Gun, Liberty, and the Second Amendment

I was in a discussion over the weekend with some Brits, on the shooting in Florida, and of course, gun control came up. Well not actually gun control, which consists of hitting what you’re shooting at, but the right to possess small arms and ammunition. It got a little heated, when their somewhat suppressed anti-Americanism showed up, but you’d have been proud of me, I didn’t even swear, nor did I lose my poor opinion of them that I already had. In any case…

Yesterday, John Hinderaker, over at PowerLine recalled a piece on the subject by English/American Charles W. Cooke from National Review in 2015. It’s a good one, here are some excerpts.

As John says, Coke notes that talk is cheap and encourages them to get on with it and repeal the second amendment.

[H]ere’s the million-dollar question: What the hell are they waiting for? Go on, chaps. Bloody well do it.
***
Man up. Put together a plan, and take those words out of the Constitution.

This will involve hard work, of course. You can’t just sit online and preen to those who already agree with you. No siree. Instead, you’ll have to go around the states — traveling and preaching until the soles of your shoes are thin as paper. You’ll have to lobby Congress, over and over and over again. You’ll have to make ads and shake hands and twist arms and cut deals and suffer all the slings and arrows that will be thrown in your direction. You’ll have to tell anybody who will listen to you that they need to support you; that if they disagree, they’re childish and beholden to the “gun lobby”; that they don’t care enough about children; that their reverence for the Founders is mistaken; that they have blood on their goddamn hands; that they want to own firearms only because their penises are small and they’re not “real men.” And remember, you can’t half-ass it this time. You’re not going out there to tell these people that you want “reform” or that “enough is enough.” You’re going there to solicit their support for removing one of the articles within the Bill of Rights. Make no mistake: It’ll be unpleasant strolling into Pittsburgh or Youngstown or Pueblo and telling blue-collar Democrat after blue-collar Democrat that he only has his guns because he’s not as well endowed as he’d like to be. It’ll be tough explaining to suburban families that their established conception of American liberty is wrong. You might even suffer at the polls because of it. But that’s what it’s going to take. So do it. Start now. Off you go.

And don’t stop there. No, no. There’ll still be a lot of work to be done. As anybody with a passing understanding of America’s constitutional system knows, repealing the Second Amendment won’t in and of itself lead to the end of gun ownership in America. Rather, it will merely free up the federal government to regulate the area, should it wish to do so. Next, you’ll need to craft the laws that bring about change — think of them as modern Volstead Acts — and you’ll need to get them past the opposition. And, if the federal government doesn’t immediately go the whole hog, you’ll need to replicate your efforts in the states, too, 45 of which have their own constitutional protections. Maybe New Jersey and California will go quietly. Maybe. But Idaho won’t. Louisiana won’t. Kentucky won’t. Maine won’t. You’ll need to persuade those sovereignties not to sue and drag their heels, but to do what’s right as defined by you. Unfortunately, that won’t involve vague talk of holding “national conversations” and “doing something” and “fighting back against the NRA.” It’ll mean going to all sorts of groups — unions, churches, PTAs, political meetings, bowling leagues — and telling them not that you want “common-sense reforms,” but that you want their guns, as in Australia or Britain or Japan.

Keep reading, it’s all good. Robert Tracinski over at The Federalist has some thought as well.

Every time there is a school shooting or some other high-profile act of violence involving a gun (this time at a school in Florida), everybody pretends that America has never before bothered to consider the tradeoff between liberty and security — and that we haven’t long ago settled the debate on the side of liberty.

There are, after all, a great many ills that could seemingly be solved by placing every person and every aspect of life under the control of government overseers who would manage us for our own good. But most of us realize that such a life would be psychologically intolerable, utterly impossible to implement, and would expose us to the far greater evils that come from an overbearing government, whether through official incompetence or outright malevolence. So we have decided to brave the risks and uncertainties of a free society rather than long for the illusory security of an all-powerful state.

In my experience, the only people who actually think this way are the ones who (likely wrongly) think they’ll be the overseers, which should tell you all you need to know.

It also turns out that, as with the usual gun control measures proposed after a shooting, this one was not necessary to stop it. The FBI had received not one but two tips that the killer was planning a school shooting but failed to follow up. Remember what I was saying earlier about the limitations of relying on government, with all its ineptitude, to guarantee our safety.

Besides, if it’s a matter of balancing liberty versus security, we should remember that we are probably more secure now than we have ever been. Crime is down. The homicide rate remains at or near historic lows. The number of people murdered specifically by means of a gun is lower than it is has been in decades.

