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

Monday, October 31, 2011

Home Run

Robb Allen has written a truly excellent post, not just because he linked here or even that I agree with it completely - I mean, this one is really outstanding.  Expect to see it spread around the Internet attributed to Major Caudill.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Your Moment of Zen

Stormclouds:



(Click for full size)

Juxtaposition


For the Engineers Out There

First, some advice:





But if that advice is taken:



So... This Isn't Racism?

Came across this ad tonight while surfing the Intertubes:




A jobs website dedicated to "Black Careers." Hmm. Would that be careers that are open to anyone but traditionally done by black people? Such as? Or would it be a job site exclusively for people of black African descent - Caucasians, Asians and others need not apply?

Am I off base thinking that a "WhiteCareers.com" website would be - dare I say it - racist?

What Caliber for 16-foot Python?

12 gauge, apparently:
16-foot python found in Florida had eaten a deer

Officials in the Florida Everglades have captured and killed a 16-foot-long Burmese python that had just eaten an adult deer.

--

Hardin said the python had recently consumed a 76-pound female deer that had died. He said it was an important capture to help stop the spread of pythons further north.

The python was killed with a shotgun blast.


Wow.

Quote of the Day - Peggy Noonan Edition

Several years ago Peggy penned a piece about "tough history coming."  Saturday, her Wall St. Journal column echoes that earlier piece a bit:
People are increasingly fearing the divisions within, even the potential coming apart of, our country. Rich/poor, black/white, young/old, red/blue: The things that divide us are not new, yet there's a sense now that the glue that held us together for more than two centuries has thinned and cracked with age. That it was allowed to thin and crack, that the modern era wore it out.

What was the glue? A love of country based on a shared knowledge of how and why it began; a broad feeling among our citizens that there was something providential in our beginnings; a gratitude that left us with a sense that we should comport ourselves in a way unlike the other nations of the world, that more was expected of us, and not unjustly — "To whom much is given much is expected"; a general understanding that we were something new in history, a nation founded on ideals and aspirations —— liberty, equality —— and not mere grunting tribal wants. We were from Europe but would not be European: No formal class structure here, no limits, from the time you touched ground all roads would lead forward. You would be treated not as your father was but as you deserved.
"Shared knowledge."  Education.  That had to go first.

RTWT.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Quote of the Day - Tam Edition

It's a government database! It's starting out in the wrong hands! I don't know if you were keeping track in the 20th Century, dude, but Governments out-pointed Nigerian 419 Scammers by several hundred million to zero on the big International Dead Guy Scoreboard.
From Okay, That's an easy one...

Thursday, October 27, 2011

I Never Thought I'd be Happy to Read These Words

Setup:  Righthaven (*hawk*spit*) has been told it must pay nearly $120,000 in attorney's fees and court costs in a suit it lost to "former federal prosecutor Thomas DiBase," who happens to run a website dedicated to "no-body murder cases, or cases where a murder is suspected but the victim's remains have not been located."  Righthaven pursued a copyright suit without actually having standing to sue, and lost.

That's good news, yes, but that's not the part I'm really happy about.  This is, and it's one of those mixed-blessings:
This was by far the largest fee award against Righthaven, but likely will be dwarfed by an upcoming award in Righthaven's failed suit against the Democratic Underground.
On the one hand, I think this spells the death-knell for Righthaven's lawsuit-farming.  On the other, Democratic Underground will probably win a major amount of cash.

Oh well, one can hope that Righthaven will vanish in a puff of smoke, and DU won't ever see a penny!

"Quote of the MF'n Day"

Reader Addison emailed this link and today's QotD by commenter "Astaghfirullah"
The Tea Party wants to remove the Crony from Crony Capitalism.

OWS wants to remove Capitalism from Crony Capitalism.
That's it in a nutshell.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

More Truth!

This time from (wait for it...) PBS!

"Libertarian" Professor Richard Epstein of the New York University School of Law schools PBS's economics reporter Paul Solman on "income inequality":



You can tell the difference between a liberal and conservative by the following test:  A liberal believes that changes in taxes have very little effect on production, but huge effects favorable on distribution. Folks like myself believe it's exactly the opposite. Very high tax rates or even small changes in taxes have very adverse effects on production, and they do very little to produce redistribution because the money gets dissipated and taken away through the political process in ways that the most ardent supporters of redistribution will not like.
Stated at The Coalition of the Swilling: "I’m sure whoever’s idea it was has been sacked. Along with all the llama trainers."  I don't think so.  I can see the Leftists shaking their heads and tut-tutting the insane ideas of Professor Epstein.  And I fully expect there to be a "grassroots" movement to get him fired from his job and his property taken.

If you've got a blog, post this video. Help it go viral.

WTF?

Weird traffic pattern on the blog today:






I've seen "googlebot" do a lot of page views in a short duration, but this has been happening all day from multiple sites. RR.com has been a common one, and the location has been all over the country. But as you can see, it's not just one or two sites, it's several.

WTF, over?

Shark. Jumped

Hornady ZombieMax ammo commercial:



Ok then.

In the Spirit of Halloween

Somebody went all out:



Click for full size (really big & detailed).

All it's missing is (car) body damage from the impact.

Truth

Pat Condell on Israel and Palestine:



"They don't want peace, they want victory."

