Sunday, November 17, 2013

Protection racket

I don't remember where I found the link to the ThinkProgress post entitled Republicans Reject Obamacare ‘Fix’ Because It Includes Too Many Consumer Protections, and I am certainly not going to risk sending them any traffic by providing it here. Still, the hypocrisy should be noted for its humor. The post castigates House Republicans for rejecting a Democrat bill that allowed insurance companies to provide consumers with the plans Obama promised them they could keep.

The Democrat version differed from the bill the Republicans (along with 39 Democrats) did pass in that the Democrat version:

1- Did not allow new policyholders to buy the plans
2- Mandated that insurers notify policyholders of exchange options
3- Mandated that existing rate review processes apply to renewed plans

In other words, it put further burdens on insurance companies - making it unlikely they could even offer the plans in the new few weeks. Both "fixes" allow the plans to be sold and, therefore, equally violate consumer protection by offering the plans the Democrats call "substandard" "junk."

There is a more humorous aspect, however. The consumer protection laws ThinkProgress finds so important absolutely prohibit false advertising and fraud. Those are crimes the President committed when he repeatedly lied about Obamacare. What consumers need is protection from the President.

Friday, November 15, 2013

The Progressive poisoning of liberty

"The internal effects of a mutable policy are still more calamitous. It poisons the blessing of liberty itself. It will be of little avail to the people, that the laws are made by men of their own choice, if the laws be so voluminous that they cannot be read, or so incoherent that they cannot be understood; if they be repealed or revised before they are promulgated, or undergo such incessant changes that no man, who knows what the law is to-day, can guess what it will be to-morrow. Law is defined to be a rule of action; but how can that be a rule, which is little known, and less fixed?"
-James Madison The Federalist No. 62

Progressives, of course, reject this. They regard the Constitution as a "living document," whose legal constraints on government may be dispensed with in the fashion of Barack Obama suspending politically inexpedient parts of Obamacare. Progressives may prattle about "the law of the land," but they desire a nation ruled by men, not by law.

Of course, it has to be the right men. A primary tenet of centrally planned economies is that having the "right people" in charge - the best and brightest, the brain-trust, the dollar-a-year men, the "czars" - improves everyone's lives. The right men can direct the economy from their offices in Washington. They know if a sparrow falls, and why. If there is failure, the utopian visions are never at fault: It was the wrong men. The argument is still heard, for example, that Stalin and Mao failed because they were the "wrong" people: Communism would work with the right men in charge. Still, Progressives never come to wonder why the wrong people are always the ones who lead in Communist countries.

So, if the democratically elected head of the richest nation on earth, the brilliant and charismatic Barack Obama, isn't the "right person" to usher in a statist utopia, who ever could be?

Thursday, November 14, 2013

The "law of the land" is whatever Obama says it is

president Obama today issued an imperial edict administrative order not to enforce some parts of Obamacare that have recently embarrassed him and his party. When the Congressional Republicans suggested doing this by actually passing legislation, the Democrats said Republicans were a bunch of "hostage takers," "extortionists" and "political terrorists" who wanted to suspend "the law of the land." As if anyone can tell what that is any longer.

The president has routinely abrogated the law: He suspended Obamacare's employer mandate, refused to enforce the defense of marriage act, arbitrarily cancelled contracts held by auto-company bondholders, ordered American citizens killed without due process, conducted war in Libya without even Congressional input and instructed his minions to cease enforcing immigration laws. When this president unconstitutionally seizes the power of the legislature, Democrats don't see any hostages, extortion, or terrorism.

The president's latest arbitrary whim is bad news for insurance companies. Because insurers do not have time to arrange to violate the law he has just waived, the president undoubtedly will blame them for having complied with it.

Update, 5:20PM:

Two Democrat insurance commissioners reject Obama's Obamacare fix:

State [Washington] rebuts Obama plan to allow old health insurance policies

Oregon insurance commissioner says state won't delay 2013 health coverage cancellations

They know the Obama decree can't work. In fact, Oregon's state exchange doesn't work at all, and has enrolled zero people thus far. The president's about face would just make it worse. Everybody except our pathologically narcissist president knows it.

His organizing has gone a community too far.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

This is what happens in third world countries, part 2

In Venezuela, the government thinks electronics retailers have been charging too much, so:
[Venezuela's] President Nicolas Maduro ... sent soldiers to "occupy" one chain of electronics stores and inspectors into scores of others to check for price-gouging.

Thousands of Venezuelans have been flocking to electronics stores, hoping to take advantage of new "fair prices" the government is imposing, sometimes half the previous cost.
If you read the linked article, you'll find "flocking to electronics stores" translates into English as "looting."

In first world countries, like the United States, we don't have these problems. Here, we force people to buy things they don't want and can't use, then we redistribute that money to people so they can buy flat screen TVs and iPhones. For example, all males under age 65 are forced to buy insurance coverage for children's dental and vision care.

Our way of looting is much better organized. For example, we have seen neither "flocking" to the government health insurance website to be disadvantaged by "unfair prices" nor looting of Best Buy.

(Part 1 of "what happens in third world countries" is here.)

Monday, November 11, 2013

Liberty is not inevitable. Freedom isn't free.

In some places, a moment of silence is observed at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month because that is when the guns went silent for the armistice that ended World War I. I observe this ritual recognition of the price of peace and freedom. I commend it to you.

This day is Remembrance Day, Armistice Day, Veterans Day. The silence should resound throughout the countries who observe it under those different names.

This pittance of time pays respect to those who gave their lives in our defense. Our remembrance of their gift is not important to them. They don't know they won. Were they with us still, they would minimize their contribution. If they would discuss it at all.

Remembering these heroes' values is vitally important to us, lest we gradually come to think that things had to be the way they are, and not some other way. We could become convinced that our present advantages were owed to us, destined and easy: The "natural order of things."

This is an exceedingly dangerous belief, appropriate to no one: Held only by those who believe the natural order of things guarantees their personal safety and well-being - regardless of their effort, despite their unexamined ideals.

In reality, things are the way they are because some people were - and are - so committed to liberty as to give their own lives in its defense.

They died defending your right to choose to observe a minute of silence.

It is your choice.

Friday, November 08, 2013

Period.

The president apologizes for cancelled insurance policies. Sort of:
"I am sorry that they are finding themselves in this situation based on assurances they got from me."
Sorry, mr. president, people do not find themselves in this situation based on your "assurances." They find themselves there because of your actions and despite your lies. Period.

In a twisted way, though, you have a point: I'll concede that without those lies (and IRS crimes), you might not be President now, but blaming the assurances is just another way of saying, "It's not my fault."

And, by the way, does this mean the "junk insurance policies" from "bad apple" insurers are NOT the problem you said they were last week? If those things are still true this week, why are you sorry? Isn't everyone still better off?

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Maybe you should have read it first

And maybe Americans should have been told what was in it rather than being told we had to pass it to find out.

From Whitehouse.gov
“We got [Obamacare] done. Now, let’s face it, a lot of us didn’t realize that passing the law was the easy part.”
-Barack Obama
Yep, they supposed deconstructing 1/6 of the American economy would be as easy as convincing Nancy Pelosi to say something stupid. Hell, they assumed she needed convincing to say something stupid. I'm pretty sure she volunteered.

Of course passing the law was the easy part. Unfortunately, just waving your hands and saying, "Make it so." doesn't work when your minions have zero experience in actually building anything and are economically ignorant.

So, Barack, You did build that.

Monday, November 04, 2013

"I am not going to have sex with that woman. Period!"

What "Death Panels" means is - The government decides who delivers care, what care is allowed, where it can be delivered and what you pay for it.

