Category Archives: Government

If I pose a threat to you- then you should work passionately to disarm me!

Revolver

I’m absolutely sick to my stomach over the vilification and denigration of those of us who defend our God given right to self defense.

First I found myself under attack at, of all place, my local chamber board meeting! Next- a dear friend sent a link to post written by an associate of his that directly challenges the character and intentions of those of us who defend the right to bear arms.

Jordan Chariton writes in Hypervocal.com:

“I’ve found it maddening as gun rights advocates wrap themselves around ‘protecting the Second Amendment’ instead of protecting our kids. Although the NRA and a lot of Republicans would like you to think differently, every last word and amendment from both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution is not hard and fast.”  Read more at http://bit.ly/XtYCCv

He goes on to cite several examples of the Constitution being usurped- though I’m not sure if he’s making his argument or mine.

I am extremely grateful Chariton makes this a Constitutional issue. Sadly, this is the component missing from most debates on gun regulations. I’ll return to that point, but first…

“The NRA and its followers continue citing “the right to protect themselves” from home intruders, and out of some loonier mouths “government coming to their doors and taking their guns.” The truth is, the NRA does not care about the safety of our children or the safety of a family trying to protect themselves from intruders. If they did, they would adjust their position based on the overwhelming pattern of what is killing people in America.”

Jordan, to your first point:

Home invasion is one of the few areas of crime that continues to rise despite an overall decline in both violent crimes and violence involving firearms. In my debate with a colleague at my chamber meeting, she also opined that those of use who own handguns to defend our homes should be evaluated to assess our mental well-being.

From “The Women’s Self-Defense Institute:”

“According to American Police Beat, the average response time for an emergency call is 10 minutes. Atlanta has the worst response time with 11 to 12 minutes and Nashville comes in at a lightning speed of 9 minutes.”

The average criminal spends about 10 minutes in your home. For people living in rural areas, response times can expand to as much as an hour leaving a family undefended for nearly 50 minutes- unless they defend themselves.

I can assure you, Jordan, that if you lived next door to me and I knew you were being assaulted by a violent criminal intent on doing you or your family harm, you would not have to wait 10 or more minutes for the police to arrive. I would gladly risk my life to come to your defense.

As to the accusation that “the NRA does not care about the safety of our children,” and it’s clear from Chariton’s narrative that this unfeeling attitude is shared by the rest of us gun totting radicals, well Jordan, you’re just plain wrong.

The NRA promotes and teaches responsible gun ownership and safety. I can tell you from personal experience that NRA instructors are adamant in their classes about furthering this mission.

Contrast that with the hypocritical outcry from actors and celebrities who “demand a plan” while continuing to profit by producing ever more violent movies, programs and games that continue to glamorize extreme violence and vengeance and turn outlaws into cult action heroes.

The profile of mass murderers almost universally includes a fascination with violent entertainment, particularly action movies and first-person shooter games. While the jury is still out on whether this type of entertainment can cause violence in and of itself, there is little disagreement that violent entertainment has a direct negative affect on an already unstable mind- particularly if that mind is still young and impressionable.

The fact is that NRA members are not your problem. In fact, the NRA and other 2nd Amendment advocates do in fact support several reasonable measures that would have a meaningful impact on keeping weapons out of the hands of criminals and those with mental illness. These proposals include universal background checks, background checks on gun shop owners and a minimum federal standard for concealed weapons permitting.

I speak for many who feel as I do when I say I care deeply about the safety of children- and those who are unable or choose not to defend themselves. This is why I own and carry firearms.

This is also why I volunteer to work with incarcerated youths. Our system has not failed- many parents have. For whatever reasons, we have tens of thousands of young people who grow up without positive parental guidance and influence. They grow up isolated, without discipline and without a sense of personal responsibility. They blame others for their conditions and circumstances and justify their crimes and violence on that basis.

I can tell you from listening to these kids that if they want to hurt you- the choice of weapon is unimportant. I can tell you that if they want what’s in your medicine cabinet, you are nothing more than an object in their way.

