Sanity Injection

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Archive for the ‘Domestic News’ Category

New poll shows Native Americans are NOT offended by “Washington Redskins”

Posted by sanityinjection on May 20, 2016

Remember the big pressure campaign a couple of years ago to force the NFL’s Washington Redskins to change their allegedly “offensive” name? President Obama and 50 Democratic Senators proclaimed their support for this “civil rights movement”. And then, as with so many armchair liberal cause celebres, it just seemed to disappear; the professional protesters moved on to “Black Lives Matter” and suddenly the supposed legions of mortally offended Native Americans didn’t seem like such a compelling issue.

Now comes a clue as to why the pressure campaign hasn’t been revived. A new Washington post poll of 500 Native Americans across the country indicates that 9 out of 10 are not offended by the name “Washington Redskins”. 7 out of 10 said the word “redskin” was not offensive in general, and 8 of 10 said they would not be offended if a non-Native American called them by that term. These results mirror the findings of a previous poll in 2004. Naturally, Native American “leaders” continue to reject these poll findings, as will the mostly rich, white, left-wing politicians who were the prime movers behind the whole issue. (Never mind that these same politicans spend virtually no time advocating for the things that Native Americans say they need, like decent schools.)

The whole thing would actually be comical if it weren’t for the giddy participation of the mainstream media in whipping up hysteria to aid in this phony campaign. (In this regard, kudos to the Washington Post, which remains a faint glimmer of some journalistic integrity amongst the sad detritus of formerly respectable left-wing newspapers, for publishing this poll. See also a thoughtful WashPost op-ed on the issue here.) It should be of concern that the sources from which most Americans still get their news are demonstrably more interested in pushing an ideological political agenda than in any kind of factual reporting. You need look no further than the recent New York Times attack piece against Donald Trump, which went to a great deal of effort to characterize Trump as a misogynist based on his pattern of hitting on women as a rich single man. Keep in mind this is the same publication that consistently defended Bill Clinton for sexually harrassing and having sex with women as a rich married man. See Camille Paglia’s excellent destruction of this pathetic propaganda here.

Meanwhile, if sports teams’ use of cliches offensive to Native Americans is the issue, how come there hasn’t been any fuss at all about the Cleveland Indians’ continued use of the “Chief Wahoo” logo? Why hasn’t their trademark been revoked? Answer: Because the Cleveland Indians kissed the ring: Whenever anybody complains, they hide Chief Wahoo for a while, using alternate logos and uniforms, until the subject dies down. This appeases the professional Left, because what they really want is not actual civil rights change so much as acknowledgement of their power and righteousness. Kiss their asses and they’ll let you off with a slap on the wrist; dare to suggest that the emeperor has no clothes, as Redskins owner Dan Snyder has done, and you reap the whirlwind of attacks from their subservient media allies.

The point is not that the Washington Redskins or their owner, a wealthy successful man and organization, are some kind of sob story. The point is the one made so famously by pastor Martin Niemoller. With apologies to him: “First they came for the Washington Redskins, and I said nothing, because I was not a Redskins fan.” One day it’s a sports team. The next day it’s climate change “deniers”. The target changes with the wind, but the tactics are the same. Always ask yourselves: Cui bono? (Who benefits?)

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Charleston church shooting as gun control propaganda

Posted by sanityinjection on June 19, 2015

Sadly, President Obama lost no time in using the tragedy of the Emanuel AME church shooting in Charleston, South Carolina as propaganda for a renewed assault on the Second Amendment.

The shooter – presumably Dylan Roof – used a gun to murder his victims. According to the President, that means it should be harder for people to get guns. He believes that only hunters and sportsmen should have guns. Oh, and the the federal Department of Education, of course.

Perhaps the President would have been happier if Roof had simply set the church on fire, as white supremacists have done in the past to black churches? Is that form of mass murder healthier for our society? Or shall we place restrictions on purchasing lighters and matches?

The truth is that people who are determined to commit acts of mass murder will do so in any way they can. If they can’t use a gun, they will build a bomb (like the Tsarnaev brothers),  or release poison like the Aum cult did on the Japanese subway. Placing excessive restrictions on one type of weapon won’t stop that. It will, however, defeat the intent of the Founding Fathers to protect individual liberty by ensuring that Americans always have the means to defend their homes and their property from a tyrannical government, and from their fellow citizens when the government cannot or will not help them.

