Tuesday, March 31, 2009
The America is Arming Mexico's Drug Gang Lie
by Dan Gifford
There is an iron river of guns that flows South into Mexico [from the United States] to supply criminal organizations on the border,” says Tom Mangan, senior special agent with Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) in Phoenix. “They are in the market for machine guns, hand grenades, rocket-propelled grenade launchers and Stinger anti-aircraft missiles,” he continues. That’s right. The drug gangs can’t buy that and other military stuff like the 40MM grenades (the silver things in the upper left) and the rifles with launchers shown in the photo below in Mexico, so they drive to the United States and purchase them from American gun dealers at retail. Isn’t that the story you’ve been told? Well, congratulations. America’s First Amendment protected propaganda ministry has punked you on another important issue — this time on behalf of dissembling officials and gun confiscation advocates.
For the benefit of those who may not know, machine guns (not the same thing as the demonized “semi-automatic”), hand grenades, rocket-propelled grenade launchers, Stinger anti-aircraft missiles and other such military items are illegal to possess by US civilians, which means they are not for sale in gun stores. OK, in the interest of extreme accuracy for anyone in need, there are some civilian owned machine-guns in America, but they all have to have been registered with the ATF by 1986 as evidence that a special Treasury tax has been paid and the owner’s residence state has to approve the possession. What’s more, none of these arms has ever been involved in a crime, to my knowledge, and all are considered very pricey collectors items. That means they are not for sale to or in the hands of Mexican drug goons.
That raises some questions:
If Mexican gangsters are not buying military weapons in the United States, why do people like ATF officials, Attorney General Holder, Secretary of State Clinton, gun prohibitionists like Sarah Brady and multitudes of media talking heads claim they are while calling for an American “assault weapon” ban they say will to keep the Mexican drug gangs from buying what they really aren’t buying here because they can’t?
And if Mexican gangsters are not buying their military weapons in America from gun dealers as claimed, where are they buying them?
Confused? Well, as Fox News’ pundit Charles Krauthammer explained in one of his 1996 Washington Post columns, the answer to question one is quite simple:
Passing a law like the assault weapons ban is symbolic — purely symbolic … In fact, the assault weapons ban will have no effect either on the crime rate or on personal security. Nonetheless, it is a good idea … Its only real justification is not to reduce crime but to desensitize the public to the regulation of weapons in preparation for their ultimate confiscation … Ultimately, a civilized society must disarm its citizenry if it is to have a modicum of domestic tranquillity of the kind enjoyed in sister democracies like Canada and Britain … Yes, Sarah Brady is doing God’s work.
Krauthammer is able to so clearly state the obvious that most government officials, politicians, gun banners and reporters keep denying because he does not have to lie to voters in order to stay in office or keep donations coming in, as Sarah Brady does. Neither do I. So please note that all the public safety blather about “plastic guns” that can evade metal screener detection, “cop killer bullets” that are specifically made to murder police officers, “Saturday Night Specials” which are unsafe for anyone to possess (except for police — there’s always a police exception) and the other oft repeated gun control paradigms are simply bogus media ready scare phrases that have zero to do with public safety and everything to do with eventually outlawing the private ownership of firearms.
Maybe you agree with that goal and maybe you don’t, but that’s the object of “reasonable gun control” advocacy.
The answer to the second question is equally obvious. Gun running from the United States into Mexico has been going on since the 1800s. But the stuff bought or stolen here is not the military weaponry we are continually told is arming the gangs there. This paragraph from a Los Angeles Times story managed to get the story right even if nobody else in the media will report it:
Most of these [military] weapons are being smuggled from Central American countries or by sea, eluding U.S. and Mexican monitors who are focused on the smuggling of semi-automatic and conventional weapons purchased from dealers in the U.S. border states of Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California. . . . The enhanced weaponry represents a wide sampling from the international arms bazaar, with grenades and launchers produced by U.S., South Korean, Israeli, Spanish or former Soviet bloc manufacturers. Many had been sold legally to governments, including Mexico’s, and then were diverted onto the black market. Some may be sold directly to the traffickers by corrupt elements of national armies, authorities and experts say … These groups appear to be taking advantage of a robust global black market and porous borders, especially between Mexico and Guatemala. Some of the weapons are left over from the wars that the United States helped fight in Central America, U.S. officials said.