If you want the current decline in violent crime to continue. If you want to prevent violence as much as possible- reach out to these kids and give them a positive influence in their lives.

Chariton also says:

“Adhering to every last misinterpreted provision of a 225-year-old document written by slave owners is far less important than protecting our children from death by bazooka gun.”

Now let’s get to the heart of the matter.

Yes, Jordan, the founders made compromises in their time. Let’s avoid the juxtaposed contextual difficulties of the argument and stick with the facts.

Constitution and Declaration of Independence on Grungy Betsy Ross FlagThe founders crafted a document and a system of law that would protect freedom and liberty- from the abuse of a tyrannical central authority. Yes- slavery would continue for some time, but many of those who drafted the Constitution were avowed abolitionists. That’s why although they compromised on the enforcement issue to preserve the newborn United States, they would not compromise on the language.

Read the letters of Franklin, Jefferson and Madison and you’ll find the entire context of these compromises. You’ll also find that what they understood above all was that by creating, for the first time in human history, a government that would give the law the pre-eminent position over any individual leader or a compact of ruling elite, that any inequities would be resolved by the people over time.

It was their hope that these inequities could be resolved without bloodshed; through reason and through continued self-governance.

Their greatest fear was that this experiment would not last. They feared that the People would not participate fully in self-governance, that individual rights would be threatened by strong central authority and that, as Jefferson articulated, another revolution may be necessary in the future.

And to that end, the 2nd Amendment was crafted.

You cannot defend life and liberty without arms. This is not a utopian world. As long as there are criminals and tyrants there will be a need for self-defense.

If you support the Constitutional defense of life and liberty, you cannot separate the Constitutional protection of the right of self-defense.

You rightly and accurately quote the Constitution when you wrote:

“…the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

Remember- the Constitution was written to restrict the actions of government, not to subvert the inalienable rights of the People.

No- the slaves were not freed as soon as they scribed “all Men are created equal.” But the foundation and justification for emancipation was set.

No- the 1st Amendment does not protect your actions when you yell “fire” in a crowded theater. That’s because while certain rights are inalienable, meaning they are natural rights and not granted by any human authority, no right is unlimited. You abdicate any right- even unalienable rights, when your actions infringe on the rights of others.

The 2nd Amendment stand is crucial precisely because many people think, as Jordan seems to indicate, that the Constitution is vestigial. We will agree on the point that this “225-year-old document written by slave owners” has been and continues to be widely misinterpreted. On second thought, I’d argue that the Constitution has been purposely re-interpreted to serve specific political interests throughout history.

Misinterpretation and abuse are no reasons to disregard the Constitution. This should awaken our passion to preserve it- and to return to it’s original intent and value which is, above all, to assure individual freedom and liberty.

Our framers understood the that the greatest threat to individual freedom comes from two major aggressors:

  1. A tyrannical central authority
  2. The mob

Contrary to popular believe, we do not live or govern by majority rule. No majority can deprive you of your fundamental rights at the ballot box. The onerous process of amending the Constitution is a safeguard against any confederation of citizens, majority or minority, from denying any individual right- especially in the heat of a highly charged emotional debate.

I am armed. I am trained in the use of firearms and tactics. I accept full personal responsibility for my own safety and defense. I commit myself to the protection of others. I take my responsibilities as an armed citizen very seriously.

If I pose a threat to you then you should work passionately to disarm me and others like me.

If you choose to do so, the burden is yours. Yes, Jordan, “every last word and amendment from both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution” is supposed to be “hard and fast.” That’s what protects from the rule of the mob or the whim of the tyrant.

If you want to disarm American citizens, your only option is to amend the Constitution- not to use Congress as a weapon to infringe my natural right to defend myself as I see fit.

Of course, that’s a tougher fight!

_______________________

Want to see what happens when you adopt a total gun ban? It can’t happen here, right? Watch this…

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Aboriginal discontent: An attitude of entitlement or a legacy of prejudice?

