A Law Student's Attempt to Understand It All.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Song of the Times

Ever since the Great Pork Bill of 2009 was signed in the building where I learned about mummies, Pluto (when it was a planet), and dead wildlife, I have had the following song stuck in my head:

Uncle Sam
Julissa Neely

Yeah you're dying at my feet
I am dancing in this flame
I've got my piece of candy
I hear your sad refrain
America I love you
I'll bum the old red white and blue
I'll take what's yours
I'll get what's mine
I'll buy the party line

We will thrive we will survive
Technology will save our lives
Goodbye to mom and apple pie
We'll dish it up until we die
If I can keep my piece of candy
The government will save me
And Uncle Sam, he's my man
He's gonna raise my baby

The president feels my pain
He cried on TV today
He knows I'm not to blame
Those dollar signs will change me
I'm living in the land of shame
Where the paper work is in place
In a modern bureaucratic way
Lord It will be my saving grace

Democracy will save my soul
Hallelujah let those dollars roll
I'll hitch a ride on the gravy train
It'll be my resurrection day
As long as I can keep my piece of candy
The government will save me
Uncle Sam he's my man
He's gonna raise my baby

In the land of the free and the home of the brave
I'll be dancing on your grave
Goodbye to mom and apple pie
We'll dish it up until we die

If I can keep my piece of candy
The government will save me
And Uncle Sam, he's my man
He's gonna raise my baby

Sung by Julissa Neely, a Christian pop singer, the song appeared in 1999 on her sophomore (and best) album Higher Ground. Obviously, the song was about the Clinton administration ("the president feels my pain/he cried on TV today") but applies just as much to the infant Obama administration.

Friday, February 20, 2009

AntiGun Legislation

This bill has been largely ignored lately, so I would like to bring the topic back up again.

HR 45 would radically increase the regulation of firearms and firearm sales. The highlights include:
  • A written examination requirement for buying firearms (yes, this works so well for driver's licenses)
  • A purchaser must release all of his medical records to the federal government (so much for privacy)
  • A two day waiting period
  • Creates a national database of firearms owners
Now, I will refrain from examining the merits of such silly gun regulation. What is more important, as Rocky Mountain Gun Owners points out, is the idea of compromise. Be also weary of less visible means of regulation. The anti-gunners (this bill was brought by an Illinois representative, big surprise) know that this level of regulation will not pass Congress. So what are their options?

I. Be Wary of Compromise

They can hope for compromise. The NRA has not exactly been the sentries they claim to be on gun rights. Sometimes, in the name of political pragmatism, the NRA has compromised when faced with extremist anti-gun legislation. Rather than hold the Congress' accountable to the voters (who would, in large part, be against such a measure), the NRA has backed down.

Are no-compromise groups like the Gun Owners of America the answer? Possibly. The no-compromise stance is proper whenever the anti-gunners out there seek to restrain the right to bear arms. Thus, there should be no compromise on HR 45. However, when seeking to expand (or, rather, retake) the right to bear arms, the NRA's style of incremental steps works better. Learn the lesson from the left: little steps lead to big changes over time. Our country did not turn semi-socialist overnight-- it took years of dedication from the political left.

So, stand firm when facing restrictions, be willing to compromise to get the territory back.

II. Be Wary of Regulatory Agencies and State Action

Where else can the anti-gunners hope to find more restrictions on our 2d Amendment rights? They can look to regulatory agencies and the states.

Ever since the election of an anti-gun president and legislature, the fear in the gun stores has been a return of Assault Weapons Ban. HR 45 would seem to be the start of such action. However, the same could be accomplished by simply giving the BATFE and others the ability to further regulate.

Here is an example. Currently, the BATFE must pass on every single gun model proposed to be offered for sale in the US by a foreign manufacturer. One of the most popular gun makers is Glock (from Austria). Many models of Glocks are available in the US, but some are difficult to obtain (i.e. the 25 and 28) because they do not fit the "sporting purpose" mathematical formula of the BATFE. If the BATFE chose to make the requirements more stringent, then they could ban more guns (note that Glocks, XDs, Taurus guns, and many Springfields and Smith & Wessons are imported).

