joe biden indicts the founding fathers

“No law-abiding citizen in the United States of America has any fear that their constitutional rights will be infringed in any way,” Vice President Joe Biden said on Thursday, 21 February 2013. “None. Zero.”

“I would never inculcate a base and envious suspicion of any man, especially of those who have rendered signal services to their country. But there is a degree of watchfulness over all men possessed of power or influence, upon which the liberties of mankind much depend. It is necessary to guard against the infirmities of the best as well as the wickedness of the worst of men. Such is the weakness of human nature, that tyranny has perhaps oftener sprung from that than any other source. It is this that unravels the mystery of millions being enslaved by the few.”

—Samuel Adams, Letter to Elbridge Gerry, 23 April 1784

“For it is a truth which the experience of all ages has attested, that the people are commonly most in danger, when the means of injuring their rights are in the possession of those of whom they entertain the least suspicion.”

—Alexander Hamilton, The Federalist No. 25, 21 December 1787

“In every government on earth is some trace of human weakness, some germ of corruption and degeneracy, which cunning will discover, and wickedness insensibly open, cultivate, and improve. Every government degenerates when trusted to the rulers of the people alone. The people themselves therefore are its only safe depositories. And to render even them safe their minds must be improved to a certain degree. This indeed is not all that is necessary, though it be essentially necessary. An amendment of our constitution must here come in aid of the public education. The influence over government must be shared among all the people. If every individual which composes their mass participates of the ultimate authority, the government will be safe; because the corrupting the whole mass will exceed any private resources of wealth: and public ones cannot be provided but by levies on the people. In this case every man would have to pay his own price. The government of Great-Britain has been corrupted, because but one man in ten has a right to vote for members of parliament. The sellers of the government therefore get nine-tenths of their price clear. It has been thought that corruption is restrained by confining the right of suffrage to a few of the wealthier of the people: but it would be more effectually restrained by an extension of that right to such numbers as would bid defiance to the means of corruption.”

—Thomas Jefferson, Notes on the State of Virginia, 1781-1785

unslanting the commentariat

If the NRA today seems fixated on the notion that the left is out to confiscate Americans’ legally acquired firearms, that’s because 15 years ago, advocates wanted to do exactly that.

Let’s try rephrasing this ideologically laden statement under alternative assumptions about the way whereby public appearances reveal the underlying political reality:

If the NRA today understands that the left is out to confiscate Americans’ legally acquired firearms in the long run, that’s because 15 years ago, advocates were candid about wanting to do exactly that.

It beggars belief to suppose that the immediate goals of advocacy exhaust the long term agenda of the advocates. Why should anyone take formerly avowed banners at their word insisting that henceforth they will be content with limited regulation?

legislative intransigence and the politics of compromise

Barack Obama was against gay marriage before he became all for it. Wayne La Pierre was in favor of legislation mandating background checks for private party gun sales before he became all against it. When the facts changed, they changed their minds. What do you do, ma’am?

Joining the NRA in defending a system in which it is perfectly legal for someone to buy a dozen assault rifles and then sell them with no background checks in a parking lot, is a cinch in view of the eternal recurrence of gun ban proposals complemented by the gun ownership records produced by the proposed background checks. Democrat dreams of gun confiscation are a gift that keeps on giving to the advocates of gun rights.

The main fact that has changed in the fourteen years since Wayne LaPierre spoke in favor of mandatory background checks for private firearm sales, is the recognition by the SCOTUS of the right to keep and bear arms as fundamental and Constitutionally protected. The prevailing understanding of the Second Amendment is that it protects an individual right to keep and bear those, and only those small arms that are commonly used for self-defense and appropriate for service in the militia. This is consistent with gun control, e.g. through licensing concealed carry of handguns or registering the ownership of machine guns. But outright bans on ownership and carry have been off the table since Heller and McDonald. Nonetheless, we are witnessing renewed, if foredoomed, attempts to ban certain kinds of guns, including the AR15 platform, which in the wake of the 1994 AWB became America’s most popular rifle, i.e. the epitome of an arm subject to protection under the Second Amendment. As a self-anointed Constitutional expert, our POTUS saw himself fit to rescind the enforcement of DOMA well in advance of a SCOTUS ruling on its constitutionality; whereas in the instant matter he sees himself fit to push for legislation that expressly conflicts with its existing rulings. Under the circumstances, making every firearms transfer subject to Federal supervision, would create a database apt to be exploited in further attempts to infringe the right to keep and bear arms.

