Wednesday, August 31, 2005

The Not-So-Noble Cause 

This is the follow-up to my post on Monday

The argument for today is: the American people were never asked whether they would commit their forces to overseas hostilities for the purpose of turning Iraq into a democracy (we committed them (a) to topple a terror-abetting tyrant who was credibly thought both to have and to covet weapons of mass destruction, and (b) to kill or capture jihadists who posed a danger to American national security). I doubt they would have agreed to wage war for the purpose of establishing democracy. Like most Americans, I would like to see Iraq be an authentic democracy – just as I would like to see Iran, Syria, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, etc. be authentic democracies. But I would not sacrifice American lives to make it so.

Typical leftist moonbat drivel? MoveOn.org propaganda? Michael Moore channeling through Al Franken?

No. It’s from conservative, National Review columnist Andrew C. McCarthy.

I take issue with his item (a). WMD was the “sizzle” Bush needed to sell his invasion “steak”, but I don't think he believed they were there. I think the only thing that Americans signed up for was item (b) – kill or capture radical Islamists and destroy their infrastructure.

I’ve tried since Day One to figure out why Bush felt the need to invade Iraq. I’ve never believed it was about stealing the oil fields. I don’t think that he’s was so stupid to think Saddam was truly a threat to the US. It was equally unlikely that he was so stupid to believe that Iraq was a terrorist hot-bed for al Qaeda. An invasion with 150,000 soldiers because Saddam did not fully comply with UN sanctions was simply preposterous.

No, there had to be something else. I think McCarthy hit on it: Bush believed that by forcing democracy upon Iraq, the world would become a better place. I think this is Bush’s, “Noble Cause”.

Noble, perhaps. But virtually impossible to attain.

Clearly, Bush and his handlers have demonstrated they know virtually nothing about the region. If they had read the CIA’s World Factbook on Iraq, they would have found that it is heavily Islamic. By taking a comparative religion class, he would have learned that Islam is not compatible with democracy, freedom of speech and religious freedom. It promotes a heavily, “top down” social structure, as opposed to a democracy being, “bottom up”. Authoritarian versus egalitarian. For this plan to work, it’s basic premise would have to include that Iraqi’s would renounce their religion en masse.

And there’s the rub. McCarthy again:

For what it’s worth, this is where I get off the bus. The principal mission of the so-called “war on terror” – which is actually a war on militant Islam – is to destroy the capacity of the international network of jihadists to project power in a way that threatens American national security. That is the mission that the American people continue to support.

As those who follow these pages may know, I have been despairing for a long time over the fact that the principal mission has been subordinated by what I’ve called the “democracy diversion” – the administration’s theory that the (highly dubious) prospect of democratizing Iraq and the Islamic world will quell the Islamists. (Aside: go ask Israelis if they think the fledgling “democracy” in Gaza and the West Bank – which is very likely to bring Hamas to power – promotes their national security.)

Now, if several reports this weekend are accurate, we see the shocking ultimate destination of the democracy diversion. In the desperation to complete an Iraqi constitution – which can be spun as a major step of progress on the march toward democratic nirvana – the United States of America is pressuring competing factions to accept the supremacy of Islam and the fundamental principle no law may contradict Islamic principles.

And that is the only type of government that had any type of chance of succeeding in Iraq. Instead of asking the Iraqi’s to renounce their religion for democracy, we’re pushing them towards the very thing we have set out to destroy.

What’s more, even if Bush’s Islamic Theocracy is a “success”, the warring factions of Kurds, Shi’a and Sunni will most likely dismantle whatever agreements are made. You see, Iraq had been cobbled together by none other than Winston Churchill in the 1920’s. It was analogous to the old Yugoslavia, and Saddam was the current version of Tito. Without an iron will (and the military muscle to enforce it), Iraq will split into 3 separate states.

My pro-war friends, you’ve been duped. Instead of bolstering our own borders, instead of crossing the borders of countries that house and support al Qaeda, instead of being straight with the American people with his plan to protect us against terrorist, Bush took advantage of your sense of patriotism. Of your desire to believe – to trust - your Commander In Chief.

He acted in a cowardly and dishonest fashion because he knew that, had he laid this plan out before the American people, it would have been rejected. So he lied to, distorted facts and misled the very people that put him in office.

That Noble Cause doesn’t look quite so noble now.


