In The Line of Duty

If you thought that all the drama and angst over the 2016 election with its divided country and confusing rhetoric was over, stand by. The real political nonsense is just getting started. Over the next four year we are going to see allegations and investigations that will make the Benghazi stuff look tame. And each and every time someone says “That ain’t right,” it will be met with the excuse that “You did it to Hillary and Obama.”

Can you imagine what the next 50 years is going to look like with this back and forth tit-for-tat nonsense? It’s like a Star Trek episode where the guy who is black on the left side keeps chasing the guy who is black on the right side through time and space. All the country really wants is to have government that isn’t sticking its nose into every corner of our lives and taking all of our money, but instead what we get is The Magnificent Bickersons and more and more consolidation of power and authority.

Yay us.

Among the issues that the Military is facing is the question of whether or not suicides are to be considered “in the line of duty” or not. This is one of those sure to divide people issues, mainly because of the varying religious beliefs about the act of suicide and the general social phobias we have about talking about it. Read the rest of this entry

Space Poop

I just have a few minutes today.

I am off to take care of paperwork and orientation, after I was hired yesterday, part time, at a logistics company that needed my particular skills and abilities. Obviously it will effect my overall schedule a bit, but my hope is that as I will only be working 3-4 hours four days a week, I can get back on top of the podcast and get her going again.

Thanks for your patience!

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The Japanese War Cabinet, Oct 1941

Seventy-five years ago today, the Japanese cabinet, in the presence of the Emperor himself, voted to start a war with the US, Great Britain and the Netherlands. The Japanese had assurance from Nazi Germany that if war came to the Pacific, they too would join in the conflict by declaring war on the United States. One has to wonder if that assurance had never been given, whether or not Japan would have waited? In any case, a group of a few men, sitting in a room decided the fate of millions based on an idea that was clearly flawed with a grand strategy that failed to take into account the capabilities of the opponent. The price was steep. But totalitarianism was defeated.

It has been a year (tomorrow) since the San Bernardino attack was made by a pair of PLRI terrorists. IN that time, the FBI has faced a lot of difficulties and issues that forced us to look not only at the terrorists, but at ourselves and how far we are willing to allow the government to invade our privacy to “protect us” from the PLRI terrorists. The biggest question the FBI has been unable to answer so far, is whether or not the pair had help or if anyone had an idea of what they were planning to do? It seems far fetched that nobody had even a twinkling of it, but it is within the realm of possibilities. It seems like nobody had any idea that the OSU student was going to attack last week. If they did, they didn’t say anything. Read the rest of this entry

Burning Flags

From the Text Machine yesterday:

Empire Dan: I think we have been looking at this flag burning problem in the wrong light. They say it is freedom of speech. But if I went down to the Castro District in San Francisco and I lit a pride flag on fire I would be charged with a hate crime. Why is not burning the American flag a hate crime. The people that are burning the flag hate what it stands for therefore it is a hate crime. Just as you could argue that by burning a pride flag you are setting out a specific people or type of people comma that is exactly what the American people as a whole are. We are a specific subset of people. Therefore burning the American flag is a hate crime. Okay now change my mind educate me more. And I do love and respect you for the way you do educate us. 4:38 PM

15193473_10211270185973399_7587516645200260313_n-1This is, of course, fallout from the President-Elect’s idiotic and wrong tweet yesterday about how he wants to punish those who burn the United States Flag. Let me be clear about this, Trump could not possibly be more wrong about this in at least two ways.

First, the Supreme Court – led in this case by no less than Antonin Scalia himself, found that burning the flag is protected speech. That 5-4 ruling in 1990 would, I suspect, be 8-0 today.

I don’t like the fact that some people decide to exercise their freedoms by burning something that matters so dearly to me. At the same time, when I consider why it matters to me, it’s because it symbolizes the protection of that right and its exercise. I would never do it, but I would also never get a gay marriage or have an abortion.

Secondly, less understood is the idea that American Citizenship can NEVER be taken away involuntarily. There is an exception, of course, if someone lies or defrauds the nation to gain that citizenship, but otherwise, once one has it, by birth or by naturalization, it cannot be taken away. It can be given back by choice, but never taken by the government. Over the course of several Court rulings (most notably Aforyim v Rusk, 1967), followed by changes in the law passed by Congress, it is now understood that US Citizenship can never be taken away by the government. For any reason.

In about fifty-one days, Donald Trump will – for the first time in his life – take an oath to uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States. He is not off to a good start on the matter and this has always been my concern with him. His apparent willingness to use the power of government to silence his critics or those who disagree with him scares the living daylights out of me. Frankly it is every bit as bad as a leftist wet dream when it comes to control of the press and speech.

You can argue that the tweet was “his opinion,” and he certainly is entitled to have his. But how far is he willing to go, as the President sworn to uphold the Constitution, to inflict his vision of what America should be on those who disagree with him, which in this case, includes me?

Now on to the idea of making burning the US Flag a “hate crime.”

First off, the idea of so-called “hate crimes” is nebulous and should be every bit as unnerving as Trumps tweet. How can one possibly know what is in another persons heart. I get the fact that some people leave their beliefs and thoughts open for everyone to see. When they commit a crime, is it not enough that they committed the crime? Why do we need to worry about their thoughts and feelings, which, after all, should be protected speech, right?

Is the crime itself not egregious enough to warrant whatever punishment we have decided via law? How is it reasonable to say that a crime deserves “more” punishment because of what we think that the offender thought?

download1In any case, since what the person thought should be protected in the first place, how can you make burning or otherwise desecrating an American flag a “hate crime?”

