Courtesy of Iowntheworld.com
One law for us, another for you
The California state Senate voted 28-8 Wednesday to exempt itself from the pointless gun-control laws that apply to the rest of the populace. Legislators apparently think they alone are worthy to pack heat on the streets for personal protection, and the masses ought to wait until the police arrive.
This is just one of many bills Golden State politicians used this legislative session to set themselves apart from the little people, the ones who pay their inflated salaries. Annual compensation for legislators averages about $140,000, not counting luxurious perks such as taxpayer-funded cars and free gasoline. By comparison, the average Californian earns $50,000 a year, and the unemployment rate is 11.9 percent - far above the national average. Exact salaries for state assemblymen and senators are obscured by the use of a “per diem” payment scheme that shelters a significant chunk of income from taxation.
Attempts by a handful of reformers to require politicians to provide a full annual disclosure of the benefits received from the public treasury have been rebuffed. Currently, government officials must file a statement of economic interests revealing income from any source other than a local, state or federal government agency. Gifts worth more than $50 also must be disclosed, but lawmakers rejected a bill that would have prohibited acceptance of concert and sporting event tickets, gift cards, spa treatments, golf outings and other benefits from lobbyists trying to buy votes.
Bills of this nature never meet an honest fate in which roll-call votes put members on the record as favoring or opposing each idea. Instead, reform measures are held in committee to die quietly as legislative deadlines pass. As of last week, it’s effectively impossible for a bill to become law if it hasn’t already passed in at least one of the chambers.
Such a silent death sentence was imposed on a bill that would have eliminated the practice of allowing select public employees to avoid paying red-light-camera tickets and escape any consequence for using toll roads without paying. The current system grants free rides to politicians, court workers, police officers, city council members, social workers, meter maids and their spouses. The bill failed even after a compromise amendment deleted the requirement to pay red-light-camera tickets.
The arrogance of the political class is certainly not limited to California. Federal law prohibits private companies from pestering the public with unwanted telemarketing calls from businesses, but Congress exempted “political organizations” - i.e., themselves - from its provisions. In Sacramento, an attempt failed to establish a special Do Not Call list for people who don’t want to listen to automated calls from California pols.
Left coast politicians lack all shame regarding their self-enrichment at public expense. Even though their outrageous conduct has sunk a once-prosperous state $10 billion in debt, the public seems not to care. In November, voters recycled Jerry Brown as governor even though Gov. Moonbeam’s disastrous tenure during the 1970s enabled the compensation packages for a unionized public sector that are busting the budget today. When California finally goes bankrupt, voters need only look in the mirror when wondering who deserves the blame.
Shadow of the Gun
By Daniel Greenfield
Every day another one of the stories comes in. A teacher panicked by a plastic gun, an army man on a cupcake, a t-shirt, a pop tart chewed into the shape of a gun or a finger gun hits the panic button. Supensions and lectures quickly follow as the latest threat to the gun-free zone, usually in the form of a little boy, is tackled to the ground and lectured to within an inch of his life.
Tellingly these incidents rarely take place in the inner city schools where teenage gang members walk through metal detectors at the start of the day. The safety officers in those schools, big weary men with eyes that look everywhere at once, don’t waste their time on toys. Not unless those toys are full-size, painted black and filed down to look like real guns.
It’s usually the schools where a shooting is wholly unlikely; where gun violence is not a daily reality, but an unlikely convergence of horror, that institutional vigilance hits an irrational peak as every school imagines that it could be the next Columbine or the next Sandy Hook.
The NRA’s initial proposal of armed school guards was met with an irrational chorus of protests. More guns aren’t the answer, was the cry. And the leading crier was the White House’s expert skeet shooter. In a country where law enforcement is heavily armed and gunmen are stopped by gunmen in uniforms, a strange Swedenization had set in. The problem was not the man, it was the gun. Get rid of the guns and you stop the killing. Schools across the country are banning not the gun, but the idea of the gun. It is a conceptual prohibition that is meant to push away the threat of gun violence by eliminating any mention of the G word. Gun-free zones mean places where guns cannot be mentioned, depicted or even symbolized as if the refusal to concede the existence of a firearm will eliminate the threat of it being used on the premises.
This isn’t a precautionary attitude, but a pacifist one. Gun horror is not a productive emotion, but learned helplessness disguised as moral superiority. Rather than teaching children to hate killers, schools are instead teaching them to hate guns. And reducing murders to instruments rather than morals, children are left with no sense of right and wrong, only an instinctive horror of violence.
Pacifists have always demonized armies rather than invaders. During WWI they obsessed over gas. During WW2, it was the bomber and the tank. During the Cold War they demonized nuclear weapons. In the War on Terror, they target the drone. By dealing with the object rather than the subject, they are able to avoid the question of moral responsibility. Rather than hold the Nazis, Communists or Islamists accountable for their actions, they extended a blanket condemnation over the weapons-wielders.
The American GI was just as bad as the SS man or the Kamikaze pilot or the Political Commissar. The only difference was in who had the bigger guns. And the one with the bigger guns, was also the most to blame.
That same attitude can be seen today when Israel is blamed for every battle with Islamic terrorists because it has the bigger guns. Rather than evaluating the nature of a conflict and the values of both sides, the pacifists score every war based on firepower.
While the left likes to indulge in stereotypes of gun-toting rednecks and bomb-brandishing generals, the only people who judge the worth of a man by his weapon are the pacifists, the gun-fearers and gun-hiders who mythologize weapons as black agents of evil.
To believe that there is no such thing as constructive violence is to reject free will. Without accepting the necessity of constructive violence, there is no good and evil, only armed men and unarmed men. Without constructive violence, two boys playing cops and robbers in the schoolyard are not acting out a childish morality play, they are becoming desensitized to murder, and without it a child with a pop tart chewed into the shape of a gun is on the way to being a school shooter.
If there is no such thing as constructive violence, then the police officer is not the solution to crime, he is part of the cycle of violence. And if that cycle of violence does not begin with a man choosing to use a gun for good or evil, then it must begin with the gun. The man becomes the object and the gun becomes the subject. American ICBMs become just as bad as Russian ballistic missiles. An Israeli soldier killing a suicide bomber is just as bad as the terrorist. There are no good guys with guns. To have a gun is to be the bad guy.
For decades the gun-control lobby has brandished assault rifles at press conferences and spent more time describing their killing power than their manufacturers have. The rifle has been upgraded to the assault rifle and now, in the latest Orwellian vernacular used by the White House and the entire media pyramid beneath it, weapons of war.
The dreaded assault rifle or weapon of war or killing machine of mass death actually kills rather few Americans. The average shooter doesn’t bring an AR-15 to a Chicago gangland dispute. Despite the number of these weapons in private hands, most of the killing takes place with handguns in the same parts of the country where large amounts of illegal drugs are sold, women trafficked and stores robbed.
Shootings in America are not caused by guns, they are caused by crime. Guns really do not walk off store shelves and go on killing sprees. That’s what criminals are for. But the trouble with that discussion is that it takes us into moral territory. Talking about guns is easy, talking about souls is not. If guns don’t kill people, then we have to ask the difficult question of what does kill people.
It’s a bigger question than just Adam Lanza pulling the trigger in a classroom full of children. It is a big question that encompasses the Nazi gas chambers and the Soviet gulags, the Rape of Nanking and September 11. It is a question as big as all of human history.
Pacifists once used to be able to address such questions, but they have become obsessed with the technology of violence, rather than the spiritual origin of violence. And the technology of violence is largely beside the point. Guns do not motivate people to kill. Nor do they represent that much of a quantum increase in death.
Some of history’s worst massacres happened long before firearms became useful for more than scaring off peasants. The heavily armed Americans of the 50s had lower per capita murder rates than medieval London. It isn’t the gun that makes the killer. It’s not the hand that kills, but the mind.
The gun-free society has little interest in individuals. Its technocratic philosopher-kings want big and comprehensive solutions. Their answer to gun violence is to feed a horror of guns. Their answer to obesity is to ban sodas. Their solutions invariably miss the point by treating people like objects and objects like people.
In the Middle Ages, rats were put on trial for eating crops. Today we put guns on trial for killing people. The left has tried to reduce people to economics, to class and then race, gender and sexual orientation. It has done its best to reduce people to the sum of their parts and then to tinker with those parts and it has failed badly. The best testimony of its profound spiritual failure is that the worst pockets of gun violence are in urban areas that have been under the influence of their sociologists, urban planners, psychologists, social justice activists, community organizers and political rope-pullers for generations. And what have those areas brought forth except malaise, despair, blight and murder?
Banning guns will do as much for those areas as banning drugs did. It is not the shadow of the gun that has fallen over Chicago, but an occlusion of the spirit. Social services have had generations to save the city and they have failed because the technocracy can reach the body, but it cannot reach the soul.
The gun-control activists drew the wrong lesson from Newtown as they drew the wrong lessons from WW2 and September 11. The lesson is not that weapons are bad, the lesson is that people in the grip of evil ideas are capable of unimaginable horrors regardless of the tools at their disposal. A single man can kill a classroom full of children with a gun and a few men can kill thousands with a few box cutters. It isn’t the tool that matters. It’s the man.
Unwishing the gun brings us back to the sword. Unwishing the sword brings us back to the spear. Unwishing the spear brings us back to the stone club. And what then? When every weapon that ever existed or will exist is undone, all that remains is the deadliest weapon of all. The mind of man.
The gun, the sword, the spear and the club took countless lives and saved countless lives. Civilization has always balanced on a future made possible by little boys playing cops and robbers and playing with little green army men. They can either grow up to be the protectors of the future or the frightened men who will stand aside and do nothing when they hear the screams begin to come because they have been told that all violence is evil.
The Low-Information Voter’s Guide to Politics
By Oleg Atbashian
typically lost when co-workers discuss current events around the water cooler?
Do you have trouble figuring out the national debt or who that Ben Ghazi dude
is, but you know what’s on Kim Kardashian’s grocery list?
If you think
you only deserve fun answers to all life’s questions … you’re right! This
primer will help you look smart and morally superior in any political
discussion. Just memorize these big words, explained in easy terms you already
know from TMZ and The
BIASED: If you have a weird
friend who goes to church and her parents are still married, that’s what they
ELECTIONS: These are like the
Teen Choice Awards: the coolest and most popular wins. Democrats always win
because they are cool and popular. Republicans are more like your weird
CEILING: This is like Lindsay Lohan’s probation: by law, she should go to
jail if she gets arrested, but we all know she won’t.
EDUCATION. Think Memento.
Remember how the guy in the movie learned to go through life and fight enemies
by relying on snapshots, notes, and tattoos? Public education does that on a
national level as a free service.
IM-MI-GRA-TION: Whew, that’s a long
word — just like that velvet rope outside nightclubs. When really fun people
arrive, you just open it right up.
EASING: Remember Leonardo DiCaprio in Catch
Me If You Can, and how he printed his own checks? Well, that’s what
the Treasury secretary, Tim Geithner, does. It’s really cool.
DOLLARS: This is a silly
number. If someone says: “The U.S. national debt has topped 16
trillion,” take it easy. Remember how Jeffrey Dahmer was sentenced to fifteen
life terms while having only one life?
Once you owe
more than you can pay, numbers stop making sense. Anything above that is free
money; spend it fast so you can get more.
STIMULUS: It’s like Whitney Houston upping her dosage to get the same
high, always needing to use more and more to “chase the dragon.”
SE-QUE-STRA-TION: This is just a
word that Republicans say to make you feel stupid.
SHARE: Someone you know has three Louis Vuitton handbags and you only
have one. As many as you can get somebody else to steal from them and give to
you — that is your fair share.
ENTITLEMENTS: This is like
celebrities getting a $30,000 bag of goodies for showing up to the Oscars, so
that the givers get more street cred and respect. And votes.
POLICY: Think Lady Gaga’s world tour: it’s totally awesome but can also
get weird — like, she’s hot in places like Europe and Japan, but gets booed and
canceled in places like Indonesia.
IRAN: Think Robert Downey
Jr. — he may be calm at the moment, but if he gets his hands on the wrong
stuff, he could trash his neighbor’s house and pass out naked on the lawn.
MUSLIMS: These are like the
blue people from the movie Avatar
— they live in a magic tree and don’t need human technology or any of our laws
like gravitation, because they have a miraculous energy source inside their
planet. Humans must respect that, and send them humanitarian aid. But instead,
an evil corporation from Earth brings drilling equipment; that’s why all humans
ISRAEL: This is like the evil
corporation from Avatar
that landed on the blue people’s planet.
OIL: Think magic energy
source on planet Pandora that humans want to steal. Get over it, humans!
WALL STREET: People in this movement are fighting greed by forcing Michael
Douglas’ character in Wall
more money to the 99% of people like us. We need to support their stand against
corporations by friending them on Facebook™ and re-Tweeting them on Twitter™.
MEDIA: The good media are
like paparazzi and E! Entertainment who keep it real by telling us all the
truth about interesting people. The bad media are like bullies who make good
people look bad. Nobody listens to them except for your friend’s weird parents.
MAGAZINES: These do not contain expensive perfume samples that you can rip
out while waiting at your hair salon. See GUN CONTROL.
CONTROL: If Naomi Campbell had a gun, she would be shooting at her maids
all the time. Without a gun she just beats them with a cell phone and then
gives them compensation. Everyone is alive and happy. As long as the government
keeps guns away from the citizens, Rihanna and Chris Brown will always be
OBAMA: Think Brad Pitt, dashing A-lister who can’t do anything wrong.
She is like Kim Kardashian, only with other people’s money.
PRESIDENT: Think Steve Carell, a lovable nincompoop who likes to make
HOUSE: This is like Cribs,
a really fancy pad where celebrities hang out and party instead of working.
CLASS: These are like the extras in movies — kind of important but
nobody cares who they really are.
CON-STI-TU-TION: It sounds almost
Cosmopolitan, except it’s really old and has no make-up ads or sexy pictures,
but some people are really into it, like Antiques
Visit USADebtClock.com to learn more!