Sunday, January 31, 2010

Comment on the Belmont Club:
"The No-Fire Zone"

These same Sunni governments have already written the editorials and sermons condemning the Israelis in the event that they do what they are being begged to do.

Are the American weapons there to protect the Arabs and Israelis from the Iranians or to protect the Iranians from the Israelis?

Washington is also helping Saudi Arabia develop a force to protect its oil installations.

Why are they "its" oil installations? The Sunni Saudi regime conquered the native Shia Eastern Province. They have no more legitimacy there then Saddam had over the oil fields of Southern Iraq. The Iranians have no natural right to the oil fields of South-west Iranian Arabistan. The Left screamed in 2003 "No war for oil." If only it was. We should have seized the oil fields and run things right at $25/bbl.

The player not mentioned to watch in all this is Turkey. The current regime in Ankara has flirted with Iran, Syria and Russia against Israel and the Americans. The Turkish Army may be getting them to walk back from that.

Yesterday 85 year old GHW Bush '41 visited the White with son Jeb, the former Florida Governor, and spent maybe 35 minutes there. Was it just a perfunctory courtesy call or was a message delivered?

what is "occupation",
The Kurds have been treated shabbily for decades and they often stand out against their unlovely neighbors.
The problems are;
1. infighting and terrorist elements although that is sometimes
     outside provoked.
2. they are not a majority in almost all parts of Kurdistan but
     one large minority among many.

(who noted Obama's ignoring Israel's contributions to Haitian relief)
Axelrod, Emanuel and the Jewish team from Goldman-Sachs will have much to answer for if things go as badly as some of us fear.

Comment on the Belmont Club:
"I'll be loving you internally"

TSA does have a small core of people who are in a program based on the Israeli model. It is called the SPOT (Screening Passengers by Observational Technique) program. If done properly it can work but it takes a large number of very skilled people. As with everything in government the problem isn't the concept but the people and the organization.

Here is one example of managerial incompetence at TSA. The Walk Through Metal Detector (WTD) assemblies frequently malfunction. The Siemens contract technicians could easily repair them but are not allowed to because each repair job request has to be released by the same firm that manufactures and sells new units. Some genius signed a contract worthy of Yes Minister and everyone is stuck.

TSA is dysfunctional mostly because the tail wags the dog. Right now it exists for the care and feeding of 40,000 screeners. Every week people are hired who are incapable of doing the job. Often they are pregnant so that they can not perform the lifting that is a basic job requirement. It is illegal to ask them about this or decline to hire them for that reason. So these girls are hired to sit on the exit, when they want to show up, for a few months and then they get to quit. Gross insubordination does not result in termination.

The Bush White House tried to fight it but couldn't after 9-11. They set it up so that the prior employees would be replaced and the new staff would be rigorously observed. They were called Screeners because all they were expected to do was detect an alarm and refer it to a Supervisor. That ended quickly. Everyone in the old security outfits that was a US citizen was hired and most of them are now Supervisors or even worse Managers. These are usually people with little education who were recent immigrants or otherwise problematic from an aptitude or security viewpoint. Senior Managers were retired federal LEOs interested in an easy retirement bonus. The other initial Managers were often local retired police sergeants who have no Management skills. Much of the other support staff came over from the FAA or other agencies who were only to happy to send their very best. To prevent the usual bureaucratic sloth TSA was set up as an Excepted Service outside of the usual General Service pay grades. That means that pay raises are a fraction of what they are in other government jobs. As a Supervisor in TSA I had responsibilities equivalent to those of a GS-11/12 in most agencies but I was paid like a GS-7 with less opportunity for advancement.

A new evaluation system was introduced a few years ago with a bewildering variety of tests, practicals and grading criteria to determine bonus and pay raise criteria. If the practicals are failed then people are out of a job so the prevailing air becomes one of fatalism in which money is collected now with no expectation of the future. It is easier to be failed as a Supervisor than as a Screener, they are tested on tasks they rarely perform, and almost impossible to be failed and terminated as a Manager. Since pay for Managers was based on high scores for those supervised there was every incentive to pressure the Supervisors to grade the staff falsely. Very few of the current Supervisors have the motivation, education, training, experience or aptitude to write proper evaluations. More important Washington set up endless hurdles on disciplinary efforts and there was constant back-channel politicking that made Supervisors throw up their hands and just go through the motions. Possibly a third of the current screening staff, who God help us now have pseudo LEO badges and get to call themselves Officers, should be removed as incompetent, abusive, or unstable.

What TSA needs is to be placed under the control of CBP, the current Managers should be removed and replaced with GS-13/14/15 CBP officers. Supervisors should be reserve or retired military officers. Screeners with the aptitude to be advanced to positions of greater responsibility should be routed through the SPOT or Trainer ranks and then promoted to Transportation Security Inspectors (TSIs), who are the non-LEO experts in Transportation Security.

Greater use of Explosive Trace Detector (ETD) devices by testing hands would alert on people who had handled prohibited items. It would also produce many false alarms and might not get someone who had explosives placed internally some hours before and had since cleaned thoroughly. One possible solution would be to make everyone pass through an explosive container chamber and subject them to radio signals that would set off any device. That off course would never get past the disabilities advocates. Right now the dog won't hunt.

The Fair Tax?

(fm the BC thread "Jobs")

I have been looking at the Fair Tax concept as a way to shift the economy back towards real productive activity. There are reasonable arguments raised against it regarding compliance and other issues. Perhaps this could be a case where Federalism should be put to work.

At #26 you have described the problem well. The only way to cut that knot that I can see is my idea of withdrawing the franchise to vote in any federal election in which the aspirant Elector has received the majority of their income during the any 12 of the preceding 24 months from funds disbursed at that level of government, with an exemption for enlisted members of the armed forces. A similar restriction should apply to persons who draw the majority of their income from funds drawn from the state treasury.

The Gotham Academy

(fm the BC thread "Jobs")

marie claude,
(who thought I was fluent in French)

Regrettably moi can pas parlez.

If I ever had the money to build my dream school I would keep the kids in class at least 8 hours a day over 210 days a year and spend at least a third to half of that time on language studies. It is my regret that I do not have language skills and I think that an educated person should know, and I mean really know as a tool, English, Latin, Greek, German (for the science texts), Japanese, Hebrew and one more Romance and one non-Romance language. Sorry to disappoint but my ideal would be Italian (for the opera) or Portuguese (for future commercial opportunities) and Chinese but I can understand arguments for other choices. Each language module would be a 25 minute session every day for a total of 400 hours per language over 4 years.

For the rest I would have 3/4 hour a day each for History, Math, Science, Arts, Engineering/Practical Arts, and Athletics. This should keep people busy from 7:30 in the morning until 4:30 in the afternoon. The atmosphere would be deliberately old fashioned and the intent would be to focus on learning, not holistic ego empowerment. The faculty should be retired professionals who would be paid next to nothing but who would be allowed to actually teach.

Now how to marshal the resources to do this in a setting where the government is kept out of the loop? I even have thought of the name of the place since it would draw on the resources of my small hometown. It is a great dream.

Commodore Life

(fm the BC thread "Jobs")

I have ideas on how to make money.

This would be a great time to buy up surplus merchant shipping that is sitting at anchorage in places like Singapore. Shipyards are also underutilized right now and this should be a good time to bargain hard for deal if you can bring them work. My idea is to take small to midsize, 6-9000 dwt, freighters and replace the old diesel plants, no one runs steam anymore in a merchant ship, with one of the small sealed nuclear plants that are occasionally mentioned. In addition it should be possible to fit them for modularized defensive systems that could be installed and removed with special teams when transiting pirate infested waters. The two greatest expenses in operating a ship are the crew and the fuel and a third is insurance. Improved technology reduces the crew size and nuclear power eliminates fuel costs as an operating expense, once the plant is installed and subject to refueling once every five years or so. Unfortunately I am not a nuke, and I get to glow in the dark with distressing infrequency. It is my wild ass guesstimate that a 15 MW plant that could easily replace the diesel engine should cost around $15 million. With the cost of obtaining and restoring a suitable vessel, there is no reason to pay for new construction in this market, and the associated engineering and architectural work, the first unit should cost about $50 million and follow units significantly less. Since the economy is so bad this year it is a good time to do the shipyard work and with luck in a 18 to 24 months such a ship could generate profits of $100K/wk. I could see a market for variants that do not even engage in merchant shipping but function as mobile power, desalinization and waste processing plants. They would have lower costs and be in demand around the world.

Anybody have any loose change under their couch?

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Comment on the Belmont Club:

They measure what they measure.
They only measure people who draw state unemployment insurance money. There are probly over a million people like me. I am unemployed. I have not quit looking, wait a second and I will check my lottery results, no luck so I am still looking. NYS Dept of Labor denied my unemployment claim because I was unemployed last year and took a job, on the Bloomberg campaign, that lasted 7 months. Since I was not employed for 3 continuous quarters at a qualifying level I get nothing. If I had declined to take the job and had extended my prior claim then I would have been fine. At this point I will do anything that is legal but there are no jobs even in retail.

