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, March 31, 2009

Oh, I Hope This Is Real . . .

Oh, I Hope This Is Real . . .

Received via email from my brother the professional auto mechanic:
Dear Employees & Suppliers,

Congress and the current Administration will soon determine whether to provide immediate support to the domestic auto industry to help it through one of the most difficult economic times in our nation's history. Your elected officials must hear from all of us now on why this support is critical to our continuing the progress we began prior to the global financial crisis.

As an employee or supplier, you have a lot at stake and continue to be one of our most effective and passionate voices.. I know GM can count on you to have your voice heard.

Thank you for your urgent action and ongoing support.

Troy Clarke
President,
General Motors North America

----

Response from:

Gregory Knox, Pres.
Knox Machinery Company
Franklin , Ohio

Gentlemen:

In response to your request to contact legislators and ask for a bailout for the Big Three automakers please consider the following, and please pass my thoughts on to Troy Clarke, President of General Motors North America.

Politicians and Management of the Big 3 are both infected with the same entitlement mentality that has spread like cancerous germs in UAW halls for the last countless decades, and whose plague is now sweeping this nation, awaiting our new "messiah," Pres-elect Obama, to wave his magic wand and make all our problems go away, while at the same time allowing our once great nation to keep "living the dream." Believe me folks, The dream is over!

This dream where we can ignore the consumer for years while management myopically focuses on its personal rewards packages at the same time that our factories have been filled with the worlds most overpaid, arrogant, ignorant and laziest entitlement minded "laborers" without paying the price for these atrocities. This dream where you still think the masses will line up to buy our products for ever and ever.

Don't even think about telling me I'm wrong. Don't accuse me of not knowing of what I speak. I have called on Ford, GM, Chrysler, TRW, Delphi, Kelsey Hayes, American Axle, and countless other automotive OEM's throughout the Midwest , during the past 30 years and what I've seen over those years in these union shops can only be described as disgusting.

Troy Clarke, President of General Motors North America, states: "There is widespread sentiment throughout this country, and our government, and especially via the news media, that the current crisis is completely the result of bad management which it certainly is not."

You're right Mr. Clarke, it's not JUST management. How about the electricians who walk around the plants like lords in feudal times, making people wait on them for countless hours while they drag ass so they can come in on the weekend and make double and triple time for a job they easily could have done within their normal 40 hour work week. How about the line workers who threaten newbies with all kinds of scare tactics for putting out too many parts on a shift and for being too productive.

(We certainly must not expose those lazy bums who have been getting overpaid for decades for their horrific underproduction, must we?!?)

Do you folks really not know about this stuff?!? How about this great sentiment abridged from Mr. Clarke's sad plea: "over the last few years we have closed the quality and efficiency gaps with our competitors." What the hell has Detroit been doing for the last 40 years?!? Did we really JUST wake up to the gaps in quality and efficiency between us and them?

The K car vs. the Accord?

The Pinto vs. the Civic?!?

Do I need to go on? What a joke!

We are living through the inevitable outcome of the actions of the United States auto industry for decades.

It's time to pay for your sins, Detroit.

I attended an economic summit last week where brilliant economist, Alan Beaulieu, from the Institute of Trend Research, surprised the crowd when he said he would not have given the banks a penny of "bailout money."

"Yes," he said, "this would cause short term problems, but despite what people like politicians and corporate magnates would have us believe, the sun would in fact rise the next day and the following very important thing would happen. Where there had been greedy and sloppy banks, new efficient ones would pop up. That is how a free market system works. It does work if we would only let it work."

But for some reason we are now deciding that the rest of the world is right and that capitalism doesn't work - that we need the government to step in and "save us". Save us my ass, Hell - we're nationalizing and unfortunately too many of our once fine nation's citizens don't even have a clue that this is what is really happening, but they sure can tell you the stats on their favorite sports teams.

Yeah - THAT'S important!

Does it ever occur to ANYONE that the "competition" has been producing vehicles, EXTREMELY PROFITABLY, for decades in this country? How can that be??? Let's see: Fuel efficient. Listening to customers. Investing in the proper tooling and automation for the long haul.

Not being too complacent or arrogant to listen to Dr. W. Edwards Deming four decades ago when he taught that by adopting appropriate principles of management, organizations could increase quality and simultaneously reduce costs. Ever increased productivity through quality, lean and six sigma plans. Treating vendors like strategic partners, rather than like "the enemy." Efficient front and back offices. Non union environment.

Again, I could go on and on, but I really wouldn't be telling anyone anything they really don't already know in their hearts.

I have six children, so I am not unfamiliar with the concept of wanting someone to bail you out of a mess that you have gotten yourself into - my children do this on a weekly, if not daily basis, as I did when I was their age. I do for them what my parents did for me (one of their greatest gifts, by the way) - I make them stand on their own two feet and accept the consequences of their actions and work through it.

Radical concept, huh?

Am I there for them in the wings? Of course - but only until such time as they need to be fully on their own as adults.

I don't want to oversimplify a complex situation, but there certainly are unmistakable parallels here between the proper role of parenting and government. Detroit and the United States need to pay for their sins.

Bad news people, it's coming whether we like it or not. The newly elected Messiah really doesn't have a magic wand big enough to "make it all go away." I laughed as I heard Obama "reeling it back in" almost immediately after the final vote count was tallied. "We really might not do it in a year or in four." Where the Hell was that kind of talk when he was RUNNING for office?

Stop trying to put off the inevitable.

That house in Florida really isn't worth $750,000.

People who jump across a border really don't deserve free health care benefits.

That job driving that forklift for the Big 3 really isn't worth $85,000 a year.

We really shouldn't allow Wal-Mart to stock their shelves with products acquired from a country that unfairly manipulates their currency and has the most atrocious human rights infractions on the face of the globe.
As an aside here, I don't think "allow" is the right word. By all means Wal-Mart should be "allowed" to buy from China. We just shouldn't be buying the crap from Wal-Mart marked "Made in China".

"Free Market" and personal responsibility, y'know.
That couple whose combined income is less than $50,000 really shouldn't be living in that $485,000 home.

Let the market correct itself folks - it will. Yes it will be painful, but it's gonna be painful either way, and the bright side of my proposal is that on the other side of it all, is a nation that appreciates what it has and doesn't live beyond its means and gets back to basics and redevelops the patriotic work ethic that made it the greatest nation in the history of the world and probably turns back to God.

Sorry - don't cut my head off, I'm just the messenger sharing with you the "bad news". I hope you take it to heart.

Gregory J. Knox, President
Knox Machinery, Inc.
Franklin , Ohio 45005
Snopes says it's real, though their version differs slightly from the one I received.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Range Report: I've Got My Boomershoot Load

Range Report: I've Got My Boomershoot Load

At least for the Remington 700. I'm still working on the Encore.

If you've been following the saga, I've been trying loads using both the Sierra 175 grain MatchKing bullet that the 700 5R was designed around, and the Lapua 155 grain Scenar bullet that is almost identical in length to the Sierra. I've gotten some good groups, but I haven't really had a chance to sit down and work on an accuracy load until the last couple of weeks. The first thing that I determined was that I could safely push the 155's a lot faster than the 175's, and with ballistic coefficients of 0.508 and 0.505 respectively, faster is better - especially since I'll be shooting at targets 700 yards away.

I'm also a subscriber to Handloader magazine, which just paid for itself. The December, 2008 issue contained an article by one Gary D. Sciunchetti, an apparent obsessive-compulsive who wanted to develop "the most accurate .308 load."

He went overboard.

