Archive for the The United States Category

At Least Our Political Purges Are Nicer These Days

Posted in America, Current Events, government, governments, Political, Politics, The United States with tags , , on May 1, 2014 by FoolishReporter

Human skulls from the Killing Fields of Cambodia, 1981, photo by AP

Human skulls from the Killing Fields of Cambodia, 1981, photo by AP

 

I’m currently reading Steven Pinker’s massive tome: The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined. In the book, Pinker posits that the most recent decades and centuries of human history have been the least violent and most peaceful. Grabbing from a number of fields of study, Pinker is able to present a compelling argument that we do indeed live in the least violent and most peaceful era in human existence.

One of the main driving forces behind this drop in violence Pinker partially attributes to Norbert Elias’ idea of “The Civilizing Process.”  In this theory, its posited that the emergence of powerful states, combined with an increased emphasis on “good” behavior has been instrumental to making humans less animalistic and more civilized. As Pinker writes:

Elias’ theory, then attributes the decline in European violence to a larger psychological change…He proposed that over a span of several centuries, beginning in the 11th or 12th and maturing in the 17th or 18th, Europeans increasingly inhibited their impulses, anticipated the long-term consequences of their actions, and took other people’s thoughts and feelings into consideration. A culture of honor – the readiness to take revenge – gave way to a culture of dignity – the readiness to control one’s emotions.

He summed up his theory, which linked the centralization of state power to a psychological change in the populace, with a slogan: Warriors to courtiers.

So what does this have to do with the title of this post? Well, I would posit that the civilizing process has even creeped into the arena of political purges. We all know of the Killing Fields of Cambodia, Mao’s “Great Leap Forward” and Stalin and his brutality in dealing with dissenters, whether it was through direct physical violence or shipping them off to a labor camp in Siberia. Currently, we have a political climate that’s just as charged as any of those countries and movements already mentioned. But, perhaps because of the Civilizing Process, we no longer seem to resort to actual physical violence in our political purges.

One only need to think of Dan Cathy and Chick-fil-a, Brendan Eich, Phil Robertson of Duck Dynasty fame, or most recently, Donald Sterling, to get a firsthand taste of how our political purges work these days. While many of the people who stand opposed to those four men mentioned would probably happily see them dead, they know that’s no longer a viable option. Instead, the dynamic of the purge is to use economic violence to punish dissenters. In each case already mentioned, (and also in recent campaigns against Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh), the most rabid of the left use the threat of loss of sponsors and advertisers to get whomever is being targeted to repent in some way or another.

In Sterling’s case, it was a fine of $2.5 million dollars and a lifetime ban from the NBA. Eich was forced to step down as CEO of Mozilla, while Roberts and Cathy escaped mostly unscathed.

Regardless, it’s an odd, odd dynamic to watch the left gleefully destroy someone’s life for daring to participate in thoughtcrime. One can easily imagine that the most rabid voices of today’s political left would have certainly joined in a physically violent purge of dissenters, and probably would have done so gleefully.

So while it’s incredibly disturbing to see so many people gladly cheer on the destruction of people’s lives because they don’t share popular opinions, at least they’re a bit nicer these days and (typically) don’t result in the actual death of dissenters.

Aint this modern world grand?

NO DISSENT OR YOU WILL BE BEATEN : Religious Protester Attacked at Seattle Gay Pride Event

Posted in America, Conservative, Current Events, Freedom, God, Liberty, Political, Politics, Progressives, The United States with tags , , on July 3, 2013 by FoolishReporter

prideflag

 

Seattle’s KOMO News is reporting that two men were arrested after video surfaced of them assaulting a religious protester during Seattle’s recent Gay Pride event. Here’s the raw video:

Now, as you watch that, note that the two men being confronted were *NEVER* the aggressors. In fact, the sign the man is holding doesn’t even directly mention gays, but rather is that view that one finds among the devoutly religious about the state of sin that they believe the United States currently rests in. Also, again, notice, that they were never the aggressors and actively tried to avoid any physical confrontation with those who decided they were worthy of being harassed.

