Socialist Anti-Gun Vultures Swoop!

vulture

We’ve all heard about the tragic and horrible killings at an elementary school in Connecticut carried out by a nutjob who also killed his mother, all the killings carried out using guns he stole from her. It turns out he’d actually tried to legally buy at least one gun prior to the event and was turned down by the appropriate authorities.

As predictably as the sun rising in the east, the “usual suspects” in the gun-banning crowd swoopno guns onto the still-warm corpses with opportunistic shrieks of glee at their good fortune in finding another excuse to try to somehow stop madmen from carrying out their deranged acts, evidently under the illusion that curtailing gun rights is a magic panacea for insanity.

Democrat Senators Joe Lieberman, Diane Feinstein, Chuckie Schumer (of course) and Dick Durbin, as well as New York Mayor Michael “Big Gulp” Bloomberg, have already taken the lead in exploiting this mess to advance their leftist/socialist agenda of banning guns, Feinstein vowing to introduce her same old, tired “assault weapon ban” yet again when the Senate reconvenes next year.

But a funny thing happened on the way to the fact-checker. It turns out that “mass shootings” aren’t exactly the rising phenomenon those zealots claim they are. In fact, according to criminologist James Allen Fox of Boston’s Northeastern University, who has been studying the subject since the 1980s, and Grant Duwe, a criminologist with the Minnesota Department of Corrections who has written a history of mass murders in America, there has been no increase in these incidents, and in fact “while mass shootings rose between the 1960s and the 1990s, they actually dropped in the 2000s.” ( Link )

Democrats have avoided gun control like the plague in recent years because they know it’s a political loser for them. I won’t go into all the stats; suffice it to say that the anti-gun sentiment in the country that peaked in about the 1970s has completely reversed itself in the last couple of decades. I think the only reasons these socialists are trying again now are twofold:thCA1J3QJR first, this is an especially terrible event, as it involved little kids. They’re hoping for an emotional backlash. And secondly, it’s a couple of years until the next election, and they’re banking on the electorate having a short memory. Of course, they’ve made that particular miscalculation with great regularity in the past. But then, the socialists definitely aren’t the brightest bulbs in the chandelier.

Another thing to bear in mind: the killer tried to buy a gun, and the current system worked. He was prevented from doing so, and had to steal the guns he used. So… what law, exactly, do the gun-haters think is going to “solve” this problem? Logically, the only thing that could work would be for all the guns in the country to magically vanish. How would that be accomplished?

ripcon 2Any law banning gun ownership is already deemed unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in the Heller and McDonald cases. Further, just a week ago 7th District Court Justice Posner held that Illinois’s total ban on public gun carry was also unconstitutional.

We’ve also had quite a bit of experience on the efficacy of bans in general. If “bans” were effective, we wouldn’t have a drug problem in this country, nor would there be any illegal aliens. How’s that been working out?

Let’s also not forget the mass murderer in Norway, Anders Breivik, who last year killed 77 people during his rampage, using a bomb to kill 8 and guns to kill 69 more, most of them young teens. Compared to this country Norway has very strict gun laws, and yet…

I think it’s funny – as in “hypocritical” – how so many on the Left are using this event as a vehicle to advance their gun control agenda while at the same time they’ve remained absolutely mute on Obama’s and Holder’s Operation Fast & Furious, the gun-running scheme which resulted in the deaths of over 300 Mexican citizens and one US Border Patrol agent named Brian Terry. That operation was very possibly conceived to gin up a case for arguing that our domestic gun laws were too lax, a political exercise in every way, and it backfired when they lost control of it. Where was the outrage then?

I guess “outrage” is very selective in nature.

© Brian Baker 2012

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Romney Lost; Some Quick Thoughts

Well, it looks like the Golfer-in-Chief won a second term, much to the country’s detriment. It’s been an interesting election, to say the least. Here are some thoughts.

I have to admit, I called this one wrong. Even though the dynamic was very similar to the Reagan/Carter race of 1980, the outcome was completely reversed. I think several factors came into play. First, of course, is that Romney’s no Reagan as far as political skill and presentation. I also think that Romney made a very bad call in not making Benghazi-Gate a very major election issue, right along with Fast & Furious.

But there’s another issue that’s developed in the intervening 32 years that doesn’t portend at all well for the future of this country: the emergence of class warfare as a major political football, and the fact that almost 50% of this country’s populace is on some form of the government dole. I’ve written several times that when that percentage hits 50%+1 vote, this country’s doomed. I’ve seen nothing to change my mind. We’re in very serious trouble.

*                          *                           *

Now that The Amateur has won re-election, is he going to continue to Blame Bush for all this country’s problems? At what point will he start to accept responsibility for this lousy economy… if ever? Or will Biden, if he runs to replace Obama, decide to start blaming… Obama? How long can they keep pointing at Bush? They’ve already set a new world’s record in that event.

*                         *                           *

Fortunately, the GOP has retained control of the House. That means Darryl Issa is still his committee’s chairman. I predict that when the new Congress is seated in January, he’ll be aggressively pursuing AG Holder on the Fast & Furious debacle, and giving Obama some real problems on the Benghazi-Gate mess. I know Obama wanted to run out the election clock on that problem – and with the help of the lamestream media, he did – but it hasn’t gone away. I think it’s barely started.

And again, with the GOP retaining control of the House it’s going to be pretty hard for him to enact what’s sure to be an even more radical socialist agenda, now that he no longer has to answer to an electorate.