Based on his belief that the single most accurate commercial load available (defined as giving the smallest groups in the largest variety of rifles) was the 168 grain MatchKing in the Federal Gold Medal Match loading, he set out to test every possible combination of cartridge case, powder, primer, and bullet in the 165-168 grain range. Very quickly he settled on Varget as the powder of choice. Where it got interesting (for me) was when he came to primers:
There is a rule of thumb that magnum primers are good if you need them, but if you don't need them, don't use them. Needing them is generally viewed as using a large volume of slow-burning, deterred ball powder, or extreme cold weather shooting. The .308 Winchester does not meet this requirement, but this research was to include all primers that might be suitable.
What he discovered was that the CCI 250 Large Rifle Magnum primer provided better results with Varget than any of the other eleven primers tested - all else being held the same.

If I hadn't read the article, I wouldn't have even considered a magnum primer.

Anyway, my testing started out with similar magazine-length loadings of 155 Scenar and 175 grain SMKs fired at 300 yards, which I reported on back in January. That was when I decided to concentrate on the 155's. For my next test, I loaded the bullets out just shy of the lands, which made them much too long to fit the magazine, but that's OK for Boomershoot. I don't mind single-loading. I loaded twenty rounds each of loads ranging from 45.5 to 47.5 grains, in half-grain increments, ten each with CCI BR2 and ten each with CCI 250 primers, and fired them over my chronograph, getting two five-shot groups at 300 yards for each load. (Use this and any web-based data at your own risk. The Hodgdon web site lists 47.0 grains as a max load for the Sierra 155, but I am seating the Scenar way out there, yielding more space in the case.)

The load that gave the best performance (FOR ME, remember!) was 46.5 grains over the CCI 250. So last week I loaded up another hundred rounds, twenty each at 46.3, 46.4, 46.5, 46.6, and 46.7 grains - ten using BR2's and ten using 250's.

Here's the data for the 46.4 grain load using the BR2 primer:
ShotVelocity
1 2903
22883
3 2901
4 2822
5 2837
6 2840
7 2883
8 2897
9 2897
10 2868
Avg2876
ES 81.92
Sd28.96

The two groups ran just over 2" at 200 yards (I'm shooting at a different place, and 200 yards is more convenient there.) Now, here's the same load using CCI 250 primers:

ShotVelocity
12929
22895
3 2905
42914
5 2911
62903
72900
8 2910
92899
10 2913
Avg2908
ES33.64
Sd 9.74

Both groups ran just over 1" (except for a called flyer). The magnum load picked up 30 fps, and the standard deviation dropped into the single-digits! My shooting partner brought his 7 Mag rifle to practice with. His 168 grain commercial load wasn't significantly faster than 2900 fps! There's quite a bark when I touch off this load, but there were no pressure signs of any kind.

This week I'll assemble 100 rounds of this load and see what I can do with it at 200 and further out. I've got powder now, 500 more bullets coming, and about 800 primers left.

Friday, March 27, 2009

I'm In.

I'm In

Simon-Jester.org:
WHO WE ARE

We are Simon Jester.

We are not anarchists.

We are not Far-Right or Far-Left. We are the seventy percent in the middle.

We are not Capital “L” libertarians, although we do have sympathies with their platform.

We are neither bitter clingers nor conspiracy nuts.

What we are is a group of folks that think we see liberty and freedom eroding in our beloved United States. We see the policies and agendas of the hirelings in Washington D.C. heading toward an abbreviation if not outright abrogation of the Bill of Rights.

We think that the Federal government is grasping to consolidate power using the current crisis, since as Rahm Emmanuel said, it’s a terrible thing to waste. We think the Federal government, not just this administration, is more interested in self-serving personal, political, and party power than it is in actually doing its best to do the least.

This President didn’t make it this way. It has been heading along this path since Woodrow Wilson held political prisoners and FDR held four terms as president; since Johnson’s Great Society and Nixon took us off the gold standard; since Bush Sr. lied about no new taxes, Clinton desecrated the Oval Office, Bush Jr. rammed through the Patriot Act, and Obama wanted every high school kid to ‘volunteer.’

For almost a hundred years, our country has been heading towards becoming a Socialist, centrally planned, Nanny State where the Federal Government tells it citizens how to conduct business, what they could grow in their own gardens or on their own farms, and now even how much a private citizen is allowed to earn before punitive and illegal taxation takes it away.

Now is the time to make it stop.

Can I get an "AMEN!"?
The Constitution of the United States of America tells us how our government is supposed to operate. It tells us what powers they have been lent by its citizens. It even delineates what powers each branch of government is supposed to have. Our Federal Government, all three branches, has over-reached. Continually.

The Declaration of Independence told King George what we felt about the way he was treating the Thirteen Colonies. It also told the world what we as Americans believed were natural truths about how government should work, with the consent of the governed. It amazes us how many of the things the Colonies begged King George to address have raised their ugly heads in the present day. We are taxed without our consent for government programs we don’t want. We are told that our natural resources are not ours to do with what we would. We are even told that our property can be confiscated if the government thinks it can get a bigger tax base from a different owner. Our elections are swayed by huge amounts of dollars and the willing collaboration of the old media giants. More than that, our elections are influenced by unconstitutional law such as McCain-Feingold, communist groups such as ACORN signing up 200,000 illegal voters in Ohio, and terrorist groups like the Black Panthers staking our polling places such as in Philadelphia. And we, the legitimate voters of this country are forced to accept the results.

Our voice has been ignored, even to the point of telling the citizens of a state that a duly enacted and overwhelmingly voter-approved constitutional amendment would not be allowed to stand due to political correctness.

Our representatives have listened to us on occasion however; only to be overturned by a penstroke from the Executive Branch, like when we said we didn’t like the idea of bailing out the auto industry.

Our legislature has pretended to listen to us about our need to protect our country’s borders, but then come back and tried to tell us that they have changed their minds. All the while trying to curry favor to their own districts with pork projects.

We flood D.C. with calls and letters and emails demanding that the administration not burden our grandchildren with huge government debt that will necessitate huge tax increases, but are told that our thoughts on the matter have no bearing because some things are just too big to fail; only to hear the same legislators come back a few months later and demand punitive taxes on those companies it gave money to against our wishes.

The current administration has appointed all of these extra-constitutional “Czars” to oversee what they view as problems in our country and in our world, including an avowed Communist.

This administration, as well as far too many legislators, clings to a philosophy of man-made global warming that is far from settled science and has decided that “Cap and Trade”, regardless of the huge burden that will place on the consumers, is necessary to limit carbon emissions. The fact that it has been tried in Europe and FAILED to limit carbon emissions doesn’t matter because this program will generate huge tax dollars for the government while at the same time penalizing the consumers of energy in the form of higher energy bills.

Another thing that has failed in Europe and elsewhere is the idea of universal health care. Yet still our government is racing headlong towards rationed medical procedures, diagnostics, medicines, and preventive care because it is yet another way to control the population. It is very hard to tell the government “No” when you or your spouse, or your child, depend upon the government owned and run kidney machine, insulin shots, or cancer treatments.

And now our Federal government has asked for more power. It isn’t even trying to hide it anymore. They want the power to regulate to the point of confiscation the administration of every business in the United States, just for our own financial safety or course. They want to regulate our salaries and compensation. They want to bankrupt the coal industry, which provides eighty (80 !!) percent of all the power in this country. They don’t want us to be able to drill for oil or natural gas. But at the same time they don’t want to allow the transmission of power from wind farms or solar farms across the countryside because they say it will affect the natural beauty of the desert or they don’t want their view cluttered out past Martha’s Vineyard. They want control of the means of production, the type of crops we grow, and the structure and location of the buildings in which we live. And, despite their protestation to the contrary, they want to disarm us. Too much has slipped out about that for them to be able to deny it any more.