So because the authorities (mostly the FBI) have been ineffective at providing us security for the last decade, we should give them more power? I don’t think so. I too vote for liberty over security, not least because as an American, I can provide a fair amount of my own security.

By the way, outside of a few losers, I had lots of British support in that discussion. Good many of them think now just as we do, as was true in 1776, of course. They’ve watched as their government has usurped more power than is warranted, and they are not enthused. And that is why they got Brexit, now to hold it.

 

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Mind the Gap

Paul Mirengoff over at PowerLine called my attention to something that has rather slipped under the radar for most of us.

 

Rachel Brand, the third highest ranking official in the Justice Department has resigned. She will become Walmart’s “Executive Vice President, Global Governance and Corporate Secretary.”

With Brand’s departure, here is what the top echelon of the Department of Justice looks like:

Attorney General – Jeff Sessions

Deputy Attorney General – Rod Rosenstein

Associate Attorney General – vacant

Solicitor General – Noel Francisco

Assistant Attorney General, Civil Division – vacant, nomination pending

Assistant Attorney General, Civil Rights Division – vacant, nomination pending

Assistant Attorney General, Criminal Division – vacant, nomination pending

Assistant Attorney General, National Security Division – vacant, nomination pending

Assistant Attorney General, Environmental Division – vacant, nomination pending

Assistant Attorney General, Tax Division – vacant

As a result of all these vacancies, Obama holdovers still exercise significant control over the Department. Indeed, Christian Adams argues that they “still run the show.” He writes:

Unfortunately, in important components of the Justice Department, the deep-state strategy of seeking to nullify the results of the 2016 election is being employed without garnering. . .much attention.

Consider the Justice Department Civil Rights Division, where a Senate-confirmed nominee for assistant attorney general has yet to be installed, 13 months into the administration. The Civil Rights Division wields enormous power over housing, banking, voting, police, education, immigration, employment, lending, prisons and more. . . .

Yet four Obama holdovers entirely sympathetic to the ideological agenda of the previous administration are still in absolute control of an entire layer of political oversight. There are four deputy assistant attorney general positions at the Civil Rights Division, and all are occupied by committed Obama holdovers.

(Emphasis added)

AG Sessions and President Trump have done their job, all but one of the nominees for the Assistant Attorney General slots, and done so many months ago.

So the problem is clearly in the Senate, Mitch McConnel bears full responsibility for one of the most important departments of government remaining under control of the Obama administration.

Frankly, whether it is true or not, and I think it is, it gives the appearance that the Republican Majority Leader of the United States Senate is colluding (see, I know the word!) with the Democrats against the Republican president elected by the people.

Time to get the people’s business done, Senator. Although the good people of Kentucky probably should have fired him long ago.

Worse Than Watergate

NBC News

Chris Buskirk at American Greatness:

The FISA Abuse Memo is out and now we know why the Democrats were desperate to keep its contents hidden from the public: it confirms the worst fears not just of President Trump’s supporters but of everyone concerned about the abuse of police power, government corruption, and the sanctity of our elections.
The memo shows interference in the 2016 presidential election by hostile elements within a United States intelligence agency. It wasn’t the Russians we had to worry about — it was rogue actors at the highest levels of the FBI and Department of Justice. Left unanswered is to what extent the West Wing knew about or was complicit in this gross abuse of power. . . .
We now know that almost every accusation leveled against the president with regard to so-called “Russian collusion” actually reflects the actions of what amounts to a cabal of Democratic Party operatives working with FBI and Justice Department fellow-travellers. . . .

R.S. McCain adds:

There was no actual “Russian collusion” because the people who arranged the Trump Tower meeting weren’t working for the Kremlin, they were working for the Democrat Party.

It’s like what they used to say down South: If you ever go to a meeting of five Klansman, one of them will be an FBI undercover agent and at least two of the others will be confidential informants. In the case of the make-believe “Russian collusion,” it appears that practically everybody involved in trying to get the Trump campaign tangled up in this embarrassing mess was, in one way or another, working for FusionGPS, which was being bankrolled by the Clinton campaign and the DNC.

That’s the size of it. Trump’s people come off as a bit credulous, they kept talking to stray people wandering in, but that’s not criminal, merely foolish.

Chris Buskirk again:

Nearly 50 years ago, the Watergate scandal forced a president from office. The Left thought it could do it again. But the Nunes memo—and the millions of documents and hundreds of hours of interviews behind it—makes clear that rogue elements within the FBI and Justice Department broke the law in an attempt to use the police power of the United States government first to throw the election to Hillary Clinton and then to destroy the presidency of Donald Trump.

