The EU

Google says the EU requires a notice of cookie use (by Google) and says they have posted a notice. I don't see it. If cookies bother you, go elsewhere. If the EU bothers you, emigrate. If you live outside the EU, don't go there.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

YOU Are The First Responder

For John, BLUFWe need to get over expecting someone else to do the heavy lifting in the first minutes of a crisis.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Here’s how Charlotte should prepare for an active shooter

From The Charlotte Observer, by Paula Broadwell and Ryan Hoover, both of whom are from the local Charlotte area.

We talked about this earlier today, here and here.  This is a refresher and here is the key paragraph:

Prepare everyone to be a first responder.  The majority of active shooter scenarios last 15 minutes, and 60 percent end before law enforcement arrive on the scene.  In 83 percent of active killer incidents, the event only ends through use of force.  In many cases, civilian bystanders bring an incident to an end.
I suspect that this is a hard thing to accept, but you are the first responder.  Remember, when trouble is right in front of you the police, fire and ambulance are only minutes away.  Sometimes it is best to wait for them to arrive, but sometimes you have to act now.

For instance, if you are in a burning building, you "Clear" the building and go somewhere else.

If someone is choking right in front of you, you "Care" for that person just like Heimlich taught you.  If it is a heart attack you provide the initial CPR (Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation).

     For instance, go here.

If it is an active shooter you "Clear", "Conceal" or "Confront", based upon your circumstances.  To do nothing is to risk death for yourself and those around you.

Regards  —  Cliff

Being Prepared to Act, Part II

For John, BLUFWe have to be prepared, if just in terms of knowing our surroundings.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Here is the poster from the article on dealing with Active Shooters, mentioned in my previous post.

It might help to remember the six items all begin with "C".

  • CALL
  • CARE
Regards  —  Cliff

Being Prepared to Act

For John, BLUFThe default to passivity seems to be costing lives.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From the on-line magazine, Small Wars Journal, yesterday, by Messrs Ryan Hoover and Daniel Shaw.

Here are some excerpts from the article, which is a short read and well worth the couple of minutes it takes:

Today, in the wake of the Orlando massacre, it's time to come to grips with the reality of active killer events.  …[L]et us not repeat the unfortunate mistake of passivity in Orlando.  We know how these events end, too, and we cannot continue to ignore this fact.
* * *

[T]he victims at the club in Orlando did what the experts told them to do.  They followed the run-hide philosophy, just like they were taught.  And because of that, dozens died.  …  They were told that someone else would come to save them. They did exactly as they were trained to do. That modus operandi failed them, and it failed to the tune of the largest mass shooting in modern U.S. history.

That failure isn't their fault, however.  Most Americans are complicit through our individual and collective passivity.  When the Orlando killer check his smartphone social media accounts, spent 28 minutes on the phone with 911, or reloaded his weapons, there were opportunities to intervene, but no one chose to.  Now it is time for an awakening, like we had after 9/11.

* * *

Running and hiding are fine, if they are viable options, dictated by the totality of the circumstance, but ultimately, fighting back might be the difference in your surviving such an event.

  • Tackling a gunman has worked many times over in these events, and it is one strategy we employ when teaching active killer defense. Obviously, tackling from behind is most desirable, but we may not be able to choose a direction or angle.
  • We teach students to hit the killer low, at the knees, and drive through with as much force and weight as possible, forcing the killer to the ground.
  • Once he is down, our goal is to not allow him back to his feet, since killers typically carry more than one weapon and we may have additional assailants to engage.
  • Students are taught to use strikes once the killer is down, to neutralize the possibility of any further attacks.
There are more steps in the article, at the URL, above.  Check them out.  I don't think you have to be able to beat the shooter.  You just have to rally a couple of people in the crowd to pin him down and take away his weapon.

And here is a very important point the police and EMTs are not the "first responders".  YOU are.

Because those on the scene – often civilians - are the first responders, knowledge of basic trauma care is also essential.

  • Primarily, responders should know how to keep blood in the body, since massive hemorrhaging is the number one cause of death in these events.
  • Assuming the threat has been neutralized, apply direct pressure to the bleeding wounds of the injured. If a tourniquet is available, apply it as high and as tight as possible on the injured limb.
  • If no tourniquet is available or the injury is not to a limb, pack the wound with as much gauze as possible, direct someone else to hold pressure and move on to the next victim.
So, here is the "bottom line":
As stated, training matters, and whether responders are armed, unarmed, incidentally armed, environmentally armed, or otherwise, practicing engagement in realistic scenarios is ideal, but having a plan of action beyond running and/or hiding is an absolute must.
When you are driving down the street, don't be on someone's bumper.  Leave enough room to pull into another lane if you have to.  When you walk into a room, glance around for the exits, in case you need to exit.  Not just for an active shooter, but in the event of a fire, or if you are on the Other Coast, an earthquake.

Don't just be passive.  Think about your surroundings.

Regards  —  Cliff

Benghazi Report

For John, BLUFHere are the high points and they are bothersome.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Seven key findings in the Benghazi report

This is from The Hill, and Reporter Julian Hattem, the evening of 28 June.

The seven:

  • Stevens wanted to make the Benghazi facility permanent
  • The military never got moving
  • Troops changed clothes four times
  • YouTube video dominated White House meeting
  • Americans were transported by Gadhafi loyalists
  • Clinton blamed terrorists in private
  • Rice went 'off the reservation'
I would note that the Report says the President, and the Secretary of Defense, ordered forces moved to the point of crisis.  Subordinates did not act on that direction.  It reminds me of President Truman's quip about Dwight D Eisenhower as President:
He’ll sit here, and he’ll say, ‘Do this!  Do that!’  And nothing will happen.  Poor Ike—it won’t be a bit like the Army.  He’ll find it very frustrating.
The other thing is that all this time I had thought that Ms Susan Rice was sent out to the weekend news shows with direction to blame the Videographer.  Perhaps not.

Regards  —  Cliff

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

A View on Law School and the Supreme Court

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

The academy is out of its depth.

Judge Richard A. Posner, who is also Professor Posner, provides some critical thoughts at Slate.  I don't think I agree with his conclusions, but his views are worth considering.
I don't think the Supreme Court is likely to accept advice from law professors on administrative issues, such as whether to have opinions in tie cases and whether to identify the justices voting for or against cert.  The court is understandably likely to think that law professors are not in a position to advise on such issues.  I also think there's a growing gap between judges (including the Supreme Court justices) and the academy, which judges tend to think is increasingly distant from the actual practice of law, staffed as it increasingly is with refugees from other disciplines—the graduate students in classics, and history, and anthropology, and so on who upon discovering there were very few well-paying positions in such fields nowadays decided to go to law school and afterward had no time to practice law before getting a law-teaching job.

I think law schools should be hiring a higher percentage of lawyers with significant practical experience. I think, for example, of Benjamin Kaplan at Harvard Law School, who went into law-teaching after 14 years in practice.  There used to be many like that; there are many fewer now, especially at the leading law schools.

On a different subject, I worry that law professors are too respectful of the Supreme Court, in part perhaps because they don't want to spoil the chances of their students to obtain Supreme Court clerkships.  I think the Supreme Court is at a nadir.  The justices are far too uniform in background, and I don’t think there are any real stars among them; the last real star, Robert Jackson, died more than 60 years ago.  I regard the posthumous encomia for Scalia as absurd.  Especially those of Harvard Law School Dean Martha Minow and Justice Elena Kagan.

And on another note about academia and practical law, I see absolutely no value to a judge of spending decades, years, months, weeks, day, hours, minutes, or seconds studying the Constitution, the history of its enactment, its amendments, and its implementation (across the centuries—well, just a little more than two centuries, and of course less for many of the amendments).  Eighteenth-century guys, however smart, could not foresee the culture, technology, etc., of the 21st century.  Which means that the original Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and the post–Civil War amendments (including the 14th), do not speak to today.  David Strauss is right:  The Supreme Court treats the Constitution like it is authorizing the court to create a common law of constitutional law, based on current concerns, not what those 18th-century guys were worrying about.

