The Security of a Free State

The NRA is being forced to take more seriously Wayne La Pierre’s words that “the NRA will always fight for the rights and liberty of ‘We the People.’ You can count on it.” As a special interest group the NRA focuses on the Second Amendment, but it’s being constrained to take a broader look at the meaning of “the security of a free state” following criticism by its members.

The NRA was forced to respond in its publications to criticism from its members, including a member of its board, for dropping its active opposition to the bill, “Democracy is Strengthened by Casting Light on Spending in Elections Act (DISCLOSE).” The bill, passed by the House, and sitting in the Senate, was previously opposed by the NRA because it would have limited the NRA’s ability to engage in public debate before an election. It dropped its opposition following the addition of a provision to exempt certain 501(c)(4) groups. In its final House form the exemption was for groups with over 500,000 members, and with members in every state and in Puerto Rico, etc. (See H.R. 5175, section 301(27)).

The exemption applies to the NRA and effectively bought the end of the NRA’s opposition.

The members’ criticism included opposition included a member of it board of directors, Cleta Mitchell. Cleta Mitchell concluded that the bill, “is a scheme hatched by political insiders to eradicate disfavored speech.” And said, “There is no room under the First Amendment for Congress to make deals on political speech, whether with the NRA or anyone else.”

The NRA’s explanation of dropping its opposition is that the legislation is about free speech and it no longer affects the NRA’s ability to defend the Second Amendment in elections. Chris Cox, the NRA’s executive director for its Institute for Legislative Action, says that “without the NRA, the Second Amendment will be lost” and the NRA doesn’t want to “put the Second Amendment at risk to fight a First Amendment battle.” Chris Cox’s “sworn duty” is to preserve the Second Amendment, “above all else.” The NRA has been at pains to explain this to its members. (The quoted explanation is available online here.)

I’m sympathetic to the NRA’s position. I’m a member and like the work of the NRA, such as defending hapless air travelers who get diverted into anti-gun states while traveling with firearms. And maybe the NRA’s problem is only one of rhetoric, or perhaps a problem of how to explain the use of the NRA’s resources, or you might say a question of tactics, a prudential question, rather than a question of principle, but like many other members, I have questions, doubts, and I think I see a problem.

First, it seems that Chris Cox needs to be more precise. Maybe with more precision initially, the NRA wouldn’t have to spend so much time and ink clarifying its position on this issue. And it’s far from clear that the NRA’s existence determines the Second Amendment’s. There’s a small historical problem here. The Second Amendment came first. And even now, the NRA is not indispensable. Yes, the NRA is the biggest and most experienced, but other organizations can defend the Second Amendment. The Second Amendment Foundation, for example, won the argument in McDonald v. Chicago. The NRA’s pretense of that being their success, to the contrary notwithstanding.

The NRA seems not to understand what is necessary. The NRA is good at arguing that the founders needed arms to fight the British. But one might quip that criminals need guns too for their purposes. The criminals’ need for guns is no less obvious than for the founders, but that need says little about what’s necessary for preserving freedom and the Second Amendment, because, obviously, guns don’t make men free no more than tyrants are good because they command armies.

It’s hardly an excuse for the NRA to say, as Chris Cox does, that it’s not a first amendment or some other organization. The NRA leadership may have a duty to its members not to waste its dues and donations on private benefits or arbitrary expenditures, but that’s not sufficient. Why drop opposition because of a loophole, which of course, may be taken as easily as given? Enjoying a loophole for a time is not the enjoyment of rights.

Proclaiming a victory for the Second Amendment for another loophole, as the NRA has done recently, because Obamacare can’t charge gunowners a higher insurance premium is hollow. We should not be blind to a “long train of abuses [that]. . . evinces a design” to erode freedom.

Sadly, the Chris Cox’s actions suggests that it not only may, but as a special interest must, be blind to the rights of others. It seems to justify its actions by saying that it is a special interest group. Chris Cox’s actions make it appear that the NRA is the caricature its opponents have described: a narrow special-interest group using a loophole to take aim at the public good. It’s not being a good Samaritan who knows how to be a good neighbor.

