Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Democrat Party History

For John, BLUFSome think the tiger never changes its stripes.  I think that might be unfair.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

"The Reasons Why Democrats Are the Party of Slavery and Victimization | ZoNation".  That would be Commentator Alfonzo Rachel.  From PJ Media. With Presidents like Andy Jackson, James Buchanan, Jeff David and Woodrow Wilson, what would you expect?

Hat tip to the Instapundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

The Administration and Iran

For John, BLUFBetter to talk than fight.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From the Instapundit we have this post:
IT’S COME TO THIS:  Michael Tomasky:  “And so what I hope is that Obama administration officials are, well, lying.  That is, I hope they’re just saying this stuff about a new and improved Iran because they think it might help build public support for a deal.  That’s not very appealing, but it’s better than the other possibility, which is that they actually believe this stuff.”
Hat tip to the Instapundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Headlight Use

For John, BLUFYou do this already, no?  Nothing to see here; just move along.

It appears that, effective 7 April, it will now be Massachusetts law that you must have headlights on when running windshield wipers.  I guess I was a little surprised when I read this.  Decades ago I lived in a state where this was already the law.  While it may seem a bit of over-legislating, legislation is a way of convening common sense.

Regards  —  Cliff

Banks vs Democrats

For John, BLUFOn its face it just sounds wrong.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Is this some kind of conflict of interest, "Warren fires back at banks halting donations to Democrats"?

Put another way, is the Democrat Party the party of Wall Street?

Regards  —  Cliff

Talking About Human Rights

For John, BLUFAre human rights universal?  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Originally in the Spectator magazine and now in the blog of Journalist Nick Cohen, we have "Sweden’s feminist foreign minister hammered for confronting Saudi Arabia".

This is about Ms Margot Wallström, Sweden's Foreign Minister.  She was seen as being undiplomatic in mentioning that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has a terrible civil rights record—by Western standards.  There was a reaction by KSA and it appeared that economic factors forced the Foreign Minister to back off, to include an apology.  As the writer points out, the Western media didn't support Ms Wallström in her accusations.  Apparently suppression of Women is not a big deal if it happens outside the collection of nations known as the West.

Yet there is no ‘Wallström affair’.  Outside Sweden, the western media has barely covered the story, and Sweden’s EU allies have shown no inclination whatsoever to support her.  A small Scandinavian nation faces sanctions, accusations of Islamophobia and maybe worse to come, and everyone stays silent.  As so often, the scandal is that there isn’t a scandal.

It is a sign of how upside-down modern politics has become that one assumes that a politician who defends freedom of speech and women’s rights in the Arab world must be some kind of muscular liberal, or neocon, or perhaps a supporter of one of Scandinavia’s new populist right-wing parties whose commitment to human rights is merely a cover for anti-Muslim hatred.  But Margot Wallström is that modern rarity: a left-wing politician who goes where her principles take her.

Here is the final, depressing paragraph:
Finally, and most revealingly in my opinion, the non-affair shows us that the rights of women always come last.  To be sure, there are Twitter storms about sexist men and media feeding frenzies whenever a public figure uses ‘inappropriate language’.  But when a politician tries to campaign for the rights of women suffering under a brutally misogynistic clerical culture she isn’t cheered on but met with an embarrassed and hugely revealing silence.
Regards  —  Cliff

  So, it is Islamophobic to say that women's rights are being suppressed in this or that Muslim nation?

Monday, March 30, 2015

Being Open to New Ideas

For John, BLUFRitchie T.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

One of my interlocutors suggested "we invite the Ayatollahs to speak in front of Congress."

I like the idea.

Regards  —  Cliff

Anti-Feminist Democrat Leader

For John, BLUFDingy Harry is not a good role model.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

It is The Washington Examiner, but that doesn't mean it is wrong.  Reporter Ashe Schow gives us "Flashback:  Harry Reid's war on women".

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid is retiring.  Although he was a faithful steward of the "war on women" political theme his party has used against Republicans, the Nevada senator wasn't exactly a feminist warrior.
From there Ms Schow goes on to list some of the times Senator Reed has been less than a feminist icon, including that he hits the White House number for female vs male pay.  That is to say, he pays his female staff appreciably less than his male staff.  Sad.

Hat tip to the Instapundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Sunday, March 29, 2015

5 + 1

For John, BLUFIt is better to be talking than to be fighting, as Winston Churchill pointed out.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Remember the Fabled 47 Senators and their "Open Letter" to the Iranian Leadership?  The ones who brought down some much hate and discontent on their heads?  Logan Act and all that?  Turns out they are not President Obama's biggest problem in cutting some sort of a nuclear deal with Iran.  No, that would be French President Hollande.

From The Daly Mail (London) the other day we have "France tells UN 'insufficient' progress in Iran nuclear talks".  Wait—This isn't just between the US Administration and the Iranians?  Apparently not in the mind of Reporter Michelle Nichols.  The lede:

France warned on Tuesday that "insufficient" progress has been made toward a nuclear deal between Iran and six world powers with specific disparities over research and development and the issue of sanctions.

"Iran must now make difficult choices if it truly wishes to regain the trust of the international community," French U.N. Ambassador Francois Delattre told a United Nations Security Council meeting on U.N. sanctions on Iran.

Apparently it isn't all about SecState John Forbes Kerry and President Obama.

And, there is the issue of how this and other such Executive Agreements are changing the nature of our Constitution.  I put a lot of this on Congress.

The idea that the Administration will launder this Agreement through the United Nations to avoid Senate approval and perhaps Congressional oversight strikes me as wrong.  It is transforming how we do foreign policy, and maybe domestic policy, without the consent of Congress.

Regards  —  Cliff

  The ones who I said the whiners should DEMAND indictments under the Logan Act?

A critique of the WH Handling of the Bergdahl Case

For John, BLUFA question one might ask is if this White House lives in the moment, without consideration for long term consequences?  Nothing to see here; just move along.

An OpEd for The LA Times, by a Mr John R Schindler, is headlined "How the White House bungled the Bowe Bergdahl case".

Here is the nub of the story, and a position I hold.

It is admirable to bring POWs home, no matter how they wound up in enemy hands, and charlatans deserve to come home as much as heroes do.  Taliban captivity is a terrible experience.  Yet it is not admirable to turn a possible deserter into some sort of public hero.
Here is the OpEd final paragraph.  Yes, he lets the White House slide, by passing judgement off to future historians, but he does suggest it will not be treated kindly in this matter, if it comes up.
Why this White House chose to handle the Bergdahl case in such an inept manner, despite ample information indicating its official narrative was, at the least, highly selective, is a matter for future historians to ponder.
Regards  —  Cliff

Eurozone Problems

For John, BLUFIt is Sunday and time to think big thoughts.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From The Telegraph, out of London, where national elections in early May make Europe a hot topic, we have "Eurozone can't survive in current form, says PIMCO".  (PIMCO is Pacific Investment Management Company)  The reporter is Szu Ping Chan.  The subheadline is:
Single currency area must become a "United States of Europe" in order to secure its future, says manager of world's largest bond fund
Here is the front end of the article.
The eurozone is "untenable" in its current form and cannot survive unless countries are prepared to cede sovereignty and become a "United States of Europe", the manager of the world's biggest bond fund has warned.

The Pacific Investment Management Company (PIMCO) said that while the bloc was likely to stay together in the medium term, with Greece remaining in the eurozone, the single currency could not survive if countries did not move closer together.

Persistently weak growth in the eurozone had led to voter unrest and the rise of populist parties such as Podemos in Spain, Syriza in Greece, and Front National in France, said PIMCO managing directors Andrew Bosomworth and Mike Amey.

"The lesson from history is that the status quo we have now is not a tenable structure," said Mr Bosomworth. "There's no historical precedent that this sort of structure, which is centralised monetary policy, decentralised fiscal policy, can last over multiple decades."

Mr Bosomworth notes that when the Scandinavian nations tried this in the 19th Century it only made it for 50 years.
Mario Monti, the former prime minister of Italy, said last week that France was Europe's "big problem" because anti-EU sentiment there threatened to destroy the bloc's Franco-German axis.

