Archive for politics

Burning Man does an about face

“Money is not Bundy’s point. Pleasing Harry Reid or the federal bureaucracy is not either. Making a living from the scrub of a desert by providing people good food probably is.

“Grant him that. He’s our past, Harry Reid and the bunch in Washington our future. To paraphrase the ancients, sometimes we’d rather be wrong with Cliven Bundy than right with Harry Reid — and the SWAT teams that will revisit Mr. Bundy and his clan very, very soon to enforce a dispute over grazing fees and insensitivity to a tortoise.”

Victor Davis Hanson on Civilian Bundy and The Rural Way

But it seems that Bundy has got a Burning Man organizer miffed (Washington Times). It seems they pay The Man so why shouldn’t Bundy? It does seem rather strange. Burning Man is about individual freedom and sticking it to the powers that try to control, a.k.a. The Man, you know, the one they burn. In this case, though, they side with The Man and go after the individual.

Burning Man charges its participants to pay whatever fees the government decides to charge along with other costs and whatever is needed to make an appropriate profit. The fee is to allow them use of a BLM playa for a week or so. As they’ve done before, they can change venue if the fees become too onerous or the government sets unreasonable conditions or whatnot. Burning Man organizers are more interested in keeping participants coming – and paying the fare – than they are in the land. The land and the nearby communities and the various governmental agencies fall into the category of ideological niceties or necessary nuisances.

Bundy is in a bit different situation. His ranch is a homestead which the government deeded to him with certain rights on nearby resources in exchange for developing the land as a productive ranch. His livelihood depends upon effective and proper stewardship of that land. He can’t just up and go somewhere else – he’s lost 52 neighbors who have been forced out and had to find other careers. When the government goes rogue, or some folks like the Burning Man organizer target him, he is backed into a corner.

It is a typical disingenuous tactic of the left, though: Ignore the issues and ramifications and instead find a nitpick to pound incessantly. The nitpick here is that Bundy is a lawbreaker. The issues and ramifications have to deal with armed forces trying to enforce a civil matter, governmental overreach, regulatory harassment, potential governmental corruption and collusion, proper land use, historical precedence, state’s rights over lands within their boundaries,  and governmental enforcement priorities.

I wonder what the Burning Man organizers would think if Federal, State, and county enforcement showed up en-masse in full SWAT gear to take a sweep of their event to arrest any and all lawbreakers. How many vehicles are not equipped properly or properly licensed and registered? Drugs? Public displays of nudity? Child porn? Polluting the playa or otherwise not following the letter of the use permit? Attendees with outstanding criminal warrants? Foreigners with improper paperwork? Vagrancy? Fires and hazardous materials? Electrical and construction code violations?– It’d be quite a project to cull all the laws and regulations to find all the offenses that could be cited. Handcuffs, guns, tazers, police bullying, and other tactics as seen at the Bundy ranch would probably not make for happy campers.

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Terrifying: Just how far does this go?

Bryan Preston describes The Terrifying Implications of the IRS Abuse-DOJ Connection. It appears Judicial Watch finally got some traction on an FOIA request and the results are indeed terrifying.

“Lois Lerner intended to use her position atop the IRS’ tax exempt approval office to coordinate the prosecution of political speech. The Department of Justice under Attorney General Eric Holder had at least tentatively bought into that. The Federal Elections Commission was being roped in as well. Lerner’s emails prove that beyond doubt.”

Complaining about others who express their views is one thing. Attempting to suppress such expression via laws such as campaign finance restrictions is another. A rogue government employee using the color of office to harass free speech raises the stakes. But now it becoming rather clear that is has been raised from a rogue individual to an agency to multiple agencies to political party leaders. That escalation of involvement and collusion in the effort is indeed terrifying.

Preston describes a well established tactic: select a target to set an example and then use that example to get the rest in line. 

Now, take that effort to go after nonprofit organizations and think about the southern Nevada Rancher episode. The feds spent millions to go after an individual delinquent in government payment of thousands and used paramilitary operations to do it. In the process, they trashed personal property and showed contempt and incompetence for the lifestyle and craft of the rancher in honoring the land.

worried, yet?

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Whooee! what a rant. Maybe some are beginning to notice?

