Monday, November 29, 2010

Further Comment on PJM, Michael Totten »
This is How You Stop Terrorists

Michael Totten » This is How You Stop Terrorists

If you do not know about explosives and serious weapons caught by TSA then the fault is with your information providers. Not that any of us would question their competence or impartiality. If the information is not made publicly available then that could be for good reasons that can be addressed by the elected representatives who set policy. My suspicion is that intercepts of explosives or initial contact with a person of interest that is later used to build a case may be released to the public record in a court proceeding but that both the libertarians and the socialists have no interest in disseminating that information.

No law enforcement or domestic security agency can be expected to both observe all constitutional restrictions and preempt criminal activity. The best that they can do is track down the bad guys after, "Remember, when seconds count the police are only minutes away", fill out the reports and maybe get to penetrate a bad guy cell by offering bait. The US Secret Service got to be more aggressive after 1963 in finding bad guys before they act. Most people accepted that and whistled by it without looking to close. Similarly nuclear security was also kept quiet to enable it to be more proactive.

We are now cautiously expanding the role of law enforcement but are in fact being, or at least were under the much criticized Bush administration, very careful about not abusing the powers that are needed in theory. For all of the screaming about the Patriot Act how many librarians were emotionally raped by government goons rifling through the town's card files to see who reads back issues of The Nation? The answer of course was zero.

What some of the criticisms boil down to are demands to know everything that those entrusted with government know. That is not a necessary component of a democracy. The fact is that you are not entitled to know everything that is classified for valid purposes. These can include law enforcement and military operations, diplomatic communications and confidential personal records. Hillary Clinton, whatever her infinite faults, read a good statement about that today. If you think that you are entitled to know everything then your friend is Julian Assange but he may be to busy to take your calls right now.

Obviously the tendency of any bureaucracy to control information to conceal abuse and incompetence must be fought. Should the true facts behind routine local government operations, such as how a road got routed and where every every dime went, get fully and publicly revealed? Yes it should, and when local zoning commissioners try to hide behind the screens I am defending they need to be prosecuted. That is not just for their pecuniary misdeeds but also for imposing on weightier matters. That vice afflicts every organization but it is especially virulent in government.

It is proper to raise questions as to the cost, effectiveness or abuse of procedures. It is important that elected representatives vigorously investigate government operations. The maintenance of an educated liberty loving culture that produces agents and managers as well as legislative and judicial overseers with the sophistication and wisdom to handle their responsibilities in a temperate manner is essential.

Genuine security matters are classified for good reason, whether anyone likes that or not. Properly classified information should not be revealed and demanding to know why you aren't told more is not good enough. Maybe more can and should be disclosed but the way to get that answered is through elected office holders, not by advocating disrupting screening operations. What does not happen and will not happen is the satisfaction of the desire of any individual who wants to walk into the briefing room and say "What have you got?" Our host is a journalist. He knows that there are stories that need to get out. He knows that there is information concealed for many reasons both good and bad. He knows that some of those who restrict access do so for selfish reasons and most are sincere about their responsibilities. He knows that it isn't just a matter of saying "Why if it exists can't I read everything in Wiki or find it with Google?"

Comment on PJM, Ed Driscoll »
‘Two Papers in One’

Ed Driscoll » ‘Two Papers in One’

There may be a lot of ruin in a nation but how much is there in a newspaper? The biggest leak over the last 20 years has been that of the carefully and expensively built up credibility of the New York Times. At what point point can people simply ignore it? I could see the House attaching a rider onto an appropriations bill that except for specific purposes of administrative necessity, such as Justice Department investigations of misconduct, no government monies are to be expended to purchase the product of, advertise on, subsidize, or in any way assist the New York Times.

Comment on - Daniel Hannan -
The Corner - National Review Online:
Erin Go Bust: The Euro Did It.

Erin Go Bust: The Euro Did It. - By Daniel Hannan - The Corner - National Review Online

The EU was not set up to emulate America by establishing a "United States of Europe." That conceit was sold though to build support in Yankeeland. Because it was intended to break down local identities the EU avoided the mechanics of Federalism that the US had pioneered, even where they arguably might have worked and the trappings were at hand.

For example the US has 12 regional Federal Reserve banks that adjust the money supply based on the needs of their localities. If the EU had viewed their monetary system from that functional approach, rather than as part of a grand ideological project, then it might have worked.

Unfortunately the US has itself gotten away from its federalist roots in a drive to become more European. For example the immediate engines of the melt-down in 2008 were Fannie and Freddie. They served as a joint tool for the centralized control of the economy. Reforms should include breaking them up into 12 Federal Regional Mortgage Associations.


There is, according to a building Porter a nest of hawks on the roof. One decided to enjoy a pigeon on the front lawn. Circle of life and all that.

Ms Rousseau of the Wildlife Conservation Society looked at the image and said "It looks like a juvenile red-tail hawk."
Here is a link to the wiki, with better pics.

At one time I carried a camera and took good images, now I carry a phone and take poor images. This is called progress.

Comment on Theo Spark: Video:
Lockheed Martin Sabre Warrior UCAV Concept

Theo Spark: Video: Lockheed Martin Sabre Warrior UCAV Concept

YouTube - Lockheed Martin Sabre Warrior UCAV Concept

Unmanned aircraft can launch fully active Over the Horizon (OTH) AAW missiles for air denial, that is to deny the area to the enemy, but they cannot dog fight. That means they can't escort the strike package to defend against a fighter screen.

Look at it this way. One of these using an extra fuel tank in one of the two weapons bays can deliver a single 2000 lb bomb from Israel to Iran. 25 of them could form a significant first strike force. Is that a better allocation of resources than using ballistic missiles?

