Day by Day Cartoon by Chris Muir

Saturday, May 28, 2011

More editorial stupidity

The Wisconsin Senate  Judiciary Committee  approved the Constitutional Carry bill, 2-3, on a party line (you expected otherwise?) vote. The bill's author said she would have no problems with the law-abiding being armed in the state Capitol.

Yesterday, the Beloit Daily News ran a bold headline: "POLICE DOUBT GUN BILL", wherein the political creatures of Sheriff and Chief all agreed that allowing us our Constitutional rights without jumping through their desired hoops will being about a return to the OK Corral.

Today, the editorial was "Be responsible, fix the gun bill", calling for the same infringements.

So, I penned this and sent it to the paper:
Thursday, the headline was "Police doubt gun bill", telling us how the Democratic County Sheriff and the politically appointed Beloit Chief of Police both think allowing law-abiding citizens their Constitutional rights will result in a return to the lawless days of the Old West, or something, if "licensing registration and training" of those law-abiding people is not required.

Chief Jacobs is concerned lest some bad guy grab a good guy's gun, or that the police will be endangered by citizens with guns. The record of 48 states, four of which require no training or registration, says these concerns are non-existent.

Sheriff Spoden and Town of Beloit Chief Kopp also think licensing and registration somehow will prevent criminals from carrying, like they don't misuse guns already, and allowing the rest of us our rights will somehow make criminals worse.

Today, your editorial calls for the same infringements on our Second Amendment, telling us that the Wild West is just around the corner should we obey the Constitution.

Get it straight once and for all - bad guys don't follow the law, which clearly says there can be no restrictions on law-abiding people carrying defensive weapons as they will.

The law already prohibits anyone with a felony, certain misdemeanors, or serious mental illness from owning a gun, let alone carrying it. Laws have existed for centuries prohibiting use of weapons in crimes. Expecting registration and other infringements on the law-abiding to do anything to curb criminals is ingenuous at best.

Let's follow the Constitution and trust the good folks not to go nuts simply because the law is now being obeyed.


Will I get published yet again? News as it develops.

Jihad works both ways

Wild Bill has a warning for the crazies out there:

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Concealed Carry

Recently, Milwaukee radio hosts Charlie Sykes and Jeff Wagner have taken a position supporting "shall issue" permitted concelaed carry - so I wrote a response to them. Mr. Wagner replied.

My original email:

I live near Beloit - a city that has weekly incidents of "shots fired".

I've been a proponent of Constitutional carry ever since I can remember. I base this on a reading of the basic law of our country, the Constitution, and the Second Amendment thereof. The wording of this is very clear - government shall make no law infringing upon Americans' right to keep and bear arms.

This law worked just fine for our country until lawmakers in New York in 1911 passed the "Sullivan Act", which was intended to deny the Second Amendment right to anyone the lawmakers disapproved of, including "swarthy immigrants". Ever since, the elite of New York have been able to carry for protection, while the great majority of New Yorkers are prohibited. This is a "may issue" concealed carry system.

Many veterans returning from World War One brought home "war souvenirs" that included machine guns and grenade launchers, and no wave of mass destruction ensued.

Further encroachments occurred at the end of Prohibition, fueled by a need to keep Treasury agents employed, and by media created furor over "automatic weapons" used by organized crime associations. At the time the 1934 National Firearms Act was passed, one could purchase a fully automatic "Tommy" gun at many local hardware stores for under $100, and dynamite was similarly easily available. Despite these facts, violent crime and destruction was rare and isolated. The 1934 law required registration and purchase of a federal tax stamp - $200 - on regulated weapons. This immediately made most automatic weapons too costly for the common man. It also resulted in hearing damage for millions of American shooters, as "silencers" (which don't actually "silence" the shot, just muffle it a bit) were also subject to this tax.

