Sunday, September 14, 2014

Shorter post today, but interesting news and comment


From a blog reader and contributor
Hi Robert! My son in law did the GoRUK challenge yesterday and he and his buddies raised money for wounded Marines. I donated in your honor. Be well my friend! --Gail S. (the Injured Marine Semper Fi Fund forwarded this to me. ~Bob)

General News and Comment

Scotland’s epic vote on independence from the United Kingdom. By George Will
Excerpt: Tucking into a dish of Scottish haggis is not a task for the fainthearted. There are various haggis recipes, but basically it is sheep’s pluck — the heart, lungs and liver — cooked together, then mixed with suet and oatmeal and boiled in a sheep’s stomach, then served, sometimes drenched with Scotch. People who pour whisky on oatmeal are not shrinking violets. Remember this on Thursday when Scotland votes on independence from the United Kingdom. There are economic reasons for and (mostly) against Scotland disassociating from the queen’s realm. This issue, however, touches chords of memory more interesting than money.

Scottish History Lesson: Scotland's Independence--A Response to George Will
I sent my friend Seamus the George will article above. He is a brother Marine and combat vet of Vietnam, who loves Scotland and Ireland, is a piper, into Celtic music and far more knowledgeable on Scottish and Irish history than I am. He wrote a long response, below with great history lessons on Scotland I thought was worth sharing. ~Bob

The Assault Weapon Myth. By Lois Beckett, New York Times
Excerpt: But in the 10 years since the previous ban lapsed, even gun control advocates acknowledge a larger truth: The law that barred the sale of assault weapons from 1994 to 2004 made little difference. It turns out that big, scary military rifles don’t kill the vast majority of the 11,000 Americans murdered with guns each year. Little handguns do.

Pelosi: "Civilization As We Know It Would Be In Jeopardy If Republicans Win The Senate"
Excerpt: MAHER: This and ISIS are threatening civilization. Oh, no. PELOSI: Yeah, it is really important. (She says that like it would be a bad thing! I suppose it could cut into the massive government debt and unfunded liabilities that will create fiscal collapse, the culture of violence and dependency that plague the under-classes, the ever-growing government with an unappeased hunger to develop bureaucracies that control every aspect of our lives--but I doubt it. ~Bob)

Watch the Video: City seeks favorable ruling in SWAT incident lawsuit; police video shows what happened
Excerpt: The city of Evansville is seeking a favorable judgment in a lawsuit brought by a local woman alleging the Evansville Police Department violated her constitutional rights when its SWAT team tossed flash grenades into her home and forced their way inside to serve a search warrant more than two years ago. ... In the video, Stephanie Milan, then 18 years old, can be heard yelling, “Don’t hurt me!” at the officers. Only she and her then 68-year-old adoptive mother Louise Milan were in the house when police shattered a glass door and burst in after throwing the flash grenades inside. (Looked a bit over-blown to me. ~Bob)

Victim files complaint against AG candidate over sexual assault case
Excerpt: Happ -- the Democratic candidate for attorney general -- came under fire after her office gave a deferred prosecution agreement to Daniel J. Reynolds, who had been charged with felony counts of first-degree and second-degree sexual assaults of a child. Under the deal, Reynolds' offense would be reduced to a disorderly conduct violation if he stays out of trouble for 12 months and completes other requirements. Records show Happ and her husband sold a piece of property to Reynolds under a $180,000 land contract that was executed in 2009 and paid off three years later. (As Obama said about his golfing after the Foley murder, she "should have considered the optics." ~Bob)

Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson indicted on charge of felony child abuse
Excerpt: Peterson, a six-time Pro Bowler, is alleged to have beaten his 4-year-old son with a thin, whip-like tree branch, or “switch,” causing numerous injuries. Minnesota has deactivated him for Sunday’s game against the New England Patriots. (If sexual assaults of a child draw a disorderly conduct plea, Peterson should get by with an overtime parking ticket. ~Bob)

Federal appeals court reinstates voter ID law
Excerpt: In a stunningly fast decision, a federal appeals court in Chicago reinstated Wisconsin’s voter photo identification law on Friday — just hours after three Republican-appointed judges heard arguments on reactivating the hotly debated law in time for the November election.

Obamacare, Cost Curves, the Ever-Worsening Entitlement Crisis, and the Case for Spending Restraint. By Daniel J. Mitchell 
Excerpt: I’m very worried about the burden of government spending. Moreover, I’m quite concerned that poorly designed entitlement programs will lead to fiscal disaster. And I’m especially irked that Obama made the problem worse by ramming through yet another misguided and costly health care entitlement.

Excerpt: The Democrats are in an orgasmic frenzy over news from Wasilla, Alaska. Seems the entire Palin clan showed up for a party in honor of Todd's 50th birthday and things got out of hand. It appears words were exchanged between son Track, the Iraq war veteran and an old boyfriend of his sister Willow. Words got heated so the combatants were kind enough to take the fight out to the front yard where it got physical. Reportedly, while the men folks were basically just beating their chests, the women got into some real fisticuffs. Sarah got in her share of licks but witnesses said it was daughter Bristol who displayed a deadly left hook that did some serious damage. Eventually the cops came but the alcohol had worn off a bit and none of the combatants wanted to press charges against each other...just your normal Momma Bear-Soccer mom weekend.

Former Md. governor Ehrlich pays visit to N.H.; you know what that might mean. By Robert Costa
Excerpt: Ehrlich, 56, a former congressman who served one term as Maryland’s governor, said in a phone interview that he is, for the moment, simply looking to reenter the national political fray after keeping a low profile in recent years as he has practiced law and hosted a talk-radio program. ... Ehrlich said his still-evolving pitch is mostly “pragmatic” and about the need for “problem-solvers,” rather than ideological hardliners, to rise in the GOP so that the party could draw increased support from women and blue-state skeptics.

Authorities ID Pennsylvania state trooper killed in ambush; say suspect is at large
Excerpt: The gunman who ambushed two Pennsylvania state troopers late Friday night, killing one and injuring the other, is on the loose and dangerous, authorities said at a Saturday afternoon press conference. The two troopers were ambushed outside a state police barracks in northeastern Pennsylvania during a late-night shift change. (How large will the White House delegation to the funeral be? At least the three BO send to Michael Brown's funeral, yes? ~Bob)

Excerpt: Republicans have a 58.0% chance of winning a majority.