In 1933, a Dutch communist named Marinus van der Lubbe set fire to the parliament, or Reichstag building in Berlin, Germany. The German government – led by Chancellor Adolf Hitler – immediately seized on this act of terrorism to suspend civil liberties and implement mass arrests of their political opponents, including legislators. That left no one to oppose the Nazis when they ended democracy and freedom in Germany by a democratic vote of what was left of the Reichstag. Since then, “Reichstag fire” has become a metaphor for any tragic incident which is then used to cast blame on one’s political opponents.

President Obama is not Adolf Hitler. But he is actively seeking to do what Hitler did – seize upon an act of terrorism in order to assault the civil liberty of law-abiding American citizens – the right to keep and bear arms.

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Charleston church shooting is a hate crime. Should that matter?

Posted by sanityinjection on June 19, 2015

The recent shooting of innocent people at the Emanuel AME church in Charleston, South Carolina is a tragedy and an abomination. There can never be any rationale or justification for such an act. The shooter – presumably one Dylan Roof – deserves the death penalty in my opinion. Roof may be tried on federal charges if the Justice Department determines that the shooting constitutes a “hate crime”.

In fact, this incident is pretty much the textbook example of a hate crime – a crime in which the primary motive for the act is hatred toward a particular ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation or other protected class. Roof apparently chose his target specifically in order to attack black people in hopes of starting a race war.

Now, just for a moment, let’s imagine that was not the case. Let’s imagine that Roof shot those people for some other reason – he was angry with one of them, or just angry at the world in general and taking it out on innocent people. Absent his racial animosity, this would not be a hate crime. But I ask you, would that make it somehow less heinous? Would that make it less awful for the people who have to figure out how to go on living without their loved ones?

The only difference between a hate crime and any other crime is the ideological motivation of the criminal. But think about what that means: Hate crime legislation criminalizes not the criminal act itself, but the opinions held by the criminal. That is a direct violation of one of the fundamental freedoms guaranteed by our Constitituion: the freedom of conscience, or the freedom to think and hold whatever opinions we choose – no matter how offensive they are to the majority. In fact, it has been argued that you cannot have freedom of speech without first having freedom of conscience.

Should Dylan Roof – assuming he is found guilty of this terrible crime – be subject to additional prosecution on the basis of his racist beliefs? Specifically, the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 mandates higher penalties for hate crimes. Should it really matter what he was thinking – or speaking – when he pulled the trigger?

I find racism abhorrent, but I think Roof or any other American has the right to hold such abhorrent beliefs. What he doesn’t have the right to do is shoot people, regardless of whether he dislikes them because they’re black or because their shoelaces are tied a certain way. Trying him for a hate crime is not going to somehow convince other racists to see the error of their ways. In fact, the opposite could be true – by making Roof’s racism the crime, he might become a martyr for white supremacist groups.

I believe South Carolina already allows the death penalty for murder. Let Roof be tried under that statute. Or, if the Feds have to be involved, let them try him for domestic terrorism, which trying to start a race war by murdering innocent people arguably is. But any prosecution under a hate crimes statute – of Roof or any other bigot – is itself an attack on the liberty of all Americans to hold unpopular opinions. When the government can tell us what we are allowed to think, then we are already living in a totalitarian state worse than anything Hitler or Stalin could have imagined in their wildest dreams.

Posted in Domestic News, Politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Why Rachel Dolezal’s race deception matters

Posted by sanityinjection on June 17, 2015

If you’re an American and you haven’t been living under a rock, you are surely aware of the recent controversy surrounding Rachel Dolezal, who until recently was the president of the Spokane, WA chapter of the NAACP. Dolezal resigned after her parents revealed to the media that while she has frequently claimed to be black, she is in fact white. It also emerged that while a student at predominantly black Howard University, Dolezal sued the university alleging racial discrimination against her because she was white. Dolezal continues to maintain that she considers herself to be black.

Some questioned why the racial identity of a person should matter so much. If Dolezal, or anyone else, wants to identify herself as black, why should that be anything other than a personal matter? The NAACP has pointed out that you don’t have to be black to head one of their chapters.

Indeed, in an ideal world, I would agree that it shouldn’t make any difference.  The reason that it matters is that in the USA, African-Americans have been declared to be a protected class by virtue of the long history of racial discrimination against them, and can therefore be the recipients of various accommodations through “affirmative action” programs, particularly in hiring and academic admissions. When a person chooses to list their racial status on an application, hoping to qualify for affirmative action, it is no longer simply a personal matter. It is a public one.

