Saturday, March 13, 2010

Hahahaha... ow.

A sadly un-strained metaphor:
A congressman and his constituent were walking in the woods when they came upon a metaphorical bear...
Click on the above to read the whole thing. Brian J. Noggle has encapsulated the entire problem in a nutshell.

We need mandatory expiration dates. Or a House of Repeal. Something.

Just this morning, sometime conservative Charles Krauthammer inadvertently put his finger on it (or his foot in it) in his column "Hail the change of chiefs":
True, the rotation of power inevitably results in stops and starts and policy zigzags. Yet for all its inefficiency, it in the end creates a near miraculous social stability by setting down layers of legitimacy every time the opposition adopts some of its predecessor's reforms -- while at the same time allowing challenges to fundamental assumptions before they become fossilized.
No, you thimble-headed gherkin! That is exactly the problem! Look, I understand how a GOP loyalist like yourself is all sad right now, and you're thinking that when life gives you lemons, you should try and make lemonade, but when life hands you turds, you don't sit down to a steaming bowl of dog crap soup with a smile on your face, okay?

The Republicans come to power by railing against the excesses of the Democrats. Then when they get in, they let the status quo remain ante rather than risk upsetting any applecarts. In turn they create their own excesses, which the Democrats rail about to get themselves elected, but then never repeal, instead letting the status... Are you getting the 'lather, rinse, repeat' picture here?

It's government by sedimentation, each new election cycle depositing a fresh layer of laws to be upheld and bureaucratic fiefdoms to be protected atop the structure already existing. Unless someone brings a dredge through, this river's going to silt up completely.

This isn't a pendulum, it's a ratchet, and it's going to continue getting tighter 'til something gives.


aczarnowski said...

"Government by sedimentation" is a frick'n brilliant turn of phrase. Thanks for that one, and the ratchet metaphor which has helped me in a few conversations of late.

Stranger said...

Actually, our Federal government much reminds me of the pit in a pit toilet. The accretion layers consist almost entirely of the indigestible portions of what came before, along with enormous amounts of dead bacteria, with the very occasional pearl or bottle cap or broken cup that cannot be recycled by life's cycle.

The problem with government is the same Augeas faced with his stables. At some point a Heracles will come along and flush out the detritus of the ages. Probably in the same way, by flood.

Our duty is to make sure Herc builds on what came before, and not on some hair brained scheme scribbled by a failed New York Times stringer or a demented toymaker.


Anonymous said...

Krauthammer made an interesting point. Once Eisenhower became president and chose to leave the new deal in place, later GOP presidents have pretty much ignored the new deal policies.

Tam said...

Me? I'm still waiting for Reagan to axe the Department of Education...

rickn8or said...

aczarnowski-- I think of it as the steadily-descending blade of "The Pit and the Pendulum"

Ed Foster said...

Gotta' agree with aczarnowski. The sedimentation anology is totally brilliant. With permission and attribution, may I use it shamelessly?

I think that nothing in the way of true change will be possible until it all breaks. Which really disgusts me, as I'm not a TEOTWAWKI kind of guy.

I don't think we'll be in fortified hilltop redoubts, although I might give that a 20% possibility, and it's certainly worth preparing for.

But a wicked nasty depression is almost inevitable, with a concommitent reduction in Federal control. The Feds will try, but there will be too many fires, and their well will soon run dry.

The areas tha are well run will do much better, and hopefully serve as examples for an eventual recovery.

I always thought that people could take back the Republican party through the primary system, bring it back to what it might have been at the Contract With America point in the early 1990's.

And I still oppose third parties, which destabilize things without any hope of change.

Harry Reid is doing everything he can to support a Tea Party candidate, because the polls tell him that's the only way he can retain power. Divide and conquer. Clinton won in '92 with 42% of the vote.

Third parties accelerate the decline, and frankly, I'd rather go to hell at 60 mph with the Republicans than at 120 mph with the Democrats. It gives me more time to prepare, and the sudden stop might not be as abrupt.

But, as you have so effectively pointed out (honest to God, Tam, today's cut was brilliant!), the Republicans are the party of gradualism, and terrified of wandering very far from the center, where ever that center may have wandered to over the years.

As for Krauthammer, I might cut him some slack. He was a speech writer in the Carter White House, so he's come a long way already.

