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Friday, January 30, 2009

Gun Grabbers Delight 

Understand that all battles are waged on an unconscious level before they are begun on the conscious one, and this battle is no different. The power structure wishes us to believe that the only options available are those which they present to us, we know this is simply not true, and therefore we must redefine the terrain of this conflict, and clearly, it is a conflict of worldviews and agendas.
--Teresa Stover

It seems as though Representative Bobby Rush, Dem from Illinois, doesn't think much about your 'smarts'. Clearly, he doesn't think you have the wattage to see right through his attempt to paint a gun bill as "in the national interest" when in fact, it is nothing more than an attempt to make gun ownership illegal. Perhaps more ominously, a provision in the bill makes it illegal to not keep Nanny informed of your whereabouts.

H.R. 45, is touchingly titled, "Blair Holt's Firearm Licensing and Record of Sale Act of 2009." Blair Holt was a young man who used his body to shield another kid on a bus from being shot by some nut. He was a hero. This is a typical tactic of the gun grabbers: Use some horrific event as the justification for further diminishing our rights. We have the assault weapon ban because the gun grabbers used the 101 California Street shooting as justification.

Have all shootings by unbalanced people stopped as a result of that legislation? No. Crazy people will always find a way to kill if they want to. But voters and legislators always gets sucked in by this play on emotions.
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Let's break down this piece of legislative crap.

The official goals for this bill are:
(1) to protect the public against the unreasonable risk of injury and death associated with the unrecorded sale or transfer of qualifying firearms to criminals and youth;

(2) to ensure that owners of qualifying firearms are knowledgeable in the safe use, handling, and storage of those firearms;

(3) to restrict the availability of qualifying firearms to criminals, youth, and other persons prohibited by Federal law from receiving firearms; and

(4) to facilitate the tracing of qualifying firearms used in crime by Federal and State law enforcement agencies.
Lofty goals, perhaps, but impossible, especially considering what the bill actually does. In summary, the bill requires the following:

1. If you want to own a handgun, you must have a license. This doesn't only apply to new purchases. It doesn't matter if you have owned the gun for 100 years, or it was given to you by your now dead grandfather. Have the handgun without a license and you go to jail.

2. If you buy a gun, the federal government must be informed, and provide approval. The seller must verify your license number with the feds, who will then give the seller a reference number authorizing the sale. Records of every single gun sale in America will now be in the hands of the feds. It makes it a federal offense if you transfer a gun between private parties without first getting the nod from Nanny.

3. Title III is the "oh, there is some other stuff added" part of the bill. To me, the most ominous section has to do with Change Of Address requirements. If you have a firearms license and you decide to move, you must notify the feds of your new address, or you go to jail. The only logical way to get around this without becoming a federal criminal would be to give up your license - which means giving up your guns.
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One of the first things I thought about was, "How does the bill justify this federal incursion into our lives?" We have the Second Amendment that says we can possess firearms. The Ninth and Tenth Amendments say that the feds can't go into areas they're not specifically empowered to regulate. How do they get around this?

They do it by using commerce as the justification.
(1) the manufacture, distribution, and importation of firearms is inherently commercial in nature;

(2) firearms regularly move in interstate commerce;

(3) to the extent that firearms trafficking is intrastate in nature, it arises out of and is substantially connected with a commercial transaction, which, when viewed in the aggregate, substantially affects interstate commerce;

(4) because the intrastate and interstate trafficking of firearms are so commingled, full regulation of interstate commerce requires the incidental regulation of intrastate commerce;
This is the same justification used way back in the early 1900's with the Harrison Narcotics Tax Act of 1914. That bill had language that made it illegal for doctors to give narcotics to addicts by saying that drug addiction was not an illness. They started arresting doctors, drugs went underground, and it morphed into our failure of a War On Drugs. That's worked out well, hasn't it?
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So, how does this bill meet its stated goals? Of course, it doesn't.
(1) to protect the public against the unreasonable risk of injury and death associated with the unrecorded sale or transfer of qualifying firearms to criminals and youth;
It presumes that the unrecorded sale or transfer of handguns is the reason for death or injury by firearms. It's a false premise. It's like saying you are safe in a Gun Free Zone simply by posting a sign. Criminals don't follow the law. More laws will make no difference.
(2) to ensure that owners of qualifying firearms are knowledgeable in the safe use, handling, and storage of those firearms;
Stop! How does this fall under the Commerce clause of the Constitution? It doesn't. Therefore, the feds have no Constitutional power in this area.
(3) to restrict the availability of qualifying firearms to criminals, youth, and other persons prohibited by Federal law from receiving firearms; and
We already have laws that restrict gun ownership by criminals and youth. The sentence even acknowledges that. Nothing in this bill enhances the ability of the feds to enforce this goal. Nothing.
(4) to facilitate the tracing of qualifying firearms used in crime by Federal and State law enforcement agencies.
First off, this assumes that a criminal would use a gun purchased in his name in the commission of a crime. As has been factually proven time and time again, criminals use stolen guns to commit crimes (see GunFacts.info for details). Tracing and tracking the guns of law-abiding citizens will do nothing to help catch criminals.

Four goals, four failures. Sounds like par for the course for Congress...
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This bill is currently in committee. I went here yesterday to see the list of 40 committee members. Today, there is no list. WTF? I assume it is because we now have new committee assignments. Still, it makes it quite difficult to voice our displeasure with the bill when we don't know who to contact.

I must say that I like one part of the bill - kind of. The part that says you must demonstrate knowledge of how to use a gun. I think this is a reasonable requirement for the purchase of a new gun. Here in CA, you have to renew this certification every 5 years.

As an American that has been around the block a time or two, I would have to fight against even this type of legislation, though. I know that this information is used to track my purchase and ownership of guns by the government. Here in CA, although state law specifically notes that guns don't need to be registered, every purchase has the de facto effect of registering the gun, as your firearms certificate number has to be noted on every purchase - retail or not.

Welcome to legislation, California-style. Hell, you're all going to pay for our ineffective state government with the upcoming bailout, you might as well get to feel the warm embrace of California Nannyism.

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Wednesday, January 28, 2009

One Down... 

From an investor's perspective, my expectation is that those companies in which the government owns a piece will underperform those in which it does not.
--Jonathan Hoenig

Well, it seems as though the House has approved the $800+ billion "stimulus" package. Mostly along party lines, with a handful of Dems actually voting against it. The going looks to be a bit tougher in the Senate, but it will pass there as well.

This just kills me:
The president had been hoping for wide, bipartisan support for his program, but some Republicans have found fault with it, criticizing among other things a tax credit for the middle class that would also benefit workers who earn so little that they do not pay income taxes, even though they are subject to the payroll taxes for Social Security and Medicare.
It amazes me how the NY Times so whorishly services Obama. Wipe off your chin, you tarts. "Some" Republican's didn't find fault with the program, ALL of them did.

And the justification they try to lend to the plan to give an income tax return to people not subject to income tax! Social Security and Medicare are thrown in the story as a red herring. They have nothing whatsoever to do with income tax. Fucking cock suckers.
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I'm going to write my Senators, Feinstein and Boxer, to oppose the deal, but a lot of good it will do. Still, it's my only option.
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OT: I got an email alert from the FDIC explaining how they are flexing their bank nationalization muscle.

Some background first: Banks can accept deposits from anywhere in the US. A bank in San Francisco can take your deposit even though your residence is in Maine. You can do it in a number of ways, but most often it is via a process called "brokered deposits". The bank lists their interest rates with some services, and they put depositors in touch with you.

It tends to be expensive for the bank. You're dealing with large deposits - typically north of $90,000 - and the depositors tend to be fairly experienced investors (or retirees with nothing better to do than shop rates). If the going rate for deposits is 3%, brokered deposits typically pay a point or a point and a half above that - sometimes more.

It all depends on how badly the bank needs the capital.

The regulators have always hated these products. They have this vision of American banking where everyone uses their local, hometown bank, they have picnics with the bank president, the birds chirp and the children laugh loudly.

Banks that use these deposits usually have some sort of a high-return lending niche or below-average operating costs so they can still make a profit.

