Saturday, January 29, 2011

Comment on Reuters: Looters destroy mummies in Egyptian Museum: official

Looters destroy mummies in Egyptian Museum: official | Reuters

Remember the Afghan Buddhas of Bamyan that the Taliban destroyed shortly before 9-11? This is what Islam does. It destroys the past. Anything that can give people a sense of connection or individuality or loyalty to anything other than submission to Allah, that is anything that makes us human, is scrubbed clean.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Comment on NewsReal Blog:
Tucson Shooting Victim Arrested, Shouting Death Threats To Tea Partier

Tucson Shooting Victim Arrested, Shouting Death Threats To Tea Partier | NewsReal Blog

It is a very short step for an ideologue like Fuller to decide to sacrifice one of his own "for the cause." Representative Giffords is lucky that this man didn't harm her himself. To some extent Fuller may now be motivated by jealousy that Loughner got there first. Anyone who has worked on a political campaign knows that volunteers can be a mixed lot. While that applies to all campaigns, Republican as well as Democrat, there has been a track record over the last dozen years of violence among the grassroots Left.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

On The Telegraph Online:
Russia launches arms race with new intercontinental ballistic missile

Russia launches arms race with new intercontinental ballistic missile - Telegraph

Everyone connected with START in the United States deserves to be charged with Treason. The US and her allies, the UK FR GE JA etc. need to peg raising equipping and training the armed forces at 4% of GDP, with combat operations paid for separately. That same 4% of GDP should be the US ceiling for federal domestic spending, and again for state and local spending. Finally allocating 4% to debt reduction would mean that government should never consume more than 16% GDP, outside of combat.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Comment on Theo Spark, Donald Douglas:
The Left Escalates Blame Game Over Arizona Shooting

Theo Spark: The Left Escalates Blame Game Over Arizona Shooting

This is an active investigation of 6 murders and 14 other shootings that includes the murder of a US Judge and the attempted murder of a Member of the US Congress. Therefore it has both Federal and Local jurisdiction. It shocks me that The United States Attorney and the State Attorney General did not both have the Pima County Sheriff, who reportedly failed to follow up on reports that Loughner was dangerous because the assassins mother is a government employee, yanked off stage when he began shooting his mouth off. The loudmouth was issuing his opinions regarding the shooters motives with the Director of the FBI, who reportedly has never overseen a Crime Scene Investigation, sitting on stage behind him. It will be the duty of the Defense Counsel to move to get charges dismissed based on the misconduct of the presiding Sheriff over the investigation.

The Obama administration has already made a hash out of the terrorism trials. Now if they and their partisans lose control over an open and shut case we may see a truly lawless society begin to emerge.

The Old West was actually a generally peaceful and, being an armed society, polite place. Most weapons were used if at all for shooting snakes that threatened horses. That made sense given the high value placed on a trained horse and explains why one of the most serious crimes a person could be accused of was being a horse thief. The New West may stretch from one end of the country to another but it is looking to be divided lawless and dangerous place.

In two years the Democrats have engineered a government that fails to guard the border, announces its intent to disestablish the military in the face of aggression, refuses to prosecute voter fraud and intimidation, destroys hundreds of billions of dollars in wealth to no productive end, prevents States from responding to disasters and throws tens of thousands out of work, destroys businesses and work, foments hate and bigotry, is staffed by tax cheats, and fails to administer basic functions competently. When challenged or faced with failure their response repeatedly has been to double down and resort to character assassination against their opponents.

Here we have a simple if horrific case. A lunatic managed to kill a large number of people. All that needs to be done is to ensure a proper and competent processing of the evidence and dignified trial while assuring the nation that care will be taken to both protect individual rights and see how we can better detect and intervene to prevent such tragedies in the future.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Comment on Dr. Sanity:


Dr could you offer to us a ballpark estimate as to what percent of the population in the United States is capable of acting with irrational violence such as we have seen in Arizona? My question is not how many are capable of violence, as I believe that almost all are capable under some circumstances. Nor am I asking how many are criminally violent, as there are undoubtedly large numbers of rational and functional criminals who choose to lie cheat steal and even kill without suffering from the progressive biological deterioration that you described. Also if I understand you and what most therapists are always at pains to express, most persons suffering from schizophrenia are not likely to be violent. Finally I take it that there is some environmental determination, whether physical or cultural or genetic, that produces different results in different societies. Given all that how many people are walking around in the United States who might explode into violence as the Arizona assassin did? Is it 1:25000 or 1:5000 or 1:1000 or 1:200?

