Archive for the ‘Social Commentary’ Category

By R.C. Seely

THIS YEAR I MADE THE DECISION TO improve myself and went back to the gym. It had been awhile, so I have been going for the high intensity workout and the results have already come quickly. I’ve also learned some lessons about athletes. To outsiders they may appear vain and self-absorbed–some simply are–but it’s also more pride in their accomplishment. Getting yourself to your prime physical condition is hard work–in my case a couple of hours at the gym, 5-6 days a week. So when the topic of “body-shaming” comes up, I don’t see it as a harmful thing. 

    Even before my rededication to a more healthy version of myself, I never really bought into the idea that body-shaming was all that bad, but in fact it can be beneficial. 

    Shame is a powerful social tool that should utilized and some people are just plain lazy. I’m not addressing those who work and work, spend their available time at the treadmill or elliptical, and have no results to show for it. That can be frustrating, and to them I say don’t get too discouraged; the world is full of superficial people. Don’t waste your time or energy on their opinions. What I don’t consider an acceptable excuse is when someone claims they have a lack of time for exercise, everyone wastes time, I do as well. We have more time to spare than other generations, just like they had more spare time than their previous generations, that’s what happens with technological advances. And that’s a cycle that is sure to continue.

    I work a full-time job and run MOJO Publishing alone, sometimes writing a couple of articles a week  and researching subjects for future articles and books. I joined the gym, in part, so that I could do this more easily. This gives me more time to use for practical purposes. But let’s look at the “lack of time” argument a little closer. With a full-time job, you work 40 hour weeks, 8 hour days (generally speaking) that only takes away 8 out of 24 hours in your day. Don’t want to do a two hour workout? Fine, let’s go a modest fifteen to thirty minutes. Even with the longer workout you still have most of your day available. Include sleep for–if you’re extremely lucky 6-8 hours, you still have a few hours left, if you wanted or needed a second job or simply wanted your “leisure” time. So time is not a real factor, what about desire?

    A lack of desire is the other leading excuse. The culture also makes sure to lessen desire by dismissing it with a claim of victimhood. One of the more tame was from CNN, citing, “These days, any signs of body imperfection, particularly being overweight, will bring down the wrath of society.” These days? We are told that our society is difficult for little girls–because they are constantly being bombarded by images of “the perfect woman” everywhere they look. On TV, in movies and magazines. That’s valid, or is it? You ever checkout the Men’s health magazines or clothing products packages? It’s men in their prime condition as well, so are men just more secure? And if so, why? Are women being handicapped as little girls by this well-meaning agenda to end body-shaming? Another demographic reportedly susceptable to this cultural epidemic is that of the gay community. Apparently the same issues of suicide attempts and bulemia affect them as well. So the same questions apply.

    Who knows, I don’t. What I am sure of, is that the current course of action in fighting body-shaming isn’t the right one. When former Playmate Dani Mathers was involved in an “invasion of privacy” incident, the internet considered it a “body-shaming case.” Mathers was wrong and she admitted it but her crime was secretly recording an elderly woman in the shower of the gym. Let’s keep that in perspective. I get worried about that when the attorney handling the case, LA City Attorney Mike Feuer, says in an interview with KTLA: “This case is really important to me … Body-shaming is humiliating. It devastates its victims. It tears down their self respect.” It’s feeding the idea that those who can improve themselves shouldn’t even bother, because you might hurt another’s feeling. It’s another push for a participation award. It encourages jealousy of others, rather than individual determination and drive. Instead of trying to shield little girls from these images of physical perfection maybe it would be better to tell them–work hard and you could have it. If you’re willing to put in the effort, and if not feel good that you tried. Failure is a part of life, and it’s always an option but it is what happens afterwards that truly defines us.

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

By R.C. Seely

NEVADA JOINED THE STATES TO FULLY LEGALIZE marijuana at the state level and it’s already seeing a problem come up, one that is very old and common–the monopoly. 

    From the Las Vegas Review Journal:

“A Carson City district court judge … refused to dismiss a lawsuit brought by liquor distributors against the Department of Taxation over the distribution of recreational marijuana to pot dispensaries…. One of those disputes involves the Department of Taxation’s intervention in a licensing process by liquor distributors in Clark County who were seeking to participate in the distribution process.

The decision could delay the start of recreational marijuana sales originally set for July 1 via the existing medical marijuana dispensaries operating throughout Nevada.

Issue is whether liquor distributors have the first right to distribute marijuana from grow facilities to the dispensaries.”

 

  According to the alcohol distributors the law clearly stipulates they get first shot and a temporary restraining order was issued against marijuana distributors from a lawsuit brought on by the Independent Alcohol Distributors of Nevada.