Dolezal has made her racial identity a public matter on multiple occasions. Ironically, the first time was her lawsuit against Howard, in which she publicly identified as white. More recently, she has reported herself as the target of multiple hate crimes for being black, most of which authorities now believe were fabricated. Why on earth would anyone do this?

As the Daily Mail’s Dominic Lawson writes:

Rachel Dolezal is merely the most spectacular example of the growing phenomenon of people posing as victims — itself the consequence of a culture which portrays victimhood as a form of moral superiority…It is what comes of putting ‘victims’ on a pedestal once accorded to genuine heroes.

People like Dolezal seek to be viewed as victims because it gives them – among certain segments of society, particularly in academia and the media – a measure of respect and attention that would normally have to be earned by actual accomplishments, which is much harder to do. She clearly learned from her failed lawsuit against Howard that she could never be truly viewed as a victim as long as she was white. So she began attempting to be perceived as black – not least by moving to Northern Idaho, where there aren’t that many actual black people around for comparison. Like Walter Mitty, she worked so hard at this goal that she not only persuaded other people, she ended up persuading herself as well.

As a society, we can remove the incentive for frauds like Dolezal by ceasing to provide special advantages to anyone based on their status as a minority – racial, gender, sexual orientation, or whatever. Giving a minority individual preference in any situation does nothing to undo previous discrimination, but in fact constitutes a new act of discrimination. Would we provide the victim of a robbery restitution by committing a robbery against someone else and giving the stolen goods to the first victim? Without affirmative action and the societal celebration of the cult of victimhood, there will be no more Rachel Dolezals.

Posted in Current Events, Domestic News, Politics | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

CNN rediscovers reporting, covers Tea Party rallies

Posted by sanityinjection on April 8, 2010

One of the worst-kept secrets in journalism is that the major news organizations rarely engage in any actual reporting. The majority of the news they report is lifted from the wire services or from another news agency. Rather than spend the time and money to send a human reporter to check facts and interview people, it’s much easier to depend on what their colleagues have already done. The trouble with this is that any errors or bias in the original story get repeated, reflected and magnified on down the line until they attain the status of fact.

So it has been with coverage of the Tea Party movement. Most new desks have been quick to pick up on the reports of isolated racist comments and signs and reflect that as characteristic of the movement as a whole, without ever sending a reporter to a Tea Party rally.

With this in mind, I applaud CNN for bucking the trend and sending reporter and producer Shannon Travis to attend several Tea Party rallies in Utah and Colorado. Travis, as it happens, is African-American, and his reporting makes clear that he did not find anything like a racist or hate-filled atmosphere at the Tea Party events: “Almost everyone I met was welcoming…Some of them e-mailed me after my trip, thanking our crew for fairly giving them a voice.” He also noted that his was the only national news team that covered the events in person.

To CNN’s further credit, the story was not buried in some obscure corner of the site, but was linked prominently yesterday with a photo on the CNN homepage.

Here’s hoping other news networks and media outlets take a cue from CNN and start doing more reporting and less repeating.

Posted in Domestic News, Politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

You have the right to attract attention to yourself

Posted by sanityinjection on April 5, 2010

I don’t know Ty McDowell of Portland, Maine personally. I allow for the possibility than in other aspects of her life, she may perhaps be an intelligent person. But on this past Saturday, at least, Ms. McDowell may have qualified as the Dumbest Person In America.

McDowell, you see, believes strongly in equal rights for men and women. To her, that includes the right to bare one’s chest in public. So she arranged a protest in which she and two dozen other female true believers walked topless down a main street in Portland. Of course, this was hardly the first protest involving female nudity, and if that were the end of the story, I wouldn’t be making derogatory suppositions about McDowell’s intelligence.

In fact, McDowell and her fellow protesters were not arrested. Under Maine law such behavior is only criminal if the genitals are exposed. So in fact, legally McDowell and company *were* within their rights to do what they did, and were treated accordingly by the law.

Nonetheless, McDowell was by her own account “enraged” after the demonstration. But not because of the police or the law. She was angry because a crowd of hundreds of onlookers – mostly male – had watched and followed the demonstration – some snapping photos and videos. (To be fair, she might have been equally furious with some of her own group who didn’t seem to mind posing for photos.)

You see, it turns out that what McDowell really expects is not that a woman should have the right to walk around topless, but that the rest of us should all act like this is no big deal. And I’m sure there are places where that might even be the case. However, Portland, Maine wouldn’t be on the top of my list.

It strikes me as the height of stupidity for a female to walk around in public with her top off and not expect males to ogle her. While she certainly has the right to remain unmolested, if you don’t want people to pay undue attention to you, don’t attract undue attention to yourself. Duh. Furthermore, it seems inherently contradictory to simultaneously seek to draw attention to your cause and then be angry when you in fact receive attention.

