Saturday, April 11, 2015

DOJ Public/private-parts...nership

Following recent allegations that DEA agents had "sex parties" with prostitutes hired by local drug cartels in Colombia, Eric Holder felt compelled to send a memo to all his staff: "I want to reiterate to all Department personnel, including attorneys and law enforcement officers, that they are prohibited from soliciting, procuring, or accepting commercial sex."

Not to worry, Eric. If it's government procurement it is not, by definition, commercial sex: It's a public/private-parts...nership.

Still, since you felt the need to raise the issue, I'd say that while your memo may have been necessary, it was certainly insufficient. Rather, the phrase "Drop your c**ks and grab your socks," comes to mind.

What it lacks in nuance it recovers from pithiness.

Tuesday, April 07, 2015

The establishment of secular State religion

See, your mistake was your naive presumption of goodwill on the part of the SJWs:
I apologize for thinking this was about only equal treatment under the law. I apologize for dismissing conservatives' fears that this slippery slope would lead to de facto banishment from various sectors of the public square.

I thought people just wanted to be left alone. I was wrong.

For many, they wanted forced conversions.
Bonus at the link: Notes on a essay on dissent by Vaclav Havel.

Monday, April 06, 2015

Free exercise thereof

Some balanced discussion on Religious Freedom Restoration laws from The Cato Institute:

Why isn’t the 1st Amendment enough to protect freedom of religion and freedom of association without specific laws?
Religious Freedom and Discrimination
Roger Pilon 11 minutes

What is "legitimate government interest?"
Religious Liberty and Its Detractors
Mollie Hemingway 9 minutes

Sunday, April 05, 2015

First they came for Indiana pizzarias

Easter Sunday, and this past week’s events, prompt me to worry specifically about the future of freedom of conscience in the United States and, generally, about erosion of 1st Amendment rights. Contrast the MSM treatment of Iran's Mullahs of Mass Destruction with that of obscure private citizens in the United States.

Our Secretary of State is engaged in granting the right to produce atomic bombs to a farrow of fanatics in Iran. Iran’s leaders claim their State religion requires destruction of Jews and Christians - in fact, any they identify as apostates. Our leaders tell us Iran's screams of “Death to Jews!” are merely internal politics, while we observe Iranian inspired mass murders proving the opposite.

Here in the land of the free, the Media have mostly been approving of letting Iran have nuclear weapons. "Nothing to see here,” they say, "the real outrage is Indiana’s anti-gay law.” This law, similar in all essentials to laws in 19 other states, and to one at the federal level signed by President Clinton, is intended to protect the free exercise of religion. This is intolerable to a vocal cadre of Social Justice Warriors intent on enforcing thought control. That is, establishing their relativist, secular religion.

The furor eventually ensnared a Mom and Pop business (Memories Pizza) in Indiana when a TV reporter perpetrated a bit of “gotcha” journalism. Threats of violence forced the pizza parlor to shut down after the owner indicated (when specifically asked) she would decline to cater a gay wedding. "Glad to serve gays," she said, "but we wouldn’t do a wedding.”

She’s in hiding at the moment.

The good news is a GoFundMe campaign supporting Memories Pizza is approaching a million dollars. The bad news is that it was necessary.

It is noteworthy that the “Liberal” outrage on this has been applied exclusively to Christians. I would really like to see some intrepid reporter asking Muslim photographers, bakers and pizza makers in Dearborn the same question. Muslim businesses in Dearborn, though, would be considered “hard targets” compared to Christian businesses in rural Indiana.

If gays need to worry about religious persecution, Christianity is not first on the list of dangers. I have not heard that any Christian sect is debating whether the proper way to kill gays is to throw them off tall buildings vs. collapsing a wall on them. This is a consequential theological debate for some Imams. Baking a cake doesn’t enter into it.

The intent of this broad assault on religious conscience goes far beyond whether bakers can be forced to provide cakes with 2 grooms, or photographers frog-marched into the local Satanist temple to take pictures of 2 brides in front of the Sigil of Baphomet. As usual, the real object is aggrandizing the State. How else can “Liberals" make you act as if you agree with them?

That is, calling it Fascist is fair and accurate, however much that seems like hyperbole. Classical liberals did not flinch from naming it, nor should we.

Leo Strauss (1899-1973, the Robert Maynard Hutchins Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus of political science at the University of Chicago) offered this note on the difficulty classical liberal democracies face in his book Spinoza's Critique of Religion:
Liberalism stands or falls by the distinction between state and society, or by the recognition of a private sphere, protected by the law but impervious to the law, with the understanding that, above all, religion as particular religion belongs to the private sphere. Just as certainly as the liberal state will not “discriminate” against its Jewish citizens, so it is constitutionally unable or even unwilling to prevent “discrimination” against Jews by individuals or groups. To recognize a private sphere in the sense indicated means to permit private “discrimination,” to protect it and thus in fact to foster it. The liberal state cannot provide a solution to the Jewish problem, for such a solution would require a legal prohibition against every kind of “discrimination,” i.e., the abolition of the private sphere, the denial of the difference between state and society, and the destruction of the liberal state.
Consider the destruction nearly complete.

Update 3:55PM - added 'classical' to describe the Strauss quote. Trying to prevent any confusion, he wasn't talking about "Liberals," aka "Progressives." He meant Locke, not Alinski.

