“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Monday, February 24, 2014

An Armed Society is not a Polite Society!

The Freedom of an Armed Society

"The night of the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., I was in the car with my wife and children, working out details for our eldest son’s 12th birthday the following Sunday — convening a group of friends at a showing of the film  “The Hobbit.” The memory of the Aurora movie theatre massacre was fresh in his mind, so he was concerned that it not be a late night showing. At that moment, like so many families, my wife and I were weighing whether to turn on the radio and expose our children to coverage of the school shootings in Connecticut. We did. The car was silent in the face of the flood of gory details. When the story was over, there was a long thoughtful pause in the back of the car. Then my eldest son asked if he could be homeschooled.

That incident brought home to me what I have always suspected, but found difficult to articulate: an armed society — especially as we prosecute it at the moment in this country — is the opposite of a civil society.
The Newtown shootings occurred at a peculiar time in gun rights history in this nation. On one hand, since the mid 1970s, fewer households each year on average have had a gun. Gun control advocates should be cheered by that news, but it is eclipsed by a flurry of contrary developments. As has been well publicized, gun sales have steadily risen over the past few years, and spiked with each of Obama’s election victories.

Furthermore, of the weapons that proliferate amongst the armed public, an increasing number are high caliber weapons (the weapon of choice in the goriest shootings in recent years). Then there is the legal landscape, which looks bleak for the gun control crowd.
Every state except for Illinois has a law allowing the carrying of concealed weapons — and just last week, a federal court struck down Illinois’ ban. States are now lining up to allow guns on college campuses. In September, Colorado joined four other states in such a move, and statehouses across the country are preparing similar legislation. And of course, there was Oklahoma’s ominous Open Carry Law approved by voters this election day — the fifteenth of its kind, in fact — which, as the name suggests, allows those with a special permit to carry weapons in the open, with a holster on their hip.

Individual gun ownership — and gun violence — has long been a distinctive feature of American society, setting us apart from the other industrialized democracies of the world. Recent legislative developments, however, are progressively bringing guns out of the private domain, with the ultimate aim of enshrining them in public life. Indeed, the N.R.A. strives for a day when the open carry of powerful weapons might be normal, a fixture even, of any visit to the coffee shop or grocery store — or classroom.
As N.R.A. president Wayne LaPierre expressed in a recent statement on the organization’s Web site, more guns equal more safety, by their account. A favorite gun rights saying is “an armed society is a polite society.” If we allow ever more people to be armed, at any time, in any place, this will provide a powerful deterrent to potential criminals. Or if more citizens were armed — like principals and teachers in the classroom, for example — they could halt senseless shootings ahead of time, or at least early on, and save society a lot of heartache and bloodshed.

As ever more people are armed in public, however — even brandishing weapons on the street — this is no longer recognizable as a civil society. Freedom is vanished at that point.
And yet, gun rights advocates famously maintain that individual gun ownership, even of high caliber weapons, is the defining mark of our freedom as such, and the ultimate guarantee of our enduring liberty. Deeper reflection on their argument exposes basic fallacies.

Arendt offers two points that are salient to our thinking about guns: for one, they insert a hierarchy of some kind, but fundamental nonetheless, and thereby undermine equality. But furthermore, guns pose a monumental challenge to freedom, and particular, the liberty that is the hallmark of any democracy worthy of the name — that is, freedom of speech. Guns do communicate, after all, but in a way that is contrary to free speech aspirations: for, guns chasten speech.
This becomes clear if only you pry a little more deeply into the N.R.A.’s logic behind an armed society. An armed society is polite, by their thinking, precisely because guns would compel everyone to tamp down eccentric behavior, and refrain from actions that might seem threatening. The suggestion is that guns liberally interspersed throughout society would cause us all to walk gingerly — not make any sudden, unexpected moves — and watch what we say, how we act, whom we might offend.

