Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Irreplaceable

At The American Spectator Arnold Steinberg writes a long satirical piece imagining President Donald Trump's first news conference. The conference ends with this exchange:
Reporter: Now, about the future. You did not have a vice presidential running mate…

Trump: Because, obviously, I’m irreplaceable. The Democrats ran a candidate for vice president because they didn’t have confidence in their nominee.

Reporter: But what if something happens to you now?

Trump: Ask Melania. I am in better shape than anyone in Seal Team Six. And we’re not treating Navy Seal veterans properly. They sit for days in the same chair in the waiting room for an appointment with a doctor who doesn’t speak English. They want the American dream – to live in a Trump Tower and use the high-tech gym.

Reporter: And what do you want for your legacy?

Trump: I am rich, very rich. And smart, very smart. And a really nice person. People don’t realize that. But I want to be remembered for making America great again. I have written a will that clearly says to whom I am leaving the presidency.

Reporter: Thank you, Mr. President.
Read more here.

He's not a fan of the European Union

The sin of despair

At according to Hoyt Sarah Hoyt reprises a 2012 post on the sin of despair.
Despair is a sin because it eats you, from the inside out. Despair comes with “I will never” and “what is the use” and “the game is rigged, so why bother?” Despair comes with beating your head against a glass window that shouldn’t be there, and yet is.

...It is a sin against your future self. It is a sin against humanity. It is a sin against possibility.

...But wait, there’s more. There’s what despair serves to do. People who despair don’t try to change things and/or undermine the establishment. People who despair, at the very least go away and shut up, even if they don’t deliberately kill themselves.

...Most of humanity are sheep. Some of us are goats. The problem of any establishment, any power, anyone who abrogates influence over human hearts and minds is to control the goats and to make the sheep do more than stand in place and bah. The more brutally repressive regimes eliminate the goats, often physically, and leave only the sheep. The result is all the innovation and elan of… North Korea.

...Refuse to write despair. Refuse to believe despair. Look doom and gloom in the eye and ask them “you and what army?” Yes, it might all come to the same in the end, but at least you’ll have fought and died like a human being and not a bah lamb.

...Tell the Grocers of Despair you have better things to do. There is a fight going on, and you’d rather fight. And then go on and discover new pastures. The poor sheep need somewhere to graze on. And you’ll have more freedom to breathe. And everyone wins in the end.

... If they sell you despair it’s because they’re afraid of what you can do if you don’t give up. Don’t give up. Nothing will piss the establishment more than your continued – and cheerful – battling on. Do it. Let THEM despair.
Read more here.

Taxing

Jeffrey Anderson writes in The Weekly Standard,
Donald Trump’s newly released tax plan would add a staggering $10 trillion to the national debt over a decade, according to scoring by the Tax Foundation, a well-respected (especially in conservative circles) nonpartisan source. To put that into perspective, that’s more debt than Barack Obama—by far the most profligate president in American history—has managed to rack up so far on his watch (although he’s not done yet). According to the Treasury Department, the national debt has risen an unconscionable $9 trillion under Obama, from $9.2 trillion when he took office to $18.2 trillion today. But all by itself, Trump’s tax plan would generate more debt than 80 months of Obama.

In addition to being an incredible budget-buster, Trump’s plan raises one other major concern: It would, Trump claims, take most Americans off the income-tax rolls. It’s bad enough that about 40 percent of Americans currently pay no federal income taxes—and thus don’t help fund national defense, national parks, federal highway spending, the general cost of government, etc. Trump’s plan would turn that large minority into a majority. It’s hard to imagine how having most Americans not have skin in the game is conducive to cultivating a virtuous republican citizenry that prides itself on its self-reliance and doesn’t view government spending as a free lunch.
Read more here.

As I understand it, candidate Ben Carson is advocating that every American should have skin in the game and pay some taxes. Carson is right.

Planned Parenthood's deceptive claims

Bre Payton reports at The Federalist,
Hundreds of women called their local Planned Parenthood clinics Monday to schedule a mammogram, but none were able to successfully secure an appointment. That’s because the nation’s largest abortion provider doesn’t actually offer them.

The phone calls were part of “Schedule Your Mammogram Day,” an event organized by And Then There Were None, a pro-life organization, to raise awareness of Planned Parenthood’s deceptive claims on women’s health.

...But in reality, there are 8,735 licensed mammography facilities in the United States, and Planned Parenthood operates none of them. The closest that the nation’s largest abortion provider gets to offering mammogram services is referring women to one of those other facilities.

...While Planned Parenthood doesn’t offer any mammograms, it performs more than 300,000 abortions each year and harvests the organs of aborted babies for sale. This practice is driving the debate surrounding whether to continue sending federal funds to Planned Parenthood to the tune of some $500 million each year.

Since pregnancy is not a disease, this disagreement isn’t really about women’s health, after all. It’s really about whether the government will continue to funnel tax dollars to the nation’s largest abortion provider, whose officials have been caught on tape admitting that they are able and willing to alter abortion procedures to get more organs out of the babies without properly gaining consent from women.
Read more here.

Me thinks she doth protest too loudly

Betsy Newmark writes at Betsy's Page,
The Washington Post has an excerpt from Reggie Love's book, Power Forward, about his time as Obama's "body man." They use the excerpt to pinpoint the moment back in 2007 when Obama knew he'd defeat Hillary because she lost her cool with him. But they seem to be burying the real lede of that excerpt. She was apologizing to him for her co-chair's talking about Obama's use of drugs as he talked about in his memoir.

“I want to apologize for the whole Shaheen thing,” Clinton said. “I want you to know I had nothing to do with it.”

The candidate very respectfully told her the apology was kind, but largely meaningless, given the emails it was rumored her camp had been sending out labeling him as a Muslim. Before he could finish his sentence, she exploded on Obama. In a matter of seconds, she went from composed to furious. It had not been Obama’s intention to upset her, but he wasn’t going to play the fool either. To all of us watching the spat unfold, it was an obvious turning point in our campaign, and we knew it. Clinton was no less competitive or committed to a cause than Obama, and the electric tension running through both candidates and their respective staffs reflected the understanding that she was no longer the de facto Democratic candidate. Her inevitability had been questioned. . . .

I remember Obama telling me later that day that he knew he was going to win the nomination after that moment on the tarmac, because Clinton had unraveled, and he was still standing and keeping his cool. It was just the confidence boost he needed.

Hello? Didn't the Washington Post notice that he was accusing her campaign of sending out emails calling him a Muslim? Put that together with her passive aggressive way of saying that she took Obama "at his word that he's not a Muslim" at least as far as she knew. It's clear that her campaign didn't mind of letting the suspicious that he was a Muslim just hang out there. Now she's very sanctimonious about the guy who said Obama is a Muslim and wasn't corrected by Donald Trump.

Show up, sit down, and type (or paint)

Seth Godin writes,

Abbey Ryan has painted a new painting every day for 8 years.

Isaac Asimov published 400 books, by typing every day.

This is post #6000 on this blog.

Writer's block is a myth, a recent invention, a cultural malady.

More important than the output, though, is the act itself. The act of doing it every day. When you commit to a practice, you will certainly have days when you don't feel like it, when you believe it's not your best work, when the muse deserts you. But, when you keep your commitment, the muse returns. When you keep your commitment, the work happens.

It doesn't matter if anyone reads it, buys it, sponsors it or shares it. It matters that you show up.

Show up, sit down and type. (Or paint).

Who profits from the Iran deal?

Andrew McCarthy wrote this piece at National Review a couple of weeks ago:
‘Why on earth would Republicans do that?” That is a question I’ve been asked at least a dozen times since illustrating that the GOP has played a cynical game in connection with President Obama’s Iran deal.

“Follow the money” is a common answer to questions about political motivation. It may not explain everything in this case, but it is certainly relevant.

This spring, Republican leadership colluded with the White House and congressional Democrats to enact a law — the Corker-Cardin Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act — that guaranteed Obama would be authorized to lift sanctions against Iran (the main objective of the terrorist regime in Tehran). The rigged law authorized Obama to lift sanctions as long as Republicans could not pass a resolution of disapproval. As Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, House Speaker John Boehner, Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker, and other GOP leaders well knew, there was no way they would ever be able to enact a disapproval resolution over Obama’s veto. But the process choreographed by Corker-Cardin meant they would be able to complain about the deal and vote to disapprove it — thereby creating the impression that they were staunchly against the lifting of sanctions that they had already authorized.

Often in Washington, the numbers that matter are measured in dollars, not votes.

Take Boeing, for example.

Based in Chicago, Boeing is the world’s largest aerospace company, with revenues expected to surge past $96 billion this year. It is a major GOP donor. It gives mountains of money to Democrats, too, but the lion’s share of its political contributions go to Republicans.