But, yannow, just remember it’s the right-wing that’s inherently violent and reeks of fascism.

LOL.

Equality, Inequality and the NBA

Posted in America, Conservative, Current Events, government, Liberty, The United States with tags , , , , , , on June 7, 2013 by FoolishReporter

 

 

 

lebron-james-dunks-while-knicks-watch-1024x692

LeBron James making the entire New York Knicks team look silly

 

jason_collins_156481445_620x350

Jason Collins, long-time NBA player and the first active professional athlete to “come out of the closet”

 

Americans are so enamoured of equality, that they would rather be equal in slavery, than unequal in freedom — Alexis De Tocqueville

I recently shared the above quote on Twitter the other day, and got a curious response from a follower on there, in which they asked how is it freedom if some people are inherently unequal to others? I replied by stating I didn’t know that equality and freedom were supposed to be the same thing. They, in turn, replied by saying that isn’t what they were implying. When I asked what exactly the question they were asking was trying to accomplish, I ended up getting crickets.

Regardless, de Tocqueville’s quote and the question from my friend raises an important issue in the argument between big government, social justice advocates and smaller government, free market advocates. Those who push for equal outcomes among people seem to ignore one simple fact about humans as a whole: we are unequal in almost all things when viewed on an individual to individual basis.

To illustrate this point, we’ll look at the two basketball players pictured above, LeBron James and Jason Collins. To begin with, don’t forget that all players in any professional sport are the top one percent of the top one percent. In the NBA’s case, there are approximately 450 players distributed among the 30 teams in the league. Again, keeping in mind that active NBA players likely represent the absolute best players in the world, the occurrence of inequality among humans is easy to see.

Collins, who most recently got publicity for announcing he’s gay, is, at best, a journeyman NBA player. In his 10+ year career in the league, Collins has averaged 1.1 points per game, and about six rebounds per game. LeBron, in his 10-year career, has averaged  nearly a triple-double over the course of his time in the league, with 25.1 points per game, and approximately 6 rebounds and 6 assists per game.

So, in the highest concentration of basetball talent in the world, you have two players who’s stats can’t be further apart. Accordingly, their salaries reflect the inequality in the amount of talent the two players have. For instance, Collins averages about 1 million a season, while LeBron’s earnings for the 2012-13 season were approximately 19 million. And, in this situation, to proclaim that Collins is deserving of Lebron’s salary is patently ridiculous.

And yet, that’s the argument that we hear all the time today from the left. Income inequality is through the roof, and the only just solution would be to try and provide for equalized outcomes for everyone. Pulling from our example above and applying it to a more everyday scenario, the left essentially suggests that a cashier in a Wal-Mart is deserving of a wage commensurate with that of a highly skilled worker or middle management.

Within the larger context of our society, equality and freedom are there, despite the inherent inequality among us. Because, you see, both Collins and LeBron had equality of opportunity to choose what to do with their lives. In turn, because of the equality of opportunity, one can also argue that their freedom is unrestricted as well.

Well, that’s it for today. The pain meds are making my brain foggy, and I’m surprised I was even able to spit out 600 words or so. Til next my time, my friends.

 

 

 

Seattle Leftists Give a Big THUMBS DOWN to First Amendment

Posted in Current Events, Freedom, God, government, Politics, Progressives, The United States with tags , , , , on April 24, 2013 by FoolishReporter

wildderp

 

In case you missed it, a florist in Richland, WA recently declined to provide the floral arrangements for a gay couple’s wedding, citing her relationship with Jesus Christ as the cause for her refusal. Unfortunately for her, the state of Washington has a Consumer Protection Act (CPA) which bars discrimination based on sexual orientation. The State’s Attorney General, Bob Ferguson, has indicated he will take the florist to court over her violation of the CPA, and the ACLU also chimed in, saying they’ll sue the woman if she doesn’t apologize, serves the gay couple, and also donates money to an LGBT charity.