Daniel Greenfield calls it The Paranoid Madness of the Democratic Party. His conclusions:

“Political paranoids are totalitarians… and totalitarians are political paranoids. The Democratic Party has become both. Its paranoid totalitarianism runs on conspiracy theories that justify its abuses of power. It has accepted the left’s classic formula of the conservative political opposition as a reactionary force that is the source of all evils in society.”

“progressive suburbanite is not interested in a close look at his political movement. Instead of giving him something to believe in, his party’s media outlets give him someone to hate. His political identity is shaped not by what he stands for, unsustainable debt and an incoherent foreign policy of platitudes, but by his resistance to the Tea Party hordes who want to put black people back in chains, put women back in the kitchen and put homophobes back in the CEO’s office at the Mozilla Foundation.

“The politics of paranoid hatred is the crutch of mental cripples who protect the source of their dysfunction by projecting it onto phantom enemies.”

“The Democratic Party has been contaminated by the madness of the left through its alliance with the left and the entire country is paying the price.”

As is usually the case with this sort of rant from ‘other than the left’, the column is based on observations of behavior and specific incidences or cases that support his view. Greenfield calls out the common tactic of pulling selected items out of context to distort meaning and then illustrates how selection can be done with intellectual integrity. Confusing this use of example and illustration is important in propaganda where the audience doesn’t want to make the effort to see what is constructive and what is not. All too often, the interpretation is more about what confirms and comforts rather than creates dissonance.

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Contempt and collusion

One of the more frightful things these days is the contempt and collusion amongst the powerful for transparency and accountability. Tammy Bruce describes one example in Eric Holder’s contempt for the American people – Wherever Team Obama is taking the nation, ‘you don’t want to go there’

Many of us are not big fans of Congress, but when the attorney general, while speaking at an official congressional hearing, decides to speak in a manner worthy of a gang leader, we see how serious the problem of an unchecked executive can be.

This was after one of the people who report to Holder was found in contempt of Congress and the minority leader in the committee was shown to be in collusion with IRS misbehavior. It was also after much foot dragging on information requests and other cover-up type antics in regards to the Fast and Furious and Benghazi scandals among others.

What is happening here is that all the foot dragging, obfuscation, perjury, and similar tactics drag the hearings and investigations out. That tenure of the investigation is then being used as proof that there is nothing there and that the committee chair is an incompetent boob (as per Bob Beckel).

In previous scandals of this weight, members of both parties – and the MSM – were after the evidence. Not this time. Again, the fact that the investigation is partisan is being used as an upside down excuse. The party doing the obstruction, the party with members involved in collusion, is using partisanship to condemn the investigation and to cover over transparency and accountability.

Worried, yet?

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Facism, thoughtcrimes, and the rule of the mob

John Hayward with More on donor lists and the Mozilla oppression:

“The intimidation factor will be huge with corporations, who don’t want to suffer through boycotts or corporate character assassinations; the path of least resistance will involve quietly checking the politics of high-profile hires, to make sure they haven’t voted or spoken in a way that might touch off the mob.  Those who seek such high-profile positions will understand that their political credentials must be kept in good order; the exercise of free speech, or providing financial support to certain issues, will be judged far more trouble than it’s worth.

“That’s how fascism works, and while you might be chilled to the bone by reading the previous paragraph, rest assured that Eich’s tormentors are delighted – it describes precisely the environment they wished to create. ”

“you can see why the improper disclosure of donor information is so unnerving to groups that oppose the dominant political culture, and why the IRS’ demands for such information from targeted Tea Party and pro-life groups were so oppressive.  There is every reason to believe Obama levels of corruption will lead such information to pass from the government to activists groups, sooner or later – and even if it’s four years later, as was the case with Brendan Eich’s little Prop 8 donation, damage can still be done.

“Such a level of paranoia is entirely unbecoming a free republic. ”

“Ultimately, the power rests with We The People. …  It is the destiny of free people to vigorously oppose totalitarianism, even when – no, especially when - the totalitarians hold a position on some issue that we personally agree with.  The method is the enemy, not its professed objectives.”

Also see Sally Zelikovsky on Brendan Eich and the new American totalitarian state.