    It should be mentioned, that the tax agency had concerns of lack of interest by the alcohol distributors in the marijuana business–spokeswoman for the Department of Taxation, Stephanie Klapstein stated there was only one liquor wholesaler who applied for a license at the time the restraining order was issued, and it came the morning of the lawsuit–the attorney for the liquor distributors, Kevin Benson, claims five have applied for the licenses. It would be difficult to not see this as suspicious. But let’s leave Nevada for a moment and go to Iowa.

From Reason.com:

“In Cedar Rapids, Iowa, there is a fully outfitted outpatient surgical center that could be used to treat patients with eye problems and improve their vision.

It sits empty, unused, a monument to government imposed artificial restrictions on the supply of medical care.

The prohibition has nothing to do with Dr. Lee Birchansky, who owns the surgical center and the doctor’s office next door. He’s allowed to operate on patients at nearby hospitals, but he can’t do those same surgeries in the facilities that he owns.”

 

   So what’s the problem? The doctor has been the victim of a CON. No, not a scam artist, but a state sanctioned scam. The con in this case is Certificate of Need, so literally a CON. Essentially it’s a license that some states require the business to obtain demonstrating the need for the business or for the industry to expand in the area. It’s used by large companies to keep out competitors. “It is ridiculous that I have an outpatient surgery center that is … ready to go, but I have been denied a certificate of need four times because established hospitals do not want competition,” said Birchansky.

    In order to reopen Birchansky would need to obtain the CON from the Department of Public Health, which he would have to file another application and a $21,000 fee.

    All is not lost for Dr. Birchansky he has help. On Birchansky’s side is the Institute for Justice, a law firm noted for challenging such laws. “Patients and Doctors–not the government–are in the best position to decide what medical services are needed,” said Joshua House of the Institute. Also joining Birchansky in the right is Governor Terry Bradstad of Iowa, who fights to reform CON laws in the state. As for the marijuana distributors of Nevada, right now it appears they are stuck in legislative limbo. For now, the medical marijuana dispensaries will be serving as recreational distributors while all this gets sorted out. When going up against the monopolies, even a single victory is a great one and in time, maybe the Nevada Department of Taxation will see through the smoke.

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

By R.C. Seely

RECENTLY COMEDIAN KATHY GRIFFIN MADE a serious faux pas with a pictorial depiction of herself holding the severed head of Donald Trump and she unleashed a massive amount of backlash for it. Surprisingly it has not only been ardent Trump supporters to voice their disapproval but those who despise Trump as well. Chelsea Clinton, daughter of Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton referred to the picture as “vile and wrong.” In a Twitter post she went on to say “It is never funny to joke about killing a president.”

    CNN Communications tweeted “CNN has terminated our agreement with Kathy Griffin to appear on our New Year’s Eve program.” And this is not the only job opportunity rescended to Griffin, the company that produces the Squatty Potty–a line of toilet footstools, if you were curious–has also dropped her. In part of his statement, chief executive Bobby Edwards declared, “It was deeply inappropriate and runs contrary to the core values our company stands for.”

    It’s not only her career that could be in jeopardy for this stunt that Griffin admitted, she “went too far.” This has attracted the attention of the presidential body guards, the Secret Service. Tweeting that “threats against @SecretService protectees receive the highest priority of all our investigations.” Would you mind telling where the actual “threat” is? Griffin never said she was going to commit the actual beheading of the president, the picture could be loosely interpretive to that, but even that’s a bit of a stretch. And a statement of the death of political leaders in effigy is part of this country, even before the country in fact. To rally support of independence dummies of England’s King were basically tortured and “killed.” An act like this is at least partially responsible for the founding of this nation. Apparently the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) doesn’t see it this way. VFW Commander Brian Duffy, argues that it “was not humourous nor should it be protected speech or expression.” Well, the first part I do agree but not the second. I’m not going to dispute how much of an “incredibly revolting attack on the President of the United States,” as Duffy puts it, that this picture represents. It’s his right to say that and I support and defend that right. This is what Griffin’s critics get wrong, that because “their guy” is being figuratively assaulted that amounts the same thing as an actual assault. Did you know that you can get 10 years in prison for threatening the President? For threatening him! A bit excessive for a statement I’d say. I get it, the death–especially a successful assassination–of the President would send the nation into turmoil but this still seems extreme. And no matter what, if an assassin is truly dedicated to “getting rid of the tyrant,” they will find a way. Many in the past have sent letters to their intended victims before hand, but generally it’s been multiple volumes, not a single ill-advised letter or picture.

