Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Wrong People Suing

For John, BLUFSome have it and some don't.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Mr Don Surber, in his eponymous blog, on Monday, gave us Muslims sue Pam Geller for wearing an itsy-bitsy, red-hot, polka dot bikini Pam Geller?  Here is her Wikipedia page.  But, you may remember her for hosting a "draw the Prophet" contest in Garland, Texas.  During the event two men, in the name of Allah, attacked the location and were killed.  The event was a First Amendment protected action in support of Charlie Hebdo.

Well, now Ms Pamela Geller has been photographed wearing a bikini, at pool side.  This has offended some Muslims up in Michigan.  They apparently sued.  Here is a letter from Ms Geller, published, along with the photo, by Mr Don Surber:

My lawyer, David Yerushalmi of the American Freedom Law Center, recently apprised me of this lawsuit that had been filed against me by Muslim prisoners in Michigan.  It’s paranoid, outrageous, silly and laughable — and yet it’s a legitimate lawsuit.

The only reason it was dismissed was because the “plaintiffs” didn’t submit the filing fee or the correct form.  As funny as it is, it does speak to the supremacist tendencies of their thinking, and the kneejerk tendency among Muslims in the U.S. and other Western countries to claim victim status, even as they’re victimizing non-Muslims.

Muslim prisoners in Michigan filed a lawsuit against Pamela Geller for “wearing a Poke a Dot Bikini In Front of our eyes.  We are offended.”  They demanded their freedom claiming their civil rights were violated.  This Islamic supremacism is one and the same shared by the Muslim shooters at our free speech event in Garland, at the Christmas party in San Bernardino, the Paris concert hall, the jihad against Israel, the 9/11 terror attacks, and on and on.  Same motive, same piety.

I wish to make myself clear here.  If Ms Geller can look that good in a bikini at the age of 57 (see the photo in the article, here) she should be facing law suits by many matronly looking women of her age.  Just saying.

Oh, and I am glad that Muslims offended by Ms Geller, are able to sue in court.  It shows they are becoming acculturated here in America.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Controlling Immigration

For John, BLUFGood idea, but politically unpalatable to many of our fellow Americans.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

This morning, on City Life, the Producer and Super Host, John McDonough, asked all present how they would change immigration rules.  Then he gave his view.

John McDonough would fingerprint everyone (alternative option being retinal scan) and then not allow individuals to buy in stores without a positive ID with a scanner.  There are only two problems with this; three actually.

  1. First is the question of if fingerprints, as a method of identification, has been proven scientifically.  What if the Supreme Court rules they are not a scientific method of identification?  Worse, what if we go with fingerprints but the discussion destroys public credibility.
  2. Then there is the question of how this will all be viewed out in the hinterland, across the fruited plain.  I am willing to bet not well.  As I will amplify below, there are millions of Americas who will judge this to be THE mark of the beast, an indication of the coming end times.
  3. Finally, there is the question of effectiveness.  With half the cigarettes being sold in Boston being smuggled in from out of state, to avoid paying taxes, one wonders if this will not just create a underground economy, utilized by criminals of all sorts.  Given that Daesh is a criminal organization as Government of some sort of a nation-state, to what degree would this make things worse rather than better.  Not every criminal in the US is a Come to the Stable kind of person.
I said I would say more about Item B.  Many of our evangelical friends, and Charismatic Catholics, not living on the Progressive Coast lines, will flash on the Book of Revelation, 13:16-17, which says:
16  It [The Beast] forced all the people, small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to be given a stamped image on their right hands or their foreheads,

17  so that no one could buy or sell except one who had the stamped image of the beast’s name or the number that stood for its name.

There are millions of people who will look at the idea above as it is being rolled out and will conclude that these are the end times, the time of the return of Jesus, his second coming or Parousia.  It may be a great idea, but I judge it to be politically problematic.

Regards  —  Cliff

  The whole issue of sin taxes and when the go over the top and encourage smuggling needs to be address in an analytic manner.

Safeguarding US Documents

For John, BLUFSloppy is as bad as malevolent when you are the US Secretary of State.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

The question before us is if Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has disqualified herself from the Presidency under Section 2071 of US Law, which calls for the protection of records.

The title of this paper is "Who Can Be President of the United States?:  Candidate Hillary Clinton and the Problem of Statutory Qualifications".  The author is Mr Seth Barrett Tillman, who is a Lecturer, Maynooth University Department of Law, Ireland.  Who but an Irishman would bring up such an issue in order to have a 20 page go at it?

Here is the start of the paper and laying out of the issue:

It has been alleged that, during her term of service as Secretary of State, Clinton violated a provision of the federal statute mandating government record keeping.  Section 2071 of Title 18 of the United States Code provides:
Whoever, having the custody of any such record, proceeding, map, book, document, paper, or other thing, willfully and unlawfully conceals, removes, mutilates, obliterates, falsifies, or destroys the same, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than three years, or both; and shall forfeit his office and be disqualified from holding any office under the United States.
Section 2071’s language poses two interesting interpretive challenges.

First, what is the scope of the statute?  In other words, does Section 2071’s generally worded “office under the United States” language extend to the presidency?

Second, if Section 2071’s general “office under the United States” language fairly encompasses the presidency, is the statute constitutional?  In other words, does Congress have the power to create additional qualifications for the presidency beyond those already expressly stated in the Constitution’s text?

There may still be those benighted individuals who believe Ms Clinton did not violate Section 2071.  Bless their little hearts.  But, to write his paper, Mr Tillman has to ask the question.  And in doing so he is writing for the ages and not with regard to Hunny Bunny alone.  And, we know, in our hearts, that she was not careful of her official papers, sort of like Sandy Berger, who was the United States National Security Advisor for President Bill Clinton. Through a thicket of footnotes and a lot of examination the writer comes to a conclusion.  As a note in understanding, "the rider on the Clapham omnibus" is the legal way of saying the average man (or woman).  And, it has been used in literature.  For example, G K Chesterton.

The concluding paragraph:

Does Section 2071’s “office under the United States” language apply to the presidency?  I expect the rider on the Clapham omnibus thinks so, as do others from more rarefied academic and judicial circles.  But historical materials and established principles of statutory interpretation cut the other way.
Hillary is home free.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Trump Speaks

For John, BLUFMr Trump is touching a chord.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

With The Donald coming to Lowell on Monday, 4 January, this seemed like a timely news spot. "Canadians see Donald Trump's Muslim-ban idea not so differently from Americans, polls indicate".  This from Mr Eric Grenier, writing for Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) News.  The sub-headline is "While most Canadians disagree with Trump, a majority of Conservatives agree with him."

But, if you are interested in a ticket for the event here in Lowell on the 4th of January, click here and go to the web site where you can get one or two tickets in about ten minutes.  It works like printing out your airline tickets at home. You get the ticket as a PDF file and then you print it out and show up before 7:00 PM on the day. Gates open around 4:30. If you want to Volunteer to help, show around 2:00 PM.

Regards  —  Cliff

Monday, December 28, 2015

Snowflakes Melt at Mention of The Donald

For John, BLUFThe mere mention of Donald Trump brings protests at UML.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

"Possible Trump visit to Tsongas Center spurs protest"

This article, from The [Lowell] Sun is reported by Rob Mills and the dateline is today at 0902.