Hat tip Powerline for the Strauss quote.

Saturday, April 04, 2015

The Michigan Convolution

Rep. Ray Franz Presentation on Roads: What You Should Know
Includes a good video encapsulation from District 101 Representative Ray Franz. About 20 min.

Takeaways:
Proposal 1-15 amends the Michigan Constitution.
It is convoluted.
This will be a low turnout vote.
You have to show up to register your opinion.
There will be a Plan B.

Thursday, April 02, 2015

Ohh Nooo!

Introducing Mrs. Bill.
Here she reacts to the news her email server has been subpoenaed

I must admit I never understood why people thought SNL's Mr. Bill feature was funny, but it does provide a vehicle for poking fun at Mrs. William Jefferson Clinton.

Why?

  • Because everything she has achieved has been made possible by a man.
  • Because her platform is explicitly feminist, but without achievement of her own that means her platform is "I have a vagina." Subtext, "Wouldn't you feel good about yourself if you helped elect the first female President?"
  • Because Hillary was Bill's enabler*: She reflexively vilifies the women her husband molests in order to preserve her path to power privilege.
  • Because "Ohh Nooo!" was Mr. Bill's (the play-dough Mr. Bill) signature laugh line. It's what we would all be saying were Mrs. Bill elected President.

*President Clinton's predations long predate the bimbo eruptions phase and were so egregious that Mrs. Bill could not possibly have been unaware of them. In a 2012 PBS documentary, Clinton's Arkansas Congressional campaign (1974) manager Paul Fray said of president Clinton:
I mean you got to understand at one time there was at least 25 women per day coming through there trying to find him, and I'd tell them he's out on the road, you know and they'd get out the door, but lord it was bad. Bad, bad, bad, bad, bad.
Mrs. Bill's claim to have been blindsided by the Lewinsky affair over 20 years later should be considered in that context. She sold her dignity for power. As the foreign contributions to the Clinton Foundation demonstrate, that's not all she'll sell.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Can I call her "Network Administratrix?"

We live in a surreal time. The distinction between parody and reality has become more difficult to discern, most especially on the left. For example, there is apparently a group named HRC Super Volunteers which has warned NYT reporter Amy Chozick that they will not stand idly by if anyone uses certain adjectives to describe Hillary Clinton.

Verboten words & phrases thus far include "polarizing," "calculating," "disingenuous," "insincere," "ambitious," "inevitable," "entitled," "over-confident," "secretive," "will do anything to win," "represents the past," "out of touch,” and hillaryariously, "tone deaf.” For a first pass, I couldn't have said it better. What exactly would this group be doing differently if they were Hillary opponents?

As battle space prep for Hillary this effort may engage the base, and even intimidate a willing-to-be-intimidated MSM, but reminding everyone else of her most obvious faults is a questionable tactic. Still, Mrs. Bill is running on the platform that she possesses a vagina, so her supporters may think labelling any criticism as sexism can reproduce last cycle's successful use of racism. If you can claim the word "Chicago" is racist when applied to Barack Obama, I suppose you can say "Benghazi" is sexist when applied to Mrs. Bill.

I predict the Word Politsiya at HRC Super Volunteers are going to have their hands full. The list begs for expansion, until the only word you can use besides Mrs. Bill’s name is “is.” IIRC, “bossy” was banned some time ago. But how did “uppity*,” “shifty,” “sleazy,” “screechy,” “greedy,” “phony” and “squawk” not make the list? You could make a revised version of ‘Snow White’ using those as names for the supporting players, or use them to name your email servers.

This is being reported as a serious story by the NYT, WaPO, HuffPo, CBS and Fox, among others. Hard to believe, but the progressive obsession with identity politics has been pushing the envelope for some time.

Update. Mar-29 11:20AM

*As the New Yorker described Ted Cruz:
To many Americans, he is the uppity loudmouth who, in the fall of 2013, less than a year into his first term as a senator, helped bring the federal government to a halt.

Update. Mar-31 8:22AM had to change the title.

Poking through ashes in the Burn-bag

The House Select Committee on Benghazi subpoenaed all SecState Hillary Clinton’s emails related to Libya. After obtaining a two-week extension, Clinton attorney David Kendall responded by letter:
There is no basis to support the proposed third-party review of the server that hosted the hdr22@clintonemail.com account. To avoid prolonging a discussion that would be academic, I have confirmed with the secretary’s IT support that no emails…..for the time period January 21, 2009 through February 1, 2013 reside on the server or on any back-up systems associated with the server.
The top Democrat on the Benghazi panel, Elijah Cummings, said Kendall's letter confirmed
[W]hat we all knew: that Secretary Clinton already produced her official records to the State Department, that she did not keep her personal emails and that the Select Committee has already obtained her emails relating to the attacks in Benghazi.
A comparable scenario would be if Nixon had burned the tapes. Oh, and after he knew they would be considered evidence.

Presumably, Representative Cummings would have taken Nixon's word for it that transcripts of all relevant evidence had already been turned over.

Now I know what Mrs. Bill meant when she said, "There is no classified email."

Thursday, March 26, 2015

NO! Proposal One

RightMI.com is your ‘go to’ site for Proposal 1 information: More Info On Proposal One. Share that link.

