At least they picked the right place for it

Two men got into an argument over a $25 fee in a gun shop, and what do you know, they all decided to resolve it with — you guessed it — guns. End result: two dead, two in the hospital with critical injuries.

What struck me, though, is where it occurred: Picayune, Mississippi. It seems to me unwise to be selling deadly firearms in a place where you just know petty squabbles are going to flare up all the time.

How depressed do you want to be?

Sean McElwee has been excerpts from a recent book about the Koch Brothers. What happens when cunning, obscenely rich fuckwits get it into their heads to promote their ideas by sinking money into miseducation programs?

kochs

They fill students heads with bad history, grossly oversimplified economics, and the worship of destructive policies. Well, destructive to the country, but great for billionaires.

Lesson plans and class materials obtained by The Huffington Post make the course’s message clear: The minimum wage hurts workers and slows economic growth. Low taxes and less regulation allow people to prosper. Public assistance harms the poor. Government, in short, is the enemy of liberty.

darkmoney

The book is Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right by Jane Mayer. Now I’m wondering how masochistic I am to want to read it. Talk me out of it, or so help me, I’ll download that Necrokochicon to my iPad and suffer the consequences.

He thinks this is a good thing?

I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and wouldn’t lose any voters, ok? It’s, like, incredible.

And his audience laughs?

Now that is chilling. The man thinks he’s above the law.

Of course, if he did shoot somebody in the middle of 5th Avenue, he might not lose any voters, but he’d be arrested and tried, right?

Right? Tell me he’d go to jail for a crime.

Please.

Why are vandals allowed to continue to destroy Oregon resources?

The Bundy Militia are trying so hard to present themselves as defenders of the country’s heritage.

In a new video posted to the Bundy Ranch’s Facebook account, several ranchers search boxes of artifacts that belong to the Paiute tribe. As members of the group sift through documents and objects, holding them up to the camera, LaVoy Finicum talks about how poorly the artifacts have been stored and proposes a dialogue with local Paiute.

“We want to make sure these things are returned to their rightful owners and that they’re taken care of,” he says, noting rat droppings in some of the boxes. “This is how Native Americans’ heritage is being treated. To me, I don’t think it’s acceptable,” Finicum concludes.

It’s not acceptable, huh?

What about this then?

The armed occupiers of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge continue to use government equipment inside the complex.

One militant, who refused to give his name, again plowed dirt with a refuge bulldozer Wednesday. He wouldn’t say why he was operating the machinery, but in several places, sagebrush and vegetation had been newly removed, leaving wide patches of bare mud within the complex.

Taking a bulldozer to it is apparently their way of ‘respecting’ the land.

I don’t think their claim of want to protect native American heritage is credible, either. Ask the Paiute.

Bundy supporters have damaged Native American archaeological sites before, most notably, when they drove ATVs through a canyon trail in Utah in protest of protected federal lands trampling the ruins of homes belonging to the ancient Puebloans. Also, the Southern Paiute tribes in Nevada have accused the Bundy family of defacing ancient Paiute petroglyphs in Gold Butte. Incidentally, Southern Paiute community members held a rally last week in Las Vegas in support of the Burns Paiute tribe.

“I understand they took a bulldozer and built a line around the refuge headquarters,” Roderique said. She notes that in the past when a water line was put in at the refuge the tribe’s cultural resources department oversaw the work done to make sure no artifacts or sites were disturbed. “We have a good working relationship with them. That is, the relationship has evolved for the better.”

They also claim to be there to support the Hammonds…a couple of jerks who abused the refuge, shot coyotes from the air, and made death threats to refuge employees.

These people are wreckers. When is the government going to step in and arrest these people and put them in prison, where they belong?

What a fun family!

Today, Sarah Palin endorsed Donald Trump for president (are you at all surprised?). Last night, her son Track was arrested for domestic violence, and for waving a gun around while drunk.

It is all of a piece, a perfect convergence of all-American boorish stupidity. Sarah Palin is America, the America we all wish would stay home and off the television and out of politics.


Oh, my. Have you listened to Palin’s endorsement?

You guys are sounding angry is we’re hearing from the establishment. They stomp on our neck and tell us to chill. Just relax. Well, look, we are mad and we’ve been had. They need to get use to it. This election is more than just your basic ABCs: Anybody but Clinton. It’s more than that this go around. When we’re talking about a nation without borders, and bankruptcies and our federal government, debt our children and grandchildren will never be able to pay off.

