A right is not a duty

As a believer in personal autonomy (provided others are not harmed), I’m all for the right to commit suicide, whether unassisted or assisted.

But this worries me:

When a “right to die” becomes settled law, soon the right translates into a duty. That was the message sent by Oregon, which legalized assisted suicide in 1994, when the state-sponsored health plan in 2008 denied recommended but costly cancer treatments and offered instead to pay for less-expensive suicide drugs.

The damned bureaucrats should have nothing to do with it.

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Hemp In America

From the comments at: Congress Introduces Industrial Hemp Farming Act With Bi-partisan Support

David P. West, Ph.D (Plant Breeding & Genetics)

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Racism

“Look, we understood we couldn’t make it illegal to be young or poor or black in the United States, but we could criminalize their common pleasure. We understood that drugs were not the health problem we were making them out to be, but it was such a perfect issue…that we couldn’t resist it.” – John Ehrlichman, White House counsel to President Nixon on the rationale of the War on Drugs.

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It All Depends On Who Does The Stealing

Governments were designed with theft in mind. If you can, get them to do your stealing for you. If you do the stealing yourself you will go to jail. If you get the government to do it for you there will be award dinners in your future.

One makes you a common thief. The other makes you a social benefactor.

Inspired by the discussion here.

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Some things Americans never tire of…

Racial fatigue? Really?

It’s hard to imagine anyone in the United States actually being tired of race, but whatever.

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Resonance Engine

H/T Tallbloke

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US Senate Votes 98 to 1 –> Climate Change Is Real

This proves that a Republican Senate is totally qualified to resolve scientific questions.

Let it be recorded for history that late in the afternoon of January 21, 2015, the United States Senate formally acknowledged that climate change is real.
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As to that other critical question of whether human beings are contributing to it? Well, the Senate is not so sure. In a series of largely symbolic votes Wednesday afternoon, newly-disempowered Democrats tried to force Republicans to stake out a firm position on climate change after years of party leaders trying to dodge the question by saying they’re “not scientists.”

The result was a split decision: The Senate overwhelmingly voted, 98-1, in favor of an amendment stating that “climate change is real and not a hoax.”

A commenter to an article on the vote added this list:

The consensus on ‘economic stimulus’?
The consensus on light rail?
The consensus on high speed rail?
The consensus on infrastructure spending?
The consensus on the food pyramid?
The consensus on BMI?
The consensus on the efficacy of lie detectors?
The consensus on the damages payday loans cause?
The consensus on the damage drug use causes?
The consensus on the current feasibility of renewable energy sources?

I would add one point that is only alluded to: they believe Reefer Madness is a documentary. With the possible exception of Rand Paul.

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Priority Inversion

You may recall that the top Republican Congress Priority was getting a Federal abortion bill passed.

There seems to have been a small hitch in their social program. They don’t have the votes.

In an embarrassing setback, House Republicans abruptly decided Wednesday to drop planned debate of a bill criminalizing virtually all late-term abortions after objections from GOP women and other lawmakers left them short of votes.

And for those of you unaware of it Priority Inversion is a programmer’s pun/in joke.

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When race mattered

Researching my ancestry recently, I discovered my grandfather’s draft card.

grandfather_draft_card_sI wasn’t looking for anything more than the names and birth dates of his parents, but I happened to notice the lower left hand corner, which instructed as follows:

If person is of African descent, tear off this corner

I had not known about that before, but I saw it confirmed here:

The American military was entirely segregated during World War I. Although the military training of black Americans was staunchly opposed by white supremacist politicians such as Sen. James K. Vardaman (D-Mississippi) and Sen. Benjamin Tillman (D-South Carolina), the decision was nevertheless made to include African-Americans in the 1917 draft.[9] A total of 290,527 black Americans were ultimately registered for the draft during the two calls of June 2 and September 12, 1917 — 9.6 percent of the total American pool for potential conscription.[9]

Draft board officials were given the instruction to tear off the lower left-hand corner of the Selective Service forms filled out by black registrants to tag these for segregated units.[9] The August 1917 Houston Riot of armed African-American soldiers spurred by racist behavior by some Houston police officials additionally shaped the War Department’s decision-making, and the great majority of black soldiers were delegated to the building of roads, unloading of shipping, and other forms of common labor.[10] Only two combat units of African-Americans were ultimately established — the 92nd and 93rd Infantry Divisions.[11] Blacks were entirely excluded from the United States Marine Corps and consigned to menial labor in the United States Navy for the duration of the world war.[12]

Imagine, having a federal government that cared so much about race!

