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The increasingly worthless Constitution

In response to yesterday’s post about the Obama administration’s policy of authorizing the assassination of American citizens who are suspected of being a terrorist threat, I get the following email:

This is nothing new. The CIA has always had the “first strike” right to kill. Just as a Police Officer does and you and I do if threatened. It is my understanding though that there is no legal ability in our justice system to take a terrorist off a plane and shoot him in the head. Did you read that post I put up the other day. It is what the Judge said to the shoe bomber after his trial. It puts all this “trial” talk into to perspective. For the record I would prefer if the terrorists would just be killed before trial. It’s cheaper. If we fail to accomplish that then legally our only other option is our justice system. If we can send nazi’s to trial surely we can handle these goat herders.

There are a number of things that are incorrect about the above statement:

1 The CIA (or any other government agency, for that matter) does not have rights. They have powers. LARGE difference.

2 The Obama administration has been bleating on about how terrorists have RIGHTS, and should be allowed access to lawyers, fair trials, etc. Or did they only deserve that when Bush was in charge?

3 Note also that the CIA has never had the authority to operate inside the United States.

4 First kill suspected terrorists, THEN try the survivors in the Justice system because it is CHEAPER? Really?

5 Here is the same question I asked during the Bush administration: just who decides what a terrorist is? The Homeland Security Secretary?

6 There is a very large difference between assassinating a person who you think MAY be a terrorist, and shooting a person because they present an imminent threat to the health and safety of others. The fact that there is time to get the approval of the Justice Department is evidence that there is no imminent threat. Imagine, if you will, a police officer calling the Mayor to get permission to kill a suspected bank robber.

Democrats and Republicans both need to stop all this bickering, and stop being apologists for their parties. This is why I am not in either party- I see no difference between the two- they are both willing to oppress the proles in order to advance their agendas.

Several times in my life, I took an oath to defend my nation against all enemies- foreign AND domestic. I am beginning to wonder if that makes me a potential target for assassination.

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Due process

Our Constitutional rights are under attack every day. Anyone who has followed my blog knows that I frequently write about the Second and First Amendment.

I have written about the third amendment, and how that right applies to us today.

the same goes for the Fourth.

Last May, I wrote a post about Ashton Lundeby, the 16 year old being held without trial, or even access to an attorney. At the time, I wrote this:

When the Patriot Act was passed, many Americans warned that this law would be abused. We were told that we were being ridiculous and paranoid. “Everyone deserves their day in court,” we said. We were told that terrorists didn’t deserve constitutional protections. “But what happens when the definition of terrorist is expanded?” we asked. “That won’t happen,” we were told, “stop being paranoid.”

Well, here we are. First, it is kids calling in bomb threats. Then, it will be some other demographic that fits some legally technical definition. It will not be long before people who own evil assault rifles are declared to be terrorists.

(Remember that the Obama administration has already said that veterans are potential terrorists.)

Here is the next step down that slippery slope:

The director of national intelligence affirmed rather bluntly today that the U.S. intelligence community has authority to target American citizens for assassination if they present a direct terrorist threat to the United States.

There is more:

According to U.S. officials, only a handful of Americans would be eligible for targeting by U.S. intelligence or military operations. The legal guidance is determined by the National Security Council and the Justice Department.

Where does the Constitution grant that power?

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.- Amendment V, United States Constitution.

Funny, I don’t see anything in there about summary executions by the so-called Justice Department. I wonder how long it will be before the execution list is as inaccurate as the no-fly list, and how long it will be before the Second Amendment proves its value.

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Crisis

A paramedic comes to me and shows me a monitor strip of a patient in new onset Aflutter at a rate of 180. The patient was unstable, and the medic treated the patient by cardioverting him at 50joules. The patient converted, and transported to the hospital in a SR with all symptoms resolved.

An hour later, the duty supervisor comes in and begins telling the medic that he should not have cardioverted the patient, and instead should have given the patient adenosine. This touched off a discussion where I pointed out that adenosine will not work to correct Aflutter, and that studies have shown that adenosine can, in some cases, even CAUSE Afib or Aflutter. Since we no longer carry cardizem, I told the supervisor that cardioversion was the correct thing for this medic to have done. He replied, “Well, adeosine wouldn’t have hurt her. What’s the big deal?”

Now keep in mind this is the same supervisor who happened upon a code, and had to call another medic on his cell phone and ask him “What drug comes after epi in an asystole code?”

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$3.83 trillion

That is the proposed Obama budget for FY 2011, that is the fiscal year that begins October 1, 2010. A whopping $3.83 trillion. That staggering sum is following the $3.72 trillion for the fiscal year we are currently in. Assuming that Obama doesn’t ask for, and Congress doesn’t approve, any other spending, and assuming that tax receipts hold true to predictions, and assuming that interest rates don’t rise, the US government will show a $1.56 trillion deficit in 2010, and a $1.27 trillion deficit in 2011, bringing the national debt to about $15.2 trillion by the end of FY2011.