As our Constitution provides, however, liberty entails precisely the freedom to be reckless, within limits, also the freedom to insult and offend as the case may be. The Supreme Court has repeatedly upheld our right to experiment in offensive language and ideas, and in some cases, offensive action and speech. Such experimentation is inherent to our freedom as such. But guns by their nature do not mix with this experiment — they don’t mix with taking offense. They are combustible ingredients in assembly and speech.
I often think of the armed protestor who showed up to one of the famously raucous town hall hearings on Obamacare in the summer of 2009. The media was very worked up over this man, who bore a sign that invoked a famous quote of Thomas Jefferson, accusing the president of tyranny. But no one engaged him at the protest; no one dared approach him even, for discussion or debate — though this was a town hall meeting, intended for just such purposes. Such is the effect of guns on speech — and assembly. Like it or not, they transform the bearer, and end the conversation in some fundamental way. They announce that the conversation is not completely unbounded, unfettered and free; there is or can be a limit to negotiation and debate — definitively.

The very power and possibility of free speech and assembly rests on their non-violence. The power of the Occupy Wall Street movement, as well as the Arab Spring protests, stemmed precisely from their non-violent nature. This power was made evident by the ferocity of government response to the Occupy movement. Occupy protestors across the country were increasingly confronted by police in military style garb and affect.
Imagine what this would have looked like had the protestors been armed: in the face of the New York Police Department assault on Zuccotti Park, there might have been armed insurrection in the streets. The non-violent nature of protest in this country ensures that it can occur.

Gun rights advocates also argue that guns provide the ultimate insurance of our freedom, in so far as they are the final deterrent against encroaching centralized government, and an executive branch run amok with power. Any suggestion of limiting guns rights is greeted by ominous warnings that this is a move of expansive, would-be despotic government. It has been the means by which gun rights advocates withstand even the most seemingly rational gun control measures. An assault weapons ban, smaller ammunition clips for guns, longer background checks on gun purchases — these are all measures centralized government wants, they claim, in order to exert control over us, and ultimately impose its arbitrary will. I have often suspected, however, that contrary to holding centralized authority in check, broad individual gun ownership gives the powers-that-be exactly what they want.
After all, a population of privately armed citizens is one that is increasingly fragmented, and vulnerable as a result. Private gun ownership invites retreat into extreme individualism — I heard numerous calls for homeschooling in the wake of the Newtown shootings — and nourishes the illusion that I can be my own police, or military, as the case may be. The N.R.A. would have each of us steeled for impending government aggression, but it goes without saying that individually armed citizens are no match for government force. The N.R.A. argues against that interpretation of the Second Amendment that privileges armed militias over individuals, and yet it seems clear that armed militias, at least in theory, would provide a superior check on autocratic government.

As Michel Foucault pointed out in his detailed study of the mechanisms of power, nothing suits power so well as extreme individualism. In fact, he explains, political and corporate interests aim at nothing less than “individualization,” since it is far easier to manipulate a collection of discrete and increasingly independent individuals than a community. Guns undermine just that — community. Their pervasive, open presence would sow apprehension, suspicion, mistrust and fear, all emotions that are corrosive of community and civic cooperation. To that extent, then, guns give license to autocratic government.
Our gun culture promotes a fatal slide into extreme individualism. It fosters a society of atomistic individuals, isolated before power — and one another — and in the aftermath of shootings such as at Newtown, paralyzed with fear. That is not freedom, but quite its opposite. And as the Occupy movement makes clear, also the demonstrators that precipitated regime change in Egypt and Myanmar last year, assembled masses don’t require guns to exercise and secure their freedom, and wield world-changing political force. Arendt and Foucault reveal that power does not lie in armed individuals, but in assembly — and everything conducive to that."


