Saturday, January 24, 2015

Senate Starts Working Again

Since the sea-change election in early November, I've been hearing the Progressives and Leftists proclaiming that the Senate had just exchanged one petty tyrant for another. They insisted that Senator Mitch McConnell would behave just like Senator Harry Reid had — blocking any amendments of bills by the minority and nearly all amendments by members of his own party, almost never allowing actual floor votes, and never allowing the minority party members any voice on anything. They were adamant that Reid's illegalities, obstructionism, arrogance, and hyper-partisan behavior were now the "new normal" for the Senate.

Mitch McConnell has now shown how delusional (or dishonest) the Progressives and Leftists are and have been.

Senators from both Republican and Democrat parties have been offering amendments to bills, which have all been put through the normal process — or at least what was the normal process before Harry Reid's usurpations. And the Senate has actually been taking votes. In fact, the Senate took more votes in its first three weeks under Republican control than it did in all of 2014 under Harry Reid. Ten more votes have been taken in the two days since, making 25 votes so far (11 more than the 14 votes allowed in all of 2014 under Reid).

I agree with Warner Todd Huston's comment: "With McConnell allowing our proper system to reassert itself over the partisan, unfair, corrupt, un-American way Obama/Reid/Democrats ran things last year, it is a good thing. It is also proof that Republicans are far more American than Democrats."

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Images of Truth

Let's begin with something serious.
As the saying goes, "When seconds count, the police are only minutes away."


There's been a lot of talk lately about radical Islamists — like those who murdered so many people in Paris. It seems they attacked because their religious feelings were hurt. Apparently they were brought up to believe they have an absolute right to never be insulted, or hurt, or offended.

Or maybe they did do what the videos and witnesses say they did. But some commentators say we shouldn't blame them. After all, they say, the extremists in other religions are just as bad. I'm not sure I can buy that. Here's one piece of why.

And for those who believe the second way, I agree with this guy.


I wasn't thrilled with this statement when it was first made, back in 2010. (Actually, that is an extreme understatement.) This is a good statement of why.


This is a good one to use as a finale. It's an example of pure humor and pure truth.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Bloody Payback Beginning

But the situation in Europe changed all that. It’s difficult to go about business as usual while The Eternally Aggrieved are beginning their bloody payback for imaginary slights.
    — Gates of Vienna

Sunday, January 11, 2015

The Charlie Hebdo Cartoons

The latest terrorist outrage is the murders in Paris at the offices of the satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo, and the other related attacks in the Paris area. Like the riots in 2006, this attack was blamed on the publication of "offensive" cartoons. Here are at least some of those cartoons (from here, other Gateway Pundit posts, and elsewhere).

This one doesn't even qualify as a cartoon — no satire or humor or anything. I guess the terrorists are angry that Charlie Hebdo actually printed Mohammed's name.

The words on this one, from 2011, say "100 lashes if you don't die of laughter!"
There were more cartoons in the rest of the issue.

In this one, from 2006, the headline says "Mohammed stressed out by the fundamentalists." and his words say "It's hard to be loved by fools."

Here's the cartoonist's view of what would happen — at the hands of one of Mohammed's followers — if Mohammed returned today.

This one is the most provocative of all the Charlie Hebdo cartoons I've seen. The words say "The Koran is shit. It doesn't stop bullets."
This one looks pretty provocative to me, as well, but I don't know what the words say.

Of course, Charlie Hebdo mocks everybody. It's an equal opportunity insulter.

Its cartoonists even insult themselves.

The man in this one is the former French finance minister, not Mohammed or any Muslim.

All in all, the Charlie Hebdo cartoons seem pretty inoffensive — especially in comparison with some of the cartoons it has printed satirizing other religions, politicians, & etc. They are, however, clearly more offensive than the drawings printed by the Jyllands-Posten newspaper in Denmark in 2005. Just to jog everyone's memories, here they are again.

The 2005 cartoons were really inoffensive — and yet (many of) Europe's Muslim leaders used them to foment riots in many parts of the world, five months after their publication. As I said in 2006, however, "It seems to me that someone was looking for an excuse that could be used to stir up trouble." In part, that was because even the rioters in 2006 agreed that the cartoons were not, themselves, offensive. Even so, they were used to create a lot of problems.