There are quite a few assumptions there. I am sure that something else will happen in the next two years to force the administration to spend more than predicted. After all, when has the government ever done anything under budget?

When Obama took over the presidency, we were $10.6 trillion in debt. We are now $12.3 trillion in debt. We are budgeted to be $15.2 trillion in debt by the end of next fiscal year. This is change?

I think we have reached the point of no return. There is no way we can pay back the money we owe, even if we had the will to do what is required of us, and we don’t have the will to stop spending.

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Dave Ramsey- banking shill or fool?

I turned on the AM radio while I was on the way home the other day, so that I could get a traffic report that would help me escape the early evening gridlock that I was stuck in, and I listened to several minutes of the Dave Ramsey show. The majority of his message makes a lot of sense- pay your bills, don’t go into debt, etc. Then a person called in and asked if he should invest in buying gold. Now, I don’t have an exact quote, but the gist of Mr Ramsey’s comments were as follows:

Gold has barely broken even when compared to inflation over the past 50 years, and you are better off in a mutual fund than you are buying gold.

That statement is a little misleading, and I am not sure if I should be hoping that Dave Ramsey is a liar or a fool. Lets see why:

First, the dollar was pegged to gold until 1933 when the Bretton Woods agreement went into effect, pegging the price of gold at $35 an ounce. This ended in 1971, when Nixon canceled the system. This means that gold remained at a fixed price until 39 years ago. To compare any stock market fund to the price of gold in any year before 1971 is either deliberately misleading, or shows a lack of knowledge on the part of the speaker.

Buying 25 ounces of gold in 1971 would have cost $875.

Comparing the price of gold to stocks, I turn to the DOW. There are problems with the DJIA, and I will discuss them in a bit, but for now lets assume that Dave Ramsey bought one share in each DOW company in 1971. That would have cost him $868.

Lets take a look our investments, shall we?
In 1976, my gold is worth $3,270 and Dave Ramsey’s stock is worth $975.
In 1981, my gold is worth $14,000 and Dave Ramsey’s stock is worth $947.
In 1986, my gold is worth $8,800 and Dave Ramsey’s stock is worth $1,582.
In 1991, my gold is worth $9,475 and Dave Ramsey’s stock is worth $2,730.
In 1996, my gold is worth $9,925 and Dave Ramsey’s stock is worth $5,405.
In 2001, my gold is worth $6,587 and Dave Ramsey’s stock is worth $10,759.
In 2006, my gold is worth $13,831 and Dave Ramsey’s stock is worth $10,953.
In Jan 2010, my gold is worth $27,200 and Dave Ramsey’s stock is worth $10,067.
Edited to add:
In October 2010, my gold is worth 33,350 and Dave Ramsey’s stock is worth $11,169.

So you can see that gold has outperformed the market for the last 39 years, with the exception of the period between 1996 and 2001. Even that is misleading, since there have been changes in the makeup of the companies that comprise the DJIA. During the time period of 1996 to 2001, AT&T, Hewlett Packard, The Home Depot, Intel, Microsoft, and Wal Mart were all added to the DJIA. Also considering that the DJIA has a multiplier that is used by banks to adjust the numbers, the prices that are quoted for the DJIA are inflated.

Had I bought $10,000 in stock in 2001, I would have $9356 today. Had I bought $10,000 in gold in 2001, I would have $41,293 today.

Bad advice, Dave.

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Just like Dad

I wrote this post three years ago, and I never published it. I don’t know why, so here it is:

My mother recently came to see me because she wanted to speak with me about the death of my father. For those of you who do not know, my father died in May of 2005. It was one of the worst days of my life. Even though I knew at the time that his passing would affect me, I had no idea that nearly 2 years later the wounds would still be so fresh. That was the reason my mother was here to see me. Mothers seem to sense these things.

Dealing with life and death issues as often as I do, I really felt like I knew what was coming when I learned of his passing. I was wrong.

Like any boy, I loved my father. A boy’s love for his father is not the affection you show for a lover, nor is it even remotely like the love of a mother for her children. You see, boys have a need to seek the approval of their fathers. They are driven by an overwhelming need to grow into even a fraction of the man that they perceive their fathers to be. Most of all, they want to earn the respect of their Dad.

I fought in a war. I gave him grandchildren. I became the first person in my family tree to graduate from college. I have delivered babies, I have held others as the life slipped from their bodies. I have pulled dying people out of burning buildings, I jumped in a lake to save a drowning man from an alligator. When my dad had a heart attack, I was the medic who worked on him. I have filled sandbags in Missouri to save flooding homes, sifted through ruined homes looking for the dead in disasters, and fed the survivors. All of these things I did, trying to be half the man I perceived him to be. I began to teach classes on medical procedures, hoping to teach the next generation of providers. Again, for him.

