Fort Hood shooting
There is something inherently wrong with the armed forces that defend us. We now know the Veterans Administration ignored hundreds of sick veterans begging for medical care to the point where some, perhaps many, lingered and died while waiting for treatment in a rigged system. At the same time we know the Pentagon is knocking itself out to render special treatment for a homosexual/transexual private convicted under the Espionage Act — a traitor, not a whistleblower. Let’s review. Private Bradley Manning, now known as Chelsea Elizabeth Manning, is serving a 30-year sentence at Fort Leavenworth for making public more than 700,000 classified documents. He did this while serving as a low-level intelligence officer in Iraq. He also latched on to an Apache helicopter mission that resulted in civilian casualties. Manning passed on this mountain of explosive secrets to Wikileaks traitor Julian Assange and another fellow computer hacker who ultimately turned him into the feds. Considering time already spent in the brig Private Manning, who is diagnosed as suffering from gender dysphoria, will be eligible for parole in seven years. In the meantime he’s demanding transfer to a civilian prison so he can avail himself of hormone therapy, something the Army does not do. In fact, Army policy prohibits transgenders from serving. Figure that one out. The feckless Secretary of Defense, Chuck Hagel, is bent on banishing this restriction and allowing transgenders in he Army so the public would be forced to pay for expensive transgender medical treatment, including sex-change operations. You might call this idea just one more iteration of Obamacare. Private Manning says he wants to live life as a woman from now on and the ever-willing left, along with their cohorts in the media, now refer to Private Manning as “her” and “she.” His legal name change is seen as enough reason to change his gender. He even posed for a picture wearing a blonde wig and lipstick. Policy makers for our military forces especially in the Army have created a public square to experiment with social change. Inevitably they have had to face the consequences of caving in to the latest fashion forced on them by liberal agendas. Private Manning’s story is that of a mentally disturbed young man with a history of trouble in and out of the Army whose ego led him to betray his country. Why must taxpayers indulge him?
–Liz Trotta, America’s News Headquarters Commentary, FNC, May 17, 2014
I’ve been aware for a long time that commentators on the Fox News Channel get away with the most extremely jingoistic, the most atavistic, the most bigoted opinions in weekend commentaries that would make even the average weekday Fox viewer cringe.
But the commentary quoted above from FNC’s Liz Trotta managed to surprise even me.
My friend, Brad Linaweaver, calls Fox News the Pentagon Channel because of all the 24-hour news channels Fox is the one that tends to support the agenda of those who find the Pentagon’s ungodly budget always too small, no projection of military force anywhere in the world too unattractive, and no invasion of privacy or restriction of liberty unnecessary. After seeing lively debates on Fox on all these subjects — often dragging in quasi-libertarians like Senator Rand Paul or in-house personalities like Bob Beckel or Kennedy to take the opposition — I’d have to say that Brad is being only slightly sardonic.
But unquestionably Fox, like much of the degraded talk-radio right today, has adopted the worst propaganda techniques that used to be the patented reserve of party-line Communists and World War II era Nazis. It’s a perfect storm of spinning half truths or facts presented in a misleading context, tunnel-vision ideology, and ad hominem slurs replacing reasoned discourse.
This was the technique perfected by Hitler’s propaganda minister, Joseph Goebbels, but for those not a student of history like Mr. Linaweaver, one needs go no further than the average anonymous Internet troll to find this level of vile attack.
In the above commentary Ms. Trotta manages to conflate the Department of Veterans Affairs — which does not treat active military — with the Army’s healthcare policies for active-duty military, and conflates both with the Affordable Care Act that addresses only civilian medical care.
Ms. Trotta manages to forget that homosexuals now serve openly in the U.S. military forces so a “feckless” Defense Secretary (who as an Army volunteer serving in combat earned two Purple Hearts) considering extending this policy to transgenders isn’t that much of a stretch.
But Ms. Trotta — in both managing to dismiss “gender dysphoria” as a treatable medical condition while simultaneously dismissing transgendering as a passing fashion — also does not know or chooses to ignore that as late as 1973 the American Psychiatric Association listed homosexuality in its official diagnostic manual as a mental illness.
Private Chelsea Manning formerly Specialist Bradley Manning
Visible on uniform: National Defense Service Medal,
Iraq Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal,
Army Service Ribbon, Army Overseas Service Ribbon,
10th Mountain Division Combat Service Identification Badge,
One Overseas Service Bar, One Service stripe
As recently as last year’s Libertopia conference I objected publicly to the pre-name-change Bradley Manning being referred to as “her” or “she.” My reason — ineloquently expressed in an inappropriately caustic tone of voice — was that I considered it an Orwellian demand to ignore the evidence of the senses and refer to a biological male using feminine pronouns. My objection was not to transgendering but that transgendering — actual gender reassignment of a biological male into a biological female capable of achieving a natural pregnancy — was not yet medically possible.
Stand a naked man and a naked woman up in front of a child. Ask the child to identify the gender of each. I think it would be a crime against the human mind to correct the child who sees a human being with male genitalia and demand that the child refer to that person as “she” or “her.”
But I was not a child when I made my angry remarks and I should have been capable of parsing the issues of gender reassignment without using as a rhetorical device a human being I consider a hero — Chelsea Manning.
Chelsea Manning is listed by that name in the Special Thanks of my movie, Alongside Night.
My own past mistakes aside, I regard that Liz Trotta’s objections to Chelsea Manning being referred to as “her” or “she” is unadulterated bigotry.
Trotta’s wrapping herself in the flag while attacking both a Vietnam-era Purple-Heart veteran and branding as a traitor and sexually slurring an Iraq War Army volunteer whose conscience led her to expose video of war crimes buried by being classified is vile.
Exercise of conscience in defense of justice, Ms. Trotta, is not exercise of ego. It’s an American value and should be a Fox News value.
Calling Private Manning a traitor is also a lie. Private Manning was never charged with treason, much less convicted of it.
Referring to Wikileaks editor, Julian Assange, as a traitor is worse than a lie. It’s moronic, inasmuch as Julian Assange is not and never has been an American.