*                         *                             *

The destructive effect of “identity politics” and polarization can’t be overstated, and it’s a pernicious and cynical aspect that the leftists have used to full effect. The “Hispanic bloc” and the “black vote” are glaring examples of groups that vote overwhelmingly for Democrats, even to their own detriment.

Frankly, I don’t see this situation improving in the foreseeable future; if anything, it’s going to get worse. The welfare policies of the Democrats as initiated by LBJ have essentially enslaved the blacks on the new plantation of government dependency. The devil’s bargain Reagan entered into in 1986 when he signed into law the Simpson-Mazzoli “one time, never to be repeated” amnesty for illegal aliens didn’t solve our illegal alien problem; it merely opened the door even wider with the implied promise to new border-crossers that if they can somehow merely wait out the clock they, too, will be rewarded with citizenship and all the government freebies that come with it.

*                           *                                *

The biggest danger regarding the Judiciary is that Scalia – the oldest of the conservatives – will either retire or die. I think he’s too motivated to retire for anything other than health reasons, so we have to pray for his continued good health. The re-elected Commissar will be making other judicial appointments, though, giving him the opportunity to pack the lower courts with like-minded socialists.

That leaves it up to the Senate GOPers to finally – FINALLY – start playing the confirmation game by the same “rules” that their Dem counterparts use, meaning there are none. Time to take off the gloves and play hardball!

Will they do it? Who knows? The jury’s out on that one.

*                            *                                  *

True and effective democracy is hard work. Over the years I’ve written several essays on the topic, including “Bread and Circuses”, in which I’ve pointed out that we’re heading on a fatal course that, if uncorrected, will lead to the demise of this country as we know it as our freedoms and independence are whittled away. This election is a confirmation of those predictions.

The Founding Fathers were well aware of the problem. In 1814 John Adams wrote: “Democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts and murders itself. There was never a democracy that did not commit suicide.”

I’ll leave it at that.

© Brian Baker 2012

Obama: “Bin Laden is dead”… Me: “So What?”

In light of everything that’s been going on in the Middle East and North Africa over the last week, I have to comment.

First of all, as those who know me or have read my scribbling over the years are aware, I’ve long maintained that the idea of a Western-style democracy successfully taking hold in the Muslim/Arab world is a pipe dream. There are no cultural underpinnings to support such an enterprise, and in fact their cultural and religious foundations are antithetical to the concept.

Over the years I’ve written several essays on the subject, and you can read them here, here,  here, and here.

Our country suffers from two deadly weaknesses in our approach to the problems in the region. The first is that, with the exception of Reagan, no one inside the Beltway in post-Vietnam history has had Clue One about how the Arab/Muslim mind works. They think, in spite of all the historical evidence to the contrary, that the prevailing mindset is no different from our own. I think you actually have to have lived in the region to realize how wrong that idea really is. I spent my high school years in Iran, and I can’t imagine a more foolish concept.

The second weakness is our dependence on oil from the region. Unquestionably, that limits our options, and forces us into “alliances” that are contrary to our own national self-interests. A perfect example is our relationship with Saudi Arabia. Though that country is perhaps less anti-Western than others, they’re certainly not our friends in the way that a country like the UK is, for example. We’re simply a market for their product: oil. They’re still the source for international Wahabiism, and terrorists such as bin Laden draw much of their financial support from sources within that country. Don’t fool yourselves; they’re not our allies in the real sense of the word.

Which brings us to Obama. Obama is the “perfect storm” of ignorance of the region coupled with stupidly utopian idealism coupled with a refusal to take any realistic actions to lessen our dependence on oil from the region. A disastrous trifecta of insane policy.

As I’ve said before (here, here and here) we’re sitting on an ocean of oil we’re just letting sit in the ground purely for political reasons. We have more known and recoverable oil than any other nation on the planet; three times as much as Saudi Arabia. The solution to our “energy dependence” problem is very simple: Drill, baby, drill!

But we can’t do that because the amateur in the Oval Office won’t allow it. The pump price of gasoline has doubled since Obama took office, but he’s stuck on stupid when it comes to oil, and would rather hitch his wagon to fantasies about “alternative energies” that don’t even exist at this point in time, rather than actually address the problem with the obvious and easy solutions that already do exist.

All we have to do is drill our own oil to free us from having to worry about the actions being taken by Muslim extremists who seem to spend their whole lives being “offended” by everything under the sun. We could simply flip them off and have done with it.

And just exactly what are the policies being implemented by Obama in the Muslim/Arab world? They’re a repeat of the exact same policies that worked so well under “Peanut Jimmy” Carter! Remember those good old days?

Carter proved how “tough” he was by engineering the downfall of the Shah of Iran, and his replacement by Ayatollah Khomeini, and look how well that turned out. Obama proved how tough he was by “killing bin Laden” and facilitating the “Arab Spring”, and look how well that’s turning out. Obama is Carter Redux. Worse, actually, because he’s refused to learn the lessons of history, and is repeating the same stupid actions that have already proven to be disastrous in the past.

If we insist on remaining engaged with the Arab/Muslim world, we have to do so from a position of unyielding strength and pragmatism that isn’t filtered through rose-colored lenses that project a vision of Western values that doesn’t exist in the region. We have to use our aid dollars as both a carrot and a stick. We have to find some pro-Western strongmen, and back them. Maybe over time a foundation can be laid that will allow Western-style democracies to develop there, but the key words are “over time”. A long time, probably generations at least.

At this time, we’re viewed in the Muslim/Arab world as being paper tigers; easy and impotent targets that never respond to provocation. In that world, that’s fatal. Until we learn that lesson and act accordingly, attacks against our interests and outposts will continue. It’s just that simple.