It turns out a UML student has launched an on-line petition that, at the dateline, had drawn 1,700 supporters.  Here is the lede:

LOWELL -- A UMass Lowell sophomore has gathered more than 1,700 supporters for an online petition asking the university to prevent presidential candidate Donald Trump from renting the Tsongas Center at UMass Lowell for a campaign appearance.

Ture Carlson, 19, of Auburn, launched the petition just before Christmas on, a popular petition website where search results reveal over 500 petitions mentioning the firebrand Republican candidate.

From my point of view, this is the money quote:
Carlson noted the diversity in both UMass Lowell and the city in his petition, and said Trump's comments go against the teachings of the university.
And here I thought UMass Lowell was a public institution devoted to free inquiry.  Mr Carlson makes it sound like a Jesuit University.

As a student at UMass Lowell I am strongly opposed to Mr Carlson's petition and his approach to dealing with political discourse in these United States.  If Mr Trump is in the wrong, make the case.  Otherwise, get out of the way of someone who is campaigning for President.  And, for Heaven's sake, don't turn UMass Lowell into one of those places (like Amherst) where the precious little snowflakes have to be protected from a free exchange of ideas.

By the way, if you are interested in attending the Trump Event in Lowell, it will be Monday the 4th of January, at the Tsongas Arena.  The time is 7:00 PM, with a gate open time of 4:30 PM. You can order tickets early at this web site—  The way it works is like an airline ticket you print at home and then it is scanned and approved at the gate.  Slick.

Regards  —  Cliff

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Keep the Terrorism Problem in Perspective

For John, BLUFWe win with a better story, not a trumped up story.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

In Saturday's edition of The [Lowell] Sun is a column by Michelle Malkin, "How to create an anti-Muslim hate-crime 'epidemic'".

Ms Malkin takes to task Mr Brian Levin and his one-man "Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism" at California State University, San Bernardino.  Turns out that Mr Levin's operation is an offshoot of the very prejudiced Southern Poverty Law Center.

Hate crimes, which is a fancy word for assault and malicious mischief, are up against Muslims, but still not at the level of those against Jews.  And, terrorist attacks do make people nervous and jumpy.  Terrorist attacks that Government officials try to sweep under the rug as gun violence make people even more nervous and jumpy.

We need good leadership from Government officials and from ministers of the faith.  We need facts to help us understand the magnitude of the problem.  We need police actions that are quickly responsive, as in the San Bernardino event, but are not over reactions.  What we don't need is Government officials telling us that there isn't a problem, or worse, that we are the problem by our reactions.  Terrorism is all about reactions.  Help us to react properly by giving us the truth.  We can handle the truth.

One thing we, as citizens, need to understand is that it really is a few bad apples and not our neighbors.  Terrorism is actions on the part of people who can't do anything else.  On the other hand, we should recognize that the Criminal Gang of al Baghdadi (think Chicago 1920s Gang Leader) is able to tell a great story to disaffected youth throughout the West.  We need to counteract that story with an open hand.

If The [Lowell] Sun ever publishes a URL I will publish it here.

Regards  —  Cliff

Should We Abolish Parties

For John, BLUFIt is your idea.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

On the City Life show Producer John McDonough likes to say we should not elect people of Parties to to go to Washington but we should just elect Americans.  I get his point.  Partisanship does get in the way of governance.  Frankly, that is the way the founders designed it.  They were against "parties" but they recognized that there were differences of opinion.

We do elect "Americans" to go to Washington for us.  While I disagree with with a lot of what Senators Warren and Markey are pushing, I do think they are true Americans.  I believe they want to make America better.  I just think some of their ideas are a little wacky.

And that is why there are parties. Ms Warren and Mr Markey tend to have ideas closer to those of Senator Bernie Sanders than to Senators Ted Cruz or Marco Rubio or Kelly Ayotte.

Parties are just a way of keeping log rolling organized.

Image there are no parties and that you are one of the two Senators from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and you think that improving the intersection of I-95 and I-93 would be a good idea, but you need Federal funding to make it happen, say $1.2 Billion.  First you get together with your fellow Massachusetts Senator, who is from down in Scituate and doesn't really care about traffic problems North of Boston.  On the other hand, this person has a supporter who wants to see the Boston Waterfront further developed and wants to see, as part of that, a renovation of the US Coast Guard Station and surrounding area, for $750 million only.  You agree to support each other and then each of you go out to collect 49 more votes in support of the two projects.  More if you anticipate a filibuster from those West Coast Senators who think the day of the auto is over.

On the other hand, if you have a "Party" you can go up to Harry Reid and say that Massachusetts would like these two projects and he will put it in his blender and make it happen, or tell you the votes are just not there.  Now you have time for Committee Hearings, greeting visitors from home and fundraising.

To paraphrase the Instapundit, parties, like Government is just another word for the things we choose to do together.

I don't think abolition of Parties is in our near political future.

Regards  —  Cliff

Polling the Vacuum

For John, BLUFWe apply our principals even to mythical countries.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Wilson Perkins Allen Research, a collection of three guys in suits and ties, are a research firm providing strategic information to those in the "all or nothing world" of political campaigns.  In there blog is this item from 23 December—"44 Percent Of Democrats Support Taking Refugees From A Fictional Country".
Public Policy Polling, which is known for adding questions in surveys to exploit Republicans who are less informed, recently found that 30% of Republican voters would support bombing Agrabah, a fictional country in the Disney film Aladdin.  On December 20, 2015, WPA Research fielded a national survey of 1,132 registered voters that found 44% of Democrats would support taking refugees from that same Agrabah.  PPP may have proven that some Republicans will support bombing a fictional country, but fully 44% of Democrats will allow refugees from anywhere into the country, whether they are potential ISIS supporters from Syria or potential cartoon characters on a magic carpet ride.
My conclusion is that you don't have to be smart to be the member of a political party, but you do need passion for your party's position.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Scandal in the IRS

For John, BLUFIs it any wonder so many are registered "independent"?  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Yesterday was day 960 of the IRS Scandal.  The Tax Prof, Professor Paul L. Caron, of Pepperdine University School of Law, writes about it here.

The question is, what kind of embedded scandal is it:

  • It is the typical scandal, created by the political party in power and will flip to anti-Democrat activities should the Republicans win in November, or,
  • The current efforts against more conservative political elements is inherent due to a large number of embedded progressives in IRS Middle and Upper Management and will continue regardless of who wins in November.
Our current Civil Service system was developed to prevent the first kind of problem, by creating more of a career path for government employees.  The assumption is that if civil servants are immune from partisan activities they will be inherently neutral, or at least cancel each other out.

The current ongoing IRS scandal calls that assumption into question.

And how would a new President and a new Congress fix this problem?

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

  And, it seems to work pretty well for the vast majority of employees.  It is those few in positions to cause problems, and do, who are concerning.

Christmas in Iraq

For John, BLUFThere is hope in parts of Iraq.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

A younger acquaintance of mine is serving in Iraq as a US Army military advisor to the Iraqi Army.  On Christmas Eve, our time, he wrote this note, which brings hope.
I was able to attend Mass at St. Joseph's Chaldean Church in Erbil tonight.  The Archbishop of Mosul celebrated with the Archbishop of Erbil.  At the end he gave a quick talk thanking the congregation for their hospitality on this, their second Christmas away from their city.  He said that next year he hopes to celebrate Christmas at home and not as a displaced person in Northern Iraq.
The Archbishop of Mosul returning home of course depends upon the defeat of Daesh, the criminal gang which is excluding from its territories anyone who is not the same as them.  No diversity in their areas of control.

