The Administration Implementation Of The Cloward-Piven Strategy

Herschel Smith · 29 Jun 2014 · 39 Comments

The setup for this has been occurring for quite a while.  The collectivists on the right have helped the leftists gain strength, but the rate and fury of activity that has been consequential in destabilizing the United States has increased almost beyond comprehension. The long term evolution of America to a position where such a strategy might stand a greater chance of success began long ago with the move towards urbanization.  The flight from rural America was helped along with family…… [read more]

The Collected Wisdom of Fools: Defense Department and ANA Infiltration

BY Glen Tschirgi
1 year, 10 months ago

I keep telling myself to forswear any more posts about Afghanistan.  It is beyond merely beating a dead horse.  It is akin to saddling the horse up.

Still, this article in The Hill (hat tip to Instapundit), while dealing with the problem of enemy infiltration of the ANA, is really about the complete and utter cluelessness of the Department of Defense, its leadership and the lack of direction in U.S. policy in general.

Here is the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff– the highest ranking member of the military, the one responsible for advising the President on military matters:

U.S. and coalition commanders are no closer to knowing how deep the Taliban has penetrated Afghanistan’s security forces despite increased efforts to flush out infiltrators who are carrying out attacks against Americans.

“As for what percentage of the insider threat is related to infiltration or radicalization, I mean, it’s really difficult to determine,” Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey said Thursday.

“I’m sure a certain percentage of it is. And we’re treating it … as a threat,” he told reporters during a briefing at the Pentagon.

Taliban double agents, posing as members of the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF), are responsible for executing some of the deadly “insider” attacks that have killed 51 coalition troops, mostly from the United States.

Really, General Dempsey?  It is “really difficult to determine” what percentage of the ANA is infiltrated by the Taliban?   But you are sure that “a certain percentage of it is.”   That’s just swell.  From purely a public relations perspective, you need to fire whomever is advising you, General.   There is absolutely no need to have the JCS Chairman get up in front of a bunch of reporters and say idiotic things like this.   Isn’t White House spokesman Jay Carney available for this kind of thing?  At least he gets lots of practice.

I am not interested here in examining the problems and solutions to infiltration of government forces by an insurgency.   There were certainly comparable problems with this in the Iraq Campaign.  But notice that in Iraq the approach of U.S. forces to the problem was commonsense:  don’t trust any of the Iraqis units being mentored.   There was not the same air of desperation in Iraq to train up security forces by a date certain as there clearly is in Afghanistan.   This is just one of the many evils unleashed by El Presidente’s foolish 2014 withdrawal date.   My interest here, however, is in the depths of inanity to which otherwise sane and presumably rational men will sink in obedience to the political dictates of the Child President.

Continuing on in this same article, lest anyone think that General Dempsey has a monopoly on foolishness, here is Leon Panetta, the Secretary of Defense, no less:

But as Washington continues to eye the finish line in Afghanistan, the spate of insider attacks — no matter who is carrying them out — will likely continue all the way through the final withdrawal in 2014.

“I expect that there will be more of these high-profile attacks,” Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta told reporters Thursday. “The enemy will do whatever they can to try and break our will using this kind of tactic. That will not happen.”

Oh.  I see, Leon.  So you’re not scared of those big, bad Taliban.   Let them keep infiltrating the ANA in order to kill more U.S. service members.   No matter how high the toll, the United States is determined to stand by its commitment to the Afghan people and to fight the forces of evil to the bitter end.   All the way up to, er….2014.   That would be another 15 months or so.  The Taliban can be forgiven if they are not as intimidated as Leon would like.   The bad guys may not be taking window measurements at the presidential residence in Kabul just yet, but is there anyone who cannot see the utter chaos in the Pentagon that has left our most senior leaders grasping at rhetorical fig leaves like this?

Let there be no mistake about the source of this folly.  The Pentagon has been given a completely untenable mission in Afghanistan– beat down a home-grown insurgency using less than half the necessary forces with half their collective arms tied in R.O.E. red tape behind their backs; training an Afghan national army heavily infiltrated by the enemy and on a timeline for surrender known to everyone.   El Presidente Obama is squarely to blame for the bloody and expensive failure unfolding in Afghanistan.  (There’s that dead horse).

Nonetheless, in more heroic and patriotic times, I would hope that there would be military officers who would rather resign than play the Fool.

The Rabbi Would Take My Guns Away

BY Herschel Smith
1 year, 10 months ago

In response to Christians, The Second Amendment And The Duty Of Self Defense, Rabbi David JB Krishef and I had an e-mail exchange.  He wrote to me:

Mr. Smith – Thank you for reading the Ethics and Religion Talk column.  Please note that no one in the column took the position that one may not use a weapon to defend oneself and one’s family, or even other innocents.  Also note something which became clear to me only after the publication of the column, that assault weapons are currently not legal for ordinary citizens to own. Therefore, the position that we espoused in the column is in fact current law, as I understand it.

To which I responded:

You might want to see this.

So-called “assault weapons” are only prohibited insofar as they are foreign made, or have magazine capacities greater than ten.  This just prohibits manufacturing in Michigan, or in other words, prevents jobs from coming to Michigan.

Pre-1994 weapons are still allowed.  That just makes it more expensive, but not impossible or illegal.

And … I addressed the issue of assault weapons in my article.

Kind sir.  Please let me ask you two questions that would help me to understand your views.

(1) If modern sporting weapons (so-called assault weapons with high capacity magazines) had existed in the colonial days, and the colonists were sustaining home invasions that endangered their families, would you have allowed them to use those weapons to defend their families, or would you have restricted them to the available weapons of the time (i.e., black powder and muzzle loaders)?

(2) In the links I provided I documented two-, three-, four- and five-man home invasions all over America.  Would you restrict the magazine size in my own weapons, thus making my family more endangered in such a home invasion if there were misses, failures-to-stop, home invaders high on meth, and so on?

To which the Rabbi responded:

Mr. Smith –

1) As long as we are traveling through time, I would take a 22th century weapon that would immobilize the assailant without harming him!

2) It is not wise to make law or policy based on outlying cases. I freely admit not being an expert on law enforcement and weapons – therefore I consulted with colleagues who are. My understanding is that were assault weapons of any capacity fully legalized, there would be far more innocent lives killed than saved, because a weapon in the hands of a person untrained to use it properly is more likely to do harm than good.

Thus has the mission of much of American progressive clergy morphed from one of salvation into societal security.  Soteriology has become anthropology, and concern for individuals has been replaced by pining away for the perfect state.

As for the “outlier” example of multiple-man home invasions, my research was too easy to uncover in a brief period of searching for a single day of crime for me to believe that it is really an outlier example.  Besides, what if I want to be prepared for home invasions regardless of whether the Rabbi thinks I need this preparation?  How can my scenario be an outlier to itself?

As for so-called “assault weapons,” take note, Rabbi, that control over weapons that have collapsible or telescoping capabilities, easy take-down and modularity, lights, no so-called “sporting purpose,” and magazines more than a pre-determined amount has its roots in Nazi Germany.  I believe your people have a history with Nazi Germany, no?

