Osama bin Dead

In an interview on June 27 with Jake Tapper on ABC's "This Week," CIA Director Leon Panetta talked out of both sides of his mouth about the whereabouts of Osama bin Laden. When asked, the diminutive Panetta first said that the founder of Al Qaida was in hiding in a mountainous tribal area of Pakistan, but later admitted that he last time the CIA had "precise information" on Osama bin Laden was in the early 2000s.  So the CIA has once again dropped the ball on what has to be the most botched cover-up in the history of American black ops.

Back in July of 2007, the US Senate passed legislation to double the "dead or alive" bounty on the Osama bin Ladin to  $50 million, but there have been no takers because the man has been dead for a long time.

Professor Angelo M. Codevilla (the now famous author of "America's Ruling Class - the Perils of Revolution") tells us in an American Spectator  post that it has now been more than eight years since bin Laden's "last verifiable appearance among the living."
Negative evidence alone compels the conclusion that Osama is long since dead. Since October 2001, when Al Jazeera's Tayseer Alouni interviewed him, no reputable person reports having seen him—not even after multiple-blind journeys through intermediaries. The audio and video tapes alleged to be Osama's never convinced impartial observers. The guy just does not look like Osama. Some videos show him with a Semitic aquiline nose, while others show him with a shorter, broader one. Next to that, differences between colors and styles of beard are small stuff.

Nor does the tapes' Osama sound like Osama. In 2007 Switzerland's Dalle Molle Institute for Artificial Intelligence, which does computer voice recognition for bank security, compared the voices on 15 undisputed recordings of Osama with the voices on 15 subsequent ones attributed to Osama, to which they added two by native Arab speakers who had trained to imitate him and were reading his writings. All of the purported Osama recordings (with one falling into a gray area) differed clearly from one another as well as from the genuine ones. By contrast, the CIA found all the recordings authentic. It is hard to imagine what methodology might support this conclusion.
In 2004, The Atlantic reported that three outsiders had seen the Al Qaida leader in the two months immediately following 9/11, Tayseer Alouni, (mentioned above) who was later indicted for allegedly giving money to Al Qaida,  Hamid Mir, a Pakistani, who was a bin Laden biographer, and Amer Aziz, a Pakistani surgeon, who was called upon to treat a back injury.

CIA analysts began calling bin Laden "Elvis" because he was here, there, but really nowhere.  But as Prof. Codevilla noted in his article, Osama may have been less real than Elvis:
We do not know what happened to Osama. But whatever happened, the original one, the guy who looked and sounded like a spoiled Saudi kid turned ideologue, is no more. The one who exists in the tapes is different:  he is the world's terror master, endowed with inexplicable influence. In short, whoever is making the post-November 2001 Osama tapes is pretending to far greater power than Osama ever claimed, much less exercised.

The real Osama bin Laden, like the real al Qaeda over which he presided, was never as important as reports from Arab (especially Saudi) intelligence services led the CIA to believe. Osama's (late) role in Afghanistan's anti-Soviet resistance was to bring in a little money. Arab fighters in general, and particularly the few Osama brought, fought rarely and badly. In war, one Afghan is worth many Arabs. In 1990 Osama told Saudi regent Abdullah that his mujahideen could stop Saddam's invasion of the kingdom. When Abdullah waved him away in favor of a half-million U.S. troops, Osama turned dissident, enough to have to move to Sudan, where he stayed until 1996 hatching sterile anti-Saudi plots until forced to move his forlorn band to Afghanistan.

There is a good reason why neither Osama nor al Qaeda appeared on U.S. intelligence screens until 1998. They had done nothing noteworthy. Since the 1998 bombings of U.S. embassies in Africa, however, and especially after director of Central Intelligence George Tenet imputed responsibility for 9/11 to Osama "game, set, and match," the CIA described him as terrorism's prime mover. It refused to countenance the possibility that Osama's associates might have been using him and his organization as a flag of convenience. As U.S. forces were taking over Afghanistan in 2001, the CIA was telling Time and Newsweek that it expected to find the high-tech headquarters from which Osama controlled terrorist activities in 50 countries. None existed. In November 2008, without factual basis and contrary to reason, the CIA continued to describe him and his organization as "the most clear and present danger to the United States." It did not try to explain how this could be while, it said, Osama is "largely isolated from the day to day operations of the organization he nominally heads." What organization?