PIMCO said France's inflexible labour market meant it was "lagging behind" other countries such as Spain and Ireland, which had implemented structural reforms.

Mr Bosomworth, who is head of portfolio management in Germany, said there was too much at stake for the eurozone to force Greece out. "It's a bit like nuclear warfare. Actually doing it is so disastrous that you don't," he said.

And, there were local elections last weekend in France and the Party of Ms Marine le Pen did well, as explained by Ms Stephanie Pezard (Rand Corp) in this War on the Rocks article—The Front National and the Future of French Foreign Policy.  To capture the Flavor of the French Front National, think of the Republican Party, as described by the Progressive wing of the US Democrat Party.  Or the Southern Wing of the Democrat Party up through 1972.
Sunday’s elections gave the French extreme-right party Front National the highest percentage of votes it ever achieved in a local election.  With 26 percent of the votes, the Front National confirms that it is in the ascendant and its leader, Marine le Pen, stands well-positioned as a strong contender in France’s presidential elections in 2017.  Should this be of concern mostly to the French, or do the Front National’s current and, possibly, future successes have implications for France’s partners and allies in Europe and beyond?

Less than two weeks after the deadly attacks in Paris against the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo and a kosher supermarket, Marine le Pen, the leader of the Front National, enumerated in an op-ed in The New York Times a few of her party’s pet peeves:  the Schengen Agreement that opened up borders within the European Union, French immigration policies, and her country’s “serious geopolitical incoherence” due to misguided foreign interventions and the influence of foreign countries such as Qatar and Saudi Arabia on French policy.

It is no coincidence that her condemnation of French foreign policy comes last, and focuses on a hotchpotch of elements almost as incoherent as the French policy it denounces.  The Front National has built its constituency around domestic issues – security and immigration policy – first and foremost . Le Pen’s platform for the 2012 presidential election barely touches upon foreign policy issues, except in relation to the EU and to advocate for France pulling out of NATO’s integrated command. Front National voters were unlikely to be bothered by this oversight.  A March 2014 poll showed that, compared with others, respondents who voted for Le Pen in 2012 were less prone to having conversations with relatives or colleagues on the foreign policy issues of the moment than domestic ones.

So a rabid French Nationalist comes to The New York Times to publish her issue positions.  That might mean that she needs to assault the French media from the outside in order to penetrate the more establishment outlook within the French media.  Clever idea.

Regards  —  Cliff

  The Schengen Agreement is about border controls, which, within the area, are relaxed to a considerable extent, thus creating in essence a single nation for travel and transportation of goods.  It is all of the European Union, less the UK and Ireland, plus a number of other Western European nations.  So, a refugee from North Africa, having landed in Italy, can travel freely almost anywhere in Continental Western Europe.

Lactose Priviledge

For John, BLUFThe "payoff" is in the very short article.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Forget "White Priviledge", the key factor may be "Lactose Priviledge".  Well, if you believe Justin Cook of the University of California, Merced. "No use crying:  The ability to digest milk may explain how Europe got rich".  From The Economist.  Here is the lede.
HUMANS can digest lactose, the main carbohydrate in milk, only with the help of an enzyme called lactase.  But two-thirds of people stop producing it after they have been weaned.  The lucky third—those with “lactase persistence”—continue to produce it into adulthood.  A recent paper* argues that this genetic quirk helps explain why some countries are rich and others poor.
Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

* “The role of lactase persistence in pre-colonial development”, by C. Justin Cook, Journal of Economic Growth, December 2014.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Out to the Hustings

For John, BLUFI'm for Cameron, but then I am a real Liberal.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From The International New York Times we have "Britain:  Labour Leader Starts Bid for Prime Minister".  The election, Thursday, 7 May, is not that far away.  Oh, The Old Grey Lady blames Reuters for this story.
Ed Miliband, leader of the opposition Labour Party, began his campaign on Friday to become Britain’s next prime minister with a plan to protect the treasured but expensive National Health Service and a swipe at private businesses that profit from the state-funded system. Polls have Labour tied with Prime Minister David Cameron’s Conservative Party six weeks ahead of the May 7 vote. It is set to be the tightest election in decades, and the outcome could influence whether Britain leaves the European Union or Scotland begins a fresh bid for independence. Voters rank the National Health Service as a crucial election issue, polls show, and Mr. Miliband kicked off his campaign with a tub-thumping speech.
Ed Miliband.  Not his brother David.  The incumbent Prime Minister is David Cameron.

There could be consequences from this election, as the article notes.

If you want to follow the lower side of the election, go to Order-Order and see what Guido Fawkes has to say.  If you win the Caption Contest you would win a copy of God and Mrs Thatcher

Regards  —  Cliff

The Iran Negotiations Outcome

For John, BLUFI am hoping JFK can pull a rabbit out of the hat.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

I was looking for my bookmark for Order, Order when I saw Great Satan's Girlfriend and decided to have a peak.  Here was the top item:
To Stop Iran…

May have to gird our loins and commence bombing!

This is the short version, with better graphics, of the John Bolton OpEd in The New York Times, "To Stop Iran’s Bomb, Bomb Iran". I don't agree on bombing Iran, but I do agree that we could be facing nuclear proliferation.  Just ask Great Satan's Girlfriend.  Or Ambassador John Bolton.

On the other hand, with a secure retaliation capability, deterrence should work, assuming no bombs slip into the hands of terrorists.  This is where proliferation of US technology could help.

Regards  —  Cliff

Our Allies Outside NATO

For John, BLUF"Friends" and "Allies" are not different words for the same relationship.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

The below piece of legalese surfaced [elsewhere] when a question was asked as to if the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia was a US ally:
§ 120.32 Major non-NATO ally.
Major non-NATO ally, as defined in section 644(q) of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 (22 U.S.C. 2403(q)), means a country that is designated in accordance with section 517 of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 (22 U.S.C. 2321(k)) as a major non-NATO ally for purposes of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 and the Arms Export Control Act (22 U.S.C. 2151 et seq. and 22 U.S.C. 2751 et seq.).  The following countries are designated as major non-NATO allies:  Afghanistan (see§ 126.1(g) of this subchapter), Argentina, Australia, Bahrain, Egypt, Israel, Japan, Jordan, Kuwait, Morocco, New Zealand, Pakistan, the Philippines, Thailand, and Republic of Korea.  Taiwan shall be treated as though it were designated a major non-NATO ally.
[77 FR 76865, Dec. 31, 2012]
As can be seen, there answer is no.  Remember, this is about the Foreign Assistance Act.  There are anomalies, such as Argentina, the only Latin American nation on the list.  And, both Egypt and Israel are on the list.  Jordan and Kuwait, but not Saudi Arabia.  Pakistan is there, but not India.  (That is an issue that we should be working.)  And, of course, Taiwan is a special case.

More than you wanted to know.

Regards  —  Cliff

Democrat Primaries Could Heat Up

For John, BLUF2016 will be exciting.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From The National Journal and Reporter Josh Krushaar we have "Democrats’ Identity Crisis Is Spilling Into Their Senate Races".  The thrust of the article is that:
Democrats have been remarkably successful at avoiding contentious primaries, but the ones taking place in 2016 will be consequential.
This is why Senator E Warren and her own version of the Pitch Fork Brigade is so important.  And, perhaps, confusing.  I say that because I am not convinced she is a wild eyed Progressive.

In the mean time, here is the thrust of the article:

On the surface, the Democratic Party looks remarkably unified heading into the 2016 presidential election, with Hillary Clinton scaring off any internal competition and Democrats rallying behind recruits in key Senate races.  But there are divisions percolating within the party—ruptures that could grow more significant if setbacks occur on the road to a Clinton coronation.

Congressional races often serve as a leading indicator of what the future holds at the top of the ticket.  And already, there are several primaries that would pit the Democratic Party's pragmatic liberal wing against the true-blue progressives.  Democrats may not end up with significantly more contested primaries than in the past, but the ideological stakes will be higher. The battles are shaping up to be over core issues splitting the party: entitlements, support for Israel, national security, and others.  The intraparty divisions that President Obama has suppressed and Hillary Clinton has avoided will be litigated down the ballot, and the stakes won't be for control of the Senate, but for control of the party's future.