Growing up in Winnipeg it was not uncommon to encounter aboriginal or native Canadians rummaging through the streets and back alleys around the once grand Royal Alex in a disheveled state of drunken hopelessness and discontentment.

While some looked upon them with condescending indignation others, such as my family, viewed them through a compassionate yet distantly skewed lens of sadness for the plight of a people whose future seemed to center on the next drink or fix.

Of course, this was during the 60s, long before the hypersensitivity of today’s world in which a wayward glance could be construed as being offensive would render such recounts as either ignorant or prejudicial, or perhaps even a bit of both.  After all, back then it would never have dawned on us to raise protests over the tomahawk chop of Atlanta Braves fans or, the fact that some aboriginals may find the Washington NFL football team’s “Redskins” moniker offensive.

But even in this modern era of enlightened sensibilities I cannot help but wonder if, while society has progressed in its understanding and acceptance of cultural diversity, Native Canadians have become forever stuck in a time warp convergence of an attitude of entitlement coupled with a legacy of prejudicial limitation that preempts their progression has a people both individually as well as collectively.

The fact that references to the confrontation between the Canadian military and Native Canadians at Oka, Quebec in 1990 are front and center in today’s Huffington Post article is along these lines telling, given the prediction of present day unrest by First Nation’s Chiefs if, as they contend, new relationships are not forged with the government at the First Nations Summit later this month in Ottawa.

The real question is what exactly do the Chiefs reference to forging new relationships actually mean, and is it a unilateral demand in that it is more representative of an assignment of continuing blame rather than an assumption of responsibility on the part of a mutually respected and deserving partner?  If it is the former, then all parties will be hard pressed to move beyond perhaps the unintended but very real Jim Crow existence of Native Canadians.  After all, one cannot be truly respected as a partner at the negotiating table if the wrongs of the past are used as a means of extorting unearned rights in the here and now.

Now some of you may bristle at the last statement claiming that while Canada’s aboriginal people are separate, they are anything but equal.  Fair enough but, as I had indicated in my latest book Policing In A Democratic Society: Is America Becoming A Police State? (which I co-wrote with Dr. Richard Weinblatt), it might be time for all Canadians to shed the shackles of historic injustices in much the same way that respected Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates Jr., called for a Slavery Absolution in a 2010 New York Times editorial.  Specifically, the Professor encouraged the President “to end the nation’s sense of responsibility for the legacy of slavery.”

Or to put it another way, while we are all in principle and intent equal as a nation and a people, the definition is often times over-extended to one of unearned entitlement that has little to do with merit, perseverance and accomplishment and more to do with you did me wrong now pay up . . . over, and over, and over again.  This doesn’t represent a quest for equality but instead one of an imposed and ongoing indebtedness that has in many ways led to the very third-world conditions of First Nation communities that was lamented by Perry Bellegarde.

Bellegarde, who is with the Little Black Bear First Nation in Saskatchewan, talks about increased access to prime ministers and premiers, and the need for he and his people to be treated fairly stressing that Native Canadians are not a minority but an indigenous peoples.

In all of these expectant demands no where does Bellegarde or for that matter Grand Chief Stan Beardy, whose own demands for an increased stake in the shared riches of our (and I emphasize the word our here) land and resources, talk about their leadership’s role in the present day plight of aboriginal communities.

Certainly charges of corruption at the higher level’s of Native governance is nothing new, even prompting retired judge John Reilly to suggest that “Becoming an Indian chief in Canada is a license to steal,” in which “some of them use it, some of them don’t.”

Riley, whose book Bad Medicine: A Judge’s Struggle for Justice in a First Nations Community, has been met with fierce criticism from First Nations leaders who claim that his highly publicized remarks are bringing their leadership into “disrepute,”  and that he was working to “interfere” in their democratic process.

Is this the case?  I will let you be the judge.  But it is noteworthy that Riley, whose years on the bench saw as one article put it, a river of victims and perpetrators from the Stoney Nakoda reserve delivered to his Canmore, Alta. courtroom for decades, remains adamant that this is a story that needs to be told.

