Saturday, February 28, 2015

Support the Troops? Tyranny & Standing Armies

[Cross-posted at The Backwoods Engineer.]

The Marine Corps has been incorporating elements from civilian firearm competition into their training:
They're working to emphasize modern marksmanship in fast-paced combat where civilians mingle with warfighters and Marines often must engage multiple moving targets in tight, urban settings. 
... includes shoot/no-shoot scenarios, photo-realistic targets, shot placement, and firing from long to short ranges as if closing with the enemy. It tests a Marine's ability to neutralize multiple exposed threats. 
... designed to incorporate more relevant combat skills into a "combat-centric" course of fire earlier in a Marine's training. 
... So far, the feedback has been positive. 
Because the [training] forces individual shooters to choose the best shooting position whether kneeling, prone, standing or sitting to engage targets at various distances, "It lets that individual Marine understand his range and what position he is effective in at that range," said Chief Warrant Officer 5 Vincent Kyzer, the 1st Marine Division gunner.

Upon the posting of this article on Facebook by a friend, and after reading it, I commented:
I think the military has a lot to learn from civilian practical shooting competitions. In many ways, we civvies have outpaced them, and Constitutionally, that is very good.
My friend had a series of questions on my comments.  I will designate his questions with "Q:", and my answers with "Backwoods:".

Q: "Constitutionally, that is very good" ?

Backwoods: Yes, so argued the Founders.  The people themselves were intended to be armed, trained ("well-regulated"), and useful in ad-hoc armies that the Founders called "the militia".  The Founders did not like the idea of large professional armies; they viewed them as supporting tyranny, and believed the people themselves should be better armed and trained than any regular army:

Tench Coxe:
The militia, who are in fact the effective part of the people at large, will render many troops quite unnecessary. They will form a powerful check upon the regular troops, and will generally be sufficient to over-awe them.
Noah Webster:
Before a standing army can rule, the people must be disarmed; as they are in almost every kingdom of Europe. The supreme power in America cannot enforce unjust laws by the sword; because the whole body of the people are armed, and constitute a force superior to any bands of regular troops that can be, on any pretense, raised in the United States.
Boston: DHS gunman
targets civilians
Backwoods: Despite the grave danger the Founders foresaw in standing armies, they are now everywhere in America, in every state capitol, and in every city small and large. The strength, in arms and number of men, of the police forces and domestically-barracked troops would have horrified the Founders.  Webster's supposition is now completely turned on its head in most of America, especially in the large disarmed cities in so-called "blue" states: regular troops (military and police) are now better armed and more numerous than the general militia (the armed public).

Q: So a weak military is good for the Republic?

Backwoods: Weak internally, yes. So the Founders argued.

Q: What's the difference between internal weakness and external weakness?

Backwoods:   The US military was originally conceived as an outward-facing organization, focused on the defense of the US, or the neutralizing of imminent external, national-level threats.    It was never supposed to do the job of the militia.

Recall the story about Jefferson sending the Marines to Tripoli to neutralize the threat of the Islamists who were attacking US-flagged ships on the high seas .(Sound familiar?  They're back!)  That's an example of the original intent.

I support a strong US military--strongly defending the borders of the US and her citizens abroad.  (We don't defend our borders anymore.)  In keeping with the Founders militia ideal, I do not support a large military; their concept was a small-core military that in time of war would require the President federalizing individual militia units-- National Guard units for example-- to supplement their numbers and capabilities for a specific conflict.  For each conflict the commanders should, ideally, have a well-defined victory in view.

The military was not supposed to act on the American people themselves; to have them do so is a prelude to tyranny. The Founders knew it, but we ignored their warnings, to our peril. NorthCom, a US military command designed to operate primarily in the US homeland, would be viewed by them as an abomination, as would be the modern tank-running, jackbooted, SWATized police forces.

If you read the Federalist and Anti-Federalist papers, you'll see the militia discussed throughout.  Their concept was the raising of temporary armies from a well-armed people, for specific purposes, such as the apprehension of dangerous criminals or gangs of criminals, the suppressing of insurrections, and other internal threats, including (by Constitutional sanction) the defense of a State's border with another country during an imminent threat of invasion that the Federals cannot immediately respond to. (You know, like Texas being invaded by drug lords on and off for the last thirty years.).

Ever watch and old Western movie and hear talk of "raising a posse?"  That's the militia. Those people might have been paid for that temporary duty, but they were supposed to already have weapons and ammunition on hand.   They're supposed to be trained in the use of arms, and in small-unit tactics, too.  (This used to be taught to the men of the general population.) You can't raise an army from among the people or resist tyranny if they are mostly a bunch of disarmed sheep; that's what the 2nd Amendment is all about.

These militia armies were to do a specific duty, then return to their lives as civilians.  They weren't to be professional soldiers like many of the police forces now are, because a professional soldier who gets used to projecting State-sanctioned force will eventually be asked impose the will of the State on citizens, a good working definition of tyranny.

And it has happened here already.  Some examples that come to mind are the Boston Lockdown of 2013, the FBI and ATF at Waco and Ruby Ridge, The Battle Of Athens TN, The Bonus Army, and the various Indian relocations, including the Cherokee Trail of Tears.

The resurgence in gun ownership, interest in the gun as an instrument of liberty, and a new emphasis in training and competition with firearms are all very encouraging indicators of potential for freedom in this Republic.  I think modern IPSC, USPSA, and 3-gun competitors would do very well on militia duty, especially those familiar with rifles.

Yes, government tyranny is encroaching in many areas of American life, but we are the only country in the world that has over 100 million armed citizens.   That counts for a lot.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Knowings Part 2: Suspicious Bulges

Persons who carry a handgun in their daily travels will sometimes be heard to comment on the difficulty of concealing it completely. It’s a formidable problem, for good clothing that fits properly will often suggest the presence of the gun via a “bulge” that’s visible to an onlooker. In several jurisdictions that prohibit open carry, police have been authorized to detain on the basis of such “suspicious bulges” and to arrest the detainee should he prove to be armed, regardless of whether he has a concealed-carry permit. The logic, of course, is that the gun isn’t completely concealed – that the bulge gives it away, thus creating a prima facie violation of the law.

To a Second Amendment absolutist – for the record, that includes your humble blogmeister – that’s quite bad enough. What makes it worse is the presumption involved, which is wrapped up in the doctrine of “reasonable suspicion.” The Fourth Amendment apparently doesn’t protect those of us who’ve had such bulges conferred upon us by diet or genetics.

To permit the police to infer a crime based on a suspicious bulge probably strikes some as reasonable enough. Indeed, it can be a tough thing to argue against...but I don’t take the easy cases. At any rate, today’s tirade isn’t about the infringement of Second Amendment rights because of such bulges. It’s about a bulge in plain sight that ought to have the entire nation locked, loaded, and storming Washington.

For quite some time, I and other commentators have discussed the thresholds for an open revolution against the regime. Some have drawn the line at the destruction of the First Amendment right to freedom of expression. Others have insisted that our Second Amendment rights are the last bastion – that once we’ve been reaved of our guns, our ability to resist tyranny will be gone, so a move in that direction should trigger revolt. A few have focused on the possible abrogation of an electoral outcome, as if vote fraud were irrelevant to the issue, or the outcome of an election has changed anything substantive this century past.

Well, Gentle Reader, in case you’ve been paying insufficient attention to the news, we’ve just had a quinella:

  1. The Federal Communications Commission has just claimed wholly unConstitutional powers over the Internet, imposing a 300-page-plus book of regulations upon ISPs that no one outside the federal government has yet seen.
  2. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, another wholly unConstitutional agency, has declared its intention to ban 5.56 NATO / .223 Remington rifle ammunition as “armor piercing,” despite the plain fact that that round does not meet the legal definition of armor-piercing ammunition.

What are the implications of those actions? What further measures against Americans’ rights to free expression and the possession of arms seem likely to follow?

Is that enough of a suspicious bulge for you? Combine it with the nationwide militarization of local police forces, Obama’s open obstruction of the enforcement of the immigration laws, and the vote fraud that was rampant in the 2012 elections. What verdict pops out of the slot?

Are we being reduced to helpless subjugation or not?

