Uncategorized

A reprieve: but for how long?

No copyright notice as this is just news.

The committee drafting the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty has adjourned without reporting a treaty to the nations or General Assembly for signature.  This is probably do to Senator Jerry Moran’s effort in obtaining signatures of 50 Senators besides himself against the draft treaty.

Be wary.  The ATT will not go away.  A second Obama Administration will likely push a total gun ban and work by Executive Order.  Justice Antonin Scalia is on board with this.  It is time to assure that anti-gun candidates do not become Congresscritters.

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Free Society, Preparedness

How to gear up

(c) 2012 Earl L. Haehl Permission is given to use this article in whole as long as credit is given. Book rights are reserved.

I tend to avoid advice columns on how to buy gear because they get into pseudo-philosophical discussions and presume that the same method works for everyone.  And I just discovered some of my own methods which are fairly adaptable.  Hemingway used Abercrombie and Fitch as his primary outfitter.  I did buy some decent clothes there about twenty years ago, but since I am not outfitting myself to be a college undergraduate or slacker Abercrombie has nothing I need.
I worked for a major outdoor outfitter for a little more than six years following my retirement from the Department of Corrections.  I also worked in hardware and building supply and in photographic supply and finishing.  I learned that the retail business is cyclical and the only place I worked that dealt with immediate “needs” was the hardware store.
When gearing up for preparedness, the camera store is not on your list–I enjoyed supplying the psychological needs of toy seekers, but mostly I dealt with processing and quite frankly I did not make too much in the way of SPIFs or commissions because the equipment I sold the customer on was then purchased from one of the discounters on the internet.  Our branch store was a convenience for the professionals who were doing weddings and school pictures and did not want to drive across town   It was not sufficient to keep the store open and the one day during December that I had sales of $1,800 there may have been $700 in equipment, film and supplies.
If you are really into preparedness, think first about what you are going to need.  Most of us dream about the retreat where there is wind or solar power, a wood stove a complete shop and a 2-5 acre garden.  The reality is that we are going to persevere where we are.  We need to look at the back yard as our garden space and find storage areas and workshop space where we can.
As a general rule you can start with your basic stores–grocery, hardware and dry goods.  Okay, for those of you not alive in 1955, a dry goods store was like a Penney’s or Denver Dry.  They were clothing, footwear, bedding etc.  My grandfather bought his work clothes at Penney’s and I bought my scout uniform, western clothes.  As an adult I bought suits etc.  Somewhere we might still have a down vest I bought in 1978 when it was finally discounted to $10 which was probably the store’s cost.
Earl’s observation #1:  as a rule hardlines (hardware, electronics, guns, etc.) have a very low margin and are discounted less; soft lines such as dry goods have a greater margin; and consumables such as are found in a grocery store are much more variable because they are impacted by the laws of supply and demand.   The margin is the difference between dealer’s cost and sale price.
Your local store is going to have a higher price than the internet or mail order supplier for simple reasons like space and employees.  Warehouses are generally located where property is cheap.  Some internet retailers will have everything “drop shipped” from a location they do not own.  There are still several reasons to buy locally.  First is that you can examine the merchandise–although I did have customers who examined my cameras or lenses and then ordered through the internet.  Second is that you can take it home now.  And third, it pays to have good relations with your local merchants.
Hard lines products bought locally do not have high shipping charges.  When buying tools, go first to a small/medium hardware store and look for the associates with white hair. These are generally folks who have been around the block and are working there because they get a discount on stuff they need for their own building projects.  This was told to me by a customer who had bypassed the cashier and the slacker with the koolaid blue beard and enough metal in his head to trigger every detector in the airport from a mile away.  I could not argue with him.  But the first thing to do is decide before you enter the store what you want and why you want it.  When I lived at home I used the tools that were there–I did have a pocket knife–Camillus I believe–that had a flathead screwdriver,  When we moved to DC my wife and I acquired a tape measure, two screwdrivers and a pair of combination pliers.  We added a small hammer and a hacksaw before we moved back and went to graduate and law school.
How I became as equipped as I am took years–my wife and I passed the forty-four year mark in June.  But I am going to lay out a strategy.  The first thing you do is buy what you need most.  And purchase the best you can afford.  This does not mean you have to have the absolute best because there is no such thing.  Just get on line and into a discussion group and you will discover the “best” tool has as many critics as proponents.
Every magazine and web site has a list of essential tools.  If these do not make sense for your situation don’t worry.  My list made sense for me.  I can recall when a writer in the Whole Earth Catalog waxed eloquent that you needed wood-handled finishing hammers because that is what house carpenters use.  Ten years earlier, when I was working on remodeling projects and training as a carpenter, we had just switched to using Plumb fiberglass-handled hammers. It is a matter of choice.  I have had over the years wood, polymer and steel handles and my preference is a polymer-handled framing hammer unless I can use deck screws or a nailgun.  So I would start out with a hammer, ripsaw, tape measure, combination pliers and a multibit screwdriver.  Like I said, my list worked for me, but conditions are different for everyone.  One thing I will say is that when I did begin to buy power tools, I bought a power drill–the best I could afford at the time–and a set of Irwin bits.  By fastening the drill in an adapter, I could, with a mandrel, use it as a bench grinder.
There are ways to buy tools.  Hardware stores, the internet, specialty stores, truckload sales at your grocery store, tent sales and pawn shops.  There are several discount tool retailers that have both internet and retail outlets,  The top three are Grizzly, Harbour Freight and Cummins. Cummins also runs tool sales at halls, armories, etc.  The common denominator is China.  My preference is Grizzly and I visit their store when I’m in Springfield.  One weekend when some of us were hanging out in the outlying areas we went to a tool show put on by Cummins in Oskaloosa, KS.  We ended up getting a couple heavy bench vises for about fifty percent of what we would have paid retail and they were not available in town.  I got my generator in 1999 at a tool sale.
Earl’s observation #2:  Look for value.  It is out there.  I bought a heavy duty drill press at a tent sale in one of the less occupied malls in town.  I was pricing the tools and figured out that I could have fully equipped a small shop for less than $1000.  And these were commercial grade tools, not the bargain bin stuff that you get in the grocery store.

