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Correction: Rodrigo Camarena is a contributor to The Guardian who is based in Mexico City. I falsely assumed he was in Britain.

Rodrigo Camarena of The Guardian thinks that Democrats and their agents in the ATF should gain from Project “Gunwalker” (a/k/a “Fast and Furious”), instead of being held accountable for their criminal activity.

My response:

I thank you, Rodrigo Camarena and the rest of the non-Americans, for arrogantly trying to command the politicians here to put leashes on us so we’re just like you. Few things do a better job of convincing Americans to wake up and stick up for their rights than seeing Europeans getting up on their hind legs to tell us what to do.

Even more preposterous, you presume that a major scandal involving a Democrat administration, in which the bureau chief is about to resign, makes the case FOR the Democrats gaining political advantage. Generally, when government officials are caught doing illegal things, causing the deaths of innocents in a cynical ploy to skew statistics, it’s time to sack them and put them behind bars, to hold them accountable.

Gun shop owners tried to alert the ATF, but were told to let the straw buyers walk. The criminals here were the government agents. If any laws should become stricter, it should be the laws which concern the actions of government agents. Make their activities more transparent by opening records of their operations to the public. Increase prison sentences for law enforcement officials who engage in illegal activities on the job.

But leave the peaceable American civilians alone. They’re not responsible for what Kenneth Melson’s ATF did in their illegal scheme.

Nor are they responsible for the actions of a mentally disturbed man.

The fact is, the right to the most effective tools of self defense is inalienable to all human beings. No one has an obligation to allow themselves to be hurt or killed so that their neighbors might get a false sense of security.

Also, there’s one additional thing that Democrat politicians know, which you don’t seem to. It’s why most of them are too afraid for their political careers to vote for any bill which would infringe on Americans’ rights even further. During the Clinton administration, the “Assault Weapons” (aka scary LOOKING guns) ban caught gun owners unprepared. The Democrats lost control of Congress because of that and many Americans fought long and hard to keep that ban from being renewed—and were successful.

They will NEVER be unprepared for a political fight, ever again, regardless of your fantasies about exploiting the acts of a madman or the crimes of government agents.

Beyond the political contests, there are plenty of gun owners who will simply say “no” to any more legal infringements of their rights. They aren’t the frightened little poodles that inhabit your island.

Hat tip: Sipsey Street Irregulars

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Richard Glover in The Sydney Morning Herald expresses violent fantasies to hurt and kill the “climate-change deniers”.  This is nothing new.  Richard Curtis of Project 10:10 created the film “No Pressure” in which people, including children, are literally blown into bloody pieces for not sufficiently participating in a Big Brother style energy reduction mandate.  As usual, this is passed off as satirical humor, but the prevalence of this violent, murderous fantasy amongst eco-dogmatists should give decent people pause, particularly when one considers how collectivist dogmatists, when they have attained authoritarian power, have caused the deaths of tens of millions in famines and purges, just a few decades ago (Great Leap Forward, Ukrainian Terror Famine, Cambodian Year Zero).  Sure, it’s unlikely that the most fanatical, dangerous elements of the green movement will attain sufficient power to repeat the horrors of the recent past. But it’s not impossible and decent people must pay attention to the likes of Richard Glover and Richard Curtis and any politicians who lend credence to their fanaticism.

Keep your eye on these sickos. They are the real dangerous ones.

Note that instead of calling people skeptics, and instead of addressing the catastrophic anthropogenic global warming (CAGW) hypothesis directly (he indirectly supports it by fantasizing about “deniers” drowning in low-lying islands), he uses weasel words: “deniers” and “climate change”.  All responsible CAGW skeptics acknowledge that temperatures have risen since 1900 and nobody in their right mind denies that climate changes.  Indeed, during the past several centuries, the climate has changed drastically, from the Medieval Warm Period to the Little Ice Age (which puts a lie to Newsweek’s alarmist revisionism, describing the climate of the last 12,000 years as being “stable”).

So, when you make an honest comparison between what CAGW alarmists claim and how skeptics of CAGW respond, the charges leveled at skeptics of “boneheaded[ness]”, stupidity, dishonesty, and being politically motivated don’t make sense.

The Inquisition convicted Galileo of heresy for denying the geocentric view. This false view that the Earth was immovable and the center of the universe was considered “settled science” at the time. Basically, most every “scientist” who opined on astronomical matters at the time went along with the erroneous theory, which was driven by religious dogma not data, because of the political power of the church. Go against the church and you risked punishment, up to and including death.

Today, Galileo is held in high esteem as the father of modern physics. But during his life, he suffered for applying rational skepticism which challenged the political order of the day.

