Sunday, June 29, 2008

Our Infantile Search for Heroic Leaders

Do you find yourself staring at the television and pining for a good leader – a person who will rise and make the world right again? Do you long for a Mandela, a Churchill, a Gandhi? Then grow up. Our political debate – what passes for it – increasingly focuses on a search for an elusive Messianic leader who will show us the way. This is the opposite of rational politics.

This search for leaders is based on a desire to return to childhood – to snuggle into the political cot and close our eyes, knowing daddy is outside watching over us. The highest compliment we pay to a politician is to call him "father of the nation". I feel this urge too. It is difficult and disturbing to try to figure out what is wrong in the world, and how to put it right. How much more tempting to simply snuffle out somebody who you think is good and decent and kind, elect them, and assume they will sort it all out.

But this discourages us from doing the one thing that might actually solve these problems – figuring out solutions for ourselves then going out and campaigning to make them happen. Every civilising advance in history – from workers' rights to women's rights to gay rights – was won because ordinary people banded together and agitated for it. If we had waited for a good leader to hand it down from above, we would still be waiting today.

Johann Hari's brillant analysis explains alot of the current emotional and issue disconnected fervor in politics, and even more about why that fervor is so ineffective in promoting positive improvement. While i dont agree with all of his political analysis, (the guy does live in the uk, where it seems acceptable to ban trees, and license the ability to hug a child) i do agree 100% with the portion posted above.

Obama was right to steal such an apt phrase as "We are the ones we have been waiting for."

Read the rest here, and leave your solutions as a comment below. ;)

Thursday, June 26, 2008

That didnt take Long.

Im trying to remember, did i mention Chicago in my last two posts? Why, yes i did.

In the immediate wake of the Supreme Courts striking down the DC handgun ban as unconstitutional, The Illinois State Rifle Association has already filed suit against the decades old Chicago gunban, which specifically bans all handguns not owned before 1982, with the exception of members of the Blue Tribe, Aldermen, and certain other privileged few. This has of course eliminated gun violence by chicago youth. er... wait, strike that...

Well, good work. ISRA

Also the NRA has mentioned filing suit in San Francisco and Chicago, but we all know there is a big difference between what the NRA says, and What the NRA does.

Edit: more info at

Your President, on Heller.

While most of this is political posturing, mudslinging, and baby kissing, I do think it shows the importance of Heller when all three of our dear presidential candidates issue statements on the case within hours of its announcement. Also, as I feel this election is the biggest joke this country has faced in a long time, i thought you might like a laugh.

In no particular order:

John McCain:

“Today’s decision is a landmark victory for Second Amendment freedom in the United States. For this first time in the history of our Republic, the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed that the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms was and is an individual right as intended by our Founding Fathers. I applaud this decision as well as the overturning of the District of Columbias ban on handguns and limitations on the ability to use firearms for self-defense. “Unlike Senator Obama, who refused to join me in signing a bipartisan amicus brief, I was pleased to express my support and call for the ruling issued today. Today’s ruling in District of Columbia v. Heller makes clear that other municipalities like Chicago that have banned handguns have infringed on the constitutional rights of Americans. Unlike the elitist view that believes Americans cling to guns out of bitterness, today’s ruling recognizes that gun ownership is a fundamental right — sacred, just as the right to free speech and assembly. “This ruling does not mark the end of our struggle against those who seek to limit the rights of law-abiding citizens. We must always remain vigilant in defense of our freedoms. But today, the Supreme Court ended forever the specious argument that the Second Amendment did not confer an individual right to keep and bear arms.”

Libertarian Party candidate Bob Barr also weighed in on the Supreme Court decision:

The ruling “will go down as one of the Supreme Court’s most important rulings on behalf of liberty.” “Today’s decision marks a new era for gun rights in America … By protecting an individual’s right to keep and bear arms, the Second Amendment ensures that all Americans are able to participate in sporting activities, hunt, and protect themselves and their families. “Where crime rates are high, a gun may be the only means for law-abiding citizens to safeguard themselves and their families … Lawful gun ownership deters an untold number of crimes every year."

