Musings on Sports, Politics and Life in general


Save Us from Ourselves!

The gun grabbers are out in foBen vs Obamarce.

Yes, there was another shooting on a school campus. Yes, the gun used was legally obtained. Yes, it shows that for all the attempts to date to restrict gun ownership, bad guys can still get their hands on firearms.

Rather than admit the folly of their attempts to prevent Americans from owning a weapon, the gun grabbers are doubling down on their attempts to take weapons away. They’re doing this, despite admissions that none of their proposals would have prevented the most recent tragedies. Once again, though, they are making an emotional appeal: “Guns are evil” they cry. “Why do gun owners need these guns?” they ask.

Once again, the left wing is out to deny Americans a God-given, Constitutionally guaranteed right, all in the name of saving us from ourselves. The arguments they’re using are no different than the ones they’ve trotted out to try and deny us the ability to purchase a 32 ounce soda, a juicy prime rib or a McDonald’s Happy Meal. The offending item is bad for you, ergo, it should be banned!

Here’s the thing we seem to have forgotten in liberal land: the government shouldn’t be the instrument that restricts anyone’s right to ownership of anything. The Constitution was written with three goals in mind: First, to ensure the federal government could pay the bills. Second, to provide a way for the states to work out their differences. Finally, and perhaps most important, to ensure the individual liberties that all Americans enjoy. It’s this final point that has been slowly eroded, in the name of “responsible governance”. That’s code for protecting us from ourselves.

Should the Founders come to visit us today, undoubtedly they would be shocked. Shocked by the sheer number of regulations and laws to which we have willingly subjected ourselves. Shocked that the American character is no longer identified by self-reliance and responsibility. They would doubtless be amazed by their descendants willingness to cede rights for which they fought and died to the federal government.

This is the sad state to which we’ve arrived. This latest tragedy is a perfect example. The gunman’s own parents continuously abdicated their responsibility, not only to their son, but to their fellow citizens. Why? Both parents were well aware of their son’s propensity to violence and his mental health issues. Yet, his mother kept those weapons in the house and his father had the temerity to suggest that the government failed – by not having stricter gun laws, by not institutionalizing his son. One has to ask, if the father had been more than a sperm donor, would the son have been so screwed up? If the mother had said, “gee, my son has some serious issues – maybe I should store my weapons elsewhere” would he have had access? But nobody seems to be asking those questions. A little responsibility would go further towards preventing not only this tragedy, but the vast majority of these incidents.

Nope, it’s far easier to say we have to “do something.” We have to take away your guns, because some people are irresponsible. Your rights are abridged because I need a political soundbite, even though I know that even outright confiscation of private weapons won’t stop the madness.

The Progressive Economy

This morning, the Bureau of Labor Statistics released the latest job numbers. They aren’t good. But they’re also pretty much what anyone who doesn’t subscribe to Keynesian economics expected.

To put it succinctly, the economy sucks.

To explain why, you don’t have to look further than Adam Smith and basic supply-and-demand laws.

First, making sense of the data: according to BLS, the last two months have seen a net total of 278,000 jobs added to the economy with average wages actually declining by 0.1% over that time. The number of people who gave up looking for work outpaced those landing a job by a 4:1 margin. There are now over 94 million Americans not working, almost equaling the number of Americans who are working.

This is what the progressive version of economics has rendered: national debt now exceeds 100% of GDP, for the first time in our history. Yet despite all of that largess (which the Keynesian’s insist would boost the economy), wages continue to sag and new employment opportunities can’t keep pace with population growth. By the BLS’ own estimate, the economy needs to add 250,000 jobs per month just to match population growth; the most  recent data indicates that we’ve added 222,000 too few jobs.

So how does this affect you? Well, the pressure is still on the employed, not the employer. As a result, wages either sink or stay put. If you ask for a raise, keep in mind there is somebody out there desperate enough to do your job for less than you’re earning now. Even if you’re unaware of that, your boss isn’t.