In addition to getting construction and maintenance tools, you may be looking at your outdoor gear or bug-out stuff.  My big mobile first aid kit sits in the basement when I’m home.  When we travel it rides in the back of the vehicle where it is available.  I took a red tool box and put a masking tape cross on top, then spray paint around with white kilz(tm) and let it dry.  When the primer dried, I pulled up the tape and there was a red cross.  I add new materials an replace perishable items such as ointments and what gets used over the period.  If you are starting out you can get a basic kit and add to it.

Earl’s observation #3:  I recommend that everyone take a course in basic first aid and obtain a comprehensive manual.  That will let you know what the limitations of your basic kit are and what you need.  I have had good luck with the Adventure Medical kits available in several configurations which include the manual.

Basically, just do it your own way.

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Uncategorized

Small Arms Treaty — an open assault on our rights

(c) 2012  Earl L Haehl  Permission is granted to redistribute this in whole as long as credit is given.  Book rights are reserved.

Within two weeks, President Obama is set to sign the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty. The anti-gun movement is awaiting ratification to begin the disarmament of the American People. At present more than 60 Senators are leaning toward ratification of this treaty and the President is leaning on the rest. This is a grave moment because the ultimate sovereignty of the United States ultimately boils down to the ability of the people to repel invasion.

We are quietly celebrating what we call the War of 1812 which James Madison stumbled into. It was the only time a foreign power invaded the United States and burned the government buildings to the ground. It was not the scattered national army, but the Maryland Militia who convinced Admiral Cochrane that the British did not want a war of attrition.

