America is great

I have no intention to cover the Trump administration specifically on this post, because what I intend to defend is not the United States government. What I’m defending is the country that is the object of a long-standing affair of mine – the United States of America. I mainly want to address an idea which seems to have some traction in the American imagination particularly among modern progressives, and that is the idea that America was never a great nation, and brings nothing but bad things to the world. Nothing could be further be from the truth, and I hope I will adequately demonstrate why without going overboard.

Let’s begin with the event that started it all, the American Revolution. At its heart, the revolution was in essence the act of a people the majority of whom were tired of the burdensome will of a monarch and decided they no longer wanted to be governed by him. And what’s more, while the French revolution ended in yet more autocratic rule for a time and future revolutions would lead to far worse systems being implemented (i.e. communism), the American revolution ended in the establishment of a government in which real tyranny, despite whatever autistic screeching goes on these days, still has yet to occur, and the principles of individual are enshrined in the principles by which the government is established, and it is at least partly through the guidance of these principles that America has progressed.

America has achieved much since then. Over the years America brought to the world the photo camera, pre-natal care, flight, world series’ of sports (in this case, the first world series in baseball), the phonograph (and by extension recorded music), air conditioning, the assembly line (and thus mass manufacturing), the light bulb, the telephone, the tractor, rockets and many other inventions. America also helped shape modern culture. Through the achievements of capitalism and mass production, the American economy boomed owing to a period of greater leisure for Americans. Around the same time, youth culture as we may know recognize it had its beginnings. America was also the father of video games and modern comic books, which by the 21st century have become decisively influential in modern culture. Not to mention, it was in America that jazz, blues, rock and roll, punk (The Ramones, not The Sex Pistols, were first) hip hop and pop as we know it were all born over the years. And during the 80’s, America was one of the leading powers that led the ideological battle against communism, and while the weren’t the first people to lead to the fight against fascism they certainly won. Truly, American culture and invention has been a gift to the world. Oh and for all the complaints I have heard about gender equality from feminists, America was actually the first country to make it illegal to pay someone based on their gender rather than the work they put in through the Equal Pay Act of 1963. America was the father of the Internet, the method of global communication that you and I are using to share a world of information to be accessed at your fingertips, and which continues to revolutionize the media and the world, rapidly outpacing the old media, and until last year America was the guardian of the Internet via its ownership of ICANN.

The most important thing for me about America, however, is simply the ability of ordinary people to say whatever they damn well please, without undue restriction by the law and sometimes unburdened by social norms or courtesy. We Brits may be aghast at the idea that there’s a country where someone like, say, a Westboro Baptist Church member can go on a protest saying “God hates fags” all day, but that is the freedom that America allows: anyone can say what they want, and if you don’t like it you can criticize them publicly. Meanwhile, in my country, not only is there a man who faces jail time over a video of him training his pug to say Nazi slogans as a prank, but you have the police in general spending more time worrying about “Islamophobic hate speech” than actually catching terrorists. For however much is wrong with America, and there are still many things wrong with it, this is the country that its people love and cherish – the freedom to say what you want, without fear, protected by the iron letter of the Constitution.

Happy July 4th everyone, especially my American followers. Keep being the people that you are. I hope that some day I’ll finally set foot in your country once more.

Arkansas Ten Commandments monument smashed by a lunatic

I was planning to write something else this week, but I’ve been developing writer’s block or something to that effect. However, I have recently been made aware of some news that struck me as very familiar, which I think you might appreciate.

You may recall a couple of years ago the story of the Ten Commandments monument in Oklahoma, and how it was opposed by The Satanic Temple who famously campaigned to get a Satanic statue of her own placed alongside of it. Well this story involves yet another Ten Commandments monument, this time in Arkansas and it was very recently built. In fact, it was only a day after its unveiling before it was demolished by a man named Michael Reed in his car. Early this morning, at around 4am UTC, Reed apparently drove his car through the monument while shouting “Freedom!” as he was streaming it to Facebook.

I have online coverage of the event from people claiming that the culprit was an atheist launching a personal attack on Christianity, but nothing I have seen of it confirms this. Reed released a video statement affirming his own belief in the Christian religion, but he also stated that he opposes the existence of the monument on the grounds he feels it is a violation of the separation of church and state, saying “no one religion should be represented by the state”. Further reports suggest that Reed was diagnosed with schio-affective disorder and may have heard voices in his head, suggesting that he may also have been mentally unsound. As a side-note, The Daily Mail claimed that Reed was an avowed Satanist, but I have seen no proof of his Satanism. In fact such a claim would run counter to the evidence we have of Reed’s likely motives.

My own personal verdict is that this is clearly the work of a crazy individual who, judging from his willingness to show everyone on his Facebook what he was doing, may have done what he did to gain some attention. Whether or not this was to attract attention to his “cause” is beyond me.

The shattered Arkansas monument

The common trend among mass shooters

The way I see it, there is a distinct trend connecting so many of the people in America who decide to go out and murder scores of people with a firearm. In order to solve the issue, I believe it is more important and of greater necessity to examine this trend rather than to try and pinpoint the thing Americans are supposed to be banning, thinking it will solve the problem.

To that end, I’m going to go through 10 examples of American mass shooters, some perhaps more infamous than others, in order to examine what drove them to commit the atrocities that they committed, in order to try and establish a common trend between them.

 

Kip Kinkel

I think people far too often forget that Kip even existed, let alone murdered his own parents and some of his fellow students. But he did, and in a rampage that pre-dated the Columbine massacre by only a year. Unlike the Columbine shooters, however, Kip didn’t kill himself afterwards, which not only means that he was arrested and punished for his crime but also that the police were able to extract a motivation from him through interrogation, which is sadly never the case in the majority of these incidents.