These are all lessons that are clear to see. Obama has proven to be an epic failure in this arena. His response has been to thrash around impotently, throwing blame hither and yon, then promptly getting back to the only activity he’s reliably pursued throughout his presidency (other than playing golf), campaigning for re-election. The current debacle in the region doesn’t seem to interest him as anything more important than just a minor campaign delay.

Good. Grief.

© Brian Baker 2012

A Manifesto To Save America

 

“A democracy will continue to exist up until the time that voters discover that they can vote themselves generous gifts from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates who promise the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that every democracy will finally collapse due to loose fiscal policy”

                                                                       Alexander Tytler   1747 – 1843 (Pop. Attrib.)

When the people find that they can vote themselves money, that will herald the end of the republic. Sell not liberty to purchase power”

                                                Benjamin Franklin  1706 – 1790

People familiar with my writings, both in my blogs and in various Letters To The Editors and Guest Columns published in newspapers, know I’ve long maintained that this country is far down along the path to self-destruction. Back in February 2008, at my Townhall blog, I wrote an essay entitled “Bread and Circuses” (Read it here) in which I drew parallels between our country today and the fall of the Western Roman Empire.

The Roberts Court

Most recently, we have the Supreme Court (SCOTUS) discovering and endowing the government with vast new powers to use taxation to force people to behave in certain ways, and enter into contracts to purchase goods and services. For the first time in our history, a tax can be imposed on people for not doing something. It’s as if King George imposed a tea tax on the colonists for not drinking tea.

To achieve this repugnant decision, as I’ve described previously, Chief Judas Roberts ignored all bounds of reason, logic and constitutionality in order to side with the liberal “ignore the Constitution” faction of the Court. Whatever his motives – and speculation on that runs rampant – neither Roberts nor any other Justice will ever suffer any consequences for their actions or decisions because the Constitution guarantees them lifetime tenure.

Then we have the problem with the inequitable nature of our current tax system which has led to debts and deficits that will inevitably bankrupt this country if not resolved somehow. Almost 50% of the populace pays little to no federal income taxes at all, and the top 5% of earners – those earning anything over a mere $154,643 (statistics) – pay almost 59% of all the income tax money collected. Yet they’re still castigated for “not paying their fair share”.

Meanwhile, that bottom 50% pays almost nothing at all but still has an equal say, through their power to vote, in how tax burdens are allocated and the funds spent. Naturally, as they really have no skin in the game as far as fiscal prudence is concerned, they’re going to be inclined to vote for their own economic self-interest, meaning that they’re all for robbing Peter to pay Paul, since someone else is always going to be the Peter that pays their Paul. Paul really doesn’t care if Peter goes broke.

Further, what’s going to happen when the tax non-payers outnumber the taxpayers? Then we’ll have a situation akin to three foxes and a chicken voting on what’s for dinner. It won’t be pretty, and at that point this country will be completely doomed.

I believe this country’s only hope of salvation lies in a major restructuring of how we do things, and that can only be properly enacted by amending the Constitution. Therefore I’d like to propose the following four constitutional amendments.

“Judicial Accountability Amendment:  After 12 years of serving on the federal bench, each judge including Supreme Court Justices shall be replaced, unless reconfirmed by the US Senate.”

Hopefully, that would force the judiciary to be more responsive to the actual Constitution, but no matter what it would impose accountability on the Mandarins In Black Robes.

“Flat Tax Amendment:  Every person who receives income, from whatever source and without exception, shall have that income taxed at the same rate of X%. The tax rate may be changed by Congress by votes of 2/3 in each House.”

The “X” rate of taxation would be determined during the amendment process, but this would certainly eliminate the inequality of tax rates and burdens. Further, it would eliminate the motivation of those with no tax exposure to burden those who actually do pay taxes with ridiculous obligations that simply can’t be met.

Everyone would then have at least some skin in the game.

Further, the super-majority requirement to change the tax rate would force some fiscal sanity on Congress, and force them to start to cut spending. Raising the tax rate would become a VERY politically risky move… as it should be.

“Voter Eligibility Amendment:  No person who is exempt, for whatever reason, from paying income taxes shall be eligible to vote.”

A companion piece to the prior Amendment, this would assure that anyone who might still escape any tax obligation would also lose their ability to influence the outcome of legislation that forces everyone else to pay up.

“Tax Legitimacy Amendment: Taxes shall be imposed solely to raise revenue for the legitimate function of government as defined in the US Constitution. Any tax or spending bill must cite the appropriate and legitimate constitutional authority for that program or expenditure. No tax shall be imposed whose purpose is to influence the behavior of citizens, either individually or as a group; nor shall taxes be imposed as a penalty.”

The most immediate effect of this Amendment would be to void Obamacare and repeal the recent SCOTUS decision, much like the 14th Amendment killed the Dred Scott decision; and it would prevent the kind of laws – as well as judicial decisions – that grant such unbridled power to the government that the people’s ability to make their own decisions is completely pre-empted.

Unless these amendments – or something very much like them – are enacted, this country as we know it is finished. We may still be in existence physically, but we’ll ultimately devolve into a Euro-trash “social democracy” like Greece. Unfortunately, I don’t believe the political will exists in this country to take those necessary steps.

I hope I’m proven wrong, but I am not sanguine…

© Brian Baker 2012

The Obamacare Decision’s In. What’s Next?