Politifact Lies About The NRA

BY Herschel Smith
1 year, 10 months ago

Politifact:

A National Rifle Association website fires several shots at U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson’s voting record. The NRA has given an “F” to Nelson and an “A” to his opponent U.S. Rep. Connie Mack IV, R-Fort Myers.

One of the attacks on the website says: “Bill Nelson voted for a ban on millions of commonly owned firearms, which included many popular hunting and target rifles.”

In this fact-check, we wanted to explore if the NRA accurately described Nelson’s vote on a gun ban. The attack relates to a 2004 vote Nelson took in favor of extending the assault weapons ban of 1994. The vote to extend it came in the form of an amendment that passed the Senate 52-47 on March 2, 2004.

The amendment was to a bill to prohibit civil lawsuits from being brought against gun manufacturers and distributors for damages from misuse of firearms. The overall bill overwhelmingly was defeated 8-90 with Nelson voting “no” in the majority — so that meant the effort to extend the ban also failed.

You just can’t make this up.  And of course the bill later passed without the stupid amendment to extend the assault weapons ban.  The reason the assault weapons ban was tagged on to begin with was to prevent Republicans from voting for it.  It’s a common tactic in the Senate.  So in other words, the Democrats didn’t want the bill to protect firearms manufacturers to pass, and so they added the assault weapons ban extension so that the Republicans would have to kill it.  Nelson voted for the assault weapons ban (anathema to gun owners like me) in order to prevent the firearms manufacturers from being protected (again, anathema to gun owners like me).  And Politifact wants to spin this as some sort of lie by the NRA because, get this, Nelson and the democrats succeeded in their anti-gun goals.

Judgment: Politifact is lying.  Their charge is false as shown by the truth-o-meter below.

Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.  It’s just Politifact.

Christians, The Second Amendment And The Duty Of Self Defense

BY Herschel Smith
1 year, 10 months ago

Christians are redeemed, but they can be hypocritical and self serving.  They aren’t perfect.  Furthermore, while Christians can be (though they are not always) sweet and loving, they have always impressed me as perhaps the most pitiful, naive, stolid simpletons on the planet.  Sheep is a perfect description.

I can say those things because I am a Christian, and not in the sense of ”God is love let’s all hold hands and sing kumbaya while we sway and dance ourselves into ethereal bliss,” but in the orthodox sense (e.g., belief in the trinity, the vicarious atonement, the deity of Christ, etc.).  God is love alright, but as professor John Frame discusses, to say that that’s all He is amounts to an exclusive reduction.  It’s wrong.  It’s acceptable to emphasize one attribute for pedagogical purposes, but not to define God.  God is a lot of things besides love, like justice, righteousness, jealously, and so on.  Also, I do not accept the hemeneutical and other pronouncements of the 19th and 20th century form, source and redaction critics any more than I accept the kumbaya movement.  They are equally vapid and vacuous, and not deserving of my time.

One sheep-like attribute of Christians is the tendency to be pacifist both nationally and individually.  Don’t be fooled about the magnitude of the problem.  It’s sweeping, comprehensive and ubiquitous throughout the Christian community.  Thus, the second amendment to many Christians who haven’t thought about it a great deal seems to be some sort of “last resort, sin if you must, it’s better to perish like Christ” acquiescence than it is a right, privilege or duty.

To heighten the problem further, these people vote.  They’re well intentioned, just ignorant.  You cannot go more than a few days without yet another strained attempt to deal with the issue of violence in America from a “Christian” perspective on the pages of publications both Christian and secular.  A number of examples are provided below.

Christian Panelists On “Assault Weapons”

Military personnel and members of police and guard units have needs that do not apply to individual citizens. The basic issue for our culture regarding gun-ownership is why do we want to own them? Does any individual citizen need an ‘assault weapon’ for hunting, recreational target practice or even for self-defense?”

[ ... ]

The commandment not to kill seems to be nearly universal. But the right to defend oneself from violence is equally attested. We see this mirrored in the ‘just war’ theory that began in late pagan Christendom and was codified by Thomas Aquinas during the 13th century. Among the conditions defining a ‘just war’ (according to current Roman Catholic teaching): ‘the use of arms must not produce evils and disorders graver than the evil to be eliminated.’

All this is a means to say that unless a person has reasonable evidence that the evil being answered is equally armed, assault weapons have no moral excuse. To justify owning an operative assault weapon (leaving aside inoperative ones collected as one collects cancelled stamps) a person must be able to prove to a third party that someone or something else really is a threat to him and that deterring such threat requires force of that size. While there may be exceptional cases that could qualify, they are so few as to prove the rule that ‘assault weapons’ are not ethically defensible in civil society.”

[ ... ]

The opinions we express should not be taken to mean that we believe a ban on so-called “assault weapons” is Constitutional, but only that we believe “assault weapons” should not be as widely available as hunting rifles or regular handguns.

Are we as a society more safe or less safe with legal access to “assault weapons?” Do we have an ethical responsibility to advocate for changes in law necessary to ban the widespread sale of “assault weapons?”

A Pastor On Guns In Places Of Worship

This week’s column is offered as a public service to readers who intend to pack your pistol to next week’s worship service at the mosque, synagogue or church. Leave your firearms at home, in the gun rack of the pickup truck or check them at the door with the ushers. The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on July 20, 2012, upheld a 2010 Georgia law forbidding firearms in the Lord’s house. I don’t know whether the law allows one to carry a rifle to a church sponsored hayride or bring a shotgun into a one of those wedding ceremonies that take place because of certain unplanned conditions, but at least houses of worship must legally remain free of firearms.

#This decision will not be universally welcomed, of course. In fact, the lawsuit challenging the legality of the law was filed by The Reverend Jonathon Wilkins, pastor of Baptist Tabernacle in Thomaston, in cooperation with GeorgiaCarry.org. These groups unsuccessfully argued that citizens have the right to carry registered firearms into places of worship. The Baptist Tabernacle had sued to allow its ushers and greeters to be armed, just in case something horrible happens in Upson County, GA, hardly a locale with a history of violent crime.

#Having been in a few tense board meetings over the decades I, for one, am grateful that the court ruled against these souls who — by a huge leap of illogic — cited Jesus’ obscure advice (Luke 22:36) about purchasing a sword as commanding the followers of Jesus to purchase guns and carry them to church. That’s a bizarre line of reasoning, to be sure; one might suggest that were we to take Jesus literally we would each purchase not a gun, but a sword, which, as far as I know, may still be legal to carry to church.

A Christian Who Will Never Own A Gun

I first begin with my place in the greater community. I choose not to own a gun and provide an opportunity for the violence that so often accompanies guns because this is how I would hope others would be in the world. Yes, many will label me a fool and accuse me of creating an atmosphere of inviting gun violence into my life, but when it comes to faith, my actions, while defying logic to many in the world, is an expression of my deep commitment to God.

[ ... ]

Secondly, nowhere in Scripture does Jesus give us permission to solve our problems, respond to aggression or even defend ourselves with violence. In word and in deed, we are often called to fight injustice and violence with words and actions that are distinctly NOT violent, even in self-defense. Turning the other cheek, defending with a sword, stoning of the prostitute, etc, Jesus reminds us of other powerful ways to respond to those who would chose to goad us into violent conflict. Yes, we do those things out of self-survival and self-defense, and justified by society or not, viewed through a lens of the Christian faith violence of any kind cannot be justified.