Nanny is now using this "banking crisis" as justification to yet further control the banking industry. If you're not a "well capitalized" bank, you currently are restricted by the amount of interest you can pay.
an insured depository institution that is less than well-capitalized may not pay a rate of interest significantly exceeding the prevailing rate in the institution's market area or in the market area from which the deposit is accepted. For out-of-area brokered deposits, the "national rate" - currently defined as 120 percent of the current yield on similar maturity U.S. Treasury obligations - determines conformance with the regulation.
The joke is, Treasury rates have plummeted because Nanny has purposely pushed them down. As a result, some banks were getting slapped by regulators because they were charging more than the "national rate".

Nanny To The Rescue! Did they get out of the way and just let banks set their own rates? Nope, they need to jam their fists even further up the asses of American banks. Going forward, Nanny gets to set the rate.
Recognizing that competition for deposit pricing has become more national in scope, the proposal would establish that the prevailing rate in all markets areas would be the FDIC-defined "national rate."
Fuck me hard.

Yeah, I trust Nanny to set the rates based upon an averaging of regional rates. Sure. And I trust Nanny to accurately report the inflation rate. And the joblessness rate. And all of the other economic indicators. Pretty soon, the calculation will include "seasonal adjustments" and other bullshit to justify dicking around with the numbers.

How long do you think it will be before this FDIC-defined national rate is what is used to set ALL interest rates? If you go above it, you'll get bitch-slapped like the Cash Checking joints did and be charged with "usury", "greed" and the ever-popular "racist!!"

I guess that won't be a problem once the banks are fully Nationalized, though. Nanny thinks of everything...
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I quit. I'm going back to a barter-and-trade system. I have no desire to have Nanny crawl even further up my ass than she already is.

Who needs some old banking handbooks and a bag of rice? You can wipe your ass with one and eat the other. Your choice.

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Tuesday, January 27, 2009

BOHICA* 

This bill delivers an additional debt burden of $6,700 to every American man, woman and child.
--Congressman Ron Paul

I was watching "Morning Joe" this morning - the only show on MSNBC I can stomach - and they had Ron Paul on to talk about all of this bailout fiasco.

They were looking at him like he was from another planet and had no concept what the words coming from his mouth represented.

Here are some paraphrases of the conversations:

Talking Head: You're advocating that we cut all personal and corporate income tax. How are we going to pay for roads, bridges, etc.?

Ron Paul: We're paying to bomb roads and bridges in Iraq and then paying again to rebuild them. I would use that money to rebuild our roads and bridges.
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TH: You're advocating that we don't need more government regulation in the financial industry. After what has happened, how can you let this slide without imposing more regulation to control the corrupt bankers and Wall Street types?

RP: We HAVE regulation that caused this problem by the government guaranteeing bad loans. Bernie Madoff did what he did WITH government regulation. After Enron, we enacted Sarbanes-Oxley to ensure this never happens again. Yet it happened. We have fraud laws. Prosecute and imprison them on these laws.
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TH: We have nearly double-digit unemployment. Don't you think there are any industries that need some capital investment? Like the auto industry?

RP: Yes, we need investment in the auto industry, but from private sources, not the government.

TH: But, but, but the private sources won't make the investment because the assets have no value.

RP: EXACTLY! Why should we invest public dollars in something with no worth?

[crickets chirping - quickly move on to next story]
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There was plenty of somber shaking of heads, signifying disagreement with the "Crazy Uncle". The concept of letting the market go through this correction is a foreign one to Nanny and the MSM.

Somehow, more manipulation of the private markets by Nanny makes perfectly good sense to most people involved.

"It's so far gone, ONLY Nanny can fix this."

"Yes, it's a good idea in theory to let the markets correct, but people are hurting NOW."

"....call for bold action...."

We're so screwed.
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If you don't subscribe to Ron Paul's weekly newsletter, you need to do so. Here, in its entirety, is his most recent issue. Someone tell me where he's wrong. [bold highlights are mine]
This week the House is expected to pass an $825 billion economic stimulus package. In reality, this bill is just an escalation of a government-created economic mess. As before, a sense of urgency and impending doom is being used to extract mountains of money from Congress with minimal debate. So much for change. This is déjà vu. We are again being promised that its passage will help employment, help homeowners, help the environment, etc. These promises are worthless. This time around especially, Congress should know better than to pass anything of this magnitude without first reading the fine print. There a many red flags that I have found in this bill.

At least $4 billion is allocated to expanding the police state and the war on drugs through Byrne grants, which even the Bush administration opposed, and the COPS program, both of which are corrupt and largely ineffective programs.

To help Big Brother keep a better eye on us and our children, $20 billion would go towards health information technology, which would create a national system of electronic medical records without adequate privacy protection. These records would instead be subject to the misnamed federal “medical privacy” rule, which allows government and state-favored special interests to see medical records at will. An additional $250 million is allocated for states to nationalize individual student data, expanding Federal control of education and eroding privacy.

$79 billion bails out states that haphazardly expanded their budgets during the bubble years, but refuse to retrench and cut back, as their taxpayers have had to, during recession years.

$200 million expands Americorps. $100 million goes to “faith-and-community” based organizations for social services, which will further insinuate the government into charity and community service. Private charities are much more efficient and effective because they are directly accountable to donors, while public programs tend to get rewarded for failure. With its money, the Federal Government brings its incompetence and its whims, while creating foolish dependence. This is sad to see.

Of course the bill is rife with central planning projects. $4 billion for job training, much of which will be used to direct workers into “green jobs”. $200 million to “encourage” electric cars, $2 billion to support US manufacturers of advanced batteries and battery systems, which is yet another function of government I can’t find in the Constitution. Not to mention $500 million for energy efficient manufacturing demonstration projects, $70 million for a Technology Innovation Program for “research in potentially revolutionary technologies” in which government, not supply and demand, will pick winners and losers. $746 million for afterschool snacks, $6.75 billion for the Department of Commerce, including $1 billion for a census.

This bill delivers an additional debt burden of $6,700 to every American man, woman and child.

There is a lot of stimulus and growth in this bill – that is, of government. Nothing in this bill stimulates the freedom and prosperity of the American people. Politician-directed spending is never as successful as market-driven investment. Instead of passing this bill, Congress should get out of the way by cutting taxes, cutting spending, and reining in the reckless monetary policy of the Federal Reserve.
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*BOHICA - Bend Over, Here It Comes Again - the new American slogan.

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Sunday, January 25, 2009

Free Toaster With Each Account? 

Ms. Pelosi said that if additional government funding to banks is required, the government should take an equity stake in banks that receive the funds so taxpayers could share in any gains as banks return to health.

If Congress is strengthening the banks, she said, “then the American people should get some of the upside of that strengthening.” But the House Speaker repeatedly objected to the term “nationalization” in describing the government investments.
Ahh. It's not Nationalization - that's Oldspeak. What's the Newspeak term for when Nanny buys equity stakes in banks?

Sell your bank stocks (if you haven't already done so). It seems as though the Nationalization of our banking system is a foregone conclusion, and your investment may soon be worth exactly "zero".

I happened to be watching three different politics shows this weekend - "The McLaughlin Group", "Charlie Rose" and "This Week". All three discussed bank Nationalization. They were all "when" discussions, not "if".

It seemed as though the overriding theme was, "since the American people are spending all of this money on banks, they may as well get some benefit." We deserve some sort of "return on investment". They all had their "talking points" well rehearsed.

Nanny has played this hand masterfully. It is now clear why there were no strings attached to the capital injections.

As was widely reported in the news, these "investments" were not accepted by the banks freely. Nanny held a gun to the heads of the bank CEOs and effectively told them, "play ball or never expect help at any time in the future." There was the un-spoken threat that future Safety and Soundness examinations would make a visit to the proctologist seem like a restful nap in a hammock.

As I've noted, this "An offer you can't refuse," approach has now been pushed down to the smallest of banks.

It is painfully clear that Nationalization of the banking industry was the objective all along.
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So what? What could possibly be wrong with this? Why is Nanny-As-Banker such a horrible thing?