For your convenience, I've followed some links from that post and you'll find them below. I recommend checking the full analyses (fifteen minutes or so each), but I've included some shorter references (a couple of minutes) for the time challenged. This is a Constitutional Amendment, people: Understanding the detail is important.

First, from The Mackinac Center, Proposal 1 of 2015: An Analysis. The synopsis.

The full analysis, from which I quote:
Road construction in Michigan is primarily paid for with revenues from fuel taxes and vehicle registration fees. Since these taxes are paid by people driving vehicles on public roads, they function as a user fee.

Taxes motorists pay do not meet the strict definition of user fees, however. Vehicle registration taxes for passenger vehicles, for example, are based on their value rather than their estimated wear on the roads. Further, hybrid and electric cars tend to be heavier and thus cause more wear on the roads, but owners of these vehicles buy less fuel and pay less in fuel taxes.
That does not mean drivers of electric/hybrid vehicles get away free. Remember, this isn't about fixing the roads, it's about modifying the Constitution to increase taxes. What do you think will happen as we continue to reduce our use of taxable fuel? A tax on miles driven, perhaps? Or, increases in registration fees for electric/hybrids:
Proposal 1 would create higher registration fees for electric vehicles and electric-powered hybrids. Owners of these vehicles would pay an additional $75 on their annual registration fees for vehicles under 8,000 pounds and $200 more for vehicles over 8,000 pounds. This applies to vehicles that are “of a brand or has been modified to be powered solely or predominately by electricity under normal average class operating conditions.”
I also commend to your attention a report by the Citizens Research Council of Michigan: Statewide Ballot Issue: Proposal 15-1. Synopsis here.

Full analysis here:
As part of the final agreement, the Legislature intended to earmark a portion of the new revenues generated in FY2016 and FY2017 from the motor fuel tax increases towards paying down current State Trunkline Fund debt tied to past state road building initiatives. The package is estimated to generate just over $1.2 billion during these first two fiscal years from the motor fuel tax increases. Legislative intent was to allocate $400 million in FY2016 and $800 million in FY2017 of the new tax revenue for distribution through the state’s transportation funding formula, most of which would go to state and local road agencies. The remainder (roughly $860 million in FY2016 and $460 million in FY2017) would go to pay down state road debt.

However, the language included in Public Act 468 of 2014 to effectuate this earmark appears to be flawed. The language specifies that “the first $400,000,000.00 received and collected under this act” in FY2016 and “the first $800,000,000.00 received and collected under this act” in FY2017 would be distributed through the state funding formula. But, revenue “received and collected under this act” includes not only the new revenue from the recent legislative changes, but all existing revenue as well. As such, a literal reading of the language would suggest, for instance, that around $1.7 billion (the $800 million intended earmark plus current baseline fuel tax revenue of around $900 million) would be earmarked for debt reduction in FY2016.a Under that reading, FY2016 funding available for formula distribution would actually go down by around $500 million from current levels.
Demonstrating what happens when you write a bill hurriedly and don't have time to read it before voting.

For those who prefer video, CRC has a Webinar (a little over an hour) on Prop 1-15. This expands on the history of the Michigan Constitutional limitations which brought the legislature to propose a Constitutional Amendment, and why that just places increased future constraint on the Legislature. They'll be forced to live with what they created, and they may not find that congenial to addressing future funding issues. For example, they are removing $204 million in funding from state universities - do you think that will stand, or will they come back for more taxes when UofM and MSU complain they're out of money?

Again, thanks to RightMI.com.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

NO! to increased taxes


Put another way that's a 2 Billion dollar tax increase. The good news is, you can say "No!" on May 5th.

Meanwhile, ads for a "Yes" vote on Proposition 1 are increasing in frequency and hysteria. The public/pirate partnership is telling us we can have either this tax increase or killer roads. This is a false choice. We can have good roads without a 2 billion dollar tax increase. The Michigan House of Representatives even produced such a bill, but it got waylaid in the Michigan Senate.

You can tell something about Proposition 1 from the company it keeps. Unions (here, here) & government are in favor, as are road contractors & Chambers of Commerce (here, here, here). Parties with a vested interest will promote their own welfare by trying to convince you they have your interests at heart. In this case, I don't think the Venn diagram would show a large overlap.

It is interesting that at the state level, the Chamber of Commerce is officially neutral on the question (though James Holcomb, a senior VP of the Michigan Chamber, favors it). Perhaps this is because of a report they commissioned from the Anderson Economic Group LLC, which says, in part:
[T]he issues [with Prop 1-15] include all of the following:
• an increase in the general sales and use tax rates on retail purchases from 6% to 7%;
• a $1.69 billion increase in spending by state and local governments in Michigan, including: an increase in funding for roads, on the order of $1.2 billion per year; for the K-12 system, on the order of $300 million per year; and for local government revenue sharing, on the order of $100 million per year; plus smaller amounts for other purposes;
• a significant weakening of the extent to which road users “pay for” the roads without reliance on other taxpayers;
• an increase in the tax burden on businesses and their retail customers;
• substitution of a cents-per-dollar wholesale tax on fuel used for road-going vehicles, for the current retail tax that is set at a particular cents-per-gallon rate; resulting in a substantial increase in the effective tax burden per gallon and an increase that grows over time;
• increasing registration taxes and causing them to remain the same in succeeding years as in the year of purchase, regardless of the age or value of the vehicle;
• a partial restoration of the Michigan earned income tax credit (MEITC); and
• removal of universities as a constitutionally-allowed use of school aid funds; an implied change in the definition of higher education; and a new authorization to use school aid funds for public “community” and “technical” colleges, scholarships, and related programs.
Additional issues, some of which were undoubtedly unknown to legislators voting on the bills late in the lame duck session, include:
• widely varying tax burdens on fuel users, as certain users will pay both the new, higher motor fuel tax but will not benefit from the motor fuel sales tax exemption;
• serious compliance burdens and enforcement risks for users of fuel for boating, industrial, and other purposes other than driving vehicles on public roads;
• likely federal income tax increase among approximately 1.2 million Michigan households that itemize deductions for state and local property taxes;
• increases in taxes paid by working-poor and working-class households who do not claim the EITC;
• possible infringement of federal nondiscrimination laws regarding state-supported scholarships, should the state use the newly-created authorization to fund “scholarships”
only to “public” community colleges;3
• problems caused by significant increase in the registration tax on older vehicles, including some drivers paying more for this tax than the value of the vehicle; and
• the consequences of requiring the state to commission an “adequacy of funding” study for the K-12 system, which may encourage future lawsuits.
One takeaway: You have to pass it to find out what's in it.

