The Four Horsemen of America’s Apocalypse

It takes a lot to build a civilization, and though it is much easier to destroy a civilization, it takes a lot to do that, too.

But now we have four roots of evil that are guaranteed to do so.

No. 1: Victimhood.

The first is victimhood. The more people who regard themselves as victims — as individuals or as a group — the more likely they are to commit evil. People who think of themselves as victims feel that, having been victimized, they are no longer bound by normal moral conventions — especially the moral conventions of their alleged or real oppressors.

Everyone knows this is true. But few confront this truth. Every parent, for example, knows that the child who thinks of him or herself as a perpetual victim is the child most likely to cause and get into trouble. And criminologists report that nearly every murderer in prison thinks of himself as a victim.

On a societal scale, the same holds true — and being on such a larger scale, the chances of real evil ensuing are exponentially increased. One of the most obvious examples is Germany after World War I. Most Germans regarded themselves as victims — of the Treaty of Versailles; of a “stab in the back” German government; of the British, Americans and French; and, of course, of the Jews. This sense of victimhood was one of the most important factors in the popularity of the Nazis, who promised to restore German dignity.

That millions of black Americans regard themselves as victims — probably more so today than at any time in the past 50 years — can only lead to disaster for America generally and for blacks specifically. While victims generally feel free to lash out at others, they also go through life angry and unhappy.

No. 2: Demonization.

The second of the four ingredients of this civilization-destroying witches’ brew is demonization — demonizing a group as inherently evil.

That is being done now with regard to the white people of America. All — again, all — whites are declared racist. The only difference among them is that some admit it and some deny it. The notion that whites are inherently evil has long been associated with Louis Farrakhan. But it has apparently migrated out from his relatively small following to many blacks, even those who might consider Farrakhan a kook. Former President Barack Obama, hardly a Farrakhan follower, described America as having racism in its DNA. That is as close to inherently and irredeemably evil as it gets; you cannot change your DNA.

In that sense, not only are whites demonized, but America is, too. Unlike traditional liberals, the left regards America as a moral cesspool — not only racist but, according to The New York Times, founded to be so. The New York Times has created a history of America that declares its founding not in 1776 but in 1619, when the first black slaves arrived. The American Revolution was fought, according to this malign narrative, not merely for American independence but in order to preserve slavery, a practice the British would have interfered with. This “history” will now be taught in thousands of American schools.

The combination of victimhood and demonization alone is dangerous enough. But there are still two more horsemen galloping toward the looming apocalypse.

No. 3: A Cause To Believe In.

Most Americans throughout American history found great meaning in being American and in being religious — usually Christian. Since World War II, we have lived in a post-Christian, post-nationalist age. Until very recently, Americans would have found the expression “for God and country” deeply meaningful; that term today, on the left, is risible and execrable.

But people need something to believe in. The need for meaning is the greatest human need after the need for food. Leftism, with all its offshoots — feminism, environmentalism, Black Lives Matter, antifa — has filled that vacuum. In Europe, communism, fascism and Nazism filled the hole left by the demise of nationalism and Christianity. Here it is leftism and its offshoots.

No. 4: Lies.

The fourth and most important ingredient necessary for evil is lies. Lies are the root of evil. Ironically, slavery itself was made possible only because of the lie that the black was inferior to the white. Nazism was made possible thanks to the lie that Jews were not fully human. And communism was built on lies. Lenin, the father of Soviet Communism, named the Soviet communist newspaper “Truth” (“Pravda”) because truth was what the Communist Party said it was.

The New York Times, CNN and the rest of the mainstream “news” media are becoming our version of Pravda.

Objective truth doesn’t exist on the left. The universities have already declared “objective truth” as essentially an expression of “white privilege.” See what happens to a student who says in class, for example, that “men cannot give birth.”

The public self-debasement demanded of anyone who differs with the left — like New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees just did when he said not standing for the national anthem desecrated the flag and those who have died for it — happens almost daily. The only difference between this and what dissidents underwent during Mao’s Cultural Revolution is that the self-debasement here is voluntary — thus far.

Last week, when this Jew saw a store in Santa Monica with a sign reading “black-owned business” so as to avoid being destroyed, it evoked chilling memories.

That’s how bad it is in America today.

Liberal politicians who order police to stand down are the same people who want to ban guns

Minneapolis and other major cities have finally re-opened, at least to looters and arsonists. For three days, police in Minneapolis and St. Paul were ordered to stand down as rioters destroyed their cities. In New York City and Washington, D.C., on Monday night, police stood by as looters destroyed parts of those cities.

The same politicians who ordered police to stand down and released prison inmates are the same people who want to ban guns. These politicians prevent citizens from protecting themselves, at a time when police protection cannot be depended on.

For three days, police in Minneapolis and St. Paul were ordered to stand down as rioters destroyed their cities. Sadly, so many of the victims of this violence have been blacks. Black store owners have lost their businesses. In these heavily black areas, blacks will lose their jobs. Black shoppers worry they “have nowhere to go now.”

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz said it’d be “ridiculous” to break up demonstrators who violate crowd-size rules for the coronavirus. The president of the NAACP is asking police nationwide to stand down to preserve the peace.

In Minnesota, you face a $25,000 fine if you open your business during the current COVID-19 lockdown, but criminals effectively have immunity. The few who were arrested for violent acts in Minneapolis were quickly bailed out of jail with financial help from Joe Biden’s presidential campaign staffers.

As of Sunday morning, more than 255 businesses had been destroyed in the Twin Cities. The looting was extensive. Many large companies have reported that they are “temporarily or indefinitely closed.” Officers even abandoned their own police station, which was then set on fire by protesters.

Across the country, police have had orders to stand down.

“Tonight, I watched Seattle burn. Seattle is dying, by fire, looting, weakness of the political leadership,” wrote Seattle KVI radio talk-show host Kirby Wilbur. “We watched on TV as our law enforcement stood by while vandalism, looting, assaults, pure chaos reigned in the streets of our downtown business district.”

But the violence in Minneapolis would have been much worse if people hadn’t been able to defend themselves and their businesses with guns. As The Wall Street Journal reported, “African-American owners of GM Tobacco told me they were armed and ready to protect their business — and that they stand in solidarity with those who seek justice for [George] Floyd.” Visible from the front of the store was Minneapolis’ Third Police Precinct, which rioters set on fire.

This isn’t the first time something like this has happened. People may remember the Korean store owners who successfully used semi-automatic rifles to protect their businesses during the 1992 Los Angeles riots.

One searches in vain for Democratic politicians who have reprimanded the rioters. On Saturday, after several nights of riots, Minnesota Sen. Tina Smith, a Democrat, egged on demonstrators by calling for a continuation of the “righteous protests” and necessary routing out of the “racism” that she said is endemic in Minnesota.

Twitter didn’t seem to mind incitement to violence by liberals such as Colin Kaepernick. He tweeted that “revolting is the only logical reaction. … We have the right to fight back!” Others on Twitter are calling for “a violent rebellion against an entire system.”

Democrats in Minnesota have been forceful advocates for gun control. Mr. Walz and Mrs. Smith have been strongly endorsed by Michael Bloomberg’s gun-control organization, Moms Demand Action. They have supported banning some semi-automatic guns based solely on superficial appearance. They also support limits on magazine sizes.

Especially in a riot, semi-automatic firearms that reload automatically are much more useful for self-defense than are single-shot weapons. Hopefully, the presence of a gun by itself will deter an attack, but if you have to open fire it will be a big help to not have to constantly manually reload.

