Saturday, May 31

Just Another Isolated Incident, part 365,184

In Pakistan a few days ago more than 20 members of a woman’s family stoned her to death outside the local courthouse for “dishonoring her family."  The cause of this dishonor was that she chose to marry someone she loved rather than a husband selected for her by her family.

CNN ran a piece about this on its website, but somehow managed to avoid mentioning "Muslim" or "Islam."  (For those under 30, Pakistan is a nation that enforces Sharia law--it's a Muslim state.)

CNN joins all leftist U.S. media in wanting to portray this as "Another Totally Isolated Incident," having no connection with any people or any religion on earth or anywhere else.  It Just Happened, see?  And you can't blame Pakistan either, because this kind of thing now happens in virtually *every* country.  So it's not just Paks.  Or anyone else.  It's just Mystery People Of No Affiliation.

Nothing to see here, comrade.  Move along.  And don't think about this horrific crime.  Cuz, world peace 'n tolerance for all, eh?

Friday, May 30

The VA health scandal has a lesson for *every* American--if you're paying attention

Why did administrators at several VA hospitals order their staff to create fake records that would hide the outrageously long times veterans had to wait to see VA docs for health threats like heart problems or cancer?  (Investigators have found some vets had to wait more than a year for an appointment.)

Two reasons:  First is simple greed--like the IRS, the VA pays huge bonuses and/or raises to administrators when performance statistics improve.  Fair enough.  Problem is, a lot of managers decided getting the bonus was worth faking the stats.

Obviously all sectors of life have a few dishonest people.  But at least in the private sector you can fire 'em (though the government is making that harder and harder every day).  By contrast, it's virtually impossible to fire a government employee for something as trivial as ordering subordinates to lie about something as trivial as performance statistics.

No one got fired even after a few courageous employees complained about this abhorrent situation to the Inspector General.  Nothing was done.  Nothing.

The second reason for creating fake records is to hide the utter incompetence of single-payer health-care.  For veterans who were wounded in combat or are impoverished, the VA is their health provider.  If you've been paying attention you may have heard that the Democrats want to force *all* Americans into a single-payer system.  The VA is just the sort of government-run, single-payer health care with which the political left is so enamored.

But when there's only one payer, there's only one decision-maker. The VA decides who gets care, when, and how much.  And if there's not enough money to pay for the care demanded, there’s only one result — rationing of care.

Rationing care can take many forms. It can be overt, like the Canadian or British health care systems, which have publicly-announced waiting times and openly refuse to cover certain procedures that are routine in the U.S. (right now, at least).  But rationing can also be concealed from the public. This latter, covert form of rationing is what the VA has been doing.

Because money is always limited, it's impossible to avoid rationing in a single-payer system.  And to the extent a single health provider is inefficient or poorly managed — as is generally problem with government operations, not just the VA — it will always hide the poor management by cutting services--rationing--so managers don't look bad.

There won’t be any public debates about whether a particular procedure will be offered, because such debates are too politically charged. So in this country, government-run, single-payer systems will ineluctably lead to secret rationing--by unelected, un-fireable bureaucrats whose main interest is winning that next big bonus.

And to repeat:  This is the health system many Democrats have openly said they want to force on the public.  (But not on themselves, of course.)

Thursday, May 29

Armed federal raid on Gibson Guitar: sealed warrant feds wouldn't show, no charges, records sealed. WTF??

The events below happened 3 years ago.

“Boss, armed agents from Homeland Security just raided our factory!”

“What? It must be a joke.”

“No, this is serious. Federal agents with guns ordered all our people into the parking lot and won’t let us go back in the plant.”

What is happening?” the owner of Gibson Guitar asked DHS agents when he arrived at his Nashville factory.

“We can’t tell you.”

What are you talking about, you can’t tell me, you can’t just come in and …”

“We have a warrant!”

"Let me see it.”

“We can’t show it to you because it’s sealed.”

With that, 30 armed federal agents from Homeland Security and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service carted away about half a million dollars of wood and guitars.

The next day the owner got a letter forbidding him to touch any guitar left in the plant, under threat of being charged with a separate federal offense for each “violation,” punishable by a jail term.

Two months before the raid, Washington lobbyists slipped some arcane supply-chain reporting provisions into an extension of the Lacey Act of 1900 that changed the technical definition of “fingerboard blanks,” which are legal to import.

Gibson was neither accused nor charged with illegally importing ebony lumber. In fact, the company was never formally charged with anything at all.  The dispute was over the technical definition of “fingerboard blanks.”  In fact, after extorting a $250,000 settlement from the company the confiscated fingerboards were returned to the company.  And while you may feel it's awful to important anything from Madagascar, the company broke neither its laws or ours.  This raid was about protectionism, not conservation.

The question is, who conceived and ordered the raid?  The owner believes it was pushed by lumber-union activists, but we'll never know since the records are sealed. 

Sealed warrants are a throwback to a time where the government--the king and his men--wasn’t accountable to the people.  The nation's founding fathers wisely adopted the Bill of Rights that included the requirement of a signed warrant specifically because they were tired of soldiers (and other agents of the government) simply kicking in their doors without being required to say why.  If a warrant can be sealed, you obviously can't see who signed it--or even if it was signed.

Or even if it really exists.

Sealed warrants shouldn’t be legal.  The Supreme Court erred in allowing them, and the Constitution should be amended to specifically ban them.  With police forces at all levels becoming paramilitary units accountable to no one, when that's combined with secret, sealed warrants it guarantees continued abuses like this one.
H/T to Forbes Magazine.  Click to read the whole article.

Wednesday, May 28

Boko Haram demands "tax" from villagers, kill 20 residents when they can't pay it

Nigeria is a *long* way away, and most Americans couldn't find it on a map.  So nothing there can possibly have any bearing on U.S. policy, right?  At least that's what the Lying Media want you to think.

Last Sunday members of the militant Islamist group Boko Haram raided a village in northeast Nigeria.

Residents said that two months ago Boko Haram members had come to the town demanding they pay the group 250,000 Nigerian Naira ($1500) "so Allah’s work can be carried out." But the villagers--most of whom lived in abject poverty--could only raise 70,000 Naira.

The heavily-armed Islamists responded by killing 20 unarmed villagers and burning down the village and market, in an attack lasting five hours.  The raid comes just days after a Boko Haram attack on the village of Kimba, where the radical Islamists burned down the entire town.

Last week Boko Haram killed over 100 people in multiple raids.

The Koran says that in Muslim areas, non-Muslims must pay Muslims a tax (jizya).  So just for fun, some reporter should ask the head of CAIR and other U.S. Muslim organizations if they believe in that command.  Because they won't be able to give a straight answer:  To deny the Koran's clear and unequivocal command would be heresy to Islamists.  But one can see that they might be reluctant to admit that this is what the Koran and sharia law demand. 

Think any reporter will have the balls to ask 'em that?  Ain't gonna happen--because no reporter (and no U.S. leftist) wants to be viewed as "intolerant."

Our Lying Media dismiss complaints about Boko Haram by saying they're not authentic Muslims, and that most Muslims don't agree with them.  But the "jizya" is a clear and unambiguous Islamic tenet.  How do you suppose the U.S. media will resolve *that*?

Simple:  Like they do with all things that expose screwy U.S. policy, they'll just ignore it.

Sunday, May 25

Two billboards in El Paso painted with "mysterious message"--libs baffled as to meaning

In the middle of the night in El Paso, two billboards were painted with a curious message:


The message translates "silver or lead," and its meaning is well known to Mexicans.  It's a message from drug cartels to law enforcement warning the latter to either take a bribe and look the other way, or the cartel will shoot you.

Does that message make y'all feel all warm and fuzzy?  Does it make you want to push congress to grant amnesty to another 16 *million* illegal immigrants--most from Mexico or even worse places?

I think it's telling that the cartel would order a crew to paint these in the U.S.  Clearly either they have so many members or so little fear of U.S. law enforcement that they were willing to risk the operation.

But don't worry, citizen:  Barack and his undertoads say the border is safer than it's been in decades.  So there ya go.

Oh, and for those of you libs who will immediately shriek that this is a fake, from Faux News:  wrong. 

Saturday, May 24

NT Times: "Trust us: Socialized medical care is the absolute *best*!"

It's SO funny when Nobel prize winners and other self-styled "elites" make some big pronouncements only to have reality show 'em to be utterly full of crap.  Case in point:  NY Times writers like Paul Krugman.

Three years ago Krugman praised the VA for proving that having the government run medical care was a “huge success story”:
"Multiple surveys have found the VHA providing better care than most Americans receive, even as the agency has held cost increases well below those facing Medicare and private insurers…the VHA is an integrated system, which provides health care as well as paying for it. So it’s free from the perverse incentives created when doctors and hospitals profit from expensive tests and procedures, whether or not those procedures actually make medical sense."
Krugman added, “Yes, this is ‘socialized medicine’…But it works, and suggests what it will take to solve the troubles of US health care more broadly.

Similarly, in 2009 Timesman Nicholas Kristof wrote:
Take the hospital system run by the Department of Veterans Affairs, the largest integrated health system in the United States. It is fully government run, much more “socialized medicine” than is Canadian health care with its private doctors and hospitals. And the system for veterans is by all accounts one of the best-performing and most cost-effective elements in the American medical establishment.
But really, citizen, health care works best when government runs it.  Trust us--we're reeeally smaht.

