Tuesday, November 21, 2017

A Vibrant Shade of Purple


For John, BLUFI think it isn't so much an anti-Democratic Party mood as an anti-Government mood.  Nothing to see here; just move along.




An Opinion Piece by Writer Salena Zito, The Washington Examiner, 19 November 2017.

Here is the lede plus one:

The outcome for the race for county commissioner in this northwestern Pennsylvania corner didn’t get much national scrutiny or post-election analysis because the incumbent Democrat, Kathy Dahlkemper, ultimately won.

But it should have.  Why?  Because it is worthy of at least diving into what is happening to this once reliable stronghold for Democratic candidates; it may not be red, but it sure is a vibrant shade of purple.

Dahlkemper's narrow victory – she won by 300 votes – is something both parties should dive into to discover where the voter’s sentiments are heading.

It did not all go the Democrat way earlier in the Month.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Unseal The Records


For John, BLUFWe need to hold Government Officials, especially ones drawing a pension, to a higher standard.  Nothing to see here; just move along.




This from The Tax Prof Blog, and Dean Paul L Caron, 21 November 2017.

Here is the lede plus two:

In his courtroom apologia in the film “A Few Good Men,” Jack Nicholson’s Col. Nathan Jessup made the words famous.  Now, in her bid to keep her testimony in a recently settled tea-party lawsuit against the IRS secret, Lois Lerner has picked up the Jessup argument:  “You can’t handle the truth!”

They used different words but the meaning is the same. Here’s how lawyers for Ms. Lerner and her former IRS deputy, Holly Paz, put it in a filing aimed at persuading a judge to keep their testimony from becoming public:  “Public dissemination of their deposition testimony would expose them and their families to harassment and a credible risk of violence and physical harm.”  They’re not just thinking of themselves, they add.  Young children, family members, might be hurt too.

That’s quite an argument. So enraged would the American public become upon learning what Ms. Lerner and Ms. Paz said that they and those around them would be in physical peril.  Which probably makes most people wonder what the heck must the two have said that would get everyone so agitated? ...

Yes, this is outrageous.  Government officials, acting under the color of their office, do bad things, and then get to hide the details from The People.  It isn't, aside from President Obama and a few around him,  that we don't know what happened.  It is just that the seamy details need to be kept quiet, perhaps so people won't look for other such actions and draw conclusions.

Now I do very much want to know what terrible things Ms. Lerner and Ms. Paz did that they fear the People will pick up their pitchforks and visit their homes.

Then there is this aspect.

[W]hat a crippling precedent it would be if government officials from powerful agencies such as the IRS were permitted to keep their abuses secret on grounds they fear that the people whom they are supposed to serve might be upset if they found out.
And, finally, there is the fact that from time to time records sealed for a good reason (private divorce) are improperly unsealed.  Just ask Mr Jack Ryan.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

  That would be "the little people", folks like you and me.
  The InstaPundit commented:  "NONSENSE, PRESIDENT OBAMA ASSURED ME THERE WAS NOT EVEN A SMIDGEN OF WRONGDOING".

Empty Dossier?


For John, BLUFInvestigations can be pernicious things.  Nothing to see here; just move along.




From The Washington Examiner, by Opinionator Byron York, 19 November 2017.

Here is the lede plus one:

FBI and Justice Department officials have told congressional investigators in recent days that they have not been able to verify or corroborate the substantive allegations of collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign outlined in the Trump dossier.

The FBI received the first installment of the dossier in July 2016. It received later installments as they were written at the height of the presidential campaign, which means the bureau has had more than a year to investigate the allegations in the document. The dossier was financed by the Hillary Clinton campaign and compiled by former British spy Christopher Steele.

That does not bother me as much as the fact that the Mueller Investigation seems to leak like a sieve.  I realize that some may feel this is off topic, but it is one of the bothersome parts of the current ongoing investigations.

What is it with Special Council Robert Mueller that he can't seem to keep his people in line?  Or, is that how investigations are done these days, by leaks?  I will allow that there is an alternative storyline, which is that the Press is just making this stuff up as it goes along, figuring that President Trump is guilty and it will come out, or if Mr Trump is exonerated, they can still make him look sticky.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Ripe For Abuse


For John, BLUFWhere area the ethics of the lawyers going along with this?  Nothing to see here; just move along.



The sub-headline is:

A couple of busted windows can result in a bill for thousands—even tens of thousands—of dollars.

From Reason Magazine, by Reporter Scott Shackford, 16 November 2017.

Here is the lede plus three:

A couple of cities in the California desert have found a novel and remarkably cruel way to make money—force citizens to pay for the privilege of being prosecuted by the attorneys contracting with these cities.

We've seen cities across the country abuse their own citizens—particularly its poorest residents and visitors—with vicious enforcement of petty laws designed to create a revenue stream via a cascade of fines and fees.

But I don't think we've seen an enforcement mechanism as nasty and cruel as the one the Desert Sun has uncovered out in California's Inland Empire. The cities of Indio and Coachella partnered up with a private law firm, Silver & Wright, to prosecute citizens in criminal court for violations of city ordinances that call for nothing more than small fines—things like having a mess in your yard or selling food without a business license.

Those cited for these violations fix the problems and pay the fines, a typical code enforcement story. The kicker comes a few weeks or months later when citizens get a bill in the mail for thousands of dollars from the law firm that prosecuted them. They are forcing citizens to pay for the private lawyers used to take them to court in the first place. So a fine for a couple of hundred dollars suddenly becomes a bill for $3,000 or $20,000 or even more.

I think my our Mother, who lived in the Palm Springs, Palm Desert, Rancho Mirage area for a couple of decades, would be outraged by this.  I know I am.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Monday, November 20, 2017

Hope on Korean Peninsula


For John, BLUFSome regret the lack of continuity in US Foreign Policy under President Trump, but the old ways weren't working.  Nothing to see here; just move along.



This article, from The Korean Times, is authored by Kim Hyo-jin, (m.koreatimes.co.kr), dateline 20 November 2017.

Under the leadership of U.S. President Donald Trump, the two Koreas have a better chance for reunification, activists and Korea watchers said Wednesday.

Their view, presented at the International Forum for One Korea international forum held on Nov. 14 to 15 at the Dirksen Senate Office Building, and Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center, is an assessment of the escalating tensions on the Korean Peninsula amid the war of words between North Korean and U.S. leaders.

They pointed out that Trump has put the peninsula high on the United States’ foreign policy agenda, unlike the previous Barack Obama administration whose approach of strategic patience had led to the U.S.’s inaction; they said the attention Trump brought shed light on advocates of the reunification of the two Koreas, who are seeking larger support for their campaign.

Then there is the fact the President Trump's poll numbers are running ahead of the three M's, Merkel, Macron and May.

Regards  —  Cliff

Equality of the Sexes?


For John, BLUFDon't you hate it when the facts run counter to the narrative?  Nothing to see here; just move along.



New CDC report reveals troubling equality when it comes to sexual assault rates.


From USA Today and Law Professor Glenn Harlan Reynolds, 20 November 2017.

Read it yourself at the link.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Charlie Manson (Gone)


For John, BLUFEvery death is a loss, the closure of an opportunity for redemption.  Nothing to see here; just move along.



Finally.

From The Old Gray Lady, Reporter Margalit Fox, 20 November 2017.

Charles Manson, one of the most notorious murderers of the 20th century, who was very likely the most culturally persistent and perhaps also the most inscrutable, died on Sunday in Kern County, Calif.  He was 83 and had been behind bars for most of his life.
Amongst the victims, Actress Sharon Tate, eight and a half month pregnant.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Touch Me Not


For John, BLUFAre we going back to a Victorian sensibility?.  Nothing to see here; just move along.




From PJ Media, by Dr Helen Smith (The InstaWife), 15 November 2017.

Here is the lede:

Interesting article describing the lack of physical touch that is absent in many men's lives:
Not on a bet.  Everyone keep your hands to yourselves.

And the author ends:

What man in his right mind would touch anyone these days?

