Monday, February 29, 2016

Getting The Nomination

For John, BLUFYou have to have a path to the nomination.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From the Five-Thirty-Eight blog on "Leap Day" there following links talk to the path to nomination by the two five candidates (three Republicans and two Democrats).  They do not talk to a "Brokered Convention", one in which no candidate has the necessary delegate count to cinch the nomination (1237 for a Republican and 2026 for a Democrat).

Regards  —  Cliff

  Remember, WCAP notwithstanding, the Republicans have far fewer Super-delegates than the Democrats.

Sun on Baker

For John, BLUFThe Unenrolled are a wild card here.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From the Associated Press, and The [Lowell] Sun, 29 February 2016 edition, we have, from Page 2, below the fold, "Some angered by Baker's support of GOP slate".  Including Talk Show host Howie Carr, not mentioned in the article.  And the odd Unenrolled Voter.

Regards  —  Cliff

WBUR On Trump

For John, BLUFThey just don't get it.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Friday last, rushing to a meeting in Downtown Lowell, I caught the end of a WBUR show with Mr Bob Oakes (and Shannon Dooling).  And here is an extract:
Republican analyst Todd Domke and Democratic analyst Dan Payne, WBUR’s political team, have their own theories on Trump’s rise in Massachusetts.

Domke, who is not a Trump fan, blames the state’s Republicans.

“Without any opposition in this state to Trump from Gov. Charlie Baker, Republicans, some, view Trump as an almost safe, establishment choice,” Domke said.

To be fair, Baker did say this week that he probably won’t vote for Donald Trump.

Payne thinks Massachusetts might just be exhibiting its occasional political crankiness.

“Massachusetts is liberal, but in the recent past it has voted for ‘Scoop’ Jackson, a conservative Democrat. It voted in 1984 for Ronald Reagan for president. So every so often, we behave like the rest of America,” Payne said.

Give me a break.  Senator "Scoop" Jackson, a Democrat from Washington State, was my favorite in 1972.  That is not "recent".  As for Mr Domke's comment, it is a sign of someone who doesn't travel much outside Boston itself.  And, if Scoop Jackson is the recent past then we can say that in living memory Massachusetts was a Republican state and is returning to its past.

The bien-pensant just don't yet get it.

Mr Trump, and Senator Sanders, are a product of the problems in DC.  They were created, as political figures, by the likes of President Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the Republican Congressional Leadership.  The People want change, they just don't want it to change for them, except maybe for lower taxes.

Regards  —  Cliff

Preference Cascade

For John, BLUFRemember the story of The Emperor with No Cloths?  The kid is noticing that The Donald does have cloths.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From USA Today and Law Professor Glenn Harlan Reynoldswe have "A Trump wave is on the way".  This Column appeared 25 February2016.  Here is th sub-hedline—"As plebes make the Donald increasingly acceptable, expect elite Trump supporters to come out of the closet."

Here is the lede:

In America, Donald Trump — who many of the experts thought had no chance — is dominating the polls.  In Britain, meanwhile, much of the public seems to be mobilizing in favor of exiting the troubled European Union — a British Exit, or Brexit.
And here is how it works:
In his terrific book, Private Truths, Public Lies: The Social Consequences of Preference Falsification, Timur Kuran writes about the phenomenon he calls “preference falsification”: People tend to hide unpopular views to avoid ostracism or punishment; they stop hiding them when they feel safe.

This can produce rapid change: In totalitarian societies like the old Soviet Union, the police and propaganda organizations do their best to enforce preference falsification. Such regimes have little legitimacy, but they spend a lot of effort making sure that citizens don't realize the extent to which their fellow-citizens dislike the regime. If the secret police and the censors are doing their job, 99% of the populace can hate the regime and be ready to revolt against it — but no revolt will occur because no one realizes that everyone else feels the same way.

This works until something breaks the spell and the discontented realize that their feelings are widely shared, at which point the collapse of the regime may seem very sudden to outside observers — or even to the citizens themselves. Kuran calls this sudden change a “preference cascade,” and I wonder if that’s not what’s happening here.

When Mass Democrats switch to Unenrolled so they can vote in the Republican Primary you are seeing some kind of phenomenon.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Howie Carr on Committeeperson Race

For John, BLUFSometimes things are best left alone, so as not to excite the otherwise uninvolved.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

In Sunday's edition of The Boston Herald is a Howie Carr OpEd on Tuesday's vote for Republican State Committeeman and Committeewoman.  Forget the Presidential Primary, Howie talks to the hot race.

"Charlie tries to RINO-size GOP committee with hacks".

There is no value added by trying to gild Howie's Lilly, so just read the thing.

Regards  —  Cliff

Your Vision of the Future?

For John, BLUFTrends don't necessarily stay the same.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From the Blog of Mr Wes Fulton, on 24 February of this year, we have "The revolution is dead. Long live the revolution!".

It starts out with a quote from Ecclesiastes which should recall Ash Wednesday.  And here is how it starts:

"All go unto one place; all are of the dust,” wrote the author of Ecclesiastes, “and all turn to dust again.”

I was reminded of this by two seemingly unrelated stories that I came across the other day.  First:  According to the L.A. Times, Paul McCartney and Beck were turned away from a Grammy party hosted by rapper Tyga.

The story notes that Paul McCartney — one of The Beatles — has 18 Grammys.  Beck has five.  Yet they were apparently perceived as too old and uncool to be admitted to Tyga’s party.

Tyga — whose most recent album featured the single “Hollywood Niggaz” — has zero Grammys.

The second story was one out of Missouri, where a police officer got in trouble for appearing in a “racially charged” rap video.  The video in question was “racially charged” in the sense that it seemed to be promoting “white pride.”

Both of these stories touch on something that I think is insufficiently appreciated by our current political leaders, both left and right — things change, and the change does not always happen in ways that you expect.  Young revolutionaries eventually become old men, and ideas that seem intuitively obvious to one generation — so obvious that they don’t even need to be explained and defended — may not seem all that intuitive to a generation who has no experience of the context in which those ideas arose.

Yes, history and culture are not straight lines, but have curves and kinks.  The whole thing is worth a read, when you have the time.

And, since the Blogger touches on Caucasian "Privilege" and "White guilt" it is worth noting that the Demographers and the Progressives continue to remind us that Caucasians will soon be a minority in this country.  Frankly, I don't care, as long as those who populate this land continue to believe that they are the inheritors of the "Rights of Englishmen".  That is what allows us to be the free nation we are, rather than a typical Western Hemisphere caudillo run nation, or worse, a dictatorship by the intellectuals, which usually leads to mass deaths.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Lowell Republican City Committee Divided?

For John, BLUFTurns out George was right.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

City Life Host George Anthes likes to say there is the Cliff Krieger Wing of the [Republican] City Committee and the Mary Burns Wing.  I have always found this a bit laughable, given that Mary Burns is a member of the Ward 3 Republican Ward Committee.

On the other hand, reliable sources have told me that, last week, Ms Burns called into WCAP and said that indeed there was two wings to the Lowell Republican City Committee, something she confirmed to me at the Party on Thursday for Candidate Jordan Gys (Wicked Irish Pub).

I think that this goes to a much deeper issue.  That is the question of the difference between the Down Town [Boston] Republicans and the Grass Roots Republicans.  The question of who the Governor is supporting for State Committee positions and who are being supported by the folks out in the hinterland.

For some in the hinterland there is the concern that the direction in which the Downtown Republicans are leading the party is toward a more "moderate" brand of Conservatism.  For instance, rolling off the Pro-Life plank in the party platform.  Of course, the proof will be in the pudding and we are a couple of years off from the next State Party Convention.  Between now and then there will the Presidential elections and we will see how the nation and the Party goes.

