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Friday, June 30, 2017

Slow Motion Disaster

For John, BLUFWhich is why I am leaving Illinois before the end of next week.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From The Old Gray Lady and Reporters Julie Bosman andMonica Davey.  The dateline is 29 June 2017.

Here is the first part of the article:

Road construction and bridge repairs may come to a halt.

At least one agency has threatened to downgrade Illinois’s credit rating to junk, a crippling borrowing position no state has ever seen.

And in perhaps the most visible and immediate sign of the pressure on Illinois leaders to solve their budget standoff at long last, the multistate lotteries — Mega Millions and Powerball — are to be suspended.

With hours left before Illinois begins an unprecedented third year without a full budget, warring leaders were still trying to strike a deal in a political and fiscal crisis that has engulfed the state since 2015.

After two years without a budget, many people who depend on state services — public university students, drug addicts, troubled teenagers, the elderly — have already felt the repercussions.

But perhaps the most peculiar part of this endless budget standoff has been the opposite:  Life has gone on uninterrupted for many residents.  Because of court orders and other stopgap measures, state workers were paid.  Schools opened.  Prisons functioned.  Roads were built.  After a while, some people seemed to grow inured to the risks and consequences of a budget deadlock.

“This impasse has been very cleverly designed to minimize the immediate obvious impact on middle-class families that don’t have a need for state-funded social services,” said Andrea Durbin, the chief executive of the Illinois Collaboration on Youth, an association for providers of youth and family services.

“The people who get impacted are the people who are sick, who need the support from the state to be safe and healthy and get back on their feet and become self-sufficient, or to live their final days in dignity,” Ms. Durbin said.

The Illinois State Comptroller, Ms Susan A Mendosa, says:
she foresees “unmanageable financial strains” starting in July.
July starts tomorrow.  But, the first four days are two days of a weekend, a Monday before a holiday and then a National Holiday.  Then we get serious about July.

The backlog in money owed is over $15 billion, which is big money at the state level.  It is over one-third the size of the Massachusetts State Budget.

On the other hand, Ms Mendoza is a Democrat and the budget impasse is between a Republican Governor and a Democratic Party controlled Legislature.  It is easy to say it is just politics, but it is actually two different philosophies of how to handle the responsibilities of State Government.

Regards  —  Cliff

Illinois Fiscal Problems

For John, BLUFWhat does happen when a State can't meet its obligations?  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Here is the sub-headline:
Two years without a budget has left a mammoth past-due backlog, with hospitals, dentists and university towns feeling the pain
It is The Wall Street Journal (and no paywall), by Reporters Shibani Mahtani and Douglas Belkin, on the 27th of June 2017.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Where To With the ACA

TRIGGER WARNINGS:  Health Care is not "A Right", as is Free Speech or Gun Ownership.  Just like four lane roads are not a right.
For John, BLUFIf Democrats don't work with Republicans, and President aTrump, it could be a major problem, and Mr Twitter could pin it on the Democrats for 2018.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Reporter Kathryn Watson, for CBS News, early on the 29th of June 2017.

The lede:

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is delaying the vote on the Senate health care bill -- originally slated to take place before the July 4 holiday -- while a number of GOP senators remain opposed to their own party's unpopular proposal.
Informative, but I fear incomplete.

The article mentions CRS, or cost-sharing reduction payments, which the Trump Administration might not continue.  Not mentioned is the questionable legality of CRSs, an issue wending its way through the courts.

Then there is the question of blocks of the economy on waivers from "ObamaCare".  Have they ended?

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

The Democrat Religion Problem

For John, BLUFThere are a lot of voters out there with religious feelings.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

It is The Old Gray Lady, By Professor Daniel K Williams, an OpEd on 23 June 2017.

Hat tip to the Drudge Report.

Regards  —  Cliff

Mass Extinction

For John, BLUFThere are powerful natural forces out there, determining our fate.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From The New York Post and Reporter Ron Hogan 24 June 2017.

Here is the lede:

Most of us know about the asteroid that hit Earth just off the coast of the Yucatan Peninsula 65 million years ago and wiped out the dinosaurs, but that’s not the whole story.  Many scientists now believe the 110-mile-wide rock may have been only partially responsible for the mass extinction at the end of the Cretaceous Period, pointing to a volcanic field in modern India that erupted around the same time, flooding the land with hot lava and turning the oceans to acid.  One of the few reasons some birds, the last vestiges of the dinosaur age, were able to survive the slaughter was that they were burrowers who rode out the disaster underground.
Here is the second paragraph:
And that’s only the most recent of Earth’s major life-threatening crises. In his new book, “The Ends of the World:  Volcanic Apocalypses, Lethal Oceans, and Our Quest to Understand Earth’s Past Mass Extinctions” (Ecco), science writer Peter Brannen criss-crosses North America to review what we know about the moments when life on our planet was knocked down, only to get back up again.  It’s a story that begins 450 million years ago, at the end of the Ordovician Period, which fell victim to a global warming that caused a 100-foot rise in the sea level, flooding the early continents.
The article then goes on to list other extinction events.

The article concludes:

“You can’t beat [human] culture for resisting all kinds of horrific things,” another scientist tells Brannen, adding that it’s more likely “quality of life is going to go down the tubes” for most people than that we’d actually die out as a species.  It’s even possible that, as the northern hemisphere once again begins losing sunlight, we may be raising the earth’s temperature just enough to save ourselves from a long-overdue ice age.
Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Immigration and Terrorists

For John, BLUFSo, a little hiatus and a new vetting process might be of value.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

This is old news (8 May 2017), but pertinent.  The source is National Review and the author is Mr Mark Krikorian.

Here is a key paragraph:

Comey’s testimony last week revealed the consequences of this lack of information.  While most of the time he was asked about Hillary’s e-mails and Russia, Russia, Russia, Sen. Tillis asked about terrorism investigations.  (See the transcript of the Wednesday, May 3, hearing here.)  Comey responded that out of 2,000-plus “violent extremist investigations … about 300 of them are people who came to the United States as refugees.”
Well, not a yuge number, but still a sizable number.

