Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Squirrel-Hair's tax plan ain't really so hot

Jeffrey Anderson at The Weekly Standard explains:

Donald Trump’s newly released tax plan would add a staggering $10 trillion to the national debt over a decade, according to scoring by the Tax Foundation, a well-respected (especially in conservative circles) nonpartisan source.  To put that into perspective, that’s more debt than Barack Obama—by far the most profligate president in American history—has managed to rack up so far on his watch (although he’s not done yet).  According to the Treasury Department, the national debt has risen an unconscionable $9 trillion under Obama, from $9.2 trillion when he took office to $18.2 trillion today.  But all by itself, Trump’s tax plan would generate more debt than 80 months of Obama.
To be clear, that’s after accounting for the increased economic growth that Trump’s plan would spur—and it would spur a lot of growth, raising the gross domestic product by 11 percent (or about $3 trillion) in year-10 compared to what it otherwise would have been, according to the scoring.  In “static scoring,” which doesn’t take into account tax cuts’ effect on growth (and hence is of rather limited use), Trump’s plan would reduce revenues by $12 trillion.  The economic growth and corresponding tax revenues that his plan would generate would decrease that shortfall by about $2 trillion, to $10.14 trillion, but that’s all. 

Then there is the skin-in-the-game factor:

In addition to being an incredible budget-buster, Trump’s plan raises one other major concern:  It would, Trump claims, take most Americans off the income-tax rolls.  It’s bad enough that about 40 percent of Americans currently pay no federal income taxes—and thus don’t help fund national defense, national parks, federal highway spending, the general cost of government, etc.  Trump’s plan would turn that large minority into a majority.  It’s hard to imagine how having most Americans not have skin in the game is conducive to cultivating a virtuous republican citizenry that prides itself on its self-reliance and doesn’t view government spending as a free lunch.

Time to get a clue, Trump-bots. Think about this. Think about what he's had to say about health care, and I'm talking about the recent stuff. Think about how he says it's okay for Russia to be the chief shaper of the outcome of the Syrian mess.

Repeat after me: Not. Presidential. Material.

The real power players in the post-American world

It's come to this:

Russian officials have demanded that American warplanes exit Syrian airspace immediately, a senior U.S. official told Fox News early Wednesday. 
The official told Fox News that Russian diplomats sent an official demarche ordering U.S. planes out of Syria, adding that Russian fighter jets were now flying over Syrian territory. U.S. military sources told Fox News that U.S. planes would not comply with the Russian demand.
"There is nothing to indicate that we are changing operations over Syria," a senior defense official said. 
"We have had every indication in recent weeks that (the Russians) were going to do something given the build-up," another defense official added. 
The move by Moscow marks a major escalation in ongoing tensions between the two countries over military action in the war-torn country and comes moments after Russian lawmakers formally approved a request from the country's president, Vladimir Putin, to authorize the use of troops in Syria.

And notice what former superpower is not included in this arrangement:

On Wednesday, Reuters reported that Russia's Foreign Ministry told the news agency Interfax that a recently established operations center in Baghdad would help coordinate air strikes and ground troops in Syria. Fox News first reportedlast week that the center had been set up by Russian, Syrian and Iranian military commanders with the goal of working with Iranian-backed Shia militias fighting ISIS.
Over the weekend, the Iraqi government announced that it would begin sharing "security and intelligence" information with Russia, Syria and Iran to help combat ISIS.
Meanwhile, intelligence sources told Fox News Friday that Iranian Quds Force commander Qasem Soleimani met with Russian military commanders in Baghdad September 22. Fox News reported earlier this month that Soleimani met Putin in Moscow over the summer to discuss a joint military plan in Syria.
"The Russians are no longer advising, but co-leading the war in Syria," one intelligence official said at the time.

Meanwhile, how are thing going in the other failed nation-state we abandoned without achieving victory? 

Afghanistan was plunged deeper into crisis a day after the Taliban seized the northern city of Kunduz, as the insurgents on Tuesday kept assaulting the reeling Afghan security forces and the government struggled to mount a credible response.
Not only did a promised government counteroffensive on Kunduz not make headway during heavy fighting on Tuesday, but the day ended with yet another aggressive Taliban advance, with insurgents surrounding the airport to which hundreds of Afghan forces and at least as many civilians had retreated, thinking it would be safe.
I don't care if the Most Equal Comrade thinks all this is clever, or beside the point, from the perspective of his focus on "climate change" and "sustainable development." He is plunging the world into a state of danger that has few if any parallels in history.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

The fruits of planned decline - today's edition

In case you missed the lunar eclipse Sunday night, another historic eclipse is available for the world to see:

For the second time this month, Russia moved to expand its political and military influence in the Syria conflict and left the United States scrambling, this time by reaching an understanding, announced on Sunday, with Iraq, Syria and Iran to share intelligence about the Islamic State.
Like Russia’s earlier move to bolster the government of President Bashar al-Assad by deploying warplanes and tanks to a base near Latakia, Syria, the intelligence-sharing arrangement was sealed without notice to the United States. American officials knew that a group of Russian military officers were in Baghdad, but they were clearly surprised when the Iraqi military’s Joint Operations Command announced the intelligence sharing accord on Sunday.
It was another sign that President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia was moving ahead with a sharply different tack from that of the Obama administration in battling the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL, by assembling a rival coalition that includes Iran and the Syrian government.

The facial expressions in the photographs of them handshaking at their sidelines meeting and toasting each other at yesterday's luncheon are quite telling. Putin is grinning. The Most Equal Comrade is not.