Add in the regulatory spree that progressivism claims is needed to protect you from yourself, and businesses that are already feeling the pinch of reduced demand are further squeezed. Profit margins are not some whimsical thing that can be created by government edict, as much as statists like to think so. They are very much the result of income after costs – and in a bad economy, adding more costs certainly isn’t going to improve employment, demand or prices.

So, to summarize, Mr. Obama has the economy he asked for. Oh, I know he didn’t ask for these results. But this is the real world, not some theoretical research paper written by left-winged professors, and these are the real-world results of putting those policies in action. Despite record debt (the cornerstone of the Keynesian model) the economy has seen negative aggregate demand. There are as many people without a job as have one. A large number of those people with a job aren’t getting paid enough to increase demand and thus increase employment opportunities, or wages.

In other words: the labor SUPPLY still outstrips the DEMAND for labor. Until that changes, the economy cannot be said to be in “recovery.” That is Mr. Obama’s economy.

UCC Aftermath: Not Guns, Criminals

Not quite 24 hours ago, America witnessed another maniac venting his anger at unarmed students.

The President would have you believe the cure for this is more restrictions on gun ownership, a bigger police state and further curtailing of Constitutionally guaranteed freedoms. I suppose now that his time as would-be king is coming to an end, he feels pressure to enact one more nation changing agenda. Let’s not forget, this is the same guy, who in 2008, declared that Americans are “bitter” and we insist on “clinging” to our guns and religion. Since assuming office, he’s engaged in virtual warfare on the religion front. His attempts to to do so on the guns front have largely been stymied, but Obama is a true believer in never letting a good tragedy go to waste. He attempted to politicize tragedy after Newtown. Yesterday, before the blood had even dried on the pavement and before anyone knew who the shooter or his possible motivation might be, he took to his podium and declared open war on any American who does not believe in the saintliness of government intrusion.

What the President, and the rest of the progressive sycophants, fail to understand is that it is their undermining of American culture that is primarily responsible for these tragedies. The problem isn’t that criminals have guns. The problem is that law-abiding citizens do not have guns, nor are they properly trained in their use. UCC is a “gun-free” zone, meaning that any law-abiding citizen who owns a weapon cannot bring it onto campus. Of course, those with bad intent never worry about bringing along their weapons to further their heinous agendas. Net result: bad guys 22, good guys 0.

Now, let’s stop to consider the alternative. Suppose even one student, teacher, or administrator had been properly armed and trained. Suppose, instead of giving the lone security guard on campus a radio, he had a sidearm. The police response, after the 911 call, took less than 5 minutes. That’s an exceptional response (here in my little corner of liberal land, the police generally take about ten minutes to respond) and I commend the local law enforcement folks for it. However, that’s 5 minutes of shooting that would not have happened, had an armed response been available on campus.

More gun control is not the answer, for two reasons the President and his minions would need to crawl out of the ivory tower to understand. First, the most recent shooting incidents were perpetrated by people who had passed the background checks needed to legally purchase firearms. That means, quite frankly, that the intended purpose of the gun control laws we have (preventing criminals from buying guns) are a complete failure. Of course, the real push isn’t for making guns harder to get, but outlawing them entirely. Which brings us to the second point: you can’t prevent criminals from obtaining weapons by making the legal purchase of said weapons illegal.

I live in one of those states that has ridiculously restrictive laws on gun ownership. Here in the Garden State, to legally purchase a firearm, I not only need to pass the FBI background check, but I’m restricted as to who can sell me said weapon, who can sell me ammunition for said firearm and who I can sell said firearm to should I decide I no longer want it. Obtaining a CCW permit is virtually impossible; even OCW permits are hard to come by. In order to transport my weapon, the state requires me to unload the weapon, place it into a locked box and then put that box in the trunk of my car. I also happen to live in a city that places further restrictions on my weapons: I’m supposed to keep them in a gun safe, unloaded, with the ammunition stored in a separate location. Yet despite all of these restrictions, Newark suffered 4 more shootings last night (fortunately no one died), including a police officer being shot. Last year, 112 people were murdered in Newark; that’s ten times the national average murder rate. Or to put it another way, despite gun laws that all but prohibit gun ownership, you are ten times as likely to be murdered in Newark as you are anywhere else in the country. Know why? Because I can buy a weapon on the same corner I buy my milk, and almost as easily. $150 will get me a 9mm with two loaded, 12 round magazines. For comparison, that same setup would run me around $700 in a gun shop. Who has an easier time buying guns, the criminal or the lawful purchaser?