Lending will be based upon social policy rather than financial viability. Remember: Government credit standards being forced down the throats of banks is the primary reason for this current crisis.

Congress and President Clinton changed the criteria for the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) to require banks to either provide "community grants" or to lend to those not likely to be able to repay the loans. Fulfill the American Dream by giving a home loan to anyone that wanted one.

Nanny then upped the ante by having Freddie and Fannie guarantee these loans in obscene numbers. The banks that were making these loans (and the investors that were buying them) now had 100% of the risk of default removed from their book. They would be insane NOT to make these loans.

Lending criteria will be based upon social agenda, not credit worthiness.

Does that seem unlikely? Obama adviser, former Labor Secretary Robert Reich, recently made a recommendation regarding the use of funds in the upcoming version of the bailout. In no uncertain terms, he stated that skilled, white males need not apply. Your race, and not your ability are all that matter.



If you don't think this kind of criteria will be set with bank loans, you haven't been in America very long. Or this planet.

Credit card purchases data will be owned by the government. There won't be any reason to get search warrants or other court orders to access and review your spending habits. Just as your current bank has unfettered access to your financial records, now will Nanny.

Check purchases and deposits made data will also be owned by Nanny. Every check you write, every debit card purchase you make and every deposit to your account will be 100% accessible by Nanny.

Just like banks and some stores do now, Nanny will be able to track all of your spending and travel patterns. Do you think that a purchase of ammo and plane tickets to Washington DC might set off some bells and whistles at the TSA security counter?

Plan on "guilty until proven innocent" becoming the norm.

Want to find out the names of the NRA membership? Track credit card purchases, and flag the NRA's checking account for all deposits. Since the advent of Check 21, most checks are now converted to digital format, so cataloging membership should be a breeze.

Who buys ammo? Who subscribes to self-sufficiency magazines? Who takes self-defense classes? Who belongs to libertarian/constitutionalist clubs, organizations or political parties?
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Let's take a look at the Ten Planks of the Communist Manifesto Scoreboard to see where we stand:

1. Abolition of property in land and application of all rents of land to public purposes. Done. Kelo wrapped this one up nicely. If Nanny wants your property because you're not paying enough taxes, be prepared to hand over the deed.

2. A heavy progressive or graduated income tax. Done. What are we up to now - 5 months of salary to pay the average tax bill?

3. Abolition of all right of inheritance. Pending. In 2010, the inheritance tax effectively drops to zero for one year, then the sky is the limit. Do you think Barry and his cronies in Congress will eliminate the tax all together or jack it up sky-high?

4. Confiscation of the property of all emigrants and rebels. Done. Not limited to emigrants or rebels. In addition to Kelo mentioned above, our asset forfeiture laws allow Nanny to take your property simply by accusing you of a crime - no conviction necessary.

5. Centralisation of credit in the hands of the State, by means of a national bank with State capital and an exclusive monopoly. Done. We already have the Federal Reserve and the few loose ends - taking the rest of the "private" banks is just around the corner.

6. Centralisation of the means of communication and transport in the hands of the State. Done. The Department of Transportation, the FAA and the FCC control every aspect of communication and transportation in our country.

7. Extension of factories and instruments of production owned by the State; the bringing into cultivation of waste-lands, and the improvement of the soil generally in accordance with a common plan. Pending. Through the use of pro-communist union labor laws, businesses find themselves unable to conduct their affairs in a profitable manner (which is the purpose of a for-profit business). Farm credits and subsidies actually dictate to farmers what to grow or raise each year, NOT the marketplace. Once the Card Check is approved, we can move this one into the "Done" column.

8. Equal liability of all to labour. Establishment of industrial armies, especially for agriculture. Done. We're all liable for our fellow brother's welfare - AKA minimum wage. Regardless of your skills or knowledge, Nanny makes sure you get a supposed "living wage". Of course, the actual result is you have no incentive to better your skills or knowledge.

9. Combination of agriculture with manufacturing industries; gradual abolition of the distinction between town and country, by a more equal distribution of the population over the country. Done. Think the mega-agriculture companies - ADM, ConAgra, etc. The force-feeding of city "values" down the throats of people living in rural areas (you know, you people with the bad cows that fart and kill the planet).

10. Free education for all children in public schools. Abolition of children's factory labour in its present form. Combination of education with industrial production, etc., etc. Done. What better way to control the thought process than to control the message?
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Hmmm. Take care of that pesky inheritance issue and put a ribbon on Card Check, and the socialists can cheer, "Yatzee!!"

At least they already have a plan for the re-education camps.

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Saturday, January 24, 2009

Caught Up In The Moment 

Security represents your sense of worth, your identity, your emotional anchorage, your self-esteem, your basic personal strength or lack of it.
--Stephen R. Covey

Hermit had an entry on his site about how CNN was actually selling pro-Obama T-shirts ("Obama raises a hand, lifts a nation") on their website. That's right: A supposed news organization is promoting the living Canonization of a public official of whom they are supposed to be critical.

What caught my eye, though, was the lead article. It was about a shooting in Miami. There aren't any details as to whether it was some whack job or some sort of gang-related shooting. What caught my eye was this quote from the mayor of Miami:
"These are weapons of war, and they don't belong on the streets of Miami or any other street in America," Mayor Manuel Diaz said.
The Brady Bunch is going to have a field day with this. I hope the NRA and Gun Owners of America are ready to present a counter-argument. They cannot let the sure-to-materialize onslaught to unchallenged.

If I were running the PR department of either organization, here's the press release I'd send out tonight:
The recent shooting in Miami which resulted in two deaths and a number of injuries is horrific, and the NRA/GOA sends its prayers to the families of all involved.

Rest assured that the NRA/GOA will not stand idly by when such unlawful acts are committed. We have sent an emergency email alert to all (state membership number) of our Florida members asking them to offer all possible assistance to law enforcement, hopefully leading to the prompt arrest and conviction of the perpetrators of this crime.

The NRA/GOA has always been a staunch supporter of stiff, no-parole sentences for the unlawful use of firearms in America. We will continue to use our considerable resources in the support of these laws.

We are troubled by comments by the Mayor of Miami, the Honorable Manuel Diaz. We believe he is over-reacting to the incident with calls for the confiscation of legal firearms owned by law abiding citizens.

The United States Constitution guarantees the right of all citizens to, "keep and bear arms." It does not qualify that guarantee.

If a firearm is allowed to be possessed by one segment of society - law enforcement officials, for instance - possession must be allowed for all citizens.

As our Declaration of Independence so eloquently states:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
American society is not one that looks favorably upon government officials advocating the destruction of personal liberties. We vote loudly and consistently to remove them from office to be replaced with liberty-loving representatives.

It is our sincerest hope that, once the emotion of this horrible illegal act has subsided, Mayor Diaz will once again embrace the letter of the law, and the spirit of our great Constitution.

This press release or something similar is unlikely to materialize. If you are a member of the NRA or GOA, suggest to them that they make it happen.
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Friday, January 23, 2009

"Hope Dope" 

It is not heroin or cocaine that makes one an addict, it is the need to escape from a harsh reality.
--Shirley Chisholm

Wow. Shirley hit it on the head with that one, huh?

Some pinhead made a comment chastising me for having the gall to even consider a comparison between 1930's Germany and current times. I suggested to him that he might benefit by actually reading some history so he could make an informed slam on me.

I stated he must be high on "Hope Dope".

Hope Dope, of course, is the current flavor of narcotic being peddled by the Obama crew: Think "irrational exuberance," with a hit heroin and of a pinch of Mary Poppins.

Your head is swimming, and you're swooning like a high school freshman girl preparing for a date with a studly senior. Your heart is all a-flutter with the emotion of the moment. You push aside your fears and common sense, and ignore his well known acts of the past.

You're special
, and you won't let anyone or anything ruin the moment.

The Hope Dope gets slipped into your soda, and well, the result isn't pretty...
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I am now officially an NRA Certified Instructor in Basic Pistol. Very interesting process, which I think I'm going to keep under my hat for a couple of reasons. At least for a while.

