Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Gun Registration and the Futility of Confiscation

I read a post by Tam earlier today.  It is about how nearly every gun registry developed to date in America has so far lead to confiscation later on, thus proving the point of the gun owners that say that registration leads to confiscation, and nullifying the counter-argument that the gun owners are just being paranoid nuts.  

But more telling, at least to me, in the conversation was the epic failure of the registries to get even a paltry percentage of the guns in the state on the registry.

This proves a point I've been making all along, to anyone that is afraid the government is going to go door to door confiscating:

Such a thing would not be possible, or plausible. California got less than a quarter of their assault weapons on their registry list; they don't know where the other 75% of them even are. That's California, for crap's sake. 

And the 25% that you DO know where they are? 

Hell, if even one half of one percent of those folks decide that they're going to give their guns up one bullet at a time, you'd have a bloodbath the likes of which this country hadn't seen since the 1860s. And in spite of all of it, you'd still have 75% of the guns still out there. 

It is an impossibility. As is any attempt to "control" guns in this country.

The sooner we can wrap our minds around the fact that bad guys are going to have guns and use them, and that we're better off preparing for THAT rather than trying to take the guns away, the sooner these school shootings and so forth will end. Think Arapahoe - good guy showed up in 80 seconds with a gun of his own. Bad guy lost. He didn't get the news coverage that the Newtown gooner did, and therefore, will likely not be the inspiration for the next gooner who wants to make himself famous by killing kids.  Arapahoe is the proof that the only defense against armed bad guys is an armed good guy.  If this becomes more common, my postulate is that these school shootings will become a thing of the past, because there won't be anything in it for the gooners besides a quick death and an anonymous grave.    

One Size Does Not Fit All

I’ve lamented on this blog frequently about the need to decentralize government more than we currently do.  The reasons behind this, I’ve delved into on other occasions, but suffice it to say that it should be obvious to anyone with more than one brain cell that one size fits all does not work for a country as varied and diverse as the United States.  Don’t tell me that a guy living in the mountains outside of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, has the same needs as a guy living in Manhattan in a modified broom closet that someone turned into a studio apartment.  Go to the link, there’s more.

One of the “one size fits all” standards that I dislike is the banning of incandescent light bulbs.  The general consensus is that incandescent bulbs are wasteful. From energystar.gov:

Incandescent Lamps are “standard” electric light bulbs that were introduced for residential
use more than 125 years ago by Thomas Edison. They have the lowest initial cost and good
color rendering. They typically have short life spans and use significantly more watts than
CFLs and halogen lamps do to produce the same lumens, or light output. Incandescent
technology produces light by heating up a metal filament enclosed within the lamp’s glass.
More than ninety percent of the energy used by an incandescent light bulb escapes as heat,
with less than 10% producing light. Incandescents are the most commonly found bulbs in
American homes

That’s pretty damning for incandescent bulbs, right there, am I right? 

I don’t think so.  At least in certain cases.  Hear me out. 

In northern latitudes, in interior applications, I would argue that overall, a household using incandescent bulbs will use exactly the same amount of energy as a household not using them.  Northern latitudes mean that it is cold in the winter, and not dark in the summer.  This means that interior light bulb use during the summer will be next to non-existent (it is in my house, anyway) and in the winter, the interior bulbs help heat the house. 

If you took away the incandescent bulbs and replaced them with more efficient bulbs, you would just have to duty cycle the home’s heating system a commensurate amount to keep the place warm.  In essence, you’d take the energy you save in the bulbs, and use it to run the heater longer, resulting in no net reduction in energy use.  Also, given that many natural gas heaters are 80% efficient, while heat from an incandescent bulb is 100% efficient, you’re actually going to have a net savings using incandescent bulb heat in your home.  A tiny one, granted, but a savings, nonetheless.

This is a perfect example of why one size fits all doesn’t work.  This would have been a far better thing to deal with at the decentralized level – the state level, most likely. 

The federal government buys 10 snow plows per state, causing florida to have 10 too many, and Washington to have about 10,000 too few.  Allowing each state to deal with these things on their own is a much better solution.  

Monday, December 30, 2013

Heartless Libertarian? Me?