Chris Cox might be excused for his special interest attitude because we’ve all long been taught by the leftist-dominated universities about pluralism—that there’s nothing wrong with special interest groups; it’s all just part of the game of politics, a fact of life. (See David Truman’s 1951 work, Governmental Process.)
But Truman deceives when he says his teaching is based on the founding and James Madison’s constitutionalism. (The origin is Marx; see Arthur Bentley’s Process of Government written in 1908.) Truman omits Madison’s point that special interests, factions, are “adverse to the rights of other citizens. . . .” and their effects must be controlled.

Maybe we shouldn’t excuse the NRA, however, for overlooking the Second Amendment itself. I like the NRA’s articles on the Second Amendment and on the history of the founding; they’re quite good, like “The Arms of April 19, 1775.” That article from the American Rifleman, July 2010, quotes the Minuteman Levi Preston, “we always had been free and we meant to be free always! They didn’t mean that we should.” The NRA knows history well enough to know that Preston wasn’t talking about a loophole.

I think Preston’s point about being free relates to the Second Amendment more than Chris Cox seems to appreciate, despite it being an important point in the Second Amendment victory of Heller is based on understanding the preface. From the beginning, James Madison’s amendment included a little preface that states the purpose of the amendment: the security of a free state.

That preface played a major role in the Supreme Court’s Heller decision supporting the right of individuals to keep a gun at home for self-defense. The individual right “to keep and bear arms” fits with a larger purpose of freedom. Cited in the opinion was the work of Prof. Volokh, who notes that “free state” is a synonym for “free country,” referring to the nation and not the states of the Union. A “free state” stands in contrast to arbitrary or tyrannical government. And this understanding supports the individual rights interpretation of the Second Amendment, and opposes the argument, long stated by supporters of gun control, that the Second Amendment only guarantees the “states” a “militia” like the National Guard.

As Prof. Volokh notes, Blackstone’s “free state” is not arbitrary, but he does not, however, note that a “free state,” not being arbitrary, is under “the Law of Nature and of Nature’s God.” This is important, because the Second Amendment isn’t just a part of some collection of “freedoms” that make up a grabbag.

A free state isn’t just a collection of persons with each one enjoying and defending only his favorite loophole or “freedom.” A free state isn’t a just collection of people with guns. A free state is a people constituted according the “Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God”; and a free people, a good people, know their rights and duties. They know it’s necessary to judge bills according to the “Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God” and declare their judgment.

Without a free state, we don’t have freedom of religion, of speech, to keep and bear arms etc. And contrary to Chris Cox’s notion of defending the Second Amendment, “above all else,” the Constitution was written without the Bill of Rights but the Bill of Rights can’t exist without the rest of the Constitution. And most importantly, the Constitution can’t survive the loophole mentality of special interest groups, as James Madison warned. So it is that the NRA, like so many politicians, seems in need of a reminder that factions are the bane of free governments—and this despite the NRA’s campaign slogan, Vote Freedom First.

A cynic might paraphrase Ben Franklin: those who would give up the free speech rights of others for loopholes, deserve neither free speech rights nor the loophole to keep and bear arms. But free people will continue to plan, organize and fight for their rights, using the SAF if not the NRA, or the Tea Party, or whatever organization serves the purpose.

Published in: on September 24, 2010 at 3:24 pm  Comments (1)  

Nighttime Gun Box

A couple of weeks ago I did some online shopping. Amazon has great prices, even on “GunVaults.” You see, with the blessing (or urging) of sweetie, I recently purchased a lock box for my Glock 27. I usually carry it, when awake, but I’m not always awake….

I shopped around, looking at features and always looking at prices. And like I said, Amazon has some good prices. Amazon’s price for MultiVault Deluxe by GunVault was $126. (Yikes! it’s since gone up to $150) But in shopping around and looking at features, I thought the Winchester EV600 for $104 from was the best bang for the buck. (Hey, I think it use to be $99!)

I was looking for quick and easy access and Winchester box looked good. It has the “No-Look entry system” and “Spring loaded door for quick access” and it comes with a power adapter, unlike the GunVault. It also has an LCD display for battery power and locked status. So I that’s what I ordered online.

Then, I couldn’t stop looking around some more … and so I watched a Titan video at Safes4You. It looked good but was more expensive. (Hey, I think it’s gone up in price too!)

Well, I had double clicked the link and so I was watching the video at YouTube. And after I watched the video I noticed the related videos and saw one showing a GunVault.

