Archive for the ‘Meltdown’ Category

I think we all agree that Nazis are bad. Evil. Their ideology and their “Third Reich” caused untold suffering and destruction, costing millions of lives. It should not be celebrated. It should not be defended. It should not be encouraged or promoted. It should always be condemned in the strongest possible terms.

All that said, I also think that Pres. Trump’s response to the violence in Charlottesville was right on target, and I’ll tell you why.

Close to 20 years ago now, I lived in beautiful Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. Twenty minutes to the north is a sleepy little town called, “Hayden Lake.” Hayden Lake had the unfortunate distinction of having a white supremacist “compound” a few miles outside of town. Richard Butler and his skinhead Aryan Nations “Church” (tax dodge) came to be synonymous with North Idaho, and Hayden Lake became guilty by association (I suspect Charlottesville is currently suffering from something similar).

Now, every year Coeur d’Alene hosts a big 4th of July parade, right down Main Street. It’s quite the big deal. Hundreds, if not thousands, of people come out from all around to watch the floats, the marchers, the bands, enjoy the music and food in the park, stake out a claim for your picnic blanket, and stay all day to watch the fireworks at night. It’s an annual tradition, and we never missed a year.

Except. One year, Mr. Butler and his “family” decided that they wanted to have a “parade” as well. They applied for, and were granted, a permit for the march. The town council and the citizenry were in an uproar! They didn’t want the Aryan Nation wackos in their town! Up went the hue and cry, but to no avail. The town could not legally deny them a permit, and so the march would move forward.

And you know what the town did?

Nothing.

On the day of the parade, just before the appointed hour, businesses all along main-street closed up shop. Locked their doors. “Closed” signs in the window. No one came to line the streets. No bands were playing. There were only a scattering of vocal protestors, and they were kept in check by the police (unlike in Charlottesville). I was very nearly a ghost town.

The Aryan’s wanted to make a splash, cause a ruckus, to assert their “rights.” And they tried.

And we ignored them. We belittled them with our silence. We spurned them and their ideology with our collective absence. We didn’t give them the satisfaction of a response. We turned our backs on their hate.

So they came with their four vehicles, packed with shaven-headed youths in their white t-shirts and suspenders. They “marched” down Main Street to the park, where they had their “rally.” They blathered on for half an hour, attended solely by a scant handful of protestors cordoned off some distance away. And then they left.

And the stores opened back up, the people came back out, and we went on with the day. There were no fights. No smashed windows. And only a few raised voices.

That is how you deal with that kind of hate. Don’t give it an audience. Deny it a forum by denying it a crowd. If you must oppose it, sing. Pray. Dance. Oppose their hate with joy. Not with black face masks and baseball bats. If you really want to “oppose” people like that…LAUGH AT THEM.

Would there have been violence, or death, in Charlottesville if “antifa” and their associates had all stayed home?

I think I can say with some confidence that few in Charlottesville wanted the Nazis there. But did they really want a “counter-protest” group who showed up spoiling for a fight, either?

So, when Pres. Trump suggests that both sides had some measure of blame for the violence that occurred, I think he is spot on. Nazis and Aryans and their ilk are belligerent and violent by nature. They expect hostility, and are prepared to respond in kind.

But these “antifa” are the same folks who show up to riot at UC-Berkeley, all too ready to bring violence to bear to oppose the terrible dangers of having a conservative commentator speak on campus. So, when they showed in Charlottesville, in full regalia, it made confrontation nearly inevitable.

Couple that with the bizarre incompetence or gross malfeasance on the part of local law enforcement in their complete failure to do anything to de-escalate or defuse the situation, and it was a recipe for disaster.

Highlighting the role or burden of liability this other group played in what happened does not mean you defend or diminish the evil that is Nazism, or the abhorrent nature of their professed ideology. It doesn’t mean you have to be sympathetic to either side. It simply means you assign blame where blame is due.

The last few days it’s become clear that there is acceptable violence, and unacceptable violence. The “antifa” marchers who showed up to counter-protest the Nazis and other white nationalists are being portrayed as freedom fighters, some even going so far as to compare them to the soldiers who fought the Nazis in WWII. Except….Easy Company didn’t wear masks.

If we are going to stand against hate and violence, let’s stand against in all its forms, regardless of the source, Left or Right.

It is sad and unfortunate that a group of white supremacists decided to descend on Charlottesville and spew their hate. But, instead of gearing up and heading in for a fight, a much better response would have been to ignore them. Let them have their say, and then watch in stony silence as they drive away.

And then move on with the day.

Advertisements

So, imagine if you will, the CEO of a top Fortune 500 company.  A long-standing leader in the industry, with satellite branches in other countries and significant influence across the globe. Thousands of employees, hundreds of divisions, involved in everything from pharmaceuticals to oil refineries to high-tech research and development.