And, the SCOTUS move on the Trump Executive Order on a travel ban, announced yesterday and already gone from Memeorandum, seems to reflect the idea that there is a problem out there and the President has the authority to deal with it.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Feral Children

For John, BLUFTo much respect for credentialed authority and not enough independent thinking.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

This is a commentary by Science Fiction Writer Sarah Hoyt, back on 24 June 2017.

Here is the lede:

I don’t believe in grand historical conspiracies, or in designs that go on over generations.  The right suffers from a bad case of “the individualists failed to organize” and the left, by now in their third generation of social dominance, are approaching the sort of behavior and IQ one saw in the last days of the Soviet Union.  Or if you prefer, Marxist scientific efficiency has given us in three generations what it took the royal houses of Europe sixteen generations of inbreeding to achieve:  an “elite” so profoundly dumb they couldn’t pour p*ss out a boot with instructions on both sides.
My recollection is the expression is "with instructions written on the heel".  But, you get the idea.

Somewhere in this article, which you should read in its entirety, the author introduces the term "Reeeee brigades".  As in that is the sound they make as they protest how awful the current world is and how they are going to fix it.  Nothing coherent, just noise.

Down in the article are these two paragraphs, which capture an important point.  Marxism, in its various forms, promises the make a perfect world, but, Israel aside, hasn't.  On the other hand, the freedom that we characterize as the "Rights of Englishmen" has moved the ball quite a way down field.

Western civilization is not – of course, being human – perfect.  It has had its share of monsters and madmen.  We were, after all, responsible for Marx, whose ideas have been a worse scourge in Africa than all the supposed greedy colonialists.

We are, however, simply put, the most successful human civilization ever.  That is, if you judge success in terms of “fed the most people” and “lifted most of the world above the demands of immediate need”, to be able to create and think as never before.  Other things we’ve done go a long way to eliminate the quotidian misery of disease and push back aging by decades.

And Ms Hoyt concludes:
More importantly, tell your kids their school books are full of hokum. Mock the idiocy on exhibit. Make fun of it.  Yes, I’m telling you they need to disrespect their teachers “authority.”  In fact, you should make fun of it as much as possible.  What part of Americanism was ever “respect authority?” Particularly when that authority is destroying us from within.

Disprove, mock, giggle, guffaw.  The only answer to the Reeeee brigades is to show them for what they are:  Malignant, ignorant children, who deserve no more respect than their malignant, ignorant father and his Communist Manifesto.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Did the FBI Go Against Michael Flynn?

For John, BLUFMaybe "This City" is more of a swamp than we thought.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From Circa, by Reporters John Solomon and Sara Carter, 26 June 2017.

Here are the first three paragraphs:

The FBI launched a criminal probe against former Trump National Security Adviser Michael Flynn two years after the retired Army general roiled the bureau’s leadership by intervening on behalf of a decorated counterterrorism agent who accused now-Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe and other top officials of sexual discrimination, according to documents and interviews.

Flynn’s intervention on behalf of Supervisory Special Agent Robyn Gritz was highly unusual, and included a letter in 2014 on his official Pentagon stationary, a public interview in 2015 supporting Gritz’s case and an offer to testify on her behalf.  His offer put him as a hostile witness in a case against McCabe, who was soaring through the bureau’s leadership ranks.

The FBI sought to block Flynn’s support for the agent, asking a federal administrative law judge in May 2014 to keep Flynn and others from becoming a witness in her Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) case, memos obtained by Circa show.  Two years later, the FBI opened its inquiry of Flynn.

I guess I am now a member of the conspiracy crowd.

Heck, even CNN is accepting the view that some of this stuff is rubbish, and here also.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Sunday, June 25, 2017


For John, BLUFIntolerance of the opinions of other is as common.  In the past politeness and custom and the First Amendment has protected us from the Zealots.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

This Samizdata item from 18 June, was posted by Mr Niall Kilmartin (Stirling).

I forward this because:

  1. Leni Riefenstahl was a talented filmmaker when she teamed up with the National Socialists.  Her movie Triumph of the Will (Triumph des Willens) captures the 1934 National Socialist Party Congress in Nuremberg, which was attended by more than 700,000 supporters.  She lost her perspective.
  2. The Samizdata post is about how the Social Justice Warriors of our day are acting like Maoist acolytes during the Cultural Revolution, or National Socialists in 1930s Germany (before the death camps) in going after Author Sarah Hoyt.
Here is part of the blog post, the part that deals with Ms Leni Riefenstahl:
Late one night near the start of the 1930s in Germany, Leni Riefenstahl dropped in on friends whose house she chanced to pass as she returned from the very first Nazi rally she attended.  For ten minutes, she raved about the the glorious future awaiting National Socialism, the insight of Hitler – until the expressions on the faces of her stunned-into-silence hosts finally penetrated the haze she was in and she recalled that this married couple (that she’d been friends with for years) were two of her several Jewish friends.  She murmured something about how she was sure that aspect of National Socialism would not amount to anything that need concern them.  Then she finished her coffee and left. She never came back. Her circle of friends changed to contain fewer Jews, then fewer still.

(Leni’s next chance to meet Jews in numbers came in the early 1940s, when she borrowed concentration camp inmates to be extras in crowd scenes in her films, returning them to the camps after their scenes were shot. The couple who gave her coffee were not among them.  Before that night, they were typical intellectuals, sure that National Socialists were all very stupid self-defeating people.  That a girl like Leni – clever, strong-willed, career-minded, inventive, unorthodox – could become one was incomprehensible to them, so incomprehensible that it shattered their intellectuals’ conviction that they were the ones who understood things.  Therefore they fled Germany early and so they lived – long enough to tell the story of that night on a television programme I watched long ago.)