There may not yet be official "Death Panels," but the Obama Administration has no moral or philosophical objection. Dan Pfeiffer (@pfeiffer44) Tweeted this:
The Real Reason That The Cancer Patient Writing In Today’s Wall Street Journal Lost Her Insurance thkpr.gs/1hHgZjp via @TPHealth—Dan Pfeiffer (@pfeiffer44) November 04, 2013
Pfeiffer is Assistant to the President of the United States and Senior Advisor to the President for Strategy and Communications. The Tweet was from his official White House account.

Already, Democrats are calling for doctors to be forced to deliver the health care the government permits you to have, at the price the government wants to pay. That was the point all along. First, though, individual access to health insurance would have to be destroyed.

The spin is just making it worse, guys. It's as if Bill Clinton had said, "I'm not going to have sex with that woman. Period!" Then, (after having sex with that woman) he would say "And the sex I did not have was better sex and vastly more affordable sex than Hillary any American has ever delivered experienced!"

Then, the Progressives would chant in unison that fellatio is not having sex, and seek to redefine the meaning of "is."

Oh, wait. That's exactly what they are doing, again, just with different nouns and verbs.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Oxymoron of the day: "Qualified honesty."

MSNBC idiot says:
[T]hey [the Clintons] represent a style of honesty that the public craves right now. And that's reflected in the numbers.
Well, of course! I know I crave a more profound debate.

For example, parsing the meaning of "is," is much deeper than interpreting what is meant by "You can keep your plan." The "style of honesty," though, is the same: It's looking Americans straight in the eye and saying something the speaker knows to be untrue. I'd call that a style of lying.

Public preference for a "style of honesty" (whatever that means) isn't why Clinton is preferable to Obama. For one thing, Clinton's lies didn't involve actually destroying one-sixth of the economy while screwing millions of people: Clinton was content with screwing just a few and lying about it afterwards instead of beforehand.

In any case, the question is substance, not style.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Imagine

You are a CEO from whom a senior manager keeps secret the fact that a very expensive and crucial project is failing miserably, allowing you to talk about how great the results will be right up until it launches.

Do you 1) express confidence in the senior manager, 2) minimize the catastrophe as "glitches" and "kinks," 3) double down on how great the product is in a public speech, 4) blame the competition AND the customers, 5) all of the above?

If you picked number 5, you are the Leader of the "Free" World.

Next, imagine you are a Director on the Board of the company by which the CEO is employed. The CEO explains to the Board that he did not know about any problems until he read about them in the newspaper, and that he's working hard on the issues. He has used this excuse before to explain illegal actions taken by the company involving shipments of firearms, the death of four company employees who were not provided with security guards in a dangerous country and when the accounting department deliberately leaked customers' financial information in order to influence his election as CEO.

Do you, 1) reaffirm your confidence in the CEO, 2) tell him you know technology is hard and ask him to keep the product, such as it is, live, 3) give him more money to work on it, 4) blame the competition AND the customers, 5) all of the above.

If you picked number 5, you're a member of the Main Stream Media and/or a "Progressive."

Peregruzka

It looks like more people are going to lose health care insurance (300,000 in FL and 160,000 in CA so far) than will sign up for Obamacare .

So, where is Hillary's "reset" button (she presented it to Russia’s foreign minister in 2009) when you need it? You'll recall that the State Department mistranslated "reset" into Russian as "overcharge."

Perfect fit for Obamacare.

Friday, September 27, 2013

The settled scientific consensus

Summary of IPCC AR5 Summary: One man's best estimate is that same man's refusal to believe his own data. Emphasis mine:
No best estimate for equilibrium climate sensitivity can now be given because of a lack of agreement on values across assessed lines of evidence and studies. (page 11)
Translation: Our climate models have failed to even approximate the key element for which they were designed.
It is extremely likely that more than half of the observed increase in global average surface temperature from 1951 to 2010 was caused by the anthropogenic increase in greenhouse gas concentrations and other anthropogenic forcings together. The best estimate of the human induced contribution to warming is similar to the observed warming over this period. (page 12)
Translation: In spite of the failure of our models, our best estimate (we're 95% confident) is that humanity is going to fry if we don't spend trillions to stop this horrible catastrophe. Stop Keystone, destroy the coal industry, increase "green" subsidies and fund my study, or we all die.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

This is what happens in third world countries:

Venezuela orders temporary takeover of toilet paper factory

In first world countries, like the United States, we have the common sense to give the toilet paper printing franchise to the Central Bank in the first place.

Venezuela is ahead in one sense, however. They have an official government agency "called Sundecop, which enforces price controls," Sundecop "said in a statement it would occupy one of the factories belonging to paper producer Manpa." In the US we have to depend on hygenically challenged hippies to occupy businesses.

The cost of our independent contractors is lower though.

Friday, September 06, 2013

Don't join in the narcissistic tantrum

Generally, I find I agree with Walter Russell Mead. In this case, I do not. Mr. Mead:
It is precisely the President’s credibility as a spokesman for the “international community” (whatever that is) and for US foreign policy that is glaringly and horribly on the line. An effective leader would have consulted with key people in Congress and made sure of his backing before making explicit threats of force. Now the President is twisting lonesomely in the wind, and the question is whether Congress will ride to the rescue. If it doesn’t, it will be the closest thing the American system has to a parliamentary vote of “no confidence”, where Congress explicitly declares to the world that the President of the United States does not speak for the country.
The clear implication of not issuing a "vote of no confidence" is a vote of confidence. Should Congress have confidence Mr. Obama will not waste a vote of confidence? Mr. Obama's confidence in, and respect for, Congress has been demonstrated by his insistence that the vote is actually unnecessary, and that he feels free to ignore it. Given that, he can fix his own problem. Mr. Mead acknowledges (see below) that President Clinton did just that, but does not explain why president Obama cannot.

Congressional approval of the President's fecklessness will neither improve his credibility nor enhance the reputation of Congress. If Congress is railroaded into supporting the president based on a mistake he refuses to acknowledge, what message does that send?

Bombs falling on Syria will only rescue the president's credibility if they fall to some purpose, some strategic objective. The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff can't name one. Congress should support military intervention that has no strategic point solely because not doing so would embarrass the president? That's the message? How does that not embarrass the United States?

Even if you accept "he's incompetent, but he's OUR incompetent" as the best message we can send under the circumstances, the credibility enhancement will disappear when Obama next goes off teleprompter. What about the next time he fails to make "sure of his backing before making explicit threats of force?" What if he draws a red-line on Russian warships in proximity to Syria?
That would be very dangerous. Foreigners will no longer know when and whether to take anything this President says as representing American policy rather than his own editorial opinions. We hate to say it, but that is so dangerous that there’s a strong argument for Congress to back the Syria resolution simply to avoid trashing the credibility of the only President we’ve got.
This argument is logical only if you assume foreigners now know whether to take anything the president says seriously. Even if you are credulous enough to accept that, it only supports voting for Obama's Syria resolution if giving free rein to his future off the cuff remarks is less dangerous than the alternative.
If Congress declines to support what even proponents of a Syria strike must agree is a massively screwed up policy, then the President will face another choice. He can do a “Clinton” (President Clinton bombed Serbia in the teeth of congressional disapproval), or he can fold like a cheap suit. If he chooses the latter course, Clint Eastwood’s “empty chair” stunt at the 2012 GOP convention will look eerily prophetic.
Because of the president's loose tongue and disregard for the rule of law, the choice is between the Clinton cheap suit and the emperor's lack of clothes. It is not a choice the Congress of United States can fix on behalf of a president who cannot be trusted to execute a coherent policy. Mr. Mead does not explain how a vote to assuage the president's narcissistic panic can restore presidential credibility. He seems to assume that Obama will learn and change. I have little hope.

"Clint Eastwood’s “empty chair” stunt" is now conventional wisdom. Congress can't change that, either.
Foreigners will no longer know when and whether to take anything this President says as representing American policy rather than his own editorial opinions. We hate to say it, but that is so dangerous that there’s a strong argument for Congress to back the Syria resolution simply to avoid trashing the credibility of the only President we’ve got.
Can Barack "I didn't draw a red-line" Obama suddenly become credible because he wins a vote he says he doesn't need and might reject? Is the United States suddenly a credible ally because Congress shows it will support presidential incompetence?

Or is such a vote more likely to reduce our allies confidence and increase the danger of a wider conflagration?

Implausible deniability, or crossing the credibility red-line

More from James Taranto at the Wall Street Journal on Obama's attempt to implicate Congress in a decision over which Obama says they have no control, including a quote from yours truly.

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Short term memory problem

The biggest single argument against following from in front of our president on Syria (or anything else) is not his demonstrated incompetence, it's that he is a brazen, congenital liar.
Obama on Syria: ‘I didn’t set a red line’ … ‘My credibility is not on the line’

It's like the president is unaware of the invention of video recording. The credibility of Congress is what's in question, because Obama spoke without a teleprompter?

Congress should not give him approval to attack Syria because he's already blaming them for a vote they haven't taken. A vote he said he didn't need. A vote he has said he will ignore if he doesn't like the outcome. Given his record of selecting the laws he will enforce, he cannot be trusted to abide by Congressional restrictions in any case. There is no point in participating in this farce.

He is correct in one sense: His credibility isn't on the line because he has none. Blaming everyone in the world for his screw-ups isn't the way to fix that.

Sunday, September 01, 2013

SyriaNah

John Kerry today defended Barack Obama's surprise decision to ask Congress to share blame take a non-binding vote on Obama's threat to mildly attack Syria. According to Kerry, it's about American credibility (which apparently would not have benefited from Congressional approval prior to Friday evening):
The president then made the decision that he thought we would be stronger and the United States would act with greater moral authority and greater strength if we acted in a united way.
-John Kerry
A post on this at Althouse elicited the comment of the day from wildswan:
If someone killed an American ambassador and we did nothing - then would we lose credibility?
If we suddenly dumped an ally who was a corrupt dictator in his twentieth year of being a corrupt dictator - would we lose credibility?
If we publicly insulted an old reliable ally - would we lose credibility?
If we stood by while the Moslem Brotherhood burned Christian churches and shot Christian priests - would we lose credibility?

Well, as far as I know it is the position of the White House that if a President allowed any of those (admittedly unlikely) things to happen or even if he allowed all of them together, none of them would affect American credibility or prestige. And so I think the same is true of doing nothing about Syrians killing each other.

And I think the President would mess up any action Congress did authorize just as he messed up the killing of Bin Laden by exposing methods and the names of secret operatives. And he messed up the good results of the surge in Iraq. And he instantly stabbed Kerry in the back when Kerry advocated Obama's own policy of launching an attack on Syria. And he'll stab the military if Congress approves an attack. So even if getting into Syria was a good idea it would not be a good idea under this President.
Remember, the president's decision to ask Congress for a vote was taken after he denied he needed Congress and blustered about attacking on his own, after he dispatched five warships to Syria and after he sent Kerry out to make the case for an attack on Thursday. I guess that's called leading from behind the curve.

Read the whole post at Althouse.

Friday, August 30, 2013

American school children and Russian cows

If You Send Your Kid to Private School, You Are a Bad Person
I am not an education policy wonk: I’m just judgmental. But it seems to me that if every single parent sent every single child to public school, public schools would improve. This would not happen immediately. It could take generations. Your children and grandchildren might get mediocre educations in the meantime, but it will be worth it, for the eventual common good.
When Allison Benedikt says "worth it," she is insisting that you consider all other children more important than your own child. Those of a totalitarian disposition might consider this idea worthy of debate, but, short of government forcing it, no one could consider it practical. Even president Obama has rejected Benedikt's dictum.

One wonders how Progressives like Ms Benedikt reconcile their relentless public school focus on self-esteem training with their opinion that the collective is more important than you are. You're special because your parents decided to sacrifice your education to the common good? You're just as important as everyone else who can't read or write?

It reminds me of an old Russian joke about a peasant with one cow who hates his neighbor because the neighbor has two cows. A genie offers to grant the envious farmer a single wish. "Kill one of my neighbor's cows!" he demands.

Ms Benedikt is not arguing on behalf of children, or the "common good." She's arguing on behalf of public employee unions and big government, so ignore this report from Harvard: Students Learn Less in States with Stronger Teachers' Unions

For Ms Benedikt that's not a bug. It's a feature. Of course, she would probably object that that's an example what she wants to change. However, she also probably would object to education system reforms like those in Wisconsin and Michigan.

And, by the way, somebody should tell Ms Benedikt that calling president Obama a "bad person" is racist.

Thursday, August 01, 2013

Racing for votes

For those of you unfamiliar with the damage Coleman Young (Mayor 1972-1994) did to Detroit, this Powerline post will be of interest: How Coleman Young Ruined Detroit

I also present it in support of my contention that Coleman Young's race-baiting can be connected directly to the social milieu in which Trayvon Martin was immersed. Martin grew up in a culture Coleman Young promulgated.

And now the New York Times has a hint that the president is dipping his toes in the waters prepared for him by Young:
If we don’t do anything, then growth will be slower than it should be. Unemployment will not go down as fast as it should. Income inequality will continue to rise...

Racial tensions won’t get better; they may get worse, because people will feel as if they’ve got to compete with some other group to get scraps from a shrinking pot. If the economy is growing, everybody feels invested.
President Obama does not want us to believe that his economic policies are the problem, and he feels compelled to hint that failure to solve them on his terms may have racial consequences. Standing alone, this comment would not be "playing the race card," but it gives one pause when combined with his need to insert himself in the cases of Professor Henry Gates and Trayvon Martin, and his (like Young's) war on the suburbs.

Monday, July 29, 2013

#Public/Pirate-Partnership

Detroit, in the midst of a bankruptcy, is planning to spend over $400 million of other people's money on a new Red Wing Hockey rink. Those who fled Detroit can't bear to be without an ultra-modern hockey rink. What better way to to entice them to move back than a demonstration of egregious-corporate-welfare-as-usual?

I guess this is the Governor's way to pay Canada back for financing a new bridge. Might've been cheaper all around to move the Wings to Windsor.

Our One Tough Nerd approves this boondoggle, as does "Emergency" Financial Manager Kevin Orr. Orr is the guy who wants Detroit pensioners to take a haircut, while he auctions off the inventory at the Detroit Institute of Arts.
If it is as productive as it’s supposed to be, that’s going to be a boon to the city.
-Kevin Orr
I can see the headlines now: "Octopus sales surge!"

But, that's a big "if," Kevin.

The Red Wings appear to have been negligent in paying their taxes already: Red Wings Owe Detroit Millions in Uncollected Cable Rights Fees.

On top of the that, sports stadia promoters always over-promise and under-deliver economic benefits: Politicians and Team Owners Snooker Sports Fans and Taxpayers.

See also: What Are the Benefits of Hosting a Major League Sports Franchise? Outside of the benefits for the team owners, apparently, none.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Man-caused Disasters

Maybe this is what Big Sis was actually talking about when she said "man-caused disasters:" The socio-cultural lines that can be drawn straight from former Detroit Mayor Coleman Young to Trayvon Martin.

