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Faith In…Nothing?

April 5, 2013 6 comments

As it has become well-known in the past 20 or better years, there are certain groups who take it upon themselves to “protect” our rights. It sounds like a noble cause – a brave group of lawyers, preventing things like civil rights violations and ensuring alleged criminals receive counsel. However, that is the assumption of those groups, but not necessarily their actions.

In Jackson, Ohio, a portrait that had hung in a school since 1947 was recently removed, after the (Freedom From Religion Foundation) FFRF and (American Civil Liberties Union) ACLU filed lawsuits. The groups would have us believe that the portrait was heinous, and portrayed the sort of thing that should never be seen in schools. The expected backlash was so bad, the people who were supposed to have reported the portrait are still referred to as John Doe-plaintiffs by the groups. Nothing like invoking your rights while you cower, eh?

Just what was this awful, heinous, picture? What could cause so much outrage and belly aching? What could possibly be so inflammatory? Why this bust of Jesus Christ, which hung so long in the school:

The Head of Christ

The Head of Christ, by Warner Sallman

Created in 1941 by a Chicago painter named Warner Sallman, the painting grew in popularity to become one of the most popular depictions of Christ of all time. The calming gaze was apparently too much for some though.

The painting was removed, even though the school was not ordered to take the work down, because the school’s insurance company refused to cover legal costs to argue the case in the courts. The superintendent then said the school could not afford the costs on their own, and ordered the picture to be taken down.

The painting actually was not owned by the school district itself. The painting belonged to a group who attended the high school, and was a Christian service group, the Hi-Y Club. The ACLU and FFRF claim the club gave the picture to the school district, but the district denied any such arrangement was ever made, and said that the painting still belonged to the group.

The main issue seems to be another attack on religion in general (Christ was a Jew, he was the basis for Catholicism and Christianity, and he is considered a prophet in Islam). There is no one religion being targeted. So, under the guise of protecting civil rights, and ensuring the continued separation of church and state (which is always a specious claim at best), the ACLU and FFRF have forced, through legal intimidation, the painting’s removal. To preserve free speech, they must quash…free speech.

Read more on the case via the Montreal Gazette.

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Failures of Gun Control

January 18, 2013 1 comment

Now, off the bat, I will admit the title could be misleading – after all, it is not about how a failure to control guns has created a new problem, but rather, it is about how some liberal academics would like to frame the gun control argument.  It is actually the absurdity of the far left and other educational elites, that continues to hurt their causes the most.

Just how bad was this egregious attack on the 2nd Amendment? Read my entire skewering of an anti-gun academic here:  http://freeradicalnetwork.com/failures-of-gun-control/

Image via Gothamist.

The Failure of Gun Control

July 25, 2012 Leave a comment

The most recent gun-related tragedy in Aurora, Colorado has led to new calls for gun control laws and measures. The likes of Diane Feinstein, Sally Kohn, and Michael Bloomberg, have all claimed that extending prohibitions on firearms would necessarily curb the violence associated with them. It seems like a simple claim, with a self-evident conclusion: artificially the lower supply of something, and there is a lower supply available, right? It sounds like such a black and white issue. Cut off the supply of something, and the available supply begins to dwindle, and it eventually runs out. Then the product is gone, and so is the problem.

But there is a problem with that logic – firearms are not consumable items. Firearms are not used and thrown away, or expended. They are, like other tools, used over and over. While an artificial control would dry up the expansion of supplies, it still would not eliminate the supplies that the left would claim are causing all the problems. Despite the protestations that the sheer number of guns are the problems, some statistics have been pointing toward falling violent crime rates over the past few years.

The main issue I take with the progressive thought processes on gun control, is their insistence that guns would only be safe in the hands of trained, certified, fully capable professionals. Again, on its face, this seems like a decent notion – practice makes perfect, right? It seems to follow, that hours of safely handling and operating a firearm should make a nearly accident-proof firearm user, right? Then, these ultra-safe, and responsible firearms carrying professionals, would somehow protect the citizens, who would have had their own firearms seized.

