Wednesday, September 02, 2015

Depends on who the definer of "marked" is

According to The Washington Post, Hillary Clinton sent emails from her private server that the State Department redacted for reasons of national security before they (StateDept) released them to the public.
Although government officials deemed the e-mails classified after Clinton left office…

The classified e-mails, contained in thousands of pages of electronic correspondence that the State Department has released, stood out because of the heavy markings blocking out sentences and, in some cases, entire messages.

The State Department officials who redacted the material cited national security as the reason for blocking it from public view.
Lest we blame the Department of State for tardiness in this matter, the first time they knew about these emails was 2 years after she left office and turned over 55,000 printed pages.
"I have said repeatedly that I did not send nor receive classified material and I'm very confident that when this entire process plays out that will be understood by everyone," she said. "It will prove what I have been saying and it's not possible for people to look back now some years in the past and draw different conclusions than the ones that were at work at the time. You can make different decisions because things have changed, circumstances have changed, but it doesn't change the fact that I did not send or receive material marked classified."
It's certain that by the time this ends it will be understood by everyone that she kept saying what she says.

Her defense has evolved from "no classified emails were sent or received" to "they weren’t classified at the time" she wrote them. But, it appears failing to do so was a mistake.
In the small fraction of emails made public so far, Reuters has found at least 30 email threads from 2009, representing scores of individual emails, that include what the State Department's own "Classified" stamps now identify as so-called 'foreign government information.' The U.S. government defines this as any information, written or spoken, provided in confidence to U.S. officials by their foreign counterparts.

This sort of information, which the department says Clinton both sent and received in her emails, is the only kind that must be "presumed" classified, in part to protect national security and the integrity of diplomatic interactions, according to U.S. regulations examined by Reuters..

Although it appears to be true for Clinton to say none of her emails included classification markings, a point she and her staff have emphasized, the government's standard nondisclosure agreement warns people authorized to handle classified information that it may not be marked that way and that it may come in oral form..

Clinton and her senior staff routinely sent foreign government information among themselves on unsecured networks several times a month, if the State Department's markings are correct. Within the 30 email threads reviewed by Reuters, Clinton herself sent at least 17 emails that contained this sort of information. In at least one case it was to a friend, Sidney Blumenthal, not in government.

The information appears to include privately shared comments by a prime minister, several foreign ministers and a foreign spy chief, unredacted bits of the emails show. Typically, Clinton and her staff first learned the information in private meetings, telephone calls or, less often, in email exchanges with the foreign officials.
That she has said repeatedly she “did not send or receive classified information” (the “marked classified” bit showed up later, as demonstrated in the next paragraph) contains probably the only true thing she’s said about the whole sordid mess: She's said it repeatedly. One example from her March, 2015 UN press conference:
“I did not email any classified material to anyone on my email. I'm certainly well aware of the classified requirements and did not send classified material."
As noted here in March, the emails Secretary of State Clinton wrote weren’t marked “classified,” because Secretary of State Clinton didn’t mark them classified when she sent them.

Why not? She’s sloppy with National Security information? She actually does not know the classified requirements? She forgot she was using her own private server?

This is not, as she has portrayed it, some internecine struggle with the intelligence community over the definition of “classified.” The emails she wrote are classified according to the State Department and were classified when she sent them. It's a security breach whether she recognized that or not. The meaning of "is" in "There is no classified information," doesn't change that.

National security information doesn’t become more sensitive over time, it becomes less sensitive. Otherwise, we’d wait forever for release of all the Nixon tapes, military details about the attack on Pearl Harbor and the identity of Benedict Arnold.

Can anyone come up with any explanation excusing Hillary Clinton from the allegation she sent classified email not involving incompetence? Any explanation not leading inexorably to the conclusion that she cannot be trusted with Presidential level information? Anyone?

Bueller? Bueller?

Thursday, August 27, 2015

What a piece of work is Mann

Highly recommended: Mark Steyn's "A Disgrace to the Profession", to anyone interested in the genesis of Michael Mann's Hokey Stick. Steyn's book is not an attack on the idea of AGW, it's an exposé of, arguably, the biggest scientific fraud since Piltdown; and, indisputably, the most consequential.

Using the words of scientists who strongly believe AGW is true and of those who are more skeptical, it lays out a convincing case that there are differences of opinion among scientists on AGW, if not so much about Michael Mann.

If you (mistakenly) conflate Mann's agenda with the discipline of climate science, you will like the book still less than even Mann's “allies” like him. That doesn't mean you shouldn't read it: If you are concerned about erosion of public support for “doing something” about AGW, you should read it so you can help climate science regain a modicum of respectability. As long as Mann is left to hijack the discussion, threaten the careers of distinguished scientists and subvert the peer review process, it is unlikely reasonable people will find any common ground on the topic.

Mann has been able to force the entire discipline of climate science into a corner where failure to defend his work is equated with failure to defend, in Mann's words, “the cause.” A strange way for a scientist to think. If there is a single principle that distinguishes science from religion it is that scientific theories are falsifiable. Mann is pushing the religion of Mann, not the science of climate study.

The damage to science itself is profound. The damage to freedom of speech is, perhaps, even worse - which is how Steyn got involved in a lawsuit. And came to write this book. The First Amendment is as much subject to Mann's attack as is the scientific method.

I consider myself well informed on the AGW debate, but I learned quite a bit from this book. You probably will too. This book does not deny AGW, it denies Michael Mann's devious, unprincipled, ad-hominem attacks on those who dare ask a single question.

We're being asked to restructure the world economy because of a drawing based on misrepresentation, willful hyperbole and astounding arrogance. You should read "A Disgrace to the Profession" in order to understand what that means, whatever your position on AGW. You should buy "A Disgrace to the Profession" (also at Amazon) because doing so helps defend free speech. Even if Mann were right, it is long past time his bullying lawfare was stopped.

Monday, August 24, 2015

#OnlyOurTribe'sLivesMatter

Must read Op-Ed from Ben Carson:
Ben Carson: #BlackLivesMatter misfire.
The opening paragraphs:
The idea that disrupting and protesting Bernie Sanders speeches will change what is wrong in America is lunacy. The "BlackLivesMatter" movement is focused on the wrong targets, to the detriment of blacks who would like to see real change and to the benefit of its powerful white liberal funders using the attacks on Sanders for political purposes that mean nothing for the problems that face our community.