What is interesting is that Riley’s concern has little to do with the demands for larger stakes in shared resources or greater equality in a country that while far from perfect is admired the world over.  Nor does he make reference to a level of increased access to government officials that very few Canadians of any walk of life have.  Instead Riley’s primary contention is that the “ordinary member of a native community does not have the protection of the law,” and that “the dictatorship style of (First Nations) government” which he called appalling, is what binds aboriginal Canadians to a life of at times insufferable desperation.

Within this context, it’s time we followed the lead of a Professor Gates and put an end to our nation’s sense of responsibility for the legacy of our treatment of this country’s indigenous people and say enough is enough.  When we take this first step towards treating Native Canadians as equals then, and perhaps only then, will they themselves begin to take ownership for their lives.

When this happens, the possibilities for positive change is unlimited.

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You Want to Occupy? Pay Up!

You Want to Occupy? Pay Up!

Never has America’s 1st Amendment rights been so radically distorted.  Occupy Wherever protesters continue their protests across the country and around the world citing the U.S. Constitution and our right to “freedom of speech.”

Your 1st Amendment rights do not give you license to impose yourself or your views on others. This right was codified by the American framers specifically to assure that citizens were not prevented from participating in political discussion or criticism of the government. It does not grant the right to assemble or speak wherever and whenever you want to, especially if your actions are denying other citizens their fundamental rights to live and work peacefully.

Fundamentally, the 1st Amendment grants you the right to assemble and air your gripes with the federal government or more specifically, it simply prevents congress from enacting any law that would prevent you from doing so.

When you have a gripe with the government, you have the right to speak your mind. You also have the obligation to pay for any associated expenses. In other words, you can criticize the government, but it’s not the government’s obligation to pay the bill for your protest.

Cities with already strained budgets have picked up most of the cost to the tune of over $13 million and counting in the States. Let’s look at the tab so far…

  • Los Angeles: Over $1 million
  • Oakland: $2.4 million
  • Portland, Oregon: $1 million
  • Boston: $2 million
  • New York: $7 million

Even the small city of Eugene, Oregon reports over $100,000 in extra expenses directly attributed to the Occupy encampment there. Most of the expense is police and fire overtime and now sanitation and clean-up expenses.

When these figures started to come to light there was an immediate comparison to the costs of Tea Party protests. There was one highly examined incident where Representative Michelle Bachman used government funds to pay some expenses for a Tea Party rally to the tune of about $14,000. While I’d argue that she should have found other means of funding, it turns out this expense was ruled legal, ethical and appropriate. That is a rule that should be scrutinized.

The similarities end there. Nearly all Tea Party rallies obtained permits, paid fees for their assembly and as cited in numerous reports, left the scene cleaner than they found it. In Richmond, Virginia Tea Partiers are now demanding a refund of nearly $10,000 in fees they paid the city for their rallies. They contend that the City of Richmond has given a pass to Occupy which has been camping for free without permits throughout their demonstration.

I don’t want to get into the tit for tat petulance over which group did this and didn’t do that. If the core belief of OWS is sincerely to end government/corporate corruption and reduce government control over personal life, I frankly don’t understand why they condemn the Tea Party; the two should be natural allies. Of course, if that was the original intent of OWS, this intent has long been overshadowed by those who seem to thing even greater state control and redistribution of wealth is the solution rather than grass roots participation in the democratic process.

The important thing is to understand why it’s appropriate to charge reasonable fees for public demonstrations and why no group should expect the taxpayer to pick up the tab.

City, county, state and federal funds are assets owned by the people – all the people in that particular jurisdiction. You have the right to speak your mind, but you have no right to speak for everyone. There are those, despite the proclamations of OWS, who do not agree with you. We do not allow public funds to be used to support a particular point of view because it’s not the obligation of those who disagree with you to pay for your expression of your personal opinions.

If you want to blow your horn, you pay the band!

The arrogance of the OWS movement is apparent in this petulant expectation that they can do whatever they want, wherever they want and expect others to pick up the tab. At least they’re consistent in their theme; after all they are demanding free college tuition, free housing and free credit among other things.

