Category Archives: Politics & Economics

The Beauty of Not Running Again

It’s a beautiful thing to witness the openness that suddenly appears when a politician decides to not seek reelection. Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah has decided not to run again and Mitt Romney has stepped forward to seek his open seat. Just like Senators Flake of Arizona and Corker of Tennessee, he now has no fear of speaking out. Check out this video of him tossing around the “dumbass” moniker.

Trae Crowder on Arming Teachers & More

Many of you are familiar with Trae Crowder, The Liberal Redneck. He’s kind of a liberal version of Jeff Foxworthy except that he says “fuck” a lot. I find him funny and often dead on in his social and political rants. Here’s Trae’s most recent take on what happened in Florida and some of the solutions offered.

A Bullet Ain’t Just a Bullet

Based on my assumption that there are less critics of a common and long existing .22 caliber semi-automatic rifle, like the one I gave my grandson, than of a .223 caliber semi-automatic rifle that has been labeled an “assault” rifle, I’ve been doing a lot of research on where the truth lies and so far it remains elusive.

L-R: 9mm round, .22LR cal round, .223 AR-15 round

Yesterday my son dug through his junk box and came up with a couple of different sample rounds, a 9mm  and a .223. I searched and found a .22 hollow point.  As you can see in the photo I took the 9mm projectile is quite larger than the other two but the case of the .223 is much larger. The diameter of the .22 and the .223 are almost identical with the .223 projectile being somewhat longer and more aero-dynamically shaped. The cartridge case of the .22 is miniscule compared to the two other rounds.

So, what’s all this mean? It means my grandson’s .22 semi-automatic shoots a bullet almost identical to the military .223 used in an AR-15. The target is getting hit by about the same amount of metal. The 9mm bullet, being larger, will cut a larger hole in the target. In addition to the bullet size is the amount of gunpowder in the cartridge case, the more powder the faster and further the bullet will travel. And when it arrives at the target less energy will have been spent and the potential for damage increases. If the target is an animal or human the bullet may begin to tumble as it enters the body which could multiply the damages. Distance would also be a factor. On the assumption that the 9mm would be shot from a pistol distance would have a major influence on bullet’s potential. Being fired from a rifle the bullet could travel further before losing it’s ability to be effective.  In this comparison the .223 reigns supreme because of its speed or velocity.

While there is no end to the science behind ballistics and to the debate over which is the best ammo round. The one truth I understand is that every bullet has the potential to kill. Oh, and that includes a BB, “it will take your eye out!”

Guns and What I Won’t Do

When I was a kid my uncle Homer owned a single shot, bolt-action, J.C. Penny .22 rifle. I would often borrow it and go “plinking” at a trash dump on Wolf Rd. Firing the weapon required opening the chamber with the bolt lever, inserting a cartridge, closing the chamber, and cocking the rifle by pulling back a firing pin mechanism. Very simple, very reliable, very accurate, and very very slow.

Some years ago I traded for a Remington semi-automatic .22 rifle with a tubular magazine that held maybe 10 rounds of long-rifle ammo. The rifle required one trigger pull per round but you could very rapidly empty the magazine. Reloading was pretty slow, nothing like ripping out an empty clip and slamming a full one in.
I’m not sure I ever fired this weapon and later gave it to my grandson along with a .22 nine round revolving target pistol.

When I was in the Navy, and later the Air Force Reserves, I got to fire a variety of weapons and became “qualified” with a couple of pistols. I fired a Garand M1 rifle, a Browning BAR, a Thompson sub-machine gun, a 38 pistol along with a .45 semi-automatic pistol. In boot camp I carried a Springfield 1903 five shot bolt-action rifle. The only one I ever actually fired was a rental I used for my one and only deer hunting experience. My boot camp 1903 didn’t even have a firing pin and the barrel may have been plugged.

I currently own a single shot .16 gauge shotgun and two revolver pistols and though I know how to use them I am not practiced.

I say all this to demonstrate that I’m not firearms ignorant and I’m not opposed to owning guns, hunting, and shooting sports. I basically support the 2nd Amendment but strongly believe, as does the Supreme Court, that it comes with limits. Government has the right to restrict many aspects of gun use and ownership. This said, however, the NRA and other groups deny the Founding Fathers meant there should be limits. They radically oppose any limits on all things gun related.

