Thursday, December 31, 2015

The road to higher and better

Okay, so we have a new year beckoning. Let's turn to Ann Voskamp at A Holy Experience for some words of wisdom:
It doesn’t matter a hill of sprouting beans if you’re 9 and stomping your feet or 16 and slamming doors or 40 and distracting on your phone — hard things just keep calling you because you’re meant to answer to higher and better things.

...Life is Pain — and you get to choose: either the Pain of Discipline or the Pain of Disappointment.

Nothing happens without discipline. No music gets played without discipline. No games get won. No finish lines get crossed. No freedom gets tasted. And you want that.

...Brilliant doesn’t matter, if you can’t get out of bed.

Talent doesn’t mean a thing, if you let Fear be some terrorist that takes you hostage.

Potential doesn’t add up to anything, if you get addicted to perfectionism because perfectionism is slow death by self.

Listen: Fire your perfectionism and your procrastination will quit too.

...There is His Perfect Love who accepts you 100% before you perform even 1%, there is His Perfect Love who speaks Protection and Peace and promises the Power of the Holy Spirit — so you can fire perfectionism and procrastination will quit too.


...There’s snow down in the woods, all down the road this morning, the ice clinging at the edge of things —- and you can feel it if you turn your face toward the sun —-

all those hard things melting in the heat of a greater and perfect warmth.
More words and photos here.

How can a free people compromise with totalitarian ideologies, either socialist or Islamic?

E.M. Cadwaladr writes at American Thinker,
The United States of America that we grew up in, and in some cases fought for, no longer exists. I would like to write something stirring in defense of our Constitution, but it isn’t under attack. It is simply ignored. Some have proposed that we have a Constitutional convention to add new amendments. What would that accomplish? Would our present Federal government respect a set of new amendments when they don’t respect the old ones? What good does it do to insist on one’s rights as a citizen, when in fact mere citizenship has lost its meaning? Americans have no rights officials in Washington feel bound to recognize. Both Republicans and Democrats overrule majority opinion as a matter of course. They do not doubt for a moment that they are the best and brightest, and that our voting franchise is merely an antiquated inconvenience.

...I am tired of being told by Barack Obama on the one hand, and Bill O’Reilly on the other, what my American values are or ought to be. I can work those out for myself. I am tired of living in the dumping ground for whatever group of hostile immigrants the social engineers in Washington import to ease their guilty consciences. Let them move their Mexican underclass and angry Syrian colonists to Martha’s Vineyard or Marin County north of San Francisco.Maybe this would help our legislators and “opinion makers” alleviate a bit of their never-ending narcissistic angst. I am tired of nameless, self-righteous bureaucrats levering open the restrooms of my local schools to the confused transvestites that a liberal education churns out, then lecturing me about tolerance and individual rights. Where is their tolerance of my culture? Where is their respect for my rights? Where is the brotherly concern shown to my neighbors? I am tired of living in an ill-planned social experiment. Of taboo words and taboo ideas. I am tired of being called a racist by people who are, themselves, the worst of racists -- and who have denuded the word itself of any meaning.

To be quite honest, I have no particular love for Donald Trump -- but he is what we have. He doesn’t speak well. I don’t think he has any idea what a republic is. Then again, his last two predecessors didn’t really understand the concept of a republic either. No doubt it’s not a word they use at Harvard. Although I may not especially like the erratic, often juvenile Mr. Trump, it isn’t lost on me that he at least doesn’t hold me in contempt. He may make war on illegal immigration and Muslim fundamentalism, but most of the alternatives are making war on me. Twenty years ago I would have worried about a man who scares resident aliens, and even a few citizens, to death. You will forgive me if I have come to the epiphany that protecting absolutely every minority’s feelings is not a rational government’s primary purpose. You will forgive me, too, if I stop ignoring fourteen centuries of Islamic history, the stark brutality of Islamic scripture, and the barbarism of contemporary Islamic states. Give me a gated, crime-free community to live in, and maybe I can have the luxury of worrying about the planet’s weather.

I would prefer to have a genuine conservative candidate to vote for, and will probably vote for Cruz if he looks viable enough. But if Donald Trump is what it has come to -- I will happily take the risk and check the box next to his name. Republican, independent, or Bull Moose party -- I could not care less. Conservatives don’t have a party. We cannot be choosy. Better Trump than the Democrats' mad rush to national Hara-Kiri. And better Trump than the Republican establishment’s facilitation of the same national Hara-Kiri, plus the now intolerable old lie that “it’s the best that we could do.” It has never been impossible to build 700 miles of security fence. Eisenhower built most of the interstate highway system in under a decade. It has never been impossible to balance the budget. Over the course of American history balanced budgets have actually been the norm. Moral cowardice has never been an attractive trait, and no amount of clever advertising really makes it so. Ivy league “experts” who fail, then get congratulated for their failures by the Ivy League talking heads, do not impress me more than Trump. For all of his ratings appeal and flamboyance, he did at least accomplish something in his lifetime other than being popular and being famous. That’s better than “I made a great speech at the ‘04 convention,” or “I married Bill Clinton,” or, the perennial favorite, “I waited my turn.”

We have nearly died of the disease of too much compromise. Of “reaching across the aisle.” Of “building a coalition of our Muslim allies.” We have no real friends in either quarter. How can a free people compromise with totalitarian ideologies, either socialist or Islamic? Let’s not fool ourselves. America has bitter enemies -- both foreign and domestic. Donald Trump, for all of his flaws, must do. He speaks his mind. He understands and acknowledges at least the plainly obvious. Most of all, so far, he doesn’t scare.
Read more here.

Trey Gowdy endorses Rubio

Trey Gowdy is going to be campaigning in Iowa next week for Marco Rubio. At Breitbart Julie Hahn examines in great detail Gowdy's record on illegal immigration and the fast track trade agreement.
Trey Gowdy’s record on immigration and trade underscores that while establishment media may try to put Jeff Sessions and Trey Gowdy together in a broad “conservative” bucket, Gowdy’s statements on immigration and trade represent the antithesis of Jeff Sessions’ populist platform.

...According to Pew, 92 percent of the GOP electorate—and 83 percent of the American electorate as a whole—would like to see future immigration growth curbed rather than increased. The polling data suggests that Gowdy, Rubio, and Ryan’s support for higher rates of foreign worker importations places them far outside the mainstream of Republican thought. Yet despite the data, one hill operative put it to Breitbart News thusly: “The clique running the show in Congress are the Ryan-Rubio radical Republicans.”

As Rush Limbaugh warned earlier this year, with Rubio in the White House and Paul Ryan as Speaker, in the “first 12-to-18 months, the donor-class agenda is implemented, including amnesty and whatever else they want.”

Breitbart News asked Gowdy several questions about his endorsement and the expected impact a President Rubio would have on the nation’s immigration policies. Gowdy’s office has not responded.
Read much more here.

Comedians

Jerry Seinfeld takes Obama for a spin in a 1963 Corvette, then Obama takes Seinfeld downstairs at the White House for a cup of coffee.

It's a struggle out there

Don't expect your wages to rise any time soon

Neil Munro reports at Breitbart News, that Obama's new immigration plan offers work-permits to foreigners slated for deportation.
In plain English, the section in the rule would automatically provide updated work-permits to 15 categories of migrants who are appealing judges’ deportation orders.

In plain economics, the rule would increase the number of foreign migrants in U.S. workplaces and impose wage-cutting job competition on ordinary blue-collar Americans so that university-trained, white-collar immigration lawyers could be paid billable-hours by their due-for-deportation, work-permit clients.

“Obama is transferring the jobs and salaries of Americans to foreign nationals, including illegal aliens… [who will be] licensed to take middle class jobs,” said one Hill staffer. The pending rule “highlights the unholy alliance between progressive Democrats, progressive Republicans, and the Obama administration… [so] when it comes to finding a job in America, being native-born in America is a disadvantage,” the staffer said.

Ace of Spades gives it this headline:
Obama to Begin Illegally Issuing Work Permits to Illegal Immigrants Already Formally Ordered Deported by a Court
—Ace

Another day, another gashing wound in the Constitution that once bound this nation together.

The nursery school college campus, where the day care providers don't know how to say "No."

Mark Bauerlein writes at Minding the Campus that the pressure against free speech on campus has shifted from left-wing professors and administrators to undergraduates. Camile Paglia wrote way back in 1992 about the Nursery School Campus:
By the early 1970s, American universities had become top-heavy with full-time administrators who took to speaking of the campus as a “community,” which faculty soon discovered was governed by invisible codes of acceptable speech, opinions, and behavior. . . . Many of the students, neglected by their prosperous, professional parents, are pathetically grateful for these attentions. Such coddling has led, in my view, to the outrageous speech codes, which are designed to shield students from the realities of life. The campus is now not an arena of ideas but a nursery school where adulthood can be postponed. Faculty who are committed to the great principle of free speech are therefore at war with paternalistic administrators in league with misguided parents.