Questioning Osama's relevance to today's terrorism leads naturally to asking how relevant he ever was, and who might be more relevant. That in turn quickly shows how flimsy are the factual foundations on which rest the U.S. government's axioms about the "war on terror." Consider: We know that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (KSM) planned and carried out 9/11. But there is no independent support for KSM's claim that he acted at Osama's direction and under his supervision. On the contrary, we know for sure that the expertise and the financing for 9/11 came from KSM's own group (the U.S. government has accepted but to my knowledge not verified that the group's core is a biological family of Baluchs). This group carried out the 1998 bombings of U.S. embassies in Africa and every other act for which al Qaeda became known. The KSM group included the perpetrators of the 1993 World Trade Center bombings Abdul Rahman Yasin, who came from, returned to, and vanished in Iraq, as well as Ramzi Yousef, the mastermind of that bombing, who came to the U.S. from Iraq on an Iraqi passport and was known to his New York collaborators as "Rashid the Iraqi." This group had planned the bombing of U.S. airliners over the Pacific in 1995. The core members are non-Arabs. They had no history of religiosity (and the religiosity they now display is unconvincing). They were not creatures of Osama. Only in 1996 did the group come to Osama's no-account band, and make it count.

Gosh, all those people out there posting about WikiLeaks from Afghanistan think that OBL is alive, but I will stand by the evidence that I have researched and presented. Check out these recent links:

Wikileaks1, Wikileaks2, Wikileaks3, Wikileaks4, Pakistan: OBL Probably Dead, Pakistan - Wikileaks, HuffPo

Feds Tell Us Not To Travel In Arizona

Rep Ted Poe (R-Tx) tells it like it is.

Gulf Oil Disappears: Nature Overcomes Man

Scientists have known for a long time that oil is naturally being released into the Gulf of Mexico from fissures in the seabed. Looking  into the past, Geologist Ed Warner gives us a needed future perspective into life after the BP gusher.

I found a news item from the late 1880’s reported by a paddleboat captain on a passage between Pensacola and Galveston. For three days, the ferry sailed through ‘six inches of green oil’. This occurrence must have been a natural blowout, up a fault zone, breaching the seafloor. If the plume resembled the BP blowout it had to have been 300 miles long and maybe 20-30 miles wide. If it was 1 inches deep it would have amounted to something like a billion barrels of oil.

In 1979, in Tampico Bay, Pemex, the national oil company of Mexico, suffered a terrible blowout. Over 50,000 barrels of oil per day poured into the Gulf of Mexico for about 10 months, or roughly 15 million barrels. Today, if you traveled with a marine biologist he would be hard pressed to show you any ecological consequences of that blowout. Warm water, light crude that evaporates easily, bacteria that eat the oil and sedimentation encasing the residual tar, has combined to heal the damage.
The big question this week from the the national press is "Where is the oil?"
For three long months a massive slick threatened the shorelines of Louisiana and other southern Gulf Coast states as BP tried everything from top hats to junk shots and giant domes to stanch the toxic sludge.

A cap stopped the flow on July 15 and now, thanks to frantic efforts to skim and burn the crude on the surface, the real difficulty is finding the oil rather than cleaning it up.

Some 150 reconnaissance planes fly constant sorties from Florida to Texas noting any oil sightings, while flat-bottomed boats trawl the marshes for lumps of tar too large to biodegrade.

The figures speak for themselves. Before the cap went on, some 25,000 barrels of oil a day were being skimmed from the thickest part of the slick near the well site.

