Mixed Messages

Being a liberal must be confusing.

Exhibit A:  This week’s City Pages.

On the one hand:  Mike Mullen complains that Mendards’ management training program urges the store’s staff to oppose tax hikes.  Because taxes are what makes life worth living, and by no means should Menards expect its management to support the store’s financial health, nosirreebob.

On the other hand:  Corey Zurowski bemoans a non-profit that presumably is no “happy to pay for a Better Minnesota” as it has been extincted by…taxes.

I’d imagine this’d cause some heads to explode, if any of the City Pages’ audience really thought about it.

But I jest.

Sometimes I slay me.

(Via regular commenter Chuck)

Mother Nature

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

In the olden days, a child born out of wedlock was illegitimate and not entitled to support from the father.  Fear for her child kept women from straying which contributed to social stability.  Apparently, it’s not just a human thing.

 Too bad the birdbrains who changed our laws are not as smart as sparrows.

 Joe Doakes

The first step to saving our society may be a game show for our politicians and media stars called “Are You Smarter Than A Small Bird?”

I’m afraid we’d have to run qualifiers through a round of “Are You Smarter Than An Invertebrate?”

The Somme, Part I: The Accrington Pals

100 years ago tomorrow, the Battle of the Somme began.

We’ll come back to that tomorrow, on the anniversary of the battle’s launch.

First, we’re going to talk tradition.


Since 1588, when Queen Elizabeth I’s brand-new Royal Navy destroyed a Spanish invasion fleet, the United Kingdom had depended on the Royal Navy to be both the glue that held the Empire together, as well as the shield that kept the tiny, vulnerable island nation both safe and supplied.

The British Army, on the other hand, had always been the red-headed (not to mention red-coated) stepchild; existing as a creation of Parliament, cobbled together from centuries of expedience and accidents and the vicissitudes of nobility, subject to wild mood swings in terms of funding and staffing, and frequently serving more as a hard core for large armies of colonials, natives and mercenaries throughout the empire.  This had been especially true in the previous 100 years, when the end of the Napoleonic Wars ushered in the “Pax Brittania”, one of history’s longest eras of relative peace – ensured by British force of arms, meaning largely the Royal Navy.  During this time the Army had fought primarily as the empire’s policeman, fighting in large numbers only in the Crimea in the 1850s, and the “Boer War” in South Africa in 1899 and 1900 – wars that had led to little in the way of public relations, but much in the way of reform, after some disastrous early reverses.   The Army served mostly in obscurity, a closed-off warrior tribe.  The Army had wryly nicknamed itself “The Old Contemptibles” before the war, mirroring their view of their public image.

But the Army had had three things going for it.

All They Could Be:  in their isolation and obscurity, they – or at least the regulars – became very much a warrior elite.  At a time when ammunition was a downright cheap commodity, Army units would spend days at the range honing their marksmanship.  As noted earlier in the series, the firepower of the Contemptibles caught the advancing Germans by surprise in their first contact, at the first Battle of the Marne.  The Army had long been a force of long-serving career soldiers (the shortest hitch available to a full-time British soldier in the early 1900s was 12 years) backstopped with the “Territorial Army” and “Militia”, analogous to our National Guard, intended for home defense, who were trained to a much lower level.

For The Love Of The Game:  They were volunteers.  As, indeed, British soldiers had been throughout all of history; while the Royal Navy had long had a history of shanghaiing British citizens (and even foreigners) into service on their ships, the Army had been an all-volunteer force.  While conscription had been broached during the Napoleonic Wars, it was intended for home-defense forces – and even that proposal provoked a constitutional crisis in the UK.   At any rate – the British Army had always been primarily a volunteer force; as such, they had some huge advantages over largely draftee armies like Germany and France; the volunteers wanted to be there; when the chips were down and the stress of combat was at full blast, that fact was often the difference between carrying home an attack and taking cover and calling it off; between holding a beleaguered position and running away or surrendering.

Tradition:  The French have a term, “esprit de corps” – loosely, “Spirit of the Unit” – which means virtually nothing to civilians.  But in the extreme stress of battle, having that spirit, or esprit, is sometimes the difference between staying a difficult course and collapsing into a rabble.  That esprit is built from generations, even centuries, of tradition that imbue the soldier with the sense that they are part of a long-standing elite – and those traditions can not be let down.