My research shows that police are the single most important factor in deterring violent crime. But the riots have shown yet again that politicians frequently won’t let the police do their jobs when they are most needed.

The riots have shown several things that liberal politicians don’t seem to understand. The police themselves know that they normally arrive on the scene after the crime has occurred, and that having a gun is by far the safest course of action when you are confronted by a criminal. It is also the most vulnerable in our society — namely blacks who live in high-crime cities — who benefit the most from having the option to be able to defend themselves.

Since the M16 selective fire version is pretty much out of the reach of the average person these days, the AR-15 is what I call the current place holder of ‘The American Rifle’.
Yes, I’ve got other rifles, including an M16, but my consideration is that the current iteration of the standard issue rifle/carbine is what everyone should have one (1) example of in their inventory, and if you can’t figure out why, please look up the word – logistics – and think a bit.

Last Night We Saw Why Americans Own 16+ Million AR-15s

As televisions and computers showed a fourth day of protesters turned rioters Saturday, looting and destroying property, it was readily apparent why Americans own 16+ million AR-15s.

When Robert ‘Beto’ O’Rourke was still vying for the Democrat nomination–and pledging to come take away your AR-15–Breitbart News spoke with the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) about what a Herculean task that would be. After all, the AR-15 is the most popular rifle platform in America.

NSSF shared their calculations with Breitbart, showing an estimated 16= million privately owned AR-15s in the U.S.

You cannot be blamed if you thought the number was closer to 250 or 300. Moreover, you cannot be blamed if you thought the 300 AR-15 owners were toothless, old, white, racists living on some isolated, off-the-grid piece of property deep in the heart of the South.

But as it turns out, AR-15s are owned by black people and white people, and by all skin colors in between. And there are WAY MORE than a couple hundred in circulation.

On August 31, 2018, Breitbart News reported more than nine million AR-15s were manufactured for sale in the U.S. under Barack Obama alone.

And on May 30, 2020–at the height of the Minneapolis rioting–Breitbart News reported on black business owners standing guard with AR-15s outside their properties.

And AR-15s are not just for men. On November 4, 2019, Breitbart News reported on a pregnant Florida woman who used an AR-15 to kill an alleged home intruder while her husband was under attack.

So when Joe Biden and other Democrats demonize AR-15s as “assault weapons” and campaign on taking them from the American people or at least ending their sales, remember the feelings you have right now; the feelings of wanting a tool you can keep in your house to protect your family in times of civil violence and unrest. And also remember those black business owners and that pregnant Florida woman, who saved her husband’s life.

Again, there are over 16 million privately-owned AR-15s in this country and after last night–after watching the wanton destruction and violence in city after city–perhaps you better understand why Americans own them.

Dierenbach: Is it time for a new approach to coronavirus?

In New York City, an antibody survey found that 21% of the city’s population had been infected with the coronavirus. This indicates that over one and a half million of New York City’s 7.2 million residents under the age of 65 had been infected. Furthermore, approximately 78% of them had no underlying medical condition that puts them at risk from coronavirus. Around the time of the antibody survey, New York City had recorded only 58 deaths of people under 65 with no underlying condition.

In the U.S., 79% of coronavirus deaths are people 65 and older. In the 23 states releasing long-term care facilities data, 27% of deaths have occurred in such places. The Washington Post reports the share of fatalities in nursing homes may be 50%. In Colorado, the share is 50%.

Yet our reaction isn’t to protect the elderly and those with underlying conditions. No, instead we decide to force over 214 million people under 65 with no underlying condition who are under virtually no threat from coronavirus to restrict their activities, socially distance from each other, and go into lockdown.

Instead of targeting the vulnerable population for assistance and infection avoidance, we shut down our economy. Many of the vulnerable are elderly and out of the workforce, yet we target the workforce and push 33 million people out of their jobs. We destroy countless small businesses, risk food shortages due to the supply disruption, drive oil prices so low that it could devastate thousands of Coloradans and cause political instability and international conflicts to rise, scare people who need medical attention away from emergency room visits, and cause domestic violence to rise.

What we’re doing is unsustainable.

Protests against the lockdowns are erupting across the country. Lockdown supporters call the protesters self-centered murderers who only care about getting haircuts or going to bars. Arbitrary orders create confusion and social unrest. In Michigan, you couldn’t sell seeds, while in Colorado, you can have a gathering of 10 people, but they aren’t allowed to play a game of basketball. The mayor of Los Angeles has threatened longer lockdowns as punishment for disobedience.

In the beginning, the logic behind locking down was sound. Coronavirus is a highly transmissible disease with a significant number of carriers who are asymptomatic and contagious at the same time. The experts said if the virus remained unchecked, it would produce a surge of victims that would overwhelm our healthcare system and result in excess deaths due to lack of care for both coronavirus sufferers and others needing medical attention. News from China and Italy confirmed this possibility.

But “flatten the curve” morphed into “hide until solution;” the solution being a possible vaccine or effective treatment at some undeterminable point in the future. States that never saw a surge went into lockdown and remain there today. New York City, which is well past their peak medical usage, remains on lockdown. Many states that are ostensibly opening up are doing so at an extremely slow pace. Colorado, which is supposedly opening up (but not really), is attempting to keep the coronavirus cases at a level that is so low, herd immunity might not be reached for years.

To combat the virus, every state is pulling the social distancing lever trying to figure out what level of distancing can slow the spread of coronavirus such that they are able to reach their goal of managed herd immunity, or slowing the spread while waiting for a medical solution. Some states pull hard and lockdown tight, while other states try to move forward with a lighter touch. But even the lighter touch states are acting in a way that kills jobs and restricts freedom to an unsustainable degree. For example, Texas has announced it is opening up again, but mandates restaurants only operate at 25% capacity.

A new approach is needed.

This difference in effects of coronavirus between people under 65 with no underlying conditions and those with underlying conditions and/or over 65 should be the primary driver of policy.

Extrapolating the New York City data, if the 214 million plus healthy U.S. citizens under 65 all contracted coronavirus, they would suffer around 10,000 deaths. Two thirds of our population would have immunity and we would be well on our way to herd immunity. By contrast, if 214 million randomly selected Americans were infected at New York State’s estimated infection fatality rate of 0.5%, over 1,000,000 people would die. The actual rate is likely closer to 0.36%, but even at that rate, there could be 770,000 fatalities.

This begs the question: What if the people who won’t die from coronavirus abandon social distancing? And totally abandon it: no masks, have social get-togethers, attend basketball games, start shaking hands again, etc. Is that possible and what would it look like?

The program would look like this: if you are not elderly or vulnerable, you would not practice social distancing among the non-vulnerable. If you get the disease, you get over it and move on.

If you are vulnerable, for at least the next several weeks as we push toward herd immunity, when in public wear a mask, self-quarantine as much as possible, and practice social distancing. A mask would be the sign to everybody that you wish to avoid the disease. The non-vulnerable population would respect your wishes and practice social distancing in your presence. At work, non-vulnerable employees could wear masks when they know they will be close to vulnerable co-workers. In parks and other public situations, the unmasked could be asked to respect those with masks and maintain their distance. Subways or buses could have special cars or sections where people with masks could maintain safe distances.

What this plan would do is speed up the process of achieving herd immunity while protecting the vulnerable to a degree comparable to what we are doing now. We have learned how to do social distancing over the past several weeks; we all understand the methods and reasoning. We can now take that skill and apply it in a targeted fashion to protect the vulnerable, potentially lowering fatalities significantly, perhaps by hundreds of thousands. Instead of waiting a year or more to achieve herd immunity, we could do so in weeks or months.