If you are still wondering about the wisdom of voting against increasing your taxes when you're being lied to about the redistribution use of the funds, I offer the following items as worth reading:

Vote yes or you all will D-I-E!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Remember folks, Prop 1 is a $2,000,000,000 hike with annual tax hike ratchet mechanism on fuel with a whole lotta public sector union payola (everywhere) and fraud embedded into it.
Just Vote Yes, Willya?
So, about three weeks ago, Safe Roads YES! launched their radio and television ad campaign, designed to convince us that jacking up our per-person state tax-and-fee burden by roughly $248.12 – permanently (not including inflation adjustments to the wholesale fuel tax) – is a good idea. To do so, they’re using the standard tactics of bogus statistics and emotional appeals, praying that the typical low-information voter isn’t going to do even the basic homework into the legislative piece of sausage that the GoverNerd and his hodge-podge of allies are doing their damnedest to slide by us roughly six weeks from now.
Taxpayer Cost for Road Fix 'Compromise' Went from $0 to $1.9 Billion
According to the House Fiscal Agency, $300 million of the tax increase will go to public schools, $95 million to local government revenue sharing and an additional $130 million in subsidies to local bus agencies. Another $260 million will be used for payments to low-income wage earners, a concession added to get votes from Democratic lawmakers, said Jack McHugh, legislative policy analyst for the Mackinac Center for Public Policy.

However, there’s a catch: The deal also includes an increase in the state sales tax from 6 percent to 7 percent, which must be approved by voters May 5, 2015. If voters say "no" then none of the above will go into effect. Lawmakers will have to start over.
$700 million of it has NOTHING TO DO with roads.

Finally, just how bad are the roads? Apparently, not nearly as bad as MDOT would have you believe, since they base their analysis on self interested subjective criteria and downplay objective metrics. That is, "government entities which stand to directly benefit" from the revenue that would be generated by approval of Proposition 1, find that passing Proposition 1 would be a good idea.

Michigan Roads – How Bad?
Cumulatively, the politically useful PASER pavement rating methodology finds Michigan’s State Trunkline road system to be in far worse condition than the DI / RSL methodology that MDoT actually uses to prioritize road work. A logistic regression – MDoT’s preferred analytical tool – shows that there is a statistically significant variance between the methodologies as they are applied to the State Trunkline system. Either the PASER or the DI / RSL methodology is not properly evaluating Michigan pavement conditions.

Most civil engineers consider RSL to be the ‘gold standard’ of pavement condition evaluation, so PASER ratings, as performed for TAMC, are likely wrong. Should you be inclined to think that the PASER evaluations better represent the condition of Michigan’s roads, ask yourself why MDoT and all the other State DoT’s do not use PASER evaluations to prioritize road work. You would also have to ask yourself why the other instrumented pavement rating methodology, FHWA’s IRI, shows Michigan’s State Trunkline roads to be in even better condition than the DI / RSL methodology...

It only takes a quick look at the charts above to realize that there is something quite wrong with the TAMC PASER road ratings being touted by Proposal 2015-01 supporters. Michigan’s mainstream media are regurgitating these politically useful PASER data as authoritative without any further analysis, so many voters in Michigan are being deceived. Deceit seems to be the modus operandi of Proposal 2015-01 proponents. It is long past time to clear the air by conducting DI / RSL evaluations of non federal aid-eligible roads in Michigan. Then we can discuss a time-limited plan to remediate Michigan’s roads.
Indeed.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

The wind in Maine blows mainly into Spain

Job creation, EPA style.
PORTLAND, Maine — The corporate subsidy watchdog agency Good Jobs First found Central Maine Power Co. parent company Iberdrola topped the list of all recipients of federal grants and tax credits, primarily in tax credits for its renewable energy developments.

Energy companies generally topped the list of grants, as the review by Good Jobs First included tax credits wind power companies can receive for each unit of electricity they produce...

John Carroll, spokesman for Iberdrola U.S.A., said that the $2.2 billion in federal grants and tax credits came to the company primarily through the massive American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
Iberdrola is a Spanish company. TWT here.

