14
Aug 14

Sovereign Citizens and Right-Wing Christian Wingnuts on Parade

I just cut this from an article I’m writing about Sovereign Citizens–people like Cliven Bundy and Terry Nichols (Oklahoma City Bombing planner) –cut for length and because I had to retool the theme of the piece but I think this is pretty damn interesting stuff, relating to these wingnut fringe groups:

The Sovereigns base their societal fantasy on a misreading of the Posse Comitatus Act and the 14th and 16th amendments to the Constitution; they claim that the 14th amendment relating to citizenship was “never properly ratified” and the 16th relating to taxation wasn’t ratified properly and didn’t specify power to collect taxes. Their fuzzy logic allows them to conclude they need not submit to any law except the murkily defined “common law” local to their area. Apart from whatever common law they agree to, they are, they claim, Sovereign unto themselves, and not U.S. citizens at all. All such claims have been tossed out with precedent finality in federal court.

Another sovereign citizen argument that hints at the underpinnings of the Sovereign mindset, states that the U.S. government keeps a secret account bearing, say, $1 million for every child born in the U.S. This “redemptionist” argument, fostered by white supremacist con artist Roger Elvick, insists that when the US government chucked the gold standard in 1933 it pledged its citizens as collateral for the gold. Scammers like Elvick use seminars and videos explain how you can get the million bucks you’re worth… Redemptionism, like sovereign citizen status, invariably fails in court.

In a Portland, Oregon redemptionist/sovereign citizen case, Miles Joseph Julison repeatedly intoned in court: “I, Miles Joseph, a bond servant of Jesus Christ, can only take an oath to Jesus Christ, as he has bought and paid for me by the blood of the lamb. And anything else, any other oath, would violate the religious dictates of my conscience. And I continue to reserve all of my rights without prejudice.”

There we see the persistent Sovereign linkage to fringe Christian fundamentalism and magical thinking. Julison kept insisting he is only subject to “the blood of the lamb”; to him there was no law without the admixture of the supernatural.

This kind of magical thinking is extended, with or without obvious religion, to all sovereign citizen thinking. If at one point the USA created the Federal Reserve, believers in redemptionism and sovereign citizenry are easily persuaded to believe that the USA legally converted the legal personhood of Americans into collateral for bonds. Despite much verbiage, no real evidence is given for this belief. It is an assumption prompted by the deep-seated need to believe–a kind of leap of “faith” in a fictional American history.


13
Aug 14

Rush Limbaugh and Fox News Smear Robin Williams–for Dying

Shepard Smith on Fox news says Robin Williams is a coward for committing suicide; Rush Limbaugh sneers derisively at Williams that he killed himself because of a ‘leftist attitude’…The reason this guy Smith and others at Fox and Rush Limbaugh are now speaking insensitively and derisively about Robin Williams’s death, is that Williams was a liberal, was well known to be a liberal, was part of liberal political charitable campaigns. Were he not a liberal, they would not be talking about him in this way and they would not have to apologize.

Meanwhile, William’s bereaved daughter Zelda is being harassed by trolls who, I suspect, are motivated by Rush and Fox because …Williams was a liberal. This gives the trolls “permission”. And it allows them to “interact with celebrities”…bringing some puffed up sense of imagined importance into their empty lives.

Read all about it: http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-intersect/wp/2014/08/13/robin-williamss-daughter-zelda-driven-off-twitter-by-vicious-trolls/


10
Aug 14

A Sketchy Outline of Practical Drug Decriminalization

Clarification. To whom it may concern: I support completely decriminalizing the mere POSSESSION of small amounts of hard drugs, meth even, cocaine, heroin, MDMA, or, say, a couple of oxy pills in your pocket…and decriminalization of up to a brick or two of pot or hash or “magic mushrooms”. (I believe that bigtime pot dealing and shroom dealing should be regulated, though not too onerously). I think dealing cocaine, meth, bath salts, heroin, should remain illegal.

I think that anyone found with meth, cocaine, bath salts, should have the stuff confiscated and be given an opportunity for free detox and rehab. But it shouldn’t be forced on them.

I think persons with small amounts of heroin…should be allowed to keep it. Because it’s probably not going to make them psychotic and because if they withdraw badly we may have to pay for their ER stay.


09
Aug 14

Libertarians, Ayn Rand, Ron Paul, and the Blinding Glow of Freedom

To Rand Paul/Ron paulians/AynRandians, libertarianism means they can do whatever they damn please, and that is the ultimate good. However they have to rationalize the social viability of complete freedom from oversight so they invoke the invisible hand of the market and lawsuits to correct abuses.

