Saturday, December 3, 2016

Saturday roundup

Still need convincing that the EPA is a poisonous body that needs to be dismantled pronto? Look at it this way:

The new implementation of EPA rules on heavy trucks has boosted the 10-year regulatory burden on America past $1 trillion, 75 percent of which have been imposed by the Obama administration.
That amounts to a one-time charge of $3,080 per person, or an annual cost of $540, according to a new analysis from American Action Forum.
LITD wrote Sarah Palin off last year as one of those Squirrel-Hair Kool-Aid guzzlers like Laura Ingraham, Sean Hannity, Conrad Black, Wayne Allen Root, Ann Coulter - you know the crowd I'm talking about - and it's hard to imagine any such people ever being able to redeem themselves. But Palin just may have made a first step with an op-ed in which she says that the Carrier deal, in its details, had better not  be a one-time package of sweetheart incentives to one particular company, or it's crony capitalism rather than free-market economics.

Walter Hudson at PJ Media offers an argument that is at least worthy of consideration: that conservatives should stop talking about equality of opportunity:

We cannot guarantee equal opportunity for the same reason that we cannot guarantee equal results. Opportunities emerge from a vast array of circumstances, many of which government has no rightful ability to control. If your father is rich, and mine is poor, how can we be born to equal opportunity? What must be done, in practical terms, to equalize those circumstances? It takes us full circle, doesn't it? To provide children with equal opportunity, you must redistribute their parents' wealth. It's the same effect as if mandating equal results, just applied at a different point in the process. Thus, every time conservatives talk about "equal opportunity," they provide rhetorical ammunition to the left. Like results, opportunities are not equal and never will be.
Consider the concept of "white privilege." The complaint regarding privilege is that certain people are afforded unequal opportunity on account of factors beyond merit. If you're a white heterosexual male, you will generally have an easier go than a black lesbian. We often get stuck arguing whether or not such generalizations prove true. But that's the wrong argument.
The real question is: Why does privilege matter? Why should we care whether certain people have it easier than others? Does the mere presence of unequal opportunity present a problem that needs to be solved?

It matters not whether people proceed from unequal opportunity. What matters is why opportunities prove unequal. If the inequality manifests from accidents of nature and the exercise of rights, then there is nothing which government should do about it. Being born to a rich father should not be a crime. Neither should being rich and having a child. People should not be penalized because they were born white, or straight, or with the genes for height or beauty. They should not be punished for having means which others lack, unless it came through force or fraud. Nor should they be punished for being something which others are not. Existing is not a crime.

Is it true then that "all men are created equal?" Yes, but only in the true sense which Jefferson actually meant. Jefferson was not implying an equality of attribute. The equality he noted was legal. Each man should be treated the same under the law, not be made the same by the law. All men have equal right to their life, not the lives of others.

Elliot Abrams, writing at The Weekly Standard, offers, for my money, the best summing-up of the arc of Fidel Castro's evil career, as well as the motivation behind the Left's adoration of him over these past 57 years.

John Hawkins, writing at Townhall, gets a parlor game going in my head. He lists five reasons why the Most Equal Comrade will be viewed as one of the worst presidents of all time. He admits in his opening paragraph that "compiling [such] a list . . . seems like a project for a book rather than a column." Which leaves readers free to come up with additions. Still, his five are biggies that belong on any compilation: nearly doubling the national debt, unleashing the genie from the nuclear weapons bottle in the Middle East, facilitating illegal immigration, encouraging racial polarization, and losing a war we had already won in Iraq.

Seems to me that taking a crowbar to the American health-care system would be the next addition to the list. And then imposing tyranny in the name of an utter fiction (anthropogenic climate change).

Friday, December 2, 2016

The freewheeling Squirrel-Hair is taking us into uncharted territory

What is the precedent for this?

President-elect Donald Trump spoke with the president of Taiwan by phone on Friday, in a move likely to infuriate Beijing and hinder US-China relations. 
"President-elect Trump spoke with President Tsai Ing-wen of Taiwan, who offered her congratulations," according to a readout of the call released by Trump's transition team.
"During the discussion, they noted the close economic, political, and security ties" between Taiwan and the United States, the statement continued. "President-elect Trump also congratulated President Tsai on becoming President of Taiwan earlier this year."
The call, first reported by the Financial Times, is the first time a US president has directly spoken with Taiwan's leadership in more than 30 years. The White House was not made aware of the call until after it occurred, an administration official told Business Insider.
The US suspended formal diplomatic relations with Taiwan in 1979 after establishing a One China position — which states that "there is but one China and Taiwan is part of China" — in an effort to establish diplomatic channels with Beijing.
Beijing views Taiwan as a province of China, whereas Taiwan — which has its own democratically elected government — has a more complicated view of the nations' relationship.
"There is no change to our longstanding policy on cross-Strait issues," said Ned Price, a spokesman for the White House's National Security Council.
"We remain firmly committed to our 'one China' policy based on the three Joint Communiques and the Taiwan Relations Act. Our fundamental interest is in peaceful and stable cross-Strait relations," he added.
Ing-wen, who was elected the first female president of Taiwan in May, told The Washington Post over the summer that she hopes Chinese President Xi Jinping "can appreciate that Taiwan is a democratic society in which the leader has to follow the will of the people."
Analysts were quick to point out that the phone call will likely infuriate Beijing.
"Trump has phone call w Taiwan President, 1st by US Pres or Pres-elect since 1979," goepolitical expert Ian Bremmer, president of Eurasia Group, tweeted on Friday. "Beijing will be absolutely incensed."
"Trump almost surely unaware of Taiwan-China sensitivities before taking President's call," Bremmer added. "They don't yet have Asia expertise on team."
Evan Medeiros, former Asia director at the White House national security council, told the Financial Times that "the Chinese leadership will see this as a highly provocative action, of historic proportions."
It sure sounds like the kind of thing he would think up himself. It will be interesting to see just how the decision to do this was arrived at. Maybe there wasn't much of a decision process at all.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Nice to see this jackboot stunt backfiring