Hot off the wires

Hot off the news wires from two days ago:
Suspected militants from Islamist group Boko Haram shot dead 29 farm workers as they tilled their fields in remote northeast Nigeria, a police source said on Thursday, amid a mounting insurgency increasingly targeting civilians.

The attackers destroyed most of the village of Chukku Nguddoa and wounded another 10 people on Wednesday, said the police source in Borno state, the heart the revolt that is piling political pressure on the government.

Boko Haram, which grabbed world headlines last month by kidnapping more than 200 schoolgirls further north in Borno, has stepped up its five-year-old campaign to carve an Islamic state out of the religiously mixed oil producer.

U.S. liberal:  "That's ridiculous!  You can't possibly believe that!  I mean, no one would stoop to shooting unarmed farmers working in their fields.  That's just not reasonable.  You saw that on Faux News, right?"

Guess again, cupcake:  It was from Reuters--an outfit that's always been pro-Muslim and pro-Left.

But libs will keep believing that a) Islam is really a peaceful religion; and b) in any case, Boko Haram doesn't really represent "real" Islam.

Friday, May 23

Attorney argues Muslim immigrant who beat his wife--fatally--was simply acting in accord with his culture

In New York City a Muslim man wanted goat meat for dinner.  Instead his wife served lentils. 

He responded by beating her to death with a large stick used to stir laundry (so you'll have an idea of the size and thickness of the weapon).

Amazingly (for NYC, anyway) he's been charged with murder.  But his defense attorney is arguing that the charge should be reduced to manslaughter.  Because in Pakistan--the country where the man spent most of his life--Muslims are permitted to beat their wives.  So “culturally believed he had the right to hit … and discipline his wife.”

Now, I'm well aware that there are crazy mofos, or those with anger-management problems, in every religion.  That's not the point of this post.  Instead I want to call attention to the reasoning used by the defense:  'Your honor, my client was raised in a religion that allows him to kill anyone who doesn't bow to his religion.  So he shouldn't be charged with murder because he was just following the way he was raised.'

This is insanity.

I realize that the defense attorney is just doing her job to defend her client with every tool at her disposal.  But the judge should have responded that this didn't constitute an acceptable reason for *anything* in an American courtroom.

The notion that "diversity" per se is good--that it strengthens a nation--is PC, pro-illegal-immigration bullshit.  But every day you can see examples of how solidly that bullshit has taken hold.

Don't get me wrong:  People are people, and brilliance, creativity, diligence and hard work are found in all races.  But if we accept foreign customs as a rationale for excusing breaking U.S. laws, it's all over.

In short: being an immigrant doesn't entitle you to break U.S. laws--nor should it.

Liberals seem to want Americans to think there's no such thing as evil, no "right and wrong."  They seem to want us to believe all behaviors are equally good, even if they always lead to failure.  But if we accept this the PC crowd ends up condemning Americans who stand up for what is good, right, and successful.

We see this pattern again and again.  For example, because the Founding Fathers were almost entirely Christians, the liberal insistence that all religions are equal has led to liberals forcing public schools to teach every student about Islamic customs, or to allow student clubs devoted to witchcraft--while banning prayers or meetings by Christian students even outside school buildings and before classes begin.  Really.

These outcomes are the logical consequence of the central credo of modern liberalism: that all intolerance and discrimination must be eliminated.  Once people accept that proposition, good itself must ultimately be rejected--because good discriminates against evil.

By contrast, liberal reasoning requires that evil be given legally-protected "victim status," because the majority of Americans (for now, at least) still favor good over evil.

Government health care in action, part 486,735

You may have heard that at several hospitals of the Veteran's Administration--which is charged with providing health care for disabled or impoverished veterans of our armed forces--vets seeking medical treatment often had to wait six weeks or more to see a doctor.

That's bad enough--and a hint of how nationalized health care would work.  But even worse was how top management at many such hospitals responded to this problem:  Required by regulation to keep records of how long patients had to wait to see a doctor, they created fake records showing acceptable performance, while hiding their real performance records from the public.

They did this because the VA has a bonus system, and presumably wouldn't give big bonuses to hospital administrators whose facilities didn't meet waiting-time goals.

Is there anyone in the country who doesn't believe the practice of keeping fake records should be grounds for immediate firing?  The House of Representatives agreed, and this week passed a bill that would make it easier to for the VA to fire employees for on poor performance.  (Right now it's almost impossible to fire a government employee for *anything*--other than revealing incompetence or illegal acts to the public.)

The bill--the Veterans Affairs Management Accountability Act--passed the House by a vote of 390 to 33.

It probably won't surprise you to learn that all the nay votes were from Democrats.

So now the bill goes to the senate, where a senator asked for "unanimous consent" to pass the bill into law.

In light of the VA's scandalous conduct you might think this would be unobjectionable.  But--Socialism triumphs again!  Bernie Sanders-- a self-proclaimed socialist senator from from Vermont who caucuses and votes with the Democrats--objected to the request for unanimous consent and insisted on holding hearings on the bill. 

The first hearing wouldn't take place for several weeks--enough time for the story to fall off the headlines and out of ten-day attention span of most of the public.

Sanders chairs the senate's committee on Veterans Affairs and has been one of the most outspoken defenders of the VA against charges of misconduct.

And here's the kicker:  When asked about reports of multiple deaths related to long wait times at the VA healthcare system, Sanders replied: “People die every day.”

That statement is of course true, but you need to understand the context to see what he really meant:  By flippantly remarking that "People die every day" this asshole was implying that any deaths were perfectly normal and that VA administrators and managers had done nothing that might have contributed to premature or needless deaths of the veterans they'd been hired to care for.

Ah, compassionate government in action.  Or rather, inaction.  And a glimpse of what government-run health care will be like.

Unless you're politically connected, of course.  Like members of congress.  Including socialist asshole Bernie Sanders.

Thursday, May 22

Government railway system orders trains too wide for the stations???

Government doing what governments always do, part gazillion:
France's state-run railway system ordered a fleet of new trains.  Only afterwards did they discover the trains are too wide to fit many of the country's stations. 
So now about 1,300 of the country's railway platforms will have to be cut back to handle  the new trains, at a cost of about $70 million (per WSJ).
But according to this source the railway has *already* spent $110 million (80 million euros) on this screwup, so the WSJ estimate may just be the estimated remaining cost.  It wouldn't be a bit surprising to find a bureaucrat releasing figures that would tend to minimize the severity of a screwup by his or her agency.

Obviously everyone makes mistakes--both in the private sector and in government.  But there are three HUGE differences in the consequences of those mistakes:

First, unless a company is big and politically connected--like GM or a big bank--the cost of mistakes made in the private sector is paid by a private company, while the cost of mistakes by government employees is always paid by taxpayers.

Second--and far more crucial:  If someone in the private sector screws up, the company can fire 'em.  Happens all the time, even to CEOs.  But when government screws up, no one is *ever* fired.

Oh, a gummint agency may make a big show of faux-firing someone--as when the State Dept supposedly "fired" four nameless mid-level types after Benghazi--but we always eventually learn that they weren't really fired at all, just temporarily reassigned until the public's attention turned elsewhere.

Same deal with the VA's practice of having doctored records of waiting times for sick veterans to see a VA doctor:  The Obozo administration announced that the head guy in charge of VA hospitals had been fired, but in reality the guy announced *last fall* that he was retiring in June of this year--hell, Obozo appointed the guy's replacement last year!  So the "fired" guy ended up leaving about a month earlier than his planned retirement.  Oh, and with full gummint retirement benefits, of course.

And you're calling that a "firing?"

Third huge difference:  If you're injured or damaged by a private-company screwup, at least you have a chance to sue and recover something for your injuries.  But if you're injured or killed by a government screwup, unless you're politically connected the government usually tells you to fuck off.

Oh, *technically* you can sue the gummint agency, but there's a fine-print twist that says the suit can only proceed if the government agrees to be sued.  And guess what:  Unless you're politically connected, they don't agree.

Now for the kicker:  You liberal idiots cheered as the Democrats--without a single Republican vote--gave the government total control of health care.  (And the Repubs have neither the power nor the balls to repeal that piece of shit.)

Now guess what:  You libs don't know it yet but most of you just got assigned to "VA-style" medical care!  If you're still cheering then you have no idea what's been happening in the VA health-"care" system.

But it was totes worth it, eh?  Because it raked in $300 million from insurance companies and Big Pharma for Barack's re-election campaign.  Plus y'all got to feel SO good for making taxpayers pay for health insurance for the poor and for illegal immigrants (despite explicit promises that the latter wouldn't get taxpayer-paid benefits).

Oh, and passing Obamacare also assured that the estimated 16 million illegals in the U.S. would continue to vote Democrat (though that was never in doubt).

Win-win-win, eh?  Well, for Democrats anyway.

You forced this through all by yourselves.  Hope you enjoy your VA-quality health care.

Wednesday, May 21

An American visits Cuba

If you've ever met one you know Leftists, socialists, "progressives"--and most Democrats--are practically giddy about the wonders of communism or socialism or whatever the latest camouflage term is.

Not only do they think socialism is wonderful...they think it works.