Is he doing it out of spite? Another beheading, another Obama golf game. Even Piers Morgan weighs in. By Joe Saunders 
Excerpt: It’s Sunday afternoon, do you know where your president is? Of course you do. Closing in on Round 200 of his two-term administration, President Obama hit the links yet again on Sunday, squeezing out the last days of golfable weather in the Northeast by going to the greens. (To update Kipling, " If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs and blaming it on you" --then it must be time to hit the links! ~Bob) 

Behind 3 women together today at the store. They used an EBT card and I saw them in the parking lot loading the groceries into their Audi. (At Walgreens, saw a healthy guy, 20s, try to buy an energy drink with an EBT card. Wouldn't take, so he paid with A $100 bill. Clerk said to me, "Our money." ~Bob)

Obamacare/Government Healthcare News
Harkin: Hillary Clinton’s “Fingerprints Are All Over” Obamacare. By Andrew Kaczynski
Excerpt: Iowa Democratic Sen. Tom Harkin said Sunday Hillary Clinton’s “fingerprints are all over” Obamacare. The Iowa senator was introducing Clinton to speak at his 37th annual Steak Fry. “One of the things she always worked on was advancing this concept, this idea that health care should be a right and not a privilege in this country,” Harkin said. (It's a major problem that liberals don't understand the difference between a "right" and a "good." I get as much freedom of speech, religion and the press as Warren Buffet or Bill Gates. You and I will never get as much healthcare, food, housing, etc as they do--it can't be done. If they are "rights," we should all get the same amount of those rights. ~Bob

Glitch in health care law allows employers to offer substandard insurance. By Jay Hancock
Excerpt: A flaw in the federal calculator for certifying that insurance meets the health-care law’s toughest standard is leading dozens of large employers to offer plans that lack basic benefits, such as hospitalization coverage, according to brokers and consultants. (A flaw in Obamacare? How can that be? Guess they should have read the bill. ~Bob)

Worth Reading: Is ObamaCare Working? By John C. Goodman, PhD.
Excerpt: Sarah Kliff, another ObamaCare supporter, estimates that health reform has enabled about 5 million people to become newly insured. But that’s only about 10 percent of the uninsured. What happened to the mandate that required that everyone have health insurance this year or face a fine? Turns out that the mandate doesn’t actually apply to millions of people. In fact, the Congressional Budget Office estimates that 90 percent of the uninsured are exempt from the mandate.

Worth Reading: Doctoring in the Age of ObamaCare: Endlessly entering data or calling for permission to prescribe or trying to avoid Medicare penalties—when should I see patients?
Google the title if you hit a pay wall. ~Bob. Excerpt: It has been four years since the passage of the Affordable Care Act, so I thought it may be useful to provide the perspective of a physician providing daily medical care. I am an endocrinologist in Washington, D.C., and have been in solo private practice for 17 years after seven years at an academic institution. Since 1990, the practice of medicine has changed significantly, seldom for the better.

"You're Greener than Gore" News

Excerpt: Back in the Bad Old Days, tyrants bent others to their will with machine guns and death camps. But what fig leaf can modern, touchy-feely, petty tyrants use to make sure other people remain “in compliance?” How about Saving the Planet?

Religion of Peace News

Must Read: The Covert Origins of ISIS 
Excerpt: Would it interest you to know who helped these psychopaths rise to power? Would it interest you to know who armed them, funded them and trained them? Would it interest you to know why? This story makes more sense if we start in the middle, so we'll begin with the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. (Foreign policy incompetence and cover-up! Now, there is no obvious solution since NATO and Middle Eastern allies refuse to support an unwilling and leaderless Obama. GBH, MajGen, USMC (Ret). "Must Read" doesn't mean I verify it as true--I don't have the Intel access to do that. ~Bob)

ISIS Beheads British Aid Worker, Releases Video – Cameron Tweets ‘Pure Evil’
Excerpt: Islamic State militants have released a video claiming to show the beheading of British aid worker David Haines.

PC Idiot: Susan Rice: It’s Not a War Because We Don’t Have Combat Boots on the Ground
Excerpt: “We’ll not have American combat forces on the ground fighting as we did in Iraq and Afghanistan, which is what I think the American people think of when they think of a war, so I think this is very different from that.” (As others have noted, Japan didn't have boots on the ground at Pearl Harbor. I supposed if we nuked every Muslim country, no one would call it war? PC Idiots, if you'll pardon the redundancy. ~Bob)

PC Idiot: Used Koran Salesman Obama: “The Islamic State Is Not Islamic”
Excerpt: “No religion condones the killing of innocents,” Obama lied, pretending that The Koran’s numerous commands and exhortations for worshippers of Allah to terrorize, slaughter, and behead “infidels,” as the way to advance the Muslim ideology and earn one’s way into paradise, did not exist.

UK Islamic Imam Refutes Obama: Terrorizing the Enemy is Part of Islam & Islamic State is "Pro-Life." By Tim Brown
Excerpt: London Islamic cleric Anjem Choudary, a long-time controversial Islamist in the UK, finally came out and admitted what all of us who don't have our heads in the sand have been saying. The same imam that encouraged Islamists to get on welfare in order to engage in jihad told Russia Today, "Terrorizing the enemy is, in fact, part of Islam."