We're Winning

Say Uncle links to a story involving a home invasion thwarted by a resident with an AR-15.  From the comments:
I love this town. A shooting results in an argument over the proper shot size for perps. - "Southrider"

--

There are actually many Democrats that support gun rights. The NRA grades each Congressional candidate based on their gun rights voting history. There are many Democrats with a B or better. I am surprised, though, that no one from the anti-gun establishment has commented. - "Sphereo"
I'm not. They've mostly taken their ball and gone home.

Quote of the Day - "Is He Still On?" Edition

Another one from Tam:
Barry needs better market penetration amongst unhip middle-age ofay folks in flyover country, and those people love them some Leno.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Interesting That the #OWS Crowd Doesn't Protest This

Via Mel at Anarchangel:




Can I get an "AMEN!"?

And how many came in to office as millionaires?

I Had No Idea!

I posted about my first car last week, a 1969 Simca 1118, an underpowered French import that was just about the last of its kind brought into the country.  A pretty underwhelming automotive experience.

Not so for the rest of the world, apparently:



The Simca 1000 series was very popular around the world, and as everybody knows, it there are a lot of something, someone will race it. And if it gets raced, it will get hopped up.

Like I said, I always wondered how that car would have run with a motor transplant from a Honda CBX.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Quote of the Day - Social Contract Edition

A long time ago, I quoted Ezra Taft Benson, Eisenhower's Secretary of Agriculture on "the proper role of government":
It is generally agreed that the most important single function of government is to secure the rights and freedoms of individual citizens. But, what are those right? And what is their source?

There are only two possible sources. Rights are either God-given as part of the Divine Plan, or they are granted by government as part of the political plan. Reason, necessity, tradition and religious convictions all lead me to accept the divine origin of these rights. If we accept the premise that human rights are granted by government, then we must be willing to accept the corollary that they can be denied by government.

…Frederick Bastiat, phrased it so succinctly,

'Life, liberty, and property do not exist because men have made laws. On the contrary, it was the fact that life, liberty, and property existed beforehand that caused men to make laws in the first place.'

In a primitive state, there is no doubt that each man would be justified in using force, if necessary, to defend himself against physical harm, against theft of the fruits of his labor, and against enslavement of another.

Indeed, the early pioneers found that a great deal of their time and energy was being spent doing all three – defending themselves, their property and their liberty – in what properly was called the “Lawless West.” In order for man to prosper, he cannot afford to spend his time constantly guarding his family, his fields, and his property against attack and theft, so he joins together with his neighbors and hires a sheriff. At this precise moment, government is born. The individual citizens delegate to the sheriff their unquestionable right to protect themselves. The sheriff now does for them only what they had a right to do for themselves – nothing more.
I didn't fully agree with Mr. Benson and still don't, but it was a good citation at the time. This, however, says it far better:
The social contract exists so that everyone doesn't have to squat in the dust holding a spear to protect his woman and his meat all day every day. It does not exist so that the government can take your spear, your meat, and your woman because it knows better what to do with them. 
(h/t to Glenn)

Heard Down the Hall

My 11 year-old grandson has spent the weekend with us.  Friday night he and I went to see Real Steel (good flick, BTW).  This morning he and my wife made banana bread.  Just a second ago, Kaoru said to him, "CJ, I need you to clean the living room." 

"What does it need?" he asked.

"It needs to look good!" she replied.

"It does look good!" he replied.

"WHY ARE YOU SO MALE?!?" my wife said.

.
.
.
.

In response to my laughter from down the hall, she yelled "You're not helping!"

Sanctum Maiori Excrementum!

Remember Michael Winslow, the guy from the Police Academy movies that did all the sound effects with his mouth?  Apparently he's gotten nothing but better - much better - since then.  From Grouchy Old Cripple, here's Michael doing Led Zeppelin's Whole Lotta Love.  It will leave your mouth hanging open:


Plan for the Day

I'm going to spend a few hours loading 300 rounds of .45LC and prepping .308 brass while listening to the last couple of episodes of Vicious Circle.

Carry on.

UPDATE:  Plan failure.  Other stuff got done instead.  Maybe after work this week....

Saturday, October 22, 2011

10/22/96 - 10/22/11

All the cool kids are doing it, so here's mine.

For Father's Day, 1996 my wife bought me a Ruger 10/22 - the standard carbine with the pencil barrel and the youth-sized stock.  "Oh my love," I told her, "you don't know what you've started."

Within three weeks I had converted it to this:




I don't even want to know how much money I've got tied up in that thing.  The only original parts are the receiver and the bolt assembly.

Another 99 Percenter

From Cowboy Blob's Facebook page:




That's funny right there, I don't care who you are.

More Truth in Fiction

This time from Ian Banks' Matter:
"Perhaps it is different for humans, dear prince," she said, sounding sad, "but we have found that the underdisciplined child will bump up against life eventually and learn their lesson that way - albeit all the harder for their parents' earlier lack of courage and concern. The overdisciplined child lives all its life in a self-made cage, or bursts from it so wild and profligate with untutored energy they harm all about them, and always themselves. We prefer to underdiscipline, reckoning it better in the long drift, though it may seem harsher at the time."

"To do nothing is always easy." Ferbin did not try to keep the bitterness out of his voice.