Kip was interviewed by detective Al Warthen in May 21st 1998, he told the detective that he was aware that his mind “wasn’t right” and he knew that it was considered wrong to bring a gun to school but did it anyway. He told the detective that he was ashamed of having done something wrong, and that he killed his father because he loved him but was also “fucked up in the head”. After Kip’s arrest, some writings were found detailing his state of mind around the time of the Thurston High shooting. He seems to have wallowed in a desire to end his own life, he saw himself as profoundly disturbed or abnormal and as a consistently destructive influence to the world around. He claimed to hear voices in his head telling him to kill and was full of rage and hatred towards mankind. He also mentions a woman who he was seeing, but apparently broke up with him, which caused him to feel like his heart has broken, which he doesn’t even think is possible because he didn’t think he even had a heart. During Kip’s trial, Dr. Orin Bolstad testified that he had been hearing voices since he was 12 years old, and had experienced hallucinations, and that he told him that the voices in his head might have come from either “the devil” or a chip put into his head by the government. He stated that these were the signs of psychotic thinking, a manic phase of bipolar disorder, extreme depression and schizophrenia, as well as a consistent state of delusion. He was also said to have an obsession with violence, and to have exacted “revenge” on people who he perceives as having crossed him, whether his perceptions were accurate or not. Kip was on anti-depressant medications for a period time before eventually being taken off of it when it appeared he was showing positive results. After he was taken off the medication, however, his mental health began deteriorating again. It’s very clear that Kip was profoundly, extremely disturbed, and guided by delusions.

 

Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold

Perhaps the most infamous school shooters in American history, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold were responsible for the Columbine massacre, which is now etched into the memory of the collective American consciousness. Many people attempted to find scapegoats in guns, heavy metal and gothic music and the first-person shooter genre of video games (which back then was a rising star of PC gaming, home to such titles as DOOM, Quake, Duke Nukem and Wolfenstein). However, the diaries of the shooters were uncovered not long after the massacre, and they offer insight into their motivations.

Eric Harris wrote in his journal about how he believed that everyone around him was irredeemably stupid and robotic, incapable of thinking for themselves, that only he and his friend possessed what he called “self-awareness”, and that he wants nothing to do with society except to kill those he deems unfit to exist. He believes that human society is best run by a principle of “NATURAL SELECTION”, which for him entails as the murder of the disabled, the “rich snotty toadies”, fat people, people of low intelligence and people with “brain fuck ups” (presumably with the exception of himself and Dylan, if you get me). He believes that the human race is not worth saving, only destroying. Dylan’s journal suggests that he may have been extremely depressed and self-loathing, but like Dylan he also viewed himself as a literal God compared to most people, who he viewed as just zombies. Apparently they both felt pushed to the edge by, of all things, getting busted for breaking into a van and stealing things from it. They agreed to participate in a diversionary program in exchange for the juvenile officers expunging their criminal records, and they performed so well that they were let off early, but they still treated this is as the moment they became the “bad guys” with no going back. If you read it, you’ll find it to be a textbook case of extreme pathological narcissism and aggressiveness. Strangely enough, they say their parents raised them fine.

 

Randy Stair

stair7

This man’s story was widely covered on the Internet, with many details emerging outside of the mainstream media’s analysis. Stair happened to be a transsexual individual, in this case a young man who believed himself to be a woman (or a “female soul”) trapped in a man’s body, and it is because of this fact that he felt separated from the rest of society. He was a self-confessed racist and misanthropist, who simultaneously hated the human race as a whole and everyone who isn’t white, and he especially hated men, both straight and gay people (though he did go on record as a homophobe). He seemed to be a deeply confused, highly irrational and extremely depressed individual, carrying around a combination of self-loathing, gender confusion, personal identity crisis, solipsistic tendencies, depression and intense irrational hatred for various groups of people and humanity in general.

He was also the creator of a cartoon series on YouTube called Ember’s Ghost Squad, which seems to be based off of a character named Ember from the children’s cartoon series Danny Phantom, who Stair claimed “brought out the girl in him”. The show centers around an all-female cast of ghosts who recruit lost souls into their army by having them killed in some way. That all the souls in the squadron are female, with no males, can be related to his own belief that he is a female soul, and a female spiritual presence that, in his own words, “puts [you] where you need to be”. The final episode of this show before Stair’s crime and death was a high school shooting, in the vein of the Columbine massacre, taking place at a high school committed by a character named Andrew Blaze, who seems to Stair’s alter ego, along with members of the ghost squad with the aim of killing innocent students and ultimately himself. The episode in question was released around the same time as the Weis Market massacre wherein Stair killed 3 people and himself.

Cursory research into Ember’s Ghost Squad can offer significant into the profound mental instability that Stair was suffering. While some have assumed that Stair had been radicalized by intersectional feminist (or social justice) ideology, the reality is much less simplisitic. For one thing, I haven’t seen evidence of him having operated on any radical feminist, Marxist or generally leftist websites – if anything, he was a brony.  I think he happened to embrace basic bitch social justice ideology as something to latch onto whilst he rationalized his disturbed psyche to the wider world and justified his future actions.