I’m growing tired. I’ve been writing op-ed for the Web since 1997, nearly always to the same effect: that America as it was designed – “conceived in liberty,” as the classic phrase goes – is being reduced to tyranny. Hundreds of other commentators have been shouting the same warning. Yet nothing has changed for the better. No effective resistance to our ongoing subjugation has been mounted. The closest we’ve come have been the popular resistance to the seizure of Cliven Bundy’s ranch and the Oath Keepers’ defense of legitimate Ferguson, Missouri businesses against looters and rioters.

Now we’re looking down the barrel of the State’s gun: the removal of the last wholly free means of expression and organization remaining to private citizens, plus the ongoing destruction of our potential means of resistance.

In the name of God, people, when will it be enough?

It’s no longer sufficient to protest. Those who hold the levers of power have decided that they can ignore our voices. Worse, we can’t even mobilize ourselves for effective resistance. There’s no point in standing on a street corner and crying out a warning if those who hear are unwilling to act.

Some say we need a leader that has not yet arisen. Others demur that we’re too comfortable – that the spirit of liberty has been enervated by prosperity. There’s some justice to both assessments, but a third is uppermost on my mind this morning: that we’ve become cowards, none of us willing to risk our own lives and possessions, all of us happy to “let you and him fight.”

Mind you, I don’t exempt myself.

Just yesterday, I wrote about the difference between facts and inferences as categories of knowledge. It might have been too abstruse to capture your interest. All the same, it’s an important subject, directly relevant to the situation we face today.

Abraham Lincoln once spoke thus:

"When we see a lot of framed timbers, different portions of which we know have been gotten out at different times and places, and by different workmen...and when we see those timbers joined together, and see that they exactly make the frame of a house or a mill, all the tenons and mortises exactly fitting, and all the lengths and proportions of the different pieces exactly adapted to their respective places, and not a piece too many or too such a case we find it impossible not to believe that...all understood one another from the beginning, and all worked upon a common plan or draft, drawn up before the first blow was struck."— Abraham Lincoln, deducing from objective evidence the blueprint of a political plot to save the institution of slavery. [Quoted in Garet Garrett's essay "The Revolution Was"]

Lincoln’s concern was the ongoing enslavement of tens of thousands of American Negroes. He was willing to start a war that divided the nation and ultimately claimed 800,000 American lives to put an end to the practice. It hardly matters whether other means to bring an end to slavery were available, for the greater part of the nation deemed the price acceptable.

What about the enslavement of 300,000,000 Americans? What price are we willing to pay to prevent that?

The process has been in train for more than a century. Its completion, as implied by the assaults on the Internet and our firearms rights, looms before us. Could any bulge in the Omnipotent State’s garb be more suspicious?

Patrick Henry warned us against “the illusions of hope:”

"Shall we try argument? Sir, we have been trying that for the last ten years. Have we anything new to offer upon the subject? Nothing. We have held the subject up in every light of which it is capable; but it has been all in vain. Shall we resort to treaty and humble supplication? What terms shall we find which have not been already exhausted? Let us not, I beseech you, sir, deceive ourselves longer. Sir, we have done everything that could be done to avert the storm which is now coming on. We have petitioned; we have remonstrated; we have supplicated; we have prostrated ourselves before the throne and have implored its interposition to arrest the tyrannical hands of the Ministry and Parliament. Our petitions have been slighted; our remonstrances have produced additional violence and insult; our supplications have been disregarded; and we have been spurned, with contempt, from the foot of the throne. In vain, after these things, may we indulge the fond hope of peace and reconciliation.

"There is no longer any room for hope. If we wish to be free; if we mean to preserve inviolate those inestimable privileges for which we have been so long contending; if we mean not basely to abandon the noble struggle in which we have been so long engaged, and which we have pledged ourselves never to abandon, until the glorious object of our contest shall be obtained; we must fight! I repeat it, sir, we must fight!! An appeal to arms and to the God of hosts is all that is left us!

We, too, have tried argument.
We have also tried electoral measures.
We have tried everything except open revolt.
What, then, must we do?

I await your thoughts.

I’m scheduled for more oral surgery today, so please excuse me if I’m unable to write for a day or two. Of course, if I’m “unable” to write for some other reason, I exhort you to become outraged...if nothing else.

Indecent designs.

One of the lessons of the last century is that civilian disarmament is the harbinger of indecent designs on the peoples’ liberty.
Robert Pinkerton comment on "Oppression Instead of Admission, Part IV." By Takuan Seiyo, Gates of Vienna, 2/23/15.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

The dernier cri on "Islamism."

There is no Islam which will openly distinguish itself from Islamism by renouncing Jihad. None. There never has been. And I believe there never will be.[1]
As that toad in Turkey aptly observed, there is no moderate Islam, only Islam. By the same token (BTST), there is no extremist Islam, only Islam. 1,400 years of conquest, slavery, subjection, murder, and intellectual output that would fit in the trunk of my car. The perfect closed system as Baron Bodissey has put it.

School is out.

[1] Comment by Joe the Gentile on "The Problem with Countering Violent Extremism." By Daniel Greenfield, 2/25/15.

A Change for the Better

One legislative change that I’d like to see pushed through Congress – SOON – is to retirement benefits for Federal employees who violate the law.
They should lose ALL pension and insurance rights forever.
The money they contributed should be returned to them, with nominal interest, in full.  The Federal portion should be untouchable by them or their beneficiaries.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

The Muslim Agenda.

Duration: 1:55.

The first few minutes are instructive on what nonsense can issue forth from the mouths of heads of state. The have no shame, it would appear.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

An American Pietà.

Vicki Weaver at Ruby Ridge.

Source: "Crosshairs On America." Goodbye, America (in a photo), 7/26/14.

Friday, February 20, 2015

The Letter And The Spirit Part 2: Moral Surgery

If you’ve been reading my drivel for any length of time, you’re probably familiar with these sentiments:

Though your Curmudgeon disbelieves in left-liberal doctrines, he believes strongly that they should be argued for -- that men of wit and knowledge should undertake to defend them with all the logic and evidence they can muster. This is important precisely because they are opposed to the ideas of freedom, the free market, inviolable individual rights to life and property, and a system of justice founded on objective law, objective evidence, and unbending rules of procedure. We must know how to defend these things logically. If we're never required to do that, we will forget why they're important, and will fail to do them justice when they're attacked by force or guile.

There is this as well: the Starkman paradigm, which accuses conservatives of sealing themselves off from facts and theses that contradict their beliefs, whether by intention or incapacity, actually puts left-liberals in far greater danger of that pitfall. It is not possible to dismiss one's opponents as either stupid or evil, yet still grapple with their contentions in full sincerity. If we on the Right are correct and the left-liberals are wrong -- it doesn't matter about what -- the left-liberals will never learn it....

Leftists have assumed their moral standing to be significantly above that of others. Over the century past, they've had to confront an avalanche of evidence that their prescriptions are less than effective; indeed, that they're utterly unwholesome, toxic to human life and happiness. Were they not to wall the evidence irretrievably out of bounds -- were they not to dismiss all arguments against their notions presumptively, as the whisperings of Satan -- the earthquakes that have toppled their political edifices would topple them from their moral pedestals as well.

So they demand to have their intellectual and moral superiority deemed unchallengeable. They exhort us to subordinate our moral and political opinions to the "experts" -- care to guess who those are? -- and to dismiss counter-evidence and counter-argument with prejudice. They seek to sweep their opponents from the field by disqualifying us morally, before battle can be joined.

Perhaps the height of irony is Hellie's conclusion that "all that left wing political writers need to do is report the truth." Clearly, if that were so, his demonization of us as conscious agents of injustice would be unnecessary, as would the campaigns of calumny the Left is conducting against anyone to the right of John Kerry.

In a way, the sentiments of Neal Starkman and Benjamin Hellie are not exceptional. It’s been a longstanding pattern for left-liberals to dismiss their political opponents as “stupid or evil.” But in light of the most recent developments in left-wing arrogance and deliberate mendacity, it’s worth revising the subject to contemplate what those attitudes allow us to infer about their moral standing...and how they live with it.

The “stupid or evil” pattern in leftists’ political rhetoric has only grown stronger as the years have passed. They simply can’t abandon their intimations of idiocy, venal motives, or bigotry when confronted by a dissenting conservative. Perhaps that’s because the Main Stream Media have accorded those calumnies their approval...and their promulgation, of course. Or it might be that they’ve become “grooved,” and find the habits involved too hard to break. Whatever the utilitarian case, the tactic became blatant during the Bush the Younger Administration, has continued to intensify during the Obama years, and will probably continue to strengthen should a Republican take the White House in November next year.