Young's effect on the cultural values of Detroit, resulting eventually in the election of Kwame Kilpatrick, are echoed in today's standardized, pervasive inner city culture, and reflected in the gangster government of Barack Obama and Eric Holder. This culture has more to do with Trayvon Martin's death than concealed carry permits (very little) or stand your ground laws (absolutely nothing). If that seems like a stretch, you have to remember that George Zimmerman's acquittal is being called racist, as was the appointment of Kevyn Orr as Detroit's Emergency Manager. For the same reasons:

The Decline of the Civil-Rights Establishment

Black leaders weren't so much outraged at injustice as they were by the disregard of their own authority.
Shelby Steele
The civil-rights leadership rallied to Trayvon's cause (and not to the cause of those hundreds of black kids slain in America's inner cities this very year) to keep alive a certain cultural "truth" that is the sole source of the leadership's dwindling power. Put bluntly, this leadership rather easily tolerates black kids killing other black kids. But it cannot abide a white person (and Mr. Zimmerman, with his Hispanic background, was pushed into a white identity by the media over his objections) getting away with killing a black person without undermining the leadership's very reason for being…

One wants to scream at all those outraged at the Zimmerman verdict: Where is your outrage over the collapse of the black family? Today's civil-rights leaders swat at mosquitoes like Zimmerman when they have gorillas on their back. Seventy-three percent of all black children are born without fathers married to their mothers. And you want to bring the nation to a standstill over George Zimmerman?
How the Media Has Distorted a Tragedy
Cathy Young destroys the Liberal talking points about the attempted railroading of George Zimmerman. You need to know these before attempting to discuss Zimmerman's acquittal with a Trayvon Martin aficionado.

In a bid for the surreality Hall of Fame, Ingham County Judge Rosemarie Aquilina moves us to the Detroit bankruptcy, by citing "failure to honor president Obama" as a reason to stay the Detroit bankruptcy proceeding.

Ingham County judge rules Detroit bankruptcy be withdrawn; Schuette appeals
Gary Heinlein
“It’s cheating, sir, and it’s cheating good people who work,” the judge told assistant state Attorney General Brian Devlin. “It’s also not honoring the (United States) president, who took (Detroit’s auto companies) out of bankruptcy.”
She thinks so much of her action that she directed a copy of the declaratory judgment be sent to President Obama, probably intending it be made part of the eventual Presidential Library humor section. Maybe she's looking for a Federal appointment.

Then Edward McClelland strikes again (see post below for comment on his earlier excuses for Detroit.)
Detroit is your problem, too
Detroit’s bankruptcy affects Oakland County, the state of Michigan, and really, every state, county and municipality in the nation. If Detroit defaults on its general obligation bonds, governments everywhere — but especially in Michigan — may end up paying more to borrow money, as the bond market responds to the precedent set by a major city returning pennies on the dollar to investors. When a state’s largest city goes bankrupt, it creates an increased risk for all the governments around it — including the state itself...

L. Brooks Patterson built a career out of telling his constituents that Detroit’s problems were not their problems. Now that they are, his constituents are going to pay for it.

Michigan’s refusal to share responsibility for Detroit’s finances goes all the way back to the 1970s, when Republican governor William Milliken proposed a regional tax base — only to have the plan shot down by the state legislature. Had Milliken been successful, Detroit would not be in bankruptcy today.
I looked for the sentence "When a state’s largest city is so thoroughly venal, it creates an increased risk for all the governments around it — including the state itself...," in vain.

Mr. McClelland's point is that every Michigan taxpayer should have been paying for Detroit's corruptocrat government all along. He's right that Detroit would not be in bankruptcy today only in the sense that the whole state would be. It's like cheering for the metastasis to win.

One wonders if either McClelland or Aquilina felt the same sympathy for the GM and Chrysler bondholders. McClelland would probably have argued for tariff barriers to be raised against imported cars, and Aquilina would declare their importation unconstitutional because of the threat to UAW pension plans. Oh wait, if it wasn't for screwing over the bondholders, there would be no UAW pension plans.

Mr. McClelland again blames "all the white people" who fled Detroit, oblivious to the fact that anyone who could leave Detroit, has left Detroit, superficial melanin content notwithstanding.

As to "white flight", it wasn't just white people, or even white Hispanics, who left Detroit:
The Unheavenly City
Michael Barone
Detroit's black population peaked at 777,000 in 1990; it leveled off to 775,000 in 2000 and plunged to 590,000 in 2010. Blacks with decent jobs and steady habits have been moving to the suburbs or back to their grandparents' South, and those who remain tend to be the people with no good alternative and no hope.

Friday, July 19, 2013

#BlueModel Detroit

"Sooner or later, you run out of other people’s money."
- Margaret Thatcher.

People's lives are being ruined by Detroit's bankruptcy. Pensioners may get only 10% of what was promised them. The health insurance they expected will vanish.

People will blame Republicans; though even our current president refuses to bail out Detroit. They will say big business is at fault; even though they are now simply getting a taste of what they cheered when the GM and Chrysler bondholders were gutted. They will decry the white exodus; really just a symptom. None of those factors caused the problem.

The root cause is half a century of increasing corruption, cronyism and race-based machine politics. Detroit's failure is because of 50 years of Progressive "governance."

If only Detroit could print money...



Update: 3:17PM
In a Salon article, Edward McClelland confirms "white flight" is the problem, because people with the means to do so moved out of Detroit. His suggestion? Make the suburbs merge with Detroit.

Mr. McClelland's preferred solution is to subject a larger base of serfs to Detroit's looting power. But, the problems which drove people out of Detroit haven't changed - they've just come to fruition. Binding more taxpayers over to Detroit would solve nothing. It would just convince the demagogues and ward heelers that other people's money doesn't run out.

Flight to the suburbs didn't cause Detroit's failure, it's a logical consequence of the way in which Detroit has been governed for 50 years. Too bad the voters in Detroit didn't get it in time. I doubt they get it yet.

McClelland claims Detroit was stiffed by the State when it didn't get the quid of more State money (taxes collected outside of Detroit) for the quo of lowering its city income tax. He fails to consider how much faster and deeper the flight to the suburbs would have been without that tax cut. Overtaxing came first, not urban desertion.

But the worst part of this article is that it never even mentions the uninterrupted string of venal Democrat politicians and union-boss rent seekers since the 60s. Nor does it acknowledge that people might willingly share services, or even move back into Detroit, if the malfeasance, nepotism, graft, bribery, embezzlement and fraud were removed. It took 50 years to kill Detroit. It will take at least that long to restore the trust that McClelland documents as preventing regional co-operation.

Mr. McClelland wants to export Detroit's corrupt profligacy to the surrounding areas. Instead, why not just force people to move to Detroit? Then, we'd be spared a McClelland article 20 years hence titled, "Who killed the Detroit Metro area as far west as Grand Rapids?"

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Brawley, Mangum and Martin

In the tradition of Al Sharpton's Tawana Brawley fiasco (Brawley's false accusation of rape), over which Alton H. Maddox, Jr. lost his law license, and the travesty of justice in the Duke Lacrosse case (false rape accusation from Crystal Gail Mangum) that cost Durham County North Carolina District Attorney Mike Nifong his job and his law license:

"[T]he Department of Justice played a major behind-the-scenes role in organizing protests against George Zimmerman."

I guess this is what president Obama's Administration calls "community organizing."

Now that most people expect George Zimmerman to be exonerated in a trial that should never have taken place, you should know about the involvement of the Obama Administration. You paid for the DOJ bit, after all.

Florida taxpayers should be livid that they've paid for the trial.

For the record, I don't expect Eric Holder to be disbarred.

Thursday, July 04, 2013

Happy Birthday to the United States

President Calvin Coolidge shared his birthday with that of the United States. This coincidence did not lead him to conclude he had been divinely called to fundamentally change the country. He was modest. He was perhaps the last Chief Executive to pay any heed to the 9th and 10th Amendments. He was not known for flights of empty oratory. He considered small government as the intent of the Constitution. His administration was free of scandal, and he dealt with those scandals he inherited from his predecessor quickly and appropriately. Coolidge provided a model of stability and respectability for the American people.

In short, it would be difficult to find a higher degree of contrast with our present administration.

You may find Silent Cal's speech on the 150th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence of interest.

I urge you to read the whole thing in order to appreciate the intellectual rigor an American president could reasonably expect the American people to possess in 1926.