And Obama, with slightly less cheer in his voice:

“I have always believed that the Second Amendment protects the right of individuals to bear arms, but I also identify with the need for crime-ravaged communities to save their children from the violence that plagues our streets through common-sense, effective safety measures. The Supreme Court has now endorsed that view, and while it ruled that the D.C. gun ban went too far, Justice Scalia himself acknowledged that this right is not absolute and subject to reasonable regulations enacted by local communities to keep their streets safe. Today’s ruling, the first clear statement on this issue in 127 years, will provide much-needed guidance to local jurisdictions across the country.

“As President, I will uphold the constitutional rights of law-abiding gun-owners, hunters, and sportsmen. I know that what works in Chicago may not work in Cheyenne. We can work together to enact common-sense laws, like closing the gun show loophole and improving our background check system, so that guns do not fall into the hands of terrorists or criminals. Today's decision reinforces that if we act responsibly, we can both protect the constitutional right to bear arms and keep our communities and our children safe."

While i dont think any of this political giberish is worth me commenting on, i will say that the "Gun Show Loophole" Obama has brought up here, and which in fact all three of our lovely candidates has publicly supported closing, is not a loophole at all, but in fact the right of an individual to transfer a firearm. Period. Whether that transfer is to a wife or son, or to a fellow citizen who will get better use out of your old rifle than you do, the government has no right to forbid an individual to freely trade on an open market property which legally belongs to him. All commercial entities, and in fact any person who wishes to sell a gun, at a gun show or not, with the intent to profit is already required not only to phone in a background check, but is required to jump through a number of other hoops in the form of a federal firearms license. To suggest that we have not the right to the free transfer of property from one individual to another is akin to saying that we do not have ownership of that property, and that in fact it belongs to the state.

Well, enjoy.

Hard vote, isnt it? damned if you do... damnit.

Tempus Fugit

SCOTUS hands down Heller

Today the supreme court handed down a landmark judgment in the DC v. Heller case, the first case heard by the court on the the Second Amendment, the right to bear arms, since a 1939 case was argued by only the prosecution, and the first comprehensive look at the meaning of the Second Amendment to the Constitution of the United States since it was ratified 217 years ago.

Heller is a security guard and special federal police officer living in DC who applied for, and was denied the license to have a handgun in his home. He then sued on the basis that he says that the second amendment guarantees his right to own an operational firearm, something the Federal District denied him. The judgement that came today, came as no suprise to most who had followed the case, and in fact the majority (by 2 to 1) of Americans asked to consider the same question.

In short: The Right to own, keep and bear arms is an individual right, protected by the second amendment.


“Nowhere else in the Constitution does a ‘right’ attributed to ‘the people’ refer to anything other than an individual right.” pg 6

This is the point in the opinion where a good number of freedom loving Americans set off fireworks and shouted Victory, and in fact this is a victory, as a opinionated and influential group of American'ts has long been trying to convince Rational America that the second amendment only applies to the militia, which, by some magical oversight of hierarchy and structure is considered to be the National Guard. There has been bickering and oppinion on both sides of the issue for years, as new gun control laws were debated, but never before have we heard a court state what the actual law is.

But I dont think that is where the story ends, as it is hardly all that the justices stated in the 157 page opinion, which, if you like, you can read here. It would not be an understatement to say that this is the most important and groundbreaking ruling of this courts session, and perhaps of the last two generations.

If the Supreme Court’s historic ruling on gun rights brings about, as the dissenters said, “a dramatic upheaval in the law,” it would be no suprise to many, and, in fact, Justice Scalia’s opinion for the Court conceded that the ruling in District of Columbia v. Heller was only a first step, saying: “Since this case represents this Court’s first in-depth examination of the Second Amendment, one should not expect it to clarify the entire field.” This more than a valid disclaimer, as not only does it not clarify the whole field, it in fact greatly ignores a number of questions surrounding the full extent of protection offered by the second amendment, not to mention the matter of the court's jurisdiction, but what it does do, in its tightly tailored and narrow opinion, is leave a good number of doors wide open for any number of later suits.