The problem with using MRBMs or IRBMs is that once launched they will lack plausible deniability. A manned aircraft offers the possibility of completing the mission and returning undetected. The Israelis and the Syrians both preferred to keep that window of ambiguity. The unmanned system may penetrate undetected but there is a greater risk that one may fail to return and that would leave evidence behind. For specific targets such as the Syrian or Iraqi nuclear plants these may prove useful.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Comment on PJM, Michael Totten »
This is How You Stop Terrorists

Michael Totten » This is How You Stop Terrorists

The "TSA has never stopped an attack" line is repeated ad nauseum. It is not true, it is a lie. It is an example of how efforts to dominate the marketplace of ideas can be used to set the terms for a policy debate.

TSA has discovered thousands of weapons, including explosives. TSA agents have filled out thousands of Incident Reports based upon contacts with persons who based on professional criteria need to be identified and tracked. Cases are then developed and threats are identified or links are pursued by other parts of the government than the uniformed TSA officers at the airport. The people you see who do the screening are part of a larger system.

The vast majority of the hostility directed at the TSA boils down to special pleading, "I don't look like a terrorist so why bother me or my family?" When someone asks if they look like a terrorist the honest answer is "Yes." Forty years ago the Palestinians began the age of air terror by arranging for tall dark handsome young men to seduce girls on vacation in Cyprus or Lebanon and then give them a touching simple and to embarrassing to refuse keepsake to take home, a boombox. Young girls, old women, black, blonde or yellow, anyone could be either a terrorist or an unwitting mule.

Persons who insist that they do not believe that security measures mean anything other than that the government is throwing away money in a fit of welfare fakery by incompetents and sheer waste also can be heard claiming that the TSA is really part of some vast fiendish sophisticated government plot to harness the entire power of the United States to find out what is in someone's underwear. The advancement of these two incompatible theories should be enough to discredit their supporters as disconnected from reality.

People who deliberately seek to measure their own power by disrupting TSA may introduce noise in the system. That will necessitate a more intrusive screening experience for most and may create an exploitable weakness for the genuine terrorist. What do the TSA agents actually want? They want you to allow them to concentrate on the most likely threats. Those yelling "Profile" and testing to see how far they can go in cursing, squealing, displaying poor hygiene, or insisting on bringing on the plane their collection of old clocks and batteries, just because it makes them feel more empowered to do so are imposing their costs on others. They are practicing a particularly obnoxious form of socialism. Pack your bags and bring the bare minimum on as carry-on. Arrive awake and sober and with enough time to complete screening before your flight boards. Use the Screeners name and ask them to tell you when and where they are going to touch you. Tell them if you cannot see your property.

Since 9-11 cases of passengers with explosives, the shoe or underwear bombers for example, have been persons who boarded outside the United States and then flew into the country. The TSA can warn of a place that does not meet minimum standards, like Port of Prince Haiti, but it cannot control who gets on a plane in Europe.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

A Life in the Theatre

A Life in the Theatre

Had fun last night. Cops say "You can't make this stuff up" and
"All stories are true." This show closes Sunday.

On: Australia Broadcasting Corp: The World Today -
South Korea braces for next move

The World Today - South Korea braces for next move 24/11/2010

“South Korea has now ordered the evacuation of the islands near the border with the North.”
Evacuating the islands is an uncertain indicator. It could be a sign of a capitulation or it could be evidence of an imminent escalation of the conflict. If South Korea was anticipating further combat operations the first thing to do would be to evacuate civilians. We need to look for evidence that air defense systems and counterbattery are on a higher state of alert or that measures are being taken to protect the civilian population of Seoul. While that may not be likely in any given case it is possible and will have to happen eventually.

If high level consultations, leading to real military coordination, happen among Australia, India, The Philippines, Vietnam, Taiwan, Japan and South Korea then that would be the signal to the Chinese that the DPRK has gone to far. Given the antipathy between Korea and Japan the Chinese know that they have a lot of room to work with before their victims will cooperate to contain them. Once that barrier is broken, and the withdrawal of the United States may force its former clients to cooperate, the ability of China to isolate and bully, whether directly or by proxy, will decline dramatically.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Comment on - Hit & Run:
Richard Epstein on Barack Obama,
his former Chicago Law Colleague:
Reason Magazine Richard Epstein on Barack Obama, his former Chicago Law Colleague - Hit & Run : Reason Magazine

Epstein has pushed as hard against the official line regarding Obama as a member of the Chicago faculty can. Obama was hired as an Adjunct directly by Geoffrey Stone, who was Dean of the Law School and later Provost of the University. When Stone stepped down from that position Obama's somewhat unusual connection with the school ended, although his wife's continued. Both had been hired, she as first an Administrator in the office of the Dean of The College and then at the Medical Center where her salary tripled when he was elected to the Senate, at the behest of University Trustee Penny Pritzker. The school went to great lengths during the 2008 campaign to endorse Obama as if he was a real faculty member, even though he never went through a faculty hiring review or participated in the intellectual life of the University.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Follow up Comment on CDR Salamander:
You WISH this were your homeport

CDR Salamander: You WISH this were your homeport

I have Hap Perry stories. He was about 5' 6" tall and about 4' 6" wide and you normally saw his tonsils first because he was yelling at you. He ran that ship, not the crazy no good Captain. In today's Navy where you can get court martialed for tossing a wad of paper at someone I can't imagine him. The Chief wasn't even mine, the XO just grabbed us and put us to work on the door between his stateroom and the weather deck. I had Deck, so come to think of it the door may have been mine, and the Chief was from Engineering.

Here are my favorite 2 memories of him;

1. Once during GQ I had the sound powered headphones on the Bridge to communicate with some weapons stations. The XO saw the cord was twisted and made me dance around counter clockwise before everyone to unspin the twisted cord without taking off the headset.

2. My troops got tired of shiming the brass on an alarm bell behind the ASROC and asked if they could paint it red. Not being quite as dumb as I looked I stalled and went to the XO. He told me a story about Lord Louis Mountbatten. He explained that Lord Louis was a real sailor and naval hero who invented the Manuevering Board. He told me that if Lord Louis was coming aboard you would make everything look as good as you could while being combat ready, you would polish the brass and scrape the rust but if his lordship saw the normal wear and tear or a spot of rust, well that was OK because you were a warship and he would understand. But the XO said if Lady Mountbatten came on your ship then you would pour some gray wash over the rust stains and slap red over any green brass. After telling me that the XO asked me what I intended to do and I said "Polish the brass XO."

