The Minnesota Grizzly Bear

Roaring about life since 2009

Fox News uses “wrong footage,” pt. 2

Oh come on, shame on you guys.  Are you even trying anymore?  The second time in a week?  I’m going to keep writing about these screwups, which hardly seem accidental, because the bar needs to be raised.  We can win without distortions and lies, so enough already. 

Wednesday’s incident occurred when Fox News host Gregg Jarrett mentioned that a Sarah Palin appearance and book signing in Grand Rapids, Michigan had a massive turnout…However, the video used in the segment was from a 2008 McCain/Palin campaign rally.

Fox News again accused of airing misleading video

 

Have it good,

-M

November 19, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | | Leave a comment

To the Shores of Tripoli, pt. deux

I can’t help but shake my head when I read an article like this about piracy.  I think the U.N. gets all of its information on piracy from Johnny Depp movies.  According to the U.N.,

Piracy on the high seas cannot be fought by international naval fleets alone, but requires a regional approach that also deals with its root causes, the UN Special Representative for Somalia said.

This is just Somalia buying time to keep the sovereign nations of the world from acting on this issue.  The pirates, who are by and large a collection of groups from Somalia, undoubtedly enrich their local communities with the riches from paid ransoms like the one Spain recently paid, to the tune of $4 million dollars.  It’s obvious that a surface navy is ineffective as a deterrant, because the ocean is far too big for any reactive surface force to safeguard all international trade from attack.  So what is the next best thing? 
Well, as always, I have the answer.  It involves simply extending my belief in a decentralized, responsible and armed force of on-the-scene responders.  This is one of my primary arguments for the Concealed Carry Permit in the U.S., and it looks like a good arugment on the high seas.  In fact, here’s proof just yesterday of what good can come from armed personnel on board a ship:
Somali pirates attacked the Maersk Alabama on Wednesday for the second time in seven months and were thwarted by private guards on board the U.S.-flagged ship who fired off guns and a high-decibel noise device.

Pirates hijacked the Maersk Alabama last April and took ship captain Richard Phillips hostage, holding him at gunpoint in a lifeboat for five days. Navy SEAL sharpshooters freed Phillips while killing three pirates in a daring nighttime attack.

Four suspected pirates in a skiff attacked the ship again on Wednesday around 6:30 a.m. local time, firing on the ship with automatic weapons from about 300 yards (meters) away, a statement from the U.S. Fifth Fleet in Bahrain said.

An on-board security team repelled the attack by using evasive maneuvers, small-arms fire and a Long Range Acoustic Device, which can beam earsplitting alarm tones, the fleet said.

The wife of the Maersk Alabama’s captain, Paul Rochford, told WBZ-AM radio in Boston that she was “really happy” there were weapons on board for this attack.

Maersk Alabama repels 2nd pirate attack with guns

That sounds to me like a pretty easy way to deal with piracy.  They attack you with guns?  Counterattack with your own.  Letting pirates know that a cargo container is a “gun-free zone” only lets them know that taking the ship over is going to be absurdly easy, just like a similarly marked zone on a college campus tells the deranged gunman that no one is going to be armed and no one will stop the massacre.

And why should the U.S. wait to take action against these renegage gangs of thugs and pirates?  Piracy is one of the few crimes outlined explicitly in the U.S. Constitution.  In Article I, Section 8 of Congress’s enumerated powers, it’s right there:
The Congress shall have power to define and punish piracies and felonies committed on the high seas
Doesn’t get much more simple than that, does it?  Americans don’t have a history of negotiating with pirates, as the United States Marine Corps can proudly explain to you.  In fact, that’s where the line “to the shores of Tripoli” originates in the USMC Hymn.  The Battle of Derne was America’s way of saying ‘enough is enough’ to the Barbary pirates, and I think it’s time we do it again, I think the lesson has worn off.
Have it good,
-M

November 19, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | 3 Comments

A stimulus I can get behind!

Finally, a government program for the economy that I can fully support!  The state of South Carolina is offering holiday shoppers a 48-hour window in which firearms will not be taxed during the weekend after Thanksgiving.

During the tax holiday, “[s]hoppers will pay no state or local sales taxes on handguns, rifles and shotguns, which can tally 9 percent.”