Monday will be interesting.  And, Ms Mary Burns will be elected to the Ward 3 Committee and I will be elected, I hope, to the Ward 1 Committee.  Then the position of City Chairman will be up for voting some 35 days down the road.

Regards  —  Cliff

Wherein I Apologize for The Vice President's Remarks

For John, BLUFI hope the next Administration is less apologetic.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From Ms Shoshana Weissmann and The Weekly Standard we have Biden Apologizes to Mexico for GOP Comments.

From the beginning of the article:
CNN reports that on Thursday, Vice President Joe Biden spoke in Mexico City and "came close to offering an apology for comments made by Republicans about Mexico and Mexican immigrants on the campaign trail."
I almost feel obliged to apologize for some of what my political colleagues said," Biden said alongside Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto.  "It's a heated campaign season and I just want you to know, Mr. President, that the most heated rhetoric you've heard from competitors for the nomination for president is not who we are as the American people.  It is not the view that is the view of the majority of the Acan people. It's the exact opposite. It's the opposite view.
But in 2007, Biden called Mexico a "dysfunctional society."
So, having learned from the guy from Steam City, I hearby apologize to the Citizens of Canada, Cuba and Mexico, and Economic Immigrants enroute through those nations, for any comments by our current Vice President, who is a worthy successor to Alexander Throttlebottom.

Hat tip to Matt Drudge.

Regards  —  Cliff

Unlawful Orders

For John, BLUFYou pays your money and you takes your chance.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From Politico and Reporter Nick Gass we have "Former CIA director:  Armed forces would ignore Trump".

Here is how the article starts out:

Former CIA Director Michael Hayden blasted Donald Trump's rhetoric in a recent interview, saying that the U.S. military would refuse orders from him, even as commander-in-chief, to kill the families of terrorists, as Trump has pledged to do.

Appearing on HBO's "Real Time with Bill Maher" to promote his latest book, Hayden expressed concern about Trump's language, including the Manhattan real-estate magnate's vow to bring back waterboarding and worse because "they deserve it."

“I would be incredibly concerned if a President Trump governed in a way that was consistent with the way that candidate Trump expressed during the campaign," Hayden said.

Actually, "ignore" is the wrong word in the headline.  It is disobey.  The military is taught to not follow orders that violate the Geneva Conventions.  On the other hand, some do.  They are wrong to do so.  The lesson learned from the Nuremberg Trials is that following orders does not excuse one.

The Instapundit thought this was the key exchange:

Maher brought up Trump’s pledge to kill family members of Islamic State terrorists. “That never even occurred to you, right?” Maher deadpanned.

“God, no!” Hayden exclaimed.  “Let me give you a punchline:  If he were to order that once in government, the American armed forces would refuse to act.”

Maher responded incredulously, “What? Well, that’s quite a statement, sir.”

“You cannot—you are not committed, you are not required, in fact you’re required to not follow an unlawful order,” Hayden replied.  “That would be in violation of all the international laws of armed conflict.”

“You’ve given us a great reason not to support Trump.  There would be a coup in this country,” Maher cracked.

Hayden said he was not sure about “a coup.”

“I think it’s a coup that you said it,” Maher said.

I would think that General Hayden should have drawn a strong line for Mr Maher.  He should have said something like "We aren't talking about Reporters and Talk Show Hosts here, but about members of the US Armed Services."

So, on the one hand you have a candidate who encourages (orders?) her subordinates to violate Federal Laws, and they do, and on the other hand you have a Candidate who says he will order violations of the Law of Armed Conflict and he immediately gets pushback from a retired four star.  Is there a gripping hand and what does it hold?

Oh, and the punchline from the Instapundit is:

See, if a black (or female) Democratic president gave an unlawful order, they’d follow it anyway so as not to be called racist or sexist.  So if you’re worried about executive misbehavior, you’ve got to vote for the white male Republican.
Yes, politics can be convoluted.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

PS:  Congrats to Ms Clinton for winning South Carolina so decisively.

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Trump and the IRS

For John, BLUFThe Donald tries to identify with the various demographic groups who will be voting.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From The National Interest, and Mr Jonah Goldberg, we have "The Goldberg File".  Mr Goldberg is bothered by Mr Donald Trump's excuse for not revealing his recent tax records, and especially Mr Trump's comments on why the IRS was auditing him.  And, Mr Goldberg has a good perspective on this.  However, I think Mr Trump's comments, quoted by Mr Goldberg and posted below, are quite good.
“I'm always audited by the IRS, which I think is very unfair -- I don’t know, maybe because of religion, maybe because of something else, maybe because I’m doing this, although this is just recently,” Trump said in an interview with CNN’s Chris Cuomo immediately following the 10th GOP debate on Thursday night.

Cuomo cut in: “What do you mean religion?”

“Well, maybe because of the fact that I’m a strong Christian, and I feel strongly about it and maybe there’s a bias,” Trump said.

Cuomo cut in again:  “You think you can get audited for being a strong Christian?”

“Well, you see what’s happened,” Trump said.  “You have many religious groups that are complaining about that.  They’ve been complaining about it for a long time.”

OK, lets start with the assertion by Mr Trump that he is a "strong Christian".  Does anyone really believe that?  Maybe, but not likely.  More important, probably not important.

But, Mr Trump, in that quote, touches a sensitive issue.  Out here across the fruited plain we tend to not trust the IRS.  We are concerned that the IRS is peopled with Democrat operatives, operatives who go against conservative organizations.  What is it now, Day 1024 of the IRS Scandal?  There is a lack of trust of the IRS out there and Mr Trump has tapped into it.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

  GOP Candidate Dr Ben Carson says he was never audited until after he criticized President Obama at a National Prayer Breakfast.

IF Mr Trump Wins…

For John, BLUFIt is only speculation.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

This morning my wife and I were discussion which of the Republican "also rans" might end up as Vice President and who might end up a Presidential appointee.

We first reviewed the Executive Departments (e.g., State, Treasury, Interior).  There are are 15 of them.

Then there are the independent agencies.  These came up when we asked ourselves which Department is the home of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).  Turns out none.  It is one of the 27 Independent agencies of the United States government.  They range from the EPA to the Postal Regulatory Commission to the Selective Service System.

If you want to play at home, here is something to build off of, based on my wife's picks:

  • VEEP—Gov John Kasich
  • State or Defense or Treasury—Carly Fiorina
  • Attorney General—Gov Chris Christie (Back up—Rep Trey Gowdy)
  • Health and Human Services—Dr Ben Carson
  • TBD—Gov Jeb Bush
  • Alt for Treasury—Rep Trey Gowdy
  • Veterans Affairs—Scott Brown
Senators Gruz and Rubio to remain in the US Senate, although Senator Ted Cruz might be nominated for a US Supreme Court seat.

My own thoughts are that it is not yet a lock for Mr Trump.  Super Tuesday will be important and I urge everyone in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to get out and vote on 1 March.  The unrolled should also pull a party ballot and vote.  Republican or Democrat, although most I know are pulling a Republican ballot.  And while you are there, vote for your District State Committeeman and Committeewoman.  And, if you want to be on a ward committee, write yourself in (name and address as on the voting list) and get two friends in your Ward to also write you in (name and address as on the voting list).

Regards  —  Cliff

  And some of them should go away, like the Department of Homeland Security.  The Department of Education should be scaled way back (their proposed budget for 2017 is just under $70 billion).  In addition, if you want to understand one of the key drivers for the increase cost of higher education, think about the regulatory activities of the Dep't of Education and the requirement for each higher education institution to hire administrators to execute the programs.  And Congress is not blameless in this.
  Yes, young ladies, it is time for full Citizenship and for you to register for the draft.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Test Deck

For John, BLUFGood job doing the video.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Yesterday the Lowell Election Commission checked all the voting machines, to make sure they give true results.  At any rate, the Election Commission met yesterday (Wednesday) in the Mayor's reception room and in the photos below you can see they were hard at work.