The United States – being a country that was expressly founded out of a fear of standing militaries, and the long-standing traditions they accrete – was largely unfamilar with this idea for most of two centuries; its military units, almost entirely raised by the states for all major wars, from the Revolution through the Spanish-American War, tended to have no history to them at all; in each of these wars, the US really had two armies; the “US Army”, the tiny, professional force of long-serving regulars, and the various armies of state troops committed to federal service; that’s why most of the units of the Union and Confederate armies during the Civil War had names like the “First Minnesota” and “23rd Virginia”; they were state units lent to the federal or confederate government, as the case may be.  Even with the sunset of the state militia system before World War I, American units in both World Wars and Korea tended to be created on the fly, given an anonymous, administrative numbers (the “175th Infantry Regiment”), and dissolved when the war ended.

And it makes a difference.  In the Battle of the Bulge, the US 106th Infantry Division – an anonymous unit with no history, no tradition (and very little training and no combat experience) folded like an Ikea end-table under the German attack, while the 101st Airborne – a unit with three years of tradition (and experience (and training as an “elite” paratroop division) held out while surrounded at Bastogne.

The exception?  The US Marines – who use their hundreds of years of tradition as a fundamental building block of their  esprit de corps.  A member of the First Marine Regiment (“The First Marines”), gets the Regiment’s history – Belleau Wood, Guadalcanal, Peleliu, Okinawa, the Chosin Reservoir, Hue – drilled into his head; it makes the Marine part of a tradition that must be upheld.

It seems corny and overwrought to civilians – but it’s been the difference between standing and running, between victory and defeat, and ergo life and death, for countless servicemen.

And it’s been the status quo for Britain forever; even in 1914, there were British units with 250 years of tradition; units like the Grenadier Guards, the Black Watch, the King’s Royal Rifle Corps, the Royal Scots each had centuries of battle honors, heroes, shared mythology, all of which – along with years of hard training – contributed to the units’ ethos, as elites who were just plain better than their conscripted German opponents.

And in the first weeks of the war, before constant combat against long odds, heavy artillery and machine guns ground the Contemptibles down to a shadow of their former strength, they were,  Much, much better.

The Reboot:  In September of 1914, Lord Kitchener – the legendary hero of the Boer War – broke from the majority of British policymakers’ opinion. While most sunnily held that the war would be over by Christmas, Kitchener believed, almost alone, that the war was going to be long and brutal, and that the Contemptibles (who had not quite yet gotten into the thick of the action) would need help.

With Kitchener’s leadership (and likeness), the Army launched one of history’s iconic ad campaigns:

Kitchener Wants You. Kitchener was a hero of the Boer War, and a popular figure in Britain in 1914; imagine if David Petraeus had become a media star after the Anbar Awakening, and then multiply it.  The US could only muster “Uncle Sam” for its parallel campaign in both World Wars.

The call went out for volunteers to staff an entire “New Army” – actually five “New Armies”, each a force of six infantry divisions plus support troops.

Among them were a large number – over 200 – “Service” or “Local Reserve” battalions, each affiliated with an existing regiment, each initiated by a sponsor – a town mayor, a member of parliament, a trade group, a school, a factory, even a club (there were three battalions formed from “football” associations, the “Football Battalions”).   These battalions, made up of men from the same town, trade or avocation, were called “Pals Battalions”.

In A Village In Lancashire:  On September 2, 1914, in rural Lancashire, the mayor and town council of the village of Accrington opened a recruiting station to begin assembling men for a new unit; officially, it was the 11th Battalion of the East Lancashire Regiment – a unit formed in 1881 from two earlier regiments with battle honors dating back to 1702, in India, Gibraltar and the Napoleonic Wars; as the “East Lancs”, they fought with distinction in the Boer War.  It was into this tradition that the men of the 11th Battalion were inducted.   It took precisely ten days to recruit the men for the entire Battalion.

Notwithstanding the fact that the roughly 1,000 men (in four rifle companies of around 220 men, plus a headquarters and service company) were from all sorts of villages in East Lancashire – Burnley, Blackburn, Chorley and others – the battalion was sponsored by the mayor of Accrington – so the 11th was nicknamed the “Accrington Pals”, a name that stuck with it throughout its service.

The 11th Battalion went through training near Accrington – the War Office and the Army didn’t have anyplace to barrack the men, in the confused early days of the war, so the men lived in tents, or at home.  There were also insufficient rifles, and even uniforms – so the Battalion’s NCO’s frequently wore the bright scarlet field uniforms left over from the early days of the Boer War (which were replaced with dull khaki when the scarlet proved to be a perfect target for Boer marksmen), while the enlisted men frequently drilled in civilian clothes with regimental badges pinned on, carrying wooden mockups of rifles until the real thing became available.