The frustrating thing about this story is the simple fact that, a) the gay couple in question didn’t raise the alarm of this issue, as the linked above article indicates. Instead, it somehow got back to local news stations who took the story and ran with it, along with Seattle’s The Stranger, home of hate-filled asshole Dan Savage.

Now, as something of an expert troll, the absurdity of this story kind of struck me, so much so that I actually went comment thread trolling on the linked story above. To me, it’s a VERY strange thing to see people willfully cheering on using the power of the State to coerce someone to act against their beliefs, as is being done here. This woman’s beliefs made her say no, and, from all appearances, say no without a shred of hatred in her heart towards the couple. But, according to the lefty crowd in Seattle, she’s a hateful bigot who deserves anything that might come her way now.

Regardless, in part of my comment thread trolling, I quoted the First Amendment in full, highlighting the portion about “freedom of religion, or exercise thereof”. As far as I know, the 1st Amendment protects this woman from a state-level law. Someone within the thread also quoted the 14th Amendment at me, but that also seemed to support my position that coercing this woman to act against her beliefs by using the power of the state is a direct contradiction of either amendment.

But wow oh wow, wouldn’t ya know it. When I posted the First Amendment in full… well, see for yourselves:

10thumbsdownjpg

 

Notice anything funny there?

That’s right. 10 people gave a thumbs-down to the First Amendment.

Or, more simply, the lovely leftists in Seattle are basically telling anyone who disagrees with them to “shut up, and comply.”

Shaking my damn head.

Three Very Different Places With A Common Theme

Posted in America, Current Events, Democrat, government, The United States on March 28, 2013 by FoolishReporter

A run-down home in Detroit, MI via Yves Marchand and Romain Meffre

A run-down home in Detroit, MI via Yves Marchand and Romain Meffre

Twitter was all abuzz yesterday with live tweets of a Chicago Public Schools Teacher march in protest of the fact that 150 public schools have to be shut down in order to try and get their budget right and close a $1 billion shortfall. Never mind that Chicago teachers, according to this report either make the most out of any public schools in the nation, or come in second behind New York City. As always, that *CAN’T* be a contributing factor in the budgetary problems the district is facing, oh no.

Regardless, late last month, it was announced that the state of Michigan would be taking over management of the city of Detroit, in an attempt to fix that dying city before it becomes an even more horrific post-apocalyptic wasteland. And in my state, Washington, the state legislature is looking at it’s own BILLION dollar shortfall for the next biennium (and that’s before factoring in a State Supreme Court decision from last year that mandates the state legislature must meet it’s State constitution duty to fully fund education, which some lawmakers predict could make the shortfall balloon out to $3 billion or so).

Now, I know in my state, there’s been a democrat in the governor’s house for essentially the entirety of my life (I’m 30.) Here’s proof :

WAgovsjpg

Since 1985, Democrats have run this state, and now, after 30ish years, we are running into the ground. So that got me to wondering about Detroit and Chicago and the leadership in those cities. Not surprisingly, my suspicions were confirmed :

Chicago :

chicagomayorsjpg

Yes, you read that right. Democrats have been in charge of the Second City SINCE 1931. That’s going on NINE decades. And, in case you haven’t been paying attention, even with their “strictest gun laws” in the nation (a favorite position of the left and Democrats) Chicago has been Murder City for quite awhile now.

And then onto Detroit:

detroitmayorsjpg

So almost 60 plus years of Democrat leadership has ran that city into the proverbial ground. HARD. (Oh, and don’t forget Kwame Kilpatrick was just recently convicted on corruption charges. Funnily enough, HuffPo seems to miss mentioning his political affiliation in this story from yesterday.)

Now, to a rational person, this commonality between the party and the terrible budget problems, and in some instances, mind-blowing poverty and violence, would show them that there’s something wrong with big government, and any member of either party who promotes it. Unfortunately, even rational, intelligent people will say the point I’m trying to make here is complete bullshit, and that’s okay. Realizing that the statist utopia is unachievable is just one of those things that “you get it when you get it.”