I’m weary of the “heartless libertarian” meme.  I’m weary of it because it displays such shocking cognitive dissonance on the part of our detractors, as if the only way to help the less fortunate is to coerce money out of other people via threat of force and give it to the poor after filtering it through a 50% bureaucratic loss.  I’m weary of it because it assumes that individual action is less meaningful and less charitable than government action.  I’m weary of it because standing up to say that the government (read: other people) should give more to the poor is very, very easy, while actually giving to the needy and less fortunate is much more difficult.

I consider myself more libertarian than anything else.  Were you to hold a gun to my head and force me to choose a political alignment, I’d say libertarian. 

Many would then assume that I would allow the less fortunate starve.  They would all be wrong. 

This year I participated in two charitable actions.  I gave two thousand dollars of my own money to the parents of a young girl who died of cancer, after helping them as much as I could while she was struggling to survive.  I cried when she died.  I still cry when I think about it.  I’m crying now. 

I also helped organize and participated in an event that raised almost $20,000 for another little boy that was dying of cancer.  He is still alive, thank God.

I did not enjoy these things.  I did not do them for the good feeling it gave me.  I did not do them for selfish reasons, because if selfishness were my goal, I would never have participated in these things to begin with.  It ruins me to see a child suffering.  It destroys me to see them die.  My happiness this year was reduced as a result of what I did for charity.  If I were a more selfish man, I’d have never done either, and I’d be happier for it.  I’m not wealthy, so the investment of money and time was expensive to me, and I’m not made of iron, so seeing that little boy in his superman costume, with all of his hair gone and his eyes hollow and tired; too tired to play with the other kids at the event, drained me. 

I do not know if I will participate in anything like that in the near future.  I’d like not to.  But if I’m called to, I will.  Not because it makes me feel good, but because that’s what men do – they show up when others are in need, and do what they can to help. 

To compare what I do to agitating for higher tax rates on the rich so that entitlement spending can be ratcheted up is fucking insulting, and fuck every single person who would think that those are the same thing.  Every single progressive or liberal (or whomever) that has ever felt a feeling of moral superiority because their political belief system advocates taking from some people against their will, to give to others, can go fuck themselves with a 2x4.   You aren’t being charitable.  You aren’t being humane.  You don’t have a heart.  You are just reveling in your ability to pull the levers; the good feeling you get from giving a gift to someone that you neither earned nor paid for yourself. 

Until you go volunteer at a soup kitchen, or give your own hard-earned money to a dying boy, or any other myriad of things that you could do if you weren’t so busy advocating my being looted for what I’m worth, I don’t want to hear it; in the mean time you can all die in a fire.  

Monday, December 23, 2013

Phil Robertson Calls it Like He Sees it, Hurts Feewings of Most Insecure Lot of Whiners I've Ever Seen

Okay, so I’m not really that religious.  I think I’ve established that before on this blog.  I think I’ve also said that my lack of religion isn’t a result of my being anti-religion or atheist or whatever, it’s just that I don’t feel it like some people do.  I don’t really feel the need for there to be a God.  I don’t really feel like there IS one, and I can’t bring myself to worship or believe “falsely” just to fulfill a social obligation that I pray to one deity or another.  In fact, were I God, I’d be more angry at the guy who “faked it” than I would at the guy who stayed true to himself.

Some people have felt God.  Some people believe in him with every ounce of their soul.  They KNOW that he, exists, and therefore, they KNOW that there is purpose in life and reward after death for a life well lived. 

I don’t scoff at those people like some non-believers do: I envy them.  I wish I was that sure.  I wish I was that content, and that certain that there is a cosmic referee to make sure everything is going to plan.  I’d like to think that there was a higher reason and a better purpose to my friend’s daughter dying in August.  I’d like to think that she lives on in Heaven, watching down on us and enjoying paradise until the day that we come to see her again. 

I just don’t.  No matter how much I’d LIKE to believe those things, I just don’t.  Or can’t.  Or won’t.  Whatever the reason. 

But if I had to pick a religion, I’d probably choose Christianity.  The real kind, not the made-up bullshit that a lot of churches call Christianity these days, because of the message of love and hope it portrays. 

