Saturday, May 31, 2008
Following his end of the year review, Mark's exit exams ranked his intelligence as "superior."
That's a point for those who think that we are the sum of our genes...
Then again, he does live with me, so that's also a point for environment...
Will we ever settle this debate?
My guess is that golf guy will have no idea why this is funny. Nothing against him, it's just humor for the post-Nixon generation.
(I was going to say post-Johnson administration, but I didn't want him to think that I meant Andrew Johnson).
It was this moment more than a decade ago that made me a hockey fan.
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
I wonder if Spike Lee is angry that no Hispanics were cast in Shaka Zulu. Also, no Persians were in North to Alaska. I, quite frankly, am offended that no humans were in March of the Penguins.
Many wonder what the displaced people will do, since jobs and housing are scarce in the region.
Here's an idea. Move. Comedian Sam Kinnison said it best, about how really to help the starving people in Africa. Don't send food. Send U-Hauls. If you don't like the effects of hurricanes, then move the hell out of hurricane central. Seriously, if you don't like tobacco smoke, then you choose the no-smoking section of a restaurant. And yes, it's just that simple. I don't like really cold weather, so I don't live in Nome, Alaska. I don't like really hot weather, so I don't live in Death Valley, California--not that I love the winters and summers in Michigan, but they are tolerable.
But FEMA isn't willing to leave one vagrant behind:
"FEMA found an apartment in Baton Rouge for [29 year old Alton] Love and his daughter, who lived at a New Orleans housing project before Katrina."
To me, that sounds like Alton Love's damn job, but whatever. He has a habitable place reserved for him in the state's capitol--yeah feds!
And still the socialists whine, "But after the government pays for the first month, Love has to pay the rent."
Is that supposed to be alarming to us, that the man will have to pay rent for living in someone else's property? Should you or I have to pay rent for this man? Hell no. If this guy won't get a job and provide for himself and his daughter, then relocate him about 200 miles south of Baton Rouge.
Sunday, May 25, 2008
Friday, May 23, 2008
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
To my knowledge, there weren't many African-Americans even at Iwo Jima, so the fact that they aren't depicted in the film does not necessarily represent neglect. The only African Americans that I can think of at that battle were members of the 11th Marine Depot Company and 7th Marine Ammunition Company. Both of these companies served as support for the assaulting soldiers. Since the point of the two films was to depict the men who fought at Iwo Jima, including African Americans would have been mere pandering.
Never you fear, however, for Spike Lee has found the remedy. What he wants is World War II film that fairly depicts the war as a joint white and black American operation.
Said Lee, "Many veterans, African-Americans, who survived that war are upset at Clint Eastwood. In his vision of Iwo Jima, Negro soldiers did not exist. Simple as that. I have a different version," Lee said.
Lee's solution? Miracle at St. Anna, a film that will center around an all-black division fighting in Tuscany, Italy. I can't wait for Eastwood to respond, "Many veterans, white-Americans, who survived that war are upset at Spike Lee. In his vision of the Italian campaign, white soldiers did not exist..."
Besides, who in the hell can take a guy named "Spike" seriously? What makes it worse is that he changed his name to Spike. His given name is Shelton. Now I can understand changing Shelton, but to Spike?
"Mama says, 'stupid is as stupid does.'"
Monday, May 19, 2008
Friday, May 16, 2008
In an article entitled "The Lincoln War Crimes Trial: A History Lesson" Dr. Clyde Wilson's narrative is absurd in many parts. Mostly, it is far too generous to the Confederates. Wilson does this, probably, because it makes Lincoln look so much worse. Truthfully, this wasn't necessary. Lincoln's record speaks volumes for itself.
Most of the article can be dismissed, but it is worth looking at the idea of Lincoln being charged with war crimes.
Assuming that Lee had won at Gettysburg--which he would have done, had Jackson been alive--the Confederacy would have almost certainly gained its independence. Furthermore, given Lincoln's violation of human rights in both the United States and the Confederate states, as well as his "Final Solution"--as executed by Generals Grant, Sherman, and Sheridan--"Honest" [pronounced "dis-Honest"] Abe would have found himself in quite a fix.
Dr. Wilson provides a list of indictments upon which Lincoln would have been tried. It's worth noting that most of these crimes were committed against the loyal citizens of the United States. Only the last indictment concerns Confederates.