OWS claims to represent the “99%” and purports to be the voice of the working man. Among their demands is a job for every able person. I’m wondering if anyone associated with OWS has considered how many municipal employees could be added to the payrolls for $13 million.

To be fair, the Occupiers in Eugene have given this some thought. According to the Register Guard:

…Occupy Eugene participants say the city’s cost is just one side of the story, and that the encampment in Washington-Jefferson Park benefits Eugene.

The more than 100 tents and canvas and tarp-covered structures provide a place for homeless people, which gets them off the streets and cuts crime, the activists say.

“There are a lot of people who are here who are homeless,” said Silver Mogart, an organizer.

“Because of the camp, “They don’t have to use city facilities, the Egan Warming Centers or the Eugene Mission.”

“We have cooled down a lot of crime in downtown,” he said.

Not so much.

In addition to municipal expenditures on OWS demonstrations what about the direct costs to other citizens? Across the country OWS protesters squat in restaurants disrupting business, use private restrooms without permission and without patronizing the establishment, they throw their garbage and human waste in private dumpsters and they prevent other citizens from using the parks and public spaces we all pay for.

New York, Boston and Oakland now report that several small businesses have been severely affected and may close due to the Occupiers. That’s how they represent the 99%? By closing them down?

Individual freedom is the foundation of American liberty. The 1st Amendment is one of the most important safeguards protecting that liberty. However, with individual freedom comes responsibility and the obligation to be respectful of the rights of others.

Occupiers seem to want the freedom without the responsibility.

You’ve got something to say; say it. Just don’t expect me to pay for your privilege.


Tax the Rich! Pay for Jobs!

Senator Harry Reid is at it again. While they continually deny the charge of inciting class warfare, Democrats in the U.S. Congress create new ways to tax “the man” and increase the social unrest between the haves and the want mores.

From FOX News:

“Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., outlined plans for a 5 percent surcharge in a closed-door meeting with the rank and file, according to participants…”  (Read more: http://fxn.ws/oh1E4k)

This 5% surcharge would be imposed on “millionaires.” This is how Reid and his band of Merry Men plan to take from the rich and give to the poor (and not so poor) and pay for the American Jobs Act. The Jobs Act proposes to:

  • Create incentives for small businesses to hire and grow from now into 2012.
  • Make investments that would prevent layoffs of as many as 280,000 teachers, provide opportunities for long-term unemployed veterans, and put Americans to work rebuilding roads, railways, bridges, and schools in need of repair.
  • Implement the most sweeping reforms to the unemployment insurance system in 40 years to help those without jobs transition to the workplace.
  • Expand the payroll tax cut, cutting workers payroll taxes in half next year. This provision will provide a tax cut of $1,500 to the typical family.
Now look at that list carefully and think about Reid’s proposal. In effect, he’s proposing to tax what he sees as the richest Americans; you know, those people who own the businesses that hire all the employees he wants to put back to work.
So — he’ll tax the rich to incentivize them to hire people without jobs. Now I’m no genius, but if he just left them alone wouldn’t it be likely that they’d spend some of their money creating new jobs? In fact, the most sensible solution is a reduction in the corporate income tax rate which would free up more resources for hiring.
Of course nothing is going to stimulate job creation unless and until the feds stop meddling. From Monty Guild and Tony Manaher at Guild Investment Managment (http://guildinvestment.com):
“In conversation after conversation with CEOs, we are hearing a similar litany of frustration. They want to expand business, hire more employees, and procure more equipment. All such undertakings would obviously help the economy.  However, but they are afraid to follow through because of three major uncertainties…”
The uncertainties they identify are:
  • Uncertainty about the gridlock in Washington
  • Uncertainty about government regulation
  • Uncertainty about erratic stock markets
Smart business people hold fast in times of uncertainty. They’re not being greedy; they’re being prudent. They’re doing what we should all be doing: Banking our cash and hanging on until this volatility settles down.
The American Jobs Act does create jobs, but these are not self-sustaining long-term jobs. They’re saving many jobs that should be lost including those of civil servants and teachers that are being laid-off by communities that simply can’t afford them. Frankly, most of those jobs could be saved simply by rolling back the idiotic retirement deals too many communities made with their public employees.
Of course, saving public employee jobs is good politics!
If you take from the rich to give to the poor you are not growing the economy; you’re simply moving the chips around until the next hand is played. You’re expanding the entitlement mentality that is so pervasive today and you’re crippling an entire generation with public assistance. Fears that America is becoming the next Greece only sound ridiculous as long as we still have a majority of people working in the private sector; a balance that this and related legislation now threatens.
Ultimately, it’s not the government’s job to create jobs. It’s the government’s job to make sure we treat one another fairly in business by enforcing the law of the land. Of course, it’s foolish to cling to that expectation when one our corrupt government hires corrupt firms under their own indictments to investigate and audit other corrupt government agencies and beneficiaries to make sure there is no corruption, waste and misuse.
That I’ll save for another day.