Monday, August 29, 2005

War Way-Back Machine 

I was going to write a post about the usually minor differences I have with most right-leaning people (with whom I agree with on most issues). The primary difference being the war in Iraq.

Instead, I'm going to re-post an essay I wrote on another site on March 19, 2003 - 2 days before our bombs started dropping. That will give a frame of reference (and show what a smart guy I am!) that I will use with my next entry.

March 19, 2003

Mr. President,

You're about to make a monumental blunder. This mistake will reverberate for ages. It is going to drive a wedge between us and a good part of the civilized world. You're about to act like the bully on the block, instead of the righteous Knight In Shining Armor.

And it won't do a damned thing about terrorism.

Oh, by the way, regarding the wedge with the civilized world, I don't give a damn about the French, though…

Just so you know, I'm far from being a pacifist. To the contrary. I wholly supported Desert Storm. I thought Afghanistan was thoroughly warranted (click here or here), and morally just. It was a job "well done", that made me proud to be an American. I simply cannot say the same for an invasion of Iraq.

This is not an endorsement of Iraq or Saddam. Give me a break. You've got the blessings of the country to send a Special Forces team to take the bastard out. Hell, blow the crap out of all of his Presidential Palaces, all at the same time. You just haven't convinced me that the commitment of this many troops is worth the risk.

Is Saddam a madman? Of course. Did he slaughter thousands of his people 12 years ago? Yep. Is he a threat to the United States? Not by a long shot. And that's the rub.

You see, I've read these long lists of reasons for invasion, and I can shoot holes in every one of them. Let's stay focused: This is supposed to be a war on terrorism. The last terrorist attack on the US was on September 11, 2001. It was planned and executed by members of Al-Qaeda. Show me a direct link to Saddam - just like you did for bin Laden - and I'd say, "Light him up". There is no link. [Note: And by the way, the Al-Qaeda guy that visited a doctor's office in Baghdad isn't a link. At least not a significant enough link to justify an invasion. If you're going to invade, you'd better make it a damned good reason. Not some guy getting his annual prostate screening.]

Before I take apart the Invasion Manifesto (gotta give it a cool name, don't ya?), I'll let you know my opinion as to when we should commit troops into harm's way. Obviously I'm not in a position to initiate these military responses, but I'd be willing to bet a good deal of the American public would agree with my reasoning. And we're the ones that vote you into, or out of, office.

Deconstruction of the Invasion Manifesto

The following is a list of a number of reasons our government and TV "Talking Heads" are using to justify the invasion of Iraq.

Hitler Similarity - "Saddam is the next Hitler", "If we had stopped Hitler in his tracks, WWII never would have happened", blah, blah, blah. You get the point.

Aside from each of them having some loose screws, this one isn't even close. If this had been said in 1991, it would have made sense. This is one of the reasons I personally supported Desert Storm. Not now. In the 1930's, Hitler had the strongest military in the entire world. Bar none. In 1991, Saddam had the (I believe) third largest standing army in the world (only behind China and Russia). Seriously scary stuff.

Now, Saddam's army is less than half the size it was in 1991. He has had virtually no military expenditures since he got bitch-slapped in Desert Storm. He has a fraction of his hardware that he had before Desert Storm started: Tanks: Then - 3,475; Post Desert Storm - 842. Armored Personnel Carriers: Then - 3,080; Post Desert Storm - 1,412. Artillery: Then - 2,474; Post Desert Storm - 279. Combat Aircraft: Then - 689; 2000 - 353. Total Troops: Then - 1,000K; 2000 - 375K. (I can't do a link to the source for this info. If you'd like it, email me, and I'll send you a copy.)

The No-Fly zone has worked very well. He is internationally impotent.

Hitler, indeed.

Containment, such as that used by the US in (former) West Germany and South Korea has worked very well. What would cause our government to believe it won't continue to work here?

He Possess Weapons of Mass Destruction/ Threat to US/Free World - Not quite sure what the definition of WMD is in reality. A hand grenade can kill 10 people. That's a mass. It seems to mostly mean nerve gas, biological and nuclear. We'll go with this definition until someone else comes up with something better.

Take a look at this picture from The International Institute of Strategic Studies [who happen to believe in the war, by the way... click image for bigger version]:

A good number of Middle Eastern countries are in the range of his missiles. If you look really, really closely, you can't see a single US state. Hell, not even a US Possession. Not a single one. Hmmm.