    Much of the criticism was aimed at how grotesque and not humourous the image. This Griffin admitted in her apology on Instagram, “I’m a comic. I cross the line. I move the line, then I cross it. I went way too far. The image is too disturbing…. It wasn’t funny. I get it.” Thing is, it was never really supposed to be funny. It was a satrical piece that was intentionally provocative. That’s​ why she collaborated with photographer Sheilds who has made his mark in the world of art through similar pieces. His comments confirm this, “she [Griffin] said, ‘I’d love to do something political. I’d love to make a statement.” Congratulations, Kathy Griffin you did just that.

    With freedom of speech comes the acceptance that, at times there are consequences. Some are valid like losing a job, others not so much, like losing your freedom because of a strictly hypothetical “threat.” Griffin and possibly her co-conspirator, Sheilds may have to suffer both. The first is simply part of the free market at work, second is part of the authoritarian state flexing it’s muscle. No one who truly believes in the First Amendment should be applauding the possibility of Griffin facing incarceration. It’s Sheilds that puts it the best, “I love the idea we have freedom of speech. The fact that I’m allowed to make an image like this says a lot. To me, that’s a powerful thing … nobody’s killed me for this image.” And hopefully it never comes to that.

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

By R.C. Seely

WHY DO WE CELEBRATE MEMORIAL DAY? IS it more than simply a Monday holiday? Yes, actually and it’s a tradition that goes a long ways back. 

    Despite being an American holiday the traditions go further back–before America–or even before Christianity. One of the earliest known accounts of honoring the fallen soldier was in 431 B.C., when the Athenian General Pericles delivered a speech that marked the dead of the Pellonesian War. The ancient Greeks and Romans performed similiar observations for their fallen warriors; with festivals, feasts and adorning the markers. 

    Even in the US, those who died in battle were honored with unofficial days of rememberance. The first organizers were the recently freed slaves. The particapants sang hymns, distributed flowers on the graves, and performed readings, dedicated to the “Martyrs of the Race Course.”

    The founder of the holiday–originally called “Deorations Day”–was the commander-in-cheif of the Union, John A. Logan, who issued a decree on May 30, 1868 that a nationwide day of rememberance should be observed for the 620,000 dead of the Civil War. On this “Decoration Day” flowers were to be placed on the graves of the war dead, same as today. 

    It’s speculated that Logan got the idea from the women’s groups who were already adorning the stones of Confederate soldiers. Even with all this, it was not marked as an official holiday until 1971 and at this time period it was somewhat controversial of a move because of the antimosity of the Vietnam War.

    No matter how you may feel about the cause, or the politicians promises that they will stay out of a war or the lie of it being “the war to end war”, it’s important to show respect for those offer the greatest sacrifice–their very lives. They put themselves in harm’s way because they view it as what is right. They do it for honor and they do it for freedom. The war or police action, might not be right, but the solider is as long as he conducts himself to protect others and deserves our respect. If you want to learn more check out, history.com “8 Things You May Not Know About Memorial Day”.

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

By R.C. Seely

THE SPRING, WHEN FLOWERS ARE IN BLOOM the animal kingdom is searching for their mates and with the human race our thoughts turn to–internet censorship? Yes, it’s that time again, the debate on Net Neutrality has surfaced once more and with a vengence. In an email from Demand Progress.org, “Comcast and Verizon may have won this battle, but they have not won the war.” Fight for the Future (FFTF) echoes the sentiment in their email, that in this struggle for the internet “the FCC just fired the opening shot…” And the FFTF will do “whatever it takes” to win.

Same hyperbole as last time; that the law is the only thing keeping the internet free and open, and Comcast and Verizon are nothing more than disgusting and greedy. That the “fast lanes” are tantamount to suppression of free speech, problem is it’s not true and it’s not necessarily the internet service provider that wanted the fast lanes, it was those they serve. God forbid, they offer paying customers a greater service, than those utilizing the free options. This website isn’t free, I pay a yearly subscription fee to have it listed, it’s a business expense and when the number of followers expands it will have been justified. If that doesn’t happen, then at least I can say I tried and had the autonomy that came from having an internet provided by the free market, which offers choices.

Truth is internet is free and equal, no one forces you to use their service and most offer free options, if you’re not satisfied check out the competition. That’s another way the internet is free and ahead of any public utility version the net neutered supporters desire. The patrons decide what they want to see under the current system and that’s why we should keep it this way. If “equal time” has to be dedicated to ideas the internet consumer doesn’t like, the internet could end up suffering technological stagnation, just as the telephone did under the Fairness Doctrine. This is hardly progressive. Americans​ for Prosperity sent an email out as well, briefly touching on that. This is a part of their email:

“Back in 2015 the Obama administration decided to subject the internet to an archaic regulatory scheme designed in the 1930’s to regulate telephone monopolies … and the results have been predictably bad. Investment in internet infrastructure declined for the first year ever, which means less innovation and less value for consumers.”