I scored a 100% on the trainers test, and a 98% (one missed question) on the pistol exam. My answer wasn't actually wrong, I just repeated it twice in a multi-answer question!

The owner of the training business has already offered me three training jobs (woo hoo!), but I'm guessing he'll view them as "learning experiences," as I don't believe I can officially teach a class by myself until my certificate shows up in 2-3 weeks. I'll probably take him up on the offer to simply get some "face time" in front of an actual class to help me with my timing and content development.

I must say, I am very impressed with the NRAs training process. Very structured with ubber focus on safety.

As part of my training, I had to take a student to the range as his instructor. We had the target at 5 yards, and his first 5 shots were all over the place. After 50 shots, while he wasn't "driving nails", he was shooting a 4 or 5 inch group. The NRA diagnostic process was very helpful.

Reader 'quietpatriot' was kind enough (thank you!) to send a link for the Caswell Handgun target analysis guide (PDF, here) that I'm going to try and incorporate it in my instruction as well.
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It is getting much uglier at the Oakland PD. The FBI is now sniffing around. It seems as though the guy appointed by the Chief to run Internal Affairs may have killed a suspect that was in custody. Cover-ups abound.
The FBI is investigating allegations that the head of the Oakland Police Department's Internal Affairs Division almost nine years ago beat a drug suspect who later died, and then ordered subordinate officers to lie about it, according to police sources, some of whom federal agents recently have interviewed.
There could be a good explanation, but it sure seems like a lot of corruption charges are coming from a lot of different sources regarding a lot of different issues.

A friend of mine is an Oakland cop, and one of the accusers in one of the cases. All I can say is, HE is a stand-up guy who I don't believe would make such charges out of revenge (as is being alleged in the counter-charge propaganda) or any other reason other than the corruption he is seeing makes him physically ill.

Oakland has a program with the slogan, "live - work - play - invest". Kind of pedestrian. As a public service, I'm going to GIVE Oakland a new city slogan.
Oakland: New Orleans Of The West - Without The Fun Of Marti Gras.
Maybe Oakland should sprinkle some Hope Dope in the police department. I'm sure it will make everything all better...

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Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Shootin', Shuckin' and Jivin' 

The strength of the Constitution lies entirely in the determination of each citizen to defend it. Only if every single citizen feels duty bound to do his share in this defense are the constitutional rights secure.
--Albert Einstein

Shootin'

I started the first part of my NRA Basic Pistol Instructor's class yesterday. I picked up a couple of things - technique-wise - but it was mostly about how to present gun safety and shooting techniques, The NRA Way.

I must say, the most surprising thing was the income potential that seems to be there. We ran some numbers, and even part-time teaching can bring in a decent amount of cash. There are some logistics to work out, but I'm quite optimistic.

One thing that pissed me off about the instructor was that he was constantly taking phone calls, even in the middle of the class. He has no one answering the phones - he's the whole kit and kaboodle. I understand he's trying to run a business, but it was breaking up the flow of the class from people he already had money from. It was a bit unprofessional in my opinion.

Still, answering one of those calls paid off BIG TIME for him. It was a call from a major software company that is the biggest operating system coder in the world - any guesses? He booked a "morale building" gig for 80 people. It will last 4 hours and he will gross $10,000. Probably net himself $5,000 for half a days work after paying hired-on instructors and range expenses.

The class will be on "assault weapons", so I can't scam my first gig from him! Still, pretty impressive.
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I found it VERY interesting that, to teach the Basic Pistol class, the instructor does not need to demonstrate shooting proficiency prior to certification. You can just list classes you've taken and experience you have. You just need to take the class, pass the test and obtain the recommendation of the Training Counselor (the Instructor's instructor).

Now, my Counselor did take me to the range and I had to show that I knew what I was doing, but that seemed like an odd omission to the certification process.
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I picked up a nice tip while we were at the range. I don't know why he shared it with me, because we never used the technique - but it fit in perfectly with one of my personal training gigs.

I had mentioned a couple of weeks ago that one of my training routines was to start with the gun in the Low-Ready position (both hands on the weapon while it is pointed downward), bring the gun up rapidly, acquire the target and shoot.

He said that he had gotten this from a "group of Israelis" (his fiance is Israeli).

You start with the gun in the Low-Ready position, but you tilt the gun perhaps 45 degrees to the right (if you're a right-handed shooter). When you bring the gun up to fire, it is brought naturally into a straight position. I guess the idea is that it is normal for your strong hand to muscle the gun "over the top" and it normally ends up tilted to the left when in the firing position.

I haven't yet tried this, so YMMV, but it seems to make sense.
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Shuckin'
....help us work for that day when black will not be asked to give back, when brown can stick around, when yellow will be mellow, when the red man can get ahead, man, and when white will embrace what is right.
That is part of the hate speech spewed by racist preacher Joseph Lowery. Of course, the media paints him as, "a civil rights icon and a pastor".

The press is trying to put lipstick on this pig of an old racist bastard.
Lowery implored God to help Americans make "choices on the side of love, not hate, on the side of inclusion not exclusion, tolerance not intolerance."
I guess that doesn't include blacks. It is still socially acceptable to make whites targets of reverse racism.

Go fuck yourself, preacher.
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Jivin'

I'm trying not be be ubber-paranoid today, but why isn't a clip from last night's Daily Show up on YouTube yet? Not politically correct enough?

On the show, Jon Steward and one of the other "correspondents" were having a discussion about Barry's speech. The correspondent was mocking the MSM and being all giggly about how wonderful everything was, and how Obama had given us all kinds of hope.

Stewart, to his credit and my shock, played a clip from Barry's speech, then ran one from Dubya that used virtually the exact same words. It was hilarious.

They ran a good four or five tandem clips. The correspondent had a great line at the end. It was something to the effect of, "Why are you doing this? You're ruining, 'Hope Day One'".

I nearly wet myself!
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UPDATE:

Here's the clip I was discussing above. The part I was referrencing starts at 1:21.

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Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Shared Sacrifice? 

sac·ri·fice (sāk'rə-fīs'): The act of offering something to a deity in propitiation or homage, especially the ritual slaughter of an animal or a person.
The buzz phrase all across the "news" stations this morning is "shared sacrifice". The press is just eating this up. This is the code word - the propaganda tool - to let us know that we're going to have the screws put to us. To those of us that pay taxes, that actually do something to provide for ourselves and our families. We're all going to be asked to "give a little bit more" to get us out of this mess.

It is a very clever use of the word. When we think of sacrifice, we think of selfless acts of personal heroism. "The firefighter sacrificed his life to pull the baby from the burning building."

The word has a strong pull on Americans. We are a very generous society, and if asked, Americans will give.

But that's not what we're going to get. It is not sacrifice if it is imposed. That is called "coercion" or "despotism" or "totalitarianism". We will have no choice. Our money will be taken, not sacrificed.
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I'm not a big history buff, but I read a fair bit. I'm a big believer in the phrase, "those who don't learn from history are bound to repeat it." I've been seeing a frighteningly similar euphoria for Obama that Germany held for Hitler.

On March 23, [1933] the newly elected Reichstag met in the Kroll Opera House in Berlin to consider passing Hitler's Enabling Act. It was officially called the "Law for Removing the Distress of the People and the Reich." If passed, it would in effect vote democracy out of existence in Germany and establish the legal dictatorship of Adolf Hitler.

Brown-shirted Nazi storm troopers swarmed over the fancy old building in a show of force and as a visible threat. They stood outside, in the hallways and even lined the aisles inside, glaring ominously at anyone who might oppose Hitler's will.

Before the vote, Hitler made a speech in which he pledged to use restraint.

"The government will make use of these powers only insofar as they are essential for carrying out vitally necessary measures...The number of cases in which an internal necessity exists for having recourse to such a law is in itself a limited one," Hitler told the Reichstag.

He also promised an end to unemployment and pledged to promote peace with France, Great Britain and the Soviet Union. But in order to do all this, Hitler said, he first needed the Enabling Act. A two-thirds majority was needed, since the law would actually alter the constitution. Hitler needed 31 non-Nazi votes to pass it. He got those votes from the Catholic Center Party after making a false promise to restore some basic rights already taken away by decree.

