Thursday, February 26, 2015

Bipartisan Authoritarianism

Isn't it great to see our elected officials reach across the aisle and come together in a spirit of bipartisanship, in the pursuit of respecting the liberty of the American citizen? /sarc
Despite warnings from congressional Republicans, Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser allowed D.C.'s marijuana legalization law to take effect at 12:01 a.m. Thursday. 
Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, who chairs the House Oversight Committee, told Bowser that if she continued with her plan to implement marijuana legalization she would face "very serious consequences," The Washington Post reported. 
Rep. Andy Harris, D-Md., who has been one of the most vocal opponents of marijuana legalization in D.C., says implementation of the law would be a violation of the Anti-Deficiency Act, which prohibits the spending of federal funds that have not been appropriated. 
Nearly two thirds of D.C. voters approved Initiative 71 in November. Under Initiative 71, people ages 21 or older will be allowed to possess two ounces or less of marijuana, use marijuana on private property and give one ounce or less to another person as long as no money, goods or services are exchanged. 
Residents will also be permitted to cultivate up to six marijuana plants — although no more than three mature plants— in their primary home.
USA Today

Friday, February 20, 2015

Political Correctness.......

I do not believe, and I know this is a horrible thing to say, but I do not believe that the president loves America,” Giuliani said during the dinner at the 21 Club, a former Prohibition-era speakeasy in midtown Manhattan. “He doesn’t love you. And he doesn’t love me. He wasn’t brought up the way you were brought up and I was brought up through love of this country. - Rudy Giuliani
To imply that one 'knows' the unstated intentions, motivations, or "love of country"....illustrates an absurdly lazy appeal to emotion on Giuliani's behalf. But as he has a profession of being invited as an obligatory anti-Administration talking head.....it's all part of buttering his bread I suppose. He's a real-world version of an internet troll.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

On Religious Liberty

The news is rife with stories of opposition to various issues of morality and legality...but none more so than marriage equality/gay marriage/whatever you desire to label it.


The crux of opposition centers around judicial rulings that state prohibitions on gay marriage are unconstitutional. The opposition claims that these rulings override the 'will of the people'...and inn many cases, based on elections and initiatives, they do. On the surface.


However, this premise rests on the notion that 'the people' are Constitutionally empowered to create or retain law based solely on a majority opinion of religious morality....regardless of secular value.


So my question, to any and all, is this: does the American polity, nationwide or at the state level, retain the Constitutional power to create or retain law that prohibits an action of the minority, yet is legal for the majority....and where the basis for such a prohibition contains no public safety risk or burden upon said majority?

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Stupid is...as Stupid writes.....

There’s little doubt that the Supreme Court’s order today irresponsibly declining to stay the federal-district court order against Alabama’s marriage laws signals that at least five justices have already made up their mind to concoct a constitutional right to marry a person of the same sex. Who needs briefing or oral argument anyway, when you’re just making it up? And why give careful thought before redefining the central social institution of American society in a way that denies the fundamental connection between marriage and responsible procreation and childrearing? Gee, what could go wrong?


Ed Whelan, National Review Online


WTF?


This is an OpEd, got it. But the verbal tantrums being thrown by people who don't like the fact that gay people exist, is frankly.....embarrassing to me as an American.


"Making it up?" This from the camp that can't even get their premise to pass the 'rational basis' test....the most lenient bar of legal scrutiny. Whelan appropriately notes that their does not exist a Constitutional right to marry someone of the same sex. Guess what genius....there isn't such a right for someone to marry anybody, regardless of their sex. There also doesn't exist a Constitutional right to bar someone marrying the same sex.


There does however, exist the concept that rights and privileges of society will not be withheld from a citizen, where it does not cause undue harm or restriction upon another citizen. In other words, until Whelan's side of the argument can [not even prove] but illustrate where gay marriage harms any member of society....they've been legislating based on their emotional desires/fears. When those like Whelan levy the claim of 'redefinition'...they cast it in an absurd fa├žade that correlates gay marriage with a demise of hetero marriage and procreation.


Don't like gay marriage? Go it. Nobody is forcing you to "accept it", to use their own words. You are expected however, to respect a fellow citizen exercising the same rights and privileges that you are......if you style yourself as one who places a premium on individual liberty.




Saturday, February 7, 2015

Homesick...An Essay on War and the American Homefront

I often wake up hoping I’d be in a cot. Hearing Jason screaming the lyrics to barbie girl. I’d roll over and click play on the pre-mission playlist; Big Krits  “Rise and Shine” plays. Maybe Poly would come in and slap my foot and say lets get chow or Ryan would have already been up giving me his leftovers while I tell him his sister is beautiful, A running joke that has been going on for nearly 4 years now.

I wake up in a full size bed on Long Island. No chow hall but easily accessible food everywhere in sight. I can get a breakfast sandwich if I really wanted. Freshy Fresh isn’t too far. I no longer see the faces I’ve grown comfortable and accustomed to seeing. The things that were so agitating have become memories and jokes. We would tip beer bottles and laugh about the indirect fire and Rashaldo’s reaction to it. The time when First Squad’s tent got deflated because of people playing with knives. It was a big deal, angry faces and threats left and right but in the end, why be mad? Brothers forgive. I can still hear Big Davis, Gabe, and Tony P arguing over the state of hip hop. Life was simple. Life was good.Life wasn’t promised.

