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Happy Independence Day

Today is the 241st anniversary of our Declaration of Independence from the tyranny that was the British crown against the colonies.

And, it will be celebrated with fireworks, picnics, barbeques and other family get-togethers.  Some parades and even some solemn remembrances.

We should acknowledge this day, but we should also remember tyranny never stops, and government never stops growing unabated.

YES!  WE HAVE A BILL OF RIGHTS! – but how many of them are forgotten or stepped-on today?

Freedom of Speech?  Hardly.  Colleges and university restricting or stopping speech with which they disagree WHOLESALE!

The Right to Keep and Bear Arms?  I will acknowledge much improvement has happened over the past 20 years in this area, but we must not sit on out laurels.  Just this past week, the Supreme Court declined to hear how possession (carrying) of weapons outside the home factors in.  Leaving an erroneous District Court finding to stand.

Search and Seizure?  Do we even have a Fourth Amendment, anymore?  Blanket wiretapping of cellular phone and Internet communications.  DUI checkpoints.  The TSA.  Anyone see any warrants affiliated with these actions?

Trial by a Jury of one’s Peers?  Seriously?  How often?

And don’t even get me started on seizure of assets and jury nullification!

I thank God that we didn’t elect Barack 2.0 (aka Hillary).  This doesn’t mean that the current White House occupant is close to being a diamond in the rough.

He is a populist, and certainly NOT a libertarian!  And surrounds himself with statist conservatives.

We have won some battles, but are nowhere close to winning the war.

The quote “Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty” is often mistakenly attributed to the Irish lawyer and politician John Philpot Curran and frequently to Thomas Jefferson.

In fact, Curran’s line was somewhat different. What he actually said, in a speech in Dublin on July 10, 1790, was:

       “The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance.”

And, according to Jefferson scholars there is “no evidence to confirm that Thomas Jefferson ever said or wrote, ‘Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty’ or any of its variants.”

Whoever said it, it is TRUE!  Stay vigilant, My Friends!

Happy Independence Day

 

Dangerous Things For Kids!

(from The Art of Manliness, in part)

Even though the modern world isn’t any more dangerous than it was thirty or forty years ago, it feels like a more perilous place. Or, more accurately, we inhabit the world today in a way that’s much more risk averse; for a variety of very interesting and nuanced reasons, our tolerance for risk, especially concerning our children’s safety, has steadily declined.  So we remove jungle gyms from playgrounds, ban football at recess, prohibit knives (even the butter variety) at school, and would rather have our kids playing with an iPad than rummaging through the garage or roaming around the neighborhood.

Unfortunately, as we discussed in-depth earlier this year, when you control for one set of risks, another simply arises in its place. In this case, in trying to prevent some bruises and broken bones, we also inhibit our children’s development of autonomy, competence, confidence, and resilience. In pulling them back from firsthand experiences, from handling tangible materials and demonstrating concrete efficacy, we ensconce them in a life of abstraction rather than action. By insisting on doing everything ourselves, because we can do things better and more safely, we deprive kids of the chance to make and test observations, to experiment and tinker, to fail and bounce back. In treating everything like a major risk, we prevent kids from learning how to judge the truly dangerous, from the simply unfamiliar.

Fortunately, we can restore the positive traits that have been smothered by overprotective parenting, by restoring some of the “dangerous” activities that have lately gone missing from childhood. The suggestions below on this score were taken both from 50 Dangerous Things (You Should Let Your Children Do), as well as memories from my own more “free range” childhood. If you grew up a few decades back, these activities may seem “obvious” to you, but they’re less a part of kids’ lives today, and hopefully these reminders can help spark their revival.  While each contains a element of danger and chance of injury, these risks can be thoroughly mitigated and managed by you, the parent: Permit or disallow activities based on your child’s individual age, maturity level, and abilities. Take necessary precautions (which are common sense and which I’m not going to entirely spell out for you; you’re a grown-up, not a moron). Teach and demonstrate correct principles, and supervise some practice runs. Once you’ve created this scaffolding of safety, however, try to step back and give your child some independence. Step in only when a real danger exists, or when your adult strength/dexterity/know-how is absolutely necessary. And don’t be afraid to let your kids fail. That’s how they learn and become more resilient.