Despite all that, as a resident of California long compelled to submit my gun transfers to scrutiny by Big Brother, I could see myself compromising on this matter — but only if I got something in return. Reviving the National Right-to-Carry Reciprocity Act of 2011, passed by the House of Representatives in November of 2011, only to be killed in the Senate, would be a good starting point. Time and again, poll after poll has shown that Americans want politicians in Washington to compromise. Where is their compromise on gun rights?

chumps of the world, undefeated

Emily Bazelon’s impassioned assault on the First Amendment, made in the names, and on the behalves of, receptive parties in failed romantic relationships, publicly shamed by their former mates, characteristically misses its mark. If speech is actionable, its kind will always already have been chilled, e.g. by statutes that penalize libel or invasion of privacy. The problem with banning “revenge porn” is that in the typical instances its content is true and its subject’s rights to privacy will have been waived through her voluntary communication thereof, by word or by deed, to the alleged tortfeasors who subsequently disseminate it against, or regardless of, her will. Under these circumstances, anti-SLAPP statutes designed to penalize the filing of lawsuits that aim to curtail protected speech, will typically require the plaintiff to pay the defendant’s legal fees and costs upon the ensuing showing that her lawsuit is unlikely to succeed on its merits in view of its Constitutional protection. Put simply, a reasonable expectation of privacy is generally waived through its subject’s voluntary disclosure of the underlying facts to any other party not bound by the duty of confidentiality. And it gets worse: if the former recipient of your sexual ardor wronged you in a way whereby she may wrong others, e.g. by infecting you with an STD, or even by screwing around behind your back in a way that exposed you to the mere likelihood of contracting an STD, your public disclosure of these facts would not be subject to liability under the privacy statutes, in virtue of being of legitimate concern to the public. Arguably, you have a duty to disclose it the general public, in proportion with your good faith belief that your perfidious ex represents a danger to others.

A fine survey of the remains of privacy’s disclosure tort can be found here.

judge posner roolz for real!

Majority on divided three-judge Seventh Circuit panel invalidated under the Second Amendment an Illinois law forbidding most people from carrying a loaded gun in public, concluding its opinion:

We are disinclined to engage in another round of historical analysis to determine whether eighteenth-century America understood the Second Amendment to include a right to bear guns outside the home. The Supreme Court has decided that the amendment confers a right to bear arms for self-defense, which is as important outside the home as inside. The theoretical and empirical evidence (which overall is inconclusive) is consistent with concluding that a right to carry firearms in public may promote self-defense. Illinois had to provide us with more than merely a rational basis for believing that its uniquely sweeping ban is justified by an increase in public safety. It has failed to meet this burden. The Supreme Court’s interpretation of the Second Amendment therefore compels us to reverse the decisions in the two cases before us and remand them to their respective district courts for the entry of declarations of unconstitutionality and permanent injunctions. Nevertheless we order our mandate stayed for 180 days to allow the Illinois legislature to craft a new gun law that will impose reasonable limitations, consistent with the public safety and the Second Amendment as interpreted in this opinion, on the carrying of guns in public.

Circuit Judge Richard A. Posner wrote the majority opinion, in which Circuit Judge Joel M. Flaum joined. Circuit Judge Ann Claire Williams issued a dissenting opinion.

no second place winner

The meeting was billed as “A Salute to Bill Jordan and the United States of America—A Bicentennial Spectacular Celebrating Over 200 Years of Lawfully Armed Citizenry Helping to Preserve Freedom.” Bill Jordan was being saluted because he is a recently retired top field representative of the National Rifle Association, a Marine veteran of the Second World War and Korea, a veteran of thirty years’ service with the United States Border Patrol in Texas, a holder of the trophy for Outstanding American Handgunner, a developer of Smith & Wesson’s Model 19 Combat Magnum revolver and the owner of Serial No. 1, the designer of the quick-draw Jordan holster and Jordan grip now used by many police officers, and author of the widely read book on handgun shooting titled “No Second Place Winner.” Mr. Jordan is also something of a trick shot, and this was to be his last public demonstration of his hip-shooting and quick-draw techniques.