The only problem with this thought, is that despite all the training in the world, and acclamation with firearms, police and soldiers still are not completely safe with them. There are miles long lists of firearms accidents and friendly fire mishaps among professionals. There have never been more methods of tracking and making weapons safe, and yet – even amidst these professionals, accidents still occur.

Among the best trained civilian police forces and SWAT teams, there are numerous stories of trigger-happy members killing civilians who were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time.

  • In Lima, Ohio, in a drug bust turned bad, police shot and killed a new mother, Tarika Wilson, after an officer opened fired on her – her one year old child, who she was holding suffered injuries as well (he was shot in the shoulder, and the baby also lost a finger). It was later discovered that police had even expected the presence of children, but went forward with a raid anyway.
  • In Fairfield, Virginia, a 17-year police force veteran, investigating an illegal sports gambling operation, accidentally discharged his .45 caliber pistol, and killed an optometrist with no prior record. A firearm trainer later offered two reasons Salvatore Culosi Jr. was shot by the officer – “ignorance and carelessness”. He added, the Heckler & Koch gun was “very reliable” and did not have “a hair-trigger”.
  • In one of the most egregious accidents of highly trained professionals’ neglecting safety and training protocols, in Pima County, Arizona, a SWAT team broke into a home, where they proceeded to shoot a Marine who served and survived two tours in Iraq. Pima County SWAT officers killed Jose Guerena while Guerena attempted to defend his family with his AR15, because he thought intruders were kicking his door down (as he lived in a high crime area). The police department has offered numerous stories and revised events several times, in trying to explain how they killed a man who never fired a shot at them, while they hit him over 60 times.

(The Cato Institute has compiled a long list (and map) of bungled SWAT actions by police. The map makes it plain to see that the deaths of both officers and innocent civilians are not limited to any particular geographic region. )

These three examples are by no means an indictment of any police force or SWAT teams either – I have the utmost respect for the people who risk their own lives daily, in an attempt to make the country a safer place. The examples  illustrate the faulty reasoning in progressive logic that by only allowing “professionals” to carry firearms, will not eliminate firearms accidents. All things being equal, we must realize that police and soldiers are human beings too, and are therefore subject to the same accidents and irrationality as anyone else. There are far more examples of law enforcement officers being provoked or attacked by angry mobs, only to hold their fire, arrest the leaders of the violence, and defuse the situation.

Can practice and familiarity make people safer with their firearms? Of course it can. But then, if people are proficient in their use, and respect firearms as they should – then we would not have any reasons to take them away, would we?


(Picture credits: Tarika Wilson – Reason.com, Salvatore Culosi Jr. – washingtoncitypaper.com, and Jose Guerena – expertwitnessradio.org)

Tarika Wilson

Tarika Wilson and her son

Salvatore Culosi

Salvatore Culosi, Jr.

Jose Guerena

Jose Guerena

The Left: Vetting For Thee, Not For Me

May 19, 2012 Leave a comment

In a total surprise of yet more media slant, early this week, a Politico blogger by the name Maggie Haberman (@maggiepolitico on Twitter), decided to run background checks on a gentleman featured in a Mitt Romney campaign ad! That is correct – the man was not a money donor or bundler, he merely appeared in an ad. That is the only tie he seems to have to Romney. While some people may think, so what, the guy agreed to appear in the ad, so he gets the fame with the fallout, right? The issue I have is that now instead of trying to show the candidates’ ethics and morality guided by  their long-term associations with unrepentant domestic terrorists, that they actually cultivated into close friendships (think Bill Ayers and Barack Obama), the left now the left sees a new tactic to use against candidates.

The left has never seemed to have any ethical hangups about jumping into the business of personal destruction, and the past few years have shown us a couple of good examples. With the aforementioned case with Politico, the “journalist” seemed to relish in the fact the man had a criminal history. The man paid his debt to society and had been a good, law-abiding citizen since the events, but the left saw him tied to Mitt Romney, and so, the man was a fair target for the snarling left’s destruction machine.