I would think the appeal of a Ms Hillary Clinton campaign would be that she could make the trains run on time, with just a hint of vixon Progressivism.  Senator E Warren, on the other hand, will be seen as someone who will go in and flog and fire the folks scheduling the trains and return service to the People, making things fair[er] for the little guy.

Hat tip to the Instapundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Following Harry Reid

For John, BLUFThe future micromanager of your life, and mine.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Reportere Nick Gillespie, writing in Reason's "Hit & Run Blog" gives us "UPDATED!  Meet Chuck Schumer, One of the Most Trivial Pols Ever. And Your Next Senate Minority Leader".

The subheadline is

A partial listing of some of the things that the New York senator has tried to ban over the years.
It appears New York Senator Chuck Schumer is the favored candidate to succeed Nevada Senator Harry Reid as Senate Minority Leader.  Well, favored by Dingy Harry.

Hat tip to Drudge Report.

Regards  —  Cliff

Friday, March 27, 2015

Reid Reverses Course

For John, BLUFBefore he said he would run.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From Reporter Carl Husle, at The International New York Times we have "Harry Reid Says He Won’t Seek Re-Election"
WASHINGTON — Senator Harry Reid, the tough tactician who has led Senate Democrats since 2005, will not seek re-election next year, bringing an end to a three-decade congressional career that culminated with his push of President Obama’s ambitious agenda against fierce Republican resistance.
Regards  —  Cliff

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Free Speech in Europe

For John, BLUFFree Speech is FUNDAMENTAL.

At his Blog Journalist Brendan O’Neill talks to censorship—"The vast Empire of Censorship in Europe - and how to fight it".  It is his 25 March speech on freedom of speech at the Brussels headquarters of the Alliance Defending Freedom.  Free Speech?  I remember a video showing a Canadian Government Lawyer reminding someone accused of offensive speech that there is no "First Amendment" in Canada.  And he said like he was proud of that important fact.

But, to Mr O'Neill's speech.  It starts:

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but I have to tell you that freedom of speech no longer exists in Europe.

In almost every European country in 2015, there are individuals who are in prison or doing some kind of community service or paying off a fine simply for something that they said, simply for expressing themselves.

In Scotland, birthplace of so much of the Enlightenment, a man is currently in jail for the crime of singing an offensive song.

The man is a 24-year-old fan of the largely Protestant football team Rangers. And he was recently found guilty of singing a song called “The Billy Boys”, which is an anti-Catholic song that Rangers fans have been singing for years.

Under Scotland’s Orwellian Offensive Behaviour at Football Act, he was sentenced to four months in jail for song crimes.  We’ve had thoughtcrime and speechcrime — now we have songcrime.

As a practicing Roman Catholic, and a person with Irish blood, I can tell you I have heard worse.  I am probably more offended by football (read soccer) than any singing.

Here is the windup of the speech:

We can’t only defend free speech for ourselves and ignore the censorship of others.  For that leaves the problem of censorship unchallenged and leaves us open to attack later on.

So Christians must defend those who are punished for blaspheming against Christianity.  Muslims must defend those arrested for ridiculing Islam.  Liberals must defend those imprisoned for expressing neo-fascist ideas.  Why must we do this?  In the words of Thomas Paine, one of my heroes, who was himself sentenced to death for something be wrote:

He that would make his own liberty secure must guard even his enemy from oppression; for if he violates this duty, he establishes a precedent that will reach to himself.
We need to be open to insults.  We need to move to the point that 99% of the people recognize homophobic bigotry, but we value freedom enough that we don't care about the dumb ideas of the other 1%.  I am highly offended when someone calls me "White" (vice Caucasian), and I note it sometimes, but really, such people are working through their own problems and it doesn't help to badger them too much.  Let them grow.

I don't want a perfect world.  I want a free world.

Hat tip to the Instapundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

  Described by The [Manchester] Guardian as “A sub-Danny Dyer obnoxious intellectual wind-up merchant.”
  Hat tip to Chris Hazel and a recent Facebook post for the latest example of such bigotry.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Delaying PP&ACA

For John, BLUFPP&ACA doesn't actually fix the problems we have.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

The Daily Caller talks about opposition to implementation of the PP&ACA, at least until after the 2016 election.  It turns out it isn't just Senator Ted Cruz who has problems with the legislation.  Here is the headline—"EXCLUSIVE:  Democratic Senators Beg For Another Obamacare Delay".  "Another" delay.  Not the first?

The issue is a rule change that puts companies with 51 to 100 employees in the costlier “small group” market instead of the “large group” market.  "Costlier" means higher premiums, which means an added burden on small businesses.

The Senators sent a letter to the Secretary of Health and Human Services, Sylvia Matthews Burwell.

The letter was signed by Democratic Sens. Claire McCaskill, Heidi Heitkamp, Chris Coons, Joe Manchin, Joe Donnelly and Jon Tester and independent Sen. Angus King, who caucuses with the Democrats.
Repeal or kicking implementation down the road may be a distinction without a difference.

Hat tip to the Instapundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

  For George, that would be Obamacare.

Too Many Laws

For John, BLUFI wonder what George thinks?  Nothing to see here; just move along.

The Instapundit, last evening, wrote:
IS IGNORANCE OF THE LAW AN EXCUSE?  No, but Michael Cottone argues that maybe it should be, in his Rethinking Presumed Knowledge of the Law in the Regulatory Age.  I think this is a very important topic and an important piece.  As he notes, it expands (significantly!) on some of the ideas touched on in my Ham Sandwich Nation:  Due Process When Everything Is A Crime piece.
With the plethora of laws on the books, plus the regulations for Executive Branch Agencies, it is physically and intellectually impossible for any one person to know all the rules and restrictions.  To assume or argue otherwise is intellectual nonsense.

We want people to have respect for the law, but if they can't comprehend the law how can they have respect?

Hat tip to the Instapundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Down on Cruz

For John, BLUFWhy does the Press excoriate the Right, but pamper the Left?  Nothing to see here; just move along.

The New Yorker gives us "Can You “Imagine” Ted Cruz as President?", by Journalist John Cassidy.  Mr Cassidy has already taken the campaign into the mud, or worse.
The conventional wisdom is that Cruz hasn’t got a chance, and, as far as the Presidency goes, it’s probably accurate.  To many Americans, he is the uppity loudmouth...
A US Senator is characterized as an uppity loudmouth.  "Uppity"?  Is Mr Cassidy just another racist?

Then there is this.

But if Cruz’s ultra-conservatism rules him out as a serious Presidential contender, it won’t necessarily work to his disadvantage in the Republican primaries, where his first goal is to distinguish himself from other right-wingers who are leading him in the polls, such as Scott Walker, Rand Paul, Mike Huckabee, and Ben Carson.
Conservatives are "right-wingers" but later on in the article the left is referred to as "liberal Democrats".  The only use of the word "left" in the article is
Then he asked the audience members, most of whom weren’t born when Reagan left office,…
It is going to be a long, hard slog to November 2016 and people like Mr Cassidy are not going to make it any nicer.

Hat tip to the Instapundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Life Boat

For John, BLUFI don't care who your ancestors were—I want to know who YOU are.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Popehat, which used to be a blog, now has a Twitter feed, and an opinion on NPR dismissing Senator Ted Cruz's hispanic heritage by noting he is "White".  I wonder if they meant to say Caucasian or if they are just dismissive of Caucasians, calling them "White".

This distinction is not unique with NPR.  The Federal Government, in surveys, may ask if one characterizes oneself as "White Hispanic and "Non-White Hispanic".  (Yes, the Government does have racist tendencies.)

At any rate, Popehat notes.

First time I ever heard NPR use the term ‘White Hispanic’ was George Zimmerman. Second time today. Never for Castro, who’s white as snow.
The Instapundit, in noting this Tweet, comments:
The “White Hispanic” thing is a case of dog-whistle othering, telling people that the target is outside the protection of the Democrats’ racial coalition and thus can be freely attacked.  By engaging in such signalling, NPR is also signalling that it’s a full-blown part of the Democratic Party apparat, though that’s not really news. . . .
I like the point made by the Instapundit, and I like the use of the term "dog-whistle", since I sometimes find the term being used to describe certain positions taken by certain Republicans.

