The Eclectic One

…Because labels are a poor substitute for thinking

Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

A Conundrum of Bloggy Proportions

Posted by Bill Nance on February 6, 2010

I have been getting a lot of hits on this page in the last couple of months, mostly referring from other places where I post thoughts, argue points, etc.

I have been doing that (writing on other forums), primarily, rather than writing blog posts.

This is for a couple of reasons:

First, I don’t want to copy/paste someone else’s  comments from a message board or topic forum and then have a discussion with myself on the blog. I won’t learn anything and the original writer hasn’t given me permission to do so.

Secondly, the things I’m inclined to write about are varied as can be. They range from ethics to guns, to civil rights and the wonderful personality of our dogs.  I’m neither a well-known person, widely published by other organizations, nor am I a specialist that can write volumes on a niche topic. Those are great things, but it’s not me.

As much as I like to write about guns, there’s only so much I can write that’s not a rip-off of someone else or hasn’t been said elsewhere better than I’m likely to present it.

I’m tempted to let the entire blog just die when it comes to renewal time. But I would like your feedback.

Thoughts?

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Posted in Miscellaneous, Rants, Uncategorized | 3 Comments »

With “Friends” Like These…

Posted by Bill Nance on July 15, 2009

A blogger calling himself “Dr. Omed” has a post encouraging stricter gun control on his blog that is frankly so wrong-headed I won’t even try to give a blow-by-blow rebuttal. I will try, however, to give some answers to his questions and poke holes in some of his assumptions about human beings.

First, here’s a sample of how he views human beings:

In my humble opinion, people who buy guns for self defense want to shoot people, want an excuse to shoot people, and want a gun handy to shoot the people should the proper occasion arise and the excuse provided. As recent events have demonstrated, the excuse threshold is lower for some than others. Most gun owners under most circumstances are Walter Mitty shooters and only dream of shooting someone.

…I bear the Mark of Cain the same as the assorted wingers I accused in my previous post. My point is that every human being on Earth has murder in their hearts, myself included. We are complicated creatures and we have a lot of things in our hearts, but murder is part of the mix. Anyone who denies this darkness in their hearts I personally would not trust within grabbing distance of a firearm.

Omed says he’s a gun owner. All I can say is I kind of wish he weren’t. Not that I think he shouldn’t be able to be one, I just think anyone with that view of guns would be best served not having one.

First, having murder in our hearts is a nice rhetorical flourish, but it doesn’t equate with the will, desire or practice of actually committing murder. People who do this are in a tiny minority measured in hundredths or thousandths of one percent.

Secondly, the idea that people who have guns for self-defense are just looking for an excuse to kill someone legally is so far from reality I can hardly begin to imagine where Omed is getting his information.

I don’t know if Omed carries his gun or not. But as someone who’s carried for many years I can assure you that the last thing on earth I want to do is shoot someone. Of course something I want to do even less is be victimized by a criminal.

Now I have some experience about what it’s like to shoot someone. Granted it’s second hand, but let me give you the juice in a nutshell: I have yet to meet a police officer who’s shot someone in the line of duty who doesn’t second-guess the shooting and wish there had been some way- any way, to avoid it, for the rest of their lives. These were totally righteous shootings. And the consequences to the shooter were life-changing.

Thanks, I really don’t want to have to live with having killed someone. BUT…I’d rather live with that than not live at all. And I think that’s where Omed gets it wrong.

Personally I think he’s been spending too much time on gun forums. It’s the internet and like all places where people can anonymously post, you get a large number of internet tough-guys, most of whom know nothing and when asked in person are actually a lot more tame than their internet postings.

He poses this question:

Now, I’ve already confessed that I find the death-dealing beauty of firearms seductive. I admitted I have murder in my heart. I’ve as much as said I’d like to shoot someone, give the right set of circumstances. Did I mention that I’m a Manic Depressive who drinks a bit?

The question you want to ask yourself is, do you want a person like me to be able to buy, with untracable cash in hand, a military grade assault rifle and all the ammo I can carry–as easily as I can buy a Mars Bar and a six pack at the corner Quikie Mart? Well, do ya–Punk?

That is my personal argument for stricter gun control.

Omed is clearly calling for a ban on private sales of firearms. I think this idea is as wrongheaded as one can get.

We need better criminal control, not better gun-control.  I’d like to see violent felons locked up for a very long time. Similarly I think people with such serious mental illnesses they are dangerous should be locked up, possibly forever.

But once you’ve served your time, I don’t think you should be walking around with a scarlet letter for the rest of your life. If you’re walking around you have paid your debt. The fact that we let violent felons go with relative slaps on the wrist or let them out on parole is the problem here, not the firearm or the “murder in our hearts.”

I don’t want ANY checks on firearms. I DO want to see a serious re-thinking of our criminal justice system. The idea that someone convicted of drug possession will be denied the fundamental human right of self defense long after they’ve served their sentence is obscene.