And finally, another Christian who argues in a similar vein.

Whether anyone else does or not, Christians should forsake that myth for the biblical story of the way of the suffering lamb. For me, one aspect of seeking to live that story rather than the myth of redemptive violence is choosing not to exercise my constitutional right to own a gun, while recognizing that many other Christians—among them some of my closest friends—have well-considered reasons for making other choices.

It could be argued that by choosing not to arm myself, I am leaving my family vulnerable to harm. I’m actually more worried about how our young son might be harmed by a weapon in our home, no matter how carefully stored, and about how he might be harmed in the homes of friends whose parents have decided to have guns, even when they have taken every precaution.

Even if our son were not physically harmed by a weapon kept in our home, my own conviction is that simply owning a weapon and keeping it in our home would do spiritual harm to him by reinforcing the myth of redemptive violence. The world is going to try its hardest to teach him the latter story; I’m going to try my best to teach him another one.

Analysis & Commentary

There are some factual errors mixed in with the emotional prose.  For one thing, the pastor has wrongly portrayed the recent 11th Circuit decision on guns in Georgia churches.  The case had to do with guns being potentially prohibited in churches that were adjoined by schools (carry in schools is prohibited), and “given that the facial challenge to the law would succeed only if it’s valid in all its applications, the Eleventh Circuit responds by pointing to a valid application – when the management prohibits carrying.  What effect the law may constitutionally have when the management allows carrying isn’t resolved by the Eleventh Circuit opinion” (I am indebted to Professor Eugene Volokh for this assessment).  I still believe that ”in addressing (under the rubric of the second amendment) the issue of whether weapons may be carried on private property where there is a policy against it, the court has erected and knocked down a straw man.”  In any case, the solution to this problem should involve clearer law-making by the Georgia legislature.

As for the emotional opinions on “assault weapons,” these are based on non-factual and arbitrary definitions of things that should scare all good people, or so they see it.  As we’ve discussed on the pages of TCJ, these objections just don’t bear up under scrutiny.  The better the weapon, the better the chance of proper defense of self and loved ones.  As for gun safety and the culture of violence that we are supposed to be nurturing, these are also irrelevant misdirects.  Gun safety is a choice, and ownership of a weapon doesn’t change the heart of man.  Last, as for the use of just war theory to argue against assault weapons for personal use (i.e., proportionate force), I confess that I have never seen such a silly, trivial, strained analysis before.  My judgment is that we’re justified in ignoring it entirely as an inconsequential contribution to the conversation.  While it might be an interesting thought experiment to use the moral judgments of just war theory to inform our understanding of other things, technically speaking, it conflates categories to invoke this doctrine into the issues of personal defense.  Furthermore, as we move from the issues of personal defense to national defense below, I am more an advocate of good war doctrine (see Darrell Cole at First Things) than of just war doctrine, which I think is dated and badly in need of repair work.

But aside from the factual misdirects, emotion and misunderstanding, common elements in these arguments are this way is morally superior, this way is better because I’m following the example of the suffering servant, Christ forsook all violence and we are to be like Him, all violence is frowned upon by God, think of the damage that we are doing to our children sort of appeal to broad, pacifist love and “kumbaya” acceptance, as well as the naive belief that this attitude is an effective way to address societal evil even if it isn’t effective for instances of individual threat.

I want to address these arguments in three headings.

Historical And Constitutional Perspective

In the “The Right To Keep And Bear Arms Report,” Subcommittee on the Constitution of the Committee on the Judiciary, United States Senate, 97th Congress, the subcommittee observed that:

In the colonies, availability of hunting and need for defense led to armament statues comparable to those of the early Saxon times. In 1623, Virginia forbade its colonists to travel unless they were “well armed”; in 1631 it required colonists to engage in target practice on Sunday and to “bring their peeces to church.” In 1658 it required every householder to have a functioning firearm within his house and in 1673 its laws provided that a citizen who claimed he was too poor to purchase a firearm would have one purchased for him by the government, which would then require him to pay a reasonable price when able to do so. In Massachusetts, the first session of the legislature ordered that not only freemen, but also indentured servants own firearms and in 1644 it imposed a stern 6 shilling fine upon any citizen who was not armed.

When the British government began to increase its military presence in the colonies in the mid-eighteenth century, Massachusetts responded by calling upon its citizens to arm themselves in defense. One colonial newspaper argued that it was impossible to complain that this act was illegal since they were “British subjects, to whom the privilege of possessing arms is expressly recognized by the Bill of Rights” while another argued that this “is a natural right which the people have reserved to themselves, confirmed by the Bill of Rights, to keep arms for their own defense”. The newspaper cited Blackstone’s commentaries on the laws of England, which had listed the “having and using arms for self preservation and defense” among the “absolute rights of individuals.” The colonists felt they had an absolute right at common law to own firearms.

Not only were families required to expend hard earned wealth to procure weapons, the men were required to bring them to worship and use Sunday for range time to practice their marksmanship.  Ownership of weapons was seen not just as a practical matter, but a moral matter because of the implications on defense of the family and country.  The colonists, who were certainly more orthodox than present day Christians, saw no call for pacifism within Biblical law or the examples of Christ.  On the contrary, in order properly to follow Him, ownership of weapons was a necessity.  Moreover, as David Kopel observes, from the earliest times in the founding of our country, even the Puritans enjoyed firearms.

Their laws about children and guns were strict: every family was required to own a gun, to carry it in public places (especially when going to church) and to train children in firearms proficiency. On the first Thanksgiving Day, in 1621, the colonists and the Indians joined together for target practice; the colonist Edward Winslow wrote back to England that “amongst other recreations we exercised our arms, many of the Indians coming amongst us.”

There are always caveats, stipulations and complications when it comes to interpreting and applying the constitution.  But a plain reading of the text requires that if our understanding contradicts the fundamental exigencies and vicissitudes of life as it existed in the colonial times that hatched the constitution, then our understanding is in need of modification.  Weapons were ubiquitous in the colonies for sporting and recreation, protection against animals, protection against people and protection against governmental tyranny (“The British never lost sight of the fact that without their gun control program, they could never control America”).  Each was in its own way a threat to the safety and health of strong families.

Examination of the Biblical Data

The Westminster Confession of Faith, Larger Catechism Question / Answer 136, states the following: “The sins forbidden in the sixth commandment are, all taking away the life of ourselves, or of others, except in case of public justice, lawful war, or necessary defence; the neglecting or withdrawing the lawful and necessary means of preservation of life …”

For Scripture proof concerning the instance of self defense, it cites Exodus 22:2-3.  While seemingly straight forward, there are demurrals.

A little thought reveals that this passage is not saying that self-defense is good, but that it is bad. If a thief breaks into your house and you kill him in “self-defense,” you are to be put to death! Your blood must be shed to cleanse the land of the murder of the thief (Numbers 35:33). Now, granted, if it is night, and your injuries to the thief cause him to die, you will not be executed. “I’m letting you off this time,” the Lord seems to be saying; but only if it is at night (cp. Romans 13:12).