 

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Which party will make prohibition work?

After so many years demonstrating that Prohibition does not work, you might think that the government people would have learned that by now.

But no. Like Communism, Prohibitionism us one of those stubbornly insane memes that seems here to stay. Its proponents echo the endless mistake and an endless tired rant:

Trust us! This time, we can make it work!

It makes very little difference what party they are with, as long as both “sides” agree.

A legislator in Oklahoma will serve as a perfect example.

Oklahoma Senator Patrick Anderson is proposing a bill that would punish those convicted with a DUI charge even further.

Senate Bill 30 asks the department to develop a procedure to order the charged individual abstain from alcohol consumption, and not be allowed to purchase alcohol for a time determined by the judge.

The bill could also form a law that would  charge you with a felony should you be caught giving or buying alcohol for a person you know is under alcohol restriction. That felony charge would come with a fine of up to $1,000, or up to a year in prison.

Defense Attorney David Slane says he sees a lot of holes in the bill and worries about it’s requirements if passed.

“The law does not have a catch all provision that would allow for circumstances if it’s in the food,” Slane said, “In cases were people have religious right to take communion where there may be alcohol in the wine does it allow for that?”

The bill also suggests a person charged with a DUI will be ordered a replacement identification card that will bear the words “Alcohol Restricted” on the front and will be required to carry throughout the remainder of their probation.

Lovely. The control freaks have long wanted to monitor all alcohol purchases, and laws like this give them the perfect excuse. As it rankles obviously older purchasers to be asked for ID, laws like this will provide the perfect excuse for universal monitoring of all alcohol sales.

More here and here.

BTW, the legislator in question — one Patrick Anderson — is a Republican. Not that it matters especially, as I am not trying to indict the Republican Party. In fact, the Democratic Party may be even more prone to taking away choices (as commenter c andrew notes here).

What especially irritates me is that this isn’t the first time I have read about Patrick Anderson.  He also wants to help communities pass laws which would kill my dog Coco, and that’s something I especially don’t forgive.

What is it with these control freaks?

Is it that something in their brains makes it absolutely impossible for them to leave people alone? Or is it that they’re pandering that mentality?

(I’d like to call them un-American, but I’m afraid their mindset has been around too long and is too deeply embedded in the culture for me to credibly make that claim. Besides, many of them are the kind of people who would call me un-American for disagreeing with them.)

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The Feds Have Decided To Stop (Some) Stealing

Attorney General Eric Holder has decided to end Federal asset forfeiture for drug crimes unless there is a conviction.

“It’s high time we put an end to this damaging practice,” said David Harris, a constitutional law scholar at the University of Pittsburgh. “It has been a civil-liberties debacle and a stain on American criminal justice.”

Holder’s action comes as members of both parties in Congress are working together to craft legislation to overhaul civil asset forfeiture. Last Friday, Sens. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa) and Mike Lee (R-Utah), along with Reps. F. James Sensenbrenner Jr. (R-Wis.) and John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.), signed a letter calling on Holder to end Equitable Sharing.

Grassley praised Holder’s decision on Friday.

“We’re going to have a fairer justice system because of it,” Grassley said. “The rule of law ought to protect innocent people, and civil asset forfeiture hurt a lot of people.”

He said he planned to continue pressing for legislative reforms.

Maybe Grassley had these crooks in mind when it comes to changing legislation.