So if some day, a Muslim man walked up to me and said:

“Goober, I disagree with the way that you are living your life.  I think that you have chosen the wrong God, and are living by the wrong Commandments, and that God will judge you accordingly when you go meet him on the day of your judgment.  It isn’t MY place to judge you, but my opinion is that you are making bad choices and sinning against Allah, and I think that’s a bad thing.  I love you, Goober, and it is not my place to hate and cast judgment, but my God will judge you, and according to his word, you will be judged poorly and face the consequences of that.”

Do you know what I’d do? 

I’d feel nothing.  I don’t think that there is such a thing as Allah.  I don’t believe that I’ll ever face him, and I don’t think that there is any chance that not living my life according to the book that he supposedly dictated to Muhammed is going to come back to haunt me in any way.  So I wouldn’t really care. 

I wouldn’t be angry, because this man is simply giving me his opinion on what his religion, which I don’t ascribe to, thinks of my choices.  I’m secure in my choices.  I believe I’ve lived a good life.  Any God that would take issue with me and what I’ve done is no God I’d be interested in worshipping, anyhow. 

I wouldn’t hate the Muslim man.  In fact, I’d maybe gain some respect for him for being such a straight shooter and telling it like he saw it.  How can you hold that against a man? 

All in all, the entire incident would have very little effect on me, at all, and if it changed my attitude towards the man who said it, it would be that I respected him more. 

So what am I to make of the reaction from some people in the homosexual community to Phil Robertson’s (of Duck Dynasty fame) comments regarding homosexuality? 

First, because several of the news networks have picked and chosen his remarks to make it seem like he compared homosexuality to bestiality (he did not), I am going to post Phil’s entire comment here.  Read it, and then you tell me: was anything he said hateful?  Or was it just the cantankerous, disagreeable opinion of a man notorious for calling it like he sees it? 

“Everything is blurred on what’s right and what’s wrong. Sin becomes fine… …Start with homosexual behavior and just morph out from there. Bestiality, sleeping around with this woman and that woman and that woman and those men ... Don’t be deceived. Neither the adulterers, the idolaters, the male prostitutes, the homosexual offenders, the greedy, the drunkards, the slanderers, the swindlers -- they won’t inherit the kingdom of God. Don’t deceive yourself. It’s not right.”

About the bestiality comparison:

Notice how he says homosexuality is a sin, and then lists other sins, including bestiality, and the homosexual movement says “ZoMG! He just compared homosexuality to bestiality!” but they totally miss out on the entire message.  By that metric, he compared adultery to bestiality.  Or drunkenness.  Or theft.  Because all he did was list off a bunch of sins, and called them all sin.  He didn’t compare homosexuality to bestiality, and to make that claim is specious at best, and downright dishonest at worst; which is  sin, just like bestiality…  ZoMG!  Now I’M doing it!  I just compared dishonesty to bestiality! 

Oh, wait, no I didn’t.  Anyone who isn’t an idiot can see that all I did was say that they are both sins.  So that argument for making it hateful falls flat.

So, let’s check behind door #2 and see if there is any hate in there.  The claim that Robertson was being a hateful asshole, like all southern redneck flyover idiots:
 "I love all men and women. I am a lover of humanity, not a hater… …I am just reading what was written over 2,000 years ago. Those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom. All I did was quote from the scriptures, but they just didn’t know it. Whether I said it, or they read it, what’s the difference? The sins are the same, humans haven’t changed… …If you give them the bad news, they’ll start kicking and screaming. But you love them more than you fear them, so you tell them."
Oops…  Nothing there.  So why then, did A&E drop Robertson like a hot potato after his comments, despite the fact that Duck Dynasty is the most popular cable TV show, well, ever? 

It's because the show backfired on them.

This was a case of coastal elites making a show to make fun of ignorant flyover rednecks, who were shocked at the following that these people got, not to mock and lampoon them, but because so many people identified with them and thought "huh, those fellers are kind of like my family!" 

A&E never wanted the show they got, but were making too much money to try and stop it. That is why their knee-jerk reaction was to kill the show when the first bad thing happened, instead of protecting it like they should have.