 

Adam Lanza

On the face of it, there is no conclusive motivation that would explain why Adam Lanza carried out the Sandy Hook shooting in 2012. However, I think there are clues that might help to explain what he was thinking before he did it. He was often described as a profoundly autistic individual, and according to his father he was diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome at the age of thirteen. However, autism campaigners have objected to this description by pointing out that most autistic people do not have the kind of aggressive and strongly isolationist tendencies that Lanza exhibited. According to a team of Yale researchers, Lanza was prescribed a behavior-based treatment program and an anti-depressant called Celexa, but his parents discontinued the treatment after they noticed that Lanza “was unable to raise his own arm” and attributed this as a side-effect of the treatment. The parents could not be convinced otherwise. As he grew older, he became much more isolationist and socially rigid with his youth, and increasingly obsessed with mass shooters. He was also active on a now (presumably) defunct online forum called Shocked Beyond Belief, under the username “Smiggles”, which was a forum in which people talked about the Columbine killers and a video game based on them entitled “Super Columbine RPG”. Dr. Peter Langman has written a report about Lanza’s mental tendencies and has concluded that Lanza suffered from deeply psychotic personality tendencies, and suggests that his mentality was very similar to many other mass shooters in not just psychotic personality but also in the sense that he went through similar failures in life.

Apparently, in 2014, a radio clip has emerged of what is supposedly Adam Lanza speaking to an anarchist/primitivist anti-civilization radio show called Anarchy Radio. He talked about a chimpanzee named Travis, a pet chimpanzee and animal actor who in 2009 attacked a woman and was shot to death by police, trying to articulate that Travis’ violent behavior was ultimately a reaction to civilization, which he thinks conditions people away from their instinctive nature. Some of his postings on Shocked Beyond Belief indicate that he had great sympathy for the dead chimpanzee, and he felt that after his death Travis was now free of the “rape” of civilization.

 

 

Elliot Rodger

elliot

Elliot killed six people in Isla Vista, California, and injured 14 others before ultimately killing himself. Before the shooting, Elliot Rodger released a 141-page journal on the Internet, in which he recounts his life in excessive detail as well as his belief that he is akin to a god in human flesh, entitled to whatever he thinks is deserving of him especially the company of women, and sent to rid the world of those he deems impure. For all his godly pretenses, however, he also complains that he was jealous of other men for attaining pleasures that he did not and feels his life to be pathetic in comparison. His YouTube channel consists of videos where he talks about how he views the world as fundamentally unjust and unfair because he is incapable of finding a romantic or sexual partner.

His father, Peter Rodger, was an unsuccessful filmmaker most recognized as a second unit director for The Hunger Games. His own film, a documentary called Oh My God?, was a failure, scoring terrible reviews among film critics. If Elliot’s manifesto is to be believed, Peter invested all of his money in the film, kept talking about how it make him loads of money, and in the end it lost him money to be the point that he claims the film bankrupted him.

Many progressives and feminists used Rodger as a symbol of their conception of “toxic masculinity”, basically grandstanding for their ideology on the corpses of the people he killed. They propped him up as a political point about how they view all men in general as fundamentally suffering the same sickness as Elliott Rodger, when in truth most men aren’t actually like him. Elliott viewed himself as the greatest man in the universe, a god among men, and not the sad, narcissistic and possibly somewhat spoiled individual that really was. That’s all he was. He was a textbook narcissist, who was constantly disappointed with the world for supposedly denying him that which he believed, and the primary motivation seems to be that of “punishing” women for not having sex with him, as well as other men for having sex with women instead of him, coupled with his developed hatred for mankind as a whole, whom he blames for his internal anguish. His father believes that he was just the sweetest boy who was kind to everyone and wouldn’t hurt a flea, but the truth is that he was a profoundly egocentric individual who was obsessed with sex because he never had the company of a woman and who was consumed with loathing, desperation and hatred of mankind, which might have enabled him to separate himself from Man and negate any sense of value of the life of his fellow Man, not least because he felt himself to be above human life. It is possible that he may not have learned how to cope with failure and disappointment, and never accrued the characteristics associated with maturity and what it means to become a man before he died.

 

James Eagan Holmes

James killed 12 people at the Century 16 theater in Aurora, Colorado. In his notebook he diagnoses himself with dysphoric mania, social anxiety disorder, OCD, PTSD, Asperger’s syndrome, ADHD, schizophrenia, body dysmorhpic disorder, psychosis and several other mental disorders. He justifies this self-diagnosis by describing numerous symptoms such as catatonia, excessive fatigue and isolationism. He believed that the reason for life is fundamentally arbitrary and thus life should not exist. According to Dr. Raquel Gur, an expert on schizophrenia, Holmes’ writings suggest that he was intelligent, capable of tackling deep subjects that most people don’t typically think about, but also incredibly delusional, noting that very intelligent people are also capable of generating more bizarre delusions. She compares his level of delusion-crafting to that of the “Unabomber” serial killer Ted Kaczynski, who also happened to be a professor of mathematics at Harvard University. She also says that Holmes did not feel wronged by anyone and was not motivated by a desire for revenge, and the last straw is instead cited to be him believing himself to have failed his neuroscience program. According to his defense attorney, Holmes was a schizophrenic and suffered mental illness for years before eventually succumbing to a violent delusion. Prosecutors note that he was aware of what he was doing and planned every aspect of his attack in advance and in detail within his notebook.

 

Jared Lee Loughner

Jared was responsible for a 2011 shooting in Tuscon, Arizona, in which he intended to kill Democratic congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, and ended up killing six other people before being arrested. Before the shooting in question, he released a video claiming that Pima Community College was a “genocide school” that tortured its students. Incidentally, he was suspended from Pima Community College following the release of the video. According to TIME, he showed multiple signs of mental illness, including disorganized speech and writing, paranoia and an inability to function in social situations. According to a friend he also frequently used drugs, including marijuana, magic mushrooms, LSD, salvia divinorum, and even cocaine. Loughnor had been diagnosed with schizophrenia by experts who interviewed him. However, in an article for Psychology Today, Dr. Langman offers a different diagnosis. He instead suggests that Loughnor’s illness is closer to paranoid personality disorder, on the grounds that he read the idea of secret meetings into his encounter with Gabrielle Giffords which may have led to the development of grudge between him and Giffords, and that he did not seem to think that everyone was specifically against him.