SC offering shoppers a 48-hour sales tax break on guns

I mean, this really does make a lot of sense if you think about it.  What is one of the few industries that has been doing record-breaking sales in this weak economy?  The firearms industry!  This spike began even before Barack Obama took the White House, so naysayers who believe it’s all thanks to his anti-gun politics aren’t entirely correct.  Take a look at this article from 2007 in Shooting Industry Magazine – Business Hits Robust Level.  I wouldn’t be surprised if the firearm industry was still recovering from the destructive and misguided gun control policies of the Clinton years

The Democrats should take a look at South Carolina’s example of how to really grow an econ.omy.  Tax breaks to encourage spending, expansion, and employment are always more desirable than a massive government intervention into matters it doesn’t know enough about. 

Let’s just hope that the Obama Administration’s archaic and outdated gun control policies don’t strangle this vital, multi-billion dollar industry which employs thousands of Americans across the country.  With unemployment at 10.2% and rising, do we really need to add gun manufacturers to the statisic?

Have it good,

-M

 

November 19, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment

Ethics + Defense Contractors? no problem!

This story meshes nicely with my previous entry about the comments of Representative Duncan and the anti-Conservative nature of war.  The exaltation of constant warfare is antithetical to our core Republican values of limited government, fiscal responsibility and the preservation of life and liberty.  Now we’ve even got John McCain saying these “Defense Contractors” might not be good for America! 

Unfortunately, his remedy for the situation is to rewrite the ethical rules regarding DoD interaction with contractors because “[t]he important thing is that they avoid the appearance of conflict.”

McCain wants review on defense work by retired brass

Conflict with who?  The ethical rules of our military personnel?  Don’t whitewash the situation, if these contractors are unethically exploiting their relationship with the military, there should be no reward for them.  End of story.

Also: McCain: Interests of Defense Contractors May Conflict with US National Interest

 

Have it good,

-M

November 19, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment

War not conservative

Now this is what I like to see coming from a Republican Congressman other than Ron Paul.  War is an issue I am passionate about, and I differ with many of my Republican colleagues and friends by standing unapologetically opposed to reckless and ill-planned death, destruction and chaos.  Here’s a good snippet from Rep. John J. Duncan of Tennessee:

Fiscal conservatives should be the ones most horrified by all this spending. Conservatives who oppose big government and huge deficit spending at home should not support it in foreign countries just because it is being done by our biggest bureaucracy, the Defense Department.

War not conservative (Rep. John J. Duncan) – The Hill’s Congress Blog.

As a fiascal conservative, ain’t that the truth.  Our job as Americans is to preach our values and principles through commerce and diplomacy, because war is the antithesis of freedom, liberty and prosperity.  It’s our responsibility to set a decent and moral example for the world, and not sink down to the level of our enemies by torturing, kidnapping and hiring reckless mercenaries/contractors to fight our wars.  America is the city on a hill, a shining beacon to all.  Let’s prove it.

Have it good,

-M

November 19, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | 2 Comments

Senate + Healthcare = EPIC FAIL

The U.S. Senate unveiled their version of the Health Care Fail on Wedndesday night, and oh the ruckus it will raise.  This baby sounds just as great as the House bill, since it will

require most people to obtain insurance and which would create a government-run insurance plan, or public option, starting in 2014, in which states could choose to not participate.

Oh, cool, so now you’ll force me to buy insurance?  Or what?  Where is the Constitutional authority that gives you the right to fine me for not buying health insurance?  Insurance that will undoubtedly cost more now that your market-competition-killing tendrils have gotten hold of it?  More importantly, people need to understand that

UNIVERSAL COVERAGE ≠ ACCESS TO CARE

I’ve read my fair share of studies concerning the health care systems of Europe, and I am not impressed with what I’ve found.  In fact, the trend all accross Europe has seen several countries introduce more free market mechanisms into their government-run systems in order to keep them solvent!  Is America behind the curve or what?  We’re usually so good at free market capitalism here in the good ol’ U.S of A that I think we’ve begun to take it for granted.  We can’t wait until President Obama signs this health care disaster into law before we realize what a terrible idea it is to create an innovation-stifling, cost-exploding monopoly and plop it in the lap of the Federal Government.  We know its a bad idea NOW, we don’t need to wait for the lines to start at the clinic door in 2014. 