In short, let's not let the dead bury the living.

On the other hand, is we are talking basic principles, they should be fairly constant, whether there is an Internet or not.  I am not sure the Wright Brothers changed much that impacted the US Constitution, or Werner von Braun, for that matter.

Hat tip to the Drudge.

Regards  —  Cliff

The Aftermath of Verdun

For John, BLUFWWI was ugly.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

The Battle of Verdun was winding down as the Battle of the Somme was heating up, starting today, 100 years ago.

Inside the toxic grave of the longest battle in history

Inside the toxic grave of the longest battle in history: The French forest where 300,000 died in 300 days at the Battle of Verdun is still littered with so many bodies, arsenic and unexploded shells that nothing grows after 100 years
  • The battle for Verdun in 1916 was the longest in history, with millions of shells fired over 10 months At its end in December of that year, the French victorious, an area larger than the city of Paris had been destroyed
  • The French labelled it a 'Zone Rouge' shortly after the end of the war, leaving it to be reclaimed by nature
  • A century on, the ground is still littered with unexploded shells, strewn with barbed wire and filled with arsenic
  • Parts of the forest are still so dangerous the French have sealed them off, while shells are still turned up by farmers
Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

The Aftermath of Verdun

For John, BLUFWWI was ugly.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

The Battle of Verdun was winding down as the Battle of the Somme was heating up, starting today, 100 years ago.

Inside the toxic grave of the longest battle in history

Inside the toxic grave of the longest battle in history: The French forest where 300,000 died in 300 days at the Battle of Verdun is still littered with so many bodies, arsenic and unexploded shells that nothing grows after 100 years
  • The battle for Verdun in 1916 was the longest in history, with millions of shells fired over 10 months At its end in December of that year, the French victorious, an area larger than the city of Paris had been destroyed
  • The French labelled it a 'Zone Rouge' shortly after the end of the war, leaving it to be reclaimed by nature
  • A century on, the ground is still littered with unexploded shells, strewn with barbed wire and filled with arsenic
  • Parts of the forest are still so dangerous the French have sealed them off, while shells are still turned up by farmers
Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

People in Own Echo Chambers

For John, BLUFIt seems it is OK to advocate for killing Republicans.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Journalist Who Called For Murder Of GOP Suddenly Concerned About Rhetoric

This article is by Ms Mollie Hemingway and is in The Federalist.  It is about an Editor at Detroit Free Press, Pulitzer prize-winning editorial page editor, Mr Stephen Henderson.

It seems Mr Henderson recently "called for the murder of GOP lawmakers", but "is now concerned about the 'insulting language' people have used to describe Detroit's failed public schools."

First off, I was surprised Detroit still have a newspaper...

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Peace in the Holy Land

For John, BLUFThis seems rather blunt.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Abbas aide:  ‘Wherever you see an Israeli, slit his throat’

Here is the sub-headline:
Comments from Fatah official spark a furious warning of repercussions from a senior Israeli officer
Well, as reported by Mr Dov Lieber, in the Times of Israel, yesterday.

Mr Sultan Abu al-Einein, an aide to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, doesn't bring much subtly to the discussion.  Here is the lede plus three:

An aide to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas called for gruesome violence against Israelis on Monday, sparking a scathing response from an Israeli official.

Sultan Abu al-Einein, an adviser to Abbas on civil society organizations and a Fatah Central Committee member, said during an interview with the Palestinian news site Donia al-Watan: “Wherever you find an Israeli, slit his throat.”

The comment from the senior Fatah official came in response to a question about normalization between members of his party and Israel.

When asked what he thought about normalization with Israel and Palestinian officials taking part in Israeli conferences, Abu al-Einein said: “If you ask me my blunt position, I would say — every place you find an Israeli, slit his throat. Likewise, I am against talks, negotiations, meetings, and normalization in all its forms with the Israeli occupation.”

I am not optimistic about peace talks in the Middle East.

And, when he uses the term "his", do you think he means all people or just males?  Maybe women will escape?  I doubt it, based on Daesh performance a little to the Northeast.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Monday, June 27, 2016

To Much Regulation

For John, BLUFThe question is, the Supreme Court having spoken, can it then unspeak in other areas?  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Crazy Right-Wing Supreme Court Rejects Government Regulations

Today, from The National Review, by Mr David French.
On page 27 of one of today’s Supreme Court opinions is this ringing rejection of regulatory regimes. The majority opinion addressed the argument that new regulations would prevent misconduct:
But there is no reason to believe that an extra layer of regulation would have affected that behavior. Determined wrongdoers, already ignoring existing statutes and safety measures, are unlikely to be convinced to adopt safe practices by a new overlay of regulations.
There you have it, ladies and gentlemen. The regulatory state should tremble in fear.  There is now “no reason to believe” that additional regulations would affect wrongdoers.  That means that regulations may not even be able to escape the lowest level of judicial scrutiny — rational-basis review.
Then the article goes the other way, noting that Abortion is a special thing.
Never mind.  The regulatory state is safe.  Everyone knows that the Supreme Court privileges the killing of children above all else.  After all, as Justice Ginsburg has said, Roe v. Wade was motivated by “concern about population growth and particularly growth in populations that we don’t want to have too many of.”  The undesired have to die — the reasoning matters not.
Surely Justice Ginsburg is not trying to channel Margaret SangerThis item, from 2012, say that Justice Ginsburg didn't mean what she blurted out.  Which is good, since it was favoring eugenics.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Brexit VII

For John, BLUFBelieve in Democracy.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

The Lib Dems have less respect for democracy than General Pinochet

Here is the lede:
The Liberal Democrat party, with its host of 6 MPs (much reduced in 2015) have pledged to ignore the Brexit referendum result and to campaign for the UK to remain in the EU.

“Nigel Farage’s vision for Britain has won this vote, but it is not a vision I accept”, declared Lib Dem leader Tim Farron yesterday.  “Even though the vote was close, the majority of British people want us to leave.  But we refuse to give up on our beliefs”, he said.

. . .

I would like to contrast this attitude with that of General Pinochet, well-known ‘strongman’ of Chilean politics from 1973 to 1990, who held a referendum on his junta (well, him) continuing to rule Chile in 1988, and who respected the outcome rejecting his continued rule, with a little prodding perhaps from General Matthei, the Air Force member of the junta (and friend of the UK in the Falklands War), who called for the result to be respected.

Don't believe in Democracy less than General/President Augusto Pinochet.

Hat tip to Samizdata.

Regards  —  Cliff

And the revolution against the ‘elites’ continues…

For John, BLUFIs anyone paying attention?  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Iceland elects 'a history professor and political commentator who has never held public office and has no party affiliation’.

Iceland elects political newcomer president

Political newcomer Gudni Johannesson claimed victory in Iceland's presidential election after riding a wave of anti-establishment sentiment, though the vote was eclipsed by the country's eagerly anticipated and historic Euro football match.

"All the votes have not been counted, but I think we have won," Johannesson told supporters.  With 36 percent of ballots counted, he was credited with 38.6 percent of votes.

By the way, Iceland beat England.  In to the quarter finals.

Regards  —  Cliff

Fountain Pens

For John, BLUFSomething special about fountain pens.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

The return of the Pelikan.

I was using a fountain pen today.

I did give my Meisterstück to my youngest Son, when he earned an award from Attorney General Loretta Lynch, for helping to track down bad guys on the internet.  I had owned the pen for some time and it was time for it to have a new home and to be a symbol of recognition of work well done.

Hat tip to Ann Althouse.

Regards  —  Cliff

Forced Abortion Coverage

For John, BLUFIt is a case of officials in the California Government forcing their views onto those who oppose abortion.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

I try to be calm about abortion.  It is taking of human life, but some differ from my view and I should not try to bludgeon them over it.  Of course, when it slides into eugenics it becomes another matter, but let us assume that within our borders people have good intentions.  So, I have a live and let live approach to the issue, but when folks poke into my bubble, I am not so happy.  I think this story, in The Pilot is such a case.

