Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Congress Heard Us This Time

Today I got this email from Senator Saxby Chambliss:

Thank you for contacting me regarding the sale of Department of Defense shell casings into the private market. It is good to hear from you.

Recently, the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) released a directive that called for the mutilation of expended shell casings to be sold as scrap metal as opposed to the traditional method of selling them to approved contractors for the purpose of reloading. Shortly thereafter, DLA conducted a review to determine whether or not small arms shell casings could be released for public sale without being mutilated. Upon review, the DLA concluded that cartridge cases could be released for sale. The DLA has notified the appropriate sales contractors and have begun the process of reoffering the cases.

As an avid outdoorsman, hunter, and supporter of Second Amendment rights, I understand you concern regarding this issue.
The ability to sell and purchase remanufactured ammunition is not only crucial to Georgia's economy, but to state and local law enforcement agencies across the country that rely on cost-effective reloaded ammunition.

His email was in response to this letter I sent March 17.

"I just read the news that the Department of Defense has reclassified surplus spent shell casings to require there mutilation and sale as scrap rather than for reloads. I am writing to ask you, along with other members from Georgia, to work to reverse this decision. It is wrong on many different levels.
Economic - (1) One Georgia company in Villa Rica reports that due to lack of raw material for his reloading process, he will have to cancel orders and lay off half his 60 employees.
Economic - (2) by reducing the supply of reloadable brass, prices will go up; the prices that our local law enforcement pays to buy practice rounds. The citizens of Georgia will have to pick up the tab for this increased cost.
Good Government - (1) the price that the DoD can get for spent casings is much higher than the price for scrap. DoD should not be destroying one of the few revenue streams they have outside of tax dollars.
Good Government - (2) Most Federal agencies are required to follow a rule-making process before rewriting regulations that impact our citizens. This action may seem internal, but it clearly affects people. Was public comment allowed?
Environmental - Scrap brass is processed in furnaces. Burning fuel to heat the furnaces damages the environment, especially if the brass is reprocessed in China. Reloading brass casings is an environmentally friendly way to recycle them.
Civil Rights - Some people are saying this is a back door attempt to restrict Second Amendment rights. That if the administration can't take restrict guns, they will try to restrict ammunition. IĆ¢?Tm not sure about that yet, but, like many other Georgians, I will be watching this issue closely. I ask you to stand against these Federal actions that hurt Georgia business, the environment, and civil rights. I am for good government, and this is not it.
One of the news items is here http://www.theshootist.net/2009/03/dod-ends-sale-of-expended-military.html

So Senator Chambliss is the first one to respond with the right answer. Good on him! I'll remember that. Nothing yet from Johnny Isakson or Paul Broun.

What response did I get from Governor Perdue?

Thank you for writing to request my assistance. I appreciate your concerns.

It is important that your elected officials know of your concerns, and I am always pleased to receive comments from Georgia's citizens. However, as this is a matter more appropriately addressed at the federal level, I encourage you to make your views known to your Members of Congress.

That's pretty weak in my book.

The Shootist has a followup

UPDATE: On April 6th, I received this response from Johnny Isakson:

Thank you for contacting me regarding the Department of Defense's (DoD) policy on recycling spent ammunition cases. I appreciate hearing from you and appreciate the opportunity to respond.

Recently, the Obama administration changed DoD policy in order to require that spent military ammunition be destroyed rather than sold to manufacturers to be reloaded for sale to civilians. Prohibiting the sale of used military cartridge cases would reduce the supply of ammunition and prevent American citizens from fully exercising their Second Amendment right.

I am pleased to report that on March 17, 2009, the DoD reversed this short-lived policy and resumed the sale of spent cartridge cases to the private sector. I am satisfied with this development and will continue to monitor any future policy decisions that may affect our Second Amendment rights.

Thank you again for contacting me. Please visit my webpage at
http://isakson.senate.gov/ for more information on the issues important to you and to sign up for my e-newsletter.

Johnny Isakson
United States Senator

UPDATE: On May 1st, I received this response from Paul Broun:

May 1, 2009

Thank you for contacting me with your concerns regarding the Department of Defense's (DOD) decision to no longer allow the resale of expended military ammunition to remanufacturers. I appreciate the benefit of hearing your thoughts on this issue.