Eventually, uniforms, rifles, and a War Department directive arrived – and the Pals joined the 94th Infantry Brigade (with two “Pals” battalions from Barnsley and one from Sheffield) of the 31st Infantry Division – part of Kitchener’s Fourth Army, a division mostly built from other “Pals Battalions” from northern England.  After training and a period on Home Defense duty, the Accrington Pals initially deployed to Egypt with the 31st Division, to ward off a potential Turkish threat to the Suez Canal, before being recalled to France in the late spring as part of a buildup for an upcoming offensive in the region along the Somme River, in northern France.

We’ll come back to the battle – and the Accrington Pals – tomorrow.

Diagnosis

Andy Aplikowski – long of the “Residual Forces” blog – writes re the Brexit on Facebook:

So it appears the only people still whining about ‪#‎BREXIT‬ are:

1) European politicians who will lose power.
2) American politicians afraid of Federalism and State’s rights catching on in the US.
3) Filthy rich who lost a “crap ton” of money due to stock market and currency corrections.

The rest of the world doesn’t seem to be permanently affected. Maybe we should have more votes of no confidence in the people who are screwing up the world.

Line up the petitions.  I’m good to go.

Frustration

It’s gotta be frustrating to be a terrorist, trying to actually get PR for attacks in America.

It’s gotta feel almost like a scene from Monty Python and the Life of Brian – they keep launching attacks in the US (via proxies, for the most part) and the government keeps blaming it on…others!

  • Nidal Hassan’s attack on Fort Hood?  Workplace violence!
  • The attack on the recruiters in Little Rock?  Street crime!
  • San Bernardino?  Why, that was workplace violence too, silly peasants!
  • Omar Matteen?  Whose ISIS sympathies were so clear that the Administration felt the need to clumsily redact them from public releases on the subject?   Apparnetly his victims were killed by self-animating Republican guns.

It’s gotten to the point that Al Quaeda (remember them?) is telling its lone wolves to try to focus on WASPS, to try to prevent the American social-justice grievance industry from co-opting their attacks for their own purposes:

In the June 12 attack in Orlando, Omar Mateen killed 49 people and injured 53 inside a gay nightclub. Although Mateen, who was later killed by police, told hostage negotiators he pledged allegiance to ISIS, U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch has characterized the attack as a hate crime against gays.

“I cannot tell you definitively that we will ever narrow it down to one motivation,” Lynch told reporters last week. “People often act out of more than one motivation.

“This was clearly an act of terror and an act of hate,” she continued. “We will look at all motivations and hope to come to a conclusion there.”

Although Al Qaeda does not take credit for Mateen’s attack in the online article, it urges more “lone wolves” to take up arms. Jihadists should target “areas where the Anglo-Saxon community is generally concentrated,” it states. “This class of the American community is the majority and it is the one that is in the American leadership.”

On the one hand, it makes good PR sense; strip out as many hooks for the left’s exploiting the narrative as possible.

On the other?  They’ve tried it once – and it didn’t end well for them.

Our Ever Changing Moods

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

The movement to ban hate speech, especially on campus, reminds us that the political pendulum swings both ways.

At the time of the Revolutionary War, Britain’s laws were so strict that the Founders put Freedom of Speech first on the list of protected activities in our new country. Then the pendulum swung so far that pornography became protected speech. Now it’s swinging back again.

What would help is a more coherent explanation of WHY the more restrictive speech codes are required.  I’d like to hear a college president say:

“In Victorian times, women were considered too delicate for harsh and unseemly conversation. Speech was curtailed, lest it bring on spells of fainting and nervous agitation in women of tender sensibilities. For a time, American women were thought to be made of sterner stuff and regulations on speech were loosened to the point that nude dancing and cross burning were protected by “freedom of expression” but now, on college campuses everywhere, we see that American women are more like their Victorian ancestors than previously thought: unable to suffer the savagery of seeing the word “Trump” written in chalk; incapable of hearing English teachers read the title of Dick Gregory’s famous novel, “Nigger;” in desperate need of strong men in positions of authority to protect their fragile emotional state by punishing anyone who says anything that offends anyone.  I call on faculty and students here at Cocoon U. to cloister women, to keep their mental virtue untested, to pamper their feelings so they never have to grow to be strong, independent women who are fully equal to men.”

Joe Doakes

It’d help if public education did a better job – or any job at all – of explaining what “rights” are.

In turn, it would help if our public education system knew.

The Terrible Hours

You’re in a room.

Between you and the exit – any exit – is someone who is busily killing people.  So you’re not going anywhere.  Probably not, anyway.