He's also one of the top shrinks in America (Chief of Residents in Psychiatry at Mass General in Boston) and has basically said Obama's certifiably nuts, so I have great hopes he'll finish his voyage of dicovery even further to the right. We just have to lock him up with John Stossel for a week or two.

Stephen said...

"It's government by sedimentation, each new election cycle depositing a fresh layer of laws to be upheld and bureaucratic fiefdoms to be protected atop the structure already existing. Unless someone brings a dredge through, this river's going to silt up completely."

It would be useless for me to try and add anything to that.

Pathfinder said...

"No, you thimble-headed gherkin! " - SNORT!!

On Michael Bane's weekly audio podcast this week (, Bane mentioned John Biancchi's efforts with the NRA to identify what we as gun owners want. The long and short of Biancchi's point is that with the Repub's (supposedly "friendly" to gun rights) in charge for a number of years, we got nothing other than letting the "assault weapons" (sic) ban expire.

We do have the Heller decision, and hopefully the MacDonald as well. There are also national surveys that show a huge acceptance of CCW and OC, as well as high number of people believing that personal ownership of firearms is a valid and important right. So the time is ripe for pushing more to secure the rights we have, and legislatively secure those rights against future attack.

So I thought it might be instructive to survey some ideas as to what exactly we do want in the way of solidifying gun rights. I want to pose 2 questions to all of you here:
1. What do we as lawful gun owners want in the way of legislative action?
2. Are we content to rely on the NRA to set the agenda?

Here are a few ideas for thought, and to provoke additional discussion.
national CCW reciprocity.
suppressors removed from the NFA
doing away with the 1968 Gun Control Act

As for question #2, I think I am already giving away my bias here. I think the horizontal gun culture needs to drive this, and "allow" the NRA to advance those elements most suitable for them to address. The NSSF, JPFO, GOA and RKBA (and others) can also be involved. In other words, using the so-called "what do you carry" meme that went through the interw3bs not too long ago, let's build the list, get a blogger like Bane or Tam to get it started, and let the rest of the culture chime in without being overruled or filtered by a professional organization.

Then, when there appears to be consensus on the list - which should take all of a month, or maybe never - we go to the NRA et al. and push the agenda.


BTW, personally, I do not think for a moment that the anti-gun "movement" is dead. It is and has been a useful tool for the tools in kongress, and they can and will resurrect it at will. So we have to move as fast and hard as we can to secure our gun rights "beachhead" and be able to move out further. It is a battle, it is a war, and we need to fight it as such.

perlhaqr said...

1. What do we as lawful gun owners want in the way of legislative action?

I want, at an absolute bare minimum, to be able to keep and bear arms in common usage (defined as "carried by local PD" or better) in any location subject to Federal Jurisdiction. So, all 50 states, Puerto Rico, Guam, etc. This includes every bit of land owned by the Federal Government, such as parks, Washington DC, buildings, etc. The Second Amendment should be, at the very base, an absolute defence for OC or CCW.

"I'm in America. I'm carrying a concealed pistol (or two). What's the question?"

Overturning the Hughes Amendment and removal of suppressors, SBS, and SBRs from the NFA would be nice icing. Losing the abortion that is 922(r) would be swell, too.

2. Are we content to rely on the NRA to set the agenda?

I've started and erased a half dozen times here, so I'll just go with "no".

Ed Foster said...

Pathfinder: I've always enjoyed the hell out of your posts, and I think we're pretty much the same sort of person, with the same hopes and ideals.

But. You knew there was a but coming, didn't you.

You and I are the same, but there are lots of gun owners who would differ, and lots of non-gun owners who are sitting on the fence, able to fall left or right depending on what they see. And we need their votes.

I'm at least a closet libertarian, but, although I wouldn't be upset at suppressors being uncontrolled, I don't need them except as a casual toy, and the short term division in our ranks would cost us big time.

The more detailed someone makes the list, the fewer people qualify as hardcore supporters, and the more likely we are to have legitimate shooters on both sides of an issue.

I'd rather see a commitment similar to what the left had from the '50's through the 90's, to keep constant pressure on their opponents, with many small bites that seem "reasonable" at the time. Shift the center gradually, and always try to seem reasonable.

It's tough to get a permit in CT. But every permit holder is demonstrably elite because of it, and the lunatic fringe can't demonize us. And it is a must issue state if you can prove you're stable, intelligent, and well trained.