“in the end, his personal liberties, reasonableness,  and competence couldn’t survive the pitch forks and threats.” … “This isn’t new:  we have seen it take place on a national level with Chick-fil-A.” … “This is NOT about Prop 8, gay marriage and religion.  That is just the context in which this latest abuse has come to be.  It is about the freedom — in your personal life — to believe as you do, support the candidates and issues you want, and to be left in peace to do so without fear of recrimination at the place where you make your livelihood.”

And then, see how all this fits with Professor Hanson’s One California for me, another for thee.

“Professing that you are progressive can be wise California politics. It means you sound too caring ever to do bad things, while the costly consequences of your ideology usually fall on someone else. And that someone is usually less hip, less wealthy and less powerful.”

There was a book written about how the state controlled thoughtcrimes not all that long ago. It was considered science fiction and fantasy just a generation or two ago. Perhaps it is another example of fiction and fantasy becoming fact — worried, yet?

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How sick it is

Matthew Garret illustrates just how bad it gets in a discussion about Mozilla and Leadership:

“A CEO who’s donated money to strip rights[4] from a set of humans will not be trusted by many who believe that all humans should have those rights. It’s not just limited to individuals directly affected by his actions – if someone’s shown that they’re willing to strip rights from another minority for political or religious reasons, what’s to stop them attempting to do the same to you? Even if you personally feel safe, do you trust someone who’s willing to do that to your friends? In a community that’s made up of many who are either LGBT or identify themselves as allies, that loss of trust is inevitably going to cause community discomfort.”

There is the a priori assumption that a belief in traditional marriage strips the rights of a “set of humans.” That assumption leads to the idea that it is one’s opinions that creates trust in a community, not one’s behavior. Then there is the elevation of ‘community comfort’ as superior to an individual’s views. Behind all of this is that it is not behavior that is at issue but rather feelings and emotions.

Basically, what Garrett is saying is that you can only trust someone who believes the same as you and that anyone who disagrees with you is untrustworthy and can be accused of causing social discord as a means to ostracize them (or worse). This is much the same idea as in the SCOTUS minority position by Breyer in regards to campaign finance (re Volokh Conspiracy). It is that freedom and liberty in speech only exist so as to serve the community, not to protect the individual. How that ‘serve the community’ is defined is the question and Garrett is providing an answer for how he thinks it should be defined.

worried, yet?

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Silence! (or else)

“This sort of totalitarianism is not unique to the gay marriage issue. Global warming hysterics are now arguing that those who disagree with them should be imprisoned. Seriously; even though it is the realists, not the alarmists, who win all the arguments. When you can’t win the argument, what do you do? Throw your opponent in jail, or get him fired. Liberals have no intention of living in a pluralistic society. They want to wipe you out, or at a minimum force you underground. And if you don’t fight back, they will succeed, just as they did with Brendan Eich.”

John Hinderaker says it is Today’s most ominous news story. One CEO hounded out of employment due to politcal views. 

If you think this is ominous, then look at the logic of the minority in the recent SCOTUS decision regarding campaign finance limitations and free speech.

worried, yet?

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If your hero is a criminal: payback?

“There is a growing toxic movement in some corners of the country that are perfectly willing to accept criminal acts in the election and furtherance of a broader progressive agenda,” former Justice Department Voting Section attorney J. Christian Adams said during a March 25 interview on “The Steve Malzberg Show” on Newsmax TV.

One of the arguments often offered against voter ID laws is that there isn’t any voter fraud so there’s no need for laws to prevent it. Then there are cases like that of Melowese Richardson. KNIGHT: Vote fraud as ‘payback time’ Ballot abuse strikes at the heart of self-government takes up the reality.

“A criminal investigation in Iowa turned up 80 cases of potential voter fraud. Many recent legislative races in Iowa were decided by fewer than 100 votes, including 10 decided by fewer than 50 votes.

“A similar report by a Philadelphia city commissioner in 2012 chronicled multiple instances of voter fraud through impersonation, double voting and voting by noncitizens.

“To all of this, the left’s election think tank, the George Soros-funded Brennan Center at New York University, has a uniform answer: There are so few prosecuted cases of vote fraud out of millions of ballots cast that it makes no difference.”

