Friday, November 16, 2012

Initiative 502 - Marijuana Legalization (WA)

Just a brief addendum to the FAQ that the Seattle Police were so gracious as to supply, guns and pot don't mix.

Well, neither do guns and getting drunk but pot has some special federal complications - our friends at the ATF point out that if you lawfully (under state law) purchase, sell, use or whatever marijuana that you are barred (at the level of a federal felony) from the purchase or use of firearms or ammunition.

In other words, wave goodbye to the Second Amendment if you light up...

Cute, eh?

It took a constitutional amendment to ban alcohol - why doesn't it take one to ban marijuana?

Credit to Dave Workman for his substantially more complete coverage of this topic.

Thursday, November 15, 2012


Rebuilding is one thing. Resistance is another.

One of the problems with resistance to government policy is that when one writes a list of suggestions on how to go about it, one is more or less prevented from exercising those methods. Something about "telegraphing ones punches."

Nevertheless, given the potential for Shenanigans our re-elected administration seems to offer us, a few thoughts on how to slow or derail the more egregious violations of fundamental rights and freedoms seem worth examining. History offers a variety of peaceful and even lawful approaches.

Throwing sand in the works of a government initiative can take many forms - ridicule, malicious cooperation, active opposition, legal action, the creative use of process, and far more. All of these fall far short of rooftop methods of discussion.

The Penny Auctions of the Depression Era offer one model to examine. Simon Jester of Robert Heinleins "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress" offers another. Yet another might be found in the artistic interactions with the Bureau of Indian Affairs and Territorial Governor Isaac Stevens of Dr. David Swinson Maynard of 19th Century Seattle as described in Bill Speidels unbowdlerized version of Seattle's founder, Doc Maynard - "Please Clarify."

Malicious obedience is another option open to the creative monkey wrencher - it is difficult to resist those who are enthusiastically "supporting you" and particularly difficult for the arrogant (who already believe themselves far more clever than those that surround them) to detect. It is the strategy of giving those that would infringe upon liberty what they want, well past the point upon which the choke upon it and is blessed with endless variations on the theme.

Grassroots activism and networking, often made out as elaborate and complex activities (and if you try hard, you can certainly make them such) can be as simple as a monthly meal or a weekly beverage with friends that develops into a group of folks you can depend on in an emergency. But this is seldom achieved sitting on a couch typing on a laptop.

Taking steps to put fallback plans in place for food, water, and shelter while not exactly obvious are also more than a bit subversive. 

All this is before we explore the grimmer aspects of resistance, and while we remain well within what (as a lay person) I understand to be the law.

This isn't intended to be some sort of comprehensive guide. It is a starting point from an armchair quarterback intending to stir thought, and perhaps even action. For me, I believe my resistance will start with a breakfast. We'll see where it goes from there. For others, their choices may vary widely.

Certainly once one casts aside the law as a petty restraint, or considers it as something that only applies to ones opponents, the range of potential options broadens significantly - at approximately the same rate the level of risk to ones honor, fortune, family, and friends. That is why we must strive to exercise all other forms of resistance before resorting to such - because the last time the pin was pulled on that particular grenade, we bought ourselves a civil war that the dust has yet to settle from even now.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Pondering this Secession thing

Philosophically, I don't have much problem with the notion of secession. It would seem to flow logically that if a nation is based on the concept of freedom, of free people freely forming associations (cities, counties, states, even a nation) that states might peacefully withdraw from such a union and even be readmitted at some later date.

Yet, circa 1861-1865 approximately 750,000 folks got suddenly dead in the process of a rather vigorous discussion in which one set of parties sought to coerce the other set of parties to remain in the Union of the day. It seems they succeeded.

However, success through coercion doesn't necessarily mean right. In the American Civil War, once you get past the history written by the victors there appear to have been darned few saints and an awful lot of sinners when you start looking at the political leadership and the motivations on either side.

Practically, right or wrong, secession by force has some fairly major downsides. If we saw a second American Civil War play out today with the same rate of casualties as the first, we'd see right about 7.5 million graves filling up fairly rapidly win or lose.