The notion that some lives might matter less than others is meant to enrage. That anger is distracting us from what matters most. We're right to be angry, but we have to stay smart.
RTWT

#BlackLivesMatter is for-profit Tribalism.

It is a blatantly racialist meme; declaring blood, tribe and territory Über Alles. Old, pale, .01 percenters like George Soros are funding it.

Can you say Plantation?

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

The problem with NAtionale soZIalists

Thanks to Instapundit, I was made aware of this post by Ezra Klein, whose credentials include work at The Washington Post, Bloomberg News, MSNBC and The American Prospect.

It’s from 2006, so it isn’t news. Then again, he’s writing the same sort of stuff today.
Not everything the Nazis touched was bad. Hitler was a vegetarian. Volkswagen is a perfectly good car company. Universal health care is a perfectly good idea. Indeed, the Nazis actually did a pretty good job increasing economic growth and improving standards of living (they were, many think, the first Keynesians, adopting the strategy even before Keynes had come up with it), pushing Germany out of a depression and back into expansion. Unfortunately, they also set out to conquer Europe and exterminate the Jews. People shouldn't do that.

Update Sigh. Let's try to be clearer, then. The problem with the Nazis was that they were genocidal white supremacists with an appetite for continental hegemony. To invoke them in order to tar, by association, privatization, or "appeasement," or socialist policies, or other policies that were not related to their murderous crimes is a noxious debate tactic that should be widely and rapidly condemned.
OK, let’s be clearer. Hitler was a vegetarian who, instead of cows, slaughtered people. This doesn’t reflect badly on vegetarians or cows, it just shows Mr. Klein’s thoughts on the topic he takes to hand are incoherent. Should we be more kindly disposed toward Stalin because he made a non-aggression pact with a vegetarian?

Volkswagen is a good car company. Note the Clintonian ‘is.” During World War Two, OTOH, it's believed that as many as four out of every five workers at Volkswagen's plants were slave laborers. Klein neglected to mention that Krupp makes decent coffee makers. Still, Volkswagen and Krupp subscribed to the “Arbeit macht frei” meme.

Universal health care was Bismarckian, not Hitlerian. And it’s not inarguably a good idea. The face of Hitlerian health care is Dr. Josef Mengele. His practice was quite restricted, of course, but it was based on the idea that the State owned his patients. For a more general view of Statist health care, where the State only leases patients, check out Britain’s NHS or the Veteran's Administration.

The hard-core Keynesians were the Volk running the Weimar regime. When they printed, they Printed. Hitler had to start a world war for his spending spree.

Alongside starting a world war, I think the economic boosting technique Weimar failed to grasp was starvation of slave laborers. When labor costs are zero, productivity goes up. When health care is delivered by Dr. Mengele, insurance costs become irrelevant. Neither does it immediately hurt your economy if you seize the Sudetenland and Poland. Think of all the broken windows that needed repair.

So, is invoking the NAZIs when discussing political policies other than genocide a noxious debate technique? In some cases, I’m sure. But Mr. Klein can’t name any of them.

Fascism is accurately defined as the political belief that the state is more important than the individual. “Nothing outside the state, nothing above the state, everything within the state.” You may object that that is a Mussolini quote. I’d claim Hitler wished he had said it.

This collectivist mind-set is fundamental to praising corporatist automobile companies who would avail themselves of slave labor. It’s a conviction you must hold before you force free people to accept government rationed health care. It’s necessary thinking for idealizing Keynesian economics. Collectivism is the perfect philosophical precursor to genocidal hegemony. The NAZIs were collectivists.

No matter what the leaders say, collectivist states always end this way. For evidence that the cause is not Hitler, but Nationalism and Socialism, I recommend reading The Black Book of Communism.

Of the two collectivist pillars of NAZI political thought, which do we blame more, NAtionalism or soZIalism? I’m not sure it matters. When you combine nationalism and socialism, you’re on the road to justification for "racial purification.” In fact, you’re likely to need the justification because someone like Hitler, Stalin or Mao is always lurking.

Update 4:10PM:
Here is an example where collectivist supporters of federal funding for Planned Parenthood will not engage in "noxious debate," and they condemn any such discussion "widely and rapidly." But when you cut a living baby's face open in order to extract the brain intact, I'd say a Mengele comparison is not only apt, but required. So are criminal charges.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

"A Disgrace to the Profession"

You could make many worse decisions about how to use your resources to defend free speech, promote open scientific inquiry and oppose the petty fascists in the White House and EPA, than by buying copies of Mark Steyn's latest book and giving them to the warm mongers with whose acquaintance you may be afflicted.

A review by Professor Judith Curry.

"A Disgrace To The Profession" is also available at Amazon, but buying an autographed copy directly from Steyn better helps him defray the costs of Michael Mann's lawfare.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Google's Alphabet, "A" is for amoral

Do You Trust Larry Page?

Though Mr. "Page is certainly convinced of his righteousness," I am quite sure I disagree with him about what constitutes a "better world." I make that claim from observation, not philosophical musing. Page is amoral, as reflected by his business ventures.

"Don't be evil" is only half of the amoralist's world view: The difficulty one has in peering out from a hyper-pragmatic moral vacuum is telling the difference.

What makes the author at the link above suppose that Nest (for example) won't be monetized by advertising? Spying on people to ascertain what ads to serve them is the entire basis of Google.

When your Nest thermostat is reporting directly to the EPA that you've not set it lower but you're using less gas, will they come to impose a fine if you have a Federally non-compliant woodstove? I guess that's not technically advertising, but it's certainly revenue enhancing for the Feds. If they buy the data from Google.

When your fridge is broadcasting how much ice cream, and what brand and flavor you eat, is it monetized by advertising? Only if Ben and Jerry and WeightWatchers bid on the data, I guess.

Android is not a cesspit of privacy violation and a security disaster by accident, and possibly not even by design. Larry Page just doesn't care. As the author points out, Android is a Unix derivative, just like iOS. It's how Unix was bent to corporate intent that's the difference. Android is "free." TANSTAAFL, as Robert Heinlein was wont to say.