Take, for example, Venezuela--which once had the highest per-capita income in Latin America. Then the morons heard the siren song of the socialist Chavez:  Hope and change! Free phones! Free housing! Free university education! And they bought it.

Now that they have it, how have things worked out?

Shortages of everything. Government troops beating peaceful protesters in the streets. But hey, it's all good, eh? Because...socialism! Viva la revolucion!

"But...but...but..." (Leftists sputter a lot when they're fighting cognitive dissonance) "Venezuela is an exception!  Socialism actually works reeally well!  Look at Cuba, for example! Free health care! Virtually no crime!"

Michael J. Totten is a gifted writer who recently visited Cuba to see for himself if the Left's glowing tales of communism's success in Cuba were true. He wrote of his trip in "The Last Communist City" in City Journal, and it's well worth a read. Highlights:

He was appalled by the economic misery endured by the average Cuban.

Many American tourists return home convinced that the Cuban model succeeds, but that’s because they only see the tourist areas and don't get out on the "real" economy.

Outside Havana's tourist sector, the rest of the city looks as though it suffered a catastrophe on the scale of Hurricane Katrina:  Roofs have collapsed, walls are splitting apart, window glass is missing.  Paint has long vanished--a luxury no one can afford.  Most people struggle to eke out a life in the ruins.

In 1958, Cuba had a higher per-capita income than much of Europe.  And the wealth wasn’t just in the hands of a tiny elite.  Cuban society was as much of a middle-class society as Argentina and Chile.”

But then in 1958 Fidel Castro and his psychotic comrade Che Guevara overthrew the government and took power.  Now Marxists have ruled Cuba for more than a half-century. They promised liberal democracy, but after Castro was secure in absolute power the wraps came off and they instituted full-fledged communism. The objectives were--ostensibly--total equality and the abolition of money; the methods were total surveillance and political prisons. The state slogan, then and now, is “socialism or death.”

But in a totally shocking and unexpected turn of events, the result was not prosperity but total economic collapse. 

Longtime Cuba resident Mark Frank writes vividly about this period in his book Cuban Revelations. “The lights were off more than they were on, and so too was the water. . . . Food was scarce and other consumer goods almost nonexistent. . . . Doctors set broken bones without anesthesia."  He quotes a resident saying Cubans “used to make hamburgers out of grapefruit rinds and banana peels; we cleaned with lime and bitter orange.”

Because the Castro regime was the first openly communist one in the western hemisphere, the Soviet Union was eager to make it look like a success--and was willing to give Cuba billions of dollars worth of...virtually everything each year to achieve that appearance.  While it's hard to confirm the numbers, some economists estimate Soviet gifts accounted for almost a third of Cuba's economy!

When daddy subsidizes a third of your economy it makes horrible policies look a lot better.

But when the Soviet Union broke up these subsidies ended, and the Castro regime had to do something to make up the loss.  Castro wasn’t about to change his firmly communist ideology but as more things vanished from shelves and with no "hard" currency he decided to replace the Soviet subsidy with tourists, mostly from Europe and Latin America.

Of course tourists would have to eat, so the regime allowed people to open restaurants in private homes—though no one outside the family could work in them. (That would be “exploitative.”)  Another profit center was government-run stores that sold relatively luxurious imported goods to tourists.  But for the average Cuban almost nothing changed.

The United States has a minimum wage; Cuba has a maximum wage—$20 a month for almost every job in the country. (Professionals such as doctors and lawyers can make a whopping $10 extra a month.)

Even employees in the showcase tourist industry don’t get a higher salary. The government contracts with Spanish companies such as Meliá International to manage Havana’s hotels.  In its pitch to win the contract, Meliá told the regime it wanted to pay workers a decent wage. The regime happily agreed, so the company ostensibly pays hotel workers $8–$10 an hour. But at the regime's insistence the company doesn't pay its employees directly.  Instead it pays the compensation to the government, which pays the workers...the standard 67 cents per day.

In other words, the Castro regime simply pockets most of the $8-$10 per hour that the company pays in wages.

Totten asked several Cubans working at his hotel if that was really true. All confirmed that it was.

Socialist paradise.  Absolute equality.  For the workers, anyway.

The maximum wage is just the beginning. Not only are most Cubans not allowed to have money; they’re hardly allowed to have things. The police go to great lengths to ensure that the average Cuban--forced to live miserably--actually does so.  Dissident author Yoani Sánchez describes the harassment in her book Havana Real: “Buses are stopped in the middle of the street and bags inspected to see if we are carrying some cheese, a lobster, or some dangerous shrimp hidden among our personal belongings.”

The government defends its maximum wage by arguing that necessities are either free or so deeply subsidized in Cuba that citizens don’t need much money.  The free and subsidized goods and services, though, are as dismal as everything else on the island.  Cuba hardly has any cars, so people wait in lines for up to two hours each way to get on a bus. And commuters must pay for their ride out of their $20 a month wage.

At least local commuter buses are cheap. By contrast, a one-way ticket to the other side of the island costs several months’ pay; a round-trip costs almost a year's salary.

And "free" is useless if goods aren't available.  Sánchez describes an astonishing television appearance by Raúl Castro in which he boasted that the economy was doing so well that every Cuban could finally have...milk.  “To me,” Sánchez wrote, “someone who grew up on a gulp of orange-peel tea, the news seemed incredible.”  And sure enough, Raúl’s boast that Cubans were finally producing enough milk for everyone was deleted from the official transcript of the speech in the government-run newspaper.  In true Orwellian fashion the regime didn't want a written record of Raul making a statement that every Cuban knew was an outright lie.

And that much-touted "free" health care?   Patients have to bring their own medicine, their own bedsheets, and even their own iodine to the hospital.  Most of these items are available only on the black market--if they can be found at all--and must be paid for in hard currency.  The Castro regime made a deal to send Cuban doctors to Venezuela in exchange for oil—and the island now faces a shortage of doctors.

Housing is free, too, but so what?  Americans can get houses in abandoned parts of Detroit for only $500—which makes them practically free—but no one wants to live in a crumbling house.  Almost everyone in Havana lives in a Detroit-style wreck, with caved-in roofs, peeling paint, and doors hanging on their hinges at odd angles.

Education is free and the country is effectively 100 percent literate, but does it take a totalitarian police state to get virtually 100% literacy?  Somehow almost every other country in the Western Hemisphere has managed the same feat, without the brutal repression.

Even such basics as cooking oil, sugar and soap are scarce.  People who manage to acquire these stand on street corners and whisper “cooking oil” or “sugar” to passersby, and then sell the product out of their home. If they’re caught, both sellers and buyers will be arrested, of course, but in a dismal economy a lot of people take the risk.

Until a few years ago ordinary Cubans weren’t even allowed to set foot inside tourist hotels or restaurants unless they worked there, lest they see for themselves the luxurious lifestyles of decadent capitalist nations-- like Mexico, Chile and Spain.  But a few years ago the regime stopped barring Cubans from tourist hotels and restaurants.

Of course most Cubans can’t afford to go to these places anyway:  A restaurant meal in Havana costs an entire month’s salary for the average Cuban.  A single bottle of beer at a tourist restaurant costs a week’s salary.  A middle-class tourist can easily spend more in one day than most Cubans make in a year.  Totten had dinner with four Americans at a tourist restaurant. The only Cubans in the place were the cooks and the waiters. The bill for five was about $100--five months’ salary for Cubans. 

Vital as the tourist industry is for the regime, it also poses a problem--because it enables Cubans to see how foreigners live. The only way to prevent this would be to shut down the hotels, and the regime can’t do that because it needs the money.  So Cubans working in this industry can't avoid seeing the vast contrast--and that most of the tourists don't seem particularly smarter or more motivated than the average Cuban.  No wonder the regime wants to keep foreigners and locals apart.

Tourists tip waiters, taxi drivers, tour guides, and chambermaids in hard currency, and to stave off a revolt from these people the regime lets them keep the money.  As a result they’re relatively rich compared to most Cubans.  In fact they enjoy elite privileges—enough income to afford a cell phone or go out to a restaurant occasionally—that ordinary Cubans can’t afford.  Totten asked a few people how much maids earned in tips:  Supposedly they got about $1 per day for each room. If they clean an average of 30 rooms a day and work five days a week, they’d earn $600 a month—a staggering sum in Cuba, 30 times the official maximum monthly wage.

Only in the bizarre economy of a communist country is the cleaning lady richer than the doctor. Yet even these relatively rich Cubans are poor compared to the middle class--or even the poor--outside Cuba.

For example, American Leftists complain about “food deserts” in U.S. cities, where the poor supposedly can't find a nearby store that sells nutritious food.  But if they want to see a real food desert they should come to Havana.  Totten writes of going to a hard-currency grocery store across the street from a tourist hotel, where the few Cubans lucky enough to have hard currency could shop to supplement their meager state rations.  It sold rice, beans, frozen chicken, milk, bottled water, booze, a little cheese, minuscule amounts of rancid-looking meat, some low-end cookies and chips from Brazil—and that was it. No produce, cereal, no cans of soup, no pasta.  And this was a place for Cuba’s “rich” to shop.

Castro wants the world to compare Cuba to poor third-world countries like Guatemala or Haiti.  But Cuba isn’t a developing country; it’s a country that was highly developed just 50 years ago but has been destroyed by its communist government.