Ms. McDowell is certainly entitled to her views, but if she thinks that the factors of human biology which inherently lead men to be attracted to female breasts as a secondary sexual characteristic are somehow going to be altered by protesting, she is definitely the Dumbest Person In America. Heck, even *women* notice other women’s chests.

I am all for equal rights under the law, but that is not the same as pretending that there are no biological differences between men and women. While it is always impolite to stare at someone no matter how underdressed they may be, let’s face it, there are impolite people out there. If this is truly a great social injustice, the best solution would probably be to have men refrain from going topless in public also. In fact, I would argue that such should in fact be the norm outside of a pool or beach environment.

Do you ever wonder when you hear about people like McDowell where their parents are and what they could possibly be thinking?

Posted in Domestic News | Tagged: , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Protect us from ourselves?

Posted by sanityinjection on March 19, 2010

A recent arrest in Louisiana raises questions about whether we really need laws to protect us from ourselves. According to the New Orleans Times-Picayune, Michael Housey had an argument with his wife in their home. In order to blow off steam after the argument, Housey took his shotgun, fired once in the air and then fired at his own fence three times. No one was injured and the only property that was damaged belonged to Housey.

Obviously, neighbors heard the shots and called police. After speaking with Housey, the police arrested him for disturbing the peace, a misdemeanor. I have no argument with that. But there were additional charges: “illegally discharging a weapon” and “aggravated criminal damage to property” – both felonies in the state of Louisiana.

Am I the only one who sees a problem with this? Apparently it is illegal to fire a weapon in the town where Housey lives, though I cannot imagine how that is constitutional – surely the right to bear arms must include the right to actually use them? Even more egregious though is the felony charge for “criminally” damaging his own property. Is that a level of protection Americans want or need their government to provide? Shouldn’t we have the right to foolishly smash, break or destroy our own possessions in a fit of rage if we choose to do so?

What we have here is a man who could potentially be facing jail time just for blowing off steam. I guess the state of Louisiana would rather Housey kick his dog next time he’s angry.

Hopefully the felony charges will be dropped and we can chalk this up to overzealousness by the police. But they represent one item among an increasing pattern of government seeking to control what we say, do, and even think not only in public but on private property and within the privacy of our own homes. The law does and should prevent us from using that privacy to harm or infringe the rights of others. But on what grounds does the government find itself to be a more lawful guardian of the property of a mentally sound individual than the individual is?

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Let educators design curriculum, but not when they’re idiots.

Posted by sanityinjection on March 4, 2010

In the ongoing debates about how to best educate our children, teachers (and their unions) often make the point that no one is better qualified to design curriculum than educators themselves. The argument is designed to resist interference both by government and by activist school committees and parents’ groups. And on paper, it’s a good argument.

The problem is that every now and then you get a group of educators whose minds have been so permanently addled by the corrosive soup of political correctness and identity politics that they swim in every day, that they come up with something so idiotic that it calls the argument of professional expertise into question.

Now if you’re thinking that I might just have a specific example in mind, you’d be right. The latest stupidity comes to us from (surprise) San Francisco, a city which as readers know is already legendary for its tolerance of the outrageous but never ceases to try to push the envelope to further heights of goofiness.

To state it simply: The city’s school board has decided to offer in its high schools a freshman course in ethnic studies which will earn college credit in the state university system. Further, the course is pass/fail, not graded – and unlike any other high school program that earns college credit, is aimed at poor students rather than advanced ones.

There are so many things wrong with this that one almost doesn’t know where to begin. It is beyond obvious that the purpose of this course is not to teach the students anything of value, but rather to boost their ethnic self-esteem and encourage them to set a goal of attending college. (No one would ever admit it, but you can bet that white students will be “discouraged” from taking this class, if not outright prevented.) Said one student: “How can I know who I can be if I don’t know who I am? Ethnic studies provides me with the foundation to learn who I am.” Wrong. Ethnic studies encourage you to base your identity on your ethnicity and see yourself in terms of group identity rather than as an individual. Nothing could be further from American ideals.

Leaving aside the question of whether high schools should even be offering ethnic studies when they can barely teach English and math, the notion of offering college credit for a pass/fail course simply demeans the value of the credits awarded. (Incidentally, nobody actually fails – they just transfer you out of the class. So it’s really “pass/pass”.) Why should anyone aspire to attend college if it is revealed to be a joke? And how can students be expected to succeed in college if this is the sort of preparation they’re receiving?