In light of all the sex abuse accusations and # MeToo hashtags, this phenomenon will only get worse.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Sunday, November 19, 2017

I'm Taking a Knee on Taking a Knee


For John, BLUFI hope that no one is expecting me to respect NFL Players who take a knee for our mutual National Anthem.  Nothing to see here; just move along.




From Mr Ed Driscoll, of PJ Media and InstaPundit, today.

NEWS FROM TODAY’S PRE-GAME WOKE OLYMPICS:  “The Oakland Raiders and New England Patriots are playing in Mexico City today, but the kneeling protests did not stop at the border.  Oakland’s Marshawn Lynch, who has been kneeling for the U.S. national anthem all year long did so again Sunday afternoon, but then he stood up while Mexico’s national anthem played in the stadium.”
If it had been Beijing, China, there would have been severe consequences if he had knelt during the Chinese National Anthem.

On the other hand, I expect that here in America, where Lela Lee is selling a tote bag like the one below…

…they will be taking a knee until Soccer surpasses American Football as our Fall/Winter pastime.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

  Sadly, the local paper doesn't carry the Comic Strip "Angry Little Girls".

The Current Crisis


For John, BLUFIf all crimes are equal, then everyone deserves the same harsh punishment, but that is foolishness.  Nothing to see here; just move along.



Here are two articles that suggest we should be careful not to go on a witch hung with regards to sexual impropriety and in particular sexual harassment and sexual abuse.  It is easy to say "always believe the accusser" but the accuser is not always truthful.  The other thing is that if the accusation is wrong, where does the accused go to get his (or her) reputation, job, and savings back?


From The LA Times and Author Brendan O'Neill, 16 November 2017.

Here is the lede plus one:

I want to praise Jeremy Piven.  That’s a risky thing to do, I know.  Piven is one of Those Men.  One of those big entertainment figures who has fingers pointed at him.  He has joined Harvey Weinstein, James Toback and many others in facing accusations that he abused his power to sexually abuse women.

Yet Piven has also issued a principled statement that should give pause to all those taking pleasure in the #MeToo movement’s instant-destruction of men’s careers.

After describing the accusations against him as “absolutely false,” Piven laments the fact that “allegations are being printed as facts” and “lives are being put in jeopardy without a hearing, due process or evidence.”  He wonders what happened to “the benefit of the doubt.”  To “tear each other down and destroy careers based on mere allegations is not productive at all,” he says.

He’s right.  In defending himself, Piven is also defending one of the core principles of an advanced society: the presumption of innocence.

The great liberal English barrister John Mortimer called this presumption the “golden thread” running through any progressive idea of justice.  And it’s a thread that is being weakened in the febrile post-Weinstein climate.

It is now astonishingly easy to ruin a celebrity or near-celebrity.  You can do it with a social media post.  Spend five minutes writing a Facebook entry about how so-and-so in Hollywood once did something bad to you and — boom — that person is done for.  You can dispatch him from polite society with a press of a button on your cellphone.The great liberal English barrister John Mortimer called this presumption the “golden thread” running through any progressive idea of justice.  And it’s a thread that is being weakened in the febrile post-Weinstein climate.


I guess I would change the headline by deleting "legitimate" and replacing it with "actual".

From The New York Post and Author Andrea Peyser, 17 November 2017.

Here is the lede plus one:

It’s gone far enough.  What started as a necessary mass-rejection of sexual harassment and assault is sliding into absurdity and irrelevance.  A backlash is looming against the very people the spontaneous battle against sexual villainy was meant to help: powerless women and men.

The fight is being waged not with force, but with the rather bland Internet movement, #MeToo.  The battle by hashtag conflates genuine sex crimes with mere childish behavior — blending the Harvey Weinsteins and Kevin Spaceys with the Al Frankens and George H.W. Bushes.

How long before we stop taking victims seriously?

Franken, the former “Saturday Night Live” writer and performer and now staunchly liberal senator from Minnesota, has been tossed into the guillotine without a trial.  And while I reject his leftist politics — even more so his inability to be funny — I don’t think confusing childish, even lewd, behavior with clear, intimate violations helps anyone.  Rather, it threatens to make accusers, many of them women, appear unserious.  Or “hysterical,’’ to use a term commonly wielded against humans bearing XX chromosomes.

On Thursday, former Playboy model-turned-radio host Leeann Tweeden claimed Franken stuck his tongue in her mouth.  He claimed he doesn’t remember the tongue-lashing that evidently occurred as they were “rehearsing” a scene for a skit on a USO tour to the Middle East in 2006, before Franken was elected to office.  But there exists photographic evidence that he took things a few notches further.  Franken was snapped, with a doofusy grin on his face, groping Tweeden’s flak jacket-covered breasts as she slept.

Lewd and crude?  For sure.  Grounds for public censure?  Perhaps.  But potentially career-ending?  I don’t think so.

So, before we gin up another set of witch trials, we need to calm down a bit.

And, besides, I am tired of every week, or a couple of times a week, The Instapundit writing another blog post about some female school teacher having sex with one or more students.

It would be nice if we could all have a sense of proportion.  As cadish as Senator Al Franken was with regard to Ms Leeann Tweeden, he was no Harvey Weinstein.  And Actor George Takei is no Actor Kevin Spacey.  It is not about liberal or conservative principles, but about a sense of justice.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Second Pass of the Basket


For John, BLUFWhere does the second collection go?  Nothing to see here; just move along.




This item is from The Lapanto Institute, Author Michael Hickborn, 16 November 2017.

Here is the lede plus one:

It’s that time of the year again, and the second collection at Masses across the country will be going to fill the coffers of Saul Alinsky’s mechanism for the socialization of the Catholic Church.

Just a couple of weeks ago, the USCCB’s most recent list of organizations funded by the CCHD was published, and on the list are some of the worst offenders I have exposed over the years.  Without including any new information (which we will do as we are able to conduct a complete and thorough review … the USCCB didn’t give us much time to work with before this year’s collection), here are some of the organizations we have already exposed, which are continuing to receive funding from the CCHD.  This list will briefly touch upon the issues we found with the organization, and then you can click the link for greater details.

This is one of those "judge for yourself" kind of issues.

By the way, at The Immaculate today the Second Collection was for support of the retired Sisters.  A worthy cause.

Hat tip to my Wife.

Regards  —  Cliff

Saturday, November 18, 2017

The Value of the Free Market


For John, BLUFIf you want to know what could go wrong without free markets, think of Venezuela.  Nothing to see here; just move along.



My Middle Brother, the Progressive, was conducting an EMail exchange with his younger and older Brothers and one of the points he made was that when he listened to the readings at Mass they didn't seem to talk about Capitalism.  I think the point he misses is that the freedom provided by Christianity, halting though it may have been in implementation, allowed for the growth of free markets.  And, the Protestant Reformation was a further impetus to economic growth.  While this article in Bloomberg View doesn't approach the question from a religious point of view, it does make the point that poverty is reduced through free markets.


The sub-headline is:

Few things in human history have done so much to reduce absolute poverty.

The author is Professor Noah Smith.

Here is the lede plus one:

Harvard economist Dani Rodrik has a long and thoughtful essay about the shortcomings of neoliberalism -- the economic program of free markets and free trade. He writes:
Economists’ contributions to public debate are often biased in one direction, in favor of more trade, more finance, and less government.  That is why economists have developed a reputation as cheerleaders for neoliberalism, even if mainstream economics is very far from a paean to laissez-faire.  The economists who let their enthusiasm for free markets run wild are in fact not being true to their own discipline.
As someone who has done decades of pioneering work in the field of trade and growth, and who has been intimately involved in practical policy-making, Rodrik is as much of an expert on this topic as anyone.  But although his criticisms are accurate, he overlooks much of the good that neoliberalism has done.
Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

  Implemented by men, all of whom have fallen short of the Glory of God.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Figuring the Future of Sen Franken.