Thankfully, at least,  it seems more and more are starting to figure it out.

Zoolander IRL! Malaysian Payola for Bloggers Scheme Extends to Left

Posted in Conservative, Current Events, Liberal, Media, Progressives, social media, The United States with tags , , on March 4, 2013 by FoolishReporter

(h/t @vinceinthebay for making the comparison)

willferrellzoolander

 

In literally one of the funkiest stories to come out of the blogosphere in recent years, it’s been outed that both sides of the political blogging spectrum took sizable sums of money from the oppressive Malaysian government. As I reported for The Trenches on Friday, Josh Trevino and others actively wrote puff pieces for the Malaysian government between 2009-11, with Trevino taking approximately $350,000 and distributing that money to other “influential” voices in the right leaning blogosphere.

Interestingly enough, RS McCain was able to break the story that an influential left-leaning blogger also seemed to have been receiving sums of money from the Malay government for de-facto PR services in American media.  From McCain’s piece :

Wait, did he say “Jerome Armstrong”? Founder of the progressive blog MyDD, who in 2003 co-founded the political consulting firm Armstrong Zuniga with Daily Kos founder Markos Moulitsas Zuniga? The same Jerome Armstrong who co-authored with Markos the 2006 book, Crashing the Gate: Netroots, Grassroots, and the Rise of People-Powered Politics?

Oh, yes, that Jerome Armstrong — the Internet hustler who once offered such various online services as financial advice and astrology readings as “Vis Numar” — was also part of of the “Malaysia Matters” dot-com triumvirate.

Are we to suppose that Jerome Armstrong participated in this pay-for-play project out of the goodness of his heart? Was Jerome Armstrong motivated by altruistic philanthropic concern for human rights on the Malay peninsula?

Give me a freaking break: Jerome cashed a check, too.

McCain has been unable to pin down a specific amount that Armstrong may have been given, although in his update post, he notes that he has a source telling him it’s likely Armstrong got more money than Trevino, using the logic of “2nd guy in gets more than the 3rd guy in.” Seems feasible, I suppose.

Regardless, as Vince in the Bay pointed out on his Twitter over the weekend… Hey guys, wasn’t this the plot to Zoolander? But instead of trying to assassinate the Prime Minister of Malaysia (and I have no idea if that’s an actual position in that country, because lazy), it appears this scheme was aimed at using American blogs to perform character assassination of Malaysia’s main opposition leader, Anwar Ibrahim. However, this clip still seems imminently appropriate :

Bridging the Gap

Posted in Anonymous, Conservative, Current Events, Freedom, government, Love, The United States with tags , , , on February 27, 2013 by FoolishReporter

This post can also be found on The Trenches, but I am aware of some of the bias that exists for many regarding that site, so I figured I’d post it here on my personal blog as well. 

anonymous occupyowl

teapartylogo

 

One of the top trending pastes on the site Pastebin.com for the last 48-hours has been one called “We, The People.” Penned by myself, and inspired by a friend who’s deeply identified with Anonymous, it’s really a simple plea to any who will listen, that We, The People need to come together at this time, more than ever. I’ve shared it a fair amount in the last day and a half, as has my friend. While on my side of things, the post hasn’t seemed to generate nearly as much conversation as I had anticipated, it certainly has for my friend.

Many on his side, who are also affiliated with Anonymous, have found what we presented in that simple post on Pastebin to be a worthwhile idea. Others, unfortunately, have expressed contempt and derided my friend for even suggesting such a thing. And that’s okay.

This is just the first step in what will likely be a long process, but I’d say the reaction he’s received, coupled with the fact that nearly 2,000 people have viewed the post since it was put online yesterday, are probably a good indication that the idea of right and left uniting together, is an idea who’s time has come. We all know it’s broken. We all know those we’ve chosen to fix it seem completely uninterested in doing so. We also know that many of the media, old AND new, have a vested interest in keeping the divide as wide as ever, as well.

