Thursday, February 22, 2018

Children’s Crusade, 2018

The following article appeared in Powerline on February 21st

By John Hinderaker

The last Children’s Crusade ended badly. This year’s version won’t be as catastrophic, but it isn’t likely to be any more successful.

It started in Florida, where liberal activists didn’t wait until the bodies at Stoneman Douglas High School were cold to begin organizing kids for another run at increased gun controls. Stoneman Douglas students have been featured so often on CNN, used as props for blatantly political purposes, that some are becoming household names.

Today, left-wing organizers will lead high school students into the Florida legislature, where they will demand that old chestnut, a ban on AR-15 style rifles. It isn’t clear why anyone thinks 15-to-18-year-old kids have any special insight into the issues relating to mass murders by the mentally ill, but of course that won’t stop the left. One wonders whether the young people who will harangue Florida legislators even know that an “assault weapons” ban was tried a couple of decades ago, and was allowed to lapse because it was a complete failure. One wonders, too, how many of them know that the rifle is the least popular of murder weapons, ranking, according to the FBI’s statistics, well below knives, shotguns, blunt objects and bare hands.

In 1994, when the “assault weapons” ban was enacted, the Second Amendment was the stepchild of the Bill of Rights. That is no longer true; or, at least, it is much less true today. Today, a ban on AR-15 style firearms might well be held unconstitutional, both under the Second Amendment and as a violation of due process. Courts might well find that a ban on AR-15s irrationally distinguishes between that style of rifle–America’s most popular–and the many other semiautomatic rifles on the market, based on differences that are largely cosmetic.

There are, of course, things that can be done to prevent mass school shootings, which thankfully are rare and are not becoming more frequent. The most obvious is to improve school security by hiring armed guards, restricting entry by non-students, and encouraging teachers to obtain carry permits. The “gun-free zone” is an idiotic concept that should be done away with.

Mental health issues should be addressed as well, even though this raises thorny problems. School “shooters” have uniformly been obviously crazy. Nikolas Cruz is an extreme case: he told everyone who would listen that he intended to be a school mass murderer, and apparently no one was interested in acting on his threats. One of these days, we are going to have to do something about blatantly crazy and dangerous people before they act, not after it is too late.

That, in turn, raises the failures of law enforcement that obviously occurred in the Parkland case. The FBI, in particular, dropped the ball. The FBI needs to be drastically overhauled, beginning with firing the senior bureaucrats who apparently are more interested in playing political games than in preventing crimes.

These are all legitimate issues, but I’ve seen no indication that Florida liberals are encouraging their child crusaders to talk about any of them. Nor do I expect to hear anything about these issues from the other young people who are now being organized by liberals in various states around the country.

Ed.  As I have written elsewhere, the left have no wish to prevent lunatics murdering children. The reason: the issue generates far too many dollars for leftist politicians and political groups. If anything, the Schumers and Pelosi's of the nation would enjoy seeing MORE children gunned down by psychopaths. Why else would the left be so intent upon disarming those who have the opportunity of stopping these killers in their tracks? 

Consider THIS ARTICLE about Aaron Feis, the football coach who gave his life in defense of the children murdered in Florida. Feis had been disarmed by the left. 

Trump Directs DOJ to Ban Bump Stocks in Response to Gun Control Outcry

Ed.  For those who do not know, a "Bump Stock" replaces the factory stock on most AR 15 rifles. The stock gives the semi-automatic rifle a rate of fire almost equivalent to that of a machine gun. 

The following article appeared in Breitbart on February 20th

By AWR Hawkins

President Donald Trump directed Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Tuesday to finalize plans to ban bump stocks.

The Hill reports that Trump mentioned that the “process” of banning bump stocks began in December.

It was December 28, 2017, when Breitbart News reported that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) was accepting public comment on proposed regulatory gun control that would alter the definition of “machinegun” to cover machineguns and non-machineguns, too. This shift allows the ATF to use the National Firearms Act (1934) to control firearm accessories like bump stocks in the same way it controls actual machine guns and devices that convert semiautomatic firearms into machine guns.