- Violation of the Constitution and his oath of office by invading and waging war against states that had legally and democratically withdrawn their consent from his government, inaugurating one of the cruelest wars in recent history.
- Subverting the duly constituted governments of states that had not left the Union, thereby subverting their constitution right to "republican form of government."
- Raising troops without the approval of Congress and expending funds without appropriation.
- Suspending the writ of habeas corpus and interfering with the press without due process, imprisoning thousands of citizens without charge or trial, and closing courts by military force where no hostilities were occurring.
- Corrupting the currency by manipulations and paper swindles unheard of in previous US history.
- Fraud and corruption by appointees and contractors with his knowledge and connivance.
- Continuing the war by raising ever-larger bodies of troops by conscription and hiring of foreign mercenaries and refusing to negotiate in good faith for an end to hostilities.
- Confiscation of millions of dollars of property by his agents in the South, especially cotton, without legal proceedings.
- Waging war against women and children and civilian property as the matter of policy (rather than as unavoidably incident to combat).
The president's oath of office is ''I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.''
The key, I think, to getting Lincoln on this one is in the last phrase, "and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States."
Lincoln's most egregious acts (as to this charge):
- Raising an army. While Article II, Section 2, Clause 1 of the Constitution defines the President as "Commander in Chief of hte Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several states. . ." it does not grant him the power to call the army into action. This power is reserved to Congress in Article I, Section 8, Clauses 11 (power to declare war) and 12 (power to raise an army). Clearly, Lincoln violated the principle of Separation of Powers. Those who defend Lincoln on this, claim that he had to act without Congress's consent because Congress was not in session. However, the Constitution provides for such an event in Article II, Section 3: "he may, on extraordinary occasions, convene both Houses or either of them." Lincoln did not call a special session of Congress, for he wanted no inhibitions.
- As for waging war against the Confederate States, consider that Lincoln himself argued that the Confederate States could not have possibly seceded, since secession was illegal. Therefore, Lincoln waged war against states in his own country (if you want to follow Lincoln's logic). This clearly violates Article IV, Section 4 which reads, "The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government, and shall protect each of them against Invasion. . ." Since Lincoln invaded the states which he considered to be part of the United States, he clearly violated the constitution. However, if we're to accept the argument that the Confederate States did justly secede, then Lincoln invaded an independent country that posed no threat to his jurisdiction. Either way, Lincoln did a bad, bad thing.
- Lincoln suspended the writ of habeas corpus in his own states in order to imprison over 13,000 critics, including the outspoken Clement C. Vallendingham of Ohio. Men were arrested and imprisoned without trial and held at the President's pleasure. Others were tried by military tribunals, even though civilian courts were operational in the area. In Ex-Parte Merriman, Supreme Court Chief Justice Roger B. Taney ruled that this was unconstitutional--especially since only Congress can suspend habeas corpus, and even then only in "Cases of Rebellion or Invasion of the public Safety may require it" (AI, S9, C2). Since Ohio was neither in rebellion nor had it been invaded, neither Lincoln nor even Congress could suspend habeas corpus there. Lincoln responded by ordering Taney's arrest (but he never executed the warrant).
To the fourth indictment, see the comments on the second indictment.
To the fifth indictment:
- Article I, Section 8, Clause 5 does grant Congress the power to coin money. Since "greenbacks" were authorized by The Legal Tender Act of 1862, it was constitutional (but unwise--by the end of 1863, a greenback dollar was worth less than $.40 in coin).
- Maj. Gen. Benjamin F. Butler, a political appointee (he was a valuable "War Democrat") defrauded the United States government and stole from, murdered (e.g. E. Mumford), and tyrannized the people of New Orleans. Lincoln knew about it, and he did nothing. I wrote a 107 page paper for my MA on Butler's reputation--whether it was deserved or not. Trust me, it was deserved.
- Lincoln refused to meet with Confederate dignitaries, for that would be an admission of their legitimacy as an independent country. The Conscription Act, however, was the work of the Republicans in Congress.
- Read up on Butler. Email me, and I'll send you my paper. It's too darn lengthy to post here.
