My Letter To Congress

I decided to write my Congresswoman and Senators tonight.  Because.

Since I feel like sharing, here is the text of that email.

Hello Congresswoman,

I’m a legal resident of your district, though I currently live in CA because the Navy stationed me here. I’m writing to share a Civil Rights proposal that is probably 15 years overdue, and I hope you’ll seriously ponder it.

After 9-11, there was serious discussion about how to deal with airline security. That discussion has been revisited now because of the Ft Lauderdale shootings. Back in 2001, there was a proposal that could only be called common sense, but evoked much hand-wringing and gnashing of teeth: why don’t we permit pilots to carry guns in the cockpit? If memory serves, eventually, after much demagoguing on both sides, this provision was put into law. I have no idea how many pilots actually carry, but frankly I feel better that they do.

Aside from that, every other provision that we as a nation took was not only nonsensical but arguably against both the letter and spirit of the Constitution and the nearly millennium-old traditions of British common law from which our system sprung. No one can seriously argue that the TSA is anything other than security theater and a jobs program, but we permit this agency to treat every person in the country as a suspect, and force us to submit to searches without probable cause to think we have committed, or are going to commit, a crime, just because we wish to exercise our natural and Constitutional rights to travel and engage in commerce.

This is more than absurd: it is a travesty, a usurpation in the worst degree. And it is a flagrant violation of the 2nd, 4th, 5th, and 14th Amendments to the US Constitution.

But what about security?

That is a legitimate concern. It is also one that can be addressed without treating every citizen as a criminal and spitting on our long-standing traditions and legal framework. Instead of the massive drain on the public coffers and the vivisection of the Constitution the TSA represents, I propose the following:

Allow all citizens who have a valid concealed carry permit, issued by any State in the Union, to carry his or her gun onto the plane, with the caveat that said weapon can only be loaded with frangible rounds of a type that Air Marshals use.

I know. This is an appalling proposal! How dare I even suggest it!

Consider this. Had we honored the US citizens’ natural and Constitutional right to keep and bear arms while they engaged in their natural and Constitutional right to travel on 9-11, and said citizens had been armed on, say, Flight 93, how different would that result have been?

It is impossible to know for sure, because counterfactuals are unprovable, but certainly the odds of a better outcome could only have improved.

But the Air Marshals might think the citizen is a bad guy and shoot him instead!

That is a risk. But considering the number of Air Marshals compared with the number of flights per day, that risk is small. Then again, if armed citizens can provide security on the plane (they have every incentive to do so as long as we don’t remove their ability to do so), why would we need Air Marshals? Perhaps this is (yet another) place we can trim the fat from the Federal Budget.

Please take some time and really think on this proposal.

Given the bill currently under consideration in the House to require national concealed carry reciprocity, and the widespread support it is gaining both in political circles and with the public, I think perhaps this is the right time to consider lifting the restrictions we have placed on Americans’ Civil Rights on airplanes as well.

Thank you for your time, and for the time of your staffers who are reading this (assuming it’s not a bot doing it – perhaps I’m being a tad cynical there, yes? ūüėČ ).

Best Wishes

Too much?

Not hardly enough, I think.  I have no illusions that the Congresswoman of Senators will actually read the note, or that anything will come of it.  But DAMN IT!  Especially residing in California as I am now, I am sick and tired of being treated like a criminal and having my natural rights stomped on just so some douchebag politicians can assuage their egos.

Whether or not concealed carry gets allowed on planes, one thing is for certain: the TSA needs to go.  It needs to go 15 years ago.

And then the entire Dept of Homeland Security needs to follow it.  It was an abomination when proposed, and has only grown worse over the years.  Get rid of it.

Zero chance this will happen.  But it would be nice if it did, because freedom.

I Am So Sick Of This Shit

I posted this on Facebook earlier, under my real name. ¬†I debated whether or not to post it here under my pen name, because it’s more than a little political. ¬†But you know what? ¬†I don’t give a damn. ¬†If someone reads this and decides they hate me because of what I think, so be it.

Brace yourselves:

 

I’ve watched, over the last few days, while all manner of brain-dead people have bemoaned the Zimmerman verdict, as though somehow a man’s inherent right to self defense, the law of the state, and common sense should not apply if the man in question happens to be less tanned than the man he was defending himself against.

