New Year’s Resolutions

Given that Hillary Clinton thinks the National Rifle Association is one of the enemies that she is most proud of, it is good to see the NRA punching back twice as hard.  Their New Year’s video pokes fun at her support from Bloomberg as well as her obvious disdain for the Second Amendment and by extension the US Constitution.

I think it is smart for the NRA to start switching their focus from Obama to Clinton. While Obama can still make mischief as he is signaling with his weekly address, he is a lame duck. Short of appointing another Supreme Court justice, he can’t hurt us too badly. Hillary, on the other hand, given four years in office would be a disaster for gun owners.

UPDATE: Interestingly enough, the NRA’s video is catching some traction with the news media. In our local station’s (WLOS Asheville) reports on the gun control moves by Obama, this video is mentioned each and every time. I heard about it at 5pm, 5:30pm, 6pm, and 11pm.

I Didn’t Know That ISIS Had Attacked Paris, Maine

Sometimes you just have to shake your head in wonder about the things that come out of the mouth of Barack Obama. The video clip below is a case in point.

Obama made these comments while in Paris, France. You know where on November 13th, eight ISIS terrorists killed 132 people in a set of coordinated shootings across the City of Lights.

I’m guessing he must have confused Paris, France with Paris, Maine. The former is the French capital while the later is a small town in western foothills region of Maine near Sebago Lake.

Likewise, he must have confused the Norway where 69 were killed and 110 wounded at a youth camp in 2011 with Norway, Maine. I mean, it is right next door to Paris, Maine. Besides that area of Maine has a slew of summer camps for kids. Any reasonable person could see how he got confused by this especially since Denmark, Maine is just about 25 miles away.

January 20, 2016 cannot get here soon enough.

Quote Of The Day

The quote of the day has nothing to do with gun rights but everything to do with our feckless (and anti-gun) president. It is from Prof. Frederick Kagan of the American Enterprise Institute. Kagan was formerly a professor of military history at West Point.

There was no meaningful al Qaeda presence in Afghanistan when Barack Obama took office. There will likely be al Qaeda strategic bases there when he leaves. That is failure by any standard.

Frustrated Is Good; Stymied Is Even Better

The BBC’s North America editor Jon Sopel was given an exclusive interview with President Obama. In that interview, Mr. Obama said:

“If you ask me where has been the one area where I feel that I’ve been most frustrated and most stymied, it is the fact that the United States of America is the one advanced nation on Earth in which, we do not have sufficient common-sense gun safety laws, even in the face of repeated mass killings,” Obama said. “If you look at the number of Americans killed since 9/11 by terrorism, it’s less than 100. If you look at the number that have been killed by gun violence, it’s in the tens of thousands.”

I am proud to say that I have supported organizations and legislators who have helped stymie his assault on the Second Amendment. I know Mr. Obama thinks nothing of abrogating the rights of Americans by using his “pen and a phone”. When he mentions in the video below that he has 18 months to work on “gun violence” (sic), I take him at his word and am willing to fight him every step of the way. Nothing he has proposed or will propose is “common sense”.

What I Missed Last Week

Last week in St. Louis was spent at the hospital with my mother-in-law. As a result, I didn’t get to comment on some of the issues that came up last week. It is too late to comment on everything that happened but I’d like to mention a couple of things in the “Never Let A Tragedy Go To Waste” category.

First up is the abuse of the funeral of Rev. Clementa Pinckney by President Obama for political purposes. To me a eulogy should be a discussion of the deceased’s life. It should be used to let others know how much the deceased loved his or her family. It should be used to point out the deceased’s accomplishments in life. It should be used to discuss the goodness of the deceased.

By all accounts, Clementa Pinckney was a good and pious man who loved his family and his church community. He was also an accomplished man in that he was elected to the South Carolina State Senate at the young age of 23. While he might have been a politician, he didn’t deserve having the President of the United States turn his funeral into a political attack on guns and the Confederate flag.

For too long, we’ve been blind to the unique mayhem that gun violence inflicts upon this nation. (Applause.) Sporadically, our eyes are open: When eight of our brothers and sisters are cut down in a church basement, 12 in a movie theater, 26 in an elementary school. But I hope we also see the 30 precious lives cut short by gun violence in this country every single day; the countless more whose lives are forever changed — the survivors crippled, the children traumatized and fearful every day as they walk to school, the husband who will never feel his wife’s warm touch, the entire communities whose grief overflows every time they have to watch what happened to them happen to some other place.

The vast majority of Americans — the majority of gun owners — want to do something about this. We see that now. (Applause.) And I’m convinced that by acknowledging the pain and loss of others, even as we respect the traditions and ways of life that make up this beloved country — by making the moral choice to change, we express God’s grace. (Applause.)

The second broader issue is the Confederate flag or, more correctly, the battle flag of the Army of Northern Virginia. To some it is a symbol of slavery and racism. To others it is a symbol of their Southern heritage for which their forefathers fought and died.