The GunVaults and Winchester eVaults are very similar, so I was interested. I became very interested. The video showing a Mini Deluxe GunVault was titled “Unsafe Gun Safe.” Yup, the video showed the “vault” opening with a tap of a knuckle.

Then I found several other similar videos:
ADG Secure Vault opened with a bounce:

Powering a motorized electronic safe:

Hack a safe with electronic number pad and key:

So, on the following business day, I called Safes4You and canceled my order but placed a new order for a $135 V-Line Deskmate. (Oh my, and the new price is now $154.) The cancellation and re-ordering could have been smoother and done in one call instead of a couple, but the Deskmate was shipped and arrived promptly.

The Deskmate doesn’t have all the bells and whistles like the GunVault or Winchester (no really, look at the lights bells on those two) but V-Line does appear to be more solid. It’s hefty, 8 pounds of 14 gauge steel, with a reliable mechanical lock and no batteries to fail for either primary or backup power. There’s no backup lock with a key for when I forget the code—or for someone else to pop open). And I like that the box didn’t pop open when I dropped and tapped it….

The model I purchased, the DeskMate, is only big enough for one handgun, unlike the Winchester model I first ordered, but it is big enough to hold my 4″ Colt .44 magnum (with the protective plastic cover removed from the inside of the locking mechanism on the door).

Here’s a picture of the box under a shelf on my nightstand:

V-Line Deskmate Mounted under shelf

V-Line Deskmate Mounted under shelf

I mounted the Deskmate under the shelf for convenience. It’s readily accessible and easy to use. I had thought about mounting it to the bed frame. Although being mounted to the metal frame might have been more secure, it would have been less convenient to access quickly and conveniently—requiring bending over and lifting a dust ruffle etc. With the Deskmate mounted under the shelf, I can open the box easily, even in the dark and while still in bed.

Well, I did find one difficulty with opening the box while still in bed. Using a code with that required pressing two buttons simultaneously was a little tricky. With the Deskmate in front of me, I had no trouble, but from the angle of my bed I had trouble pressing the two buttons simultaneously.

Of course, that was my own fault. It’s easy to change the code from the factory setting and I had programmed the lock with a two-button push as part of the combination. My new combination uses only single button pushes.

Did I say it’s STURDY? Well it is, but it’s not as sturdy as the 24 pound Fort Knox Handgun Safe The Fort Knox is the epitome of secure for a handgun box, but 24 pounds and “gas strut” assistance for opening (but might fail?) made it appear less than ideal for convenience. The V-line, however, is front opening and has more mounting options that make it convenient to use. So for regular use and for the best bang for my buck the V-Line was the choice.

If you’re really interested in BIG and STURDY, Safes4You may be the place. The invoice I received was clearly for large safes, the really big ones. So for a deal on either a little box like the Deskmate, or a big fireproof safe, give Safes4You a look.

Published in: on February 4, 2009 at 7:07 pm  Comments (7)  

“Good” and “bad” Obama Hypocrisy

Thank God for a Constitution that limits power and checks ambition.

Obama wants to be re-elected. Accordingly, a WSJ editorial notes that Obama is dumping his campaign rhetoric about a “windfall” profits tax on the oil companies. (During the campaign, there was some discussion of one of his advisers assuring Canada that Obama’s NAFTA talk was just campaign rhetoric.)

Obama now doesn’t want to tax “windfall” profits of the oil companies. The WSJ editorial notes that his staff says the lower price of oil has made the tax a moot point. And why is that?

Obviously the “windfall” is gone. But as the editorial notes:

Left unexplained was why the oil companies suddenly decided to stop profiteering, or manipulating commodity prices, or whatever it was they were supposedly doing. But be thankful for small mercies. It is reassuring that Mr. Obama’s calls to arbitrarily soak an unpopular business were merely rooted in political expediency, not some economic philosophy.

The pressure of “political expediency” will work across issues as he thinks about re-election. The day before, Peggy Noonan noted the thinking in regard to security. She noted the bipartisan work of Democrats for in writing a report on a biological threat. She noted:

Why does Congress prepare such reports? To inform, and to win support for new plans. To show they are doing something. And to be able to say, in the event of calamity—forgive my cynicism—that they warned us. This hasn’t been the first such report. It won’t be the last. But it comes at a key moment for Mr. Obama, because it gives him a certain amount of cover to be serious about what needs to be done. What’s at stake for him is two words. When Republicans say, in coming years, “At least Bush kept us safe,” Democrats will not want tacked onto the end of that sentence, “unlike Obama.”

