Beginning of Year Open Thread

Had a post up for half an hour – didn’t like the total flow of it. It’ll be back up later, if you saw it. Meanwhile, how about an open thread like I promised?

We’re only 24 days until we reach Gore’s proclaimed point of no return on global warming climate change. Ah, Earth – we hardly knew ye.

The Saudi’s executed a Shia cleric and some rumbles of rebellion among Saudi Arabia’s Shia minority are being heard. Just to let you know – the Shia’s in Saudi Arabia live where a huge amount of Saudi Arabia’s oil is. This could get messy.

Obama, entering his last year in office, seems determined to boost gun sales, again. Anyone check to see if he’s a major stockholder in gun firms?

Gary Kasparov wonders whither America?

Rhambo took his vacation in Cuba – probably getting a few pointers on how to maintain one-party control.

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28 thoughts on “Beginning of Year Open Thread

  1. Cluster January 3, 2016 / 8:55 am

    Last week I came across an editorial in the NY Times called, Dear White America, that I posted here for all of you to read. It was a nauseating read complete with all of the myths and half truths of black victimhood and evil white racists. Here is the link again:

    http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/12/24/dear-white-america/?_r=1

    Well as it turns out, that editorial caught the attention of the folks over at American Thinker, who as usual, critiqued the article much bette than I ever could. Here is one very poignant line from AT:

    The fact that a black man can publicly admonish every white man leaves us wondering why black men are largely incapable of taking criticism from whites.

    It is sad phenomena in our society that many blacks now use racism as an excuse for every loathsome behavior and criminal activity rather than being called to account, and the media and this administration only serve to bolster those charges, and that is a great disservice to such an important community to America. Here is a link to AT’s article.

    http://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2016/01/concerning_dear_white_america_in_the_new_york_times.html

  2. Retired Spook January 3, 2016 / 9:26 am

    We’re only 24 days until we reach Gore’s proclaimed point of no return on global warming climate change.

    That’s what separates the amateurs from the professionals. The professionals make their predictions a hundred years out, so everyone associated with them is dead when they don’t come true.

      • Retired Spook January 3, 2016 / 11:09 am

        It appears as though the 97% consensus is evaporating.

        It was an entirely made up number to begin with, just as much of the alarmists’ data is either made up or manipulated. My hope is that, if and when the hoax is ever revealed to the satisfaction of the majority of people, those responsible will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Conversely, if it turns out that those of us who believe it’s the greatest scam ever perpetrated on mankind turn out to be wrong, I’m fully prepared to accept whatever punishment society deems fit.

      • Cluster January 3, 2016 / 11:20 am

        Well as history has proven, a warmer climate is more conducive to life than a colder planet so global warming should be embraced and celebrated.

      • Amazona January 3, 2016 / 12:45 pm

        Well, socialism has been proved a failure all along its spectrum, from Socialism Lite to full frontal communism, yet more than half of American voters voted to increase it in this country, in the 2012 election.

        Given the emotional basis of the AGW hysteria, much of which is the same basis for supporting socialism and Black Lives Matter, which is the ability to posture as morally superior, I doubt that its supporters will ever accept any evidence that they are wrong.

      • Amazona January 3, 2016 / 1:21 pm

        Speaking of BLM, the latest hysteria is about the joke tweets from the New Years Eve ball that drops in Times Square, when in one of the tweets the “ball” tweeted “Ball Lives Matter”.

        Naturally this was followed by screeching, roaring, tearing of hair and weepy accusations of, you guessed it, racism, though “insensitivity” is the new racism. And, of course, the ball spokesman who, after all, only typed in what the ball said, was fired.

        Just as I, identified as a Republican, cringe at the fact that to many the party is now represented by Donald Trump, if I were a black person I would be appalled and embarrassed by any perception that my entire race is exemplified by people who are, for lack of a better word, so profoundly stupid.

      • Amazona January 3, 2016 / 3:09 pm

        Clarification—in this case, when I say “speaking of BLM”, I mean Black Lives Matter, not the Bureau of Land Management. Though they are both government sanctioned bullies, they are not quite the same thing.