For the 2014 campaign cycle, according to OpenSecrets.org, the company gave about 60 percent of its whopping $3,250,000 in donations to the GOP. Major recipients included such establishment pillars as the Republican National Committee, the National Republican Congressional Committee ($38,000 each), and the National Republican Senatorial Committee ($33,000). Significant contributions were also made to McConnell ($13,000), Boehner ($25,000), Senator Lindsey Graham ($39,000), and many others. And that’s apart from the nearly $17 million the company spent in 2014 on lobbyists, 80 percent of whom have transitioned to the other end of the trough after careers in government.

It just so happens that Boeing stands to reap huge money from Obama’s lifting of the sanctions.

Iran’s airline industry has been crippled by these severe restrictions, which are aimed against commerce connected to the regime’s illegal uranium enrichment, terror promotion, and weapons trafficking. Once the sanctions are lifted, the mullahs are expected to order up at least 100 new aircraft in just the next year, and 400 over the next decade. That means tens of billions of dollars in sales for manufacturers positioned to satisfy those pressing needs.

No company is better positioned than Boeing. It not only has the models Iran wants and the production capacity to fill huge orders. Boeing also ingratiated itself with the mullahs last year by leaping into action when President Obama, eager to keep Iran at the negotiating table, granted some limited sanctions relief. Reuters reported that the company “sold aircraft manuals, drawings, charts and data to Iran Air.”

Interesting thing about that: Iran Air, the national carrier, is most notorious for providing material support to the barbaric Assad regime in Syria and the Hezbollah terrorist network that props it up.

As detailed earlier this week in an important report by Emanuele Ottolenghi and Ben Weinthal of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (published by Politico’s European edition), the U.S. Treasury Department designated Iran Air as a proliferator of weapons of mass destruction in 2011, ordering the freezing of its assets. Serving as an arm of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps (the force principally responsible for killing hundreds of American troops in Iraq and 19 American airmen in the 1996 Khobar Towers bombing in Saudi Arabia), Iran Air transported rockets and missiles, as well as military personnel and weapons, to Syria. It also violated a U.N. arms embargo by sending along dual-use materials that can be converted to military applications.

Oh . . . and given that Obama’s Iran deal depends on the terrorist regime’s good-faith cooperation with inspectors and compliance with restrictions on its nuclear work, it is probably worth mentioning how Iran Air managed to carry out its WMD proliferation: as Messrs. Ottolenghi and Weinthal explain, it systematically lied about the content of the cargo on its flights. Nevertheless, in the implementation of the Iran deal approved by Corker-Cardin, Obama will be dropping the designation against Iran Air.

To sum up: Obama cuts a deal with Iran. The implementation of the deal is abetted by legislation pushed by the Republican-controlled Congress despite massive opposition from the GOP base. Under the deal, a major GOP donor stands to make billions selling aircraft to Iran. Iran will use the aircraft to fortify the Assad regime (which Obama and GOP leadership claim to want to topple) and to promote terrorism by networks with a history of murdering Americans.
Read more here.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Is Trump really an alpha male?

Allahpundit at Hot Air writes,
One interesting similarity between Rubio’s knock on him today and Rich Lowry’s dig at him last night about Fiorina having cut off his balls at the debate is that they’re both shots in different ways at Trump’s image as the alpha male. Lowry’s taunting him because the girl onstage knocked him down; Rubio’s calling him a weakling who’s consumed with disguising that fact by projecting strength. Among all the explanations from the punditocracy for why Trump appeals to so many people — populism, political incorrectness, strong borders, the fact that he can’t be bought — the alpha vibe to his personality is the one that’s most grossly overlooked. (But not by everyone.) The most damaging attack he’s made on anyone in the race wasn’t about immigration or Syria or anything like that; it was him needling Jeb Bush as a “low energy,” i.e. low testosterone, candidate. The fact that Ted Cruz seems palpably afraid to criticize Trump for fear of alienating his voters also inadvertently enhances Trump’s alpha image by casting Cruz in the role of his sidekick. Critics like Rubio and Lowry are starting to key in on all of that and turn it around on Trump.
Read more here.

How old are you?

If your name is Gertrude, you are probably 80-years-old.


If your name is Bob, you are probably 64-years-old.


Go here to see graphs of younger males and females.

Feminists feeling chagrined and envious

rich Lowry writes at National Review about the formidable candidacy of Carly Fiorina.
Fiorina’s electric condemnation of Planned Parenthood has inevitably gotten the attention of the pro-abortion sisterhood. This past weekend in Iowa, protesters chanted and threw condoms at her — condoms evidently being the go-to projectile to demonstrate outrage, even though Fiorina had said nothing about birth control. At the same event, a woman accosted Fiorina to ask, “How can you as a woman not support our health care?” In a firm and frank exchange, Fiorina probably left the woman determined never to try that again. “Oh, I support your health care,” the candidate shot back. “I don’t support butchering babies.”

...At their best, her riffs are pungent, memorable — and persuasive. “Liberals and progressives will spend inordinate amounts of time and money protecting fish, frogs, and flies,” she said last week after a visit to a pro-life pregnancy center. “They do not think a 17-week-old, a 20-week-old, a 24-week-old is worth saving.”

Hillary Clinton’s fans can be forgiven for wishing their candidate had some of Fiorina’s flair as a communicator. A writer at Cosmopolitan lamented, “Carly Fiorina Is the Candidate I Wanted Hillary Clinton to Be.” She and others ought to get used to feeling envious and chagrined. Even if she flames out as a candidate, in Carly Fiorina conservatives and pro-lifers have discovered a formidable champion.
Read more here.

A celebrity candidate

Remember Andrew Breitbart? Here he is in 2011 saying, "We're probably gonna get a celebrity candidate." (at about the 7 minute mark in the video).



h/t Jim Geraghty

United States of America?

Ben Carson said this in the first debate:
I was asked by an NPR reporter once, why don’t I talk about race that often. I said it’s because I’m a neurosurgeon. And she thought that was a strange response. And you say -- I said, you see, when I take someone to the operating room, I’m actually operating on the thing that makes them who they are. The skin doesn’t make them who they are. The hair doesn’t make them who they are. And it’s time for us to move beyond that. (APPLAUSE) Because our strength as a nation comes in our unity. We are the United States of America, not the divided states. And those who want to divide us are trying to divide us, and we shouldn’t let them do it.

h/t Jim Geraghty

Maybe if we just change the words around...

Alex Swoyer at Breitbart notes that a New York Times article by Amy Chozick about Carly Fiorina as been changed, without notification or explanation. The original article mentioned how people have been throwing condoms at Fiorina.
“On Saturday, women wearing pink, some of whom were paid by Planned Parenthood, protested Mrs. Fiorina at a campaign appearance in Iowa, throwing condoms and chanting, ‘Women are watching, and we vote,'” reported the New York Times.

That sentenced has now been changed to read,
“some of whom were affiliated with Planned Parenthood.”]

It's the unions, not the kids in failing schools, that Mayor DeBlasio is responsive to

William McGurn writes in the Wall Street Journal,
...a child who starts in a failing elementary school has only a 1.6% chance of ever going on to a top-performing middle school.

Good charters offer part of the answer. In New York, Eva Moskowitz’s Success Academy charter schools are arguably the best. Yet the mayor, his schools chancellor and the teachers union all apparently prefer maintaining the present inequality rather than allow Ms. Moskowitz to open more of her charters in poor minority neighborhoods.

The Success Academies are 58% black and about 27% Hispanic. Even so, these children regularly outscore their counterparts in wealthy suburban areas. So while each year the Success Academies prove that black kids can compete as equals with white kids so long as the bar is set high and teachers are held accountable, in the schools run by Mayor de Blasio the achievement gap between black and white has widened.

Welcome to progressive New York. Where black and Latino children in poor neighborhoods are condemned to failed schools with almost no possibility of escape. While the schools where kids are treated equally and black lives really do matter get the back of the mayor’s hand.

...nowhere in New York is the divide between haves and have-nots—or between black and white—as stark as it is on equal access to a decent education. It is this divide the pro-charter Families for Excellent Schools will highlight on Wednesday as mothers and fathers march across the Brooklyn Bridge to demand “school equality,” i.e., great schools for all children.

New Yorkers are being presented with two starkly different narratives.

The teachers-union narrative asks the city to celebrate the “success” of a school system in which there is no hint of any challenges. Families for Excellent Schools suggests that “success” is not the word for a school system in which half a million children—478,000 to be precise—languish in failure factories.

...These are defined as schools where two-thirds of the students are failing, the city’s most rotten schools. Ninety percent of the kids in these schools are children of color. Families for Excellent Schools calls this system a “pipeline to failure,” noting that a child who starts in a failing elementary school has only a 1.6% chance of ever going on to a top-performing middle school.
Read more here.

Talking about race



I have a black friend with whom I have almost daily arguments. He is sympathetic to the Black Lives Matter argument about police treatment of blacks. I point out to him that blacks are mostly being killed by other blacks. John McWhorter writes at Daily Beast,
Yes, black lives taken by cops matter. But so do black lives taken by other blacks. BLM won’t win over America until it acknowledges this.

...It is considered the height of sophistication to declare that “America doesn’t want to talk about race.”

I say it’s time to retire this phrase. Imagine being from a foreign country and hearing that phrase, watching a room full of earnest people nodding warmly, after just the first eight months of this year. Freddie Gray, Walter Scott, Sam Dubose, Sandra Bland, the Justice Department’s report on Ferguson, the Charleston shootings, Rachel Dolezal, Bill Cosby, Ta-Nehisi Coates’s book, James Blake, and of course the Black Lives Matter movement. This is a country that “doesn’t talk about race”? Let’s face it—the assertion in itself is splendidly absurd.

...When someone says America doesn’t talk about race, they mean something much more specific: that America doesn’t think racism determines black lives to such an extent that the nation needs a vast upending of procedure.

...the black left and its fellow travelers have moved leftward of what unbiased observers, urgently seeking justice and dignity for black people, regard as politically and even morally convincing.

...racism alone is no longer the only, or often even the main, problem black people have.

...A movement cannot make a real difference in 2015 by pretending that it’s still 1965.

...black people in poor neighborhoods are in vastly more danger of being killed by young black men than by the occasional bad cop.

...This year alone, in Chicago almost 80 percent of the people killed have been black. In Baltimore the figure is 216 black people versus 11 white, in Philadelphia 200 black people versus 44 white. Most by other black people.

...One strategy could be that if the police were finally restrained from needless killing of black men, BLM could help forge new relationships between the cops and black communities, such that those communities would feel comfortable assisting cops in finding murderers. That is understandably often not the case under current conditions, and is surely as much a problem for a black person living in such a city than what white cops might pull. A Civil Rights movement for today rather than yesterday can’t focus only on racism. The issues have become too complex.

...Imagine if in 1965 when the Selma marchers walked across the Pettus bridge, black boys had been killing each other by the dozens over on the other side all summer, with that considered regrettable but ultimately “beside the point.” Black Lives Matter, I’m afraid, is on the path to making that scenario a reality. It doesn’t have to be that way.
Read more here.

The times, they are a changin'

How powerful is the influence of the Republican party on you? The Democratic party? Not very? Me neither. So then, what is driving all the interest in the 2016 presidential campaigns? Ezra Klein has some theories at Vox.
The tools that party insiders use to decide both electoral and legislative outcomes are being weakened by new technologies and changing media norms.

...Voters have more information than ever before, and they are able to shape and choose the information they get in unprecedented ways.

Bernie Sanders, for instance, received much more coverage than he would have in past elections because news organizations — Vox included — noticed that stories about Sanders would explode on social media. That was a sign that there was more momentum behind his candidacy than most in Washington recognized; a sign that wouldn't have existed, and so couldn't have been heeded, a decade ago.

...The media, meanwhile, is much more competitive than it's been in previous decades. Fox News barely existed before the 2000 election. BuzzFeed News didn't exist until the 2008 election. The profusion of outlets trying different coverage strategies, the tremendous amount of feedback about what audiences actually like, and the all-against-all war for attention has led to more coverage of candidates who make for good stories and comparatively less coverage for candidates who are powered by a good reputation among party elites; this is why Donald Trump is by far the most-covered candidate of either party this cycle, while Rick Perry was beloved by insiders but mostly ignored on the trail.

Campaign-to-voter contact used to be cumbersome and expensive, but in the age of email, Facebook, and YouTube, it's nearly costless to communicate with supporters who want more information than the media is willing or able to provide.

...Fundraising still matters, but political parties have less control over money than ever before; the rise of unlimited-contribution Super PACs means that a candidate only needs one or two rich supporters to fund a campaign. Newt Gingrich's surprisingly strong and sustained challenge to Mitt Romney was largely funded by casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, who pumped about $20 million into Gingrich's Super PAC. Trump, of course, is self-funding.
Read more here.

What is it about Trump, Carson, and Fiorina?

Is it true that voter anger is the sole explanation for the success of Trump, Carson, and Fiorina? Stuart Rothenberg, writing at The Hill, doesn't think so. Rather, he points out the strong individual appeal of each:
Trump is a celebrity who knows how to manipulate the media, and Fiorina is a terrific debater who has become relevant because of her performance in the campaign. And Carson is a black neurosurgeon whose professional résumé and personal style are rare in Republican politics.
Read more here.

A recipe for cultural disintegration

Do you believe all cultures are equal? Abraham Miller writes at American Spectator,
Large numbers of Muslims have not acculturated into Western society. Our secular values, our historical concerns for individual liberty, and individual freedom stand at variance with a culture based on submission, misogyny, and triumphalism.

...Can German democracy survive when a segment of its citizenry believes that women are inferior beings, that gays are sinners whose fate should be determined by the Sharia, that insulting the Prophet of Islam justifies murder, and that given a choice between the values of German constitutional democracy and Islam, they must choose Islam?

...The Middle East refugee problem is not Europe's problem, as a New York Times headline tells us. It is Islam’s problem. It is a manifest failure of Islam to evolve beyond its desert roots that has produced strife from Africa to the Maghreb to the Tigris/Euphrates. It is as if Islam were now experiencing the Christian wars of the early Reformation and expecting the Christian West to rescue it from itself.

This is not an argument for failing to exercise compassion, but to recognize that compassion and permanent resettlement are not one and the same. The Middle East refugee problem should not be the reason for the West's commission of political and cultural suicide. In too many parts of Europe, there is a discussion of one country, two different worlds, to describe the parallel and separate society Muslims have created in Western culture in order to further their own culture.

Cultural equality is a myth fostered by a multicultural vision that exists mostly in college classrooms. A culture of repression is not equal to a culture of tolerance, unless one is willing not to see tolerance as a virtue.

In speaking of the refugee problem, President Obama has appealed to our historic roots as a nation of immigrants. Yes, we are a nation of immigrants, and between 1880 and 1920 we received, almost without restriction, all those that Europe sent to us, whether Sicilian Catholics, Scandinavian Protestants, or the Christian Orthodox of Eastern Europe. Despite their differences, they had one thing in common. They did not just yearn to come to America; they yearned to be Americans.

No nation can afford to open its doors to those who choose to be a people apart, absorbing the largess of a society, including its welfare, medical care, and education, while seeking to establish a parallel world. That’s not an immigration policy that advances a culture. It is one that causes its disintegration.
Read more here.

Another deal, another mirage

The Wall Street Journal has this to say about Obama's cybersecurity deal with China:
The cyber accord looks like another case of Mr. Obama claiming an imaginary moral high ground that sounds tough but is likely to be unenforceable. Expect more digital theft until Beijing pays a price for it, presumably in a future U.S. Administration.
Read more here.

Self-deceptions

Brett Stephens writes in the Wall Street Journal about Obama's conduct of foreign policy:
It’s also easier to lecture than to learn, to preach than to act. History will remember Barack Obama as the president who conducted foreign policy less as a principled exercise in the application of American power than as an extended attempt to justify the evasion of it.

...Barack Obama told the U.N.’s General Assembly on Monday he’s concerned that “dangerous currents risk pulling us back into a darker, more disordered world.” It’s nice of the president to notice, just don’t expect him to do much about it.

Recall that it wasn’t long ago that Mr. Obama took a sunnier view of world affairs. The tide of war was receding. Al Qaeda was on a path to defeat. ISIS was “a jayvee team” in “Lakers uniforms.” Iraq was an Obama administration success story. Bashar Assad’s days were numbered. The Arab Spring was a rejoinder to, rather than an opportunity for, Islamist violence. The intervention in Libya was vindication for the “lead from behind” approach to intervention. The reset with Russia was a success, a position he maintained as late as September 2013. In Latin America, the “trend lines are good.”

“Overall,” as he told Tom Friedman in August 2014—shortly after ISIS had seized control of Mosul and as Vladimir Putin was muscling his way into eastern Ukraine—“I think there’s still cause for optimism.”
Read more here.

Monday, September 28, 2015

How long before America experiences what Germany is experiencing?

Jazz Shaw at Hot Air links to a story in Daily Mail about life in one refugee camp in Germany.
Yesterday, the Mail reported how social workers and women’s groups in Giessen wrote a letter to the local state parliament claiming that rape and child abuse were rife in the refugee camp. The allegations were corroborated by Atif over his curry. ‘The camp is dangerous,’ he agreed. ‘Men of different nationalities fight and women are attacked.’

Many women have felt the need to sleep in their clothes… they won’t go to the toilet at night because rapes and assaults have taken place on their way to, or from, there.

The letter says the camp, far from being a peaceful haven for those fleeing war, is a dangerous melting-pot, where there have been ‘numerous rapes and sexual assaults, and forced prostitution’.

There are even reports of children being raped and subjected to sexual assault, it adds.

‘Many women have felt the need to sleep in their clothes... they won’t go to the toilet at night because rapes and assaults have taken place on their way to, or from, there. Even in daylight, a walk through the camp is fraught with fear.’

Controversially, the letter suggests that in the migrants’ culture, women are viewed differently: ‘It is a fact that women and children are unprotected. This situation is opportune for those men who already regard women as their inferiors and treat unaccompanied women as “fair game”.’

Many migrant women have fled here to escape forced marriages or female genital mutilation, which are rife in some African and Middle Eastern countries. ‘They believe they have found safety in Germany,’ says the letter, ‘and realise it’s not the case.’
Betsy's Page adds, And German citizens are learning that they need to modify their own behavior to be safe in their communities.
In other parts of the country, Germans are being told to adapt their lifestyles when migrants arrive.

Police in the Bavarian town of Mering, where a 16-year-old girl was reportedly raped this month, have warned parents not to allow their children outside unaccompanied.

Girls and women have been told not to walk home alone from the railway station because it is near a migrant centre where the rapist may live.

At Pocking, another well-kept Bavarian town, the headmaster of the grammar school wrote to parents telling them not to let their daughters wear skimpy clothing. This was to avoid ‘misunderstandings’ with 200 migrants who were put up in the school’s gymnasium over the summer, before being moved on this month.
The letter to parents said the migrants were ‘mainly Muslim, and speak Arabic. They have their own culture. Because our school is directly next to where they are staying, modest clothing should be warn... revealing tops or blouses, short skirts or miniskirts could lead to misunderstandings.’
Betsy Newmark asks,
How are we going to vet the immigrants that President Obama has said the United States will take? It sounds like an impossible task? As Shaw writes,

Who could have predicted all of this? Pretty much anyone who wasn’t caught up in the fairy tale. But we’re still on track to take in tens of thousands ourselves here in the United States of Barack Obama and John Kerry get their way. Keep an eye on Germany in the weeks and months to come. That’s going to be happening over here, and probably sooner rather than later.

2014 electorate map


Thanks, Obama!

h/t Always on Watch (Sorry, I am unable to link to Always on Watch, because I am having technical difficulties with my internet provider. They say they will fix the problem and call me back.)

"Real Life Hunger Games."

How does the inequality gap affect children? What have been the effects of progressive, centralized control of education, healthcare, and social services? Jeb Kinnison writes about these issues in "Real Life Hunger Games."

News about Mars

The big news from NASA is that Mars has water. Will we ever send astronauts to explore Mars? How soon? Go here to read the analysis of physicist Les Johnson.

No evidence of Trump's impending demise

I keep hearing that Trump's support is about to evaporate, but I don't see it happening. At The Hill Niall Stanage analyzes all the most recent polls, and sees no evidence to support media reports of his impending demise.

Jewish contradictions

Joel Kotkin notes in the OCRegister that anti-Semitism is on the rise on the left.
The massive movement of Muslims into Europe – now accelerating into a tsunamic wave – is accelerating these trends. The European Left, long enamored of radicals from the developing world, increasingly adopts the notion that Israel represents the ultimate political atrocity.

The most obvious manifestation now is the powerful drive to force European universities to divest themselves of investments in Israeli companies and even ban Israeli academics. This is occurring even though Israel, with all its many imperfections, is by far the most democratic, feminist and gay-tolerant country in that exceedingly bad neighborhood.

It’s hard not to see anti-Semitic ideas in this assault. You can certainly oppose, as I do, some Israeli policies – notably settlement expansion in the West Bank – as both wrong and tactically disastrous, without censuring an entire country. Anti-Israel protesters seem less than troubled to associate with Hamas and other terrorist group who have even chanted “Jews, Jews to the gas” at demonstrations joined by the Left.

Fear is also on the streets; there are so many incidents of violence against Jews in France that Jewish children are advised not to wear yarmulkes or any other outward signs of their faith.

...Those Jews who survived the European experience have had good reason to distrust the Right. After all, ultraconservatives supported Czarist pogroms in Russia, defended the perpetrators of fraud in the Dreyfus case in France (where a Jewish officer was falsely accused of treason) and, most importantly, provided many of the ideological roots of the Holocaust.

But, in recent years, anti-Semitism and, particularly, anti-Zionism have shifted ever more to the Left.

...So far, Jews in America are blessed with two major political parties that, for the most part, are tolerant and express support of Israel. And, for as long as this is the case, Jews, particularly those of European descent, likely will continue to support left-leaning politics more than those of the Right. But lock-step support for the Left seems destined to weaken.

In 2008, 78 percent of Jewish voters supported Barack Obama against John McCain, who had a strong pro-Israel record in the Senate. Four years later, Obama won again, but with a somewhat diminished 69 percent of the Jewish vote.

Things got even worse for Democrats in the 2014 congressional election, when one-third of Jews voted Republican, a 21-point shift over six years. In the most recent Gallup poll, Jewish support for the president fell to 50 percent, a huge turnaround from over 80 percent in 2009.

The Iran nuclear deal pushed by Obama – and opposed by about half of Jews – will likely solidify a growing Jewish Right. Obama’s detestation of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has certainly alarmed the Zionist establishment, and some of the wealthiest donors, such as casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, have turned into staunch GOP megafunders.

But then there’s what some regard as Obama’s demonstrably pro-Muslim tilt. This can be seen in everything from his bizarre refusal to name “extreme Islam” as the country’s most pressing security risk, to his labeling as “a random act” the killing of patrons in a Paris kosher market by an Islamist gunman.

The shift toward the Right could also be accelerated by events on America’s college campuses. Anti-Semitism on American college campuses, including those of the University of California, has become ever more evident. At the same time, a majority of the most fervently anti-Israel members of Congress come from the Democratic Left. Like their European counterparts, some Democratic politicians soon may find that appealing to Muslims pays larger dividends than catering to Jews; by 2030 there will be more Muslims than Jews in America, according to Pew.

...Jews are a contradictory people. Overall, achievement-oriented and very capitalistic, Jewish educational and self-employment statistics are among the highest for any religious group. They are also politically powerful; amounting to roughly 2 percent of the U.S. population – half their percentage a half century ago – Jews account for nine of 100 U.S. senators and 19 of 435 members of the House.

Yet if Jews have achieved significant economic and political power, they have done so primarily as Democrats. Only one of the 28 Jews in Congress is a Republican – Lee Zeldin from New York’s Long Island – and the one independent, Vermont’s Bernie Sanders, is enough of a Democrat to be running, with surprising success, for that party’s presidential nomination.
Read more here.

Straw

Is Carly Fiorina a straw woman being put forward by the Republican establishment to dilute support for Donald Trump? The Zman writes,
Fiorina is never going to be the nominee. The company men just want to hide behind her skirt while she dilutes the Trump vote for a while. They correctly see that the voters are rejecting the establishment men, rallying to Trump as a protest more than anything. If that vote can be split between three candidates, that leaves open the chance to let a company man consolidate the vote currently split between guys like Jindal, Rubio, Bush, et al. If you do the math of the polls, half the vote is willing to back a company man over the rebel options.

The other role she serves as the straw is to play the “I’m mad, but I’m not crazy” card on the Trump voters. What I mean here is she will take up the same issues as Trump like immigration, but a full step further toward the party’s position. Once Trump is gone, she becomes the fringe position. Once Fiorina is gone, then it is short walk for those voters back into their cages.
Read more here.

Bored?

Brett Stevens writes at Amerika,
Where our ancestors had heroes, we have celebrities; where they had aristocrats, we have entertainers; where they had social order, we have shopping.

...but we have not noticed the one vital thread running through all of this: we are very bored.

In fact, it is that boredom — a symptom of lack of purpose or real connection to anything beyond oneself — that sends up the red flags soonest in a fallen world. People are going through the motions, with a tense mania for repetition, but are clearly not getting what they need from these activities because they repeat them again and again. Like people clicking on internet sites obsessively, searching for some enlightenment they have not found, or drunks slugging down more of the poison of preference, hoping that this intoxication will bring them the bright spaces of hope they desire.

Despite our human tendency to not acknowledge it, an iron law exists for civilizations: the more powerful they become, the more likely they are to turn self-referential and start chasing their own tails. In the Soviet Union, the tail was an official narrative from government; in the United States, it is a media concoction of pleasant lies and an illusion about what consumers want. Civilization becomes circular when it turns its goal inward, and pursues satisfying other people’s need for distraction instead of conquering the problems from which they need distracting.
I don't agree with his conclusions, which are offered here.

Another Muslim "honor" killing


The girl in the photo above, Lareeb Kahn, was strangled to death by her Muslim father, after the father learned she had been caught stealing condoms in order to have sex with her German boyfriend. The girl's mother, in the photo below, is also on trial for murder in the German town of Darmstadt. She tried to portray herself as innocent, but the couple's other daughter, Nida, 14, testified that her mother was just as strict as her father, often striking both daughters.



The couple are said to have wheeled her in a wheelchair from their high-rise apartment to the family car, drove to a secluded embankment in their home city of Darmstadt in Germany, and tipped the corpse down it.

...Killer Asadullah, who speaks no German, said he 'loved' his daughter. The Kahn's immigrated to Germany from Pakistan.
Read more by Allan Hall in the Daily Mail here.

h/t Mike Miles

Hopes people have for Carly Fiorina

Ann Althouse writes today about the hopes many people seem to have about Carly Fiorina's candidacy:
"Carly Fiorina is an ice-cold shade queen debate princess and I’m in love with and terrified of her."
A quote from a feminist in a NYT article titled "Carly Fiorina Both Repels and Enthralls Liberal Feminists."

That particular feminist is Erin Gloria Ryan, managing editor of Jezebel:

“I am constantly pivoting mentally with her,” Ms. Ryan said, adding that she had not at all been torn about opposing Mrs. Palin or Mrs. Bachmann. Mrs. Fiorina, she said, is “contrary to the conservative female narrative, the way she looks, the way she presents herself, the no-nonsense businesswoman thing.”

Ever think about the ways in which Carly Fiorina is the opposite of Sarah Palin? Palin had the appropriate political position that made her seem like an apt choice for VP. State governor. But then she wasn't ready to talk under the questioning that suddenly got aimed at her when she was chosen and it screwed up the confidence we were too ready to put in her because of her political credential.

Fiorina makes us wonder right from the beginning whether she's appropriate, because she's held no political position, but start aiming those challenging questions at her and she's ready to speak straight to the issues with astounding stamina and conviction that make us want to believe she can do what it takes.

Bearing witness

Ann Voskamp and the other seven members of her family take a road trip. Her two oldest boys decide to climb a seaside mountain cliff. Ann sits and watches, and has time to think about parenting, God, and being safe:
Jesus died to save us not to make us safe. No one ever got saved unless someone else was unsafe.

...God sees it all – and He sees to it all – and He doesn’t turn away. God is your witness: You are seen and known. Who will be God’s witness? So He is seen and known?

...Because the truth is: Life’s a trial and everyone needs a witness — someone on your front row, someone on your sidelines, someone to clap you across the finish line when everyone else has gone home.

Everyone needs a witness – someone to testify you were really here and you really tried, someone to witness your wounds and believe in your worth, someone to say even your crazy can’t stop you from being crazy loved.

Everyone needs a witness who will stand and not hold you back because if we all only lived safe, no one would ever get saved.

Everyone needs a witness — and I’ll be yours.

...You don’t become a parent by bearing a child. You become a parent by bearing witness to his life.
Read more and view her photos here.

Mark Steyn on the migration of Middle Eastern and African males to Europe

Mark Steyn comments on the migration of Middle Eastern and African males to Europe:
If 75 per cent of the Titanic's survivors had been men who'd left their women and children back on the ship, there might have been a few disapproving comments. But not here. And why complain that the Syrian refugees aren't really "refugees"? After all, they're not Syrian either. Only one in five of the arriving migrants are Syrians fleeing the implosion of their country.

...the vast majority of those marching across the Continent to the bountiful welfare states of the north-west are economic migrants lured by western weakness:
...The Financial Times:

The newcomers will not on their own rejuvenate Ottenstein's ageing population of 900. But they could be enough to save the school, which the authorities have pledged to keep open as long as the roll does not drop below today's level of 50. "We have to keep the school," says 71-year-old Mr Weiner. "What is a village without a school? Without a baker? Without a butcher? Without a pub?"

Hmm. I wouldn't be so sure Muslim "refugees" are likely to save the village pub. Better plan for a smaller Oktoberfest. Mr Weiner never asks: What is a German village without Germans? Where the butcher is Halal, and the church is a mosque, and no one wears lederhosen because showing your knees is verboten, and the school makes "unclean" menstruating girls sit at the back during Friday prayers...

What about those who ask questions about whether or not it is wise to encourage this migration? Steyn replies,
Best not to ask. Because if you do, you'll get prosecuted, like Marine Le Pen. Best to talk about the dangers of "climate change", as the Pope is doing this week, even as in the heart of Christendom the post-Christian future is showing up at the express check-in. For us 19th century imperialists a hundred years past our sell-by date, the migrant army indicts almost every contemporary western worldview: from Iraq and Afghanistan come the product of a decade of ineffectual desultory "nation-building"; from Libya of frivolous pointless interventionism, and from Syria of non-interventionism; and from everywhere else from across the map of the ruthless demographic logic of what happens when an impoverished dysfunctional tide of humanity next door to a depopulating not-so-gated community of soft decadent poseurs has sufficient access to "social media" to figure out whose system is easiest to game. The west's cultural imperialism - the smart phones, the TV shows - do not spread western "values" but only western weakness: Look at how we live! And how close and undefended we are!
Read more here.

A great record, or a great campaigner?

What matters most in the presidential races, having a great record of accomplishments, or being a great campaigner? Scott Walker and Rick Perry, both governors with records of significant accomplishments, but neither a very good campaigner, have dropped out of the GOP race.

Mark Steyn writes,
...if you have in effect a three-year election campaign then the ability to campaign becomes what matters: that's the "record" that counts.

A politically correct fake world

Remember five-year-old Sophie who rushed to the Popemobile to hand the Pope a letter telling him her parents were worried about being deported? Victor Davis Hanson reveals at PJ Media that the whole thing was planned by a group advocating full legal rights for illegal immigrants.
Using a 5-year-old girl under the false pretenses of a spontaneous outburst of emotion seems about as authentic as deliberately conflating legal immigration — the United States accepts more immigrants than does any other nation — with illegal immigrants who deliberately and knowingly break federal law to enter the U.S.

And remember 14-year-old victim hero Ahmed Mohammed
whose plight with local school authorities earned him global commiseration — and invitations to visit almost everyone from Barack Obama in the White House and Mark Zuckerberg at Facebook to the United Nations. How did teenager Ahmed become an international celebrity?

He supposedly spontaneously brought a “clock” to school that he had built from scratch. Soon after, Ahmed was alleged by his supposedly dim-witted school to have instead brought in something that appeared to look like, or perhaps even sound like, a bomb. After questioning, the young Edison was expelled — purportedly because he was presumed guilty as a son of Sudanese immigrants and a Muslim. Was Ahmed another innocent child victimized by the oppressive forces of traditional racist America?

Again, hardly. Almost everything that Ahmed and his family have alleged is being proved first fantasy, and, second, a likely set-up. One, his “clock” was no brilliant invention. Ahmed just took the plastic case cover off an old 1986 digital alarm clock and reinserted the insides into a pencil box — something any teenager could do, but probably would see no need to.

Then there was Columbia University’s “mattress girl,” Emma Sulkowicz. The Freudian-named coed spent an entire school year dragging a mattress around campus — as if it were emblematic of the university’s weak response to her allegations that she was once raped during a hook-up with another student, Paul Nungesser. Sulkowicz broke school rules by packing her mattress into the Columbia graduation ceremony, again winning her national attention as a truth-teller about the sexually oppressive atmosphere on campuses that endangers young women. Yet so far there has been no evidence that Sulkowicz, as she has alleged, was battered in the face, forcibly sodomized, and almost strangled to death. In fact, Nungesser, the accused, has so far been exonerated and is now suing Columbia for acquiescing to Suklowicz’s apparently constructed charges of savagery.

...Americans rarely work in the mines, plough behind a horse, or labor in a sweatshop for 12 hours a day. Twenty-first-century life is monotonously good. A victim like Mattress Girl is a product of an affluent, leisured postmodern America that can apparently subsidize such tomfoolery in a way never quite true of the last 2,500 centuries of Western civilization.

The fact that so often charges of religious prejudice, racism, and sexism under scrutiny break down and prove melodramatic, if not outright fabrications, suggests that there is a perception by the victims, at least, that there are not quite enough naturally occurring bigots to go around without having to invent some.

...There are careerist advantages to becoming a victim of religious, racial, or sexual prejudice. Ahmed Mohamed is now a global rock star; Mattress Girl is a leftist icon. No one much cares that “hands up; don’t shoot” was a complete myth.

...Life, it turns out, is something more than a career, a race, a sex, or a religion, but so often plays out according to an individual’s own decisions and efforts — and for most it is an anonymous and often disappointing struggle without anyone to blame for our outcomes but ourselves.

Apparently that crushing reality persuades some to seek a refuge from responsibility for their own fates by writing a false racist message, or constructing a fake racial identity, or concocting a savage and brutal frat rapist, or conjuring up a cadre of premodern Texan bigots masquerading as school officials who would destroy our next Steve Jobs simply because he is a Muslim.

Yet a politically correct fake world is still a fake world, and noble lies remain lies — nothing more, nothing else.