Self driving cars are not being made for the convenience of the customer. They'll help update Google Maps and report where you are at any moment, where you've been, and predict where you'll go next. They'll record every conversation, like your up-to-date television does now.

And forget that anyway, the objective is to make everything near you report about you on Twitter: The corporate surveillance State.

Imagine the public shaming to erupt in California when your bathroom scale reports a dripping shower head on its Facebook page. I don't exaggerate: Remember, "If it's yellow let it mellow, if it's brown flush it down?" That was California's partial answer to the water crisis of the 70's. It's back, and soon they'll have a way to check if you're obeying. First, they gave you a toilet that must be flushed twice when it's brown, next they're going to check if you dare flush once when it's yellow. Ads to get you to purchase the required sensor will be placed on your browser by Google when you search for "bathroom remodel."

Google has several health care initiatives: Do you want them to know when you get a Viagra prescription? Start taking a cancer drug? Refill only half as often as expected because you can't afford it, and are cutting your pills in half? Do you get ads for hookers, funeral homes and Canadian pharmacies as a result? That's rhetorical.

Do the ads display on your new Nest 10 inch LCD thermostat with the microphone that not only lets you speak to it, but to Page's servers? That's an educated guess.

If you book an abortion, should the people who buy from Planned Parenthood get "Buy it now" rights on the parts supply? Google will sell that information if they are allowed to. Or even if they aren't.

I trust Page to follow his "righteousness." That is, to promote a soul sucking deconstruction of individual rights the extent of which we can't yet quite grasp.

P.S.
Larry Page, of course, is not alone.
Harvard student loses Facebook internship after pointing out privacy flaws
Surveillance-based manipulation: How Facebook or Google could tilt elections
Billion Dollar Bully Trailer
Turning Humans Into Algos: The Trend Of Employees Wearing "Biosensing Wearable Devices" At Work

Saturday, August 08, 2015

Resolute intelligence


We need neither an a**hole nor a fool, nor someone who is both, to challenge the status quo.

Pointless-headed intellectuals

Howard Dean, among others, has suggested that Scott Walker is unfit to be president because his lack of a college degree renders him "unknowledgeable." It does occur to me that not having a college degree is also true of most voters.

When I think of academically certified intellectual capacity and high office, my first thought is of the Academius Prime of American politics: Woodrow Wilson was a PoliSci PhD and President of Princeton. He won a Nobel Prize. He wore his academic credentials as a badge of honor.

He was also a racist of the first water: To quote Wilson himself on this subject, "[S]elf-preservation [forced whites] to rid themselves, by fair means or foul, of the intolerable burden of governments sustained by the votes of ignorant negroes.” He was a eugenicist, because he wanted fewer of those "ignorant negroes” imposing an “intolerable burden” on the right-thinking government overclass. We had to wait for Lyndon Johnson until the Progressives "solved" this problem to their satisfaction.

Wilson presided over the re-segregation of the federal Civil Service. He told blacks, to their faces, that segregation was good for them.

Wilson was the driving force behind the trial balloon - The League of Nations - that eventually birthed the UN. He oversaw creation of the Federal Reserve, the Federal Income Tax/IRS and the Selective Service. He took an academically contrived, idealistic and completely unrealistic "14 points" to Versailles and then signed, and heavily promoted, the treaty that led directly to WWII.

He thought the Declaration of Independence was irrelevant and that the Constitution merely impeded progress. This bit of intellectual hubris was to re-surface when FDR attempted to pack the Supreme Court.

Wilson’s academic credentials drove his belief that he knew, better than anyone, how everyone ought to live. He is the prototype of American Progressivism. He was an elitist who credited himself with having good intentions.

In passing, I’ll note that Abraham Lincoln, Henry Ford, Steve Jobs and Bill Gates might disagree about the relationship of a college degree to intelligence, and more especially, to competence. None had such a degree.

This sort of attack on those of demonstrated competence means the attackers are afraid and don’t have real arguments. It echoes the laughter from MIT professor of economics Jonathan Gruber when he discusses "the stupidity of the American voter.” We’re all “ignorant negroes” to Progressives.

It encapsulates Barry Sotero’s disdain for the flyover country types “clinging to their guns and religion.” It’s like laughing at Walker's lack of diversity because he’s not 1/32 Cherokee.

Next up: Carly Fiorina. We’ll hear them laughing that she’s not a real woman because she opposes dismemberment of intact dead babies to extract contractually specified parts. The intellectually correct thing, of course, is to ridicule such beliefs; as Elizabeth Warren does in that link.

It’s worth noting that the bill to defund PP was sponsored by LtCol and US Senator Joni Ernst. A mother and grandmother: A woman Senator Warren implies is orchestrating this particular battle in the #WaronWomen.


P.S.
Oh, and in revisiting Ms. Warren’s speech I’m reminded of Progressive economic ignorance. She repeats the canard that none of the Federal money paid to PP goes toward abortion. Apparently, the educational opportunities at Harvard do not include a vocabulary list containing the word “fungible."

Friday, August 07, 2015

Looking into the void

There's one star and couple of dust clouds that might become stars.
"The larger the mob, the harder the test. In small areas, before small electorates, a first-rate man occasionally fights his way through, carrying even the mob with him by force of his personality. But when the field is nationwide, and the fight must be waged chiefly at second and third hand, and the force of personality cannot so readily make itself felt, then all the odds are on the man who is, intrinsically, the most devious and mediocre—the man who can most easily adeptly disperse the notion that his mind is a virtual vacuum. The Presidency tends, year by year, to go to such men. As democracy is perfected, the office represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. We move toward a lofty ideal. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart's desire at last, and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.”
– H. L. Mencken
Huckabee, Christie and Kasich made good showings last night. Too bad. See above.

Bush comes to mind when reading "the man who can most easily adeptly disperse the notion that his mind is a virtual vacuum.”

Trump should be seen to have destroyed himself, but I’m doubting it will turn out that way.

Paul seemed pinched and sour, and it’s hard to imagine him as president.

Rubio and Cruz should pick up from their performances, but probably won’t gain enough.

Carson is such a very nice man.

Walker is unflappable. To the point of appearing passionless.