You’re in the midst of a spree killing – sometimes called a rampage killing.  You’re surrounded by crowds of people, as someone – one person, most likely – is carrying out some deluded or diabolical plan to kill…

…well, lots of people.  Maybe you’re in a gay bar, and the killer’s faith hates gays.  Maybe you’re in a synogogue, and the killer hates Jews.  Maybe you’re in a classroom, and the killer hates classrooms?  Or you’re in a church basement, and the killer hates you, whether you be Episcopal or Black or Unitarian.  Maybe it’s just because you’re a westerner, and they’re there to make a point, and inflict terror upon the rest of us westerners.   Or maybe they’re just doing the bidding of the voices in their head.

Either way, here you are.  When you woke up this morning, you didn’t expect to be involved in a spree killing.  Only one person in the room did.

You’re not him.

But there’s no getting around it.  And barring some miracle, there’s no getting away from it;  There are two exits from the space you’re in – but the shooter can see both, and has been mowing down anyone trying to get to the exits for quite some time.  Once, he stopped to reload, and someone rushed him with the only weapon he had available, his bare hands and shoed feet; perhaps he didn’t realize one can reload with a round in the chamber; that bit of resistance, valiant as it was, ended with a body on the floor.

Seeing someone shot down trying to attack the attacker took the fight out of the rest of the people in the room with you.

You may be dimly aware that the room you’re in is a “gun free zone” – an irony that causes not a single laugh.   You’re probably not aware; you may be like most Americans, and have never considered making carrying a firearm part of your lifestyle.  You might have even been one of that tiny, dim little fraction of the population that thought those signs made you safer.

But here you are.


The first transcripts of the 911 traffic in and around the Pulse night club have been released.

These are preliminary transcripts – but if they’re even remotely accurate, you don’t have to be Sherlock Holmes to reach a couple of inescapable conclusions.   And it’s not from the mainstream media, so it’s got that going for it.

I’ve included the entire list of transcripts below the jump.

In the opening moments of the massacre, Omar Matteen engaged the cop who was providing off-duty security.  The cop and Matteen exchanged fire; neither was hit, and Matteen retreated into the club, where the massacre continued.

It took six minutes for five or six officers to show up; they broke out a patio window and, armed with “patrol rifles” (it’s a marketing term for “pretty much the same gun Matteen had”, for police departments and city councils that don’t want to have to explain to their dimmer constituents why they’re buying “assault rifles”), entered the building.

And took cover, as the shots continued.

I’m not going to monday-morning-quarterback the cops.  I’d damn sure take cover if someone was in a room, shooting.

Standards and Practices:  At the Columbine massacre, the Jefferson County (CO) SWAT team, nervous about reports of bombs in the building, held up outside the high school for four hours before entering.  By this time, all the victims, and the two killers, were stone cold dead.

This caused some significant outcry at the time; why had the citizens of Jefferson County spent all that money lavishly outfitting a SWAT team to not one degree behind the current SOCOM fashion curve, only to have them turn out no more useful to saving lives than the Jefferson County VFW Drum and Bugle Corps?

And to their credit, law enforcement did some studying.  They found a couple of things about spree/rampage killers:

  • They tend to exist in a fantasy world.  In this fantasy, killing will make them…something. Important.  Martyrs.  Popular.  Something.
  • The planning for the attack tends to be extremely elaborate (by the planner’s standards, anyway).
  • That many rampage killers – not all, but most – carry out their final “mission” in a sort of reverie; this is the culmination of their entire fantasy life.
  • Breaking that reverie – by upsetting the plan, interfering with the fantasy, and “getting inside their decision loop” – is essential in thwarting an attack once it’s underway.
  • The best way to do this – or at least the best way available when prevention has ailed, andonce the shooting starts – is to shoot at the shooter.  And preferably hit him.  But any resistance will do, really.  Because…
  • …once the shooter meets resistance, their reverie usually breaks, and their long-fantasized plans go awry, they usually – not always, but usually – panic; they break off the attack, they give up or, frequently, they kill themselves.  Sometimes it doesn’t work – Matteen kept shooting after he met resistance (I’ll speculate that his terrorist motivations may be part of the reason for this).  Sometimes it works amazingly well; Nick Meli had only to point his gun at Jason Roberts (he checked fire out of worry that he’d hit a bystander), causing Roberts to withdraw into a nearby store and kill himself, still carrying hundreds of unspent rounds.   More according to the theory – Jeanne Assam shot and wounded Matthew Murray inside New Life Christian Center, after he’d already killed two (and two more at an earlier crime scene); Murray withdrew and ended his worthless life.
  • Because of this observation, the convention wisdom among law enforcement became to “get in there and engage active shooters”; rather than wait for SWAT teams and bomb squads to assemble and stage and come up with a plan, individual officers, armed with whatever was in their cars or on their persons – “patrol rifles”, shotguns, handguns – should move toward the shooting, and try to put some lead in and around the shooter.  To seize the initiative, to take control of the narrative.
  • While cops don’t say this in public, of course, it doesn’t really matter if the person putting that fire into and around the shooter has a badge or not; incoming bullets all sound the same. This blog has compiled a sizeable list of mass shooters thwarted by civilians with guns – currently 16 and counting.  From Nick Meli to Dr. Lee Silverman, the list of regular schnooks who’ve thwarted mass shooters is much, much longer than the media and the ignorant (pardon the redundancy) are willing to comprehend, much less admit.