Chief Judas John Roberts

Well, as I noted in last week’s essay, the stunning decision of the Supreme Court (SCOTUS) was handed down last week on the Obamacare challenge, and Chief Judas Roberts – traitor to the Constitution and conservative principles – has granted the Federal Government expansive new powers to regulate behavior through the power to impose taxes; not only on what you actually do, but also on what you don’t do.

Another aspect of this new authority is that since exercise of this power is through the taxation process, such laws don’t require the usual 60 votes in the Senate required for most bills. It’s tax law, and as such can be passed by a simple majority in that chamber (as has always been the case with any law in the House). Thus has SCOTUS ruled.

That means that come November, if the GOP retains the House, wins the Presidency, and holds 50 seats in the Senate after the election (Romney’s VP would give the GOP a Senate majority as President of the Senate), they’ll be able to pass any such law they want without any fear of it being blocked by the Democrats (in the exact same manner as Democrats enacted Obamacare in the first place).

This does open up some interesting possibilities.

I’d like to propose a law that requires every eligible adult to own a gun. This would accrue a benefit to the country under the General Welfare Clause, as statistically it’s been shown that the more law-abiding citizens own guns, the lower the crime rate is. Further, gun ownership is actually a right enumerated in the Bill of Rights, as opposed to “healthcare”. Anyone who refuses to own a gun would see a “tax surcharge” penalty on their federal income taxes.

How about an abortion tax? You’d still be able to exercise your “right” to abort your baby; you’d just be dinged a few thousand bucks in a “tax surcharge” if you did it. There’s no doubt this would accrue benefits to the country’s “general welfare” as it will cut into the numbers of unborn babies slaughtered in the womb, not to mention the benefits accrued to the babies themselves. And think of the added revenue!

There are endless possibilities, and the limits have been removed. Get together with your friends. Think up a policy you’d like to see enacted. Turn it into a drinking game!

Then raise a toast to our socialist countrymen who have given us this wonderful opportunity.

©Brian Baker 2012

Executive Privilege? Or MurderGate Coverup?

We’re to believe that Eric Holder and Obama had no first-hand knowledge of the disastrous Fast and Furious debacle carried out by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tax, and Firearms (BATF); that the congressional investigation spearheaded by Rep. Darryl Issa is nothing but a “political witch-hunt”; and that consequently Obama was perfectly sound in his assertion of executive privilege in blocking the release of all the documents subpoenaed by Issa’s committee.

We’re also to believe, according to leaks published in the media last week that apparently originated high up in the White House, that Obama is an absolute military stud who personally makes command decisions on an ongoing basis as to specific military and intelligence targets and operations worldwide.

Well… which is it? Stud or ignoramus? If he’s the “man with the plan” who oversees all these field operations like MacArthur reincarnated, how come he didn’t know anything about Fast and Furious? And if he was ignorant of that particular operation, why is there a need to assert executive privilege at all?

Enquiring minds want to know.

 

© Brian Baker 2012

 

Indicting Obama

“The Buck Sure Doesn’t Stop HERE!

The Truman presidency has been mythologized in many ways. Time and faulty human memory have worked to make the man somewhat of a legend, and as one of the characters in the movie “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance” noted, “When the legend becomes fact, print the legend”.

But one thing you have to hand to the man: he took responsibility for everything that took place under his administration. As the sign on his desk said, “The buck stops here”, and he meant it.

Contrast that to the current occupant of the Oval Office, the amateur who refuses to take responsibility for anything that’s happened during his utterly incompetent administration.

As I noted in my last essay, very shortly after his inauguration, in an interview with Matt Lauer, Obama stated, “… I will be held accountable. You know, I’ve got four years. A year from now, I think people are going to see that we’re starting to make some progress. But there’s still going to be some pain out there. If I don’t have this done in three years, then there’s going to be a one-term proposition.”

Big words. How do they stack up to reality, you ask? Well… let’s take a quick look, shall we?

The Economy: Four years ago, one of the very few issues Obama actually took any kind of definable stand on was the economy; how bad it was and how he’d “fix” it. That was actually what the Lauer interview was all about.

But what have we heard for the last three years (at least)? “Blame Bush”. It’s all “Bush’s fault” or the fault of “my predecessor”. It’s not my fault. The buck doesn’t stop here. The dog ate my homework. Where’s that accountability he bragged about to Lauer?

One of two things happened: Either he was truly ignorant of what his prediction entailed – in which case he was just plain unqualified for the job – or he lied.

Gas Prices: When he took office a gallon of gas was about $1.87; now it’s over $4.00 out here in Greeceifornia. And, of course, the constant refrain is that the President doesn’t “control” gas prices. While semantically true, the President does control key policies that have a direct effect on gas prices, primarily policies which affect availability, which – according to the irrefutable law of supply and demand – directly determine what oil, and therefore gasoline, are going to cost.

Quite simply, the more there is of something, the less it’s going to cost. Scarcity is what drives up price.

This President has done everything in his power to block domestic access to the absolute ocean of oil upon which we sit, plain and simple. But he won’t acknowledge that; oh, no! It’s always someone else’s fault: Iran, the Saudis, world oil markets, speculators, the e-e-e-e-vil oil companies … everyone under the sun except him. But the reality is that he’s the one person standing in the way of allowing this country to do the one thing that would entirely solve the problem: letting us drill, baby, drill!

Solyndra:  Of course, one of the big reasons Obama continues to block domestic oil extraction is his worship at the altar to the myth of “alternate energy”, from which we got the boondoggle funding of solar manufacturer Solyndra to the tune of over $500 million, after which they promptly went bankrupt.