For John, BLUFMaybe they will throw Bill Clinton to the wolves to spare Senator Al Franken.  Nothing to see here; just move along.



Nate Silver, from the FiveThirtyEight Blog, 16 November 2017.

Here is the lede:

At about 11:15 this morning, an hour or so after Leeann Tweeden published an allegation that Democratic Sen. Al Franken of Minnesota had groped and kissed her without her consent in 2006, I assumed that Franken was headed toward resignation.  I didn’t necessarily expect Franken to resign immediately or without putting up a fight.  But barring some highly exculpatory evidence, I expected Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and other prominent Democrats to be pushing Franken out the door.
I would go with Mr Silver here, for the reason stated below:
In other words, I thought the Democrats had an opportunity to maintain the moral high ground without having to pay a political price for it.  They could keep the pressure up on Moore, who has put Republicans in a no-win situation in Alabama.  And they could help to establish a precedent wherein severe instances of sexual harassment warrant resignation.  In the long run, that might create more of a problem for Republicans than for Democrats, because the overwhelming majority of sexual harassment is conducted by men, and there are 265 Republican men in Congress compared with 164 Democratic onEs.
Bou, the women in Mr Silver's office didn't see it that way.

Maybe they would rather have a reliable progressive voter, who they have to slap away from time to time, than some Republican, no matter how clean his record.  It is an "economic" choice, with some things prioritized higher than others.

Regards  —  Cliff

Getting Value


For John, BLUFWhen does impersonation increase the brand value of the person or product being impersonated?  Nothing to see here; just move along.




Is this snarky on the part of The Wash Post and Opinion Writer Erik Wemple, from 16 November 2017?

Here is the lede plus two:

Dress professionally.  Show up at a lofty-sounding panel discussion.  Stand up when the moderator opens the floor to questions.  Grab a microphone.  Ask a semi-decent, relevant question.  Identify yourself as being from the New York Times, even though your byline has never graced its pages.

Who’s going to call you out?

Well, the New York Times, eventually.  According to a suit filed by the newspaper last week, one Contessa Bourbon has diluted the company’s trademarks by impersonating a New York Times reporter at think-tanky events over the past four years or so.  The alleged misuse of the newspaper’s name, contends the civil action, is a ploy used by Bourbon to “gain admittance to news conferences and other events and to attract followers on social media, when she is not and has never been a reporter for The New York Times.”

I am wondering if the Contessa can sue The Old Gray Lady, claiming she has increased the value of the Brand by just showing up and should thus be compensated?

Hat tip to MASSterList.

Regards  —  Cliff

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Job Gains Among Startup Firms in 2017


For John, BLUFThis is good economic news.  Nothing to see here; just move along.




From the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 16 November 2017.

The number of startup firms—firms that are 1 year old or newer—rose to 415,226 in the year ended March 2017. The number of new firms has recovered from a low of 326,091 in 2010. For the last 2 years, the number of startups has been above the 1994–2017 average of about 400,000.

The data itself can be found at this link.

This upturn started under President Obama, but the important news is that it continues.

Regards  —  Cliff

Bike Lane Resistance


TRIGGER WARNING:  In which I suggest we have to learn to share.

For John, BLUFSometimes the urge of Government to "nudge" us into doing what they see as the right thing comes up against the will of the People.  It shouldn't, but it does in the hands of those who "know what is right" for us.  Nothing to see here; just move along.




The article in Cambridge Day is by Reporter Marc Levy, Wednesday, 15 November 2017.

Here is the lede plus one:

Fired up by protected bike lanes they feel are hurting local retailers, a group of residents and business leaders are vowing to take over citywide transportation planning by forming a grassroots group.

“We’re trying to take it out of the political arena and really take it to the grassroots level, because from the top down it hasn’t worked.  It’s the top-down [approach] that put us in this position that we’re in right now,” said Denise Jillson, the executive director of the Harvard Square Business Association, at a Monday “Safe Streets for All” meeting held at St. Anthony’s Parish Hall in East Cambridge.  “[We] can lay blame – and yes, I do say blame – on the City Council and on the city leadership that we’re in this conundrum, because certain things happened that were inappropriate.”

The meeting drew more than 60 people, seemingly split evenly between people angry over the bike lanes installed on Brattle Street in Harvard Square and on Cambridge Street, and bicyclists who expressed some bewilderment over what city streets should get instead to ensure the safety of people using all forms of transportation.  The meeting was moderated by Robert Skenderian, who runs an apothecary on Cambridge Street and has said he has firsthand experience with how bike lanes hurt business and a front-row view of reckless behavior by “bicycle bullies.”

Skenderian was evenhanded in his choice of speakers at the two-hour meeting, though, and Jillson said the event was convened after discussion with Mayor E. Denise Simmons and City Manager Louis A. DePasquale.  The grassroots group Jillson sees arising from the event would “work together hopefully under the leadership of the City of Cambridge,” with the city bringing back Toole Design Group – the company behind the Brattle bike lanes – under contract to reconfigure the street.  The lanes were presented to the HSBA as “preordained,” she said, with “no vetting from the business community … What we do want is to get it right.”

Couldn't happen to a nicer city.

Hat tip to MASSterList.

Regards  —  Cliff

Adding to a Long List


For John, BLUFDeval for President?  Nothing to see here; just move along.




That would be Boston Attorney Jeff Robbins, who is former US Delegate to the United Nations Human Rights Commission.  An OpEd in The Boston Herald, 16 November 2017.

Here is the lede plus one:

With Democrats claiming victory in the 2017 elections and Donald Trump’s approval ratings mired in the mid-30s, political chatter has turned predictably to 2020 and who could, or should, be the Democrats’ presidential nominee.

The chatter has intensified with Joe Biden’s book tour; in Massachusetts, the buzz hovers over U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren and U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton.

But the Massachusetts resident who may have the clearest path to the nomination is one who has kept a low profile: former Gov. Deval Patrick.  If he wants the nomination — and so far he shows little lust for the limelight — Patrick would have certain distinct advantages over other potential candidates.

I am not seeing it, but considering other names that have been put forward, it is not totally unreasonable.  On the other hand, if folks think that President Trump won't run in 2020, or be a pushover in that race, they might be surprised, again.  Just saying….

Hat tip to MASSterList.

Regards  —  Cliff

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Misreading the Tea Leaves


For John, BLUFI don't think the "Liberal Media" wants to understand Trump voters.  Nothing to see here; just move along.




I am not sure about the provenance of this story.  I got it as a link from The New York Times, but it is actually from Politico and only mentioned in The New York Times in a column by Mr David Brooks.  The actual author is a Mr Michael Kruse and the dateline is 8 November 2017.

The sub headline is:

In a depressed former steel town, the president’s promises don’t matter as much as they once did.

Here is the lede plus one:

Pam Schilling is the reason Donald Trump is the president.

Schilling’s personal story is in poignant miniature the story of this area of western Pennsylvania as a whole—one of the long-forgotten, woebegone spots in the middle of the country that gave Trump his unexpected victory last fall.  She grew up in nearby Nanty Glo, the daughter and granddaughter of coal miners.  She once had a union job packing meat at a grocery store, and then had to settle for less money at Walmart.  Now she’s 60 and retired, and last year, in April, as Trump’s shocking political ascent became impossible to ignore, Schilling’s 32-year-old son died of a heroin overdose.  She found needles in the pockets of the clothes he wore to work in the mines before he got laid off.

Desperate for change, Schilling, like so many other once reliable Democrats in these parts, responded enthusiastically to what Trump was saying—building a wall on the Mexican border, repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act, bringing back jobs in steel and coal.  That’s what Trump told them.  At a raucous rally in late October, right downtown in their minor-league hockey arena, he vowed to restore the mines and the mills that had been the lifeblood of the region until they started closing some 40 years ago, triggering the “American carnage” Trump would talk about in his inaugural address: massive population loss, shrinking tax rolls, communal hopelessness and ultimately a raging opioid epidemic.  When Trump won, people here were ecstatic.  But they’d heard generations of politicians make big promises before, and they were also impatient for him to deliver.