And yes, we repeat, they now are asking for more power. This isn’t just theft, it is a bloody strong-arm robbery with a knife in your ribs.

Now, here is where Simon Jester comes in.

This whole thing isn’t about the Democrats or the Republicans, because they are both taking us to the same place and they aren’t afraid of us anymore. It is about our Constitutional form of government. The Rights were there before the words were written, for they are inherent in all people. They don’t come from government; government, no matter how hard it tries, cannot dissolve them. Now, here we the people are, having all these Tea Parties, trying to show our government that we, the seventy percent or so of the country who is right smack dab in the middle trying to raise our families and give our children better lives than we had, are tired of this grab for power. These Tea Parties, where no one actually throws anything in the harbor, are getting hardly any coverage from the press. In fact, the TWO counter protestors at the March Tea Party in Orlando got as much or more local coverage than the under-reported thousands who attended the rally. So, short of actually committing acts of vandalism and felonious assault, how are we going to get noticed?

Simon Jester. A symbol, since “The Moon is a Harsh Mistress” by Robert A. Heinlein was published in 1966, of dissent against authority. Let the press, and the government, and your neighbors know that you are paying attention to what the Federal government is trying to do. Let someone ask you what that little devil underneath the word “Citizen” across your chest means and then explain it to them. Explain to the one pool reporter who shows up at the next Tea Party that you and Simon have your eyes open and are watching as the government tries to control your life. Explain to your pastor, or your waitress, or your barista at Starbucks, that our government is power hungry and that you and others like you are trying to be heard.

We are Simon Jester. So are they.

And so are you.

Billy Beck advocates mass civil disobedience. I don't think this is a harbinger of that, but it's better than nothing.


Thursday, March 26, 2009

The Greatest Scientific Discoveries are Not Accompanied by "EUREKA!"

The Greatest Scientific Discoveries are Not Accompanied by "EUREKA!"

But rather they are most often heralded by a muttered "That's interesting . . ."
New Cold Fusion Evidence Reignites Hot Debate

By Mark Anderson
First Published March 2009

Telltale neutrons appear, but skepticism remains

25 March 2009—On Monday, scientists at the American Chemical Society (ACS) meeting in Salt Lake City announced a series of experimental results that they argue confirms controversial “cold fusion” claims. 


Chief among the findings was new evidence presented by U.S. Navy researchers of high-energy neutrons in a now-standard cold fusion experimental setup—electrodes connected to a power source, immersed in a solution containing both palladium and “heavy water.” If confirmed, the result would add support to the idea that reactions like the nuclear fire that lights up the sun might somehow be tamed for the tabletop. But even cold fusion’s proponents admit that they have no clear explanation why their nuclear infernos are so weak as to be scarcely noticeable in a beaker. 


The newest experiment, conducted by researchers at the U.S. Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center, in San Diego, required running current through the apparatus for two to three weeks. Beneath the palladium- and deuterium-coated cathode was a piece of plastic—CR-39, the stuff that eyeglasses are typically made from. Physicists use CR-39 as a simple nuclear particle detector. 


After the experiment, the group analyzed the CR-39 and found microscopic blossoms of “triple tracks.” Such tracks happen when a high-energy neutron has struck a carbon atom in the plastic, causing the atom to decay into three helium nuclei (alpha particles). The alpha particles don’t travel more than a few microns, though, before they plow into other atoms in the CR-39. The result is a distinctive three-leaf clover that, to physicists, points to the by-product of a nuclear reaction. 


“Taking all the data together, we have compelling evidence that nuclear reactions [are happening in the experiment],” says physicist Pamela Mosier-Boss of the Navy group.
If you find this sort of thing interesting, by all means read the whole article.

I was aware that DARPA had begun funding Cold Fusion research a while back, but I was not aware, as this month's WIRED magazine reported, that:
The Navy's Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center (SPAWAR) has long been known to harbor cold fusion enthusiasts; they've often managed to fit in their experiments in down time between other projects, and without official funding.
Wired further reports:
Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence, and it will take more than a few stray neutrons to shift the balance in favor of cold fusion when there is a formidable array of theoretical reasons to doubt that it is possible. Build a laboratory fusion reactor which generates endless free energy and people will sit up and take notice. Until then, the cold fusion club are better off keeping their heads down and avoiding attention.

Darpa may be home to many crazy ideas, but they don't talk about cold fusion, either. At least not openly. However, a close look at their budget documents under "Alternate Power Sources" reveals that in 2007 they "Completed independent evaluation of recently reported experimental protocol for achieving excess heat conditions in Pd cathodes."

Excess heat being generated by Palladium (Pd) cathodes is a signature of cold fusion. And in the 2008 research budget we find that Darpa are set to "Determine the correlation between excess heat observations and production of nuclear by-products."

This sounds suspiciously as though Darpa has been getting involved in the cold fusion club – without mentioning it in a way that might attract undue attention.
Are we close to a breakthrough? I certainly hope so.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Quote of the Day

Quote of the Day
It is observed that the Statist is dissatisfied with the condition of his own existence. He condemns his fellow man, surroundings, and society itself for denying him the fulfillment, success, and adulation he believes he deserves. He is angry, resentful, petulant, and jealous. He is incapable of honest self-assessment and rejects the honest assessment by others of himself, thereby evading responsibility for his own miserable condition, The Statist searches for significance and even glory in a utopian fiction of his mind's making, the earthly attainment of which, he believes, is frustrated by those who do not share it. Therefore he must destroy the civil society, piece by piece.

For the Statist, liberty is not a blessing but the enemy. It is not possible to achieve Utopia if individuals are free to go their own way.

Mark Levin, Liberty and Tyranny: A Conservative Manifesto
(h/t: Hamilton, Madison, and Jay)

Edited to add:

I am reminded, once again, of something written a long time ago by "Ironbear" that I've quoted here on several occasions:
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.

Your Moment of Zen

Your Moment of Zen


Sorry about the lack of posting. Allergies are kicking my ass. Antihistamines are not winning the struggle.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

I NEED VARGET

I NEED VARGET!

Boomershoot is coming up at the end of April, and I'm feverishly working on loads for the Remington 700-5R and the Long-Range Pistol in .308 and .260 Remington, respectively. I'm using Hodgdon's Varget powder in both, and I'm down to about 1 pound left from an 8-lb. keg.

And no one has any in stock anywhere, so far as I can tell.

Help!

UPDATE: 6:57PM - I have just returned from a trip up to Tempe to purchase about 6.5lbs of Varget from a fellow member of AR15.com, and Chris Byrne informs me that he's willing to sell me one of his unopened kegs.

The internet is a wonderful thing!

Due Process?


A couple of posts down, the comment thread derailed a bit. One of the topics taken up was "asset forfeiture," a subject that makes me a bit hot under the collar. A couple of the comments:
"Drug possession in the context you described is a catch-all bludgeon that the police can use to put people in jail because collecting evidence for real crimes was too hard. It's a bullshit victimless crime, just like having an unregistered .50 BMG rifle sitting in a hypothetical California closet."

It goes further than that, Oz.

In some states (or perhaps it's a federal law, I don't really know), a law enforcement agency can simply sieze your property, your vehicle, cash, and what-have-you, claiming that it is the result of illegal drug activity, all without arresting you, charging you, arraigning you, indicting you, trying you, or sentencing you. The gubmint can simply steal from you without the slightest pretext of due process of law.

It's a really sad state of affairs when you can be the victim of your own gubmint and be called the victim of a victimless crime, even when there was no crime at all. - DJ

--

The gubmint can simply steal from you without the slightest pretext of due process of law.

*sigh*

DJ, I like you, but as much as stickler for detail as you, you're shockingly wrong there.

There's complete due process of law. Your item is arraigned, charged, and convicted before asset forfeiture kicks in.
Very processed.