This kind of thing is abroad in the land.  I am sure the Progressives will think this post is about President Donald Trump and Les Deplorables.  Just as strongly I think this post is about the Progressives and their Social Justice Warriors.

The thing is, next they will be coming for you.

Hat tip to the Samizdata.

Regards  —  Cliff

The Democrats and Faith

For John, BLUFMaybe the DNC should pay for rising Dem politicians to intern at Funeral Homes for six months.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

This Opinion Piece in The New York Times was written by Professor Daniel K Williams.  It was published on Friday, 23 June, after the Democratic Party Candidate, Mr Jon Ossoff, lost the race for US Representative from Georgia's Sixth Congressional District.

Apparently some radio interviewer talked Mr Ossoff into proposing to his long term girlfriend.  It appears that neither Mr Ossoff, nor his advisors, thought that his long term relationship would be an issue in the Sixth Congressional District.  I am guessing he was wrong.  That inability to understand the faith grounding of many voters is what Professor Williams talks about in his OpEd.

Here are two paragraphs that seem to capture the situation:

Yet now younger, secular Democrats are attempting to separate their party’s progressive values from those religious traditions.  Some may belong to a religious tradition or consider themselves to be spiritual people, but they are not able to speak the language of a communally based faith because it does not inform or shape their political views.

This has posed a problem at the polls, because most Democratic voters are not as secular as these activists might assume.  While only 47 percent of white, college-educated Democrats identify as Christians, Christianity remains the faith of 81 percent of African-American Democrats and 76 percent of Latino Democrats.

Regards  —  Cliff

  Teaches History at the University of West Georgia.  He is the author of God’s Own Party: The Making of the Christian Right, which examines the Evangelical movement to the Republican Party.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

The Current Russia Meddling Story

For John, BLUFThe story of Russian meddling in our presidential election seems built on shifting sands.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From The Washington Post, by Reporters Greg Miller, Ellen Nakashima and Adam Entous, on 23 June 2017.

Here are some excerpts, with comments:

In political terms, Russia’s interference was the crime of the century, an unprecedented and largely successful destabilizing attack on American democracy. It was a case that took almost no time to solve, traced to the Kremlin through cyber-forensics and intelligence on Putin’s involvement. And yet, because of the divergent ways Obama and Trump have handled the matter, Moscow appears unlikely to face proportionate consequences.
Really?  Maybe the Twenty-First Century, but surely within the last 64 years there have been other such actions.  The Iranian nation, or at least the Iranian Government, is patently unwilling to forgive us for the overthrow of Iranian Prime Minister Muhammad Mossadegh'S Government, back in 1952.  Then there is the overthrow of the Salvador Allende Government in Chile, which many see as the work of the US CIA.
“The punishment did not fit the crime,” said Michael McFaul, who served as U.S. ambassador to Russia for the Obama administration from 2012 to 2014. “Russia violated our sovereignty, meddling in one of our most sacred acts as a democracy — electing our president. The Kremlin should have paid a much higher price for that attack. And U.S. policymakers now — both in the White House and Congress — should consider new actions to deter future Russian interventions.”
How high a price do we want Russia to pay?  If they think we are messing with their internal systems will they see it as tit-for-tat or as an act of war?  And planting hidden disruptive programs within their internet systems will surely disturb them..  The Obama Official quoted may like the punishment before the trial approach, but I find it to be disturbing.

Early drafts accused Putin by name, but the reference was removed out of concern that it might endanger intelligence sources and methods.
But, now it is OK to tie his name to this?  What changed to remove the concern about intelligence sources and methods?  I am betting nothing and this is just reckless leaking and journalism.  Ego before common sense.

… Putin, motivated by a seething resentment of Clinton, was prepared to go beyond fake news and email dumps.
Now here is an important motivating factor.  Why would President Putin have "a seething resentment" of Ms Clinton?  Could it be because as Secretary of State Mrs Clinton meddled in internal Russian politics?  The alternative would likely be that Mr Putin felt he was betrayed in some financial dealings.

This carcass is beginning to smell.

Hat tip to Memeorandum.

Regards  —  Cliff

Friday, June 23, 2017

Who Gets to Pick

For John, BLUFThanks for letting us know about this.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Looking at the School Committee’s Responsibility to Vote on Day School, Laura Lee School and possibly LHS Site!

I searched back a couple of blog posts in Gerry Nutter's blog to find this long and detailed 22 June Post.

Gerry cheated and read the City's Charter and wondered if the process for picking a new Lowell High School location was wrong.  That is to say, the School Committee should have voted for the option selected, not the City Committee.

Gerry being Gerry, he asked the question.

And, Gerry being Gerry, he posted the response from the City Law Department, "City Law Dept. say NO VOTE Required".

Frankly, I don't see that as being the final final answer, as we are a land of lawyers, and likely someone will sue over the matter.

For sure, the City Fathers (and Mothers) don't want to let the Residents vote.  They might make the wrong choice.

Good job so far, Gerry.

Hat tip to the Gerry Nutter and John McDonough.

Regards  —  Cliff

  Gerry is running for Lowell School Committee.
  Navigating his blog seems overly difficult, but it can be done.
  Options were three down town and options 4 (and 5) being at Cawley Stadium.  A short discussion from The [Lowell] Sun is here.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Illinois as Venezuela

For John, BLUFIt isn't so much Illinois, but who is right behind them in line.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

This is from The Chicago Tribune and Contact Reporter John Kass.  It is reaction to reports of the impending bankruptcy of the State of Illinois (sort of like Puerto Rico and Venezuela—althoughPuerto Rico is a US Problem).

Reporter Kass' solution:

Let the other states have Illinois, John Kass proposes.
Here is the lede plus three:
Illinois is like Venezuela now, a fiscally broken state that has lost its will to live, although for the moment, we still have enough toilet paper.

But before we run out of the essentials, let's finally admit that after decade upon decade of taxing and spending and borrowing, Illinois has finally run out of other people's money.

