Friday, August 29, 2014

War and Declaration

Denninger points out something about the current regime's admission that it has no strategy with regard to ISIS/ISIL:

So, let's see what we think of all of all this.  I guess we could be really upset with Obama, but let's face it -- the real problem is with us.  We've been unwilling to actually prosecute a war since WWII, and those around the world have learned this through our repeated actions.  Thus we get events like Georgia, Ukraine, and, of course, ISIS in both Syria and Iraq.
Note that I'm not advocating going into Iraq and/or Syria and evicting ISIS by force -- indeed, history of the last 50 or so years says that all we're ever going to do is bomb them a few times and, perhaps, send a few "advisers" in to have a "discussion" with them (although said discussion might well take place at 3250fps!)
So what's next?  Nothing of value; we've forgotten (as a nation) how to go war.  Therefore any threat to do so won't be taken seriously, and with the rules of engagement that have been put in front of our fighting men and women ISIS will be, and should be, laughing at us.

On a national level this goes along nicely with the post from yesterday about winning if you are willing to fight back as an individual in a survival, kill-or-be-killed situation.

There is only one way to fight a war.  Israel has proven for the last 66 years that, no matter how good you are at fighting, no matter how just your cause, you cannot win a defensive war.  The only way to win is to follow the advice of that great military strategist, Robert E. Howard.  Victory is possible only when you are willing  "[t]o crush your enemies, to see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentations of their women."

We have not prosecuted a war in this fashion since 1945.  We have not won since 1945.

I did not graduate from West Point.  I never served in the military.  I know nothing about military strategy or tactics, but if America and the West want to win the war with Islam (not with "terror'), I offer what I think are a few reasonable and prudent suggestions:

  • Get out of the United Nations.  
  • Demand that Congress formally declare war.
  • Define your enemy.  Terror is a tactic.  Islam is the enemy.  We are glad for and welcome relations with any good Muslims who would like the world to be stable, tolerant, and civilized.  Sharia, however, is incompatible with Western values, thus we must make clear to those who favor sharia that they need to remain in their own primitive hellhole countries.  If you come into the West, we will have to kill you.  Please don't take it personally.    
  • Clearly define the military and political objectives to be achieved, i.e., define victory.
  • Make up your mind that war involves casualties on both sides.  While we wish to minimize the casualties on our side and maximize theirs, "bodycount" is not an objective.  Destroying the enemy's ability and will to wage war is the objective.   
  • The enemy cannot be trusted, and no one affiliated with the enemy can be trusted.  
  • Do not tell the enemy, including his affiliated "non-combatants" what you are planning to do.  
  •  Do not hold a news conference afterward and explain how you did something.  Leave it for the historians to figure out.
  •  Collateral damage is unfortunate.  It is also unavoidable, especially when fighting cowardly primitives who hide behind women and children. 
  • Explain to the nation that this is a war with a relentless enemy for the survival of our way of life.  War is expensive and demanding of resources.  Because the government has only what it can take from its productive citizens, some services may be cut in order to divert resources to the war effort.  If we are not willing to sacrifice to achieve victory then we have no business declaring war. 


Thursday, August 28, 2014

Fight Back. You Might Win.

Via Breitbart, a 56-year-old Indian woman killed a leopard that attacked her

The woman had gone to draw some water.  When the leopard decided to make a meal of her, Kamla Devi decided it was not her day to die.  She had an axe and a sickle against the leopard's fangs, claws, speed, and strength:

"At first, I was terrified,” she said. “But, then I gathered my courage to fight back. I promised myself that this is not my last day here.”
"I fought head on with it for almost half an hour. Then I came to know it was dead," she said.
By the way, the first embedded link from Breitbart goes to a Hindustan Times article that relates Kamla Devi's story as well as that of a boy who took on a leopard barehanded to save his younger sister. None of these people came away unscathed, but they survived.

If you can get away, get away.  If you can't, give it your best shot.  We didn't get to the top of the food chain by being passive, and we were killing top predators and one another long before we had thundersticks. 

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

The Quandry of the Gun Safe

Honestly, I do not have that many guns, but I do have more than one or two.  I have had a safe for sometime, and, recently, I acquired, rather unintentionally, a larger one.  The old one was small and unobtrusive.  It has gone to reside elsewhere.  The old one would hold most of my long guns.  The new one will hold everything and then some.  So the question becomes, when you can put everything in there, what, if anything, do you leave out?

The argument for a shotgun is almost overwhelming.  I don't expect to need it for self-defense, but it is hard to beat plus it will eliminate most of the annoying varmints and pests and vermin that become a problem from time to time.  Perhaps the only argument against it is that I can't stick in in my pocket.

Next would be a handgun because these are easy to pack around when doing other things and can be kept out of sight more easily so as not to frighten visitors unnecessarily.  The choice here would probably come down to my XDM .40 or my Super Blackhawk .44.  I shoot the Blackhawk better than most of my rifles -- which is not saying a whole lot, but I've improved considerably with the Springfield, and it is stainless when humidity and bad conditions are a concern.  Also, I can easily attach a light to the .40's bottom rail to help with those nighttime armadillo confrontations. 

Those of you who read this stupid crap of mine fairly regularly can probably guess the next candidate -- my cult favorite, the Marlin .22WMR rifle or the Single-Six with the .22WMR cylinder.  In fact, the Single-Six may win out most of the time because a) I shoot it even better than my SBH, b) I don't expect to have to shoot it out with a gang of 'roided up zombie bikers, and c) despite the ammunition shortage I still have hundreds of rounds of .22 mag.  

In any case, something tells me I'm not likely to forget the combination on the safe.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Republicans Are Mean

I have a love/hate relationship with Oklahoma.  I especially hated it when it was between where I lived in Texas and where I wanted to be in Missouri back in the '80s and '90s.  I kind of hate it now when I want to get down to Dallas to see friends or to Austin for work.  Other than that, it is a great state with a lot of fine, wonderful people including members of my wife's family and one Charles Hill of  I am a fan of Mr. Hill, who is not a Republican but more, I think, of a traditional, conservative Democrat.  Party affiliation aside, I read rarely read anything on dustbury with which I disagree, apart from remarks in the comments section. 

