Free Markets, Free People

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Equally Clueless

Yesterday it coalesced for me that the pundits and loyal party members of both the Republican and Democratic parties are completely clueless about what’s happening in the world outside of the Beltway or their echo chamber living accommodations.

For the Democrats there’s this piece in the New York Times.  The authors have queried numerous high level Democratic leaders and mouthpieces across the country and they’ve all concluded that the biggest problem Hillary Clinton is facing isn’t that she broke the law or jeopardized national security with her mail server antics, it’s that she just hasn’t handled it well when explaining so everyone shrugs, says “what difference at this point does it make” on her behalf and lets her get on with her ascension to the Presidency of Clinton II as foretold in prophecy.

If any of them think she’s actually committed a crime it’s not very evident.   No, the problem is she hasn’t said the words that will make everyone understand why it was okay for her to have her own server and personal email system (she gave herself permission) and why all that stuff about various levels of national security law being broken is irrelevant or worse yet invented by the Republicans to tarnish her glorious achievements as First Cuckquean, Senator and Secretary of State.  You may pick some other reason as long as it won’t result in criminal prosecutions, can be explained with a few rounds of “mea culpa now let’s move on”, and will result in her accepting the nomination for her party and her ultimate swearing in as President.

Surely you understand the worst thing she’s done is she’s joked about it!  Although no laws were broken she should still take it seriously, probably because the slugs they think they’re dealing with as voters want her to take it seriously even if it’s not serious. Granted it’s just a Vast Right Wing conspiracy manifesting itself (again) as a Republican attack on her candidacy but she still mustn’t make bad jokes over it.  Instead she might consider saying “I’m sorry”. That would make it all better and it would get the press off her case and soothe their fears that Joe Biden might be their candidate in 2016.

Then read the comments section of the article where further hilarity will ensue, you might go read many lead articles in nationally syndicate media outlets as well.  The excuse making and denial is epic.  National security concerns are; contrived, overstated, inappropriate, really not necessary, or all in all clearly exaggerated.  Perhaps some minor law was broken by some unnamed unknown non-entity who is, you can be sure, not Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Come on America! Any good Democrat can tell you unless you’re part of the G.W. Bush White House and your name is Lewis “Scooter” Libby classified data isn’t a reason to start some crazy witch hunt to find out who knew what when and did what with secret information!   Valerie Plame’s secret identity, now that’s some TS/SCI classification stuff!  On the other hand Satellite intelligence that would demonstrate we can read this article from space as I write it on my monitor in Texas, through the window behind me and over my shoulder not so much.   Come on….how is that a secret! Sheesh! (I exaggerate…..maybe).

For those of us who at least have a passing understanding of security clearances, I think we have all acknowledge regrettably the woman is unlikely to see jail time over this, because “Clinton”.  But the idea that if she just says she’s sorry she can go on with her Presidential bid is a bit much.    The reason she didn’t deal with it sooner is because she knew she broke the law and she never expected to be called on it. Who exactly was going to call her out? Obama Justice, State or FBI?   While she was breaking the law the House and Senate were busy crafting and frog marching ObamaCare through the halls of Congress.  Like Nan and Harry were going to allow us to peek into Hillary’s doings or dare to do it themselves.

But the wheel has turned.

The Dems need to find another candidate because this one is once again fork tender.

 

One the Republican side it’s all Trump, all the time.

The latest mosquito boat tactic the GOP mouthpieces have formulated is essentially “if you support Donald Trump, you’re a racist” and the implication from the linked article here is Trump supporters are looking forward to shooting some brown people too, I’m just sayin.  They remind us Trump is a racist because only a racist would want to deport people who are here illegally.  Only a racist would consider deporting children of these same people after they’re born on American soil, so by extension only a racist would support him. Got that all you racists?

Never mind that racist thing is merely the reverse of the Democratic strategy that’s kept Barack Obama in the White House for two consecutive terms.   Hey, it probably worked.

The 14th is cited as automatically granting birth location citizenship.  None of these people want to discuss the perfection in contradiction then offered in explaining why Congress felt it had to pass an Act in 1924 to grant the birth location right to American Indians though the 14th Amendment passed in 1868.   The 14th was extent for 56 years yet Congress went and addressed the issue again specifically in 1924 because? Yeah, go figure, Native Americans had to have a special act because they weren’t considered citizens although physically born in the US, which, sans Congressional act, sounds exactly like any child of people who sneak in illegally yesterday and are born here today.

Robert Tracinski wants you to know if you’re supporting Trump it’s likely you’re not only a racist, but you’re probably a moron and did I say ‘fanatic’, well yes, you’re possibly a fanatic.

George Will, I think, has given up trying to scare you with the Ronald Reagan Democratic talking points from 1979 (NUKES!!!!! HE’LL KILL US ALL!!!!) and joins in to remind us that (racist) white voters need to get some color mix in their party voting plan to get a President elected and that’s why Trump the Racist isn’t a good choice.

Sometimes mentioned is that many people who might vote for Trump aren’t really ‘in kids’ who vote in most elections and the implication is you probably don’t want to hang around with those kids do you?

