Archive for April, 2017

By R.C. Seely

“MR. O’REILLY’S DISMISSAL AMOUNTS TO AN enormous shift in cable news … the move has the potential to open up a cable news war that for more than a decade has been dominated by Fox News, ” reported the New York Times. Their analysis also suggests that Fox News is hardly social roadkill, and “that Fox’s viewers are loyal … [they] certainly will not be switching over to CNN or MSNBC.” The New York Times was the source that reported the allegations of sexual harassment charges against O’Reilly and the millions in settlements.

    Former CBS News president Andrew Heyward, had similar comments, claiming “Fox News is vulnerable with O’Reilly’s departure” and because of the circumstances “there will be resentment among his loyal base.” You mean the same ones who voted for Donald Trump, who isn’t exactly a paragon of virtue? Mr. Heyward does concede, however, the news network serves as an alternative to the majority of TV news, which could let it ride out the storm. 

Presidential contender John Kasich denied seeing anything inappropriate at Fox News or in O’Reilly’s previous conduct. “It was fine. If it wasn’t fine, I wouldn’t have stayed, ” Kasich said in an interview with Business Insider. Kasich does have knowledge of the environment of Fox News, having hosted his own show “Heartland,” but that was in the early 2000’s and a lot could have changed since. O’Reilly himself adamantly denies the charges, calling them “completely unfounded claims.”

The Sleeping Media has been doing all it can to neutralize and silence Fox News for years and jumping on this yet one more feeble attempt to return to “the good old days of media.” When dry, crotchety windbags told us we can trust the government. If O’Reilly shifted his capitalist stances just a little, he might have been welcomed. If the goal of the American progressives was to get rid of O’Reilly, they truly failed miserably. Early this week he did his first podcast and is considering his other options, among them; Newsmax, the One America News Network, The Blaze and Sinclair Broadcasting. He’s not going anywhere and that’s actually a good thing. I can’t stand O’Reilly and have never hidden that, but the only worse action, is muffling his voice. I doubt he would reciprocate but I stand behind O’Reilly’s right of free speech. That’s the libertarian way, I don’t​ have to agree with you to defend you.

Attempting to restore the media safe space vacuum is not the only way this is a black eye for progressives, it also clearly proves capitalism works and they are nothing but hypocrites. O’Reilly wouldn’t have been fired if sponsors hadn’t pulled their financial backing due to his violations of moral standards. O’Reilly’s viewers more than likely would have stood behind him and even tried to dismiss the allegations, there was little risk for the sponsors. They put principle over profit, exactly what the critics of capitalism claim they never do. The progressives, on the other hand, demonstrated they care only about your rights if you’re on their side, by pushing the highly organized and effective campaign against the commentator–with little to show for it, I might add. This will have little impact on Fox or O’Reilly, and won’t swell their ranks. By all measures the culture war is once again going to the culture warrior on the right.

Heyward and the New York Times are right in their analysis that Fox News will be fine without O’Reilly, yes, there will be some “resentment among his loyal base,” but that comes with being a moralist commentator accused of impropriety. Probably the most accurate prediction is from the New York Times piece, that the viewers won’t being going to CNN or MSNBC anytime soon. They might abandon O’Reilly or Fox News but that doesn’t mean they will turn into so-called “liberals.” Most likely they will look to the Constitution Party, Libertarian Party or other independent alternative news sources. They might even check out this one and you are more than welcomed here.

R.C. Seely is the founder of americanuslibertae.com and ALTV. He has written books about pop culture, the most recent Victims of White Male: How Victim Culture Victimizes Society, is available on Amazon.

By R.C. Seely

APRIL 22ND HAS BEEN DESIGNATED TO BE yet another holiday an evergrowing list of pointless identity holidays–Earth Day. A day specifically put aside for environmental activists to remind us what horrible people we are, not like the other 364 days of the year, when they are so silent. As I’ve made clear in previous written works–in both articles and in books–I have little respect for the current pop culture variety of the green movement, in no small part because of its take over by groups like the EPA. At one time these organizations did perform legitimate acts of public service and make the environment cleaner and safer, with regulations that made sense, now it’s all about creating division and maintaining power. The extremists​ in the movement have taken control. Green Peace, the Sierra Club, EPA, were on the right track at least, others like, ALF and ELF have always been essentially eco-terrorists. 