Pitiful interpretation, this is.  God is thus placed in the role of saying, “Oh, alright, I don’t like it, but I’ll let it slide this time if only you’re really sorry about it.”  This is a completely anthropomorphized God, with essentially nothing left of His character.  Only trite men see the Scriptures that way.

There is a better way.

Several times now, I have read the words of Christians who interpret Exodus 22:2-3 to mean that defending oneself using lethal force when one’s home was invaded was forbidden under Old Testament Law, at least during the daytime. If only one had done it, my inclination would be to blow it off. But since this interpretation is apparently widespread, I feel I need to answer it.

This interpretation relies on a twisting of Scripture in order to promote a preconceived pacifism, and I here attempt to rebut it.

What does Scripture say? In Young’s Literal Translation, the passage reads:

2`If in the breaking through, the thief is found, and he hath been smitten, and hath died, there is no blood for him;

3 if the sun hath risen upon him, blood [is] for him, he doth certainly repay; if he have nothing, then he hath been sold for his theft;

This is rather hard to understand. What is ‘the breaking through?’ Perhaps the New King James Version will be somewhat clearer.

2 If the thief is found breaking in, and he is struck so that he dies, there shall be no guilt for his bloodshed. 3 If the sun has risen on him, there shall be guilt for his bloodshed. He should make full restitution; if he has nothing, then he shall be sold for his theft.

Aha! Now this is comprehensible. I like Young and rely heavily on him myself, but even I had trouble making sense of what he said there. Now, what does this mean? Well, first let us note that there are two contrasting scenarios. In the first, the thief ‘is found breaking in’. In the second, ‘the sun has risen on him’.

Those who take the view I here attempt to debunk interpret ‘the sun has risen on him’ to mean that the break-in took place during the daytime. Thus ‘found breaking in’ must mean the break-in happened at night. This obviously makes no sense. Why should the fact that he was found breaking in lead us to think it was happening at night? Why would the passage be written in such a confusing way? ‘If he breaks in, there shall be no guilt for his bloodshed, but if he breaks in during the day, there shall’. This is nonsense.

The more reasonable interpretation would be as follows:

The assumption, first of all, is that the thief probably broke in at night. Thus, if he is caught while breaking in and the owner of the house defends himself, killing the thief, he is not guilty of murder. If, however, the thief escapes, and is found later, presumably after the sun has risen again, and he then is killed, this is murder.

In other words, the Law is saying that lethal self-defense is allowed, but we are not to hunt down thieves and kill them; larceny is not a capital crime. The sun having risen cannot be taken in a rigidly literal sense; it indicates the thief being found at some later time, rather than while he was breaking in as in the first scenario.

This is a much better exegesis and it doesn’t do damage to the consistency of Scripture.

Of course, Christ himself commanded His disciples to go sell their robes (if necessary) and buy swords for their self defense (Luke 22:26).  I reject interpretations of this passage as metaphorical, pointing to their upcoming persecution and difficulty.  That is contrary to the plain reading of the Scriptures.

But in any case, Jesus didn’t have to repeat the Old Testament commandments in order for them to be valid.  I also do not follow the dispensationalist theological model, and thus there is no hermeneutic principle that requires such reiteration.  As stated in the Westminster Confession of Faith, the O.T. moral law is valid, along with the “general equity” of the case law (19.4, even if not the specifics or the sacrificial law).

And in this line of thought, the best case for the necessity of self defense comes straight from the Decalogue.  John Calvin, commenting on commandment and prohibition, observes:

We do not need to prove that when a good thing is commanded, the evil thing that conflicts with it is forbidden.  There is no one who doesn’t concede this.  That the opposite duties are enjoined when evil things are forbidden will also be willingly admitted in common judgment.  Indeed, it is commonplace that when virtues are commended, their opposing vices are condemned.  But we demand something more than what these phrases commonly signify.  For by the virtue of contrary to the vice, men usually mean abstinence from that vice.  We say that the virtue goes beyond this to contrary duties and deeds.  Therefore in this commandment, “You shall not kill,” men’s common sense will see only that we must abstain from wronging anyone or desiring to do so.  Besides this, it contains, I say, the requirement that we give our neighbor’s life all the help we can … the purpose of the commandment always discloses to us whatever it there enjoins or forbids us to do” (Institutes of the Christian Religion, Vol. 1, Book 2, Chapter viii, Part 9).

Matthew Henry observes the same concerning Proverbs 24:11-12 (“If we see the lives or livelihoods of any in danger of being taken away unjustly, we ought to bestir ourselves all we can do to save them …”).  Far from a weak or forced case for self defense, this is one of the strongest in the Scriptures.  Thou shalt not kill means that thou shalt not allow yourself or those around you to be killed, thus says the Lord.  It isn’t an option – it is His commandment.

The Right and Duty to Bear Arms

In yet another anti-gun editorial, an ad hoc group of “clergy” weighs in against firearms under the rubric of respect for the sanctity of life.  One commenter remarks:

Because I am a person of good conscience and believe in the sanctity of human life, I carry a gun with me every day. You have stood in line next to me at the grocery store while my pistol was secured out of sight in my holster. I have sat in your pews locked and loaded. the world did not come to an end. I don’t shoot for sport and I’ve never hunted. I carry a gun to defend myself, my family, and others incapable of defending themselves, again, because I value human life. Pastors, of all people, should recognize that forces of good and evil exist in this world and should support the efforts of those who resist evil.

I too have carried at worship.  But concerning these “forces of good and evil,” it’s more than that.  Jeremiah (17:9) says that “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked.”  From the heart flow the springs of life (Proverbs 4:23), and Christ adds that man does and speaks what is in his heart (Luke 6:45, see also Matthew 15:18).  Denial of original sin might be theologically comfortable, but comfort gives way to reality when it pertains to defense of the family.  There aren’t just “forces.”  There are men with evil hearts who would perpetrate evil against you and your family.  Individual actions can be used by God to change men, but whether God may choose to work doesn’t change in the slightest His expectations concerning provision of security for loved ones.  Certainly, the warnings and stipulations of 1 Timothy 5:8 don’t stop with beans and bread.

One of the reformers, Theodore Beza, remarked concerning both highway robbers and tyrants, that ”Hence it comes about that the man who meets with highway robbers, by whom no one is murdered without the consent of the will of God, has the power in accordance with the authority of the laws to resist them in just self-defense which incurs no blame because no one forsooth has (received) a special command from God that he meekly allow himself to be slain by robbers. Our conviction is entirely the same about that regular defense against tyrants.”

To the contrary, God has laid the expectations at the feet of heads of families that they protect, provide for and defend their families and protect and defend their countries.  Little ones cannot do so, and rely solely on those who bore them.  God no more loves the willing neglect of their safety than He loves child abuse.  He no more appreciates the willingness to ignore the sanctity of our own lives than He approves of the abuse of our own bodies and souls.  God hasn’t called us to save the society by sacrificing our children or ourselves to robbers, home invaders, rapists or murderers.

Self defense – and defense of the little ones – goes well beyond a right.  It is a duty based on the idea that man is made in God’s image.  It is His expectation that we do the utmost to preserve and defend ourselves when in danger, for it is He who is sovereign and who gives life, and He doesn’t expect us to be dismissive or cavalier about its loss.  Finally, self-defense may actually result in one of the greatest examples of human love. Christ Himself said, “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:14).