U.S. Postal Service Shuts Down: Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night . . . just a lack of money and responsible management!

The United States Postal Service has long lived on the financial edge, but it has never been as close to the precipice as it is today: the agency is so low on cash that it will not be able to make a $5.5 billion payment due this month and may have to shut down entirely this winter unless Congress takes emergency action to stabilize its finances.

from September 4th, 2011 New York Times article Postal Service Is Nearing Default as Losses Mount

Citing the declining use of conventional means of communicating through regular or snail mail as it is often referred, coupled with an onerous and quite frankly irresponsible no layoff agreement with its workers’ unions, the U.S. Postal Service may not be able to carry on operations by early 2012.  The real question is whether or not that is a bad thing?

Somewhere along the line it seems that government-run organizations and more specifically those employed by the government have cultivated an attitude of too big to fail entitlement.

In what is one of those rare, well researched and reported traditional media articles, Steven Greenhouse indicated that Labor represents 80 percent of the agency’s expenses, compared with 53 percent at United Parcel Service and 32 percent at FedEx, its two biggest private competitors.   He also went on to write that Postal workers also receive more generous health benefits than most other federal employees.

I cannot help but wonder, in what realm does an organization with declining revenues provide its workforce with guaranteed employment and caviar benefits.  This is tantamount to a buggy whip company offering its employees a raise after the introduction of the automobile.  It just doesn’t make sense!

It is also the kind of convoluted financial math that would make a Larry Winget cringe, and a Dr. Phil offer his sage advice about not spending on what you want (postal union) or need (postal service), but what you can afford (the reality of the present market).

Now I am not suggesting that mail is no longer an important seam in our societal fabric.  Besides the fact that there are certain businesses and sectors such as the legal profession that have not yet caught up with and on to the Internet trend, just try and transfer funds to a trust account on-line and you will see about what I am talking, the fact is that we need the postal service if for no other reason than to keep Christmas running smoothly.  Think about it for a moment . . . how else would our children provide Santa with their Christmas wish lists?

This latter point alone provides more than enough incentive to continue to fund re overpay a bloated workforce!

I can see it now . . . in postmaster general Patrick R. Donahoe’s plea to congress to bail out the listing and outdated agency, he could use a catchy, pull at your heartstrings Dickens-sentiment inducing campaign slogan about “saving Christmas for little Timmy.”  It’s brilliant!  Who wouldn’t be inspired to throw money at an underprivileged tyke on crutches – which by the way should be the new logo for the U.S. Postal Service.

Of course, one might also reasonably argue that we all eventually have to grow up and come to the realization that there is no such thing has Santa Clause, and ultimately have to live and work in the real world.

Come to think of it, maybe this is the best thing the agency can do . . . grow up and face the reality of the changing paradigm that is the way in which we now communicate with one another and, run their business is a manner that aligns with the world in which it operates.   Just a thought . . .

What do you think?  Is it time that the U.S. Postal Service – including its unions’, grew up and realized that with a $9.2 billion deficit that maybe, just maybe a few changes are in order?

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