So far he has the picture right, but he seems to be missing something.  What he is missing is that the voters he interviewed are with President Trump because they think he is with them and that he is fighting a monumental battle with the powers that be in DC, both Republican and Democrat.  They don't think he can work magic, but they do believe he is trying.  And, they believe the Swamp People are trying to tear down President Trump, so they (the Swamp People) can go back to business as usual.

It isn't that I didn't learn something new.  For example, I always thought the borough of Nancy Glow had a one word name.  Now I know that it is two words, or three if you go back to the Welsh.

But you learn as you go along.  I have always thought the line in Oh My Darling, Clementine was "wearing boxes without topses", but this morning I found out it goes "herring boxes without topses."  Over half a century overturned, thanks to the internet.  I blame my Fifth Grade Teacher.

Mr Kruse wrote this otherwise good piece through the lens of "these people are being betrayed by President Trump."

The other problem is Mr Kruse tries to make all those Trump Supporters in Johnstown out as racists.  He closes his story off with a comment by Mr Dave McCabe, a retired High School Basket Ball Coach.  Mr McCabe had come up with a clever turn of phrase for the meaning of NFL, and while he wouldn't share it with Writer Kruse, his wife did.  It is what we would call "racist".  So, Mr McCabe, and his wife, and all the Trump Supporters in Johnstown end up looking, in the article, like Les Deplorables.  Easily dismissed for their backward ideas, including being upset with football players who take a knee at the National Anthem.

Mr Kruse had a chance to present some good information, but in the end he whiffed.  We are left to view these Western Pennsylvania "bitter clingers" as ignorant racists, based on someone trying to be clever and ending up being awkward.  Mr Kruse doesn't ask if this kind of word play goes on in other communities in the Hillary Lilly Pads, nor does he ask if it goes on in Black communities.  No, it is just those retarded Trumpies.

And here is a Link to the original David Brooks article in The New York Times.

Regards  —  Cliff

  I wonder if that is the high school my paternal grandfather was helping to build when he had a heart attack on the job site?

The Progressive Loss

TRIGGER WARNINGS:  In which I suggest progressives have lost their way.

For John, BLUFThe Left is unmoored.  Nothing to see here; just move along.



This is from Opinionator Richard Fernandez and The Belmont Club, 10 November 2017.

Mr Fernandez talks to the Santa Muerte cult in Mexico, Kevin Spacey and The Communist Manifesto

Mr Fernandez then goes on to mention this recent event:

On Nov. 8, thousands of concerned Americans will commemorate the one-year anniversary of President Donald Trump‘s election by screaming helplessly into the sky.
The Opinion Piece ends on this note:
What they were mourning was not some conservative's sublunar fallibility, but their own.  Whatever happens now, the progressives have lost decades of "gains," not to the alt-right, which is nothing special, but to the realization of their own human frailty.  They will find equality intolerable.  But they might in consolation remember the classic lines from the movie Unforgiven.
The Schofield Kid:  Yeah, well, I guess they had it coming.

Will Munny:  We all got it coming, kid.

Sadly, we do.
Well worth a read.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Saturday, November 11, 2017

PRC and ROK


For John, BLUFDiplomacy is almost always better than war.  Nothing to see here; just move along.



This is from the Reuters Staff, 11 November 2017.

Here is the lede:

The leaders of South Korea and China on Saturday agreed on the need to manage the security situation on the Korean peninsula in a stable way and to resolve North Korea-related tensions peacefully after a summit meeting, the South’s presidential office said.
As Law Professor Glenn Harlan Reynolds said this morning, "Sounds like the North Korea diplomacy is working."

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Judge Roy Moore


For John, BLUFWhy we have statutes of limitation.  Nothing to see here; just move along.



This blog post from Neo-Neocon, is dateline 10 November 2017.

Here is the lede, plus one decimal two paragraphs:

The accusations against Alabama’s Republican candidate Roy Moore are the talk of the day.

First let me get this out of the way: I’m not a Roy Moore fan and never have been.  But this story is particularly disturbing to me, and for the same reason I’m often disturbed by sexual allegations against candidates of all stripes and persuasions.  It’s especially true of sexual allegations that are raised long after the fact—in the Moore case long long after the fact—and that are raised in the heat of a political race or political appointment.

That doesn’t mean such allegations are false.  But it certainly doesn’t mean they’re true, either.

Yes, this smells in all directions.

But, the question is, must our politicians all be as Pure as Caesar's Wife?

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Happy Veterans Day


For John, BLUFI was lucky to have served.  Nothing to see here; just move along.



Not just another day off.  I am reminded of the expression,

Everyone gave something,
Some gave all
In the last hundred years there have been evil forces afoot across the Globe.  They have mainly been Communism and Fascism.  Together, they have caused the deaths of several hundred Million fellow Hunan beings.

Many contributed to reducing that threat, to where it resides mostly in North Korea, Cuba and Venezuela.  Amongst those contributors are our diplomats, the members of the Foreign Service and USAID.

But, chief amongst the contributors are our men and women in uniform.

Regards  —  Cliff

Friday, November 10, 2017

A Bus Contract


For John, BLUFThis Special Education bus contract imbroglio does not seem perfectly clear and straight forward.  Nothing to see here; just move along.



That would be the Lowell School Committee.

This article is from The [Lowell] Sun, by Reporter Todd Feathers (tfeathers@lowellsun.com), 10 November 2017.

Here is the lede plus two:

After weeks of deliberation and a lengthy executive session on Thursday, the School Committee voted 5-1 to delay making a decision on the district's special-education transportation contract.

The committee has been considering terminating the current contract with SP&R Transportation after a 5-year-old boy was left on a bus for five hours earlier this year.&Nbsp; School administrators have been in talks with Pridestar EMS to take over the contract, and the company presented a detailed proposal on Thursday.

But after an executive session, the committee reconvened and with no discussion voted to table the issue until Nov. 15.

This leaves me with three questions:
  1. If the Contract Incumbent is in breach of contract (incompetent), why have they not been terminated?
  2. Does the School Committee, or the School Administration have contracting authority?
  3. Shouldn't the issuing of a new contract require free and open competition between all qualified parties, with the award going to the lowest responsible bidder?
Regards  —  Cliff

The National Anthem

TRIGGER WARNINGS:  In which I say The Star Spangled Banner is not racist.

For John, BLUFWe need a new National Anthem, but not for the reasons put forward by the California NAACP.  Nothing to see here; just move along.



From The InstaPundit we go to John Hinderaker's Blog, Powerline.  Mr Himderaker posted his thoughts on the fitness of our National Anthem on 8 November 2017.

Which leads us to this item out of Sacramento, California:

By Reporter Shirin Rajaee, CBS News, on 7 November 2017.

Here is their report, in part:

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — The California NAACP is pushing to get rid of the national anthem that they’re calling racist and anti-black.

“This song is wrong; it shouldn’t have been there, we didn’t have it ’til 1931, so it won’t kill us if it goes away,” said the organization’s president Alice Huffman.

Colin Kaepernick started the NFL protests, which quickly spread to bring attention to systemic racial injustice in the country.  But Huffman says Kaepernick’s message was lost when it turned into a debate about the flag.

“The message got distorted, the real intentions got overlooked, it became something that’s dividing us, and I’m looking for something to bring us back together,” she said.

Huffman adds that the protests did lead her to look at the lyrics of the “Star Spangled Banner” especially the parts of the anthem we don’t typically sing.

“It’s racist; it doesn’t represent our community, it’s anti-black,” she said.

Huffman is referring to the third stanza which includes the lyric “no refuge could save the hireling and slave from the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave.”

Here are the words to the supposedly offending Third Stanza:
And where is that band who so vauntingly swore,
That the havoc of war and the battle’s confusion
A home and a Country should leave us no more?
Their blood has wash’d out their foul footstep’s pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave,
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.
Frankly, I have no sympathy for Mr Colin Kaepernick, and his actions with regard to the National Anthem.  He made an error in judgement and doesn't know how to back down or his ego is so big he would drag the National Football League down with him in his stubbornness.