Gun control outlet The Trace reported that the public comment period ended with roughly 36,000 comments, of which more than eight out of ten voiced opposition to bump stock gun control.

Yet Trump is supporting regulatory action against the firearm accessories.

CNN’s Kaitlan Collins tweeted:

Trump also said he expects regulations banning bump stocks to “be finalized … very soon.”

Bump stocks were not used in the February 14 attack in Florida. Nor were they used in the Texas church attack (November 5, 2017), the Alexandria attack (June 14, 2017), the Orlando attack (June 12, 2016), the San Bernardino attack (December 2, 2015), the Umpqua Community College attack (October 1, 2015), the Lafayette movie theater attack (July 23, 2015), the Chattanooga attack (July 16, 2015), the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal attack (Jun 17, 2015), the Santa Barbara attack (May 23, 2014), the Fort Hood attack (April 2, 2014), the D.C. Navy Yard attack (September 16, 2013), the Aurora movie theater attack (July 20, 2012), the Gabby Giffords (January 8, 2011) attack, or the Virginia Tech attack (April 16, 2007), among others.

In fact, the October 1, 2017, Las Vegas attack is the only high profile public attack in which a bump stock was used criminally.

Ed. Soooo, I’ll become a criminal for owning a “Bump” stock, while Hillary Clinton is permitted to fracture the Constitution, accept bribes, lie to Congress—the list is endless.

A very foolish mistake, Mr. President.

California Suicide Watch, Part 2

The following article appeared in Powerline on February 21st

By Steven Hayward

Last we checked in on California circling the drain (which I’m rechristening here as our “California Suicide Watch”), we passed along the story of Sharky Laguana (yes, that’s his real name) and his frustration with the San Francisco police who were unwilling to lend him any assistance to recover a van stolen from his rental fleet. I don’t know whether our mention helped or not (Sharky’s tweetstorm went viral), but the San Francisco Chronicle has followed up with a story about how it got the attention of city leaders:

In truth, police refused to help him at all — even an officer across the street from the parked van wouldn’t offer assistance. But the cunning Laguana did get his van back.

Within a week, Laguana’s story, which read like the world’s shortest thriller, had been retweeted nearly 1,000 times and had attracted the attention of city leaders, who know their constituents are beyond frustrated by car break-ins, homelessness and the collective shrug residents so often get from San Francisco police.

And it’s already getting some action.

Assemblyman Phil Ting has introduced a placeholder bill in the state Legislature related to Laguana’s story, though what the legislation will include remains to be seen.

Well, that’s not much action, and given the way Sacramento works these days, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the “placeholder” bill turn into a fillip for more high speed rail or something.

But the next story that is going to leave a mark comes from the local NBC TV news affiliate, which called their report “Diseased Streets:”

The NBC Bay Area Investigative Unit surveyed 153 blocks of downtown San Francisco in search of trash, needles, and feces. The investigation revealed trash littered across every block. The survey also found 41 blocks dotted with needles and 96 blocks sullied with piles of feces.

The story included this telling chart of the trends: 

Read the whole story for more detail about how futile are the city’s efforts to clean the streets, and how they may need to—wait for it—raise taxes on business to spend more money on homelessness.

This part especially stands out: NBC spoke with Dr. Lee Riley, an infectious disease expert at University of California, Berkeley. And:

Based on the findings of the Investigative Unit survey, Riley believes parts of the city may be even dirtier than slums in some developing countries.

“The contamination is … much greater than communities in Brazil or Kenya or India,” he said. He notes that in those countries, slum dwellings are often long-term homes for families and so there is an attempt to make the surroundings more livable. Homeless communities in San Francisco, however, are often kicked out from one part of town and forced to relocate to another. The result is extreme contamination, according to Riley.

The city of Nancy Pelosi, California’s current governor, and likely next governor. Reserve your U-Haul van now. Oh, wait:
Chaser: Great, just what California needs— 

Prager U Video: Communist Manifesto or Democratic Party Platform?

The following article appeared in Frontpage Magazine

America's most exciting - and disturbing - new game show.