Obama's legally dubious Isis campaign is just a way to continue perpetual war: The question isn’t whether this is war. It is. The question is how long until we’re clamouring for ground troops in Iraq again
Excerpt: The president also announced that he wouldn’t be needing congressional approval for prolonged airstrikes in Iraq and Syria, ignoring both their constitutional obligations and his … and that we’d be funneling more weapons to a group of “moderate” fighters that hardly anyone believes is moderate nor particularly good at fighting, including Obama. Legal scholars on the left and the right denounced the president’s unconstitutional decision to bypass Congress and authorize military action unilaterally by pinning it to the 13 year-old Authorization for Use of Military Force against al-Qaida – which expelled Isis months ago. The justice department’s Office of Legal Counsel, which already has an egregious habit of declaring their legal interpretations of public laws classified, may not have even bothered to put this particular tortured legal interpretation in writing. (The Guardian is considered left wing in the UK. ~Bob)

Excerpt: A spokesperson for the family of Steven Sotloff—the journalist gruesomely murdered by ISIL last week—accused "so-called moderate Syrian rebels" of helping the Islamic terrorist group to capture Sotloff in exchange for a cash payment. (These are the folks Obama, Reid, Boehner et al want to send arms to. Again: THERE ARE NO GOOD GUYS IN SYRIA. ~Bob)

Interesting: Just War Theory and ISIS. By Steve Deace 
Excerpt: This natural law requires military action to be morally justified given the human toll at stake. Dating all the way back to Augustine's City of God, this is what's more commonly known today as "just war theory." There are seven components to Just War Theory. Let's take a look at each and see if military action against ISIS applies.
Excerpt: Two al Qaeda commanders are reported to have been killed in a US airstrike in the eastern Afghan province of Paktika. The deaths of the jihadist leaders, who are members of an al Qaeda company known as the Badr Mansoor Group, have not been confirmed. The two were identified by Dawn as Aqalzadin and Ikramullah, who were among seven jihadists reported to have been killed in "a US drone strike" that targeted "a compound near Komal village of Paktika province." The area is near Pakistan's tribal agency of South Waziristan, which is a hub for al Qaeda and other Pakistani jihadist groups.

Four Men in Two Cities Killed in Acts of Islamic Jihad; Media, Obama, and Holder Silent
Excerpt: Ali Muhammad Brown, 29, was charged with the murder of 19-year old Brendan Tevlin on June 18th. Brown also confessed to killing two people, Ahmed Said and Dwone Anderson-Young, in Seattle on June 1. In addition, he was also charged with shooting another man, Leroy Henderson, in the Skyway area of Seattle in April. All of the men were killed with a 9 mm handgun. There is consistency in Brown’s statement to police in both King County in Seattle, and Essex County, N.J. He told authorities that he was doing his small part as vengeance for U.S. actions in the Middle East.

LAME: Christian Website Yanks A Column Condemning Islam. BDoug Giles

Excerpt: Last week, Gary Cass, who drives, contacted me asking if would run his piece titled, “I’m Islamaphobic, Are You?” I gave it a read and quickly said, “Heck yeah”, because Cass, like Clash, believes Militant Islam is implacable and must be stomped on like a narc at a biker party. In his sensible screed Gary gave three powerful points on how we must deal with violent Muslim mayhem. Check it out:

Scotland's Independence--A Response to George Will

I sent my friend Seamus the George Will article below. He is a brother Marine and combat vet of Vietnam, who loves Scotland and Ireland, is a piper, into Celtic music and far more knowledgeable on Scottish and Irish history than I am. He wrote a long response, below with great history lessons on Scotland I thought was worth sharing. ~Bob

Scotland’s epic vote on independence from the United Kingdom. By George Will
Excerpt: Tucking into a dish of Scottish haggis is not a task for the fainthearted. There are various haggis recipes, but basically it is sheep’s pluck — the heart, lungs and liver — cooked together, then mixed with suet and oatmeal and boiled in a sheep’s stomach, then served, sometimes drenched with Scotch. People who pour whisky on oatmeal are not shrinking violets. Remember this on Thursday when Scotland votes on independence from the United Kingdom. There are economic reasons for and (mostly) against Scotland disassociating from the queen’s realm. This issue, however, touches chords of memory more interesting than money.

Hi Bob.

Though I suspect Mr. Will (not a writer I often agree with) may be somewhat sympathetic, and seems to be trying to be fairly objective (unlike his usual essays), he, like most Americans and even many Britons is obviously completely unaware of a great many facets of Scottish history and their national character. I suspect that Mr. Will (as usual) started out with a conclusion he wanted to make, but didn't bother doing the home-work, research, or other tasks necessary to make a valid argument.

For example, he starts out with the common "Scotch and haggis" gambit in an attempt to delineate Scotland, which is, and always has been, a nation which is composed of far more and greater qualities and traits than a few traditional folk-menu items. (This is rather akin to the equally egregious "tartan, kilt and bagpipes" approach to defining Scotland.)

Mr. Will then goes on to quote Mr. Reynolds and state that Scotland is "an ethnic nation" which he defines as “a community of shared descent, rooted in language, ethnicity, and culture.”  In fact, Scotland is made of many ethnic, linguistic, and cultural strands woven in over the centuries, and has a complex cultural and linguistic history. 

In the 9th century, Scotland had almost half a dozen different overlapping cultures speaking as many different languages, such as Cumbric Brythonic in the South-West, Pictish in the North-East, Irish (Gaelic) in the Hebrides and West coast, later followed by Vikings in Orkney and Shetland, and in the Hebrides and West Highlands, who blended with the Gaels and older inhabitants, some of whose language became incorporated in what was becoming Scots Gaelic, and of course the Angles in the South-East, especially from the time of Malcolm "Cean-mor" and his successors, speaking the dialect of English which would eventually become the language that has been called "the guid Scots tongue" (aka "Doric," "Broad Scots" or increasingly in recent years, "Lallans").

And let's not forget the Normans introduced by David I and his Normanophile successors, or the Flemish introduced into Scotland, first by David I and later migrations, including that authorized by James VI prior to his becoming King of England.

There have of course been many others in more modern times, but this historic over-view shows how wrong Mr. Will is about the Scots and their supposedly homogeneous origins. While most of these cultures have assimilated (as they did elsewhere, including in the US), their marks were left on the language and culture. 

Likewise, the Highland and Lowland cultures have historically differed greatly from one another, leading to many a war and feud. So much for "ethnic unity."

As to Wallace, far from becoming an icon only in the late 19th century, as Mr. Will and / or Mr. Reynolds imply, Sir William Wallace (like his contemporary, King Robert the Bruce) has been an iconic figure in Scotland since his campaigns in 1297-98, followed by his brutal and horrendous judicial murder by Edward I on the 23rd of August, 1305.