The Defense Reutilization and Marketing Service (DRMS), a field activity of the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA), is the Department of Defense (DOD) activity responsible for the disposition of excess and surplus DOD Property. During the past two years, DRMS revised its processes to further ensure only appropriate items were made available for public sale. Small arms cartridge cases were identified as a sensitive Munitions List item and sales were temporarily suspended until the policy could be reviewed. I was pleased to hear that upon review, DLA determined the cartridge cases could once again be sold to ammunition remanufacturers.

I believe any law or regulation that would directly increase the cost of ammunition is a backdoor attack on the Second Amendment, and I will do everything in my power to fight it. The right of the people to keep and bear arms is a cornerstone of liberty and one of the most fundamental rights of a free people. It serves as a direct check-not just against criminal behavior-but against a tyrannical government.

Recently, I formed the House Second Amendment Task Force to help educate elected officials and the public on the importance of Second Amendment rights and to defend these rights from further erosion through this bi-partisan organization.

As an avid hunter, I am a life-long member of both the National Rifle Association (NRA) and Gun Owners of America. For several years, I served as a volunteer advocate for Safari Club International, a pro-hunting and conservation organization. I also served for several years as the President of the Georgia Sport Shooting Association (the NRA state affiliate). I ardently support the right of the people to keep and bear arms-for hunting, recreation, protection, or for any other legal purpose they may choose-and assure you I will continue to do all that is within my power to preserve this fundamental right.

Again, thank you for contacting me. It is an honor to serve you in the United States House of Representatives. If I can ever be of service, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Paul Broun

Member of Congress

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Obama the Professor. Obama the Elitist

"Main Street has to understand..."

That's how the President began one explanation on 60 minutes.

I've met the kind of folks who say that "they have to understand..."

Don't much like 'em. They're usually quite full of themselves.

Professorial? Certainly.

Elitist? Sounds like it.

Snob? Yeh, I think so.

Too bad.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Blimps Defeat Fighters in Air to Air Combat

Hotair linked to an article in the LA Times today on a plan for a new breed of "spy blimps." Not too revolutionary until you get to this...

"...But flying at 65,000 feet, the giant airship would be nearly impossible to see, beyond the range of any hand-held missile, and safe from most fighter planes. And its range would be such that the spy craft could operate at the distant edges of any military theater, probably out of the range of surface-to-air missiles as well."

Say what?

I'll give you manpad missiles. 65,000 feet is way above the target ceiling for everything from the US Stinger, through the SA-18 and the Mistral. But fighters? let's see...

SU-30, service ceiling 56,800 feet. Doesn't that get it in range of an AA-10?

Mig-29, service ceiling 59,100 feet. Still in range.

Mig-35, service ceiling 62,000 feet. Getting closer now.

How but the old, but still respectable (and in service) Mig-31, with a service ceiling of 67,600 feet.

The other thing to consider is that are looking at extremes of operational capability. For the blimp to be "safe from most fighter planes" it must continuously operate at the edge of its envelope. For a fighter to kill it... well he only has to push the past the "limits" momentarily. Same with a SAM. Wasn't Gary Powers above the "ceiling" of the SA-2 that shot him down?

I think the potential endurance of a blimp and the line of sight coverage mean it could could give our forces some advantages. Sell it on that basis. Not how safe it is. The "they can't get us here mentality" is not a recipe for success.

Take a lesson from history and remember the last words of General John Sedgwick, "They couldn't hit an elephant at this distance."

Saturday, March 07, 2009

IRS Audit of Tax Protest Blogger - Coincidence or Government Repression?

Blogger Michael Williams over at Master of None posted that the is having his 2007 taxes audited by the IRS only after weeks after started the protest site Taxcheat.com

I first noticed this kind of persecution back in October, when the Obama campaign started persecuting Joe the Plumber. And the similar story, with a woman getting a visit from the Secret Service after she telling a Obama campaign volunteer on the phone that she wasn't a supporter.

All coincidence or part of a pattern?

With Bush maybe he monitored your phones. But with Obama... he comes to your house.

h/t to Instapundit