I know that I was in the Navy, the real US Navy, Oliver Hazard Perry's Navy. Maybe Army JOs who looked around 40 to 45 years ago and saw they were serving with men named Patton and others whose families have served for generations felt that way. My family have been here for a little over a hundred years. It is part of America's strength that we do not have a decaying feudal caste. It is also part of our strength that we have those who care for what this nation means and have passed down that sense of duty through the generations.

Comment on Urban Infidel:
'Refudiate' Named Word of the Year
by Oxford University Press

Urban Infidel: 'Refudiate' Named Word of the Year by Oxford University Press

The staff at the OUP may be the good people you credit them with being. They may be leftists so comfortable in their bubble that they are crimson at the thought that anyone passing their headquarters failed to share and appreciate their snark. Many of them view Palin and her supporters as illiterate savages who you can smile at during an interview in the hope that they just might bite the head off of a snake for your entertainment.

To many in the Arts and Media establishment the difference between a visit to flyover America and the 3rd World is that the natives visited on Globe Trekker are noble and the Americans are simply vulgar. The show did do one episode I saw in which they cruised through the rural South, it was entertaining.

Comment on Urban Infidel:
Terrorist Street Art:
Martyred Psychotic Killer Edition

Urban Infidel: Terrorist Street Art: Martyred Psychotic Killer Edition

This is only different in degree from the product of Shephard Fairey who graduated from his "OBEY" vandalism sticker campaign while a student at RISD, to the Obama as Mussolini poster. The Left coalition of 2008 benefited from the emotional release of organized vandalism among supporters who have been conditioned to view politics as theater.
I am not the first to notice the comparison.

Now that most people are focusing again on politics as being a response to the real world some of those who tasted the frisson of power are desperately acting out to preserve their fantasies. This is not a new phenomenon, the Islamists have been doing essentially the same thing for over 600 years. Who wouldn't want to emulate their success?

This makes a bit of a Hat Trick that I put together, the street art you found, the Obama campaign, and Islamist fantasies of martyrdom.

Re: Don’t Shoot the Groper -
By Mark Krikorian - The Corner -
National Review Online

Re: Don’t Shoot the Groper - By Mark Krikorian - The Corner - National Review Online

A well phrased and well timed point Mr Krikorian.

The TSA has problems. About a fifth to a third of the staff may be functionally unemployable and should be sent home. Unionization will make things much worse. The management should be replaced wholesale at every level. There are a scattering of retired senior military officers or retired senior police chiefs but most of the managers at the many many levels are terrible. Large numbers of dead ended federal bureaucrats got shifted over, especially from the FAA but also from other agencies. Relatively low level local police officers retired into a gravy train. Members of the prior to 9-11 screening force who were US citizens rather than being stigmatized by association with a failed predecessor were placed in positions of responsibility. Cronyism abounds and a thorough study should be made of their backgrounds and qualifications for the positions they hold.

The agency should be placed under the control of CBP, which can be renamed Customs Border and Transportation Protection (CBT). This would smooth the provision of federal Law Enforcement Officers where the agency is now uneasily dependent on local police support. Staffing and managing that role could provide a career path for the Federal Air Marshals. Currently they have no growth path in their jobs.

Supervision and Management of the checkpoints could come from senior levels of the new CBT (GS-12 and higher), who would be real federal LEOs. They could be supplemented with opportunities and a path to management offered to qualified Transportation Security Inspectors with 3 years of service in that role. TSIs could be recruited from three sources; superior Screening personnel, former senior military officers (O-4 and above), and retired senior police officers (Captain and above).

All candidates for promotion to the ranks of Supervisor and above, whether from CBT or the TSI, should spend 6 months serving as screening staff to learn operations. Junior military personnel (E-7 to O-3) and junior police (Sgt - LT) should spend 2 years on the checkpoints before transfer to the TSI or CBT ranks. Junior screening staff with no military service or service in the grades of E-4 and below and local police retired at the grade of Patrolman should spend 4 years on the checkpoints before applying for TSI. However any personnel young enough and qualified to apply to the CBT, FAM, ICE etc. should be encouraged to do so.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Comment on -
General Motors bailout comes at a price

General Motors bailout comes at a price -

On Twitter I've had a back and forth wit the UAW apologist @Public_D. It boils down to this. The union with the backing of the government gets to dictate a contract with compensation unjustified by the value of the product. They load it down with a medical and pension plan that kills the company and explodes over time into a perpetual liability. They then use the power of the government to extract wealth from the creditors, bond holders and equity owners of the company to cover the unfunded liability. Now they are selling the stolen property to China with the US government acting as their fence.

Comment on Lilia M. Schwarcz,
"Brazil in the Shadow of Lula"
NYRBlog | The New York Review of Books

Brazil in the Shadow of Lula by Lilia M. Schwarcz | NYRBlog | The New York Review of Books

Is Lula attempting to become the South American Putin, with Dilma as his Medvedev? How will Venezuela's Chavez respond to another in that role?

Lula, like the other despotic demagogues, floated on an energy price bubble. That has been fed by wealth transfers from United States that will have to stop, given that there is no more money. The US subsidized Soros backed offshore drilling by Brazil even as Obama banned offshore drilling in American waters.

The other driver that propped up the value of raw materials and sustained Lula was the growth of demand in China. That is proving to have been based on a paper bubble and the Chinese economy is likely to dramatically contract as there export markets no longer can afford to buy on credit.

Lula poured most of the wealth that flowed into Brazil over the last ten years into transfers to his supporters and consumption by urban elites kept them relatively passive. The failure to build a strong stable and honest financial and legal structure that would have enabled private capital to build the physical and commercial infrastructure that Brazil needs will make the country far less stable than it otherwise would be in the storms that are now coming.