Some are complaining about the gotcha nature of the Fox questions, and that the moderators blathered for over 30% of the debate time. The latter I agree with, the former makes me ask the question, “If friendly questioning is necessary for a Republican to become president, what's the GOP nominee going to do in the actual election?”

Stop whining about Fox and check out how it's done: Carly Fiorina’s handling of Chris “tingly leg" Matthews (This is the full exchange, so even if you've seen an edited version of it already, you might find it worthwhile.)

And debate watchers are complaining that Megyn Kelly’s questioning was too aggressive?

As entertainment B-, as a debate D+.

Wednesday, August 05, 2015

PP's "our protocol" is just a euphemism for "following parts orders"

Mark Steyn wrote a post today - Bakin' Baby Syndrome - which is a must read.

He destroys Planned Parenthood's latest defense for their prenatal pecuniary peccadilloes - "that it's a small part of what they do." He reveals an even more sinister reason for why PP is against OTC birth control than a reduction in their parts supply via fewer unwanted pregnancies. Plan-B might render baby parts valueless. Threatens the revenue stream. Nobody wants to buy toxic human parts.

My follow-up question to the assertion that "abortions are "only three per cent" of what Planned Parenthood does" is, "What percent of your income is based on abortion, and have you increased that revenue in exchange for modifying abortion procedures?" I'm not interested in, "How many abortions do you perform compared to, say, mammograms?"

Mark's only false step in this critique of Mengele-Inc. is in the opening paragraph,
The fifth in an apparent series of twelve Planned Parenthood undercover videos shows Melissa Farrell, director of research for Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast, discussing how to manipulate the abortion procedure in order to ensure the "fetus" is delivered "intact" and thus able to be cannibalized for body parts. As Ms Farrell puts it, if a client "has a specific need for a certain portion of the products of conception and we bake that into our contract, and our protocol, that we follow this. So we deviate from our standard in order to do that."
I don't think Mark meant to say “cannibalized,” I think he meant “selectively edited.”

Tuesday, August 04, 2015

So you don't have to...

Last night, I watched fourteen (no Trump, no Gilmore, no Huckabee) of the GOP presidential candidates on C-SPAN in NH for 2 hours.

It was a discussion format (not a debate) with some local radio guy asking questions of each candidate in a random (they drew numbers) sequence. Strictly timed. Questions were half change-ups, a quarter sliders, twenty percent curves and five percent fastballs. No serious follow-up, but mostly that wasn't necessary.

The audience was not moved to cheers, but they had been asked to restrain themselves: Like good NH Republicans, they did. C-SPAN's shots of the audience showed serious faces engaged in quite a bit of head nodding. No reading of the atmosphere from that. There were a few empty seats, and I'd guess there were several hundred in attendance. Demographically, they looked like NH, not NYC.

In the following short summary, I'm talking about the performance in this 'cattle call;' not about records, positions expressed in other venues or past actions. Of course, I did bring expectations.

Overall, you have to have come away with a feeling that the GOP has an embarrassment of riches in their field of presidential hopefuls.

Rubio looked and sounded most presidential by a fair margin. Very good answers. Nailed the immigration issue, which is his Achille's heel, so he'd better. If Nixon lost to JFK because he didn't shave, Rubio 'won' because he looked as if he were already speaking from the Oval Office. That impression was probably reinforced by the fact he was on satellite and looking directly into the camera. (He, Paul and Cruz were on via satellite from DC due to the Planned Parenthood defunding vote. It occurred to me later; Why wasn't Graham?)

Walker and Fiorina were just good, not great. They tied Rubio for second in the 30 seconds of free time each candidate finished up with, but both blanded out during Q&A. Maybe it seemed that way because there were many others who said similar things.

Walker lost points on a question about whether global warming climate change is anthropogenic. Didn't answer it, just called Obama's regs bad. This is one place where follow-up from the moderator would have been welcome.

Maybe my familiarity with Fiorina's message raised my expectations and my impression suffered from not hearing it with fresh ears. She is a lot better when she's under some pressure and can press an attack by flipping the premise of 'gotcha' questions from the Democrats with bylines. No opportunities for that last night. It was a target free environment.

Carson's humility, humanity and character were front and center. His final 30 was probably the best, ahead of the 3 already mentioned. He criticized Obamacare not just for its oozing sores and suppurating heart, but as something antithetical to the Founders vision.

Lindsey Graham was surprisingly good, maybe the 'winner' overall. Turned everything into National Security/Military. Engaging, and had the best one liners (there were few), and I seriously doubt they could have been rehearsed. Just proves these things are more entertainment than substance.

Perry better than expected, but outclassed by the field. Ditto Paul and Jindal.

Cruz very good, but maybe too earnest. Not fake, just earnest. He's not selling you his used car, he's trying to save the country. To me, that was a credible message. For those worried he is 'radical' it would just confirm their bias.

Bush, Pataki, Christie, Kasich, Santorum - better than any Democrat, but that's saying not much. They all whiffed on change ups about "what the Government should do." One way or another, they just have a different Big Government in mind. None of them will get my vote.

Trump's name was never spoken.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Ex-Im BS

McConnell says he was forced to hold a vote on the Ex-Im Bank renewal because supporters demand it. Funny, it worked the other way around when Harry Reid was in charge.
McConnell told colleagues Friday that he had little choice but to ensure a vote on the bank because its supporters threatened to block votes on other amendments.

“Supporters of the Ex-Im Bank are demanding a vote to reauthorize it, and they’ve made clear they’re ready to stop all other amendments if denied that opportunity," he said. “They’ve already proven they have the votes to back up the threat too."

But Cruz ripped McConnell’s tactics, and conservatives applauded his salvo.

“Senator Ted Cruz's speech today is evidence of the rage that conservatives have toward Senator Mitch McConnell,” one conservative strategist told The Hill. “In essence, Sen. Cruz made a strong case that McConnell's whole agenda is a lie to the conservative movement.”

Cruz and McConnell have had a rocky relationship since the freshman conservative came to the upper chamber in 2013.

They clashed most fiercely that year over the best strategy to oppose the implementation of ObamaCare. Cruz pushed Republicans to oppose any government funding resolution that allowed the law to take effect. McConnell believed the 16-day government shutdown that resulted from a standoff over spending hurt the GOP’s brand.

