Friday, December 16, 2011

Wendy McElroy interview from 1996

I'm posting this for anyone who needs a substantive introduction to the indispensable Wendy McElroy.  For all of her work I've read, I'd actually never seen her speak before;  once again, it's YouTube coming through and making it possible.

Here, in 1996, she's interviewed for a half-hour segment on the theme of her then-new book XXX: A Woman's Right to Pornography.  In all, it's magnificent.  I can now confirm that she speaks just like she writes.  Her precision, thoroughness, and impeccable measure come through loudly, and she gets (and takes, I'd wager) the opportunity to provide some extra bits of general context that really make this a great introduction for someone who doesn't yet know her.

Sure, there's a couple of moments I'd take exception to (that have nothing to do with her core subject here, and frankly I think they might have been unintentionally misleading based on the corpus of her work that I know), but little matter.  For me at least, she is one of the real titans of libertarian thought writing today, and (along with the magnificent Claire Wolfe) will be introduced to my daughters as a positive role model just as soon as they can make sense of her words.

Anyway, here she is.  If you haven't already bookmarked her website and started to check in for freedom news there, please, gift yourself the upgrade.  It's worth it.

Hat tip to--well--Wendy.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Spooner, modernized.

[T]he Constitution is what keeps the government from doing all of the terrible things that it does.
Butler Shaffer zings again.

File this under "wish I'd said that!"

Billy Beck:
In the case of energy, what's "backwards" is that producers await permission from commissars. This is not how the original energy revolution took place, and there will not be another one as long as that is the political state of affairs.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Gunwalker, Agitated.

Today, Radley Balko mentioned Gunwalker, and I didn't recall his having done so before.  I thought it might be useful to, well, agitate a bit about that.  (Balko would be a great asset to have for Gunwalker reportage, given his following with libertarian types and his current employ by, of all things, The Huffington Post.)  So, responding to an upstream comment, I did.
"Got another source for the BATFE documents? CBS News doesn’t have a great history with government documents."


It's true that CBS has a pretty crappy history with a lot of things--just like all their peers.  That's why when a Sharyl Attkisson actually begins reporting a story in the tradition of watchdog (vs. lapdog), it sticks out like a sore thumb.  I could hardly believe it when I saw her first F&F story myself, but she continues to act like a real reporter, despite intimidation attempts and plenty of empty ridicule.  She's far from perfect, but I'm actually impressed.

If anyone here wants to follow the F&F story, go to the people that Attkisson got it from:  the whole thing got its start when street agents at ATF (writing at the site actually approached bloggers Mike Vanderboegh and David Codrea as whistleblowers.  Now the irony in this origin is a rather complete story unto itself, as Vanderboegh and Codrea are, ah, not exactly what you'd call fans of ATF, nor particularly of Congress.  Nonetheless, they were deemed honest enough by the field agents to wind up the preferred conduits between their own feared management, mainstream media and what have now become Congressional investigators.

Mike and David have been churning out the "Gunwalker" (F&F) content pretty much full-time for almost a full year now, and there is a lot of it.  To my knowledge they have been supported in every claim they've yet made by both the whistleblowers and the paper evidence they have produced, and have started to weather just the sort of telltale retaliatory and harassment attacks and smears that you would expect when there's real fire to go with the smoke.

Mike and David are certainly quirky, and way too direct for mainstream sensibilities, but they are the real deal.  You want the full story on Gunwalker, you go to them.

(To Radley:  methinks this is a story worth picking up.  If you check it out for yourself, I don't think you'll be disappointed.)
Now Balko's a busy boy, and I'm not exactly expecting him to take my suggestion, but I do think it would be worth his time.  And it would sure help Mike and David in their efforts, which despite all that's happened, could easily get disappeared by the increasing number of professionals in that field who really do want this whole ugly mess to go away.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Got sack?

Was reminded of this Grigg classic upon hearing news that the Previous Occupant (hock, spit) is cancelling his visit to Geneva on fears that the Swiss may actually arrest him on torture charges.  (Presuming that threat is indeed credible:  thank you, Switzerland, for being willing to do one of those jobs that Americans won't.)

On the other hand:  that's a lot of sound and fury, but how big is the sack, really?  Would the Swiss apply the principle equally if the Current Occupant (hock, spit), who has already, in the words of Arthur Silber, "doubled down on every single policy" of his predecessor (including but by no means limited to torture, assassination, and secrecy) that he and so many of his supporters decried so loudly and for so long, were to set foot in the same place?  Not the ex-tyrant--the current one.  The one with the drone army (and isn't that just a multi-entendre term?), the Big Red Button, 24/7 command of the Legions, and the fanatical support of all those who love empire more than liberty.

Now THAT would be worthy of a William Tell award.

Please, go read the Grigg article, and share it with people who need to know.  It was magnificent then, and it still is today.

Friday, December 2, 2011


Oh, for fuck's sake:
Under fire for losing track of weapons that turned up at crime scenes along the Southwest border, the Justice Department has taken the extraordinary step of formally withdrawing an inaccurate letter about the episode that it sent to Congress earlier this year.
Wow, wouldn't it be nice to be one of the Untouchables, to be able to whine "do-over!" in the middle of an ongoing be able, when confronted with massive evidence of actual criminal wrongdoing (and literal proof of perjury), to simply "withdraw" your earlier testimony and offer up a different story?

Shit, the jokes just line themselves up, don't they?
  • Maxwell Smart:  "Would you believe..."
  • Groucho Marx:  "Those are my principles.  If you don't like them, I have others."
  • Mark Twain:  "The truth is the most valuable thing we have.  Let us by all means economize it."
  • The jailers of Yellowbeard, when at the end of the latter's prison sentence he asked if he would be set free:  "Well, yes...or, rather, no.  You see, when we sent you to jail twenty years ago, we really didn't expect you to live that long."
  • The Grim Reaper, when asked if the previous deal (best two out of three) would now have to be the best three out of five:  "Damn right!"
  • Garden-variety politicians:  "It depends on what the meaning of the word 'is' is."
(Please feel free to submit others if you like.  The pickins is rich.)

And yet this is inevitable, isn't it?  It comes right along with that "legitimate monopoly on force" deal with the devil.  These are, after all, the same people who have been manufacturing their own (murderous) reality to achieve their political goals;  it should not surprise us that they would also move to manufacture their own exoneration within a legal system that, hell, they wholly own anyway.

Still, jeez, the sheer chutzpah is absolutely astounding.  I hope every juror in America sees this play for what it is.  It can only erode faith in the system, and at least that's something.

Don't worry, guys.  We get your damn message.

Here's one in return:


* Hat tip to Vanderboegh.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Your irony overload for the day.


The company that sells their supercharged eavesnooping analytics system to the Feds (never to be used against us, of course, what are ya, an extremist?) is called Palantír?

What is this, some secret psy-op designed to get students of irony to have spontaneous aneurysms?

Or hell, maybe the reference just naturally draws the tyrants like flies to a blacklight.  Hey, that's it:  someone should develop a total-surveillance system (all your brainwaves are belong to us) and market it under the straightforward name Eye of Sauron.  Anyone wanna bet that the Beltway set would so much as bat an eye before spending your money on it?

Hat tip to Mike Vanderboegh.

'What if,' indeed.

Yes, the following came from the Faux News folks.  You're a thinking human;  ignore that and consider the content on its own merits.

I admit, even I have to willfully filter out all the gratuitous production paeans to the Founders' minarchy, but again, that's just applying a proper noise filter to get better signal.  You're doing that all the time anyway, right?

The power of this piece isn't in any one thing that Napolitano says;  hell, sadly, nothing there is new.  What works about this, instead, is the breadth of the listing in a single delivery.  Even for those of us whose faith in the political process is slightly dimmer than that of the late Frank Chodorov, it's still all too easy to get mired just in one or two fronts in the State's war on all of us, and forget just how breathtakingly comprehensive the overall assault is.

Consider sharing with those who need to know.  Hell, I could envision this being aired at parties, where contestants would tally up a count of the things mentioned in this segment that started happening within their lifetimes...