UPDATE #1: David Codrea wisely remarks:

It’s not an easy subject to tackle.

I’ve always been kind of partial to this 1747 Philadelphia sermon, cited in the above:

He that suffers his life to be taken from him by one who has no authority for that purpose, when he might preserve it by defense, incurs the Guilt of self murder since God has enjoined him to seek the continuance of his life, and Nature itself teaches every creature to defend [it]self.

Thanks David.

UPDATE #2: Thanks to Gun Watch for the attention!

UPDATE #3: Thanks to Maggie’s Farm and Free Republic for the attention!

UPDATE #4: Calguns discussion thread.

Prior:

Save The Planet – Buy An AR!

Happy Assault Weapons Ban Sunset Provision Day!

No One Needs ARs for Self Defense Or Hunting?

Do We Have A Constitutional Right To Own An AR?

Long Live Kurdistan! An Emerging Counterweight in the Middle East?

BY Glen Tschirgi
1 year, 10 months ago

As usual, Walter Russell Meade astutely notes the emerging Kurdish state in northeastern Syria:

Syria’s Kurds once waged a fruitless struggle with Damascus against discrimination and for basic rights like citizenship and official recognition of a distinct Kurdish language and culture. Now, however, the equation has changed, and large chunks of northeastern Syria are now under the sole control of the Kurds.

Back in July, Butcher Assad ceded the responsibility of governing and maintaining law and order in northeastern Syria to Kurdish leaders. In return they would keep out of the uprising. Syrian Kurdish leaders have taken this responsibility and run with it.

Of particular value is the accompanying map:

This illustrates the haphazard nature of current national boundaries in the Middle East, the result of post-World War I deals by the British and French.  Much of the conflict in the Middle East results from the incoherence of diverse ethnic groups arbitrarily compressed into a nation state.   As the Middle East continues to snowball into chaos and war, it may be that more sensible states will necessarily emerge.

Interestingly, Meade appears worried about the emergence (or re-emergence) of Kurdish nationalism in Syria and elsewhere, but from the viewpoint of U.S. national interests, the Kurds seem to be a natural ally of the U.S. in a critical part of the world where such allies are few and far between.

The Kurds are a distinct people group from the Arabs, Persians and Turks.   The Kurds in northern Iraq are one of the most pro-American populations in the entire Middle East and yet the Obama Administration has left them with little tangible support.   Syria presents an opportunity for the U.S. to establish a Kurdish enclave that can be a lever against an increasingly Islamist Turkey, as well as Iran, Iraq and whatever state emerges in the remainder of Syria.

The Kurds present an opportunity for the U.S. in Iraq as well.   After kicking ourselves out of Iraq last year, a new Romney Administration might take advantage of the autonomy of Kurds in Iraq to expand U.S. influence and presence there.  Iraq appears to be headed towards another civil war as the Shiite leadership in Baghdad increasingly excludes the Sunnis.   The U.S. could have a significant influence, through Iraqi Kurds, in curbing the excesses of the Shiite government or, failing that, to buttress the security and integrity of the Kudish region against pressure from the Baghdad government or Iran.

This is the kind of statecraft that the U.S. has seemingly forgotten.  We do not need infantry battalions on the ground nor billions of dollars in foreign aid to influence the direction of events in the Middle East.  The U.S. first needs to prove itself reliable as an ally (something that has suffered enormously under Obama).  Next, the U.S. must show the unique value it brings to vulnerable peoples like the Kurds:  expertise and training; economic development through private industry and trade; an unmatched (for now) diplomatic, military and humanitarian muscle available in times of need.   Like the Israelis, the Kurds have shown themselves to be fierce, independent, industrious, loyal and willing.   These are basic qualities necessary in an ally.   (Which is, perhaps, why, after 11 years, Afghanistan cannot be called an ally in any true sense of the word).

OIG Report On Fast And Furious: Failure

BY Herschel Smith
1 year, 10 months ago

David Codrea has been at the forefront of Fast and Furious, along with Mike Vanderboegh, and one recent article on the Office of Inspector General’s report on Fast and Furious supplies ample evidence of his accuracy.

Spending a considerable portion of its analysis on the Operation Wide Receiver Bush-era firearms trafficking surveillance program, the Office of Inspector General’s massive report on Fast and Furious gunwalking released Wednesday corroborates much information presented to Gun Rights Examiner readers almost a full year ago.

“Operation Wide Receiver illustrated the failure of management in ATF’s Phoenix Field Division to alert ATF Headquarters to the use of these tactics,” the report documents, validating a claim made by Mike Detty, the confidential informant at the heart of the case, that “It had nothing to do with Bush or even DOJ.” This is significant, because House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform Democrats and sympathetic media allies have made great hay conflating Wide Receiver with Fast and Furious and spreading a blame-transferring “Bush did it too” meme, with no less than Attorney General Eric Holder making a (since withdrawn with minimal fanfare) claim that a predecessor AG, Michael B. Mukasey, knew about the program and kept things quiet. Also of significance, Holder’s boss and executive privilege benefactor, President Obama, is still publicly conflating the operations, falsely telling Univision that Fast and Furious had “begun under the previous administration.”

Other Detty claims, published in this column in October, 2011, are also corroborated by the OIG report, including his account of the US Attorney telling him he refused to prosecute the case because of ATF lies. Another report filed later that month told of failed cooperation attempts with the Mexican government, also referred to by the IG. Other stories filed by Gun Rights Examiner, including one in November, 2011, relayed Detty’s account for phase known as Wide Receiver I and Wide Receiver II, also subjects of the OIG report, as well as attempts to smuggle receivers to Tijuana through San Diego.

The point being, these are but a few examples of innumerable reports filed in this column and at citizen journalist Mike Vanderboegh’s Sipsey Street Irregulars blog that have since been proven through “official” sources, albeit, there is often a significant lag time between sourced claims and validation. It’s important to keep that in mind, particularly when reading claims from media sources that have done practically no original reporting on Fast and Furious except to weigh in on occasion with administration talking points, and absurd, wholly unjustified claims that the OIG report vindicates or exonerates anyone with the admission it has found no evidence.

Read the rest of Codrea’s report and his update.  I want to focus on something a little more pedestrian concerning this report.  I have not read the IG’s report and do not intend to.  David can be relied upon for the “inside baseball” of this scandal.

But there are two things that keep floating their way to the top for me like so much flotsam and jetsam from the shipwreck of what we now know as Fast and Furious.  We continually hear about the “failed” operation, the “flawed” program, and the lack of oversight when the main stream media report on the scandal.

I’m not convinced that anything was flawed or that the operation failed.  I still believe that it accomplished the precise goal for which it was intended.  They just got caught.  Unlike previous operations such as “Wide Receiver,” there was never any plan to interdict weapons.  More importantly, there couldn’t have been.  Once they crossed the border there was no means to track them, no power to confiscate them, and not even a sure means to trace them back to point of origin (although publication of the point of origin was the intended purpose if I am right about the program).

I have previously discussed Project Gunrunner (yes, I understand that this isn’t precisely the same thing as Fast and Furious, predates it, and Fast and Furious is still a subset of Gunrunner if I’m correct), where the U.S. government allegedly provided the means and training for the electronic tracing of firearms for Mexican authorities.