BuzzFeed thought it had a real coup in this one:

Chip and Joannes Gaines are the stars of “Fixer Upper” — the HGTV series that revolves around turning crappy, dilapidated houses into beautiful homes in order to revive outdated neighborhoods. They are also devout Christians who often talk about their faith and attend the Antioch Community Church in Waco, Texas.
On Tuesday, BuzzFeed published a story with the headline “Chip And Joanna Gaines’ Church Is Firmly Against Same-Sex Marriage.” The piece attacks the couple because the pastor of their church, Jimmy Seibert, “takes a hard line against same-sex marriage and promotes converting LGBT people into being straight.”

“So are the Gaineses against same-sex marriage?” the BuzzFeed article reads. “And would they ever feature a same-sex couple on the show, as have HGTV’s ‘House Hunters’ and ‘Property Brothers’?”…It’s worth looking at the severe, unmoving position Seibert and Antioch take on same-sex marriage.”
The BuzzFeed hit piece never actually specifies the views of the couple in question. It all hinges on their pastors utterly conventional Christian views on what marriage is.

Some astute readers spoke up:

“This is the dumbest story I have ever heard,” one reader commented. “It’s like a witch hunt for their beliefs, to try an stir the oil from a pot into the flames of the stove. This kind of article is exactly what is wrong with the media.”

“Who cares if they think homosexuality is a sin,” another wrote. “Are they campaigning for hate of these people? No. Stop!”

“This is a tired, forced witch hunt. You are inciting a wave of negative attention on this couple for something that indirectly links to them,” a third reader said. “That’s not journalism, it’s petty bullshit.”
And I was heartened to see this take in the Washington Post.  In a way, I'm heartened all the more, because I disagree with one of the author's major premises. (Her reasoning behind her argument that traditional views on marriage are easy to argue against is pretty flimsy.) But props to this pro-homosexual "marriage" lesbian for speaking out about the rottenness of what BuzzFeed has done:

The entire article is an elaborate exploration of that hypothetical question. And yes, it is very much hypothetical, by the reporter’s own admission: “Emails to Brock Murphy, the public relations director at their company, Magnolia, were not returned. Nor were emails and calls to HGTV’s PR department.”
But that doesn’t stop Aurthur from writing almost 800 more words about the non-story. Her upshot seems to be: Two popular celebrities might oppose same-sex marriage because the pastor of the church they go to opposes same-sex marriage, but I haven’t heard one way or the other. (I can’t imagine pitching that story to an editor and getting a green light, by the way.)
There's no way not to admire her intellectual integrity:

Is the suggestion here that 40 percent of Americans are unemployable because of their religious convictions on marriage? That the companies that employ them deserve to be boycotted until they yield to the other side of the debate — a side, we should note, that is only slightly larger than the one being shouted down?

Or maybe the suggestion is that because they are public figures, they need to be held to a higher standard, one that doesn’t allow them room for moral and religious convictions? But that doesn’t make sense, either.

BuzzFeed is probably at the forefront of discussions surrounding diversity in entertainment. Do their reporters think diversity refers only to skin color? Does ideological diversity count for nothing, especially when it is representative of, again, a sizable chunk of the American public?
Another concern I have with the story is that it validates everything that President-elect Donald Trump’s supporters have been saying about the media: that some journalists — specifically younger ones at popular digital publications — will tell stories in certain deceitful, manipulative ways to take down conservatives. (And really, I can’t for the life of me imagine any other intention of the Gaines story.) 
The Gaines story is a non-story, but it's always worthwhile to report on instances of left-leaners departing from hive-think.

Principled righties must dig in their heels regarding protectionism

Tyler Cowen has a Bloomberg column today that is definitely worth your time. It's entitled "Trump's Disastrous Pledge to Keep Jobs in the U.S."