My great-great-grandfather Alexander Clay “Sandy” Morgan was a private in Co. K, 34th North Carolina Infantry along with his brothers Anderson and Eli. They both grew up in the northern part of Montgomery County, North Carolina and had enlisted (or more likely were drafted) in March 1863. Their regiment was part of the second wave of troops involved in the ill-fate Pickett’s Charge at the Battle of Gettysburg. Sandy and Anderson survived the war while their brother Eli is reported to have died as a prisoner of war at Point Lookout, Maryland.

My Grandfather Richardson’s biological father, William Thomas Brewer, reportedly served in the Confederate Navy according to my cousin and family historian Rev. Van Thomas. I am sure there are more relatives that served the Confederacy if I dig deeper.

I have never owned a Confederate flag of any sort. I just haven’t. My mom was a New Yorker whose ancestors didn’t even arrive to this country until after the Civil War (or War of Northern Aggression). As my influence on these things came from my mother, familial ties to the Confederacy were just not emphasized.

Just as important, even though I had ancestors who served in the Confederate Army, the section of North Carolina from which they came was highly anti-slavery and anti-secessionist. This section of the Piedmont is referred to as the Quaker Belt by historians and tended to have many Southern Unionists. My grandfather was a staunch Republican and I surmise his political beliefs were tied to this anti-slavery, Southern Unionist core of thought in southern Randolph and northern Montgomery Counties.

Should the Confederate flag fly over a statehouse? No, that should be the US flag and the state flag. However, should a Confederate flag fly over a Confederate war memorial or over a historic site? Absolutely, positively yes. It is a reminder of our history both good and bad. As the philosopher George Santayana wrote, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

I am sick to death of political correctness, talk of micro-aggressions, and other such nonsense. I am at the point where I’d fly the Confederate flag just out of spite even though I’ve never even owned one in the past.

Perhaps it was just as well that my focus last week was on my mother-in-law and not this stuff.

The Difference Two Years Make

It is interesting the difference two years make. I’m listening to a rebroadcast of President Obama’s State of the Union Speech. I was interested to see if he was going to call for more gun control. Reading through the speech and then doing word searches I can find no mention of guns, firearms, background checks, or Newtown. The only mention of crime has to do with the incarceration rate.

By contrast, the 2013 State of the Union Speech contains eight instances where Obama mentioned guns or gun violence (sic). He called for more background checks as well as restrictions on firearms and standard capacity magazines.

I don’t know whether it is because there is a Republican Senate and House who (generally) are pro-gun rights or because its just not sexy enough for him to bother with anymore. He’s still hung up on “climate change”and “rising oceans”. And, of course, it is for “the children”.

Oh, well, you can’t have everything.

UPDATE: I was wrong. He did mention Newtown and Tucson but in the context of grieving with families just as he grieved with dead miners in West Virginia.

What Would Milo Think?

My best friend was a Cuban-American.

I first met Emilio Rodriguez in grad school at UNC-Chapel Hill in 1979. We were both students in the political science doctoral program. He in International Relations and me in Public Administration and Public Policy. He went on to get his PhD from Carolina while I got a wife and no degree. In fact, he was the one who introduced me to my late first wife Rosanne.

Milo went on to teach at the University of South Alabama, the American College of Switzerland, and finally at Mount Saint Mary’s University in Emmitsburg, Maryland where he made an indelible mark on his students. He was leading a semester trip abroad in 2008 to Ireland  when he passed away from complications related to his kidney and pancreas transplant. Even now as I write this I am getting a lump in my throat and my eyes are moist.

Milo with his wife Amy, son John, and daughter in law Michelle.

While Milo was born in New Orleans to a Cuban dad and American mom, he spent much of his youth before the Cuban Revolution living in Havana. He had no love for Castro and the Communists.

Photo by Burt Glinn, Magnum Photos

I will always remember the stories Milo told about what it was like when the Communists came to power. The story that always resonated with me was about how they took his toy trains when he was an eight year old. They took them because Milo’s family wasn’t part of the proletariat.

What kind of people take a kid’s toy trains in the name of La Revolución.

Now that Barack Obama has unilaterally re-established diplomatic relations with Cuba, I wonder what Milo would think. Milo was a pro-military, pro-gun kinda-liberal college professor who grew up in Miami and Madrid. He enjoyed Duke basketball, good cigars, good Scotch and cognac, military re-enacting, and girl watching. He may have said it was time or he may have said, “hell, no!”. And frankly, I’ll never know. As for me, I’m trending towards the “hell, no!” response so long as any Castro is alive and in power.

It’s Not A Tradition; It’s A Civil Right

Yesterday marked the first anniversary of the Navy Yard murders. Calling it merely a “shooting” serves to focus on the tool while mitigating the evil intent of the murderer.

To mark the anniversary, President Obama released the following short statement:

One year ago, our dedicated military and civilian personnel at the Washington Navy Yard were targeted in an unspeakable act of violence that took the lives of 12 American patriots. As we remember men and women taken from us so senselessly, we keep close their family and friends, stand with the survivors who continue to heal and pay tribute to the first responders who acted with skill and bravery. At the same time, we continue to improve security at our country’s bases and installations to protect our military and civilian personnel who help keep us safe. One year ago, 12 Americans went to work to protect and strengthen the country they loved. Today, we must do the same – rejecting atrocities like these as the new normal and renewing our call for common-sense reforms that respect our traditions while reducing the gun violence that shatters too many American families every day.