(Nitpicks aside, Asset Forfeiture was a bad idea gone very wrong. The "Due Process" that is conducted is so slanted that Kangaroos are known to complain about the courts. ) - Unix-Jedi

--

Theft under color of authority occurred before "asset forfeiture" was a legal gambit, and will occur if it's not(sic) allowed. It's something completely bloody different. - Unix-Jedi
Unix-Jedi's point in the thread is that there's a difference between "asset forfeiture" - which has due process attached - and simple "Theft under color of authority."

To me, that's a distinction without a difference, and (risking a diagnosis of Gell-Mann Amnesia Effect) here's an example of why:
Texas town's police seize valuables from black motorists

By HOWARD WITT
Chicago Tribune

TENAHA — You can drive into this dusty fleck of a town near the Texas-Louisiana border if you’re African-American, but you might not be able to drive out of it — at least not with your car, your cash, your jewelry or other valuables.

That’s because the police here have allegedly found a way to strip motorists, many of them black, of their property without ever charging them with a crime. Instead, they offer out-of-towners a grim choice: voluntarily sign over your belongings to the town or face felony charges of money laundering or other serious crimes.
That would be "asset forfeiture with due process of law" - at least from the town's perspective. (My emphasis.)
More than 140 people reluctantly accepted that deal from June 2006 to June 2008, according to court records. Among them were a black grandmother from Akron, Ohio, who surrendered $4,000 in cash after Tenaha police pulled her over, and an interracial couple from Houston, who gave up more than $6,000 after police threatened to seize their children and put them into foster care, the court documents show. Neither the grandmother nor the couple were charged with or convicted of any crime.
Hearkening back to that comment thread, that doesn't mean they weren't guilty of something, right? (Again, emphasis is mine.) This is "theft under color of authority," but the law behind it is ASSET FORFEITURE.
Officials in Tenaha, situated along a heavily traveled state highway connecting Houston with several popular gambling destinations in Louisiana, say they are engaged in a battle against drug trafficking, and they call the search-and-seizure practice a legitimate use of the state’s asset-forfeiture law.
Of course they do! We can trust our "Only Ones," can't we?

Can't we?
That law permits local police agencies to keep drug money and other property used in the commission of a crime and add the proceeds to their budgets.

"We try to enforce the law here," said George Bowers, mayor of the town of 1,046, where boarded-up businesses outnumber open ones and City Hall sports a broken window. "We’re not doing this to raise money. That’s all I’m going to say at this point."
Sure you're not.
But civil rights lawyers call Tenaha’s practice something else: highway robbery. The lawyers have filed a federal class-action lawsuit to stop what they contend is an unconstitutional perversion of the law’s intent, aimed primarily at African-Americans who have done nothing wrong.
So if they do it primarily to whites, it's OK?
Tenaha officials "have developed an illegal 'stop and seize’ practice of targeting, stopping, detaining, searching and often seizing property from apparently nonwhite citizens and those traveling with nonwhite citizens," asserts the lawsuit, which was filed in U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of Texas.

The property seizures are not just happening in Tenaha. In southern parts of Texas near the Mexican border, for example, Hispanics allege that they are being singled out.

A prominent Texas state legislator said police agencies across the state are wielding the asset-forfeiture law more aggressively to supplement their shrinking operating budgets.
(Emphasis mine.) Gotta keep that .gov hand-me-down armored personnel carrier fueled up, you know!
"If used properly, it’s a good law enforcement tool to see that crime doesn’t pay," said state Sen. John Whitmire, D-Houston, chairman of the Senate’s Criminal Justice Committee. "But in this instance, where people are being pulled over and their property is taken with no charges filed and no convictions, I think that’s theft."
You think correctly - but you guys in the legislatures are the ones responsible for writing these laws, and you have an uncanny knack of squealing "We never meant THAT!!!" when they get stretched and twisted.
David Guillory, a lawyer in Nacogdoches who filed the federal lawsuit, said he combed through Shelby County court records from 2006 to 2008 and discovered nearly 200 cases in which Tenaha police seized cash and property from motorists. In about 50 of the cases, suspects were charged with drug possession.

But in 147 others, Guillory said the court records showed that the police seized cash, jewelry, cellphones and sometimes even automobiles from motorists but never found any contraband or charged them with any crime.
(Emphasis - you know.) Don't you feel safer already?
Of those, Guillory said he managed to contact 40 of the motorists directly — and discovered all but one of them were black.

"The whole thing is disproportionately targeted toward minorities, particularly African-Americans," Guillory said. "Every one of these people is pulled over and told they did something, like, 'You drove too close to the white line.’ That’s not in the penal code, but it sounds plausible. None of these people have been charged with a crime, none were engaged in anything that looked criminal. The sole factor is that they had something that looked valuable."

In some cases, police used the fact that motorists were carrying large amounts of cash as evidence that they must have been involved in laundering drug money, even though Guillory said each of the drivers he contacted could account for where the money had come from and why they were carrying it, such as for a gambling trip to Shreveport or to buy a used car from a private seller.

Once the motorists were detained, the police and the Shelby County district attorney quickly drew up legal papers presenting them with an option: waive their rights to their cash and property or face felony charges for crimes such as money laundering — and the prospect of having to hire a lawyer and return to Shelby County multiple times to attend court sessions to contest the charges.
There's your "due process" right there! Signed and notarized!
The process apparently is so routine in Tenaha that Guillory discovered presigned and prenotarized police affidavits with blank spaces left for an officer to fill in a description of the property being seized.
It's an assembly-line!
Jennifer Boatright, her husband and two young children — a mixed-race family — were traveling from Houston to visit relatives in East Texas in April 2007 when Tenaha police pulled them over, alleging that they were driving in a left-turn lane.

After searching the car, the officers discovered what Boatright said was a gift for her sister: a small, unused glass pipe made for smoking marijuana.

Although they found no drugs or other contraband, the police seized $6,037 that Boatright said the family was carrying to buy a used car and then threatened to turn their children, ages 10 and 1, over to Child Protective Services if the couple didn’t agree to sign over their right to their cash.

"It was give them the money or they were taking our kids," Boatright said. "They suggested that we never bring it up again. We figured we better give them our cash and get the hell out of there."
So, what happens if the cops try this with someone who believes in personal sovereignty?
Several months later, after Boatright and her husband contacted a lawyer, Tenaha officials returned their money but offered no explanation or apology. The couple remain plaintiffs in the federal lawsuit.

Except for Tenaha’s mayor, none of the defendants in the federal lawsuit, including Shelby County District Attorney Linda Russell and two Tenaha police officers, responded to requests from the Chicago Tribune for comment about their search-and-seizure practices. Lawyers for the defendants also declined to comment, as did several of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit.

But Whitmire says he doesn’t need to await the suit’s outcome to try to fix what he regards as a statewide problem.

On Monday, he introduced a bill in the state Legislature that would require police to go before a judge before attempting to seize property under the asset-forfeiture law — and Whitmire hopes to tighten the law so that law enforcement officials will be allowed to seize property only after a suspect is charged and convicted in a court.
Well, gee, why didn't you think of that BEFORE? Of course a lot of seized property (cars, boats, etc.) sits in storage lots and rots - for months or years - before forfeiture determinations are made, so perhaps that isn't the panacea it's made out to be, either, but it's at least a start.
"The law has gotten away from what was intended, which was to take the profits of a bad guy’s crime spree and use it for additional crime fighting," Whitmire said. "Now it’s largely being used to pay police salaries, and it’s being abused because you don’t even have to be a bad guy to lose your property."
No, you just have to fit the profile.

Kinda.