It's no secret: The Democratic Party has a tendency to cozy up to socialists, but how far Left have they really become? To find out, Ami Horowitz took to the streets of New York to debut America's most exciting (and disturbing) game show: Communist Manifesto or Democratic Party Platform?

Watch the video HERE as young people attempt to divine whether assaults against our liberty have been launched by Democrats or Communists.  And it's DAMNED difficult to tell the difference!

Time to END This ‘President’s Day’ Foolishness

Ed.  Author Huston could not be more correct. Celebrating the life and accomplishments of George Washington is not only right, it is mandatory in the nation which this great man helped to create. But recognizing Barack Obama and Bill Clinton in the same breath is disgraceful.

The following article appeared in Wizbang on February 21st

Monday, February 19 has been designated as “President’s Day,” another fake holiday seemingly meant to tear down American heroes and replace them with a meaningless day off work (for some). But I urge you, America, reject this sham holiday.

I never celebrate this “President’s Day” business. I might celebrate the presidents individually, sure, but not the whole gaggle of them on the same day. I mean, it isn’t celebrating any of them if you are celebrating all of them. After all, we don’t celebrate the birthdays of all our siblings and parents on the same day, do we? Wouldn’t each feel slighted if none were given their special day?
Washington in prayer

Naturally, it isn’t about any particular president’s hurt feelings if we didn’t give them a special day. It’s about us. It’s about our feelings for the country.

Celebrating a particular president for all he has done is an important part of our civil “religion.” It is an important way to keep us all together as a society, a way to give us a collective history to celebrate.

The problem with “President’s Day” is that it homogenizes all the great deeds done by individual presidents into a meaningless mélange. By celebrating all the presidents at once, we are necessarily negating the important historical works of, say, the father of our country, George Washington (February 14), or the savior of the union and freer of slaves, Abe Lincoln (February 12).

We are also saying that the worst presidents, like Obama, Carter, and James Buchanan, or do-nothings like Franklin Pierce, are all equally deserving of praise.

They are not.

Take George Washington. These days, George Washington has been relegated to that “truth telling guy” we see on the one-dollar bill and on TV commercials at the end of February. Or he’s that guy lumped in with Lincoln on “President’s Day.” And that is a shame, indeed, for, without George Washington, our presidency, indeed our very nation might have become a far different and lesser thing.

But, what made Washington such a giant for our times as well as his? For one thing, he knew how to act in public.

Back in the 1700’s…

In the year 1759 a man named William Robertson wrote a book called The History of Emperor Charles V, a book that some claim was the standard after which modern historical study and writing has come to be patterned. Mr. Robertson, who became Principle of the University of Edinburgh in later years, introduced a salient point into the era of the Scottish Enlightenment. That idea was that “Politeness” in society would lead to a nation becoming a civilized one. And it was a politeness perpetuated and spread through capitalism that was the best avenue to achieving that civilized level.

Robertson wrote, “In proportion as commerce made its way into the different countries of Europe they successively … adopted those manners, which occupy and distinguish polished nations.” So, as the theory goes, man by his very nature craves material possession and property. To get that property he must work for it with his best skills. To make use of these skills he must rely on neighbors to get supplies to employ such skills as well as to become customers for his skills. This leads man to act in a solicitous manner of his neighbors so that they will be disposed to employ him and his abilities. This “politeness” employed by the individual inculcates the action in society at large which, in turn, enlarges that field of involved persons to counties and then the country in general, neighboring countries and, ultimately, the world and the governments they create.

That, at least, was the theory.

Yet, even before the intelligencia of Scotland waxed eloquent on the reasons and why-fors of commerce, civilization, and conduct religions had already realized that such concepts, if only on a personal level, simply made sense. As early as 1559 the French Jesuits has compiled a series of maxims to govern human interaction many based on the Bible’s teachings. These maxims became all the rage in the mid 1600’s when they were spread throughout Europe.