Apparently, though, someone from Orlando didn’t get the memo.  Or, more likely – I’m guessing, here – the SWAT team, in a situation of immense stress and confusion, held off doing anything drastic while they figured out what to do.

When Seconds Count…:  As Bob Owens at Bearing Arms notes, around the point in the transcript where Mateen is reloading his magazines.  I’ll add emphasis:

The terrorist has been killing at will, unimpeded, for 20 minutes, longer than any mass shooting in recent American history [except possibly Columbine – Ed.] (in 1966 Charles Whitman, the University of Texas bell tower sniper was still active 20 minutes into his rampage, but civilians and police were actively firing on his position).  Virginia Tech was over in 12 minutes. Sandy Hook took five.

This terrorist was charging magazines, as the OPD waited and victims bled out on the dance floor and in bathrooms.

He had time to reload (as in “put more bullets in his magazines” – perhaps twice.

“High capacity magazines” were clearly irrelevant to this situation, by the way.  As they were at Virginia Tech, where the shooter used mundane handguns with regular (12-15 round) magazines.

Victims are bleeding out, no longer responding to the dispatchers they called to save their lives.  Other callers, including a nurse who is among the wounded, are warning that victims are losing too much blood.

No one is coming.

No one is coming. 

It isn’t until 38 minutes into the terrorist attack that the now-reloaded shooter calls Orlando PD and announces that he is a Islamic terrorist aligned with the Islamic State.

At this point, a competently trained SWAT command, having learned from the Russian experience at Beslan that terrorists call to “negotiate” only to stall for time and improve their positions to kill more people, should have recognized that the best option for a shooter in a confined space with hostages is to throw in flash-bang grenades and storm in while he was disoriented to take him down.

And yet they didn’t.

Why?  We don’t know, yet.  Maybe we never will.

At the end of the day, a cop wants to go home safe.

Who can blame ’em?

Defense:  Well, I’m no monday-morning quarterback.  If I’m a patrol cop, armed with a rifle I’ve rarely trained on, in a thin kevlar vest that might turn a pistol bullet or shotgun pellet but not a rifle round, going into a dark room full of screaming people, floors slick with blood, and the deafening sound of rifle fire in a confined space booming all around?  I might well take cover, and stay there.  Maybe hiding behind the brick I’d crap.

And the Supreme Court has ruled as much, saying that while it’s police’s job to try to protect you, they’re not really liable if they don’t.

On the other hand: the taxpayers of Orlando, like those of every major city, have spent years and millions outfitting police SWAT teams with all sorts of high-test body armor, flash-bang grenades and other right-with-the-SOCOM-fashion curve hostage rescue goodies, and the exquisitely expensive training that goes with with it (or so one hopes that’s where the money went).

Why did the Orlando SWAT team wait until 5:02AM – three hours after the first 911 call – to breach the wall and go into the club?  Why did it take fifteen more minutes to kill Mateen?    We don’t know.

How many died in those three hours?    Go through the transcript (below he jump), and count the number of people whom callers report expiring to blood loss as they huddled in piles on the dance floor, or to cell phone contacts quietly dropping off the line, leaving nothing but the sounds of gunshots and screaming in the background, as victims slowly bled out.

Go ahead.  Do it.

It sounds like an awful place.  Who can blame the SWAT team for being careful?


You.

You, huddled on the floor and playing dead in the room full of frantic people and a growing toll of wounded, maimed and dead bodies, can blame them.   As the hours tick by, as the blood on the floor gets sticky and dry, as the gunman reloads, kills another handful of people, reloads again and again.

It’s you who won’t be going home.

Could it have been different?   If one other person in the room with you had had the means to react in a meaningful, e.g. life-threatening, way?

Maybe.  There are no guarantees, least of all when bullets are flying.    Who knows – maybe they got hit before they had a chance to draw.  Maybe they’d draw, but get shot first.

Or maybe they’d trade fire with the killer, and lose – but un-nerve the killer, allowing at least a  few people to escape.