Last week, Mr. Hill gave his quote of the week designation to our friend and Dear Leader, Gagdad Bob, explaining the composition of the Democrat party: 

But here's a timely aphorism by Dávila: "The worst demagogues are not recruited from the envious poor, but from among the embarrassed wealthy."
This fully explains the high-low composition of the Democratic party, with super-wealthy elites at one end and lofo and lower IQ hordes at the other. You could say that the difference between the two is that the elites are bankrupt in every way except financially.
This little formula explains why the wealthiest counties in the nation trend Democrat, just as do places like Ferguson. The two are locked in a deathly parasitic embrace, for liberals destroy and have destroyed the very people they most rely upon to support them at the polls, and the underclass can be relied upon to support the very people and polices that ensure its own continued ruin. The resultant civilizational collapse is what they call "progress."

In response to this, a commenter objected to the meanness of the GOP:

But the party seemed to metastasize in to something – I don’t know – MEANER. And self-contradictory. Freedom…for corporations. Freedom for guns but not for voting.

I objected to the idea that requiring a photo ID for voting disenfranchises people, but I passed by the larger point.  If you look at most of what drives the discussions about political parties it often revolves around whether or not politicians care.  Bill Clinton was elected because he could feel our pain, not to mention feeling up our interns.  George Bush campaigned as a compassionate conservative and suffered because he was supposedly uncaring with regard to the victims of Hurricane Katrina.  Obama has taken a hit recently because he was yucking it up on the golf course with his celebrity partners moments after a press conference in which he expressed outrage and grief over the beheading of journalist James Foley. 

Democrats and Republicans, all successful politicians are good at pretending to care about the concerns of their constituencies.  The truth is that most of them really only care about themselves, their own financial and professional success, and the pursuit of power.   Most are lawyers.  Lawyers are people who make a living by pretending to be a friend speaking for whomever is paying them.

My Congressman gets elected, for example, by talking about lower taxes, balancing the federal budget, decreasing the burden of government, being pro-Second Amendment, pro-life, pro-free market, etc. -- oh, yes, and bringing back goodies and money from Washington.  There are stupid, contradictory statements made by most every politician.  They tell you what you want to hear.  Sensible people understand this and pick the candidates who are likely to do the least damage.  Idiots like Obama who promise ludicrously grandiose results are inevitably going to mess up more things.

Bush did the same thing with regard to deficit spending and lower taxes.  No nation can afford to keep doing that.  If we thought it was necessary to prosecute the terror war on multiple fronts, we should have asked people to sacrifice for the cost of military operations in the form of higher taxes or a reduction in other (useless) government services.  Politicians lacked the principles and courage to call for keeping the federal budget in balance, and we have hamstrung the economy as a result.  Instead of correcting the problem, Obama and the Democrats have exacerbated it with stimulus programs that didn't stimulate anything except the profit margins of the very corporations against which they claim to be fighting.

In my opinion, until someone in Washington gets the nerve and motivation to reduce actual government size, scope and spending, no one, not Republicans, Democrats, Independents or Libertarians are mean enough.  All the talk about "reductions" is just about reductions in the amount of increase.  I don't think a federal department's budget has actually been cut since the early or mid-1980s.  I do know the Department of Labor took a hit under Reagan because I knew some people who were laid off for a while.  A few years later, though, they were all back at work in the same departments -- doing more or less nothing, and certainly nothing productive. 

We have more and more people in this country who think that good intentions and comforting words are going to change reality and rules of arithmetic.  It is not being mean to say that two and two are four.  It is not being mean to say that state laws grant a sort of personhood to corporations.  It is not being mean to say that people ought to have the right, the power, and the tools to defend themselves against those who would deny them their God-given rights -- whether those doing the vile deeds are criminals and thugs or agents of a tyrannical, out-of-control government. 

We are not voting for student body president here.  It does not matter who is nice and pretty and popular.  Politicians do not have some special insight or understanding of how the world works.  They cannot turn lead into gold.  They tell us that they do, and, if we are naive enough to believe them, we deserve everything we get. 

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Goldman on "The Beam in Our Eye"

via PJM, Goldman repeats one of his Asia Times, Spengler columns from 2008.  It deals, ostensibly, with the nostalgia of the Southern Lost Cause in relation to the current crime problem rampant in the American black community. 

Southern sympathizers have long held that the Slave States did not form the Confederacy primarily to maintain slavery.  This is despite the fact that slavery is part of the Confederate constitution.  Slavery was central to the Southern casus belli.

My people came from Lafayette, Indiana to settle in the southwest part of Missouri in the late 1800s.  Republicans -- that is, Union sympathizers, formed the majority in this part of the state.  When I was a child, the only Democrats I knew were people whose families had owned slaves.  My father's older sister married such a man.  My uncle named his youngest son after Franklin D. Roosevelt.  His good Baptist children and grandchildren -- my cousins -- voted for the corrupt, baby-killing, adulterous liar Bill Clinton because he had a (D) after his name.  I'm sure they suffered great cognitive dissonance over Barack Obama.  Perhaps they voted for Obama's white half. 

Slavery of any kind is naturally abhorrent to me, as it is, I am sure, to most thinking people in this day and time.  Racism in the South arose from slavery.  Christianity cannot condone enslaving our brothers and sisters, but Christians might be able to reconcile their faith with slavery if the slaves were not quite as advanced as the white "race" -- not quite fully human, so to speak.  In the aftermath of the crushing of the Confederacy and Emancipation, former slaves were used by the Radical Republicans as pawns to further humiliate and punish southern whites during Reconstruction.  When white Democrats began to regain control of their states after Reconstruction, they passed the Jim Crow discrimination laws that were ended only within my lifetime.

