Friday, November 3, 2017

The Glass Mountain

When I was growing up, CBS-TV (channel 2) in NY offered "Picture For A Sunday Afternoon" at 1pm or 2pm, and they would deliver two movies (the second was billed as "The Early Show") until 5pm or 6pm after which there was news followed by the prime-time lineup.

"Picture For A Sunday Afternoon" used a hauntingly beautiful theme that stuck in my head for years and years.  One day as I was walking down a corridor at IBM in White Plains casually whistling this music, a young man popped into the hallway from his office.  "Is that 'The Legend of the Glass Mountain'?" he asked.  I shrugged.  I had no idea what it was called.  It turned out that he was right.

Years later when I worked for Fawcett Publications (a division of CBS), I called down to the music library at Black Rock, the CBS headquarters in NYC, and spoke to one of the archivists.  All he could tell me was that, yes, the music was 'The Legend of the Glass Mountain', and, no, he didn't have it on record or tape and didn't know where it might be found.

Years passed.  I finally located — on this new-fangled internet — a CD version, and I ordered it shipped to me.  It remains one of my favorite discs.  It was from that disc I learned the composer's name:  Nino Rota.

'Who?' you might ask.  Nino Rota.  Between 1933 and 1979 when he died, Rota scored 150 films, working most often with Federico Fellini.  In fact, from about 1950 onward, Rota scored every Fellini film including La Strada, 8½, and Juliet of the Spirits.  He wrote the music for the first two 'Godfather' films as well as Franco Zefirelli's Romeo and Juliet and the 1978 'Death on the Nile'.  His musical output was phenomenal.  He could write — and did write — music in almost any style you can name from casual to classical.  People know Johann Pachelbel from the one piece that ever became a hit;  they don't know Rota, a real musical genius, from Adam.

You should fix that.

Anyway, I just found a DVD copy of the movie, The Glass Mountain, for which Rota wrote that hauntingly beautiful melody, and I'm looking forward to watching it even if it did only get 3½ stars.

 

Update: The Glass Mountain is a beautiful love story worth much more than a measly 3½ stars.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Catalunia

Travel plans for 2018 include a trans-Atlantic repositioning cruise ending in Barcelona, followed by some touring in Madrid and Seville.

...if Spain isn't then in a civil war over Catalunia.

Catalunia is that part of Spain that includes Barcelona and environs, and for the longest time they have considered themselves something other than 'Spanish'.  They have their own language, Catalan, and still use it daily except with the turistas.

Once upon a time Europe was a collection of hundreds, maybe thousands, of semi-autonomous duchys and kingdoms, and war was a weekly event, almost always centered on 'religion' unless it was 'border security'.  Then in 1648 came the Peace of Westphalia, wherein all the major players re-dealt the deck and gave the blue monopoly properties to France, the yellow properties to Spain, the Orange properties to Prussia, the red properties to Great Britain, and recognized independence for anyone else who could adequately defend themselves.  Europe became a collection of two dozen or so 'countries'.  Catalunia wasn't one of them.  It was now part of Spain, along with Andorra, Navarre (where the Xavier family lived), and a few others including the Basque region (you may have heard that the Basque also don't think of themselves as entirely Spanish).  The same thing happened along the border between Germany and France, and with regard to an island off the west coast of England whose inhabitants still consider themselves 'Irish', pronouncements of The Holy Roman Emperor to the contrary notwithstanding.

Things have been — umm — relatively quiet with the Basque lately.  At least there haven't been many loud noises.  Not so with the Catalans who have been making independence noises for many decades going back before Franco.  Recently, they have gotten bolder and now plan an independence referendum which Spain has forbidden them to do.  To prevent the independence referendum taking place, Spain has shipped in brigades of Guardia Civil, state police, even going so far as to charter cruise ships for them so they'll have someplace to sleep given expectations for Catalan incivility.  Barcelona longshoremen have refused to let those boats tie up.  Within the week, 14 high-ranking Catalan politicians were arrested at their homes.  The stage is set, and it's almost as if Spain wants a civil war with the region that provides the bulk of Spain's GNP.