  1. "Gun rights advocates argue that we must arm more people, and empower them to wield their guns confidently and boldly if we would achieve greater law and order. They have it wrong. More guns, and more emboldened gun owners, lead to more travesties of justice, more chaos, vendettas, a state of war, Locke would say. Ironically, this also defeats the other cause célèbre of the gun rights movement: autonomy. For gun rights advocates, the gun is the premier mark of individual sovereignty. I believe this is what makes the gun rights movement especially intoxicating for millions of Americans, and resistant to reform and regulation. However, autonomy is doomed in a Stand Your Ground world. It makes no sense to speak of autonomy, freedom, or self-determination in a state of war. As Locke knew too well, the sovereignty of the individual is intolerably tenuous where all are sovereign. Of course, this suits the N.R.A. just fine, and the industry whose interests it represents."

  2. Good morning Ash !

    What does the old pic from Vietnam have to do with your argument?

    I was nearly desperate for you, Ash, my good man, but finally stumbled back in here again. You have no idea in what high regard I hold you.

    But your argument sucks.

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. That fellow getting his brains shot out had, a little earlier, been in the streets shooting people himself. It was a state of emergency. The sheriff there was actually within his rights. The insurgent had gotten his arms probably via China, then down the trail. The commies weren't exactly the polite people you are making them out to be.

      We have a quilt woven by a woman from Cambodia who took up residence in our town years ago. It was a woven story tale of the attack on her village by men with AK-47's, and how she and some others escaped by swimming away across a river. Dead bodies everywhere. Very nice quilt, and I paid her more than she was asking. She didn't speak any English yet. But she was glad to be here. That much was quite obvious, even with our Second Amendment and all.

    3. I've said it before so I might as well say it again.

      Ash is, folks, one of these thoughtless uber-liberals who actually needs a good non life threatening beating by some thugs to wake him up a bit. Something that scares the living shit out of the boy, but doesn't run the hospital bill up too high.

    4. Maybe a good knockout, like in the knockout game, something along that line.

      I am certainly not wishing ill on my friend Ash, but how else is he ever to learn? Not by reading, that much seems certain.

      Maybe if his yacht and he and his crew were taken by pirates and held for ransom or something......

      Maybe if a biker gang invaded his golf course.......

    5. Ash, maybe you should start carrying a Bible?

      Only the presence of a Bible over his heart saved the life of a Dayton, Ohio, bus driver who is in the hospital today with injuries suffered during a form of black mob violence called a “polar bear attack.”

      Police say the bus driver is lucky to be alive after three black “teenagers” stabbed and shot him. A Bible over the bus driver’s heart stopped two bullets and allowed him to fight off a knife attack from his assailants.

      One additional bullet struck him in the leg. They also stabbed him in the arm.

      The attack came this morning at 5:30 when the driver stopped his bus because of mechanical difficulties.

      “As he was outside of the bus assessing how to fix the problem, the three suspects came up to him and said they had to ‘shoot a polar bear,’” police told WHIO news.

      “The bullets did not penetrate into the victim’s chest. There was obviously some kind of intervention involved in this incident because he (the driver) should probably not be here,” said Dayton Police Sgt. Michael Pauley.

      However willing police are to talk about the theology of the attack, a spokesman for the Dayton Police Department will not comment any further on the shooting and stabbing other than to confirm he knows what a polar bear hunting attack is.

      Black mobs routinely terrorize cities across the country, but the media and government are silent. Read the detailed account of rampant racial crime in “White Girl Bleed A Lot: The Return of Racial Violence to America and How the Media Ignore It.”

      “Police said the suspects are three young, black males, possibly between the ages of 15 to 18 years old,” said WHIO.

      Polar bear hunting is one type of black mob violence directed at white people, i.e. polar bears. It is documented in “White Girl Bleed a Lot: The Return of Racial Violence and How the Media Ignore it.”

      The term originated at the University of Illinois in Champaign and is a form of the Knockout Game.

      At Salon magazine, a Champaign resident described it:

      “For the past several years, we have had an onslaught of groups of young black men assaulting white men at random,” said Esteban Moberley. “They ambushed and beat students on the campus and people in their own yards. These victims were not typically robbed, just ambushed and beaten senseless. They beat up our weatherman in one incident.”