Here is Commissioner Bev Anthes showing the voting machine and the test ballots for Republicans, Democrats and the Green Part.

Here are three of the four Election Commissioners (On the left, standing, Tom O'Brien, in the foreground is Volunteer Anthony Attachi, across the table, in red and seated is Bev Anthes, and in the center back corner of the table is the Chairman, Joseph Mullen).  The fourth shows up in the next picture.

Here is the fourth member of the Election Commission, Thel Sar, running ballots through a machine for the test.

Here is a typical printout, in this case Democrats.  If you look closely you will see that City Life Tuesday Co-Host Jim Peters is on the ballot for Democrat Ward 4 Committee.

Director of Elections Eda Jane Matchak says the test was a success.

See you at the polling place this coming Tuesday.

Regards  —  Cliff

  Which reminds me of the story about Moscow, after the wall came down and the Soviet Union crumbled, wanting to move toward modern democracy, purchased the surplus voting machines from Chicago, which was purchasing new machines.  In the first Moscow election with the new machines the new mayor was Richard Daley.
  Yes, the machine is the rather thin white thing. The black box it rests on is to capture the voted ballots.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Fighting the Good Fight

For John, BLUFMaybe we are talking fighting "Activist Privilege".  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From the computer keyboard of Mr Dan Hannan, and The Washington Examiner we have an article of praise for Australian Peter Tatchell, "Taking offense is a kind of conspicuous consumption".

The thing about Mr Peter Tatchell is that he believes in free speech for all.  And good on him for it.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Hijacking Credit Cards

For John, BLUFLet's be careful out there.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From The [Lowell] Sun we have "Credit-card skimmer found at Bedford gas pump".

Reporter Robert Mills wrote this article.

The lede:

BEDFORD -- Bedford police say a credit-card skimmer was found on a gas pump at a Shell station on Great Road last week and they're working with the U.S. Secret Service to investigate how it got there.
The article notes that such a "skimmer" was found at a TD Bank in Drum Hill (Chelmsford).  When the banks miss these things you know you have to be vigilant.  One suggestion from the article is to pay cash for gas (which at some stations saves you a couple pennies per gallon).

Regards  —  Cliff

A Partisan DOJ?

For John, BLUFI keep saying that with Former A/G Eric Holder gone the DOJ is doing good, but they keep fighting me on this.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

I feel sympathy for the Federal U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC).  Their lawyer in Federal Court (in this case the District of Columbia Federal District Court and Judge Richard J. Leon) is the DOJ Federal Programs Branch.  I have been represented by a Government agency that did not, in my humble opinion, fight for our position.

But this case is especially egregious.  The Federal Programs Branch web site says:

They defend against constitutional challenges to federal statutes, suits to overturn government policies and programs, and attacks on the legality of government decisions.
So, you would think the Federal Programs Branch would be backing the position of the EAC, but alas, they rolled to the plaintiffs in a case involving the EAC approval "to allow Kansas, Georgia, Alabama, and Arizona to enforce their proof-of-citizenship voter-registration requirement."  Not only did DOJ refuse to defend the EAC, a Federal Agency, it told the EAC it could not hire its own lawyer to defend its position.

This is reported in The National Interest by Mr Hans A von Spakovsky in an article headlined "An Extraordinary Beat-Down for the DOJ".

So, Mr Ioseb Besarionis dze Jughashvili, from the nation of Georgia, an immigrant not yet a US Citizen, can register to vote, and vote, under the theory of the League of Women Voters and several other organizations.

Mr Ioseb Besarionis dze Jughashvili!  A man who killed millions!

Well, not Mr Ioseb Besarionis dze Jughashvili, since he is dead, except he could vote in Chicago.

We did get to Godwin's Law in the courtroom.

It was clear that this hearing did not go the way the plaintiffs’ lawyers and DOJ had tried to arrange it to go.  They thought the fix was in.  In fact, it went so badly, particularly with DOJ being called on the carpet by Judge Leon, that at the end when the plaintiffs’ lawyer got up to try to repair all the holes that Kobach had knocked in their case, the lawyer tried to compare the EAC action to Nazi Germany.  He waved the EAC opinion at issue in the air and said “this is what Nazis do behind closed doors!”  You know a lawyer is desperate when he tries to equate a dispute over an election administration issue to Nazi Germany.
I checked the District Court website this morning and a ruling has not yet been posted.

Imagine what Mr Mel Brooks could do with this material.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Testing the Voting Machines

For John, BLUFAnd you are invited.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Tomorrow, Wednesday, 24 March, the Election Commission will run the Test Deck of election ballots on our several voting machines.  The location of the test effort will be the Mayor's Reception Room, on the Second Floor of City Hall.  The operation will start at 0800, but will go on for some time during the morning.

This is about free and fair elections and the test is open to the public.  So, if tomorrow morning you are looking for something to do, you might stop by the Mayor's Reception Room for a couple of minutes to watch the operation of the four City Election Commissioners and the staff of the Elections Office.

Ask questions, if you have any.

Regards  —  Cliff

Monday, February 22, 2016

Mr Trump Still Has A Ways To Go

For John, BLUFMr Trump is going to have to start breaking 50%.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From the Brookings Institution and Mr John Hudak we have, from this last Saturday, a report on the South Carolina Republican Parimary.  "The South Carolina primary results don't mean Trump will be the nominee".

Here is the money quote:

Party rules make it hard for Trump to clinch. While some states are winner-take-all in their allocation of delegates. Many are not. Many allocate strictly proportionally or function as a winner-take-all if and only if a candidate receives a supermajority (between 66 percent and 85 percent depending on the state). Trump is "winning" by pulling 30-40 percent of states' votes, making those winner-take-all-thresholds far out of reach. It also makes securing the nomination formally (winning a majority of delegates) or informally (broad support being so obvious that further competition is se
My Trump needs 1237 delegates to win the nomination.  A little over 160 of the 2369 delegates are Uncommitted (three from each state, territory and DC).  In a close race those delegates will count.  This thing is far from sewn up.

Regards  —  Cliff

Sunday, February 21, 2016

The Battle of Verdun

For John, BLUFWar involves killing and sometimes it gets totally out of control.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

This is one hundred (100) years ago today.  The Battle of Verdun started on 21 February 1916 and last until 18 December 1916.  A terribly costly battle.  The ossuary at Verdun contains the remains of over 130,000 men who just could not be identified.  The equivalent of the legal and illegal population of Lowell, Massachusetts, who fought and died in a ten square mile area.  By comparison, Lowell is 13.8 square miles of land (plus 0.8 square miles of water).  Gone, never to be identified again.

My wife and I did a "Volksmarch" at Verdun and went through Fort Douaumont, which is today one of the many memorials in the battlefield area.  This link shows the front of the Fort.

To commemorate this anniversary The New York Times published "World War I’s Iconic, Ironic Battle", by Professor Paul Jankowski, of Brandeis University.  The professor is the author of Verdun: The Longest Battle of the Great War.

Here is the lede plus one:

One hundred years ago, on Feb. 21, 1916, 1,200 German artillery pieces began firing on French positions around Verdun, the ancient fortress town on the Meuse River in eastern France.

It was the middle of World War I , and the fighting all along the Western Front that ran between the Channel and the Alps had settled into a static confrontation of men, planes and guns — guns, above all. That day the Germans dropped a million shells onto the forts, forests and ravines around Verdun, and in the 10 months that followed, 60 million more would fall in the area. By then the French had stopped the German advance and even recovered most of the terrain they had lost, reduced by then to a lunar landscape bereft of vegetable or animal life. And 300,000 men had died.