Keep your fingers crossed and don't turn off that TV set.

Saturday, September 2, 2017

The Second Amendment Guarantee Act

There's a great deal of controversy surrounding a bill working its way through Congress.  It's called 'the Second Amendment Guarantee Act' (SAGA), and its purpose is to thwart state laws like New York's that impose severe burdens upon lawful gun owners.  Naturally, the anti-gun crowd is opposed to it, but there's also opposition from unexpected quarters, notably The Tenth Amendment Center (TAC).  You know those guys: they're for separation of powers between the states and the federal government and they're opposed to SAGA because they hold that states should get to set their own rules (for the most part).

But...  What about the basics?  What about those rights guaranteed (already) in the Bill of Rights with no need for a law making the guarantee guaranteed?

Should states be able to have their own state religion?  Should states be able to restrict freedom of speech?  What about due process and self-incrimination?  Are these OK for states to violate?  We all know that states can't trash the rights in the Bill of Rights.

Except for one, apparently.

It's OK, according to TAC, for states to regulate the 2nd amendment into meaninglessness.  In most California counties, getting a permit for concealed carry is near-impossible.  In NYC, population 9 million, there are exactly 2,291 concealed carry permits, which is 'statistically zero'.

People from all over now routinely get arrested at NY metro airports (NJ is as bad or worse than NY for this) after following federal law and exacting TSA instructions regarding transporting firearms and related parts.  Just recently, someone was arrested when he tried to declare an empty 30-round magazine at a NYC airport on his way home to a place where it was legal.  NYS law does not permit anyone to possess such an article, even for the purpose of removing it from the state.

Now some (Republican) Congressman wants to put an end to this discriminatory behavior with a law that will guarantee a right that is already guaranteed in the Bill of Rights.  SAGA will force states to recognize the concealed carry permits of other states.  Let's assume that this legislation will make it out of a Republican-controlled committee to a Republican-controlled House and a Republican-controlled Senate and then to a Republican-controlled White House.  (None of this is guaranteed or even likely, but we're assuming.)  What then? 

Well, SAGA says (net) "yes, you can carry in New York with your Florida permit, but you have to follow New York's laws while you do".  If you know what a 'poison pill' is, you have probably already spotted this one.  New York registers firearms by make, model, and serial, and their carry permits precisely identify which firearms any individual may carry.  My Florida permit does not identify which firearms I may carry;  Florida doesn't register firearms;  I may carry anything.  My Florida permit will get me arrested on my first day in NYC.

You may have guessed that I also oppose SAGA, but I do so for different reasons than does TAC.  I oppose it because it's another useless piece of trash legislation that only exists to garner votes for Republicans.  It will do nothing except get dozens or hundreds of people arrested, jailed, and prosecuted, costing each of them thousands of dollars and wasting months of their time, and some of them will be convicted and become felons forever denied their right to own a firearm.

The correct solution is for The Attorney General of the United States to begin filing actions against states that violate The Law Of The Land: the Constitution.  The (Republican) AGUS can get cases rapidly into federal district courts where judges are somewhat reluctant to rule against their boss — the U.S. government.

Yeah, no, I'm not holding my breath, either, but please do continue to vote for the hucksters that want you to believe SAGA is the answer — to anything.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

CalExit

The State of California, still upset over the results of the last Presidential election, is making secession noises.  Simultaneously, a group of unlike-minded folk in northern California, including a few counties in Oregon, are making secession noises of their own: they want to secede from California.

Opinions on the issue vary wildly.  Some, mostly mid-westerners, can hardly wait for The Republic of California to be a reality.  Others see the loss of 55 reliably-Democratic electoral votes as a certain death warrant for their party.  In the middle is a group that asks "didn't we settle this issue in 1865?".

As a matter of fact, no, we did not settle this issue in 1865.  The American Civil War is still being fought today, but with far fewer casualties.  As time goes by, the drawbacks of a policy that forces two or more irreconcilable groups to live in community grow daily more obvious.  Forcibly joining groups that will never agree is like putting out an anchor to windward: it stops movement in the face of looming disaster — sometimes.  Sometimes, it merely delays the inevitable.