First, let me point out, that keeping our military bases and installations gun-free zones protect no one. They only serve to provide an easier working environment for deranged psychopaths.

Next, using the anniversary of the murders of Navy personnel to call for more gun control – “common-sense reforms” – is nothing more than blood dancing. Just like the children murdered at the school in Newtown, the 12 civilian personnel who died appear to be nothing more than debating points to be used by the White House in its quest for more and more gun control.

Finally, the Second Amendment and the right to keep and bear arms is not a tradition. It is a Constitutional amendment that recognized a pre-existing civil right. And as the Supreme Court affirmed in the Heller decision, it is an individual right. Saying that you want to “respect our traditions” conjures up the image of men and boys in a deer camp clad in red and black plaid wool coats and toting Winchester 94s and Marlin 336s. To refer to it as a tradition denigrates what are essential civil and human rights – the right to self-defense and the right to overthrow a tyrannical government. The right to keep and bear arms helps to assure both of those rights.

Like Your Relatively Inexpensive Wolf Or Silver Bear Or Tula Ammo?

David Codrea has an interesting column up this morning in the National Gun Rights Examiner. Given that it is fairly obvious by now that Putin has sent Russian troops into Crimea which is part of Ukraine, what sort of response will the Obama Administration come up with short of sending troops?

How about doing something to screw US gun owners that would also hit the Russians in the pocket book? In other words, a win-win in their minds.

“I had a fellow tell me this morning that he was completely unconcerned about the Ukraine situation, believing that Obama would take the ‘Chamberlain way out’ of confrontation,” Mike Vanderboegh related this morning on his Sipsey Street Irregulars blog.

“No he won’t,” Vanderboegh replied, “he’ll take the Clinton way out — do nothing about the larger issue but he’ll cut off our access to Russian ammunition just like Clinton cut off our access to inexpensive Chinese ammo in the 90s, to ‘punish them for human rights violations.’”

With foreign imports growing to accommodate the already stretched supply of ammunition that has domestic manufacturers running operations around the clock, such a move would not only send an easy and immediate signal that would meet with “progressive” political and media approval, it would also continue with a long-established tactic of the “gun control” movement: punishing peaceable gun owners for something they are not responsible for.

Sure you can get 7.62×39 ammo from other countries including the US. However, checking the prices at and elsewhere, US made ammo will cost you 3-5 times as much while most non-Russian, non-US made 7.62×39 will still cost 2-3 times as much. The only exception is the Romanian made, Century International imported “Red Army” brand of ammo.

I’m not trying to start a run on ammo but think we need to be aware and consider what the Obama Administration might do in the Ukranian situation. I think David and Mike are on to something here.

The Obligatory “Gun Violence” Reference In Obama’s SOTU Speech

I guess it would be too much to ask to hope that President Obama might concentrate primarily on national security, economic growth, and jobs growth in tonight’s State of the Union speech. The obligatory reference to so-called gun violence (sic) along with a pledge to keep pushing gun control with or without the aid of Congress.

From the speech:

Citizenship means standing up for the lives that gun violence steals from us each day. I have seen the courage of parents, students, pastors, and police officers all over this country who say “we are not afraid,” and I intend to keep trying, with or without Congress, to help stop more tragedies from visiting innocent Americans in our movie theaters, shopping malls, or schools like Sandy Hook.

The British paper The Guardian notes, however, that it seems the First Lady has somewhat shifted her focus from gun control issues. The point out that she had four invitees last year post-Newtown to push the issues. This year the sole invitee representing “gun violence” is the school bookkeeper from Atlanta who talked a school shooter into giving up the gun.

From four invitees in 2013, the number of guests of the first lady invited this year to spotlight the problem of gun violence in the US is one. She is Antoinette Tuff, a bookkeeper from Georgia credited with preventing a shooting at an elementary school in an Atlanta suburb by talking the would-be shooter out of it.

Otherwise, the makeup of Michelle Obama’s viewing box for Tuesday night’s speech is largely unchanged from a year ago. Among her 22 guests (Jill Biden and Valerie Jarrett aside) are small businesses’ proprietors and employees, overachieving students, young immigrants, beneficiaries of the Affordable Care Act and a wounded veteran.

President Barack Obama ended his 2013 State of the Union speech with an emotional call for Congress to vote on new gun legislation. Underscoring the point was the presence in the first lady’s visitor box of the parents of a Chicago teenager killed in gun violence; a police lieutenant who was shot 15 times when he responded to the mass shooting at a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin; and a teacher at Sandy Hook elementary in Newtown, Connecticut.

Let’s hope this is a harbinger of things to come.

UPDATE: Here is a link to a video clip of Obama and this part of his State of the Union address. I’m linking because it is an auto-play video.