“Do you believe in freedom or not?” they ask. But really, it’s about the libertarian desire to be unimpeded whatever impulse arises. With the more up to date, hipsterish, formerly lefty libertarians– it may *start* with a not-unreasonable “I should be able to do anything I want with drugs” (for example), but they misuse the just cause of decriminalization of pot to lunge into: hence, libertarianism is good. With the Cliven Bundys it’s “I don’t want to pay taxes”, so libertarianism is good…or Sovereign exceptionalism is good. With some, “I don’t want to pay parking tickets or traffic tickets” so libertarianism is good. And everything else is just an elaborate if, ultimately, feeble system of rationale.

There is a kind of glow of the glories of freedom on libertarianism, that gives it a superficial “rightness”. Freedom, yes, is indeed good–and its goodness is a sort of social camouflage for libertarians. It’s as if the shine of freedom gets in their eyes, so they see nothing else. But simply trumpeting the genuine goodness of freedom ignores the abuse of freedom. For example, it ignores the fact that the former head of NAMBLA–an organization favoring adult sex with small boys–proudly declared himself a libertarian…and obviously he chose libertarianism because he can use it to justify child molestation. “Don’t impose your fascist rules against buggering children on me!”

If freedom should be inviolable, then I should be able to freely drive my car down the sidewalk right over crowds of people. “Oh yes–but they could sue you,” say libertarians. However, lawsuits won’t bring those people back–and anyway isn’t the lawsuit itself an imposition on my freedom?


06
Aug 14

The President of Everywhere?

As people become more and more vague about how the world works, as they succumb to entertainment hypnosis and social media fugue, they lose touch with basic tenets of the world’s social organization. They seem to forget such fundamentals as borders between countries and the restraints those borders imply.

It becomes clear that many Americans imagine that President Obama is in charge of Syria, is somehow President of Israel, can control the ancient Islamic rivalries in Iraq, can–should he choose–control what the Ukraine and Russia do, doesn’t have to answer to Congress, and can, through American presidential power, somehow force Iran not to make nuclear weapons. No President so far has been able to broker a satisfying deal between Israel and Palestine–but somehow Pres Obama is responsible for Israel over reaching in Gaza.

Oh and it’s probably his fault when Malaysia loses a plane, too. They seem to think he’s President of the world. So when things go awry in the world, it’s his fault and hence he had bad foreign policy. Thus his foreign policy must rate disapproval in polls.


04
Aug 14

Worry about THE ILLUMINATI? I say–HURRAY for the Illuminati!

Researching an article about conspiracy theorists, I looked up the history of the Illuminati. I was startled when I realized that the Illuminati were actually the Good Guys… Well–I had known this at some time but forgotten it–the general smoky blurriness generated by modern conspiracy theories about the Illuminati infected my perspective on them. I didn’t believe what I heard said about them, contemporaneously, but it tinged my recollections of their history. So several sources report as wikipedia does: the Illuminati were a force for GOOD. Read as follows: “The Illuminati … refers to the Bavarian Illuminati, an Enlightenment-era secret society founded on May 1, 1776. The society’s goals were to oppose superstition, prejudice, religious influence over public life and abuses of state power, and to support women’s education and gender equality. The Illuminati—along with other secret societies—were outlawed by the Bavarian ruler, Charles Theodore, with the encouragement of the Roman Catholic Church, and were permanently disbanded in 1785.[1] In the several years following, the group was vilified by conservative and religious critics…”

There you have it. They were opposed to superstition and prejudice and theocratic control; they were opposed to monarchy and tyranny; they supported gender equality. Monarchies and the Church hated them…which is a recommendation in itself. Somehow they’ve become all mixed in with anti-semitic paranoia, notions of mind control, secret puppeteering of the world…but in fact *everything* they wanted was GOOD. If they ARE puppeting the world, to those ends–opposing superstition, opposing abuses of state power, supporting women’s right–then I say let them have at it. I just wish they were MORE influential.


29
Jul 14

The Paranoia Hucksters

It’s hard to see where it will end. Here’s one example. A highly dishonest anti-govt hysterical website called USPatriot just put out yet another claim that “Obamacare” will put “chips” in “All Americans” by the year 2017. Claimed it was reported on NBC. NBC did not report this. It’s a lie.

There are countless sites like this and what their followers don’t realize is that they’re being *exploited for money*. If you put up a big headline that says “Obama plans to Turn Americans Into Zombies with Chemtrails”, say, it’ll be shared a zillion times, mostly by people who gaspingly react in a kneejerk way–sometimes by people who think it’s ironically funny. Either response gives the site lots of “hits”, lots of likes, a higher rating on Google. This in turn allows the site hucksters to sell ADVERTISING at high rates–or to sell the website itself after it gets enough following. For big money. Perhaps the same thing happens with some of the more crazed “left wing” (pseudo left, really) sites.