This raises other issues in my mind.  With the race and ethnicity designations we use in the United States (e.g., the Decennial Census) we can be fairly arbitrary.  For example, in 1970 we decided that people from the nation of India are "White" (they mean Caucasian).  So are Arabs and Persians also Caucasian?  Well, by the 2010 US Census, Asian Indians were their own "race".  Just like that, a couple of decades and your "race" changes.

Let us look at this from a map of the 2000 Census by ancestry:

So, if you live in the Old South, the plurality (not majority) ethnic ancestry in each county is either "American" or "African American".  African Americans are not Americans?  How bad is that?  In much of the rest of the United States it is Irish or English or German or Norwegian or even Dutch or French.  There are counties where Aleuts or Eskimos predominate (and they are not interchangeable terms) or American Indians.  We are a wonderful mix and I am sure that we benefit from social scientists looking at the numbers, and that means we have to provide details on the Census forms, but please let us not make too big a deal of all this.  Aside from a few folks who hanker for a more simple life and want to impose that more simple life on the rest of us, we are all in this together and doing pretty well—with room for improvement.

America is sort of like that Alfred Hitchcock movie, Lifeboat.  Everyone is in it together, even the bad guy.  And they survive.

Hat tip to the Instapundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

  Frankly, I thought the call in 1970 was a good one.  What is gained by further fragmentation?  For that matter, what is gained by taking the Spanish and making them their own ethnic group?  What about their Portuguese neighbors to their west?
  The source is Wikipedia and it is not copyrighted.
  For example, those in sympathy with Daesh.
  Yes, that is my understanding also.

Pushing Warren to the Starting Line

For John, BLUFSenator E Warren is my bet for Dem nomination.  Well, not a real "bet".  Nothing to see here; just move along.

On Sunday, in the "Ideas and Opinions" Section of The Boston Globe there was a big push for Senator Elizabeth Warren for the Democratic Party nomination for President in 2016.  Four separate items, including a front of the Section Editorial.  Is Ms Hillary Clinton beginning to look like LBJ in 1968?

The Editorial, starting on page K1, was "Democrats need Elizabeth Warren’s voice in 2016 presidential race".

Also starting on page K1 was an opinion piece by Ms Anna Galland, "Elizabeth Warren, run for the White House".

Inside, on page K4 was a piece by Mr Joshua Green, "Warren would be a credible threat to Clinton in the primaries".

Also on page K4 was a piece by Professor Robert Kuttner, of Brandis University and a co-editor of The American Prospect.  The title is "If Elizabeth Warren does run, she would surprise skeptics".

I thought Professor Kuttner had a couple of insightful comments, including this one:

Forget the Harvard professor story. Warren is a lower middle-class kid from Oklahoma who lived the dream the hard way. She plays better than you would think in the heartland. And the fact that she did it on her own, not as a former First Spouse, adds to her credibility as a potential first woman president.
This is why previously I stated that I thought the Democrats would run a "Southern Strategy", with a ticket made up of Senator E Warren for President and former Senator Jim Webb for Vice President.

As for her supposed lack of experience, she is a quick study.  Professor Kuttner notes:

Warren is a rookie senator, but far from a political novice. As chair of the Congressional Oversight panel for the bank bailouts from 2008 to 2012, she bootstrapped an obscure agency into a first-rank player, and managed to lacerate Obama officials Larry Summers and Tim Geithner while staying on cordial terms with the President.
I am told by Democrat friends that it will definitely be "Hillary" and that she will run away with the General Election.  I am not so sure.  I recommend people read Senator Warren's book, or listen to it on CDs.

I am not saying Senator E Warren is my personal choice, but I am saying that she will head the Democrat ticket.

Regards  —  Cliff

Monday, March 23, 2015

"Fixing" Medicare?

For John, BLUFHealth Care is a constant issue.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Apparently, contrary to rumors, House Speaker John Boehner, is alive and well and working on legislation.  According to The Hill he is working with Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi to fix problems with Medicare.
Boehner has spent two months quietly working with Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi to finally solve a Medicare payment problem that has eluded congressional leaders for more than 20 years.

The House leaders are expected to unveil their $200 billion Medicare deal early next week. Facing little opposition so far, the proposal is bringing Boehner closer than ever to tackling his long-time goal of entitlement reform.

"This could be one of the two or three accomplishments of the 114th Congress," said a GOP leadership aide. "It's a really big deal."

The bill would repeal a Medicare formula known as the sustainable growth rate (SGR), which calculates payments to doctors. In a crucial first step toward what would be a once-in-a-generation dea, bipartisan bills were introduced in both the House and Senate on Thursday.

I wish him luck. Hat tip to Memeorandum.

Regards  —  Cliff

Respecting Millennials

For John, BLUF  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Over at Linked In Jake Wood, CEO at Team Rubicon, has written about the resignation of US Representative Aaron Schock, effective 31 March of this year—"Aaron Schock is an Idiot, But So is Chris Cillizza"
Yesterday (March 20th, 2015), Chris Cillizza of the Washington Post published an article titled "Who Had the Worst Week in Washington? Rep. Aaron Schock." For those of you that don't know, Rep. Schock recently resigned amid scandal and allegations that he misused taxpayer and donor money. In the piece, Chris leads with "Aaron Schock was the first millennial to serve in Congress, and he lived up to every unfortunate stereotype we have of that generation." He follows that up with an even more pointed anti-millennial ending, "Aaron Schock, for promoting the notion that we shouldn’t trust anyone under 35, you had the worst week in Washington. Congrats, or something."
At his point I would like to pause and note that Representative Aaron Schock is a Republican, or at least ran as a Republican.  Why is that important?  Do you ever hear of Democrats resigning because they have messed up this way?  Like Representative William Jefferson [no, not Clinton], who ended up going to Federal Prison, but who had to be beaten in a squeaker by Republican Joseph Cao in 2009.  Of course Representative Cao was beaten like a drum by some Democrat in 2010, but that is another story.  Thanks to Rep Cao for standing up when it was needed.

Then Speaker Pelosi did good by removing him from a chairmanship, but he was still running in 2008.  Someone on the Republican side had the decency to sit Rep Aaron Schock down in a room with pen and a piece of paper and told him to do the right thing.

But, back to the article, Writer Jake Ward asks that we not judge all millennials by Mr Schock.  He then lists how Millennials are making this a better world, ending with:

Hey Chris, looks like you trust the defense of your nation and the innovation of your technological life to millennials.  By the way, you're welcome.
Regards  —  Cliff

  Yes, I was, and am concerned that the FBI invaded Representative Jefferson's office on Capitol Hill.  I hope to never see that again.
  The first Vietnamese American to serve in Congress.

Grounds for Divorce

For John, BLUFYes, in some States a felony can be grounds for divorce by your spouse.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

On City Life this morning Host George Anthes was on the City Council and the General Court over a move to making shooting into a house a felony, arguing that the term felony doesn't mean anything, that it is a distinction without a difference.  To a large degree, in Massachusetts, that is true, but it is not entirely true.

I mentioned that someone with a felony couldn't get a commission as an officer in the US Armed Forces.  I forgot to mention that it was an impediment to a liquor license here in the Commonwealth.

Here is a list of consequences from Wikipedia.

  • Disenfranchisement (expressly permitted by the Fourteenth Amendment, as noted by the Supreme Court)
  • Exclusion from obtaining certain licenses, such as a visa, or professional licenses required to legally operate (making some vocations off-limits to felons)
  • Exclusion from purchase and possession of firearms, ammunition, and body armor
  • Ineligibility to serve on a jury
  • Ineligibility for government assistance or welfare, including being barred from federally funded housing
  • Deportation (if not a citizen)

Making discharge of a weapon in the City a felony will have consequences for those arrested, tried and convicted, its impact on local shooters is likely to be minimal.  I expect most shooters don't care about an exclusion from the purchase and possession of firearms and ammunition.  They probably obtained both from illegal sources and figure they will be able to in the future.  I doubt such people would care about not being able to get a license to run a small business.