In the past few years I have wrestled with my feelings about the most controversial of all guns, the AR-15 and I’ve finally arrived at a conclusion. These “assault style” weapons are no different from the simple .22 semi-automatic I gave my grandson. You could go to a gun shop and buy the gun I gave my grandson and fewer critics would complain. But you buy that same weapon made to look like a military rifle it immediately gets labeled an assault rifle and the critics go nuts. The real difference between the civilian and the military weapons is the rate of fire. The military version has a firing option the civilian doesn’t; it can fire (depending on the model) in full-automatic or burst-automatic. Burst function lets the rifle fire three rounds with each pull of the trigger. Full-automatic will fire as long as you hold the trigger in or until you shot all the bullets. The civilian versions are legal to buy, own, and use. The military versions are mostly illegal.

These are some of the basic facts we all need to be aware of. But, in the words of Paul Harvey there is a “rest of the story.” The truth is that any semi-automatic weapon, pistol or rifle, is deadlier than single-shots because they have a much higher rate of fire. In the time it took me to shoot my uncles J.C. Higgins and reload, a ten-round semi-automatic could easily have ten bullets in the air. They could also be reloaded in less time than with my uncle’s gun.

I’m going to make a major compromise with the gun crowd and publicly state that I won’t support a ban on any gun that is currently legal. I won’t support the government coming to your door and defrocking you of your manhood unless there is reason to think you’ve broken a law. But, here’s what I won’t do:

  • I won’t support the NRA in any way as long as they remain the radical organization they have become. When the ammosexuals decide they are ready to give up protecting the sale of cop-killer ammo and arming the insane, maybe we can begin talking.
  • I won’t support the current loopholes in gun registration and sales. I demand that thorough background checks take place on each and every gun sale in the nation, even private sales. Private sales would have to go through a licensed broker who would perform the background check.
  • I won’t support the current manufacturer and sale of any device that increases a weapon’s rate of fire. Example the bump stock that was used by the Las Vegas shooter to turn his AR-15 into a fully automatic weapon.
  • I know it is controversial but I won’t support any legislation that bars the registration of all firearms.
    I won’t support any legislation that bans waiting periods before buying a gun.
  • I will not support the continued ownership of any clip or magazine that holds more than ten rounds of ammunition. All such devices should be totally outlawed and all violations should carry a heavy penalty. General George Patton called the Garand M1 the best weapon of war ever invented. It was the rifle that won WWII, it was a semi-automatic, and it only held eight rounds. With a ten round clip a person can target shoot, hunt, protect their families, and partly get their testosterone fueled rocks off. And unfortunately, they can still wipe out a school hallway.
  • I won’t support the sale of any firearm or ammunition via the mail or the Internet.
  • I won’t oppose reasonable legislation that limits the amount of ammunition one can purchase.
  • I won’t support the increase of age to buy a gun. I will always believe that if being eighteen is enough for voting and military service it should be enough to buy a beer or a gun. Turning eighteen should come with all the rights of an adult.
  • I won’t support any decision to permit people with mental issues, a history of violence, a history of serious crime, and other issues that may threaten the public safety to purchase or possess a firearm.
  • I won’t support the arming of teachers. These people want to be educators and mentors to the young, not armed guards. As a retired teacher I’ve tried to imagine myself as a fit thirty year old with a weapon. Regardless of training I can’t help but think of all the things that would make that a bad idea. I doubt I could pull the trigger on a student without some delay or hesitation that would only worsen the situation. After all, if four trained sheriff deputies in Parkland, FL couldn’t do it, what makes me think the caring and loving English teacher, Ms. Jones, could do it?

This is my list at time of writing. It is subject to be added to and/or amended. I believe, however, that this is a list of sensible and reasonable gun laws. It doesn’t take away a “good person’s” gun but together it does relieve what I believe the worst truths about guns in America…there are simply too many guns and they are far too easy to acquire.

Oh, one more item for the list…I won’t vote for any politician, regardless of party, who disagrees with me and/or accepts money from the firearms industry or the NRA!

Ideology & Health Care

After seven years of steadfast opposition to the Affordable Care Act by the GOP they finally get almost total control of the US Government and can’t get the job done. The Republicans have a 44 seat majority in the House, a 4 seat majority in the Senate, and they own the White House. All this unity of purpose, dogged determination, and new-found political power and, they still couldn’t get the job done. The best they could do is withdraw their American Health Care Act, let Obamacare stand, and blame the failure on Chuck Schumer, Nancy Pelosi, and the Congressional Democrats.

Now let me take a couple of minutes to explain what and why the GOP and Trump failed. It failed because the Republicans are not divided into factions based on ideology. Like the Democrats there are common or core beliefs but not everyone believes the same things. Unlike the Democrats, who have a relatively small and docile far-left faction, the GOP has a large and powerful far-right wing. They’ve got this bunch of well-financed (Koch brother money) and dogmatic conservatives running around the House calling themselves the Freedom Caucus.