Warren Buffett, of course, is also aware of this windfall
"I will do anything that is basically covered by the law to reduce Berkshire's tax rate," he said. "For example, on wind energy, we get a tax credit if we build a lot of wind farms. That's the only reason to build them. They don't make sense without the tax credit."
To a capitalist, then, they don't make sense. Period.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

#HDR22 - it depends on the meaning of "classified"

Not quite a year ago, State Department mouthpiece Jen Psaki was unable to name a single accomplishment by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton,
"I am certain that those who were here at the time, who worked hard on that effort, could point out one," Psaki responded...

Later, the State Department provided a list of seven changes resulting from the 2010 audit. They included the reorganization and creation of undersecretary positions and the establishment of three bureaus aimed at countering terrorism, promoting American energy interests and helping civilian leaders of the agency prevent conflict and violence.
This constitutes the foreign policy legacy of the smartest woman on earth? A sad comment on our foreign policy, women, or both. OTOH, if the Department of State had been awake and enforcing the Official Records Act known, they could have added, "Built her own email server for official business."

But the most incredible achievement was not revealed until yesterday's press conference (emphasis mine),

QUESTION: Were you ever -- were you ever specifically briefed on the security implications of using -- using your own email server and using your personal address to email with the president?

CLINTON: I did not email any classified material to anyone on my email. There is no classified material.
A prodigious feat. In four years as US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton never sent or received a classified email.

How the hell do you manage that? By not doing your job (as Psaki's inability to name any accomplishments suggests)? By controlling the definition of what is classified? By deleting 30,000 of the emails and declaring the server off-limits?

We do know (thanks to the hacker Guccifer) that among the emails she deleted (they are reportedly not included in the 55,000 printed pages Mrs. Clinton sent to the Department of State) are some from Sid Blumenthal with annotations like “THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION COMES FROM EXTREMELY SENSITIVE SOURCES AND SHOULD BE HANDLED WITH CARE.”

These are not classified materials because Mrs. Clinton chose not to classify them (the State Department didn't even know about them). She could surely have made them so under classification categories 1.4(b) foreign government information, 1.4(c) intelligence activities, sources, or methods, or cryptology, or 1.4(d) foreign relations or foreign activities of the United States, including confidential sources.

Mrs. Clinton assures us that the deleted emails "... have nothing to do with work [as SecState], but I didn't see any reason to keep them." Now, even if we ignore the fact that "having nothing to do with work," is categorically not the same as ""There is no classified material," one must wonder how many of the deleted emails referenced contributions to the Clinton Foundation from Middle Eastern despots looking for political leverage. If the correspondents kept their copies, they've got real leverage now.

Thursday, March 05, 2015

Two by Steyn

The Field Where Liberty Was Sown
The 800th anniversary of Magna Carta Liberatum.

and

Basic Cable
An inquiry into State secrets.

Oh, while you're there, I recommend picking up a copy of Steyn’s latest book - The [Un]documented Mark Steyn - or any other item that strikes your fancy in the Steyn Store.

Pre-ordering Climate Change: The Facts is another option: Mark still needs our help in the Michael "Fraudpants" Mann trial.

Wednesday, March 04, 2015

Corporate Whore in Chief

The Sage of Omaha Emerges Over 50 Years As Sometimes Clueless

Read that link, but... It's a lot worse than clueless: Warren Buffet is rich because he figured out a long time ago how to take advantage of regulation and subsidy. Buffet sits atop a Ponzi scheme in the same sense as did Bernie Madoff, except Madoff had the moral decency to practice his art directly on his victims, rather than co-opting the monopolist use of force to steal from everybody.

And unlike Buffett, Madoff didn't brag about his thievery while endlessly claiming his victims don’t pay enough in taxes.

Tuesday, March 03, 2015

#hdr22

Today, General David Petraeus pled guilty to “mishandling classified materials,” because he showed some to his mistress.

He could get a year in prison.

Contemporaneously, we discover Secretary of State Hillary Clinton trafficked in classified material for four years, using an unencrypted private email account - hdr22@clintonemail.com - to conduct the business of the Department of State.

She plans to be President of the United States.

I know who should be facing more than a year in prison, but that's not even on the table. The question for hdr22 is whether it will damage her presidential aspirations. We've gone from "a slip of the lip could sink a ship" to "a careless domain could wreck your campaign."

The discrepancy shows Americans are conflicted about the accountability of our senior officials. We get confused about whether exposing mega-reams of classified material to hackers is worse than exposing ourselves to our biographers. We suspect there's a difference between conducting foreign policy and screwing fellow Americans. But then, here's Hillary, for whom there isn't.

Secretary of State Clinton was able to hide her knowledge of the Benghazi massacre from Congressional oversight because she sequestered it in an email account designed to avoid any US government supervision or tracking.

Memos sent to Secretary of State Clinton’s personal (one can no longer say ‘private’) email account include titles like “Comprehensive Intel Report on Libya,” and warnings that, “THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION COMES FROM EXTREMELY SENSITIVE SOURCES AND SHOULD BE HANDLED WITH CARE.”

The memos include notes on the intelligence sources, such as: “Sources with access to the highest levels of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, the leadership of the Armed Forces, and Western Intelligence, diplomatic, and security services.”

Neither Lois Lerner nor Valerie Plame could be reached for comment.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

The Orwell Project

From Mark Steyn, a must read on Free Speech: The Sound of Silence
If you don't believe in free speech for those you hate, you don't believe in free speech at all...