“When someone like poll worker Melowese Richardson is feted after being convicted of fraud, it strikes at the heart of election integrity — and self-government.

“She’ll probably turn up next in Chicago, where she could go beyond poll work and get herself elected to something or other.”.

The list of heroes for the left is long and sordid. The spilling of blood and a lack of integrity seem to be honored rather than despised.  What would happen if society went this way?

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Feeding the Zombies and doomsday movements

Russell Cook on Smearing Climate Skeptics

“As even die-hard enthusiasts for the global warming scare campaign begin to admit that they are losing the battle to keep the public alarmed, it is time to examine how this doomsday movement has been sustained for two decades.”

Then Don Boudreaux quotes Cassidy on Piketty on Income Inequality

“First, by repeatedly describing the incomes of the rich as being “taken” and “took,” Mr. Cassidy misleadingly suggests that income is a fixed-size pie. Why not, instead, describe incomes more accurately, as being “produced” and “earned”?”

Common tactics in both arguments. Demonize and smear the opposition. Misrepresent reality. Feed uncertainty and feer and envy and hate. Distort the language as need be. Assume a mantle of hubris. Insist on moral authority and be persistent in attacking any opposition anywhere, anytime, anyhow and anyway.

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Picking your villains

The Senate Majority Leader got going on his favorite villains on the floor of the Senate despite propriety or reason. That was just another episode of attacks the left has been using to personalize the debate. Murdock thinks the Liberal critics of Koch brothers ignore their philanthropy.

The Kochs’ critics are free to disagree with the Kansas industrialists and their libertarian ideas. However, most who despise the Kochs would be shocked by what these “greedy capitalists” do with their profits, beyond campaign donations.

Medicine, arts, environment, education … The real story is one of the typical successful American Capitalist. It stands in contrast to the story of the wealthy individuals in most of the rest of the world, how they acquire their wealth, and what they do with it. Take Russia, for instance …

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The ol’ AGW extreme weather thing.

“Is the president giving orders to his science adviser to make the case that carbon-dioxide emissions are the cause of weather disasters in the United States despite the best science that argues otherwise? Or is his science adviser misinforming the president as to what the collection of science actually says, leading him to pursue carbon-dioxide regulation where it is not needed?

In either case, the situation is badly in need of repair.”

The common view, accepted as axiomatic by many, is that it is Republicans that are “anti-science.” KNAPPENBERGER: Mainstreaming fringe science with John Holdren – “The White House science adviser confuses global-warming fact and fancy” is yet another explanation that belief isn’t necessarily reality, especially on the left.

The Anthropogenic created and caused Global Warming side of ‘humans are a cancer on the planet’ religion has taken a hit recently as there hasn’t been any global warming for a decade or more and there hasn’t been a rise in the incidence of severe weather. That tends to make the proponents anxious and defensive which shows in dissonance behaviors. That gets ugly. Jeffrey T. Brown describes the resulting behavior in Zero Tolerance, Evil Objects, and the Psychosis of the Left

“Indeed, in the example of guns, they expressly believe that some firearms possess quantifiably greater evil than others, depending entirely on their appearance, despite being lifeless objects. An equivalent belief would be that a paring knife is certainly evil, but a carving knife is purely demonic. To a rational person, such an unhinged thought process more than merely hints at lunacy. Inanimate objects do not possess inherent evil. It can’t be built in, absorbed or grown inside a gun. In fact, the only things on Earth that have that ability are people. And yet, despite living in a world defined by reality, evidence, facts, logic and physics, progressives deny all truths that conflict with their beliefs. They practice pure, unadulterated anti-intellectualism. They have substituted magic and mythology for truth.”

The issue is one of control over others and that is why the ‘anti-science’ behavior is primarily a behavior of the left. Sometimes, whether it is climate or guns or medicine or nutrition, the need to force others to behave in accord with fantasy completely overwhelms reality.

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The Nixon legacy

“There are a few differences, however, between the transgressions of Nixon and Mr. Obama, and America’s reaction to them.

The old watchdogs of civil liberties that took on Nixon — the America media of the Watergate era — are now silent. For them, Mr. Obama is not right-wing, easily caricatured, unappealing or an old anti-communist agitator, but an iconic liberal, charismatic, and in the past, an experienced community organizer.