Naturally, it was simply another “blame Bush” moment. It seems the Bush people had considered that same funding… but what Obama had failed to mention was that they also had decided Solyndra wasn’t a sound company in which to make that investment, so this one ended up being another egg-on-the-face moment for the ObaMessiah. But ya gotta give him props for trying, right? After all, “the buck doesn’t stop here!”, at least if he can help it.

He didn’t even learn from that debacle, repeating it with SunPower and even doubling down, wasting over $1.2 Billion and “creating” all of 15 jobs from a company over $820 Million in debt.

Obamacare:  His “signature” (and just about only) piece of legislation, which is hugely unpopular with the people and on the verge of being ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court. Of course, that’s not his fault. That will be due to the “partisan” nature of those Justices who decide against it. I guess the ones who find for it aren’t “partisan” somehow. “Partisanship” only seems to be a feature of those who don’t agree with Obama (and liberals in general, apparently. Evidently, leftists are never “partisan”. They must be “principled”).

Bottom line: “The buck doesn’t stop here! It’s the ‘partisan’ Justices.”

Gridlock:  Always the fault of the other party and their obstructive “partisanship”, of course. The buck doesn’t stop with Obama. It’s the fault of the GOP. Naturally.

It doesn’t matter that his own party had complete control of Congress for the first two years of his presidency and could pass absolutely anything they wanted. Somehow or another, the GOP was still at fault. Now, of course, the GOP has control of the House, and so it’s their fault that his proposals go nowhere. Not that anything’s really changed; even when his own party controlled everything, they didn’t bother to pass a budget, even though they didn’t need one single GOP vote to do so. And it doesn’t matter that ObaMessiah’s own budget proposals have been killed in the Democrat-controlled Senate by his own party.

The buck doesn’t stop here. It’s the GOP’s fault.

Rancorous political tone:  Which, of course, only refers to things said by his opponents. When he calls his political opponents “enemies”, that’s not rancorous, of course. Because the buck doesn’t stop here. When Bill Maher calls Sarah Palin a “c***”, that’s not “rancor”, and Maher’s $1 Million political donation is happily accepted.

Operation Fast And Furious:  Early in his presidency Obama tried to gin up a case that gun laws were too lax, allowing thousands of guns to “leak” across the border into the murderous hands of the Mexican drug cartels, leading to thousands of deaths. Hence Operation Fast And Furious was born.

It turned out that those guns were being “walked” across the border through straw purchases as part of a Bureau of Alcohol, Tax and Firearms (BATF) operation purportedly in place to trace and apprehend the end users of those very guns. Only problem was, the BATF lost track of those guns, the Mexican authorities were never informed of this operation, lots of people died – including at least one US Border Patrol agent named Brian Terry – and thousands of guns (enough to arm an Army battalion, literally) ended up in the hands of Very Bad Guys.

When this whole debacle came to light, we saw Operation The Buck Doesn’t Stop Here come into being in a major way. It seems that no one of any authority ever had any knowledge of any such program. It must have been devised and implemented by gremlins. Maybe Santa’s Helpers decided to gift the drug cartels or something, because this whole operation seems to have appeared out of thin air, with no one in charge, or knowledgeable, or having given authorization, or overseeing it, or answerable for it.

The BATF is part of the Justice Department, of which Attorney-General Eric Holder is in charge… except it seems that the guy “in charge” isn’t informed of critical operations, at least according to Holder. The buck doesn’t stop with Holder, the man in charge of his department.

And, of course, Holder reports to Obama, who doesn’t even seem to acknowledge that there’s an investigation by Congress going on about this issue. Utter silence. Because, of course, the buck can’t stop at Obama’s desk if he closes his eyes and refuses to even acknowledge it. His silence is deafening.

The last time I saw this kind of stonewalling was during the Watergate era. A lot of people lost their jobs – including a sitting President – and several went to prison.

White House leaks:  Over the last couple of weeks secrets concerning highly-classified military and intelligence operations have been leaked to the press. The only perceptible beneficiary of those leaks would be Obama himself, as the leaked material seems to be of a nature that would enhance his being perceived as a decisive and tough “war leader”, beneficial during an election year, particularly for an incumbent with big problems to overcome on other issues (maybe like those outlined above? Just sayin’…).

The only way secrets of that nature could be accessible would be if someone very high up – at White House level – leaked them.

Of course… “the buck doesn’t stop here!”, according to the White House.

Of course it doesn’t. No responsible President or his minions would purposefully leak information that could lead to the deaths of agents working on our nation’s behalf in foreign and hostile countries, simply to enhance his political prospects. The idea’s unthinkable… right?

I even had to laugh at that one myself, and I knew it was coming…

“The Buck Does Stop HERE”… Except It Really Doesn’t:  In his desperation to try to cobble together a winning coalition and secure a second term, Obama came out in favor of same-sex marriage a few weeks ago. For his die-hard supporters, that seems to be a little too late on the issue, easily pegged as a cynical ploy to try to regain the LGBT vote that supported him so enthusiastically last time and has been so disappointed by his performance to this point.

More importantly… who cares what a presidential candidate thinks about what is essentially a state issue: the definition of marriage? That varies from state to state, as is proper. So he’s grabbing the buck where it’s irrelevant.

And doing the same thing with his announcement this past week that he’s going to grant work permits to illegal aliens who meet certain criteria. Sorry, Obama, you don’t have the power or authority to do that. You’re sworn to uphold the law as passed and enacted by Congress. Nowhere in the current law is there any authority to take it upon yourself to determine who is and who is not allowed to get work permits as an alien. You have to abide by the law as written and properly passed and enacted. And lawsuits have already been filed against you to address your actions.