I am revolted by supposedly “conservative” commentators like Liz Trotta who — if they’d been reporting events at the Old North Bridge in Concord, Massachusetts April 19. 1775, would have commented that the Americans shooting at British military were traitors. What values does Liz Trotta wish to “conserve” — the mindless support for tyranny that this country fought a bloody revolution to end?
Respect for individual differences is an American value and should be a Fox News value, Ms. Trotta.
Belief in acting to achieve justice above robotic obedience to authority is an American value and should be a Fox News value, Ms. Trotta.
And respect for heroes who put themselves in harm’s way to protect you is an American value and should be a Fox News value, Ms. Trotta.
If Fox News wants to criticize the Army, let it be that the Army still disarms soldiers on base so they have to dial 911 for civilian police to defend them from crazy people shooting at them.
The right of human beings — much less Americans, much less the Army — to defend themselves against enemies shooting at them should also be a Fox News value, Ms. Trotta.
The title of this essay is a paraphrase from the 1970 movie Patton, dialogue in which World War II General George S. Patton, Jr., says, referring to Rommel’s book, “Infantry Attacks”: “Rommel… you magnificent bastard, I read your book!
Aaron Sorkin is quite possibly the best screenwriter working in Hollywood today.
I look at his IMDb filmography and I see movie after movie that I love, including Charlie Wilson’s War, The Social Network, Moneyball, and — yes — The American President. I watched every episode of his signature TV series, The West Wing, watched most episodes of his sitcom Sports Night, and I’ve set my DVR to record all first-run episodes of the TV series he’s created, writes, and executive produces on HBO, The Newsroom.
When I’ve given talks to libertarian audiences about why they need to support libertarian authors and filmmakers like me in getting our projects financed and distributed, Aaron Sorkin’s dialogue in The American President is often one of the examples I use as to how “the other side” uses mass entertainment media to present their propaganda as unchallenged facts. Sorkin’s screenplay for The American President peppers Michael J. Fox’s character’s dialogue (a presidential advisor) with false-to-fact propaganda from the Brady campaign about how privately held guns increase violent crime, but has no problem with his fictitious President Andrew Shepherd (Michael Douglas) sending weapons systems to Israel for their defense. Then in a climactic press conference President Shepherd advocates that the Second Amendment be trashed by having government soldiers going door-to-door to collect Americans’ privately-owned handguns, because — in this Imperial President’s personal opinion — private gun ownership is a clear and present danger to public safety.
Oh, yeah. The rest of the sparkling political dialogue Sorkin gives his characters in The American President is horseshit about how the internal combustion engine needs to be eliminated because man-made carbon dioxide emissions — a greenhouse gas that represents less than one percent of ordinary cloud-carried water vapor — is threatening life on this planet.
Don’t misunderstand me. The American President is a brilliantly written high-concept romantic comedy wonderfully directed by Rob Reiner with superb acting performances throughout by a sterling cast led by Michael Douglas, Annette Bening, Martin Sheen, Michael J. Fox, and Richard Dreyfuss. It has a great Korngoldesque film score by Marc Shaiman. It’s one of my favorite movies that I’ve watched probably two dozen times. It’s just that when I’m watching it I realize that in about half a day I could rewrite the script retaining all the exact same plot points and character interactions, except that it would be a Republican President falling in love with the chief lobbyist of the NRA. The propaganda in this movie is just a fill-in-the-blank operation, the politics grafted on without affecting plot or character arcs, and the exact same characters and storyline could be used to propagandize anything.
Alfred Hitchcock called that which motivates the plot as “the McGuffin.”
Aaron Sorkin uses politics in his scripts solely as a McGuffin.
Sorkin just pulled the same crap on the latest episode of his new series, The Newsroom, but I need a few more paragraphs before I get to that. Apologies if I’m burying my lead; but I’m writing commentary, not news.
On the day I’m writing this the Los Angeles Times is reporting in its national news section on an incident in an Internet cafe in Florida, where a 71-year-old man with a handgun-license-to-carry used his pocket policeman to chase two armed robbers out of the store, slightly wounding one of them. This was particularly notable to me because back in the 1990′s, when I was writing Op-Eds on handgun-related topics for the Los Angeles Times, the Times would not report defensive-gun-uses on its news pages, and I stopped selling Op-Eds to the Times‘ editors after I organized a lunch-hour demonstration in front of the Times‘ downtown L.A. editorial offices when they ran a five-day editorial series calling for a complete gun ban.
I’m also writing this as the Fox News Channel is covering a just-released (but classified) FBI report on the November 5, 2009 shootings at Fort Hood, Texas, where a single military officer with a handgun he’d illegally brought onto the base was able to reduce dozens of disarmed army soldiers — some of them just returning from deployment in Iraqi and Afghani war zones — to running away, crawling away, and screaming like teenagers at Columbine High School. This happened because classified regulations put into place at the same time the Clinton administration was pushing the Brady Act and the Assaults Weapons Ban, not altered during the eight years of the George W. Bush administration, and not declassified until the Obama administration — removed from base commanders the decision to authorize soldiers on base to carry sidearms or rifles with them, and transferred that authority to the politically-appointed Secretary of the Army with a civilian-pro-gun-control agenda guaranteeing it would never happen.
Now to Aaron Sorkin’s current series, The Newsroom.
The Newsroom is about a network anchorman (Jeff Daniels) whose nightly news casts have been tabloidish to increase ratings, but whose boss (Sam Waterston) decides to return the program to the earlier standards of Murrow, Cronkite, and Huntley-Brinkley, and report the news focusing only on facts and information informed voters need. In fact, this is not what the plot shows them doing; the news reports in the show instead follow in the muckraker tradition of Pulitzer and Hearst, columnists like Drew Pearson, and CBS’s Mike Wallace.
We are repeatedly informed by Aaron Sorkin’s dialogue that Jeff Daniel’s anchorman character, Will McAvoy, is a conservative Republican, but every target of his ire is one that is anathema to the progressive left and labor movement — George W. Bush, Karl Rove, Wall Street bankers, the Tea Party, the NRA, Charles and David Koch, Rush Limbaugh, Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck, Halliburton, Dick Cheney, Bill O’Reilly, and just about everyone else on Fox News and talk radio. In a country in which Neocons have brought to the American right all the lying scumbag tactics the Wilsonian/Stalinst/Castroist hard left refined for close to a century, there’s plenty of lies, corruption, and hypocrisy to be exposed.