"To do nothing when you are so tempted to do something and entirely have the means to do so, is harder. It grows easier only when you know you do nothing for the active betterment of others."
I was reminded by this passage of a quote from an earlier piece, I Guess I'm Not... HUMAN. Former Representative Adam Putnam has said,
Government does only two things well: nothing, and overreact.
In current times government has been likened to a parent to the people, with the Republicans being the "daddy party" and the Democrats being the "mommy party," but as someone else said:


This guy is our uncle and that's as close as I want the fucker.

I don't need the government to be my big brother, my parent, my nanny, or my caretaker. It needs to maintain public services (roads, etc.), maintain foreign relations and the military, keep the states from squabbling, and stay the fuck out of my life.
Perhaps someday our putative "leaders" will learn enough to do nothing, rather than overreact.

(Who am I kidding?)

Thursday, October 20, 2011

The American Dream

I'm watching TLC's replay of the CBS show Undercover Boss.  This week's episode follows the CEO of the Baja Fresh restaurant chain as he goes to several stores as a prospective management candidate.  The stores he goes to are ones performing exceptionally well, and he wants to find out what makes these stores different from the average franchise.

At the first, the manager is a young Mexican immigrant, only in the country for two years, who is busting his ass.  At the second, a young man from the Phillipines - ditto.  The third, a young man recently immigrated from Jordan with his parents.  At the fourth, a young woman who is not a recent immigrant, but she has a two year-old daughter.  Her husband works nights, and she works days.  All of them are busting their asses and running their stores with dedication and enthusiasm.

At two of the stores the managers said outright that they were living the American Dream, working hard to create a better future for themselves and their families.  All of them understand the American work ethic, and are doing what it takes to make their stores the successes that have drawn the attention of corporate management.

It makes me all warm and fuzzy inside.

Just Not the Same

An ex-coworker emailed me this morning with one of those "pass it around the internet" emails and this note:  "For some reason, this reminded us of you."























Monday, October 17, 2011

It Wasn't Me, I Swear!

So, I'm getting moved into my new office. The furniture was installed last week, but as of Friday, no chairs. Installation of cable broadband was going on Friday evening when I left, but when I dropped by Saturday to leave some boxes of stuff, still nothing to sit on but the desks.

Bright and early this morning, though...




However, I'm afraid my authority might have been overstepped:




This is the box it came in:




Still, I've escaped the fabric-covered box paradigm!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Spread This One Around

Found on the "Occupy a Job" facebook page:


Click to embiggen


My favorite is "I can't hear the TV while I'm eating crunchy snacks."

Nobody Asked Me

The current rage on the intarweb blogs is the "What was your first car?" meme.

Well, nobody asked me, but I'll answer anyway. I've done this post before, but here it is again:

My first car at age 16 was my dad's hand-me-down. He'd bought it for something like $700 in 1974, put another couple-hundred in parts into it so it would run, and drove it until 1978 when he went down to the Ford dealership and placed an order for his very first brand-new automobile, an F-150 pickup truck.

That was the year I turned 16. Our insurance agent told him, "Don, you have a new driver in the house. The insurance company sees 'new driver' and 'new vehicle' and they put two-and-two together and come up with a 60% increase in your insurance premium. Put the old car in your son's name and insure it for the minimum you can." So he did. Which is how I, out of three children, was the only one who got a car from my parents.

Pissed my brother off.

But the car in question was no particular prize. It was a 1969 Simca 1118:


Only mine didn't look that good. It was originally silver, but the sun had faded that right through to the gray primer underneath. The interior was sun-rotted so the front seatbacks got reupholstered with T-shirts stretched over them. I got some scrap carpet from a friend - brown shag, no less - and carpeted the floor with that. Door panels, too. No radio, so my dad had mounted a 12V-powered AM-FM under the dash and wired it into the harness.

Rear-engine, rear-wheel drive, 1118cc, water-cooled, 56Hp. Zero-to-sixty? Take a lunch and eat it when you get there.

But it was a car, and it took me anywhere I wanted to go.

I always wondered what that car would be like with an engine transplant out of a Honda CBX.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

The Selfish Gene

Thirty years ago, evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins published The Selfish Gene, a book dedicated to the idea that the purpose of life was, essentially, reproduction - survival of the molecules of life.  Or, as Robert Heinlein put it,
A zygote is a gamete’s way of producing more gametes. This may be the purpose of the universe.
This is expressed as "Birds do it, bees do it, why don't we do it?" All species have a drive to reproduce, and we're told that women have a "biological clock" that ticks down constantly.  Bonnie Raitt's 1990 song Nick of Time speaks to this:
A friend of mine, she cries at night
And she calls me on the phone
Sees babies everywhere she goes
And she wants one of her own

She's waited long enough she says
And still he can't decide
Pretty soon she'll have to choose
And it tears her up inside

She's scared,
Scared to run out of time
It's an old idea. 

Remember this scene from The Matrix?




Here's what Agent Smith was talking about, Monty Python style:



Well, Agent Smith is wrong - on a number of levels - but the one I'm concerned with here is the part about humans multiplying "until every natural resource is consumed."  Not so.  In fact, one of the problems the "West" is experiencing right now is the exact opposite.  We're not "multiplying" enough.  We're not even replacing ourselves.  It's a problem that has attracted a lot of attention.  Mark Steyn's 2006 phillipic America Alone:  The End of the World as We Know It concerns itself almost exclusively with the demographics of Europe, and the fact that Europeans aren't reproducing.  Here's another recent example, Forbes Magazine, Declining Birthrates, Expanded Bureaucracy: Is U.S. Going European?
One hopes that the current crisis gripping the E.U. will give even the most devoted Europhiles pause about the wisdom of such mimicry. Yet the deadliest European disease the U.S. must avoid is that of persistent demographic decline.