Not all of Professor Jankowski's insights are good, as a ten EMail thread amongst some of my friends demonstrates.  But, there are lessons to be learned here.  Here is the final paragraph:
To a historian 100 years later, Verdun does yield a meaning, in a way a darkly ironic one. Neither Erich von Falkenhayn, the chief of the German General Staff, nor his French counterpart, Joseph Joffre, had ever envisaged a climactic, decisive battle at Verdun. They had attacked and defended with their eyes elsewhere on the front, and had thought of the fight initially as secondary, as ancillary to their wider strategic goals. And then it became a primary affair, self-sustaining and endless. They had aspired to control it. Instead it had controlled them. In that sense Verdun truly was iconic, the symbolic battle of the Great War of 1914-18.
The person who seemed to learn the least was French General Robert Nivelle.  While he was successful in defending Verdun, his approach ultimately led to revolt in the trenches, chronicled in the book Dare Call it Treason, by Mr Richard M. Watt.

Regards  —  Cliff

School and Its Discontents

For John, BLUFWe have probably gone as far as we can with the current school model.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

On City Life on Friday the question of Charter Schools came up, as it should with someone like Mr George O'Hare on the show, a person who has served on the Lowell School Committee and the School Committee of the Greater Lowell Technical High School.

Two years ago I read an article,"School and It’s Discontents".  This Article was in the January-February 2014 Issue of The Catholic Worker (Vol LXXXI, No 1), on page 7.  The author was Mr Eric Anglada. In the article Mr Anglada talks about public schools.  He starts out:

In the spring of 1971, Dorothy Day refused an invitation to receive an honorary degree from the Catholic University in Washington, DC.  “The Catholic Worker,” she wrote, “stands in a particular way...for people who need some other kind of schooling than that afforded by universities and colleges of our industrial capitalist system.”  She added that the Catholic Worker is trying to “stimulate the young to study ways by which they can change the social and educational system nonviolently.”

In that spirit, as part of our ongoing work at New Hope Catholic Worker Farm, in what Peter Maurin liked to call an “agronomic university,” we hosted more than thirty people last September for a four-day workshop on alternative education.  We sought to clarify our thoughts and practices in relation to the world of school, education, and learning.  From unschooled children, to frustrated grad students, to parents exploring alternative education models for their children, to avid lifelong learners, our workshop contained a wide array of backgrounds and experiences.  Thus we began our seminar by reflecting on our own experience of education, asking ourselves two basic questions:  What has worked?  What has not?

Now if you are like most people, with only a glancing contact with the Catholic Worker Movement, you probably think of it as a bunch of Progressives.  That would be an error.  As you can see from the above quote, it is more of a Libertarian movement, more in line with Rerum Novarum than with the Democrat Party Platform.

Below is a discussion of the history of schools and references Educator John Taylor Gatto.

While education, as [Educator John Taylor] Gatto points out, has been centered on the home and the community for most of human history, compulsory schooling—six classes a day, five days a week, nine months out of the year—is a recent phenomenon. Originally an idea of Plato, it wasn’t until centuries later, in 1819, that compulsory education was first signed into law, in Prussia.  Prussia’s system inculcated values like obedience and lent itself to social stratification and uniformity in thought.  School proved to be a perfect transition for children to go on to work in the military or the mines.  Such a bold program of schooling did not go unnoticed.  In the US, intellectuals like Horace Mann became fascinated with Prussia’s educational system, seeing school as the perfect way to create a disciplined, ordered citizenry.  In 1852, Massachusetts became the first state to follow in Prussia’s path. Notably, the literacy rate has never been higher in Massachusetts than it was in 1850—before compulsory schooling was instituted.
Let us ponder this a moment.  Ever since Horace Mann brought us public education our literacy rate has not move up?  That is an astonishing statistic.  And, going along with this, I heard, on Friday last, someone say that a Junior College education (Associate of Arts degree) is what a High School diploma was in the 1930s.  How did that come about?

On the other hand, many parents are aware of the problems in schools.  Parents are, in fact, the first educators of their children and many have an interest in their child's intellectual development.  In Saturday's edition of The [Lowell] Sun there is an article by Ms Katie Lannan, "State:  34,000 students on charter-school wait lists".  That is a fairly large number.

Then there is the whole home schooling movement, which is legal in all 50 states.  Home schooling is for parents who (1) don't trust public schools and (2) can't get their child into a decent charter school.

The point of all this is that not everyone trusts our public school systems here in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.  And that is NOT to say that school committee members aren't working the problem hard.  They are.  But, change may require revolution and revolution is hard.  Not the take to the barricades type revolution but the mental rethinking kind.  And mental rethinking is scary—scary to parents, to students, to teachers, to unions, to administrators, to school committees and to Government bureaucrats.

Read the whole thing.

Regards  —  Cliff

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Jeb a Dot

For John, BLUFAs others drop out, can Mr Trump grow his numbers?  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Per Fox News, Gov Jeb Bush has dropped out of the race.

Mr Donald Trump has won again, but didn't run the table.

Senator Marc O'Rubio, the Irish Candidate, has nudged out Senator Ted Cruz, the Canadian Candidate, for second place.

Then Gov Bush (7.9%), Gov Kasich (7.7%), then Dr Carson (7.1%).

Regards  —  Cliff

Nevada for Hillary

For John, BLUFI was expecting an upset.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

The Boston Globe says "Hillary Clinton Wins Nevada Caucuses".

Not just super delegates, but also votes, 52.4% to 47.5% for Senator Sanders.

But, not a resounding win.

Regards  —  Cliff

Criminal Activity in High Office

For John, BLUFMaybe the Lesson Learned is that Ms Clinton doesn't follow directions.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From the on line publication Truth Revolt we have an interesting item from On-Line Commentator Bill Whittle, "The Criminal Arrogance of Hillary Clinton"

The sub-headline is:

Lawlessness is endemic in this administration. But beyond the lawlessness is, of course, the contempt.
Passing over, for a moment, Ms Clinton's WikiLeaks like treatment of classified information, there is the mandate in Law to protect public records.  There is the assumption that after the passage of some time the records of an Administration will be released so that historians can comb through them and help us to understand what happened way back when.

So, here is the US Code to which Mr Whittle was referring (U.S. Code, Title 18, Part I, Chapter 101, § 2071):

(a) Whoever willfully and unlawfully conceals, removes, mutilates, obliterates, or destroys, or attempts to do so, or, with intent to do so takes and carries away any record, proceeding, map, book, paper, document, or other thing, filed or deposited with any clerk or officer of any court of the United States, or in any public office, or with any judicial or public officer of the United States, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than three years, or both.

(b) Whoever, having the custody of any such record, proceeding, map, book, document, paper, or other thing, willfully and unlawfully conceals, removes, mutilates, obliterates, falsifies, or destroys the same, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than three years, or both; and shall forfeit his office and be disqualified from holding any office under the United States.  As used in this subsection, the term “office” does not include the office held by any person as a retired officer of the Armed Forces of the United States.

Someone in the Department of State, who was responsible for State employees following the law, fell down on the job and failed to point out to Ms Clinton what was as obvious as the nose on her face.

Regards  —  Cliff

  Like revealing the identity of an Afghan intelligence asset for the CIA.  Sure, it isn't like revealing the fact that Ms Valerie Plame was a CIA asset, even though she was safe in the US.  But still, to the Afghan's family it might be an issue.  Let them sue.  It is the American way.
  It turns out that news reports really are just the first draft of history.  Why do you think Sandy Berger was at the National Archives.  To remove materials.
  I realize Mr George Anthes, from City Life, will tell us that four different lawyers will have four different opinions, but I took it to be something that I had to pay attention to, taking the king's shilling and all that.
  Did she learn nothing from Mr Sandy Berger's 2005 conviction?

