Sunday, May 31, 2015

Do you Own Your Money?

Former Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert is in trouble with the Federales...
CHICAGO — Dennis Hastert, the former speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, is facing federal charges in an alleged attempt to conceal large bank withdrawals, used to pay an individual for past “misconduct” on the part of the former veteran politician, federal prosecutors announced on Thursday. (CBS Local - Chicago)
I'll leave aside the salacious possibility of a closet homosexual pedophile high school coach turned famous politician now extorted by one of his victims. We don't really know what went on there, but I'm sure it will come out. 

For this discussion, let's set aside the pedophilia allegation, and simply stipulate that Hastert wronged someone, and that someone demanded money from him to settle the issue.

Two other aspects disturb me

Both involve an overbearing government intruding in our private affairs:
1) A supposedly-free citizen's use of his own money is de facto and de jure tightly monitored and controlled by our Federal Big Brother
2) Law enforcement officials barge in to bust up a supposed extortion despite a lack of a complainant.

Whose Money is it, anyway?
Hastert was charged with structuring the withdrawal of $952,000 in cash in order to evade the requirement that banks report cash transactions over $10,000, and lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation about his withdrawals.

Hastert, 73, was charged with one count each of structuring currency transactions to evade Currency Transaction Reports and making a false statement to the FBI, according to an indictment returned by a federal grand jury.
Why are there federal laws requiring us to report private financial transactions?  Worse, why are there laws requiring banks to report on us without a search warrant?

Do we still enjoy a presumption of innocence?

Is the 4th Amendment dead?

What Crime?

The feds moved in because they smelled an extortion of a public figure.  If the public figure, who no longer controls any levers of power, says he does not wish to report a crime, why do they continue to pursue it?

Here's a hypothetical:  Instead of trying to lie his way out of it, what if Hastert had told the FBI that he was withdrawing the money to pay an individual $3.5 million per a private agreement.  Would they drop it?  Should they?   At that point, what business is it of the government?

I know what is at the root of this.  Do you?

Related:  AP News My Way - Hastert Indictment

Friday, May 29, 2015

Latin America, The Other Spain

Latin America, "La Otra España," as the Spanish band Mocedades called it, is a vast and varied place.  The Southern Cone enjoys German and Italian influence, Incas still live in the Andes and speak Quechua, Suriname speaks Dutch, it's French in Guiana, English in Guyana and Belize, and Portuguese is the language of Brazil.

I spent many years in different parts of Central and South America, and I look back fondly on those times.  Regardless of Ducky's suspicions, I didn't do anything bad there...  Well, not like, CIA bad...

There's a lot more to Latin America than Mexico and mariachis.  Central America and the Caribbean move to the rhythms of merengue and salsa.  Cross down into Colombia and the Salsa and Merengue are still there, but now you're in Vallenato and Cumbia territory, and you'll also hear acoustic guitar and charango-driven folk music like Protesta, Trova and Andina.  Latin America is a beautiful patchwork of tastes, aromas, sights, and sounds. 

Mocedades - La Otra España
People all over Latin America also listen to Spanish Language Top 40, produced by artists from all over the Spanish Speaking world. 

Mocedades, a band from Spain, wrote and performed a beautiful song back in the 70's that cleverly describes Spaniards leaving Spain, arriving in the Americas, and adapting their dress, music and traditions to the new world, which became "The Other Spain," or "Another Spain," but with different aromas and rhythms.

Here's the song.  I put this montage together because I didn't like any of the ones on YouTube.  I took some of the pictures myself, but they all remind me of the places I've been.

Here are the lyrics, they don't sound very poetic in English.

The Other Spain

With a wide-brimmed hat
and a carnation in his lapel,
a Mr. Juan went off to sea.
With land behind him
adventure in his eyes
his guitar and song
oh sailor, oh sailor.

From his cape, he made a poncho
of his guitar, a charango, [ a type of guitar]
from his land, another sea.

You're the other 'Spain'
which smells like sugarcane, tobacco, and pitch [tar]
You are the lazy one
with golden skin, the seafarer [a synonym for boat here]
oh oh oh seafarer, oh oh oh seafarer.

Between the guitar notes
he spoke to them of his land
of a carnation and a balcony
where a child still weeps
waiting for the one, that on one day
[he] forgot to say goodbye.
oh sailor, oh sailor.

Source: La Otra España - Translated

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Blackbird Screaming in the Dead of Night

Anyone who grew up during the cold war probably remembers this airplane, built by the Lockheed Skunk Works division the SR-71 was and remains the world's fastest air breathing aircraft set on 28 July 1976 and held onto ever since.  It also holds the "speed over recognized course" record of NY to London in 1 hour 54 minutes. It has an acknowledge speed of Mach 3.3 although some pilots claim it was faster (I had the privilege of working with one back in the 80's), and former pilot Major Brian Shul claimed Mach 3.5 in his book, The Untouchables.

SR-71 Meet the SR-72

Image: Lockheed Martin
At better than a mile per second, this one is forecast to have a top speed of Mach 6 or 4,000 miles per hour and for you health nuts out there, this one is meat free.  No longer will aerodynamic performance be limited by a meat sack in the cockpit... it's a drone.  With a hybrid turbojet-ram jet engine this one is an intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance (ISR) platform like it's predecessor, but this one is also rumored to have a strike capability lobbing bombs from 80,000 feet.  Projected flight time NY-London: 52 minutes.