- Here Lincoln is clearly guilty of what the international community currently defines as war crimes, or crimes against humanity. Grant, Sherman, and Sheridan openly practiced what they euphemized as "Total War," and Lincoln endorsed the practice. Read The Hard Hand of War by Mark Grimsley. Sherman's argument that war is Hell doesn't justify what he did. The defense that "Total War" brought an earlier end to the war--and was thus better for all--is also a sham. I don't know about you, but every time I look at historical applications of "the ends justify the means," I don't get a warm, fuzzy feeling inside.
Thursday, May 15, 2008
By far, The Stand is King's best work. Seriously, it was my favorite novel up until I read Orwell's Animal Farm, then Orwell's 1984, then F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby, and finally--for the last decade--Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged.
However, what got me thinking about this was the final conflict in The Dead Zone, one of King's earlier novels.
SPOILER ALERT--If you've never read The Dead Zone but would like to do so, then reading this post any farther might reveal a bit too much.
In The Dead Zone, the protagonist survives a ghastly accident. After a lengthy coma and lengthier recovery, he gets his act back together but finds that he now has a special ESP. When he touches certain things or people, he can often see into those things' futures.
While he puts this new power to some good use--capturing a serial killer (he might have also been a serial rapist--I can't remember precisely because I was 12 when I read the book, and I'll be 32 this August)--in general, this "gift" is a curse to him.
At one point, he manages to shake hands with a populist candidate for the presidency, and he sees the man's future. In that future, he sees the man unjustly start World War III--nuclear weapons and all.
The protagonist struggles with this revelation, for his "visions" have never once been wrong. What comes up is the old question: "If you could go back in time and kill Hitler before WWII and the Holocaust, would you?"
It's a silly question--at least as long as time travel is not possible. However, even if time travel were to become possible, it's not so simple. Changing the past inevitably changes the future in massive and unexpected ways--just watch Back to the Future or study Chaos Theory's "Butterfly Effect."
But King presents this issue in a different way. Killing the populist candidate for president will not alter the past, it will only alter the future.
Given this man's record of 100% accuracy, would he be justified in killing the populist?
I say yes. Kill him, if there's no other way.
Intentionally killing another person is not an issue to be taken lightly. However, if there is a good enough degree of certainty that a man poses a threat to the lives of others, then using deadly force against him is, as St. Augustine described, jus ad bellum (literally: just cause of war, but essentially to mean the righteous use of violence against another).
If a man were to break into my house and pose a threat to my family, he would meet as many bullets as I could discharge before he was no longer a threat. If I didn't have access to my pistol, then I'd use whatever means I had to reduce his threat. If he died in the process, I would not be culpable of murder. Sure, I committed homicide (literally, the killing of a man), but it was justifiable homicide.
St. Augustine formed the theological justification of war because Christianity is, at its heart, a pacifist religion (don't ask me why so many Christians are willing to use violent force to get their way--such scenarios aren't about Christianity, but are instead about human wickedness, a fact that Christianity accepts de facto, lest Christ's sacrifice was unnecessary).
What St. Augustine needed to do was explain that Christians should abide by the principles of faith, hope, and love, but that it was perfectly reasonable to use violence in defense of oneself or another innocent.
I agree, and that is why I oppose the death penalty.
If it's only just to kill a man who poses a real threat to the lives of others, then capital punishment is not just.
Capital punishment is only possible once the offender has been apprehended, imprisoned, put on trial, imprisoned some more, and then finally killed. At the time of his or her execution, the subject in question no longer poses a threat to anyone. Therefore, capital punishment is not justice. It is murder.
And now my random (but also rational) string of thought has reached an end. Also, I have to pee really bad. So I bid you adieu.
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
This is the best movie ever made. See it, if you haven't yet.
Once you've seen it and fallen in love with it, read Vardis Fischer's "The Mountain Man"--upon which the movie was based.
Also influential to the movie was "The Crow Killer" by whom I can't remember because BAR has my copy. It's kind of an oral/narrative history of the real Johnston--a man not much like the one in the film.
I hate McCain. She just doesn't like him.
However, she plans to vote for McCain because she so opposes whichever of the other two win the democratic nomination.
She is like many Americans, and that, ladies and gentlemen, is why we accomplish nothing good via our current party system.
It's a good thing that she has other enduring qualities, lest I should find myself unable to forgive her for such foolishness.
It has been said before, and I'll say it again: The lesser of two evils is still evil. Choose good. Only then can you count yourself absolved of the deluge.