As the title says: with “friends” like Omed, gun owners don’t need any more enemies.

Posted in firearms, Guns Dammit!, Left-Wing Nut-Jobery, Politics, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Speechless -Part II

Posted by Bill Nance on April 28, 2009

I was gratified to read Daniel Larison’s article in the American Conservative today. Larison’s article is a response to  a particularly bizarre argument made by Jim Manzi who asked: “Or more precisely, why is the belief that the torture of captured combatants is wrong compatible with anything other than some form of pacifism? I mean this an actual question, not as a passive-aggressive assertion”

He echoes my own dumbfounded amazement that people are actually asking whether torture is “all that bad.”  Or if it’s alright as long as valuable intelligence was recovered using it.

Money Quote:

One of the things that has kept me from saying much over the last week or so is my sheer amazement that there are people who seriously pose such questions and expect to be answered with something other than expressions of bafflement and moral horror. Something else that has kept me from writing much on this recently is the profoundly dispiriting realization (really, it is just a reminder) that it is torture and aggressive war that today’s mainstream right will go to the wall to defend, while any and every other view can be negotiated, debated, compromised or abandoned. I have started doubting whether people who are openly pro-torture or engaged in the sophistry of Manzi’s post are part of the same moral universe as I am… (emphasis added)

The more I listen to people who call themselves “conservative” lately, the more I wonder if I’m not dreaming.  Is this America? Or is it the Weimar Republic?

Posted in National Security, Politics, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Speechless

Posted by Bill Nance on April 24, 2009

Speechless. That’s how I’ve felt lately.

Since the election I’ve been watching people I know, some of them friends, frankly lose their bloody minds.

Since 9/12/01 We’ve lived with the worst abuses of power, the most demonstrably dishonest, corrupt and incompetent administration perhaps in our nation’s history.

For at least the last three years, five if you start from the first revelations, it’s become quite apparent that the Bush administration wire-tapped everyone in sight -sans warrants or probable cause. That they held American citizens without charge incommunicado and without access to an attorney for years at a time, implemented a policy where detainees were tortured on a routine basis, spent money like a drunken sailor on shore leave and generally left America vastly less safe, it’s economy in shambles and its reputation in the trash.

These aren’t even debatable questions.  As Mark Kleiman is fond of saying: Everyone is entitled to his own opinions, but not his own facts.

So after eight years of this utter disaster, the American people voted in a clear plurality last November to elect a Democrat…and NOW the wing-nuts on the right are suddenly civil libertarians, fiscal conservatives and sticklers for the law…oh, except for that pesky torture thing.

I don’t even have a response for this level of intellectual dishonesty and blatant partisanship.  It’s inexcuseable and inexplicable.  And so I am left..speechless.

Posted in Politics, Right-Wing Nut-jobery, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Susan Boyle: Wow

Posted by Bill Nance on April 19, 2009

I don’t usually comment on “popular culture,” but this was frankly too good not to talk about.  Yes, in case you missed it, I’m speaking of Susan Boyle, a dowdy, paunchy, cat-owning 47-year-old from a small village in the UK who belted out this number…And friends, if you don’t click, you’re missing a genuine treat.

Who knew such beauty was inside this woman? And how sad we that often forget that beauty truly lies within, not in the simple the wrapping of the package.  Thanks Susan, for reminding me of that.

Posted in Miscellaneous, Uncategorized | Tagged: , | 1 Comment »

Dissenting Opinion -No, Not All Gun-Rights Advocates Voted For Palin/MCain

Posted by Bill Nance on April 8, 2009

Deep breath….

Well, I had the temerity to (again) admit that I campaigned and voted for Barack Obama in November – Something I’ve never been in the slightest bit bashful about.  But when you admit these things on a decidedly right-wing gun forum, you’d better get ready for the fireworks. I admit I didn’t expect the animosity I received.

A few comments resulting from that post: (all anonymous by the way):

  • obama? thanks a fuckin lot
  • You Socialist scumbag.
  • A socalist is a socalist, they are all bad. You’re no [sic] excemption.
  • Burn those flags, brother!

These were actually, some of the tamest things said.

So how can someone who loves their guns, is an absolutist on the Human Right of self-defense (and the means to that defense) vote for a guy like Barack Obama? Easy enough to answer.

First and foremost, the country faces enormous challenges, politically, internationally and of course economically. The McCain/Palin ticket seemed to me to have virtually no answers on any of those issues. They promised what was, in all substance, a third Bush term.

Second, John McCain did two things for which I will forgive no politician, ever.

One: He voted against making the CIA hold itself to the same standards as the U.S. military’s Field Manual on Interrogations. In other words, torture is fine as long as the CIA does it.

Two: His pick of Sarah Palin, the buffoon from Wasilla, with major ties to a secessionist movement, not a shred of understanding of ANY issue of national importance and a religious fanatic to boot, was frankly the most horrendously cynical and irresponsible move by a major party presidential candidate in history. As I said at the time, Palin makes Dan Quayle look like Winston Churchill. -And I wasn’t alone. Many Republicans came to the same conclusion.

Finally, I liked lots of what Barack Obama was talking about.

Anyone who thinks the current healthcare system is actually working is not aware of the facts of the matter -it’s plain willful ignorance.

The notion that zero government intervention or yet MORE tax breaks for the already wealthy is the proper response when the market has imploded in an unprecedented way is a position firmly opposed to reality.

And finally, anyone who thinks more bellicose language and a refusal to deal with Realpolitik is a good idea hasn’t paid attention for the last 8 years. This is not even mentioning the Republicans’ complete capitulation on any semblance of fiscal discipline or intellectual honesty since 2001.

All that having been said, there was one guy with whom I agreed on lots of things and bitterly opposed on a few others (mostly guns and the sheer level of government growth) The other person running stood for absolutely nothing I believed in, had not a shred of credibility and had chosen someone as a running-mate who wasn’t qualified to be a decent mayor a a mid-sized town, much less Vice President of the United States.The ONLY thing I liked about the McCain/Palin ticket was their stance on gun control.

Given those choices, it was obvious to me who the right man was among the two serious candidates. I thought at the time and still believe that a McCain/Palin administration would have been utter disaster for this country. I think Obama will, overall, do a vastly better job. Gun control is ONE issue. A very important one, but not the ONLY one.

For those who can’t figure this out, let me ask you to join me in a quick thought experiment.

Suppose Ted Kennedy were running for office vs. an Anti-gun Republican with otherwise solid “conservative” credentials.

Now pretend for a moment that Kennedy had been an ardent supporter of the Second Amendment for his entire career, but that all his other positions were identical to what we all know and despise.

By you’re logic, given the above facts, you’d all vote for TED KENNEDY based on guns alone? -Gimme a Freakin break.

That’s the same choice you’d have me make in voting for the McCain Palin ticket. I won’t do it, I didn’t do it, and no, I don’t regret it for a second.

Posted in Barack Obama, firearms, Guns Dammit!, John McCain, Politics, Sarah Palin, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

Former Sailor Gets 10 Years For Supporting Al Quaeda…No Torture Necessary.

Posted by Bill Nance on April 3, 2009

Hassan Abu-Jihaad, a former sailor stationed on the USS Benfold was sentenced to ten years in Federal prison for espionage.

WASHINGTON (CNN)A former U.S. Navy sailor who provided al Qaeda supporters secret information about planned ship movements received a maximum 10-year prison sentence, the Justice Department announced Friday.

The former sailor, Hassan Abu-Jihaad, was convicted in 2008 of disclosing secrets on ship movements to potentially enable an attack similar to one carried out against the destroyer USS Cole, which killed 17 U.S. sailors.

A federal jury heard the case in Connecticut, which is home to a Web hosting company that included Web sites of a London, England-based organization that allegedly supported acts of terrorism.

Prosecutors presented evidence at trial that Abu-Jihaad praised Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda, and praised the attack on the USS Cole as a “martyrdom operation.”

U.S. District Court Judge Mark Kravitz in New Haven granted prosecutors’ request for the longest possible sentence of 10 years in prison.

Well isn’t that just amazing.  When an American citizen commits a crime, you can try, convict and imprison them.  Sadly that wasn’t the case for former gang-banger and general loser Jose Padilla, the alleged “dirty bomber” (against whom no related charges were ever brought nor the slightest bit of actual evidence connecting him to any such plot ever discovered) wasn’t so lucky.

Nope, the Bush Administration declared Padilla and “enemy combatant” and had him tortured for several years while in military custody.  Tortured him until he was essentially made insane by the process, according to his lawyers and the civilian psychiatrists who interviewed him.

So the lesson for today folks is that the justice system works just fine. You don’t need to unlawfully detain American Citizens without legal counsel or charges for years at a time and you don’t have to torture people to make a case.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

Blogger’s Block

Posted by Bill Nance on January 3, 2009

I’ve been trying to compose something meaningful for the last several days after my Holiday hiatus, but everything I’ve written seems to turn to mush halfway through and not worth posting.

I’ve been writing stuff on Israel in Gaza, on the Blago mess, the MSM, gun control and other subjects; I have a huge number of “saved drafts,” but nothing worth posting.

I promise to be a little more forthcoming in the next few days. What the Hell, I’ll post stuff I’m not happy with if I have to. Better that than nothing. There’s stuff I want to say, I just haven’t been able to put it into words on paper/screen.

-Nuff said

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Quote of the Day

Posted by Bill Nance on December 19, 2008

Whoever desires to found a state and give it laws, must start with assuming that all men are bad and ever ready to display their vicious nature, whenever they may find occasion for it” -Nicolo Machiavelli, Discourses on the first ten books of Titus Livius

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

Just so ya know…

Posted by Bill Nance on December 18, 2008

Vernon Reid (the one in the red baseball cap) is a GOD.

-Nuff said

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