Radley Balko:
Joel Simon:
"I've been waiting for years for the staff of The Onion to just throw up their hands and give up trying to keep up with reality. In a world with such absurd people in it, what use is satire?"
Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.

Personally, I still think the Voltaire quote may need to be updated to:
Those who want you to believe absurdities, have already committed the atrocities.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Props to Sam Wolanyk...

...for putting together the following admirable resource.  Observe:

Now it's not exactly a secret that I've got no faith in appealing to the same system what gave'n us the problem in the first place, for any sort of redress.  No faith at all.  And realistically, let's face it:  most of the energy expended in trying to "work within the system" is pluperfectly entropic.

And yet, I cannot help but admire the dogged attempts of a few truly exceptional people, to till at the windmills nonetheless, unapologetically, directly, and with class.  Right now, my gold standard for that practice is Mike Vanderboegh's and David Codrea's amazing work to keep the Gunwalker Scandal alive despite the Establishment's best efforts to make it go away.  Here, I see the same sort of direct "I see you" approach in Wolanyk's effort to educate participants, and the breadth and scope of his content is outstanding.  (I'll choose to forgive him the teeth-gnashing "sheepdog" reference and any other transgressions that only hardcore non-aggressors would spot anyway, because this hits so hard on so many important points.)

Hat tip to Yih-Chau Chang, Oakland Gun Rights Examiner, for clueing me in to the video. 

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

A polite reminder...

...that the Only Ones still, when it's all said and done, "serve" only at our pleasure.

(Yeah, I know it doesn't appear to be the US at all, but what of it?  The whole world is afflicted with Only Ones, and if you haven't noticed, they're the same everywhere you go.)

What's so amazing to me is how polite the public is, and continues to be, in the face of the continued abuse.

Here in the US at least, the posturing will be boilerplate, and of two entirely predictable styles:  1) the statist copsucker will say "it is never okay to resist authority, no matter what," and 2) the statist apologist-defeatist will say "here in the US, the militarized cops will simply kill everyone who resists, so it's pointless to resist authority, no matter what."  (If you're keeping track and wondering about the non-statists:  well, "as everyone knows", all such are known to be batshit crazy, irrelevant and anyway systemically expendable, and so don't factor in to the posturing.)

The result will be exactly as we know it now:  plaintive wailing from the thugocracy about improving their monopoly on force (as always, for "officer safety"), plaintive wailing from everyone invested in the failed political system that the only path to salvation is to continue to prop up the failed political system by any means necessary, and a further disconnect between that system (and its thug-enforcers) and the people it claims to represent afflicts.  (Those non-statists, what of them there are anyway, continue to blabber on about withdrawing support as an option that is actually different, but remember, they're kooks and can just be ignored.)

That pattern will continue--it certainly appears to work, after all--right up to the point at which what happens in the above video, happens here too.   

Thugs are advised to study the aspects of the above video that pertain to their continued claims of a monopoly on force.  (Hint:  if your conclusion is to better arm yourselves, you're not listening.  You can try, but it won't be enough.  Even in Pima County.)  This is a (very polite) learning experience that you would do well to appreciate.

Hat tip to Wendy McElroy and Claire Wolfe.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

A resource: 'The Secret History of Guns' from The Atlantic

It was some years ago now that I recall being impressed by an article at The Atlantic regarding "the gun issue".  That was The False Promise of Gun Control, by one Daniel Polsby.  Perfect?  Nah, but what is? was thoughtful, dispassionate, nontrivial, and drew rational conclusions from an analysis of history--hell, it read like actual reporting, which distinguished it from almost everything else at the time (then as now).

Well lookee here.  The Atlantic's Adam Winkler has given us another capital-R resource:  The Secret History of Guns.  For a tease:

The Fourteenth Amendment illustrates a common dynamic in America’s gun culture: extremism stirs a strong reaction. The aggressive Southern effort to disarm the freedmen prompted a constitutional amendment to better protect their rights. A hundred years later, the Black Panthers’ brazen insistence on the right to bear arms led whites, including conservative Republicans, to support new gun control. Then the pendulum swung back. The gun-control laws of the late 1960s, designed to restrict the use of guns by urban black leftist radicals, fueled the rise of the present-day gun-rights movement—one that, in an ironic reversal, is predominantly white, rural, and politically conservative.

There is so much right in this article, it's hard to explain.  Winkler does an outstanding job of cataloguing all the main characters, in context, including most of the substantive warts that partisans of "both sides" continually gloss over.  Just read the whole thing;  it is perhaps the best executive summary of how we got to the sorry pass we're in that I have yet seen.

Another tease:

After the February incident, the Panthers began a regular practice of policing the police. Thanks to an army of new recruits inspired to join up when they heard about Newton’s bravado, groups of armed Panthers would drive around following police cars. When the police stopped a black person, the Panthers would stand off to the side and shout out legal advice.

Don Mulford, a conservative Republican state assemblyman from Alameda County, which includes Oakland, was determined to end the Panthers’ police patrols. To disarm the Panthers, he proposed a law that would prohibit the carrying of a loaded weapon in any California city. When Newton found out about this, he told Seale, “You know what we’re going to do? We’re going to the Capitol.” Seale was incredulous. “The Capitol?” Newton explained: “Mulford’s there, and they’re trying to pass a law against our guns, and we’re going to the Capitol steps.” Newton’s plan was to take a select group of Panthers “loaded down to the gills,” to send a message to California lawmakers about the group’s opposition to any new gun control.

The Panthers’ methods provoked an immediate backlash. The day of their statehouse protest, lawmakers said the incident would speed enactment of Mulford’s gun-control proposal. Mulford himself pledged to make his bill even tougher, and he added a provision barring anyone but law enforcement from bringing a loaded firearm into the state capitol.

Fantastic.  And these really are little teases;  there's much more there and it's all worth it.

If you already knew all this:  please, recognize it as the resource it is and help share it with others.  The Atlantic can reach an audience that cranks like you and I, though we may say exactly the same thing, cannot reach.

If you didn't already know about some or any of this:  please, digest it all, and reconsider "what you know" about any political issue.  (Hint:  at the level of the incentive-driven ballet among their respective players,  they're all the same.)  If you've ever wondered why an increasing number of "gunnies" now refer to NRA as "the nation's oldest and largest gun-control organization", or why disarmament freaks can actually find some solace in American history*, you will find out here.

Kudos, Winkler.  This is a valuable resource.

Hat tip to Vanderboegh, who would (quite rightly) contest Winkler's statement that the NRA is "the unquestioned leader in the fight against gun control".  Vanderboegh is also savvy enough to call Malcolm X on the technicality of his otherwise admirable statement, "Article number two of the constitutional amendments provides you and me the right to own a rifle or a shotgun."  (The Second Amendment provides no such thing, it merely recognizes a right that all human beings have already, and simply prohibits the State from infringing it.  It is truly a technicality;  the real point Malcolm X is trying to make is perfectly valid, and I suspect that he would not have blinked at a simple word change making it clear that even without the Second Amendment, every human still has the right to arm in self-defense.)

* I find it absolutely telling (and delightful) that the disarmament partisans still have no idea how to articulate the sort of historic support for their cause that Winkler effortlessly documents here.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

The eggs and ham are really green from the poisonous mold.

From a Facebook friend:

Dr Seuss 2011
I do not like this Uncle Sam, I do not like his health care scam. I do not like these dirty crooks, or how they lie and cook the books. I do not like when Congress steals, I do not like their secret deals. I do not like ex-speaker Nan, I do not like this 'YES WE CAN'..I do not like this spending spree, I'm smart, I know that nothing's free. I do not like their smug replies, when I complain about their lies. I do not like this kind of hope. I do not like it. nope, nope, nope. long as the ending of the book is updated too.  In the modernized story, we have already "tried" green eggs and ham...and, to quote Chevy Chase from Spies Like Us:

So, uh, thanks for the bruises and you can keep the stool samples...

Trust that first thought.  You do not like this Uncle Sam.  You do not like what he has planned.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Maybe S&P just didn't understand...

