19 Jun 2013
Martial Law Underway in Watertown
National guard units seeking to confiscate a cache of recently banned assault weapons were ambushed on April 19th by elements of a Para-military extremist faction. Military and law enforcement sources estimate that 72 were killed and more than 200 injured before government forces were compelled to withdraw.
Speaking after the clash, Massachusetts Governor Thomas Gage declared that the extremist faction, which was made up of local citizens, has links to the radical right-wing tax protest movement. Gage blamed the extremists for recent incidents of vandalism directed against internal revenue offices. The governor, who described the group’s organizers as “criminals,” issued an executive order authorizing the summary arrest of any individual who has interfered with the government’s efforts to secure law and order. The military raid on the extremist arsenal followed wide-spread refusal by the local citizenry to turn over recently outlawed assault weapons.
Gage issued a ban on military-style assault weapons and ammunition earlier in the week. This decision followed a meeting in early this month between government and military leaders at which the governor authorized the forcible confiscation of illegal arms.
One government official, speaking on condition of anonymity, pointed out that “none of these people would have been killed had the extremists obeyed the law and turned over their weapons voluntarily.” Government troops initially succeeded in confiscating a large supply of outlawed weapons and ammunition. However, troops attempting to seize arms and ammunition in Lexington met with resistance from heavily-armed extremists who had been tipped off regarding the government’s plans. During a tense standoff in Lexington ’s town park, National Guard Colonel Francis Smith, commander of the government operation, ordered the armed group to surrender and return to their homes. The impasse was broken by a single shot, which was reportedly fired by one of the right-wing extremists. Eight civilians were killed in the ensuing exchange.
Ironically, the local citizenry blamed government forces rather than the extremists for the civilian deaths. Before order could be restored, armed citizens from surrounding areas had descended upon the guard units.
Colonel Smith, finding his forces over matched by the armed mob, ordered a retreat.
Governor Gage has called upon citizens to support the state/national joint task force in its effort to restore law and order. The governor also demanded the surrender of those responsible for planning and leading the attack against the government troops. Samuel Adams, Paul Revere, and John Hancock, who have been identified as “ringleaders” of the extremist faction, remain at large.
. . . And this, people, is how the American Revolution began .
April 20, 1775
Hat tip to James Harberson.
19 Jun 2013
Many have asked me, how did your life change so dramatically? Well, I was kind of rootless after Dad died, so I asked the village ajuoga what to do. He cast pebbles and, rather improbably, they came up saying I was destined to be president of the Harvard Law Review and then teach constitutional law at the University of Chicago. This was a lot for a young man to process, let alone live up to. But the pebbles don’t lie, so I wrapped some meager possessions in a wildebeest skin and set out for Nairobi.
Almost a year later, I arrived in Boston, shoeless and speaking only a few crude English phrases. But the faculty of Harvard took pity on me, and soon no one was more surprised than I when I graduated with a Juris Doctor, magna cum laude. I believe old Onyango’s tales of Anansi the trickster god helped me to grasp the cunning subtleties of the U.S. legal system.”
Hat tip to Sarah Jenislawski.
19 Jun 2013
Bobby Jindal yesterday took issue with the calls for reforming the GOP in order to make it less conservative and more appealing to Obama voters.
At some point, the American public is going to revolt against the nanny state and the leftward march of this president. I don’t know when the tipping point will come, but I believe it will come soon.
Because the left wants: The government to explode; to pay everyone; to hire everyone; they believe that money grows on trees; the earth is flat; the industrial age, factory-style government is a cool new thing; debts don’t have to be repaid; people of faith are ignorant and uneducated; unborn babies don’t matter; pornography is fine; traditional marriage is discriminatory; 32 oz. sodas are evil; red meat should be rationed; rich people are evil unless they are from Hollywood or are liberal Democrats; the Israelis are unreasonable; trans-fat must be stopped; kids trapped in failing schools should be patient; wild weather is a new thing; moral standards are passé; government run health care is high quality; the IRS should violate our constitutional rights; reporters should be spied on; Benghazi was handled well; the Second Amendment is outdated; and the First one has some problems too.
