30 September 2013

Bringing back unions

I saw this article on the desperate plight of private sector unions in the USA (although public unions have their problems as well) which details how the AFL-CIO is attempting to expand its membership base. I thought, you know, if a union could get an exemption from POR-care for its members, it could massively expand itself by providing that exemption to new members. Start a shell company that hires people for, say, $100 / year, unionize the “employees”, merge that with the original union and boom! Massive membership win!

P.S. This is an illustration of this point.

Delivering the benefits of socialism

We just got our POR-care notification and we’ll get to pay 168% more for our healthcare. We could hold that down to only 104% more if we significantly increased our deductible. And of course, we have to change our health insurance plan — the old was was wrong and, as serfs instead of free citizens, we cannot be permitted to keep it. But of course, it’s for The People. As we know, we have 30 million without health insurance in the USA. The CBO estimates that POR-care will, after a few years, reduce this to … 30 million. Plus, the chocolate ration will be increased to 40 grams.

Meanwhile, we can see where our ruling class is taking us if we dare to ask how can a rich country have shortages? All it takes is enough governing.

27 September 2013

Let them hate, so long as they fear

News from the the global warmening crew, this time from Germany

the German ministries insist that it is important not to detract from the effectiveness of climate change warnings by discussing the past 15 years’ lack of global warming. Doing so, they say, would result in a loss of the support necessary for pursuing rigorous climate policies. “Climate policy needs the element of fear,” [German Green Party politician Hermann] Ott openly admits. “Otherwise, no politician would take on this topic.”

Well, we certainly wouldn’t want any sort of dispassionate, rational discussion on the subject. It might not come out they way the EUlite want!

I did like this bit, though — not connecting the dots. Earlier in the article we have

A survey conducted on behalf of SPIEGEL found a dramatic shift in public opinion — Germans are losing their fear of climate change. While in 2006 a sizeable majority of 62 percent expressed a fear of global warning, that number has now become a minority of just 39 percent.

Is that what Ott considers to be the “effectiveness of climate change warnings”? I’m all for that kind of “effectiveness”.

P.S. Isn’t it amazing how people can see this, yet think “that couldn’t happen with other government regulatory policies I support”?

24 September 2013

Holland says, “oh yeah, that welfare state thing just doesn't work”

Dutch King Willem-Alexander gave a nationally televised speech to his nation’s Parliament on September 16th declaring that the welfare state was dead. The message, written for the King by Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s government, stated that current levels of state spending for unemployment benefits and subsidized health care are unsustainable amid Europe’s ongoing economic malaise. With Moody’s credit rating agency threatening to downgrade Dutch debt, the King announced that citizens soon will be expected to create their own social and financial safety nets with much less help from the state.

Chriss Street

We should be more like Europe, you say? Interesting…

This way to the money purging system

Former President Bill Clinton — we need young people to get financially reamed by POR-care to make it work. Yeah, that’ll sell it to the youngsters. I mean, I know they’ll respond enthusiastically when I tell them “you have to join up so you can pay for geezers like me!”

Or maybe Clinton should have just said “sign up, young people, because Obama!”. Works for so many other things…

Reading like Pravda

A big recent story is that President Obama’s push for changing our health care system had its genesis in a throw away line from a speech. I’ve seen some counter evidence (such as Obama promoting government payer health care in 2003) but I want to wonder about the back story — why was this story published?

While Politico isn’t as in the tank as say the New York Times it certainly has a strong pro-Obama bias and I have little doubt this piece, which isn’t really news, was published with some political purpose in mind. Are they trying to distance Obama from the now obvious to all but the totally blinkered train wreck? Shift the blame to the Democratic Congress that actually wrote the legislation? I call it “POR-care” because it was far more then House Speaker Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Reid who created and passed it, with Obama mainly standing around trying to look involved between golf outings.