Stratfor, a private intelligence agency, noted more:
Grenades used in three recent attacks in Monterey, Mexico, and Pharr, Texas, all originated from the same lot delivered from South Korea.
So let’s recap.
Attorney General Holder, Secretary of State Clinton, ATF officials and a host of others claim that an “assault weapon ban” against American civilians will keep Mexican drug cartels with gazillions of dollars in their jeans from buying military weapons on the international black market.
Hey, makes sense to me.
Monday, March 30, 2009
Today it happened while on my bicycle. Here's this guy pedaling along in front of me. he would peddle for about 50 yards, then coast, then peddle, then coast, etc. I came along behind him, rode there for a minute, decided that I couldn't put up with the pace any longer, pulled around him to pass and when I came level with him he suddenly put on a burst of speed. I passed him but about a half mile later he came flying by pedaling for all he had. No problemo, if he wanted in front that much he was welcome to the position. Except then he coasted. And pedaled. And coasted. Until I was right behind him again doing the bicycle conga. Sigh.
Saturday, March 28, 2009
We are at home alone this weekend all children are off doing their monthly defense of the republic and in Craig's case, touring the central California coast with his High School band. So, we get to be fancy free and wild....which in our case, at least for last night, was watching a movie ("Taken" which was pretty good), walking the dogs, and reading. I think we will have a hard time keeping up this frantic pace until the children are back in town.
I just finished "World Without End" by Ken Follett, the sequel to "Pillars of the Earth". It was excellent and even though it was a bit over 1,000 pages I wish it had gone on for another 500. What a great book. Equal in all ways to "Pillars of the Earth". It was one of the few fiction books that I have read recently that was almost impossible to put down. Just a note: We owned both books long before Oprah recommended them on her TV show. Normally if Oprah recommends something I go the other way but not this time.
For those who might like to sample a science fiction book series that is light on science mumbo-jumbo and always incorporates a mystery to be solved while hunting for antiquities (which since the stories take place thousands of years in the future the antiquities are sometimes items from our present) may I recommend the Alex Benedict series by Jack McDevitt? The central figure in the books who actually tells the story is Chase, the 'girl Friday' to Benedict and the person who usually ends up saving the day. Most of McDevitt's stories feature a female protagonist which is an interesting change from the usual male-driven science fiction stories.
What a beautiful weekend. Sunny, a mild breeze, temperatures in the low 80s. A perfect day for going to.....the shooting range! So I did. I can't think of a better way to spend the morning on such a great spring day.
A word of caution: for any one thinking the stock market has healed itself and that the economy is moving forward again, Google the term bear-trap in relation to the stock market and act accordingly.
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
(As an aside did you know that nijer seed comes from India and Ethiopia and currently there is a shortage of it which is causing shortages and rising prices? Is there any other use for nijer seeds except for middle class Westerners to use to feed finches? Since our Mimosa tree is also from Ethiopia we have an interesting connection between the tree and the seeds in the feeder hanging from it)
Back to the war. This ruthless creature figured out how to attack Mary's deluxe dual sock, feeds twice as many - no waiting! finch feeder and loot it of the precious nijer seeds. It managed to shinny down the cord that holds it from the tree limb above and somehow dangle down to chew a hole in one of the socks and suck out the seeds. I was willing previously for the tree rat to have a portion of the seeds but destroying private property is the last straw. If we didn't live in such a populated area a single .22 bullet would end the furry corsair's depredations but the law and my liberal neighbors would probably be upset by gun play in the backyard. So, being a Field Grade officer I applied my technical training and years of experience to devise a method to keep the enemy at bay.
The device is simple in conception and elegant in execution. A pie plate, suitably pierced to allow the cord for the feeder is fixed at a precise point calculated to deflect the furry tree rat's efforts to land on the domed top of the feeder. Almost a week has passed and not a single successful assault of the finch feeder. Victory! Click on the picture for a better image.
Now that my knee surgery is about a month past I'm riding my bike more and glad I'm doing so. I really lost a lot of strength in the injured knee and a lot of my wind is gone too. I'm huffing and puffing going up hills on the bike and being passed by every other cyclist wherever I ride. Time to get back into shape! The surgeon pronounced me good to go this past Monday and told me to keep up the exercise which I will.
I found this video on youtube made by a Navy Hawkeye air squadron. It is a lot of fun to watch. Check out their other lip-sync videos too.