Their philosophy does not work and it got our nation into the mess it’s in.
Eventually Americans will rise up against this new era of big government and this new reign of politically correct terror.
18 Jun 2013
We are just in the throes of a great revolt against marriage, a passionate revolt against its ties and restrictions. ...
[E]verybody, pretty well, takes it for granted that as soon as we can find a possible way out of it, marriage will be abolished. The Soviet abolishes marriage: or did. If new ‘modern’ states spring up, they will certainly follow suit. They will try to find some social substitute for marriage, and abolish the hated bond of conjugality. State support of motherhood, state support of children, and independence of women. It is on the programme of every great scheme of reform. And it means, of course, the abolition of marriage. ...
[T]he first element of union is the Christian world is the marriage-tie. The marriage-tie, the marriage bond, take it which way you like, is the fundamental connecting link in Christian society. Break it, and you will have to go back to the overwhelming dominance of the State which existed before the Christian era. ...
Perhaps the greatest contribution to the social life of man made by Christianity is—marriage. Christianity brought marriage into the world: marriage as we know it. Christianity established the little economy of the family within the greater rule of the State. Christianity made marriage in some respects inviolate, not to be violated by the State. It is marriage, perhaps, which has given man the best of his freedom, given him his little kingdom of his own within the big kingdom of the State, given him his foothold of independence on which to stand and resist the unjust State. Man and wife, a king and queen with one or two subjects, and a few square yards of territory of their own: this, really, is marriage. It is a true freedom because it is a true fulfillment, for man, woman, and children.
Do we want to break marriage? If we do break it, it means we all fall to a far greater extent under the direct sway of the State. Do we want to fall under the direct sway of the State, any State? For my part, I don’t.
—-Apropos of Lady Chatterley’s Lover
17 Jun 2013
Conservatives are overwhelmingly right on our political and cultural issues, but the Immigration issue stands out as the rara avis example of a particular case in which most of the political right is wrong.
Even Rush Limbaugh (who is right 99.something % of the time) is wrong on this one.
When conservatives talk about immigration, they sound to me like liberals, because they insist on talking in slogans and have lost touch completely with practical reality.
Illegal immigration to the United States, overwhelmingly by poor Hispanic laborers, has occurred over a long period of time on a massive scale. The number of illegal immigrants in residence today can only be estimated, but the conventional estimate is more than 11 million persons.
Liberals want to ban private possession of firearms, tra la! and fail to reflect on inconvenient realities: that countless millions of guns exist in private hands, that large numbers of Americans have the technical ability to manufacture guns in basements and garages and that the point at which you can produce the essential components of the most advanced firearms using a 3D printer has already arrived. In the event of a national firearms ban, there would additionally be in the United States massive-scale non-compliance. (I, for instance, would never surrender all of my guns.) So the only way such a ban could actually be made effective would be to turn the country into a police state, and knock down doors, searching house by house for privately-held guns. And we are never going to do that. It would be too expensive. It might provoke armed resistance. And it would be both alien and repugnant to our national culture and laws.
Deporting 11+ million poor laborers and their wives and children is really equivalently far-fetched. We aren’t going to do it, because we are not that kind of country. Americans would never have the heart to do it. And, personally, I think people who indulge in fantasies of that kind need to consult their consciences and think again.
Why are there enormous numbers of illegal immigrants?
There are so many illegal immigrants because we have ill-conceived, unenforceable, sclerotic immigration rules which make legal immigration impossible, while we also have a national need for cheap low-skilled labor for which we typically lack a domestic supply.
The vast majority of Hispanic immigrants come here for precisely the same reason our own ancestors did: to seek better opportunity through hard work for themselves and their posterity.
The United States is a nation of immigrants, and American history is a long story always featuring the same kind of need for cheap labor and the arrival of wave after wave of humble people of backgrounds dissimilar to their predecessors to supply that need. And American history is also a long story of complaints from established residents about the alien and exotic recently-arrived riffraff cluttering up the landscape and spoiling old school Americans’ views, some of whom additionally go around causing trouble and committing crimes, while many refuse to speak English and assimilate.