Operating in collaboration with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, Immigration and Customs Enforcement and other federal entities, Black Asphalt members exchanged tens of thousands of reports about American motorists, many of whom had not been charged with any crimes, according to a company official and hundreds of internal documents obtained by The Post. For years, it received no oversight by government, even though its reports contained law enforcement sensitive information about traffic stops and seizures, along with hunches and personal data about drivers, including Social Security numbers and identifying tattoos.

Black Asphalt also has served as a social hub for a new brand of highway interdictors, a group that one Desert Snow official has called “a brotherhood.” Among other things, the site hosts an annual competition to honor police who seize the most contraband and cash on the highways. As part of the contest, Desert Snow encouraged state and local patrol officers to post seizure data along with photos of themselves with stacks of currency and drugs. Some of the photos appear in a rousing hard-rock video that the Guthrie, Okla.-based Desert Snow uses to promote its training courses.

My guess is that there is going to be a slow motion effort by the Republicans to take Cannabis Prohibition off the table for the 2016 election. All because of a 49 member Libertarian Republican faction in Congress. And people keep saying the libertarians have no power. A large enough swing vote always has power well beyond their numbers. They are king makers. And breakers. To all my libertarian friends –> Salut!

H/T New Federal Asset Forfeiture Changes Will Impact Marijuana Enforcement

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Dismayed!

A local rec center has multiple TV monitors with multiple channels, so that people can exercise or relax while watching their preferred channel. Sound fair? Not if certain activists get their way:

A couple’s objections to Fox News broadcasts at the Meri Lou Murray Recreation Center in Ann Arbor has Washtenaw County officials considering a new policy for what types of programs should be allowed on TV screens inside the center. Ypsilanti Township residents Dave and Sue Weber argue a county-run facility is no place to be showing what they consider offensive, right-wing political propaganda. They said they started going to the county’s recreation center on Washtenaw Avenue last fall and were dismayed to see Fox News show up on four of the 12 television screens in the cardio area during election season.

Dismayed? I’m sure there are people who would be dismayed to see CNN or MSNBC.

The way it works in that place, there are so many TV monitors that you can decide which one you want to watch and ignore the others. Not good enough for the activists. It bothers them that anyone at all is able to watch Fox News:

“There’s no sound unless you bring your own earphones and you plug it into the machine that you’re working on,” Chuck Hescheles said. “And there are enough TVs that you can just turn your head and look at whatever you’d like to look at.”

“Exactly,” Doocy responded. “If the Webers don’t like the Fox News channel, don’t look at it. It’s that simple.”

No, it’s not that simple. Activists don’t just want to watch only what they want to watch. They want to make you watch what they watch.

 

 

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DC Pot

Washington, DC legalized recrational cannabis in the November 2014 election. There is some question if it can go into effect given the rider Republican Andy Harris added to an appropriations bill.

None the less DC is going ahead with legalization by submitting the measure passed by voters to Congress for an up or down vote.

A commenter asked me:

Any chance Dipshit Andy from Maryland can try and stop this?

My response was:

He has to get 216 Congress critters on board with him. The libertarian faction of the Republicans is 49 votes. The Democrats won’t vote for it. And a lot of Republicans would rather it didn’t become an election issue in 2016.

My guess is that the R leadership will not let it come up for a vote for fear of a loss which would weaken the Rs. They know they are losing on the issue and would rather not make that obvious.

Well that is my guess as a Republican oriented voter.

About 1/2 a day later I read this Washington Post article on the subject. Which had (in part) this to say:

D.C. Democrats say they are ready to wager that Republicans will be unwilling to get bogged down in overturning the city’s marijuana law, which 7 in 10 voters supported in last month’s election. Doing so, Republican strategists acknowledge, risks exposing a divide between Republican conservatives and libertarians that could prove consequential to the 2016 presidential race.

So basically my analysis was the same as the WaPo and I hadn’t read it before I gave my opinion. That adds more weight to my opinion.

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UN Demons Kept Obama From Paris

There has been a LOT of speculation about what kept Obama from Paris when some 50 other heads of state showed up for a 3 million person march against Islamic terrorism.