One of Donald Trump’s most consistent campaign promises has been to prevent U.S. businesses from moving good jobs to Mexico -- whether through taxes, jawboning, or more drastic means, such as an outright prohibition. Economists might regard this as a misguided form of protectionism, but in fact, it’s worse than that: If instituted, it could prove a major step toward imposing capital controls on the American economy and politicizing many business decisions.
Let’s consider how such a policy would be enforced in practice.
When an American company “moves jobs to Mexico,” it doesn’t disassemble a factory and load all of the parts onto border-crossing trucks. That might be relatively easy to stop. Instead, the company closes or limits some U.S. production while expanding or initiating new production south of the border. Given that reality, how is government supposed to respond?
Using the law to forbid factory closures would have serious negative consequences. For one thing, those factories may be losing money and end up going bankrupt. For another, stopping the closure of old plants would lock the U.S. into earlier technologies and modes of production, limiting progress and economic advancement.
An alternative policy would prohibit companies from cutting American production and expanding in Mexico within, say, a two-year window. But would that be effective? If a law is needed, it presumably means that Mexican production is more profitable, at the margin, than U.S. production. So if American companies couldn’t shift production to Mexico, Mexican companies could expand production on their own. Or perhaps Mexico would look to non-American multinationals. The end result would be that Asian, European and Mexican investors would gain at the expense of U.S. companies.
American investors could also work around the law. If regulations prevented, say, Ford Motor Company from transferring its own capital funds to Mexico, what would keep it from using affiliates, subsidiaries, commercial alliances, or a complex web of foreign transfers to achieve more or less the same ends? The initial restrictions might prove as porous as the U.S. corporate income tax system.
Furthermore, if we limit the export of American capital to Mexico, the biggest winner would be China, as one of its most significant low-wage competitors -- Mexico -- suddenly would be hobbled.
Perhaps most importantly, a policy limiting the ability of American companies to move funds outside of the U.S. would create a dangerous new set of government powers. Imagine giving an administration the potential to rule whether a given transfer of funds would endanger job creation or job maintenance in the United States. That’s not exactly an objective standard, and so every capital transfer decision would be subject to the arbitrary diktats of politicians and bureaucrats. It’s not hard to imagine a Trump administration using such regulations to reward supportive businesses and to punish opponents. Even in the absence of explicit favoritism, companies wouldn’t know the rules of the game in advance, and they would be reluctant to speak out in ways that anger the powers that be.
This is one of the aspects of the Squirrel-Hair phenomenon that has most spooked me all along. If the point is to eradicate crony capitalism and minimize the role of government in the nation's economic life - and that is the point if one is a proponent of free-market economics - this is quite clearly not the route to take. I'm happy for the Carrier workers in Indianapolis, but, while I'm not generally fond of watching the sausage-making process by which this kind of thing is accomplished, I do want to know what went down in this case. Whatever happened, it sets a precedent.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Stunts like this are why we have deemed Squirrel-Hair, um, problematic to say the least from the outset

Ben Shapiro at Daily Wire is exactly right about S-H's latest Twitter blurt:

On Tuesday, President Donald Trump opened a new can of worms via Twitter, this time regarding flag-burning. “Nobody should be allowed to burn the American flag – if they do, there must be consequences – perhaps loss of citizenship or year in jail!”
There are a number of questions to be asked. First, why would Trump raise this issue right now? Flag-burning hasn’t been in the news. It’s not a hot-button issue. The Supreme Court decided in 1989 in Texas v. Johnson that flag-burning was protected by the First Amendment. While politicians including Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY) have raised the issue for political gain in recent years, it’s been a dead letter nationally for two decades at least. That means that Trump is attempting to distract from other issues – or perhaps, to offer some red meat to his allies before announcing some heresy that will anger them.
I'm inclined to concur with Ben that this looks like a smokescreen:

Trump loves to pick a fight. That’s what he’s doing here. And it’s not a politically stupid fight – he’s happy to once again attempt to play to his populist base against the effete coastal elites who would stand alongside Occupy Wall Street hippies burning the flag in front of veterans. But that doesn’t mean that his proposed penalties are decent or right. They’re not. Perhaps they’re not intended to be. After all, this is a distraction.
Now we just have to wait to see what Trump wants to distract us from. 
And are we really going to have to endure four years of those idiotic exclamation points?

Now, this looks like a very good pick

Put this one in the getting-one-right column:

Rep. Tom Price (R-GA) has been the tip of the Congressional spear in the battle against the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) for the past six years.
Today, President-elect Donald Trump is expected to name Price as Secretary of Health and Human Services, the agency that over-sees and administers Obamacare. (WaPo)
As HHS secretary, Price would be the incoming administration’s point person for dismantling the sprawling 2010 health-care law, which candidate Trump promised to start dismantling on his first day in the Oval Office. The 62-year-old lawmaker, who represents a wealthy suburban Atlanta district, has played a leading role in the Republican opposition to the law and has helped draft several comprehensive bills to replace it. The GOP-led House has voted five dozen times to eliminate all or part of the ACA but has never had a chance of accomplishing its goal as long as President Obama has been in the White House.
As many Republicans, including House Speaker Paul Ryan, wavered in their attitudes towards Trump during his campaign, Price was a devoted foot soldier. In May, he organized a joint statement by nine GOP House committee chairs, pledging loyalty to Trump and calling on “all Americans to support him.”
Price has been far from “all talk and no substance” when it comes to calling to repeal Obamacare. In fact, as Chairman of the Budget Committee Price has proposed various “Repeal and Replace” bills that have stalled with President Obama’s veto pen looming at the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue.
In fact, as recently as May 2015 Price put for the “Empowering Patients First Act” which would have provided more free-market solutions to the skyrocketing costs of health insurance, and health care.
“Under Obamacare, the American people are paying more for health care and getting less – less access, less quality, and fewer choices. The status quo and its defenders are empowering Washington and harming patients and doctors. With real, patient-centered reforms we can build a more innovative and responsive health care system – one that empowers patients and ensures they and their doctor have the freedom to make health care decisions without bureaucratic interference or influence.
“The Empowering Patients First Act puts patients, families and doctors in charge by focusing on the principles of affordability, accessibility, quality, innovation, choices and responsiveness. Those principles form the foundation of the solutions in H.R. 2300 – solutions including individual health pools and expanded health savings accounts, tax credits for the purchase of coverage and lawsuit abuse reforms to reduce the costly practice of defensive medicine. The solutions in the Empowering Patients First Act will get Washington out of the way while protecting and strengthening the doctor-patient relationship.”

I think movement on the health-care front is going to be immediate and exciting next year.