In the mean time, the Iraqi Government, which needs to retake Mosul, has put out this 2'11" YouTube Propaganda video, "Iraqi Popular Mobilization Units promise Mosul's church bells will ring again".  It is propaganda, but propaganda needs to be based on a kernel of truth or on actual hopes and wishes (or fears).

Regards  —  Cliff

Boxing Day

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

Regards  —  Cliff

PS:  A British Commonwealth public holiday from the custom of giving tradespeople a Christmas box on this day.

PPS:  Also known as St. Stephen's Day.  Bringing to mind Good King Wenceslas.

Friday, December 25, 2015

A Wonderful Day

For John, BLUF:  Peace on Earth, Good Will to Man.


Regards  —  Cliff

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Wage Choice

For John, BLUFYou make a choice and you experience the consequences.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Writing for The Washington Times, Mr Ashe Schow explains that "Bernie Sanders can't close the gender wage gap, because it's due to choice".
At Saturday night's Democratic presidential debate, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders said he would fix the economy in part by closing the gender wage gap. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton also brought up "equal pay for equal work," implying that is not currently the case and that there is some unspoken rule in business that women can be paid less.
Now Reporter Ashe Schow has a plan to fix this, but it involves coercion.

And, back in July a White House spokesperson said:

“If I said 77 cents was equal pay for equal work, then I completely misspoke,” Stevenson said. “So let me just apologize and say that I certainly wouldn’t have meant to say that.”
If you are confused, imagine how confused Senator Bernie Sanders and Secretary Hillary Clinton must be.  They are like weathermen.

I would like to be on record as saying that I agree with equal pay for equal work.  On the other hand, part time work should not pull full time pay.  Perhaps equal pay for equal hours.  But your 30 hours should not draw the same salary as my 40 hours.

By the way, all young people should be acquainted with the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Occupational Outlook Handbook (OOH).  This on-line resource tells you about how big the career field is, how fast it is growing, what it pays and what training or education you need for entry.  Every young person should know this book.

And parents should encourage thedir girls to enter the faster growing, higher paying, career fields.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

  That would be Professor Betsey Stevenson, a member of the White House Council of Economic Advisers.
  You know they are lying when you see their lips moving.

Saving the Parents

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

Some good news for Christmas.

From Salon and reporter Elissa Strauss we have "Illinois Is Dropping Citation Against Mom Who Let Her Sons Go to a Playground Alone".

During the summer of 2013, Natasha Felix decided to let her three sons—then ages 11, 9, and 5—play by themselves in a playground next to their apartment building in Chicago.  A short while later, a preschool teacher saw the unchaperoned boys and decided to called the city’s Department of Children and Family Services hotline on their behalf.  The state shared the teacher’s concern and gave Felix, a 27-year-old single mother, a child neglect citation.  She was allowed to keep her children, but the charge resulted in the loss of her job and also prevented her from volunteering at her children’s school.
Poor Ms Felix was caught in a belief that we need to protect our children by not letting them have the freedom to be children.
In recent decades, our ideas about what can be considered inadequate supervision has expanded a great deal.  Surveys show that in 1971, 80 percent of third-graders walked to school alone, whereas in 1990, only 9 percent did.
And yet, the number of missing children continues to decline.

Ms Lenore Skenazy, founder of “Free Range Kids" represents the opposite of Helicopter Parents.  I was a free range kid.  I can't remember a grade where I didn't walk or ride my bike to school.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

  Well, I did ride a bus for a few days in Eighth Grade, when we were in a new town. Quickly gave that up for walking with my buddies.

To Wear the Hijab, Or Not

For John, BLUFIt is sort of like the story of Fitchburg resident Joseph Palmer.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Cleaning up some old draft posts, here we have a Tinker to Evers to Chance moment.  This started, for me, with a post by Law Professor Glenn Harlan Reynolds.  This led to The College Fix and "Univ. of Missouri prof arrested for dragging hijab-less teenage girl by the hair".  But, of course, there are the Brits still keeping an eye on us, with The Daily Mail giving us "University of Missouri assistant professor charged with 'violently grabbing 14-year-old relative by the hair and dragging her out of school for not wearing hijab'".  And, finally, from the local [Columbia, Missouri] newspaper we have "Man arrested on suspicion of abusing Hickman student".

Frankly, I am not hard over on wearing of the hijab.  It is a sign of modesty, but not as extreme as a Burka, which removes identity, which is incompatible with our Western Culture.  I am not as hard over as the French on this.  And, if you don't wish to interact where your identity is needed, I don't care what you do in your own little acre. What I found unacceptable in this incident was the idea that someone would physically accost another person, even if a younger person, for not wearing this or that religious garb or other indicator.  Back to Saint Francis.  "Preach the gospel, and if necessary, use words."  Example, not cohersion.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

  Our Western culture allows freedom, within certain limits.  People are expected to wear (sufficient) cloths in school that do not distract from the learning experience.
  The French has a very strict secular view on this kind of thing and find it objectionable.

Closing America's Schools

For John, BLUFMath is important.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

It seems Secretary Clinton is math challenged, as pointed out by Brian Beutler of TheNew Republic, in "this piece".
Hillary Clinton has an amazing plan to close every public school in America.  But she might want to sit in on a better-than-average math class before stating goals like this:  “I wouldn’t keep any school open that wasn’t doing better than average.”

It’s unclear how Clinton is scoring schools for purposes of determining the average, but with such a large sample size (there are almost 100,000 public schools in the U.S.), this likely amounts to a call to shutter somewhere around half of all schools. Were she promising to close schools doing worse than the median, it would be exactly half.  But we have to allow for the possibility that a surfeit of poorly performing schools are drawing down the average, which means slightly less than half will be closing.

That’s still a lot of school closings and unemployed teachers and so on.  It’s also before you get to the recursion problem—once the first batch of average and below-average schools are closed, the remaining ones will be roughly divided across a new, higher average.  The ones at and below it will presumably have to close, too.  Eventually we’ll be left with one, very good school, where students will learn the ways this is similar to and different from Zeno’s paradox.  But this school, too, will have to be closed, because it will comprise the average on its own, and no school that isn’t doing better than average can stay open.

Of course Ms Clinton would replace those fired teachers with new ones, better that those replaced.  Eventually.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

  Zeno's Paradox.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Two High Schools, Please

For John, BLUFA new voice with a good view.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Following up on the previous post, we go back to this morning's City Life, where we had Senior Host John McDonough, Host George Anthes, Co-Host Linda Bown and guests Kamara Kay, Julie Ngor, and Champa Pang.  All were excellent.

One of the thing that stood out to me was Ms Champa Pang making a very articulate suggestion that Lowell would be better off with two high schools, rather than one massive rebuilt high school.

I think she is correct.  She says the large campus is too overwhelming for many of the incoming Freshmen.  She thinks we would be better off dividing the school in half.

Of course, she is up against the seven last words of Lowell—"We never did it that way before".