      After more than a dozen “polar bear” attacks directed at white people in Champaign, the local News Gazette came clean: The weatherman was the latest in a growing list of “white men in town being slugged for sport by young black men,” dubbed “polar bear hunting.”

      Black mobs routinely terrorize cities across the country, but the media and government are silent. Read the detailed account of rampant racial crime in “White Girl Bleed A Lot: The Return of Racial Violence to America and How the Media Ignore It.”


    6. What is your argument Bob - that the black mobs would be more polite if they each packed heat?

    7. This comment has been removed by the author.

    8. They often do pack heat.

      My argument is that polite people create a polite society, and that the polite have a right to protect themselves from the not polite.

      You might have more profitably and educationally put up an instance of that other iconic image from Vietnam, and a much more meaningful where the Buddhist monk in still meditation has on the wings of spirit already left this world before he calmly pours the gallons of gasoline over his head, body, and robes, and lights himself afire, burning himself to a crisp in protest against current conditions and demonstration of another way to those about, without exhibiting any pain.

      There is something quite deep here going on here to those that have the eyes to see......something about being able to kill the body but not the spirit......something about spirit being primary....

    9. Got to get ready to face The Faucet.

      Keep on truckin' Ash !!

      The Glorious City is just over the next set of hills.....



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  4. .

    As reported on Channel two, within the past week there were two shooting incidents involving concealed carry on the news in Detroit. The first involved a single mother who returned home and stopped in her drive to open the garage door. Two young thugs tried to carjack her. She dropped her keys on the ground and then pulled a licensed .38 and opened fire. One of the thugs is dead and the other is in critical condition in the hospital.

    A few days earlier two 'youths' tried to break into a guys house. The owner opened fire with a licensed handgun. The youths? One dead. One fled.

    In interviewing the neighbors, everyone interviewed indicated they would be getting a gun and/or a CCW. Make of it what you will.

    Detroit has a new top cop as of a couple months ago and the guy is cracking down with massive raids on drugs and prostitution much like some of rat's stories on the guys in Mexico. It's enough that the FBI has been brought in because of the death threats he has received.

    When you get to a certain point, people just get fed up and refuse to take it anymore.


    1. Yeah, you've got the satisfaction of the innocent righteously taking out the thugs and then you have... :

      "The anger and protest first sparked by the killing of Trayvon Martin, and the subsequent acquittal of his killer, George Zimmerman, was stoked again last week with the verdict in the trial of Michael Dunn.

      In 2012, Dunn opened fire into a car full of black teenagers in a convenience store parking lot after they refused to turn down the volume of the “thug music” coming from their S.U.V. One of the teenagers, 17-year-old Jordan Davis, was struck several times and died. During the trial, Florida’s Stand Your Ground law was invoked in Dunn’s defense. Dunn was found guilty on attempted murder charges, but not on a first-degree murder charge for killing Davis. The jury was unable to decide whether Dunn protected himself against Davis or murdered him. Once again, Stand your Ground was at the center of a murder case mired in racial discord.

      Florida’s Stand your Ground statute says that a person may use force, “including deadly force if [he] reasonably believes it is necessary to do so to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself …” It is a logical extension of the increasingly expansive gun legislation in many parts of the country. Ohio recently approved its own version of the law, and others are poised to join in. Still, controversies surrounding the law continue to pile up.

      Last month in Tampa, Curtis Reeves, a retired police officer, shot another man during an argument at a movie theater. Chad Oulson had irritated Reeves by texting as the movie began (it was learned afterward that he was texting the babysitter at home with his sick child). The two men argued; Oulson stood to face Reeves and threw popcorn at him. Reeves then pulled his handgun from his pocket and killed Oulson. Reeves’s lawyer, Stephen Romine, announced his intention to invoke Stand Your Ground in his client’s defense.