[R]ight now the leftie sexual identity groups are happy to make common cause with the Islamocrazies because they're both about shutting people up...

[I]f 300 years of free speech can be rolled back in the interest of "enhancing public safety", why not property rights, due process, freedom of association, freedom of religion or even (gasp!) sexual liberty?
Of course, we're already there. Property rights are violated daily by TSA strip-searchers, and by EPA regulators: Due process is already disappearing on American college campuses, and your local police routinely seize property from those who have committed no crime: "Forced association" is a key element of Obamacare, and free association has been declared verboten by the IRS: Religious freedom is suffering verbal blitzkrieg from our president who claims murder of identified religious groups - in the name of Allah - is "random:" Sexual liberty is being redefined as "affirmative consent" by the same twisted ideologues who enabled and protect the Rotherham child-rapists in the name of "community cohesion."

You can identify the statists easily. They're the ones trying to make words mean exactly the opposite of what they actually mean: "War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength." -George Orwell, 1984

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Greatest lessons: Winston Churchill

Today marks the death of Winston Spencer Churchill. The words of political philosopher and classicist Leo Strauss are perhaps the best short eulogy:
THE ACHIEVEMENT OF LEO STRAUSS
THE HENRY SALVATORI CENTER FOR THE STUDY OF INDIVIDUAL FREEDOM IN THE MODERN WORLD
January 2000
Appendix B, page 47
Spontaneous Remarks Made by Leo Strauss, on Hearing of the Death of Churchill

The death of Churchill is a healthy reminder to academic students of political science of their limitations, the limitations of their craft.

The tyrant stood at the pinnacle of his power. The contrast between the indomitable and magnanimous statesman and the insane tyrant—this spectacle in its clear simplicity was one of the greatest lessons which men can learn, at any time.

No less enlightening is the lesson conveyed by Churchill’s failure which is too great to be called tragedy. I mean the fact that Churchill’s heroic action on behalf of human freedom against Hitler only contributed, through no fault of Churchill’s, to increase the threat to freedom which is posed by Stalin or his successors. Churchill did the utmost that a man could do to counter that threat—publicly and most visibly in Greece and in Fulton, Missouri. Not a whit less important than his deeds and speeches are his writings, above all his Marlborough—the greatest historical work written in our century, an inexhaustible mine of political wisdom and understanding, which should be required reading for every student of political science.

The death of Churchill reminds us of the limitations of our craft, and therewith of our duty. We have no higher duty, and no more pressing duty, than to remind ourselves and our students, of political greatness, human greatness, of the peaks of human excellence. For we are supposed to train ourselves and others in seeing things as they are, and this means above all in seeing their greatness and their misery, their excellence and their vileness, their nobility and their triumphs, and therefore never to mistake mediocrity, however brilliant, for true greatness.
In class, at the University of Chicago
January 25, 1965
If our president had read this, perhaps he would not have returned the bust of the Prime Minister to Britain. Perhaps he would even have glimpsed a hint of his own limitations and gained a small dash of humility.

It is, alas, just one of the lessons Mr. Obama did not learn in Chicago.

Thursday, January 08, 2015

Why did France allow these thugs in the country?

Why did France allow the tabloid to provoke Muslims?
-by Anjem Choudary, may his name be well known.

Mr. Choudary has risen in defense of the murderers in the Charlie Hebdo massacre:
Contrary to popular misconception, Islam does not mean peace but rather means submission to the commands of Allah alone. Therefore, Muslims do not believe in the concept of freedom of expression, as their speech and actions are determined by divine revelation and not based on people's desires.
Anjem Choudary obviously feels quite strongly about the 12 people murdered at Charlie Hebdo. How else to explain defending the murderers by saying Islam sanctions murder via divine inspiration? He portrays Muslims as mind numbed robots, in thrall to an interpretation of the supernatural unchanged since the 7th century, and which can apparently justify any imaginable atrocity.

How can Muslims be expected to behave about a drawing? Well, badly, but that is their duty. And, anyway, it's France's fault.
Although Muslims may not agree about the idea of freedom of expression, even non-Muslims who espouse it say it comes with responsibilities. In an increasingly unstable and insecure world, the potential consequences of insulting the Messenger Muhammad are known to Muslims and non-Muslims alike.
Although?? As in, “Although Muslims are commanded by their religion to kill those whose speech they dislike, some non-Muslims agree speech you don't like should be limited?” What does this sentence even mean? It's peculiar nonsense as a justification for murder by a farrow of fanatics.

Choudary assures us, as a matter of principle, that Muslims CAN NOT agree that freedom of speech should be tolerated, and your exercise of that freedom is justification for killing you. The responsibility of Muslims is to kill you, sooner rather than later, unless you observe your responsibility to shut up.
Muslims consider the honor of the Prophet Muhammad to be dearer to them than that of their parents or even themselves. To defend it is considered to be an obligation upon them. The strict punishment if found guilty of this crime under sharia (Islamic law) is capital punishment implementable by an Islamic State. This is because the Messenger Muhammad said, "Whoever insults a Prophet kill him.
The religion of psychotic overreaction.
However, because the honor of the Prophet is something which all Muslims want to defend, many will take the law into their own hands, as we often see.
The religion of honor killing.