Other writers, less interested in trying to tell you you’re a white racist b*****d (but probably still a US Citizen) and more interested in appealing to your rational side point out Trump is; hardly conservative, blindingly undiplomatic, rather bullying, and generally has the personality one associates with a circus ring master.

Not sure I’m a ‘writer’ but I’m in that group, and yet I’m not trying to dissuade you from any Trumpish feeling you possess because, well, read on.

The last one I will mention is Mark Salter, who I think accurately describes Trump as a narcissist and demands to know what your excuse is for supporting him.

“What the hell is wrong with you?” he asks.

I want it noted for the record that Mr. Salter worked for John McCain as a senior advisor on his Presidential campaign – I do that so I can laugh about winning campaign strategists as well as making it clear I believe Mr. Salter, who I have absolutely no personal acquaintance with, is a ruling class GOP Gentry hack.

I also chose Mr. Salter for last because he’s almost got a clue about why you might be, at this time, cheering for Trump, even if you’re not actually supporting the man.

“Politicians and pundits are making excuses for you. They say you’re so sick of bad government and polarized politics that you’re willing to take a chance on making Donald Trump the most powerful man on Earth.

My emphasis there – see, he does sort of understand.   Part of bad government I think is being lied to by your leaders. I think we’re sick of being lied to by our elite elected servant-masters in addition to being sick of our ever expanding, and often badly managed, government. And I personally find being lied to by ‘real’ Republicans more sickening than being lied to by Democrats. So he almost gets it.

For Mr. Salter and the other clueless Ruling Party hacks, leaders and mouthpieces I’ll demonstrate with a single word why Trump gets cheered on by otherwise rational conservative voters. Nota bene, we don’t appreciate being lied to and then being called racist moron fanatics.

We already get that from the Democratic Party, thanks.

I submit for your consideration Speaker of the House of Representatives and squishy GOP leader, Ruling Class business as usual John Boehner, and his view of conservative Presidential candidate Ted Cruz.

Jackass.

Yes, Orange John prefers Senators like Mitch McConnell and John McCain and they’d all really rather you prefer Jeb Bush, or if not Jeb then maybe Marco Rubio, who it appears can be controlled.  Both candidates have spoken in favor of the forms of Scamnesty that Trump is actively campaigning against.   Jeb doesn’t think the country that built the Panama Canal can handle building a wall across its southern border if it wants to.    And they’re all convinced since we can’t possibly deport 11 million people ALL at once in one afternoon in time for supper, we mustn’t bother discussing, let alone trying, anything of that nature at all.

They can’t see their get along, go along, bought and paid for by big money special interest plans of riding the big government train to socialist third world hell is what inspires a considerable portion of Donald Trump’s support.

So to help the clueless GOP Ruling class campaigners I leave this tweet from “Empire of Jeff” to explain where a lot of Trump’s conservative support probably comes from.

 

“You “conservative” “pundits” still don’t get it: Trump isn’t our candidate. He’s our murder weapon. And the GOP is our victim. “

How will Hillary wiggle out of this one?

You know you’re asking yourself that question:

The inspector general for the Intelligence Community notified senior members of Congress that two of four classified emails discovered on the server Clinton maintained at her New York home contained material deemed to be in one of the highest security classifications—more sensitive than previously known.

You may or may not remember this, but in March of this year, she stated flatly, “there is no classified material” on the server.  How she expected anyone to believe she could conduct her job as Secretary of State with that being true is left to you to imagine.  And, it seems, no one did:

The untruth revealed, [Mrs.] Clinton changed her story in July to claim that no email was specifically marked as classified. Not that it matters. Clinton wants Americans to ignore the fact that federal rules put the onus on government officials like the secretary of State to protect classified material, even when it’s not marked as such.

You know, “accountability”?

So now, she’s agreed to “voluntarily” turn over the server and the emails.  James Taranto gives us a little insight into that:

In fairness to Mrs. Clinton, it appears her decision to turn over the server and the thumb drive was “voluntary” in the formal—dare one say Clintonian—sense that she yielded to the investigators’ request rather than wait for an order.

Because, you know, for a Presidential candidate, such an order would have been politically damaging.  So the “voluntary” aspect gives the campaign and the Clintons at least a little “good spin” on a very bad event.  You can almost hear the klaxons sounding and the announcement of “battle stations, battle stations” within the campaign.

But back to that accountability thing:

Fournier notes further that “government officials have been convicted of mishandling unmarked classified material.”

Yes.  Yes they have.  But that’s not how the Princess of the Ozarks figures this should go.  So who does she need?

Mr. Obama, of course:

And at least one critic is now speculating that the possibility that she is in legal jeopardy is influencing Mrs. Clinton’s policy pronouncements.

On Monday, as the Los Angeles Times reports from Manchester, N.H., Mrs. Clinton “made her most forceful defense yet of President Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran on Monday, saying that ‘all bets are off’ if Congress were to reject the deal and warning of the potential impact to America’s standing in the world”:

“The Europeans, the Russians, the Chinese, they’re going to say, ‘We stuck with the Americans. We agreed with the Americans. We hammered out this agreement. I guess their president can’t make foreign policy,’ ” Clinton said at a campaign stop in Manchester. “That’s a very bad signal to send in a quickly moving and oftentimes dangerous world.” . . .