This cannot stand. There must be consequences. And they must be swift, public, and severe.

Why is this worse than Watergate?

Because Watergate (the crime, not the coverup) was done by private individuals acting on their own. Foolishly, stupidly, and several other adverbs apply, but they were working for themselves and a private group.

However here we have high-level government law enforcement figures acting in an official capacity to corrupt the election process of the United States.

This is the problem that arises with any self-selecting elite (you may read experts if you choose), the time always comes when they conclude that they know better than the people they work for. Even if it is true, they have not the right to usurp their lawful superior (in this case the electorate). But almost always, it is not true, people have an innate sense of what is most likely to benefit them. And as we’ve seen in this matter, the experts are not acting in the people’s best interest, invariably they are acting in their own.

Indeed, this cannot stand, and the consequences must be swift, public, severe, and permanent.

The Nunes Memo

Three lies for the price of one?

So, I looked at Ad Age’s page yesterday because I haven’t heard much about the Superbowl ads. Welp, you won’t here either, as near as I can tell they are all either PC, or full of SJW crap, or both, so for me, they are just as uninteresting as the NFL has made itself. Sad. One can only wish Vince McMahon Godspeed with the XFL.

I expect that you all know the Nunes Memo came out yesterday. I can’t get it to load on the page so here is a link. Do read it, even with the White House letter, it’s only six pages of shocking truth.

Pretty damning stuff, not enough to shake the Republic, since most of it was known, but enough to end some careers of people who let their feelings rule their work life. John Daniel Davidson over at The Federalist has some cogent thoughts, and yes, they parallel mine.

The memo is out, and it’s bad. Is shows, unequivocally, that the Federal Bureau of Investigation used political opposition research paid for by the Democratic National Committee and the Hillary Clinton campaign to get a secret court warrant to spy on a Trump campaign member.

It also shows that the FBI omitted vital information in its warrant request to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court. Namely, the FBI kept asking for warrant renewals (FISA wiretapping permission expires after 90 days) without telling the court the FBI itself had dismissed Christopher Steele, who generated the opposition research, for lying to the FBI and leaking his relationship with the agency to the press. Both are not only unethical but likely illegal.

It also shows that Steele was utterly biased, that he “was desperate that Donald Trump not get elected and was passionate about him not being president.” We know that because Steele admitted it to Bruce Ohr, then a senior DOJ official, whose wife was working for Fusion GPS, the firm the DNC and the Clinton campaign hired to produce the Steele dossier.

The memo reveals a lot of outrageous stuff. Everyone should read it (it’s only four pages, go read it). But the most important and shocking thing the memo shows is how utterly politicized the Justice Department and FBI had become by the end of Barack Obama’s term.

And that is the worst thing of all. While we’ve always complained about ‘the Feds’, since the 1920s or so, we have been able to trust that they would work within the Constitution and objectively. That is demonstrably no longer true, just as it is no longer true for the IRS. As such neither agency has any claim to be believed in any matter by anyone, anywhere. And yet, we need both, so they must be cleaned up, not in Donald Trump’s favor, but because American freedom is at stake. There is no room for compromise in this, they must either be forcibly and thoroughly reformed, or decommissioned and their employees fired, good, bad, or indifferent.

In short, the rule of law, not men must be restored, and shown to be restored.

Handcarts to Hell

today horiz.2

Kurt Schlichter was on a roll this week, even for him. On the fourth, he had a few comments on the news media and its lack of anything approaching morals in anything. That’s here.

Behold another banner week for the heroes of our intrepid mainstream media, that motley collection of pompous and obnoxious incompetents, perverts and – at the risk of repeating myself – liberals. In just the last few days we’ve seen how a major media personality got his network to build him a creepy sex lair in his office and watched as a flat-out lie tanked the stock market – well, not really “tanked,” since the Trump Boom is still booming, though the media is loath to report that fact since prosperity wrecks the official Trumpocalypse narrative. And next week, if (when) the guy the liberal media tried to paint as Judge Jailbait beats the guy the liberal media tried to cover for by not reporting how he thinks abortions are cool up until a kid gets his learner’s permit, the liberal media will take yet another well-deserved failure lap.

The mainstream liberal media is primarily composed of stumblebum leftist jerks who want all the glory and respect due a caste of objective, moral truth-seekers, yet who don’t want to do the hard work of actually being objective or moral or seeking the truth. “I can’t pass, and I can’t tackle, and practice is really a hassle, but I’m wearing a sportsball jersey so I want your adulation and a Super Bowl ring!