Which is particularly ironic in that he had his Justice Department minion Holder file a lawsuit against the State of Arizona over its SB1070 law, which allowed its own police forces to help enforce federal immigration law. Their law was enacted on the premise that the feds weren’t effectively enforcing the extant laws. And here he is, proving their point.

The problem for the ObaMessiah is that he’s not Emperor; he doesn’t get to pick and choose what laws he’s going to have his administration enforce. He’s sworn to enforce the laws on the books as written and lawfully enacted.

So, in this case grabbing that buck he tries the rest of the time to avoid simply doesn’t wash. It’s easily and accurately perceived as nothing more than an attempt at cheap populism aimed at a very specific voter demographic.

Bottom Line:  Except when he gets it wrong, as in the amnesty and same-sex marriage issues, not only is Obama’s slogan “The Buck Doesn’t Stop Here!”, it’s “Buck?… What Buck?”

I indict Obama for dodging responsibility for his actions and the actions of those who work for him; of world-class hypocrisy; for speaking out of both sides of his mouth; for illegal arrogation of power to himself in violation of the US Constitution; and for just basically being the lousiest President since… ever.

The only guy who ever made Jimmy Carter look good by comparison.

© Brian Baker 2012

My Mom, Political Bellwether

The week before last I went down to San Diego to visit Mom. Let me tell you a little bit about her, to set the stage.

Mom’s Armenian, born and raised in Iran where my dad met her after WW2. She’s a post-war bride, an immigrant who did the whole Ellis Island thing, got her US citizenship, and became a productive member of society, raising two young kids alone when she became a widow at a young age while working her tail off to provide them a good standard of living.

Like many (if not most) immigrants of her era, she’s politically conservative, subscribing to the traditional American values that made this country a Mecca for them. But over the last few election cycles, as health issues have affected her mobility, she’s become much less politically active, by which I mean she hasn’t voted in the last few elections.

When I visited her we talked politics, as is usual. She’s very concerned about the direction Obama has taken this country, and the implications of his policies and how they’re affecting our economic soundness, as well as our standing in the world community; so much so that she has determined to cast her vote in this election come November. Each time, she asks me how I assess the status of the race, and what I think the outcome will be.

Each time, I tell her that in my opinion, if the election were held today, I think Obama would handily lose. Further, that contrary to the popular wisdom and polling data, I think it could well be a landslide of Reaganesque proportions. And that barring any unusual event between now and November, I don’t think Obama has a chance.

I then point out to her that she, herself, is a great example of the dynamic that’s in effect. She’s so motivated to see him gone that she’s more engaged in the political scene than she’s been in almost two decades, and is bound and determined to make her voice heard. And because of that, she’s a great example – a bellwether – of what’s ahead in November as so many other people just like her – people who aren’t normally involved directly in the process – get themselves to the polls to get rid of the amateur/socialist in the White House.

Most of the current polls indicate a very tight race, with Obama sometimes in the lead, and sometimes Romney. But don’t let those polls fool you; there’s a dynamic in this country I haven’t seen since 1980, when the polls showed Carter with the lead over Reagan, right up to end of the campaign, when the only poll that matters – the actual vote results – ushered Reagan into the White House with a 49-state landslide victory. I well remember the absolute shock (and outrage!) of the newscasters of the time when they were announcing the election results, and that Reagan had won.

In 1976 Carter’s campaign for President revolved around the country’s disaffection for anything Nixon, including his policies and his replacement, Gerald Ford. Carter was the “not Nixon” candidate. By 1980, he’d demolished the economy, inflation was through the roof, interest rates on loans were at record highs, property values had crashed, there were gas lines at the pumps as prices soared, we’d lost our international prestige, and Americans had been held hostage in Iran for over a year.

In 2008 Obama’s campaign for President revolved around the country’s disaffection for Bush and his policies. Obama was the “not Bush”; McCain was tarred as being “Bush 3”. And now, in 2012, he’s demolished the economy, the country’s in debt to its hairline, gas prices are at record highs (having more than doubled since he took office), credit card interest rates are at record highs, property values are in the doldrums, right along with our international prestige, our national credit rating has been downgraded for the first time in history and is in danger of being so again, and he’s perceived by large segments of the populace as having run rampant over the Constitution with such programs as Obamacare and his penchant for abusing the Executive Order power to make laws not properly enacted by Congress.

In 1980 Carter had lost the enthusiastic support of much of his base, and energized his opponents by his actions. In 2010 Obama finds himself in exactly the same position. Again, remember my Mom; she’s going to vote for the first time in many years just to get rid of the guy.

That’s what’s going to make the difference this year, and why I’m predicting that – barring unforeseen major events – we could very well see another landslide this year.

In 2009, shortly after he took office, Matt Lauer interviewed Obama, and he had this to say: “One nice thing about the situation I find myself in is that I will be held accountable. You know, I’ve got four years. A year from now, I think people are going to see that we’re starting to make some progress. But there’s still going to be some pain out there. If I don’t have this done in three years, then there’s going to be a one-term proposition.”

I think he predicted that one correctly. Probably a first for him. Let’s all do our best to make his at that time arrogant prediction a self-fulfilling prophecy.

 

© Brian Baker 2012

 

Sneaky Leftists

 (I know… oxymoron, right?)

