Wednesday, January 27, 2016

On Ammon Bundy and the Events in Oregon

The occupation started over the Hammonds. You remember the Hammonds, don't you? Dwight Hammond, Jr., and Steve Hammond are two ranchers from Oregon who, in 2006, were charged under the 1996 Antiterrorism & Effective Death Penalty Act (!) for accidentally burning 140 acres of BLM land adjacent to their own. They served a year in prison and paid $400,000 in fines. The federal government thought that this wasn’t sufficient, so in October 2015 the Hammonds were re-arrested and resentenced to the full 5-year prison terms.

Can you say “double jeopardy”?

The resentencing of the Hammonds was the primary reason for Ammon Bundy and others to occupy a wildlife refuge in Oregon. Ammon Bundy was under the influence of some thugs, or agent provocateurs, when he decided to be a part of this. They did this with no predefined means of communication with the outside world, no clearly defined goals, no exit strategy. It might has well have been done on a whim, as though it were a sit-in by narcissistic 60s-era campus radicals.

Notice that Bundy and the agent provocateurs became the focus of attention, by both mainstream and alternative medias. The Hammonds' plight was forgotten in all this, as were the concerns of other ranchers, as was the fact that the federal government owns most of the land in the western US.

What's the connection between the occupation of the wildlife refuge and the Hammonds, or the occupation and other ranchers, or the occupation and the BLM? There is none, and that's the problem. The occupation was all about grandstanding, and nothing about getting results.

If they had attempted to free the Hammonds, or gone after the judge or prosecutors who resentenced the Hammonds, or took substantive action directly against the BLM, that would have been different. Instead, Ammon Bundy is in custody, one of the occupiers is dead, and an opportunity has been lost.

There are three lessons to be learned here:

1. Never, ever, trust a man who is willing to die in glory but is unable to live with pride. Ammon Bundy's first mistake was trusting in such men.

2. We must remember our place: we are the flea, and we had better start using that to our advantage. Forget about strut and swagger, this is about taking effective action to regain our rights. Forget any visions of a surrender ceremony on the USS Missouri, it isn't that kind of war. We are surrounded on all sides, politically, economically, and culturally. The situation is dire, and we must give no quarter and take no captives. This doesn't mean that our situation is hopeless: do not forget what Chesty Puller said about similar circumstances.

3. No revolution, no political change, is ever born from immaculate conception. We idolize the Founding Fathers as much as the Left idolizes Che Guevara and Chairman Mao, but those idolizations are possible only because they are historical figures. The events in Oregon are here in the present, and we must act in the present, and we don't have the comfort of hindsight.

We still have time to make a difference, but not much time. We must act with resolve, not react in haste. We can make a difference, individual actions still matter in this time before the storm, but know this: once the thunderstorm starts, raindrops can no longer vote.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Quotes for 2015

"USA! USA!" - NASA engineers cheering when the New Horizons probe flew past Pluto.


"We also gave those who wished to destroy space to do that" - Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, giving license to those rioting over the death of Freddie Gray. The rioting will cost the city $20 million, not counting damages to private businesses. Rawlings-Blake is seeking FEMA reimbursement.

"You could have Mother Theresa running a police department and you’re still going to have lawyers out there saying she’s not to be trusted and we’re going to sue" - William Johnson, executive director of the National Association of Police Organizations, upon learning that Freddie Gray's family will get a $6.4 million settlement from the city.

"I was following developments with a 5-year-old little girl sitting on her dad’s lap who just got shot in the head by a drive-by shooting. And if some of the people here gave a good goddamn about the victimization of the people in this community by crime, I’d take some of their invective more seriously... The greatest racial disparity in the city of Milwaukee is getting shot and killed. Hello! Eighty percent of my homicide victims every year are African-American. Eighty percent of our aggravated assault victims are African-American. Eighty percent of our shooting victims, who survive their shooting are African-American." - Milwaukee Police Chief Edward Flynn on the priorities of the "Black Lives Matter" movement.

"What unique perspective does a minority student bring to a physics class?" - Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts.

"Google Photos, y’all f***ed up. My friend’s not a gorilla." - Upset user reacting to Google Photos for classifying black people as gorillas. Gorillas were upset, too.


"Grow the economy, not facial hair. Cut taxes, as well as whiskers." - National Review on Speaker of the House Paul Ryan's new beard; he's already the GOP's beard.

"I never thought I would work in the phone sex industry. All those years doing customer service, my customers would comment on my sexy voice. I thought I was being professional, not sexy. This work is customer service. It’s just your customers leave with more than a smile." - A worker trying to grow... the economy.


Aunt who sued nephew on why she was forced to go to trial: "I was at a party recently, and it was difficult to hold my hors d'oeuvre plate."

Dysfunctional Parrot on how to deal with hipsters and their fedoras: "The logistics problem of dispensing enough hot lattes won’t be that big of an issue once we lock the doors and burn the building to the ground."

"Accidental fur" - the politically correct term for roadkill which is made into neck muffs, leg warmers, etc. Yes, roadkill.

"I didn’t know that the fumes were so ignitable. Had I known that, I would not have doused myself before going into the apartment." - Sherry Young. She attempted to fight bedbugs by turning-on her apartment's stove and oven, then went to Walmart to purchase 20 bottles of rubbing alcohol. She sprayed herself with the alcohol, then poured alcohol on the floor. The Detroit Fire Department is calling the result an "accidental fire."


"It is possible that this is terrorist-related, but we don’t know; it is also possible this was workplace-related" - Obama on the San Bernardino massacre. The one thing he is certain of is that increased gun control is the cure.

"Understandable" - John Kerry excusing the Charlie Hebdo attack.

"Every now and then, someone's going to get through. We don't like that, but that's the reality." - State Department spokesman John Kirby on how successful vetting really is.

"Does this go back to our revolution? We’re revolutionary people, we really don’t believe in government?" - Chris Matthews, asking obvious questions.

"Can we bring the cat?" - sister of Italian "Lady Jihad" Fatima Az Zahra asking about life in the Islamic State. The sister, along with Lady Jihad's mother and father were arrested just before leaving for Syria. What happened to the cat?

"Use smoke signals" - NSA Whistleblower William Binney response when asked what can be done to counter the government's mass surveillance operations.


"In Manhattan, my partners included lawyers, CEOs, investment bankers or owners of start-ups. In London, the men — women were very few and far between — were universally creepy." - User of the 3ndr app, which is used to arrange for three-ways.

"I’ve been talking about negatives, and you’re up on him!" - Republican media consultant and CBS News contributor Frank Luntz, astonished that voters like Trump as much as they do.


"You feel the intimacy of both man and beast, you feel the sweat and the heat coming off of the animal. It's almost like he awakens other senses within you as an audience member and you feel like you're some voyeuristic animal watching something that you shouldn't be watching." - Leonardo DiCaprio discussing the rape mauling scene in the upcoming movie "The Revenant".

"The bear flips Glass over on his belly and molests him – dry humps him actually – as he nearly devours him...the Wolf of Wall Street met the Grizzly of Yellowstone...We just need Trump to say the raping bear was Mexican and we'll be done." - Quotes from a LA Times article about the same movie.

"The Revenant" is promising more hot bear action than even the Duluth Trading Company!