What I regret most about the Civil War is the consolidation of central government power and the demise of state sovereignty.  The preservation of the Union required an acceptance on the part of a majority of Americans of the supremacy of the federal government.  What was never written into the Constitution became the foundation of the progressive interpretation that there were essentially no limits to federal power, and that state governments were merely extensions and agents of the Giant Beltway Cephalopod.  It is to this beast that we have lost much of liberty and genuine diversity as citizens of the united States.

Those commenting on Goldman's essay include many so-called Southern apologists.  I suspect some of those apologists are thinking along the lines I have stated in the preceding paragraph.  The centralization of power and the growth of the federal leviathan is so offensive to some of us that we consider it better to face our tyrants at the state level where exercising the option of relocating does not require a passport.  We would like to see a restoration of the Tenth Amendment. 

Because of the passions stirred by Goldman's deriding of the "Cause", his greater point is being ignored.  He is trying to draw a parallel between the romanticizing of the Rebellion for the sake of slavery, and today's glamorizing of the black ghetto gangster lifestyle of crime, sex, drugs, violence, and death.  The North won because of Sherman's belief in the efficacy of an all-out war of attrition to reduce the South's manpower and ability to continue its resistance.  Goldman suggests that, even though we are incarcerating a relatively large and extremely disproportionate number of young, urban, non-white males, we are not incarcerating enough. 

Sherman said 300,000 Southrons had to die for the war to end.  Goldman says millions of young black Americans need to be charged and harshly prosecuted for their criminal behavior to end the celebration of gangs and the "get rich or die trying" lifestyle by rappers and filmmakers. 

Sherman's March to the Sea worked because it cut a wide swath of destruction through the heart of the South's most productive and protected region as well as exacting a bloody toll on the South's fighting men. 

In my opinion, the equivalent is not incarceration.  Prison is crime college.  If we ever let these youthful offenders back out on the street, they come equipped with new knowledge and new connections to a network of like-minded criminals.  Prisons are expensive.  These losers are housed and fed on the taxpayers' tab. 

The first step is to stop subsidizing out-of-wedlock births and stop penalizing couples that choose to marry and form a nuclear family.  Welfare should not be a multi-generational lifestyle, and it should be time-limited and transitional.  Next, we should consider no longer prosecuting drug crimes and the legalization of most drugs.  This eliminates the "bootlegging" profits possible from trafficking in illegal substances.  Not imprisoning drug offenders also frees up prison space to enable more severe sentences for those who commit property and violent crimes. 

For those who are incarcerated, prison should not be summer camp or a vacation from the street.  Prisoners should be forced to work at productive tasks such as growing and processing their own food, making their own clothing, and maintaining their institutions.  When possible, prisoners should be taught skills such as plumbing, welding, and carpentry, and apprenticed in those trades.  If we had all these non-productive young men off welfare, out of the gangs, and involved in constructive trades, there would be no place for the illegals flooding across our borders. 

I think prison should be harsh and a relatively unpleasant and negative experience.  But I also think that when a person has served his time fully and completely, he should be considered to have paid his debt and have his full rights restored.  If a man cannot be trusted on the street, he has no business on the street.  Keep him locked up.  Such a system is not perfect.  Sometimes we will have repeat offenders.  If you don't learn your lesson the first time, you don't get a second chance to get out.

Take out the fun and the glory, and you will still have losers and those who through psychopathy or extreme willfulness insist on fighting the system.  Nothing will solve one hundred percent of our conflicts and problems.  But the fact is that America is seen as a hyper-violent nation largely because of the mindset held by young, non-white males.  While I disagree with Goldman's remedy, I do mostly agree with his analysis of the problem.  We are, in essence, two distinct nations -- one of which is at war with the other.  The rest of us are largely unwilling to look at the end of what Burrough's called "the long newspaper spoon".  Today, it's the long television or internet spoon.  Now we have live video, but we remain largely insulated, finding it conveniently unnecessary to look at the hand holding the end of that spoon. 

If we are not willing to face the reality of the situation our urban centers and address the root of the problem then, eventually, we may find ourselves once again making a long march to the sea. 

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Fractured Fairytales

One of our favorite manure-spreaders, Fred Reed, relates his thoughts on Ferguson, wherein he suggests that those firmly entrenched in the authentic Black American subculture would find reality quite harsh if they were to manage to pick the fight for which some seem to be looking.  He's says that should such a conflagration be ignited, "[t]he country would not recover".  This statement evoked considerable disagreement in Vanderleun's Top 40 sidebar

I think some of those commenting at American Digest might be missing the point.  The country would not recover because it would cease to be the country as we know it.  A "race war" would be, in effect, a new civil war -- not regional, as in north versus south or east versus west, or even coastal versus flyover.  Most every state in the nation has enclaves of both red and blue.  The blue, big-government areas tend to be the most densely populated urban areas or areas where the primary income is derived from federal government redistribution payments.  It might look more like the ethnic cleansing in Bosnia and Kosovo, or the current conflict in the Middle East than our old War of Northern Aggression. 

It would not even be black versus white.  There are a lot of productive people who are black or brown while many government leeches are lily white.  There might still be something that called itself the United States but there would be no more "sea to shining sea".  Whoever "won", the end result would bear little resemblance to the One Nation Under God most of us grew up in. 

Could it happen?  Some of us have started to think it might.  Exactly what the catalyst would be is very hard to say.  I'd like to think that enough of my fellow citizens are wiser and better than our corrupt, opportunistic, power-mad political leaders.  Perhaps our collective goodwill is sufficient to overcome both the malignant fumes of maliciousness and stupidity emanating from Mordor on the Potomac.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Closer to the Truth?

The sketch is from Dr. Baden's autopsy via the New York Times article.

Since all the wounds were to the front of the victim, the stories about Brown shot while running away appear to be false.  Baden found no evidence of powder residue on Brown's body, but he did not have access to Brown's clothing, so that point is still unclear.

If Brown was in contact with Wilson and struggling for the gun, as the police narrative would have it, there should be "powder burns" around the wounds.  Brown was wearing a short-sleeve shirt, and the forearm wound would have been on exposed flesh as would the wound to the top of the head and right eye.