If anything good has come out of European healthcare, leave it to the Swiss to do something right.  Switzerland actually has a few things to teach us Americans about medical cost transparency.  If the consumer knows how much health care truly costs to them, it becomes a far less frivolous personal expenditure.  No one can spend my money better than meRead the entire European health care evaluation here, from the Cato Institute.

  Earlier on Wednesday I posed this question on my Facebook page earlier and didn’t get much response, so I’ll ask it again:

So seriously now, do people actually think that Obama’s healthcare disaster is actually good for the country? I am genuinely curious about why anyone would think that it is. 

That question still stands today, I really want to know why people think that this 2000+ page monstrosity is really a step in the right direction in terms of affordability, quality, and access to care. 

The entire world can’t afford to see our tradition of American innovation and brilliance slide down the abyss of government bureaucracy and control.

Have it good,

-M

November 19, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment

A challenge?!

Here we go for an exciting turn in the pre-race for MN District 1!  Former State Rep. Allen Quist announced on Wednesday night that he is challenging Democrat Tim Walz for his seat in the U.S. House. 

Quist announces he’ll run for Congress against Walz

Quist Eyeing Walz Challenge?

Well thank the gods, kick the bum out.  After reading over Mr. Quist’s campaign site, it looks like his primary focus is taking Rep. Walz to task on healthcare reform.  Rep. Walz was one of the 220 votes that made sure the immoral monstrosity that is the House Healthcare bill just barely scraped by.  Just like Earl Pomeroy in North Dakota, I can’t wait for 2010 to see the absolutely brutal blowback that will emerge from their votes on this Healthcare Disaster Bill. 

I see some good homeschooling credentials on Quist’s campaign website, it looks like he “played an influential role in legalizing home schools in Minnesota,” which is definitely a huge achievement to be celebrated.  Here’s a link to the education organization he and his wife have been involved with- www.EdWatch.org.

Looks like we have a strong candidate for MN District 1 so far, good luck Mr. Quist!

Have it good,

-M

November 19, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment

There’s-a water in them thar…moondunes?

Well if this isn’t the most interesting exercise in private property rights since the Kelo decision.

I found this amusing story on the Wall Street Journal Law Blog, and my god it actually seems like a legitimate legal issue once you think about it.  Tim Nelson is an international arbitration attorney who was interviewed for the article and this quote really piqued my interest:

In simpler terms, it means that the national resources of the moon are socialized. They belong to everyone, so, implicitly, you have to pay a sort of tax or obtain some sort of license from a central body in order to extract them.

What if there is a drive, someday, to go to the moon to colonize or speculate or mine or anything?  Is an international entity going to pony up the cash and innovation required to capitalize on this new opportunity?  Why the implicit assumption that “mankind” can claim the Moon?  Last time I checked, we played golf on the moon first. 

But seriously, when it comes to space exploration and travel, yet again the private sector has the potential to provide the most startling innovations compared to the behemoth that is the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.  Just check this story from 2004: SpaceOne Makes History

After reading up on International Space Law, I found the two treaties mentioned in the article.  First is the Outer Space Treaty of 1967 which so far has the most signatories from around the world, the current number sitting around 100 or so.  Regarding property rights and ownership, Article I of the Outer Space Treaty sets out this definition (bold phrases are my addition):

The exploration and use of outer space, including the moon and other celestial bodies, shall be carried out for the benefit and in the interests of all countries, irrespective of their degree of economic or scientific development, and shall be the province of all mankind.

Outer space, including the moon and other celestial bodies, shall be free for exploration and use by all States without discrimination of any kind, on a basis of equality and in accordance with international law, and there shall be free access to all areas of celestial bodies.

There shall be freedom of scientific investigation in outer space, including the moon and other celestial bodies, and States shall facilitate and encourage international co-operation in such investigation.

Outer Space Treaty of 1967

As you can see, it’s the “for all mankind” issue that concerns me.  Nothing is ever held “in common” for very long if it is actually valuable or useful for something.  Socializing any resource ends up causing problems and conflict further on down the road, because we humans really love our private property.  Tim Nelson from the WSJ interview must have thought about this too, because he warns that “[y]ou have to make it such that private investors could sensibly commit the funds to go ahead and do the exploitation.”  Does a socialized system of moon ownership create a strong incentive to solve moon-related exploration problems? 