Bill Jordan shooting his S&W M19

    In the lobby of the theatre, before the show, we saw some eight hundred Federation members; a display of nine target rifles; flags saying “Don’t Tread on Me;” a display of historic arms contributed by the New York State Police, including an original 1886 Winchester .36-30 repeating rifle, two .38 pistols, a service Colt .45, and a Thompson submachine gun, all guarded by two smooth-faced, blue-eyed state policemen in gray uniforms; four shiny-helmeted members of the New York National Guard, three with M-16 rifles, arriving in an armored jeep pulling a howitzer; five men dressed as British Army regulars of the eighteenth century, with .757-calibre antique Brown Bess muskets; and one man dressed as a Colonial soldier, who would have looked plausible in his tricorne hat and assorted animal furs if he had not also been wearing lavender-tinted aviator glasses. When Mr. Jordan arrived, the people in the lobby parted before him. He was wearing blue pants and a blue shirt-jacket with white stitching. He was tall and slope-shouldered, and his face looked like a less exaggerated version of Buddy Ebsen’s. He moved slowly, and he smiled and blinked a lot, and he shied away when one of the public-relations men leaned up to kiss him on the cheek. 
    Inside the theatre, we sat behind a man wearing a red blazer and an ankle holster. William G. Kalaidjian, a New York City police chaplain, opened the meeting with a prayer. Then a color guard brought Bill Jordan to the stage, and everybody recited the Pledge of Allegiance. Then Jerry Preiser, a clothing manufacturer and president of the Federation, gave a one-hundred-dollar Courageous Citizen Award to a camera-store owner who last February shot and killed an armed robber in his store. People applauded and cheered loudly, and the camera-store owner smiled and waved back as he accepted the check. Then Dr. Richard Drooz, a Manhattan psychiatrist, who is vice-president of the Federation, made a speech introducing Bill Jordan, which ended, “He has an articulate and beautiful way of relating to people. He has a beautiful sense of humor. And tonight he brings together under one roof the best of the military, the best of law enforcement, the best of humanity.”

FBI’s Jelly Bryce and
Bill Jordan of the Border Patrol
“Gunman’s Crouch” and “Standing Tall”

    Bill Jordan used paraffin bullets for his demonstration. He has a very fast draw, and he shot a number of balloons from the hands of his old Marine buddy Ray Heatherton, TV’s Merry Mailman. Firing from the hip, he hit a white Life Saver and then an aspirin on a table ten feet away. He told the audience one of his favorite sayings from the Border Patrol: “Speed is fine, but accuracy is final.” Then he made a speech about ways in which the National Rifle Association could increase its membership. He encouraged people to tell their hunting companions to join, and he said that he thought Citizens Band radio might also be effective in enlisting new members. 
    After Representative Mario Biaggi made a speech, the meeting broke up. As we were leaving, we heard a Federation member say to the man who had been sitting in front of us, “Hey, there, Paul. Don’t go running off with my handcuffs. Or my bullets.” They both laughed.

The New Yorker, Volume 52, 19 April 1976

korth revolvers ride again

In reference to increments cited on, Jeff Cooper wrote:

In rifle work group size is of some interest, but it is by no means the critical consideration that some commentators seem to deem it. It is well to remember that a rifleman does not shoot groups, he shoots shots. A tight group is nice, but one must not fall into the error of PII (Preoccupation with Inconsequential Increments). I have shot a great deal in a long shooting life, and I have only once encountered a rifle that would not shoot better than I could shoot it. (That was a 32-20 lever gun which had been allowed to rust and then scraped out. In getting the rust out of the barrel, most of the rifling went along with it.)
    Group size is unimportant, unless it is very bad. If you can hit a dinner plate, first shot, every time, under all conditions, at 100, that will do.

I am sorry to say that this nugget of cantankerous cogitation is cute but dumb. Three years ago, its daft but pervasive notion of a gun that shoots better than the shooter inspired me to write this post. To summarize its argument, any mechanical looseness built into your handgun in order to ensure its reliable operation, compounds your errors of aiming, shooting, and following through. Any additional degree of slop caused by stacking production tolerances will degrade your shooting performance, regardless of its level.
    Furthermore, imperious imputations of unimportance to this or that aspect of our avocation, are both unapt and un-American, even when announced by anointed authorities. It may please you to “hit a dinner plate, first shot, every time, under all conditions, at 100”; but that has nothing to do with realizing my interest in doing likewise to a barn door or a silver dollar. We live in a free country, where it behooves everyone to formulate his own goals in the pursuit of happiness, and everyone else, to stay out of his way, inasmuch as he reciprocates in kind.
    Lastly, in the issue at hand, the consequential increment relates not to accuracy, but to ruggedness and durability. I have some remarkably accurate guns, which include two of my favorite centerfire target pistols, the long-barreled W+F 06/29 Swiss Lugers from the 40 pistol Swiss National Match production run for the 1949 ISSF competition in Buenos Aires, won by Heinrich Keller, as discussed in my article linked above and shown in the photo reproduced below. Korth revolvers are not dedicated target guns that distinguish themselves along the same lines. They are optimized for other qualities, which may or may not serve your interests in shooting. Don’t rely on reviewers. Find out what’s important for you, and do as you see fit.