  3. Amazona January 3, 2016 / 1:11 pm

    There is a lot of talk about the tyranny represented by Obama’s proposed Executive Orders on gun control, but not much about the tyranny of the new, unconstitutional, Fourth Branch of Government, that of the Agencies. Whenever an example pops up, such as the IRS going after conservative groups, it tends to fall under the radar pretty quickly. Some examples never get a lot of national attention, and one of those is what is going on in Oregon, involving agencies we don’t usually associate with governmental bullying. After all, the Bureau of Land Management and the Fish and Wildlife Agency sound pretty benign, just looking after land and critters. But it appears they have joined forces and pursued the agenda of acquiring as much land as possible to put under their control, even when they have to use the full force and power of the United States government to force people into submission.

    http://theconservativetreehouse.com/2016/01/03/full-story-on-whats-going-on-in-oregon-militia-take-over-malheur-national-wildlife-refuge-in-protest-to-hammond-family-persecution

    There is a lot of background here that is probably not common knowledge to people who don’t live in the West, and even to many who do if they are not involved in farming or ranching. There is a lot of information and knowledge about things like the impact of livestock grazing on wildlife populations and/or the environment, water rights, fence-out state laws, and so on, that would influence an opinion on what these agencies have been doing, but I think their actions are pretty clear even to people who don’t have that background.

    I have had so many people from the East and even Midwest express amazement at the fact that no, I can’t just pump water out of the river to water my fields. In the West we have allocated, adjudicated, water rights, which are bought and sold in a market place and which are very very valuable. Their value depends, among other things, on seniority—-if I have a water right from 1898 and my neighbor has a right to water out of the same source (river, lake, aquifer…) granted in 1990, if there is a shortage of water his rights are secondary to mine, even if his property is upstream from mine and the water has to flow through his property to get to me. He can’t legally take water he doesn’t own through his water rights, he can’t take water if there is a “call” on the water and his rights are too junior, and he for darned sure can’t interfere with the water to keep it from getting to my property.

    Some states, including Wyoming and Oregon, are what are called “fence-out” states. That is, I am not obligated to fence my livestock IN, and if you don’t want it on your property you have to fence it OUT.

    Details like that make the narrative in the link a little easier to follow. But even without them the question is obvious, or I should say the questions, plural, ARE obvious, ranging from why is the United States Government so intent on adding to its already vast holdings (when many of us are in favor of the federal government divesting itself of much of its land holdings in favor of state or private ownership) to does the federal government think it is OK to harass and bully people to force them into submission?

    • Cluster January 3, 2016 / 3:04 pm

      I have read a little bit about Oregon and the one thing that stuck in my mind was that one of the ranchers stated that the County where this is happening, obviously rural, was at one time the richest county in the state, but now because of government regulation and interference has become one of the poorest.

      • Amazona January 3, 2016 / 3:14 pm

        It seems to me that one of the issues in this Oregon mess is that of state sovereignty. Water rights are determined, administered and enforced by the states (though the Heritage River Act is a backdoor federal effort to infringe on that) and so are things like fencing laws. Here we have federal agencies breaking state laws, with no penalties. Let me fence off a county road, or cut off my neighbor’s water, and I will be in court in a heartbeat, and hit with injunctions and fines and damages, but the feds can do whatever they want because they are Big Brother, with federal judges in line to back them up. Let me whine that I don’t want to fence out my neighbor’s livestock and demand that he build miles and miles of fences, and I will be laughed out of court, but the feds can do this to bankrupt an honest rancher and it is just fine.

      • Cluster January 3, 2016 / 3:24 pm

        It’s all about state sovereignty, of which there is none. The federal government owns the majority of land in the west, and is suing my state for having the audacity to want to uphold federal immigration laws. It makes no sense, and is a big reason why Trump has so much appeal.

        http://bigthink.com/strange-maps/291-federal-lands-in-the-us

    • Retired Spook January 3, 2016 / 3:20 pm

      Amazona,

      There’s a lot to digest here. Based on our private conversations, I’m sure the way justice has worked, or, in this case, not worked, is certainly not lost on you. I was immediately curious, after watching the video of Ammon Bundy, why Oath Keepers had distanced themselves from this situation, as it seems, at least on the surface, an ideal venue for “The Guardians of the Republic” to insert themselves as they did at the Bundy Ranch. There’s an extensive piece at the Oath Keepers website about the entire affair.