Now, imagine that this company is plagued by scandals.  An overseas plant is caught using child labor.  Another facility is shown to have falsified safety reports.  Low-grade medicines being pawned off as premium quality with high prices.  The more the problems that come to light, the more people start digging, and things just keep getting worse.

Now, imagine that time and again the CEO’s response to each new revelation of wrong-doing, oversight, or unethical business practice is, “You can’t blame me, I only found out about this when I read about it in the Wall Street Journal!”  And even as his corporation begins to crumble around him, he continues to go on golf outings with his rich buddies, takes his extended family on numerous overseas vacations on the company dime, and continues to try and divert attention from his problems by pointing fingers at everyone else but himself.

Now imagine millions of customers and consumers of this corporation’s products — who might otherwise hate big business — turning a blind eye to evey misstep and instance of malfeasance on the part of the CEO…because he’s black.  And then attacking his critics as racist for daring to impugn the character of this fine, upstanding member of the community!

In the real world, just how long do you suppose that this CEO would remain the CEO?  How many more instances of incompetence, disconnectedness, and destructive business practices would the clientelle endure before the stockholders got fed up and had him fired?

Hypothetically speaking, of course.

Well, I sorta “missed” the Fourth of July this year.  It just doesn’t have the same verve when you are living in a foreign country.  Folks here in Germany do New Years better than the Chinese by far, but the Fourth of July just doesn’t seem to be on their radar for some reason.  So, we had a bar-b-cue, drank American Beer, and called it good.

I’ve spent today kinda cruising through my blogroll, and reading everybody else’s FOJ posts.  The one that really struck home to me was Michelle Malkin’s.  She put the text of the Declaration of Independence out there, and encouraged, nay, even demanded that people read it.  It made me realize how long it’s been since I actually read it myself.  And it got me to thinking.

Can you imagine if someone published this text today?

That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.–Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government

Look at it. Look at it in light of the DHS report on “right wing extremism” and the almost formally-sanctioned modern view that supporting States rights or a limited and constrained form of government qualifies as subversion bordering on domestic terrorism.

Our Founding Fathers UNDERSTOOD the dangers of a large and corpulent government populated by an entrenched ruling class severely removed from the experience of the common man.   A system into which our once noble Experiment has unfortunately devolved in modern times.  It is almost as if we have come full circle.  And yet, what now is our recourse?  Where I to publish a text simliar to the Declaration of Independence, and call it my “manifesto,” I would undoubtedly be placed on numerous watch lists as a fringe extremist!

Our Founding Fathers put into place mechanisms whereby the PEOPLE — you, me, us — could take direct and effective steps to curb the abuses of an entrenched, nepotistic ruling body that had become unaccountable to the electorate.  Measures designed to PREVENT the need for violence.

We. Are.Not. Using. Them!

Impeachment. Recall Elections. Notices of Censure.   I propose that “term limits” were assumed to be self-evident to the framers of our Constitution.  The idea that one man (or woman) would remain as his or her state’s representative for 10, 15, 20 years would have likely seemed not only ridiculous, but dangerously counter-intuitive. 

Our Framer’s wanted no kings, no dukes or earls, and no kingdoms or feifdoms.  Our modern view seems to have shifted to the point where we see ourselves serving at the mercy of Congress and the President, not them serving at OUR discretion!

We are losing our independence.  It is not being taken by force, but rather, lost through inaction, lethargy, and simple ignorant confusion. 

If our government has ceased to meet our needs, if our elected representatives have ceased to represent our interests, then WE, The People, need to take the legal, Constitutionally MANDATED actions to correct the situation.  We need to rise up from our morose, incontinent stupidity and begin kicking people out of office!  Don’t just wait for the next election, can them NOW.  Impeach judges who legislate from the bench, and who reinterpret the clear meanings of our Constitution in any other context than that intended by the Framers!

Our country was founded as a loose confederation of independent and in many ways autonomous states, with the Federal government being intended to provide only those things the states themselves could not.  Having the Federal Government dictate policy at the state level, to include what may or may not be on a state seal, or what may or may not hang on the wall of the state capitol or Supreme Court, is a VIOLATION OF THE CONSTITUTION.

To whit, the 10th Amendment to the Constitution:

Amendment 10: The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

The Federal Government has ONLY those powers specifically granted it by the Constitution. EVERYTHING ELSE is meant to be handled at the state level!  The EXPECTATION is that people are the best judges of what is for their “general welfare,” not a bushel of overpaid career bureacrats with a vested interest in preserving their own power.

Remember:  Our country is not a democracy.  Pure democracy is actually antithetical to our system of government! We are a Representative Republic, which is at best a “democracy by proxy.”  We trust our representative to defend and stand for our states’ interests in the national Congress, to include preventing undue federal interference in matters of state government.  This is quite simply no longer happening in most instances.