A first reaction may be that “targeted” social distancing is not social distancing at all since it is not being performed by everybody in society and therefore will not be as effective at protecting the vulnerable. However, that isn’t accurate: targeted social distancing still requires everybody, vulnerable and non-vulnerable, to participate.

Shops and other businesses could have special hours where extreme care would be taken to observe social distancing rules and provide an environment that is as clean as possible. For example, a grocery store could have early morning shopping where carts and commonly touched surfaces are vigorously disinfected and social distancing and mask wearing is strictly enforced, but could operate normally for the remainder of the day. Having the special time in the morning would allow for disinfection, both through active efforts and through the passage of time since the previous day’s crowds.

If the lockdowns ended for most of the population, government assistance could be targeted at the at-risk individuals. For example, a teacher with hypertension who wishes to isolate could be allowed to work from home teaching vulnerable students that are also staying at home. An at-risk store clerk could be given unemployment benefits.  Such targeted assistance would be far less costly and more efficient than the current policy of mass disbursements.

Why delay the inevitable?

Most all of us are going to get coronavirus eventually, so why destroy our economy to delay the inevitable when the delay itself means higher risk for the vulnerable people? The risk for healthy people is miniscule and almost entirely non-existent for children. Healthy people are hiding from a phantom threat at the real cost of prolonging the very real threat to the vulnerable. Every day that goes by with coronavirus prevalent in our society is another day it has an opportunity to rip through a nursing home.

Finally, this isn’t ignoring the danger to others or claiming coronavirus is a hoax. The virus is absolutely deadly to the elderly and those with underlying conditions. This also is not trading lives for jobs. By accelerating the attainment of herd immunity via healthy, younger people, this path saves lives and jobs. It allows the economy to start up again and results in less loss of life than any other approach out there.

This is the healthy acting together and taking on risk to protect the most vulnerable among us in the most efficient and effective way possible. I understand doing nothing to protect yourself from a known virus is frightening, but if you are not part of the vulnerable population, the odds of being killed by coronavirus are incredibly low. This is the best possible solution to a horrific problem. We the healthy should accept the slight risk associated with a possible coronavirus infection, both to protect the vulnerable like our parents and to preserve our quality of life for our children.

Governor Polis relies on the COVID-19 Modeling Group to provide to him estimates of outcomes for various responses to the pandemic. The Group is comprised of public health experts, mathematicians and others. So far, it appears if they have presented various options where everyone in Colorado practices the same level of social distancing. The Group should model a bifurcated social distancing regimen where the vulnerable self-quarantine and remain in lockdown, the non-vulnerable practice social distancing when in the presence of the vulnerable, and the non-vulnerable abandon social distancing among themselves.

As described above, this plan could potentially reduce overall fatalities and economic hardships so please urge the Group and the Governor to at least explore the possibility.

The Duration: Things of Which I Am Mightily Tired

Snippy self-satisfied pundits who tweet out news stories with prissy little swipes referencing something said three weeks ago by someone they hold in superior contempt. Just post the gad-dang story without preening your feathers.


People who don’t wear masks.

People who wear masks walking the dog, making you feel stupid for not wearing a mask, but c’mon, man

People who were tweeting three weeks ago about how this was basically Ebola-TB-HIV-Norovirus that would turn every hospital into a stinking morgue because we had six, maybe seven ventilators in the country, and are still striking the same apocalyptic tone on a day when this happens:

The inexplicable disappearance of my favorite TP brand. It just ceased to exist. Same with Purell. Did they reset the Matrix and someone forgot to load certain brands?

Plastic shields at store checkouts. We all wonder if those are up for keeps now.

Busybody news stories about the things we shouldn’t be doing, as if we should all be riding stationary bikes for an hour every day while watching self-improvement documentaries about “self-care strategies.”

Morose news stories about how we shouldn’t feel positive, because everything sucks, which would be more compelling if the author hadn’t been preaching the gospel of Miserabilism before this struck.

Broad assertion of powers over everyday life in the name of Science, because we all know Isaac Newton was one of the authors of the Constitution and slipped the “Trust the Models” clause in somewhere in invisible ink, and it has absolute authority.

Anything having to do with Joe Biden, which seems like a review of a play that has been running on the East End since 1967.

TV shows full of people living ordinary lives as we knew them, because they seem like documentaries of Jazz-Age Flappers doing the Charleston a week before the crash of ’29.

And so forth. In short:

Nor from what I’ve seen.

Will COVID-19 kill the Constitution

Jacob Sullum
The great American jurist St. George Tucker, writing at the beginning of the 19th century, called the right to armed self-defense “the true palladium of liberty” and “the first law of nature.” But California Gov. Gavin Newsom thinks that right, guaranteed by the Second Amendment, is optional.

After Newsom ordered “nonessential” businesses to close in response to the COVID-19 epidemic, he let local sheriffs decide whether that category included gun dealers. Newsom’s decision, which allowed Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva to unilaterally ban the sale of firearms and ammunition, illustrates how readily politicians ignore constitutional rights in the very circumstances where they matter most.

Villanueva’s ban, which several gun rights groups challenged in a federal lawsuit last Friday, was inconsistent with recent guidance from the Department of Homeland Security as well as the Second Amendment. In an advisory published on Saturday, the department added firearm retailers to its definition of the “essential critical infrastructure workforce,” which Newsom explicitly exempted from his order.

On Monday, Villanueva, who describes himself as “a supporter of the Second Amendment” but also suggests that keeping guns for self-protection is irresponsible, rescinded his ban, citing the new federal guidelines. New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, whose business closure order initially covered gun stores, likewise recognized them as “essential” after seeing the federal advisory.

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf also deigned to allow firearm sales, but only after three members of the state Supreme Court said that “it is incumbent upon the Governor to make some manner of allowance for our citizens to continue to exercise this constitutional right.” Notably, that rebuke came in a dissent from a March 22 decision summarily denying a challenge to Wolf’s violation of the Second Amendment.

The reversals by Murphy and Wolf, who are now allowing firearm sales by appointment and in compliance with social distancing rules, show that shutting down gun stores was never necessary to curtail transmission of COVID-19. But their reluctance to respect the Second Amendment and the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s unwillingness to intervene do not bode well for civil liberties at a time when many people seem to think that fighting the pandemic trumps all other concerns.

To “save the nation” from COVID-19, Cornell law professor Michael Dorf argued two weeks ago, Congress should suspend the writ of habeas corpus, an ancient common-law right that allows people detained by the government to demand a justification. Yet the Constitution says that “the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in cases of rebellion or invasion the public safety may require it.”

Although neither of those circumstances applies, Dorf suggested that the spread of the COVID-19 virus from other countries to the United States could be construed as an invasion. While “no one knows” whether the courts would accept that interpretation, since “Congress has only ever suspended habeas in wartime,” Dorf said, “there is reason to think that the courts would dismiss a habeas case following nearly any congressional suspension.”

In a recent survey of 3,000 Americans, the University of Chicago’s Adam Chilton and three other law professors found bipartisan agreement that “now is the time to violate the Constitution,” as they put it. The survey asked whether the respondents would support various constitutionally dubious policy responses to the epidemic.

Sizable majorities of both Democrats and Republicans favored confining people to their homes, detaining sick people in government facilities, banning U.S. citizens from entering the country, government takeovers of businesses, conscription of health care workers, suspension of religious services and even criminalizing the spread of “misinformation” about the virus. “Even when we explicitly told half of our sample that the policies may violate the Constitution,” Chilton et al. report, “the majority supported all eight of them,” including the speech restrictions.