“I’ve gone into this detail because you’re going to hear a lot about it in the weeks ahead,” she told an audience of more than 500 at the foot of a ski slope in New Hampshire’s largest city. “So please, educate yourself. . . . We have to pursue diplomacy if we expect to be able to solve difficult problems with the rest of the world supporting us.”That’s odd. Earlier, as we noted last month, Mrs. Clinton refused to take a position on the Trans Pacific Partnership—of which she was a forceful advocate as secretary—because, as she said, “I thought it was important for the Congress to have a full debate without thrusting presidential politics and candidates into it.” She now gives precisely the opposite reason for taking a clear position, if not a particularly well-argued one, on the Iran deal.

Ah, what a surprise.  It is pleasing to be politically malleable, isn’t it?  Principles … well, she left those at the Watergate hearings.  It is raw politics and “I’ll do what ever it takes” to gain power for her.

One has to wonder how ever the cult of true believers can stomach her paranoia and willful disregard for the law.  This is who they want to be President of the US?

Anyway, is Obama the key to how she wiggles free?  Will her attempt to provide him his much desired legacy find this all to be “much ado about nothing?”  Will she actually ever be held accountable for what others have been jailed for?

~McQ

Barack Obama: Antisemite and bigot

I’m sure the title doesn’t particularly surprise anyone who has watched the creep in the White House operate over the past few years.  But while the GOP clown car steals all the headlines (because naturally that’s where the mainstream media would prefer to focus), we have this little side show going on where Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) has dared to oppose his Royal Emptiness’s desire concerning the awful Iran deal.  That has helped even some Democrats realize that this particular Emperor really is naked, his clothes having been a figment of the media and true believers.  He’s now reduced to going after his own, in the sense that Democrats are about all that still have any belief in this man’s abilities.

This has led a few on the far left to label Schumer an “Israeli Jew traitor” for his opposition to the deal.

Tablet Magazine isn’t amused at all with the utterings of Mr. Obama, and they tell you why:

Accusing Senator Schumer of loyalty to a foreign government is bigotry, pure and simple. Accusing Senators and Congressmen whose misgivings about the Iran deal are shared by a majority of the U.S. electorate of being agents of a foreign power, or of selling their votes to shadowy lobbyists, or of acting contrary to the best interests of the United States, is the kind of naked appeal to bigotry and prejudice that would be familiar in the politics of the pre-Civil Rights Era South.

This use of anti-Jewish incitement as a political tool is a sickening new development in American political discourse, and we have heard too much of it lately—some coming, ominously, from our own White House and its representatives. Let’s not mince words: Murmuring about “money” and “lobbying” and “foreign interests” who seek to drag America into war is a direct attempt to play the dual-loyalty card. It’s the kind of dark, nasty stuff we might expect to hear at a white power rally, not from the President of the United States—and it’s gotten so blatant that even many of us who are generally sympathetic to the administration, and even this deal, have been shaken by it.

And shaken they should be.  The mask if finally down.  Finally.  All the pretending in the world won’t change what Obama has said and implied.  That’s what he believes.  It is extremist and, frankly, extraordinarily biased, but it isn’t anything new for Democrats or the left. Just ask Condi Rice or Justice Thomas.  It is identity politics at its finest.  And, ironically, it is an attempt to destroy someone who was, once, an ally.

What in the world ever happened to the adults in politics?  The statesmen?  How have we allowed these creatures to take over our system?

Questions to ponder as, for the most part, the media focuses on Donald Trump and Megyn Kelly.

~McQ

Sanders gets one right … kinda

Ezra Klein of Vox interviews Bernie Sanders.  Meh.  Nothing particularly newsworthy there.  But in the process of this softball interview, the question of immigration comes up.  Read the exchange:

Ezra Klein

You said being a democratic socialist means a more international view. I think if you take global poverty that seriously, it leads you to conclusions that in the US are considered out of political bounds. Things like sharply raising the level of immigration we permit, even up to a level of open borders. About sharply increasing …

Bernie Sanders

Open borders? No, that’s a Koch brothers proposal.

Ezra Klein

Really?

Bernie Sanders

Of course. That’s a right-wing proposal, which says essentially there is no United States. …

Ezra Klein

But it would make …

Bernie Sanders

Excuse me …

Ezra Klein

It would make a lot of global poor richer, wouldn’t it?

Bernie Sanders

It would make everybody in America poorer —you’re doing away with the concept of a nation state, and I don’t think there’s any country in the world that believes in that. If you believe in a nation state or in a country called the United States or UK or Denmark or any other country, you have an obligation in my view to do everything we can to help poor people. What right-wing people in this country would love is an open-border policy. Bring in all kinds of people, work for $2 or $3 an hour, that would be great for them. I don’t believe in that. I think we have to raise wages in this country, I think we have to do everything we can to create millions of jobs.

You know what youth unemployment is in the United States of America today? If you’re a white high school graduate, it’s 33 percent, Hispanic 36 percent, African American 51 percent. You think we should open the borders and bring in a lot of low-wage workers, or do you think maybe we should try to get jobs for those kids?