OK, so let's suppose he'll deliver them some other way. How? This stuff is pretty volatile, so you don't just fill up a backpack and deliver it. He doesn't have any long range missiles, and the monitoring we have in place won't allow that to happen. I just don't know, but if he was going to do this - deliver them into the American heartland - why didn't he do it sometime after 1997-98 when all of the inspectors were kicked out of Iraq? And why haven't the inspectors that are just now leaving found any traces of any of these weapons?

You know what? I'll bet that after the fighting starts, we WILL find some of these weapons. Maybe lots of them. So what? He has no way of delivering them against the American people.

Kills his own people/Tortures his own people - This really is a shame for the people of Iraq. It's been going on for 20+ years, AND THEY HAVEN'T DONE A DAMNED THING ABOUT IT. Why the hell would we commit troops to rescue a people that clearly don't want to be rescued? Boo-friggin'-hoo.

If life there sucks so badly, either leave or fight. If this is such a tragedy, let the Arab nations go in and kick his ass. This really sounds like a mission for the UN. The US can commit some troops for peace keeping. We can provide arms and training to "liberation forces", but this isn't our fight, because America isn't at risk.

It seems no one but us thinks this is a problem…..

UN Resolutions - Everyone agrees Saddam has broken 17 gazillion UN resolutions. Again, so what? He's not threat to us. Why do WE care, when the rest of the Security Council couldn't seem to care less?

What really gets me, Mr. President, is when you state (to paraphrase), "Saddam must comply with the vote of the Security Council." OK. So what the Security Council says Is Law. The Security Council now says they don't want to go to war over the resolutions. You say (again to paraphrase) "We're not governed by the UN." Sorry, Mr. President, you can't have it both ways….. at least you can't and still be respected by the American people, and be the moral leader of the world.

Al-Qaeda Connections - Other than minor brushes with some low-level people, this is non-existent. Bin Laden HATES Saddam. Saddam is secular, bin Laden want a religious state. Hell, bin Laden even recently called Saddam "evil" or "A Great Satan" - something usually reserved for the US or Israel.

If you want to stop Al-Qaeda, bomb the hell out of Saudi Arabia. At least there is a link with them.

Regime Change - God, I hope they're kidding about this one. Didn't we learn ANYTHING from Viet Nam? Or Nicaragua? If a people want to live under communism, or fascism or socialism, we have no right - moral or legal - to interfere in the internal affairs of another country. In fact, we have seen that all of those social/economic models DON'T WORK and will eventually fail by themselves.

Mr. President, the very first Marines said it all: "Don't Tread On Me".

Let Qatar be a model for us. The leadership of the country has "seen the light", and has started elections, women's rights - the whole can o' worms. Freedom finds a way to thrive.

We need to encourage, not force feed.

What would I do? The questions presumes that there is a problem. Our current course of action has been a success. Saddam has been bottled up for the last 12 years, not doing a damned thing to the US. He's not done a damned thing to his neighbors. He's not done a damned thing to his own people.

What's the problem again????


Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Dog Days 

The Socialist Mob Wins Another One....

Once Nanny gets started eating away at your property rights, she's tough to stop.

Many of you probably heard the horrible story a few months back about the 12 year old San Franciscan boy that was mauled to death by his pet pit bull. It was pretty gruesome. While she went to the store, his mother had put him in the basement, then barricaded the door to keep out one of the two pit bulls they owned. When she returned, she found the police and paramedics removing the shredded corpse that was once her son. It was so bad, they had to provide counseling to the police and paramedics.

Whenever something like that happens, Nanny gets her collective panties in a wad, and feels the over riding need to regulate. Instead of holding the individual responsible for his or her actions, Nanny smothers all of us with regulation (think: California gun or smoking laws) or legislates away property/personal rights.

California has now passed a law allowing cities to regulate your control over specific breeds of dog.

Many think this is reasonable. State Senator Jackie Speier stated,
"This bill will save lives, both human and canine, and will require more responsibility from dog owners," said Speier. "Who can be opposed to that?"

Bull shit.

It is incumbent upon the individual to take responsibility for their actions.
The bill would allow local governments to impose breeding restrictions, along with mandatory spaying and neutering, on certain breeds. The bill does not allow any dog breed to be banned but does roll back state law that prohibits cities and counties from passing laws targeting a breed of dog.