And for old times sake:

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Obama's War

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Islamic State group's takeover of Ramadi is stark evidence that Iraqi forces lack the "will to fight," Defense Secretary Ash Carter said, in the harshest assessment yet from a high-ranking Obama administration official of the U.S. effort to bolster Iraqi forces to retake their territory from extremist militants. 

Iraqi soldiers "vastly outnumbered" their opposition in the capital of Anbar province but quickly withdrew from the city in Iraq's Sunni heartland, Carter said on CNN's "State of the Union." The interview aired on Sunday.

The Iraqis left behind large numbers of U.S.-supplied vehicles, including several tanks. (Yahoo News)

Additional US Training and Materiel Will Not Fix the Iraqi Army

Like most Arabs, they won't fight for anything other than their own clan unless there are ruthless officers in the rear corralling the weapon-droppers and retreating cowards and shooting them in the head.  That is what it takes to motivate them to fight like men.

Obviously, unlike under the cruel tyrant Saddam, that is not happening now.  There are also sectarian factors in play.  Maybe if we let the Iranians take over...

Where are the Anti-War Code Stinko Types?
OK, folks.  It's time for the anti-war left and progressive Peace Prize Laureate Obama to put on their big boy pants and get us the hell out of Iraq.  Totally and completely.  That includes emptying out our sprawling fortress embassy.

Did you know five US military personnel have been killed and one wounded so far in President Obama's Operation Inherent Resolve, a military deployment he initially tried to keep stealthy and nameless?

Did you know we have "boots on the ground" in Iraq?

Democrat party scribes in "the press" have been peppering GOP presidential hopefuls with useless hypotheticals about whether they would have invaded Iraq, but we have a real situation unfolding right now, and the white-hot spotlight needs to be on President Obama and what he is doing about it.  Where are the No-blood-for-oil screamers?

Does Obama's Freshman Foreign Policy Debating Society have a strategy yet that doesn't reek with unintended consequences?  Remember when lefties used to love bleating on about blowback?

So, c'mon you leftwing kooks, dope-smoking OWS rabble, Code Stinkos pinkos, sincere liberals and anti-war screamers:  Take it to the White House, and demand your hero pull us completely and definitively out of Iraq.

Or are you waiting for a new GOP president to protest against?

Related:  Common Dreams - Civilian Deaths Soar, US Digs in for Long Haul

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Gay Marriage Win in Catholic Ireland

Source:  Daily Mail

Dublin (AFP) - The once-dominant Catholic Church in Ireland was trying to come to terms Sunday with an overwhelming vote in favour of gay marriage, saying it needed a "new language" with which to speak to people.

As jubilant "Yes" supporters nursed their hangovers and sore bums after partying late into the night following Saturday's referendum result, the faithful attended mass to hear their priests reflect on the new social landscape in Ireland.

"The Church has to find a new language which will be understood and heard by people," Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin, one of the Church's most senior figures, told reporters after mass at the city's St Mary's Pro Cathedral.

The majority of Irish people still identify themselves as Catholic but the Church's influence has waned in recent years amid growing secularisation and after a wave of clerical child sex abuse scandals.


Niall O'Connor wrote in the Sunday Independent: "The once unshakeable influence of the Catholic Church over Middle Ireland has been confronted."

(Yahoo News-AFP)

Questions for Discussion

Did the Catholic Church get what it deserved?  Horrible scandals such as the Church hierarchy shielding pedophile homosexual priests, and the discovery of a mass baby grave on church property are very serious realities that shocked Ireland and eroded the once-trusted institution's authority.

Do the hardcore activists want equal rights, or is their real agenda the toppling of all religious institutions and ultimately the destruction of traditional morality?

What would the "New Language" of Archbishop Martin sound like?  Is this a matter of hierarcy, teaching, tone, man-made rules?

What needs to change?

Based upon the Holy Bible and the early church fathers, what can be changed?  What cannot?

These questions apply to other traditional Christian denominations as well.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Memorial Day

Source:  National Geographic

The muffled drum's sad roll has beat
The soldier's last tattoo;
No more on Life's parade shall meet
That brave and fallen few.
On fame's eternal camping ground
Their silent tents to spread,
And glory guards, with solemn round
The bivouac of the dead.

Opening stanza of Bivouac of the Dead, by By Theodore O'Hara

Sunday, May 24, 2015

The CSA - Castrated Scouts of America

Lt General Lord Baden-Powell must be rolling over in his grave... the Boy Scouts of America in obsequious deference to political correctness have banned water guns for anything but target shooting... target shooting? “Water guns and rubber band guns must only be used to shoot at targets, and eye protection must be worn.” furthermore “Pointing any type of firearm or simulated firearm at any individual is unauthorized. Scout units may plan or participate in paintball, laser tag or similar events where participants shoot at targets that are neither living nor human representations.”

BSA National Shooting Sports Program pg. 99 

Guide to Safe Scouting pg. 61

Norman Rockwell - The Scoutmaster
You've fallen a long way buddy, remember the good old days, when you had balls?

Friday, May 22, 2015

The Bismarck

The Bismarck

Prinz Eugen

On 24 May 1941in the Battle of the Denmark Strait the German battleship Bismark sunk the British battlecruiser HMS Hood and the battleship HMS Prince of Wales was forced to withdraw after being struck by the Bismarck four times and three times by the German Heavy Cruiser Prinz Eugen

HMS Hood
HMS Prince of Wales

The British Admiralty ordered every available warship to hunt down and destroy the Bismarck.  The chase of the Bismarck had begun.  On 26 May the Bismarck was being shadowed by the British Cruiser HMS Sheffield.

HMS Sheffield

At 2047 through heavy cloud Swordfish aircraft from the carrier HMS Ark Royal attacked.