The article certainly does not, in my view, reflect well on Obama that he would make such a major change on what’s basically a whim. It could be Politico trying to distance itself from the debacle. But I do think it’s neat that with a free press, one still has to read it as the Soviets did Pravda.

23 September 2013

Mystery of purpose

Apparently amnesty for illegal immigrants is switching to Plan B after the initial partially honest plan failed to come together. I understand why the oikophobic Democratic Party wants to do this (to help with that “fundamental transformation” of the USA) but what could the GOP supporters possibly see in it, other than ‘I’ll gladly sell out my party and my nation for a nickel”? There’s no political upside for the GOP nor for the supporters personally, except a momentary stroke by Old Media (which will last until a villain is needed for The Narrative). These people are utterly incomprehensible to me. Can any one explain it to me?

Results watch

Connecticut — another success story of tax and spend policies.

Creeping of various sorts

Conservatives are frequently (if not autonomically) accused of being fascist wannabes, but when actual fascism tries to creep in, it’s almost always via the Modern American Left. Today’s case in point is New York City and it’s likely next mayor who seems to have been a big fan of the Sandinistas and the Castro regime in Cuba. The MAL, who attack people for being on the same stage as some one else who’s been on the same stage as a fascist, seem as usual completely unconcerned about one of their own who has literally supported fascists. Any estimates on (1) how soon this will inflict massive damage on New York City and (2) how long after that it’s blamed on conservatives?

Meanwhile, of the team reveals the creeping socialism he sees in the “government take over of the bond market”.

Biometrics on portable devices

I was discussing the new fingerprint technology for the iPhone with SWIPIAW because she’s a computer security expert and that’s how we roll with our pillow talk.

One thing she pointed out that I had not realized is that it is in fact very hard to secure biometric information. For a password or key phrase, you get it right or you don’t. Only exact matches count. For this reason you can encrypt the actual plain text and compare only the encrypted version of the user input to that. There is no need to store the actual password so even if the device is stolen, retrieving the password is difficult.

Biometrics are quite different in that, being biological, things are never quite the same. Therefore you have to compare the key data with the input data to see if they are close enough. You can’t encrypt it because the whole point of an encryption algorithm is to scatter the input, to make sure that two inputs that are “close” end up “far away” after being encrypted.

The result here is that if you use biometrics, stealing the device easily gets you the raw biometric data, from which you can may be able to construct a facsimile for use elsewhere. Moreover, unless you want your biometric data stored everywhere, remote systems must depend on the physical device (the iPhone) to do the verification. That means physical possession is enough, the software can easily be hacked in that situation to send “it’s really him” regardless of the input or without any input at all.

On the other hand, SWIPIAW points out that many (most?) cell phone users both store sensitive data on their phones and use no security at all. Biometric may be weak, but at least it’s something so this may improve the over all security situation.

Untrue and irrelevant

As I understand it, the latest debate tactic among the Democrat chattering class of political wingnuts is to point out that Obamacare is nothing more than a 1999 Republican plan with a touch of Romneycare thrown in. So, why are they now so desperate to destroy this legislation they were for before they were against it.

Jack is Back

Yes, I’ve encountered that myself (I’m waiting for our Mr. Eagar to lay it on us, he seems to do an excellent job of firing off the latest MAList talking points).

Of course, at a base level this is like blaming a book author for the flop of a Hollywood movie based on the book for which the author was never consulted.

On a deeper level, what is actually the point? That the GOP can promote stupid, damaging policies too? You don’t have to work to convince me of that. Even if the claim is true, it makes this stupid, damaging legislation not a problem because…? I suspect that because of the ingrained group think / political correctness that prevails on the MAL these days, they consider it a strong argument. After all, whatever gonzo policy President Obama trots out they support, because Obama!

21 September 2013

Political prosecution

Former House Majority Leader Tom Delay’s conviction was overturned with the appeals court ruling that the evidence was “legally insufficient” to sustain the charges.