Thoughts on filling the Secretary-of-State position

The latest bit of excitement, of course, is General Petraeus's visit to Trump Tower.

Peter Bergen at CNN makes a compelling case for Petraeus:

There would be no learning curve for the retired four-star general. Consider that Petraeus commanded US Central Command (CENTCOM) from 2008 to 2010. In many ways the CENTCOM commander has the most demanding job in the US military, because the command oversees America's wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and Yemen. The CENTCOM commander also oversees military operations and alliances with 20 countries across the Middle East and Central Asia, which means regularly meeting and working with the top officials in those regions.
Petraeus also was the on-the-ground commander in both Afghanistan and Iraq. As the commander in Afghanistan, Petraeus dealt extensively with the dozens of NATO and other countries who were part of the coalition he led there.
Bergen goes on to discuss Petraeus's role as an architect of counterinsurgency strategy, and then looks at how the general has rounded out his understanding of the world stage through his exposure to the business view, and points out that Petraeus definitely has Vladimir Putin's number:

Since leaving government four years ago, Petraeus has traveled around the globe in his job as chairman of the KKR Global Institute, which acts as a kind of internal think tank for the leading private equity firm, New York-based KKR. In this role, Petraeus has interacted with business and political leaders around the world, which has given him another perspective that supplements the senior military and intelligence posts he has already held.

Petraeus' foreign policy positions haven't always been in sync with Trump's. In the June interview, for instance, Petraeus was clear about the threat posed by Russian President Vladimir Putin, whom Trump has praised, and the continuing relevance of NATO: "God bless Vladimir Putin because he's given NATO another reason to live. Having just been in Europe, I can assure you there is new urgency about the threat posed by Putin, and the farther east you go the greater the urgency is felt. And if you're in the Baltic States or Poland, the threat indicator is blinking red." 

But if his foreign policy positions haven't been fully aligned with Trump's, Petraeus avoided taking any public political positions during the presidential campaign. He did not, for instance, declare support for Hillary Clinton during the campaign, as more than 100 flag officers did.
All very well. There's just one little problem, as Patterico at RedState points out:

Even if you think Petraeus is a smart guy who might do a good job — and I do — the comparison to Hillary Clinton [for having been convicted of reckless handling of classified information] is a tough mental hurdle to surmount.
And now, with word of a new investigation related to the Petraeus scandal breaking today, it’s getting tougher still:
The Defense Department is conducting a leaks investigation related to the sex scandal that led to the resignation of former CIA Director David Petraeus, The Associated Press confirmed Monday, the same day Petraeus was meeting with President-elect Donald Trump in New York.
Petraeus, who could be in line for a Cabinet nomination, arrived at Trump Tower in early afternoon. He walked in without taking any questions from reporters.
A U.S. official told the AP that investigators are trying to determine who leaked personal information about Paula Broadwell, the woman whose affair with Petraeus led to criminal charges against him and his resignation. The information concerned the status of her security clearance, said the official, who was not authorized to discuss an ongoing investigation by name and spoke on condition of anonymity.
Disclosure of the Broadwell information without official permission would have been a violation of federal criminal law.
The latest twist in the case could complicate Petraeus’ prospects of obtaining a Cabinet position in the Trump administration, resurfacing details of the extramarital affair and FBI investigation that ended his career at the CIA and tarnished the reputation of the retired four-star general.

Another Trump Tower visitor currently garnering buzz  is Mitt Romney. I do not get this one at all. What in Mitt's resume comes anywhere close to any kind of experience in international diplomacy? Plus, it's pretty clear he and DJT loathe each other.

I really don't understand why the obvious choice, John Bolton, is not front and center in this process. Is there something of a sensitive nature involved that no one wants to bring to light?

If not, I see this as a no-brainer.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Very interesting rumblings across Europe

Yesterday, we reported on Angela Merkel's rather abrupt turnabout on the issue of immigration.

An eye-opening development on a continent that has been on the expressway to oblivion.

Much to add to the list today:

Eight of Italy's major banks are teetering under the burden of bad-debt vulnerability, and if prime minister Renzi loses the referendum currently underway on restricting the Italian Senate's powers, the ripples could extend across the continent.

It looks like it's going to be Francois Fillon who will represent the French equivalent of three-pillared American conservatism in next year's presidential race, having won about twice as many votes as Alain Juppe in the primary. He'll be facing Marine LePen, the standard-bearer of the Western world's "populists'" hopes for France's future, as well as whoever the socialist left puts up.

What kind of guy is he?

It was in 1981, aged 27, that he was first elected as a member of parliament, becoming the National Assembly's youngest member.
His party was the Gaullist RPR of Jacques Chirac. Gaullism features a strong centralised state with conservative and nationalist policies.
Mr Fillon's parents, a history professor mother and lawyer father, were also Gaullists, and he was brought up in comfortable circumstances near the western city of Le Mans. 

He studied journalism and then law. In 1974 he met his future wife Penelope Clarke. She is Welsh and they have five children, the last born in 2001. They live near Le Mans, in the Sarthe department which remains Fillon's powerbase.
Mr Fillon's first ministerial post, higher education, came in 1993 under Prime Minister Edouard Balladur. He went on to hold five other cabinet posts, before serving as prime minister for five years until 2012 under Nicolas Sarkozy. 
He's a devout Catholic, he understands that marriage is the union of a man and woman, and he understands that the extermination of fetal French people is wrong. He also seems to understand that free-market economics is essential to human liberty. As his relationship with Nicholas Sarkozy developed as they worked together politically, he came to loathe Sarkozy. He has an odd inclination to foster closer relations with Russia. On the other hand, he feels very strongly that French culture and tradition must be preserved, and that the influx of Muslims does not serve that end.