In return for letting your children grapple with a little bit of healthy risk, the activities below teach motor skills, develop confidence, and get kids acquainted with the use of tools and some of the basic principles of science. Outside any educational justification, however, they’re just plain fun — something we’ve forgotten can be a worthy childhood pursuit in and of itself!

23 Dangerous Things You Should Let You Kids Do

Unlike many of you out there, I grew up in a city.  And, my Dad was largely absent.  I was given boundaries, though.  Don’t cross these streets; Don’t play with these kids;  Let us know where you are;   Be home for dinner @ 6 o’clock.

Other than that, I was pretty much left to my own devices.  Playing in old abandoned houses and construction sites, climbing into open manholes and irrigation conduits.  Picking through discarded trash for treasures.  Making rocket fuel and fireworks.  Dissecting unexploded fireworks.  Dirt clod fights.  Rubber band guns with projectiles!

I wasn’t foolhardy, but I wasn’t a namby-pamby either!

I remember when my Dad’s .22 rifle went missing.  He accused me of taking it, but was most upset I hadn’t asked! (I didn’t take it – it was stolen and later recovered by the PD)

From what I’ve observed, most kids (and most adults) don’t play outside or explore anymore.  Instead, they are inside getting carpal tunnel…

(And not in the traditional way!  😛 )

Toss your kid outside, without their electronics.  And tell ’em not to return until dinner-time.

They might learn something!

A Melting Pot? Seriously?

(from Brock Townsend)

This map shows the US really has 11 separate ‘nations’ with

entirely different cultures

Via David

Note, this is not from some far-right blog, or racist screed.  Business Insider!
This does, in some general manner, explain the political forces in certain regions, however.
What do you folks think?

Just To Make You Feel Better…

about that whole ‘missing the broad side of a barn’ thing!  😛

(from TFB)

Canadian Sniper Sets New Confirmed Kill Record at 2.2 Miles

Crushing a record previously held by a British sniper, a Canadian special forces member now holds the title title for the longest confirmed kill. Measured at 3,450 meters, or approximately 2.2 miles, the member of the Joint Task Force 2 killed an Islamic State insurgent in Iraq using a McMillan TAC-50 rifle. For obvious reasons, officials are not releasing the name of the soldier, but say that the shot was “confirmed by video and other data”. Now that’s a LiveLeak video I want to see,

2.2 Miles confirmed kill

Canadian elite special forces sniper sets record-breaking

Confirmed kill shot in Iraq

A sniper with Canada’s elite special forces in Iraq has shattered the world record for the longest confirmed kill shot in military history at a staggering distance of 3,450 metres.

Sources say a member of Joint Task Force 2 killed an Islamic State insurgent with a McMillan TAC-50 sniper rifle while firing from a high-rise during an operation that took place within the last month in Iraq. It took under 10 seconds to hit the target.

“The shot in question actually disrupted a Daesh [Islamic State] attack on Iraqi security forces,” said a military source, who stressed the operation fell within the strictures of the government’s advise and assist mission. “Instead of dropping a bomb that could potentially kill civilians in the area, it is a very precise application of force and because it was so far way, the bad guys didn’t have a clue what was happening.”

A sniper with Canada’s elite special forces in Iraq has shattered the world record for the longest confirmed kill shot in military history at a staggering distance of 3,450 metres.

Sources say a member of Joint Task Force 2 killed an Islamic State insurgent with a McMillan TAC-50 sniper rifle while firing from a high-rise during an operation that took place within the last month in Iraq. It took under 10 seconds to hit the target.

“The shot in question actually disrupted a Daesh [Islamic State] attack on Iraqi security forces,” said a military source, who stressed the operation fell within the strictures of the government’s advise and assist mission. “Instead of dropping a bomb that could potentially kill civilians in the area, it is a very precise application of force and because it was so far way, the bad guys didn’t have a clue what was happening.”

The kill was independently verified by video camera and other data, The Globe and Mail has learned.

“Hard data on this. It isn’t an opinion. It isn’t an approximation. There is a second location with eyes on with all the right equipment to capture exactly what the shot was,” another military source said.