There seem to be a couple of root causes for these kinds of behaviors. (There are probably more, but this is the simplified version.) One is Islam's near-absolute lack of any sense of humor, especially about Islam itself. Like a five year old child, Islam takes itself far too seriously.

The other of these "couple of root causes" is that fundamentalist Muslims — the Islamists — have notoriously thin skins. They are always outraged about something. Perhaps the best comment in this arena, and its dynamics, is still from Daryl Cagle (before the start of his current website).

Probably no one thought the 2005 Danish drawings were of Muhammad until they were told so by their religious leaders. When they were told this, despite the evidence of their own eyes, they rioted. It is the same now as it was then. And isn’t that truly a fitting conclusion for this discussion of the ongoing “cartoon wars”?

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Sane Responses to the Paris Terrorist Attacks

Islamic terrorists attacked the offices of the French satirical weekly, Charlie Hebdo.

The beginning of The Astute Blogger's response looks like this:

This is clever and cute.

But this is the only thing that will work.

Meanwhile, Citizen Warrior quotes this in his response:

"To honor those who've died for Free Speech," says Bosch Fawstin, "I don't raise my pen up in the air, I put it to paper and draw Mohammad."

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Last Thoughts for 2014

. . . from Thomas Sowell. He has a real knack for encapsulating complex circumstances and making them eminently understandable. As, for example, his comment on a recent statement from the former Secretary of State:

Hillary Clinton's idea that we have to see the world from our adversaries' point of view — and even "empathize" with it — is not new. Back in 1938, British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain said, "I have realized vividly how Herr Hitler feels." Ronald Reagan, however, made sure our adversaries understood how we felt. Reagan's approach turned out a lot better than Chamberlain's.
And that should be no surprise to anyone — except, maybe, for those on the "squishy Left". Sowell also makes a broader point:
There are few modest talents so richly rewarded — especially in politics and the media — as the ability to portray parasites as victims, and portray demands for preferential treatment as struggles for equal rights.
Sowell also comments that Republicans, as a group, are far too gentlemanly. Especially when they should be slapping down the demagogues.
Republicans complain when Democrats call them racists. But when have you ever heard a Republican counterattack? You don't win by protesting your innocence or whining about the unfairness of the charge. Yet when have you heard a Republican reply by saying, "You're a lying demagogue without a speck of evidence. Put up or shut up!"
I agree with that. Strongly. The Democrats' (mis-)leadership really needs to be called out on their continuing dishonesty in this and in so many other areas.

These are just a few of Sowell's "random thoughts" at the end of the year. There are some additional good ones at the link above. I can't wait to see what he says in 2015.

Monday, December 29, 2014

You Should Have Started Sooner

This reminds me of a saying: "Bad planning on your part is not an emergency on my part."

Sunday, December 28, 2014

End of the Year Chuckles

Lately I have been struck by the humor in things I have run across. I have collected a few of them here. Some of these have a sharp edge to them, and some (especially the last ones) are just funny.

First up: Retirement benefits, anyone? Who has earned theirs?

Russian President Vladimir Putin's government may have fallen on hard financial times, but he still feels like he can issue a warning to his neighboring state.

This cartoon brilliantly captures political correctness run amok.

I like things that are punny, too. Especially if the pun is terrible, like this one.

And then, for end-of-the-year laugh-out-loud funny, it's hard to beat this description.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Rest in Peace

My old friend Paul has gone to join his beloved Mary Alice, so he is now happy again.

Paul was always upbeat, always joking. At church one day he asked his pastor

Why did the raisin go out with a prune?

Because he couldn't get a date.

Their pastor often told Mary Alice over the years that she was sure to go straight to heaven, because she had put up with Paul for so many years.

Paul served his country proudly, and then served the people of New Mexico with his training and his humor. And Paul was always devoted to Mary Alice. His family says he died of a broken heart because he couldn't face a Christmas without her. I believe that is true.

Rest in peace, dear friends.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Who Pays?

Eventually, everyone (or, at least, everyone with a brain) gets around to asking "Who pays for all this 'free' stuff?"

