they carry concealed not so much for burglars, however, but because of the nature of their jobs. Penny is a real estate agent, and David is a licensed private investigator and an independent insurance adjuster.

"So, the type of assignments that I have, which would include sometimes surveillance, can be a little dangerous if someone is thinking you're stalking them and they're the kind of person that you don't want to meet on the street," said David. "If I have an assignment and I know I'm going to go into Southern Humboldt to some rural location and investigate some matter, that's when I would want to carry. Particularly during marijuana time. If I'm going to the city of Eureka and investigating, I don't bother with it, that's not an issue."

Penny said she hasn't carried her gun in years, actually. These days she's mostly in town, working with people she knows. But she keeps her CCW permit renewed and may carry still on rural trips by herself.

"Because I've always remembered a gal who was driving a bright red car," she said. "They found her car on 299, and they have never found her. That's why I decided to get a concealed weapon. Something happened to her car, and whoever stopped to help her certainly did not."
C'mon Penny, that's just paranoid.

I wonder if it was her breast that guy brought to the Sheriff's office.

And you really ought to up-gun to at least a .38.
On a recent afternoon at Ron and Donna Queen's real estate office on Main Street in Fortuna, Donna was dabbing a soft sage-colored paint onto one of the walls -- they're sprucing the old place up and converting the walls into gallery space. Her husband, Ron, was fielding calls from clients. Donna went to clean the brushes, and Ron gave a quick tour into another room to show where they plan to hang some of their photographs, including ones of sea creatures taken while scuba diving off La Paz and Cozumel. "We go to Mexico every year," said Ron.

Ron and Donna Queen are Republicans. They're voting for McCain. Ron, 59, has lived in Humboldt County for 35 years, and Donna, 50, for 17 years. Ron moved to Humboldt after he graduated from Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo. Donna moved up here from San Diego. Donna's had her CCW permit for about 15 years, and Ron's had his 26 years. Donna's license is for a revolver, and Ron's for a revolver and a semi-automatic. Ron has a son who has a CCW permit, but he didn't want to be interviewed.
But a short records search will yield his first name and probably his address.
Ron, not very tall, blue-eyed and with short white hair, was wearing jeans cinched by a belt with a massive oval belt buckle that said "Champion" on it. Years ago he trained horses for a living, and he had one special quarter horse that won the High Point All Around Horse. Donna, tall, blonde and hazel-eyed, also wore jeans and a crisp white blouse.

Both grew up around guns. Ron spent his early years in Illinois, then later lived in Bakersfield. His dad trained bird dogs and kept the hunting rifles in Ron's closet. "When I was 5 years old I had a BB gun and a dog," said Ron. "We lived out in the country. That's all I had to play with."
So he shot the dog with the BB gun, right? That's Rural Entertainment!
Donna's dad also hunted. "I was going out with him since I was 10 or 11," she said. "My kids grew up with guns, too. My son has 'em. He hunts. Our grandkids are learning how to shoot. So, it's a family tradition."

"In order for a gun to hurt somebody, somebody has to pull the trigger," Ron said suddenly, sensing a possible argument. "Guns aren't dangerous. People are."

Ron used to take his Smith & Wesson .38-caliber horsepacking: "Something big enough to stop something big."
Eventually. I'm not sure I'd trust a .38 to stop, say, a mountain lion. At least not fast enough.
These days he and Donna don't hunt much. "We stalk animals to photograph them, now," said Donna.

But they still want to be able to carry a concealed weapon to protect themselves against bad characters. They live in a rural area near Hydesville, where Ron said it could take the Sheriff's department a long time to respond to a call for help.

"You drive in the driveway, you don't know who's going to be there," he said. "My parents have been robbed. One of my college roommates came home to a guy in the house; he lived in a rural area."

And sometimes their work takes them into sketchy places.

"One guy I met, he told me to put my camera away," said Donna. "I was meeting him to refinance his house, and I was told not to take my camera out till we got to his house."

"I got caught between growers and a CAMP raid one time," said Ron. "We had a client that had foreclosed on a 40-acre piece out in the Alderpoint area. And we were out wandering around, and a bunch of helicopters come in with CAMP, and we get back out on the road and there were guys checking our vehicle out. They had assault rifles, and they were not police. We got the hell out of there."

Ron also has had trouble in town. He's been representing the people trying to sell a church on Wabash in Eureka that was in the headlines earlier this year when a group called "Redwood Teen Challenge" wanted to house recovering adult addicts in it. That fell through; now the building's in escrow again and still sits vacant.

"One time I walked in there and there were people ripping wires out of the wall," Ron said. "I didn't know who they were. I thought they were somebody from the church cleaning, and I had no idea they had broken in. ... And there's a guy running through the hallways upstairs carrying a bunch of wire. I was quoted in the newspaper as saying, ‘I don't show up there without a gun anymore.'"

Ron said he and Donna also drive Highway 36 to Oroville frequently to visit his parents.

"I've seen some scary things out there on Highway 36," said Ron. "I remember years ago there was a lady, on a Sunday morning, walking down the highway in a short skirt trying to hitchhike. It was like, ‘What the hell are you doing out here?' You never know if somebody's going to jump out of the bushes if you pull over to help somebody. That was the first thing that came to my mind."
Paranoid lecher.
One evening last week, as sun approached ocean beyond Clam Beach, Stephanie and Craig Casey sat on the back porch of their home in McKinleyville. Cats, theirs and assorted strays, sauntered in and out of the yard. One crept close to where they sat then stopped, frozen, staring up into the jungly overgrowth of the neighbor's yard where some apple trees slowly drowned in blackberry vines: A rat was scurrying along a treelimb amid the apples.