(h/t to The Club)

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Michael Ramirez is a National Treasure

Michael Ramirez is a National Treasure

Here's his latest masterwork:


That ought to leave a welt.

Bonuses

Bonuses

Dale at Mostly Cajun explains 'em in short, simple words. Strongly recommended.

Now can we tar-and-feather "Countrywide" Chris Dodd?

Monday, March 16, 2009

An Update on the Milsurp Brass Topic


I listened to Tom Gresham's Gun Talk show via podcast this afternoon. The second hour he had Gordon Hutchison, author of The Great New Orleans Gun Grab, on to discuss the subject, and Tom also got Larry Haynie, owner of Georgia Arms on the phone, since this whole thing apparently started with him. Haynie reported that he had bid on and won an auction for 30,000 lbs of brass, mostly 5.56, with some 7.62 and .50BMG. He had sent his check, and was making arrangements to ship the brass late last week when he received notification that new DOD rules were in effect and that the brass had to be destroyed rather than reloaded. He immediately sent out emails to all and sundry, and Gordon Hutchinson was on his email list. After the show on Sunday, Gordon posted an extensive piece. Quoting:
From now on, remanufacturers of military brass will not be able to buy surplus brass from DOD--actually from Government Liquidators, llc.--the corporation that sells surplus materials for the U.S. government. At least, not in any form recognizable as once-fired brass ammunition.

Now all brass ammunition will have to be shredded, and sold as scrap.

Georgia Arms, who brought this to our attention, is the 5th largest ammunition manufacturer of centerfire pistol and rifle ammunition in the U.S.

"We're right up there behind Hornady," Larry Haynie told me.

He also told me with the cancellation of his contract to purchase this brass, and the ending of his ability to purchase any more expended military ammunition, he will have to severely curtail his operation--laying off approximately half his 60-person work force.

Haynie further pointed out this move is a stupendous waste of taxpayer money--reducing the worth of the brass some 80%--from casings, to shredded bulk brass.

He stated most of this will now go to foundries where it will be melted down, cast in shippable forms, and likely be sold to China, one of the largest purchasers of U.S. metals on the open market.

Haynie was manufacturing over 1 million rounds of .223 ammunition every month, which he sold on the civilian market to resellers, and to law enforcement agencies across the country.

He will start tomorrow sending cancellations of orders for .223 to law enforcement agencies all over the country.
Actually, during the conversation Haynie stated that Georgia Arms loads approximately 1.2 million rounds of just .223 a month, and has about three months worth of inventory left before he will have to start laying people off.

I recommend you read the whole piece.

And write your Congresscritters.

UPDATE TO THE UPDATE: 3/17 - It's over. We won. Georgia Arms now has this message up on their homepage:
Dear Loyal Customers,

Thanks to your voice, DOD has rescinded the order to mutilate all spent cases as of 4:30 pm on 3/17/09. We appreciate the time and effort that you expended, together we all made a difference. We will be posting the email we received from DOD as well as any additional information within the next 12-16 hours. Thanks so much and lets get to work!!!
Damn! That was quick! Good for us!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

I Haven't Done This in a While

I Haven't Done This in a While

One Ruben Navarrette, Jr. has a piece in last Sunday's Fresno Bee that is quite fiskworthy. It's been a while since I fisked a piece in its entirety. Let us proceed:
Gun-running between U.S., Mexico must stop

It's time for the American people to stop living in a state of denial and get serious about stopping gun shipments into Mexico.
It's past time for the American government to stop living in a state of denial and get serious about BORDER SECURITY - in BOTH directions.
Mexico's ambassador to the United States, Arturo Sarukhan, has noted that as many as 2,000 weapons enter Mexico from the U.S. every day -- most of them through Texas and Arizona, and many of them are purchased legally at gun shows and gun stores.
And that number is what fraction, pray tell, of the number of illegal aliens "undocumented workers" who come across the border each day in the other direction?
Many of the transactions come in "straw purchases," where drug traffickers use Americans -- including friends and relatives -- to buy guns.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives estimates that 90% of the firearms confiscated in drug crimes in Mexico come from the United States, and some of the shipments can be enormous.
Which again illustrates graphically that the BATFE is a whirling vortex of suck at DOING THEIR JOB, doesn't it? Instead of investigating "straw purchases" etc., they seem to spend an extraordinary amount of time screwing with manufacturers after changing the rules on them without warning, or pursuing typographical errors instead of, you know, known criminals because, I suspect, legitimate businessmen (unlike drug dealers) don't shoot at you when you screw with them.
Both Americans and Mexicans tend to think of the border as the end of the Earth. It isn't. It's a turnstile.
Not even. Turnstiles at least provide an opportunity to slow the flow.
When someone goes north looking for work, Mexicans naively assume they have seen the last of him. And when guns go south looking for trouble, Americans assume the same about the havoc they create.
Ah! And here we have it! Witness, ladies and gentlemen, the fundamental flaw of The Other Side, the inability (some would argue conscious refusal) to Identify the Problem. Read that phrase again: ". . . when guns go south looking for trouble . . ." Mr. Navarrette has, as his side so often does, personified inanimate objects. The guns aren't taken across the border, no! They "go south looking for trouble"! No human intervention necessary! The problem isn't the people who wish to use them criminally, the problem is the guns - and therefore the only possible solution involves eliminating the guns - Q.E.D. And not just the guns "going south looking for trouble!"
Wrong on both counts. Immigrants are going back to Mexico because of a bad U.S. economy. Meanwhile, the gun violence that Americans subsidize south of the border is boiling over onto U.S. soil.

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano didn't get the memo. She recently told a Senate committee that Mexico's drug violence had not spread to the U.S.
And she's in charge of the federal Dept. of Homeland Security! I feel safer already.
But only a few days earlier, Texas' Homeland Security Director Steve McCraw told the Texas Legislature that violence from the drug cartels had -- "no question about it" -- spilled into Texas.

Then there is Napolitano's own state of Arizona, where its largest city -- Phoenix -- is now considered the nation's kidnap capital because of spillover violence from Mexico.
Which I posted on a few days ago.
According to the Justice Department, Mexican drug traffickers have a presence in at least 230 U.S. cities. No wonder the Obama administration is getting serious about helping Mexican President Felipe Calderon fight the drug cartels.
Gee, why doesn't Calderon just fight the drugs that are coming North, looking for trouble? Isn't that the winning strategy?
Napolitano has promised to increase the Homeland Security Department's cooperation with Mexico to help curb the southward export of assault weapons. And, on that topic, Attorney General Eric Holder caused a stir when he turned the drug war into a debate on gun control.

"As President Obama indicated during the campaign," Holder said, "there are just a few gun-related changes that we would like to make, and among them would be to reinstitute the ban on the sale of assault weapons [which expired in 2004]. I think that will have a positive impact in Mexico, at a minimum."
Except: A) Holder lied. To begin with, the "ban" wasn't really a ban, and it certainly didn't cover the weapons that Holder apparently believes it did. Don't you think that the Attorney General ought to understand what the law does and doesn't say? Either he does, and he lied, or he doesn't and he's incompetent. Either way, as Glenn Reynolds says, "We're in the best of hands." And: B) The "debate" got no traction at all, since Speaker Pelosi effectively told Holder "No f$&^ing way."
That was all it took. Those who love their guns more than their neighbor to the south were eager to believe CNN's Lou Dobbs when he declared: "Attorney General Eric Holder is willing to sacrifice our gun ownership rights under the Constitution for the benefit of a foreign government, in this case Mexico."
And here's the second fundamental flaw of The Other Side - the belief that if you don't agree with them you must be EEEEEVIL! Note the comparison: If we don't believe in "gun control" then we "love our guns" more than we "love our neighbor to the south."