I like the idea of two high schools.  For one thing, my own experience is with a smaller high school, some 2,200 students.  And, in our school district they took the design for our high school and moved up north a few miles and built one exactly like it and everyone was happy.

Big high schools just increase the distance from the Principle (Head Master) to the new Freshman student.  The new student, no matter the intermediary staff, become an even smaller cypher in a large organization.  A student who is on the margin of good enough gets shoved back to not near good enough.

My own experience, in the Air Force, tells me that first line organizations, in the Air Force the Squadrons, if they become too big become places where people get lost and trouble brews.

Two high schools would mean that more students would get a shot at doing things, at being on the football team, at being in the Student Musical, at being on the debate team.  Opportunities would increase and students would do better.

Ms Chamnpa Pang is on target with her suggestion.  Thank you Ms Pang.

And, you can watch a rerun of the show this afternoon on LTC CHannel 8 or HERE on the internet.

Regards  —  Cliff

A Hat in the Ring

For John, BLUFA scoop for City Life?  Nothing to see here; just move along.

This morning on City Life we had Senior Host John McDonough, Host George Anthes, Co-Host Linda Bown and guests Kamara Kay, Julie Ngor, and Champa Pang.  All were excellent.

One thing that happened was John McDonough let out the news that former School Committee Candidate Kamara Kay is gearing up to run for the 18th Middlesex Representative seat, the one currently held by Democrat Rady Mom.  Mr Kay is a Republican, a graduate of Lowell High School and also of Norwich, up in Vermont.

Here is the article in The [Lowell] Sun.

Yes, I am supporting Kamara Kay.

Host George Anthes gave Kamara Kay advice as to how he should attack Rady Mom, to which the new candidate replied that he didn't even know if Rady Mom would run for a second term.  Host George Anthes also queried Kamara Kay as to if he would get support from Governor Charlie Baker and other leading Republicans.  Of course this is the same George Anthes, a registered Republican, who does not support Republican candidates for State Rep or State Senator in his own district, but that is another story.

You can watch a rerun of the show this afternoon on LTC CHannel 8 or HERE on the internet.

More from the show in the next post.

Regards  —  Cliff

  And at his blog Gerry Nutter had this to say.

Strategic Tokenism

For John, BLUFSmoke and mirrors and Hillary too.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Writing for the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington, DC, long time strategic thinker Anthony H. Cordesman (holder of the Arleigh A. Burke Chair in Strategy at CSIS) gives us "More Special Forces For Iraq and Syria: Tactical Asset or Strategic Tokenism".

I think Mr Cordesman has put his finger on what is happening with our policy in the Middle East.  We don't really take action, but make token moves that look like we are taking action.  But, we aren't.

And, there are only so many special forces we can dispatch to the area.  They are "special" because of who they are and their training.  Eventually one runs out of special forces and is down to the regular forces.  Then one either commits troops on the ground or one says the candle isn't worth the game or one engages in more strategic tokenism, hoping that time can be purchased cheaply.  The President only needs to buy time until 20 January 2017, some 394 days and less than two hours hence.  The rest of us will be hoping for time until this long war in the Middle East stops impacting us here at home (or in our vacation spots).

Regards  —  Cliff

After Daesh?

For John, BLUFWhat is beyond the next ridge?  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From The Soufan Group we have a review on "Defeating the Islamic State"The Soufan Group is headed by former FBI Agent Ali Soufan. Here is the Bottom Line Up Front:
  • The tremendous effort required to topple the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq will pale compared to the effort necessary to prevent its return
  • The end of 2015 sees the Islamic State in worse shape than at the start of the year, but the group’s defeat in the long term is far less certain
  • Destroying the Islamic State militarily will prove inadequate towards addressing the local divisions and regional sectarianism that fueled its rise
  • There must be clear paths for moderates in Syria, Iraq, and other conflict zones to deliver tangible improvements following military victory over extremist groups.
The first bullet should be the one to attract our most attention.  Which of the Candidates for President has mentioned this little problem?

Regards  —  Cliff

Recent Polling

For John, BLUF"Lies, damned lies, statistics".  Nothing to see here; just move along.

I am not sure the headline from this Washington Post article captures what is going on—"Support for abortion rights hits two-year high after Planned Parenthood shooting".

The wording on the graph is "Respondents who believe abortion should be legal all or most of the time."  That is not a question to pick up the nuances of the issue.  Here are the numbers from this poll:

Jan 2015Dec 2015

When I look at this my conclusion is, yes, there was an uptick in support for legal abortion.  However, there is not a wide breadth of support for abortion.  Further, given the number of "Independents" in the US, abortion seems to not be a strong issue, at least not as strong as some Democrats paint it.

Further, other polls suggest that while the voters support the right to abortion, that support is not for all abortions.  The voters do not support an unlimited right to abortion.  I would judge that the voters believe that as the fetus reaches maturity the right of the Mother to kill her child diminishes.  The idea of late term abortions of convenience strikes many as wrong.

While the idea of some compromise seems unlikely, due to a lack of trust on the part of all parties, there does seem to be a position of compromise around the 20 week point (about four months into a pregnancy of 40 weeks).  At that point abortions except for the life of the Mother seems excessive and wrong to most.

Regards  —  Cliff

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Your Destiny is in Your Genes

For John, BLUF"What a revoltin' development this is!"  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From the web presence Quillette we have Professor Brian Boutwell (Associate Professor of Criminology and Criminal Justice at Saint Louis University, a Jesuit Institution) explaining "Why parenting may not matter and why most social science research is probably wrong".

In sum, it is a lot more genetics than it is parenting.  That is both a relief and a concern.  Those kids turned out the way they did due to genetics, not due to how I raised them.  This appears to turn a lot of things upside down.  But, first we have a question.

Since the author doesn't understand religion

The are many reasons, some of which are explicitly religious (the whole “spare the rod spoil the child” bit)...
why do we think he understands anything else?

Yes, the line spare the rod and spoil the child is in the Bible, Proverbs 13:24:

He that spareth the rod hateth his son:  but he that loveth him correcteth him betimes.
But, that is not the summation of the Bible.  Where did Professor Boutwell gain his understanding of the sacrificial love of Jesus Christ and the love of his Father and the power of the Holy Spirit?

Back to the article, we are now faced with a whole new question.  Accepting that the parents, and anyone else is not a big factor in how a child grows us, is there still a capacity for wonder and learning that can be filled by actions of the parent and the community?  Otherwise, what is the value of additional programs to help children learn and grow, things like the Scouts and Promise Neighborhoods.

If this is real, it needs a lot more research and a lot more publication, so all of us who vote can be more informed in our decision making in the ballot booth—if the genes will let us.