In 'shocking' move, California churches forced to cover abortions

Regards  —  Cliff

  I am opposed to abortion, but I think that there is a politically acceptable position wherein after 22 weeks we no longer allow abortions of convenience.  At that point we are talking about human life that can be sustained, with some effort, outside the human womb.  People who will grow up to be vibrant members of our society.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Yes, There Are Alternatives to Obamacare

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

From the pen of Neo-Neocon, yesterday, we have:

The House unveils its Obamacare replacement plan—and have you heard about it?

And the answer is, no, you haven't heard about it.  So, I read the blog post so you wouldn't have to and here is the payoff paragraph:
Oh, and if you’re interested in learning some of the details of Ryan and the GOP’s proposal (which you will no doubt find imperfect, as all such things are), go here and here. IF you’re feeling especially ambitious and thorough (not to say OCD), the entire 37-page document can be found here.
The current Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PP & ACA) is not the only solution.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Gun Ownership Issues

For John, BLUFCorrelation is a terrible thing.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

SCOTT ADAMS:  Why Gun Control Can’t Be Solved In The USA:
But we do know that race and poverty are correlated.  And we know that poverty and crime are correlated.  And we know that race and political affiliation are correlated.  Therefore, my team (Clinton) is more likely to use guns to shoot innocent people, whereas the other team (Trump) is more likely to use guns for sporting and defense.

That’s a gross generalization.  Obviously.  Your town might be totally different.

So it seems to me that gun control can’t be solved because Democrats are using guns to kill each other – and want it to stop – whereas Republicans are using guns to defend against Democrats.  Psychologically, those are different risk profiles.  And you can’t reconcile those interests, except on the margins.  For example, both sides might agree that rocket launchers are a step too far.  But Democrats are unlikely to talk Republicans out of gun ownership because it comes off as “Put down your gun so I can shoot you.”

That’s poor salesmanship.
This was posted this morning by Glenn Reynolds.  There are comments at the link.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Brexit VI

For John, BLUFBring them on board.  We've got relatives there.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Brexit boosts 'CANZUK' replacement for European Union


Think about it.  You get the UK bit, they have been in the news lately.  The CAN part can be confusing, since it is three nations, Canada, Australia and the "New" in New Zealand.

After a lot of preamble, Mr James C. Bennett, writing in USA Today, gets down to the heart of the issue.

Contrary to the statements of the outgoing President Obama, many voices in the US political scene urge rapid conclusion of a US-UK free trade agreement.  British workers have wages and benefits of the same order of magnitude as American workers, and unlike some nations, Britain has a sterling reputation for complying with obligations of its international trade agreements.  It is free of many of the objections of larger more complex trade agreements than have drawn opposition in recent years.

Beyond that, there is an interesting development, which to date, has been under the radar of most international political observers, but which now has been given a green light by yesterday’s and today’s events.  This is the growing movement for closer ties between Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and the UK, the so-called CANZUK nations.  A petition calling for bureaucracy-free movement between those 4 nations recently gained over 100,000 signatures in a few months without any financial backing or big names in support.  Boris Johnson, the flamboyant ex-mayor of London, and now victorious leader of the Leave movement in the Brexit referendum, has endorsed CANZUK free movement as a near term goal.

While I like these ideas, my view is we should offer statehood to the UK, with different parts becoming difference states.  What divides us is less than what unites us.  And let the Queen move to Canada, but keep her estates.  We aren't some Henry VIII.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Saturday, June 25, 2016

To Impeach or Not to Impeach

For John, BLUFI say impeach, so there is some respect for Congress.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Today was Day 1143 in the IRS Tax Scandal, and the Tax Prof Blog talks about Impeachment.

Internal Revenue Service Commissioner John Koskinen probably was the happiest person in Washington, D.C., today.  On a day when the House Judiciary Committee's second hearing on his possible impeachment might otherwise have garnered much attention, the Capitol Hill session was upstaged by two other events. ...

[W]hat did all normal, nontax nerds who took a pass miss on the Koskinen front?  Not much.

Same old, same old:  The wagons were circled along party lines, with Judiciary Committee Chairman Rep. Bob Goodlatte spelling out the "serious allegations of misconduct" against Koskinen in his opening statement. ...

Giving false testimony to Congress about how the Internal Revenue Service [mis]handled intra-agency emails is an impeachable offense, but House [Republican] action sans Senate support would be a mistake.  That was the assessment of Andrew McCarthy, a former assistant U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, at part 2 of the House Judiciary Committee's hearing to consider the impeachment of IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. ...

Michael Gerhardt, however, told Judiciary members that, "In my opinion, I think gross negligence doesn't qualify" as one of the constitutional requirements -- treason, bribery or other high crimes and misdemeanors -- for impeachment.  Gerhardt, a constitutional law professor at the University of North Carolina Law School, said in his view, impeachable conduct would have to involve "bad intent."

The conflicting opinions of legal experts, which also included George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley and Todd Garvey, legislative attorney with the Library of Congress, mirrored the disputes among the committee members themselves. ...

So far, Chaffetz has been able to get his GOP colleagues on Government Reform to agree to censure Koskinen.  But his chances of impeachment the IRS chief are smaller.  Neither House nor Senate Republican leaders have expressed support for the effort.

So, you can be a Government Official, an appointed official, confirmed by Congress even, and you can't be impeached for lying to Congress?  Interesting.  I wonder how that would work in a Trump Administration, especially if the Democrats held both houses of Congress?

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Ms Clinton Begins Fleshing Out Her Cabinet

For John, BLUFPutting Bill in charge of the economy is a bad idea.  If elected, President Clinton would be ultimately in charge.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From the web presence, Nation of Change, and Progressive Opinionated Jim Hightower, we have: This is actually from earlier in the month, 5 June.  Here is the lede plus two:
What’s past, as Shakespeare has told us, is prologue.

2016 has been a wild political season.  This year, despite the unnerving presidential freak show the Republicans are putting on, Hillary Clinton is the one who recently stunned me.  Attempting to convince very wary working class families that she will stand against the abuses of her Wall Street financial backers, while also lifting up the poor and shoring up the middle class, Clinton made this horrifying, spine-tingling declaration:  She’ll Bring Back Bill! Specifically, Hillary promises that her former-president husband will be put “in charge of revitalizing the economy.”

Good grief! Isn’t Bill the big galoot who turned his economic policy over to Wall Street’s Machiavellian, Robert Rubin?  Yes.  And didn’t Bill break his 1992 campaign promise to raise the minimum wage in his first year, putting it off until his fourth year, and even then providing only a token increase that still left the working poor mired in poverty?  Yes, again.  And didn’t he push into law a “welfare reform” bill that has shredded the safety net for America’s poorest, most-vulnerable people? Afraid so.

Bill Clinton in Charge?  While I think it is a good campaign move, I think it would be less than good in execution.  Or has this proposal all slipped into history?

What position will he hold?  On the other hand, he did, with help from Republicans, balance the budget.

Regards  —  Cliff

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

For John, BLUFwho watches the watchman?  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Fact-Checking Snopes:  Website’s Political ‘Fact-Checker’ Is Just A Failed Liberal Blogger

It is The Daily Caller and associate editor Peter Hasson.

Here is the lede plus two:

Popular myth-busting website Snopes originally gained recognition for being the go-to site for disproving outlandish urban legends -such as the presence of UFOs in Haiti or the existence of human-animal hybrids in the Amazon jungle.

Recently, however, the site has tried to pose as a political fact-checker. But Snopes’ “fact-checking” looks more like playing defense for prominent Democrats like Hillary Clinton and it’s political “fact-checker” describes herself as a liberal and has called Republicans “regressive” and afraid of “female agency.”

Snopes’ main political fact-checker is a writer named Kim Lacapria. Before writing for Snopes, Lacapria wrote for Inquisitr, a blog that — oddly enough — is known for publishing fake quotes and even downright hoaxes as much as anything else.