More recently, a number of people are pissed about the fact that Rush Limbaugh used the word “nigger” on the radio recently, and never mind the context in which he used it.

Let me put it to all of you bluntly.

I don’t care.

I really and truly don’t care.

I’m serious. I’m sick and tired of having the “racist” charge held over my head because I happen to have less melanin in my skin than then next guy. Especially when the people who are the most demonstrably racist are the ones who sling the accusation.

Who are those people?

Thanks for asking. The Democrat party and their house-slaves in the “civil rights” movement, that’s who. The self-proclaimed “progressives”, the people who stole the word liberal not so long ago and perverted it for their own use. Because make no mistake. Liberal means one who embraces individual liberty. Freedom. And the Democrat party is entirely against that.

More specifically, the Democrats are historically the party of slavery, and racism, and the KKK, and segregation, and Jim Crow, and opposition to interracial marriage, and opposition to civil rights laws. And of course they pushed through affirmative action and welfare, which have demonstrably done more to destroy the African American community than anything the KKK could have ever dreamed of (and small wonder considering how many of the Democrats who pushed those laws were themselves unapologetic members of the KKK). I have no idea how the Republicans could have possibly been inept enough to let the Democrats claim to somehow be the party that likes the common man and minorities, but they did, despite all historical and modern evidence to the contrary.

Seriously.

Consider this. No matter how good relations become between people of varying tans in this nation, the Democrat party as a whole and organizations like the NAACP and the Rainbow Push will never admit to it. Never. Because they derive money and power – a whole lot of money and power – from their use of racial tension to drive people apart.

Morgan Freeman says it better than I ever could:

 

The truth is that when the modern “liberal” examines Morgan Freeman the only thing that matters to said “liberal” is that he is a black man. To a conservative/libertarian, that is the LEAST important thing. More than that, it is completely irrelevant.

Which is why the outcry against the Zimmerman verdict is so much tripe. It doesn’t matter what his skin pigmentation is, or what Martin’s was. What matters is that Zimmerman was defending himself against deadly force that Martin was using against him. And if their roles were reversed, Martin would have been acquitted as well.

More than that. Martin would never have been brought up on charges, because there would have been no case against him (just as there was no case against Zimmerman). The only reason Zimmerman was charged at all is because Martin had more melanin than he did.

And that’s fucked up.

More than likely, some people are going to read this and get mad. If you are one of them, I have something to say to you. And I mean this truly, from the bottom of my heart:

 

Go fuck yourselves.

 

That is all.

Publisher’s Weekly – FAIL

Publisher’s Weekly sent me this today via their subscribers email list.

I am appalled.

I’m not appalled because I don’t like the President. Frankly, I don’t care that some people in PW like him a lot or not, and I would be appalled if they were emailing me to solicit support for Romney, too.

I’m appalled because I subscribe to their emailing list in the hopes of getting professional information. They’re supposed to be a professional organization, and their email list is supposed to be used to disseminate the latest in what is going on in the publishing industry. And this has absolutely nothing to do with what’s going on in the publishing industry.

Maybe it’s just my background in the Navy, but the idea of a professional organization that puts out information for publishers and people who deal with publishers – all of them, whether they have Ds next to their names or Rs – making this kind of endorsement….well, it really rubs me the wrong way. It just seems jacked up.

Maybe they’ll have an “Elect Romney” event in a few weeks. I doubt it, but maybe they will. But you know what? That would piss me off too. Because this is not what belongs in a publication/email list about the publishing industry. Or any industry, for that matter.

You want to endorse a candidate? Fine. Donate money. Volunteer at the candidate’s events. But do it yourself. But don’t co-opt a respected organization that is supposed to be speaking to an entire industry (which probably contains a bunch of people who don’t agree with that endorsement) to do so. It’s inappropriate, and unseemly.

But that’s just me. Maybe I’m off base here.

UPDATE:

I just sent the following email to Mr. George Slowik, Jr, the President of Publisher’s Weekly, along with several of his subordinates.