Regards  —  Cliff

Monday, December 21, 2015

Seymour Hersh Cries Treason

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

From the London Review of Books we have Mr Seymour Hersh accusing senior officials in the Department of Defense of treason—"Military to Military", "Seymour M. Hersh on US intelligence sharing in the Syrian war".
Barack Obama's repeated insistence that Bashar al-Assad must leave office – and that there are 'moderate' rebel groups in Syria capable of defeating him – has in recent years provoked quiet dissent, and even overt opposition, among some of the most senior officers on the Pentagon's Joint Staff.  Their criticism has focused on what they see as the administration's fixation on Assad's primary ally, Vladimir Putin.  In their view, Obama is captive to Cold War thinking about Russia and China, and hasn't adjusted his stance on Syria to the fact both countries share Washington's anxiety about the spread of terrorism in and beyond Syria; like Washington, they believe that Islamic State must be stopped.
While the I think suggesting President Obama "is captive to Cold War thinking about Russia and China" is flat out wrong, there has been a recent flap about intelligence out of the Middle East being "adjusted".  And, there is the fact that President Obama has fixated on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in a way that has allowed the nation to descend into chaos.  The fact is, President Assad has been the protector of minorities in Syria.  Yes, the Arab Spring came to Syria, but it died there.  But, Daesh did not.  It lives.  It thrives on opposing the Shia Bashar Assad.

And, the area is so complex and intertwined that there is no way to sort out the good guys from the bad.  Each faction is working to achieve its own goals and they may not be the same goals as other factions they align with.  As an example of the problem, Turkey is against Daesh, but it is also against the Kurds, who are also against Daesh.  Here is a sample from The Huffington Post, "The U.S. Found The People Who Can Beat ISIS.  The Only Problem Is Everyone Hates Them".  This would be the Syrian Kurds.  This article doesn't address the leakage of young Sunni Kurds to Daesh.  What a mess.

Then there is this "bottom line up front" from the Soufan Group today:

The tremendous effort required to topple the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq will pale compared to the effort necessary to prevent its return.
Read the whole thing from the Soufan Group.  It is bracing.  If Ms Hillary Clinton thinks that Donald Trump is the recruiting tool for Daesh she is in way over her head and electing her would just give us more of the same clueless avoidance of discussing the real issues.

Regards  —  Cliff

Lindsey Graham is Out

For John, BLUFThe field continues to narrow.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Heck, I don't even have a label (tag) for him and he has gone away.  And just as I was enjoying the silliness of the whole thing.  Lindsey isn't a bad sort.  I would take him over Hunny Bunny or Bernie or Marton O.  Any day.

Maybe he just couldn't take the pressure from the Saturday Democrat debate, where Daesh recruiting was blamed on Mr Donald Trump.  Can you imagine him trying to digest that sort of tommyrot?  Of course he would wish to disassociate himself from it.

The silliness abounds, even with Senator Lindsey Graham out of the race.

Regards  —  Cliff

Finding the Right School

For John, BLUFPeople need options, people need choice.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

In this morning's edition of The Boston Globe Columnist Adrian Walker gives us his view on "A false debate over charter schools".

Mr Walker is on the mark.

Regards  —  Cliff

Banning History and Tradition

For John, BLUFSomething about enjoying others enjoying their special days.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From Pajama Media and Ms Julie Prince, we have an update on the "War on Christmas" in Brooklyn— "One Brooklyn School Finds Out That Banning Thanksgiving, Santa and the Pledge Is a Bad Idea".

Annually I am assured by my Progressive friends that there is no "War on Christmas".  And, I admit, these actions by Principal Eujin Jaela Kim are an aberration.  That said, the writer does capture something when she says about public schools:

They have gone from teaching reading, writing, and arithmetic to teaching kids how to be secular.
And there you have it, the substitution of one faith for another.

All that said, I wish everyone a Merry Christmas.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Can We Take Greenwald Seriously?

For John, BLUFMr Glenn Greenwald is a prig.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

This is a post about good old Glenn Greenwald, lawyer and reporter.  "Glenn Greenwald:  Fascism’s Fellow Traveller".  The writer is Jamie Palmer and the source is the web presence Quillette.

Here is the first part of the article—a little long to provide context.

“When Glenn Greenwald castigates the dead Charlie Hebdo cartoonists for racism,” the writer Sam Harris observed recently, “he’s not only proving that he’s a moral imbecile; he’s participating in a global war of ideas over free speech – and he’s on the wrong side of it.”

Back in April, the short story writer Deborah Eisenberg took a rather different view.  In her letter to PEN’s executive director Suzanne Nossel, Eisenberg included Greenwald on a shortlist of people she considered worthier of PEN’s annual Freedom of Expression Award for Courage than the dead and surviving Charlie Hebdo staff.  Unlike the slain cartoonists, she wrote of her recommendations, “their courage has been fastidiously exercised for the good of humanity.”

All things considered, this was an extravagant claim to make on behalf of Greenwald’s valour and integrity, particularly at Charlie Hebdo’s expense.  Greenwald – formerly of Salon and the Guardian and now co-founding editor at Pierre Omidyar’s campaigning blog, the Intercept – is most famous as the journalist to whom rogue NSA employee Edward Snowden leaked a vast cache of national security information before finding sanctuary in Putin’s Russia.  Eisenberg stated that it was for his work on this story that she was recommending him as an honoree.

But Greenwald’s reputation as an unbending defender of free expression stretches back a good deal further than this.  Before becoming a writer, he had worked as a litigator defending clients in a number of controversial First Amendment suits, and has since written several trenchant polemics defending the right to unconditional free speech.  In January 2013, for example, Greenwald wrote the following for the Guardian as part of a response to a French government proposal to censor online hate speech:

The history of human knowledge is nothing more than the realization that yesterday’s pieties are actually shameful errors.  It is constantly the case that human beings of the prior generation enshrined a belief as objectively, unchallengably [sic] true which the current generation came to see as wildly irrational or worse.  All of the most cherished human dogmas – deemed so true and undeniable that dissent should be barred by the force of law – have been subsequently debunked, or at least discredited.  How do you get yourself to believe that you’re exempt from this evolutionary process, that you reside so far above it that your ideas are entitled to be shielded from contradiction upon pain of imprisonment?  The amount of self-regard required for that is staggering to me.
Reading this, it would seem logical to suppose that Greenwald’s solidarity with the staff of Charlie Hebdo could be taken for granted.  The magazine has, after all, dedicated itself to mocking religious and political pieties, and its attackers, Chérif and Saïd Kouachi, were surely guilty of the self-regard for which Greenwald expresses such vehement contempt.  They considered themselves to be emissaries of God, no less (or – more directly – His fanatical, self-appointed earthbound representatives in Yemen), and sought to shield their beliefs from precisely the kind of criticism and ridicule which eventually cause such cherished dogmas to collapse.

Instead, as Sam Harris noted, the blood had scarcely dried on the walls of Charlie Hebdo‘s offices before Greenwald published a furious article at the Intercept, reviling the magazine for its alleged racism and pouring scorn on its defenders.  That hismisreading of Charlie Hebdo demonstrated a profound ignorance of their material and a dismal inability to parse satire ought to have been beside the point.  After all, as Greenwald was at pains to remind his readers, he has spent much of his life defending the freedom of people to express views he abhors.

I think that in this area Mr Greenwald has lost his bearings.  He has left the Western Culture for some other culture.

And it isn't just Free Speech.  Mr Glenn Greenwald is happy to pick on US intelligence gathering, but not that of Russia.  He is without balance.  He dislikes the West and continuously condemns it, but he seems to like all those other groups, including those who would lock him up for execute him or his own lifestyle.  Hard to figure.

Regards  —  Cliff

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Chuck Hegal v The White House

For John, BLUFIf you can' trust your subordinates, you need new subordinates, but if you never trust any of them you might need to look in a new location for the problem.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From Fortuna's Corner we have "
Why Former Pentagon Chief Chuck Hagel’s Coming Out Against The White House Matters".

