Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Hillary's Best Accomplishment

A lot of people have been having a lot of trouble trying to think of any accomplishment(s) Hillary Clinton may have had as Secretary of State. But Hillary herself had no such problem. Here's what she said:

My accomplishments as Secretary of State? Well, I'm glad you asked! My proudest accomplishment in which I take the most pride, mostly because of the opposition it faced early on, you know. the remnants of prior situations and mind-sets that were too narrowly focused in a manner whereby they may have overlooked the bigger picture, and we didn't do that, and I'm proud of that. Very proud. I would say that's A major accomplishment.
Now if I can just figure out what she said, . . . . Of course, lots of folks will vote for her anyway.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

The Problem for America

That is the problem. We must deal with it or die.

Will the Democrats or Republicans deal with this? Or must we look for another?

Friday, January 29, 2016

Best Political Quote Ever

The Budget should be balanced, the Treasury should be refilled, public debt should be reduced, the arrogance of officialdom should be tempered and controlled, and the assistance to foreign lands should be curtailed, lest Rome will become bankrupt. People must again learn to work instead of living on public assistance.
    — Cicero, 55 BC . . .

From London: "So, evidently we've learned sweet bugger all over the past 2,070 years?"

I guess "sweet bugger all" is a pithy Britishism for "absolutely nothing at all".

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Truth & Humor

Here's a prime example of Political Correctness run amok.

And now Political Correctness has been connected with the Ideology of Victimhood, like this.

The latest thing is college activists — some others, but primarily students — carrying this ideology to an extreme. In some instances they are demanding "Safe Spaces", including segregated (Blacks Only) spaces where they won't have to deal with anyone who disagrees with them even slightly. Rather than demanding "Safe Spaces", previous generations have left their "Safe Spaces" for worthy causes.

(See also Safe Spaces.)

All of which calls to my mind another Universal Truth.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

American Boats, Persian Gulf

A friend forwarded this to me saying "This event seemed absolutely bizarre to me, especially with two boats sailing together." I agree with him entirely.

That is the first thing I thought of when I heard about this. The reason we fly in formations is for “mutual support!” I will send you another article I read that discussed the condition of the sailors, none of them had tans. I was on the deck of the Midway in '73 or '74. They had only been out of port for a month and every deckhand had a farmers tan. These guys had been out of port for months the way I understand their stories. Sounds like another cover up and abuse of power!

This is a former SEAL Officer's take on the recent Iran/U.S. Sailors incident:

I hope none of my FB friends are gullible enough to believe the "strayed into Iranian waters and had mechanic problems" nonsense. I rarely pull out my dusty old trident, but in this case, here goes. I was a Navy SEAL officer in the 1980s, and this kind of operation (transiting small boats in foreign waters) was our bread and butter.

Today, these boats both not only had radar, but multiple GPS devices, including chart plotters that place your boat's icon right on the chart. The claim by Iran that the USN boats "strayed into Iranian waters" is complete bull$h!t.

For an open-water transit between nations, the course is studied and planned in advance by the leaders of the Riverine Squadron, with specific attention given to staying wide and clear of any hostile nation's claimed territorial waters. The boats are given a complete mechanical check before departure, and they have sufficient fuel to accomplish their mission plus extra.

If, for some unexplainable and rare circumstance one boat broke down, the other would tow it, that's why two boats go on these trips and not one! It's called "self-rescue" and it's SOP.

This entire situation is in my area of expertise. I can state with complete confidence that both Iran and our own State Department are lying. The boats did not enter Iranian waters. They were overtaken in international waters by Iranian patrol boats that were so superior in both speed and firepower that it became a "hands up!" situation, with automatic cannons in the 40mm to 76mm range pointed at them point-blank. Surrender, hands up, or be blown out of the water. I assume that the Iranians had an English speaker on a loudspeaker to make the demand. This takedown was no accident or coincidence, it was a planned slap across America's face.

Just watch. The released Sailors will be ordered not to say a word about the incident and the Iranians will have taken every GPS device, chart-plotter etc. off the boats, so that we will not be able to prove exactly where our boats were taken.

The "strayed into Iranian waters" story being put out by Iran and our groveling and appeasing State Dept. is utter and complete BS from one end to the other.

— Matt Bracken
The kind of dereliction of duty implicit in the State Department story seems to be completely at odds with normal military practice. That makes the story being peddled jointly by Iran and the Obama State Department (and the White House) completely unbelievable.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

A Follow-Up After Christmas

For the past 27 years, Albuquerque's La Cueva High School has had a regular charity collection designed to give poor young children something they could not otherwise have — teddy bears. The collection was expressed as a pink artificial tree on which the donated teddy bears were hung as the tree's only decorations. The students and the broader community supported this charity.