I think whitehouse.gov has the answer. From a speech to the UN in 2012:

The future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam.

I think that explains everything.

H/T Len Bilén’s blog

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Survivor

A police officer in Montana fataly shot a passenger in a car he had stopped.

Billings Police Officer Grant Morrison can be seen sobbing on the hood of a police cruiser after shooting 38-year-old Richard Ramirez three times during a traffic stop.

“I thought he was going to pull a gun on me,” Morrison can be heard telling a fellow officer.

“Maybe he was, maybe he was,” the other officer replied, attempting to console Morrison. “Jesus, Grant. You survived.”

The passenger didn’t comply with the officer’s commands and then made a bad move.

…Ramirez, who was seated in the back, would not comply and reached for his waistband, police say.

“What are you doing? Why are you moving your hands so much?” Morrison can be heard saying earlier in dashcam footage taken just before the shooting. “Get your hands up. I will shoot you. I will shoot you. Hands up!”

Morrison, a five-year veteran of the force, then fired into the car. The actions of Ramirez could not be seen in the video.

An autopsy later showed Ramirez was high on methamphetamine and “had enough in his system at the time that it may have been lethal to someone not accustomed to the drug,” a forensic pathologist testified. Fellow officers told jurors that Morrison recognized Ramirez as a suspect in a recent drug-involved shooting.

So let us see – Ramirez was high on meth and was also a suspect in a Prohibition related commercial dispute. And that was on top of the furtive movement. Reaching for his waist band. You know the outcome for the officer. The shooting was justified. Not at a regular trial mind you. A coroner’s jury.

There are two saving graces in this story. The officer cried after killing the guy (there is video) and no one else in the car was shot.

The history of meth is interesting.

Methamphetamine went into wide use during World War II, when both sides used it to keep troops awake. High doses were given to Japanese Kamikaze pilots before their suicide missions. And after the war, methamphetamine abuse by injection reached epidemic proportions when supplies stored for military use became available to the Japanese public.

In the 1950s, methamphetamine was prescribed as a diet aid and to fight depression. Easily available, it was used as a nonmedical stimulant by college students, truck drivers and athletes and abuse of the drug spread.

So once upon a time there was widespread use but before prohibition use was not a killing offense. After all pilots of military aircraft and housewives took the stuff. The pilots to stay awake. The housewives to lose weight. So it went from a problem to a drug that turned people into demons. All through the magic of Prohibition. And the shooting was justified.

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Well I’ll be a son of an Imam!

The Mayor of Rotterdam has renewed what little faith I still had:

The Moroccan-born mayor of Rotterdam has said Muslim immigrants who do not appreciate the way of life in Western civilisations can ‘f*** off’.

Ahmed Aboutaleb, who arrived in the Netherlands aged 15, spoke out in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo attack in Paris last week.

Appearing on live television just hours after the shootings, Mayor Aboutaleb said Muslims who ‘do not like freedom can pack your bags and leave’.

[...]

‘This is stupid, this so incomprehensible. 

‘Vanish from the Netherlands if you cannot find your place here. 

‘All those well-meaning Muslims here will now be stared at’. 

Mayor Aboutaleb grew up the son of an imam in northern Morocco, but moved to the Netherlands in 1976.

That a Muslim has dared to speak up like this is a genuine breakthrough. The world needs more like him. Too bad he can’t move here and run for president. He’s got a lot more balls than the wimp in chief who wouldn’t attend France’s historic solidarity rally against terrorism.

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It Is All Politics

I was looking up Adrian Schoolcraft who secretly recorded the NY City police department and came across this:

Rayman quotes retired NYPD detective Marquez Claxton: “The Police Department is using these numbers to portray themselves as being effective. In portraying that illusion, they have pushed these illegal quotas which force police officers to engage in illegal acts.”[9]

Police engaging in illegal acts? Upholders of the law? I’m shocked.

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Can we clear up “any confusion between these odious acts and the Muslim religion”?

