Currently Browsing: Current Events
Jul 10, 2014
My outrage meter was off the charts yesterday with something that wasn’t gun-related, but it is related to the issue of freedom and the out-of-control state.
In Northern Virginia, a teen boy’s girlfriend sent sexy pictures of herself and he sent one back. Now they want to charge the kid with felonies for child pornography and are trying to “prove” it’s him by creating their own collection of child pornography to compare it against. When the response by the prosecutor and the cops is to think, “hey, we should haul a 17-year-old boy to a hospital and give him a shot to force an erection so that we can take nudie pictures of him all hot and bothered,” it’s time they need to reconsider their choices in life.
I’d also like to point out that the fact that they aren’t bringing the same charges against the 15-year-old girlfriend appears to be a little sexist.
I’m just curious though why there isn’t someone in the life of DA Claiborne Richardson – a friend or family member – who hasn’t sat down with him and said, “Really? Really? Giving a teen boy a forced erection and taking naked pictures is how you want to be remembered for all of history? Making a kid a felon for showing his girlfriend a video of his d*** that she’s probably already seen in real life many times if she’s sending dirty pictures of herself is what you consider an effective use of the justice system? Don’t you think it’s time to reconsider your life and how out of touch you are with reality if you think this is a perfectly reasonable course of action?”
May 26, 2014
I hope you all enjoy your Memorial Day and take some time out to remember what the day is about – those who have fallen while serving our country.
Here’s a NYT piece that I highly suggest reading today. You might discover you have a little something in your eye that causes them to well up a bit at a few lines, or maybe not.
One of my favorite genealogy blogs puts this in the very real description of her fourth great grand uncle who was one of the first in her family to die for the freedoms we so value today because he died in the Battle of Trenton. He had no wife and no descendants, so he was almost forgotten to history except for a single mention in a pension application by his brother. It’s very touching to see that sometimes these little bits of history do have meaning.
May 8, 2014
About the kidnappings that have been happening in Nigeria, and the celebrity left’s response:
I did a lot of research on human trafficking and modern slavery before Mike Kupari and I wrote Swords of Exodus. It is a horrible, evil, and surprisingly gigantic thing. One thing I’m fairly sure of about the kind of people who do that sort of thing for a living, is that they really don’t give a shit about a bunch of American movie stars taking pouty selfies of themselves holding up signs with hash tag give our girls back. The disapproval of fat, soft, Americans on Facebook really doesn’t move them. They care about getting paid or getting killed, that’s about it. The self-righteous pouting is useless …
Iraq and Afghanistan have made me skeptical of nation building, but I’m still generally in favor of going in to kill people who need killing (like slave traders).
Apr 24, 2014
I know it’s from Media Matters, but it’s pretty much just Clive Bundy speaking for himself:
I wouldn’t have too much to say about this if he just used the word “negro.” My grandparents used to call them “colored people,” and never quite managed to adopt the modern sensibilities on the topic of race relations. They were not racist people, but held on to a lot of old ways of thinking on the topic. But as bad as my grandparents, who were a generation older than Bundy, could get on the topic of race, I could never imagine them saying anything like this. There’s even a part at the end, not mentioned by the Times, where he says “Down there, they were probably growing their turnips.” The context seemingly suggesting that they were happier enslaved “down there,” growing turnips.
Patrick H made what I think is the best argument in the previous comments:
We still fight to let the KKK protest. We still fight to let Nazi’s speak about Jews however they want. Why? Because its freedom.
Remember the quote “First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out– Because I was not a Socialist…”
Whether Bundy deserves our support should ONLY be on whether he is right in his fight (whether that’s because he is right, or because who he is fighting), not because he has unpopular opinions.
It’s a fair point. We defend the right of the KKK to speak and protest not because we agree with them, but because we believe their freedom to do so. We defend a lot of things in this society in the name of freedom that we find repugnant. In fact, that is the definition of freedom-loving. But this argument forces me to admit that it’s not just this late statement that makes me reluctant to support this situation.