More theater of the absurd.

So S&P warned clearly that a downgrade (of the US' AAA credit rating) was possible, and then they clearly stated what conditions were necessary to avoid it, and then they reiterated their warning when it became obvious that "we" weren't coming anywhere close to meeting the necessary conditions to maintain the rating...and when the Unicorn Army in DC blew its final-pixie-dust-answer at them, carried through on the downgrade.

Scoundrels!  Let's investigate 'em!

A Senate Banking Committee Panel has initiated an investigation of S&P regarding the decision to downgrade the U.S. credit rating. Timothy Geithner & Co. claim that S&P’s decision is based on erroneous information created by human error that overstates national debt projections.

The strategy, of course, should be eminently familiar to any observer of the state and its customary machinations:  bicker intramurally about whether Team Red or Team Blue is to blame for public anger, threaten everyone who questions its infinite wisdom (moreso in times of crisis), and above all proceed as if nothing is wrong and everyone agrees.

The funniest part about all this, of course, is that it's a great reminder that our "leaders" are so completely unfamiliar with the very concept of "if...then...else" honesty that they simply could not fathom its practice by anyone they'd choose to deal with.

H/Ts to Denninger and De Coster.

Get used to this.

Put aside, for the nonce, minor considerations of detail, and also put aside the more important consideration that politics will not, cannot solve this problem because it was politics that made this problem fully and completely inevitable in the first place. This isn't about those things.

Just watch.  Do not make the mistake of stopping it too soon--just watch.

That was beautiful.  Simply, elementally beautiful.

Now I don't know this Dylan Ratigan from Adam;  I suspect there may be much we might disagree on in the course of an evening's discussion.  Doesn't matter.

It's also possible that he's actually acting here;  after all it does seem to be the Dylan Ratigan Show.  If so, I would say that his acting was good, but ultimately that doesn't matter either.

None of that changes the sheer, raw beauty of the setup and explosion:  the standard setting and launch of the discussion, the entirely predictable bickering among the cookie-cutter partisan players...we've all seen that before a zillion times, haven't we?  The inane, "file-photo" bickerfest is usually followed by some sort of Final Word by either the designated protagonist-expert or the show host (pimping whatever Establishment wing they're beholden to), and we hardly even blink anymore when their words get "heated"...mostly because even the "hottest" words are all just talking points, delivered with all the conviction of a phone-book recitation.

Not here.  Ratigan explodes (check out the multiple stereoscopic winces of the bickering babes--it's fantastic), and I can't imagine an actor who could do it more genuinely.  Best of all, the Team Blue and Team Red representatives had nothing in return.  (They still have no idea why people are so pissed off.  None.)

Caveats aside, I loved it.  More of that, please.

(Hat tip to Karl Denninger.)

Friday, August 5, 2011

'Point out to me one Libertarian society on this planet.'

Had to do it.  From the comments to this juvenile screed, of the "we mock what we quite clearly don't understand" category:

"I asked you to point out to me one Libertarian society on this planet."

There's a lot more "I sure don't get it, but I sure can add my unbridled snark to reprinted talking points" in there, but that really sums it up.  To which, of course, I had to say:

And you cannot even conceive the boundless irony in that, can you?

You are so beholden to the idea that any society must, ipso facto, be of a vertically-aligned structure that looks like a recognizable state to your "I have a hammer" eyes, that you are either literally incapable, or simply unwilling, to see something so simple as an actual alternative to what you have so carefully been taught.

Are you one of those who would believe that the pre-Incas were primitive simply because they didn't leave us a written record?

Kent is right when he says that "anarchy" (absent the truly sophomoric pejorative snarl which so often accompanies the term) exists in and around us, all the time, every day. It is the only method of interacting with other human beings that I know of which can effectively exist and even thrive, while fully trapped within other systems which are entirely committed to its destruction. (As opposed to, say, traditional authoritarian states, which we have been reminded very recently can topple simply by the withdrawal of sufficient consent!) I marvel at it every day, because it makes human beings out of "the people", and continuously reminds me how magnificent human beings are, stripped of the influence of "legitimate" forcible compulsion.

Meanwhile, the onanistic charade of bickering about the size, shape, and permissible content of the "legitimate" mob--as though such rearrangement is suddenly going to start doing what it never has done before--continues.

And like any crusade, the crusaders' greatest bile and contempt is reserved not for any of their intramural enemies, which after all are pretty much directly fungible, but rather for the heretics, who ruin the whole exercise by pointing out what might otherwise be obvious to normal people: you could actually try something different.

And now, to sit back and watch  what happens.  I'll take it as a compliment if it never gets printed, as that will not only indicate that he's got no response, but that he knows he's got no response.  More likely, he's just sighted himself a witch, and will duly unleash his FEENOMEENAL KOSMIK POWERS upon my (to quote others) "sad, misguided" observations.

With the caveat that uh, yes, I do understand the difference between Ethiopians and Somalians, this whole exchange reminds me of this great return-of-serve from moviedom:

"Get out of my face Hubbard, or I might just decide you're an Ethiopian."
"You know, you are stupid enough to think that that's an insult."

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Grigg, channeling Solzhenitsyn again...

...shit, just spend some time over at Pro Libertate, and pick any random article.  Cross-reference with even the first few chapters of The Gulag Archipelago.  That latter book may be the single most frightening historical document that a modern American could read--because it's in progress, right now, here, where things like that don't happen.

Grigg's most recent rage generator is on "rogue cops"--meaning peace officers rather than law enforcers--and what happens to them when they stray from the Cheka playbook:

Witness the case of former Austin Police Department Officer Ramon Perez, who joined the force as a 41-year-old rookie cop because of a sincere desire to protect people from crime. During a January 2005 domestic violence incident, Perez refused an order by a superior officer, Robert Paranich, to use his Taser on an elderly man who was not a threat to himself or anybody else.

Owing to the fact that the subject was a frail man of advanced years, Perez was understandably concerned that the portable electro-shock torture device would kill him. Furthermore, using the Taser in that situation would have violated the explicit provisions of the Austin PD’s Taser Policy. Perez was able to resolve the situation through de-escalation, rather than by using potentially lethal force to “impose authority.”

Two days later, Perez was given what could only be considered a punitive transfer to the night shift. Two months later, following a second incident in which Perez chose de-escalation over armed compulsion, he was invited to what he was told would be a “counseling” session with the APD’s staff psychologist, Carol Logan. The purpose of that meeting, Perez was told, was to help him develop better “communication skills” with his fellow officers. In fact, it was a disguised “fit-for-duty review” convened to find a pretext to purge the probationary officer from the force before the “rogue cop” could infect others with his respect for individual rights.

There's lots more, as usual, over at Grigg's site, and it's hard to actually stop once you start seeing all the parallels with Solzhenitsyn.  They're everywhere.

And they cut both ways, too.  When you start to get depressed that we're just hurtling toward the same conclusions with no one seeming to care, remember that huge numbers of the Only One faithful met their own Vasili Blokhin as well.

Get that, thugocrats?  There's always someone Onlier than you.  And that's if you succeed.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Do not get caught by a bear in White.

Via Arctic Patriot I learned about a recent bear mauling in the Talkeetna Mountains, NE of Talkeetna itself.   This is remote country (I've hunted a tiny part of it) and certainly griz territory;  the basic story is that some teenage kids on the last stages of a wilderness expedition with an outdooring outfit (NOLS) got caught by a sow with cub, and injuries ranged from minor to pretty serious.

The first article I saw really didn't say much in the way of detail.  I learned more by looking at ADN, as a source.  The most recent story is here, with previous ones available in a link list therein.

Unfortunately, there appears to be a lot of CYA going on in that most recent article, which claims that the kids were "well-prepared" and that the attack was "unavoidable".  The "well-prepared" claim is clearly BS, as nobody seems to dispute that the first thing the nearest kids did was turn and run!  As well, although they did have pepper spray, it was apparently buried beyond reach at the moment of truth, and therefore useless.