Odd dichotomy, that. I think I'll go hug my AR15. How about this: We love our rights more than we love enacting policies based on opposing philosophies that are useless at best, counterproductive at worst?

Because we know the problem isn't the guns, Mr. Navarrette.
Suddenly, the anti-Mexico crowd had a new warning for America. And like the rest of their gibberish, this bit of nonsense fit on a bumper sticker: "Obama will take away your guns -- to please Mexico."
Gibberish? Like "guns going south looking for trouble"? That kind of gibberish? And defending my rights is now "anti-Mexico". Check.
So now laudable efforts by U.S. law enforcement agencies to crack down not on gun ownership but on gun smuggling -- through initiatives such as "Operation Gunrunner," which the ATF launched a little more than a year ago -- are an infringement on Americans' right to bear arms under the Second Amendment?

Somehow, I doubt that James Madison, the father of the Constitution, would cosign that assertion.
I bet Thomas Jefferson would.

Here's another weakness of The Other Side - an apparently complete unfamiliarity with Economics 101, or as Father Guido Sarducci's puts it in his 5-Minute University routine, "Supply and Demand."

And I'll bet Mr. Navarrette has a degree from a prestigious journalism school, too.

Choking off one source just means opening up a different one. This is something the British (who live on an ISLAND by the way) have some experience with. And the Brits have every gun control law on the books there that cause Josh Sugarmann to have wet-dreams, with the exception of a complete ban.

It hasn't stopped people there from being machine-gunned.

Supply and Demand, Mr. Navarrette.
This is a serious issue worthy of serious discussion, without hyperbole or distortions.
So far, Reuben, you aren't doing too well on either point.
Congress certainly thinks so, which is why it approved $10 million for Operation Gunrunner in the economic stimulus bill.
That would be the bill that was so crucial that no one had time to read it? So critical that if it wasn't passed with extraordinary speed, our economic "crisis" would become an economic "catastrophe"? The one that includes $50 million for National Endowment for the Arts grants?

That economic stimulus bill? The one The One took three days to get around to signing?
Sarukhan, in a recent interview with The San Diego Union-Tribune, cited one bust last year in the city of Reynosa, across the border from Texas' Rio Grande Valley.

"In a single seizure," the ambassador said, "we detained half a million rounds of ammo, 270 semi-automatic assault weapons, fragmentation grenades and ... sniper rifles. And they were all coming from the U.S. side of the border."
Right! I can go into any gun shop and buy a case of frag grenades? I'm having problems finding bulk-pack .22 Long Rifle ammo! How's that BATFE thing working out? After all, that stuff got across the border, didn't it?

And "detained"? According to Webster's, "to detain" is defined as "to hold or keep, as if in custody." All well and good, but what happened to all that ordnance? Is it all still in the Mexican government's hands? Or has it been trickling back out to the Cartels? Inquiring minds want to know!
No point in denying it. Much of the death and destruction south of the border is stamped: "Made in the U.S.A." Americans helped make this mess. It's only right that we do whatever we can to help clean it up -- not just for Mexico's own good, but for ours.
Well, I'll deny it. That death and destruction is stamped "Hecho en Mexico" because the fingers on the triggers are not attached to Americans. Someone please explain to me why "whatever we can" always seems to mean "infringe the rights of U.S. Citizens," especially when that infringement never seems to affect the actual problem, which is bad people with lots of money willing to kill other people to keep making that money.

Assume we could shut off the flow of arms from the U.S. into Mexico (laughable, since we can't shut off the flow of drugs, much less people in the opposite direction, but just as a mental experiment), the Cartels are going to stop killing? Or will the continuing murders be OK then because the "death and destruction south of the border" will no longer be stamped "Made in the U.S.A."?

Oh, sorry, I forgot: The weapons and ammunition that will be smuggled up from Central America or directly from China and Europe by the containerload will still be our fault because we'll be paying for it with our appetite for the drugs they sell, and because many of the weapons will be, as that earlier post pointed out "left over from the wars that the United States helped fight in Central America."

Sorry, Mr. Navarrette. I'm as concerned as the next guy about our neighbor to the south, (perhaps more, since I'm about an hour from the border) but I understand that restricting my rights won't help them. Your jeremiad is just another example of the cognitive dissonance exhibited by those with the gun-control mindset:
When someone tries to use a strategy which is dictated by their ideology, and that strategy doesn't seem to work, then they are caught in something of a cognitive bind. If they acknowledge the failure of the strategy, then they would be forced to question their ideology. If questioning the ideology is unthinkable, then the only possible conclusion is that the strategy failed because it wasn't executed sufficiently well. They respond by turning up the power, rather than by considering alternatives. (This is sometimes referred to as "escalation of failure".)
You'll pardon me if I advocate for skipping the escalation of failure this time. I, for one, have had enough of "Do it again, only HARDER!"

(And yes, I'll be emailing a link to this piece to Mr. Navarrette, Jr.)

UPDATE - 3/21: Six days, and not a peep out of Mr. Navarrette, Jr. Color me surprised.

Quote of the Day

Quote of the Day

As most of you probably know, I'm an atheist (small "a"), but not an anti-theist. The difference, boiled down, is that I don't believe in a God or gods, and an anti-theist believes there is no God.

And anti-theists proselytize.

I don't - but I'm not ashamed of my lack of religion, either. Today's QotD was found at Oleg Volk's place, and I find myself in agreement with its sentiment:
The most compelling argument for the non-existence of a concerned god is that all of the world leaders don't fit in an ashtray. If Odin or Thor were real, I would expect more frequent targeted lightning strikes than we now observe.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

You Mean I CAN'T Buy Grenades At Muphy's Guns?


Well, it would appear that the MSM has finally decided to spread the blame around a little. The LA Dog Trainer had this piece in yesterday's issue:
Drug cartels' new weaponry means war

Narcotics traffickers are acquiring firepower more appropriate to an army -- including grenade launchers and anti-tank rockets -- and the police are feeling outgunned.

By Ken Ellingwood and Tracy Wilkinson
5:53 PM PDT, March 13, 2009


Reporting from Zihuatanejo, Mexico, and Mexico City -- It was a brazen assault, not just because it targeted the city's police station, but for the choice of weapon: grenades.

The Feb. 21 attack on police headquarters in coastal Zihuatanejo, which injured four people, fit a disturbing trend of Mexico's drug wars. Traffickers have escalated their arms race, acquiring military-grade weapons, including hand grenades, grenade launchers, armor-piercing munitions and antitank rockets with firepower far beyond the assault rifles and pistols that have dominated their arsenals.
Apparently "assault rifles and pistols" are a 'gateway drug' to more powerful weaponry!

But here's the kicker:
Most of these weapons are being smuggled from Central American countries or by sea, eluding U.S. and Mexican monitors who are focused on the smuggling of semiauto- matic and conventional weapons purchased from dealers in the U.S. border states of Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California.

The proliferation of heavier armaments points to a menacing new stage in the Mexican government's 2-year-old war against drug organizations, which are evolving into a more militarized force prepared to take on Mexican army troops, deployed by the thousands, as well as to attack each other.

These groups appear to be taking advantage of a robust global black market and porous borders, especially between Mexico and Guatemala. Some of the weapons are left over from the wars that the United States helped fight in Central America, U.S. officials said.
Yes, the "lax gun laws" in the United States were responsible for the (illegal drug) cartels' armories, and by passing new gun control laws we were going to be able to NIP. IT. IN. THE. BUD! (So to speak.)

But instead, apparently, these scofflaws are buying military hardware from OTHER COUNTRIES.

And it's STILL the fault of the United States!

Ah, I love the Blame America First, Last, and Always crowd!