Firearms were sold without other restrictions at all - no background checks, no age limits, up until 1968, when more media furor over the assassinations of the Kennedys and Martin Luther King prompted a new law - the Gun Control Act of 1968. This created the firearms dealer licensing and record-keeping system we have today, and banned "mail-order" sales of firearms. Still, there were no background checks, and guns could still be purchased by anyone of any age.

There was never a huge increase in violent crime until the federal government decided to "crack down" on drugs, with the shiny new "War on Drugs" begun as a reaction to the hippies in the 1960's - again, largely due to hype and hysteria, not because of any real danger to society. With drugs now available only from the most powerful pusher on the street, and the huge profits available to those willing to break the law, a new wave of organized crime occurred, along with the gun battles turf wars brought. The violence was isolated to the areas where drug dealing was worst - the inner cities and poorest areas. Places where the honest citizen is at greatest risk and needing of the greatest freedom in protecting themselves.

Politicians intent on demonstrating their concern for the people kept pushing for more and more regulation of firearms, oblivious to the fact that criminals do not obey the law, and all their regulations would do is disarm the law-abiding.

In 1991, Dr. Suzanna Gratia Hupp was in Luby's Cafeteria in Killeen, Texas, with her parents. She normally had her handgun with her, but left it in her truck, as Texas law prohibited carrying into a restaurant. When a deranged individual, George Hennard, decided to drive into the restaurant and start shooting, she was defenseless, and had to watch her parents shot down. She went on to become a driving force in Texas' creation of a true "shall issue" concealed carry law. This law, requiring licensing, was the first of many state laws finally allowing, with varying levels of bother by the law-abiding, carrying a defensive firearm concealed on the person.

Concealed carry laws have unintended consequences, among them the fact that allowing the weapon to become visible is a crime in some states - even the hint of the gun's outline through clothing can result in arrest, and that people in immediate need of protection have to jump through legal hoops to get a license. In several states, the concelaed carry law is similar to New York's, in that only the politically favored get licenses. California is notorious here. "Shall issue" laws also create new bureaucracies and cost millions of dollars to administer, as well as costing the applicant fees that effectively deny the Constitutional right to the poorest.

We in Wisconsin now have a chance to follow Vermont, Alaska, Arizona, and Wyoming in partially returning to adherence to the Constitution, allowing citizens to carry a weapon for defense if they feel the need, without any interference by the government. This will cost the state of Wisconsin nothing, create no new bureau charged with tracking who is carrying, and will not further infringe on our rights.

Face it - criminals will be armed or not based on their own desires, regardless of what laws are passed or not passed. There has been no case of the "rivers of blood" or "return to the Wild West" that the gun banners have claimed concealed carry would usher in. We need to give the people of Wisconsin back their Constitutional rights - remember it's not just the federal Constitution that is being violated here - Wisconsin's Constitution also recognizes the right of all Wisconsinites to keep and bear arms for lawful use.

We need Constitutional Carry, and we need it now.

Chuck Kuecker
Mr. Wagner's reply, as published on the WTMJ website:


Fire, ready, aim!