As to the claim of "unavoidable", that is in no way conclusive from the information I've seen;  I suspect it is simply an easier explanation to give to distant parents and certainly less embarrassing to NOLS.  (You may note, in today's article, that the "outdoor experts" they quote are either NOLS, ex-NOLS, or the functionally similar American Alpine Institute.)

The CYA continues by trumpeting traditional defeatist arguments against using guns, while conveniently ignoring the liabilities of OC spray.  "Guns can give a person a false sense of security," but stick a can of magic spray in your pack, feel the breeze in your face, and let your worries melt away, eh?

I don't mean to harp on the kids, who seem to be in better shape than originally feared.  But it is a disservice to everyone to ignore that there was a failure here, and the failure was of what Jeff Cooper called "the combat mindset".  One of the kids apparently said this:

"I thought: 'I'm going to die,'" he told The Associated Press from his hospital bed in Anchorage. "I thought, 'This just can't be happening to me.'"

Those are the words of someone in Condition White.  As the old saying goes, "you are no more armed because you possess a gun than you are a musician because you possess a guitar".  They were not prepared for this emergency, mentally:  "[t]his just can't be happening to me" announces with crystal clarity that the speaker did not really believe it could happen to him at all.  They had a tool available (not the most failsafe one, certainly, but still, a tool), but apparently did not even keep it ready for emergency use!  Further, they did not keep their heads when they most needed to keep their heads, but rather did the very worst thing they could have done to provoke a predator to give chase.  That they may have been cool-headed after the action was concluded is great so far as it goes, but defending life often mitigates the subsequent need to preserve it.

This failure is not trivial--it is rather the whole enchilada.  Col. Cooper often said that of all the students who reported back that his training had saved their lives, not a one of them failed to credit the mindset training first, and only then any specific skill-at-arms.  The understanding that a fight could come to them at any time, from anywhere--that it could indeed "be happening to me", right now--and having a response already in mind--is what allowed them to move past dithering and into focused, directed action.

In this case, unless there's a whole lot more I don't know, the kids got lucky.  One can only hope that they realize this, among all the posturing about how "well-prepared" they were and how "unavoidable" the attack really was.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Figures. Ohlson Mountain shooting site, meet 'progress'.

So it appears that some folks now want local shooting site Ohlson Mountain to get cut off.  Other than the simple loss of (yet another) place to shoot, for the usual disgusting reasons, this would remove one of the only free places to shoot that I know of.  (The cynic in me does not expect the local gun club to come to the rescue here, since they will benefit financially from forcing everyone who now uses Ohlson to use their range, with its restrictions.  Ah, politics.)  Just like the poll tax, of course, this "free" thing doesn't affect anyone of importance.

I'm about to submit the following either as a comment to the Homer News article, or as a separate LTE, because I just have to speak up.

When I first happened across Ohlson Mountain as a potential site for shooting, it struck me specifically that there were none of the usual prohibitions on the public's use of the site.  On one hand, it seemed a refreshing change from the rest of our sad society which seems to respond to every conceivable free-choice scenario with prohibition, restriction and regulation.  I spent quite some time making sure I wasn't missing something obvious (including visually confirming the depth of every prospective backstop) before partaking myself, and have since valued the site immensely as a local place to go, that notably does not insult the intelligence of that wide majority of us for whom no regulation is, or ever will be, necessary.

On the other hand, being an acute observer of the depressing march of "progress", there was another part of me that said, in parallel, "it's only a matter of time before someone does something legitimately stupid, and someone else decides that the answer is to use the power of the state to forcibly keep everyone out, including everyone who neither has done nor ever will do anything wrong."

And so, here we go, it seems.  Again.

I can certainly sympathize with the property owners here.   If it were my property, I would want to mitigate the risk of stray rounds as well.  But it is wrong to ask the state (in the guise of troopers, the borough, etc) to act as your own personal enforcement apparatus.  It is also wrong to trade our bedrock principle of individual accountability, for the historically empty promise that if we punish everyone equally, we'll all somehow benefit;  this is precisely the logic that has brought us the disastrous War on (Some) Drugs.

The worst part about this sort of thoroughly Faustian pact is that it doesn't even get people what they want.  Simply closing off the land by decree is no guarantee of increased safety.  Any one of us who discharges any round, anywhere, at any time, is already--and properly--personally liable for what happens between the time the loud noise happens and the time the projectile stops.  We also tend to forget that although we are all taught that the state is here to "protect" us, the courts have repeatedly ruled that the state is under NO obligation to protect any one of us individually, at all--to the considerable surprise of some who counted on it.  And it should be obvious, by now, using the War on Drugs and PATRIOT Act (as but two) examples, that the strategy of using the power of the state to control the behavior of others comes at a far heavier price than any benefit it might bestow.

I've been around long enough to know that these thoughts will most likely be ignored, usually with impunity.  Why, then, do I write them?  Because if people would be willing to consider a more rational approach to such a dilemma, they just might be surprised at what could happen.  I note with some sadness that nobody seems to have suggested the obvious "let's treat each other like adults" suggestion:  that simply raising the awareness of the risks involved might achieve what is needed here, without resorting to yet another decree that the decent don't need and the malicious or stupid will ignore anyway.

If it were my property downrange, the very first thing I would do is try to encourage volunteer signage at the backstops, informing people both of their responsibility for every round fired, and also of the simple fact that people live down there*.  (Jeff Cooper's Four Rules would be a great inclusion too, btw.)  I'd put the word out in newspapers, at the chamber, and at businesses that would agree to help me spread the word.  As well, I'd probably make regular visits to the site when people are likely to be shooting, to introduce myself and put a face on the downrange risk.  I'd ask the regulars if they'd do me the favor of looking out for me, making sure others were aware of the risks and even notifying me if someone refused to stop doing something stupid.  In short, I'd appeal to my community, and ask others to help me out.  I could not, in conscience, call upon the state to force everyone out on my behalf.

The usual response to this is that I cannot, in fact, trust my neighbors, who must instead be forcibly controlled for the greater safety of all of us.

Really?  Is that what we're about here?  Because that's not what I'm about.

* Personally, I'd be there in a heartbeat, and would work vigorously to bring others of like mind.

I know, pissing in the wind.  Maybe I'm missing the hate mail, or something.  :-)

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Solzhenitsyn, a modern Cassandra

At long last, I have finally started to pore through The Gulag Archipelago, by Solzhenitsyn.

It begins with a chapter on the concept of arrest, and I am not sure it is possible to be anywise conscious of what is happening around us, today, and not get an icy chill in your veins upon reading this bit of history.  Just consider the following:

The kind of night arrest described is, in fact, a favorite, because it has important advantages. Everyone living in the apartment is thrown into a state of terror by the first knock at the door. The arrested person is torn from the warmth of his bed. He is in a daze, half-asleep, helpless, and his judgment is befogged. In a night arrest the State Security men have a superiority in numbers; there are many of them, armed, against one person who hasn't even finished buttoning his trousers. During the arrest and search it is highly improbable that a crowd of potential supporters will gather at the entrance. The unhurried, step-by-step visits, first to one apartment, then to another, tomorrow to a third and a fourth, provide an opportunity for the Security operations personnel to be deployed with the maximum efficiency and to imprison many more citizens of a given town than the police force itself numbers.

In addition, there's an advantage to night arrests in that neither the people in neighboring apartment houses nor those on the city streets can see how many have been taken away. Arrests which frighten the closest neighbors are no event at all to those farther away. It's as if they had not taken place. Along that same asphalt ribbon on which the Black Marias scurry at night, a tribe of youngsters strides by day with banners, flowers, and gay, untroubled songs.

But those who take, whose work consists solely of arrests, for whom the horror is boringly repetitive, have a much broader understanding of how arrests operate. They operate according to a large body of theory, and innocence must not lead one to ignore this. The science of arrest is an important segment of the course on general penology and has been propped up with a substantial body of social theory. Arrests are classified according to various criteria: nighttime and daytime; at home, at work, during a journey; first-time arrests and repeats; individual and group arrests. Arrests are distinguished by the degree of surprise required, the amount of resistance expected (even though in tens of millions of cases no resistance was expected and in fact there was none). Arrests are also differentiated by the thoroughness of the required search; by instructions either to make out or not to make out an inventory of confiscated property or seal a room or apartment; to arrest the wife after the husband and send the children to an orphanage, or to send the rest of the family into exile, or to send the old folks to a labor camp too.