This pattern would be consistent with a left-handed shooter jerking the trigger, understandable under stress.  Also, it looks like the pattern a right-handed shooter would get when overly anticipating recoil. This is especially the case if the officer is shooting a .40 S&W and is a little recoil or muzzle-blast shy. 

However, this is assuming the shooter and the target are standing face to face and relatively square to one another.  If that were the case, I would guess the distance from Officer Wilson to Michael Brown would have been beyond arms' length.

It's conceivable that Brown was standing at an angle toward the officer -- say, after he had shoved Wilson back toward his cruiser with an extended right arm -- sort of the way he had just man-handled the store owner.

The bullet that struck Brown's right eye exited out the chin and re-entered around the collarbone.  We do not know Officer Wilson's height but we do know that Brown was around 6'4", according to recent reports.  Assuming Wilson to be in the normal range for a police officer, that's a little hard to figure.  One would think Brown's head would have had to have been lower than the officer's shoulders.

Is it possible to explain it as being a result of Brown's head being lowered?  Yes, it is.  Keep in mind that all elements involved are moving and moveable.  Imagine that Brown, struck in the arm, looked down just as the officer fired the round.  (We're assuming a sequence here that is likely but not certain by any means.)  It struck Brown's eye, the impact of the bullet and the reaction to being struck would move Brown's head back and up so that in that hundredth of a second, the bullet comes out the bottom of the jaw and goes down instead of back. 

The big problem for the police -- unless they can establish that all the shots were fired while Brown was on top of Wilson in the squad car, and, again, you should have stippling from hot powder on Brown's skin -- is the shot that went into the top of Brown's head.  Having his head down in a tackle-like charge doesn't really explain it.  The bullet stayed in the body.  There's no exit wound at the base of the skull.  If Darren Wilson is 6'4" or over then I can accept that he fired as Brown put his head down to charge.  If not, it seems much more likely that he fired the fatal round after Brown was on his knees.

In fact, it seems most likely that Brown, struck repeatedly in the arm, dropped to surrender.  This does not indict Wilson.  If he was reacting to a perceived threat, he may have fired the last two shots before he could process the realization that Brown had surrendered.  After that many rounds, the officer was half deaf and would have had difficulty hearing anything Brown said.

Again, eyewitnesses on either side, including, frankly, the officer himself are not to be accepted as unquestionable.  Too much is happening too fast. 

Let me give one purely speculative scenario for all the data I've seen so far.  First, Wilson addresses the two young men in the street.  They, having just stolen cigars, assume that the contact is related to that.  Wilson attempts to get out of the car.  Brown strikes him/shoves him back.  Wilson attempts to draw his weapon.  There is perhaps a struggle, and Wilson is struck again.  He gets a round off, frightening Brown who starts to run.  Wilson gets to his feet and fires again.  Brown, realizing he can't outrun a bullet, turns and either decides to give up or to attempt to rush the officer.  Wilson is still shooting as Brown turns into the rounds that strike his right arm.  Brown then drops and tries to give up, but Wilson, panicked and confused by pain fires the two fatal rounds

Friday, August 15, 2014

Brown Robbed the Convenience Store?

Looks like Brown may have stolen some cigars from the QuikTrip and shoved the store clerk when challenged. 

This answers one of the questions I had initially. 

It's too bad this wasn't available sooner.

The police officer, Darren Wilson, was responding to a 911 call.  This explains why he confronted Brown.  It also means that attempting to detain Brown by force was justifiable on the officer's part since a crime had been, or was alleged to have been committed.

There's still the question of exactly how the confrontation unfolded out on the street.  Nevertheless, this is certainly supportive of the official police side of the story, and it appears more likely that the shooting might have been justified.   

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Conflicts and Coverups

I saw on the news last night that the Ferguson police chief is claiming that the face of the officer who shot Michael Brown, Jr. was "swollen".  Ferguson police detained journalists yesterday.  It is starting to sound a little like a cover-up.

Understand, I am not defending the rioters and looters and the New Black Panther Party.  Those people are thugs and criminals trying to make hay while the sun shines.  They deserve no respect or understanding.  If they are gunned down while looting and burning, it is good enough for them. 

Let's consider the story that Dorian Johnson, who was with Brown at the time, is telling.  According to Johnson, the officer ordered Brown and Johnson out of the street.  The police officer tried to open the door of his cruiser.  The door apparently struck one or both of the young men and "ricocheted" back toward the officer.  This upset the policeman who then grabbed Brown by the neck -- most likely the collar of his shirt -- and pulled him toward the patrol car while drawing his weapon.

Conversely, the official police story seems to be that one of the two men pushed the officer into his squad car and struggled with him for his weapon.

I'm an old, white-haired hillbilly.  Grab me by the shirt collar for no reason other than you're having a bad day and then pull a gun on me, and I might shove you and struggle with you for control of your weapon.  I might well do my best to teach you a little respect and restraint.  I don't care what kind of uniform you are wearing.

In other words, there is nothing in the story the police are telling that contradicts Johnson's narrative.  As far as the officer's face being swollen, he may have gotten banged against the car or the car door, or he may have caught a forearm from Brown, who was apparently a large young man.  Regardless of how Brown reacted, if the officer instigated and then escalated the conflict, he murdered Michael Brown.

(As an aside, this sounds like the exact opposite of the confrontation that took place between George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin.)  

This is what I was saying in my last post, it appears that if Brown had been arrested it would have been for nothing other than "resisting" with a jaywalking charge thrown in because he and Johnson happened not to be in the crosswalk.   This incident illustrates the crux of what is wrong with the law enforcement establishment in this country -- as well as the political establishment.  If something is illegal and wrong for me as a private American citizen then it had damn well better be illegal and wrong for a law enforcement officer or the president of the United States.

We understand that police officers and other first responders have the right-of-way in an emergency and can drive above the speed limit when lives are at risk.  Police officers also act as officers of the court in executing search warrants and making arrests.