There was a lot of controversy surrounding Loughnor’s alleged political motivations, possibly due to the fact that he targeted an elected representative; namely Gabrielle Giffords. Although many in the media have taken to painting him as an expressly far-right Tea Party partisan, Loughnor himself was an Independent voter and according to a friend of his he was neither left-wing nor right-wing. Another classmate describes him as very left-wing. He was apparently interested in conspiracy theories, and was active on a web forum called AboveTopSecret which specialized in conspiracy theories and similar subjects, and he was particularly interested in the idea that the world would end in 2012. He also happened to be interested in the 2007 film Zeitgeist, which can be seen as distant from the ideals of the Tea Party. He talked about refusing to pay in any currency not backed by gold and silver, and yet far from being a gold standard advocate he advocated theories of “an infinite source of currency“. Much of the idea that he is strictly a right-winger comes from the Southern Poverty Law Centre, who it must be noted are so thoroughly couched in leftist ideological bias that they have more recently declared people like Maajid Nawaz (a liberal Muslim) to be “anti-Muslim extremists”. In general, Loughnor can accurately described as an enthusiast of fringe politics in general, without necessarily aligning with the left or the right. Some people even blamed Sarah Palin for inspiring the shooting simply because of her use of a target symbol in an electoral map. Needless to say, this was a stretch.

 

Dylann Roof

At face value, it would seem fairly obvious that Dylann Roof’s massacre at Charleston’s Emanuel AE Church was an act of pure radical white nationalist ideology and nothing else. I am, of course, not going to contest the idea that he was motivated by extreme racist ideology – after all, the evidence for his ideological persuasion is clear as day – but I submit that there is another motive at work, one that may be decidedly less obvious compared to his ideological persuasion.

If you read his manifesto you find will find, perched alongside the ideological material,  an obvious signifier of profound narcissism. As expected from a militant white supremacist, he believed that black people presented a threat to American society and needed to gotten rid of, but towards the end of the last page of the manifesto he proclaims that no one is doing anything about it other than talking on the Internet, and so he states that “Well someone has to have the bravery to take it to the real world, and I guess that has to be me.”. This to me is Dylann positioning himself as the lone savior of the white race. For him, only he can save America from racial impurity. Not to mention, the idea that he had some kind of “racial awakening” to me harks back to Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold’s concept of “self-awareness” – a profound “knowledge” of the world around them that no one else had. He claims he attained this “awakening” after Googling black on white crime following the George Zimmerman verdict, and he claimed to have become “completely racially aware” after checking out the website for a group called the Council of Conservative Citizens and looking up black on white murders in America and Europe. I can’t help but think, based on that, that he was the kind of person who either saw things in the world that have been spun by radical ideology and not necessarily reflective of the truth, or simply did not look at the larger picture of things and focused on very small details.

Other than that, recently released documents introduce the element of Dylann’s possible mental abnormality. They suggest that Dylann had suffered a combination of social anxiety disorder, schizoid personality disorder, mixed substance abuse disorder, possible autism and a history of depression. It is suggested that Dylann suffered from various symptoms associated with autism that may have cast doubt on his mental competency to stand trial, and that he had a high IQ that was compromised by an inability to process information and a poor working memory. They also entail that it was revealed in an investigation that Dylann was extremely socially isolationistic, pre-occupied with fallacious health concerns, used narcotics, possessed firearms and believed his life was falling apart. However, Dylann was deemed by the court to be mentally competent enough to stand trial and he chose to represent himself, apparently to block his legal team from presenting evidence of his mental health issues. His reasoning for this may have something to do with the fact that he viewed his reputation, rather than his actions themselves, as the most important thing, which one would argue is a fruitless endeavor considering that almost no one holds him in high esteem for his actions.

 

Seung-Hui Cho

cho000

One of a number of individuals who is claimed to be part of an alleged current of right-wing terrorism in the United States of America, Cho was born in South Korea before emigrating to the United States. He was responsible for the Virginia Tech shooting in 2007, in which he killed 33 people (including himself) at the campus of the Virginia Tech university. He sent a “manifesto” of sorts to MSNBC before the shooting, in which he outlines his motivations for what would become the Viriginia Tech shooting. In the “manifesto”, he lambastes the people he sees as “the rich kids”, accusing them of being sadistic, debaucherous, hedonistic, and fraudulent and of being rapists and lovers of terrorism, and he views himself as being abused by the world around him whilst positioning himself as the savior of the “Weak and Defenceless”. There are also multiple religious references in the manifesto in question, particularly towards Christianity. He also viewed Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, the Columbine killers, as martyrs who laid down their lives in order to claim vengeance from what he calls the “Apostles of Sin”. Some even thought Cho was a Muslim because he identified himself as Ax Ismail, Ismail being the Arabic name for the Biblical figure known as Ishmael. Despite the religious tone of manifesto, however, Cho himself apparently hated his parents’ sense of religiosity, and when asked if he had religious beliefs his answer seemed to be no.

Cho had undergone psychiatric evaluation by court order after he was deemed to be a danger to himself and others. A report that was produced on Cho’s mental health concluded that he suffered from extreme social anxiety, depression, suicidal and homicidal thoughts, aggressive personality tendencies, and the loss of positive influences (including coordination between his school, therapist and psychiatrist) that had in his school years. Apparently the campus authorities at Virginia Tech were warned about his mental instability, but it seemed the warnings had gone unheeded. It is also possible that he was motivated by a sense of jealousy and rage sparked by his romantic advances towards a woman named Emily Hilscher having been turned down. To me, he also comes off as somewhat narcissistic; after all, how exaggerated must your sense of self-importance be for you to position yourself as the savior of the weak, helpless and downtrodden when in reality you’re a terminally depressed loner or something? Still, in his manifesto he makes it sound like he was raped by his friends in some kind of orgy, and I have to wonder what the hell inspired his writings, if not for a kind of pre-existing insanity or mental instability.