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Rookies With Bullshit

A lot of laid off coal miners voted for Trump because he got them to believe in the lie that coal was coming back to Eastern Kentucky and Trump would be driving the lead truck. Well that’s just not going to happen if you believe in reality. There is not a single indicator lending evidence that coal is in out future.

While coal consumption has been dying in America the same has occurred in other nations. China just cancelled the construction of 103 coal-fired generating plants in favor of natural gas. China has stopped importing coal and has laid off tens of thousands of their own miners due to lack of demand.

Continue reading Rookies With Bullshit

Quit Saying Most!

I hate it when any politician lays claim to knowing how Americans feel about something. They love to say things like, “We all know that Americans don’t approve of such ‘n such.” Well no, they don’t know that. We can take polls and try to make educated guesses but we don’t really know. Hillary Clinton losing the election proves that, everybody knew she was going to win. How’d that turn out?

Vice President Mike Pence stood before a crowd this past week and emphatically stated that all Americans knew that Obamacare was a total disaster and wanted it repealed. Pence has no greater insight into what American’s want than I do. You can turn to the polls and the only truth to his claim is that most Republicans feel that way while most Democrats feel just the opposite. The polls also say that the ACA is more popular than ever with about half the population being okay with it.

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And They Will Climb Over It

A lot has been said about building walls in the past year or so. Trump made building a wall along the Mexican-American border a major part of his campaign. And he seemed to convince large numbers of his believe anything base that Mexico was going to pay for it.

The US-Mexican border at San Ysidro, CA. One of the busiest crossings on earth.

The proposed purpose of the wall is to protect Americans. Protect Americans by keeping all those raping Mexicans out of our country and to stop the flow of thugs and drugs. Before the first shovel of dirt is turned some things need to be considered.

First, the US-Mexican border is 1900 miles long. That’s 600 miles longer than the Great of China which failed to keep the Chinese from falling to the hordes of Mongol warriors who eventually brought down the Song Dynasty in the 13th century.

Continue reading And They Will Climb Over It

Voodoo Economics, Trump Style

Maybe forever the Republican Party has billed itself as the party of conservative fiscal policy. They always claim to opposed to government’s size and what government spends. Less government, less taxes is their age-old mantra.

My Voodoo Priestess tells me these bones say we don’t need a new jet fighter plane or another new aircraft carrier.

At least in recent decades they have had a hard time keeping true with these basics. The Reagan administration tried to outspend the Soviet Union and ran up a huge deficit. George W. Bush spent money like an undisciplined teenager with his own credit card. And Donald Trump may think he behaving in a conservative fashion but the reality is much different.

I’ve said this many times and it’s true, you can’t cut taxes and spend lots of money and end up not deeper in debt. George W. Bush couldn’t have a major tax cut for the wealthiest and then create Part D of Medicare, deal with the nation’s needs during both 9/11 and Katrina, go to war in Afghanistan followed by Iraq. and deal with the collapse of the housing, banking, and automobile industries and avoid adding a ton of borrowed money to the national debt.

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In Defense of the Courts

Martha Minow, left, and Robert Post, right.

Came across this must read today and just felt I had to share it. The deans of Harvard and Yale law schools put their heads together and wrote an editorial in opposition to Trump’s anti-democratic attacks on the judicial branch. The following appeared February 13, 1017 on Law.Com.

“The deans of Yale Law School and Harvard Law School have joined the growing chorus of lawyers publicly condemning President Donald Trump’s attacks on the judiciary.

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Remembering Nannygate?

Clinton’s nominee for Attorney General, Zoe Baird.

Nannygate took place in the 1990s during the Clinton administration. On two occasions president Clinton nominated people to federal positions only to be forced to withdraw their names because both were found to have hired illegal immigrants to work in their homes. The appointments were for Attorney General and the people were Zoe Baird and Kimba Wood. The GOP went nuts when they learned during the confirmation hearings that Baird had employed an illegal from Peru to baby sit her children.

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War is Hell and Weapons Ain’t Cheap

The reigning Commander in Chief just ordered his first military action in which a highly trained Navy Seal was killed along with possibly 20 Yemeni children, one a US citizen. The Trump administration, denying what many military people are saying, is claiming the missions goals were entirely reached and the effort a total success.

For the moment I’ll let people who know better than me to sort it all out. One thing that did catch my attention, however, was the cost of the V-22 Osprey that was lost. Years ago I took my history students to the Air Force Museum in Dayton and noticed that each example of military plane carried a notation about what the government paid for each of those planes. The Wright Flyer was the first and it may have cost $1.98 each. The last plane I recall was the F-117 Nighthawk stealth fighter which the government paid over $400 million each for the first ones it purchased. Walking through this history of escalating cost provided a number of lessons for my students.

Continue reading War is Hell and Weapons Ain’t Cheap