It hasn’t done a thing for the efficacy of their prescriptions, of course. But the combination of their slanders with the consequences of their policies casts doubt on their own intellectual and moral standing.

We must start by assuming that the left-liberal who employs “stupid or evil” rhetoric is himself neither stupid nor evil. He might be badly misinformed. He might never have acquainted himself with critical aspects of history, economics, or human nature. His own motives, despite the chaos and destruction his preferred policies have produced, might be entirely benign. All of that is possible even for an American with an advanced education and an occupation that puts him among others of diverse backgrounds and views.

Of certain things we can be sure:

  1. He thinks more of his ability to gauge intelligence and judge character than is warranted.
  2. If he’s familiar with the Golden Rule, he doesn’t think it applies to political discourse.
  3. He’s never received the sort of verbal lambasting that would suffice to get him to doubt his premises.
  4. When he confronts a conservative, he doesn’t “see” a person of equal intellectual and moral standing.

In consequence of those four conditions, he awards himself an exemption from the rules of courtesy and civility when fencing with a conservative. He doesn’t reciprocate the conservative’s assumption of mutual benevolence.

In a way this is all quite logical. Why employ reason when one faces an irrational opponent? It would be wasted, wouldn’t it? When one is assured, a priori, that to dissent from left-liberal orthodoxy implies evil motives, why grant the dissenter’s assertions and arguments the respect of sober consideration? Surely the Devil, who “can cite Scripture for his purposes,” should get absolutely no slack.

The problem, of course, is in the premises...but very few persons, once they’ve allowed themselves to assume an attitude of intellectual and moral superiority, ever dare to question the premises that underpin it.

I’ll allow that the assumption of intellectual and moral superiority can be a hazard for conservatives as well. Yet it doesn’t seem to be nearly as widespread, nor as venomous and unrelenting in action, on the Right as it is on the Left. Perhaps that’s because conservatives are more likely than leftists to be believing Christians, but it’s an untestable hypothesis. At any rate, we haven’t sunk nearly as far into the disease, as one can verify for oneself merely by watching the talking-head shows for a few weeks.

Yet the problem is a serious one that threatens both camps, for as Tom Kratman has told us, over time we will come to resemble our adversaries ever more strongly:

[I]t has been said more than once that you should choose enemies wisely, because you are going to become just, or at least, much like them. The corollary to this is that your enemies are also going to become very like you....

If I could speak now to our enemies, I would say: Do you kill innocent civilians for shock value? So will we learn to do, in time. Do you torture and murder prisoners? So will we. Are you composed of religious fanatics? Well, since humanistic secularism seems ill-suited to deal with you, don't be surprised if we turn to our churches and temples for the strength to defeat and destroy you. Do you randomly kill our loved ones to send us a message? Don't be surprised, then, when we begin to target your families, specifically, to send the message that our loved ones are not stationery.

Tom isn’t the first writer to note that progression:

The great strength of the totalitarian state is that it forces those who fear it to imitate it. – Adolf Hitler
Hitler imposed himself upon the world both by promoting Nazism and by forcing the democracies to become zealous, intolerant and ruthless. Communist Russia shapes both its adherents and its opponents in its own image. – Eric Hoffer

...but we’ve seldom needed to ponder the premises involved quite as much as we do today.

Ayn Rand made the exhortation to “Check your premises” famous, at least among persons who’ve admired her thinking. When the premise is that the person with whom you’re arguing is on a far lower intellectual and moral plane than you, such that you need not grant him the respect due a putative equal, the consequences can be disastrous:

  • Persons too stupid to be reasoned with can legitimately be deceived and coerced “for their own good.”
  • Persons who lack an adequate moral sense can legitimately be forcibly re-educated, confined, or eliminated “for the greater good.”
  • Worst of all, persons who, though assumed to be your intellectual and moral inferiors, turn out to be right when you were wrong, can make you look like a fool.

I submit that it’s that last possibility that poses the greatest hazard to the body politic.

Once the gentleman’s code ceased to bind a significant number of persons engaged in political activism or discourse, and once enough of us who still adhere to the code lost the moral confidence required to enforce it, it became inevitable that “stupid or evil” rhetoric would proliferate. To beat it back requires a massive campaign of “moral surgery:” the willingness to reprove the behavior founded on the pernicious premises, brutally if necessary.

Of course there’s a need for this in the home, in the rearing of one’s children, but the need to do so in public, among other nominal adults, is far greater:

  • Never tolerate being treated like an intellectual inferior.
  • Never allow anyone to imply that your motives are venal or corrupt.
  • Never allow a conversation in which the “stupid or evil” premises are visible to go unchallenged.

Wrap your good right hand around those premises and rip them out roots and all, perhaps as follows:

Miscellaneous Arrogant Leftist: [Insert some insulting statement founded on the “stupid or evil” premise here.]
Offended Conservative: Tell me, do you think I’m your intellectual inferior?

MAL: Well, no, but...
OC: Do you think I’m morally deficient?

MAL: Well, I wouldn’t say so, but...”
OC: Because what you’ve just said implies either or both. It’s extremely offensive, the sort of remark that once led to pistols at dawn. As I always assume an adult has said what he meant to say, you can continue this conversation by yourself. [Turns and strides away.]

Among other things, it’ll make you feel better than you can imagine.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

The Letter And The Spirit

I've just read one of the most remarkable, even critical documents of our time. It's so vitally important to the future, not merely of the United States but of Mankind as a whole, that not to proclaim it far and wide would be a sin of omission for which no penance would be sufficient.

Wait for it. I have a couple of other things to say first. I trust you'll appreciate the perspectives they afford.

First, allow me to recount an episode from more than a decade ago. It occurred at the home of some friends, who had invited us over for dinner. They'd also invited another couple, about whom I’d been told nothing except that the husband, Abe, was someone "you might enjoy talking to, Fran."

Abe was a left-liberal of typical left-liberal opinions and arrogance. We fenced verbally for an hour or more -- apparently our mutual friends had told him a little about me and my proclivities -- during which:

  • The topics were many and various;
  • Abe repeatedly made factual assertions I could easily disprove, but which he insisted were true, while freely dismissing my factual assertions as "nonsense;"
  • Despite severe temptations to do otherwise, I remained courteous. I was in someone else's home and felt an obligation to maintain the peace.

But there came a point where Abe felt he simply had to address what he deemed the inadequacies of President George W. Bush. Now, whatever Dubya's missteps were -- and I'll allow he made a number of them, some of which were quite serious -- he was a man of sterling character. You could believe that he meant what he said. When he proposed a plan of action, you could be confident that he was sincere about it and would prosecute it to the limit of his ability and authority. When Abe lit off in that direction, I could sense that trouble was on the horizon.

And indeed it was. I managed to hold myself in check throughout most of Abe's tirade, but when he sneered at Dubya for his Christianity -- for "needing the comfort of an imposed structure," as Abe put it -- I snapped.

"Do you have any idea," I said in a tone that might have issued from the bowels of the Earth, "what you just said to a devout, practicing Catholic?" I didn't wait for an answer. I turned on my heel and walked away. We exchanged no further words that evening. Indeed, my wife and I left without wishing him a good night.

I wrote some time ago -- apologies; I can't find the link -- that among the patterns that characterize men of good will is the tendency to assume that others are equally as benevolent. That attitude is one of the main supports to the maintenance of the conventional courtesies: broadly speaking, refraining from calling someone an idiot, fool, dupe, liar, slut, thief, murderer, or otherwise unsatisfactory person in a nominally social setting. Abe felt no such inhibitions, at least when his target was someone who wasn't physically present. When I put him on notice that he'd denigrated my convictions, his face fell apart. He couldn't believe I had reacted in such an unrestrained fashion. Why, it was positively discourteous. And after such a nice dinner, too!

I'd reached my limit. Everyone has one. Abe had found mine, whether or not he'd deliberately sought to do so.

It was the beginning of a rather sharp swerve in my attitude toward leftists who denigrate Christianity. I once felt it was something like an obligation to remain courteous, to try to demonstrate how far wrong they were by my conduct, erudition, and sound reasoning. Beneath that, of course, lay the assumption that they could be led to see their error and retreat from it: if not to the extent of becoming Christians, at least so far as allowing that we might not be the imbeciles, buffoons, and would-be oppressors they'd taken us to be.