Something really interesting, to me at least, was a tweet I received in reply to one of the times I posted the paste to my Twitter in the last 24 hours. It was from a profile obviously aligned with Anonymous, but it was spreading awareness of what they termed #OpELE, or Operation Everybody Love Everybody.

opele

 

And with it, was this pastebin.  A short excerpt from it :

#AmeriSec believes that “Everybody should Love Everybody”. This op evolved organically out of a conversation between several of our members. We are deeply aware of the fact that, too often, people are sad, lonely, or in need of assistance from their community. To address this issue, we plan to dedicate a minimum of one day per month in which ALL AmeriSec Anons are showing their love for others. This can be done in countless ways, such as cleaning up a park or other public space, volunteering at a soup kitchen, planting a garden, repairing a play area for a school, gathering toiletries for a homeless or battered women’s shelter, or simply hugging people on the sidewalk. There have (been) similar, service-based Ops in the past, and Occupy Sandy is still in need of support. We encourage you to reach out to existing Anon Ops or Occupy movements if they are in your vicinity (AnonSolidarity  = ELE!). The most important thing here is that Anons are showing their love and Everybody is Lovin’ Everybody!

 

Sounds like something you’d expect conservatives and the religious right to be preaching, doesn’t it? Work at the local level, truly help those who need it, and try and be a force of positive change in other people’s lives.

The commonalities are greater than the differences, and if we can rally around those things we all share alike, it certainly seems like we’d be capable of finally fixing some of the problems we find ourselves still struggling with on a daily basis.

I think we’re up to it.

Do you?

Dox dropped on Hammond Judge

Posted in Anonymous, Current Events, government, hackers, Internet, Technology, The United States with tags , , , , , on February 22, 2013 by FoolishReporter

via Rolling Stone

via Rolling Stone

 

While we won’t link to the pastebin currently being spread around Twitter, it should be noted that supporters of Jeremy Hammond, a hacker caught up in LulzSec’s hack of Stratfor in 2011, are rightly pissed that the judge presiding over Hammond’s case, Loretta A. Preska, refuses to recuse herself from the case. It does seem quite unusual that she wouldn’t, considering that her husband was a victim of the Stratfor hack. Apparently, there’s NO conflict of interest in a judge presiding over a case in which their spouse was a victim.

Another thing to keep in mind, my friends who are following these cases closely. These cases are essentially going to set the precedent for these types of activities. From the severe charges being brought against Barret Brown and Andrew Aurenheimer, to Hammond’s case, to the charges that Aaron Swartz was facing before he died… The message the government wants to send is clear : DO THIS AND YOU WILL BE FUCKED WITH SEVERELY.

How do we fight this? Hard to say. But certainly, at least in Hammond’s case, and Weev’s case, there are some significant issues that can be brought up and should be brought up regarding the nature of their acts and how the government is approaching those cases. (Sorry Barrett, you kinda fucked yourself over when you started making wild-eyed threats towards an FBI agent. They REALLY frown on that shit.)

Anyways… search pastebin for the aforementioned dox if you’re really interested, I suppose.

Is AP writer @MikeBakerAP a Hoplophobe?

Posted in Freedom, guns, Media, The United States with tags on February 8, 2013 by FoolishReporter

via The Washington Post

via The Washington Post

Second amendment supporters took to state capitols again today, including Olympia, Washington. Entertainingly enough, one of the Associated Press’ writers for Olympia, Mike Baker (@mikebakerap), has been covering the rally since it began earlier this afternoon. Like any good leftist hack of a journalist, Baker appears to be completely, utterly confused by these people proudly exercising their right to bear arms. Also, he seems a bit fearful of , what I imagine he sees them as, wild-eyed gun supporters. Enjoy this moron’s tweets :

OH NOEES!!! Responsible gun owners with a child around. As has happened for the 200 plus years of this country’s existence.

