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


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.

Monday, October 27, 2014

A Linguistic Laugh

I saw this somewhere a week or so ago. I don't remember where, so I can't credit that site. But when I did a Google search, it came up with this location.

An MIT linguistics professor was lecturing his class the other day. "In English," he said, "a double negative forms a positive. However, in some languages, such as Russian, a double negative remains a negative. But there isn't a single language, not one, in which a double positive can express a negative."

A voice from the back of the room piped up, "Yeah, right."

Current Concerns

One really big concern — possibly the biggest — has to be "What kind of extra-constitutional (if not flatly unconstitutional) actions will President Obama take after the election and before the new Congress is sworn in?" Highly likely, especially since it has been promised repeatedly, is an executive amnesty to "legalize" the illegal aliens living here.

Of course, we're also now aware that President Obama has delayed the release of information on next year's large Obamacare premium increases till after the election, too. We also learned in the last week or so that the Health and Human Services Department (HHS) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) diverted appropriations from development contracts for Ebola vaccines to contracts for unrelated things placed with Democrats' political friends. Was that corruption? Maybe, but based on other things we're seeing, it may have been simple incompetence.

Of longer-term concern are recently released figures showing where our government's budget dollars are going. It's notable that almost two-thirds go to income transfers — money taken from taxpayers who produce and given to non-taxpayers who don't. And that's the part of the budget that's exploding. Only about 6% of the budgeted money is spent on actually governing.

And then there's the issue of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMDs). We were told for a decade that no WMDs were found in Iraq. The New York Times and every Lefty in the country endlessly repeated the Democrats' mantra: "Bush Lied, People Died" or sometimes "Bush Lied, Thousands Died". (In making these statements, they all ignored the fact that Saddam Hussein's Iraqi government used chemical weapons against Iraqi minorities and in the Iran-Iraq War.) Now, the New York Times has apparently, and belatedly, discovered that lots of WMDs — specifically, chemical weapons — were found all along. And they were found all over the place, not just in one location. Here's the map and notations from the New York Times article.

Perhaps the New York Times decided to make these admissions because some of the bases with stockpiles of chemical weapons have now been taken over by the so-called "Islamic State" in Iraq, as Bashar al-Assad's equivalents have been in Syria. These weapons have been banned by every civilized country on the planet, but ISIS has already been happily using them against their enemies — as did both Saddam Hussein (Iraq) and Hafez al-Assad (Syria) before them, and probably Bashar al-Assad more recently.

So how do we tell the difference between the "moderate muslims" and "peaceful muslims" on the one hand, and the uncivilized barbarians like ISIS on the other? I don't know of a way to make that distinction. Indeed, there may not be a way. I come to that conclusion because it appears the muslims can't determine who is peaceful and who is not, either. In fact, anyone (particularly any imam) who speaks out for moderate positions and against the barbarians is very soon killed. I suspect that's the reason for this:
Because you never know when some muslim barbarian will take offense to something you said or to something you did or to your existence, and decides to do something about it.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Voter ID is a Fake Controversy

The Left tells us that a voter ID requirement — especially a requirement for a photo ID — will make it impossible for large numbers of people who don't have IDs to vote. Based on voting results in states that have voter ID requirements, that is a lie.

The Left also tells us that voter ID laws are a deliberate attempt to disenfranchise poor and minority voters. That is a damned lie promulgated for political purposes.

Both of these assertions rest to a substantial degree on the Left's assertion that voter ID processes are unworkable. They claim, in effect, that the people they claim to be protecting are too stupid or uneducated to know how to get an ID and/or too poor to afford one. Even with the Lefties' help.

I'm sorry, but that assertion is just plain stupid! You want proof? Look at India, whose poor and uneducated make the poorest and least educated people in the United States look very rich people with advanced degrees by comparison. And every voter in India has a photo ID. So much for unworkable.

The Left also claims that vote fraud occurs rarely if at all, and that such allegations are made for political purposes. The former claim is disproved by the news headlines. The latter is pure projection.

The purpose of voter registration is allow states and subordinate entities to verify individuals' eligibility to vote in that jurisdiction. The purpose of voter ID is ensure the person showing up to vote is the same person who registered.

This leads to two inescapable conclusions:

  1. The controversy over voter ID is a phony one — perhaps the ultimate fake controversy, unsupported by evidence or experience.
  2. Anyone who opposes voter ID requirements is objectively supporting vote fraud.