My only real complaint with anything in that column is that the Colonel has this tendency to understate how bad the media really is. Well, who would believe the truth? Bookworm would, that’s who. You’ve heard about that roast of Matt Lauer, well Book went where most of us won’t -The Village Voice and got the filth, and told us about it. Good on her, but I’m not going to copy any of it, I don’t really do anything that obscene here, but I’ll link her post, and thank her for it. Note: Obscene material and very not suitable for work, unless you work for NBC in which case it is the workplace environment you have allowed to be your normal. The article is here: The infamous Matt Lauer roast reveals who Proggies are (NSFW).

Yuck!

But the Colonel latest is even better to my mind. Here he takes on the current (and former) leadership of the FBI and marks the desecration of an institution thereby.

Add this infamy to all the other crimes of the liberal establishment – its poisonous influence has converted the Federal Bureau of Investigation, in the eyes of the American people, from a proud institution dedicated to upholding the law into just another suppurating bureaucratic pustule. Where once we saw FBI agents as heroes – many of us ancients grew up watching Efrem Zimbalist, Jr., every Sunday night – now we see careerist hacks looking to suck-up to the Democrat elite while bending the law and subverting justice to do it. Truly, everything liberals touch dies.

[…] didn’t even fire Strozk though intermural adultery is allegedly against the rules at the FBI. Nope, nothing builds confidence in a law enforcement agency’s organizational integrity like bending the rules to protect your bigwig buddies.

Oh, wait – outright payoffs do too! Don’t even start on Andrew McCabe and his wife’s Democrat contributions – to her. Yeah, the wife of the FBI second-in-command got money from the Democrat Party and he’s still not recused from this fake investigation. Are you kidding?

By the way, have we got even a single iota of information on what the unholy hell happened since Special Agent Johnson and Special Agent Johnson took over the investigation of the Las Vegas shooting?

It’s long past time to lance this boil. It’s sad when you have to accept that you can’t talk to the FBI, that they can’t be trusted to do justice, that you must protect yourself from being railroaded like LTG Flynn was and always – always always always – demand to speak to your attorney and demand that the FBI not question you if they come sniffing around. LTG Flynn trusted them not to have an agenda. Look what happened, and learn.

It’s heartbreaking, because the FBI’s real legacy – a legacy field agents largely live today – is a legacy of heroes.

Flashback to Miami, April 11, 1986. Eight agents make a felony stop on a car with two suspected bank robbers, igniting a firefight that demonstrated the bravery and devotion that shouldbe what first comes to mind when any American thinks of the FBI.

William Russell Matix and Michael Lee Platt were ex-military and had killed before – and they packed an arsenal that ensured they were not going quietly. The FBI agents, lightly armed with under-powered handguns and a couple 12 gauges – came under intense rifle fire that the light vests some wore could not stop. In the end, seven of the eight agents were hit – and Special Agent Benjamin Grogan and Special Agent Jerry Dove died fighting.

Yes, while we ‘Normals’ don’t necessarily expect that level of heroism from every agent, although we’ve seen enough of it over our lifetimes to know it is not uncommon, we do expect common decency, honesty, and dare I say it, a sense of honor, from our law enforcement people, Federal, state, and local. Well, it used to be that way, anyway. In our Brave New World, not so much.

Should The FBI Be Abolished?

Three lies for the price of one?

In The American Spectator yesterday, Steven Baldwin asked a controversial question. Should we abolish the FBI? I think he makes a pretty good case that we should. It’s a long article, and my excerpts will look like looney assertions, they aren’t, read the link. Let’s get going.

For the last few years, the media has been dominated by a number of sensational stories: that Trump colluded with Russia to influence the presidential election; that the Trump team was wiretapped by Obama intelligence officials; that Hillary used a private email server to transmit classified information; that Hillary and the DNC colluded with Russian sources to compile a dossier on Trump, and finally, that Russia acquired 20% of America’s uranium supply during the same time period $145 million miraculously appeared in the Clinton Foundation’s bank account. It all stinks to high heaven but it’s created a confusing array of facts that has bewildered most Americans. They all know something is seriously wrong with their country even if they can’t pinpoint exactly what the problem is.

But there is a common denominator in all these scandals or alleged scandals, and that would be the FBI and the actions they took or didn’t take. […]

On top of all that, former FBI director Robert Mueller — now Special Counsel — is investigating Trump for collusion with Russia when the evidence is now revealing that the only party that colluded with the Russians to influence the 2016 campaign was the Democratic Party. But Mueller doesn’t have the integrity to widen his investigation to cover the Clinton/GPS Fusion/Russian dossier scandal but instead is spending millions on investigating alleged crimes by former Trump campaign workers that occurred years ago and had nothing to do with Trump, Russian collusion, or the 2016 election.