Dr. Carson continues to rise in popularity with the American people

Who has the highest favorability rating among the 2016 GOP candidates? Roger L. Simon writes at PJ Media,
it is becoming increasingly unlikely that Jeb Bush will be the Republican nominee. Not only is he a weak fifth (at 7%) in the just released NBC/WSJ poll, Republicans, as of now anyway, just don’t like him. In a new Fox News poll, he has a net favorability rating (like/dislike) among GOP voters of a measly one percent.

For comparison, favorability ratings for Trump are +12, Cruz +21, Fiorina +30, Rubio +35, and Carson an unprecedented +52. Almost everybody likes him. (I thought Republicans were supposed to be bigots.) Carson is also creeping up behind Trump over all, only one point behind in the aforementioned NBC/WSJ poll, 21-20. (Fiorina and Rubio are tied for third at 11.)

...voters have liked Dr. Carson from the beginning for his life story and his authenticity. But lately he has shown more than that. His statement that he would not support a Muslim for president — and then giving his reasons, specifically that sharia law with its legislated misogyny and homophobia, not to mention immutable fusion of church and state, is in direct contradistinction to our Constitution — has highlighted issues for the electorate that no other candidate has thus far dared to raise, at least to the level that Carson has. And he has resonated with the public on the subject across party lines. (In one poll, 51% agreed with Carson and 28% disagreed.)

Moreover, Carson is talking seriously about substantive ideological issues like taqiyya – the principle in both Shia and Sunni versions of sharia law allowing Muslims to lie to non-Muslims for the advancement of Islam — that rarely are discussed in political campaigns (or, for that matter, in Iran negotiations). The public, some small part of it anyway, is being educated.
Read more here.

How to stop the Iran deal

Dick Morris has a couple of ideas about how to stop the Iran deal. Watch his brief video here.

Dealing with complaints

What do you do with customers or clients who have complaints? Seth Godin addresses the subject today:

One way to deal with clients, with criticism, and with feedback is to not insist on resolving it in the moment.

Taking feedback doesn't have to be the same thing as resolving feedback.

It's tempting to challenge each bit of criticism, to explain your thinking, to justify the choices. This back and forth feels efficient, but it fails to deliver on a few fronts.

First, it makes it more difficult for the client to share her truth, to feel heard.

Second, it escalates the tension, because it's almost impossible to successfully resolve each item in real time.

If you write it down, you can accept the feedback without judgment.

And then, after it's all written down, after the feedback is received, people can change roles. You can sit on the same side of the table, colleagues in search of the best path forward. You can rank by expense, by urgency, by importance. You can agree on timelines and mostly, say, "what do we do now?"
What do you think?

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Incredible space jump

Do you know who is Felix Baumgartner? I didn't until I watched this incredible space jump by him, which was posted at Maggie's Farm.



You can read about him here.

A CRYPTO-MUSLIM?

The Astute Bloggers post
20 REASONS WHY IT IS COMPLETELY REASONABLE TO DOUBT OBAMA IS A REAL CHRISTIAN OR A PATRIOT, AND TO SUSPECT OBAMA IS REALLY A CRYPTO-MUSLIM WHO HATES THE USA AND OUR ALLIES
1 - his father was a muslim, and he titled his memoir "Dreams from my father'.

2 - his Indonesian step-father was a muslim.

3 - his step-father sent Barack to a madrassa for his primary education.

4 - his roommates in college were muslims.

5 - the first country he ever visited was not Indonesia where he spent his childhood, or Kenya where his supposed biological father was from, and not a country in Europe such as Netherlands where he might indulge in pot-smoking (his favorite activity in high school), but Pakistan a muslim nation.

6 - he didn't become a Christian until after moving to Chicago, and then converted in a church whose pastor was antizionist black liberationist Rev. Jeremiah Wright. Despite being a member of this church for decades, Obama was forced to deny he had ever listened to any of Wright's controversial sermons, one of which famously said that the USA deserved 9/11.

7 - his first major foreign policy speech was delivered in Cairo, and he demanded long-time ally Mubarak allow members of the Muslim Brotherhood to attend.

8 - Obama helped the Muslim Brotherhood take over Egypt, and still hasn't restored full aid to the anti-islamist al Sissi regime.

9 - he overthrew Kadafy - who was an ally in the war against radical islam at the time - and basically handed Libya to the islamists.

10 - he drew a line in the sand regarding Assad's use of WMD, and then promptly forgot it - sending a message that he would not intervene at all and would let the islamists and the Iranians have their way.

11 - he ignored advise from his Sec Def Panetta and the JCOS and withdrew all USA troops from Iraq creating the vacuum for ISIS.

12 - he attacked Israel for building apartments in Jerusalem.

13 - he refused to re-arm the IDF during the last Gaza war against Hamas.

14 - he refused to meet with Israeli PM on his most recent visit to the USA.

15 - he broke every promise he made regarding non-negotiable points in his Iran deal such as 24/7 inspections and enrichment, and is giving them $150 billion over the objections of our best ally in the region - for a deal which has already started a nuclear arms race in the middle east.

16 - he gave the enemy 5 top commanders to get berghdal, a deserter.

18 - his Iran deal leaves 4 USA hostages in Iranian prisons.

19 - he called the muslim call to prayer the most beautiful sound on earth, and can recite it in Arabic.

20 - he invited Ahmed the clockmeister to the White House, but not the family of Kate Steinle or the families of those murdered by islamists in Benghazi, an attack he lied about, and continues to lie about.

TAKEN SEPARATELY SOME MIGHT SEEM HARMLESS OR MERELY LIKE THE BAD DECISION OF AN INEPT AND NAIVE LEFTIST.

TAKEN TOGETHER, THEY PAINT A VERY DIFFERENT PICTURE:

THEY APPEAR TO BE A CONCERTED AND WELL THOUGHT OUT PLAN EXECUTED OVER SEVERAL YEARS IN AN EFFORT TO BRING ISLAMISTS TO POWER IN AS MANY PLACES AS POSSIBLE.

WOULD ANYONE EXCEPT AN ISLAMIST DESIRE THIS, LET ALONE A MUSLIM?

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Good rich people bad rich people

Who are those rich people who extracted all their money from the poor? James Lileks writes in National Review,
The “rich” are never people like the Clintons, who acquired their wealth by the sweat of their brows, toiling in the harsh icy policy-mines of Davos. They’re not the guys who make a bundle off some clever bit of tech, sell the company, then pledge to spend a fraction of their fortune on outfitting polar bears with inflatable vests to help them survive their imminent inundation in the boiling waters of the Arctic. They’re not people like John Kerry, who married his way into a pile of money derived from a ubiquitous condiment; they’re not people like Apple CEO Tim Cook, because c’mon, he’s gay. They’re not the Kennedys, because the Kennedys could strike oil on their Hyannis Port compound, pay African orphans a dollar a day to work the pumps by hand, build a pipeline that ran through a protected Monarch-butterfly preserve, and the media would still hang halos over their heads because JFK was martyred in Dallas by a free-floating toxic cloud of right-wing hatred that inhabited the brain of a well-meaning Marxist.

These are rich people, but they’re good rich people, because you can imagine any one of them writing a check to Planned Parenthood with the words “keep up the excellent mammograms” in the memo line.

No, the bad rich people are hedge-fund managers, people who inherited something, and well-paid CEOs of companies that make things we don’t like or resent having to pay too much to get. They need to be taxed good and hard, according to advocates of the confiscatory state such as the nimbus-haired Bernie Sanders. Nothing says “the future and its bright new ideas” like the image of a liver-spotted limb thrusting deep into someone else’s pocket and pulling out the guts of a golden goose. Sanders’s proposals were estimated to cost $18 trillion over ten years, an amusing projection — apparently after a decade the economy just seizes up and we’re reduced to paying for our bread with chickens or bits of ironmongery.

...The only way this really works is if you split up the fortunes so all the billionaires are destitute, the bottom 15 percent get some of it, and then the earth is struck by a large celestial object that obliterates the population so next year’s not a problem.

If you can find something more egalitarian than mass extinction, let me know.
Read more here.

Obama to meet with Putin Monday in New York

Richard Fernandez writes at PJ Media,
Charles Krauthamer notes that Putin always seems to be one step ahead of the Obama. Yet despite the apparant truth of that assertion, it is hard to actually test the proposition. Obama’s position on Syria has been so vague that he can plausibly convince his followers that, whatever the result, it was what he intended to begin with. It’s pitiful to watch.
Read more here.

Could be worse



h/t American Digest

You won't be cool forever



h/t American Digest

I saw you coming



h/t American Digest

Marriage switcheroo



h/t American Digest

Marijuana addiction



h/t American Digest

What a deal!



h/t American Digest

That was then...



h/t American Digest

Avery crushes huge bass on barbie pole!



h/t American Digest

What difference does it make?