Since 1913 the government has been attempting to consolidate power in Washington as part of a consolidation of national powers under an international body. In 1919 the Senate wisely rejected the Treaty of Versailles (actually the Treaty of Paris signed at Versailles) which placed severe controls on Germany that made life miserable and gave rise to Hitler’s National Socialist movement. This treaty was a bad thing and would not have stopped Hitler even had the United States joined.

After World War II, the mood changed and there was a consensus that the world needed a new international organization. Senator Robert Taft opposed this as an entangling alliance and warned that we would regret this. The U.S. Senate ratified the Charter and the United States joined the nation. At the motion of the Soviet Union, the headquarters was located in New York City.

The location has an upside and a downside. The United States may keep an eye on the goings and comings of foreign diplomats. The high cost of living in NYC may discourage smaller nations from sending too large a delegation. The downside is that it essentially doubles the number of spies with diplomatic immunity and draws heavily on both local and national assets for security.

A disproportionate percentage of UN funding comes from the US, which was, in the latter half of the 20th Century, a great engine of wealth. The US is no longer that mighty engine and is “obligated” to the same level of support and threatened by General Assembly if it does not support organizations like UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization). The interests of UNESCO are contrary to the interests of the United States and yet it dictates curricula to the US Department of Education which in turn dictates curricula to the states. The goal is a society indoctrinated in a world view inimical to our own system and history.

Reagan properly cut off US funding for UNESCO, but under Clinton, this country went crawling back apologizing—Clinton also kow-towed at the Western Gate after the Massacre at Tienanmen Square. The whole outlook has been “international.” The Clinton administration signed the Kyoto accords after the Senate voted 95-3 to reject the terms. He also signed the International Criminal Court treaty but never submitted it to the Senate.

Both Bush Administrations were also international in outlook, especially when justifying military adventures.

In the history of the United Nations, UN Peacekeeping troops have a spotty record. In Katanga, the UN Peacekeepers support the Communist leaning Central government of Zaire against the Western leaning Katangan government of Moise Tshombe. In Zimbabwe (Rhodesia) the UN oversaw an election which was won by Bishop Abel Musarewa and Josiah Gummede. The Marxist party of Robert Mugabe stayed at war and the UN, at the insistence of US Ambassador Andrew Young sided with Mugabe and the next election was rigged. Then there was Angola where the Marxist government held power only with the assistance of Cuban “volunteers.” Dr Jonas Savimbi’s pro Western UNITA party held out until George H.W. Bush, in order to curry favor with the UN, pulled support from Savimbi.

During the Rwandan Genocide the primary weapons were machetes. Belgian UN peacekeepers gave shelter to 2000 disarmedTutsis in a school with Hutu Power people outside. Everyone outside were Hutu. The Belgian troops left and the slaughter began.

So now, President Obama is asking us to trust that a UN technical treaty will not have a significant impact on Constitutional rights, namely the right to keep and bear arms. Meanwhile his lackeys have assured the Brady Campaign that it will. Kleptocrat and former Secretary General Kofi Anan has praised the treaty for disarming citizens.

This is a treaty about centralized power, about making the world safe for dictators.

I am of the opinion that if there is a conflict between a treaty and the Constitution itself, the Constitution prevails. We unfortunately have some justices on the Supreme Court who value the consensus of International Law over a written (not “living”) Constitution.

Just in from Senator Moran’s office: http://moran.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/news-releases?ContentRecord_id=2b02a67f-2179-41fc-be55-3502163c8510 Senator Moran and 50 others oppose the treaty if it will interfere with Second Amendment rights.

Meanwhile, Kurt Nimmo over at Infowars,com has, through his sources, obtained a draft of the proposed treaty. The language specifies international trade, but this is no problem for the O-Team. In all gun ban legislation, the interstate commerce clause is invoke with the additional language stating that since intra-state transfers may affect interstate commerce they are also reguliated. I have no doubt that the progressives will attempt to clamp down on domestic transfers.