I think from a moral responsibility we’ve got to work with the rest of the industrialized world to address the problems of international poverty, but you don’t do that by making people in this country even poorer.

OK, you can quit laughing now.  Klein caught flat footed and gasping.  Sanders echoes exactly what the right has been saying while at the same time trying to put the blame on … the right.

Yeah, no sale Bernie, but the rest?  Right on.  Nailed it.  Oh, and about that $15 minimum wage … yeah, you just killed it.

In reality Bernie likens businesses who want cheap labor with the “right wing”.   Hardly true but for many on the left, business = “right wing”.

However, to categorically call “open borders” a “right-wing” idea is simply absurd.  It certainly isn’t the right in this country pushing for amnesty and open-borders (well, except for some establishment GOP types).  It isn’t the right-wing that has established sanctuary cities.  And it definitely isn’t a right-wing federal administration refusing to enforce immigration laws.

But you all knew that.

So what is Bernie telling us with all this nation-state talk?  That maybe, its really a form of “national socialism” he prefers?

Oh, wait …

McQ

Hillary’s renewable energy plan

As you’ll see it’s as unachievable and utopian as all the other “clean energy” plans we’ve heard.  In fact, IBD calls it a “farce”.  And rightfully so.

Why?  Well here are the basics:

Clinton says she has two big goals that she’ll start working on “day one” to combat climate change. First is to expand solar energy supplies by 700% by installing half a billion solar panels by 2020. Second is to power “every home in America” with renewable energy by 2027.

She describes these as “bold national goals.” The more appropriate label is “expensive pipe dream.”

Again, the latter description is more apt.  Consider the goal of half a billion solar panels by 2020.  That’s 5 years from now, folks.  We all know that solar panels are a) expensive and b) don’t live up to their billing as to making us energy independent (well unless we are willing to carpet every sun touched surface on our house and property with them).  So how will she accomplish this goal?  Well, with your tax dollars (or borrowing) of course.  Subsides, tax credits, outright grants, subsides to solar panel manufacturing and big government projects that install millions of panels in desert areas (Environmental impact? Only pipelines have that.).

My goodness, haven’t we done this before?  And what’s that popular definition of “insanity”?

Also consider that perhaps the cleanest renewable energy, one that has contributed most to the use of renewable energy, is hydroelectric energy (46%).  That source has been in decline due to pressure from environmental groups.  We have less hydroelectric power now than we did in 2000.  And that trend is likely to continue.

Biomass comes in second (9%) and is also in disfavor with environmental groups (greenhouse gasses).

That leaves three “renewable” sources – geothermal, solar and wind.  Between the three, they currently contribute just “6.7% of the nation’s electricity capacity, according to the Energy Department.”  In total, we have about 15% of our energy from all renewable sources.  So you get an idea of how small the contribution of these three really are.

While Clinton didn’t say much about the other two, wind is a favorite of the renewable energy crowd.  The problem with both wind and solar is the usual – powerful environmental groups oppose both.  Especially groups concerned with the negative impact on wildlife they’ve demonstrated.  It is no secret that both wind installations and large solar instillations are abattoirs for wildlife, especially birds.

So how likely is a President Clinton to see this bit of campaign positioning come to fruition?  Well thankfully not very. It’s a slapdash bit of campaign nonsense. It is pure pandering with no hope of realization.  It is the usual political campaign “policy” making that is all talk with no walk.  It has no possibility of being realized and is just thrown out there to feed the base and keep them happy.  It is the underpants gnomes in action.

It doesn’t even stand up to casual scrutiny.  But don’t worry, her base has no reason for even casual scrutiny.  If she said it, they believe it and that ends it.

Meanwhile, upon finishing her delivery of this devilish clever energy plan, she boarded her private jet and smoked off to her next destination.

~McQ

The politics of political convenience, Harry Reid style

Did you know that Harry Reid and Donald Trump agree on the immigration issue? Or they certainly sound like they do.  Of course Reid will likely tell you that his position has “evolved” over the years – what is commonly called a “flip flop” in politics.  Like Hillary Clinton’s present position on gay marriage (and any number of other issues).  They’re positions of political convenience, not principal.

Of course, today Harry Reid condemns Donald Trump’s position on illegal immigration.  But not so long ago, Harry was an immigration hawk:

Reid authored the Immigration Stabilization Act of 1993 to remove asylum seekers, end birthright citizenship, expand deportations, and exclude legal immigrants from public assistance. The bill also included amendments that closed loopholes dealing with criminal aliens and mandated more cooperation between local and federal law enforcement, the Conservative Review reported on Tuesday.

“Our borders have overflowed with illegal immigrants placing tremendous burdens on our criminal justice system, schools and social programs. The Immigration and Naturalization Service needs the ability to step up enforcement,” Reid said in a statement.

“Our federal wallet is stretched to the limit by illegal aliens getting welfare, food stamps, medical care and other benefits often without paying any taxes,” Reid continued. “Safeguards like welfare and free medical care are in place to boost Americans in need of short-term assistance. These programs were not meant to entice freeloaders and scam artists from around the world.”