“After the threat has subsided,” the law professors conclude, “Americans must recognize any constitutional violations for what they were, lest they become the new normal.” By then, it may be too late.

Iowa State Senator Celsi is a demoncrap. Need I explain more?

Research on firearms contradicts senator; guns used in defense are a deterrent

State Sen. Claire Celsi’s anti-gun column, published in the Register’s community editions on March 17, is filled with distortion.

Her biggest whopper is that “the rate of suicides in the United States is 10 times higher than any other country on Earth.” In fact, the United States annual suicide rate typically ranks in the 30s.

She claims that the proposition that good guys with guns stop crime is a fantasy. In fact, successful defensive use of guns is more common than their use in crime. The National Academies of Science found: “Defensive use of guns by crime victims is a common occurrence …. Almost all national survey estimates … of annual uses range from about 500,000 to more than 3 million …in the context of about 300,000 violent crimes involving firearms in 2008. … Studies that directly assessed the effect of actual defensive uses of guns (i.e., incidents in which a gun was “used” by the crime victim in the sense of attacking or threatening an offender) have found consistently lower injury rates among gun-using crime victims compared with victims who used other self-protective strategies.”

Celsi misleads by lumping together all firearms deaths, as if accidents, homicides and suicides were the same thing, to write that “rates of death from firearms among ages 14 to 17 are now 22.5% higher than motor vehicle-related death rates.”

In fact, an apples-to-apples comparison shows that the 2018 accidental death rate from firearms among ages 14 to 17 is 0.23 per 100,000, while the accidental death rate for motor vehicles for that group is 6.48 per 100,000. The rate of death for firearms accidents among ages 14 to 17 is actually 96% lower than motor vehicle-related accidental deaths rates.

The unintentional firearms fatality rate, now 0.15 per 100,000, has declined over 94% since records began to be kept in 1903. Fatal gun accidents rank as one of the lowest causes of injury.

While the number of privately owned guns increased 92%, from 185 million guns in 1993 to 357 million in 2013, the firearms homicide rate decreased by 49%. Firearms homicides increased from 2015 to 2017, but decreased in 2018, a trend expected to continue for 2019.

There is an increase in suicides, but the problem is far more complex than the presence of firearms. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed that, while the number of suicides increased from 1999 to 2014, the percentage of suicides committed with firearms decreased during the same period. Assuming that each of the 24,432 firearm suicides in 2018 involved one firearm per suicide, those 24,332 guns represented less than one-hundredth of 1 percent of the 357 million firearms in America.

As for Celsi’s proposition that “good laws will keep us safer,”  economist John Lott found “stricter gun laws are associated with more total deaths from homicides and suicides.”

All the yammering about calling this bug the Chinese Virus, Wuhan Flu & Kung Flu are nothing but ‘we’re against anything Trump’ yammering of those who still haven’t come to terms with the fact that Hillary lost.

This virus should be forever linked to the regime that facilitated its spread

Want to know why the U.S. economy is in free fall? Why restaurants and bars are closing, putting millions out of work, and why the airline industry is facing possible bankruptcy? Why schools across the nation are shutting down, leaving students to fall behind and parents without safe places to send their children everyday? Why the stock market is plummeting, wiping out the retirement and college savings of millions of Americans? Why the elderly are isolated in nursing homes and tens of millions who don’t have the option of teleworking have no idea how they will pay their bills?

Answer: Because China is a brutal totalitarian dictatorship.

More coverage of the coronavirus pandemic

We are in the midst of a pandemic lockdown today because the Chinese Communist regime cared more about suppressing information than suppressing a virus. Doctors in Wuhan knew in December that the coronavirus was capable of human-to-human transmission because medical workers were getting sick. But as late as Jan. 15, the head of China’s Center for Disease Control and Prevention declared on state television that “the risk of human-to-human transmission is low.” On Jan. 18, weeks after President Xi Jinping had taken charge of the response, authorities allowed a Lunar New Year banquet to go forward in Wuhan where tens of thousands of families shared food — and then let millions travel out of Wuhan, allowing the disease to spread across the world. It was not until Jan. 23 that the Chinese government enacted a quarantine in Wuhan.

If the regime had taken action as soon as human-to-human transmission was detected, it might have contained the virus and prevented a global pandemic. Instead, Chinese officials punished doctors for trying to warn the public and suppressed information that might have saved lives. According to the Times of London, Chinese doctors who had identified the pathogen in early December received a gag order from China’s National Health Commission with instructions to stop tests, destroy samples and suppress the news.

This is what totalitarian regimes do. First, they lie to themselves, and then, they lie to the world. The system creates such fear that people are terrified to report bad news up the chain, causing “authoritarian blindness.” Then, when those at the top finally discover the truth, they try to cover it up — because leaders who abuse their people are less concerned with saving lives than making sure the world does not discover the deadly inefficiency of their system.

The ongoing pandemic should serve as a reminder of the lesson that President George W. Bush tried to teach us after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks: What happens thousands of miles away in a foreign land can affect us here at home. Both viruses and virulent ideologies fester in the fever swamps of totalitarianism and then emerge to kill us in our cities and our streets. Two decades ago, it was a terrorist attack; today, it is a once-in-a-generation pathogen. But in both cases, the lack of freedom in a distant land created conditions that allowed an unprecedented threat to grow, bringing death and destruction to our country.

What Bush called the “freedom agenda” is out of vogue today. But we can now see that caring about freedom is putting America first, because how China treats its people affects the health and security of the American people. The same totalitarian system that lied about putting 1 million Uighurs in concentration camps lied about the outbreak of this virus, creating a global pandemic. If China were an open and transparent society, with an accountable government, Americans might not be on lockdown today.

The Opinions section is looking for stories of how the coronavirus has affected people of all walks of life. Write to us.

What can we do about it? We obviously can’t turn China into a democracy. But we can hold China accountable for its behavior and put a price on its lies and oppression. We can reaffirm that the advance of freedom, transparency and rule of law are central objectives of U.S. foreign policy, because the lives and safety of our citizens depend on it. And we can lay the blame for this crisis where it belongs: at the feet of the Chinese Communist Party. Once the crisis has passed, President Trump should calculate the damage and demand that Beijing pay for the death and destruction it unleashed on the United States and the world.

Some have suggested that calling this pathogen the “Wuhan virus” — or as President Trump recently called it, the “Chinese virus” — is racist. That is absurd. MERS is called the “Middle East Respiratory Syndrome” because that is where it originated. Moreover, the Chinese regime continues to lie, spreading a conspiracy theory that the source of the virus is really the U.S. Army.

It is important this virus be forever linked to the brutal regime that facilitated its spread. The virus grew in the cesspool of Chinese Communist tyranny. It’s time to drain the swamp.

Too Much Freedom & My Ability to Say, “NO,” & Instantly Enforce It

How do I explain it?

Contrary to leftist dogma, I don’t carry a concealed pistol in public because I secretly harbor some surreptitious desire to shoot criminals, any more than I keep a fire extinguisher in my home and vehicle because I harbor some consuming desire to put out fires.

I consider these practices, both involving sensible emergency/safety equipment, to represent reasonable and prudent precautions. Ones we all sincerely hope never become necessary.

Anyone even vaguely familiar with what we all laughingly call our “Justice System” knows and understands the legal, financial, and emotional trauma that invariably attends any shooting incident, regardless of participants, circumstances, nor outcome. It is the last thing any rational person, including me, ever wants to become involved in!