The assumption was the problem. Indeed, it still is: far too many men of good will retain it, despite innumerable demonstrations that it is false-to-fact.

President Bush labored under that assumption, too. He repeatedly acted as if he accepted without question that his political adversaries were as benevolently inclined as he. He received numerous rebuffs without ever abandoning that premise. It cost him, and the country, in ways that still burden us and will continue to do so for some time to come.

To cut to the chase: Courtesy toward one another is a formal thing. It's not context-free; sustaining it requires a state of reciprocal obligation, in which all persons strive to remain courteous. It derives from the spirit of the Second Great Commandment: to love your neighbor as you love yourself. But one can maintain the specific standard of the Commandment without straining to remain courteous to an unmannerly boor.

Once Abe had demonstrated that he felt himself unbound by the courtesies, I declared myself free of them as well. But Abe is in no way exceptional among left-liberals. To left-liberals, courtesy and propriety are shackles for conservatives, Christians, and their other enemies. They have no interest in donning those fetters; they might keep them from winning an argument...or an election.

The double standard in political and social discourse has never been clearer. One side has declared itself outside all rules. It will lie, cheat, steal, sling unbelievably vile calumnies, and generally do whatever it deems useful to its aims, moral standards be damned. The other side strains to remain within the traditional standards of polite conduct, even to the extent of declining to give true coloration to the adversaries' words and deeds. The height of the madness is captured in this: left-liberals' slanders frequently include accusations that conservatives are doing what left-liberals have already done or are planning to do.

Religion has become a particular battleground. The Left has put its nominal atheism to the side to defend Islam, despite its exhortations to violence and oppression and the savagery of its most visible adherents. That's an outcome of leftist "othering," in which any enemy of American norms is immediately granted sanctuary within the Leftist fold. But Islam has sworn the destruction of its enemies -- Christianity and Judaism in particular -- and the Left, in support of its clients, has taken up cudgels against those faiths, while ceaselessly proclaiming that we whom it would destroy must be "tolerant of other faiths."

If you're familiar with the "Islamic Two-Step," this tactic should be familiar to you as well.

The spirit of the Great Commandments is generous beyond measure. As the angels who massed above Bethlehem sang, they proclaim peace on Earth and good will toward men -- all men. But the letter of the Law does not demand that Christians sit meekly and unresistingly before a campaign of annihilation.

Now for a snippet from the essay that I praised so highly in the opening segment:

The degradation of our culture has gone too far, and I’ve fucking had it....

This is the Progressive vision for the future, where fat and unhygienic is beautiful. This is a world in which John Scalzi is the pinnacle of writing talent, where Michael Moore is your script writer and Ben Kuchera is your journalist. Your State Department official is a moron who claims the unemployment numbers in Syria are largely responsible for global terrorism. Your own President cannot name who the terrorists are.

Utopia for Progressives is Hell on Earth, possibly worse than any the Bright One who Fell could think up. Your live entertainment will be based on vaginas. Your art is a Crucifix in a jar of piss, or period blood on canvas. Paul Krugman will be your personal banker, with every Western government worth mentioning so far in debt that the entire population could work for well over a year doing nothing but paying it, without coming close to discharging it....

I’m going to say two things in rapid succession, because, again, I’ve had it. My patience has been exceeded. The tank for tolerance is empty, it’s been running on fumes for years now.

I’m a Christian. Okay? And this is a remarkably unChristian thing for me to say, but if you don’t like it… to hell with you (I just realized this is a good pun). I’m tired of being Peter to the rest of the world and skirting the issue, denying it because it’s the fashionable, popular thing to do in a degenerate age, because it might mollify a gatekeeper lording over his own personal pile of waste. I encourage other Christians to do likewise. Proclaim it, loudly and proudly, and say “now what?” Yes, I DJ Industrial-Goth dance clubs, and I am a Christian. We’re everywhere, you know. And there are more of us than there are of them, even today.

Second, and I want to make this as abundantly clear as I possibly can with words, I’ve had enough of the destruction of Western Culture. Progressives have ruined all that is good and Holy on this planet. Wherever there is ugliness, you can be sure to find one of their ilk behind it. Not only do they loathe standards of conduct, beauty and comparison, they actively promote anti-standards. They deconstruct so far, they’ve tunneled straight through civilization and into barbarism, they are the men digging in the ground all the way to China.

They elevate diarrhea to fine wine, while pouring the good vintage down the drain. A beautiful woman in a bikini is an ugly demonstration of sexism, to them, instead of a wonderful example of femininity. A strong man is a patriarchal, heteronormative oppressor. The intellectual is a “mansplainer.”

When you next make use of the bathroom, know that your excrement, your bodily waste, is of higher value than anything they can produce. For at least that waste can become fertilizer for something greater. They are the snake, the worm, the voice of unreason. They are the Autumn People, the product of a century of spoiled children, rotten parenting and failing families. They are reared on garbage, educated by propagandists and coddled by elitist fucks living so far up the Ivory Tower they haven’t seen Terra Firma in their entire lives. Yet, as high up as they are, Dante knew their ilk well enough in the bottom rungs of Hell.

The garden is full of weeds, more wheels are squeaking for the greasing. Civilization is oinkin’ for the boinkin’ while politicians discuss the proper regulations for tree removal in my front yard.

Dystopic, you're my hero. I could not have said it better. Gentle Readers, please read the whole thing. Spread word of it far and wide.

A significant number of people look at me, probably because of my tirades here and elsewhere, as an authority of sorts: someone who can certify conclusions, award permissions, and pronounce absolution. In reality I'm nothing of the sort: just one more American with opinions he dares to set forth on the Web. I'm flattered by those who regard my reasoning as sound and my conclusions as important, but in reality the only thing that could make them important is if they were to become your reasoning and conclusions as well. If that's the case, I'm doubly flattered, but remember that it's you that made the critical difference.

All the same, in recognition of the exalted status I don't deserve, I hereby declare, ex cathedra from my bellybutton:

Conservatives and Christians are hereby relieved of any perceived duty of courtesy toward the Left.

Dystopic has stated the case in the strongest possible terms. Perhaps some of you have already experienced what I did from Abe. Perhaps you've cringed before the larger syndrome Dystopic has so passionately denounced. Perhaps you've been wondering "is it time to take off the gloves?" I proclaim it so. Indeed, the time arrived some time ago.

They have placed themselves above the Law.
They are no longer entitled to the protection of its spirit.
Treat them as roughly as they treat you.
Leave them naked before the firehose of your contempt.
They have earned that and nothing more.

Have a nice day.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Observing Disinterestedly from the Bleachers as the Wall Tumbles

Observing Disinterestedly from the Bleachers as the Wall Tumbles
By: SilverDeth
Date: 2/17/15

As we sit here, divvying up our freshly acquired aumunition dump, (f*ck you very much BATF Jackboots), we can’t help but find ourselves bored sh*tless by constant droning of the various suicidal cheerleaders pimping The Evil and Stupid parties:
“The Iraq and Afghanistan disaster is all Bush\Cheney’s fault!”
“Nu-uh… it’s Obama’s incompetence that made it all fall apart!!!!”

“No no no no… none of it would’ve been necessary if Clinton had killed Osama when he had all those chances!!”

“But Daddy-Bush started that whole mess over there when he didn’t finish Desert Storm!!!”

“Pfffft – if Regan had not been arming up the Taliban and training them as insurgents to proxy war with the Russians there would be peace!!!”

“Oh yeah? Well if Carter had not been a useless putz and let the Shaw fall, that whole region…. blah blah blah.”
Constant readers – did you ever consider that perhaps everybody is simultaneously wrong and right? Imagine for a moment that your incompetent, evil and greedy GOVERNMENT is the issue. Oh… we see… it’s easier to create boogeymen – to blame one matching set of f*cks for what is in fact the systemic and terminal failure of this republic. (Not that we can totally blame you – the slide-show-train-wreck has been going on since before our grandparents were born).

The American public – those not anesthetized by the “circus-of-the-week” (TM) – watch the decomposition accelerate with a sense of befuddlement and growing dread. They desperately want “a reason” for our snail-motion-collapse – they beg for a remedy. Yet, nothing staves off the empire’s fall. Civil unrest grows yearly. The wealth drains away with every quarterly report. Elections swing more and more violently each cycle. Debts scale at exponential rates. The panicked population tries to quash the “cause” of our asphyxiation – they want a clearly named foe, a single villain, a lone malefactor they might rally against to resuscitate our suffocated country.