The Caseys, both Republicans, are pretty much immersed in guns. Craig, 47, who was born in Arcata and grew up in McKinleyville, owns Craig Casey Gunsmithing. Mostly he just sells guns now, but he used to work on them, too, until he went to work full-time at Schmidbauer Lumber. Stephanie, 51, who works at Coast Central Credit Union, was born in Yuba City, and her family moved to Humboldt when she was a child.

"There were always guns in the house," said Stephanie. "We were taught as kids, every gun was loaded and not to touch it. And we abided by that. My dad hunted, he hunted pheasants, ducks and deer."

She's hunted most of her life, too. As has Craig. When they started dating in 1993, though, neither knew the other was into guns.

"She asked me, ‘Do you like to hunt?'" recalled Craig. He said he worried she might not like his answer, but went for it anyway. "I said, ‘Yes.' And she said, ‘Oh good! So do I.'"

But aside from Craig's gun business, which finds him making big bank deposits sometimes, the main reason the Caseys carry is to protect the valuables associated with their big hobby: cowboy action shooting, where they dress in 1860s-1900s attire and blast away with era-specific guns. "And for each stage, or scenario, you have two pistols, a rifle and a shotgun that you shoot," said Stephanie.

"With our cowboy competitions, we probably shoot more than 99 percent of the people across the country do," said Craig. "This year, we probably shot over 10,000 rounds between the two of us."

That means, at these competitions and gun shows, they're often carrying around in their car thousands of dollars worth of guns and ammunition, which some savvy crook might figure out and try to get his mitts on.

Neither Craig nor Stephanie carry their guns to their day jobs, of course. But Craig said he'd like to see a more expansive and streamlined permit system. A federal permit would be nice, so you don't have to always be checking what this or that state's carry laws are. He also said California's three-gun-per-permit limit is silly -- especially for people like them, with lots of guns. He chafes at the ban on bringing guns near school campuses, too -- what's a guy who regularly carries supposed to do when he goes to pick up his kid?

They're voting McCain. "If Obama gets in there, he's going to sign away our rights," said Stephanie.
You poor, deluded fools. Obama is the Messiah. The NRA lies! Factcheck.org says he's pro-gun!
And now we come to Al Koog. Koog, 79, lives in McKinleyville, and he's one of the half dozen or so trainers in Humboldt certified to train CCW permit applicants and assess their shooting skills. He's been doing it since 1994. He also has a CCW permit, of course.

Koog is a retired assistant fire chief from the City of Oxnard. He moved to Humboldt in 1981, although he'd been coming up here since the 1960s. He grew up on a ranch in Texas, shooting pesky tree squirrels that liked to get into the attic and tear things up; rattlesnakes that sneaked into the basement where the food was stored and scared the bejeezus out of everybody; and birds and other critters that became "basically part of the table supplement for surviving in those days," as he put it in a phone interview last week.

He's had a gun since he was a small child. That first one was a single-shot 22 with the stock sawed off to fit him.

"My grandad set me up for it when I was about almost 6," Koog said. "I was just getting ready to start school."
Child abuse!! No wonder Kook, er, Koog turned out so twisted!
Koog figures he needs to have a CCW permit so he can show his trainees what one looks like. Plus, it doesn't hurt to be prepared for surprises.

"Where we live, you can step out the door and there's a bear standing there, or a rabid fox," he said. "Or you go down to open your gate to leave your property and there's a mountain lion come strolling down to visit with you. And then there are all kinds of people that roam the areas with packs on their back and they camp all over the place and you never know whether one's on your property or not. And then there's the marijuana folk, and they wander around in the rural areas."

Koog said the first thing you do -- and he makes this point very clear in his classes -- is try to back out of a tricky situation. Give the rattlesnake some room, if you can.

"I teach along the lines of, a person should use every method of avoiding any situation that they can, if they have to go on a dead run," Koog said. "There's nothing macho about having a gun."

Most of all, he preaches awareness.

"Most people walk around in, I call it a daze," Koog said. "They lack the knowledge of what's around them.
You mean . . . like, journalists?
Say you walk out in the morning to get the paper, and there are mud tracks along the edge of the road. Supposing it's 'just a doe' -- that was scared out of the woods and ran down toward your clear area, trying to escape what is behind them. And there stands some unarmed human, upright, and they don't get out of the way -- it's going to run over you. Follow me? So, you can get run over by a rabbit that's running from something."

Koog likes to train women, especially -- the gun, he said, is the best equalizer between a small woman and a large adversary. But he warns "the younger ladies" about talking too much.

"One of the first things that an instructor tells them is, if you're going to conceal this in public you keep your mouth shut and nobody's supposed to know anything about it," Koog said.
That's OK! The local paper will take care of that for you!
"Because, you tell your best girlfriend who's sittin' in the beauty shop tellin' her best girlfriend and next door is a drug dealer's girlfriend and she tells him that you have one, so they watch you and the first dark night you come out of a corner shopping center and head for your car, well, they're gonna mug you and take your gun."

Koog -- who's a Republican, and who's happy Sarah Palin has come along -- is proud of his new hobby. "I'm passing on something, that people may use down the way, before I take a dirt nap," he said.
Those gunnies! Always with the quaint rural ways of speech!
In the NRA publication the Caseys get, Stephanie said, there are usually some personal accounts of people who ended up in situations where their concealed weapons saved their or some other victim's life.