I, myself, spend much of my time writing about the lies of the Neocon/Pentagon/Homeland Security axis-of-evil — a lot of my ire was directed at all the right-wing talking heads asking only whether Fort Hood shooter Major Nidal Hasan was a Muslim terrorist or just a wack-job, and never asking why our own army was disarmed and had to dial 911 to wait for a female civilian cop to show up and save them — and most recently have criticized the NRA for abandoning its forever-used bumper-sticker “Guns Don’t Kill, People Kill” by blaming the BATFE Project Gunrunner firearms possibly authorized by President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder — and not blaming the criminals who shot U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry.
The problem is, when you expose only the lies and hypocrisy of your enemies, you’re an in-the-tank partisan propagandist.
When you never acknowledge the virtues of your enemies it’s also propaganda.
Sorkin pulled this in Charlie Wilson’s War by passing over Charlie Wilson’s alliance with President Ronald Reagan in arming the Afghan rebels during the Soviet occupation with shoulder-fired missiles they used to bring down Soviet attack helicopters.
It’s a sin of omission that General Patton never made with respect to his German counterpart.
Today I finally got around to watching the episode of The Newsroom my DVR recorded this past Sunday, July 15th, titled, “I’ll Try to Fix You.” The “lie” exposed on this program broadcast in 2012 is a truth for the 2010 time period the show takes place, when it was a Fox News, right-wing talk radio, and NRA mantra that “Obama is coming for your guns.” During that period, the Obama administration was — correctly portrayed on the show — not pushing a pro-gun-control legislative agenda before Congress.
But that’s a lie by omission.
On March 18, 2008, U.S. Solicitor General Paul D. Clement represented the Obama administration in oral arguments before the Supreme Court of the United States in District of Columbia v. Heller, 554 U.S. 570 (2008), arguing that the Second Amendment was not intended to protect an individual right to keep and bear arms, but that the intent of the amendment was merely to ensure an armed militia with officers appointed by the President and no longer present in contemporary America — an attempt by the Obama administration to neuter constitutional recognition of private ownership of guns as an individual right … a necessary precondition to any such legislative agenda.
The Supreme Court ruled otherwise, and again treated the Second Amendment as protecting an individual right to own guns in McDonald v. Chicago, 130 S. Ct. 3020 (2010).
Nor, on the date of first broadcast of this episode of The Newsroom, when the Obama administration’s Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is attempting to bypass the Constitutional protection by supporting the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs proposed Treaty on Small Arms that would ban private gun ownership worldwide, it’s another lie-by-omission to write a fictitious 2010 news report ridiculing the NRA, Glenn Beck, and Rush Limbaugh for sounding an alarm that the Obama administration favored banning American private gun ownership.
Sorkin could argue that as a writer, and an American citizen, he has the right to disagree with the Supreme Court. I agree. But his method of writing on these topics is entirely one-sided. He always puts the strongest face possible on the arguments he agrees with, and either doesn’t present any argument for the other side or presents its weakest rebuttal.
But then Aaron Sorkin puts dialogue into his characters’ mouths that are just outright lies.
In a scene in this episode Will McAvoy is invited by a woman to go into her purse looking for a joint, and he instead finds a loaded handgun in the purse. He asks her about it.
Here’s the exact scene, dialogue injected by Aaron Sorkin into the mouths of the actor’s he’s paying:
Her: I’m a Southern liberal, dude. It’s Northern liberals who are afraid of sex and guns.
Him: Well, both at the same time and I’m a Republican from Nebraska. But do you mind if I — ?
He unloads the gun and hands it to her; she accepts the gun without checking herself to make sure it’s unloaded, violating a basic safety rule taught in all NRA pistol safety courses.
Her: You’re disarming. Get it?
Him: Here’s the thing –
Her: (interrupting): Yeah, yeah. I saw the show tonight. I’m a liberal’s liberal; I worked for Hillary. You were dead wrong on guns.
Him: I didn’t take a position on guns. I took a position on lying. I came out against it.
Her: “Well, if I’m walking the streets of Manhattan at night and a guy your size wants to rape me (raising gun, pointing it at Him) then this is gonna happen.
Him: Actually, statistics show that this is gonna happen.
He slaps the gun into the air and catches it.
Aaron Sorkin can write anything he wants to in his script, and as the showrunner the director and actors have to say the words he’s written and play the action the way he wrote it.
And that artificially created reality is how propaganda in entertainment works. If it honestly reflects reality, no harm, no foul. If it represents the writer’s honest opinion, it’s the First Amendment, babe.
But when the statistic quoted is provably false, then the writer has a moral obligation to fact check, even in fiction, or it’s a God damned lie.
I’ve written non-fiction on guns and criminology. A lot.
My 1994 book Stopping Power: Why 70 Million Americans Own Guns made me a celebrity to the Second Amendment movement. Charlton Heston wrote of the book, “”Mr. Schulman’s book is the most cogent explanation of the gun issue I have yet read. He presents the assault on the Second Amendment in frighteningly clear terms. Even the extremists who would ban firearms will learn from his lucid prose.”
Dennis Prager who had opposed private ownership of guns, told his national radio audience, “He has truly helped change my mind on guns and self-defense.”
Liberal Los Angeles talk-show host Michael Jackson said of me on his KABC radio show, “His research is impeccable. Nobody expresses the other side better.”
My writings on firearms have been used by witnesses on both sides of the gun-control debate in congressional hearings before the House Subcommittee on Crime.
One chapter from Stopping Power was chosen to be reprinted in the book Taking Sides: Clashing Views on Controversial Issues in Health and Society, Second Edition, Edited by Eileen K. Daniel, (Dushkin Publishing Group/Brown & Benchmark Publishers, 1996), as rebuttal to “Guns in the Household” by Jerome P. Kassirer, MD, editor of the New England Journal of Medicine. Another chapter, “Talk At Temple Beth Shir Shalom,” was reprinted in the book, Guns in America : A Reader , Jan E. Dizard, editor (New York University Press, 1999), and my chapter was praised in the Village Voice’s review as “a tough Jew manifesto.”