HMS Ark Royal

With her rudder disabled by a torpedo the Bismarck was now only capable of steaming in a large circle. German Admiral Günther Lütjens radioed "Ship unmanoeuvrable. We will fight to the last shell. Long live the Führer."  At daybreak on the 27th the British battleship King George V led the attack.

HMS King George V

Followed by the British battleship HMS Rodney

HMS Rodney

Aided by the heavy cruisers HMS Dorsetshire and HMS Norfolk.

Which led to this:

Thursday, May 21, 2015

The Many Accents of Hillary Clinton

This is fascinating.  Bloomberg posted a collection of YouTube clips featuring the various accents of Hillary Clinton. We've all heard that one where she is in a black church trying to affect the accent, but have you heard her employing a pretty good (and creepy) syrupy sweet, southern accent while talking in a normal, conversational tone?

I'm not doing this just to make fun of Hillary. The article explains how people's speech patterns, dialects and accents can shift and change depending on circumstances, and being in the military I've experienced it, in myself and others.

I started my young adult life in the Air Force with a lazy-tongued, mumbly, snort through your nose hayseed accent that I still sometimes lapse into, to the point I have to stop and purposely enunciate clearly so my wife and kids can understand what I am saying.

When I lived in Latin America, all that cleared up, and my speech became sharp and staccato because I spoke more Spanish than English while there.

I even spoke a pretty good Jamaican patois back then. When my Jamaican buddies and I ran into friends of theirs from the island they would demand I demonstrate my linguistic abilities, and it would crack them up every time to hear a white boy be able to converse like that. I didn't just have the speech patterns, I had all the dat tings, jumblats and bloodclots down as well.

Anyway, here's the Hillary article. Enjoy!

And for you Hillary fans, here's an entertaining piece on the GOP candidates pandering to Hispanics by speaking Spanish on the campaign trail.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Twilight of Freiheit?

Western nations have been taken over by globalists and their toadies in government.

People living in comfort and happiness in communities where they feel secure enough to thumb their noses at powerful corporations and push back against government intrusion are a threat to the ruling oligarchies and global elites.

Invasion of Germany

Geeez has written about how immigration is destroying tranquil German neighborhoods, and then I read this in the New York Times.
With the federal authorities expecting a flood of newcomers — an estimated 300,000 will apply for asylum in Germany this year, after 200,000 in 2014 — places like Vorra, population 1,000, are struggling to make room for those who are already here seeking legal status and integration.
So, in summary, small-town German life is being destroyed by the German government, and some Germans are committing crimes in response:
"But along with hospitality, Germans are also showing hostility. In Vorra in December, and in the Saxon town of Tröglitz over the Easter weekend, arsonists set fire to renovated shelters just weeks before migrants were to move in."
Guilt and Shame, Favored Tools of the Progressive Left

The Times takes a light touch, but a whiff of pogroms, brownshirts and Kristallnacht simmer just below the surface of the text. The overall tone is standard progressive propaganda: Anyone who opposes immigration is a dangerous reactionary, one step away from shoving the untermenschen into ovens.

And the leftwing progs hang 70 year old guilt over the Germans' heads to keep them in line:
"There is widespread understanding that Germany’s Nazi past and current wealth impose a particular obligation to accommodate those fleeing hardship and war."
A widespread understanding? Says who? How widespread? Have they taken a poll recently? I would love to see Germans stand up and tell the leftwing shamers to take the nazis, swastikas, the guilt and their societal vandalism and shove it all up their asses.
"In a recent German poll, more than half the respondents said they thought there was strong hostility to foreigners in the country."
That poll reveals a typical German way of expressing a politically-incorrect opinion: Using passive language to voice concern by saying they see it in others. That is what decades of shaming will do to a people, but make no mistake, Germans are pissed off and tired of it, and the old trick is wearing thin of calling everyone to the right of Karl Marx a rightwing nazi.

Is it a crime to want to preserve your culture and your traditions, to reject efforts to upend your traditional little village where your great-great grandparents were born?

What options do traditional communities have in response to government immigrant dumping?

Related:  EU Leaders Consider Military Action

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Do we have a Strategy Now?

Photo: USMC

Last year President Obama said:

President Obama said Thursday that "we don't have a strategy yet" when it comes to removing the threat of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in the Middle East. CBS

My question is do we have a strategy now?  What is it? and What is it accomplishing?  Apparently given the fall of Ramadi  Sunday, very little.

Now I'm not picking on our President... It's an honest question.  What is our strategy in regards to ISIS?  Now I've heard said that it is to "systematically degrade ISIS/ISIL", not to nitpick but that's a goal, not a strategy.  "Degrade and Defeat"? Again not a strategy but a goal.

Please feel free to enlighten me if you think me wrong, but I haven't seen anything coming out of the government that even hints at a coherent strategy for defeating ISIS.  I'm apparently not the only one, back in February CNN asked Where's Obama's ISIS strategy?

US News says that the Public Doubts Obama's ISIS Strategy.  I'll go one further and say I doubt he has one.

The first question to ask is do we care?  Do we care if Syria and/or Iraq or a majority of their territories fall to ISIS?

The next question if the answer to the question above is yes, is well what are we going to do about it?

Monday, May 18, 2015

George W. Bush was a Terrible President

George Bush bashed Barack Obama recently in a meeting with rich donors.  Obama has earned all the bashing we can dish out.  He's been a horrible president and the nation is worse off for having elected him, but we can say the same of Bush.