Cruz and McConnell clashed again in December and earlier this year over a Department of Homeland Security funding bill. Cruz insisted it include language stopping President Obama’s executive order shielding up to five million illegal immigrants form deportation.

McConnell eventually moved a clean funding bill after Senate Democrats repeatedly filibustered language targeting the executive action on immigration.
Block what other amendments? He isn't permitting any.

In summary, the supporters of Ex-Im are going to shut down the Senate if McConnell doesn't give them a chance to rape taxpayers. If he doesn't allow a vote, McConnell is afraid it'll be like the government "shutdown" - bad for the GOP.

So, if the GOP shuts it down it's the GOP's fault. If the Dems shut it down, it's the GOP's fault.

Get a spine, Mitch.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Open Letter to Senator McConnell

Dear Mr. Majority Leader,

I watched Senator Cruz speak on the Senate floor about your vow that there would be no vote allowed on renewal of the Export-Import Bank. Either Senator Cruz suffers from a catastrophic hearing impairment combined with serious cognitive disability, or your assurance was akin to “if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor:” You've decided there will be such a vote. The Ex-Im renewal amendment will be coupled with an amendment to repeal Obamacare that you've personally offered.

How generous of you. Some Republicans (who, I will remind you, comprise the party of which you are Senate Majority Leader) helped you pass Obamatrade based on your promise Ex-Im would die without a vote. Now they have to fight a battle you told them wouldn't happen. Crony capitalist leaning “Republicans” who want Ex-Im renewal get another kick at the can, but can symbolically vote against Obamacare.

You provide an easy choice for Democrats. They know the President has their back and will veto any Obamacare repeal. Democrats can vote to renew the Ex-Im Bank and even to repeal Obamacare, knowing only the former would ever be allowed to stand.

You've called this a “compromise,” giving Democrats and corporatist-state Republicans their chance to perpetuate a give away of taxpayer funds, and giving Republicans the chance to play-vote to repeal Obamacare. What a sham. And a shame.

I also understand you will not allow Senator Paul's amendment to stop taxpayer funding for Planned Parenthood to come to a vote. Given Planned Parenthood's recently revealed nonchalance about selling dismembered babies' organs, which they view as clumps of waste tissue with a market, Senator Paul's amendment seems to me a timely, winning and principled one. A good issue with which to challenge the modern eugenicists' newspeak about “tissue samples”, ”calvarium” and “less crunchy.”

But beyond merely opposing these horrors on principle, did it ever occur to you that a compromise might be to fund the Ex-Im Bank with the half a billion tax dollars annually given to Planned Parenthood? That would be a compromise amendment. One where the Democrats are forced to pick their poison. It would have been far better than offering the hemlock to your fellow GOP Senators while serving milk and honey to the opposition.

By the way, if I were writing such an amendment, I would also include a provision to subtract from any future Ex-Im Bank funding the $10.3 million the bank provided as a loan guarantee to subsidize the installation of some solar panels in Belgium. Those panels were made by Solyndra, perhaps the poster child for public-pirate partnership. The installation was completed a year prior to the issuance of the loan guarantee and created exactly zero jobs. Ex-Im didn't facilitate this export, they shoveled money into a failing company as a matter of political policy.

The Ex-Im Bank is a tool for politicians and lobbyists. It is a highly visible example of the unholy alliance between the Federal government and the corporate-welfare queens laughingly calling themselves capitalists. The private sector is more than up to the task of financing viable business ventures, but apparently provides insufficient opportunities for graft and corruption.

Bad though Ex-Im is, I'd rather waste the money on failing “green” energy companies than on “non-profit” mega-abortion mills. Planned Parenthood is the single largest perpetrator of abortions in the world. It commits an estimated third of a million abortions per year. About as many abortions as the total of half the remaining G7 nations (Germany, France, Canada) combined. Most of those abortions are performed on black and hispanic women in our inner-cities, where the number of abortions typically exceed the number of live births. How about shoving the #WaronWomen and #BlackLivesMatter memes back in the faces of the hypocrites who excuse this leisurely genocide?

In short, Mr. Majority Leader, I agree with Senator Cruz: You are acting like Harry Reid. Senator Cruz is also right that introducing your own Obamacare amendment is a distraction, intended to fail. And intended to muddy the waters.

I am in full-throated agreement with Senator Cruz' assessment of the GOP leadership. I've been disillusioned for many years, and your personal betrayal of your fellow Senators is, sadly, just a small example of the wider corruption which is driving me from the party.

The public adulation for Donald Trump (R?, Blowhardville), should be telling you something about how alienated much of your base already feels. I urge you to reconsider how you are handling this matter, rather than further destroying the brand.

Monday, July 20, 2015

War Fighters

...of the Social Justice variety.

As far as I can tell, this USMC Lt. Col. was fired for doing her job: Making Marines.

That includes:
Running Boot Camp. Pursuing a vision of Marines as elite warriors. Demanding accountability to standards. Honoring the Corps in spite of a hostile command hierarchy whose budget is hostage to Political Correctness. Integrating female Marines with their peers with whom they may SHARE COMBAT. Challenging female Marines to improve: To have a better chance of survival.

According to the complainers, Lt. Col. Kate Germano, the former commanding officer of 4th Recruit Training Battalion at Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, South Carolina, was:
"bullying Marines and singling them out for under-performance.”
Sounds like Boot Camp to me.

Look, the USMC does not want people to fail. They're not stupid. They have well tested methods to help recruits succeed. Because, you know, they want more and better Marines next to them in foxholes.

Lt. Col. Germano is alleged to have:
""reinforced gender bias and stereotypes" in the minds of her Marines by telling them on several occasions that male Marines would not take orders from them and would see them as inferior if they could not meet men's physical standards”
Telling the truth. And the truth is that it’s now the Corps that is "reinforcing gender bias and stereotypes” that women are unable to perform.

Germano was accused of:
“...singled out Marines who couldn't perform three pullups or complete a physical fitness test's 3-mile run in less than 23 minutes.”
Enforcing standards and individual accountability.
"Witnesses said she implied that sexual assault is "100 percent preventable” [Their words, you’ll notice. I’d say the correct term would be ‘inferred.’] and that "by drinking, you are putting yourself in a position to be sexually assaulted.” ...