Interestingly, it turns out that none of the people we picked to interview have ever had to pull their gun on an attacker. And, actually, none of them had ever been attacked, by animal or human, prior to getting their permit either.
Which just proves they're paranoid.
But each said they'd willingly use their gun to save themselves or someone else. Which brings us back to what distinguishes the gun-packing folks from the non-gun-packing ones. At some point, the CCWers had to come to the sharp realization that there may come a time when they actually pull out that gun and kill someone.
And we should all fear them for that!
"I'd do it in a heartbeat," is how one guy put it. Mary McCay -- who has had a CCW permit for 10 years, and whose late husband, E. Dale McCay, was in the gun-selling and training business with Al Koog -- put it another way: "Well, I'm 88 years old, and I don't play games."

So don't mess with these people.
Like we just did.

Here's how The Journal printed their names. It's a big image.

Quote of the Day

The Gods of the Copybook Headings

by Rudyard Kipling - October, 1919

I PASS through my incarnations in every age and race,
I make my proper prostrations to the Gods of the Market Place.
Peering through reverent fingers I watch them flourish and fall,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings, I notice, outlast them all.

We were living in trees when they met us. They showed us each in turn
That Water would certainly wet us, as Fire would certainly burn:
But we found them lacking in Uplift, Vision and Breadth of Mind,
So we left them to teach the Gorillas while we followed the March of Mankind.

We moved as the Spirit listed. They never altered their pace,
Being neither cloud nor wind-borne like the Gods of the Market Place,
But they always caught up with our progress, and presently word would come
That a tribe had been wiped off its icefield, or the lights had gone out in Rome.

With the Hopes that our World is built on they were utterly out of touch,
They denied that the Moon was Stilton; they denied she was even Dutch;
They denied that Wishes were Horses; they denied that a Pig had Wings;
So we worshiped the Gods of the Market Who promised these beautiful things.

When the Cambrian measures were forming, They promised perpetual peace.
They swore, if we gave them our weapons, that the wars of the tribes would cease.
But when we disarmed They sold us and delivered us bound to our foe,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: "Stick to the Devil you know."

On the first Feminian Sandstones we were promised the Fuller Life
(Which started by loving our neighbour and ended by loving his wife)
Till our women had no more children and the men lost reason and faith,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: "The Wages of Sin is Death."

In the Carboniferous Epoch we were promised abundance for all,
By robbing selected Peter to pay for collective Paul;
But, though we had plenty of money, there was nothing our money could buy,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: "If you don't work you die."

Then the Gods of the Market tumbled, and their smooth-tongued wizards withdrew
And the hearts of the meanest were humbled and began to believe it was true
That All is not Gold that Glitters, and Two and Two make Four
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings limped up to explain it once more.

As it will be in the future, it was at the birth of Man
There are only four things certain since Social Progress began.
That the Dog returns to his Vomit and the Sow returns to her Mire,
And the burnt Fool's bandaged finger goes wabbling back to the Fire;

And that after this is accomplished, and the brave new world begins
When all men are paid for existing and no man must pay for his sins,
As surely as Water will wet us, as surely as Fire will burn,
The Gods of the Copybook Headings with terror and slaughter return.
I wanted to archive that.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Up Next, MORE Lack of Content!

Up Next, MORE Lack of Content!

Sorry about the sparseness of posting, but life intrudes. I've been busy with work and personal stuff on top of the ennui I wrote about last week. The brewing national financial disaster leaves me with a sick feeling in my stomach, although I have (I hope) prepared as well as I can for anything short of a new Depression. Right now I'm more afraid of the proposed "solution" than I am of not trying to stem the disaster.

I'm afraid that the Gods of the Copybook Headings are about to arise once again no matter what is or isn't done.

And while it's not new, a lot of my current readers are, so I invite you to read (again or for the first time) my Sept. 5, 2004 essay Freedom, the Constitution, and Civil War.

I think it's held up well over four years.

Quote of the Day

Quote of the Day
What will be done must be decided by the most unpopular Administration in nearly a century in connection with the most unpopular Congress in history; and everyone involved in finding a remedy was in one way or another a part of creating the mess. By everyone, I mean everyone: the Administration, the Treasury, the Congress under Carter and Clinton, Congress under Reagan and Bush, Congress controlled by both Democrats and Republicans, the regulatory agencies, and the "experts" now out of jobs who will be hired to manage the new institutions that will be set up to buy bad debts: every one of them. What will be done will be settled by politics, not by economics.

--

The world won't come to an end, but now would be a good time to take stock of one's resources and decide which ones ought to be developed. This inventory should look at everything: from vegetable gardens to software development. I was once an editor of Survive Magazine; this was back in the days when there was a small but real probability that civilization would end with a bang. We now have a small but non-zero probability that it will end with a whimper. We have a much larger probability that it won't end, but there may well be frightening dramatic changes.

Look out for Black Swans. And you might go read The Gods of the Copybook Headings. - Jerry Pournelle
Read. The. Whole. Thing. AND all the links. Especially this one.

(h/t - Montieth, err. . . Via Unix Jedi, via Montieth. Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa!)