Dear Mr. Slowik,

Earlier today (it’s still the 28th on the West Coast), I received this email over your subscribers’ email feed. ¬†I am writing because I found it very inappropriate, and I wanted to bring it to your attention.
At the outset, let me be clear that I do not take umbrage with this email because of any ill will toward the President or any desire that he not be re-elected.  Had you sent a similar email about a campaign rally for Mitt Romney I would be equally offended.
I take offense to this email because I do not believe it is appropriate for the venue.  I subscribe to your news feed in order to keep abreast on the professional goings on in the Publishing industry.  In that light, I am happy to receive announcements on new books releases and other publishing-related things that you send out over the list.  However, this campaign announcement has nothing to do with publishing whatsoever.  It is a naked endorsement of a political candidate over a professional communication channel.  To me it is unconscionable for a professional organization such as yours to foist such a thing onto your entire readership, many of whom likely do not agree with or have any desire to endorse that political candidate.
I am a professional Naval Officer in addition to being a fiction writer.  Maybe that has shaped my view somewhat, because as you well know it would be beyond that pale for anyone in uniform, or even worse a uniformed service as a whole, to endorse one political candidate or another.  I believe that this email is a similar breach of etiquette, though obviously less extreme and certainly not illegal, as such an action by a military unit would be.
So we’re clear, I do not care that you appear to be endorsing the President’s re-election campaign. ¬†All power to you, if that is the case. ¬†Endorse away. ¬†Donate all you wish. ¬†Send your employees to volunteer at his campaign events. ¬†Do so yourself. ¬†Or oppose his opponent. ¬†I don’t care. ¬†But when you decide to include that endorsement into your news feed (i.e. – your email content), you have crossed the line.
Your readers look to you as a source for professional news, opinion, and insight.  In my opinion, this email tarnishes your reputation as strict professionals and lowers the standing of your institution as a whole.  I was extremely disappointed to receive it.
Thank you for your attention.
I’ll be curious to see his response (if any).

Go West, You Old Bastard

I’m writing this from the Residents Inn in Topeka, Kansas.

Last Friday (11 May 2012) evening, I departed my old (temporary) abode in Ballston Spa, NY in favor of my new home in San Diego. ¬†Yeah, I know. ¬†Poor me, right? ¬†I have to give up all the awesome weather….erm…wait….no…all the amazing culture….erm….wait….no…all the unpretentious people….erm…no….can’t find them in NY…all the awesome scenery….ok, that’s true…the job satisfaction….yeah right, don’t make me laugh, I was working in Naval Nuclear Power….all the joy (chortle) of living in upstate New York, in favor of the hell of living in the consistently good weather, lovely scenery, friendly people, good food, fun atmosphere, and all around awesomeness that is San Diego.

Yeah, I cry myself to sleep every night.

Not.

Upstate NY (in fact all of NY) can kiss my pale white buttocks.  Good riddance.

God, I hate New York. ¬†The city blows (too many people in too small a space, all of whom think they and their city are the center of the universe; well screw you, you’re not, and it’s not). ¬†The upstate is slightly better, but overall, it’s only a slight step up from New Jersey, which is to say it’s just scummy, not the scum that scum scrapes off its shoes.

Not that I have an opinion on that.

Now don’t get me wrong. ¬†I have no illusions about where I’m going. ¬†I’ve often said the only problem with San Diego is it’s in California. ¬†And I meant it. ¬†NY is a fascist state. ¬†California is just a hair’s breadth from out-and-out socialist (and no, the two are not on the opposite sides of the political spectrum as some deluded ignoramuses try to claim. ¬†Do your homework. ¬†Fascism is Socialism light. ¬†They are in essence the same thing, and both inevitably lead to the same place unless checked somehow, namely bloody dictatorships and mass poverty except for a select few who rule over everyone else). ¬†Which of course explains why California is going bankrupt. ¬†But San Diego is nice. ¬†And it’s just a temporary assignment. ¬†So I’m looking forward to it.

But that’s not the point of this point.

Point is, on Thursday, before we left, I put up two new stories for sale: The Billionaire’s Daughter and Bag Man. ¬†Both are mystery/crime stories, under my new mystery pen name, Alex Mariner. ¬†Both are fun (IMHO). ¬†And both are live on Amazon, B&N, and Smashwords as we ‘speak’. ¬†Kobo et al will have them in a few weeks, once the stories make their way through the Smashwords distribution channels.

So here’s the scoop on them:

The Billionaire’s Daughter

The strong-willed daughter of a wealthy man. The son of a notorious mob boss. And his grandmother’s engagement ring.