The Davis-Bacon Act

Clearing my desk (which has been needed for a long time), I came across a letter to the editor I had saved from the Albuquerque Journal some time ago. It provides an historical tidbit in a response to an earlier letter.

Roxanne Rivera-Wiest tiptoes around the racist oritins of the Davis-Bacon law.

She writes, "The initial reason for these depression-era prevailing wage laws was to prevent government contractors from undermining local wage rates by importing workers from low-wage areas."

More succinctly, the northern all-white labor unions wanted to prevent southern blacks — "workers from low-wage areas" — from competing in the construction labor market.

Davis-Bacon is one of the last remnants of Jim Crow and ought to be abolished.

Isn't it ironic that the party of Jim Crow, the Democrats, still supports this remnant of segregation?

Dave Thomson
Los Alamos

The paper headlined the letter Davis-Bacon has racist origin. And it's right.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Today's Truth

It hasn't always been the case, but this is today's truth.

See here, too.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

When ISIS Attacks

This is an example of why watching the news lately is so frustrating.

From a Kurdish Twitter account yesterday, reposted at The Gateway Pundit today.

That, and stuff like this.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Obama Intruder

An intruder got over the fence, across the lawn, and into the White House. We learned later that the intruder got a lot farther than that. How did he do it? Where did he hide? I saw two possibilities worth remembering.

I also saw one comment worth remembering about the resignation of Eric Holder as Attorney General.

"All good!"

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Obama Repeats the Mistakes of the Viet Nam War

Candidate Barack Obama made a big thing in the 2008 campaign of promising that he would end "George Bush's War" and withdraw from Iraq immediately. In his 2012 re-election campaign, he made an even bigger thing of how he had ended the war in Iraq and brought all our troops home. Now, however, he's changing his tune. A video has been made of a group of Obama's 2012 campaign statements, with one of his more recent statements at its end.

(Click here to see the video.)

Now President Obama has decided to initiate a war. Again. (Remember Libya?) But he doesn't want to handle his war the way President Bush did. His base wouldn't stand for that! Plus, he's trapped himself with his own statements. So, as a direct result, President Obama has reportedly overruled all his generals and other military advisors, and keeps repeating his mantra that there will be "no American boots on the ground in Iraq" (and now he's adding Syria).

Of course, it's not really "no (American) boots on the ground" — it's "no (American) combat boots on the ground." In part, that's because we already have thousands of American boots on the ground in Iraq. But, of course, they're not "combat troops", they're security forces and military advisors. So, of course, they're not "boots on the ground." Because President Obama has said "I want to be clear: The American forces that have been deployed to Iraq do not and will not have a combat mission."

Along with that, President Obama wants to maintain tight control over what the troops other than ground troops do in carrying out his war. In fact, it appears President Obama's personal authorization will be required for every single mission — every single strike — in Syria. And it won't be very much different from that in Iraq.

So the US strategy will be, Obama says, entirely airborne — bombing strikes and Tomahawk missiles. There's a problem with that. It really doesn't work. There's also a reason for it.

To those of us of a certain age, this all gives us a profound sense of déjà vu. We've seen it all before. In Viet Nam. We had "advisors" there, and were promised no combat troops would be used. But they were, of course. And we had air strikes, all of which had to be approved in advance by Washington. It was driven by politics then, and it's being driven by politics now.

This strategy was a failure in Viet Nam. It got more than 58,000 troops killed and a lot more maimed. It's sure to be a failure here, too. President Obama's response? “I’m not going to anticipate failure at this point.” He'd rather be surprised, just as he has been by all his other failures.

And that will produce the expected result.

Friday, September 12, 2014

"The Islamic State is not Islamic"

President Barack Obama said Wednesday evening that “ISIL is not ‘Islamic.’” He followed that up by saying “No religion condones the killing of innocents.”

And Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) agrees with him.

Let's take a look at this logically.

  1. “No religion condones the killing of innocents.”

  2. ISIS — which President Obama calls ISIL — unquestionably does condone such killing. So does al Qaeda. So does Hamas. So does Hezbollah. So does the Taliban. So does the Muslim Brotherhood. So does every major Islamic group. So does the Koran. So did Mohammed.

    Therefore, by President Obama's own logic,
  3. Islam is not a religion.

That seems clear enough to me.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

9/11/2001 -- Never Forget!

Our own generation's "day which will live in infamy."