This all comes after revelation that the White House’s “Truth Team” shared information on eight donators to the Romney campaign. The men all seemed to have little else in common than donating to the campaign. But, as mentioned before, they showed themselves  allied with Romney, and rather than tackle Romney’s message or even dispute their own shortcomings, the left tries to intimidate those who would participate in the democratic process. Is this just another sign that the Obama campaign is in an un-savable nose-dive? The left cannot see the revulsion people feel, seeing under-handed acts like this?

Joe The Plumber

Joe “The Plumber” Wurzelbacher

This type of targeting is not the first time the left combed through a private citizen’s past, either. In 2008, Joe Wurzelbacher asked then candidate, Barack Obama, if he believed people were entitled to the fruits of their labor. One embarrassing reply from the candidate later, and the Head of Ohio’s Department of Jobs and Family Services authorized an improper search of Wurzelbacher’s history of unemployment records and child support records. Helen E. Jones-Kelley earned a suspension as a result of the inappropriate inquiries.  She was also later reprimanded for using her state email address to solicit donations for the Obama presidential campaign. A Toledo Police Department computer account had also been used to complete a search of Wurzelbacher’s driving history – an action which triggered another investigation.

The governor of the state of Ohio at the time was a Democrat – Ted Strickland, and Toledo is a liberal bastion, presently in Democrat Marcy Kaptur’s Congressional district. I am not saying that the left is the sole monopolizer of this type of destructive dredging up of past misdeeds, presently paid for, but – if the right had done this – the likes of MSNBC and Politico would be going apoplectic trying to “report’ on it. Perhaps instead of running background checks on political opponents and their supporters, Democrats could put those skills to better use vetting their own candidates – then perhaps the nation would not be able to laugh at their choices, like Kwame Kilpatrick, Gary Hart, and Eliot Spitzer.

My Rights Are More Important Than Your Rights

November 4, 2011 Leave a comment
The United States Bill of Rights

The Bill of Rights, along with the Declaration of Independence, are two of the nation's most sacred documents.

Right? I mean, we hear politicians in Washington claim that one’s rights are more important than some other, and they proceed to attempt to weigh the rights of one group over another constantly, depending (it seems) on how many votes that the bureaucrats need, and how much monetary support those with the “more important” rights can give. The special interests claim as well, that they have earned some special consideration – usually based in a perceived wrong or slight. This is all too typical, despite the fact that the Founding Fathers and the documents that they left this great country describes exactly the opposite. “…that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights…” goes the wonderful line of the Declaration of Independence, flies into the face of the special-interest rights-givers in Washington. The claim seems to be, that somehow, these stingy-rights-givers now know better than the Creator, which people deserve certain rights, and when those rights may be invoked.

We have seen for nearly two months now, a group, first devoted to tackling the economic structure of the United States – since everybody knows it is inherently unfair, and is stacked against those just entering the job markets from college. Whatever happened to the promise they were given of six-figure salaries, generous retirement benefits (early, naturally), and four-day work weeks? Just go to college, experiment with everything you can get your hands on, and when you graduate, the world will be laid out in front of you, laid at your feet, like your own personal pearl. When this fictional Utopian world does not match the reality of graduates, there is understandable cognitive dissonance.

“Surely, there must be a way that these things can be made right!? This was not what was promised! This is unfair!” And, so, along come the politicians, always looking for the next batch of useful idiots. The politicians recycle the usual, “Yes, we understand – it is unfair what has happened to you – and darn it, if you vote for me, I am gonna do something about it for you!” And so the useful idiots, once again buying the hype, throw their support behind the over-promising, always under-delivering politician. Usually, we know how the drill goes from here – it is a sort of “rinse, lather, repeat” scenario, where the politician finds a scapegoat, and pins their own failing to deliver on promises on that poor goat. Before long, the goat is defeated in elections, and the next class of useful idiots are graduating from college, and the pearl is laid before them once again.