A military insider told The Globe: “This is an incredible feat. It is a world record that might never be equaled.”

The world record was previously held by British sniper Craig Harrison, who shot a Taliban gunner with a 338 Lapua Magnum rifle from 2,475 metres away in 2009.

Previously, Canadian Corporal Rob Furlong had set the world record in 2002 at 2,430 metres when he gunned down an Afghan insurgent carrying an RPK machine gun during Operation Anaconda.

Weeks before, Canadian Master Cpl. Arron Perry briefly held the world’s best sniper record after he fatally shot an insurgent at 2,310 metres during the same operation. Both soldiers were members of the 3rd Battalion Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry.

JTF2 special forces are primarily tasked with counterterrorism, sniper operations and hostage rescue. Much of the information about this elite organization is classified and not commented on by the government. The unit’s snipers and members of Canadian Special Operations Regiment, who are carrying out the main task of training Kurdish forces, have been operating in tough conditions in Iraq.

The Trudeau government pulled CF-18 fighter jets out of Iraq in 2016 but expanded the military mission, which will see the number of Canadian special forces trainers climb to 207 from 69 in an assist, train and advise mission. Canadian commandos are not supposed to be involved in direct combat, but are authorized to go up to the front lines on training missions with Kurdish Peshmerga fighters and to paint targets for coalition air strikes.

For operational security reasons, sources would not reveal the names of the elite Canadian sniper and his partner, nor the location where the action took place.

A sniper and his observer partner are often sent to remote and dangerous locations to hunt down insurgents while having to carry heavy equipment. Once they have located the target, snipers follow the same methodical approach before each shot. Breathe in, out, in, out, find a natural pause and then squeeze the trigger.

Canada has a reputation among Western military forces for the quality of its snipers, despite the small size of the Canadian Armed Forces compared to the United States and Britain.

“Canada has a world-class sniper system. It is not just a sniper. They work in pairs. There is an observer,” a military source said. “This is a skill set that only a very few people have.”

The skill of the JTF2 sniper in taking down an insurgent at 3,450 metres required math skills, great eyesight, precision of ammunition and firearms, and superb training.

“It is at the distance where you have to account not just for the ballistics of the round, which change over time and distance, you have to adjust for wind, and the wind would be swirling,” said a source with expertise in training Canadian special forces.

“You have to adjust for him firing from a higher location downward and as the round drops you have to account for that. And from that distance you actually have to account for the curvature of the Earth.”

U.S. Sergeant Bryan Kremer has the longest confirmed sniper kill shot by a U.S. soldier. He killed an Iraqi insurgent with his Barrett M82A1 rifle at 2,300 metres in 2004.

Story and graphic credit: The Globe And Mail

Traditionally, I give the Canucks a lot of grief in GiA.

However, on this one, I salute them.

About The Raising Of The Minimum Wage…

Here’s what that bastion of liberal thought, Harvard University, has to say about it:

(from the Daily Wire)

Harvard Study: Minimum Wage Hikes Killing Businesses

Erik Mcgregor/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty ImagesA rally in New York City for hiking the minimum wage to $15 an hour. Feb 13, 2017.

A new Harvard Business School study found that minimum wage hikes lead to closures of small businesses. “We find suggestive evidence that an increase in the minimum wage leads to an overall increase in the rate of exit,” the researchers conclude.

The study, titled Survival of the Fittest: The Impact of the Minimum Wage on Firm Exit, looks at “the impact of the minimum wage on restaurant closures using data from the San Francisco Bay Area” from 2008-2016.

Researchers Dara Lee Luca and Michael Luca chose the Bay Area due to their frequent minimum wage hikes in recent years. “In the San Francisco Bay Area alone, there have been twenty-one local minimum wage changes over the past decade,” they write.

The Lucas found that lower-quality restaurants (indicated by Yelp scores) were disproportionately affected by wage hikes, increasing their likelihood of closure relative to higher-quality, established restaurants.

“The evidence suggests that higher minimum wages increase overall exit rates for restaurants. However, lower quality restaurants, which are already closer to the margin of exit, are disproportionately impacted by increases to the minimum wage,” says the study. “Our point estimates suggest that a one dollar increase in the minimum wage leads to a 14 percent increase in the likelihood of exit for a 3.5-star restaurant (which is the median rating), but has no discernible impact for a 5-star restaurant (on a 1 to 5 star scale).”