    Then we have celebrities in Greenism, Al Gore, Leonardo DiCaprio, John Kerry, Barack Obama and Micheal Moore, as only a small sample of environmental profiteers. The ones that would demand the rest of us live green but demonstrate an aversion to it themselves, I applaud activists such as Ed Beagley Jr and Darrell Hannah for living their principles even though I disagree with them. Not only does not doing so make the others hypocrites, but it appears the sense of urgency is entirely manufactured for them. Live according to your principles or sit down. This year the green elite have a new platform as well, in the March for Science, a “nonpartisan” March for environmental justice–but you’re not invited if you support Trump, real “nonpartisan!” On the website March for Science displays this loudly stating an “American government that ignores science to pursue ideological agendas endangers the world.” And what of an organization that does the same? The group says support “evidence-based policy making” and government funding for scientific research, so essentially state sponsored scientific endevours are the only ones that will considered valid. Maybe another round of eugenics​ will be in the budget as well, getting rid of the deplorable critics of Greenism. A 2010 editorial in Nature magazine calls attention to “a growing anti-science streak on the American right” and it needs to be cured, which “depends on more education, science and technology,” all taxpayer funded too, I’m sure. In an article for Scientific American, author Shawn Lawrence Otto comments that “it is hard to know exactly when it became acceptable for U.S. politicians to be anti-science” since so many of our previous presidents and founding fathers were men of science. Many were also men of freedom, and a few of the men of science, who occupied the white house were borderline Authoritarians. To be fair Trump did call climate change a hoax, promised to continue with the Keystone Pipeline, and gutted Federal agencies involved in environmental issues. 

    Headlining the March for Science are Bill Nye, Mona Hanna-Attisha, and Lydia Villa-Komaroff, none of which are climate scientists. Nye is a mechanical engineer, Hanna-Attisha is a pediatrician​, and Villa-Komaroff is a molecular and cellular biologist, so their opinions on the matter are no more valid than yours or mine. NASA on the other hand, is full of experts on the climate and there is no common consensus on the human impact on the planet. 

    Whether they truly believe it or not, all of them are missing an opportunity, the chance to be more effective and return to the path of sane, rational environmental policy. Make the movement more about economy than ecology, capitalize on green capitalism. There are a few environmental policies that can save the individual, and in certain circumstances whole companies, money such as certain recycling programs. Control seems always be the agenda, whether it’s controlling how we live or population control. That’s what many also advocate in the environmental movement, lower the population, like they have the moral authority to do so.

    While researching this article, I saw a glimmer of hope from earthday.org with a common sense suggestion for activism–reforestation. “Trees for Earth… it’s goal is to plant, or inspire the planting of 7.8 billion trees worldwide… one for every person projected to be on earth,” is one of the proposed initiatives on the site. Finally, pushing an agenda that makes sense and encourages individual effort. Unfortunately they couldn’t help but cater to the extremists: “The scientific evidence is clear and irrefutable–human activity is causing our planet to warm at an alarmingly high rate. Not only is this warming climate trend happening right now, it could have serious outcomes on our food supply (especially if they want to outlaw GMOs), lead to mass migration and conflict, and without being an alarmist, it may very well threaten the future survival of the human race.” That doesn’t sound like an alarmist. Oh, by the way don’t forget to donate. Also it seems they want to silence their critics, but Earth Day was created for the zealots. Starting out as a United States holiday it was proposed by peace activist John McConnell in 1969 and sanctioned by the U.N. in 1970. A month after that, Wisonsin Democrat Senator Gaylord Nelson, founded a separate Earth Day and started a tsunami of new environmental activism. He could have started a green capitalism movement but that wasn’t his goal, which he made clear when he said that “the economy is a wholly owned subsidiary of the environment, not the other way around.” What? That’s absurd, the economy is the key to human culture, no matter what form it takes. It’s also the methodology to get a green economy, many corporations went green because their customers wanted it and went beyond the EPA guidelines, at least if it didn’t hurt their company. That’s all the EPA does anymore really, create economic stagnation but that’s what happens when the agenda is control and not prosperity.

R.C. Seely is the founder of americanuslibertae.com and ALTV and has written books on pop culture. For more on environmental issues read Unconventional Wisdom: Behavior Modification For the Modern Age and Victims of White: How Victim Culture Victimizes Society both available on Amazon.