Comment on Claire Berlinski, Facebook
wasn't going to rabbit on about the TSA anymore...

Facebook | I wasn't going to...

Perhaps we can come with a bureaucratic answer that squares the circle. Have all troops being transported undergo a mandatory 2 hour class on aviation security and then deputize them as military aids to the Federal Air Marshal program, with said status valid for only 72 hours. Some special waiver under posse comitatus would have to be arranged but if the lawyers get creative they should be able to think their way out of this box.

Once when I was running a TSA checkpoint I met a soldier who had to come back in to the secure area to retrieve his orders he had left on the plane after flying back from Iraq. He dropped his backpack in my office after saying "You probably don't want to test that for explosives. I used to carry my claymore mines in it." I ordered everyone who had been near him to bathe in alcohol once he was gone or we would have melted the Explosives Trace Detectors every time we tested a passenger's property.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Comment on Henry Stern - The New York Sun,
Disillusionment With New York State Government Keeps Voters From the Polls

Disillusionment With New York State Government Keeps Voters From the Polls - November 18, 2010 - The New York Sun

The failure of the State GOP to unseat Christine Gillibrand, due mostly to being saddled with an unelectable candidate for Governor, displayed a level of incompetence that would be actionable if displayed by anyone in a position of responsibility in a business. It is possible to speculate that if a serious and electable candidate was at the head of the ticket then all the names down the ballot for the GOP might have gotten a 10% boost. That would not have neant victory in all cases but it would have meant a competitive election. Carl Paladino ran like the second coming of Abe Hirschfeld.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Comment on Daniel Foster -
The Corner - National Review Online:
President Obama Confident of START Ratification

President Obama Confident of START Ratification - By Daniel Foster - The Corner - National Review Online

Among my candidates for Constitutional fixes would be mandating that federal expenditures for all other purposes may not exceed those spent for the maintenance of armed forces not engaged in combat operations. The sums expended for the maintenance of such forces shall not exceed one twenty fourth of GDP and combat operations shall be separately accounted for.

At a stroke that would peg the Defense budget at 4% of GDP, which would be sufficient to maintain a 1980's sized force that would effectively deter aggression. Keeping all other federal spending below the 4% ceiling would return the role of DC to what it was before the Great Society. It would permanently block federal entry into Health Care or Transportation, beyond the Constitutional creation of Post Roads and essential Homeland Security functions.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Comment on Max Boot, Commentary » Blog Archive:
New START Treaty: Much Ado About Nothing

Commentary » Blog Archive » New START Treaty: Much Ado About Nothing

Also posted to Max Boot's Facebook.

What is the argument for reducing our strategic arsenal in the first place? Possibly it made sense to use them as bargaining chips to reduce the Soviet arsenal during the Cold War but as you point out that is the past. Why shouldn't we be increasing our stockpile back to 6,000 warheads? How would we be less safe or worse off if we did so? Exactly how does our restraint reduce the threat that Russia, China, the wannabe Caliphate or all their proxies and agents pose to us?

Right now Ahmadinejad believes that the US would not use nuclear weapons on him. That belief is strengthened by his ability to calculate that with fewer than 2000 warheads the expenditure of up to 100 of them in digging out his dispersed program might be considered to costly. If we changed that calculus then the deterrence value of each additional warhead increases.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Comment on Daniel Hannan – Telegraph Blogs:
If you're American and conservative, read this…

If you're American and conservative, read this… – Telegraph Blogs

In America, it is a big place, there are several groups on the Right that get along under the name Republicans just as well as big families get along in real life when they meet up once every two years in the country.

1. There are the fiscal and social moderates who stress a sympathetic ear for business when it comes to regulation and want a stable predictable tax structure. Some are more attuned to big business but historically Republicans have been the party of small and midsized business. They may be closest to some UK Lib-Dems and Tories. In America until it took a hard turn to the left over the last 30 years many of these people had a home with the Democrats. While more of these capitalist moderates are drifting, or drifting back, to the Republicans where they are often viewed as RINOs (Republicans In Name Only) the resonance with European tax and regulatory models remains strongest between the Democrats and all major UK parties, including the Conservatives.

The core of the Republicans, or "the base" in jargon, is made up of people largely devoted to a concept of Federalism and a less intrusive central government. Until this last election that Republican advocacy for local government was highly altruistic because in most places local government was under the control of Democrats. The more serious problem is that the base is divided into two groups who may tear the party apart.

2. A significant group of Republicans believe in a small footprint for the Central government domestically, but usually with the strong enforcement of those laws based on traditional enumerated Constitutional grounds. These "Law and Order" Republicans often also call for a robust as strong projection of United States power outside the borders. Often these are called "Neocons" and many of them were originally Democrats in the mold of Scoop Jackson and Jeanne Kirkpatrick. These are the people who moved Right under Reagan and their heirs. Most of these people, many are Evangelical Christians and Social Conservatives, strongly support the State of Israel. An increasing number, but still a minority, of Jews are drifting to the Republican Party.

3. Finally there are those who call for a government that is less intrusive both at home and abroad. This is not in itself a homogeneous group. It consists of Libertarians who are socially liberal and so called "Paleocons" who can be personally traditionalists. Some are motivated by an antipathy to Israel, or are suspected of that by members of the second group described above.

Every large party is really an alliance of interest groups. The Democrats are trying to hold together a rickety collection of special interest groups. Increasingly this relies on a series of manufactured crises designed to panic members of targeted groups and hold their loyalty. Unfortunately for the Democrats not only do persons not identified with the championed cause of the day dislike being accused of racism, sexism,or homophobia as the case might be but members of the sub-groups being told they must stay on the plantation lest they fall victim to the monsters of Nascar Nation are starting to notice that while the vast nation out there may not love them for their individuality it also has no particular interest in hurting them. After 50 years of causes designed to make people feel like threatened minorities in their own country most people, even members of those groups who were once were threatened by governments controlled in the past by the Democrats, now recognize that people who really don't care to much about their private lives and government that will protect them and otherwise will leave them alone is not such a bad deal.

