Archive for the 'boomsticks' Category

19
Jun
11

A Sobering Map [Updated 06/21/11]

This image, courtesy of this website, is a visual representation of the roughly 40,000 people who have lost their lives as a result of drug-related violence in Mexico. According to the site,

The RED balloons are civilians. The RED balloons with a dot are politicians, and other high profile killings. The BLUE balloons are police officers and soldiers (and other law enforcement). The BLUE balloons with a dot are high ranking officers. The YELLOW suns represent car bombs while the 2 GREEN people represent mass graves.

There are a number of different views on the website itself, allowing you to select out certain time-frames, etc.

I think it’s important to note that the ongoing violence in Mexico is related in large part — though not exclusively —  to the American demand for cocaine and marijuana, as well as for other drugs such as methamphetamines, which are increasingly being produced and smuggled into the US from Mexico. Perhaps more important, however, are the effects of American government policies, such as the so-called “War on Drugs” that, just as during Prohibition in the United States, effectively cede control of lucrative markets to criminal organizations while simultaneously pouring tens of millions of dollars into the struggle against those selfsame criminal enterprises. Unless wasting millions of dollars, strengthening brutal paramilitary mafias, and filling American prisons with drug offenders is the desired result of these policies,  it is difficult to discern what the American people are supposed to be getting out of this “war,” which has already killed 40,000 people south of the border.

Moreover, it’s almost certain that many of the firearms that the Obama Justice Department allowed to be smuggled into Mexico were used in at least some of the murders depicted on this map, just as they were used to kill American Border Patrol agents. In case you’re interested, the Congressional report about the so-called “Gunwalker” scandal can be found here.

In any case, ending the “War on Drugs” makes sense not only from an economic perspective — legalization and regulation would provide both the American and Mexican governments with badly needed sources of revenue, and emptying prisons of thousands of harmless drug offenders would ease some of the pressure on already strained state budgets — but also from a humanitarian perspective. President Obama committed the American military in Libya ostensibly to prevent the senseless slaughter of innocent civilians. Would that the President — or any other politician in this country, of either party — had the courage to finally bring to an end government policies that have resulted in a civilian body count orders of magnitude greater than anything that has taken place in Libya.

Alas, it seems that we have no problem marching into Tripoli, but no one can be bothered to take seriously the humanitarian catastrophe playing out just across the Rio Grande.

UPDATE:

Surprising exactly no one, Congressional Democrats have used the “Gunwalker” scandal — which the government itself was responsible for, as a pretext to introduce new gun control laws:

While Republicans have focused on Fast and Furious, three Democrats in the Senate this week called on Congress to beef up gun laws to try to curb the violence.

“Congress has been virtually moribund while powerful Mexican drug trafficking organizations continue to gain unfettered access to military-style firearms coming from the United States,” Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California said in a statement.

The cynicism and opportunism of these people never fails to dismay.

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04
Apr
11

Quote of the day: Dr. Ruth will fuck you up

“When I was in my routine training for the Israeli army as a teenager, they discovered completely by chance that I was a lethal sniper. I could hit the target smack in the center further away than anyone could believe. Not just that, even though I was tiny and not even much of an athlete, I was incredibly accurate throwing hand grenades too. Even today I can load a Sten automatic rifle in a single minute, blindfolded.”

Dr. Ruth. No, seriously. Dr. Ruth is hardcore.

17
Mar
11

Protection for me, not for thee

California lawmakers would like to remind you that carrying a concealed handgun doesn’t make you or those around you any safer … unless you happen to be a California lawmaker.

Legislators in California have introduced a bill that would allow themselves to carry concealed handguns, a right not extended to the general public. Under California law, one must apply to the sheriff’s office and present “good cause” to get a CHL. “Good cause,” in this case, usually constitutes working in a dangerous job, such as bail bondsmen or a jeweler. The sponsors of the California bill apparently think they deserve special treatment because people hate them for being politicians. From the L.A. Times:

“I’ve had guys physically come up to me ready to punch me out,” said Democratic state Sen. Lou Correa of Santa Ana, co-author of a new permit proposal.