Compare the geocentric theory with the CAGW theory, the alarmist view that gases produced by human industry are driving global warming which will cause catastrophic disasters—melting ice caps, rising sea levels, crop failures, mass starvation, extinctions. So far, the early CAGW predictions of 50 million climate refugees by 2010 (which they then tried to toss down the memory hole, pretending it never happened), and others, have not been accurate. (Going back a couple decades, we can laugh riotously at even older predictions which are preposterous in hindsight.)

And yet, despite the failures of the CAGW alarmists to accurately predict the past 15 years and their duplicitous revisionist claims that colder winters, more snow, fewer hurricanes were actually predicted (playing the “heads I win, tails you lose” game), Richard Glover doubles down by dismissing “deniers” as “boneheads” who somehow have already been shown to be wrong.  Really?  Where?

Warren Meyer has put together a presentation and a layman’s guide to highlight the errors of CAGW alarmists.  Anthony Watts puts up some great articles as well at Watts Up With That?  Many other bloggers and more traditional journalists cover these topics as well.  Unfortunately for Richard Glover’s lazy strawman, none of these people fit the caricature of the Neanderthal “denier” who reflexively denies all scientific data.  Indeed, you’ll find a lot of careful arguments using the alarmists’ own data against them.

Ironically, Richard Glover asks, “Is it possible to get the politics out of the climate-change debate?”  Certainly, but he won’t like the results. All the fat grants which give scientists incentives to produce politically favorable results will dry up.  The laws and regulations, which are created via politics, will no longer unduly punish people for living a modern lifestyle.  The free market will not be assailed by anti-capitalists (from socialists to Mussolini-style fascists) under the guise of “saving the Earth”.

Oh, and if you’re going to keep politics out of the debate, then keep entertainers like Cate Blanchett and James Cameron on the other side of the line dividing serious people from those who make pretend as a career.

But let’s just give Richard Glover and his ilk the benefit of the doubt for just a minute.  For the sake of argument, assume that the CAGW predictions of several degrees C increase in a matter of decades are accurate.  If that is the case, then his notion that “a carbon tax that seeks to subtly redirect some of our choices” will stave off such a drastic outcome is ridiculous. You might as well take ice cubes from your freezer outside to cool the atmosphere for all the good these modest austerity measures will produce.

The reality is that only massive destruction of the industrial capacity of all nations, a forced return to the pre-Industrial lifestyle of our ancestors (a la Pol Pot’s Year Zero and Mao Zedong’s Great Leap Forward) will ever drive down emissions sufficiently to reverse the warming.  So, basically, hundreds of millions will die and the survivors will have to be satisfied with having the consumption level of a contemporary Third World resident. (Except, of course, the Al Gore types who will run around in limousines and jets.)

In contrast to the smug self image of basing one’s opinions on rational, factual science, New Age religious views and the fantasies played out in fictional stories like Fern Gully and Avatar—which ascribe imaginary spiritual, magical attributes to nature—often drive childish people to wish away the complexities of the real world, including a highly unpredictable natural world and the matter of individual rights of human beings.  And, when people aren’t being childish and ignoring uncomfortable facts, but still disregard the rights of others and try to shout down skeptics as heretical, fantasizing about violence and murder, they are following in the footsteps of totalitarians.  Even Richard Glover admits that his tattoo idea is “Nazi-creepy”, and yet the rotten sicko still wrote his article and sent it to be published.

Update: Minor grammar corrections.

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What Congress Critter thought this would be a good idea? I’m all for mocking politicians and see no reason to show them respect. They are, after all, whores and thieves on the scale of trillions of dollars. But those people seem to think highly of themselves and the “dignity” of their profession, so what moron figured bringing Colbert before their committee made any sense?

Stephen Colbert is very quick-witted and can be very funny at times. But his always-on “Opposite Day” shtick gets tedious after awhile. And, his character is hard-wired to lampoon Republicans/”conservatives”— some of them make it so easy—but any good satirist ought to see just as many, if not more, targets among the Democrats/”liberals”.

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When Rick Santelli, from the floor of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, stated on CNBC (Feb 19, 2009) that traders ought to engage in a “tea party” to protest the insanely irresponsible mortgage bailout, which was rewarding poor economic decisions at the expense of everyone else, I was a bit moved. At least some people on the national scene were getting just how reckless the Obama/Pelosi/Reid machine was and the level to which Americans ought to be resisting. To be fair, Bush signed TARP with a few Republican supporters, including McCain, so the Democrats were only accelerating the large-scale looting of the efforts of taxpayers started a few months before. And, while TARP was unprecedented in its scope and scale, it was the logical progression from all of the travesties mainly tracing back to FDR’s authoritarian meddling in the economy in response to the Great Depression.