By the time tropical storm Bonnie arrived last week, the take was down to a pitiful 56 barrels, begging the question of what to do with the fleet of 800 skimmers, many of them run by disgruntled fishermen.

Approximately 637 miles of Gulf Coast are officially listed as "oiled" -- 362 miles in Louisiana, 109 miles in Mississippi, 70 miles in Alabama, and 96 miles in Florida.

The beaches should be relatively painless to mop up, but cleaning up the maze of marshes, where there's nothing to stand on and shallow-bottomed boats are needed to navigated the narrow channels, is a logistical nightmare.

Geologist Ed Owens, a world authority on protecting shorelines from oil spills contracted by BP to lend his expertise to the response effort, gave an upbeat assessment on Monday, saying the marshes should recover in a matter of months as only a "tiny fraction" of oil had infiltrated them.
Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal is lifting his voice to get the moratorium lifted to allow fishing and shrimp boats back into Gulf waters and to reopen the Gulf oil platforms. BP has already announced that it will begin removing floating booms from the sea.

H/T: Rush

A One Question Test . . .

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Life is a Jar of Jalapeños

H/T:  Maggie's Farm

Obama's Sometimes Amusing Regime

James Lewis has an amusing tale about Barack Obama's time at Harvard Law School, interacting with his mentor and employer, Professor Larry Tribe.

And yea verily, the Professor met and held converse with The Blessed Lightworker Himself back in the nineties. The story doesn't say if they were both stoned out of their minds when they got together, but it's the only explanation I can think of. What happened is so weird and so discreditable to all concerned that I don't know whether to laugh or cry.
Barack Hussein Obama Barry Soetoro, Jr. walks into Larry Tribe's office.

Now you can't blame Obama for this one. Poor kid, he just wandered into the big professor's office one day, right off the beach at Waikiki by way of LA and Columbia, a real stoner with a chip on his shoulder about race, because that was the in thing to do. It was a great time for radical chic. Racial rage was the way to get into Harvard in the '90s. Here was a black guy, or close enough, and he had a radical idea for Larry Tribe:  "Why not apply Albert Einstein to Constitutional law? I mean, why not?"

Long sucking sound on a fat joint.

Creaky voice from Barry: "Pass it on, man..."

Larry creaks back, "Yeah, man, good sh-t."

Barry: "Cosmic! Like, it's Relativity...or Quantum...or ummm... suthin...Albert Einstein, man...lookut..." (laughter all around).

Suddenly, they both have the same idea.

Larry and Barry in unison: "Let's do it, man!"

I wasn't there, but it's the only thing that makes sense.
So Larry wrote up his Harvard Law Review shtick on "Curved Space and Constitutional Law,"  and the rigorous peer review process at the Law Review went into high gear, and yes, they okayed it. A real contribution to constitutional law.

Physicist Frank J. Tipler has described Tribe's paper as "crackpot physics," but that was too kind. This is pure out-of-your-mind stone-head Amateur Hour. It makes sense only if you're hallucinating really badly.

And Barack Hussein Obama, Jr. got only a footnote. ("Sh-t, man, only a footnote? What's the matter, I'm the wrong color or sumthin?  You don't want Hussein on that article? You don't like my stash?" )

