Tuesday, December 31, 2013


From Roger Kimball

Their latest exercise in mendacity is “A Deadly Mix in Benghazi,” an elaborate essay that substitutes a plethora of irrelevant details and animated graphics for historical truth. The long essay takes up an event which, in a rational world, would have led the to resignation of former Secretary of State Hilary Clinton and the impeachment of President Barack Obama. I mean the terrorist attack on our consular facility at Benghazi, Libya.


A Utah judge has ruled that certain laws against polygamy or unconstitutional.

This is an interesting decision, especially in light of how polygamy affects the status of women both inside and outside of Utah—in, say, Saudi Arabia or Yemen. Or Canada. Or anywhere. It’s as though Judge Clark Waddoups, who in his Utah decision claimed there was no “rational basis” under law for distinguishing between a man shacking up with a few women and informal but established polygamy, had ruled in a total vacuum.

But worse than a single US judge’s decision has been the reaction from so-called respectable media outlets who believe, despite all worldwide evidence to the contrary, that the ruling struck a blow for unvarnished personal freedom.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013


The 80th anniversary of Stalin's forced famine in the Ukraine passed in November and I did not see any press coverage of it.  It was a horrible act of genocide.  And even more  horrible is that the New Times reporter lied about it because of his leftist political bias when he wrote news stories on the situation in the 1930s.

Joseph Stalin’s decision in 1928 to seize privately held agricultural land and transform it into collective farms caused massive hardship for all Soviet peasants. When authorities expropriated peasant grain stocks and farm animals, hunger broke out in much of the USSR. In Ukraine, where close to a million peasants actively rebelled against collectivization, such expropriations were especially severe, leading to widespread starvation that the state both refused to alleviate and purposely aggravated until millions had died and a massive crackdown on Ukrainian political, cultural, and religious elites had been completed. At the height of the Holodomor, 25,000 Ukrainians starved per day; cannibalism was rampant.


This debate reminds me of the arguments that took place in Russia when communism collapsed.  Should statutes and pictures of Lenin, etc. be preserved?  Now the US War College wants to remove portraits of confederate generals from its walls.  "Historical cleansing" can lead to ignorance of the past which creates it own set of problems.


Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany, compared the NSA to the old East German communist secret police, the Stasi, in a meeting with President Obama.  Anyone who knows anything about the operations of the Stasi realizes the anger involved in her accusations.

Monday, December 16, 2013


A criticism from Foreign Policy concerning the failure of US military strategy.  The US is still trying to use the strategy which failed in Iraq.

What we should not do is delude ourselves. Strike-based theories are attractive because they offer deceptively easy solutions. They assume away intractable problems and focus on challenges for which we can engineer clean solutions. They make us feel good. They prey on our desire for the cheap miracle cure. Unfortunately, they are really only good for starting wars, not winning or deterring them. If the bankrupt Shock and Awe theory is dressed up as strategy again, someone will call our bluff. Having assumed away hard choices, U.S. leaders will find themselves stuck with two bad choices: accept an intolerable situation or engage in a struggle for which we are unprepared. That is exactly what happened in Iraq. And if we continue to adhere to the same fallacies, we can be sure it will happen again. There are no easy wars. 

Saturday, December 14, 2013


From Powerline.  A list of corporations that financially support the Center for American Progress.  It is a myth that big business is behind conservatives and the Republican Party.

Thursday, December 12, 2013


From Mickey Kaus. It sounds so much like Mussolini: Fascism should more appropriately be called Corporatism because it is a merger of state and corporate power.

The Obama administration works closely with a few major corporations to the exclusion of other corporations.

The Obama Administration continues to blaze new paths to corporatism (the cozy alliance of government with a few big businesses in each industry to the exclusion of smaller players). Last month, it was the Obamacare two-step, in which government so screws up a new policy that it has to throw itself on the mercy of the industry it is trying to control–in this case the insurance industry, called in to save the exchanges.  Obama owes them now–both for technical help with the website and for not jumping ship as expected customers fail to materialize and HHS shifts deadlines and makes other crude fixes on the fly.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013


Government is out-of-control or at least the Department of Agriculture is.  From Open Books.  But Chicago is not the only urban area receiving subsidies.

Monday, December 09, 2013


Seymour Hersh writing in the London Review of Books questions whether the Obama administration gave the whole story when it was accusing Assad of having and using sarin.

Tuesday, December 03, 2013


The 2012 OECD student assessment results. Considering all of the money the US spends on education, public education is failing miserably.  In some cases Third World countries are doing as well as the United States is.  Slovakia spends almost 3 times less than the United States on each student and does as well on the assessments.

From The Atlantic.  Nevertheless, this year’s report—and the United States’ poor math results—may be worth paying attention to for at least one reason. A2011 study found that PISA scores are an economic indicator: rising scores are a good sign that a country’s economy will grow as well.


LZ Granderson on CNN:
“All Americans know politicians lie. The question is which lies can you live with? And, time and time again, Americans have said we can deal with the lies that President Obama tells us because we believe in his heart he has the best interest for the American people. Every president is going to lie to you. Every politician is going to lie to you. The question is which lies can you live with?”
I don't think this helps Obama's case.  Hear and see it on YouTube.


From Time.  I don't quite understand the title, "It's Social Ties, Not Religion--That Makes the Faithful Give to Charity," because the article goes on to point out that religious people are more likely to donate to charity than non-religious people. But it does try to show that the more religious social connections you have in a religious organization, the more likely you are to give.

Not only do Americans give generously to charities with religious affiliations, but the most religious Americans are also the most charitable. In our book American Grace: How Religion Divides and Unites Us, Robert Putnam and I show that there is a strong connection between being religious and being charitable. Not surprisingly, the most highly religious Americans contribute their time and treasure to religious causes. But they also give to secular causes—at a higher rate than do the most secular Americans.

The goal is to get secular organizations to somehow bond like religious organizations so that their giving for charitable causes goes up!  Crazy.


When should a president fire aides?  The National Journal raises the issue of whether Obama has been hurt by incompetents around him.  To save himself, maybe a shake-up is needed.

A series of self-inflicted wounds during his fifth year in office, capped by the botched launch of the Affordable Care Act, have Americans questioning the president's competence and credibility. History suggests that second-term presidents rarely recover after their approval ratings fall as much as Obama's have this year.

History also suggests that there are two types of White House shake-ups. The first is mostly cosmetic and is aimed at sending a signal that the president is serious. He fires somebody, anybody, as a sacrificial lamb. The second is deep cleansing--that rare occasion when a president rebuilds his team to change himself.


From CNBC. There is a good interactive map.

The U.S. turned in a mediocre performance, according to the study. The world's largest economy scored 73 in this year's index—identical to last year—which puts it in a tie with Uruguay for 19th place. Canada, Germany, Great Britain and Japan are among countries considered cleaner than the United States.


Boeing has successfully tested an EMP weapon which knocks out electronic transmissions. Warfare will change drastically.

A recent weapons flight test in the Utah desert may change future warfare after the missile successfully defeated electronic targets with little to no collateral damage.

Boeing and the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) Directed Energy Directorate, Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M., successfully tested the Counter-electronics High-powered Microwave Advanced Missile Project (CHAMP) during a flight over the Utah Test and Training Range.

Update:  A collection of videos showing the impact of an attack.