Fifty-eight years ago Havana was an elegant, modern city. It should be compared not with Kabul, Guatemala City, or Port-au-Prince but with formerly communist cities like Budapest, Prague, or Berlin.  And the comparison is devastating.

On his last night in Cuba Totten dined at the restaurant on the top floor of his luxury tourist hotel.  He had his first and only steak on the island, with wine from Chile. The bill was about what he would have paid to have a pizza delivered at home--but more than a month’s wages for ordinary Cubans.

Not surprisingly, he was the only customer in the place.

Labels: ,

Tuesday, May 20

Pelosi to screen anti-Koch-brothers film in...Capitol visitors center?? defying rules banning film showing

There is a public project called the "Capitol Visitor's Center."  Not surprisingly, it shows visitors interesting things about the Capitol. 

It also has meeting rooms.

Since the center was built with public money, rules passed by both the House and senate specify that it can't be used for partisan purposes, like fundraising.  Among these is one stating that state that “no audio visual presentations in the CVC may premiere, preview, showcase, or publicize a film.”

But of course, Democrats know that rules only to apply to Republicans and conservatives, never to Democrats.  Thus Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid are planning to show a film called “Koch Brothers Exposed: 2014 Edition” in the visitors center tonight.

According to the notoriously pro-Democrat site Politico, Rep. Candice Miller, the chairwoman of the House Administration Committee, wrote Pelosi saying screening the movie in the Capitol Visitor Center violates House and Senate rules.

“We cannot hold partisan political rallies or fundraisers on the grounds of the Capitol, or within its walls. Our work in this hallowed building must solely be in the interests of the American people and not in the interests of any political cause,” Miller wrote.

A Pelosi spokesman told Politico "the rules cited by Miller don’t apply to rooms in the House side of the visitor center."

“As Chairwoman Miller acknowledges in her letter, the room in question is not governed by the rules she cites. Regardless, this film was created by a 501c3 nonprofit organization, and this event is neither a fundraiser or a screening, but a press conference in which clips from the film will be shown,” Pelosi spokesman Drew Hammill said.

That's just precious.  So you can "showcase" a film--in direct violation of the rules--if you're a Democrat.  How...typical.

I'd say this was too outrageous to be true except the source is a pro-Democrat website.

So no rules or laws apply, eh Nan?  I think it's time our side took your tactics to heart.

Democrat senator Harry Reid scoffed at complaints as he prepared for a screening of an anti-Koch brothers documentary at the Capitol Visitor Center, dismissing Rep. Miller’s letter to Pelosi.

“That shows how their tentacles are in every part of the Republican congressional staff,” Reid said, calling the film a “public statement.”

So if you want to break the rules, use Alinsky's rules and rename what's unquestionably a film as a "public statement."   Makes everything just fine.

Sorry, but I really do hate these people.

Oh, here's the flier for the screening.  Remind you of anything?  Say, Nazi or communist propaganda?

Monday, May 19

A tale of two flag raisings

Herewith two tales involving people raising flags in the formerly great United States.  The first one happened in Paterson, New Jersey, where Palestinians raised the Palestinian flag on a flagpole at city hall.  The mayor made the kind of comments you expect of politicians looking for votes.

Contrast this with the reaction when a high school senior in Colorado raised the "Don't Tread on Me" flag on the school flagpole:  The female principal--a moonbat named Jodie Diers--went nuts, pulling the student out of a scholarship breakfast and telling him and his parents the flag was a "slap in the face" to the school. She then said he was "not welcome" at Central High.

"She also confiscated my flag," the student wrote, even though the principal admitted he had not violated any law or school policy. Her reasoning, Stoneburner said, was that anything on the pole was school property.

"So my property was confiscated without due process," he added. "I was denied access to a public institution because the principal didn't like what I did."

Government employees at all levels in this country seem to be...nuts.  School principals seem to be particularly crazy, with lines like "Anything on the flagpole is school property."

Amazing how fucked up government employees have gotten in just the past 6 years.  Wonder why?

Wait, I know:  It's all a fable created by Faux News.

Saturday, May 17

Who gets to say who's Muslim: head of Muslim terror gang, or the "deputy assistant secretary for African affairs"?

Who is more qualified to determine whether a gang of terrorists authentically represents Islam:  The leader of that gang, or the U.S. State Department's "deputy assistant secretary of state for African affairs"?

In the reign of Emperor Obama (because he sure as shit isn't merely "president" since he clearly doesn't acknowledge the Constitution as the supreme law of the land), with the help of the liberal media, there's no question:  That determination can only be correctly made by...the deputy assistant secretary of state for African affairs.

If you think that's sarcasm you're right, of course.

The deputy assistant secretary of state for African affairs is one Robert Jackson, and two days ago he made an appearance before one of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittees.  He was standing in for the Assistant Secretary for African Affairs--one Linda Thomas-Greenfield--who was reportedly traveling.  The topic was Boko Haram, and its unspeakably vile kidnapping of 270 school girls from a Christian village in northern Nigeria.

In a recent video the group's leader boasted that the schoolgirls had been forced to convert to Islam--something the Koran orders all Muslims to undertake.  “These girls, these girls you occupy yourselves with… we have liberated them. These girls have become Muslims,” he said.

Senator Marco Rubio noted that Boko Haram seemed to be targeting Christians--to which the deputy assistant secretary for African affairs replied:
Senator, I respectfully suggest while anti-Christian sentiment is a strong motivator, the fact of the matter is that Boko Haram is trying to portray its philosophy as being a Muslim philosophy, and that’s just not accurate.
So there ya have it:  Leader of Muslim group brags that his group has gotten his victims to convert to Islam--in accordance with the teachings of Islam's founding text.  He also said his group intended to sell the girls as sex slaves--again, in complete harmony with the teachings of Mohammed.  But the deputy assistant secretary of state for African affairs--presumably more of an expert on the Koran than the leader of the Muslim gang--knows better:  The terror group is "trying to portray its philosophy as being a Muslim philosophy, and that’s just not accurate."

See, just because some random guy posts a video on the internet in which he claims to be Muslim, and to be acting in accordance with Muslim philosophy, doesn't mean it's true.  After all, we have no way of knowing if the video is authentic.  This whole vid could have been made by the Koch brothers to inflame those delusional Republicans!  Because as the deputy assistant secretary for African affairs I can tell you that the man in the video doesn't look like the leader of a terrorist gang to me--and believe me, serving in the current administration I can say I've seen lots of lawless thugs.

But seriously--this is almost a definition of insanity.  "You say you're Muslim but you can't be Muslim because I say you can't!"

How utterly typical of this administration and their supporters.  Like that idiot James Clapper proclaiming that the Muslim Brotherhood were not Islamists.
It is the nature of Islam to dominate, not to be dominated, to impose its law on all nations and to extend its power to the entire planet.  ~Hasan al-Banna, founder of the Muslim Brotherhood--but totally unqualified to opine on the true nature of Islam (per U.S. State Dept)

Friday, May 16

College students asked to name one of Hillary's achievements--one cites her handling of...Benghazi??

How do people decide if something's true?

Many investigators have studies the question, and the consensus seems to be that for most people the decision is surprisingly haphazard, even for very critical issues.  For example, before the 2008 election something like 80 percent of Americans under 30 strongly agreed that Barack Obama had more experience than the average candidate, and "was extremely well prepared" to be president.

But how did they decide this was true?  He refused to release any of his college records and even went to great lengths to avoid letting anyone see his birth certificate (before releasing a very bad photoshop just before his *second* presidential election).  As far as this group goes, Obama's main qualification to be president was being half-black.  But once the "conventional wisdom" took hold, no one on the Left looked more closely.

The question of how "conventional wisdom"--things that people take as true without much evidence--comes to exist is relevant as we approach the 2016  presidential election, with Hillary Clinton the presumptive Democrat nominee.  With that in mind, watch as a handful of college students is asked to name her most outstanding accomplishment.

Note that one female student goes so far as to praise Hillary for her excellent handling of...Benghazi.

Kinda reminds me of when Hillary's husband--Slick--was running:  Interviewers asked Americans if they knew Slick had dodged the draft.  No, they hadn't heard that.  Does it make you less inclined to vote for him?  No, they said, it doesn't change my support.  Because like Obama, Slick was "cool," hip.  The media loved him.  In fact it was reported that one female newsie for a TV network admitted she was so enamored that she'd be willing to give him what would later become known as a Lewinski.

Oh well, I'm sure all 20-somethings have always been clueless.  How could it be otherwise?  The nation's public schools teach nothing about this nation's history or the Constitution; most of the kids' parents are equally uneducated, and thus the media can literally print *anything*--no matter how false--and no one says boo.

I suspect we'll start to see more of the meme "Hillary did a great job during the attacks in Benghazi" from the MSM.  Helps the narrative, ya know.

Update on how the Affordable Care Act has helped everyone--at least those who got billion-dollar contracts

Does anyone remember the main argument used by Obama and the Democrats to pass the laughably-named "Affordable Care Act"?

It was that "we" had to pass it in order to provide health insurance for the millions of poor folks who couldn't afford it.  The figure most often quoted for the size of this group was 30 million people.