Most government incentives are structured to make someone hire an unqualified person in a temporary role and then terminate them before they can transfer from the subsidized to the regular work force. These programs both trap the unqualified low skill workers, who understandably focus on pleasing their outside political sponsors more than their inside coworkers and supervisors, and they block hiring opportunities for higher skilled workers.

If you really want to stimulate employment among all skill levels there are two things that work immediately and three more that will work over time.

The immediate measures;
1. cut the minimum wage,
2. cut corporate and dividend taxes

The longer term measures;
1. cut individual income taxes,
2. cut regulations,
3. tort reform.

(who asked what my career field was)

Naval officer in Weapons, Operations/Deck and Intelligence, HS History teacher at the worst and second best schools in NYC, in Finance held series #7 since lapsed, worked retail trade, Supervisor for TSA and completed 13 of 15 weeks long course at FLETC for Customs before a minor injury. Also low level politics in several campaigns and Office Manager on campus. Much Red Cross experience in logistics, damage assessment, mass care and shelter operations. Thank you for asking.


(fm the BC thread "Obama at the GOP retreat")

Good people permit me to suggest that while we should all approach a new voice in a spirit of good fellowship and open inquiry we should also adopt a three exchange rule. If after a third encounter a commentator fails to respond maturely and resorts to defamation, ridicule and embarrassing exposures of personal problems that could credibly be considered as efforts to impede the functioning of the forum or to obscure other subjects then they should be placed on Ignore, possibly with the aid of Tocque, and left to do what they do best, masturbate in the corner.

The thing to do with the unclubbable who seek to soil the rug in the Club is to Club them decisively so there is no ambiguity as to where they belong. Permit me to demonstrate.

You lad, I do not say Sir as that is an honorable term that I have no reason to believe that you have earned, are confused about many things. Among them are basic matters of documented historical record, principles of physical causality and economic realities and the most simple and nearly universal laws of acceptable social conduct. Unfortunately your ability to properly process information in these areas is clouded by you own sense of dysfunction and rage caused by the hostility that you can not conceal regarding your own father and the community that produced you. You inability to accept and function within that community may be aggravated by your own social and sexual dysfunction and insecurity that you project out into hostility towards your father and others who you presume to identify with him. That is your problem and not anyone else's. Here is another piece of bad news for you. Your mother had sex with your father and probably enjoyed it. The fact that you were produced is merely an unfortunate result. Everyone concerned probably had better hopes. You are a terrible person, now go away and do not bother your betters again.

It must be a source of some grief to Teresita when some preening fool out of a cable television unreality show comes around to reinforce all the worst stereotypes about homosexuals. The equivalent for some of us would be if a relative from the Old Country came to visit and acted like they were auditioning for a road show production of Borat. It becomes hard to argue for the repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell after meeting such a person. Not because of any interest in what they might do on their own time behind closed doors but because they are simply the kind of person who, issues of sexuality completely aside, should never be given access to weapons or trusted to act correctly in an emergency. That does not mean that the linkage of the two issues is fair or even rational in all cases. Todd Beemer, whose father spoke at the Foley Square rally against the KSM trial, proved the contrary. It was an honor to shake that gentleman's hand and thank him for raising his son to be a Man. Until we come up with more accurate ways to measure fitness we must use the tools we have.

I treat everyone on a case-by-case basis.

An admirable stance to take. The problem is that in dealing with the thousands of choices and value judgments that we must make on a constant basis the ideal standard just does not work. We all compartmentalize and stereotype, we have to. The trick is to figure out when it a Todd Beemer that we are dealing with and invest the extra effort into evaluating them. Despite the claims of the Utopians we simply can not do that in every case. Consideration is considerate, meaning courteous, but it is also expensive. It takes a consideration, to use the word in an obsolete sense of a payment, in the sense that time and effort are money, to consider, meaning to evaluate, each human being as the unique individuals they are to be evaluated solely on their personal merits. So we sort people into bins, by race or class or sex or any of thousands of other criteria. Doing so is a natural biological function. It is a feature not a bug.

What a broad education and experience, what used to be a Liberal Education, should give is enough of a basis to permit someone to sort the individuals and problems that they deal with into more compartments, in a process similar to Roman Law. That Liberal quality also allows us to recognize the special cases that are truly worth the extra investment needed to lift them out of the box and deal with them as individuals.

We are in agreement about the trolls, that was one point about my demonstration, and in disagreement about something far more interesting. I did wonder though if you might feel an urge to say to such a person, "Listen jerk you don't speak for me" or even portray yourself more like Harriet Nelson or Laura Petrie to make the distinction clearer.

There is another issue that can be discussed separately about stereotypes and how some members of sub-groups seek them out and conform to them. Examples include the self absorbed and destructive homosexual, the self absorbed and destructive Islamist, the self-absorbed and destructive Leftist. Do I begin to detect a pattern? Why are such stereotypes so prevalent, why do members of the sub-groups concerned tolerate members of their communities who reinforce those images, and why do they fear the tolerant traditional society more than they do other intolerant sub-groups? Whose problems are these? Do they belong principally to the larger society or to the members of the stereotyped sub-groups?

it is an essential human quality to rise above our own creatureliness

You did not address my central point. Stereotyping is essential even if it yields a sub prime result in a specific case. You cannot function without doing it. To not do so would mean to not process events and then not rely on past events in considering new problems. That would be to truly have to deal with each encounter as a unique case. In so doing you would constantly "live in the moment." That is not a quality that we prize in humans although we admire it in our dogs.

As Jesse Jackson observed anyone who while alone on a inner city street at night sees four black males approaching who appear to be between the ages of 15 and 25 and who does not feel fear is insane. Perhaps a suburban liberal will run up to them and say "Hello" but normal people will at least finger their cell phone and consider where to run. It is entirely possible that the 4 youths are members of the Raging Rooks chess team and might be the nicest kids you ever meet. That does not change the fact that you need to process information with prior experience, both yours and others since we are social beings with language, taken into consideration. As with any tool the key is to understand it and know when and how to put it down.

Don't be so hard on yourself and feel called upon to reject all stereotypes. You are probably correct in your prejudice that 99% of the time the JWs will be a waste of your time and at best boring. One benefit of having a shepherd was that the Witnesses never came to my door and did not bother me on the street. On the other hand one time in fifty just for laughs you might want to invite one of the Mormon teams in for coffee. They are often interesting people.

(who described her experiences with missionaries)
You sucker punched me with the Xena in the window. In fairness to the Mormons they know how goofy their scripture sounds and their argument that it is not how they should be evaluated as a community makes some sense. They seem a very practical group not given to abstract references to a text to justify impractical actions. Granted though that their conduct towards women and minorities left much to be desired. The question is whether that was deep culture rooted in the religion or a shallow community value that was projected back into the religion and can be easily changed? My suspicion is that the oddities of the BoM are less important than are those of the Koran and hadith, which do have an immediate daily impact on how Moslems interact with others. There is nothing wrong with Scripture, it is a very good book.

AP: China suspends military exchanges with US

This is the serious news of the day. While the Obama administration persists in viewing the world through a fantasy prism of 1970s to 90s prejudices in real life events are happening. Almost forty years ago Nixon and Kissinger worked out a modus vivendi with Communist China. That agreement included the recognition that we would continue to sell weapons to Taiwan sufficient to preclude an attack from the mainland while American capital supported the industrial development and technological transformation of China. During that time the Democratic Party has been deeply corrupted by ties to the CCP. These ties have been shown by;
1. massive illegal transfers of defense technology to China,
2. the funneling of large sums of money into American elections
      by agents of China,
3. support for programs that weaken Western power sponsored
      by agents of China.
Two examples of the last point are Maurice Strong's Green program and the UN raporteur system used with acquiescence to China's abuse of the veto to paralyze Western responses to proxies such as the Iranians.

Now the Chinese are changing the rules and pushing to preclude any American position in the Western Pacific. They are empowered to do this by the massive draw-down in American power that the Democrats have advocated for decades and that has accelerated with the recent economic trauma that Democratic operatives engineered with overseas financial support.

We have returned to the strategic world of the 1930s with China in the role once held by Japan and the Americans more vulnerable than we were 75 years ago. The Chinese position is very unstable both economically and socially. Their drive to dominate could spin out of control or be accelerated in a desperate effort to prevent implosion. The nations of ASEAN, India, Australia, Japan, and South Korea face some very hard choices.

Comment on Althouse:
"I want to acknowledge our first lady,
Michelle Obama... She gets embarrassed."

Cfud is still a raging anti-Semite.

My hope is that there is some reward for the Secret Service people who have to deal with Michelle Obama. I have not met her but I have met Hillary Clinton, who is frightening. Secret Service people have told me that in her day Rosalyn Carter was so bad that they would send someone needing an attitude adjustment down to Plains to wash her car for two weeks. They always came back a happy camper.