This is what those on the non-Progressive side always thought.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

  In contrast to those of us who are the real, the classical liberals.  Yes, Rush is wrong to call Progressives Liberals.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Brexit IV

For John, BLUFNow begins the negotiations, wherein the staffs try to reverse what the People voted for.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

There has been some rubbish published about what the Lord Mayor of London, Mr Sadiq Khan, has said about the Brexit Vote.

Mayor of London response to European Union referendum result

"I believe that Britain is better off within the European Union, but the British people have clearly spoken today, and their democratic will must now be fulfilled.

"I would like to praise David Cameron for the dignified way he has reacted to the message sent by the British people in his words at Downing Street today.  I agree with the Prime Minister that Britain can survive and prosper outside the European Union.

"I want to send a clear message to the British people and to businesses and investors around the world this morning - there is no need to panic.

"I still believe that our country is better off within the European Union, but there is no doubt that London will continue to be the successful city it is today.  Our city and our country will continue to be the best place in the world to do business.  And we will continue to look outwards and trade and engage with the entire world - including the European Union.

"Although we will be outside the EU, it is crucial that we remain part of the single market.  Leaving the single market of 500 million people - with its free-trade benefits - would be a mistake.  I will be pushing the Government to ensure this is the cornerstone of the negotiations with the EU.  It is crucial that London has a voice at the table during those renegotiations, alongside Scotland and Northern Ireland.

"We all have a responsibility to now seek to heal the divisions that have emerged throughout this campaign - and to focus on that which unites us, rather than that which divides us."

"I want to send a particular message to the almost one million Europeans living in London, who make a huge contribution to our city - working hard, paying taxes and contributing to our civic and cultural life.  You are welcome here.  We value the enormous contribution you make to our city and that will not change as a result of this referendum."

I really see only one false step in this statement.  Why did he leave Wales out of the mix of those who should have "a voice at the table" during renegotiations?  And Cornwall?  He was quick to claim a seat for London itself.

Hat tip to the Drudge.

Regards  —  Cliff

Brexit III

For John, BLUFLooking for humor is good.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From the Twitter Freed of Bobby Big Wheel, via Doctrine Man, we have:
Meanwhile India is just blown away that you can get Britain to leave by voting.
A great line.

Regards  —  Cliff

Brexit II

For John, BLUFPlanning ahead is not a Washington strong suit.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Here is a tweet from Will Collier (@willcollier) (the 24th at 8:07 AM):
If the US had a real president, he'd already have a US/UK free trade deal written up and ready to go.  Sadly, we have a vain academic twit.
I am thinking that Will has this wrong.  I bet President Obama has been quietly feeling out Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau about this possibility.  He has also, I am sure, quietly met with the leaders of Congress about expanding NAFTA to include the UK.  Surely Secretary of State Kerry and our Treasury Secretary, Mr Jacob Lew, have been developing plans to have closer ties with our British Cousins.  Surely.


Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Housing in the Bay Area

For John, BLUFIf we wonder about a housing shortage, it isn't just NIMBY, but it is also an attitude of "I've got mine, screw you".  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From Mr Ed Driscoll, at The InstaPundit:
BUILD MORE HOUSING!  SAN FRANCISCO’S YIMBY MOVEMENT HAS A PLAN TO SOLVE THE CITY’S HOUSING CRISIS:  A new video from Reason TV explains why it’s impossible to build in San Francisco, and to a lesser extent, the rest of the Bay Area as well:
The answer lies in the city’s unique culture of permissions and regulations. NIMBYs (“not in my backyard”) have successfully organized against development in the region for decades by blocking new construction they deem to be a nuisance.

“We have so much neighborhood input here.  More than anywhere else in the country,” says housing activist Sonja Trauss.  “This public policy of whatever you do on your property being everybody’s business—how has that gone for us? What has that produced? Well, it’s produced a horrible housing shortage.”

Some of the recent developments delayed by NIMBY opponents include a 36-story residential building at 1481 Post Street that was first proposed over 10 years ago; a 17-acre space at Balboa Reservoir that is currently an empty parking lot; and a 10-story condo development at 1979 Mission Street that residents have dubbed the “monster in the Mission.”

The Bay area’s propensity for NIMBYism has bordered on the absurd in some instances.  In 2010, residents banded together to block the addition of high speed internet equipment around the city, with some neighborhoods claiming a broadband antenna could “accidentally zap residents with concentrated radio waves” in the event of an earthquake.  This year Palo Alto residents in Royal Manor, a neighborhood of 200 homes, proposed a zoning law that would ban two-story homes and second-story add-ons to maintain the aesthetic of their community.

The stubbornness of the NIMBYs has sparked a counter-YIMBY movement (“yes in my backyard”) among activists who believe the way out of the housing crisis is to build.

And here is one article my Middle Brother hasn't sent me from The San Jose Mercury, "California's skyrocketing housing costs, taxes prompt exodus of residents".

My feeling is that if there are people who like mild weather and like lots of restrictions on buildings and on activities, then it is good that they all congregate in one place—the City by the Bay.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

  When we purchased our current home the realtor had clauses prohibiting storing a boat (like our neighbor a couple houses down does), no RV in the driveway, no hanging laundry out to dry.  That sort of thing, which might lower house prices.  I wonder if that is left over from the 1860s or if she had spent time in San Francisco?

Confusion in the Administration

For John, BLUFA good question.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Why did the White House just humiliate Loretta Lynch?

This is an Editorial Opinion from the New York Post Editorial Board, on 20 June.  And, it is about the the botched release of the transcripts from Mr Omar Mateen, the Orlando Daesh following shooter.

I have taken two excerpts.  The first is a vote of confidence in Attorney General Loretta Lynch, someone I also have confidence in:

Lynch never did anything this absurd in all her years as US attorney here in New York, so you know the order came down from above.
Then, here is the bottom line and the money quote (making reference to Former NSA Susan Rice):
It makes you wonder:  Who at the White House feels compelled to send women of color out to humiliate themselves on national TV?

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Shooting in Germany

For John, BLUFThere are lessons here, but I don't expect to see any.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Gunman takes hostages in German cinema, is shot dead by police

With a dateline in Viernheim, Germany, Reporter Ralf Banser, wrote for Reuters.
A masked gunman took hostages at a cinema in western Germany on Thursday before police stormed the complex and shot him dead, police said.

No other people were injured, a police spokesman said.

The attacker, who carried a rifle or "long gun," acted alone and appeared to be a "disturbed man," the interior minister of Hesse state, Peter Beuth, told the regional parliament.

So, here is an interesting story.  No mention of a rifle (FYI, a rifle could be an AR-15, but not a musket) in the headline.  It isn't until the third paragraph that the hostage taker having a gun is mentioned.

Yet, the police thought the situation was sufficiently dire to use deadly force.

The "weapon" turned out to be a life-like simulation, which apparently fooled the police.  With the name not released one wonders if this might have been a copycat event, off of Orlando.

Germany has strict gun laws.  Apparently they need strict laws on models of guns.

Regards  —  Cliff

  Which is why not playing up the assassination attempt on Mr Trump made good sense.


For John, BLUFThere will always be an England.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

I lived in England for a year, in 1974.  My town went 53.9% for EXIT.

I approve.

Regards  —  Cliff

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Insight, At Last

For John, BLUFA long read, but important.  Take it in sections.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From The Atlantic and the pen of Analyst Jonathan Rauch, we finally have some insight to this amazing presidential campaign. Here is the sub-headline:
It happened gradually—and until the U.S. figures out how to treat the problem, it will only get worse.
I think the best line of a very long article, and the first indication of insight on the part of the party elites, the media or academia, is this one:
Trump, however, didn’t cause the chaos.  The chaos caused Trump.  What we are seeing is not a temporary spasm of chaos but a chaos syndrome.
Think about that.  The Donald is the natural outcome to the alienation felt by the voters, as is Senator Bernie Sanders.  You can put it down to under-educated Caucasian males, but they are a block of voters and they did.  And took others with them.  And last week started picking up some LGBTQ supporters.