U.S. Population Casualties
1861 31,443,321 750,000
2012 312,780,968 7,460,590

Now, these are fairly soft numbers with the 1861 figures grabbed in a quick google search, and casualties derived by calculating the worst case 1865 casualty estimates against the 1861 population. The analysis also fails to consider that since the Civil War era when both professional and citizen soldiers were arriving on the battlefields of the day with mostly single shot rifles and the occasional revolver, technology has improved a bit.

In other words, we've gotten MUCH better at killing each other. Odds are quite good that casualties would be much higher, even from this armchair cowboys perspective. And just for fun, consider that we really don't know who gets how much of the military should we see a "festive secession" scenario - any more than our forefathers could guess the same thing in 1860.

For anyone with a shred of morals or decency, "festive secession" is clearly to be avoided even if one assumes that the kids on both (assuming their are only two) teams will refrain from getting REALLY festive and breaking out ABC sorts of gear.

Peaceable secession is a far less common creature, but as we saw in the devolution of the U.S.S.R or Eastern Europe it *can* happen - it is simply astonishingly rare.

If these folks signing these petitions are able to pull off a peaceful parting of the way, my hat is off to them. And at a romantic level, I wish them every success. I increasingly lean towards the school of thought that the U.S. is devolving into balkanized region divided by fundamental worldviews so incompatible as to make coexistence unlikely if not impossible.

I'm rather hoping that isn't the case. But in the meantime, I am hedging my bets at the best speed I can arrange.


Having been all critical, it is now appropriate to look to the future.

Fundamentally, if you aren't willing to work at building a future, you should likely keep your yap shut in the presence of your betters. You may foul it up, you may get it wrong, you may even discover facets of your own sheer idiocy and your many and exciting personal flaws - but at least you've the courage and the commitment to TRY.

That said, once a good round of excoriation is gotten in - it is time to rebuild. It is yet to be determined whether rebuilding consists of a grand reform of the GOP or consigning the GOP to the dustbin of history alongside the Whig Party. The question of which is the superior choice is likely one that will be answered rather shortly.

But that is a grander question than most of us have before us. We can either double down on "let the wonks and the political geeks run things" or we can start organizing at the grass roots with an eye towards either taking over or replacing precinct, county, and state organizations. If the resistance is too great, we can fission off and endorse individual candidates.

The dirty little secret is that it's not that tough. Get a few like-minded sorts together and get together for either breakfast or a beer once a month (both at the same time is...seldom ideal). Make it an after-the-range snack, if you like. The key things are that it should be fun and regular.

Ask everyone to bring a friend, and about the time you hit 20 regulars? Split into two groups and start over. Meanwhile, have fun with it. Pass the hat for good causes. Maybe do a group activity or three. Hook up with another group if there's something similar in your area. Again, have fun with it.

You are having fun, but at the same time you are building a structure for 2014 and 2016. You are looking at each other to see who might be persuaded to run for office - either in general, or within the GOP...or perhaps you want to start a local political party like the Owl Party (or perhaps something more serious).

Think outside the box. After all, this is only the country and our freedoms we're talking about saving. But remember, if it's not fun - most folks won't be back for your next breakfast or beer session.

I haven't started this myself yet. January, I'm thinking. But this is where politics starts...a bunch of like minded folks sitting about kvetching and going on about how to do it better...until someone gets off their well-developed gluteus maximus and starts trying to make it better and drags their group of buddies along with to help them.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

And now to the Libertarians and the Purists

Well. We're going to be all grown up here and refrain from a profanity laden rant about the short sightedness, stupidity, probable monolineal heritage, selfishness and arrogance of those who proudly either voted Libertarian because "Romney is insufficiently pure" or "Vote your heart not you head."

Besides, Stingray does it far better.

Let us, however, walk it through.

1) In politics you never get what you want - at best you get a series of increasingly less offensive compromises, and often you only get compromises of a similar level of foulness if not downright losses.

2) When voting and the choices are Evil, Less Evil, and On A Cold Day In Hell - the SMART person who actually CARES about consequences votes for Less Evil and tries for a better choice in the next round. This, of course, requires work as opposed to standing around whinging and posing nobly about how you are going to vote for Cold Day In Hell.

3) When you vote for Cold Day in Hell because Less Evil (or their brother, Evil Restrained By Thought of The Next Election) is insufficiently pure, you effectively vote (by taking your vote away from a viable candidate) for Evil (the unadulterated and unrestrained version).