      All that said, it certainly seems that the Hammond family has endured more than their share of vindictiveness and persecution from the Federal Government as well as the judicial system. I hope the entire mess can be ended without any bloodshed, but sooner or later someone is going to take a stand against the out-of-control agencies of our government, and when that happens, it’s going to be very hard to turn that spigot back off.

      • Amazona January 3, 2016 / 3:49 pm

        I was thinking much the same thing. The West has been where the worst federal abuses have taken place, from Ruby Ridge to Waco to this, with hundreds if not thousands more that never hit the national news, and the West is where people are most likely to stand up and say “No More”—sometimes with guns to back them up.

        Right now the nation is a tinderbox, with several areas of strife under so much pressure it is easy to see any of them exploding, and there is a chance that one explosion in one area might lead to others in the other areas.

        Right now we have millions of Muslims who are declaring, with one face, that they are good-hearted sincere people who simply have a different religion, while out the other side of their faces they espouse the destruction of Israel, think that 9/11 was justified, want Sharia law in this country, and even think infidels should be killed. Because our government will not take the obvious step of defining those aspects of Islam as political and not religious, and therefore subversive and not allowed in this country, reserving protection for religious beliefs and practices to the aspects of Islam that do not include these elements, there is growing suspicion and antagonism related to Muslim presence here.

        We now know that huge numbers of black people, who have pretended to a public persona of simply wanting to be treated the same way others are treated, really do not feel that way at all, and harbor and nurture feelings of absolute loathing for people of other racial backgrounds, particularly white people. They are more and more blatant in expressing their hatred for whites, and their beliefs that violence against white people is not only OK, it is desirable. This has resulted in millions of white people feeling betrayed because they have believed in and fought for equality and the dream of MLK, only to find out that the race they were demanding be treated equally and judged by character and not skin color really hates them and thinks that skin color is the only thing that matters. If the lunatic fringe, such as Black Lives Matters, continues to be treated as legitimate and important by the Liberal media, this could result in widespread violence and what would amount to a race war.

        We have the government threatening to take away Constitutional rights from millions of Americans, who have said they will not stand by and let this happen.

        And we have examples like this latest federal escalation of tyranny and abuse, and people willing to stand up and fight back.

        I just hope that the country makes it though the next election and puts a reasonable, Constitutionally-directed, president into office, who has the backbone and integrity to act to defuse these hotbeds of rage and resentment before they blow up into national violence.

        We need true leadership, which would include unambiguous messages from the White House:

        NO, we will not treat any race differently, better or worse, than any other race.
        NO, we will not tolerate incitements to violence from any source including those which claim to be religious or acting to redress old racial wrongs
        NO, we will not tolerate abuses by law enforcement officials, but we WILL defend those who act prudently and within the law, and prosecute those who endanger them
        NO, we will NOT agree to disarm our citizens
        NO, we will not insist that our military men and women be disarmed, on their respective posts and bases or in the execution of their duties, such as manning recruitment centers
        NO, we will not use the might and power of the federal government to harass or abuse citizens
        NO, we will not tolerate agencies making laws and rules instead of having them decided in the legislative process
        NO, we will not tolerate any judges but particularly federal judges using their positions to advance their own agendas, and will move to impeach any judge who uses his or her position to influence the outcome of legal proceedings.

        That would be a start…………..

      • Cluster January 4, 2016 / 8:47 am

        Well said. In fact, I was supporting Rubio but now Amazona has my vote for POTUS!!!

      • Amazona January 3, 2016 / 4:07 pm

        The Oath Keepers article is an excellent commentary on the Oregon event and on others. There are some things that stand out in it, such as the threat to put the father and son in “the worst part” of the prison as punishment for speaking with Ammon Bundy. That is an egregious abuse of power and a violation of the 1st Amendment.

