Thursday, October 08, 2015

Islamist foot-soldier

Chateau Heartiste reports,
Chris Harper-Mercer had Islamist sympathies. He bought an ISIS flag online and left a comment at the store website.

Harper-Mercer goes by the User Name IRONCROSS and left a comment about his purchase of an ISIS flag[h] (shown at left of comment) that reads:

“Exactly what I was looking for. I really like the quality. Great product, thanks! I will continue to make purchases from this company. I am very impressed. I WILL be back against soon. A+++++++ Seller. He also answered my questions quickly and satisfactorily. Received quickly, will be back for more purchases.”

Islamic State Flag, 3′ x 5′, ISIS, ISIL, Muslim, Islam

This is why Mercer targeted Christians. He was a jihadi who hated non-Muslim infidels. Why is the media hiding this information?
Read more here.

"No citizen could turn down such a challenge."

Debra Heine reports at PJ Media,
The GOP has been looking for the perfect “unifying” candidate for speaker of the House. How does “Speaker Gingrich” sound?

Newt had not previously expressed any interest, but when pressed by Sean Hannity on his radio show Thursday, Gingrich said he would consider returning to the speakership again if called upon by House Republicans.

Read more here.

The GOP over-promised and under-delivered; so did the Democrats!

Ed Morrisey writes at Fiscal Times,
Forget experience, policies, and ideology in the 2016 presidential primary fights, in both parties. Voters have less concern over those traditional priorities for candidates in exchange for another quality altogether – authenticity. While pundits bemoan the rise of political novices and demagogues who have enough of that currency to prosper, that shift comes from a rational reaction to American politics over the last generation, and both Democrats and Republicans alike share the blame for the shift.

In 2010 and again in 2014, Republicans won back control of Capitol Hill by promising not just to stop Barack Obama’s agenda but reversing it, even though simple majority control in Congress isn’t sufficient to do so while Obama remains president. The GOP overpromised and under delivered--a classic set-up for discouragement and backlash.

Democrats have not performed much better with their own base. Obama and the party’s leadership have sounded the usual progressive-populist alarms about Wall Street and supersized banks and corporations, but have done nothing to address those issues. The Obama administration has never prosecuted any corporate leaders over the financial collapse that led to the Great Recession, a point made by Ben Bernanke this past week, despite their fanning of Occupy Wall Street’s rhetorical flames.

...Now with the e-mail scandal moving into a full-scale FBI probe, Clinton’s authenticity crisis has reached its nadir. Only a third of voters in three key swing states (Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania) believe Hillary to be honest and trustworthy, while two-thirds put their trust in Joe Biden. This may seem ironic, given that Biden’s first presidential bid collapsed due to his plagiarism, but it points to the weakness of Clinton’s position.

...Authenticity means more than just a personal connection – it means delivering on those promises, a lesson both parties are learning the hard way in 2015.
Read more here.

Not a nihilist, not incompetent.

Anyone who reads this blog knows that I am a great admirer of historian Victor Davis Hanson. Any presidential candidate who promised to make VDH his chief advisor would have my enthusiastic support. therefore, it came as a surprise to me to read another person I admire, neo-neocon, pointing out that a recent column by VDH on Obama was off the mark. Some excerpts from her blog post:
I admire Victor Davis Hanson’s writing and thought, and very often I agree with him.

But this time? Not so much.

Hanson lists a host of ills that the Obama years have wrought, and then asks:

Was all this due to incompetence or nihilism?

My contribution to solving the Obama puzzle can be found on this blog many times over (including the post to which I just linked). The summary, simplified version is: he is an ideologue, a man of the left, to be exact. He is a narcissist with a supreme confidence in himself. He is ruthless and focused and knows the use of propaganda. In the interests of that propaganda, he has perfected his presentation of a certain persona, and he doesn’t care if non-supporters see through him; what’s important is that he reach enough other people to accomplish his goals. One main goal is to move America ever leftward, to change its demography so that he creates a permanent majority for the now-ever-more-leftist Democratic Party. Another is to burnish his own “legacy” by doing the first. Still another is to punish America for its supposed sins and bring it down a peg (or actually, as many pegs as possible) in terms of world influence and reputation.

Those are not the actions of a nihilist. And if you see them as his goals, he has not been incompetent in his attempts to reach them.

But it won’t matter, will it, if he’s changed the demographics enough that yellow dog Democrats will vote for them anyway.

He lost both houses of Congress.

And completely stymied them by either going over their heads or vetoing what they pass. So it also doesn’t matter.

The legislatures and governorships are overwhelmingly Republican.

That’s true, and I am pretty sure he doesn’t consider it a good thing. But again, what power do they have against an ever-growing, ever-stronger, federal government? And just one more liberal SCOTUS appointment would weaken them still further.
Read more here.

Gun control

A foreign newspaper puts forward this report on gun control attempts in America:
“In the immediate aftermath of the shooting, a familiar, shameful charade of exploitation unfolded yet again, seeking to reassert the ‘gun control’ agenda amid both national public opinion and across America’s legislative bodies. A mad rush has ensued to exploit anger, sorrow, and fear to once again attempt to snatch from responsible Americans their right to bear arms based on the criminal actions of a single individual.”

The paper then goes on to note:

“574 people have been killed in mass shootings for the last 30 years. However, 10,076 citizens are reported killed by drunk drivers each year. That is about 20 times more people killed in a single year due to drunk driving than in the past 30 years due to mass shootings. Mass media argues that gun ownership is increasingly unpopular, the primary cause of higher levels of violence than other industrialized nations, and that mass shootings are a major problem. Yet, when placed alongside other senseless causes of death, mass shootings while clearly better at grabbing headlines, are also clearly not the greatest challenge.”

Finally the article concludes:

“The inconvenient reality regarding the true nature of violence and its relationship with guns is entirely sidestepped by the gun control agenda, primarily because the gun control agenda is about disarming the American public thus removing an obstacle toward totalitarianism, not to preserve innocent lives.”

Are you nodding your head in agreement with the paper, and maybe wanting to subscribe to it? h/t Politically Short, who tell us the paper's name and gives us the link to it: It's Pravda!

Why are you breaking my kayak, bear?

Because you pepper-sprayed me?

h/t Gerard Vanderleun, who notes, "That bear is not your puppy."

What a wonderful world!

Satchmo did not think of himself as a victim.

h/t Gerard Vanderleun

At the above link you cans see this photo and other early entries in the 2015 National Geographic Photo Contest.

Prisoners in maximum security prison win debate against Harvard students

Peter Holley writes in the Washington Post,
Last month, a debate team of three inmates with violent criminal records defeated a team of three Harvard University undergraduates.

It sounds like an underdog story plucked from the pages of a yet unwritten Walt Disney screenplay — and in some ways, it is.

But it’s also worth pointing out the fallacy of our underlying assumptions about such a matchup — the first (and most pernicious) being that criminals aren’t smart. If a definitive link between criminality and below-average intelligence exists, nobody has found it.

...The debate took place last month at the Eastern New York Correctional Facility, a maximum-security prison about an hour southwest of Bard College. The hosts beat a Harvard team that had won three of four American Parliamentary Debate Association national championships.

To prepare for the competition, the inmates, members of Bard’s Prison Initiative, were forced to acquire knowledge the old-fashioned way: Without access to the Internet, according to the Wall Street Journal. In 2015, can you seriously imagine preparing for anything — purchasing a movie ticket, looking up directions or researching basically anything — without going online?

Complicating their challenge, the Journal noted, was the fact that research requests for books and articles had to be approved by the prison administration, something that could take weeks.
Read more here.

Hold on tight to your dreams

h/t Michael Brown

American hero stabbed in Sacramento bar

Jeff Schogol reports at Air Force Times,
Airman 1st Class Spencer Stone, who helped take down a gunman on a train in Belgium, was stabbed four times in the chest in Sacramento early Thursday morning, Air Force Times has learned.

Stone is listed in serious condition at the University of California Davis Medical Center.

U.S. Air Force Airman First Class Spencer Stone shakes hands with the crowd during a parade honoring his August 21 actions in overpowering a Muslim terrorist on a Paris-bound train on September 11, 2015.

On Aug. 21, Stone and two friends Army Spc. Alek Skarlatos and Anthony Sadler, bravely disarmed and subdued a gunman on a train from Amsterdam to Paris. The gunman stabbed Stone about an inch-and-a-half from his carotid artery and nearly severed Stone's thumb during the struggle.

Stone later told reporters that he did not hesitate to charge the gunman even though he fully expected to be killed.

"I'm not going to run away," he told reporters on Sept. 15. "I'm not going to leave everyone to die. I'd rather die trying than sit back and watch everyone get slaughtered."
Read more here.

Obama threatens to shut down defense spending if he does not get Congressional authority to close the Guantanamo Bay prison

Ben Shapiro writes at Breitbart,
On Monday, the Obama administration announced that President Obama would veto a defense authorization bill if it did not close down Guantanamo Bay.

...Obama’s strong stand on Gitmo underscores two vital points. First, President Obama does not fear defunding America’s national security. Second, Obama does not fear Republicans in Congress.

...He has long had a bug in his ear with regard to Gitmo, which he feels has strengthened terrorists’ feelings about the evils of the United States. Given his recent moves to parlay with the Cuban dictatorship as well, Obama may want to hand Gitmo in totality back to the Cuban government. The fact that Obama would be willing to dramatically cut America’s military funding, even as Russia takes over Ukraine and Syria, as Iran gears up for a big regional military push, as China continues its aggressive behavior in the South China Sea, demonstrates Obama’s top priority is doing leftist work, not protecting the United States.
Read more here.

Wednesday, October 07, 2015

Russia strikes ISIS command posts, stores of weapons

Nick Gutteridge reports at Express,
RUSSIAN bombers have OBLITERATED nine Islamic State (ISIS) outposts in just 24 hours as Vladimir Putin steps up his huge bombing campaign in Syria.

...Soviet jets pounded terrorist targets in Syria overnight using bunker busting bombs to blow up an ISIS command centre, potentially killing dozens of fighters.

Confirming the successful raids, Andrei Kartapolov from the Russian army General Staff, said: We will not only continue strikes... We will also increase their intensity."

And Russian Defence Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said: "Over the past 24 hours, Sukhoi Su-34 and Su-24M fighter jets have performed 20 sorties and hit nine Islamic State installations.

“A bunker-busting BETAB-500 air bomb dropped from a Sukhoi Su-34 bomber near Raqqa has eliminated the command post of one of the terror groups, together with an underground storage facility for explosives and munitions.

"These and other highly exact means of attack in recent days have been used to target objects of Islamic State terrorists: command posts, stores of weapons and oil products, workshops where weapons of suicide bombers are made."
Read more here.

Which side of the circle is America on?

Read more here.

h/t Dave H

Narratively Empowered

Stephen Miller writes at The Wilderness,
Obama believes the shootings in Oregon have finally given him the political capital to push massive, unprecedented (and unconstitutional) gun-control measures. Not legislatively of course. That would require work, and building relationships with a Congress he has no interest in dealing with. No, what Obama is doing is once again the only thing he truly knows how: activism. The current occupant of the White House thinks laws are passed not by meeting with legislators and marshaling support in the Capitol building, but by organizing celebrities and loyal media personalities on social media.

...Media personalities and journalists have in years past usually fallen back on “Ha ha, don’t be so paranoid, silly gun nut! Nobody’s coming for your guns!” It’s the same cliche response they’ve always whipped out when forced to defend their positions as credible reporters and not progressive activists. Except this time, because of Obama’s own words and actions, they now feel Narratively Empowered. This will not be the normal nudging of political storylines. This will be a full assault. They have a little over one year left with their handpicked President and they believe this is can be the last great legacy action for a White House that has accomplished much of everything else it set out to do. As stated before, our media is Obama. Because his election was so closely tied to them, his successes and failures are theirs as well. Because Obama is no longer being subtle about his wishes with respect to guns, neither will they. And Obama cannot be allowed to fail.

In the past few days, therefore, writers from Vox, Talking Points Memo, Washington Post, Think Progress and New York Times have all come out for gun confiscation. If they are only just writing it now, understand that it’s something they’ve believed for a long time and now finally feel comfortable about letting the mask slip. But after hammering Donald Trump for months about how he plans to round up and deport 12 million illegal immigrants without instituting a mandatory door-to-door police state, they seem to be at a loss as to how the federal government plans to round up 300 million firearms legally owned by American citizens.

...At the cue of our President, the media had suddenly had decided that a sheriff with the heartbreaking burden of investigating a mass shooting in his jurisdiction was a bigger villain than the shooter himself — a man who executed his victims based on their whether they were Christian.

...candidates must treat combative partisan journalists as political opponents and not as conscientious practitioners of our sacred First Amendment rights. Yesterday morning Marco Rubio sat down with Matt Lauer, who proceeded to grill him on gun control after the typical “Trump called you XYZ”. Rubio gave his GOP opponents a roadmap on how to handle combative journalists as their base instincts kick in, the fangs bare, the eyes roll over white, and they slide into “gotcha mode.” Rubio asked Lauer to name the proposed gun-control law that would have stopped a shooting like in Oregon, short of full confiscation. Lauer was left gasping that Rubio was advocating doing nothing in the wake of the shootings. When at the 2:55 mark Rubio suggested looking more at mental health, Lauer shut it down. It’s the conversation they absolutely do not want to have.

An inconvenient narrative that CNN, NBC, Vox, Buzzfeed, Huff Post and the rest refuse to face up to is the fact that more mass murders have been committed by members of our news media in the past month than by NRA members, or anyone who purchased a gun at a gun show (the new favorite talking point of the powerful Clinton Lobby).
Read more here.

The inconvenient truth

Ted Cruz:"How is it incorrect (that satellite data show no global warming in the past 18 years)?

Sierra Club president: Wait, Senator, I need to get the talking points from this man behind me...

..."It is no longer up for scientific debate."

Ted Cruz: If the satellite data are contrary to your position, would the Sierra Club issue a retraction?

Sierra Club president: No, we are leftists. We repeat the same lie over and over and over. That's what we do! So, listen to me: I will now repeat my talking point over and over and over, and not answer your question!

Tuesday, October 06, 2015

Boehner's next job

Another coup by Manhattan Infidel: He has revealed what's next for House Speaker John Boehner. Go here to get the exclusive story.

Your self-identity depends on whether you pass this test

Can you pass fourth grade math? Manhattan Infidel has a multiple choice exam here that should test your patience math skills.

White tail deer attacks hunter

Iran, Russia, Syria, and Iraq form joint war room

Adam Kredo reports at Washington Free Beacon that Iran is warning the US that it has missilespointed at US targets.
The threats of attack on the United States were issued as Iran unveiled new high-tech torpedoes and the formation of a joint war room along with Russia, Syria, and Iraq.

...The Pentagon confirmed to the Washington Free Beacon last month that Iranian warships confront the U.S. Navy on a “daily basis.”

Meanwhile, Iran unveiled a new high-tech torpedo that it claims can hit targets both in and out of the water. The technology for the missile has been borrowed from the Russians, according to Iranian officials who spoke to Fars.
Read more here.

What should we do?

Andrew McCarthy writes at National Review,
Putin, with China’s indulgence, is obviously attempting to fortify a sphere of anti-American influence across the Middle East. Anti-Americanism in this Islamic-supremacist region long predates Putin, of course. What has changed is that the United States is governed by a man of the hard Left — a president who is sympathetic to the Islamist narrative about American imperialism, ambivalent at best about American power, and determined to diminish America’s regional commitments, and thus American influence.

...Obama, however, is different. He was going to befriend the Islamists by paying homage to the Islamists . . . and then leaving them to their savagery and dysfunction without American interference. This would be fine if (a) the United States had no vital interests at stake, and (b) Obama had not executed this strategy by materially supporting the ascendance of Iran, the jihadist revolutionary state that is America’s mortal enemy.

Obama’s fantasy world, in which Iran is a potential ally and Russia a potentially stabilizing influence, created the opportunity for Putin to move in. He loves to humiliate Obama, so he is having his moment now. It should be remembered, however, that the Soviet Union, though far mightier than the pale imitation that is Putin’s basket-case, was devastated by its failed invasion of Afghanistan. That was a less ambitious project than the one today’s Russia appears to have set upon.

Clearly, there is some real upside for Putin in this. It is an object lesson to the Baltic states that Putin covets: The United States is unwilling to fight so take no comfort in NATO’s empty security guarantee. But for Putin, propping up Assad by making his bed with the snakes in Tehran is no sure thing. If the Kremlin found Afghan jihadists to be a problem, wait until it experiences the pain the more formidable al-Qaeda and ISIS can inflict.

...the backbone of Assad’s opposition has always been Islamist: the Muslim Brotherhood and the even more extreme jihadists with whom they seamlessly make common cause. They are not moderates; they want to overthrow Iran’s despicable cat’s paw, Assad, in order to do to Syria what the Brotherhood tried to do to Egypt — and what Islamists have done to Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan, etc.

It is not true that Obama failed to back the Syrian “rebels.” In fact, after the mutual Obama-Beltway GOP strategy of siding with Islamists against Qaddafi blew up on us in Libya, a reprise was attempted in Syria. Alas, the “rebels” we backed kept aligning with the jihadists (just as they did in Libya); the weapons we gave them kept ending up in jihadist hands. That was not just because the “rebels” were insufficiently “vetted”; it was because there was no way to overthrow Assad without the Islamists’ playing a major role — and, probably, a leading role.

This contributed to the ascendancy of ISIS, but was not the cause of that ascendancy. The cause is the dominant regional culture — Islamic supremacism. If Washington won’t face up to that fact, then it will of course continue strengthening our enemies in the delusional hope that they will someday become our friends.

Then, to make matters worse, Washington forgot that it had gotten enmeshed in Syria in order to oust Assad. Obama desperately wanted his deal with Iran, which wanted Assad left alone. So the Syria misadventure turned on a dime from targeting Assad on behalf of Sunni Islamists and jihadists to targeting Sunni jihadists — ISIS — to the benefit of Assad. Does anyone wonder why the U.S. has no credibility in the region?

Our interests in the region are to defeat both Russia/Iran/Assad and ISIS/al-Qaeda/Muslim Brotherhood.

...Our vital interest in Syria (and Iraq and elsewhere, for that matter) is to prevent its being used as a platform for the launching of attacks against the United States, our allies, and our interests. Moreover, this, it is crucial to remember, is an American problem.

That means it is going to take a large commitment of American forces on the ground as well as in the air to achieve our vital interests. But there is no political support for that in our country at the moment. That, no doubt, is why a candidate like Marco Rubio, who is smart enough to see the writing on the wall, seems reluctant to come out and say it.

Even if there were political support for using American force, it would be a losing cause to take up unless and until we finally start seeing Iran the way Iran sees us: as the enemy.

There are not good guys and bad guys in this equation. There are bad guys and other bad guys. And quelling the threat these bad guys collectively pose to the United States is our responsibility — not something we should do out of humanitarian concern for Middle Easterners, or because we are somehow obliged to slake their purported thirst for freedom.

Make no mistake, though: This challenge is not going away. The threat to our national security posed by radical Islam — both the Sunni and the Shiite varieties, plus their state sponsors — is intensifying. It will have to be dealt with, hopefully before it deals with us in a catastrophic way.
Read more here.

Riding an escalator up to a collision with the United States

Pat Buchanan writes in Taki's Magazine,
The cost to Iraqis of their “liberation”? A hundred thousand dead, half a million widows and fatherless children, millions gone from the country and, still, unending war.

...Unlike most U.N. speeches, Putin’s merits study. For he not only identifies the U.S. mindset that helped to produce the new world disorder, he identifies a primary cause of the emerging second Cold War.

...If America’s elites continue to assert their right to intervene in the internal affairs of nations, to make them conform to a U.S. ideal of what is a good society and legitimate government, then we are headed for endless conflict. And, one day, this will inevitably result in war, as more and more nations resist America’s moral imperialism.

...Wednesday and Thursday, Putin’s forces in Syria bombed the camps of U.S.-backed rebels seeking to overthrow Assad. Putin is sending a signal: Russia is willing to ride the escalator up to a collision with the United States to prevent us and our Sunni Arab and Turkish allies from dumping over Assad, which could bring ISIS to power in Damascus.

Perhaps it is time to climb down off our ideological high horse and start respecting the vital interests of other sovereign nations, even as we protect and defend our own.
Read more here.

Which place in the world is not worth the US going to war about?

News Junkie writes at Maggie's Farm,
The Middle East is one of those little disputatious, duplicitous corners of the world which attract the interest of diplomats and strategists far out of proportion to their intrinsic importance or value. Small pawns in the big game of international politics.

Obama or not, the world is not America's sandbox. Most of the world does not think like Westerners, much less think like Americans, and they never will see life through our eyes.

Furthermore, while the American people like the idea of being the world superpower, they have not been particularly enthused about geopolitical adventures and military maneuverings in minor places since WW2 - none of which have ended very successfully anyway (eg Korea, Cuba, Southeast Asia, the Muslim world, Ukraine, etc.). Reagan's pressure for the dismantling of the Soviet empire was a success without a single military death, but the result is less than beautiful except for a few ex-eastern bloc nations.

The argument is always that X is critical to America's interests. Really? Syria? Ukraine?

Syria has been a Russian client/ally for a long time. Some good points here: The Mind of Mr. Putin

If you wish to debate, first tell me a few places in the world which can not be construed as "critical to US interests." (I'll use "critical" meaning worth going to war about.)

"We believe in the Second Amendment. We believe in the whole Constitution."

The publisher of the local newspaper in Roseburg, Oregon tells Obama to stay away. "We love America!"

Assimilation? Not for these folks

Paul Bedard writes at the Washington Examiner,
More than one in five U.S. residents speak a language other than English at home, a record, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

In an analysis of the recent Census American Community Survey, a huge surge was recorded in those who speak Chinese, Spanish, Arabic and Urdu, Pakistan's national language.

The report from the Center for Immigration Studies documented the growth of immigrants in the United States and provided evidence of concerns new immigrants are slow to assimilate into American culture, namely by speaking English at home.

According to the Center's analysis released to Secrets Tuesday morning, in 2014, a record 63.2 million U.S. residents — native-born, legal immigrants, and illegal immigrants — spoke a language other than English at home. That represents a surge of 16.2 million since 2000 and 1.4 million just since 2013.

...The largest percentage increases from 2010 to 2014 were among speakers of Arabic (up 29 percent), Urdu (up 23 percent), Hindi (up 19 percent), Chinese and Hmong (both up 12 percent), and Gujarati and Persian (both up 9 percent). Urdu is spoken in Pakistan; Hindi and Guajarati are languages of India; Hmong is spoken in Laos; Persian is spoken in Iran.

The largest numerical increases from 2010 to 2014 were among speakers of Spanish (up 2.3 million), Chinese (up 331,000), Arabic (up 252,000), Tagalog (up 115,000), Hindi (up 114,000), and Urdu (up 89,000). Tagalog is spoken in the Philippines.

Languages with more than a million speakers in 2014 were Spanish (39. 3 million), Chinese (3.1 million), Tagalog (1.7 million), Vietnamese (1.5 million), French (1.2 million), and Korean and Arabic (1.1 million each).

...Many of those who speak a foreign language at home are not immigrants. Of the more than 63 million foreign language speakers, 44 percent (27.7 million) were actually born in the United States.


Brett Stephens writes in the Wall Street Journal that Obama's
preferred method for dealing with disagreement is denigration. If Republicans want a tougher line in Syria, they’re warmongers. If Hillary Clinton thinks a no-fly zone is a good idea, she’s playing politics: “There is obviously a difference,” the president tut-tutted about his former secretary of state’s position, “between running for president and being president.”

You can interpret that jab as a sign Mr. Obama is urging Joe Biden to run. It’s also a reminder that Mr. Obama believes his Syria policy—the one that did nothing as 250,000 people were murdered; the one that did nothing as his own red lines were crossed; the one that allowed ISIS to flourish; the one that has created the greatest refugee crisis of the 21st century; the one currently being exploited by Russia and Iran for geopolitical advantage—is a success.

That’s because the president’s fundamental conviction about American foreign policy is that we need less of it—less commitment, less expense, less responsibility. Winston Churchill once said that the U.S. could not be “the leading community in the civilized world without being involved in its problems, without being convulsed by its agonies and inspired by its causes.”
Read more here.

With it

h/t Ed Driscoll

Carly Fiorina vulnerable to negative campaign ads, does not have conservative record

So says Dick Morris in this video.

It is not going to be Jeb

Dick Morris explains why Jeb Bush will not win the GOP nomination.

Why the Iran deal will make the world a far more dangerous place

Victor Davis Hanson believes the Iran deal will make the world a far more dangerous place. He gives five reasons why:
I. How to Negotiate a Bomb
Iran, unlike Pakistan and North Korea, is not renegading its way to nuclear weapons, but is negotiating its pathway with the approval of the West. Yet Iran’s government is just as unhinged as those of the last two nuclear newcomers, is more centrally positioned in the Middle East, and has far more financial resources, given its singular reserves of natural gas and oil. ...the Sunni nations will eventually make the necessary nuclear adjustments in the manner that worked for Iran. A nuclear Middle East will be the bastard child of this treaty.

II. The Logic of Israel
Israelis remember what the world’s assurances and civilized veneer got their ancestors the last time a head of state talked about eliminating Jews. I doubt that the descendants of those who went through the Holocaust are going to sit still permanently under an Iranian nuclear sword of Damocles and be serially teased about how frayed is the string holding it above them. Regional Götterdämmerung may seem preferable to certain eventual strangulation. And the pious assurances of John Kerry sound too much like those of an earlier generation of State Department blue-blood grandees like John McCloy and Breckinridge Long in the run-up to World War II — and are just as empty and in the end would prove just as cruel.

III. A Pitiful, Helpless Giant
For all the Western braggadocio about the Iran deal, most observers worldwide will glean from the agreement that a tired West caved on sanctions, was eager to trade with the Iranians and make money, is afraid to stand up to the theocracy and its supporters, and sees the deal as part of a grand recessional from past American prominence. It matters not whether this is a factual description of U.S. efforts to negotiate with Iran; it matters only that it is becoming the general global consensus. Evidence of that supposition includes the abrupt renunciation of the Oslo agreements by the Palestinians, and Putin’s brazen entry into and bombing in the Middle East and his sponsorship of a new Iranian, Iraqi, Syrian, and Hezbollah arc that will eventually threaten the Sunni oil producers.

Three American lapses account for the current Middle East mess: 1) the failed reset with Putin, coupled with John Kerry’s invitation to Russia to enter the Syrian red-line fiasco; 2) the dropping of effective sanctions against Iran and the appearance of caving in to Iranian demands; and 3) the abrupt withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq in late 2011 and the ensuing vacuum that fueled ISIS.

The medicine that will eventually be needed to treat this disease will make the post-Obama years the most dangerous era in American foreign policy since the Cuban Missile Crisis.

IV. The Collapse of Iranian Dissent
The nuclear deal with Tehran will undermine Iranian dissidents. The Iranian economy, flush with cash and new oil revenues, will uplift the Iranian people, and the theocracy will rightly take the credit, adding the relish that its policies have both led to better economic times and rubbed the Great Satan’s snout in the muck. It may be true that Iranian youth love America, but that admiration was based on our own opposition to Iran’s eroding and incompetent seventh-century theocracy — not on our later appeasement and empowerment of the mullahs. The theocracy will gain public support from its new global status, likely acquisition of nuclear capability, and rebooted economy; its opponents will lose face, and the world will be the worse off.

V. Deterrence?
Only in the Middle East does removing a monster from power often lead to something worse.

...In sum, the region is North Korea cubed, an Islamic shoot-’em-up Tombstone or Dodge City where punks with nuclear six-guns, not sober classical deterrence, will make the rules.
Red more here.

Giving up on deliberative democracy

Jim Geraghty writes today at National Review,
When the main players in our politics give up on deliberative democracy, it feels like some Rubicon is being crossed. Our system is designed for leaders who make arguments for their views, seek compromise and try different policy angles to break logjams. And when they lose, their proper recourse is . . . to make more arguments, seek other compromises and try different policy angles.

Dear Democrats: Please, please, please run on national gun confiscation in 2016. Republicans could use another Reagan-vs.-Mondale landslide.
Read more here

“Lean on me, when you’re not strong, and I’ll be your friend, I’ll help you carry on.”

Jonah Goldberg writes at USA Today,
Why do liberals hate Citizens United so much? No doubt there are many explanations, but one seems particularly obvious. In a world where only powerful institutions in the mainstream media have an unfettered right to make their case during elections, then the conversation is going to go in their favor. Even if Fox News and Rush Limbaugh were the monsters liberal claim they are, the scales still lean inarguably leftward when you include the biggest newspapers, the major TV networks, National Public Radio, and popular programs like The Daily Show and 60 Minutes.

None of these outlets would consider their editorials, news coverage and comedy sketches to be “in kind donations,” but from the perspective of political campaigns, that’s a distinction without a difference. Because Democrats understand that when they’re not strong, they can lean on their friends to help them carry on.

Jason Chaffetz for Speaker of the House

Dick Morris endorses Jason Chaffetz for Speaker of the House. In this video, he emphasizes Chaffetz's conservative record, and the fact that he would not be a "dishrag" for Obama, as Boehner has been. Morris believes it would be comparable to the Gingrich takeover of 1993. He urges all of us to contact our representative in Congress, and gives the phone number: 202 224-3121.


David Greenfield writes at Front Page,
Even though Christopher Harper-Mercer, the Oregon killer, had a black mother who raised him, the media insisted that he was a “white supremacist”.

...But the very worst white supremacist of all may be Ben Carson; a black man who is running for president. Carson has been accused of courting the “white supremacist” vote. I’m not sure which white supremacists would vote for a black man. Maybe the extremely tolerant and open-minded kind.

...If you listen to the media, then the GOP presidential candidates slate, which includes a black man, two Latinos and an Indian-American, is the second coming of Adolf Hitler and George Wallace rolled into one. But real white supremacists are urged to stick to the Democratic ticket which has as much racial diversity as a Seattle Starbucks or a Decemberists concert crowd.

The current three top polling candidates are Carson, Trump and Rubio. It’s the most ruthlessly diverse top tier of presidential candidates in any major party in American history.

And that’s why the media has to roll out its counter-narrative. Even if it’s a counter-narrative that, like Mercer’s white supremacism, makes no actual sense to anyone with two brain cells to rub together.

...White supremacists do exist, but they have little legitimacy and less influence. The same however isn’t true for black supremacists, whether it’s Al Sharpton on MSNBC or #BlackLivesMatter in the streets.

Black supremacism is the reason why #BlackLivesMatter violently rejects #AllLivesMatter and insists on the racial exclusivity of its slogan instead. It’s hard to think of a clearer form of supremacism than the belief that the lives of members of your race matter more than those of everyone else.

... When Ben Carson questioned whether a Muslim who believes in Islamic law should be president, he was attacked as a bigot. Condemnations of Carson by CAIR were promoted by the media, even though CAIR is a Muslim Brotherhood organization. The Brotherhood’s motto is “Allah is our objective. The Prophet is our leader. The Qur'an is our law. Jihad is our way. Dying in the way of Allah is our highest hope.”

This motto also neatly encompasses the motive of every Muslim terrorist who killed Americans in the name of his supremacist creed.

White supremacism hasn’t been mainstream since the Democrats dominated the South. But black supremacism and Islamic supremacism are far too mainstream. When hate groups such as #BlackLivesMatter or CAIR dominate discussions of race and religion, that is supremacism.

...The left’s lens distorts Ben Carson, Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio into white supremacists and Biden and Clinton into honorary minorities. Trump and Carson are George Wallace reborn, but Ta-Nehisi Coates’s claim that the 9/11 firefighters “were not human to me” merits a MacArthur genius grant.

The media can see supremacism in a blonde lock of Trump’s hair, but can’t see it in the violent racist rants of members of their own movement. Their magical racial wand can transform a black serial killer into a white supremacist, but finds nothing objectionable in the Islamization of America.
Read more here.

Corruption by law-enforcement agencies is the deadliest danger to a free society

The editors of National Review write,
Let’s not shy away from what the Secret Service actually was up to in the matter of its illegal spying on Representative Jason Chaffetz: conspiracy to commit blackmail against a member of Congress.

Representative Chaffetz has been investigating the scandal-plagued protective agency — the habitual drunkenness and whoring of its agents, among other things — when Secret Service personnel improperly accessed his protected records in a hunt for dirt. The aim of this was made clear by assistant director Ed Lowery, who wrote to assistant director Faron Paramore: “Some information that he might find embarrassing needs to get out.”

Critics are saying that the agency’s brass — at least 18 of them were culpably aware of the plan, and 45 employees illegally viewed the congressman’s information — have violated the Privacy Act. They certainly have, but that is the least of it. They have illegally accessed protected federal records, which is fraud under federal law and carries a ten-year prison sentence. Releasing embarrassing information about the congressman (assuming there was any), with the inevitable implicit threat of releasing more unless he backed off in his investigation of the Secret Service, rises to the level of prosecutable blackmail under federal law. Throw in the interstate-communication and obstruction charges and there’s an excellent case to be made for locking away Ed Lowery and his confederates for a long time. Frankly, it’s a pity more robust punishment is not an option. A society with a bit of moral vigor would have them flogged.

Public corruption is extraordinarily dangerous to a free society, and corruption by law-enforcement agencies is the deadliest of all. This isn’t a case of questionable police behavior with conflicting witnesses; the inspector general’s report is unequivocal on the facts of the case. Yes, of course, they should have their day in court — the problem with the Secret Service is that its agents never end up on trial when they have plainly broken the law, even when there are witnesses, and even when those witnesses are police officers. Men with guns and the power to put citizens under arrest must be held to the very highest standards — and punished with the utmost severity when they transgress.

Perhaps now that they’ve moved on from buying Colombian women to targeting congressmen, somebody in Washington can get around to treating these criminals like the criminals they are.

...But that should not be the end of the housekeeping. The Secret Service is, undeniably, a rogue police agency infected with a culture of lawlessness. Director Joseph Clancy has had an opportunity to address this, and he has failed. He should be relieved of his duties, and so should Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson if he cannot get this heavily armed goon squad under control.

And perhaps it is time to start thinking about transferring the Secret Service’s law-enforcement functions to the FBI and its protective functions to a new agency, one less prone to behaving like a crime syndicate.
Read more here.

so, what was the embarrassing information leaked to the media about Senator Chaffetz? That he had applied for a job as a Secret Service agent in 2003, but was rejected. So now they are trying to make his investigation into the Secret Service look like a personal vendetta on his part.

Why Obama would rather talk about guns

In his USA Today column Glenn Reynolds notes that even though gun control is a losing issue for Democrats, Obama is pushing it. Why?
Well, the answer is, that when we’re talking about guns, a bad issue for Obama, we’re not talking about other things that pose worse issues for Obama. And the list of those is long.

In Syria, Putin is making Obama look weak, ordering U.S. planes out of the sky, bombing CIA-supported rebels, and allying with Iranian troops. Obama has no real response, leading to The Economist headline, "Putin Dares, Obama Dithers.”

Meanwhile, despite Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize, the 14-year-old war in Afghanistan goes on, with U.S. forces apparently bombing a civilian hospital run by Doctors Without Borders by mistake, killing many.

In Ukraine, Russia is deploying new, more advanced missiles. Putin is also building a major base near the Ukraine-Russia border.

After the Chinese Office of Personnel Management hack that some (including me) described as a ”cyber Pearl Harbor,” it turns out that way more fingerprint data was stolen than OPM originally reported. And the CIA was forced to pull spies out of China for fear that the hack compromised their identities.

Here at home, the Secret Service joined the list of agencies in the Obama Administration found to have abused its powers to target political opponents — in this case, Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, — and then the Secret Service director changed his story, backing away from original claims that he didn’t know about it.

Meanwhile, the latest jobs numbers show a record 94,610,000 Americans not in the work force, for the lowest labor participation rate in 38 years, even as the economy shows other signs of sputtering.

And, of course, there’s the steady drip, drip of the Hillary Clinton email scandal. With Hillary, Obama’s secretary of State for most of his presidency, and with questions about how much the president and other officials knew about her shady practices, he’d just as soon we didn’t talk about it.

In fact, Obama would just as soon we didn’t talk about any of these debacles. The gun issue may not be a winner for him, but it’s an ideologically divided issue where most Democrats will take his side, and it’s a hot-button issue that lets him inflame debate just by bringing it up.

These other stories, meanwhile, raise questions about Obama’s presidency that even Democrats are finding hard to ignore. Is it any wonder that Obama would rather talk about guns?
Read more here.

When you follow events as closely as Glenn Reynods (Instapundit), you start to be able to figure out the whys.

Run, Joe, run!

Elizabeth Price-Foley writes a scathing piece about Joe Biden at Instapundit:
Biden’s “Uncle Joe” schtick is designed to camouflage the career politician inside who has no qualms about lying to further his own ambitions. You know, the man who plagiarized his law review comment and falsely claims that he played college football, graduated in the top half of his law school class (he was 76 out of 85), had a blue collar upbringing, that his first wife and daughter were killed by a drunk driver (there is no evidence the driver was drunk), and that he was a skeptic of the Iran nuclear deal.

Biden has displayed, over a long period of time, a near-pathological propensity to lie in order to aggrandize himself. That he would “embellish” the story of his dying son’s last words–and plant the story himself with the New York Times–is just another example of this pattern.

Run, Joe, run!
Read more here.

Bears chased from property by tiny French bulldog

Brutally torturing and killing Christians

Shianee Mamanglu-Regala reports at Christian Today,
Islamic State militants have brutally murdered 12 Christians, including the 12-year-old son of a Syrian ministry team leader who had planted nine churches, for refusing to renounce Jesus Christ and embrace Islam instead, the Gospel Herald reported.

The horrific executions took place last Aug. 28 in an unnamed village outside Aleppo, Syria, according to Christian Aid Mission, a humanitarian group that assists indigenous Christian workers in their native countries.

"In front of the team leader and relatives in the crowd, the Islamic extremists cut off the fingertips of the boy and severely beat him, telling his father they would stop the torture only if he, the father, returned to Islam," Christian Aid Mission said, according to Gospel Herald.

"When the team leader refused, relatives said, the ISIS militants also tortured and beat him and the two other ministry workers. The three men and the boy then met their deaths in crucifixion.''

"They were killed for refusing to return to Islam after embracing Christianity, as were the other eight aid workers, including two women,'' Christian Aid Mission said in its statement.

The eight were reportedly brought to a separate site in the village and asked if they would also return to Islam. But after they refused the offer, the women, ages 29 and 33, "were raped before the crowd, summoned to watch, and then all eight were beheaded."

Citing relatives and villagers who saw the horrific crime, the ministry leader of Christian Aid Mission said that the women "prayed and knelt before the Islamic State militants.''

"Villagers said some were praying in the name of Jesus, others said some were praying the Lord's Prayer, and others said some of them lifted their heads to commend their spirits to Jesus," the ministry director told Christian Aid Mission. "One of the women looked up and seemed to be almost smiling as she said, 'Jesus!'"

The bodies of those killed were then hung on crosses for display, reflective of Christ's crucifixion, according to the Gospel Herald.

The twelve martyrs were among thousands of Christians killed by the ISIS, an extremist Muslim group determined to wipe Christianity off the Middle Eastern map. The group also reportedly shattered "countless time-honoured Christian monasteries, manuscripts, and holy sites in an attempt to eradicate the faith."

Since civil war erupted in 2011 in Syria, the Christian population there has plummeted by nearly two-thirds. In Iraq, the Christian population "is teetering on extinction, dwindling from around 1.5 million in 2003 to well below 200,000 now,'' said the Gospel Herald.


Bias. We all have it. Many of us for years have been lamenting the bias of the mainstream media. We expect it. But what about the blogosphere? Are there any websites that are free of bias? I haven't found any.

You don't come to this site expecting to see praise of something Hillary Clinton does or says. But, who knows, if she ever does anything praiseworthy, maybe I'll have something good to say. Just like Donald Trump says if he ever does anything wrong, somewhere in the distant future, he will apologize!

Monday, October 05, 2015

Look both ways before crossing the street

Did you know that in China if a car hits a pedestrian, it is common for the driver to roll back and forth over the pedestrian a few times in order to make sure the victim is dead? That is what Fordham law professor claims in this article in Salon.

Mob in India kills man accused of slaughtering and eating a cow

David Barstow and Suhasini Raj write about a Hindu mob in India storming this woman's house, beating her and her son, and killing her husband..

Why? Because
BISADA, India — The vigilantes from Save the Cow sprang into action the moment they heard a rumor that a cow’s slaughtered remains had been found near an electrical transformer looming over the heart of this village. They quickly raised the alarm through text messages and phone calls. A local Hindu priest was asked to alert villagers from his temple loudspeaker.

Soon, about 1,000 men had gathered by the transformer. There was no sign that a cow, a holy symbol for Hindus, had been slaughtered. Nonetheless, the men proceeded through zigzagging alleys to the home of the suspected cow killer, Mohammed Ikhlaq, one of the few Muslims living in this village about 30 miles east of New Delhi.

Mr. Ikhlaq and his wife, Ikraman, were on their second-floor patio, dozing after dinner and prayers. Suddenly their home was swarming with men. Mrs. Ikhlaq heard someone shout, “Kill them.” She, her husband and their son Danish, 20, retreated inside, behind a thick wooden door. The mob shattered the door.

...“What’s the matter?” Mrs. Ikhlaq cried out. An incredulous voice replied from the dark, “After slaughtering a cow, you are asking us what’s the matter?”

Men began to paw at Mrs. Ikhlaq, so she bit hard into a sweaty hand, broke free and fled downstairs, “too scared to even breathe,” she said in an interview. Upstairs, the mob bludgeoned her husband with her sewing machine and smashed her son’s head with a brick. Then they dragged Mr. Ikhlaq down 14 cement steps and out to the main road by the transformer, where he was left for all to see.

Mr. Ikhlaq was declared dead early Tuesday morning, hours after the attack; his son remains in critical condition. But in interviews last week, more than a half-dozen members of Save the Cow expressed little remorse for what happened at the Ikhlaqs’ home. Instead, they blamed Mr. Ikhlaq for inciting the mob’s fury by slaughtering and eating a cow — an allegation dismissed by the Ikhlaq family and the police, who have filed murder charges against 10 men.
Read more here.

Oregon Shooter Chris Harper-Mercer – A Social Media Profile Shaped, Modified and Deleted…

Sundance at the writes about the "beyond sketchy"
Curious Case of Oregon Shooter Chris Harper-Mercer – A Social Media Profile Shaped, Modified and Deleted…

...The Oregon Shooter is a 26-year-old black male.

...Mercer held sympathetic words and thoughts for the Virginia shooter Vester Flanagan, and similarly raged against white people, and expressed sympathy toward the Black Lives Matter movement.

...However, today almost all of that social media history is GONE -> Example Here. It is either removed entirely, and/or edited for content. How it could be edited is a mystery unless there is some other issue at hand.

In addition, as several researchers have noted, anyone who held attachment to Mercer appears to be deleting the content of their association. Including Umpqua Community College itself.

... The immediate on-line web history of Chris Harper-Mercer showed him to be a mixed-race, angry young man in general alignment with various radical racially aligned groups such as Black Lives Matter, Fuck The Police and Fuck Yo Flag – all of which carry a sentiment of favorability and ideological alignment with Islam which was similarly evident in the Ferguson protest movement.

[ Against this backdrop shooting “White” “Christians” makes sense. ]

However, in the course of several hours (one media cycle) – the media narrative is selling a profile of a loner, mentally disturbed individual without any mention of his previous writings (deleted/changed), behaviors (hidden) and social tendencies (ignored).
Read more here.

Our prisons are filled mostly with violent people

In Slate Leon Neyfakh takes a look at our prison population. He interviews Fordham professor John Pfaff, who supplies some interesting statistics.
The U.S. prison population increased fivefold between 1980 and 2009—from approximately 320,000 inmates to 1.62 million.

...The fact of the matter is in today’s state prisons, which hold about 90 percent of all of our prisoners, only 17 percent of the inmates are there primarily for drug charges. And about two-thirds are there for either property or violent crimes.

... If you released every person in prison on a drug charge today, our state prison population would drop from about 1.5 million to 1.2 million. So we’d still be the world’s largest incarcerating country; we’d still have an enormous prison population.

...the real growth in the prison population comes from county-level district attorneys sending violent people to prison.

Read more here.

What is happening to the American middle class?

Jim Tankersley writes in the Washington Post,
Make no mistake: The American middle class is in trouble.

...It used to be that when the U.S. economy grew, workers up and down the economic ladder saw their incomes increase, too. But over the past 25 years, the economy has grown 83 percent, after adjusting for inflation — and the typical family’s income hasn’t budged. In that time, corporate profits doubled as a share of the economy. Workers today produce nearly twice as many goods and services per hour on the job as they did in 1989, but as a group, they get less of the nation’s economic pie. In 81 percent of America’s counties, the median income is lower today than it was 15 years ago.

...Even before the 2008 crisis, the 2000s were on track to be the weakest decade for job creation since the Labor Department started tracking the statistics. The great mystery is: What happened? Why did the economy stop boosting ordinary Americans in the way it once did?

...Jobs were slow to appear after the 1990 recession ended, even when growth sped up. The late-’90s tech bubble brought a shower of jobs and wealth, but when the bubble burst, all the gains were wiped out — except the ones for the wealthiest people in the country. The same was true for the housing bubble of the 2000s.

The first decade of the 21st century produced two recessions and two “jobless recoveries,” and when it was over, the vast majority of Americans found themselves no better off than they were a quarter-century ago. Median income kept falling for several years, even after the Great Recession ended.
Read much more here. There is a very cool map there, showing how many years ago median income peaked in each county in the US.

Fall colors

Although I have not gotten up in the mountains this fall, my friend Cindy Schaefer has, and here are some photos she took. Colorado is wonderful year-around, but fall is special.

Another reason why buying organic is submitting to a scam

P.D. Mangan writes at,
What makes the case against paying more for organic food more damning is the fact that our natural, human diet is loaded with pesticides, natural ones. All those dietary phytochemicals in fruits and vegetables that are so good for us are composed largely of chemicals made by plants to defend themselves from predators. It may be surprising for some to learn that plants do not want to be eaten.

Animals defend themselves either by fight or by flight. Plants cannot flee, literally rooted to the ground as they are, so they fight using the only means possible: chemical warfare. Coffee plants don’t produce caffeine in order to satisfy human consumers; they do it to poison animals and insects that want to eat them. The sulforaphanes in cruciferous vegetables, the solanine in potatoes, the epicatechins in tea: none of those were put there for our benefit. The difference between an edible and an unedible plant lies merely in our ability to tolerate the toxins of an edible plant.

...conventional food doesn’t have enough pesticide residue to be of concern:

...Nearly all of the pesticide chemicals that humans are exposed to are natural, produced by the plants themselves, and the fact that there’s little if any difference between natural and synthetic pesticides can be seen in the fact that half of the natural pesticides tested caused cancer in rodents.

Furthermore, the quantity of natural pesticides that humans ingest daily is many orders of magnitude greater than the amount of synthetic pesticides.

...Science, real actual science, shows that virtually every plant food we eat contains large amounts of natural pesticides, some of which are known to cause cancer in lab animals.

The conclusion must be that organic food is a waste of money, and to the extent that some people and corporations profit from the ignorance of the public, and even feed that ignorance, a scam.
Read more here.


P.D. Mangan writes at there any reason rooted in health and biology for refraining from viewing pornography? The answer is an unequivocal yes.
First of all, consider the Coolidge effect, which “can be defined as the restoration of mating behavior in males that have reached sexual satiation with one female and show a restoration of mating behavior when the original female is replaced with a novel female.”

...when a male animal is presented with the same female over time, he will take longer to ejaculate with each mating bout; when presented with different females each instance, time to ejaculation is much shorter and remains shorter.

...Another aspect of pornography connected to the above is that it is a supernormal stimulus. This is an effect that was discovered by the Nobel Prize winning biologist Niko Tinbergen. In essence, a supernormal stimulus causes a response in an animal that is more powerful than the stimulus that the animal’s instincts normally respond to.

...In this regard, pornography has the potential to be addictive, and new research is showing that it can produce brain changes that are similar to those seen in drug addiction.

...An article written about this study did not mince words: Pea brain: watching porn online will wear out your brain and make it shrivel.

...Pornography seems to change the brain in the same manner as addictive drugs do.

...In summary, pornography is a supernormal stimulus that has at least the potential to cause its users to discard or disregard normal sexual relations in favor of increasing consumption of pornography. It has the potential to be addictive in the same manner as drugs, since it can cause changes in the neural structure of the brain.

...In these times, society views the consumption of pornography as little more than an individual choice which in essence is harmless. I believe that science is beginning to show that it is not at all harmless, and that there are good reasons rooted in biology and health, especially mental health, to avoid it. It is an addictive, disruptive drug in visual form.
Read more here.

There is no such thing as healthy aging

P.D, Mangan writes at,
The four pathologies of aging

Aging can be defined as a breakdown of homeostasis; that is, the organism as it gets older finds it increasingly difficult to regulate itself and to maintain all systems in a state of balance and of health.

A more practical way of defining aging is as increasing susceptibility to disease. Aging is the prime factor in disease risk.

There are four main cellular derangements of aging: increased inflammation, increased oxidative stress, increased mitochondrial dysfunction, and lower levels of autophagy. They are all related and linked through cellular sensors and pathways, most notably through the cellular energy sensor AMPK, which regulates aging. Improving the parameters of one of these factors also improves the others. Lowering oxidative stress, for example, also entails lower levels of inflammation and better mitochondrial function.

Autophagy, from the Greek for “self-eating”, is the regulated process through which the cell breaks down parts of itself and by sequestering them into vacuoles and digesting them. Those parts that are broken down are mainly organelles and proteins that have passed their expiration dates. In this way, autophagy provides for a continuous process of self-renewal by breaking down older structures, allowing for new ones to be built in their place.

One characteristic of aging is the accumulation of damage, and this is largely due to the failure of autophagy to attain normal functional levels. From this statement, it can be seen that bringing levels of autophagy to youthful levels can ameliorate aging by clearing out damaged parts of the cell.
There is no such thing as healthy aging. Aging means increasing susceptibility to disease and the breakdown of the organism. Being healthy when older requires retarding the aging process.)

Before we get to ways to increase autophagy, how can you completely screw up the process and ensure that your autophagy levels decline and that you get old and unhealthy in a hurry? First of all, eat all the time: graze, eat snacks, never let your body out of the fed state. Second, be sedentary and gain weight. Doing this increases levels of inflammation and oxidative stress and causes a decline in autophagy. Third, make sure all your food is processed and that you never eat a vegetable.

1.Exercise induces autophagy in peripheral tissues and in the brain.

2. Fasting: Autophagy is “a process that is potently triggered by fasting.”

3. Chemical autophagy boosters: See my article “Intermittent Fasting Boosters / Autophagy Enhancers”. These chemical autophagy boosters include resveratrol, hydroxycitrate, nicotinamide, curcumin, lithium, and EGCG (from green tea). These are all readily available over-the-counter, and are cheap and safe.

Insulin signaling from food could override the autophagy-boosting effects of these supplements, so take them during the fasted state.

4. Ketosis. Ketosis results from relatively prolonged abstention from dietary carbohydrates. It stimulates autophagy (JBC) and promotes autophagy in the brain (Medical Hypotheses), which is likely important to the neuroprotective effects of the ketogenic diet.
Please read more here.

Grab the openings

Seth Godin writes today about promotion, demotion, and opportunity.

You can learn a new skill, today, for free.

You can take on a new task at work, right now, without asking anyone.

You can make a connection, find a flaw, contribute an insight, now.

Or not.

In a fluid system, when people are moving forward, others are falling behind.

The question, then, isn't, "when am I going to get promoted?"

No, I think the question is, "will I grab these openings to become someone who's already doing work at a higher level?"

Act 'as if'. If the people around you don't figure out what an asset you've become, someone else will.

Carson now on top

John Merline reports at Investors Business Daily that Ben Carson has now vaulted to the top of the pack in the latest presidential preference poll.
The nationwide survey found that 24% of Republicans back Carson, compared with 17% who say they support Trump.

Marco Rubio came in third with 11% and Carly Fiorina fourth at 9%. Jeb Bush, once considered a prohibitive favorite, ranked fifth with just 8% support, which was a point lower than those who say they are still undecided.
Read more here.

A recipe for disaster

At PJ Media Roger L. Simon gives his views on the issue of accepting immigrants from the Middle East.
This new migration is as perfect a recipe for disaster as you could find. I hate to sound like an exclusionist in the melting pot, but I would be lying to say that we should admit any of these people. Well, maybe one or two, after they are vetted for a dozen years or so (not exactly cost effective). And, ironically, the only way for the Middle East to change is for these people to stay and fight it out. (Yes, it could take a thousand years.)

Donald Trump, who evidently feels the same way, opened the door on the immigration question and got branded a racist for it. Of course he’s not. He was only talking honestly, if a bit coarsely, about social problems we’re having. For the left, it’s much easier and more effective to accuse him of racism. Otherwise, they’d have to deal with the problem. Who wants that? It might cost you votes. Nevertheless, bad as this southern immigration may be with all the attendant crime, we can survive it. We will assimilate in the end. We can come together.

UPDATE: As I completed this post, I notice via Instapundit that the strongest opponent of sharia law in the United States among all the presidential candidates has risen to the top of the polls. That is Dr. Ben Carson. So what I have written above may not be the opinion of a minority crank.
Read more here.


h/t Darleen Click

Sunday, October 04, 2015

Just ignore the law!

Do you suppose it is a possibility that Obama has made a deal with the Castro brothers to turn over the Guantanamo prison to the Cuban commies? So they can imprison more Cubans who disagree with their regime?

Valerie Richardson reports at the Washington Times,
Even though the 2015 National Defense Appropriation Act renews the congressional ban on transferring of Gitmo detainees to U.S. soil, the Defense Department has conducted site surveys at highly secure facilities recently in Kansas and South Carolina, meeting in both instances with staunch opposition from GOP governors.

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback said in August that his state will not be part of any “illegal ill-advised action by this administration” to transfer the 52 detainees to U.S. soil, while South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley said that “we are not going to allow South Carolina to become a magnet for terrorists to come here.”

By comparison, Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, a Democrat, was more open-minded. His spokeswoman told The Associated Press that he “wants to have a full understanding of the costs, risk and impacts for Colorado.”

All the Colorado Congressional representatives and both senators have said all the right things in opposition. Senator Bennet, though, is up for reelection in 2016, and may need money for his campaign.
Read more here.

Homecoming 2015

My son Jon adjusts his new hat before getting in the truck to go participate in his first homecoming dance last night. He had a good time, but neither Jon nor Greg was impressed at the DJ's choice of music (rap and hip hop).

h/t Colleen

Sharia law

The Constitution versus Sharia

h/t Robert Rich

"Kinder than he appears"

Leonardo Blair reports for the Christian Post,
Despite his veneer of bombast and blunt pronouncements that sometimes bristle even the most composed of his political rivals, GOP presidential frontrunner Donald Trump told about 40 religious leaders in a private Monday meeting that he is indeed "a man of faith," but just doesn't wear it on his sleeve.

Don Nori, founder of Christian book publisher Destiny Image, who was at the meeting held on the 26th floor of Trump Tower in New York City, told CNN that while Trump spoke to the leaders for a bit, he spent most of the time listening to their concerns and advice about him as a candidate.

And although Trump has developed a reputation for being brash, mean and insincere about his faith, Nori said on Monday religious leaders saw a different man.

"He talked a lot about his faith. He says it's not something he wears on his sleeve, but it was very obvious he was a man of faith," said Nori. "He is a much kinder man than he appears."
Read more here.

They punted

Kurt Schlichter writes in The Federalist,
The revelation that our generals expect Americans solders to allow screaming young boys to be sodomized and not stop it is simply the latest manifestation of the utter moral bankruptcy infecting the senior ranks of the U.S. military.

...Many of these generals are decorated combat veterans who would gleefully charge an enemy machine-gun nest. But that physical courage in the face of the enemy does not translate into moral courage in the face of politicians and social justice warriors. It’s disheartening to see officers with Combat Infantryman badges and silver stars sheepishly nodding along with the lies of the coddled liberal elite.

...Obama cares nothing for the military, and no one expects him to. But it is not too much to expect our generals to care about their organizations, to care about winning wars and protecting their soldiers more than about getting that additional star.

...The military certainly had a tough problem in Afghanistan. Within the military, the fact that many of our putative allies delight in raping kids was an open secret. On one hand, you can’t always expect your allies in Third World knifefights to be Eagle Scouts. On the other hand, we are talking about raping kids.

...the craven generals selected the worst possible option, and failed to give clear guidance one way or the other. Instead of taking on the responsibility that comes with the job, they punted. They chose not to give clear orders — “See it and stop it” or “See it but do nothing” — putting the risk they should bear as commanders onto their subordinates. Now, soldiers have to decide whether to do what is right or do what their generals telegraph they want done but won’t say because they don’t want to be held accountable for it.

This comes in the form of squishy guidance like, “If you see it, report it.” Apparently, a captain who comes across a kid being raped on some forward operating base is to do an about-face, stroll back to the main command post, call up to his battalion, which calls up to the brigade, which calls up to the division, and so on until it gets to the top, at which point the Afghan government gets told that out there in the wild one of their guys is raping kids. Presumably the pederast has finished the act by the time whatever consequences (if any) follow.

So, if the captain acts according to Army values and puts a stop to the child rape, he’s wrong. If he does nothing, and later some congressman or reporter asks the general why his troops aren’t stopping child rapes, the captain is going to be wrong again. If you think the general is going to say, “Oh, the captain as just following my order to allow child rapes occurring in front of him to continue,” you are delusional.

...Obama bears some of the blame because he could fix this with a few select firings and unequivocal guidance that values come first. But no one expects that of him, and there is no excuse why the generals have not done it themselves. They could demand competence. They could demand moral courage. They could resign rather than play along with misguided politics. But they have chosen their stars and positions and perks instead. It’s a disgrace, and our troops and little Afghan kids are paying the price.
Read more here.

Trump strikes a deal with the city of Palm Beach

Conservative Tribune has a story about how Donald Trump was fined for flying the American flag too high:
At Mar-a-Lago Club, Trump’s elite Palm Beach, Florida property, he had an American flag prominently raised on the grounds to show his patriotism. Apparently, the hoighty-toighty residents of the neighborhood weren’t thrilled when they saw Old Glory flying 50 feet above the ground — which was 20 feet higher than ordinances allowed.