Here are two insightful paragraphs.

Our intricate, informal system of political intermediation, which took many decades to build, did not commit suicide or die of old age; we reformed it to death.  For decades, well-meaning political reformers have attacked intermediaries as corrupt, undemocratic, unnecessary, or (usually) all of the above.  Americans have been busy demonizing and disempowering political professionals and parties, which is like spending decades abusing and attacking your own immune system.  Eventually, you will get sick.

The disorder has other causes, too: developments such as ideological polarization, the rise of social media, and the radicalization of the Republican base.  But chaos syndrome compounds the effects of those developments, by impeding the task of organizing to counteract them.  Insurgencies in presidential races and on Capitol Hill are nothing new, and they are not necessarily bad, as long as the governing process can accommodate them.  Years before the Senate had to cope with Ted Cruz, it had to cope with Jesse Helms.  The difference is that Cruz shut down the government, which Helms could not have done had he even imagined trying.

Note the comment about "we reformed it to death."  The author suggests, for example, that the campaign finance reforms made things worse, rather than better.  So, you might not like Citizens United, but campaign Finance reform has just made things worse.

You will have to read the whole thing to find out the problems Author Rauch has identified.  I will note that the author probably puts too much emphasis on the Tea Parties, and not enough on the 1968 Democratic Party Convention and the subsequent Senator George McGovern reforms (McGovern-Fraser Commission).

The author does provide some suggested solutions to the chaos that he sees consuming our political process:

I don’t have a quick solution to the current mess, but I do think it would be easy, in principle, to start moving in a better direction.  Although returning parties and middlemen to anything like their 19th-century glory is not conceivable—or, in today’s America, even desirable—strengthening parties and middlemen is very doable.  Restrictions inhibiting the parties from coordinating with their own candidates serve to encourage political wildcatting, so repeal them.  Limits on donations to the parties drive money to unaccountable outsiders, so lift them.  Restoring the earmarks that help grease legislative success requires nothing more than a change in congressional rules.  And there are all kinds of ways the parties could move insiders back to the center of the nomination process.  If they wanted to, they could require would-be candidates to get petition signatures from elected officials and county party chairs, or they could send unbound delegates to their conventions (as several state parties are doing this year), or they could enhance the role of middlemen in a host of other ways.

Building party machines and political networks is what career politicians naturally do, if they’re allowed to do it. So let them.  I’m not talking about rigging the system to exclude challengers or prevent insurgencies.  I’m talking about de-rigging the system to reduce its pervasive bias against middlemen.  Then they can do their job, thereby making the world safe for challengers and insurgencies.

Unfortunately, although the mechanics of de-rigging are fairly straightforward, the politics of it are hard.  The public is wedded to an anti-establishment narrative.  The political-reform community is invested in direct participation, transparency, fund-raising limits on parties, and other elements of the anti-intermediation worldview.  The establishment, to the extent that there still is such a thing, is demoralized and shattered, barely able to muster an argument for its own existence.

And, the author has some hopeful notes:
But there are optimistic signs, too.  Liberals in the campaign-finance-reform community are showing new interest in strengthening the parties. Academics and commentators are getting a good look at politics without effective organizers and cohesive organizations, and they are terrified.  On Capitol Hill, conservatives and liberals alike are on board with restoring regular order in Congress.  In Washington, insiders have had some success at reorganizing and pushing back.  No Senate Republican was defeated by a primary challenger in 2014, in part because then–Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, a machine politician par excellence, created a network of business allies to counterpunch against the Tea Party.

The biggest obstacle, I think, is the general public’s reflexive, unreasoning hostility to politicians and the process of politics. Neurotic hatred of the political class is the country’s last universally acceptable form of bigotry.  Because that problem is mental, not mechanical, it really is hard to remedy.

The author, early on in the article, points out we could have a repeat of this election year in 2020, if there are not changes.  At the this point, the election of a Hillary Clinton will be a continuation of things as they are, with some possibility of reforms around the margins until the citizenry has educated itself on what is going on.  The election of a Donald Trump will create more of an opportunity for reform, but with less predictability as to how the next four years will go.  The term from bridge players is "A cheap trick now will cost you later."

Hat tip to the Memorandum.

Regards  —  Cliff

Regards — Cliff

Speaker Paul Ryan and Presumptive Nominee Donald Trump

For John, BLUFA Trump Presidency will require some sorting out of relationships.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From The New Yorker and Mr Ryan Lizza we have:


The key points are here:
There are essentially two Republican parties right now: the Party of Donald J. Trump and the Party of House Speaker Paul Ryan—who has, nonetheless, endorsed Trump for President.  One of the ways in which members of the Ryan faction delude themselves is by believing that Ryan’s policies would dominate if Trump were President and Ryan remained Speaker of the House.
and here:
Ryan’s second assumption was that any new Republican President would respect a historical shift in the way that Republicans think about the balance of power between the executive and legislative branches.  From 1969, the start of the Nixon Presidency, to 1993, the end of the George H. W. Bush Administration, when Republicans controlled the Presidency and Democrats dominated the House, the G.O.P. believed in a powerful executive, a view that was revived when George W. Bush took office.  But in the Obama years, when Republicans’ base of power became more firmly rooted in Congress and, in their view, Barack Obama expanded the powers of the Presidency, Republicans became loud advocates of the primacy of the legislative branch.
The thing is, this is not an astounding insight, except to New Yorker readers.  Ms Peggy Noonan talked about this last week, which we blogged here.

Yes, the GOP is divided between the elite and the masses.  The elites are supported by the media and academics.  But, the masses have more voters than the elite.

And, it is unlikely the media and academics will let Mr Trump rule via his pen and his phone.

Regards  —  Cliff

Monday, June 20, 2016

Gays for Gun Rights

For John, BLUFAnd this is why many Blacks back the Second Amendment.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From Mr David Kopel and "The Volokh Conspiracy, at The Wash Post we have a summary of "the past and present of gay rights activism for the Second Amendment rights of sexual minorities and of all other Americans."

The history of LGBT gun-rights litigation

It is what we have in common that unites us.  The belief in the Second Amendment is one of those things.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Protecting The People From The Truth

For John, BLUFThis is shameful.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From Mr Tim Hains and Real Clear Politics we have this headline:

Lynch: "Partial Transcript" Of Orlando 911 Calls Will Have References To Islamic Terrorism Removed

What ever happened to:
  • The Truth, the Whole Truth and Nothing But the Truth?
  • Transparency?
  • Open Government?
  • Treating People Like Adults, Vice Children
  • Democracy?
I am very disappointed in the Attorney General.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Hypocrites of the World United

For John, BLUFTerrorism for me, but not for thee.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

We do know who Bill Ayers is, don't we?  Remember, your children are in the best of hands.

I found this on Twitchy, which had this headline:

Satire officially dead:  Who’s up for a terrorism prevention lecture from THIS guy?

And, of course, the punch line is that Mr Omar Mateen didn't use an AR-15.  He actually used a SIG Sauer MCX semi-automatic rifle and a 9mm Glock 17 handgun.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

  No, it is not a machine gun.  He had to pull the trigger over 100 times.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Commonwealth Budget Problems?

For John, BLUFDo you trust the Great and General Court to spend wisely?  Nothing to see here; just move along.

I am dubious about this headline from The New Boston Post, but it is another thing to worry about.  Mr Daniel Huizinga tells us:

Massachusetts in bottom five of nationwide financial rankings

And here is the lede plus two:
Can your state pay its bills? In coming years, a surprising number of states may be in trouble. A new report by the Mercatus Center sheds new light on the state of finances for all 50 states and Puerto Rico. Researchers Eileen Norcross and Olivia Gonzalez looked at several measures of fiscal solvency and uncovered some alarming trends.