But someone didn't. One man unconnected to the school, claiming to be acting on behalf of one parent, complained. He claimed the pink tree was a Christian symbol that excluded and marginalized non-Christian students, and that as a Christian symbol [really?!?] it was not Constitutionally permissible.

A school district administrator caved immediately and ordered the tree and teddy bears removed. The community responded by placing new trees and teddy bears almost daily until the school let out for its winter break. They were all quickly removed, of course, all excluded for not being inclusive enough.

The school administration subsequently decided it erred in so precipitously ordering the tree's removal.

Exclusion in the name of inclusion. That's just the kind of thing that's been showing up in the news a lot recently. Just think about Black Lives Matter, which is so inclusive that it quickly started getting people fired for saying all lives matter. Similar self-contradictory concepts have been showing up on college campuses, too, where they have been brewing for a long time.

For almost 50 years universities have adopted racialist policies in the name of equality, repressive speech codes in the name of tolerance, ideological orthodoxy in the name of intellectual freedom. Sooner or later, Orwellian methods will lead to Orwellian outcomes. Those coddled, bullying undergrads shouting their demands for safer spaces, easier classes, and additional racial set-asides are exactly what the campus faculty and administrators deserve.
As a result, and as that article notes, "In three generations, the campuses have moved from indulgent liberalism to destructive radicalism to the raised-fist racialism of the present."

And now there's one more example of exclusion in the name of inclusion — from another campus, of course.

When you say “merry Christmas” or “happy Chanukah,” you’re not being “inclusive” enough, according to [University of Central Florida professor Terri Susan] Fine. “I would suggest that we take a new approach that observes ‘the holidays’ we all have on our calendars, no matter our religion,” she wrote. My friends and I wish each other a ‘Happy Federal Holiday.’”
So, tell me, exactly what federal holiday were we just celebrating? This is an idea so dumb only an intellectual could believe it.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Obama and the Syrian Refugees

President Barack Obama intends to bring tens of thousands of Syrian refugees (or is that "refugees"?) into the United States in the coming year.

The Obama Administration insists we don't need to worry about jihadists hiding among these refugees because the vetting process is arduous and detailed, takes two years, and makes sure only true refugees are admitted.

Given both of these statements of fact, we must conclude that either (1) the Administration is lying about the vetting process or (2) the Administration has been preparing these refugees to be brought here for more than two years.

I'd really like to know which is true.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

A Huge Double Standard

Here is a piece of today's reality.

I keep wondering why there is such an extreme double standard. Is there any reason other than concern over Islamist violence? Is the Left allied with the Islamic extremists?

Historical Ignorance

No comment is necessary.

Two More Gun Comments

Earlier this month, I made some comments about gun violence and some of its non-causes. Since then I have come across a couple of images that add to the points made there.

One is this: Gun control advocates passionately believe that more guns means more gun violence and, in particular, more gun murders. This belief makes me think about something from Mark Twain which, paraphrased, is "The problem isn't what they don't know. The problem is what they know that ain't so."

Despite the scatter, the trend is clear. The gun murder rate certainly does not increase with increasing gun ownership. In addition to Washington DC, on the bad side, see also the experience of Chicago and Detroit and etc. That's because gun control only controls guns in the hands of law-abiding citizens.

Though they don't explicitly say it, gun control advocates believe passing gun control laws will keep guns out of the hands of criminals. But reality begs to differ.

Obama Was Right

President Obama was right. He said ISIS was contained.

Star Wars Is Racist

. . . at least, it is according to MSNBC's Melissa Harris-Perry. Her proof? Darth Vader is black.

Sorry, but that doesn't hold water. My proof? The stormtroopers are also evil. There are lots of them. And they are white.

Darth VaderStormtrooper

Friday, December 4, 2015

Examining Gun Violence Non-Causes

Every time there is a high-profile shooting, pundits and politicians of a certain stripe come out on TV and in the newspapers demanding that we get rid of the guns they blame for the shooting. They never talk about the people who committed these crimes; they only blame the inanimate objects. To me, that makes no sense.

When I was in high school in southern Arizona, there were frequently guns in the school parking lot. They were usually on gun racks, frequently but not always in the back windows of pickup trucks. Students would frequently go out into the desert after school for a little shooting relaxation. And there was never any gun-related problem with any of the students or with any of the guns.

Other schools had some additional programs my school didn't have.

It's clear from our own history and experience that the guns are not the problem. Other countries have shown that, too.

One is Australia which instituted a gun "buy-back" confiscation program and made acquiring guns nearly impossible. It didn't work. Other countries that tried similar programs had similar failures.