A Democratic Senate majority now has little interest in auditing Mr. Obama, though it once zealously pounced on Nixon’s misdeeds.

If you once suggested that Nixon’s team was violating constitutional principles, you were hailed as speaking truth to power. Try that with the progressive Mr. Obama and you are likely to be caricatured as some sort of embittered Tea Party zealot at best, a retrograde racist at worst.

Nixon ended impeached and disgraced; Mr. Obama may well enjoy a lucrative and in-demand post-presidency.”

HANSON: Obama walks the trail blazed by Nixon. “The president’s abuse of power matches his predecessor’s.

Fonda, Kerry, Snowdon, Clinton, Reid, Obama – who your heroes? They define you. Is that really what you value and admire?

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A crusade for intolerance

“The Constitution is not an atheist manifesto. Despite constant agitation, the cross will continue to stand to honor the fallen, for those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice.

“A small but vocal band of agitators should not be allowed to dishonor the heroes who have fought and died for our freedom.

“At the American Center for Law and Justice, we’re fighting back, and the American people are standing with us. We are filing amicus briefs in a number of these cases, and more than 40,000 people have signed our petition to defend the cross and honor our heroes.”

Jordan Sekulow and Matthew Clark describe how Atheists’ zealotry in dismantling crosses dishonors the fallen. “Militant nonbelievers pursue obsession with eradicating symbol of historic sacrifice.”

This is another case of a group trying to foist their beliefs on society at large for reasons that are buried deep in the emotions.

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IRS behavior and the Lerner problem

“Lerner apparently believed the Obama administration needed to do something to undermine the Supreme Court decision in the Citizens United case, that wonderful pro-First Amendment ruling that drives left-wingers into fits of apoplexy by opening the door to corporate campaign contributions.”

Famously, President Nixon tried to use the IRS as a political tool but the IRS wouldn’t go along. Things have changed. Lois Lerner’s Lies and Cover-Up Revealed describes a Congressional report on IRS behavior about targeting right of center 501c4 nonprofit advocacy groups during the 2010 and 2012 election cycle.

The defense against proper action on such evidence is awsome, unified, and horrific. Consider, as one instance, Elijah Cummings well publicized stunt after Lerner plead the fifth, again. Massive corruption, the abuse of political power, and other threats to proper governance are on display. The effectiveness of the defense will be seen and the prognosis is questionable.

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Reed thinks they are evil: delusion and denial

John Hinderaker wonders if it is A New Low for Liberal Haters. David Koch gave the New York-Presbyterian Hospital $100 million toward construction of a new outpatient facility.That effort has generated all sorts of protest.

“A rational person would wonder: if David Koch is opposed to affordable health care, why would he donate $100 million to a hospital? Won’t his contribution help to make health care more affordable?”
 …
“David Koch is a cancer survivor who has given hundreds of millions of dollars to cancer research and to improve the treatment of cancer and other diseases, out of love and concern for his fellow man. Liberals try to block improved health care because they are consumed by rage and hate. This episode tells you, really, all you need to know about modern liberalism.”

What is it that drives one to such self destruction.

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About public accommodation rules

“When the hardcore logic of the libertarian freedom philosophy collides with the larger emotion-based responses to real world discrimination, arguments sometimes go utterly nowhere. There isn’t a debate that can be had when the two sides don’t even agree on what words like slavery and freedom even mean.”

Scott Shackford says Nobody, Gay or Straight, Has the Right to a Wedding Cake. “Rather than arguing over who can discriminate or why, look at what goods and services actually need government protection through public accommodation laws.”

The issue is the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the expansion of its definition of public accommodations. In the process, topics such as historical abuse of property rights and the concept of the government forcing selected behaviors are mentioned. The emotional burden in the debate is described as clouding progress.

“Maybe instead of arguing who should or shouldn’t be exempt from certain public accommodation laws, perhaps we should be looking more closely at what’s included in public accommodation laws. That’s really where the wiggle room is.” … “What we should take from that is that perhaps our public accommodation laws are too broad. There is a place in the American consciousness that allows for respect for property rights and freedom of association even if it leads to behavior many agree is bigoted.”