Bauerlein adds,
This is not a trivial point, or a dismissive one. We should take the brattiness seriously, but see it as a result we have created, not a starting point to which we should respond. Paglia locates the evolution in the hiring back in the 1970s of higher-Ed administrators who had no teaching duties and no academic research background—in other words, bureaucrats. They were hired to manage the swelling population of Baby Boomers flooding the colleges and requiring more and more investment in the overall college experience (and less focus on coursework).

Hence the emphasis on “community.” It’s a word nearly all my colleagues, even the most liberal ones, wouldn’t use to describe their classrooms. But administrators loved it, especially those most invested in attracting and keeping female and minority students. The term sounds warm and welcoming, especially, the administrators assumed, to youths whose parents never went to college and who might feel out of place. The message was simple: “We shall take care of you—we care about you.”

...When the campus engineers say, “We need to build a stronger sense of community,” then, what they really mean is, “We need to suppress the dissenters in the room, across the campus, throughout the discipline.” People who oppose affirmative action, revere the classics, vote Republican, oppose abortion . . . they spoil the local culture. They make others feel bad. How smooth and positive might our school and our department be if they were gone.

You see how the bureaucracy prospers in this set-up, whether it fails in its aims or achieves them. To create a community in academia, you need a lot more than professors. You also need a legion of counselors, diversity officers, and various “campus life” personnel. And when the inevitable frictions arise, such as disputes over admissions policies and student-faculty relations, you need more administrators, including lawyers to draft new speech and conduct codes. And when THOSE cause more collisions between a student religious group and anti-discrimination policies, then you need more officers to handle infractions and . . . . That’s how bureaucracy works: the more it stumbles, the bigger it gets. And it justifies itself in the right and proper name of “community,” which is to say, student well-being.

As long as those efforts were confined to administrators, “community-building” practices were usually contained to passive-aggressive forms of advocacy and policing. Officials generally knew not to step over the line into outright censorship or harassment. They knew that bad publicity and upright alumni and donors wouldn’t like it.

But now that the safe-and-secure, racism-free, sexism-free, homophobia-free community-building vision has been adopted by the undergraduates, those constraints are gone. Sophomores don’t care about bad press. They don’t listen to donors and alumni. They can demand and occupy and march all they want, and nobody will tell them “Stop!” They have lots of time on their hands—after all, they study only 14 hours a week—and they have solid peer pressure backing them up, which means a lot more to them than the authority of the faculty and president and deans. We are, indeed, in the nursery-school campus. The difference is that the day-care providers don’t know how to say “No.”
Read more here.

Protecting American infrastructure from cyberattacks

Fox News reports that
Iranian computer hackers accessed the control system of a small dam outside of New York City two years ago, raising red flags throughout the U.S. government, according to a published report.

...According to the Wall Street Journal, the Department of Homeland Security was notified of 295 industrial-control-system hacking incidents over the 12 months ending Sept. 30. Over the previous 12 months, the number was 245.
Read more here.

h/t David Adams

Decades after being wiped out, many infectious diseases are back in the US

Tom Tancredo writes at Breitbart News,
A February 2015 report of the Southern Medical Association cautioned that, since none of the 700,000 illegal entries have been screened for infectious diseases, “Illegal immigration may expose Americans to diseases that have been virtually eradicated but are highly contagious, as in the case of TB.” The association concluded that despite the efforts of the CDC, “There’s a growing health concern over illegal immigrants bringing infectious diseases into the United States.

A year ago, the head of the Texas state medical association called for a quarantine of children arriving at the border from Central America. Instead, the Obama administration ordered the processing of the children to be expedited.

...In fact, such health concerns have persisted for over a decade and were identified in papers published between 2002 and 2006 by Dr. Madeleine Cosman. Dr. Cosman warned that, “Horrendous diseases that long ago America had conquered are resurging … [and] suddenly are reappearing in American emergency rooms and medical offices.”

Among the most common diseases found among illegal immigrants are the new multi-drug resistant Tuberculosis (MDR-TB), Chagas Disease, Leprosy, and Dengue Fever.

TB was largely unknown in Virginia until 2002, when it spiked 17% statewide and 188% in Prince William County, a suburb of Washington, DC. Public health officials blamed illegal immigration.
Indiana University School of Medicine in 2001 studied an outbreak of MDR-TB and traced it to illegal immigrants from Mexico.
Queens, NY public health officials have attributed 81% of new TB cases to immigrants.
In 2002, the U.S. CDC attributed 42% of all new TB cases to “foreign born” persons, which includes both legal and illegal immigrants. THE CDC report suggested that 66% of all new TB cases in the U.S. originate in Mexico, the Philippines and Vietnam.
Leprosy was so rare in this country that only 900 cases were reported in the 40 years 1960-2000. Suddenly, from 2002 to 2005, we had 7,000 cases and is now endemic in the northeastern United States. Most of the cases are traceable to Brazil, Mexico, Caribbean nations and India.
Dengue Fever is extremely rare in America, but recently there was a sudden outbreak in Webb County, Texas, on the Rio Grande.

...Since 2005, over 1400 aliens from “special interest countries,” countries known to have terrorist cells, were apprehended attempting to cross the southwest border. How many were not apprehended?
Read more here.

h/t David Adams

Increasing America's vulnerability

Steve Emerson and Pete Hoekstra report at National Review,
Following an intensive 18-month governmental study, the United Kingdom issued a startling indictment of the Muslim Brotherhood (MB). It described the organization as fiercely anti-democratic, openly supportive of terrorism, dedicated to establishing an Islamist government, and opposed to the rule of law, individual liberty, and equality.

“Aspects of the Muslim Brotherhood’s ideology and activities . . . run counter to British values of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty, equality and the mutual respect and tolerance of different faiths and beliefs,” Prime Minister David Cameron said in a statement.

...After years of witnessing the anti-democratic agenda of the MB firsthand and simply taking at face value the writings and sayings of its leaders and its offshoots, the Obama administration still clings to an Alice in Wonderland view of the organization that gave us al-Qaeda, ISIS, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, al-Shabaab, and nearly every Sunni terrorist affiliate in the world.

Within minutes of the release of the U.K. report, the Obama administration condemned it in an e-mail to the Investigative Project on Terrorism (IPT), citing the MB’s stated commitment to nonviolence and arguing that pushing back against the organization would lead to the radicalization of some of its followers.

...Perhaps that is why the record of the administration’s Islamist regime change throughout the Middle East has now brought the United States to the precipice of World War III. It has allowed for the destabilization of our close Arab ally Egypt, the alienation of Jordan, the evisceration of Israel’s national security, and the ascendancy of the most ruthless, despotic, terrorist-supporting regime in the world, Iran.

During Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s four years in office, the Obama administration effusively embraced the top financial supporter of Islamist terrorist syndicates in the world, the oil-rich potentate of Qatar, which was simultaneously providing safe haven to leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood, who were issuing fatwas to kill Americans and Jews.

The release of the British study is only the latest in a string of embarrassments to our nation, which is flawed by a fatal error in its understanding of who its allies and partners are. Iran and Islamist regimes are the enemies of free peoples, of women, of Christians, of democracy, and of the West.

The Obama administration, in its embrace of Iran and other Islamist regimes in the Middle East and of Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas fronts in our homeland, has eviscerated U.S. national security and increased our vulnerability to Islamic terrorism and future Iranian aggression more than at any other time in our history. The shootings in San Bernardino and the rise of ISIS are only the beginnings of what we fear are much more horrific and lethal developments.

America is accustomed to its role as the Shining City on that Hill. In the past seven years, however, it has receded to being a mole hiding under a rock and waiting for an attack. We have only ourselves to blame. We need to remove from power those whose blind ideology placed the American people in such a vulnerable position.
Read more here.

h/t David Adams

2015: The year Britain became Islamized

At Gatestone Institute Soeren Kern gives us a comprehensive month-by-month history of the Islamization of Britain in 2015.
Islam and Islam-related issues were omnipresent in Britain during 2015, and can be categorized into five broad themes: 1) Islamic extremism and the security implications of British jihadists in Syria and Iraq; 2) the continuing spread of Islamic Sharia law in Britain; 3) the sexual exploitation of British children by Muslim gangs; 4) Muslim integration into British society; and 5) the failures of British multiculturalism.
Read more here.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

In the middle of the night...