Sunday, March 22, 2009
I had to travel to the east coast last week for business. On the flight back I had the middle seat between two rather large individuals, a man and woman. They each claimed a piece of my seat space along with theirs. I shortly learned that they were husband and wife as they proceeded to talk through me and hand stuff back and forth in front of me for much of the flight. I counted the number of times the wife bonked me with her travel pillow - 6 - as she tried to get comfortable in her seat. I was stuck for 5 long hours. It was good to get home.
It's raining, it's pouring and this old man isn't snoring since I don't indulge in such behavior..but we have rain for the first time in quite awhile. It rained heavily overnight and looks like it will be raining off and on all day. Marla departed for a dog event this morning. Since dog events are like soccer and don't stop for the rain I hope she doesn't get too wet. As they say around here 'we can use the rain'.
I forgot to mention one of the star attractions at the Madonna Inn where we spent our Anniversary weekend recently: the heated toilet seat. The toilet did other things as well but we only indulged in the heated seat. Ain't technology grand!
Postscript: I just read in the paper this morning that in order to save money people are now...are you ready for it?...shoveling their own snow and cutting their own grass!! I have no doubt why this country is in such trouble and it has very little to do with greedy bankers and unscrupulous stockbrokers. The people need to look into a mirror to see who is at the root of the country's woes.
Monday, March 16, 2009
When we got back to the Jeep Mary dumped the ballast she had taken on in her shoes. I guess it was pretty sandy!
This is the water wheel at the Apple Farm Inn, a competitor to the Madonna Inn. We decided we were staying in the better of the two. The Apple Farm Inn looked too snooty for us.
We checked out the creek walk behind the shopping district. Mary made it across the stepping stones in the creek walk. We saw the mission in the center of town, walked up and down the main shopping streets and Mary even bought a couple of small items to help out the SLO economy. That night we had dinner at the Madonna Inn restaurant where I had a steak that was so big that even I could not finish it. A most interesting thing occurred during the dinner. A private party set up near us complete with a band and danced to waltzes, tangos and the like. There were many young people but also a few middle aged couples and even a couple that looked to be in their 90s. Some of the dancers were quite good. The girls were dressed in elegant evening gowns but the young men were looking a bit scruffy. They should have been in evening dress. We surmised that it was a dance club or graduation night for a dance class since most of the people traded off for each dance.
Sunday, March 15, 2009
So, there I was in the middle of a protest march on Friday. I wasn't a participant however. The local teachers were protesting impending job reductions and were swarming the intersection that I needed to make my way through to get home. I was trying to ride my bike but ended up pushing it through the crowd of chanting, sign waving teachers. At least they were obeying the walk/don't walk signals as they crossed through the intersection. It would be dismaying for their students to see the teachers acting out. I contemplated all of this while thinking that Mary teaches at a Catholic school, makes half of what these union teachers make, with no benefits (except for 3 personal days) and still has a class that performs a grade level higher than the public schools. Maybe if the public schools did as well as the church schools with the same level of funding that they get (I'm guessing about 25% of an equivalent Santa Clarita city school ) then perhaps the state wouldn't be cutting funding now and everyone would be keeping their jobs. Aren't unions wonderful?
Mary and I had a romantic weekend in the San Luis Obispo area.
It was great but we almost had a bang-up time! But, more to follow on that tomorrow.
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
I received an iTunes gift card for my anniversary recently. $20 to spend on any music that I wanted! Now that is a great gift (I also got a gift card to Dairy Queen - Blizzards, yum!); again it is like treasure hunting. I can search through the music data base and find tunes from the past that evoke memories of days gone by. How about the theme to "Lost in Space" by a very young Johnny (John) Williams? The theme to "The Virginian"? "The Avengers" - I can still see John Steed using the sword he pulled from his bumbershoot to adroitly flick a carnation from a vase and to the luscious Emma Peel. Mama Cass singing "Dream a Little Dream of Me" at a concert. How about the concert version of "Taxi" by Harry Chapin? I could go on but that is probably enough on that subject.
Knee update: I did my first physical therapy on Tuesday. I thought I was in good shape with strong leg and back muscles. Let's just say that the reality does not match my internal image of myself. The therapist had me using muscles that I didn't know existed and this morning I was so stiff that I found it painful to walk. I have another go at it tomorrow. But, as our new administration has stated several times "Never let a good crisis go to waste" I informed my boss that due to having PT in the morning on Thursday and considering my painful condition it will be best if I do the 'work from home' plan all day. I don't know if he has bought into this strategy but he didn't say no so I will indeed be working from home tomorrow. I will however not be working in my PJs as apparently some work-from-home types do.