So you think it was okay for Sarah Palin and her cohorts to use gun imagery every chance they got?

I do not speak for the Dr or anyone else but my two cents say Yes it was a normal political expression such as healthy adults in a bloodless contest have used for over a hundred years. Ms Palin communicated no threat to anyone and issued no instruction to anyone to commit violence. Others, mostly on the Left cannot say that.

There is a need for a study as to whether the Left having isolated itself from the reality of traditional cultural mechanisms for understanding and controlling violence might be more likely than the Right to fantasize about violence and communicate wish fulfillment signals that the disturbed may act on. For the Right violence and the use of firearms are a reality that they are trained to respect and the consequences of which are understood as a grim reality. For the Left violence is a theatrical expression that affirms the value of revolutionaries is distant times and places. H. Rap Brown said, “Violence is as American as Cherry Pie." Some quote it as apple pie. In either case he was correct. That is why an American conservative is usually, I do not say always as there are occasional threats issued intentionally or not by persons from all sides, unlikely to advocate violence by strangers.

Sunday, January 09, 2011

Hypocrites and Bigots

I remember this day. Hypocrites and bigots.

Where is the greater concentration of hateful intolerant people who obsess over politics and belittle and degrade their opponents using racial bigotry, sexual smears and violent imagery, in the Upper West Side districts represented by Charles Rangel and Jerold Nadler or in any two districts in Arizona?

Comment on Moe Lane, Redstate:
A day may come… (Clearing the Field)

A day may come… | RedState

The majority of what is said by the Left in politics, and a minority of what is said on the Right, is not designed to win a debate in the formal sense. That is to say that they do not seek to make an argument as defined by establishing a series of logically connected points backed by relevant evidence in order to support a conclusion or ideally convince their interlocutor of a position. They seek to drive their opponent from the field. To do this they will resort to any tactic, including threats and abuse. If you become so disgusted that you depart then they have won. Once they have unchallenged control over the forum then they can establish as Truth anything that they want.

The tactic is used by children or passive-aggressive manipulators. It is functionally the same as that of a disturbed derelicts on the subway who cultivate an offensive body odor and disheveled appearance while muttering rude or vaguely threatening things to themselves. Even ostensibly functional people, of the fearless lower classes, will sometimes say rude comments to themselves or a companion that are not formally directed at another passenger who is clearly being referred to.

In all these cases the intent is the same. It is to get other people to simply go away.

Identifying and Dealing With the Insane

Geraldo Rivera has much to answer for. Forty-three years ago Rivera went unannounced into Willowbrook and ended the states affirmatively identifying the mentally disabled and placing them in care. Now incompetent or dangerous people are left free to roam. They cannot be detained against their will except for short periods. What is needed is a safe method to identify the insane and remove them from the voting, jury and militia (2nd Amend) lists while protecting the rights of citizens.

In theory a court could declare a person incompetent but Civil Liberties groups and minorities fearful of being targeted, at one time homosexuals could be declared morally unfit, have combined to render the mechanism inoperable. Now we have political operatives signing up mental patients and drug addicted or deranged prisoners for absentee ballots. We just had a clearly deranged person shoot a US Congresswoman and kill 6 people including a Federal Judge and a 9 year old girl. Congresswoman Gifford herself is on record as a self described "Blue Dog" Democrat who supports the rights of gun owners. Radicals, usually on the left, want to restrict those rights of citizens and the Libertarians fear giving the government the power to make distinctions between aliens, citizens and the incompetent. Creating a process that can make those distinctions is the role of a government in a Democracy.

Comment on Henry Stern, The NY Sun:
Astounding Admission of Reality Is Cuomo’s Opening Demarche as Governor

Astounding Admission of Reality Is Cuomo’s Opening Demarche as Governor - January 6, 2011 - The New York Sun

Only Nixon could go to Peking.

Now I am not saying that was a bad thing. The results from that opening do include some unfortunate effects, including the wholesale corruption of the Democratic Party by Chinese agents and the plundering of military secrets and deindustrialization of America as China threatens to expand on a global scale.