While “firm exit” was the focus of the study, the researchers also noted that there are often other consequences from wage hikes, such as worker layoffs, increased pricing and hour-cuts for existing workers:

While some studies find no detrimental effects on employment (Card and Krueger 1994, 1998; Dube, Lester & Reich, 2010), others show that higher minimum wage reduces employment, especially among low-skilled workers (see Neumark & Wascher, 2007 for a review). However, even studies that identify negative impacts find fairly modest effects overall, suggesting that firms adjust to higher labor costs in other ways. For example, several studies have documented price increases as a response to the minimum wage hikes (Aaronson, 2001; Aaronson, French, & MacDonald, 2008; Allegretto & Reich, 2016). Horton (2017) find that firms reduce employment at the intensive margin rather than on the extensive margin, choosing to cut employees hours rather than counts.

Such findings were backed up by Garret/Galland Research’s Stephen McBride, who highlighted in March the “minimum wage massacre.”

“Currently, rising labor costs are causing margins in the sector to plummet. Those with the ability to automate like McDonalds are doing so… and those who don’t are closing their doors. In September 2016, one-quarter of restaurant closures in the California Bay Area cited rising labor costs as one of the reasons for closing,” McBride wrote in Forbes. 

“While wage increases put more money in the pocket of some, others are bearing the costs by having their hours reduced and being made part-time,” he added.

As noted by Red Alert Politics, the Bay Area is headed for a $15 minimum wage in July of 2018, though they’ve already seen over 60 restaurants close since September.

While it would behoove the Bernie Bros picketing for $15 an hour to take a look at this study, it’s entirely unlikely that such evidence would deter their entitled attitudes.

I posted regarding this phenomena before, but I obviously don’t have the gravitas of Harvard (nor, apparently the other sources I borrowed stole from!)

It’s basic economics – businesses expect X dollar profit to be profitable – having the gov’t mandate paying their employees more money lessens profit.  Something has to give.

We’re seeing many more kiosks on restaurant tables and counters these days.

They cost less.

Q.E.D.

“Come With Me If You Want To Live!”

Harvard ‘Shock’ Study: Each $1 Minimum Wage Hike Causes 4-10% Increase In Restaurant Failures

When I was making minimum wage, I changed jobs when I saw I couldn’t make rent and eat on that income.  This was in the 70s, when I began making $1.60 an hour, and moved up to $2.10…

 

In An 8-0 Decision…

(from Fox News)

The United States Supreme Court…

In win for Asian-American rock band the Slants, and possible boost for the Washington Redskins, Supreme Court rules that the government can’t refuse to register trademarks that are considered offensive.

More on this: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2017/06/19/supreme-court-rules-trademark-law-banning-offensive-names-is-unconstitutional.html

AGAIN, free speech is not about that with which we agree!

(Just when you thought the Supreme Court was worthless…)

I Miss Our ‘Founding Brothers’!

(from Peter-Bayou Renaissance Man)

“Every house divided against itself will not stand.” That goes for America, too.

In watching the brouhaha over alleged links between President Trump’s 2016 campaign and Russia, and allegations of who said what, when, to whom, and why, and what the words mean, I’m driven to a conclusion already reached by many.This nation is irreparably, irreconcilably divided against itself.

That became clear during the Presidential elections last year.  Even before the vote, researchers identified several key areas in which the two sides of our political divide have become more and more divided.  What’s more, that divide has come to dominate different areas and groups in our body politic.  To name just one example, since President Trump’s election, the mainstream news media (dominated to an extraordinary extent by the left, progressive wing of US politics) have unleashed a barrage of insults, disdain and attacks that is almost unprecedented in its uniformity.  Sure, past Presidents have faced similar attacks from a segment of US media;  but there were always almost equal and opposing resources to respond in kind.  That’s no longer the case, thanks to the domination of the media by left-wing money and groups and individuals.  Alternative views are all but drowned out by the hubbub.