In non-emergency situations, it is illegal, or ought to be, for the cops to use their lights and sirens to get to Golden Corral before the switch-over to the lunch menu.  We all tend to look the other way when such minor "abuses" take place because we understand that police officers have a job that is sometimes very difficult, challenging, and occasionally quite risky.  As citizens who benefit from a peaceful, orderly society, we are willing to allow law enforcement officers considerable leniency in the carrying out of their duties. 

So, too, we are willing to allow officers to use their good judgment and experience in investigating "suspicious" people and activities.  Especially in areas with high crime rates, we expect the police to be somewhat more alert and proactive -- within reasonable boundaries.  The limits have to be a little flexible and open to some interpretation. 

However, a law enforcement officer putting his hands on a citizen without legal justification, e.g., self-defense or in the course events surrounding an actual crime, is wrong and well outside of the boundaries of acceptable behavior.  If the officer was planning to search or arrest Brown, the proper procedure would have been to order the men to place their hands on the squad car or get down on the ground before initiating any physical contact.  The officer should never have tried to get out of his car that close to Brown and Johnson.  Common sense and training would tell a person to stop some distance away from the subjects and maintain sufficient space to use the advantage of a firearm if it came to that.  The officer's actions would seem to indicate a certain lack of judgment and reason.

If a citizen touches a law enforcement officer, he or she is subject to arrest and prosecution.  I read the other day where a man was charged for antagonizing a police dog by shouting at it to the point the dog began to get agitated and bark.  OK, fine.  The point is that if we are going to live under the rule of law, it must be a two-edged sword, cutting both ways. 

When the enforcers of the law are a law unto themselves, we have a police state. 

With all the ugly incidents that have been taking place in Ferguson the last few days, it is easy to lose sight of the central issue.  Forget the NBPP, Al Sharpton, Benjamin Crump, and Eric Holder.  Remember Michael Brown, Jr., and the man who shot him down.

UPDATED because Denninger says it better than I can -- JRI (Just Read It).

Tuesday, August 12, 2014


Ferguson is not too far from where I live.  My wife grew up in and around St. Louis.  According to her memory, Ferguson was never one of the areas her parents would have chosen.

It's still not clear to me exactly what took place, other than a Ferguson police officer shot Michael Brown and killed him.  Brown was unarmed -- which, as we have talked about before, does not mean he was not a threat.  It does mean, however, if Brown was not in physical contact with the officer, he was much less of a threat.

The questions I have are:

  • Did the cop initially make contact with Brown for a legitimate reason?  That is, was there a call that might have implicated Brown in some sort of illegal activity?
  • Did Brown "resist arrest"?  If he had been arrested, would he have been charged with anything other than "resisting arrest"?
  • Was there physical contact between the officer and Brown?  
  • Was Brown shot in the back?  
  •  Did the officer shoot Brown after the young man was on the ground?
There are a lot of stories regarding these various questions.  I'm not ready to accept any of them as true at this point.  We know that the police have gotten itchy trigger fingers in the last couple of decades and have, in many cases, adopted an attitude in which all citizens are potential criminals and everyone is a suspect.  There have been many documented cases of cops panic-shooting innocent people -- as in the Dorner case and the very sad murder of 13-year-old Andy Lopez by a vile excuse for a policeman.

If there was some sort of call to the cops, and if Michael Brown was a legitimate suspect, then there could be some justification for the officer attempting to stop a fleeing person by use of potentially lethal force, whether that person is armed or not.

I had to make this kind of decision a long time ago in another life.  An unarmed convicted felon attempts to go over a prison fence and escape.  A guard with a rifle is up in a tower.  The guard is under no threat from the escapee, but the guard is obligated to shoot and possibly kill the unarmed man.  I would have done it for that reason.  Fortunately, I never had to execute that decision.

In another case, a friend of mine was on guard duty at a military base in Southern California when an unknown person climbed over the fence and dropped on the grounds inside the base.  My friend raised him weapon and ordered the person to halt.  He did not stop.  My friend prepared to fire and just as he was squeezing the trigger, he recalled where he was and screamed, "ALTO!"  The man stopped.  My friend was a very devout Christian.  He said he could never have forgiven himself if he had killed this poor soul simply because he couldn't understand English.  But, both he and I agreed, he would have had no choice except to shoot if the intruder had not complied.

On the other side, if as several witnesses are claiming, the officer shot Brown multiple times after he fell, that is, in my opinion, nothing but murder in the first degree.

The problem is that cops are notoriously poor shots, and eyewitnesses are more notoriously unreliable.  There seems to be little question that multiple shots were fired, but it may well be that all were fired before Brown fell.

As anyone who has ever been in a truly frightening or life-threatening situation knows, conscious awareness is behind the event curve.  In a car crash, for example, you are reacting and living faster than you can process the information, so time appears to slow down.  It doesn't always help you that much if you are not well-trained, but it does have the potential to really mess up your perception of the exact order in which things took place.  Seeing the officer with his weapon in firing position standing over the fallen youth while still processing the sound of multiple rounds going off in rapid succession, an honest eyewitness could easily get the sequence wrong. 

When I started writing this post, I tended more to fault the officer and condemn the shooting as wholly unjustified.  As I have worked through it, I am becoming a little more sympathetic to the police side of the story, though I still have a hard time understanding why the officer thought it necessary to fire on the young man at all.

About the rioting and looting, this tells us quite a bit about what kind of area this is.  The death of Michael Brown is being used as an excuse by criminals who appear to constitute a significant portion of the population in Ferguson.

I have my doubts that Michael Brown did anything that day to deserve his fate.  I have no doubt that the animals looting and burning in his name deserve to be shot down like sheep-killing dogs.  The morality of a mob always descends to that of its least moral elements, as is the case with its intelligence. 

Monday, August 11, 2014

People Behaving Badly

"People tend to behave very badly when they believe they are safe from consequences." 

I tend to avoid linking to sites like Vox Popoli, even when I read them from time to time.  In this case, though, Beale has managed to write a very powerful sentence in his post called "The cost of conflict avoidance".  He begins by quoting from an interesting piece on the different kinds of violence by Sarah Hoyt.