For a very long time, I have held the opinion that secession is a good thing, not a bad thing.  If two (or more) groups of people have decided in their hearts that they can no longer peacefully coexist with each other, keeping them joined against their better judgement is foolish and dangerous.  Recall John F. Kennedy's admonition that those who make peaceful revolution impossible make violent revolution inevitable.  Forced union is asking for trouble, and it's almost certainly inefficient.  Those who are (in their view) held captive against their will will never work with enthusiasm for the benefit of their 'captors'.  They will always be a drag on the economy.

And if your response to that is that we are all supposed to be brothers, then it's fair to ask why you do not wish your brothers the freedom to chart their own course through life.  Or are they only permitted to travel on the course you have charted for them?

I believe CalExit would be a catastrophe for California and Californians, but I could be wrong.  Whatever my personal opinion on the matter, it remains true that Californians ought to decide for themselves without asking me for permission to do so.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

The Great 'Right v Left' Lie

Of all the memes that can lead our thinking astray, the notion that in American politics there is a "right wing" versus a "left wing" is the most common, the most incorrect, and the most dangerous.  It derives from the tradition in the French legislature that the royalists sit on one side of the assembly and the populists on the other, and this is what makes it incorrect in modern America.  Our legislators, both R and D, routinely claim to be working for the benefit of their constituents — and some do, on occasion — but their primary goal is clearly not to enhance their constituents' freedom, but rather to expand their own power.  They do this by "making a federal case of it" in every instance and on every issue.  They are all (with a very few exceptions) 'royalists'.  This echoes a remark by Judge Andrew Napolitano that there is only one party in American politics: The Big-Government Party, that has a left wing and a right wing.

This meme is so common that anyone who suggests it might be false immediately becomes suspect of having ulterior motives, whereas the 'motive' in such cases is merely to open others' eyes to the truth.  Such crusaders may be consoled by the knowledge that every true thing was first believed by a single person before being believed by dozens, hundreds, millions, and, finally, everyone.

The meme is dangerous because it leads us to believe that those politicians who identify with our side are correct and others who identify with their side are incorrect when, in truth, they are all on the same side, the side of The Big-Government Party.  We thus support those who are guiding us toward ever more intrusive government, ever more dilution of our freedom, in the mistaken belief that we are on the side of the angels.

So, if there really is not a left-right distinction, what accounts for the division so evident among Americans today?  What defines the divide we can so clearly see?

The division is between individualists and collectivists.  It is a statist-v-libertarian conflict.  On one side are those (statists) who subscribe to the notion that the citizen exists for the purposes of the state; these are opposed by those who place the individual above the collective, who insist that the collective exists to fulfill the individual, rather than the other way around.  This is, in fact, the guiding principle upon which our nation was founded.  We find in the Declaration of Independence Jefferson asserting that "...to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men...".  The bedrock of our system is libertarian in nature: that the state exists to fulfill the individual.

Note that it says "to secure these rights", not 'secure our safety'.  Our government was created to keep us free, not safe, yet when the USA PATRIOT Act was proposed in the wake of 9-11 only one Senator (Russ Feingold) and one Representative (Ron Paul) objected and voted 'no'.  Every other member of Congress voted to give the government enormous power over its citizens, power that was unconstitutionally usurped from those same citizens.  With few exceptions, we the people have sent to represent us those who think their job is to keep us safe — even if it means enslaving us.

Whether Democrat or Republican, left or right, nearly all of them are collectivists.  Why?

It derives, I believe, from our natural tendency to acquire.  Whether we understand it or not, economic principles are burned into our very being.  We understand intuitively that it is better to have and not need than to need and not have, and so we gather wood before winter and save our pennies for a rainy day.  Along comes a politician who says "Elect me and I'll see that you have whatever the current hot-button issue is!" and our natural reaction is "Great!  That means I won't have to do that for myself!" and we cast our vote accordingly.