California, Illinois, and Maryland have instituted similar back door bans via regulation. The most onerous examples are requiring every gun to be test fired and the bullet kept at the state's investigative bureau, requiring "microstamping" of every case fired in a gun, requiring "smart guns,"adding CCW permit holders to be registered in the state's crime information center (similar to the federal "NCIC"),high registration fees, "waiting periods" (like a sociopath cannot be patient), etc. Further, home rule cities often have even more restrictions (think Chicago, and, until recently, DC).

Thus, the danger of gun regulation lies beyond the visible actions of Congress. Indeed, the Assault Weapons Ban was a terrible political move for the Democrats last time. Therefore look for extreme positions followed by offers for compromise. Also, we must be watchful of BATFE, US Customs, FBI, and other regulatory agencies. We must fight in the state houses and city halls. Pay attention to what the Second Amendment Foundation, GOA, NRA-ILA, and locally RMGO have to say about coming gun legislation.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Turning Pork into Bacon

It is official: the Anointed One and his tax and spend buddies just put America in a massive amount of debt. The “stimulus plan” gives us a lot of tasty pork. Even assuming that Keynesian economic theory works (it does not), most of the spending will not kick in for twelve to twenty-four months, and who knows what the economic situation will look like then. Really, the voters placed their trust in those who promise free money and give the siren call that regulation will solve problems. This is a dark time for freedom.

However, good can come from this.

Let each person use his $13 dollars per week to educate himself. Some suggestions to start your reading list:

By reading these books, each citizen will recognize the lies of the collectivists. Perhaps then, and only then, we will resist future calls for free money and government solutions.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Property Rights Redacted

The Rocky Mountain News (soon to be a memory) reported what is a quite affront to property rights.

It seems that Denver's 16th Street Mall is "at-risk." Apparently, the Mall will start smoking weed and dropping out of high school-- to hang out at the mall.

The self-appointed Historic Denver, Inc., and it's kissing cousin Colorado Preservation, Inc., fret that the 16th Street Mall is in danger of destruction. For those who have lived or worked near the mall, we know that the RTD bus shuttles, while they may be eco-friendly, will damage the Mall's granite tiles. Now Historic Denver, Inc. wants to stop any attempts by RTD to change the Mall's pavement.

What is more disturbing in the file are these lines:
"Historic preservation is moving away from a lone iconic structure," [Jonas Landes, coordinator of the Endangered Places program for Colorado Preservation, Inc.] said. "Our list is an example of where it is going, including a design landscape that is not even 30 years old but an important part of our recent history."
So, instead of taking single buildings by regulation (i.e. putting such onerous restrictions that make a property unusable and therefore greatly devalued), now the "historic preservation" societies are taking entire neighborhoods? Remember, the Mall isn't even 30 years old.

Note too that the restrictions would not only be on RTD but also the properties that line the 16th Street Mall. The "historic" status would make any renovation to the properties very expensive. Imagine if/when they turn their attention to "historic" neighborhoods like Highlands, Globeville, or even Highlands Ranch (hey, if a 30 year old mall, why not a suburb?).

Later in the story, the Rocky notes:
Meanwhile, far from this urban landmark...

* The Fourth Street Commercial District of the town of Saguache is really "main street," but like other rural towns in the West, it is seeing stores shutter as population drops. Mayor Milton Jones, a fourth-generation resident of Saguache, says he wants his hometown to "become a place where people want to live again."
How exactly will a designation which severely limits what an owner can do to a building "become a place where people want to live again"? If the problem for Saguache, Colorado is a troubled economic situation, then the last thing "main street" needs is for the historic preservation districts to make life difficult for any incoming entrepreneurs to bring business and jobs to the city though burdensome historic preservation codes.

We need to stand up and say, "No!" to the nannyists who worry more about a modern mall or decrepit old building than they do about bus carrier safety and business revitalization.