It used to be that we would settle things "man to man".  If you've ever seen "Lonesome Dove", one of the great scenes is Tommy Lee Jones as Call taking a quirt to the Army scout who struck Newt.  At the end, Call remarks, "I hate rude behavior in a man.  I won't tolerate it."  Though the onlookers are shocked, no one intervenes, understanding that the conflict is private. 

Sadly, it is no longer considered acceptable to put a man in his place for prevarication, impropriety, insults, or other actions.  I learned way back in high school that if you are willing to fight, you usually don't have to. 

It seems that things today are likely to escalate into gunfire or lawsuits.  To me a lawsuit much like a child tattling to the teacher.  People pay exorbitant attorney's fee to get to tell their stories to a judge seeking vindication.  It's juvenile and stupid.  Resorting to a firearm when fisticuffs will do quite well is the action of a frightened primitive.

Killer Drugs

Denninger riffs on Lipitor

The whole cholesterol thing has never made sense to me.  I may drop dead of a heart attack any minute, but I would not take Lipitor or any other "cholesterol lowering" drug at gun point.  I'd just as soon eat arsenic.  I am not giving medical advice.  It's just that I see too many people my age taking a handful of pills, half of which are taken for the side effects of the other half.

My experience this year with hospitals and doctors has not reassured me with regard to doctors having a higher order of intelligence.  They are above average, and that is about it.  They know terms that I don't and have their own jargon, understandably.  They generally have no prophetic insights and tend to solve problems the same way I do.  Too often that is trial and error.  They assume that if a course of treatment or drug therapy coincides with improvement in a patient's condition, the treatment caused the improvement.  Often that is correct.  Probably equally often, it is not.  The human body has a tremendous capacity to recover and restore, to heal itself. 

Without the intervention of a skilled surgeon, I would have died when I was sixteen.  I can see today because of advances in medical technology and a good eye surgeon.  Other kinds of doctors, I avoid as much as possible.  

Friday, August 8, 2014

The KGB and Russian Psychology

Bill Whittle speculates that we as Americans cannot understand the Russian people and the KGB.

Whittle's thesis may be valid.  The KGB operated as the secret police, manned and headed by psychopaths who rose in the ranks precisely because of their savagery and sadism.  What happened for decades in the old Soviet Union is what generally happens in revolutions.  It was a prolonged version of the Reign of Terror against, as always, "enemies of the revolution".  The same thing happened in China, in Cuba, in Cambodia, in Vietnam.  Anywhere and everywhere there was ever a "people's revolution" and the overthrow of a long-standing, sometimes despotic regime, it was generally followed by such a cleansing.  We just saw a little of it in Egypt until Morsi was removed.  We're seeing it in Libya, if we would care to look.  We will see it in Syria if Assad is ever displaced.  What do you suppose is going on in Iraq at the moment?

I would argue that it is hardly a unique Russian phenomenon except, perhaps, with regard to the number of years that it went on.  The Nazis had their version based on the settled science of eugenics rather than economics. No nation, no race, no ethnic group has a corner on the market. There are amoral people, psychopaths, sadists and perverts everywhere.  It's simply that in a chaotic environment, as in the aftermath of revolution, those seeking to bring stability and consolidate power may resort to any means necessary.  People with little or no empathy and compassion, the cold-blooded and cruel too often become the means chosen.

As most of us are aware, there is a trend in American law enforcement toward increasing militarization and the nurturing of a view that sees all the public as potential threats.  There is no difference, except in terms of technology, between the KGB's network of informants and the NSA's network of keyword sniffers, nosing into every form of private communication among the citizens they claim to "serve and protect".  When grandmothers and babies have to be terrorized by the TSA in the name of fighting terrorism, when Barney Fife is traversing quiet American streets in Mine Resistant Armored Personnel Carriers, when every email and phone conversation between any two American citizens is subject to scrutiny by our "security" agencies, just how far are we from the mentality of the Russians who were terrorized and subjugated by the KGB?

Our government justifies the trampling of our constitutionally enumerated rights based on the necessity to fight drug trafficking and terrorism.  Yet, this same government that routinely monitors cash deposits at your local bank, that won't let me on an airplane with a pen knife, that sends SWAT teams after non-violent offenders and shoots family pets as a matter of course -- this same government is refusing to seal the southern border over which are pouring thousands of potential terrorists, violent gang members, and known drug cartel members.

I'm not questioning Bill Whittle's insights on Putin and the potential for a confrontation.  I'm just saying that, personally, Moscow worries me less right now than Washington, D.C.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Missouri August 5, 2014 Election Results

This is just a quick update since I posted my choices regarding the five ballot initiatives.

Amendment 1, known as the "right to farm", PASSED but only by about 2500 votes out of almost 995,000 cast.  It is interesting to look at the county-by-county counts.  The amendment lost badly, badly in larger urban counties -- Jackson, St. Louis, Boone (University of Missouri in Columbia is there), St. Charles (usually conservative), Greene (extremely conservative).  Where it won, and how it won, was on turn-out in the truly rural counties of the state.  As might be expected, suburbites were more susceptible the Humane Society of the United States propaganda than are those who actually know or know of people and operations that have been targeted by HSUS fund-raising lawsuits and media shows.  This would have lost had it been on the November ballot.

Amendment 5, an affirmation of the right to keep and bear arms, PASSED, quite readily with almost 61% of the vote.  Here the county totals were more in align with typical voting patterns.  It lost only in places that truly hate freedom and self-reliance, like Kansas City, St. Louis City, even St. Louis County, and Boone County (Columbia being Havana on the Hinkson).   Suburban counties, like St. Charles and Jackson, supported it strongly enough.

Amendment 7, an increase of in the state sales tax to fund transportation, FAILED, again, fairly handily, 59 to 41 percent.  Oddly, this amendment had the highest vote total, over 998,000, and lost in almost every jurisdiction except Kansas City and, for some strange reason, Marion County which includes the city of Hannibal in northeast Missouri along the Mississippi.  The reason some urban areas voted against it is because it is a sales tax increase, and those who pay no income taxes prefer to keep the burden on income tax payers.  I voted against it because I do pay enough taxes, and MODOT is extremely inefficient.