When Unadulterated Evil wins and has no restraint (like, say, a need to worry about ever being elected again) the odds of dramatically bad things happening go from "so-so" under Lesser Evil to "Katie Bar The Door" under Unadulterated Evil with a taste for signing Executive Orders and ignoring little things like federal law and Constitutions.

While pointing all this out may be futile, I will continue to hope that you will discover a cure for your regrettably severe case of cranio-rectal infarction. In the meantime, those of us with more than a single branch on our genetic map will be busy about trying to do damage control after the howling cluster you and your progressive friends gave us on Election Day 2012.

Monday, November 12, 2012

A few thoughts for the Non-Democrat...

If you're a Democrat or progressive (these days, pretty much the same thing) read no farther. It will merely cause you to suffer brain-lock and dismay. Besides, this isn't really intended for you.

Now, to my friends of a GOP persuasion, I suggest you read on as this IS intended for you. Libertarians will be addressed later, mostly.

Y'all lost. You lost big. And you did it to yourselves.

You failed to vet your candidates. When a primary throws a whack job of one sort or another (Mourdock, Akins) your way - you need to stop being afraid of what folks will say and loudly distance yourself from the whack job early on. Support a write-in or a minor party candidate - if the voters have stuck you with a poo-flinging monkey as a candidate the only real options are whether you are going to get right there and smear poo all over yourself hanging out with the monkey...or distance yourself with vigor. The choice should be fairly obvious - the long term consequences of being associated with the monkey are rather grim.

You haven't figured out that the majority of the populace (you know, the magic number you need to vote for your candidates) are at best fiscal conservatives and for the most part simply want not to be hassled. The whole race and gay baiting thing is passe and counterproductive. In short, if you want to see GOP victories - you need to educate the evangelical section of the base rather than consistently caving to them.

Fiscal conservatism wins. An awful lot of folks like the idea of low taxes and a small government that doesn't get all up in their business - of keeping their very own hard earned money and spending it as THEY believe is important.

The majority of Americans today just don't get worked up about gay folk and don't see any point in selecting them out for either cruelty or some lesser form of protection before the law. Similarly, the argument is long over about the legality of abortion per se - the genuine argument today is at what point between conception and voting age termination of life becomes murder. A not unreasonable starting point might be asking that question - loudly.

Our immigration system is seriously fouled up and in need of reform - when not even the Immigration sorts are sure of the law, it is a clear hint that it is far too complex. But before we fix immigration, we need to fix something a bit more basic - secure borders. Perhaps we need to tie those two issues together - for every "x" number of miles of border verifiably secured, we offer "y" number of immigration amnesties to persons unlawfully present in-country but otherwise non-criminal.

If someone speaks English at a 12th grade level, holds a bachelors degree in a hard science and has a history of say - 5 - years of gainful employment in their native land, just perhaps they are of net benefit to the United States to admit. Take that as a starting point and discuss among yourselves and let the notions of decency and net benefit to the United States dominate the discussion.

Be economically courageous. Don't hesitate to call out waste where you see it, and to set policies that promote independence where possible and support where necessary. Keep in mind that regulation is the dead sticking albatross strung about the neck of the economy, and try and keep it to a necessary minimum.

Be bold. Propose abolishing outmoded and overzealous agencies. Run against the TSA that everyone hates. End the Department of Homeland Security.

Don't try and legislate morality - for the most part that is between an individual and their god(s) and none of your business. Stay out of the bedrooms of mutually consenting adults, and while you are at it, their relationships. Be the leaders of freedom - propose overturning DOMA and liberalizing the immigration marriage statutes.

In short...the politics of scapegoating are every bit as passe as the politics of victimhood, if not moreso, and it is high time that both were abandoned.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

The meaning of community... and "Save the Schnozz"

A community, according to Democrats and Progressives is either a group of victims with common characteristics that must be saved through government intervention or, alternatively, a group of geographically similar folks to be taxed and regulated (see: "victimized").

Oddly enough, not many of us hold those views. To us, community is at its most basic the gathering of our friends and family - those for whom we would willingly sacrifice, with a greater or lesser degree of cheer. It may extend beyond that - or not. YMMV. But at its fundamental level, community - to this viewpoint - is a voluntary sort of association.