      The letter of the law, Romine argued, is concerned only with whether “Reeves thought Chad Oulson would hurt him.” A report in The Times noted that Mr. Dunn was subject to similar protections: “[U]nder the law, Mr. Dunn needed only to have been convinced that he saw a shotgun, whether or not one was present.”

      I believe that Stand Your Ground has already done damage to civil society by encouraging gun owners to carry their weapons in public, and reach for them quickly, instinctively. It promises to escalate minor altercations into deadly conflicts. And the law will surely motivate others to be armed, too, if only to protect themselves from trigger-happy citizens like Reeves or Dunn. Stand Your Ground propels us into the worst kind of armed society.

      But certainly not all agree. Wayne LaPierre, the executive vice president of the National Rifle Association, has offered this defense of the law, urging us to sympathize with those who would “stand their ground”: “Have you ever been threatened? I mean you talk to crime victims in the country… it’s the most terrifying moment of their life. They really are in a state of overwhelming reactive panic. Instinctively, they’ll do anything at that point to save themselves.” Such a threat is a highly personal affair — we can’t hope to understand or appreciate the terror, and how people measure it. Don’t judge them, LaPierre says. To judge them calmly after the fact and say, well, he could have run away, or defused the situation, that is too abstract, aloof, pompous, even insulting. It smacks of the elitism typical of gun critics, LaPierre argues. “This duty to retreat may sound fine at an Ivy League cocktail party,” he complains, “it doesn’t work very well in the real world of crime victims.”


    2. "“Have you ever been threatened? I mean you talk to crime victims in the country… it’s the most terrifying moment of their life. They really are in a state of overwhelming reactive panic. Instinctively, they’ll do anything at that point to save themselves.” "

      You feel terror and you've got a gun in your hand - BANG!

    3. .

      You bring up 'Stand Your Ground' laws (I've read the Florida statue and it is ridiculous in a couple instances); however, what happened to Dunn? The last I heard he will likely spend 60 years in prison even if the mistrial on the murder charge is not retried.


    4. Blacks, percent wise, rely on stand your ground laws more than whites.

    5. and you know

    6. not that the statistic is even remotely relevant to the discussion I am curious as to your source perhaps?

    7. .

      Yeah, you've got the satisfaction of the innocent righteously taking out the thugs and then you have... :

      If I have any satisfaction from the incidents it is only that the innocents are still alive.

      PC pricks piss and whine about 'guns, guns, guns' and reference David Duke websites. Yet, where are these hypocrites when it comes to solutions for the thousands of people killed in major cities in the US each year, most of the crimes minority on minority? Oh, can't talk about that as that would be racist.

      If you think about it is these whiny little pissants that are the racists cloaking the deaths of thousands of minorities in silence, sweeping their deaths under the rug so as not to offend. Makes me want to puke.

      Their solution? Get rid of the guns. As if the gang bangers and the gangs and the drug dealers will just voluntarily turn in their guns when the innocent population does the same. Morons.



    8. There was that recent study tracking homicides in Missouri that contradict the claim that banning guns stops only the good guys from obtaining guns:

      "A new study has found that around 60 more people have been murdered each year since the state of Missouri made it easier to buy a handguns without going through a background check.

      In the study which will be published in an issue of the Journal of Urban Health, a team of researchers led by Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research Director Daniel Webster found that between 55 to 63 more people were murdered each year after Missouri repealed its permit-to-purchase (PTP) handgun law in 2007.

      “This study provides compelling confirmation that weaknesses in firearm laws lead to deaths from gun violence,” Webster said in a press release. “There is strong evidence to support the idea that the repeal of Missouri’s handgun purchaser licensing law contributed to dozens of additional murders in Missouri each year since the law was changed.”

      After the law was repealed, unlicensed sellers were no longer required to perform background checks before selling their guns.

      While murders in Missouri spiked between 2007 and 2012, bordering states experienced no significant increases. And the overall murder rate in the U.S. declined by 5 percent during that same period.