George Bush was a horrible president

As conservatives we must embrace this truth if we are going to chide liberals over their irrational Obama worship. More importantly, we must face this truth for our own intellectual integrity, for the future of the Republican party, and most importantly, the future of our nation.

George Bush broke the Middle East

Granted, Obama and his Sophomore Girls Warlord Club have since broken the pieces into even smaller pieces and then set all them on fire, but Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld dealt the initial blow.

The Iraq Invasion was a Catastrophic Blunder

How could adults like Cheney and Rumsfeld think such an adventure would turn out well? Did they not foresee the consequences of taking out the firewall that protected the greater Middle East from Iran? Did they really think the Iraqis would embrace us, throw rose petals at our feet? Did they truly believe they could transform Iraq into the Germany of the Middle East? Were they snookered by Achmed Chalabi? Was there corporate money involved? Is it really that simple?

These questions disturb me because I had a naive confidence in Cheney and Rumsfeld. They were old hands who knew their way around, and were supposedly wise and conservative.  I knew Bush was inexperienced in foreign policy, but I believed he was sincere. This disaster they authored makes me question everything, because they fracked the world and we are still feeling the tectonic aftershocks.

I could go down a similar list for Afghanistan, but why bother? They thought they could remake an ancient society? History shows that even the fairly modest idea of imposing a simulacrum of control over Afghanistan is folly. Why did they do it? Perhaps it really was about oil and gas pipelines.

Bush Tried, People Died

Finally, and sadly, hundreds of thousands of lives, families, communities, people, will never be the same because of what Bush-Cheney did. I have friends who are not right and never will be again because of what they saw and did over there.   Bush pardoned drug dealers at the end of his presidency, but refused the same clemency to soldiers jailed for trumped-up, bs 'war crimes.'

And in the irony of ironies forged in hell, uber-Christian George W. Bush is responsible for the persecution, rape, murder and displacement of the Levant's Christians, besieged on all sides thanks to his criminally naive notion that he could remake that region.

Bush Crashed the Economy

We also cannot forget that Bush-Cheney and their merry band of Wall Street pirates crashed the economy in 2008, and Bush went on TV and explained to us how Dirty Hank Paulson had to blow a hole in the side of the treasury so the High Finance Looters and dirty banksters could refill their pockets.


Bush-Cheney also gave us the liberty-suck known as the Patriot Act, brought us the bloated, groping bureaucracy known as Department of Homeland Security, and introduced the nazi-esque "Homeland" into common parlance. And speaking of that, over 3,000 people died on 9/11 and nobody got fired.

Another fallout not generally acknowledged is how much information we are now sharing, about military operations, intelligence, etc.  Our government is stupid and broken, and Bush-Cheney-Rumsefeld broke it.

We have become complacent and we cut our politicians way too much slack. If we cannot hold our politicians up to scrutiny, even those we voted for and may have liked at one time, then we are finished as a people and a nation.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Modernity and Religion: An Inverse Correlation?

I'm seeing lots of articles lately about the demise of religion.  Here's a snippet from one of them:
"Religion has been waning in influence for several centuries, especially in Europe and North America. There have been a few brief and local revivals, but in recent years the pace of decline has accelerated."

Could anything turn this decline around? Yes, unfortunately. A global plague, a world war fought over water or oil, the collapse of the Internet (and thereby almost all electronic communication) or some as-yet unimagined catastrophe could throw the remaining population into misery and fear, the soil in which religion flourishes best. (WSJ - Professor Daniel C. Dennett)
He relates how John Calvin observed back in the 16th century, "...religion recedes whenever human security and well-being rises [...] He noted that the more prosperous and comfortable his Genevans became, the less dependent they were on church."

No Atheists in Foxholes

This shouldn't surprise anyone. When we're down and out, sick, at some grave disadvantage, in need of help, we are contrite, thankful for the help we beg from others, including God. Back on our feet, prosperous and healthy, we gain confidence in our own powers, and our gratitude and humility tend to fade. Anyone who has read the story of the Hebrews from the Pentateuch knows this is basic human nature. That story of a people, delivered from slavery to the promised land, thankful, rebellious, stubborn, questioning and demanding of their creator, is the story of each human heart.

But wait...  There's more...

Wow, I thought, as I paused over the fourth paragraph where the author made his solid conclusion founded upon human nature, that was a short article. But having arrived at a solid truth, he abandoned it and went on the attack:
Religious institutions, since their founding millennia ago, have managed to keep secrets and to control what their flocks knew about the world, about other religions and about the inner workings of their own religion with relative ease. Today it is next to impossible.
From that rickety assertion he descends into nasty God-bashing and religion-mocking built upon a squishy bog of bandwagon appeals, ad-hominem, and other logical fallacies. He lauds the social benefits of too many church-like community organizations that have dropped all that judgmental stuff, and he heralds a day when we will be free of religious doctrine. He expressed no such aversion to the stone blocks of man-made doctrine imposed upon us. I guess he's OK with that...

Here are my thoughts...

Man does not exist for religion. My purpose in life is not to serve the Catholic Church by sitting in its pews, volunteering my time and talents, and tithing. A church is there to help us all worship God, instruct us and aid us on our journey to heaven.

The article descended quickly into a screed, but I want to go back to the first part, where he posited an inverse relationship between prosperity and religious worship. It is a valid observation, backed up by data, but he is focusing on superficialities in an effort to ascribe selfish psychological motives to worshipers.

A better way to look at it is this: The more human beings are separated and shielded from the most elemental building blocks of life, the further in danger we are of becoming estranged from God.