Now, consider:

There are more than fifty thousand no-knock warrants in the US every year.  Fifty thousand.  That is over one hundred and thirty every day of the calendar year.  And that number is several years old, now.  In this country, where we moralize about other countries and their "police states", while denying the existence of our own.

The denials are loud.  They are numerous.  And they are spookily familiar, both in the types of excuses offered and the absurd tenacity with which people insist on the further empowerment of their attackers.  As if the War on (Some) Drugs has brought about any sort of measurable societal change other than the explosive growth of a police state (at absolutely staggering cost).

Solzhenitsyn again:

If...if... We didn't love freedom enough. And even more--we had no awareness of the real situation. We spent ourselves in one unrestrained outburst in 1917, and then we hurried to submit. We submitted with pleasure! (Arthur Ransome describes a workers' meeting in Yaroslavl in 1921. Delegates were sent to the workers from the Central Committee in Moscow to confer on the substance of the argument about trade unions. The representative of the opposition, Y. Larin, explained to the workers that their trade union must be their defense against the administration, that they possessed rights which they had won and upon which no one else had any right to infringe. The workers, however, were completely indifferent, simply not comprehending whom they still needed to be defended against and why they still needed any rights. When the spokesman for the Party line rebuked them for their laziness and for getting out of hand, and demanded sacrifices from them--overtime work without pay, reductions in food, military discipline in the factory administration--this aroused great elation and applause.) We purely and simply deserved everything that happened afterward.

Sure, that's Solzhenitsyn talking about Soviet Russia...but that icy tingle in your veins, that says he could be speaking today, about us, is there, isn't it?

For some years now I have regularly re-read Fahrenheit 451, perhaps once a year, and never fail to be amazed at how much it reads not like fiction, but like a depressing documentary--and moreso each time.  It has been my metaphorical standard.  The thing is, here I am beginning just the second chapter of Solzhenitsyn's most well-known work, reading passages like this:

It is well known that any organ withers away if it is not used. Therefore, if we know that the Soviet Security organs, or Organs (and they christened themselves with this vile word), praised and exalted above all living things, have not died off even to the extent of one single tentacle, but, instead, have grown new ones and strengthened their muscles--it is easy to deduce that they have had constant exercise.

I do not understand how any of my countrymen could possibly read things like this, within the context of the history that it describes, while also being aware of what has been happening here, and not feel alternating waves of icy chill and nausea at history in the very process of repeating itself.

I suspect I may be quoting a bit more of Mr. Solzhenitsyn as things, ah, "progress".  And I mean that in every possible entendre you can imagine.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Chris Floyd: You support mass murder.

C'mon, Chris, tell us how ya really feel:

Do you support the policies and political fortunes of President Barack Obama, the Nobel Peace Prize laureate? Then this is what you support: cowardly, cold-blooded mass murder. You support mass murder. You support the shredding to pieces of innocent people, many of them children, week after week, month after month. You support the murder of children. You support the cultivation of extremism and hatred: hatred aimed at you, and your children, for the mass murder -- the state terrorism -- committed in your name by your progressive president. You support extremism. You support hatred. You support terrorism.

There's lots more, of course, in defense of this point, but there is an additional powerful point to be made by simply stopping at the summary.

That additional point is simply this:  you do know what Floyd is talking about, right?
  • Libya?
  • Gunwalker?
  • Pakistan?
  • The War on (Some) Drugs?
Because only one of those could even possibly be the subject of the above statement...


Don't talk to the police, by James Duane

It occurred to me today that I have yet to put up a post about Professor James Duane's absolute classic, "Don't Talk To The Police".

I got no excuse for that lapse, folks.  Facepalm.

Well, let's put a stop to that.  Here you are.

For those who have never seen it:  please, fix that.  (You'll understand, when you do.)  For those who know it: do help spread it as far and wide as you can.  It's no longer a stretch to say that it might save someone's life.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Claire Wolfe on living in a police state

Claire Wolfe is at work on another capital-R resource.  The first installment of "Responsibilities of a resident of the police state" is now up at Backwoods Home magazine, and it frames the problem about as well as it can be said.  She begins with the simple summary:

I know: Our first responsibility is to ourselves and our families. We didn’t create the police state. What government does isn’t our responsibility (except to whatever extent we support its actions). Yet we’re people of conscience. We can’t watch others be crushed without feeling a stab of their agony. We know, as others are crushed, that the crushing machinery gathers momentum and will roll toward our own lives. We know that not only we, but the ideals that sustain civilization, are being crushed. And that matters to us. Matters vitally, painfully, heartbreakingly. No matter what else we do, we can’t stand by and watch that happen without feeling an obligation — or at least a passionate longing — to do our all to stop it.

She then goes on at more length about just how agonizing it can be to observe even just one aspect of the current scene:

Then with so much indignation roused against them, police abuses against individuals ought to be among the easiest police state activities to halt. Even if you acknowledge such (admittedly big) factors as the federal government paying, equipping, training, and otherwise encouraging local cops to be thugs, in theory outraged local people (supported by a howling Internet) ought to have a relatively easy time putting a stop to such local outrages.

But despite the outcry, the abuses don’t stop. They don’t even slow down. Instead, we now see SWAT-style raids used to enforce housing code violations and catch student-loan scofflaws. We see polite objectors being charged with the catch-alls of disorderly conduct, obstruction of justice, or resisting arrest — and less polite objectors killed on the spot. We see tasers — once billed as “non-lethal” alternatives to firearms — being used as “compliance tools” against old ladies, grade-school children, diabetics, epileptics, and handicapped teenagers. We see people who photograph cops being threatened with long prison sentences. We’re told the horrendous lie that “freedom” requires absolute, forelock-tugging, dirt-scuffing, unquestioning obedience to Authoritah — and we’d better believe it OR ELSE.

You know all that, of course.

And it pains your conscience, doesn’t it? It makes you want to scream in frustration. Makes you want to take the law into your own hands and end the abuses by any means necessary. Makes you wonder if the entire country hasn’t lost its mind — and makes you sure that the entire “justice system” has well and truly lost its collective marbles — or perhaps isn’t intended to be a “justice” system at all.

No matter how loudly you yell, how many times you show up to support a victim in court, how many letters you write to editors, how many times you speak at public forums, how many times you do exactly what Martin Niemoeller mourned that he didn’t do … things just get worse.

See, this is why I follow Claire Wolfe.  She has a talent for respectfully re-humanizing the problem of inhumanity, and she does it without flinching on principle.

Don't just read and share this one, bookmark it.   I suspect the following installments will be similarly worthy, but even if they're not, this here is a resource for anyone who (like me) has struggled with the "what to do" demons.

Scared of Freedom: another gold nugget from Larken Rose

Personally, I struggle to explain to others why I ignore and shun the political process whenever and however I am able to do it, as a matter of survival.  Oh, I try, but I always sound obtuse, even to myself.

Larken Rose seems to have no such trouble, and I am always happy to amplify his thoughts by whatever meager amount I can.  Via Wendy McElroy, check out "Scared of Freedom", which begins thus:

There are a lot of people who consider themselves freedom advocates, who, with righteous zeal and indignation, vehemently rail against the injustice, corruption and oppression "government" continually spews forth. However, many of those same people, when they hear someone suggesting life without the monstrosity called "government," will immediately go into turbo-backpedal mode, insisting that some "government" is needed, that we need to work to fix the system, and that we need a good "government," that just does good stuff, and protects us, and so on.

The situation is a lot like a battered spouse, who is given the opportunity to escape her abuser, but who insists that she can't leave, that he really loves her, that she needs him, that the relationship can be fixed. Such a response shows that, as much as the abuser is a nasty scumbag, there is also a serious problem in the mind of his victim, which enables the abuse to continue.