Comment on PJM, Roger L. Simon »
Happy Birthday, Pajamas Media

Roger L. Simon » Happy Birthday, Pajamas Media

Congratulations and many more to come.

One story that IMHO you should take this occasion to document is that of those "creative differences" and the departure of Charles Johnson. A venture like PJM has always had several sometimes synergistic problems to deal with.

1. Managing income, it is a business and as you noted times are hard.

2. Managing sources, maintaining standards and motivating writers who hold themselves to high standards in what is a demanding and unremunerative position while hostile rivals are circling to exploit any error is a leadership function.

3. Managing readers, keeping the public enthused and eager to build the community while guarding against moby trolls, agents provocateur, and lunatics is also an unending task akin to tending a garden.

All three tasks, and especially the third, are impacted by how you manage the technology and the human interface. My impression is that was what CJ originally brought to the table was a technical skill set that promised to jump start PJM. LGF is his hand crafted child with an interface far richer in what it offers the user than the Wordpress based format that PJM uses. LGF displays a depth and attention to detail in how it interacts with the user that are a tribute to the self taught skills and obsession of its founder. If the tools that had been built there had become more widely distributed across the Blogosphere then the world would be a richer place. Unfortunately that was all tied to the person and personality of Mr Johnson. He brought little else to the table except the possibility that he could serve as a critic of music and personally powered transportation devices. His base of commentators must have been a tempting audience to build on, although CJ proved unwilling to share.

Perhaps you can take this opportunity to share more on this part of the history of PJM.

Newsflash: Sex Sells

EUROPE IN CRISIS: Sudden Financial Emergency Strikes EU Zone UPDATE: Götterdämmerung? : The Other McCain

Robert S. McCain has the linked valuable blog post on the European Financial Crisis. Frustrated that such efforts at journalism on important topics do not draw traffic he sent out the link with the following memorable tweet, "HOLY COW! @Alyssa_Milano NUDE!"

This is not a new phenomenon. The framing plot device for the 55 year old movie, and 58 year old play, "The Seven Year Itch" was the fantasies of Tom Ewell as a man trapped in New York over the Summer by a job inventing racy titles and covers for dull serious books that otherwise would not get sold. "Of Man and the Unconscious", by Dr. Ludwig Brubaker becomes "Of Sex and Violence." It probably sold like hotcakes. Even an alluring cover though is unlikely to get it actually read. How many people have actually read Mr McCain's post and thought about Soros and the PIIGS?

Monday, November 15, 2010

Comment on The Gateway Pundit:
Escort Cody Alicea to School Today (Video)

Wow! HUNDREDS OF RIDERS WITH US FLAGS Escort Cody Alicea to School Today (Video) | The Gateway Pundit

Nice but unfortunately if you think like the bureaucrats it means little. Government workers like to think that they are "taking the long view." That means that they wait out problems. As far as they are concerned the mob can make noise for a day and then go away. They can find a million ways to punish the child. More to the point they do not care. The only thing that would get their attention is a real possibility of School District Administrators losing their jobs. Anything short of that they can blow off.

What is needed is first a change in the law that for public employees termination for cause or resignation while under indictment or after being warned of a possible indictment will mean the loss of all pension benefits. Second there must be a real possibility for senior managers and administrators to face civil liability if they fail to remove any civil servant who acted so egregiously as to bring discredit upon the community or create a liability for their employer. Any concerned citizen should have standing to bring such an action.

Comment on PJM, Roger L. Simon »
POLIWOOD: Tin Ears in Tinseltown –
Will Hollywood Miss the Impact of the Election?

Roger L. Simon » POLIWOOD: Tin Ears in Tinseltown – Will Hollywood Miss the Impact of the Election?

Most actors were always on the Left. That has held true for over a hundred years. The change is that seventy years ago the actors were just hired talent who controlled exactly nothing. At that time the industry was run by the studio bosses, who were usually Republicans. The villain is the SCOTUS who destroyed a great American industry in United States v. Paramount, the anti-trust case of 1948. That did to the Creative industry what Obama did to the Transportation industry and is attempting to do to the Health Care industry. By destroying the corporate structure that had united investors and management it turned control over to a highly paid minority of labor and their lawyers.

The old Studio Bosses may have been monsters who either flattered the talent by calling them Kings or destroyed them by treating them as "Idiots with Underwoods" but they built the dream factories.

The current empowerment of navel gazing has destroyed Paradise and consumes without harnessing productively The Life of The Mind.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Comment on San Diego News:
Who Stops Terrorist Attempts, the TSA or Passengers?

Who Stops Terrorist Attempts, the TSA or Passengers?

Your assumptions are wrong so your conclusions are wrong. The surreptitious recording of security procedures should be investigated. If it was illegal then this man should be prosecuted. He should be placed on a "No Fly" list and barred from ever setting foot on a commercial airplane. His claim that the TSA has never prevents a terrorist act is false. Weapons including explosives have been detected, more have been deterred, the passengers only react to what has gotten past the TSA at the checkpoint and the Air Marshals are also part of the TSA. His claim that he gets to decide what is an appropriate level of screening is without merit. His conduct is that of someone who is either concealing a threat or enabling a confederate to conceal a threat. He seeks to entrap the security staff into compromising themselves. His racial argument for an exemption makes him even more likely to be the type recruited or used by the terrorists to disable or evade security.

If you want to relax security at the checkpoints then you must accept three things.

1. More terrorist attempts in the air, a few of which succeed and more suspicion and confrontation by passengers of perceived threats. Some of those will be false alarms fed by increasing stereotyping and distrust.

2. Increased military confrontation abroad that may evolve into a full scale war against Islam with millions of dead and extended involvement in currently Islamic areas far beyond our current efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan.

3. Vastly increased domestic efforts to identify and eliminate threats through profiling, electronic intercepts, surveillance and infiltration of mosques, social and political groups that will result in a greater loss in civil liberties than anything ever experienced before.

