Archive for the 'Crime' Category

22
Jul
11

Quote of the Day: Enemies

David Bernstein over at the Volokh Conspiracy, written back in May, unfortunately apropos right now:

I’ve been thinking for some time about blogging about the concept of “enemies”, and how modern universalist liberalism has trouble dealing with the possibility that in some conflicts there is no mutually acceptable solution (at least not from the subjective perspective of the participants in the conflict), and thus one really has a conflict among enemies, not simply a misunderstanding that can be resolved through negotiations and compromises. [[And sometimes, it should be pretty clear to a liberal of any stripe which side has the reasonable position.] To take an extreme example, if an Islamist extremist insists that violence against the West is necessary until Islam dominates Europe and North America, that extremist is an enemy, regardless of what the West does or doesn’t do. The West can either fight or submit.

Details are still emerging yet about what happened in Oslo. The Telegraph is updating as more information becomes available. Authorities haven’t said whether the attacks were terrorism, much less related to Islamic extremism, but it seems clear at this juncture that whoever is responsible for this is a terrorist and an intractable enemy of the free nations of the world.

UPDATE: Norway’s Prime Minister Stolenberg says in a press conference: “I have message to the person who attacked us and the people who are behind it: You’re not going to destroy us. You’re not destroying our democracy and our work for a better world. We’re a small country but a very proud country. No one can bomb us to be quiet. No one can shoot us to be quiet no one can ever scare us from being Norway.”

The Prime Minister also confirmed the suspect arrested is Norwegian.

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19
Jul
11

Tuesday Misc.

Via The Agitator, we learn that the Koch Brothers are responsible for the Casey Anthony verdict. No, really:

But, more than an inability to understand complex legal theories, I think the reason the jury was unable to convict Anthony was that it just didn’t buy the prosecution premise that a woman who enters a hot-body contest while her child is lost has both the motive and propensity to kill her. In a society where people have the fundamental right to enjoy themselves – others be damned – an immature and self-obsessed mother is no more likely to murder an innocent baby than your run-of-the-mill reality-show hausfrau. And anyone who criticizes her for those acts of carefree self-expression is a judgmental prude.

That’s where individualism of the libertarian model has taken us. The idea that no one has the right to tell us how to live our lives (Legalize drugs! Ban motorcycle helmets! Don’t ban violent videos! Keep your rosaries off my ovaries!) has led us to a place where caring about No. 1 has become a secular religion, and turned all of those who preach restraint into heretics.


The Koch Brothers could not be reached for comment.

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Why does President Obama hate Mexicans?

Administration apologists claim that these tactics are meant to create the political space for comprehensive immigration reform. But the president has made literally no effort to advance that objective. What he has advanced is a labor agenda under the guise of immigration policy.

The great hope from President Obama when he took office was that, having spent his formative years abroad, he’d understand—and use his bully pulpit to help the American public understand, too—that immigration is not a zero-sum game: Immigrants seeking a better life make America better off, just as his family made the countries where they lived better off. Instead, he has pandered to Republicans’ parochialism and labor’s protectionism to advance his own political prospects.

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Remember that neo-Nazi group Prussian Blue (you know, the one with the Aryan Olsen Twins)? Sounds like Lamb and Lynx (these are their real names…) are still kicking around, though it sounds like their drug of choice these days is cannabis, rather than Zyklon-B:

In college, Lynx was diagnosed with cancer, and suffered from other serious health problems. Lamb suffers from chronic back pain. In connection with these two conditions, they have begun to smoke cannabis, which is permitted in parts of the USA for medicinal purposes…

““I’m not a white nationalist anymore,” Lamb told The Daily in an exclusive interview, the twins’ first in five years. “My sister and I are pretty liberal now.”

“Personally, I love diversity,” Lynx seconded. “I’m stoked that we have so many different cultures. I think it’s amazing and it makes me proud of humanity every day that we have so many different places and people.”

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.

15
Jan
11

Keeping it Classy in Arizona

Eric Fuller, one of the Tuscon shooting victims and a former Democratic campaign worker who famously laid the blame for the massacre squarely on Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck, has been arrested… for making death threats. Against politicians:

The theme of the event was “An American Conversation Continued” —  the idea being to continue the conversation that a madman’s brutal rampage had interrupted.  So it was inevitable that the conversation would eventually turn to politics.   It did, toward the end, with Amanpour leading a discussion on a very touchy but obvious topic:  gun control.