Here are a few excerpts:

...We are obliged to conclude that the Declaration of Independence represented the movement of a people. It was not, of course, a movement from the top. Revolutions do not come from that direction. It was not without the support of many of the most respectable people in the Colonies, who were entitled to all the consideration that is given to breeding, education, and possessions. It had the support of another element of great significance and importance to which I shall later refer. But the preponderance of all those who occupied a position which took on the aspect of aristocracy did not approve of the Revolution and held toward it an attitude either of neutrality or open hostility. It was in no sense a rising of the oppressed and downtrodden. It brought no scum to the surface, for the reason that colonial society had developed no scum. The great body of the people were accustomed to privations, but they were free from depravity. If they had poverty, it was not of the hopeless kind that afflicts great cities, but the inspiring kind that marks the spirit of the pioneer. The American Revolution represented the informed and mature convictions of a great mass of independent, liberty-loving, God-fearing people who knew their rights, and possessed the courage to dare to maintain them.

...Governments do not make ideals, but ideals make governments. This is both historically and logically true. Of course the government can help to sustain ideals and can create institutions through which they can be the better observed, but their source by their very nature is in the people. The people have to bear their own responsibilities. There is no method by which that burden can be shifted to the government. It is not the enactment, but the observance of laws, that creates the character of a nation.

About the Declaration there is a finality that is exceedingly restful. It is often asserted that the world has made a great deal of progress since 1776, that we have had new thoughts and new experiences which have given us a great advance over the people of that day, and that we may therefore very well discard their conclusions for something more modern. But that reasoning can not be applied to this great charter. If all men are created equal, that is final. If they are endowed with inalienable rights, that is final. If governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed, that is final. No advance, no progress can be made beyond these propositions. If anyone wishes to deny their truth or their soundness, the only direction in which he can proceed historically is not forward, but backward toward the time when there was no equality, no rights of the individual, no rule of the people. Those who wish to proceed in that direction can not lay claim to progress. They are reactionary. Their ideas are not more modern, but more ancient, than those of the Revolutionary fathers.

In the development of its institutions America can fairly claim that it has remained true to the principles which were declared 150 years ago. In all the essentials we have achieved an equality which was never possessed by any other people. Even in the less important matter of material possessions we have secured a wider and wider distribution of wealth. The rights of the individual are held sacred and protected by constitutional guaranties, which even the Government itself is bound not to violate. If there is any one thing among us that is established beyond question, it is self-government--the right of the people to rule. If there is any failure in respect to any of these principles, it is because there is a failure on the part of individuals to observe them. We hold that the duly authorized expression of the will of the people has a divine sanction. But even in that we come back to the theory of John Wise that "Democracy is Christ’s government." The ultimate sanction of law rests on the righteous authority of the Almighty.

On an occasion like this a great temptation exists to present evidence of the practical success of our form of democratic republic at home and the ever-broadening acceptance it is securing abroad. Although these things are well known, their frequent consideration is an encouragement and an inspiration. But it is not results and effects so much as sources and causes that I believe it is even more necessary constantly to contemplate. Ours is a government of the people. It represents their will. Its officers may sometimes go astray, but that is not a reason for criticizing the principles of our institutions.

Today, some may regard Coolidge as naive. That he could claim 1926 America "has remained true to the principles which were declared 150 years ago", will strike modern readers as untenable, for example, on racial grounds.

Coolidge certainly knew many living veterans of the Civil War, that does not mean he could envision the 1964 civil rights act - but he would have appreciated that its passage had been obtained by the blood of 600,000 American dead.

Coolidge comments directly:

Readers may be interested in the excerpts from his letter "Equality of Rights," dated 9 August 1924, and published in Coolidge, Foundations of the Republic: Speeches and Addresses (1926):

"My dear Sir: Your letter is received, accompanied by a newspaper clipping which discusses the possibility that a colored man may be the Republican nominee for Congress from one of the New York districts...you say:

'It is of some concern whether a Negro is allowed to run for Congress anywhere, at any time, in any party, in this, a white man's country.'

"....I was amazed to receive such a letter. During the war 500,000 colored men and boys were called up under the draft, not one of whom sought to evade it." [As president, I am] "one who feels a responsibility for living up to the traditions and maintaining the principles of the Republican Party. Our Constitution guarantees equal rights to all our citizens, without discrimination on account of race or color. I have taken my oath to support that Constitution...."

Yours very truly, etc.

Calvin Coolidge
1926 America was not utopia. It was not hell. It was the best humankind had been able to achieve at that point.

That that still appears to be the case, despite withering statist efforts to fundamentally transform it, is a testament to the ideas and the ideals of the men who pledged their "lives, liberty and sacred honor" to realize a United States of America.

President Coolidge had something to say about that, too:
In its main features the Declaration of Independence is a great spiritual document. It is a declaration not of material but of spiritual concepts. Equality, liberty, popular sovereignty, the rights of man — these are not elements which we can see and touch. These are ideals. They have their source and their roots in religious convictions. They belong to the unseen world. Unless the faith of the American people in these religious convictions [endures], the principles of our Declaration will perish. We can not continue to enjoy the result if we neglect and abandon the cause.

Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Gettysburg - 150 years later

Modern technology presents: A Cutting-Edge Second Look at the Battle of Gettysburg (overview here). The map upon which it is based was
[C]reated in the late 1860s and early 1870s by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers...

It measures 12 by 13 feet, with each foot on the map measuring 1,200 feet on the ground, with a contour interval indicating every four feet of elevation change. It shows the buildings, the topography, the land cover, where the hardwood trees were, where the pines were, where the orchards were, whether fences were made of wood or stone...
"It's combining this historical terrain with the changing position of the troops and then digital technology -- of course is the other crucial element here -- that enables us to put ourselves on that recreated terrain and show, either in the panorama views or the viewsheds, what commanders could and could not see," [Middlebury professor of geography Anne Kelly] Knowles told me. By exploring the map from Lee's perspective, she was able to see how "blind" he was -- how, when he decided on the battle's third day to launch his doomed assault, he could not have known the full extent or formation of the Union troops. "That really changed my view of the battle. It makes it look all the more hopeless and bold -- I guess, or foolish -- for Lee."
Worth a look.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Asked and answered

1- Why Is US Inflation So Low?

2- Presenting Inflation...

That is, inflation isn't low.

However, as long as the ire can be re-directed to Big Oil, Big Insurance and the Wall Street 1% (almost entirely Democrat supporting rent seekers), Big Government won't get the blame. Same deflecting technique as applied to Benghazi, IRS corruption and NSA spying on Americans.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Despite talking points, the IRS did NOT target Progressive groups

Our audit did not find evidence that the IRS used the "Progressives" identifier as selection criteria for potential political cases between May 2010 and May 2012…

The inappropriate criteria used to select potential political cases for review did not include the term "Progressives."
From,
J. Russell George
Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration
June 26, 2013

Full letter here.

The Democrats' attempt to make the IRS corruption appear apolitical is worse than the original crime, "We know they did it, but we don't care."

Sunday, June 09, 2013

National Snooping Algorithm

"The program [NSA's PRISM, the record of all the phone calls you've ever made] does not allow the Government to listen in on anyone’s phone calls. The information acquired does not include the content of any communications or the identity of any subscriber."
-Director of National Intelligence James Clapper
DNI Statement on Recent Unauthorized Disclosures of Classified Information - June 6, 2013

Translated: "We don't eavesdrop, we merely develop a map of everyone you talk to, everything you search for on the Internet and everything you buy with a credit card. And, by the way, your identity is obvious when we have that data. We promise not to look."

Make sure you read this -
Why the Metadata the NSA Has on You Matters

Sufficiently thorough correlation reveals content. "Data mining" is Google's raison d'ĂȘtre, Obama's Narwhal (2012 campaign software) and NSA's PRISM. Consider the following in that context.