The only way to make this happen, said the Dems, was to have the new law command insurance companies to cancel health policies that people were happy with, and make them buy far less expensive more expensive, higher-deductible policies.  The extra premiums paid on these policies would enable the government to offer subsidies or "free" insurance to the poor.

Super!  But how do you order companies to cancel good policies?  Easy!  They simply included a provision  saying that after January 1st it would be illegal to offer health-insurance policies unless they include pregnancy care for men and free birth control for 60-year-old women!

Since no sane customer would buy insurance with such provisions, that would automatically void virtually every health insurance policy in the country.  Bingo!  Problem solved.

Then lie about how many people have signed up.  "We don't have the figures," said Jay Carney.  Bullshit, and everyone knew it but no reporter pressed the point.

Fast-forward:  Team Obama now claims 8 million Americans have signed up.  (They won't say how many of these are illegal aliens, who were supposedly not to be covered but who have apparently been the focus of signup efforts in California.)  Of these millions, surveys show that roughly 6.5 million had health insurance before the act was passed.  That leaves about 1.5 million--maybe as many as 1.8 million--who now have insurance but didn't have it previously.

Now consider:  All this cost was $50 billion or so in federal spending in the first three years.  Also, a handful of state-run exchange websites—which cost nearly half a billion dollars to build—still don’t work nearly seven months after they first went live.

Largely inoperable state exchange websites in Maryland, Massachusetts, Oregon and Nevada have racked up $474 million federal tax dollars so far, Politico first reported.  And their costs will continue to climb as states scramble to salvage their non-working websites or transition onto the federal exchange.

Maryland will spend an additional $40 million to save its website, which has already cost $90 million. Nevada has spent $50 million to date and will decide in the coming weeks how much more it will spend on repair efforts. Massachusetts will pour an additional $121 million into fixing its severely troubled state portal, while also using the federal portal as a back up plan.

But the prize for wasting money--at least at the state level--goes to Oregon:  that state’s website, which already cost $259 million, is so bad that the state has opted to junk it entirely and spend an extra $5 million to use instead.

But hey, if you look at the 1.8 million people who got "free" health insurance--got that?  FREE!--it was all worth it, eh?

IRS says 47% of Americans don't pay fed income tax. Dems looking for a way to discredit this statement

The liberal propaganda mill never stops, and here's its latest work:

Ever hear or read that 47% of Americans don't pay any federal income tax?  This came from IRS data and shocked almost all hard-working Americans.  The natural concern was that people who don't pay any fed income tax would be far more willing to support greater government spending since it doesn't cost them a cent.

This figure shocked Americans, and hurt Democrat pols who always push for more "free" things for their constituents.  So the Dems wanted to find a way to discredit the figure.  But since it came from the IRS, they couldn't just scream that Faux News invented it.

Well, they've now found a way to say the 47% figure is "not true:"  Simply call the social security payroll tax a "federal income tax."  Here's a troll from a comment thread:

First of all, the Republican talking point, when used correctly, states that 47% pay no Federal Income taxes. That would leave 53% paying taxes, if this statement were true, which it is not.

It is true is that about 46% don’t pay Federal Income taxes as that term is defined by the right wing slander machine. 

About 2/3 of that 46% do pay 15.3% of their gross income in payroll taxes. This is a direct tax on income derived from labor so it is the very definition of a Federal Income Tax and it applies to everyone who works for a living and reports their income. 

Since the payroll tax is levied on gross income, every worker in America pays a much higher Federal income tax rate than, say, Mitt Romney, who paid about 13% on his net income.
I suspect we'll see the Democrat media start to repeat this--loudly--to try to lull politically-indifferent folks back to sleep.

Thursday, May 15

Obama speaks at 9/11 museum opening ceremony--and you can guess what he said

After years of wrangling over what it would be allowed to show, the 9/11 museum finally held its opening ceremony today.

Obama showed up to give a speech.  He spoke for nine minutes.  During that time, guess how many times he used the words Islam, Muslim, Islamist or Al-Qaeda?

The grand total

Wouldn't wanna offend the throat-cutting bastards by pointing out who did it, eh?  It's as if those planes simply flew into the towers--and the Pentagon--all by themselves.

If you're skeptical, here's the official White House transcript.

If you don't think Obozo is a traitorous, America-hating son of a bitch you haven't been paying attention.

NYT reviewer sneers that new 9/11 museum lacks *nuance*

Despite atrocity after unspeakable atrocity committed by Muslims, the Left's defense of the indefensible continues.  The latest example is a review of the just-opened 9/11 museum (on the site of the destroyed twin towers) in the New York Times.  A sample:
The prevailing story in the museum, as in a church, is framed in moral terms, as a story of angels and devils. In this telling, the angels are many and heroic, the devils few and vile, a band of Islamist radicals, as they are identified in a cut-and-dried, context-less and unnuanced film called “The Rise of Al Qaeda,” seen at the end of the exhibition.
Oh yeah. Cuz we at the Times will not tolerate displays that are un-nuanced or lack context. The museum's approach to 2,900 Americans killed that day is just so..."cut-and-dried." Where's the crucial explanation of "root causes?" After all, we couldn't expect those nice Muslim boys to just sit on their hands after we invaded Iraq, right?  I mean, all us "progressives" kept warning America that we had it coming.  (Yes, the last two lines are sarcasm.)
The narrative is not so much wrong as drastically incomplete.  It is useful history, not deep history; news, not analysis. This approach is probably inevitable in a museum that is, to an unusual degree, still living the history it is documenting; still working through the bereavement it is memorializing; still attached to the idea that, for better and worse, Sept. 11 “changed everything,” though there is plenty of evidence that, for better and worse, this is not so. The amped-up patriotism set off by the attacks has largely subsided.

Cuz here at the Times we are reeally sick of amped-up patriotism. Well, all patriotism, really, if displayed by Americans. On the other hand we find patriotic actions by Saudis and Afghanis and Yemenis and Russians very...stirring. It rouses us in ways we can't really explain here.

And the Times sees the museum's "narrative" as "not so much wrong as drastically incomplete."  Of course that's really just a way of saying the narrative is wrong.  Meaning, We Enlightened Folks at the Times don't like it.  And the reason?  Ostensibly because it's not "deep history", not analysis.

Let's see here: 2,900 people were murdered that day and the Times wants...analysis?  I wonder, would you be so interested in "analysis" and "root causes" if someone cracked your kid's head open with a crowbar?  Sure you would.  Cuz, like, it's important to analyze things if you want to have enough latitude to nuance them down to no threat.
Still, within its narrow perspective, maybe because of it, the museum has done something powerful.
Only one group has the crucial broad perspective, and that would be the reviewer and editors of the Times. Just ask 'em.
And, fortunately, it seems to regard itself as a work in progress, involved in investigation, not summation.  I hope so.  If it stops growing and freezes its narrative, it will become, however affecting, just another Sept. 11 artifact. If it tackles the reality that its story is as much about global politics as about architecture, about a bellicose epoch as much as about a violent event, it could deepen all our thinking about politics, morality and devotion.
Wait... the reality is that its story is "as much about global politics as about architecture"??  Gee, and here I thought it was to memorialize 2,900 dead Americans...  And there's that bullshit about "a bellicose epoch as much as about a violent event..."  Um...yeah, can't imagine why anyone would dare..uh...memorialize a "violent event" at a museum located at the site where 2,900 innocents were killed by 26 throat-cutting savages, eh?

So...if you wonder why congress hasn't voted to slam the hammer down on Muslim thuggery, a big part of the answer is sneering, snide, contemptuous, elitist bullshit reviews like the Times ran on the 9/11 museum.

Why are the Dems fighting SO hard to discredit the House committee investigating Benghazi?

For 20 months now there's been a steady drumbeat by Leftists, Democrats, socialists, "progressives" and other moonbats to call anyone interested in learning the truth about Benghazi crazy, "delusional" and so on.  And now that the House has decided to try again, that screaming has grown even louder.

What secret have the Dems been trying so hard to conceal?  If it were simply Hillary's refusal to agree to increase security after our ambassador requested it, there were far easier ways to invent cover:  "She never saw the request" comes to mind.  But the efforts of Team Obama were a full-court press, an elaborate cover story that wouldn't have been needed to get the media to ignore garden-variety incompetence.

Some analysts have speculated that the whole attack was an elaborate misdirection, in which our Muslim-friendly ambassador would ostensibly be "kidnapped" and then exchanged for a high-level U.S. prisoner, but I disagree.  Rather, I think Team Obama was either selling or giving sophisticated weapons (probably including the justly-feared shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles) to some al-Qaeda offshoot, with a deal having been made that the Libyan branch would transport them to Syria for the Syrian rebels to use against Assad. 

But even that doesn't explain all the lies and secrecy.  After all, by now virtually all American voters are accustomed to the idea that Emperor Barack can unilaterally decide to break any law he wants to, and no one will try to call him to account, so one wonders why they didn't simply have the emperor simply say "I issued a secret executive order--so secret my counsel advised me not to commit it to writing--directing the transfer of these weapons.  After all, innocent children in Syria are suffering because of the war there.
"Last year I tried everything possible to get congress to approve direct military action to help these poor Syrian children.  Unfortunately obstructionist Republican members blocked it [a lie but no one will correct him] so I decided to take those actions the Constitution allows a president to take unilaterally.  So the unfortunate demonstration in Benghazi and the tragic, accidental death of Ambassador Stevens is really entirely the Republicans' fault!"  And with the help of the Lying Media all the Low-Info voters would buy it. 