Yet, I carry a concealed pistol, so that I can place absolute limits on what people can do to me and those in my charge.

So that I can say “No,” and have that single syllable represent more than just platitudinous rhetoric, more than just a “feel-good” cliche.

As a sovereign American Citizen, I can say, “No,” and be in a position to personally, instantly enforce it, with lethal finality, upon my own summary command and judgment.

Few other civilizations trust citizens with such personal authority.

That is because, in most nations, even most Western nations, the term “citizen” is little more than a cynical euphemism! Most “citizens,” even in the West, are actually “subjects.” Subjects who have no rights, and who may enjoy only those precious few “privileges” casually bestowed upon them by the ruling elite, privileges that can be granted, or withdrawn, at a whim.

Not surprisingly, such “subjects” are routinely, arbitrarily crushed to earth and trampled upon by criminals, criminals from both the public and private sectors.

Not here in the United States!

In this Republic, a “Bill of Privileges” is found nowhere in our Constitution.

Here, we sovereign citizens have rights, and our rights are not benightedly dribbled-out to us by arrogant politicians. We are endowed with them by our Creator! Our Founding Documents say so, in unmistakable terms.

So here, self-defense is the right of every citizen. And, not just with fences, locks, alarms, warning signs, and clever rhetoric.

Our personal right of self-defense extends to lethal force.

This right has teeth, and without it, the rest are illusory.

Accordingly, this right must ever be protected from sleazy neo-Marxists who, occasionally peering-out from behind their ecumenical cadre of heavily-armed bodyguards, profess to worry about us mere citizens having “too much freedom!”

Bloomberg Tries To Control Others Because He Can’t Control Himself

He’s an arrogant snob, but we already knew that.

There used to be a social stigma against believing and behaving as if one is entitled to tell perfect strangers how to speak, what to do, or how to live.

Sadly, that stigma is all but gone today. More people than ever are willing to use the force of government to compel their fellow citizens to comply with their own changing set of mandates.

I am fascinated by the causes that have compelled so many Americans to lose perspective on this fundamental principle of freedom.

Take Michael Bloomberg, please! What drives this man with the freedom to enjoy his wealth in 65 billion different ways, to spend his time trying to curtail the freedoms and choices of others, even down to the size soda they drink and the amount of salt they ought to be allowed to sprinkle on their spinach?

Coloradans know all too well that the former New York Mayor and Democratic Presidential Candidate spent boatloads of cash pushing state legislators to clamp down on their God-given right to defend themselves and their families. He has pushed freedom-sucking and blatantly biased “Red Flag” bills in numerous other states around the country.

Mayor Busybody simply can’t stop telling others what to do. It seems to be an obsession with him—or maybe, a compulsion too. I gained insight into this when I returned to a New York Times article from 2009 that described Bloomberg’s eating habits.

“He dumps salt on almost everything, even saltine crackers. He devours burnt bacon and peanut butter sandwiches. He has a weakness for hot dogs, cheeseburgers, and fried chicken, washing them down with a glass of merlot. And his snack of choice? Cheez-Its.”

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is about control. Controlling one’s out-of-control thoughts, feelings and behavior by attempting to control his external environment. Consciously or unconsciously, those afflicted do this in vain, to the point where they feel unable to control the compulsion as well (as in excessive hand-washing).

Most sufferers aren’t dangerous unless they have 65 billion dollars and a God-complex.

The Times went on to report this delicious insight:

“…he (Bloomberg) is known to grab food off the plates of aides and, occasionally, even strangers. (“Delicious,” he declared recently, after swiping a piece of fried calamari from an unsuspecting diner in Staten Island.)”

Behavior like this exhibits a staggering and extreme lack of boundaries. The Times seems to only snicker at this, but it’s painfully clear that Bloomberg has great difficulty respecting the basic boundaries of civil society. No wonder it’s so easy for him to help himself to your freedoms and your choices, when he can’t stop helping himself to your calamari.

As a rule of thumb, the most flawed and arrogant people are most likely to believe they know what’s best for everyone else and should be allowed to trample on our freedoms. Those who are secure and comfortable in their own skin do not have a need to control others. They have the basic self-confidence to tolerate and even enjoy the uncertainty of others’ choices and behavior. They reserve more extreme action for times in which there has been the actual commission of a crime.

These cultural underpinnings of freedom have been essential to what is America. Socialists have been systematically unraveling these norms in a big way. They have not only been more open about their ideology, they have been working feverishly to put it into practice and prepare more Americans to accept it.

How can we put an end to the presumptuousness of these troubled, would-be tyrants? First, we can return the stigma attached to telling other adults what to do and how to live.
 We can once again elevate the notion that the right to think one’s own thoughts, make one’s own choices, and live one’s own life is sacrosanct, regardless of how flawed, unpopular or even offensive those choices might be.

The imperative of Liberty requires that the individual take responsibility for his own successes and failures so he can learn from his mistakes. In protecting others’ freedoms, he protects his own. We used to know this but it has been unlearned.

As for Michael Bloomberg, he has begun to help our side more than he could have imagined. His off-the-scale ignorance and arrogance was hilariously exposed in his first Democrat primary debate.

If we play our cards right, Bloomberg could help us take a “Big Gulp” toward returning a sensible social stigma of proclaiming oneself as lord and master over the rest of us.

It’s a reasonable strategy, and it shouldn’t cost 65 billion dollars.

The Democrats’ Strategy Against The Trump Economy? Schizophrenia

Well, they always did had demoncrap-for-brains, so this is not surprising.

I&I Editorial

It is extremely difficult if not impossible to defeat an incumbent president when the economy is doing well. Just ask 1984 Democratic nominee Fritz Mondale, or 1996 Republican nominee Bob Dole.

In the case of Donald Trump, the economy isn’t just healthy; it’s reached unprecedented milestones. America is enjoying the longest expansion in history. Unemployment reached and remains near a 50-year low. Nearly 7 million full-time jobs have been generated under Trump, including nearly a half million manufacturing jobs, after two decades of serious manufacturing decline widely viewed as irreversible.

There are two tacks from which to choose in confronting this politically. Democrats can argue that our prosperity is grossly exaggerated. Or they can claim they deserve the credit for the Trump economy.

Which of these strategies, both decidedly dubious in their chances of success, have the Democrats picked?


House Majority Whip James Clyburn is considered a kingmaker in the upcoming Democratic primary in his home state of South Carolina, where black support is vital. “I talk to African Americans. I go to church with them. And I know they’re not doing better,” Clyburn told ABC on Sunday. “If you go with unemployment numbers to determine people’s status, then you have to say that slaves were in very good shape because they were fully employed,” the House’s number three Democrat added. Later in the week, Clyburn repeated himself to Fox’s Neil Cavuto.

What an insult to more than 19½ million of Clyburn’s fellow blacks currently working, to suggest that they’re not really laboring for themselves and that their jobs are lacking in dignity.

Similar to Clyburn’s contention that employment statistics don’t really have value as an economic indicator, Nobel economics laureate, Bill Clinton economic adviser, and “Third Way” theorist Joseph Stiglitz has actually called for the abandonment of using gross domestic product to measure economic health. Sore losers always blame the rules when their opponents win.

Obama Credits Economic Policy He Admitted Failed

The very day after Clyburn’s outrageous claim appeared on ABC, Barack Obama tweeted that he was actually the one responsible for “paving the way for more than a decade of economic growth and the longest streak of job creation in American history” because of his economic stimulus, enacted 11 years ago this week.