 

Charles Andrew Williams

Dr. Langman notes that the case of Charles is replete with contradictory information, particularly as some of Charles’ own statements are contradicted by other statements he made. It doesn’t help that it has recently come to light that Charles views himself as an “awesome liar”. It has been widely reported in the media that Charles was a good and wholesome kid who was pushed into becoming a serial killer by bullies. However, it had also emerged that Charles was actually a troublesome kid who was cocky, disregarded authority and delighted in breaking social norms through mischief. He apparently abused drugs, started fires (though Charles himself has no recollection of this), solicited the theft of alcohol, stole drugs and hung around with other delinquents who would later grow up to be criminals. Despite this, however, he managed to make it seem to others like he was a good kid. Whenever he was questioned about trying to “pull a Columbine”, he laughed. When he was taken into custody after the attack, he appeared to be calm, cold and nonchalant, demonstrating a lack of remorse for his actions. It is likely, therefore, that Charles was pretty much a psychopath, one with a history of delinquent behavior rather than simply having been bullied into becoming a monster. Furthermore, Charles has claimed to have been egged on into committing the attack by friends, but it appears to be more likely that he just shifted the blame for the massacre onto other people.

 

Conclusion

There are many more mass shooters besides the ten presented in this post, but what is clear is that all ten of these seemed to have suffered from various mental issues. Many were extremely depressed, some were clearly psychopathic, a number of them have expressed a deep seated hatred of humankind, some were schizophrenic, some were narcissistic enough to view themselves as gods or saviors who would bring salvation or judgement down upon us in a hail of bullets, and there was a tendency among them to feel isolated, hopeless and desperate. In the case of some of them their mental health problems were known to parents and experts and it was given treatment for a while, until the parents took them off the treatment, either because it they thought they no longer needed it or because they thought it produced unwelcome side-effects. In the case of some others, their mental health problems were never known to their parents or some of their peers. But all of the shooters had profound problems with their psyche, and had severe psychological problems before they resorted to mass violence. And it is likely that they weren’t driven by one single problem either. The shooters had multiple profound issues and problems that guided their respective personalities. Personally, in doing the research for this post, I have also come to the opinion that these people generally don’t just snap out of the blue, but rather that their problems develop for years before they finally kill scores of people.

Of course it should be noted that not all mentally ill are violent, and many mentally ill people may nonetheless not be driven to commit atrocities. However, there are enough murderers who are profoundly mentally disturbed to suggest that there is problem with mental health in the United States. In fact, it is no secret that there is a problem with mental health in the United States. There is a researcher at Yale that, I think, makes a very salient point in one of the articles I linked here:  he says “When mental illness is well-treated in society, patients are not necessarily more violent. But when they go untreated and they are allowed to become severely ill, then we’re seeing a larger share of violence being committed by mentally-ill individuals. That violence is different in nature, because it’s often unpredictable — it’s often based on delusions.”. I wonder, just how well are the mentally ill being treated in America?

 

And the new face of the resistance is…George W. Bush?

For the first of the political posts I want to get out of the way, you might not believe what the American media has been up to this past week: promoting America’s 43rd president George W. Bush: the man who got America into a war in Afghanistan in the aftermath of 9/11 while never going after Saudi Arabia in any way, effectively lied to the American people about Saddam Hussein having chemical weapons so that he can destabilize Iraq and whose administration instituted the PATRIOT Act, diminishing civil liberty in the name of patriotism and security, and paving the way for the Obama administration’s own legacy of authoritarianism, all while pontificating about the higher power of Jesus Christ.

Yes, that man has gone from being the face of everything wrong with the GOP to being adorable in the eyes of the left. In the last week or so he spoke of his “affection” for Michelle Obama, with whom he scooped an opportune photoshoot, he made an appearance on the Ellen DeGeneres show (with whom he had another photoshoot) where they talked about some stupid wet poncho photo that was taken during the Trump inauguration ceremony, as well as on the Jimmy Kimmel show for laughs, and I’ve seen lots of articles promoting his paintings. And the Guardian, the supposed bastion of journalism and left-wing commentary? They are hailing Bush as a “welcome return”.

What the fuck happened here? I mean I get that you can’t go around hating George W. Bush all the time given that he’s no longer President and up until now he was pretty much not active in politics, not even pressuring the Obama administration as far as I’m aware. But now I find the “liberals” lifting up a man who they should’ve been opposed to. And why? Apparently because he is opposed to Donald Trump. Because he called insinuated that Trump was a racist and because he thinks Trump is attacking freedom of the press by not allowing media organizations into his press conferences – which is exactly what the media thinks as well. George W. Bush, it seems, is being embraced by the liberals and the media for one crucial reason: the rationale that the enemy of their enemy is their friend. And to that end, the left will ignore the ramifications of the policies of Bush’s administration, which they themselves opposed, to wage their ineffectual war on Trump. And don’t kid yourself. Bush’s policies had considerable ramifications in the eight years that Obama was president, namely that it gave the state more power over the rights of its subjects. Obama was an authoritarian, sure, or at least very illiberal, but upon election he ultimately just jumped a machine that was already geared towards the erosion of civil liberty. I have to wonder if “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” is such a good reasoning to have.