Over the last few years out here in Commiefornia, capitol of the enviro-whacks, there’s been a rising tide of panic about the “dangers” posed to the environment by the bags used in grocery stores, pharmacies, and convenience stores to package your purchases.

A few years ago, paper bags were the bugaboo, because trees were being “sacrificed” for such a “wasteful” purpose. There was much loud wailing and gnashing of teeth from the enviroNazis about how people should use plastic bags instead.

Then a couple of years ago those same fanatics changed their minds and decided that everyone should have to bring their own bags instead. It seems that plastic bags have also made it onto the “no-fly” list because of their durability (generally considered a good thing in other products); it seems some of them have been spotted floating around out in the middle of the ocean somewhere.

Can’t have that!

The problem is, they can’t sell their whacky ideas to the proletariat. That pesky free will at work again. So the answer was obvious: get their leftist buddies in government to do their work for them!

Of course!

So, in San Francisco (surprise!) and here in LA County, laws were passed to make the use of plastic bags illegal. They were banned, like other dangerous substances such as heroin and cocaine. The only “approved” choice is now back to those paper bags that were previously scorned … at a mandated “fee” of 10 cents per bag, of course. Fortunately for me, LA County has no regulatory power over the incorporated cities in this county, so here in Santa Clarita we still get to exercise our free choice in the matter.

But those stalwarts in the City of Los Angeles aren’t satisfied. Oh, no! Now they’re on the verge of passing a law banning paper bags, too (Link). Their goal, as they plainly admit, is to force people to bring their own reusable bags to the store, kinda like the Russian babushkas had to do in the glory days of the Soviet Union. I always have to wonder what was so appealing about the USSR that our homegrown leftists so often try to emulate it.

Of course, this stupid policy blatantly ignores the problems attached to the reusable bags: they’re unsanitary, most of them are made in China, and that little issue of people being able to make their own choices.

But then, they’re leftists. The only “free choice” they believe in is the choice to murder unborn babies. Anything else must be government-approved.

© Brian Baker 2012

A Hundred Bucks To Fill The Tank?!?!?!

When I was a kid, you could buy a whole used car for that amount

I’m revisiting a topic I’ve written about before, but it seems especially timely given that the price of gas at the pump has risen to over four bucks a gallon – a new record for this time of year – and there’s no end in sight.

Also, in this election year, there’s no doubt that this can – and should – be an election year topic. After all, when Obama took office the price of gas was somewhere around $1.75/gallon. That’s right! Remember that?

Our economy is driven by its fuel. The price of fuel affects literally everything, not just your personal cost to operate your vehicle. It affects our costs to manufacture and transport goods, too, including our agricultural products. It keeps this country mobile, which has been one of the – if not the – key elements in making us the economic powerhouse we are.

What have we heard from Obama and his minions, and the “environmental” lobby, about how to address the problem? Endless blather about “alternative fuels and energy”. Put another way, speculative science fiction.

What I’m doing here is reprinting an email dialogue on this topic that took place today thanks to my web-buddy Buck, who initiated the emails on the topic. It started with a fellow talking about the fallacy of the economies of the Chevy Volt. I’ll start with my response.

ME:  Here are some facts:

The energy-to-weight nature of petroleum-based fuels far surpasses that of any battery ever made. What that means is that petroleum isn’t going to be replaced as the power source for most transportation. At best, you’ll see “hybrid” technology utilized.

Battery powered cars are great, until you reach their maximum range of 200 or 300 miles. Then you have hours of recharging time in front of you, and there’s no way to shorten that to the time frame involved in filling up your gas tank.

Aircraft aren’t going to be powered by solar panels or batteries. Ships, unless they’re nuclear powered, will not be powered by anything other than petroleum-based fuels. You’re not going to see battery-powered big rigs.

We have the largest known deposits of crude in the world in shale, enough to make us energy-independent well into at least the next century, and a net-exporter if we so choose. The Athabasca oil sands development has proven the extraction to be cost-effective, and Shell’s new in situ extraction process has proven to be very “environmentally friendly”.

Unless the Starship Enterprise shows up to share their di-lithium crystal technology with us, our need for petroleum isn’t going away in the foreseeable future. That’s just a fact.

Let’s look at some further facts.

The Tesla Roadster is the first — and so far only — electric-only car in production. (True at the time I wrote the original essay on my blog) It has a range of 244 miles on a single charge. It recharges at a rate of 56 miles/hour, so a full recharge takes 4 hours.

By the way, electricity isn’t free; it’s actually pretty expensive, and getting more so.

ANYway… the battery has an estimated life of about 100,000 miles, at which point it has to be replaced at a cost of about $36,000… the price of a new gas-powered SUV.

According to Tesla’s own white paper:

(http://www.teslamotors.com/display_data/TeslaRoadsterBatterySystem.pdf)  “the Li-ion batteries in the Tesla Roadster only store the energy equivalent of about 8 liters of gasoline; a very small amount of energy for a typical vehicle.”

The battery weighs about 750 pounds. That’s the equivalent weight of about 130 gallons of gasoline. Assuming your car gets 20MPG, you’d drive 2600 miles on that 130 gallons of gas. If your car has a 20 gallon tank, you’d have refueled 7 times. At an average refuel time of 10 minutes, that would have taken about an hour altogether.

Your Tesla would have been “refueled” 10 times. With an average refuel time of 3.5 hours, you’d have spent 35 hours charging your car. There’s no way to speed up the recharge process; you can’t “slam” a charge into a battery. It’s an electro-chemical process. If you try to do it too fast, the battery simply explodes, just like a nuclear reaction goes critical if it’s allowed to proceed too quickly, resulting in a meltdown or nuclear explosion.