Then there's the latest development in the Netherlands:

Geert Wilders, chairman of the Party for Freedom (PVV), has been celebrating on Twitter today. The reason? His party is now the biggest party in the Dutch polls. With elections coming up in March 2017, the populist politician seems to be on track to become the Netherlands' next prime minister.
According to the latest poll of Maurice de Hond, the Netherlands' most famous pollster, the PVV would become the biggest party in parliament if elections were held today (link in Dutch): they'd get 33 seats in the 150-seat lower chamber.
The PVV is the Netherlands' one and only populist party. It's more or less "conservative," although certainly not conservative on issues such as health care. Wilders is especially well-known for his criticism of Islam and Europe's open-borders policy, which he routinely -- and accurately -- describes as suicidal. His main goal is to end "the Islamization" of Europe generally and of the Netherlands specifically. 
Additionally, Wilders and his party are the most Eurosceptic of all the parties currently in parliament. He is the Netherlands' very own Nigel Farage, which he once again proved earlier this year when he and his allies won the Dutch referendum on the EU's upcoming treaty with Ukraine. Wilders campaigned hard against the deal, arguing that it would eventually lead to the poor (and not entirely democratic) Eastern European country joining the European Union. Although proponents of the treaty said that would not be the case, the Dutch voter wasn't convinced. Wilders and the "no" campaign won.
Europeans seem to have taken a square look at where they were headed and said, "What are our alternatives?"



Sunday, November 27, 2016

Merkel gets a clue on unbridled Middle-East and south-Asian immigration; better late than never, we suppose

This is pretty noteworthy stuff:

In one of the most shocking flip-flops in recent political history, German Chancellor Angela Merkel now says she will deport about 10% of recently arrived migrants -- 100,000 of them.
But more than that, her tone on granting asylum to migrants has radically changed.
The beleaguered Chancellor said authorities would significantly step up the rate of forced returns as she battles to arrest an alarming slump in her popularity which has fuelled a surge in support for the far-right.
Mrs Merkel, whose decision to roll out the red carpet to migrants from across Africa and the Middle East spectacularly backfired, has taken an increasingly tough tone on immigration in recent months.
And in her toughest rhetoric yet the German leader told MPs from her party this week: ”The most important thing in the coming months is repatriation, repatriation and once more, repatriation.”
The stance marks an astonishing U-turn from the once pro-refugee Chancellor, who has been widely pilloried by critics at home and abroad for her decision to throw open Germany’s borders to millions of migrants.
Her extraordinary change of heart has been prompted largely by a series of catastrophic local election results for her ruling Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party, which was trounced by the populist Alternative fur Deutschland in both her home state and the capital Berlin.
The party’s slumping poll ratings have sparked alarm amongst her allies in both the CDU and its coalition partner, the Christian Social Union (CSU), with talk that senior officials would try to oust her.
But instead Mrs Merkel last week announced her intention to stand for a fourth term as leader of Germany, and now she is striking an increasingly anti-immigrant tone as she attempts to restore her battered reputation ahead of next autumn’s election.
Speaking at a conference of conservative MPs in Neumünster yesterday evening the Chancellor revealed that she expects 100,000 migrants to leave Germany this year, of which a third will be forcibly removed.
And employing a tough new form of rhetoric, she warned local regions to deport all migrants whose asylum applications are rejected, using force if necessary.
She warned them: "If state governments refuse to forcibly deport migrants, then of course everyone will say, 'I will not do this voluntarily, because they will not do anything anyway’.
And in a stunning U-turn on her open borders policy, she added: ”It can not be that all the young people from Afghanistan come to Germany.”
Perhaps she was motivated by such developments as these:

  • Residents of Essen complained that police often refuse to respond to calls for help and begged city officials to restore order. One resident said: "I was born here and I do not feel safe anymore." City officials flatly rejected the complaints.
  • The Sarah Nußbaum Haus, a kindergarten in Kassel, said that "because of the high proportion of Muslim children," and because of the different cultures of the children, the school was "renouncing" Christian rituals.
  • During the first six months of 2016, more than 2,000 migrants who requested asylum were found to be carrying false passports, but German border control officers allowed them into the country anyway. Migrants with false papers could be linked to the Islamic State, security analysts warned.
  • German President Joachim Gauck said he believed that Germany will eventually have a Muslim president.
  • Muslims are attacking Christians at refugee shelters throughout Germany. "The religious minorities in refugee accommodations are now experiencing the same oppression prevalent in their countries of origin," according to the NGO Open Doors.
  • The Federal Statistics Office reported that the birthrate in Germany reached the highest level in 33 years in 2015, boosted mainly by babies born to migrant women.
  • A 49-year-old Syrian refugee in Rhineland-Palatinate is seeking social welfare benefits in Germany for his four wives and 23 children.
October 1. Two migrants raped a 23-year-old woman in Lüneburg as she was walking in a park with her young child. The men, who remain at large, forced the child to watch while they took turns assaulting the woman.
October 2. A 19-year-old migrant raped a 90-year-old woman as she was leaving a church in downtown Düsseldorf. Police initially described the suspect as "a Southern European with North African roots." It later emerged that the man is a Moroccan with a Spanish passport.
October 2. Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble called for the development of a "German Islam" to help integrate Muslims in the country. In an opinion article published by Welt am Sonntag, he wrote:
"Considering the diverse origins of Muslims in Germany, we want to promote the development of a German Islam, the development of self-assurance of Muslims living as Muslims in Germany, in a free, open, pluralistic and tolerant order, according to our laws and the religious neutrality of the state.
"There is no doubt that the growing number of Muslims in our country today is testing the tolerance of mainstream society. The origin of the vast majority of refugees means that we are increasingly dealing with people from very different cultures.... In this tense situation, we should not allow for the emergence of an atmosphere in which well-integrated people in Germany feel alien."
October 4. Münchner Merkur reported that the 2016 Munich Oktoberfest recorded its lowest turnout since 2001. Visitors reportedly stayed away due to concerns about terrorism and migrant-related sexual assaults.
October 6. Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung reported on a German intelligence study which found that almost half the German Salafists who left for Syria or Iraq were active in mosques. "The mosques continue to play a central role in the radicalization of Islamists in Germany," a spokeswoman for the German domestic intelligence agency, the Bundesamt für Verfassungsschutz (BfV), said. The ongoing study analyzes the background and course of the radicalization of persons who left for Syria or Iraq. The study has collected data from 784 Islamists who left Germany or were actively trying to leave the country. The BfV estimates that there are 9,200 known Salafists in Germany.