We have the ability to decide not to be offended!

Ryan Holiday writes in The Observer,
It’s important to realize that today, we have a media system paid by the pageview and thus motivated with very real financial incentives to find things to be offended about—because offense and outrage are high-valence traffic triggers. We have another industry of people—some call them Social Justice Warriors—who, despite their sincerity of belief, have also managed to build huge platforms by inventing issues and conflicts which they then ride to prominence and influence. One might call both of these types Rage Profiteers. They get us riled up, they appeal to our notions of fairness and empathy—who likes to see someone else’s feelings hurt?—without any regard for what the consequences are.

Of course, the real and fair solution is much less politically correct but effective. It’s to stop trying to protect people’s feelings. Your feelings are your problem, not mine—and vice versa.

Real empowerment and respect is to see our fellow citizens — victims and privileged, religious and agnostic, conservative and liberal — as adults. Human beings are not automatons — ruled by drives and triggers they cannot control. On the contrary, we have the ability to decide not to be offended. We have the ability to discern intent. We have the ability to separate someone else’s actions or provocation or ignorance from our own. This is the great evolution of consciousness—it’s what separates us from the animals.

What also separates us is our capacity for empathy. But how empathetic the speech we decide to use is choice for each one of us to make. Some of us are crass, some of us are considerate. Some of us find humor in everything, some of us do not. It’s important too—but those of us that believe it and live our lives by a certain sensitivity cannot bully other people into doing so too. That sort of defeats the purpose.

Control and discipline of one’s own reactions make for a successful person and a functioning society. I don’t think you want to live in a world where that isn’t the expectation of each of us. I don’t think you want to see the things that will need to happen when the burden of making sure everyone is happy and not offended is put on the government—or worse, a corrupt and bitter blogosphere.

But that seems to be the road we’re going down. Even though we’ve been warned.

Read more here.

Anti-narcissism: Do do-gooders turn you off?

Stuart Scheiderman writes about anti-narcissism:
Rather than making oneself the center of the universe, one erases oneself in acts of giving that will never benefit oneself, directly or indirectly.

...One suspects that the do-gooders do not really ask themselves whether they are doing good for others. They often latch on to international do-goodist organizations and assume that, since their hearts are in the right place they are doing good. They do not seem to ask themselves whether the objects of their charity are really living better lives.

And yet, as the standard argument goes, when you bring a boatload of free food into a primitive community—to fight hunger—it will help starving people, except when there are local farmers who, thanks to your largesse, will be put out of business. Why would anyone pay for anything they can get for free? If you put local farmers out of business, next year the people of the village will be facing starvation again.

Note that giving things away for free is antithetical to economic activity. Taken to the extreme level that the do-gooders prefer, it makes underprivileged people into permanent wards of the do-gooders.

Would it be better for local villagers to be hired by NGOs or to be hired by international agricultural or industrial corporations? The question does not enter the minds of do-gooders, but they do not really consider that it might be better, as Nicholas Kristof once opined, to build a Coca-Cola factory in Haiti than to send so much relief.

It makes good sense that people feel turned off by do-gooders. If everyone did as they did, the world would be a bleak and barren, thoroughly non-productive place. Only by producing more wealth and offering more jobs can we hope to lift the poor and unfortunate from their misery. We cannot do that if people do not want to be productive citizens, to work for their livelihood.

Scheiderman tells us about a new book by Larissa MacFarquhar Strangers Drowning that will soon be published. MacFarquhar writes,
The term “do-gooder” is, of course, often demeaning. It can mean a silly or intrusive person who tries to do good but ends up only meddling. It can mean someone who seems annoyingly earnest, or priggish, or judgmental. But even when “do-gooder” simply means a person who does good deeds, there is still some scepticism, even antagonism, in it. One reason may be guilt: nobody likes to be reminded, even implicitly, of his own selfishness. Another is irritation: nobody likes to be told, even implicitly, how he should live his life, or be reproached for how he is living it. And nobody likes to be the recipient of charity.

Scheiderman concludes,
I would add that do-gooders do not identify as members of a family or a community. They see themselves primarily as citizens of the world, as members of the human species. They are living out the cosmopolitan reverie of escaping all social ties in order to live for humanity.
Read more here.

Some truths about organics

Henry I. Miller writes at the Hoover Institue,
Are organic foods healthier? They have never been shown to have health (or, for that matter, environmental) benefits; some studies have shown higher levels of certain anti-oxidants, but the significance of that, if any, is unknown. It may even be undesirable; recent medical research has shown that the administration of anti-oxidants blunts the strength-enhancing effects of exercise.

...Moreover, a study published in 2012 in the Annals of Internal Medicine by researchers at Stanford University’s Center for Health Policy aggregated and analyzed data from 237 studies to determine whether organic foods are safer or healthier than non-organic foods. They concluded that fruits and vegetables that met the criteria for “organic” were on average no more nutritious than their far cheaper conventional counterparts, nor were those foods less likely to be contaminated by pathogenic bacteria like E. coli or Salmonella.

...And speaking of contamination: Organic foods are highly susceptible to it. According to Bruce Chassy, professor of food science at the University of Illinois, “organic foods are recalled 4 to 8 times more frequently than their conventional counterparts.” This is hardly surprising. Aside from the presence of pathogenic bacteria, organic grains are particularly susceptible to toxins from fungi. In 2003, the UK Food Safety Agency tested six organic corn meal products and 20 conventional (non-organic) corn meal products for contamination with the toxin fumonisin. All six organic corn meals had elevated levels—from nine to 40 times more than the recommended levels for human health—and they were voluntarily withdrawn from grocery stores. By contrast, the 20 conventional (i.e., non-organic) products averaged about a quarter of the recommended maximum levels.

...Among the greatest challenges to organic food production is the unrelenting progress of genetic engineering, the products of which are forbidden to organic farmers. For example, genetically engineered, drought-resistant crops have begun to emerge from the development pipeline. And recently, USDA and FDA approved genetically engineered potato varieties—called “Innate” by their developer, the J.R. Simplot Company—that are bruise-resistant and contain 50-70% less asparagine, a chemical that is converted to acrylamide, a probable carcinogen, when heated to high temperatures. And Simplot is performing advanced field testing of second-generation Innate potatoes that will contain an additional trait: resistance to a destructive fungus called “late blight,” which caused the Irish potato famine of the mid-nineteenth century and is still with us.

Researchers at the University of Göttingen in November published a comprehensive analysis of studies that have assessed the impact of genetically engineered crops. Echoing another study published last year, it found that the agronomic and economic benefits, not only in the United States but in the developing world, have been significant: “On average, [genetic engineering] technology adoption has reduced chemical pesticide use by 37%, increased crop yields by 22%, and increased farmer profits by 68%.”

Those unequivocal benefits, which have been demonstrated again and again, are the real motivation for the relentless opposition to modern agricultural practices—the fear in the organic industry that the current gap between organic and conventional agriculture will become a chasm, as technologies and products that are unavailable to organic farmers become ever more efficient and productive. Genetic engineering and new chemicals such as neonicotinoid pesticides—which are much less toxic to non-target species and to the human beings who apply them than the chemicals they replaced—are leading the charge. And synthetic biology will open up even more new vistas.

What, then, is the purpose of USDA-mandated organic standards and certification? “Let me be clear about one thing,” Secretary of Agriculture Dan Glickman said when organic certification was being considered: “The organic label is a marketing tool. It is not a statement about food safety. Nor is ‘organic’ a value judgment about nutrition or quality.”

But that marketing tool has been grossly abused. Organic agriculture’s dirty little secret is that it is kept afloat only by massive subsidies and nurtured by a whole panoply of USDA programs, by misleading advertising, and by “black marketing” that dishonestly disparages the competition.

It is hardly news that some industries systematically lie and cheat to further their interests—who can forget the decades of mendacity from the tobacco industry—but the organic industry’s nefarious actions are actively aided, abetted, and supported by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Organic Seal and the National Organic Standards Program (NOSP), in clear violation of the NOSP’s mission. Thus, American taxpayers are funding propaganda about organic products that misleads consumers with fraudulent health, safety and quality claims and fools them into supporting production methods that are an affront to the environment.

Here’s a tough question for the organic movement’s advocates, who have funded and spearheaded wrong-headed and futile state-by-state efforts to require labeling of genetically engineered foods, claiming a “right to know” what is in our food and how it’s made: Will they demand that potatoes—including those that are organically grown—that lack Innate’s benefits be labeled to inform consumers that “these potatoes are highly subject to bruising, and when cooked, may contain significant amounts of acrylamide, a probable carcinogen”? Unlike the “genetically engineered” label, a required label that informs consumers about lower levels of a carcinogen (and down the road, of naturally-occurring potato toxins solanine and chaconine) would both provide material information and be consistent with federal law.

