Thursday morning round-up and Open Thread

Victorian posy of pansiesI am becoming grumpy in my old age. When my Facebook friends use the deranged, knife wielding, car crashing, gun shooting Elliot Rodgers to argue again for gun control, I come back with something they don’t expect in their navel-gazing world: facts.

I’m also sneaking in links to the self-defense stories at Guns Save Lives. I’m trying to get my friends to open their minds to the possibility that, while the gun-hating national media focuses on relatively rare “guns taking lives” stories, what’s getting lost in the diffuse local media are the hundreds of stories (1,127 according to Guns Save Lives) in which guns didn’t cause a murder, they stopped one, as well as stopping rapes, assaults, kidnappings, etc. We need to change the paradigm, one Progressive at a time.

As for Rodgers’ killing spree, a friend of mine wrote me the following:

Who is frustrated about the mental health nonsense that keeps being bandied about concerning Elliot Rodgers? On one hand, there were “so many read flags” and on the other no one could see anything significant about his personality which would lead them to believe he was capable of such violence.

I’m also the only one who thinks Rodgers was simply a self-centered murdering asshole. We are so wrapped up in trying to figure out “why” and “what made him do this” that we’re missing the reason. He was a dick.

Also, the idea that the availability of guns somehow transformed him into a killer is ludicrous. He had the intent to kill with or without guns as evidence by the three stabbings he committed before he shot anyone. I suspect people don’t like to think each of us is capable of killing so it must be an outside influence.

The only change I would make to what he wrote would be to substitute “He was evil” for “He was a dick.” I’ve always believed that evil exists, separate from such Freudian notions of mental derangement. I think all Jews should believe in evil. All Germans were not insane. For a cataclysmic time in the early- mid-20th century, they gave their sane minds over to evil.

And now, the round-up….

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I mentioned above that the national media hates guns. If you need evidence to support that fact, how about the discovery that CNN was gaming an (admittedly unscientific) online poll, to block out any votes opposing gun control.

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Even Elliot Rodgers conceded that guns in the hands of good guys would have stopped him.

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For decades now, Dry Bones has been commenting on Jewish life and American politics insofar as they affect Jews. Liberty’s Spirit has one of the best recent cartoons, one that manages to meld humorously Obama’s limp leadership with events in the Middle East.

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The good thing about bad Obama speeches — with his West Point speech being just the latest example — is that they provide material for excellent articles critiquing Obama and his policies. How can someone who does not appreciate Obama’s foreign policy not get a kick out of this from Elliott Abrams:

There were as many straw men as cadets. The president railed against “critics who think military intervention is the only way for America to avoid looking weak” and insisted that “U.S. military action cannot be the only—or even primary—component of leadership.” He kindly informed us that “a strategy that involves invading every country that harbors terrorist networks is naïve and unsustainable.” He thanked himself for the decision “that we should not put American troops into the middle of this increasingly sectarian civil war” in Syria, as if anyone anywhere had suggested doing so.

The Hayride draws back from looking at the specifics in Obama’s West Point speech and, instead, uses it as a springboard to discuss the failing with all of Obama’s speeches. That failing can be summarized as “too much Obama.”

(UPDATE:  Hot Air has a round-up of negative opinions about the speech from Obama’s usual cadre of cheerleaders.)

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Ed Lasky has an excellent column comparing Obama to the Chance the Gardener character in Jerzy Kosinski’s Being There. The only point as to which I’d part ways with Lasky is his implied statement that it was he who first made this comparison, in May 2007. In fact, I’ve yet to find anyone making the comparison before I did, back in December 2006:

What I’m gathering, though, is that on the Left, this very blankness is what makes him so appealing. He becomes a projection of everyone’s beliefs, hopes and desires. He’s a charming, smart, living version of Jerzy Kosinksi’s Chance the Gardener, in Being There.

Still, even though I got there first, I’d read Lasky’s article on the subject, not mine. We knew so little about Obama in 2006, that I had little to say. Lasky, by contrast, has a lot of material to work, and he uses it skillfully.

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USA Today has a grim indictment of the Veterans Administration. There was one quotation in it, though, that puzzled me:

“I think that there is a potential that we have lost true north. I think we need to focus on our mission: treating veterans,” says Thomas Lynch, an assistant deputy under secretary, referring to a tough 14-day treatment goal that investigators said VA schedulers repeatedly manipulated records to get around.