October 6. More than 400 residents of the Altenessen district in Essen met local politicians in a televised "town hall meeting" to discuss spiraling violence and crime perpetrated by migrants in the area. Residents complained that police often refuse to respond to calls for help and begged city officials to restore order. One resident said: "I was born here and I do not feel safe anymore." City officials flatly rejected the complaints. Mayor Thomas Kufen said: "Altenessen is not a no-go area, the people here are just angry." Police Chief Frank Richter added: "I am sick and tired of hearing about no-go zones in Essen." He insisted that Essen und Altenessen are perfectly safe.

October 7. The Sarah Nußbaum Haus, a kindergarten in Kassel, announced that it would not be celebrating Christmas this year, "because of the high proportion of Muslim children." According to local media, there will be "no Christmas tree, no Christmas stories and no Christmas spirit." Non-Muslim parents said that celebrating Christmas is a normal "part of the integration process to get to know the new culture." School officials responded by saying that because of the different cultures of the children, the school was "renouncing" Christian rituals. They also said that teachers at the school are now required to ensure that the children do not exchange their sandwiches, to prevent Muslim children from eating pork.

October 8. Welt am Sonntag reported that during the first six months of 2016, more than 2,000 migrants who requested asylum were found to be carrying false passports, but German border control officers allowed them into the country anyway. Migrants with false papers could be linked to the Islamic State, security analysts warned.

October 10. Jaber al-Bakr, a 22-year-old refugee from Syria, was arrested after police found explosives in his apartment in Chemnitz. He was suspected of plotting to bomb an airport in Berlin. Two days later, he hanged himself in a jail in Leipzig.

October 14. German President Joachim Gauck, who is stepping down for health reasons, saidhe believed that Germany will eventually have a Muslim president. Of the eleven German presidents so far, nine have been Protestant and two have been Catholic. Gauck's statement caused a stir in Germany. Some said that all German citizens are eligible for the position, regardless of confession, and others said a Muslim president would further divide society. Vice President of the European Parliament Alexander Graf Lambsdorff said: "A mullah with a turban would be impossible, but a representative of modern, enlightened Islam, such as the mayor in London, of course." The Office of the President told Bild that the oath of office would never be changed from "so help me God" to "so help me Allah."

October 14. Green Party politician Volker Beck called on Germans to learn Arabic so that they can communicate with migrants who do not speak German. When asked on NTV how migrants can integrate if there are no German speakers in many parts of German cities, he replied: "Other countries are more relaxed about the fact that, in some areas, a different language is spoken by a migrant community. In the US, you will find your Chinatown, you will find areas where Mexicans live, or whatever community is strong in a city." He also said it was good that German is not spoken in many German mosques. "Arab sermons are a piece of home," he said.
It goes on and on, per the linked piece.

Chancellor Merkel seems to be realizing that her country and the civilization of which it is a part are dying.


Saturday, November 26, 2016

The Fidel-is-dead post

The last five paragraphs of Against All Hope by Armando Valladares:

The hour of my departure arrived. The procession of several cars headed down Rancho Boyeros Avenue toward Jose Marti International Airport. The plane was scheduled for seven in the evening. The setting sun dyed the afternoon pomegranate-red. My heart sent up a hymn of thanks to God, and I prayed for my family, who hadn't been allowed to come to say goodbye, and for my friends remaining behind in the eternal night of the Cuban political prisons.

As the cars sped along, a flood of memories rushed over me. Twenty-two years in jail. I recalled the two sergeants, Porfirio and Matanzas, plunging their bayonets into Ernesto Diaz Madruga's dying body; Roberto Lopez Chavez dying in a cell, calling for water, the guards urinating over his face and in his gasping mouth; Boitel, denied water too, after more than fifty days on hunger strike, because Fidel wanted him dead; Clara, Boitel's poor mother, beaten by Lieutenant Abad in a Political Police station just because she wanted to find out where her son was buried. I remembered Carrion, shot in the leg, telling Jaguey not to shoot, and Jaguey mercilessly, heartlessly, shooting him in the back; the officers who threatened family members if they cried at a funeral.