By Jeff Wagner

Recently I've heard from a couple dozen people who are unhappy with my position on the concealed carrying of firearms.  That's nothing compared to the thousands of people I heard from during the debate over the budget repair bill.  Still, with a handful of hard-core gun guys calling me "a liberal" (of all things), I thought I'd take this opportunity to inject some common sense and political reality into the debate.
For almost twenty years now, I've advocated for a reasonable expansion of firearm rights in Wisconsin.  I've argued against gun bans when some municipalities tried to enact them.  I've argued against prosecutions of individuals who used firearms in the exercise of self-defense. Most importantly,  I've argued continually for legislation which would allow Wisconsin to join 48 other States in allowing some form of the concealed carrying of firearms.
Now that it appears Wisconsin finally has a Legislature and Governor who are sympathetic to the rights of firearms owners, it's depressing to see that a fringe element of the pro-gun movement is prepared to seize defeat from the jaws of legislative victory.
When I think about concealed carry laws, I think about the laws that exist in most States.
Concealed carry laws vary somewhat from State to State but basically work like this: An individual applies for a permit so that the cops can make certain that the person is legally able to possess a firearm.  Assuming no problems with the background check, the citizen then takes some form of training course that may or may not contain a proficiency component (to make sure they know how to use the gun).  The end result is a permit that allows a law-abiding and qualified citizen to carry concealed firearm for a set period of time (usually several years).
Most people don't own firearms - and most firearms owners don't choose to carry a concealed weapon.  Still, with these checks in place, I believe most fair-minded people see no problem with concealed carry.
Unfortunately, a small - but vocal - segment of the gun lobby is trying to get the Legislature to go beyond traditional concealed carry legislation.  The so called "constitutional carry" movement claims that the government has no business regulating the possession of handguns and that people should be allowed to carry concealed weapons without any permits, any training or any government oversight.  Alaska, Wyoming, Vermont and Arizona are the only States that allow possession of concealed weapons without permits.
First, "constitutional carry" is a misnomer.  The 2nd Amendment is not absolute.  That's why felons and the mentally ill can't legally own firearms.  It's also why, as a general rule, private citizens can't own machine guns or bazookas or silencers. There simply is no "constitutional right" to carry a concealed firearm under any and all circumstances.
Second, it strikes me as being absurd to legally allow someone to carry a concealed weapon without some basic assurance that they know how to use it.  After all, you wouldn't take someone who has never driven a car and send them out on the Interstate at rush hour! Why would let someone legally stick a Saturday Night Special in their pocket without some basic assurance that they know one end from the other?
A lot of the same folks who are pushing "Constitutional carry" are also pushing the "open carry" concept.  These are the people who, seizing on some language in a recent State Supreme Court opinion, have taken to wearing sidearms in public as an expression of their "rights".
It seems to me that if you have to wear a pistol while you're cutting your lawn, you need to move to a better neighborhood.  If you need to carry a gun into a coffee shop to get the attention of the waitress, you should tip better.
And if "open carry" adherents think pulling stunts like this helps win the general public to their cause, they're dead wrong.
Walking around the streets with a gun on your hip is to the pro-gun movement what those folks who hang out on street corners and waive photos of aborted fetuses at passing cars are to the pro-life movement.
Unfortunately, the more mainstream elements of the pro-gun lobby have done little to rein in those pushing these more extreme ideas.  This isn't surprising because most special interest groups get a ton of support from their more zealous and ideologically pure members.  Still, if we want to get meaningful firearms legislation passed anytime soon, it's time for the grown-ups to come to the table.
Many of us have been waiting a long time for some form of concealed carry to come to Wisconsin.  A rational bill in line with the laws in most other States will undoubtedly  have the support of a majority of citizens and the law enforcement community. A proposal that imposes no restrictions pretty much guarantees the end of concealed carry if and when Democrats come back into power - and paves the way for that precise thing.
After all, when you fire before you've aimed, you often end up shooting yourself in the foot!

My response to him:

Hi, Jeff,

Thanks for the response.

I think you've missed the point here = actually, there are several.

First, and foremost, like the First Amendment, the Second Amendment is not limited by law. For instance, you are perfectly free to yell "FIRE!" in a crowded theater, the First Amendment protects that right. What you need to remember is that actions have consequences, and that by doing so, you are liable for any injuries, death, or damage caused by your irresponsible action. Similarly, anyone carrying a weapon needs to be held responsible for their actions. Since the bad guys do not, and will not, follow the law, a permit system at the least limits the ability of the law-abiding to exercise their rights in a timely fashion. If someone misuses their weapon, let that person be held accountable. The laws to do this are already in existence, and will cost us nothing if we elect "Constitutional carry".