Wallace is referred to by Scottish poets and historians from John Barbour (c.1320 – 13 March 1395) in his work "The Brus" and Abbot Walter Bower (ca. 1385 – 24 December 1449), and especially by the great Scottish "makar" Blind Harry (c. 1440 – 1492), whose "The Actes and Deidis of the Illustre and Vallyeant Campioun Schir William Wallace"  (aka "The Wallace") set forth most of what we now know about Wallace.

These histories, stories and references continue on all the way up through Burns (himself a "cult figure" almost from his death in the early 19th century), who certainly knew (and indeed used some of) Blind Harry's lines in his own famous nationalist paean to Bruce and Wallace, "Scots Wha' Ha'e" and on to Walter Scott and his successors. Therefore, 550 years of history refutes Mr. Will's contention that Wallace became a "cult figure" only in the late 19th century.

As to the "continued vitality of their national sentiments testifies to the ability of differences to resist homogenization by the commercial and cultural forces of modernity" -- that is ludicrous. While they have indeed resisted "homogenization" to some respect, the Scots for all intents and purposes invented the modern world -- as Arthur Herman has pointed out in his book on that topic. (Mind you, Herman has a number of deficiencies too, but he is essentially right in that it was the Scots who quite  literally invented the modern world -- not only with their technological inventions and improvements, but with their philosophical and political contributions as well. 

Examine the Founders and Framers of the American Republic and what do you find?  Scots and Scotch-Irish, who are invariably the driving forces behind the Revolution.

In Pennsylvania, Virginia, and most of the Carolinas, support for the revolution was "practically unanimous." Mecklenburg County, North Carolina, with its large Scotch-Irish population, was to make the first declaration for independence from Britain in the Mecklenburg Declaration of 1775. 

The Scotch-Irish "Overmountain Men" of Virginia and North Carolina formed a militia which won the Battle of Kings Mountain in 1780, resulting in the British abandonment of the southern campaign, which some historians believe marked "the turning point of the American Revolution."

A British major general testified to the House of Commons that "half the rebel Continental Army were from Ireland" and one Hessian officer during the Revolution said, "Call this war by whatever name you may, only call it not an American rebellion; it is nothing more or less than a Scotch-Irish Presbyterian rebellion."

Alexander Hamilton was the son of a Scottish laird, and a great many other Revolutionaries had Scots or Scotch-Irish antecedents, such as the  Reverend Dr. John Witherspoon, a native Scot who became a patriot, signer of the Declaration, and first Moderator of the US Presbyterian Church, as well as a principal educator of Madison and others who became Revolutionaries (who, despite his own activity, thought that ministers and religion should have no active part in government.)

Their philosophies and beliefs (many of which were molded by Enlightenment and Age of Reason philosophers) had a huge effect on the course of events that led to the American Revolution, and all the subsequent events that sprang from it.

One third of our Presidents have been of Scots or Scotch-Irish heritage either directly or indirectly.  The more obvious ones are those recognizable by their names, such as; Jackson, Polk, Buchanan,  Andrew Johnson, Grant, Arthur, Cleveland, Benjamin and William Henry Harrison, and McKinley, while Theodore Roosevelt's mother had Ulster Scots ancestors who emigrated from County Antrim.  Woodrow Wilson was of Ulster-Scots descent on both sides of the family, and Truman, Clinton, and Obama also have Scots-Irish lineage, while LBJ and Nixon were both descended from Border families. ( George MacDonald Fraser once waggishly  remarked about a picture of LBJ, Nixon and Billy Graham standing together that it would not take much imagination to see them scowling grimly out from under the "steel bonnets"  of their rapacious Borderer ancestors. I had to agree. )

And of course, many other notable Americans including; Neil Armstrong and James Irwin, John C. Calhoun, Kit Carson, Davy Crockett, Jefferson Davis, John Dunlap (Revolutionary politician) Admiral David Farragut, Nathan Bedford Forrest, William Gamble (Union general), Bill Gates (Microsoft), Ulysses Simpson Grant, Sam Houston Thomas J. ("Stonewall") Jackson, Naval Aviator and Senator John McCain,  George B. McClellan, John P. McCown (Confederate general), Benjamin McCulloch (Confederate general), George S. Patton, VP Adlai Stevenson I, Gov. (IL) Adlai Stevenson II, Sen. Adlai Stevenson III, J.E.B. Stuart, Charles Thomson (Revolutionary politician), and James H. Webb (Marine,  Assistant Secretary of Defense for Reserve Affairs, Secretary of the Navy, and U.S. Senator).

The Scots and Scotch-Irish have made innumerable contributions to science, philosophy, literature, education, medicine, commerce, and politics that have formed the modern Western world.

John Knox and the Church of Scotland broke the strangling power of first the Catholic, and later the Anglican Church, while the Scottish Enlightenment helped to inspire both the American Revolution and the U.S. Constitution. Thousands of Scottish and Scotch-Irish soldiers and immigrants helped conquer and settled the American and Canadian frontiers, and later, Australia, New Zealand, and the growing British Empire.

Inventors like James Watt, philosophers like Adam Smith, financiers and industrialists like Mellon and Carnegie, writers including Burns, Scott, Stevenson, Doyle, and Barrie, and hundreds of other Scots have shaped our modern world. 

Thomas Newcomen's bicycle, the macadamisation (not to be confused with tarmac or tarmacadam) of roads, based on the work of Telford and McAdam, Europe's first passenger steamboat, Fairbairn's tubular steel and iron ship's hulls,  the telephone of  Alexander Graham Bell, John Logie Baird's invention of television, Alexander Fleming's discovery of penicillin, and the discoveries of electro-magnetics, radar, and insulin and many other technologies, techniques, and instruments. 

Richard Feynman once said, "the most significant event of the 19th century will be judged as Maxwell's discovery of the laws of electrodynamics"

As Victorian historian John Anthony Froude wrote, “No people so few in number have scored so deep a mark in the world’s history as the Scots have done.”  (Though I'd be inclined to add the Irish.)

Our contemporary technology, capitalism, and democracy was largely shaped or influenced by the Scots and Scotch-Irish. The names I've included are only the tip of the Scots and Scotch-Irish iceberg. (If you want a MUCH bigger and more complete listing, see: )

So I'm afraid I'd have to disagree with Mr. Will. Scotland is a LOT more than a little back-water of haggis, whiskey, and Celtic Twilight, unable to function w/o its "parent" state, England. If anything, I'd say the shoe is on the other foot, and it is England who will become the net loser.