I remembered Estebita and Piri dying in blackout cells, the victims of biological experimentation; Diosdado Aquit, Chino Tan, Eddy Molina, and so many others murdered in the forced-labor fields, quarries and camps. A legion of specters, naked, crippled, hobbling and crawling through my mind, and the hundreds of men wounded and mutilated in the horrifying searches. Dynamite. Drawer cells. Edwardo Capote's fingers chopped off by a machete. Concentration camps, tortures, women beaten, soldiers pushing prisoners' heads into a lake of shit, the beatings of Eloy and Izaguirre. Martin Perez with his testicles destroyed by bullets. Roberto weeping for his mother.

And in the midst of that apocalyptic vision of the most dreadful and horrifying moments of my life, in the midst of the gray, ashy dust and the orgy of beatings and blood, prisoners beaten to the ground, a man emerged, the skeletal figure of a man wasted by hunger, with white hair, blazing blue eyes, and a heart overflowing with love, raising his arms to the invisible heaven and pleading for mercy for his executioners.

"Forgive them, Father, for they know not what they do." And a burst of machine-gun fire ripping open his breast.

Friday, November 25, 2016

More on the chasm between the grandstanders' Dakota Access Pipeline narrative and the truth

You've seen the Facebook rants.

Here's what's really going on:

The record shows that Energy Transfer Partners, the company building the pipeline, spent years working diligently with federal, state and local officials to route the pipeline safely and with the fewest possible disruptions. The contrast between the protesters' claims and the facts on record is stunning.
Protesters claim that the pipeline was "fast-tracked," denying tribal leaders the opportunity to participate in the process. In fact, project leaders participated in 559 meetings with community leaders, local officials and organizations to listen to concerns and fine-tune the route. The company asked for, and received, a tougher federal permitting process at sites along the Missouri River.
This more difficult procedure included a mandated review of each water crossing's potential effect on historical artifacts and locations.
Protesters claim that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers failed to consult tribal leaders as required by federal law. The record shows that the corps held 389 meetings with 55 tribes. Corps officials met many times with leaders of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe, which initiated the lawsuit and the protests.
Protesters claim that the Standing Rock Sioux pursued meetings with an unresponsive Army Corps of Engineers. Court records show that the roles in that story were in fact reversed. The corps alerted the tribe to the pipeline permit application in the fall of 2014 and repeatedly requested comments from and meetings with tribal leaders, only to be rebuffed over and over. Tribal leaders ignored requests for comment and canceled meetings multiple times.
In September 2014 alone, the Corps made five unsuccessful attempts to meet with Standing Rock Sioux leaders. The next month, a meeting was arranged, but "when the Corps timely arrived for the meeting, Tribal Chairman David Archambault told them that the conclave had started earlier than planned and had already ended," according to a federal judge.
At a planned meeting the next month, the tribe took the pipeline off the agenda and refused to discuss it. This stonewalling by tribal leaders continued for a year and a half.
Typical of the misinformation spread during the protests is a comment made by Jesse Jackson, who recently joined the activists in North Dakota. He said the decision to reroute the pipeline so that it crossed close to the Standing Rock Sioux tribe's water intake was "racism."
He did not mention, possibly because he did not know, that the company is paying to relocate the tribe's water intake to a new spot 70 miles from the location of the contested pipeline crossing.
The pipeline route was adjusted based on concerns expressed by locals — including other tribal leaders — who met with company and Army Corps of Engineers officials.
The court record reveals that the Standing Rock Sioux refused to meet with corps officials to discuss the route until after site work had begun. That work is now 77 percent completed at a cost of $3 billion.
It's just an irresistible flashpoint for identity-politics-and-earth-worship-mongers.

They hate human advancement, even as they enjoy its fruits.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

What Ben said

Mike Pesci of Slate interviews Ben Shapiro, and the whole thing is worth your reading, but let me give you a taste:

 . . . everyone’s taking the wrong lessons, right and left, away from this election cycle.
I think on the right, people are taking it like Trump won this big, broad victory; Trump lost the popular vote by over 1 million votes, and he won by very, very narrow margins in places like Wisconsin, Michigan, and Florida. And the fact is that when all is said and done, the groups that are growing demographically in the United States are minorities, women, young people—millennials will be 40 percent of the voting population in 2020. And so if you’re banking on this ever-shrinking group, the alt-right, in order to put you over the top, that seems like bad politics. It’s alienating politics; it’s not something that’s going to help.

By the same token, I think that the left is making a huge mistake by labeling everybody on the right “alt-right.” Because what they’re doing is they’re pushing people into the arms of the alt-right. You call people racist enough, and they begin to think OK, well, who’s not calling me a racist—I’ll side with that guy. So the worst thing the left can do is continue to suggest that everyone who backed Trump was a racist, sexist, bigot homophobe; everyone’s evil, everyone’s terrible. What they really should be doing is they should be saying, “Look, we understand one of the reasons that we lost is because Hillary Clinton was a uniquely terrible candidate”—she really was—“and because of that, we’re not trying to throw you guys out of the tent. We think it was a bad choice to choose Trump, but we would sort of appeal to the better angels of your nature—that if we think he’s divisive as time goes on, that you recognize that he’s being divisive.” I think it’s a big mistake to have the left pushing the notion that they’re just going to double-down on the Obama coalition and tell everybody else to go screw.
That's the level of insight you get in the whole thing. 