Heinrich Keller of Frauenfeld, Switzerland, aged 40, representing his country with a specially constructed 170mm-barreled W+F 1906/29 7.65mm Luger in his first international event, the 1949 ISSF competition in Buenos Aires.

exalter l’individu si rabaissé par la démocrasserie

Flaubert par Nadar, 1865, Bibliothèque Municipale de Rouen
Page 191, « Plus tard les peintres feront mieux, mais ils seront moins originaux ! » En êtes-vous sûr ? — « Ils iront plus loin. » Eh bien, alors, qu’importe le reste ! Le principal, il me semble, c’est d’aller loin. Je vous sais gré d’exalter l’individu si rabaissé de nos jours par la démocrasserie. Mais il y a quelque chose au-dessus de lui. C’est l’idée qu’il se fait de l’ensemble des choses et la manière de l’exprimer, laquelle est une Création égale, sinon supérieure, à celle de la nature. Encore une fois (et c’est là mon sujet de dissentiment entre nous) vous ne tenez pas assez compte de l’Art en soi, qui est, cependant.
Page 191, “Later on painters will do better, but they will be less original!” Are you sure of that? — “They will go further.” Well then, what matters the rest! The key, it seems to me, is to go further. I am grateful to you for exalting the individual so degraded today by democrassery. But there is something above him. That’s the conception that he forms of things in their entirety and the way of expressing it, which is a Creation equal, if not superior, to that of nature. Once again (and here is the crux of disagreement between us) you do not pay enough attention to Art in itself, which exists, nonetheless.

— Gustave Flaubert, lettre à Hippolyte Taine, 5? November 1866,
Correspondance, Vol. III, Gallimard, 1991, p. 548


Meet Yetta Kurland, lesbian law expert, vegan advocate of animal rights, failed candidate for New York City Council, officer of the court, and reluctant gunslinger-at-large.

The New York Observer reports that after being outed by The New York Times as one of nearly 4,000 license holders allowed under the Sullivan Law to carry concealed handguns in New York City, Yetta dashed off an open letter to supporters explaining just why she owns and carries a gun:

Dear Neighbor,
I wanted to share my response to a recent article that ran in the NYTimes regarding firearms.
To The Editor:
I worry your recent article “The rich, the famous, the armed” (Feb 20) portrays firearms as tantalizing accoutrements of New York’s power elite.
    By placing those whose job responsibilities might call for firearm licensing (myself, other officers of the court and law enforcement like the Queens DA) alongside glamorous celebrities, you risk portraying guns as inviting, even fashionable.
    However unintended, headlines like “The rich, the famous, the armed” and “boldface names with gun” dangerously play into Americans’ fascination with firearms. It undermines our efforts to eliminate gun violence, unlicensed handguns, and laws that allow the sale of semi-automatic weaponry.
    Guns are not funny or amusing. They are the instruments of tens of thousands of violent deaths each year. Instead of glamorizing or trivializing guns, I wish your paper would bring attention to important efforts to control gun sales around the country, including the efforts of our Mayor.

Yetta Kurland, Esq.
New York, NY
Feb. 20, 2011

It is heartening to see this brave little woman gamely shouldering the burden of self-defense amidst a populace overwhelmingly disarmed since 1911. Meanwhile, herewith H.R.822, National Right-to-Carry Reciprocity Act of 2011 introduced in the U.S. House by Representatives Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.) and Heath Shuler (D-N.C): “The Congress, therefore, should provide for national recognition, in States that issue to their own citizens licenses or permits to carry concealed handguns, of other State permits or licenses to carry concealed handguns.” In 2009, NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg was able to bribe the Senate into filibustering national concealed carry reciprocity via the Thune Amendment. “The passage of this amendment would have done more to threaten the safety of New Yorkers than anything since the repeal of the assault-weapons ban,” Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) said after the vote. “If this had passed, it would have created havoc for law enforcement and endangered the safety of millions of New Yorkers. We will remain vigilant to prevent any legislation like this from passing in the future.” This year, legislative odds favor the hordes of law-abiding gun nuts descending upon the Big Apple with packed heat. Here’s hoping that their uncouth touristic ways leave unruffled all those special New Yorkers, whose riches, fame, or job responsibilities might call for firearm licensing.