This will include:

  • Reimposition of the 1994 assault weapon ban. There will be no grandfather clause on magazines or weapons in the possession of the population.
  • All private transfers of firearms will have to go through registration.
  • All reloading equipment and components will be registered.
  • Military ammunition will be prohibited to “civilians.” NOTE: The only non-civilians in the criminal justice system are those who are in a custody status and have not had their civil rights restored. Military ammunition includes: .45ACP, .45 S&W (a cowboy action load), 9mm Parabellum, .30-30, .30-06. 6.5mm Swedish, 7×57 Mauser, 8×57 Mauser, .308 Winchester, 7.62 NATO, 7.62 rimmed Imperial, .223 Remington, 5.56NATO, 7.62×39 Combloc, 5.45×39 Combloc and numerous other rounds.
  • Black powder weapons will fall under registration.

Realize that the 51 Senators opposing the treaty will be under extreme pressure from the White House and remember that we expected the Arms Reduction Treaty to go down in defeat.

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Compleat Idler

Idler’s kitchen — French Toast

(c) 2012  Earl L Haehl

Permission is granted to redistribute this in whole as long as credit is given.  Book rights are reserved.

French toast was rare when I was growing up. My grandmother preferred to throw a small can of corn into a few eggs, scramble them and call it an omelet. I do something similar but that’s another meal and another blog I may or may not get around to.

French toast is one of the few times I will get out the teflon* coated electric fry pan. I set the temperature and let it warm up to a constant 320-360 degrees, then start on the prep.

Ingredients are (for two people): Sourdough bread (the staler the better), five eggs, half and half and nutmeg. Butter or spread is also helpful in the pan to get that brown on the eggs.

DISCUSSION

Sourdough bread is what we use because it has lower glycemic index than the “Texas toast” stuff which appears to be only white bread. I have several recipes to make it myself, but in this instance fresh is not better. And leaving bread out to go stale is not a good idea if you have a Labrador. You can use raisin bread or cinnamon swirl if you like.

Five eggs is what I use, but you can get by with four.

The standard dairy product in our refrigerator is no-fat-no-lactose. You really need milkfat for taste and texture. My preference would be dairy cream, but my cardiologist does not agree. I just pour in what feels right.

Nutmeg was a controlled item at the penitentiary where I retired after serving a number of years in the administration. So that tells me it is a pleasure spice. I keep the spice to one and keep it simple. You cannot overdo the nutmeg—use plenty.

I mix with a fork because it is easier to clean than the whisk. Because I’m using a non-stick pan I use a plastic spatula that will not nick the surface.

PROCESS

While the pan warms up break the eggs into a square, shallow Pyrex baking dish—or whatever you have that fits. Discard the shells. Pour in the half and half and beat until smooth. Then as at least a teaspoon of nutmeg and beat until it is all through the mix.

Grease the pan generously. This is not to lubricate but to add texture to the final product. Dip the slices of bread and toss them onto the pan or a cast-iron griddle if you have a gas stove. Wait a couple minutes and turn. You can add more nutmeg while cooking.

Serve with your choice of condiment: syrup, butter and brown sugar, or jam/preserves.

NOTES:

I put an asterisk after teflon because I have no idea what the latest non-stick is. Having one of those ceramic top electric stoves, I cannot use cast-iron which is the original non-stick surface that you can reseason if you screw it up.

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Free Society

Understanding Gradualism and the Dialectic

(c) 2012  Earl L Haehl  Permission is granted to redistribute this in whole as long as credit is given.  Book rights are reserved.

One of the ways the Progressive Movement has taken over the country is through gradualism. The mechanics are simple. First you capture the education system as the socialists did in New York City in the period 1890-1920. You bring up the younger generations believing the primary values of the Founders were democracy and compromise. This leads toward amending the Constitution to become more democratic as well as more centralized.