Monday, September 28, 2015

That Pope position has some requirements that rowdy Texans could never fill

I decided to post about this based on a comment-thread exchange under my post about the Pope's hard-left climate advisors.

I flirted with Catholicism a couple of years ago, but then lapsed back into not going to church altogether.

Now, I've found a little country church - UMC, but unencumbered by the denomination's national-level leftward tilt - that I've been attending regularly all year. Even getting involved, contributing to pitch-in meals and playing some special music during services.

Anyway, it's allowed me to take a fresh perspective on the papacy.

It's a take that is similar to that of Doug Giles. Giles is a solid conservative and Christian. His writing can be annoyingly formulaic, but sometimes it's just the bracing antidote to the cultural nonsense of the moment.

Such is the case with his list of reasons he could never be Pope:

  1. The No Sex Clause Would Be A Deal Breaker. How a man can live around all those beautiful Italian ladies and not fall flat out in love is beyond my level of sanctification. When I first saw my Italian wife I knew right then and there my Pope pipe dreams were no mas.
  2. I’m Not Soft Spoken. Apparently, if you’re going to be the Pope you have to speak in soft monotones. That ain’t me, man. When I speak I have all the subtlety of a sledgehammer. 
  3. I Have Deeper Faults Than The San Andreas. 
  4. I’m Not Fluent In Several Languages. Unless, of course, you consider pig-Latin and Texan different languages.
  5. I Couldn’t Endure All The Adulation/Man Worship Of My Person. Sure, it would probably feel good for a few days, but after a while, as a sinner, it would get a wee bit creepy because … duh … I’m not God.
  6. I Could Never Wear The Elvis Outfits. Wearing a suit is a stretch for me. A tie is a big, big deal. You can’t be a Pope and wear T-shirts and blue jeans, can you?
  7. I Think Socialism Is Anti-Christian, Human Enslaving, Bullcrap. Plus, I prefer Jesus' view of self-defense in Luke 22 more than Pope Francis' kum-ba-yah "guns are evil" stuff he preaches to us behind heavily armed guards in a walled city. 
  8. I Can’t Keep My Mouth Shut Around Evil Politicians.
  9. I’m Not That Nice. My image of the Galilean is not a non-offensive Mr. Rogers type of dude, but rather a thirty-year-old holy rebel with a cause.
  10. I Believe The Word Of God Trumps The Traditions Of Men. Yes, I saw Joseph Fiennes movie Luther and ran with it.

I was pleased to see affirmation of my view that, for all the excitement over his supposedly refreshing departures from the previous realm of papal concerns, the guy has a truly soporific speaking style. It wasn't just me.

Populations tend to flow to where there's more freedom and therefore more opportunity

Stephen Moore of the Heritage Foundation examines the emptying-out of places like California and Illinois and the filling up of states like Texas, North Dakota and Florida:

The latest Rich States, Poor States document (which I co-author) published by ALEC, the state legislative organization, finds that nearly 1,000 people each day on net are leaving blue states and entering red states. This migration is changing the economic center of gravity in America — moving it relentlessly to the South and West.
Travis Brown, the author of the indispensable book “How Money Walks,” shows that two of the leading factors behind this movement of human capital are 1) whether a state has a right to work law (half of the states do) and 2) how high the top income tax rate is in the state. Nine states have no income tax today and they are creating twice the pace of jobs than are high income tax states.
Data from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) show a similar trend. Each year the IRS issues a migration data report which examines how many tax filers (and dependents) in the year changed their residency and how much income was transported from one state to another. The numbers for the most recent year (tax filing year 2013) are gigantic and put the lie to the claim that interstate migration is too small to matter in terms of the wealth and economic opportunity in one state versus another.
In 2013, Florida gained $8.2 billion in adjusted gross income from out of staters. Texas gained $5.9 billion — in one year. Five of the seven states with the biggest gains in income have no income tax at all: Florida, Texas, Arizona, Washington, and Nevada. New York was again the big loser with another 112,236 tax filers leaving and taking $5.2 billion with them. (So much for those TV ads trying to lure businesses into America’s 2nd highest taxed state with temporary tax breaks. Illinois lost nearly 67,000 tax filers and $3.7 billion of income it can no longer tax.
I’ve never met a Democrat who could come up with even a semi-plausible explanation for why families and businesses are hightailing it out of blue states. They are leaving states with high minimum wages, pro-union work rules, high taxes on the rich, generous welfare benefits, expansive regulations to “help” workers, green energy policies, etc. People are voting with their feet against these liberal policies.
When I debated Paul Krugman this summer, I confronted him with this reality. His lame explanation for the steady migration from liberal North to conservative South was that “air conditioning” has made the South more livable. Americans are evidently moving because of the weather.
There are two glaring problems with this theory: California and North Dakota. In the last decade ending in 2013, 1.4 million more Americans left California than moved into the once-Golden State. It’s a good bet these California refugees didn’t leave for more sunshine or better weather.
And if warm weather is what is attracting people to the South — and surely there is some truth to that — why did the coldest state outside of Alaska, North Dakota, have the biggest population gain in percentage terms in the most recent year? The answer is that workers went to get jobs created by the Bakken Shale oil and gas boom. By the way, California is one of the oil and gas richest states in the nation, but its “green” politicians are regulating that industry out of businesses. So much for caring about working class Americans.
The latest Census and IRS data merely confirm what Americans can see every day with their own two eyes. Red states are a magnet. There’s a downside to this for sure. Conservatives have a legitimate gripe that as blue staters come into their prosperous red states, they try to turn them blue. That’s happened in New Hampshire where Massachusetts transplants vote for the left-wing policies they just fled.
But the underlying trend is unmistakable: Liberal blue states are economic dinosaurs. 