By R.C. Seely

LAST WEEK SOCIAL MEDIA WAS IN AN UPROAR over the forced ejection of a passenger from United Airlines. Dr. Donald Dao was removed from the flight by police after he was asked to leave due to overbooking and was offered $800. The doctor was not the only passenger asked to leave but he was the only one who refused to do so. Many critics of are using this incident as “another case of the evils of capitalism.” Are they right or is the story simply inaccurate?

We all know how reliable the initial reports are, full of accurate details that aren’t rushed or incomplete… if only. Point of fact the initial reports are generally full of obvious errors and entire narratives that are incorrect. Take the 1999 Columbine shooting, the first reports didn’t get anything right. The police and media got the number of shooters and victims wrong, the accounts of what happened wrong and the motive wrong. There was no connection to Satanism, violent video games and movies, or the NRA. Both assailant’s families were normal and vanilla Rockwellian, who raised their children as many of us do. Everything was considered except for the most obvious–they were just a couple of mean violent teens with no respect for human life.

Could that be the case here? Yes, and as the details are coming to light, the images of the good, dedicated Dr. Dao is starting to change.

From a Daily Mail article:

“An official report detailed the findings of medical exams performed on Dr. Dao and spelled out concerns over his mental state. A court case brought by him would inevitably have to consider whether the documents could be used by United.

Among the findings were:

Dr. Mary Gannon ‘noted that Dr. Dao “lacked the foundation to navigate difficult situations, both interpersonally and in a complex profession”. Dr. Gannon noted a need to control, avoidance, withholding information and magical thinking as problematic.’ 

The report went on: ‘Dr. Montgomery noted that Dr. Dao appeared to have difficulties with information processing. Neuropsychological screening did not suggest gross difficulties. 

‘However, in reviewing records, it was noted that Dr. Dao tends to have poor decision-making despite his overall level of ability. 

‘His choices have resulted in significant consequences over the years yet he continues to function in this manner. 

‘He is generally not forthright regarding details of events unless challenged and at times he will tell different versions of a story to different interviewers. ‘

Later in the report it found: ‘As far back as April, 2002, Dr. Brady notes ” … he would unilaterally chose to do his own thing’. 

‘This remains a concern to this day and without a high degree of structure and accountability he is at risk for further boundary related practice issues.'”

    Along with his propensity towards bad judgment in general, he has had charges of ethics violations from patients, including sexual assault charges. Normally I would agree that these are immaterial, but in this case it does question his state of mind at the time of the incident. Why didn’t he take the money like the others? Do the airlines have a right to remove you in the case of a voluntary transaction–such as this–as long as you are compensated? And where does the fault go as for Dao’s injuries, with the airlines or the police? Or possibly with Dao himself for resisting, since that is how he was injured.

    Before judging the airlines to harshly, you might consider the report of Dr. Gannon, it sounds like Dr. Dao was a possible risk to the other passengers, that should be in the discussion as well. Not everyone with mental disorders are inherently dangerous but Dao sounds like he could have been. Thankfully the Daily Mail wasn’t the only outlet to raise the question of the doctor’s past. TMZ, The New York Daily News, the Washington Times and the Chicago Sun Times are only a few that did, and they should. It’s all part of the story and the only way to state an unbiased report.

    Dao will need extensive reconstructive surgery, suffering a concussion, a broken nose and missing teeth, all from the trauma of hitting the headrest in front of him. He said the incident was “scarier than fleeing Vietnam.” United has lost $800 million in market share and will continue to lose business because of the negative publicity. It’s unclear if the police will be included in the lawsuit, but United will be and will surely settle. At this point it probably won’t do them much good.

    All this is bad enough but it’s what to follow that is really scary. Already there is talk about government action, Chris Christie has already proposed legislation making overbooking illegal. Christie is not alone and there will more than likely be further calls to “fix this problem” to come. Of course, all the calls will be federal intervention and not free market solutions, so don’t expect any positive results. If you like the way the TSA handles things, that’s the future if this goes that way. Such incidents are rare and occur because a lack of competition, something that only seems to get exasperated by government.

R.C. Seely is the founder of americanuslibertae.com and ALTV. His current book Victims of White Male: How Victim Culture Victimizes Society is available at Amazon.