The problem isn’t guns or gun control – or even gun confiscation (and that is, after all, the final progressive aim). The problem lies in that we cannot know who truly has evil in their heart. No background check will tell us. Nor can you prevent those who intend harm from getting a weapon.

So, if you’re truly outraged by the violence, standing at a podium and railing at law-abiding Americans exercising their rights isn’t the way to do it. Instead, urge every law-abiding American to go purchase a weapon, learn how to use it and learn how to defend themselves. There is one thing I do know: the President has waged war on religion; resulting in an amoral society. And we’re going to see even more of these mass  killings because of it.

A Nation at War

It’s hard to believe that it’s been 14 years since our nation was brutally attacked. Every American remembers where they were, what they were doing and how they felt on September 11, 2001. Certainly, those of us in the NYC metro area (and I’m certain, in and around the Pentagon) have the images and feelings indelibly printed on our souls. For me, I watched – in person, not on TV – as Tower 2 crumbled to the ground. God forgive me, but to this day it is all I can do not to erupt in a spasm of rage and fury – and hatred.

Because here’s the thing: that day brought home, literally brought HOME, a fact most Americans had been happy to ignore for the previous 22 years.

The United States is at war with the Islamists.

The war began when the Ayatollah imprisoned the Iranian embassy staff. It continues to this very day. If you deny that, you are guilty of treason – not only against your nation, but against your civilization; indeed, you probably don’t even give a damn about your own survival. And here the rub: even if YOU want to deny it, the Islamist still wants to see your head on a pike. You have no say in the matter. There is no suing for peace, no negotiation possible.

For the first time, as a nation we seemed to understand this in the wake of that horrific day. We finally seemed to realize that this was a match to the death. Pundits and politicians alike compared the struggle to the one we faced in WWII. We were ready and willing to put all of our combined might into the fight.

In the intervening years, we’ve lost that. We’ve forgotten that we’re facing an enemy who wants us dead. Not just subjugated. D-E-A-D. We’re so busy trying to be politically correct that we’ve forgotten that this enemy does not think like us, does not share any of our values, does not care if they die in this war (as long as they take a few of us with them) and is willing to wait us out, for decades if need be. We’ve become so desirous of peace we’re actually negotiating our way to mass annihilation. It is a fool’s errand we’re chasing.

So this morning, I want you to remember the pain, the anguish, the horror, the rage you felt 14 years ago. Channel it and direct it. It’s time we, as a nation and the leaders of our civilization, rededicate ourselves to this fight. It’s time to end this, defeat – destroy – the Islamist.

For all our sakes, I hope you do.

God bless the United States.

And Now, A Word About The Donald

Anyone who knows me also knows the likelihood of my ever supporting Donald Trump’s presidential campaign is on par with me joining up with ISIS. I consider the man little more than a carpetbagger, a charlatan and a fraud.

That being said, he is a declared candidate for President and in this early stage, a successful one. While I doubt he believes even half what he says (based on previous positions he’s taken and supported financially), the fact is that he’s given voice to the concerns of a large number of Americans. Enough so, that he’s surged to the top of the most recent polls. While I think the man expressing those points of view should be the subject of ridicule, there shouldn’t be any doubt that the views are worthy of merit.

This is why I’m disturbed and disheartened about Huffington Post’s determination to marginalize the Donald’s campaign by relegating their coverage to their entertainment section. Yes, I know this particular publication is to the left of Pravda. And yes, I know they wouldn’t be happy with any candidate unless their name was Che. However, their action is much more than an editorial decision. They’ve decided that the media – not the American electorate – should be the final arbiter of who is, and who is not, a viable candidate. With that decision, they’ve also made themselves the sole voice on what opinions and topics should be discussed during the campaign. They’ve become nothing more than the propaganda arm of Hillary Clinton’s campaign.