Perhaps Cuomo will deliver, although I to am leery about him given his history in the Clinton Cabinet at HUD where he was present at the creation of the Community Reinvestment Act fraud that destroyed the economy. True reform would require changes so fundamental as to destroy the linchpins, both financial and social, relied upon by special interests. If Cuomo does attack those vested interests then we will need to spread nets beneath the NY Times to catch despairing pundits and executives.

Comment on Conrad Black, The NY Sun:
Heroism of a King Captured on Film in the Movie of George VI (The King's Speech)

Heroism of a King Captured on Film in the Movie of George VI - January 8, 2011 - The New York Sun

History is lived going forward. The participants do not know the outcome and just hope to muddle through day by day. Given that when the lives of others are at stake all that can be relied on is education and temperament. The education of the Royals a hundred years ago was shockingly poor. It consisted of Church and some Court ritual, with heavy reliance on experts to know what things actually meant, and some naval experience. There is no clear answer on what would work better but given the example of Edward behind them efforts have been made to do better with Charles and William, with varying results.

Edward's temperament was poor, even if as Lord Black holds it was better than feared. Certainly his weaknesses combined with his prejudices would have made him a disaster if he had held on. We can only speculate what such an alternate history might have produced. It was a very near thing.

Saturday, January 08, 2011

On the Assassination of Gabrielle Giffords

Perhaps it is best not to ask. If any of the qualified practitioners out there could comment I would like to know what percentage of the population are generally speaking potentially violent on the order of the suspected assassin? It is my working assumption that he is a delusional and dangerous person, the last indisputably. The term "paranoid schizophrenic" is being tossed around on Facebook and Twitter.

Without getting deep into the weeds of what real psychiatrists or psychologists mean, may we make a distinction between sane but highly motivated persons who may consider using violence for ideological or other reasons and those who are simply to use a term of art, nuts? The former may be deterred or combated by so normalizing activity and strengthening the system that few individual targets, who are replaceable, are worth the cost.

The true lunatic cannot be deterred. They can sometimes be detected and intercepted in advance but often can only be stopped at ruinous cost. This question does have some larger implications regarding how we deal with rogue states and persons like Lil Kim and Ahmamadjackass.

So how many truly dangerous lunatics are out there? Is it 1:1000 or 1:100 or 1:50? It makes a difference.

Comment on The Right Scoop:
Economics: Thomas Sowell on Hannity

Economics: Thomas Sowell on Hannity | The Right Scoop

Thomas Sowell begins three minutes in and he does smack down Frances Pliven. This is from some 30 years before he appeared on Hannity.

I missed that day but I remember the filming of "Free to Choose" in Harper Library. Regenstein was where you went to do serious research in a huge efficient factory of a library. Harper was what a college library of your dreams would be, shelves of books in a medieval setting with big foam pillows that could be pulled to form a nest. I spent many happy hours there.

Src: Archival Photographic Files, [apf digital item number, e.g., apf12345], Special Collections Research Center, University of Chicago Library.

The old Harper Library was eliminated in 2009 and turned into a highly functional workspace in what strikes me as an act of vandalism.

How the University has slipped from the school that showcased Milton Friedman to one often dominated by those jealous small souls whose campaign originating in the Anthropology Department recently tried to block honoring him. The school fell under the influence of inherited money controlled by radical heiress Penny Pritzker, who pushed the corruption of the University to advance Barack Obama. That dovetails with Obama's career also being advanced by another child of privilege, the radical Bill Ayers.

Obama was hired as an Adjunct by Geoffrey Stone at the Law School, in a manner that avoided the normal faculty hiring and review process. There by accounts I heard he was a known embarrassment and considered an unscholarly partisan hack. His course was considered a "gut" to be endured. Meanwhile Obama's wife, who had failed as a lawyer, was, despite having no connection with the school and no particular experience or qualifications, hired first for a job in the office of the Dean of the College John Boyer and then at the Medical Center. Her duties were to steer poor people without insurance to other hospitals. For that dubious work she was paid first $120,000 a year ,with that sum nearly tripling to $317,000 when her husband was elected to the US Senate. Stone was later promoted from Dean of the Law School to Provost of the University and when he left that post Obama, although not his wife, left the University.

It is telling that Obama arrived at the Law School after the final retirement of Edward H. Levi. Read Levi's obituary, especially his words on the role of the University and on the radicals who sought to seize control of it, and compare it to what has happened since.

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Comment on Hot Air: How John Boehner should have answered Brian Williams:
"Do you feel responsible somehow for the Birthers?"