This follows in the former Senator Ted Stevens case (which also involved prosecutorial misconduct) and the hounding of then Alaska Governor Sarah Palin on bogus ethics charges. At what point do we being to wonder if our criminal justice system is being used as a partisan weapon via unsustainable indictments?

All of this in addition to the targeting of groups by the IRS based on their political views and, in some cases, anti-Obama rhetoric. Targeting that continued after the IRS claimed it had stopped. As has been pointed out it is in fact more concerning that there doesn’t seem to have been any high level direction of this activity, it was spontaneous inside the IRS, even though it was clearly inspired by the Obama Administration and Old Media agitprop. That’s a level of corruption far beyond what Nixon managed. Why should a conservative have any faith in the government or regulation when it’s so blatantly used for political advantage?

Casting call gone wrong

The coverage of the Navy Yard shooting seems to have crested rather abruptly. I agree that it’s because the actual details don’t fit The Narrative and are therefore not politically useful to Old Media. It was big news when the shooter was from Texas but now that he’s a black Obama supporter and not a stereotypical Texan, it’s not something to talk about. Better to just misidentify the perpetrator.

20 September 2013

Health Train Wreck

As POR-care hurtles down the track to disaster, it’s mordantly amusing (when not infuriating) to see former passengers struggle to jump off something they pushed to get started (not to mention the desperate agitprop). Federal workers apparently think it’s great as long as they don’t have to participate just like any good feudal aristocracy.

I think at this point the best strategy for people who want a working health care system in the USA is not to try to defund POR-care (for various reasons, such as it’s not going to actually happen) but to attach riders to the continuing resolutions for government funding (since we don’t do budgets anymore thanks to the Democratic Party controlled Senate) that eliminate all exemptions, waivers, and illegal delays for POR-care, especially the Congressional staff exemption. Politically that will be a lot harder for the MALists to defend and if passed in to law will be difficult for even Old Media to use to blame the POR-care disaster on the GOP.

P.S. Oh look, time to dial down expectations now that reality is hitting the fan. What was the point of POR-care, again? Meanwhile, Old Media does its part to keep the political climate adjusted.

P.P.S. I have to add this about POR-care getting the government back in to your bedroom. It’s for your own good! P.P.S. Bureaucrats don’t select for innovation but for what fits in the boxes on the form.

12 September 2013

Let me be perfectly clear

A rush transcript of President Obama’s speech. There may be a few errors here and there.

My fellow Americans, tonight I want do what I think I do best, which is to deliver a monologue on tv — because I haven’t noticed that no televised address of mine has helped win you over since I took office.

Over the past two years, what began as a series of peaceful protests against the repressive regime of Bashar al-Assad, who Hillary was calling a reformer at the time, has turned into a brutal civil war. Over 100,000 people have been killed. Millions have fled the country. In that time, America has worked with allies to provide humanitarian support, to help the moderate opposition, and to shape a political settlement. But I have resisted calls for military action, as you would expect, because we cannot resolve someone else’s civil war through force. Not that it can’t be done - it worked here, and in Korea, and there was a danger we were going to do it in Vietnam until members of my party including my new Secretary of State got us out of the way so the Communists could win. I just mean that we can’t do it, particularly after a decade of war in Iraq and Afghanistan and especially Iraq. Actually it’s been twelve years in Afghanistan, and five of those years have been while I’ve been President. In fact, all four of the American military’s bloodiest years in Afghanistan have been since I took office, which you’d know if I let my party have those anti-war protests any more or if I let the press talk about Afghanistan ever.

Back to Syria though -the situation profoundly changed on August 21st, when Assad’s government (which my administration has not described as “reformist” since Hillary left the Cabinet) gassed to death over a thousand people, and because this is the part I want you to get emotional over I’m going to skip right over the fact that this number is literally one percent of the total fatalities and instead describe how gruesome these deaths were, including the deaths of children. To drive home the emotional point, I’m going to mention dead children three times. Dead children.