When the unlikely couple split up, she kept the ring.

It is Ronald Harper’s and Kathleen Davidson’s job to get the ring back, before the mob boss learns it is missing and takes care of the situation himself.

The Billionaire’s Daughter is a available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Smashwords, and includes Bag Man as a bonus story.

Bag Man

A mysterious bag that everyone wants. An employer who is as dangerous as she is beautiful. A man on the run.

It was supposed to be a routine pickup, just another day on the job.

If only it had been that easy.

Bag Man is available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Smashwords, and includes The Billionaire’s Daughter as a bonus story.

As I’m sure you can tell, you can get both stories by buying either, so it’s a pretty good deal. ¬†Have a look, if you’re interested. ¬†Or even if you’re not. ¬†ūüėČ

Right. ¬†I’m hitting the sack now. ¬†It’s been a long day of driving, and tomorrow promises another. ¬†Until later, then. ¬†Adios.

America in Decline?

There was¬†an interesting¬†article in the Financial Times yesterday about how America is going to decline, in fact we’ve already begun, and the best thing we can do is talk honestly about it so we can manage is correctly. ¬†It’s an interesting read.¬† Some will react viscerally to it (just read the comments to see that).

Without a doubt, we need to have a rational national discussion about how we want to proceed as a nation as we move forward.  Also, there can be no doubt that we seem hellbent on refusing to have it. 

But my big question when it comes to the predicted decline of the USA is: so what?

Really, all sorts of people are making hay over the fact that, for instance, China’s economy is expanding and will probably become larger than the US’s in a few years, and that’s a sign that the US is on the downswing.¬† Well: duh!¬† 1.5 billion people vs 300 million.¬† That math’s not hard to do.¬† Unless the Chinese are willing to remain socialist and keep their people in abject poverty (which by all appearances they aren’t, at least not totally), then¬†of course¬†their economy will eclipse ours someday.¬† Same with India.

Does that then mean that we’ll somehow be worse off?¬† Far from it!¬† Having more people getting more wealthy, anywhere in the world, benefits everyone everywhere.¬† A wealthy China and India will be a great thing.¬† Not only will hundreds of millions of people be lifted out of poverty and ignorance, but it will make¬†us richer as well.¬† That is, as long as we ignore economic protectionists who would seek to prevent us for participating in their growth.

Other countries doing well does not mean that somehow the good o’ USA will stop being special, or stop doing well.¬† That we’ll do to ourselves if we continue to choke out individual liberties in favor of collectivism and stifle free enterprise in favor of the delusion of being “progressive”, which is a misnomer if ever there was one. ¬†“Progressive” ideology is merely a re-packaging of the same old Marxist-Leninist-Maoist philosophies that, throughout history, have¬†always failed to achieve anything except poverty, virtual enslavement, and misery for everyone except for a select few in the Party elite.¬† There’s nothing forward-looking, positive, or progressive about “Progressive” ideology at all.¬† There’s certainly nothing new about it.¬† It’s a philosophy that exploits the masses while playing to their most base instincts, namely envy, tribalism, laziness, and greed.¬† It ought to have been thrown into the trashbin of history and its proponents removed from the public discourse long ago, for everyone’s benefit.

But of course, we refuse to learn from history.

Just look at the Occupy Wallstreet idiots.  They are proof positive that there are many in this country who are eager to kill the golden goose.  And there are plenty of people with political power who will gleefully wield the axe so they can, in the short-term, increase their own personal power and wealth while grinding the rest of us underfoot.  And while they do so, they will laugh at the useful idiots who protested in favor of their own demise.

If any real decline occurs in the USA, and not merely decline on a relative scale as other nations begin doing better for themselves, it won’t be because of external pressures.¬† It will be something we did to ourselves.¬† And it’s completely predictable and avoidable, if only weren’t hellbent on being stupid.¬† And if only we bothered to include basic economics in our educational system.

Utterly Ignorant Dreck

Passive Guy linked yesterday to an appalling example of ignorant pessimism.

Read it, if you have a strong stomach, and a strong tolerance for BS.

I can’t fully express how idiotic this speech, or whatever it is, is. ¬†The guy goes off into so many ludicrous cliches and unsupported claims that it’s ridiculous. ¬†Yet he is given a pedestal to speak from as though he knows what the hell he’s talking about.

