The Council Has Spoken: August 5, 2016

Council Winners

Non-Council Winners

You Can’t Be Republican And Vote For Hillary

As a registered Republican I am supposed to vote for my party’s candidate regardless who it is. If you decide to vote for a Republican for one office but a Democrat for another office, you are no longer a Republican. You are an independent.

And if you actively solicit donations for Hillary as Meg Whitman is doing, you are actively undermining the Republican Party. And that makes you a Democrat in my book.

Friggin oligarchs…

Book Review: Living With Concealed Carry by Chad Amberg

Bored with catching Pokemon with your phone? Don’t know much about handguns especially concealed carry and want to learn more? Then for the price of a latte you can come up to speed on how to live with a handgun by reading Living With Concealed Carry.

Although dedicated to the details of how to conceal carry a handgun this ebook is filled with solid information about possessing and using a handgun that every gun owner should know, from basic gun handling to interacting with law enforcement while carrying. Even trivialities like where to put your holstered firearm while using a public toilet (don’t remove your gun from the holster and place it in the crotch of your pants) are covered. Throughout the book Amberg emphasizes safety first and foremost starting with 4 basic, cumulative rules:

  • “All guns are always loaded. Even if they are not, treat them as they are.” Whenever you see a gun assume it is loaded and clear the action immediately after picking it up. It doesn’t matter if your buddy or the salesman cleared it. Always check it yourself.

  • “Never let the muzzle cover anything you are not willing to destroy.” Never point a gun at anything you don’t want to kill, even if you followed rule #1. If you want to play with a gun, buy a plastic toy or airsoft gun. Don’t ever point a gun at another human being unless you are prepared to kill them.

  • “Keep your finger off the trigger until your sights are on the target.” This is tough, especially for those practicing drawing from a holster, and accidental discharges have happened to experienced shooters including soldiers and cops.

  • “Identify the target, and what is behind it.” This comes in handy as I once learned while siting in my .22 rifle. I thought a pine tree stump would stop the .22 round, so I was surprised to hear “PING”, and realized that a round had penetrated the tree stump and hit the steel rim of my car’s tire.

Chad is my “gun-father”. He used to be my boss and once after work we hit the gun range. After some initial trepidation Chad showed me how to safely handle a firearm, and after a few hours I was hooked. When the Kid got older I got my first membership at that very same range, and soon purchased my first firearm, a Marlin .22 rifle. Since then I’ve read everything I can about handling guns safely, and Chad’s book is a concise summary.

For anyone interested in CCW or in guns in general, Chad’s book is well worth the $3.

Council Submissions: August 3, 2016

Council Submissions

Honorable Mentions

Non-Council Submissions

The Internet’s Designated Nazi Rule

A long time ago I was once called a Nazi by a roomful of Jews.

My crime? I dared stand up against a Chabad Lubavitch rabbi at a town hall meeting who wanted to build a parking lot on land owned by the power company.

A proud gentile Zionist who supported the state of Israel more than some of the Jews in the room, and I was spat at by a Holocaust survivor and called a “Nazi thug.” Afterwards I spoke to an ex-roommate of mine, a Jewish biker who assured me that there was enough anti-Semitism in the world that his tribe didn’t need to go making more up.

We are 70 years removed from Hitler putting a bullet through his own brain yet Hitler and Nazis are still trotted out by people to demonize their opponents. It’s gotten to the point where Jews are regularly called Nazis by the very people who WERE Nazis, the German Left and their Palestinian terrorist pals who were fervent Nazi sympathizers, and every death of a handful of people or more becomes a Holocaust.

I’ve studied the Holocaust in detail and the Nazi regime from its pre-WWI roots to its end in a shell crater in Berlin, covered in gasoline and set aflame. I read the transcripts of the Nuremberg trials and watched movies and documentaries (personal fave the Wannsee Conference) . Although I was born an entire generation after the end of the Nazi period I studied as much as I could stomach of that regime (there are things I read and pictures I saw twenty-five years ago that I can’t read or look at today).