        I respect the Hammonds for their courage in stepping up and exposing themselves to wholly unjust punishment, to prevent violence. I do think a massive national campaign should be mounted to have their case revisited, and to impeach the federal judge who violated his oath of office to enable an unjust prosecution.

        It seems that abuse of power has become commonplace. Recently a rancher was shot dead when he responded to notice that one of his bulls had been hit by a car and badly injured. He took his rifle, as he always did when he had to deal with badly injured livestock, and when he saw how badly injured the bull was, and how he was suffering, he wanted to put the animal out of his misery. Instead, he was shot dead by the law enforcement officer on the scene, and the animal continued to suffer in agony for hours until if finally died.

        I think an active approach to dealing with judicial misconduct, along with a reasonable approach to law enforcement abuses, will go a long way to reestablishing respect for the law in this country. Of course, it has to start at the top, with respect for the Constitution and for the only legitimate process for making laws.

      • Retired Spook January 3, 2016 / 4:19 pm

        Another piece at the OK website by a 3 Percenter for whom I have a great deal of respect, seems to indicate that bloodshed may be imminent in Oregon.

        A Threeper source on the ground relates:

        “The stupid has gone so far that I don’t know if it can come back. These f-cking morons have no idea what they’ve done. The sheriff has retreated to a ‘staging area’. These guys are about to get obliterated. MSM just picked it up outside local area. It’s now regional (San Fran etc.)”

        LATER: Another source says that the Feds are staging, bringing in various SRTs*. This is just beginning.

        This is not the hill that most thinking patriots would prefer to die on. It would be a tragedy of epic proportions if a bunch of hotheads started a civil war over a situation where they were asked not to interfere.

        * SRT = Special Reaction Team = large bucket of not good.

      • M. Noonan January 3, 2016 / 10:58 pm

        They are playing right into the left’s hand – and in an election year, no less.

      • Amazona January 3, 2016 / 5:21 pm

        But this is typical of our arrogant government, the attitude that the government is not by the people and for the people but over the people. While I think the ranchers are misguided in what they are doing, I think they are correct in feeling that they have to do SOMETHING, and want to call attention to the abuse of power that led to this standoff.

        It is a dinky little building out in the back of beyond. It would be no great loss even if it were destroyed, which by the way does not seem to be the intent of the occupiers.

        They want to make the point that the government is tyrannical, abusive and unfair, and it seems that the government is only too happy to make their point for them. When we gave government agencies vast powers and little to no oversight, and put agenda-driven Lefties in charge, this kind of silliness was inevitable. No effete Ivy League bureaucrat is going to let some redneck hick tell HIM what to do, by damn!

        The funny thing is, the effete elites calling in the SRTs to escalate this are probably also part of the anti-gun lobby.

        However, they are being pretty effective in accomplishing what they probably want to accomplish, which is to take attention away from the fact that innocent people have been railroaded into bankruptcy and long prison terms, to accomplish federal goals, and to shift it to a bunch of guys occupying a remote cabin and acting all uppity, but acting uppity while armed, which is just downright unacceptable.

      • M. Noonan January 3, 2016 / 11:01 pm

        I’ve no doubt that the federal government is in the wrong – the Feds abuse their power all the time in the West over public lands. But seizing a building is an asinine reaction to it. I had never even heard of this particular case until this incident – which means those involved didn’t spend near enough effort getting the word out about it.

  4. Shawny Lee January 4, 2016 / 2:52 am

    Matt Shea is my Washington rep, spoke against BLM and other gov. agency overreach at the Bundy Ranch. He’s also a Vet who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, also a lawyer so he’s done his homework on the Hammond case. This is the joint letter he and other reps sent and please watch the linked video at the end.

    http://static.ow.ly/docs/C.O.W.S.%20Press%20Release%20-%20Oregon_46Bj.pdf

    • Amazona January 4, 2016 / 11:58 am

      This is an article about the movement to take land out of federal control.

      http://dailysignal.com/2015/12/27/how-federal-missteps-make-the-case-to-transfer-public-lands-to-states-localities

      I live in Colorado and for many years had a ranch in the mountains here. I watched as literally hundreds of thousands of acres of lodgepole pine were killed off by the pine borer beetle. People begged the government to step in, as this is on federal land, to allow logging of the infested areas to at least slow and hopefully halt the spread of the beetle, but the feds refused, due to pressure from so-called “environmental” groups and hysterics bleating about the need to keep the areas “pristine” and “wilderness”.