By R.C. Seely

PRIVATIZATION… IT’S A WORD THAT MANY find down-right ominous, much of these sentiments have to do with the perception from the industrial revolution-a time supposedly rampant with corporate greed and corruption. The common consensus is that when corporations are free to do as they please their hunger for profit outweighs all else, we advocates of the free market know better. One area that even free market champions do get wrong is when it comes to privatization of parks. The mere suggestion makes them nervous. Are their concerns legitimate?

Many parks are already private or at least partially private. This includes ones of the most centrally planned states in the country, New York. And this private/public effort was pushed by their own Napoleon-Michael Bloomberg, no less. The effort is called PlaNYC and was introduced in 2007, but the financial problems of New York started in the 1970s and something had to be done.

The City Journal.org covers this:

“In 1980, landscape designer Elizabeth Barlow Rogers and others founded the Central Park Conservancy, whose original purpose was to raise money, stop the park’s decline and restore several of its major landmarks. The city eventually gave the Conservancy the lion’s share of the day-to-day control of the park.

About 85 percent of the Conservancy’s annual budget comes from private donations, mostly from people who live within a ten-minute walk of the park.”

This is not the first time such public/private partnerships have been implemented in New York, in the early 1980s, Bryant Park was another necessity for privitization. With an ill concieved design, the park had many hidden locations making it perfect for criminals. It was reported to have 500 felonies commited per year. Then It was closed and remodeled thanks to this partnership.

New York at least recognized the need for this move, according to parkprivatization.com,  California wavered:

“Due to the state budget crisis, (in 2011) California State Parks has been forced to cut millions of dollars from it’s operating budgets. To make ends meet, California has proposed closing 70 state parks.

‘It doesn’t have to be this way’ says Warren Meyer, president of… Recreation Resource Management (RRM), a 10M company that manages public parks throughout the U.S.

‘With a public-private partnership model used by the US Forest Service (USFS) for thirty years in hundreds of California parks and campgrounds, the government retains ownership of the land and control of the use and character of the park, while handing over operational tasks that are time, money and labor intensive to a more cost-effective private company.'”

California is not alone in its reluctance to relinquish even a little bit of control to save its parks, Arizona has been downright hostile towards the idea of public-private partnerships and would rather let the parks go to ruin.

Out of desperation the totalitarians of the Big Apple had to acquiesce for the good of their beloved parks, but that’s just an isolated area and couldn’t possibly work across the rest of the nation-could it?  Eventually greed would cause those private landowners to develop and destroy the land. They have no incentive to protect the areas for everyone else’s enjoyment, right? Actually, they do have a big incentive and act on it, according to Alyssa Ravasio co-founder of HipCamp. HipCamp is a website that is like an Air BnB for nature lovers, listing camp sites that both public interests and private landowners offer for patrons.

In an interview for Entrepreneur magazine Alyssa discusses the lessons she learned when creating HipCamp:

“We started reaching out to private citizens who own tons of land… They don’t want to subdivide, sell or develop their property, but they would like to make money off it, so we partnered with them to create entirely new places for people to get outside-camping, hiking, fishing, you name it. The property owners set a price, which ranges from $10 to $300, and we facilitate the transaction and take a commission.

Website traffic also tells us a lot about where people want to camp, so we can focus on finding private lands in that area… And that’s why out biggest initiative for 2017 is reaching more landowners… [using HipCamp] some ranchers… made more than $40,000 this year.”

 

The private landowners were acting out of self-interest, they desired extra income from land not being used, but what was Alyssa’s purpose? Was she being altruistic, voluntarily giving for others? Nope. She was looking “to spend New Year’s Eve of 2012 somewhere quiet and beautiful… by the ocean.” Her search for the perfect spot to ring in the New Year was time-consuming and left her exhausted, and still didn’t yield the results she wanted. Alyssa came across a need that others didn’t adequately meet and filled it. She saw the need for herself and thought others could use it as well. So she went into fundraising mode and kept steady in her pursuit until it became a profitable business. 

    The business HipCamp did more for more land preservation than the federal landgrabbers have-offering 1,700 private land locations and more than 285,00 listings which includes state and national sites-because it was built around the private landowner’s self-interest to protect and efficiently use their property. As Alyssa put it,”It creates great value for them-and we hope, doubles as conservation effort. When people can make money off open land, there will be more open land for everyone.”