Bush and Obama, united at last

Sounding off on that “mass spell”

So I guess, better late than never, I ought to briefly comment on that “mass spell” nonsense from this week. Last week, a group of “witches” (specifically Wiccan fluff bunny style witches) announced that they planned to cast some kind of “mass spell” on Donald Trump and, presumably, his supporters in order to “bind” him and cause him to fail in some dubious, ill-defined way.

Seriously. How do they want him to fail? What do they want to have happen to him? There’s no specification. I’ve looked. There’s nothing. I would’ve thought that typically a magician or an occultist would design a ritual tailored to a specific desire, but this “mass spell” is vague as shit as far as specific desires go. The only clarity is that they want Donald Trump to fail, but not how.

But that’s not the only thing I find wanting here. Insert magical cliche here, colored candles and heavenly hosts, even a reference to demons, for good measure, with generic progressive political platitudes thrown there. It is, without question, a joke for people who aren’t interested in all the magickal things in any way, and an embarrassment to those who are. And then there’s Michael Hughes, the man who spread this. Looking at his website, he’s the kind of guy who shills textbook pop superstitions alongside some stuff about psychedelics and UFOs (at least one of the latter two is at least actually worthy of some interest). And apparently he’s also a DJ and “psychic stage entertainer” who makes a living performing at parties. I can’t help but wonder why I’ve never heard of him until this whole Donald Trump “mass spell” shit. Hmm…

By the way, pop singer Lana Del Ray was also involved in this buzz, and is planning on conducting other ceremonies later this year. Apparently her involvement is still getting headlines, including on The Independent, and celebrity and entertainment magazines have picked up on the story, including one magazine involved another celebrity criticizing her for her anti-Trump witchcraft shenanigans.

You know, I’m starting to wonder how much of this is all about accruing attention from wide audiences. In Lana’s case perhaps even to promote a new album? I suppose it worked for Gaahl (a former lead vocalist of the Norwegian black metal band Gorgoroth) didn’t it?

I honestly think this is one of those make me think “magick isn’t one of those things that you can use to influence world politics or affect the seat of power”. But then I’m reminded of the pro-Trump meme magick courtesy of the Cult of Kek and the wonderful world of 4chan. I’m still not entirely sure on the veracity of that by the way, but I am fascinated by the memetic stuff all the same. At the very least I’m more fascinated with memetics than I am with the New Age/Wiccan fluff that this “mass spell” constitutes. Then there’s all the conspiracy theories surrounding Hillary Clinton and alleged devil worshipers. Bear with me for a moment. Let’s assume it’s all true: that Hillary Clinton has a whole network of devil worshiping magicians at her disposal (or that of George Soros, of course). If that’s true, then given the results of the US presidential election on November 9th, I am guessing that either these popular are practicing pure unadulterated woo, given that one of the “devil worshippers” is the performance artist Marina Abramovic, or they are incredibly crappy magicians. Either way, we can assume that whatever magic they may have practiced was no match for the might of Kekist memetics. Satanicviews assured me that her only magicians were her PR team (which is arguably true), and it looks like they failed all the same, funny enough possibly proving that a mainstream media isn’t exactly mind control. Ultimately I remain pretty skeptical about the whole magick and politics thing. All’s I know is that traditional witchcraft, let alone New Age Wiccan fluff, won’t do anything to influence politics.

As I said before in my post about a Bustle article on social justice witches, if a bunch of brujas (practitioners of Mexican witchcraft) in Mexico couldn’t hex Donald Trump, what chance do these witches let alone Lana Del Ray have?

Possible opportunist Lana Del Ray leads a trustafarian drum circle lighting candles to pray the Donald away.

Possible opportunist Lana Del Ray leads a trustafarian drum circle lighting candles to pray the Donald away. Also those people next to her look like they were dragged out of the 1990’s.

Goodbye, and good riddance, Barack Obama

Ever since the middle of the 2016 US presidential election cycle (in other words, by the time primaries were drawing to a close),  I have been waiting to send off the outgoing Barack Obama in my own way. So here is a list of the things I dislike the most about the Obama administration, and why I will be glad to see him gone.

 

Auditing political opponents

There’s a reason, among others, that certain people in America have begun to think of Barack Obama as kind of a dictator. In 2013, it was revealed that the IRS (a.k.a. everyone’s favorite tax collectors) selectively targeted conservative organizations – particularly groups that had the words “Tea Party” or “Patriot” in their names – while Obama was running for re-election in 2012, and IRS officials admitted that they were doing it. Under the Obama administration, it seems that the IRS felt that they had the authority to deliberately target certain political organizations for financial auditing. However, they did claim that it was an error of judgement on their part, which they did apologize for.

 

Continuing to fuck up the Middle East

I remember when I was a teenager hearing about how Obama was supposed to bring peace to the Middle East. Which he did. Right?

Wrong.

US troops did not withdraw from Iraq until 2011, and did not cease fighting in Afghanistan until 2014. In 2014, US forces would later return to Iraq to lead the international military intervention against ISIS. In 2015, the Obama administration began aiding Saudi Arabia in its military intervention campaign in Yemen by supplying weapons to the Saudis and helping them bomb the country. Oh, and the US has continued to drop bombs on Syria and Iraq, and in some cases the US military is has been conducting drone strikes that have injured innocent people, including children. Obama’s foreign policy regarding the region has also helped to create the vacuum within which ISIS would exploit the opportunity and rise to power and earn their current status as the one of the great menaces of the Middle East. The USA, under the Obama administration, has also pursued military intervention in Libya, which helped to overthrow the dictator Muammar Qadaffi (and don’t get me wrong I’m still kind of glad he’s dead) but also left the country unstable due the failure of democracy to replace the tyrannical regime of Qadaffi. I’m sure Hillary Clinton had nothing to do with it as Obama’s Secretary of State, right?