Lastly, when Mueller was FBI Director, he served on the board of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), the agency that approved the sale of uranium to Russia by the Uranium One company only a short time after his own agency had arrested a Russian official attempting to bribe American uranium officials. But there is no record of Mueller warning his fellow CFIUS members about the illegal Russian efforts. It likewise begs logic to believe that Mueller knew nothing about the $145 million the Clinton Foundation received from Putin-connected sources shortly after the CFIUS vote. It is also inconceivable that Mueller, as FBI Director from 2001-2013, was not aware that the Clintons were using their foundation and Hillary’s Secretary of State position to operate a massive pay-to-play scam that went far beyond the Uranium One scandal. […]

However, it has become increasingly clear in recent years that this agency has become so politicized, so corrupt, and so large and bureaucratic that it may no longer be an effective agency. The time has come to discuss its abolition. […]

But note that the FBI did not come into existence until 132 years after the country declared its independence. This was because the founders never envisioned a federal role for law enforcement. It is not one of the “enumerated” duties of the federal government listed in the constitution.

There were reasons for that. Our founders were skeptical of a large federal government and, indeed, not even the “federalist” faction argued for a federal law enforcement role. The Constitution’s authors all assumed that most of the country’s governing would be carried out by state and local governments; the Federal government was created simply to take care of things that states were not well suited to do, such as maintaining a military, minting currency, and negotiating trade treaties. Indeed, for most of America’s first century, the highest law enforcement officer was the county sheriff.

Except for treason, the idea of federal crimes was not even mentioned in the Constitution. Our founders had a healthy fear of America turning into a tyrannical government such as those which existed all over the world at the time. They wanted to maximize freedom; hence the Bill of Rights. They assumed the creation of a federalized police force would make it far easier for the federal government to abuse the rights of its citizens.

Wise men, the founders. Consider

  • Prosecuting Opponents of World War 1.

  • COINTELPRO. This was the FBI’s covert internal security program in the 1950s and ’60s, created to “disrupt, misdirect, discredit, and neutralize” groups and individuals the government deemed to be enemies.

  • FBI Preparations for Martial Law.

  • The Ruby Ridge Murders.

  • The Waco Massacre.

  • Helping Bill Clinton Collect Dirt on his Enemies. Often referred to as “Filegate,” in 1993-94 […]

  • Project Megiddo. This was another shady FBI project, launched in 1999, created for the purpose of monitoring groups on the right […]

  • Use of Criminals as Undercover Agents.

  • Operation Vigilant Eagle. This FBI program initiated in 2009 targeted anti-government activists such as Tea Party activists and, alarmingly, veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars

  • Targeting Pro-Lifers. In 2010, The FBI held a joint training session on terrorism with Planned Parenthood and the National Abortion Federation.

  • The IRS Scandal.

  • FBI Worked With the SPLC

  • Data Mining Innocent Americans.

  • Raids on Homes of Anti-Government Activists. Repeatedly, the FBI has raided homes on the flimsiest of evidence.

  • Fraudulent Forensics.

  • FBI High School Informer Network

  • The FBI Record on Fighting Terrorism. [Which is terrible]

And so many more.

Conservatives Should Quit Defending the FBI
The FBI has a long history of being used by various administrations to harass certain groups and individuals, or, conversely, to allow certain groups and individuals to commit crimes without fear of prosecution. The FBI is supposed to uphold the Constitution but instead has repeatedly violated the constitutional rights of Americans. This politicization has cost many Americans their lives and their freedoms. The abuse listed here is not comprehensive but it’s enough, one would think, to make conservatives think twice about defending this agency’s police state tactics.

This is what we are paying for. My recollection is that the reason J. Edgar Hoover got the name changed from the Bureau of Investigation was to shed the image of corruption which had grown up about it. He was, of course, a master of public relations (not to mention alleged blackmail). And so we were all sold this bill of goods that the G-men were a bunch of clean-cut, incorruptible, good guys. Maybe it was true once (I doubt it), it certainly is not anymore, as we have seen.

Much more at the link, but I think it is time to end this charade, as we should its cousin the Bureau of Alchohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, which should go back to being a convenience store, for us, not Mexican drug runners. Enough is quite a lot more than enough.

Time to end the charade.

 

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