There is a pattern of these angry controlling women who shove damaged men forward. It seems more prevalent on the Left. Perhaps to their sense of moral superiority and entitlement to rule is added a projection onto society of their own marginal ability to perform and succeed on their own merits and resentment at the men they are piggy-backing onto.

Rosalyn was a small town nobody who dreamed of being a naval officer's wife. She resented the reality that sent her back to Jimmy's peanut warehouse in Georgia.

Hillary was a bag lady for her husband's payoffs when she was at the criminal enterprise Rose law firm and has proven to be a train wreck level running disaster as Secretary of State. In fairness Obama set her up for that role and she should have known it going in.

Michelle had an unsuccessful four year career as a lawyer and then apparently gave up her license to take a series of publicly funded jobs in advocacy. The jobs that she and her husband received at the University of Chicago were arranged at the behest of Trustees, probably Penny Pritzker, and not through normal hiring processes.

(fm the BC thread "Obama at the Republican retreat")

Commented at Althouse on the thread aaron linked to above.

Why are the wives of Democratic politicians more prone to becoming nightmares than are the spouses of Republicans? It isn't an absolute, there is good and bad in both demeanor and taste on both sides. This has become a pattern since the 1970s. Lady Bird Johnson and Jackie Kennedy did not display these insecurities. However with Rosalyn, Hillary and Michelle we have a trifecta of angry control freaks. Their archetype may be Eleanor Roosevelt but I suspect that she had more substance and less resentment.

Another Country

(fm the BC thread "Obama at the GOP retreat")

Sadly, he is the supposed leader of my country.

My 1:40 AM guess is that Obama thinks of himself as the leader of, or at least a product of, not your country but Another Country. Not the country of Indonesia but that of James Baldwin's novel with bohemians in Greenwich Village exploring racial, sexual and artistic boundaries.

Obama sees himself as the heir of these outsiders. He possibly thinks he has a special spiritual wisdom, that makes him sympathetic to Satomayor's sense of justification as a "wise latina." He deals with the squares with studied civility that seems to be stretched over a deep reservoir of contempt.

There is nothing wrong with the child of that mother and that father who grew up in those surroundings with those influences that is all that hard to understand. Whether it can be cured is another problem.

The Cunning Mind

(fm the BC thread "Obama at the GOP retreat")

We have seen the comparison made in here before. Obama is like Saruman in LoTR. He insults and woos his victims before each other, moving from one to another. Unfortunately the scene at Orthanc was done badly in the movie. Peter Jackson skipped over this point in the released movie among many others that I think would have been wonderfully script ready and only a deleted video scene, that misses the quality in the book that I am describing of arrogant sequencing with the corrupt Saruman's repeated efforts to be seductive to those he has insulted, is available to illustrate my point.

Regarding Obama's line about keeping your enemies closer than your friends, it is more likely that Obama and his Chicago friends were thinking of Mario Puzo's The Godfather than Sun Tzu's The Art of War.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Comment on the Belmont Club:
"Obama at the GOP retreaO"

The mere fact that Obama traveled to Canossa can be seen as a sign of his diminished stature. On the other hand Mohammad did have to go to the mountain. The fact that he remained defiant and decried the politics of looking for someone to blame, in the same paragraphs in which he repeatedly laid the blame on Bush, may bind his base more closely to him.

Cheney and some others have done good work in responding to the lies directed at the last administration. Fred Thompson has been brilliant in issuing a stream of tweets that demolish Obama's pretensions. Their efforts while laudatory will never reach through the media wall and influence the general public. GoP legislatures challenging Obama can build momentum and keep the possibility that there is an alternative alive. They do not have the stature to successfully confront Obama as long as he is backed by the MSM, baring a public meltdown on his part.

There is only one person capable of decisively refuting the Democrats efforts to control the narrative and seal the judgment of History. That person is George Bush. He will only get one chance to do so. Therefor he must not be baited into speaking prematurely. When he does he must do so with full preparation in a setting that establishes his authority and with such thoroughness as to leave no opportunity for slander or dismissal by the minions of the DNC. When the old F-104 pilot makes this last combat run he will have to deliver all of his ordnance on target in one pass. That will be his time for the fighter jock to show John McCain the attack jock how it should be done.

Excellent point. McCain comparing Obama to "The President is not a crook" Nixon not only diminishes BHO but also reminds everyone that McCain, as the reformer, can be seen as the heir to the true Conservative Goldwater. He is comparing himself to the man who told Richard Nixon when it was time to resign. It also buttresses his choice of Sarah Palin, who established herself by locking up dishonest old fashioned politicians from her own party. By comparison Obama's decrying partisanship while practicing it looks simply shoddy. While many Republicans find McCain frustrating he is the only man who can credibly challenge Obama in this way.

Comment on the Belmont Club:
"True ... or not true"

The question of the foreign money raised by Justice Stevens in his dissent was addressed on pages 46-47 of the decision. Minor editing for legibility.

We need not reach the question whether the Govern-

Cite as: 558 U. S. ____ (2010) 47
Opinion of the Court

ment has a compelling interest in preventing foreign individuals or associations from influencing our Nation’s political process. Cf. 2 U. S. C. §441e (contribution and expenditure ban applied to “foreign national[s]”). Section 441b is not limited to corporations or associations that were created in foreign countries or funded predominantly by foreign shareholders. Section 441b therefore would be overbroad even if we assumed, arguendo, that the Government has a compelling interest in limiting foreign influence over our political process. See Broadrick, 413 U. S., at 615.
Now I am not a lawyer. I know who both my parents are. As I read this the question of foreign money is dealt with in another section of the law called §441e and not in the section §441b that was struck down by the Court. Is there a practitioner of the Black Arts who visits the Club who could elucidate?

Comment on the Belmont Club:

Community Board No. 1 suggested shifting the trial to Governors Island in NY Harbor. The NYPD put the kibosh on that idea. Personally I would love to see a military installation resurrected there and several hundreds of millions of federal dollars spent renovating the island. Eventually I'd like to see the UN moved there.

The election of Scott Brown in Massachusetts put the fear of God into politicians like nothing that I have seen in years. Chuck Schumer is in a panic to be seen speaking up against the trial in NYC. Obama has no cover on this subject. Eric Holder may have been born in Brooklyn but he has proven to be incredibly tone deaf leading his boss into this trap.

The problem may arise from the fact that for so many years race hustlers like Holder and Obama following in footsteps of Jesse Jackson had such an easy time shaking down white elites that they grew contemptuous of their victims. Holder called white people "cowards" and he meant it.

Holder and Obama's problem is that they did not see that the earlier generation would bluster and extort from people like the Daleys but they never seriously threatened the larger community. In Chicago after the assassination of Martin Luther King, the one time that a rioting crowd threatened to march a distance of only 1/2 to 3/4 mile from the since largely demolished project of Cabrini Green to the North lake Shore Drive Gold Coast, the then Hizzoner Mayor Daley issued the police order "Shoot to kill." The rioters never crossed the few blocks.

Wearily I must once again refute the shibboleth that the status of "Natural Born Citizen" requires two American citizen parents. It does not. It is based on lex solis and that standard is met by birth on US soil. Birth of a child conceived by two US citizen parents establishes citizenship under lex sanguinus. If that birth occurs outside of US soil then the child is deemed as "naturalized at birth." The problem with Obama is that while he almost certainly was a Natural Born Citizen at birth there is some evidence that he may have renounced that status after his 18th birthday by claiming allegiance to a foreign country. That may have been done by claiming overseas student status when applying for financial aid or it may have been done by traveling on a foreign passport. The treason case in the United Kingdom of William Joyce (Lord haw Haw) hinged on a similar issue. Doing so can establish a duty of loyalty to the nation that issued the passport and in the American case that divided loyalty may preclude the status of being naturally born. It would probably not preclude his status as a US citizen or make him ineligible for his prior position as a United States Senator.

You often have interesting and even perceptive contributions but you ruin your credibility by repeatedly making extreme and unproven assertions, that are frequently given as predictions that prove unfounded. For example you were equally as forceful as you ar now in predicting how people in the Carolinas would vote in 2008. You have no idea how the senior military will act in such an eventuality as an attempt to subvert the Constitution and while you may speculate about their motives or how they have been selected you do your own position no favor with these inflammatory charges.

My argument here is not with whiskey's theory or his right to promote it. My issue is that he does not offer an argument, that is a logical series of steps based on evidence that lead you to indicate your belief in a possible future event but rather he issues declarative statements of what will happen with defiant assertions that no other position is possible. That precludes reasoned debate. Your approach to the subject is one that I have no objection to. I may not agree with the conclusions that you and whiskey appear to share but the manner in which you defend that position does not preclude this forum's functioning.