Daily grouch: Since most people are being very kind towards me in my invalid state it is difficult for me to be grouchy but fortunately a neighbor was able to restore me to the state of grouchiness this afternoon. Here I was pushing my loaded bike up the long hill leading to our street when along came this guy in his super cool pickup. I was almost level with his driveway when he recklessly and without heed to my invalid status whipped his truck into the driveway directly in front of me. Would it have killed him to wait a few seconds until I was past and out of the way? I felt disrespected by him and it made me want to write a note about this and leave it under the windshield wiper on his truck. This type of behavior from Mr. Coolpickupdriver is enough to transform me from a grouch to a bitter old man with a cane. In this transformation I will shake my cane at transgressors and shout "You wild kids! Have some respect for your elders!" and then mutter about 'wippersnappers'.
Saturday, March 7, 2009
Ok, this is worth being grouchy about: Since when is wearing the Soviet hammer and sickle symbol a trendy fashion statement for our teenagers? I've seen a couple of teens recently sporting T-shirts with the communist logo on them. When I see this I see red-and I'm not just referring to the color of the hammer and sickle. The communist movement inflicted almost as much misery and deaths on the world in the 20th century as the Nazis inflicted on Europe. If kids were wearing T-shirts with swastikas on them do we think that the schools and their parents would consider the shirts a harmless fashion statement? Most assuredly not. I saw the border between the west and the east in Europe with the Soviet mandated guard towers, fences, mines, and killer dogs all designed to keep the people captive in the east. As I said to Craig the other day, I didn't spend 3 years in Germany defending civilization against the Soviet hordes just so some punk kid can sport the logo of the 2nd most evil empire in the world in the last several hundred years. Mary spoiled the moment by suggesting that I spent 3 years in Germany sight-seeing and that there wasn't much defending going on. Perhaps, but I would have been ready to defend if called upon. So there.
It is impossible to be grouchy after watching Peter Sellers in "The Pink Panther Strikes Again" which I did tonight and laughed so hard at parts of it that my eyes were watering. After that I am no longer grouchy. At least for the rest of the weekend.
Monday is the day that I get back on the bike for a 2 mile commute to work. Hopefully the knee will do its part in the task and get me from the Glendale train station to work and back without fail.
And lastly I just cannot resist free stuff. Someone found a large carton at drill today filled with expired aircraft survival kits. There were flares, flashlights, sea anchors, shark repellent, whistles, drinking water (expired 1997)...all sorts of cool stuff. Because of the flares and the potential fire hazard if they ignited the carton was hauled off to the fire department for 'disposal' (oh sure, disposal - the city of Los Alamitos is going to be seeing those flares all night on New Years eve) but I managed to grab some stuff before it left. So now I am the proud owner of three aircraft survival packs so if I ever find myself lost at sea I will be prepared.
Wednesday, March 4, 2009
Monday, March 2, 2009
Speaking of ungrates the greedy finches are now emptying the finch feeder in an amazing one hour! This Olympic-worthy record was achieved this past Saturday. My reaction was to plan to fill the feeder every other day to teach them some self restraint. Mary's reaction was to go to Walmart today and buy a specialized feeder that has not one but two feeding socks and buy two large sacks of food! I think I need to examine the back of Mary's neck when she is next sleeping to see if the finches installed a tiny electronic chip to control her free will Ala "Invaders from Mars."
Something not to be grouchy about: The doctor removed the stitches from my knee, said it looks fantastic (he would be one to know a fantastic knee) and said I can start riding my bike again. I believe I will start mid week with an easy couple of miles and take it from there. I will start therapy next week for a month.
Something to be very grouchy about: The state of all of our 401k's. The economy pretty much seems to be in a free-fall. Pay your debts, put some food up and buy another box of cartridges. It may be an interesting 2009 and 2010 may be even more so.
Sunday, March 1, 2009
The update for Sunday is that it is sunny, warm, in the 70s. I will be enjoying the nice weather so there is no update for today. I have lots of grouches and rants to share but they will have to wait until the workweek starts again and I am in the proper frame of mind.
I hope you enjoy your Sunday too!