That said, and as much as I've wanted to see an independent Scotland (and N. Ireland joining the Republic), the tendency toward Balkanization of countries and peoples in many parts of the world is worrisome, as it seems a step backward from what eventually needs to happen -- i.e., an effective world governing body, with a charter based on our Constitution and Bill of Rights. Without such a body, there is little doubt humanity will soon extinguish itself, either through war or other means.

OTOH, attempts at world organizations have so far proven ineffective or even disastrous. (e.g., the UN has done little better than the League of Nations, and the EU has serious problems.)   

Oh well!  Not a lot to be done either way, I fear. 

Anyway, tnx. for the link, and hope you are continuing to improve!



Friday, September 12, 2014

Great Collection of News and Comment Today


My friend and brother Marine, John Payne was in town with his brother, Dennis, also a Marine vet. As regular readers know, John got a lung five days before I did, also for pulmonary fibrosis. He was here for a three-month checkup, and is doing great. Above we are at dinner at the Beach House Restaurant in McFarland, Dennis on the left.

Friday 9/12 it was cold, rainy and about 46 degrees here. More like November than September. It was 90 when John left Louisiana. He asked when it was supposed to warm up again. I said, "May." I am not looking forward to this winter, but glad to still be here for it.

The Year 1000: What Life Was Like at the Turn of the First Millennium, An Englishman's World by Robert Lacey and Danny Danziger 
My bride and I are listening to this fascinating short history on CD in the car. Very interesting facts. Folks in 1000 were more advanced than we credit. A lot of the things developed then are still strong influences on our world. The book does dwell a bit on the disastrous reign of my ancestor, Ethelred II, the Unready. The epithet “unready” is derived from unraed, meaning “bad counsel” or “no counsel,” a puns on his name, which means “noble counsel.” Ah, well, we can't all have Robert the Bruce in the linage.

Ethelred II

5 million Gmail passwords leaked: Check if yours was among them
Mine was not. And I always try to put the receiver's addresses in the BCC field to protect them from spammers and scammers--though I have screwed up a few times. I blame the drugs, not age. ~Bob

General News and Comment

Fox News poll: 10 pieces of bad news for the White House

When you want to help people, you tell them the truth. When you want to help yourself, you tell them what they want to hear. - Thomas Sowell

Just 63% Know Which Parties Control the House and Senate
Excerpt: Over one-third of Likely U.S. Voters remain unaware which political party controls the House of Representatives and which has a majority in the Senate - less than two months before an election that may put one party in charge of both. A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that only 63% are aware that Republicans have majority control of the House. An identical number (63%) know that Democrats run the Senate. (And we wonder why we are in the shape we are. These are the low-info loot-the-future voters when they vote. $20 says my 39-year-old step-daughter is among them. Two month after we invaded Iraq, she walked in and asked, "Are we at war?" Doesn't follow news on TV, read a paper, or use the Internet except for Facebook. ~Bob)

DC teacher has sixth-graders compare George Bush to Adolf Hitler
Excerpt: A public school teacher in Washington who instructed sixth-graders to compare former President George W. Bush to Adolf Hitler has learned her own lesson, according to district officials, but critics wonder why she still has a job. D.C. Public Schools Chancellor Kayak Henderson responded to the controversy late Wednesday on Twitter, saying no curriculum intended to make the comparison “in any way” and that the district and unidentified teacher are “deeply apologetic” about the matter. Henderson said the teacher has been ordered to apologize to the class. ("They have to be carefully taught".....Barb)

Delaware, US domestic tax haven, under Pressure
Excerpt: There are more companies than people in the small US state of Delaware, its population of under one million nestled on the Atlantic coast just south of New Jersey. The reason is clear: the state offers companies low taxes, an efficient, pro-business legal environment, and it allows anyone to set up a company anonymously, registering a shell that hides who really controls it and controls the money within it. That has now put Delaware, and other states that permit shell companies, in the sights of the US authorities, after they have campaigned against international tax havens like Switzerland to fight tax dodging and money laundering. (Too bad Delaware doesn't have any high ranking US government officials to go to bat for it. ~Bob)

Why Democrats Can’t Win the House
Excerpt: Democrats often blame gerrymandering, but that’s not the whole story. More than ever, the kind of place where Americans live — metropolitan or rural — dictates their political views. The country is increasingly divided between liberal cities and close-in suburbs, on one hand, and conservative exurbs and rural areas, on the other. Even in red states, the counties containing the large cities — like Dallas, Atlanta, St. Louis and Birmingham — lean Democratic.

Why Dem voters may not show up this fall. By Greg Sargent 
Excerpt: What if a key part of the problem is that many of these voters simply don’t know that Democratic control of the Senate is at stake in this fall’s elections? That’s one of the conclusions veteran Dem pollster Celinda Lake reached after conducting new focus groups and polling for the liberal group MoveOn. Lake conducted two focus groups of people from Detroit and its suburbs. (Detroit? With what the Democrats have made of the cities' school systems, lucky if they know what a senate is. This highlights the fact that Democrats are highly dependent on low information voters. ~Bob)

Theirs But To Do and Die: Dien Bien Phu and the twilight of the warrior. By Robert Messenger
Excerpt: The Battle of Dien Bien Phu passed from history into legend almost the moment it ended in the early hours of May 8, 1954. Popular conception is that colonialism’s days in Indochina were numbered, and there was nothing French soldiers could have done to arrest the forces of history. The Indochina War that ebbed and flowed after 1945 tends to be presented as either a small episode in the story of postwar Asian nationalism or the opening act of a long war that ended in 1976. These are handy tales for textbook writers and newspaper columnists, but the facts don’t support them. Even a cursory study shows that Dien Bien Phu was a viable military gamble and one that the French came close to winning. Indochina might just as easily have been another Malaya as a precursor to U.S. failure in Vietnam. As so often when political issues are intertwined with military, hindsight is blind. (Wow, what a fascinating discussion of the French experience in Viet Nam and elsewhere and the US experience in Viet Nam and elsewhere. --Del)