For sure, Host George Anthes is correct in saying it is time to stop doing "feel good" legislation and to move on to fixing the chain of actions from investigation of a crime, arrest, interrogation, indictment, prosecution, trial, conviction, sentencing and rehabilitation.  And he is correct that Judges are a big part of the problem, but so are the Prosecutors.  The Prosecutors are the ones who cut the deals that result in criminals not feeling the full force of the law.

Regards  —  Cliff

Lee Kuan Yew RIP

For John, BLUFGood leaders are hard to find  Here was one.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Maybe few in Lowell, heck, in Massachusetts, know the name Lee Kuan Yew, but with his passing we lost a great statesman, from a small nation.  Lee Kuan Yew was the founding Prime Minister of Singapore.  At his passing he was 91.

Here is an appreciation by Parag Khanna in Foreign Policy Magazine.  Mr Khanna is the Director of the Global Governance Initiative at New America Foundation.

Regards  —  Cliff

Being Stopped for a Search

For John, BLUFIf you give your civil rights away then you don't have them.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From Simple Justice:  A Criminal Defense Blog, we have Lawyer Scott H Greenfield writing "Hot Cash And Cold Consent".
The Drug Enforcement Administration has been so incredibly effective in eradicating demon narcotics that it no longer has any cartel kingpins that require its time and, instead, its agents can hang around bus stops.  Bet you didn’t realize that these guys deserved a statue.
Federal drug agents may be racially profiling and unjustly seizing cash from travelers in the nation’s airports, bus stations and train stations.  A new report released by the Office of the Inspector General for the U.S. Department of Justice examined the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)’s controversial use of “cold consent.”
What makes this unusual, to the extent it is unusual, isn’t that it happens, but that Mike Horowitz, DoJ Inspector General, calls out the DEA for engaging in these “interdiction” approaches.
Quoting from the IG Report:
But after reviewing the DEA’s policies, the Inspector General concluded, “cold consent encounters and searches can raise civil rights concerns.”
You think? Here is an example that (1) raises civil rights concerns and (2) suggests how indiscriminate it is:
In one incident, DEA agents cold-stopped an African-American woman at an airport and allegedly subjected her to “aggressive and humiliating questioning”; the woman was a Pentagon lawyer and travelling on government business.
General Curtis LeMay is alleged to have said that he could not distinguish between the incompetent and the unfortunate.  The DEA agents in this case were definitely one or the other or both.

The easy thing to do is just give in to some DEA person when they flash their badge  The right and proper thing is to politely say no.  You owe them human courtesy, but you don't owe them answers to questions, so don't get started.  Do not consent to being searched.

Hat tip to the Instapundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Sunday, March 22, 2015

We Need a New Word

For John, BLUFWe should think about our words.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

I was checking my Facebook page and Doctrine Man had a link to a Stars and Stripes article, by Reporter Peter St. Onge of The Charlotte Observer.  The headline is "Paula Broadwell, in one word".  Author Paula Broadwell wrote the General David Petraeus biography "All In".

Mr St Onge starts with a question:

How would you describe Paula Broadwell?

She’s been in the news again, reluctantly so.  The man with whom she had an affair, Gen. David Petraeus, took a plea deal this month for giving military secrets to Broadwell, who was writing his biography.

The Observer has written about that case and that relationship, and we’ve published things others have written.  In those reports, Broadwell, who lives in Charlotte, is often referred to as the general’s “mistress.”

She doesn’t like that word.  She thinks it’s sexist and demeaning.

“I can deal with the repeated old news, but such non-stop chauvinism is reprehensible,” she said in an email to me last week.

Broadwell would prefer what CBS and NBC reporters have called her – a “biographer.” But “biographer” doesn’t capture the context of her relationship with Petraeus.  “Mistress” is more fully descriptive.

But is it fair? Mistress doesn’t have a gender equivalent.  It’s a word that’s tangled up in culture, history and how we see women who cheat differently than we do men.

Frankly, I am with Ms Broadwell.  To define a wife and mother, an Army Veteran, an author, by the single term "mistress" is demeaning and unfair.  Sure, she made a mistake.  But, if there is forgiveness and redemption then it should apply equally to Paula Broadwell as to any of the rest of us.  General Petraeus passed her information so she could fact-check the book she was writing, not for sexual purposes.  And ask yourself how the careless use of "mistress" impacts Ms Broadwell's husband, who has stood by her.  How does that focus help the healing in that family?

Beside, "mistress" is such a French thing.  These two had an affair.  They both did wrong.  One presumes they have both asked forgiveness of their own mate.  It is now time to move on.

Regards  —  Cliff

Limits to First Amendment

For John, BLUFThe First Amendment is not a universal cure for petty tyrants.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From The Volokh Conspiracy, via The Washington Post, we have "Government funding and the Free Speech Clause".

Law Professor Eugene Volokh tell us that just because a University receives Federal Funding for Research (or student loans) does not mean it has some "First Amendment" Obligation.

No:  The Free Speech Clause applies only to decisions by the government (including government-run institutions such as public universities).  It generally does not apply when the government merely provides funds to a private institution, that then makes speech-restrictive decisions without command or pressure from the government.  The Court squarely held this in Rendell-Baker v. Kohn (1982).
There you are.  Go to Harvard and have your speech curtailed.  Go to UMass Lowell and maybe not.

Hat tip to the Instapundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

France Beats Belgium

For John, BLUFSome people just never forget and never move on.  I bet it is the result of the Flight of the Wild Geese.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From NPR we have "France Wins Battle Against Belgium's Plan For A Waterloo Coin"
Many are calling it the second battle over Waterloo — and this time, France won.  A two-euro coin commemorating the bicentennial of Napoleon Bonaparte's defeat will not be widely released, after France objected to what it called a "negative symbol."
The poor French.

Regards  —  Cliff

What is Your Style?

For John, BLUFAnd, John, who are you?  Nothing to see here; just move along.

A friend of mine, who lives down in the Newport area of Rhode Island, sent along the URL to another pop-personality test.  This is "What Epistemology are you?". 
Result:  You are Jürgen Habermas!

Author of The Logic of the Social Sciences, you recognize that the primary activity of human beings is to interpret the meaning of things in the world around them.  As human beings themselves, researchers also interpret meanings and cannot therefore keep their own perspective separate from their research.  Since there is no absolute truth, research must instead use reason and argument to arrive at the best interpretation.  Go use your hermeneutics to conquer the world!

Well, I do believe in absolute truth, but only in the sense that there is a God and because of that there is absolute truth.

Regards  —  Cliff

  Exactly, but fortunately the dictionary helped out with "the theory of knowledge, esp. with regard to its methods, validity, and scope.  Epistemology is the investigation of what distinguishes justified belief from opinion."

Politics Down on the Border

For John, BLUFI don't think we can assume things are always the way our political masters explain them.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Here is a question from a couple of weeks ago.  "Texan Will Hurd defies the odds for House Republicans.  Can he last?".  The reason for the question is he is a Black Man in a district that is 70% Hispanic.  The other reason for the question is that it was published in The Washington Post, which perhaps isn't sure it understands the middle of the country.

This gets to the root of the issue of race and ethnicity in the United States.  We have set up some artificial categories and we assume that individual citizens will fit themselves into those categories.  And vote based on those categories.  The Damon Runyon answer is yes, that is the way to bet.  However, sometimes things change, and that is politics in the long run.  For example, when Hispanics become the majority minority, will the Democrat Party be able to keep them and Blacks both happy?  There is, by way of a challenge, the NAACP lawsuit against the School Board in Prince George's County, based on Brown v Board of Education, over the opening of two schools for non-English speaking Hispanics.  That doesn't sound like comity.

And, back to Representative Will Hurd, he probably appears to be a down the line kind of guy, being former CIA and all that.  And Hispanics in that part of Texas may well be about hard work and family values, having been in Texas for generations.