Not enough of them were trained.  There weren’t enough assets to accomplish the mission.  There was no way to pull it off, and this wasn’t even on the front end of firearms usage – it was on the back end after they had already been used in crimes.

What I’m saying is that the assertion that Fast and Furious is simply a “botched” operation doesn’t comport with the facts on the ground.  There was never any possibility that it would yield any fruit, and its handlers knew this if they have only slightly higher ability to perform syllogistic reasoning than, say, my dog.

Second, and just as important, is to observe what’s happening as part of the political cycle.  Note that Codrea links an article by Jake Tapper where Jake explains that Obama made false assertions about Fast and Furious beginning under previous administrations.

Of course this is false, and the IG’s report is a failure in that it spent even one second discussion Wide Receiver (for me, that it discusses Wide Receiver is more evidence that it would be a waste of time to read it, and it only further exonerates my view that I can ignore it).  Let’s rehearse for a moment what we learned in November of 2011.

It was left to Republican Senators Charles Grassley and John Cornyn to lay bare some crucial distinctions between to two ATF operations. Wide Receiver actually involved not gun-walking but controlled delivery. Unlike gun-walking, which seems (for good reason) to have been unheard of until Fast & Furious, controlled delivery is a very common law enforcement tactic. Basically, the agents know the bad guys have negotiated a deal to acquire some commodity that is either illegal itself (e.g., heroin, child porn) or illegal for them to have/use (e.g., guns, corporate secrets). The agents allow the transfer to happen under circumstances where they are in control — i.e., they are on the scene conducting surveillance of the transfer, and sometimes even participating undercover in the transfer. As soon as the transfer takes place, they can descend on the suspects, make arrests, and seize the commodity in question — all of which makes for powerful evidence of guilt.

Senator Schumer’s drawing of an equivalence between “tracing” in a controlled-delivery situation and “tracing” in Fast & Furious is laughable. In a controlled delivery firearms case, guns are traced in the sense that agents closely and physically follow them — they don’t just note the serial numbers or other identifying markers. The agents are thus able to trace the precise path of the guns from, say, American dealers to straw purchasers to Mexican buyers.
To the contrary, Fast & Furious involved uncontrolled deliveries — of thousands of weapons. It was an utterly heedless program in which the feds allowed these guns to be sold to straw purchasers — often leaning on reluctant gun dealers to make the sales. The straw purchasers were not followed by close physical surveillance; they were freely permitted to bulk transfer the guns to, among others, Mexican drug gangs and other violent criminals — with no agents on hand to swoop in, make arrests, and grab the firearms. The inevitable result of this was that the guns have been used (and will continue to be used) in many crimes, including the murder of Brian Terry, a U.S. border patrol agent.

In sum, the Fast & Furious idea of “trace” is that, after violent crimes occur in Mexico, we can trace any guns the Mexican police are lucky enough to seize back to the sales to U.S. straw purchasers … who should never have been allowed to transfer them (or even buy them) in the first place. That is not law enforcement; that is abetting a criminal rampage.

As Sen. Cornyn pointed out, there is another major distinction between Wide Receiver and Fast & Furious. The former was actually a coordinated effort between American and Mexican authorities. Law enforcement agents in both countries kept each other apprised about suspected transactions and tried to work together to apprehend law-breakers. To the contrary, Fast & Furious was a unilateral, half-baked scheme cooked up by an agency of the Obama Justice Department — an agency that was coordinating with the Justice Department on the operation and that turned to Main Justice in order to get wiretapping authority.

By the time Cornyn was done drawing this stark contrast between Wide Receiver and Fast & Furious, Holder was reduced to conceding, “I’m not trying to equate the two.”

But Obama trotted this out as if most people have not heard of Wide Receiver, and if they have, they don’t know anything about the differences between it and Fast and Furious.

In fact, I fear that most people in America are watching sitcoms at night before bed.  Obama may be right, and he may pull off yet another misdirect on the American people, at least, the ones who don’t care.

Name Change For The ATF

BY Herschel Smith
1 year, 10 months ago

From WSJ.

As Evan Perez reported in the WSJ last month, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives has been thinking about turning its unwieldy seven-word name into something a little snappier. At the time, he wrote that Violent Crime Bureau was a candidate.

Now, quietly, the name change has happened—at least a little bit. For a few days now, the bureau has featured the new name at the top of its home page (atf.gov), just below the old name. The site’s top banner reads, “Bureau of Alcohol, Firearms and Explosives / The Violent Crime Bureau.”

The new name doesn’t have any legal status yet. Asked about changing names Wednesday, ATF acting director B. Todd Jones said, “That’s a concept that we batted around.” He added that the agency was focused on returning to its fundamental mission and said, “How it’s labeled is less important than what it does.”

The Violent Crime Bureau moniker reflects the agency’s ambition to take the lead in tackling violent-crime outbreaks in big cities such as Philadelphia that have seen an increase in murders and drug-related shootings. The agency’s current name is something of an anachronism because it brings fewer than a hundred alcohol and tobacco cases a year. And its reputation as a firearms regulator took a hit because of the Fast and Furious scandal …

So a name change has been “batted around” within the DOJ/ATF in order to save their battered reputation?  That’s how the new head is spending his time and energy?  My idea is somewhat different.  Leave firearms regulation entirely to the states, and hand ATF employess their pink slips.  All of them.  It would save money, and my bet is that it wouldn’t cause one iota of difference in crimes.

It would more closely comport with the doctrine of federalism so important to our founders, it would help to protect our constitutional rights, it would decrease federal meddling in the lives of U.S. citizens, and it would sweep yet another bloated and wasteful federal bureaucracy out of the way as we press towards streamlining of the system.  What’s not to like about it?

U.S. Deploys Hideous Weapon of Mass Destruction in War Against Islamists

BY Glen Tschirgi
1 year, 10 months ago

TCJ readers, listen up.   We have had a major, strategic breakthrough in the War against Islamofascism.

It is so unexpected and so unconventional, so inadvertent that it can only be considered something of a Divine intervention.

America has stumbled upon the Ultimate Weapon of Mass Destruction against the Islamist foe:  cheezy, low-budget films with horrible production and grade-school dialogue launched via that irresistible weapons delivery system known as “YouTube.”

Yes, I am referring to that military masterpiece unleashed upon the unsuspecting Islamists called, The Innocence of Muslims.

Consider just this one example in al Jazeera of its destructive power:

At least one person has died as demonstrations against an anti-Islam video erupt across Pakistan, a day after protesters tried to storm the US embassy in the capital, Islamabad.

Angry demonstrators set fire to two cinemas in the northwestern city of Peshawar, police and witnesses said on Friday, as the country began a day of protests.

One protester was wounded when a cinema guard opened fire as crowds armed with clubs and bamboo poles converged on the Firdaus picture house, “smashing it up and setting furniture ablaze”, according to Gohar Ali, a police officer.

Witnesses said a separate rampaging crowd stormed the Shama cinema, notorious locally for showing films considered to be pornographic.

Tens of thousands of Pakistanis were expected to take to the streets across the country after the government called an impromptu public holiday to let people protest.

****

Friday was designated a “day of expression of love for the prophet” by the government, which called for peaceful protests against the Innocence of Muslims video produced in the US.

All the major political parties and religious groups announced protests, as did many trade and transport organisations.

Large crowds were expected to turn out after Friday prayers.

The previous day, the US embassy became the latest target of protesters angry at the YouTube video. The total number of protesters touched 5,000 with the arrival of protesters carrying the flags of anti-American Islamist groups.

At least 50 people were injured as police fired tear gas and live rounds towards the crowds.

This New Secret Weapon, according to the article, has the mysterious ability to induce widespread madness in the Islamist population, compelling them to irrational behaviors like attacking porno theaters and embassies that are merely obscene for their obsequious behavior.

What’s more, the U.S. government is augmenting the frightful power of this new weapon with a psychological campaign of such cruel calculation that it is almost a crime against humanity.   It’s true.  The Islamist will soon be begging for the merciful Drone Strikes before too long.  Consider this diabolical game of deception and denial waged by the Administration as quoted in the al Jazeera article:

Against this tense backdrop, the US has bought time on Pakistani television stations to run a series of ads in an effort to assuage Muslim feelings of hurt.

The US hopes the ad would show that the country had no involvement with the controversial internet video.

The US embassy in Islamabad spent about $70,000 to run the announcement, which features clips of Barack Obama, the US president, and Hillary Clinton, secretary of state, underscoring US respect for religion and declaring the US government had nothing to do with the video.

Obama is shown saying: “Since our founding, the United States has been a nation that respects all faiths. We reject all efforts to denigrate the religious beliefs of others.”

Clinton then says: “Let me state very clearly, the United States has absolutely nothing to do with this video. We absolutely reject its contents. America’s commitment to religious tolerance goes back to the very beginning of our nation.”

“In order to ensure we reached the largest number of Pakistanis, some 90 million as I understand it in this case with
these spots, it was the judgment that this was the best way to do it.”

Addressing a media briefing on the ad campaign, Victoria Nuland, state department spokeswoman, said the aim was “to make sure that the Pakistani people hear the president’s messages and the secretary’s messages”.

The announcement aired as the US asked its citizens to avoid non-essential travel to Pakistan.

Oh the savagery!  Oh the mental ruin this will visit upon the poor, helpless Islamists!

Imagine the Islamists, weary from the YouTube Bomb-induced fury against porn theaters and embassies, seeking some solace in their television re-runs of “Little Mosque on the Prairie,” only to be bombarded– yes! bombarded!– with relentless messages from Barack Hussein Obama that the U.S. loves and respects all faiths, especially ones that do not have a crucifix that can be plunged into urine or a virgin mother that can be smeared with elephant feces.

This, my friends, is the ultimate in psychological whiplash!  A veritable jiu-jitsu of mental pain!  Surely, the Islamists will think, the President of the United States has the power to stop this horrible YouTube Bomb if he chooses.  But he does not!  Instead he claims respect for Islam while insulting its Prophet!  And, to add injury to insult, he allows the horrible Clinton woman– a woman of all things– to deliver the one-two punch:  the U.S. had nothing to do with the video (when it clearly did) and America believes in “religious tolerance” (when those very words are a red-hot poker in the Islamist soul).

But you may well be asking, How can we be sure that the normally spineless suck-ups in the Obama Administration and the Pentagon will find the courage to continue using a weapon of such fearsome, destructive power?  There is evidence of more bombs in the making.

The U.S. government cleverly brought in the filmmaker for “questioning” based upon “parole violations.” Uh huh.   Wink, wink.  Nudge, nudge.   That ought to throw the Islamists off the scent, eh?  No one suspects (but we know better) that this was a clever ruse for the government to plan and coordinate the next series of YouTube Bombs that will continue to drive the Islamists over the cliff.

Victory is at hand, friends!  All the U.S. need do now is just let the YouTube Bombs wreak their radioactive havoc upon the Islamists until their societies are so riven with mad self-destruction that they collapse in upon themselves like a laptop computer placed upon a wet, cardboard box.  Yes, we here in the U.S. may be called upon to make sacrifices: exposure to these YouTube Bombs has been known to cause fits of derisive laughter and mild nausea in infidels, but we must not shrink back from even these sufferings.

Instead, let us console ourselves with the magnificence of this new Wonder Weapon.   This is the evil genius of the United States of America at its finest.  Stand in awe and fearful amaze.

Can’t Drill Our Way Out of High Oil Prices? Tell That to Saudi Arabia

BY Glen Tschirgi
1 year, 10 months ago

Well, well… here is a nice little report from The Financial Times on the economics of global oil production and pricing:

Saudi Arabia has offered its main customers in the US, Europe and Asia extra oil supplies through the end of the year, a sign the world’s largest exporter is worried about the impact of rising prices on the global economy.

The Group of Seven finance ministers last month called on oil exporters to expand production. Saudi Arabia initially reacted coolly to the request, saying that global supply and demand were balanced. But the kingdom has recently taken steps to bring down prices, consulting with large refiners and offering them extra oil.

“The current price is too high,” a senior Gulf-based oil official told the Financial Times. “We would like to see oil prices back to $100 a barrel.”

The price of Brent, the global oil benchmark, has risen 33 per cent from mid-June to a peak of $117.95 a barrel on Friday. On Monday it plunged almost $4 in just four minutes, but later recovered.

Saudi Arabia last launched a similar round of consultations with major oil refiners in March, weeks before it boosted its production to a 30-year high of 10m barrels a day. Riyadh is now evaluating the response from refiners.

The nation last month produced 9.9m b/d, but the senior official said that Riyadh was now again pumping around 10m b/d. “We are consulting our clients about their oil needs and telling them we are ready to supply more,” the senior official said.

Opec delegates said Riyadh was trying to bring prices down. “The Saudis are actively managing the market,” added another senior oil official from an African Opec nation. “They supplied a little less when prices dropped to $90 over the summer and they will supply more now that prices are above $115.”

The signal from Riyadh comes as rising energy prices emerge as a contentious political issue in the US presidential race. Mitt Romney, the Republican candidate, has accused President Barack Obama of not doing enough to bring gasoline prices down.

The cost of regular gasoline surged in the US last week to $3.878 per gallon, the highest level ever for this period of the year. US retail gasoline prices reached an all-time high of $4.114 per gallon in early July 2008.

The White House last month dusted off plans to use the strategic petroleum reserve to bring prices down. But so far Mr Obama has not authorised a release, in part because opposition from allies such as Germany and, to a lesser extent, Italy, Japan and South Korea.

Hmmmm….I seem to remember that El Presidente said something to the effect that higher production of oil will not affect gas prices.  Oh yes, here are his remarks from March 2012:

The recent spike in gas prices has been another painful reminder of why we have to invest in this technology.   As usual, politicians have been rolling out their three-point plans for two-dollar gas: drill, drill, and drill some more.  Well, my response is, we have been drilling.  Under my Administration, oil production in America is at an eight-year high.  We’ve quadrupled the number of operating oil rigs, and opened up millions of acres for drilling.