Apparently 1993 marks the date when Mr. Reid allegedly held the interests of American citizens to the forefront recognizing the drain unchecked and illegal immigration has on the nation’s budget, health and resources.

Now, not so much.

Had a Republican said all of what Mr. Reid said back then, he’d be branded a “racist”.

Oh, wait …

~McQ

Slouching our way to oppression

Again we are inundated with the usual and unusual via the internet.  Let’s take a look at a few.

It’s called “projection” Mr. Carter:

In a new interview, former Democrat President Jimmy Carter slammed America as a “racist” nation that refuses to let “old wounds” heal.

Carter spoke to the liberal AARP retirement group in an interview that was released late this week. At one point, Carter said that dreams of a color-blind society are still unrealized in the U.S.

“The recent publicity about mistreatment of black people in the judicial and police realm has been a reminder that the dreams of the civil rights movement have not been realized,” Carter said.

Carter continued insisting that “Americans still have racist tendencies or feelings of superiority to people of color.”

Unless he’s speaking for himself, he damn sure isn’t speaking for me.  I’m not sure where he gets off with trying to tag all Americans with “racist tendencies” or “feelings of superiority to people of color”.  And one must remember the party he’s affiliated with and it’s history in the region of the country from which he hails

Would someone inform this idiot that her 15 minutes of fame are over?

Emma Sulkowicz, the Columbia graduate famous across the country as “Mattress Girl” after she hauled a mattress around campus for a year to protest the school’s handling of her alleged rape, has apparently released a sex tape recreating her alleged rape.

Like the Rolling Stone “rape” story out of UVa, she is a fraud.  Now Sulkowicz inflicts this nasty little piece of work on the internet?  Shuffle off to  … wherever, lady.  You’ve overstayed your welcome and our tolerance.

Lord they must think we’re dumb (“Wizard’s first rule).  NOAA has suddenly discovered “adjustments” in temperature data that conveniently wipes out the 15 year hiatus on warming:

To increase the rate in warming, NOAA scientists put more weight on certain ocean buoy arrays, adjusted ship-based temperature readings upward, and slightly raised land-based temperatures as well. Scientists said adjusted ship-based temperature data “had the largest impact on trends for the 2000-2014 time period, accounting for 0.030°C of the 0.064°C trend difference.” They added that the “buoy offset correction contributed 0.014°C… to the difference, and the additional weight given to the buoys because of their greater accuracy contributed 0.012°C.”

This, my friends, is not science.  This is adjusting the data to get the result one wants.  And we all know what that is.

Fraud.

Incompetence, as usual:

The federal government is notifying up to 4 million current and former employees that their personal financial data may have been breached by a hack attack from China, the Obama administration said Thursday.

Credit card data, banking records, and other forms of financial information could have been stolen in the attack, affecting people across the spectrum of the federal government, officials said.

Two U.S. officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because it is an ongoing investigation, said hackers working with China are the main suspects.

Hey, I know, let’s trust them with our medical records, shall we?

Opacity, as usual:

New testimony reveals that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) used “hundreds of attorneys” to hide critical information from Congress’s investigation of the IRS targeting of conservatives.

According to new congressional bombshell testimony today, the IRS set up a previously unknown “special project team” comprised of “hundreds of attorneys,” including the IRS Chief Counsel (one of only two politically appointed positions at the IRS).

The “special project” this team was given?  Concealing information from Congress.

The IRS’s director of privacy, governmental liaison, and disclosure division, Mary Howard, testified that soon after the IRS targeting scandal was revealed, the IRS “amassed hundreds of attorneys to go through the documents [requested by Congress] and redact them.”

Our government is becoming more and more of a criminal conspiracy daily.

Why are so many poor people obese?  Well, as the SJWs would like you to believe its because of “food deserts”.  That is they don’t have access to nutritious food, but are stuck with fast food, etc.  A new study says “not so fast”:

The paper — “What Drives Nutritional Disparities? Retail Access and Food Purchases Across the Socioeconomic Spectrum,” by economists Jessie Handbury, Ilya Rahkovsky and Molly Schnell — found that “systematic socioeconomic disparities in household purchases persist after controlling for access.”

Translation: Even when healthful food choices are available, low-income consumers don’t always take them.

As a result, the authors suggest, local policies intended to punish fast-food purveyors, liquor stores, quickie markets and other sellers of high-calorie, low-nutrition food might not be the best way to go.

One thing that can make a difference is education. Low-income households with higher education levels, the authors say, “purchase more healthful foods.” Those with low income and low education “respond very little” to having healthful foods available.

Of course this won’t deter SJWs from trying to limit choice even more, will it.  After all, they always know best how you should live your lives.

Finally a little piece on “Progressives: The target is never what it seems” which hits on some points we’ve talked about here many times.

I have written  (here and here) how progressives are masters are distorting words and redefining them so that they no longer are even close to their original meanings. “Liberal” and “gay,” of course, are probably the most such distorted words. Words are the ammunition of discussion and debate, and if one side is allowed to select the ammunition, well, the ensuing discussions and debates are to be expectedly one-sided.