Rush is now confirming that Chuck Schumer put the nail in the NY KSM trial and it is expected to move to DC. That will be a circus but at least the animals will be in their own stable.

subotai bahadur,
IIRC back in 1973 there were reports that the JCS were concerned that the Air Force may not act responsibly and Army units were given discreet orders to move on Andrews AF Base in the event of a crisis.

Jan 29, 2010 - 10:33 am

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Heavy Lifting

On an earlier thread on the BC a gentleman made an impassioned plea for principled conservatives to strengthen the Republican Party. He was correct. Take on the thankless job of Precinct Captain. Serve on the County Committee. Run for the School Board and attend every public meeting of a community agency, board or social organization in your area. Above all take the job of being a Poll Inspector and ensure that elections are run honestly no matter who wins.

To many Republicans are willing to deign to consider serving as Deputy Under Secretary of State in charge of Policies Plans Proposals and Filing Cabinets from H through M but are unwilling to do the heavy lifting where politics in America happens.

The Price of Affirmative Action

(fm the BC thread "The State of the Union Speech")

(who likes my links)
Thank you.

(who wondered about the response to the assault on the SCOTUS)
My assumption is that if Alito said anything that could be used against him, as opposed to an innocuous "Not so," then Ginsberg would have leaked it to the Press.

Papa Ray,
(who said "liberal education" makes people vote for a black candidate)
The real cost is always the opportunity cost. By pushing for Obama on the basis of race over fitness the Left have made it that much harder for other minority candidates to be judged fairly in the future.

The aim of revolutionaries is always to isolate and exploit minority groups and then to further isolate individuals so that they become naked before the power of the State. The first isolation is that of minority groups (or in the case of women a majority that identifies as a minority) from the greater community and the integrationist culture mediated by civil society independent of the State and the second isolation is that of individuals from all other attachments or means of support.

The Left likes affirmative action because it is racist, and generates racial discrimination against future qualified minorities. It increases the dependence of all members of sub-groups on the benevelonce of the State.

We are all the poorer for the future loss of the talents of qualified minority candidates that the Obama record will result in.

Practice Practice

(fm the BC thread "Doctors Frank and Stein")

Thank you for the contributions that you and other practitioners of the healing arts bring to our discussions. Your point about our absolute lack of sure defenses is well taken. My point was simply that we are relatively better off to either prepare or respond than people in less developed societies. Therefor the results of such pandemics should be a transfer of even greater power to what would be the increasing proportion of humanity in wealthier countries.

Thank you for calling me an optimist. When facing the Apocalypse I can think of no demeanor that makes as much sense as one of good cheer.

Why do doctors and lawyers expect us to pay them when they attend to their practice? Why don't we ever get to see them after they learn to do it right and stop having to practice?

Designated Survivor

Regarding Hillary Clinton's absence from the SOTU, I thought there was a tradition that one senior Cabinet Officer, SecDef, SecState, SecTreas or the AG, not attend to ensure the succession of the government in the event of disaster. Having the most junior Cabinet officer act as the designated survivor could result in Janet Napolitano trying to climb to the presidency by duplicating the efforts of Louis Mazzini in Kind Hearts and Coronets.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Comment on the Belmont Club:
"The State of the Union Speech"

Winky, Blinky and Nod on the podium. “Community” banks? I suspect more cheese for insiders like Rezco and poverty pimps.

He is doubling down on AGW. This will cost him because it is so unnecessary. The idea that we have to do something stupid because the other kids on the block, those tres sophisticated Europeans, are doing it was a passing fancy that helped get him elected. Now it clear that it was largely media hype even in the case of Europeans, who have dropped Obama like a 3 days dead fish. The idea that we should swallow it because India and China might get there first is a bold faced lie that is so easily refuted that he must be counting on Republicans being afraid to say it.

The Republican response should be a workmanlike dissection of every proposal. They should lay each out on the table before the American public and ask three questions;
1. how did this problem happen?
2. cui bono?
3. who is hurt?
Go through the exercise on each case.

A. The Auto industry seizure & Cash for Clunkers;
1. Union cost padding and environmental cost inflation,
2. The UAW at $80K/job, short sellers,
3. Everyone who could use a working used car, stock and debt holders.

B. The Health Care/Insurance debate;
1. Tort lawyers and Regulators,
2. The SEIU,
3. Doctors & patients.

1. What problem or the size of Al Gore's house,
2. Fraudulent scientists, corrupt financiers and foreign agents,
3. Business, consumers and workers choked by taxes and regulation and unable to get investment in productive enterprises as $billions are siphoned away into shoddy green schemes and real scientists can't get research grants.

Point out at every step that the people hurt aren't the fat cats of Goldman Sachs but the widows and orphans whose savings were invested in insurance companies and auto companies and energy companies.

The Republican Governor of VA is good, he has a future.

All his "tax cuts" are targeted grants to create or rent special interests to further divide and rule.

His treatment of the Court while a guest in The House is outrageous. In a parliamentary system where the Head of Government is treated as a mere politician and is not the Head of State such conduct would not be tolerated. People would have responded with cat calls and walked out on him.

The Republicans should say, "We expected a State of the Union address and received a campaign speech. If anyone wants to know where the atmosphere of partisanship and incivility come from we are happy to tell them. Here is a large file of statements by David Axelrod and Rahm Emanuel and other members of this administration. We request that a candid world examine them."

Still I do expect him to get a 5 to 10 point bounce in the polls. That is not enough but it keeps his "Hope" alive for another month.

(who asked whiskey why power flowing to Congress was a bad idea)
Oddly enough Woodrow Wilson wrote a book, proving he was a more genuine academic than Obama is. It was called "Congressional Government" and after the Civil War the Presidents were generally seen as ineffectual administrators while the countries energies were devoted to internal development. Congress played a large role in setting the rules and skimming off the graft for the creation of the rail network and the opening of the frontier. Once in office WW forgot everything he had said earlier and became a champion of a strong centralized Executive.

why we support the human rights of the women marching through the streets of Iran
A 300 page dissertation will be written one day on how that single sentence on Iran got into the SOTU speech. Hypocritical as it was it means something. I'd follow what Michael Ledeen reports about this.

Hot Air has the video of Obama attacking the Court and it appears that Alito is saying "Not true" or words to that effect. A commenter there linked to the pdf of the decision and pointed out where it says differently, pg 31 and 46-47.

Comment on the Belmont Club:
"The medium is the massage"

... they are poring over the polls to see what items have support and which items do not. They will change their message to suit.

No wonder Obama likes Chavez. He is like the Latin American Dictator who wants to know where the crowd is going, so that he can get there first and lead it.

... he found out that as many as 50% of American schoolchildren test below normal

You get the prize for quote of the day.

Kubler-Ross is very linear and defeatist. It assumes that an episode is part of a terminal process and if followed as a predictor will always result in less contact and resignation. That may not always be the best idea. Sometimes it is a good idea to fight, deny, seek or receive unbidden support and attempt to explore alternatives. That is how progress happens. Support is not only of aid to a person who may recover but it also is a social good in its own right. We become more human when we show that we care and that knowledge will stay with the living. KR is 100% accurate at describing what happened before an event but only after termination has occurred.

Peter Grinch,
The payoff in Health Care for the Democrats wasn't in the shifting number of millions who would get "free" care but in the hundreds of thousands of health care workers who would be signed up by the SEIU. Similarly the payoff for stealing the auto companies wasn't in cheap cars for the masses but jobs for the UAW.

The medium is the massage
We may have to start calling BHO "Soapy." He rubs me the wrong way.

The Kaczynski Future

(fm the BC thread "Doctors Frank and Stein")

Worst case scenario, if something does get out of a home biotech lab like hemorrhagic fever with legs or a new smallpox then it might kill 20-30% of the population in the post industrialized 1st World and it would probably kill at least twice as large a percentage of the population in the 3rd World. That would essentially wipe out the Ummah and depopulate all but the wealthiest enclaves, who could afford extraordinary defenses and medical care, in Africa, Latin America and Asia. The aid from the wealthier nations that poor nations depend upon to survive would stop. There would be no rescue for a devastated Haiti in such a future. Iceland could inherit the world. If al-Qeada produces this it is the ultimate suicide bomb. My worry is that some apocalyptic nut case like a racist version of the Unibomber will decide that he likes those odds.

In such an event anyone who calls for destroying capital and spreading poverty because of a fear of Global Warming would quickly have a mob introduce them to room temperature.

Comment on PJM, Dan Riehl:
"Filmaker Who Outed ACORN in Prostitution Sting Arrested"

If they requested access before witnesses to the Telecoms Closet, which is the Junction Box, then they are in serious trouble. If they can mount a defense based on getting out a story of Landrieu's corruption and ties to Acorn, which was run along with the SEIU and umpteen front organizations from one house in New Orleans, then the story might get interesting. The MSM will try to yawn about anything that focuses on Landrieu, since when corruption in Louisiana news? Efforts to get her phone records through Discovery will probably be suppressed. If the prosecutors can argue that anyone had prior knowledge of this or paid them in advance to get the Senator then they will try to go up the chain. If I was Breitbart I would lawyer up.