When over there things didn’t matter. It just was. We had no control over what happened back in the United States. The only thing we could do is complete the task at hand. When that was done we had to enjoy the time we had. We never wanted to go there but we were there. We made the best of what it was. We hated the taste of dust in our mouths. We hated 10th Mountain’s leadership for making the rules that made our lives difficult. We hated the Taliban. We hated the IED’S.

We landed in El Paso, Texas and said hello to America. We put on normal clothes, Laced something other than combat boots and PT shoes, and Hopped in vehicles that weren’t MIne Resistant. Something felt missing and couldn’t explain what it was. Unlocking the door to our barracks room felt unreal. Eating jack in the box couldn’t compare to taco Tuesday on FOB Arian. The shopping mall didnt give you the same excitement as the PX on FOB Sharana. The comforts of America no longer made us feel normal. This wasn’t where we belonged. We became home sick for the place we never thought we would call home.

- Andy Gomez, Combat Engineer

Friday, February 6, 2015

Brian "Walter Mitty" Williams

I find this story.....and the assorted reactions to it, interesting. Williams tale don't really bother me, unless he was attempting to profit from false representation. I'm much more troubled over David Gregory's willful violation of law....and his protection from prosecution, than I am over a Walter Mitty war story. This was regarding one instance....made of whole cloth to be sure...but nowhere near the perfidy perpetrated by many who styled themselves as trained "commando's", with tales of derring-do.


But he seems to have an overdeveloped sense of importance that comes with being a bobblehead of an elitist, but dying medium.


One knows if the helicopter they are riding in is hit with an RPG. There is no grey area in this regard. They would know this due to the actions and directives of the crew chief aboard the Chinook.


Points of order; while riding in the back of a CH47 Chinook...unless the bird actually takes small arms fire [not mention an RPG]....you're not really in a position to know that enemy fire is anywhere near you. From the accounts I've seen, any small arms fire in the vicinity of Williams Chinook, hit the bridging being slingloaded underneath. Being in a Chinook is like riding in the back of a near windowless bus, especially strapped into the center facing bench seat, as he most certainly would have been.


I believe that Williams was told by the crew, after the fact, they the flight had come under fire, and another Chinook was forced to land. Now, perhaps Williams is of especially weak constitution, and has experienced self induced trauma from being indirectly near danger [though likely unknowingly at the time]....or more likely, he saw an opportunity to burnish his 'war correspondent' street cred, after a career of seemingly riding various desks in NYC.


He fabricated the story to embellish his credentials, insecurities or sense of importance. Which of those it is, I care not.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Insurgency v. Terrorism

The latest episode in political theater has the right wing pitted against the Obama Administration, for the latter not labeling the Taliban as a "terrorist organization"....though they fit the very definition of an "insurgency".

What do you think?

Who is playing semantic games this time?

Monday, January 26, 2015

Bolt action rifles.....the new scary black "assault weapons"?

Those of us who are educated on firearms and the 2nd Amendment, have been both entertained and disgusted by the gun control cabal's antics regarding the modern sporting rifle.......erroneously labeled by the aforementioned groups of intellectual midgets as "assault rifles". How long until they realize that MSRs are not the "high powered", "killing machines" that they've tried to sell to an ignorant public?

Or will it even matter, since MSRs are still the "scary looking black rifles"?
While American movie-goers are making “American Sniper” a box office record-breaker, critics are sniping back, taking all manner of shots at the film, and one might wonder whether some of this distaste is perhaps due to a subconscious reaction to the central core of the film: the story of a man who was remarkably proficient with a rifle. 
How long before anti-gunners start pushing to regulate “sniper rifles,” which might be that bolt-action deer hunting rifle in the gun cabinet, the one with the black or camouflage composite synthetic stock and a scope sight? Such rifles fire cartridges that are far more powerful, and certainly more lethal to big game animals, at greater distances than the so-called “high power assault rifles” panned at every opportunity by the mainstream press. 
The film has already drawn heat from anti-gunner Michael Moore, and other critics have been weighing in as well. There was a piece in the Washington Post about the film’s “missing element: The man behind the gun.” The Guardian ran a piece that asserted the film “illustrates the west’s morality blind spots.” 
Even in the trailer, one gets to look at people through the crosshairs. It’s an unnerving view for some people who dislike firearms and “the gun culture.”
Examiner

At the very least, I hope the movie educates the public on what it takes to become, and be a Sniper; A public that until now, usually only hears the term when the lazy, drive-by media is reporting on some idiot criminal with a rifle.

Brought to you by a former, and humble Army Sniper.

Recusal Games

In light of the pending SCOTUS hearing on two gay marriage cases, the camps opposing marriage equality are demanding that Justices Ginsberg and Kagan recuse themselves for officiating gay marriages in the past. These same folks however, seem to overlook or ignore when Justice Scalia provides the keynote address at the deeply anti-gay Arlington Diocese's 2014 Men's Conference last year.


Now perhaps, his address was generic and non-partisan....but his office requested that his speech not be made public. Curious.


Is it philosophically fair to demand recusal of Ginsberg and Kagan?

Thursday, January 22, 2015

"Hands Up, Don't.......Whoops"

The news has been leaked to the New York Times: the Department of Justice has concluded its federal investigation into the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, and it has reached substantially the same conclusions as the local grand jury that chose not to press charges against police officer Darren Wilson.


Let’s reiterate that. Eric Holder’s Justice Department has looked at the case and decided that the evidence indicates Officer Wilson was justified in shooting Michael Brown. - The Federalist Blog


Don't expect to see much news coverage of this decision, but like the Trayvon Martin case....but you can expect it to live on as a legally erroneous pop culture meme......