"The only people who don't want to disclose the truth are people with something to hide."
-Barack Obama,
Weekly national address - August 21, 2010

"If you have something that you don't want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn't be doing it in the first place."
-Google CEO Eric Schmidt
CNBC interview - December 3, 2009.

"Google’s chairman is investing millions to fund a consulting firm for businesses staffed by Obama’s former data analytics team."
Google's Eric Schmidt Invests in Obama's Big Data Brains
Bloomberg Businessweek - May 30, 2013

Can you think of a word for a form of government that describes this sort of cooperation between giant corporations and government?

Friday, June 07, 2013

"Will No One Rid Me of This Meddlesome Priest?" -Henry II, 1170

This Kimberly Strassel piece documents the most recent behavioral conditioning of the IRS: To regard the words "tea party" as Winston Smith regarded rats. Read it, and see why things haven't much changed since 1170, or 1949; when Smith was the protagonist in George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four.

Nobody had to give any direct order to even barely conscious union members astute employees of the IRS (EPA, OSHA, et. al.) whose self-interest is so exquisitely aligned with that of Big Government politicians.

Read the Strassel piece, but I must note this particularly risible quote from the man heading the most opaque administration since FDR; and who employed Richard Windsor Lisa Jackson, still employs Eric Holder and just promoted Susan Rice: "The only people who don't want to disclose the truth are people with something to hide." -Barack Obama, 2010
(How can I fit a reference to Lois Lerner in here? Oh.)

The Democrat harping on mysterious "foreign contributers" is hard to take from a guy who accepted credit card donations from anywhere; not bothering to employ simple, and standard, ways to prevent such illegal donations.

On the NSA surveillance of every phone number ever dialed, and where and for what every credit card is used: No doubt this is a result of the Patriot Act - i.e., Big Government under George Bush. Seriously, it's what Big Government does. George and Barack are just following the lead of Woodrow and Franklin. And Henry, of course, but we did break with That Sort of overreach circa 1776.

George Orwell labeled one manifestation of this tendency "Thought Police." Many other things were illegal in Orwell's Oceania, you'd be surprised by the similarities.

While what the Obama Administration has done with the NSA appears 'legal' to me, the president is certainly open to the charge of hypocrisy. George McGovern didn't whine so much about Constitutional violations as did Senator Obama.

Obama's hypocrisy, however, isn't the point. The point is that Big Government will unfailingly use whatever powers it has to increase the power it has - whoever is in charge. None of these scandals are failures of our current system, they are the system. None of it is overreach, it's how serfs are treated.

This is the simple point the tea party has been politely making. It's why they were targeted.

Thursday, June 06, 2013

June 6, 1944

Just after midnight on June 6, 1944, 1,200 transport planes and 700 gliders delivered over 23,000 American and British paratroops behind the German coastal defense in Normandy.

At dawn, 4,000 transports and 800 warships, plus innumerable smaller craft, began an amphibious assault that landed 130,000 soldiers at beaches code-named Sword, Juno, Gold, Utah, and Omaha.

These names will live as long as mankind studies military theory.

We are not likely to see anything so audacious or so necessary to the continuance of Western civilization ever again.

In remembrance of the men who died at Sword, Juno, Gold, Utah, and Omaha - the soldiers who died there defending the West against totalitarianism - I offer some further reading:

D-Day on the Web

WWII Museum

American D-Day

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

More IRS protest coverage

Meanwhile, Lois Lerner, the head of the exempt organizations division of the IRS, will take the 5th in her non-testimony to Congress.

It's curious that a high-level IRS official would have to invoke non-self-incrimination in a situation where she apologized for low-level people who were solely responsible. Since when does "bad customer service" require that?

No telling, really, when these people will decide to respect Constitutional Law.

Rein in the IRS Protest, East Lansing MI

Warm and overcast, threat of thunderstorms here today.



There were 25 - 30 very polite people, some couldn't stay long so we averaged about 25 at any given time. Many drove an hour or more to attend. Most were older, but there was a 2 year old with his mother, and these young ladies. Nice to see. They're all home-schooled, by the way.


We were not allowed on the private property wherein the IRS rents its office space, so we marched up and down West Road in front of the building.

The building manager was nervous, perhaps frightened, and quickly escalated from a firm but polite eviction speech to threatening to call the police. He didn't, but his mannerisms when he got to that point (about 30 seconds) were quite agitated. I don't think he understands who it is that shows up for tea party protests.

It wouldn't have taken long for the police to arrive. There were 2 squad cars the entire time (some others cruised through) and a Homeland Security vehicle.



Update: Thanks to Instapundit for the link.

Monday, May 20, 2013

How can you tell?

Maybe the confluence of interest from the ATF, FBI, IRS and OSHA are coincidental. Maybe not.

The insidious part of government out-of-control is that you're a lot less sure it's coincidence than you were last week.

IRS Protest

Short notice, but -
On behalf of Tea Party, Patriot groups, 9/12, liberty activists, and the American people, we are calling for anyone and everyone to protest the IRS’ complete abuse of power on Tuesday, May 21, 2013 at noon local time.
Find an address close to you at the link above.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Obanana Republic

On November 5th, 2008, I said that the Obama Administration would be the most corrupt in living memory. I was wrong. It's not merely living memory. And it goes beyond simple corruption.

The American people have been subject to a direct, systematic attack by the federal government, accomplished via the tax laws. Extremely complex laws were combined with bureaucratic ignorance, institutional arrogance, a monopoly on the use of force and a leadership competent solely in permanent campaign mode; in a comprehensive effort to punish dissent, interfere in elections and restrict religious freedom. Information was demanded that could only result in limiting freedom of assembly. Confidential tax information was leaked. Lies were repeatedly told to the legislative branch and to all Americans. When it became apparent that the perfidy would be exposed, and before informing Congress, the IRS staged a passive "Mistakes were made" apology by planting a question at a press conference.
[The IRS] acknowledged it was wrong for the agency to target groups based on political affiliation.

"That was absolutely incorrect, it was insensitive and it was inappropriate. That's not how we go about selecting cases for further review," Lerner said at a conference sponsored by the American Bar Association.

"The IRS would like to apologize for that," she added.
OK, go ahead and apologize, you have our permission. When you do, please reference the First Amendment. And then, name names, fire people and bring charges.

Admit that it was not just groups with the words "Tea Party" in their names. Discuss why, after president "Know Nothing" and his cronies specifically named individual Americans who disagree with the president's policies, that those named individuals were audited. Expand on your understanding of why it's wrong for the federal government to demand the content of individual prayers, specifically threatening perjury charges for those so questioned. Tell us why "progressive" groups received preferential treatment in the same time period. I think we need more insight than "inappropriate," or "poor customer service."

Tell us if you believe that the root problem is allowing corporations to practice free speech, and whether more regulation is needed. Why is current legal complexity insufficient unto hiding the IRS agenda? Explain why the reasons you gave for the "enhanced scrutiny," don't even hold up.

Finally, do you think the IRS transgressions are irrelevant if no one can prove that Obama is directly involved? Do you agree that if the president was involved, it shows that he is the most corrupt, tyrannical leader in American history, and that every branch of the executive division in our government is suspect? If the president wasn’t involved, can any number of straw men, any amount of ad hominem political hackery, any quantity of ignorance pleading - change the fact that it is his Administration?

Before answering, think about what it means if Obama wasn’t involved: The IRS, an agency with the power to destroy every person in America, did all of this on its own initiative.

Explain, please, why your actions did not violate each and every term of the following:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
There is a nascent protest scheduled at IRS locations on Tuesday May, 21st. At noon, I will be at:

EAST LANSING, MI /DET IRS OFFICE
3100 WEST ROAD
EAST LANSING, MI 48823

Let us see what happens.

Monday, April 08, 2013

The Moral Foundations of Society

Rest in Peace, Mrs. Thatcher.