Now here’s some history about poison gas that my speechwriting intern got off of Wikipedia. It contains a mention of dead American servicemen, the Nazis, and another reference to dead children, plus Overwhelming International Consensus. That consensus is against the use of poison gas.

On August 21st, these basic rules were violated, along with our sense of common humanity, in a way that the deaths of the other hundred thousand people didn’t really affect. No one disputes that chemical weapons were used in Syria. It was on the internet.

Moreover, we know the Assad regime was responsible. That was on the internet too. They distributed gasmasks to their troops, and why would you do that if you thought the other side was going to use poison? Here’s more evidence for you. Serious stuff.

When dictators commit atrocities, they depend upon the world to look the other way until those horrifying pictures fade from memory. Like when Saddam gassed a bunch of people, and then my party - including both myself and in 1991 my Vice President - staunchly resisted removing him from power, because he was supposed to be in some kind of “box” along with his victims. The question now is what the United States of America, and the red-line-drawers in the international community, is prepared to do about it. Yes, that is the question that I, the world’s greatest orator and distinguished graduate of Harvard Law School, wish to put to you in my prepared written statement: What is we prepared to do? I shall conclude this paragraph by mentioning dead children for a fifth time and international law for the second, and also making my first mention of national security.

Let me explain. No, is too much - let me sum up. Just kidding, I can never talk too much. This is another one of those deals where something that has been a problem for years if not decades demands immediate action right now because I say so. If we fail to act immediately, the Assad regime will see no reason to stop using chemical weapons. As the ban against these weapons erodes, other tyrants will have no reason to think twice about acquiring poison gas, and using them. Over time, our troops would again face the prospect of chemical warfare on the battlefield. And it could be easier for terrorist organizations to obtain these weapons, and to use them to attack civilians. And that’s not the only way this is nothing like Iraq.

If fighting spills beyond Syria’s borders, these weapons could threaten allies like Turkey, Jordan, and Israel. And a failure to stand against the use of chemical weapons would weaken prohibitions against other weapons of mass destruction, and embolden Assad’s ally, Iran — hey, remember that time I said I’d meet with Iran without preconditions? Or before that how I said that the National Intelligence Estimate showed the Iranians weren’t working on nuclear weapons any more? Well, now I think they might be again.

That is why, after literally a period of time of careful deliberation, I determined that it is in the national security slash political interests of the United States and its President (who is me) to respond to the Assad regime’s use of chemical weapons through a targeted military strike. The purpose of this strike would be to deter Assad from using chemical weapons, to degrade his regime’s ability to use them, and to make clear to the world that we will not tolerate their use.

That’s my judgment as Commander-in-Chief. But I’m also the President of the world’s oldest constitutional democracy. And a Harvard Law graduate, Nobel Peace Prize laureate, Grammy winner, and even at my age I could make the traveling team for a playoff caliber NBA squad. So even though I possess the authority to order military strikes, as I did in Libya, and as I’ve done through drone strikes in Yemen and I don’t even remember where else, I believed it was right, in the absence of a direct or imminent threat to our security, and in the presence of a significant political risk to myself, to take this debate to Congress. I believe our democracy is stronger when the President acts with the support of Congress. And I believe that America acts more effectively abroad when we stand together. And I sure as hell know it’s going to be easier for me to blame Congress if and when things go south than it would be for me to point fingers at the military. Well, not “easier”. More effective.

That is why, after literally a period of time of careful deliberation, I determined that it is in the national security slash political interests of the United States and its President (who is me) to respond to the Assad regime’s use of chemical weapons through a targeted military strike. The purpose of this strike would be to deter Assad from using chemical weapons, to degrade his regime’s ability to use them, and to make clear to the world that we will not tolerate their use.

That’s my judgment as Commander-in-Chief. But I’m also the President of the world’s oldest constitutional democracy, and a Harvard Law graduate, Nobel Peace Prize laureate, Grammy winner, and even at my age I could make the traveling team for a playoff caliber NBA squad. So even though I possess the authority to order military strikes, as I did in Libya, and as I’ve done through drone strikes in Yemen and I don’t even remember where else, I believed it was right, in the absence of a direct or imminent threat to our security, and in the presence of a significant political risk to myself, to take this debate to Congress. I believe our democracy is stronger when the President acts with the support of Congress. And I believe that America acts more effectively abroad when we stand together. And I sure as hell know it’s going to be easier for me to blame Congress if and when things go south than it would be for me to point fingers at the military. Well, not “easier”. More effective.

This is especially true after a decade that put more and more war-making power in the hands of the President, and by “decade” I again mean “twelve years” but I also mean “George Bush”, who placed terrible burdens on our troops by expecting them to win wars, while sidelining the people’s representatives from the critical decisions about when we use force. I mean, George Bush’s first term was nothing but one long rush to war. It’s all we ever talked about.

Now, I know that after the terrible toll of Iraq and Afghanistan and especially Iraq, the idea of any military action, no matter how unbelievably small, is not going to be popular. After all, I’ve spent more time talking about how I end wars than I have having my autopen sign condolence letters to the 1600+ Americans who’ve been killed in Afghanistan since I took office promising to expand the war there. I’ve eliminated the American presence in Iraq, and most of our influence. Our troops are coming home from Afghanistan, most of them still alive. And I know Americans want all of us in Washington- especially me, everybody loves me and knows I can do great things if everybody else would just do what I say — to concentrate on the task of building our nation here at home: recovering from our fifth Recovery Summer, haven’t mentioned kids in three paragraphs, and shit - 13 paragraphs in to this thing and I haven’t said “middle class” yet. My bad. No it isn’t.

It’s no wonder, then, that you’re asking hard questions. So let me answer some of the most important questions that I’ve heard from members of Congress, and that I’ve read in letters that you’ve sent to me, and in transcripts of your emails and phone calls that have been provided to me by the NSA.

First, many of you point out that war is bad, especially if it’s like Bush’s war in Iraq.

My answer is simple: I will not put American boots on the ground in Syria. I will not pursue an open-ended action like Iraq or Afghanistan or especially Iraq. I will not pursue a prolonged air campaign like Libya or like what Hillary’s husband did in Kosovo. This would be a targeted strike to achieve a clear objective: deterring the use of chemical weapons, and degrading Assad’s capabilities. You can’t ask for a clearer objective than achieving deterrence.

Others have asked whether it’s worth acting if we don’t take out Assad. As some members of Congress have said, there’s no point in simply doing a “pinprick” strike in Syria.

Let me make something clear: I am too macho to use the word “prick” without giggling a little. Even an unbelievably small strike will send a message to Assad that no other nation can deliver. I don’t think we should remove another dictator with force — we learned from Iraq that doing so makes us responsible for all that comes next, and let me be perfectly clear: I will never accept responsibility for anything. But a targeted strike can make Assad, or any other dictator, think twice before using chemical weapons, in a way that capturing and hanging him the way Bush did to Saddam never could.

Other questions involve the dangers of retaliation. We don’t dismiss any threats, but the Assad regime does not have the ability to seriously threaten our military. Any other retaliation they might seek is in line with threats that we face every day. Again, not being dismissive, just characterizing what they could do as not serious, everyday, mundane, ordinary, and in a word not that big of a deal. Neither Assad nor his allies have any interest in escalation that would lead to his demise. And our ally, Israel, can defend itself with overwhelming force, as well as the unshakeable support of the United States of America, so a while ago when I said there was a danger to them if we didn’t act and fighting spilled over, that was complicated and different and shut up.

Many of you have asked a broader question: Why should we get involved at all in a place that’s so complicated, and where — as one anonymous person wrote to me in a question that echoed something I saw in the Times that I wanted to address — “those who come after Assad may be enemies of human rights?”

It’s true that some of Assad’s opponents are extremists, as are most of mine. But al Qaeda will only draw strength in a more chaotic Syria if people there see the world doing nothing to prevent innocent civilians from being gassed to death. I mean, if al Qaeda was trying to create a stronghold in an Arab country and murdering innocent people and the world did nothing, that would just be awful if the murders involved poison gas. The majority of the Syrian people — and the Syrian opposition we work with — just want to live in peace, with dignity and freedom and perhaps an occasional beheading for those who insult the Prophet of Islam with their churchgoing and such. And the day after any military action, we would redouble our efforts to achieve a political solution that strengthens those who reject the forces of tyranny and extremism while of course leaving the Assad regime in place.

Finally, many of you have asked: Why not do what you always criticized George Bush for not doing even while he was doing it, and forge an international coalition?

I agree, and I have a deeply held preference for peaceful solutions and/or unmanned drone strike assassinations. Over the last two years, my administration has tried diplomacy and sanctions, warning and negotiations, dinner with John Kerry and flattering profiles in Vogue — but chemical weapons were still used by the Assad regime.

However, over the last few days, we’ve seen some encouraging signs. Now I’m not saying I snapped my fingers and Putin jumped, but the Russian government has indicated a willingness to take Assad’s weapons off of his hands before we attack, which they have literally never done for an Arab dictator before except in 2003. The Assad regime has now admitted that it has these weapons, and even said they’d join the Chemical Weapons Convention, which prohibits their use.

It’s too early to tell whether this offer will succeed, or even whether the Russians rescind this offer now that we’ve agreed to it and make another one that’s even more favorable to them. It wouldn’t be the first time. I mean, I know I’m more flexible now, but hey Putin - the decade of the 1980s called? On the phone? And it asked if you could send its foreign policy back, through time, over the phone. Because acting like there’s some kind of rivalry between us is just so 80s. And of course any agreement must verify the complete elimination of chemical weapons from Syrian territory during a civil war in which the regime doesn’t even control all of that territory. But this initiative has the potential to remove the threat of chemical weapons without the use of force, particularly because Russia is one of Assad’s strongest allies so we know they’re acting in the interests of world peace.

I have, therefore, asked the leaders of Congress to postpone a vote that I would almost certainly lose while we pursue this diplomatic path. I’m sending Secretary of State John Kerry to meet his Russian counterpart on Thursday, and I will continue receiving my own instructions from President Putin. I’ve spoken to the leaders of two of our closest allies, the one whose Parliament already gave a vote of no confidence and the one that hasn’t actually offered us any military assistance since we were driving the Germans off of their soil, and we will work together in consultation with the Veto Brothers to put forward a resolution at the U.N. Security Council like the ones that Saddam was able to flout for over a decade while winning admiration around the Arab world until he was killed in a war that I always opposed. And we will continue to rally support from allies from Europe to the Americas — from Asia to the Middle East — from the Middle East to Syria — from Syria to Damascus — from Damascus to a nice part of Damascus — who agree on the need for action.

Meanwhile, I’ve ordered our military to sail aimlessly around the Mediterranean to show I’m tough on Assad, and to be in a position to do something immediately if I suddenly change my mind about diplomacy. And since I’m on tv tonight, I give thanks again to our military and their families for their incredible strength and sacrifices.

My fellow Americans, for nearly seven decades, the United States has been the anchor of global security, except obviously for Bush’s decade of warmongering in Iraq and Afghanistan and especially Iraq. This has meant doing more than forging international agreements, like the Chemical Weapons Convention I said Assad would sign like that would end the conflict — it has meant enforcing them. Not in a global policeman, cowboy diplomacy kind of way, but in a smart diplomacy kind of way. The Democrat way. The Chicago way. The burdens of leadership are often heavy, but the world is a better place because we have borne them, and by “we” I mean “me”. Or “I”.

And so, to the people I call my friends on the right, I ask you how you can be so fired up about having a strong military when you don’t care about obvious injustice, because that is how I treat the people I call my friends on the right: I treat them like they are stupid, and amoral, and not actually my friends at all. To my friends on the left, I acknowledge that we are virtuous and say dead children again. For sometimes resolutions and statements of condemnation are simply not enough. Sometimes you have to say dead children until people approve of more killing.

Indeed, I’d ask every member of Congress, and those of you watching at home tonight, to view those videos of the attack, maybe get a little drunk first, or watch The Notebook, whatever makes you really emotional, I’ve heard Old Yeller is good for that kind of thing though that movie just makes me hungry, and then ask: What kind of world will we live in if the United States of America sees a dictator brazenly violate international law with poison gas, and we choose to look the other way? Will it be the kind of world my party fought so hard to create until I was elected?

Franklin Roosevelt once said, “Our national determination to keep free of foreign wars and foreign entanglements cannot prevent us from feeling deep concern when ideals and principles that we have cherished are challenged.” And then he locked up citizens whose parents or grandparents had been born in Japan, and turned away Jews fleeing the Holocaust. Our ideals and principles, as well as our national security, are at stake in Syria, albeit our national security is at stake in a totally nonthreatening kind of way as I said earlier.

America is not the world’s policeman. But we are concerned about our global neighborhood, and we’re able to shoot at someone who’s much less well armed than we are if we think they’re up to no good even if some would argue they don’t pose an imminent threat. America is kind of like the world’s Sanford Neighborhood Watch captain. Let me say children two more times, and then some boilerplate crap about rah-rah America and humility. I’m out.


Getting what they wanted, good and hard

The AFL-CIO has now realized that POR-care is a double whammy for Big Labor, in that it removes a large incentive for joining a union and will destroy the very generous health care packages Big Labor has already secured.

Once again, we see the results of doing something because there is a problem, rather than thinking about whether the cure is worse than the disease.

P.S. There have been rumblings of this for quite a while, but it’s interesting to see it come out in the open despite lobbying by the Obama Administration.

10 September 2013

Who cares about results, people are in trouble!

Let me state up front that I oppose intervention by the USA in the Syrian civil war. Both sides are strongly anti-American and, as far as I can tell, equally uncivilized. With regard to the alleged chemical weapon attack, I would not be surprised to find out any of three different things —

  • The Ba’athists did it to terrorize the population and opponents.
  • The rebels did it to get the USA to intervene against the Ba’athists
  • It was faked ala Pallywood.

How can we know? Our government seems remarkably uninterested in actually finding out. Presumably they’ll find some online video that was the real cause.

There are so many things wrong about this it’s difficult to know where to start, but certainly the blatant lying about Benghazi, the support for the Muslim Brotherhood in Eqypt, the deteriorating situation in Libya, and the abandonment of Iraq count for much. The fact that the “plan”, as such, is to be just muscular enough to not be mocked with an unbelievably small attack, in the hope that Iran will abandon Syria in favor of the USA, makes it hard to take any bit of it seriously. After all, it’s already failed because it is being soundly mocked around the world.

Then there is the idea of shooting at chemical weapons — not usually the smarted move, really. And if you don’t do that, what exactly is to be accomplished?

Some argue; that if President Obama doesn’t get Congressional approval, he will lose credibility on the world stage and our enemies will be emboldened. I just have to laugh — that horse is already out of the barn and over the next valley. Our enemies have already taken Obama’s measure and no longer pay much attention to anything he says, unless it provides an opportunity to mock him or score points (which seems to be a favored past time for Russian President Vladimir Putin). I think, at this point, the USA will be less damaged by limiting the damage Obama’s foreign policy is doing.