As for the homosexual community that got all outraged and pearl-clutchey about this, I’ve a message for you, too:

If y’all are actually working to make yourselves look like petty crybabies that must have the unconditional approval of every single person on planet Earth or else you'll pitch a whiney crybaby fit until you get your way, then you’re doing a bang-up job. If that isn’t your intent or goal, might I suggest a different tact? 

Otherwise, you’re sort of proving the point of all those nut-jobs who said back in the 90’s that giving homosexuals special rights would result in people getting fired over publicly stating their religious beliefs.  You really want that?  Really? 

I don't really get it. It is one of three things, as far as I can see:

1.) The worst case of narcissism I've ever seen - literally being totally unable to accept the fact that anyone could possibly ever disagree with you, and seeing it as a personal attack and an affront if they do;

2.) The worst case of low self-esteem I've ever seen - a self-loathing so full and complete that the person possessing it is literally incapable of dealing with any disagreement or criticism without melting down into a steaming pile;

3.) A supremacist movement - a group of people that think that they are better than everyone else, and should have the right to crush or destroy any dissent to their message, whatsoever. 

My guess is that in a group so broad and varied as the homosexual community, it is some of all three, adding up to create the most childish and silly backlash against the opinions of a public figure ever.

Alec Baldwin, however, continues to get a pass, it seems, for actually, you know, spouting hateful rhetoric (because he is a coastal elite, and therefore part of the "in" crowd) while Phil Robertson gets assaulted for stating his opinion in a non-hateful manner, qualified to make sure no one mistook what he said as being hate, and also qualified to ensure that everyone knew it was just his opinion.

I would note that there is a large segment of the homosexual population that sees this in the same way I do, and are angry that they're being dragged along into this childish tantrum.

If I were gay, I’d be fucking pissed at you fuckers, and I’d be doing everything I could to distance myself from your petty, crybaby asses.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

This Sort of Thing Doesn't Really Happen in Real Life, Does it?

I’ve about had it with 2013.  I can’t reveal a lot of details yet, and may decide to not ever reveal any details depending on how things pan out, but a man who I’ve worked closely with for 7 years, who I considered a valued co-worker and friend, was murdered in his home last night by a home invader.  It was not random.  Outright, baseless speculation from a few sources is that it was a contract killing that sprang up from his business dealings.    

No, I’m not kidding.

This man was harmless.  He never said an ill word about anyone or to anyone in the entire time I knew him.  He was a good man, with a good heart, and he did not deserve this. 

Anyone who’s been following this blog knows why I’m ready to be done with 2013.

This man, my friend, died while trying to calm the intruder down, putting himself between the intruder and his wife so that she could escape upstairs.  Once upstairs, she heard the shots.  Her husband died in their home.  The son of a bitch shot him 6 times.  He was a father of a bunch of good guys – grown men now who I still work with and hope to continue working with for years to come.  Guys, your Dad will be missed. 

May angels guide him home.  

Sorry, Something's Coming, I Promise...

I has writer’s block or something.  Had some surreal shit happen yesterday and it’s got my head spinning.  I’ll write about it soon, because, well, let me just put it this way:

You aren’t going to believe it.  You just aren’t.  

Friday, December 13, 2013

The Big Lie - Finding a Scapegoat

I had a little back-and-forth with Borepatch the other day over at his place about Obamacare and how he feels like it has tanked the democrat party for the foreseeable future.

You see, Borepatch thinks that they won’t be able to blame the republicans, since the republicans were so vocal in opposition to this, and it was passed by democratic vote with zero republican support.  Therefore, his argument is that they have no choice but to own it. 

I disagreed, writing that simply because they can’t blame the republicans does not mean that there isn’t a ready scapegoat for them to blame for all of this:

 There is a train of thought that goes along the path of this;
None of this was unintentional. None of it was a mistake. They WANT people’s insurance to be canceled or to become prohibitively expensive so that they lose it. They want this because there is a law that says emergency rooms have to treat people regardless of their ability to pay. They want to create a situation that there are so many people going to the emergency room without insurance that the hospitals are going under and cry out to government for help. 
And then the government steps in to help. 
What does a government do when it wants to punish or help an industry? 
The same thing it always does: it nationalizes it, in part or in its entirety. 
Now, I live by a simple rule that tells me that I should never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity, so I DON’T SUBSCRIBE TO THE TINFOIL HAT THEORY THAT I POSTED ABOVE. 
However, I can absolutely foresee things going that way, even if it wasn’t planned to be that way. I can see the democrats thinking this thing out, looking at their options when they’re faced with this total, abject failure of a program, and see this as the light at the end of the tunnel. At some point in time, you mark my words, we’ll see a shift in the Democrat’s stance on this thing that will have them stop worrying about the damage and start trying to create more damage and to displace the blame for it, for one reason and one reason only:
Their only option to pull themselves out of this thing without a total bloodbath at the polls is to sweep in, at the last minute, and save us all from this horrible melt down of our healthcare system by nationalizing the entire goddamned thing. Single payer will be the only fix for this absolute mess that they’ve gotten us into. 
I don’t do tinfoil hats. I don’t for a second think that this was intentional, or planned in any way by the dems. There was no grand conspiracy; they had every intention when they passed Obamacare that it would work and function as planned. But looking at it now; reviewing where they stand and what their options are, this, to me, is really the only way they save themselves. Once the hope and anticipation that they have for things straightening themselves out with Obamacare goes away, they will get desperate, and this will be their only option. 
Think it through, if you would, and tell me what I’m missing here. 
I think that unless we can obtain a non-democrat majority in Congress (I don’t care if it is the Whigs, just as long as they aren’t Dems) this November, we’ll be staring down both barrels of a single payer, national healthcare system before new years day, 2015, or at least before the 4th of July that year, and it will all come in a package with the label “extraordinary measures to save us from extraordinary times” just like the bank bailouts and TARP. Too big to fail, baby. 

It is beginning to look like I was prophetic in my prognostication that the Obama regime would start to angle themselves to blame the insurance companies and hospitals and clinics when Obamacare goes off therails.  The link is to Ace’s place. 

So you’ve had four years to set up a program and work out the bugs, and you fail miserably, leading to a situation where literally millions of Americans’ insurance coverage is going to be questionable starting January 1st.

Did the policy get enacted? 

Did the check that I sent two days ago (because I couldn’t send it any sooner because of the cluster-fuck of Obamacare) clear by January 1st so that I have coverage? 

How do I know, since I don’t have any paperwork yet? 

The Obama regime recognizes that this is a huge problem.  They know that as of January 1st, millions of Americans are going to lose their coverage, and because of their bumbling incompetence, have no way to get new coverage by that deadline. 

So what is the Obama Regime’s response to this? 

They are “strongly encouraging” insurance companies to cover people who haven’t paid their premiums yet, and encouraging hospitals to provide care to every person as if that person is actually covered by health insurance. 

So what does this mean?  There is no force of law behind this.  They have no way to enforce this, and realistically, no company in their right mind would insure a person who hadn’t yet paid them for insurance.  This is like the federal government telling McDonalds to give everyone a hamburger even though they haven’t paid for it, with the pinky-promise that every single person in America is like, totally good for it later. 

Even I think this is the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard,
and I’m all about getting hamburgers on credit!

So, realistically, the insurance companies aren’t going to do this.  As of January 1st, lots and lots of people are going to be uninsured and looking to get some healthcare.  These folks aren’t going to stop getting in car accidents or falling ill simply because the government strongly encourages them not to, so what will be the result? 

Millions and millions of dollars in cost to the industry, if the industry follows this polite suggestion.  And so they won’t.  And so, when the bill collector comes calling, and people are looking at Obama like “dude, WTF?” he’ll now have a scapegoat:

Those uncaring, unfeeling, profit motivated corporations who wouldn’t work for you for free because he totally asked them nicely, guys, and why wouldn’t they just do what I said they should do? 

End of story, Obama is already angling to blame the healthcare industry for the failure of Obamacare.  He’s going to continue demonizing them until he’s either beaten that horse to death, or until the American public have bought into the lie so fully that they support nationalization and single payer. 

As I said before, I do not think that this was Obama’s original intent, but it will be his only option coming up here very shortly, because this is all going to get a whole lot worse once the group policies that you and I enjoy fall under the shadow of this colossal cluster fuck.  