Benjamin Franklin, in the 18th century, was bitching about all the fringe-group religious heretics from Central Europe coming to Pennsylvania to practice weird religious cultisms, then insisting on hanging out in their own communities, not assimilating, and often never even learning English, forsooth! And he was right. The damned Amish, Mennonites, Dunkards, and Schwenkfelders are still to be found in Pennsylvania, often still living in their own bizarre communities, and some of ‘em still, by God, have not learned proper English, over two centuries later. Of course, we tend to look upon this sort of thing today as a quaint bit of surviving Americana and a great tourist attraction rather than, as Franklin did, a cultural menace and a political threat.
We must face it, too, that fond as we all are of John Ford movies, Jimmy Cagney, and St. Patrick’s Day, not all Americans were completely overjoyed when, in the late 1840s, large numbers of poor, illiterate, vulgar, rowdy, and (shudder!) Roman Catholic Irish primitives poured into the United States, grabbing up all the low end jobs and producing massive waves of drunkenness, violence, and crime, and finally corrupting the political culture of every major city with machine politics, graft, patronage, and downright plunder.
It got even worse around the turn of the last century, when instead of basically Aryan German peasants and Irishmen speaking something resembling English, still more bizarre and exotic Roman Catholics from Eastern and Southern Europe, and Jews (Heavens to Betsy!) as well, poured into America in a truly massive wave. None of them spoke English properly. They all settled in ethnic ghettos of their own kind, shopping at the own stores, attending their own churches, and even reading their own newspapers.
Long-resident Americans were commonly horrified. If you want to learn how they felt, I can recommend the letters of H. P. Lovecraft, who was totally revolted by the pollution and adulteration of the American race and culture by Slavs and Wops and Jews. The early 20th century Ku Klux Klan that we hear so much about was actually a lot more exercised at all the immigration by representatives of inferior European races and followers of the Roman Antichrist than they were about the Negroes.
(My own grandparents, of course, were Lithuanian members of that particular wave of immigration.)
The last negative reaction was, in fact, to that same turn-of-the-last-century massive immigration. The US got its first seriously restrictive (if you were not East Asian) immigration laws in 1921 which were tightened up further in 1924. It was those Progressive Era laws which ended the United States previous essentially wide open (if you weren’t Chinese or Japanese) immigration policies. We have monkeyed with them since, but only in the interests of political correctness (Let’s let in Muslims and Africans!) or special interests.
When conservatives talk about “enforcing the law” anent illegal immigration, that kind of talk doesn’t move me in the slightest. I had no hand in writing any of the existing regs and they certainly in no way embody my personal ideals, sentiments, or opinions. If somebody violates existing US Immigration Law, it is no skin off my nose, and I couldn’t care less. Hell, I’m not all that law-abiding myself. When I was underage, I gleefully drank illegally. I often trafficked in my youth in illegal fireworks. I smoked pot and experimented with other illegal drugs when I was in college. I burned my draft card. And I still drive faster than the speed limit all the time.
Obviously, we ought to revisit our immigration laws. I have no confidence myself that today’s American society can conduct a rational debate on any issue. We certainly can’t conduct one on immigration. So, I propose doing the sensible and fair thing and just rolling the whole immigration regulatory system back to 1905 (with very minor updates). What was fair for my grandparents, I think would be fair for Hispanic immigrants today. They can arrive and enter, as long as they are not diseased, criminals, polygamists, and let’s substitute Muslims for the 1900-era exclusion of Anarchists. They fill out a Declaration of Intent at the local courthouse after a few years, and they can then be naturalized a few years later.
My grandparents supplied three sons and one daughter to the US Armed Forces during WWII. I’d say the country did well by itself to have let them in. The next time the US has another major war, this country will be damned glad that we admitted all those riffraff Hispanic immigrants, because then it will very commonly be their sons and daughters serving in the ranks.