The New World Order fantasy, the “govt is herding us all into FEMA camps this year for extermination” babble, the “We’re Sovereign Citizens Who Wouldn’t Know the Actual Constitution If It Bit Us In the Ass” crowd–they believe all this stuff because it’s *stimulating*, it makes them excited, it makes them feel special. But they’re special suckers.

They’re being used so other people can make money.

This faked up verbal-meth for hicks is designed to be jolting to get quick and dirty attention. It doesn’t have to be believable, because site followers don’t actually think about it, they just react. And it’s in a familiar pattern of disinformation, spread by the Timothy McVeigh spawn, the David Koresh sheep, that has been shown to work.

Paranoia works. So they use it again and again and again…and there are countless sites of this kind. Paranoic social lies are viruses, of a kind; paranoic social lies are poison memes. And what is the long term effect? How many confrontations in Nevada over someone’s imaginary “grazing rights”? How many “Oklahoma City bombings”? How many attempted Presidential assassinations?

How many children, raised by these people–to live in fear?


28
Jul 14

Sometimes …CHILDREN DIE as GAMERS GAME

LOVECHILD…is a new documentary, airing tonight on HBO. It is frightening. We need to TAME technology. This true story has always disturbed me partly because it seems to be a clear indication that instances of people losing themselves in digital pseudo-realities (and soon more sophisticated virtual “realities”) is likely to become an ongoing, powerful phenomenon, to the detriment of children, family, the player, society. “The film examines the real-life story of a South Korean couple who, in 2010, would regularly leave their three-month-old daughter at home unattended to play a popular online game. Addicted to their virtual lives, the couple neglected their infant daughter to the point where the baby died from malnutrition. What’s even more shocking, the parents were taking care of a virtual child in their internet fantasy game, while their real child was essentially dying from starvation.”

See the trailer: http://themoviebox.net/5151

And it happens in Australia…and right here in the USA too: http://www.mamamia.com.au/news/there-is-no-second-life-because-these-children-are-dead/


28
Jul 14

Could we just BUY OUT Climate Change?

There should be a list, and we should go down it, worst to least offenders–and the worst climate change offender worldwide is probably COAL. And the only reasonably rapid way to get rid of the coal industry in the USA is to buy it out. (We could try to outlaw it, sure–but that won’t happen. Political realities). It might be possible to spend billions, federal money, here in the USA for starters, buying out coal companies. Simultaneously we’d subsidize the switch-over at utilities buying coal for power, change them over to, for example, natural gas burning for now, till we can get solar and other sustainable sources in place. (You don’t have to use fracking to get natural gas.) The billions we spend doing this can be used to provide fresh starts for coal industry workers, as well as providing enough profit motive to get control of coal…and shut it down.

I theorize that we’ll save trillions–because if we can mitigate anthropogenic climate change significantly we won’t have to deal with all the incredible costs that will arise from it. If we set an example in this country, it may propel imitation in places like China


26
Jul 14

I saw THE DRONE, the DRONE saw ME

This morning I watched a DRONE over the park near us. And it watched me!

But no, this was not a police drone–they’re still in the experimental stages. No this was someone’s hobby drone. A young Hispanic couple were playing with it in the park–he had ordered it from China, off the internet. I said, “I’m amazed it works, then.” But it does. It’s about the size of an extra-large-pizza pie plate, maybe a little bigger, with four rotors…and a camera on the bottom. As the girl controlled it with a fairly large remote control box, her friend watched its camera feed on his phone. He showed it to me–I could see myself from the sky! This model won’t be very secretive–it’s got lights on it, reflectors and, more important, it’s loud: it sounds *exactly* like a very large hive of really pissed off bees. He said it technically has a fifty mile range for control–but it only has 20 minutes of charge in its battery and its top speed is ten mph. It’s little more than a toy. But it’s a drone because you could use it to spy on your neighbors, say, if you were so inclined. You can send it some distance away–and see what it sees…

Larger, more efficient models will be used by law enforcement–already have been tested in the field on a lawbreaker in Texas–and are being tried out for use in fire fighting surveillance, search and rescue, and the like. Paranoids will be shooting at the things. Even this variety–this did NOT look like a toy. It would freak some people the hell out. And as it has lights on it, fly this internet-ordered model at night and: instant UFO report!

You could put a small tape recorder on it that made eerie sounds or said cryptic things.

Of course you know that drones will be used by criminals–they’ll be used by drug dealers to watch for cops. They’ll be used by transnational gangs to see if border patrol is coming.

Amazingly, Amazon.com is STILL talking about using drones for package delivery. They’re trying to get permission to try it. Now THAT is stupid. Look, how many packages would that be? How many drones? How many moving parts? How many chimneys and phone poles and power lines? How many malfunctions? How many crashes into windshields and house windows? That’s just not going to be practical, you damn fools.

But drones, in more rational applications, and some shady ones, are here to stay, so get used to it.