 

The NSA scandal

Before Obama got elected, the George W. Bush administration attacked the civil liberties of ordinary Americans by instituting the PATRIOT Act, supposedly in the name of protection from terrorism. Surely Obama would take care of it right? Far from it. Obama continued the legacy of Bush in the form of the NSA’s mass gathering of private information from ordinary Americans. The NSA gathered the phone and internet records of millions of ordinary Americans, in violation of American civil liberty and constitutional law, without any oversight. When this was exposed by Edward Snowden and Bradley (or rather Chelsea) Manning, Snowden was rewarded with basically exile in Russia and Manning was thrown in jail for what was to be a 35 year long prison sentence. That sentence was recently commuted, which means that now she only has five months left before she is set free, but this was only during the last week of Obama’s term. As positive as Manning’s commuting was, I suspect it was a cynical political move, not a sign that Obama suddenly is concerned with human rights or privacy.

 

“Islam dindu nuffin'”

As Islamic terrorism continued to be a major issue, particularly over the course of the rise of ISIS and in the aftermath of the Pulse massacre, Obama has been very reluctant to even speak of radical Islam, not even by name. In fact, one of his notorious sayings was “Remember that during the Crusades and the Inquisition, people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ”. In the case of the Crusades, not only does this oversimplify a rather complicated historical issue, one in which there were no good guys, but it insinuates that the fact that Christian powers fought against Islamic powers (not terrorists as we would call them) is somehow consolation for the fact that Islamic terrorists still continue to murder innocent people, including other Muslims (on the basis that they are not faithful enough in their eyes), by the thousands, and they seem to be doing it on the basis of a radical political and religious ideology that is supported up by barbarous religious texts. I have explored this in detail throughout August 2016 as part of Haram Month. Obama has given the impression to Christians that the actions of their Crusader ancestors are equivalent to the horrors inflicted by ISIS and that they should feel some guilt because of it, and this is a mantra repeated by the political left to this day. His main reason refusing to talk about radical Islam is supposedly because he doesn’t want to lump the terrorists in with ordinary Muslims. An understandable goal in theory, but in practice all it does is whitewash the religiosity of the crimes of Islamic terrorists when we should be confronting the ideology that continues be the primary source of continued Islamic terrorism. Oh but he considers that to be just a “manufactured issue“. Manufactured in what respect? Is the killing of ordinary people in the name of Allah a “manufactured issue”. Is the discussion of radical Islam a “manufactured issue”. What a callous clown.

 

Being the Celebrity in Chief

I don’t think I have ever seen a President so beloved by the media, to the point that the press has not been particularly adversarial towards him, more than Barack Obama was. I don’t remember any president whose inauguration compels a contingent of celebrities to declare themselves loyal servants of the President. No wonder they wanted the Democrats to win so badly in 2016. The media has not been adversarial towards him. No, every time he makes a media appearance he’s always smiling, and I remember that time where he was dancing on the Ellen DeGeneres show while America was still at war in the Middle East and bailing out the banks. In fact, they are now busy establishing a shining legacy for him. And during the election debates, Obama seemed to be treated as some kind of sacred cow, where one candidate saying something bad about him seemed to amount to a strike against that candidate. It’s like the reality of the Obama administration never sunk in with some people. He was indicative of a kind of celebrity politics – the kind where the worst woman in politics can be treated as a hero to women,  where the Catholic Church is absolved of its sin by another religious fraud (by which I mean “fuck Pope Francis”), and where people who are normally unconcerned with religion can look at a bird landing on Bernie Sanders’ podium and treat him like he’s the reincarnation of Rochindas Gandhi or Jesus fucking Christ!

 

Surrendering ICANN

In the fall of 2016, the Obama administration handed US control of ICANN, the institution responsible for oversight of the Internet and maintenance of web domains and databases, over to the global private sector, ending US control over the regulation of the Internet. This will, of course, open the door for foreign powers or foreign companies to make changes of their own. The problem with this is that the US government usually observes the value of freedom of speech in accordance with the principles of its Constitution. Other countries do not have the same principles – in fact, Europe has been pushing for more legislation to combat “hate speech“, which will require them to control the Internet, and China has been talking about “global governance” of the Internet. By surrendering control of ICANN, the Obama administration has opened up the possibility for foreign powers who are uninterested in First Amendment style freedom of speech and expression to exert their own control over the internet.

 

The lie of the great unifier

Back in 2008, the fact that he was the first African-American to be elected as President was a big deal, for some reason. So much so that he won a Nobel Peace Prize in September of 2009, only nine months into his first term when all he did was bail out the big banks and fuck all else. Americans were willing to believe, somehow, that a first African-American president would magically bring about racial togetherness in the country. But the reality is that, as time flew by under his watch, things have pretty much gotten worse. The rise of groups such as Black Lives Matter and trendy left-wing identity politics, particularly in the form of today’s “social justice” politics, has contributed to increased hostility and mistrust between the races. And this has been apologized for under the odious curtain of liberal guilt, while the facts contradict the narrative that support it.

 

No, you didn’t

“Yes we can”, “Change”, “Hope”. These were the slogans that surrounded an optimistic political campaign for a charismatic politician. Who in the end turned out to be just another politician, cut from the same cloth as all the rest – including the Bush administration. Obama turned out to be a nice little slogan for the Democrats to use in order to get back into power.

And let me tell you something else about Obama: Obama can play 300 rounds of golf, often with Bill Clinton or David Cameron joining in, while he’s doing his taxpayer funded job and nobody’s brow gets raised at least once. His predecessor George W. Bush gets shown playing golf whilst pontificating about how America must combat the threat of Islamic terrorism, and he is crucified as showing the classic hallmark of a typical politician (which, in all fairness, he was).

Oh, and what about the fact that the middle class has been shrinking, or the fact that Americans are poorer now than they were during the Bush administration? What was that again about hope and change?

 

Endorsing Hillary Clinton

Say you have an election on, and one of the candidates has a history of corruption under her name and one of the most hated politicians in the country because of it. What’s one thing you don’t do in that situation? Back that candidate and endorse her as an unofficial successor to your legacy. I can hardly think of anything more damaging to the Hillary Clinton campaign, other than Wikileaks or Project Veritas, than this. What this essentially communicates is that one of the most disliked and reviled presidential candidates ever, one who has been treated with contempt as a politician for longer than Donald Trump has I might add, and one of the most dishonest politicians I can think of is being endorsed by a President who has failed to be the change that he promised to be in the eyes of many. Imagine you are the kind of American voter who, prior to the 2016 election, supported for Obama and voted for him in either 2008, 2012 or both, and afterwards you become disillusioned by the Obama administration because, in your eyes, things have not gotten much better under his watch. How are you going to feel knowing that this guy has deemed Hillary Clinton as fit to carry out her legacy? You’re probably going to think “this guy was a failure of a politician and a charismatic liar, and he’s just endorsed one of the biggest liars and most corrupt people in politics”.

 

Really, the only good things I can see coming out of the Obama administration were the nationwide legalization of gay marriage and the end of the Cuban embargo, as well as marijuana being legalized in parts of the USA and the last-minute commuting of Chelsea Manning.

 

Gary Johnson, Donald Trump and a bit about legal vs illegal immigration

I know I said I’d try and refrain from talking about American politics for a while, and I guess in a way I did for a whole month. But there is a development concerning Gary Johnson I feel I need to talk about, as well as a certain issue on my mind.

Gary Johnson has come under a lot of criticism from conservatives for supposedly not actually being very libertarian in practice. He has suggested a “climate tax” and put it forward as a “free market solution”, never mind that it’s basically the same thing a progressive would suggest. He suggested mandatory vaccinations, something that I would think most libertarians are necessarily against because it means that a vaccination is mandated by the federal government. Of course, I’m pretty sure Johnson back-peddled on those issues recently as well. But what really irks me is his response to somebody using the term “illegal immigrants” as opposed to “undocumented immigrants” to refer to, well, illegal immigrants. I would see no problem with that term – after all, they are entering the country through unlawful means. His reason? It’s “incendiary” to the Latino population. Why? “It just is”, apparently. And when he criticizes Donald Trump, he starts by referring to what he is saying as “incendiary”. He didn’t say it was wrong, outlandish or incorrect. Just incendiary. That’s it. He then proceeded to flip out and go on a short rant where he basically acts as some kind of white knight, almost as though he’s some kind of libertarian SJW or something.

Before I continue I want to express my general frustration with the way I see Americans talk about immigration. It’s usually all about illegal immigration. The left wants to do more to help illegal immigrants, while the right wants to kick them out. All the while, how much talk is there of legal immigration, and any meaningful reform for the nightmare that is the US immigration system? I am so fucking tired of hearing people talk about how we should be kind or cruel to illegal immigrants and say nothing about people who want to come to America through completely legal means. And I find my sentiments echoed only by people like Lauren Southern.

If anything it should be harder for people to get into the country through unlawful means, not for people who want to come in through legal means. I would have thought this was a sensible position. But apparently not.

So anyways, I was beginning to lose patience with Gary Johnson over this. And then someone told me that he threw away a gun that he was given by his rival Austin Petersen as an olive branch, which he actually did. To me it struck me as a dick move in the extreme, and left me in doubt as to whether someone like that will protect the Second Amendment when even Trump has commented about tightening gun laws.

Which of course, leads me to Trump himself. You’d think I’d ditch Gary Johnson in favor of Donald Trump, and I do fear that it looks like I might be forced into that position. On some issues, Trump is still very much the only one speaking truth to power, such the migration crisis, the threat of Islamism and jihad and the forces of globalization, despite that he sometimes seemingly exaggerates the threat of rising violent crime in America. He’s also the only current candidate with the guts to point out that the African-American community has a crime problem, which it does, while Gary Johnson has come out in support of Black Lives Matter – you know, that group who decides that antipathy towards law and order and destroying communities is a valid substitute for consulting the actual facts regarding police shootings and actually dealing with the broad social ills facing the African-American community that weren’t actually created by racism. This movement, this sad identitarian movement with proven violent inclinations mind you, has the support of Gary Johnson who claimed that they opened his eyes to racial discrimination and said Americans need to do the same – you know, again, instead of talking about the actual issues such as poverty, fatherlessness and the breakdown of the nuclear family, the ghetto and gang culture in those communities. That, to me, suggests that he is actually an imbecile – a useful fucking idiot at that. And this might be what we get for our money when the Libertarian nominee spends his campaign since the end of the primaries appealing to the left while losing the right.

And yet Trump is still a buffoon, he still has a lot of bad ideas. It is hard to imagine me supporting Trump wholeheartedly. Even if I told you right now that Trump is better than Clinton or Johnson, that’s not saying much. It’s still saying that America’s options are a career criminal, a goddamned buffoon and a craven, and I would be only ever be forced into thinking Trump might be the “best” option because the other candidates are either worse or simply unworthy of trust. The way things might be going, why should I side with any of them on principle?

Whether it’s Gary Johnson or Donald Trump, I don’t think I would get everything I want out of either of them, even on the matter of principles.