Now, if the red states didn't have the yoke of federal intrusion - indeed, federal-level planned decline -  around their necks, they could rock even more.

Makes sense to LITD

The head of the largest state Pub organization (Louisiana), who is also vice chair of the RNC, makes a pronouncement that seems like a logical next step to us:

McConnell needs to resign!!” Louisiana GOP Chairman Roger Villere wrote in a Facebook posting.
Mitch is a good and honorable guy, but the base is leaving our party,” Mr. Villeresaid in an interview with The Washington Times. “I’m out in the field all the time and we have all our elections this year for state offices, and it’s hurting us tremendously with our elections.”
LITD was probably willing to extend the benefit of the doubt longer than many, but the deal-breaker was last November, immediately upon being reelected, when he said a government shutdown was off the table.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

How far up the chain does this rot go?

Who had the final say on Pope Francis's completely one-sided and ultra-radical panel of climate advisors?

In the preparation and promotion of its widely touted encyclical, Laudato Si: On Care for Our Common Home, the Vatican relied on advisors who can only be described as the most extreme elements in the global warming debate.  These climate advisors are so far out of the mainstream they even make some of their fellow climate activists cringe. Many of these advisors oppose individual freedom and market economics and stand against traditional family values.
The Vatican and Pope Francis did not allow dissent or alternative perspectives to be heard during the creation and promotion of the encyclical. The Vatican only listened to activist voices within the climate movement.
Even more startling, many of the Vatican’s key climate advisors have promoted policies directly at odds with Catholic doctrine and beliefs. The proceedings of the Vatican climate workshop included activists like Naomi Oreskes, Peter Wadhams, Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, and UN advisor Jeffrey Sachs.
Pope Francis’ advisors, and the UN climate agenda he is aligning himself with, are strong supporters of development restrictions, contraceptives, population control, and abortion.  Despite these strange bedfellows, the encyclical is clear in condemning abortion, contraception, and population control.

Check out linked Climate Depot piece by Mark Morano for profiles of each of these hardcore Freedom-Haters: Jeffrey Sachs, Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, Naomi Oreskes, Peter Wadhams & Naomi Klein.

In his own mind, the Most Equal Comrade is a visionary ushering a new era of international harmony; to post-America's adversaries an enemies, he's a patsy and a joke

The Chinese assured me, honest:

President Obama said he got the word of Chinese President Xi Jinping that the People’s Republic will stop hacking the U.S., but members of Congress warned those could just be hollow promises.
“I raised once again our very serious concerns about growing cyber-threats to American companies and American citizens. I indicated that it has to stop,” Obama said in a press conference with Xi today. “The United States government does not engage in cyber economic espionage for commercial gain. And today, I can announce that our two countries have reached a common understanding on the way forward.”
“We’ve agreed that neither the U.S. or the Chinese government will conduct or knowingly support cyber-enabled theft of intellectual property, including trade secrets or other confidential business information for commercial advantage,” he said. “In addition, we’ll work together, and with other nations, to promote international rules of the road for appropriate conduct in cyberspace.”
"It has to stop" - or what?

And "working together . . . to promote international rules of the road for appropriate conduct in cyberspace": In what universe is that a sane idea?

Friday, September 25, 2015

First thoughts on the Boehner announcement

Pretty clearly, he felt that he was behind the eight ball on the matter of whether to shut down government over Planned Parenthood funding.

There's also a lot of speculation about why the Pope's address to Congress and his one-on-one meeting with Boehner made Boehner cry so much.

He's been hounded by instances such as the recent "jackasses" remark, or the talk he gave to a business group back in his district at which he affected a whine to portray the position of House members who balked at comprehensive immigration reform, or the hardball tactics regarding committee assignments.

Mostly, though, it was in the way he's carried himself. His speech and body language indicated that he did not get it. Movement conservatives, as well as voting citizens of a less-involved conservative bent, never saw a trace of fierceness or urgency. The Speaker came across as a guy who found process more rewarding than victory for his principles.

One reader of this blog strongly suggests that the guy's personal life is out of control.

And then there's the question of who to replace him with. As far as I'm concerned, we can do better than just saying, "Let's go with McCarthy, since there's not much time." He doesn't come across much differently from Boehner, and we have some great alternative possibilities.

This is getting tiresome

Donald Trump encountered boos and groans at the Values Voters Summit when he called Rubio a "clown."  Why, Squirrel Hair had even "been nice to him!"

Leon Wolf at Red State isn't going to give him a pass on the immigration remark either:

Note also, that the specific attack Trump levels against Rubio is that he is “in favor of immigration.” Not “in favor of illegal immigration,” just “in favor of immigration.” Presumably, Donald Trump is against that altogether. No more furriners ever coming into our country ever again for The Donald.
Some of his supporters will maybe claim this is a slip. The honest ones will acknowledge that he meant it and brag about it.
The Donald wasn't done. He doubled down on television today:

Donald Trump’s latest war of words is with Marco Rubio. Here is what Trump said about the Florida Senator on “Morning Joe”:
I’m looking at guys like Marco Rubio who has the worst voting record in the United States Senate. Young guy, although he sweats more than any young person I’ve ever seen in my life. I’ve never seen a person sweat, down water like he downs water. They bring it in in buckets for this guy.
The part about sweating is the usual attempt at entertainment. Some of us are increasingly less entertained by this sort of thing, but at least Trump avoided any true slur against Rubio’s appearance, personality, or ethnicity. 
Trump did, however, slander Rubio’s voting record when he called it the worst in the Senate. In 2012, Rubio had a 100 percent rating from the American Conservative Union. In 2014, it dropped to 98 percent.
Maybe after a summer of having to grit our teeth, we'll have an autumn in which we get to witness a lot of second thoughts and wake-up calls answered.