Similarly, Obama shouldn’t want to hear, “at least gas prices didn’t stay high under Bush.”

Maybe Obama will do something to guard against a biological or other terrorist attack and maybe do something to ensure gas prices stay down. Much can happen in four years. Terrorists may strike again. Gas prices may spike again. If he acts vigorously, at least he’ll have some evidence to support his case for re-election in four years and that he “warned us.” So the hypocrisy of political expediency is not without a constitutional connection to foresight.

But I do wonder, why did those gas prices spike before the election? I wonder, to stay in office will he rely again on insubstantial but good sound-bite ads? Is he willing to rely on real accomplishment in good governance to get re-elected?

And while I might like some of his politically expedient moves, I might not care for others. Obama spoke reassuringly to gun owners about the Second Amendment. Now TWP reports that a new “study” (the form all effective propaganda must take today) that says states with liberal gun laws, like Virginia, supply guns to criminals in other states and cause the deaths of police officers. The report appears to be pushback on Heller and “evidence” for the “reasonable” kind of gun control laws that Obama may support. (I’m skeptical about the about the study, especially given the admittedly sketchy data and John Lott’s More Guns, Less crime)

The manipulation of the ambition of hypocrites may work, but it does reflect a defect. As Madison said, ambition countering ambition is necessary because of “the defect of better motives.” If the country is to prosper and move beyond sound-bites, we’ll need real substance. Good people will have to make good choices and use good arguments to push politically-expedient politicians in the right direction.

Published in: on December 10, 2008 at 4:03 pm  Leave a Comment  

Church and State Habits II

Last Sunday the pastor completed a short series on Jonah. He called the series, “Intervention.” When he introduced the series he related a conversation he once had about the God of the Old Testament vs. the God of the New Testament. Well, the Intervention series was about the God the Old and New Testaments who intervened in the life of Jonah and who intervened for Ninevah. So the pastor demonstrated that there isn’t a God who speaks words of judgment in the Old Testament and words of grace in the New Testament. As he said, “His words of judgment are words of grace.”

So I’ve been musing again about the topic of an earlier post on Church and State Habits. How often is the idea expressed that judgment can be grace? And how does it get expressed? Don’t we usually say that being judgmental is bad? Does freedom breed the idea the judgments are bad?

I suppose the hellfire and brimstone crowd hears plenty of judgment. (Is there a hellfire and brimstone crowd anymore?) And judgments are heard in courtrooms. But are those gracious judgments?

Well, it seems to me that any righteous judgment, any judgment according to God’s law, is a gracious judgment—or “words of grace.” If it’s His law, it’s His judgment, and His words of judgment “are words of grace.”

But one might question whether this is anything more than a mere assertion that the words spoken are God’s words, and is merely a formula for blaming God. That hellfire and brimstone preaching does get criticized and blamed for making God look bad and for turning people away from God. Saying that “words of judgment are words of grace” may not be a sufficient defense to the criticism that some preaching is not gracious. Someone’s preaching may not be according to God’s words, despite the preacher’s assertion that it is. Legalism seems to be the preacher’s will, not God’s. And with the recent marking of the 30th anniversary of Jonestown, we have been reminded that skepticism is not necessarily a bad thing.

And yet, I suppose preachers, like politicians, are too frequently easy targets of our criticism and we may think of them as enemies, like Jonah thought of the Assyrians in Nineveh. However many there are who criticize preaching because of someone’s bad preaching, some “words of judgment” may indeed be “words of grace” even if they’re not expressed by one who walks on water.

A preacher who asks, like Jesus asked his disciples, whom do you say that Jesus is? is no mere judgmental preacher just because he is no moral relativist, says all have sinned, and we all have the task of searching for “words of grace.”

So don’t we all have a task of sorting words, searching the scriptures, and looking for the “words of grace”?

Do some avoid their responsibilities by blaming judgmental preaching? It seems to me that a criticism for being judgmental may be a tactic for avoiding a search for “words of grace,” a way of telling someone to quit speaking, rather than a well-founded criticism of a Jones-like preacher who is willing to impose himself on people.