November 2016 will be an interesting time, and I wish Rep Will Hurd the best of luck.

Regards  —  Cliff

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Weird News Update

For John, BLUFWith new media there is lot of propaganda going on, at least on the other side.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Yesterday I had a blog post titled "Weird News".  It was from a web site billing itself as the EU Times and the headline was "Top US Commander Under Arrest For Refusing To Fire Nukes At Russia".

I suggested the site is, "at best, Russian propaganda".  Someone I know today remarked about the publisher that she is married to a neo-Fascist.  Some of you premature anti-Nazis may see this as an important distinction, but given President Vladimir Putin's approach to affairs I think he is a Fascist.

One thing we should keep in mind at this point in history is that propaganda is a big part of the Russian foreign policy arsenal.  Here is an article that talks to it, "Putin’s Priorities – Propaganda over People and Even National Defense".  As someone noted:

The strategic problem of Russian propaganda and influence operations has been well known to Russia watchers since the mid-2000s.  Early attempts to deal with this problem were hindered by competing priorities in other parts of the world as well as budgetary factors plus the inability to devise an information strategy that would be successful.  That is, recognizing the problem is one thing, figuring out what to do about it is another.
But, now you know "the rest of the story."

Regards  —  Cliff

Changing the Twenty

For John, BLUFIt just has to be someone who has passed on.  No honoring live people with building names or pictures on money.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

There has been some buzz about changing the person honored on the $20 bill, the Double Sawbuck, the Jackson, the Yuppie Food Stamp.

The person currently on the Twenty is President Andrew Jackson, responsible for the forced expulsion of Native Aamerican Indians from the US Southeast to the Praire States, in what became known as the Trail of Tears.  Involved were the Five Civilized Tribes:  the Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Muscogee, and Seminole.  This was on President Jackson's watch.

Frankly, I like the idea, because, for one thing, it means we can do away with Jefferson-Jackson Day dinners.

I like the idea because we have kept the scope of our printed money limited in terms of honoring women.  There are any number worth honoring from the founding of the nation, including Abigail Adams for long term service and Molly Pitcher and Dolly Madison for specific events.  My Brother Lance sent me the URL for a campaign to replace President Andy Jackson, the hero of New Orleans.  It can be found here.  An interesting selection of women, including a couple I thought of, like Frances Perkins.  They even had Shirley Chisholm, who I supported in 1972.  And, my favorite, Susan B Anthony.

What I found appalling was that they included that racist, Margaret Sanger.  Replacing Andrew Jackson with Margaret Sanger just doesn't make sense.  We would be better off with Andy on the Twenty.

Regards  —  Cliff

  There are issues about the spelling of Ms Madison's first name.
  My dream ticket in 1972 was Senator Scoop Jackson for President and Representative Shirley Chisholm for Vice President.  I was to be very disappointed.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Weird News

For John, BLUFDon't believe this source!  Nothing to see here; just move along.

WARNING:  This is for the humor of it.  This web site is, at best, Russian propaganda.  It doesn't even rate an entry in Wikipedia.

The headline from the EU Times is "Top US Commander Under Arrest For Refusing To Fire Nukes At Russia".

Here is the gist of it:

A new report circulating in the Kremlin today prepared by the Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) for the Ministry of Defense (MoD) states that President Barack Obama’s nuclear war communication commander has been arrested and relieved of her command after failing to transmit launch codes authorizing an atomic weapons first-strike attack upon the Federation in coordination with a similar “surprise” attack planned by the United Kingdom.

According to the SVR, US Navy Captain Heather E. Cole was the commander of the US Navy’s Strategic Communications Wing 1 located at Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma whose E-6B Mercury aircraft provide the communications links allowing President Obama and US Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter to directly contact the submarines, bombers and land-based missiles that comprise the United States strategic nuclear force.

On Monday, 16 March, this report states, Captain Cole received from the Pentagon a launch order authorizing a “limited” nuclear strike against the Federation, but which failed due to a critical Permissive Action Link (PAL) failure thus causing her to abort this planned attack.

For those interested, here is the Navy Times article on Captain Cole's removal from command.  I recommend you go with the Navy Times article.

Hat tip to Doctrine Man.

Regards  —  Cliff

Mandatory Voting?

For John, BLUFI don't think City Life Host George Anthes is going to like this idea.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

The Washington Post carries "The Volokh Conspiracy" and today Law Professor Ilya Somin talks to "President Obama endorses mandatory voting".

Lots of Links at the above Link.

One of my questions is, what will be the punishment for not voting?  To be effective the punishment must be somewhat severe, otherwise it will be ignored.  On the other hand, will it just become "fascist/communist" population coercion?

Regards  —  Cliff

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Involvement of The People in War

For John, BLUFWe should ask ourselves if an active foreign policy includes being willing to station forces overseas.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From ABC we have an interview of former Army Officer, Dr John Nagl, by Ms Eleanor Hall.  Dr Nagl is the headmaster of The Haverfield School and author of several books.  He is the acknowledged co-author of Army (and Marine Corps) Field Manual 3-24, Insurgencies and Countering Insurgencies.

The headline is "Former US military advisor says Obama to blame for failing to deal with Islamic State".  The dateline is Tuesday, 17 March 2015 at 12:52:00.

Here is an excerpt:

ELEANOR HALL:  The US president has made it clear though that he won't deploy more troops, the US public also appears to have no stomach for it.

I mean, how long would they have to remain if you did put the 15,000 in and indeed how long would it take to defeat IS then in Syria?

JOHN NAGL:  Let me push back hard on you if I may, the American public doesn't particularly care, given that the United States has an all-volunteer army, and so the American president has extraordinary freedom of action to deploy American troops whenever and wherever he or she wishes to do so.

It is discomfort by this president with another war in Iraq, a war that at some level he has to acknowledge happened on his watch and because of mistakes he made during his administration.

I personally believe that the United States should maintain a long term security and advisory presence in Iraq of some 20,000 troops; we should keep those troops in Iraq roughly as long as we've kept American troops in Germany, Italy, Japan and South Korea.

So more than half a century, yes.

Besides more printed material on the web page, there is also a link for audio.

The two key points I took from this excerpt are:

  1. The "All Volunteer" force gives the President (and Congress) greater freedom in committing US military forces to small conflicts (small meaning no major mobilization required).
  2. If we want things to go smoothly for some time after we intervene in this or that nation we need to plan on staying there a while.  The Obama Administration has, up to this point, believed that the situation will improve if we pull out American military forces.  Dr Nagl sees it as the other way around.
Regards  —  Cliff

The Future of Pax America

For John, BLUFWould we be better off with a stronger Presidency?  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From The New Yorker, it is house writer John Cassidy.  His article is "The Biggest Threat to America’s Future Is … America".  He touches on a number of foreign policy issues, including our handling of the Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank.  And, he finds our foreign policy processes lacking.  And he doesn't like the role Congress is playing.  At the end he thinks our current processes are wrong.  While I am sure he would recoil at the idea, he seems to hanker for a stronger Presidency and a reduced role for Congress.

Today, however, it is hard to make the argument that the U.S. political system is serving the country well.  With heightened competition and new global challenges, such as the rise of China, the United States badly needs to acknowledge the new realities and improve its game.  Despite the country’s enduring economic strength, its conception of its role in the world is outmoded, its infrastructure is crumbling, and its test scores are lagging in math and other areas, despite its impressive performance in cutting-edge research.  At the very least, it needs to preserve some of its old techniques of maintaining power, including fostering institutions through which it can exercise “soft power” and serving as a magnet for talented and hard-working immigrants, who provide it with invaluable skills and entrepreneurship.

Rather than accomplishing any of these things, Washington seems to be trapped in a never-ending back and forth, in which sloganeering substitutes for analysis and political point-scoring is elevated above policymaking.  It’s a dismal spectacle, and if it goes on indefinitely it will exact an increasingly high price.  Not the sudden collapse of Pax Americana, perhaps, but the gradual undermining of it.

Yes, I don't agree with his solution, but his analysis points to weaknesses in our current approaches.  For us, as voters, the question is, do we have the right balance in our checks and balance?