The fog and the flame

Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

Philippians 4:8

For we must Consider that we shall be as a City upon a Hill, the eyes of all people are upon us; so that if we deal falsely with our god in this work we have undertaken and so cause him to withdraw his present help from us, we shall be made a story and a byword through the world . . .

John Winthrop

Instead of covetously consolidating its premises, the United States seems tormented by its tradition of fixed postulates having to do with the meaning of existence, the relationship of the state to the individual, of the individual to his neighbor, so clearly enunciated in the enabling documents of our Republic.

"Our Mission Statement" by William F. Buckley Jr., first issue of National Review, November 19, 1955

A lot of major world-stage figures are visiting post-America these days.

There's Pope Francis, who, on his plane ride from Cuba to post-America strove to convince reporters that he really didn't lean left. And a lot of devout Catholics who decidedly don't lean left are performing all kinds of contortions to see his point.

Sure, they say, he has signed on to the obvious fraud of global warming, he clearly misunderstands the free market, and his views on immigration indicate that he fails to fully understand how critical the sovereignty of nation-states is to an orderly world, but, balanced against his views on homosexuality and abortion, what he presents is a Christ-informed worldview that, if it's a mystery to us, is our responsibility to discern.

But the cat came further out of the bag in his address to Congress when he chose to include this figure in his pantheon of towering champions of justice:

 . . . the pontiff mentioned her in the same breath as Martin Luther King and Abraham Lincoln, before going on to hail her achievements.

Yes, yes, we know: After her Greenwich Village days, which included flirtations with anarchism and Communism, and affairs with the likes of writers Eugene O'Neill and  Mike Gold, atheist biologist Foster Batterham and others, and a brief marriage to a wealthy businessman, Dorothy Day converted to Catholicism.

It didn't seem to change much about her ideology:

In 1951, she fell foul of Cardinal Francis Spellman, Archbishop of New York, after siding with archdiocesan workers who had gone on strike.
Later, she declared her support for Fidel Castro and his regime in Cuba and, in 1970, when the Vietnam War was at its height, praised Viet Cong leader Ho Chi Minh as a 'man of vision' and a 'patriot'.
Her views hardly mellowed at all in later life, either in religious or political terms, and in 1971, she paid a visit to Leonid Brezhnev's Kremlin in Moscow, Russia.
The following year, she joined Cesar Chavez's campaign for better treatment for Californian farm laborers - and, during the protest, was arrested and spent 10 days in jail.

The Pope's choice of this figure, among all those he could have chosen to cite, is rather telling, no?

Then there is the closed-door meeting Chinese president - actually "paramount leader," in the Chinese lexicon, as he also holds the top posts in the Communist Party and the military - Xi Jinping held with some of the biggest names in corporate post-America, with representatives from a particular sector conspicuously absent:

Chinese President Xi Jinping addressed Silicon Valley’s titans, including Apple CEO Tim Cook, founder Jeff Bezos and billionaire investor Warren Buffet, in a closed-door conference in Wednesday.
At the event with America and China’s top business leaders, Xi vowed to work to remove barriers to foreign investment and improve intellectual property protections in a bid to crack down on his country’s rip-offs of US products.
But among those missing from the event was Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg.
In fact, representatives from the social media giant, Twitter and Google were all notably missing and it is telling that China currently blocks those companies’ websites.

Xi's rise to power involves some noteworthy elements. His father, Xi Zhongxun, was one of the founding revolutionaries of Red China and had in fact been involved in guerrilla activities  and political rabble-rousing since the early 1930s. After the Party came to power in 1949, he alternately landed some prestigious positions and ran afoul of Mao's designs. During the late-1960s Cultural Revolution, he spent some time in prison, which meant that his son had no special status and was sent into the fields as part of the Down to the Countryside movement. He began working his way back into the regime's good graces during that period, becoming the political leader for his production team. His education, while it included degrees in chemical engineering and law, was primarily about ideological indoctrination.

He's clearly a guy who knows how to play chess with regard to a career path as a Communist-dictator aspirant.

Since he's been in the upper echelons of power, he has made a point of stressing Party primacy in the nation's affairs.

As we know, he is also clearly positioning China to be the big regional power in east Asia. That no doubt will be at least the implicit message at this upcoming pow-wow:

China said on Thursday it will host defence ministers from the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) next month, amid tension between some of its members and China over the disputed South China Sea.
The Oct. 15-16 informal summit will take place in Beijing and China has invited the defence ministers of all 10 members, Chinese Defence Ministry spokesman Wu Qian told a regular monthly news briefing.
Chinese Defence Minister Chang Wanquan will have a "deep exchange of views" with participants, he added, without elaborating.
China has overlapping claims with Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, Taiwan and Brunei in the South China Sea, through which US$5 trillion in ship-borne trade passes every year.
China's increasingly assertive moves to press its sovereignty claims have rattled its neighbours and aroused concern in the United States, though China says it has no hostile intent.
A U.S. expert said this month, citing satellite photographs, China appeared to be carrying out preparatory work for a third airstrip in contested territory in the South China Sea.

And then Putin intends to meet with the Most Equal Comrade on the sidelines of next week's UN General Assembly. It's a rather sure bet as to what the leverage dynamic of that conversation will be. Russian fighter jets and ground troops are now in Syria. Russia intends to bolster, not topple, the Assad regime. The "moderate" - that is, anti-Assad as well as anti-ISIS / al-Nusra Front - rebels, into whose arming and training post-America poured millions, never numbered more than sixty and now don't exist. Putin is the figure that everyone from the Iranian mullahs to Benjamin Netanyahu wants to talk to.

LITD stands by its assertion that this is all by design. The Most Equal Comrade - indeed, all the policy-shapers of his Freedom-Hater Party - has pursued planned decline over the course of their rule.

That figures who either do not understand, or harbor animosity toward, what has been precious - indeed, indispensable - about America over the course of its existence are now dominant on the world stage is perfectly fine with the Freedom-Haters.

This is why, as the 2016 election cycle unfolds, we must cultivate the art of close listening. Those of us who retain what we were taught about wisdom, clarity, and the defense of the absolutes of this universe must bring that understanding to bear as we decide who, among those aspiring to govern, shares it.

There is no more margin of error. Getting it wrong this time around will be fatal.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

The EU, with everything on its plate, finds time to focus on portraying Israel as a villain state

The European Union is a relatively recent phenomenon, having been established in 1993, and its efficacy is not what the pointy-heads in Brussels would have us believe. Its real nature is rather as Victor Davis Hanson describes it today at

In truth, the EU exists in name only. In reality, it is largely run by the German government and its bankers, who decide how a debtor like Greece will or will not stay in the EU, or how many migrants Europe collectively should let in.
Because of Germany's unique 144-year history -- having been at the heart of three wars in Europe -- its neighbors have been happy to prosper in its reflected glory of pacifism and prosperity. Germany's population and economy remain by far the largest in Europe.
It is not the bureaucracy of the European Union that has kept the peace since World War II -- the longest war-free period in Europe since the fall of Napoleon. The EU did not exist until 1993, nearly a half-century after the end of World War II. The euro monetary union is not even two decades old.
What, then, has kept Europe quiet?
The answers are three artifacts of World War II that are rarely mentioned, but should be. None have anything to do with the EU.
One reason is American-led NATO. The treaty organization channeled national militaries into a central armed force led by an American policeman that never quite left its beat after the end of World War II.
As originally envisioned, the alliance really did keep the Soviet Union out of Europe, America in it -- and the Germans down. Should NATO disband, European nations will be free to arm and sign treaties with any power they choose. We know how that worked out between 1870 and 1945.
The second keeper of peace is the peculiar role of nuclear weapons on the European continent. Only the United Kingdom and France have nuclear missiles. But the strongest and largest nation, Germany, does not -- for a variety of reasons dealing with the postwar rehabilitation of the defeated and discredited Nazi state.
Should Britain and France ever give up their nuclear weapons, as the new head of British Labor Party has advocated, or should Germany (or others) go nuclear, then watch tensions and conflicts rise in a manner unseen since the end of World War II.
Third is the war guilt of Germany, a still-powerful force 70 years after the defeat of Hitler. 

So it's not in the best of shape for dealing with pressing issues such as the influx of immigrants from the middle east and south Asia, the conflicting policies among EU members for how to deal with said immigrants, the possibility of jihadists among said immigrants, and the economic problem children on the Mediterranean rim - principally Greece, but also Portugal, Spain and Italy.

With all that on their plate, the pointy-heads in Brussels have decided that this is the time to focus on putting economic pressure on Israel for expanding residential and industrial activity into Judea, Samaria and the Golan Heights. Also, no one seems to have given much thought to how such pressure is going to affect the ordinary Palestinian trying to earn a living:

The European Union will start labeling Israeli products that are manufactured in Judea and Samaria and the Golan Heights next month, reports United with Israel, singling them out for boycotts.
An unnamed EU official said that the program has been under deliberation for two and a half years and will finally take effect in October after some technical and legal details are ironed out.
He also threatened that if the Israeli government boosts construction in Judea and Samaria in response to a boycott, that “We will continue with our moves against the settlements, and the labeling of products will only be the beginning.”
The official seemed unconcerned that Palestinians would lose their jobs as a result of the boycott, since Israelis would lose their jobs as well, and the incentive to live in Judea and Samaria would diminish. But in fact, Palestinians will be hurt the most. Israelis will be able to find jobs elsewhere, while Palestinians will have to find work in the failing Palestinian economy, joining a high percentage of the Palestinian population that is unemployed, as United with Israel notes.
“We are just trying to correct what the Israeli government is doing,” the official claimed. “It is giving financial incentives to living [in Judea and Samaria], and we are trying to balance that.”
SodaStream, which produces machines for making carbonated drinks, announced it was closing its factory in Judea and Samaria last year and moving to the Negev. “It’s propaganda. It’s politics. It’s hate. It’s anti-Semitism. It’s all the bad stuff we don’t want to be part of,” said CEO Daniel Birnbaum.
So amidst the utter lack of clarity that characterizes the EU and that has led to economic and immigration chaos, there arises one fairly clear sentiment that has always, sadly, had a looming presence on that continent: animosity toward Jews.