So they complained, a lot. Enough so that the city began fining The Donald $1,000 per day while his flag stood, according to Snopes.

After rounds of back-and-forth fighting, Trump and the city finally came to an agreement — after the fine had grown to a staggering $120,000.

Trump’s solution? He told the city he would move the flag and pole to a different spot on the estate and lower it to the allowed 30 feet. In return, Trump insisted that the $120,000 be donated to veterans organizations.

The city agreed. How could they not? The master of the deal struck again, this time for an exceedingly good cause that any proud American could rally behind.
Read more here.

Trey Gowdy questions Planned Parenthood's leader

Jason Chaffetz announces for speaker job

The speaker election is set for Thursday. Emily Stephenson reports at Reuters that Utah Representative Jason Chaffetz has
declared a bid to become speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives

Chaffetz, 48, of Utah, rose quickly to committee leadership after being elected in 2008. He has gained attention for aggressively targeting Planned Parenthood.
Read more (biased) coverage here.

Chaffetz is a life long Democrat, until he met Ronald Reagan, so proceed with caution. Jennifer Kern will write about this tomorrow in the Blaze.

Paper, plastic, or reusable?

Katherine Mangu-Ward asks at Reason,
How did one of the most efficient, resource-saving inventions of the 20th century become an environmentalist bugaboo?

...About 65 percent of Americans report that they repurpose their grocery bags for garbage. By contrast, a survey by the marketing research firm Edelman Berland found that consumers reported forgetting their reusable bags on 40 percent of grocery trips and opted for plastic or paper instead.

...If you're like most people, here's what you have probably done at least once: Put a leaky package of chicken in your cloth or plastic tote. Then go home, empty the bag, crumple it up, and toss it in the trunk of your car to fester. A week later, you go shopping again and throw some veggies you're planning to eat raw into the same bag. Cue diarrhea.

...A 2011 survey published in the journal Food Protection Trends found coliform bacteria in fully half of the reusable shopping bags tested in a random survey of shoppers in Arizona and California. The same 2014 Edelman Berland study that found consumers frequently forgot their bags also unearthed the fact that only 18 percent of shoppers reported cleaning their bags "once a week or more." An article in the Journal of Infectious Diseases traced a 2010 outbreak of norovirus to nine members of an Oregon soccer team who had touched or eaten food stored in a contaminated reusable bag.

...Though it was meant as irony, there was an essential (if accidental) truth behind the speech. The technology behind plastic grocery bags is so useful it won a Nobel Prize. Employing an unimaginably small amount of base material, manufacturers can create tools of surprising strength and durability. Far from being the environmental threat activists make them out to be, plastic bags are not particularly to blame for clogged sewers, choked rivers, asphyxiated sea animals, or global warming. Instead, they are likely our best bet for carrying all of our junk in a responsible manner.
Read more here.


Wisdom. What is it? How do we get it? How do we foster it?

At Big Questions Online Margaret Plews-Ogan wrote,
When researcher Judith Glück and colleagues asked subjects to describe a situation in which they acted wisely, compared to a peak experience, they found that the wisdom situations more often involved difficult or negative events, implying that wisdom perhaps develops through the experience of adversity. Pascual Leone and colleagues described these challenging situations as “ultimate limit situations,” circumstances that “cannot be undone and are nonetheless faced with consciousness and resolve…situations like death, illness, aging, …absolute failure…uncontrollable fear.” Psychologists Tedeschi and Calhoun have been studying this positive response to trauma for the past ten years, a phenomenon they call post-traumatic growth. We’ve all heard of post-traumatic stress, but these researchers noted that when asked about how trauma might have changed them for the better, people began to describe the positive ways in which they had changed because of what they had lived through. This complex set of changes fall into five domains: increased appreciation of life, warmer relations with others, recognition of new possibilities for one’s life, a greater sense of personal strength, and spiritual development.

Tedeschi and Calhoun suggest that trauma induces a disruption in our understanding of ourselves and the world (our schema) and that disruption forces us to re-work our understanding of ourselves and the world, resulting in learning and growth with the potential for wisdom as the final result. In the Wisdom in Medicine project we were interested in this question of whether moving through a difficult circumstance in a positive way can result in wisdom. We studied patients who had coped with chronic pain, and physicians who had made a serious medical error. When asked what they had learned and how they had changed for the better because of their experience, they used the language of wisdom. They talked about having increased compassion for others, increased capacity for forgiveness and humility, an increased desire to understand things, but also a deeper understanding of the ambiguous nature of things, and becoming more aware of the limitations of our knowledge.

Of course, not everyone who suffers through a difficult experience comes out with something positive. In fact, you could argue, adversity is just as likely to make someone bitter, angry, cynical and entrenched as it is to make them compassionate, humble, more able to see things from other’s perspectives. So I will argue that it is not just adversity, but rather adversity plus the right matrix and the inner capacity to use that difficult experience in a positive way that leads to wisdom.

We asked the Wisdom in Medicine exemplars “what helped?”, what made it easier for them to move positively through their difficult experiences? Here’s a summary of what they told us. Having a community, someone they could talk to, to tell their story, was important. Cultivating gratitude and positive emotion, quiet reflection (whether meditation, mindfulness, prayer) was helpful. Doing something positive, which often involved doing things for others, was helpful. And having a moral or spiritual grounding helped to guide them through this process and helped them to “do the right thing” when it was hard.

There was something else surprising in the data. As researchers we experienced an ah ha moment as we painstakingly combed through the data. All of the exemplars had at one point made a choice, a conscious, deliberate choice to pursue something that was hard. It may not have been what they really wanted to do, and certainly not something they thought would necessarily end up well. But it was something they felt they had to do to set things straight. They chose, in many cases, the harder course of action. They chose to face their circumstances face on. We say, they “stepped in”. They may have decided to apologize to a patient or family, to go into a room full of intense judgment. It might have meant that they had to face their addiction, or take control of their health. At some point they made a courageous choice to make a difference in their own lives.

But how did these exemplars have the courage and the capacity to make these choices? I believe that the matrix in which we experience these difficult circumstances has a lot to do with how we move through them. Researcher John Meachum talks about a wisdom atmosphere as being one in which doubts, uncertainties and questions can be openly expressed, and ambiguities and contradictions can be tolerated, so that individuals are not forced to adopt the defensive position of what he calls “too confident knowing”.
Read more here.

You belong to me

Benjamin Ames writes, "The fireworks show had just ended, but she thought she kept hearing them outside. So we sang to keep her mind preoccupied. In the end, nothing competes with fireworks."

Isn't this guy wonderful?

And our president jumped right into it

These murders are happening daily in the world

This Jewish couple were gunned down by Palestinian Muslims on October 1. Judah Ari Gross and Times of Israel staff report,
An Israeli mother and father were killed in a shooting attack on their vehicle Thursday night in the northern West Bank.

The couple, identified late Thursday as Eitam and Naama Henkin of the settlement of Neria north of Ramallah, leaves behind four children — aged 4 months, 4, 7 and 9 — who were in the vehicle at the time of the attack, but were not hit by the gunfire.

The Hamas terror group praised the “heroic attack” and called for “more high-quality attacks.”
Read more here.

Migrants getting organized

Emily Kent Smith In Calais For The Daily Mail and Martin Robinson for MailOnline report,

An organised mob of 200 migrants charged into the Calais entrance of the Channel Tunnel early yesterday, chanting ‘open the borders’ and demanding to be allowed into Britain.

They tore down fences and charged past police, who retaliated by spraying tear gas. When the migrants were finally beaten back, they regrouped to form a human barricade, blocking the road to the tunnel.

A French riot officer was left needing stitches in his head and face after police were pelted by stones last night as around 1,700 migrants again tried to storm the Channel Tunnel - the highest number for several days.

For the past week thousands of people have stormed fences and desperately tried to clamber on trains bound for Kent - a deadly gamble that has allowed at least 200 to get to Britain but also claimed the lives of nine people.

The trouble began in the early hours of Sunday when 200 migrants were yards from entering the Channel Tunnel on foot after storming down barricades.

They ran towards the fences, smashing and tearing down the flimsy barriers as they went.

They were only held back by tear gas.
Read more here.

Police escort only

Doctors and ambulances will now only enter German refugee camp when escorted by police.

Tom Parfitt reports for the Sunday UK Express,
They will not visit the so-called 'tent city' near Calden, Germany without a security escort, a police spokesman for the region said.

The makeshift camp, which houses more than 1,300 refugees, has been rocked by riots and fights in recent weeks.

Last month an ambulance was dispatched to the camp but the crew were harassed and the vehicle was attacked, according to reports.

Read more here.