Here's the answer.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

The SSIC "Torture" Report

I kept seeing and hearing reports on the news — radio and television — about the report on CIA torture released by the Senate Select Intelligence Committee. All the news stories characterized the report that way. None of the stories noted that it was a report by the committee staff, not the committee. And not the whole staff, but only the Democrats' staff (the "majority staff" until next month). None of the stories mentioned that the minority staff also released their report today, and none mentioned what was in that report. All the news stories stated the Democrat staff's claims as if they were true; none noted that these claims were contradicted by all involved at the time as well as the statements made at the time by the very Democrat officials now attacking the agency. And none mentioned the statement/report released by six men — all three CIA directors and all three CIA deputy directors during the years in question. That statement begins

The Senate Intelligence Committee’s report on Central Intelligence Agency detention and interrogation of terrorists, prepared only by the Democratic majority staff, is a missed opportunity to deliver a serious and balanced study of an important public policy question. The committee has given us instead a one-sided study marred by errors of fact and interpretation — essentially a poorly done and partisan attack on the agency that has done the most to protect America after the 9/11 attacks.

How did the Democrats' staff get so much so wrong? For one thing, they interviewed none of the agency's senior leadership from that time period. That is, they interviewed none of the people who could definitively confirm or deny the statements they were making in their report. That was deliberate; it was not an oversight. And who could make that decision? It would almost certainly have to be the Democrat senators and, in particular, the (temporary) committee chair Senator Diana Feinstein.

And why was the news media so one-sided in their coverage? I'd have to guess it was because the Feinstein Report story fit their agenda. A more balanced coverage didn't.

UPDATE: It's even worse than I thought. While in the Senate, former Senator Bob Kerrey served as one of the Democrats on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. In that capacity, he participated in investigations of CIA procedures. In those cases, he writes, "the committee staff examined documents and interviewed all of the individuals involved. The Senate's Intelligence Committee staff chose [in this case] to interview no one." John Yoo adds another important detail: "Worse yet, Feinstein and her staff refused to interview the very officials at the CIA, the White House, and other agencies responsible for the interrogation program." And, before the report was released, CIA veteran Jose Rodriguez noted in the Washington Post that

The report’s leaked conclusion, which has been reported on widely, that the interrogation program brought no intelligence value is an egregious falsehood; it’s a dishonest attempt to rewrite history. I’m bemused that the Senate could devote so many resources to studying the interrogation program and yet never once speak to any of the key people involved in it, including the guy who ran it (that would be me).
Why? I think Senator Kerrey has the answer:
I do not need to read the report to know that the Democratic staff alone wrote it. The Republicans checked out early when they determined that their counterparts started out with the premise that the CIA was guilty and then worked to prove it.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Unbelievable!

I've seen various acerbic statements from Maxine. Usually very sharp, and frequently right on the mark. This one, however, is outstanding — even for her!

 

But for sheer jaw-dropping unbelievability, it will be really, really hard to top this!

Decorating for the Holidays

It's time to begin decorating for the holidays. And that can be dangerous.

Sometimes showing that is the decoration.

You also may want to pay attention when purchasing your decorations.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

The Executive Order Speech

I saw yesterday's speech, the one President Obama gave trying to justify the executive order he intended to sign today (Friday). One part particularly struck me.

President Obama said "And to those members of Congress who question my authority to make our immigration system work better or question the wisdom of me acting where Congress has failed, I have one answer: Pass a bill." But that's not what he meant. He didn't mean "Pass a bill." — he meant "Pass the bill that I want." That's made even more clear just another sentence later when he said "And the day I sign that bill into law, the actions I take will no longer be necessary."

So, if Congress will pass the bill he wants, then he will deign to enforce the (new) law as written. In the meantime, he will explicitly not enforce the law currently in force.

But if Obama won't enforce the law now, how can we have any confidence he will enforce another law passed by Congress, or any other law now in force?

That sounds like a violation of the requirement that the president faithfully execute the laws that is contained in the Constitution and President's oath of office contained there. No, it's not just me saying so. That's the same thing said by a former Constitutional law instructor who is now President Barack Obama. That makes Obama's executive order unconstitutional even according to the man who has now issued it. In other words,

What's next? Nothing. They say. For now. But the continuing Obama campaign machine is already advertising.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Two Key Political Points

Key political point number 1:

I heard President Barack Obama this morning on Face the Nation saying the message he took from this week's election was that people want Washington to work. He said that's what the voters have shown they wanted in several elections now. He implied, as others in his Administration have said explicitly, that the election's message was for Republicans to work with the President to accomplish things.