    Along with practical economics, another advantage to such an agreement is that privately operated parks are immune to government shutdowns, since the labor and expenses are covered by a private entity. During the 2013 government shutdown the Forestry Service, under the Obama adminstration, illegally shut down the parks, bringing calls from attorneys. An appropriate action since they broke their end of the contract.

    Once again it appears that government-state as well as federal-has not been the savior for the people against those “big bad greedy capitalists.” Even when the private interests are doing the nation good, they are rarely given their due credit. They’re not pillaging the land but instead perserving it. They are doing what they can to protect from federal incompetence and corruption. They are trying to protect it from government mismanagement and shutdowns. We have more places to go for recreation because of them, not less. And they did it all without having to steal the property from it’s legal landowner. No using legal force, just market incentives. So, welcome to Private Park.

R.C. Seely is the founder of americanuslibertae.com and ALTV, he has also written books about pop culture. He latest is Victims of White Male: How Victim Culture Victimizes Society, is available at Amazon.

 

By R.C. Seely

THERE HAS BEEN A LOT OF IN PARTY FIGHTING going on amongst libertarians, the most common issues of contention seem to be trying to define what makes one a “true” libertarian and what the stance on abortion should be. The problem with the first issue: How does one accurately assess and quality a movement based on voluntary interaction? I really don’t have a good answer for that, which is why I tend to embrace the simplest of solutions and don’t try to define them. Unless the proposed solution increases the size of government I will listen. That’s why I’m pro-choice, I disagree with abortion and think it’s used far too often, but the debate has come up because the temperance movement invited government into the debate by demanding its prohibition. When does federal intervention actually work? One argument that has been tossed around: How can someone be pro-life and in favor of capital punishment? That has some validity from a policy concept free from emotional bias. Essentially the person’s life-whether a convicted criminal or innocent unborn-is decided for them, is this moral? Let’s examine it.

    Arguments in favor of abortion-on-demand center around the threat of children being born with certain physical or mental irregularities-many undetected until after six months, which is why the “need” for partial birth abortion. According to a Huffington Post article in 2013, “The two main reasons for late-term abortions are lack of access to better, earlier care and biology. A 20 week abortion ban would make problems worse by criminalizing them… Pregnancy is riskier for women over 35. Amniocentesis, the test for anomalies, is not done until 15-18 weeks, and ultrasounds for congenital malformations are done at weeks 18-20.” Other arguments are because the child is simply unwanted. Part of the problem is that adoption is costly and not an efficient process in many areas, reforming that process would help. Adoption reform is rarely included in the discussion and a big part of the problem many are adamant in their perspective of the issue. Most have adopted the two polar opposite sides on abortion; either full legalization or total prohibition. It wouldn’t be reasonable to have some restrictions-such as, limited time period in which the procedure can be performed and no more taxpayer funding for Planned Parenthood-but most restrictions won’t make abortion end, simply go underground. Oh good, another black market, just what we need. There has been a reported increase in the number of women suffering depression afterwards, that too should be in the discussion. Afterabortion.org offers this on the matter: 

“A study of the medical records of 56,741 California Medicaid patients revealed that women who had abortions were 160 percent more likely than delivering women to be hospitalized for psychiatric treatment in the first 90 days following abortion or delivery.

In a study of post-abortion patients only 8 weeks after their abortion, researchers found that 44% complained of nervous disorders, 36% experience sleep disturbances, 31% had regrets about their decision, and 11% had been prescribed psychological medicine by their family doctor.”

 

    A study by JAMA refutes these claims and finds that “abortion denial may be associated with psychological harm to women.”

“The longitudinal cohort study observed 956 women semiannually for five years… [The] women who were denied an abortion reported significantly more anxiety symptoms and lower self-esteem and life satisfaction, but similar levels of depression, as women receiving abortions; outcomes improved or remained steady over time.”


     JAMA further concludes:

“In this study, compared with having an abortion, being denied an abortion may be associated with greater risk of initially experiencing adverse psychological outcomes. Psychological well-being improved over time so that both groups of women eventually converged. These findings do not support policies that restrict women’s access to abortion on the basis that abortion harms women’s mental health.”


    What is considered more moral: A policy that ends the life of an unborn and arguably puts the woman’s life in risk, not just physically but mentally; or one that increases the government’s input in the matter, which will more than likely still put everyone in more danger but might not? 