Puerto Rico comes in dead last in the rankings for overall solvency, which is unsurprising given its recent debt crisis. But several other states are surprisingly close to Puerto Rico’s position, the study found.

A state’s budget solvency score measures whether a state is operating with consistent surpluses or deficits each year. Norcross and Gonzalez determined this value with an “operating ratio,” which indicates whether a state has enough revenue coming in (from taxes or other sources) to pay all of its expenses.

It is an indication that we have to pay attention.  Those ladies and gentleman on Beacon Hill are not to be trusted with our money.  And they are more likely to want a tax increase than to find a better way of doing business.

Regards  —  Cliff

Hilary's Foreign Policy

For John, BLUFIf you are worried about The Donald, think about Hillary.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From Nation of Change we have this headline:

Dangerously Coherent:  Hillary Clinton and Washington’s Foreign Policy Bubble

The Reporter is Mr Derek Royden.  While he meanders a bit, his point is that Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has a Cold War mentality that will not be helpful if she is elected.

Regards  —  Cliff

Candidates and the Media

For John, BLUFIt was ever thus.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

But instead of simply owning up to not agreeing with the way the Dallas Morning News, New York Post and Washington Times were doing their respective jobs, the president’s team played dumb in insulting everyone’s intelligence in claiming it was simply a matter of suddenly having a limited number of seats on said plane.
That Donald Trump is such a blockhead.

Oh, wait.  What?


The Donald wasn't running that year.

Reporter Joe Concha, of Mediaite, says it was Senator Barack Obama.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Was Hillary's Win Cooked?

For John, BLUFWell, voter fraud somewhere, but surely not here in our fair Commonwealth.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

One would like to think not.  The process is pretty straight forward.  From observing our voting here in Lowell it doesn't look like it is being faked, but who knows?  Nation of Change was arguing a couple of days ago that there are still five million votes to be counted in California.  How does that work out?  And, no, Nation of Change is not part of some vast Right Wing Conspiracy.

Anyway, The Observer, and Reporter Michael Sainato, give us:

Guccifer 2.0 Leak Reveals How DNC Rigged Primaries for Clinton

The sub-headline is "Hillary Clinton didn’t win the Democratic primaries through democratic means".

Guccifer 2.0 is not to be confused with Guccifer himself, the Rumanian hacker who is awaiting sentencing on Federal Charges.

Here is the lede:

Earlier this week, a lone hacker—self-dubbed Guccifer 2.0—breached DNC servers and reportedly obtained opposition research on the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, Donald Trump.  The DNC confirmed the hack and hasn’t denied the authenticity of the documents released.  The Party has, however, continued to propagate that the hack was deployed by the Russian government—perhaps because the information that was released is far more revealing than just opposition research.

Internal memos, dated May 2015—long before the first state voted in the Democratic primary—referred to Hillary Clinton as though she was already the Democratic presidential nominee.  The documents leaked by Guccifer 2.0 not only illuminate the DNC’s efforts to ensure Clinton’s coronation but also reveal the strategies used to shield her from criticism on ethics, transparency and campaign finance reform—all vulnerabilities for the corrupt Establishment darling.

And, my Bernie loving friend out in Kansas, Matt, posted this 18 June item on Facebook:

Odds Hillary Won Without Widespread Fraud: 1 in 77 Billion Says Berkeley, Stanford Studies

And the sub-headline is "After applying various statistical models to subsets of 2016 primary voting data several academic researchers conclude Hillary Clinton’s win was only possible through widespread vote fraud."

So, our Democratic Party friends tell us voter fraud is a Republican Party myth.  I would like to think so, but when Progressive Democrats are crying voter fraud I have to stop and wonder.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

  "Lies, damned lies, statistics." Various people over time have said this, from the Duke of Wellington to Mark Twain.

Survey Results Retracted

For John, BLUFDistrust all surveys, especially this election season.  Nothing to see here; just move along.


From Powerline, earlier in the month, and Mr Steven Hayward.  This is about the fact that a much ballyhooed survey by the psychological community, which showed conservatives to be "more authoritarian" turns out not to have shown that.  Small problem with data interpretation.

This reminds me of a survey of a small, poor, rural, Virginia town, 50 years ago, which found the Pentecostals to be the more neurotic of the residents.  Then they had the results re-scored, but without religion indicated to the scorers, and the Pentecostals were those who were best adjusted to their circumstances.  I love science.

Anyway, here is the lede:

Hoo-wee, the New York Times will really have to extend itself to top the boner and mother-of-all-corrections at the American Journal of Political Science.  This is the journal that published a finding much beloved of liberals a few years back that purported to find scientific evidence that conservatives are more likely to exhibit traits associated with psychoticism, such as authoritarianism and tough-mindedness, and that the supposed “authoritarian” personality of conservatives might even have a genetic basis (and therefore be treatable someday?).
Read the whole article if you want to wallow in the jargon.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Glen Greenwald Says Protect Everyone's Rights

For John, BLUFCivil Rights aren't free.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Not that Glenn Greenwald is always, or usually, right, but he does not come as this as a homophobe.  Which is why his comments deserve more than a passing glance.

The FBI was right not to arrest Omar Mateen before the shooting

On the pages of The Washington Post Mr Greenwald argues:
Citizens should not forfeit their rights if they haven't committed a crime.
Here is the first part of the article:
The massacre at an Orlando LGBT club has predictably provoked the same reaction as past terror attacks:  recriminations that authorities should have done more to stop it in advance, accompanied by demands for new police powers to prevent future ones.  Blame-assigners immediately pointed to the FBI’s investigation of the Orlando shooter, Omar Mateen.  “The FBI closed this file because the Obama administration treats radical Islamic threats as common crimes,” GOP Sen. Lindsey O. Graham argued on Fox News “If we kept the file open and we saw what he was up to, I think we could have stopped it.”  Others cited core fundamental rights, demanding they be eroded.  “Due process is what’s killing us right now,” proclaimed Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin about the FBI’s inability to act more aggressively against Mateen.

Ever since the Sept. 11 attack almost 15 years ago, every act of perceived terror, and even thwarted ones, have triggered identical responses.&in so; The Boston Marathon attack, for instance, prompted this critique of the bureau, which had looked into the older brother:&in so; “Many people thought the FBI should have continued to investigate [Tamerlan] Tsarnaev until the Boston plot was uncovered,” David Gomez recalled this week in Foreign Policy.  About Orlando, he wrote:  “As more terrorists become successful in hiding from the FBI in plain sight using encryption and other means, perhaps it is time to revisit the probable-cause standard to open investigations in potential terrorism cases.”

Underlying this mind-set is an assumption that is both dubious and dangerous:  that absolute security is desirable and attainable.  None say that explicitly, but it’s the necessary implication of the argument.  Once this framework is implicitly adopted, a successful attack becomes proof that something went wrong, law enforcement failed to act properly and more government authorities are needed.  To wit:  Hillary Clinton this week proposed an “intelligence surge” to halt “plots before they can be carried out.”  And Donald Trump called for more intelligence activity to give “law enforcement and the military the tools they need to prevent terrorist attacks.”

This is wrong, and based on what we know, the FBI acted properly.  Agents have the power they need, and they were right to close the case on Mateen.  Just because someone successfully carried out a violent mass attack does not prove that police powers were inadequate or that existing powers were misapplied.  No minimally free society can prevent all violence.  In the United States, we do not hold suspects for crimes they have not committed.

It is possible, indeed probable, that violent attacks will occur even with superb law enforcement.  This is the tradeoff we make for liberty.

The complaint that the FBI, once it had Mateen under suspicion, should have acted more aggressively to stop him illustrates a kind of pathology.  By all accounts, Mateen had committed no crime (though his ex-wife later said he had battered her).  At the time the FBI decided to close its file on him, he had not joined any terrorist organization, nor attended a terror training camp, nor communicated with terror operatives about any plots.  Although he boasted to office colleagues about ties to al Qaeda and Hezbollah, agents found those claims dubious.  There is not, as far as we know, even evidence that he had expressed support for violence.