Man-made things no longer direct our hearts and minds to God. Instead, they distract us. And the useful and utilitarian creations of man shield us from life's vicissitudes and reduces the opportunities for us to contemplate our small insignificance against the infinite backdrop of time and space.

Medicine, flush toilets, potable water systems, electricity, grocery stores, roads, airplane and the bouquet of appliances and toys that entertain us and make our live easier and safer are wonderful, and I thank God for them, but we must also recognize how they allow us to ignore our humanity and our mortality, and ultimately, our creator and his creation.

That is why so many people feel refreshed when they get back to nature and stand awestruck at its grandeur.

At least that's my take.  What's yours? 

Saturday, May 16, 2015

It's Summer

Like the sign? Buy it here.

...okay, its not summer but it's close enough.  Go read Friday's post.

Friday, May 15, 2015

The Byrds... Featuring Earl Scruggs

This is so cool!

I got a smart tv recently, and it connects to the internet.  Yeah, I know, that's old hat, but its new to us.  We can also surf YouTube on the laptop and then pipe it to the tv, so that's some good entertainment.

Anyway, we stumbled upon this gem.  Earl Scruggs playing with Roger McGuinn and The Byrds.

I love the Byrds, but I positively revere Earl Scruggs, the father of three-finger style bluegrass banjo.

They're picking around at first, it sounds like Grandma's Feather Bed, but then they kick into "You ain't goin' nowhere."

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Vatican Goes Green

Why do I go over to HuffPo? Look at this stupid headline:

Pope trades in sulfur-powered Christianity for enviro-friendly Gaia Worship

VATICAN CITY – The U.N. chief opened a Vatican conference on the environment by praising Pope Francis for declaring climate change is an urgent moral imperative, saying his upcoming encyclical combined with a new round of U.N. climate talks in Paris provide an "unprecedented opportunity" to create a more sustainable financial future for the UN, its staff of climate scientists, and well-connected green energy companies around the globe.

Doctor Frankie Crabbe-Dykstra--the UN Special Rapporteur for Climate Change Impact on the Impoverished, Disadvantaged and Persecuted--was on hand for the conference, along with her partner, Jo Bearde, an ardent Catholic. Crabbe-Dykstra gave the Argentinian pontiff a tentative thumbs up.

"This Pope is clearly putting the people first with his pro-environment, anti-capitalist stance, and I applaud him for that."

Bearde clasped her partner's hand and added, “Francis’s moral authority is overwhelmingly and world-wide, and I think that poses a huge problem for conservatives and climate change deniers.”

Environmentalists are eagerly awaiting the Pope's highly-anticipated climate change encyclical.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

It Takes a Lot of Idiots to Raze a Village

Community policing of poor minority neighborhoods is a popular topic in the wake of the Baltimore riots.

The Gangs of Ferguson

About the only positive coming out of the Ferguson, Missouri saga was the unmasking of a criminal enterprise that preyed upon poor people. It was run by the government of Ferguson, who thought it would be a grand idea to fund the municipality by hounding its citizens, entangling them in a kangaroo court system, imposing outrageously ballooning fines and vacuuming all the money from their pockets.

I am all for getting the government off of our backs, and so I sympathize with the argument that we need to eliminate ratcheting fines, court-mandated counseling and serial court dates over minor administrative matters and petty crimes.

Bureaucratic Dragnets

Is there any evidence that ensnaring people in a bureaucracy of dismal offices, social worker supervision, and five minute court appearances deters crimes or leaves those who have been sucked into the government maw any better off?

Many people swept up in the system for minor infraction are people who, as my defense attorney friend says, "can't get their shit together." Their "life skills" suck. They are only marginally employable, and they forget to pay fines, don't write down court dates on a calendar or planner, and they usually must pay for court supervision and mandatory counseling that can drag on for months. Every misstep is another crime, and someone initially sucked in for a traffic infraction or getting drunk may never escape.

So what do we do?

Decriminalize drug use and other petty crimes?

Advocates say hounding people over minor infractions is a waste of government resources, and the police need to be freed up to focus on bigger issues.

The pathology will still remain

That's the problem. Drug use, now legit, will still require dealers prowling around, and cash to pay for users' habits. This leads to bigger criminality.

So, the next question should be, how do we equip communities to police themselves?

Can we talk about social pathologies as we dismantle structural racism and hidden color barriers? Can we agree that such pathologies, poor lifestyle choices and bad behaviors plague all races, and that it is not racist to introduce these additional factors into the conversation?

This is a multi-faceted, multi-layered puzzle and there are no magic bullets.  Just as it takes many idiots to wreck a village, it takes many solutions carried out by many people to restore some societal sanity.


Black Voices Matter
Inmates Running the Asylum

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Full Right Rudder?

To the surprise of most, Britain's conservative party was swept into a full majority by English Voters with 331 seats in parliament, Labor fell to 232 and the Liberal-Democrats lost big, retaining only 8 seats out of a previous 57.

Once again the pollsters blew it, all predictions were a neck to neck race possibly leading to a crisis in attempts to form a majority coalition and a hung parliament. 

The question then is... can American conservatives mirror their British cousins performance in 2016? 


Monday, May 11, 2015

Dueling Jihadis

There is utility in nagging, smart-mouthed women like Pam Geller standing up and speaking out. I love watching her lash into the hate preachers with filthy beards. You know it just galls those wife-beating throwbacks to be finger-pointed and shouted at by a liberated woman. I applaud that, because it is a surgical strike, a precision-guided missile aimed directly at obscurantist jihadis while leaving the peaceful practitioners around them unmolested.