What’s more, the mainstream media no longer care about non-partisanship.  They openly advocate for one side or the other.  A classic example is an article in the Washington Post last Sunday titled ‘Is media coverage of Trump too negative? You’re asking the wrong question.‘  A key quote:

The president’s supporters often say his accomplishments get short shrift. But let’s face it: Politicians have no right to expect equally balanced positive and negative coverage, or anything close to it. If a president is doing a rotten job, it’s the duty of the press to report how and why he’s doing a rotten job.

There’s more at the link.

I happen to believe, unlike the author, that the question in the title of the article is the right question, and needs answering:  and I believe that her cavalier dismissal of the president as ‘doing a rotten job’ is her own partisan perspective, rather than based on fact.  Therein lies the problem.  She would probably dismiss me as a ‘right-wing nut job’, rather than take my views seriously.  (I tried very hard to read her article with an open mind, but the partisanship of which it reeked made that very difficult indeed.)  Of course, the same bias and partisanship can be found in articles on the other side of the political divide, as well.  The problem cuts both ways.

A blogger writing under the name of Didact summed up the divide in an article last January.

On the one side, we have always had the small-government libertarian types. Back in the days of Jefferson and Adams, they were the Southern Democrats. They were primarily advocates of an agrarian-focused, decentralised, minimalist, small-government philosophy that generally left people the hell alone to get on with their own business.

On the other side, we have also always had the mercantilists, the industrialists, the big-government centralists. They believed that a strong central government was absolutely required to prevent the new nation from being overwhelmed by its competitors and sinking into irrelevance or slavery under a foreign power.

That ideological difference has persisted, in various forms and espoused by various parties, all the way through to the modern day. That is of course well known. Eventually, the divide became so deep and so bitter that it resulted in the War Between the States, which Northerners rather oxymoronically refer to as the Civil War, and Southerners somewhat more accurately refer to as the War of Northern Aggression.

That divide was eventually papered over, at least somewhat, by the North’s crushing victory over the South. To this day, the South still hasn’t fully recovered from that defeat and the years of the Reconstruction Era that followed- and the wounds and scars inflicted by that defeat still linger on.

But- and here is the key difference between then and now- even throughout those times of bitterest division and discord, the two sides were able to talk to each other, right up until the time for talking was over and there was nothing left to do but start shooting.

And that is precisely what America has now lost.

You will not find finer exemplars of the two spirits of America than Presidents Adams and Jefferson. One believed completely in a strong central government; the other believed equally completely in a weak one. The two argued, often contentiously and always with eloquence and conviction, in favour of their respective positions.

Yet the two of them were also closer than brothers. Their respect for each other transcended their political differences and united them in their love for their new country, and their desire to see it succeed. Not for nothing have they been called “Founding Brothers“.

This is what America has lost today. The two sides of the debate no longer talk to each other. They talk past each other.

Again, more at the link.

Many people recognize the existence of this divide in America;  but not many have thought about its implications for our nation as a whole.  Well, I’m a pastor, albeit a retired one.  I try to look at and think about this country from the perspective of my faith, just as others will see it through the filters of their own biases and perceptions and bedrock perspectives.  That faith makes me ask:  have things gone too far?  Have we reached a tipping point?

Jesus warned us:  “Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and every city or house divided against itself will not stand.”  Right now, our ‘kingdom’ (or country) is divided against itself.  Right now, our cities – overwhelmingly left-of-center in their political orientation – are divided against the heartland that feeds and sustains them.  Right now, our houses – our families – are often divided on political, social and economic issues.

Can this nation, in its present form, survive a divide so deep, so bitter, and so vitriolic?  I don’t know . . . but I have real and very serious doubts.  What say you, readers?

Peter

I remember stories of the politicians of old (the Sixties), who would yell at each other on the Senate or House floor, then meet afterward to share a beverage or two.
We have lost that civility, both in the legislature and the general population.
We already have discord, violence and riots in the streets.  And on the Internet.
What’s next – A shooting war?
😦

THE COVERT INVASION OF THE WEST

April 21, 2017  (Suarez International)

There are cultural myths that all civilizations seem to adopt. Once they do, it is virtually impossible for them to let go of such myths, even when pursuing them is no longer viable. With the west is the myth of egalitarian inclusion. The idea that all men want the same things, that we can all get along, and that with acceptance and understanding, we can all live together in peace under beautiful rainbows.

