49 thoughts on “Saturday Open Forum!

    • Not sure about that.

      These are class 4 felonies. Do you know what that means?

      Me neither.

      In Minnesota, every felony is punishable by at least 1 year and does not go by classes. However, they do have severity levels that affect sentencing. In Wisconsin, they have felony classes of A-H, I think, and some of those have sentences of as little as 9 months. (Speaking as a Minnesotan, Wisconsin law is always just a bit “off”.)

      In Minnesota, if he had no criminal history, then, depending on the severity level (and whether dangerous weapons were involved—probably not the case here), he might get a stayed sentence with probation.

      Having fully explained the basis for my ignorance, I would put the over-under at 6 months and I would take the under.

      -Jut

    • I hope they throw the book at him and give him the maximum punishment for each count. The public needs to understand that this kind of insindary crap won’t be tolerated and they will punish people to the full extent of the law if they lie to investigators.

      Prediction: He’ll get a punishment that’s equivalent to a slap on the wrist in comparison to what he could get.

      • I think your prediction is correct. Class 4 felonies in Illinois carry 1-3 year prison sentences, so getting the max punishment would be a pretty bad day for Smollett. He won’t do any time on the state charges. He’ll be fined, get probation, that sort of thing. A deal will be cut; there’s no way Smollett’s lawyers will let this go to trial.

        The federal case regarding the fake letter he mailed to himself, though, is another matter. I think there’s a good chance he gets a year or more for that one, once the USPS investigators get done with it.

      • ”and whether dangerous weapons were involved—probably not the case here”

        Bleach isn’t a dangerous weapon? Laundry stains would beg to differ…

        “He’ll get a punishment that’s equivalent to a slap on the wrist in comparison to what he could get.”

        Hopefully Lefty overplayed their hand, some Truth in Sentencing would restore a modicum of faith in the system.

        • In California the bleach would qualify as a ‘caustic chemical” and assault using same has its own section among the assault family. People can use eyesight from that stuff. I don’t know how it would shake out to have your paid agent assault throw iton you. “He had it coming” is not a good defense in general, so the “he paid me to” is probably no better. And… the star witnesses would also be co-defendants. You legal eagles will have to unpack that one.

  1. I’ve been a Republican since I was 18. I came close to walking away in 2016, when I thought the party was going to self-destruct with Trump at the helm. In retrospect that was just alarmism, fueled by a mainstream media that wanted to set Trump up as the Republican nominee specifically to trash him. I finally joined the fight more against Hillary than for him, because I decided that I’d seen 20 years of Hillary, and, based on that 20 years, she was not what I wanted in a president. The GOP has seen better days, and of course it can’t keep notching up only success, that’s not how things work, but, William Weld aside (who I think will fade away very quickly), it’s not in danger of imploding.
    During the Cold War I had grudging respect for the Democratic Party. For one thing, we were all in this together. For another, the sober centrists kept the radicals (who were fewer at the time) from going too far off the reservation. I retained SOME respect for Bill Clinton for most of his time in office due to his high degree of political skill and relative centrism, despite his subpar handling of foreign policy. I lost most of that at the end of his second term when he allowed his own misconduct to become a monumental distraction to this nation and revealed just how low his character was by perjuring himself.
    That said, by that time Clinton’s time was almost up, and I, like many, disregarded him as being of limited relevance, as many presidents become in the final two years of their second terms, especially if they do not have the support of Congress, which none of the last five presidents to get a second term had (or would have had, since Nixon never reached those last two years). What I hadn’t quite grasped was the ethical rot and the win-at-any-cost-no-matter-how-it-hurts-the-country mentality he and his defenders had planted in the Democratic Party.

    I started to have some serious questions about Obama almost from the get-go, as it quickly became evident that his few remarks about being everyone’s president and the idea that he would be the one to finally bring healing between the races and so forth were just rhetoric, and his comments that he won, so get with the program were more revealing of his true character. What is more, his character was reflective of what the Democratic Party had become and further became during his tenure. The Harry Trumans, Scoop Jacksons, Sam Nunns, and Zell Millers were long gone. JFK wouldn’t recognize the party now. In their place stood race hucksters like Obama, extremists like Elizabeth Warren and Bill DeBlasio, and the frankly evil like Harry Reid, all held together by a few ruthless power-grubbers at the top, typified by Hillary.