As a side note, how does the Outer Space Treaty of 1967 treaty dovetail with the idea of an orbiting anti-ballistic missile system like “Star Wars”?  I know to this day on my RNC member surveys there’s always a question about an orbital missile system, but is it legal?  Does it matter? 

Leave a comment and let me know what you think.

Have it good,

-Mike

November 19, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment

Mmm mmm mmm, what a creepy song

Oh my god Kayla was singing the chorus to this damn song and I almost regret I showed it to her a few days ago, aararararghghgh!!!

Here are the lyrics to the song they are singing:

========
Song 1:
Mm, mmm, mm!
Barack Hussein Obama

He said that all must lend a hand
To make this country strong again
Mmm, mmm, mm!
Barack Hussein Obama

He said we must be fair today
Equal work means equal pay
Mmm, mmm, mm!
Barack Hussein Obama

He said that we must take a stand
To make sure everyone gets a chance
Mmm, mmm, mm!
Barack Hussein Obama

He said red, yellow, black or white
All are equal in his sight
Mmm, mmm, mm!
Barack Hussein Obama

Yes!
Mmm, mmm, mm
Barack Hussein Obama

Song 2:
Hello, Mr. President we honor you today!
For all your great accomplishments, we all doth say “hooray!”

Hooray, Mr. President! You’re number one!
The first black American to lead this great nation!

Hooray, Mr. President we honor your great plans
To make this country’s economy number one again!

Hooray Mr. President, we’re really proud of you!
And we stand for all Americans under the great Red, White, and Blue!

So continue —- Mr. President we know you’ll do the trick
So here’s a hearty hip-hooray —-

Hip, hip hooray!
Hip, hip hooray!
Hip, hip hooray!

November 18, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | | 2 Comments

Bob Barr on Gun Control

Again, I repeat my distaste of using the deaths of U.S. soldiers to prove a political point, especially when the tragedy at Ft. Hood is still a fresh and open wound on our American psyche, but this needs to be said.  And Bob Barr said it pretty good right here:

 In the case of Ft. Hood, it is important to bear in mind that since 1993, thanks to a policy ordered by then-President Bill Clinton, it has been essentially unlawful for individuals on military bases to carry firearms unless they are military police, or are training in firearms at a firing range.  Many of those who support this gun-free military base policy have reacted to calls to review it, by simply echoing the standard refrain of gun-control advocates that, “we don’t want everyone on a military base running around with a gun on their hip.”  (Of course, had this been the case at Ft. Hood, it is doubtful Maj. Hasan could have squeezed off more than a couple of rounds before being himself felled by an armed soldier.)  It is a false dichotomy that we either allow no one (except MPs) or everyone on military bases to possess firearms.  Rather, the debate should center on why is it made virtually impossible for any soldier on a military base to carry arms, even if they have in fact been properly vetted and trained in their use?

Time to revisit firearms policies on military posts

The part that makes me really think is this one, about the military and individual rights:

Why, after all, should a citizen be forced to surrender his or her right to keep and bear arms, simply because they have entered military service; service expressly supposed to teach the proper and safe use of firearms? 

It’s a well-known fact that when you sign up to serve you’re held to a very different set of rules.  It’s a crime to disobey.  A crime to backtalk a superior.  Adultery is still a crime in the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ)!  So the question is, how different do the rules that were designed to uphold military cohesion and discipline really need to be?  How different should they be?  What are the possible arguments for preventing the men from carrying firearms?

Yeah, I’m a young’un, I had no idea it was Clinton’s idea to ban guns on bases.  This article has more to say about the Clinton-era policy:

Military base gun ban imposed by Bill Clinton

The wife of one of the soldiers shot at Fort Hood understands all too well. In an interview on CNN Monday night, Anchor John Roberts asked Mandy Foster how she felt about her husband’s upcoming deployment to Afghanistan. Ms. Foster responded: “At least he’s safe there and he can fire back, right?”

Ouch, that’s got to hurt our American pride.  Our Soldiers are safer over in the deadly wastes of terrorst-infested Afghanistan than they are on their own bases in the United States.  This is an insult to our country and our military personnel that needs to stop right now.  Are you listening, Mr. President?  Since most of your administration consists of holdovers from the Clinton years, I’m sure a few of them remember this braindead policy.

I want to keep an eye on this debate, and I’d like to hear comments from anyone out there with an opinion on it.

Have it good,

-M

 

November 18, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment