Tuesday, September 30, 2014

There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch--MRAP Edition

Mother Jones news has an interesting addendum to the MRAP to police story. Police agencies that attempt to return the equipment find that they cannot. According to the article:
But some agencies have found the process of getting rid of unwanted military gear next to impossible. Agencies can't return or trade equipment without Defense Department approval, and because the Pentagon technically still owns the equipment, they can't sell it. 
According to interviews with state officials running point between the Pentagon and police, the Defense Department prefers to leave equipment in circulation whenever possible. "It's a low-cost storage method for them," says Robb Davis, the mayor pro tem of Davis. His town is trying to shake its MRAP. "They're dumping these vehicles on us and saying, 'Hey, these are still ours, but you have to maintain them for us.'"
(Underline added). And, even if they can return the equipment, the local entity is responsible for the shipping/transportation costs.

Leading Dem Wants to Scrap Constitution

Donna Brazile, vice-chair of the Democratic National Committee for voter registration and participation ... wants to scrap the entire U.S. Constitution. 
Brazile tweeted: “We need a new constitution.” This, she stated is “how we save American democracy from charlatans, loudmouths and the 1 percent.” 
Brazile is no fire-brand outlier. As noted, she holds an important position in the Democratic Party. More than that, she’s a long-time, high-level Dem insider. In 2000, she managed Al Gore’s campaign. In 2011, she briefly served as interim chair of the DNC. 
Democrats have viewed the Constitution as an anachronistic barrier to their agenda since the days of Woodrow Wilson who, before entering politics, consistently argued as much. These days, though, their contempt for our founding document is becoming increasingly manifest.
Democrats are stupid. The Constitution is the social contract that binds the nation. Take it away, and what reason is there for the Union?

Chicago's Concealed Carry Laws Discriminatory?

The Washington Times notes a disparity in concealed carry licenses issued in Cook County. Wealthier people are being issued CCLs at a much higher rate than poorer people--especially poor blacks. That, however, has always been the purpose of gun control laws--to keep firearms out of the hands of "undesirables" such as the poor, blacks, and immigrants. (See also this article (PDF)). If a black politician supports gun control, it is a sure sign he is an "Uncle Tom" for the Democratic party--you know, the same political party that gave birth to the KKK, and sicced dogs on civil rights protesters.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Congratulations to India on its Successful Mars Mission

(Story at New Scientist)

The State of the Union

The point, I think, is clear: we all have a vote on various issues of the day — and our vote is all but guaranteed to have no effect on the outcome. Yet the government arrogates to itself the right to tax us for absurd ends, whether it’s taking our money to pay people who are unwilling to work, or arming Syrian rebels who are likely to use those arms against us one day. In essence, aren’t we being forced to work to pay for things we disagree with? And how is that different from slavery?
Patterico's post suggests that the master is the other voters. But is that really true? In April of this year, there were a spate of articles discussing how little influence voters actually have over government policy and action based on a study conducted by researches at Princeton. The Huffington Post reported:
 U.S. government policies reflect the desires of the wealthy and interest groups more than the average citizen, according to researchers at Princeton University and Northwestern University. 
"[W]e believe that if policymaking is dominated by powerful business organizations and a small number of affluent Americans, then America’s claims to being a democratic society are seriously threatened," write Martin Gilens and Benjamin I. Page in an April 9 article posted on the Princeton website and scheduled for fall publication in the journal Perspectives on Politics. 
Gilens and Page analyzed 1,779 policy issues from 1981 to 2002 and compared changes to the preferences of median-income Americans, the top-earning 10 percent, and organized interest groups and industries. 
"Not only do ordinary citizens not have uniquely substantial power over policy decisions; they have little or no independent influence on policy at all," the researchers write in the article titled, "Testing Theories of American Politics: Elites, Interest Groups, and Average Citizens." 
Affluent Americans, however, "have a quite substantial, highly significant, independent impact on policy," Gilens and Page write. Organized interest groups also "have a large, positive, highly significant impact upon public policy."
From another article, at the Daily Northwestern:
The study, scheduled to be published later this year, was co-authored by political science Prof. Benjamin Page and Princeton University politics Prof. Marten Gilens. The pair analyzed roughly 1,800 government policies between 1981 and 2002 and found policy changes were influenced more by economic elites and business interest groups than by average voters. 
“The central point that emerges from our research is that economic elites and organized groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on U.S. government policy, while mass-based interest groups and average citizens have little or no independent influence,” Gilens and Page wrote in the study. 
 (See also this article at The Hill).

Thus, it should come as no surprise that, unlike prior economic recoveries, only the wealthy have benefited this time around. The Wall Street Journal recently reported on the recovery, and noted: "Only families in the top 10%, with annual incomes averaging nearly $400,000, saw gains during these three years." The Daily Mail reports today that the 400 wealthiest Americans are now worth $2.3 trillion, although I would observe that, in fact, they control far vaster amounts of money.

Kyle Smith, writing at the New York Post, argues that this is no accident:
Ever get the sense that the middle class is downwardly mobile, being pressed to the floor and squeezed to the limit? It’s not happening by accident. Someone is doing the squeezing: a new class of entertainment and tech plutocrats, cheered on and abetted by a priesthood of media, government and academic elites. 
Joel Kotkin’s “The New Class Conflict” (Telos Press Publishing) paints a dire picture of the undeclared war on the middle class. What he calls the Oligarchy (Silicon Valley and Hollywood) and the Clerisy (the media, bureaucrats, universities and nonprofits) enrich themselves and gratify their own strange obsessions at the expense of the middle class.
Smith focuses on the war on the suburbs, increasing energy prices as a tactic of the "greens," and the higher cost of education. But there are also basic attacks on our values. The Daily Caller posted this warning yesterday:
Last May, one of the most influential conservative and religious intellectual leader in America gave a somber speech in Washington, declaring it to be “Good Friday in America for Christians.” In this exclusive two part video interview, Princeton’s Robert P. George admitted, “that was a hard speech to give.” 
“Christians, and those rejecting the me-generation liberal dogma of ‘if it feels good do it,’ are no longer tolerable by the intellectual and cultural elite,” says George, 59, director of the James Madison program at Princeton University. Citing the political witch hunt that forced Brendan Eich’s departure as CEO of Mozilla for a small contribution to a conservative political cause, George said politically correct mobs “threaten us with consequences if we refuse to call what is good evil, and what is evil, good. They command us to confirm our thinking to their orthodoxy, or else say nothing at all.”
George suggests borrowing one of the rule of radicals--holding the liberal elite to their own standards, in this case, that of free speech.

I don't know if that is a winning tactic, but it is a start. The basic problem is that the elite neither respect nor fear the body of the citizenry. Until that changes, nothing else matters.

"The Khorosan Group Does Not Exist"

Andrew McCarthy, writing at the National Review, explains why we had never heard of the Khorosan group prior to the air attacks into Syria--the name is made up, a ruse to cover up for Obama's failure to deal with Al Qaeda and inability to deal with reality. McCarthy explains:

You haven’t heard of the Khorosan Group because there isn’t one. It is a name the administration came up with, calculating that Khorosan — the –Iranian–​Afghan border region — had sufficient connection to jihadist lore that no one would call the president on it. 
The “Khorosan Group” is al-Qaeda. It is simply a faction within the global terror network’s Syrian franchise, “Jabhat al-Nusra.” Its leader, Mushin al-Fadhli (believed to have been killed in this week’s U.S.-led air strikes), was an intimate of Ayman al-Zawahiri, the emir of al-Qaeda who dispatched him to the jihad in Syria. Except that if you listen to administration officials long enough, you come away thinking that Zawahiri is not really al-Qaeda, either. Instead, he’s something the administration is at pains to call “core al-Qaeda.” 
“Core al-Qaeda,” you are to understand, is different from “Jabhat al-Nusra,” which in turn is distinct from “al-Qaeda in Iraq” (formerly “al-Qaeda in Mesopotamia,” now the “Islamic State” al-Qaeda spin-off that is, itself, formerly “al-Qaeda in Iraq and al-Sham” or “al-Qaeda in Iraq and the Levant”). That al-Qaeda, don’t you know, is a different outfit from al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula . . . which, of course, should never be mistaken for “al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb,” “Boko Haram,” “Ansar al-Sharia,” or the latest entry, “al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent.”
... Obama has not quelled our enemies; he has miniaturized them. The jihad and the sharia supremacism that fuels it form the glue that unites the parts into a whole — a worldwide, ideologically connected movement rooted in Islamic scripture that can project power on the scale of a nation-state and that seeks to conquer the West. The president does not want us to see the threat this way. 
For a product of the radical Left like Obama, terrorism is a regrettable but understandable consequence of American arrogance. That it happens to involve Muslims is just the coincidental fallout of Western imperialism in the Middle East, not the doctrinal command of a belief system that perceives itself as engaged in an inter-civilizational conflict. For the Left, America has to be the culprit. Despite its inbred pathologies, which we had no role in cultivating, Islam must be the victim, not the cause. As you’ll hear from Obama’s Islamist allies, who often double as Democrat activists, the problem is “Islamophobia,” not Muslim terrorism.
 Read the whole thing, and understand that our commander-in-chief is a lazy idiot, blinded by ideology, leading us along the precipice.

Holder's Moral Failures

Victor Davis Hanson discusses the moral failures of Eric Holder (and thus that Holder is a moral failure):
Eric Holder’s left many baleful legacies: being censured by the House of Representatives; withholding subpoenaed documents, proving untruthful about a failed gun-walking caper in Mexico; failing to enforce laws on the books, from immigration to the elements of the Affordable Care Act; illegally billing the government for his own private use of a government Gulfstream jet; snooping on Associated Press reporters; giving de facto exemptions to renegade IRS politicos; and trying to create civilian trials for terrorist killers like KSM, one of the architects of the 9/11 attacks. But he will be known mostly for re-teaching Americans to think of race as essential, not incidental, to our characters.
... Before Holder, Americans were coming to the point that they did not automatically prejudge interracial violence as a direct consequence of racial bigotry. But thanks to Holder, not so much now. ...
... Eric Holder did his best to polarize America and confuse it about race. ...
But, to paraphrase Dr. Seuss,  that is not all, oh, that is not all!
... But Holder’s sin is not that he was just an ideologue, but rather than he is also an abject opportunist — the voice of social justice massaging a pardon for the Wall Street criminal who had endowed his boss so lavishly, the advocate preening about an unpopular Bush’s supposedly unjust Guantanamo who once had no problems with a popular Bush opening of the facility, or the man of the common people Gulfstreaming to a horse race on the public dime. So, too, Holder was always an entrepreneur about anti-terrorism: whatever the prevailing general consensus, then Holder was for it without regard for principle. 
 In other words, just another typical leftist--hiding his greed and corruption behind a facade of "concern for the downtrodden."

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Oklahoma Beheading Being Treated As "Workplace Violence"

By now, you have surely heard of the beheading on Friday in Moore, Oklahoma. The AP report:
Police said Friday a man recently fired from a food processing plant in an Oklahoma City suburb beheaded a woman with a knife and was attacking another worker when he was shot and wounded by the owner of the company. 
The 30-year-old man, who has not been charged, stabbed Colleen Hufford, 54, severing her head in Thursday's attack at Vaughan Foods, Moore Police Sgt. Jeremy Lewis said. 
Lewis said the man then stabbed Traci Johnson, 43, a number of times before being shot by Mark Vaughan, a reserve sheriff's deputy and the company's chief operating officer.
Based on reports that the perp, Alton Nolan, had recently converted to Islam, and tried to convert others to Islam, the FBI are now involved in the investigation.But, notwithstanding evidence that Nolan was inspired by Islam, the Obama Administration is treating it as an incident of workplace violence. Fox News reports:
Authorities are treating Thursday's beheading at an Oklahoma food distribution center as an incident of workplace violence but that is prompting raised eyebrows among some terrorism experts. 
The FBI is investigating the incident in which fired employee Alton Nolen, 30, allegedly attacked Colleen Hufford, 54, stabbing her several times before severing her head. Nolen also stabbed another women at the plant. The company’s COO, a reserve sheriff’s deputy, thwarted the second attack, shooting Nolen, who is in stable condition. 
Co-workers reportedly said Nolen tried to convert them to Islam after his own recent conversion. 
And Fox 25 in Oklahoma City reports that the FBI is looking into Nolen's Facebook page. The page has anti-American rants under the name "Jah'Keem Israel." 
The station said the Facebook page has several photos of Usama bin Laden and a screen shot from the 9/11 terror attacks. It also shows a man with a quote: "I will instill terror into the hearts of the unbelievers: smile ye above their necks and smite all their fingertips off them."
It is this unwillingness to face reality that makes Obama so dangerous as our commander-in-chief.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

How Gun Control Made England the Most Violent Country in Europe

An article at Breitbart. In reality, the title should read as the most violent country in the First World. The author cites a 2009 Daily Mail article, which indicates that England has 2,034 violent crimes per 100,000 residents. By comparison, the article observes that the United States has only 466 violent crimes per 100,000--and that includes the crime rates of the worst of the large cities like Chicago, Detroit, St. Louis, L.A., Washington D.C., etc.

The Illusory Recovery

While the wealthy are sitting on huge piles of cash, the rest of the country is not doing so well. The Wall Street Journal reports:

More than five years after the official end of the recession, the Public Religion Research Institute finds, only 21% of Americans believe the recession has ended. 
Two recent reports help explain the disconnect between the official jobs numbers and the economic experience of most Americans. Every fall, the U.S. Commerce Department issues a detailed analysis of trends in income, poverty and health insurance. Although economists have some technical quibbles with the Commerce data, the broad trends are unmistakable. 
This year's report found that median household income was $51,939 in 2013, 8% lower than in 2007, the last year before the recession. Households in the middle of the income distribution earned about $4,500 less last year than they had six years earlier. No wonder 56% of Americans told the Pew Research Center that their incomes were falling behind the cost of living. 
The Federal Reserve's triennial Survey of Consumer Finances confirms these findings. Between 2010 and 2013, the Fed reports, median family income fell by 5%, even though average family income rose by 4%. This is, note the authors, "consistent with increasing income concentration during this period." Only families in the top 10%, with annual incomes averaging nearly $400,000, saw gains during these three years. Families headed by college graduates eked out a gain of 1%, while those with a high-school diploma or less saw declines of about 7%. Those in the middle—with some postsecondary education—did the worst: From 2010 to 2013, their annual incomes declined to less than $41,000 from $46,000—an 11% plunge. Families headed by workers under age 35 have done especially badly—even when the heads of those young families have college degrees. The economic struggles of the millennials are more than anecdotal. 
What's going on? The Census report offers a clue. The median earnings for Americans working full-time year round haven't changed much since 2007. But more than five years into the recovery, there are fewer such workers than before the recession. In 2007, 108.6 million Americans were working full time, year-round; in 2013 only 105.9 million were doing so. Although jobs are being created, too many of them are part-time to maintain growth in household incomes.
This part really caught my attention: "Only families in the top 10%, with annual incomes averaging nearly $400,000, saw gains during these three years." Hey, Obama is not called President Goldman Sachs for nothing.

Eric Holder Resigning

Numerous news outlets are reporting that Attorney General Eric Holder is resigning his position. The reports read virtually the same, with this Boston Globe report being typical:
Eric Holder, who served as the public face of the Obama administration’s legal fight against terrorism and pushed to make the criminal justice system more even-handed, is resigning after six years on the job. He is the nation’s first African-American attorney general. 
The White House said that President Barack Obama planned to announce Holder’s departure at 4:30 p.m. Thursday. The White House said Holder plans to remain at the Justice Department until his successor is in place.
 The 63-year-old former judge and prosecutor took office in early 2009 as the U.S. government grappled with the worst financial crisis in decades and with divisive questions on the handling of captured terrorism suspects, issues that helped shape his six-year tenure as the country’s top law enforcement official. He is the fourth-longest serving attorney general in U.S. history. 
He also weighed in on matters of racial fairness, taking steps to improve police relations with minorities, enforce civil rights laws and remove racial disparities in sentencing. Most recently he became the Obama administration’s face in the federal response to the police shooting last month of an unarmed black 18-year-old in Ferguson, Missouri. In the shooting’s aftermath, he enlisted a team of criminal justice researchers to study racial bias in law enforcement. 
In his first few years on the job, Holder endured a succession of firestorms over, among other things, an ultimately-abandoned plan to try terrorism suspects in New York City, a botched gun-running probe along the Southwest border that prompted Republican calls for his resignation, and what was seen as failure to hold banks accountable for the economic meltdown. 
But he stayed on after President Barack Obama won re-election, turning in his final stretch to issues that he said were personally important to him. He promoted voting rights and legal benefits for same-sex couples and pushed for changes to a criminal justice system that he said meted out punishment disproportionately to minorities.
 The story goes on to ignore Holder's scandals and to point out what a good communist he has been (I'm summarizing in my own words, obviously).

Well, let's remember what Holder has abused his position and authority (at least that we know about). In June 2013, Red State listed 16 objectionable things:

(1)  Discriminatory hiring at the Justice Department;

(2)  Labeling the Ft. Hood shooting as "workplace violence";

(3)  Spying on reporters and editors of the Associated Press (AP);

(4)  Spying on Fox News reporter James Rosen, and falsely accusing him of being part of a criminal conspiracy;

(5)  Playing a key role in the pardon of Marc Rich (one of many examples of how the Democrats favor the very wealthy);

(6)  Pardons of key members of the Weather Underground, a communist based terrorist group;

(7)  Threatening prosecution under "hate crimes" speech critical of Islam;

(8)  Public comments showing an animosity toward conservatives;

(9)  Public opposition to the 2nd Amendment;

(10)  Treatment of foreign terrorists as criminal defendants;

(11)  Suing individual states for attempting to enforce federal immigration laws;

(12)  Refusing to do anything about Black Panther intimidation of voters;

(13)  Opposition to voter ID laws;

(14)  "Fast and Furious" and other similar programs intended to use straw buyers to move firearms into the hands of criminal drug cartels and gangs, resulting in the murder of Border Agents and other innocent people;

(15)  Purging DOJ training materials of the term "radical Islam"; and,

(16)  Islamic outreach.

Of course, we would be remiss if we didn't mention that the FBI blocked a corruption probe involving Sens. Reid, Lee. We also can't forget that the DOJ has refused to investigate or prosecute anyone at the IRS for its targeting of conservative political organizations, and Holder's perjuring himself before Congress. (See also here). Oh, yes--the DOJ pressuring banks and other financial institutions to reject business from unacceptable businesses, such as those selling firearms or ammo. And Holder's refusal to investigate the VA scandal involving the deaths of veterans.

(Here is another list of scandals, including a few I missed, from Nonsensible Shoes.

It should be noted that the caveat to all of this is that Holder will keep his position until a replacement is named, which we have been warned could be up to a year out.

I am more interested in the timing of this all. Several of the stories, including this New York Times report, indicate that the decision was finalized over the Labor Day weekend. What could have prompted Holder's decision? Well, one reason might have been a victory against the DOJ in the Fast and Furious investigation. The Blaze reported on August 20, 2014:
A federal judge resurrected the dormant Fast and Furious scandal by ordering the Justice Department to provide additional documents to House investigators probing the botched gun walking program. 
U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson ruled that the DOJ must turn over a privilege log of Operation Fast and Furious documents to the House by Oct. 1. 
The privileged logs were among the thousands of pages of documents the Justice Department withheld from the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee during its investigation that has been going on since 2011.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Evolution in Action

"Israeli special forces kill Hamas militants suspected of murder of three teenagers after they storm their West Bank hideout"

"'Drunk' man mauled to death by white tiger after leaping into its enclosure at Delhi zoo"

Obama Shows His True Colors Again

Obama jokes about the traffic mayhem he causes when he visits NYC.
President Barack Obama joked today during a New York speech that he doesn't seem to have the traffic problems the city's residents are always complaining about. 
'It's actually pretty smooth for me during the week,' Obama said, after playfully arguing that everyone in New York 'hypes' the traffic. 
'I don't know what the problem is,' he told attendees of the Clinton Global Initiative's annual meeting. 'I haven't noticed.' 
... The president was seemingly unaware of how intensely New York drivers despise his visits and the traffic jams they cause around the city. 
Every time the president travels to New York police have to close streets along his motorcade's route, sometimes for long stretches of time, turning the city's busiest roadways into parking lots.
Laws, stop signs, traffic lights ... those are for the peons.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Wagging the Dog

The U.S. has begun to conduct air strikes against ISIS in Syrian territory. However, while I agree that we need to deal with ISIS, it does not mean that I necessarily agree with how such a conflict is being conducted.

According to the New York Times:
The United States and allies launched airstrikes against Sunni militants in Syria early Tuesday, unleashing a torrent of cruise missiles and precision-guided bombs from the air and sea on the militants’ de facto capital of Raqqa and along the porous Iraq border. 
American fighter jets and armed Predator and Reaper drones, flying alongside warplanes from several Arab allies, struck a broad array of targets in territory controlled by the militants, known as the Islamic State. American defense officials said the targets included weapons supplies, depots, barracks and buildings the militants use for command and control. Tomahawk cruise missiles were fired from United States Navy ships in the region.
All well and good. But then there is this:
In addition, Saudi Arabia recently agreed to a training facility for moderate members of the Syrian opposition, whom the United States hopes to train, equip and send back to Syria to fight both Mr. Assad and Islamic State militants.
... The airstrikes in Syria, so far, come without the benefit of a large ground force to capitalize on gains they make. While some Syrian opposition groups fighting the Islamic State militants may be able to move into a few cleared areas, administration officials acknowledged on Monday that it was doubtful that the Free Syrian Army, the opposition group most preferred by the United States, would be able to take control of major sections of Islamic State territory, at least not until it has been better trained — which will take place over the next year. 
That could leave the forces of Mr. Assad in perhaps the best position to take advantage of any American bombardment. An administration official on Monday acknowledged that that was a worry, but said, “We don’t plan to make it easy for Assad to reclaim territory.” He declined to say what methods the United States would use to prevent the Syrian leader from capitalizing on the American aerial bombardment.
In other words, Obama and the other progressives now have the war they wanted to launch against Syria--and just shortly before the November election, in time to boost Democratic poll numbers.

I've noted before my objections to this strategy: (1) we will simply be training ISIS's replacements; and (2) we will not be destroying the will of our enemies to fight. I am not the only one with these objections. Andrew McCarthy notes that ISIS displays the same behavior that we see from Saudi Arabia, which we would expect because it is home of the hateful Wahhabi  sect. McCarthy notes:
The Obama administration regards the Saudi government as America’s key partner in the fight against Islamic State jihadists. The increasingly delusional Secretary of State John Kerry reasons that this is because the fight is more ideological than military. Get it? The world’s leading propagators of the ideology that breeds violent jihad are our best asset in an ideological struggle against violent jihadists. 
Aloof as ever from irony, Mr. Kerry gave this assessment while visiting King Abdullah in Riyadh on, of all days, September 11 — the thirteenth anniversary of the day when 15 Saudis joined four other terrorists in mass-murdering nearly 3,000 Americans in furtherance of the Islamic-supremacist ideology on which they were reared. The 19 were, of course, members of al-Qaeda, the jihadist network sprung from Saudi Arabia and its fundamentalist “Wahhabi” Islam. 
Secretary Kerry and President Obama, like British prime minister David Cameron, insist that the Islamic State, an al-Qaeda-launched jihadist faction, is not Islamic. Evidently, this is owing to the terrorists’ savage tactics. In essence, however, they are the same tactics practiced by our “moderate Islamist” allies. 
Saudi Arabia is the cradle of Islam: the birthplace of Mohammed, the site of the Hijra by which Islam marks time — the migration from Mecca to Medina under siege by Mohammed and his followers. The Saudi king is formally known as the “Keeper of the Two Holy Mosques” (in Mecca and Medina); he is the guardian host of the Haj pilgrimage that Islam makes mandatory for able-bodied believers. The despotic Saudi kingdom is governed by Islamic law — sharia. No other law is deemed necessary and no contrary law is permissible. 
It is thus under the authority of sharia that the Saudis routinely behead prisoners.
 The more useful article on this topic, however, is that of Angelo Codevilla, who writes:
The American people’s reaction to Muslim thugs of the “Islamic State” ritually knifing off the heads of people who look like you and me boils down to “let’s destroy these bastards”—which is common sense. But our ruling class, from President Obama on the Left to The Wall Street Journal on the Right, take the public’s pressure to do this as another occasion for further indulging their longtime preferences, prejudices, and proclivities for half-measures in foreign affairs—the very things that have invited people from all over the planet to join hunting season on Americans. 
This indulgence so overwhelms our ruling class’s perception of reality that the recipes put forth by its several wings, little different from one another, are identical in the one essential respect: none of them involve any plans which, if carried out, would destroy the Islamic State, kill large numbers of the cut-throats, and discourage others from following in their footsteps. Hence, like the George W. Bush’s “war on terror” and for the same reasons, this exercise of our ruling class’s wisdom in foreign affairs will decrease respect for us while invigorating our enemies.
... Representative Duncan Hunter (R-CA), a Marine veteran, objected: “We need to crush ISIS and not work on arming more Islamic radicals. Just what would arming these people accomplish?” To prevent massive numbers of Republican congressmen from joining this common-sense question, the House Armed Services Committee’s bill requires the administration to  answer it in a report to Congress some time in the future, but not now. The fact that the administration and the leaders of both parties—the ruling class—did not make reasoned answers to the key questions the primary premise of their request suggests not so much that they are hiding these answers from others as much as that they themselves have not addressed the questions.
 Read the whole thing.

Robert Kennedy Jr. Strays from the Narrative

Some of you probably have already seen the video, below, where Robert Kennedy Jr. gets "handsy" with a PJ-TV reporter:

The Daily Mail has a transcript of some of the exchange. About the 2:00 mark, Kennedy says that we don't need to reduce our quality of life to control carbon emissions. I'm pretty sure that he is just defending his own lifestyle, because the whole point of cap and trade and other carbon reduction schemes is to restrict lifestyles.

Why The Global Warming Fanatics are Going Full Retard (Updated)

John Fund writes that the global warming consensus--that the science is settled--has been slowly crumbling the last several years. The result is that Naomi Klein, one of its most ardent supporters, is calling for developed nations to pay billions, or even trillions, of dollars in compensation to third world countries, even if those nations simply have to print the money. Fund observes:
One reason the rhetoric has become so overheated is that the climate-change activists increasingly lack a scientific basis for their most exaggerated claims. As physicist Gordon Fulks of the Cascade Policy Institute puts it: “CO2 is said to be responsible for global warming that is not occurring, for accelerated sea-level rise that is not occurring, for net glacial and sea-ice melt that is not occurring . . . and for increasing extreme weather that is not occurring.” He points out that there has been no net new global-warming increase since 1997 even though the human contribution to carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has risen by 25 percent since then. This throws into doubt all the climate models that have been predicting massive climate dislocation.
Fund notes that Steven Koonin, the undersecretary for science in the Energy Department during President Obama’s first term, wrote in an op-ed this weekend that because of the differences between the predictions of the climate models and observable results, there is no consensus at any meaningful level. Roy Spencer, a former senior scientist for climate studies at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center, thinks that scientific opinion has reached a tipping point--and its tipping against those who believe in man-made global warming.

Fund concludes:
Maybe that’s why the climate-change extremists are basing fewer of their appeals on fact and more on hysteria. You scream the loudest when the opposition is about to tip over on you and pin you down.
 Update (9/22/2014): If you doubt that global warming fanatics have become unhinged, then you should read this article memorializing Robert F. Kennedy Jr.'s comments that those that question man-made global warming should be jailed, and that the Koch brothers are traitors that should be treated like war criminals.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

The Growing Interest in European Martial Arts and Weapons

The New York Times reports on the increasing popularity of fencing with the long sword. This has been a long time in the making. Reenactors, role-players, etc., have all had their hand in giving birth to a real interest in trying to figure out what life in Medieval and Renaissance periods were like--including figuring out how the weapons were actually used.

If this interests you, here are a couple of extra resources: John Clements has written books on both Medieval Swordsmanship and Renaissance Swordsmanship as well as other books and articles. The NY Times article also mentions a website, Wiktenauer. I've done some modern fencing, but not the older stuff. It looks fun.

Hillary Clinton's Ties with Saul Alinsky

Previously unpublished correspondence between Hillary Clinton and the late left-wing organizer Saul Alinsky reveal new details about her relationship with the controversial Chicago activist and shed light on her early ideological development. 
Clinton met with Alinsky several times in 1968 while writing a Wellesley college thesis about his theory of community organizing. 
Clinton’s relationship with Alinsky, and her support for his philosophy, continued for several years after she entered Yale law school in 1969, two letters obtained by the Washington Free Beacon show. 
The letters obtained by the Free Beacon are part of the archives for the Industrial Areas Foundation, a training center for community organizers founded by Alinsky, which are housed at the University of Texas at Austin. 
The letters also suggest that Alinsky, who died in 1972, had a deeper influence on Clinton’s early political views than previously known.
 She was particularly anxious to read his Rules for Radicals when it was published.

Friday, September 19, 2014

The Sinaloa Cartel And Chicago

The Week has an article discussing how the Sinaloa Cartel become the most powerful of the Mexican cartels. (Of course, it probably didn't hurt the cartel to have U.S. government help). Of particular note is the importance of Chicago to the cartel's U.S. operations. Why? According to the article at The Week:
It's the transportation hub of America. The city is located within a day's drive of 70 percent of the nation's population, and is crisscrossed by major interstate highways and railway lines. Chicago is also a huge drug market in its own right. Some 86 percent of people arrested in Cook County in 2012 tested positive for at least one illegal narcotic — the highest percentage of any big U.S. city. With his monopoly in the city, Guzmán doubled wholesale heroin prices, thus cutting profit margins for street dealers. That fueled greater competition for turf and exacerbated Chicago's epidemic of gang violence. "It used to be honor among thieves," said Harold Ward, a former gang member turned anti-violence campaigner. "Now, it's by any means necessary."
Chicago Magazine elaborates:

It might seem odd that a city some 1,500 miles north of the Mexican border has become the nation’s narcotics center. But there are four main reasons: transportation, ethnic makeup, size, and gang culture.
Chicago is the transportation hub of America, a fact not lost on the Mexican cartels (just as it wasn’t on Capone and his fellow bootleggers almost a century ago). It’s ideally located within a day’s drive of 70 percent of the nation’s population. Six interstate highways crisscross the region, connecting east and west. Only two states (Texas and California) have more interstate highway miles than Illinois.
As for rail transport, Chicago welcomes six of the seven major railroads and accounts for a quarter of the country’s rail traffic. Water? The Port of Chicago is one of the nation’s largest inland cargo ports, and the city is the world’s third-largest handler of shipping containers (after Singapore and Hong Kong). And let’s not forget about Midway and O’Hare: More than 86 million passengers and 1.5 million tons of cargo passed through these airports combined in 2011, the latest year for which data are available.
Second, the Chicago metro area has a large Hispanic immigrant population, making it easy for Mexican cartel operatives to blend in. (Only Los Angeles, San Antonio, and Houston have more residents of Mexican descent, according to the 2010 census.)
Because many of these immigrants—especially those who are here illegally—are poor or underemployed, the area provides a fertile recruiting ground for cartel operatives.
According to a Cook County law enforcement officer familiar with the local drug trade, the Pilsen and Little Village neighborhoods, which are more than 80 percent Hispanic, are el eje (the axis) of drug distribution in the city. They’re conveniently located near the Stevenson, Dan Ryan, and Eisenhower Expressways, Metra’s Burlington Northern Santa Fe line, and a major industrial corridor off Blue Island Avenue. (With 1.3 billion square feet of warehouse property, Chicago has one of the largest concentrations of industrial space in the nation, offering plenty of room for cartels to hide contraband.)
Third, the city is a huge market in its own right. Chicagoans’ taste for drugs is as big as—if not bigger than—that of most other Americans. For example, according to a report by the Office of National Drug Control Policy, 86 percent of people arrested in Cook County in 2012 tested positive for at least one illegal narcotic—the highest percentage of any big city. Twenty-two percent tested positive for more than one.
While the amount of cocaine seized annually by law enforcement officials in the Chicago area has been declining in recent years, the amount of heroin has skyrocketed, rising sixfold from 2002 to 2012. Chicago’s rate of heroin-related emergency room admissions is three times the national rate.
Methamphetamine sales are way up, too. As U.S. authorities have cracked down on home-produced meth, the cartels have been breaking badder: inundating Chicago and other U.S. cities with extremely pure, relatively cheap meth straight from “superlabs” in Mexico. In 2002, law enforcement officials in Chicago seized 3.5 kilograms (8 pounds) of meth; in 2012 they seized more than 70 kilos (155 pounds).
Finally, Chicago’s deeply entrenched street gangs offer a ready-made retail network. Law enforcement officials estimate the number of street gangs in the city at more than 70 and the number of members at between 70,000 and 125,000. The DEA’s Jack Riley likens them to “100,000 Amway salesmen” for cartel-supplied drugs.
“It’s easy for the cartel to get the drugs to Chicago and then have people put them on the street,” explains Christina Egan, the former deputy chief of the narcotics and gangs unit for the U.S. attorney’s office in Chicago. “There’s a huge demand, and with the gangs in Chicago, it’s easy to service that demand.”
 It also fuels crime in the Windy City. A December 2013 Bloomberg article notes:
This steady flow of dangerous substances is sparking pitched and often deadly turf wars between Chicago’s splintered, largely African-American and Latino gangs.
“Most of Chicago’s violent crime comes from gangs trying to maintain control of drug-selling territories,” Riley says. “Guzman supplies a majority of the narcotics that fuel this violence.”
... With Guzman gaining near-monopoly control, [the gangs] can’t negotiate prices: He personally dictates how much distributors pay his operatives, court documents allege. In the past decade, wholesale heroin prices have doubled in Chicago to the current cost of $80,000 a kilogram, says Nick Roti, head of anti-gang enforcement for the city’s police. For street sellers to keep profits flowing, they must seize ground in sometimes lethal block-by-block combat.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Scotland Referendum Results

The Daily Mail is posting up to date results from the voting.

Scotland Is A Sign of Things to Come

Niel Erwin writes that the New York Times:
When you get past the details of the Scottish independence referendum Thursday, there is a broader story underway, one that is also playing out in other advanced nations. 
It is a crisis of the elites. Scotland’s push for independence is driven by a conviction — one not ungrounded in reality — that the British ruling class has blundered through the last couple of decades. The same discontent applies to varying degrees in the United States and, especially, the eurozone. It is, in many ways, a defining feature of our time. 
The rise of Catalan would-be secessionists in Spain, the rise of parties of the far right in European countries as diverse as Greece and Sweden, and the Tea Party in the United States are all rooted in a sense that, having been granted vast control over the levers of power, the political elite across the advanced world have made a mess of things.
In the United States, trust in the federal government--particularly the legislative and executive branches--have fallen dramatically over the last several years. A recent Gallop poll showed that only 28% trust Congress, and 43 % trust the Executive Branch.  That is not the whole story, however. While distrust of Congress is fairly equal among all parties, trust in the Executive Branch is a different story. While 83% of Democrats trust the Executive Branch, only 37% of independents, and only a meager 13% do so.

What the secessionist movements seem to show is that people are less willing to attempt to work through the system to correct problems. However, these are political movements which take organization and money--organization and money that generally means big donors somewhere in the background. Thus, the question we should be asking is whether these movements reflect popular discontent, or that some of the elites no longer want to use the current systems of government?

Wednesday, September 17, 2014


The Democrats data base of voters.

A Nice Definition of Global Warming

Roger L. Simon writes:
Climate armageddon is a messianic cult based almost entirely on religion and faith and very little on science.  And, ... it’s still thriving, somewhat, despite the many blows that it has taken lately — no warming in the last fifteen years, antarctic ice cap bigger than ever, more polar bears than ever, all kinds of leaks of fraudulent figures and fudged graphs, etc., etc.   The list, available at by scrolling backwards, is almost comical in its extent.   It’s amusing to read the myriad theories for why the ice cap is bigger, motivated, for the most part, by panic on the part of the scientists involved that they might have their stipends cut.
 However, Simon maintains that it is not just the money, but narcissism that motivates AGW fanatics. He continues:
But the whole climate thing is much more than a mere scam, gigantic as it is. It is the purest example of the use of moral narcissism by and against liberals and progressives. It is the perfect exploitation of the human need to feel good about ourselves.  More opine about matters scientific in our culture than in all of history, probably, while knowing less – and that’s not just because Al Gore got D in geology or because the whole idea of “settled science” is an oxymoron.  ”Climate Change” is liberalism’s paradigm self-deception.  If you believe that, you can believe anything. It’s is so, if you want it to be so.
Well, for the ignorant believers. But for the leaders, it is all about the money and power.  The likes of Naomi Klein are even calling for "reparations" to be made to developing countries. For what, I don't know. But you can guess that it any such funds will need to pass through a great number of liberal foundations--each taking their cut--before finally reaching the pockets of third world dictators and their cronies. It reminds me of a little skit an old friend used to do:
(Mock old-time preacher voice) 
What is love? Is it your little puppy dog? No! Love is money. So if you love God, send him your money. But don't send your check to God, He can't cash 'em! Send them to me, and I'll cash 'em for Him.
Only now, it is Al Gore asking you to save the planet by writing out your check to him (and if you don't do it willingly, the government will force you to do so).

Michael Loftus on the lies behind the global warming scare industry

Happy Constitution Day!

It is Constitution Day. A couple interesting articles (here and here) for your reading pleasure. I celebrated by attending a luncheon where the keynote address was by an early civil rights activist who related his experiences of growing up in the "Jim Crow" south, and participating in protests in Baltimore, and other activities, to erase segregation.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Barbarians at the Gate and the Department Store

Daniel Greenfield explains:
Outside of a few urban centers in the Middle East where the elites start the revolutions that end up stringing them from the gallows, life is cheap and worthless. Men kill their wives and daughters over petty suspicions. Clans murder each other in vicious brawls. Wedding celebrations begin with firing guns into the air and end with bodies on the ground. 
Everything is worth more than people. A camel has value. A pickup truck has value. A smartphone has value. All these things are hard to make. 
People are easy to make. 
... Killing is the easiest solution to most problems. Men kill over honor. Women kill themselves out of desperation. Children grow up torturing animals. 
Clerics settle religious questions with murder. It's just easier that way. 
... There's no morality out here. The men are careful not to look at a donkey or a woman while praying to Allah. But they have no sense of ethics. They will casually kill, steal, rape, break oaths and a commit a hundred other crimes before breakfast. 
... It's best to understand that we are not dealing with a moral code that looks anything like our own. The nastier qualities of human nature, deceit, violence and greed, are practically virtues. Especially if they are directed at the right targets. 
There's a reason that Islam was born here. There's a reason that it still thrives here largely in its unaltered form. There is no civilization where the black flags fly.
Here, and in other first world countries, the same phenomena can be found in certain communities. Fred Reed, writing about what cops learn on the job, notes:
You will  learn things that you don’t want to learn. You learn that “immersion cuffs” are the sharp pink demarcations that occur when a ghetto mother, tired of her three-year-old’s crying, shoves her wrists into a pan of boiling water. Your colleagues will tell you of the young child found dead in a dumpster, thirty pounds underweight for her age, after her parents kept her bound and gagged in a closet, barely feeding her until she starved. 
... And you will find that the perps are almost always black. If you are a good liberal, you won’t like this, but after three months on the street you will not have the faintest doubt. If you are a suburban conservative out of Reader’s Digest, you will be surprised at the starkness of the racial delineation. 
All cops know this. They know better than to say it. This can be tricky for black cops, especially if former military who believe in law and order.
The Lonely Libertarian makes a similar point discussing the lack of gratitude from the indigent. In this case, vouchers for school supplies had been distributed to needy families:
Now, I'm extremely charitable, I'll give the shirt off my back and the last buck in my pocket to someone who really needs it. And I don't expect drippy gratitude, a "Hey, thanks!" is good enough. But when I give someone something, the last thing I expect is hostility. And that's just a small fraction of what I witnessed at Walmart this morning. 
First, I've never seen anything like this in my life. You know how they have the school supplies all together in 4 or 5 very organized aisles? You couldn't get down them. They were packed with carts pushed by adult women tapping away on iPhones with ghetto nails while their unsupervised young'uns battled it out over the supplies. Grabbing, shoving, pushing, rude, snotty little turds. It looked like a plague of locusts had descended on those aisles and nothing was left but some broken boxes of Crayons and scattered sheets of notebook paper. I'd been there about 5 minutes when three Walmart workers finally showed up to stop the three kids who were opening packages of notebook paper and throwing them at each other. ...
Moving away from that section towards the food half of the store, I went by the registers. First, I've NEVER seen more than 5 registers open at a time. There were 9 lanes open and devoted to vouchers, 9 to 10 carts deep. And I'm telling you, these carts were overflowing with shit. There were two normal lanes open for non-voucher shoppers and of course the self-checkout lanes. ...
I got in one of the two regular lanes, about 5 or 6 back, and started observing the circus. And that's all I could think, "Not my monkeys, not my circus." Let's go back to the beginning of this post, remember the list of items? $10 backpack and $5 lunchbox? These people were trying to ram through $25-35 backpacks and $10-15 Igloo lunch boxes, tennis shoes, pushup bras and thongs, meat items, and one very belligerent woman had 4 12-packs of Bud Light. "Ma'am, only school items on the list." "But my chirrins need them for they lunches." "What?!" "My chirrins, they be needing them for they lunches! Bitch didn't you hear me?" "Ma'am, beer is not allowed in schools..." "Not these chirrin, my older chirrin! They needs these for they lunches!" "Manager to Register 3..." The Hispanic mamas didn't speak English and were relying on kids to translate. Try telling an 8-year-old they can't have the $12 Frozen lunch box because it isn't on the list. 
Then the whole RoseArt versus Crayola battle. The kids at the Salvation Army fair got RoseArt, almost half the cost of Crayola, and that's what the vouchers covered. But the RoseArt supplies were hardly touched and the Crayola was wiped out. At the registers, the fights started over, "My kids don't want none of that RoseArt shit, are you saying they ain't good enough for the good stuff? Only white kids get the good stuff?" 
I was in line for 45 minutes. I got to see and hear more than I ever wanted. The "shoppers" were rude, angry, smug, and beyond ungracious. They attacked the cashiers, the managers, the poor old guy greeting at the door, and any shopper who didn't look like them. My fellow non-voucher shoppers were looking grimmer, angrier, and a little sick. I watched one brave/stupid older woman approach a very large woman with six kids hanging off her cart ($420+ of free stuff), and tell her "I know gratitude is beyond you, the least you could do is be polite." The oldest of the boys, about 12ish, menaced her, got in her face and said, "Fuck you, bitch! You owe us!", while momma smirked in approval. 

World Leaders Staying Away from Global Climate Summit

Only so much time to spend on tomfoolery.

The Great Unraveling and the Collapse of Complex Societies

Roger Cohen's op-ed at the New York Times, entitled "The Great Unraveling," seems to have garnered a lot of attention. The piece is essentially a "worst of times" litany of major problems and issues, with an overtone of ennui, with Cohen concluding:
It was a time of disorientation. Nobody connected the dots or read Kipling on life’s few certainties: “The Dog returns to his Vomit and the Sow returns to her Mire / And the burnt Fool’s bandaged finger goes wabbling back to the Fire.” 
Until it was too late and people could see the Great Unraveling for what it was and what it had wrought.
 It was nice of Cohen to quote from Kipling's "The Gods of the Copybook Headings," but Cohen either overestimates the ability of his audience (i.e., readers of the New York Times) to draw the correct inference, or is afraid to do so himself. And that is that the woes described by Cohen are the products of the progressive/socialist policies that have ruled the West for the past 100+ years.

Cohen cannot plead ignorance by the very fact he quoted Kipling, who addresses three of the major cornerstones of progressive thought in his poem:
When the Cambrian measures were forming, They promised perpetual peace.
They swore, if we gave them our weapons, that the wars of the tribes would cease.
But when we disarmed They sold us and delivered us bound to our foe,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: "Stick to the Devil you know." 
On the first Feminian Sandstones we were promised the Fuller Life
(Which started by loving our neighbour and ended by loving his wife)
Till our women had no more children and the men lost reason and faith,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: "The Wages of Sin is Death." 
In the Carboniferous Epoch we were promised abundance for all,
By robbing selected Peter to pay for collective Paul;
But, though we had plenty of money, there was nothing our money could buy,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: "If you don't work you die." 
However, my intended object was not to critique Cohen, but to focus on one part of his list of woes--the potential that Scotland might split from England. Cohen writes:
It was a time of breakup. The most successful union in history, forged on an island in the North Sea in 1707, headed toward possible dissolution — not because it had failed (refugees from across the seas still clamored to get into it), nor even because of new hatreds between its peoples. The northernmost citizens were bored. They were disgruntled. They were irked, in some insidious way, by the south and its moneyed capital, an emblem to them of globalization and inequality. They imagined they had to control their National Health Service in order to save it even though they already controlled it through devolution and might well have less money for its preservation (not that it was threatened in the first place) as an independent state. The fact that the currency, the debt, the revenue, the defense, the solvency and the European Union membership of such a newborn state were all in doubt did not appear to weigh much on a decision driven by emotion, by urges, by a longing to be heard in the modern cacophony — and to heck with the day after. If all else failed, oil would come to the rescue (unless somebody else owned it or it just ran out).
The most recent polls indicate that the question of  whether to secede is too close to call. However, in an effort to win over undecided voters to the "no" side, there has been a steady outpouring of how good Scotland has it now, and how Scotland stands to lose economically if it secedes. For instance, even though Scotland has a healthy GDP:
Yet, 'No' campaigners are adamant that Scotland, a nation of just five million people, is economically ill-equipped to deal with life on its own. At the crux of the argument is the fact that its exports sector is so weighted towards international communities which, post 18 September, Scotland may no longer be part of. 
Of course, a 'Yes' vote will lead to secession from the UK, but there are also no guarantees that a future Scotland will be an automatic member of the European Union. Therefore, whether or not Scottish independence will have a negative drag on its exports to the remainder of the UK and the EU has been a political hot potato.
Scotland's energy future is apparently uncertain as well:
 EDF Energy has warned that Scottish independence would herald massive uncertainty for the energy sector, accusing Alex Salmond of failing to answer a series of fundamental questions over issues such as nuclear waste. 
In a memo to the energy giant's 15,000 staff - 1,200 of whom are based in Scotland - Vincent de Rivaz said those voting on Thursday's referendum had "enormous responsibility" and warned the outcome "will affect EDF Energy and its employees". 
Mr de Rivaz said it was not his place "to tell voters how they should vote" but said he had a responsibility to "defend the interests of our company" and made clear that these interests would be at risk from a "yes" vote.
 Gordon Brown warns:
The SNP are "perpetrating a lie" about protecting the NHS with Scottish independence because Holyrood already has the power it needs to do so, former prime minister Gordon Brown has said. 
Mr Brown said the nationalists should make way for a Labour government in Scotland if they continue to insist they are "powerless" to protect the NHS without a Yes vote in the independence referendum. 
He also said voting Yes would mean throwing Scotland into the "chaos of a separate state". 
The SNP has argued that the health service north of the border is at risk due to health policies at Westminster, despite the area being devolved to the Scottish Parliament.
 Of course, it is not all sticks--there are some carrots being offered as well. Some prominent political leaders have promised to devolve more powers to Scotland if voters favor remaining as part of the UK.

My interest in the issue of Scottish independence is the application of Tainter's theory on the collapse of complex societies. Cohen essentially argues that Scotland needs England's paternal care, and derives more from the relationship with England than vice versa. However, under Tainter's theory, the issue is not whether there are benefits from the relationship, but whether there is a reasonable marginal return. If there isn't, then Tainter's theory predicts that regions on the margin of the society will seek to reduce complexity by seeking to autonomy or independence.

The very items highlighted by Cohen and others actually tends to support Tainter's ideas. The EU and the National Health Services are perfect examples of needless administrative overhead that reduce the marginal return on investment. So what if Scotland has local control over its health system if it burdened by the additional administrative levels in England? The complexity of remaining part of the UK is the overriding issue here, not whether Scotland benefits from remaining part of the UK. I doubt it is boredom driving the vote in Scotland as much as the compounded frustrations of living in a bureaucratic hell. In any event, whether there is a "yes" or "no" vote, Scotland will have greater autonomy, just as Tainter's theory predicts.

I can't leave this topic, though, without discussing some of Spengler's ideas. Per Spengler, we live in the late autumn or winter of our society. The vital culture is dead, replaced by a technically proficient, but otherwise sterile society based around the metropolis. The greatest of this cities--the world cities--have not only forgone the native culture but, as Spengler theory states, have lost even their national identities, with little or no interest in the rural population. Spengler would undoubtedly label London as a world-city. Thus, the question is, do the UK's elites represent a nation, or their nationless world-city? I think the events unfolding around the Rotherham scandal clearly show that the UK's elites have no concern in defending or protecting the UK as a nation. They, in their minds, have moved past that. It is further illustrated by the arguments as to why Scotland should stay part of the UK. For the most part, the arguments are not about the greatness of a United Kingdom, but the advantages afforded by belonging to the European Union and larger world community. "You will lose your trade and hurt your currency," is the battle cry against dissolution. That is the argument of an international financial elite, not the nation that stood against the Nazis.

Monday, September 15, 2014

2/3 of Current IT Jobs Go to Foreign Workers...

... and this would likely climb to nearly 100% if immigration reform were to pass, according to this article from U.S. News. It also notes that U.S. colleges and universities produce almost twice as many STEM graduates as can find jobs.

Police Threaten To Use Force Against Protestors

Breitbart reports:
Authorities prepare to use “whatever force is necessary” to defend international bridges between Texas and Mexico from U.S. based militia groups. The preparations by Texas law enforcement agencies are in response to recently discovered plans by militia groups to attempt closing several international bridges. The militia groups' plans are intended to be protests against the federal government's failure to secure the border between the U.S. and Mexico. The plans call for militia groups to begin blocking traffic on an undisclosed number of international bridges in the Rio Grande Valley on Sept. 20th, 2014. 
“We will not allow these groups to disrupt the economic commerce of our region and we are prepared to use force to keep the bridges open,” said one law enforcement officer who spoke with Breitbart Texas on the condition of anonymity. The officer explained that the bridges are not symbols of illegal immigration, but rather, they are vital parts of the local economy. “We cannot allow them to be shut down by lawless behavior from people who claim to be promoting the rule of law.”
They would undoubtedly make an exception of the protesters were in favor of amnesty.

Global Warming is All About the Money

The New York Post notes that the evidence of global warming is slimmer than ever.
Oregon-based physicist Gordon Fulks sums it up well: “CO2 is said to be responsible for global warming that is not occurring, for accelerated sea-level rise that is not occurring, for net glacial and sea ice melt that is not occurring . . . and for increasing extreme weather that is not occurring.”  
  •  According to NASA satellites and all ground-based temperature measurements, global warming ceased in the late 1990s. This when CO2 levels have risen almost 10 percent since 1997. The post-1997 CO2 emissions represent an astonishing 30 percent of all human-related emissions since the Industrial Revolution began. That we’ve seen no warming contradicts all CO2-based climate models upon which global-warming concerns are founded.
  • Rates of sea-level rise remain small and are even slowing, over recent decades averaging about 1 millimeter per year as measured by tide gauges and 2 to 3 mm/year as inferred from “adjusted” satellite data. Again, this is far less than what the alarmists suggested.
  •  Satellites also show that a greater area of Antarctic sea ice exists now than any time since space-based measurements began in 1979. In other words, the ice caps aren’t melting.
  •  A 2012 IPCC report concluded that there has been no significant increase in either the frequency or intensity of extreme weather events in the modern era. The NIPCC 2013 report concluded the same. Yes, Hurricane Sandy was devastating — but it’s not part of any new trend.
The climate scare, Fulks sighs, has “become a sort of societal pathogen that virulently spreads misinformation in tiny packages like a virus.”
 But climate change supporters are not interested in the truth, or helping the planet. They want to be on the gravy train, and for good reason. According to the article:
The costs of feeding the climate-change “monster” are staggering. According to the Congressional Research Service, from 2001 to 2014 the US government spent $131 billion on projects meant to combat human-caused climate change, plus $176 billion for breaks for anti-CO2 energy initiatives. 
Federal anti-climate-change spending is now running at $11 billion a year, plus tax breaks of $20 billion a year. That adds up to more than double the $14.4 billion worth of wheat produced in the United States in 2013. 
Dr. Bjørn Lomborg, director of the Copenhagen Consensus Center, calculates that the European Union’s goal of a 20 percent reduction in CO2 emissions below 1990 levels by 2020, currently the most severe target in the world, will cost almost $100 billion a year by 2020, or more than $7 trillion over the course of this century.