This may be why Elena Kagan was clowning it up for the cameras at the Senate Judiciary Committee rather than for Professor Tribe. Obama never forgets a slight. Plus, even Harvard should be able to spot arrant nonsense from its tenured faculty after three or four decades of reading it. Plus, Larry Tribe looks too heterosexual. Three strikes, you're out!
There is a more serious side to this story that suggests that Obama, Tribe and Kagan were involved in plagiarist activities that pervade the "publish or perish" HLS. Over the past 25 years, a half dozen professors, including Tribe, have been using "research assistants" such as Barry Obama, to compile and even write research papers. Some of the sources of the research were directly plagiarized. Dr. Angelo de Codevilla writes in his lengthy treatise " America’s Ruling Class — And the Perils of Revolution."
If, for example, you are Laurence Tribe in 1984, Harvard professor of law, leftist pillar of the establishment, you can "write" your magnum opus by using the products of your student assistant, Ron Klain. A decade later, after Klain admits to having written some parts of the book, and the other parts are found to be verbatim or paraphrases of a book published in 1974, you can claim (perhaps correctly) that your plagiarism was "inadvertent," and you can count on the Law School's dean, Elena Kagan, to appoint a committee including former and future Harvard president Derek Bok that issues a secret report that "closes" the incident. Incidentally, Kagan ends up a justice of the Supreme Court. Not one of these people did their jobs: the professor did not write the book himself, the assistant plagiarized instead of researching, the dean and the committee did not hold the professor accountable, and all ended up rewarded.
When the pervasive plagiarism continued to go unreported by the Law School, Harvard students began Harvard Plagiarism Archive blog as well as the Harvard Parody ... a blog of the HLS Drama Society.  Four YouTube videos, referenced in the blogs, continued the pressure on the faculty.  No formal charges were ever sustained against the law profs.  For the flavor of the student efforts, I offer these song lyrics to  "I'm Larry Tribe."


At first I was afraid
I was petrified
I had nothing new to write
I thought my muse had died!

But then I opened up a book
And copied down words I saw
My fatal flaw
And who would know I broke the law!

For nineteen years
I wasn't caught
I made a killing on my books
Assigned in every class I taught!

It would have never been revealed
The Weekly Standard wouldn't see
I would still be at the top
If not for stupid Ogletree!

(Duncan Kennedy Praising Tribe)

He studied math
He studied law
And he's the most prolific scholar
That the whole world ever saw!

He drafted foreign constitutions
He's the president of Spain
In the book they say he copied
He thanked Clinton aide Ron Klain!

(Greek Chorus Mocking Tribe)

Because he's Tribe
He's Larry Tribe
Not just Harvard's best professor
But the smartest man alive!

No matter what the rumors say
He is the marshall of today
Because he's Tribe
He's Larry Tribe (Hey hey)


When the students choose their bundles
They all beg for me
For who else mixes con law
With pornography?

And I taught oh so many years
Defending sodomy and choice
Penumbra rights
I took on all the liberal fights!

Bush versus Gore
That one I blew
My dreams of Justice Tribe are gone
Professor Tribe will have to do!

It's been my dream since I could sit
To wear the robe that's black and long
But those old ladies in Miami
Got the whole election wrong!

(Elena Kagan Lauding Tribe)

He's ten feet tall!
He's learned to fly!
And though he'll never be a Justice
Well, he's never gonna die!

He is the sultan of Sudan
He is the closer for the Sox
And the legal fees he charges
Make him richer than Fort Knox!

(Members of Greek Chorus lift Tribe on their shoulders, his legs straight and arms extended to his side, as if being crucified.)

He's Jesus Christ!
He's Larry Tribe!
Not just Harvard's best professor
But the smartest man alive!

He's got forty-one degrees
He speaks fluent Japanese
He's Larry Tribe!
He's Larry Tribe!

Hidden Cameras on Arizona's Border

H/T:  Boycott Bloomington, Indiana for Boycotting Arizona

Galileo and the Inquisition

Alas, to wear the mantle of Galileo it is not enough that you be persecuted by an unkind establishment, you must also be right. ~ Bob Park

The fact that everyone disagrees with you does not make you Galileo. ~ Galileo Fallacy

Sometimes my blog posts come about for odd reasons. Somewhere in my readings, I came upon the Professor Robert L. Park  quotation (above) and I began my search for the underlying event that sparked the now popular quotation.  What I found was a science skeptic with some unpopular beliefs lecturing us on the need to be right.  I quickly decided that I like Bob Park.

On his blog, What's New , way back in 1999, Prof. Park briefly commented on the Annual Meeting of the Society for Scientific Exploration:
Those attending last weeks Annual Meeting of the Society for Scientific Exploration in Albuquerque (WN 4 Jun 99), take pride in "thinking outside the box." Talks on such uh, diverse topics as divine intervention, cold fusion, biological transmutation, precognitive dreams, psychosurgery, after-death communication, alien breeding experiments, clairvoyance, electronic signaling from the dead and prayer healing, were all accepted as serious science. There is no internal criticism in a community that believes it is under siege. Convinced that powerful vested interests, including the scientific establishment, are conspiring to hold back a scientific revolution, speakers complained that "new" science is denied funding, rejected by journal editors and even subjected to ridicule, just because it doesn't fit some outdated paradigm. Alas, to wear the mantle of Galileo it is not enough that you be persecuted by an unkind establishment, you must also be right.
So now I now knew where and how the quotation came about, but the history surrounding Galileo remained cloudy in my mind.  My distant recollections of history lessons from grade school conjured up images of Galileo dropping cannon balls from the Leaning Tower of Pisa and gazing at the sky through his telescope from which he determined that the Earth rotated about the Sun and the Moon rotated about the Earth. So what controversy swirled about these great achievements?

Modern writers interpret the historic events of the 17th century differently as they relate to Galileo.  In what is perhaps the most popular treatment of science ever published, theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking's A Brief History of Time , the author writes:
Galileo, perhaps more than any other single person, was responsible for the birth of modern science. His renowned conflict with the Catholic Church was central to his philosophy, for Galileo was one of the first to argue that man could hope to understand how the world works, and, moreover, that we could do this by observing the real world.
Professor Thomas Lessl, from the University of Georgia, disagrees:
Hawking greatly overstates the degree of responsibility that Galileo had for the rise of modern science. While Galileo contributed some refinements to scientific method, enlarged the mathematical emphasis of science, and made important discoveries, science of the kind he practiced was not "born" with him. What we call "modern science" is a compilation of ideas, techniques, philosophical assumptions, and information that accumulated over many centuries and drew from a multitude of cultures. Notably, and contrary to what Hawking suggests, pivotal contributions to its growth were made in medieval Europe, when the Catholic Church was virtually the sole patron of learning. Perhaps the most notable of these contributions is the development of experimental method, something frequently credited to Galileo in popular legend. The basics of experimental design were laid out in the thirteenth century by the saintly Bishop of Lincoln, Robert Grosseteste. By the time Galileo came along, four hundred years latter, such investigative techniques, now greatly refined, had found their way into universities all over Europe.
At the International Planetarium Society website, John Appeldoorn declares:
One of the little fictions that planetarium lecturers like to tell is that of Galileo confronting the Inquisition. Accused of holding the heretical belief that the Earth moves around the sun, Galileo stands defiantly—the enlightened man of science—facing the entrenched dogma of the Church. It is a story told so often that we have come to believe it ourselves.

Unfortunately, history does not support such a picture. Galileo may not have been guilty of heresy, but he was guilty of several other things: (l) some of his scientific "facts" were wrong; (2) he claimed to have proof when no proof existed; (3) he was unaware of Kepler's exposition of planetary motion, though Kepler's book was in his own bookcase; and (4) he had made enemies—bitter enemies—quite needlessly.
Since the reader needs a concise but honest look at these events of 500 years ago and an insight into the strengths and human foibles of Galileo Galilei, I was fortunate to find this compilation by Joe Carter over at Evangelical Outpost::
In Galileo’s day, the predominant view in astronomy was a model first espoused by Aristotle and developed by Claudius Ptolemy in which the sun and planets revolved around the earth. The Ptolemic system had been the reigning paradigm for over 1400 years when a Polish Canon named Nicholas Copernicus published his seminal work, On the Revolution of the Celestial Orbs.

Now Copernicus’ heliocentric theory wasn’t exactly new nor was it based on purely empirical observation. While it had a huge impact on the history of science, his theory was more of a revival of Pythagorean mysticism than of a new paradigm. Like many great discoveries, he merely took an old idea and gave it a new spin.

Although Copernicus’ fellow churchmen encouraged him to publish his work, he delayed the publication of On the Revolution  for several years for fear of being mocked by the scientific community. At the time, the academy belonged to Aristotelians who weren’t about to let such nonsense slip through the peer review process.

Then came Galileo, the prototypical Renaissance man, a brilliant scientist, mathematician, and musician. But while he was intelligent, charming, and witty, the Italian was also argumentative, mocking, and vain. He was, as we would say, complex. When his fellow astronomer Johann Kepler wrote to tell him that he had converted to Copernicus’ theory, Galileo shot back that he had too–and had been so for years (though all evidence shows that it wasn’t true). His ego wouldn’t allow him to be upstaged by men who weren’t as smart as he was. And for Galileo, that included just about everybody.

In 1610, Galileo used his telescope to make some surprising discoveries that disputed Aristotelian cosmology. Though his findings didn’t exactly overthrow the reigning view of the day, they were warmly received by the Vatican and by Pope Paul V. Rather than continuing his scientific studies and building on his theories, though, Galileo began a campaign to discredit the Aristotelian view of astronomy.  Galileo knew he was right and wanted to ensure that everyone else knew that the Aristotelians were wrong.

In his efforts to cram Copernicanism down the throats of his fellow scientists, Galileo managed only to squander the goodwill he had established within the Church. He was attempting to force them to accept a theory that, at the time, was still unproven. The Church graciously offered to consider Copernicanism a reasonable hypothesis, albeit a superior one to the Ptolemaic system, until further proof could be gathered. Galileo, however, never came up with more evidence to support the theory. Instead, he continued to pick fights with his fellow scientists even though many of his conclusions were being proven wrong (e.g., that the planets orbit the sun in perfect circles).

Galileo’s fatal mistake was to move the fight out of the realm of science and into the field of biblical interpretation. In a fit of hubris, he wrote the Letter to Castelli  in order to explain how his theory was not incompatible with proper biblical exegesis. With the Protestant Reformation still fresh on their minds, the Church authorities were in no mood to put up with another troublemaker trying to interpret Scripture on his own.

But, to their credit, they didn’t overreact. The Letter to Castelli  was twice presented to the Inquisition as an example of the astronomer’s heresy and twice the charges were dismissed. Galileo, however, wasn’t satisfied and continued his efforts to force the Church to concede that the Copernican system was an issue of irrefutable truth.

In 1615, Cardinal Robert Bellarmine politely presented Galileo with an option: Put up or Shut up. Since there was no proof that the earth revolved around the sun, there was no reason for Galileo to go around trying to change the accepted reading of Holy Scripture. But if he had proof, the Church was willing to reconsider their position. Galileo’s response was to produce his theory that the ocean tides were caused by the earth’s rotation. The idea was not only scientifically inaccurate but so silly it was even rejected by his supporters.

Fed up with being dismissed, Galileo returned to Rome to bring his case before the Pope. The Pontiff, however, merely passed it along to the Holy Office who issued the opinion that the Copernican doctrine is “foolish and absurd, philosophically and formally heretical inasmuch as it expressly contradicts the doctrine of Holy Scripture in many passages” However, the verdict didn’t stand and was quickly overruled by other Cardinals in the Church.

Galileo wasn’t about to let up, though, and to everyone’s exasperation, pressed the issue yet again. The Holy Office politely but firmly told him to shut up about the whole Copernican thing and forbid him from espousing the unproven theory. This, of course, was more than he was willing to do.

When his friend took over the Papal throne, Galileo thought he would finally find a sympathetic ear. He discussed the issue with Pope Urban VIII, a man knowledgeable in matters of math and science, and tried to use his theory of the tides to convince him of the validity of his theory. Pope Urban was unconvinced and even gave an answer (though not a sound one) that refuted the notion.

Galileo then wrote A Dialogue About the Two Chief World Systems  in which he would present the views of both Copernicus and Ptolemy. Three characters would be involved: Salviati, the Copernican; Sagredo, the undecided; and Simplicio, the Ptolemian (the name Simplicio implying “simple-minded”). And here is where we find our hero making his biggest blunder: he took the words that Pope Urban had used to refute his theory of the tides and put them in the mouths of Simplicio.

The Pope was not amused.

Galileo, who was now old and sickly, was once again called before the Inquisition. Unlike most suspected heretics, though, he was treated surprisingly well. While waiting for his trial, Galileo was housed in a luxurious apartment overlooking the Vatican gardens and provided with a personal valet.

In his defense, Galileo tried a peculiar tactic. He attempted to convince the judges that he had never maintained nor defended the opinion that the earth moves and that the sun is stationary and that he had, in fact, demonstrated the opposite  by showing how the Copernican hypothesis was in error. The Holy Office, who knew they were being played for fools, condemned him as being vehemently suspected of heresy, a patently unjust ruling considering that Copernicanism had never been declared heretical.

Galileo’s sentence was to renounce his theory and to live out the rest of his days in a pleasant country house near Florence. Obviously the exile did him good because it was there, under the care of his daughter, that he continued his experiments and published his best scientific work, Discourses on Two New Sciences. He died quietly in 1642 at the ripe old age of 77.

As the philosopher Alfred North Whitehead wrote, “The worst that happened to men of science was that Galileo suffered an honorable detention and a mild reproof, before dying peacefully in his bed.”
Finally, a wrap-up from Greta's Blog:
Galileo wasn't Galileo because he pissed a lot of people off. And he wasn't Galileo because he had a new idea that nobody agreed with and that the establishment violently opposed. Galileo was Galileo because... well, among other things, because he was right. He didn't just have a new idea that tried to upend everything we thought we knew about the world. He had a new idea that successfully upended everything we thought we knew about the world -- because it was right. He had the evidence, he did the work, he crunched the numbers, and he was right. And being right is a lot harder, and means a lot more, than just disagreeing with the establishment and pissing people off.

Sweetheart Deal That Won't Make You Happy

Proud To Be An American ... God Bless The USA!

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." (Photo Credit: Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
H/T: Jalopnik

Everything you ever wanted to know about Algore and were afraid to ask

Right to Bear Arms : A Critical Part of Black American History

When the Supreme Court ruled favorably on the 2nd Amendment rights of individuals to keep and bear arms, thus swatting down a 28 year gun ban in the city of Chicago, Justice Clarence Thomas supported the majority opinion with a fascinating look at Civil War Reconstruction Era and the passage of the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution. As Glenn Reynolds at Instapundit points out;

Very interesting to see both the majority and Justice Thomas reference the racist roots of gun control so strongly.
Thomas' opinion stresses that the amendment that freed the slaves provides the legal buttress for the individual's right to bear arms through Section 1 of the 14th Amendment's known as the "Privileges and Immunities Clause." Here are some selected highlights in the black justice's history lesson:
After the Civil War, Southern anxiety about an uprising among the newly freed slaves peaked. As Representative Thaddeus Stevens is reported to have said, “[w]hen it was first proposed to free the slaves, and arm the blacks, did not half the nation tremble? The prim conservatives, the snobs, and the male waiting-maids in Congress, were in hysterics.” ...

As the Court explains, this fear led to “systematic efforts” in the “old Confederacy” to disarm the more than 180,000 freedmen who had served in the Union Army, as well as other free blacks. ... Some States formally prohibited blacks from possessing firearms. ... Others enacted legislation prohibiting blacks from carrying firearms without a license, a restriction not imposed on whites. ... Additionally, “[t]hroughout the South, armed parties, often consisting of ex-Confederate soldiers serving in the state militias, forcibly took firearms from newly freed slaves.” ...