Immigration is necessary because we have a natural dynamic of social progress and increased affluence in this country. All Americans (excluding a residuum of criminals, bums, and idiots who will not work) typically move up and out of the laboring classes. So there are now no native-born Americans in most of the country who are going to dig your ditches, pick your tomatoes, carry your bricks, hang your sheetrock, and mow your lawn. We need those Hispanic guys for that. Their presence here is a blessing to us and we conservatives and Republicans ought to have the good sense to recognize that. We should sympathize with the struggles and hardships today’s immigrants endure and we should recognize in them the contemporary equivalents of our own ancestors.
No great wave of immigration has ever come without the accompaniment of social flotsam and jetsam. Most immigrants were always decent and hard-working people, but they were always accompanied on the way by some recognizable constituent of bums, thieves, whores, and radicals. That’s how life is. There is always a certain negative inevitably attached to any positive. When political commentators stigmatize the whole 11+ million Hispanic immigrants by identifying all of them as welfare spongers, La Raza agitators, and LA gangbangers, I think they are wrong and unfair. For years and years, in different parts of the country, whenever I looked around and saw the day’s work getting done, I have seen a poor Hispanic immigrant holding the tool or lifting the load. I have hired them myself from time to time, and I’ve been amazed at how the ethic of industry, skill, and integrity is so commonly found among these humble people at a time in which that ethic is practically extinct among Americans.
Nobody is more rightwing or more Republican or less politically correct than I am, but I’m on the side of the illegal immigrants. I’d be glad personally to trade ten community of fashion liberals for any one of them. If I were running some branch of the GOP, I’d let the Hispanics know how I feel. I’d throw the biggest Cinco de Mayo party in town. I’d go to church now and then at the Latino Catholic Church, and I’d be running Republican Hispanic voter registration drives. I do not believe that a hard-working Roman Catholic population with strong family values is destined in perpetuity to be a democrat party fiefdom. We don’t have ‘em at the moment because we have all these airhead nativists and because we don’t go after them.
16 Jun 2013
Heidi Yewman, board member of the Brady Anti-Firearms Campaign and an activist who organizes anti-gun demonstrations in her home state of Washington, recently had a bright idea.
My hands are shaking; my adrenaline is surging.
No, it’s not from the latte I just inhaled or because this is the first time in two years I’ve been in a Starbucks since declaring a boycott on its open-carry gun policy.
What’s got me jittery this morning is the 9mm Glock that’s holstered on my hip. Me, lead gun policy protester at the 2010 Starbuck’s shareholder meeting. Me, a board member of the Brady Campaign. Me, the author of a book about the impact of gun violence, Beyond the Bullet.
Yes, I bought a handgun and will carry it everywhere I go over the next 30 days. I have four rules: Carry it with me at all times, follow the laws of my state, only do what is minimally required for permits, licensing, purchasing and carrying, and finally be prepared to use it for protecting myself at home or in public.
Why? Following the Newtown massacre in December, the NRA’s Wayne LaPierre, told the country, “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.” I wondered what would it be like to be that good guy with a gun? What would it be like to get that gun, live with that gun, be out and about with that gun. Finally, what happens when you don’t want that gun any more?
I decided to find out.
It would be fitting, plot-wise, if Heidi happened to find herself armed and present at a crime scene and drew that Glock, made a citizen’s arrest, then converted completely and was found thereafter shooting caribou weekends with Sarah Palin and serving as the local NRA firearms safety instructor. But I suspect it won’t happen.
For one thing, it is not apparent that, despite all the tumescence and pumping adrenaline, she has ever actually loaded that Glock.
Gun-dealer Tony deserves a good swift kick in the slats for selling a really-safety-less Glock, the handgun of choice for people who need to shoot themselves in the leg, to a person totally unfamiliar with automatic pistols, firearms generally, and gun safety, who is a chick to boot.
Glocks have their virtues. They are cheap, reliable, low maintenance, and easy to shoot, but they are a terrible choice for someone like Heidi as a first gun. She would have been a lot better off with a J-Frame Smith & Wesson .38 Special Revolver. Autos are too complicated, too difficult for novices like Heidi to understand, and too easy to make mistakes handling. Especially Glocks, which are autos pretending to be revolvers with a pretend safety on the trigger. Besides, Glocks are black, made of industrial synthetic material, and are ugly. Heidi’s first gun ought to have had some actual beauty of line and design, so that it might have at least some small chance of insinuating its way into her affections.