The gravity of Europe’s demographic situation became clear at a conference I attended in Singapore last year. Dieter Salomon, the green mayor of the environmentally correct Freiburg, Germany, was speaking about the future of cities. When asked what Germany's future would be like in 30 years, he answered, with a little smile, "There won't be a future."
We're not giving birth, but we're not dying as fast either.  From Foreign Policy, The World Will Be More Crowded - With Old People:
(W)hat demography tells us is this: The human population will continue to grow, though in a very different way from in the past. The United Nations' most recent "mid-range" projection calls for an increase to 8 billion people by 2025 and to 10.1 billion by century's end.

Until quite recently, such population growth always came primarily from increases in the numbers of young people. Between 1950 and 1990, for example, increases in the number of people under 30 accounted for more than half of the growth of the world's population, while only 12 percent came from increases in the ranks of those over 60.

But in the future it will be the exact opposite. The U.N. now projects that over the next 40 years, more than half (58 percent) of the world's population growth will come from increases in the number of people over 60, while only 6 percent will come from people under 30. Indeed, the U.N. projects that by 2025, the population of children under 5, already in steep decline in most developed countries, will be falling globally -- and that's even after assuming a substantial rebound in birth rates in the developing world. A gray tsunami will be sweeping the planet.
So we're not reproducing, but we're living longer.

The 2006 "comedy" film Idiocracy considered the idea that population growth occurred among people not intelligent enough to control their reproductive habits, while intelligent people just put it off:



But that doesn't seem to be the case, either. Intelligence isn't the dividing line on reproduction rates. If anything, it appears to be wealth - wealthier nations tend to have lower reproduction rates than poorer ones. But is it only an economic decision? Do poorer nations squirt out kids at a higher rate than richer ones because intercourse is the best, cheapest entertainment going? Or is there something else, some other influence that affects human reproduction rates?

Mark Steyn noted in America Alone another interesting thing: America, along with maintaining at least a replacement reproduction rate is also one of the last Western nations still nominally Christian.

A while back, I wrote Why I am an Atheist. The gist of that post is the question What's religion for? I think I have a better understanding now. Let's watch the rest of that clip from Monty Python's Meaning of Life:



Every version of Christianity follows Genesis 1:28
And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.
I'm not a student of comparative religion, but I'd be willing to bet that the major religions out there have some similar form of entreaty to their adherents.

It would appear that in humans, the "selfish gene" expresses itself as personal selfishness. Cultures achieve material wealth, lose religion, and stop reproducing. Something other than "the selfish gene" is required to keep gametes making more gametes, and religion fills that need. The rites, rituals, rules and ramifications of religion act to produce social pressures to reproduce, and to do it along societal norms. Lose those, and demographic suicide threatens.

That is, unless we really do reach Raymond Kurzweil's technological Singularity and achieve near-as-dammit human immortality. Of course, if we do cross that particular event horizon, what it means to be human will be redefined.

Anyway, this multimedia essay is the result of a lot of windshield time over the last three weeks. I found the idea intriguing. Discuss amongst yourselves.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Precious Snowflakes

In a continuation of posting other people's content, here's Bill Whittle's latest Afterburner:


Wednesday, October 12, 2011

True Believers and the Machinery of Freedom and Oppression

From David Horowitz's Alinsky, Beck, Satan and Me, part I:
Alinsky begins by telling readers what a radical is. He is not a reformer of the system but its would-be destroyer. This is something that in my experience conservatives have a very hard time understanding. Conservatives are altogether too decent, too civilized to match up adequately, at least in the initial stages of the battle, with their adversaries. They are too prone to give them the benefit of the doubt. They assume that radicals can't really want to destroy a society that is democratic and liberal and has brought wealth and prosperity to so many. Oh yes they can. That is in fact the essence of what it means to be a radical — to be willing to destroy the values, structures and institutions that sustain the society we live in. Marx himself famously cited Alinsky's first rebel (using another of his names — Mephistopheles): "Everything that exists deserves to perish."

This is why ACORN activists, for example, have such contempt for the election process, why they are so willing to commit election fraud. Because just as Lucifer didn’t believe in God's kingdom, so the radicals who run ACORN don't believe in the democratic system. To them it is itself a fraud — an instrument of the ruling class, or as Alinsky prefers to call it, of the Haves. If the electoral system doesn’t serve all of us, but is only an instrument of the Haves, then election fraud is justified because it is a means of creating a system that serves the Have-Nots — social justice. Until conservatives begin to understand exactly what drives radicals and how dishonest they are — dishonest in the their core — it is going to be very hard to defend the system that is under attack. For radicals the noble end — creating a new heaven on earth — justifies any means. And if one actually believed it was possible to create heaven on earth, would he not willingly destroy any system hitherto created by human beings?
From Part II
Obama/ACORN strategy guru Saul Alinsky began his manual for leftists by dedicating it to Satan, "the first radical known to man" who "rebelled against the establishment, and did it so effectively that he at least won his own kingdom." We noted that the kingdom Alinsky thought was some kind of achievement to inspire other radicals was in fact hell. Here, in a nutshell, is why conservatives are conservative and why radicals are dangerous. Because conservatives pay attention to the consequences of actions, including their own, and radicals don't.

And there's a reason for that. What they are trying to do is not to improve the lot of all of us or even some of us, but to fill up a cosmic emptiness, an emptiness they feel in their core. As Alinsky himself puts it, they are seeking to answer the question "Why am I here?" — a question which traditional religions attempt to answer but whose answers radicals scorn. Modern radicalism is a secular religion, and its hunger for meaning and hope and change cannot be satisfied by anything less than grandiose, totalizing schemes to transform the world. To bring up their failures, the enormities they are guilty of, the crimes committed in the name of their religion, is to strike a blow at hope itself, which is why they cannot and will not hear it.
From Part III:
Conservatives think of war as a metaphor when applied to politics. For radicals the war is real. That is why partisans of the left set out to destroy their opponents, not just refute their arguments. It is also why they never speak the truth. Deception for them is a military tactic in a war that is designed to eliminate their opponents.

Alinsky's Rules for Radicals is first of all a broadside against the New Left. What Alinsky attacks about the New Left is its honesty — something I've always regarded as its only redeeming feature. While American Communists — the Old Left — pretended to be Jeffersonian Democrats and "progressives" and formed "popular fronts" with liberals to "defend democracy," we in the New Left disdained their deception and regarded it as weakness. To distinguish ourselves from these Old Leftists, we said we were revolutionaries and proud of it.

"Up against the wall motherfucker" was a typical New Left slogan, telegraphing exactly how we felt about people who opposed us. The most basic principle of Alinsky's advice to radicals is, lie to your opponents and potential opponents and disarm them by pretending to be moderates, liberals. This has been the most potent weapon of the left since the end of the Sixties. Racists like Al Sharpton and Jeremiah Wright posing as civil rights activists, radicals like Henry Waxman and Barney Frank posing as liberals. The mark of their success is how conservatives collude in the deception.

--

Alinsky's manual is designed to teach radicals how to manipulate the public into thinking they're harmless, in order to accumulate enough power to achieve the radical agenda — to burn the system down and replace it with a socialist gulag.
From part IV:
For Alinsky and his Machiavellian radicals, politics is war. No matter what they say publicly or pretend to be, they are at war. They are at war even though no other factions in the political arena are at war, because everyone else embraces the System which commits all parties to compromise and peaceful resolutions of conflicts. For tactical reasons, the radicals will also make compromises, but their entire mentality and approach to politics is based on their dedication to conducting a war against the System itself. Don’t forget it (although if history is any indication, Republicans almost invariably will).

Because radicals see politics as a war, they perceive opponents of their causes as enemies on a battlefield and set out to destroy them by demonizing and discrediting them. Personally. Particularly dangerous in their eyes are opponents who are wise to their deceptions and realize what their agendas are; who understand that they are not the innocents they pretend to be but are actors whose reality is masked. (It is no coincidence that the pod people in the Invasion of the Body Snatchers were inspired by radicals in the Communist era). Thus it is precisely because Glenn Beck is on a mission to ferret them out, that they are determined to silence him and have organized a boycott to drive him off the air. Sarah Palin is another conservative they consider extremely dangerous and therefore have set out to destroy, personally. The list is as long as there are conservative leaders. This is because when you are in a war — when you think of yourself as being in a war — there is no middle ground.

A war by definition is a fight to the finish. It is waged against enemies who can’t be negotiated with but must be eliminated — either totally defeated or effectively destroyed. Conservatives don’t really have such an enemy and therefore are not mentally in the war at all, which is why they often seem so defenseless or willing to throw their fellow conservatives over the side when they are attacked.
From American Digest today, in Gerard's post Rage Against the Machine, a snippet from a speech by Mario Savio at a December, 1964 UC Berkley sit-in:
There's a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious, makes you so sick at heart that you can't take part! You can't even passively take part! And you've got to put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels, upon the levers, upon all the apparatus -- and you've got to make it stop! And you've got to indicate to the people who run it, to the people who own it -- that unless you're free the machine will be prevented from working at all!
From my own 2005 post True Believers (and other people's words even then):
Glenn Wishard, in a post at Canis Iratus last year entitled A Thumbnail History of the Twentieth Century wrote:
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.
I think Glenn's declaration that the 20th Century "neatly contains" the rise and fall of "the Marxist ideal" is a bit premature, but I fully concur with his conclusion that "politicism" has neatly divided societies in the manner described....
And also, from my essay March of the Lemmings, quoting The Geek with a .45:
We, who studied the shape and form of the machines of freedom and oppression, have looked around us, and are utterly dumbfounded by what we see.

We see first that the machinery of freedom and Liberty is badly broken. Parts that are supposed to govern and limit each other no longer do so with any reliability.

We examine the creaking and groaning structure, and note that critical timbers have been moved from one place to another, that some parts are entirely missing, and others are no longer recognizable under the wadded layers of spit and duct tape. Other, entirely new subsystems, foreign to the original design, have been added on, bolted at awkward angles.

--

We know the tools and mechanisms of oppression when we see them. We've studied them in depth, and their existence on our shores, in our times, offends us deeply. We can see the stirrings of malevolence, and we take stock of the damage they've caused over so much time.

Others pass by without a second look, with no alarm or hue and cry, as if they are blind, as if they don't understand what they see before their very eyes. We want to shake them, to grasp their heads and turn their faces, shouting, "LOOK! Do you see what this thing is? Do you see how it might be put to use? Do you know what can happen if this thing becomes fully assembled and activated?"

Some, to be certain, see these things, and perceive the danger. Many of these, their minds and judgments clouded, act as if they had appeared new and pristine, and proceed to lay all of the blame, 100% of it, at the feet of the current administration, judges and legislators, not stopping to think that such malignity does not appear de-novo, and all at once.

It is human, after all, to assign blame for such things as the evidence of ill intention and malign design, and sometimes it is just to do so. We remind ourselves though, that it isn't always the case, and that evil can also emerge unbidden from the sum of vectors, rather than the charting of a course.

Such sickness as this grows over time, years and decades. It accretes in lightless corners and in broad daylight in places where self-deception, man's oldest enemy carries the day.

Alone, and in small groups, we sit in the shade and think, to find clarity. Some of the forms we see are plain as day, and others are ambiguous. We know that it is human nature to see patterns in the stars, to connect the dots. Often, the patterns we see are real, and sometimes, they are just constellations. We pause and check each bit of history, one at a time. We know that we cannot afford to be wrong.

The original machine designers warned us of this. They knew that the temptation would always be there, and they sternly warned us that assembling such machines, even with the best of intention was to court a cascading disaster.
And from a link in Gerard's piece to Daniel Greenfield's post Winning the System:
Choosing between the tyranny of a tyrant and the tyranny of a system is not a very pleasant choice and it should be an alien one. Unfortunately as the tyranny of a system has grown, so has the search for the perfect tyrant. But no matter whom we elect, the tyranny of the system will keep growing. Hoping that a one man wrecking ball will collide with the system is not an impossible dream, but neither is it all that promising. It doesn't mean that we should stop trying, but it does mean that we need to think bigger.

Our struggle is not with Obama or Reid or Pelosi, it is with the system that they advance. A system of unrestricted power that mandates absolute dominance over all human affairs backed by an ideology that treats all human activity as political and in need of control in the name of the greater good. Getting them all out is a plus, but it's a battle, not the war.

--

Things aren't the way they are because one wrong man got in, but because a million wrong men and women got in. And that number is a modest understatement. An election may slow them down, it may reverse them a little, but it will not stop them. We are fighting and losing a war for control of the system that runs our lives. Our choices are to take control of the machine, live outside the machine or stop the machine.

The left faced those same choices in the early 20th century. It chose a slow conquest from within. To repeat their achievement, we would have to do what they did. Train generations to take control of entire sectors and then institutions. Take control of the educational system and then the political system. Transform the entire discourse, turn their conventional morality inside out and tie them down. Is it doable? Yes. Are we likely to embark on such a project? Probably not. It would take too long, require a level of ideological coordination that does not currently exist on the right and by then the country will not be salvageable.

Living outside the machine is not an option either. ObamaCare is a reminder that the goal of the machine is absolute control of every aspect of human life. There is no off the grid when the grid is everywhere. There is no off the grid when every geographical area has its administrative bureaucracy charged with monitoring and bringing into compliance all persons living within that area. There is no off the grid when the use of off the grid technologies without a special permit is outlawed. Living like a rat within the walls of the state, or the forests, isn't completely impossible, but in the long run it's futile. It's survival, not much else.

All that's left is stopping the machine. That doesn't mean violent revolution, it means determined political change. The Tea Party was the first step of that change. It was extraordinary because for the first time in a long time, outrage at the operation of the machine brought massive numbers of people together around the country. Their principled stand was doomed to be muffled because the system has no interest in shifting power away from its institutions and toward the people. But it's only the beginning.

The system grinds on because it maintains the illusion of consensus. The Tea Party rallies badly shook that consensus. Long before there were crowds in Cairo, there were crowds in cities all across the country. Their message was that the machine has to stop.

In the face of the protests, the media turned into desperate pro-government outlets, and when the polls were done, the government took one of the worst political blows in history. Elections come and go, but this was more than that. A giant was slowly waking.

The task of the left is to complete its machine before the giant wakes. Our task is to wake the giant and point him at the machine. In that way the last three years have helped us more than they have helped the left, which could have made the same gains if it had waited and taken it more slowly. They put a face on the machine and that was their mistake. Now they're trying to take it back by putting Wall Street's face on the machine.

We will fight the good fight this election, and with the help of G-d may we win it, but it's the machine that is the real war.
First, I find it interesting that the metaphors remain so consistent over time. The quote from the Geek and the one from Glenn Wishard both date back to 2004, David Horowitz's essay to 2009, Mario Savio's speech to 1964.

Second, we're in a war. We're just beginning to wake up to it. There is a machine out there, and it's been under reconstruction for over a century to convert it from a machine of liberty to one of oppression. Some of us understand that the machine must be stopped while others understand that their only hope is to finish it before it can be stopped.

Maybe the Mayans were on to something with that "calendar ends in 2012" thing after all.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Quote of the Day - Occupy a Job Edition

From David Horowitz and 2009:
In our epoch, according to Marx, capitalists are the oppressors and are pitted against proletarians who are the oppressed. But to compare capitalists to slave-owners, or feudal lords and serfs, as Marx and his disciples down to Alinsky do, is ludicrous. There are tens of millions of capitalists in America and they rise and fall with every economic wave. Where are the Enrons of yesteryear, and where are their bosses? If proletarians can become capitalists and capitalists can be ruined, there is no class struggle in the sense that Marx and his disciples claim, no system of oppression and no need for revolution.

The myth of the Haves and the Have-Nots is just that -- a myth; and a religious one at that, the same, as I have said, as the myth advanced by Manicheans who claim that the world is ruled by Darkness, and that history is a struggle between the forces of evil and the forces of light. The category "Haves" for secular radicals is like the category "Witches" for religious fanatics and serves the same function. It is to identify one's enemies as servants of the devil and to justify the war against them.

It is true that there are some haves and some have-nots. But it is false to describe our social and economic divisions this way and it malicious and socially destructive to attempt to reverse an imaginary hierarchy between them. In reality, our social and economic divisions are between the Cans and the Can-Nots, the Dos and the Do-Nots, the Wills and the Will-Nots. But to describe them this way -- that is, accurately -- is to explode the whole religious fantasy that gives meaning to radical lives.
It is the difference between the Tea Party and the Occupy Wherever crowd.  You'll note the difference between the group that is accused of religious fundamentalism and the crowd that actually is.

Read all five parts of David's To Have and Have Not: Alinsky, Beck, Satan and Me. The links to all of them are in the last one. It explains a lot.

Hat tip: What Bubba Knows

Pin Shooting!

If you've never been to a pin shoot, here's some short videos of the action taken at the last match:




My competitor had an equipment malfunction, but that was a good run for me, six shots, six hits.

Here's a clean run by another competitor:




And a not quite clean run:




And here's a .22 rimfire run. The targets are pin tops on the back edge of the table:




He just beat me.

If you haven't tried bowling pin shooting, give it a try.  It's a LOT of fun. 

Sunday, October 09, 2011

"Don't worry. We're still going to the range on Saturday."

Another in the endless parade of Downfall bunker scene satires, this one is the best I've seen so far.  Of course, the subject matter has a lot to do with that:



Hat tip: Belmont Club

New Job Stuff

Tomorrow will be a long one.  I've been over the majority of this state in my career, but tomorrow I'll be going somewhere new - the Springerville Generating Station in eastern Arizona.  Google Maps says it's a 460 mile round trip, and about ten hours total, so tomorrow should be a solid twelve-hour day.

The stereo in my truck has very poor reception.  I think I'd better take my iPod.

Cognitive Dissonance

On the masthead to this blog is a quote from fellow blogger Moshe Ben-David:
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.
Glenn Reynolds today posted another glaring example:




I never could grok that one either.

Match Report - Bowling Pins, 10/9/2011

What a beautiful day for a match!  And what a change from two months ago.  Including me, there were a total of ten shooters and twenty-four handguns.  For once, .22 is not the most popular class with seven entries, compared to Major caliber pistol with eight.  Minor caliber pistol only had four entries, and Revolver class had five.  I'd planned on bringing my Smith Model 25 Mountain Gun, but discovered last night that I only had 26 loaded rounds.  I was sure I had a box of 100 somewhere, but no.

We got started a little late, about 8:20, and finished right about noon.  No one overall winner this time - Travis Higgins won .22, Cliff Reed won Revolver, John Higgins won Minor Caliber, I won Major, and I beat John for bragging rights in the last match, Major against Minor.  There was some very close competition, a few malfunctions, a bunch of reloads, a couple of ties, and a lot of fun.

The next match is November 13.  Start time will again be about 8:15.  Hope to see you there!

Saturday, October 08, 2011

Truth in Fiction

Back in 2004 Oh John Ringo No and Linda Evans published a Sci-Fi novel written in Keith Laumer's Bolo universe. For those not acquainted, a Bolo is a self-aware armored fighting machine. By the time the protagonist of this novel, a Bolo Mk. XX, designation SOL-0045, nicknamed "Sonny" is introduced, Bolos have been manufactured for about 900 years. This one in particular is 115 years old, and a veteran of many battles.

Artificial intelligence systems have advanced greatly, but the Mk. XX is not designed to operate with complete autonomy. It is designed to have a human commander responsible for strategic decisions and tactical override. Sonny is quite large - on the order of sixteen thousand tons, and armed with the kind of firepower you'd expect from something with the mass of a battleship.

But that's beside the point here. The précis of the novel, The Road to Damascus is:
When a ruthless political regime seizes power on a world struggling to recover from alien invasion, a former war hero finds herself leading a desperate band of freedom fighters. Kafari Khrustinova, who fought Deng infantry from farmhouses and barns, finds herself struggling to free her homeworld from an unholy political alliance, headed by the charismatic and ambitious Vittori Santorini, which has seduced her young daughter with its propaganda and subverted the planet's Bolo, using the war machine to crush all political opposition. To free her homeworld, Kafari must somehow cripple or kill the Bolo she once called friend. Unit SOL-0045, "Sonny," is a Mark XX Bolo, self-aware and intelligent. When Sonny's human commander is forced off-world, Sonny tries to navigate his way through ambiguous moral and legal issues, sinking into deep confusion and electronic misery. He eventually faces a dark night of the soul, with no guarantee that he will understand-let alone make-the right decision.
I'm reading it now. I came across a few paragraphs last night that I felt the need to share, editing only those parts specific to the world of the book, because as far as I'm concerned it applies right here, right now:
(The party) is composed of two tiers. The lower tier produces many outspoken members who make their demands known to the upper tier. The lower tier is derived from the inner-city population that serves as the base of the party. The lower tier's members are generally educated in public school systems and if they aspire to advanced training, they are educated in facilities provided by the state. This wing constitutes the majority of (the party's) membership, but contributes little or nothing to party theory or platform. It votes the party line and is rewarded with cash payments, subsidized housing, subsidized education, and occasional preferential employment in government positions. The lower tier provides only a handful of clearly token individuals allowed to serve in high offices.