    The moral center of the party was gone. All they were interested in was getting in power and staying in power, whatever it took to do so. If that meant importing new citizens to outnumber the citizens who voted against them, then so be it. If that meant trashing half the country as rubes standing in the way of progress, then so be it. If that meant promising the gullible things that simply weren’t possible, then so be it. Anyone who stood in their way they would simply call racist, sexist, or some other hater and that would be that.

    However, as with the French revolutionaries nearly two and a half centuries ago, who moved further and further in a radical direction until they turned on one another and opened the door for Napoleon, the Democratic Party has moved too far, and is facing a reckoning, if not now, then very soon.
    In 2016 you heard endless rhetoric about how the Republican Party should have tried harder to push Trump out during the primaries and was going to end up destroying itself when it didn’t. I say physician, heal thyself, the Democratic Party should have done a better job of screening its Congressional candidates this time out.

    The party that claims to be the steady one, as opposed to that crazy orange guy, doesn’t sound so steady when Rashida Tlaib screams that “we’re going to impeach the motherfucker!” especially when it is becoming more and more evident that the Mueller report is going to be a dud. The party that claims to be the one that’s going to make the economy work for everyone and create jobs, not like those heartless plutocrats who care only about the 1%, doesn’t look like such financial wizards when Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez pushes a Green New Deal that sounds half like Communism, half like Hunger Games, and cheers the loss of 25 jobs in her district. The party that claims to be the inclusive one, not like those old racist white guys, sounds pretty racist itself when Ilhan Omar starts pushing anti-Jewish conspiracy theories and saying that Jewish Americans aren’t loyal to their nation. What’s more, the party leadership either can’t or won’t try to control these “rising stars,” because they’re “the sparks that will lead to progress.” Do I really have to point out that fire started by sparks can be just as dangerous to he who lights it as to he who tries to fight it? The Democratic Party better squelch this fire before it ends up consuming them, and before the GOP can cast themselves in the popular role of the firemen.

    • I started to have some serious questions about Obama almost from the get-go, as it quickly became evident that his few remarks about being everyone’s president and the idea that he would be the one to finally bring healing between the races and so forth were just rhetoric, and his comments that he won, so get with the program were more revealing of his true character.

      There is a sort of similarity, though I admit it is pushing it, between the push to righteous condemnation of the South African apartheid-system and drawing the whole wide world into a condemnation of the South African regime in absolute terms, and the result of allowing that to happen, and making it happen . . .

      . . . and what our own Obama/Madiba set out to do, and accomplished, in America.

      Obama carried forward what had become and is now America’s redefined & refocused liberal and democratic definition of itself: the New America defined through the Civil Rights Movement.

      There is simply no way around the realization that this is what was chosen, and also what *you-plural* choose. This is it, you are getting it. It is taking shape before your eyes . . .and it will devour you.

      You just need to accept!

      To be ‘the President of all’ is to continue the Project for the All: the democratic blending of the races. This necessitates the abolishing of the white history of America and the overturning of the Monument of America.

      Can’t you clearly see this? This is ‘healing between the races’ and that healing is the toppling of ‘whiteness’ as a divisive *construct*.

    • It is just like my longtime Usenet ally, Chris Morton, wrote,

      The Democrat party really is my father’s Democrat party:
      * racialism
      * anti-Semitism
      * disdain for the presumption of innocence
      * organized violence against political opponents

      The despicable Kavanaugh farce tells me that were Emmett Till to be lynched today, the Democrat party would say (again) that he had it coming.

      http://www.cleveland.com/opinion/2018/11/armed-guards-in-houses-of-worship-is-not-a-bad-idea-just-because-president-trump-suggested-it-mark-weinberg-opinion.html#vf-2523500018036

          • I don’t see Kant’s assertion as being counter-Christian, truthfully. In a way it confirms the Christian idea of the thoroughly corrupted *heart*. And I do not think that any person could ever be made *straight* in the sense he seems to mean.

            But if you are saying that Christianity is idealism, I agree. It seems a very ultimate form of what I call idealistic imposition.

            • Without the redemptive healing of Christ, this is a true statement. However, when one submits to the teachings and person of Jesus, all things are possible.

              Most ‘Christianity’ today is Christianism, which is idealistic and hypocritical. this is the straw man the world uses against Christianity: show the flaws of a system that it is not to disparage it.