I would want national CCW reciprosity, but do I want it at the hands of the Federal government? Maybe yes, maybe no. I really have to think about that one.

Do I want it done at a local level? Ideally, but then we have hoplophobis assholes like our present CT Attorney General and future Senator, Mr. Blumenthal, who has quashed reciprocity every time it has come up.

I don't know, and would hope we all kick that one around some. But I would like to see some common standards of training and background check before we do it, so that the permit means something.

As to GCA'68, I again would like to see it chipped away gradually, with public exposure of some of it's more lame and bureaucratic boondoggles.

I also think we should remember that the increase in CCW permits hasn't hurt the decline in violent crime, but it hasn't been the primary reason for the decline either.

More efficient law enforcement, plus serious increases in prison time have been the primary determinant here, with the U.S. having more of it's population in slam by far than any other democracy. If they're in the hoosegow, they can't be knocking down old ladies.

With budgets being cut everywhere, the number of people back out on the street will be going up, and I don't give a rat's ass whether they committed violent crimes or were "innocent" hippie drug peddlars.

Even the most pacific of them think the law is a joke, cops are clowns, and citizen is another word for sucker.

The crime rate will go up, and the New York Times will point to the increase as proof CCW means nothing.

And I like Michael Bane too, but I think he missed something, to whit: The Republicans gave us the Supreme Court Justices who voted for Heller.

The Republican party is broken and limping, but we might have some success cleaning it up if we lean hard enough. We can never reach the Democratic party, and third parties only allow the Democrats to gain their suicidal victory sooner.

I really do stand with you on what we want, but think we all should talk about our methods and try to find the areas we can't agree on, so we can avoid then and maintain a common, coherent front against the crazies.

SiGraybeard said...

This paragraph hit it on the head: "It's government by sedimentation, each new election cycle depositing a fresh layer of laws to be upheld and bureaucratic fiefdoms to be protected atop the structure already existing. Unless someone brings a dredge through, this river's going to silt up completely."

35 years ago, when I was much stupider (i.e., more liberal) than I am now, I realized a fundamental problem we have is that every session of legislation adds new laws, and that even if it was just one, the number of laws tends to infinity.

It doesn't matter that they may have good intentions, they always bring consequences and when you look up "Law of Unintended Consequences" on Wikitionary, you should get a picture of the US Code of Federal Regulations.

In the last year of W, they passed a toy safety act that those of opposed to it argued would cause the outlawing of garage sales and selling of your old baby toys. Our Protectors said they would never go after second hand stores, consignment stores and church sales. In fact, they have. Anyone with any sense told them the problem wasn't selling your kids old toys, but was China Inc toys. They won't listen. They know better than us.

When they passed food safety laws, those of us opposed to it said it would outlaw someone selling extra fruit from their trees. Need I go any farther? Again, anyone with any sense told them the problem was not mom and pop shops it was giant agribusiness, but they know better than us.

We have got to put expiration dates on laws. The alternatives are too awful to think of - they involve what preppers are prepping for.

Matthew said...


While your position on carry permits seems commonsensical, there's no evidence I've ever found that demonstrates that restrictions on carry such as background checks and training reduce misuse or accidents to a statistically significant degree.

If you are legal to possess you should be legal to carry until you demonstrate otherwise.

The blood of the innocent is not flowing in the streets of the many states with no training requirement, nor in places like VT and AK that don't require even a background check.

Anonymous said...

This is much better in person when you see her to the ratchet motions along with the speechifying.

Shootin' Buddy

Anonymous said...

I think you made Charley the K cry.


100% in agreement

Anonymous said...

"allow the Democrats to gain their suicidal victory sooner"

Lets go - before I get "another year shorter of breath, and closer to death"...

Joanna said...

The problem with ratchets (as Og recently pointed out) is that some bright soul is going to try for just ... one ... more ... turn, and then it either

A) breaks and flies apart and you have to duck and cover to avoid the flying bits of whatever they were trying to secure; or

B) strips the threads so the bolt spins uselessly in place until it's removed, and things come quietly apart in a pile in the driveway, broken beyond repair.

I pray to God we get the latter.

NotClauswitz said...