Excerpt: One of the reasons that I worked for many years as an ill-remunerated doctor in a prison, and used earlier in my life to visit countries torn by civil war, is that extreme situations help to clarify what is important in life. I never arrived in the prison but I wondered how I would react to incarceration, whether I would be a stoic and retreat into myself or be someone who kicked against the traces and made trouble for the authorities just to assert my own continuing humanity. (A very nice explanation of the most unpleasant human truths... should be read by everyone, but most especially by those who think every conflict can be solved by good communication and good will. --Del)

Excerpt: On the evening of January 11, 1996, while Mitt Romney was in the final years of his run as the head of Bain Capital, Barack Obama formally joined the New Party, which was deeply hostile to the mainstream of the Democratic party and even to American capitalism. In 2008, candidate Obama deceived the American public about his potentially damaging tie to this third party. The issue remains as fresh as today’s headlines, as Romney argues that Obama is trying to move the United States toward European-style social democracy, which was precisely the New Party’s goal

Obama losing the confidence of key parts of the coalition that elected him. By Karen Tumulty
Excerpt: Both Cole and Richardson were surveyed in the latest Washington Post-ABC News poll and represent one of its most striking findings: the degree to which the president’s approval has slipped among key parts of the Obama coalition — the women, youth and Latino voters most responsible for putting him into office.

Moore's a racist? Who knew? Michael Moore slams Obama: He was the first black American that got elected president, and that's it': Michael Moore slams Obama's legacy for leaving Detroit in the lurch
Excerpt: Angry left-wing filmmaker trashed Democratic president in Toronto as 'a big disappointment' Said his ghost-town home city of Detroit, Michigan should be better off – and would be, if it were in Iraq or Syria. Insisted the only historic accomplishment Obama will be remembered for is breaking the presidential color barrier 'Not a bad accomplishment, but that's it' (Moore has given up on Obama, which is interesting, he was one of the guys who thought Obama was The One. --Del)

Race Card News

93% of Democratic Senate or Governor Candidates Are White: Not So Diverse. By Dan McLaughlin 
Excerpt: ...while Republicans will be running two Hispanic Governors for re-election, Democrats will not have a single Hispanic candidate heading a statewide ticket. ... In the 71 races they are contesting, 66 of the 71 candidates the Democrats are running (93%) are white, 56 of the 71 (79%) are male, and 53 of 71 (75%) are white males. That could spell trouble for the Democrats’ hopes of turning out a voting base that is disproportionately non-white and female. For all the Democrats’ rhetoric about race, they are running fewer non-white candidates than the Republicans are, and fewer in races they are seriously contesting. (I'm sure the race-sensitive MSM will be all over this. Ha! ~Bob)

Obamacare/Government Healthcare News

ObamaCare - "Take Ten Pills and You're Fine"
This satire video is too funny! ~Bob

Undocumented Democrat News

If the USA enforced the same immigration laws as Mexico enforces– we would be called mean-spirited & racist! (Those racists in Mexico also have voter ID. ~Bob)

Religion of Peace News

Worth Reading: World at War. By Victor Davis Hanson
Excerpt: Two questions will determine whether radical Islamic terrorists will attack us once more: one, are the post-9/11 anti-terrorism protocols that have so far stopped major terrorist attacks still viable and effective, and, two, is Al-Qaeda or an analogous Islamic terrorist organization now still as capable as were Osama bin Laden’s henchmen in 2001?
Unfortunately, the answers to those two questions should raise great concern. Take the current status of the so-called war on terror in all of its manifestations.

A TIME OF CR-ISIS. By Jim Geraghty, Morning Jolt
Excerpt: This president is still walking around with an oversized sense of his own popularity, political capital, and public trust. He still thinks that if he says, "We will do X," people will believe him. He's capable of giving a good speech — well, reading from a teleprompter with the right tone, facial expressions, and mannerisms — but very few people, at home or abroad, still expect dramatic action to follow dramatic words. The Obama pattern is clear: big promise, lousy results. Too many lines instantly pop into the minds of viewers. Red line. "If you like your plan, you can keep your plan." "We're going to arm the moderate Syrian rebels." "New tone." "Assad must go." Just because Obama says it doesn't mean it's going to happen. (Today's Morning Jolt is excellent, but I have no link and can't include the whole thing. Worth subscribing to--it's free. ~Bob)

Worth Reading: Obama’s ISIS Speech: It succeeded in tone but failed in substance. By Tom Rogan
Excerpt: But at a basic level, the speech lacked clarity of intent. President Obama began by listing his assumed counterterrorism successes. This had a raw domestic political motivation that was unbefitting of the moment. It distracted rather than reinforced his message. President Obama’s assertion that he had removed “Syria’s declared [note: declared] chemical weapons so they cannot pose a threat to the Syrian people — or the world — again” was especially problematic. That WMD deal is a disgrace that shames America

Excerpt: In a televised address on how to address the Islamic State this evening, President Barack Obama declared the organization variously known as ISIS or ISIL to be “not Islamic.” In making this preposterous claim, Obama joins his two immediate predecessors in pronouncing on what is not Islamic.

Balanced Overview: What Obama Got Right—and Wrong—in His ISIS Speech. By Steven Bucci
Excerpt: The next section began to float toward hyperbole. The president spoke of a “comprehensive counterterror strategy.” He gave Yemen and Somalia as examples of the validity of this methodology. ... The final words were an attempt to convince the listeners that his leadership has been successful. That “case” is weak. Now the nation will wait to see if this works.