I can think of no better tribute than the email I received today from Hillsdale College.
A Message from Hillsdale College President Larry P. Arnn:

Lady Thatcher, born Margaret Roberts in 1925, was one of the most important and beneficial statesmen of the twentieth century. When she came to power in 1979, her nation was held in the grip of unions that had command of the largest political party in the state. They used that power to shut down industries and even sections of the country at will to make employment demands. Rather than resist, the government would collude in crippling strikes. Margaret Thatcher was elected with a promise to stop these practices, and in a series of dramatic confrontations in her first year she was successful. She did not seek, she said, to adjust the power from labor to capital, but rather to return the government to serving the whole people and the public interest.

In 1982, she sent British forces to war against the junta in Argentina, which had invaded the Falkland Islands, a British protectorate. Britain won that war with the help of the United States and its president, her friend, Ronald Reagan. The Falklands are in dispute between Britain and Argentina today, and the current administration in Washington is less friendly to Britain. The people of the Falklands, whenever they are asked, still indicate in overwhelming numbers that they wish to remain as they are.

The only statue of Lady Thatcher in North America stands on the Hillsdale College campus. She visited the campus in 1994 and spoke at college events on several occasions. We are proud to have known her. At our spring convocation on Thursday we will say prayers of thanksgiving for her life and service.
Here is the text of a speech Mrs. Thatcher gave at Hilsdale, and from which this post takes its title.

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Fueling fascism

Why would any organization continue to pursue practices and policies which have exactly the opposite effects of their stated goals? Why would they double down on an obvious failure??

Ethanol as fuel provides a case study:
Ethanol Fraud and Why You Pay More at the Pump

It starts as mere cronyism, and ends up as Fascism - the ultimate public-private partnership. The partners will beggar consumers (and tax them for the privilege), pollute the air and water, install protectionist tariffs and stifle innovation and competition with arcane and draconian regulation.

When this is rolling along nicely, they create an unnecessary and inefficient market to place rigged bets on trade in the ruination. All the while they whine about the evils of free markets, castigating "greedy people" who are too venal and stupid to behave according to the central plan. The solutions always require more money and more regulation.

Conservatives (who used to be called liberals) believe all people are imperfect and subject to the temptations of power. Therefore, they seek to limit the application of power.

Progressives (who are now called liberals) believe all people, except those in power, are imperfect, and that the temptations of power are trumped by good intentions. They seek to maximize the application of their intentions - no matter the results.


Note: The article linked above repeats itself, so when you reach the part you've already read, you can stop.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Ammo shortages & DHS

People have been noticing the large ammunition contract let by DHS. Shortages of ammo for use by private citizens are rampant.

DHS Won't Answer Congress On Billion Bullet Purchase

Whatever the DHS plans are, this quote from the above is just silly:
...[Former] Marine Richard Mason told reporters with WHPTV News in Pennsylvania recently, hollow-point bullets (which make up the majority of the DHS purchases) are not used for training because they are more expensive than standard firing range rounds.

"We never trained with hollow points, we didn't even see hollow points my entire 4-1/2 years in the Marine Corps," Mason said."
Different ammo has different ballistic characteristics, including where it hits. At only 50 yards, this may be measured in inches in some cases. Therefore, training with the ammo you will use in action is a preferred practice if you can afford it. DHS can. And, unlike the military, can use it "in action."

The Marines can't use hollow point ammo in action without violating the Geneva Conventions, so it's not surprising this Marine didn't see it while in the Corps. Training Marines with hollow points would be stupid not primarily because it's more expensive, but because it can't be used when it really counts anyway.

Then, too, maybe it's not simply private citizens who are causing shortages for cops.

Cops Disarmed By Ammo-Hoarding Gun Nuts, Complains Salon Writer


Saturday, February 23, 2013

The #SeekRenters

The sequester debate isn't about spending cuts, it's about a tiny slowing in the rate of increase of funds transferred to Federal rent seekers. Noted in the Wall Street Journal: The Unscary Sequester
In Mr. Obama's first two years, while private businesses and households were spending less and deleveraging, federal domestic discretionary spending soared by 84% with some agencies doubling and tripling their budgets.

... from 2008-2013 federal discretionary spending has climbed to $1.062 trillion from $933 billion—an increase of 13.9%. Domestic programs grew by 16.6%, much faster than the 11.6% for national security.

Transportation funding alone climbed to $69.5 billion in 2010 with the stimulus from $10.7 billion in 2008, and in 2013 the budget is still $17.9 billion, or about 67% higher. Education spending more than doubled in Mr. Obama's first two years and is up 18.6% to $68.1 billion from 2008-2013.

... total discretionary domestic spending is up closer to 30% from 2008-2013. The sequester would claw that back by all of about 5%.

... The sequester will surely require worker furloughs and cutbacks in certain nonpriority services. But most of those layoffs will happen in the Washington, D.C. area, the recession-free region that has boomed during the Obama era.
If Mr. Obama were really serious about improving the equality of income distribution, he might consider that a positive. According to Stephen S. Fuller, director of the Center for Regional Analysis at George Mason University, about
"...15 cents of every dollar from the entire federal procurement budget stays in or around the government's hometown. ..."We're seeing an enormous transfer of wealth from taxpayers to the Washington economy," said Fuller."
Upton Sinclair was a socialist, but when he said, "It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it," he was on to something; though he did neglect to mention the mendacity of politicians in fostering said ignorance. The threats issuing forth from the Obama administration - to prioritize cutting baby food and meat inspection rather than not funding the next Solyndra or ending high speed rail boondoggles; and putting slashing veterans benefits ahead of cancelling the DOD's "green" projects - show a cynical disregard for taxpayers and reveal the deep hypocrisy of the president's purported compassion.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Director of Hatcheries and Conditioning

A paper to be published in March in BioScience, the journal of the American Institute of Biological Sciences, titled “Social Norms and Global Environmental Challenges” is discussed here. The article is relatively long, but that's because there are a lot of examples of a call to totalitarianism from people who claim to be "scientists." They are anything but. They believe their opinions are not subject to the basic requirement of scientific method: the possibility of falsification.
This entire publication is a clear and unmistakable sign that a scientific dictatorship is emerging under the pretext of environmentalism. More government control through regulations and fines combined with a proactive scientific community, brainwashing people into accepting this increasing governmental control where they would otherwise reject it.
That is not an exaggeration, based on the paper's content. It is a call to abandon Constitutional government in the United States in favor of the UN. The group of scientists involved include two Nobel Prize winners. They have Nobels in economy and political science. One wonders why there's no Peace Prize winner. Perhaps Mr. Obama was too busy hobnobbing with Tiger Woods. And Yasser Arafat, of course, is dead.

I thought the scientific dictatorship had actually emerged a long time ago, when the "consensus" of scientists was supposed to make us stop asking any questions about global warming/climate change - or whatever they're calling it today. The effrontery of publishing this indicates the current political environment is encouraging to these statists, and that their privilege blinds them to their hubris.

As to consensus, no such thing must be tolerated from the citizens in a democratic republic if it disagrees with these ivory tower savants. This totalitarian impulse is not new, it is a foundational principle of the eugenicists and the core idea of socialism.

Aldous Huxley wrote about it in 1931. In the introduction to the 1946 edition of Brave New World, he said this:
Unless we choose to decentralize and to use applied science...as the means to producing a race of free individuals, we have only two alternatives to choose from: either a number of national, militarized totalitarianisms, having as their root the terror of the atomic bomb...or else one supra-national totalitarianism, called into existence by the social chaos...and developing, under the need for efficiency and stability, into the welfare-tyranny of Utopia.