Here is the lede:

When Chuck Hagel resigned as defense secretary last year, the narrative was clear: President Obama and he did not see eye-to-eye on how to prosecute the war against the Islamic State, so Hagel needed to go. White House officials, speaking anonymously, said at the time that the president had lost faith in Hagel’s ability to lead – a charge that Hagel’s advisers brushed aside.
The article ends with these two paragraphs:
Hagel, for his part, told Foreign Policy that he got “the hell beat out of him” figuratively at the White House for delaying in signing transfer orders to release detainees from the military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, when he had concerns about the individuals involved. He also said he felt micro-managed – something that Gates, Panetta and other defense officials have all expressed. 
“There is a danger in all of this,” Hagel told Foreign Policy, referring to White House micromanagement and the administration’s expanding national security staff. “This is about governance; this isn’t about political optics. It’s about making the country run and function, and trying to stay ahead of the dangers and the threats you see coming.”
The thing about micromanagement is that it suggests a lack of confidence and also suggests an over-centralization.  Micromanagement works well when one is dealing with a single crisis.  But, if there are several crises running concurrently, something is going to be missed or messed up.
Hat tip to the blog Fortuna's Corner.

Regards  —  Cliff

The Little Sparrow

For John, BLUFThe best singer ever.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Today is the 100th Anniversary of the birth of Edith Piaf, the Little Sparrow.

Here is a report from The International Herald Tribune in 1947, when she first came to the US from her native France.

And there is her song, “Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien”, dedicated to the French Foreign Legion.  It was adopted by Foreign Legion Beret Rouge, the 1st REP (1st Foreign Parachute Regiment) as their song after their failed coup attempt against President Charles DeGaulle and the civilian Administration in Algeria.  Here is The Little Sparrow singing "Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien".

Regards  —  Cliff

Friday, December 18, 2015

Bernie Sanders Squeezed

For John, BLUFYou don't have to be a Democrat to think hard ball.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From the Progressive News Site, Nation of Change, we have an article by Ms Alexandra Jacobo, "BREAKING: DNC Deals Devastating Blow to Bernie Sanders’ Campaign".

It seems the Democratic National Committee (Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Chairperson) rents out its nation wide voter database.  Earlier this week it put a patch on the software that opened up private candidate additions to all candidates.  Now it is using this software failure on its part as an excuse to shut out Candidate Senator Bernie Sanders.

If you immediately asked yourself if this is just another maneuver to help Hunny Bunny, you would not be alone with that thought.

UPDATE:  From The Hill, Mr Ben Kamisar reporting, "Sanders sues Democratic Party".  Hat tip to the InstaPundit for the update item.

Regards  —  Cliff

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Cosmo On Gun Control

For John, BLUFWhen you are suffering from a derangement syndrome you can say near anything.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From The Instapundit we have this short blurb from Writer Ed Driscoll:
“SO COSMOPOLITAN WANTS TO GIVE GUNS TO KIDS WITHOUT PARENTAL CONSENT?”  Cosmo:  Buying guns should be ‘just as difficult’ as getting an abortion.
Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff


For John, BLUFLittle children need the interaction.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From the web presence Acculturated we have an offering by Ms Stephanie Cohen, "What Happens When Homes Have No Books".  This is an important question.
Carol Rasco, President of Reading is Fundamental, recently asked, “Can you imagine a childhood without books?”

Rasco’s piece noted that two-thirds of the country’s poorest children don’t own a single book. These children are little different than the character Francie, the poor girl living in the Williamsburg slums of New York in 1912, who has long captivated readers in Betty Smith’s A Tree Grows in Brooklyn.

Children without books is a problem.  It means children falling behind their contemporaries.  It means bad educational outcomes.

Mr John McDonough, on City Life, the other day, had a good idea.  Under his proposal local access TV Channel 22, the Lowell School Department channel, would do book reading for children.  As part of the program, parents would be able to contact the School Department, which would ship soft covered copies of the books back to the children.  I like this idea as a way to increase the vocabulary of young children and to help stimulate their imaginations.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Admitting Syrian Refugees

For John, BLUFCalling Barney Frank for a Planet Check.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Per this article, "Congressman:  Refusing Syrian Refugees Hurts National Security", by Mr Nicholas Ballasy, the President is right and Candidate Donald Trump is wrong regarding Syrian refugees.
Rep. Seth Moulton (D-Mass.) said public opinion is shifting toward supporting the resettlement of the 10,000 Syrian refugees the Obama administration is seeking to allow in the U.S.

“I spoke out against my home state governor’s calls to not take Syrian refugees and at the time it was an unpopular position – just a couple weeks ago.  There’s been extensive polling on that in Massachusetts and somewhere in the range of 60-70 percent of folks were against accepting refugees when the governor first said he was opposed to it himself.  Not only has the governor now been coming around to my position but recent polling shows people in Massachusetts have been, as well,” Moulton, an Iraq War veteran, said on a conference call.

“Once people understand the vetting process is strict and it has been successful in the past, and once people really think about the national security implications of a policy change, I think folks will see those who support the continued resettlement of refugees are on the right side of this issue and, of course, on the right side if history.  But it’s going to take some time and education.”

Maybe in Massachusetts, although I am doubtful, but not across the Fruited Plain.  A recent poll showed over 60% of Hispanics and over 50% of Blacks supported the Donald Trump position—Let's look at this before we let in more Syrians.  Of course we don't actually let in that many Syrians.  Number 7 in the last Fiscal Year.  See the table below.

As for the strictness of the vetting process, it actually doesn't look all that strict.  And, the recent terrorist event in San Bernardino shows that the screening has been pretty pitifully weak.

And, if Congressman Moulton really wants to help refugees he should move a bill in the US Congress to send more money overseas to the refugee camps in Jordan, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and other places, to help the existing millions of refugees who have fled their own nations.

Thanks to a tip from someone else I found the website where you can slice and dice the refugee numbers.

Here it is.

Here are the numbers admitted to the United States from 30 Sep 2014 to 30 Sep 2015 (Federal Fiscal Year 2015).

4Dem Rep Congo 7,88311.22%

This add up to 63,364 of the total 70,251 refugees admitted to the United States for Federal Fiscal Year 2015. If someone wants all the numbers, the remaining 7,000, just EMail me.

Regards  —  Cliff

  Not a "shooting" and not "gun violence".  It was a terrorist event.
  Keep in mind, refugees are NOT the same as migrants.  Per Wikipedia, "A refugee, according to the Geneva Convention on Refugees is a person who is outside their country of citizenship because they have well-founded grounds for fear of persecution because of their race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, and is unable to obtain sanctuary from their home country or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail themselves of the protection of that country; or in the case of not having a nationality and being outside their country of former habitual residence as a result of such event, is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to return to their country of former habitual residence."

Hold the Lettuce

For John, BLUFWhatever you do, it is wrong.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From Mr Anthony Watts we have "Shocker:  Vegetarian diets worse for climate than eating bacon".

Here is how the article starts:

From Carnegie Mellon and the “BLT’s must be carbon neutral then” department comes this story sure to strike fear into the hearts of vegetarian climate activists everywhere.