If we're to take that Ohio judge's verdict as a precedent, then every father in Detroit whose kids don't finish high school should have 180 days added to their current prison sentences...
Prison should exist only to protect innocent people. This man was no threat to the life, liberty, or property of others, but now he has to spend six months in jail. Then again, this is government in action.
I may live to be one hundred years old and never again hear of a worse exercise of judicial power.
Monday, May 12, 2008
Sunday, May 11, 2008
In fact, the men and women at the root of the environmental movement, I believe, no that no such link between human activity and climate exists. However, they so passionately wish for everyone to conform to their ideals, that they are willing to propagate the lie.
Since the average person is, in general, a content ignoramus, the modern-day eco-movement has applied four important strategies. In fact, if you look at the strategies, it seems that the bulk of the eco-movement originates in marketing fields, not scientific ones.
These strategies include
1. Creating demand by breeding discontent and spreading fear.
2. Finding celebrity spokesmen.
3. Citing experts (4 of 5 dentists recommend chewing Trident...)
4. Employing a catchy slogan.
First, the average, content ignoramus needs to feel discontented and newly empowered with "knowledge." The ecoists can accomplish this in one fell swoop with an ambuscade of quips, out-of-context statistics, images, and video clips.
Because the ignorami have no real prior knowledge by which to weigh the ecoists' assertions, most are led to believe the assertions. This belief is solidified with powerful imagery, almost all of which is made not to touch one's intellect and reason, but to pull at one's emotions and fears.
This makes for a great commercial, for it advertises a product (in this case environmentalism) and manufactures consumer demand for it. What's missing? How about celebrity spokesmen?
Check out the cute little polar bear next to cute little Leo. Unfortunately, images like this pretty much sum up what the average person knows of and can think of in regards to climate change. This angle also works great for kids. A child may not be able to fathom the really frightening ecoist projections, but if you can convince them that cute little penguins and adorable polar bears are in danger, then you've got yourself a children's crusade (how'd that last one go? They were convinced of the need to take up arms and liberate the Holy Land--apparently there weren't enough grown ups willing to do it anymore--but instead most of them were captured and sold into slavery).
To further demand, "experts" are called in to speak. Men like Al Gore, a politician who cries wolf because he's the guy in town who owns the wolfbusters franchise.
Of course there are real scientists who are on board with the ecoists, but no one ever seems ask two important questions: 1.) Are these scientists ecoists themselves with their own agenda? and 2.) Do these men and women stand to profit from climate-change alarmism?
I believe that the southern states had the right to secede from the union in 1860-61, but if you throw a few million dollars toward me, then I'll write you an essay about how Lincoln is descended from the same Merovingian line as Jesus himself (if you haven't read The Da Vinci Code then that joke makes little sense.
Don't hope that the media will work to uncover this scam. The media knows and adores the very rules by which the ecoists are playing: If it bleeds, it leads. When people are scared, they tune in.
Here's an interesting read on the potential benefits of climate change.
Finally, what the boys in the marketing department need to do is find a simple and mandating slogan, something akin to Nike's "Just Do It." How about "Go Green"?
So, I'm basically arguing that the whole "stop climate change" movement is little more than a marketing campaign run by frustrated ecoists who truly believe that the ends justify the means. The ends, in this case, being a drastic change in human social, political, and economic behavior. The means being a great fabrication to make people think that if they don't change, then everyone is going to die.
Is there anything from history upon which I might base this accusation?
Just as there's no one running around saying that pollution is good, few people were running around in the early 20th century arguing that cocaine was good.
Let's be honest. Cocaine is bad. It isn't much more than a highly addictive poison.
However, back then most southerners thought that the federal government ought to leave people alone to make their own mistakes and suffer from them; that the only just cause for using the coercive powers of government was to prevent the injury of one's rights by another.
However, cocaine use and addiction is bad, but it only harms the user.
This leaves the prohibitionists with a problem. They want to get rid of cocaine, but they can't convince enough people and/or legislators that cocaine--bad as it is--represents a threat to everyone.
Enter Dr. Christopher Koch, who testified before Congress: "Most of the attacks upon the white women of the South are the direct result of a cocaine-crazed Negro brain."
And just like that, southern Congressmen voted in line with northerners to pass the Harrison Narcotics Tax Act, which effectively criminalized cocaine use.