Prior Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance

Read an interesting humorous article yesterday on Cracked about misconceptions that people have re: how they would hold up in the face of a catastrophe.

It caught my eye because it echoed a post I’ve made on here before about how what people actually do in a survival situation is actually the exact opposite of what they really SHOULD do in that situation. 

It also caught my eye because the article incorporated a bunch of tweets from a bunch of borderline aspies, apparently, who were tone deaf enough to Mark Walberg all over several tragedies and discuss how stupid and cowardly and sheepish the people involved in the catastrophe were, and how they would have done things differently, when in fact they have no way at all to know what they would do. 

The funny thing about this tweet is that this guy gets it right, sort of, but then veers off the rails into la-la land.  First, to write this is classless, given that some of the people he’s talking about actually died in this incident.  Second, he’s correct in that the vast majority of these mass-shooters are cowards who will kill themselves at the first sign of resistance.  However, you have to be able to put up enough of a fight to actually stop the guy, and this is where he gets it wrong. 

He’s assuming that he would have the ability to think it through and go fight the guy instead of allowing his flight response tooverwhelm him when faced with being shot in the face.  Very few people living in America today have any idea of how they’ll react in such a situation, because they’ve never been in such a situation, and that is literally the only way to know.  When faced with a mortal threat, your lizard brain takes over to a large extent – you don’t reason things out, you don’t think thing through, you just react reflexively because your brain tells you to.  It’s physiological; higher functions in the brain shut down to conserve energy for the “fight or flight” response, and your brain is going to choose one or the other without you really having much of a say in it. 

FIGHT!  I choose YOU!

Also, I find it laughable that a guy could think that he’d be able to mount enough of a resistance to actually even cause notice.  Chances are this guy doesn’t carry a gun with him when he goes to the theater, so what’s his plan?  Hit the guy with an ad hoc popcorn box club?  Go after him with a shoe and a stern look?  If you get into a fight where it is you, with a belt in one hand and your shoe in the other, vs. a guy with a rifle, you lose.  In fact, chances are the guy won’t even notice that you were trying to fight him.  He’ll just count you as another hit and move on. 

This is the part of disaster management that I want to talk about, and have talked about in the past: pre-planning. 

You have to train and condition your lizard brain to make smart choices by drilling yourself on your course of action if a survival scenario ever comes your way.  If you ever get lost in the woods, you have to stay where you are unless that is not tenable for some reason, so you have to drill yourself on that.  Stay in place.  Think about it.  Plan for it.  Plan for it before it happens, by having the supplies and materials you’ll need to deal with the situation that arises.  Know that the first thing that pops into your mind won’t be “I’ve got to get out of here!” but rather “I’ve got to stay where I’m at!”  It is for this reason that I recommend drilling yourself to start a fire first thing if you ever get lost.  It will give you something to think about; a task for you to work on while the adrenaline wears off and your higher brain functions can come back into play.  If, once your higher brain comes back, you decide that staying is a bad idea for whatever reason, you can always stop working on the fire and move on.

Or until you're all like "fuck this shit, it's really hard!"

This is also why I carry a pistol with me as often as possible, based on the risk assessment of where I’m going.  Prior planning prevents piss-poor performance – there is little chance that I’m going to be trying to fashion a popcorn tub into a shiv to defend myself against a guy with a rifle. 

Pictured: Not a weapon...

I’ve also drilled myself relentlessly on what I’m going to do if I’m ever in public and some unhinged nutjob decides to go all shooty on me.  That way, my lizard brain will have something to fall back on that makes sense rather than chasing itself in circles.  This is why training is considered so important in the military and law enforcement.  When your head shuts down, you’re going to do things on auto pilot for a few moments until it can get it’s shit together, so you train to give the autopilot something productive to do in the meantime.

And we all know, Autopilots haven't had much to do since the 1980's

You can’t take for granted that you are going to be able to reason yourself through a survival situation, at least at first.  You can’t rely on your intelligence and smarts to get you through, at least not for the first few minutes.  So instead of assuming that you are special and able to keep your shit together when everyone else around you is falling to pieces, plan for the worst case and plan to be a total idiot if a survival situation ever comes your way.  Then, you can honestly say that you’ve planned for the worst case scenario.