When you’re allowed to redefine words within the narrative, you own the narrative.  And when you own the narrative and you’re a progressive, you end up driving the cultural bus off a cliff.

~McQ

This and that

Apparently the Orange County school district (Florida/Orlando) has plans to  monitor students’ social media messages in an effort to curb cyberbullying, crime on campus and suicide.  Because, you know, that’s what they’re there for:

Orange County Public Schools announced Thursday that it has acquired software to monitor social media “to proactively prevent, intervene and (watch) situations that may impact students and staff.”  The district has obtained an annual license with SnapTrends, software that monitors Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Instagram.

The district said it plans to use the software to conduct routine monitoring for the purposes of prevention or early intervention of potential issues in which students or staff could be at risk to themselves or to others.

OCPS said the company will assist district law enforcement and security personnel in monitoring publicly available social media communications that are relevant to school operations and personnel.

“This is a tool that gives the district intelligence into a situation that could possibly prevent something more serious from happening,” Orange County Public Schools Senior Director of Safety and Security Doug Tripp said.

“Safety in and around school campuses is the top priority for Orange County school leaders,” OCPS said in a news release.  “Recognizing social media is a major communication system, the district has acquired social media monitoring software.”

School officials acknowledge the online snooping might raise privacy questions. But board member Linda Kobert said the district is taking advantage of “new tools to protect our children.”

Might raise some privacy questions?  Well, social media are indeed made up of public postings.  But let me ask you a more important question?  Is this a role for a school district?  Or is this another example of a creeping bureaucratic mission?  And what will the school district do with any information it gleans from its “monitoring?”

Note again, that we have a public official putting “safety” over supposed privacy concerns.  Oh, and btw, do you suppose that potential or real cyber-bullies don’t know how to set up fake accounts?  And is this a good use of school funds with the literacy problems most public school districts face?  The questions are endless.

Some people feel they have to take everything to an extreme.  Why, I’m not sure.  And I’m also pretty sure I think this particular extreme is both unnecessary and provocative.  If there’s trouble, will it rise to the level of “incitement”?

Jon Ritzheimer is a former Marine, and he has no middle ground when it comes to Islam.

A T-shirt he wears pretty much says it all: “F— Islam.”

Ritzheimer is the organizer of Friday’s “Freedom of Speech Rally” outside the Islamic Community Center in Phoenix.

It’s the mosque that Elton Simpson and Nadir Soofiattended for a time. They’re the men who drove from Arizona to a Dallas suburb to shoot up a Prophet Mohammed cartoon contest there. Both were killed by police early this month.

Many Muslims consider any depiction of Mohammed to be blasphemous and banned by the Islamic holy book, the Quran.

“This is in response to the recent attack in Texas where 2 armed terrorist(s), with ties to ISIS, attempted Jihad,” the event’s Facebook page said.

Some 600 people say they’re attending.

It is one thing to hold an event in another part of the state and end up being attacked by people/terrorists who chose to travel there and do so.  It is another thing to go to a group’s home and intentionally antagonize and invite an attack by showing up uninvited and attempting to provoke a response.

Other reports have said the group will be heavily armed, quoting Ritzheimer as saying they are going to exercise their First Amendment rights and back them with their Second Amendment rights.

I support both rights, but I think this is foolish, stupid and deliberately antagonistic as well as being unnecessary.  The point has been made.  It will continue to be made.  But this is not the right way to make it again.

Nice economic growth we had in the first quarter, no?  Apparently adjustments have seen the reported GDP numbers fall from 0.2 growth to a 0.7 contraction.  Economists want to argue that its just the way the government computes this stuff:

Economists, however, caution against reading too much into the slump in output. They argue the GDP figure for the first quarter was held down by a confluence of temporary factors, including a problem with the model the government uses to smooth the data for seasonal fluctuations.

Economists, including those at the San Francisco Federal Reserve Bank, have cast doubts on the accuracy of GDP estimates for the first quarter, which have tended to show weakness over the last several years.

They argued the so-called seasonal adjustment is not fully stripping out seasonal patterns, leaving “residual” seasonality. The government said last week it was aware of the potential problem and was working to minimize it.

I’m sorry, boys and girls, since when is 0.2 growth in any quarter “good news”.  Its sort of like the unemployment figures.  Mostly fudged.  And apparently that’s precisely what the government will now attempt to do to show better numbers.  These bad numbers just don’t help the government tell you how well it’s doing, do they?  What’s this, our 6th or 7th “summer of recovery?”

Excellent Kevin D. Williamson article about the old and discredited ideas of Bernie Sanders, which he ends with a caution that we should all understand by now:

Senator Sanders may insist on living in the dark ages, and his view is not without its partisans. But those views are crude, they are backward, and they are, objectively speaking, incorrect about the way the economic world works. They are barely a step above superstition, and they merit consideration for only one reason: “Voters — all they gotta be is eighteen.”

And if they’re illegal, the Democrats say, “meh”.

Meanwhile in liberal bastions, things are just going swimmingly.  Detroit:

No getting around it: Filling up your gas tank at certain stations in Detroit can be hazardous to your health.