But the Muhammad cartoon debacle?
Not so much. I compared Geller to pornographer Larry Flynt because Geller and her ilk take a beautiful thing (the 1st Amendment) and pervert it and debase it for the concupiscent pleasure of Islam-haters.

There's a Better Way
Want to defend our God-given liberties and put religious bigots on notice? This is America. We fight it out in the courts and in popular media.

Spiritual Lawfare
When they come to silence the church bells, you tell them to stuff it. The next step is to stand up in a court of law for your religious freedom to ring that church bell. But you better be prepared to support the guy hollering from the tower as well.

Same goes when a Muslim agitation group insists the school or workplace cafeteria stop serving pork. You tell them tough. This is America. My tolerance ends where your religious demands begin.  It's called toleration.  You can't dictate our behavior.  Ever heard of a famous Broadway play called The Book of Mormon?  People here are free to not only ignore your religion, but to mock it, thumb their noses at it, and say mean things about it and its adherents.  But I will support your request--not demand--for the cafeteria to serve halal food.

To support such legal efforts, give money to Jay Sekulow's American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) and Mark Levin's Landmark Legal Foundation.  And demand the rat bastards at the ACLU stand against religious poobahs who demand we bow down to their edicts. Does the L in ACLU stand for liberal, or not?

Gay Rights & Women's Rights
Government and their quasi-government adjuncts like churches, planned parenthood and the swarms of social workers get all up in our business in the name of child welfare, women's health, tolerance, diversity and healthy communities, so jump on that, get involved and point these state instruments at the bigots and misogynists in the Muslim community.

Do what the left does. Go find those teens who chafe at their parents' religious strictures and publicize their plight. Find the closeted gay Muslims and help them form clubs and organizations. Give voice to Muslim women who are oppressed. But most importantly, stand with good, peaceful Muslims who simply want the right to live their lives without being the victims of discrimination. They don't like the bearded bigots any more than you do.

Media Matters
Anybody else notice how quiet the normally-noisy Muslim activist groups are when the debate turns to social issues like gay marriage? Call them out!

Put a microphone in that smiling CAIR spokesmouth's face and demand to know why Elton John has never performed at one of their functions.

Demand the media do to Muslims what they do to every famous conservative Christian. Get up in that friendly Muslim celebrity's grill and ask if they support gay marriage? Blasphemy? A woman's right to leave her husband and move in with her lesbian lover?

Folks, the leftists are masters at this, and dammit, we've got to learn from them. "It's for the children!" is a big joke by now. But it works. Can we learn from that? Islam makes the Mormon and Catholic churches look like code pink cross-dressers, yet the Muslim activists are smart enought to fly under the radar, and the leftwing dhimmis let them get by with it.

Sure, the leftwing whiners and scolders will squeal when they see the right using their tactics, but when they poke their ranty little pin-heads up above the din, we demand they tell us whose side they're on. Do they stand for liberal values and the rights of daughters to marry whoever they want, women and gays to determine their own lives? Or do they stand with the religious tyrants in dirty smocks demanding blasphemers be put to death?

But I'll end on a more modest note. We are a nation of laws, including those that protect religious liberty. Use them. Smartly.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Freedom of Expression

Muslim Expression:  Three Examples

Pamela Geller has her fame now.  Thank God and one brave Garland policeman that the only casualties were two jihadis.

Un-Civil Rights

People I like and respect are comparing Geller's recent event to the 'provocations' of civil rights marchers in the 60's, but the comparison is inapt. 

Back in the 60's, black people marched demanding government grant them the same God-given rights enjoyed by their white fellow citizens.

Also, the civil rights marchers did not stick a finger in the eye of those they strove to convince. Yes, they disturbed many segments of white America, how could they not?  But they were not mocking and defaming. They instead appealed to shared religious and cultural values to win over the hearts and consciences of those who were oppressing them.  These are important and fundamental differences.

Finally, had this event been organized and attended exclusively by people from Muslim societies, we would indeed have a new civil rights movement that we could all cheer.  Jews and Christians insulting Muslims does not rise to that level.

Geller as Rosa Parks?  

Yes, people are actually making that comparisonOther overheated rhetoricians have compared her to a girl who almost got murdered just trying to go to school, or religious minorities struggling to survive and worship without being raped or killed in very a hostile part of the world, and even to victims of terrorist attacks. 

Geller is more like fellow 1st Amendment provocateur Larry Flynt...

Let's put aside Geller's fame-at-any-cost look-at-me-ism for a minute and assume the people who attended the event were sincere.  What is their goal?

Is it to inflame people by throwing our First Amendment rights in their faces like a frying pan full of hot bacon grease?  If so, mission accomplished!

However, America is better than that.  We are a people who can simultaneously grasp every fitness and dietary craze while also becoming more obese and unhealthy, and then make it all OK with cutting-edge surgery and innovative drugs.

Surely we can find a more noble way to defend our eroding foundational freedoms.

Could we at least set our sights a little higher than trying to outdo rabidly atheistic Frenchmen?

AOW's Post
FreeThinke's Post

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Armed Forces Radio: V-E Day

Yesterday, 70 years ago, the Allied Armies achieved victory in Europe.  The musical selections below are in memory of that event.

We start in 1939 with They'll Always Be An England

That's followed up by We'll Meet Again, another song by Dame Vera Lynn that was popular in 1940.

In 1941 with war looming The Andrew Sisters were wowing audiences with Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy, believe it or not the song was actually first recorded on January 2,1941.

In 1942 Kaye Kyser and his Orchestra were singing Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition.