      “Coincident exactly with the policy change, there was an immediate upward trajectory to the homicide rates in Missouri,” Webster told BBC. “That upward trajectory did not happen with homicides that did not involve guns; it did not occur to any neighbouring state; the national trend was doing the opposite – it was trending downward; and it was not specific to one or two localities – it was, for the most part, state-wide.”

      Researchers concluded that repealing the permit-to-purchase (PTP) law had given more murderers access to guns.

      “Because many perpetrators of homicide have backgrounds that would prohibit them from possessing firearms under federal law, they seek out private dealers to acquire their weapons,” Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research Deputy Director Jon Vernick explained. “Requiring a background check on all gun sales is a commonsense approach to reducing gun violence that does not infringe upon the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding gun owners.”

      The study is being presented at the American Association for the Advancement of Science this month. "

    9. Dear Ash, I have never been to David Duke. com in my life. You are slandering me. :(

      I picked up that useful piece of information from two or three sources, and I think it is right. One was the pretty lawyers on Fox News. I read it somewhere as well.

      I just got out of the shower, and got to go now. I leave it up to you to disprove me.

      One of the Fox folk, come to think of it, was a black guy who mentioned it. I think they were talking about the State of Florida, in regard to Zimmerman.

    10. Here Ash -

      But the debate has everything backwards over who benefits from the law. Poor blacks who live in high crime urban areas are not only the most likely victims of crime, they are also the ones who benefit the most from Stand Your Ground laws. It makes it easier for them to protect themselves when the police can't be there fast enough. Rules that make self-defense more difficult would impact blacks the most.

      Blacks may make up just 16.6 percent of Florida's population, but they account for over 31 percent of the state's defendants invoking a Stand Your Ground defense. Black defendants who invoke this statute to justify their actions are acquitted 8 percent more frequently than whites who use that same defense.

      Prior to "Stand Your Ground," citizens had to retreat as far as possible and then announce to the criminal that they were going to shoot. The "Stand Your Ground" law drops the original requirement to retreat. But lethal force is still only justified when a reasonable person would believe that an attacker intends to inflict serious bodily harm or death. The law doesn't protect anyone who provokes a confrontation.

      Now I got to run. But there are plenty of other sources.

  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

    1. By the way of disinterest....

      The Quirkian Faction of Santa Barbara Buddhism has been having a dispute with the Dalia Lama of late.

      The Quirkians - we recall Quirk voted 'eastern' in the last Presidential Election, saying all the other candidates were "all dicks" - are somehow related to those who bang drums and tambourines in airport terminals and such, and beg for money. The Quirkians usually solicit money over the internet or via the emails and blogs.

      They are accusing the Dalai Lama of somehow violating their 'religious freedoms'..........on closer inspection it looks more like a territorial turf begging war of some kind.

      More updates ASAP when I learn more solid info on this exciting subject....

    2. .

      Right, Bob is waiting for the next update coming from the blog. Word from the blog is it has been delayed due to interference from the reptilian overlords.



  6. More balderdash from our resident racist.

    The fellow that thinks the US should support cannibalism, send human meat as food ai, to the needy.

    A real advocate of developing a Soylent Green Society..


    1. Farmer Bob

      The fellow that thinks the US should support cannibalism, send human meat as food AID, to the needy.

    2. You have your own thread going. Stay there.

      Your comment is absurd.

      It is simply more harassment and bullying. Nothing more.

      Quit following me around.

    3. Gotta keep watch, Farmer Bob.

      Slavers and their supporters would fulfill an appropriately poetic profile point of a Soylent Green Society member.

      You threatened four million people with the prospect of cannibalism, no euphemisms involved..
      You refuse to walk back from the statement.

      Refusing to acknowledge the diabolical evil that is embodied in the very idea you have presented for public perusal..