More wonky numbers. According to Tesla’s site:

(http://www.teslamotors.com/electric/charging.php) It takes about 68 kWh to charge the car. Here in the SCV that’s somewhere around $9/charge. That works out to about $0.04/mile. Gasoline in your theoretical car, at 20 MPG and $3/gal works out to about $0.15/mile.

At the 100,000 mile mark, you have to replace the battery in the Tesla at about $36,000, plus you’ve spent $4000 on electricity. Total of $40,000.

In your theoretical car, your engine’s still good for maybe another 100,000 miles, and you’ve spent $15,000 on gas. Even if you have to replace the engine, you’re only looking at about $4000. Total cost including engine replacement: $19,000.

Gas-powered car at 100,000 miles: $19,000.

Tesla at 100,000 miles: $40,000.

This is what I mean about the practicality of the technology, or lack thereof for this application.

RJ:  Well Joe and Brian, It looks like gasoline is here to stay. Why about hydrogen. Anyone ever put any serious efforts into this. It is the fuel used by our space craft so why not auto engines. I realize it is highly explosive and something would have to be done about that but it should be easily solved by our chemist and engineers. Also, with the price of gas from the Muslims soaring every day, why do we not use our own gasoline supplies supplies. It is my understanding that we have enough of our own to last for over 400 years if it were not for the green people. We need to be spending the gasoline cost in our own country and not giving the Muslims whatever they demand for it and all they want is to see us all destroyed.

ME:  Richard and Peter, yeah, that’s the problem with hydrogen, as we saw with the Challenger. Its explosive nature. There are extremely few substances with a higher stored potential energy than petroleum distillates (gasoline, kerosene, etc.), and those are basically explosives.

As to our own domestic capabilities: we’re among the most oil-rich nations on earth. We’re also the only country with oil resources that doesn’t maximize its development of those resources. In oil shale alone in the Green River formation we have enough unrecovered product, conservatively estimated at over 800 BILLION barrels, to meet all of our country’s oil needs for over 100 years at current consumption rates (http://ostseis.anl.gov/guide/oilshale/index.cfm). Then throw in all the other deposits, both known and so-far unknown, free oil and shale, oil sands, fracking recovery techniques, new recovery technologies that make formerly abandoned deposits now economically feasible again, and we could easily be a net-exporter country instead of an importer; we could actually be THE determinative factor in oil prices, rather than the Middle East. This would not only go a very long way toward reversing our economic problems, but would at the same time free us from our “dependence on foreign oil” and the restrictions it places on our foreign policy.

But no. NOOOOOoooooooooooooo… Can’t have that! MUCH better to depend on “alternative energy” sources that no one can name, that don’t exist anywhere near the horizon yet, but that are for sure going to magically appear just in the nick of time, like the cavalry in an old Western movie.

Maybe the Vulcans will show up and share their dilithium crystal technology with us. That makes more sense than what I hear from the Left on the issue, anyway.

Beam me up, Scotty.

RJ:  Well Brian, I agree with you 100% if we would ever get a government with enough guts to do all the things about gasoline. But don’t you not think that the explosive nature of almost free Hydrogen could be solved by our chemist and engineers? After all since the Challenger I don’t believe we have had any other problems with our space craft. Just an idea I have had for many years and wanted to see what others thought about it. I like the idea of being the worlds biggest exporter of crude oil if we could ever make this come about. We need something to try to balance our horrible trade deficit.

ME:  Richard, I think it’s probably scientifically achievable. But I don’t think it’s a near-term solution. Here’s why.

Frankly, I don’t think such a thing as a “near-term” alternative solution is at all possible regardless of the political aspects. And I’ll quickly interject that I agree that politics are the ONLY reason we’re not energy-independent using our own oil. Let’s say, for the sake of argument, a breakthrough occurs and a viable and economic alternative magically appears on the scene. That doesn’t in any way address the fact that there are many hundreds of millions of gasoline-powered vehicles on the road, the seas, and in the air both here and all around the world. And those vehicles are going to be around for decades, at least.

We can’t wave a magic wand and make them go away, or be magically converted to the new energy source. Also, the energy dispersal infrastructure – the means of refueling the vehicles – consists of tens of thousands (at least) of gas stations. So, no matter what, there’s going to be a transition period that’s going to take a loooooong time to complete. All those vehicles are going to have to be replaced, and the gas stations are ALSO going to have to be replaced, with the new technology. We’re talking about God knows how much time, and many many trillions of dollars at all levels. Our technological world developed around combustion as the primary energy source, and primarily combustion of hydrocarbons. Even a hydrogen-based technology is going to take a very long and expensive conversion period.

Then add to that the fact that there’s no universally-applicable mode of energy production. Aircraft can never be powered by solar, for example. They’re always going to be combustion-based. Some ships can and do use nuke power; some use oil; some use diesel; some still use coal. Examples abound that illustrate the problem. New technologies can’t simply be imposed by fiat; they have to find their way in a complex system that has to adapt.

______________________________________________

That was our dialogue, and I think it nicely sums up the state of the issue, both politically and scientifically. Hopefully, if you managed to wade through the whole thing, you’ll have some ammo you can use if you enter into a dialogue on the issue with someone.

And hopefully it’ll influence your thinking as we move forward, both in this election year and as a nation addressing a very major issue in the long term.

(My thanks to all who participated in that email conversation. I hope you don’t mind my quoting you guys. It was great!)

 

© Brian Baker 2012