In short, my understanding of a quick reading of the opinion states that the supreme law of the land concerning the right to bear arms is an individual right, not dependent upon membership in an organized militia. The right exists for otherwise lawful purposes, specifically noting that self defense is one of the bases for the right. The Court also recognized that the right is a pre-existing right, as well, not one granted by the constitution. (this might be important on a state level)

"As we said in United States v. Cruikshank, 92 U. S. 542, 553 (1876), “[t]his is not a right granted by the Constitution. Neither is it in any manner dependent upon that instrument for its existence. The Second amendment declares that it shall not be infringed" pg 38.

The court did also find, however, that restrictions of the Right to Bear Arms are permissible. specificly refusing to look at licensing and registration, effectively upholding that they are permissible, but only when “not enforced in an arbitrary and capricious manner.” That would seem to disallow much of the discretion typically exercised by issuing officials in places like New York, and Chicago, and may later be of some great use in later cases in say "May Issue" CCW states.

Outright bans of classes of arms in common use by the people are forbidden. This is a key point because it disposes of the frivolous argument that even if the second amendment protects an individual right, it only protects the right to keep and bear arms of a type common in use during the 18th Century. The second amendment did not grandfather in kentucky long rifles, it granted a right to the tools of the present day. specificly, and this judgement is very specific to Heller's case and circumstance, the Court notes that handguns are in common use and overwhelmingly chosen by Americans for self defense. In dicta, the Court noted that machineguns could possibly be banned. However, left open the argument that the reason machineguns are not in common use is because they have been so heavily regulated since 1934. Again, room for future cases, though i do think it is too late for Wayne Fincher, it is possible that either the NFA of 1934, or the GCA of 1968 , as the origin of the majority of federal gun control authority, could come under future review. On the other hand, it said nothing of the right of an american to to own a semi-automatic rifle, which is of particular interest in the face of the introduction of the misnamed "Assault Weapons Ban Reauthorization Act of 2008".

“That history showed that the way tyrants had eliminated a militia consisting of all the able-bodied men was not by banning the militia but simply by taking away the people’s arms, enabling a select militia or standing army to suppress political opponents . . . During the 1788 ratification debates, the fear that the federal government would disarm the people in order to impose rule through a standing army or select militia was pervasive in Anti-federalist rhetoric.” pg 25.

The Court did not set a standard by which current or future laws can be reviewed, so again, they must be reviewed on a case by case basis, and I, for one, look forward to the creation of new cases and suits on behalf of the Right to Bear Arms.

As D.C. is a federal district, nothing in this case specificly applies to state laws, like Illinois which may forbid or control the ability to bear arms. Luckily more than a dozen states (Mine included) specificly, and clearly affirm a right for the individual to bear arms in defense of self or state. Does yours? The Court did not explicitly incorporate the Second Amendment against the states, but it did cite several state cases in its decision supporting the idea that the second amendment protects an individual right, as well as stating, as i mentioned above, that the right does not originate in the second amendment. This leads many to speculate that the Court would be open to incorporation in a future case where a state law is challenged, e.g., Chicago's handgun ban.

Also of small note, and something i was previously unaware of, but brought to my attention this morning by Jay, was the specific meaning of the word arms as cited by the court could also be read to protect the civilian sale of body armor, something periodicly contested by American'ts:

The 1773 edition of
Samuel Johnson’s dictionary defined “arms” as “weapons
of offence, or armour of defence.” 1 Dictionary of the
English Language 107 (4th ed.) (hereinafter Johnson).
Timothy Cunningham’s important 1771 legal dictionary
defined “arms” as “any thing that a man wears for his
defence, or takes into his hands, or useth in wrath to cast
at or strike another.”

When I read it, of course, I simply thought of my own long standing quest to get the state Nunchuka bans repealed. It does seem to me that the TMNT's looked pretty wrathful as they struck at the evil Shredder's men.

But, as thats neither here nor there, back to the case at hand. A landmark case for sure, as i already stated, probably the most important case heard by the court in generations, A victory? perhaps a small one. A starting point? a fantastic springboard for what could be the largest challenge to federal authority in at least my lifetime. I hope a number of good citizens press on.