So it is with statists who just want a nicer, gentler "government." They don't actually want freedom. In fact, they are scared to death of freedom, which is why they refuse to give up the very beast that they are constantly condemning and complaining about. They insist that "government" is needed to protect people, to maintain liberty and justice, and do nothing more. The fact that the gang called "government" has never done that, anywhere in the world, at any time in history, doesn't shake "limited statists" from their faith in the idea that that "needs" to happen.

There's a lot that follows this, and it's made of the same stuff.  RTWT, and please consider sharing it with those who need it.

As usual, the man has a point.

The incalculably valuable Arthur Silber, today on protection rackets:

My God and gee whiz, the desperate need for debt reduction by the federal government is a terrifying business. I know this must be true, because all our leaders and all major commentators repeatedly tell us so. To a person, their pronouncements are drenched in urgency, warning of doom if we do not accede to their demands.

Those familiar with Silber's talent for such preliminary snark know what's coming next:

When your preferred, and more and more frequently your only, tactic is terrorizing your subjects -- abroad or at home -- the specifics of the "crisis" of the moment are entirely irrelevant. What matters -- the only thing that matters -- is spreading panic and fear. For a terrorist, terror is the point.

Your national leaders are terrorists. Look on the bright side: they aren't shooting at you or sending drones into your neighborhood. Not yet. You still have that to look forward to, you fortunate idiots.

RTWT.  In addition to his trademark imagery and firebrand style, Silber here makes convenient use of the "which instance of this atrocity are we talking about again?--cause it sure gets hard to keep them all straight" literary device which, let's face it, has just about become "file photo" worthy for any current-event topic you can name.

Consider introducing Arthur Silber to anyone you know, who does not yet understand.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

"They have to prove it, or else I'm a murderer too."

Butler Shaffer on the Casey Anthony trial.

The words of one of the jurors, Jennifer Ford, should give encouragement that many of our neighbors can rise above the Madame Defarge lynch-mob mindset. As Ms. Ford so well expressed it: "If they want to charge and they want me to take someone’s life, they have to prove it. They have to prove it, or else I’m a murderer too."

Duh.  If there's any hope at all for this whole "rule of law" thing, that concept better damn well be buried deeply in the DNA of every juror of every trial, all the f#$kin' time.  Make those malignant bastards work for every conviction they seek.  Consider nullification every time, and do it when necessary, with absolutely no regard to "case law".  And when they whine at you that you're making their jobs difficult, say "it's the least I can do for someone who will stab me in the back at his first opportunity".  They want convictions, you want justice, and the two are not--let me repeat,


the same thing.  You do not want their jobs to be "easier".  You do not want them to want their jobs at all.  You want them to feel like if they do something wrong, that they will pay personally, and severely.  (That is, you want them to feel just like you do now.  Note the "stab in the back" reference above.)

Anyway, Shaffer gets uncharacteristically contrived with his interlude imagery in the middle of this piece, but if you ignore that (and he's earned that sort of respect) it's typical gold.

I have no defense to make of Casey Anthony as a person or a mother. I don’t know that much about her to make any such judgment. Her alleged failure to notify anyone of Caylee’s being missing until thirty-one days later does not impress me as the epitome of responsible motherhood. But the jury was not assigned the task of judging this woman’s character. They understood what Dennis and Amelia did not: individuals are responsible for the consequences of their actions. In a world in which we have become accustomed to dealing with one another in highly abstract ways, it is easy for any of us to express opinions – or courses of action – without feeling any sense of responsibility for what we have put in motion.

Getting to the bigger point, as ever.  RTWT, it's worth it.

By the way, on the same subject, if you haven't already, check out Balko's piece, and this marvelous follow-up at The Agitator:

If the argument you’re about to make begins this way:

I see the purpose of the whole “innocent until proven guilty” premise of our judicial laws, however ...

. . . just stop typing. Or talking. There really isn’t anything that can follow however that isn’t going to make you look foolish.

The response to the Caylee’s Law piece has been mixed. But a few of the angrier responses have been wonderfully absurd.

Balko does occasionally indulge in a prurient roast, a forgivable thing given the outstanding work he does every day, and I admit to laughing out loud at most of them.

Monday, July 4, 2011

American life in a nutshell.

I swear I am not making this up.  It happened about ten feet in front of my face, not two hours ago.

We were finishing up hot dogs sold by the volunteer FD when the announcement was made of a small route change for the parade.  As it happened that change put the very beginning of the parade route right past our faces.  Within minutes, dozens of additional people found their way to the same spot we were in, belonging to exactly two demographics:  young children with parents, and seniors.  It struck me that all the kids and parents seemed demonstrably friendly, courteous and aware, and the only ones "barging around" seemed to belong to the senior demographic.  (Yes, there were a couple of the seniors that conspicuously stayed well back and smiled a lot at us, but the rest of the "bargers" zoomed on in front of us as though never noticing we were there.)

Anyway, the parade was the usual small-town arrangement of characters, including the incessant parading of politicians and would-be politicians, sellin' their snake oil.  (I don't know just what to make of my casual observation that most of the crowd's engagement did seem to politely tune down, when the plasticene-grin-and-tightly-scripted-wave crowd trundled by.  In particular, again, the kids and parents just didn't seem to say much of anything, one way or the other.  Perhaps wishful thinking on my part, but it was notable enough to register.)

I do, however, know just exactly what to make of the episode that happened when the Borough ("county") parade vehicle came on by, with its printed repertoire of catchy catechisms in the "we luv to serve" vein of professional smarm. 

I swear, again, I am not making this up.

"Seniors!" shouted the leader of the bargers that had settled right in front of us.  The tone of his voice immediately indicated that he was speaking for the cadre around him.  "Whatcha got for us?"  The sense of entitlement hit me like a dog whistle.

The two occupants in the Borough vehicle, who had been throwing candy at the kids with big smiles, flashed looks of pure contempt, just for one instant, and showered the seniors with...peanuts.  Within another second, their smiles had returned and their next handfuls (of candy) were again in search of younger prey constituents.

I looked around.  Nobody seemed to have noticed, or made anything at all of it.  No one.

That's what completed the image.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Fourth of July, otra vez

Wrote this one two years ago, and did not feel the need to change anything.

It does me well to remember, now that the Fourth of July is here and all the banners and colors are in evidence, just what the observance is supposed to be for.

The Fourth of July is not the day the Constitution was signed or ratified.

It's not even when the Bill of Rights (and with it the legitimacy of the Constitution) was ratified.

It has nothing--nothing--to do with self-congratulatory, chest-thumping military displays.

It has nothing to do with any sort of flag.

It has nothing to do with faithfulness or loyalty to your government.

In fact, if you read the document that the Fourth actually celebrates, you find some interesting things, including:
  • This is about declaring that a people are ultimately independent from, and therefore above, their government.
  • This is about declaring the right to revolt against a government that has stopped representing its people.
  • This is about people willing to stand up and become military targets of their own government.
These folks were revolutionaries.  They were secessionists.  They were seditionists.  No doubt King George considered them "terrorists" and "traitors", guilty of "treason" toward the duly constituted authoritah of the time.

And we celebrate the Fourth of July today, not only because they stood up and said, "we've had enough of your abuses and are no longer subject to your rule", but then had the moxie to fight back when George called them on it.

Think about that.  These people opened fire on their own government, when said government came to take away their stockpiles of unlicensed, unregistered, long-range, (better than) military-style arms.  They organized and fought a guerrilla insurrection rather than continue to endure a government that did not serve, reflect or benefit them.  And, perhaps to the surprise of everyone including themselves, they prevailed.

Isn't it funny how times have changed.  Criticizing the government is now only done by kooks and loonies, who of course should be rounded up and added to the ever-growing list of potential terrorists.  Quoting the Constitution or Bill of Rights is now considered impertinent enough to get you on the list.  And the Fourth of July is now all about wearing the team colors, whooping it up for the coach in Washington, and celebrating with displays of military might.  All while you shut up and pay your taxes, so nobody gets hurt.