But you and I both know that with only 2% of the world’s oil reserves, we can’t just drill our way to lower gas prices – not when consume 20 percent of the world’s oil. We need an all-of-the-above strategy that relies less on foreign oil and more on American-made energy – solar, wind, natural gas, biofuels, and more.

That’s right.  We “can’t drill our way to lower gas prices…”   Because, El Presidente says, the United States only has “2% of the world’s oil reserves.”   But we all know this is an outdated deception aimed at the gullible.  In fact, the Congressional Research Service reported several years ago that the U.S. has more oil and gas reserves (as that term is generally understood in the world oil industry) than any, other country on earth.   In fact, the U.S. has more oil and gas than Saudia Arabia, Venezuela and Candada combined.

According to this Investor’s Business Daily report based on a Congressional testimony by the Government Accounting Office:

Energy: The Government Accountability Office tells Congress the Green River Formation out West contains an “amount about equal to the entire world’s proven oil reserves.” So why are we keeping it locked up on federal lands?

Exploding the Big Lie pushed by President Obama that we can’t drill our way out of high gas prices because we have but 2% of the world’s proven oil reserves, Anu Mittal, GAO director of natural resources and environment, testified before Congress last week that just one small part of the U.S. is capable of outproducing the rest of the planet.

That small part is known as the Green River Formation, the world’s largest oil shale deposit, and is located in a largely vacant region of mostly federal land on the western edge of the Rocky Mountains that includes portions of Wyoming, Utah and Colorado.

As we have written in our “Oil And Gas/Fact And Fiction” series, the Green River Formation has been dubbed our Persia on the Plains, an area with technically recoverable oil in an amount estimated at four times the proven resources of Saudi Arabia.

Given that current U.S. daily oil consumption is running at 19.5 million barrels, the staggering amount of Green River reserves would by itself supply domestic oil consumption for more than 200 years. That sure blows the heck out of the “peak oil” theory that the world is running out of oil.

According to Mittal’s testimony before the House science subcommittee on energy and the environment, the U.S. Geological Survey “estimates that the Green River Formation contains about 3 trillion barrels of oil, and about half of this may be recoverable, depending on available technology and economic conditions.”

According to the president’s bizarre formulation, this oil does not count as a “proven” reserve because little drilling has been done. There is a reason for that. As Mittal testified: “The federal government is in a unique position to influence the development of oil shale because 72% of the oil shale within the Green River Formation lies beneath federal lands managed by BLM (Bureau of Land Management).”

(Emphasis Added)

In any event, Obama does not believe what he says, as usual.   While he pontificates about not being able to “drill our way out” of our energy problems, the Financial Times article reports that he has “dusted off plans to use the strategic petroleum reserve to bring prices down.”   If more drilling won’t solve the problem of high prices, then tapping the strategic reserve is useless.  Just one more example of El Presidente’s contempt for the American people.

Furthermore, even if it was true that the U.S. has “only” 2% of the world’s oil reserves, pricing is not determined by how much oil is in the ground.   Pricing is determined by how much is pumped out of the ground.   According to the CIA world fact book, as of 2010, the U.S. was producing an average of 9.688 million barrels of oil per day.   This already exceeds the production of Saudi Arabia when it wants to maintain stable pricing.    As the Financial Times article shows, however, when Saudi Arabia wants to bring down the price of oil, it ramps up its production to something around 10 million barrels per day.   If Saudi Arabia can affect world oil prices by simply putting an extra million or so barrels of oil per day onto the oil market, it is axiomatic that the U.S. can similarly affect the price of oil by getting production to over 10 million barrels or more per day.  In fact, some experts have said that the U.S. has the resources and capability to be producing over 15 million barrels of oil per day if we so choose.

One, other aspect of this subject that needs to be touched upon is the effect of Ben Bernanke’s federal monetary policy on oil prices.  Since Bernanke has decided to unleash another round of printing money and since oil prices are denominated in U.S. dollars, we will see the price of oil rise concomitant with the increase in the U.S. money supply.   In effect, then, the Saudis are underwriting our money printing by increasing oil production to offset to some degree the rise of oil prices that will naturally ensue because of the rising volume of dollars.

Take this one step further:  if the U.S. wants to recover from the Federal Reserve’s monetary inflation policy, producing increasing amounts of domestic oil is one effective way to do it.   Oil is real wealth.  Just like gold is real wealth (or, for that matter, all those incredibly valuable rare earth minerals the U.S. is sitting on but cannot develop due to ridiculous bureaucratic obstacles).  When the U.S. produces lots of oil, the wealth of the world comes to the U.S. rather than flowing to Saudi Arabia or Venezuela or Russia.   Oil, in a sense, is perhaps our greatest strategic weapon because it is one resource that the world cannot do without and it changes the balance of power globally.    In a crude sense, he who has the most oil wins.  We have it.  It’s time to start using it.

It’s time to renew that popular phrase:  Drill Baby, Drill.

DHS Purchases 200 Million More Rounds Of Ammunition

BY Herschel Smith
1 year, 10 months ago

You know my view.  The Department of Homeland Security should not exist.  Furthermore, they and the TSA are helping to turn the U.S. into a police state.  But as I have followed this story it becomes more troubling each time it is updated.

Following controversy over its purchase of around 1.2 billion bullets in the last six months alone, the Department of Homeland Security has put out a new solicitation for over 200 million more rounds of ammunition, some of which are designated to be used by snipers.

A series of new solicitations posted on the FedBizOpps website show that the DHS is looking to purchase 200 million rounds of .223 rifle ammunition over the next four years, as well as 176,000 rounds of .308 caliber 168 grain hollow point boat tail (HPBT) rounds in addition to 25,000 rounds of blank .308 caliber bullets.

As James Smith over at the Prepper Podcast website highlights, “It is the type of ammunition and not necessarily the quantity that is troubling.”

Smith points out that the DHS’ acquisition of .308 rounds is of concern because they are set to be used by well-trained snipers.

“All of the sniper grade ammunition is being used by trained, or in-the-process-of-being-trained snipers,” writes Smith, noting that the math adds up to 135,384 potential kills for the snipers to make, using the 176,000 rounds of ammunition, basing the figures on the fact that United States Army and Marine Corps snipers in the Vietnam War expended 1.3 rounds of ammunition for each claimed and verified kill.

[ ... ]

The DHS’ decision back in March to purchase of 450 million rounds of .40-caliber hollow point bullets that are designed to expand upon entry and cause maximum organ damage prompted questions as to why the federal agency required such powerful bullets and in such large quantities merely for training purposes.

So there are a couple of problems that need to be pointed out here.  First, personal defense rounds (hollow point, jacketed hollow point of any brand, e.g., Gold Dot, Hydrashock, etc.), are not used for range time.  They are too expensive.  You use FMJ or metal case rounds.  Second, you need to watch this video of Travis Haley (former Recon Marine, Blackwater, now on to greater things) in al Najaf fighting the Mahdi Army.

Travis Haley is a legitimate bad ass.  The DHS doesn’t have anyone like him, a point I will readily concede.  Nonetheless, he is using a 5.56 rifle with good glass to take out fighters at 800 meters.  No one in DHS needs to shoot targets at this distance or anywhere near it.

The DHS doesn’t need .308 rounds for any legitimate purpose.


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