This nonsense came to the school board from the faculty at San Francisco State University. Like all school boards, they assume that college professors – professors of *education*, no less – must know what they’re doing when it comes to designing curriculum. But at what point does somebody have to put their foot down and insist on some collective common sense being applied to the situation? Of course, in San Francisco, common sense was banished by municipal ordinance a long time ago.

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Tug of war between privacy and security continues

Posted by sanityinjection on February 17, 2010

Of the many controversial topics in politics, one of the perennial favorites is the continuum between public safety and individual privacy. In other words, how do we protect an individual’s reasonable personal privacy while at the same time giving the government the tools it needs to keep us safe and protect us from criminals and terrorists?

The Founding Fathers considered this question very seriously. They came up with features such as search and seizure restrictions, due process, and the right to bear arms as ways of limiting the government’s power to intrude into citizens’ lives. With the passage of time, technology has vastly changed the landscape of the issue, offering new abilities to criminals, law abiding citizens, and law enforcement alike.

I try to keep an open mind and avoid a rigid ideology when it comes to these questions. For example, consider the recent decision by the TSA to begin randomly swabbing some air passengers’ hands to check for explosive residue. Even the ACLU is saying that if done properly, this is a reasonable security measure that does not constitute an excessive violation of travelers’ privacy; and I am inclined to agree.

But some questions are a bit more complicated, such as the issue of law enforcement’s access to cell phone location data. Many of us may not be consciously aware that whenever we use our cell phones, we are establishing a record of where we are located at that moment which is preserved by our phone service provider. There are good reasons why this should be possible – for example, emergency responders need to be able to locate someone making a 911 call if they cannot give their location. And law enforcement authorities can gain access to this information with a properly executed search warrant.

However, the courts are now being asked to consider whether law enforcement should allowed to access cell phone location information (though not the content of any transmissions) without a warrant. The Obama Administration is arguing that people using cell phones do not have a “reasonable expectation of privacy” regarding their location when using a cell phone, and therefore no warrant should be necessary. Complicating the issue is the distinction between historical location information, and prospective or real-time location as seen on many television shows such as “24”.

For me, this is a much tougher question. The value of allowing law enforcement to access such information is fairly obvious. But the “expectation of privacy” question is a difficult one once you take the content of the conversation out of the equation. It would be easy to stand on principle and argue that the government has no right to know where a citizen is at any given time unless there is a presumption that laws have broken. But consider: The government knows where you are every time you get on a train or airplane, or make a phone call from a land line. Why should cell phone use be qualitatively different? If the government is actively chasing a terrorist, do we want them to have to get a signed search warrant before they can use cell phone location to find and apprehend him?

I admit to being torn, but I find myself leaning toward the Administration’s position on this. The potential for abuse seems minimal compared to the likely benefits in terms of public safety. But I’m open to being convinced the other way. What do *you* think?

Posted in Domestic News, Politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

US successfully tests laser missile-killer

Posted by sanityinjection on February 12, 2010

You want to know why I am generally supportive of defense spending? This is why.

The US Missile Defense Agency has just announced that last night they successfully tested an air-based laser missile interception system. In other words, a special jet plane goes up in the air, locates the missile, fires a laser and destroys the missile.

Folks, this is science-fiction/cartoon stuff brought to life. It also represents one of the many aspects of US missile defense technology that continues to develop at a rapid pace. We are getting close to the point of having systems in place that can successfully defend against a limited WMD missile attack, thanks to the foresight of Ronald Reagan who created the predecessor of missile defense in 1983 with the “Star Wars” Strategic Defense Initiative. This most recent test is exactly the kind of thing Reagan had imagined and for which he was mocked and sneered at by his opponents.

Even better, this particular piece of technology is a joint venture among Boeing, Northrup Grumman, and Lockheed-Martin. Which means jobs for Americans and no squabbling between the big three areospace firms.

Want more good news? The technology is actually cost-efficient. While the laser-equipped planes are probably expensive to build, once operational it cost much less to fire the laser to blow up a missile than it would to hit it with another missile. Win, win, win, win.

Of course there is a way to go between successful tests and actual deployment of a working system. But isn’t it nice to have some good news on the security front for a change? Sort of puts in perspective yesterday’s crowing by the Iranians about enriching a tiny bit of uranium – something the US mastered over half a century ago. Where are your lasers, Mr. Ahmadinejad?

Posted in Domestic News, Foreign Affairs, Politics | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »