Posts belonging to Category Politics

Not Willing To Be Vilified Any More

I didn’t want to have to write this.  I wanted nothing more than to let people have time to heal.  I wanted to live my life without getting involved.  But I find that I can’t sit quietly by while I’m slandered. While I, and millions of my countrymen, are vilified. While so-called “rational” people are calling for a “conversation.” A “conversation,” most of which so far seems to consist of vitriol and even death threats against me and millions of people like me. I can’t sit by while a small, but extremely vocal, minority of the populace tries to shout the rest of us down and have its way with us.

Here’s an example of the “conversation” so far:

sam tarling@sammyswordfish

All NRA members should be shot!!!! I thank you, that’s one of my own !!

Bitter Old St. Nick@90sRememberer

Murder every NRA member

Pardon me if I seem a bit reluctant to engage with these wonderful folks. It’s just that it’s kind of hard to have a “conversation” with someone who wants you dead. But, of course, I never really fell for the “conversation” gambit. Having been vilified for the better part of 20 years by know-nothing bliss-ninnies for being a gun owner, I suppose I’ve grown a wee bit hardned, callused, and even just a smidge cynical.

I’m willing to cut some of you a little slack. After all, it’s hard not react to the deaths of children in such a horrific situation. It’s human nature to demand that someone DO SOMETHING! But this only goes so far. I’m writing this, though, to let you know that when you begin to demand that something be done about those nasty guns, you’re de facto demanding that something be done about (or to) me. You see, I’m one of those nasty, filthy, gun owners you seem to love so much to hate. Worse, I’m a member of the (gasp!) NRA.

But what really chaps my ass is that so many of you know so little about the topic, yet seem so sure that you have the answer. An answer that usually would turn me into a criminal. Or at least deprive me of thousands of dollars of my property despite my having done nothing wrong. It’s very much akin to telling someone he has to hand over his car to the government (without compensation and without due process) because someone else plowed into a school yard using the same model. I know, you’re saying, “but cars aren’t designed to kill people.” Doesn’t matter. They can easily be used as such. In fact, given their widespread availability, and the nonchalance that many of you exhibit while using them, as a whole they’re far more dangerous than guns. Yet I don’t see you demanding that people turn in their high-powered V-8’s or demand that they can only have cars with 4-cylinder engines (or at least those of you who are sane).

Let’s try a small thought experiment… I invite you to think about this from my point of view for just a second: I am a law-abiding, reasonable person. I go about my day-to-day life minding my own business, trying to be considerate of others, and trying to do no harm. I am peaceable and my guns have never been used for evil. Yet I am marked for punishment due to the actions of a psychopath. Every time something like this happens, I am blamed, vilified, and put in the position of having to defend my human right to own guns. Yet we never see this with cars, because everyone owns them and is familiar with them.

There are a lot of people like me out here. People who just want to go about our daily lives without being attacked. We’re your friends and your neighbors. We volunteer in the community and we genuinely care about our communities.  How many of us are you willing to make criminals over this?

Americans increasingly in favor of gay marriage, gun rights –,0,5261310.story

More Americans are in favor of gay marriage, and more place the importance of gun owner rights above gun control, according to a new Pew Research Center poll. While support for gay marriage and gun owners is on the rise, that increase is one that bodes well for opposite ends of the political spectrum, providing mixed signals to those still complacent with the established social standards of the past decade and beyond.

I emphasized the part that I find interesting.  So why do these positions have to occupy opposite ends of the political spectrum?  Is it impossible to hold both opinions without being one or the other?

I would think that if one approaches life from the position of maximum liberty and minimum restraint that one might favor both positions.  I certainly do (in actuality I favor getting government out of both areas of interest).

The Clench

Is it just me, or is his expression the look of a man whose laxative just kicked in?

Improving The Tone?

So… some psycho nutbag shoots a Congresswoman in Tucson and the shell casings haven’t even hit the ground by the time the usual liberal suspects come out of the woodwork to inform us that it was caused by all that nasty right-wing hate-laden eliminationist rhetoric and that we need to “tone it down.”  Way to wait for the facts, there, Sparky!

If you really want to improve the tone of politics, perhaps the first thing you can do is avoid dancing in the blood of the injured and killed to score a political point.

I wonder if I should bother even hoping for an apology from all who blamed the Tucson attack on ‘right wingers,’ ‘tea partiers,’ and Sarah Palin?

I won’t be holding my breath on that one.

Checkpoints: More MADDness we can’t afford

As regular as clockwork, with the beginning of a new legislative session in Texas, we see the introduction of yet another “sobriety” checkpoint bill (HB439, introduced by Rep. Todd Smith, R-Euless).

And, as always, the usual people come out of the woodwork in support of it:

Sobriety checkpoints: Checkpoints such as those used in 38 other states have been illegal in Texas since 1994, when the courts ruled that they were unconstitutional because there were no uniform guidelines. Legislators have tried for years to reinstate them.

“In 2008, Texas led the nation in DWI fatality deaths,” Irving Police Chief Larry Boyd said. “That is a focus for us … to stop that kind of carnage on our roadways and our highways and to really get serious about this issue of driving while intoxicated and DWI fatalities.”

The Senate approved a bill in 2009, but it didn’t reach the House floor.