Secondly, being required to apply for permission to exercise your God-given rights negates those rights, since now some unelected bureaucrat may arbitrarily deny your rights, and now you have to take legal action to obtain that permit, which is expressly forbidden by the Second Amendment. Judges rule, true, but they do not always rule correctly, and any judges' ruling can and has been be overturned. If Wisconsin elects to follow the true meaning of the Constitution, rather than a politically charged "narrow" interpretation, we are ahead of the game, having saved Wisconsin many years of wrangling over the "permit" system we would otherwise have, if these laws are ever signed by the Governor.

An aside - "open carry" is already the law in Wisconsin, and people mowing their lawns with sidearms are making a political statement, and possibly trying to illustrate the fact that it's not the gun that causes problems, it's the use the gun is put to. If enough people open carried, perhaps more Wisconsin residents would be desensitized to the simple sight of people exercising their rights, and the general level of tension would drop. Also, many people living in areas where they feel the need to open carry while doing daily chores do not have the financial resources to simply "move to a better neighborhood". Open-carry advocates are not attempting to draw attention to themselves - quite the opposite - they are trying to make the existence of a gun - or not - something people don't notice.

A compromise law based on the fear of the Democrats regaining the reins in Madison is a disservice to our citizens. There is no assurance that future Democrat politicians will not modify a license law to move the right out of the hands of the poorest of us. Witness Washington DC and Chicago, IL for examples of how the Supreme Court's rulings are responded to bu Democrats. In DC, you are "allowed" now to buy a gun - IF you can find a dealer, and dealers are effectively banned by law. In Chicago, you can own a gun once you meet all the requirements, such as passing a course in a Chicago firing range, of which there are none, again by law. Registration of guns is required by many "shall issue" states, and that opens a huge can of worms for many.

Do the right thing. Follow the Constitution, as written, and give Wisconsinites back their rights.

Chuck Kuecker
Now, we see how effective my argument is...

Friday, May 20, 2011

Russ Feingold for Senate? wants us to know there's a move afoot to elect this person to Herb Kohl's soon-to-be-vacant Senate seat, thereby perpetuating at least one Demonrat senator from Wisconsin.

Didn't we just successfully get rid of the person who co-authored the McCain-Feingold First Amendment Repeal Act?

Forewarned is fore-armed...

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Civil disobedience

Last night on the way home from work, I heard some high-up in the Wisconsin State Police explaining how Wisconsin is now a "primary enforcement" state for seat belt compliance, and how now the police can pull you over and fine you for not buckling up - and how "this isn't to get more fines, it's to make you safer".

Bullcrap. Firstly, it's blackmail from DC to either lose tax money stolen from Wisconsin drivers or to pass this law, and secondly, local jurisdictions get a portion of every fine they issue, so of course the police chiefs are going to tell the patrolling officers to enforce this law.

At least - so far - I haven't seen the idiotic signs Ill-Annoys put up in some places alerting drivers that "seat belt enforcement" is the "primary enforcement activity" - so don't worry about the cops being available to catch truly dangerous drivers, rapists, murderers, or burglars - they will be using night-vision devices (not here, so far!) to see if you are buckled in.

Do these stupid "legislators" and bureaucrats ever stop to think that basic human nature is to resist authority? Pass a law requiring some behavior, and a substantial proportion of the population will go out of their way to avoid that behavior, even if they would have done it voluntarily if not goaded by Big Brother. Sugar attracts more flies than vinegar.

When I got my first car, I went out of my way to install front and rear seat shoulder belts, even though back in 1969 my 1968 Beetle did not require them under federal law. I did this because I wanted to be safe in my personal vehicle, and I wanted my passengers to be as safe as possible. I didn't wear my belts because some pencil-neck bureaucrat decreed Ill-Annoys would lose federal highway tax money if the state didn't enforce a cockamamie law.

Immediately after that WSP official started spouting about "primary enforcement", I unbuckled my belt and drove the rest of the way unprotected. I made my anonymous statement.