What freedom is at stake here? Is there a right to use public land without paying fees? Is there a right to use public land at all? Every post and argument I’ve seen which argues this situation is bigger than Clive Bundy, bigger than grazing cattle, bigger than turtles, etc, still has me scratching my head trying to understand how this is so. There are certainly grievances at work here at legitimate as the Mississippi is wide, but a lot of us have grievances with this Administration. What makes this one special?
As we mentioned previously, BLM is currently engaged in a big land grab along the Oklahoma and Texas Border. Here you’re talking about real private property rights being put at risk. This is most definitely a freedom issue, and I’d be more inclined to agree that it’s much bigger than any individual person affected.
I will say this: I do believe Cliven Bundy and his family have a right to not be needlessly killed by their government. Given how heavy BLM and other federal agencies were rolling in, it was clear there was the potential for another Waco-like situation. I don’t blame anyone for stepping up to make sure that didn’t happen. I’d agree that was the right thing to do. But I think if you’re going to start a civil war, it had better be over something very important. That citizens have the right to not be murdered by their government is that important, but one family’s use of public land is not. The big problem I have with the Bundy Ranch situation is it’s hard to tell where the line between stopping another Waco, and starting a civil war over one familys’ unfettered “right” to graze on public lands starts and ends.
UPDATE: Here are his full remarks:
Apr 24, 2014
These men were killed or maimed fighting the idea that there were people who were “better off as slaves.”
While I’ve had quite a bit of sympathy to the idea of standing up to an overreaching federal government, my instinct on the Bundy situation was to keep him at arm’s length. To be frank, the dude set of my alarm bells. Now I notice a direct quote of Bundy in the New York Times that would seem to suggest that I was right be wary:
“I want to tell you one more thing I know about the Negro,” he said. Mr. Bundy recalled driving past a public-housing project in North Las Vegas, “and in front of that government house the door was usually open and the older people and the kids — and there is always at least a half a dozen people sitting on the porch — they didn’t have nothing to do. They didn’t have nothing for their kids to do. They didn’t have nothing for their young girls to do.
“And because they were basically on government subsidy, so now what do they do?” he asked. “They abort their young children, they put their young men in jail, because they never learned how to pick cotton. And I’ve often wondered, are they better off as slaves, picking cotton and having a family life and doing things, or are they better off under government subsidy? They didn’t get no more freedom. They got less freedom.”
I get the greater point he’s trying to make, that life on the dole is degrading and dehumanizing, but really? Blacks were better off as slaves picking cotton? As if slavery, slavery is not a degrading and dehumanizing institution? I might agree that welfare doesn’t help the poor in the long term, but slavery was evil.
Sorry, this isn’t someone I’d want to take a bullet for, and it’s hard to fathom why anyone else would too, now that this much is clear. While I certainly don’t support Fed snipers or SWAT teams turning this situation into a bloody conflict any more now, than I did when I wrote this, I don’t stand with racists who think slavery was a better institution for Blacks than welfare.
Apr 20, 2014
To all who celebrate: Happy Easter. Bitter and I got a really good deal on a Smithfield ham the other day, and so we intend to bake that along with some sides. Given that I am a ham fiend, and don’t get to eat it very often, I’m starving myself now in anticipation.
Apr 16, 2014
West Side Late Shift takes a look at a new demand from the Mexican central government to register “rurales,” which I think is Spanish for “cousin humping redneck.” According to West Wide Late Shift, these groups “have banded together to resist the abuses of a cartel in their state.” Given the level of corruption in the Mexican government, there’s no way in hell I’d comply with something like this, considering the likelihood the right bribe to the right official could probably get the list, and all the people on it. If their government could help them, they’d have helped them. The whole need to form into citizen militias in the first place is because the government has failed them. They are failing them again if they insist on disarming them. I get the concern in weeding out criminals from the militias, but the solution is not to make everyone equally helpless.
Apr 14, 2014
Over the weekend, while I was busy with yard work, the Bureau of Land Management backed down from their confrontation with Cliven Bundy in Nevada. It’s actually been the foreign media that seem to be most fascinated by all this, as the coverage at the UK outlets Daily Mail and The Guardian, and Australian outlet the Sydney Telegraph, aptly demonstrate. A pretty good article about the confrontation appears in Breitbart, which is not entirely sympathetic to Bundy’s position, but provides a good bit of background.