All of the political horrors being splashed across the news from the start of the new administration convinced me that in order to dissuade the government from trashing the free market with more of these legislative abominations, it was going to take the kind of determination and courage shown by the Sons of Liberty, who carried out the Boston Tea Party. Widespread non-violent civil disobedience could have warned the politicians away from going as far as they did, but that sort of movement never materialized. People were content to hold rallies and rely on elections, rather than demonstrating their resolve to shut down the machine of government through non-compliance.

When I saw news footage of tea party rallies in the days which followed, I quickly realized from the placards and t-shirts being shown that a good number of these people were rather ignorant, or at least hopelessly naïve. They had all sorts of different agendas, most of which were recycled Republican/”conservative” positions, rather than more principled advocacy of individual rights and across-the-board opposition to government abuse of power. Many were able to enumerate the misdeeds of the Democrats, but few had the insight to recognize that the vast majority of the GOP politicians were similarly unethical, but just in slightly different ways. At best, the tea party movement has targeted RINOs. Unfortunately, it hasn’t done anything to weed out the more irrationally religious candidates and pundits, or the law-and-order types.

When the immigration stupidity in Arizona became associated with a large number of self-proclaimed tea partiers, I saw no reason to hope that this “movement” was going to accomplish anything for liberty, but could turn out to be a net loss—if for no other reason than people who could have taken a stand for individualism against the Democrats were going to be drowned out in the debate. The media focuses on the more vocal, more sensational, oversimplifying the issues and pigeonholing people. And, when political opportunists like Sarah Palin and Mark Williams hoisted the tea party banner for their own agenda, I realized that the people who were sincerely interested in liberty and reining in government on principle were going to lose the opportunity to debate the important moral questions. Instead, people are distracted by Cordoba House (“Ground Zero Mosque”) and other irrelevancies.

Meanwhile, Democrat supporters have happily cherry picked the most irrational, ignorant self-proclaimed tea partiers as being representative of the movement, in addition to playing the race card because a few idiots (or perhaps agents provocateur) showed up at rallies with signs which were racist (or, at least, which could be portrayed as racist). But the race thing started before the tea party became hot, as one liar after another cynically accusing anyone who opposed Obama’s agenda of only doing so because he was black, and not on the principles of freedom.

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In response to an article at View From The Porch in which Tam made an offhand comparison between Neal Boortz and Rush Limbaugh, with which I generally agree, I noted some of Boortz’s moral failings:

“I thought Boortz was a libertarian-leaning conservative.

That was before I heard Boortz advise a caller how to snitch to the IRS. Also, recently he expressed glee that the idiot cop used a taser on a non-violent streaker at a ball game. [Boortz’s approval was done on-air but not mentioned in the preceding linked article.] The more I listen to Boortz, the more examples of anti-freedom ideas leak out from his microphone.

His “libertarian” principles run very shallow. Sure, he might be better than Rush in many ways, but I think it’s worse to have someone who purportedly represents the libertarian position who undermines real application of the principles of freedom.”

In a followup comment, “Divemedic” dissented:

“To Elliot: I don’t have a problem with tasing the ball game streaker, even from a libertarian standpoint. Not only was he resisting arrest AND violating the property rights of the stadium owner and ball club, but he was violating the rights of the thousands of fans who paid to watch a ball game, not an idiot streaker.

IMO, this is no different than the “Don’t tase me, bro” guy- why should one person who is disrupting the event and refusing to leave when instructed be given greater weight than the thousands of others there? The easy way to not get tased is to 1) not trespass, 2) leave when instructed, 3) not resist when being arrested for failing at #1 and #2.”

To which I replied:

“Divemedic, when the taser was introduced to law enforcement, authorities claimed that it was to be used as a “non-lethal” alternative to using a gun or other more lethal force.

By that reasoning, the idiot cop could have been justified in shooting the streaker with a gun.

Please note that the taser is not actually non-lethal. In rare cases, people do die. If LEOs honestly only used tasers in cases where guns would be justified, one could argue that even a small risk of death is preferable to being shot.

But the reality is that LEOs routinely use tasers in an inappropriate fashion, even on old people, disabled people, and children. In many situations, they aren’t reasonably justified in doing this. [Added: Nikoley gives an example of a video showing a cop’s obviously sadistic pleasure in using a taser. His mom is right.] LEOs are supposed to be able to handle people in a professional manner, including using reason and, if necessary, physically restraining a smaller, weaker person without resorting to sadistic methods. And, if they’re afraid for their safety, they shouldn’t have become a cop in the first place. Fire the cowards who can’t handle such situations.

The problem is that LEOs have become unaccountable, paramilitary automatons. They know that people like you will defend their inappropriate use of force (“don’t tase me bro”) and that they can do what they want.

