The Watering Hole, Saturday, July 26, 2014: This Week In Crazy Right Wing Libertarian Talk

Cindy Lake wants to be a commissioner in District G of Clark County, NV. And she wants to because…it’s YOUR money. Good one, Cindy Lake. A more compelling argument I’ve yet to hear. Especially from you. Cindy Lake believes she has earned an important endorsement, that of Dr. Ron Paul.

​”Cindy Lake has worked for years as a citizen to fight for limited government and more personal liberties. She has also been a great supporter of mine. I am proud to endorse Cindy Lake for the Clark County Commission in District G.”

Vote for Cindy Lake because she supports me, way over here in Texas. Now who could argue with that? Besides me? Look, Ron Paul is a Conservative Libertarian, while I’m a Liberal Libertarian. We’re as different as Milton Friedman and Mohandas K. Gandhi. Ron Paul often has the right final opinions, but often for the wrong reasons. He rightly opposed the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, but not because they were based on lies and misinformation, but because he opposes using the military anywhere else in the world. He opposes giving foreign aide to Israel (which usually takes the form of loans that are forgiven, so they can buy military weapons to kill innocent children; don’t get me started on what’s going on in Gaza, because this post is about insanity in America), but that’s because he opposes foreign aid to everybody. He’s sometimes right, but for the wrong reasons. So having him endorse you is not necessarily as good a thing as you might think.

But does that alone earn her a spot in This Week In Crazy Right Wing Libertarian Talk? No, of course not. It’s her stance on fluoride and chemtrails that does. Cindy Lake says on her website that she will “work to lower water rates and improve water quality.” What she doesn’t say is what that means. She is one of those folks who believes that the fluoridation of our water is a huge government conspiracy to…you know, I’m not quite sure what the motivation would be to poison all of us systematically, but that’s what they claim the government is doing.

Don’t let the scaremongers scare you. There’s good reason to doubt them, and little reason to believe them. Just because you won’t accept evidence that your crazy theory is false doesn’t mean you’re right. And the whole nonsense with chemtrails is a good illustration of that. The problem with trying to argue against the Great Chemtrail Conspiracy Theory is that it’s about a secret government plot, so naturally there would be no proof that they’re doing it. Which makes it perfect fodder for a conspiracy theorist like Cindy Lake. But chemtrails are nothing more than ordinary condensation trails, not unlike the cloud of breath you exhale on a cold day. I ridicule the idea that the federal government is spraying chemicals on us from these high-flying planes because what would be the point of doing that? From so high up, there’s no way they can be sure that the people being targeted are the ones getting sprayed. The wind could easily push anything being sprayed twenty miles away and poison, or whatever they were trying to do, the wrong population of people. It’s an extremely unreliable way of conducting any kind of experiment. And the idea that it still might be happening because it’s theoretically possible that they could do this makes for a ludicrous proof. Just because nobody can prove it’s not happening doesn’t constitute proof that it is happening. And falling back on the “government is hiding all the evidence”-excuse does not mean you have a persuasive argument, either. There’s a very perfectly rational explanation for why there’s no proof that the government is spraying us from 30,000 feet – it isn’t really happening. And the worst thing any Democracy can do is elect people who believe this nonsense to public office. They should be getting treated by the government, not put in it.

This is our daily open thread. Feel free to talk about chemtrails, fluoridation, your precious bodily fluids, or anything else you wish to discuss.

The Watering Hole, Saturday, April 26, 2014: The Binary Bundy

It started with a story about grazing fees and ended up being a story about racism, as often happens with stories in America these days. Nevada cattle rancher Ted Cloven Cliven Bundy became the darling of right-wing media when federal agents seized his cattle for Bundy’s refusal to pay more than a million dollars in grazing fees and penalties. Supporters claimed it was an overreach of federal authority, despite the fact that courts have upheld the government’s actions at every step. Things were gearing up to finally have a national discussion on the role of government in our lives (a key and overlooked component in the disagreement between Liberals and Conservatives), when Bundy opened his mouth and talked about something other than property rights.

via Media Matters

After initially denying he ever mentioned picking cotton, Bundy made things worse for himself by trying to invoke the names of Rosa Parks and the Rev Martin Luther King, Jr., in defending his use of the term “Negroes.