The advocates of organic agriculture are reminiscent of the buggy manufacturers of a century ago, trying desperately to stay alive by trashing the horseless carriage. But like the Luddites of old, the organic lobby is on the wrong side of history.
Read more here.

Praise be to the science!



h/t Maggie's Farm

How the Pope attacked conservatives

Ben Shapiro writes at Breitbart,
Seven Ways Pope Francis Slapped Conservatives in the United States
He goes into detail on each of these seven points:
The Staged Illegal Immigrant Child Photo-Op.

Comparing Fighting Illegal Immigration to Human Rights Abuses Against Native Americans.
This isn’t just insulting, it’s ridiculous. Americans sent Cherokees along the Trail of Tears. Today’s Americans send illegal immigrants along the trail of free education, emergency medical care, and state-sponsored welfare programs.

Allowing President Obama to Represent Himself as An Advocate of Religious Liberty.
Meanwhile, President Obama’s IRS cracks down on religious charities and his Obamacare regime targets religious institutions

Ripping Capitalism Before Congress.
The Pope has long excoriated capitalism as a brutal system of exploitation. To the celebration of leftists everywhere, the Pope has repeatedly dismissed capitalism as immoral, saying there is no evidence that capitalism brings about “greater justice and inclusiveness in the world.” This is true if you know nothing about world history or economics. The Pope’s excoriation of free markets in the United States came as no surprise, but it came as an unwelcome slap nonetheless.

Pushing Environmental Extremism.

Ignoring Abortion, Talking Death Penalty.
s I noted yesterday, 35 murderers were executed in 2014 in the United States. One million unborn children were killed.

Ignoring Same-Sex Marriage.

The Pope’s visit could have been an incredible opportunity to fight against Godless immorality in the United States. Instead, the Pope largely used the opportunity to push leftism slathered over with paper-thin theology. That’s a tragic loss for both the world and for the religious community fighting for survival against the onslaught of an increasingly aggressive secular left – a secular left that cheered the Pope but will be happy to either coopt or crush his church at the first available opportunity.

Read more
here.

The greatest tyranny of all is the tyranny of relgion

Dr. Jasser of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy agrees that no Islamic should ever be elected President of the United States. Thousands of Muslims are fighting for freedom, and they are ignored by the President of the United States. One can be a Muslim without being a theocrat.

Does America no longer care about human rights?

That is what Jim Geraghty claims at National Review.
The Vatican’s greatest success has been the adoption of its strategy by the Obama administration, which has also restored relations with the Castros while excluding the political opposition. Here, too, there have been disappointing results. U.S. exports to Cuba, controlled by Havana, have declined this year, while arrests of opponents have increased, along with refugees. Many Cubans are trying to reach the United States ahead of what they fear will be a move by the Obama administration to placate the regime with a tightening of asylum rules.

Pope Francis may believe that merely by touring the country he will inspire Cubans to become more active and press the regime for change. But two previous papal visits, in 1998 and 2012, did not have that effect. By now it is clear that the Castros won’t be moved by quiet diplomacy or indirect hints. A direct campaign of words and acts, like that Pope Francis is planning for the United States, would surely have an impact. But then, it takes more fortitude to challenge a dictatorship than a democracy.

Between this, our outreach to Iran, the collective shrug over the bloodshed in Syria, the shrug about the chaos in Libya, the refugee crisis arriving at Europe’s door, and the grandiose welcome given to China’s president this week . . . one of the “fundamental transformations” Obama completed was getting America to simply not care about human rights anymore.
Read more here.

Twisting

That's what I think Clarence Page is doing in this column in which he asks, "What's wrong with a Muslim president?" Dr. Ben Carson was asked if he would support a Muslim for president, and he candidly answered no, on the grounds of our belief in the First Amendment and "the values and principles of America." Page manipulates that statement into this, the first sentence in his Chicago Tribune article:
After reaching the top tier of Republican presidential candidates in polls, Dr. Ben Carson has given us another historic milestone: He has boldly called for religious discrimination against Muslims who run for president.

Page goes on to assert that
Rest assured, there is no danger of the Islamic-based legal system of Shariah taking over other American laws.
After these Obama years, I am not sure about that claim.

Page concludes,
At least Carson doesn't appear to be pandering to the angry, fearful and ignorant as vigorously as the Grand Old Party's current front-runner, Donald Trump. The billionaire TV star recently pandered to the worst of the anti-Obama conspiracy theories including the ridiculous notion that he's a secret Muslim.

Even when Trump was asked after Carson's remarks if he thought a Muslim should be elected to the presidency, he sarcastically quipped that "some people" think we already have. Har, har.

I would add, in the spirit of an old line from TV's "Seinfeld," "Not that there's anything wrong with that."

Page claimed in an interview with Craig Silverman this morning on radio station KNUS, that Carson's supporters are "ideologues." The Left and Clarence Page are not ideologues?

Read more here.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Coming home



h/t Greg Agard

Autumn leaves

The world's congested migration routes

Click on the images to enlarge them.




Go here to see more maps.

h/t CDR M

If you like watermelon, don't watch this video



h/t Bob

Give your heart to one

Control your mind girl.



h/t Chateau Heartiste

Germans take to the streets

Apparently not all Germans are as welcoming to Middle East migrants as is Angela Merkel. Here are some German men expressing themselves in Dresden: "Putin to Berlin, Merkel to Siberia."



h/t Chateau Heartiste

Who will be elected to replace Boehner?

So the plan is to replace John Boehner with California Representative Kevin McCarthy.



Not so fast. Julia Hahn reports at Breitbart,
Popular talk radio host and best-selling author Mark Levin is warning Republicans in Washington: don’t replace outgoing House Speaker Rep. John Boehner (R-OH) with Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA).

Levin’s a tireless warrior against Speaker Boehner and the Washington establishment. “Kevin McCarthy is Eric Cantor with ten less IQ points,” Levin declares in an exclusive interview with Breitbart News.

Kevin McCarthy occupies the business wing of the Republican Party shared by other politicians like Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), and Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ)

All seem to think that increasing corporate profits through large-scale immigration and globalist trade pacts like Obamatrade are more important than prioritizing the wages of Americans or preserving America’s cultural identity as a Western nation.

As Politico reported last year, McCarthy is viewed as the “go-to” guy for Silicon Valley because he listens to the tech giants’ concerns “100 percent” of the time. Silicon Valley billionaires such as Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg have lobbied for countless immigration expansion bills– including Marco Rubio’s new I-Squared bill, which would essentially lift the cap on university green cards, triple the number of guest workers admitted on H-1B visas, and substantially increase Muslim immigration into the country.

“These guys are such lightweights.” Levin declared. “We need true leaders. They have too much tied to Washington, too much tied to the Chamber of Commerce, corporatists and the donor class.”

“Those thirty or so Republicans need to remain united” to elect a principled conservative leader who represents the interest of Republican voters, Levin explained. “Republicans could make a real difference now for the Party and for the country if we elect a Speaker or a Majority Leader who’s a conservative—such as Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH). But he’s just one example.”

“We need leaders who are solid, who are intelligent, who are strategic, who are constitutionalists, who can bring in– not just the mainstay of the Party– but demonstrate to millions of us in the grassroots that the message has finally been received. [We need to see that] there is a serious effort—not just a PR effort—but a serious effort to try to govern and keep the President in check—that they are prepared to fight, prepared to show courage, and that they’re going to stop cutting deals with the inside the beltway crowd.”

...“This is also the reason why you can see the rise of Donald Trump,” Levin explained. People are tired of donor class Republicans who refuse to represent the interests of their voters and they are ready for things to change.
Read more here.

Hypocrisy

Pope Francis wants us to have open borders. Here is the wall he has surrounding the Vatican.


h/t Chateau Heartiste

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Woe is me

Pope Francis ran (or parked) into some difficulty in New York today. Manhattan Infidel has the story here, which you will not see or hear about in any of the mainstream media.

So, what’s it going to be: spending cuts in popular programs, higher taxes, or deficits forever?

Kevin Williamson writes at National Review,
Here’s my question, which nobody ever really asks: “Given that a small number of federal expenditures — Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, national security, and interest on the debt — typically constitute about 80 percent of all federal spending, and given that we are not going to cut non-defense discretionary spending to zero, there is no mathematically plausible way to balance the budget without: 1) cutting spending on Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and/or national security; and/or 2) raising taxes. So, what’s it going to be: spending cuts in popular programs, higher taxes, or deficits forever? And before you give your answer, I’d like you all to know that standing behind each of you is a man with a Taser and instructions to use it on the first person whose answer relies on the Growth Fairy — lookin’ at you, Jeb — or the Waste, Fraud, and Abuse Fairy. Go.”

...I don’t expect the GOP contenders to campaign on pain, but I do expect them to sail close enough to the shores of reality that dry land is always within sight. Instead, the temptation is to proceed as though we can have massively expanded military spending, tax cuts, no unpopular entitlement reductions, and a balanced budget.
Read more here.