This whole incident is baffling for an east coaster, because grazing rights on federal land seem more like a policy dispute rather than an dispute of fundamental rights, or the government reaching beyond its Constitutional constraints. Few people would argue the federal government doesn’t have the power to control it’s own property. It’s in the Constitution. This has never seemed to me to be in the realm of things we draw lines in the sand and threaten to shoot people over.
I get the fundamental unfairness of it all; that the feds are ruining the livelihood of ranchers over a desert tortoise, when Harry Reid and his former staffer who now heads up BLM is busy defiling that very tortoise habitat with a solar farm to benefit one of his big donors. I get that the federal government is currently flush with overreaching bureaucrats who have little regard for the people their policies impact. But to me this looks like something we’re better off changing at the ballot box. I also don’t really have very much sympathy with the Sovereign Citizen Movement, which Bundy seems to have leanings toward.
I won’t pretend to have a strong understanding of the west’s land use culture. To east coasters, westerners have always seemed rather eager to kill each other over things that people on the east coast take for granted, like water. But that’s not to say I’m on the federal government’s side in this whole affair. While I believe the federal government is probably in the legal right, I think they’ve squandered their moral right when they decided to threaten protesters and corral them into first amendment pens like herds of cattle. When I say what’s happening with Cliven Bundy isn’t worth shooting people over, I’m speaking to both sides. The BLM didn’t have to come in with a cocky attitude and pushing people around. I’d rather live in a country where’s a healthy spirit to resist bureaucratic whim, than live in one where people are expected to be obedient little subjects and step aside. Bundy stood up to the federal government and he won, and there’s part of me that celebrates that no matter how I feel about the actual policy issue. The famous quote from Thomas Jefferson is quite apt here:
God forbid we should ever be 20 years without such a rebellion. The people can not be all, and always, well informed. The part which is wrong will be discontented in proportion to the importance of the facts they misconceive. If they remain quiet under such misconceptions it is a lethargy, the forerunner of death to the public liberty. We have had 13 states independent 11 years. There has been one rebellion. That comes to one rebellion in a century and a half for each state. What country ever existed a century and a half without a rebellion? And what country can preserve it’s liberties if their rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms. The remedy is to set them right as to facts, pardon and pacify them. What signify a few lives lost in a century or two? The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is it’s natural manure.
In a political climate where a large portion of Americans didn’t feel like they were constantly under the boot of the federal government in general, and this Administration in particular, these kinds of public policy disputes wouldn’t risk starting a civil war. The federal government backed down because it did not want a bloodbath. I think that was the prudent and moral thing to do. If the federal government is going to deal with grazing on federal lands, it’s going to have to earn back a its legitimacy from the large segment of the public that now questions it. This Administration has taken to politicizing every aspect of American life, and these are the wages of that policy.
Apr 9, 2014
While some gun control proponents say that you don’t see mass stabbings, only mass shootings, a Western Pennsylvania high school just proved them very wrong this morning. I’ve waited for a little more to unfold in the story before commenting because it’s not an issue of guns or no guns, knife control, or even metal detectors at every door, as it seems that some people are already pushing while students are still undergoing major surgeries since they are in critical condition.
A local paper featured a comment by a senior that I thought was very telling on how the issue of violence as a whole is very complicated and not easily solved by one policy that focuses on the instrument used:
“Everybody was just freaking out,” he said. “It’s been a tough senior year. We’ve had a lot of fights in school — more than usual — and a suicide this year.”
Mental health issues going unaddressed in the community? Check. Increased violent outbreaks as a whole? Check. Those won’t be fixed with gun control, knife control, or metal detectors. It sounds like there won’t be many easy answers for this community. Certainly, they are in our thoughts as this story continues to be investigated.
Apr 2, 2014
Since nearly everything that comes out in the next several hours is likely to range from mildly wrong to grossly wrong, I’m not going to report on facts until facts are in. I’d note that our opponents have not had much success in exploiting mass shooting tragedies at military bases.