A glimpse into our future? Only time will tell.

Will Barry ask for his own, "Enabling Act" with a promise to use it judiciously?

Or will the "shared sacrifice" come to mean the destruction of personal freedom and responsibility?

Will "dissenting voices" be silenced as they eventually were in Germany?
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I typically love this day - Inauguration Day. It shows all Americans, and the rest of the world that it is possible for a civilized nation to have a controlled, peaceful transfer of power. No one does this as well as us.

I just don't feel the joy or pride today. I feel apprehension, trepidation and anxiety.

I didn't vote for Dubya because I had a bad gut feeling about him. He seemed weak and contrived. I didn't believe him to be a strong man, but one easily manipulated. My fears proved well founded.

I see similar traits in Obama. I didn't vote for Obama partially because he struck me as all charisma and no substance. As Texans say, "All hat and no horse". A leader with charisma can lead you down the path of destruction much more quickly than one having his strings pulled.

Just ask any Germans that were around in 1933.

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Monday, January 19, 2009

Schoolgirl Crush 

The press should be not only a collective propagandist and a collective agitator, but also a collective organizer of the masses.
-- Vladimir Lenin

What in the hell is going on with the press and Obama? Look, I get it that people voted for "change", but this press coverage of Barry's coronation is honestly starting to worry me. The press is fairly "giggly" with the guy.

It seems unimportant to them that about half of America didn't vote for the guy. It's All Barry All The Time.

And where did all of these stations suddenly get all of these black reporters and commentators? Holy shit, it's Political Correctness Gone Wild.

My concern is that he WON'T be able to deliver what he's promising. It's like everyone is getting ready with extended hand, palm up. If he is unable to give everyone their pot of gold, he's going to get hammered. Ugly social unrest. People will pine for the, "good old Dubya days".

The only person I've seen question any of this is Sean Hannity (whom I personally cannot stand). There may be others, but he's the only one I've seen. The "Barry As Lincoln" stuff is so over the top.

He's got a boatload of pending Executive Orders to start his administration. It will be interesting to see which ones are at the top of the list.
President-elect Barack Obama will convene a meeting of his top economic advisers on Wednesday, his first full day in office, as the incoming president immediately tries to put the financial crisis at the center of his agenda, senior aides said.

Three aides said Obama is planning an ambitious first week that will include several other high-profile moves: a Wednesday meeting with military brass to map out a change to the mission in Iraq, appointment of at least one envoy to deal quickly with the Mideast crisis and issuance of executive orders on issues ranging from the environment to the detainment of terror suspects.
Apparently, the rest of the world wants a piece of the action as well.
When Barack Obama is sworn in as the 44th president of the United States, the wish list that has been building abroad may have grown longer than he or anyone else can deliver.
It will be interesting to see how long the "honeymoon" lasts with the press. Too long, I fear...
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I was very glad to see that Bush commuted the sentences of the border patrol agents that popped a cap into the ass of the Mexican drug dealer.
In perhaps his final act of clemency, President George Bush has just commuted the prison terms of two former U.S. Border Patrol agents convicted of shooting an unarmed Mexican drug smuggler who fled across the Rio Grande after they stopped his van with 743 pounds of marijuana.
I wish he had pardoned them out-right, but this beats a stick in the eye, and they'll be out in a month.

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Saturday, January 17, 2009

A Taste of Freedom, and A Desire For Nanny 

Freedom in general may be defined as the absence of obstacles to the realization of desires.
--Bertrand Russell

I got to experience what it's like to live in a free state for a couple of hours today. I carried my baby Glock 26 for the first time in public. It's funny, our hotel is literally right on the CA/NV border. If I cross the street the wrong way, I'd be breaking the law.

I used my concealment T-shirt with a loose untucked shirt on the outside. Virtually no printing, but by the time I got back to our room, it seemed as though the holster was slumping a bit from the weight of the gun.

I was very self-conscious. It felt like I had this big bulge under my arm that was screaming out to everyone! I guess it takes getting used to.
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The weather up here is absolutely spectacular. Bright blue skies with just a couple of clouds, temperatures in the 50's. The skiers up here are pissed - not enough snow.

Here is a picture of a wide spot in the road on the way to Tahoe called Strawberry (what do you expect in CA?!).


Here is the view of Lake Tahoe from our room. It looks a bit dark because I had to shoot the picture through tinted windows.

Man, they're doing a lot of building up here. Too bad - it's such a beautiful area.

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We have a theme for our trip: Old Fashioned. Appropriate for my birthday, I guess. Every place we go, my first cocktail has to be an Old Fashioned. Yeah, I'm sick of them....

We gambled for a few hours yesterday. We all got beat up pretty well at the table games early on. I went back out around midnight to play some Texas Hold Em. I crushed 'em! I'll just say I'm now in the black.
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I just flipped on CNN in our room. They're covering the coronation inauguration train trip. Here are three quotes - back to back - from people that were asked about their impressions of Barry:

Eleven year old kid: "He's the best president ever." Thirty-something adult: "We know he's going to give us a lot." Ten year old kid: "I think he will give us a lot."

They're now rambling on about how he didn't "pull himself up by the boot-straps", he was given race-based grants and scholarships. Blah, blah, blah. Selling the Nanny State. You can only succeed if Nanny gives you a leg-up.

Gimme, gimme, gimme. We're so screwed.

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Friday, January 16, 2009

Come One, Come All 

The most dangerous area where our laws are not being faithfully executed are the laws designed to protect Americans against the millions of aliens who enter our country illegally every year.
--Phyllis Schlafly

One more step down the slippery slope.

Yep, the provincial capital of The People's Republic of California - San Francisco - is finding yet another way to spit in the eye of US law and squander the resources of its citizens. Really, they are squandering all of our resources.
The Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to issue municipal identification cards to city residents - regardless of whether they are in the country legally...
Why aren't the supervisors being rounded up and thrown in jail for Aiding and Abetting criminals? The term, "illegal alien" should be a dead give-away. They're here illegally. The supes are knowingly assisting them.

Consider a bank robber. If you knew someone had just robbed a bank, and you provided them aid and comfort to evade arrest, you'd go to jail. Why isn't this happening, en masse, to the government officials in SF?
Supervisor Tom Ammiano, who authored the ID card legislation, said the program is a smart public safety measure because it would make residents living on the social margins of San Francisco more likely to seek the help of police and could give them more access to banking services.

"People are afraid to report crimes," Ammiano said, referring to illegal immigrants who avoid local law enforcement authorities over fear of being arrested or deported by federal immigration officials.
No, you socialist piece of shit, a "smart public safety measure" would be to have them deported. In that way, the law would be followed, the illegal aliens would not have to worry about being the victims of crimes, and WE wouldn't have to worry about being a victim of THEIR crime.

And the law doesn't just apply to city services. They are forcing their socialist policies on private business.
The legislation would require companies holding city contracts to accept the municipal card as a legitimate form of identification...
Amazingly, one supervisor actually voted against the measure. Good luck at the next election, fella.

Supervisor Sean Elsbernd voted against the measure, saying his opposition was primarily financial because the city doesn't know how much implementing the program will cost. "Next year's budget is not going to be pretty," Elsbernd said. "With all the services included, this could shortchange our budget discussion."

The San Francisco County Clerk has estimated the cost of the program could range between $1.07 million and $2.86 million in the first three years, much of that for staff to process the cards.

Upwards of $3 million for administration! It is going to cost shit-load more than this when all of the "free" services are included. When are people in that shit-hole going to stand up and say, "ENOUGH!"?

Oh wait, they are. With their feet.
The population of 25 to 34 year olds in the city dropped by 28.26 percent from 2000 to 2006, from 180,418 to 129,430, according to the U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey. San Francisco County's population of 25 to 29 year olds dropped by 43.5 percent from 2000 to 2006, and its population of 30 to 34 year olds dropped by 12.8 percent during that period, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
Amazingly, SF actually saw a slight increase in their overall population from 2004-2006. What I find interesting is the age groups listed above is the group of people that are just getting started making and building their careers. Making more money, and seeing a huge chunk coming out of their pay checks. Movin' on out!