UPS converting planes for passengers to bring in Muslims from the Middle East in the middle of the night bypassing security.


h/t David Adams

Blame the bureaucrats, or blame Obama?

Terrorist Tashfeen Malik used the K-1 visa to join husband Syed Farook, prior to their killing spree in San Bernardino.
House Judiciary Committee chair Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) said Friday that “it is clear that immigration officials did not thoroughly vet [Malik’s] application.”
Was it a mere bureaucratic mistake, or was it the predictable result of Obama’s amnesty policy? That is the focus of an article in Breitbart by Joel B. Pollak.

h/t David Adams

"Everyone swore they wouldn't forget and they forgot!"


Catherine Herridge writes at Fox News,
Adam Arias was 37 years old when he ran down 84 flights of stairs that day in lower Manhattan, and could be seen at the base of the second tower directing other New Yorkers to safety before he was crushed and killed in the collapse.

In March, his mother died; his father is nearly 90. Arias- Beliveau, who lives on the Jersey shore, told Fox News the lack of progress is demoralizing, and the presidential candidates should call to bring the 9/11 trial to a conclusion.

"These five [9/11] co-conspirators must be brought to justice and I would like to see this in the new election. And why isn’t it even on the table? Why is it not even a question? How did they forget? You want to lead the country -- everyone swore they wouldn't forget and they forgot!" she said.
Read more here.

H/t David Adams

Right wing populism makes big gains across Europe

Have you noticed how right wing populism has surged across Europe?
This map from UK Express show the countries where the right wing has made the biggest gains. Just as in America, the policies of Socialist administrations are the right wing's biggest friend!

h/t David Adams

Our financial support of the UN

Did you know that the Obama Administration does not divulge how much the US gives to the UN? George Russell writes at Fox News,
Last year, the U.S. handed over $3 billion toward the U.N.’s so-called “regular” Secretariat budget and its peacekeeping forces, though the full amount of U.S. contributions to the U.N. system -- the Obama administration does not divulge them -- was much more.

The last official tally of overall U.S. contributions, in 2010, was about $7.6 billion, and that was widely considered a low-ball figure.

The basis of U.S. giving is the U.N. assessments scale -- currently set so that the U.S. pays 22 percent of the so-called “regular” U.N. Secretariat annual budget (about $2.8 billion in 2015), and 28.36 percent of its peacekeeping budget, which has ballooned in the past few years to $8.47 billion in 2014-2015.

The bigger the overall bills, the bigger is the share in dollar terms the U.S. must pay because of its outsized dues percentages.
Read more here.

h/t David Adams

Whom are we going to align ourselves with in Syria?

Build Safe Havens in Jordan and Kurdish area of Syria. No-fly zones around the safe havens. Make northern Iraq a US Protectorate (sell their natural gas to Europe) (Take that, Putin!)



h/t David Adams

A plan to destroy America



h/t David Adams

Right in her house


The '90s are finally back. Photo: John Moore/2014 Getty Images

Margaret Hartman writes in New York Magazine,
While several of his rivals have tried and failed to turn Bill Clinton's decades-old sex scandals into a 2016 campaign issue, Trump is actually making it happen. After his complaint about Hillary calling him "ISIS's best recruiter" morphed into a debate about sexism just before Christmas, Trump changed the conversation again, tweeting on Monday "If Hillary thinks she can unleash her husband, with his terrible record of women abuse, while playing the women's card on me, she's wrong!" Tuesday on the Today show, he added, "there certainly were a lot of abuse of women, you look at whether it's Monica Lewinsky or Paula Jones, or any of them, and that certainly will be fair game."

...A Wall Street Journal opinion piece echoed her point, saying President Clinton "was a genuine sexual harasser in the classic definition of exploiting his power as a workplace superior, and the Clinton entourage worked hard to smear and discredit his many women accusers." It goes on to recount how Clinton adviser Sidney Blumenthal, who remains a friend of the couple, smeared Monica Lewinsky, and says this reflects on the "standards that would prevail in another Clinton Presidency."

So far the Clintons have remained mostly silent on the new round of accusations, but with Trump vowing to keep up his counterattacks, we'll soon see if the Clinton sex scandals are a serious campaign liability, or just a holiday distraction. "She's got a major problem, it happens to be right in her house," Trump said of Hillary's sexism allegations on Tuesday. "If she wants to do that we're going to go right after the president, the ex-president, and we'll see how it all comes out."

Ann Althouse adds,
Trump is in a good position here: 1. The bad stuff was already exposed like hell in the tabloid press back when it happened. 2. That was over 20 years ago. 3. He's been with his current wife for more than a decade. 3. His kids turned out great (including the one with Maples). They are beautiful, smart, respectful, and productive. 4. There are so many people who know him and have had a motivation to speak ill of him this year and there's been silence. 5. He's not resting his case on personal rectitude. 6. He hasn't flaunted his religion and being quiet about religion is one way -- a good way -- to seem sincere and respectful toward religion. He's not asking to be seen as a religious paragon and to be voted for on that ground. 7. He isn't saying much at all in the social conservative realm, but he needs to fend off his competitors who are doing that big time. I think subtle prods to regard them as insincere are fine and I agree with the insinuations. 8. Hillary is vulnerable and he's signaling to her that efforts to paint him as sexist will be met with criticism about what she did toward women in defense of her husband. She deserves that criticism.

You become "ready" to do something by doing it!

Are you telling people you are "not ready to get married?" Dennis Prager writes at National Review,
...here’s a truth that young Americans need to hear:

Most people become “ready to get married” when they get married. Throughout history most people got married at a much younger age than people today. They were hardly “ready.”

They got married because society and/or their religion expected them to. And then, once married, they tended to rise to the occasion.

The same holds true for becoming a parent. Very few people are “ready” to become parents. They become ready . . . once they become parents. In fact, the same holds true for any difficult job. What new lawyer was “ready” to take on his or her first clients? What new teacher, policeman, firefighter is “ready”?

You become ready to do something by doing it.

...People didn’t marry in the past only because they fell in love. And people can fall in love and not marry — as happens frequently today. People married because it was a primary societal value. People understood that it was better for society and for the vast majority of its members that as many individuals as possible commit to someone and take care of that person. Among other things, when people stop taking care of one another, the state usually ends up doing so. Just compare the percentage of single people receiving welfare versus the percentage of married people.

And then there is the economic argument. Many single men, for example, say they are not ready to get married because they don’t have the income they would like to have prior to getting married. As responsible as this may sound, however, this is not a particularly rational argument. Why is marrying while at a low income a bad idea? In fact, marriage may be the best way to increase one’s income. Men’s income rises after marriage. They have less time to waste, and someone to help support — two spurs to hard work and ambition, not to mention that most employers prefer men who are married. And can’t two people live on less money than they would need if they lived each on his or her own, paying for two apartments?

In addition to economic benefits, the vast majority of human beings do better when they have someone to come home to, someone to care for, and someone to care for them. And, no matter how much feminists and other progressives deny it, children do best when raised by a married couple. There are, most certainly, superb single parents. But every superb single parent I have ever spoken to wishes they had had a spouse with whom to raise their children.

Throughout history, and in every society, people married not when they were “ready” to marry but when they reached marriageable age and were expected to assume adult responsibilities.

Finally, this statement reflects another negative trend in society — that of people being guided by feelings rather than by standards or obligations. We live in an Age of Feelings. Aside from the rational and moral problems that derive from being guided by feelings rather than by reason and values, there is one other problem. In life, behavior shapes feelings. Act happy, you’ll become happy. Act like you’re single, you’ll remain single. Act like you’re ready for marriage, you’ll become ready for marriage.

Do it, in other words. Then you’ll be “ready.”
Read more here.

Good riddance to the year of the big lie

Thomas Sowell writes in National Review,
More than anything else, 2015 has been the year of the big lie. There have been lies in other years, and some of them pretty big, but even so 2015 has set new highs — or new lows.

This is the year when we learned, from Hillary Clinton’s own e-mails, after three long years of stalling, stone-walling, and evasions, that Secretary of State Clinton lied, and so did President Barack Obama and others under him, when they all told us in 2012 that the terrorist attack in Benghazi that killed the American ambassador and three other Americans was not a terrorist attack, but a protest demonstration that got out of hand.

“What difference, at this point, does it make?” as Mrs. Clinton later melodramatically cried out, at a Congressional committee hearing investigating that episode.

First of all, it made enough of a difference for some of the highest officials of American government to concoct a false story that they knew at the time was false.