Considering that the VA’s sole mission is caring for veterans, how the heck could VA employees have lost focus? And what exactly were they focusing on once they got lost?

I’m being sarcastic. They were focusing on the bureaucratic process itself, which is the inevitable end point for all government bureaucracies. Those who do not see the VA scandal as a harbinger of the inevitable outcome of the socialized medicine Nancy Pelosi demands are either in deep denial, being deliberately obtuse, or are just plain evil.

And what about getting veterans into civilian care programs under Medicare?  Ask the unions for the answer to that question.

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From 2008 onwards, I warned those who would listen that Obama policies would create a double-dip Recession. It took longer than I anticipated (which speaks to the essential strength of the U.S. economy), but Obama and his fellow travelers finally did it: They didn’t just fail to make things better, they’ve actually made them worse.

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I think I blogged earlier about Spain’s viscerally antisemitic response to their losing a soccer game to Israel, but it’s worth blogging about again. There have been no Jews (at least in measurable numbers or out in the open) in Spain since the Inquisition — but the hatred persists.

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A feel-good story. No lives were saved, but love and respect were shared.

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Wait! Are you tell me that the Antarctic ice sheets were melting thousands of years before Al Gore discovered climate change? I’m shocked! Shocked!

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According to the DemProgs, Griffin Furlong should have become a gun-toting, crack-smoking, welfare-using victim. He didn’t, though, and his story will make you realize that the human spirit can be indomitable.

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And finally, unexpected pop culture moments captured over the decades.

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Comments

  1. says

    The only people that can figure things out are the 3%, or the upper 25% of humanity. Basically people here would qualify. But the Left and their psychologists figuring ol Rod boy out? Since when they have figured ANYTHING else out, hmmmm? They are retards. They are mentally ill. The mentally ill should not be treating ol Rod boy over there in the morgue. They have no authority to “tell” us “anything” about the world.
     
    “Still, even though I got there first,”
     
    Don’t sell yourself short. If you can predict such things, you are miles ahead of people who merely follow the band wagon now that it is popular and the rest of us are harmonizing with the mainstream. Or is it the mainstream finally seeing what we were telling them. This reinforces my statement that Leftists and their Hollywood rapists won’t be able to tell us anything true about Rod boy in the morgue. Rely on yourself and your own sources, nothing else. For almost everything else is corrupted.

  2. says

    If you ever get into a “discussion” with a European on a political website be attentive. Europeans have a specific outlook left or right or right or left. Both are eurosupremacists. They may hate the other political faction but they want to blame a third party like Jews and/or America for its existence.  The idea that a European individual or European culture can be wrong and can harm society must be banished. Instead if it wasn’t for the influence of such and such there wouldn’t be such and such. Europeans are perpetual victims. We may talk about minority victim politics but we also know that is a small minority of shysters within a minority. European politics is the victim card. Europeans all agree Europe is in decline but they all want it to be from some “foreign” element that can be made to disappear. The pro Moslems feel that the Moslems share the same victimhood. Root out the Zionists and the Capitalists and it will all be fine.  The Right feels Jews and Socialists who are magically created by American mass culture are the problem.
    Want to watch either side boil? Tell them Europeans have a problem with their societies and they need to correct their own problems. They go ballistic!!!

  3. jj says

    The mental health thing is pretty much always a canard.  The regrettable fact is no one really knows what the hell constitutes ‘mental health,’ and who is ‘healthy’ and who isn’t.  That’s because it isn’t the least predictive of behavior, and what’s ‘healthy’ for me may be entirely different than what’s ‘healthy’ for you.  There are really very few norms – and we have no real idea what adds up to what.  We have a name (we made it up, or Freud or Jung did) for what ails you, but whether or not you’ll ever erupt – who knows?
     