On the other hand, I would be more than willing to replace the current National Anthem.  It is hard to sing well, it is jingoistic and it is about a war with a country which is now our best friend on the other side of the pond, Great Britain.  Time to let it go.

Replacement?  How about America the Beautiful?

So, I disagree with both Ms Sarah Hoyt and Mr John Hinderaker, because I would replace the current National Anthem, and sort of disagree with Ms Alice Huffman, because she has a wrong, bogus, reason for replacing what should be replaced.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

In History, Yesterday

TRIGGER WARNINGS:  Yes, it was all bad.
For John, BLUFThe ones who praise the Bolshevik Coup are the ones with no imagination.  Nothing to see here; just move along.



From Mr David L Burkheadc, The Writer in Black, 7 November 2017.

The lede:

The Bolsheviks storm the Winter Palace overthrowing Kerensky’s provisional government (no, the Bolsheviks did not overthrow the Czar, that was Kerensky), bringing about the nascent Soviet Union that would be the lurking shadow on world politics for the next 74 years with influence still seen today.
And the rest is history unlearned, and millions dead, tens of millions if you include China.

Incidentally, Alexander Kerensky died, at age 89, in New York City.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Life is Worth Living


For John, BLUFI worry about people judging whether a life is worth living or not.  Nothing to see here; just move along.




Congressional testimony that illuminates what a developmental disability means—and doesn’t mean

From The Atlantic, by Writer Conor Friedersdorf, on 30 October 2017.

Here is the lede plus one:

Last week, the actor, Special Olympian, and advocate Frank Stephens gave this testimony to Congress:  “I am a man with Down syndrome and my life is worth living.”

In fact, he went farther: “I have a great life!”

For those conceived with his developmental disability, it is the best and worst of times.  “The life expectancy for someone born with Down syndrome has increased from twenty-five in the early 1980s to more than fifty today,” Caitrin Keiper writes in The New Atlantis.  “In many other ways as well, a child born with Down syndrome today has brighter prospects than at any other point in history.  Early intervention therapies, more inclusive educational support, legal protections in the workplace, and programs for assisted independent living offer a full, active future in the community.”

But as she goes on to explain, “the abortion rate for fetuses diagnosed with Down syndrome tops ninety percent.”  In Iceland, nearly every fetus with the condition is killed.  CBS News reports that “the United States has an estimated termination rate for Down syndrome of 67 percent (1995-2011); in France it's 77 percent (2015); and Denmark, 98 percent (2015).  The law in Iceland permits abortion after 16 weeks if the fetus has a deformity––and Down syndrome is included in this category.”

There are links in the article.

I worry about a eugenics like approach to Downs Syndrome or other fetal disabilities.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Lowell Isn't Only Election


For John, BLUFEven if you believe such things, it isn't helpful to say them out loud.  Nothing to see here; just move along.



Election Today In Virginia.



From The Spectator, by Writer David Catron, 6 November 2017.

Here is the lede:

Democrat Ralph Northam wants to be Virginia’s next governor, but he evidently holds the Commonwealth’s voters in low regard.  Northam told a group of supporters last April that the people who want Obamacare repealed only oppose the law because “they never accepted who our President was.”  What does that mean, exactly?  Was he suggesting that Obamacare opponents believe Grover Cleveland is still President?  More likely, Northam agrees with the University of Baltimore professor who wrote in Salon that most voters revile the law “because it’s nicknamed after a black guy.”  If so, he believes two-thirds of Virginia’s voters are racists.
I am reasonably sure that the Democratic Party Candidate, Ralph Northam, does not think that two-thirds of Virginia voters are racist.  I know some Virginia voters and I don't think they are racists.

But, this kind of careless talk, like Ms Hillary Clinton describing half of Candidate Trumps supporters as Les Deplorables, both alienates voters and serves to divide our nation.  It is bad politics.  And it is bad citizenship.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Three Times the Speed of Sound


For John, BLUFThere were some real technical wonders back in the 1950s and 60s.  Nothing to see here; just move along.




The sub-headline:

As the SR-71 went public, these pilots flew its lookalike in secret.

David Freed Air & Space Magazine October 2017.

This is the story of the Lockheed Skunk Works A-12 OXCART. Here is the lede plus three:

During the selection process for pilots to fly a top-secret mission, Ken Collins was told to report to an apartment in Philadelphia, then locked in a room for six hours in complete darkness.  A loudspeaker would periodically order him not to doze off. He didn't.  "I can only assume that I must have passed," Collins says.

Collins, 88, a retired Air Force colonel, was among six hand-picked Air Force fighter jocks who overflew North Vietnam at Mach 3 on high-altitude photo-reconnaissance missions for the Central Intelligence Agency.  He flew a spy plane so hush-hush its operations remained classified for decades.  The top-secret project for which Collins had volunteered was code-named Operation Black Shield, and it was based in the Nevada desert.  Deceptively nicknamed "Oxcart," the supersonic Lockheed A-12 aircraft he piloted was the single-seat predecessor of its ultimately more famous, two-man virtual twin, the SR-71 Blackbird.

The A-12 made its first flight in 1962.  Lockheed's Kelly Johnson hadn't designed the A-12 for Vietnam, but Vietnam was the war it was born into.  Johnson had created the airplane in response to the CIA's need for something that could fly faster and higher than its subsonic U-2, another Johnson-designed reconnaissance airplane, which the agency had relied on since the mid-1950s to provide high-altitude photography.  The A-12 was unlike anything anyone had ever seen.

"You didn't wear it like you did a fighter," says another pilot who flew Black Shield missions, retired Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Francis J. "Frank" Murray, 86, of Gardnerville, Nevada.  "You were stuck way up in the nose, with a monster behind you."

One of the names mentioned in the article was Mele Vojvodich Jr., who was my wing commander in the early part of my second tour in Southeast Asia.  He commanded the 388th at Korat Royal Thai Air Force Base.  But, before that, after flying in the Korean War, he was "sheep dipped" into the CIA to fly the A-12.

Regards  —  Cliff

How to Prevent a Shooting—Enforce the Law


For John, BLUFEnforce the laws, please.  Nothing to see here; just move along.




This is about the 5 November shooting at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas.

By Law Professor Ann Aulthouse.

Here is the lede plus one:

This bolsters that standard anti-gun-control argument that what we need is to enforce the laws we already have. The NYT reports:
A day after a gunman massacred parishioners in a small Texas church, the Air Force admitted on Monday that it had failed to enter the man’s domestic violence court-martial into a federal database that could have blocked him from buying the rifle he used to kill 26 people.

Under federal law, the conviction of the gunman, Devin P. Kelley, for domestic assault on his wife and toddler stepson — he had cracked the child’s skull — should have stopped Mr. Kelley from legally purchasing the military-style rifle and three other guns he acquired in the last four years....

Passing more laws is exciting political theater, and there's ongoing enthusiasm for the show (and the attendant opportunities to express contempt for fellow citizens who don't want more laws burdening law-abiding people).
Yes, the Air Force (or someone within the Air Force) dropped the ball on this.  And there were consequences, including the death of one of its own, Retired Air Force Chief Master Sergeant Robert Corrigan, and his wife Shani.

Hat tip to Ann Althouse.

Regards  —  Cliff

Monday, November 6, 2017

KoiGate


For John, BLUFIf President Trump cured cancer he would be denigrated for messing with Obamacare by reducing total payments to Oncologists.  Nothing to see here; just move along.




From Pajama Media, by Reporter Patrick Poole, on 6 November 2017.

Here is the lede plus four:

One of the contributing factors to Donald Trump's election last year was the widespread perception that the media elites were completely detached from the rest of the country.  Many see the media, with its credibility shredded, alternate between reckless mishandling of the truth and pathological lying.

Take, for instance, an entirely manufactured controversy taken from President Trump's current visit to Japan.