Police Chief James Craig said at a Tuesday media conference that he’d avoid getting gas late at night in the city unless he had to, and he urged residents to be careful at the pump, according to Tom Greenwood of The Detroit News.

“I wouldn’t, but if I had to, I would,” Craig said. “But I’d probably be very aware of my surroundings.”

Craig’s commented after a driver was killed early Monday evening while trying to flee a carjacking attempt at an east-side gas station.

A wasteland run by Democrats for decades.

Baltimore:

Baltimore was seeing a slight rise in homicides this year even before Gray’s death April 19. But the 38 homicides so far in May is a major spike, after 22 in April, 15 in March, 13 in February and 23 in January.

With one weekend still to go, May 2015 is already the deadliest month in 15 years, surpassing the November 1999 total of 36.

Ten of May’s homicides happened in the Western District, which has had as many homicides in the first five months of this year as it did all of last year.

Non-fatal shootings are spiking as well – 91 so far in May, 58 of them in the Western District.

The mayor said her office is “examining” the relationship between the homicide spike and the dwindling arrest rate.

I’m sure they are “examining” it – and they’ll likely conclude its a matter of racism at some level.  While she is “examining” the relationship, she should ponder the statistic that says child victims of shootings are up 500% this year.  Well done!

NYC:

While overall crime is down almost seven percent, shootings are up 7.1 percent so far this year. Murders are up 15.3 percent. Even with the increase, it’s a much lower number than the 1980s and 1990s.

The mayor blames it on gangs.  Why have gangs again become a problem?

Of course each of these cities can look to the midwest and say, “hey, at least we’re not Chicago.”

~McQ

What difference does it make!?

It’s a really good question, given we were apparently purposely lied too by the President and Secretary of State as to the “why” of Benghazi:

New documents obtained by Judicial Watch and made public Monday show that then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and other senior officials under President Obama were given intelligence within hours of the Sept. 11, 2012, Benghazi attack describing how it had been planned at least 10 days in advance “to kill as many Americans as possible.”

A heavily redacted copy of a Sept. 12, 2012, Defense Intelligence Agency memo to Clinton, then Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, the White House National Security Council and the Joint Chiefs of Staff said “the attack was planned 10 or more days prior on approximately 01 September 2012. The intention was to attack the consulate and to kill as many Americans as possible to seek revenge for U.S. killing of Aboyahiye ((ALALIBY)) in Pakistan and in memorial of the 11 September 2001 atacks on the World Trade Center buildings.”

The attack “was planned and executed by the Brigades of the Captive Omar Abdul Rahman (BCOAR). BCOAR is also responsible for past attacks on the Red Cross in Benghazi and the attack on the British Ambassador, they have approximately 120 members.” Rahman is serving a life sentence in a federal prison for his role in the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center which killed six people in New York.

The memo was labeled: “Information Report, Not Finally Evaluated Intelligence.”

“Not finally evaluated” but certainly much more plausible than some video made by some clown in CA.  And per the memo, both Obama and Clinton knew this within hours of the attack.

So, what difference does it make?  Well, quite a bit to anyone with an sense of morality about them. It points to blatant dishonesty to hide their incompetence.  But to partisan hacks and the left, it probably doesn’t mean much that they stood by the coffins of the 4 slain in Benghazi and spun a web of lies.

Has that sunk in yet? Your former Secretary of State told you a bald-faced lie and now would like to be your President.

Tell me how she’ll be truthful about everything from now on, won’t you?

Oh, wait … emails …

~McQ

Politicizing the Amtrak incident

One of the favorite ploys of Democrats is to claim the GOP has a tendency to “politicize” tragedies.

Well, there’s politicizing a problem and then there pretending there is a problem in order to politicize it.   This recent Amtrak tragedy is the latter.

What do I mean?  Well, they hadn’t even cleared the bodies from the wreckage before former Governor Ed Rendell was on “Morning Joe” talking about how it was due to a lack of infrastructure spending.

Meanwhile, the NTSB is putting out stuff like this:

screenshot 2

Oh … 100 mph in a 50 mph curve?  That’s an obvious problem with “infrastructure spending”, isn’t it?

But that didn’t stop the Democrats talking point from continuing to roll, did it?  Nope, the good old reliable media pitches in as well.  Phillip Bump in the Washington Post:

As The Post’s Colby Itkowitz noted, Congress has delayed passing legislation to fund Amtrak since 2013. The last time it did so, in 2008, the vote passed only after a rail disaster. Which, of course, happened again Tuesday night.

The constant struggle of Amtrak to get funding derives largely from the fact that not very many Americans use the rail system. Ridership is heavily centered in the Northeast, in the corridor between Boston and Washington where Tuesday’s accident occurred. But more than that, ridership is unevenly distributed politically. Data from the National Association of Railroad Passengers shows the number of passengers that get on or off the train in any given congressional district, and reveals an obvious reason why Republicans might not be too concerned about funding the system.

Amtrak has never had a profitable year since its inception.  In fact it is a totally subsidized rail system that would fail if not subsidized.  And as Bump mentions, it is “heavily centered” in a northeastern corridor.  So essentially, given the fact that the “elites” want Americans in mass transit and this fits the description, plus it is very handy for said elites to use if they so choose, they’re fine with a wealth transfer from the rest of the country to support their desires.