The best hope that O'Keefe has is if he was suckered into this by an agent provocateur. If that can be proved, and the prosecutor will try to hide it, then the case may be thrown out. The second best hope that he has is that the election of Bobby Jindal in LA, like the election of Scott Brown in MA, has punctured the Democratic Party oligarchy's air of invincibility. The Landrieus have probably built up many enemies over the years, there are people whose families died because of their incompetence and arrogance after Katrina. This may be an opportunity for stories to come out. To stop that the DoJ may want to make the story go away but that is a very thin reed to lean on.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Comment on the Belmont Club:
"Doctors Frank and Stein"

People make lemonade. At least potentially we are empowered by distributed techology. Perhps one day there will be an epidemic, perhaps caused by the nondescript man with his briefcase from allah. While the CDC and the FBI and the great university labs do there best, which is very good, they will also see energy and most inportant time sapped by turf battles and red tape and the need to prepare hourly reports to six other agencies and Congress. In the meantime, possibly if we are lucky and the wind is in the right direction and the creek don't rise, an Army of David's may be coming up with an answer through a distributed network of trial and error and small efforts.

Will mistakes be made and is there a risk of increased contamination? Sure there is and it may not be worth it but then again it may be nd the usual rule is that the cat doesn't go back in the bag. Once the people know how to do simple chemical engineering they will keep that knowledge and knowledge is power.

If the government does not have a monopoly on the cure then they do not have a monopoly on the technology. That also means that they do not have a monoply on retaliation. The United States never was an appendage to a government that could be conquered by seizing the Center. In the future that may become even more obvious. This has the potential to do for the freedom of the people before international threats what the 2nd Amendment does for the liberty of the people before domestic threats. It flashes a large do not tread on me sign before the world.


(fm the BC thread "Hatchet vs scalpel")

Is Tocque going to become a feature available on other PJM blogs?

Our host is to be congratulated for being responsive to visitor concerns. Maintaining a popular blog is a difficult task. I do not call it a job since we should remember that nobody, not even I would guess Roger Simon, is making money off of this. As a social enviornment blogs have two great drawbacks.

First is that people are anonymous. That is true to other guests even for sites with prior registration requirements. It is true that few are really anonymous in the sense that, except for those using advance technology with multiple server cut-outs and dynamic IP switching, the police can trace people who engage in threatening and criminal conduct. It is also true that for the vast majority of people all that matters is that other public visitors can not easily locate them. That results in a fools freedom that can change the behavior of even quiet polite people. The same thing happens when people travel to a foreign country or even a distant city. Here it is the opposite of Cheers. No one knows your name, unless you choose to reveal it. So people do tend to say things that they would not if their audience was looking into their eyes and could respond more directly.

The second and related problem is that this is a very limited form of communication. All we have is typed words and an occasional link to a video or some document. This isn't even chat. There is no intonation, no expression other than a smiley emoticon. That eliminates all the ways that humans as much as any animal communicate other than through intellectual symbolism. Text does neither self deprecating wit nor sarcasm well.

The result of these engineering constraints is that normal people can act more emotionally while their emotions are being badly expressed. Hostile and deceitful people or trolls have a perect medium to exploit. The host may pour enormous amounts of time and effort into the venture with little expectation of reward and a constant fear that malicious and unkown or unstable forces are tearing it all down.

Many of us have experienced tha unfortunate results of one effort to control the blogging environment that effectively destroyed what had been an excellent blog when the owner resorted to the mass banning of anyone who disagreed with him or even visited other blogs. We do not want that to ever happen here. It may be unlikely given the different temperament, experience and education of the host but we should still do our part to keep this fragile place intact. That does not mean that we need to agree with each other. It does mean that we have real physical limitations on how we can: see each other, deflect criticism or misunderstanding, and do any of the million gestures or clues that are used in a social setting to defuse tension or offer support or a warning in a way that deescalates a potential confrontation. Because of those limitations we have to make the extra effort to be agreeable even when we disagree. We have to focus on the message and not the messenger and to not personalize criticism recieved.

That does not make us doormats. Long time members of the Club know that on at least a couple of occasions I have been intentionally rude and given the facts of those cases I have no regrets. If I am ever unintentionally rude then I hope that I will apologize. These new tools, the ability to Ignore and reduce clutter from a troll, and most importantly the ability to give a back-channel message to another commentator, should reduce the level of heat generated by unintended friction.

Comment on the Belmont Club:
"Hatchet versus scalpel"

He never in any of these clips once mentioned anything, outside of defense, that his scalpel would actually cut. He used even this as an occasion to promise more funding for special interests. Barack Obama's "Hard Freeze" will become a dimly remembered punch line to be filed with the infamous Social Security "lockbox." Combine this idea with the Congress delegating it's budget functions to a special committee and you have a guarantee that hundreds of billions of dollars would be shifted into undisclosed off the books external accounts. Illinois politicians are small potatoes at this game. To meet the pros at off the books financing you have to go to New York.

There is a joke about each countries sense of economics based on what happens to two cows. In China a series of fancy shell game transactions turn the two cows into 20 fictional cows. That is what happened to the US housing market under Franks and Dodd and Raines and Gorelick. That is what NY State budgeting is like with quasi public entities selling things, like roads and prisons, to each other. That is what I predict if the Obama crowd get the budget out of public view.

Monday, January 25, 2010


Good news. We can now economize by firing all the shrinks in the Belmont Club. I just finished studying an unimpeachable source and learned that there is a fool proof test for sociopathy that uses an MRI of the brain conducted while the patient babbles about their ostensible love life. The display lights up like a pinball machine revealing that none of the emotional centers are in use. A half hour in Bethesda and we should be able to ship Obama off to the happy farm, along with half a dozen from his Cabinet and a quarter of the members of Congress. Who says that time spent watching House, MD is wasted? Now I better get back to 24. Imagine the useful tips on all sorts of topics that may be there.

Comment on the Belmont Club:
"Tinkering at the edges"

Scott Brown threw a bucket of water on the Wicked Witch, or at least her husband, and now she is melting. Maybe somebody will throw a bucket at Chavez.

There was a medieval allegory I once read about a scholar who wrote advocating justification by works and disparaging faith, maybe it was the other way around. He worked assiduously and alone. One day he died but he did not notice it and continued to write just as he did before. Slowly his house crumbled and everything around him vanished and was replaced by a desert but he did not notice as he continued to write on the same theme. Eventually demons came and took him away.

Obama is like that lost soul. He has destroyed himself and does not know it. He will continue going through the motions until someone turns off the lights and leads him away. Perhaps a message will be fed onto his teleprompter, "It's over." Many of the Democrats seem disconnected from reality. They cannot tell the difference between the real world and the Model UN they once attended. Maybe back then the sex was better but now the food is.

None of this is Obama’s fault. He didn’t create the credit bubble.

Maybe not but he was present at the creation. One of the few things in his life that resembled the world of work was when he was listed as "of counsel" on behalf of Acorn when they sued Citicorp to force the issuance of subprime mortgages under the CRA.

Peter Boston,
Thank you for the City Journal link. That is why I advocate disqualifying most people who receive the majority of their income from either the State or Federal levels of government from voting at that level.

Nice description of the effects of the proposed student loan/delayed grant program. There will be a couple of other results that come to mind;
1. It is another disincentive to joining the military. Why bother when you get more money and faster promotions for just becoming a government civilian clerk? If you just wait the debt vanishes anyway.

2. Campuses will be littered with permanent students in their 40s or 50s. Young women will be pursued by them and young men will become very unhappy. We can ask whiskey to delve deeper into this topic. This will be another step on the path of europeanizing America.

Nixon Was Right

Now that the Supremes have slapped down campaign finance restrictions by resorting to the almost unheard of technique of reading the Constitution they can move on to other subjects dear to the heart of the Left. Obama has gone over the top in attempting to set up a Federal grade school curriculum and fund local schools that submit to his authority directly from Washington. Apparently this is a deliberate effort to circumvent the authority of the State of Texas. Fortunately he made a ridiculous hash of the event by setting up his teleprompters in an elementary school classroom.

As the Carnivorous Conservative asks, "Is This Obama's Pet Goat Moment?"

All of this is completely unconstitutional. Fifty years ago Richard Nixon in a debate with John Kennedy said that while the Federal government could help in school construction it should never pay teachers salaries lest it then decide what those teachers should teach. He was ridiculed for his 5 o'clock shadow and lost the election. Listen to the Kennedy Nixon debate. Even better listen to the whole debate. At 8:00 on of this clip he discusses education.

Nixon was right then and Obama is wrong now. The entire system of federal expenditures on primary education should be thrown out as a violation of the 10th Amendment.