When the FBI has reason to suspect someone of extremist activity, they open an investigative file and gather whatever information they can.  But once they conclude that there is no evidence of criminality, they close the file.  That’s how it should be:  none of us should want permanent inquiries into citizens without evidence of lawbreaking, and we should certainly not want punishments meted out based on unproven suspicions.  The FBI followed these principles in closing its file on Mateen, and it deserves praise for that, not armchair criticism.  “As I would hope the American people would want, we don’t keep people under investigation indefinitely,” FBI Director James Comey said.  If agents “don’t see predication for continuing it, then we close it.”

When he is right he is right.

And I am glad Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin is not a Republican, given his views.  We already have Senator Lindsey Graham.

Regards  —  Cliff

A House Divided

For John, BLUFAbraham Lincoln, a house divided can not stand.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

A Party Divided, and None Too Soon

Ms Peggy Noonan, writing in The Wall Street Journal at the beginning of the month, says "Beltway Republicans will have to come to terms with how they lost Middle America".

Too right.

Regards  —  Cliff

SecState Reprioritizes

For John, BLUFMr Kerry is making sense here.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From The Washington Examiner:

Kerry concedes: Terrorism is a bigger threat than climate change

One wonders if Mr Kerry has passed over the ideas that the Orlando event was due to homophobia or the sale of guns in the United States for the idea that there is a small kernel of Islam that believes obedience to God requires the elimination of those who don't take God seriously?

Not Islam, but a small grain of sand of Islam.

Regards  —  Cliff

Friday, June 17, 2016

Daesh Heading Into A Death Spiral

For John, BLUFPresident Obama has the wrong strategy.  Ms Clinton has not suggested a better one.  Nor, for that matter, has Mr Trump.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Islamic State Caliphate Staring Into ‘Death Spiral’

From Mr Jeff Seldin, of Voice of America News, on the 16th, we have a report on progress.

For the United States and its coalition partners, it is the sound of progress – the dull roar of engines as Iraqi Humvees kick up dust and dirt on the outskirts of Fallujah.  In the distance, smoke rises as Iraqi forces push on with a slow but steady advance.

The scene, shared in a video handout by the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, makes the battle for the key city look more methodical than it is.  Closer in, Iraqi forces are meeting with what coalition officials have described as “stiff resistance” from Islamic State (IS) fighters.

But for many, the trend appears clear:  The terror group’s self-declared caliphate is starting to crumble.

“This is the first time ISIL is experiencing pressure from a number of places,” said a U.S. official who spoke to VOA on condition of anonymity, using an acronym for the group.

“We’ve never seen them have to react to this sort of pressure,” the official added.  “We’re looking closely.”

This idea of a "Death Spiral for Daesh is supported by Mr Daveed Gartenstein-Ross, a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies who has been closely following IS’s fortunes.
We could be looking at a death spiral that will destroy the organization.
On the other other hand, there is this more pessimistic, and realistic, view:
It's actually irrelevant.  Everyone seems to be focused on the organisation and not the idea.  IS is but one of the many Hydra heads from Al Tawheed Wal Jihad.  IS will die, but the phenomenon will remain.  Only until nation states cease waging politically correct wars will they learn to harness a combined military, civil and law enforcement exercise that not only targets the leadership but the "teachers" of the phenomenon, the IT support and the financiers.  This hasn't been done yet. That is why this threat will metastasize.  Also, we tend to forget AQ.   But...this isn't the worse threat.  Criminal organizations and politically aligned militias are learning and emulating this phenomenon.  The world is heading into very chaotic times.
And there it is.  This is not about Daesh or al Qaeda or the Muslim Brotherhood, but about a kernel idea that says Sharia is the supreme law over all other law and that certain things are wrong under Sharia and deserve death.  What percentage of Muslims believe this?  Probably a very small percentage, but they exist and they fuel the multiplication of groups like Daesh.

And then, there are those who believe Islam has been oppressed by the West for the last 500 years and maybe the last 700 years.  Remember that 1492 may be the year the people in Cambridge believe represents the infliction of Western values on the Western Hemisphere, but for Muslims it means the year they were thrown out of Iberia.  Daesh and others of an Islamic historic orientation want to go back into Spain.  Would that be good for the West, and the rest?

Regards  —  Cliff

CBS Straw Purchase

For John, BLUFIt is OK because she is a trained Reporter.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Store Owner: Undercover CBS Purchase of AR-15 Broke Federal Law

The sub-headline is "ATF, Virginia State Police contacted over ‘straw purchase’", because straw purchases are illegal, a crime, something the appropriate police should investigate and the appropriate prosecutor should prosecute.  It appears the Reporter lied to the dealer.  Which makes it like the late Mr Mateen.

This Free Beacon article is by Reporter Stephen Gutowski, this morning.  Here is the lede plus several.

The gun store where a CBS News employee purchased a gun for a segment that aired Thursday on “CBS This Morning” has filed a report with the Virginia State Police and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives over concerns the purchase was unlawful.

The store, SpecDive Tactical in Alexandria, Virginia, said that when CBS News’ Paula Reid purchased the rifle she told the store’s general manager the gun was for her own use.  However, when CBS reported on the story they revealed the gun was purchased for the story and transferred to a third party a few hours later.  “The rifle we purchased was legally transferred to a federally licensed firearms dealer and weapons instructor in Virginia, just hours after we bought it,” the report said.

The store said they contacted the ATF after viewing the report because they feared the misdirection used by the CBS reporter constituted a straw purchase, which would be a federal crime.

“Ms. Paula Reid came into the shop with cash, claiming she wished to purchase an AR-15 to, ‘undergo training,’” Ryan Lamke, SpecDive’s general manager, told the Washington Free Beacon.  “She refused basic, free instruction of firearms safety under the pretense that she was using the firearm for training with a NRA certified instructor.”

“Due to the information provided in the CBS News report filed today, I suspect Ms. Reid committed a straw purchase and procurement of a firearm under false pretenses.”

Hat tip to Memeorandum.

Regards  —  Cliff

Thursday, June 16, 2016

China in a Box

For John, BLUFWe need to coherent and consistent China policy.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From the Stimson Center East Asia Program and the computer keyboard of Ms Yun Sun we have:

China’s Perspectives Towards the Korean Peninsula.

The paper says that China feels a need to protect North Korea and can't find a way to compromise with other neighbors.  This will not go well.

Regards  —  Cliff

Choices for November

For John, BLUFChanges will not always give us what we thought we would get.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Shrink presidency to improve candidates

The sub-headline in Law Professor Glenn Harlan Reynolds' USA Today article is:  "Less power and celebrity might attract White House hopefuls more likable than Trump or Clinton."

Here is the lede plus two:

The primaries are over, it looks like it’s going to be Hillary Clinton vs. Donald Trump, and a lot of people are unhappy.

“Don't let anyone steal that disgust from your heart," Michael Brendan Dougherty writes in The Week.  "Don't let anyone tell you that the nearly uncontrollable urge to retch at the thought of this election is disproportionate, or somehow uncivil.  When you contemplate the fate of your country in 2016, you have the right to be depressed, or even despairing.”

Well, as Adam Smith observed centuries ago, there is a lot of ruin in even a great nation.  But it does feel like we’re putting that observation to the test right now.

I take the Professor's point.  We have a problem.  I am not sure we all agree on the causes, but the candidacy of Mr Trump has shown the Democrats that the profligate abuse of power by Mr Obama would not be desirable in the hands of a Mr Trump.

But all of the above does not mean there isn't a dime's worth of difference between the two presumptive candidates, Ms Clinton and Mr Trump.  Mr Trump about who we don't know enough and Ms Clinton about who we know too much.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Is The Donald the Man?

For John, BLUFIs The Donald the Clint Eastwood of the race?  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Do Trump's Supporters Think He's Masculine?

No matter how you feel about Donald Trump, his candidacy has certainly brought gender issues to the forefront of the presidential race: witness his feud-turned-lovefest with Megyn Kelly.