What this reminds me so much of is the standard tranzi response to problems, which is to do something regardless whether there is any evidence or even a plan indicating these actions would improve the situation. The claim is that if you oppose doing something, regardless of the expected results, you favor whatever suffering is happening. We have simply moved from “we have no evidence this helps” to “we have no plan or expectation this will help”.

P.S. According to Secretary of State Kerry, lobbing cruise missiles at a country isn’t really an act of war, and he was OK with putting troops in Syria before he wasn’t. Before I can support a policy, I have to insist on having an actual policy.

If it fixes itself, I don't get my slice

This article about Microsofts problems, which it hopes to alleviate by buying Nokia, to me illustrates the repeated failure of anti-monopoly efforts by governments. As usual, all the effort expended, the massive costs, turn out to be completely pointless. Microsoft is now an aging giant, trying to hold on as its monopoly crumbles. Had the regulators simply done nothing at all, we would have ended up in this same state about the same time. A modern form of rain dancing as far as I can tell, but much more destructive.

All that is needed is for government to not intervene, to not support the monopoly. Absent that, the monopoly either continues to deliver value, or it is worked around and crumbles. In the first case, there’s no problem to solve, and in the second it solves itself. But there’s little scope for graft and self-importance in letting nature take its course.

09 September 2013

Perfection or continued failure are the only options

School district issues dress code that requires underwear - what does it say about the teachers that this needs to be spelled out? Of course, the teacher’s union objected. Clearly forbidding “clothing containing slogans for beer, alcohol, drugs, gangs or sex will also be prohibited” when teaching children is a hallmark of an oppressive right wing Christianist patriarchy or something.

Or the fellow teachers rallying around a child molester. Or a girl who committed suicide after an affair with a teacher. Or explicit attempts to exempt teachers from statutory rape laws.

Do any of these prove that public education is organized child abuse? No, any system is going to have failures. Yet those who oppose any change seem to think that the mere mention of any failure in charter or voucher based systems immediately renders them beyond the pale.

No matter how many times it happens, I continue to be gobsmacked at the double standard.

One might be tempted to think that statists simply think in absolute terms and therefore project that on their opponents — it is endless having my statement of “A is better than B” paraphrased as “A is perfect”, but that doesn’t explain the double standard. I am left falling back to the tribal explanation, “it’s my team so it’s right and you’re wrong”.

P.S. Have to add this as a footnote, not that it’s particularly relevant —

the evidence suggests that political knowledge is higher among students who attend private schools, even after controlling for various demographic variables such as race and family income. I’m not suggesting that private schools necessarily do a great job of teaching history and civics. But they are, on average, doing a better one than government-run schools. Sending all students to public school would further exacerbate the already severe problem of political ignorance.

Maybe that’s the goal…

P.P.S. Another interesting link I found researching, about the effects of just getting disadvantaged people in to college and why that’s not necessarily a mark of success.

The long shadow

May i ask progressives to answer a important question?

Do you think the vast majority of American’s that do not want to get involved with Syria. Do you think it can be a lack of confidence in this Administration?

It is not like this administration has not lied before. Look at the job report today. We have been lied to and spind around on the economy for 5 years. (yes I know Bush’s fault). We have been lied to about Fast & furious (I know Bush’s fault). We have been lied to about Benghazi (I know Bush’s fault). We have been lied to about the IRS (I know it was Bush’s fault). We have been lied to about Obamacare (I know it is Bush’s fault). We have been lied to about the NSA (I know Bush’s fault). We have been lied to about Immigration (I know Bush’s fault). We have seen the level of incompetence on the Gulf Oil Spill, Boston (terror)…Bush’s fault. We have seen the level of incompetence when it comes to Egypt ( Muslim Brotherhood) Lybia (Extremists / Anarchy), hell the whole middle east.…not to mention Iran is that much closer to being nuclear.

I know it is all Bush’s fault.

But with this track record, why should we trust them this time? Obviously Bush will screw this one up also, no?