The insanity of exhorting humankind to quit advancing and prospering on the basis of computer models of the climate

Mike Jonas at Watts Up With That makes this abundantly clear.  

The fourth IPCC report [para 9.1.3] says : “Results from forward calculations are used for formal detection and attribution analyses. In such studies, a climate model is used to calculate response patterns (‘fingerprints’) for individual forcings or sets of forcings, which are then combined linearly to provide the best fit to the observations.”
To a mathematician that is a massive warning bell. You simply cannot do that. [To be more precise, because obviously they did actually do it, you cannot do that and retain any credibility]. Let me explain :
The process was basically as follows
(1) All known (ie. well-understood) factors were built into the climate models, and estimates were included for the unknowns (The IPCC calls them parametrizations – in UK English : parameterisations).
(2) Model results were then compared with actual observations and were found to produce only about a third of the observed warming in the 20th century.
(3) Parameters controlling the unknowns in the models were then fiddled with (as in the above IPCC report quote) until they got a match.
(4) So necessarily, about two-thirds of the models’ predicted future warming comes from factors that are not understood.
Now you can see why I said “You simply cannot do that”: When you get a discrepancy between a model and reality, you obviously can’t change the model’s known factors – they are what they are known to be. If you want to fiddle the model to match reality then you have to fiddle the unknowns. If your model started off a long way from reality then inevitably the end result is that a large part of your model’s findings come from unknowns, ie, from factors that are not understood. To put it simply, you are guessing, and therefore your model is unreliable.

He then enumerates the factors that comprise the global climate, briefly describing each one, and then offers this chart showing how well each is understood and the extent to which they affect predictive models.

FactorUnderstood?Contribution to models’ predicted future warming
Ocean OscillationsNo0%
Ocean CurrentsNo0%
Water CyclePartly(built into Water Vapour, below)
The SunNo0%
Galactic Cosmic Rays (and aerosols)No0%
Milankovich cyclesNo0%
Carbon DioxideYes37%
Water VapourPartly22% but suspect
CloudsNo41%, all highly suspect
Other (in case I have missed anything)0%

And the Pope and the Most Equal Comrade and Naomi Klein would have our entire species drastically change its way of living and halt its upward trajectory based on this?

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

The full context for the Clock Boy story

The Mohamed family had it in for the mayor of Irving, Texas, where they live:

Mayor Van Duyne revealed that the family of Ahmed Mohammed has not only repeatedly refused to meet with city officials but refused to sign a school release form that would explain the school and police’s side of the story.
Instead, the family held a press conference in their front yard flanked by CAIR lawyers.
The mayor of Irving became a target of Islamists and leftists last February, when she opposed sharia-based arbitration courts that were trying to get a foothold in town.
She immediately took action, proposing a law that was passed by the city council forbidding the establishment of sharia courts.
Since then, as Glenn Beck noted, she has been “hammered” by well-funded Muslim activists and their left-wing sympathizers.
CAIR lawyers. Yes, indeed, just a fine, assimilated, clean-livin' family trying to protect its good name.

Let's review the basics of what CAIR is all about:

Notable facts about CAIR's pas de deux with Islamic extremism and terrorism include the following:
  • Co-founder Nihad Awad asserted at a 1994 meeting at Barry University, "I am a supporter of the Hamas movement." Awad wrote in the Muslim World Monitor that the 1994 trial which had resulted in the conviction of four Islamic fundamentalist terrorists who had perpetrated the previous year's World Trade Center bombing was "a travesty of justice."
  • On February 2, 1995, U.S. Attorney Mary Jo White named CAIR Advisory Board member and New York imam Siraj Wahhaj as one of the "unindicted persons who may be alleged as co-conspirators" in Islamic Group leader Omar Abdel Rahman's foiled plot to blow up numerous New York City monuments.
  • On June 6, 2006, CAIR's Ohio affiliate held a large fundraiser in honor of Siraj Wahhaj. Following the event, CAIR-Ohio issued a press release heralding the more than $100,000 that Wahhaj had helped raise that evening for the organization’s “civil liberties work.”
  • In October 1998, CAIR demanded the removal of a Los Angeles billboard describing Osama bin Laden as "the sworn enemy." According to CAIR, this depiction was "offensive to Muslims."
  • In 1998, CAIR denied bin Laden's responsibility for the two al Qaeda bombings of American embassies in Africa. According to Ibrahim Hooper, the bombings resulted from "misunderstandings of both sides."
  • In September 2003, CAIR's former Community Affairs Director, Bassem Khafagi, pled guilty to three federal counts of bank and visa fraud and agreed to be deported to Egypt. Federal investigators said that a group Khafagi founded, the Islamic Assembly of North America, had funneled money to activities supporting terrorism and had published material advocating suicide attacks against the United States. Khafagi’s illegal activities took place while he was employed by CAIR.
  • In July 2004, Ghassan Elashi, a founding Board member of CAIR's Texas chapter, was convicted along with his four brothers of having illegally shipped computers from their Dallas-area business, InfoCom Corporation, to Libya and Syria, two designated state sponsors of terrorism. That same month, Elashi was charged with having provided more than $12.4 million to Hamas while he was running HLF. In April 2005, Elashi and two of his brothers were also convicted of knowingly doing business with Hamas operative Mousa Abu Marzook, who was Elashi's brother-in-law. Elashi's illegal activities took place while he was employed by CAIR, whose Dallas-Fort Worth chapter depicted the Elashis’ indictment as “a war on Islam and Muslims.”
  • On September 6, 2001, the day that federal agents first raided Infocom’s headquarters, CAIR Executive Director Nihad Awad denounced the U.S. government for “tak[ing] us back to the McCarthy era.” 
  • FBI wiretap evidence which was introduced during the 2007 trial of the Holy Land Foundation (a trial that explored HLF's financial ties to Hamas), proved that Nihad Awad had attended a 1993 Philadelphia meeting of Hamas leaders and operatives who collaborated on a plan to disguise funding for Hamas as charitable donations.
  • CAIR co-founder and Chairman Emeritus Omar Ahmad was named, in the same 2007 Holy Land Foundation trial, as an unindicted co-conspirator with HLF. During the trial, evidence was supplied proving that Ahmad had attended, along with Nihad Awad, the aforementioned 1993 Philadelphia meeting of Hamas leaders and operatives. Moreover, prosecutors described Ahmad as a member of the Muslim Brotherhood's "Palestine Committee" in America.
  • The home of Muthanna al-Hanooti, one of CAIR's directors, was raided in 2006 by FBI agents in connection with an active terrorism investigation. FBI agents also searched the offices of Focus on Advocacy and Advancement of International Relations, al-Hanooti's Michigan- and Washington DC-based consulting firm that investigators suspect to be a front supporting the Sunni-led insurgency in Iraq.