Our media and political lick-spittles are happy to oblige.
“Deliver us!” the people shriek – and slimy tadpoles squirm from the muck, more than happy to demagogue in exchange for graft and power. Yet nothing happens – same looting, same stomping on sacred freedoms, same pointless bungled wars. Just a different class clown helming the good ship Lusitania.

The facts are obvious – America has been dead a long time. So great was her engine of creation that she’s continued decades on the momentum alone – forward motion generated by giants of men, great and terrible both. The frightened citizenry know enough to see the wheels coming off, but they want an easy solution – a quick panacea to one hundred years of malfeasance and foolishness. As a result, they blame their favored enemy:
“The corporatist Neo-Cons killed America with their bloody wars for oil!”

“Stupid Prog-Nazi’s are to blame for the U.S.A.’s unsustainable public debt!”

“Dumsh*t LiberTardian pot tokers didn’t pick a side and now Obama won the White House!”

“Retard Sheeple plugged into their TV and video games so the Republicans own Congress!”
Everyone needs their bunyip to scare the children and blame for the malaise. Because vanquishing a single monster is the perfect achievement for a lazy, scared and mal-educated society. It’s so much easier to confront a fiction than the possibility that “our creature” is in fact a legion of faceless, nameless bureaucratic puke-weasels whom WE empowered to destroy our lives.

What if the collapse was not exclusively brought about by this or that specific idiot? Open your mind to the possibility that our doom was a collective effort. Decades of greedy, evil and stupid people, each yanking bricks from the gate keep, until the castle was a ruin… threatening to topple with the next prevailing breeze.

No – the failure was not a single politician, (or even a single political party). What we’re witnessing is ruin brought about by our entire government, and by sad extension, the idiot population who granted them high office. Yes, that means “us.” We the stupids – who voted “pragmatically” instead of clenching our principles. Who faltered in the face of tyranny, because, “our team is the good guys!” (Whichever Godforsaken group that happened to be). Us... who, to our eternal shame, handed off the justly warranted revolution to our next of kin.

We applied our signatures, in blood, to the contract that empowered our taskmasters. And we so graciously signed our kids into serfdom, the very way our parents bound us. Now, as our generation withers away, we leave, as our legacy, the girdled corpse of a once living nation, and all the suffering that will skulk in it's shadow. This is our children’s inheritance. Damn us.

A fix you say? Sorry constant readers. If you’ve came seeking wisdom, we’ve got nuthin’ fer ya. What we can offer is this:
If there is one constant in the universe, it’s that you can’t bring back the dead. The United States of America is dead. Best be planning for the eventual funeral now – and what you’ll do in the aftermath.
Other folks certainly are. You might not care much for their intentions.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Arnaud de Borchgrave Dies.

Mr. Arnaud de Borchgrave was an amazing gentleman as the Newsmax piece on his death makes clear.
In his last column, the long-time war correspondent urged America's leaders to stop getting sucked into conflicts in the Middle East, and turn their attention instead to restoring the standing of the U.S. middle class and repairing America's crumbling infrastructure at home.

"The bottom line," he wrote, "is that the U.S. is now faced with a historical choice. It is high time to regroup on the home front while shedding a dysfunctional political system still posing as a functioning democracy."[1]

De Borchgrave's view of the state of representative government in America is shared by many.

Political pathologies swirl about us and choke off rational, truthful debate. Liars, cowards, and subversives cower behind pathetic concepts like "hate speech," "bigot," "intolerance," "equality," "multiculturalism," "diversity," "micro invalidation," and "patriarchy" while fatal problems take root and grow. The ability of the top .1% -- not 1% but the top .1% -- to determine the outcome of American elections (and concomitant irrelevance of the political views of ordinary citizens) chief among which.

The desire of that ultra wealthy class to flood America with millions upon millions upon millions of hostile, undigestible, and parasitic foreigners and forever change America into a third-world, social welfare state, ruled by a tiny wealthy elite is crystal clear from the words and actions of every bought-and-paid-for politician in the land. Does the speaker mouth the words "diversity," "multiculturalism," "amnesty," "asylum," or "comprehensive immigration reform"? If so, then bought and paid for.

The alarming success of the radical left – quite unopposed by the "journalists" in today's news rooms and editorial suite and aided and abetted by the highest court on down – puts liberty at risk. The ultra left have no regard for liberty because to implement their agenda requires it to be diminished. If we do not understand that, we are in great danger of seeing this great experiment in self government fail, only to be replaced by the greasy nostrums of communism lite – the welfare state and necessarily related fantasies about fiscal arithmetic, history, the efficacy of government action, and human nature.

[1] "Arnaud de Borchgrave, Legendary Journalist, Dies." By David Patten,, 2/17/15.


Einkreisung! “Encirclement!” It was the cry of Kaiser Wilhelm II, the inconstant, ill-mannered, self-doomed Emperor of Germany in the years before “the Great War:” World War I. Wilhelm wanted the sort of imperial power the other nations of Europe had established and would soon surrender: military might upon the seas, colonies in Africa and Asia, and the obeisance of the “lesser powers” of the world. When he became expansive, Wilhelm would admit that destroying the British Navy, seizing a few colonies from his European neighbors, and compelling a kowtow or two from the potentates of Britain and France would be a good start.

What did Wilhelm mean by encirclement? Merely that in the face of Germany’s rapid military expansion and its aggressiveness on the seas and in Africa, the other European powers had formed mutual-defense alliances. While their alliances were not explicitly directed against Germany, there was no other military threat on the other nation, except for the United States, that any one of those powers could not have defeated single-handed. Germany was their common concern.

Some historians have claimed that those alliances helped to precipitate the Great War, by inducing a sense of confinement that pressed upon Wilhelm until he could bear it no longer. Yet not one of the other nations made even a threatening gesture toward Germany. Indeed, on July 30, 1914, only days before the outbreak of hostilities, French Premier Rene Viviani ordered the withdrawal of French forces ten kilometers from the Franco-German border, hoping that such a demonstration of pacific intentions might prevent a conflagration. Needless to say, it did not: the German General Staff had already committed Germany’s forces to the Schlieffen Plan – a two-million-man ground invasion through Belgium and down the Channel coast, intended to catch the anticipated French thrust through Alsace and Lorraine in the rear – and would not be denied the chance for which they’d waited so long. At any rate, the Kaiser had decided upon war, and the assassination of Austro-Hungarian Archduke Franz Ferdinand provided the pretext he needed.

The sense of being ringed about by enemies resolved upon one’s destruction can do that.

Some persons in the freedom movement have felt encircled for quite some time. They’re just waiting for a reason to “go for their guns,” already convinced that the events of the most recent decades can produce no other outcome. I shan’t dismiss their attitude; they could well be correct. Moreover, the encirclement they sense is more objectively substantiable than what Kaiser Wilhelm suffered.

Incursions upon Americans’ rights at home have grown so various that there’s no point in enumerating them any more. The sense of threat from abroad, principally manifest in Russian and Chinese militancy, the flood of illegal aliens over our southern border, and many thousands of Islam-powered terrorist acts, makes it still worse. There’s no longer even a pretense that “private property” is truly private. The only thing that hasn’t happened yet is a general rounding-up of “dissidents” in the style of a Communist dictatorship...though the public pillorying of Nakoula Basseley Nakoula for having “caused” the attack on the American consulate in Benghazi is enough to give one pause.

With the most recent revelations about Obama Administration deference to Iran’s nuclear ambitions, the BATFE’s attempt to ban the most popular rifle ammo in America, and the FCC’s imminent announcement of regulations on the Internet, the tension is approaching an unsustainable level.

Yes, we are encircled, almost entirely by the actions of “our” government. Whether it’s time to break the encirclement is no longer at issue; determining whether it remains possible, and if so, the best method for doing so are all that matters.

I’ve written on other occasions that freedom in any degree rests upon a tripod of supports:

  • Education,
  • Communications,
  • Weaponry.

Education, with the exception of homeschooling and Internet-schooling, is a lost cause. NSA shenanigans about phone and email monitoring have abraded some of our communications privacy. However, Internet communications and the general availability of weaponry to private citizens have remained open and liberal, until recently. With the developments cited above, those supports to what remains of freedom are critically endangered.