resumption of public protests in menlo park and santa clara

Dear city authorities of Menlo Park and Santa Clara,

Please be advised that starting on 27 September 2010, my associates and I will resume open-ended peaceful public protests last held in 2009 in front of NEA, 2855 Sand Hill Road, Menlo Park, CA 94025 and Cisco/WebEx, 3979 Freedom Circle, Santa Clara, CA‎ 95054. The purpose of our demonstrations will be to protest Subrah Iyar’s employment by Cisco/WebEx, Scott Sandell’s employment by NEA, and the association of these individuals and their employers with Min Zhu, as explained at

My associates and I are pledged to abide by all applicable laws. We exercise our right to free expression on private property readily accessible to general public pursuant to the rulings in Pruneyard Shopping Center v. Robins, 447 U.S. 74 (1980) and progeny. We assert that the strip of private property directly in front of the main entrances to 2855 Sand Hill Road, Menlo Park, CA 94025 and the plaza in front of 3979 Freedom Circle, Santa Clara, CA‎ 95054, both fall within the purview of Pruneyard in virtue of housing several unrelated businesses and being readily accessible to the general public. Additionally, owing to police and hotel management misconduct at our first public protest in San Francisco, and death threats received in the past and recently renewed in the matter at issue, we shall exercise our right to bear arms pursuant to the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and all applicable federal and state laws, by carrying exposed, unloaded firearms, legally owned by my associates and me in the state of California, accompanied by loaded magazines, bandoleers, and speedloaders, subject to the definitions of People v. Clark (1996), 45 Cal.App.4th 1147, 53 Cal.Rptr. 2d 99. None of the firearms in question will qualify as assault weapons under California law, as listed or described in Penal Code Sections 12276, 12276.1, and 12276.5. My associates and I agree to Section 12031(e) inspections of our firearms on demand by police officers. Please note recent incorporation of the Second Amendment protection of the right to keep and bear arms as “fundamental” to the American scheme of ordered liberty, in McDonald v. Chicago, 561 U.S. ___ (2010).

We will not interfere in any unlawful way with the operation of NEA, Cisco/WebEx, or any of their employees, clients, associates, or visitors, including, but not limited to, Subrah Iyar and Scott Sandell. At the same time, we shall vigorously enforce our right to speak out against the knowing collusion of big business in your jurisdictions with a violent child rapist, and seek redress for all wrongs consequently visited upon us, by resisting in all lawful ways and publicly denouncing in all appropriate venues, any private or official attempt to interfere with our rights. Please take note of case law, beginning with Florida v. J.L., 529 U.S. 266 (2000), to the effect that detaining a man observed as openly carrying an unloaded firearm in public violates the Fourth Amendment. Please note further ACLU of Nevada v. City of Las Vegas (ACLU II), 466 F.3d 784, 790 (9th Cir. 2006) and progeny holding various local ordinances prohibiting street expression, solicitation, and entertainment, in violation of the First Amendment. Lastly, please be aware that litigation over infringement of fundamental Constitutional rights is subject to a mandatory award of attorneys’ fees and court costs to the prevailing party intent on exercising them, typically in the amount of a multiple of the actual fees and costs. Our costs in mounting these events are considerable, and we shall seek court orders for their manifold reimbursement by any perpetrators of unlawful interference.

We are pleased to point out that our prior events in San Diego, Milpitas, Menlo Park, and Santa Clara were unmarked by any disturbances. We hope that the same will be the case on this occasion of scaling up our activities within the bounds of legitimacy sanctioned by the authorities of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and the United States Supreme Court. Owing to substantial gains in our quest for remedies against Min Zhu and his confederates, our protests shall henceforth include topical artistic performances by bagpipers, clowns, rappers, and a brass band. It is our position that these performances are protected under the First Amendment, and therefore are not subject to local permit requirements. However, as an accommodation provided in the spirit of courtesy, we shall abstain from erecting free-standing signs and using amplification equipment, and will consider requests for additional constraints on our performances on a case-by-case basis. Lastly, we continue to claim the right protected by the First Amendment, to hold press conferences at the site of our protests and to film all passerby there being questioned as to their opinion of big business knowingly getting in bed with a violent incestuous paedophile. We hope to forestall futile litigation bound to be costly and disappointing to your taxpayers by giving you this advance notice of our plan.

Concerned parties may address their communications to my lawyer David W. Affeld <>, Affeld Grivakes Zucker LLP, 12400 Wilshire Boulevard, Suite 1180, Los Angeles CA 90025, phone: (310) 979-8700, fax: (310) 979-8701. I may be reached at the number listed below.

Michael Zeleny@post.harvard.edu— 7576 Willow Glen Road, Los Angeles, CA 90046 — 323.363.1860
All of old. Nothing else ever. Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better. — Samuel Beckett