It mattered enough that, if the truth had come out, on the eve of a presidential election, it could have destroyed Barack Obama’s happy tale of how he had dealt a crippling blow to terrorists by killing Osama bin Laden (with an assist from the Navy’s SEALS).

Had Obama’s lies about his triumph over terrorism been exposed on the eve of the election, that could have ended his stay in the White House. And that could have spared us and the world many of Obama’s disasters in the Middle East and elsewhere around the world. That is why it matters, and will continue to matter in the future.

Lying, by itself, is obviously not new. What is new is the growing acceptance of lying as “no big deal” by smug sophisticates, so long as these are lies that advance their political causes. Many in the media greeted the exposure of Hillary Clinton’s lies by admiring how well she handled herself.

Lies are a wall between us and reality — and being walled off from reality is the biggest deal of all. Reality does not disappear because we don’t see it. It just hits us like a ton of bricks when we least expect it.

The biggest lie of 2014 — “Hands up, don’t shoot” – had its repercussions in 2015, with the open advocacy of the killing of policemen, in marches across the country. But the ambush killings of policemen that followed aroused no such outrage in the media as any police use of force against thugs.

Nor has there been the same outrage as the murder rate shot up when the police pulled back, as they have in the past, in the wake of being scapegoated by politicians and the media. Most of the people murdered have been black. But apparently these particular black lives don’t matter much to activists and the media.

No one expects that lies will disappear from political rhetoric. If you took all the lies out of politics, how much would be left?

If there is anything that is bipartisan in Washington, it is lying. The most recent budget deal showed that congressional Republicans lied wholesale when they said that they would defund Obamacare, Planned Parenthood, and other pet projects of the Democrats.

As for 2015, good riddance. We can only hope that people who vote in 2016 will have learned something from 2015’s disasters.

If you leave the door open, no telling who might barge right through it!

Ruth Marcus writes at the Washington Post,
Sexism isn't the precise word for his predatory behavior toward women or his inexcusable relationship with a 22-year-old intern. Yet in the larger scheme of things, Bill Clinton's conduct toward women is far worse than any of the multiple offensive things Trump has said.

Trump has smeared women because of their looks. Clinton has preyed on them, and in a workplace setting where he was by far the superior. That is uncomfortable for Clinton supporters but it is unavoidably true.

Which leads to the next question: What is the relevance of Bill Clinton's conduct for Hillary Clinton's campaign? Ordinarily, I would argue that the sins of the husband should not be visited on the wife. What Bill Clinton did counts against him, not her, and I would include in that her decision to stick with him. What happens inside a marriage is the couple's business, no one else's, even when both halves crave the presidency.

But Hillary Clinton has made two moves that lead me, gulp, to agree with Trump on the fair game front. She is (smartly) using her husband as a campaign surrogate, and simultaneously (correctly) calling Trump sexist.

These moves open a dangerous door. It should surprise no one that Trump has barged right through it.
Read more here.

al-Qaeda has reestablished terrorist training camps in Afghanistan:

Even as the Obama administration scrambles to confront the Islamic State and a resurgent Taliban, an old enemy seems to be reappearing in Afghanistan: Qaeda training camps are sprouting up there, forcing the Pentagon and American intelligence agencies to assess whether they could again become a breeding ground for attacks on the United States.
A noose near a former Qaeda base in Afghanistan in 2001. New Qaeda camps have appeared, apparently catching American and Afghan officials off guard. Credit Andrew Testa for The New York Times
Read more here.

Problems and preparation

Seth Godin writes,
It's not a problem if you prepare for it.

Buffalo famously gets a lot of snow. Growing up there, though, no one really freaked out about it, because we had machines to get rid of it and the attitude that it was hardly a problem worth hyperventilating over.

Most problems are like that. When we prepare for them and get used to them, they're not problems anymore. They're merely the way it is.

The "new normal"

Josh Siegal reports for the Daily Signal,
In October and November, more than 10,500 children—mostly from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras—crossed the U.S.-Mexico border by themselves, a 106-percent increase compared to the same period last year.

In addition, more than 12,500 family units (usually a mother with her children) have come that way since Oct. 1, representing a 173-percent increase over the same time last year. In addition, an omnibus government spending bill signed earlier this month contains money for the hiring of 55 immigration judges to handle a backlog of 463,627 pending cases (as of November) in immigration courts nationwide, according to Human Rights Watch.

All Central American children must have their cases heard by an immigration judge.

“This may be the new normal,” said Marc Rosenblum, the deputy director of the U.S. immigration policy program at the Migration Policy Institute. “Everything that was going on in 2014 that caused people to flee is as bad or worse now. Violence in El Salvador is worse, the whole region is amidst a two-year drought, more families are experiencing food insecurity, there’s political turbulence in Guatemala. Those are strong pressures that will cause people to try to get here.”
read more here.

People of the year

Who would you select to be the people of the year in 2015? Jim Geraghty
went with three figures who I felt represented exactly what the country needed at this tumultuous time. Seven years of Obama have steered the country far to the left, and then crashed it on the rocks. We’re economically stagnant, our federal bureaucracy is bloated and unresponsive, we’re depressed, and living in fear. We need that right combination of principled conservatism and a serious record of reforms, firsthand knowledge of how to steer a government away from the left and to government’s true priorities. This year, the three men who best exemplified the change we need were . . . Rick Perry, Scott Walker and Bobby Jindal.

Now, there’s this small detail that the GOP donor class, poll respondents, and everyone else rejected those three. But I think that says more about the poor judgment and bad criteria of the party today than these governors and their records.

Greg’s pick: The family members of the Charleston shooting victims who spoke in the courtroom and told the shooter they forgave him, demonstrating the depth and breadth of their Christian faith.

The most over-reported story of 2015


What do you think was the most over-reported story of 2015? Jim Geraghty believes it was
any time another Republican candidate -- or Democratic candidate, for that matter, is asked what they think of Donald Trump. I’m not arguing that Trump isn’t newsworthy; I’m arguing that Trump got this two-level media domination for much of the year -- first, some of the cable networks would just cover his speeches live, a level of coverage they gave no other Republican. Then when another Republican finally got a chance to be interviewed, they were often asked to respond to Trump’s latest statement. They weren’t asked about their own ideas or agenda; it was entirely setting them up as Trump critics.

This happened to a certain extent with the Democrats, too. On one of the Sunday shows in December, Stephanopoulos is interviewing Bernie Sanders, the first question was, “What do you think about what Trump just said?”

Honorable mention: Caitlyn Jenner.

Greg’s pick: Cecil the lion.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Surefire predictions for 2016

Seth Godin has some surefire predictions:
I'm betting on the following happening in 2016:

An event will happen that will surprise, confound and ultimately bore the pundits.

Out of the corner of your eye, you'll notice something new that will delight you.

You'll be criticized for work you shipped, even though it wasn't made for the person who didn't like it.

Something obvious will become obvious.

A pop culture emergency will become the thing that everyone is talking about, distracting us from the actually important work at hand.

You'll gain new leverage and the ability to make even more of a difference.

We'll waste more than a billion hours staring at screens. (That's in total, but for some people, it might feel like an individual number).

That thing that everyone was afraid of won't come to pass.

Some people will gain (temporary) power by ostracizing the other, amplifying our fears and racing to the bottom.

And the long-term trend toward connection, dignity and possibility will continue. Slowly.

Opportunities will be missed. Lessons will be learned.

You'll say or write something that will shine a light, open a door and make a connection.

Nothing will be as perfect as we imagined it. Many things will be better than that, though.

Leaps will be taken.

You will exceed expectations.

The project you've been working on will begin to pay off in unexpected ways, if you're open to seeing them.

You will start something. And quit something.

That expensive habit that you don't even enjoy that much will continue to be expensive.

We'll forget some hard lessons but we'll also learn some new ones.

A pretty safe list, because, of course, this always happens.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Warning to the media: You will not be able to Palinize Ted Cruz!


Will Stauff writes at Conservative Report that Ted Cruz has turned the tables on the media.
We now have finally seen a once in a lifetime candidate like Ted Cruz. Not only is Cruz a principled conservative, he has the ability to turn the tables on the media and doing it all with a smile on his face. Cruz is never visibly frustrated with media interviews. Cruz never puts himself in a position where he can’t defend himself. Cruz is always on offense and puts the media on defense. Cruz is fighting back the media narratives and he’s not spending millions of dollars to do it either! It’s quite breathtaking.

The 2016 everyday conservative feels confident. Unlike the 2008 and the 2012 typical conservative, we are not wringing our hands over the Establishment destroying our candidate. 2016 Conservatives are not frustrated over the media narrative sinking our candidate because they won’t fight back. We are seeing a more disciplined, organized campaign coming out of Ted Cruz then we have seen in our lifetimes. We are seeing the opposite affect. Conservatives are seeing The Marxist Media, Establishment candidates and Democrats being completely obliterated by Ted Cruz.
Read more here.

Left holding the bag



h/t Theo

Melting



h/t Theo

Our "recovery"

Rico at Theo Spark has been following indicators of our false recovery. How about home ownership?

How about the share of 18-34-year-olds still living with parents?

Taking the side of the Sunni has not worked out well for us.

At Asia Times, Angelo Codevilla analyzes US policy in the Middle East.
Today, as Daesh/ISIS — a sub-sect of Sunni Islam — murders and encourages murdering Americans, our foreign policy establishment argues that doubling down on efforts to “gain the confidence” of Sunni states, potentates, and peoples will lead them to turn against the jihadis among themselves and to fight Daesh with “boots on the ground.”

For more than a quarter century, as Americans have suffered trouble from the Muslim world’s Sunni and Shia components and as the perennial quarrel between them has intensified, the US government has taken the side of the Sunni. This has not worked out well for us. It is past time for our government to sort out our own business, and to mind it aggressively.

To understand why hopes for help from the Sunni side are forlorn, we must be clear that jihadism in general and Daesh in particular are logical outgrowths of Wahhabism, Saudi Arabia’s (and the Gulf monarchies’) official religion, about how they fit in the broader conflict between Sunni and Shia, as well as about how the US occupation of Iraq exposed America to the vagaries of intra-Muslim conflicts.

...US foreign policy in the Middle East had moved to the Sunni side in 1979 after the Shia Islamic Republic’s overthrow of Iran’s secular Shah. For the previous quarter century, the Shah’s Iran had taken care of US interests in the region while muting its Persian Shia people’s perennial tensions with the Sunni Arab world.

But Iran’s Islamic Republic has been as aggressively Shia and Persian as it has been anti-American. Fatefully, rather than answering in kind the Islamic Republic’s warfare on America, all presidents since Jimmy Carter have searched the Sunni Arab world for counterweights to Iran, as well as for the kind of support that the Shah had given us.

This attempt to outsource America’s security concerns by entering into the Sunni-Shia conflict on the Sunni side has been counterproductive because the Sunni, 85% of the Muslim world, are also the nursery of its most contagious plagues — the Wahhabi sect and the Muslim Brotherhood. Above all, it has been disastrous because it has led the US government to lose sight of our own interests by confusing them with those of Sunni states and potentates.

Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states are places where royal families and their huge retinues live sybaritic lives, where work — high and low — is done by foreigners who are despised for doing it, where expensively equipped armed forces are fit only for inter-dynastic strife and civil repression, and where foreign policy consists of paying for protection.

Even as the Saudi government was urging the US government to persist in the occupation and to make its policies Sunni-friendlier, a substantial portion the Saudi regime was financing Iraq’s Sunni anti American warriors. Just as significant for the future, Saudi Arabia’s and the Gulf monarchies’ religious establishments were preaching jihad against the Americans, which convinced countless jihadis to go to Iraq.

Thus, between mid 2003 and mid 2006, American troops in Iraq were being shot and bombed by a Sunni combination that included remnants of Saddam’s security services, ordinary local Sunni, and foreign jihadis.

The wonder of it all is that the US ruling class managed to digest this reality into the abstract narrative on which American politics ruminated and on the basis of which it doomed thousands of Americans to death and maiming in replenished minefields: namely that the Iraqis doing the bombing were fighting not for local dominance or sectarian animus but against the American way of life; that securing peace for America required creating a “united democratic Iraq,” that doing this, required “getting the Sunni to buy into” the idea; and that this required further limiting the claims of Iraq’s majority Shia while doing even more to entice the Sunni who were shooting and bombing both Americans and Shia.

This is the delusion that establishment Republican organs — the Wall Street Journal, Fox News, etc. — still excrete.
Read more here.

Single-issue constituencies

Mona Charen writes at Ricochet,
Religious observance, like marriage, is a good predictor of political preference. Adults with no religion lean Democrat by 36 points. Young, white evangelical Protestants lean strongly Republican. The more religious identification sags, the fewer young Republicans there are.

Similarly, married adults tend to vote Republican, while singles, especially single women, lean heavily Democrat. Fifty-three percent of married women voted for Mitt Romney in 2012 (there is also overlap between religious identification and the tendency to wed). But marriage is declining. Whereas 65 percent of American adults were married in 1980, just 51 percent of adults were married in 2012. Among the 20 to 34 year old cohort, 57 percent are never marrieds.

Republicans who imagine that these changes don’t affect voting might want to look at party ID. Between 1992 and 2014, the number of adults who said they were Democrats fell from 33 to 32 percent. The number who called themselves independent rose from 36 to 39 percent. And the number who identified as Republicans dropped from 28 to 23.

The 2016 election is an opportunity for many voters who would naturally be inclined to vote Democrat due to their age, ethnicity, region, lack of religious commitment, and marital status to consider a Republican. It’s always difficult for the same party to hold the White House for three consecutive terms, and Hillary Clinton is widely mistrusted.

But the Republican Party, judging by the polls so far, seems more determined to “send a message” than to choose a candidate who can win. Marco Rubio is practically conjured from central casting to win this election. He carries a big swing state, he has a great immigrant story, he is deeply knowledgeable on the issues, he’s a superb debater, a Tea Party favorite, and (with the exception of immigration – if you accept the premise that building a wall and deporting illegals is the conservative position), he is a firm conservative. Unlike Trump or Cruz, he articulates conservative ideas without needlessly antagonizing or frightening independents.

Portions of the Republican base are ferociously determined to punish Rubio for his immigration stance (though it differed only slightly from Senator Cruz’s – as for Trump’s views, name the day). But the new Republican establishments: talk radio, Twitter, Heritage Action, are single-issue constituencies – and they seem to be in the driver’s seat.
Read more here.

For our friends in tornado country

From 1975 Ella Fitzgerald sings Stormy Weather, like only Ella could sing it.


h/t Y-not and KT

2016 matchup: unrestrained woman versus unrestrained man?

Commenter Shartiste writes at Chateau Heartiste that a Trump/Hillary matchup in 2016 would give us the female id versus the male id; unrestrained female versus unrestrained male.
The unrestrained man builds monuments to himself, fucks hot chicks, and speaks his mind.
The unrestrained woman manipulates, lies, and social climbs her way to as much privilege as possible.
Read more here.

Heart transplants

He comes vulnerable, because He knows the only way to intimacy with us is through vulnerability with us. Who wants the gift of His presence? God is with us. This is Love you can't comprehend. You don't have to earn His love. You simply have to turn toward His love. To make a space, let go of that thing you have been carrying around, because you need empty hands to hold Him. Christ came into the world for you, and you came into the world for Him. God is with us, stays with us, for all our days.

Why the Wall Street Journal is biased in favor of Marco Rubio and against Ted Cruz and Donald Trump

Aaron Bandler writes at The Daily Wire, explaining how the Wall Street Journal is not a conservative newspaper. It is a corporatist newspaper. For example,
To really get an idea of the mindset of the Journal, one simply needs to look back to their editorial on July 3, 1984 called "In Praise of Huddled Masses" in which they called for open borders.

"If Washington still wants to 'do something' about immigration, we propose a five-word constitutional amendment: There shall be open borders," the editorial read.

Open borders, especially given the rise of Islamic terrorism, are insane. Yet it seems that the Journal has not backed away from this stance given their support for comprehensive immigration reform. The reason for this is because open borders provide cheap labor for corporations, which is what the Journal really wants because they're a corporatist newspaper. That's why they hate Cruz and lash out any conservatives who seek to change the status quo in Washington.
Read more here.

What are we hoping will come out of this presidential campaign?

George Will writes in the Washington Post,
Presidential campaigns inflate expectations that power wielded from government’s pinnacle will invigorate the nation. Thus campaigns demonstrate that creationists threaten the creative ferment that produces social improvement. Not religious creationists, who are mistaken but inconsequential. It is secular creationists whose social costs are steep.

“Secular theists” — economist Don Boudreaux’s term — produce governments gripped by the fatal conceit that they are wiser than society’s spontaneous experimental order. Such governments imposed order suffocates improvisation and innovation. Like religious creationists gazing upon biological complexity, secular theists assume that social complexity requires an intentional design imposed from on high by wise designers, a.k.a. them.

... Presidential campaigns inflate expectations that power wielded from government’s pinnacle will invigorate the nation. Thus campaigns demonstrate that creationists threaten the creative ferment that produces social improvement. Not religious creationists, who are mistaken but inconsequential. It is secular creationists whose social costs are steep.