PG did a good job pulling the rug out from under some of his more silly claims, but I felt the need to comment further. ¬†Here’s what I wrote on his blog:

I haven’t read the other 53 comments, so I apologize if this is repetitive.

Man, this guy is totally full of crap. Completely. Utterly.

Hmm, here‚Äôs a thought. If a writer doesn‚Äôt earn enough from writing alone he‚Äôll‚Ķget a day job. (gasp) Gee, I seem to have heard somewhere that many ‚Äúprofessional‚ÄĚ writers do that now, and have done that for the entirety of the last 50 years that he regards as nirvana.

Frankly, as a guy who‚Äôs just getting started, I‚Äôd definitely entertain taking NO advance, in favor of higher royalty rates, on a brand new book. Because A) I already have a professional career that pays pretty well. And B) I understand finance, and I can do basic math. And unless the advance is a LOT higher than most publishers will probably be willing to pay, a revenue stream from strong sales over the ‚Äúlong tail‚ÄĚ that the speaker so derides could be quite a bit more than a measly $10k or whatever. Now, for a book I already have a sales history on, via indie publishing or something else, they‚Äôd damn well better pay me an advance greater than the NPV of my expected future cash flow stream from said book, or be a LOT more generous with royalties, or do something else to sweeten the pot. But that‚Äôs not the point of this particular rant.

Moving right along, I‚Äôve heard this ‚Äúeverything will be free‚ÄĚ meme before, from multiple places, and it‚Äôs utter bunk. Just because a thing is digital doesn‚Äôt mean it costs nothing to make. And if people spend money to make a thing, they‚Äôre damn well going to expect to be repaid, otherwise they won‚Äôt make it any more. Sure some writers will go the ‚Äúfree with ads‚ÄĚ route, or some other piece of stupidity like that. But those won‚Äôt be the people who take themselves seriously. And since they don‚Äôt take themselves seriously, no one else will. And guess what? They won‚Äôt make any money from their writing. Big shocker there.

This diatribe contains an almost complete ignorance of history, economics, and business, and an appalling eagerness to adopt tyranny as a ‚Äúsolution‚ÄĚ. As though political ‚Äúsolutions‚ÄĚ to economic matters ever result in anything other than decreased freedom, decreased choice, decreased quality, and decreased standard of living for the very people who the ‚Äúsolutions‚ÄĚ claim to help.

Guys and gals with his mindset should be mocked off the stage, tarred and feathered, and run out of town on a rail.

I need a drink.

I’m serious about that tyranny bit. ¬†It’s unbelievable how quickly people of a certain mindset endorse laws and rules that shackle their fellow man, when those people think they will gain from it. ¬†Rather than take the time and expend the effort to learn how the economic world really works, rather than have faith in their fellow man to take care of himself or help his neighbor take care of himself, rather that doing any work themselves to help make the situation better, and rather than spend a few minutes to learn, from history, the inevitable and horrible results that will come from these sorts of laws and rules, these sorts of shallow-minded, lazy, heartless, and downright evil people will instead entreat the most corrupt and vicious among us (the political class) to bind the rest of us in amoral and unjust laws. ¬†And then, when inevitably those laws fail to achieve the result that these people thought they would, instead of blaming the laws, these people blame the marketplace all over again, and just make things worse with further tinkering.

And then, years down the road, they wonder why they’re living in a poverty-filled police state.

It’s happened before, too many times to count. ¬†Too many people seem hell-bent on making sure it will happen again.

Xenophobia – or – Why do we hate that China is getting richer?

So I was reading the news a bit today, and I came across this story. ¬†It’s about how the Chinese economy will overtake the US’s by 2016.

Well pardon me but…DUH!

Hello, McFly. ¬†There are 1.5 billion Chinese. ¬†1.5 BILLION. ¬†The fact that their economy isn’t already head and shoulders above ours is a testimony to how backward they’ve been since Mao’s revolution as much as it is to how amazingly vibrant the US’s freer economy has been.