    Al-Hanooti is an ethnic Palestinian who, according to a 2001 FBI report, "collected over $6 million for support of Hamas" and attended, along with CAIR and Holy Land Foundation officials, the previously cited Hamas fundraising summit in Philadelphia in 1993. Currently a prayer leader at a Washington-area mosque that aided some of the 9/11 hijackers, he is a relative of Shiek Mohammed al-Hanooti, an unindicted co-conspirator in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. Muthanna al-Hanooti formerly helped run an organization called LIFE for Relief and Development, a suspected Hamas terror front whose Michigan offices were raided by the FBI in September 2006, and whose Baghdad office was raided by U.S. troops in 2004.

    In March 2011, al-Hanooti was sentenced to a year in federal prison for violating U.S. sanctions against Iraq. According to the FBI, al-Hanooti also raised more than $6 million for support of Hamas and was present with CAIR and Holy Land Foundation officials at a secret Hamas fundraising summit held in Philadelphia during the 1990s.
  • Randall Todd Royer, who served as a communications specialist and civil rights coordinator for CAIR, trained with Lashkar-I-Taiba, an al Qaeda-tied Kashmir organization that is listed on the State Department's international terror list. He was also indicted on charges of conspiring to help al Qaeda and the Taliban battle American troops in Afghanistan. He later pled guilty to lesser firearm-related charges and was sentenced to twenty years in prison.  Royer's illegal activities took place while he was employed by CAIR.
  • Onetime CAIR fundraiser Rabih Haddad was arrested on terrorism-related charges and was deported from the United States due to his subsequent work as Executive Director of the Global Relief Foundation, which in October 2002 was designated by the U.S. Treasury Department for financing al Qaeda and other terrorist organizations.  
  • During the 2005 trial of Sami Al-Arian, who was a key figure for Palestinian Islamic Jihad in the United States, Ahmed Bedier of CAIR’s Florida branch emerged as one of Al-Arian’s most vocal advocates.
  • In the aftermath of 9/11, federal agents raided the Washington-area home of CAIR civil rights coordinator Laura Jaghlit as part of a probe into terrorist financing, money laundering and tax fraud. Her husband Mohammed Jaghlit, a director of the Saudi-backed SAAR Foundation, is a suspect in the still-active (as of January 2008) investigation.

Anyway, back to the Mohameds. It's pretty clear that this entire episode was a ploy to discredit the mayor. But a lot of other lives are being put through hell as well:

The mayor also said: “I now have our police chief who is a wonderful, wonderful man, a family man, a churchgoing man, and I now have our police officers as well as a number of teachers, school administrators, receiving death threats as a direct result of this. It is unfortunate, and it has got to stop.”

And, true to form, the Most Equal Comrade has injected himself into a local situation with the express purpose of exploiting notions that a beleaguered and misunderstood minority is getting a raw deal:

Mayor Van Duyne said she was “shocked” when she saw the president’s tweet to Ahmed Mohammed. She said “it seems to be an underlying habit that he is going to second guess police officers without any kind of information.”
She later noted that the president had tweeted about the case and invited Ahmed to the White House before the pictures of the clock were even publicly available. Obama made no attempt to contact her office before making public comments in support of the Muslim teen. 
Creepy and shameful, but par for the course in post-America.


Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Well, now, isn't this a dandy development?

What we're getting for the $500 million the Reasonable Gentlemen on Capitol Hill, seduced once again by the Most Equal Comrade, are pissing away on "moderate" Syrian rebels:

Reports since yesterday indicate that a U.S.-trained Syrian rebel leader has deceived his American handlers and has defected to Jabhat al-Nusra — the official al-Qaeda affiliate in Syria.
This report comes just days after a senior U.S. military commander told Congress that only 4 to 5 U.S.-trained Syrian fighters are effectively engaged against ISIS as a result of a $500 million program pushed through by GOP congressional leadership a year ago.

Recall that last week the MEC tried to turn the tables and say that it was these Congressional leaders - along with Hillionaire - who pushed him to "vet" and train "moderate" Syrian rebels.