Rep. Todd Smith, R-Euless, has filed a bill to let the Texas Department of Public Safety set up checkpoints in counties where more than 250,000 live.

Read more:

I wrote a fairly lengthy post on the constitutionality and effectiveness of checkpoints in late 2008 relating to SB 298, which was filed for the 2009 session.

Ultimately, aside from being an infringement on the rights of law-abiding citizens, checkpoints commit the cardinal sin of being ineffective at their supposed purpose: catching drunk drivers.  Even the proponents of checkpoints admit that their effectiveness is limited, but that they serve instead as a warning that drunk drivers will be caught (Behold the awesome power of the state, peon!).

So what really works?  Putting police on the street looking for drunk drivers. Amazing!  Good, old fashioned, police work beats sending a message.  From the conclusion of my 2008 post:

This style of policing keeps our officers out on the streets where they can observe other activities and help prevent other types of crime at the same time.  Further, it helps target the worst offenders, the habitual drunks, who will drive drunk regardless of what the law says.  Finally, it respects individual rights by only stopping people when there is some reasonable suspicion that the individual may be impaired.

Checkpoints do just the opposite.  They tie up police resources at a well-known stationary position, allowing drunk drivers to avoid them and giving other criminals more chances to attempt crimes in the absence of the regular police presence.  Further, they corrode respect of the police by the average innocent citizen who is caught up in them.

Let’s continue to respect the freedom of our citizens here in Texas by saying “No!” to any attempts to enable checkpoints in our state.  Our resources can be better used by aggressively pursuing criminal drunk drivers rather than sitting around waiting for them to come to us.

It’s unfortunate that we have to fight this nonsense every legislative session, but the price of freedom is eternal vigilance. Let’s all remember to just say NO to checkpoints and YES to liberty.

Quickie: Implosion of the Republic

I have come to suspect that the death of our republic will not be accompanied by a thunderous KABOOM but instead by a plaintive whine of it’s for the children (or perhaps its hoary cousin if it saves just one life).

That’s No Moon…

I feel a great disturbance in the Force, as if millions of taxpayers suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced. I fear something terrible has happened.

H/T The Smallest Minority (original at  Via Instapundit.

Snark Of The Day

Tam brings the snark concerning Obama’s national health care plan:

Obama’s plan will guarantee that the nation’s elderly are shovel-ready.

Stock Up On Stogies Before SCHIP Arrives

What many people may not know about the SCHIP bill that was signed into law recently by President Obama is that it includes a brutally high increase in federal excise taxes on cigars, pipe tobacco, and roll-your-own cigarette tobacco.  This one seems to have never gained much publicity for some reason.  I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised by that, given that smoking is so politically incorrect these days.

Here are the basics of the new taxes, to give you an idea of just how outrageous they are:

  • The tax rate on large cigars will now be 52.4% (with a cap of $0.40 for individual cigars)
  • The federal tax on cigarettes goes from $0.39 to $1.00 per pack
  • The tax on pipe tobacco goes from $1.0969 per pound to $2.8126 per pound
  • The tax on roll-your-own cigarette tobacco goes from $1.0969 per pound to $24.62 per pound!

The only way I found out about this was when I got a mailer from Finck Cigar Company about the new taxes.

After receiving the mailer I started doing a little research into it and came across a letter to the editor from Bill Finck (owner of the aforementioned Finck Cigar Company), who is now finding himself having his squishy bits squeezed by The Chosen One™:

Our little family-owned, 115-year-old cigar factory will not be able to sell enough at the increased price to remain open, and our 59 employees, half over 50 years of age, will become unemployed. The brutal tax burdens from SCHIP will crush the small cigar businesses and the roll-your-own cigarette businesses. Thousands of American jobs in the myriad of support businesses such as tobacco growing, tobacco processing, package manufacturing, transportation and sales operations will be lost.

I am proud of our new president and his repeatedly proclaimed intent to preserve and create jobs in the United States. Someone in his group has failed to recognize the loss of thousands of jobs resulting from the tax provision in SCHIP.

This is basic economics, but it never fails to amaze me that people don’t get it.  When you raise taxes on something, someone is going to have to pay for it, and if it’s something that is discretionary, people will buy less, which usually means that it’s the people at the bottom of the “social ladder” that get hit hardest.  Still, I can’t help but feel a bit of Obamanfreude at his predicament (as it sounds like he was an Obama supporter). 

Anyhow, back to the matter at hand…  I guess I am going to have to stock up before the tax tsunami hits.  I will either get a bigger humidor or get a couple more smaller ones as well as three or four boxes of cigars.  It’s more than I would usually spend, since I generally buy them by the stick or buy samplers so I can get 5 or 10 at a time (as compared to the usual 50 in a box).  At the rate I smoke them, four boxes would probably last ten years, but at least I’d be set against supply disruptions as the cigar industry adjusts and consolidates itself in the new environment. 

Word of the Day

I hereby propose a new word:

Obamanfreude – 1.  taking pleasure from the discomfort of Obama supporters as they come to realize that The Chosen One™ is just another Chicago politician.  2.  taking pleasure from the misfortunes of an Obama supporter as he or she is adversely affected by the policies of their Dear Leader.