Great plan, SF. You reap what you sow.

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Thursday, January 15, 2009

Foreclosure Spike 

We don't have a trillion-dollar debt because we haven't taxed enough; we have a trillion-dollar debt because we spend too much.
--Ronald Reagan

There has been a lot of news about how foreclosures are going through the roof.
U.S. foreclosure filings in 2008 rose 81% from 2007 and tripled from 2006, RealtyTrac reported on Thursday. A total of nearly 3.16 million foreclosure filings -- measured by default notices, auction-sale notices, and bank repossessions -- were reported in 2008.
Historically, foreclosures have been the result of some sort of bad financial circumstance being visited upon the home owner. They lose a job. They get a big medical bill. Something along those lines.

You stop making your payments because you don't have the cash flow.

My gut tells me that a large number of the current foreclosures are from another cause. As I noted in my last post, sometime in the near future, I'll be walking away from my home because it is worth less than my outstanding loan.

I have the cash flow to continue making my house payment. Now, instead of that payment being a partial pay-down of the loan amount - and a corresponding increase in my equity - my payment is nothing more than a rent payment that gives me a tax break.

I'm certainly not going to write my bank a check with lots of commas and zeros to "make things right". I'll be using that money as a down payment on another home.
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How many home owners are in my exact situation? Many millions, I'd guess.

I would like to know how many of the current foreclosures are on homes where the equity has simply evaporated and the people just need to move on. They have jobs and cash flow, but for a number of reasons, need to move. There's no need to try and sell the property. There's no there there.

Yep, you're going to take a hit to your credit, and Nanny will be visiting you with a tax bill for the "income" you received - debt forgiveness is taxable. My calculations say that this is typically more financially beneficial than the alternative. And the credit "ding" only last 3 years, tops, if you play your cards right (Mike's How-To's). With some FHA programs, credit is not even considered.
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I've noted before that the ONLY way for this decline in real estate values to stop NOW is for the government to guarantee refinance programs where the negative equity is absorbed by Nanny. Give this bailout money to people instead of institutions (who WILL get it, once they get a check from Nanny).

I am NOT advocating this - I just think it's the only way to stop this slide. I will say, though, that if we are going to continue with this bailout orgy, I would prefer it was used like this instead of being dumped into banks directly. This way, individuals AND banks/investors would benefit.

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Ruminations 

Two score and ten years ago, my father (and mother) brought forth on this continent, a new baby, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that I would eat them out of house and home.
Yep, I'm fifty years old today. Five decades. Half a fucking century. Gawd, that's depressing!

My wife and I, and some of my favorite people on this earth will be taking a trip to South Lake Tahoe tomorrow for a weekend of debauchery. Well, as much debauchery as a guy of my advanced age can, uhm, debauch. As usual, I'll be bringing my laptop on the trip. I'll try and take some pix to share.

Three of my oldest friends won't be able to make it, though. One is my buddy that had the car crash. He ain't goin' nowhere. The other two just recently found out about the trip when I did (which was late last week). A planning mis-queue.

Emmett & Trash: I'll send pictures. Naked. I just can't promise who they'll be of....
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I got an AARP card and application in the mail a couple of days ago. Fuck that - right into the shredder. Maybe next year once I'm over the mental anguish of being eligible for the "senior discount". Damn, that hurts.

I also got an NRA card and application. I got online and am now a member (albeit hesitantly). I kind of need to do it to get the NRA Instructor's certification. They say it's not a requirement, but I'm not that stupid. It's required.

Maybe my screaming at them will be more successful from inside the gate than from the outside.
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The weather in Tahoe looks to be spectacular. I don't ski, but I drink, smoke, eat and gamble, so I should have enough to keep me busy. The good weather should allow us to travel between north and south shore casinos without much worry of black ice.
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It really stuns me to think I'm 50. On a kind of creepy note, my dad died when he was 55. My lifestyle is significantly different than his was. I work out every day, actually only drink one or two times a week (tops - although that won't be the case this week!), and am generally much more active and aware of what can fuck up my body. Still, it's there in the back of my mind.

I DO need to stop smoking. Just not this weekend...
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In my head, I'm still 25 or so - only shit-loads wiser, I hope! It's hard to explain. I can go from tight-assed exec to "pull my finger" in a flash. Sometimes too quickly...
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This weekend will be the first time in my life I'll be able to carry a weapon concealed on my person (I have a UT non-resident CCW which is valid in NV) and not have to worry about going to jail. How fucking sad is that?
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Me and ol' Martin Luther King were born on the same day, exactly 30 years apart. His, "I have a dream," speech is still one of my favorites. The ideal of being evaluated by your deeds and not your genetics is one of my strongest held beliefs.

What a pity Reverend Al, Reverend Jesse and Reverend Jeremiah (Wright) don't feel the same way...
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My mom took her boy out to lunch for his birthday today. She's still got her mental facilities all intact, but she's breaking down, physically. Just as I (think) I learned some lessons from my dad's death, I've learned some from her as well. Stay physically active. Use it or lose it, is a fact.
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I miss my old man. He was funny, quick witted, the most loyal friend or worst enemy, and could see through bullshit like it was glass. Great traits to have as a cop. And as a father.
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I was thinking about how this recession/depression has impacted my life. I've come to the realization that when we move sometime in the not-so-distant future, we'll just be leaving the keys on the doorstep. It will be eight to ten years before our value will equal our mortgage, and that just doesn't fit into our plans. We "lost" an unimaginable amount of money.

I put lost in quotes because we never really had it. We played by the rules, put 20% down, didn't buy anywhere near the peak of the market, and still got hammered. We were fortunate enough to have taken out our original down payment during a re-fi at the height of the market, so at least we're not out-of-pocket on the place.

What is strange is that it doesn't freak me out. Shit happened beyond our control. We were smart, and put money away while we were making it, and we will be just fine, thank you very much!

I'm just too pragmatic to get my boxers in a bunch over it. It is what it is.

It sounds cliche, but I have my health, the best wife on the planet, fantastic kids, incredible family - especially my two brothers - and close, close friends.

I am blessed.

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Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Big Brass Ones 

With audacity one can undertake anything, but not do everything.
--Unknown

I thought Barry was the "audacity" guy. This is showing chutzpah even for the Bushies.

You, me, your neighbor - well, all of us - are all going to pitch in and help out a friend. They must be a friend, because we're giving them lots AND LOTS of money.

Again.
The U.S. government is close to committing billions in additional aid to Bank of America Corp. as the nation's largest bank by assets tries to digest its Jan. 1 acquisition of Merrill Lynch & Co., according to people familiar with the situation.
If I weren't so nauseous, I'd be laughing my ass off. We already gave B of A $25 billion ($15 to them and the $10 billion that was given to Merrill). It seems that they bit off more than they could chew, so we're going to give them some more money to help them choke Merrill down.

Tell us, O Wise Ones, what would be the consequences if we didn't help out the largest bank in the world.
Treasury, concerned the deal's failure could affect the stability of U.S. financial markets, agreed to work with the Charlotte, N.C. lender on the "formulation of a plan" that includes new government capital. The terms are still being finalized, this person said, and details are expected to be announced with Bank of America's fourth-quarter earnings, due out Jan. 20.
Ooooooooh. Wouldn't want to fuck with the stability of our markets, would we? They might drop, like, 40% man. Oh. They already did? Bummer, dude.
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On a related note, the B of A/Merrill merger team has already come out with T-shirts showing their gratitude to America.


Gotta get me one of them....

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Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Range Practice & Socialist Cluelessness 

When you are not practicing, remember, someone somewhere is practicing, and when you meet him he will win.
-- Ed Macauley

I got the chance to go to the range this past weekend. A couple of observations:

It is a 20-lane indoor range. By the time I got to the front of the line, I was placed on the waiting list. The place was totally full. Now, some Marine recruits had taken over a number of lanes, but people were driving into the parking lot and just turning around and leaving. The demand was there.