So if you really think that you should be allowed to walk on the plan with a possible flask of explosives or a detonator on your person but that you should be trusted because you are like Tyner, "6-foot-1, white with short brown hair," then go ahead and tell everyone else the price they will have to pay.

(related reply on Rick Moore's Facebook)

"There is absolutely nothing wrong with recording, surreptitiously or otherwise, an interaction with a government official."

That can't be right. Just read George Washington on Secrecy.

We can debate the most effective way to provide security. We can debate the balance between security and civil liberties. We can debate whether the government should be providing the security at the checkpoint.

To me if the task does not require some level of secrecy such that it should not be recorded or observed without permission then it probably should not be done by the government. Operations do need a strong system of oversight to prevent abuse., it is the responsibility of elected officials to provide that.

People should have the right to have any encounter with the government witnessed, whether by a lawyer or other trusted party.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Comment on Hot Air, Joe Scarborough:
Top Senate Dems have told me privately that
Obama doesn’t know what he’s doing

Joe Scarborough: Top Senate Dems have told me privately that Obama doesn’t know what he’s doing « Hot Air

There is a great theatrical moment here. Picture a room, a party or company boardroom. People are acting as expected and after the hearty public greetings hands are placed on shoulders and ears are whispered in. The great moment comes when people realize that the Great Secret is no secret at all but common knowledge. Then the question becomes do you simply acknowledge it and pretend that everyone knew all along or do you continue to pretend that everyone does not know so as to preserve some invested in social convention?

Comment on J.C. Bowman's Facebook:
Photos - Facebook Friends & Their Friends

Facebook | J.C. Bowman's Photos - Facebook Friends & Their Friends

Mr Bowman warned of bullying and harassment after "defriending" someone offensive.

My use of a nome de plume has drawbacks. For one thing it may seem pretentious since I am not really someone important. (small interruption while crushing a small country) No seriously there are benefits to not self censoring, although I do not in fact say much that is on the edge and I find extremist shouting off putting. Add to that the fact that the Innertubes are crawling with lunatics and stalkers and I am amazed that we do not hear of more harassment. It all works better than I expect.

Now I feel stuck. If I posted under my real name of Gotbucks then I would have to try and scrub some offhand statement from God knows when that might embarrass me. So for now I must either stay as I am or start an entirely new presence as my real self, Lord Ghozer of Carpathia. Nah someone out there uses that name, seriously I've seen it.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Comment on Theo Spark:
Red Skelton's Pledge of Allegiance

YouTube - Red Skelton's Pledge of Allegiance

"Red" Skelton did more with 7 years of formal schooling than many I know of have done with 20 to 25. Congratulations and Bravo Zulu to Mr Laswell.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Comment on Jim Hoft, Gateway Pundit:
“Missile” Fired Off California Coast On Same Day That Chinese Sub Surprised US Carrier Group

Gateway Pundit

The unforgivable incompetence here is on the part of senior bureaucrats at the FAA who allowed this story to fester due to their failure to respond properly. They should have had radar records and tower control tapes to verify what that craft was. It should have been fully and publicly answered within 8 hours.

The military also could have provided more information to reassure the public. They may have felt no urge to exert themselves because by this point any pratfall by the civilian government will be met by a shrug by many in uniform.

Both conditions, incompetence and disorder in the civilian agencies or detachment and inaction by the military are dangerous. They certainly gave legs to the Chinese story, which given the conduct of this administration was plausible. The next bad news seems to be that the Chinese are being paid off for their grievances by getting General Motors.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Comment on NY Daily News, S.E. Cupp
Paladino and O'Donnell must go away:
For these two Tea Partyers, amateur hour
just drags on and on

Paladino and O'Donnell must go away: For these two Tea Partyers, amateur hour just drags on and on

Paladino's campaign was a parody of a disaster. At least Rick Lazio would have tried to run a race. The biggest arguement against him was the ton of money he wasted on consultants.

Given that many Democrats who know him don't like Andrew Cuomo and many were willing to say so and further given that Cuomo was present at the creation of the Community Reinvestment Act subprime mortgage fraud that melted the economy he should have been vulnerable in this of all years. The Republicans in NY are trapped in a cycle of older self funding vanity candidates and underage resume builders content to get 20% of the vote.

Christine O'Donnell never struck me as that bad. The very vulgarity of the offensive against her, a cable comedian charging her with having been a High School student?, made her seem sympathetic to me.

Armistice Day

On the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month the guns fell silent.

Americans tend to wear the poppy, if we remember to at all, in the Spring when we commemorate the end of the Civil War and Memorial Day. In the Autumn is our Veterans Day, which corresponds to the more universally observed Remembrance Day that marks the end of The Great War. This is observed by our British cousins, who first wore the poppy 90 years ago in tribute to Flanders Fields. Today I picked one up at the VA Hospital. My Grandfather that I never met, my Mother's Father, was wounded at Château-Thierry.

In Flanders Fields
by John McCrae, May 1915

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

There are many fine books on WW-I and we should strive to keep our memories alive. I recommend The Great War and Modern Memory by Paul Fussel.

Autumn in New York

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Après moi, le déluge

Obama team makes it official: Budget deficit hits record. By a lot. - The Oval: Tracking the Obama presidency

The USA Today article is from October 19th but deserves consideration.
The deficit for fiscal year 2009, which ended Sept. 30, came in at a record $1.42 trillion, more than triple the record set just last year.
$1.42 Trillion deficit. Ed McMahon is not available to describe it. Perhaps we can get Christopher Lloyd to do it justice. Think about it. Obama has tripled the previously largest known deficit. He did it with peacetime expenditures, the costs of the operations in Iraq and Iran have nothing to do with this. We face an additional Nine Trillion Dollars in out year deficits and we have exactly nothing to show for the expenditure.