Joanna beat me to the Og reference.
Keep tightening until a 20-foot rod breaks and shoots into Lake Michigan - and see how the butt clenches while everything sways.
The ratchet is a failure waiting to happen, they gotta be more be careful with the come-along they think they're using to bring us along.

Ed Foster said...

Matthew, I guess I agree with you.

I used to live in Brattleboro VT, and it was kind of neat to see people walking down Elliot St. to Main for a cup of coffee during hunting season, with double barrel 12 gauges broken over their arms.

But as I said, it plays well to the undecideds, and it's something to give us leverage with the always hostile and ever sneakier press.

It's something we only have to do once, and most of it would be the same as proving we were stable people to begin with.

It's easy to say "If he's a whack job, then put him in jail, regardless of what kind of weapon he used".

But I know somebody, the stereotype gunshop commando, who quite rightfully had his permit pulled after he tried to run over a cop. How he got it in the first place is beyond me, but I guess he seemed more pathetic than unhinged.

I think that keeping his permit (letting him carry concealed, for all the wrong reasons) was the only thing that kept him from snapping years before.

A simple background check does nothing more than provide the same information that would have been available to one's neighbors 200 years ago. George Washington was hard up for soldiers, but he wouldn't have given a musket to the village idiot or a known psycopath.

Adding a one day training session to that honest background check, and 5 or 6 hours range time to prove competence doesn't seem unfair.

We're talking about people with permits to carry in public, and that's a lot different from simply owning a pistol and keeping it on your own property, which requires nothing but a waiting period and NICS check.

Again, in CT at least, you don't need a permit to possess, only to take it off your property. I can own an unregistered car and have no legal pressure as long as it's not a public nuisance (leave it in the garage or back in the woods), but if I take it out on the road, where it could be a public threat, I need proof it's safe to operate, and that I'm a safe operator.

You got me thinking. I haven't seen any studies about accidental shootings that say trained people are safer or not.

But I haven't shot at Blue Trail Range in several years, at least partly because I've seen so much really dangerous gun handling there by untrained buffoons from three or four states, so I'm suspecting now that maybe trained shooters are safer.

Also, I remember growing up in then very rural Killingworth and Durham CT., and listening to macho BS artists without a bit of military or permit training, talking about what they would do under certain conditions like burglary or threatening behavior from someone else.

Wild, irresponsible talk that, if listened to by an impressionable 14year old might seem entirely logical. And, two of the kids in my highschool class died in hunting accidents. Neither had ever taken hunter safety classes, or even had a hunting license.

Come to think of it, I do remember an NRA statistic to the effect that per capita hunting deaths had fallen 50% since the 1950's, in states with mandatory Hunter Safety courses.

Given the greater complexity, manual of arms, and far more hours carried, I suspect training for concealed carry is probably more important than Hunter Safety training. Four hours of CT's day of training are given over to knowledge of firearms laws.

O.K., on reflection I think it best to stay with "Shall Issue", and hope it includes at least a basic course in safe handling. The thought process brought back a lot of memories and data points.

theirritablearchitect said...

I think aczarnowski pretty much nailed it with the opener, and Tam, that sedimentation comment was worthy of a beverage alert, not so much a full on spray as dribbling of the coffee.

Shootin' Buddy, I know she's an aversion to the camera and all, and beyond that she's usually armed, but, you could do us a favor and get that ratcheding with the speechifying on tape and post it somehow.

Good luck, and Thnxkaybye,

staghounds said...

Except the ratchet never does break, at least in the history I know, absent a huge existential defeat in war. And in truth, not even then.

Certainly since the representative democracy fiat money welfare state became the default social system of Europe around 1920 or so, there hasn't been one reverse course or even stand still of its own accord yet.

They just keep adding zeroes to the money until it looks silly and then take the zeroes off.

And on the "what gun owners want" question, relax. The Rs own us, the party of not making it worse is enough to differentiate them from the Ds.

Just like the Ds don't have to do anything to keep the welfare deadbeats voting right.

Bram said...

Term Limits for Everyone
A House of Repeal with no filibusters
All laws expire in 20 years
No exclusions for Congress
No government pensions for anyone
The Bill of Rights with a "We really mean it" after each one. Particularly the Tenth.

All of the above when we re-write the Constitution after the next Revolution. The Founders had no idea what rascals would do to their fine Republic.

Anonymous said...