To be honest, the framers of the Constitution were concerned with making a working union. They represented states. The word today is used to mean subdivisions of a nation. In 1787 the term referred to sovereign entities. This is why the Senate is a house of the delegates of the various states. They were willing to compromise only as long as their states remained sovereign and only specific powers and responsibilities were delegated to the central government.

The Federalists wanted the Constitution as written. The Anti-Federalists, realizing that the document would be adopted, demanded a Bill of Rights to further restrict the power of the central government. The high school history and civics curricula refer to this as a compromise the Framers worked out. The Anti-Federalists did not consider this a compromise—rather it was a condition precedent to the formation of the Republic.

While the original federalists had disagreements among themselves, they generally pulled together to get the states they controlled to ratify. While the ratification process only required nine states, without New York and Virginia, and to a lesser extent Massachusetts, it was not going to fly. The firebrand anti -federalists were able to set the agenda in those states despite the smooth talk of Hamilton, Jay and Madison. And they would have left the compact were it not for the ratification of the bill of rights.

So here is the status quo in 1792. A federal republic made up of a confederation of 13 republics with very little central power and the funding had to come from tariffs and excises. The Republic was dependent on the states for general governance and for militia to defend. Hamilton lobbied hard for a national army. The Senate resisted. The emergency came in 1798 when President Adams got into an undeclared naval war with France. Voila! An army. Never mind that the national army fell apart in 1814. 1815: We need a larger army.

In the nineteenth century along came Marx who used Hegelian dialect while dismissing Hegel. In Marx’s version history can only move in the direction of communism.

In dialectic there is the thesis. Along comes an opposing idea called the antithesis. As they colllide they merge and the product is called the synthesis. In time the synthesis becomes the new thesis. And a new antithesis (which may be the same antithesis) appears. There another merger and the synthesis is a step closer to the antithesis.

In the Progressive movement the synthesis becomes the status quo. The antithesis is the position of the movement. And the synthesis is the ever to be worshiped compromise. And that is how gradualism works.

In 1934 the objective of the Roosevelt administration was to disarm the citizenry. The first proposal that was shot down (by the Democrats) was a total ban. Remember, the New Deal was modeled on the ideas of Benito Mussolini. Francis Perkins, Secretary of Labor, was the brains behind the New Deal—so much for the idea that women are a moderating force. She had worked toward passage of the Sullivan Law in New York which was introduced by “Big Tim” Sullivan at the behest of some of his old cohorts (he was a street thug before discovering that more money that could be made through graft) who were upset because businessmen carrying handguns were putting a crimp in their robbery business.

Mrs Perkins was on board with the whole panoply of limitations. As it finally got to the bill, an excise was used so that it would not apply to Mr Roosevelt’s wealthy cronies. Ordinary people would not be able to handle the fees and paperwork. While sporting rifles and shotguns were exempted handguns were in the bill. So it would cost about $200 a transfer. Opposition in Congress scuttled the inclusion of handguns—my theory is that the cheapskates in Congress had handguns and did not want to pay the fees. So we got the current Title II registry as a compromise. The excise power of the United States was upheld on a shotgun with a barrel less than 18” when it was “shown” that such a weapon had not been used in the “Great War.”

The Title II registry and excises. The Congress and the Court were more precise in those days. Excises were fees for transfer of property whereas the only taxation powers of the United States were on income. So in 1968 the status quo is the treasury based 1934 Act. The attempt to ban came up with GCA 68 which regulates all transactions through dealers and defining “prohibited persons”–far more than the Constitution allows but far less than the progressives sought. In 1994, a lame duck congress negotiated a ban on “assault weapons,” and high capacity magazines along with a waiting period that has been replaced by an Instant Check System. The cost to the progressives was a grandfather clause on the magazines and the weapons ban and a sunset on both but the NICS check (devised by the NRA) remained. The NICS is a jobs program.