“Secular theists” — economist Don Boudreaux’s term — produce governments gripped by the fatal conceit that they are wiser than society’s spontaneous experimental order. Such governments imposed order suffocates improvisation and innovation. Like religious creationists gazing upon biological complexity, secular theists assume that social complexity requires an intentional design imposed from on high by wise designers, a.k.a. them.

No one, writes Ridley, anticipated that when Gutenberg made printed books affordable, increased literacy would create a market for spectacles, which would lead to improved lenses and the invention of telescopes, which would produce the discovery that the Earth orbits the sun. No one planned that one particular book’s argument for the fecundity of freedom would bolster the case for limited government the way Adam Smith’s “The Wealth of Nations” did when published in 1776.
Read more here.

A new form of terrorism

I hope Peyton Manning sues Al Jazeera back to where they came from.

The ESPN story is here.
Here is ESPN's Chris Mortenson telling about his interview with the person who was the source for the Manning story.

Overnight roadside camping, 1936

The Woodpile Report has this black and white photo of Okies along side a California highway.

Here is his report:

Oddly enough, the Depression was the height of the antique car craze. It was also the era of the wash basin, whatever else is in these old photos, a wash basin will be among 'em. Understandable. It's not like they stopped at motels, overnight roadside camping was what most everyone did on long trips, migrant or not.

We see the Okie migration as a near-Biblical epic, they saw it mostly as a lateral career move, unhandy and unwelcome, but there you are. The drive from Oklahoma to California on Route 66 was about 2,500 miles, call it five days.

An aside. When my kids were toddlers I told 'em the whole world was in black and white when I was their age, and I had the pictures to prove it. They grew up with a healthy sense of skepticism.

Russia is now able to destroy a NATO flagship.


Voltaire Network reports,
On the 27th October 2015, a Tupolev 142 made numerous approaches to the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan, which was working on manœuvres with the 7th fleet and the South Korean Navy to the East of the peninsula.

Since April 2014, the Russian Air Force has engaged in a number of actions aimed at testing their system for scrambling NATO communications and commands.

This time, the US Navy sent up several of its planes before the Russian Tupolev scrambled the US communications and commands, so that they were finally able to chase the intruder away. However, the Tupolev got as close as 500 feet from the aircraft carrier without either the carrier or the 7th fleet being able to react, which proved that Russia is now able to destroy a NATO flagship.

The Russian system for scambling NATO communications and commands is currently being tested in a war situation in Syria, where it covers a radius of 300 kilometres around Lattakia – a zone which is now invisible for the Atlantic Alliance’s surveillance technology. The Russian system is also deployed over a part of the Black Sea and at Kaliningrad.

Kick him out of school NOW!

A North Little Rock student lights a blunt/cigar and blows it in teacher's face.

Two different approaches to dealing with Islamic terrorists

Nick Gutteridge reports at the UK Sunday Express,
Vladimir Putin has ordered a huge crackdown on ISIS jihadis.

The iron-fisted president has called in his feared secret service to round up thousands of jihadis just hours after it emerged that British police are wilfully letting our extremists flee to safe havens abroad.

Moscow has identified more than 2,900 of its citizens suspected of joining ISIS and other radical Islamist groups, and is actively hunting them down both at home and abroad.

In Syria Mr Putin's warplanes and feared Spetsnaz special forces troops are tracking and killing Russian-born jihadis to prevent them from returning home and carrying out terrorist atrocities.

So far they have taken out 198 radicalised jihadis in a matter of months, whilst a further 214 have fled back to Russia where they have been "put under close control" of the security services.

Russia has arrested thousands of ISIS sypathisers

Of the survivors, 80 are already behind bars after being convicted of terrorist offences, whilst a further 41 have been arrested and are awaiting trial.

Meanwhile, the authorities in Moscow are prosecuting more than a thousand ISIS sympathisers, recruiters and financiers in a huge bid to wipe their evil scourge from the country's history books.

A further 100 have had their passports revoked, meaning they cannot travel to Syria and Iraq to fight for the warped terrorists.

On top of those investigators have launched probes into 1,600 private individuals and businesses who they believe may have been involved in the production and dissemination of ISIS propaganda.

Agents have launched a huge crackdown to destroy the terrorists' financing operation in Russia and have completed 5,000 checks on the accounts of suspicious people and companies, leading to 270 prosecutions.

In contrast it emerged yesterday that overwhelmed British security services are allowing our homegrown jihadis to leave freely, deciding it is safer to get them out of the country than keep tabs on them.

Spies are operating a "home and away" policy whereby some extremists who they fear may plot terror attacks against the UK are being allowed to travel abroad and start new lives in safe havens.
Read more here.

Someone is in charge!

Thomas P. Sheahen writes at American Thinker,
...scientists stand open-jawed and in awesome wonder, consider all that lies before us, both known and unknown. On the one hand, we are very impressed with the vastness of the universe; but on the other, we are even more impressed that it all makes sense, that the entire story hangs together. There is a unity that pervades all of science, and that unity points very clearly to the realization that Someone is in charge.

...It is the small size of the mind, not the large size of the numbers, that leads to the mistake of thinking God can’t handle the job.

...As editor Francis Church wrote in 1897, “Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world.” That point has gradually sunk in with scientists. By accepting with humility that we don’t know it all, and that our scientific instruments only investigate a small slice of the universe, we realize that reality extends far beyond the boundaries of science. “Love and generosity and devotion exist, and we know that they give to life its highest beauty and joy.”
Read more here.

Is Christmas candy canes - or is it D-Day in the War Against Satan?

Msgr. Charles Pope writes in the National Catholic Register,
I, like you, love the beautiful Christmas season with all its sentimental appeal. And I wish you all of this in abundance. But as we know, the first Christmas was anything but sentimental and featured great hardships: Urgent travel to Bethlehem in the ninth month of pregnancy, no room at the inn, the subsequent flight to Egypt and the murder of the Holy Innocents. It is almost as though Satan, knowing that God was up to something good, tried to smoke out, prevent and pursue and destroy this great work of God.

...Sorry to get in the way of the tinsel and chestnuts roasting on an open fire. But there is a Satan, and he and his followers are to blame for most of the casualties you see in your family, in our culture and back through history.

... For the danger is that we have become too nice for our own good and that we fail to recognize the battle to which we are summoned and which was engaged that first Christmas. Jesus the King of the Universe entered the territory of the “prince of this world” and began to take back territory from him.

...And while the more paradoxical victory of the Cross cannot be forgotten, neither can the daring raid of Christmas night where the Lord advances against the foes, takes back territory, and inflicts on him the most serious blows. In the wailing of an infant can be heard a great war cry: “The long night of sin is over, the Light begins to shine, Arise O sleeper and Christ will give you light.”

And only in Christ can the angel’s song of “peace on earth” ever be truly found. Join him now in his great campaign of taking back territory from the terrible foe. An infant cries out; somewhere, a great Red Dragon is in terror, for he knows his time short.
Read more here.

Another thing Obama is wrong about

...when you raise the price of something, in this case labor, less of it will be demanded, or in this case hired.

This makes complete sense to me. Do you buy grapes or blueberries when the price triples? No, we wait until the price comes back down a bit. David Neumark writes in the Wall Street Journal,
Economists point to a crucial question: Will a higher minimum wage reduce the number of jobs for the country’s least skilled workers? President Obama says “there is no solid evidence that a higher minimum wage costs jobs.” On the contrary, a full and fair reading of the evidence shows the opposite. Raising the minimum wage will cost jobs, particularly those held by the least-skilled.

Economists have written scores of papers on the topic dating back 100 years, and the vast majority of these studies point to job losses for the least-skilled. They are based on fundamental economic reasoning—that when you raise the price of something, in this case labor, less of it will be demanded, or in this case hired.

Among the many studies supporting this conclusion is one completed earlier this year by Texas A&M’s Jonathan Meer and MIT’s Jeremy West, which reaffirmed that “the minimum wage reduces job growth over a period of several years” and that “industries that tend to have a higher concentration of low-wage jobs show more deleterious effects on job growth from higher minimum wages.”

The broader research confirms this. An extensive survey of decades of minimum-wage research, published by William Wascher of the Federal Reserve Board and me in a 2008 book titled “Minimum Wages,” generally found a 1% or 2% reduction for teenage or very low-skill employment for each 10% minimum-wage increase.
Found here.

Mark Steyn interviews Rudy Guiliani on Islamic terror

Mark Steyn intervews Ted Cruz

We win with a strong, principled optimistic conservative who stands with the working men and women of this country! Tell the truth, and do it with a smile! Who is prepared to be Commander in Chief? Who has the experience? Who has the judgment? Who has the clarity of vision? Who has the strength? Will conservatives show up at the polls?