To bring us back from the scenario of Utopia and the new graduates’ pearls, I reiterate that the politicians have always been reluctant to even try to deliver on their promises. After all, there was always that poor scapegoat. Simply blame, excuse, and move on. Somewhere along the line though, it seems like the politicians, sensing a way both away from the goat, and a way to “lock-in” support, decided to change the dynamics of their relationship with their supporters. They seem to have found a permanent scapegoat – the so-called 1%, and other business owners, many of which(ironically enough), have been given promises by the same politicians.

Jean Quan

America's worst mayor? Oakland's Jean Quan

Rights are somehow more noble when a movement makes a semi-cogent, nearly-pertinent point, right? We are told that this group or that, simply must be given some special considerations, because they have been wronged in the past. I do not buy that explanation for a second. Even if a person supports the “Occupy your-city-here” movement, it does not give excuse the behavior of its members. Forgetting the hundreds of violent crimes against people committed at the camps (all allegedly, of course, and being handled from within) – for the mayor of one of the largest cities in the country to turn a blind eye to wanton property destruction and violence, and the further threat of violence, is unforgivable. Various stores are shown with broken windows, and road blocks are piled and set afire. The protesters left one threat that, “We came unarmed – this time.” If Oakland’s Jean Quan stoops any further to cater to the violent protesters, she will be in the midst of the riots, handing the protesters rocks and bottles to throw at her own police force and at city businesses. Think this is mere hyperbole? She has already gone as far as posting her office phone number on Twitter, and asking the protesters to call her! Here is your new set of promises, occupiers!

This is madness. While certain media personalities talk of the end of the country and ripping apart of American ideals, I am less certain.  Once these same Machiavellian politicians re-discover the power that they hold onto so tightly before the OWS movement began, and the first mayor in a city with a sizable OWS camp sends in the riot police, the rest of the mayors will follow. This first mayor will spark something that will quickly spread. I find it is amazing – for all of the politicians and mayors’ use of scapegoats, they show themselves to be little more than sheep.

Our Worst of Society (or OWS)

October 28, 2011 1 comment
Nancy Pelosi

"God bless those protesters..."

As Occupy Wall Street camps into its second month as a movement, various special interests still seek to pre-empt and quiet the movement. As I mentioned in a previous post, for this movement to have any real shot at creating a change, it should develop and stick to a singular, easily relayed, and cogent message. Another measure necessary to ensure that once a message was adopted, that outside influences would not attach their own concerns to the movement. For anyone who has been watching and kept up with the movement, you should realize by now that both of these fatal actions have taken place.

While conservative and other GOP-members seem to be either disgusted or confused by the protests, I cannot recall any of them whole-heartedly embracing the protests. It is interesting to see them identify with some of the concerns of the protesters though: bailouts were a terrible idea (and that the market should have healed itself), that the politician-bosses of some of these Fortune 500 financial companies do not need a “Golden Parachute” for running their companies into the ground, and to a far lesser extent for the protesters, that the politicians themselves need voted out of office.

Democrats, for their parts, seem to have completely embraced the protests, and started to do so from early in its development. This has led to an embarrassing tendency for the democrats’ support be marred by violence, flagrant  drug use, and ties to less than savory agencies and personalities. Even with such dangerous and damaging behaviors, I cannot recall any democrats withdrawing their support, and so, they continue tacitly to approve of the dangerous conduct. This week, it was revealed that a dis-honorably discharged, neo-Nazi, illegally (because of felony convictions) carrying an AR-15 rifle was providing security for the Occupy Phoenix movement. In the case of Tea Party members, who were observed legally openly carrying sidearms, the left and media could not decry it quickly enough.

The left in this country seems to feel as though the movement is a sort of completely grassroots, organic, entity, being driven by concerns of worried young people. This, despite so much evidence to the contrary. Large media companies (Adbusters) and SEIU and ACORN-leftovers have been identified as lending support, both legal and monetary. The pre-emption may not be complete yet, but it appears as though it is too late to save it from special interests, intent on horning in. The same things that drove the Tea Party to become such a success (a firm commitment to message, observing policies of places that they protested, and respectful protest) are the same things that now fatally doom the Occupy Movement.