Of course, it is not only the clueless Tony, but Heidi herself is to blame if something goes wrong. Americans have a right to keep and bear arms, but anyone who is going to do so also has a personal responsibility to seek advice and instruction so as to choose the right weapon and to know how to handle it safely. Simply going out, buying the first gun some yoyo offers you, and then driving down the street needing to ask a cop to show you how to take out the magazine and investigate whether your gun is loaded doesn’t cut it. I will grant that the scene of the pistol-packing and trembling-with-adrenaline hoplophobe approaching an on-duty cop and trying to explain that she is armed and clueless is damned funny though. Heidi probably never even realized that with the wrong cop or if that Glock had really been loaded the result could have been her own arrest.
She never mentions any of this, but Washington state requires a permit for concealed carry, and the same permit is required to have a loaded handgun in your car.
Hat tip to Glenn Reynolds.
16 Jun 2013
Humboldt County, California was once home to half-horse, half-alligator mountain men rather than Pacifist, tree-hugging, pot-farming hippies. One old-time resident, Seth Kinman 1815-1888, boasted of killing 800 Grizzly bears in his lifetime and of having shot 60 elk in one month. He made furniture out of his trophies and presented examples to Presidents James Buchanan, Abraham Lincoln, Andrew Johnson, and Rutherford Hayes.
Hat tip to Greg Nylander via Vanderleun.
15 Jun 2013
Wolf pursuing motorcyclist on Highway 93 in Kootenay National Park last Saturday.
Last Saturday, Banff mechanic Tim Bartlett was christening a new motorcycle through the Rocky Mountains when he had a rare wildlife encounter that was equal parts terrifying and enchanting. On a stretch of British Columbia’s Highway 93, a massive grey wolf emerged from the trees, lunged at his speeding ride and chased after him at full speed as he pulled away.
The story would have become little more than another legend clanging around the roadhouses of Western Canada if Mr. Bartlett had not whipped a camera out of his top pocket to record the event for posterity.
15 Jun 2013
Amusing, but there are typos: Wales is the “Land of Strangers”, not the “Land of Stangers”, and a lot of the etymologies are poor. San Francisco does include a diminutive, but you should render it: “St. Frankie”, not “St. Little Frank One.” Virginia is named for Elizabeth, the Virgin Queen, and is not the “Virgin Land.” Philadelphia is named for “Brotherly Love’, not “Sibling Love.” And so on ad inifinitum.
Hat tip to Matthias Storme.
15 Jun 2013
When representatives of the homosexual underworld rise from their knees on the mens’ room floor to ascend portable pulpits from which they begin grandiloquently moralizing, I always contend that the most extreme skepticism is in order.
Glenn Greenwald has also risen professionally recently from traditionally being described as the “Left’s most dishonest blogger,” renowned for shameless self-promotion and for sock-puppetry, i.e., praising and defending his own postings using false identities. Suddenly, almost overnight, today he has become an internationally-admired crusading journalist, the champion of individual privacy, protector of whistle-blowers, and critic of the tyranny of Barack Obama publishing from a lofty establishment perch, in the Guardian no less.
In evaluating the justice of Eric Snowden’s cause and the bona fides of the muculent Mr. Greenwald, I suggest noting this GifWatch article, which points out that Greenwald is a regular speaker at the annual get-together of the “International Socialist Organization (ISO)... one of America’s main Marxist ‘revolutionary’ parties… represent[ing] the ‘Marxist tradition, founded by Karl Marx and Frederick Engels, and continued by V.I. Lenin, Rosa Luxemburg and Leon Trotsky.’”
In 2011, Glenn Greenwald addressed his fellow revolutionary socialists, discussing Anwar al-Awlaki. Al-Awlaki was an American naturalized Yemeni militant, an al-Qaeda regional commander and senior ‘talent recruiter’ and a terrorism planner who, prior to the attack, was corresponding with the Fort Hood shooter and who helped plan the attempted attack by the ‘Underwear Bomber‘.