Friday, December 25, 2015

Anti-Americanism of liberal elites

The Other McCain observes that
...smart, well-meaning people turn out to be incompetent fools whose hubristic sense of their own superiority is a chief cause of their folly.

...The liberal elite consistently support policies directly opposite to America’s best interests. The excuse that they are well-meaning bunglers is implausible. Only active malice — anti-Americanism — can possibly explain how we have been betrayed so badly by these “leaders” whom elite universities have handpicked and indoctrinated.
Read more here.

Are you looking forward to 2016?

Bulldog writes at Maggie's Farm,
...as 2016 beckons, I hope everyone has the chance to reflect on what's good in their life, temporarily place doubts and worries to the side, make positive and self-affirming decisions and see the abundant good spirit and opportunity our world has. The promise of a better tomorrow is what drives us, and it's only worthwhile to have a better tomorrow if we are mentally prepared to enjoy it.
Read more here.

Is it possible to ignore - and outlive - the government's dietary food guidelines?

For his Christmas column in National Review Charles Krauthammer takes on food fads. The latest of these is gluten.
Now, if you suffer from celiac disease, you need a gluten-free diet. How many of us is that? Less than 1 percent. And yet supermarket shelves are groaning with products proclaiming their gluten-freedom. Sales are going through the roof.

Another crock. Turns out, according to a massive Australian study of 3,200 products, gluten-free is useless. “The foods can be significantly more expensive and are very trendy to eat,” says Jason Wu, the principal investigator. “But we discovered a negligible difference when looking at their overall nutrition.”
Read more here.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Nearing the wonder of Christmas

Make room. Be a womb! Receive the grace of God today. God is coming...in the fullness of His love...into all our willing space. Be a space for love to come. His grace is for you. The miracle of Christmas is you get God with you. God is coming...in the fullness of His love...to all our willing space. Exhale.


Options of the Republican elites

The Atlantic has another blockbuster. David Frum analyzes some changes in the American electorate, and what the options are for the Republican Party elites.
Politics was becoming more central to Americans’ identities in the 21st century than it ever was in the 20th. Would you be upset if your child married a supporter of a different party from your own? In 1960, only 5 percent of Americans said yes. In 2010, a third of Democrats and half of Republicans did. Political identity has become so central because it has come to overlap with so many other aspects of identity: race, religion, lifestyle. In 1960, I wouldn’t have learned much about your politics if you told me that you hunted. Today, that hobby strongly suggests Republican loyalty. Unmarried? In 1960, that indicated little. Today, it predicts that you’re a Democrat, especially if you’re also a woman.

Meanwhile, the dividing line that used to be the most crucial of them all — class — has increasingly become a division within the parties, not between them. Since 1984, nearly every Democratic presidential-primary race has ended as a contest between a “wine track” candidate who appealed to professionals (Gary Hart, Michael Dukakis, Paul Tsongas, Bill Bradley, and Barack Obama) and a “beer track” candidate who mobilized the remains of the old industrial working class (Walter Mondale, Dick Gephardt, Bill Clinton, Al Gore, and Hillary Clinton). The Republicans have their equivalent in the battles between “Wall Street” and “Main Street” candidates. Until this decade, however, both parties—and especially the historically more cohesive Republicans—managed to keep sufficient class peace to preserve party unity.

Not anymore, at least not for the Republicans.

...within hours of Romney’s defeat, Republican donors, talkers, and officials converged on the maximally self-exculpating explanation. The problem had not been the plan to phase out Medicare for people younger than 55. Or the lack of ideas about how to raise wages. Or the commitment to ending health-insurance coverage for millions of working-age Americans. Or the anthems to wealth creation and entrepreneurship in a country increasingly skeptical of both. No, the problem was the one element of Romney’s message they had never liked anyway: immigration enforcement.

...Almost as soon as the new Congress convened in 2013, Senate Republicans worked to strike a deal over immigration issues. A bipartisan “Gang of Eight,” including Florida’s ambitious young Marco Rubio, agreed on a plan that would create a path to citizenship for millions of illegal immigrants and substantially increase legal-immigration limits for both high- and low-skilled workers. Otherwise, the party yielded on nothing and doubled down on everything. No U-turns. No compromises.

The new strategy soon proved a total and utter failure. George W. Bush’s tax cuts for high earners expired in 2013, and Republicans could not renew them. The drive to cut the deficit ended in budget sequestration, whose harshest effect fell on the military. The Gang of Eight deal never came to a vote in the House. All the while, Republicans’ approval ratings slipped and slid. Instead of holding on to their base and adding Hispanics, Republicans alienated their base in return for no gains at all. By mid-2015, a majority of self-identified Republicans disapproved of their party’s congressional leadership—an intensity of disapproval never seen by the Republican majority of the 1990s nor by Democrats during their time in the majority after the 2006 midterm elections.

...seldom in the history of fund-raising has so much bought so little, so fleetingly. Between December 2014 and September 2015, Jeb Bush plunged from first place in the Republican field to fifth. Between late September and mid-October, he purchased 60 percent of all political spots aired in New Hampshire. That ad barrage pushed his poll numbers in the state from about 9 percent to about 8 percent.

...As the governor of Florida, Bush had cut taxes and balanced budgets. He’d challenged unions and championed charter schools. At the same time, Bush passionately supported immigration liberalization. The central event in his life history was his reinvention as an honorary Latino American when he married a Mexican woman, Columba Garnica de Gallo. He spoke Spanish at home. He converted to Catholicism. He sought his fortune with a Cuban American business partner. In his most quotable phrase, he described illegal immigration as an “act of love.”

Bush’s update of Conservatism Classic had made him a hit with the party’s big donors. He had won accolades from Karl Rove (“the deepest thinker on our side”) and Arthur Brooks, the president of the American Enterprise Institute (“a top-drawer intellect”). Yet within five weeks of his formal declaration of candidacy on June 15, Bush’s campaign had been brutally rejected by the GOP rank and file.

...Something has changed in American politics since the Great Recession. The old slogans ring hollow. The insurgent candidates are less absurd, the orthodox candidates more vulnerable. The GOP donor elite planned a dynastic restoration in 2016. Instead, it triggered an internal class war.

...there appear to be four paths the elite could follow, for this campaign season and beyond. They lead the party in very different directions.
Option 1: Double Down
...Maybe Jeb Bush has just been a bad candidate with a radioactive last name. Maybe the same message and platform would have worked fine if espoused by a fresher and livelier candidate. Such is the theory of Marco Rubio’s campaign. Or—even if the donor message and platform have troubles—maybe $100 million in negative ads can scorch any potential alternative, enabling the donor-backed candidate to win by default.

...And if not Rubio, maybe the core donor message could still work if joined to a true outsider candidacy: Ben Carson’s, for example.

...Yet even if the Republican donor elite can keep control of the party while doubling down, it’s doubtful that the tactic can ultimately win presidential elections. The “change nothing but immigration” advice was a self-flattering fantasy from the start. Immigration is not the main reason Republican presidential candidates lose so badly among Latino and Asian American voters, and never was: Latino voters are more likely to list education and health care as issues that are extremely important to them. A majority of Asian Americans are non-Christian and susceptible to exclusion by sectarian religious themes.

So …
Option 2: Tactical Concession
Perhaps some concession to the disgruntled base is needed. That’s the theory of the Cruz campaign and—after a course correction—also of the Christie campaign. Instead of 2013’s “Conservatism Classic Plus Immigration Liberalization,” Cruz and Christie are urging “Conservatism Classic Plus Immigration Enforcement.” True, Cruz’s carefully selected words on immigration leave open the possibility of guest-worker programs or other pro-employer reforms after a burst of border enforcement. But Cruz and Christie have seen the reaction to Donald Trump’s message, and appear to appreciate the need to at least seem to do something to redress the grievances of the Republican base.

The party elites’ “change nothing but immigration” advice after Romney’s defeat was a self-flattering fantasy from the start.

Yet a narrow focus on immigration populism alone seems insufficient to raise Republican hopes. Trump shrewdly joins his immigration populism to trade populism. On the Democratic side, Bernie Sanders’s opposition to open borders is logically connected to his hopes for a Democratic Socialist future: His admired Denmark upholds high labor standards along with some of the world’s toughest immigration rules. Severed from a larger agenda, however—as Mitt Romney tried to sever the issue in 2012—immigration populism looks at best like pandering, and at worst like identity politics for white voters. In a society that is and always has been multiethnic and polyglot, any national party must compete more broadly than that.