As David J. Shenck wrote today on SCOTUSblog:

"...there is an overwhelming theme that to interpret the Second Amendment as not protecting an individual right would gut the amendment of meaning and defy logic. It is, after all, the Second Amendment, not the two hundredth. This is not an obscure line buried among thousands of pages of text. It is inconceivable that the framers would have given it the priority they did, placing it ahead of so many other critical rights, if they only meant it to apply to militias as the dissenting justices suggest."

So, today, go forthe and arma ferre (from the latin, “to bear [ferre] war equipment [arma].) Its always been your right, but now, for the first time, it is a right recognized by American jurisprudence as well as tradition and logic.

A Right is a Privilege you don't have to ask Permission for.

Even if you dont agree that you should own a firearm, you must recognize that the government has no right of its own to arbitrarily take any of your natural rights from you. Keep government out of your personal liberties.

Arma Ferre, indeed.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The Philosophy of Liberty.

Availiable in some 16 languages, this is a refreshingly relaxed and low key look at a very serious issue.

Do a people as a mass have a right to oppress an individual, and can they grant that right to a government? Watch the animation here, and please pass it on.

So simple a child could (and should) watch and understand it.

Now if only we could find a way to explain it to our politicians.

Monday, June 23, 2008

For those of you who heard gas prices may continue to rise.

A short term strike of one oil companies drivers (shell) shoves petrol prices in the uk to £1.999 per litre. and not just for shell, but for every filling station, as tanks across the county run dry.

This is just a hiccup, but still food for thought. Are you prepared to get where you need to go if there is an interrupt in your local or national oil supply? do you know what the effects might be in a country were the average piece of produce is moved nearly 2000 miles?

those of you who are not impressed by the metric system, Thats $14.76 a gallon.

Friday, June 20, 2008

A History Lesson

from JPFO:

The Battle of Athens, Tennessee

As Recently As 1946, American Citizens Were Forced To Take Up Arms As A Last Resort Against Corrupt Government Officials.

On August 1-2, 1946, some Americans, brutalized by their county government, used armed force as a last resort to overturn it. These Americans wanted honest open elections. For years they had asked for state or federal election monitors to prevent vote fraud (forged ballots, secret ballot counts and intimidation by armed sheriff's deputies) by the local political boss. They got no help.

These Americans' absolute refusal to knuckle under had been hardened by service in World War II. Having fought to free other countries from murderous regimes, they rejected vicious abuse by their county government.

These Americans had a choice. Their state's Constitution -- Article 1, Section 26 -- recorded their right to keep and bear arms for the common defense. Few "gun control" laws had been enacted.

These Americans were residents of McMinn County, which is located between Chattanooga and Knoxville in Eastern Tennessee. The two main towns were Athens and Etowah. McMinn County residents had long been independent political thinkers. For a long time they also had: accepted bribe-taking by politicians and/or the sheriff to overlook illicit whiskey-making and gambling; financed the sheriff's department from fines-usually for speeding or public drunkenness which promoted false arrests; and put up with voting fraud by both Democrats and Republicans.
The wealthy Cantrell family, of Etowah, backed Franklin Delano Roosevelt in the 1932 election, hoping New Deal programs would revive the local economy and help Democrats to replace Republicans in the county government. So it proved.

Paul Cantrell was elected sheriff in the 1936,1938 and 1940 elections, but by slim margins. The sheriff was the key county official. Cantrell was elected to the state senate in 1942 and 1944; his chief deputy, Pat Mansfield, was elected sheriff. In 1946 Paul Cantrell again sought the sheriff's office.

At the end of 1945, some 3,000 battle-hardened veterans returned to McMinn County; the GIs held Cantrell politically responsible for Mansfield's doings. Early in 1946, some newly returned ex-GIs decided to challenge Cantrell politically by offering an all-ex-GI, non-partisan ticket. They promised a fraud-free election, stating in ads and speeches that there would be an honest ballot count and reform of county government.