'Moderate' Syrian Revolutionaries Front continues to support al Qaeda. By Lisa Lundquist
Excerpt: An article in yesterday's New York Times titled "US Pins Hope on Syrian Rebels with Loyalties All Over the Map" highlights the fact that President Obama's recently declared strategy against the Islamic State depends on empowering Syrian rebels to take control once the Islamic State is driven out. This plan leaves the US "dependent on a diverse group riven by infighting, with no shared leadership and with hard-line Islamists as its most effective fighters," the article observes, and proceeds to elaborate on the difficulties of working with the various groups and even knowing what their allegiances are. ... The only problem with this example of a possible US ally in the fight in Syria is that Maarouf has already stated that he has no problem with al Qaeda's Syrian branch, the Al Nusrah Front, and has admitted to sharing weapons with it. (Okay, here I go again: THERE ARE NO GOOD GUYS IN SYRIA. The weapons we give them will be eventually used to kill Americans, Israelis and other westerners. ~Bob)

Reid: Obama's request needs 'immediate' action
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said Thursday that Congress will pass legislation authorizing the training and equipping of moderate Syrian rebels by the end of next week. The authorization will include the $500 million requested by President Obama for the task, but Democratic leaders say it is too early to project how much the open-ended military engagement will cost. “The proposal that the president has given to the American people requires immediate congressional action in granting the administration the authority to equip and train Syrian rebels under Title X to fight ISIS,” Reid said. (There are over 31,000 followers in ISIS now. The regime wants to continue to arm them using America's $$. What is a "moderate Syrian Islamist"? Intelligence reports on the net and other reports indicate they state they are such, get the material, and swear allegiance to ISIS. Kurds have captured weapons from ISIS soldiers that say "Made in USA." Send more? And Reid is banging his fist saying that the almighty OZ has declared we do it? Maybe we are sheeple. Send them $500 million more? Call your representatives so they know how the people they represent feel. Or go play golf and wait for someone wrapped in black to play soccer with your head. --Barb)

‘Eyes Wide Open’ Urged in Funding Syrian Rebels to Fight ISIS. By Melissa Quinn
Excerpt: House Speaker John Boehner yesterday reassured Americans that Syrian rebels — who could be the recipients of $500 million in U.S. aid – have been “well-vetted” by intelligence officials. A former top Pentagon official, however, urged that congressional leaders keep “eyes wide open” and not rush toward unintended results.

Blocking Obama's ISIL Strategy. From The Patriot Post
In his speech to the nation on ISIL Wednesday, Barack Obama declared, "[W]e will conduct a systematic campaign of airstrikes against these terrorists. ... [W]e will hunt down terrorists who threaten our country, wherever they are. That means I will not hesitate to take action against ISIL in Syria, as well as Iraq." He claimed to be assembling a "broad coalition" in support of his mission so as to not, as he has previously put it, "go it alone" like George W. Bush in Iraq. Bush went with support from 37 countries; Obama has fewer than 10. And one of them is not Turkey, which announced Thursday it would not permit U.S. aircraft to conduct airstrikes from its air bases. That limits our options to carriers in the region or other NATO bases further away. Oh, and Great Britain and Germany also won't be helping with airstrikes. Behold, the results of "leading from behind."

We're Not at War, Kerry Says. From The Patriot Post
Secretary of State John Kerry insisted Thursday that we are not at war with ISIL -- at least not just yet. "What we are doing," he said, "is engaging in a very significant counter-terrorism operation.” Just to reiterate the point, he said, "If somebody wants to think about it as being a war with ISIL they can do so, but the fact is it's a major counter-terrorism operation." We're glad he cleared that up. It reminds us of Kerry's comments just over one year ago, when he was pumping up action against Syria's Bashar al-Assad. He promised we would counter Assad "without engaging in troops on the ground, or any other prolonged kind of effort, in a very limited, very targeted, very short-term effort,” and that any action would be an “unbelievably small, limited kind of effort.” The administration sure is twisting itself into knots to assure its hard-left base that Barack Obama is not George W. Bush. Kerry's remarks would be funny if they weren't so disgraceful.

The Problem with Obama’s ISIS Strategy: The president’s war plan against the group suffers from a glaring mismatch of ends and means. By Charles Krauthammer
Excerpt: In his Islamic State speech, President Obama said many of the right things. Most importantly, he finally got the mission right: Degrade and destroy the enemy. This alone will probably get him a bump in the polls, which have dropped to historic lows. But his strategic problem remains: the disconnect between (proclaimed) ends and means.

Five things that could go horribly wrong with Obama's action in Iraq. By Byron York
Excerpt: If there's one thing America's misadventure in Iraq from 2003 to 2011 taught everyone, it is that things can go terribly wrong when the U.S. intervenes in a foreign environment with deep sectarian divisions, an ineffectual government, armed factions, and the general complexities of the Middle East.

Worth Reading: Countering Islamic State will be hard in Iraq and harder in Syria, officials say
Excerpt: In Iraq, dissolved elements of the army will have to regroup and fight with conviction. Political leaders will have to reach compromises on the allocation of power and money in ways that have eluded them for years. Disenfranchised Sunni tribesmen will have to muster the will to join the government’s battle. European and Arab allies will have to hang together, Washington will have to tolerate the resurgence of Iranian-backed Shiite militias it once fought, and U.S. commanders will have to orchestrate an air war without ground-level guidance from American combat forces. “Harder than anything we’ve tried to do thus far in Iraq or Afghanistan” is how one U.S. general involved in war planning described the challenges ahead on one side of the border that splits the so-called Islamic State.

Brother of Beheaded American Journalist James Foley: State Department Threatened Us. By Katie Pavlich 
Excerpt: Further in reaction to a question posed by Kelly about whether the Obama administration did everything it could to bring James Foley home, especially after the Bowe Bergdahl swap and comments by Obama saying Americans leave no man behind, Michael Foley said his family is "appalled" by the situation. Foley also talked about how he was threatened directly by the State Department and said that when the family tried to get information from the U.S. government or from other allies, they were stonewalled. 

Islamic State can’t be beaten without boots on the ground. By Con Coughlin 
Excerpt: If Barack Obama believes he’s come up with a strategy to defeat Islamist militants in Syria and Iraq, he should think again. Far from devising a plan to crush the dangerous fanatics, all he has done is to provide what is potentially a recipe for disaster. (Racist UK Telegraph dares to question Obama's strategy. --George)

Obama Will Fight ISIS by Arming ISIS. By Daniel Greenfield
Excerpt: A few centuries later his fellow Englishman, Winston Churchill, quipped, “The United States invariably does the right thing, after having exhausted every other alternative.”
It’s not true of the United States, but it is true of Barack Obama who, having exhausted every alternative that involved appeasement or pretending that ISIS wasn’t a threat, has decided to do the right thing.