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Quote of the Day

Quote of the Day
Today in History - September 21

1780 - American Revolutionary War: Benedict Arnold gives the British the plans to West Point. Today he’d get a job as a reporter for the New York Times. - Mostly Cajun
Yes, I'm a day late, but that's because I only saw it the evening of the 21st.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Quote of the Day

Quote of the Day
Please remind your readers that the reason that so many Americans mistrust and dislike the "elite" is that the best financial minds that the Ivy League could turn out created the subprime and securitization of mortgages mess.

The best and brightest political minds [from] those same universities created Fannie and Freddie.

Either these people aren't nearly as smart as they tell us they are, or success requires more than an expensive education.

- Reader Kevin Burns in a comment at Instapundit

Sunday, September 21, 2008

A One-in-a-Million Shot

A One-in-a-Million Shot

So to speak. The Drawn Cutlass has the heartwarming story of the month: Man Gives Father Best Birthday Present Ever.

Go. Read.

That story reminds me a lot of A Rifle for Shifty, another piece well worth your time.

"The Rapture of the Marxists"

Now there's an evocative phrase! It's from the comments Tyler Cowen's Did the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act cause the housing bubble? post at Marginal Revolution. The whole comment is:
The majority of left-wing blogs are absolutely loving the financial crisis.

It's the rapture of the marxists.
I can't wait to see their reaction when the public still doesn't elect Obama.

It'll have to be racism! Or Diebold.


Or Rove.

Quote of the Day

Quote of the Day
If anybody can show me a member of the federal government that knows that “laissez faire” is not a carnival in France, the drinks are on me. - Stingray, Searching for Unicorns @ Atomic Nerds

Saturday, September 20, 2008

18 Days Until GBR-III!

18 Days Until GBR-III!

If you haven't made up your mind whether or not you're coming, do it NOW.

Mr. Completely reports that Hi-Cap Gunworks will be bringing out samples of their handiwork to the range on Saturday for us to paw and drool on. FrontSight has provided a certificate worth $2,000 for your choice of one of several courses they offer that will be used in our fundraising for Project Valour-IT, and FrontSight's Dr. Ignatius Piazza is going to try to put in an appearance at the Rendezvous. On top of that, Ashley Varner and Glen Caroline will be there representing the NRA and willing to take your questions. Dillon has provided a range bag and possibly other goodies. Hi-Point has again provided a 9mm pistol. Crimson Trace is providing some swag. USCitizen from Traction Control will be bringing his brand-new Barrett M82A1 semi-auto .50BMG rifle, and I'll be bringing 160 rounds of his match-quality ammo. (You don't think he's going to shoot all of that up himself, do you?)

Plus, if you haven't made it to the first two Rendezvous, you'll get to meet all of these other lovable gun-nuts:
Mr. Completely himself

KeeWee, from KeeWee's Corner

Phil & David, from Random Nuclear Strikes

Ride Fast & the Commandress, from Ride Fast - Shoot Straight

Mr. & Mrs. JimmyB, the Conservative UAW Guy

Lou from Mad Gun

Dirt Crashr, from Anthroblogogy

Chris & Mel Byrne, from The Anarchangel

Larry Weeks, from Brownell's

The Packing Rat

And, well, me of course!
You don't have to be a blogger to come, so get off your duffs and make your reservations!

How You Know When There's a Problem

How You Know When There's a Problem

There's a fairly famous story from the era of the Great Depression wherein Joseph P. Kennedy pulled his money from the stock market just prior to the Crash. He said that when his shoe-shine boy gave him stock tips, that was the signal that the market was wildly overinflated and it was time to get out.

Personally, I've known there was a problem in the mortgage industry ever since every fifth radio commercial was an advertisement for a 0% down, interest-only adjustable rate mortgage at a low, low, low APR! Anybody could qualify!

That was about four years ago, here in Tucson. Had I lived in California (perish the thought!) it would have been a lot sooner.

I ran across a transcript from radio host Mark Levin's Sept. 19 show that is good enough to archive:
September 2008 will be remembered as the time when Socialism really, really took hold in this country.

Unfortunately these politicians are running for the hills because they do not want to take responsibility for what is going on, and I mean BIG TIME.

So I want to tell you a little story about your government; I want to tell you a little story about how it works and doesn't work. I want to tell you a little story about how things go on in the shadows in this country and the massive bureaucracies of this country that you don't know about, and yet they affect your lives every single day.

We have a massive Administrative State....and we have this massive bureaucracy, that's utterly unelected, and unaffected by what you want or what you believe. It's part of the Washington elite management system that controls so much of what goes on in this country.

...And I want to tell you a little bit about how the liberals in government whether they be elected or appointed, whether they be bureaucrats or politicians, how they work together and bring us to this point. And then tell YOU the problem is free markets, the problem is Capitalism, the problem is greed.

They lie.

The Community Reinvestment Act, or CRA - is a federal law that requires banks and thrifts to offer credit throughout their entire market area. And it prohibits them from NOT giving loans to poorer areas within the reach of their communities. They call this redlining. They call violations of this redlining.

The purpose of this Act is to provide credit, including home ownership opportunities to what they call "under-served populations" and commercial loans to small businesses.

The law was passed by Congress in 1977 under Carter as a result of national grassroots pressure from groups like ACORN (an ultra-Left wing criminal enterprise in my humble opinion) which brought pressure for affordable housing for the poor. It was opposed significantly and aggressively by the banking community. But they had no choice. It became law 31 years ago.

The law mandates that "each banking institution be evaluated to determine if it has met the credit needs of its entire community" - that is, if it has given loans to enough poor people, or people who can't really afford them.