A Man With a Plan

For John, BLUFThere is a lot to like about LowellDr Ben Carson.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

"Dr. Ben Carson’s Economic Plan"

By Carson Economic Advisory Group

From the Second Paragraph we have a look at the big issue of the day:

We must be frank about the problems we face. American median family income has fallen over the last 15 years due to stagnant economic growth, which for the last quarter was below 1%. America’s reputation for economic freedom has been tarnished, falling in rank behind 11 other countries. Unfunded liabilities are estimated to cost between $100 and $200 trillion, bankrupting our future. Dr. Carson’s flat tax and regulatory rollbacks will create robust economic growth, millions of new jobs, and the resources to strengthen national security.
And here is an excerpt on Immigration.  I like this because it is what I was trying to tell Mr McDonough and Mr Anthes on City Life, yesterday.
Migrants will voluntarily return to their home countries if they have economies that are generating opportunities and jobs. Mexico has the potential to expand its economy substantially through development of long-dormant energy industries. America will help by pursuing joint ventures with Mexico. Together, the United States, Canada, and Mexico will have the greatest energy industry complex in the world.
I realize there is a lacking of the bombast and drama of the other candidates, but I don't find that absence all that bad.

Regards  —  Cliff

Bernie Switching Lanes?

For John, BLUFBernie has some work to do amongst Hispanics.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Labor leader (UFW) and activist Ms Dolores Huerta talks to the issue of "On Immigration, Bernie Sanders is Not Who He Says He Is."

Here is the kiss of death:

I like Bernie.  He’s a nice guy.  I have no doubt he means well. Latinos matter in this election, and he knows it.  But my question for Bernie is, where the heck was he for the last 25 years? Where was he on immigration reform?  On indefinite detentions?  On vigilante justice against undocumented workers?  He was nowhere.  That’s where.
On the other hand, she likes Ms Clinton:
To put a finer point on it:  Hillary Clinton has realistic plans to pass comprehensive immigration reform and go farther than even President Obama has gone.
So, is Bernie really more a back country conservative that he is a New York City Progressive?

Hat tip to Memeorandum.

Regards  —  Cliff

Friday, February 19, 2016

“Reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated”

For John, BLUFDemocrats think Republicans live in a dream world.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

At Nation of Change we have Professor Robert Reich talking about "The Death of the Republican Party".

It has been replaced by warring tribes:

Evangelicals opposed to abortion, gay marriage, and science.

Libertarians opposed to any government constraint on private behavior.

Market fundamentalists convinced the “free market” can do no wrong.

Corporate and Wall Street titans seeking bailouts, subsidies, special tax loopholes, and other forms of crony capitalism.

Billionaires craving even more of the nation’s wealth than they already own.

And white working-class Trumped’s who love Donald. and are becoming convinced the greatest threats to their well being are Muslims, blacks, and Mexicans.

Each of these tribes has its own separate political organization, its own distinct sources of campaign funding, its own unique ideology – and its own candidate.

What’s left is a lifeless shell called the Republican Party.  But the Grand Old Party inside the shell is no more.

And it ends thusly:
Without a Republican Party, nothing stands between us and a veritable Star Wars barroom of self-proclaimed wannabe’s.

Without a Party, anyone runs who’s able to raise (or already possesses) the requisite money – even if he happens to be a pathological narcissist who has never before held public office, even if he’s a knave detested by all his Republican colleagues.

Without a Republican Party, it’s just us and them. And one of them could even become the next President of the United States.

The thing is, if, as the last paragraph suggests, a Republican is elected as our next President it will be a comment on the Democrat Party and voting in Chicago.  Someone from a non-existent party will have beaten either a Democrat with a Criminal Contempt for Federal Laws or a Socialist who is a throwback to the Democrat Senator Huey P Long.  Who is, speaking of death, gone from us lo these many years, gunned down in the Capital of Louisiana.

And, speaking of The Donald, I don't like the way Prof Reich uses the term Mexicans.  Is he referring to Hispanics in the US, some of whom are coming over to Mr Trump?  Or, is he referring to people from Central America, who are streaming through Mexico to come to the United States?  Or, is he talking about real Mexicans, who had come to the United States as Economic Migrants, but went home to Mexico because things had improved back home?  I hope Prof Reich is not expecting them to vote in our US Presidential Election, come this November.  So, what does the Professor mean, unless it is just another Ethnic slur.

The Inquisitr had this item five days ago:

Sixty-four percent of each group of Hispanics want migration to be reduced or leveled, said Gallup, which released the report under a misleading headline, "U.S. Support for Increased Immigration Up to 25%"
On the flip side, why shouldn't Blacks see immigrants as a threat to their well being?  As Hispanics become a larger voting block, why wouldn't the Democrat Party drop them for the new minority, with more votes to be had.

Eventually, Immigrants become acculturated and just want to be recognized as Americans and not some ethnic subset.  Republicans trend to think this is a good thing.

Regards  —  Cliff

  Mark Twain, after hearing that his obituary had been published in The New York Journal.
  When the first Star Wars movie came out Air Force Fighter Pilots deducted three lessons learned.  There will always be a Happy Hour.  The women at Happy Hour will always be below average.  And, third, Dive Toss will never work, Dive Toss being the F-4D and F-4E automatic bombing system.

Charles Koch Agrees With Bernie Sanders—On Some Things

For John, BLUFSome think that party distinctions based on ideas are less and less viable.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Writing in the InstaPundit Blog, Ms Elizabeth Price Foley gives us an " EVEN A BROKEN CLOCK IS RIGHT TWICE A DAY" comment.  Mr Charles Koch has an OpEd in The Washington Post, “This is the One Issue Where Bernie Sanders is Right.”
As he campaigns for the Democratic nomination for president, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders (I) often sounds like he’s running as much against me as he is the other candidates.  I have never met the senator, but I know from listening to him that we disagree on plenty when it comes to public policy. . . .

Democrats and Republicans have too often favored policies and regulations that pick winners and losers.  This helps perpetuate a cycle of control, dependency, cronyism and poverty in the United States.  These are complicated issues, but it’s not enough to say that government alone is to blame. Large portions of the business community have actively pushed for these policies. . . .

Whenever we allow government to pick winners and losers, we impede progress and move further away from a society of mutual benefit.  This pits individuals and groups against each other and corrupts the business community, which inevitably becomes less focused on creating value for customers.  That’s why Koch Industries opposes all forms of corporate welfare — even those that benefit us.  (The government’s ethanol mandate is a good example. We oppose that mandate, even though we are the fifth-largest ethanol producer in the United States.)

It may surprise the senator to learn that our framework in deciding whether to support or oppose a policy is not determined by its effect on our bottom line (or by which party sponsors the legislation), but by whether it will make people’s lives better or worse. . . .

Our criminal justice system, which is in dire need of reform, is another issue where the senator shares some of my concerns.  Families and entire communities are being ripped apart by laws that unjustly destroy the lives of low-level and nonviolent offenders.

Today, if you’re poor and get caught possessing and selling pot, you could end up in jail. Your conviction will hold you back from many opportunities in life.  However, if you are well-connected and have ample financial resources, the rules change dramatically.  Where is the justice in that? . . .

At this point you may be asking yourself, “Is Charles Koch feeling the Bern?”