Or maybe, just maybe, the citizen with the gun would catch a few lucky breaks; the killer doesn’t have eyes in the back of his head, after all.  A couple of shots to the back while the killer was looking the other way, and suddenly it’s camera crews and yellow tape.

But as the hours drag on, it’s pretty clear – the only help that’s coming is from outside.

Sometime.  Maybe.  Hopefully before you join the dead.


NOTE:  While I intend my comment section as a discussion, and tolerate dissent and cognitive dissonance better than most, be advised; comments I deem stupid will not be deleted; they will be mutilated for my pleasure.  

The judgment of “stupidity” is all mine; it doesn’t mean “disagreement”; just stupidity.  I know it when I see it.

There will be no other warnings.

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Consequences

Some of my circle of acquaintances are deeply pessimistic about the “Brexit”.

“Without the EU”, they say, “the standard of living in the UK will plummet.  They’ll be frozen out of trade; they’re blowing up their own economies, setting themselves back decades!”

I’ll note that most of the acquaintances are the types who seem themselves as amateur versions of the globalist wonks that run things like, well, the EU and the UN, not to mention things like the Met Council and anything with “Urban Studies” attached.

And the have a point.

Watching the Brexit, I’m recalling what happened when Switzerland opted out of joining the EU.

One of the nicer neighborhoods in Geneva, Switzerland. This area is a block off Lake Geneva.

And the chaos that accompanied Norway deciding that they and the rest of Europe should just remain friends.

Oslo, Norway. This photo is taken two blocks from the “Storting”, Norway’s Parliament building, in the heart of Oslo’s central city.

How could Britain have been so stupid, knowing what happens to European Countries that don’t join the EU?

A Good Gal With A Gun

Woman kills intruder.

Officials said the 33-year-old woman had returned home with her kids — aged 5 and 10 — when she encountered the man and opened fire.

Police officers and medical personnel arriving at the home in Portland, Oregon, early Sunday found the 59-year-old man who had been shot dead.

The mom is cooperating with the investigation and was not arrested, authorities said.

Perhaps she should have told the guy to wait for the police, and left the house ’til they arrived.

Let Them Eat Cake

A friend of this blog writes:

Hard to tell if this is supposed to be positive or negative publicity for the light rail- median income is down, we haven’t gentrified the area, and people and still mostly poor here. Was that the goal of the Green Line?

The goal of the Green Line was to make everything better.  Everything.

You just gotta be patient.

No.  Patienter.

(First, we gotta deal with the crime problem.  Then comes the happiness and joy).

A Banana Republic, If You Can Keep It

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

The IRS has released a list of nearly 500 conservative groups it targeted for extra scrutiny to delay their fundraising abilities and thereby allow Democrats to outraise, outspend and out-advertise their way to winning the election.

I’m so old that I can remember the President of the United States insisted there was not even a smidgen of corruption at the IRS.

 With this new information, I guess the President will be outraged to learn he was misled, heads will roll, people will be fired and prosecuted.  Hell, the President might even step down out of sheer embarrassment, knowing that his party intentionally violated the civil rights of millions of Americans for the benefit of Democrats in Congress. 

 Joe Doakes

Ya gotta have faith.

I’m Sure…

this will turn out to be more right-wing conservative Christian violence.  Or maybe those elusive pro-life Tea Partiers.

Over thirty dead and counting in Istanbul.

Darn that NRA.

Not to snark overly much; I’ve always felt somewhat close to Turkey.  My mom lived there for several years, back in the nineties.

Just waiting to see what kind of “workplace violence” our State Department or Administration try to redact this into.

The Greatest

RIP Buddy Ryan:

The defensive mastermind that was, perhaps even more than Mike Ditka, behind the greatest team in the history of NFL football, Ryan had a long, long career:

Beloved by his players and hated by opposing offenses (and sometimes hated even by his own offenses), Ryan masterminded Chicago’s 46 defense that won Super Bowl XX. He later served as head coach of an Eagles team that had a great defense in its own right, and ended his coaching career as head coach of the Cardinals in 1994 and 1995.

Ryan’s 35-year career as a football coach began in 1961 as a defensive line coach with the University at Buffalo Bulls, and in 1968 he moved to the Jets, helping them win Super Bowl III. He spent two years with the Vikings in 1976 and 1977 before George Halas hired him to coach the Bears’ defense in 1978.

He and his ’85 Bears were the subject of an ESPN biopic last year; he really wasn’t looking good (and either was Jim McMahon).

But we’ll always have ’85.

Rights

I’m not going to talk politics, here. I’m going to talk morality and ethics.

First: as a general rule, it’s considered immoral to make someone accountable and responsible for something, but to withhold the rights needed to carry that responsibility out. It’d be wrong to say “raise this kid!” without giving someone the rights to, y’know, raise the kid.