While certain events have come close enough to being a Holocaust to warrant the term genocide such as the Killing Fields under the Khmer Rouge in the late 1970s and the systematic slaughter of Tutsis in 1994 Rwanda, there has only been one Holocaust in our written history. Nothing else can touch it. Nothing can match its bureaucratic and systematic barbarism. The entire European continent, its economy, society and even its culture were all reconfigured for one purpose: the annihilation of the Jews. The war that Hitler fought on two fronts wasn’t about German military conquest: It was about creating the space needed for the true task of the Nazi regime: the destruction of Jewry. By exterminating the Jews Hitler saw himself as creating the Master Race and 1000 Year Reich. In the Nazi mind Killing Jews led to these goals, not the other way around which is why trains with cattle cars filled with doomed Jews were granted priority over troop transports and military supply trains.

Nothing in our history compares to the Holocaust. The genocide of native Americans? Ad hoc policies over a period of centuries with no systematic plan. Manifest Destiny was an idea, not a systematic program implemented at every level of the government. Even Stalin’s purges and Mao’s Great Leap Forward that killed tens of millions weren’t as methodically planned and executed by a powerful bureaucracy as the Nazi regime used against European Jewry.

Are we clear on that?

So when I see The Daily Beast article, “Trump Versus Hitler: What We Can Learn From Weimar Germany written by Nathan Stoltzfus, the Dorothy and Jonathan Rintels Professor of Holocaust Studies at Florida State University and the author of Hitler’s Compromises: Coercion and Consensus in Nazi Germany, I pretty much know the answer before I read the first sentence.

Elites are so terrified by an outside politician that they instinctively rush to portray him (or her in the case of Sarah Palin) in the worst possible light. Trump is Hitler, although the article approaches the subject through rhetoric that equates Weimar Republic with current conditions in the United States.

What can we learn from the Weimar Republic?

Plenty of things but none of them are the author’s point. And few economies compare to the absolute disaster that Germany’s was between 1919 and 1933.

The Weimar Republic’s economy was a nightmare thanks in large part to the onerous war reparations the Allies levied on Germany. This led to inflation to a degree that people regularly ran out of money, and the printing presses were running so furiously they often ran out of paper. At coin shows I’ve seen Weimar currency printed on bits of leather, even wood. It was a lesson that was learned  and applied after the Second World War whereby both Germany and Japan were given extended time frames to pay war reparations and the US even gave the former Axis powers money to help rebuild their economies and societies as exemplified by the Marshall Plan.

Trump says our economy is bad, but he doesn’t say it’s that bad. The only place on the planet with a comparable economy to Weimar Germany right now is likely the Leftist poster-child Venezuela where even toilet paper is being rationed. Equating the US economy to that of Weimar proves ignorance of European history or a tendency towards excess by the writer. How is Trump’s calling for background checks on Muslims from warzones like Libya, Iraq and Syria different from the Left’s demand for background checks on ammo buyers? It’s not as if he’s slapping on yellow crescents on every Muslim that enters the country.

History is filled with lessons, but determining which one is more of art than a science. For example, as a student of Ancient Roman History I’m wondering whether the Edict of Caracalla which extended the right to vote to all non-slave residents of the empire including women contributed to the decline of the Empire. Left-wing historian Mary Beard views the edict in a positive light, like a 19th amendment of the Roman Empire. But I see it as anti-democratic, diluting the power of the Senate even further and boosting the power of the Emperor.

There should be a rule on the internet banning the designation of anyone as Hitler. It proves the ignorance of the writer and does an injustice to the millions who suffered because of him, minimizing their horrific experience for the sake of scoring cheap political points. Nathan Stoltzfus, the Dorothy and Jonathan Rintels Professor of Holocaust Studies at Florida State University should know better.

The Council Has Spoken: July 29, 2016

Council Winners

Non-Council Winners

If Bill Thinks Hill is So Perfect…

After forcing myself to watch BC’s speech last night, digesting it and sleeping on it, I have just one question to ask. Why would Bill Clinton, ever in his wildest dreams, think of cheating on such a dreamboat? – Kathleen Willey.