The upper tier, which includes most of the party's management, virtually all the appointed and elected government officials, and all of the party's decision-makers, is drawn exclusively from suburban areas where wealth is a fundamental criterion for admittance as a resident. These party members are generally educated at private schools and attend private colleges. They are not affected by food-rationing schemes, income caps or taxation laws, as the legislation drafted and passed by members of their social group inevitably contains loopholes that effectively shelter their income and render them immune from unpleasant statues that restrict the lives of lower-tier party members and all nonparty citizens.

(The party) leadership recognizes that in return for supporting a seemingly populist agenda, they can obtain all the votes they require to remain in power. Even the most cursory analysis of their actions and attitudes, however, indicates that they are not populists but, in fact, are strong antipopulists who actively despise their voting base. This....is proven by their efforts to reduce public educational systems to a level most grade-school children (in other countries) have surpassed, with the excuse that this curriculum is all that the students can handle. They have made the inner-city population base totally dependent on the government, which they control.
I'm by no means a fan of Pat Buchanan, but I think he was absolutely correct when he said:
Our two parties have become nothing but two wings of the same bird of prey.

Friday, October 07, 2011

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Bowling Pin Match, Sunday Oct. 9

Usual place, the Tucson Rifle Club action range.

Time: 8:00 AM sign-up, first rounds downrange about 8:15

Handguns only

.22 rimfire, centerfire revolver (.38 caliber minimum), semi-autos (9mm minimum, unless you've got a S&W Model 52)

You're welcome to shoot your revolver against the semi-auto crowd, but we think it's more fun to shoot wheelgun-vs.-wheelgun.

Cost: $10 for the first gun, $5 for any additional guns. Bring about 100 rounds for each. You probably won't need 'em all unless you're really good at missing fast, but 50 probably won't be enough.

Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Racist Rant! (NSFW)

(Language warning!) It's anti-Obama - it must be racist!



What a fine rant!

Sunday, October 02, 2011

Movie Review: The Killer Elite

Typical action film. Lots of stunts, some explosions, lots of gunplay.

Major film stars: Jason Statham, Clive Owen, Robert De Niro.

Overall, not bad. I'd give it three out of five stars, but I have one teensy little gripe:

Why oh why does Hollywood worship the three-day beard? Especially when it comes to Jason Statham? It's his signature characteristic. "Now performing, Jason Statham's beard!" This film takes place over literally weeks, yet his beard never gets longer, nor is he ever clean-shaven, even when the situation he's in suggests he ought to be (impersonating a doctor, for instance). It's one of those "suspension of disbelief" things. Beat the hell out of a guy while you're zip-tied to a chair with your hands behind your back? OK! Wear a three-day beard for weeks on end? Don't think so. He shaves his head but not his face? WTFF?

That is all. My "profound" gland seems to be all tapped out at the moment.

The Two Americas

Quote of the Day from a comment by The Geek with a .45 to the last piece by Bill Whittle I posted.
Whittle absolutely resonates if you have woven into your mindspace the right strings and sounding cavities that were once baseline American libertarian concepts. In other words, if you've got certain ideas and mental referents knocking around your noggin, you're going to be totally lit up by Whittle.

We have to remember that as illuminating as Bill is for us, there is a very large segment of the population that lack these key bits of mental infrastructure.

I've seen them, and it's really disturbing. They react to Whittle as if he were speaking Mandarin while wearing a belt of pelts and skulls and painted in woad. That which he speaks is so foreign to them that it is literally incomprehensible, they have no handle with which to grasp the concepts.  Without such traction, such mental anchorpoints that make association with anything else in their lives, the whole thing passes through like undigested corn, leaving behind no impact or effect in its wake.
And I contend that this division is the intentional result of a century of "public education."  As the "Father of Modern Education" John Dewey stated:
Children who know how to think for themselves spoil the harmony of the collective society which is coming, where everyone is interdependent.
Can't have baseline American libertarian concepts interfering with the coming utopia.

Saturday, October 01, 2011

Operating System Humor

My brother gave me this one. I hadn't seen it before: 




He has a desktop unit he "upgraded" to Vista back when it first came out.  It became an instant doorstop.  His new machine runs Windows 7.

My new work laptop is running Windows 7. So far, meh.  My home machine is running XP Pro.

Arizona Gun Politics

Well, I went to the annual meeting of the Arizona Citizen's Defense League and ran into Capitalist Pig and his lovely wife. I stayed until after AZ Representative Frank Antenori spoke, but my a$$ was dragging, so I called it a day at about 2:00 PM.

While I was there, however, the President of the AZCDL told of how, six years ago, the first annual meeting was held consisting of about five guys and one extra-long submarine sandwich. This year there were about 400 people eating catered barbecue. Not bad in that short a period of time.

If you're an Arizona resident, you should look into membership. These guys fight the good fight.