    Had a friend in Viet-nam who will serve as an example, he’s pretty extreme.  He was a Marine recon patroller.  He was very good at it, and a very, very good killer.  He and the other two in his team would stand all night beside a trail in the jungle, not moving a muscle for hours.  The VC thought he was a tree until three, four or five of them would go down the trail and all get killed but one.  (They were looking for prisoners to interrogate, so one always got brought back.)  That is living on your nerve endings,  and that’s what he did for two tours.  Two tours, because when he got back from the first one he found himself leading cars and pedestrians past his house with a rifle from an upstairs window.  He figured he better get back to where that kind of behavior was okay, even expected, so he reenlisted and they put him right back where he had been.
     
    A keg of dynamite waiting for a spark, obviously.  Except he wasn’t.  He never saw a shrink in his life, and he’s settling into a happy senescence: great husband as he approaches his golden anniversary, great father, splendid grandfather.  A wise and lovely guy.  Who happened, in his youth, to spend some time not merely killing people but doing it with his bare hands, wire, or knives.  (They needed to die quietly, no guns, because there’s three of us and three thousand of them out there around us in this damn jungle…)  Up close and personal.  Takes a special kind of personality, right?  Even for those in the Corps, that’s a special kind of personality.  I have no idea, and neither does anybody else.
     
    That’s just one example, but all a shrink can say is what he sees right now today, and it isn’t predictive.  This Elliot Rodgers kid could have been a compendium of red flags, he could have been a walking red flag – and that doesn’t say a damn thing about what he is or isn’t going to do, or may or may n0t do.  It tells you nothing - beyond that, if you think this kind of stuff is meaningful, you might like to keep a kind of a loose eye on him – and anyone who says it means more than that is full of it.  Even if he was a dick, well, there are plenty of those.  Most manage to avoid killing people no matter how lengthy their internal list of those who deserve it is.
     
    And this is the difficulty with excluding people from driving cars, owning guns, or anything else based on ‘mental health.’  What you’re observing today tells you not one damn thing about tomorrow.  And Elliot Rodgers, even with what’s on his computer and everything else had no better a chance or probability of doing anything than any one of the rest of us does, right up until the time he did it.

    • says

      Socialized hunters of humans, killers, or sociopaths can be very useful, since they devote their talents to some productive use and society allows it. Some societies like Islamic Jihad, though, tend to have looser definitions of socialized.

  4. JKB says

    What the administrators at the VA focused on was their salary increases and bonuses, which were tied to meeting the 2-week appointment metric.  Look at the VA, look at the British NHS, what you’ll see is the “gaming” occurs because to admit the problem is to lose your job, lose your bonus, lose your pay increase.  
     
    It is a sickness of bureaucracy, if you are someone who bring a problem to light, they will dispose of you regardless of how solid your observation is.  The boss said two weeks and so it will be two weeks by hook or crook.  Besides, all those other hospitals were meeting the two week metric….right.

  5. Rick Z says

    Apropos of nothing, as a long-time reader (and fellow secretive Marin County conservative of Jewish ancestry), I’ll be featured at an Author “Meet ‘n Greet” at the new Copperfield’s Bookstore (850 Fourth Street, San Rafael) this coming Saturday from 1-4 to promote my book “Coyote Point Casino,” a light-hearted take on Indian gaming, identity politics, celebrity culture and the decline of the American university.
    For more information: http://sanrafael.patch.com/groups/announcements/p/local-mystery-author-at-copperfields-san-rafael-sat-1–4

  6. says

    “Considering that the VA’s sole mission is caring forveterans, how the heck could VA employees have lost focus?”   I read an article about a woman who took over a petroleum-products terminal business: basically, it transferred oil and chemicals between ships, trucks, and rail cars.  The place was somewhat of a mess, and she asked herself and her managers “what would we do if what we cared about was “transferring oil and chemicals between ships, trucks, and rail cars?”…which, of course, had been the reason, and the only reason, for the facility’s existence all along.  But by requiring an analysis from the basic level, she was able to make major improvements.
     
    Weird bureaucratic behavior exists in the private as well as the public sectors…a CEO friend commented that he spent considerable time “playing whack-a-mole” with outbreaks of bureaucracy…but the difference is that the incentives to control it are much stronger in the private sector…and when it is *not* controlled, the enterprise tends to disappear and be replaced by ones which are not so bureaucratic.

  7. says

    “There have been no Jews (at least in measurable numbers or out in the open) in Spain since the Inquisition — but the hatred persists.”
     