Which brings us to …
Option 3: True Reform
...Such a party would cut health-care costs by squeezing providers, not young beneficiaries. It would boost productivity by investing in hard infrastructure—bridges, airports, water-treatment plants. It would restore Dwight Eisenhower to the Republican pantheon alongside Ronald Reagan and emphasize the center in center-right.

Option 4: Change the Rules of the Game
...It’s an old story that may find a new twist if and when Republicans acknowledge that the presidency may be attainable only after they make policy changes that are unacceptable to the party elite.

... instead of revising Republican policies to stop future Barack Obamas and Hillary Clintons, maybe it’s necessary to revise only the party rules to stop future Donald Trumps from confronting party elites with their own unpopularity.

What happens to an elite whose followers withdraw their assent? Does it self-examine? Or does it take refuge in denial? Does it change? Or does it try to prevent change? Does it challenge itself to build a new political majority? Or does it seize the opportunities the American political system offers to compact and purposeful minorities? When its old answers fail, will it think anew? Or will it simply repeat louder the dogmas that enthralled supporters in the past? Americans love the crush of competition, the hard-fought struggle, the long-slogging race. But much more than the pundit’s “Who will win?,” it is these deeper questions from the election of 2016 that will shape the future of American politics.
Read more here.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

More immigrants coming to California from China than from Mexico

Did you know that California is now getting more immigrants from China than from Mexico? Phillip Reese writes in the Sacramento Bee that
About 33,000 immigrants moved to California from China last year, roughly triple the number who came in 2005, according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau and the Public Policy Institute of California. The number of immigrants coming to California from Mexico fell from almost 100,000 in 2005 to just over 30,000 in 2014, a roughly 70 percent decline.

...Last year marked the second in a row that more residents arrived in California from China than from Mexico. India, which sent about 29,500 immigrants to California last year, also is poised to overtake Mexico. Some of California’s recent Asian arrivals are college students or long-term workers who eventually may leave the country; others will stay permanently.

...emigration from China and other Asian countries has grown largely because of increased demand for highly skilled workers, particularly in the technology industry. Arrivals from Asia have disproportionately settled in and around Silicon Valley, census figures show.

Many Asian immigrants have come to America on H-1B visas, which allow companies to temporarily hire foreign workers when there is a labor shortage. Some immigrants who obtain those visas eventually secure sponsorship from American companies and are able to stay permanently.



...China also is sending many more students to America, and particularly California, to attend college. The state’s public colleges have dramatically increased the number of foreign-born students on their campuses. The number of international freshmen enrolling at University of California rose almost sixfold from 1,048 in 2009 to 6,071 in 2015, system data show.

Those students pay a higher rate of tuition than students from California. At UC Davis, international students pay about $39,000 in tuition and fees, compared with roughly $14,000 paid by in-state students. University officials have defended the higher foreign enrollment and fees, saying they help bolster funding after years of budget cuts.

In addition, the state’s prestigious private universities draw thousands of Asian students. Stanford’s undergraduate international student enrollment increased by more than 40 percent from 2005 to 2014, university statistics show.

About one-fourth of emigrants from China from 2012 to 2014 were between ages 18 and 24 and enrolled in college, census figures show. About a third of these students stay in America after college, Peri said.

“Most of these students do the science, tech, math degrees,” he said.

At UC Davis, the number of international freshmen rose more than tenfold from 91 in 2009 to 1,073 in 2015.

Samuel Yu, a junior majoring in chemistry at UC Davis, said his parents came to California from China in 2004, largely so he could attend an American college. He said it is hard to find a spot in a prestigious Chinese college because space is limited and the pool of applicants huge.

“The U.S. has a better education system than what China is developing,” he said.

...The growth in Asian migration is a relatively young trend. Hispanics still far outnumber Asians in California, and likely will for a long time. About 5.3 million Asians live in California compared with 15 million Hispanics, census figures show.

But Chinese and other Asians increasingly lead the state’s cities and hold statewide offices. They own a growing number of businesses. And Asians were the largest ethnic group in the University of California’s 2015 in-state freshman class.
Read more here.

Tarring

Ross Kaminsky notes in the American Spectator how Donald Trump has been able to tar opponents, and now he appears to be far enough ahead of GOP rivals, that he can begin tarring Hillary Clinton.
With a record of success in rhetorically going places that credible candidates rarely go, there is no reason for Donald Trump to back off his very personal critiques of Hillary Clinton. Not only can he reasonably expect the barbs have their desired effect but there is another tactical benefit for Trump: Targeting Hillary allows him to move away from the constant anti-Republican sniping that has even the Donald admitting he’s been “a little bit divisive.”

...Hillary’s most committed fans won’t be swayed by Trump’s analysis of her (dis)honesty — one that is already shared by many Americans. But this campaign isn’t about them any more than it is about those deeply committed to Donald Trump or to the Republican Party. It is about those who are loosely attached to a party or loosely attached to the idea of voting at all. The risk to Hillary is not that Donald “Roundup” Trump gets millions of Americans who are slightly leaning Hillary’s way to vote for him (or for another Republican); her risk is that Trump gets them not to vote at all.

...There is another aspect of the Trump phenomenon that threatens the Clinton candidacy: His are the politics of the outsider and of inexperience as a virtue. Her campaign is, more than any other candidate in recent memory, that of an ultimate insider running with a mantle of unmatched experience.

The more Trump can convince moderate and independent voters that Hillary’s strongest arguments for herself are somewhere between irrelevant and disqualifying, the harder it becomes for her to carry those swing voters who now determine American elections.

The current presidential cycle is perhaps the strangest of my lifetime; that is not going to change anytime soon. Among its strangest aspects is that the Republican candidate most able to harm Hillary Clinton prior to the general election is the one least likely to beat her in that election.
Read more here.

The Force does not exist

Niall Ferguson writes in the Boston Globe,
...no one has yet publicly admitted that the lords of finance have no clothes — or, at least, no working models. I suppose this is because the masters of the universe, as they make or lose their billions, need to believe that somebody is in charge and knows what they are doing, while the central bankers dare not set them straight. Imagine becoming a Jedi, only to discover that there’s no such thing as the Force. Scared you would be.
Read more here.

Identity wars

Michael Lind writes at The Smart Set,
The nations of old Europe are no longer largely homogeneous ethnic communities exporting conquerors or settlers to other regions of the earth. The flow has reversed. Europe has become a continent of inward migration, often from former colonies. Non-European immigration is turning formerly white and religiously homogeneous nations into societies similar to the multiracial and religiously pluralist countries of the western hemisphere. Elsewhere in the industrialized world, East Asian nations like Japan and South Korea have similar rates of low fertility and population aging to those of Western Europe and the Americas, but to date they have not allowed large-scale immigration.

Iraq, Libya, and Syria are all artificial states in the process of decomposing violently into smaller, more homogeneous entities organized along ethnonational lines. A similar process has been taking place in parts of Africa, where many formally recognized states exist solely on paper and ethnic communities command the deepest loyalties.

...In the case of Syrian refugees flooding into Europe in search of asylum, all of the modern forms of identity conflict are combined. The cause of the exodus is the breakup, in a regional proxy war, of the old, multinational Syrian state originally created by the British and French empires after World War I. The refugees enter European societies which are already riven by debates over immigration, multiculturalism, and terrorism on the part of radical Muslims. Europe is at the eye of a perfect storm of identity politics.

Confronted by the identity wars of the 21st century, intellectuals of the left, right, and center who are used to thinking of politics as a clash among universal ideologies often are at a loss. The abstract debates of the 20th century among liberal democrats, communists, and fascists had philosophical answers. But no abstract, universal principle can answer the question of whether Scots are part of a Scottish nation or a larger, more inclusive British nation.

In practical politics, the adoption by the center-left of support for a policy of open borders and mass immigration will simply lead to the electoral marginalization of progressives and the triumph of right-wing parties and movements that claim to defend national identity as well as national borders. In France and Sweden, the two largest parties as of this writing are two national populist parties with historic roots in fascism — France’s National Front and the Sweden Democrats.

If the great political debate of the 20th century was about the best political-economic organization for the state, the great political question of the 21st century may prove to be about the best way to reconcile ethnic and racial and religious pluralism with the minimum of shared identity required by a successful democracy.

...The ideological wars of the 20th century were settled by the superior economic and military performance of liberal democracy and capitalism, as compared to fascism and communism. Will there be similar winners and losers in the contest among models of 21st-century national identity?

...What is clear is that, apart from the conflict with Muslim Salafist religious radicals, the ideological wars are over and the age of the identity wars has arrived.