The anti-Schindler

(fm the BC thread "Magic")

Obama himself described his role as the man in the background serving “to provide the vision for change” as he put it. He was to provide the vision, doling out little parcels of change like it was a commodity, and everything was going to fall into place.
Obama must enjoy sitting back and watching Rahm Emanuel and Tim Geithner and Larry Summers do the work while he does the presentation. While the archetype redeemed himself by serving as a shield for those he came to as an exploiter in BHO's case he achieves only the weakening of those forces that would rescue the victims of totalitarianism.

Itzhak Stern:        Let me understand. They put up all the money. I do all
          the work. What, if you don't mind my asking, would you do?
Oskar Schindler: I'd make sure it's known the company's in business.
          I'd see that it had a certain panache. That's what I'm good at.
          Not the work, not the work... the presentation.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Locke's Russian Dolls

(fm the BC thread "Magic")

This really is a debate over semantics rather than content. On occasion I have made the same point that you do. The problem is that doing so works up to a point as a debating tactic but it elides a basic principle we should focus on.

The sovereignty of the people, after that of God, is the basis of the polity in a Lockean system. The people express their sovereignty through the legislature. In the original American Constitution that was done through the House of Representatives biannually and in state legislatures elected annually. No district exceeded the size of the ideal polis, about 60,000. With only a fraction qualified to vote politicians were closely tied to their communities. That made us a Democracy.

The Founders were schooled in the schema laid out in Aristotle's Politics and Polybius’ Histories. They did not want a pure Democracy because they were very aware that Aristotle said that was a degenerate case of Constitutional Rule and even if your basic principles were less Aristocratic then as Polybius described Democracy tends to degenerate into Ochlocracy or Mob Rule. They were rejecting Monarchy, which posses the virtues of decisiveness and unity or freedom from faction. The vice it is associated with is a tendency to arbitrary rule that degenerates into Tyranny.

The traditional 3rd way between Monarchy, in which according to Hobbes sovereignty is conferred down by God to an anointed ruler, and Democracy, based on sovereignty conferred on humanity by God in biblical times, was the Republic. The American system is a functioning Republic.

However the classical ideal of the Republic in Rome failed and lapsed back into a Monarchy. Why did that happen? The problem is that every Republic before America was an Aristocracy based on the sovereignty of a narrow and artificial elite. In Aristotle's schema they degenerated into Oligarchy. The virtues of an Aristocracy are the leisure, wisdom and loyalty of the rulers. The vices of an Oligarchy are corruption, intrigue and the fundamental illegitimacy of the system in a theological sense. God may anoint a king or may have anointed all Believers but he never anointed the Lords. The most aristocratic elements in society are the judges and the Officers of the State. In Madison’s Constitution the most overtly aristocratic component was the Senate but the Senators were themselves selected by the most Democratic element in the system, the state legislatures. Officers, civil and military and the members of the Judiciary, are all subject to confirmation by the Senate. Similarly the component closest to Monarchy in the Executive branch was chosen by Electors chosen by those same most democratic bodies, the State legislatures.

The genius of Madison and his peers was that they crafted a system in which the virtues of all 3 archetypes are brought together in a balance that checks the vices and tendency to degenerate that each are prone to. The legitimacy of all elements are rooted in popular sovereignty. That was the great innovation that distinguished the American system from that of the idealized but failed Roman Republic. The Executive is a limited Monarch based on the authority of Republican Electors and with officers confirmed by the Republican Aristocracy of the Senate, as are all members of the Judiciary. The authority of the Senators and Electors themselves rested on the legitimacy of the State legislatures who derived their authority directly from the Sovereign people. That is why we are a Democracy embedding a Constitutional Republic, with a controlled Monarchial element. Each is nested within the legitimacy of the element that precedes it.

The Electoral College is a subject that I have seized upon with particular enthusiasm. Mark Steyn has said he gets to be a Demography bore and everyone else gets to choose their own peculiarity. Regular visitors to the Club have heard my suggestions as to how to restore the original intent of the Founders on this topic in boring detail.

My hope that this possibly entertaining digression will not become another occasion for a sterile dispute between people who agree about more important matters.

Your position seems right to me. The concept was originally to have voting by Heads of Households. Servants, especially indentured servants, who could be white, did not vote in elections for colonial councils. Slaves were a bastard concept of permanent inherited indentured servitude. It would be worth researching how independent women who were Heads of Households and Free Blacks were viewed in different parts of the country. My argument was that until very recent times, and for some of us even now, saying that the electoral franchise would be exercised by households was the point of the Census and was seen as making America a Democracy consistent with the doctrine of Popular Sovereignty.

Jan 25, 2010 - 11:02 am

The XXVth Option

(fm the BC thread "Magic")

How does the Constitution deal with a President who is incapacitated by injury (Garfield lingered for 80 days) or illness (Wilson was incapacitated for 17 months) or who is otherwise removed from office? The 25th Amendment was passed after JFK was assassinated. Sections 1 through 3 deal with vacancies in the office of President and Vice President and temporary voluntary transfer of presidential power. The meat is in section 4.
Section 4. Whenever the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive departments or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall immediately assume the powers and duties of the office as Acting President.
Thereafter, when the President transmits to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives his written declaration that no inability exists, he shall resume the powers and duties of his office unless the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive department or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit within four days to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office. Thereupon Congress shall decide the issue, assembling within forty-eight hours for that purpose if not in session. If the Congress, within twenty-one days after receipt of the latter written declaration, or, if Congress is not in session, within twenty-one days after Congress is required to assemble, determines by two-thirds vote of both Houses that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall continue to discharge the same as Acting President; otherwise, the President shall resume the powers and duties of his office.
In effect this allows the Veep with sufficient support to impeach the President subject to a later trial in the Congress. The grounds on which he can do so are more flexible than those granted to the House of Representatives in the original Constitution under Article II sect. 4. Look at the first sentence of the Amendment. It says that the Vice President can in effect temporarily remove the President with the concurrence of half the Cabinet or with the support of some other body that Congress may create. That second part is interesting. There is no restriction on what that body could be. It could be a committee of 6 State Governors or the 2 senior leaders of each party from both the House and Senate or for the paranoid it could be the top 3 officers of the Bilderburg or the Freemasons. Congress can give them the power and then they can install the VP as Acting President subject to a trial in that he would need confirmation by two thirds of both houses. It is easier to remove the President this way than to Impeach him under Article I but if he resists then it is harder to confirm the removal then to get a conviction in a Senate Impeachment trial. There is a movie script in this.

The scenario would be that the Cabinet is supine and unwilling to act against the President that they serve at the pleasure of. We will ignore any false precedent created by the Democrats complaining about Bush firing US Attorneys. So Congress can appoint a body that meets in a closet with the Vice President and orders the President removed. If two thirds of both branches of Congress supported the move, and it would only happen I think if that had already been determined, then the removal becomes permanent.

(a clinical psychologist who diagnoses Obama as a sociopath)
Thank you for that sobering contribution. We all have to act carefully under the circumstances.

Given the poison that has been injected into the body politic, the hate and fear and the real economic damage, we must be ready for violent reactions if he does collapse or needs to be removed. I am very afraid of a long hot Summer in the cities.

Geoffrey Britain,
he’d have to do something ... for that to fly, don’t you think?

Not necessarily, it is all up to how the politicians see their own interest.

Unlike the Article II standard for Impeachment of "Treason, Bribery, or other High crimes and misdemeanors" the XXVth Amendment standard of "unable to discharge" is completely flexible. Functionality and competence are in the eye of the beholder. If a man can be certified as a sociopath then even if he is outwardly functional the Congress can declare him "unable to discharge" the office. They can declare you "unable to discharge" the office on any grounds they want. No court will hear an appeal from the judgment of Congress in this case. If two thirds of the House and two thirds of the Senate are onboard, and if things get really bad then that is possible but I do not think it is probable, then the leadership they select will know that in advance. If that happens and they appoint a "body" to meet with the Veep then it could happen. Would they have to issue a report from some joint Judiciary Committee stating that eminent psychiatrists, psychologists and the head keeper at the National Zoo all agree that he is technically "nuts?" Sure they would and it would make as good a read as Lord Demmings Report. It would sell fewer copies then Kenneth Starr's report on Clinton but it might get read more. On the other hand they might produce a medical report stating that he suffers from some tragic hangnail but that gives him intermittent migraines so he can't answer the phone at 3 AM and therefore regretably can not be President.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Comment on the Belmont Club:

repeating the mistake with greater emphasis isn’t necessarily a solution

In the American military when in doubt there are simple priorities to guide an officer. In ascending order they are (with focus naval departments);
1. logistics and repair (Supply & Engineering)
2. train and prepare (Admin & Combat Systems)
3. observe and communicate (Operations)
4. engage, move to the sound of the guns.
Naturally all Departments are constantly partaking of all of these and the last is a focused effort by the entire Command.