Whether there’s a point to continuing with peaceable political action is open to dispute, as is whether it’s time to “shoot the bastards.” But there might still be a middle course that is neither easily ignored nor unbearably costly: a course that could “put teeth” in our political activism without shedding great quantities of blood.

In discussing international diplomacy, the great Thomas Sowell noted that nation-states only negotiate when one of the alternatives is war – more specifically, when one of the parties at the table is credibly ready, willing, and able to make the refusal to negotiate potentially more costly than the other is willing to bear. This, of course, hearkens to the “economic model” of deterrence that I’ve also discussed at other times: the premise that regardless of how aggressively a nation might posture, there is nevertheless a maximum price it’s willing to pay for its objectives.

Do our oppressors prize their power over us so greatly that no price for their deeds could ever deter them? If so, then it’s all over but the shooting. If not, then a possible middle course would be a campaign of intimidation -- “we know who you are and what you do” -- to let them know that they’re under our crosshairs, and not just from adverse developments at the ballot box. (Cf. this fanciful novel of some years ago.)

What capacities do freedom lovers possess for putting “the bastards” under a multiply-bladed sword of Damocles? Do we have a way to put those who oppress us in a state of fear – fear of us – and keep them thus for an indefinite time, such that they could never be certain when the blow might fall or from which direction it might arrive?

We would need a great deal more information and organization than we possess at present. We would also need to contrive a way to communicate, both among ourselves and with those whom we must counter-coerce, that’s as close to unbreakable as human ingenuity can get it. And of course, we would need the resolve required to do what’s necessary, should it become necessary.

Some will respond that the enforcers – those federales who constitute “the sharp end of the blade” – don’t originate their orders; they merely do as they’ve been told. We didn’t allow the functionaries of Nazi Germany to escape punishment at Nuremberg by saying that “I was only doing my job.” Lon Horiuchi and Janet Reno were “only doing their jobs,” too.

Could we credibly present the starkest of alternatives to the enforcers of anti-Constitutional, anti-freedom federal laws and regulations? Could we at least pose that choice to a large enough fraction of them that the rest would feel unbearably unsafe? Could we amass the required information about identities, movements, and vulnerabilities? Could we attain the necessary degree of coordination without being traduced? Most important of all, could we do so in good conscience, as fully resolved to enforce our will as the mandarins of the State are to enforce theirs?

What if the sole alternatives to such a course are complete subjugation and outright civil war?

Saturday, February 14, 2015

What to say when you don't know who you are, where you came from, or where you want to go.

What is France? The left responds to that question with a void, the emptiness of those "values of the Republic" about which no one knows where they come from, what they are founded on, or who has the right to establish an exhaustive list in order to "form" the citizens of the future. A freedom of expression empty of all significance, that reveals every day its obvious inconsistencies. A superstitious laïcité, closer in nature to magic than to a reasonable principle for living. The incantation for national unity, brandished coercively by those who, for years, have been transforming the solitary whims of inconsequential individualism into progress. What can one build on "values" that have for so long resounded with hollowness?[1]
~ François-Xavier Bellamy, philosopher-teacher and adjunct mayor of Versailles.

Tiberge points out the equally vacuous term "American dream" that is beloved of bubbleheads and politicians in the U.S. who are clueless about what it takes to build, maintain, and protect America. "French values," "American dream," "diversity," "hodgepodge." All shibboleths of knuckleheads or liars.

[1] "Empty words." By Tiberge, Gallia Watch, 2/13/15. Original article at Le Figaro.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Dutch orchestra walks out on Muslim conductor's commercial for Islam.


May 9, 2014.

A sliver of normality in the long, sad surrender of the West to madness.

Obama And His AUMF

By now everyone in the English-speaking world is aware that “our” Nobel Peace Prize winner of a president, having casually squandered the blood of thousands of Americans who gave their lives in the decade-long effort to liberate Afghanistan and Iraq, wants Congress to authorize him to send American forces back into the Middle East. The questions of greatest immediate importance are:

  1. Why?
  2. Does he think everyone in Congress is blind, deaf, and crazy?

Okay, okay. Given Congress’s behavior in recent years, he might have a basis of sorts for an affirmative answer to question #2. But given Obama’s demonstrated unwillingness even to mouth a word Muslims might deem offensive to them, coupled to his open hostility to America’s military, how could a rational man expect that an Obama Administration military action waged against an Islamic enemy could work out well? He doesn’t fight wars to win; he hates our armed forces; and he flinches at the very thought of offending a Muslim.

So his request might just meet with sufficient resistance to derail it:

President Obama’s request that Congress authorize military action against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) was met with skepticism from both parties on Wednesday, raising questions about Capitol Hill’s ability to pass a war measure.

The divide is largely centered on language prohibiting the use of “enduring offensive ground combat operations” against ISIS.

Democrats say this does too little to limit the White House from committing ground troops to the fight, while Republicans say the restrictions could handcuff the military.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

Senator Rand Paul was recently quoted as saying that sending American ground troops to battle ISIS is a mistake – that ISIS can only be defeated by troops supplied by the regional states. For that statement he was roundly criticized by several figures on the Right. His statement was variously mischaracterized as isolationism, as moral indifference to the horrors ISIS has inflicted on its victims, and as a slur on America’s fighting forces. Yet when viewed in the proper context, he was quite correct.

Ours is not the fully roused, invincibly resolute United States of America that defeated Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan. Nor is ISIS the sort of terror that can raise Americans onto our hind legs. Worse yet, those we would go forth to rescue from ISIS are in fundamental agreement with ISIS’s premises and principles. Worst of all, we have been made all too aware that Obama simply won’t allow a war against an Islamic enemy to be fought effectively – that whatever gains American forces would achieve at the cost of further American blood and treasure would be fleeting at best, illusory at worst.

Obama might well have been pressured by his political advisors into requesting the AUMF. I could easily believe it – and that he opposed them to the extent of insisting that it be so sharply limited that it would be clear to all and sundry that he doesn’t really want to fight.

As submitted to Congress, the requested AUMF displeases both caucuses. The Democrats, ever the lily-livered, quail at the idea of further American casualties. More, they detest the thought of having to defend a new and foredoomed war against the criticisms of their hard-left base. The Republicans, a trifle more alert to the reasons the requested AUMF is shaped as it is, are unwilling to allow Obama another double-bind at their expense. For should the AUMF be approved as requested, Obama would not hesitate to blame the subsequent failures on the GOP. Should Congress modify the AUMF to provide an actual possibility of military victory, Obama and his allies would castigate the Republicans for letting more of our young men die in foreign lands.

Though our military men are inhibited against giving their opinions of such matters to the media, it would be difficult for me to believe that our commanders are at all enthusiastic about heading back to the Middle East while Obama is their Commander-In-Chief. They’ve worn his shackles long enough to know them – and him.

No, the war against ISIS, if it’s to be fought at all, must be fought by the locals. America must stay out of it, at least for now.

In straining to comprehend a geopolitical insanity such as contemporary Islamic militancy, it’s vital that we look beyond the superficial aspects to the foundations of the thing. Those foundations are on vivid display for anyone to see:

  1. Islam is a program of totalitarian conquest with a few theological decorations. Its founder, a sex-crazed, bloodthirsty warlord who commanded jihad against “unbelievers” until the whole world is under the boot of Islam, is venerated as The Perfect Man, to be emulated in all things.
  2. The program draws substantial support from the Muslims of the world: reliable estimates range from 10% to 25% accord with the militants’ aims and methods.
  3. The hypothetical majority of “moderate” Muslims is unable to resist the claims of their militant co-religionists, because:
    1. The militants have the Islamic scriptures firmly on their side; and:
    2. The militants are willing to slaughter “moderate” Muslims as heretics and apostates.
  4. The will of the West to resist the Islamic program is weaker than ever before in history. Indeed, our “leaders” aren’t even willing to call Islam-powered terrorism (or ISIS itself) Islamic.

If ever there were a time for Islam to strike the West, this is it. We are divided, weakened by secularism, multiculturalism, moral relativism and a pervasive reluctance to judge others of “different standards.” The states of Europe have emasculated themselves militarily, while America has squandered her own power in a number of pointless, even pathological efforts. If more were needed, a resurgence of imperialism from Russia and looming threats from China have divided our geopolitical attentions.