Right?

Second: If someone said to you “I have the right not to be hit by a tornado”, you’d think they were nuts – right? Your rights don’t affect nature – do they?

Likewise, if someone said “I have a right not to get hurt while driving”, you’d likely respond “there is no “right” to be exempt from bad luck, equipment failure, or even human negligence – your own, or someone else’s”.

No – in both cases, you have the *responsibilty* to protect yourself, and especially your family, from these dangers that nature, technology and human nature throw at you. You listen to the sirens and haul the kids down to the basement; you check your tires, you make sure your kids are belted in, and yourself to boot; you watch for drivers who seem impaired or reckless, and drive defensively. You have the *right* to take action to meet your responsibility to *avoid* having human nature, mechanical nature, or Mother Nature harm you and yours.

So in this past week and a half, since the atrocity in Orlando, a lot of people have been arguing about the Second Amendment. One line I’ve heard a lot is “your Second Amendment right doesn’t trump my right not to get shot!”, usually from people who think they’re making a show-stopper point.

They’re half right; the Second Amendment trumps nothing. Literally. Because there *is* no “right not to get shot”. There is only a responsibility to try to deter, deflect or end threats to your community, to you, and your family.

Like Mother Nature, human nature is full of ugly surprises and perversions; people who want to take what’s not theirs (criminals), people who think that violence is a means to a political end (terrorists), some who think killing is their ticket to immortality (rampage killers) and, every so often, someone who thinks their will to power is more important than your life, liberty and happiness; none of them have the “right” to do any of it, but that doesn’t prevent them from doing it anyway.

Do you have a “right” not to be affected by the worst human nature has to offer? In an abstract sense, maybe – but discussions of “rights” with criminals, terrorists, madmen and tyrants are about as useful as discussions with tornados and flat tires.

You don’t have a “right” not to be affected by perversions of human nature, any more than you have a right not to be affected by tornados, earthquakes or blowouts. But you do have that responsibility.

To meet that responsibility, you have rights; the right to take actions that protect everyone; you don’t need a permit to check your tires, to take your kids to the basement when the sirens go off [1]…

…and the *right* to defend you and yours from the worst of human nature with a firearm (among many, many other options – from speech, peer pressure and dogs, to locked doors and motion lights, through restraining orders, police calls and the like). The Second Amendment doesn’t grant this right; our creator did, just like our rights to speak, worship, publish, and so on. To try to suppress that right – the right to uphold that responsibility to protect ones self, community and family – is as immoral as giving people any other responsibility without rights.

There is no more “right not to get shot” than there is a “right to shoot people” [2].

——

OK, I lied. There’s some politics in here too.

Some people who should know better have been given to stroking their chins and intoning “y’know, the 2nd Amendment exists and is a right – but we’ve rolled back other rights, like the right to own slaves”.

Sure – we’ve changed the Constitution. The 13th Amendment abolished the “right” to own other humans – an institution that was morally repugnant BECAUSE it stripped away the other human’s rights. Basic principle, here: one person’s rights can not infringe other peoples’ rights.

But abolishing the Second Amendment – or more likely, trying to ban a class of firearms – has less in common with the 13th Amendment than the 18th, which banned alcohol. Like Prohibition, the gun grabbers believe that if they just regulate what people can get their hands on, they can repeal human nature itself!

Prohibition made everything that it was trying to help, even worse, and had unintended consequences that were far worse than the original problem (all-time high crime rates, ballooning government spending, contempt for the law).

Naturally, this’ll be different.

Anyway – you don’t, ever, get more freedom by taking other peoples’ freedom away.

[1] although don’t give the Saint Paul DFL any ideas

[2] other than in self-defense, naturally

Huh

An attack by a Muslim acting on behalf of ISIS, who was a registered Democrats, got this reaction at the New York “Pride” Parade over the weekend:

Screen Shot 2016-06-27 at 9.17.46 AM

The Democrat Party – and let’s be frank, it’s the Democrats who are behind banners like this – is all about ending the namecalling and anger…by Republicans.

With Nominees Like This…

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

It’s painful to watch the Republican Presidential nominee join in clamoring for a secret, non-appealable Enemies List of un-persons who have been stripped of civil rights by some unaccountable bureaucrat in the federal administration: four years ago, no right to raise money for voter education; last year, no right to private communication by email or cell phone; today, no right to travel by air; tomorrow, no right to self-defense.  Secret blacklists are the McCarthyism that my teachers warned me about.  