Tell me how spaying or neutering would have saved that boy. It couldn't, unless....

Unless, just like gun and smoking laws, the intent of the bill is to allow local jurisdictions the ability to make it so painful to participate in a given endeavor, that you, in essence, DO outlaw a legal activity.

Look what happened with smoking laws. It is perfectly legal to buy, possess and use cigarettes. But you can no longer smoke them indoors in any type of publicly accessible building, even if the building is private property (i.e., a restaurant or a bar) because it's just not right to "force" other patrons to inhale your gases. Nanny can't let the marketplace make the decision to patronize the establishments of their choice. No, we're just not smart enough or strong enough to make choices for our own good.

Many localities also ban smoking within a certain number of feet of entrances to publicly accessible buildings. San Francisco has banned smoking on all public beaches. Other cities are considering banning smoking in your own car if a child under 18 years old is present. In your own fucking car!

Yet, like mindless bobble-head dolls, we just nod and accept that Nanny knows best. "We don't want kids dying needlessly", we'll say knowingly to our friends.

We all know what will happen with the dog law. Socialist strongholds like San Francisco will slowly, but surely begin making it so expensive, or so regulation-burdensome to own any dog other than a de-toothed French poodle, that it will be a de facto ban. Nanny will have told you, once again, how to run your life, and you'll have accepted it.

Go on, roll over and play dead. Good boy....


Thursday, August 11, 2005

Hogs at the Trough 

"A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy, always followed by a dictatorship."”

-- Alexander Tytler, "Decline and Fall of the Athenian Republic"

We're killing ourselves and our way of life with our spending.

Our representatives show time and again that their votes can be bought. How in hell do you include funds to fix tourist beaches in an energy bill? You do it to garner votes, that's how.

Look at the upcoming federal transportation bill winding it's way through Congress. At nearly $300 Billion it is rife with abuse. Think about it: That's over $1,000 for every man, woman and child in America.

My favorite piece-o-pork has got to be a $223 million bridge to an Alaskan island.... that has 50 inhabitants. Alaska Rep. Don Young, chair of the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, earmarked the project as "high priority." Really?
Members of Congress stuffed the final legislation with more than 6,300 earmarks worth about $23 billion. "It's sort of like building highways by ransom," says Stephen Slivinski, a budget analyst at the libertarian Cato Institute. "They divide the spoils in exchange for a vote on the bill."

I just don't know how we stop this abuse. It is so ingrained into the "American Way" that we've come to expect our "slice of the pie". We vote representatives out of office that don't get us our share.

It is just part of the growing American psyche that expects the government to provide for us, instead of us providing for ourselves. We don't recognize that it's a vicious cycle that cannot be sustained. Those of us that work hard and pay taxes will not continue to be suckers paying into this Ponzi Scheme.

We will leave this country, and we'll take our money with us. This is looking more and more like the only responsible solution. If you can't cut off the cancer, you can at least starve it to death.


Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Illegal Alien = More Benefits 

This is simply mind boggling...

When I heard it on the radio, I thought it was a joke. It simply could not be true. Having been a banker for the past 28 years, I could not believe any bank would do something so risky, let alone so unpatriotic.

Yet, it was true.

Citibank, the largest bank in the world, is among a handful of banks that is lending money to illegal aliens to buy homes!
Now, with backing from some of the country's largest financial institutions, this newest effort to tap customers for the real estate market is moving to the nation's largest concentration of illegal immigrants:— California.
Historically, banks would not lend to illegals because the don't have a Social Security Number (SSN). Now, the greedy bastards see the hundreds of thousands of illegal vermin that are stealing jobs from citizens and legal aliens as an untapped market.
Lenders have a powerful incentive to find ways to get around those barriers: tens of thousands of potential customers. The National Assn. of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals estimates that more than 216,000 undocumented immigrants, including many who have been in the country for decades, could buy homes if they had better access to the market.
So let me get this straight: If you're here illegally - an admitted law-breaker - you will be given benefits - not having to show a SSN - that are not given to someone that has followed the rules?