Republicans were quick to respond, including Rep. Steve Scalise of Louisiana, who threw Obama’s own words regarding the private sector back at him – “You didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.” And Sen. Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee, who pointed out that, just days before, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was getting the word out to her Democrats that, as Blackburn put it, “We need to stop giving Obama credit for the economy, it’s a losing message.”

It’s quite remarkable that Obama is brandishing his so-called Recovery Act today, over a decade after he signed it. That’s because two and a half years after its enactment it was so clear to him and everyone else that it was a failure – a stimulus that wasn’t stimulating – he requested an emergency address before a Joint Session of Congress in September, 2011 to call for action. Democrats were in a state of panic because of how obvious it was that their stewardship of the economy was failing.

“Tonight we meet at an urgent time for our country,” he declared. “We continue to face an economic crisis that has left millions of our neighbors jobless.” His solution was yet another stimulus of nearly $450 billion. Again and again, in tones of desperation, Obama implored Congress to “pass this jobs bill.” But Congress wouldn’t, even though he warned Republicans, now in control of the House of Representatives, that “doing nothing is not an option.” In the end even a significant number of congressional Democrats opposed it.

Later in the speech, he condescendingly said, “I realize that some of you have a different theory on how to grow the economy. Some of you sincerely believe that the only solution to our economic challenges is to simply cut most government spending and eliminate most government regulations.”

Nearly a decade later, Trump, subscribing to that “different theory,” massively cut regulations and drastically reduced tax rates, in particular our globally non-competitive corporate rate, and suddenly the U.S. economy outperformed the experts’ projections.

That 2011 speech is a dim memory today, but at the time it was obvious that the Obama presidency was at its nadir because it was so clear his economic policies weren’t working. First Lady Michelle looked crestfallen as she took her seat in the visitors’ gallery. The “hope and change” president’s rhetoric that night was all about dampening expectations. “I don’t pretend that this plan will solve all our problems,” he told the chamber in his concluding remarks. “It should not be, nor will it be, the last plan of action we propose. What’s guided us from the start of this crisis hasn’t been the search for a silver bullet. It’s been a commitment to stay at it – to be persistent – to keep trying every new idea that works, and listen to every good proposal, no matter which party comes up with it.”

Fast forward to today, nearly eight and a half years later, and it sure sounds like Obama considers the 2009 stimulus to have been “a silver bullet” for which his golden-haired successor is wrongly taking credit. In truth, Obama’s trillion-dollar stimulus caused the recovery from the 2008 financial crisis to be the most lethargic in American history.

Democrats are going to have to decide which side of their split personality they think gives them any chance of ousting President Trump in November. Unfortunately for them, as we’ve seen, both Clyburn’s claims that the jobs boom is a slave economy, and Obama’s assertion that the policies he admitted were failing two and a half years after their implementation are now succeeding under Trump, are equally absurd.

Joe Biden doesn’t get why gun rights are a bulwark against tyranny

Oh, Plugs understands RKBA alright enough. He, like other elitists, can’t stand that it confounds their tyrannical desires for power so they have to try an discount its effectiveness. And it does have effect on them, or they wouldn’t be so adamant about gun bans.

As Joe Biden’s flailing campaign headed toward a fifth-place finish in New Hampshire, the former vice president managed to get off some doozies. Perhaps most memorable was the time he jokingly dismissed a student questioner at one of his events as a “lying, dog-faced pony soldier.” But the man who first held federal office during the Nixon administration also managed to reveal his ignorance about one of the key arguments for gun rights.

“Those who say ‘the tree of liberty is watered with the blood of patriots,’ a great line, well, guess what?” Biden lectured his audience in the “Live Free or Die” state. “The fact is, if you’re going to take on the government, you need an F-15 with Hellfire missiles. There is no way an AK-47 is going to take care of you.”

Even though we believe that the Biden candidacy is fated to pop soon, the argument he made is such a prevalent misrepresentation of why gun rights supporters view the Second Amendment as a bulwark against tyranny that it’s worth addressing.

Yes, of course, critics are right that civilian gun owners wouldn’t be able to overthrow completely a government willing to deploy a vast, expansive, and technologically elite military force. But that’s not the point. Our founders believed that every man has the fundamental right to resist tyranny.

Furthermore, one doesn’t need to defeat the government in armed civil war for an armed populace to still serve as a bulwark to tyranny. What matters is that citizens can put up a fight. An armed populace dramatically increases the cost of imposing and maintaining tyranny. Sure, perhaps a tyrannical future president could subdue a resistance, even in a country with more guns than people, such as America, but it would require months of bloody conflict, substantial military losses, and a protracted political nightmare.

Contrast this to a scenario in which an unarmed citizenry is completely at the government’s mercy, able to sweep in and crack down on its people with immediacy and ease. It’s clear that just imposing a higher cost to repression in and of itself is a check on would-be tyrants, even if the people couldn’t, in fact, overthrow the government successfully.

In China, the tyrannical government under Xi Jinping has launched a brutal crackdown on the Uighurs, rounding up people of the Muslim ethnic minority and putting them in reeducation camps. It’s an international outrage and human rights disaster. But it’s also one that would have been less likely to have happened if the 1 million Uighurs had AR-15s at home.

A similar scenario has unfolded in Russia, where Vladimir Putin’s regime has allowed a vicious, anti-gay purge to occur in the Chechnya region. Surely those innocent gay men facing electroshock torture would disagree with Biden’s assessment that a citizenry’s ability to offer armed resistance to tyranny isn’t worth protecting.

For a man who is running on his half-century of experience in politics, it’s amazing that Biden doesn’t understand the Second Amendment or its supporters.

Is Trump’s Unorthodoxy Becoming Orthodox?
The U.S. has become no better friend to an increasing number of allies and neutrals, and no worse an adversary to a shrinking group of enemies.

When candidate Donald Trump campaigned on calling China to account for its trade piracy, observers thought he was either crazy or dangerous.

Conventional Washington wisdom had assumed that an ascendant Beijing was almost preordained to world hegemony. Trump’s tariffs and polarization of China were considered about the worst thing an American president could do.

The accepted bipartisan strategy was to accommodate, not oppose, China’s growing power. The hope was that its newfound wealth and global influence would liberalize the ruling Communist government.

Four years later, only a naif believes that. Instead, there is an emerging consensus that China’s cutthroat violations of international norms were long ago overdue for an accounting.

China’s re-education camps, its Orwellian internal surveillance, its crackdown on Hong Kong democracy activists, and its secrecy about the deadly coronavirus outbreak have all convinced the world that China has now become a dangerous international outlier

Trump courted moderate Arab nations in forming an anti-Iranian coalition opposed to Iran’s terrorist and nuclear agendas. His policies utterly reversed the Obama administration’s estrangement from Israel and outreach to Tehran.

Last week, Trump nonchalantly offered the Palestinians a take-it-or-leave-it independent state on the West Bank, but without believing that a West Bank settlement was the key to peace in the entire Middle East.

In short, Trump’s Middle East recalibrations won few supporters among the bipartisan establishment.

But recently, Europeans have privately started to agree that more sanctions are needed on Iran, that the world is better off with Soleimani gone, and that the West Bank is not central to regional peace.

Iran has now become a pariah. U.S.-sponsored sanctions have reduced the theocracy to near-bankruptcy. Most nations understand that if Iran kills Americans or openly starts up its nuclear program, the U.S. will inflict disproportional damage on its infrastructure — a warning that at first baffled, then angered, and now has humiliated Iran.