All things considered, it looks as though Utopia were far closer to us than anyone, only fifteen years ago could have imagined. Today [in 1946] it seems quite possible that the horror may be upon us in a single century.
By the time he wrote Brave New World Revisited in 1958, he had though more on the subject of a world governing scientific dictatorship:
The older dictators fell because they could never supply their subjects with enough bread, enough cir­cuses, enough miracles and mysteries. Nor did they possess a really effective system of mind-manipulation. In the past, free-thinkers and revolutionaries were often the products of the most piously orthodox educa­tion. This is not surprising. The methods employed by orthodox educators were and still are extremely inefficient. Under a scientific dictator education will really work - with the result that most men and women will grow up to love their servitude and will never dream of revolution. There seems to be no good reason why a thoroughly scientific dictatorship should ever be overthrown.
That appears to be the plan.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Creative Accounting

Reuters reports "U.S. posts $3 billion budget surplus for January". They fail to note that from December through January US debt rose by $137 billion.

This "surplus" is as if you counted a $500 per month raise as extra cash, while calling the $20,000 you borrowed and spend at the race track "long term debt."

Preferring a government of men, not of laws.

Jennifer Granholm speaks to the NYT on the president's drone strike policies:
“We trust the president,” former Gov. Jennifer Granholm of Michigan said on Current TV. “And if this was Bush, I think that we would all be more up in arms because we wouldn’t trust that he would strike in a very targeted way and try to minimize damage rather than contain collateral damage.”
Right. Jennifer sees due process as a presidential whim, not as a legal principle. The 5th Amendment is optional.

It's saying a lot, but I've never been more ashamed of her.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Duh

A Washington Post editorial today begins with the sentence, "ONE UNSETTLING result of the debate over gun violence has been a spike in firearm purchases."

Actually: One predictable result of government threats to force gun owners to buy special liability insurance, place confiscatory taxes on ammunition, ban firearms because of their appearance and limit the sale of normal capacity magazines has been more citizens exercising their 2nd Amendment rights.

There, fixed that for you, WaPo.

Friday, February 08, 2013

Detroit Charter Schools 47, Detroit Public Schools 0

A Stanford University study suggests attending Charter Schools in Detroit results in significantly better educational achievement than attending government schools. Stanford University study finds charter pupils gain an extra three months of learning
Detroit school children are learning at a rate of an extra three months in school a year when in charter public schools compared to similar counterparts in conventional Detroit Public Schools, according to the findings of a Center for Research on Education Outcomes (CREDO) study done by Stanford University on students in the Detroit area.
It isn't perfect, of course,
"While on average the Detroit charter students have higher learning gains than their traditional school counterparts, when we look at the school results, only about half of the Detroit charter schools perform significantly better than their local alternative," said Dev Davis, research manager for CREDO at Stanford University.
It isn't certain what a comparison of the Bell curves for non-Charter vs Charter schools' performance in Detroit would be from that statement, but here is a crude example which I think satisfies all the criteria Ms Davis specifies. Blue is the Detroit Public School System, green is the Detriot Charter schools.

Which curve would you prefer for your child?

Ms Davis seems to be soft pedaling the Charter story, at least for the Detroit study. I find it interesting that she does not mention a number important to this study; How many Charters are doing worse? CREDO generally does look at that:
A Credo study in 2009 of charter schools in 16 American states found almost half of the schools were no better than public schools; 17 per cent performed significantly better, while 37 per cent performed worse.
In fact, the CREDO report states that 47% of Charter schools in Detroit perform "better than their market," and "Slightly more than half of Detroit charter schools were not significantly different from their market." So none are performing worse than government schools.

That's not the end of Charter advantages, though. I am fairly certain that no weight was given to the reduction in anti-capitalist, blame America first propaganda to which students are exposed. And, while I'll agree that some Charters probably surpass even government schools in such polemics, at least the parents are choosing the slant they want. I would also contend that the improved educational outcomes are positively correlated with less time spent on social justice indoctrination and more on math and reading.

Saturday, February 02, 2013

Women now safe on Super Bowl Sunday

Early each year, I experience heightened sensitivity to feminist foibles. The month of January brings the anniversary of the Big Lie that Super Bowl Sunday is the annual high-water mark for the beating of American women by their husbands and boyfriends. On Super Bowl Sunday testosterone-besotted men celebrate the violence of professional football by assaulting females. Feminists find this oppression of women to be self-evident. This is necessary for their argument, because there is no actual evidence for it now, nor was there in 1993 when they kicked it off.

The Super Bowl Hoax was initially perpetrated on January 28, 1993. The perps were FAIR, an organization allegedly dedicated to "Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting,” along with several women's groups. They called a press conference in Pasadena, California, promoting an unexceptional 30-second Super Bowl public service announcement opposing domestic violence.

Did I mention the PSA wasn't hyperbolic? So, during the press conference it became necessary for FAIR associate Linda Mitchell to go over the top. "Many women's shelters report as much as a 40 percent increase in calls for help on Super Bowl Sunday," she said. The press ran with it - AP Wire 1/28/93. No reporter even said, "Name one."

To be sure, this whopper wasn't entirely Ms Mitchell's invention, FAIR had previously mailed to its activists a letter stating, "women's shelters report a 40 percent increase in calls for help during Super Bowl Sunday" (American Journalism Review, 5/93).

The principal study cited to support this claim was conducted by Virginia’s Old Dominion University in 1988-89. This study was claimed to have found a 40 percent increase in beatings and hospital admissions after games won by the Redskins.

But Ken Ringle of the Washington Post was skeptical. He took the time to check the sources. He spoke with one of the principal authors of the Old Dominion study, Janet Katz. She said: “That’s not what we found at all.” Instead, she told Ringle, they had found that an increase in emergency room admissions “was not associated with the occurrence of football games in general.”

Ringle followed up on other “studies” referenced and found that none supported (or that they did not exist) the claims of increased violence against women on Super Bowl Sunday. His story was published on the front page of the Washington Post on January 31st.

Steve Rendall, FAIR's "Senior Analyst," was asked by a reporter from the Boston Globe about the 40 percent claim. Rendall admitted, "It should not have gone out in FAIR materials." (Boston Globe 2/2/93) Where did FAIR get the figure? According to Rendall, it came from a book of photo essays called "Living with the Enemy." So much for "accuracy” and “fairness” in reporting.

In the ensuing 20 years no one has established a link between the Super Bowl and violence against women. And now US News & World Report tells us that the idea of a huge spike in wife beating on Super Bowl Sunday is known to be an “urban myth.”
"Urban myths rarely have a useful purpose other than to confound, outrage, and frighten people into passing them along. But there's a silver lining to this one—the idea that Super Bowl Sunday is linked to the highest incidences of domestic abuse in the country.

While experts in the field dismiss that theory, they value the increased attention paid to domestic violence on the occasion.

"The Super Bowl does not cause domestic violence, and it doesn't increase domestic violence, but it does increase the public's awareness of the issue, which will help victims learn about help and resources," says Cindy Southworth, vice president of development and innovation at the National Network to End Domestic Violence."
Nice. It takes 20 years for a propagandist lie to comfortably transform into something akin to a story about alligators in the New York City sewer system. It's all good because it keeps the curious from wandering around the sewers, or wondering if we really need a Violence Against Women Act. No alligators were harmed in the making of either myth, but a misandrist agenda was advanced by one of them.

They're defending 20 years of cultural poisoning, of course, but it is amazing they're even finally admitting the lie. US News & World Report just matter-of-factly announces that feminists have been lying about domestic violence for decades. Their conclusion, apparently, “What difference does it make?”

It's OK because the ends justify the means.  The gratuitous male bashing, the whining about VAWA; It's all good. Not to have lied would have been the evil.

I have news: Lying in support of your moral superiority damages your moral status.

The Super Bowl Hoax is not an urban legend with benign consequences. It's a lie that has damaged our culture, our polity, feminism's credibility and, most egregiously, the actual victims of domestic violence for 364 days out of 365.