So why didn't Team Obama take this easy out?

One thing's sure:  There's something at the heart of this that, if it gets out, will *gravely* damage the Democrats.  It's why they're fighting so hard to keep the lid on.

Leftist media: "Boko Haram doesn't represent Islam." So what do they say when an Islamic *government" sentences an innocent to death?

In an effort to put the best possible spin on the brutal abduction of some 270 schoolgirls in northern Nigeria, the mainstream American media have repeatedly told Americans that the kidnappers, Boko Haram, do NOT represent Islam but are some sort of bizarre splinter group--just like the 26 terrorists who killed 2,400 Americans on 9/11.

According to American media, no matter how many murders and terrorist atrocities are committed by Muslims, none of the perps ever represents mainstream Islam.  Now Christians, on the other hand....

Fortunately it wasn't possible for the American media to totally ignore the obscenity of selling young girls as slaves, so some of the story is leaking through.  But the war against women waged by Islam is not just raging in Nigeria:  The same sick "religion" has now threatening to execute a young mother in Sudan.

The Muslim government of Sudan has declared her marriage invalid, charged her with adultery, sentenced her to 100 lashes, thrown both her and her 20-month-old child in jail and now has sentenced her to death.

Meriam Yahia Ibrahim, 27, is the daughter of an Orthodox Christian mother and a Muslim father who abandoned his wife and child early.  With the father having absconded the mother raised her as a Christian. But Sharia law says that if a child's father is Muslim, then the child is Muslim.

Roll that around for a moment.

The Islamist government of Sudan seized on this to declare the woman's marriage to a Christian American citizen invalid.  Sudanese authorities arrested her last Sunday, May 11.

After government authorities declared her marriage invalid, they now declared that she was guilty of adultery (living with a man not her husband) and sentenced her to 100 lashes.  Finally, when she defended by saying she had always been a Christian, the government sentenced her to death for "apostasy," which is leaving Islam.

The Islamist regime has given Ibrahim an opportunity to avoid the death sentence, which otherwise was to be carried out today (May 15), if she renounces her Christian faith and “returns to Islam"--something she has said she will not do.

Okay you sick Leftist fucks--you demented defenders of organized, government-approved child rape, and of a so-called "religion" that sentences people to death for leaving it:  This is what you're defending.  Do step right up and own the consequences of your stupidity, your ignorance, your incompetent foolishness.

Do tell us how wonderful "tolerance" is, as this woman first is lashed 100 times for being raised Christian and marrying a Christian man--and is then executed.

Islam is the problem.

Left struggles to spin video showing kidnapped Nigerian girls "converting to Islam"; buries it in 15th 'graf

The Lying Media has determined you don't need to know that 220 of the 270 school girls kidnapped by a Muslim gang in Nigeria are Christians.

Indeed, this is WHY they're still being held--the gang released all the Muslim girls.

Now the Left and its media allies are struggling to do damage control on a video posted on YouTube that the Muslim narrator claims shows the girls supposedly "converting" to Islam.

Wait..."converting to Islam"?  Wouldn't that have to mean they were NOT Muslims before that time?

Why...why...but...but...well, uh...maybe.

So if they weren't Muslims, were they followers of some other religion?  The mainstream media is extremely reluctant to tell you.  In fact CNN's "coverage" of this story--under the title "Scared but alive"--avoided mentioning both "Christian" and the claim by Boko Haram that the girls had "converted to Islam" until the 15th paragraph.

Cuz, see, you know...they've decided that's not relevant to their American viewers.

American media:  All propaganda, all the time.

Wednesday, May 14

Muslim terror group's kidnapping of school girls throws Leftists into cognitive dissonance

The abduction of 270 Nigerian school girls by a Muslim gang calling itself "Boko Haram" has thrown the U.S. Left into "cognitive dissonance."

See, since 1996 the Left's opinion-shapers had been demanding that the U.S. tolerate and accede to Muslim demands and Muslim atrocities.  They'd done that partly because most of the top U.S. leftists seem to be atheists, so they really believe that all religions are equally valid (thus equally INvalid).  Since many of the tenets of Christianity (belief in God, existence of evil, Heaven, working for one's daily bread, etc) are poison to the Left, anything that would diminish the influence of Christianity was fine by them.

This strategy is often shortened to "The enemy of my enemy is my friend."

You might think rational people would have reconsidered their support of Islam the day four Muslims detonated 1,300 pounds of explosives in the underground parking garage of the World Trade Center in 1993.  (If you're under 30 you may not even know this happened.  Gee, how...interesting.)

But the mainstream media were able to spin this as Just Another Isolated Incident, done by people rightfully angry at the U.S. for...something.  I mean, all religions have murderers among their adherents, right?  And Americans listened to the opinion-shapers and nodded thoughtfully.

Okay, the 1993 WTC bombing only killed six Americans, so the media could spin it as not really a big deal.  But surely you'd think rational people would have reconsidered their defense of Islamic terrorists after 26 Muslims hijacked four passenger jets and flew two of them into the twin towers.  But in fact the murder of 2,400 Americans and the destruction of the towers barely caused the anti-American, anti-Christian Left to miss a beat.  Instead the rubble had barely cooled before they started trying to undo the dawning awareness by most Americans that Islam was a problem.

For example, Time Magazine began writing about "root causes."  On her national television show Rosie O'something declared that it simply wasn't possible for the towers to have collapsed as a result of the fires started by 20,000 gallons of jet fuel, because...she breathlessly misinformed her audience..."fire can't melt steel."

Yeah, she really said that.  On national television.  And the execs of the network never issued a correction.  Cuz, you know....

Then we had the architects of the memorial to the Americans killed on Flight 93--you remember, the one where the passengers learned of the other hijackings by cell phone and decided it was better to die fighting than let the hijackers fly the plane into another building.

The centerpiece of the original plan was a carefully arranged grove of trees--planted in the clear, unmistakeable shape of a crescent--symbol of Islam.

No, it wasn't an accident, or one of those "if you squint and look at it just right you can kinda see this symbol" situations.  It was deliberate, and the San Francisco architects must have been laughing hysterically at how they were about to put one over on stupid American conservatives.  Hahahahahaha!  Stupid conservatives!  Cuz, you know, liberals had already concluded that 9/11 wasn't anything that boded ill for them.  Only stupid Christians were all worried, probably because they viewed Islam as a challenge to their rule, or something like that.

Then there was the New York City planning commission's approval of a ten-story mosque three blocks from the twin towers.  If you believe the Lying Media it never occurred to anyone in the city's planning division that approving this project just a year or two after 9/11 would be seen by Muslims around the world as proof of total Muslim victory over the nation they openly call the Great Satan.

Then we were treated to the battle over the content of the 9/11 museum:  In addition to an endless stream of demands to remove all references to "Islamic hijackers" we saw clever leftists arranging for emotional photos--such as the one of three NYC firefighters raising the American flag in the rubble--to be deleted from the display.  Of course you probably didn't hear about that. 

Anyway...the Left got past 9/11 without breaking a sweat.  They'd managed to insert doubt in the form of "root causes," which said America was to blame for Muslim atrocities.  Period.

But then three weeks ago, when another gang of Muslim males again did the previously unthinkable and kidnapped 270 Nigerian schoolgirls, once again the Left suddenly had a problem:  They could hardly accuse these Nigerian girls of being guilty of "root causes," as they'd so deftly managed to do with 9/11.

Also, in addition to the victims being *girls* they were also *black,* meaning the Left couldn't just chalk it up to "justifiable anger at decades of oppression of blacks by whites," as they'd done with "the knockout game" and other black-on-white atrocities.

So the Left had a *double-victim-group offense!*  That is, the victims were both black and female--two of the four groups that have guaranteed support from the Left regardless of the details.  But the thugs that did it were *also* from a group doubly favored by the Left:  both black and Muslim.  Uh-oh, what should they do now?

Normally the media would finesse this by simply ignoring the whole story, or trying to discredit it as fake, or as simply a distraction blown out of proportion by Republicans to bash Islam.  Think I'm kidding?  This is exactly what the ghastly Leftist site Gawker tried to do while the Left was struggling to figure out its position:
...anti-Islam conservatives were the first folks to scream for media attention to this story;   
U.S. media editors and producers did try to ignore story, but thanks to the internet and foreign newspapers the American media couldn't totally ignore it.  And they couldn't find a believable way to blame Republicans for it.  So now we're seeing a storm of confusion as Leftist editors and producers struggle to decide how to report the story.

Ah, solution found!  It's okay to report that some girls were kidnapped, as long as we don't say who did it!  So either don't mention "Boko Haram," or that it's a Muslim group.  Or if you do, put the mention way down deep in the story.  And most certainly don't mention that almost all the girls still being held are...shhh! (Christians) from a predominantly Christian state.

To ensure all editors and producers got the message, the resident's wife gave the weekly residential address and showed 'em what the talking points were to be.  While professing grief and concern over the kidnapped girls, Mooch carefully didn't mention any of the three terms noted immediately above.