And, I’m webmaster of The World Wide Web Gun Defense Clock that calculates and comparies the number of defensive-gun-uses to criminal uses, suicides, and accidents, based on peer-reviewed academic, and law-enforcement, criminological studies.
Here are the actual facts on Defensive Gun Use that Aaron Sorkin has spent his professional career as a screenwriter ignoring or lying about:
According to the National Self Defense Survey conducted by Florida State University criminologists in 1994, the rate of Defensive Gun Uses can be projected nationwide to approximately 2.5 million per year — one Defensive Gun Use every 13 seconds.
Among 15.7% of gun defenders interviewed nationwide during The National Self Defense Survey, the defender believed that someone “almost certainly” would have died had the gun not been used for protection — a life saved by a privately held gun about once every 1.3 minutes. (In another 14.2% cases, the defender believed someone “probably” would have died if the gun hadn’t been used in defense.)
In 83.5% of these successful gun defenses, the attacker either threatened or used force first — disproving the myth that having a gun available for defense wouldn’t make any difference.
In 91.7% of these incidents the defensive use of a gun did not wound or kill the criminal attacker (and the gun defense wouldn’t be called “newsworthy” by newspaper or TV news editors). In 64.2% of these gun-defense cases, the police learned of the defense, which means that the media could also find out and report on them if they chose to.
In 73.4% of these gun-defense incidents, the attacker was a stranger to the intended victim. (Defenses against a family member or intimate were rare — well under 10%.) This disproves the myth that a gun kept for defense will most likely be used against a family member or someone you love.
In over half of these gun defense incidents, the defender was facing two or more attackers — and three or more attackers in over a quarter of these cases. (No means of defense other than a firearm — martial arts, pepper spray, or stun guns — gives a potential victim a decent chance of getting away uninjured when facing multiple attackers.)
In 79.7% of these gun defenses, the defender used a concealable handgun. A quarter of the gun defenses occured in places away from the defender’s home.
Source: “Armed Resistance to Crime: The Prevalence and Nature of Self-Defense with a Gun,” by Gary Kleck and Marc Gertz, in The Journal of Criminal Law & Criminology, Northwestern University School of Law, Volume 86, Number 1, Fall, 1995
So, the statistic put into Jeff Daniels mouth, along with directed action which “proves” it, turns out to be a lie.
And on a TV show the theme of which is that Aaron Sorkin’s political foes are liars, Mr. Sorkin is lying.
Note: I wrote this the day before the mass theater shootings in Aurora, Colorado. You can count on gun-control advocates like Aaron Sorkin to argue as they have after previous shootings that gun-control could have stopped this. It’s another provable lie, since the strictest gun control in Dunblane, Scotland — or even mass killings using a knife in Akihabara and Osaka, Japan — have never stopped these kinds of unprovoked massacres.
A public with a critical mass of individuals carrying handguns, ready at all times to shoot back at sudden attackers, has worked to minimize casualties from terrorist attacks in Israel. See The Israeli Answer to Terrorism by Massad Ayoob
I cover the Aurora shootings in detail in my next article, Stopping the jokers– JNS
Winner of the Special Jury Prize for Libertarian Ideals from the 2011 Anthem Film Festival! My comic thriller Lady Magdalene’s — a movie I wrote, produced, directed, and acted in it — is now available free on the web linked from the official movie website. If you like the way I think, I think you’ll like this movie. Check it out!
I’m not an economist, but I have studied economics.
I’ve been described as a science-fiction writer and a futurist.
More than a couple of times I’ve made projections about the future — not only in fiction, but also in business plans — that have turned out close to the mark.
I’ve come up with one or two billion-dollar market cap ideas that made billions of dollars … for someone else.
These are the credentials I’m standing on when I offer a solution to the political and economic crisis that has weakened the economy of that geo-political entity called the United States, but which in reality is comprised of people, what they do, what they have access to, what they count on, and what is expected of them.
The United States of America as a geo-political entity is doomed.
That sector of the American economy tied to the entitlements and obligations of its federal and state governments — and whose capital and obligations are calculated in terms of a dollar issued by its secretive central bank — is “upside down.” Its debt and obligations far exceed the capital owned by and current productive capacity of its people.
The two alternatives, when reduced to essentials, come down to either a bankruptcy involving a repudiation of debts and entitlements — which means some people are going to be thrown to the wolves, and many will actually die — or a bankruptcy involving a reorganization that can lead to a real recovery.
This second plan involves risk and courage. But if it’s put into action, economic salvation lies this way because it relies on the one proven cure for any sort of poverty: the creation of new wealth.
Discussing only currently existing debts, obligations, and entitlements — which are the limits of all mainstream political, economic, and financial debates — is moving around the deck chairs on the Titanic. It’s playing zero-sum or negative-sum games in which the outcomes are already known: chaotic collapse.
Until now the collapse has been put off by a Ponzi scheme in which new marks were found to pay dividends to the older marks.
But the mathematics of all Ponzi schemes reach a point where the number of new victims needed to keep the scam going exceeds the number of new victims available.
The only benevolent solution is to close out the game — so no more new victims are added — and simultaneously to prevent the pyramid collapsing in on itself so rapidly that the victims are thrown to the wolves, to live or die.
I propose here not the anarchistic solution of allowing a full-on rapid collapse with the chaos that would follow starving millions of victims but a minarchistic Five-Point Plan to capitalize the creation of new real wealth with the slow retirement of current debts, obligations, and entitlements.
Here are the essentials of the Five-Point Plan.
1. The free sector of the economy must be immediately capitalized with new real wealth. Much of this wealth exists in exploitable resources currently under the control of the federal and state governments. This includes mineral and energy exploitables that can be developed on land currently claimed by the federal and state governments. This land and these resources need to be devolved to the private sector, but kept out of the hands of economic oligarchs who will continue to keep them unexploited. I propose a national lottery for private ownership of these resources in which only real American citizens — not corporations, foundations, or other fictitious entities — may participate. Then the new, private owners must be given the freedom to develop and exploit these resources.