Regards  —  Cliff

Managing the Acceptance of an Iran Deal

For John, BLUFIs the President effectively managing the domestic side of the Iran Nuclear Deal?  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Here is a not so optimistic view of the Agreement the Obama Administration is negotiating with Iran.  The headline is "ObamaCare for Arms Control:  The Iran nuclear deal has the same political weaknesses as the Affordable Care Act."  The writer is Daniel Henninger and the source is The Wall Street JournalHere is the link.

And here is the lede:

The Iran nuclear deal is going to be the ObamaCare of arms-control agreements—a substantive mess undermined by a failure to build adequate political support.

Next Tuesday is the deadline for completing the “political” terms of an agreement with Iran.  “Technical” details arrive in June.  From news reporting on the negotiations, it appears the agreement is turning into a virtual Rube Goldberg machine, a patchwork of fixes that its creators will claim somehow limits Iran’s nuclear breakout period to “a year.”  Which is to say, it’s going to be another ObamaCare, a poorly designed mega-project others will have to clean up later.

Looking at the political side of this, the domestic political side, the writer says:
In fact, Presidents Kennedy, Nixon and Reagan all submitted major arms-control treaties and agreements for Senate approval.  They did so to give their work political credibility with the American people and indeed the world.  But somehow Mr. Obama believes he has an exemption from the basics of U.S. politics. So we wake up one day to find he is substituting the judgment of the Security Council, with such famous allies as Russia and China, for consent from the U.S. Senate.  Result:  an arms deal as politically flaccid as ObamaCare.
Yes, Mr Henninger doesn't seem to like the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, but it is a way of trying to explain the domestic political problems with the expected nuclear agreement with Iran.

Regards  —  Cliff

Illegals as Released Criminals

For John, BLUFNo one seems to have come up with a solution to illegal immigration.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From The Washington Times we have "DHS released another 30,000 criminal aliens onto streets".  For 2014.  DHS being the Department of Homeland Security.  The number seems huge.  However, I then checked on overall incarceration rates for the US, where the latest is from 2010.  We had 2,266,800 (two and a quarter million) in federal, state and local lockups, so this release was 1.32% of the total.

Here is the lede:

Federal immigration officers released another 30,000 immigrants with criminal records last year, following the 36,000 it released in 2013, the government announced Wednesday — though it promised to take steps to cut down on the problem.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the agency that handles detention and removal of illegal immigrants, said it will no longer allow overcrowding to be the main reason a dangerous illegal immigrant is released, and will require a top supervisor to approve the cases of any serious criminals that officers want to release.

Here is the breakdown of those released in 2013, by crime.
ICE didn’t release a breakdown of criminal offenses of the new 30,000 on Wednesday, but among the 36,000 released in 2013 were 193 homicide convictions, 426 sexual assault convictions, 303 kidnapping convictions and 16,070 convictions for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
One would assume that these illegal immigrants serve their sentence and then are released.  But, not everyone can be deported back to their home nation.  Some nations are not willing to take back criminals.  So, they go out into our nation.

This is one more indication that we do not have this illegal immigration thing under control.  I wonder if there is a CBO or GAO report on the overall cost of our illegal immigration programs, and the projected costs of alternatives being offered?

Regards  —  Cliff

  Yes, I am one of those who thinks that the Department of Homeland Security was a mistake.  The theoretical increase in coordination us offset by the bureaucratic drag.  My recollection is that President Bush was opposed to this centralizing, but Congress pushed it on him.  The 107th Congress gave us the Homeland Security Act.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Opening More Military Jobs to Women

For John, BLUFIf we have to walk this cat back it will be difficult.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From Mr Leo Shane, III, writing for The Military Times, we have "Services on track to open all military jobs to women".  That would be the US Department of Defense and the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps.  The lede:
Pentagon officials say all four of the services are on track to open all military jobs to women by next year, and expect rules for those changes to be in place by this fall.
The primary objective is good.  The question is, what are going to be the secondary and tertiary effects?

Regards  —  Cliff

Abandoning Iranian Dissidents

For John, BLUFNo perfect outcomes.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

The Washington Free Beacon, a paper with a Conservative bent, says "Iranian Dissidents Criticize Obama’s Nuclear Diplomacy".  Interestingly, the dateline is Jerusalem, 17 March.  The Reporter is Adam Kredo.
A group of Iranian dissidents and political prisoners have lashed out at the Obama administration, lambasting its ongoing diplomacy with Iran, according to two open letters sent to the White House in recent days.

As Tehran and the United States move closer to a final deal aimed at stalling Iran’s nuclear breakout time at around one year, opponents are stepping forward to register their skepticism and anger over the agreement, which they say does little to address the Islamic Republic’s poor human rights record.

In each letter, the dissidents—most of whom are currently political prisoners in Iran—criticize the White House for ignoring the issues of human rights and democracy in Iran as they push to finalize a deal with a regime that the dissidents says is murderous and untrustworthy.

A bent for human rights often gets in the way of real politik negotiations.  On the Administration's side, it is difficult to achieve all of one's goals.  Negotiations mean compromise.

Regards  —  Cliff

Is Bibi Back as Prime Minister?

For John, BLUFElections sometimes don't go as expected.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From The Jersulam Post this morning we have this headline—"Israeli elections take dramatic turn as official tally gives Likud sweeping victory".  That would be the party headed by current Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu.
The Israeli elections took a dramatic turn in the early morning hours on Wednesday as official tallies from nearly all precincts indicate that Likud has opened up a significant lead over Zionist Union, a far cry from the virtual dead heat that television exit polls had reported Tuesday evening.
The other thing to notice is that Likud is "the clear winner" with only 30 seats in the 120 seat legislature, the Knesset.  That works out to 25%.  And, 30 represents a gain of 12 seats from the current 18 Likud holds in the Knesset.
With 99 percent of precincts reporting before dawn on Wednesday, the Likud has emerged as the clear, undisputed victor in the elections.

According to the official up-to-the-minute tally, Likud wins 30 seats while Zionist Union comes in second at 24 seats.

The parties that follow are Joint Arab List (14); Yesh Atid (11); Kulanu (10); Bayit Yehudi (8); Shas (7); United Torah Judaism (6); Yisrael Beytenu (6); and Meretz (4).

For those who dislike our two party system, consider the confusion, and the compromise, needed to keep Israel on track.

One assumes this is not the outcome the Obama Administration was hoping for.  Prime Minister Netanyahu has been a strong and constant opponent of the President's negotiating approach to Iran's nuclear development program.  And, Prime Minister Netanyahu is opposed to the US backed two-state solution to the Palestine problem.

Regards  —  Cliff

The Man At The End Of The Line

For John, BLUFSometimes we forget about the worker-bee who has to execute, in real time.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From The Stars and Stripes we have a July 2014 article on testimony to the US Congress by responsible DoD officials during the Benghazi imbroglio, back on 11 September 2012.  The headline for the article is "Commanders: Benghazi rescue hampered by info lack".  No doubt, there was confusion at the time, which reminds one of Dead Carl's comment that "first reports are usually wrong."

A friend of mine thinks we have incurred strategic decision-making paralysis.  He recommends that those in the White House Situation room follow LTG Sam Wilson's principles of special operations and special operations planning suggestions, withy emphasis on number 4.

4.  DO NOT FORGET THE MAN AT THE END OF THE LINE  (Almost invariably the President gets involved), the poor guy holding the dike at the scene gets lost - do not leave him twisting in the wind - get info to him.  Get the troops moving towards the objective, give then advanced warning, move them closer.
You can find all of LTG Wilson's wise counsel at this link.

Regards  —  Cliff

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Partners in Distillation

For John, BLUFnotwithstanding the obstacles, small businesses still thrive.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From the web presence, War on the Rocks, we have this offering, "WHISKEY TANGO FOXTROT IS THE HOTEL TANGO DISTILLERY?".  It is about a craft distillery out in Indiana.  A craft distillery with a military theme.  Well, actually, per the Indiana Legislature, in July 2013, [PL 109-2013], “artisan distillation”.