At a rally, a GI speaker said, "The principles that we fought for in this past war do not exist in McMinn County. We fought for democracy because we believe in democracy but not the form we live under in this county" (Daily Post-Athenian, 17 June 1946, p.1 ). At the end of July 1946, 159 McMinn County GIs petitioned the FBI to send election monitors. There was no response. The Department of Justice had not responded to McMinn County residents' complaints of election fraud in 1940, 1942 and 1944.


The primary election was held on August 1. To intimidate voters, Mansfield brought in some 200 armed "deputies." GI poll-watchers were beaten almost at once. At about 3 p.m., Tom Gillespie, an African- American voter was told by a sheriff's deputy that he could not vote. Despite being beaten, Gillespie persisted. The enraged deputy shot him. The gunshot drew a crowd. Rumors spread that Gillespie had been shot in the back; he later recovered (C. Stephen Byrum, The Battle of Athens, Paidia Productions, Chattanooga, TN, 1987; pp. 155-57).
Other deputies detained ex-GI poll-watchers in a polling place, as that made the ballot counting "Public" A crowd gathered. Sheriff Mansfield told his deputies to disperse the crowd. When the two ex-GIs smashed a big window and escaped, the crowd surged forward. The deputies, with guns drawn, formed a tight half-circle around the front of the polling place. One deputy, "his gun raised high...shouted: 'If you sons of bitches cross this street I'll kill you!'" (Byrum, p.165).

Mansfield took the ballot boxes to the jail for counting. The deputies seemed to fear immediate attack by the "people who had just liberated Europe and the South Pacific from two of the most powerful war machines in human history" (Byrum, pp. 168-69).

Short of firearms and ammunition, the GIs scoured the county to find them. By borrowing keys to the National Guard and State Guard armories, they got three M-1 rifles, five .45 semi-automatic pistols and 24 British Enfield rifles. The armories were nearly empty after the war's end. By 8 p.m. a group of GIs and "local boys" headed for the jail but left the back door unguarded to give the jail's defenders an easy way out.

Three GIs alerting passersby to danger were fired on from the jail. Two GIs were wounded. Other GIs returned fire.

Firing subsided after 30 minutes; ammunition ran low and night had fallen. Thick brick walls shielded those inside the jail. Absent radios, the GIs' rifle fire was uncoordinated. "From the hillside fire rose and fell in disorganized cascades. More than anything else, people were simply shooting at the jail" (Byrum, p.189).

Several who ventured into the street in front of the jail were wounded. One man inside the jail was badly hurt; he recovered. Most sheriff's deputies wanted to hunker down and await rescue. Governor McCord mobilized the State Guard, perhaps to scare the GIs into withdrawing. The State Guard never went to Athens. McCord may have feared that Guard units filled with ex-GIs might not fire on other ex-GIs.

At about 2 a.m. on August 2, the GIs forced the issue. Men from Meigs County threw dynamite sticks and damaged the jail's porch. The panicked deputies surrendered. GIs quickly secured the building. Paul Cantrell faded into the night, having almost been shot by a GI who knew him, but whose .45 pistol had jammed. Mansfield's deputies were kept overnight in jail for their own safety. Calm soon returned. The GIs posted guards. The rifles borrowed from the armory were cleaned and returned before sunup.


In five precincts free of vote fraud, the GI candidate for sheriff, Knox Henry, won 1,168 votes to Cantrell's 789. Other GI candidates won by similar margins.

The GI's did not hate Cantrell. They only wanted honest government. On August 2, a town meeting set up a three-man governing committee. The regular police having fled, six men were chosen to police Etowah. In addition, "Individual citizens were called upon to form patrols or guard groups, often led by a GI... To their credit, however, there is not a single mention of an abuse of power on their behalf" (Byrum, p. 220).

Once the GI candidates' victory had been certified, they cleaned up county government, the jail was fixed, newly elected officials accepted a $5,000 pay limit and Mansfield supporters who resigned were replaced.