Vegetarian and ‘healthy’ diets are more harmful to the environment.

Carnegie Mellon study finds eating lettuce is more than three times worse in greenhouse gas emissions than eating bacon.

One view is that the science is settled.  The other view is that it is dietary data and if you hang around for another ten or twenty years it will change again.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Name Changing

For John, BLUFJapan is still a little rigid, culturally.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

If you like your name you can keep your name, except in Japan.  From The Old Gray Lady we have this item—"Japan’s Top Court Upholds Law Requiring Spouses to Share Surname".

There is a lot of freedom for people in these United States.  Not perfect, but better than many places.

Regards  —  Cliff

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

We Don't Check Social Media?

For John, BLUF:  Everyone else is looking.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From four Reporters for Time Magazine we have:

"Secret US Policy Blocks Agents From Looking at Social Media of Visa Applicants, Former Official Says".

This is a 14 December 2015 report.

So, while the IRS wants your SSAN if you contribute to your church, the DHS doesn't want agents checking on the public tweets and Facebook postings from your fiancée from Lower Slabovia, including the ones where your fiancée advocates the violent overthrow of the US  Government.  I wonder if this would extend to making threats against a US President, or does the Secret Service operate under different rules?

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Stuck in Latin America

For John, BLUFThese are folks who don't get it.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

"Ironically, talking like that, they sound like traitors to American culture."  Here is the sub-headline, "Liberal Hispanic activists assail Rubio, Cruz as 'traitors' to their culture."

I have no questions for the Professor.

While the article is from Ann Althouse, the hat tip goes to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

The President on Daesh

For John, BLUFI am not sure the President is doing all that well communicating on Daesh.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Writing for Time Magazine, Mr Mark Thompson gives us "Reading Between the Lines of President Obama's ISIS Pentagon Briefing".

Regards  —  Cliff

Monday, December 14, 2015

IRS Rule Making

For John, BLUFWe mostly depend upon others to alert us and protect us from Federal Rule Making.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

At the Tax Prof Blog, Professor Paul L. Caron, of Pepperdine University School of Law, gave us, yesterday, "The IRS Scandal, Day 948".

It just keeps getting worse.  Here is the lede:

Considering the Obama Administration’s well-documented willingness to use the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) as a political weapon to intimidate, silence and bankrupt organizations and individuals who oppose the president, a proposed IRS rule to force charities, churches and nonprofits to report the Social Security numbers of donors to the IRS could dry up donations and run them out of business.
So soon I will have to give my Parish my Social Security Account Number to contribute?  Two more days to make a comment to the IRS regarding this rule making.

Part of this is on our Representatives in Congress for giving Executive Agencies too much flexibility in rule making.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Saturday, December 12, 2015

A Look at Two Candidates

For John, BLUFIf DWS doesn't know the difference between socialist and Democrat, does Senator Sanders?  Nothing to see here; just move along.

One of Da Tech Guy's writers looks at "The Perplexing Dynamics of the 2016 Presidential Election".

He really only covers Senator Bernie Sanders and The Donald, but it is pretty interesting.

Regards  —  Cliff

Gun Madness

For John, BLUFWe have people so afraid they would turn the nation upside down.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Mr Fred Read, writing in Fred on Everything, 11 Dec 2015, gives us "Allahu Akbar!  :  The View from 2018".

I wonder if he wrote this before or after he heard about White House Press Secretary Josh Ernest saying that the problem in San Berdoo, the 14 dead, was really about gun control?

Frankly, we are seeing a group of Americans out there who a traumatized by the Second Amendment.  People who are all for the right to die, but who are traumatized by 30,000 people a year taking their own lives.

There is a terrorist threat out there and it isn't just about guns.  Remember the Boston Marathon Bombings?  But, terrorists will find ways to get guns if that is the tool they wish for.  California laws didn't stop them.  The often praised European gun laws didn't stop the recent events in Paris.  Yes, we need reasonable gun control, but we need to follow, not subvert, the Second Amendment.

Regards  —  Cliff

  (not actually a right, we have a responsibility to live)

Friday, December 11, 2015

Is Mr Trump Wrong on Immigration?

For John, BLUFDakota Meyer says yes.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From the web presence Task and Purpose we have a critique of Mr Donald Trump's call to stop Muslim immigration to the US until Congress can review what is going on.  The author is former Marine Dakota Meyer—"Dakota Meyer On Why Trump Is Wrong To Ban Muslims".

I think we should not be restricting immigration based on religion or any other distinguishing characteristic, although there is the question of if we should deny immigration to those who would act to overthrow our government (e.g., Communists, National Socialists, Anarchists, etc).

My sense is that the US Congress is not prepared to provide leadership.  On the other hand, the Administration is not providing leadership either.  Thus, the People are expressing their unhappiness, for instance by backing Candidate Trump on this issue.

Regards  —  Cliff

Broke the Law

For John, BLUFWe just don't leave folks behind.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

It is The Washington Examiner (Mr Charles Hoskinson reporting), "Report:  White House broke law, deceived Congress in Bergdahl-Taliban swap".

Here is the lede plus 2 paragraphs:

The Obama administration broke the law and misled Congress in the swap last year of five Taliban leaders for a captured U.S. soldier because President Obama wanted to further his pledge to close the military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, the House Armed Services Committee said Thursday in a report.

The 108-page report also said key Defense Department officials who might have raised red flags on the swap for Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl were left out of the decision-making process.

"Our report finds that the administration clearly broke the law in not notifying Congress of the transfer," said House Armed Services Chairman Mac Thornberry, R-Texas.

For me the swap for Army Sgt Bowe Bergdahl was the right thing to do.  We need to bring all our Service members home.  Even if we expect we might later find them guilty of this or that military offense.  It is the proper thing to do.

As a side note, Sgt Bergdahl has been in the news lately.

Regarding the Administration's obsession with closing the prison at GITMO, I agree that we should move them to some Supermax here in the US, preferably in some Northern Tier state.  But, Congress has spoken and the idea that the President can ignore Congress is pernicious.  I would say that the President is confusing Congressional intransigence with disrespect for the office of President.  The President is an administrator of the law, not a maker.  Of course the US Congress bears some responsibility for this situation, in that it passes too much "rule making" authority to Executive Offices.

But, as to Sgt Bergdahl, here is a case where admitting that the Administration crossed the line and promising to not do it in the future would be a reasonable thing to do, but that is just me.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

  Per Wikipedia, The Washington Examiner is a political journalism publication based in Washington, D.C., ….  It is owned by MediaDC, a subsidiary of Clarity Media Group, which is owned by Philip Anschutz.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

The Joy of Life

For John, BLUFStar Wars is not wrong about the power of faith.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

On 23 November, in The Old Gray Lady, Columnist Ross Douthat wrote "The Joy of ISIS".

I think that OpEd Writer Ross Douthat is on to something here.

For me the key passage in a somewhat confused OpEd is this:

But if the West’s official alternative to ISIS is the full Belgium (basically good food + bureaucracy + euthanasia), if Western society seems like it’s closed most of the paths that human beings have traditionally followed to find transcendence, if Western culture loses the ability to even imagine the joy that comes with full commitment, and not just the remissive joy of sloughing commitments off — well, then we’re going to be supplying at least some recruits to groups like ISIS for a very long to come.
This is a very serious issue.  Ask yourselves how many of your friends "speak in tongues" or have had a "conversion experience".  Probably not so many.  But, they are out there, believing in God and that joy Ross Douthat talks about.  However, to "operationalize" this would require a shift in how Western elites understand life.  They may not be able to understand Daesh, since they don't understand their own populaces, and their interest in Jesus Christ.