Those "other people" include taxpayers who've abandoned the state. And now Illinois faces doomsday.

So as the politicians meet in Springfield this week for another round of posturing and gesturing and blaming, we need a plan.

Here is the plan

My Daughter assures me that the State Retirement fund is sound.  I have small nagging doubts.

At any rate, as Mr Kass (and Maggie Thatcher) said, you soon run out of other People's money.

Hat tip to the Srudge Report.

Regards  —  Cliff

Lack of Interest in US Senate

For John, BLUFWe have our collective head in the sand over the differences between Islam and our Anglo-Saxon traditions of the rights of individuals (the Rights of Englishmen).  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From the Opinion Pages of The Old Gray Lady, an item by Ms Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Ms Asra Q Nomani, on 22 June 2017.

Here is the lede plus three:

Last week, Senator Kamala Harris, a Democrat from California, made headlines when Republican senators interrupted her at a hearing of the Senate Intelligence Committee while she interrogated Attorney General Jeff Sessions. The clip of the exchange went viral; journalists, politicians and everyday Americans debated what the shushing signified about our still sexist culture.

The very next day, Senator Harris took her seat in front of us as a member of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. We were there to testify about the ideology of political Islam, or Islamism.

Both of us were on edge. Earlier that day, across the Potomac River, a man had shot a Republican lawmaker and others on a baseball diamond in Alexandria, Va. And just moments before the hearing began, a man wearing a Muslim prayer cap had stood up and heckled us, putting Capitol police officers on high alert. We were girding ourselves for tough questions.

But they never came. The Democrats on the panel, including Senator Harris and three other Democratic female senators — North Dakota’s Heidi Heitkamp, New Hampshire’s Maggie Hassan and Missouri’s Claire McCaskill — did not ask either of us a single question.

Basically, Women in the Democratic Party don't wish to explore discrimination against women (by our American Standards) within Islam.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Candidates for Senate

For John, BLUFGood show this AM.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Elizabeth Warren, 68 (2020 Democratic Primary Frontrunner)

According to Condé Nast.

But first she has to get past the Senate Election in 2018.

Dr V.A. Shiva Ayyadurai was not too polite to her this morning on Lowell's City Life.  Dr Shiva is running for the Republican nomination for the Massachusetts Senate race coming up in 2018.  And, of course, Dr Shiva thinks of himself as a real "Indian", although he is also a proud American.

One of the points that Dr Shiva made on City Life this morning is that President Trump is a "disruptive" force, which is what is needed to get people back to work and earning a living.  His view is that the Politicians down in DC are not solving our Nation's problems.

Regards  —  Cliff

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Follow-Up on Mr Otto Warmbier's Death

For John, BLUFI can see why Cuba recognizes the Government of North Korea, but not the Government of South Korea.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

This is from the organization Free Korea and Mr Joshua Stanton.

Here is the very powerful lede:

In North Korean prisons (at least, in those from which release is possible at all) when the guards conclude that a prisoner is about to die, they release her and send her away to die at home, so that disposing of her body will be someone else’s problem, and so that the warden can manipulate the camp’s rate of in-custody deaths downward. (Perhaps in some small way, even the wardens of North Korean prisons fear being held accountable, one day, for what they do.) The same is true when North Korean officers conclude that a soldier is about to die of starvation or tuberculosis — the army will send the soldier home to die.
Regards  —  Cliff

Knowing When to Resign

For John, BLUFPolarization won't end well  I will say this for Ms Lynne Lupien—she knewknows how to cut a political deal to make things happen.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

This is from The [Boston] Pilot, for Monday, 19 June 2017. It is about British Liberal-Democratic Party Leader Tim Farron.

Here is the first part of the article:

London, England, Jun 17, 2017 CNA/EWTN News.- After facing backlash for his Christian faith, the head of the UK’s Liberal Democratic Party announced his resignation on Wednesday, claiming that leading the party was becoming incompatible with living his faith.

“To be a political leader – especially of a progressive, liberal party in 2017 – and to live as a committed Christian, to hold faithfully to the Bible's teaching, has felt impossible for me,” said Tim Farron, noting he would hold his position until the parliamentary recess begins next month.

Farron’s announcement follows significant media attention surrounding his answers to press questions on abortion and homosexuality.

During the recent election, Farron had been asked repeatedly by reporters about his views on the morality of homosexual acts.

Earlier this week, the party's home affairs spokesman Brian Paddick – a prominent gay politician – resigned abruptly, citing concerns over opinions held by the party’s leadership.

Despite the Liberal Democrats gaining several parliamentary seats under Farron, he faced opposition from within his own party. According to the Telegraph, one senior Liberal Democrat said Farron was “unhelpful during the campaign.”

He also said Farron’s “views [were] not compatible with being the leader of the Liberal Democrats.”

That was not the only mention of the resignation.  There was this:

"Tim Farron:  Christian Canary In The Coalmine"

This is from The American Conservative, posted on 16 June by Mr Rod Dreher.  Mr Dreher includes Mr Farron's resignation speech.  He also notes the following, which is the critical point for all of us, even Progressives, as Progressivism progresses and gets ahead of those who thought they were orthodox progressives, but didn't advance with the time.

Farron supports same-sex marriage and supports abortion rights, but that was not enough for his media inquisitors.  They wanted to know if he thought those things were sinful.  It wasn’t enough for him to pledge to defend gay rights and abortion rights.  It wasn’t even enough for him to clarify that no, he doesn’t think that gay sex is a sin (a heterodox position for a Christian to take, but he took it.)  No, Farron had to think correct thoughts, and to have thought them at all times, clearly, or be shamed and hounded out of public life.  As he has been.

At least in the end, he learned that it profits a man nothing to gain the world if he loses his soul.