Monday, November 08, 2010


Comment on Brian Bolduc - NRO, The Corner:
Foley Concedes

Foley Concedes - By Brian Bolduc - The Corner - National Review Online

Among the issues that the new Congress should hearings on Vote Fraud must be high on the list. Boehner has to pick his targets in an environment that is to target rich but this is important.

We need a better way to run our elections. My suggestion is that we treat it like Jury Duty and make people spend two days every 7 years training for or performing as Poll Workers. I know that flies in the face of every libertarian instinct people at NRO have but we cannot leave our elections in the hands of the unemployable and the superannuated.

Comment on - Yahoo! News, AP:
Chirac to be tried in 2nd corruption case

Chirac to be tried in 2nd corruption case - Yahoo! News
AFP: Chirac to be tried on corruption charges

This is important. Not only does it help pry the lid off of the culture of corruption in Europe, which is a good thing, but it will hopefully provide synergy for the efforts of the Republicans to expose Democratic Party corruption in America. Chirac was not only corrupt as Mayor of Paris, what he will go on trial for, but as President of the Republic he and his odious henchman de Villepan participated in the Elf Aquitaine profiteering from the Oil for Food program that was used by Saddam Hussein to corrupt the United Nations. The links that run from through the Chirac scandals tie in to many issues. It can be traced to the seven month delay in the UN of America's campaign in Iraq and the dispersal of WMD stocks. It ties in to the refusal by Turkey, under French pressure, of rights for the 4th Infantry Division to enter that country and launch the planned Northern offensive. That resulted in many lost American lives, the seeds of insurgency, and the removal of Turkey from the American orbit and the collapse of the Turkish - Israeli alliance. There are also links through Chirac to the Chinese promulgated, via Maurice Strong and Al Gore, Climate Change fraud. That has lead to tens or hundreds billions of dollars of waste and fraud as well as increased coercive regulation, the decline of freedom and lost opportunities due to misallocated resources or economic decline. Finally there may be other ties that can be explored between Chirac and Soros and the currency and financial manipulations that are behind so many current problems.

Comment on The Sun:
Yob shown being floored by ex-soldier threatens Sun

Yob shown being floored by ex-soldier threatens Sun | The Sun |News

As an American I am astonished at the restrictions that an honest man is under in the UK. This person committed Trespass and then Assault. In America we would have;
1. ordered him off
2. called the police
3. used force to defend ourselves
4. given the persistent and real threat, used a weapon
5. counted on our neighbors to come to our aid
6. known the police would probably support us
7. in the unlikely event we were arrested for defending our home known the Prosecutor would dismiss or the Grand Jury return No True Bill or the Trial Jury would acquit.
8. Then the honest citizen would sue the felon and his family.

Come on Cousins we freely admit you did the heavy lifting in WW-I and fought for years without us in WW-II. Why are you letting these bums shove you around? This is not a call for vigilantism but a belief that the law comes from free people. Remember when seconds count, the police are only minutes away.

Comment on, Robert Costa:
The Corner - National Review Online:
Palin to Bernanke: ‘Cease and Desist’

Palin to Bernanke: ‘Cease and Desist’ - By Robert Costa - The Corner - National Review Online

Prosecutors in Europe have developed the habit of threatening anyone anywhere who they happen to disagree with. They claim some injury to someone under their jurisdiction, or they claim to be acting ex cathedra on behalf of some universal right. We are hopefully outraged by that overreaching. We should however consider that there are times when a local prosecutor should act to defend his people from a rapacious outsider.

The Constitution providers immunity for Congressman for their speech in the Chamber and their persons in transit. The law cannot provide the Functionary greater security then the Master. For lawful conduct in an official capacity a government agent can claim sovereign immunity. That should protect them from harassment by a private citizen. It should not make them immune from prosecution for misconduct.

It would please me if a State District Attorney in Ohio or Louisiana convened a Grand Jury and pursued Helicopter Ben Bernacke. He and Timothy Geithner, whose career should have ended with the Asian financial implosion 1997 although you would not know it from looking at his wiki page, are responsible for destroying real wealth and causing both real suffering now and making the nation vulnerable to foreign enemies.

The new Congress will have to focus on a set of goals. Among these should be determining the truth of what caused the financial crisis of September 2008 and whether there have been any improprieties in the response or subsequent actions of government officials. Another important area to investigate would be the degree of voter fraud in America and how it has impacted on elections. The hearings should be interesting. You may want to invest in popcorn futures.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Comment on: It's All Politics : NPR:
Obama Urges Bipartisanship, Not Gridlock

Obama Urges Bipartisanship, Not Gridlock : It's All Politics : NPR

The official line from NPR is that if the Republicans do not fold then Obama gets to be Harry Truman. Obama will get more than bipartisanship now. He will get an alliance of Socialcons, Paleocons, Libertarian Fiscalcons, & National Security Neocons. That is quadpartisan reaching out, all to dismantle Socialism.

The Democrats will be focused on dividing the Republican alliance. They will devote far more energy to that than to disrupting the alliance between the enemies who are killing Americans and the jihadis support network among the Chinese, Russians, Sunni and Shi'a.

My fear is that Obama will find fertile ground to exploit in the differences between the Isolationist Paleocons and the Internationalist Neocons. If the Democrats push for Defense cuts and ending DADT they may split off the Libertarian/Isolationist wing of the Republicans. That will build suspicion among the Neocons, who suspect the Paleos of anti-Semitism and will see Israel being left to the wolves. Obama could then attempt to rebuild an alliance among Liberals, Europhle Internationalists, Global Traders and some Jews, think Lieberman Democrats and Republican equivalents, seeking to buy security guarantees with domestic welfare.

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Comment on The New York Sun:
The Palin Platform

The Palin Platform - November 5, 2010 - The New York Sun

The State of Arizona does not have a right to create it's own immigration policy but the law being attacked by the Executive branch with the support of foreign governments does no such thing. It merely provides for Arizona authorities to enforce the laws passed by Congress. As noted above every officer of the State, like every officer of the Federal government, is under oath to support the Constitution. Incorporating Federal law into the State is the opposite of Nullification. The Constitutional issue remains the refusal of the Administration to perform its duty to see that the laws are faithfully executed.