Correa, who owns a gun but doesn’t have a concealed-weapon permit, said he has received threats of violence in e-mails, some of which are filled with racial slurs. He said staffers in his Orange County district office have been spat upon, and some have felt threatened by members of the public who come into the office and scream at them because they don’t like the way the state is run.

After the Arizona shooting, one staffer requested that Correa provide a Taser for the office, something he is considering.

Sen. Rod Wright (D-Inglewood), another gun owner and co-author of the proposal, maintains that lawmakers need permits as much as other professionals who have them. Permission should be available, he said, “if you have people who might shoot you because of your occupation.”

And the hypocritical cherry on top:

Opponents of gun control note that some of the lawmakers behind SB 610, including its third author, Assemblywoman Cathleen Galgiani (D-Tracy), have opposed some efforts to make it easier for others to carry guns.

Wright and Galgiani voted for legislation in 2009 that limits the ability of residents in small counties to use their gun permits in big urban areas. Wright and Correa supported a Galgiani bill last year that barred people from carrying even unloaded firearms into the state Capitol or any legislative office or hearing room.

I’d like to see the look on these legislators’ faces if someone used the same arguments that anti-gun politicians and lobbyists use to keep law-abiding citizens from carrying guns at public universities. Let’s try, shall we?

It’s just plain dangerous to add firearms to a Capitol atmosphere of politics, fiery tempers and booze, and shootings like the one that occurred in Arizona are so rare that it doesn’t warrant the risk of allowing legislators to arm themselves. Second, legislators have well-trained police and security forces to protect them. There’s simply no need for self-defense. Third, it is largely a myth that legislators can effectively protect themselves with a handgun (Harrison Ford in Air Force One notwithstanding). In all likelihood, they would accidentally shoot someone else. How will police tell the difference between a real threat and a politician anyway? Finally, it would make the other legislators very uncomfortable to know their colleagues were potentially armed.

08
Mar
11

Shameless Self-Promotion

I’ve been bored. So I made a few cartoons. You can watch all three of the current episodes here. I probably be adding more of these over time, whenever I feel inspired (or bored enough) to spend the time.

Enjoy!

03
Feb
11

“Put Him Back in the Fields!”

If you want to die a little bit inside, watch this video. I would say that the “best part” is where some dude suggests putting Clarence Thomas “back in the fields,” but that would be to ignore such lovely suggestions as “cut off his toes one by one and feed them to him” and “string him up.”

I’m sure Sarah Palin made them say it, or something.

Hope! Change! Undisguised racism!

 http://www.eyeblast.tv/public/eyeblast.swf?v=hdqG8znz8z

30
Jan
11

So Much for “Promoting Democracy”

Now, I’m usually fairly skeptical about people talking about “revolution.” For starters, “revolutionaries,” at least here in the US, are all too often a bunch of posers hanging out in academia and pretending to speak on behalf of the “working class,” through whom they hope to vicariously live out violent fantasies they themselves are too comfy and bourgeois to get involved with. Revolutionaries also too frequently seem to view history as a unilinear march toward some ultimate goal. “The Revolution” is always assumed to be bringing about something that will be better than what is being overthrown. Unfortunately, there are countless cases where this is not the case, where the revolutionaries, upon assuming control, made things incomparably worse.

It doesn’t always happen that way — the revolutions in Eastern Europe in 1989 were all models of peaceful and popular transitions away from authoritarianism to something at least resembling democracy and all of them, Romania aside, were bloodless. Most of the governments that replaced Communism in Eastern Europe have not necessarily been staggeringly successful and have often remained mired in corruption and stagnation. But it’s all far cry from what happened in Russia in 1917 or in China in 1949.

It’s hard to say what’s happening in Egypt right now — revolution is in the air, that much is sure — but what it really means is still fairly obscure. How it will end is equally obscure: Will Mubarak survive? If so, what happens next? If not, who takes control? And then what?