Quote of the Day

Quote of the Day
The rise and fall of the Marxist ideal is rather neatly contained in the Twentieth Century, and comprises its central political phenomenon. Fascism and democratic defeatism are its sun-dogs. The common theme is politics as a theology of salvation, with a heroic transformation of the human condition (nothing less) promised to those who will agitate for it. Political activity becomes the highest human vocation. The various socialisms are only the most prominent manifestation of this delusion, which our future historian calls "politicism". In all its forms, it defines human beings as exclusively political animals, based on characteristics which are largely or entirely beyond human control: ethnicity, nationality, gender, and social class. It claims universal relevance, and so divides the entire human race into heroes and enemies. To be on the correct side of this equation is considered full moral justification in and of itself, while no courtesy or concession can be afforded to those on the other. Therefore, politicism has no conscience whatsoever, no charity, and no mercy. - Canis Iratus, A Thumbnail Hitory of the Twentieth Century, 12/03/04
(Emphasis in original.)

Friday, March 13, 2009

RIP, TMan

RIP, TMan

Damn, another one gone. I hadn't heard about this earlier, but via Oleg Volk I found out tonight that TMan, partner of Old_Painless over at The Box O'Truth has passed away. OP gave him a fine eulogy.

Just damn.

THIS is Why I Don't Ride a Two-Wheeler

THIS is Why I Don't Ride a Two-Wheeler


(*shudder*)

I get the urge to buy a motorcycle once or twice a year.

I go lay down until the urge goes away.

Respecting Authoritah

Respecting Authoritah!

A joke received via email:
A DEA officer stops at a ranch in Montana and talks with an old rancher. He tells the rancher, 'I need to inspect your ranch for illegally grown drugs.'

The old rancher says, 'Okay, but do not go in that field over there,' as he points out the location.

The DEA officer verbally explodes saying, 'Mister, Let me tell you something, I have the authority of the Federal Government with me.' Reaching into his rear pants pocket, he removes his badge and proudly displays it to the farmer. 'See this badge? This badge means I am allowed to go wherever I wish .... on any land ... no questions asked or answers given ... have I made myself clear? Do YOU understand me?'

The old rancher nods politely, apologizes, and goes about his chores.

A short time later, the old rancher hears loud screams and sees the DEA officer running for his life chased, close behind, by the rancher's prize bull. With every step the bull is gaining ground on the officer, and it seems likely that he'll get "horned" before he reaches safety. The officer is clearly terrified.

The old rancher throws down his tools, runs to the fence and yells at the top of his lungs.....

'Your badge! Show him your badge!'
What the hell. I'm already on somebody's list . . . ;-)

Oh HELL No

Oh HELL No!

In another apparent back-door attack on the shooting public, it appears that the Department of Defense has changed the rules regarding the auction of once-fired milsurp brass. An email has been circulating through the gun boards concerning the status of materials sold as "scrap":
Dear Valued Customer:

Please take a moment to note important changes set forth by the Defense Logistics Agency:

Recently it has been determined that fired munitions of all calibers, shapes and sizes have been designated to be Demil code B. As a result and in conjunction with DLA's current Demil code B policy, this notice will serve as official notification which requires Scrap Venture (SV) to implement mutilation as a condition of sale for all sales of fired munitions effective immediately. This notice also requires SV to immediately cease delivery of any fired munitions that have been recently sold or on active term contracts, unless the material has been mutilated prior to sale or SV personnel can attest to the mutilation after delivery. A certificate of destruction is required in either case.

Thank you,

DOD Surplus
5051 N. Kierland Blvd # 300
Scottsdale, AZ 85254
A follow-up email by a poster at AR15.com brings this clarification:
I just got off the phone with SV and GL with people I know very well. As of yesterday (3/12/09) ALL brass is only to be sold as scrap and as such, must be destroyed. It will no longer require an EUC, so that scrap buyers can pick it up immediately and submit the destruction certificate. Sounds like a move to help the metals buyers in the volitile(sic) markets.

In the SV managers words... "The reloaders are screwed."
Georgia Arms is apparently the first remanufacturer/reseller to respond to this announcement:
Attention!!

Due to new government regulations concerning the purchasing of surplus brass, we are removing sales of all 223 and all 308 until further notice. Below is a copy of the email we recieved from Goverment Liqudiations.


"Effective immediately DOD Surplus, LLC, will be implementing new requirements for mutilation of fired shell casings. The new DRMS requirement calls for DOD Surplus personnel to witness the mutilation of the property and sign the Certificate of Destruction. Mutilation of the property can be done at the DRMO, if permitted by the Government, or it may be mutilated at a site chosen by the buyer. Mutilation means that the property will be destroyed to the extent prevents its reuse or reconstruction. DOD Surplus personnel will determine when property has been sufficiently mutilated to meet the requirements of the Government. "


This is a huge waste of taxpayer's money. The value of these products is reduced by 80% by going from a recycled product to a scrap product.

CALL YOUR CONGRESSMAN!!!!!!!!!
Good advice.

I recommend writing to them as well. And include a teabag the string and tag from a teabag.

First the "no lead ammo in National Parks" rule, now this. It looks like Team Obama is going to implement whatever "gun control" they can through rule changes, since they obviously aren't going to get any traction in Congress.

Congresscritters still understand that Job #1 is getting re-elected.

UPDATE: Tam posted first, and has more details.

UPDATE II: Jeff Bartlett at GIBrass.com has this statement:
Effective Immediately


Orders for all military brass acquired thru government auction is hereby


suspended until further notice. If recent auction purchased brass is


is declared unrestricted, all orders will be filled in order received

Quote of the Day

Quote of the Day
Like many people, I've about had enough with the nonsense that has been shoved down our throats by an activist media and an electorate that doesn't know any better. We've seen our first Marxist President elected, and he's wasted no time in remaking the American landscape to his own liking, with the assistance of a Congress drawn to solidifying it's own power like cub scouts are drawn to fart jokes: inexorable.

Each day produces a fresh travesty which is pointedly ignored by most; they're too interested in their bread and circuses. - Flynn, John Galt Underground
Yeah, that about covers it.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Quote of the Day

Quote of the Day
You could have used that same product and those same video to show what a great country we have. You could have shown what unique freedoms we have and how those freedoms are not being abused and I would have gladly given you permission to use my video. Seattle King 5 Evening Magazine did that with this video: http://www.boomershoot.org/2005/KING5.wmv. But you didn’t do that. You merely demonstrated you are a Puritan--afraid that someone, someplace, is having fun. - Joe Huffman, Cease-and-Desist letter to John Bachman of WSBTV
Damn. That whole letter was beautiful, but that last bit? Classic!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Looking for Ideas?

Looking for Ideas?

I had an interesting visitor today; someone from the California State government.


They read this post, and then went to the source.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Well, I'm Disappointed

I'm a pessimist by temperament. That way I go through life often pleasantly surprised and seldom disappointed, but seldom isn't never.

Readers of TSM are probably familiar with this guy:


That's Jim Scoutten, producer and host of Shooting USA, and a member (with his own forum) at AR15.com. Well, I thought I'd ask him about the possibility of Shooting USA covering Boomershoot:
Jim, have you ever covered or considered covering the annual Boomershoot in Orofino Idaho? I realize it's probably far too late for this year's (end of April) event, but I think this is something a lot of people would really enjoy seeing. There's video at the link done by a local (well, regional) TV station to give you the flavor of the event, but it's not enough for us gun-nuts.

I'm going for the first time this year, and I know that other ARFCOMers have gone in the past.

Hope to see you again at this year's NRA convention in Phoenix!
The answer was not quite what I expected:
I've always thought there are some events that shouldn't get National TV coverage.

When we'd like the public to think of competitive shooting to be like other mainstream sports.
Uh, right.

