1) The Bundy Ranch: On one hand, a large group of armed white men marched in a line of battle while at least one civilian rifleman in a sniper’s perch trained his weapon at Bureau of Land Management officials. In reaction, the government didn’t fire a single round or canister of tear gas, and eventually retreated, conceding the disputed ground to the Bundy militias. It’s important to note that the protesters turned out in support of a man who refused to pay his taxes and grazed his cattle without paying the accompanying fees. This man, Cliven Bundy, and his supporters threatened secession and armed revolt against the United States government.
2) Ferguson, Missouri: On the other hand, unarmed African American protesters in Ferguson, enraged and grieving from the death of an (again) unarmed black man named Michael Brown who was shot in the back [Dr X: not established that he was shot in the back] by a police officer, have been confronted for several days now by police in full military regalia. This time, the rifleman in the sniper’s perch is a police officer — his scope trained on the protesters.
Dara Lind at Vox offers a dispassionate, no-frills account covering areas of agreement and disagreement on what happened. I've done my own speculating on what might have happened, but I don't attach serious weight to any particular possibility. I know that cops lie and tell the truth, and witnesses lie and tell the truth. And recollections aren't recordings of events, so participants and witnesses can offer seriously incorrect accounts unintentionally. Witness agreement doesn't necessarily mean that a particular account is true. People talk, overhear, ask what happened and that shapes their stories. Furthermore, existing group narratives can shape interpretation and recollection. That goes for witnesses, police and those of us watching from afar.
At the moment there is far too much in dispute, so I'll remain agnostic unless and until I'm given solid reason not to be.
As if to underscore my point, it's been revealed that the shooting victim and his companion stole some items from a convenience store shortly before their fateful encounter with the police officer (caught on security camera). The report also says that a physical altercation occurred, which (I guess) would make it a robbery. If this report proves true, then so much for the gentle giant and good kid who would never do anything seriously wrong. Evidently, he was more complex than the sweet portrait painted by his family. I don't fault his family, because I'm sure they're in shock and they surely saw a gentle side to the shooting victim, but their public appraisal of his character isn't sufficient to rule out the possiblity that the victim may have played a more active role in the escalation of his encounter with the cop who shot him.
This new information doesn't absolve the police officer of responsibility, but the robbery along with the reported injury to the officer's face, call into question the witness accounts of an officer who went berserk because of a problem with the boys walking in the street instead of on the sidewalk. The possiblity that the officer was trying to hold a suspect and that a struggle ensued, perhaps involving a struggle for the officer's gun, isn't outside the realm of possibility.
I'll wait for more information to form an opinion, but for now it seems to me that we should be careful about deciding what really happened. There are still two sides that are highly invested in opposing narratives, and it will probably stay that way.
The chief has retracted the claim that the shooting was related to the robbery. One thing I've concluded: the police chief ought to resign.
On 4 April 1953, the CIA was ordered to undermine the government of Iran over a four month period, as a precursor to overthrowing Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh. One tactic used to undermine Mosaddeh was to carry out false flag attacks "on mosques and key public figures", to be blamed on Iranian communists loyal to the government.
The CIA project was code-named TP-Ajax, and the tactic of a "directed campaign of bombings by Iranians posing as members of the Communist party", involved the bombing of "at least" one well known Muslim's house by CIA agents posing as Communists. The CIA determined that the tactic of false flag attacks added to the "positive outcome" of Project TPAJAX.
I still find the notion that ISIS is a creation of Mossad and the CIA absurd, but I can see how some people would buy into such a narrative. They believe that the savagery of ISIS could turn the world against Muslims and serve as Obama's pretext for reinvasion of the Middle East, which is of course what "the Jews" want. And they could point to the CIA project in Iran as evidence that this is how the CIA operates.
Then there is the human inclination to minimize or completely deny fault in one's own when embattled. We're good, they're bad. Nothing is too low for the enemy, but our side is justified in what it does. If our side appears to be in the wrong, then it can't be because no true Scotsman.
Apparently by suicide. This one shocked me when I read the headline. I did know he had a serious history with drug addiction, was a close friend of John Belushi and, IIRC, used with Belushi. I've also wondered casually if he was bipolar, whether diagnosed or undiagnosed. Even with every imaginable resource available, some people fall to the point that they see no other way out of their suffering. Very sad.
Young persons sexually attracted to children face daunting obstacles in seeking help so that they won't molest a child. Luke Malone wrote a fascinating article on the subject. Excerpts are below. I want to warn, however, that either the entirety or certain parts of the article may be extremely disturbing even to viewers who don't consider themselves sensitive in this area.
One day [Adam] typed the words “young pedophile” into Google, and his original thread on the mental health board was the first entry to come up. But when he started to scroll down he saw similar entries on other boards, ones with headlines like “I’m a young pedophile and I need some help” and “How can I get free counseling? I’m a teenage pedophile.” Desperate for someone to relate to, he started reaching out. “I’d say, ‘I’m a pedophile. I used to have a child porn addiction. I know what you’re going through,’” he said. “‘You obviously need help, and I know someone else around our age who’s like that. I think we could be a good support for you and vice versa.’”
This is how [Adam] began communicating with other young pedophiles around the world.