In 1943 Spike Jones was going Heil in Der Fuehrer's Face.

By 1944 Johnny Mercer was trying to Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate the Positive.

We'll end with a short film made by the US War Department in 1945 shortly before V-Day.  Directed by Frank Capra and written by Theodor Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Friday Funnies: The Hillary Symbol

What does this symbol suggest to you?  Here are a few of my ideas:

* This way to the Hospital
* Go to hell, righies!  It's that way, to my left!

Seriously, the thing looks like a logo for an HMO or a chain of hospitals.  It also causes me to think of 9/11 and the twin towers.

 Anyway, here is how others out in Blogistan have had fun with the Edsel of campaign logos.

 I like these (Click the image to embiggen)...

This one's reminds us of her callous disregard for human life and her gross incompetence. 


Here's a logo for your campaign rally t-shirt...

Free Republic

 And finally...  A spin-off...

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Garland Texas

Inoffensive expression doesn't require protection

Above all else, the First Amendment means that government has no power to restrict expression because of its message, its ideas, its subject matter, or its content. To permit the continued building of our politics and culture, and to assure self-fulfillment for each individual, our people are guaranteed the right to express any thought, free from government censorship.~Thurgood Marshall

Chances are no matter who you are, what you do, or what you like, someone somewhere will find it offensive.  The event in Garland Texas was certainly offensive to Muslims, just as I'm sure they found Madonna's "Satanic" performance at the Grammy Awards and Katy Perry's "Witchcraft" performance the previous year offensive.  Christians find "Piss Christ" offensive.  I'm sure there are Protestants out there that find the papist trappings of the Catholic Church offensive.


The parody and satire of the "silly" beliefs of Muslims is no more or no less offensive than the parody and satire of the "silly" beliefs of Christians, or the parody and satire of the religious by the non-religious. There are those who believe and who had called for the event in Garland to be banned just as there are those who believe and who called for the Satanic Mass at Harvard to be banned, and those that believe and have called for Islam to be banned... all are wrong.

Do you think I'm wrong? Are my words offensive? Do they upset you?

Tough, suck it up.

Post Script:

The bottom image is "Muhammad prohibiting Nasīʾ", a 17th century Ottoman copy of a 14th century Ilkhanate manuscript.  450,000 people signed a petition to remove it from the Wikipedia article on Muhammed as offensive to Muslims.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Supremely Gay Arguments

Gay marriage was argued before the Supreme Court last week

Gay rights are advancing on three fronts in our society:  Church, State, and each human heart. 

The Church

I don't understand churches striking homosexual acts from the canon of sins, but why not?  The same churches give the AOK to people shacking up and they have no problem with serial marriages, divorces and remarriages.  So, like the other teachings they've dropped, they must be jumping on the gay bandwagon out of attempted trendiness, and in a twisted way, fairness.

I don't know what else explains it;  we've experienced no earth-shaking new revelation or important archeological or theological discovery that would warrant changing a 2,000 year old New Testament teaching.  But this is America, where we copiously invent and reinvent religions.
So, like Pope Francis, I shrug my shoulders.  In a secular Democratic Republic, who am I to question religious freedom?

The State

Argumentation before the Supreme court is shot through with fuzzy but important concepts like respect, respectability, acceptance, normal, and validation.  And all in the pursuit of equality before the law.

A majority of Americans (including me) agree that gay couples should enjoy all the same legal rights as heteros:  Work-related benefits, inheritance, etc.  That can be accomplished by government without redefining a millenia-old institution that cuts across all cultures.

What gay marriage advocates seek from the state is not just equality before the law, but a bundle of new laws to bludgeon the unenlightened and the dangerously religous.  A redefinition of marriage from the Supreme Court will not change hearts.  If anything, battle lines will harden, and the next battleground will be churches.

The Human Heart

This battle has been won.  Even those opposed to gay marriage and who think homosexuality is a sin overwhelmingly express the opinion that gay couples should enjoy the same benefits before the law as heteros.  So why does the gay lobby keep pushing and demand we call it marriage?

Because it's not about equality before the law.  It's about using the law to force everyone to march in the gay parade.  All in the name of stamping out hatred, of course, but it is a sloppy broad brush wielded by dogma-driven propagandists to say that opposing gay marriage is hatred.

Try going into a HuffPo comment forum and stating you oppose gay marriage because of your Christian beliefs, then tell me who the haters are.

The best any of us can expect from others is toleration. Live and let live.  We leave each other alone to conduct our own lives as we see fit. Anything above that is icing on the cake. To expect people to embrace and celebrate acts and lifestyles they do not condone is childish, and asking the state to enforce such unicorn worship is dangerous.

The Savage Approach

As a bonus, I'm including a full episode of The Savage Nation dedicated to this topic.  Those who believe Doc Savage to be a fire-breathing hater will be disappointed, and those unfamiliar with the show will be surprised at how many gay, lesbian and liberal listeners he has.

I only include this because it is blessedly free of angry boilerplate, trite blabbering and predictable talking points.  It is full of real people, almost all gays and lesbians, having a real discussion with sexual libertarian and cultural conservative Michael Savage about gay marriage.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Black Voices Matter

Our nation's racial strife is a multi-layered and complex set of interlocking pieces. I commented over at Z's that a selfish thought crosses my mind: Baltimore is not my fault, and I can't fix it, even though Baltimore City will shake me down via the federal government and make me pay my fair share.

In contrast to how I feel, I think we all need to understand where others in the debate are coming from, what their views and perspectives are, and how their thinking is shaped.