People have the right to believe whatever they choose to believe. It doesn’t make them right or wrong. But it does make those who want to use the power and force of government to make them think or believe a certain way progressives. And I thought that we on the political right despise progressivism? Or is that only when it’s the other sides beliefs and thoughts? Ours are just fine?

As for comparing the act to the burning of the gay pride flag, you’re into a sticky wicket. In at least one case in Nebraska, a drunken man was convicted of a “hate crime” after burning a gay pride flag that he had taken (stolen) from a neighbors yard. I noted two things, first it was a Bench trial, not a jury trial and after the conviction the lesbian couple whose flag had been burned had this interesting thing to say about it:

“Had the man who burned our gay pride flag burned our Husker flag, we would have still called the police — but we wouldn’t have felt as threatened,” they said. “We wouldn’t have wondered ‘what’s next?’ What became so clear to us after Saturday night, is that the intent really does make a difference. Seeing him waving that burning symbol of a controversial, and inherent part of our being(s) as a minority, in front of our house as a clear message, made it scary. It made it an attack as opposed to a prank.” (Omaha.com April 28, 2016)

For myself, I do not believe that it was proven beyond a reasonable doubt that this was “an attack” on anything other than a piece of fabric, but I wasn’t the Judge. What would happen if this were to be appealed up the chain, I cannot say or even begin to guess. But for the moment, the law, as interpreted by at least one Judge, says that it is (or at least can be) a “hate crime.” This is, in my view, progressivism. Using the power of government to force individuals to think and act in an approved way to “solve” a perceived social issue. So for the moment, unless and until wiser consideration is given, burning a gay pride flag can be a hate crime but burning a “husker flag” flag is not.

That, despite that fact, that a significant portion of the nation, including myself, hates the Nebraska Cornhuskers. Would I burn their flag? Probably not unless I were drunk…

I personally believe that burning neither is a “hate crime.” In the case of the gay pride flag because you can never prove beyond a doubt what is in a persons mind AND because even if I “hate” any given race, religion, sex, creed or protected class or country, I have a 1st Amendment right to do so. I do not have a right to destroy life, liberty or property. Those things are crimes. Hate is not becoming, not wise and not recommended, but it is not a crime.

Burning the American Flag is protected free speech. If it isn’t, then what the flag symbolizes doesn’t exist.

The US Flag does not represent any subset of anything, it represents the ideal of liberty. If we choose to use the power of government to force “respect” or belief or behavior that the government has deemed “correct,” what have really become?

If we go down that path, you might as well burn it, because it no longer stands for anything that resembles liberty.

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Whew! The Football Team is Safe!

I have a very busy day ahead of me, so let me jot down a few thoughts for you before I head out the door and into what I hope is my future. Wish me luck!

Yesterday’s attack at The Ohio State University has the entire world of pundits a twitter. It was almost funny yesterday waiting for the confirmation of the attackers identification, which most on the left hoped would be John Taylor Smith but turned out to be Abdul Razak Ali Artan. As many suspected, he is from a PLRI country and is, of course, a Muslim. In fact, when interviewed by The Lantern, the official student newspaper of The Ohio State University, he explained:

Mr. Ali Artan sits "pensively" on the OSU Campus (The Lantern)

Mr. Ali Artan sits “pensively” on the OSU Campus (The Lantern)

“I wanted to pray in the open, but I was scared with everything going on in the media. I’m a Muslim, it’s not what the media portrays me to be. If people look at me, a Muslim praying, I don’t know what they’re going to think, what’s going to happen. But, I don’t blame them. It’s the media that put that picture in their heads so they’re just going to have it and it, it’s going to make them feel uncomfortable. I was kind of scared right now. But I just did it. I relied on God. I went over to the corner and just prayed.” – The Lantern, August 25, 2016, Pg 5

As Mr. Ali Artan is now taking an eternal dirt nap, we cannot really ask him today if part of the “media’s perception” of Muslims is due – at least in part – to actions taken by individual Muslims such as himself?

I realize that we do not (as of this writing) know Mr. Ali Artan’s specific motives in the attack, but since I don’t believe in coincidence and since ISIL has called for individual Muslims to make attacks such as this and since Mr. Ali Artan clearly had an issue with how he and other Muslims are “perceived,” one is left to connect a few dots and come up with probabilities. Is it possible that he accidentally pulled the Fire Alarm and then unintentionally ran over evacuating students and then in a fluke of nature attacked them with a butcher knife? Sure… it’s possible. But is it probable? Read the rest of this entry

Whither California?

15252554_10211469045111916_230177607446553015_oYesterday as we wrapped up Thanksgiving weekend, I was channeling my Dad and doing the most My Dad thing I could think of, we bundled up two of the kids and we headed up to the mountains. Most of you know that I was raised in Colorado and Utah. While I am and will always be a sailor and have a love for the ocean that rivals that of any human relationship I have, there is something still special about the mountains in my heart.

Especially during the winter. I love the snow. The muted quiet and the cold. It brings back so many wonderful memories of times and places and people. And it makes new ones with my son and my wife and my new family.

California is such a beautiful State. I have travelled to forty-seven of the fifty, lacking only Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont (don’t worry, plans are under consideration). In no other State is there the beauty and diversity of activity that there is here. In just a couple of hours I can go from the top of the Sierra’s to the shores of the Pacific. In a few more I can go from the Redwoods to Malibu.

There is every sport imaginable, every leisure activity anyone could ever want.

And over the past few days, I have spoken with at least three different people who are leaving the State. Read the rest of this entry

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