via CNN

The clip above ends with Bundy claiming he’s not prejudiced, after screwing up completely what Prejudice is by saying “we’re talking about not being able to exercise what we think and our feelings.” No, Mr. Bundy, when we talk about prejudice we’re talking about exactly that – pre-judging – and all of us, myself included, are guilty of it to one degree or another. All of us look at other people and based often on nothing more than what we see, we make value judgments about them. And the primary thing we want to determine first and foremost is, “Is this person a threat to me?” That’s natural survival instinct and there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s what goes on in the mind after the determination that it’s safe to walk past that person that gets people in trouble. Prejudice isn’t about exercising what we think or feel, it’s about what we think or feel, and how we came to have those thoughts or feelings. When you see a family of black people sitting on their front porch, as a family, and immediately assume that they’re on government subsidy, you are being prejudiced. And not in a good way. Because you have no rational basis for believing what you’re thinking. I assume that when you talk about “exercising” those thoughts or feelings, it means acting on them in some way. Since your thoughts or feelings were not derived from some rational line of thought, but derived instead from your erroneous prejudices, I can’t allow you to act on them without consequence. That’s not denying you your freedom, that’s protecting innocent people from your ignorance. And his prejudice didn’t end there. He went on to say, “They abort their young children, they put their young men in jail, because they never learned how to pick cotton.” Really, Bundy? Is that how you view black people? They’re either in jail or picking cotton?

What concerns me is the tendency for conservative-minded people like Bundy to engage in either/or binary-type thinking. If you’re a young black man, you’re either in jail or in a cotton field. Nothing else. No other options available. Either you’re a totally free individual or you’re dependent on the government for help. I love that one because most of our American way of life is only possible because of government activities, not least of which is police, fire, and military services keeping us safe and free to pursue our individual happiness. So I don’t understand this obsession with Freedom being a complete and total severance of any government authority over you. You might think that’s what the “free” part of a Free Society is, but it isn’t what the “society” part is about. Your Constitutional right to freedom is not absolute. It is limited to what Society says it is. And Government is the vehicle Society uses to ensure it remains Free. So we are all, to one extent or another, dependent on government. To pretend otherwise is to live in a dream world.

Clive Davis Cliven Bundy lives in a dream world. He thinks you’re either totally right or totally wrong, with no middle ground to be even partly right. He thinks he’s right so the government is totally wrong. Never mind that the arbiters of who’s right and who’s wrong have decided that the Government is totally right and Bundy is totally wrong. He’s just decided that the federal government is illegitimate and has no authority over him or his property. In this sense, he must be referring to the cattle as property because the land in this discussion is federal property, which he feels he has every right to use free of charge. Its owners (you and me) disagree. Who do you think is right?

This is our daily open thread. Feel free to discuss Ted Nugent Ted Bundy Cliven Bundy or anything else you want.

The Watering Hole: Monday, December 17, 2012 – Can We PLEASE Talk About Guns In Our Society Now?

On the morning of December 14, 2012, it was Newtown, Connecticut.
Before that it was Clackamas Town Center, Oregon.
Before that it was Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Before that it was Oak Creek, Wisconsin.
Before that it was Aurora, Colorado.
Before that it was Seattle, Washington.
Before that it was Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Before that it was Oakland, California.
Before that it was Seal Beach, California.
Before that it was Carson City, Nevada.
Before that it was Tucson, Arizona.
Before that it was Manchester, Connecticut.
Before that it was Fort Hood, Texas.
Before that it was Binghamton, New York.
Before that it was Carthage, North Carolina.
Before that it was Northern Illinois University, Illinois.
Before that it was Kirkwood, Missouri.
Before that it was Omaha, Nebraska.
Before that it was Virginia Tech, Virginia.
Before that it was Salt Lake City, Utah.
Before that it was Lancaster, Pennsylvania.
Before that it was Seattle, Washington.
Before that it was Red Lake, Minnesota.
Before that it was Brookfield, Wisconsin.
Before that it was Meridian, Minnesota.
Before that it was Fort Worth, Texas.
Before that it was Atlanta, Georgia.
And before that, on the morning of April 20, 1999, it was Littleton, Colorado.

These are all places where someone, or several someones, took a gun, or several guns, and began shooting people at some location, or several locations. Does this list strike you as being rather long? These are just ones since Columbine. There were others in between and before that. Many people died in those mass shootings. Too many. And too many were children. Far, far too many. And yet, we can’t seem to have that talk about all these mass shootings and the prevalence of guns in our society.

How many people have to die in mass shootings before we are allowed to talk Continue reading