Then, he was gone. I carried him to his grave, and since that time, I have carried my grief around in my heart like a lead weight, and at times it has been nearly overpowering. I asked myself countless times if I measured up.

This morning, my son came to me with 2 movie tickets and asked me if I wanted to go out with him. We spent the afternoon with each other. I am proud of my son, as he starts his new job on Monday as a firefighter. As I looked at him on the way home, I realized that my son was trying to be larger than life.

Just like his Dad.

I finally did it Dad, I am just like you.

and to you, son: You have indeed earned my respect. You have fulfilled every expectation and dream that any father has a right to hope for his son.

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Press anti-gun agenda

The press is making hay out this guy being caught with a .50 caliber rifle. I know that you in the press don’t know the difference, and aren’t really interested in the difference, but .50 caliber refers to quite a few different cartridges, and there is a large difference between them:

The round most people think of when they hear 50 caliber, is the .50 BMG. This round is used in heavy machine guns and in the Barret rifle. It fires a 647 grain bullet at 3000 feet per second, which equates to over 13,000 foot pounds of force. While there are ways to convert an AR-15 frame to fire this round, such a rifle is not going to be light, and a person will not be able to hide it under a coat.

More likely, the cartridge we are talking about is the .50 Beowolf. It fires a 325 grain bullet at 2,000 feet per second, developing 2900 foot-pounds of force. To compare this, the .30 06, a common round used in hunting, fires a 200 grain bullet at just over 2500 feet per second, thus generating about 2900 foot pounds of force.

There are even pistol cartridges that are technically .50 caliber, such as the .50 Action Express, a pistol round fired by the Desert Eagle. Firing a 325 grain bullet at 1400 feet per second, it develops about 1400 ft/lbs of energy. There is also the .500 Smith and Wesson, firing a 400 grain bullet at 1800 feet per second, and delivering just under 2900 foot pounds of force.

Even the grenade launcher is said to be a 37mm grenade launcher. Except it isn’t. The 37mm launcher is not classed as a grenade launcher (destructive device) by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives. According to them, it is a FLARE LAUNCHER, and there are not even any grenades available for it, just flares and smoke signaling devices.

In other words, this guy was not in possession of anything out of the ordinary. Heck, I have better weapons in my gun safe. The problem is that the truth here does not fit in with the agenda of the press: create pants-wetting hysteria in the public, so you can influence opinion in an uneducated populous to advance your agenda.

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What were they thinking?

When Apple thought up the name for the new iPad?

I am also hoping that I can parley an iPad post into some hits for the ‘ole hit counter.

I know, I am a whore.

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More signs of recovery?

No. Instead, we have December home sales down 17%, mostly because the government tax credit giveaway was set to expire November 30, so many who were gonna buy did so during November. Cash for Clunkers had a similar effect.

Expect Obama to tell us we are recovering, just like we were in May 2008, December 2008, January 2009, March 2009, April 2009, May 2009, July 2009, and August 2009. Remember those good old days of 2008, when they told us that we weren’t officially in a recession yet?

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Poor Service

I bought a Gemtech Suppressor from Spike’s Tactical in Apopka, Florida in mid May of 2009. They made me pay full price for the suppressor at the time I bought it, because it takes so long for approvals to come back. I sent the Form 4 into the ATF on May 15. It was returned to me 2 weeks later, unopened. Why? Because Spike’s had used an old version of the Form 4, and it had the wrong address on it.

I resent it to the ATF on June 1. ATF got the form on June 4. I called in August to check on the status, and I was told it went pending July 27, and that I would be waiting for a long time.

Finally, I got tired of waiting, and called ATF. They just told me that the form was approved and mailed in November. I called Spike’s, and they told me that there is only one person in the whole business that can handle class 3 problems, and he is at the SHOT show. He will supposedly return my call on Monday.

I am not impressed. I could have had this thing over 2 months ago, and they let the ONE guy who handles transfers leave town for a week? They didn’t bother to call me when the Forms came back approved? It upsets me that my purchase was delayed because first they gave me an old form with the wrong address, second because they got my approved paperwork back and decided it wasn’t important enough to call me, and compounded my dissatisfaction by leaving the office unstaffed by anyone who can actually get things done for over a week.

Edit: I called Spike’s this morning, and they told me the guy was still out of town. I am going up there and see what I can get accomplished in person.

Edit 2: I made the 45 minute drive, and stomped my feet until they let me talk to Spike himself. He straightened the problem out in less than 10 minutes. It seems that they had my paperwork the entire time, but the employee in charge of NFA transactions lost my phone number and was either too lazy or too stupid to simply write me a letter at the address on my Form 4.

Either way, I got my suppressor.