      Quiz: What causes more environmental damage, the exhaust from a few logging vehicles or forest fires that wipe out thousands of acres of trees, killing wildlife and livestock, taking out homes and sometimes killing people, and dumping millions of tons of smoke and ash and other particulates into the atmosphere?

      As a Forest Service ranger once told me, logging roads are carefully engineered, taking terrain and runoff into consideration, and are built to high standards to prevent erosion. When logging is finished, the roads are blocked to traffic but remain, where they often enable wildlife to move in deep snow, and can be reopened when necessary to fight fires. When there are no roads and it is necessary to get into a fire area, the roads are simply brutally hacked in with bulldozers, with no concern for later impact.

      As for the “wilderness” whine, the purpose of the National Forests is to provide timber for the nation, as well as to protect watersheds. Recreation is only one aspect of the law establishing the National Forest system. That is why it is under the Department of Agriculture and not the Department of the Interior–declaring parts of national forests as “wilderness” areas, banning roads and not allowing logging, is completely contrary to their stated reason for existing.

      Now we have millions of acres of dry dead trees, that have been allowed to stand dead for so many years most of them now have no commercial value at all, as they are too dried and checked to be of value as building material and have too few BTUs left to be much use as firewood. Now instead of having logging companies pay to be able to go in and harvest good timber, clearing out undergrowth at the same time to limit the amount of fire fuel on the ground, we are often having to pay people to go in and remove the dangerous standing trees. Dangerous because they are ready to explode into fire at any spark, dangerous because they are so unstable they can fall on people or wildlife.

      “Federal management” is an oxymoron, as mismanagement has been the keyword for administration of federal lands for decades now, once the Lefty pseudo-environmentalists started their screeching, once city people who have never been close to a forest started bleating about the need to create “wilderness” areas.

      This doesn’t even take into consideration the bullying and abuse of private citizens by federal agencies such as the BLM and Forest Service.

  5. Retired Spook January 4, 2016 / 10:16 am

    Another prominent Oath Keeper, and one of my favorite geo-political and economic writers, weighs in on the Oregon situation.

    • Amazona January 4, 2016 / 12:05 pm

      Now Montel Williams, fighter for human rights, has declared that squatting in a remote mountain building is a capital crime, punishable by death without even bothering with a trial. He has been tweeting that deadly force is called for here.

      Should we just let them sit there till they get cold and bored and go home, and then charge them with trespassing and for any damage they have done? Nah. Kill the bastids, or so says Montel. Don’t shoot at someone walking up to a police ca that was called in to investigate someone walking around pointing a gun at people, who as he approaches the car lifts his shirt and reaches into his waistband to pull out a gun—-no, that is an entirely unreasonable thing to do. But it makes sense to storm a building and kill everyone inside because you don’t think they should be there.

      Is it time for an RLM movement? Ranchers’ Lives Matter?

      • M. Noonan January 4, 2016 / 12:54 pm

        The blood thirst of the left over this is, well, rather frightening…the people who won’t even use non-deadly force to stop an actual riot in progress want to massacre a few guys who haven’t so much as scratched the paint. Shows how they really view all of us…and just how real their “lives matter” statements are…

      • Cluster January 4, 2016 / 4:50 pm

        I remember the Occupy Wall Street crowd getting much better treatment and press than the ranchers. Odd.

      • Amazona January 4, 2016 / 6:00 pm

        Perhaps if they had expressed their sentiments by throwing rocks through the windows and defecating on the government vehicles it would have resonated better with the Left.

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