This is not a time for another expeditionary war on our part. It’s a time for redressing our mistakes:

  • We must extinguish the cultural viruses of multiculturalism and moral relativism.
  • We must reanimate American principles and values.
  • We must reinvigorate the American military and reinforce the virtues that made it fearsome.
  • We must cleanse our halls of power of the secret allies of anti-American, anti-freedom forces worldwide.

The war against world Islam – and make no mistake; ISIS is only the tip of the spear – is a world war. It can only be won by a fully mobilized, morally resolute, armed-to-the-teeth nation determined to obliterate the enemy completely and permanently, as we did in World War II. It’s madness to commit one’s forces to such a war in the hesitant, divided, unprepared state we’re in today.

Obama’s request for an AUMF should be defeated.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Gotta Brag!

My daughter was just published.  She wrote about the good things she has found in religious life.

Walls Closing In Dept.

Before I launch into today’s tirade, allow me to make a strong recommendation for the website of a friend and colleague: The Declination. The site is run by frequent Liberty’s Torch commenter Dystopic, and is a wealth of good thinking and fine writing. Dystopic’s post of today, a compressed history of the conflict between Islam and Christendom, is an excellent example of his work. Please read it all, and reflect on its significance.

Now and then I feel what the title of this piece indicates: the sense that I’m being ever more closely monitored by faceless others determined to control my every word and deed. Some of the aspiring controllers are determined to police my language. Others merely want to collect information about me: perhaps to sell it; perhaps to set me up for a fall. I dislike the idea and fight it whenever I suspect it’s in operation. For example, I’ve avoided the acquisition of a cellphone for that reason, as literally all of them report where you are to someone at all times.

A few days ago, Samsung’s “smart TVs” became a new entry on my list of avoidances:

Introducing the full 1080p Samsung Telescreen:
The potential privacy intrusion of voice-activated services is massive. Samsung, which makes a series of Internet connected TVs, has a supplementary privacy policy covering its Smart TVs which includes the following section on voice recognition (emphasis mine):
You can control your SmartTV, and use many of its features, with voice commands. If you enable Voice Recognition, you can interact with your Smart TV using your voice. To provide you the Voice Recognition feature, some voice commands may be transmitted (along with information about your device, including device identifiers) to a third-party service that converts speech to text or to the extent necessary to provide the Voice Recognition features to you. In addition, Samsung may collect and your device may capture voice commands and associated texts so that we can provide you with Voice Recognition features and evaluate and improve the features. Please be aware that if your spoken words include personal or other sensitive information, that information will be among the data captured and transmitted to a third party through your use of Voice Recognition.

As an Electronic Frontier Foundation activist pointed out earlier today, via Twitter, the concept of a TV screen that might be snooping on your private conversations — and thus broadcasting a chilling effect by inculcating self-censorship within its viewers — is straight out of George Orwell’s 1984....

If the SmartTV owner does realize how ridiculous this is, Samsung does at least allow them to disable the eavesdropping voice recognition ‘feature’, and instead use a more limited set of predefined ‘voice commands’ — and in that instance says it does not harvest their spoken words.

However it will still gather usage info and any other text-based inputs for data mining purposes, as it also notes further down in the policy. So an entire opt-out of being tracked is not part of this very expensive package.

That’s bad enough, but via the esteemed Charles Hill, we have still more noxious icing on an already distasteful cake:

After Samsung calmed us all down, users of smart TV app Plex noticed a Pepsi commercial playing in the middle of content streamed from their own media server within the house. Plex simplifies using your home computer as a media server for smart TVs, streaming devices, tablets, phones, and game consoles. It is not supposed to inject ads in the middle of the program you’re enjoying. Yet that’s what users report happening: Pepsi ads pop up during shows streamed to their sets using Plex.

A spokesperson for Plex told GigaOm that they weren’t adding ads to users’ video streams. Users reported Pepsi ads interjected in other programs while playing programs directly on the TV from their computer, so the app wasn’t serving up the ads. This was caused by the TV, and only users of Samsung smart TVs have reported it.

Assuming that all the data reported above is accurate, Samsung’s smart TVs are being used to push advertising into the lives of their owners, independently of the source of the material being played.

Would it happen were the source material coming from a DVD? I don’t know. I have no data either way about that possibility. It seems to be a possibility whenever the TV is Internet-connected. For a “smart TV,” overtly intended to facilitate user choice and customization of the viewing experience, this is a most egregious sin.

Am I paranoid? Perhaps. But that’s not the question that concerns me. What I want to know is: Am I paranoid enough?

Commercial motives are potentially innocent. Nearly all of us seek to sell something to others, whether it’s our products, our services, or our insights. But hyperaggressive “push” marketing is another matter. If you’ve deceived your target into rendering himself defenseless against your importunings, you’ve committed fraud. Innocence is no longer yours to claim.

However one views the commercial aspects of this phenomenon, one must also address the ways in which evil persons with evil agendas can make use of it. For example, it’s not that long ago that we learned about telecom companies’ “pen registers:” the records of what numbers were connected to what other numbers at what times, and for how long. The federal government has employed that data in its anti-terrorism operations. Has it used it for other, less worthy purposes? We cannot know.

We know that major Internet service providers have been frequently pressured by the federal government to yield up information about their subscribers. The rationale is almost always the anti-terror campaign or some other kind of federal-level crime-fighting. Similar pressure has been put on the operators of popular Web-based services, such as Facebook. We cannot know whether that pressure has been consistently met with successful resistance.

“Come to the Dark Side. We have cookies!” – current Internet meme.

For many persons, a new technique for invading the privacy of others is merely an opportunity to be exploited as it becomes relevant. Those will try to pass it off as purely a commercial gambit, a version of the pre-movie commercials we must endure at the local theater. Others will characterize it as the price we must pay for the expansion of our choices technology has bestowed upon us: unfortunate perhaps, but unavoidable. While there are kernels of truth to both statements, neither is a complete picture of the situation and its hazards.

Technology, be it ever borne in mind, is value-free. It can liberate, but it can also confine and destroy. Nuclear reactors and nuclear weapons make use of the same principles, and many of the same technologies. Governments are relentless about seizing upon new technologies for the advancement of their perennial aim: the control of their subjects.

You’re surely aware of the proposals in several states to mandate tracking devices on privately owned motor vehicles, so their owners can be taxed by the mile traveled. Whether or not you think that to be a fairer method for funding road building and maintenance, think also of the possibilities for the monitoring and control of your movements. For example, think of the way it could be used to prosecute you for using your mobility to escape sales taxes. It’s not that long ago that New York State made a practice of sending tax agents to major furniture outlets in North Carolina, to record the license plates of New Yorkers buying furniture there. Is that still going on? Perhaps not. But with the near-ubiquity of the EZ-Pass, it has ceased to be necessary, as virtually all the states along the Atlantic coastline, plus quite a few others, are linked into that system – and the transceivers aren’t installed solely at toll booths.

Still think keeping that smartphone in your pocket, always powered on, is a good idea?

African (dictator) logic.

Ok. This is just hilarous.

"Robert Mugabe 'suspends 27 bodyguards' for failing to stop his humiliating podium fall that sparked worldwide mockery online." By Simon Tomlinson, Daily Mail, 2/11/15.

H/t: Gates of Vienna.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Pearls of expression.

Jonathan Chait, the sort of nice suburban liberal boy you’d want your daughter to marry if you hated your daughter, in his recent essay on the alleged renaissance of political correctness, bemoaned the emergence of racial- and gender-identity politics as an ultimate rhetorical trump card.
An insightful article.

"The Brute-Force Left. The Left lost the argument, but is determined to win the fight." By Kevin D. Williamson, NationalReviewOnline, 2/8/15.

Something's Come Up

I was sitting in front of the TV today, at around 7:30 pm, when a Viagra commercial appeared.  It was the one that has a 40-ish woman in a slinky blue dress talking about "erectile dysfunction".

My first thought was "How glad I am that I no longer have young children at home.  Wouldn't want to have to explain what THAT is!"

My second thought was, "Why on Earth do they put these provocative, sexually blatant commercials on so early in the evening?  Families probably don't want to have to explain, in detail, the facts of life to their children who are still awake."

My third thought was, "Eh, the guys who most need it - old guys - are probably heading to bed - I mean SLEEP - early."