A little history. ¬†The US currently produces 27-28% of the world’s total economic output. ¬†This is important for a couple reasons:

  1. It puts the silliness to the tired guilty white liberal meme about how evil the US is for having 5% of the world’s population but using 25% of the world’s resources. ¬†Forget for a moment that this is patently untrue: the US doesn’t use 25% of ALL resources in the world, just selected ones, like oil. ¬†But the fact that using those 25% we produce 27-28% of all economic activity means we’re returning pretty good bang for the buck. ¬†Go US!
  2. 200 years ago, do you know who was producing 28% of the world’s economic output? ¬†Yep, you guess it: China.

China’s always been an economic powerhouse, except for a brief period started by the British Empire and continued by Mao’s murderous idiocy (and make no mistake, all Socialism/Communism is idiocy. ¬†And murderous, too, for that matter). ¬†But now that they’re starting to pull their heads out of their collective asses and embracing freedom, however slowly, it’s no surprise they’re back on the upswing.

Freedom works every time it’s tried. ¬†You’d think this axiom wouldn’t have to be explained to people. ¬†Ever. ¬†But sadly, we have very powerful forces in this country who seem bound and determined to denigrate the virtues of freedom at every opportunity. ¬†But I digress.

Anyway, it’s only natural that China will become a big economic force. ¬†And India as well, for that matter. ¬†Personally, I think it’s great. ¬†Do you have any idea how many millions of people have lifted themselves out of abject poverty in China over the last twenty years, since they’ve begun to liberalize their economy? ¬†It’s freaking awesome.

Which is why I find the comments section of this story so disturbing. ¬†It’s unbelievable to me how people can be so resentful of others’ good fortune. ¬†And so scared of the “outsider”. ¬†It’s also sad how economically illiterate so many people are, that they think economics is a zero sum game. ¬†If China’s doing better, that means we must be doing worse, right?

No. ¬†That’s not how it works.

When someone, or many someones, become richer, EVERYONE ELSE becomes better off as well.  Economic activity begets more economic activity.  The pie grows, as long as its allowed to by the powers that be.

It shouldn’t surprise me. ¬†One of our two major political parties makes its money, and gets its votes, by appealing to the most base, most ignorant, and most envious nature of people. ¬†And we’ve systematically disassembled economics and civics education in this country.

So now, instead of celebrating our neighbors’ good fortune, whether down the block, across town, or across the sea, we instead try everything we can to either retard their good fortune or to take from them and give to ourselves.

It’s really sad. ¬†Pathetic, actually.

When Children Throw A Tantrum…

I don’t intend to go into politics too much on this blog.¬† This is my professional writing blog, and I’m not sure how appropriate (or wise) political discussions are in that context.¬† That said, I gotta put my two cents in about this potential government shutdown.

I find it amusing, and illustrative, what’s going on.¬† In November, eight months after the President submitted his budget to Congress (who then proceeded to do nothing with it, you may recall), the American public elected adults to go to DC and stop the childish binge spending¬†that’s been going on for the last near-decade, but especially the last three years.¬† And good on ’em, the adults are trying to do just that.¬† Predictably, all the entitled children in DC, who¬†tried to talk a good¬†game about fiscal responsibility during election season but¬†who actually seem to oppose living within our means, are¬†gnashing their teeth, whining, and throwing a tantrum¬†about it.¬† And so it looks like¬†the government will shut down.

This is a good thing.¬† Unless you actually work for the government (like I do), you will notice approximately zero impact on your life, as long as you turn off the news.¬† If I were President, I’d veto every budget, shut down the government for nine months to a year, then submit a new budget to Congress that matched what the government spent when it was only doing “essential” items.¬† And never restart the non-essentials.¬† No publicly funded organization should have employees, or do activities, that are non-essential.

As a military guy in real life, I’m not looking forward having my pay screwed up for a while.¬† But I’ll live.

Oh¬†wait…

Just this morning, the local Navy Federal Credit Union branch manager confirmed that NFCU intends to put the full amount of their active duty military members’ directly deposited pay into their accounts on pay day next Friday, even though the government will only pay for services rendered up til April 8th.¬† NFCU will recoup the advance when the government starts back up and pays us our back pay.¬† I called USAA, and while they haven’t announced their plans yet, their upper management is discussing it, and they are WELL aware of what NFCU, their competitor, is doing.¬† I wouldn’t be surprised if USAA does soemthing similar.

Looks like the private sector is picking up the government’s slack yet again.

Standing by to receive flames in the comments.