Actually, it sounds like Squirrel-Hair did not reverse himself on the global climate

So says Marc Morano at Climate Depot:

The media spin on President Elect Donald J. Trump’s sit down with the New York Times on November 22, can only be described as dishonest. Trump appears to soften stance on climate change & Donald Trump backflips on climate change  & Trump on climate change in major U-turn
The ‘fake news’ that Trump had somehow moderated or changed his “global warming” views was not supported by the full transcript of the meeting.
Heartland Institute President Joe Bast had this to say about the full transcript of Trump’s meeting: “This is reassuring. The Left wants to drive wedges between Trump and his base by spinning anything he says as “retreating from campaign promises.” But expressing nuance and avoiding confrontation with determined foes who buy ink by the barrel is not retreating.” The Heartland Institute released their skeptical 2015 climate report featuring 4,000 peer-reviewed articles debunking the UN IPCC claims.
Trump’s climate science view that there is “some connectivity” between humans and climate is squarely a skeptical climate view. Trump explained, “There is some, something. It depends on how much.”
Trump’s views are shared by prominent skeptical scientists. University of London professor emeritus Philip Stott has said: “The fundamental point has always been this. Climate change is governed by hundreds of factors, or variables, and the very idea that we can manage climate change predictably by understanding and manipulating at the margins one politically selected factor (CO2) is as misguided as it gets.” “It’s scientific nonsense,” Stott added. Stott is featured in new skeptical climate change documentary Climate Hustle.
Scientists at the UN climate summit in Marrakech commended Trump’s climate views. See: Skeptical scientists crash UN climate summit, praise Trump for ‘bringing science back again’
Trump also told resident NYT warmist Tom Friedman: ‘A lot of smart people disagree with you’ on climate change. (Note: Friedman has some wacky views: Flashback 2009: NYT’s Tom Friedman lauds China’s eco-policies: ‘One party can just impose politically difficult but critically important policies needed to move a society forward’)
Once again, Trump was 100% accurate as very prominent scientists are bailing out of the so-called climate “consensus.”
Green Guru James Lovelock reverses belief in ‘global warming’: Now says ‘I’m not sure the whole thing isn’t crazy’ – Condemns green movement: ‘It’s a religion really, It’s totally unscientific’
Trump correctly cited the  Climategate scandal: “They say they have science on one side but then they also have those horrible emails that were sent between scientists…Terrible. Where they got caught, you know, so you see that and you say, what’s this all about.” See: Watch & Read: 7th anniversary of Climategate – The UN Top Scientists Exposed
Trump cited his uncle, a skeptical MIT scientist: “My uncle was for 35 years a professor at M.I.T. He was a great engineer, scientist. He was a great guy. And he was … a long time ago, he had feelings — this was a long time ago — he had feelings on this subject.” (Yes, other MIT scientists are very skeptical as well. See: MIT Climate Scientist Dr. Richard Lindzen Mocks 97% Consensus: ‘It is propaganda’
It is also worth noting that Trump’s often cited 2012 tweet about climate change stating “The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive,” was clearly a joke and he has said it was a joke. It is further worth noting that climate skeptics do not believe the conecpt of “climate change” was “created” by China.
Trump countered: ‘We’ve had storms always, Arthur.’

Clearly, S-H is far from the most articulate spokesperson for the understanding that the notion that the global climate is in any kind of trouble is a lot of hooey, but the "M"SM really had to stretch to make this look like a reversal of viewpoint.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

The relentless march of the tradition-and-God-hating jackboots

Not sure where this one took place, but some school has turned its Thanksgiving commemoration into "wear your favorite color day":

The creeping politicization of the holidays is now starting to poison Thanksgiving  . . ., and this year it affected my household when my daughter’s school cancelled the day set aside to celebrate Thanksgiving during the school’s spirit week. Parents balked at “Thanksgiving Thursday,” the only day of the week designated to something cultural as opposed to something silly like pajama day or wacky hair day, because it might have promoted “racism” and “discrimination.” First, the school apologized and barred children from in any way representing the Native American part of the Thanksgiving story. And then it capitulated altogether and replaced it with “wear your favorite color” day.
Faster than you can shout “Trigger Warning!” these school kids were robbed of the chance to learn about and celebrate one of America’s most cherished holidays. And they aren’t alone—a quick Google search yields endless stories of schools banning everything from Valentine’s Day to Christmas lest someone be offended by history and culture. Thanksgiving is the latest schoolyard victim.

Now I do know where this one occurred: the People's Republic of Bloomington, just a few miles over the hills from where I reside:

Mayor John Hamilton recently announced that are renaming two paid holidays for city workers -- in an effort to respect "differing cultures."
Columbus Day will henceforth be known as "Fall Holiday" and Good Friday will be known as "Spring Holiday." 
Mayor John Hamilton told Fox 59 the name change will “better reflect cultural sensitivity in the workplace.”
The local paper, the Herald Times, no bastion of rightie-ness, deserves props for standing up to at least the Good Friday half of this outrage:

"It was not necessary and just stands to divide rather than unite when it comes to Good Friday," the Herald Times wrote in a staff editorial.
The newspaper said a case could be made for changing Columbus Day.
"To some in our country the idea of celebrating him is akin to celebrating a marauding invader who sought to destroy a culture," they wrote.
But Good Friday?
"It’s a day important to the faith of many in this country," they wrote. "The idea of acting as if city leaders don’t acknowledge its existence and would rather stick a “Spring Holiday” name on it is insensitive to those for whom it means a lot. It’s an unnecessary poke in the eye to many Christians."
To reiterate what I said in another recent cultural-rot post, we could rev the economy up to 10 percent GDP growth and, without eradicating this poison, it would be meaningless.