Clearly, Citibank is quite proud of this new program they've become a part of:
"Citibank is the largest financial institution in the world," said Gary Acosta, a co-founder of the Latino real estate group. "They are interested in the business opportunity. They think it is the right thing to do. But they are probably not interested in getting involved in the public debate that's taking place right now."
Wow, real upstanding corporate citizens over there at Citibank.

Obviously, this should boil the blood of any any citizen or legal alien. There IS something you can do. First, if you have any accounts with Citibank, write them a letter, and tell them you will close your accounts if they do not stop participating in this program. If they won't stop, close the damned accounts.

Second, make this VERY public. Clearly, they are not interested in this becoming widely known. Those of us with blogs can do something about that. Write about this. If you get letters back from Citibank stating they will still be participating in the program, publish those letters.

Make them HURT by their participation in this program.


Friday, August 05, 2005

The Value of a Drivers License 

Here in California, there has been a good deal of debate over whether the state should issue drivers license to illegal aliens. Proponents say that the only reason for the licenses is to allow these poor, impoverished people the ability to get... auto insurance! Without a license, you can'’t get insurance. So by providing them with a license, we'’re actually doing ourselves a favor and making the Peoples Republic of California (PRC) a safer, happier place.

Those of us on the other side see it as nothing but a scam. These invaders of our borders, these people that disregard our laws, these people that depress the wages of citizens and legal aliens, want nothing more than legitimacy. They are criminals and need to be treated as such, not given a bonus for having NOT been caught at the border. If you have a drivers license, you have a valid form of identification. With valid identification, you have less likelihood of having your illegal ass thrown out of our country if you'’re ever stopped by the police.

Well, it seems as though us nay-sayers were right. The FBI uncovered a scam whereby California DMV employees were producing fraudulent, but valid licenses.
Three employees appeared in U.S. District Court in Oakland on Thursday on charges of conspiracy to commit fraud for allegedly accepting individual bribes of up to $4,500 in a scheme in which more than 200 fraudulent drivers licenses and ID cards were issued.

What? The illegals were paying upwards of $4,500 per license! And the license proponents will tell you that they were doing it just to be able to pay for automobile insurance. Yeah, and if you believe that, you are more stupid than medical science has the ability to correct.

Wake up, people! Whenever a friend, acquaintance or politician bring up this hare-brained idea, you need to stomp the crap out of them (verbally, of course) and show them the light.

Illegal aliens are BAD for California and America. No public organization should be in the business of making their life here any easier. Any public official that supports illegal aliens needs to be removed from office. It'’s up to us to get this done.


Thursday, August 04, 2005

Affordable Housing Hurts The Poor 

Welcome to OtherMikeSVille

I was reading an article about how San Francisco - the capital of the People’s Republic of California (PRC) – had set lofty new goals in developing affordable housing for the poor. Commissar Gavin Newsom (aka, Da Mayor) was all a-flutter. By 2010, the new goals should provide San Francisco with
… 15,000 new housing units, 5,400 of them going to low- and moderate-income households, because of several construction projects in the planning stages and a streamlining of the city's over-stretched Planning and Building Inspection departments.
Note: Over 1/3 of the units will be below market rate. That means someone has got to make up the difference.

The article goes on to describe how the “historic” plan will help the poor and help the City in meeting it’s mandated low-income housing requirements. Yeah, in PRC state law, cities are required to provide housing for their poor. In San Francisco, new project developers are required to set aside 12 to 17 percent of their development for sale at below-market-rate prices. Mandating below-market rates is nothing more than an additional tax on the developer. So much for our capitalist society.

If you have a lick of sense, you’re able to see that I strongly disagree with such policies. You probably think I do this because I’m some wicked slum lord or property developer, or I just don’t like poor people.

The latter is kind of close: I don’t like people being poor. Policies and laws such as those described above do nothing but keep poor people poor.

Let’s leave the PRC and go to OtherMikeSVille. It’s a capitalist’s haven. Market forces drive almost everything. The only time the Grand Poobah of Commerce gets involved with business is when monopolies abuse their power by forcing competitors out of the market by slimy means. Other than that, it’s pretty much hands-off by the government.

In OtherMikeSVille, there are no poor, unless they’ve made the choice to be poor. People that make minimum wage in the PRC, are driving SUV’s or sports cars in OtherMikeSVille. How can that be???

It’s very easy, really. We have a couple of rules. First, we strongly regulate and protect our borders. This ensures that citizens and legal aliens population are kept at levels to ensure that everyone that wants to work, can work. If the number of potential workers becomes too high, the number of legal aliens is cut back.