Hattip: VA Right

Council Submissions: July 27, 2016

Council Submissions

Honorable Mentions

Non-Council Submissions

Will Obama Pardon Clinton?

I know this question is premature with several months to go before the election, but I think it’s one worth considering.

In the event that Clinton loses in November, will President Obama pardon her?

If Hillary loses, the Democratic machine will be ripe for takeover with Sandernistas. Right now that machine is completely Clinton’s, as the DNC emails leaked by Wikileaks proves. But that machine would be wrecked by a Trump win in November, and the likely replacement would be with Bernie Sanders backers, many of whom also are Obama backers. It should be remembered that the Clinton machine and the Obama machine are completely separate entities, with the latter focused on governing. Once Obama leaves office his people will be freed to focus on shaping his party to cement and extend his legacy in the same way the Clinton machine has done. The Sandernistas will likely have an important role to play, at least for the first few years while Obama’s people get placed.

So what about Hillary?

A Trump win means there would be a likelihood of continued investigation into Clinton affairs abetted by the Sandernistas and Obama’s people whom Hillary has crossed. The indictment of Hillary which many on the Right (and I) have called for would become a strong possibility.

Would Obama as one of his last acts as President pardon her?

There is no love lost between Clinton and Obama. The two have had differing views and come from completely different circumstances. There is little cross-over between their machines, and so Obama would have the latitude he would need to simply let his time expire and leave his one-time nemesis to the GOP dogs.

On the other hand a pardon would help him pull allies from the Clinton camp that are worth having. The Clinton machine knows how to make money and peddle influence in ways that could prove useful to an ex-president. A pardon could endear him to those allies who, having lost their future with a failed Hillary, would be looking for new opportunities.

Which way would he go?

Social Media: Why I Quit It

I quit Facebook completely in the Spring, leaving the account but locking down my profile so that even my FB “friends” can’t see my information. After several years on the platform I realized there was a reason why I’ve lost touch with most of the people I’ve known over the years, and those friendships that have stood the test of time don’t need software like Facebook to maintain them. Many of my friends are liberals who naively assume everyone on their friend list of hundreds thinks exactly as they do and will “like” their post on global warming, gun control or Hillary Clinton. They were then shocked when they learned that others didn’t subscribe to their philosophy, and the ensuing arguments that erupted in the threads usually when one friend of the poster who didn’t know the other friend of the poster, a complete stranger in other words,  flamed him/her for daring to think differently, proving the medium is at best a near infinite number of virtual sandboxes with toddlers talking to themselves.

I’ve also shutdown my Twitter account. I never really liked the medium or really spent much time using it. I’ll admit I am old fashioned. One of the keys to good writing is thinking about what you are trying to say, then perfecting it in the editing process until it says what you intend clearly and concisely. Blogging challenged this methodology, but even here I am able to set a post aside and save as draft to come back to it, revise it after it’s been published or on rare occasions, pull it completely if I realize what I posted was a mistake.

Twitter is the antithesis of this process. It encourages people to share whatever thought crosses their mind no matter how half-baked, idiotic or rude. And let’s face it: there are few people out there whose thoughts are so important let alone interesting that they are worth reading. It seems that the best ones are when celebrities use Twitter to show how ignorant and clueless they are, such as when Playboy pinup Dani Mathers, who is famous for being blessed with a nice body, uses Twitter to show how ugly she is inside by mocking the body of an older woman. As a libertarian I’m also put off by a private company owning the medium and allowing it to be used by jihadis as a recruitment and communications tool, but banning conservative voices like Stacy McCain and Milo Yiannopoulos.

If you think you are not paying for the product, you are the product, and while I believe companies like Twitter and Facebook are free to do as they wish, I don’t want them to make money off of me. And for that reason I have completely avoided other social media sites like Snapchat, Photobucket or what have you. I collect photography as art and I have paid good money to own a photograph, so I don’t see why firms shouldn’t do the same. If a photo I take is in demand, then I should be compensated by something more than a “free” account. It’s the same reason I don’t fill out surveys at stores promising to enter me in a drawing to win a gift card. I value my time, and if a store wants my opinion on my “shopping experience” then they can pay for it with more than a contest entry.