The point here is not to argue that the drug war is based upon a scam (a variation of that--the drug war is ineffective--is, perhaps, the subject of another post). The point is that "Green Laws" and such are the product of the same malicious tactics that made the Harrison Narcotics Tax Act.
The truth is in the details. The "facts" given by the ecoists are not presented to reason but to fear, and the "experts" have a vested financial interest in the movement.
What they've got is a good, simple slogan: "Go Green." Other simple and powerful slogans:
"Resistance is futile."
"War is peace."
"Freedom is slavery."
"Ignorance is strength."
"Yo quiero Taco Bell."
Monday, May 05, 2008
"There's room at the top," they are telling you still,
"But first you must learn how to smile as you kill,
If you want to be like the folk's on the hill."
That might be the best definition of Hillary yet. For her supporters, as John Lennon says, "You're still f***ing peasants, as far as I can see."
The problem is that it's not really that simple. If my position is one of maximum liberty for all, then of what material do I build the "bridge" between my position and those in favor of less liberty? If my position is to restrict the federal government to its constitutional limits, then of what material do I build the "bridge" between my position and those in favor of a government with fewer or no constitutional limits?
Who builds bridges between themselves and hostiles?--and yes, I define anything that represents an erosion of liberty as hostile. Liberty is an unalienable right. As Jefferson correctly observed, this is "self-evident." So why must we debate it?
"Congress shall pass no law" means exactly that. If you want Congress to pass any laws abridging religion, speech, the press, assembly, or petition, then you must first amend the constitution. Ignoring the constitution simply makes it a scrap of paper to be discarded upon any whim.
I'm not ranting here just about the government's presumption to define marriage and use violence against those who do not conform. I'm ranting here about how willing people are to cut and paste the constitution and the very essence of liberty. "Oh, I like this application of liberty, so I'm going to paste it here; eek! I loathe this application liberty, so I'm going to delete it."
That's not how it works.
Napoleon said "A constitution should be short and obscure."
Napoleon wanted to conquer the world and proclaim himself the emperor of all humanity.
Either wish for a constitution that is firm in its application, or pay homage to your emperor.
Sunday, May 04, 2008
This is a joke, but consider. Only a federally subsidized organization would include helium in its life support system.
That said, I am bothered by politicians who pledge to cut taxes but make no such promises to decrease spending--hence the gas tax "holiday" debate.
Taxes must be cut! But also federal spending must be cut! If you can't cut spending, then you'd better not reduce your revenues. Otherwise, your credit goes to hell. That's econ 101.
Hillary Clinton and John McCain seem to support the idea of a temporary injunction against the federal gas tax, but neither offer any support of cuts to offset the injunction. At least Barack Obama is consistent. He pledges to tax and spend us into poverty. The other two try to suggest that we can spend our way into prosperity, though any half-witted person can tell you that running debts up on your credit card will not make you a whit wealthier--unless your debts are an investment in something real and promising.
When the government spends more than it has, it decreases the value of the dollar. This becomes an "invisible" tax on consumers. Since the dollar is worth less, it costs more to buy things. Clever politicians blame greedy corporations on such price increases, but any intelligent person can see that the current rise in prices is due to poor fiscal policy.
Ron Paul offered a real solution to the tax burden. He would have seen taxes reduced in proportion to spending reductions. Among the various cuts in spending, the most important thing that he would have done was pull us out of Iraq. That alone, if done quickly, will probably save trillions (as opposed to McCain, who says that we should be in Iraq for 100 years, if "necessary"--who defines "necessary"? Hopefully not the military industrial complex!).
What about Clinton, who now, apparently, opposes the war but is on record as having supported it throughout her tenure as a senator?
Obama is able to claim that he never voted for the war, but he never had the opportunity to vote for the war. Ron Paul did have that opportunity, and he declined it. All of Obama's supposed opposition to the war in Iraq is made with the benefit of never having been put on the spot for it. Look at his record. It tells you that Obama is the consummate politician. When the war was popular, he would have voted for it--just as Clinton did. However, only Ron Paul stood up for actual principles and voted against the invasion.
In hindsight, Ron Paul was right about the invasion. Eventually, in hindsight, people will look back on this election and realize that they missed a golden opportunity when they overlooked Ron Paul.