Greenwald describes al-Awlaki as someone whose only crimes were ”speak[ing] effectively to the Muslim world about violence that the U.S. commits in [Yemen] and the responsibility of Muslims to stand up to this violence.”
In the same speech, Grrenwald expresses his hope for a weakening of the United States and its malign “imperialism”, and characterizes the 9/11 attacks by Al-Qaeda as very “minimal in scope”.
So, when you read Glenn Greenwald offering his own evaluation of the nature, scope, significance, and legal status of NSA surveillance activities and of the motives and perspective of Mr. Snowden, I suggest that you consider the record and the character of the source.
Hat tip to Clarice Feldman.
15 Jun 2013
Botswana: A female leopard is taking over the kill of a male cheetah, who is not happy. Photo: Jamie Hopf.
14 Jun 2013
Fox makes himself at home
The population of wild foxes in London has exploded in recent years. Though attractive animals, foxes can be nuisance scavengers toppling your garbage can in the same fashion as raccoons, but foxes are also liable to eat the family cat. One overly-ambitious fox earlier this year made headlines by trying to carry off a four-week-old baby in South London. The infant survived, but lost a finger.
Boris Johnson, the current flamboyant mayor of London, apparently recently had his cat attacked, and Johnson was provoked to come out against the 2004 Hunt Ban, and (amusingly) express support for fox hunting in metropolitan London.
Boris Johnson has called for fox hunts in London to deal with the problem of increased numbers of the animals in the capital.
The mayor of London described how he was enraged after his cat was attacked and was tempted to go out and ‘blaze away’ at the fox with his air rifle.
There are around 10,000 foxes in the capital out of a total 33,000 living in urban areas across the UK, around 14 per cent of the total population of the animals.
Earlier this year a four-week-old baby had his finger ripped off by a fox.
Mr Johnson said it was time to brining in culling to keep numbers in check.
‘This will cause massive unpopularity and I don’t care. I’m pro liberty and individual freedom. If people want to get together to form the fox hounds of Islington I’m all for it,’ he said.
‘I got wild with anger not so long ago because I thought our cat had been mauled by a fox. I wanted to go out with my 2.2 [sic] and blaze away.’
Was it the mayor or reporter Tariq Tahir who thinks that air rifles are chambered in “2.2”?
The concept of fox hunting in heart of London, alas! neither Boris Johnson nor Tariq Tahir will be aware, is actually a famous literary theme.
In 1932, Gordon Grand published a wonderful story, titled The Silver Horn, A Nocturne of Old London Town, in The Sportsman, the opulent monthly catering to the wealthy and well-educated American sporting community, edited by Richard Danielson and published in Boston from 1927 to 1937.
One of the female members of the Millbeck Hunt tells Arthur Pendleton a story of observing during a recent visit to the metropolis a tipsy gentleman in evening dress, carrying a silver hunting horn, and hunting a notional pack of hounds through the heart of London’s fashionable West End. She describes the hunt in marvelous detail, remembering every check and incident of the hunt, producing a splendidly imaginative piece of sporting whimsy.
The story is a masterpiece, which manages to convey the technical sophistication and aesthetic charm of hunting through a verbal account of an entirely imaginary hunt in incongruous surroundings.
The Silver Horn was published the same year by Eugene V. Connett’s Derrydale Press as the title story of a collection of Grand’s foxhunting stories. The same story was also published privately in very small editions to be presented as gifts in Montreal in 1935 and Honolulu in 1941.
14 Jun 2013
South Tyrol, Dolomites, photo by Luigi Masella
Through Ezra Pound’s eyes
Beaten from flesh into light
Hath swallowed the fire-ball
Attraverso le foglie
His rod hath made god in my belly
Sic loquitur nupta
Cantat sic nupta
Dark shoulders have stirred the lightning
A girl’s arms have nested the fire,
Not I but the handmaid kindled
Cantat sic nupta
I have eaten the flame.
Ezra Pound, Cantos XXXIX
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