Brian Williams to Boehner: Do you feel responsible somehow for the Birthers? « Hot Air

It has long been my suspicion that the "birther" meme, which may even have substance for all anyone knows, was started by Axelrod's shop as catnip for the Hillary people to chase. Its salient benefit for Obama is that it distracts and short circuits more substantive questions regarding his fitness and even eligibility. It is far more likely than the birther scenario that he was born in HI and after his 18th birthday claimed on his financial aid forms or college applications that he was a foreign national. Given that claim, especially if it was to gain a benefit subsidized by the tax-payer, he would probably be considered ineligible. Also possible is that he may have traveled on a foreign passport. Most would not find that disqualifying but many lawyers might. Obama and his people could have ended the birther story years ago. The fact that they did not indicates that it serves their purpose.

What Boehner should have said is the following:
Any citizen has the right to peacefully petition the government for a redress of grievances. They do not have the right to create a disturbance in the House gallery to do so. It is my responsibility to hear their concerns and respectfully investigate them. Also it is my responsibility to examine the machinery of our constitutional government and see where it could be improved or made more efficient. People have pointed out that there is no clear method of ensuring that candidates for office meet the qualifications. For any appointed job in the government we have a process of background investigations but that does not apply to elective office. The fact that people are distressed by this lack of clarity is something that I as Speaker should consider, even if there is no merit to the particulars of their concern in this case.

My belief is that correcting this lacuna in the Constitution, there are others, may take an Amendment. If each State is directed to submit to the Chief Justice a list of up to five names for each office with supporting documentation no later than 90 days before the date for choosing Electors then the list of eligible candidates could be delivered within 30 days to the President of the Senate for distribution to the States. My other suggestions for improving the process and the role of the Electoral College run almost diametrically opposite those generally discussed.

On The District of Columbia

One point that occurs to me from the reading of the Constitution and yesterdays effort by Eleanor Holmes Norton to challenge the GOP rule removing voting rights for her and the Territorial Representatives when the House acts as a Committee of the Whole. The XXIII Amendment makes no sense. No popular vote for President is mandated in the Constitution. For the District the Congress exercises the authority of a State Legislature. The Amendment gives Congress the power to appoint Electors, and merely authorizes them to consult residents via a popular vote. Residential areas in the District should be returned to MD so they can be properly represented in Congress and consulted via an elected State Legislature in the selection of Presidential Electors. The District originally included territory yielded by both Maryland and Virginia. The Virginia section was returned. This has no effect on the jurisdiction of the government over its official property.

Comment on The New York Sun:
Editorial, The Constitutional Moment

The Constitutional Moment - January 6, 2011 - The New York Sun

By objecting to the call by the GOP in the House to have all legislation cite constitutional authority the NY Times has cast itself on the side of arbitrary government, which is tyranny. My suspicion is that this practice will to a considerable extent inhibit the practice of judges who desire to legislate from the bench. Now they can find penumbras within a law, as Justice Blackmun found within the Constitution itself for Roe v. Wade, and expand a law to cover any policy they find appealing. By having the text specify what constitutional power it relies on the ability to apply it in novel and unexpected situations will be somewhat constrained.

The practice of submitting a document that does not cite it's authority is a fairly new one. At one time nearly every legislator, nearly every judge and nearly every business executive had experience in the military. Usually at the higher levels, such as in Congress, this experience was as an officer. The civilian and military cultures were closer than they are now.

Among the tasks every junior officer is trained on are reading and following instructions and writing formatted messages. Every communication in the military references the authority that supports it. Frequently a chain of these will be listed.

For example an order from a ship's Commanding Officer will note the applicable Naval Regulations, and then the Naval Instruction followed by elaborating, or often merely duplicative, instructions from every layer of the chain of command. Any Directives from other concerned parties will be listed and a copy would be sent to all affected an information copy would be sent to any who could be concerned or who were referred to. Everything done on the ship and every message sent would go over the Commanding Officer's signature. The smallest error would be found and criticized.

The thought that legislation could be produced as a simple act of will, unsupported by the foundations of what makes us a sovereign community, would not have crossed the minds of even the most radical reformers even 20 years ago.

Sunday, January 02, 2011

Comment on Bryan Preston, PJM »
The Ten Most Annoying Commercials of 2010

Pajamas Media » The Ten Most Annoying Commercials of 2010

The Geico commercials are less offensive than most, they do not actively insult their customers or imply that you are buying from lunatics. Just a genial goofball boss, which is what many pray for.