I applaud the senator for giving a voice to many Americans struggling to get ahead in a system too often stacked in favor of the haves, but I disagree with his desire to expand the federal government’s control over people’s lives.  This is what built so many barriers to opportunity in the first place. . . .

I don’t expect to agree with every position a candidate holds, but all Americans deserve a president who, on balance, can demonstrate a commitment to a set of ideas and values that will lead to peace, civility and well-being rather than conflict, contempt and division.  When such a candidate emerges, he or she will have my enthusiastic support.

Isn't it pleasant to find that Senator Bernie Sanders and Industrialist Charles Koch actually agree on some things.

Ms Foley notes:

I’ve always thought it was strange for Democrats to spend so much energy demonizing the Kochs who are, after all, libertarians who agree with the left on many social issues.  Most of their non-profit spending goes to educational efforts aimed at enhancing individual liberty (which explains why they are the functional equivalent of Lucifer to liberals/progressives/totalitarians).
Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

  In the digital age might that be once a day?

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Huey P Long's Ideas Live

For John, BLUFIt was an indirect path to some good insights.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Last evening I was out to dinner with my wife and oldest son and my son mentioned the book he is reading, Ostkrieg:  Hitler's War of Extermination in the East.  My son and my wife entered into a discussion of Hitler's motivations, with my wife mentioned the book she is currently reading The Nightengale, a fictionalized version of the German occupation of France.  This lead to a discussion of Vichy France and, eventually, war aims.

I made the point that part of what Herr Hitler was doing was applying what he saw as "scientific" principles, derived from the work of Charles Darwin, as expanded by his cousin, Francis Galton, in the form of Eugenics.  Mr Hitler thought that Jews were eugenically inferior.  Here in the United States, under the leadership of people like Ms Margaret Sanger, many of the Progressive Era considered that Blacks were inferior.  All of them were wrong.

But, that then led to a discussion of Huey P Long,  US Senator from Louisiana.  I am not sure how we got there, but the issue was if Senator Long, the Kingfish, was a fascist.  Senator Long was a supporter of President Franklin D Roosevelt, up until 1933, when Senator Long concluded that President Roosevelt had sold out the little guy.  His proposal was Share Our Wealth.

The program of Democrat Huey P Long sounds a lot like the program of Senator and Presidential Candidate Bernie Sanders, almost 80 years on.

As French novelist Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr said, "plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose".

Regards  —  Cliff

  The era surrounding Presidents Theodore Roosevelt, 1901-09, William Howard Taft, 1909-13, and Woodrow Wilson, 1913-21.
  To repeat, they were both flat out wrong.
  As my youngest son points out, it is always Huey P Long, with inclusion of the P.  The Senator was from the South after all.
  "The more things change, the more they stay the same".

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Beware the Debt

For John, BLUFDeficit is the annual problem, Federal debt is the accumulation of all the deficits.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

In a recent Blog Post by Mr Jim Peters, the issue of Keynesian Economics came up and the problem of the eventual federal debt.  The title is "Meanderings".

As this chart from the Committee for a Responsible Budget shows, ten years from now the interest on the Federal Debt will dominate the budget.

Here is a chart of deficit spending.  Over on the left we seen Federal Annual deficit rising out of the budget surplus from the end of the Clinton Years.  It spikes as we try Keynesian Economics to stimulate the Economy, and then comes down, only to be projected to go up again in the out years.

For the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office look at the new budget, check here.  Net Interest is discussed on pages 86-90.

Regards  —  Cliff

  That is, unless the Federal Government comes up with an accounting trick to avoid the trap.  The problem is, most of those tricks involve things like negative interest rates and hair cuts.
  Net Interest is defined by CBO thusly, "Net interest outlays are dominated by the interest paid to holders of the debt that the Department of the Treasury issues to the public.  The Treasury also pays interest on debt issued to trust funds and other government accounts, but such payments are intragovernmental transactions that have no effect on the budget deficit.  Other federal accounts also pay and receive interest for various reasons."

Ben Carson on Sharia

For John, BLUFWe need Immigrants, but we don't need disruptors.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Time and again, when I listen to what Dr Ben Carson says I realize that he has thought things through and has a solid understanding of where we are.  The passage below, which was at the InstaPundit Blog site, came from an article in The Hill, by Mr Mark Hensch, "Carson: Only ‘schizophrenic’ Muslims practice Sharia, believe in democracy". This is the discussion:
GOP presidential candidate Ben Carson said Tuesday that Muslims are “schizophrenic” if they believe Sharia law is compatible with American democracy.

“Do you think that Muslims that are Sharia-adherent can actually be part of a society, be integrated into a society where you have the rule of law and you are a democratic republic and you believe in the rule of law and separation of church and state no matter what your religious beliefs are?” host Stephen K. Bannon asked on Sirius XM’s “Breitbart News Daily.”  “Do you believe that Sharia-compliant Muslims can do that?”

“Only if they’re schizophrenic,” Carson responded.  “I don’t see how they’re going to do it otherwise.  You have two different philosophies warring which are in constant distinction from each other.  So, no – that would be very difficult.”

Carson also rejected critics who charge that his skepticism of some Muslims’ intentions constitutes Islamophobia.

“When I say things like that, some people say, ‘Oh, you’re Islamophobic,’” he said.  “It’s not Islamophobic at all.  I grew up in Detroit and had playmates [and] schoolmates who were Muslims.

“There’s a difference between Muslims who accept America and accept our Constitution and accept our ways and those who want to continue a different method of living.  If we’re not sophisticated enough to understand that, then we will lose that war.”

Carson added that Sharia law dispels the notion that Islam is a religion that co-exists harmoniously with other faiths worldwide.

If you don't understand that Sharia, the law as understood by some in Islam, would supplant the US Constitution and the Rights of Englishmen if established in the United States, you are not paying attention.

We should be welcoming immigrants—we need immigrants, but only if they are coming to America to be Americans.

Remember, 1 March is Presidential Primary Election Day in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

  Our justification for our Revolution was that we were being denied our Rights as Englishmen.
  We need immigrants because (1) we are not graduating sufficient native born scientists and engineers from higher education, (2) we need people who are willing to harvest our crops and (3) we are not reproducing ourselves at or above the replacement level (2.1 children).  In essence, doing the jobs those born in the United States are not willing to do.
  Who sometimes come in on Work Visas.

Monday, February 15, 2016

The Right View of Economics

For John, BLUFEconomic Freedom pays off.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

I believe this chart, from the Blog of Daniel J Mitchell, and his post "The Right Kind of Class Warfare: Workers vs. Looters", shows the difference between Democrats and Republicans.

In the diagram below we have, on the left, the Democrat Party view on the problem and the enemy.  On the right is the Republican view of the problem and the enemy.

The thing that goes along with this is the fact that Capitalism works.

From the American Enterprise Institute we have "Don’t tell Bernie Sanders, but capitalism has made human life fantastically better.  Here’s how".  The author is Mr James Pethokoukis.

Here is how world GDP took off and grew.

For those who say, well, the population exploded, here is a per person look.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Sunday, February 14, 2016

The Primary Ballot

For John, BLUF2 March should be interesting, as we sort out who got how many votes.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

So we were having a discussion of the upcoming primary election (1 March and I noted that there were a number of candidates on the ballot, some of whom had closed down their campaigns.  You can check the ballot for your Ward by going to this website and picking your party at your website.  For the Unenrolled you can review all the ballots before you show up and pull one of them.


The Presidential Candidates listed are:

And, while you are there, please vote for my slate for Republican Ward Committee, and for the other slate, since we can have a total of 35 people and are not yet to that number.  If you wish to be on a Ward Committee get three people to write in your name and address.


Regards  —  Cliff

Odd Voting Locations

For John, BLUFVoting is important.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

This is a short item by retired Army Colonel Keith Nightingale, where he noted that many of us don't vote in our Ward and Precinct, but, because we are (or have been) in the military, we vote in our Kitchen or the Barracks or even out in the field.  The source of this article is Small Wars Journal and the title is "Absentee Ballot Precincts".

From a friend of mine a commentary on the short article:

Thank you for directing our attention to Rick Rescorla.  A great man, and I believe he was an immigrant, as well.  As I understand it from people who knew him, he was a thorn in the side of the executives and employees of Morgan Stanley for many years, insisting that they practice fire and escape drills, keeping everyone on their toes and generally making a nuisance of himself.  Until 11 SEP 2001, that is...when his heavily-drilled and alert colleagues reacted as no other group of people in those towers did.  They nearly all escaped, a couple of thousand of them, I believe.
For an extraordinary story, read his Wikipedia biography. Here is how the article, which mentions Rick Rescorla, ends:
Our candidates all announce their capability to be Commander in Chief but it is doubtful any truly understand what occurs in these distant precincts.  His image could pass for the vast multitude of men throughout our history that on occasion have had that look, that desperation and that will to persevere to success if not merely to survive-which is success in itself.  As in our land, some precincts are friendlier than others.  This is Lt Rick Rescorla on LZ X-Ray-credited by the Battalion Commander, with probably saving the perimeter.  He is in the process of doing that with no knowledge or interest of the larger issue.  He and many others did and will vote and we should appreciate the reality of their polling places.

Rick did not change when he returned from Vietnam.  He was last seen running up the stairs of the World Trade Center when everyone else was running down.  His intention then as it was at X-Ray was to shepherd his flock to safety.  He went down with the towers but he extracted the bulk of his people.  Infantry develops lasting traits and it's a good thing.

When you leave your house to vote, remember that the most important precincts are the ones you can't see.

Be sure to vote this year.  Here in Lowell, three times, including 1 March for the Presidential Primary and Ward Members.  Oh, and State Committee Representatives (each party).

Regards  —  Cliff

The IRS Scandal, Day 1011

For John, BLUFWhen Republicans win it is because The People are (1) upset and (2) have penetrated the MSM veil.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

So says the Tax Prof Blog, and Professor Paul Caron, here.  He sources The Washington Times.
Two intrepid Media Research Center analysts went through 13,022 news stories that appeared on ABC, NBC and CBS evening news broadcasts during 2015 — that’s 18,549 minutes of coverage — to determine what the Big Three broadcasters deigned to cover.  “The results show a network news agenda heavy on crime, terrorism and weather, but light on Democratic scandals, ObamaCare’s failings, the out-of-control national debt, sanctuary cities and Planned Parenthood’s grotesqueries,” report Mike Ciandella and Rich Noyes. …

Here’s what the networks virtually ignored: Ongoing questions about Hillary Clinton’s “Benghazi scandal” got a whopping 46 minutes; shortcomings of Obamacare warranted 34 minutes; misconduct within the Clinton Foundation got 27 minutes; videos revealing Planned Parenthood trafficking fetal tissue 25 minutes; and negative outcomes in sanctuary cities 8 minutes.  The $18 trillion national debt drew 4 minutes — and last but not least, IRS targeting of conservative groups got zero.  None.  No mention.

“The ABC, CBS and NBC evening newscasts failed to produce any coverage of the IRS scandal, even as the House committee investigating the matter introduced a resolution calling for the impeachment of IRS Commissioner John Koskinen for his alleged failure to comply with committee subpoenas and making false statements under oath,” the researchers say, adding that the networks did manage to produce 54 minutes of coverage about assault charges made against Bill Cosby, and 127 minutes on the “Deflate Gate” scandal surrounding New England Patriots’ quarterback Tom Brady.

Or, as Police Captain Louis Renault said:
I'm shocked, shocked to find that covering up is going on in here!
Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Helping People Move Up

For John, BLUFHelping people still requires them to want it.  You can't want it for them.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Reynolds Law

The government decides to try to increase the middle class by subsidizing things that middle class people have: If middle-class people go to college and own homes, then surely if more people go to college and own homes, we’ll have more middle-class people. But homeownership and college aren’t causes of middle-class status, they’re markers for possessing the kinds of traits — self-discipline, the ability to defer gratification, etc. — that let you enter, and stay, in the middle class. Subsidizing the markers doesn’t produce the traits; if anything, it undermines them.
Makes sense to me.

I think there is an assumption out there, on the part of Middle And Upper Class People that everyone is like them or wants to be like them.  This is an untested assumption.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Culture Clash Within West

For John, BLUFYou come to America to be an American, not to be a Syrian.  Or, you are here as a refugee with the intent to return home and save your nation as soon as you can.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From Ms Carrie Lukas and The New York Post, on 9 February, we have this commentary:  "Euro-feminists in meltdown over immigrant rape">

Here is how it starts:

European feminists are in a bind.

The current crisis over North African and Middle Eastern migrants’ violence toward women is proving that the PC culture they have so carefully constructed is cracking around them, forcing into conflict two of their sacred principles:  Blame whatever it is on the white man and, in cases of rape, always believe the woman over the man.

OK, let us stop here and clean up some terminology.  The term is Caucasian, not "white".  Do we still call Asians "yellow"?  Of course not!  Do we use "Black".  Yes, in these United States because there is a consensus out there that they want to be known that way.  We should honor that.

But, let us remember that people coming from the Middle East are Caucasians.  That is their Race.  Arab is not a race.  It is an ethnic group, like Hispanic.  And, more important, labeling Muslims as a race or ethnic group misses the point that they are members of a religion, and not the only religion in the Middle East.

But, back to the article, here is where the issue is formulated.

As a pillar of the progressive movement, the feminists want to be on the side of the refugees flooding the EU from the Middle East and Northern Africa.  After all, the refugees are an oppressed minority group, and therefore should be on the feminist team fighting the Old World’s white patriarchy.

But the masses of refugees include lots of men.  Lots.

In fact, an estimated 75 percent of refugees to the European Union last year were men, and they weren’t exactly keen on fighting for women’s rights.

In fact, most of these guys really like the patriarchy, and a patriarchy far more aggressively anti-woman than anything privileged Western feminists have encountered in the liberal enclaves of Berlin and Brussels.

So, we have a clash of cultures, wherein the people from the Middle East do not have the same cultural values as people from Western Europe.  You may not like all those Western values, but it may be that those Western values are preferred, in the West, to those from other areas.

I, for one, am for legal immigration to these United States.  But, I am not for colonization of the United States by people who want to change American values, including American ideas of freedom and American ideas of how to organize the economy.  Those who want to change things in the United States are actually aggressing against those who wish to come here and prosper in our culture.

Here is my example:

Juan comes to the United States because he has a dream of opening his own landscaping business, and, with his wife, running a Salsa Dance studio.  But, some from the Middle East, certain Sunni Muslims, think dancing is wrong, especially mixed sex dancing in public places.  Whose values are we going to honor?
But, it is America, so you get a vote.  Just don't bring your machete.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

  Yes, words are important.  If we don't all understand words as meaning the same thing then we can't really have a conversation.
  And, let us be clear in stating that those who are Portuguese are not Hispanic, including those from Brazil and other Portuguese colonized areas.  If you need a word, use Lusitanian.
  And not all the people in the Middle East are Muslim.  Putting aside the nation of Israel, there are still other religions in the Middle East, including Druze, Christian, Yazidi, Zoroastrian.  And within Islam Sunni is not Shia.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Last Day to Register for 1 March Parimary!

For John, BLUF If you don't Register there will be no sanctioned crying afterward.