The investigation found that Germano's personal viewpoints on the issue of sexual assault revealed no malice or bad intent. But, the investigating officer found, her poor choice of words and focus on accountability left room for misinterpretation and left some Marines feeling less safe.”
I think the Marines who should feel less safe are the ones who might end up in a foxhole with the snowflake “Marines” the program is apparently designed to produce.

All this would matter much less if these women weren't candidates for combat duty. But the Social Justice Warriors saw that as discriminatory. Now they see preparation for combat as discriminatory. Rather than admit they were wrong in the first instance, they double down.

Thursday, July 09, 2015

There. Fixed that for you, Daily Beast

This Is How Hillary Loses the Primary
Something remarkable is happening in American politics. For the first time in our history, a socialist is running a close second and gaining ground on the front-runner in a presidential race.
What they really meant: "Something remarkable is happening in American Democrat politics. For the first time in our history, an honest socialist is running a close second and gaining ground on the main stream socialist-as-usual front-runner in a presidential race."

Monday, July 06, 2015

"Rope-a-Dope" as defined by Mrs Bill

Mrs. Bill ropes some dopes.

Clinton campaign ropes off reporters at New Hampshire parade

Then some reporter gets to ask a question. He asks, "What's your favorite ice-cream?" She says, "“I like nearly everything.”

One would think he might have inquired about her favorite lasso material. Nylon? Jute? Polypropylene? Hemp? He would have received the same answer, but it would have been much more interesting.

Friday, June 26, 2015

SCOTUScare

King v. Burwell and the Law
by YUVAL LEVIN

Emphasis mine.
[Chief Justice Roberts] makes a much broader argument about the relationship between the vague, broadly stated aims and purposes of legislators and the role of judges interpreting the meaning of the particular laws those legislators then write...”

Obamacare is [to the Chief Justice] not so much a particular law as an overarching desire “to improve health insurance markets” and so if at all possible it should be taken to mean whatever one believes would be involved in doing so...

This understanding of the role of the judge threatens to undermine the rule of law in the American system of government, because it undermines the central place assigned to written law, and to the legislator, in that system… While it would seem to suggest that the will of the legislator should guide the system, in fact it means that the word of the legislator does not govern the other branches. It implies that Congress should have just passed a law that said “health insurance markets shall be improved,” and then left it to the executive agencies to decide how they wish to do that...

Roberts’s argument... suggests that when a law as written would be likely to have practical consequences at odds with the broadly asserted intent of its authors, judges should interpret it to have a meaning more likely to achieve that desired goal...

The health-care debate, in the context of which this case might originally have been understood, will continue because what Justice Roberts insists is impossible is true: Obamacare is a law that was intended to improve insurance markets but was designed in a way that will actually harm them. We can only hope that debate will ultimately be resolved in a way that also pushes back against the unexpected implications of this case and this decision by reasserting the supremacy of the law.
Read the whole thing.

The Chief Justice has twice approved the government takeover of one-sixth of the American economy. Now he's concerned about disrupting "markets?" He expresses that concern by elevating "intent" above the rule of law?

Obamacare, passed using procedural chicanery, by a single party whose members hadn't read it, was intended to dupe the American people. With John Roberts it succeeded beyond Jon Gruber's wildest dreams. Gruber laughed about the "stupidity" of the American voter. He must be guffawing about John Roberts.

The "law," whatever it turns out to be after the next executive order or SCOTUS interpretational creativity, should hereafter be known as SCOTUScare.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

They had good intentions

That is how Chief Justice John Roberts justified Obamacare:
"Congress passed the Affordable Care Act to improve health insurance markets, not to destroy them. If at all possible, we must interpret the Act in a way that is consistent with the former, and avoids the latter."
-Chief Justice John Roberts, author of the SCOTUS decision in King v. Burwell
There are good reasons to believe this decision will neither improve health care markets, nor avoid destroying them. The majority decided this case based on their perception of the intent of Congress, despite compelling evidence to the contrary.
  1. The intent of Democrats in Congress - the only people who voted for it - cannot be known in this regard since they did not read the Bill.
  2. Jonathan Gruber, the main government architect of the law, says the intent was to fool the American people. And, specifically, by forcing the States to participate or lose the subsidies.
  3. Obamacare has utterly failed to improve insurance markets. It has made insurance companies rich, at great cost to the people.
  4. An argument advanced by those who passed the Bill is that Obamacare is intended to further the destruction of the "market," so as to institute a government run single-payer system akin to that of Canada.
Justice Roberts, and his 5 comrades, have severely damaged the rule of law.

Monday, June 22, 2015

“The images were not intended to portray Sen. Cruz in a negative light”

No, they were intended to suggest he should be shot in the head for speaking in favor of the Second Amendment. Or, if he was shot in the head, it would at least be deserved.

For Progressives, this:
Proved Sarah Palin was a deranged would be assassin.

While this:
Photo (by Charlie Neibergall) proves the Associated Press is an unbiased news organization.

Doubt it? Then name me a Progressive who's complained that the picture of Ted Cruz promotes gun violence.

OK, let's say you cheated and named yourself. The second requirement is to tell me what you think would have happened if, instead of Cruz, it had been Mrs. Bill or this guy:

Thursday, June 04, 2015

Crapitalism

I'm afraid this ex post facto Export-Import Bank Solyndra subsidy will typify Obamatrade if it's enacted.
Q: When would the U.S. government subsidize a U.S. export that had happened in the previous year and that was estimated to create zero jobs?

A: When the U.S. exporter was politically connected Solyndra, and the subsidizing agency is the Export-Import Bank of the United States.

Trust me

Our president is asking us to give him fast track authority to negotiate a wide-ranging trade agreement. This is the Solyndra-promoting, crony capitalist, “you didn’t build that” president. The same one who conspired with Big Pharma and health insurers on Obamacare.

Trust me, he says, the double-super-secret TPP “is the most progressive trade agenda in history,” as if that would be a good thing. Unfortunately, it’s likely to be much worse than that. If it’s so great, why do we have to pass it to find out what’s in it?

This is the same president who is conceding negotiating Iran’s right to have nuclear weapons.