Another educational side-effect is watching a handful of feminists and other leftists insisting that we send the U.S. military to rescue the girls.  Wow, that must have been a tough thing to demand, given that virtually all feminists hate the military--since the military is an agent of The Patriarchy and all.  Amazing that their heads didn't explode from the conflict.

And of course the sad reality is that rescue is virtually impossible.  Any determined group can kidnap almost anyone, and unarmed, defenseless school kids are an easy target.  About the only corrective action is to so ruthlessly, horribly execute the perps that no rational person would even consider trying the same thing in the future.

Of course our military is prevented from doing any such thing.  Nigeria's military could, but is hopelessly infiltrated by Muslims and thus is neutralized.

So it goes.  Even if the U.S. electorate finally decides an adult government is better than a bunch of community organizers, it will take at least two decades of military engagements before the rest of the world finally gets the message.  Such is the price of being ruled by children who think the only bad people in this world are Christians and white males.

Little things can trip up a president--like the cover story about Benghazi

It's generally known that when the cops or the DA are corrupt, a mayor or alderman or senator can be caught snorting coke with an underage girl and get clean away with it.

But conversely, when investigators are honest, smart and determined, sometimes a president can be brought down by the tiniest detail.  For example, congressional investigators were ultimately able to link the Watergate burglars to Nixon because one of the burglary crew was discovered to have a White House phone number in his billfold.

Thus it is that we've been watching Team Obama wriggle and squirm and issue various corrections about the events surrounding the Muslim attack on an American outpost in Benghazi just eight weeks before the 2012 presidential election.  The initial cover story was that the attacks were NOT planned or carried out by al-Qaeda, but were the result of a "spontaneous demonstration" triggered by a video posted on the internet.

Problem was, from the outset this explanation seemed exceedingly far-fetched.  Most obviously, people who go to spontaneous demonstrations almost never have mortar tubes and rounds with them.  In fact such weapons are pretty rare.  Second, internet analysis showed that the video in question had only been viewed a few dozen times, and no one seemed to have thought much about it at the time.

With so much information discrediting the cover story, investigators started asking government officials who was the source of the story.

Pretty much the only agencies with access to the information chain were the White House, State Department and CIA.  And all these denied being the source.

The top military intelligence official at U.S. Africa Command, whose job it was to determine responsibility for the attacks, concluded almost immediately that they were the work of al Qaeda-affiliated terrorists. This view was included in a Defense Intelligence Agency assessment published two days after the attacks.  But even the Secretary of Defense can't unilaterally insert text into White House documents.

Months passed, and the Big Three agencies were all still denying being the source.  As far as the Obama administration, the story appeared as if by magic.  Aliens, maybe.

Jay Carney and others repeatedly insisted that "the intelligence community" was responsible for the "triggered by an internet video" story.  Carney insisted the White House had made just one “stylistic” change--that is, not a substantive change.

Hillary Clinton testified that she had no earthly idea about anything, due to having suffered a fall that left her memory very, very hazy, but claimed the intelligence community was the “principal decider” on the talking points. But an internal CIA email reported that the State Department had “major reservations” about the talking points and that “we revised the documents with their concerns in mind.”

In all, objections from either the White House or State resulted in all or part of four paragraphs of the six-paragraph talking points being removed—148 of 248 words.

Finally a couple of weeks ago Fox News’s Bret Baier asked former National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor whether *he* had changed “attacks” to “demonstrations”--something that would surely be considered a major change, and which no honest person would undertake without strong supporting documentation.

Vietor replied “Maybe. I don’t remember.”

"Maybe.  I don't remember"?

A suggestion for the House congressional committee:  Write a letter to Vietor and ask him if, as *spokesman* for the National Security Council (i.e. not an advisory position) he had provided any advice or counsel to the president on what to say about the cause of the attacks.  I'm pretty sure he'll reply that he didn't.  At that point subpoena him, and see if Obama tries to prevent his testimony on the ground of executive privilege, as he did to prevent Eric Holder from testifying about what the president knew about the government's operation to sell military-grade weapons to Mexican drug cartels.

Earlier in that case Holder had denied telling the president "anything" about the operation, so it's hard to see how they could successfully invoke the privilege if challenged in court.  But the Republicans were unwilling to take the administration to court.

But over the intervening two years we've learned a lot more about the general lawlessness of the administration, so that a court case would have a much better chance. 

Team Obama labels House panel investigating Benghazi "delusional" before it starts

Anyone who asks questions about Benghazi is crazy.

At least that’s what the White House and its allies are claiming as a congressional committee begins what could be a more serious investigation of the Benghazi attack.

The administration didn't cooperate with earlier attempts to investigate--including refusing to turn over incriminating emails and other documents while claiming to have fully cooperated.  Standard bullshit stuff.

You'd think if the Obama administration had nothing to hide it would fully cooperate.  Instead Team Obama is trying hard to discredit the investigation.  For example, last week senior White House adviser David Plouffe claimed that the investigation is the result of “a very loud, delusional minority” in the Republican party.

Former Democrat representative Jane Harman compared questions about Benghazi to conspiracy theories about Vince Foster and aliens.  Harman is an ideal mouthpiece for Obama propaganda because she's female and doesn't have to worry about re-election.

But the Obama administration’s strategy isn’t intended for the country at large so much as for the Washington press corps. The goal is to convince reporters that by investigating Benghazi they are doing the bidding of crackpots and Republicans.  Team Obama is betting that journalists will do anything to avoid the charge that they're giving favorable coverage to Republicans.

And they're probably right.

Obama administration released 36,000 illegals who'd been convicted of other crimes

If you're convicted of a serious crime--say, murder, hit-and-run, drunk driving or similar--but have somehow managed to avoid jail, the last thing you'd want to do is get picked up by the cops for some unrelated thing.  Cuz, they'd throw your ass in jail for the earlier thing, right?

Well sure, that would happen to you or me.  But not if you're an illegal alien:  In that case the criminal gang that staffs this ghastly administration has decided they'll simply let you go on your merry way with a "have a nice day!"  Maybe an ankle-bracelet to keep track of you when you cut it off and decide to do something *else* illegal.

Oh wait--you think I'm just making that up, or got it from Faux News.  Actually the figures are buried in the operations reports of the government agency "Immigration and Customs Enforcement."

In 2013 ICE released 36,007 convicted criminal aliens with nearly 88,000 convictions, including:
  • 193 convicted for homicide
  • 426 convicted for sexual assault
  • 303 convicted for kidnapping
  • 1,075 convicted for aggravated assault
  • 1,160 convicted for stealing a vehicle
  • 9,187 convicted for dangerous drugs
  • 16,070 convicted for drunk or drugged driving
  • 303 flight escape convictions
But hey, Barry and his merry band of media flacks keep telling you his team has been reeeeally tough on deportations.

Really.  Tough.

Tuesday, May 13

Why do Leftists, Hillary, academics and feminists hate the military?

Ever notice that the Left, Hollywood's shakers, Hillary Clinton, academics and feminists seem to hate the military?

Ever wonder why that is?

My guess is that it's because all of 'em fundamentally believe several unreal things:  First, that there's no such thing as Evil.  Rather, when people do unspeakably cruel and depraved things--often to innocents like unarmed school *girls*--it's because the thugs have been deprived or abused in some way.  Like because they didn't have enough money growing up.

Second:  They believe anyone who thinks Evil does exist is defective, gullible, unenlightened and dumb.

Third:  That truly Enlightened folks (i.e. the Left, Hollywood's shakers, Hillary Clinton and "progressives") are uniquely able to talk those who murder and behead and rape and cut throats of innocents into giving up ways.  They can do this because they're...Gifted.  So you need to send 'em money.

Fourth:  If you let them run the country (by electing Democrats), All Will Be Well.

The mere existence of our armed forces exist is a silent rebuke to all the above, because it represents a truth the Left can't and won't admit:  That some people just want to kill and/or terrorize Americans and/or other westerners.  That they're willing to commit any atrocity--like killing hundreds of school kids (google "Beslan") to advance their cause.  And that asking them nicely not to do bad things accomplishes exactly jack-shit.

As long as the throat-cutters stay far away, the Left can pretend their "leadership" and methods are working.  But when Reality hits America--as on 9/11--only the most hard-core Leftists continue to make that claim.  For the rest of us it's "Okay, enough is enough."  A reasonable president calls on our armed forces to go slap some sense into those who did it.

Of course the Left doesn't want that to succeed, since it would utterly destroy their control, so they use every tool they can devise to sabotage the effort:  Trivial acts--Abu Ghraib--become front-page news for a year.  Movies are made about the very real human costs of war.  Newspapers endlessly wail about the huge monetary cost.  (Yeah, it's expensive.  Was that your point?  Would you prefer paying for another 9/11 every decade or so?)

Reality proves--daily, as in Nigeria--that the Left's policies and fundamental beliefs are useless against an amoral enemy.  Of course no one likes being forced to face that revelation, so they do everything in their power to hide reality, or spin it so the public doesn't see it.

Oh, Leftists are also experts at re-writing history.  Thus virtually no Americans will learn about the State Department's refusal to designate Boko Haram as a terrorist group while Hillary was SecState.  Rather, we can expect sources to tell top reporters that Hillary herself wanted the designation but somehow this was blocked by nameless bureaucrats.

Monday, May 12

Two reviews of the new book by former Obama treasury secretary

Obama's Former Treasury Secretary has just published a book of his recollections of being in that job.  Here are two reports on that book.  See if you can guess which one belongs to which newspaper.  Here's the first:

White House wanted Treasury Secretary to LIE to the public about Social Security being behind the deficit

  • In memoir, former Treasury Secretary says the White House wanted him to mislead Americans about the long term costs of Social Security

  • Here's the second review:
    "Stress Test” does not provide any big new revelations, nor does it shed new light on the inside workings of the Obama White House. The book attempts, rather, to explain why Mr. Geithner and his colleagues made the choices they did. 
    So according to the second review the book does *not* contain any "big new revelations."  But the first review said...what??  Is it that the statement that Team Obama asked Geithner to lie was already widely known?  Somehow I must have missed that.

    You have to wonder if they actually read the same book.

    Oh, the first review was from the U.K.'s "Daily Mail."  (You knew it had to be from an overseas paper since it was critical of "the White House.")

    The second is from some goofy shopper.  Oh wait--it was the NY Times.

    Eh, it's an easy mistake to make.

    Mooch briefs American public on Nigeria--doesn't mention either "Muslim" or Boko Haram

    Happened to catch a conservative talk show today, and the host mentioned that the wife of the occupant of the Oval Office gave the weekly presidential radio address.  The major theme was the kidnapping of "more than 200" Nigerian school girls by the big, bad, brave Muslims of Boko Haram.

    The host noted that the speech never mentioned the words "Boko Haram" or "Muslim" even once.

    Not a single U.S. liberal noticed.

    Aw, isn't that nice of the president?  Cuz, Rule One is that no one in the U.S. government or media is to mention "muslim" and "terrorism" or "murderers" or "kidnappers of school girls" in the same article.

    When will they stop denying and face reality?

    Never mind.

    Who is Boko Haram?  Sorry, they don't think you need to know that.

    Is there a danger from Muslims?  Again, you'd never know by listening to Obama or spouse.

    But don't worry--it's all good.  The government simply kicks the can down the road once again...and again...and again...until there's no more road in which to maneuver.

    At which point your kids can deal with it, eh?  Much better to leave the problem to them, right?

    Kumbayah, peeps.  Kumbayah.  We'll surely win the War of the Hashtags.

    Oh, if you wanna read the full text of the speech--in case you don't believe it, cuz I didn't either--it's here.

    How a former enemy's reaction to a crushing defeat tells us something about today

    If you're under 50 and not a student of military history you've probably never heard of the battle of Midway  (our public schools seemingly having determined not to tell American kids anything about American military victories).  It was one of the crucial, decisive battles of WW2.  One historian called it "the most stunning and decisive blow in the history of naval warfare."

    For six months after its brilliant surprise attack on the U.S. at Pearl Harbor--an attack that sank or seriously damaged every U.S. battleship in the Pacific--the Imperial Japanese Navy had been invincible.  But at Midway a series of valiant attacks by U.S. Navy pilots--most of whom were flying slower, less-advanced aircraft because American politicians had drastically cut defense spending after WW1--resulted in sinking four Japanese carriers, with the loss of 3,500 highly-skilled sailors.  The U.S. lost one carrier and 350 highly-skilled men.

    It was as decisive a battle as Pearl Harbor--except this time a U.S. victory.  And far harder because it wasn't a surprise attack.

    Here's the twist:  After this crushing battle the Japanese naval command--with the cooperation of the emperor--concealed the news of this decisive loss, not only from the Japanese people but even from the Japanese army.

    Blogger Richard Fernandez contends the same thing has been happening with the U.S. media and the Obama administration:  No one but the most committed liberal/Democrat/"progressive" any longer believes a word from the Mainstream Media about the administration and its foreign policy.  The total loss of respect by other national leaders for the U.S. and its word has been covered up or spun by the media into stirring fictions about the amazing prowess of Obama and his fabulous team.

    Objective observers don't believe Team Obama about Obamacare, Benghazi, "Operation Fast and Furious," why the IRS delayed granting tax-exempt status to conservative groups before the 2012 election, or why the administration has given weapons and support to al-Qaeda to overthrow Syria's Assad regime.

    No one outside the Democrat party believes Obama and the Dems were really able to get Iran to stop working to develop an atom bomb.

    No one other than Democrats believes Obama was simply "mistaken" when he promised Americans "If you like your health insurance you can keep it.  Period."

    No one other than Dems believes there's a single foreign leader that thinks the word of the president of the United States is worth a nickel.

    How slimy is this guy?  Consider how the media would have reacted if a Republican president had been caught by an open microphone telling the president of Russia "Tell your boss that I'll be a lot more flexible after the [U.S. presidential] election" which was just a matter of weeks away.

    What did he mean by that?  We don't know--because not a single reporter has had the balls to ask him.

    Meanwhile the lies and other anomalies continue to build. 

    Click here to read Richard Fernandez's excellent original post.
    For a longer narrative of the astonishing battle of Midway click here.  (Caution: Wiki, so it minimizes American heroism, but can't hide or spin the loss of four aircraft carriers.)

    Sunday, May 11

    More effort by Leftist rags to blame Boko Haram terror on...anything at all except Islamic fanaticism

    Earlier I posted about the thorough refusal of western media to tell readers that a gang of Muslims in Nigeria has been killing Christians by the thousands--literally--and most recently kidnapped 270 school girls.

    Here's an example: A piece in the U.K.'s hard-left Guardian:
    Behind the rise of Boko Haram: ecological disaster, oil crisis, spy games

    The kidnapping of over 200 Nigerian school girls, and the massacre of as many as 300 civilians in the town of Gamboru Ngala, by the militant al-Qaeda affiliated group Boko Haram has shocked the world.  But while condemnations have rightly been...less attention has been paid to the roots of the crisis.

    Instability in Nigeria has been growing steadily over the last decade - and one reason is climate change. In 2009, a UK Department for International Development (Dfid) study warned that climate change could contribute to increasing resource shortages in the country due to land scarcity from desertification, water shortages, and mounting crop failures.

    A more recent study by the Congressionally-funded US Institute for Peace confirmed a "basic causal mechanism" that "links climate change with violence in Nigeria." The report concludes:
    "...poor responses to climatic shifts create shortages of resources such as land and water. Shortages are followed by negative secondary impacts, such as more sickness, hunger, and joblessness. Poor responses to these, in turn, open the door to conflict."
    Unfortunately, a business-as-usual scenario sees Nigeria's climate undergoing "growing shifts in temperature, rainfall, storms, and sea levels throughout the twenty-first century.

    Oh yeah.  And those rising sea levels absolutely forces those poor, poor Muslim men to murder Christians.
    According to [an academic], the forerunner to Boko Haram ... included many victims of ecological disasters leaving them in "a chaotic state of absolute poverty and social dislocation in search of food, water, shelter, jobs, and means of livelihood."

    The other issue is Nigeria's intensifying energy crisis. In recent months, the country has faced a fuel crisis partly due to the government slashing previously high fuel subsidies, contributing to increasing public anger and civil unrest.
    But while corruption and ageing infrastructure play an important role, the end of cheap oil is the real elephant in the room. One study by two Nigerian scholars concluded in 2011 that "there is an imminent decline in Nigeria's oil reserve since peaking could have occurred or just about to occur; this is shown to be in agreement with previous studies."
    And this explains why Muslims are burning Christians while the latter are inside their churches?

    David Francis, one of the first western reporters to cover Boko Haram, noted that "Most of the foot soldiers of Boko Haram aren't Muslim fanatics; they're poor kids who were turned against their corrupt country by a charismatic leader."

    Apart from the fact that the west has been content to turn a blind eye to these problems by propping up the corrupt Nigerian government while accelerating oil and gas deals, there is a further complication.

    Abundant evidence shows that al-Qaeda in the Maghreb (AQIM) have exploited the rise of Boko Haram to gain increasing control of the Nigerian militant movement.

    What we're not being told, however, is that al-Qaeda's rapid expansion through northwest Africa has occurred under the rubric of Algerian state intelligence services - with US, French and British knowledge.
    Our relationship with the Algerian military junta, responsible for the massacre of hundreds of thousands of civilians, is driven by the usual unquenchable thirst to access what the US energy department estimates are the world's third largest shale gas reserves.

    According to Prof Jeremy Keenan...the west's oil and gas greed has caused our governments to turn a blind eye to the role of oil states like Algeria in fostering regional terrorism - instead exploiting the resulting chaos to legitimise efforts to consolidate access to remaining African energy reserves.

    If this analysis is correct, then the hundreds of innocent girls kidnapped in Nigeria are not just victims of Islamist fanaticism; they are also victims of failed foreign, economic and security policies tied to our infernal addiction to black gold.
    So let's see here:  According to the Left the cold-blooded murder of thousands of Christians by Muslims  isn't due to Muslim thugs but rather any or all of the following: a) rising sea levels and other forms of climate change; b) poverty; c) corruption in the Nigerian government; d) Algeria; e) the west's oil and gas greed; f) failed foreign, economic and security policy; or g) "our infernal addiction to" oil.

    The Left is determined to convince you that Islam is not the problem.  And certainly they want to be very careful not to mention that they're systematically killing Christians.  Cuz, you know, "religion of peace" an' all.