To what secular law does one hew when commanded by Mohammed to honor him with murder? This is not “taking the law into their own hands.” There is no such law to take into one's hands, and there can be no such penalty prescribed by it.
Within liberal democracies, freedom of expression has curtailments, such as laws against incitement and hatred.
Some liberal democracies don't have such laws, and even those who do have this quaint notion of “justice” to contend with. Those liberal democracies with thought crime laws are reaping what they sowed, both in blood and in giving encouragement to Islamofacist apologists such as Mr. Choudary.
The truth is that Western governments are content to sacrifice liberties and freedoms when being complicit to torture and rendition — or when restricting the freedom of movement of Muslims, under the guise of protecting national security.
Such as the freedom of movement to fly airliners into the Twin Towers? Perhaps Choudary has confused cause and effect.
So why in this case did the French government allow the magazine Charlie Hebdo to continue to provoke Muslims, thereby placing the sanctity of its citizens at risk?
Umm, because the French government, so far, and in spite of your efforts, is not an Islamofascist state? Because they still can't quite believe how unhinged you are?
It is time that the sanctity of a Prophet revered by up to one-quarter of the world's population was protected.
It is time that the murderous thugs who believe in the sanctity of this particular “Prophet” were prevented from committing murder so that one-quarter of the world's population no longer suffers under their yoke. It's time Mr. Choudary realized what he has written is protected by the same principles he would like destroyed.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

No women were harmed in the making of this shirt…


…though a few of the politically correct 'usual suspects' experienced a case of the vapors and elevated pressure of whatever they use as a primary bodily fluid.

I think I want one, though it’s a bit over the top even for me. Too much purple. ;) Unfortunately, it’s currently sold out.

Two cheers for Dr. Matt Taylor (minus one for the tearful apology.)

For balance, maybe we need a line of curtains, slip covers and doilies made from this fabric.

Update: 12:26PM
1 small shirt for a man, 1 giant leap backward for women:
-Glenn Reynolds
A sample, but RTWT.

It seems to me that if you care about women in STEM, maybe you shouldn't want to communicate the notion that they're so delicate that they can't handle pictures of comic-book women. Will we stock our Mars spacecraft with fainting-couches?
Update: 12:50PM
Apparently, Dr. Taylor's shirt was handmade by a female friend of his. Nicely done, Elly!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Thank you


The willingness with which our young people are likely to serve in any war, no matter how justified, shall be directly proportional to how they perceive the veterans of earlier wars were treated and appreciated by their nation.
-George Washington November 10, 1781
Here are some ways to display appreciation and recognize those who protect our freedoms.

Marine Corps-Law Enforcement Foundation

USO

Wounded Warrior Project

Soldiers Angels

Operation Gratitude

This is hardly an exhaustive list, so if you don't see an organization you can support - go and find one you can.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Killers, baby and otherwise

The Center for Disease Control Loses Its Grip
-Paul Rahe

Meanwhile, at the National Institutes of Health, the Director is saying Ebola in the US is a problem because his budget was cut.

That cut was in Obama’s budget. This did not trouble the Obama NIH when they needed millions for Lesbian Obesity research.

Nonetheless, the Dems are "blaming Bush,” whose protocols for disease control were rejected by Obama.

Note that the CDC’s spending remains out of control.

The cost of CDC's gun control, NaCl pogrom and chasing down escaped, infected lab animals apparently prevented them from doing their job.

And they still don’t have a handle on Enterovirus D68 (EV-D68).

The Statists think we’re stupid. And you can tell how many of us actually are stupid by looking at the number of people who would vote for Obama again.

Update, Oct 13, noon: It turns out that the GOP baby killers actually increased the CDC budget by 8.2 percent on Jan. 13th, 2014. The president had proposed a $270 million decrease from fiscal 2012. The House of Representatives passed the omnibus spending bill 376 to 5, giving the CDC $6.9 billion, over half a billion more than the president proposed.

Still, the Dem's Surreality Based Community is blaming the GOP for the Ebola problem.

Update, Oct 13, 5:20PM
This,
"...the federal government not ten years ago created and funded a brand new office in the Health and Human Services Department specifically to coordinate preparation for and response to public health threats like Ebola. The woman who heads that office, and reports directly to the HHS secretary, has been mysteriously invisible from the public handling of this threat. And she’s still on the job even though three years ago she was embroiled in a huge scandal of funneling a major stream of funding to a company with ties to a Democratic donor—and away from a company that was developing a treatment now being used on Ebola patients,"
is beyond belief.

Update, Oct 15, 4:57PM A WORD ON THE NIH BUDGET
"...after the Republican takeover in ’94, the NIH budget rose until the Dems took over Congress in 2006. The Pelosi/Reid Congress was the first to flatline the NIH budget in nominal dollars."
But, read the whole thing at the link above. You will find a further link to a Brief History of NIH Funding: Fact Sheet, written by the Congressional Reasearch Service.

Thursday, September 04, 2014

Pivoting on his own petard

“[W]hat we’ve got to do is make sure that we are organizing the Arab world, the Middle East, the Muslim world, along with the international community to isolate this cancer.”
-Barack Obama on ISIS
Not surprising, merely revelatory. First there’s the organizing part, as if our foreign policy should mirror that of ACORN registering illusory voters, or follow the Jesse Jackson/Al Sharpton model of shaking down a business over some imaginary racial transgression.