Ah! Found the Stars and Bars! Therefore, it’s highly likely all those attending the rally today support the Confederacy, right Mikey? Nice try, ya fucking hack.

Your point being….?

Welp, we’ll close it up with Sigmund Freud’s thought about those who express fear at weapons and/or guns :

A fear of guns is a sign of retarded sexual and emotional maturity. (“General Introduction to Psychoanalysis,” S. Freud)

 

Another Terrifying Aspect of Obama’s Drone Doctrine

Posted in America, Current Events, Freedom, government, Obama, Politics, The United States with tags , , , , on February 7, 2013 by FoolishReporter

via pbs.org

via pbs.org

As the story continues to build around the leaked Department of Justice draft document that outlined the Obama administration’s rationale for using drone strikes against American citizens who possibly have a tenuous connection to Al-Qaeda, my recent reading of James Bamford’s “The Shadow Factory : The Ultra-Secret NSA from 9/11 to the Eavesdropping on America” really hit home. In that book, Bamford discussed the explosion in growth, surveillance capability and data analysis of the NSA post 9/11, and how, during George W. Bush’s presidency, many of the constraints that had been placed on the NSA were either cast aside completely, or just mostly ignored, especially when it came to domestic surveillance of Americans.

Another major point Bamford hits on in that book is that the NSA, and those in charge of it, exponentially expanded their surveillance capabilities, but, while leaps and bounds were being made in the analysis side of things, it was still very much a hit and miss scenario with the intelligence collected by the NSA. It’s this part that I want to relate to the recent revelations about Obama’s Drone Doctrine.

From the linked NBC story above, describing some of the rationale explained in the DoJ memo:

“The condition that an operational  leader present an ‘imminent’ threat of violent attack against the United States does not require the United States to have clear evidence that a specific attack on U.S. persons and interests will take place in the immediate future,” the memo states.

AND

Instead, it says,  an “informed, high-level” official of the U.S. government may determine that the targeted American  has been “recently” involved in “activities” posing a threat of a violent attack and “there is  no evidence suggesting that he has renounced or abandoned such activities.” The memo does not define “recently” or “activities.

So, the first part basically says an American citizen who may have ties to al-Qaeda doesn’t necessarily have to be actively plotting against the United States in order for them to be a viable target to the administration. The second part is more where Bamford’s book comes in, especially with the “‘informed, high-level’ official” phrasing.

Because, as Bamford illustrates, the information that likely predicates someone being considered for a targeted drone killing, has a high probability of being quite flimsy. A few quotes from the book:

The core group is about 40,000, which is the hard-core, identified,” he said. “When you go out at two degrees or three degrees, meaning friends, family, business associates, it grows to almost 120,000. When you go out four degrees, you’re upwards of 400,000. Four degrees is—I know you, you live in the building, and it so happens that there is a business in that building that allows me to connect the owner of that business to another group of another cell.

The NSA’s track record on accuracy, however, leaves much to be desired.

So loose are the criteria for being tossed into the vast sea of names that in 2007, over twenty-seven thousand were removed, for a variety of unnamed reasons…

The first quote is in regards to what’s known as the TIDE database, a massive database of suspected terrorists, and all the secondary and tertiary connections those “core” 40,000 may have. With each degree, they get further and further away from the true bad guys. Nothing could possibly go wrong with a massively wide surveillance net and a presidential doctrine that allows the government to kill people at will, could it? NAWWWW.

The second two are obviously related. I don’t remember off the top of my head what database or list the last quote was referencing, but it’s basically saying that the NSA’s surveillance and analysis systems had earmarked 27,000 people incorrectly at one point. Again, a massive surveillance program that has a hard time with accuracy coupled with an administration defending it’s right to kill it’s own citizens? HOT DIGGITY DAWG!

So, America, just keep in mind that the intel that’s likely used to place people on kill-lists and whatnot, is often times massively flawed and innocent people end up being grouped with actual terrorists.

Sleep tight!

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