In a comment to my post about Bill Maher, M. Simon quoted the mother of one of the Paris terrorists:

Coulibaly’s mother and sisters have condemned the Paris attacks,saying they offer their ‘sincere condolences’ to the families of those killed.

‘We condemn these acts,’ they said in a statement.

‘We absolutely do not share these extreme ideas. We hope there will not be any confusion between these odious acts and the Muslim religion.’

This is a familiar refrain, and one that I — and most civilized people — want to believe.

The fact is, the vast majority of Muslims are peaceful people who want to get along with other people (including infidels like Christians, Jews, Pagans, or even atheists).

But concerns have been voiced about Islam having too much what Glenn Reynolds mentions as a possible “branding problem.” There are moderate Muslims who have plenty of good will, but is that enough?

What troubles me is that to a certain extent, the branding problem may emanate from the very source of Islam itself: the Koran and the words and actions of the Prophet.

If we look at the Paris attacks as an example, the murderers (whom I am sure believe themselves to be executioners rather than murderers) believed that the cartoonists had committed the crime of blasphemy, by insulting the Prophet. The idea that anyone who insults the Prophet deserves death is hardly a radical idea in Islam.

It is mainstream.

And you don’t even have to draw a cartoon to be guilty. In at least 13 countries, merely being an atheist merits the death penalty. Atheism, of course, denies the existence of Allah, the truth of the Koran, and any legitimacy of leadership by the Prophet, so it is definitely insulting and or annoying.

Punishing such insults and annoyances with death is grounded in the words of the Koran and the personal example of the Prophet.

I think that this passage from the Koran is a problem for Islam’s branding image:

Those who annoy Allah and His Messenger – Allah has cursed them in this World and in the Hereafter, and has prepared for them a humiliating Punishment. Truly, if the Hypocrites, and those in whose hearts is a disease, and those who stir up sedition in the City, desist not, We shall certainly stir thee up against them: Then will they not be able to stay in it as thy neighbours for any length of time: They shall have a curse on them: whenever they are found, they shall be seized and slain (without mercy).

At the risk of sounding blasphemous, the above might cause many people to wonder whether the Prophet himself would have approved of what the Kouachi brothers did in Paris.

So yes, there is a branding problem. Not only do moderate Muslims need to speak up more loudly, but there needs to be massive reform.

Especially in those many countries where the French journalists would have been sentenced to death.

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Something I never thought would happen…

In light of current events, I am learning to love Bill Maher.

 

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The Random Shooting Began Last Year

I came across this story. The video is from March of 2014.

And according to this report the police did nothing wrong. And that may be so. Or maybe not. But what attracted me and gave me the impetus to do a post was this comment from the link.

Antonio Venegas

I hate reading police brutality stories, especially when police don’t get charged with their crimes. I feel bad for the family, as probably the mother and daughter both wish that argument would have never happened. Karma & God will take care of the police and everyone involved in clearing them. I’ve seen it happen first hand. Recently in LA civilians started randomly shooting at police, it’s only a matter of time before gangsters, thugs and angry civilians start doing the same in other parts of the U.S.

That comment was published on December 30, 2014.

So he thinks we will be seeing more of this come warmer weather? I do too.

Well it looks like it is warm enough in California. From December 29, 2014:
Two Los Angeles police officers shot at in ‘unprovoked attack’

That may be the attack Mr. Venegas was referring to.

Police officer’s deaths from shooting are on the rise.

In the shooting deaths, so-called ambush attacks increased the most, from 5 last year to 15 this year. That number increased this month with the shootings of NYPD officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu, who had been sitting in their patrol car in Brooklyn when they were fatally struck. The gunman, Ismaaiyl Brinsley, who later shot himself in the head, had threatened police on social media before the random attack.

Ramos was buried last Saturday, and Liu’s funeral is Sunday.

Craig Floyd, CEO of the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, a nonprofit that produces the annual report, said a “growing anti-government sentiment” is to blame for influencing people to attack police.

“Growing anti-government sentiment”? Well who could have guessed that?

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