In a crisis, Obama relies on his experience.

There is a case to be made that our foreign policy - the president's apology for America in his Egyptian speech, abandoning the Iranian protestors, bombing Libya, releasing five top line terrorists in exchange for one soldier without informing Congress, lying about the causes of Benghazi, vilifying Israel, sabotaging a Status of Forces agreement with Iraq, setting dates certain for withdrawal from Iraq and Afghanistan, deposing Mubarak in favor of the Muslim Brotherhood, drawing imaginary red lines for Bashar al-Assad, arming ISIS’ precursors in Syria, etc. - has been intended to disorganize, indeed to induce chaos in, the Middle East. So, organizing the Middle East would be a 180.

Just a few days ago, the president declared, “[W]e don’t have a strategy yet.” Now we do. Apparently, it’s the opposite of the strategy we’ve been following for the last five+ years. That’s why we haven’t already “organized” the Middle East. Unmentioned is the idea that had we even attempted it, ISIS likely wouldn’t have come into existence.

The fractious “community” that is the Middle East has now been set up to take the blame for Obama’s failures. It won’t be his fault if they refuse to get organized.

Finally, the choice of the word “isolate” is quite scary. Is that what you want to hear from your doctor if you have cancer? Sounds like, “We can give you a few more months, but the tumor is inoperable, and anyway, it metastasized.”

The word you want to hear is “eradicate.” It's the president who is isolated.

Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Facebook Über Alles

Let us not forget: Facebook's experiment in "social contagion" is what the NYT, MSNBC, et. al. do every day.

Look up C. M. Kornbluth's The Space Merchants and the Milgram experiment. Reflect on how Reich propaganda minister Joeseph Goebbels would have regarded Facebook.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Remember

Dear Mr. President, the first President has a memo for you:
The willingness with which our young people are likely to serve in any war, no matter how justified, shall be directly proportional to how they perceive how the veterans of earlier wars were treated and appreciated by their nation.
-George Washington November 10, 1781



Tuesday, April 08, 2014

An Analysis of Reasons for the Disparity in Wages Between Men and Women

In a decade, I've become tired of writing about the lie of the "wage gap." So, here's all the information you need to make an informed decision. Call it an appeal to the authority of the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics.

To do equal work, on average, women would have to toil 7 hours more per week, increase their exposure to job related injury and death by a factor of 13 and substantially increase their risk of being laid off during economic downturns.

The "wage gap" promoters ignore such relevant variables as industry, occupation, continuous years in the workforce, level of education, field of study and experience. No significant study has ever found that women with the same education and experience, who work the same number of hours, earn less than their male colleagues.

There is no wage gap.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

"Eppur si muove"

Did you turn off all your lights last night for “Earth Hour?”

If not, Gawker’s Adam Weinstein wants you arrested. In the spirit of Cardinal Bellarmine, he even invokes Italian courts as precedent.

Oh, he makes exceptions for “[Idiots,] ...too stupid to do anything other than choke the earth's atmosphere a little more with …[their] Mr. Pibb burps and …[their] F-150's gassy exhaust.” No, he won’t arrest those fools. At least not at first, but their crimes are the only ones he specifies.

I, for one, am happy I do not drink Mr. Pibb, and I'm putting off any purchase of an F-150.

Weinstein proposes arrest and punishment (inquisition goes unmentioned) only for “the body of purulent pundits, paid sponsors, and corporate grifters who exploit the smallest uncertainty at the edges of a settled science.” I suppose he will decide who those miscreants are by carefully identifying the most minuscule uncertainties in a science rife with uncertainty (just ask the IPCC). He doesn't mention any particular uncertainties, so we are left to wonder what might get us arrested. Maybe he will propose setting up a federal shibboleth panel to adjudicate.

He leaves unexplained why he exempts ‘idiots’ from his demand that “Those malcontents must be punished and stopped.” Ignorance of the law is typically no excuse.

He doesn't mention Chinese coal power plants. Surely, all involved there should be arrested.

Maybe he’s just temporarily waiving the 'individual incarcerate' until the new regime is up and running, and can persecute a few good examples. Perhaps he wants to be sure there’s an exception to punishing thought crimes and free speech of which he can avail himself when the next IPCC report admits the climate change models are garbage, and the previously predicted extinctions are neither happening, nor likely to.

If true to his prejudices, Mr. Weinstein will have celebrated “Earth Hour” last night. Perhaps he lit a candle, a part of the ritual for many.

If so, he negated his intent to reduce CO2 emissions. Worse, when the ceremony ended, he contributed to the ensuing power surge: Another good way to produce more CO2 than would have been the case without the obeisance to the Church of Environmentalism.

Like carbon credits, observing “Earth Hour” is a means of obtaining a “feel good” indulgence from the Church. As Cardinal Bellarmine instructed Galileo, Mr. Weinstein says we cannot "hold or defend" views contrary to those of the Church.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Power on Hour

Tonight is "Earth Hour," when environmental extremists and useful idiots invite us to sit quietly in the dark and share the guilt of being human. This ritual of shame promotes original sin as doctrinized by the Church of Environmentalism.

So, be sure to turn all your electric lights on between 8:30 and 9:30 to celebrate the ingenuity of man and the blessing of electricity.

A great, short article on this by Canadian professor Ross McKitrick can be found here. Recommended reading.