At the other end of the spectrum is Switzerland, a country those of that certain stripe don't want to talk about. That's because Switzerland has one of the highest gun ownership rates — and one of the lowest gun crime rates — in the world. Another reason they don't want to talk about Switzerland: It forbids firearm ownership by foreigners from several Muslim countries.

We can also take a broader, worldwide look. Except we don't have to do the research — we can simply watch this video.

Looking at the past, and the present, we can draw only one conclusion: To the degree that there has been a real change, it is clearly not because there has been a big change in the U.S. gun ownership rate. Whatever has changed is clearly something else. Whatever it is, it definitely won't be affected by the repeatedly proposed new gun control laws. And those particular folks aren't interested in proposals that might actually have an impact on today's gun violence — that would violate too many of their prejudices.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Two Important Statements

We've all seen a lot in the news lately about university students protesting. What initiates the protests is frequently an asserted institutional racism. A significant part of that claim has been imported from outside the universities, including the infamous false "Hands Up, Don't Shoot" falsehood from Ferguson, Missouri. Other parts come from perceived racial slights, or from having accidentally seen a Confederate flag passing by off-campus. A number of the incidents later turned out not to have happened; they were simply rumors that by repetition became accepted as fact. To put it less charitably, a number of the precipitating events seem to have simply been made up.

The protesters didn't stop with these grievances. They added others. They feel disrespected because there aren't enough instructors that meet their racial and ideological preconceptions. They feel disrespected — and "erased", "excluded", "victimized", "marginalized", and a few other words by the "microaggressions" they claim they are frequently subjected to. They want "safe places" available to them, and they want "trigger warnings" before anyone within their hearing utters anything that contradicts their cherished fantasies — what they call "violence" or "rhetorical genocide". They object to anything that makes them "feel bad". The victimhood culture is there in full force.

There is finally beginning to be a bit of pushback. I've seen several items on this, nearly all about groups of students who have gotten fed up. But the best pushback item is from a college president, the first I've noted who actually shows he has a spine. His statement is here. Here is his summary, talking about his university.

Oklahoma Wesleyan is not a “safe place”, but rather, a place to learn: to learn that life isn’t about you, but about others; that the bad feeling you have while listening to a sermon is called guilt; that the way to address it is to repent of everything that’s wrong with you rather than blame others for everything that’s wrong with them. This is a place where you will quickly learn that you need to grow up.

This is not a day care. This is a university.

A university is supposed to be a place where free discussion of conflicting ideas is encouraged, the home of the viewpoint that the solution to any problems caused by free speech is more free speech. That's the way it was in the past. That's why there were protests and anti-protest protests. There were serious discussions going late into the night between serious people on all sides. People were forced to reexamine their beliefs and prejudices, and sometimes even what they had believed were facts. As a result, people learned and grew outside of class as well as inside class. It is incredibly sad that this seems to be no longer the case.

This story, as Drudge would say, is             Developing.

UPDATE:


Separately, there was a Wall Street Journal article headlined A Nuclear Paradigm Shift? (sorry, it's behind their subscription pay wall) with the sub-headline saying "U.S. regulators may radically revise safety assumptions about atomic radiation." At issue is the LNT model [the Linear No-Threshold model] that has been used and abused in all things atomic and nuclear since the phenomenon of radioactive decay was discovered.

The LNT model says that getting hit by a car going 1 mph (about a third of walking speed) can be just as lethal as getting hit by a car going 50 mph, just less frequently (2% of the time). The article notes that LNT "underlies predictions of thousands of cancer deaths from Chernobyl or Fukushima that have consistently failed to be borne out."

It's worse than that. People living at higher altitudes naturally get much higher doses of radiation than those living near sea level. (My favorite comparison is below, at *.) The LNT model predicts those high altitude residents should have much higher rates of cancer and all other maladies related to radiation than their cousins living at low altitude. But reality disagrees. All over the world, the areas with the longest-lived people are those at high altitude. In other words, not only does the higher radiation level at high altitude not cause higher cancer and death rates, it appears to have an annealing effect on organisms that helps increase their longevity. That is even broader than the other evident conclusion, that the problem with the LNT model is precisely that its predicted effects have no threshold.

I would say that, if radiation followed the LNT model, it would be the only thing in the world that does.

The Wall Street Journal story notes that

In June, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission began soliciting comments on whether to revise the safety standards in favor of a more sophisticated view, known as hormesis, which recognizes that organisms bathed in natural radiation have evolved cellular responses that protect against low-level radiation doses.       . . .