  7. According to Electronic Intifada, more than 140 academics in Ireland have signed this pledge:

    In response to the call from Palestinian civil society for an institutional academic boycott of Israel, we pledge not to engage in any professional association with Israeli academic, research and state institutions and with those representing these institutions, until such time as Israel complies with international law and universal principles of human rights.

    The signatories are from Irish higher education institutions and include many well-known figures, such as Seamus Deane, Ailbhe Smyth, Luke Gibbons, Ronit Lentin, Joe Cleary, Kieran Allen, Kathleen Lynch, Tadhg Foley, Terrence McDonough and Helena Sheehan.,

    The pledge was announced at the launch of Academics for Palestine,
    which took place in the Irish capital, Dublin, on 20 February


  8. This is simply an attempt to distract attention from his support of, and profit from, the most ecologically disastrous energy source on Earth: TAR SANDS!

    Disclose and Dispose, Ashley!

    Give the winnings from your advocacy for, and investments in, Evil, to one of our favorite charities, or the NRA!

    1. Sorry to burst your bubble doug but I have no money riding on the tar sands other than a desire to keep my car fueled.

    2. II would also like to have my kids and their (maybe) kids have a comfortable existence on this planet. I remember as a kid thinking if I canoed far enough north I'd get to where few men ever went. Life in Hawaii must be like living in paradise - just like Disney.

    3. Follow Rufus's lead and vow to build your own still.

      Ten years from now you can still be using the same ruse. (still)

    4. Uncle Walt did not retire in Paradise, that I am aware of.

      If I were him, I'd settle for Disneyland.

    5. I do think we can assure our kid's future energy needs w/o resorting to present technology to extract from Tar Sands.
      Leave 'em there until we come up with a way to not permanently eliminate the forests.

      Not gonna happen: Full speed ahead. (Backwards)

    6. Being a businessman I can see the value of owning your own still. I shudder at the thought of government owned, or subsidized, stills. Also, as a businessman, I can appreciate revenue, from whatever source, government included.

    7. Doug,

      we are depleting the forests at a tremendous rate and it saddens me greatly. 30 some odd years ago I recorded a song and made a video called "Trees can't run". Didn't make one iota of differences in the grand scheme of things.

    8. Maybe it was just a really lousy video?

      If you sing like you look.......


    9. Maybe it even made men and women get out the must think before you act, Ash. Remember that.

    10. Think of it this act should be done in the same manner as lining up a really important putt. Due care, figuring all the angles, the lay of the lawn, etc.....


  9. Harold Ramis- 1944–2014

    Edelstein on Harold Ramis: A Rock in a Sea of Loons

    Harold Ramis, the co-star of Ghostbusters and director of Caddyshack and Groundhog Day, was a famously menschy and stable guy in a sea of loons —some of them not so menschy or at the very least troubled, needy, and subject to unending insecurities. You could argue that said stability contributed to his less-than-electric presence onscreen, and he would actually have been the first to agree.

    Harold Ramis RIP

    Harold Ramis Explains Groundhog Day’s Metaphors

  10. Break your Silence, Ash!

    Admit to the crimes against nature you have invested in, and profited from!

    Repent before it is too late!

  11. I have an Orgasm when I read the word "Infitada"

  12. Even Strip Mines can be reforested.

    The precious forests of the North, after being treated as "Overburden" are replaced by toxic Tar Sand settling ponds which will never again support useful life for as long as man is on this Earth.

    Tens of thousands of SQUARE MILES!

  13. Has Ashley's Government ever fessed up to the destruction of ALL the wildlife that once called those forests home?

    1. Canada has been, for the most part, simply a land of natural resources. We've survived as hewers of wood selling the land from beneath our feet adding little of value to the end product other than the raw material. The great Canadian leaders have been the ones who have encouraged 'value add' before shipping.

    2. "We've survived as hewers of wood selling the land from beneath our feet adding little of value to the end product other than the raw material."


      But few, or none, w/the possible exception of some forms of mining, have left the Earth totally devoid of life, in perpetuity, as do the Tar Sanders.