Syria crisis: Chlorine gas used in attacks, says OPCW
Excerpt: Chlorine gas was used in attacks in northern Syria this year, says the international body seeking to implement global laws banning chemical weapons. The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) said it had found "compelling confirmation" of the use of chlorine, in pure or mixed form. (This can't be true. Obama just bragged about his success in getting Assad to give up chemical weapons. He didn't mention that was thanks to Putin putting together a deal that let Assad stay in power, despite Obama's "Assad must go" statement. ~Bob)

Bush in 2007 delivered eerily accurate warning about Iraq unrest
Excerpt: A prophetic warning from then-President George W. Bush before he left office about what would happen if the U.S. withdrew troops from Iraq too soon is getting new attention in light of the Islamic State’s gains, as each of his predictions appears to be coming true. Bush, as discussed on "The Kelly File," made the remarks in the White House briefing room on July 12, 2007, as he argued against those who sought an immediate troop withdrawal. “To begin withdrawing before our commanders tell us we are ready would be dangerous for Iraq, for the region and for the United States,” Bush cautioned.

I am a 14-year-old Yazidi girl given as a gift to an ISIS commander. Here’s how I escaped. They killed my brother and tried to make me a concubine. I found a meat cleaver and broke out. By Mohammed A. Salih 
Excerpt: The militants divided us by gender and age: One for young and capable men, another for girls and young women, and a third for older men and women. The jihadists stole cash and jewelry from this last group, and left them alone at the oasis. Then they placed the girls and women in trucks. As they drove us away, we heard gunshots. Later we learned that they were killing the young men, including my 19-year old brother, who had married just six months ago.

Isis recruitment moves from online networks to British mosques. Growing evidence that Britain is a specific target for jihadis looking to exploit fundamentalist Islam
Excerpt: Networks of radicals are re-emerging in British mosques and elsewhere to encourage and facilitate Muslims wanting to travel to Syria and Iraq to fight for Islamic State (Isis). Until now most fighters from Britain who are known to have travelled to Syria have been persuaded and helped via online networks where extremists provide advice on crossing the Turkish border and linking up with Isis fighters. (Well I'm sure the moderates in these mosques are loudly speaking out against this. Those with a death wish, anyway. Moderate Muslims are as irrelevant as moderate Germans in 1938. ~Bob)

Jihadi DOCTOR stands with severed head in her hand as kids look on in horror. A BRITISH doctor and suspected jihadi holds aloft a severed head while two children look on in horror.
Excerpt: The sickening snap is posted on Mujahidah Bint Usama's Twitter page and shows her wearing a white lab coat, veil and holding her arm outstretched, with what appears to be a decapitated head. The photo is captioned "Dream Job... A Terrorist Doc" which she has added a smiley face song and two hearts to. (Obviously joined the Jihad because of poverty, privation and racism which kept her from getting ahead! ~Bob)

Excerpt: Wherever Muhammad Bayoudh Al-Tamimi is located, he should expect a knock on his door, and Barack Obama, David Cameron, Philip Hammond, Yvette CooperFr. Dwight LongeneckerRev. Professor David Thomas, and a host of other non-Muslims to walk in and explain to him that he is misunderstanding Islam, and that the Islamic State has nothing whatsoever to do with the genuine article.

Worth Reading: The Middle East’s Maze of Alliances. It’s increasingly difficult to navigate the web of transitory enemies and allies in the region. By Victor Davis Hanson
Excerpt: In 2012, the Obama administration was on the verge of bombing the forces of Syrian president Bashar Assad. For a few weeks, he was public enemy No. 1 because he had used chemical weapons on his own people and because he was responsible for many of the deaths in the Syrian civil war, with a casualty count that is now close to 200,000. After Obama’s red lines turned pink, we forgot about Syria. Then the Islamic State showed up with beheadings, crucifixions, rapes, and mass murders through a huge swath of Iraq and Syria. Now the United States is bombing the Islamic State.

How to deal with the ISIS
Cool video-Get Some! ~Bob

You are being manipulated: Al Qaeda Wasn’t ‘on the Run.’ Why haven’t we seen the documents retrieved in the bin Laden raid? By Stephen F. Hayes
Excerpt: Three weeks before the anniversary, the administration provided that handpicked set of documents to analysts at the Combating Terrorism Center (CTC) at West Point. ... To some involved in the CTC study, it was clear that the report was to be part of a broader administration public relations effort. ... The administration originally approved 19 documents for declassification and release. But shortly after providing them to the CTC, Lieutenant General Doug Lute, a senior official on the National Security Council, called to ask that one of the documents be withheld. The document in question detailed the close relations between al Qaeda and senior leaders of the Afghan Taliban. Lute explained that the administration had restarted secret negotiations with the Taliban, and releasing the document could present unwanted complications. The document was not released.

Thirteen Years Ago, Remember. By Andy Weddington

Excerpt: This story doesn’t note the best thing that Cruz said: “If you will not stand with Israel, I will not stand with you.” Then he left the stage — he wasn’t booed off. It is shameful that these Middle Eastern Christians heckled Cruz for standing with Israel. This is the result of their long historical identification with Muslims as fellow Arabs.

Bill Maher Destroys the Idea of a "Moderate" Islam
Excerpt: “Vast numbers of Christians do not believe that if you leave the Christian religion, you should be killed for it. Vast numbers of Christians do not treat women as second-class citizens. Vast numbers of Christians do not believe that if you draw a picture of Jesus Christ you should get killed for it.”

Allah Akbar! Blast kills leader of Ahrar al-Sham rebels
Excerpt: The leader of one of the biggest Islamist rebel groups in Syria has been killed by an explosion in the north-western province of Idlib. Ahrar al-Sham said Hassan Abboud was among a number of senior figures who died in the blast at the group's headquarters in the town of Ram Hamdan.

U.S. Muslims ask Obama to block counter-terror training

Excerpt: Even as fears grow that ISIS terrorists are secreted inside America’s Muslim community, dozens of American Muslim groups have fired off a letter to President Obama demanding he cut off federal funding for sheriffs and other local police receiving anti-jihadist training from a former FBI agent.