What makes it easy for Mr Douthat to recognize this phenomenon is his background.  Read his bio, linked to above (Wikipedia).  Mr Douthat's family became Pentecostal, and then Roman Catholic.  People who believed in the power of God.  They found something in Faith.  And then he risked it all by going to Harvard, but I expect he can still see this desire to find transcendence, as he calls it.

Mr Douthat's view of the Joy of Life is not the only one.  Here is a comment by another newspaper personality, a very smart one, working in the the Middle East and North Africa:

Some very bright young people find this transcendent purpose in forming companies like Apple, Facebook, Twitter, etc.  Think of the narrative of starving in the garage, staying up for days writing code…in order to transform society (and get rich).

Religion is not the only larger purpose in life.  I think Ross should give science a chance!

Yes, that is, in our Western society, a very legitimate view, but it is not the only one.  The view of faith is still a valid view and to the extent we do not offer it via Christianity of Judaism or some more mainline Islamic Faith, or some other faith, they to that extent to we open the door for Daesh recruits.

Regards  —  Cliff

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Where Should Our Focus Be With Regard to Daech?

For John, BLUFIf you can't answer the Center of Gravity question all you can do is play whack-a-mole.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

One of President Obama's opening lines in his Oval Office talk Sunday last was:
We are at war with Terrorism.
A friend of mine noted in an EMail:
As Eliot Cohen wrote shortly after George W declared the Global War on Terrorism, “Declaring war on Terrorism after 9/11 makes about as much sense as declaring war on Dive Bombers after Pearl Harbor.”
This comment about being "at war with terrorism" is, for me, the one slip in the President's 13 minute talk from the Oval Office.  Terrorism is a tactic.  We need to better define the enemy than a tactic he uses. The tactic is not a "center of gravity".  To win, as Dead Carl tells us, we need to identify the enemy center of Gravity.

Here is a 35 page monograph on the topic of a center of gravity.

Now it is your turn, dear read:

What do you think is the Center of Gravity we need to identify? free polls

Regards  —  Cliff

Democrats Want More

For John, BLUFIt is still a long way to November 2016.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

This is from The Old Gray Lady, so you can assume that the Democrat Party Establishment is behind this message—"Obama’s Plans to Stop ISIS Leave Many Democrats Wanting More".  Reporters are Jennifer Steinhauer and Michael D Shear.  The dateline is Washington, on 8 December.  Here is the lede:
Many of President Obama’s Democratic allies in Congress say they do not believe he is being aggressive enough in confronting the terrorist threat of the Islamic State after last week’s attacks in California, undermining Americans’ sense of safety, especially among voters who will decide the party’s fate in elections next year.
Let us be fair.  The President has a strategy and he is following it.  To some degree his plan reflects the facts on the ground in the Middle East.  Syria and Iraq and not effective unified nation states.  If we put a lot of boots on the ground we need to be prepared to stay there a while.  I am not sure the American People want that.

Here is how The Military Times introduces its article, "Washington, Baghdad on different pages in fight against IS" (Ms Susannah George, AP, reporting):

A series of political spats that erupted in Baghdad over the past week surrounding foreign forces on Iraqi soil have exposed the increasing weakness of Iraq's central government and a growing disconnect between Washington and Baghdad in the U.S.-led coalition's fight against the Islamic State group.
That is not a good situation into which we should be introducing US forces, unless we are talking very large numbers of US forces.  Think six figures.

And, of course, there are other agendas being pursued.  Candidate Donald Trump has ripped the scab off the refugee issue and the migrant issue and it is resonating with many Americans.  Here is what the article says about the Democrat approach to dealing with that.

Senate Democrats are working to turn the conversation away from the Syrian refugees by pushing the issue of guns and the visa waiver program to the fore, though the measures on guns so far have proved fruitless.
But, that isn't working so well
But Democrats in both chambers said they needed the president to send a message to voters that he is in firm command of the fight against terrorism.  That will require Mr. Obama to do more — and to explain his actions more clearly, they said.
The Democrats are trying to round a square corner and it isn't working well.  That said, a lot could happen between now and the primaries (and the election) and, on the other hand, nothing could happen.  Either way, it will impact the voters.  And it will influence the non-voters, who may become active or may influence their voting friends and neighbors.

Regards  —  Cliff

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Economic Decisions Have Consequences

For John, BLUFWasn't this supposed to go the other way?  Nothing to see here; just move along.

I just quote a post from Law Professor Gleenn Harlan Reynolds:
UNEXPECTEDLY!  CBO projects 2 million fewer jobs under ObamaCare.  Remember, if you predicted this back when the bill was under debate, media “fact checkers” would ask the White House if that was going to happen, then give you four Pinocchios when the White House said no.  And then call you racist.
Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Monday, December 7, 2015

Pearl Harbor Day

For John, BLUF:  Ugly, but we were fairly quickly on top.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

The attack came as a major shock to America, and galvanized folks into action.

A tactical success for the Japanese, it was an operational and strategic failure.  They didn't get the American Carriers.  They didn't destroy the ship repair facilities (e.g., dry docks) and they didn't destroy the fuel stocks.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.
Regards  —  Cliff

Sunday, December 6, 2015

The President Talks Terrorism

For John, BLUFThe Fox Panel notwithstanding, not a bad speech.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

The President's talk to the American People this evening, just after 2000.

At war with Terrorism, as the President asserts?  This is the one slip in this 13 minute talk from the Oval Office.  Terrorism is a tactic.  We need to better define the enemy than a tactic he uses.  The tactic is not a "center of gravity"Here is a 35 page monograph on the topic.

We will prevail by being strong and smart.

"First, our military will continue to hunt down terrorist plotters", anywhere.

Second, we will continue to provide support for friendly (non-US) forces on the ground.

Third, we are working to cut off ISIL, sharing intelligence and cooperating with Muslim communities here and overseas.

Fourth, with American leadership, we are trying to end the war in Syria, so we can all focus on ISIL. (This hints at the idea that we may cut a deal with Russia that preserves Syrian President Assad.)

We continuously review our processes to see if we need to adapt.

Here at home we need to work together to solve problems.

Congress should pass a law that says those on no fly lists should not be able to purchase firearms.

We need to curtail the sale of high powered rifles.

We need to take a harder look at those coming to the US without Visas.

Congress should vote for a renewal of the Authorization for Use of Military Force.

We should NOT be drawn into a long ground war in Iraq or Syria.

We can not turn against each other by defining this as a war between America and Islam.  The vast majority of terror victims are Muslim.

An extremist ideology has spread within some Muslim communities and Muslims must speak out against this.  (This is an important step, in acknowledging that there is a problem within Islam, an extremist ideology spreading.)

We will prevail because we are on the right side of history.


There was talk about gun control, but no discussion of curtailing the sale of pipes in places like Home Depot and Lowes.  That said, the President did acknowledge that the couple in the San Bernardino event did have a collection of pipe bombs.

Regards  —  Cliff