Despite so much media coverage given to try and gin more support for the Occupy Movement, the fewer, but far more powerful images and stories of illegalities occurring are destructive. Democrats intent on quickly offering uncritical support for selfish reasons are going to be tied to the worst events. It seems almost karmic – using a disenfranchised group of people to gain oneself credibility or support is disgusting. Instead of trying to fix problems, like tackling rampant unemployment, the left embraces tactics like re-writing laws and rules to gather support, and actually demonizing the stalling and blocking of worthless, damaging legislation. The left’s tactics are like giving breadcrumbs to Americans, and expecting them to unquestioningly follow you for your efforts — never mind that the re-written rules will be far more damaging to more Americans than they help. Hey, it sets up the next opportunity for the left to swoop in, and “save the day” again. They really are “Our Worst of Society”.

Is The Fuse Already Lit?

October 20, 2011 Leave a comment
Greek police dodge Molotov cocktails

Riots in Greece continue to grow more violent.

As I reflect today, day 3X of the “Occupy Wall Street” movement that is quickly become one of the places to be if you are an aspiring socialist/communist/anti-banker/anarchist/free spirit, I find myself coming to a few realizations. Seeing the Greeks, Spaniards, and Italians tangle with riot police, and toss Molotov cocktails, while their government struggles to find some way to pay their un-payable bills, I wonder if we, here in the United States, can expect to see something similar. In Europe (Greece especially), it appears as though trade unions and public sector workers are at the forefront of their riots.

So, what are we to think about the disgruntled and disgusted supporters of the movement? Various unsavory parties have recently endorsed the Occupation – The American Nazi Party and American Communist Party to name two. These movements have lengthy histories of violence and extremist ideologies. This is not to say that the OWSM is in and of itself violent, but if it is any indication of the beliefs held by the majority of the participants, I have not heard many of the participants renounce the endorsement. The usual reaction is to separate quickly those endorsements from the endorsements of others – namely the administration and Congressional leaders, like Nancy Pelosi. It seems whenever there is a negative story that surfaces about OWS supporters, the story is quickly squashed, and the person in question is painted as an outsider, who is unaffiliated with the movement. In my mind, the influx of so many disparate endorsements undermines, rather than helps, legitimate endorsers, while lending a sort of credibility to the others.

What worries me are those “legitimate” endorsements. While people see them as a sort of, “isn’t-that-nice-they-want-to-help” support by Washington, D.C., here is the thing – the movement, while starting out disorganized, and lacking a main message, has recently begun to coalesce into something that sounds more confrontational and more willing to act out in violence. But there is no proof of that, you must thinking. A recent spate of thefts of money, equipment, and other personal items, not to mention the report of a rape in Occupy Cleveland, shows the movement is changing. One convicted felon was picked up and re-arrested for illegal possession of a firearm (a folding-stock rifle) at Occupy Seattle.

Add to that, a presidential administration who has verbally supported OWS, who also has close ties to known leftist terrorists and bombers (Ayres and Dohrn), and a Department of Justice who is both, slow to act (if they act at all) and embroiled in a huge scandal. A former presidential staffer in the administration reminds us to, “Never let a crisis go to waste.” These allied interests, who masquerade as “supporters” have merely found themselves a group of useful idiots, who will allow them to try to advance their positions, while dodging blow-back. It also allows the allied politicians to attach their wants and needs to the movement, while avoiding the low approval that the public may feel for them. And it is not like less-political allies have taken over movements in cities – already, the original Occupy St. Louis movement has been pre-empted, and original organizers threatened.

It feels to me like the movement is increasingly more pre-empted by the day, but it still claims to have no leaders, and to be “organic” and grassroots. It  is one agent provocateur from some sort of confrontation that will accomplish nothing, possibly injure many innocent people, and finally lead to the end of any goodwill or political capital that the early movement may have built. As the protesters become increasingly desperate, they may begin to realize that they must increase their confrontations and confrontational style, and try to create a situation where they will be able to “prove” that those they stand in opposition to (whichever group(s) they may be) are the evil and cold-blooded groups that OWS claims.