Next, we allow anyone to charge any price they’d like for any product or service. Do you want to price apples at $30 each? Do it. A Chevy truck for $250,000? Have at it! A 1 bedroom apartment for $30,000 a month? More power to you! Maid service for your home at $1,000 a week? You go girl!

You see, the purveyors of those products are the ones that have taken the risk in either growing or buying or building or getting the skills needed to provide you with something you need. You as a consumer then make the choice of whether or not you feel the price reflects value.

Every product or service is a commodity. Just like metals, where gold commands a greater price than copper because of it’s scarcity, purveyors of goods and services should be able to set their prices based upon what the market will bear. If they overprice themselves, they will not sell any products, and a competitor will emerge that will fill the need with properly priced goods.

Problems arise when do-gooder government types try and upset this balance, as in San Francisco when they mandate that a private developer sell part of his property at below-market rates. Let’s do some math and see what this does to the developer, to San Francisco, and ultimately to the poor.

For easy numbers, let’s say they must set aside 15% of a project at a 25% discount for the poor. You are building a 100 unit condo project and the market price for each would be $400,000. So, the market value of the project is $40,000,000. The give-backs would be 15 units (15% of 100 units) at $100,000 each (25% of $400,000) or $1.5 million.

In other words, the developer is taxed $1.5 million dollars that he would not have been taxed had he built his condos in another city. Who is going to pay for that? It may come out of the profits of the developer, but that’s not likely. He will probably raise the prices on the other 85% of people that buy in the complex. Or next time he’s going to build, it won’t be in San Francisco. The same goes for properties under rent control. Why would you maintain or improve a property where you can’t make a profit? You wouldn’t. Both of these conditions will lead to a scarcity of housing in San Francisco.

Now, the people that buy or rent the below market properties technically can’t afford to live there. They are living beyond their means. But because of this artificial economic condition – below market housing – they can stay, most often just barely able to provide for themselves on their wages. They have a subsidized roof over their head, are probably receiving government assistance for food, and are going to a government sponsored health clinic, so they have no incentive to leave. In fact, the government is incenting them to stay in their impoverished condition with all of these freebees.

If this were in OtherMikeSVille, they would have to move to some place where they could afford the rent or purchase price. What would that do to the job market? Suddenly, there would be a shortage of people that did formerly low-paying jobs, such as maids, landscapers, cooks – most service jobs. With a scarcity of people available to do these jobs, the resultant wages and benefits paid to them would increase. They would be paid whatever was needed to keep them available to do the jobs society wants done.

Our various government agencies need to see the damage they are doing to our people. While their intent may be pure, the results are disastrous. Socialist cities such as San Francisco are beginning to see the results of this “fix everything for everyone” approach.

For instance, they spend over $140 million each year on the homeless. This is a city with fewer than 750,000 citizens. The working citizens are sick and tired of paying for people that choose to be homeless in San Francisco because of the benefits they’ll receive. So the workers are leaving. In droves. The city is now in a panic because there are not enough families left to keep all of the schools open. With the dwindling tax base, they are targeting businesses to make up the shortfall. Not surprisingly, businesses are fleeing.

Soon, there will be no one left but the homeless and the politicians. They deserve each other.


Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act 

This crap just drives me crazy...

This is the text from an email I just sent to John Rothmann. He is a fill-in talk show host for KGO radio, in San Francisco.

One day last week, you were filling in for Pete Wilson, I believe.
One of your topics was the bill that the House and Senate passed that gave protection to the firearms industry.

I found it hard to believe that what you were saying was true: The firearms industry was getting lawsuit exemptions unlike any other industry. Regardless of the suit, it would be thrown out.

I had forgotten about it, but saw mention of the bill on the Internet this morning. It confirmed what I believed: You are nothing but a GFW (Gun Fearing Wussie) that is opposed to anything related to 2nd Amendment rights and the gun industry.

It literally took me 2 minutes to go to the Senate website and find the text of the bill. It took another 10 minutes or so to read the text. Clearly, this bill is not about protecting gun manufacturers and dealers against product liability lawsuits (as you said). In fact it specifically states that the manufacturers and dealers are not protected when fraud or faulty products are involved. What it does is protect them from GFW that sue them when their product works as expected, but is used by criminals in a criminal act.