The general election on November 5 passed quietly. McMinn County residents, having restored the rule of law, returned to their daily lives. Pat Mansfield moved back to Georgia. Paul Cantrell set up an auto dealership in Etowah. "Almost everyone who knew Cantrell in the years after the Battle' agree that he was not bitter about what had happened" (Byrum pp. 232-33; see also New York Times, 9 August 1946, p. 8).

The 79th Congress adjourned on August 2, 1946, when the Battle of Athens ended. However, Representative John Jennings Jr. from Tennessee decried McMinn County's sorry situation under Cantrell and Mansfield and the Justice Department's repeated failures to help the McMinn County residents. Jennings was delighted that " long last, decency and honesty, liberty and law have returned to the fine county of McMinn.. " (Congressional Record, House; U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C., 1946; Appendix, Volume 92, Part 13, p. A4870).


Those who took up arms in Athens, Tennessee, wanted honest elections, a cornerstone of our constitutional order. They had repeatedly tried to get federal or state election monitors and had used armed force so as to minimize harm to the law-breakers, showing little malice to the defeated law-breakers. They restored lawful government.

The Battle of Athens clearly shows how Americans can and should lawfully use armed force and also shows why the rule of law requires unrestricted access to firearms and how civilians with military-type firearms can beat the forces of government gone bad.

Dictators believe that public order is more important than the rule of law. However, Americans reject this idea. Brutal political repression is lethal to many. An individual criminal can harm a handful of people. Governments alone can brutalize thousands, or millions.

Law-abiding McMinn County residents won the Battle of Athens because they were not hamstrung by "gun control " They showed us when citizens can and should use armed force to support the rule of law.

Tempus Fugit.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Another Old Song.

The game we are playing isnt in the first round, as we see and see again be we reading history, or just listening to old songs.

There's Blood on The Wire.

True Patriots

Repost from J.

EDITED: linked to the orriginal, which is much easier to read.

Ron Paul and Dwight D. Eisenhower – True Patriots
by Jim Quinn

"Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hope of its children." These must be the words of some liberal Democratic Senator running for President in 2008. But no, these are the words of Republican President Dwight D. Eisenhower, the Supreme Allied Commander during World War II, five decades ago. The United States, the only superpower remaining on earth, currently spends more on military than the next 45 highest spending countries in the world combined. The U.S. accounts for 48% of the world’s total military spending.

Where did the peace dividend from winning the Cold War go?

Read More HERE:

Too Many Names To Know

There are two songs that keep playing in my head, the first is a simple song, been around longer than i have, i think made famous by the Stattlers or Eric Heatherly. It goes something like this:

I've been hearin' you're concerned about my happiness
But all that thought you're giving me is conscience I guess
If I were walking in your shoes I wouldn't worry none
While you and your friends're worryin' bout me I'm having lots of fun.

Countin' flowers on the wall that don't bother me at all
Playin' solitare till dawn with a deck of fifty one
Smoking cigarettes and watching Captain Kangaroo
Now, don't tell me I've nothing to do, don't tell me I've nothing to do.

Last night I dressed in tails pretended I was on the town
As long as I can dream it's hard to slow this swinger down
So please don't give a thought to me I'm really doing fine
You can always find me here and having quite a time.

Countin' flowers on the wall that don't bother me at all
Playin' solitare till dawn with a deck of fifty one
Smoking cigarettes and watching Captain Kangaroo
Now, don't tell me I've nothing to do, don't tell me I've nothing to do.

the second isnt quite so sedentary, and its chorus goes something close to this:

Blood Stains in the Snow, too many names for us to know, all of us, in Bloody Ridge, Idaho.

I hope i dont forget it.

Its gonna be a long summer.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Freedom on ICE

Up to two-thirds of the people ICE arrests have never received deportation orders, frequently because their presence here is lawful. By ICE's own admission, the bureau has mistakenly detained, arrested, and even deported not only legal immigrants but also U.S. citizens.

source: Slate

Ill refer you to my previous post, on Whatever Happened To Never Again, and ask you AGAIN, how will you prove which side you are on, and will it in fact, be in time?

First they came for...

US, the people.

If we dont speak out, what people will?