In WW-II the motto of NavAir was, "When in danger or in doubt, turn in circles, scream and shout." That meant that the lost airplane, no radar then, would gain altitude and broadcast and hope that the carrier would hear them, turn to close the distance to them, and break radio silence to guide them in. That showed, as the Task Force moved to recover the lost pilot, step 4 in operation with elements of 3, and was based on 1 and 2 having been done right. It also showed America's cultural values at work as the Admiral would make the hardest decision of whether to break radio silence to rescue his lost lamb, knowing that to do so risks endangering his Command.

In the old Soviet military there was always a simpler guide to remember. When in doubt an officer was expected to, and often ordered to, demonstrate more "activity." They were not judged in the narrow sense on results, although the price of failure could be severe.

The point behind this quaint comparison is that Obama is not acting like an American here but like someone who has been indoctrinated in an alien culture. When faced with a problem he divides it into two parts, threats to the society (including its institutions, traditions, culture and economy) and threats to his own authority. He focuses all his efforts on the latter. His response to economic catastrophe, enemy aggression, and public repudiation is not to correct the threats to the society but to produce more political theater, that is more "activity."

To some extent all politicians do this and the commons have to spend a lot of time and energy reminding them about the community that pays to keep them in the castle on the hill. Religious prayers are reminders to God that he really does love and care for us poor folks down here. They may have developed as safe reminders to the secular lord that he also had better ensure that threats to the well being of the community need to be addressed as well as threats to himself. Obama, who may think that the peasants prayers are being addressed to him personally has personalized and politicized all issues to an extent unseen since Woodrow Wilson.

He expects Magic. He will summon monsters from the vasty deep.
But will they come? (see 9:00 on)

Someone should have taught young Barry Soetero to tell truth and shame the devil. Now it is to late.

Dan D,
(who compared Obama's work habits unfavorably to Bill Clinton's)
Obama had a reputation as one of the laziest and least prepared Senators. Given the competition that says something. He was almost always late to a hearing and never made a meaningful contribution, resorting only to boiler plate polemics. At the University where he taught other faculty said that he was a distant presence not engaged in the life of the academic community.

Geoffrey Britain
there’s more to life than politics and current events

Some obsess on policy, some on money or sex. Some obsess on work.
It happens to both Republicans and Democrats.
Can we talk about something other than Hollywood for a change? We are all educated people.
1:55 on, Robert Altman's The Player

james wilson,
Perhaps the Democrats will find ways to make him disappear

13 hours ago I blogged on Obama's poll numbers and the options for the Dems.
What would a Grand Bargain look like? Biden gets the White House and no lynch mobs but Satomayor is off the Supreme Court and all other appointments will be reexamined by a committee chaired by Senator McCain sounds like a start to me.

My guess is that Al Queda will choose patience

Evidence is that al-Qeada has chosen to move sooner. How many self identified aQ attacks in this country have we had so far? Is it 4 or 5, plus the interceptions and the panic in London?

the ultimate gatekeepers, the people failed

1. Please buy a better nick.
2. The People are not supposed to take personal charge of examining the fitness of every candidate. That is the point behind having a Constitutional Republic. Ultimate sovereignty resides with the people and they express it by directly electing Representatives and State Legislatures. That is why the country is a Democracy, sorry Habu. However it is not a Direct Democracy. The original intent was to have the State legislatures select worthy and experienced leaders who would meet and examine the qualifications and fitness of candidates for President. Some horse trading among local interests was to be expected but real clunkers should be filtered out in the same way that a parliamentary system usually weeds out the flagrantly incompetent or morally degenerate before they get to the top. After all experienced politicians and community leaders know each others flaws, even if they are hidden from the public. Remember how the Senate shocked everyone by rejecting John Tower when he was nominated by Bush '41 for SecDef? Largely that was a partisan attack and partly it was an elitist blow at the only former enlisted man in the Senate but it was argued that as his former colleagues they knew that he was a drunk and unfit for the office. If the President was selected by a conclave of civic leaders, as intended, who would be selected by legislatures elected from small local constituencies, originally an annual election, then both the Democratic and Republican elements of the Constitution would be at work. Under such a system a man like Barack Obama would not be elected.

(who linked to "Richard Epstein discusses Barack Obama" on the Easy Opinions blog)

Thank you, I was looking for that.
We have 3 practicing psychiatrists that I know of who post on, and maybe more who follow, the Belmont Club. Epstein's description of the great stone face obsessed by control cries out for discussion.

Can we put up a billboard? "In your guts you know he's nuts."


Obama is now in full meltdown. The latest Rasmussen Dail Presidential tracking poll results is based on a sample collected over the 3 days since the Massachusetts Senate Race election.
The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Saturday shows that 24% of the nation's voters Strongly Approve of the way that Barack Obama is performing his role as President. Forty-three percent (43%) Strongly Disapprove giving Obama a Presidential Approval Index rating of -19.
While he has touched this level once before and then pulled back the cycle of failure is followed. Some mishandled event is followed by a poll decline followed by a media induced rally that only partially works followed by further damage. This pattern has been repeated for a year. Each time he tries to react by attacking some element of business or society or an ally and being more partisan. Each time he does so the alienation of all but his most committed base becomes deeper. Three times in a row he has intervened in local elections, Virginia, New Jersey and Massachusetts. Each time the results have been disastrous. The only election where his endorsed candidate has won was in the NY 23rd, and that was so tainted by the manipulations of the faux Republican who dropped out and the mass of outside SEIU foot soldiers brought in that it resurrected the dormant Republican Party in NY.

Each of the tools that he has relied upon is being progressively stripped away from him. The cushion of a super-majority and the aura of inevitability have been destroyed by the electorate. The financial support of wealthy financiers, except for the ever loyal Goldman Sachs and Soros, have been lost through his betrayals and economic destruction. The monopoly over getting his message out through favored media has been crippled by the Supreme Court and the ability of his ridiculed old opposition to use new technologies to organize a spontaneous opposition.
The number of Democrats who Strongly Approve has fallen from 55% on Tuesday morning to 48% today. The number of unaffiliated voters who Strongly Disapprove has increased from 43% on Tuesday to 51% today. It remains to be seen whether those changes are a temporary reaction in the wake of a stunning election upset or the beginning of a more lasting change.
He now can count on the loyalty in a crisis of less than half the Democrats and the Independents oppose him. As the Massachusetts race proved most of the Democratic establishments support is skin deep and based on inertia. People have absorbed the MSM message that the Republicans were isolated old losers and a Democratic victory was inevitable. Once that balloon is punctured it deflates.

My prediction now is that in a month Obama's baseline of support will be in the 20-25% range and his strong opposition will be in the 45-50% range. His spread will be fixed at or above -20% and will touch -25%. All of this will be followed by economic shocks this Summer as the commercial real estate bubble collapses, the Chinese economy stalls, the American financial sector hemorrhages jobs and capital, and the Iranians and Putin seek to drive up the price of energy.

War in the Middle-east could bring a brief rally in Obama's direction but he has lost the trust of all parties. Desperate Democrats looking at electoral elimination may start seeking to ease him off stage. That could provoke race riots during a long hot Summer as blacks beome desperate over the economic pressures and their sense of the betrayal of their President.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Comment on PJM, Zombie:
"Gay voter remorse as
McCains step up where Obama fails"

The base of the Democratic Party now consists of a fractious alliance of Blacks, Hispanics and Moslems. Historic sources of leadership including Jews and Homosexuals are used as money machines and vote farms but there is decreasing evidence that this results in any attention to issues that concern them. White ethnics, especially Catholics, are now ignored except insofar as they are in mobilized unions such as the UAW or government employees. They are being rapidly replaced in those ranks by more favored groups.

The attitude of most Republicans towards homosexuals is benign neglect. That is not hostility it means a respect for privacy so deep that the Republican wants it to be mutual. At worst it means that they don't really give a damn, and don't demand more of strangers. That is a workable basis for a modus vivendi.

Comment on PJM, Zombie:
"Gay voter remorse as
McCains step up where Obama fails"

The base of the Democratic Party now consists of a fractious alliance of Blacks, Hispanics and Moslems. Historic sources of leadership including Jews and Homosexuals are used as money machines and vote farms but there is decreasing evidence that this results in any attention to issues that concern them. White ethnics, especially Catholics, are now ignored except insofar as they are in mobilized unions such as the UAW or government employees. They are being rapidly replaced in those ranks by more favored groups.

The attitude of most Republicans towards homosexuals is benign neglect. That is not hostility it means a respect for privacy so deep that the Republican wants it to be mutual. At worst it means that they don't really give a damn, and don't demand more of strangers. That is a workable basis for a modus vivendi.