There appears to be no compromise with the Progressives, no making a deal.  The likes of Senator Chuck Schumer and Representative Nancy Pelosi aren't about the deal.  They are about "the truth" as they understand it.  I used to think the political solution to abortion was to go with Roe v Wade and pick 20 weeks as the point after which abortions of choice would be banned.  However, with people who think abortion should be allowed in the fourth trimester there is no cutting a deal, no recognizing that not everyone is in lockstep.

It is a sad day.

Regards  —  Cliff

Otto Warmbier (RIP)

For John, BLUFThe passing of Mr Warbbier is tragic.  The human rights situation in North Korea is a human disaster.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

HRNK Statement on the Passing of Otto Warmbier

HRNK is the Committee for Human Rights in North Korea.

Otto Warmbier, a 22 year old Ohio native and University of Virgina student, has passed away from injuries suffered while detained on fabricated charges in North Korea. This is a shocking and sad development. A beloved son was taken away from the Warmbier family. We will keep them in our thoughts and prayers. The Committee for Human Rights in North Korea (HRNK) is saddened by this tragedy.

The Kim regime imprisoned and killed Otto Warmbier. Millions of unknown North Koreans are similarly subjected to the brutality of this regime. More than a hundred thousand men, women and children are being tortured, starved, and abused in North Korea's political prison camps. This continuing outrage is what motivates HRNK to do what the Kim regime fears the most: discover and disclose the truth about the regime's crimes. To honor Otto Warmbier's life and memory, we will continue to strive to inform, persuade and inspire political leaders to confront this terrible challenge to global security and to human values.

We urge our political leaders to reach across the aisle and foster bipartisan support for the millions of faceless, nameless North Korean victims, by elevating the importance of addressing the human rights situation in that country.

Here are ten practical things the US can do to advance human rights in North Korea.

Regards  —  Cliff

Who Was Hacking Who?

For John, BLUFI think you are right that they are reading everyone's mail.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

A friend of mine, commenting on the news toward the back of the A Section, said:
So, it now seems that, for much of the 2016 Election season, it was DHS that was trying to hack into STATE level voting systems. Especially those that opposed the Obama Admnistratin's attempt to exert federal control over state voting regulations and mechanisms.
That would be the US Department of Homeland Security.  I am sure they were just trying to help.

Isn't that reassuring?

And where is the outrage?

Regards  —  Cliff

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Influencing the FBI Director

For John, BLUFI had so hoped she would restore the Department of Justice after General Eric Holder's time in office.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

It is The Hill reporting this.

The reporter is Ms Jordain Carney and the dateline is 18 June 2016.

That would be former US Attorney General Loretta Lynch.

The lede plus one:

Senate Republicans are clamoring to hear from Loretta Lynch after former FBI Director James Comey raised concerns about her involvement in the Hillary Clinton email investigation.

Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee are seizing on Comey’s testimony earlier this month that he was concerned over the former attorney general telling the FBI to refer to the Clinton investigation as a "matter," which resembled the Clinton campaign line.

If nothing else, such a hearing might help to frame the Trump-Comey conversation.

Hat tip to the Drudge Report.

Regards  —  Cliff

Fair Compensation For Workers

For John, BLUFIt is about how we cut up the pie.  Nothing to see here; just move along.


A racist vestige of the past that progressives are happy to leave in place

From The Washington Post and the pen of Columnist George Will.

This is about the Davis-Bacon Act of 1931.

The Act mandates that contractors pay the local prevailing wages for laborers and for mechanics on federally funded public works projects and applies to:

"contractors and subcontractors performing on federally funded or assisted contracts in excess of $2,000 for the construction, alteration, or repair (including painting and decorating) of public buildings or public works."
Here is the "Bottom Line":
Davis-Bacon is rent-seeking, the use of political power to supplant the market as the allocator of opportunity and wealth.  Rent-seeking is lucrative, which is why there is so much of it, even when its pedigree is repulsive.
Mr Will thinks that this reduces the amount of infrastructure we produce each year, but enriches union workers.
A 2011 Heritage Foundation study estimated that Davis-Bacon would add almost $11 billion to that year’s construction costs.  That sum will be eclipsed when — if — bold talk about making America’s infrastructure great again is translated into spending.  Then we build up the national debt while purchasing less infrastructure than the appropriated sums should purchase.
There is the psychological impact of cost.  Look at the sticker shock for the new High School (or renovated High School) in Lowell.  Each option is north of $300 million.  Sometimes the status quo is preferable to spending more and more money.

We do need equity, but Mr Will is correct in noting the racist origins of Davis-Beacon.

Hat tip to Memeorandum.

Regards  —  Cliff

  Mr Will is so old school I bet it does still use a pen to write out his thoughts.

Fan Photo

For John, BLUFNot everyone can love the President.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Here is the link to the NPR Article, with the photo of the Sassy Teacher, the fan, the President and the First Lady.

The comment from Law Professor Glenn Harlan Reynolds:

To realize that the “gay rights” crowd is really just a bunch of Democrat shock troops, all you have to do is look at how badly they’ve treated the most pro-gay president ever elected.
The other thing to think about is that in other cultures Teacher Nikos Giannopoulos would not be meeting with the President, but would be facing being hurled from the top of some building.  Lucky for Mr Giannopoulos that he lives in the United States of America.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Holding Accountable

For John, BLUFI was pleased to see this from The Wash Post.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

This is in reference to people (and newspapers) blaming Governor Sarah Palin for the shooting of US Representative Gabby Giffords by some left wing loon.

And it is The Wash Post.

Hat tip to Ann Althouse.

Regards  —  Cliff

Turning Central Park into Berkeley

For John, BLUFSometimes bad behavior teaches that same bad behavior to others.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

This is from Heat Street and Reporter Joe Simonson, at 10:12 PM, yesterday, Friday, 16 June 2017.

Here is the lede:

Right-wing activists Jack Posobiec and Laura Loomer disrupted a Friday night showing of the controversial Shakespeare in the Park rendition of “Julius Caesar” as an act of protest against the assassination scene where a President Donald Trump lookalike is stabbed by his senate cohorts.
This is just reciprocity.