The range is split into two, 10-lane sections. On my side, there were 6 women, 4 of which were there with a (I'm guessing) boyfriend, or in one instance, their father. Seeing women at a gun range in California used to be a rarity, now it's commonplace. I think this is a great thing, but really shows how people are worried about their safety.
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When you're at the range, do you have a plan or do you just "throw lead"?

I generally have a plan when I go. Skill building. The previous time, I practiced different stances and off-hand firing. I did single-handed point shooting and well as my standard Weaver-ish stance. I found that my off-hand is much more accurate with the single-handed point shooting. I have to think too much using two hands - it just doesn't come naturally, and affects my accuracy.

This last time, I worked on rapid target acquisition and firing drills. What I do is determine which of the mini-targets on my larger target I will be firing at. I then start with the gun pointing single-handed down range, but at the floor. I then rapidly bring the gun up with two hands, acquire the target and shoot.

I figure that short of going to a Front Site or even Blackwater class, this is about the best live-fire practice I can get to approximate a dangerous situation.
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I put 200 rounds down range - 100, 9mm and 100, .38 special. Something I had just never noticed before what how the barrel heating up affected my 9mm Glock.

I brought a Glock 19, which is a 9mm pistol with a 4 inch barrel. When I started shooting to "warm up", I was driving nails at 5 and 7 yards, and perhaps a 3 inch spread at 10 yards. I put perhaps 20 rounds through the barrel in a fairly short period of time.

I then repeated this processes with my Smith and Wesson 686P. It is a 7-shot revolver chambered in .357 Magnum with a 2 1/2 inch barrel. Because of the shorter barrel, it is not quite as accurate - perhaps a 5 inch spread at 10 yards.

I then started the rapid shooting drill I describe above with the Glock. At 10 yards, I was all over the 6-inch target. Now, I somewhat expected this because I wasn't taking the normal amount of time for "perfect" accuracy - it was a rapid fire drill.

Still, it seemed that when I aimed high on the target, I would sometimes hit low with the shot. I brought the target back in to 5 yards and did an "accuracy" shot. I was 3 inches off, low! I did it again, and the shot was about 3 inches right. Holy shit.

I've got to assume that this accuracy difference was because the barrel was getting heated up and affecting the shot.

I repeated this process with the S&W, shooting .38 specials, and didn't have the same dramatic accuracy decline. My guess is that because the revolver is chambered for .357 Magnum - and is thus much more hefty - the barrel heating up didn't affect accuracy as much.

What did I learn? If I ever expect to be in a long, drawn-out shooting situation, the S&W will perform more consistently. Now, I never expect to have to fire at someone in real life, let alone be in some sort of drawn-out battle, but this piece of information will be tucked away in my head for future reference.
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Semi-off topic: The Other Ryan over at TSLRF had a post about Medicare. I got into it with someone named Wildflower. She likes big government, I don't. Shocking.

Anyways, someone named PKS chirped in about how the police are there to save our butts and it "only" takes 5 or 6 minutes for them to respond to a call.

This person clearly has never been in a violent or life-threatening situation. Five or six minutes can seem like hours.

I'd like to ask him if he's ever been in a fight. Not some school-yard push-fest broken up by the yard-duty, but a fight where you are at risk of serious physical harm. These types of things usually only last 30 seconds to a minute, but seem like a life time. You are physically and emotionally drained when it is all over.

When the police show up in 5 or 6 minutes, they are there, at best, to take a report. More likely, they are calling for an ambulance or the coroner.

One of my brothers made a comment this weekend that the slogan on the police cars is false advertising - "To Serve and Protect". It is virtually impossible for the police to protect you. Short of a cop on every doorstep, they can't protect you. That is not a swipe at cops, it is reality. They are there primarily to investigate crimes. YOU are responsible for your safety.

People like PKS somehow think they have a force field around them that will keep bad guys at bay while police respond to a 911 call. I hope he has good medical, dental and life insurance.

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Monday, January 12, 2009

A Peek Behind The Curtain 

If we wish to preserve a free society, it is essential that we recognize that the desirability of a particular object is not sufficient justification for the use of coercion.
--Friedrich August Hayek

Most folks know I was formerly an Executive Vice President with a smallish community bank in the SF Bay Area. I was laid off in May along with about 10% of the bank's employees. As of right now, the bank is down to about two-thirds of its former size (I had erroneously said in previous comments that it was half the former size). The bottom line is, people are being cut because earning aren't there to support the expenses.

For a whole bunch of reasons I will not get in to, my bank had some unusual business constraints. There were certain lines of business - loans - we simply could not do for political reasons. This negatively affected earnings.

For the past two years, I had had discussion with the bank president about selling the bank. It was the only way to save the bank shareholders. He finally took a stab at a sale, but rejected the offer. It was too low in his opinion. The bank share price is now about 50% below the offer price.

What I'm getting at is that the bank is on its last legs.

So imagine my surprise when, during a recent lunch with the president (we're still on very good terms), he tells me that the bank is opening up three new branches! WTF?!

I ask him how they're going to pay for this. Especially considering that the bank had to write down $1 million in Freddy and Fannie stock. This is a significant number for a bank that makes $1.2 a year.

He tells me that the, "An Offer You Can't Refuse" gang has made it to the small, community bank level. It's officially called the Federal Financial Stability and Guarantee Programs.

If you remember back in October, the CEO's of the Big-9 banks were summoned to New York and told each of them would take their share of $125 Billion in government capital injections. In exchange, the banks would issue Nanny shares of Preferred Stock (that means that Nanny moves in front of regular old shareholders if the bank is ever liquidated - they also get other benefits as well).

The bankers were told in no uncertain terms that if they refused to "participate" in the program, they were forever making their bank ineligible for any type of future federal financial assistance.

Anyways, my former boss said that he got the visit from Nanny and was told he will take an amount equal to 1/3 of the bank's equity capital, and issue Preferred stock to the Treasury Department in exchange for the money. Nanny is now the largest single share holder of the bank.

To put this into perspective, 3 years ago, at the top of our game and earnings, we did a stock offering, and were able to barely raise $1 million in new capital. The earning just weren't there to justify a bigger new capital injection.
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I asked if there were any strings attached to the money. Nope. Nothing. Nada.

He told me of a larger community bank down in the area that was forced to take over $40 million. They took the money and did a stock re-purchase.

Yeah, that's going to do a lot towards easing access to credit....

My former bank will be getting into loan programs over which they have absolutely no past experience. Entire new programs and systems will need to be installed.

Who knows? It might work. And they have nothing to lose in taking a stab at it. If the bank goes tits-up, Nanny is left holding the bag.

That means me and you. The Nationalization of American Banking continues...

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Friday, January 09, 2009

Wee R Stoopid 

A wise man makes his own decisions, an ignorant man follows public opinion.
--Chinese Proverb

On the first of the year, I did a post called An American SWOT - Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. It was my take on the "state of the Union" so to speak.

Under the Threats section, I made this observation:
Growing un/under-educated citizenry. The kids being spit out by our public schools are painfully uneducated. An uneducated populous is a compliant populous. Do as we say, follow the rules, and you'll get fed. We're not producing thinkers, dreamers and builders, we're producing drones. A full belly soothes the savage beast.
It seems as though someone did a head count, and it looks like we're a bunch of un-educated dolts. Well duh.
The national direct estimates of the percentages of adults lacking BPLS [Basic Prose Literacy Skills] are 14.5 percent for the 2003 NAAL [National Assessment of Adult Literacy] and 14.7 percent for the 1992 NALS [National Adult Literacy Survey]. In comparison, the national direct estimates of the percentages Below Basic in prose literacy are 13.6 percent for the NAAL and 13.8 percent for the NALS.
The long and short of it: Over 14% (1-in-7) of our adults can't read and write. The next 1-in-7 can barely read and write.

Those are the findings of the Department of Education's, National Center for Educational Statistic. Quick question: Isn't it the Department of Education that is in charge of No Child Left Behind and all of the other super-duper programs we pay for that don't do shit in teaching our kids?

Yeah, that's what I thought.

If you're interested, go here to compare your state with any other state. It also lets you compare individual counties within your state. Scary stuff.