I’m going to add emphasis to this next bit:

 How can people not see that empowering the government to decide Who has rights is empowering it to decide Nobody has rights?  Sure, it’s great while your guy is the President, but what if the unthinkable happens and my guy wins?  Will you still be happy when you’re on the receiving end?  Are Americans really that eager to roll back the clock to 1775, to be subjects instead of citizens, to live by sufferance instead of right?

 What’s heartbreaking is the ONLY civil rights organization standing up for Due Process of Law is the NRA.

 Joe Doakes

Not only are about half of Americans unclear on the difference between “Citizen” and “Subject”, but a good chunk of them actively yearn to be subjects.

Provided nobody tells them who to marry or whether they can get an abortion…

…are you seeing a pattern yet?

Common Sense Alt Media

Many of you reading this blog are amateur journalists; we met back when everyone was a exercising their First Amendment rights with blogs and the like.

Now, writing online – blogs, tumblr, Facebook, whatever – is fine. And audio podcasts are OK.

But nobody really needs video. It’s just too much.

I’ve worked as a real reporter; I’ve had actual training with real video. And if you don’t believe me, believe many, many professional journalists, who’ll tell you – regular people just don’t need video.

It’s common sense.

Stacked

Glenn “Instapundit” Reynolds wasn’t writing about the Twin Cities’ Met Council in his USA Today piece, “Why Politicians Love Cities”.   But in another sense, he was precisely writing about the Met Council.

Reynolds cites urban theorist and “New Urbanism” critic Joel Kotkin’s new book (we’ve met Kotkin on this blog before) in getting to three reasons why politicians – like the Met Council – loooove big cities;  snobbery, graft and politics.

I’ll commend Reynolds’ article to you for the first two.  As to the politics?

Cities tend to repel – and, ultimately, exclude – people who intend to raise children; it’s become something of a phenomenon.   What it’s not, it would seem, is accidental:

Politicians like to pursue policies that encourage their political enemies to leave, while encouraging those who remain to vote for them. (This is known as “the Curley effect” after James Michael Curley, a former mayor of Boston.)  People who have children, or plan to, tend to be more conservative, or at least more bourgeois, than those who do not. By encouraging high density and mass transit, urban politicians (who are almost always on the left) encourage people who might oppose them to “vote with their feet” and move to the suburbs.

This isn’t necessarily good for the cities they rule. Curley’s approach, which involved “wasteful redistribution to his poor Irish constituents and incendiary rhetoric to encourage richer citizens to emigrate from Boston,” as David Henderson wrote on theEconLog, shaped the electorate to his benefit. Result: “Boston as a consequence stagnated, but Curley kept winning elections.”

But that’s OK. Politicians don’t care about you. They care about power, in urban planning and in everything else.

Pushing people who tend more conservative out of the city/ies is just plain good politics for the DFL that the Met Council exists to serve.

Crazy

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Democrats in Congress are staging a sit-in for gun control in response to a gay man shooting up a gay nightclub in Orlando. 

 People suffering from mental illness are banned from owning guns for the obvious reason that they’re a danger to themselves or others.  Homosexuality was a mental illness until 1973, when it was redefined as normal.  Did gay men get less dangerous or were they never dangerous?  Should we have banned them from owning guns in the past?  Given the evidence of Orlando, should we ban gay men from owning guns now?

 Today, Liberals claim Conservativism is a mental illness.  And Democrats want to characterize receipt of Social Security Disability benefits as an adjudication of mental illness. Plain to see where that is heading.

 And, of course, the Soviet Union had a well-developed network of psychiatric hospitals devoted to housing patients suffering from “sluggish schizophrenia,” a person determined to be mentally ill because he failed to conform to Socialist ideas about the Truth. Won’t surprise me a bit if Hillary revives that plan and expands it to include anybody whose name does not appear on the DNC campaign donor list.

 And yet every bus, every street corner, every train yard has a bum, a homeless vet, a person who actually suffers from mental illness but won’t take his meds and nobody can make him because Liberals insist on liberty above public safety.  Clayton Cramer’s book “My Brother Ron” should be required reading before any discussion of mental illness and firearms.

Joe Doakes

It’s a tricky subject – by nature, and by political intent.

Saturday On The NARN, And Every Day’s The Fourth Of July

Today, the Northern Alliance Radio Network – America’s first grass-roots talk radio show – is on the air!

I’m back from assignment.  I’ll be talking about:

  • Democrats against freedom!
  • I’ll be talking with Frank Drake, GOP Candidate for the 5th Congressional District

Don’t forget – on a normal weekend King Banaian is on from 9-11AM on AM1440, and Brad Carlson has “The Closer” edition of the NARN Sundays from 2-3PM.

So tune in the Northern Alliance! You have so many options:

Join us!