Law Professor Glenn Harlan Reynolds commends this Blog Post to our consideration.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Turn Back Now

For John, BLUFThings seemed to go from bad to worse after Former Director Comey's testimony.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From Novelist Sarah Hoyt, a warning, today.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Former A/G Lynch Loses Status

For John, BLUFI had high hopes for Ms Loretta Lynch when she took over from A/G Eric Holder.  I now see my hope was misplaced.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

It is The Daily Caller, from 9 June, by Associate Editor Peter Hasson.

Former Attorney General Michael Mukasey, referring to Former FBI Director James Comey's Testimony Thursday last, said:

“What makes it egregious is the fact — and I think it’s obvious that it is a fact — that the attorney general of the United States was adjusting the way the department talked about its business so as to coincide with the way the Clinton campaign talked about that business.”
Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Veganism BadEvil?

For John, BLUFIf you open your trap you are going to offend someone out there.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

It is National Review being snarky, but there is a grain of truth in it.  The Writer is Ms Katherine Timpf and the dateline is 30 May 2017.

So maybe this is the punchline:

Referring to the female reproductive system is problematic.
Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Power Vacuum

For John, BLUFThe Politicians have messed this up and thus created a place for amateurs.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Here is a lift from the Saturday edition of the Quartz Daily Brief:
The United States of Zuckerberg.  The Facebook CEO has set a goal to visit 30 American states—all those he has never been to—by the end of 2017.  Groundwork for a political campaign, or just getting to know Facebook’s users as people instead of data?  This Zuckerberg tour tracker by Annalisa Merelli and Christopher Groskopf will, as he travels, follow the demographics, economics, and issues of the places he visits.
It is a prep for a political campaign.  If Real Estate Developer Donald J Trump can do it, why not Mark Zuckerberg?

And, in 2020 he would be old enough to be President.

Regards  —  Cliff

  Free Daily News updates, but some articles are behind a paywall.

Friday, June 9, 2017

Another Comment on Comey Testimony

For John, BLUFWhen you have lost alan Dershowitz you are in trouble.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

This is from The Washington Examiner, dateline 8 June 2017, by retired Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Trusting that Old Gray Lady

For John, BLUFThe New York Times, a great reputation, ruined.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

This item is a month old, from 11 May 2017, but the points author Jonathan B Coe make are near timeless.  The source is Crisis Magazine.

Regards  —  Cliff

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Coming Apart

For John, BLUFWe need to see in others the things we hold in common.  We are not being good at that right now>.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

This article, about the American "Left" and "Right" is by Mr Rod Dreher, from 5 June 2017.

I found it at The Instapundit, where Law Professor Glenn Harlan Reynolds, summarizing the article, writes:

“The rising Left is bound and determined to crush or at least permanently sideline people it deems heretics — in particular, whites, males, orthodox Christians, and skeptics of the LGBT project.  It does not want a pluralistic modus vivendi; it wants total domination.  The establishment Left lacks the will to stop them.  Its members are terrified of appearing un-woke. . . .  The establishment Right lacks the will to stop them either, for fear of being called bigots.  And it lacks the will or the imagination to stand in any way against corporate interests. . . .  Bottom line:  Identity politics will dissolve the traditional bonds that have held Americans together, and re-bind forces of the Left and forces on the Right to each other.”
The fact is that Mr Rod Dreher writes from a Christian perspective.  When the looks back on the American Experiment to date he sees Christianity as being the glue that holds things together, from the beginning.

Back to The Instapundit, Professor Reynolds, reflecting on politics in America today, says:

The thing is, you don’t get Hitler because of Hitler — there are always potential Hitlers out there.  You get Hitler because of Weimar, and you get Weimar because the liberals are too corrupt and incompetent to maintain a liberal polity.
When he says "a liberal polity" I take that to be liberal in terms of freedom for all.  He is not talking about the Left Wing of the Democratic Party. While Mr Dreher thinks Christianity is the glue holding everything together, I wonder if it isn't the English Common Law, the idea of the Rights of Englishmen.  I suspect it is racist, sexist, specie-centric and just plain offensive to social justice warriors to hold such views.  However, the rest of the world is not as keen on individual rights, and some parts have tribalism down to a fine science.  Neither of those is good for Democracy as we have known it.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Monday, June 5, 2017


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

My buddy Neal said:
I read somewhere that the reason Barnum and Bailey Circus went out of business is that they could no longer compete with Congress.
Regards  —  Cliff

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Trump Goes to SCOTUS

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

".... when, after consulting with three members of his cabinet, he placed a brief pause on entry from six countries that present heightened risks of terrorism… "
“The court did not dispute that the president acted at the height of his powers in instituting” the executive order’s “temporary pause on entry by nationals from certain countries that sponsor or shelter terrorism,” the brief said. The brief also said the order’s “text and operation are religion-neutral.”…

“This order has been the subject of passionate political debate,” the brief said. “But whatever one’s views, the precedent set by this case for the judiciary’s proper role in reviewing the president’s national security and immigration authority will transcend this debate, this order, and this constitutional moment. Precisely in cases that spark such intense feelings, it is all the more critical to adhere to foundational legal rules,” the brief said.....

Quotes from Donald Trump's petition to the Supreme Court for a writ of certiorari, in the NYT article "Trump Administration Asks Supreme Court to Revive Travel Ban."
If SCOTUS reverses the Ninth and Fourth Circuit Courts, what is the consequence, aside from allowing the implementation of the immigration ban?
  • Will the litigations go away, or do we litigate until there is a Democrat in the White House?
  • Does everyone go back to where they were and the complaining stops, or at least quiets down?
  • Does Congress give us a long term change in immigration policy?
  • Do we get over the accusations of racism and get back to cooperating?
If the SCOTUS affirms the rulings of the Ninth and Fourth Circuit Courts?
  • Will future Presidents find themselves shackled by their campaign (or other) rhetoric?
  • Will there be any blowback if there is a significant terror attack tied to immigrants?
  • Will Congress rewrite the current laws authorizing the President to limit immigration for national security?
  • Will there be lawsuits against the Federal Government for not providing security to the People?
Hat tip to Ann Althouse.