Amendment 8, regarding the issuance of a special lottery ticket to fund Veterans' services, FAILED.  The vote was 55 percent against.  A lot of people were probably afraid it would take away from their precious idol of public education.  I noted only a couple of counties where it had majority support -- Pulaski, home of Fort Leonard Wood, and Pettis, which is near Whiteman Air Force Base.  Others probably felt like me, that it was more a gimmick than an actual measure to support veterans. 

Amendment 9, requiring a warrant to search phones and other electronic devices, PASSED -- overwhelmingly -- 3 to 1.  This was across the board.  Just glancing down the list, I did not see any political unit where it did not have substantial majority approval.  It did, however, have the lowest vote total -- fewer than 975,000 votes total.  You do have to wonder about the nearly 25% that voted against it.  It's what a Psych professor called "The Dead Man Split" -- if you ran a perfect person against a dead man, 25% of the American people are just perverse enough to vote for the dead man. 

Right or wrong, this matches the way I voted, so I can't complain. 

Parks Are Racist

From a site called, Derrick Clifton writes about a sign on a Chicago city park that has been defaced to readWanted:  White People to Play So The City Will Take Care of This Park.  

Clifton says:

It's a heartbreaking inscription, demonstrating a desperate plea for city officials to focus much needed resources and care toward an otherwise vital, yet government-neglected community resource such as a city park. Sadly, this is a battle some residents don't feel they can win by doing as any other active citizens would, through writing or calling their elected or appointed officials. 

I suppose it would be harsh and unfeeling to suggest that the residents volunteer to do the work necessary to restore the park themselves.  Victims have to wait passively for somebody to save them.  It's the rule.

The city of Chicago has no money.  It doesn't even have a Federal Reserve with a printing press to cover its deficit spending.  It takes money from taxpayers -- people who spend their time working and maintaining their own homes, businesses and properties -- to fund city services.   

The facts are heartbreaking, but these are not the facts about which Derrick Clifton writes.  Residents of these blighted areas are generally the reason they are blighted.  Not all those who live around Kelvyn Park are thugs and thieves, gangbangers and graffiti artists, but many are, living on welfare, in public housing, paying nothing into the system, only drawing it down parasitically. 

Not only do the residents contribute nothing to help maintain public services and public properties, in many cases they actively destroy them:  trashing, stealing, and maliciously, gleefully breaking things simply because they can.  Put up a new basketball hoop, and it gets ripped down in a day.  New structures have the windows shattered and spray painted with obscenities and gang signs.

This is a true story from a public housing project area in St. Louis back in the late '60s or early '70s.  Tired of repeatedly replacing a broken window on the street level of a public building, the authorities installed a Plexiglass pane.  A group of young public housing residents wandered by and spotted the new, undamaged window.  One of the boys immediately found a brick, walked up and hurled it at the window, only to be confounded when the brick bounced off harmlessly.  If you are picturing the humanoids encountering the Monolith from 2001, you have captured, I suspect, the essence of the scene.  Ah, but, these were not humanoids.  They were full-fledged, problem-solving homo sapiens.  Unable to break the window, they used whatever they could find to scratch the plastic until the transparency was destroyed.

No doubt, afterward, some decent, intelligent people like Mr. Clifton walked by and shook their heads at the fact that such an eyesore would be allowed by the authorities to remain.  Surely it is another sign of institutional racism.   

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

A Missouri Scenic Route -- Highway 125

Because my wife is continuing to struggle with health problems, I haven't sprung for the Yamaha SR400 I threatened to buy earlier this year.  She still doesn't feel up to riding even on the recliner-like pillion of the Enterprise (i.e., a white 2011 Victory Vision Touring).  Thus on the rare days when everything is more or less caught up, I roll the Enterprise out of the garage and take a solo tour of the backroads.  I had a couple of hours to myself over the weekend.  Instead of heading out north and east as I usually do, toward the stomping grounds of my sadly misspent youth, I headed south and west.

Highway 125 runs very roughly north and south in Southwest Missouri from the intersection with US-65 at Fair Grove to the Arkansas line below Protem.   I picked it up at US-60 and headed south to cross over the Finley River at Linden and on to Sparta, home of the Trojans?

It says so on the sign coming into town, though I'm sure during a pep rally some kid must have yelled, "This is Sparta!"  There's probably about 300 kids in the high school.  They seem a little confused on their Iliad, history and geography.  However, I believe at least some of the members of the semi-legendary, sadly defunct Arkamo Rangers bluegrass band hailed from Sparta. 

Highway 125 doglegs east in conjunction with Highway 14, more or less the main street of Sparta, for maybe a mile or two until it breaks away south to Oldfield.  I think Oldfield has a post office.  Bruner has a post office.  Oldfield ought to have one.  The important thing about Oldfield, though, is that it marks the point where 125 starts to get a little snaky.  While it's hardly a Tail of the Dragon, the road does have character.  As it winds on down to Chadwick, through Garrison, and to the intersection with Highway 76 at Bradleyville, a lot of the surrounding countryside and views are part of the Mark Twain National Forest.

Chadwick has a school and some businesses.  A Christian County deputy watched from across the highway as four or five Harley riders refueled at a gas station there.  The Enterprise looks huge, plastic and lumbering compared to the cruisers.  Looks can be deceiving.

Despite the weight disadvantage, the 106 cubic inch twin on the Victory churns out sufficient horsepower with quite a bit at lower rpms.  It's also balanced well -- I mean, for a 900 pound bike -- 1100 with me in the saddle.  I got the rhythm of braking going into a 30-mph corner, rolling back on the throttle, and rocking on out -- after twenty or thirty times.  The only thing you have to watch is that this is farm country, and there are lot of blind drives and approaches.  This is especially true where the road is more rolling, and you end up going over a hump as well as around a corner.  For that reason, I didn't, perhaps, charge as hard as I might have.  I was enjoying the ride so it didn't really bother me.