The question comes up: Isn’t cutting oneself off from the social media stream isolating? There are few feelings as lonely as posting something on Facebook which is important to you that is completely ignored by everyone. It doesn’t matter whether your friendlist is in the double or triple digits, the “sandbox” nature of the media is revealed. You want to feel loved? Post a funny cat or baby video.

I got my first real PC in 1989. It came with a 2400 baud modem and I have been online ever since. I have found that being online is worthwhile, but it is not a substitute for human interaction. Skype, chats, emails – all of these help connect us to each other and are not bad. These interactions aren’t much different from a phone call. But Fb and Twitter aren’t meant to connect us to another person, they are meant to make money for their companies by pretending to give us an audience. And that’s how they differ from those older electronic mediums.

If you want an audience, become an actor. If you want human interaction, pick up the phone and call your best friend. But I’d recommend against wasting your time on social media.

The Council Has Spoken: July 22, 2016

Council Winners

Non-Council Winners

Council Submissions: July 19, 2016

Council Submissions

Honorable Mentions

Non-Council Submissions

Blue Lives Matter

Although nothing that I say about it, or you say about it is going to stop people gunning down cops. Dead cops doesn’t fix dead innocents killed at the hands of cops. But Black Lives Matter has now made Blue Lives Matter. It’s 1969 all over again, just with crappy music and no moon shots.

Update: 7/19/16 -  Another day another dead cop: “Kansas City, Kansas, police Captain Robert David Melton was killed in a shooting Tuesday afternoon.”

This is not the country I want.

Goth Inside

Taking just a short break from the depressing insanity that is passing for 2016…

Goth’s not dead (heh). As this WaPo article points out, the music-based Goth subculture continues to endure decades after its appearance in the early 1980s and heyday in the mid-90’s. “Goth seems to stay in people’s souls, even when they grow up and get jobs and have kids and stop dressing quite as outrageously as they once did. It is an outlook, a refuge, a dark corner made friendly by the presence of others.”

Music is a very personal thing. The song that moves you to tears is unlikely to have the same effect on others, and for those who missed the subculture in their youth it’s hard to understand how this song pretty much stops Time for any goth regardless of their age. For many, especially those of us on this side of the Atlantic, it was our first exposure to true Goth, and we were bitten.

Siouxie Sioux, the queen of goth, had a voice that could freeze the blood in your veins and then seconds later melt your gothic heart. Rest assured that when I visit Pompeii soon it will be difficult for me to keep her song “Cities in Dust” out of my mind.

Unless you’ve been exposed to the Cure it’s difficult to understand their enduring popularity. The Cure is touring this summer and continues selling out venues, pulling in young and old alike. Well, if the Mick Jagger can do it at 72, why can’t Robert Smith at 57?

As a goth I grew up with Top 40, album rock, and funk and while I still enjoy the occasional Rush song (or two), and can even appreciate early Michael Jackson and the groundbreaking Grandmaster Flash, the music that flickered like a candle in my darkest moments in my teens and twenties remains my go-to music decades later, when the world is darkest and everything seems pointless. After all Andrew Eldritch, Sisters of Mercy lead singer, understands.

Music captures a moment in a way photographs cannot. A photo may capture a scene, the light on a loved one’s face or a smile in her eyes, but music? Music can capture an entire 3 dimensional world complete with emotions, smells and tastes. To you the following is just some nice ambient sounds, to me it is the sunrise breaking through the fog in the mountains of Northern California after an overnight trip with my new love asleep in the seat beside me as we drive, the woman who walks beside me 25 years later.

The hair is gone, and if you met me in a local Tractor Supply you would think I was just another redneck buying chicken feed. But the music that comes out of my truck with NRA and Hillary For Prison stickers as I leave is more likely to be this than Kenny Chesney:

Yes, everyday is Halloween for some of us and even though we don’t look goth, rest assured that in our young hearts our jackets are black leather, our boots are Doc Martens, our hair is long, black and smells of clove cigarettes, and our faces are just a shade too pale.

The Council Has Spoken: July 15, 2016

Council Winners

Non-Council Winners