A politician who promises to get government out of our way so that we can do things for ourselves is much less enticing than one who promises to do those things for us.  It's only natural.  How can we delude ourselves into thinking that we are about to get the mythical free lunch?   We can because we want to.

At the very base, our problems with intrusive government start with our desire to have a pony.  Adults are supposed to know that a pony is expensive to start with and requires more expenditures for food, health care, and lodging, but, like children, we ignore those uncomfortable facts when it's our pony.

The fault is truly not in our stars but in ourselves.

If you're content with being a secure peon rather than a free person, you need not change a thing.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Americans and Guns; A discourse to a casual acquaintance

A friend-of-a-friend asked me over coffee why I thought Americans were obsessed (her word) over guns.  What follows is my response.

Let me level-set: have you been to America?  (She had.)  What did you think of it while you were there?  (She thought it generally a nice place but she felt uneasy because of her perception that it could be dangerous.) 

America is generally a nice place to visit.  The violence that one reads about in newspapers and sees on TV is isolated and concentrated to several quite small geographical areas.  Were you to plot on a map the locations of all the violent gun-related events you hear about via the mainstream media, you would be surprised (or maybe not) to discover that almost all of it happens in no more than a dozen compact areas all of which are part of a handful of major cities: Detroit, Baltimore, Philadelphia, Chicago, Atlanta, Houston, Los Angeles, Camden and Newark NJ, and a few others.  These compact and isolated areas make up a very small fraction of America’s nearly 4 million square miles — possibly less than 400 square miles in total — and one’s chances of being involved in a violent gun-related event outside those areas is vanishingly small.  Indeed, most of that violence shares a single profile: it is almost entirely black-on-black crime, primarily drug related, and it occurs in places where legal possession of guns is difficult-to-impossible.  In other words, the people committing those violent crimes are already criminals before the first trigger is pulled.  (As an interesting statistical ‘aside’, those hyper-violent places are all — every single one — in cities that have overwhelmingly large Democratic voting populations and have been so for decades.)

So, why then do Americans obsess so over their guns?  It is certainly a cultural phenomenon probably an echo of our frontier heritage, but it also has a political aspect: we are expected to be armed as a way of insuring against the rise of tyranny — however improbable you may think that may be.  Those who wrote our Constitution felt that only an armed populace could guarantee a military dictatorship would not arise.  The Second Amendment to the Constitution, the right to keep and bear arms, was written with that in mind.  There is something buried deep in the American psyche that whispers “keep the guns cleaned and oiled”.

But your question goes deeper than that, I think.  You hear stories of mass shootings, school shootings, or murder at the mall, and you wonder why the government — someone — doesn’t do something.  You hold this view because you believe government’s primary duty is to protect the citizenry.  That’s wrong, at least in America’s case.  Our government’s primary duty is to protect the rights of the people.  We the people have the responsibility to protect ourselves, an easy task when our rights are ensured.  In fact, those horrible incidents the media most often trumpet happen when and where our rights have been subverted.  School zones, for one example, are places where one’s right to keep and bear arms is forbidden.  When a lunatic searches for a place full of unarmed victims, ‘school’ is often their first thought.  Of the last 60 mass-shooting incidents, 59 occurred in gun-free zones.  The lone exception was the shooting of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords in a parking lot.  Oddly, almost all the shooters in these cases were people with Democratic or ‘progressive’ or ‘leftist’ political leanings or affiliations — including the Giffords shooter — and these are the groups that are most actively campaigning for more gun control.

In fact, what I call ‘the 2nd amendment community’ (hereafter ‘SAC’) — that group of people who lawfully own and lawfully use guns and who favor the ability of peaceful people to arm themselves with their firearm of choice — are confused over the efforts — primarily from the left, the anti-SAC — to restrict the 2nd amendment.  To the SAC, it appears the anti-SAC are focusing on the wrong demographic.  There are lawful gun uses and there are unlawful gun uses but the anti-SAC treat both as if they are undifferentiated.  That view is nonsensical, but it’s what most of the headlines are based on.