I've been reading Books, Bikes & Boomsticks for years now, envying the talent even as I deeply enjoyed the snark (if her blog is new to you go back to the beginning and read forward - it is worth it). This October, I had the honor of meeting the delightful lady behind the keyboard in an undisclosed location in the American Mid-South-West and greatly enjoyed that encounter.

But as has been mentioned elsewhere, Tam has sprouted a medical problem and faces some fairly serious medical expenses. LawDog, OldNFO, EvylMichaelRobot, Jennifer, McThag, and Dennis of Dragon Leather Works are all putting together an amazing array of benefits to help Tam out. Guns, holsters, and other things are being donated for raffles and such. 

But we need everyone to jump in and SPEND on these to make all this happen. So...go be a member of a voluntary community. Help Tam out.



On Mandates and Deference...

In 2004, George Bush the Younger won a mid-term Presidential Election - drawing 62,040,610 in the popular vote over 59,028,444 or 50.7% of the popular vote vs. 48.3% for his opponent, John Kerry.

Did liberals and protesters lay down their signs, admit to their error and concede the American people had chosen another path? Did they engage in a vast rending of their garments and tearing their collective hair striving to redefine themselves as a party?


Now, in 2012, the regrettable President Obama has been reelected, with a popular vote count of 61,713,086 over Mr. Romney's  58,510,150 or 51% to 48%. If in 2004 you were among those in 2004 loudly declaring that Bush the Youger had no mandate, if you are claiming that in 2012 Obama has any kind of a mandate you are a raving hypocrite. Three-tenths of a percentage point a mandate do not make. 

Obama deserves not a whit more deference today or in January than Democrats gave George the Younger after his reelection in 2004. In short, a grim smile and pointing out "we can wait four more years" is a perfectly appropriate response - or "we'll be happy to give you the precise cooperation and support you gave George the Younger," if one wants to be particularly bold about it.

We must pick our fights and, frankly, because we have the potential to be better than the Democrats and Progressives it is incumbent upon us to constantly review our positions. We must not be fanatics or "true believers" - our tenets were not handed down on stone tablets nor were they revealed by a burning bush. They are and must be drawn from a reading of history, the use of logic, and a boldly factual examination of failed and successful past policies and their inevitable consequences and side effects. And all of that needs to be considered in light of the views of the electorate.

A political party or coalition of parties is not a revival meeting. It is a coldly calculating body scheming how to get its particular priorities and candidates into place. The first step in that scheming is to determine what is possible, rather than what one would like. 

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Guns & Money

(GAH! The new blogger interface, it sucketh!)

Well. It is well past the morning after the most depressing elections of my adulthood. With the help of the self-involved libertarians, the evangelical loon wing of the GOP, and the failure of what we shall laughingly call the leadership of the GOP we are doomed to 4 more years of a newly unleashed Obama, God help us all.

Within less than 24 hours of the election we have Sen. Diane Feinstein, Rep. Pelosi, and that stalwart Sen. Reid working on a new, improved and amazingly more far-reaching Assault Weapons Ban rumored to include anything semi-automatic, limit magazine size, and make no allowance for any grandfathered firearms.

Meanwhile, we have the Obama Administration itself suddenly cheerleading the U.N. Small Arms treaty - a back door into undermining the Second Amendment itself.

Valerie Jarrett wasn't kidding.

On the economic front, we face the ObamaCare taxes launching in January '13 (oddly convenient how they hit just after the election is over...). Of course, that'd be just the "five worst" taxes listed at that link - here are several others that'll launch in January and drain capital from the private sector and your pockets.

At the same time in the economic world, we have a "compromise" that involves tipping the U.S. economy over a cliff  if either the GOP or the DEM fail to blink (blinking is unlikely at this point).

Not surprisingly, markets reacted swiftly and continue to react. The dollar is falling internationally when last I looked, and the stock market plunged today. Expect more of the same as folks bail to hide their capital in safer climates until the storm of a second Obama Administration passes in 2016. The question is whether once stung, they'll come back.

It's going to get interesting, now that we have a rabid socialist set free from any concern about ever needing to be elected again.

Start thinking about how to ride it out, and rebuild.