As the Court makes crystal clear, if the Fourteenth Amendment “had outlawed only those laws that discriminate on the basis of race or previous condition of servitude, African-Americans in the South would likely have remained vulnerable to attack by many of their worst abusers: the state militia and state peace officers.” ... In the years following the Civil War, a law banning firearm possession outright “would have been nondiscriminatory only in the formal sense,” for it would have “left fire-arms in the hands of the militia and local peace officers.” ...

One way in which the Federal Government responded was to issue military orders countermanding Southern arms legislation. ... [A] Jan. 17, 1866, order from Major General D. E. Sickles, ... [read] “The constitutional rights of all loyal and well-disposed inhabitants to bear arms will not be infringed”. The significance of these steps was not lost on those they were designed to protect. After one such order was issued, The Christian Recorder, published by the African Methodist Episcopal Church,published the following editorial:
“‘We have several times alluded to the fact that the Constitution of the United States, guaranties to every citizen the right to keep and bear arms. . . . All men, without the distinction of color, have the right to keep arms to defend their homes, families, or themselves.’

“We are glad to learn that [the] Commissioner for this State . . . has given freedmen to understand that they have as good a right to keep fire arms as any other citizens. The Constitution of the United States is the supreme law of the land, and we will be governed by that at present.” Right to Bear Arms, Christian Recorder (Phila.), Feb. 24, 1866, pp. 29–30.
Thus began the movement to draft and ratify the 14th Amendment of the US Constitution. Section 1 of the amendment assures all citizens equal rights and prohibits the States from abridging the privileges granted.
All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.
Over the next hundred years, black Americans struggled mightily for equal footing until the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960's brought about a new direction for minorities. The renowned leader of that movement was, of course, Martin Luther King, Jr. but the movement was supported by many black organizations. Dymphna at Gates of Vienna remembers the Deacons for Defense and Justice.
The Deacons for Defense and Justice, a group of blacks in the South who believed in armed self-defense against an entrenched hatred that often led to killings of innocent black people, particularly black men.

The myth of Martin Luther King’s touted “non-violence” as a way to bring about justice steadfastly ignores the reality of King’s armed body guards and the arsenal of weapons kept in his home - kept there illegally, by the way. Dr. King couldn’t get a gun permit.

Given the times, King’s public image as the American Gandhi was probably good strategy; it reassured the fearful white majority and no doubt prevented much bloodshed. However, the armed “Deacons of Defense” were as vital and necessary a part of the struggle as was Dr. King’s approach.

An isolated farm surrounded by the sudden arrival of truckloads of hatred in the middle of the night could change the equation instantly with the judicious application of one shot over the heads of those hate-mongers. It didn’t solve the problem instantly, but it allowed enough time for the troublemakers to sober up. One armed black farmer lived to plow another day.

This part of black history has been neglected; I hope that the coming generations will pay the respect of close attention due these men.
Now we know that King's "non-violence" was a necessary charade. So also was the myth that M.L. King was "Moses" leading the flock. For example it was not MLK's Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) that launched the "Freedom Rides" in 1961; it was the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) that did the organizing. Acceptance of King and his policy was also not universal.
Privately, King's supporters knew that non-violence was not an outlook everyone shared, and [aide Wyatt] Walker amused King by telling him of how one black Virginian had responded to a white bus driver who wanted him to enter his bus by the back door. A massive figure, the man had picked up the driver with one hand and said bluntly: 'Know two things. I can break your neck, and I ain't one of Martin Luther King's non-violent Negroes.'  [Ed. note:  It is hard to believe "Negroes" was the word used when this tale was told in the '60s. This is almost certainly BBC political correctness.]
The armed Deacons for Defense had 21 organizations scattered throughout the South keeping KKK counter-insurgency at bay. In 1966, King was challenged by a militant Malcom X and the "Block Power" movement.

Liberals will argue that M.L. King's leadership and nonviolence was the reason for the success of the Civil Rights Movement. They will point out that ready access to guns resulted in Rev. King's assassination in Memphis by a racist white man. That argument aside, it is clear in retrospect that without access to firearms by blacks, the establishment of racial equality in the 1960s would most likely have failed.