So, this Fourth, rather than waxing poetic about a bid for independence 233 years ago, I suggest we would be better served focusing on how our liberties and independence are being threatened today.

As Benjamin Franklin is credited with saying, at the conclusion of the Constitutional Convention in 1787:

Q: “Well, Doctor, what have we got—a Republic or a Monarchy?”

A:  “A Republic, if you can keep it.”

Benjamin Franklin seems to have known the dangers of the new system, dangers we seem to have forgotten.  They had best be remembered, or we will lose that for which so many have paid so dearly.

This is what a Democratically controlled congress gets you.

Cap and Trade in all it’s glory. Hello $5 a gallon for gas, and double or triple your electricity bill in the next 10 years.

Bastards.  We are so phuq’d.

Well, on CNN, the Tea Party protests got only one link, but amazingly enough, the article was balanced, fair, and by no means a hit piece.  I encourage you to read it.  It lays out the basics of what the protests are about, and even seems to paint them in if not a positive light, then at least in neutral terms.

Nationwide ‘tea party’ protests blast spending

However.

Let us compare that article to this one from that bastion of journalistic objectivity, MSNBC.

 Anti-tax ‘tea parties’ being held across U.S.
Obama aims to ease dread of deadline day, vowing ‘simpler tax code’

Notice how they manage to toss a puff for Obama into the Headline?

Also notice that the Page Title in the HTML actually says, “Anti-tax ‘tea parties’ vent anger across U.S.”  The anger part becomes important pretty quickly. I’ll just highlight in bold all the fun, inflammatory terms and polarizing language:

Whipped up by conservative commentators and bloggers, tens of thousands of protesters staged “tea parties” across the nation

Whipped up. As in, into a frenzy.  At least they didn’t downplay the numbers, got to give them that.

Protesters even threw what appeared to be a box of tea bags over the fence onto the White House grounds, causing a brief lockdown at the compound before the package was declared not dangerous.

The assumption being, of course, that something the protestors threw over the fence would be dangerous.  Which, if it “appeared to be tea bags”  would, I propose, be a bit of stretch, wouldn’t you think?  Unless of course it fits your narrative.

Shouts rang out from Kentucky,

Looks a bit like “shots rang out,” doesn’t it?

“Frankly, I’m mad as hell,” said businessman Doug Burnett at a rally at the Iowa Capitol, where many of the about 1,000 people wore red shirts declaring “revolution is brewing.”

That’s right.  Angry, red-shirted Iowans warning of revolution.  Hey, maybe that DHS report was right!?

Texas Gov. Rick Perry fired up a tea party at Austin City Hall with his stance against the federal government, as some in his U.S. flag-waving audience shouted, “Secede!”

Not just revolutionists, but successionist as well!  The way this is worded, does it not give the impression that Texas Gov. Rick Perry might tacitly approve this sentiment, as it is “HIS” flag-waving audience?  Not THE audience, but HIS audience.  A subtle but grammatically significant difference.

Other protesters also took direct aim at Obama. One sign in the crowd in Madison, Wis., compared him to the anti-Christ.

Don’t forget rabid, fundie Christians.   “Taking direct aim” at Obama.  I believe they use to call this sort of thing “yellow journalism.”  Now they just call it, well, MSNBC.

Jim Adams of Selma carried a sign that showed the president with Hitler-style hair and mustache and said, “Sieg Heil Herr Obama.”

Must have changed the name on one of the Code Pink signs, I guess.

To be honest, I can’t tell if the penner of this AP piece was simply trying to present a sense of the moral outrage of the participants, but I doubt it.    The use of such charged terms as “whipped up” and “shouts rang out” do more than convey intensity…the suggest a frenzy, the possibility of violence.  Which is at odds with the vast majority of other reporting on the events out there.

The movement attracted some Republicans considering 2012 presidential bids.

Really?  Like who?

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich planned to address a tea party in a New York City park Wednesday night. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal sent an e-mail to his supporters, letting them know about tea parties throughout the state. South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford attended two tea parties.

These three have all expressed interest in running in 2012?  Who knew?

To me, giving cherry-picked statements from isolated firebrands equal time with the more common tone of frustrated but motivated political activism in the name of “balance” really isn’t.  It makes it appear that this undercurrent of revolutionary fervor was a common theme, which it is not.

The TEA Parties are really just about getting the government back on track, under control, and accountable to the people again.  Rather than the other way around.

Folks, all you have to do is look at the pictures from the various Tea Party rallies, and then compare and contrast the pictures over at ZombieTime from a series of Lefty proteests, to see what a fallacy it is to be so cautionary against “conservative” activism.  The Radical Left long ago cornered the market on crazy.