Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Whose Policies Worked in Iraq? Whose Didn't?

All through the Global War On Terror (how long has it been since you've heard that term?), Barack Obama has been attacking the Iraq policies of President George W Bush. Obama attacked those policies as a state senator, then as a presidential candidate, then as president. He proclaimed the Bush policies to be utter failures, and talked about how much better off Iraq would be once he removed all U.S. troops and influence from Iraq — and, in effect, from the region.

How has that worked out? How much better off is Iraq today than it was under the Bush policies? Here is a picture that shows us.

It looks to me like Iraq has been greatly harmed by Obama's decision to "cut & run." And I think that has caused great damage to the entire region.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

The Consistency of the Left

A number of things I've seen lately have made me reflect on the kind of consistency commonly seen in the Left, both within the U.S. and worldwide. And when I say the Left, I include much of today's Democratic Party. A few of their characteristic elements of consistency are described below.

The Left is always pushing a gun control agenda. In that, they're consistent. You'll hear them pushing for gun control after any high profile shooting incident.

Well, not every shooting incident.
Notice how quiet the Left has been about the shooting of a television news reporter and her cameraman by a man who could find organizational racism and personal racist insults in everything that anyone said.

To the Left, some things are good or bad according to who is responsible for them. Walls and fences, for example. Walls to keep people imprisoned seem to be OK, or at least the Left didn't spend time objecting to, for example, the wall East Germany built in Berlin. (To its credit, yesterday's Democratic Party did object — loud & long.) Walls and fences built for protection seem to be bad, especially those built for protection against illegal immigration (think Europe, the U.S., and Israel) and most especially those where terrorists could use the immigrants to cover their infiltration. These barriers are racist, they claim. Yet even in those cases, it makes a big difference who built the barrier and where it is.
I guess they only demand open borders in the U.S. and our close allies.

The Left believes in enforcing the law and in following the law. Sometimes. Maybe. It really seems to depend on which law you're talking about.They don't want to enforce — or even acknowledge — immigration law. They don't want to enforce the marijuana laws, and they don't seem real sure about the other drug laws. Except, of course, the laws on prescription drugs, which they want to tighten up. They don't (and didn't) believe in the Defense Of Marriage Act.

They also don't believe in following judicial orders enforcing any of the laws they don't like. To them, any order they don't like can be ignored until it's changed, but any order they do like is permanent and final. So, for example, they support a Kentucky judge jailing Kim Davis for violating his order; they don't care that his order violated her rights under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act and the First Amendment to the Constitution.
The Left is also rather selective about when to apply this approach. While Kim Davis was jailed for not issuing same-sex marriage licenses, the mayor of Washington DC is still free after ignoring multiple orders to issue legally required gun carry permits. There is another solution in both cases. Kim Davis offered an accommodation that would have let her deputies issue the marriage certificates without her signature. The judge refused. For the gun permits, the easiest accommodation for many applicants is this:
For those who reside in states and cities that continue to flout the Constitution, the law, and court orders, perhaps there can be new laws allowing them to obtain gun permits in nearby, more law-friendly, locations.

Why does the Left have such a thing for gun control laws? Easy. It's an Article of Faith for the Left that more guns means more murders, that the only way to reduce the murder rate is to get rid of the guns. Unfortunately for the Left, that Article of Faith is completely false. Yes, the U.S. ranks high in gun ownership per capita, but it ranks low in murders per capita — except in heavily gun-controlled cities like Detroit & etc. See Bill Whittle's Firewall for details, the episode titled "Number One With A Bullet" for details.

One of the Left's principles is that the indigenous people in any area should control that area, independent of any events that may have occurred in more recent historical times. That doesn't apply to full political control of regions under their overall control, of course, but does include limited sovereignty (under them, naturally) like that they're pushing for the native Hawaiians and the right to have their names used for geographic features. Thus, President Obama has unilaterally (without Congressional sanction) changed the name of Alaska's Mount McKinley to Denali. He has also applied the same principle to other renaming actions.
But even a core Left principle like this has its limits. For example, in the Middle East, it only goes back to the early part of the 20th century, based on conquests in the 7th and 12th centuries, but ignores the indigenous peoples living in the region from the first through the third millenia B.C.
It also ignores the (no longer existing) peoples who inhabited the region before that.

Sometimes the character of the Left's consistency is even more obvious (except to the Leftists, of course)
That's usually pretty entertaining. And sometimes it appears as examples of what I would characterize as Deliberate Stupidity.

But sometimes it portends — if actually put into practice — substandial damage to large numbers of people, to the nation, and to the nation's economy.

Most would see things like this as extreme hypocrisy. But not the Left. To them, it's all consistent, in one of two ways. To some in the Left, it's part of their ideology-driven viewpoint (see Cloward-Piven and "We had to destroy the village in order to save it" as two examples). To the others, it's part of the series of lies needed to maintain their positions of power "for the good of the country", as in this case.