In other words, there is now an entirely new Middle East orthodoxy that was unimaginable just three years ago.

Suddenly the pro-Iranian, anti-Western Palestinians have few supporters. Israel and a number of prominent Arab nations are unspoken allies of convenience against Iran. And Iran itself is seemingly weaker than at any other time in the theocracy’s history.

Stranger still, instead of demanding that the U.S. leave the region, many Middle Eastern nations privately seem eager for more of a now-reluctant U.S. presence.

For the last 20 years, much of the American orthodoxy had agreed with Europe that the increasingly anti-democratic, pan-continental, and borderless European Union was the remedy to all of Europe’s past 20th-century catastrophes.

As a result, American presidents did not do much when EU nations typically racked up large trade surpluses with the U.S., often a result of asymmetrical fees, tariffs, and fines.

The U.S. largely ignored the increasingly anti-democratic and anti-American tone of the EU.

Nor did Americans object much when lackadaisical European NATO nations habitually welched on their defense-spending commitments.

But then Trump again blew up more old assumptions.

NATO will now only survive if its members keep their word and meet their spending promises. An economically stagnant, oil-hungry, and top-heavy EU will have to make radical changes, or it will sink into irrelevance and eventually break apart.

Trump got little credit for these revolutionary changes because he is, after all, Trump — a wheeler-dealer, an ostentatious outsider, unpredictable in action, and not shy about rude talk.

But his paradoxical and successful policies — the product of conservative, anti-war, and pro-worker agendas — are gradually winning supporters and uniting disparate groups.

After all, the U.S. is beefing up its military but using it only sparingly. It hits back hard at enemies but does not hit first. For Trump, being conventional is dangerous; being unpredictable is far safer.

For all Trump’s tough talk, his ace in the hole is American soft power — based on a globally dominant economy, its global lead in the production of gas and oil, and an omnipresent cultural juggernaut.

The result of the new orthodoxy is that the U.S. has become no better friend to an increasing number of allies and neutrals, and no worse an adversary to a shrinking group of enemies. And yet Trump’s paradox is that America’s successful new foreign policy is as praised privately as it is caricatured publicly — at least for now.




FROM THE EDITOR: Can someone explain the gun control endgame?

End game? They want to disarm the population, because they want you dead.

With another legislative session in Olympia, there is another slate of gun control bills that have conservative Facebook whipped up in a frenzy. For the umpteenth year, gun control is among the top issues when it comes to politics and that probably will never change.

We hear the same tired stats that have been thrown out and modeled for everyone’s argument. While I do like to look at some sort of basis when it comes to political topics, it almost appears facts really don’t matter anymore because you can cherry pick basically any subset of data to support your view.

A quick glance at cable news and you might think we have a huge gun violence problem since it is always being talked about. However the top killers in the U.S. for 2019 is:

647,457 dead from heart disease
599,108 from cancer
169,936 from accidents.
160,201 from chronic lower respiratory diseases
146,383 from strokes
121,404 from Alzheimer’s disease
83,563 from Diabetes
55, 673 from influenza and pneumonia

But how often do people draw opposing lines in the diabetes debate, or talk about the accident lobby? When did cable news do a wall-to-wall special report on heart disease?

Some of these causes of death due to poor life choices and poor diets. “Eat healthier” isn’t going to transition into a viable bill on Capitol Hill. Our healthcare system is hopelessly tangled, and while cancer treatment keeps getting better, we don’t have a cure. No amount of legislation is going to stop cancer. We usually don’t even think about the flu or pneumonia but they are actually big killers

When it comes to violence, there are some weird things to consider. You have definitions and terms thrown out there that aren’t clearly defined. There is no accepted definition of “mass shooting,” for example.

While the 30K+ people died in shootings is thrown around a lot in the media, the breakdown of these stats paint a slightly different picture.

In 2016, nearly 23K of these deaths were from suicides, 14K came from homicides and just 71 of them came from mass shootings.

But again this breakdown is really never presented to us by the media or politicians when discussing gun control bills. There was a recent story saying 2019 had the most number of mass shootings on record resulting in the death of 211 people combined.

It’s tragic. It’s sad to see. I’m not condoning gun violence or shrugging it. But when things get put into perspective, blunt objects kill more people a year than guns, with 443 people killed. There were 1,515 people who died in a year from knives or cutting objects. There were 672 deaths from fists, feet and other personal weapons according to the FBI. The maligned firearm – the rifle – was around 400 people.

To me, it begs the question, what good will gun control laws do if it “may” prevent 400 deaths? That doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface of the 30K+ deaths a year. The handgun is the biggest perpetrator of shootings and a large majority of these are people taking their own lives – which is a completely different topic to unpack. While firearms make it easier, people have many other methods that could be used to take their own lives as well.

The reality and numbers smack into what is coming from bills in Olympia and how the argument is framed. Heck the recent rally of thousands of gun rights activists in Virginia was called a “White Nationalists gathering” and the rally was portrayed as something that could erupt in violence at any point. You know what happened? Nothing. People just showed that they want to exercise their 2nd Amendment rights.

I was asked “wouldn’t you feel uncomfortable if you were among that group?”

No. No one is going to mess with an armed group of people. Gun owners to me are the people who follow the laws, and I’ve never felt uncomfortable around 2nd Amendment enthusiasts. On the flip side, a recent shooting in Seattle showed that a criminal not following gun laws currently on the books had no problem getting a firearm — again proving our government’s inability to control guns except by making law-abiding gun owners criminals with sweeping rule changes.

I’ve said before, there is plenty of dialogue that needs to happen in this country. I, for one, would like to see more gun training, gun safety courses and more teaching moments. The anti-gun movement is so patently ignorant about how guns even operate, how can they govern them? More information needs to be spread.

But gun control narratives and misrepresentations get spun. It is a perfectly suited political football. Both sides can form their ranks, talk about how the other side is either taking away rights, crazy, out of touch or hellbent on turning America into a hellscape.

But why?

With no solution reached in decades of gun debate, what exactly are the goals? Prevent 400 gun deaths out of 38K? Take guns away from law abiding citizens while criminals can still acquire guns? I would just like someone to lay out their end goals as opposed to root for their team in the debate

Fighting off assaults on Second Amendment

Had 22,000 people showed up in Richmond, Virginia, to demand stronger gun control laws, it is a safe bet that proponents of them would pronounced the crowd to be conclusive proof most Americans want such restrictions.

But when a group estimated at that size demonstrated on Monday against new firearms ownership limits, some gun control advocates insisted the crowd was small — and evidence not many people worry about Second Amendment rights.

“I was prepared to see a whole lot more people show up than actually did, and I think it’s an indication that a lot of this rhetoric is bluster, quite frankly,” commented state Delegate Chris Hurst, a Democrat representing an area in western Virginia. In fairness to Hurst, it needs to be noted he has a personal stake in gun control; in 2015, his television journalist girlfriend was killed in shooting.

More than “bluster” was on display Monday in Richmond, however. As The Associated Press noted, those who turned out to protest what they view as infringements upon Second Amendment rights did so in spite of very cold weather. They came from throughout Virginia, as well as some other states.

Prior to the rally, state officials including Gov. Ralph Northam had expressed concern about white supremacists attending the event. Members of some such groups did attend, according to observers — but the rally passed peacefully. There was just one arrest, of a woman who broke a state law by wearing a mask that covered her face.