2. An economy grows when new products are brought to market, but capital is required to invent, develop, and market these new products. Economic action free from the tax of bureaucratic paperwork and entry barriers, burdens of taxes and fees, and the hidden tax of monetary inflation can enable much of this. But much capital is currently tied up in the operation of government, itself. Merely eliminating government jobs creates more unemployed people — and repudiating their pensions creates a counter-revolutionary class that would poison-pill any possibility of economic freedom. I therefore propose that instead of continuing to pay bureaucrats to interfere with progressive capitalization of new products they be given the opportunity to become wealthy themselves by converting the budgets of government departments into prize monies available to current government employees when they entrepreneur new businesses that successfully find customers willing to pay for them.
3. Calculation of wealth must begin to be based on actual market value rather than the bookeeping fictions of the Federal Reserve Banking system, which builds in the hidden theft of having increasing amounts of ledger balances chasing a relatively smaller amount of real goods. A date certain must be set on which only actual commodities such as precious metals may be used as money.
4. The size of government and its operations must be regressive rather than progressive. A two-percent reduction per annum in the real budgets of all government entities — and a devolution of services from the public to the free and competitive private sector — should work. This will require closing foreign military bases and retiring the current policy of foreign wars, world policing, and foreign military entanglements — in other words, a return to the United States operating within the confines of its constitution. National defense must be defensive rather than preemptive. Defense against terrorism must rely on a well-armed and well-regulated militia — that means American civilians like those who stopped al-Qaeda terrorist attacks on United Flight 93 on September 11, 2001 and on Northwest Airlines Flight 253 on December 25, 2009. And, yes, American military personnel must be armed at all times. No more Fort Hoods.
5. It’s necessary to look beyond the earth’s atmosphere to produce sources of new wealth. Some of the current real capital — land and mineralogical wealth currently under the control of the federal government — must be allocated to prize-money for achievements in the fields of lowering the cost to lift payloads into orbit and beyond, produce goods in space that can be sold on earth, and create industrial and colonial habitats in space.
For anyone looking at this Five-Point Plan who thinks it’s undesirable, impractical, or otherwise unachievable, consider the alternative:
Collapse, chaos and violent revolution.
Not just in the United States, but everywhere dependent on the health of the United States economy.
Haiti. Ethiopia. Russia. Saudi Arabia. Japan. China. Malaysia.
Choose your future.
My comic thriller Lady Magdalene’s — a movie I wrote, produced, directed, and acted in it — is now available for sale or rental on Amazon Video. If you like the way I think, I think you’ll like this movie. Check it out!
Fort Hood soldier currently deployed in Iraq calls for giving guns to American soldiers and families on base
One of the readers of this column, even before I began writing about the November 5th Fort Hood massacre the day after it occurred, is Sgt. Brian Singer, a U.S. army soldier currently deployed to Iraq, but whose home station is Fort Hood.
A few days after the Fort Hood shootings Sgt. Singer wrote a letter-to-the-editor to Stars and Stripes. An edited version of that letter was published in Stars and Stripes on Thursday, November 19th. You can read Sgt. Singer’s letter as published in Stars and Stripes here.
Sgt. Singer was kind enough to grant me permission to publish the full text of his letter as a guest column.
One sentence in particular was left out of the edited version published by Stars and Stripes, and this missing sentence — a question Sgt. Singer asks — highlights the contradiction between the propaganda we are fed regarding our military services and the stark reality.
Sgt. Singer asks in his letter, “Why is it that as military members we have to disarm ourselves every time we go to work?”
I don’t often succumb to the popular temptation to call our servicemen and women heroes, but in this case it’s indisputable. Publicly taking on an established policy held by your superiors in the chain of command while deployed — out of love for your fellow soldiers and their families — is nothing short of heroic.
–J. Neil Schulman
The tragic results of victim disarmament were made real to the military community with Thursday’s shooting at Fort Hood. If this were a moral and proper world, as soon as Maj. Nidal Hasan drew his weapon, every single person in the building would have had their front sights leveled on him. Fort Hood’s (and all other U.S. military installations’) immoral and unjust anti-self-defense policy effectively disarmed only the victims of this crime. How many more events like this is it going to take before DOD officials wake up and realize that victim disarmament costs lives? How many more events like this will have to take place before Congress amends the UCMJ to require all personnel, civilian and military, to be properly armed — meaning not simply carrying an unloaded weapon like we do over here — at all times while on US military installations?
In the State of Texas, and many other states throughout our great country, citizens from all walks of life voluntarily choose every day to be responsible for protecting their own lives and property by arming themselves. This is not just an act of responsibility; it is the ultimate expression of patriotism and good citizenship. Why is it that as military members we have to disarm ourselves every time we go to work?
Fort Hood is my home station. That’s where my wife and kids are. It further sickens me that when my wife needs to go on post in order to take care of some kind of business, whether it’s a doctor appointment, an FRG meeting or renewing the kids’ ID cards, she, too, has to surrender her fundamental human right to defend herself, by going unarmed. And the military tells us it cares about the welfare of our families.
It is incomprehensible to me that in the days of the Global War on Terrorism Stateside military installations have become the country’s largest Gun Free Zones — you can interpret this as playgrounds for criminals. We have unfortunately seen a variety of mass shootings in recent years, at schools, universities, houses of worship and other public gathering places. There are no steps to take, no rules to pass, to prevent the occasional sick, twisted mind from completely losing its grip on reality, driving a criminal to commit such a heinous act. Yet as citizens — as free Americans responsible for ourselves, our families, and our property — we have the ability to stop these kinds of crimes from happening. How many lives would have been saved on 9/11 if people weren’t stripped of their human right to self defense simply because they wanted to fly? How many lives would have been saved at Virginia Tech, Columbine High School, and now Fort Hood?
Those who continue to advocate policies that guarantee the criminal class has unfettered access to an endless supply of defenseless potential victims need to change their tune. Maj. Nidal Hasan bears sole responsibility for his crime. Lawmakers and DOD policy makers need to respond by ensuring that those of us who took the oath to defend the Constitution have the means available for us to live up to that oath. Modifying installation policies and the UCMJ to remove all restrictions on the carrying of firearms would be a small step in the right direction.
SGT Brian Singer
Camp Taji, Iraq
Note for November 24, 2009:
J. Neil Schulman thanks Dean Daily for his generous support of this column.
You’d think that a writer like me who regularly dives into controversy — everything from O.J. Simpson to Roman Polanski, guns to God, PETA to petroleum — would get a wide range of hate mail. But I’ve probably received more email on one subject — two articles I wrote years ago in opposition to animal rights — than any other subject I’ve tackled.
The American Revolution was fought over rights. The Declaration of Independence says “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
Rights were so important to Americans who fought the Revolutionary War that when a strong federal government was proposed to be created by the new constitution, the necessary support required a promise that a Bill of Rights would soon be added.
A couple of centuries and some decades down the road, and rights are still the main event of American politics. Do unborn babies have rights? What about animals and trees? Is there a right to health care? To education? Is there a right to get married? Do minorities have rights that majorities don’t have?
When one word is used so many different ways, it gives you a sense that people are using the word without having a common understanding of what a “right” is.
I’ve spent years reading various different theories of what rights are, in the moral sense, the legal sense, the political sense, and the common sense.
I’ve read all sorts of theories about where rights come from. Jefferson, in the Declaration of Independence, takes a faith-based position: that rights come from God.
Utilitarians such as John Locke suggested rights are a useful idea needed to secure the greatest good for the greatest number.
Ayn Rand, who believed in morality but not God, worked hard to use Aristotelian axioms and deductive logic to come up with a God-free metaphysics in which rights can be derived from the Law of Identity.
Politicians often regard rights like the kings of old did — handing them out as favors to their supporters.
In my articles on animal rights I probably used the word in a sense not often understood anymore, since I was using the word in the context not of legalities or politics, but as part of a theory of moral accountability.
I suggested a new definition of rights: that a right is the moral authority to act without prior permission of another, and that as a consequence, rights could only be held by moral actors who could be held singly responsible for the consequences of their actions. If any legal concept was to be applied it was that of mens rea. Only a being capable of criminal culpability could be regarded as having rights — and in my view, vice versa.
So, of course, the challenges began. Are you saying that babies don’t have human rights, so it’s not murder to kill them? What about the mentally deficient and those suffering from dementia? If they don’t have rights can we also kill them? Then of course — ironically enough — those right-wingers who argue that unborn babies have rights use pretty much the same logic as left-wingers who argue that animals and trees have rights.
And of course the questions about marginal cases come up that reminded me of an old George Carlin routine about Catholic kids questioning their parish priest, “Fadda, fadda, if I’m supposed to come to church on Sunday but we was on the International Dateline …”
You get the idea.
Look. All I’m looking for is a use of the word “right” that makes sense and has some logical balance to it.
It doesn’t make sense to me that a thirteen-year-old girl can be subject to a law which forbids her from consenting to sex, deprived of the legal ability to enter into binding contracts, own or rent property in her own name, buy a pack of cigarettes, and decide whether or not to attend school — with no possibility of legal emancipation — but the second she’s suspected of a heinous crime she can be tried as an adult at the whim of the same judge that would never consider granting her any rights accruing to adults.
It’s hypocritical. Such double standards make a mockery of justice — which is based on equity under the law — and a law which regards someone so capriciously is not law at all but established tyranny.
So my solution is simple. If you can’t be held fully accountable for your actions, you need a keeper.
Or to put it another way: if you’re not grown-up enough to be trusted with a gun, you need a keeper.
And the keeper — of the fetus, or the animal, or the tree, or the mental incompetent — is the one who is held responsible for the well-being of his charge, and for any liabilities resulting from its doings.
It’s one of the reasons I’m so absolutely enraged that officers and enlisted personnel of the United States Army were disarmed at Fort Hood, left defenseless when attacked, just as if they were infants. If you can’t trust your own army to be armed — and in the name of the English language please notice that the word arm starts the word army — why even have one?
Before I’ll debate the question of whether a gorilla, parrot, fetus, or even idiot should have rights, I’d like to debate the question of whether those we trust to defend our country have any.
That is not a marginal case.
It’s now been seven full days following Thursday November 5, 2009, when U.S. Army Major Nidal Malik Hasan, using only unremarkable handguns, murdered 12 fellow American soldiers and a civilian, and wounding 30-odd others, including combat veterans. Hasan — an American-born-and-bred Muslim who initiated his attack by jumping on a table and in Arabic shouting the Muslim affirmation “God is Great!” — continued to shoot unarmed soldiers and civilians unopposed by any armed military personnel, and was finally stopped only when — after ten-minutes — two civilian police officers with no previous combat experience arrived on the scene to return his fire.
These days have allowed the commanding officers at Fort Hood — America’s largest army base with a population the size of a small city, and their superiors at the Pentagon and the Department of Defense — to make official statements and answer reporters’ questions.
These seven days allowed the current President and Vice President of the United States, Barack Obama and Joe Biden — and the White House press secretary and communications office — plus former living U.S. presidents Jimmy Carter, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush, the most recent U.S. presidential and vice presidential candidates, John McCain and Sarah Palin, past and present United States Senators and Members of Congress too numerous to mention, and all other official voices who have debated and shaped our national life, all to go on the record with both their immediate gut-reactions and, later, more considered reactions.
These seven days have been filled with coverage on the twenty-four-hour-news-cycle cable news networks, on network and syndicated talk radio, on newspaper editorial and Op-Ed pages, and in web-based forums such as this one.
These seven days included both Veterans Day — a day for honoring those who have defended the United States wearing its military uniforms — and a memorial service, attended by the President and First Lady of the United States, held for the fallen at Fort Hood.
These seven days have resulted in thirteen counts of murder, to be tried in a military court martial, against Major Hasan, with debate over whether his murder of a pregnant woman might result in a 14th murder count. There has been no charge of treason.
So I have been watching, listening, and reading my prominent countrymen for a week, now, waiting for a reaction I have never found.
I have found sorrow for the dead and wounded victims.
I have found praise for the military at Fort Hood as caregivers and rescuers.
I have found bewilderment, apologetics, and even pity for the minority attacker, on the one hand, and frustration at his not being regarded by the political establishment as part of a more widespread ideologically-driven enemy on the other.
I have heard angry questioning of why neither the FBI nor Army intelligence — both of which were aware of Hasan’s conflicted loyalties for over a year before his attack — left him in a position of military authority, and unwatched.
I have even seen echoes of my discovery of a Clinton-era Army regulation which I disclosed in the article I published here this past Monday — and which the magnificent John R. Lott, Jr., put on his own web page — reverberate to the editorial page of the Washington Times — without, of course, any credit to my copyrighted article, because doing so would have foiled the Washington Times‘ editorial redaction of that part of my article where I pointed out that the Bush administration had left this Clinton administration policy untouched for its eight years.
After the unannounced December 7, 1941 Imperial Japanese attack on American naval and army bases at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, which resulted in 2,402 killed and 1,282 wounded, the American commanding officers of the bases at Pearl Harbor, Admiral Husband Kimmel and Army Lieutenant General Walter Short, quickly saw their long and distinguished military careers ended. They spent the rest of their lives defending their reputations to a generation of angry Americans who held them accountable for their unpreparedness to defend their bases against attack. To the World War II generation, Pearl Harbor wasn’t just a military defeat; it was a humiliating defeat.
The Japanese knew what they were doing. Little, despised Japan — the Yellow Peril on American radio shows, in dime novels, in Hollywood movies, and in comic books — had taken their revenge by making the mighty United States of America lose face.
What I have been looking for this week and have not found — except in private telephone conversations with my friend, fellow libertarian author Brad Linaweaver and several of our friends — is a seething anger that a lone man armed only with a couple of smuggled-in handguns was able to engage in an unopposed ten-minute attack of murder and mayhem on the largest Army base of the United States of America, and even combat veterans were unarmed and unable to fight back because their superiors had deemed that regular carrying of handguns was too dangerous to be trusted to officers and enlisted personnel of the United States Army.
That the snake-oil security of gun control has become so dominant that our own army can’t ordinarily be trusted with a gun — that soldiers on an American army base need to dial 911 to call civilian cops for rescue from a lone gunman on an unabated rampage — is the single-most humiliating, despicable, evil, dishonorable, and disheartening loss of face in the entire history of the United States military … and nobody but Brad and myself seem to have felt it.
That’s far, far worse than the insanity of continuing a broken policy … that none of the people who speak from the American heart even notice that it’s broken.
Bill Clinton apparently doesn’t feel the shame that imposing gun control on the Army got them killed. If George W. Bush feels awful about leaving that policy in place after 9/11 so that our soldiers were sitting ducks for an attack by a lone gunman on American soil we have not heard his apology. I heard no indication of humiliation about making American soldiers scamper away for the lives in the voice of President Barack Obama. I have no sense from those who have beaten the drums of the War on Terror since September 11, 2001, that they feel ashamed.
Here was Sarah Palin’s only public reaction, posted to Facebook at 4:05 PM on the day of the attack: “Todd and I would like to offer our condolences to the families of the victims of the tragic shooting today at Fort Hood. Our thoughts and prayers will be with them.”
Where was the gnashing of teeth and rending of garments we would have been led to expect from the rugged Alaskan moose-hunter many Republicans still hope will become a future Commander-in-Chief of the United States Army?
Where were tough guys Dick Cheney or Rudy Giuliani’s lamentations about how far we have fallen that a single pistol-toting turncoat can run rampant on a U.S. army base?
Where is anyone calling for a charge of treason against the son-of-a-bitch army officer with the gun … and court martials and Congressional investigations for Defense Department and Pentagon post-9/11 dereliction of duty that let this happen?
Why is it that it takes two American science-fiction writers — J. Neil Schulman, whose only quasi-military experience was as a teenager wearing a U.S. Air Force uniform in the Massachusetts Civil Air Patrol, and Brad Linaweaver who did a year of Air Force ROTC — neither of us military veterans — to feel this disgrace?
Is there a science-fictional explanation behind this emotional non-reaction? Has my country been taken over by Jack Finney’s pod people or Heinlein’s puppet masters or the Invaders from Mars and we just haven’t noticed? Are reptilian invaders from V running things, or has the United States turned into Stepford? Have our leaders and pundits had their memories wiped like everyone except Julianne Moore in 2004′s The Forgotten?
If Senate and House Democratic Party leaders want to haul post-9/11 Bush administration officials into hearings to explain why they never contemplated the need to arm American soldiers against a possible terrorist attack on their own bases, they have my full support.
You can be sure that Osama bin Laden, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Fidel Castro, and Hugo Chavez feel America’s humiliation, and they are laughing their asses off about it.
Note: I became aware today that the Army has taken the PDF file of Army Regulation 190-14, dated 12 March 1993, off the web — or at least moved it to a location where a search of the new website can’t locate it. Therefore, I have uploaded my file copy of the document I originally downloaded from http://www.usapa.army.mil/pdffiles/r190_14.pdf — referred to in my article below — and replaced the dead link in the text of the article with my new one so that it will continue to be available for reference.
–J. Neil Schulman, March 23, 2010
A Clinton Administration revision to Department of Defense Directive 5210.56 — Army Regulation 190-14, dated 12 March 1993 — permits the Secretary of the Army to authorize military personnel to carry firearms “on a case by case basis” for personal protection within the continental United States, but forbids military personnel to carry their own personal firearms and both requires “a credible and specific threat” before firearms be issued for military personnel to protect themselves. It further directs that firearms “not be issued indiscriminately for that purpose.”
Thus did President Bill Clinton — Commander-in-Chief of the United States Army — apply to American military personnel under his command the same anti-gun policies his administration and a Democratic-controlled Congress applied to American civilians in the Brady Bill and Assault Weapons ban of 1994.
This Clinton policy of restricting military personnel from routinely carrying arms for protection was left in effect for the eight years of the administration of President George W. Bush — even after the 9/11 terror attacks — and even though Republicans held both the White House and majority control of both houses of Congress from January 2003 to January 2007.
John McHugh became the 21st Secretary of the U.S. Army on September 21, 2009, seven weeks prior to U.S. Army psychiatrist Major Nidal Malik Hasan’s November 5, 2009 shooting spree that murdered 13 and wounded another 38. Secretary McHugh — not reported as having the psychic power of precognition — issued no authorization for Fort Hood military personnel to be issued arms for personal protection against the specific threat of attack by Major Hasan.
Veterans Day is this Wednesday. How many times will “thank you for your service” pass the lips of talk-radio gurus who since 9/11 have sported American flag lapel pins, play-listed War-on-Terror country music, and made the Wounded Warrior Project a centerpiece of their swaggering patriotism?
It all rings so hollow now when their punditry following the Fort Hood Massacre makes it clear the bastions of American conservatism hate Jihadis far more than they love G.I.’s.
If George Washington had learned that soldiers under his command had died from a turncoat attack within an American Fort — not because arms weren’t available for his men to defend themselves but because an American officer didn’t trust American soldiers to bear arms — I’m fairly certain that American officer would have been summarily executed by the same firing squad as the turncoat.
Yet radio talkers debate only whether the shooter was driven by ideology or madness, and have no anger — or even questions — about a sixteen-year-old Department of Defense policy that five days ago left both G.I.’s and civilians on an army base in Texas as defenseless as toddlers in a preschool.
Ideology colors emotional responses, and even long-term activists who have worked to advance the right of self-protection have lost their sight-picture in the fog of the War on Terror. The man I’ve often called my Yoda on gun-self-defense issues — Randall N. Herrst, JD, of the Center for the Study of Crime — wrote in a Sunday morning posting to the Individual Sovereignty/Libertarian Yahoo Group his security concerns with Hassan’s anti-Americanism not being acted upon by the Army, President Obama’s not using the term “war on terror,” left-wing media, and civilian police being used to protect a military base post-9/11, but this Lion of the Second Amendment wasn’t even aware of the Department of Defense policy which bans soldiers from routinely carrying arms for protection … much less express seething anger at American soldiers not being trusted to bear arms.
The lack of even a committed Second Amendment activist’s’ concern with the systematic disarmament of American soldiers on base — leaving them defenseless for murder by a single illegally-armed attacker with time to repeatedly reload — bewilders me. The explanation can have nothing to do with Posse Comitatus Act restrictions on the Army being deployed for civilian law enforcement when we’re considering individual soldiers defending their own lives from attack.
Contrast this with libertarian author Brad Linaweaver, who told me he considers American soldiers being armed for protection even more important than the arming of police.
Those directly affected by the vulnerability of American soldiers see the matter even more poignantly.
Brian Singer, an American soldier currently deployed to Iraq but whose home station is Fort Hood, commented on a previous article of mine about the massacre that “It’s not just the military affected by this heinous policy. Our spouses and children suffer under victim disarmament as well. Second, not only are civilian CCWs not recognized, military members are required to register their firearms as well. Can you believe this insanity?”
Chor Xiong, father of 23-year-old Fort Hood Massacre victim Kham Xiong, spoke of his son’s love of hunting, and told KSTP-TV, “The sad part is that he had been taught and been trained to protect and to fight. Yet it’s such a tragedy that he did not have the opportunity to protect himself and the base.”
Where is the shock and outrage for American conservatives to learn that even the Army is made toothless by politically-correct gun control?
Talk radio listeners as angry as I am about the lack of time their favorite talk hosts have spent on the victim disarmament of even American servicemen and women should use this Veterans Day as the opportunity to call in and express their feelings. Arming men and women who take seriously the idea of defending their country from bad guys can be nothing but a gift that keeps on giving.
What do Fort Hood in Texas and the Hood in South Central Los Angeles have in common?
Concealed carry of firearms is legally prohibited in both Hoods.
California theoretically has a law to issue CCW licenses to civilians living in Los Angeles; in practice only court officers get them.
Under federal law, state-issued CCW licenses don’t apply on military bases, and concealed-carry of firearms is otherwise forbidden.
So, as hard as it is to believe, Fort Hood — a post-9/11 United States Army Base with the population of a small city — was almost as much of a gun-free zone as George Hennard’s October 16, 1991 free-fire zone in Luby’s Cafeteria in Killeen, Texas, or Gang Lu’s on the campus of the University of Iowa a couple of weeks later, or Colin Ferguson’s February 17, 1995 killing spree on the Long Island Railroad, or at Dunblane, Scotland March 13, 1996, or April 20, 1999 at Columbine High School, or April 16, 2007 at Virginia Tech.
In all these locations guns were legally prohibited for self-defense by decent, law-abiding people. The indecent criminals who ignored the law were granted a monopoly on firepower. Disarmed victims died while awaiting the arrival of “first responders.”
It would be sweet for conservatives to blame the Obama or Clinton administrations for the absolute idiocy of disarming soldiers in the United States Army, but this policy was in effect during the eight years of the Bush-Cheney Administration — all but the first few months of that administration following the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The most cutting wounds are always by the treachery of supposed friends.
Et tu, Dubya?
In my 1996 article on Dunblane, “A Rude Awakening” — included as a chapter in the 1999 second edition of my book Stopping Power: Why 70 Million Americans Own Guns — I wrote, “There are wild people among us who will not exercise self-restraint, and we must live with the expectation that at a time and place of their choosing, not of ours, they will explode upon us.”
Nothing has changed in the decade since I wrote those words except that by forbidding guns to everyone on four commercial jetliners on 9/11/2001 gangs armed only with box-cutters were easily able to commandeer those jets and convert them into high-explosive-laden cruise missiles which destroyed both the World Trade Center and a section of the Pentagon, with a body count that day of about 3,000, many more in two retaliatory wars that followed, and with hundreds of financial experts lost that day possibly the loss of the brains who could have prevented the economic meltdown of the United States.
For want of a handgun the United States might have been lost.
Now al-Qaeda has just been given yet another commercial for a Blue Light Special on terrorism: America is so opposed to reasonable self-defense — its rulers so afraid of their own taxpayers that they won’t even trust their own soldiers with guns — that even America’s homeland army bases are easy targets.
Excellent work, Nidal Malik Hasan. Allah will reward you for exposing the Great Satan’s unprotected underbelly to your compatriots.