Monday, February 9, 2015

Police State NYC

New York State residents outside the five boroughs of New York City tend to regard political developments there with a certain detachment. After all, city ordinances and practices don't affect us directly. The city can't tax or regulate us. The city is fairly well confined to its current boundaries. Were it to attempt to annex portions of the nearby counties, as has occurred around other major cities, the reaction would be swift and terrible to behold.

But developments in the two leading cities of these United States, New York and Los Angeles, can never be safely ignored. They set too many trends -- and some of the trends are very unpleasant.

Here's one that should disturb you:

Attempting to further bolster a de facto monopoly of violence in New York City, Police Commissioner Bill Bratton proposed additional edicts to tip the power scales even more in favor of enforcers over citizens, the New York Observer reported Wednesday. In addition to stiffening penalties for things like wearing protective body armor, tinting windows and holding police to similar information disclosures that “civilians” (a telling attitude in itself ) are subjected to, Bratton said it would be “very helpful” if charges of resisting arrest were upped from misdemeanors to felonies....

“NYPD Has a Plan to Magically Turn Anyone It Wants Into a Felon,” Gawker Justice observes in a more hard-edged assessment that includes examples of resisting arrest charges being deliberately unjustly applied. And it’s that felony rap that should most outrage right to keep and bear arms advocates, because such convictions will result in lifetime prohibitions against owning guns, outcomes Bratton and his boss, socialist mayor Bill de Blasio, wouldn't mind seeing more of. Understand, these are people who want to deploy with machine guns to control protesters, a wish they've apparently publicly backed down from -- for now.

Ponder that for a moment.

Just a few weeks ago, I wrote:

What is a policeman, in the American context of our time? He’s a municipal or state employee, protected by a powerful union and laws akin to those that protect civilian Civil Service employees, and effectively answerable only to his superiors in the police hierarchy. He’s been granted certain legal privileges – already we’re in murky waters – and a default presumption of justification regarding his uses of coercive force. He may have had some training in police procedure and the restrictions on his activities, though the smaller the district and its police force, the less certain that will be.

What does this policeman do? More to the point:

  • What must he do?
  • What may he do?
  • What must he not do?
...ex officio?

The “must” part has grown very slender. Recent Supreme Court decisions have decreed that, regardless of the prevalent conceptions, the police have no “duty to protect” and no “duty to intervene.” If you deem yourself to be in danger, the problem is yours, even if the police agree with your assessment. You can be in the midst of an actual criminal victimization, yet the police have no duty to intervene to stop it or to protect you, even if they can see it happening before their own eyes.

The “may” part has become very broad. For example, numerous court decisions have ruled that all a policeman needs to detain you is “reasonable suspicion” that you are or have been involved in a crime. What constitutes “reasonable suspicion” has proved remarkably flexible. A cop who wants to search your car can simply say “I smell marijuana,” and suddenly the most invasive imaginable search is “reasonable,” no matter what his original reason was for detaining you. Regardless of any and all circumstances, you are not allowed to refuse his “lawful order” – yet another serious departure from American norms.

The “must not” part has effectively vanished. State and local police forces have become quasi-military bodies. They’ve been equipped with large amounts of military-grade hardware that no private citizen would be permitted to own. They frequently stage violent intrusions and “no-knock” raids on private institutions and private homes. Most of the time, they have court authorizations for those activities...but often on suppositions that later prove to have been wrong, or based on testimony or “evidence” that was convenient but fictitious. Despite all that, courts have ruled that persons subjected to such treatment do not have a right to resist it – that any violence committed in the process of resistance will be held against the citizen, not the police.

Does that seem relevant to Commissioner Bratton's request that "resisting arrest" be upgraded to a felony count -- a charge that the police could use a posteriori to justify killing a "resister?" Bear in mind that the cop's claim that he ordered you to halt, and that you refused, is deemed sufficient foundation for a charge of "resisting arrest," even if no other offense was ever charged to you.

There's been a lot of discussion about the burgeoning of police-state tactics in the United States these past few years. Skeptics have dismissed it as just "loose talk" that tries to elevate "isolated incidents" into patterns of abuse of power. Now that you've been apprised of Commissioner Bratton's latest request, does it seem all that loose to you?

David Codrea, the author of the article quoted above, is a long-time activist for the right to keep and bear arms. His observation about the special danger to firearms enthusiasts:

And it’s that felony rap that should most outrage right to keep and bear arms advocates, because such convictions will result in lifetime prohibitions against owning guns, outcomes Bratton and his boss, socialist mayor Bill de Blasio, wouldn't mind seeing more of.

...should alarm any city dweller with a legally owned firearm. City authorities, not just in New York City but in many other cities as well, are passionate about disarming their subjects. Exceptions among them are few. New York City is merely the "leader" in this regard: except for the well connected and very well-heeled, it's become all but impossible to get a permit to possess a firearm -- handgun or long gun -- within the five boroughs.

Were city residents who possess already-registered and permitted firearms to be targeted with "no-knock" raids under specious justifications, and killed for daring to appear at their own doors with their guns, what would the popular reaction be? That the police have become an instrument of tyranny? Or that one foolish enough to "resist arrest" deserves whatever happens to him?

Opinion is sharply divided on this subject. The geographical cleavage is plain, but the political cleavage is more interesting, as it defies party affiliation. Staunch conservatives passionate about the right to keep and bear arms become queasy when confronted with a case of police overreach. Their natural tendency is to support and defend the police as "the forces of law and order." Conversely, staunch liberals generally hostile to private ownership of firearms are more likely to judge the police harshly for such least, when the victim isn't a prominent conservative.

New York State has already made severe incursions upon the right to keep and bear arms. Yet city and county police forces are accumulating military-grade weapons and equipment at a record rate. Should the City Council look with favor upon Bratton's suggestion, and should the state legislature proclaim the change in law state-wide, Andrew Cuomo's campaign against privately owned firearms could receive a significant boost.

It's been said that a state in which only the police have weapons is the essence of a police state. Perhaps that's not quite enough, but when we add the provisions that "resisting arrest" shall constitute a felony and that a "civilian" may not refuse a cop's "lawful order," we're getting very close. Given that the definition of such a "lawful order" is effectively "whatever a cop tells you to do," I'd say we've arrived.

No, it's not safe to ignore developments in the Big Apple. Stay tuned.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

When Is Abortion NOT Abortion?

When the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists says so, that's when.
In 1965, the medical definition for when pregnancy begins was changed by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG). Why? Ideology.

One of My Favorite Sites for Re-Post Links

Today I woke early, and was catching up, and found this:

Naturally, as I am Catholic, it caught my eye.

The Crusades were a Defensive War.  The Muslims were attacking an ally, who asked for our assistance.  They were not that successful - as the Muslims kept re-grouping and re-attacking over 

Semantic bullshit.

Most of the liabilities the government has incurred in the postwar period have been kept off the books because of the way we’ve labeled our receipts and payments. The government has gone out of its way to run up a Ponzi scheme and keep evidence of that off the books by using language to make it appear that we have a small debt.[1]
Isn't it amazing how outlandish subterfuges such as keeping government liabilities "off the books" become just accepted facts of national life, like winter snow and spring flowers?

And Social Security is clearly a Ponzi scheme, a scam from the git as evidenced by the payout to the first recipients who made out like bandits because they'd contributed nothing to the (LOL) "Trust Fund," another example of our precious national semantic legerdemain. The Social Security Administration's explanation of why Social Security is not a Ponzi scheme is bullshit piled on bullshit.

"Multiculturalism" is another gem, as is "comprehensive immigration reform." Complete bullshit either one but so much a part of our national debate today a diesel locomotive couldn't pull either terms out of the politicians' armamentarium.

Grown people use these terms in their daily speech.

"Climate change" is the latest greasy locution. When the temperatures wouldn't cooperate in recent years by showing global warming, well, late-stage American democratic Republican luminaries embraced "climate change," and this mendacious term just slid effortlessly into the vocabulary of the lying press and other members of the Treason Class like $90,000 into Congressman William J. Jefferson (D-La.) freezer.

[1] Economist Laurence Kotlikoff, an expert on the national debt, quoted in "Economist Laurence Kotlikoff: U.S. $222 Trillion in Debt." By Joseph Lawler, The Mark Up, RealClear Policy, 12/1/14.