  2. For those who care, an update on the status of one lawsuit against the bump-stock ban:
    https://gunowners.org/alert3719/

    Why bring this up? …The particularly interesting bit here (to me) is that the government refused to refute the plaintiff’s assertion that no crime has ever been proven to have been committed using a bump-stock. Most of the public believes that they were used in the Vegas shooting, and that one incident has served as the impetus for the push to ban them. In fact, neither the FBI nor the ATF has yet confirmed that those were actually used in that incident.

    You have to wonder…

    • It is interesting that they haven’t said much of anything about that incident. A former federal employee with serious psychiatric issues who claimed to be winning hundreds of thousands of dollars every time he went to Vegas shoots up a concert full of Republicans. The timeline of the event cannot be reconciled, with the authorities unable to even know the sequence of events from the testimony of their officers. Then the investigation yields…nothing.

  3. Art school in Seattle closing: https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/i-was-scammed-art-institute-of-seattle-will-close-abruptly-friday-two-weeks-before-end-of-quarter/

    It appears the current owners tried to do the right thing, but the thing was an absolute mess and they did not do their due diligence, or maybe thought they could pull it off anyway. I feel bad for the students, but the Seattle AI has had a bit of a reputation for many years and I would not have enrolled recently.

    • It appears the current owners tried to do the right thing

      There is absolutely no excuse for a school to close two weeks before the end of the term. Professors have a literal professional obligation to protect the interests of their students, and should be willing to suck it up and work without pay if necessary to close out the term and post grades to best ensure tuition isn’t wasted and credits can be completed and transferred.

    • I’m with the commenter who said “ANY brand of anti-Semitism scares me”. The problem is that being scared makes me mad, and I do odd stuff when I’m mad…like hit people.

        • I’m going to hope this doesn’t mean you thought I was anti Semitic. In my mind, Judaism is simply a religion, and if I don’t like it’s beliefs (which are drawn largely from the Christian Old Testament), don’t go to a synagogue. My cousins wife, whom I love dearly, is Jewish by choice and we have had some lively debates over religion.

        • Paul, I’d really like to find out why this leaves you dumbfounded? I seriously do NOT want to leave you with the wrong impression.

    • Remember when the Democratic Party couldn’t agree that killing living, breathing infants was wrong?

      Remember when the Democratic Party couldn’t agree that antisemitism was wrong?

      Crazy world.

  4. The Peter Beinart article in the Guardian recently made sense for me. https://www.theguardian.com/news/2019/mar/07/debunking-myth-that-anti-zionism-is-antisemitic?CMP=share_btn_link

    I do not support everything the state of Israel does, but I resent any such criticism being used to brand me as an antisemite.

    As Beinart wonderfully says :

    “Antisemitism isn’t wrong because it is wrong to denigrate and dehumanise Jews. Antisemitism is wrong because it is wrong to denigrate and dehumanise anyone. Which means, ultimately, that any effort to fight antisemitism that contributes to the denigration and dehumanisation of Palestinians is no fight against antisemitism at all.”

    • Beinert is being obtuse, dishonest or historically ignorant to write that, but then he is a predictable hack. The establishment of Isreal was a utilitarian solution to the undeniable fact that Jews were not safe anywhere after the experience of the Holocaust, and the international community chose their historical homeland as a solution to a difficult problem. There was no Palestinian state to “occupy” and the Palestinians have repeatedly rejected opportunities to compromise, choosing terrorism and violence instead, and continuing to advocate the destruction of Israel. To be pro-Palestinian is to be anti-Israel, and because Israel was devised as a remedy to the scourge of worldwide anti-Semitism, to be anti-Israel, which is what Omar is, is enabling anti-Semitism.

      Omar is scheduled to appear at a fundraiser with the Hamas-linked Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) later this month, as the keynote speaker at CAIR’s 4th Annual Valley Banquet. CAIR is a pro-Palestinian organization with ties to Islamic terror groups.

      The U.S. Department of Justice listed CAIR as an un-indicted co-conspirator in funding millions of dollars to the terrorist organization Hamas. Additionally, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) named CAIR a terrorist organization along with al-Qaeda and ISIS in 2014. You know, while Obama was President? Speaking to CAIR is signature significance, like speaking at a white supremacy convetion. Omar knows it, too.