There are some nice falling-away views, mostly off  to the east as the road gets closer to Beaver Creek so it isn't all an exercise in cornering skills.  It's the heart of the Ozarks with mounds and knobs, the roots and remnants of the ancient mountain land.  I think it's about 35 or 40 miles from 60 to 76, most of it interesting, and some of it is occasionally fun.  It's certainly not going to test a skilled and experienced rider, but parts of it will keep one's attention.

It's a nice warm-up for a biker headed into some of the more notable rides down in Arkansas around the Buffalo River area and Arkansas 7, Harrison, and Flippin.  For any bikers in the Springfield area, 125 is easily accessible off I-44 at Strafford or off US-60.  An interesting alternative would be to take 65 to Branson then 76 east to Bradleyville and traverse 125 back north to 60.  The same would be the case for bikers vacationing in Branson if they didn't feel up to the more challenging Arkansas routes or just wanted something different.

In my case, when I reached Bradleyville and not having the entire day to run, I headed east on 76 to Ava, Missouri, county seat of Booger County and the capital of Missouri Foxtrotter Nation.  It's actually Douglas County.  The old-timers could recall when those wanted by the law -- "boogers" -- would occasionally disappear in the remote parts of Douglas County.  I picked up Highway 5 at Ava and took it to Mansfield, where Laura Ingalls Wilder wrote her "Little House" books.  That is the obligatory statement to be made when Mansfield is mentioned.  I think it's probably a legally binding thing.

I'm pretty well over Little House at this point.  What I remember about Mansfield is somewhat naively taking a black friend of mine into the pool hall there one night.  Also, I stole a girl from the banker's kid.  Mixed antediluvian memories aside, the main reason I stop in Mansfield is that, at the eastern part of the jog in Highway 5, there is a Signal station that sells no-ethanol 91.

Mansfield is in Wright County.  If a person rides on north on Hwy 5, the next town is Hartville, county seat, and site of the Civil War Battle of Hartville -- oddly enough.  It's also the hometown of Aaron McDaris, banjo player extraordinaire for Rhonda Vincent and the Rage. 

In my opinion, having run parts of it more times than perhaps any other road on earth, Highway 5 itself has a bit of character.  The stretch south from Ava to Gainesville was notoriously wickedly crooked when I was a kid.  They have straightened out a lot since then or the curvature of the earth has changed.  There's been considerable water under, and over, the bridge since I've been on that end ... maybe next weekend ...

Monday, August 4, 2014

What We Pretend To Be

EurekAlerts reports on a study of "risk-glorifying" video games that ties them to increased delinquency among teens:

In the new study, researchers conducted a longitudinal nationwide study involving more than 5,000 randomly sampled U.S. teenagers who answered a series of questions over four years in telephone interviews. They looked at a number of factors, including the playing of three violent risk-glorifying video games (Grand Theft Auto, Manhunt, Spiderman) and other mature-rated video games. They found that such games are associated with subsequent changes in a wide range of high-risk behaviors and suggest this is due, in part, to changes in the users' personality, attitudes and values, specifically making them more rebellious and thrill seeking. Effects were similar for males and females and were strongest among the heaviest gameplayers and those playing games with anti-social protagonists.

Assuming they had reasonably solid control groups -- never a given in these days of widely and wildly bogus research -- this might have some validity.  I have my doubts, but I am not a game-player, don't have an Xbox or any of that.  I did fool around with one of the grandkid's "Call of Duty" game.  I quickly realized that it requires a lot of practice and dedication, and it's immersive.  You really have to "get into it" to get very far.

My guess would be that kids who are drawn to the more violent, risk-glorifying games are the ones who, as they grow older, are drawn to more violent, risk-glorifying behavior in the real world.  The games provide an outlet for one's innate (not necessarily genetic) aggression.

The older among us recall the same hysteria regarding comic books and television shows that were deemed too violent.  The difference is that video games put the player into the character and are participatory.  My instinct is still that you play what you are rather than become what you play.

The article quotes a Professor Jay Hull quoting Kurt Vonnegut:   'We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be.'

That sounds deep and profound, but it is demonstrably not true.  One doesn't actually develop the skills necessary to be a world-class athlete, a mathematician, a successful business executive, or any other job that requires doing or producing by pretending.  I would not deny that there is a certain motivational benefit to be derived from visualization of achievement or affirmations.  That kind of "pretending" helps the person continue the hard work of developing the skills and abilities needed to become what they have chosen to be.

One may become a successful politician by pretense -- our current president being a highly visible example -- but that is because the whole thing is a pretense. 

Coincidentally, I just finished listening to an audio version of John Buchan's classic The Thirty-Nine Steps.  The protagonist Richard Hannay muses a couple of times, particularly during the climactic confrontation, on the nature of playing a part.  The only way to pull off a deception is to fully inhabit the character one wishes to create.  Deception is not reality, and, at some level, the player always knows it.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Until Somebody Sees You Riding It

Via Fox News.

Motopeds will sell you a frame for right about $2000, to which you may add accessories -- such as a motor -- I think a 50cc Honda 4-stroke is suggested.

Fully loaded in Mad Maxx mode:

The fact that it can be pedaled is a positive.  The fact that you are going to get run over escaping from New York is less positive.

The Benefits of Stagnation

No sign the U.S. economy is overheating according to a White House spokesman.

The spokesman also said that water is wet, and it will be increasingly dark after the sun goes down until sometime tomorrow morning when the sun comes up.  President Obama's policies are making all of this possible.

"Overheating" used to refer mainly to inflation and bubble speculation.  Now it's good news to the Obama regime that we don't have too many people working and labor participation continues to languish at historically low levels, while we have millions more on food stamps.

To further dampen this non-existent overheating, we ought to let a few million more illegals pour over the borders lest the youth unemployment rate drop below 25% and mid-20s college graduates move out of their moms' basements.  That might wreck the whole Democrat voter base.