I like to point out to people that only two states, Texas and Florida, keep statistics on whether or not this arrestee has a concealed weapons permit (hereafter ‘CWP’).  The pictures from both states are remarkably similar: while we expect police to be law-abiding, those who have CWPs are more law-abiding than are the police!  They are (depending on which year you examine) 7-to-13 times less likely to be arrested for anything than is the general populace.  That is, they are 6%-13% as likely to have an unpleasant interaction with police as you are, and you know how often you get arrested!  Would we see the same picture from other states?  It seems very likely given the dissimilarity of the two we have as examples, so treating the SAC as if they were all criminals makes no sense, yet what do we see again and again?  Ban this weapon (as if criminals will turn them all in!).  Register these weapons (ditto).  Background checks for every sale or transfer (ditto).  Every new suggestion for ‘common sense gun control’ is aimed directly at the people who are not the problem.  That’s neither common sense nor reasonable.

So, what we have is an American nation awash with firepower (over 100 million Americans are thought to own more than 350 million firearms and 200 billion rounds of ammunition — such numbers are necessarily imprecise) but almost all our ‘gun violence’ happens in a few enclaves where drugs are a problem.  No reasonable person can look at this picture and believe that ‘guns’ are as big a problem as are the drugs.  Were we to immediately end the foolish War On Drugs, violent crime would plummet even harder than it has been for the last thirty years.

Oh, yes, perhaps you weren’t aware — crime in the United States has been on a nearly-uninterrupted downslide since the 1980s while state after state has been relaxing restrictions on firearms-for-the-law-abiding!  America isn’t getting more dangerous, it’s getting safer as more and more people arm themselves.  Newspapers and TV stations are just getting better at finding and reporting shocking news.

One factoid often reported is that about 30,000 people die from gunshot each year.  What is not reported in the mainstream media is that 60% of these deaths are suicides and are unlikely to be much affected by the presence or absence of this means or that; ‘guns’ here are a non-issue.  Of the remaining 12,000, about 5,000 are justifiable homicides where the victim was engaged in criminal activity at the time of death.  7,000 criminal deaths from a population of 310 million is a very small fraction (2 per 100,000), but if it bleeds, it leads.  These 7,000 deaths are what the anti-SAC and mainstream media focus on.

Since 1987 when Florida began the current easing of restrictions, crime in the United States has been disappearing (no, really!).  In 1987, Florida became a “shall issue” state.  Any person who applied for a CWP and who could not categorically be determined to be a danger to the community was issued the permit.  At that time, only Vermont and Montana had looser laws: Vermont allowed anyone to carry (concealed) a firearm “for any lawful purpose”; Montana placed an age limit of 14 on that practice.  Since that time, all but five states have become either “shall issue” or “Vermont carry”.   Oddly enough, many of the most dangerous places in the country are found in “may issue” or “no issue” states or in states which have only recently (generally after being forced by the courts) become “shall issue”: New York, California, Illinois;  or which are “home rule” cities like Philadelphia or Washington DC.  Correlation may not be causality, but something is clearly going on here.

In the 90s during the Clinton Presidency, a team of researchers from Florida State University set out to discover how dangerous it was for ordinary people to be allowed firearms.  Kleck and Kurtz did a rough survey via telephone to ascertain how rarely firearms were used for good.  What they found shocked them: their results hinted that there might be as many as 2.5 million defensive gun uses (DGUs) each year.  This number absolutely dwarfs the criminal uses of guns.  Because of that, the survey was widely discounted as flawed.  To correct it, the US Department of Justice commissioned its own counter-survey.  Their conclusion was that DGUs probably did not exceed 800,000 per year.  This number still dwarfs criminal usage.  Later, David Hemmenway of Harvard repeated the DOJ survey, this time excluding every incident that could not be proven to have saved a life, and got the number down to 80,000 DGUs.  Since only about 7,000 people die from criminal gun use in the US each year, even this number was unsatisfactory to the anti-SAC, but there it is.