      The Palestinians hate Israel, and Jews. They have been immersed in a culture of hate for more than half a century, and Democrats are embracing their cause because the party is obsessed with victim mentality and grievance-mongering. No doubt, the Palestinians had and have a legitimate complaint because their territory was taken away from them.Nobody should expect them to like the international solution that picked them as the interest to be sacrificed, but they are in the midst of a 80 year, hopeless tantrum. Blaming Isreal is a reaction created by the habit of blaming Jews generally for the evils of the world—that is, anti-Semitism.

      The Palestinians could end the ongoing conflict in six months: they just have to accept the existence of Israel, and stop the violence, by conceding Isreal’s right to exist. They won’t. I doubt they ever will; the culture of hate is too entrenched, and for too long. Blame Arafat and the Palestinian leaders for that, not Israel, and not Jews.

      • There was no Palestinian state to “occupy” …

        I will pay you the respect of supposing that you have been gulled by this sophistry yourself rather than that you are knowingly pushing it. There most certainly was a country called Palestine that had Palestinians living in it, who did not want unfettered Jewish immigration for much the same reasons that many Americans deplore similar things in their own country today. We can see this in the speeches given by the likes of Freya Stark, seeking to justify British immigration policy in the Palestinian mandate. If we were to buy into that argument, we would also have to accept centuries of British rule in Ireland – which was often but not always achieved by measures even lower key than outright occupation. And that’s just one example.

        … and the Palestinians have repeatedly rejected opportunities to compromise, choosing terrorism and violence instead, and continuing to advocate the destruction of Israel.

        The only compromises, so called, that have ever been on offer – in reality, rather than as stalling, like the armistice the Zionists* used in 1948 and which the Palestinians have since learned to watch out for – have been those that have no continuing Palestinian presence at the end of the road. Those advocating such things wittingly also greet that eventual outcome with equanimity, largely indifferent to such details as whether the Palestinians leave, die out, or just die. At least those Palestinians “advocat[ing] the destruction of Israel” are usually if not always talking about the same sort of thing as the destruction of East Germany, which I myself would find just as laudable; that is, although they too are largely indifferent as to whether the Jews leave, die out, or just die, they are also indifferent about their staying as long as they don’t crowd out Palestinians – but, in such a place, that is perhaps the least realistic option imaginable.

        To be pro-Palestinian is to be anti-Israel, and because Israel was devised as a remedy to the scourge of worldwide anti-Semitism, to be anti-Israel, which is what Omar is, is enabling anti-Semitism.

        Ah… who is not with me is against me. But on the one hand that is the very a priori constraint on analysis and policy that I find most unconstructive, and on the other hand anyone who tries to co-opt me like that is ipso facto making himself my enemy.

        The Palestinians hate Israel, and Jews.

        That is not what was conveyed by the two or three of them I have met here in Melbourne (where I have met a lot more Jews).

        No doubt, the Palestinians had and have a legitimate complaint because their territory was taken away from them.Nobody should expect them to like the international solution that picked them as the interest to be sacrificed, but they are in the midst of a 80 year, hopeless tantrum. Blaming Isreal [sic] is a reaction created by the habit of blaming Jews generally for the evils of the world—that is, anti-Semitism.

        Then no doubt you will have no problem with anything they do to get rid of their problem as long as they do it pragmatically and dispassionately, even if it happens to put the boot on the other foot. That would be just as utilitarian.

        To put it another way, that’s an argument for picking a side and not standing aside, not one for picking the Israeli side in particular. It strikes me as yet more sophistry that you have drunk.

        By the way, that wasn’t “the international solution”, that was what international views had previously resisted but accepted as part of the Zionist* forces’ fait accompli of 1948 – under the impression that Palestinian interests would be dealt with in later peace treaties and the like.

        The Palestinians could end the ongoing conflict in six months: they just have to accept the existence of Israel, and stop the violence, by conceding Isreal’s [sic] right to exist.

        That is absolutely correct as far as it goes, just as it would be correct to tell someone hanging on to the edge of a cliff that his arms would stop aching if he’d just let go. Where would they be three generations after that?

        * I am distinguishing what happened before and during the creation of Israel from what happened later; “Israeli” does not apply to the former, what with the Jews not having a state and all.