Because, you know, times are so different now.
Please do celebrate the Fourth of July--for what it is.  Independence Day.  Go read the Declaration of Independence, and talk about it.  It may not be a casual conversation, but it's one worth having.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Those naughty peasants.

This is heartwarming:

Instead, Obo’s surviving villagers raised their own volunteer scout force (depicted above), armed it with homemade shotguns, and began disseminating intelligence on the LRA’s movements using the village’s sole, short-range FM radio transmitter.

But...but...don't these guys know that they need a government to protect them from...well...prospective other governments?

Check out that video, seriously.  The shooting enthusiast in me absolutely squirts sweat watching him "fit" that shell into the barrel.  No doubt he's smart enough to know that it's risky.  But it's preferable to the alternative, for him, and there he goes.

You ask me why I love human beings?  I give you that man there.

The spirit of resistance is there, despite the existing government that can't be bothered, and the usurping one in the (at least more openly honest) rape-and-kill mode.  Actually, it's more than the spirit of resistance:  these people actually get it, in full:  government feels no obligation to actually protect those it "owns", and on the other hand it will commit any conceivable atrocity to "acquire" those it does not yet "own".

They get that, so much so that they have begun to make their own arrangements, despite the risk.


Hat tip to Mike Vanderboegh.  (Thanks Mike.  I needed that today.)

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

I did not know this about Jon Stewart.

Let's face it:  there is too much to keep up with.  I think most everyone understands this at some level or another.  Still, I admit that this caught me by real surprise:

This morning, I saw Kurt link to this fairly amazing Daily Show clip on...Project Gunwalker:


What's most amazing is how well he captured some of the dynamic in this.  (No, not all of it--but more on that later in this post.)  As satire, it was well-done;  the absurdity of actual events comes right through and it's funny because of it.  As he says in the middle of the segment,

You're baiting me...

So the head of the ATF didn't just know about this plan...
he was TiVo-ing it.

Even for those of us who have been following this since Mike and David broke it in January, that's just funny.  And as "The Birdcage Liner Of Record" and "Pravda on the Potomac" continue to run their hitpieces of denial in unquestioned support of the Establishment's bullshit story(ies), one can't help but grin a little bit as The Daily Show lays the gist of it right out there.

Now...please do not misunderstand.  I have not suddenly started believing that we'll solve our problems by politely and officially appealing to the mercies of those who foisted it upon us in the first place, despite Mike's and David's heroic efforts (which have gone further than I ever expected them to in the first place--those guys are nothing if not inspiring).  There is also the (significant) issue that "solving" Gunwalker will not only return us to the uninterrupted victim-disarmament-parade-in-progress, but in the end will have "shown" (just you watch) that even the most ardent ATF critics aren't really contesting the need for Federal gun laws, but rather just the competence with which they are enforced. (No, this doesn't have to be at all related to what people actually think, but you understand that already, right?)

But, and please forgive me for the simple prurience:  dang, it's sure fun to watch 'em hoisted by their own petard, innit? Seriously, this could not be happening to a nicer bunch of fellas!


It was in chasing a link in Kurt's article above, talking about how this was not the first time that Stewart had made it (favorably) into a Gun Rights Examiner piece, that I realized I had missed John Pierce's article from last September, here.  In it were two real surprises.  First, check out this segment.  Be sure to catch the whole thing to get the full effect:

Did you catch this quote?  Pierce has it as text in his article:

He said the apology was for “connecting irresponsibly the actions of two psychotics to an entire group of reasonable people expressing their Constitutional rights... the point is, I was wrong and Heston was right.”

I'm not saying we're suddenly dealing with a Rothbard libertarian here, but my respect level for Stewart has definitely just gone up.

The biggest surprise, though, was that Pierce quietly linked to this segment, without so much as a word about his own (obvious) involvement in it:

Dang!  Again, I did not know this about Jon Stewart.  That's an amazingly forthright piece, given the subject, and again, his satire works as a foil to the absurdity of moral relativism based on which rights you like and which ones you don't.


Which brings me back to Gunwalker.  (Told you I'd get back to it.  :-)

As good as the segment was, Stewart didn't even touch what may be the real zinger behind Gunwalker:  that the whole thing may have been a cynical political ploy to manufacture support for domestic gun control.  (You laugh.  "Was Watergate just a third-rate burglary?")

I'm guessing that he just may not know about that part yet.  But given all the above, I do wonder now just what he'd do with it.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Suprynowicz: Cargo Cults

Fascinating metaphor from Vin Suprynowicz:  Cargo Cults.  I hadn't heard of that one, specifically (go to Vin's article for the details), but it seems to apply well enough:

With astonishing patience they wait, nodding and smiling in expectation, for the judge to finish reading their arguments and citations, expecting him at any moment to slap himself upside the head and exclaim “My God! When it’s all laid out in proper order like this, the conclusion is inescapable! Bailiff, release the defendant and issue him a formal apology from the court. Then go shackle those scurrilous IRS agents over there; we’re arresting them on charges of fraud, treason, misapplying their own statutes, and extorting payments under color of law!”

Try to tell them today’s federal judges aren’t going to read all those stacks of documents; that’s the LAST thing they want to do; they’re curiously incurious, well-schooled but actually mildly dull-witted political appointees who understand instinctively that their job is little different from the municipal judge in traffic court, giving you a minute to get it off your chest, then slamming down his gavel and saying “Nice try. Guilty. Pay your fine or go to jail.”

“But they HAVE TO read my exhibits and my pleadings,” these noble Quixotes will insist. “It’s their JOB. And when they do, they’ll see It’s all there, tracing the legal definition of “from any sources” and every other phrase, all the way back to 1913. They’re all ‘legal terms of art,’ like the difference between ‘traveling’ on the highways, for which they can’t make you get a license, and the excisable commercial activity defined as ‘driving.’ Once they’ve read these documents they CAN’T ignore them; they won’t have any CHOICE but to rule our way.”

Sounds familiar, doesn't it?  "This time for sure!"

There's a lot more there.  I've certainly got my disagreements with Suprynowicz on a few things, but he's earned far more than he's lost, and some of his metaphors are just plain inspired.

Arthur Silber on Stockholm Syndrome.

This is important, and I would urge what few people ever lay eyes on these pages (you too, monitors), to go read it all.  A short sampling:

If you live in the United States (and more broadly, if you live in any modern State), you are a victim of Stockholm Syndrome. This is necessarily true, even if you passionately protest against the overwhelming majority of the policies and actions pursued by the State in which you live. If you continue to live there, you suffer from Stockholm Syndrome due to that fact alone.


Most "dissenting" writers exhibit the characteristics of Stockholm Syndrome, even if to a somewhat lesser degree than reflexive supporters of the status quo. Consider the deeply awful Sam Smith article that I analyzed the other day. Smith identifies a number of reasons for his strong criticisms of Obama -- and then proceeds to offer transparently unconvincing rationalizations for voting for Obama next year (because, as Smith says, Obama will "do us the least harm," ignoring that Obama, too, is committed to your complete destruction).

Smith, like many, many others, thus adopts the captor's perspective, and "fights" on the captor's terms -- and in this sense, he is "defending" his captor, just as a sufferer of Stockholm Syndrome does. If you fight in the manner permitted by those who hold you hostage, how likely do you think it is that your captors will set you free? That's right: they won't. Your captors permit you to "fight" them in certain ways because they know you'll lose.


On this point, we must begin (as I always endeavor to do) with the terrible fact that Obama claims the "right" and power to murder anyone in the world, whenever he wants, for whatever reason he wishes, that is, he claims to hold absolute power. In other words: if you continue to live, it is only because the State permits you to. Gone altogether is even a nod toward the notion of unalienable rights, or that "life" is first among them. Thus, the State gives life by simply not taking it.

It's all like that.  (For those who have not read Silber before:  he's crude, verbose, almost comically self-referential, and he will challenge you.  Don't make the mistake of letting any of that get in the way of what he says.)