Yeah, NO! If voters wanted Congressmen and Senators to work with Obama, they would have voted for Democrats. Instead, they voted for people who would stop a lot of the things the President wants to do.

Key political point number 2:

Charles Krauthammer published a political insight back in 2002 that is still absolutely true.

"To understand the workings of American politics, you have to understand this fundamental law:
      Conservatives think liberals are stupid.
      Liberals think conservatives are evil."

Saturday, November 8, 2014

The Elections of 2014 (Additional)

PowerLine has an item, "The Week In Pictures", that has some appropriate images. A number are focused on reactions of President Obama, like this one and this one

Maybe the best image picturing President Obama's true personal reaction to — and feeling about — this week's election results is this.

The election also put a new face (several, actually) on the Left's picture of the GOP — at least the picture it keeps trying to sell the rest of us. That's the Left — wrong again!

Friday, November 7, 2014

Best Election Analysis

The best analysis I've seen of this week's elections came in a Twitter tweet. Paraphrasing ('cause I didn't capture it at the time) it said

This election was not a mandate for the Republicans.
It was a restraining order on the Democrats.

The Elections of 2014

Republicans are celebrating election victories all across the country. How big was the Republicans' victory? Beyond control of the U.S. Senate, which was by a larger margin than projected by nearly all analysts, this map shows the way each Congressional district went in this election (with current projections in the few races still uncalled). Despite how this looks, as John Hinderaker notes,

In a sense, maps like this one are misleading because the small blue areas are basically the cities, where lots of people live. But what this map does reveal is that the Democrats are no longer competitive in rural and small-town America. It is now rare for a district dominated by small towns not to be Republican.
It looks like — once again — the Republicans are America's Party.

In looking at this map and its underlying data, Hinderaker talks about Minnesota as an anomalous area. Another such is northern New Mexico. The way that district goes — still — is exemplified by this story from 1974.

The governor's race was very close on election night. As usual, the results were slow coming in from the northern part of the state, expecially from Rio Arriba County. The broadcast news people got more impatient as the night wore on. Finally, the folks at KOB, an Albuquerque radio station (now 770 KKOB AM), got tired of waiting and decided to take matters into their own hands. Their announcer called the location in Rio Arriba County where the votes were being counted. The announcer asked “How many votes does (candidate) have?” The answer came back quickly, and was broadcast live throughout the state: “How many does he need?”
Change may be slow in coming to regions like this.

Given these election results, however, Democrats can be forgiven for feeling their future electoral landscape looks like this.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Much Needed Smiles

We're approaching the end of a long and extremely rancorous political campaign, with major diseases and barbarians thrown in for "good measure" — and we could really use some smiles. So here are a few things that brought me a chuckle.

First, the Islamist vs. the non-believer (what they call a kafir).

Second is a commentary on the political nature of one of this Administration's many politics-based policies. Good for a smile, at least. Think this concern is misplaced? It's already been verified in Maryland and nationwide.

And then there's the response of President Obama and his Administration to the rise of yet another extreme Islamist barbarian group. That cartoon seems to lead directly to this one. Yes, for smiles, this site is definitely worth visiting. Frequently.

It's not a cartoon or a picture, but here's an interesting take on the same Administration folks.

This is what we get for electing an affirmative action president with forged credentials, schooled in Islam in his youth, tutored in his teen years by a revolutionary Marxist and convicted pedophile, an adoring student of a black supremacy cult in adulthood, whose political career was kick started by a violent extremist with Final Solution ambitions for tens of millions of us, and whose administration features suspiciously large numbers of covert jihadists, race warriors and other deranged extremists. These enterovirus D68 outbreaks aren't accidental, they're the equivalent of a broad front biological attack, coordinated and carried out by agencies in DC best equipped to predict the results of what they've done. DC is taking multiculturalism to insane, homicidal levels. If there's an explanation that better fits the facts than intentional ethnic attrition, it hasn't appeared yet.
The facts are there. Only the characterization is in dispute.

In closing, it would be hard to beat this for sheer cluelessness. Definitely good for a smile.

Now that you've smiled, make sure you go vote. It's important.