    3. What is happening at the tar sands is largely unknown by most. A young documentary filmmaker I just worked with wanted to do a doc on it. Trouble is the companies control all access to the area. No access no story.

      To the best of my knowledge, worldwide, the most prominent loss of forest is to logging for building and paper products (my ass loves the sweet softness of Charmin), and, you listening Bob, FARMING.

    4. My understanding of the tar sands is it is essentially strip mining with ugly energy intensive chemical processes overlaid inn top to enable the bitumen to be transported. Fracking seems similar but different. There was an article today about the president if Exxon suing to prevent a fracking operation on land adjacent to his ranch.

      still, gotta drive my car cheap and business knows best!

    5. "Worldwide" is the key word there, Ash.

      Think Brazil, etc.

      The farmers here are no longer converting timberland to cropland in any meaningful way.

      In fact I would wager it is going the other way. There are reforestation programs. The lady and husband right next to odd couple to be sure, a Flippo and a retired professor, the Bird Man of WSU......converted ALL of the old Campbell Place to trees. ALL of which they planted themselves. Farmer Bob has never taken timber and converted to farmland, ever. In fact I too have planted trees, mostly, I admit, along the creek.

    6. Around 400 acres, I think, they converted back to forests. Doing really well too. Mix of all sorts of trees......looking nice.

      I'm all for it.

    7. Further, our National Forests, at least out this way, are now working under the protocol of no more board feet taken out than grows in any given year. Sustainable Yield I think it is called.

    8. Mr. and Mrs. Bird Man didn't pay for all those trees themselves. I know for a certainty they had program help.

      They did do the work themselves, which is quite an accomplishment for a couple of 60 year olds.

  14. In the comment race between the last two threads, it is -

    Ash - 53
    rat - 0

    at this time.

    1. Sorry for stomping in tour thread rat but I figured controversy was in order.

    2. That's really nice, Ash. But your stomping is not the problem.

    3. Not to worry ash.

      Nothing like getting the cannibal stirred up, never know what's in his pot.

      heh, heh, he.

      He's a member of the Soylent Green Society, wants t shoot Arizonians and sell the meat.

      Hard to imagine just how diabolically sinister a person would have to be ...
      ... to post such a comment on the World Wide Web?

      No one cares when a billionaire drug dealer takes a fall.

      But Doctor Mireles he is almost recovered fro the plane crash incident.

      Dr. Manuel Mireles, founder of the autodefensas in Michoacán, has returned to his city of Tepalcatepec this morning shortly before 9 AM. He has arrived to the city, will meet with autodefensas coordinators and attend the autodefensas anniversary celebration that will be held at 9PM this evening.

      Wonder if Farmer Bob still eats his daily ration of 'Blood Avocados'?

    4. More land in the US is covered with trees now than 200 years ago.

      At the bottom of that Huffpo piece are pictures and facts about what's left behind the Sanders.

      Logging and Fracking are nothing compared to the Tar Sand disasters.

    5. Doug is right. There are more trees in USA now than a couple hundred years ago.

    6. Piers Morgan didn't leave much of a wake.

  15. A miracle has occurred. Someone has commented on rat's thread.

    1. Did he do an obit and tribute to Piers Morgan?

    2. Thread before this one. About Shorty. Some fellow put up a sympathy comment. Didn't want the thread to feel bad or somethin'. Says no thread should go without any comment at all, makes the thread feel bad.

    3. Think of it Doug. If you were a thread, and nobody made a comment on you, wouldn't you feel bad?

      After all, you're not responsible for who put you up, you're just a thread.

    4. I remember one time Q put up a thread, and Allen's thread was getting all the action.

      Q started commenting like crazy on his own thread, finally putting up enough posts to just edge out Allen in the final thread count.

      That's just the way Q is, a drunken competitor all the way.

      A lesser man would not have cared.

    5. You mean all the rest of us would remain threadbare?

    6. Maybe Q thought he was in the '37 Olympics.

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