Gender was already a hot topic elsewhere throughout American culture.  Narratives about America’s changing sexual landscape -- the so-called campus “rape culture,” the rise of women and the “end of men,” the tired conversation about the gender pay gap -- were common.

However, one issue in particular is now more visible due in part to something Trump represents to his supporters, something the culture has lost:  the manly man.

While we talk about the gender gap at the top of the pyramid, at the bottom this gap is ignored and the male side suffers.  Maybe Mr Trump is their hope.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Banning Pictures of Skinny Women in Skimpy Clothing

For John, BLUFIs this body shaming or is it Islam?  Nothing to see here; just move along.

The new mayor of London, England, His Honor Sadiq Khan, is calling for cleaning up the advertising on London Subways, the Underground.

Here is the headline:

London's new Muslim mayor takes aim at sexy subway ads

Here is the lede:
The newly elected mayor of London's call for a ban on public ads that show scantily clad women has critics complaining the move has more to do with his Muslim roots than his concerns about "body-shaming."
Which may be why he has abandoned his pledge to hold subway fares steady.  Ad revenues are down.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

The Losers Speak

For John, BLUFQualified men who failed.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

A Huffington Post interview conducted by Sam Stein.  The Headline is:


Here is the sub-headline.
These three campaign gurus for Jeb Bush, Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio have had some time to reflect on their loss to The Donald.  And do they ever have stories to tell.
A fairly long article, discussing an interview with three political operatives, Danny Diaz (Jeb Bush's campaign manager), Jeff Roe (Ted Cruz's campaign manager) and Alex Conant (Marco Rubio's communications director).  I thought it was an interesting read.  The excerpt below is an interesting part of the interview.  I have used bold to indicate the question being asked.
How do you think Hillary’s focus on being a woman and running a historic campaign will work against Trump's misogyny?
Jeez.  Wow.

That’s loaded.

Look, I think what we saw last night is what we're going to see from the Clinton campaign every day from now until November.  Which is, they're going to make this election a referendum on whether or not you want a woman in the White House.  Not whether or not you want Hillary Clinton in the White House.  I think that’s her only message.

Do you think it plays?
It’s better than asking people to vote for Hillary.

That is the thing that we haven’t spent much time on: what a complete and utter train wreck she is.  They’re going to have to rely heavily on the no-to-Trump vote rather than the yes-to-Hillary vote.  I mean, anybody would’ve beaten her in the primary besides a 74-year-old socialist.

Regards  —  Cliff

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Diversity in Government

For John, BLUFDiverse is not necessarily better>  This lady also needs to bring something to the table.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

This Homeland Security Adviser Said '9/11 Changed the World for Good'

From Conservative Review and Reporter Phil Shiver we have this lede:
Laila Alawa, a 25-year-old Syrian immigrant is a sitting member on the Homeland Security Advisory Council’s (HSAC) Subcommittee on Countering Violent Extremism. Shockingly Alawa has stated that the 9/11 attacks “changed the world for good.” Alawa has also exhaustively blasted America, free speech, and white male “privilege” on social media, as first pointed out by this Daily Caller report.
I am sure if Ms Alawa thought about it she would say "Caucasian" vice "White", and I notice she uses male, to modify the term, so she excuses herself, she being another Caucasian (White).

I roger the "caucasian male privilege, in that I think that is what allows me to strive to be nice to all around me.

Frankly, I don't object to Ms Alawa being on the Homeland Security Advisory Council Subcommittee on Countering Violent Extremism.  Such groups need a variety of points of view and it needs good leaders to make sure lateral thinking is not suppressed.

Hat tip to Rob Eno.

Regards  —  Cliff

Happy Birthday, US Army

For John, BLUFCongress raises the Army, per the Constitution.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From a friend:
On June 14,1775, the Second Continental Congress decided to proceed with the establishment of a Continental Army for purposes of common defense, adopting the forces already in place outside Boston (22,000 troops) and New York (5,000).  It also raised the first ten companies of Continental troops on a one-year enlistment, riflemen from Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia to be used as light infantry, who later became the 1st Continental Regiment in 1776.

On June 15, the Congress elected George Washington as Commander in Chief by unanimous vote.  He accepted and served throughout the war without any compensation except for reimbursement of expenses.

The above said, General George Washington was meticulous in terms of his record keeping for expenses.

Regards  —  Cliff

Monday, June 13, 2016

Former SecState Clinton now says "radical jihidist terrorism"

For John, BLUFShe has "evolved".  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Hillary Evolves, Now Willing to Cite 'Radical Islam' as Problem

The author at PJ Media, Mr Stephen Kruiser, today asks about "The Trump Effect?"
Hillary Clinton on Monday broke from President Barack Obama in referring to the terrorist attack as "radical Islamism," countering Donald Trump's accusations that both she and Obama are weak on tackling terrorist threats.

In an interview with NBC's "Today" on Monday morning, Clinton said words matter less than actions, but that she didn't have a problem using the term.

"And from my perspective, it matters what we do, not what we say.  It matters that we got Bin Laden, not what name we called him," Clinton said.  "But if he is somehow suggesting I don't call this for what it is, he hasn't been listening.  I have clearly said we face terrorist enemies who use Islam to justify slaughtering people.  We have to stop them and we will.  We have to defeat radical jihadist terrorism, and we will."

Both terms "mean the same thing," Clinton continued, adding, "And to me, radical jihadism, radical Islamism, I think they mean the same thing. I'm happy to say either, but that's not the point."

And, the conversation continues after this point, but you should click on the link and go read it.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Bernie Off the Beam

For John, BLUFFactories and Offices are open two days a week, due to a lack of electricity.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Hey Bernie, I left Venezuela's socialism behind for a reason

I know I did this back on 8 June, but it is important.

The author is Mr Erick Bremen, writing USA Today.

The lede:

As an immigrant from Latin America, I have found the current presidential election to be both depressing and terrifying — but not for the obvious reason.  The negativity in rhetoric concerns me, of course.  Yet it pales in comparison to the growing acceptance of socialism, which I thought I left behind in my formerly rich homeland, Venezuela.
I see Senator Bernie Sanders as having identified the problems we face.  I am not keen on his idea that Socialism is a solution.

When the Government is in charge of everything and nothing is working the Government solution is to tighten up and double down, and the citizen pays the price.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

ID To Vote—A Cultural Thing

For John, BLUFI hope you don't require ID for your business.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From The Valley Patriot we have this headline:  "Dominicans in Lawrence Vote for Dominican President, Show ID to Vote and say Voter ID is 'Not Racist'".

From Publisher Tom Duggan, we have this lead and several paragraphs of a longer article:

LAWRENCE – The gymnasium of the old high school on Haverhill St. was filled to capacity Sunday afternoon as Dominican citizens who live in the City of Lawrence, Massachusetts turned out in large numbers to vote for the next Dominican President.

Dominican citizens who have dual citizenship with the United States are allowed to vote in both countries’ elections.

The line of people waiting to vote outside started at on Amesbury St., and snaked down to Lebanon St. to the back doors of the old Lawrence High School.  There, they were met by campaign volunteers from the various campaigns, handing out literature for their preferred candidate, and talking to voters one last time before they went inside to vote.

Once inside the back lobby, the line continued up a flight of stairs to the doors of the gymnasium.  By that point, voters could finally see the end of the line, where each voter was asked to register and show their government approved Voter ID before they could cast ballot.

I would like to be on record as being opposed to "dual citizenship".  It is legal.  However, I don't think it is right.

One of the things I don't understand about ID to vote is the issue of how the "poor" deal with the various ID requirements I run into from time to time, such as picking up medicine.  This seems to me to be just another Democratic Party "dog whistle".

It is on on our Government to provide IDs to everyone.  Not a National ID, but Town, City, or State issued ID.  That is, those of us who can afford to pay taxes should ensure that everyone has an ID.

Regards  —  Cliff