For those who just have to know what Whiskey Tango Foxtrot stands for, EMail me at crkrieger@me.com, or leave your EMail Address on the Comments section.

Anyway, it is a nice story about military service and love and friendship and the spirit of small business.

Regards  —  Cliff

Sun Setting on California?

For John, BLUFSometimes the "do gooders" ruin it for everyone.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From the Web Presence, New Geography, we have the Executive Summary of a new report on "California's Social Priorities, A New Report".  The full report, in PDF Format, can be found here.

The quick summary of the report from Chapman University is that the Golden State is a little tarnished and needs to recalibrate its priorities.

The Instapundit's take is special interest groups abusing environmental law to achieve narrow personal goals.  Yes, that can be a problem.  One we see even here in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

Hat tip to the Instapundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Monday, March 16, 2015

Back to Benghazi

For John, BLUFWho said, it isn't the act, it is the coverup?  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Law Professor Ann Althouse, late last afternoon, noted that US Representative Elijah Cummings, the senior Democrat on the Benghazi investigating committee, twice passed up an opportunity to say there is no there there.  He was being interviewed by Host Bob Schieffer on Face the Nation.

Frankly, unless there is evidence of a coverup of a NASA exploitation of a crashed UFO site in the deserts of Libya, or of US gun running in the Middle East, the only thing left is the abuse of the First Amendment by Department of State, in an effort to deal with certain issues in the Middle East.

I have blogged about this issue before, here in early March, and here in November last, and here in June last, and other places.

Much as some would like this albatross to go away, it apparently won't.  For me it is not just an explanation of going after some obscure videographer for making a video here in the US, but also for someone to say that it was wrong, someone in the Administration.  Wrong and we won't do it again.

If Representative Elijah Cummings, a Democrat, won't say it is done, it is probably not yet done.

Hat tip to Ann Althouse.

Regards  —  Cliff

Internal Turmoil in Democrat Party

For John, BLUFHaving been derailed in 2008, I think Ms Clinton is in trouble for 2016.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Here is part of what Law Professor Ann Althouse teased out of a New York Post article, "Obama adviser behind leak of Hillary Clinton’s email scandal.", by Reporter Edward Klein.

Part of the story goes to making the point that Ms Valerie Jarrett is the honcho of an effort to derail Ms Hillary Clinton in her renewed bid for the White House.

According to Klein, Obama/Jarrett's real objection to Hillary is that she's not liberal enough to preserve Obama's legacy:
“With Obama’s approval,” this source continued, “Valerie has been holding secret meetings with Martin O’Malley [the former Democratic governor of Maryland] and [Massachusetts Sen.] Elizabeth Warren.  She’s promised O’Malley and Warren the full support of the White House if they will challenge Hillary for the presidential nomination.”
First—Yes, I think the Democrat nominations will be Senator E Warren for President and former Senator Jim Webb for Vice President.

Second—I am sure the word choices should have been Progressive, not Liberal.  A number of us Republicans are reaching out and reclaiming that word as our own.  I blame the editor.

All that said, this is a pretty ugly way to derail Ms Clinton.

And a lot of people are piling on.  When The New York Times unleashes MoDo you know there is a headwind building. Hat tip to Ann Althouse.

Regards  —  Cliff

2014 Elections Didn't Change Everything.

For John, BLUFChange comes dripping slow.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From Town Hall we have a look at whinging amongst Conservatives, "Knock Off The Loser Talk. This Fight Hasn’t Even Begun".  This is from Author Kurt Schlichter and it is from a week ago, 9 March.

Part of this is about the question of if "Conservatives" and "Libertarians" should form a "Third Party".  Mr Schlichter's answer is no.  So is mine.

Here are the intro paragraphs, which lay out the situation fairly accurately.

Oh my goodness, the 2014 election victories didn’t end the war!  You mean the progressives are still out there dreaming of a future full of hugs and goosestepping?  You mean the GOP Establishment hasn’t just given up its power and knelt before us, begging to be forgiven for its craven crony corporatism?  You mean the fight’s not over?

No, the fight’s not over. So stop whining that you can’t go back to sitting on your rear end – we have a long campaign ahead.  I know you’re tired.  I know you’re frustrated.  And I don’t care.

Some people want to throw in the towel just as we are approaching the knockout.  News flash:  Our opponents punch back.  Time to take the hit and drive on.

We’re winning, only we haven’t won yet. So pick up your (figurative) weapons and follow me.  The fight’s up ahead, and we’re going to keep moving to the sound of the guns.

And, of course, he has a book to sell us, explaining in greater detail the fight ahead.
I didn’t title my book Conservative Insurgency:  The Struggle to Take America Back 2009 – 2041 because I thought we would have this all wrapped up last November.
Frankly, it is the nature of Democracy for change to come slow.  It is in a tyranny that change comes swiftly, and often not well thought out or helpful to the vast majority.

Hat tip to the Instapundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Another Look at "The Letter"

For John, BLUFCall for indictment or drop the issue.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

In "A distracting fuss over a letter", Opinionator Jennifer Rubin of The Washington Post looks again at the Fabled 47 and their on line "Letter".

Hat tip to the Instapundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Night of the Long Knives

For John, BLUFIf a new City Manager quickly and quietly purged all the second level managers it would be a "Night of the Long Knives".  Nothing to see here; just move along.

This morning, I was in a discussion with some friends in which I mentioned that "Top Obama aide Valerie Jarrett 'was behind Hillary Clinton email scandal leak'".  The source is The Daily Mail, which means a dose of caution is needed.  However, the story goes on to assert that "the leak was reportedly planned to hit at the same time Clinton planned to announce her run for presidency".  Further, the The New York Post is pulled into the story for claiming "that [Valerie] Jarrett was angry that the Clintons had been working to 'marginalize' President Obama.  Payback or forestalling?

At any rate, I described it, rather loosely, as a "Night of the Long Knives."  Well, that event was over 80 years ago, and it appears to have passed out of common memory.  So, as I was trying to describe this event, I mentioned the "SA" and was asked what that was and I was unable to come up with the official name for the SA, the German "Brownshirts".  It was the Sturmabteilung, the storm detachment.  The SA was the original paramilitary wing of the Nazi Party.

Thus, a blog post to explain the general idea.

Below are the first two paragraphs from the Wikipedia entry for "The Night of the Long Knives".

The Night of the Long Knives (German:  Nacht der langen Messer), sometimes called Operation Hummingbird or, in Germany, the Röhm-Putsch, was a purge that took place in Nazi Germany from June 30 to July 2, 1934, when the Nazi regime carried out a series of political murders.  Leading figures of the left-wing Strasserist faction of the Nazi Party, along with its figurehead, Gregor Strasser, were murdered, as were prominent conservative anti-Nazis (such as former Chancellor Kurt von Schleicher and Gustav Ritter von Kahr, who had suppressed Hitler's Beer Hall Putsch in 1923).  Many of those killed were leaders of the Sturmabteilung (SA), the paramilitary Brownshirts.

Adolf Hitler moved against the SA and its leader, Ernst Röhm, because he saw the independence of the SA and the penchant of its members for street violence as a direct threat to his newly gained political power.  Hitler also wanted to conciliate leaders of the Reichswehr, the official German military who feared and despised the SA—in particular Röhm's ambition to absorb the Reichswehr into the SA under his own leadership.  Additionally, Hitler was uncomfortable with Röhm's outspoken support for a "second revolution" to redistribute wealth.  (In Röhm's view, President Hindenburg's appointing of Hitler as German Chancellor on January 30, 1933 had accomplished the "nationalistic" revolution but had left unfulfilled the "socialistic" motive in National Socialism.)  Finally, Hitler used the purge to attack or eliminate critics of his new regime, especially those loyal to Vice-Chancellor Franz von Papen, as well as to settle scores with old enemies.

Some 85 people died in the purge and over a thousand were arrested.

In American argot of a previous generation the term has been used to talk about bloodless coups.  When a certain group is purged, there may be a reference to "The Night of the Long Knives".

Regards  —  Cliff

  Ms Jarrett is a Senior Advisor to President Obama and perhaps is a sort of éminence grise (grey eminence) in the Obama Administration.