What happened Monday in Richmond was a demonstration that many law-abiding citizens — representing millions of other like-minded Americans — are concerned about politicians who continue assaulting the Second Amendment. Officials in the Old Dominion, as well as elsewhere, shoud take note of that.

Trump’s remarkable remarks at Davos.

President Donald John Trump’s address at Davos this morning was a lesson on governance by a man who entered politics less than 5 years ago.

Our president said, “America’s newfound prosperity is undeniable, unprecedented and unmatched anywhere in the world. America achieved this stunning turnaround not by making minor changes to a handful of policies, but by adopting a whole new approach centered entirely on the well-being of the American worker.”

That is incredible. A billionaire spoke to fellow billionaires, fellow world leaders, and academics not about the swell digs they were staying at or the lush cuisine they enjoyed.

President Trump talked about actually serving the people who entrusted them with power.

Why Unlocking More Oil and Gas is Good for Every American – And the Environment

What if gasoline prices doubled?  In other words, if you had to pay $5.00 per gallon, how much would that hurt your life?

That’s what happened during the 1970s oil crisis. The Middle East-led Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) weaponized oil by embargoing the United States twice. At that time, America lacked the capacity to make up for the lost oil. In 1978, the average price per gallon was around 60 cents.  By 1981, it reached $1.35.  The economy went into severe recession and millions lost their jobs.

But more recently, major unrest in the Middle East has not affected Americans as strongly as it used to.

On September 14, 2019, Iranian-backed militias attacked the world’s largest oil refinery, in Saudi Arabia. The attack cut the refinery’s capacity in half.

But despite some expert predictions, oil prices barely flinched. Americans saw no price spike at the pump.

Iran escalated the violence. Its proxies assaulted the American embassy in Baghdad just before New Year’s Day. This attack could have sent fuel prices through the roof, hurting our economy. But even after the United States responded by killing the Iranian terrorist general who orchestrated the attacks, fuel prices rose a little and then dropped back to where they were before the hostilities. If you blinked, you missed it.

The likelihood that Iran or any other bad actor can use violence or weaponize oil to hurt the global economy has dramatically receded. Why?

American energy leadership is why. As the chief regulator of oil and gas production in Texas, I am on the front lines of American energy production. And I am seeing a revolution that helps all Americans.

Our modern economy needs energy. From the smart phone in your hand to the lights in your home to the electric cars more Americans drive, we depend on affordable and reliable energy. We have vast proven oil reserves, we have the technology to extract it, and under the Trump administration we have the freedom to produce it and get it to market. Americans produce oil and gas more affordably and reliably than anyone else.

This affects everything for the better, including the environment. When I was building my business, I visited about half the world’s refineries. No one produces energy more cleanly than Americans do. Some point to flaring natural gas as an issue. Natural gas is a by-product of oil production. No one likes flaring, but producers are flaring just one to three percent of the total natural gas produced in Texas.

The solution to flaring is not to slow down oil production, or ban fossil fuels as some suggest, but to speed development of pipelines and other capacity to get natural gas to market. America has actually reduced emissions faster than any other industrialized country, thanks to the market-driven switch to natural gas. We just need to get more of it to market here and around the world.

The United States was once desperately dependent on foreign oil. In 1973 we imported about 35% of our oil from the Middle East. In 2019, the United States became a net oil exporter. Now, we produce 12 million barrels per day (5 million in Texas alone) and import less than 10% of our oil from the Middle East.

We have diversified our other foreign sources. When we were dependent on Middle Eastern oil, American forces had to stand cop on the beat to keep the oil flowing through chokepoints such as the Straits of Hormuz. This made us more likely to get into wars. Now our energy sources are more stable and reliable than ever.

Energy is one cost that no one in our modern economy can avoid. Unlocking America’s energy makes us safer and richer. For the teacher or nurse making $60,000 per year, at current gas prices you’re paying about $2,600 per year for gas if you commute 25 minutes to and from work every day. A 1973-size gas price spike would raise your costs significantly, to around $4,000 per year – just to drive to work. The price of the electricity to power your home would also rise significantly. You’d feel that pinch right in the wallet. I’m working every day to make sure that doesn’t happen.

What do Americans really want from oil and gas producers? Affordable and reliable energy produced as cleanly and safely as possible. How do we get that?

Drill baby drill. Right here in America.

Ryan Sitton is the Texas Railroad Commissioner. 

Virginia’s Second Amendment attack

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam apologized for his medical school blackface stunt, but he will have much more to apologize for if he signs into law a bill that attacks Virginia residents’ Second Amendment rights.

The measure is Senate Bill 16, which would ban “assault” firearms and certain firearm magazines.

Since Democrats have seized control of Virginia’s General Assembly, they are likely to push hard for strict gun control laws. Those laws will have zero impact on Virginia’s criminals and a heavy impact on Virginia’s law-abiding residents who own, or intend to own, semiautomatic weapons for hunting or their protection.

As a friend once explained to me, “I carry a gun because I can’t carry a cop.”

I am proud of my fellow Virginians’ response to the attack on their Second Amendment rights. Firearm owners in the state have joined with sheriffs to form Second Amendment sanctuary counties. That means local authorities will be required to protect Second Amendment rights in the face of any attempt by Virginia’s General Assembly to abrogate those rights.

Eighty-six counties – over 90 percent – in the Virginia commonwealth have adopted Second Amendment sanctuary resolutions. Spotsylvania County’s Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to approve a resolution declaring that county police will not enforce state-level gun laws that violate Second Amendment rights.

Sheriff Chad Cubbage said, “Be it be known that the Page Sheriff hereby declares Page County, Virginia, as a ‘Second Amendment Sanctuary,’ and that the Page County Sheriff hereby declares its intent to oppose any infringement on the right of law-abiding citizens to keep and bear arms.”

Culpeper County Sheriff Scott Jenkins made a vow during a Board of Supervisors meeting, where the board unanimously agreed to declare the county a Second Amendment constitutional county, to “properly screen and deputize thousands of our law-abiding citizens to protect their constitutional right to own firearms.”

In an attempt to appease residents’ resistance, Northam suggested there would be a ban on only the sales of semiautomatic rifles. He would allow gun owners to keep their current AR-15s and similar rifles as long as they registered them. Otherwise, they must surrender the rifles.

I’d urge Virginians not to fall for the registration trick. Knowing who owns what weapons is the first step to confiscation. Northam further warned, “If we have constitutional laws on the books, and law enforcement officers are not enforcing those laws on the books, then there are going to be consequences, but I’ll cross that bridge if and when we get to it.”

Some Democratic lawmakers on Capitol Hill say that local police who do not enforce gun control laws should face prosecution and even threats of the use of the National Guard.

Virginians must heed the words and capture the spirit of their two most distinguished residents, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, who wrote the Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions. These resolutions referred to the federal government, but are just as applicable to state governments in principle.

They said: “Resolved, That the several States composing the United States of America, are not united on the principle of unlimited submission to their General Government … and whensoever the General Government assumes undelegated powers, its acts are unauthoritative, void, and of no force.”

Too many Americans view the Second Amendment as granting Americans the right to own firearms to go hunting and for self-protection. But the framers of our Constitution had no such intent in mind. James Madison, in Federalist Paper No. 46 wrote that the Constitution preserves “the advantage of being armed, which the Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation … [where] the governments are afraid to trust the people with arms.”

Thomas Jefferson wrote: “What country can preserve its liberties if its rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms.”

Similar quotations about our Founders’ desire for Americans to be armed against the possible abuses of government can be found at

Walter E. Williams is a professor of economics at George Mason University.