And then that record is taken into account by the federal government when it considers an institution's application for mergers and acquisitions.

And so the law is enforced by the federal government and in 1995, as a result of interest from Bill Clinton's Administration - particularly Janet Reno and the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the implementing regulations for the law were strengthened by focusing the financial regulator's attention on institution's performance in helping to meet community credit needs.

So they really, really pushed them. They used the FORCE OF LAW to compel these private institutions to make bad loans.

These changes were very controversial.

...The Clinton Administration's regulatory revisions with an effective starting date of January 31 1995, were credited with substantially increasing the number and aggregate amount of loans to small businesses and to low and moderate income borrowers for home loans. Clinton used to brag about this.

Part of the increase in home loans was due to increased efficiency in the genesis of lenders like Countrywide that DID NOT mitigate loan risk with savings deposits, which traditional banks do. They were using the new SUBPRIME AUTHORIZATION, of 1995. Are you listening to me? This is known as the secondary market for mortgage loans. The revisions in the law allowed the securitization of CRA loans containing subprime mortgages. In other words, they had to figure out how to give loans to people who do not qualify for the loans under traditional procedures. So they changed the procedures.

The loans were not capitalized. So you have No Down Payment loans, No Interest loans, Low Interest loans that turn into higher interest loans over time (ARMs), and on and on. They were trying to be creative in what they could do, and they HAD TO BE under the threat of losing business practices and activities as compelled by the Federal Government.

The Federal Government compelled this activity and compelled this behavior.

The first securitization of CRA loans, started in 1997 with Bear Stearns (remember them?)

Now in 2003, The Bush Administration recommended what the New York Slimes (Times) called "The most significant regulatory overhaul in the Housing Financial Industry since the Savings and Loan crisis a decade ago". This change was to move governmental supervision of two of the primary agents guaranteeing subprime loans; Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, under a wholly new agency created within the Department of Justice, which would give it more oversight power and more auditing power. It would require these two so-called "companies" to better capitalize their debt.

Even so, what remained was the implied guarantee that the American taxpayer, should anything go wrong, would back-up these loans.

But that legislation to strengthen these programs, to move the oversight to an independent separate agency WAS BLOCKED in 2003 by Congress. And it was blocked by the Democrats, because the Democrats were in bed with ACORN and these other "community activists grassroots groups", of whom Barrack The Hussein Obama is quite familiar.

These are the constituents of the Democrat party - that is these Left wing groups like ACORN.

(Barney) Frank (D-MA) was in bed with them; Chris Dodd (D-CT) was in bed with them; the Clinton Administration was in bed with them; and so they blocked the reforms the Bush Administration proposed in 2003.

Barney Frank said at the time "These two entities Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, are NOT FACING ANY KIND OF FINANCIAL CRISIS. The more people exaggerate these problems...the more pressure there is on these companies, the less we will see in terms of affordable housing".

So basically, the Socialists FORCED the private sector to behave in ways the private sector didn't want to behave but was forced to behave under threat of law. That is to give loans to people who were bad risks.

The two government run companies; Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, when the Bush Administration said in '03 "Look we got a problem here. They don't have enough capital, they're running wild over there. We don't have enough oversight and auditing activity. We want to break out that activity - make it independent so they can oversee it. Force them to capitalize against their loans better". They were BLOCKED.

Now I don't know about people who say we can't talk about party (blame) - We HAVE TO TALK ABOUT PARTY HERE because the only way you have accountability, and the only way you fix this situation, is to know WHO and WHAT is responsible, and what policies got us here!

Now these policies encouraged the development of the sub-prime debacle, through this CRA legislation, which forced banks to lend to uncreditworthy customers. Which they are now being criticized for having done. Before this debacle, while they are now attacking these huge financial institutions - they would praise them for all the uncreditworthy risky loans they were giving to 'certain' citizens (and non-citizens) in this country!

In 2003, the NY Slimes said of the Bush Administration's plan "The plan is an acknowledgment by the Administration that oversight of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which together have issued more than 1.5 trillion in outstanding debt, is broken".

2003.

Former Treasury Secretary John Snowe from the Bush Administration, 2003 - "There is a general recognition, that the supervisory system for housing-related government-sponsored enterprise neither has the tools nor the stature, to deal effectively with the current size, complexity and importance of these enterprises."

Michael Oxley, Republican from Ohio, former House Finance Services Committee Chairman, he said: "The current regulator does not have the tools or the mandate to adequately regulate these enterprises. In recent months, we have seen the mismanagement and questionable accounting practices went largely unnoticed".

The Senate Republican Policy Committee, the Conservatives warned in 2003, that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac threatened the U.S. economy and taxpayer "Although both firms seem to be performing well at the moment, it is far better for Congress to take pre-emptive action, instead of facing an enormously expensive corrective action after a destabilizing crisis strikes. Given how large these government companies have grown, and how much interest rate risk they retain, the risks posed by their current operations, should move Congress to increase their disclosure requirements, improve safety and soundness regulations, and examine how best to extricate the Federal Government from their operations. And through such steps, Congress could give regulators and investors a better sense of the risks that Fannie and Freddie's operations pose and reduce the likelihood of a bailout."

That was the Conservative Republican Policy Committee, Conservative Republican Senators.

What did the Democrats say? What did they say in 2003?

When the Bush Administration in 2003 was in fact, ringing the alarm bells, and did in-fact draft proposed legislation to address this, Republicans supported it and Democrats blocked it.

"These two entities Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, are NOT FACING ANY KIND OF FINANCIAL CRISIS. The more people exaggerate these problems...the more pressure there is on these companies, the less we will see in terms of affordable housing". - Barney Frank, 2003 (D-MA)

He told the AP a few weeks later: "I don't think we face a crisis. I don't think we have an impending disaster."

In 2004 Frank said "I think Wall Street will get over it", referring to the possible collapse of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

In 2005, the Republicans in Congress offered legislation to basically do what the Bush Administration had proposed two years earlier, and here's what the Democrat Minority Leader in the Senate Harry Reid had to say: "The legislation from the Senate Banking Committee passed today on a party-line vote by the Republican majority, includes measures that could cripple the ability of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to carry out their mission of expanding home ownership. While I favor approving oversight by our federal housing regulators, to ensure safety and soundness, we cannot pass legislation that could limit Americans from owning homes and potentially harm our economy in the process". That was UPI quoting Harry Reid in July '05.

This by the way is the same reason they won't address the other looming disasters like Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. They just won't do it. Until we're on the brink.
Over, Mark. Over the brink.
As recently as August 16, 2007 - a little over a year ago - Schumer and Dodd, the Chairman of the Banking Committee, called on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac regulators TO LIFT THE PORTFOLIO CAPS SO THEY COULD GIVE OUT MORE LOANS, to MORE people. They argued that allowing the two firms to buy more mortgages, and we're talking about these sub-prime mortgages, "at least temporarily" they said, "would inject much liquidity into the market and calm the financial markets."

That's what we're talking about.

In November 2006, Schumer in an Op-Ed in the Wall Street Journal with New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg: "With the benefit of hindsight, the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, which imposed a new regulatory framework on all public companies doing business in the U.S., also needs to be re-examined. Since its passage, auditing expenses for companies doing business in the U.S. have grown far beyond anything Congress had anticipated. Of course, we must not in any way diminish our ability to detect corporate fraud and protect investors. But there appears to be a worrisome trend of corporate leaders focusing inordinate time on compliance minutiae rather than innovative strategies for growth, for fear of facing personal financial penalties from overzealous regulators."

They were arguing for REDUCING the regulations that had been passed after Enron!!!!

...We will be paying for all of this now and down the road because of Socialism. That's what I am trying to explain. That's why I am taking the time to slog though this. Because it all sounds so foreign - because it has all been going on, behind the curtain. So we really haven't been aware of it. It's like Illegal Immigration, been going on for 45 years, they have been passing these laws, and we really haven't been aware of it. We're aware of it now, because we are on the hook for it.

What Chuck Schumer wrote in the WSJ Op-Ed in November 2006, is not what Chuck Schumer says today. Here's what he said on the senate floor

"8 years of de-regulatory zeal by the Bush Administration, an attitude of "The market can do no wrong" have led us down the short path to economic recession. From the unregulated mortgage brokers, to the opaque credit default swaps market, to aggressive Short Sellers who were driving down the price of even healthy financial institutions based on innuendo, this Administration has failed to take the steps necessary to protect both Main Street and Wall Street".

There may not be a silver bullet to fix what is currently dragging down the economy, but we can take steps to mitigate the costs and make sure that the impact of this crisis will be short-term. " - Schumer, (D-NY)

See, our nation would be far better off without charlatans like Chuck Schumer. We have you dead to rights here Chuck. We have you in writing where you demanded LESS regulation and less oversight. So the fact you go to the senate floor and spew your talking points doesn't work here.

We have you Barney - we have you dead to rights too. You're a liar. You fought the reforms the Administration tried to put in place in 2005.

Yet Frank had this to say today:

"The fundamental issue is we have got to put an end to this situation in which there is no sensible regulation, and irresponsible individuals in the private market, or unwise individuals in the private market can incur the kind of risks that put us in a threatening situation," said House Financial Services Committee Chairman, Barney Frank.

He's a liar.

Now Barrack Obama, Obama is allied with radical groups like ACORN. These radical Left wing front groups like ACORN which pushed hard for the legislation that Carter put in place - the CRA forcing private financial institutions to make the riskiest of loans.

We have the Clinton Administration dead to rights - including Janet Reno, who insisted that these banks and financial institutions would not be able to survive and expand unless they took a certain amount of their assets and applied them to the riskiest of loans. That's what they created in 1995 with this sub-prime market - of zero down loans. They were trying to come up with packages so they could meet their federal requirements. And they did.

Then step in the two government-run entities, Fannie and Freddie - and they are buying up these loans from the private sector as far as they can. Now that doesn't promote home ownership, yet that is what they were in existence to do. So why were they buying up these risky loans?? Because they appeared as assets on their books, even though they weren't. And the more assets they had, the bigger the bonuses for Franklin Raines, and Jamie Gorelick, and Jim Johnson - these three who are Obama's ECONOMIC ADVISORS - that's why they bought them up. It was in their OWN self-interest!!
I've seen no evidence that these three are, in fact, Obama's "economic advisors," but in July the Washington Post reported that, since his resignation from Fannie Mae, Raines had "taken calls from Barack Obama's presidential campaign seeking his advice on mortgage and housing policy matters." Gorelick was mentioned some time back as a possible choice for Obama's Attorney General. In June, the Minnesota Post reported that Jim Johnson was an Obama advisor, but did not specify what Johnson was advising him on. The story did state this, however:
No matter how they were introduced, the selection of Johnson to be a part of the inner circle seems to run contrary to Obama's campaign theme of "change.''

Johnson represents Washington power as it's always been. He's the consummate insider. He's very rich, very connected and very much behind the scenes.

Johnson's wealth and politics appear to be related.
Interesting.

Continuing with Levin's monologue:
This corrosive cronyism, has spread throughout the financial institutions in this country. That's why they are hustling to fix it! Their fingerprints are all over this dammit! Don't you see???!!! This wasn't the private sector that did this, this wasn't any individual company that did this, this is institutionalized corruption - we call it Socialism!!! Every effort to address it by the Bush Administration in '03, by the Republicans in '05, was rejected. Rejected by Chris Dodd, rejected by Chuck Schumer, rejected Barney Frank, rejected by Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid. This is why I rail against this! This is why I rail against the Left and the Socialists.

This isn't a joke! This is real life!

And now, over the weekend, the Treasury Secretary - who is a Liberal Democrat, and a Friend of Schumer's - has a plan that sticks us with a bill of over 1 TRILLION dollars!

We're nationalizing businesses, we're subsidizing businesses, now we're going to create a one trillion dollar trust?

I tell you what; Socialism Sucks.

The Paulson plan could cost $1 trillion!

Look what your government has done! They have dragged us to the precipice!

You and I weren't overseeing Freddie and Fannie - you and I had nothing to do with this CRA law - with all these Left Wing grassroots groups - or forcing banks and thrifts to cough up money for risky loans - we had nothing to do with this!

This is what goes on behind the scenes.

"Oh it's Capitalism and Free Markets that are the cause" - no it's not - THAT'S the problem!

What kind of a businessman gives a loan to someone who cannot pay it back unless they have a gun to their head???

...So all this crap that is out there - all these bad loans that are out there - they are going to pass them off into this fund, so every business out there that is loaded with these is going to dump them on you and me - the American taxpayer. To save those businesses. And by the way, those businesses - in many cases were forced to make these crap loans by the very people who are going to save us!!!

Senate Banking Committee Chairman Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) said on ABC's "Good Morning America" said lawmakers were told last night "that we're literally maybe days away from a complete meltdown of our financial system, with all the implications, here at home and globally." 


Why is Chris Dodd still chairman of the banking Committee?? Why isn't he spooning out slop at some federal prison? Why isn't he in charge of the soap at some Federal prison?

"What you heard last evening is one of those rare moments — certainly rare in my experience here — was that Democrats and Republicans decided we needed to work together, quickly," Dodd said.

Funny how they want to work quickly to fix it now - but refused to do so in 2003 and 2005 BEFORE this collapse was triggered.

"Congressional leaders tell Politico that to expedite the rescue, Treasury plans to seek additional authority rather than creating a new entity. The plan involves buying up hundreds of billions of dollars in bad mortgages to take them off the books of financial institutions that otherwise might fail".

...Yeah let's hurry up (and fix this) let's set this thing up before the American people figure out what's going on. Let's set it up - because as all the experts keep telling us, "this is just too big to fail!" That's too big and this is too big - we have to nationalize everything! That'll fix it! That's because we know that whatever the government does is okay and whatever the private sector does is horrific.

I'm sick of these Socialists.
What happened here wasn't due to a "lack of federal regulatory oversight," it happened because of federal regulatory oversight - oversight that set up conditions that a free market would not have. The government required banks to make risky loans, then provided entities to remove much of the risk for the lending institutions. Making loans means lenders make money. There's an incentive to make loans. If there wasn't, no one would make them. But there's also risk, which is why the old cliché goes "You can only get a loan if you can prove you don't really need one." If the risk is minimized, then the money flows freely.

And it did. Zero Down! Interest only! Jumbo ARMs! And low prime interest rates only fueled the fire. Greed certainly had a part in it - lenders undoubtedly convinced borrowers that they could afford a bigger loan than they had any business asking for. On the radio the other day I heard a sixty-plus year old woman complaining that a lender convinced her and her sixty-plus year old husband that they could afford a loan with a $5,000 a month payment, since interest rates were low. Zero down! No, no, no, you don't need a no prepayment penalty clause! Certainly your son and daughter-in-law can be included since they'll be living on the property with you!

Except the son and daughter-in-law divorced. And the property value has plummeted. And even if they could refinance, the prepayment penalty is prohibitive.

I'm not letting the lenders off the hook.

But I'll be damned if I put all the blame on them, either.

Ladies and Gentlemen, Boys and Girls, the free market works, if we let it. But when we fuck with it, we do so at our own peril. There's this thing called the "Bell Curve." Some people are stupid. Some people are greedy. And we forget this at our own risk.

In that piece on Locke v. Rousseau I linked to yesterday, "doqz" said:
Locke thought that men were born morally/intellectually neutral, the blank slate (that idea was developed by Locke in the course of his career TAing survey history courses to freshman in a major state University). And in the course of their life, people become themselves though accumulation of experience.

--

Jean-Jacques (Rousseau) thought that men are born good. I am not going to discuss what he thought about women – this is a family program. But men were born excellent. Unfortunately in course of their life they are corrupted by the state, which learns them all sorts of bad ideas and words. Like stuff. And the desire for more stuff.
P.J. O'Rourke said something similar in his book Republican Party Reptile:
Neither conservatives nor humorists believe man is good. But left-wingers do.
For some reason they neglect to remember the last part of Rousseau's Philosophy of Man - Man gets corrupted.