An otherwise uneventful photo op with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has been falsely spun by the White House press corps as a massive diplomatic blunder.

During the photo op, Trump and Abe were feeding koi in a pond below the balcony with spoons.

After several spoonfuls, PM Abe dumps his box of fish food into the pond. Trump follows in kind.

What fired this off was the following tweet from the Pool Reporter, Mr Justin Sink (@justinsink):
Trump and Abe spooning fish food into a pond. (Toward the end, @potus decided to just dump the whole box in for the fish)
Well, it seems President Trump was only following suit.  Prime Minister Abe set the precedent.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

The Infamous Dossier


For John, BLUFIt is possible some Democrats will regret ever opening their mouths about Russia.  Nothing to see here; just move along.




From Pajama Media, by Reporter Debra Heine, 2 November 2017.

Here is the lede plus two:

According to Nunes, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), the committee's ranking member, attended the session at the Justice Department, along with two staffers for House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA).  Two other Democratic committee staffers also reportedly attended.  Just two Republican committee staffers attended.

"When my investigators got there, there were four other staff from the other side of the aisle, including a member of Congress -- the ranking member from our committee [Schiff]," Nunes told Fox News' Sandra Smith, who was filling in for Martha MacCallum on The Story Wednesday evening.

"Here's the bizarre part of it," He added.  "They didn't support the subpoena.  They said there was no reason to see this documentation -- so I don't know why they would run down there and be the first people to view the information."

So, the first real drain the swamp scalp from the Robert Mueller special investigation was Mr Tom Podesta.  Now we have Democrats on Capitol Hill showing an interest in the infamous Dossier.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Republican Senate Challengers Emerging—in Michigan


For John, BLUFThere are still people who want to run as Republicans.  Nothing to see here; just move along.




This is an old article, datelined 22 October 2017, but it is by Reporter Salena Zito, publishing in The Washington Examiner.

Here is the lede plus three:

James is young, accomplished, black, determined, devout, and the kind of new conservative that the Grand Old Party needs in order to shake up next year's midterm election cycle.

He is at once full of energy, grace, command, and passion.  When he tells you he is running on conviction, everything about this young man tells you he is not a poser.  "I am called to a life of service.  I want to serve my country and my community and my state.  When I would come back from Iraq on leave during the great recession, the economic and societal devastation I saw here in my own state floored me," he said.

He is one of a handful of Republicans who are running to take on Democratic Sen. Debbie Stabenow.  His primary rivals include Michigan Supreme Court Chief Justice Bob Young. Rep. Fred Upton, who represents the Kalamazoo and environs, is considering as well.

"We need stronger leadership in the U.S. Senate.  I think I bring that to the table.  I graduated from West Point in 2004 and went to Iraq in 2007.  I served as an Army captain in Operation Iraqi Freedom where I flew Apache helicopters and led two platoons.  I came back home and joined the family business in 2012," he said of James International, the business his father founded.

Well, there is the fact that he is a "rotor head", but aside from that he looks as good as Massachusetts US Representative Seth Moulton.  Better, given the fact that he has run a business.

And there is this.

There's a little irony there, his father and mother are both Democrats.  In fact, his father donated to the very sitting U.S. senator he would like to face next fall in a general election.

James smiles, "I have been a conservative and Republican all of my life. My parents I suspect will support me," he says laughing.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Senator Rand Paul Attack Update


For John, BLUFThis inability to disagree without being disagreeable is just going to cause more and more trouble.  Nothing to see here; just move along.




This news report is from The Washington Post, written by Reporters Brandon Gee and Ed O'Keefe, on 5 November 2017.

Here is the lede plus one:

Sen. Rand Paul is recovering from five broken ribs and bruises to his lungs, and it is unclear when he will return to Washington, aides said Sunday, signaling that injuries he sustained Friday are far more severe than initially thought.

The second-term Republican senator from Kentucky and 2016 presidential candidate was attacked, allegedly by a next-door neighbor, Rene Boucher, 59, who was charged with fourth-degree assault.

Here is the last paragraph of the article:
The senator joins a growing list of lawmakers in both parties who have been attacked or threatened with violence this year.  Congressional security officials have investigated thousands of general or specific threats against Democratic and Republican lawmakers.
Note anything missing?  Yes, this is Senator Rand Paul's second brush with a Democrat intent on mayhem.  Remember the 14 June attack on the Republican Congressional Baseball Team by Belleville, Illinois Resident Mr James Hodgkinson?

Here is what Austin Bey thinks:

THE TRULY BURIED HEADLINE: “Republican 2016 Presidential Candidate Who Survived Assassination Attempt By Bernie Sanders Supporter Is Physically Assaulted By Angry Kentucky Democrat.”
Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Pope Honors American War Dead


For John, BLUFIt is nice the Holy Father chose to remember, amongst others, the American War Dead buried in an American Cemetery in Italy.  Nothing to see here; just move along.




The sub headline is:

  This is the fruit of war:  death.  And may the Lord give us the grace to weep.  

The Holy Father traveled South from Rome to the town of Nettuno (Italian for Neptune), on the Tyrrhenian Sea.  The cemetery, the Sicily–Rome American Cemetery and Memorial, for American personnel killed during World War Two.

This cemetery, and twenty-four others are maintained by the American Battle Monuments Commission, and agency of the US Government.

From the Zenit article:

Pope Francis on November 2, 2017 – the Feast of All Souls — visited the American Cemetery of Nettuno and the site of the Ardeatine Massacre.

He celebrated Mass at the site where 7,860 US soldiers are buried, arranged in soft arcs in wide green meadows under rows of Roman pines.  The majority of these individuals died in the liberation of Sicily (from July 10 to August 17, 1943); in the landings in the Salerno area (September 9, 1943) and in the intense fighting to the north; in the landings on Anzio beach and the expansion of the beachhead (January 22, 1944 to May 1944); and in air and naval support in the regions.

The Ardeatine Massacre was a 24 March 1944 German retaliation for a partisan attack on German soldiers the day before.  Over three hundred were killed in the retaliation.

Here is the text of the Holy Father’s Homily, provided by the Vatican, translated by Ms Virginia M. Forrester

All of us, today, are gathered here in hope.  Each one of us, in his own heart, can repeat Job’s words, which we heard in the First Reading:  “I know that my Redeemer lives, and at last He will stand upon the earth.”  The hope of meeting God again, of meeting all of us as brothers: and this hope doesn’t disappoint.  Paul was strong in that expression of the Second Letter:  “Hope does not disappoint.”  However, hope is often born and puts its roots in so many human wounds, in so many human sorrows and that moment of sorrow, of soreness, of suffering makes us look at Heaven and say:  “I believe that my Redeemer is alive, but stop, Lord.”  And this is, perhaps, the prayer that issues from all of us, when we look at this cemetery.  “I’m sure, Lord, that these brothers of ours are with You.

“I’m sure,” we say this, “but, please, Lord, stop. No more, no more war, no more of this futile slaughter,” as Benedict XV said.  It’s better to hope without this destruction: youths…thousands, upon thousands, upon thousands, upon thousand of broken hopes.  “No more, Lord.”  And we must say this today, who pray for all the deceased, but in this place we pray in a special way for these boys — today when the world is again at war and is preparing to go more strongly to war.  “No more, Lord, no more.”  Everything is lost with war.

There comes to mind that elderly lady that, looking at the ruins of Hiroshima, with wise resignation but much sorrow, with that lamenting resignation that women are able to live, because it’s their charism, said:  “Men do everything to declare and make war and, in the end, they destroy themselves.”  This is war:  the destruction of ourselves. No doubt that woman, that elderly lady, had lost sons and grandsons there.  She only had the soreness in her heart and tears. And if today is a day of hope, today is also a day of tears.  Tears like those that women felt and had when the news arrived:

“You, Mrs, have the honor that your husband was a hero of the Homeland; that your sons are heroes of the Homeland.”  They are tears that today humanity must not forget.  This pride of humanity that has not learnt the lesson and seems not to want to learn it!