This is a president who twice said, “I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

Trust him, if you want to. John Boehner and Mitch McConnell do.

I'd rather wait for a trustworthy president, however long that takes.

Wednesday, June 03, 2015

I'll believe 1,000 when it happens

Big data gets a boost
Amazon is expected to employ 120 at data centers it recently announced in Dublin, Hilliard and New Albany; statewide, the number is anticipated to rise to 1,000. The company’s total investment over the next three years in central Ohio alone is an estimated $1.1 billion...

Development officials at the state and in each of the three suburbs stepped up with significant incentives to land Amazon, which is appropriate given the size of its investment and job creation. The state has approved tax incentives for the project valued at an estimated $81 million. That isn’t a handout, but a benefit that Amazon will earn as it actually invests and creates jobs here.
A real bargain at only $675,000 for each job.

Ohio requires Amazon to collect sales tax, so Ohioans might ask why the incentive wasn't to give consumers a tax break on sales tax instead of giving a subsidy to Amazon. Or, if protecting and promoting local business is the objective, make Brick & Mortar retail sales tax free for Ohioans.

It begs credulity to think that Amazon will create 1,000 future jobs, given their push to automation.

Monday, June 01, 2015

$4.9 billion in government subsidies

That would be Elon Musk.

Warren Buffet must be "green" with envy.

Reconciling the Union Leadership minimum wage rhetoric

AFL-CIO leader warns labor could sit out 2016 fight over trade

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka threatens “no endorsement” for President, if Hillary supports the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal:
…that's conceivable if both candidates weren't interested in raising wages

They decided to pass something that was going to cost jobs and lower wages, and they're going to have to answer to their constituencies for that whenever they face them.
So, unions oppose trade deals unless those deals would both create American jobs and raise American wages. Who would disagree?

Our trading partners, perhaps?

Speaking of wages vs. jobs, after leading the fight to get a minimum wage increase passed in Los Angeles, a California labor leader appears to contradict Trumka's wage rhetoric: L.A. labor leaders seek minimum wage exemption for firms with union workers

On May 19th, Los Angeles City Council voted to increase the hourly minimum wage to $15.
But Rusty Hicks, who heads the county Federation of Labor and helps lead the Raise the Wage coalition, said Tuesday night that companies with workers represented by unions should have leeway to negotiate a wage below that mandated by the law.

“With a collective bargaining agreement, a business owner and the employees negotiate an agreement that works for them both. The agreement allows each party to prioritize what is important to them," Hicks said in a statement. "This provision gives the parties the option, the freedom, to negotiate that agreement.”
In sum: To be free, you must join the collective.

Acknowledging that union members might lose jobs to lower-cost competition under a consistent set of rules, Mr. Hicks demands the privilege of being the lowest cost supplier. Reality-wise, Mr. Hicks would have the better of this argument with Mr. Trumka, except that it isn't a disagreement at all. They both want to use government regulation to drive out competing labor.

So, if it would cost their members jobs to have a particular minimum wage, unions oppose minimum wage for their members. If it would cost their members jobs for other countries to have a lower minimum wage, they want to force higher labor costs on those other countries.

Maybe Trumka and Hicks should start thinking about what this - Robots Start to Grasp Food Processing - means to their membership.

I seem to remember another time where this type of disruption affected wages and jobs. Something about power looms? Some kid named Ned Ludd was said to be involved.

It seems to me, with the robotics threat generally looming on the horizon, that Trumka and Hicks are a bit shortsighted. Lower wages from foreign competition (for Trumka Chinese factory workers, for Hicks, the illegal immigrants in Southern California) are just practice for what’s coming to their members. It’s already started at McDonalds et. al., because they’re the early targets of the social justice cohort.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Inside the Projection Booth

Fox News Eats Its Own
There is much revealed here.

Politico assumes Fox News is nakedly partisan, then proceeds to demonstrate that Fox isn’t - by comparing it to the ideologically unhinged MSNBC.

Politico thinks asking hard questions isn’t what journalists are supposed to do.

Politico thinks it’s amusing that GOP candidates are being asked hard questions, never mentioning that Hillary doesn’t even take questions.

Politico implies all Republicans look bad when asked anything remotely tough. Apparently, they haven't seen Carly Fiorna mincing Andrea Mitchell's preferred narrative.

This is called “projection.” Bias is what they do, so they think everyone else does.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Speech impediments

Bosch Fawstin's winning cartoon

The First Amendment is a staple topic of this blog. I highly recommend 'reading the whole thing' for all the following:

"Stay Quiet and You'll Be Okay"
-Mark Steyn

The Washington Post offered the celebrated headline "Event Organizer Offers No Apology After Thwarted Attack In Texas", while the Associated Press went with "Pamela Geller says she has no regrets about Prophet Muhammad cartoon contest that ended in 2 deaths". The media "narrative" of the last week is that some Zionist temptress was walking down the street in Garland in a too short skirt and hoisted it to reveal her Mohammed thong - oops, my apologies, her Prophet Mohammed thong (PBUH) - and thereby inflamed two otherwise law-abiding ISIS supporters peacefully minding their own business.

It'll be a long time before you see "Washington Post Offers No Apology for Attacking Target of Thwarted Attack" or "AP Says It Has No Regrets After Blaming The Victim". The respectable class in the American media share the same goal as the Islamic fanatics: They want to silence Pam Geller. To be sure, they have a mild disagreement about the means to that end - although even then you get the feeling, as with Garry Trudeau and those dozens of PEN novelists' reaction to Charlie Hebdo, that the "narrative" wouldn't change very much if the jihad boys had got luckier and Pam, Geert Wilders, Robert Spencer and a dozen others were all piled up in the Garland morgue...

"Stay quiet and you'll be okay:" Those were Mohammed Atta's words to his passengers on 9/11. And they're what all the nice respectable types are telling us now.
The First — and a Half — Amendment
-Victor Davis Hanson

If a Christian cake decorator does not wish to use his skills to celebrate gay marriage — an innovation that both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama opposed until very recently — on a wedding cake, then he is rendered a homophobe who must be punished for not using his artistic talents in the correct way.