So, with the theory of politeness in its various vestiges firmly entrenched in commerce and foreign and interpersonal relations, it became obvious that one needed codes of conduct agreed upon by all to govern the rules of the game. This code of conduct became to be known as ethics in business and politics. In personal conduct it became known as etiquette. It is etiquette that underlies political ethics. Without etiquette, ethics struggles to exist. Unfortunately it is etiquette that seems to have died in modern society.


I went back to a local bookstore and in the history section I saw the usual Obama apologist books and the Never-Trump screeds that no one wanted, I saw the dry collegiate studies of the fall of the Roman Empire, and the coffee table compilation books that have recently fallen out of favor. But a few years ago my shopping was more fruitful. Then I spied a spare little book edited and commented upon by Richard Bookhiser. It was called Rules of Civility, The 110 Precepts That Guided Our First President In War And Peace. This 90 page hardback book sported the price of only $4.00 so I picked it up.

I took it home and spent the few minutes it took to read the Rules that were said to have governed the life of George Washington and found myself wondering what the heck happened to civility in this country? What happened to the etiquette that, once upon a time, governed civil society?

Washington was the best of both worlds in a revolutionary leader. He was able to lead a rebellion as well as govern the new country after the rebellion succeeded, as Mr. Brookhiser points out in his forward. It was once remarked by a European diplomat’s wife that Washington had, “perfect good breeding and a correct knowledge of even the etiquette of a court.” High praise, indeed, from a haughty European in the days when they were so sure the United States of America were doomed to ignominious failure.

Today many of the rules seem archaic as they laid out rules on how to eat in public, When to wear a hat and when not to, the correct posture and the like. But even in these seemingly pointless “rules” one gets the distinct impression that the training to be imparted by these precepts are meant to work from the personal to the interpersonal informing the whole man, not just the public man. A concept we seem to have totally lost in our day of “rights” and desires. We have come to an age where what we “want” supersedes good posture, delicate eating habits and proper dress. We tell ourselves we are more than what we wear or how good our table manners are and so we dispense with such “nonsense.” But is it nonsense? Do we give ourselves short shrift when we ignore such once common ideals of conduct in our arrogance? It might become obvious as we view how people treat each other in public, while we feel the palpable anger in the air as each person seems so sure that they are not getting the “respect” they deserve. But do they treat others with the same respect they are so sure they deserve in return?

As you read further into the rules you’ll find a road map to polite social discourse and comportment that you will just know have been lost to society. Here are a few of them for the purpose of comparison to today’s standards:

22) Show not yourself glad at the misfortune of another though he were your enemy … Be NICE, even when you win.

25) Superfluous compliment and all affectation of ceremony are to be avoided, yet where due they are not neglected … Real ceremony is a matter of respect not an end in itself, as Mr. Brookhiser notes.

36) Artificers and persons of low degree ought not to use many ceremonies to lords or others of high degree, but respect and highly honor them, and those of high degree ought to treat them with affability and courtesy, without arrogancy …. At first sight this might tend to enrage today’s man yet when you truly look at it this rule commands everyone, both high and low, to treat people with good grace and respect something that seems sorely lacking today.

80) Be not tedious in discourse or in reading unless you find the company pleased therewith … How many blow-hards do you find droning on about their theories and feelings today?( Hey wait a minute, don’t look at ME!)

81) Be not curious to know the affairs of others, neither approach those that speak in private … Don’t be a nosy gossip. That would erase most of TV and the newspapers report, I would imagine.

84) When your superiors talk to anybody hearken not, neither speak nor laugh … of course that would presuppose we HAVE superiors these days. It seems everyone assumes that no one is their “better” these days.

89) Speak not of the absent for it is unjust.

109) Let your recreations be manful not sinful.

Naturally these are just a few examples but don’t they all ring with a sense of delicacy, justice and common decency? Can you see how social discourse would improve with wide acceptance of such precepts? I would urge each of you to find this book or others like it and read General Washington’s maxims. It can do nothing if not improve your life.

Let me close this with the last rule in the series. One that is definitely forgotten these days …

110) Labor to keep alive in your breast that little spark of celestial fire called conscience.

Happy birthday, sir, but where have you gone George Washington, indeed? You deserve your own birthday, and so do the rest of us.