The best example of this is the 101 California incident. It was a horrible, tragic event. But it was not the fault, in any way, shape or form, of the gun manufacturers. GFW such as yourself, got your panties in a wad, and demanded that something be done. Somehow, in your warped view of the world, it made sense to sue the manufacturers, because "Someone had to be punished". And they were sued, successfully. That is just plain wrong.

John, here's the link to the bill S.397:

Perhaps in the future, before you start talking out of your ass and passing along erroneous information, you'll do some research and present some actual facts.

What a concept, huh?

The Other Mike S.

I doubt that Mr. Rothmann will have the stones to respond to my email. If he does, I'll share his reply.


Monday, August 01, 2005

Random Searches Are Non-Negotiable 

Our Bill of Rights is not negotiable. Not one single part, not ever. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to the range.

Kim du Toit
In the past couple of weeks, I’ve had a number of rather heated arguments – primarily with so-called conservatives – about random security searches. Of course, this has all been brought up because of the recent bombings in London. It was further magnified when the New York City Transit Authority announced that they, too, would be conducting random searches of individuals entering subway stations.
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
I have noted that these random searches are plainly in violation of the Fourth Amendment. There can be little interpretation that for a search to be conducted, you must have probable cause and a sworn warrant.

Yet Americans have come to accept searches with nothing even approaching probable cause. We readily accept these violations in the name of public safety or to punish conduct which is unacceptable to some.

I believe this downward slide started in earnest with MADD and their support of roadside sobriety checkpoints. Because of the efforts of a few hyperventilating mothers that tragically lost children to drunk drivers, we find it acceptable to stop, question and search any driver that happens to be on a given stretch of road at a given point in time and doing nothing more than driving on that road.

The usual refrain is along the lines of, “If you’ve done nothing wrong, you should have no problem with the search”, or “If just one life is saved – and it may be YOUR child’s life – it’s worth the inconvenience”, or my favorite, “If I’m dead, I sure can’t enjoy those few freedoms I have left, now can I?”.

The same reasoning is used for random searches in the subway systems* and for searches without warrants as allowed in the USA Patriot Act.

What the defenders of these incursions of our rights fail to see is that we are slowly allowing the government more and more control over our lives. We’ve become so scared of any perceived threat that we gladly give up our freedoms in exchange for what we think is increased safety. What we fail to understand is that we gain nothing.

For instance, as we’ve seen in London – which, by the way, is not hindered by it’s own Fourth Amendment – you cannot stop a small group of individuals that want to do you harm. It just isn’t possible. (I read somewhere that during it’s heydays, the IRA had 200-400 active terrorists. The British government had over 10,000 troops committed to protecting the populous. They were not successful).

What is most galling is that by using profiling – for this application, it would be Middle-Eastern-looking males under the age of 35 that are wearing bulky clothing or carrying some sort of package or satchel – you could meet the requirements of the Fourth AND improve safety.

This is analogous to a driver that is weaving down the road. When an officer sees this, he has a reasonable expectation that the driver is somehow impaired. This profile (weaving drivers) provides the officer with the probable cause to pull the driver over and question him about why he is putting fellow drivers in jeopardy. His actions fit the profile of most drunk drivers.

The above-described Middle-Eastern-looking males also fit the profile of those that have done most of the terrorist bombings in the past. If the profile changes, you broaden or narrow the parameters of the individuals that will be stopped and questioned based upon those changes.

These random searches do nothing but provide some warped sense of fairness to social do-gooders and a false sense of security to the cowering masses. It is actually a gross waste of limited police resources. And of course, it is against our Bill of Rights.

Mr. du Toit was right. We need to stop negotiating away our Bill of Rights. Where would this country be – would it be at all? – had our founding fathers traded away freedom for security?

I shutter at the thought.

* I’ve purposely not included searches that are conducted at sports complexes or even for boarding an airline. Those are private organizations, and they can set any rules for admittance that they feel are effective. State-owned venues and searches conducted by agents of the state, are an entirely different matter.


It appears as though the Brits may be coming to their senses:
British Transport Police have been targeting specific ethnic groups for "intelligence-led" stop-and-searches as part of their heightened security measures.

BTP Chief Constable Ian Johnston said that his officers would not "waste time searching old white ladies".


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