No, to the Left there must be some uncorrupted Enlightened Beings - "Lightworkers," if you will - to whom we can entrust our care and feeding so that we don't have to concern ourselves with it any more.

(UPDATE: LabRat has a P.J. O'Rourke quote of her own in the comments that is very apropos:
When buying and selling are controlled by legislation, the first things to be bought and sold are legislators.
Indeed. End update.)

The Socialism Levin rails against isn't the boot-on-a-face-forever Orwellian image, or even the dystopia of Burgess' A Clockwork Orange. It's the ham-handed destructiveness of those for whom beautiful ideas - in this case "fairness" in lending to people who probably shouldn't get mortgage or small business loans - turn into disasters - in this case a financial debacle of almost unimaginable proportions - because too few are willing to deal with reality.

And that's the biggest problem I have with the Left. To be sure, the Right isn't immune to it, but the Left seems to wallow in it.

It didn't work, but the philosophy cannot be wrong! Do it again, only HARDER!

Back from the Match

Back from the Match

Man, I need to practice. Still not getting the kung-fu grip properly out of the holster (my left index finger keeps finding the trigger guard), I'm not gripping hard enough, and I'm slow. Only seven shooters today, and I might not have come in last, but it will be close.

Had a lot of fun, though!

UPDATE: Not only was I last, I was a distant last!

Off to the Range

Off to the Range

There's a Tucson Action Shooter's Club steel match this morning, so I need to saddle up and move out. Perhaps some posting later. There's a lot that happened in the last week that I haven't said word one about.

And may not.

Taking a newbie shooting tomorrow. Pictures and video to follow!

Quote of the Day

Quote of the Day
So, basically, we have two huge companies and their performance sucks more than Metallica's new album. The solution to the problem, if you're a politician or a retard, is to bail them out. What that would mean is our government is going to buy something that nobody wants at a price no one wants to pay with money the government probably doesn't have to spend anyway. This comes after two other big companies tank. Yeehaw, corporate welfare!

That's the short term fix. These two companies are heavily regulated, one because it's basically a quasi-government agency anyway and the other because it’s in a highly regulated industry and in NY. Under such oversight, these companies still failed. The long term solution, if you're a politician or a retard, is more regulation! Yes because that worked out so well the first time.

SayUncle, "Financial Forecast: Gloomy"

Or: "Do it again! Only HARDER!

Friday, September 19, 2008

JadeGold is Still Batting 1000!

JadeGold is Still Batting 1000!

I wish he'd taken the bet. I'm almost glad I cleared my Haloscan ban list!

On September 1 at 3:50PM, in a comment to my McCain/Palin bumper sticker post, JadeGold (Guy Cabot) posted this:
Palin will be off the ticket by the end of Sep.
Then on the 5th at 1:36PM he posted this:
By 20 Sep, to be exact.

I'm really liking my prediction.
So, I challenged him:
Willing to put $100 on it?
But he weaseled:
What, no odds?
I countered:
Nope. Just a simple bet. If, on Sept. 21 she's still on the ticket, you pay me $100. If she's not, I pay you $100.

Game?
No response, so on the 8th I went to his blog and challenged him again:
What about that bet? Still liking your prediction? $100 if Palin is dropped or withdraws from the Republican ticket by Sept. 20? Or you pay me $100 if she’s still on the ticket on Sept. 21?

Only 11 days left to decide!
More weaseling (and verification that it really is Guy and not someone being a sock-puppet on my site):
I really like my forecast. Are you offering odds?
I held my ground:
Nope. Like I said, a simple bet.

Nine days remaining!
But he stayed with his "odds" defense:
C'mon, you've gotta give me odds! Think about it. A VP candidate has only been replaced once–so, it's a pretty big precedent. Plus I only have nine days.
Or is than his odd defense? But I stuck fast:
OK, the odds are 1:1. It's a lousy $100.

Game?

Nine days!
Since then, not a peep!

Tomorrow is the 20th. Palin looks secure, but I'm not so sure about Biden! And JadeGold remains consistently wrong, 100% of the time! And I put him back as the sole occupant of my HaloScan banned commenters list.

UPDATE 9/21: Not only is Palin still on the ticket, according to this report, well, you read it:
Palin draws crowd of 60,000 in The Villages

Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin told wildly cheering, flag-waving, chanting supporters that John McCain is "the only great man in this race" and promised Sunday he will fix the nation's economy if voters give the GOP four more years in the White House.

"He won't say this, so I'll say it for him," the Alaska governor said in an almost confidential tone at the close of her first Florida stump speech. "There is only one man in this election who has ever really fought for you. John McCain wore the uniform of his country for 22 years -- talk about tough."

The Villages, a vast, upscale planned community north of Orlando, has about 70,000 mostly adult residents -- many of them military retirees -- who vote reliably Republican in statewide races. Tens of thousands inched along roads into the picturesque town square of the complex, where they stood in sweltering heat for about four hours as local GOP officials and a country band revved up the crowd.

"Sa-Rah! Sa-Rah!" they chanted at every mention of her name, applauding loudly and waiving tiny American flags that were distributed -- along with free water bottles -- by local volunteers. The fire chief estimated the crowd at 60,000.
That's from a Ft. Meyers, FL paper.

Meanwhile, in North Carolina, Obama drew 20,000 "while another 5,000-10,000 were outside." Wow.

(h/t to McClatchy Watch)