        • There was and is a region called Palestine. It was not organized as a nation. It never even had agreed upon borders. It hasn’t been called a nation until some rogue members of the UN chose to do so relatively recently.People lived there who called themselves, or were called, Palestinians. You can’t compare that region to Ireland. A better comparison would be Native American tribe territories in the 18th and 19th centuries.

          You should be able to stipulate in all honesty that when a people mainstain as official policy the wiping of a nation from the face of the Earth, “hate’ is a fair description. “I know some Palestinians who don’t hate Jews” is hardly an argument worthy of you. This a pretty typical carnival mirror description of the Palestine-Israel dispute—conveniently omitting mention of terrorism, for example— that has little grounding in history but that allows vilification of Israel.

          The ledge analogy literally makes no sense at all.

          • I am certainly better than your tripe. For a start, I actually bothered to read up the history of this sort of thing.

            Go and read Macaulay on the civil disabilities of the Jews, written in the early nineteenth century and based on contemporary parliamentary debate. Go on, I dare you. See what they called that country. It’s in or near the part where Macaulay pooh-poohs a suggestion that Jews could start agitating for taking over Palestine.

            Just because you never heard of something is no reason to think it never was.

            I am a bit tied up at the moment, so I shall have to address other comments as and when I can get to them.

            • Calling it a country did not make it one: it had no independent, functioning government. Straw man at it’s finest. Address all of the other issues raised by Jack, then.

              If you have to rationalize you way into a point of view, it is not likely the ethical one.

      • No doubt, the Palestinians had and have a legitimate complaint because their territory was taken away from them.

        It was never even their territory in the first place.

        It was Turkish territory in October of 1918.

  5. Has anyone followed the censorship/fake news/propaganda machine surrounding the Captain Marvel movie? It just seems insane. Rotten tomatoes cut off the ability of people to indicate that they were interested in seeing the movie when that indicator went under 20%. When the movie came out, the reviews were overwhelmingly negative from the fans (and even the paid shill critics only gave it luke-warm reviews). Then, Rotten Tomatoes purged 54,000 reviews, but the rating only went up from 35% positive to 39% positive. Then, bots for Disney seem to have posted thousands of identical, positive reviews. YouTube changed Captain Marvel searches to News-only, pushing everything but mainstream media videos down the search listing. News organizations have published articles claiming that posting a negative review of a Captian Marvel is ‘trolling’ and is wrong. Articles were published that said that Disney is right to censor negative opinions about the movie. Progressives have been even demanding federal legislation to force people to watch movies they were told they weren’t welcome at.

    Why a full-court press to cover for a movie based on a comic book that has never been successful and had to be rebooted 8 times in the last 20 years? I think it is because the Progressives in Hollywood can’t take another failure. They killed Star Wars (all Star Wars movies are cancelled). They killed the Star Trek movies (although the Picard thing isn’t sure yet). They may have killed the Star Trek TV series. If they kill Marvel movies, who will fund Hollywood? These movies depend on Chinese investors to fund them, Hollywood doesn’t use its own money to make movies, it risks investor money and the investors aren’t getting a return lately. The whole Progressive idea of “The number of fans for (insert genre) is less than the number of non-fans. If we put Progressive non-fans in charge of (insert genre), then non-fans will come watch the genre they haven’t been interested in because they can see the Progressive ideology that everyone loves.” has not worked. We now can see that the entire news and internet media are willing to subvert the truth and their own platforms just to cover for a bad movie. What are they willing to do for something important?

    • I think we already know that, Michael. Jack has been telling us about it for years.

      Just to set the record straight, Captain Marvel is at least a 1930’s classic. Looked a bit like a Neanderthal, and was Billy Batson after Billy uttered the magic word “SHAZAM”. SHAZAM, by the way was formed from the first letters of several Gods names, including Zeus. He wore red tights with a red cape and his shirt had a yellow lightning bolt on it. And he was unequivocally male.

        • I guess I should have said I am surprised that they would reveal the Access Media critics to be mere shills. I know this has been suspected, but it has been reported that critics are apologizing that they have to ‘soft-pedal’ their review of this movie if they want to maintain their privileges of getting advance tickets, screenings, interviews, etc. They seem to have risked the entire system to protect this one movie and it doesn’t make sense unless it is an act of utter desperation.

          • Funny how this all started because no one told the star actor to keep her mouth zipped.

            Tell you main fan base how terrible they are, and watch them flock to your movie… wait, they are staying home.

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