Note that we are not talking about nondiscrimination concerning fundamental civil rights such as voting, finding housing, using public facilities, or purchasing standard merchandise. Meanwhile, are we really prepared to force gay bakers to decorate Christian wedding cakes with slogans that they find offensive or homophobic? Or to insist that an Orthodox Jewish baker must prepare a cake for a Palestinian wedding featuring a map of the Middle East without Israel? Or to require a black-owned catering company to cook ribs for a KKK group? Instead, radical gays demand the exclusive right to force an artist — and a cake decorator is an artist of sorts — to express himself in ways that they deem correct.

Without free speech, the United States becomes just another two-bit society of sycophants, opportunists, and toadies who warp expression for their own careerist and political agendas. How odd that we of the 21st century lack the vision and courage of our 18th-century Founders, who warned us of exactly what we are now becoming.
How Liberals Ruined College
-Kirsten Powers

The belief that free speech rights don’t include the right to speak offensively is now firmly entrenched on campuses and enforced by repressive speech or harassment codes. Campus censors don’t generally riot in response to presumptively offensive speech, but they do steal newspapers containing articles they don’t like, vandalize displays they find offensive, and disrupt speeches they’d rather not hear. They insist that hate speech isn’t free speech and that people who indulge in it should be punished. No one should be surprised when a professor at an elite university calls for the arrest of ‘Sam Bacile’ [who made the YouTube video The Innocence of Muslims] while simultaneously claiming to value the First Amendment...”

On today’s campuses, left-leaning administrators, professors, and students are working overtime in their campaign of silencing dissent, and their unofficial tactics of ostracizing, smearing, and humiliation are highly effective. But what is even more chilling—and more far reaching—is the official power they abuse to ensure the silencing of views they don’t like. They’ve invented a labyrinth of anti-free speech tools that include “speech codes,” “free speech zones,” censorship, investigations by campus “diversity and tolerance offices,” and denial of due process. They craft “anti-harassment policies” and “anti-violence policies” that are speech codes in disguise.
Sadly, it hardly ends there. These excerpts touch only three of the more egregious offenders. Other enemies of the First Amendment are left unmentioned. For example, radical feminists, CAGW 'settled science' zombies and the IRS.

Wednesday, May 06, 2015

Now, Governor... about "Plan B"?

Michigan Proposal 1-15, the Taxpayer Spoils Division and Extortion Act(s) bipartisan effort to get voters to do the job legislators are paid to do has failed. Ribbentrop and Molotov could not be reached for comment.

The other good news is that a plan to fix Michigan roads without tax increases has been available for a long time - Road Funding: Time for a Change

Figures would have to be adjusted, of course, but the basic principles still apply.

Tuesday, May 05, 2015

#NO_MIProp1-15


Today is voting day. Stop Proposal 1. If you're still undecided, read this. And this.

VOTE TODAY!

Update 10:28AM: Do you think this: Detroit Education Overhaul Would Cost Other Schools $50 Per Student, is in any way related to the $300 million allocated annually to the K-12 system by the Redistributive Tax Increase Constitutional Amendment Lansing wants approved today?

It's not about roads, folks.

Monday, May 04, 2015

@TheJuanWilliams confuses cause and effect

The evidence is not that whites oppose Obama’s policies because of his melanin content, but that blacks support those policies because of it.

Blacks are the group most hurt by 40-50 years of Democrat rule in all our major cities. Blacks are disproportionately harmed by Barack Obama's immigration policies and support for the NEA's anti-charter school propaganda. Black unemployment is sky high and black middle-class home ownership has fallen drastically. If the results are against blacks' interests, what is an alternative explanation for their ongoing support of the black politicians who failed them?

Oh, and it’s deliciously ironic that Williams was fired by NPR over his ‘racial’ comments about Muslims. And he wasn't treated very well by Vivian Schiller (former President and CEO, National Public Radio): "If you want to be a political activist, you may not also be a reporter or news analyst for NPR. His [Williams] feelings that he expressed on FOX News are really between him and his, you know, psychiatrist or his publicist."

The whole PBS enterprise is an exercise in leftwing political activism. They just couldn't stand the fact that Williams appeared on Fox News.

I hope Williams is on Special Report tonight and that Krauthammer is, too.

Monday, April 27, 2015

There is a balanced disturbance in The Farce

STUDY BLAMES GLOBAL WARMING FOR 75 PERCENT OF VERY HOT DAYS

But, fear not, this is balanced by the studies telling us the dreaded POLAR VORTEX is also caused by Global Warming.

Since we have not experienced any catastrophic anthropogenic global warming in almost 2 decades, it's working out.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Earth day aftermath, celebrating global climate warming change denialism

I understand the sobriquet for AGW skeptics is changing to ‘anti-climate.’ While that's better than the NAZI comparison implied by 'Global Warming Denier,' it's slipping the surly bonds of the English language.

I don’t know how it’s possible to be anti-climate. Climate's been doing that change thing for millions of years, though in Mr. Chait’s terms it’s stopped doing it for nearly two decades. I must fall under the ‘crazy’ category. The 'lazy' ones wouldn't deign to note his drivel:

Too bad George Orwell isn’t around to help us understand this particular bit of Newspeak, but apparently 'Anthropogenic Global Warming' and ‘Global Warming Sharknado Climate Change Disaster Theory Computer Model Heretic Objectors' take too many characters on Twitter.

This doesn't explain why they couldn't stick with the older, shorter standard - 'AGW.' Maybe the NPR audience never caught on to the abbreviation, it's more than 2 characters, after all; or the fact that without the "A," the whole debate is pointless.

And, while I’m grabbing a screenshot, let us all marvel at the man who represents the pinnacle of “Science" for millions of NPR/PBS aficionados, America’s David Suzuki, the preening name dropper with a BS in Engineering... Bill Nye, the unconscious irony guy:

That’s 9,000 gallons of jet fuel for a mostly unloaded 747 flight 'acting on climate,' if I understand it correctly. At a cost of $179,750 an hour. That doesn’t count Mr. Nye’s financial or carbon expenditure to travel to Washington to join the fun.

Bill, I've got news: Mr. Wizard was twice the scientist you are, and he didn't need government subsidy.

As Glenn Reynolds says, "I’ll believe it's a crisis when the people telling me it’s a crisis start behaving like it’s a crisis."