I’m disgusted that you, or anyone else, could look at either situation and decide that “law and order” must be maintained, that not disrupting other people’s “enjoyment” is of such a paramount importance that thuggish violence ought to be used to expedite the resolution.

This is the mindset that has led to SWAT teams swarming into the homes of non-violent suspects, risking the lives of innocent bystanders (like children), murdering family pets, and generally escalating a non-violent situation into a very violent one. Despite what apologists might argue, this happens hundreds of times a day.

Police are supposed to be professional and display exemplary behavior. They are supposed to be brave and strong, not cowards. They are supposed to use reason and restraint to resolve problems and defuse situations before they get violent, not inject unnecessary violence into them. And, most of all, they ought to be held to a higher standard than the rest of us, not given a free pass to do things that would put us in prison for years.”

Tam reminded me that my rant (which she incorrectly called “copypasta”—I didn’t cut-and-paste, but rather included hyperlinks in my original commentary) was inappropriate in the comment section for that article she wrote. That’s her place, so she gets to make the rules. However, if anyone would like to discuss this further, feel free to use the comment section in this article.

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Chris Muir's Day by Day Cartoon

Chris Muir sets the bar high for entries in the first annual Everybody Draw Mohammad Day. This follows on the heels of the 2005 Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten publication (and 2008 reprinting) of various cartoonists’ renderings, which triggered riots by savages in which more than 100 people were killed.

I still think Giovani di Modena’s 1415 depiction of Mohammad burning in hell, as part of a fresco about Dante’s Inferno takes the cake:

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South Park creators, Trey Parker and Matt Stone, were the target of threats by a group called “Revolution Muslim.” These ridiculously stereotypical angry Muslims produced a video intimating that Parker and Stone would end up murdered, like Theo Van Gogh, for depicting Mohammad in a “blasphemous” way. Well, the joke was on the angry Muslims:

Mohammed appeared on Wednesday night’s US episode of the cartoon with his body obscured by a black box, since Muslims consider a physical representation of their prophet to be blasphemous. Last week, the character was believed to be disguised in a bear costume. When that same costume was removed this week, Santa Claus appeared.

The very idea of blasphemy against any religion is such an obviously human one. There is no god. But if there were a being of such awesome unimaginable power, would it really be necessary for people to protect this god from ridicule? It’s not like this alleged creator of the universe would have the emotional constitution of a fragile young child being mocked on the playground for having a goofy haircut. This is supposed to be an omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent deity. Few other human attitudes do more to highlight the absurdity of blind faith than throwing a temper tantrum and demanding that everyone else give respect to the irrational belief in imaginary beings.

In some respects, science has far surpassed religion in delivering awe. How is it that hardly any major religion has looked at science and concluded, “This is better than we thought! The Universe is much bigger than our prophets said, grander, more subtle, more elegant. God must be even greater than we dreamed”? Instead they say, “No, no, no! My god is a little god, and I want him to stay that way.Carl Sagan, Pale Blue Dot, 1994

The plot of episodes “200” and “201” are quite convoluted and silly, in true South Park fashion. But as with many episodes, it’s a subversive, intentionally offensive morality play. Buddha is depicted snorting cocaine, Jesus admits viewing porn on the internet, but a box covers Mohammed at all times and even the mention of his name by the characters is bleeped in the audio. The closed captions, however, weren’t altered. Even more absurd, a “lessons learned” speech at the end of the show, which made no mention of Mohammed, was completely bleeped out (including the closed captions). Apparently, Comedy Central completely caved to what can only be described as terroristic “warnings.”

Before the September 11, 2001 attacks, and years before the murderous riots by angry Muslims, pissed over a few Mohammed cartoons, the episode “Super Best Friends” (July 4, 2001), showed an apparently innocuous cartoon version of Mohammed as part of the plot, but there were no riots, no death threats then.

On April 5, 2006 and April 12, 2006, a two part episode “Cartoon Wars” had terrified characters throughout the US burying their heads in sand to show Muslims that they had no part in the airing of a picture of Mohammed on the show Family Guy (well, the South Park parody of Family Guy). They built the suspense, first showing an episode within an episode with a black censorship box. The next week, they were supposedly going to show it unedited, but Comedy Central wouldn’t air it:

vs.

I still prefer the “Douche and Turd” episode, in which Stan decides not to vote for a school election, and is threatend by Puff Daddy to “Vote or Die” (an actual slogan he used in pro-voting commercials). As usual, their over-the-top theme serves to illustrate the stupidity of people feeling obligated to vote in an election, even if they don’t like either candidate.

P.S.: Balko links to a story about a call to ink pens, for cartoonists everywhere to draw Mohammed on April 20, 2010.

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