The question is that of just how much one citizen must bow to the preferences of another. That becomes a more significant problem when one citizen is demanding behaviors that help him confirm the validity of what he knows is likely deviant.

 

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Silence speaks volumens but sometimes time is needed to hear the word

“One might almost think that the antiwar movement was all about politics, not principle. That it was really an anti-Bush, anti-Republican movement. And that once a Democrat was in the White House, its purpose had been served and the protest signs went into the trash. There is precedent for this, as we have written before. The anti-Vietnam war movement, which also was celebrated by the press, wasn’t really a movement against the Vietnam war. It was led mostly by people who were not at all opposed to the war, but wanted the other side to win. The rank and file were not so much anti-war as they were anti-draft. On the day the draft was abolished, the anti-Vietnam war movement ended. Whatever you think of the merits of the Vietnam war, there never was anything noble or idealistic about the anti-war movement.

History may, perhaps, say the same thing about those who protested the Iraq war so passionately, but have been so strangely silent about Afghanistan.”

John Hinderaker is wondering what happened to the antiwar movement? He observes that these ‘anti-war’ movements aren’t really that at all but rather a ‘pro-enemy anti-U.S.’ political expression. Hidden agendas, socialism oriented terror and violence, and much misery and death, over and over again. When will we ever learn?

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Blame shifting, the California Drought, and the climate bogeyman

The IBD says California’s Drought Isn’t Due To Global Warming, But Politics. The President illustrates the point.

“His aim, however, is not a long-term solution for California’s now-constant water shortages that have hit its $45 billion agricultural industry, but to preach about global warming. Instead of blaming the man-made political causes of California’s worst water shortage, he’s come with $2 billion in “relief” that’s nothing but a tired effort to divert attention from fellow Democrats’ dereliction of duty in using the state’s water infrastructure.”

The fact is that a system of aqueducts and storage was designed long ago to take care of normal droughts and water cycles. Recent ‘environmental’ policy has been to set aside that system to promote a more ‘natural’ state. That results in misery and poverty as the $45 billion California agricultural business is laid to waste. That, in turns, leads to seeking out a bogeyman to blame the misery on. Human caused climate catastrophe is a much more comfortable excuse than ignorance and stupidity.

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Little (useless) cuts

One tactic for the phalanx of advocacy groups is that of death via a thousand small cuts. The 2nd ammendment brouhaha illustrates this. A Washington Times FoIA request reveals that Current background checks stop very few firearm purchases. Another recent story is about how minor cosmetic changes to an ‘assault rifle’ made it comply with New York law. Then there’s the recent 9th Circuit ruling against San Diego in regards to the rights to carry as well as own firearms.

The fundamental assumption that gun ownership is positively correlated with crime has been shown to be faulty but that doesn’t seem to have any impact on the phalanx. Making it difficult to own a firearm on the pretext of keeping the felons and insane from owning guns also appears to be a worthless effort – unless you consider hassling citizens in expressing Constitutional freedoms a plus. The assault weapons ban has repeatedly been shown to be meaningless, but that doesn’t stop renewed efforts time and again as in New York.

Then there is efforts to restrict ammunition types and access. On and On it goes. Results don’t seem to matter. Neither do effects or implications. That should be the biggest worry.

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The evil demon. Really?

Thomas Lifson takes a look at the Stuff Bush didn’t do.

“In the face of five years of Obama failure, the American Left still invokes the specter of George W. Bush as the all-purpose explanation for everything that has gone wrong. Yet the 43rd president is steadily climbing in public esteem, as his sunny disposition and serious demeanor toward the duties of office sit well in the public memory. So, too, his dignified behavior as ex-president brings credit.

“One good way to force the Left to confront President Obama’s own responsibility for his conduct in office is to compare his abuses of office with the record of President Bush 43, who was reviled by by his opposition as a dictator-wannabe, Constitution-abusing, moronic ogre straddling the line between simian and human. Doug Ross of Director Blue has produced an amusing comic-book approach toward explaining the differences between the two men:

This particular phenomena exposes the ‘both sides do it’ fallacy. The extremes are to place complete blame on one side or the other with the ‘both equally culpable’ as a supposed moderate, in the middle position. Integrity demands a better placement of responsibility for behavior and evaluation of the consequences and implications.

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