    As for the death penalty, I do agree with its critics in federal cases, as for local that’s where the debate should continue. With local control, it’s easier to curtail the abuse within the justice system. A higher burden of proof for death penalty cases and updating interrogation tactics by law enforcement is part of the solution. Does this eliminate all the problems? Probably not. The justice system is based on a meritocracy of conviction rates not seeking justice or bringing down crime. Until that changes as well, false convictions will remain the norm, and that means the debate should continue. It’s critics argue that granting any government the right to decide who lives and dies is far too dangerous, going off history they have an excellent point. Even imprisonment or investigation of accusations, has been used as a potential weapon against supposed threats. This danger was born in the United States with President John Adams, in the form of the Alien and Sedition Acts, included in the Acts were pieces of legislation that made it illegal for anyone-including journalists-to criticize the administration without threat of incarceration. Doesn’t this sound familiar? During both World Wars the Sedition Acts were revived, but not for Korea, Vietnam or any current engagements. The illusion was created that the American people largely supported the World Wars after the attacks on the Lusitania and Pearl Harbor and that might not have been the case. By controlling the narrative, they controlled everything. We can banter about the specific semantics involved in the American wars but what is clear is the control created. If the government puts that much effort into keeping it’s war machine going, what would it do to its critics? Falsely incarcerate them, kill them? It’s not like the US government is above those kinds of tactics if one of its citizens is deemed “unpatriotic” or a “subversive.” Remember McCarthyism? And Trump has already started an enemies list. So, all things considered, is it really so imprudent to start reconsidering your perspective if pro-capital punishment?

    So, it appears the people of the United States do have room for further discussion and evaluation about the morality of these issues. Is the more morally consistent stance the one that grants a federal entity more control and yet devalues human life? Isn’t that essentially what you’re agreeing to if you abdicate for legalization of either? Can you be in favor of human life if you’re pro-choice but not the death penalty? Or vice versa? What would happen with a complete moratorium on the death penalty? Are there unintended consequences? We know that prohibitions generally end up with adverse effects, most common being the foundation of black markets, making society as a whole far less safe. The prohibition of alcohol, the War on Drugs and the restrictions on abortion, all had illegal underground markets, offering the desperate these bootlegged goods and services at inflated prices and unsafe conditions. Would a total death penalty ban end up with a black market? Could it result in a real-life punisher? Or possibly Lynch mobs, seeking vengeance instead of justice? We have a historical record to look at with abortion restrictions but not with the death penalty, so all this is speculative. We can study the crime rates in each state, to get an idea of the end results and hope it’s​ not catastrophic if nationally implemented. Deathpenalty.info has a side by side comparison of murder rates in states with the death penalty vs those without, and shows the murder rates are actually lower in the states without. While it fluctuates between a 4-46% difference in the span of 1990-2015, the death penalty states have a higher murder rate. According to their research “the average of murder rates per 100,000 population in 1999 among death penalty states was 5.5, where the average… non-death penalty states was only 3.6.” It appears the evidence is on the side of life in this matter. A certain amount of consensus is required to go forward in changing either policy, which I don’t see coming up in the near future.

    Questions of ethics are-and undoubtedly should be-difficult, they require juggling our perspective of the head and heart. What seems logical can also be construed as cold and callous, and the emotional can be viewed as weak or frivolous. No matter your view, you have to be able to live with what transpires. You didn’t end a life but your advocacy puts the guilt on your hands, doesn’t it? You could argue the death row inmate deserves it, what if he was innocent and succumbed to police interrogation? That means an innocent person still died and you had a part in it. If you call for an abortion prohibition which doesn’t work and simply creates a black market, does that make you guilty? And what if further federal intervention is advanced because of such prohibitions, does that negate the morality? The government has a bad habit of using such actions to validate its encroachment and expand its efforts of control. Is the risk worth it and once down that road can we make the U-turn? From my view, having the federal oversight in either matter is a major ethical violation but trying to squash any contrary opinions is an even bigger one, so let’s continue the debate.

R.C. Seely is the founder of americanuslibertae.com and ALTV. He also has written books about pop culture and his most recent is Victims of White Male: How Victim Culture Victimizes Society, all his books are available at Amazon.com.