Regards  —  Cliff

Conversion By Study and Reason

For John, BLUFSome have a Damascus Road experience and some come by their thinking.  Either is acceptable.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

This is a testimony from Professor Sarah Irving-Stonebraker, of Western Sydney University.  And a good Pentecost Story.

The thing that quickly caught my eye was the mention of Professor Peter Singer.  He is the man who would value each human being and allow those less worthy of life to go.

I welcome Professor Sarah Irving-Stonebraker.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

  There is the 1920 concept presented in the book Die Freigabe der Vernichtung Lebensunwerten Lebens (Allowing the Destruction of Life Unworthy of Life) jurist Karl Binding and psychiatrist Alfred Hoche.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

A Misunderstanding

For John, BLUFWhen the attack is happening around you, the police may be only a 911 call away, plus travel time.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

We are looking at a "potential" terrorist attack in London.

The British Prime Minister, Theresa May, thanked the First Responders.

The problem is that she has misidentified the First Responders.  The First Responders are NOT the Police, Fire and Rescue organizations of the local authorities.

The First Responders are the folks at the scene as the attack in taking place.  For example, the people in a restaurant who where throwing things at a knife wielding attacker, in hopes of driving him off after he knifed a restaurant patron.

Of course if we realize who the true First Responders are then someone will ask how we help them.  I don't know what the U.K. Can do, but we can be more open about the Second Amendment.

Regards  —  Cliff

How Others See Us

For John, BLUFNot everyone around the world sees our politics the way we do.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

This is from the English version of the Chosun Ilbo, out of Korea, 2 June 2017.

Here is the lede plus two, to set the stage:

U.S. Senator Dick Durbin on Wednesday warned President Moon Jae-in that Washington could divert the money for the Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense battery that has been stationed here somewhere else.

The peevish outburst came after Moon pledged to have the National Assembly reexamine the process of the THAAD deployment, which was rushed through by the previous administration.

Durbin is a ranking member of the Senate Committee on Appropriations and therefore has a say in how the U.S. spends its defense budget.

But, here is the payoff paragraph:
But Durbin is the Democratic whip, and his party has been completely routed in both houses of the U.S. Congress, so it is unclear how much sway his opinions hold.
By the way, the THADD Missile installation is a sunk cost.  The only ongoing expenses are stationing costs and they will come up in the periodic negotiations with Korea over the expenses of stationing US Forces in Korea.

Regards  —  Cliff

Kathy Griffin, Cultural Appropriator

TRIGGER WARNINGS:  This is The Duffel Blog.

For John, BLUFLive by the hurt feelings and die by the hurt feelings..  Nothing to see here; just move along.

This is, of course, The Duffel Blog, and the Reporter uses the handle SaltySam.  On 1 Jun 2017
RAQQA, Syria — The self-proclaimed Islamic State has issued a statement condemning self-proclaimed comedian Kathy Griffin, accusing her of “cultural appropriation” after she posed for a photograph with a mock severed head of President Donald Trump.

The group, which has been protective of its brand ever since taking over vast swaths of Iraq and Syria and establishing itself as the premier beheading agency in the Middle East, said it was deeply disturbed by Griffin’s “ignorant and offensive” use of a “sacred Islamic State tradition.”

“This is just another example of a privileged white woman culturally appropriating the proud custom of a marginalized people. Beheadings are our thing, not your thing,” said the statement, which was released on Telegram.

Reports indicate that ISIS was at least somewhat relieved to see the swift and overwhelming backlash against Griffin on social media.

“Of course, the West’s social justice ‘warriors’ have always been our ally, and once again, they did not disappoint. We’re thankful that our fatwa friends immediately identified her offensive appropriation of one of our most cherished rituals,” said Aahil al-Raqqa, an executioner for the group.

There is more sarcasm at the Link.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Our Privacy Rights

For John, BLUFJust assume you are being monitored.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

This Circa 24 May 2017 article is by Mr John Solomon and Ms Sara Carter.

Here is how the article starts out (at the link is another link, to the FISA Court Decision):

The National Security Agency under former President Barack Obama routinely violated American privacy protections while scouring through overseas intercepts and failed to disclose the extent of the problems until the final days before Donald Trump was elected president last fall, according to once top-secret documents that chronicle some of the most serious constitutional abuses to date by the U.S. intelligence community.

More than 5 percent, or one out of every 20 searches seeking upstream Internet data on Americans inside the NSA’s so-called Section 702 database violated the safeguards Obama and his intelligence chiefs vowed to follow in 2011, according to one classified internal report reviewed by Circa.

The Obama administration self-disclosed the problems at a closed-door hearing Oct. 26 before the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court that set off alarm. Trump was elected less than two weeks later.

The normally supportive court censured administration officials, saying the failure to disclose the extent of the violations earlier amounted to an “institutional lack of candor” and that the improper searches constituted a “very serious Fourth Amendment issue,” according to a recently unsealed court document dated April 26, 2017.

The admitted violations undercut one of the primary defenses that the intelligence community and Obama officials have used in recent weeks to justify their snooping into incidental NSA intercepts about Americans.

This is bad new and Congress needs to do something about it when laws come up for renewal.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Friday, June 2, 2017

Loose Threads

For John, BLUFIf we are going to have investigations and hearings we need to cover the entire waterfront..  Nothing to see here; just move along.

This OpEd by Mr Wayne Allyn Root appears in the Las Vegas Review Journal Wednesday, 31 May 2017. This is another Commentary on the question of if the Wikileaks source was, in fact, Mr Seth Rich.  And on the question of the progress of the investigation of his murder.  I frankly don't believe there is a connection, but the murder complicates the investigation of the leaks.

Frankly, I would be more than happy to grand Mr Julian Assange immunity in return for his testimony as to if Mr Rich is the source for his leaks from the Democratic National Committee.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Wayne Allyn Root

A Coin With Two Sides

For John, BLUFThis "Russia Hacking" thing may not turn out all that well for Democrats.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From PJ Media And Reporter Debra Heine, today, 2 June 2017.

This is about Representative Adam B. Schiff (D-CA) (House Intelligence Committee ranking member) whinging to the press that he had been cut out of the loop. From the article:

But according to Fox News' James Rosen, Schiff's staff was given a day's notice about the subpoenas.
Twenty-four hours notice that Team Obama members Samantha Power, Susan Rice, and John Brennan (Unmasking issues) were being called in addition to four witnesses regarding possible Russian interference in the US election November last.

I think Rep Adam Schaffer sees the whole thing unwinding, and worse, getting Democratic Party skirts dirty.

Regards  —  Cliff

"The Last Hours of Life on Earth"

For John, BLUFClimate change and all that.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Canada Mark Steyn, your undocumented anchorman.

Regards  —  Cliff

Understanding National Leadership

For John, BLUFBeing liked by the New Class should not be the criteria for picking a leader.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From the Hoover Center we have an article by Prof Victor Davis Hanson, from Wednesday, 31 May 2017.

Here are two key paragraphs:

From what we can tell, the more Rome prospered under Claudius, the more the imperial court grew to despise him—as if his odd mannerisms and the even odder way he came to power could not be squared with the able administration of a far-flung empire over the 13 years of his reign.

In the end, Claudius was likely murdered by dynastic rivals and relatives who thought that a young, glib, handsome, intellectual, and artistic Nero would be a pleasant relief from the awkwardness, bluntness, and weirdness of Claudius.  What followed was the triumph of artists, intellectuals, stylish aristocrats, obsequious dynastic insiders, and flatterers—many of them eventually to be consumed by the reign of terror they so eagerly helped to usher in.

Grab your violin and read the whole thing and learn a little history.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Watch What You Think

For John, BLUFBe careful out there.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

This is from Porter at The Kakistrocracy. Here are the first two paragraphs of this Blog Post:
You’re reading a blog post right now, which is a presumptively constitutional act.  But what if you’re reading this while dripping with intolerance?  That might stain your couch; but does it also place you in legal jeopardy?  According to the US Fourth Circuit Court, the answer–by a 10-3 margin–is absolutely yes.

That was the determination on offer in this ruling, which upheld a lower court’s denial of Trump’s executive order temporarily restricting certain Barbary Coast imports.  The appeals court upheld the injunction citing IRREPARABLE HARM to the country if it were allowed to proceed.  Life is often too hectic to permit our leisurely indulgences.  But more people should take a moment to savor the dense and luscious absurdity of that statement.  Ceasing the human traffic flow from Libya, Iran, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen for even just 90 days would cause irreparable harm to an American people whose majority would sigh in gratitude for the respite.

The Blogger raises an interesting point.  The Fourth Circuit Court has said that your actions as an official (or whatever) must be judged based upon thoughts you have expressed in the past.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

  Well, maybe except if you are a Democrat.

Bad Ballots

For John, BLUFAsk Jack about this.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

On the one hand they tell me even a single vote counts.  On the other hand they tell me that voter fraud is almost non-existent and should be ignored.

This is from Judicial Watch, on 26 April of this year—it is a month old.

Here is the lede:

Less than a year after a federal appellate court sided with the Obama administration to strike down North Carolina’s election integrity reforms, a state audit reveals that hundreds of votes were illegally cast by felons and non-citizens in just one election. Voter impersonation, double voting and irregularities in absentee ballots sent via mail also tainted the election, according to the investigation conducted by the North Carolina State Board of Elections (NCSBE). The probe analyzed records from the 2016 general election.
It isn't like there were thousands of bad ballots, only hundreds.  That should make us all more comfortable.  On the other hand, the denials of any voter fraud should be rejected out of hand.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Trump and Paris Climate Accord

For John, BLUFDoing it the regular way.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

I understand from news reports that the President will announce his decision on the Paris Climate Agreement at a news conference at 3:00 PM.

I am hoping the President does the fun thing and submits it to the US Senate as a Treaty, under the Treaty Clause of the US Constitution, giving them 90 days to decide before he withdraws it and we go on our own way.

This is for the People's representatives to agree to, not the foreign policy Blob in DC.

Regards  —  Cliff

The Government Spying on You

For John, BLUFNot you specifically, but fellow citizens who should be protected by the law from such things.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

by John Solomon and Sara Carter Here is the sum of it:
The FBI has illegally shared raw intelligence about Americans with unauthorized third parties and violated other constitutional privacy protections, according to newly declassified government documents that undercut the bureau’s public assurances about how carefully it handles warrantless spy data to avoid abuses or leaks.
The Link goes to this document:
United States
Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court
Washington DC
Memorandum Opinion and Order
Filed 26 April 2017
LeeAnn Flynn Hall, Clerk of Court
At the link is also this document:
A Review of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Activities Under Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act Amendments Act of 2008, Sept 2012
There are important Fourth Amendment issues here, but also, at a lower level of interest, there is the question of if during the Obama Administration, the Trump Campaign was being hacked by parties within the US Government.  Not the Russians, but the Democrats and the larger Foreign Policy Blob.

And why hasn't Mr Carter Page been called to testify before the House Intelligence Committee?  What are the Democrats on the Committee afraid of?  Representative Adam Schiff (D-California), a name that could go down in infamy.

Regards  —  Cliff


For John, BLUFGiving you a target to shoot for.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

H A P P Y   A N N I V E R S A R Y

To my Wife.

Fifty-one Years.

Regards  —  Cliff