When so many times in history men think of starting a war, they are convinced they are bringing a new world; they are convinced of bringing a “spring,” and it ends in a bad, cruel winter with the reign of terror and death.  Today we pray for all the deceased, all, but in a special way for these youths, at a time in which so many die in battles every day in this piecemeal war.  We pray also for today’s dead, the war dead, also innocent children.  This is the fruit of war: death. And may the Lord give us the grace to weep.

Regards  —  Cliff

Guy Fawkes Day


For John, BLUFHe tried to blow up Westminster Palace.  Nothing to see here; just move along.




The last man to enter Parliament with honest intentions.

Regards  —  Cliff

The Bergdahl Affair


For John, BLUFIt is a sticky mess and the sooner we wash our hands of it the better.  Nothing to see here; just move along.




Looking at the case of US Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl, there are five issues to consider, seven actually:
  1. Was his sentence within the Law (Universal Code of Military Justice or UCMJ)?
  2. Did it provide proper retribution for his offense and its consequences?
  3. Will it serve as a deterrent to future such actions?
  4. Why was he getting promoted during his time away from the FOB, and accumulating pay?
  5. What was the responsibility of the Army itself for enlisted and deploying Sergeant Bergdahl?
  6. Did President Trump's comments with regard to what should happen to Sergeant Bergdahl represent "command influence" or is he sufficiently removed that it wasn't a factor?
  7. Was President Obama ill advised with regard to the prisoner swap which brought Sergeant Bergdahl back to US control and the subsequent welcoming activities?
Regarding the FIRST item, my reading tells me it was within the law. And, because it includes a Dishonorable Discharge, it will be automatically appealed and could go to the US Supreme Court, although someone commented that only four courts martial had been appealed that far and taken.

As to the SECOND point, only those who went to look for him and those who suffered wounds or were family of those who suffered wounds, or died in the effort, can answer that.  I am not big on vengeance as a reason for punishment.  With vengeance it becomes about us and not about the offender.

The THIRD point is important, because engaging in combat requires discipline, including the self-discipline to deploy forward and engage the enemy.  This can be very frightening and those who follow Sergeant Bergdahl should be aware of the fact that he did not get off lightly for his actions while deployed to Afghanistan.

The FOURTH point hangs on how Sergeant Bergdahl's status was reported.  He has been treated as a POW, a Prisoner of War, by the US Government, which means he continues to be promoted and his back pay is kept for him.  As a matter of international law he is not really a POW, because the people holding him captive, the Haqqani network (HQN) isn't a government, but a terrorist organization.  They are part of the Taliban, which do see themselves as a government in exile.  However, they are not recognized that way by the broad family of nations.

Regarding the FIFTH point, there is some soul searching amongst active duty and retired military personnel, but the fact is, when the Army needs to recruit more soldiers it lowers its standards.  As one person pointed out, it is the "butcher's bill" of war.  The fact that less than half of young adults meet the fitness standards to join the Armed Forces should give you a hint of the pressure on recruiters, especially if the economy is humming.

As for the SIXTH item, I think if you wish to make a case in court you could, but the reality is that the President is a long ways from a Sergeant on trial.  If the Judge and the members of the Court Martial (in this case the Judge only—smart move on the part of the Defense Counsel) lack the integrity to do their jobs then we are in more serious trouble than I thought.  I think this is a side show.

To the SEVENTH and final item, it seems to me that President Obama was either very poorly advised as to the background of this case or else felt that this was his one avenue to opening dialogue to the Taliban, with an eye on ending this ongoing conflict.  If his foreign policy advisors suggested that, then they were not up to the job and the President was poorly served.  I am not one of those who thinks we should have let him rot in a Haqqani cell, but I believe the celebration for his return was overdone.

Then there is the question of if the verdict, reduction in rank, a $1,000 a month fine while on active duty, and a dishonorable discharge, was in the ballpark.  I say yes it was.  Sergeant Bergdahl needs to be discharged and it should not be an honorable one, since he did not act with honor.  Locking him away would only serve to allow people to call attention to him and to harass the Army.  It would be another Chelsea Manning debacle.  I expect that his struggle to lead a new life will be punishment enough.

For me the sooner we have a Mr Bergdahl, out of the Army and disappearing onto civvie street the better for us all.

Regards  —  Cliff

Friday, November 3, 2017

The Terror Continues


For John, BLUFJihad, and with it, Terrorism, will continue until we, and especially our Muslim Brothers and Sisters across the globe, find a counter to Jihad and Terrorism.  Nothing to see here; just move along.




The sub-headline:

Radical Islamic terrorists will revive their movement. The U.S. needs to focus on defeating the ideology.

This is from The Wall Street Journal and is authored by Mr Husain Haqqani, of the Hudson Institute, on 2 November 2017.

Here is the lede plus three:

Tuesday’s terrorist attack in New York City, committed by an immigrant from Uzbekistan, is a reminder that radical political Islam won’t end with the recent defeat of Islamic State in Raqqa.

Just as the fall of the Taliban in Afghanistan soon after 9/11 did not mark the end of al Qaeda, extremist forces in the Muslim world will continue to resuscitate themselves in other forms, in other theaters.  If al Qaeda was Jihad 1.0 in our era, and ISIS was Jihad 2.0, we should now prepare for Jihad 3.0.  Islamism will continue to be a U.S. national-security concern for years to come.

The New York attacker, Sayfullo Saipov, did not match the standard profile of a jihadi terrorist.  He was likely self-radicalized, did not overtly belong to a major terrorist group, and would not have been denied entry under President Trump’s “travel ban” due to his country of origin.

In trying to re-create an Islamic state, radical Islamists draw inspiration from 14 centuries of history.  It is important to understand the various Muslim “revivalist” movements, involving various degrees of violence and challenges to the global order of the time.  Contemporary radicals often reach into the past to find models for organization and mobilization.

The point is, this is not over.  We need to find ways to work with those Muslims who are here and respectful of what the United States stands for, while work to deal with the ideology of those who will for Jihad 3.0.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Thursday, November 2, 2017


TRIGGER WARNING:  This is what you get with "Antifa".

For John, BLUFGovernments hold People back, and allowing them to die, on the promise of a bright future can be named —Communism.  Nothing to see here; just move along.




From The Boston Pilot, by Writer George Weigel, 1 November 2017.

Here is the lede plus one:

One hundred years ago, on November 7, 1917, Lenin and his Bolshevik Party expropriated the chaotic Russian people's revolution that had begun eight months earlier, setting in motion modernity's first experiment in totalitarianism.  The ensuing bloodbath was unprecedented, not only in itself but in the vast bloodletting it inspired in wannabe-Lenins over the next six decades.  And still the Leninist dream lives on: in a hellhole like North Korea; in the island prison, Cuba; in what ought to be one of the wealthiest countries on the planet, Venezuela.  Lenin and his disciples created more martyrs in the twentieth century than Caligula, Nero, and Diocletian could have imagined.  And yet, somehow, communist bloodbaths have never drawn the continuous, unambiguous, and deserved condemnation visited upon other tyrannies.

The horrors Lenin let loose have rarely been as powerfully captured as in Anne Applebaum's new book, Red Famine:  Stalin's War on Ukraine.  In her earlier, Pulitzer Prize-winning study, Gulag, Applebaum demonstrated that the slave-labor camps of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn's "archipelago" were not incidental to the Soviet enterprise, but an integral part of it, economically and politically.  Now, Anne Applebaum makes unmistakably clear that the Holodomor, the terror famine in Ukraine that took some four million lives in 1932-33, was artificially created and ruthlessly enforced by Lenin's heir, Stalin, to break Ukraine's national spirit while providing the faltering Soviet economy with hard currency from agricultural exports.  Or to put it more simply:  Stalin starved some four million men, women, and children to death for ideological and political purposes.