In a few days, I'll start buckling up again. I just pray that WI isn't stupid enough to pass a mandatory helmet law for motorcyclists - I really hate riding bareheaded. My eyes tear up from the wind, and my hearing gets abused.

Bumper sticker idea: "I DON'T WEAR SEAT BELTS BECAUSE SOME IDIOTS IN WASHINGTON OR MADISON TELL ME TO!". When the cops pull me over because of it, and find me wearing the belt, I get a chance to educate them. Also, a chance for an harassment suit if it happens too often. :)

Another idea for a Constitutional amendment - "Congress and the several states shall make no law pertaining solely to personal safety or health. Any existing law pertaining solely to personal safety or health is hereby repealed, and any federal or state agency concerned with personal safety or health is hereby eliminated". That ought to eliminate a whole bunch of federal bureaus and laws on the books right there, and help our deficit problem.

Safety in the workplace - OSHA - is rightly the business of business and industry - enforced by lawsuits against those businesses who put people at unreasonable risk, and encouraged by the insurance companies with lower premiums for industries that take care of their employees.

Herb Kohl is retiring!

Long overdue, in my opinion. I hope he enjoys the nice retirement package he voted himself out of our pockets.

He's still claiming that suing OPEC through his cutely-named "NOPEC" law will lower our gas prices.

I've got an idea - OK, let's cut out all federal subsidies on energy - not just "big oil", but money for ethanol, wind, solar, efficiency research, the whole enchilada. At the same time, remove all federal energy taxes, and get rid of the Department of Energy and the EPA. Don't forget the federal DOT, NHTSA, and all the other vampires sucking at our lifeblood.

Let's open everywhere to oil exploration, limited only by local concerns. If the local NIMBYs outweigh those who want to drill, so be it.

The drop in tax money being collected from energy producers and compliance expenses should be evident in fuel prices immediately. The individual states can increase their fuel taxes to replace what pittance Washington returns from federal taxes stolen from their motorists, and we still would save, since we won't be wasting a large proportion of that money on bureaucrats in DC.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

And now - a word from our Fearless Leader!

I've decided to keep calling him "Osama", in memory of that other great American statesman, Teddy "Swimmer" Kennedy.

Just got this from Pres. Osama:
Chuck --

I went to El Paso, Texas, today to lay out a plan to do something big: fix America's broken immigration system.

It's an issue that affects you, whether you live in a border town like El Paso or not. Our immigration system reflects how we define ourselves as Americans -- who we are, who we will be -- and continued inaction poses serious costs for everyone.

Those costs are human, felt by millions of people here and abroad who endure years of separation or deferred dreams -- and millions more hardworking families whose wages are depressed when employers wrongly exploit a cheap source of labor. That's why immigration reform is also an economic imperative -- an essential step needed to strengthen our middle class, create new industries and new jobs, and make sure America remains competitive in the global economy.

Because this is such a tough problem -- one that politicians in Washington have been either exploiting or dodging, depending on the politics -- this change has to be driven by people like you.

Washington won't act unless you lead.

So if you're willing to do something about this critical issue, join our call for immigration reform now. Those who do will be part of our campaign to educate people on this issue and build the critical mass needed to make Washington act:

In recent years, concerns about whether border security and enforcement were tough enough were among the greatest impediments to comprehensive reform. They are legitimate issues that needed to be addressed -- and over the past two years, we have made great strides in enhancing security and enforcement.

We have more boots on the ground working to secure our southwest border than at any time in our history. We're going after employers who knowingly break the law. And we are deporting those who are here illegally. I know the increase in deportations has been a source of controversy, but I want to emphasize that we are focusing our limited resources on violent offenders and people convicted of crimes -- not families or people looking to scrape together an income.

So we've addressed the concerns raised by those who have stood in the way of progress in the past. And now that we have, it's time to build an immigration system that meets our 21st-century economic needs and reflects our values both as a nation of laws and a nation of immigrants.