Such a naive world view ignores the incessant jihad that the west has faced for a generation. And that jihad, both violent and overt, as well as cultural and covert.

Just this week, we not only had a Black American Jihadist shoot and kill a number of “white devils” in California, but we also had a French Policeman killed and another seriously injured in a proactive jihad ambush in Paris. It has become so common, and seemingly accepted that I will bet you cannot name all the terrorist events in the USA in the last 12 months.

Another factor in this is the west’s abject fear of being considered unfair or (gasp) racist. Even if we stop to consider that a religion or a political movement is not based on race, the language remains. And the word has power over westerners. At some point westerners, and I suspect the Europeans will be first, will have to ask themselves what is the greater danger – being called a racist or losing their civilization.

Another third cultural habit of the west is self-hatred and a deliberate ignoring of history. The self-hatred I don’t know whence it came. I will bet it has some basis in liberal-socialist thinking.

Perhaps one of the readers can comment.

But the ignorance of history is a crucial element here…specially for the young. History is rewritten to fit the modern narratives which support the other cultural habits and myths. But not knowing the real story is a problem. What would a man do, for instance, who had never been told that a hot stove will burn his hand. He would not know what he faced when coming in contact with one. Ignorant of the effects of hot steel on his hand, he would go ahead with his plans to touch it.

Islam has been on a mission to conquer and convert the world for a thousand years. At first, as shown in the video below, the methods have been via military invasion and conquest. But today, the would-be invaders are using far more subtle means. Theirs is the slippery slope of compromise and appeasement…the “cultural” and “societal” jihad that some writers speak of. And with every point of compliance from western nations, they take another small step toward their objectives. The west has helped in that mission by its policies. And if steps are not taken to change the west will lose…and it will lose by defeating itself.

So here is a history lesson. Its not very long, but it is informative.

https://youtu.be/c7y2LRcf4kc

 

Image may contain: 7 people, crowd
Just yesterday, ISIS attacked people at a Shiite shrine in Iran.  This evil is not just for Western democracies.  Of course, the  Shia Iranians have their own agenda.
It’s been estimated that 10 to 15% of Muslims worldwide have been ‘radicalized’.  While still a small minority, that’s not an insignificant number.
Islam is the fastest growing religion in the World.
This ‘problem’ is not easily solved.

Davis-Oliver Act Sets Out To Enforce U.S. Immigration Laws

(from FNC)

Via Billy

Immigration impacts virtually every challenge and threat America and Americans confront each day.
Failures of the immigration system have cost thousands of Americans and others present in the United States their lives.

The 9/11 Commission, to which I provided testimony, identified those failure of the interior enforcement program, as being at heart of the ability of terrorists, and not only the 19 hijackers who carried out the terror attacks of 9/11 but other terrorists, as well, to enter the United States and embed themselves as they went about their deadly preparations.

Members of pernicious transnational gangs from around the world, and not just Latin America, have easily entered the United States and set up shop in towns and cities across the United States peddling narcotics and perpetrating violent crimes.

Failures of the immigration system have not only surpassed the wages of American and lawful immigrants but have also cost millions of American workers their very jobs.

 More @ Front Page
I’m all about legal immigration.  This Republic was built on and by immigrants.  Certainly there were illegals one hundred years ago, not passing through Ellis Island (or the equivalent).  But times, technology, and populations have changed.  As have the immigrants, themselves.
There was a time folks strove to come to America to live the American Dream.  Many still do.
But, there are those who hold to their non-American cultural, criminal or religious traditions.
We need to keep them out.
How we do that, and at what cost is the question.
The Manchester bomber was a British citizen, born in Manchester of Libyan immigrants.
‘They’ are playing the long game, people!

ISIS And US Progressives – What’s The Difference?

(From Bayou Renaissance Man, in part)
Vox points out:

As he says:  “What, precisely, is the difference? There is no difference. It’s just vandalizing history of which one does not approve.”

Methinks he has a point.

Peter

"Round up the usual suspects."

In Loving Memory…