My great state of California has an illiteracy rate of 23% - or over 50% worse than the national average (seems like all of those free meals are really paying a dividend!). Two states we're considering moving to - Nevada and Idaho did significantly better (16% and 11%, respectively), although they are horrible as well.
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The day after I did my SWOT post, I did another one called Predictions. In it, I wrote:
Growing uneducated citizenry. It's not in the best interest of an expanding, centrally controlled government to have citizens that can think for themselves. Not one damned thing will be done about our public schools.
We can't run a country successfully with one-in-7 American's being unable to read and write.

It's a perfect ratio if you want a large part of your population ignorant of the ramifications of your actions. Ignorant about what the Constitution means. Ignorant of what freedom means.

We're screwed.
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Let the "diversity" excuses begin....

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Thursday, January 08, 2009

New Venture: Riot Control? 

One of my new gigs (I hope) will be firearms training. I've introduced so many people to handguns, I figured there must be an untapped market here in my area. Hopefully, this will become one of my multiple sources of income.

There are virtually no classes here in my area - either for the standard NRA courses or the Instructor courses. I have FINALLY found a place that does NRA Certified Instructor training - 2 hours away. Guess when my first class is?

January 20th. Inauguration day.

Ironic, or what?
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It looks like more people might be able to use my services so they're able to defend themselves.

I talked on Tuesday about the BART cop that shot the guy in the train station. I noted how they were going to hold the funeral yesterday, and that it might get "interesting".

It did.

Oakland is all torn up this morning after rioters ran amok, breaking shit, and generally displaying lawlessness.

Of course, this being the SF Bay Area, the dead guy being black, the bulk of the rioters being black and the shooter being white, they're immediately working a racial component into things. There's no possibility the cop didn't just fuck up. He only shot the guy because he was black.
A protest over the fatal shooting by a BART police officer of an unarmed man mushroomed into several hours of violence Wednesday night as demonstrators smashed storefronts and cars, set several cars ablaze and blocked streets in downtown Oakland.

The roving mob expressed fury at police and frustration over society's racial injustice.
Bullshit. Just like with the Rodney King riots in LA, the black rioters trashed the businesses of black citizens.
Yet the demonstrators were often indiscriminate, frequently targeting the businesses and prized possessions of people of color.

They smashed a hair salon, a pharmacy and several restaurants. Police in riot gear tried to control the crowd, but some people retreated along 14th Street and bashed cars along the way.

The mob smashed the windows at Creative African Braids on 14th Street, and a woman walked out of the shop holding a baby in her arms.

"This is our business," shouted Leemu Topka, the black owner of the salon she started four years ago. "This is our shop. This is what you call a protest?"
The following statement says it all. These rioting criminals need to be crushed like bugs.
"I feel like the night is going great," said Nia Sykes, 24, of San Francisco, one of the demonstrators. "I feel like Oakland should make some noise. This is how we need to fight back. It's for the murder of a black male."

Sykes, who is black, had little sympathy for the owner of Creative African Braids.

"She should be glad she just lost her business and not her life," Sykes said. She added that she did have one worry for the night: "I just hope nobody gets shot or killed."
What kind of twisted, fucked up view on life do you possess when you make a comment like that? Be happy that's all we trashed, bitch!

They're expecting more trouble today. I pray the Oakland cops don't coddle them while they take over the city, but I fear they will.

These rioters are not civil rights marchers protesting civil injustice. These people are punks and thugs. If they were really concerned about "society's racial injustice", they'd be out there, in the rain and cold, all of the time.

These bastards only show up when crap like this happens.

From what I've seen on the videos, the cop made a horrible mistake and grabbed his service weapon instead of his Taser. It looks like a horrible mistake, one that should end up with the cop doing time in prison. You can't just take another person's life and sluff it off as, "Oops, sorry, My Bad". If you disagree, imagine your kid on the ground, hand-cuffed and a cop making a mistake shooting your kid.

Anyways, let's say the worse-case scenario is true: That the cop knew exactly what he was doing, purposely drew his weapon with the intent of executing the guy.

You still couldn't justify the rioting. This would be the twisted actions of a single, rogue cop. There is no pattern of wanton murder by cops in the area, let alone within the small BART cop ranks.

No, this rioting was an excuse to party.
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I was actually in Oakland yesterday, having lunch with my old boss. I knew I'd be out of there before TSHTF, so I had no worries.

I forgot to mention the funeral, and likely rioting to my family. My oldest son was actually on a BART train, going through Oakland, while all of this was going on (it had to do with his paramedic school).

He said that BART made announcements that the Fruitvale station (where the guy was shot) and the Oakland City Center station were closed. He said they just buzzed right through the stations, barely slowing down.

Good thinkin', BART.

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Emergency Route Maps 

Action springs not from thought, but from a readiness for responsibility.
--Dietrich Bonhoeffer

I've mentioned before that if things get ugly, our intent is to hunker down at home. We have virtually everything we need to provide for our survival and safety right here.

Still, no one knows what may transpire. There are a thousand things that could happen that would require us to "bug out". As such, I have maps printed out that show routes to three different potential locations where we could head in such an event. I have three different driving routes to each of the three locations, plus one for on-foot for a total of 12 maps.

I used Google Maps to print these up. There are a couple of very helpful features in Google Maps that you may not be aware of.
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I have a couple of requirements for the maps. First, freeways are avoided whenever possible. Second, bridges are avoided whenever possible. Lastly, any large cities en route to the final destination are avoided as well.

Here's the how-to:

Go to maps.google.com

Click the Get Directions hyperlink

Type in your exact starting point in the "A" box, and the exact destination address in the "B" box.

Click the Show Options hyperlink. Check the Avoid Highways box.

Click the Get Directions button.

Google now produces a large map, and individual turn directions. I use this as my first-cut map.

Push the Print button on the Google screen - NOT the one included with your browser. A new window will pop-up.

Select the Maps option on the screen, and check the Include Large Map box. This will place the large, entire route map at the top of the page, plus it will give you mini-maps for each of the intermediate turns. This can be extremely helpful if you are driving the route and get lost. The small maps show the street names in the general vicinity of each turn.

Push the Print button. After it is printed out, check it for accuracy. I have had a number of occasions where one or more of the intermediate turns is missing from the printed version!
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Close the Print window and go back to your map and directions.

Now, move your cursor over any part of your route on the map. A white dot will emerge, and a little note saying, "Drag to change route".

What I do is grab the route early in the journey to give me a different way out of town. When you drag the route, the new route will "snap" to existing roads and update the directions and trip duration calculations.

I adjust the route and print as described above. I then repeat this another time. Each successive change has a route that is more "out of the way" than the one before it.

Finally, I un-click the Avoid Highways box, and click the Get Directions button. This re-sets the map. Click the By Car drop-down box. Select the Walking option and click Get Direction. Adjust as needed if you don't like the route. Remember, depending upon the reason for leaving, driving might not be an option. EMP, no gas, slashed tires, vehicle stolen/commandeered. Don't assume you'll be able to drive.

This option uses surface streets almost exclusively (at least it did in my maps). This option can be driven as well.

Print and verify as described above.

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Don't assume the directions are correct. Drive each of them at least once.

I live on the Sacramento delta. Lots of water and lots of bridges. Some of my routes take me over bridges. I've tried to limit the routes to no more than one bridge. I have at least one map for each destination with NO bridges.

Something that is totally forbidden is a draw bridge. We have a ton of them in this area. If TSHTF and the keeper bugs out with the bridge up, that passage is closed. Period.

Also, if you don't have a GPS system, get one. Depending upon the reason for leaving, GPS systems may still be operational. Most of the modern ones have an on-the-fly route adjustment feature. If you see a road block or other impediment you don't wish to cross, you can turn off anywhere, and the GPS will draw you another route from THAT location.

But DON'T expect them to work. Expect you'll need the maps.
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Having never been in the military, I'm ignorant of long-distance travel security protocols. Convoying. I figure that if it comes down to having to Get Out Of Dodge, that will mean there are most likely some bad things happening. It won't be a simple drive in the country to Grandma's house!

I found a great post on the Viking Preparedness blog that provided me with a great amount of information. Perhaps it will help you as well.

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