Like any category of people, some preachers are good and some not. And given there are some autocratic preachers, thank God we’re free to attend this or that denomination and follow this or that ritual as we think best. Thank God we’re governed by our own consent.

Maybe that’s the problem some people have with “words of judgment” being delivered by some preachers. Maybe some preachers are presumptuous and would deny us the freedom to go elsewhere. Maybe some preaching is seen as usurping our own task of searching for the “words of grace.”

Is the problem that some judgmental preachers don’t respect freedom? Is the problem that some don’t respect the freedom of the minds or the conscience’s of others? Can we say that some don’t respect the work of the Holy Ghost to convict the souls of men? Would some preachers deny to others the freedom to find “words of grace”?

Thank God for laws that protect the freedom of religion. Thank God for that law of the First Amendment and those words of grace.

At times we may be like Jonah and not like it when our enemies find words of grace but may we not forget that good laws, like “words of judgmentfrom friends, are words of grace for us as well as them. May the license of some not breed in us a contempt for freedom. May we not forget that our freedom to speak “words of judgment” exists not for license but for good.

Published in: on December 2, 2008 at 2:11 pm  Comments (4)  

“Free” Speech in the Neighborhood

Where is speech “freer” for minorities? Lynchburg or San Francisco?

Published in: on November 18, 2008 at 9:22 pm  Leave a Comment  

1984 in Congress Today

Sigmund Neumann wrote an article, “The Rule of the Demagogue,” that was published in the American Sociological Review in 1938. According to the German Wiki, he came to the U.S. in 1934. He describes how demagogues rely on the existence of democracy, and “the breakdown of institutions.” While twisting the meanings of words, the demagogue become the “substitute for institutions.” Modern demagogues, he says, borrow their concepts and slogans of an “ennobled democracy” from their enemies.

In concluding, he plainly writes:

In an democracy, however, there persists an absolute unwillingness to give up the search for truth and the freedom of choice in the knowledge of good and evil.

Today, we have cause to wonder about Congress’s insistence on the truth. The Congressional Record, is supposed to be, well, “the official record of the proceedings and debates of the United States Congress.” But Congressmen, apparently, do not like records of their actions. They change the “Record” all the time. Kimberley Strassel describes a recent change in which a little dialogue is inserted into the “Record.” It’s a dialogue for the purpose of bailing out the auto industry. It purports to show the intent of Congress in giving the Secretary of the Treasury $700 billion.

Sometimes the “intent of Congress” is used to support Supreme Court decisions. Just last week, a case was argued before the Supreme Court in which the federal government argued for convicting a man of illegally owning a firearm because of the “intent” of Congress. Justice Scalia was skeptical about reading a law, not based on what the law says but on the “intent” of Congress.

When law is not based on what is written, but intentions, I have to wonder if we’re not becoming Byzantine. As Neumann noted, demagogues don’t like the printed word–people can think it over and criticize it, and it leaves a record. Sadly much of federal “law” is not law passed by Congress but is enforced through Byzantine regulations in conjunction with interest groups, like I described before in Barney’s Blarney with an “Appendix A” and Acorn. So the Bush administration, like the Clinton one before it, is “burrowing” political appointees into the bureaucracy in hopes of influencing the bureaucracy.

Why can’t we insist that Congress keeps a real record and passes laws that are clearly written?

Sad to say, Neumann may have the answer. He noted an “outspoken bluntness with which [demagogues] advise their henchmen.” He says that they “permit the masses to look behind the curtain of demagogic domination…. and make them admire the efficiency of their methods.”

So who are we? Are we those who admire the powerful and the “efficiency of their methods,” or are we those who persist in “an absolute unwillingness to give up the search for truth and the freedom of choice in the knowledge of god and evil”?

Will we allow that “most decisive principle of demagogical propaganda, the exclusion of counter-propaganda“? Will we allow Pelosi’s “fairness” to be twisted to silence public debate?

Published in: on November 18, 2008 at 3:08 pm  Comments (3)  

Church and State Habits

Habits are tough to break, and a bad habit is a tough problem to overcome. And problem solving is great when problems are solved, otherwise problem solving can be fatiguing, if not depressing. And it’s easy for tired problem solvers to quit and say there is no solution. But quitting is not proof there is no solution to a problem.