That mass murder could take place on this scale was due to the fact that the fires of utopian, revolutionary conviction incinerated many consciences.  Here, for example, is the chilling, post-Holodomor testimony of one communist activist who helped implement the catastrophic destruction of peasant agriculture in Ukraine and its replacement by ideologically-correct collective farms:  "I firmly believed that the end justified the means.  Our great goal was the triumph of communism, and for the sake of the goal everything was permissible -- to lie, to steal, to destroy hundreds of thousands and even millions of people, all those who were hindering our work, everyone who stood in the way.  And to hesitate or doubt about all this was to give in to 'intellectual squeamishness' and 'stupid liberalism'."

And, here is the Harvey Weinstein question in this genocide:
As repellant as Stalin's Leninist morality of revolution was, the tacit acquiescence in this mass, artificial famine by western reporters who knew what was afoot in Ukraine but wrote nothing about it, so as not to jeopardize their Kremlin sources and their cushy lifestyles in Moscow, was equally revolting.  Here, the chief villain remains the odious Walter Duranty of the New York Times, a principle agent of the cover-up of the Holodomor that continued well into the 1960s -- and that is being revived in Putin's Russia today, as part of its propaganda war against a now-independent Ukraine.
I would be a lot more impressed with The New York Times it if would denounce the late Walter Duranty and return his Pulitzer Prize.

Regards  —  Cliff

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Economic Indicators for September 2017


For John, BLUFThe economy is doing OK.  Nothing to see here; just move along.




This is from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Contacts for Technical information are:

Employment:(202) 691-6559sminfo@bls.govwww.bls.gov/sae
Unemployment:(202) 691-6392lausinfo@bls.govwww.bls.gov/lau

The largest [nonfarm payroll employment] over-the-year percentage increases occurred in Haverhill-Newburyport-Amesbury Town, MA-NH (+2.8 percent), Dallas-Plano-Irving, TX (+2.7 percent), and Boston-Cambridge- Newton, MA, and Fort Worth-Arlington, TX (+2.6 percent each). The largest over-the-year percentage decreases occurred in Gary, IN (-1.1 percent), and Elgin, IL (-0.7 percent).

Almost all good news.

Regards  —  Cliff

Signs of Population Implosion


TRIGGER WARNING:  Soon it will be racist to allow immigration.

For John, BLUFWhether it is improved standards of living, the cost of child rearing or the easy availability of birth control, populations are falling below replacement levels.  Nothing to see here; just move along.




This is from The New Scientist, by author Fred Pearce, with a publication date of 16 November 2017.

There is a whole Wikipedia page on "Sub-replacement fertility".

Sub-replacement fertility is a total fertility rate (TFR) that (if sustained) leads to each new generation being less populous than the older, previous one in a given area. In developed countries sub-replacement fertility is any rate below approximately 2.1 children born per woman, but the threshold can be as high as 3.4 in some developing countries because of higher mortality rates.
In the US, and other Anglo-sphere nations and Europe and Northeast Asia the number is 2.1 live births per female of child-bearing age.  Since these are averages, if you are female and have only two children, some ninety woman down the road has to have three to make it even.  Or have five children if one of the others in your set of ten elects to have no children.

From the New Scientist article, here is the lede plus four:

Could the population bomb be about to go off in the most unexpected way?  Rather than a Malthusian meltdown, could we instead be on the verge of a demographic implosion?

To find out how and why, go to Japan, where a recent survey found that people are giving up on sex.  Despite a life expectancy of 85 and rising, the number of Japanese is falling thanks to a fertility rate of just 1.4 children per woman, and a reported epidemic of virginity.  The population, it seems, are too busy (and too shy) to procreate.

It’s catching.  Half the world’s nations have fertility rates below the replacement level of just over two children per woman.  Countries across Europe and the Far East are teetering on a demographic cliff, with rates below 1.5.  On recent trends, Germany and Italy could see their populations halve within the next 60 years.

The world has hit peak child, says Hans Rosling at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden.  Peak person cannot be far behind.

For now, the world’s population continues to rise.  From today’s 7.4 billion people, we might reach 9 billion or so, mostly because of high fertility in Africa.  The UN predicts a continuing upward trend, with population reaching around 11.2 billion in 2100.  But this seems unlikely.  After hitting the demographic doldrums, no country yet has seen its fertility recover. Many demographers expect a global crash to be under way by 2076.

Beyond this point a subscription is required, but you have the basics.&nnbsp; The US stays afloat demographically, through immigration, which means other nations are losing people.  Laugh if you want, but this could soon become an issue.  As soon as within 50 years.

Fifty years from now a smaller and smaller number of working age people will be supporting a growing number of retired people.  Extending the retirement age will help a little, but nations will be staring back down a funnel in which there are fewer and fewer working people to support the rest.

The good news for me is that this will not be my problem to solve, but will will likely fall to those born between 2035 and 2055.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

The Lowell Sun Recommends (II)


For John, BLUFSun recommendations for School Committee.  Nothing to see here; just move along.



The Lowell Sun


School Committee Recommendations

  • Andy Descoteaux
  • Noelle Creegan
  • Tim Blake
  • Dennis Mercier
  • Dominic H Lay
  • Gerald Nutter

 

Regards  —  Cliff

The Lowell Sun Recommends (I)


For John, BLUFSun recommendations for City Council.  Nothing to see here; just move along.



The Lowell Sun


City Council Recommendations

Incumbents:

  • Rita Mercier
  • Rodney Elliott
  • Dan Rourke
  • Jim Leary
  • Corey Belanger
  • John Leary
  • Bill Samaras
Newcomers:
  • Karen Cirillo
  • Sokhary Chau

 

Regards  —  Cliff

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Wrong On Vagas Shooting


For John, BLUFClaims diminishing the deaths of US Citizens by Islamic Terrorists should be questioned.  Nothing to see here; just move along.




This is by Mr Patrick Poole, Pajama Media, way back on 9 October 2017.

Here is the lede plus one:

This claim, that more were killed in the Las Vegas shooting last week than by Islamic terrorists over the past decade, is flatly untrue, as I'll show you in a minute.
In 60 Seconds click on the link and scroll down to the data on the Orlando Nightclub (49), San Berdo (14), Fort Hood (13) (the three add to 76 of 76), plus others.

Maybe it is a Second Amendment thing on the part of ABC.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Reds Under The Bed


For John, BLUFDems and their Media Buddies want to Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller narrowly focused on Mr Trump, rather than looking at the broader issues.  Nothing to see here; just move along.



This is an Editorial from the Editorial Board of The Boston Globe, 31 October 2017.

Here is the lede:

The indictments of two former aides to President Trump on Monday, and the guilty plea entered by a third, plunge the country into frightening new territory.  Robert Mueller, the special counsel appointed to investigate Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election, has now found evidence that Trump hired a campaign chairman with a history of sketchy dealings with Russian-backed entities, and that another member of his staff courted Russian representatives during the campaign.
The Editorial has a lot of Purple Prose, especially in the first sentence.  And reveals a real animus toward President Trump.

Then there is the wording of the second sentence, which suggests the Special Council Robert Mueller has found evidence that then Candidate Trump had hired Mr Paul Manafort.  I am shocked.  The Ukraine and Russia ties are maybe new and perhaps the Special Council will be able to explain which side is which and on which side stood Mr Manafort.

While I agree we should let the Special Prosecutor go where he may, I was very disappointed the Editorial Board did not feel likewise.  if they did they didn't verbalized it.

The issue isn't Mr Trump's Campaign Staff looking under every rock for dirt on Candidate Clinton, but on Russian interference in American politics.  It isn't that they haven't before.  Nor is it about us interfering in the elections of others, such as Israel and Russia in the last nine years.  The issue is how do we protect ourselves from such intrusions. Indictments are are just a byproduct of what should be a thorough, non-partisan investigation.

Yes, along the way Mr Muellers's prosecutors will want to count Coup and the press will lap it up.  Then there will be the appeals and reversals.  in the end, however, it is the State and Federal Legislators, and the American People who need to learn the lesson, and to take appropriate action.

Regards  —  Cliff

  As with Senator Ted Stevens.