Powerline picks up on the media bias as well:

There is a certain irony in these three stories perching one above the other on Politico’s main page: House panel votes to cut Amtrak budget hours after deadly crashAnalysis: GOP cuts to transportation, housing draw fire; and Derailed Amtrak was likely traveling at twice recommended speed.

Politico is a mouthpiece for the Washington establishment, where all spending is good spending. But the anti-Republican theme was picked up by many other news outlets, like Reuters: “Amtrak crash throws spotlight on funding disputes; Republicans back cuts.” And the New York Daily News: “Deadly malfeasance: Amtrak passengers paid with their lives for Washington’s neglect of transportation.”

But funding is not the problem.  Amtrak has gotten over 30 billion dollars in subsidies since its founding in 1970.  30 billion.  For a small railroad.  The WaPo’s Bump also claimed that “Republicans” hadn’t funded Amtrak since 2013.

In fact, they gave Amtrak nearly $1.4 billion less than five months ago.

One of those anti-narrative facts that keep ruining their righteous rant.

Oh, and as for “infrastructure spending?”  You remember the stimulus don’t you?  Wasn’t that for “infrastructure?” And who was in charge of doling out the loot then?

Yeah, certainly not Republicans.

Meanwhile, the union associated with Amtrak decides it too needs to score political points on the back of the 7 dead and many injured:

The Teamsters-affiliated Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees Lodge 3014(BMWE) published a blog post on Tuesday attributing the deadly crash to new safety standards proposed by management of the government-partnered railroad.

“The new ‘One Amtrak Way’, along with the new inexperienced Amtrak senior management (after the old experienced senior managers were fired) has lead to this massive derailment,” the union said.

[…]

Reuters reported that the train was not equipped with the latest U.S. safety controls that are supposed to prevent high-speed derailments.

The Pennsylvania-based BMWE failed to mention the actions of the operator on its website, instead focusing on the union dispute with management. The crash, the post said, came as “senior management has declared war on safety with it’s [sic] unions.” Union membership unanimously approved a resolution in April giving union leadership permission to call a strike. Lodge 3014 had about 240 members in 2014, according to its most recent federal labor filings.

“The unions [sic] struggle to maintain safe working conditions is hampered by Amtrak senior management’s lust for complete control and railroad inexperience,” the blog post said.

Amazing.

Why does Amtrak continue to be such a fiscal wreck?  The usual reasons:

In its current form, Amtrak is less a for-profit passenger rail corporation and more a union jobs program (its ridiculous labor contracts are a major reason why the company is perpetually swimming in red ink).

Despite all the disingenuous chatter about a lack of infrastructure funding for Amtrak, the company’s salary costs absolutely dwarf its infrastructure depreciation expenses. In 2013, for example, Amtrak spent $2.1 billion on salaries, while it recorded $687 million in annual depreciation costs. Amtrak’s pension losses alone in 2013 totaled $425 million.

The numbers are pretty easy to compute.  Nothing is going to change here.  Amtrak will continue to be a money pit that benefits only a relative few in the country.

However, again, funding and spending wasn’t the reason this train crashed and killed, is it?  At least no according to witnesses and a preliminary finding by the NTSB.

But since the politicizing has begun by the left, why not jump in.  Powerline asks the pertinent questions:

The real question is, why is the federal government in the railroad business at all? Far more people are killed in automobile accidents than train crashes, but no one says the problem is that the federal government doesn’t pay enough money to car companies. If Amtrak can’t operate safely–reasonably safely, since nothing is absolutely safe–based on the revenue it gets from customers, it should go out of business, like any other company.

Here is another question: why should businessmen, journalists, lobbyists and politicians who commute between Washington and points north have their travel costs subsidized by taxpayers? Train travel costs what it costs. Those who ride the trains should pay those costs, just like those who fly in airplanes. It is absurd that the richest and most powerful companies in the United States have their employees’ travel costs subsidized by you and me. This is cronyism at its worst. Amtrak should be a wholly private enterprise. Having ridden that Northeastern line that goes to Washington a number of times, I think it has great advantages over air travel and could easily charge enough money to be profitable in competent hands.

Look folks, the federal government has proven its incompetence for decades when it comes to running or managing anything in a efficient and cost-effective way.  Why?  Because there are no penalties for it not doing so.  It just takes more of your money to cover its incompetence or goes into debt in your name.

These questions deserve answers. The incompetence involved, the fiscal waste, is simply staggering.  And 7 people paid with their lives because of it.

Will we get any answer to those questions?  Oh, no.  The elites are fine with you subsidizing their travel expenses.  And since, it seems, most of our “leadership” comes out of that area anymore, you’re not going to see that change anytime soon.

Divestment of Amtrak is the answer, but then, passengers would have to pay real costs wouldn’t they?  And the leaching elites, who will condemn you in a NY minuted for not paying your “fair share” aren’t about to see this bit of subsidized cronyism pass by the way side are they?

I mean how would Joe Biden get home?

~McQ

 

 

 

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