Comment on the Belmont Club:
"Risky business"

Wheels within wheels. Perhaps Obama's inner circle had already picked Geithner as the fall guy and crafted this without getting him onboard and delivered it in a way calculated to elicit his rejection. Somebody has to go to the wall. Why not Tim? If Geithner goes that might give a 5% bounce in the market. Dodd is already heading out the door, call that good for another 5%. If Barney Franks decides that the tea leaves from Tuesday, when his own district went Republican, make this a good time to take an extended tour of equatorial fleshpots then that might produce a seismic bounce of say 10%. If the Fannie and Freddie crowd get tossed under the bus then Obama may tell himself that he can gain enough momentum to survive.

None of that may be true or it may be true only in the sense that Obama and the inner circle may think that way. As I said before, it is possible that this was announced to distract from the profit reports issued by his friends at Goldman Sachs. On paper they would be severely impacted by this but seriously does anybody think that anything will be designed that is not in their interest?

The problems the US financial industry faces are, incompetent and sclerotic regulation, opacity and dishonesty, high taxation, and increased foreign competition. Those same problems were the reason for the repeal of Glass-Steagall in the first place. The hope was that somplicity and clarity and increased domestic competition would drive down costs and benefit consumers as well as produce more jobs. To a considerable extent it worked. The problems we have were largely generated by the same crowd who are now in charge and blaming the system they established and then milked. If Obama and Co. succeed then I predict a much shrunken financial services industry with a favored few, such as Goldman Sachs, presiding over a desert tax farm. The chief beneficiaries will be in Shanghai and Frankfurt.

Would Bernanke leaving help or hurt? Who is really going to still have a chair in the inner circle when the music stops?

Free Speech, moderately priced

(fm the BC thread "The First Amendment")

The question of public and private morality and freedom of expression is where the slipperiest thing to judge, intent, comes into play. Courts and administrative apparatuses are very bad a evaluating intent and we generally prefer to draw up regulations that deal with specific conduct. That is why everybody has to take off their shoes in the airport. We do not want to empower the questionably educated government clerk to make a value judgment on who should or should not have their shoes inspected. Similarly we do not want to government clerk deciding who should or should not get to uncover their bodies or cover their faces in public.

Periodically hostile groups or ideologies seek to threaten society. We must craft means of identifying such threats and frustrating their efforts without doing ourselves irreperable harm. Those who seek to do us harm will always look for other interest groups within our larger communities that they can ally or identify with. They will do this both for tactical support and for cover as it complicates efforts to isolate the alien and respond to an attack. For example Soviet Communism expended considerable resources on building an alliance with black Americans. While the physical threat from the Soviets is gone, and the threat posed by global Socialism is real but not as existential in the military sense as it was 30 years ago, the effects of the corruption of a significant portion of the American community are enduring and difficult for all of us to deal with.

My suspician is that the concerns of homosexuals regarding constraints on their ability to openly ackowledge their sexuality would meet with more active sympathy in the majority commubnity if that community felt less threatened. That community feels threatened in part by some radical homosexuals but that is not what generates the bulk of the social conservative backlash. It is true that some members of the homosexual community are dishonest when they claim that they only want to have the right to live their own lives in private, like everyone else does. Clearly for some significant portion of that community their behavior is in fact driven by an animus that motivates them to attack and deconstruct the majority culture. Whatever the source of their anger, perhaps some homosexuals are simply born with a comfortable sense of self and some others are reacting to a childhood trauma or abuse, and some may be expressing anger and guilt caused by youthful repression and denial, they are clearly seeking to attack the social structures, such as marriage, that the majority find nurturing. The dishonesty that is evident in those motivated by hostility to the majority rather than a concern for their own privacy drives the majority to wall off all homosexuals, even those who they would otherwise agree with on most issues. This is an example of classic revolutionary agitation on the part of the vanguard radicals who identify a minority community with a grievance and then isolate it and drive a wedge between it and the majority.

The more serious and immediate threat to the security of the majority society is no longer from Soviet Communism it is now from the Salafist and Khomienist branches of Islam. They compete to challenge and undermine Western Civilization. The majority in America knows that the muslim woman wearing a burqa here is not expressing her private sense of modesty and morality. She is expressing a very public challenge to public order and the liberties of the majority. The French are right about this. The dishonesty of claims to the contrary is palpable and it is that dishonesty and the hypocrisy of efforts to accommodate those who challenge and threaten due to fear that generates anger. The laws against face covering that were developed to suppress the challenge from the Ku Klux Klan were targeted restrictions on speech that worked and they should be extended and enforced. If members of other minority groups, homosexual or black or pacifist Quaker or even Libertarian, recognized the need to support the greater community in responding to genuine threats then they would find more sympathy for their local concerns.

No one loses their freedom of speech rights in this country because of citizenship.

That is an assertion. Clearly the SCOTUS are making a distinction as your quote from Justice Kennedy in the decision makes clear, my emphasis.
“it prohibits Congress from fining or jailing citizens, or associations of citizens, for simply engaging in political speech.”

Non-citizens have rights, including the right to publish and to peacefully assemble to petition for the redress of grievances. They should not have the right to contribute to a political candidate at the Federal level either in cash or in kind. If they participate in the vote then they are subject to deportation and a permanent bar on reentry. It is no great stretch to me to say that engaging in electioneering on behalf of a candidate to a voter is functionally the same as attempting to enter the voting booth with that voter. This is not a call for a ban on all expressions of opinion by non-citizens. It is a call for them to barred from specific advocacy on behalf of a candidate that is directed at American voters. For example I would defend the right of a self identified Palestinian who was not a US citizen and legally present to peacefully demonstrate on behalf of their cause, as long as they did not endorse or call for the rejection of any specific candidate. Also I would defend the right of al-Jazeera reporters to deliver their partisan opinions to their overseas audience.

(who asserts that all persons have political speech rights)
The Constitution is not a suicide pact. Libertarians constantly insist on protection for extreme and irrational cases. In so doing they erode the reasonable standard that protects the rights we all need. The First Amendment protects citizens, the passage in the decision you cited makes that clear. Non-citizens are here under sufferance. Subject to due process they can be removed from the country. They do not have the right to vote in a Federal election and Congress can regulate their participation in the political market. Intervention by a foreign Prince in another nations internal politics is a hostile act and foreign nationals who are potentially de jure agents of a foreign interest may not engage in hostile acts. They may not keep and bear arms either. Your assertions are simply not proof. When you have some more meaningful proof then we may take this up again. Until then we are engaged in hand waving and I see no benefit in that.

(who is concerned about the suppression of a particular minority)
There is a difference between unpopular speech and hostile speech directed to threaten or harm something of value to others. If members of the homosexual community were more forthright about confronting those who are only calling for the right to enter into a marriage contract not in order to attain the same status as held by the majority but in order to attack the institution itself then their arguments would be met with more sympathy. Unfortunately the loudest voices are those engaged in heterophobia and while you may defend their right to speak you can not insist that others listen to them.

For all of us who engage in political activity it is often true that we know that the person who has shown up to ostensibly support our cause is acting for their own purposes. Often those include agendas that will offend many of those we wish to reach with the campaigns message. While campaigning for McCain or at a Tea Party rally I soon got to recognize the people who were just itching to start screaming about Castro or abortion, with no consideration of the interests of the candidate. Those in the homosexual community who are advancing their own agenda of liberation from patriarchal heterosexual capitalist white civilization are rightly perceived as threatening. They hurt the causes of those who they purport to speak for. When people equate arguments for legal rights to inheritance and hospital visitation or power of attorney decision making with the Safe Schools Czar campaigning for pederasty then the prior argument loses.

It is no more the responsibility of members of the majority to pick winners and assure members of the sexual minority that we know that the hostile voices do not speak for them then it is for us to tell Moslems that we know that al-Qeada does not speak for them and they really do not believe in passages in the Hadith and Koran that appear threatening. It is hard for any community to confront the fringe that generates friction, especially when they had confronted earlier injustices. When it happens that is a sign of maturity and bodes well for future progress.

(1st para already in the comments on this blog)
We have to draw a line between "unpopular speech" that may offend adults but which should be protected and "hostile speech" that causes or threatens damage to others. My argument is that attacking the institution of marriage is an assault and that those who do so under the cover of advocating it for others are dishonest and hurt those who ally with them. Those who direct their attention towards children, like the "Safe Schools Czar," are rightly seen as threatening. Members of the homosexual community do themselves a favor if they loudly and publicly reject such people.

What worries me the most here is that concern over these other issues impedes our ability to respond effectively to a clear and present danger. It never occurred to Noel Coward or thousands of others that their private sexuality was more important than the strength of the majority community and its success in defeating a totalitarian threat. It is unfortunate now that the loudest and most selfish voices in many of our minority communities, especially among prominent homosexuals in the arts and media, are focused on attacking our community and blocking efforts to effectively detect, deter and destroy genuine threats to all of us.

(who dug up another link on foreign entities under the decision)
Thank you. Not saying I am convinced at this point but you have definitely given me something to study. At first glance it does look like serious legislators should stop playing tail chasing games for Obama and instead spend their time going over this and plugging any holes in the dike.

Jan 25, 2010 - 6:30 pm