    I half suspect the Inquisition was designed to confiscate the power of Moors and Arabs, since the Islamic Jihad conquered much of Spain. The Islamos then diverted the hate towards the Jews, as a convenient scapegoat.
     
     

  8. Gringo says

    There have been no Jews (at least in measurable numbers or out in the open) in Spain since the Inquisition — but the hatred persists.
    One of the reasons for  continuing the Inquisition after the expulsion of the Jews in 1492- where they were given the choice to convert or emigrate- was the suspicion that many of the conversos [converts from Judaism] were secretly practicing the Jewish faith. While the Inquisition had no business going after such people, I suspect that a fair number of them still existed.
     
    I base this suspicion on having met a Spaniard in a company school in Houston one year. He wore a Star of David. He informed me that his family had practiced Judaism secretly for over 400 years until the 20th century, when Spain legalized open practice of Judaism.
     Many assume that the expulsion of the Jews in 1492 was the consequence of Spain being more anti-Semitic than the rest of  Europe. On the contrary, medieval Europe was highly anti-Semitic. From Wikipedia:
     
    The Jews, who were driven out of England in 1290, out of France in 1394, and out of numerous districts of Germany, Italy, and the Balkan peninsula between 1350 and 1450, were scattered in all directions, and fled preferably to the new Slavic kingdoms, where for the time being other confessions were still tolerated.
     
    In doing a cursory reading of a history of the Inquisition in Spain, I found out that Rome was not pleased with the presence and tolerance of Jews- and Muslims- in the Christian kingdoms of Spain in the 13th and 14th centuries. The subsequent cracking down on Jews in Spain was more an issue of bringing Spain “up to”  – or down to- the anti-Semitic standards of the rest of Western Europe.
     
    The end of the seven hundred year Reconquista with the conquest of the final Muslim kingdom of Granada in 1492 gave a further triumphalist motive towards expelling the Jews.
     
    I have read that genetic analyses of Spaniards have shown that there is a substantial Jewish and Arab part of the gene pool in Spain. There are certain surnames which are associated with conversos. Castro for example. Which may help explain why Fidel Castro, the son of a Spaniard from Galicia, has been relatively philo-Semitic compared to other Commie-caudillos.
     
     
     
     https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jews_in_the_Middle_Ages

  9. says

    WRT guns, I’ve been seeing posts on Facebook lamenting the “fact” that the NRA has ceased to focus on gun safety and gun education and has become a crazy gun-nut lobbying group blocking even the mildest of “sensible” gun regulations.

    I’ve posted a few comments discussing how:
    1) Back in the 1980s, there was a scare about the Dungeons & Dragons game. It was supposed to lead to occult practices, suicides, ritual murder, and global warming. (Actually not global warming — just wanted to see if you were paying attention.)
    There was even an organization formed, calling itself Bothered About Dungeons & Dragons (BADD), which was working to “educate” people about the dangers of D&D.
    Now, imagine this organization had not died a natural death, but had gained strength. Imagine that after any crime associated in any way with D&D, reporters had taken the BADD press release and swarmed executives at TSR (the designers of D&D) or the Role Playing Game Association demanding responses to the press releases. Can you imagine that repeated bouts of this might have taken these organizations’ focus away from making D&D and similar games more fun, and toward lobbying to protect some sort of claimed First-amendment right to publish, own, and play these games? Can you imagine that their focus might have come to look more than a little single-minded?

    • says

      One of the people who posted a Lament for the Lost NRA cited the SCA to me. The SCA is a medieval recreation (pronounced both ways) society, and many of its members collect swords, daggers, maces, and other examples of medieval weaponry. A large portion of the membership engages in combat with mock-up weaponry. (I think a few groups use live steel, under carefully controlled conditions, but I haven’t seen it myself.)
      The SCA focuses heavily on education about the safe handling of sharp implements — swords, daggers, knives, and bows and arrows as well since archery competitions are also popular.

      Consider that the killer in Isla Vista killed half of his victims with a knife. Imagine the press had gone to the SCA for comments about whether it was now time to pass sensible restrictions on “assault knives”. Now do that for half a century. Might the SCA have gotten just a wee bit focused on protecting the rights of collectors?

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