The Council Has Spoken: June 19, 2015

Council Winners

Non-Council Winners

Some Ironies of GunPhobia

Last night one of my liberal friends posted an anti-gun screed on Facebook. This morning in a completely unrelated thread she’s posted that the son of a friend is threatening her. Only someone who appreciates the value of the 2nd Amendment can see the irony between those two posts.

On a related topic, PRI did a segment last night about the prevalence of mass shootings in the world, and the Harvard professor they interviewed provided the only viewpoint (surprise) that the US gun laws are behind the mass shootings. This agrees with Obama’s press conference condemning the massacre. IJ Review has a different take. When adjusted for population the US is behind 5 other countries all of which have restrictive gun laws.

Gunphobes have no idea how many legally owned guns there are in the United States. Statistics I have seen run from .75 t0 1.25 guns per person in the United States – anywhere from 250m to 350m legally owned guns. When you compare that number to the legally purchased weapons used in mass shootings, such as the Glock purchased by Dylann “Mushroom Head” Roof, and the ratio of legally owned guns USED in mass shootings vs legally owned guns NOT USED in mass shootings is infinitesmal.

As a former gunphobe myself I understand their mindset when a tragedy like the church shooting in Charleston SC happens. I am a human being who cares about others, and it is exactly because of that care that I own guns. I should not have to rely upon others for my protection and safety. As I’ve learned cops cannot be everywhere and are never there when you need them. It only takes seconds for someone to harm you or your loved ones, while it takes minutes (or longer in many cases) for police to arrive. Gunphobes don’t get that.

As a gunphobe in college I was robbed at gunpoint, and while at the mercy of the guy robbing me the only weapon I had for my defense was a corded telephone. Had the robber decided to become a killer, there was nothing I would have been able to do beyond hitting him in the face with a telephone before he shot me. A few years later while living in a predominantly gay neighborhood of San Diego, young men and women my age were being attacked for being “gay” in a series of wilding attacks that left a young 18 year old man dead just steps away from my apartment. I marched in a protest rally against the attacks, and that’s when I realized that I couldn’t rely upon anyone else to protect me. Self-defense was ultimately up to me. Although it took years I eventually overcame the unreasonable fear of guns, and now appreciate their presence in my life. In the past I wrote about an incident that even now I cannot say much about except getting over gunphobia allowed me to protect myself, my son, and a complete stranger during the time it took for the authorities to arrive. Once they did the guns were put away, their job complete.

Gunphobes don’t get that, nor are they aware of all the instances where guns are pulled in self-defense and not fired, or when guns are used in self-defense and victims are saved. Those occurrences are much more common than the mass shootings perpetrated by sick human beings like Dylann Roof. Taking those guns away, even if it were possible, would just replace one set of victims with another, and that’s the ultimate irony that Gunphobes are simply incapable of recognizing.

Update: Here’s a case where a similar tragedy was averted thanks to a responsible gun owner carrying inside a church. Note how that story doesn’t make CNN or the New York Times. No surprise why.

Someday Everyone Will Be a Victim for 15 Minutes

Watching the crash, burn and phoenix-like resurrection of Rachel Dolezal got me thinking about Warhol’s 15 Minutes quote. Seen from a completely objective perspective, Dolezal discovered fame and success by pretending to be black. At first there may have simply been an assumption she was black made by those working with her on African-American issues, but over time Dolezal began lying about her race and background. The more successful she became, the bigger the lies became, and the more prominent her African-American features became as well. Like many con artists before her the lie took over her life and it almost reached the point where she believed it herself.

But the fact that when asked point blank about whether her parents were correct and she was white, she didn’t deny it – proving that she hadn’t completely let go of reality. She knew she was white and she knew she was lying.

As the scandal blew up and Dolezal became an Internet joke, she had two choices. She could take responsibility for her actions and start living truthfully again, or she could take the escape route raised by the Right comparing her case to Bruce/Caitlyn Jenner. She chose the latter and claimed she was transracial.

Since the interview where she claimed she “identified” as black, story after story has emerged of her playing the victim. A victim of spousal abuse. A victim of a pedophile brother. A victim of racist parents. Again, from a rational perspective it makes sense for her to go this route because it is a lot easier to claim the mantle of “victim” than it is to ask forgiveness and atone for her lies and petty crimes. Our current leftist-dominated society that elevates victimhood to a kind of unquestioned secular sainthood has made it all the easier for her to take this route.

But don’t be fooled. She is as much a victim as any petty thief caught with stolen goods in the trunk of his car. While the Left might accept labeling her a victim, I’d be curious to see how the African-American community feels about such a label being applied. Would they see her as a victim or as just another example of a white person getting away with something they could not, a Left wing White Privilege?

How To Kill Your Dog With Stupidity and Love (But Mostly Stupidity)

We moved to rural North Carolina in August 2009. A visit with the realtor to the property that July foreshadowed our tenure here: We found a stray dog while viewing the property and the realtor adopted it. Since then we have handled approximately 25 abandoned animals of various breeds who made it onto our property or were found near it. We found homes for most of these animals. Spay/neuter is such a simple concept to me, but evidently not around here, and people continue to abandon their animals on or near my property.  Although I have done my best and achieved successful placements for many of them, I made a series of fatal errors with one dog. I am writing this in the hope that others will learn from my mistakes. SK

I am an avid animal lover and have always thought of myself as a good animal care-giver. But yesterday I had to put a dog to sleep who suffered because of my errors in thinking and judgment. I am writing this in the hope that I can atone for this dog’s premature death by preventing someone from making the same mistakes I have made in her care.

This was the dog. Her name was Blue. She was a blue heeler I rescued as a six week old puppy less than a year after moving to North Carolina.

Blue died on the floor of a veterinary clinic as I petted and her apologized for causing her death. What follows is a list of the mistakes I made during her five years of life.

1. Know the Common Behaviors of Your Breed. When I rescued Blue I knew little about heelers. Heelers are working dogs and as such they need a lot of attention, activity and exercise – preferably involving herding animals such as sheep, cows or goats. They tend to being solitary and do not integrate well into a larger pack unless they are dominant.

Blue came into a situation with large, older dog who would dominate all the others including Blue. Blue never integrated into the hierarchy and was always challenging her place, picking fights with beta dogs, some of which would escalate into full-blown free-for-alls. Since she had nothing to herd, she often ran down and nipped at the little dogs who often would fight back, causing a crisis. My mistake here was not recognizing Blue’s nature and finding a more suitable home for her right away. Instead I tried medicating her with drugs and hoped she would calm down, another mistake. Medication cannot mask traits that have been selectively bred into the dog’s breed.

2. Do Not Attribute Human Emotions or Feelings To The Dog. When I found a Pit Bull/Boxer mix starving on my property and took her in to foster her, her presence caused one of the worst dog fights I have ever had to break up. Several of the dogs were injured including one seriously, and I received several deep punctures on my hands and arms that took weeks to scar over and heal. I mistook Blue’s change in behavior, of hiding under the deck or refusing to go out on walks with the rest of the dogs as jealousy or anger towards the new addition.

Dogs can’t talk to us, and one of the few ways of communicating they have with us to change their pattern of behavior. Blue liked the walks through the woods, and she didn’t usually hide under the deck. These were clues that I should have picked up on but didn’t because I thought Blue was acting petulant towards the new dog.

As you no doubt understand dogs are not 13 year old girls. They cannot act petulantly. What I missed was that Blue was sick, seriously ill with canine diabetes. Canine diabetes does not manifest itself the way human diabetes does. Although Blue was slightly overweight dogs do not get diabetes from being overweight the way humans do. I’m still trying to learn about this disease although it is rare (1 out of 200 dogs) and too late for Blue. But the see-sawing blood sugars would explain why Blue would feel fine one day and not the next. This wasn’t her being temperamental; it was her manifesting the signs of her disease.

So please, resist the temptation to look upon your dog as a little human. They aren’t, and my failure to realize that caused me to miss the signs of canine diabetes.

3. Have Yearly Wellness Checks. I have no idea why I let these slip. About two years ago my old vet left his practice and I was forced to find another vet. Although I kept up with their rabies shots and brought the dogs in whenever I was sure they were sick, I got out of the habit of bringing them in every year even when they were well. Blue had just been to the vet in early May to get her rabies updated and stay in the kennel while we were away. A simple blood panel would have found Blue’s canine diabetes much earlier, and there is no doubt that had I done a wellness check Blue would not only be with us today, but much of the suffering my animals have gone through because of her behavior would have been avoided.

4. Protect Against Rare But Devastating Diseases.  It is better to protect against extremely rare but devastating events than commonly occurring but non-life threatening ones. Take for example cell phone insurance. Many people pay $10/month plus a $200 deductible to insure against the loss or destruction of their $600 iPhone. For many people $10/month will get you term life insurance that will protect your family financially should you die yet few do so figuring the odds are against them dying. This is true; the odds favor healthy young Americans living to their late 70s. But the odds of Blue developing canine diabetes was 1/200, and the odds of me dying within the next five years are 1/100. If the outcome of these events are so terrible, then we should work hard to mitigate the damage or perhaps even prevent them from happening as best as we can.

In the case of animals this means getting vaccines beyond the mandated rabies vaccine. If you can get a jab to prevent your dog or cat from getting sick then do so. Same thing with heartworm preventative meds. For about $5/month you can protect them from heartworms, parasites that can seriously shorten their lives and run up huge vet and drug bills should your pet come down with them. If you are willing to spend $10/month to save a few hundred bucks on a smart phone that will be obsolete in two years, how can you not justify spending the same on your pet who will share your life for the next five, ten or maybe even fifteen years? It’s a small price to pay to avoid the heartbreak of a chronically ill dog.

And speaking of vaccines this also applies to human beings. I have never turned down a jab for my son or myself, but recommend you discuss vaccines with your doctor and avoid the Internet if you have concerns about them.

5. Animals Need More Than Love. Although caring for her wasn’t easy, and she often made me angry, I loved Blue. She was a devoted companion and would follow me or the Wife anywhere, sticking close by instead of running off like the others. In the morning at the same time everyday she would wake us up with her “tap dance routine,” her little excited dance telling us that it was time for us to wake up and let her outside. Occasionally I would sing to her, taking Prince’s “Raspberry Beret” and changing the lyrics to “Blueberry Beret.” I had hoped that by working extra hard to find homes for the Pit Bull/Boxer mix and a beagle she always fought with that we would make her life here more comfortable and happier here. Unfortunately she died a day after placement of my last foster dog.

Those actions were motivated by love for the dog, but had nothing to do with reality. It wasn’t a psychological issue she was suffering from but a physical ailment, canine diabetes, that by the time we recognized the symptoms it was too late to do anything about. Proper animal care requires using one’s mind to see the situation clearly, not relying upon ones heart to explain reality. We did the latter, and the dog is dead.

I have no excuses and can only hope that by sharing my experience others may avoid my mistakes and be spared the grief and self-loathing that comes with failing a beloved pet.

There Is No Escaping Yourself

So it’s the day after your shoulder surgery, and one of your dogs is sick so you take it to the vet. You learn the dog is critically ill but makes it through the night. The next day your son is due to graduate that evening, having passed through the public school system without any sort of academic achievement.

The dog rallies in the morning and everyone is hopeful including the vet who promises to call if she takes a turn for the worse. I receive that call at 1pm and within minutes I’m lying on a floor next to the dog who once was the little puppy I had rescued from a one eyed farmer with too many un-altered dogs and not enough sense, sobbing and apologizing to the dog for being tricked into believing she wasn’t that sick. She had only been out of sorts for a day or two and I had figured it was just a stomach bug passing through the house. During those days I had found the early videos of her running around the house and yard as a fuzzy little puppy, and I remembered that puppy as I watched the pink fluid enter her veins ending her life.

What a failure I am, claiming to love animals and failing them when they need me the most. I tell the wife and son. The former is cold and distant, the latter in his own happy world with his friends all lit up with graduating high school and it barely registers. I spend the rest of the afternoon sounding professional when the phone is on, crying when it’s not.

That evening the Wife and I ride to the graduation in silence. We sit on metal seats embedded into the concrete bleachers, and within minutes my shoulder is singing with pain. The ceremony begins and my son’s principal takes the podium and jokes about all the things he will remember about this graduating class. He mentions my son by name, saying he’ll never forget him being late everyday to school and the audience laughs. I turn to the Wife and she is horrified.

Have I died on the operating table and gone to Hell? I wonder for a moment. The physical pain of the shoulder, the mental pain of an intellectual parent failing to raise an academically gifted child, and the emotional pain of failing to act in time to save one of my animals all swirl together as I look down and watch the ants crawling between my feet.

“There is no escaping yourself,” the wife says, breaking the silence on the ride home. Time slows down and I can almost hear G-d laughing at me.  No, there is no escape. No escaping the moment, the pain the sick stench of failure.

No escaping yourself.

The Council Has Spoken: June 12, 2015

Council Winners

Non-Council Winners

More Crazy White Women

Rachel Dolezal, Spokane chapter president of the NAACP, has been outed by her parents for being white. “According to her mother, Ruthanne began to ‘disguise herself’ in 2006 or 2007. Other than some ‘faint traces’ of Native American blood, Ruthanne said the family background is Czech, Swedish and German.” Accompanying pics show before her transformation and after. Note the spray tan in the after pics which can’t disguise the central/northern European paleness of her skin.

So my question is: If one can be born as one sex and turn oneself into the other like Bruce/Caitlyn Jenner, why can’t one do the same thing with race?

Perhaps Ms. Dolezal is a black woman living in a white woman’s body, just as Michael Jackson was a white woman born into a black man’s body. Perhaps transracial is the new transsexual.

One thing’s for sure: the Future is going to get extremely complicated thanks to crazy white women like Ms. Dolezal.

Council Submissions: June 10, 2015

Council Submissions

Honorable Mentions

Non-Council Submissions

The Grey Lady’s Onion Breath

Sen. Marco Rubio is not my favorite GOP presidential contender. I much prefer Scott Walker, who sits on a throne made of the skulls of his enemies, and Gov. Rick Perry, who can reprise the role of Reagan after Obama’s Jimmy Carter.  But the New York Times just can’t seem to stay away from the Senator.

Last week it published a hit piece handed to it by the liberal activist group American Bridge. This week it’s Rubio’s money troubles including, gasp, the fact he bought “$80,000 luxury speedboat” with proceeds from a book advance.

Now I don’t know much about boats because I learned when I was a kid from the experience of my electrician brother-in-law that BOAT stood for “bust out another thousand”. Boats to some people are like donuts are to others. They are irresistible but bad for you. And I immediately recognized that $80k won’t get you a luxury anything let alone a boat. And sure enough it turns out it wasn’t a luxury speedboat but a fishing boat.

Oh and he leased a $50,000 Audi. Note that he didn’t buy it, he leased it. Wow! Big spender who can afford a $400/month lease payment. Hillary Clinton could buy, not lease, 6 of those for a single speech at UCLA. Of course she doesn’t drive so she has no need for them.

The Onion regularly runs non-stories like “Dad Wants to Show You Where Fuse Box Is,” and “Longtime Coffee Shop Employee Thought Customers Would Care More About His Last Day.” By running stories that should be headlined “Marco Rubio’s Wife Has a Lead Foot,” and “Marco Rubio is Middle Class” the Grey Lady might want to consider popping a few Tic-Tacs to rid itself of onion breath.

Grow Up Europe!

Here’s the cover of this week’s Economist magazine.

In this issue The Economist argues the US should avoid pulling out of the region. First, America has interests in the Middle East, “Today’s chaos is trashing human rights and torching values that many, including this newspaper, look to America to defend. Not everyone will agree—some Americans are tired of their country acting as a global policeman, and others rightly point out that its geopolitical priority is China’s growing ambition… But even allowing that, the Middle East still matters.” Second the Economist states that even though America is becoming petroleum self-sufficient, “If it cannot keep the oil flowing, its economy will suffer grievously and so will its claim to global leadership.” Finally it must stop nuclear proliferation, “it must be a brake on other regional powers who might think of launching weapons programmes of their own.” In the detailed analysis that follows the lead, it goes on to blame Bush’s excessive hubris for wanting to remake the region while taking Obama to task for his neglect and reticence to engage there. “One president went too deep into Iraq, the next got out too soon; the first over-reached, the second under-shot; the Republican wanted to use American power to strike enemies everywhere; the Democrat often seemed to treat American power itself as dangerous. But whereas Mr Bush improved in his second term, writes Mr Rothkopf, Mr Obama has not learnt from his mistakes.”

Yet nowhere in the 3,000 word piece does it state why Americans have to be the ones who have to die in order to “save” the Middle East. Why does it always have to be us?

Is it because the Europeans have shown themselves time and again to be able to stand on their own and protect themselves? The weakness of the European states during the Cold War was understandable, but the EU was unable to sort things out in the former Yugoslavian states in the 1990s. It couldn’t counter Russia when it partitioned Georgia in 2008 and rolls on its back when Russia does the same to the Ukraine today. Even taking Khaddafi out wasn’t possible without the US “leading from behind.”

It’s been 70 years since the end of World War 2. When will Europe be able to stand on its own?

Anti-American sentiment has grown like a cancer throughout Europe and it hasn’t gone unnoticed by those of us who travel there frequently. I don’t understand why I as an American have to put up with snide comments from complete strangers while traveling on one hand, then be expected to put my military-age son’s life at risk on the other. When we act in our own best interest we get criticized for doing so unilaterally, but when we step back from the line, thereby forcing the Europeans to step forward we are slammed for isolationism. For 14 years we have faced a barrage of criticism for our imperialism in the Middle East from the Europeans, and now we face complaints about wiping the region’s dust from our boots.

I am not an isolationist as 14 years of writing in this journal proves, but I do recognize that isolationism runs red through the veins of our nation. America was founded by people trying to escape  some place, whether religious tyranny in Europe or economic stagnation in central America and Asia. People didn’t come here to integrate with the rest of the world, they came here to avoid its insanity and stupidity. Every American realist or neo-con recognizes this yet outsiders (and our own idiot Left whose ideas were imported for the most part from Europe) are so quick to label us as “imperialists” whenever we act in our interest or whine when we fail to act. I don’t even agree with Obama’s policy of abandoning the Middle East yet take offense at the Economist, a magazine which supported not only the Iraqi Invasion of 2003 but the election of Barack Obama not once but TWICE, chiding us that we must not abandon a region that Europe has done f**k all to help. That’s chutzpah, but then again chutzpah is a word Jews thought up while living among Europeans.

Instead of criticizing the US for abandoning the region why don’t the European take a good look in the mirror and ask themselves why they can’t stand up for themselves in the first place. Why does America need to provide them with not only their spine, but their brains, hearts and claws? Why are the EU nations cutting defense budgets a year after Russia shot down a plane full of Europeans, annexed the Crimea and is about to take serious chunks out of Ukraine? Why is the UK facing “inevitable” defense budget cuts a month after Russia flew a bomber carrying a nuclear missile over the English Channel? It’s easy to develop extensive socialist safety nets while living under a protective umbrella paid for by the American taxpayer and built from skin and bones of American youth.

Nearly 100 years ago the United States came to Europe’s rescue, and our soldiers returned home carrying Spanish Flu, killing 675,000 Americans, double the number killed or wounded in Europe. America then turned its back on Europe, which quickly birthed Stalin and Hitler. 25 years later Americans were once again dying for Europeans, and that time we stayed. And what has it gotten us?

The Economist may fret about America abandoning the Middle East. I wonder how it would feel about America abandoning Europe, but regardless of how it feels, perhaps it’s time America returned to its isolationist roots. Think of it as a “growth experience” for Europe, which would have to either learn how to take care of itself or speak Russian (given the laziness of the Greeks I know which way they’d go.) Perhaps then the Europeans wouldn’t be so quick to attack the US for acting – or not – in a region that is much closer to and much more important for Europe. But given that the Europeans can’t even clean up their own sport, relying upon the newly installed US Attorney General to take down FIFA’s Sepp Blatter, I’m not holding my breath waiting for the EU to shoulder the burden of its own defense. Oh, and of course the Europeans are already whining about American overreach there.

My ancestors may have been Slavic peasants and Irish sod-cutters, but at least they had the brains – and chutzpah – to leave Europe.

The Council Has Spoken: June 5, 2015

Council Winners

Non-Council Winners

Council Submissions: June 3, 2015

Council Submissions

Honorable Mentions

Non-Council Submissions

Here vs There

Ten years ago if you had told me that in a decade’s time a state would arise in the Middle East that would make Saudi Arabia look as liberal as San Francisco by comparison I’d have thought you were high. Back then the Sunni tribes had gotten fed up with Abu Masab al-Zarqawi and joined forces with the US to kick al-Qaeda out of Anbar province. Today we have a community organizer in the White House, and ISIS controls large swaths of Iraq and Syria (including all of Anbar province), and sub-Saharan Africa is becoming one giant caliphate stretching from the Atlantic coast to the Tigris-Euphrates valley. What the hell happened?

Over here a woman drags her 50 lb mattress to her college graduation to protest the man she accused of rape being cleared by campus authorities and local police. Over there hundreds of school girls kidnapped by Boko Haram a year ago in Nigeria are still missing and presumed sold into sexual slavery. Over here a former Olympian gets the best plastic surgery only his millions can buy, transforming himself from a youthful male athlete on a Wheaties box into a geriatric pinup model on the cover of Vanity Fair. Meanwhile over there homosexuals are thrown head-first off tall buildings.  Point out the fact over here that under Islam women are mere property and LGBT are KIA will get you called “islamophobe,” but saying the same thing over there won’t arise any attention at all for stating the obvious.

I cannot help but wonder how History will judge us and our time as we ignore the flowering of institutionalized evil once more on our planet while obsessing over comparative trifles in our own country. I expect it to judge us as harshly as those today judge our predecessors for being “racist”, “sexist” and the newly-minted epithet “transphobic.”


The Council Has Spoken: May 29, 2015

Council Winners

Non-Council Winners

Council Submissions: May 27, 2015

Council Submissions

Honorable Mentions

Non-Council Submissions