Today, we provide students from around the world with visas to get engineering and computer science degrees at our top universities. But then our laws discourage them from using those skills to start a business or a new industry here in the United States. That just doesn't make sense.

We also need to stop punishing innocent young people for the actions of their parents -- and pass the DREAM Act so they can pursue higher education or become military service members in the country they know as home. We already know enormous economic benefits from the steady stream of talented and hardworking people coming to America. More than a century and a half ago, U.S. Steel's Andrew Carnegie was a 13-year-old brought here from Scotland by his family in search of a better life. And in 1979, a Russian family seeking freedom from Communism brought a young Sergey Brin to America -- where he would become a co-founder of Google.

Through immigration, we've become an engine of the global economy and a beacon of hope, ingenuity and entrepreneurship. We should make it easier for the best and brightest not only to study here, but also to start businesses and create jobs here. That's how we'll win the future.

Immigration is a complex issue that raises strong feelings. And as we push for long-overdue action, we're going to hear the same sort of ugly rhetoric that has delayed reform for years -- despite long and widespread recognition that our current system fails us all and hurts our economy.

So you and I need to be the ones talking about this issue in the language of hope, not fear -- in terms of how we are made stronger by our differences, and can be made stronger still.

Take a moment now to watch my El Paso speech and join this campaign for change:

Thank you,

This crap just won't quit. Fixing immigration is simple - enforce the law as written, deport every illegally present person who runs afoul of the law in any way other than violating the immigration laws with no possibility of their ever returning legally. Deport all other illegally present persons with the understanding that they will be allowed to apply to immigrate legally after a suitable waiting period.

Ain't it special that he points out a Soviet emigre was to become a successful American, while the LAST Demonrat president we had allowed Janet Reno to forcibly repatriate Elián González.

We don't need to invite anyone into America to open new businesses - we need to get the frigging government out of the way so AMERICANS - immigrants and native born - can do that.

Wake up, dummy. The only people still yelling for "immigration reform" are you and your sycophants. The great majority of Americans want the laws enforced first - then we might think about modifying them.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Email from Kohl

Telling me how much he's doing to lower the price of gasoline - by raising costs to the producers:

 Home     Biography     News     Issues & Legislation     Constituent Services     Contact Senator Kohl     Unsubscribe

We’ve all been alarmed by the rise in gas prices, which are now surpassing $4 a gallon in many places across the country, including Wisconsin, and have nearly doubled in two years. While we know that the rise in gas prices has many causes, one important cause is the actions of the OPEC oil cartel, which limits supply in order to maintain a high price.  If the nations of OPEC were private companies, such conduct would be nothing more than naked price fixing, illegal under the most fundamental principles of antitrust law.
This week, I questioned Attorney General Eric Holder at a Judiciary Committee hearing about rising gas prices and my legislation, the No Oil Producing & Exporting Cartels (NOPEC) Act.  My bill would give the Department of Justice tools it needs to enforce the antitrust laws against the OPEC oil cartel.  NOPEC was approved with bipartisan support by the Judiciary Committee last month.  Attorney General Holder indicated that he is always looking for more enforcement tools to protect American consumers and that he will consult with his colleagues in the Cabinet about the NOPEC legislation.   The Administration recently established a task force to examine whether there has been inappropriate market manipulation of oil prices.  Attorney General Holder assured the Judiciary Committee that he will be aggressive in examining the rise in oil prices, and to the extent that they were artificially driven the Justice Department will take action.  I want you to know I will continue working to reduce the price of gasoline.



My reply:

What are you smoking? "NOPEC"? Cute name, but where does our Constitution give Mr. Holder the power to enforce American laws against OPEC? In case you haven't noticed, OPEC is not an American organization.

Any fines or other sanctions against an oil importer will be paid directly by the American consumer, as corporations never pay taxes and fines - they just pass them along as costs of doing business. This is how business works.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Osama Bin Laden is dead

So, I guess I'll have to stop calling that guy in the White House "Osama", out of respect for the dead?