Meanwhile, our know-how is now being employed in the service of vicious jihad that ultimately aims at our own destruction.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

How we carry ourselves is as essential a component as the principles we espouse

I'm rather big on distilling what it means to be a conservative to a level as close to irreducible essence as possible. Anything short of that mires one in policy weeds or one-note-johnny obsessions that blind one to forces that we absolutely must fight either for or against. To be preoccupied with, say, immigration, abortion, jihad or environmental regulation solely, at the expense of the others, is to willfully blind oneself to the sum total of the mortal threat to our civilization. All such concerns must be held in balance, or coherence is lost.

I've pretty much settled on what are generally agreed to be the three pillars of real conservatism: free-market economics, an understanding of why Western civilization has been a unique blessing to humankind, and a foreign policy based on what history tells us about human nature. I've scrutinized this bullet-point list - continue to do so - for leaks that might ultimately sink it. So far, I haven't found any. These three pillars, it seems to me, cover anybody's pet concerns or points of emphasis, from traditional marriage to standing up to Russia to a flat tax to a strictly enforced border.

Something nags at me lately, however. It's beginning to strike me that one can champion even such a comprehensive-yet-distilled manifesto and still be - well, a jerk. An unlikeable human being. A weirdo.

So let's consider that maybe there's another level to conservatism, a level on which we're talking about disposition, about the way one comports oneself. One ought to have given a great deal of thought to what it means to serve as an example of cultivation, of intellect driven by earned wisdom, of a maturity that is attractive precisely due to its hard-won humor and big-picture bias.

This is why, after years of giving Ann Coulter the benefit of the doubt, even after the circumstances of her dismissal from National Review due to her column in the immediate aftermath of September 11, 2001, her use of the "faggot" term in a CPAC speech, and various outrages of similar degree, I'm inclined to see Scott Johnson's viewpoint in a post he's published today at Power Line:

Ann Coulter had an idiosyncratic reaction to the prime time GOP candidates’ debate at the Reagan Presidential Library this past Wendesday. Israel came up too frequently to suit her taste. She somehow found it fitting and appropriate to tweet the comment below. Coulter has stood by her comment, as in this Hollywood Reporter story.

I’m wondering if Ann’s usual acuity hasn’t been dulled. Here is how she characterizes those who have taken offense to her tweet in her Hollywood Reporter interview: “The hypocrites who are mad at me are the ones who support anti-Israel college professors, who refuse to condemn Islamic barbarism, who supported the overthrow of Mubarak for the Muslim Brotherhood, who spread the deadly libel that Jews in America are only successful because of ‘white privilege.'”
I’m sure the description fits some of those who have taken note, but I’m a former fan who identifies with none of the views she attributes to her critics, and my view is that she can go to hell. 
Then there's the case of Glenn Beck, whose weird bounce from a public expression of vitriol to the Sarah and Todd Palin, basically saying they became dead to him years ago, to an even more public orgy of self-flagellation in which he wondered if he perhaps ought not to retreat from life as a public figure until he can learn to be a better role model to his kids.

Like Coulter, he has a track record of weirdo behavior: crying on his television shows, writing novels with grandiose aspirations that amount to pretty much nothing, holding huge rallies for various causes that fail to trigger follow-up momentum, and ginning up sensation over personal health matters for reasons that don't seem to extend beyond an attempt to boost ratings.

Think about the giants of our movement, starting with the first two who occur everybody: William Buckley and Ronald Reagan. These were distinguished men, men who knew when and how to use a quip to illustrate a point, who knew how to give a toast or make a speech that paid genuine tribute to giant human beings, men who were sufficiently judicious and in charge of their emotions that when they were mad you knew to pay attention.

Are there figures of such refined temperament among us today? Are there any running for US president?

Can we insist on spokespeople for our core set of principles who approximate the kind of human we claim that those principles produce?

We'd better, if there is going to be any credibility to the claim that ours is the grown-up vision for this troubled species.

Licking their chops to push the America-is-rotten narrative

Ben Shapiro at Breitbart sums up the essence of the Clock Boy dust-up:

For years, the Obama administration has pushed the notion that American Muslims are in danger of Islamophobic backlash. But as of 2012, 62.4 percent of all anti-religious hate crimes targeted Jews; 11.6 percent targeted Muslims; as of 2013, anti-Jewish hate crimes represented 60.3 percent of all hate crimes, as opposed to just 13.7 percent for Muslims. That’s a major decline in anti-Islamic hate crimes since 2001, when 55.7 percent of hate crimes were anti-Jewish, and anti-Muslim hate crimes constituted 27.2 percent of all hate crimes.
So where, exactly, are all the invitations to Jewish students targeted in hate crime incidents?
They don’t exist, because they don’t help President Obama castigate America as xenophobic and backwards – and just as importantly, castigate Texans as particularly likely to don white hoods and go hunt down some Sufis.
The narrative reigns supreme. Ahmed Mohammed brought a clock-in-a-case that looked like a hoax bomb to the uninformed to school; his engineering teacher told him not to show it around; he showed it around; the police showed up, and he was allegedly uncooperative; they decided he was innocent and released him.
That’s not a national scandal. That’s local cops and teachers and administrators doing their jobs, decently but cautiously. Yet that won’t be what you hear. You’ll just hear that America hates Muslims, even as Americans self-righteously tweet out #IStandWithAhmed without hearing the facts.

It's about Freedom-Haters trying to convince us to puke all over ourselves to show, by not taking the jihadist threat seriously, that here in post-America we have big hearts and aren't like those bigots who lived in the United States of America.