Following the election my pastor made a couple of comments, to encourage a proper perspective and keep our eyes focused on Jesus. And indeed, we need to keep a proper perspective, and doing so is difficult when wrapped up in the passions of party politics.

Dealing with “church and state” seems to be an ongoing problem, or, rather, a recurring point of discussion–as though there were a problem every two or four years. But the regularity of the discussion may be evidence of the lack of a real problem, and so evidence there is a solution, a proper perspective.

As a People we’re never directly involved in our national government, in actual governing. We don’t make laws, or vote to approve laws, or vote to approve or disapprove Roe or even Supreme Court Justices; we only choose representatives. And we’ve been doing that with great regularity, in times of peace and war since the beginning of the nation.

Still, there’s a suggestion that there’s a problem. And sometimes the suggestion, like my pastor’s, is that the problem is secondary. In a way, that’s fine. We shouldn’t fret about politics, particularly if it’s working. But if the suggestion is that we shouldn’t fret about politics, not because the problem is minor, but because politics is unimportant, then I’m skeptical. Perhaps I, the political philosophy junkie, like the pastor, am overtaken by bias but I’m skeptical about discounting the work of politics.

It’s quite true that no politician is going to usher in the kingdom of God and no politician is going to usher it out. But were I more like the skeptical Lincoln, I might respond by saying that no preacher is going to usher in the kingdom, and no preacher is going to usher it out.

God will have his glory. God will save his people. But, as with Esther, it’s better for us to do the job we’re given. Like Mordecai said to Esther:

Do not think to yourself that in the king’s palace you will escape any more than all the other Jews. 14For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?

It seems to me that, like Esther, we each have a job to do, even if it’s not in a palace. Of course, voting in a little booth is a lot less scary than Esther’s approaching the king to speak the truth. But although our involvement in politics is limited, can our involvement be anymore unrelated to God’s plan than Esther’s? Can speaking the truth be secondary to “kingdom” work? Can the administration and execution of justice be secondary? If faith without works is dead, what is faith without a concern for justice?

Some have taken up justice as a mission. “IJM’s work is founded on the Christian call to justice articulated in the Bible (Isaiah 1:17): Seek justice, protect the oppressed, defend the orphan, plead for the widow.”

At times, however, I wonder about the commitment of churches. This past election, a number of pastors have said that the Bible applies to politics and have refused to speak in generalities. They’re breaking with a habit that’s formed since the 1960’s when tax exemptions were threatened. At times, I wonder about the habits of churches and the influence of laws and “secular” ways of thinking.

You see, sometimes I wonder if moral relativism doesn’t creep into the church. It seems that preaching against sin, necessary for preaching the gospel, is acceptable, as long as it doesn’t mean being serious about applying it and confronting public life….

Consider Prop 8 in California. Preaching against sodomy was okay, or um, preaching against “sexual sin” was okay, until it meant something real. Now even the moral relativism of “personal” religious beliefs comes in for criticism for donating money to support “traditional” marriage. A theater director gave money to the “wrong” side and has now been forced to resign. See LA Times story here including this:

he basically gave me that thing we’re just sick of hearing — ‘these are my religious beliefs, but it’s nothing personal’ ” against gay people. “I don’t want to hear that anymore. I just told him I’m disgusted at that use of money that came in some way from a show I created.

And see the director’s blog and his resignation letter here.

Here’s the LAtest:

Yes on 8 forces plan a Friday news conference to decry the “outrageous campaign of blacklisting, harassment, and intimidation against supporters of the Yes on 8 Campaign. Churches have been defaced. Employers of donors and volunteers for Yes on 8 have been intimidated into firings, and forced resignation of employees who simply exercised their constitutional right to participate in the political process.”

Some poor woman made the mistake of opposing some protesters in Palm Springs.

And even the “N-word” came out of the closet in some instances because blacks supported Prop 8. Can the church take the heat? Can it do so as a matter of course? Can it stay out of the closet?

Published in: on November 13, 2008 at 11:19 pm  Comments (6)  

Post-election Alaska Post

In catching up on some reading, I read a short article, “Strategic Alaska.” (It has nothing to do with electoral college campaign strategy, but military strategy.) It seemed related to some recent news.