There’s only one conclusion that may be drawn from the foregoing: America is not a dangerous place and Americans are not a dangerous people.  The first corollary is that trying to disarm the American populace at large is not simply unnecessary, but is probably counter-productive.  The second corollary may well be that every American should be armed.

“An armed society is a polite society.” —— Robert Heinlein

Could this also be true elsewhere?  Switzerland is an enlightening example.  Every Swiss trains in their military and is issued, as part of their training, a rifle.  The typical arm issued is comparable to the standard issue for most modern militaries, and can operate as a machine gun.  It is worth a short detour to explain the difference between ‘automatic’ and ‘semi-automatic’:

 

Both auto and semi-auto arms are classified as ‘self-loaders’ or ‘autoloaders’.  When the trigger is activated, a round is fired, the mechanism extracts the empty brass, ejects it, resets the firing pin, and reloads another round from the magazine, making the firearm ready to fire again.  For semi-autos, this is the end of the process;  the trigger must be released and pulled again to fire the next round.  Autos (or ‘full-autos’) will continue to fire round after round while the trigger is held or until the magazine is empty.  They are sometimes thought of as machine guns.

Fully-automatic firearms are extremely rare among civilian populations in the Western world, very expensive, and heavily restricted.  No full-auto firearms manufactured after May 1986 are owned by civilians in the US.  While some guns are casually designated ‘auto’ (“.45 Automatic”), they are properly referred to as ‘semi-auto’.

Most military weapons are classed as ‘select fire’.  This means that they can change from semi-auto to auto or back at the flip of a switch.

Since 1934, there have been only two crimes committed in the U.S. with legally owned full-auto weapons.  In both cases, the perpetrators were police officers.

 

In the US, the anti-SAC obsesses over the proliferation of semi-auto AR-15s.  The Swiss, at the end of their military service, are sent home with their issued, select-fire rifles which they keep at home along with a small supply of ammunition.  They keep a machine gun handy in case war breaks out, which hasn’t happened since 1391.  The Swiss have an enviably-low violent crime rate.

Guns are not the problem.  They can’t be.  If they were, the Swiss would be extinct.

 

Every now and then, some anti-SAC will propose the repeal of the 2nd amendment.  The SAC used to fly into a panic over this but lately they pay no attention to the rantings.  They seem to understand that repealing the 2nd will have no effect even if it’s possible to find the votes to do so — something which presently appears unlikely.

Every year, something like 15 million Americans get hunting licenses, dress in camouflage clothing, load their high-powered scoped rifles and stealthily stalk animals, mostly deer, and kill them with single shots at hundreds of yards’ distance.  That’s what snipers do.  We have 15 million mostly-civilian snipers.  ’15 million’ is a number larger than the five largest armies in the world — combined.  These are the people the anti-SAC want to disarm.  If the idea weren’t so ludicrous, it might even be funny.

Making it even more ludicrous is the fact that disarming that population will have to be carried out by armed men most of whom are, themselves, members of the SAC.  The panic of yesteryear has been replaced by a somewhat grudging admiration of the anti-SAC capacity for self-delusion.

We are not amused.

Austria is now contemplating adding “the right of the people to keep and bear arms” to their constitution.  The influx of many mostly-Islamic refugees has brought with it a huge jump in violent crime and many Austrians are discovering the benefits of being able to defend oneself at the moment a violent crime happens rather than waiting to file a police report after the fact.  What makes this notable is that the Austrian constitution will grant a right.  Americans consider rights to originate from God or nature or whichever metaphysical entity least offends one’s sensibilities, rather than originating from governments or constitutions —  “…endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights…”.  If the Austrians press onward with this, they will come into conflict with the European Union which, as a matter of policy, opposes civilian ownership of the means of self-defense.  It will be interesting to see how this plays out in the shadow of Brexit and the impending exit of several others.