I think Open Media.org forgot about that in their online declaration that Net Neutrality is “the founding internet principle that keeps the web open, and ensures all content is treated equally” and abandoning it would make it so ISPs “will be able to engage in discriminatory practices” with regards to internet content. Maybe they were out sick the day in history class that the telephone monopolies were covered, when they also claimed that in order to “protect Net Neutrality … Title II–the part of the Communications​ Act of 1934 that safeguard Net Neutrality,” are necessary.

“The reason we can stop this plan is because gutting net neutrality is massively unpopular. So many people have made online comments against this plan that the FCC’s website crashed,” Demand Progress also asserts in their email. Just because they followed the Progressive crowd doesn’t mean they actually know what they are getting. One thing does confuse me, however, the FFTF claims they have “mobilized dozens of groups and millions of people to stand up for net neutrality,” yet there were only “… 1.2 million comments … [that] the FCC received demanding that the net neutrality rule stay in place.” All this is extremely reactionary and is really nothing more than a pause so the FCC’s head Ajit Pai can get input from the public. If you like Net Neutrality, then by all means comment, if you don’t–and feel like I do–follow this lead and comment.

According to Eric Boehm, of Reason.com, all this is overblown at this point and “it’s not the end of the debate over net neutrality, and it’s not the end of federal regulations for the internet. Instead, this is a first step towards eliminating a nonsensical legal justification for giving the FCC the authority to regulate internet service providers in the first place.” This coup is another attempt to demonstrate the supposed inequality in capitalism demonstrated by CREDO Action.com: “FCC Chairman Ajit Pai just announced his plan for the FCC to give up it’s role in protecting internet users–instead asking companies to voluntarily police themselves.” Ah yes, we can’t possibly function as a society without big brother making sure we all get along. Get ready for “free speech zones” and “safe spaces” on the web.

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

By R.C. Seely

IF YOU SEARCH THROUGH LIBERTARIAN GROUP PAGES on social media sites one of the most common openings from trolls would have to be the question: “What is the libertarian stance on…” You don’t often see this on duopoly pages and it’s not only odd but demonstrates a fundamental misunderstanding of the party by the online passerby, or is drive by a more accurate description? Usually those who post such comments are not looking for a discussion, but to cause trouble, libertarians do this all the time as well, so I’m not condemning the behavior simply find the common socially accepted opening extremely amusing. It’s at a level that would be even less than sophomoric. Which also appears to match their understanding of the movement they so eagerly mock.

A far more effective phrasing would go along the lines of: “From your understanding of libertarian principles​, what is the party’s stance on…” or even better “What is your stance on…” Not only is it more respectful but demonstrates an understanding of those being addressed and the desire for an actual exchange of ideas.

The manner in which you conduct yourself both online and in person is entirely up to you, but if you want to have an actual discussion, statements such as “that’s a typical response” will get a typical–and well deserved–response of hostility. A piece of advice is simply don’t do it. If it would offend you, why do you think it wouldn’t offend others? And yet, they are surprised by the lack of engagement from the other person–go figure!

Critics of online social commentary claim that the anonymity makes them more brazen and hostile–and what’s your point? Of course it makes us more daring, it also spreads ideas and views that are contrary, and protects us from unreasonable consequences of rogue government agency enforcers. Just because we have the freedom of speech, doesn’t mean that those in power–who in general are not exactly advocates of constructive criticism–won’t enact laws to censor that said right. The law of Civil Disobedience for one, think it’s a coincidence it is open for interpretation? Or the Seditions Acts that have been introduced, and reintroduced, and reintroduced. Or how about the future laws from the current administration and social media compliance to curtail “fake news.”

What those who make their drive-by remarks don’t seem to grasp is they are not wrecking havoc on the libertarian party, in fact they are probably helping. Yes, there will be many who react to the intruder, but others will actually answer and engage, even when it’s clear the one who posted has fled. The libertarian prespective is less one of a collective view and more principles with an open dialogue to get back on the road of limited government. Some see that as keeping the death penalty, others abolishing it; some are pro-life, others pro-choice; some want a strong social safety net, others want it completely dismantled. Some are hard core environmentalists and feminists. Some voted Gary Johnson, others Hillary Clinton, and others Donald Trump and they are not any less libertarian for it.

The libertarian Party is not one that believes in ownership of the individual in any fashion, that’s why the common views are the draft is tantamount to slavery, why “taxation is theft”, and the wall is more of a tool to restrict movement than protection for the citizenry. That also means that the party doesn’t own the libertarian and the question “what is the libertarian stance on…” is a logical fallacy, it can’t really be answered, because that makes the implication the party owns you and you have to fall in line with their political dogma. So what is the libertarian stance on that? I don’t know but this is my stance.

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