For myself, I think most Leftists are simply misguided. I tend to believe in the dictum that "Given a choice between incompetence and malice, always choose incompetence — you will almost always be right." Thus, I believe liberals are misguided, even though they believe I am evil. Put more simply, I would say

And that is the real consistency of the Left.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

The Myopic Administration

A young Muslim boy dismantled an old digital clock, reworked it a little, and scared the crap out of folks at his school. Because he's a Muslim, this got him an invitation from the White House and a claim that the response to his device was an example of Islamophobia. (Frankly, I'm not sure Islamophobia really exists. Truth and reality are defenses.) This summarizes the problem:

This is just part of a broader general issue. The Obama Administration is willfully blind to a lot of stuff.

Even that isn't the whole story. The past six years shows the White House world view is like this:

Why President Obama has this world view is unknown. And I don't really care. My question is more like this:

If they're coming here because they want part of what we have built and the life we live, and if they're willing to assimilate, they should be welcomed. If they're here to infiltrate and/or invade and/or conquer us, they have to be stopped, rejected, and sent back. We cannot let them turn this country into the kind of place they came here to escape.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Government Negligence And Bulls**t

I wrote earlier about the government's incredible negligence and gross incompetence in causing a massive toxic waste spill into a tributary of the Animas River in Colorado and New Mexico. That spill also fouled the San Juan River, into which the Animas flows, along its path through New Mexico and Utah. Specifically, it was the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA, which this incident indicates is horribly misnamed) that demonstrated this extreme negligence and incompetence in their "clean-up" of a long-closed Colorado mine. That negligence included ignoring a warning from the closed mine's current owner, and threatening him with jail if he didn't stay completely away from the EPA's operations around the mine. It culminated in the toxic waste spill on August 5th, which was not reported — at least not to either New Mexico or the Navajo Nation — in anything like an appropriate time.

Still, there are things I don't understand — some in the way the story hass been reported and some in the story itself. Here are a couple of those things.

One thing is come of the reportage on the spill itself. It was reported on August 8th as a spill of more than a million gallons. By the next day it was reported as actually having been a spill of three million gallons — and that is how it has been reported ever since. But there's a problem with that. It was reported in early August, and is still being reported now, water is still flowing from the mine at 550 gallons per minute, 33,000 gallons per hour, 792,000 gallons per day, more than an additional 3 million gallons every four days. That means an additional 36.4 million gallons that have flowed from that mine from August 10th through today. Are the reporters trying to claim — without having the guts to say so — that all of the toxic waste was in the initial three million gallons and none in the more than thirty-six million gallons since? I'm not sure that makes any sense.

A second thing is related. The news stories keep referring to the pollution of the Animas River and (sometimes) the San Juan River through the states of Colorado, New Mexico, and Utah. But, in Utah, the San Juan flows into the Colorado River. The Colorado then flows into and across northern Arizona before becoming the boundary between that state and the states of Nevada and California. The San Juan is a tributary to the Colorado, so the water from the former flows into the latter — bringing with it whatever it's carrying. But it seems the reporters are trying to claim — without having the guts to say so — that all of the toxic waste was magically removed from the San Juan's water before it flowed into the Colorado River. I'm not sure that makes any sense.

Something I don't understand in the story itself is this: The EPA-caused spill is bad enough. So why would the EPA, with the connivance of other government agencies, want to make it worse by providing false and misleading information about it? But that is apparently what has been done, both in the information made available to the public and in their testimony to Congress. Yes, they have "taken responsibility" and yes, EPA has provided assistance to some of the affected people downstream. But significant chunks of the information EPA has provided has apparently been intended to minimize the seriousness of the EPA's screw-up rather than to provide accurate information on the problem they caused.

What's even worse, one of the major groups affected by the EPA negligence is being further damaged by the government (non-)response. The Animas and San Juan rivers provide a huge part of the water for the Navajo Nation — both drinking water and irrigation water for the Navajo farmers across the eastern part of the sprawling Navajo Reservation. EPA provided a series of emergency water tanks for drinking water shortly after the spill in recognition of this fact. But on the fourth of September, after the Navajo Nation requested additional assistance, EPA announced instead that it would be removing those emergency water tanks — tanks that are critical for the Navajos right now. Meanwhile, FEMA also rejected the Navajos' requests for assistance in recovering from the effects of the mine spill.

And neither President Obama nor his agency cronies appear to give a damn. All this has got to be hard for the believers in this Administration and its EPA. Even as they're waiting for another serving of their favorite Kool Aid.

My recommendation, only slightly modified from before, is that the EPA and its responsible contractor(s) should be shut down until the spill has been completely cleaned up and the cleanup has been verified by competent state authorities. And they should all be heavily fined. After all, why should the EPA and its subordinates be treated different from anyone else? Why should they be treated differently from the way they treat everyone else?

I noted in the prior article that "the EPA (like other government agencies) believes there's one set of rules for them and another set for everyone else." It's well past time for that to be stopped.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

It's Football Season !

Football season generates a lot of adrenalin.

Which is why I'm wondering if that's the squirrel involved in the altercation with this Smart Car.