My bullshit filter is clogged and bursting with predictable twaddle from guilty white progressives whose condescending and imperious doxies have exacerbated our problems.  They've done enough damage already.  For a change of pace, here are what four of our fellow Americans, who all happen to be black, think.

First up, Professor N.D.B. Connolly argues in the New York Times that real estate, taxation, segregation, policing tactics, and the legacy of slavery are to blame. I disagree, but I listen because I want to understand why he and millions of other think that way. I was surprised at the amount of pushback he got in the comments section.

Next up, LZ Granderson at CNN writes an article on the historical prelude to the Baltimore Rioting.  He doesn't break any new ground, but he details a bill of legitimate grievances filled with instances of state-sponsored racism and injustice against black people.

Tah-Nehisi Coates makes the best and most cogent argument for reparations and for explaining the viewpoint that although black people are now free, they are free within a white power structure created by whites upon the backs of black slaves.  For a full century after slavery ended, blacks did not enjoy the same rights, liberties and privileges as whites. Were blacks truly free citizens before the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965? The system, from Coates' perspective, allows blacks to participate, but it's still a stacked deck, due to a history of exploitation and contemporary systemic injustice.

In the article, Coates pointedly criticizes the sky-high incarceration rate of young black men and quotes Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn...
“Wherever the law is, crime can be found.”
I have learned a lot by reading Coates, but I can't help but wonder how much worse off those communities would be if all those incarcerated men were back on the streets.

It Takes a Linguist to Describe a Village

Professor John McWhorter, a self-described "cranky liberal Democrat" forges his own independent path.  He has a PhD in Linguistics from Stanford, and he cogently explains how perceptions and misperceptions, stereotypes and history motivate the actors and continue to fuel this multi-faceted conundrum from hell.

"History is messy. But we live in the present and what poor black Baltimoreans see is abuse. The War on Drugs assigns cops to black neighborhoods where, inevitably, encounters tend to be surly and often violent. A vicious cycle starts."

"Now, to be sure, the rioters’ actions are inherently inarticulate. [...] And of course the riots and looting could also end up compounding many of white Americans’ ugliest stereotypes of black communities and violence. To wonder why, oh why, whites see blacks as violent rings a little hollow at times like these."

"But the reflexive liberal rush to moral relativism on the subject misses the mark as well."
McWhorter's article is brilliant. I wanted to excerpt the whole thing, but better to let you go read it yourself. The professor brings a linguist's ear to the problem and his analysis is refreshingly free of ideological dogma, pandering, and stale boilerplate.

My Conclusion

Reading Professor McWhorter makes me question policing practices and drug policies. Although I believe a  complete dismantling of the "War on Drugs" would spell disaster (he never recommends that), I do think he makes an interesting point about marijuana decriminalization, among many other issues that have created the "Us versus Them" situation between black youths and the police.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Inmates Running the Asylum

Another day, another policeman shot. This time, it was no-doubt-innocent-citizen Demetrius Blackwell walking to church with his hands up shouting "don't shoot!" When NYPD Officer Moore and his partner...
... pulled up in an unmarked police car to a man who was adjusting his waistband suspiciously.

Bratton says the officers exchanged words with the man before he turned suddenly and fired at least twice, striking Moore. (AP - Yahoo News)
Here is what a flaming leftard had to say in the comments:
We need to indict more cops and find them guilty in a court of law. They don't get it. Why stop this man in the first place when he was committing not one single crime. What was he going to be charged for? "Adjusting his waist band in a strange way? Come on, these thugs wearing the badge are out of control.
If Obama had a son, he would make a comment just like that...

Two Americas

Big city cops operate in a demimonde prowled by criminals who are experts at playing the system.  Juvie Hall is basic training, then back on the streets for On The Job Training, and prison is where perps get their advanced degree. Profiling is a must:  Time of day, location, and most importantly, behavior.  Things like eye-contact or adjusting a waistband may seem innocuous, but they are important indicators when placed in the larger context.

Democrats:  Progressive Pandering, or Do They Really Mean it?

By all means, investigate questionable police behavior, and prosecute the dirty cops, but leftwing Democrats in positions of responsibility are going too far, issuing dog whistles to criminals, looters and rioters and to the guilty white latte leftists who enable them.

The sickest part of this is that Pelosi, Feinstein, The Obamas, Holders, DeBlasios, and the lower-lever pols still climbing the grubby ladder are all effete metrosexuals, rich and poweful oligarchs, or downright filthy multi-millionaires.  They send their children to private schools, wall themselves off from the societal dysfunction they foster, and live at a safe distance from the 'Spaces to Destroy' they create for their constituents.  It's sick.

Baltimore Bolshevism 

The mayor of Baltimore had to issue a tearful apology for calling the rabid animals who burned and looted her city "thugs."  But the apotheosis of this political pandering to criminal and irresponsible elements is the Baltimore City State's Attorney, Marilyn Mosely, whose husband is a city councilman representing an area where the rioting occurred.

Leftwing progressives in the Democrat party have a multi-headed monster by the tail.  Employing marxist rhetoric and pandering to the trendy socialist sensibilities will end badly.  If Mosely and her ilk actually believe the garbage they are spewing, it is even more ominous.

Here is Michael Savage's analysis.  Please listen.  It is less than two minutes.

96% of Americans are bracing for race riots this summer. My predictions? 

* Democrats will scramble to profit from the conflagration they've fueled.

* Mosely is headed for higher office

* The most serious charges against the officers will not stick, but that wasn't the point anyway.  It appeased the crowds and provided a launching pad for  Marilyn Mosely