When we’re talking about the power that comes from strength, power through strength, well then we’re talking about our very existence. No, we’re not going to chill. It’s time to drill, baby, drill down and hold these folks accountable and we need to stop the self-sabotage and elect a candidate that represents that and America first, finally. Pro-Constitution. Common-sense solutions he brings to the table. Yes, the status quo has got to go. With their failed agenda, it can’t be salvaged, it must be savaged and Donald Trump is the one to do that. Are you ready for new and are you ready for the leader who will let you make America great again? It’s going to take a whole team.

That’s just…I don’t what that is. Stream of consciousness from a brain stuffed with sound bites and magic words, with no conceptual focus to hold them together?

Libertarians never learn

Once upon a time, a group of them decided to act on their principles and establish a Libertarian paradise in a foreign country: Galt’s Gulch Chile, they called it. What happened next?

Galt’s Gulch Chile is the name of a proposed residential community to be built near Curacaví Chile, approximately one hour west of Santiago and one hour east of the Pacific Ocean. The original principals were John Cobin, Germán Eyzaguirre, Jeff Berwick (The Dollar Vigilante) and KENNETH DALE JOHNSON. Through a series of broken promises, broken contracts and dishonest maneuvers, johnson circleJohnson was able to cut his partners and investors out of the real estate development project and claim 100% ownership and control.

He proceeded to develop, not a community as advertised, but an affinity scam aimed at Western libertarians. Johnson employed deceptive selling practices, violations of US and Chilean law, money laundering, and multiple jurisdictions to defraud his investors of US $10.45 million ($10.05 million with GGC and $400,000 with tangential scams).

Johnson sounds like the ideal Libertarian man, a true Randian hero, living up to the principles of selfishness to the ultimate degree. What’s the complaint? This is exactly what ought to happen if you design a community around the principles of Ayn Rand — perhaps the problem is that Rand didn’t recognize the value of community, and community is rather antithetical to her magical hyper-competent individualists.

The subtitle at that site is restoring the vision. I don’t think they get it.

Not a chance. We’re dedicated to turning Fraud’s Gulch Chile into Galt’s Gulch Chile. That’s what this website is all about.

“Galt’s Gulch” was an absurd idea in the book — maybe they ought to realize that Libertarian ideology is incompatible with civilization. Another pro-Libertarian site is similarly oblivious.

Ayn Rand could never have imagined just how a development based on her fictional novel could have become an even more sordid and unbelievable tale than the book itself… so far it has.

True. Ayn Rand couldn’t. The rest of us, though, could see the nightmare with clarity.

I really picked the wrong line of work, part MCMXII

If I wanted to be rich, I wouldn’t be a college professor. There are many professions that pay so much better.

Like right-wing moocher off of religious charities. LaVoy Finicum, one of the mouthy militia that’s taken over Malheur Preserve, is sad because while he’s gallivanting off to pointless, egotistical crusades in remote places, they have taken his foster children away.

“They” being the organizations that pay him to take care of these kids. On top of neglecting his parental responsibilities, his complaint reveals something of his character. Rather than desperately begging to have his loved ones returned to him, which is how I’d have reacted if Child Protective Services had swept my children away, he’s moaning about the loss of income.

Finicum said he is licensed and has a care contract with Catholic Charities Community Services in Arizona. While his license has not been revoked, Finicum said he would no longer receive referrals to care for foster children.

That represents an enormous loss of income for the Finicums. According to a 2010 tax filing, Catholic Charities paid the family $115,343 to foster children in 2009. That year, foster parents were compensated between $22.31 and $37.49 per child, per day, meaning if the Finicums were paid at the maximum rate, they cared for, on average, eight children per day in 2009.

“That was my main source of income,” Finicum said. “My ranch, well, the cows just cover the costs of the ranch. If this means rice and beans for the next few years, so be it. We’re going to stay the course.”

My first thought: wow, he’s bringing in $100K for taking care of kids (a job he seems to be shirking)? My parents had six kids and were living on $10K a year that my dad had to work two jobs to earn. Clearly, the lesson is that while my father was earning a pittance for hard manual labor, my mother should have been getting paid ten times as much for her hard work raising kids.

My second thought: oh, so this ranching nonsense is really just a hobby for people who have worked the angles and are getting paid beaucoup bucks from charitable institutions? Just like the Bundy family is all anti-government while living on government subsidies? Color me unsurprised.

My third thought, after it all sunk in: those poor kids. They were nothing but a paycheck to their foster parents. It is simply cold, callous venality to say “so be it” when children are taken away, and to regard the great cost of that loss being to have to live on rice and beans. It’s positively Dickensian. May they never have another child brought to their home, and may they die lonely and alone at some distant time.

I may make a lot less money than that exploiter, Finicum, but at least I can say I love my kids, and I came from a happy family, and I’m not a paranoid conspiracy theorist loon, so maybe I actually did pick the right line of work.