My reply:
Thus Knob Creek shouldn't get national coverage?

Did you watch the King5 piece? (Windows Media file) I thought it was excellent, though short. Personally, I was amazed that a mainstream media outlet would be so positive about an event of this type. Joe Huffman, the organizer of the event, showed it to the NRA media relations rep at the last NRA convention, and she kept saying happily "Play it again! Play it again!"

One of the things that I think needs to happen is the renormalization of firearms and the shooting sports. Read sometime Hell in a Handbasket's Confessions of a Deathbeast. This is what sixty years of slow-motion hate crime has done to what used to be a respected culture. It's time and past time to start trying to restore that respect, or if not respect, at least neutrality instead of fear and loathing.

We can't all be Bianchi Cup competitors or shoot at Camp Perry. Not all shooters want to go slay an elk or a bear. Events like this are for us common shooters who want a real challenge. I think they should get more coverage so perhaps there might be more of them.

But what do I know?
Ry Jones was equally disappointed less verbose in the thread, but made up for it in the comments at his blog.

Joe Huffman's response, however, was piquant. By all means, read the thread.

UPDATE: Linoge has a pretty comprehensive post hitting all the high points, with links to everyone commenting on this tempest in a teacup.

No Substitute for a Good Blaster at your Side

No Substitute for a Good Blaster at your Side

In keeping with the recent Star Wars theme here at TSM, today's Wapsi Square:




UPDATE, 3/11: From today's strip, famous last words:



Paul Taylor can draw!

Monday, March 09, 2009

Quote of the Day

Quote of the Day
There's no shame in the world, and without shame, you cannot have honor. Our world is ruled by consensus now. There is no sense of honor. - John Milius, CNN interview - 'Apocalypse' writer: Most scripts today 'are garbage'
The rest of the interview is worth reading, too.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

My Truck Still Has Only One Bumpersticker . . .

My Truck Still Has Only One Bumpersticker . . .

. . . but I might be persuaded to put this one on the other side:


Found at From My Position, On the Way!

Why Personal Honor Matters

Why Personal Honor Matters
New Trend In Sacramento: 'Intentional Foreclosure'

SACRAMENTO (CBS13)

Linda Caoli helps lots of families on the verge of losing their homes, including a single mom working two jobs to pay her mortgage.

"She says Linda the house across the street, same model, with more upgrades sold in foreclosure for $315,000!" explains Linda.

Her client isn't the only one thinking about ditching her house to buy the better deal across the street. A number of realtors CBS13 talked to say it's already happening.

"Can you imagine if you had a same or similar home and your mortgage was half the price?" asks Linda.

This is how it works. Bob paid $420,000 for his home. Then he notices the house across the street, with more upgrades, and is selling for $315,000.

So Bob, who has pretty good credit, decides to buy the cheaper house. He can't afford both, so then he walks away from his original home, letting it fall into foreclosure. That will hurt his credit, but he's willing to take the hit for a more affordable home.

"Is it wrong to steal when you're hungry? That's an issue that a lot of people are trying to figure out right now," says Linda.

Caoli is sympathetic, but she doesn't endorse the practice of it. Other real estate agents we talked to were far more critical, calling them cheaters. They say the banks take a huge hit when their homes foreclose, and in the end, we all end up paying the price.
I've heard of people just walking away from their mortgages when they discover they owe far more than the house is currently worth, but this one is new to me.

There's a thread at AR15.com on the topic, and here are some of the comments:
The turd here has finally circled the bowl and entered the sewage system.

--

Who cares … the people who continue to play by the rules continue to get the shit end of the stick. If you can find a way to work the system to your advantage, why the hell not?

--

I agree. Being honorable only makes you poor and sticks you paying for the costs of the less scrupulous.

--

I'm not in that situation.

But, I'd be lying if I said I wouldn't consider it if I was.

I come first. Plain and simple. If I can see a benfit in reducing my bottom line and not fucking myself over, I'm probably going for it.

There is a limit to honor. Especially when illegal aliens get breaks and I don't.

Anyone who doesn't see this is a fool.

--

A few months ago I would have said Bob was a piece of shit. Now I see him as smarter than me. The US seems to be on it's way out as the country that we all know and love. All bets are off in this new country of hope and change.
I concur with the "turd circling the bowl" comment, myself. We're a far cry now from "I could not love thee, dear, so much, loved I not honor more."

Who is it that's going to restore our lost Constitution again?

If you haven't read it, I will again recommend James Bowman's Honor: A History, a study of the death of honor in Western culture.

4:10 of Pure Physical Coordination

4:10 of Pure Physical Coordination

I just got this by email, and I realize that it was so two years ago, but just DAMN! Turn your sound on.


Synchronized juggling. Now THAT should be an Olympic event!

Right Attitude, Bad Example

Right Attitude, Bad Example

I received an email this afternoon from a reader:
I'm just a random reader of your blog. I came across this newspaper clipping in an old album that my mother bought in a lot of antiques. Apparently the owner was a Los Angeles police officer. The clipping is from the LA Examiner, from 1935. I thought it was a great picture, and it kind of drives home how much attitudes towards guns and personal responsibility have changed.
Indeed it does. And it does more than that. James, if you're ever in Tucson, I'll be more than happy to take you to the range.

Here's the picture:


The attitude is correct, but pointing all those guns at the camera? The photographer might have had a remote trigger. I doubt seriously he had a time delay. He was probably standing right behind the viewfinder. Every bang-switch has a booger-hook on it. And at least one of the Chief's revolvers is loaded. There's no reason to believe the rest were not. He was a brave (or stupid) man.

Is it any wonder that the rate of accidental gunshot wounding and death has declined (precipitously!) since the turn of the century until now it is at the lowest rate ever recorded - despite the fact that there are more guns in private hands than at any time in history?

The principle is correct, but the photograph? Yeesh.

My how attitudes have changed.

Any Excuse Will Do

Any Excuse Will Do

In the comments to the previous post, Sarah wrote:
I think the bipartisan Republicans are already finding themselves in the role of Lando, praying the Democrats don't alter the deal any further.
Which is all the excuse I need to put up THIS:



Saturday, March 07, 2009

Brilliant!


From AR15.com.

(Edited to add) Best comment seen:
That's no moon! That's the National Debt!

How Did I Miss This?

How Did I Miss This?

I've mentioned author Orson Scott Card here before, most recently in October. Card writes mostly Science Fiction, but he also has an intermittent op-ed column called WorldWatch that I check on every now and then. Well, I missed this one, One Party Rule Forever! published in mid-February. (Granted, I was working 65-hour weeks at the time.)

Excerpt:
Obama has set himself up to rig all future American elections, not through any democratic process, but by fiat. Just like a dictator.

Remember how, when the Patriot Act was passed, we were flooded with outraged stories in the press about how Americans' rights were going to be trampled on?

None of it came true.

But now we have a genuine attack on the roots of the Constitution and the principle of counting only people who can be proven to exist when apportioning the House of Representatives. It's a naked grab for power. It's a coup d'etat.

And the so-called freedom-lovers in the Leftist media are absolutely silent about it.

If Bush had put Karl Rove in charge of the Census without so much as asking Congress for permission, the howls and screams would have been deafening. Obama does the identical thing ... and the freedom-loving Left is fine with it.

Because they don't love freedom. They just love having their views prevail, without regard to democracy or human rights.
RTWT.

Quote of the Day

Quote of the Day
One funny thing about Democrats--the leading ones, anyway--is that they're pretty much all rich. I mean really rich, not "rich" like you and your spouse together make $250,000 a year, so now you have to pay someone else's mortgage. - John Hinderaker, Power Line - It Gets A Bit Chilly At Night If You're One of the Little People
That's the opening line. It gets better from there.