Further the states of Arizona and Texas, and possibly also several more, are under real physical assault from Mexico. Today a college campus in Texas was closed because of gunfire from Mexico. Sometimes this takes the form of actual intrusion by members of the Mexican military or police forces who have been corrupted by drug traffickers. Thousands of armed foreigners enter our country and create zones where the government has had to warn lawful citizens not to enter in their own country. That constitutes an invasion and every state is specifically authorized to protect itself from invasion. The federal government is obligated under the Constitution to come to the aid of any state when the executive of that state declares that it is under invasion or facing an insurrection.

The failure of the Obama administration to act where the Constitution mandates that they act is a dereliction of duty. The assertion of the Obama administration and the Congressional Democrats of powers to act beyond those that can be countenanced under the Commerce Clause, such as in Health Care and Carbon regulation, is also a violation of their constitutional oaths.

The Obamas leave for India

H/T Theo Spark

Comment on Daniel Hannan - Telegraph Blogs:
Nigel Farage returns as leader of UKIP

Nigel Farage returns as leader of UKIP – Telegraph Blogs

In NY the Conservative Party is a small organization, no relation to the UK Tories, who are careful not to act as splitters or enable a leftist to sneak in because of a divided opposition. Generally speaking third parties can produce the most unfortunate and unintended results. That certainly seemed to happen in the UK during the last election.

They work best when they can serve as an ideological watchdog over a larger party. They can also serve a valuable role in mobilizing grass roots support. That keeps the larger party and the politicians focused on local concerns. The death of parliamentary or congressional democracy begins when the parties become centralized organizations with all decision making and candidate selection becoming dictated out of a center with highly paid consultants and lobbyists working together in an echo chamber.

The American Tea Party movement, it is not a political party, serves well the function of keeping politics small d democratic on the Right. On the Left the American Democrats despite their heritage of strong local party organizations are largely controlled by top down bureaucracies like unions and patronage machines.

I wish Mr Farage well and hope that his efforts will help guide the UK Conservatives to listen more carefully to the voters. It is important that Eurosceptic message of UKIP be understood as compatible to the message of personal liberty and rrespect for the rule of law championed by the Conservatives. This must be contrasted with the position of the BNP, who are best treated as a narrow socialist faction in the Labour turf wars.

Friday, November 05, 2010

Comment on The Daily Caller:
MSNBC suspends Olbermann without pay over donations to Democrats

MSNBC suspends Olbermann without pay over donations to Democrats | The Daily Caller - Breaking News, Opinion, Research, and Entertainment

1. MSNBC has Standards? Who knew?

2. The 1st Amendment is a restraint on government and should not bar a private business from regulating the workplace or setting limits on public conduct by employees. Movie studios used to have a "morals clause" in their contracts. News organizations should be able to restrict partisan activity. Given that is my principle as to their rights I happen to think it is unwise. I would rather that everyone, like Rather, was open as to their opinions and that they did their jobs by informing the public about those prejudices.

Olbermann is an embarrassment. If I was an executive at Comcast I'd look for a chance to unload him if he got a ticket for overstaying a parking meter. That however is my openly admitted opinion. Given the networks ratings and bottom line it is not an entirely unreasonable position.

Comment on, New Haven Independent:
Undisclosed Bag Of 335 Ballots Opened, Counted

Undisclosed Bag Of 335 Ballots Opened, Counted | New Haven Independent

Everything will be done in the light of night.

Fraud and theft from illiterate hacks. Nothing that the Democrats assert is legitimate. No Governor installed as a result of fraud is legitimate. No law signed by such a Governor or order issued is legitimate. There is no Constitutional government in Connecticut and the law is not in effect. No action taken by any Agent or Officer under color of the authority of such a Governor is legitimate.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

For Speaker Designate Boehner

I just posted the following on John Boehner's Facebook Wall;
As Speaker will you be able to advance a Rule that every Representative must be under oath that they have read the Bill before the House and understand what they are voting on? If some thousand page monstrosity appears in the Well the Speaker should be able to poll each Member individually, like a judge polling a jury to verify a verdict.

Monday, November 01, 2010

The Great McGinty

Everything you need to know about voting in America.

Comment on Althouse:
Obama: "We’re gonna punish our enemies..."

Althouse: Obama: "We’re gonna punish our enemies..."

Richard Nixon was a complicated man. He was arguably a much nicer person than Barack Obama. Nixon was the man who went out to the Lincoln Memorial to meet the protesters because he cared about them as fellow Americans. He was the man who as a young law student carried a disabled student up the staircase every day. He was the wounded soul whose mother was a saint. Nixon's fear and anger were directed inward at himself while he sought approval from others. Obama seeks approval from within and directs his anger out. He is the more disturbed and dangerous person. See "A Man in Full" or "Nixon: A psychobiography" or the UCSB transcript after the press conference. Oliver Stone did worse than savage Richard Nixon. He got it wrong.

Comment on Leo Linbeck III:
YouTube - Sego Strategy

YouTube - Sego Strategy

Good luck with this L3. Obviously you have glossed over a few problems that all grass roots efforts are susceptible to. Essentially you are calling on small government conservatives devoted to transferring power back to the States to duplicate the small local party organizations and primary/caucus capture process that the Left has used to take over the Democratic Party since 1968. Research is needed but I think that at one time a far left faction dreamed of concentrating in one place, possibly Nebraska.

The problem over time will be in maintaining discipline over the local units. Centralized top down control is not only philosophically undemocratic but it leads to bureaucratic closed loop thinking and abuse. Unfortunately open local parties suffer from vices also. They tend to attract crackpots who can be used to embarrass you when the other side does their opposition research. They are also vulnerable to infiltration and subversion. You can start a local movement devoted to pressing for small efficient government but remember that John D Rockefeller and Henry Ford started foundations that they thought would champion their values.