The issues that have vaulted Trump to the top are immigration and foreign trade. The positions he’s taken are not only anathema to liberals, but guaranteed to get them frothing at the mouth. Yet, these are positions that are echoed by a plurality of the electorate. They cannot and should not be disregarded. Yes, I would like to see them expressed by a better candidate – but the candidate who allows them to be discussed should be respected, if only got that.

I have no problem with any publication editorializing. HuffPo can write an editorial every day demonizing Trump. My concern is when they show such overt, discriminate bias in news coverage. News is news, regardless of whether you like it. And disregarding the views of (based on polling) more than half the country by calling it entertainment is only resigning yourself, and your readers, to a very small corner.

Although I have to admit, this absurd editorial turn does pose an interesting question. Since Trump is virtually guaranteed a spot in the initial debates, does HuffPo intend to cover them as a political event, or out them in column two, right below an article about Bruce Jenner’s next boob job?

Would the Founding Fathers Allow This?

This past weekend, we celebrated the creation of our nation. From the ashes of an oppressive dictatorship consumed with controlling every aspect of our ancestor’s lives, arose a nation dedicated to the idea that people should be free from government intrusion. Just review the Declaration of Independence. The 26 grievances listed by Thomas Jefferson can be summed up in one, general statement: we’re tired of being treated like little kids who need to have our every move and thought monitored.

So, how do  you suppose Jefferson, Franklin and the Adams cousins would view this story? I suspect they would find the entire idea of the executive branch of the government convening a secret court to be ludicrous (after all, that was a specific complaint in the Declaration). I imagine they would then suppose that secret court demanding a publication reveal who it’s readers are, was some flight of fancy. How could such a thing exist in the country they swore their scared honor, treasure and lives to create?

Of course, the government insists such a thing is perfectly reasonable. After all, if not for the secret court, who will issue warrants against the terrorists? And the readers they’re after, of course they’re terrorists. No, not the radicalized Islamist kind of terrorist, but that other kind; the kind the government (and liberal intelligentsia) fears more: the red-blooded American! The one who might wonder what on earth the government is up to and why it’s doing what it does. The person who would have the temerity to demand the government be held accountable for its actions. Yes, that person is now declared a terrorist.

Imagine how dumbfounded the men who signed that piece of parchment 239 years ago would be at these actions of the government they created. After all, the government they sought to overthrow considered them terrorists, as well.

We’ve come full-circle. Perhaps, rather than simply wearing red, white and blue tee-shirts and marveling at fireworks, we should rededicate ourselves to this phrase:

But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.”

The Numbers Don’t Lie. All the President’s Men Do.

On Friday, the latest “jobs report” was released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.Naturally, the White House jumped on the headline numbers to show how wonderful Obamanomics is working. 223,000 more jobs! Unemployment down t0 5.3%!

Except…the numbers aren’t nearly that rosy. Even long-time supporters in the financial media are taking notice that something smells as rotten at the BLS as a fish left out in the summertime Washington sun. Consider these headlines:

FiveThirtyEight: “Don’t Let The Disappointing Jobs Report Distract From the Long-Term Trend
MarketWatch: “A ‘Soft’ June Jobs Report on Balance, Economists say
Huffington Post: “That 5.3 percent Unemployment Number Makes the Jobs Market Look Better Than It Is

If you’re a liberal President hoping to convince the American people about the wonderfulness of your economic program and you can’t even fool the devout Keynesians at HuffPo, it’s time to admit defeat, I would think. But I digress.

So, how has it come to this point? How have the BLS’ headline numbers become essentially meaningless? The answer is those numbers have been filtered, altered and cranked so much over the past five years that they really don’t have any meaning any more. Unlike the past, that 5.3% unemployment figure doesn’t really track the number of Americans who need a job, nor does it represent the number of jobs Americans are actually getting.

The unemployment rate and employment numbers were once based on hard data, taken from a sampling of the F1000 and 150 selected smaller companies. Since 2011, it’s based on a phone survey: literally, the BLS calls 1,000 Americans and asks them if they’re working, when they were hired and what kind of job they have, and how much they get paid. No wonder the headline employment numbers and unemployment rate is revised more often than I go food shopping. In the latest report, for instance, the BLS revised the employment numbers down by some 60,000 jobs over previous reports (more on this in a moment). Quite frankly, the government’s main jobs accountability office doesn’t really know how many people are working, where they’re working, when they get hired and when they get fired. Their data doesn’t lie, but it is actually too volatile to be a predictable indicator of what’s happening.

Second, the unemployment rate was once a solid indicator of the number of Americans who were, well, unemployed. But in 2003, the BLS changed the definition of an unemployed person from somebody who wasn’t working, but eligible to work, to somebody who was out of work and actively seeking employment. Seems like a subtle difference, but in today’s job market it’s proving to be very consequential. Additionally, BLS never counted part-time employees as “fully employed” until 2011 (funny how that date keeps coming back, more on that later, too). In the current BLS reports, all part-time employees are counted as fully employed, even if the employee would rather work full-time but can’t because their employer isn’t offering them full hours. So, that %.3% looks pretty good. It is certainly within historical norms, until you recognize that the old methodology used to get that number was much more restrictive – and accurate – than the current one.

Now, regarding that revised employment number. First, to understand what even the original number means, you have to understand that every month the US adds more people to the work force. Yes, the “Baby Boom” generation is retiring, but what you rarely hear about is that the number of “Millenials” actually outnumbers the number of “boomers.” Left-of-center economists and commentators are doing their best to make it sound as if the percentage of working age Americans is shrinking. In reality, it’s a population growing at a rate not seen since the 1960s, around 215,000 more people get added to the workforce than leave through retirement each month. In order to maintain employment levels, that means that number of jobs needs to be added to the economy each month. Fall below it, unemployment should rise. Come in above it, unemployment should fall. A 223,000 jobs gain should have kept unemployment essentially flat. Losing 60,000 jobs should have made unemployment go up. And a newly revised job gain of 664,000 for the quarter vs. working population growth of 645,000 should mean that unemployment dropped by 0.05% for the quarter. Yet, it dropped by 0.2%. Eh, what?

This comes back to the magic of not counting everyone who’s unemployed as unemployed, Today, Barack Obama’s government either calls them “marginally attached” or ignores them completely. The “marginally attached” are those that would like a job, but have simply given up hope of ever finding one. By BLS own estimate, that’s 1.9 million people. In June, the Obama administration moved over 400,000 people from unemployed to “marginally attached,” based on a phone survey yhat probably ignored them altogether. And it lends itself to another number the boys at Obama’s Labor department haven’t figured out how to fudge yet: the labor participation rate. That’s the number of Americans of working age who are, in fact, working. It’s also been dropping for the past six years, even as the unemployment number keeps dropping. If that seems like a contradiction, that’s because it is. Obviously, if the working age population is growing but the percentage of people working is dropping, unemployment should be rising. And when the LPR is at a level not seen since the Great Depression (in June, according to BLS, it stands at a 72 year low of 62.6%. The last time the LPR was this low was in the late 1970s, when unemployment reached a staggering 13.5%). it stands to reason that the unemployment number should be in the double-digits. Look, there’s a little followed, “unofficial” unemployment number called the U-6. It actually counts the “marginally attached” as unemployed. And it currently stands at…12.1%.

The idea that more than a third of working age Americans are choosing not to work is ludicrous on it’s face. But the government tells us unemployment is falling. No wonder that smell from the doors of the Labor department keeps getting stronger.

As mentioned, the changes that have allowed employment numbers to be spun so dramatically were implemented in February 2011, shortly after Barack Obama’s policies were soundly rejected in the 2010 midterm elections. I mean, that could be a coincidence. I suspect, however, there was a conversation in the Oval Office that demanded better employment numbers, that couldn’t be easily refuted by economists and could be easily embraced by Keynesians and newspapers. He got what he wanted: a way to lie, to spin, and to let his Sunday morning spokespeople lie and spin, without actually lying.

That smell coming from the Oval Office is not dissimilar from the one coming from BLS, and the President may want to check his trousers. Obama may have reached the end of this propaganda cycle. The papers have begun to notice some things that all economists, whether left or right, know to be true: full employment should yield higher wages and more hours. But hours worked fell throughout the second quarter and wages remained flat. They also know their favorite boogeyman, the evil Wall Street CEO stealing workers wages, doesn’t really fly when the stock market has also remained essentially flat. In other words, with all that extra productivity from all of those new workers, there should be a lot more money entering the economy – but there isn’t. And it isn’t ending up in the mega-bank vault, either. It just doesn’t exist.

With the biggest lie ever told by a President finally being exposed (even bigger than, “If you like your plan…), all I can do is wonder what Obama is going to throw at us next.

A 21st Century Declaration of Independence

We all know (or at least, should know) the words in the founding document of our great nation. But what do they mean? After all, the phrasing and  terminology in the Declaration of Independence is undoubtedly mid-18th Century. To often today, words like  “endowed” carry a different meaning than when Thomas Jefferson penned them. So here’s a 21st Century Translation. I hope you enjoy!

In Congress, July 4, 1776

The Unanimous Declaration of the thirteen United States of America

Throughout history, sometimes one group of people decide enough is enough and are ready to form their own country. When that happens, it’s only fair that the new country explain why it’s taking such a drastic step.

There are some things that are so obvious even a moron should understand them. For instance, everyone is equal in the eyes of God, Who has given us rights that no government can deny; these include such basics as living and breathing, the freedom to think, speak, worship and associate as we please, and the chance to find happiness. People create governments to safeguard these rights, but when that government either stops protecting their God-given rights, or actually works to prohibit their exercise, the people reserve the ability to get rid of it and replace it with a government that is dedicated to maintaining those rights. That’s a dramatic step, of course, and should only be done as a last resort. After all, people have shown tremendous resiliency despite suffering at the hands of unresponsive governments. But things have gotten out of hand. We’re being ruled by a dictator; one who’s been screwing with us for a long time already. It is our duty to get rid of him and his government and put in place one that will look after our safety and security, both now and in the future. Before you judge our actions too harshly, let us prove the ways the British king is ruling by tyranny:

We pass laws for the public good, he refuses to allow either us or his own governors to implement them.
In exchange for actually doing his job (you know, ruling), he demands we give up our right to legislative representation.
When he actually does allow the people’s legislature to meet, it’s only at such oddball times and in such out of the way places as to make getting a quorum impossible.
Because our legislatures dare oppose the king’s usurpation’s of our rights, he keeps closing them down. Then, he refuses to allow a new legislature to be elected – even if that means nobody has any idea who’s in charge.
He’s even gone so far as to actively work to depopulate our States and then refuse to allow new people to settle here.
He’s refused to allow us to set up courts and judges for trying criminals. Instead, he’s put his cronies on the judicial bench and their only concern is whatever he tells them to do.
He’s ballooned the bureaucracy, with the express purpose of harassing us to the point of insanity.
The King has stationed a large standing army among our civilian population, even though we are supposedly at peace. This army is not subject to civilian authority and can even override decisions made by civilian authority. As if that wasn’t enough, his army can take over any citizen’s house for their own use, and he’s given it free reign to murder anyone with impunity. Oh, he claims his murderous soldiers are held to account. But it’s always a sham trial, with a king-appointed judge finding the offending soldier innocent.
He refuses to let us buy or sell any goods beyond our own borders.
He imposes new taxes and raises old ones, without regard to whether we can pay them and without even asking us first.
He seizes dissidents and takes them to Great Britain, to be sentenced in sham trials.
He’s dissolved our local state governments, abolished our laws and instituted absolute rule in our communities.
He’s declared war on us, his own subjects and said we are no longer protected by his absolute power and authority.
He’s plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns and destroyed the lives of our people.
Even now, he is sending huge mercenary armies to kill and maim us, rape our women and act with all the cruelty imagined by man over the centuries, establishing a reign of terror totally unbecoming a civilized ruler.
He’s even forced our citizens to fight in his armies and navies against their families and friends, under pain of death. He’s also sent the merciless Indians to utterly destroy our frontier outposts, killing everyone they come across, be they man, woman, or child, even if disabled.

Even while we’ve been subjected to this level of oppression, we’ve tried to reason with the king. But every time we’ve asked him to put an end to this madness, his response has been to escalate the torture, murder and repression further. A tyrant like this king simply isn’t fit to be anyone’s leader.

We’ve also tried to reach out to the British people. After all, we are supposed to be fellow citizens of the Empire. We’ve tried explaining to them that the actions taken by the king are not in keeping with our shared traditions, or English common law, but they seem to neither care nor consider us brothers. This leaves us no choice but to recognize them as a foreign people, and as with all foreigners, they will be our enemies in war and our friends in peace.

Therefore, this Congress, the duly elected representatives of the People of these former British colonies, with the moral authority given us by God himself, declare that we are no longer colonies. We are free and independent States, as granted by God. We no longer have any allegiance to the British crown, nor do we recognize any political or military authority of Great Britain over our territories or lives. As free and independent states, we reserve the ability to declare wars, levy taxes, create alliances, establish trade and do all those things any independent state can do. So help us God, we swear this Declaration on our honor, understanding that in so doing we may forfeit our lives and our fortunes.

When Symbology Changes

stars and barsHumans have used symbols to represent ideas and general concepts longer than there have been written languages. But sometimes, the meaning for a given symbol can change greatly, and sometimes that meaning can change in what seems like the blink of an eye.

For thousands of years, the swastika was used by cultures around the world. Originally, it was used to represent the sun, or strength, or power, or good luck. However, the German Nazi’s appropriated the symbol during their reign of terror. By the end of the Second World War, very few people outside of die-hard Nazis looked favorably upon the swastika. Today, it is a symbol that represents degradation, humiliation and overt racism. The original meaning is lost to the dust of history, and even the people who as recently as a century ago were using it as a good luck talisman have abandoned it.

2,000 years ago, the cross represented the very worst punishment the Roman Empire could mete out. Wherever crosses appeared, the most painful death imaginable was certain to follow. As a symbol, it represented the power of Rome and the emperor. Today, it is the principle symbol of the world’s 3 billion Christians. Rather than a symbol of oppression, it has become a symbol of freedom. Although I never met Emperor Nero, I doubt he would understand how, in less than a century, the Roman Imperial Eagle came to be replaced by the cross.

Today, we’re faced with another symbol that has undergone a radical transformation of it’s meaning: the Confederate Battle Flag. While it once stood for the right of individual states to protest the federal government and Southern Pride, it’s appropriation by various white supremacist groups today leaves it an undeniable symbol of racism and bigotry. Removing it’s use from public and/or official displays should be plain common sense.

There will still be occasions when it’s use is appropriate. Just as swastikas are flown during WWII reenactments, it’s a little hard to imagine a Civil War reenactment without the Stars and Bars. But by the same token, no matter how much I like Lynyrd Skynyrd, I just can’t imagine them continuing to use that flag as a stage prop – even though it’s been a staple of their shows for over 40 years. Yes, Skynyrd is proud to be Southern. but they’ve never embraced racism as a theme.

That’s what happens when symbols change meaning. You can continue to use them, hoping the world will understand you don’t agree with the new meaning. Or you can accept reality and move on. It’s time for us to move on and consign the Confederate Battle Flag to history.

Big Government —Big Stick | A Montpelier View

A traffic post from a fellow blogger, explaining why the theory of government usually diverges from the reality of government. It is a lesson our Founding Fathers understood and tried to incorporate into our Constitution.

I guarantee they never saw the likes of the 16th and 17th Amendments, whose combined effect has been to destroy the idea of limited government they put into action.


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