The Green-fascist auto ad was truly disturbing. If half way through a mob had turned on them and started to beat the gestapo down while the Audi escaped it would have shown him as less noble but at least the aftertaste would have been less offensive. Sixty-five years is to soon for Germans to advertise this way. That holds double for a unit of the original Kraft durch Freude People's Car Company, Volkswagen.

The AT&T ad evoked Christo's public art kitsch shtick. Like with the Duke and The King in Huckleberry Finn no one wants to admit they're a rube who got conned, until everyone else has been conned.

Asking $40 for sweat pants is brass that would impress Jubal Harshaw.

Notice that not every man is shown as an emasculated loser. The black guy with the white wife and a car in his $3,000,000 house does not look likely to carry a purse.

The Staples ad has vanished.

I have no idea what the Mayflower ad was about. The skill of the handlers is admirable and I hope that Macy's calls them for Thanksgiving.

Perhaps there is no tasteful way to mass merchandise jewelry. My guess is that Costco is killing the mall outlets at the low end. During a recession/depression those striving to prove they really still have it will move to conspicuously consume luxury goods. So the high end will benefit for a while.

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Comment on Daniel Hannan, Telegraph Blogs:
Harold Macmillan's attack on Margaret Thatcher's ‘usury’ recalls his earlier comments about Jews

Harold Macmillan's attack on Margaret Thatcher's ‘usury’ recalls his earlier comments about Jews – Telegraph Blogs

There are multiple possibilities for confusion here. First because the word "Conservative" means different things in England and America and second because the word means different things to different people within each country.

To some, more in America than in the UK the conservative label implies a belief in a restrained government that provides the maximum scope for individual expression. This is expressed in America by the libertarian tendency on the Right and in the UK was once the province of the Liberals, although now largely as a memory. Insofar as Tory Conservatives in the UK have supported such positions it has been a derivative sympathy due to their perception that those most opposed to the Classical Liberal position are those in alliance with the socialism of the Labour Party. The hostility of Labour to the financial and social basis of Conservatism produced some sympathy for those encouraging entrepreneurship and individualism but it was not their primary motivation.

Another basis of conservatism in both countries but more singularly in the English tradition is the stress on social stability as a prerequisite for a effective but not tyrannical legal order. That is seen as resulting in a government that relies more on respect and compliance than coercion and therefor gives a greater scope to individual choice and creativity. In potential the ideal Conservative Sovereign may be reliant on agents who are judgmental and suspicious of innovation but in practice they emulate Elizabeth I who demanded public consent and then chose not to look into a man’s heart. This produces a relatively smaller and less intrusive mechanism for government.

That tradition of English Tory politics can manifest itself in xenophobia. Both roots of the conservative tradition can encourage a desire for a smaller government, although the second can also produce increased support for a stronger police and legal presence as well as an Imperial tradition.

In its anti-imperialist form social conservatism can display as a desire for a Little England, unencumbered by foreign entanglements and undiluted by foreign influences. Enoch Powell was the most promising voice for conservatism after WW-II but his career foundered on that reef. His instinctive suspicion of Americans was in accord with what had been a strong tradition within pre-war Britain. Macmillan expressed similar prejudices and a distaste for Jews but proved more intellectually adept at harnessing himself to political realities. Powell who was the greater intellect would have been more creative and adaptive at perceiving and guiding the UK through the challenges she faced. However he proved less capable of subsuming his own personality to achieve the first task of any politician, working with and persuading others. The wiki includes this appraisal of Macmillan by Powell,
At a meeting of the 1922 committee on 22 November Rab Butler made a speech appealing for party unity in the aftermath of the Suez Crisis. His speech did not go down well and Harold Macmillan, who Butler had taken along for moral support, addressed them and was a great success. In Powell's view this was "one of the most horrible things that I remember in politics...seeing the way in which Harold Macmillan, with all the skill of the old actor-manager, succeeded in false-footing Rab. The sheer devilry of it verged upon the disgusting". After Macmillan's death in 1986 Powell said "Macmillan was a Whig, not a Tory...he had no use for the Conservative loyalties and affections; they interfered too much with the Whig's true vocation of detecting trends in events and riding them skilfully so as to preserve the privileges, property and interests of his class".