It's the day we were attacked by uncivilized barbarians. We saw some of what they caused.

Their successors are even less civilized than they were. We hadn't thought that possible.

No, we must never forget!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Albuquerque Area Readers Opine

There were a couple of "letters to the editor," published in today's Albuquerque Journal, that seem to me deserving of wider distribution. One identifies the key reason for the "do nothing" Congress.

Sen. Reid's desk is where bills go to die

The U.S. House is working, but the Senate is where the obstruction is.

More than 250 bills made it through the U.S. House — none of which have made it to the floor of the Senate. Two hundred of the bills were passed in the House with unanimous support ... More than 90 percent of those bills passed the U.S. House with bipartisan support, and more than 100 were passed with 75 percent support of House Democrats. Over 50 were introduced by Democrats.

The U.S. House has passed dozens of reform bills for the VA — some bipartisan — none of which have made it to the floor of the Senate; (Senate Majority Leader) Harry Reid stopped them. He didn't give senators the opportunity to even consider them. Over 30 jobs bills are also sitting on Harry Reid's desk, which he also refuses to even put up for a vote.

Senators are (more) focused on special interest groups than the "folks back home." The longer they're in office and live in Washington, the less they feel they need their constituents. You can't fix their arrogance and support for Harry Reid, but you can vote them out.

Cedar Crest

Cedar Crest is one of the small towns outside Albuquerque. Another is Ojo Feliz, from which comes a good suggested long-term solution.
Put limit on terms, not on corporate funding

RE: Sally-Alice Thompson's letter to the editor "It's Time to Control Money in Politics" (Aug. 26).

Thompson calls on us to support the so-called Democracy for All Amendment as an aid to getting rid of corporate funding of elections.

Basically, she's advocating removing the issue of constitutional protection of political speech from the courts and giving it to Congress so that members of Congress could determine who could engage in political speech and to what extent. This amendment, Brain child of (N.M. Sen.) Tom Udall, would more accurately be called the Incumbent Protection Amendment.

Thompson touches on the real source of the problem but skates right past it. "Why do congressmen so avidly respond to the wishes of the corporations rather than to the requests of the voters ... ? Is it because that's where they get the campaign funds necessary to keep them in their privileged positions?"

I suggest we come at the perceived problem of corporate money in politics by amending the Constitution to limit the terms of all members of Congress. If repeated re-elections are out of the picture, so is much of the opportunity for "you scratch my back — with campaign contributions — and I'll scratch yours — with legislation that benefits you." With term limits and a "cooling-off period" between holding public office and being allowed to hire on as a lobbyist for your favorite corporation, I suspect we could at least chip away at the self-anointed aristocracy that we have allowed our national legislature to become.

Giving Congress the power to aid its supporters and to shut out those who would criticize its members simply compounds the problem.

Ojo Feliz

Food for thought — and action.

Elite politicians disconnected from the people.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Labor Day, 2014

Mrs. Critter and I took off for Labor Day. We hadn't ridden the Rail Runner before, and thought it was high time we did. So we boarded the train this morning (Monday) and headed for Santa Fe.

On the way — both directions — we were joined by a lot of folks going to and from the 27th annual New Mexico Wine Festival in Bernalillo, not far north of Albuquerque. But many were, like us, going to Santa Fe. A major draw this weekend was the Santa Fe Fiestas, held continuously since 1712.

We enjoyed ourselves wandering about among the fiesta booths. We also visited a number of the shops on the Plaza, and the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Francis, a short distance off the city's central square. And we had drinks and snacks (tapas, if you like).

In the late afternoon, we headed back for the train station for our return home.

All in all, our holiday jaunt was very enjoyable. It was inexpensive, and avoided hassles with traffic and parking — twin issues for so many visits to Santa Fe.

We hope your Labor Day holiday was enjoyable, too!

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Middle East Update

It looks like President Barack Obama is about to send troops back to Iraq, and maybe to Syria. That's "boots on the ground" — or maybe not.

There may be other factors involved, as well. That's particularly the case because of the barbarous, completely uncivilized, and subhuman behavior of the jihadists who are the Islamic State's "fighters".

It appears we should treat this cancer while we wait, however, rather than waiting for that judgment. This would be in line with a statement attributed to a U.S. Marine (paraphrased): "It's God's job to judge the jihadists. It's up to us to arrange their meeting."

In the meantime, while we are watching events there, it would also be appropriate to keep in mind who the characters in this Middle East play are.