By now hundreds of papers have added evidence against LNT. A study last year from Munich’s Institute of Radiation Biology showed a specific mechanism by which low levels of radiation induce a nonlinear response in certain cell protection mechanisms.

Even now, anything associated with the terms "atomic" or "nuclear" evokes a panic response. It is long past time for a more reasoned and logical response.

*Remember Three Mile Island? It was played as a nuclear disaster almost as big as Chernobyl. But if there had been someone in the control room through the entire time of that crisis, that person would have gotten less radiation than I did simply because I lived in the Albuquerque area (the same altitude as Denver) — even if the control room had stayed at its peak radiation level through the entire crisis period.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Scared of Widows & Orphans (2)

I'd like to amend the program I proposed below for President Barack Obama's Syrian Refugee Resettlement Program. The new version still proposes to "admit the number of Middle East refugees (all claimed to be Syrian, of course) that Obama wants, but let's limit the admitted refugees to the following two groups", and I would say in the following order:
      1. Translators who have worked for and with U.S. and allied forces,
          and their families,
      2. Refugees from groups subjected to genocide in their home
          countries. The groups in this category would be
            a. Surviving Yazidis and
            b. Surviving Christians and
            c. Surviving Jews, and
      3. Widows, with their young children, and young orphan children.
Additional genocide victim groups can be added as appropriate. The likelihood of there being jihadists among these groups — particularly the first two — is small.

No matter what Obama says, category 2 is not "putting a religious test on our compassion." It is giving a preference to genocide's victims over its perpetrators.

I made a recommendation before, and I now make it again: Put this structure in a bill and pass it through Congress. Dare Obama to veto it. After all, this gives Obama what he claims to want. If he vetoes this bill, he proves his claims are lies and what he really wants is something other than what he says. If he signs it — and follows its requirements — he gets his refugees without endangering our security. That would be a win-win.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Implausible Hillary

A letter to the editor was published in the Albuquerque Journal last Tuesday, November 24th, relating to Hillary Clinton's oft-repeated claim to have been improperly rejected by Marine Corps recruiters. It was printed under the title

Clinton's Marine Corps claims implausible

HOW DARE SHE?

Hillary Rodham Clinton claims she tried to join the Marine Corps, as reported in the Albuquerque Journal on Nov. 14 ("Clinton's Marine Corps story begs for explanation").

As a woman who served in the Marines more than 10 years, I find her story to be far-fetched. Glenn Kessler, the Washington Post reporter who fact-checked Clinton's claim, found a number of problems. But there are more.

The main problem is that Clinton claims she was turned away by a recruiter. Recruiters have quotas to meet. They are hungry for bodies to send in to the pipeline. A person needs to be highly unqualified to be rejected by a recruiter.

Clinton says the recruiter said, "That is kind of old for us," referring to her age of 26 at the time. If she graduated from high school at 18, then spent four years in college and three in law school, she would have been only a year out of school. Her age would have been appropriate for [her] to join the Judge Advocate General's Corps as a lawyer for the Marines.

Clinton also said the recruiter told her, "You can't see." My distance vision is approximately 20/1000 and I enlisted with no problem. I doubt Clinton's vision is worse than mine. Unless her vision was so impaired that she was walking into the furniture, the recruiter would not have been the one to reject her on medical grounds. Only a doctor would have that qualification.

Further, joining the military is often part of a larger pattern of a person's life. A few years before I went off to boot camp, before I could even drive, I sent in one of the cards often found in magazines to let the military know I was interested. So I had a Marines T-shirt, whereas Clinton organized events against the Vietnam War.

Marines are known by our motto, "Semper Fidelis." With this implausible story, Clinton shows her infidelity to the truth. Clinton shows she doesn't have the moral courage to stand among the few and the proud.

MAURREEN SKOWRAN
Albuquerque

It sounds to me like Hillary Clinton is one of those whose only connection to the U.S. military is in her imagination, and whose imagination is significantly divorced from reality. I know more than a few like that, like the friend who believes our soldiers are taught in boot camp how to commit war crimes. And I'm sure they will all vote for Hillary.

UPDATE: There's also an item headlined I Was A Woman In The Marine Corps In the Mid-70s. Hillary Clinton’s Story Doesn’t Add Up. She doesn't believe Hillary, either.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Followers of Islam v. 2.0

For Islamists, thoughtcrimes are justifications for murder.

Many wonder why they do things like that, how they can possibly do that. I think this makes it clear — this is the jihadist reality:

Only a slightly separate topic: "Why do I say 'Islam version 2'?" Because the original Islam, which was preached in Mecca, was peaceful. Islam only became violent and jihadist when Mohammed changed it and his preaching (to version 2) after realizing he could get a lot more power and riches as a warlord than as a prophet.