With Obama becoming President-elect, Russia announced a plan to deploy missiles on the borders of its Central European neighbors. This of course raises a question about Obama’s commitment to the former communist states of Central Europe, and of his commitment to missile defense.

Like he did on most issues, he fudged as he spoke to different audiences at different times as he spoke about missile defense. He was in favor of missile defense, because of countries like North Korea and Iran. But he was also in favor of cutting the defense budget and “unproven missile defense systems.” …. Russia is not North Korea or Iran.

Given that, and his request for Georgia to exercise restraint in the face of a Russian invasion, I’d say the Central European countries that want freedom from Russian domination are in a tough spot…..

But Russia is not just putting the pressure on small Central European states. The article, “Strategic Alaska,” said Russia is increasingly testing U.S. responses to its strategic patrols. Russia’s Gen. Zelin said he plans to have as many as 30 per month along the U.S. border. The AFA article includes a picture of an F-22 intercepting a Russian Bear bomber. (The bomber still has its tail painted with a Red Star, some 17 years after the fall of the Soviet Union.) Here’s another picture showing a Raptor when it was first used to intercepted Bear a year ago.

When Sarah Palin mentioned the strategic importance of Alaska and her awareness of strategic issues, it didn’t seem to be treated seriously by the media. But this article notes, “Alaska’s strategic Arctic location is viewed as useful for missile defense, air defense, and force deployments to locations ranging from Europe to East Asia. . . . Forces could arrive in Europe faster than if flying from the East Coast of the US.” Alaskan forces are a necessary part of any contingency plan for the Pacific region and C-17s from Alaska aided in quake relief for China.

And there’s even an “unproven” 49th Missile Defense Battalion stationed in Alaska, manned by Alaska National Guardsmen at Fort Greely Alaska.

Obama’s campaign speeches leave me wondering not only about the security of Central European states, but also about whether he will break with the Democrat opposition to missile defense for the U.S. That’s not likely, and as Reuter’s reports, missile defense “is widely viewed as bait for Obama’s budget scalpel.” So will he dismantle the real defense of Alaska’s Fort Greely? or will he push for reliance on ineffective international agreements like Democrats have done since before Jimmy Carter?

Published in: on November 7, 2008 at 1:21 pm  Comments (2)  

Waiting Periods

From my Glock Bro’: Raped woman calls 911 but police don’t arrive in time for rapist.

Barack Obama says he supports reasonable gun control. In Illinois, this woman may have been subject to prosecution. The story said she borrowed a weapon and in Illinois a permit is required before possession of a shotgun can be legal. Moreover, our President Elect opposed immunity for people using guns to defend themselves in their own homes.

His past voting record has not ben about reasonable restrictions that support public safety. His past voting record is anti-gun, plain and simple. He has campaigned, however, saying he won’t take our guns. That, is not much of a concession. Taking guns is not easy; were that the aim, it wouldn’t be the first step. But what will he do?

Obama, to discount his record, repeatedly said he supported the Second Amendment. His plans for re-election therefore may moderate his actions against gun owners and gun manufacturers. We’ll have to wait and see what the Democrats pass in Congress and what Barack signs.

The Democrats will be pushing more gun control. They will be using federal regulations and ATF “interpretations” etc. of manufacturing, sales and ownership to make self-defense more difficult, but all in the name of public safety.

I doubt the primary target of gun legislation and regulation will be criminals like rapists; the target of socialists is liberty. In the end, I suspect the “reasonable” restrictions will do less to decrease crime than borrowing a shotgun did in this case.

Published in: on November 5, 2008 at 1:55 pm  Leave a Comment  

Healthcare from the Past

I was sorting through some old files and found something about healthcare for all. It’s more evidence about how strong is The Dream for meeting all needs, even at the expense of freedom.

The L.A. Times reported back in 1993 about a “mystery nervous-system epidemic in Cuba.” (Yes, this about Michael Moore’s favored healthcare system.) The story noted, “foreign specialists concur with Cuban doctors that the epidemic cannot be blamed only on Cuban nutrition levels….”

Of course, what Cuban doctor would say that the Cuba had a health problem because of the socialist system? Vitamins did seem to help, though.

Published in: on October 29, 2008 at 4:34 pm  Leave a Comment