 

Having a rational conversation on the topic of ‘guns’ with an anti-SAC is nearly impossible because virtually everything they think they know about guns is wrong.  Some of their beliefs:

  • anyone can order a machine gun via mail-order
  • guns at home are more dangerous to the family than anyone else
  • criminals will be deterred by another law
  • people all across the country own “weapons of war”
  • guns can be sold at gun shows without background checks
  • guns can be bought on the internet without background checks
  • guns can be shipped to any address
  • no civilian has any lawful need of a 30-round magazine
  • hunting and target shooting are the only reasons for having a gun
  • all you ‘gun nuts’ are paranoid
  • you think your gun makes you Dirty Harry
  • we would all be safer if only the police and military had guns.

Most of these are demonstrably wrong;  some are just illogical nonsense;  all of them are tenets of the faith, believed because it is necessary that they be believed.  We ‘gun nuts’ often try to treat the anti-SAC as if they are rational beings capable of absorbing truth, capable of accepting proof and abandoning their belief in fantasy.  In most cases, it simply doesn’t work that way.  Whether they think the SAC is lying to them or whether it is just too painful to give up their fantasies or whether it is merely impossible for them to abandon such deeply-held notions, in all but the most unusual cases, they will simply tune out any and all opposing views no matter how firmly backed by fact.  So-called ‘researchers’, some in residence at prestigious universities, produce studies and papers purporting to show by statistical evidence that pro-gun opinions are manifestly cuckoo.  One of the most notorious of these was Michael Bellesiles’ ‘Arming America: The Origins of a National Gun Culture’ published out of Emory University.  Bellesiles supposedly examined court documents of colonial and post-colonial America to demonstrate that private possession of firearms was rare-to-nonexistent as evidenced by their conspicuous absence from probate records.  It won several prestigious awards for scholarship and hit the New York Times’ bestseller list before other researchers attempted to recreate his evidence and failed.  For his part, Bellesiles claimed his notes had been destroyed by a flood and thus couldn’t be produced for verification.  When one researcher discovered Bellesiles had cited records from before the time such records could have existed, the whole story fell apart.  Bellesiles had fabricated the bulk of his ‘research’.  The awards he had received were revoked and he was terminated from employment at Emory.  Sadly, ‘Arming America’ can still be found on many library shelves in the non-fiction area.

The best arguments the anti-SAC can produce are generally 'fiction'.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

A Muslim majority?

What happens if Islam becomes the majority religion in America?

There is already a Muslim mayor of London, so don't think it's not possible.   That same mayor just announced, in response to the recent terror attack on Parliament, that such things are part of the price for living in a big city and that people should get used to it.

The first thing that will happen in a Muslim-majority America is that the 1st amendment to the Constitution will come under attack.   Long before that, Islam will have become a major religion among the U.S.Congress and the several statehouses, and that's where the process starts.   Either 2/3rds of both houses propose an amendment or 2/3rds of the states call for a convention.   Why the 1st amendment?   Well, technically anyone may broadcast or print negative words about the Prophet.   This cannot be tolerated in an Islamic country or by Muslims anywhere.   The first has got to go.

"The First Amendment to the Constitution is hereby repealed."   If 3/4ths of the states, either by ratifying convention or by the legislatures ratifying on behalf of the people, accept this, it could then become a crime to speak against the Prophet or Islam, even if what you say is true.   There would be no escape, either, for those who merely make such remarks among family and friends because, as we have seen from recent events, the government has the ability to spy on us even in private via our phones and television sets, and that spy apparatus would be in the hands of a largely-Islamic government.

It would then also be possible to have a state religion, and it would be Islam.   As in nearly all other Islamic nations, the practice of other religions would be forbidden.   Media outlets that took adverse positions could be lawfully shuttered.   There would be one voice throughout the land, and it would deliver a single message, and the Republic would be no more.

There comes a point in such a struggle that the tide sweeps the victor onward to inevitable victory, and we are too, too close to that point for comfort.

"If you will not fight for right when you can easily win without bloodshed;   if you will not fight when your victory is sure and not too costly;   you may come to the moment when you will have to fight with all the odds against you and only a precarious chance of survival.

"There may even be a worse case.   You may have to fight when there is no hope of victory, because it is better to perish than to live as slaves."

— Winston Churchill