Antarctic Sea Ice Increasing

Despite the recent warnings that Antarctic sea ice was melting, sea ice cover in the Antarctic is at the highest levels ever recorded. Of course, just as the apparently non-existent melting was the result of gremlins global warming, so to is the increase of ice evidence of global warming according to scientists whose income depends on continued funding of global warming research.

The Fundamental Flaw in Obama's ISIS "Strategy"

We know that Obama is a pathological liar, and his Administration is corrupt. But his "strategy" (if it can be called that) against ISIS is fundamentally flawed because he cannot bring himself to describe the nature of our enemy. This is well illustrated in this Politico article on the Administration's efforts to step up monitoring of recruitment of potential terrorists in the U.S.:
Holder's statement Monday seemed to acknowledge some of those concerns [of Islamic groups]. While the outreach efforts are expected to focus primarily on communities with large Muslim populations, his video message made no reference to the religion aside from his use of the acronym for the terrorist group which has grabbed attention for its brutal tactics assembling territory across Syria and Iraq. 
"As we move forward together, our work must continue to be guided by the core democratic values – and the ideals of freedom, openness, and inclusion – that have always set this nation apart on the world stage," Holder said. "We must be both innovative and aggressive in countering violent extremism and combating those who would sow intolerance, division, and hate – not just within our borders, but with our international partners on a global scale.  And we must never lose sight of what violent extremists fear the most: the strength of our communities; our unwavering respect for equality, civil rights, and civil liberties; and our enduring commitment to justice, democracy, and the rule of law."
(Underline added). "Violent extremists" could be anything (and I have to wonder if this new program will be yet another program aimed at the Administration's political enemies). Imagine, if you will, how our fight in WWII would have gone if Roosevelt had been unwilling to call Japan or Germany our enemies.

This myopia shows up in the media. For instance, this simplistic article from The Christian Science Monitor on why Muslim states are reluctant to help the United States overlooks several basic points, including that these countries know that this is ultimately a war against Islam. The beheadings, rapes, crucifixions, etc., are not an aberration, but fundamental to conservative Islam.

If we cannot even articulate what we are fighting against, we will not be successful.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Yet Another "Moderate" Syrian Group Allies With ISIS

Patrick Poole notes: "Obama’s hope to do anything of substance in Syria took another severe blow yesterday as the U.S.-backed and armed Syrian Revolutionaries Front (SRF) struck a peace deal with ISIS, according to both Arabic and English language news reports."

Big Brother is Watching

Buried in a story about a child-pornography case being thrown out because of a violation of the Posse Comitatus Act, is this:
But Agent Logan’s search was not reasonably focused on carrying out such a legitimate military investigation. NCIS is authorized to investigate criminal operations that “significantly affect the naval establishment.” Agent Logan understood that he did not have the authority to search any location, but had to limit his searches to areas where there was “a Department of Navy interest.” Yet, Agent Logan’s search did not meet the required limitation. He surveyed the entire state of Washington for computers sharing child pornography. His initial search was not limited to United States military or government computers, and, as the government acknowledged, Agent Logan had no idea whether the computers searched belonged to someone with any “affiliation with the military at all.” Instead, it was his “standard practice to monitor all computers in a geographic area,” here, every computer in the state of Washington….
(emphasis in original).

(H/t Instapundit)

Why Only Cops Should Have Guns--Drunken Narcotics Agent

Cops swatted a .40-caliber Glock out of a drunken state narcotics agent’s hand Friday night after he shot two drinking buddies on the Upper West Side, authorities and witnesses said. 
... The three pals had been drinking together and were walking on Amsterdam Ave. near W. 82nd St. when the woman asked the New York State Bureau of Narcotics enforcement agent for his pistol, a police source said. 
Zambrano handed it over, but quickly demanded it back, cop sources said. As the argument became increasingly heated, the agent fired a round. The bullet ricocheted off the concrete and hit both the woman and her boyfriend. 
... The boyfriend chased after him, and Zambrano allegedly turned to shoot but misfired — causing a live round to fall to the ground as he ran toward W. 83rd St., stunned witnesses aid. 
... Plainclothes cops surrounded Zambrano outside Bustan on Amsterdam Ave. near W. 84th St., but the suspect wouldn’t give up his gun, which he now was holding under a Yankees jacket. 
After a few tense moments, a cop knocked the gun out of Zambrano's hand and tackled him, witnesses said.
I wonder if they would have been so restrained in their use of force if it hadn't been a fellow cop? Actually, I don't.

(H/t Weasel Zippers)

Saturday, September 13, 2014

"President Coward"

Another great video from Bill Whittle:

(Link here).

"Crony Capitalism Has Deep Roots"

An article by Jay Cost at the Weekly Standard describing the Republican party's role in creating the current system of crony capitalism:
The modern Republican party is a marriage of convenience. The ideological similitude between its constituent groups is stronger than among the strange bedfellows of the Democratic party. But still, there is a tension. Grassroots conservatives support business because they believe that free enterprise is the best way to establish broad-based prosperity and individual liberty. Blaine-style Republicans support business—full stop. 
And this is why you see Republicans in Congress so often doing things that Republicans in the heartland oppose. Immigration reform—with its massive amnesty as well as a huge increase in the number of legal immigrants—is good for business owners but bad for lower income workers struggling to rise to the middle class. Grassroots conservatives and their allies in Congress opposed it. But Republican politicians more in the Blaine mold were amenable to it. 
Ditto Ex-Im [Export-Import Bank]. It is one more instance of the divide between conservatives and the Blaine faction. And the news last week shows you who is still in charge. 
 What is so troubling is that Blaine-style Republicanism has precious few followers, and virtually none outside the Beltway. It sustains itself primarily via a logroll between connected industry groups who buy their way into the process. Again, the farm bill is illustrative. House Republicans—at the height of their reformist zeal—basically killed farm subsidies in 1996. But they slowly brought them back. Was there a compelling reason for this? Of course not. It was the subtle operation of scores of interest groups over time that pushed the congressional GOP into buckling, which it did most recently in the winter with a massive new payoff. 
... Currying favor with special interests at the expense of the public good is a way for politicians to fund their campaigns and secure their future for when they leave government. It has been firmly enshrined as the primary source of money for politics since the Sherman Act did away with patronage. So long as politicians are able to tap special interests for these purposes, they will find ways to reward them with public policy—and they will do whatever it takes to protect the programs they have already put in place. What reformers really need to do first is attack the way the business of politics is conducted, rather than focusing on the products of that business. Then, and only then, will the cancer of cronyism be removed from the body politic.

Friday, September 12, 2014

This Week's Duncecap Award ...

File:Dunce cap from LOC 3c04163u.png

... goes to Indiana University Southeast Chancellor Ray Wallace and an unnamed student. According to a news report:
 Indiana University Southeast was on a brief lockdown Thursday after a student reported seeing a man walking on campus with a backpack that had a weapon sticking out of it, but police later determined it was an umbrella. 

... Although the student who called police mistook an umbrella sticking out of a camouflage backpack for a rifle, IUS Chancellor Ray Wallace says he can understand why. 
"When I saw the backpack in question, the student said he had seen a backpack and it looked like a rifle was sticking out of the backpack, camouflage backpack," Wallace said. "When I saw it when police brought it in ... it really did look quite like a rifle butt." 

File:PEO M4 Carbine RAS.jpg
(M4 Carbine)

(Springfield M1903 Rifle)

No, I'm not seeing the resemblance between the umbrella and a rifle butt either. The student should probably be charged with filing a false police report.