So now the progressives have a status quo of the 1934 NFA with a few tweaks in 1986 which loosened the requirements, but allows no automatic weapons built after a certain date to be traded to the public as well as GCA1968 with the background check. The antithesis or proposal is, as it has been since 1934, disarmament of the civilian population.

Anyone who opposes the progressive program is called reactionary. And that is what the liberty movement has been. It is time to take charge and make the antithesis the total repeal of GCA68 and NFA34. History does not run in a straight line and the progressive movement has no monopoly on the tactics. The bill should be ready by November so it can compete with whatever Obama proposes.

At the very least we should know the methodology of the opposition which has almost accomplished its goals. The time has come when we reverse the track or lose.

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Compleat Idler, Preparedness

GUNSHOWS

(c) 2012  Earl L Haehl Permission is granted to redistribute this in whole as long as credit is given.  Book rights are reserved.

It has been some time since I went to a Gunshow. According to the folks in Washington and New York these shows are a hotbed of illegal weapons sales. I have made personal purchases from other customers—sometimes a trade. But every dealer has to go through the NICS process.

I very seldom buy weapons but I check prices which are driven by demand.  And a key factor in demand is regulation and rumors of regulation.  Back in the early nineties there was a rumor that ATF would require that primers have a shelf life of no more than six months.  While this is possible, the chemical process would be iffy–the shelf life starts at the point of manufacture.  Existing primers shot up in price and disappeared.  Also, semi-auto weapons have had ups and downs depending on the political climate.

Also there are knick-knacks and coins as well as Pakistani swords and knives for the RenFest crowd.  I brought home some t-shirts for the family that said, “PETA People Eating Tasty Animals.”  There are various political and attitudinal bumper stickers I would not want on my truck if I were a defendant in a self-defense shooting case.

What really makes gun shows interesting are the tools and books.  These are not just reloading and gunsmithing tools but metalworking tools from which can be made machine tools,  My theory has always been that the way out of a breakdown and collapse is the rebuilding of a manufacturing infrastructure–one wind generator and home workshop at a time.  My son steers me away from tables where they have multi-bit screwdrivers, which I am reputed to accumulate.

I really enjoy seeing the used books and coins.  There are a lot of turn-of-the-20th-Century two and four volume encyclopediae that have instructions on manufacturing techniques as well as Kurt Saxon’s books that excerpt them.  Also there are some out of print classics such as some of Ruark’s less than politically correct books.

Coins fascinate me and I might be tempted.  The artwork and history are really important to know.

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Writing and diction

Style lesson — Contractions

(c) 2012  Earl L Haehl Permission is granted to redistribute this in whole as long as credit is given.  Book rights are reserved.

We are creatures of habit. That is pronounced “we’re creatures of habit.” One of the problems with modern English writing is the contraction. And as I looked back through my posts over the past few years, I find that I have been a chronic offender.

It is easy to get that way and back when I was writing for newspapers in the late Pleistocene, contractions were encouraged to save space. And they have antecedents in history and literature. Sam’l Johnson, DHL, had a publisher who saved two letters by using an apostrophe as did Dan’l Webster. I was unable, however, to convince the English department of this.

Back about the end of May, I resolved to correct this lapse in my writing style because I am writing for a general audience and should not rail against those practices I follow. You note that I have not resolved to give up circumlocution or complex sentence structure because I wish my readers to be able to decipher and translate such style—it helps in understanding lawyers, politicians and flacks as well as pedants such as myself.

Part of the problem with contractions is the fact that the contraction of “it is” can be confused with the possessive form of “it.” Actually there are two contractions for “it is”; it’s and ’tis. They are fine in poetry and music. “’Tis” is also appropriate in dialog to enhance character. The possessive form of “it” is “its” with no apostrophe. Or to use them all in one sentence. ‘Tis a sad thing when a machine thinks it’s appropriate to disobey its operator.

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