That’s where the atmosphere turned tense.   When Tucson Tea Party founder Trent Humphries rose to suggest that any conversation about gun control should be put off until after the funerals for all the victims, witnesses say Fuller became agitated.  Two told KGUN9 News that finally, Fuller took a picture of Humphries, and said, “You’re dead.”

When State Rep. Terri Proud (R-Tucson) rose to explain and clarify current and proposed gun legislation in the state, several people groaned or booed her.  One of those booing, according to several witnesses, was Fuller.   Witnesses sitting near Fuller told KGUN9 News that Fuller was making them feel very uncomfortable.

The event wrapped up a short time later.  Deputies then escorted Fuller from the room.  As he was being led off, Fuller shouted loudly to the room at large.  Several witnesses said that what they thought they heard him shout was, “You’re all whores!”

No word yet on whether Sarah Palin made him do it.*

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* In my opinion, no one should be pressing charges against this goofball. It’s obvious that being shot wounded him more than physically, and he’s probably going through a great deal of psychological and emotional trauma right now. Good thing for him that “the rights-based hyper-individualism of our laws governing mental illness” will probably protect him from being involuntarily committed to a mental health facility to ensure the “security of our community and the functioning of our democracy,” as some statist types would have it in the wake of the massacre in Tuscon.

Remember how, after Congress passed the Patriot Act, all the “speak truth to power” types would piously intone the mantra, copped from Benjamin Franklin: They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.

Yeah. What happened to that kind of thinking, guys? Because it made a lot of sense after the Patriot Act, and it sure as hell makes a lot of sense now.

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Also, this is kind of funny. Image!

11
Jan
11

The Past is Doomed to Repeat Itself to Repeat Itself

Quick, what do these two people have in common?

Answer: Both of them were held responsible by a bunch of cynical fascists for mass murders committed by other people to whom they had absolutely no connection. Said fascists subsequently employed their invented narrative to justify attempts to increase censorship and clamp down on free speech.

There’s one big difference of course: We had actual proof that the Columbine shooters had listened to Marilyn Manson’s music at least one time, ever.

In this new climate of “responsible speech,” I’m not sure if our beloved “just die already” tag is appropriate any longer. That’s why I’ve decided to replace it with the all new “Stop being such a fascist piece of shit. Because you know what we do with fascists” tag, at least for the time being.

Thoughts?

08
Jan
11

Good Things and Bad Things.

Bad things first:

  • Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords shot in the head by a lunatic while doing the job that her constituents elected her to do. Dude, what the fuck?
  • Sarah Palin, of all people, somehow getting blamed for this. Has everyone lost their goddamn mind?

Now good things:

08
Jan
11

Sullivan Live-Derps His Way Through Tragedy

Andrew Sullivan, that august sage of impartial political analysis, is live-blogging the ensuing madness of the shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., and several other bystanders today by a deranged gunman, who believed, among other things, in government mind-control:

I have no expertise in this at all, but my impression of his writings and web presence does indeed suggest to me that some mental illness is probably a key part of this. But this does not exonerate violent or excessive rhetoric from the far right or far left: it’s precisely the disturbed who can seize on those kinds of statements and act on them. The danger of violent rhetoric, especially involving gun violence, is its interaction with the disturbed. That was Pelosi’s message last year. (Emphasis added.)

Yeah, Sherlock. Maybe. Indeed, probably. Get this man a doctorate in criminal science. I don’t have the stomach to comment on the rest of Sullivan’s drivel, which is mostly an attempt to prove his knee-jerk assumption that tea baggers and violent, right-wing rhetoric is behind this tragedy. And that what we really need to do is stop this dangerous rhetoric. Then, presumably, these kinds of things wouldn’t happen.

But seriously, in academia, starting out from a conclusion and then trying to prove it, rather than researching and then arriving at a conclusion, is called using a “front-loaded thesis,” otherwise known as being a complete hack.

Gee, I sure hope the media pundits don’t use these peoples’ deaths as a tool to advance their own political narratives. That would be regrettable.