Last day [Today] to Register to vote for the Massachusetts Primary, and the last day to change your registration to Unenrolled to you can vote in someone else's Primary.  Remember, if you just have an affiliation like the Pirate Party or Pizza Party you can still pull a Republican or Democrat Party ballot.

To check your party registration or re-register, go to  You can also check your registration or re-register at city Hall, Elections Office, in the Basement, SE Corder.

Regards  —  Cliff

Ash Wednesday

For John, BLUFAshes to ashes and dust to dust.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Don't forget to get your ashes.

…an offering of ashes, an offering to you.
Regards  —  Cliff

All Candidates Are Well Off

For John, BLUFThere are few poor people in Politics.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Well, almost all.  Governor Martin O'Malley, a Democrat who has now suspended his campaign, is in debt to put his children through college.  Others, not so much, or better, much more.

Ms Agustino Fontevecchia, writing for Forbes, enlightens us about Presidential Candidate wealth—"Forbes’ 2016 Presidential Candidate Wealth List".

So, I graphed it out, and as you can see, when one candidate has billions, others are lost in the noise on the bottom of the graph.

So, I took out Mr Trump and this is how the rest sort out.

But, who are these people?  Yesterday, on City Life, the guests said that the Democrats are the working poor and the Republicans are the rich.  So, here are the names with the numbers (you can see party affiliation in the second graph):

  • Martin O'Malley—$0
  • Marco Rubio—$100,000
  • Bernie Sanders—$700,000
  • Lindsey Graham—$1,000,000
  • Rick Santorum—$2,000,000
  • Rand Paul—$2,000,000
  • Chris Christie—$3,000,000
  • Ted Cruz—$3,500,000
  • Bobby Jindal—$5,000,000
  • Jim Webb—$6,000,000
  • Jim Gilmore—$7,000,000
  • Mike Huckabee—$9,000,000
  • John Kasich—$10,000,001
  • George Pataki—$13,000,000
  • Jeb Bush—$22,000,000
  • Ben Carson—$26,000,000
  • Lincoln Chafee—$32,000,000
  • Hillary Clinton—$45,000,000
  • Carly Fiorina—$58,000,000
  • Donald Trump—$4,500,000,000
Hat tip to Nate Silver and the Five Thirty Eight Blog.

Regards  —  Cliff

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

A State Government for the Population

For John, BLUFNew programs cost more money, unless old ones are ended.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

This is from 3 Feb 2016 and is a lot of graphs of numbers (population and State Government Budgets), but it suggests that there is some rational relationship between those two sets of numbers, with some exceptions.

The article, from the blog of Mr Mischa Fisher, is "State Budgets and Populations (a.k.a Why Illinois is in the shape it's in)".

From the various presentations of the data in the Blog Post I would say that we in Massachusetts are in pretty good shape.

On the other hand, one wonders if there is the same relationship if we talk income vs state budget?  That is to say, on average residents of Massachusetts have a median household income of $65,401 (2008), while for those in Illinois it is $54,124 and those in Arkansas it is $40,531.  So, even accounting for the higher standard of living in Massachusetts, are we taxing less than we should?

And, there is the belief that above a certain total of taxation an economy begins to flag.  And people go to the information market, which can't be taxed.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

  Like, if we got a handle on homelessness it would not cost us millions to put the homeless in motels.
  Taxachusetts is a misnomer.  Tax wise we are in the middle of the pack.

First in the Nation Totals

For John, BLUFI don't want the other players to go away before I can cast my ballot.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

I know I am late with this, but it is still interesting.

"Dixville Notch: Sanders 4, Clinton 0; Kasich 3, Trump 2".  (NewsMax)

The Democrats of Dixville Notch don't seem to have much love for Hunny Bunny.

The Kasich vote is interested, but isn't he the only one who actually traveled to the little berg?

Regards  —  Cliff

Feminism Off the Rails?

For John, BLUFBring on the Refugees, but tell them the rules, and enforce them.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

"Gloria Steinem, disrespecting young women:  'And, when you’re young, you’re thinking, where are the boys?  The boys are with Bernie…'"

Yet, notwithstanding, Ms Gloria Steinem is for Ms Clinton.

Here is the item I would like to dwell on.

Bill Maher lures [her] into other embarrassments, like when she asserts that feminism has no boundaries then characterizes the abuses in Muslim countries as something that needs to be dealt with within those countries, by Muslim women
Then, Ms Althouse transcribes the discussion:
ADDED:  At 6:36, Maher asks, "Is feminism something that goes beyond our borders?," and Steinem says "Oh, yes, absolutely, it is totally beyond borders."  Maher follows up:  "Then why aren't [sic] the way women are treated in the Muslim world considered more of a feminist cause?"  She says, "It is! Are you kidding me?  Of course, it is!"  She mentions the women in those countries who see it as a feminist cause, then tries to pivot away from Islam with "All monotheism is a problem."  And — wisely — "Islam being attached to the government is the problem."  Maher bears down: "40 countries have Sharia law and under Sharia law...."  He lists some very burdensome limitations on women. Her response is:  "A lot of feminists in the Islamic world are taking Muhammad's words and pointing out that, you know, his first wife was a real estate agent and smarter than him and richer than him."  (Maher says:  "A real estate agent?!  For what? Century 7?)  She says that in his day Muhammad was "a reformer on a lot of issues for women."  Now, it's "another story."  And then:  "Only you could get me to defend any monotheism.  I can't believe I'm saying this."  He says he's not asking her to defend Sharia law, only saying it should be a big cause for the people who fought for civil rights in the 60s and against apartheid in the 80s.  She says:  "It is, including for the women in those countries."
It could be that Professor Althouse is being hard on Ms Steinen, but I doubt it.

There is this German Facebook picture as presented by Weasel Zippers.

Perhaps harking back to the 1980s, the caption says RAF (Rote Antifi-Front).  The real German RAF, the Red Army Faction of yesteryear, was into murder and mayhem.

So, what we are seeing is that the bien-pensant, while concerned about sexism and the frequency of rape (especially rape and sexual assault on campus), are even more concerned about racism, and in particular, the apparent racism in the United States toward Muslims, although Muslim is not actually a race.  It is a religions, a religion with a certain percentage of members who believe we are in the end times and the Mahdi is about to appear and save the faithful.

What the left is lacking, what the Democrat Party is lacking, is a coherent picture of what is going on in the world and a prioritization of issues.

Well, and an understanding of what is going on about them.  The good news is this is not Europe.  The bad news is that without an emphasis on refugees assimilating, or at least not bothering the majority culture, some of the problems in Europe will come here.

For our own cultural survival we should accept that the Middle East is not culturally the West.  Here is an article from PJ Media, by Mr Raymond Ibrahim, dateline 8 Feb 2016, "Good News:  Female Muslim Prof. Says Muslims Can Rape, Rob Infidel Women Only in Some Circumstances".

Suad Saleh, a female professor of doctrine at Al Azhar University,  correctly defines the Arabic phrase melk al-yamin -- “right hand possession” (see Koran 4:3):
[Non-Muslim] female prisoners of wars are “those whom you own.” In order to humiliate them, they become the property of the [Muslim] army commander, or of a Muslim, and he can have sex with them just like he has sex with his wives.
And there you are.  The United States of 2016 is not the United States of 1956 and is not the United States of 1856.  Change happens.  To some degree we can influence than change.  Ours is a culture that lies to itself that everyone is equal and works on making that a reality.  Let's keep it that way.

Hat tip to Ann Althouse.

Regards  —  Cliff

  Al Azhar University is a university in Cairo, Egypt, associated with Al-Azhar Mosque in Islamic Cairo.  It is Egypt's oldest degree-granting university and is renowned as "Sunni Islam’s most prestigious university".