I certainly don’t have any answers to these questions. On one hand, I would shed no tears if Hosni Mubarak were strung up by the Egyptian people. On the other, there is a great deal of speculation that the Muslim Brotherhood is behind a lot of the unrest. They would certainly stand to gain significantly if Mubarak were ousted, in any case. This is worrisome because the Muslim Brotherhood is not an organization that has clean hands, by any stretch of the imagination. That being said, my inclination is to let Mubarak hang and support the Egyptian people. If the Muslim Brotherhood comes to power, then we can deal with it and cross our fingers that events in Egypt don’t turn out like they did in Iran.

The problem is that the case of Iran has clouded a lot of people’s judgment. That Iran was “destined” to become a retrograde theocracy the moment Carter turned against the Shah is taken for granted by people who should know better. The conventional wisdom among American conservatives is now apparently that, since Ayatollah Khomeini took over Iran, President Obama should not turn against Hosni Mubarak. Flawed logic, to say the least:

Three decades ago, Iran — after being saved from Soviet dominance by the U.S. in 1953 — traded in the flawed autocratic rule of the Shah for the bloodthirsty Islamist fanaticism of the Ayatollah Khomeini.

At the time, Jimmy Carter’s presidency was, in the name of “human rights,” on the side of the Islamists — with U.N. Ambassador Andrew Young going so far as to call Khomeini “some kind of saint.”

Does the Obama administration realize the difference between freedom-based revolutions and violent overthrows that will help jihadists?

[…]

…should Mubarak fall, there is real danger of the Islamic Brotherhood imperiling this U.S. ally. Barack Obama sure picked a foolish place to give a community-organizing speech.

Since when are American conservatives so squeamish about democracy? A few ago, no one on the right had any problems with overthrowing Saddam Hussein, despite the fact that there was every bit as much of a chance that an Islamist government might come to power in Iraq. The civil war that broke out in Iraq in the aftermath of the American invasion was taken to be a regrettable side-effect of bringing democracy to the Middle East. But now that there’s a whiff of a chance that the Muslim Brotherhood might take power in Egypt, suddenly the idea of people exercising their right to free speech in the “Arab World” is too much to tolerate.

It doesn’t stop with warning Obama from following in Carter’s footsteps, though. Get a load of this asshole on Pajamas Media:

The scene is all too reminiscent of the Iranian revolution of 1979. Then, President Jimmy Carter not only demanded restraint but also had his administration work behind the scenes to bring down the shah. Carter believed he was watching a democratic revolution unfold, one led by Mehdi Bazargan, Sadegh Ghotbzadeh and Abulhassan Banisadr. Neither Carter nor his advisers understood that this democratic-centrist revolution, like those in Europe, would be short-lived. Bazargan resigned from the government over its authoritarian turn; Ghotbzadeh was shot by a firing squad; and Banisadr fled to France, where he currently lives under heavy police protection.

[…]

Studies of revolution, including the Russian Revolution, show that the loyalty of several companies of armed, disciplined, and well-led soldiers willing to continually fire into the mobs would crush any revolution. Such an observation sounds barbaric until you consider the millions of lives that are needlessly wasted in a revolution and its aftermath. Imagine if the second Russian Revolution, the October Revolution, the one the Communists made, had been stopped in its tracks: no Lenin, no Civil War, no Stalin, no Gulags, no invasion of Poland, no totalitarian dictatorship. The taking of a few hundred or thousand lives in the streets of St. Petersburg would have saved the lives of countless millions.

[…]

Those who join the mob to demand more liberty will ultimately create a regime that extinguishes all liberty. [emphasis added]

So apparently sending out the military to shoot protesters down in the streets is a better way to guarantee liberty than letting people have actual liberty. And this coming from a guy who apparently spent much of his career studying political representation in post-Communist societies in Eastern Europe.

“Several companies of armed, disciplined, and well-led soldiers willing to continually fire into the mobs?” That’s the solution? Seriously?

I honestly can’t believe I’m reading this shit.

Fucking sickening.

20
Jan
11

Are You… What? I Mean… Err… Huh? Does Not Compute.

Steampunk Sarah Palin comic book. Featuring “Robama” and John McCain with a cyborg arm.

I’m going to go huddle in a corner in the foetal position for a few hours and try to puzzle this one out.




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