Silber has become one of my must-reads*, right up there with Grigg and Wolfe and Shaffer.  I first referenced/reviewed him back in January of 2010, and he has proven reliably on the money since then.  What I continue to find most fascinating about the man is that he appears to have come from just about as far away a perspective as I could imagine personally, and yet arrived at substantially the same place I have. (If ever you want to see what white-hot criticism of "progressives" looks like, just spend a little time at Silber's place.)

And the Stockholm Syndrome metaphor, just like the battered-spouse metaphor, works.

Have it at your command.

* I distinguish "must-reads" from other important sources, and for me the distinguishing feature is the art of their writing.  McElroy and Balko, for example, are daily links, and nobody gives you the news you need in the way that you need it like those two, but where they report, inform and analyze, some writers really come alive, not just with what they say but with how they say it.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Father's Day: we are all Thomas J. Ball.

What matters most to a father?
"His only consolation, the company of his children, was sadistically withheld from him. The unfathomably arrogant and completely unaccountable functionaries who did so are people who have learned how to monetize the misery of the innocent."
Thus passes Thomas J. Ball.

Parents--fathers and mothers alike--you do understand that we are all Thomas J. Ball, right?

Great.  Not only are we all Jose Guereña, now we're all Thomas J. Ball, too.

Friday, June 17, 2011

She didn't know. Well, I'm sure she does now.

Yes, I know this event was from last fall, but it was just today that WRSA and AP clued me in to it.  The date is trivial;  the event is not, despite its frequency.  As Billy Beck so poignantly put it, "Man, it gets hard to remember them all."

The news item itself:

Actually, the only thing that's news is that it appears that Chrisman actually was fired over the event.  (It is more a matter of simple historical analysis, rather than unfounded cynicism, to observe that this case was exceptional only because Chrisman's partner could not bring himself to defend Chrisman's actions, and was the one who provided the damning testimony.  Without that, who wants to bet that we'd even have heard of this case?  It is also just a matter of historical analysis to note the absolutely stunning rarity of anyone in The Family The Brotherhood The Gang Law Imposement law enforcement "rolling over" on a brother member no matter what the circumstances;  the unnatural statistical anomaly is so well-known in our collective consciousness that we make movies about it, perhaps in an attempt to convince ourselves that it is rare, rather than common.)  And as of this writing, I don't see anything other than a firing.  Unless you count the police union's fundraising barbecue for Chrisman after he was canned.  They're making quite sure he gets his due process, when (and if: it's gotta be said) ever the "day in court" comes.

Rodriguez, of course, remains dead.  So does his dog.

This post, though, is actually about Rodriguez' poor mother.  Watching her in the above video, it's pretty obvious she did not expect the result of her call for "help" to be her son's murder.  She, like so many of us, was probably trained from birth that calling 911 brings people whose primary goal is to help, and so she probably called in perfectly good faith.

She didn't know, and I admit that makes me heartsick.

Well, I bet she knows now.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

'No Knock Raid': the music video

Arctic Patriot:  "I am completely unable to Jose Guerena's murder out of my head."
Billy Beck:  "Jose Guerena. That was his name. Man, it gets hard to remember them all."

And Guereña is just the most recent.  (Hell, by this writing, we can be bloody sure he's no longer the most recent.)

Well, someone noticed:

Hat tip to Radley Balko.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

TSA admits it steals your stuff.

We dropped someone off at the airport on Friday, and in so doing I saw this verbiage on a TSA sign at the check-in counter:

TSA recommends you not pack the following items in your checked baggage:
  • Electronics (including laptops)
  • Fragile items
  • Jewelry
  • Cash
Thank You

Hm.  That's for checked bags now.  Isn't that interesting.  None of that was a problem before TSA stopped on by to protect us from "an endless series of hobgoblins", and it certainly wasn't stated as a reason for TSA's "important mission" in the first place, so what gives here?  I can only imagine two possible rationales:

  1. Checked bags are now routinely used for pickup kickball games.
  2. These items are now routinely stolen from checked bags.

Seriously, did I miss anything there?  (Perhaps they just micro-EMP every bag to make sure that nothing in it works?  Well, even then that doesn't exactly change the point, and besides, only possibility #2 would cover all the recommended items...)

But even then, what really stuck out at me was the "this was not a problem before TSA" angle.  Yes, I understand that correlation does not imply causation, but since official science seems to forget that rule every time it wants to make a self-aggrandizing point (always at our expense), perhaps a little petty speciousness can be forgiven.

I've written many times before about how the state tends to produce the very problems that it then empowers itself to solve (and which it is in no way incented to "work itself out of a job" by actually solving), but this would seem to be a pretty literal example, wouldn't it?  No problem before TSA...TSA arrives (trumpet fanfare and release of doves)...Now, there are suddenly problems.  Must be "the bad guys" doing it.  (Oh, and you can't criticize the TSA, either--almost forgot about that point--because that would mean that you're an "antigovernment extremist".)

Anyway, if TSA were a private entity or person, would their tacit admission in this "recommendation", given the events of history, not suffice as evidence to be used against them in a prosecution?

Oh yeah, right.  How stupid of me.  The government prosecutes.  It cannot be prosecuted.

My bad.

(It's always my bad, get it?  Even if they come in and Jose me with a SWAT team, and later can't find a thing to pin me--well, my corpse--with.  It's still my bad.)

This Memorial Day...

...I admit I'm with Arctic Patriot when he says that

I am completely unable to get Jose Guerena's murder out of my head.

Just so.  Jose Guereña served his government "in the sandbox" (whatever you may think of that), only to come home and get summarily executed by its standing army*.

The more we learn, the worse it gets.  Among the honest responses (meaning:  those that do not come from a police union), the most utterly generous way to view this atrocity is to describe it as completely incompetent, Walter Mitty-ish (only with real corpses), and inexcusable in practically every way that matters.  The best technical description I've read so far (long, but the analysis is worth it) is here.

It is hard to put into words how much anger cases like this (for it is but one) brings out, in perfectly rational people.  As Billy Beck put it:

And they killed Jose Guerena in no time at all. "Jose Guerena". That was his name. Man, it gets hard to remember them all. This government should be taken at its word ("war"), and there should now be a running memorial of this reasonless slaughter, going all the way back through its ages now. It's been forty years of murder in the War on Drugs, all of it running down to a time when the skies must thunder with widespread realization of its end-logic:

They're just murdering us, now, at will. The courts have, recently, done diligent work at clearing the ways for them right into and through your homes -- do you understand? -- and the integral procession of the thing must be that once they officially disapproved of what you could do in your own home, they had claimed you, and that means right up to and including your life.

Many people are starting to realize that they, too, are Jose Guereña, or could be at any moment of any day or night, anywhere in the country.  And the thought of contemplating one's own fully-sanctioned murder just tends to produce strong reactions.

The police apologists, the "just a few bad apples"ists, the "it can't happen here"ists, the "you're being melodramatic"ists, the "cops are militarizing just to be able to catch up"ists, the "gawd, you're so negative"ists, the "there's a place for SWAT teams in this country"ists, the "they just want to come home after their shifts"ists, have nothing left but their own empty catechisms.

Jose Guereña wanted to come home at the end of his next shift too, you fucking jackasses.

But we all know, by this time, how these things work out.  (We've got so much experience, after all.)  The character assassins have been working hard to support the work of the corporeal assassins, although their stories shift daily like the bad con artists they are.  The Establishment will tell us all how important it is that the Drug War's valuable work continues because it is just so darn profitable because any day now it will actually start paying off after forty years of failure.  And of course in the end, we will be reminded once again that the badge is not so much a shield of authority as it is a shield of immunity.

Doubt that?  Just watch.  Bettin' money is on "no charges filed" and "acted within policy".  UPDATE:  That didn't take long.  Done.

As has been said more than once today, Jose Guereña was a United States Marine, and he died horribly in a war.

* Yes, the cops are the "standing army" the Founders warned us about.  Even if you believe that our overseas military marauding does nothing but endanger our interests, safety and security, that's still all entirely theoretical compared to what's happening every goddamn day here at home, at the nightsticks, Taser barbs, and muzzles of the Fatherland Security State.  (You've stopped pretending and just call it what it is now, right?)